RSS

Tag Archives: DC Comics

Darkness Within


2165441-picture_2

I was going to do a piece on women in history, sort of a match to yesterday’s history versus fantasy, but I became distracted by the final book in Gail Simone’s run on Batgirl.

The NewDC has taken the characters of all the really good things about their characters and stripped them back to basics.  This happened when the New52 launched.  Since then, there’s been nearly 52 failures.  As of May of this year, there were 47 cancellations in the New52.  Some were really fun books (All-Star Western, Blue Beetle), some were really well written (The Movement, Firestorm), and some were just plain terrible (The Savage Hawkman, Hawk & Dove).

But with stripping down the characters, something was left out.  Something that was left behind.  We read superhero comics as a form of escapist entertainment, but also with a mirror reflecting real life.  What if Superman came along to save some kid who was contemplating suicide?

reagan

Gone are the everyday comedy and drama of the antics of Booster Gold and Blue Beetle (even the Young Justice versions of Kid Flash and Blue Beetle).  Gone is the on again off again relationship with Ollie and Dinah due to Ollie’s infidelity.  Even the aspect of family that came about with Connor, Roy, Dinah, Mia, and Ollie.  Gone is the dynamic of Birds of Prey, an all female book which showed you don’t have to write women in some male gaze way, that they can be smart and funny and loving to one another.  And gone is any aspect of a disabled person as a superhero (though, the Movement tried, it really did).

1091590-bop_01cover600cmyk_7_sm

According to DC editorial, you can’t be a superhero and be happy.  That’s a defeatist attitude, and sheds off any concept that superheroes bring to the table.  Hope.  If superheroes can’t be happy, why should I be happy.  The brooding darkness works for Batman, but even the Batfam can’t live in perpetual darkness.  Even Batwoman, who may be the antithesis of Batman, needs that light.  After all, it was Kate Kane who said that it could be anyone under the cape and cowl, even her.  So she became an aspect of Batman that wasn’t so scary.  She even came close to getting married to her partner (Renee Montoya before the reboot, Maggie Sawyer after).  But no, she can’t have that.

Meanwhile, at the Marvelous Competition, the heroes aligned with the Avengers and X-Men continue to have their everyday dramas and comedies hit them.  And they survive.  They survive having relationships, meaningful relationships, and even manage to crack a few jokes.  These things are very telling about superheroes.  The ability to laugh, as opposed to being dark and brooding 24/7/365 is far more entertaining and far more healthy.

ms-marvel-6-5-wolverine

But DC has moved away from that, feeling that success of the Batman trilogy is the way to go.  Forgetting completely that dark and brooding works for Batman, but doesn’t work for everyone else.  This isn’t the early 90s, we’re past the awful stages of grim and gritty.  Were they good?  At the time they were, because it was different.  But it’s 2014 now.  We need to move past that and into a place where diversity of character and emotion is just as diverse as people and culture.

Batwoman_0008

Essentially, we need hope in our comics again.  I could walk away from DC completely and ignore it, but I care about the characters a little too much, I suppose.  I’d like that future generations would care just as much, and give them something to hope for.

I was going to talk about the final issue of Batgirl, but there’s a much better article that sums it up completely, found here.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 11, 2014 in Fun, Life, randomness

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Here it is… again


Wherein I talk about Wonder Woman… again

It’s short, but I need to be clear on this.

We have 300, a story that takes place in Ancient Greece, about 300 Spartans who stand against the Persian Army.  We have Thor, about a Norse god who joins a team of human super heroes.

But we can’t have Wonder Woman be an Amazon princess, a figure pulled directly from Greek myth, because people won’t get that?  That it’s easier to believe if she’s an alien?

I just need to be clear about that.

Ya know what…

Marvel needs to reboot the Spider franchise in a different way.  Instead of bringing back a third incarnation of Spider-man, they need to say “Screw it! Peter and M.J. are married and they have a girl who lives in the same universe as Tony Stark and Steve Rogers and Bruce Banner and Black Widow”.  Then they should release Spider-Girl, have Tobey McGuire as the older, father figure, Kirsten Dunst as M.J. and they could be the parents of a young May Parker who inherits her father’s spider abilities.  She dons a costume, calls herself Spider-Girl, and eventually joins the Avengers.

