Saturday, September 08, 2007

There's going to be a TRADE?!

Will Pfiefer closed his infamous Amazons Attack #6 thread today at 100 comments. I love how he did it:
And I think we'll end it there. One hundred is such a nice, round number and really, if you didn't make your comment by now, you're probably not going to make one. Thanks everyone for participating, and I hope you'll all be back for the release of the trade later this fall. So long!
Yes, that was him inviting everyone back.

And yes, that was him telling us they'd release this pile of horseshit in a collected edition in just a few months.


I just saw a commercial for The Seeker: The Dark is Rising on television.

I wish an eternity of frozen boxed pasta lunches and a broken microwave on all involved in this movie!!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

I hate the word "Canon" too.

But its not for the same reason Kevin does.

I'm a crusty old Sherlock Holmes fan at heart who learned "canon" as it refers to the stories written by the person who created the character.

I am absolutely mad for "continuity." I live for retcons. I got into X-Men by the soap-opera-esque cartoon and the Age of Apocalypse crossover and I got into DC Comics with The Return of Barry Allen. What hooked me on comics was tracking down the old story references in those books. I was raised on a strict diet of continuity porn and I'm not about to give it up for anything.

But I fucking hate hearing the word "canon" to refer to it. There's something about the tone of the word. Canon is too solid. Too concrete. Canon is written in stone. Canon is strict and rigid and religious by nature.

"Continuity" is there, but its fluid. It doubles back on itself and then moves forward. It forgets itself and then rewrites itself. Continuity turns around and slips treasures in the seams right in front of your face. It can go Retro for a time or rewind and move sideways. Continuity is very much a superhero comic book word. Continuity is vibrant and growing and changing.

Canon is a dead word. These stories are alive.


I don't mind commenters on this blog trying to catch me in a contradiction. Its actually kind of fun, because if you try to catch me in a contradiction and miss I get to try to verbally disembowel your ego.

That said, it would still be nice if someone would do so competently. Quotes and links. I've contradicted myself it a million times. Hell, I even gone into my own archives and done the work for you in the past. There's loads of stuff back there if someone really, really wants to catch me.

You have to read the entire post, though, when you do something like that. Telling me I said something when I spent more than one paragraph ruling that particular angle out doesn't really work very well even if you're just keeping to the current post.

Quality comments, people, I know you can do it.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Dear Commenters Who Never Bring Up My Past Posts,

I've been called out for insulting people's intelligence, and saying people can't read, and calling people bullies and misogynist and misandrist and troll and other such casual insults. Actually, the point of entire posts on this blog are to justify calling someone stupid or a bully or a misogynist. I can get pretty bad, especially when I play with my trolls. However, there's a point where even I draw the line, and if anyone ever catches me tossing this sort of speculation around about another blogger or a comic book creator I want you to link this post in my comments with the word "HYPOCRITE HYPOCRITE HYPOCRITE." (We'll probably spend the rest of the post arguing about whether or not what I said was this bad, because this is pretty fucking bad.)

It started with this paragraph about the Killing Joke:
Which brings us to the issue that she was attacked as a helpless female to get back at a male. So what? Jim Gordon has one person in his life someone wanting to get to him could go after: Babs. And Jim, himself, was nabbed and tortured. And has had to live with the guilt over what happened to his daughter. In some ways, Babs had it easier.

Now, obviously that sort of thing is up for grabs. Its not an argument that'll clear the book of Fridge status but its not like saying that Jade was killed as a way to sabotage Alan Scott's character (yeah, I've heard that one) because both Gordons did go through some serious shit in this one. A lot of its already been discussed already, and I've been watching it without seeing a reason to think less of anyone on either side until I read this:
Shelly, I know this is out of the blue, but do you have daughters? Do you see them as a function of their father? 'Cos I just had this creepy feeling that you would defend your husband if he abused your daughter.

Now, I don't know about you, but I figure on that being pretty fucking out of line over a blog-post. I'm not a person who cries over personal attacks but that's so far beyond calling someone a bitch or a hypocrite or even a liar that I wouldn't know what to say to it. I mean, this is not like saying "Would you want your daughter to read this?" or "Just because you have kids doesn't mean you're right" or even "I wouldn't want to be your daughter." This is outright telling someone you think she would condone child abuse because of how she interprets a comic book.

