Monday, August 28, 2006

Looks like this does need to be said.

Everyone does realize that taking Character A, when Character A is one of the major players in a teambook, and putting her into the supporting cast of Character B's solo book is a demotion, right?

It makes Character A subordinate to Character B's story. Character A will be hurt, maimed and writtne out of character in roder to advance Character B's story.

This happened with Black Canary as Green Arrow's girlfriend. In Green Lantern/Green Arrow she showed up, and was immediately put under mind control, so that Ollie would rescue her. I cannot recall any point in the O'Neil/Adams run where Ollie was put in danger so that Dinah would have something to do. In The Longbow Hunters she was captured and tortured so that Ollie would rescue her. Again, can't recall a comparable story where Ollie was put in danger so Dinah would have something to do.

So, you all realize, this is very, very likely to happen to Storm in Black Panther? Which is why I'm so damned pissed about this pairing, right?

Should Oracle and Nightwing actually get together... Well, you can't have Nightwing in Birds of Prey, he'd take over. Guess where our beloved Babs goes. And guess what would happen to her?

You Dick and Babs fans do realize you are cheering for a demotion of Oracle, right?

48 comments:

  1. Should Oracle and Nightwing actually get together... Well, you can't have Nightwing in Birds of Prey, he'd take over. Guess where our beloved Babs goes. And guess what would happen to her?

    You make some good points (especially about the rotten treatment of Black Canary over the years), but I have enough faith in Gail Simone that if Nightwing joined the cast, she'd make sure Babs didn't become a second fiddle. In fact, it would be great to see a story where Nightwing thinks he's the new boss of the clubhouse, then finds out from Babs that that's....not the case. In no uncertain terms.

    Nothing will change unless someone's given the chance to change it for the better. Maybe Gail will rise to the occasion (that is, if she doesn't have too much editorial interference dictating where she's gotta take things).

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  2. I remember how I used to be such a big fan of Dick and Barbara as a couple, but, a few years away from comics changed that. I think she needs somebody new.

    And I think that DC would be nuts to mess with Oracle in any way... I mean, remember the DC Nation shouts that wanted her as Oracle? You can't give her the use of her legs back without severely compromising her character... but there's a post in that somewhere...

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  3. That last paragraph is confusing. Are you implying that if Oracle (Character A) left to go to Nightwing's (Character B) book she would be subordinate to Nightwing and be part of Nightwing's story?

    Isn't it contradictory to say that if at the same time you say Nightwing (who can be Character A) moved to Character B's (in this case Birds of Prey and Oracle) book, Nightwing won't be subordinate to Oracle?

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  4. I can see your points. I just don't think fans would sit for either Storm falling subordinate to Black Panther or Oracle falling subordinate to Nightwing. I know I wouldn't stand for it.

    I'm not the biggest Marvel reader and I know there are issues of sexism invovled with the Black Panther/Storm wedding, so I have no idea how Reggie Hudlin would handle her character if (or, like you say, when) she becomes part of the book. But, I can't see her not being involved in X-Men books or having some presence outside of Black Panther. I do think she is, perhaps, the most powerful mutant in the world right now. Maybe not in terms of superhuman abilities, but in terms of status and political power.

    But, as for Nightwing taking over for Oracle in Birds of Prey, I can't see Gail Simone writing that. If it were any other writer, I might see it. But, not with Simone. And, I, for one, would never want to see Nightwing as an operative for Oracle. First of all, he's in too many books and there's already so much confusion as to which is the real Dick. Second, while I don't think men should not be included in the Birds, I do think the central characters MUST be women. Also, the way Simone writes Oracle, I can't see her submitting to anyone -- man or woman.

    Just my thoughts. But, then again, I don't really want Dick and Babs to get together. I think it's too easy and it would complicate things a bit too much.

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  5. Ty -- no, because Birds of Prey is a teambook, meaning the spotlight is shared amongst the characters. No one is really a supporting character, though you have characters who get the spotlight more often, each character has their own arcs that feed the main plot.

    Nightwing is a solo book, meaning it's all about Dick. Any character in Nightwing will be subordinate to Dickie's plot, because its Dickie's book.

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  6. Loren -- Storm's already been written out of the X-Books, though. And it's just a matter of the way the industry works. Every supporting character in a book, their plotline is subordiante to the headliner. This is how it is with Todd Rice in Manhunter. It's how it was with each of Kyle Rayner's girlfriends. It's how it is with Big Barda in Mister Miracle. It's hwo ti works, it in itself is not a bad thing since fictional charcters work on tiers.

    But going from a teambook equal (in a still-running teambook!) to a supporting character is a demotion. I don't care HOW good the writer is, they've just put the character subordinate to the other character.

    Yes, in some case, this is rescuing a character from limbo -- that's when their book is cancelled, though. Birds of Prey and X-Men are running strong. Storm should be in X-Men, by all rights, but she is demoted to supporting cast in Black Panther. No matter how well the writer treats her, it is HIS book and HER plots are dependant on what works for HIM.

    Mark and Loren -- the thing about Nightwing in BoP is you have to remember how HUGE a character Dick Grayson is. He'd be the major draw in the book, and Simone won't write forever.

