Monday, September 03, 2007

So THAT'S it...

In my comments, I just figured out why the Amazons Attack and Sinestro Corps War reactions bother me.

Well, its a working theory, anyway.

I work at an office where we have shifts. Sometimes the entire office fucks up. Sometimes just one shift fucks up. Sometimes one shift fucks up when the other two shifts are kicking ass at the exact same task. Wen that happens, the blame gets assigned to the shift who actually fucked up, and while issuing a stern warning to the others is fair, what is not fair is assuming that the other shifts will fuck up in the exact same way.

What is extremely unfair is assuming that the people on the other shifts will fuck up in a different way.

Effectively, when I hear that the followup story to Amazons Attack will likely be as crappy as Amazons Attack because the followup story to Cassandra Cain's going evil story was crappy, I hear "Matthew's team won't be able to correctly solder that circuit breaker on swingshift, because Christina's team fucked up the preflights on midshift."

What the fuck?! That makes no fucking sense to me.

Not only that I know from where I work that people have different strengths and weaknesses. Christina may suck at preflights, but she's gotten honors in 3 different wire maintenance courses and happens to be an amateur ham radio enthusiast with at least 10 years put into her hobby so she knows her shit when it comes to soldering.

So, when I hear that Geoff Johns will break his narrative habits in Sinestro Corps to kill/ruin Kyle because he wrote a crappy story in Teen Titans involving Cassandra Cain I can't help but have the same reaction as I would have to "Christina shouldn't be trusted with soldering that circuit breaker because she missed a loose screw in the preflight inspection last night."

Even though she has soldered an integrated circuit onto a circuit card before and done so according to every necessary regulation. She fucked up one preflight, all other skills are untrustworthy.

Again, what the fuck?! How does this train of thought make sense?

Oh, but someone is about to tell me that the editorial staff sets the direction! So, its perfectly all right to make blanket assumptions about the entire writing staff of DC Comics, even though certain writers have actually worked quite well under this particular set of management.

See, when I hear that I have the same reaction as hearing "Matthew is bound to fuck up because your shop chief is an idiot."

Allow me to repeat that.

"Matthew will fail because his boss sucks."

Here's the thing with that one. If it were based on the boss's actual weaknesses, I could see a boss screwing up their employees. But these particular employees have made strong showings under the same boss in the same sort of jobs. Not only that, the conclusions that the boss will cause Matthew to fuck up are still based on Christina fucking up the preflight. It merely adds a "Christina fucked up the preflight because the shop chief didn't give her the right guidelines" which exonerates Christina when it comes to the preflight but sure as hell doesn't condemn Matthew when it comes to soldering. Because both have done successful work under this shop chief, there is no reason to believe there's a problem with the boss-employee relationship that will cause this job to fail.

There's no guarantee Matthew and Christina won't fuck up this job, there's no guarantees of anything. But there is no real basis for the assumption that they both will. I've never seen Matthew solder, but he's got all the qualifications and nothing he has said or done gives me a reason believe he can't do it. Christina's screwed up on different things, but she has actually given me a lot of reason to think she'll succeed admirably at soldering. I've seen her do it before. If I were to refuse to let either person do the soldering job and then tell the boss it was because of Christina's preflight, I would be quietly transferred to a position where I wouldn't have access to personnel or aircraft. And the boss would be right to do so, because I would be making a decision that is totally unfair to everybody.

I mean I've nothing against criticizing creators, and I've nothing against drawing conclusions based on past weaknesses. But you have to make sure that the conclusion is based on is something they actually did that constitutes an actual weakness in the area that you are coming to a conclusion about. You should criticize a creator's actual weak spots. Jodi Piccoult and Will Pfiefer are on the list of writers I don't trust with Wonder Woman, Gail Simone and Grant Morrison have given me no reason to put them on the list. I wouldn't let Geoff Johns touch certain characters (Wonder Girl, Bart Allen) with a ten-foot pole if I had a choice but he knows his fucking Lanterns.

You don't like Geoff Johns or Gail Simone? I'm sure you've got your reasons (more than once these reasons have been the exact same ones I put on my "reasons I like this writer" list) and you probably won't enjoy the stories anyway. But if you expect Geoff Johns to give you a surprise even though he's an incredibly predictable writer, I have to disagree and tell you you're misreading the stories. And if you've no faith in Gail Simone just because of Will Pfiefer's work, your reasoning is just plain skewed.

Now, this is your money and there's no reason for you to spend it when you don't think the storyline will work out, but there's still the matter of talking about why you won't spend your money on the internet. Under that subject falls perfectly understandable opinions, excellent reasoning, reasoning that proves to be on shaky (or in some cases nonexistent) ground, stupid assumptions based on unrelated events, and stupid conclusions that make my head hurt and cause me to blog these sort of posts.

18 comments:

  1. Wow...

    I have to admit I agree with that post. I also have to admit that I have been making the same assumptions about Marvel books because of my experience with a few titles.

    I think it is human nature to become wary of taking a chance in a particular area if you have been burned before. Kind of like the guy that says he is not dating blondes anymore because he had bad experiences with them in high school.

    most people get over themselves after awhile and those that don't you can only roll your eyes at them and go about your business.

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  2. Oh, yes. I most definitely wouldn't like to see Geoff Johns touch Wonder Girl or Bart Allen with a 10-foot-pool.

    I mean, my entire week's reading would be drenched...

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  3. I started a blog to publish a short story every day for an entire year and today's story is about a Comic Book Nerd.

    Would love to know what you thought of it. It's at http://topwritecorner.com/2007/09/03/comic-book-nerd/
    and I hope someone likes it.

    Cheers!

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  4. I know that this has nothing to do with anything but I just saw Superman Returns.