Fortunately, Kalinara has it covered (Emphasis mine):
No one says you have to agree that Jim "had it worse." No one says you have to like it. But what the hell gives you the right to say that kind of thing to anyone? Just because she has a different interpretation of a FICTIONAL STORY?

Oh, and by the way? Casting implications on a woman's suitability as a mother simply because she disagrees with you? Trying to say that she doesn't value daughters as much as a husband who'd abuse them, when there was nothing in her post valuing adults or men over the sanctity of children? Because god forbid, she think Jim had it worse in that situation than his daughter?

That's far more sexist than a thousand Killing Jokes could ever be.

Anyway, I'm probably asking for trouble but do me a favor and stop me if I ever get that stupid.

Much appreciated.
--Ragnell the Foul

Monday, September 03, 2007

Superhero Fans: Chapter 22, Verse 1

(Warning: This one is going to be hard to stomach, but it just didn't work when I tried to minimize the egotism. Just be glad I didn't title it as an excerpt from the Book of Ragnell.)

And in the days following the return of Hal Jordan, there lived a reclusive creature of the nightshift who read the Rebirth miniseries and took great joy in the tale. It awakened a joy of comic books as had not been seen in two years for this creature, and she thought excessively about superheroes to the despair of her coworkers. As an outlet for this enthusiasm, she started a blog. She started a blog of humor and joy. She was measured and polite when she complained and she apologized when she had to let off steam to assure everyone it was nothing personal because she foolishly worried that expressions of anger would alienate her few readers.

Until there came a day of unusually strong irritation, when she cut loose and wrote a long venomous rant directed at a single writer.

And lo, her traffic rose and her comments multiplied and she met bloggers of a like-mind.

But still she worried that expressions of anger would alienate her old readers.

She attributed the success to a long-winded analysis on the subject of gender and Seven Soldiers, and worried that expressions of rage would alienate her new readers. So she went back to holding her tongue until there was another point that she could hold it no more and she let loose in a fury of comedic rage directed at the trigger for this outrage which was a person who was certainly not responsible for all of the bottled up energy and emotional that she was expressing, but by heaven he had caused some of it.

And lo, her traffic rose and her comments multiplied and she met individuals of a like-mind.

And now she worried that no expressions of anger would alienate her new readers.

When her rage had cooled, she experimented with writing another essay to achieve the same effects but discovered she was unable to finish. Other bloggers ranted and raged about various problems and she linked them, and she analyzed art and she wrote what she could but life wormed into the way of her writing. She soon found that even when confronted with an image of unimaginable horror on the cover of her favorite series she was unable to raise the necessary passion for a proper rant. She didn't have the energy, she didn't have the humor.

Her blogging faded, and her comments were few, and her traffic sank into the depths of obscurity. But she had friends of like-mind and her writing and her comic books.

Time passed, and many rose in outrage at the image of Mary Jane Watson doing laundry; and they were condemned for it; and the creature soon discovered that when enraged her more than anything right now was the fans and she blogged rants and rages and battle-cries against them.

And lo, her traffic rose and her comments multiplied and she met individuals of a like-mind.

In time a beautiful storyline began in Green Lantern, one which brought incredible joy to the creature's icy heart. She blogged her pure joy with the storyline, and then read the regular fanblogs. And many of the fanblogs were equally pleased, but when she returned to her own blog she saw that some of her commenters were displeased and making arguments that made little sense. And then she traveled to the message boards and found many pleased fans and displeased fans, and in the fanblogs the displeased began to surface as well. And some of the displeasure was subjective, and much of it was arguable, but some of it was truly out of left field and based on events in different series written by different writers. It angered her, because it was one thing to have event fatigue and another to dislike the writer or artist but the constant prophesying of the end of her favorite character really served to sour her otherwise lovely mood.

She worried about blogging this, because some of the people she was ranting against were certainly her regular readers and commenters, and she had long ago learned not to pull punches when expressing her rage but she blogged it anyway. She blogged her anger at fandom, and she held nothing back and she fully expected her readers to abandon her. For it is better to spew poisonous anger on one's own blog than to invade the comments of others and pester them like a little troll, the scripture says, and despite what dumbass commenters would have you believe there is no prohibition against ranting in the Law.

