Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Rant


(Yeah, I know she didn't make my 50 Greatest List, she still deserved better)


The RantHold on, girls and boys, this is my depression downturn before the new comics come in. Green Lantern #11 is shipping. I was pissed off last issue. I was hoping this issue would turn that around. I figured I'll get to see what John is up to.

John's a great character, he deserves more play than he gets, and an undercover storyline sounds intriguing. But I have to admit the real reason I've been waiting.

I had a sneaking suspicion that he might end up in a storyline to resurrect his dead wife.

Katma was the first female Green Lantern (Issue 30, second series, 1964). She was brought in as a trainer, and later married to John Stewart in the 80s. She was killed unceremoniously in a ten-page story (Action Comics Weekly #601 -- in which she appeared in less than 5 panels, had three lines, and came off as, well, there is no other word for it, came off as downright bitchy). This was done to create angst and cause tension between the two male characters -- Hal and John. Later on, she was resurrected at the end of the Green Lantern: Mosaic. This, naturally, was retconned away for Emerald Twilight in the mid-90s.

During the resurge right before GL: Rebirth we saw minor alien character Kilowog (created shortly after Crisis in 1986) resurrected. We saw John Stewart (1972) returned to Lantern status. Then we had Rebirth, and saw Hal Jordan returned to life, and Guy Gardner (1968) returned to the franchise. After that, they revealed that Lanterns like Salakk (1982) and Stel were not dead. And then everyone who had "died" during Emerald Twilight (Most of whom were created in the early 1990s) was revealed to have survived.

But Katma, Katma remained dead/in limbo.

I've seen a lot of activism about women in comics popping up. On one hand, I think that's wonderful. On the other hand, it pisses me off.

Why?

Because the Fridge list was named and began in honor Alex Dewitt, a Green Lantern girlfriend created and killed in 1994, who's short life lasted 4 issues. Her death was an origin death, like Martha Wayne's. She was a civilian. Her death wasn't even sexualized. I never thought it should have counted.

Recently, Jade (1984) was killed to power up another character. It was so pathetic even I couldn't enjoy it. It's caused a lot of fan outrage and hatred towards Kyle Rayner (1994 -- the character powered up) and Ron Marz (the writer who created Kyle, but not the writer who killed Jade). There's a number of people pissed off and demanding Jade return, despite the unbelievable likelihood that she will anyway soon.

And not much is being said about Katma.

By now, you've noticed that I have been writing years by some fo the characters. That's to illustrate a point. There's a greater crime in the Green Lantern franchise. There's a character who suits the Fridge list absolutely perfectly who's been killed who had shit to do with Kyle Rayner because she died years before he was created. A character who was the first female in Green Lantern to be treated as a superhero. A character who was the first female Green Lantern.

Katma.

She was killed to give angst not only to the main character, but to a character eight years her senior. Everybody and his brother is being returned to life in this franchise, and she hasn't been. She even had a resurrection that was retconned away.

I get pissed when I see people bashing Kyle for Jade, partially because Kyle is flat-out a better character, partially because Jade's death is recent and may not take, but mainly because Katma was a considerably better character also, and no one bitches about her death. The character is forgotten. The First Female Green Lantern is basically Forgotten by Fandom Feminists. It drives me crazy.

I'm writing this after participating in an argument with a total idiot on a message board who thinks that it's easier to pair John Stewart with the new female Korugarian (who has a totally different personality, but hey, "they're both hot sred-skinned chicks") than to resurrect the Very First Female Green Lantern Who Predates John by Eight Years and Soranik by Forty-One Years, not just because he pissed me off, but because I realized something.

She is not coming back.

They are Never Resurrecting this Character, or Even Just Undoing the Retcon that De-Resurrected Her.

Superboy Punching a Wall Did Not Bring Katma Back.

Tomorrow's issue will not feature a hint as to her return.

Neither will the first arc of GLC.

And why, when they have resurrected just about everyone else and undone most of Emerald Twilight's (rememebr, she had a resurrection before ET!) damage away, will they not bring Katma back?

Well, the simplest explanation is the most likely.

Because when she comes back, John Stewart will be a married man.

And his character takes precedence.

Which is Misogynistic Bullshit.

And so, fair warning, I'm going to be mighty pissed off for a little while. I want to see Happy Faces to offset this. And if I hear anyone (on this blog, at least) complain about anything except for this, I'm going to be pissed at you.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled Ambush Bug...


Already in Progress.

14 comments:

  1. Speaking of fan activism: http://dcboards.warnerbros.com/web/thread.jspa?threadID=2000076495&tstart=0

    Anyone want to add their two cents?

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  2. I'm probably going to touch a nerve here, but I'm going to comment on this post anyway.

    First, great post - you're absolutely right. I've been wondering for a while why just about every Green Lantern in existence can be brought back to life but Katma, who's death was stupid AND pointless as I recall, stays dead. Its irritating and bizarre. I'm not sure that your "married" explanation is all there is to it, but I can't come up with a better one.