So, why are we still struggling

Why, exactly, is it so difficult to get multiple women into a movie franchise?  I’m side eyeing Star Wars with this one.  Granted, it is J. J. Abrams, and his Star Trek run was pretty sexist.  And to be honest, not in anyway reminiscent of the old Star Trek series.  So does that mean the upcoming Star Wars is gonna be equally in aspect to what Abrams did with the other Star Franchise?

But this is something that’s not just confined to the realm of sci fi.  Lord of the Rings, for example (and the prequel, The Hobbit) had a lot of dudes walking around doing dude things.  Admittedly, Peter Jackson did have more screen time for two of the female characters in the first trilogy.  And he basically had to create one for the Hobbit.

I’m still not sure as to why we need to take baby steps when it comes to representation in movies.  This goes for race, sexual orientation, gender, and so on.  But seriously, we shouldn’t have to take baby steps.  Because the ones who’d complain just need to get over it and move out of the 17th Century.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 30, 2014 in randomness

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Disgusting Comics


hawkworld

Years ago I collected comics.  That lasted well into my early 30s, and even into my 40s I’ve kept an interest.  I don’t collect like I used to, however.

Cover of "World's Finest Comics Archives,...

Cover via Amazon

When I first began collecting comics, it was with the one dollar I had to go down to the local confectionery or convenience store and pick up one or two and come back with change.  I managed to convince my parents that I could buy one and not return with change.  That comic was World’s Finest from DC Comics.  At the time, World’s Finest was packed with stories, beginning with the feature story of Superman and Batman.  There were others that included Hawkman and Hawkwoman, Green Arrow and Black Canary, The Creeper, Black Lightning, Red Tornado and Shazam.  And for a while, World’s Finest had a wrap around cover that had all of the main characters from the other stories as part of the cover story with Superman and Batman.

World’s Finest eventually lead me to Superman Family and Batman Family, which had an equally large number of stories, and for a time I picked up Detective Comics just for the back up story which happened to have been Green Arrow for the longest time.  The only single series I collected was the Flash (around the time Barry Allen was accused of killing Professor Zoom and had to go to trail for murder), Justice League of America (because of a huge number of characters), Captain America, and Captain Canuck when it came out.  Both Caps were the only books outside of the DC Universe that I read.

I was there when Crisis on Infinite Earths took place.  Because of that, I began collecting the Mike Grell Green Arrow run (which later Chuck Dixon wrote), and the Tim Truman Hawkworld mini series (which later became a regular series written by John Ostrander).

I also had a complete run of Firestorm, ending with it’s 100th issue.

I was there when Armagedon 2001 took place.  I was there for the Death of Superman and began reading about John Henry Irons who became Steel.  I collected Steel faithfully.

I was there when Zero Hour hit.

I was there when Katar Hol was killed.

I was there for the Birds of Prey, and had many email conversations with Chuck Dixon and his wish to bring Shayera Thal into the Birds.  Sadly, it never happened.

I was there when Oliver Queen gave his life to save millions, and his son Connor Hawke took up the mantle of Green Arrow.

I was there when the JSA came back, and Carter Hall was resurrected.

I was there when Kevin Smith brought back Ollie.

I was there when Mia Deardon became Speedy.  When Ollie, Dinah, Connor, Roy, Liam and Mia became a family.

And then I drifted.

Batwoman

Batwoman (Photo credit: Ben Templesmith)

I missed some impressive creative origins, like Greg Rukka on Batwoman.  I missed Renee Montoya becoming the Question.  And I missed the event which ended the DC Universe and rebooted it with the Nu 52.

Since then, I’ve been wavering on my interest with DC.  Hawkman was terrible.  Green Arrow wasn’t very interesting.  Firestorm had a good start.  Huntress was a good mini (with the exception of the off camera killing of Helena Bertinelli).  The only series that I had any interest in were Batwoman, Batgirl and All-Star Western.  Eventually, The Movement caught my eye.

But now, two of the creators who slaved over the Batwoman series, J. H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman, are walking away from the book thanks to disagreements with editorial.  It was suggested that Batwoman, an openly lesbian woman, who had proposed to her girlfriend, Maggie Sawyer, was going to get married.  But I guess you can’t have that in the New DC.  Unless it happens to be a heterosexual relationship.