    Plus, if we're looking at a marriage, Babs would be tied to his solo book, Nightwing. Nightwing is not going away. Nightwing weathered Devin Grayson and Bruce Jones. Nightwing is likely neer going away.

    One of the things you have to remember with this couple is that one character is one of the top five best known superheroes in history, and the other is Barbara.

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  7. Storm's already been written out of the X-Books, though.

    Well, that sucks. But, you make a good points. However, if they don't do something more with Storm which, to me, is definitely the most high profile black charcter and even woman character in the Marvel Universe, I'll just scream. I do understand what you're saying. It just would suck a LOT.

    ...and Simone won't write forever.

    Picture me on top of a cliff with fists raised to the sky as rain comes down on me as I scream, "Nooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!" ;)

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  8. One good thing for Babs is that Nightwing is portrayed by DC as such an incompeteny wimp for so long that if Babs hooked up with him, SHE'D probably be shown resuing HIM. Nightwing hasn't had a good display against a respected fighter since ever.

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  9. re: "Everyone does realize that taking Character A, when Character A is one of the major players in a teambook, and putting her into the supporting cast of Character B's solo book is a demotion, right?"

    Nope. It can be, though.

    re: "It makes Character A subordinate to Character B's story. Character A will be hurt, maimed and writtne out of character in roder to advance Character B's story.

    This happened with Black Canary as Green Arrow's girlfriend. In Green Lantern/Green Arrow she showed up, and was immediately put under mind control, so that Ollie would rescue her. I cannot recall any point in the O'Neil/Adams run where Ollie was put in danger so that Dinah would have something to do. In The Longbow Hunters she was captured and tortured so that Ollie would rescue her. Again, can't recall a comparable story where Ollie was put in danger so Dinah would have something to do."


    You just used some pretty doggone old examples to prove your point. I hesitate to judge today's creators strictly by actions of creators from 20-30 years, ago.

    Things may turn out just as you say, but we really don't know that it will. The fact that the Panther's series has taken some of the turns it has are reasons, in my opinion, to have more faith in the creators, not less.

    But I recognize that this is just that - an opinion.

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  10. re: loren's "I know there are issues of sexism invovled with the Black Panther/Storm wedding"

    Like what?

    re: ragnell's "Storm's already been written out of the X-Books, though."

    Howso?

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  11. So what is it? If Birds of Prey is a team book with each and everyone sharing the spotlight, why are you saying that Nightwing will take over that book?

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  12. Mark and Loren -- the thing about Nightwing in BoP is you have to remember how HUGE a character Dick Grayson is. He'd be the major draw in the book, and Simone won't write forever.

    Well, I think the best test of the strength of Babs' character is to put her in places with strong "DC Legacy" characters like Nightwing. What better test of a woman character's strength than to go head to head against a popular male character with a 60 year history?

    I don't think Babs needs to be intimidated by anyone...least of all her old crush.

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  13. Howso?

    Storm took a leave of absence from the X-Men to get reacquainted with Africa (and in hindsight, get ready for the marriage) after the Wild Kingdom crossover between BP and X-Men. The one where they fought the Red Ghost and a bunch of monkeys that was actually pretty funny.

    BP: Where are the real X-Men?
    Storm: Sssshhh! These are my friends!

    "Written out" has negative implications in my mind, almost like "written off," but I'm having trouble thinking of another word for it right now.

    On the Storm/BP example specifically, I can't really see her taking a Mary Jane role in the book, mainly because Hudlin has shown that he's willing to hit you with what you didn't expect out of nowhere. BP is one of the last few mainline Marvel books that's regularly funny and fun, so I'm willing to give it a chance to see where it goes.

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  14. At first I thought you were talking about Black Canary joining the JLA in your first paragraph.

    BTW, Ollie was put in danger once; in Teen Titans he was kidnapped by Dr. Light to force the Titans to come fight him. Titans that included Speedy (Mia)

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  15. Yea.. I doubt they'll be changing the title of the book to: Storm <3 The Black Panther any time soon.

    Does she even participate in the X-men books anymore? :(

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  16. I'm surprised speculation about pregnant!Storm doesn't seem to have started yet (or perhaps I've missed it) because I'm assuming that storyline must be in the works and the only thing which might stop it is if the Black Panther book lost readers fast enough to be cancelled before the storyline gets going.

    Cat meet pigeons.

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  17. West asked: re: loren's "I know there are issues of sexism invovled with the Black Panther/Storm wedding"

    Like what?


    Many people felt that Storm was minimized in the Black Panther series. I've read serveral blog entries about it, but I can't point to one specifically:

    http://comicsworthreading.com/2006/07/28/linkblogging-women-supergirl-and-black-panther/

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  18. Thanks for responding, David and Loren.

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  19. "Nightwing is a solo book, meaning it's all about Dick."

    I know it's pretty adolescent of me, but I found myself giggling for about five minutes after reading that line.

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  20. I just can't see Gail Simone letting ANY character minimize Oracle, it's just not good business sense.

    It's her book, IMO.

    Besides, what team book has Nightwing dominated as of late?