    Singer turned Superman into a creepy stalker who hides outside of Lois Lane's house using his x-ray vision and superhearing.

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  5. So you would have no problem with Rob Liefeld writing and penning Green Lantern, since he has SO many years experience with both so you can't prejudge?

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  6. To be fair, it *is* because my boss sucks.

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  7. But Ragnell! Leaping to unwarrented assumptions is just so much darned fun! Along with reading a pitch for a story in Previews that will be coming and screaming that it will be terrible...and you'll only be buying FIVE copies of that book that you haven't read yet, but you're sure you'll hate.

    *pant pant*

    That said, Geoff Johns does indeed know his Lanterns. Just don't let Winick have anything to do with Kyle. *shudder*

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  8. But my take on Sinestro Corps doesn't have anything to do with Cassandra Cain, or even Johns' narrative habits. I'm just going strictly by the beats that have been set up, and they suggest to me that the series is going to end with Hal firmly established the One True Perfect GL, the disavowal of any moral responsibility for things like the Lost Lanterns, and Kyle as lesser than him in every way, including resisting Parallax.

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  9. Erm, I made no comparison between Cass and Sinestro Corps. I did make comparisons between Cass and Amazons. Unless you've been speaking to the Superdickery Cass Cult, in which case anything is up for grabs.

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  10. Punistation -- No, that would be like letting Robert who has screwed up preflights, troubleshooting, aircraft wash, marshalling, towing, loses paperwork and consistently drops fragile parts on the way home from supply try his hand at soldering because "it may just be his talent"

    But thank you so much for taking what I wrote and extrapolating an absurd extreme from it. It makes me so confident that my point was clearly written and doesn't make you seem like an asshole at all.

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  11. Tav -- And to that, I still say you're reading the story wrong and you continue to.

    And as the Lantern conspiracists are all blending together, I can't tell if it was you or someone else who used Bart's death as reason that Kyle was being destroyed and that falls under the Matthew example. Except, it makes less sense because the theory behind that is that all of this is the result of Silver Age fanboy pandering. In that case, doesn't Barry go with Hal? Wally and Kyle are the Flash-GL team pre-Bart. I mean, if they seriously killed Bart because the DC staffers preferred characters from Wally's era to giving new characters a shot, they'd like Kyle around too.

    Anyway, just because I didn't specifically cite that instance, doesn't mean the argument doesn't hold when trying to predict the actions of Geoff Johns, Dave Gibbons supervised by Eddie Berganza and Peter Tomasi based on what was done by Mark Guggenheim supervised by Joan Hilty.

    UP -- No you didn't. Bart Allen's death is usually used in the reasoning for Kyle Rayner is going to DIE theories, but I've seen people bring up Batgirl going bad and trying to tell me that Parallax is going to be a permanent situation because of that, and I seem to have blended your post with them.

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  12. I agree with your analogy, but I think that I find this a case where every employee, on every shift, for the last three or four years now, has been screwing up...and not only that, but the bosses who are training people are training them badly, so you really can look at any given job with the expectation that it's going to be done wrong, because they're telling them to do it wrong.

    Now that's not to say that I draw specific conclusions about the end of upcoming stories. I'm not saying, "They will kill Kyle, because they killed Ralph and Sue Dibney, the Vic Sage Question, the Blue Beetle, Rocket Red, the Golden Age Superman..." (I'm not going to continue listing all the deaths because I only have an hour to write this before work.) But what I will say is that given DC's history over the last several years of producing editorially-mandated, poorly-written "event" storylines, that I expect that the current "event" storylines are editorially-mandated and will probably wind up poorly-written.

    To suggest an alternate analogy, it's like a stove. The last three years, every time you've touched the stove, no matter where you touched it, you got burned. Maybe the whole stove is hot?

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  13. See, John, that's where we get into subjective territory. From this point I can only disagree that they are all screwing up which is where the stove analogy breaks down, because that sort of thing should not be this subjective but the stove feels cool to me.

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  14. And that's perfectly fair. I'm not saying you shouldn't enjoy these comics; I'm glad you are. I'm glad someone is having fun reading this stuff. I'm not, so I stopped reading it.

    My point is merely that your column stated that there was no real basis for any assumption that DC's future output (in specific, the end to the Sinestro Corps storyline) would be bad; and I disagree, given my criteria of "bad". I'm not examining one or two data points, but DC's output as a whole, and deciding that if you define "bad" as "not something John Seavey will enjoy", then yes, it's been bad and I don't see any reason to expect a change.

    I'm not saying other people should feel as I do, merely that I don't think I'm jumping to a wild conclusion here. :)

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  15. One of us used a swear in this coversation... and it wasn't me. ^__^

    (bows to applause, then moves aside for the "You used a typo so you're wrong about everything Guy")

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  16. Here's a radical thought...why don't we wait until the end and then see how it all comes out before we start tearing it apart?

    I know, I know, crazy talk.

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  17. Ragnell: I must admit, the reason I don't see the connection between Cass's situation and Kyle's was because that people care about the latter. Or should I say, the authors care about Kyle, whereas it seems no one really cares about Cass, or has any power to change her.

    When I thought about that, (and I think it was ang_band who said it originally) a light went on in my head.

    I think the thing were disagreeing on is whether the people at DC care about (or at least, like) Wonder Woman. Gail Simone aside, I'm not sure they do, hence the pessimistic attitude I'm taking.

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  18. John -- Actually, no, what I said was I'm seeing too many complaints without any real basis, not that there WASN'T any. I even say in there "If you don't like it, fine, but don't blame Write A for Writer B's work." My last three paragraphs are dedicated to saying that some complaints make sense but a lot of the ones I've been seeing do not.

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