And this is where Marvel has been gaining a lot of ground.  Marvel is the company that’s had the first openly gay wedding in it’s books.  DC is still years behind, and it looks to be that way with the current editorial staff.  Note, I didn’t say the writers, because those like Gail Simone and others who have worked with DC in the past have strived to bring about a face of equality and tolerance within the pages of each book each month.

But DC Comics seems to be walking away from that in favour of creating something that’s cookie cutter and safe.  No risks, because risks means you could lose.

That’s why DC Comics has now lost any interest for me at all.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on September 6, 2013 in Fun, Life, randomness

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

She’s a tricky one: Why we need a Wonder Woman movie


wonder-woman

That’s a comment that’s been going around the ‘Net for a few days (weeks, months) now about a Wonder Woman movie.

“She’s a tricky one to handle.”

Really, it’s that difficult to get a good story out of a female superhero.  It seems to me that it would be fairly easy.  As a matter of fact, it’s already been done once.  Gail Simone had a helping hand in it with the release of the animated Wonder Woman movie.  Starring Keri Russel in the title role and Nathan Fillion as Steve Trevor.  A lot of the stories of Greek myth were interwoven with the aspects of a modern superhero, and having Wonder Woman shocked at the treatment of women in the modern world was quite refreshing, and a different take on the world.

d6559443-2d07-4334-94fc-9d5cb9424954.Full

Wonder Woman isn’t hard to write a good movie script for.  It’s basically 300, but with women and set more in a modern era.  Even Wonder Woman’s uniform could be a throw back to the old Greek and Roman style armours that she’s been dressed in the comics.  Like the leather skirting and the knee high armoured boots.  And this would be an opportunity to not only take a chance with a female superhero, but it’d also be a chance to use a woman of colour.  Many might argue that Greece and Italy are European, so that’d mean “white people only”, but that’s grossly ignorant of history.  In Greece and Rome there were North Africans, Middle Eastern Arab and Persian people, there were Pakistani and East Indian people who all followed the trade routes.  And Wonder Woman could have been born after the Silk Road began uniting people from different areas thanks to trade.

Even keep the story of Diana being formed from clay, and given life by her mother Hippolyta.  The call back to ancient myth would be amazing.  It’d be much different than the aspects of male superheroes that always have to have one motivation; death of family or threat of destruction.  Wonder Woman is a warrior.  Plain and simple.  She’s no different than Xena in that regard.

As Gail Simone once said about DC’s holy trinity; “If you want to stop alien invasions, call Superman.  If you want a mystery solved, call Batman.  But if you want to stop a war, call Wonder Woman.”

But the needing of a Wonder Woman movie goes beyond wanting to have a kick ass lady in a superhero movie that in a genre has been dominated by men. We need a Wonder Woman movie because she represents not only a female icon, but the best of humanity, and the best of what we have to offer.  Wonder Woman is just as iconic as Superman and Batman.  Even those who don’t read comics will recognize the name, and many will recognize the outfit when they see a picture of her.  There needs to be a Wonder Woman movie, because we need more icons to be visible.  And we need diversity on our big screens and small screens.

It may sound silly, but if we want to progress as a society, to keep moving forward with our social awareness, then we need to have icons and myths that represent our ideals in this modern world.  One of those icons happens to be Wonder Woman.  And it’s about damn time that she got what she, what we all, deserve.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on July 29, 2013 in Fun, randomness

 

Tags: , , , ,

On the passing


The entertainment world lost two people recently.

Roger Ebert with his wife, Chaz Ebert.

Roger Ebert with his wife, Chaz Ebert.

The first came this afternoon, as it was reported that Roger Ebert, known as the man who had a critical eye on movies and was a spot light on cinema for decades, lost his battle with cancer.  He was 70 years old.

Ebert was a film critic, but he had a love of movies and indeed loved some of the cheesiest movies out there.  Because he saw them for what they should be; fun.  Not only was he a film critic, but also a prolific writer, having a column with the Chicago Sun-Times, writing his own biography, and what many might not know, he wrote a screen play for a Sex Pistols movie project which unfortunately never got off the ground.  In 2007, his fight with cancer lost him his voice, and he stopped appearing on television.

He was also a noted “raging liberal” by some.  The Pulitzer Prize winning film critic was known to have his opinions on many different topics, outside of the film industry.  Within the industry, he was critical of Hollywood for not producing films that the public wants to see.  He was a huge supporter of indie films.