    Certainly not The Outsiders. ;)

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  21. This happened with Black Canary as Green Arrow's girlfriend. In Green Lantern/Green Arrow she showed up, and was immediately put under mind control, so that Ollie would rescue her. I cannot recall any point in the O'Neil/Adams run where Ollie was put in danger so that Dinah would have something to do.

    I do seem to remember one occasion when she saved both Ollie AND Hal but I cannot recall the issue and do not have my big collection of the complete original GL/GA handy.


    In The Longbow Hunters she was captured and tortured so that Ollie would rescue her. Again, can't recall a comparable story where Ollie was put in danger so Dinah would have something to do.


    Now this one, I CAN answer.

    GA #30-31. Ollie gets captured and tortured by drug-dealers and Dinah has to save him.

    GA #35-38. Ollie goes on the run after being accused of treason and Dinah calls Shado in to track him down and help (I don't see this as being demeaning of Dinah - she's nowhere as skilled as Ollie when it comes to following a trail)

    And most of the GA issues after 50 featured Dinah in a role fighting along-side Ollie with nary a Damsel in Distress scene to be found.

    That being said, I do agree with your point and see how it is a matter of concern, particuarly with Meltzer who has a REAL bad track record regarding Canary.

    - She was badly out of character during her one moment in Archer's Quest.

    - Identity Crisis didn't have ONE moment with the story being told from Dinah's perspective.

    - indeed, for a story centering around a woman's murder, a rape, a female magician's attempts to fix things and a female villain - there are surprisingly little femenine perspective in the text.

    - The first JLA - Dinah has no role other than to stand around, look pretty, snark about Ollie's parenting skills and tell Hal to tell Ollie to stop calling them.

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  22. West: No prob.

    The problem with the issues of sexism, at least the ones I've seen blogged about, don't stand up to what went on in the story-arc itself, at least in my experience. I went into detail here, third comment from the bottom (http://ragnell.blogspot.com/2006/08/its-still-bothering-me.html). If judged solely on BP 18, you may have something, but that's taking the issue out of context. Against the backdrop of the five or six issues of the "Wedding" story arc, I just can't see it. All the way back to Wild Kingdom, Storm has been written as her own person in the BP series. I can't see her as being minimized save for the fact that it isn't "Black Panther & Storm."

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  23. Is that why Oracle stopped showing up in Batgirl around the time "War Games" came out?

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  24. Starman -- Thanks, that's a lot better treatment that I remember.

    Except.. Were those examples to further Ollie's plotline, or Dinah's?

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  25. David -- Why not judge solely on the marriage issue? That was the Big Event. That was the Draw. That is the issue that I'm basing my future Blakc Panther reading on. That is the one where the new readers come in, the one that was advertised for so long.

    If Hudlin is going to do such a poor job of handling Storm in an issue meant as an introduction for new readers, how can he expect me to want to look at the leadup and the followup?

    You tell me that in the past she was fine, but I'm judging by what I read and I saw with my own eyes. How am I to take your word for it and spend my good money on a portrayal that was weak in the Big Event issue? I read with a very critical Feminist's Eye. I've been told by numberous people that such and such female character is "her own woman" only to be deeply disappointed and angry over how she was actually portrayed, because problems were so clear to me that they never saw once.

    However, I'll give you a shot here, though I have limited money. Pick something from the leadup storyline in BP -- a single issue where Storm shined and showed her independance, and name it. I'll pick it up this Wednesday.

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  26. West -- You just used some pretty doggone old examples to prove your point. I hesitate to judge today's creators strictly by actions of creators from 20-30 years, ago.

    Then here's an update. How about both Donna Troy and Jade in Green Lantern? Or Hawkgirl from JSA to Hawkman? Her story got told, but only for him. It was Carter's book, not Kendra's.

    Are these examples recent enough for you? The previously independant female teambook character now subordinate to the male character's plotline. It's a demotion. They aren't their own characters anymore. They are supporting characters.

    But I recognize that this is just that - an opinion.

    West, my pessimism is an opinion, yes, but it's based on the fact that she has been demoted.

    In a teambook, the spotlight is meant to be shared. People follow the individual characters story arcs and hopw they feed into the overall plot. A good teambook writer will give each character a little moment, even, though sometimes a number of characters will dominate the run of a writer. Ultimately, though, a teambook is about the team

    In a solo book, the spotlight meant to be on the headliner and everyone else in the book is there to support the headliner's story.

    No matter how well a single writer may treat her, the fact remains that her individual plotlines revolve around him.

    It's just like the Dick and Babs fans. You may like the romance, you may want to see it on a regular basis, but it's just not fair to the character who gets demoted. She no longer has her own story.

    It's his story that gets told in his book. It will be from his point of view.

    That's not wrong in itself, a solo book is mean to spotlight a single character.

    But Storm got demoted. This is not her story being told in Black Panther.
    This is not even their story. This is his story. He's the Headliner.

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  27. Ragnell: so how do you feel about the fact that Lois is usually subordinate to Clark / Superman? After all, she's usually the main supporting charter in his books, since she rarely has her own. And I think one of the arguments that the "Clark + Diana" set use isn't simply about physical strength, it's about equal stature within the DCU. Yes, Lois is very smart and very brave - though occasionally foolhardy because, really, what would Supes have to do if she wasn't? - but she's "just" a reporter, "just" a human. More to the point, she doesn't regularly prove herself in her own solo titles the way Wonder Woman does.

