Saturday, July 22, 2006

Proving the Positive Power of Comics

From the Fortress Keeper's weekly reviews:
Is that what readers really want these days? Maybe the Keeper is getting too old for this stuff. Maybe it’s time to let the “kids” have their fun …

But before we ride off into the sunset, let’s take a quick look at this week’s 52. Hey, there’s Batwoman kicking a super-strong man-ape through a plate-glass window.

Wow.

There really is a God.

Wonder Woman in JLA

Just read the Newsarama-Brad Meltzer interview. Sleestak is wrong about Meltzer. He can too write Wonder Woman.
Q: Have to ask, is the fact that Diana doesn't like Nightwing her feelings or Dan DiDios?

She's making a joke. Really. Read it again.
He actually let her make a joke. Anyone who lets Wonder Woman make a joke goes up in my estimate.

Oh, and he's the one who restored her to her proper place in continuity.
Q: Can you speak to the JLA history retcon, where Diana is now a founder of the Justice League again now? Was this your request? Or DC's?

Mine. And it worked with DC's plan.
I don't care that he likes Polar Boy. Polar Boy's sweet and funny. Anyone who knows Diana is all right by me.

(Speaking of which, DC, why don't you let Beau Smith write Wonder Woman? Read the first part of this week's column, he clearly wants the job. Come on. You're juggling anyway, and I bet for once the book'd come out on time!)

Friday, July 21, 2006

I am Shocked.

I greatly surprised to see this in Green Lantern Corps Quarterly #4, on a story credited to none other than Jim Balent.



Yes, that is Jim Balent of Catwoman and Tarot fame, drawing a woman with a reasonable bra size.

Granted, that's still over a C-Cup (which means Jade is technically supposed to be an A or B), but hey, it's within the realms of probability. Normally he stays in the 4D+ range.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Hal's Dialogue Challenge

If anyone would like to put words in Hal Jordan's mouth, be my guest!

_

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Wednesday Morning Follow-up

I'm too thinly spread right now to fully explain why I chose the post I chose for Monday's Feature, but I do want to see where the topic leads. After all, more than one commenter seemed to miss my point so elaboration is definitely needed. This paltry offering says nothing close to everything I want to say about Power Girl, but maybe it'll help you understand my reasoning. Here are three quotes from three very different people arguing for three very different reasons:

Erik Larsen, pleading for fans to stop complaining about Power Girl's breasts:
The Phantom Lady's only distinguishing characteristics are her ample cans. That's pretty much all she has going for her. Ditto Power Girl. To tone them down is to strip them of their identities.


Library Lass, explaining why she refuses to read Power Girl stories:
That's enough for me. I don't want to read Power Girl. I'm afraid that, if I start reading about her, I'll have to write a fic wherein PG goes through seven kinds of merry hell (in what would, no doubt, suspiciously resemble a fantasy-standard epic quest) to find some kind of alternate-Earth Kryptonite that would work long enough for her to have a breast reduction.
(Edit: Library Lass explains her true intentions behind the post here, but despite my own mistake I'm leaving this up because 1) The post sounds too real, 2) All of the people agreeing with it, and 3) we're getting good conversation out of it. There's still a lot to say on the subject)

James Lamb Jr, chiming in on why he feels Power Girl is an antifeminist character:
You really don't get nastier than this Pamela Anderson knock-off in mainstream comics, yet, what's most interesting about that LJ (and most feminist discussions of Power Girl I've come across) is that the massive chest automatically incinerates whatever feminist aggression the character may exude - even when Wonder Woman's chest rivals Earth-2's bountiful bosom. Power Girl's never judged on the content of her character by anyone - male or female - because of her titanic top-heaviness.


Now, readers, what's the common attitude in each post?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Second Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans

Kalinara's got the Second Edition of the Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans up, and I regret I haven't had a chance to read through it yet. But check it out, the next one will be at New Game Plus on August 3rd. Ariel hasn't put up her guidelines yet, but the main Carnival site has the guidelines used by the first two editions.

International Blog Against Racism Week

Livejournal's scrambling to sign up for International Blog Against Racism Week (with icons for livejournal users). I almost never use my livejournal for anything other than ranting or linking, but I'll see if I can come up with something for this blog.
1. Announce the week in your blog.

2. Switch your default icon to either an official IBAS icon, or one which you feel is appropriate. To get an official IBAS icon, you may modify one of yours yourself or ask someone to do so.

3. Post about race and/or racism: in media, in life, in the news, personal experiences, writing characters of a race that isn't yours, portrayals of race in fiction, review a book on the subject, etc.


Coffee and Ink starts out with How to Suppress Discussions of Racism.

Quick Links

Hey Alaska! Marvel as your Senator explains how the Internet works. (Hattip Techsploitation)

For Men: An excerpt from a book on sexual violence.

I'd totally redo his office in Garish Pink.

The Quick and Easy Guide to Not Writing Stereotypes

If you read independant comics, Kevin Smith thinks you're ugly.

Can I have a new banner, Chris, with guess-which-phrase on it?

DC in October Solicitations are up.

Tom Bondurant on Star Trek.

The Feminist Blogosphere is stuck on sex again.

"Hi, My Name Is Steve, And I'm A Sperm Carrier. May I Impregnate You?"

Salon examines the mentality behind Snakes on a Plane fandom.

Sufferin' Sappho!

Fanthropology plays with Elseworlds.

On Feminist_Fandom, they're discussing why the Responsible One tends to be The Girl.

At Feminist SF: The Blog, there's a post outlining some of the feminism highlights from this monster conversation on the meaning of feminism, testosterone, mechanical aptitude, SUVs, language origins, and knitting.

And this post on Obeisance Anxiety is interesting, too.

And I have linked to Nitroglycerin before, haven't I? Either way, Agreeable Comics.

Monday Misogyny

(Edit: Library Lass explains her true intentions behind the post here, but despite my own mistake I'm leaving this up because 1) The post sounds too real, 2) All of the people agreeing with it, and 3) we're getting good conversation out of it.)

From a livejournal post on Power Girl:
I don't read Power Girl. Don't know anything about her beyond: blonde, big breasts, related to Superman, !Supergirl, involved in the Crisis.

That's enough for me. I don't want to read Power Girl. I'm afraid that, if I start reading about her, I'll have to write a fic wherein PG goes through seven kinds of merry hell (in what would, no doubt, suspiciously resemble a fantasy-standard epic quest) to find some kind of alternate-Earth Kryptonite that would work long enough for her to have a breast reduction.

Hey, if I was Power Girl? I'd have a breast reduction. What am I saying? I *had* Power Girl's breasts. (I didn't have the rest of her body though. 'Tis a shame, really.) And now I have sensible C-cup breasts. Kryptonite was not involved.

I've given up trying to explain this line of reasoning to people. Most get stuck on "But you can't take away the boobies!" and then I stop talking to them.
(Edited to show entire post)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Potential Retcon Sighted

Well, this is a extremely spoilerish observation from Green Lantern #12, and I'm worried about messing up the surprise. I went back and changed the site feed to "Short" so I could post this and not mess anyone up, but I'm still paranoid so here's an Iconic View of Hal Jordan to make some space on the page.



Now, let's get down to brass tracks.

Green Lantern #12 Spoilers

I mean it.

Readers, this is Arisia:




Now, the short version of her unfortunate history is that she was a teenaged girl in the Green Lantern Corp who had a crush on Hot-Shot Hal Jordan. She was 14 in Earth years, but 28 in her homeworld's years. Hal wanted nothing to do with her romantically, she looked 14. So, she uses her ring to age herself so that she appears to be 28, as humans see it, and tells everyone she had a growth spurt. (I think Katma Tui raised an eyebrow at this, but the CPB AI thingy that the GLs used was down at that point so no one could check.) After a complicated story with her chasing after him and annoying him, and some mind control, and some general GL weirdness that brought them closer, Hal has the supreme lapse of judgment that accepts her advances.

Here's where things get fuzzy, because up to the point that Englehart wrote her, she acted like a teenager. As far as I could tell, under Englehart, she acted and thought like a 28 year old. He has been quoted in interviews as writing the story as a way of making the point that physical appearance doesn't matter, but it still sounds skeevy. Either way, this is the history they had to work with, and work with it they did. Arisia stayed artificially aged (which is something I think should have put her on the fridge list, because losing your childhood for a guy and never getting it back is an injury) until she died.

When Englehart left, most of them lost their powers and only Hal had a ring. Englehart had pretty much written her as an adult woman once she aged. Under Priest in Action Comics Weekly Arisia was the main love interest, and she was pretty much an airheaded sex toy (not that anyone acted like they had a brain in Priest's run) because she had no powers and apparently no sense. Jones brought back the Corps, but left Arisia powerless -- citing her use of the ring to age herself -- and established that mentally she was still 14. Then she got moved over to Warrior and Beau Smith made her into an extremely cool character before killing her. However, he laid the seeds for a resurrection by spending time during the series to point out her remarkable healing abilities (such as healing a broken spinal column in one week).

Now, I haven't read all the issues, but I love and hate the concept of this story. I love it because this is what a teenager would do. They would age themselves to get their crush. I love how Arisia behaved.

I despise how Hal behaved. He should have known better. He should never have come near her, not even Aliens do that overnight. I also hate the writer for doing this story and portraying it as though there isn't anything wrong about it. The only thing that saves Hal in my mind is that he was completely, and utterly, unattracted to her until she looked like she was approaching 30. That pretty much proves he's sexually attracted to a mature woman. But still -- He slept with a teenaged sidekick. That's fucked up.

If I had a chance, I would keep it, only I'd retcon it so Arisia was unnoticed as a teenager by Hal, and he didn't know that the artificially aged Arisia who approached him was the same as that teenaged elf person who used to follow Tomar Re and Katma Tui around on Oa. Granted, some people would tell me that puts a lot of wrongdoing on Arisia while taking the weight off of Hal's shoulders, except for the difference in behavior. How Arisia behaved, while very wrong, was acceptable as she was a teenager. How Hal behaved, while often defended by his fans, was unacceptable. He was the adult, he knew this.

Anyway, what I noticed was when I saw the above panel was the costume. Take a look again.

Yes, I saw the boobs. Stop looking at the boobs for a minute and think critically with me. Earlier in the story, Hal has a flashback that ends with seeing Arisia. Here are the pictures of that flashback.

There is no Cleavage Slit in the earlier costume. I looked at the recent costume again. It seemed, awfully tight even with the cleavage slit. Even compared to the earlier one. Then I looked at the gloves.

On careful inspection, those gloves look too small. Take a look at the fingers, those fingers are a bit too small for the hands. Unless, of course, there are fingers beneath the cloth of the rest of the glove. And while he drew opera length gloves in the earlier flashbacks, in this picture Ivan Reis draws a cuff. A cuff that is practically on her palms.

This is an energy costume, it should fit like, well, a glove! Unless of course, she's been in stasis for a while yet has been growing all that time. Her hair has clearly gotten some length, because even in Warrior she was always shown with a pixie cut. And if she outgrew her clothing, it'd be easier for the Manhunters to just unzip or cut the front rather than sneak into her head and control her to the point she changes her costume. Especially given Arisia's will. She was the youngest member of the Corps (maturity wise she was the only Juvenile, I don't mean actual chronological age, there are likely some species that reach old age at a decade in Earth years). She's shaken off Hector Hammond, then gone on to kick his and Star Sapphire's ass. In this story she reached through whatever the Manhunters are using to keep her in stasis, through whatever they were using to put Hal through Flashback Nightmare Hell and helped Hal take control again.

So, anyway, I've come to the conclusion that this is 28 year old Arisia wearing a costume sized for 14 year old Arisia.

Now, it comes to the why, and what the implications are. We got two narrative boxes of information on Arisia, along with some dialogue telling Hal to forgive himself because she's forgiven him.



So we know that Beau Smith's death story is still in continuity.

We don't know what else is. Arisia came up in the flashbacks right after Hal was kicking himself for leaving Carol because of commitment issues. So, the romance could still be intact. But, he never specifically mentions that he dated her, and when he finds her later in the issue he connects his flashback of her with the idea that she was seeking him out (which is as good as true, given Hal's horrible track record with mind control).

So, I'm seeing some options here, and they aren't all good.

1) History as told is totally intact, and I'm misreading the art.

2) History as told is totally intact, and Arisia reverted to the physical age of 14 after she was revived by the Manhunters -- whatever they did to imprison her and tap her ring caused this. She's been growing since.

3) History as told is intact up until she loses her ring, then she reverts to 14.

4) She never artificially aged, and the romance never happened.

5) She never artificially aged, but the romance did happen.

Thoughts?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Time-Honored Game of Nerd Superiority

You know, William just asked me why comics bloggers are so condescending, and I found a livejournal post that articulates why:

*Honest to God, there'’s a freakish sort of pressure when you'’re a woman buying comics. I can't count the number of times I've walked into my local store and felt eyes on me, discreetly appraising my comic book choices. I know guys get this same pressure too, which is part of the problem, but women are judged twice as harshly and we know it (here'’s where I wish I had more women friends who read comics, so somebody could back me up).


This is a self-perpetuating attitude. Geekier than Thou. This is why the first week or two at Blog@Newsarama, most of my posts were greeted with one-upper comments, with the exception of Amateur Art Appreciation posts. Because those posts exude snobbery. They condescension. They have Big Words and they discuss Symbolism. The Geeks who ventured across them feared to challenge them because they may have to deal with long-winded and difficult to dismiss response. But my newblogging, on the other hand, was fair game.

All the newbies get the treatment from the old guard, and realize that's the way you need to be to fit in. The only way to deal with judgment is to be twice as arrogant as the person doing the judging. It's like some weird pack-animal dominance exercise. If you win, you get to be in respected and look down your nose at the losers who read the unpopular books (you know, the ones that actually sell). If you lose, you can look forward to pseudo-intellectual mockery every Wednesday.

You are scored at the cash register:
+3 for each Independant Comic in your pull.
-2 for every superhero book not written by Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, or Warren Ellis
-3 if you are Female*
+1 for every complaint company direction
+1 for every complaint about art
+2 for every complaint about writing
+3 for every complaint about editing
+2 for pessimistic assumptions about industry news
+3 for gratuitous display of continuity knowledge
+4 if you win a Nerd Superiority Challenge with another patron
+5 if you win a Nerd Superiority Challenge with the clerk

*This limits your social standing to a choice of "Fluffy Bunny" or "Force of Nature" depending upon whether you score enough to be in the in-crowd.

Required Reading

Shelley blogs about Feminists working for Equality in Comics.

And inadvertantly reminds me that I haven't spent enough time posting pictures of Hal and Kyle's butts recently.