    Second, though, there's a good reason that the Women in Refridgerators didn't start with Katma, but rather with Alex. And its because of the Internet. Alex's death was the exact type of pointless, female supporting character death that had been going on for a long time (as you correctly point out), and that many fans were irritated by. But these fans were mostly geographically dispersed and didn't necessarily know that other folks felt the same way. The Internet allowed fans to find other folks who felt the same way they did, and be more public about what they saw as pointless deaths.

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  3. It's been quite a while since Katma died, right? There's probably a lot of people who don't know her at all. I was like that before I started reading here and you made me love her.

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  4. I've read Green Lantern from time to time, but it never engaged me enough to stick with it for very long, and I think the problem is the whole misogynistic attitude there.

    It would be unfair to label an entire franchise with a more than 50 year history and countless writers with the same attitude, except that time and time again it comes back to being a boy's club where any women present serve only as accessories or motivation.

    Obviously, this is only the perception of an outsider. The last GL I read was about half of Rebirth and the Showcase collection, so feel free to correct me if I am mistaken in my assessment. I'd like to be proved wrong.

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  5. I never got into Green Lantern, and Katma is way before my time. Still, you make a good point. Unfortunately now I have another throbbing vein in my forehead, but thanks for the comics history lesson.

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  6. It was one of the uglier, more pointless deaths in comics and didn't do any favors for Star Sapphire either - rendering a character who was once a fascinating anti-hero rife with sexual tension between herself and Hal Jordan into a crazed, psycho ex-girlfriend a la Fatal Attraction.

    Katma definitely deserves to be resurrected before Jade, although I don't necessarily blame Dave Gibbons for Jade's death any more than I blame Ron Marz for Parallax.

    Both of those tragedies were the result of a specific editorial mandate. Gibbons himself said Rann-Thanagar was a case where he was given a specific set of characters and a specific set of events that were supposed to happen in a specific way. Add artist interpretation to the mix, and you've got a not very memorable story.

    In short, Blame THE MAN - not the writers.

    Bring back Katma, the REAL Star Sapphire and Jade - in that order -and give them some decent storylines. They all deserve it.

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  7. I'm not sure why anyone would blame Kyle for Jade's death... he certaintly didn't want her to die.

    I think you're probably right about Katma not coming back (even though EVERYONE ELSE did). Besides, GL right now seems to be a stupid comic, which is a shame. I miss Kyle as Earth's GL and I never wanted Hal to come back. The one year later opening with Hal waking up next to some woman who's name he couldn't remember didn't do much to endear him to me either.

    I wish they would bring back Katma - the DCU needs more REAL romance and less sleeping around. I still remember when romance was a driving force behind the heroic mind, but today's comic books make me feel as if romance is dead.

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  8. Sandi -- Ack! That conversation is not worth remembering my password for. I've given up on the DC Boards, I'm afraid, unless I'm specifically looking for idiocy to mock. (Oh by the way, did get around to reading Utena! It was wonderful!!)

    Jer -- Thanks. I figured it makes the most sense. I mean, the writers have even stated that they liked her (although instead of resurrecting her they brought in a new Korugarian woman who thabnkfully has a distinctive personality and isn't just a copy, but they've still credited her creation to their liking of Katma) and the writer right before the Great Purge of '94 actually brought her back (sadly, it didn't stick). There's no rule that GL Corpsmembers as redundant at the moment, they can have as many as they want and have been bringing them back in spades. Editorial dictate because of the marriage seems the only logical explanation.

    On the second part, I appreciate the information, but I'm well aware of the history of the WiR site (and there's actually quite a bit to the fridge thing that makes Alex a compelling symbol), but I do find it ironic that the symbol is not on the list and just doesn't fit the rules. I'm not irritated or confused that Alex's death is The Symbol rather than Katma's. Most of my irritation is the pre-occupation with Alex's death, Donna's prior deaths (which have shit to do with Green Lantern, and she has a fucking Get Out of Tartarus Free Pass anyway!) and now Jade's death as reasons to direct more dislike at a character I like and a few writers who don't deserve such venom (although Gibbons could have at least given Jade the chance to save somebody rather than make her death the result of Kyle's irresponsibility!). It bothers me to focus on the fuzzy stuff when there's clearer problems prior to them. There are fans clamoring for Jade's return, calling for Meltzer's head over Sue, enraged about Pantha, and people leveling Misogynist Insults over Alex, but the worst death story I've ever seen, Katma's, has never once been brought up in the conversations I've read (except, of course, when I'm the one bringing it up).

    ingvild -- *nod* Which is sad, because she's gotten some cartoon coverage and she's been mentioned in the comics often enough (Rebirth and REcharge, actually). I think a lot of Modern fans just think "That was Sinestro's successor, right?" Maybe we'll get a Showcase Volume 2 that reprints her origin. (Although, I must admit it was Alan Moore's "In Darkest Night" that made me a Kat-fan).