    As for the "Babs + Dick" pairing, I can understand your concerns and I think you're right about how anybody who joins a solo title is immediately relegated to "supporting character" status because, really, if your name ain't in the title, it ain't your story. But why do you presume that if Nightwing joined BoP, he'd immediately take charge? Because he's more popular?

    I don't much care whether they get involved or not, but I do think it'd make for an interesting conflict of personalities in BoP if they did, as both jockeyed for control of any given situation. Who knows? Maybe it's what Dick needs to finally overcome his Whiny Emo Guy stage...

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  28. Lois is definitely different from Storm or Oracle. She's not a superheroine. She was created to be a supporter in his book. And even her own book was a subordinate silly tie in. She can't be demoted to a status she always was.

    And I think Dick would definitely take over BOP if he were there. He's Dick Grayson. He's a name everyone, even non-comic fans, know. He's been around since the forties. He's Robin.

    He's got a more dramatic style of angsting. Even a good writer couldn't NOT use it.

    It's like Dick leading the Titans or Outsiders...how often did his issues dominate the group? Or, as a less angsty but still dominating example, look at how Kyle Rayner's newbie perspective was so vitally used in JLA.

    Now the difference is that Dick (and Kyle) were introduced with the current incarnations of their teams there. So the heavy focus on them was there from the beginning of the series. In contrast, Birds has a different dynamic.

    Basically, if Nightwing was cancelled and Dick folded into Birds of Prey...Birds of Prey would become "Nightwing...and some women."

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  29. Ragnell, I get what you're trying to say, but you've cited either old or unbalanced examples to support your argument.

    Even avoiding the Black Canary situation, Jade and Donna Troy don't count. They simply don't. They are two characters who, from their creation, have posed problems for writers because nobody knows what to do with them. Hell, "Wonder Girl" was an accident! Sure, they may have had banner moments, but they never, EVER come close to having the stature of Storm. "Donna Troy" is just a name, but not much else, hence the need to have an exploration of who she is every 5 years. Sure, that's my "opinion", based on the fact that most of her storylines are "Who am I now?" arcs.

    It's not about sexism; it's about clout. Storm has more clout than Black Panther and ALWAYS has. The only people who love/identify with Black Panther are Black fans who love the idea of a king/hero that they can relate to. This equates to a "cult following" at best.

    Q-ratings ebb and flow. At the moment, Oracle has MUCH more clout than Dick. Keep in mind, he was marked for a toe tag just 6 months ago. Devon put it best on his blog, saying that the DCU realized it had outgrown the need for Dick Grayson. So, a coupling with Oracle would be a great thing for the character. It would bring him back to his roots, stabalize him a bit, and stop painting him to be the womanizing schizophrenic he's been in recent years. A Nightwing/Oracle relationship would NOT demote Oracle. She's "got more juice" right now (even though that COULD change). A relationship WOULD bring Nighwing back to his glory, and at least bring him back above the low bar that has been set for him. I think the point being missed is that there be a promotion WITHOUT an accompanying demotion. They're mutually exclusive. You're right about Storm, but I don't think you're right universally.

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  30. Put them in each other's books. I don't care if Nightwing swings in to save his wife, Babs in his own book, as long as Babs is hacking up a storm to save Nightwing (shirtless) in BoP.

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  31. David -- Why not judge solely on the marriage issue? That was the Big Event. That was the Draw. That is the issue that I'm basing my future Blakc Panther reading on. That is the one where the new readers come in, the one that was advertised for so long.

    I saw the Wedding not so much as the big event, but the climax to the big event. The Bride story arc seemed more like the jumping on point ot me, but that was just my perception. That is the complete work, and I guess it's part of the problem with serialized comics. You don't get the entire story all at once, you just get 1 of 6 or 1 of 4 or whatever. That's another issue entirely, I guess. I think in terms of story arcs and TPBs rather than issues, I figure.

    However, I'll give you a shot here, though I have limited money. Pick something from the leadup storyline in BP -- a single issue where Storm shined and showed her independance, and name it. I'll pick it up this Wednesday.

    I hate to do this, because I think that it should be judged as an arc rather than an excerpt from the arc. The optimal solution would be to read/skim the trade in the bookstore to save money, but the trade doesn't hit until Oct 27. I was going to offer to mail you the story line 'cause I'm one of those "read it once, pass it on and buy the trade" nutballs with good comics, but (and this is slightly embarassing) I think that my mother made off with the wedding issues up to 17 and the Storm miniseries. It's almost like reality is conspiring against me here :)

    If you absolutely have to read just one issue and your shop doesn't let you browse, check out BP 15. It's Bride Part 2 of 5. I can detail more of what goes down, but I guess those would be spoilers? It runs from proposal to acceptance so I think it has a good mix. If your shop will let you read it, or you have friends who have it, please borrow it. I hate the idea of someone spending money on comics they don't like.

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  32. It's kinda funny how no one was talking or seemed to care about storm (I wonder why...) until after the wedding (I wonder why...)

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  33. David -- Okay, I'll take a look. But you may be seeing the Wedding issue differently ebcause you were READEING BP at the time. From a non-reader who ws just itnerested in Storm's fate, this was presented as THE issue.

    Last Anonymous -- You sound suspiciously like my ex-boyfriend...

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  34. David -- Okay, I'll take a look. But you may be seeing the Wedding issue differently ebcause you were READEING BP at the time. From a non-reader who ws just itnerested in Storm's fate, this was presented as THE issue.

    Yeah, this occured to me after I posted, and is a really good point :/

    I honestly believe that the full story will alleviate some of your fears/concerns/whatever the proper word is here about Storm, though. I like Storm almost as much as I like Spider-Man (which is very, very, very much), and I didn't feel that she was disrespected at all.

    But, yeah. Take a poke through BP 15 if you can do it without spending any money. I'm sure that any shop worth its salt won't mind you checking out the book.

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  35. One of the things you have to remember with this couple is that one character is one of the top five best known superheroes in history, and the other is Barbara.
    Now who's marginalizing Barbara? Anyone with more than a passing acquaintance with the Batman mythos knows Batgirl, almost as surely as they know Robin. Our parents have fond memories of Yvonne Craig dressed in purple being musically asked if she's "a chick who fell in from outer space." Our little siblings know her as Batman's partner on "The Batman." And the rest of us know her through heavy comic exposure and the Dini/Timm animated series. Hell, I would imagine it's confusion regarding her celebrity status that led to much of the brouhaha over the "lesbian Batwoman" in the general public.

    I'm a fan of the Dick/Barbara relationship for any number of reasons, but I don't see it as "demoting" the latter, and I think dismissing it as such does a disservice both to the staff at DC, and to the characters in general. To suggest that a character can't simultaneously occupy a starring role in a team book and a supporting role in a solo book is patently ridiculous. I think the current Wonder Girl, who remained a supporting character for some time in Wonder Woman after joining Young Justice, might disagree. Jay Garrick and Bart Allen were supporting cast members in the Flash while the former was a full-time JSA member, and the latter both headlined his own book and participated in Young Justice, and later, Teen Titans. I'd say that Wildcat, OYL, has become something of a supporting cast member in Catwoman, while staying firmly entrenched in the top guns of the JSA, and there's barely been an issue of Supergirl without Power Girl, also a JSA mainstay. I imagine that Todd Rice's guest star status in Manhunter won't be harmed when he joins the new Justice Society. It certainly wouldn't be impossible for Barbara to play second fiddle to Nightwing in his book, while also playing first chair in Birds of Prey. The fact that she was basically a supporting cast member to some degree or another for the entire DCU, while headlining Birds of Prey, seems to support that. After all, wasn't she something of a supporting cast member in Nightwing's book up until he popped the question? I don't know, because I don't read Nightwing, and because whether or not she was didn't effect her character one bit in Birds of Prey, which I do read.

    Just to flog the dead horse a little more, I think your use of Donna Troy and Jade in Green Lantern is flawed. When Donna Troy became a supporting character to the drama that is Kyle Rayner...adult, she was also one of the main draws in Darkstars. Sure, she remained in the book after Darkstars was cancelled, but is it really a demotion when your choices are "being a supporting character" and "being in comic book limbo"? The same question applies to Jade; before she showed up in Green Lantern, what team was Jade an equal member of? Infinity, Inc. ended long before Kyle donned the ring. When the alternative is oblivion, being a supporting character doesn't seem so bad. Just ask Steel, the Ray, Snapper Carr, Todd Rice, Cameron Chase, Red Tornado, Jade, Cyborg, Guy Gardner, John Stewart, Ted Kord, Black Condor, Ralph and Sue Dibny, and Ted Knight.

    So, while I wouldn't necessarily doubt that the situation is a demotion for Storm (though I admit, even Reginald Hudlin must be a promotion from Claremont and Austen and their ilk), I don't think that'd be the case for Babs. She is absolutely entrenched in the DCU as one of the top players, and even if "Oracle" isn't well known to the general public, "Batgirl" is, and Barbara by virtue of that. Furthermore, I would tend to guess (without looking at sales figures) that Birds of Prey sells better than Nightwing, so even from a business perspective, shunting her over to hubby's book wouldn't make much sense. A character may have a successful career as a supporting character as well as a major team player, and to suggest otherwise is an insult to the abilities of the writers and editors involved.

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  36. That is exactly why I worry about Power Girl, Wonder Girl, and Kid Boomerang (Captain Boomerang...heh, I just like calling Owen that) becoming supporting characters in Supergirl. I'm fond of all three characters and not only will I miss out on their adventures since I won't read Supergirl, but I'm afraid of what they'll DO to them. :/

    -Sinyaa

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  37. For clarity's sake, I want to quote your original point: "Everyone does realize that taking Character A, when Character A is one of the major players in a teambook, and putting her into the supporting cast of Character B's solo book is a demotion, right?

    It makes Character A subordinate to Character B's story. Character A will be hurt, maimed and writtne out of character in roder to advance Character B's story.

    This happened with Black Canary as Green Arrow's girlfriend. In Green Lantern/Green Arrow she showed up, and was immediately put under mind control, so that Ollie would rescue her. I cannot recall any point in the O'Neil/Adams run where Ollie was put in danger so that Dinah would have something to do. In The Longbow Hunters she was captured and tortured so that Ollie would rescue her. Again, can't recall a comparable story where Ollie was put in danger so Dinah would have something to do."


    Now, to your current point:

    "West -- You just used some pretty doggone old examples to prove your point. I hesitate to judge today's creators strictly by actions of creators from 20-30 years, ago.

    Then here's an update. How about both Donna Troy and Jade in Green Lantern? Or Hawkgirl from JSA to Hawkman? Her story got told, but only for him."


    "But only for him,"? What does that even mean?

    "It was Carter's book, not Kendra's."
    So?
    She was part of a team book, before, and didn't always get the spotlight. Her story was just told along with the team's story OR she got her own moments in the spotlight.

    In "Hawkman," she was, again, part of a team. Her story was told along with the team's story OR she got her own moments in the spotlight.

    The problem here, as I see it, isn't that you can substantiate your claims of marginalization. The problem is that in how you DEFINE the term.
    For you, being a part of a couple = marginalization.
    For you, being a supporting character = marginalization.
    For you, being regularly highlighted MORE OFTEN in a two-person team book than in high roster team book = marginalization.

    It doesn't matter, to you, that Kendra regularly put Carter in his place or that she was her own strong, independent, pain-in-the-ass character. She was linked to a man, therefore, she's weak.

    That's sad.


    re: "West, my pessimism is an opinion, yes, but it's based on the fact that she has been demoted."
    Going from a book with anywhere between a dozen and half-a-dozen SUPPORTING characters to series where she's one of two MAIN characters is NOT a demotion.

    So, NO, it's not a "fact."

    re: "In a teambook, the spotlight is meant to be shared. People follow the individual characters story arcs and hopw they feed into the overall plot. A good teambook writer will give each character a little moment, even, though sometimes a number of characters will dominate the run of a writer. Ultimately, though, a teambook is about the team

    In a solo book, the spotlight meant to be on the headliner and everyone else in the book is there to support the headliner's story.

    No matter how well a single writer may treat her, the fact remains that her individual plotlines revolve around him."


    ...as opposed to her individual plotlines revolving around a huge TEAM?!

    re: "It's just like the Dick and Babs fans. You may like the romance, you may want to see it on a regular basis, but it's just not fair to the character who gets demoted. She no longer has her own story.

    It's his story that gets told in his book. It will be from his point of view.

    That's not wrong in itself, a solo book is mean to spotlight a single character.

    But Storm got demoted. This is not her story being told in Black Panther.
    This is not even their story. This is his story. He's the Headliner."


    "You're blind, baby.
    You're blind to the fact."

    Those are lyrics from a song, by the way, not an attempt to marginalize your opinion because you're a woman.

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  38. West makes a good point...I think that particular complaint smacks of "goalpost-shifting," or changing the criteria of the criticism mid-argument. F'r instance, I'd say that when Steel went from a League member in Morrison's JLA to a major supporting player in "Superman: The Man of Steel," it was a step up. John went from something of a second-string Leaguer to one of MOS's main characters, allowing him far more attention and exposure than he had in JLA. After all, how often did Natasha appear in Morrison's book?

    Being in a team book might mean you get greater exposure (for instance, I bought JSA but not Hawkman), but it also means a more divided spotlight. If becoming a supporting character means your story gets more attention than when you were a team member, how could that be considered a demotion?

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  39. I'm actually curious about the case of Hawkgirl. I didn't read the whole run of Hawkman, but it seems to me that she was treated a lot more competently as a cast member in Hawkman than she is now that she's been "promoted" and the book is named after her.

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  40. West -- "But only for him" means her story was told specifically to further his, and for him to react. I dropped Hawkman long before she took over as the title character, though.

    And she was not part of a team in Hawkman so much as she was Supporting Hawkman. Prior tio that, shared spotlight, after, spotlight on Hawkman.

    "The problem is that in how you DEFINE the term."

    No, the problem here is how you define my definition of the term.

    You are oversimplifying a complex situation. The problem is not any single thing, but ALL of those things put together.

    And a solo book is not a team book.

    And yes, she has indeed been DEMOTED. She was removed from a major role in an A-list teambook and brought back as a Supporting Character in a B-list solo-book.

    If you can't see how that is a demotion, and a marginalization of a character who SHOULD have Iconic status, there is little point in continuing this discussion.

    And I wouldn't dream of accusing you of ignorning my points because I'm a woman.

    You're ignoring them because you disagree with me.

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  41. Tom -- I wouldn't call exploring all angles of a situation "shifting goalposts." There are many facets to complex ideas.

    This is a complex argument, I tried to simplify it as much as possible and still was unable to get the point across, I suppose.

    The problem here is that in the team book, EVERYONE is there for the TEAM. In a solo book, EVERYONE is there for the HEADLINER.

    In X-Men, Storm was there for the X-Men, but so was Cyclops, Wolverine, Jean, Rogue, Emma...and so on.

    In Black Panther, Storm is there for Black Panther. Black Panther is there for Black Panther. The guest stars? There for Black Panther. His family? There for Black Panther. Her family? There for Black Panther.

    She's gone from a book where she is an equal player to one where she is feeding another person's story.

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  42. rob -- That's a matter, I suppose, of the writer. I know I dropped Hawkman early on because Kendra had been gone from team memberin JSA to love interest in Hawkman.

    And it was by a writer I liked.

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  43. re: "West -- "But only for him" means her story was told specifically to further his, and for him to react. I dropped Hawkman long before she took over as the title character, though.

    And she was not part of a team in Hawkman so much as she was Supporting Hawkman. Prior tio that, shared spotlight, after, spotlight on Hawkman."


    With respect, I think you see it that way primarily because you EXPECT it to BE that way.

    Hawkman WAS a team book. Sure, there was a high focus on Hawkman, but JSA and JLA often highlight certain characters more than others.

    Hawkman was well-balanced and Kendra was NOT relegated to simply being Hawkman's love-interest.

    Her stories were NOT told simply to further his. In fact, she had at least ONE story that had little to NOTHING to DO with Hawkman.

    Bias.

    re: "The problem is that in how you DEFINE the term."

    No, the problem here is how you define my definition of the term.

    You are oversimplifying a complex situation. The problem is not any single thing, but ALL of those things put together.

    And a solo book is not a team book.

    And yes, she has indeed been DEMOTED. She was removed from a major role in an A-list teambook and brought back as a Supporting Character in a B-list solo-book.

    If you can't see how that is a demotion, and a marginalization of a character who SHOULD have Iconic status, there is little point in continuing this discussion."


    We disagree. If that's a problem for you, you ought to post it under your blog title.

    It'd save you and your potential readers a lot of wasted time.

    re: "And I wouldn't dream of accusing you of ignorning my points because I'm a woman.

    You're ignoring them because you disagree with me."


    That's a rather interesting perspective coming from someone who just failed to address the actual SUBSTANCE of my points.

    Other than telling me I'm wrong and repeating what you've already said (WITHOUT clearly demonstrating that it directly contradicts my own points), you've done little to further discussion.

    So, I'll take the hint and move along.

    Clearly, in YOUR (Written) world, addressing each of your points and countering them = ignoring them because I disagree with them.

    I won't bother wasting any more energy on your latest comment... we'll see about the future.

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  44. I'm not trying to be the little guy egging on a fight, but I really think that this discussion depends on those being discussed. For instance, Ragnell says:

    "The problem here is that in the team book, EVERYONE is there for the TEAM. In a solo book, EVERYONE is there for the HEADLINER."

    I really think that it depends on the team. Ragnell's statement implies that team membership is equal and everyone contributes equally. This is neither true in the real world, nor in comics.

    Like I said before, it comes down to "clout" and popularity. Everyone's there for whomever is receiving a "push" at that given moment. Lost your adamantium? Everyone's there for Wolverine. Merged with Apocalypse? Everyone's there for Cyclops. But find me a story wherever everyone's there for Iceman. Even in team settings, everyone's not equal.

    Sure, I can admit that Storm is having a "rebuilding season", but I hardly think it's the fault of the Black Panther wedding story. She hasn't had anything to do since the cancellation of X-treme X-Men. A casual X-reader hears she's getting married and it blows their mind, while those who've been following along religiously realize, "Well, at least they're doing SOMETHING with her". I feel that you're too wrapped up in the "icon" hierarchy, and have forgotten that honor is earned. Not eveyone is guaranteed a spot at the table, and many have to fight to maintain it. Think back to why YOU like Storm. I know I have, and many of those aspects I liked were gone long before this wedding. Ideas and characters get old and they needed to stir the pot. I trust, though, that they wouldn't just do this willy-nilly.

    I'm sorry you feel that what has occurred will make Storm the subordinate to an unworthy man, but I look at it as they're tearing down what it means to be "Storm" in order to build her back up.

    People forget that, while she was an X-men mainstay, this move is like a homecoming for her. It's not like she was swept away to the desert and forced into a harem. Who knows what kinds of doors it might open up? In her 30 years on the team, she's been back to Africa maybe twice. I HATE the idea of the wedding, but when forced to view it in terms of "demotion/oppression", I've got to say we need to wait and see how it plays out.

    All off the characters we've talked about include second-tier also-rans. We're arguing about Jade, Donna Troy, Black Panther, and Hawkgirl. All characters who find themselves with nothing to do, quite frequently I might add. Even when they're with teams, they're not A-list teams. We talk about Infinity Inc. and Darkstars like they were The Watchmen, and that clearly was not the case. In fact, many of the groups were created BECAUSE they needed to find something to do with these types of characters. The books failed and the lucky characters were attached to successful franchises. This is not a demotion, but a reprieve. I guess you feel that, in Storm's case, she's too important to be treated in this manner, but it just goes to show that everyone has to earn their keep. In comics, there are too many characters for everyone to get the spotlight, and some ideas and concepts get old. When this happens, there are 2 comic failsafes: death or marriage. This is neither new nor permanent.

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  45. Wow, I didn't know this was a fucking hair-splitting convention. You're trying to define the "status" of goddamn Hawkgirl, people. Seriously. I mean, I think she's ginchy, but if the amount of thought put into the "arguments" on display here were applied to, say, making cancer go away, we'd probably not have to put up with Lance Armstrong lecturing all the damned time.

    Go outside. Breathe for a bit. Maybe get coffee with a friend.

    Also: I really like when Howard Chaykin draws her in a push-up bra.

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  46. Also, Howard Chaykin should draw Storm in a push-up bra as well.

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  47. Tom -- I wouldn't call exploring all angles of a situation "shifting goalposts." There are many facets to complex ideas.
    This is a complex argument, I tried to simplify it as much as possible and still was unable to get the point across, I suppose.
    The problem here is that in the team book, EVERYONE is there for the TEAM. In a solo book, EVERYONE is there for the HEADLINER.
    In X-Men, Storm was there for the X-Men, but so was Cyclops, Wolverine, Jean, Rogue, Emma...and so on.
    In Black Panther, Storm is there for Black Panther. Black Panther is there for Black Panther. The guest stars? There for Black Panther. His family? There for Black Panther. Her family? There for Black Panther.
    She's gone from a book where she is an equal player to one where she is feeding another person's story.

    I think you're putting too much stock into the title. Just because the title contains only one character's name doesn't mean it's not an ensemble book, and just because the title is a team's name doesn't mean it doesn't revolve around just one character. William basically covered this, but not everyone in a team book is an equal player, and not everyone in a solo book is just there as window dressing for the "star." When Aztek joined the JLA, for instance, he didn't become an equal member of the team. Hell, he hardly did anything. The same can be said for a majority of the "Strength in Numbers" newcomers; while some got good moments and much-needed development (Huntress), others were essentially plot devices (Orion & Barda). Aztek joined the team so they could close out his story. The focus never really shifted away from the Big 7.

    Similarly, when Steel joined "Superman: The Man of Steel," I'd say it became as much his book as Clark's. Superman's stories were being adequately covered in the other three titles that bore his name, so Steel got to shine in the one where he debuted.

    The point is, I think you're working with a very vague, very broad definition of 'feeding the headliner's story,' one which seems to hinge entirely on whose name is in the title. If you changed nothing on the Flash during Waid's or Johns's runs, and called it "Speed Force" or "Flash Family" instead, would your opinion be changed? While Wally was the constant thread in the series, we also saw Impulse/Kid Flash, Max Mercury, Jay Garrick, and Jesse Quick, on an issue-by-issue basis. If you called X-Men "Wolverine and Friends," would the stories of the other characters suddenly be there just to boost the Canucklehead? Is "X-Factor" more of a team book than "Madrox" was, despite using the same characters in a direct continuation? Has the whole focus of "Legion of Super-Heroes" shifted with the change to "Supergirl & the LSH"? I'd say not.

    Part of this comes down to the actual truth of whether or not "everyone is a headliner" in a team book. I think Crimson Avenger, S.T.R.I.P.E., and Nemesis II, the essentially-forgotten members of the JSA, might beg to differ. The former got a two-issue storyline quite some time ago, the latter got killed unceremoniously in Princes of Darkness, and I think Pat Dugan may have appeared once in the last two or three years. How many storylines have gone by without Stargirl, Dr. Mid-Nite, Flash, GL, Mr. Terrific, Jakeem Thunder, Wildcat, and Atom Smasher? To say that all the JSA members are "equal," when half the team or more gets completely ignored for years at a time, is really stretching the definition of the word "equal." (I realize now that the Legion is a better example--just how are Star Boy and Cosmic Boy "equal" by any assessment of the series?)
    Team books tend to focus on two types of characters: the really popular ones, and the ones who only appear in that book. Every JLA book will focus inevitably on Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman (assuming they're on the team), every X-Men book will spend an inordinate amount of time on Wolverine's concerns, Avengers will pay most of its attention to Cap and Iron Man, and every Teen Titans book is going to spotlight Robin, all because they're the popular characters, the "names," the big celebrities.
    The other focus characters tend to be the ones who don't also support a solo book or three, because they allow the writers the most freedom. If Superman turns electric in his title, or Wonder Woman loses her sight in hers, or Robin changes identities in his, that has to be reflected in their team book. But there's no solo title to dictate the treatment of Secret or Empress or Zauriel or Colossus, so the writer's freedom to handle the characters is really only limited by their history and the reactions of the editors and public. Why has Martian Manhunter become such a popular character? Why has he become the 'heart and soul' of the League? Because he had no solo title, so the JLA writers had carte blanche to develop him as they saw fit.
    And the other characters fall somewhere in-between. These are the Icemans, the Shadowcats, the Plastic Mans and Wonder Girls, who may not be able to support a solo title, but also have too much history to be radically changed, so they participate in team activities, maybe get a spotlight issue once in awhile, but really end up being just supporting cast to the popular members.

    And so the cycle starts again. So, to conclude, if there's more to it than the name on the cover, exactly what dictates whether a character's story is told for that character, or for some headliner? If there's not more to it than the name on the cover, then isn't that a really empty complaint? And if the character receives more attention 'in service to the headliner's story' than they received in service to a team, then how is that a demotion?

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