And lo, her traffic rose and her comments multiplied and she met individuals of a like-mind.

And such was the story of the reclusive Green Lantern fan in the days following the Infinite Crisis.


Rokk did a poll of which big event comic was the best, and I'm surprised Countdown placed as well as it did.
1st Place: Sinestro War: 60% (135 votes)
2nd Place: Countdown: 24% (54 votes)
3rd Place: World War Hulk: 9% (21 votes)
4th Place: The Initiative: 3% (8 votes)
5th Place: Amazons Attack: 2% (5 votes)
I know there's some stuff in it I'm enjoying, but I thought from the general dismissal online I was the only one enjoying any of it.

I am nothing if not helpful.

This is an admittedly weird thing to link after all of those DC Defender posts, but I found an online t-shirt store that sells the stylish "Dan Didio Must Die" T-shirt pictured left (picture blatantly stolen from Fanboy Wonder).

I was going to try and write this post up as an advertisement, but really this thing sells itself. I know that several of my regular commenters will be unable to resist it.

Sunday, September 02, 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.

Hypothetically Speaking

You're watching a television show and it has a "To be continued..." ending. When showing the scenes to advertise the next part the announcer says:
Ben Cassidy is the greatest drag racer in all of Kunda County, but even he couldn't make it through Dead Man's Run without crashing. What chance does his cousin Will have now that he's been forced to make that run?
Now, being a rational, thinking human being with brain -- what do you think that means?

It usually means Will is going to get through Dead Man's Run in one piece, and get a slap on the back from cousin Ben. Sure, there's a slim chance that the plot will be that Ben shows up and pulls Will out of the burning wreckage. I figure in that case the advertisement would focus a bit more on Ben at the end, but there's a slim chance. More often than not, Will is going to come through in the end here. The trick is to make the predictable outcome exciting to watch unfold.

See, the reason they position Ben as "the greatest drag race in all of Kunda County" is to highlight the difficulty of Will's adventure here. If "the greatest drag racer in Kunda County" made Dead Man's run and ended up having to be pulled from a flaming wreckage, then man Will's in trouble isn't he? It'll be something to see if he makes it.

I suppose they could have the announcer say:
Local Schmuck Ben Cassidy crunched his car in Dead Man's Run. Can Will the much better racer survive the challenge?
But then what's the fucking point of watching?


Since I've been ranting about reactions to Amazons Attack, I may as well link one that made me laugh: Ragtime's Things I learned from Amazons Attack.

On #7: I would like to point out that through DC's shifting timeline Donna would be in the earliest part of the ADD generation (I really think we should just toss out the letter thing and do generations by most-commonly diagnosed childhood ailment anymore), and she was looking for Diana when Jason Todd showed up in a sidepanel. The next thing we all knew, she was hopping universes in Countdown.

So yeah, she got distracted and forgot about the war.

I wonder if the same thing'll happen to Kyle. The first Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer one-shot is due out this month, and the Sinestro Corps War crossover is not finished until December.

Can anyone else picture it? Kylelax raises his arm to throw an energy burst at a downed Hal, when just beyond his victim he sees an old girlfriend (and two other guys) appear out of nowhere.

"Hey Kyle! I found this guy who's taking us to alternate universes! We're looking for Professor Palmer! Wanna come?"

"Sure!" Kyle simply walks over to them, leaving a very confused giant yellow fearbug (from outer spaaace) where he was first standing. "Can we stop for coffee on the way?"

"Okay! He was just telling us about a universe where the guy who started up Starbucks is the Emperor of North America when I thought of you, actually..."

"Really? Do they still have the coffee bars there?"

"On every street corner," the Monitor assures him.

They disappear. Parallax is temporarily disabled because it just can't understand how it lost hold of that host. The other human host had had a normal attention span.

Unfortunately everyone else is also stunned by this turn of events for a combat round or two, so no advantage comes of it.

Its a good thing I'm not writing Sinestro Corps, isn't it?