The White House offered a eulogy this afternoon, and Prime Minister tweeted his condolences.  The Toronto International Film Festival gave a statement on Ebert’s passing, saying that Roger was like family.  He was there from the festival’s humble beginnings.

The second person who passed away recent was Carmine Infantino.

flash how to draw carmine infantino dc comics limited collector's edition tabloid pencils silver bronze age

Infantino was integral to the American comic book industry, helping to create some of the most iconic characters known.  Many of whom still live on today.  He is responsible for the creation of Black Canary, Batgirl, Wally West (Kid Flash), Iris West, Captain Cold, Captain Boomerang, Gorilla Grodd, and Elongated Man, all for DC Comics.  His artwork was a well known style, and his work was best known for his run on The Flash in the mid 1980s.

flashHe also worked for Marvel Comics and Warren Comics, working on titles that included Spiderwoman, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, and Vampirella.  Two of his comic covers, The Flash 123 and Showcase 4, remain two of the most iconic covers in comics.  As they ushered in the Silver Age of comics, and in the DC Universe, the multiverse with Earth 2.

In 2004, he sued DC for the rights to the aforementioned characters.

In the late 1960s, Infantino became an editor and was instrumental in hiring artists who would also later become editors.  He was responsible for hiring Denny O’Neill and Neal Adams, both of whom would help to reinvent Batman and create the team up of Green Lantern and Green Arrow, by creating the Hard Travelling Heroes stories.  Infantino also brought in Jack Kirby to DC Comics, who would go onto create his Fourth World universe, as well as The Demon, Kahmandi and others.

Carmine Infantino was 87.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on April 4, 2013 in Life, randomness

 

Tags: , , , , ,

A small story, but with a happy ending


Outlook-20130131-00115

As most who follow me know, my car wouldn’t start on Tuesday.  I had no choice but to walk home.  Yesterday, I attempting to have my car boosted, with no luck at all.

Outlook-20130131-00110So this morning, I walked to work and borrowed my co-worker Derke’s car (pretty snazzy wheels with lots of buttons inside).  This allowed me to get my deliveries done for the usual Thursday morning newspaper run.  This involves loading the vehicle up with all of the boxes that need to go to the local Canada Post outlet, and then a little later taking all of the retail newspapers to the different businesses around town that sell our paper.

That was all fine and good, but my car still wasn’t starting.  And old man winter wasn’t helping either. I think the battery is dead which couldn’t come at a worse time.  It has gotten me thinking about buying a new car, however.  It’s about time, and while I love my Hyundai Accent, it’s getting up there in age and has a few problems.

What this actually means is yet again, I had to walk home from work.

Still, I had rent to pay, and I needed to stop by the post office to check the mail.  This is where my problem with my car changes.

I had two parcels waiting for me, as luck would have it.  And both had Amazon’s logo emblazoned on the side.  I knew exactly what to expect inside each box.  Though, the second box I opened gave me a bit of a surprise.  The first box included all three books in the trilogy for N.K. Jemisin’s Hundred Thousand Kingdoms trilogy.

Image5

The next box was a slightly different shape, but I knew what it would be, having ordered Volume 1 and Volume 2 of Batwoman from DC Comics.  What I didn’t know is that they’d be the hardcover versions.

Image8

 

I am totally not complaining!  Just means these ones are going to get a lot of care treated to them.  Sort of like the pair of Captain Canuck collections which are both hardcover.

That was my happy ending to this day, which involved walking in this winter wonderland.  Though, it’s not really a wonderland when the temperature is around -31 Celsius.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 31, 2013 in Fun, Life, randomness

 

Tags: , , , ,

Monday Evening Ramblings


Before I actually get around to posting up Rocket Fox Chapter Nine (I will, I promise) I’ve had a few things on my mind lately.

