Friday, June 08, 2007

Who is... John Stewart?

There are some barely formed thoughts and ideas in the back of my head which may or may not turn into another John Stewart post, but they have me starting to wonder about something.

What does most of the superhero-reading community think John Stewart is supposed to act like? And what writer and/or media portrayal cemented that idea?

Do me a favor and (whether you have a strongly formed idea or just a general impression) comment with your opinion of what John Stewart the Green Lantern character is supposed to think and act like, and where you got that idea.

Oh, and I mean this John Stewart:

(Just in case there may have been some confusion.)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

There goes my last Marvel read.

Daredevil #98:
Karen Page. Elektra. All the women Matt Murdock has loved have been violently taken from him, victims of unspeakable tragedies and in Daredevil #98, his wife Milla Donovan may be next! The Gladiator has returned, more enraged and brutal than ever, with one purpose in mind: making Matt Murdock suffer! With the defender of Hell’s Kitchen in police custody and the Gladiator alone with a terrified Milla, things aren’t looking good for the wife of Daredevil…and history isn’t on her side either. The penultimate chapter of “To The Devil, His Due” will have huge ramifications for Daredevil as he races towards the milestone Daredevil #100.
Brubaker shows and gets into an argument with an offended party, with the regular Newsarama peanut gallery in the background. Of course, this is a golden opportunity to tell a pro precisely what I think of this story idea so I couldn't pass it up (even though I hate the boards there). Here's what I posted:
Mr. Brubaker,
I like your stories and I don't think you'd kill Milla in a horribly tasteless fashion, and were it other circumstances I'd say you sound more reasonable and side with you, but here's the thing:

That solicit calls up the disposable girlfriend trope. It points out a trend in Matt's life. It plays it up for tension. And the disposable girlfriend trope, the "You touched my stuff" story (where the hero gets personally offended because his loved one was hurt/murdered) is sickening in all forms of media, and that article plays it up.

Milla is a fairly new character, she's not Foggy. She hasn't been around long enough to be an indispensable part of the franchise. She's not Elektra. She doesn't have the fan appeal to be brought back to life to kick ass on her own. She is to all appearances a disposable girlfriend, so its not a big stretch to figure she's on her way out when we see a solicit like that.

And in the comics world, where nearly all of the female characters are dating other heroes who can protect themselves, but the majority of the male heroes (who are also the vast majority of the heroes) have disposable love interests or set damsels-in-distress, its hard not to get the message that women are disposable to the writers and get really annoyed when you see advertisements that play it up as exciting.

And its really hard to get the motivation to spend money on something that sounds almost sure to offend, so if you'll excuse me I'll wait until after Milla's fate is leaked to decide if I'll buy another issue of Daredevil.
They probably won't notice me, though, as they are arguing over whether or not Scarlet Witch's breakdown was sexist.

(Whatever they decide about that one, it sure as hell wasn't in character.)

That's a cute coincidence.

I believe Duck Tales wasn't until the 90s and this issue of Green Lantern was in the mid-80s (right after Crisis). Unless, of course, the triplets joined the Boy Scouts knockoff early on in Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck and it wasn't a cartoon invention. Maybe some Disney scholar can help me out there.

Either way, its too bad that book didn't give him tips on crossing the street safely.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Sims just managed to break my brain.

Chris Sims found something in the back of his monthly Tarot research and just had to send it to me. It seems Balent weighed in on industry attitudes towards female readers.

For those of you who (understandably) can't read the scan, a male reader asks Balent why the lettercol always focuses on women, and sends his picture in, asking for a column about Guys instead.
The reason we celebrate Girls/Women at Broadsword is mainly because I was told by the so-called "Know-It-Alls" in the industry that female [readers] really don't read comics. While other companies ignore their female readers we glorify them.
Balent compromises by putting the guy at the bottom as the "Do you have dude."

As Sims would say, that was the sound of your mind being blown.

Anyway, before we get lost in a sea of confusion, Balent-bashing, Boobie jokes and feminist analysis of Tarot (which could take weeks), there are some things to keep in mind:

1) Tarot is an adult title and was concieved as such, is written and drawn as such, and is viewed as such by most casual readers.

2) In my personal experience with Tarot readers, I've only met female readers except for Chris), and there was a post by a shopkeeper a while back (that I can't find, but I know its out there) about how he sold a lot of Tarot to female fans. Those are both anecdotal impressions, but the complaint above was that the lettercol is female-dominated, which supports it.

3) I'm finding it really impossible not believe him when he says some know-it-all told him women don't read comics after all the backlash we've seen.

Now on one hand this is Jim "Boobie" Balent and that could be just a smooth way of telling the guy "I'd rather print naked and scantily clad girls, thank you." There's much argument to be had over whether this comic celebrates women or not.

On the other hand, "I have lots of female readers and they send me positive feedback" with the ability to back it up is quite a change from the usual "This is aimed at boys, so you shouldn't be offended" and "You're losing sight of the strength of the character by being offended" we hear when industry professionals talk about women and comic books.

There's also something in here about female spaces, male spaces and neutral spaces, but I'm not familiar enough with the Tarot lettercol to speculate on just what it is.

Now that that's been said: Bring on the confusion, feminist analysis of Tarot, Balent-bashing, and Boobie jokes!

Or feel free to say nice things, too.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Panel Excerpt

From one of Oyceter's Wiscon writeups:
Coniraya mentioned Phantom Menace (I think); he remembered being so excited about it, only to go in and be slapped in the face with Jar-Jar Binks, the Japanese-sounding evil traders, and the Jewish-sounding merchant/slaveowner.

Janine asked if Lucas was deliberately being racist; all of us thought no, probably not. Coniraya said that lots of cartoons that Lucas watched probably had the same accents and that Lucas might have just picked it up, but that that was why it was important to examine these things.
(Emphasis mine)