    Marionette -- It may be a symptom of the guys:willpower::girls:emotion crap we see floating around. Too many people are raised this way, so they might see the Corps as a boy's club. Even when a great writer builds up the diversity, a crappy writer with that old-fashioned attitude comes along and tears it down.
    Gerard Jones was good about bringing in female characters, only to see them die in Emerald Twilight. Alan Moore wrote some good spotlight issues for Arisia and Katma, only to see Katma killed and Arisia turned into a sex toy in later issues. The earliest team made one of Hal's most formiddable oponents a friendly villainess with similar powers, who was also his boss, only to have her go batshit crazy and have her power attributed to an externalized "masculine side" of her personality known as the Predator. Come to think of it, even the much-maligned Marz (who was not allowed by the editors to make Lanterns, only to destroy them. Hell, he wasn't even allowed to make a brand new girlfriend after he killed the first one, he had to use a pre-existing teambook female to draw readers) created females when he had the chance, I think I've seen Kyle fight more villainesses than any other Lantern. Fatality was a fairly strong villain until Winick got hold of her and made a point of showing that her willpower wasn't a match for Kyle's.

    The current guys are pretty good, they've brought back some decent vets and a few new characters, there's loads of background females right now, but it bugs me they don't bring back the big ones like Katma and Arisia.

    Anon -- Eeek.

    Keeper -- Damn, your wording of what happened to Carol is PERFECT.

    As for Blame the Man, not the Writers. To an extent. The Writers have control in HOW respectfully the death is done. Alex gave one hell of a fight, so did Arisia. Jade at least showed herself smart than Kyle (Damn! I can't find ANY respect in that death can I?). Katma, though, well, I linked to the Scans_Daily post above. Check it out.

    cshiana -- Well, these are the same fans who blamed Kyle for Hal going crazy.

    Actually, I'm liking Green Lantern right now (Although the POW angle is pissing me off -- even if Johns does by some miracle manage not to screw that up, the next writer probably will screw it up by revisting to bring more Angst in), Hal's clearly portrayed as more messed up than he was even back when O'Neill was writing. GLC looks good (Fingers are crossed for romance for Guy), and once a few bugs are worked out (mainly, the unacceptable lack of backside views of Kyle -- Dammit, Tocchini, no one wants to see the starfield mask! We're here for one thing, and one thing only! Well, and to see Kyle be goofy) I can fully enjoy Ion.

    I'm seeing what you're saying about the romance though. Quesada wants to kill Spider-Man's marriage, Batman has no girlfriend, hell most heroes don't have girlfriends. I'm primarily an action fan myself, but I nurse a hope that the One-Year-Gap that has Hal wandering around with one-night stands and no steady girl combines with the death of Debbie Darnell to make an excuse to bring Carol back as a viable love interest/villainess.

    And I'd like to see Wonder Woman get her rightful boyfriend back in this relaunch. Man, that pissed me off. Aged to a father figure and married to the comic relief.

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  9. I wasn't really a Green Lantern fan, so I never knew about her death until now. I liked her in her appearances in Justice League and that Duck Dodgers epsiode (you'd think that would help bring her back, but apprantly the editors only want Teen Titans to start copping stuff from their show), but I hadn't started looking into DC comics yet.

    But reading the excerpt from Scans_Daily... that probably is as terrible as it could get. They even threw in some character assassination, it looked like, into the mix too (and she just stands there?). I think Alex gets used as a "rallying figure" because of the absurdly grotesque measure of killing her, chopping her up, and then stuffing her into a refrigerator. Katma's death, however, is probably a better textbook example of the sad cliche.

    I think I'm going to look for stuff featuring Katma along with all the other old issues I'm looking for...

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  10. JLG -- Yes, she was horribly out of character in those pages.

    I hate that I actually looked closely enough to confirm this, but Alex's body was left intact (and again, she fought like a cat). I think one thing that worked to make Alex's death more brutal was he showed it on-panel in its entirety and emphasized the brutality with no softening or sexying. (I suspect, in addition to other tricks, he showed the whole thing on panel to avoid accusations that she was raped prior to death). I have a LONG essay on that scene just screaming to get out. When I have time someday, I'll type it up and post it. It's wild and would cause Ron Marz to roll his eyes and click on the "Next Blog" button.

    But yeah, Katma's worth tracking down. Try these appearances.

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  11. To the posters on this page who say Kat will never come back,I say we should not be so pessimistic.The WB id just that for a small number of episodes in it's Justice League cartoon.There is in production(or was in December,2006 at least)a Green Lantern TV show called "the Corps"whose leading female is Our Favorite Superhero,Korugar's Finest,Katma Tui!

    There is also nothing to stop us fans from writing our own Katma Tui stories and sending them to Fanfiction sites,or evan from drawing them.

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  12. There is also nothing to stops us from organizing a petition or campeign to convince DC comics to ressurect Katma Tui.If all those other characters can be brought back to DC's continuity,so can Korugar's Finest.

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  13. I think the Green Lantern Corps should have more female members.

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  14. The biggest death is the death of all stories before Crisis. DC could have created a parallel world where the pre-crisis characters exist. If no one was interested, it would officially exist, but not be written about.

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