Saturday, April 01, 2006

Hal and the Guardian

I see nothing important or meaningful in this panel.

(Update: April 2, 2006 -- Ragnell the Fair and the rest of her Bizarro compatriots have been overthrown. I haven't saved any evidence of her work, as it made my eyes bleed. A Jade profile picture? *Shudder* Anyway, I don't have time to get into this panel at the moment, but I assure you I will be contemplating it)

Friday, March 31, 2006

And Now For Something Completely Insensitive...

I cheated, I peeked ahead in the Showcase Presents: Superman Family volume. I read the very last story before I read the middle. I had to, it was a 1944 Lois Lane solo story. It was great, though. Lois sets out to prove she can get a story without Superman hovering nearby. She goes to a downtown building, and sees a jumper on the ledge. She actually volunteers to go out onto the ledge herself and talk him in. (And the featured cops actually let her)

Anyway, things go wonderfully until she asks why he's jumping. It's over his girlfriend.

Now, if you're Lois Lane, and you hear the above as a reason to jump off a building, how do you respond?

A -- "You poor thing! You certainly need to talk to someone about this. If you'll come in off the ledge, I know a fine couples counselor who can get to the bottom of your troubles."

B -- "Did you think that maybe she wanted to keep her slender, delicate figure for the sake of your eyes?"

C -- "Why, you grade-A boob, you! Do you mean to say you'd jump eight stories over a thing like that?!?"

For our answer, let's take a look at the panel after Lois' response.

And there you have it folks:
Lois Lane, Emergency Counselor for Troubled Young Men.

Who else wants to be her when they grow up?

Thursday, March 30, 2006


The character of Jumbo Jones is jumping into the fight on Jimmy's signal and yelling something stupid. Jimmy compliments him about how he can always count on him in a fight. He has a useful transportation job (pilots the Daily Planet's Helicopter).

I've read six stories of Showcase Presents: Superman Family and he's in three of them.

How in the hell did Jimmy Firkin' Olsen get a sidekick?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Second Call for Submissions to Carnival of Feminists

Here's your friendly reminder that the deadline for the Twelfth Carnival of Feminists is Monday, April 3rd. With respect to previous objections, I'm reluctant to take unsubmitted posts (though I have seen a number of good ones). I urge you to take advantage of e-mail, the Carnival Submissions Form, and the Technorati Tag (don't forget to ping Technorati after you do so).

My first submissions call led to a wonderful disagreement, completely by accident. Such an excellent accident I couldn't dream of recreating it, so instead, I'm simply going to load an example of truly, truly, awful art (Found via Resplendant Beard, courtesy Newsarama) and see what you have to say.

This is not an attempt to convince anyone they overreacted to the first picture (I haven't seen anyone who has). It's more to give you an idea of the scale the dissenting regulars are operating on. (And my earlier offer stands for this image too)

I must warn you, if you find Truly Awful Art (TAA) traumatic, you may want to avoid this cut. (And don't worry, the body of the Carnival itself will be free of anything so hideous -- and I'll post warnings on the links) Instead, here's an index of Neal Adams covers to peruse.

Be Warned: This is Beyond T&A...(You can click on the picture, if you can stand enlarging it)

Monday, March 27, 2006

Exit Page Left

(Because I haven't done a Neal Adams panel for a while now...)

Click to Read (Yes, it's that long)

I've been looking at this one for a while now. Initially, I noticed one thing. That Fred's partner, the Good Cop, is pulling Fred back to the spot underneath the halo.

There's also something suggestive about Fred's posture. The profile and the way his neck and head are situated as he says "They got no respect!" reminds me of the sort of villain that Green Arrow is constantly complaining about. The man who doesn't care about anyone but himself and who will step on the backs of the poor and the oppressed to climb into the next higher tax bracket. This guy shows up in nearly every storyline in the ONeil/Adams run. He's usually highly placed in some organization, with lots of underlings he can abuse. Usually, he's brought down because he arrogantly thinks he can manipulate, intimidate or overpower one of the heroes. He comes back within a storyline or two. Different name, slightly changed appearance, but his attitude and posture remain the same. This cop isn't him, but this cop is obviously training to be him unless his partner can keep him reigned in.

(I suspect, however, that he grew a moustache, let his hair go gray and showed up in Nextwave #3 this week, so his partner obviously couldn't handle him)

His partner's face is still shadowed, like it was in the first panel. Fred gets a name, but he doesn't. There are some good reasons to keep him anonymous, actually. Even if John did manage to beat the living daylights, unarmed, out of the armed cop (given that John is the Hero in the story, I wouldn't count this option out) he was still in for a boatload of trouble for it. That was the way of the day. The Good Cop helps him out of it (even though he was unwilling to intervene at the first injustice, when the threat of actual physical violence is present he has enough decency to step in). Keeping him anonymous lets John and the reader know not to expect a "return favor" claim on this act. I heard an adage once that the only true form of charity was done in secret, because that way there was no possible gain. This guy won't even claim a look or word of gratitude.

Two faceless, nameless policemen are symbolic of the police in any given Fictionopolis. In Gotham or Bludhaven, when you come across an unnamed cop (usually with a generic face), they tend to be a bad guy. The majority of cops in those two cities are corrupt. In Keystone, Metropolis, or Opal, an unnamed cop is there to help. By naming Fred and showing his face, he's singled out an individual. He no longer represents the police force in general. This lets you know that in John's hometown, despite the visible poverty, corruption on the police force is not overwhelming. By leaving the Good Cop anonymous, to the point where his face is even shadowed, he can represent every cop in the city. His actions here indicate that the majority of the cops are not guiltless -- they stand by in the face of many injustices -- but they still have it in them to stop a violent threat to the citizenry.

By obscuring the face and omitting the name of the cop, it also encourages reader identification with him. This is common in French Arthurian Romances, there are a number of female characters introduced to help the knight, btu they are never named. They did this because the majority of courtiers who read those romances were female, and a nameless hero's helper allowed them to project themselves into the story.

The last reason (and most likely) I can see to keep the Good Cop's face shrouded is to keep the overall focus on John. At this point in time, it was actually more likely that the Good Cop would end up being the hero than John. Not even showing us the guy's face keeps him in obscurity. There's no threat he'll be a major character or even return. He's a background character, through and through.

He takes the foreground here, though. He's leaning forward, expressing concern and interest. Like the madonna overlooking them in the mural, he's looking after his partner here. He's gently shepherding him out of a situation that will be bad for all involved.

Adams uses the normal artist technique of less detailed, less focused background so that the attention in the individual panel remains on the action. It saves him work, and it keeps the reader from getting lost in the details. As he does this, he manages to continue his characterization of John.

John stands steady, completely ready to defend himself. The lines on his face and arms take on a stony quality. You can tell this man is determined, firmly devoted to his ideals, and willing to stand up for himself. He's a very earthy, very steadfast, very solid person. John's special strength is just that, strength. Steady as a rock.

He's even positioned so that he's overlooking Fred. He's in the right, and winning.

Something about then character positioning and posture in this panel gives the impression of a moving foreground and still background. Part of it is John in relation to the cops. He's towering over them, more so than in the previous panels. It makes me think sidewalk is a downward slope in relation to where I'm standing, and that the cops are traveling down it. The lack of focus that gives John and the domino player such statue-like features helps by conveys stillness, compared to the policemen who are moving.

And how they are moving! To the left of the reader in a story that reads left to right. Fred backs reluctantly out of the panel. His partner is aggressively driving him back to the earlier pages. You can tell they won't be back, because they're not moving forward with the reader. This panel is in the bottom left of the page, there's nowhere else to follow them.

Yes, I do realize how silly that sounds, but it's an effective device. The reader gets the impression that following the cops would mean going back to the beginning of the story. John is the right-most character, the closest to the next sequential panel. He's the one to follow.

Quick Links

Go over to Dark Daughta's and read this. I don't care that it's not worksafe, read it.

Found via And We Shall March... -- The Calls of Cthulu!

Happy Blogiversary to The Absorbascon and Happy Belated Blogiversary to, which I don't link nearly enough to.

Michileen Martin needs your help. He's looking for books on the History of Superheroes for a college project.

Dark and Moody Chicks -- a comic strip/blog.

Blockade Boy turns his discerning eye to a Classic Flash Rogue.

Zombie Mallet's started up a second blog.

While there's never a shortage of Green Lantern posts, here's Kalinara on Fatherhood in the Green Lantern Mythos.

And older, but interesting discussion of hostile environments.

Shelly'll like this: The Fortress Keeper's been blogging about Supergirl for a week now.

And finally, get your Obsidian panels ready, April 22 is Blog Against Heteronormativity Day, started by Blac(k)ademic.

I've Been Out-Crazied

I've been in some interesting arguments as a Green Lantern fan. It's not all Hal vs. Kyle. Sometimes it's Kyle vs. Alan. Sometimes it's the worthiness of Jade. Lately it's been "Why do we never see John Stewart anymore?" which invariably leads into an argument about whether or not he actually has a personality (He does, dammit!). I've even been in a 9-page argument about a certain character's haircut. But this is the first one I've been forced to bow out of.

The Highlights

Original Poster (OP):
"My question to the GL creative teams ...Will we ever find out Sinestro's name before he turned against the GL? It doesn't make sense that he was a GL with a name like Sinestro."

Sensible Poster #1 (SP1): And his name being "Sinestro" means absolutely nothing. Just because "sinister" means something in our language doesn't mean it has the same definition in other language.

OP: (Ignores SP1 and latches onto other arguments) Everyone knows Sinestro was a GL gone bad. I'm just asking for his name during the time he was a GL. IMO it doesn't make sense to have an evil sounding name. It's like Anikin/Darth, Illyich/Lenin,Ioseb Jugashvili/Stalin etc...

SP2: Sinestro was his name when he was a GL. That's been clearly established. That it sounds "evil" to you is not his concern.

SP3: If you met someone named John Hitler, would you automatically label them as evil?

OP: There is a John Hitler and he lives on Long Island and he is related to Adolf Hitler. I wouldn't label him as evil but his surname will cause question and curiosities I wouldn't label him as evil but his surname will cause question and curiosities. I'm pretty sure that family has been investigated by CIA or FBI. It's just like the Bin Laden family in the USA. You know they are questioned for any thing dealing with Ossama. now the difference between names Sinestro, Bin Laden, Hitler or McVeigh are this.......Sinestro's,evil meaning, name was already associatted with evil before and after his rebellion. Now the names,none of evil or bad meaning, of Bin Laden, Hitler, and McVeigh became associatted with evil only after what they became known for in history.

Me: Well, on Korugar, the name Sinestro obviously wasn't associated with Evil until after Sinestro had become a Dictator.
How's this, suppose you know an American man who's last name is Malvado? He's not of Spanish, Italian or French ancestry. The original family name was corrupted by INS personnel when his family emigrated, because it was a difficult to pronounce Czech name. So now he has a name that means "Evildoer" in Spanish. But English-only speaking people in the US or Canada are not going to know that offhand, and they aren't going to associate his name with the term "Evildoer" when they meet him. Because they don't speak Spanish.
This is Sinestro on Korugar. His name is an accident, and on Korugar no one associates with "sinister" because in Korugarian there is no word "sinister" and Sinestro does not mean evil. It means or is derived from something like "Peaceful" or "Brave" or something equally innocent.
Now, when our Mr. Malvado goes to a mainly Spanish-speaking area in the US, or a Spanish-speaking country, he's going to get a lot of double-takes at his name. This is Sinestro when he got to Earth. By a linguistic accident, his name means something bad in another language.
It has no more to do with Sinestro going rogue than Mr. Malvado's name has to do with his jaywalking.

OP: Why would INS name a Czech Malvado?

Me: (after I'm finished banging my head against the keyboard) Okay, I'm done.