Video games and cultural representation

I often hear the cry of how people can’t relate if there’s a person of a different colour on screen than the same old white dude (and yes, it’s almost always a white dude) in a video game.  Often, if there is a black/brown/red/yellow person on the screen, they aren’t made as a playable character, and they often have huge stereotypes.  Insulting stereotypes as a matter of fact.  I don’t include MMOs into this, because in an MMO, you have a costume creator, and you can make your character look however you want.  I’m talking single player games, for the most part.  But I guess there is that cultural aspect in video games that we don’t get to see different cultures and explore those realms.  For instance, any video game I pick up is most likely to take place in the United States.  As a Canadian, there is a very rare number of games that have a Canadian city that I know of off hand.  Deus Ex Human Revolution does have a futuristic version of Montreal in it, and Champions Online does have a Canadian zone, but that zone happens to be “The Great White North” (in it’s own a stereotype) and even the “native tribes” have been replaced with Sasquatches.  And the lone “Native American” in the Champions Online Canadian Zone happens to have a real white name.  It goes further than that, mind you, to other cultures.  For instance, we see a lot of representation from Asia, but bottom line those nations and culture include only China and Japan.  Maybe Korea.  There’s quite a few other nations in Asia and include Bangladesh, the Philippines, Vietnam, India and to an extent Pakistan.  Go further west, and you find lots of games represented in Europe, from fantasy right up to a plethora of World War II games.  But how many are in Africa that doesn’t star a white archaeologist from the United States or a white archaeologist adventurer from England?  Not many.  By my count, one.  Guild Wars: Nightfall was the only game that I know of that created an African style setting in their own world.  Even the NPCs were all people of colour.  I’d really like to see more of that, but sadly, I’m in the minority on that mark.  Maybe that’ll happen more in the future where we get to see video games taking place in a setting with the main hero/heroine being a person from that setting not just a white guy there to save the day.

Na Na Na Na Na Na – COMICS!

There’s been a lot of talk lately (some good, some bad) about the actions and reactions of some of the writers of DC Comics titles.  One of whom was Scott Lobdell.  I’m not gonna repeat it here, but he said a few rather unflattering things, especially about Native Americans, relating to the back story of Roy Harper/Speedy who is one of the characters in the book Red Hood and the Outlaws.  Now, I read RHatO when it first came out, and I found it to be a complete pile of trash.  The book didn’t appeal to me, the characters were all one dimensional, Jason Todd’s a douchebag, Starfire has none of the appeal from the old Teen Titans (sort of like they wiped her backstory and replaced it with something that was incredibly misogynistic) and Roy Harper is a dick.  Red Hood and the Outlaws is a complete waste of time, but it seems to sell and sell well because the lowest common denominator in readership keeps picking it up.  That book, along with Hawkman, Green Arrow and a couple of other titles were reasons why I was very close to just giving DC Comics a big “fuck you” and move on.  However, I realized that a personal boycott of DC would be detrimental to other, better books.  Don’t get me wrong, me on my own wouldn’t crush DC and make them see the error of their ways, but if there were enough then books like Batwoman, Batgirl, Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman, Animal Man and Demon Knights would all suffer as well.  Those books are good books.  So my suggestion, keep buying those books.  They have really good stories (except for Wonder Woman supposedly now dating Superman -giving you the side eye, DC) with writers who really are good at their craft.  The others, not so much.  And don’t just wait for collected editions in trade paper back.  Buy the single issues, give them to friends and then buy the collections.  I did that recently with my Mike Grell and Chuck Dixon Green Arrow books as well as the Kevin Smith run.  Same with Spider-Girl from the M2 line and Vampi.  All those books are now being enjoyed by someone else, and I have a nifty trade sitting on my bookshelf.  Essentially, what I’m trying to say is boycotts don’t always work, because the good stuff has a tendency to suffer more than the crap.  Buy the stuff you like, avoid the stuff you hate, and pass on the stuff you like to others.

The leaves, they are a fallin’

With apologies to Bob Dylan for ripping off his song Times They Are A-Changin’, we are officially now into autumn.  I, however, have no intention of letting go of summer without a fight.  Autumn is wonderful and colourful, but it’s also a stark reminder of just what’s coming; winter.  Around here, winter is a harsh mistress.  Only the hardiest of people can survive this province with summers that scorch and winters that freeze.  Granted, autumn does mean that Halloween is not far away, and I shall hold onto that hope with bated breath.  I enjoy Halloween, because it’s filled with mystery and stories.  I shouldn’t complain too much about autumn, it is after all, when my writing bug gets bigger and bigger and happens to be the most productive for me, right on up into winter.  Which hopefully means that the end of book one of Rocket Fox and most of book two of Rocket Fox should be completed this autumn and winter.  Which may mean that sometime in the next year, both book one and book two will be ready for publication.

That’s it, that’s all, ’til next time…

…keep ‘em flyin’!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 24, 2012 in Fun, Life, randomness

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 700 other followers

%d bloggers like this: