Friday, April 14, 2006

Gone Again...

Okay, now that I've posted about that comic I need a few weeks to recover.

Fortunately, my work has decided to send me on another business trip (no idiot pilots on this one, though. Strictly training). If this is your first visit, I'm sorry, but I have plenty of archives, and check out the blogroll (and the blogrolls of the people on the blogroll). The rest of you know where to go for comic book commentary.

Don't, worry, I'll be back the first week of May with my reaction to Ion!

First Comics Week: The Twisted Mind of a Twelve-Year-Old Girl.

(With Apologies to The Invincible Super-Blog! as I can't stop myself from wandering into his style for this one.)

When Chris Holly declared it First Comics Week, naturally the first thing I thought of was the comic that brought me to DC -- "The Return of Barry Allen."

But there was an earlier one. I didn't think of it until a few hours later, but once I did I remembered vividly the opening scene. I remembered having watched the X-Men cartoon. My sister reading the comics, her endless nagging, picking up a book because it featured kids close to my age, a blonde jogger, a girl on a park bench, and a panel which downright blew my mind!

Unfortunately, the comic belonged to my sister. In Pennsylvania. And I wanted to reread it before I posted about it. I spent the next few lunchbreakss at local stores, and yesterday I found it. There it was in the dollar-bin, with it's pretty, shiny silver cover. Generation X #1

My childhood for ninety-nine cents. What a bargain!

I was nervous when I brought it home. My hands were trembling as I fumbled with the polybag. What if I was suffering from... Nostalgiavision? Would it live up to my memories? What if it sucked? What if now, that I've trained myself to notice the symbolism, it completely and utterly insults the hell out of me? What if this means that I can never, ever return to Marvel, even after Joe Quesada retires? I nearly chickened out.

But no, I opened the bag, I read the book, and I learned a valuable lesson.

I worry too damned much.

It was a transcendental experience. I became as a child when I realized that I have still not recovered from my first reading of this comic -- 12 years ago! Merely rereading this comic caused me to abandon all pretenses of reason and reflection. I regressed to the mental state of a babbling twelve year old fumbling for words to describe the beauty, power, and wonder of what she had just read. My vocabulary dissolved, the adjectives were slipping away from me and the only way I could describe the book was to say that it was totally awesome!

This is the way team books should be done.

The first panel features the orange sun, low in the sky in the early morning. The narrative captions (third person, baby!!) describe the Dawn. The first character introduced is running. Not away from anything, towards us, towards the reader. The narrative describes her as Paige Guthrie, a mutant. And her thought balloons (thought balloons!) Her head and feet extend outside the panel boards. The panel cannot contain her power!

This overtaking the panel trick is done for every character introduction in the book except Jubilee (who gets a full page). It's always full body shots, a good way to show off a character. And the poses fit the personalities of the characters. Paige is running forward. Jubilee's sitting on a park bench in monster slippers and whining about being up too early. Monet descends from above, correcting the other character's vocabulary.

Oh Monet, how I adored Monet in this! I think it's because she struck me as a black female Superman. Look at her first appearance. Perfect Superman pose -- red and blue clothing, arms outstreatched, palms open, one foot is kicking back so fast we can't see it, the other extended forward to land on Earth, the sun glints off her spandex and her hair sweeps back in a very capelike manner. She completely comes across as Supermanesque despite being a total snob. Hell, it adds to her. She'd be so flat as a outwardly sweet person. I still think Marvel should play her up as their answer to Superman. It would work. I would completely do that if I were Marvel's Editor-in-Chief.

Later on in the book, she's climbing a tree. In a preview profile, it notes that she describes boys as "icky" and later on in the series she's caught with a coloring book. So yes, this was hint-dropping for a future plot (her baby sister was impersonating her or something stupid -- I'd stopped reading after Age of Apocalypse was done), but I liked it. I wish that childishness would come back as a side effect of her super-intelligence. It softened an otherwise harsh character.

Later on, they introduce some of the boys. The only one I cared for was Synch because he was a copycat power, and if I were in the Marvel Universe that is what kind of mutant power I would want -- the power to have everyone else's power. But the White Queen makes a strong first appearance, setting herself up to gain my eternal fanitude a few issues later.

Once everyone is introduced, they all go to an airport and have the obligatory coincidental run-in with a supervillain -- a supervillain a teammember knows! Monet knows Emplate, who is there after Chamber, because from this point on, in this and every comic he appears in -- Chamber is the center of the known universe. He has that much power.

And of course, at the end, a mystery teammember is introduced. A teammember who leads into the next issue and ties importantly into future plotlines -- many of which I never saw resolved, because this, after all, is an X-Men comic and nothing every gets resolved.

I thought Penance, purely by her character design, was Unutterably Cool. Let's look at it from a twelve-year-old standpoint, shall we? Bright colored skin? Check. Nineties name which makes no real sense but sounds cool? Check. Pretty face? Check. Long Hair? Check. Giant Razorblades for Hands? Check. Giant Firkin' Razorblades for Hair? Check. Mummy Wardrobe? Check. Mysterious, sinister past? Check. She was my Wolverine.

All in all I have to say (and I am biased!) that this is the strongest first issue of a team-book I've ever seen. I hadn't read the crossover that led to the team, and I didn't have to. I only knew Jubilee (from the cartoons) but I got a very clear impression of the other major personalities in this issue. The team was built in a wonderfully 90s manner -- half male, half female, with a carefully thought-out ethnic diversity. Which was beautiful because this way, when the team was portrayed out of costume, you could tell them apart! If only Young Justice had considered that when they brought in female characters!

None of this occurred to my twelve-year-old brain initially. It helped that the characters were close to my age, and it helped that the strongest personalities were female, but to tell the truth I was hooked from one panel.

You see, as a child, I was fascinated by snakes. Whenever we visited a zoo or saw an animal handler show or any of that neat stuff they do for schoolkids to get them interested in science, I was drawn to the snake. If I could pet the snake, I would. If I could see a snake, I'd be peering in the aquarium dealy. I asked my mother for a snake several times (she hated them). Everytime I had the opportunity to get my hands on a discarded snakeskin (which, alas, was all-too rare), I took it and I saved it until my ophidiophobic mother tossed it and made "eww" noises. My favorite person in Greek Legend? Medusa.

This was all because I found the idea of an animal that could shed its own skin absolutely fascinating.

Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, that was a girl ripping her own skin from her body.

Please Note: All references to Chuck Austen are expressly forbidden in the commentary. It Never Happened.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Cliche Writers Can't Refuse

He was an older man who reminded me of my father. I was escorting him while he was doing an all-day job in a secure area. This is long and tedious from both our points of view, and eventually, running out of conversation fodder, he asked about my name.

"Actually, it's Italian." I answered.

"Really? Oh yeah, that's a Latin root..." which was followed by inquiry into how it ended up so mangled. Immigration issued name (I suppose it would be more accurate to describe it as an American name). When he asks what part of Italy, and why my great-grandfather left, I have no answer.

That's when It comes.

"You know, an Italian man, fleeing his homeland, mysterious past. Could be running from the Mafia."


(Consider this your Catch-22 Spoiler Warning)

I can't rightfully complain (but that's never stopped me before). I contributed to our cultural obsession by supplying demand to numerous suppliers. I was mildly obsessed with the Mob in High School. I watched the movies, I read books about it, I went out of my way to catch TV documentaries... I ate it up.

It's sexy and exciting. The seedy underbelly of the naked city, bad men at their worst, good men at their worst, decades of history, generations of accumulated power, hot Mediterranean desires, dark-haired goddesses married to ugly men with no necks, intense Catholic guilt, honor stretched to the limit, men kissing, that string music in the background, one more job and I'll be done -- I swear Mama! The writers do it on purpose, and many of them do it well. To make a good story, you glorify and glamorize the genre.

There is a price with this glory and glamour. I'm not talking the price of crime here -- lives and broken hearts. I'm talking fiction here, not reality. People's business is their own business, and if their business is crime it's their business, not mine. I'm studying pure stories and their effect on attitudes. Attitudes which intrude into my life and the life of every Italian American in America, asking The Question.

(No, not that Question.)

"Does your family have any Mob Ties?"

I remember the first time I heard The Question, in any of its myriad syntaxes. Maurice from my first duty station. He lived next door in the dorms, and played his music all night. Loved "gangsta rap." I even remember the name of his favorite duo -- "Capone n Noriega." I'd pound on his door nightly to make him turn it down. He was especially excited when the conversation turn to heritage, and he was the first to seriously ask -- "You in the Mafia?" I was more than a little taken aback. I'd grown up in a heavily sheltered area, with specific ethnic groups. Italian, Polish, Irish, we all made our jokes. Maurice wasn't joking.

He wasn't the only one.

After years and years of romanticizing and fictionalizing the legacy of Al Capone and other Ethnic Organized Crime symbols, an Italian last name becomes dramatic shorthand for "Mob Ties." Oh, how I hate Mob Ties! You know it when you see it on TV. Any cop with an Italian name gets an episode where he runs up against the local Don (who also knew him from a child!) or has to save a wayward relative from "The Life" -- and don't forget, the added Catholic Guilt. In any Crime Drama, eventually, the writer will bring in the Mob for the Italian character. In any comic book, you see it coming. They'll be at least related to a guy who works for the local Boss. They'll most likely know the local Boss themselves. Be actively working for them. Every Italian in comics is connected to The Mob, and of course, every Italian in Gotham City is a card-carrying member of The Mob.

I still enjoy the fiction, to an extent. I like a good Noir movie, old classics in black and white. I'm a sucker for the funny Mob movies like Analyze This and The Crew. I still romanticize fedoras, Italian suits and New Yorker accents. In the right mood, I can even stomach the serious stuff. This is getting more and more difficult anymore, especially as I like Crime Dramas and even when it's not Mob-centered, Mob Ties somehow find a way to slink into the plot. It was okay, back in the Poconos, where everyone was Italian, Polish or Irish and knew what your life was really like (or at least, knew what that insinuated when you asked a cop's daughter), but away from home it gets hurtful. Not only do they spout tired ethnic slurs, they ask The Question. "Is your family in the Mafia?" If they were just joking to break the ice would be one thing, but they ask with a greedy interest like I have stories to tell and connections to act on. People actually think we're like that!

"Any Mob Ties?" It's so insulting!

Generally, the fun part of Mob Ties -- the actually being a bad guy as opposed to just being related to one, went to the men. But not to worry, the Spawn of Capone had a Bride. The Hot-blooded Italian Woman, who actually predates the Mob Ties cliche. I think this one first materialized, for me, in Catch-22 when Nately died. The is the point where Nately's Whore, previously a dismissive and humorous side-character (I swear her only line in the entire book is "Idiota!") goes batshit crazy and dedicates her existence to the Destruction of Yossarian. This homicidal background character becomes representative of all Italian women in American media to me. Her beneficial purpose is purely sexual, and is usually the backstory reason for her inclusion. Her more practical and malicious purpose, storywise, is to throw a wrench in the works. She's the irrational, emotional woman there to make the main character's life much more difficult. "Italian women are nothing but trouble!" the adage goes, and this woman, present to fill any necessary Italian female presence (because, you know, if the character is rational, she can't be Italian) is all too happy to prove it.

I love the stereotype and hate the stereotype. As a rule, generally embrace anything that makes me scarier to other people. And again, the humor. She was the funniest character in the book. But I despise the effect, the one that paints me as irrational, emotional, and violent. The one that invalidates me everytime I get angry, because that's just the Italian in me getting worked up. The one that makes men laugh and joke when I'm seeing red. The one that assumes my Father is corrupt, my Mother is a blind, my brother is spoiled and violent.

It's why I never cared for the Huntress. She's both stereotypes mixed into a sickeningly over-the-top combination. Helena Bertinelli just couldn't be a schoolteacher with a crossbow fetish. No, she had to be the Mob Princess, embodiment of the Italian-American Stereotype, with her religion plastered across her costume and her entire family's skeleton's filling numerous walk-in closets. She's the hot-blooded Italian woman, the one who turns men on for her passion, unpredictability, and danger. She's Nately's Whore, Americanized, with Mob Ties, and reincarnated in Eighties comics. Sex and violence in a black-haired supple-breasted tight-abbed Catholic-girls-gone-wrong package. Way too much of a stock Italian-American character. Heavily Catholic, pampered, violent, oversexed, raised to glorify honor among thieves, hot-tempered, and bloodthirsty. Whether she embraces or rejects "The Life" she's a formulaic fiction femme fatale.

I didn't realize any of this until I saw the panel at right. Now, it's not the panel, or even the joke itself that offends me. I laughed at that joke in Birds of Prey when I saw it. I initially enjoyed it, still enjoy it on one level, I'm not inclined to dislike anything that makes me scarier. It's what the joke makes me realize about the character that's weighing on me. And the more I think about it, the most disgusted I get. Before this moment, I never clicked with Huntress and in one moment I clicked with her and realized why she was ultimately unacceptable to me. I'll still enjoy seeing her hit people, of course, but I can't really enjoy a character study. Not the Catholic/Mob Princess Angst stuff. "You don't mess with Italian girls." Why? Because they are crazy hot-blooded Mediterranean vixens. You can't predict them. They don't make sense. They don't follow logic. They're just animals. It's Nately's Whore, taking it out on Bat-sarian (well, Slade-sarian in that case). Just a crazy woman who doesn't understand what's going on, so you'd better avoid her. The sum of Huntress's Post-Crisis concept -- "You don't mess with Italian girls." We're not thinking beings.

To be fair to the Huntress, even in my Mob-obsessed phase Italian-American comic book characters just never did it for me. Too contrived. Too stereotyped, too insulting.

Well, in general.

There was an exception.

In the fifth Starman trade paperback, I encountered a first. The one Italian-American comic book character that I could stomach. Hell, I even liked this one.

Bobo (He hates that name) was not born to a life of violence, instead, he chose to pursue violence -- honestly, at first. He went with the Marines to Korea, and got injured. In a wonderfully underexplained origin typical of 90s comic books, he discovered that he was invulnerable, super-strong, and immortal. He would use this power, for personal profit. He could use this power to rob banks. And fight Superheroes!

Hey, I never said he was upstanding citizen, just that I liked him.

Jake "Bob" Benetti does have ties to Crime. It's not to an ethnicized, romanticized, organized criminal empire, though. Bobo, like any super-strong bank-robber should, belonged to the Super-Villain community. His most powerful ally was not a neckless overweight old Godfather ripoff, but Opal City's Oldest Living Resident and Most Popular Dickinson Throwback, The Shade. He has a fun personality, one of those big, open, plainspoken people. Like pretty much all of Opal City, he was era-displaced. Bobo belonged in the forties and fifties. That was because of an extended stay in prison. He felt so displaced when he got out, actually, he intended to go back in. Fortunately, The Plot intervened and an old supervillain became a new superhero! As time went on and we focused on Bobo, Mob Ties never revealed themselves in the course of the series. We saw a Times Past story, and Mob Ties never revealed themselves. We saw a guest-shot in Catwoman, and Mob Ties never revealed themselves.

In fact, there's a storyline where The Mob is (are?) the featured villain, and Bobo Benetti is fabulously, marvelously, gloriously NOT INVOLVED IN THE SLIGHTEST!

And in that storyline, that single issue, the Formerly Corrupt Cop Matthew O'Dare, and his Utterly Fantastic Friend the Shade deal each and every Mafia character in the entire city a gruesome horrific death. Thus ensuring that Jake "Bobo" Benetti, this one beautiful, wonderful, divinely three-dimensional Italian-American character can hold his head high and walk proudly out of the police station, free of that banal affront to character background most commonly found in the toolbox of the hack writer -- Mob Ties.

What's notable about this panel?

Here's a hint.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Taki Soma

While I can't imagine anyone reads this blog and doesn't know about When Fangirls Attack, I still figure this one should get wider distribution if possible. Remember the sexual assault scandal that broke in Buzzscope in December? The names were kept under wraps until the elga difficulties were ironed out. Well, Ronee's done a follow-up and Taki Soma has come forward. Here's her story.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Flash is Starting to Scare Me II

And now, a joke only DC Readers will get...

From Hanzi Smatter by way of a friend's livejournal:

Surprised by the translator’s choice of using [chinese characters] as “Jordan”, I asked Scott if that was a mistake.

?? ????? (n) downstream; lower reaches of a river; lower classes

He replied in a second email that this was indeed not a mistake. He also told me he got the translations from Eri Takase.

Wierd Searches

How did I get a hit for "winnipeg sluts"?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

It's Too Early In The Day For This Much Misogyny

I'm going to cheat today and share with you some e-mail correspondence from last week. Those of you who have a weak stomach for criticizing writers may want to skip this one (Though I did link to those who already had a chance to respond to the Refrigerator list)

Hey Ragnell,

You're way more the Green Lantern fan than I am so I was wondering if you could tell me whether I'm being oversensitive or whether GL is very misogynistic? I knew they'd killed off Katma Tui, Jade, and Alex DeWitt, but I hadn't realised that Arisia had gone too (after having various nasty things happen to her). A couple of months ago I saw the GL episode of Duck Dodgers and there was a female GL I hadn't seen before so I looked her up in the the unnoficial guide to the DC universe website, and guess what? Dead. Add Carol Ferris turning evil and it's beginning to look like the odds are stacked against any female who spends any length of time near one of those rings.

Am I mistaken? Is there just a high mortality rate generally in and around the Corps? Are there any female characters in GL that have lasted long term without becoming vicious murderers? 'Cos right now the whole thing is just depressing me.


Yes, I did answer her.
Actually, I think about this one all the time. I don't think the concept or the franchise itself is misogynistic, but there's so many disposable characters and so few of them visibly female that one misogynsitic writer can do a lot of damage. Carol Ferris, for example, started out a really amiable "villainess" -- She was basically powered by the Zamarons to make a little trouble. She didn't turn evil, I think, until Preist got ahold of her in Action Comics Weekly. He's the same writer who killed Katma Tui, another character who'd been treated respectfully up until then.

I can see a lot of misogyny in Denny O'Neil's run. He played with all sorts of social issues but for some reason couldn't do feminism without making the guest-women evil (Mother Juno, the visiting Amazons, Sinestro's Evil Sister). He crippled Carol (a later writer fixed her legs, haven't seen that yet) and created Kari Limbo (Check out Kalinara's post). Black Canary got alternately moronified and glorified, though I can't get over her first appearance in the run (she gets brainwashed, dammit). Fortunately though, his punching bag was Guy Gardner. Guy was injured so that John could be brought in, then Guy was kidnapped and driven insane to give Hal some angst. Then he put him in a coma for safekeeping for next time he needed to cause Hal angst. This kept the run free of the Fridge Factor.

I haven't read all of Steve Englehart's run. I do have to say the very concept of the Arisia aging story -- where she's the sexual predator artifically aging herself and tricking Hal into bed doesn't look good at all. I also hear this was where the Predator/Carol storyline was introduced, and I've heard bad things about that. Green Lantern #192 made my blood boil from the displayed sexism (Though, as Kalinara pointed out, that was sexism attributed to a character, not stated in the narrative, so I have to read the whole story to see how it turns out). But most of the stuff he wrote with Katma was absolutely beautiful.

I'd say the turning point into misogyny was the Death of Katma Tui. Because Action Comics Weekly #601 featured three awful blows to femininity -- Katma died (on the kitchen floor!), Carol was made into a psychopath (a far cry from the playful rival of Broome and Fox's days), and Arisia was turned from a mixed-up kid who still had the willpower to save a planet, into a bubble-headed model/sex-toy for Hal. Come to think of it, Hal and John didn't do too well in this run either.

Earlier writers like John Broome and Gardner Fox were much better. They created Katma and the Zamarons (who were actually pretty cool and reasonable, if chauvinistic, at the start), and set Hal up with I think the only Silver Age girlfriend who was actually her boyfriend's boss.

Gerald Jones introduced Brik and Boodika, resurrected Katma but kept Carol insane. During his run, we had GLC Quarterly, which while not always written by him introduced some decent female characters. We got the story of Laira, a conflicted daughter; Sheriff Mardin (Her origin is on Scans Daily if anyone's interested), who preferred not to use the ring at all when taking care of her territory; and Donna Parker, an Earthwoman who was offered the chance to be a Green Lantern, but turned it down (she was a 50s mother). I got the indication he had more for them to do, but unfortunately, Emerald Twilight screwed all of them over. Boodika and Laira were cannon fodder for Hal's rampage, and everyone else lost their powers. This abruptedly ended Green Lantern: Mosaic, where they'd resurrected Katma, which led to a retcon of Katma's resurrection.

Ron Marz's run doesn't really bug me so much, even though he is the one who did the infamous Refrigerator Scene. I don't think he's a misogynistic writer, as he writes Sara Pezzini pretty much the same way he writes Kyle (which is what gave me the problem with the sexual harassment storyline. He's done that story setup to Kyle too, handing the Act III victory to a guest-star, but he never handed Kyle that subject matter), though he does have crappy moments he should be called on. The main problem with judging him was that during his run they were doing an All-Lantern Purge. He was building a period of darkness, tearing down every element in the mythos and creating an atmosphere of death and destruction. Minor Lanterns, which was most of the remaining female ones, got killed off or never shown again. Kyle's first girlfriend Alex was created to die, but she treated fairly up to then. Hell, as a hapless girlfriend she made a better showing in her death story than Katma Tui, an experienced hero, did. He got two editorially determined love interests (both of whom were photographers, just like Alex!) that, unfortunately, he wrote in character. Both of them got pulled by the editor. He removed Carol's insanity, but also removed her power (her connection to the Zamarons), in an attempt to remove her from the franchise. Kyle's most formidable (until the next writer got ahold of her) enemy was female. Kyle's mother, Maura Rayner was actually a pretty good character. The real test of Marz and Green Lantern is how he'll handle Kyle's next love interest, the one (hopefully) that he's created himself that's not editorially controlled by another book.

Arisia seemed safe for a while, shuttled over to Guy Gardner: Warrior. Beau Smith had several fun and interesting female characters in the supporting cast (Lady Blackhawk and Fire made appearances; Arisia, Guy's mother Louise, and Verrona were regulars) and if you do searches you'll find rumors that he'd planned to bring Arisia right back, so I don't think misogyny factored into this one.

I'm a bit worried about Geoff Johns right now. In Green Lantern: Rebirth, he brought everyone back but Katma and Arisia, for starters. He shuffled Carol off to married life. He introduced one female supporting cast member, as a rival pilot. On the other hand, he has added an important mother influence to Hal's backstory -- which is important in the father-obsessed DCU -- and he's done a good job with females over in the JSA franchise. Green Lantern #10 put me more at ease in this respect. Yes, OYL he still has no viable love interest. It had a plot point that seriously put me off the story, but on the plus side it brings Cowgirl to prominence, removes the rivalry and effectively saves her from "notch in the bedpost" status by forming a non-sexual basis for their relationship.

Dave Gibbons has two good points for him -- returning Brik and creating Soranik. I personally consider killing Jade a pro-feminist act for reasons of my own, but he the way he did it was pretty damned symbolic and insulting (using a door that was opened by Winick). That's one against him. There's also a severe lack of visibly female background characters. I think I counted only two (An insect lady at the morning briefing and the girl with the hat in my in the recharge scene -- this could be the decision of artist Patrick Gleason) in the entire Green Lantern Corps: Recharge miniseries.

The worst, however, had to be Judd Winick. Because he tricked* us (and possibly himself) into thinking he was pro-feminist. He repowered Jade, right? That's good, returning a "strong" female to the cast, right? Not if she has to depend on Kyle to get her powers back. He outright tells her "You can't do this alone." That set up my warning flag. She can't get her powers, which are her inheritance back unless he gives them to her. It's a backhanded way to empowerment.

Winick then took Maura Rayner and turned her from a realistic looking woman into a Middle-Aged Barbie Doll. (Though, as Kalinara points out in the comments, that may be more the result of Dave Eaglesham's art). He takes a formerly formidable villainess, Fatality, and turns her into a crying little girl who doesn't have the willpower necessary to tame a weapon that matches Kyle's (a weapon used successfully in the next storyline by a male villain who is also a mental patient). He brings back the Guardians as both genders, then shows that the female adult version is strong and formidable by quickly aging one of the little girls, dressing her like Vampirella, sending her on an uncontrollable rampage because her mind is so childlike, weak, and simple that she needs Papa Smurf--err, Ganthet the oldest Guardian to step in and take control. Then he adds insult to insult, insult, insult and insult and brings the Zamarons back, as Nursemaids.

On the whole, I'd say Green Lantern history has been more misogynistic than feminist. I don't think this is an evil inherent in the franchise or even started by the early stories, but that could be my own natural inclination to give it a pass. I love the Green Lantern concept. Instant Manifestation of whatever you imagine in beautiful glowing green light! Such wonder and power in your hands. I hate to think of it as a boy's club. But sometimes, you have to just bite the bullet and open the fridge. And sometimes, it's mighty crowded in there.

*Judd Winick also introduced a gay character specifically to be beaten to a bloody pulp. When he cured John Stewart's paralysis he made sure to add a horrific and unnecessary mistake of causing his younger sister's death to John's already smeared backstory. He introduced Hispanic heritage to the Green Lantern mythos through Kyle's long lost father, Gabriel Vasquez. Gabriel had been successfully posing as an Irishman named Aaron Rayner when he met Kyle's mother, he left shortly thereafter. Thus, the big-name Hispanic hero Winick "snuck in" under the radar (in what smells awfully like an attempt to cheat us out of brand-new quality characters of diverse background) looks white, and was raised in an Irish pride household completely and utterly ignorant of anything other than Irish heritage.