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That's what the internet buzz is saying.

So, one simple question for the students of pop culture (and of hat-wearing bowmen): WTF?

Or more precisely, what the f**K is DC thinking?

With pictures of this train wreck:
http://www.bleedingcool.com/2010/06/04/is-this-really-the-worst-comic-of-all-time-a-defence-of-justice-league-the-rise-of-arsenal-3/

And a few descriptions of the awfulness:
http://www.savagecritic.com/brian/i-have-read-the-worst-comic-i-have-ever-read/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Harper_%28comics%29
(Read the Rise and Fall section for a summary.)

The "writer" of this will be also writing the new Green Arrow relaunch where Green Arrow is now a killer, been outlawed and hides out in the new forest which has magically appeared in the middle of his hometown. I had considered looking into how Robin Hoody this new take is (a bit on the nose, it sounds) but after reading about Arsenal, I doubt it.

Oh, and here's a cover of issue 3 of the new Green Arrow comic.
http://www.bleedingcool.com/2010/06/04/green-arrow-3-a-cover-suggestion/

I don't feel any fan ownership of these characters. I know that Green Arrow, Roy Harper, Batman, etc. exist purely as corporate creations and the company can do what they'd like with them. It just strikes me as a really bizarre choice to publish a comic like this. I can't see how it will help them in the marketplace.

This is probably why I feel the same self-conscious sense of guilt and shame in entering a comic book shop as I probably would feel upon entering an adult-only video store. (Not that I know first hand, but I suspect porn shops have more appealing layouts and less creepy staff.)

Allen

Date: 2010-06-04 02:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cursor-mundi.livejournal.com
So, I think the way to look at this is very similar to the way you have to look at That Movie: from the standpoints of narrative structures and then the (very different) standpoint of content/characterization/whatever else. From the page-by-page description, things are structurally pretty wildly out of control and nothing is being resolved, build solidly, or even justified; vanishing wounds, no transitions or explanations, etc. That's an issue of craft and structure, and it's much harder to debate. The content is where the message board weirdness seems to come in, from the people who have set aside the structural issues for whatever reason--and who can blame them? you pay money for something, you're going to be desperate to see some worth in it, yeah?--and who are focusing on the character, and they're likely seeing resonances from other stories and other tales. Again, indication of piss-poor craftsmanship, but not as much with content for someone who is invested in the character. (Though, apparently, the character is being slaughtered as well. I can't speak to that, I've really only ever encountered Roy in fan representations.)

And you know, I think there are a lot of comics out there that are worse on the content level. Anything written by Frank "WHORES WHORES WHORES" Miller in the last decade offends me horribly; there's a lot of other comics (comics with a far larger readership) that are really offensive to women once you get past the flash and bang of the fights, not to mention racial issues, treatment of non-heteronormative sexualities, US-centric policies and politics, and a lot of that is built into the structure of the comics industry. It's not going away for a while. So hopefully this piece of junk will sink like a stone and no one will remember and revive it, not even Grant Morrison...except to bring it out, mock it, and then reverse it...much as Claremont did to Shooter's idiocy re: Ms. Marvel in 1981.

Date: 2010-06-04 03:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] puckrobin.livejournal.com
CM, thanks to you for months now whenever I've seen Frank Miller's name I've mentally altered it to Frank "Whores, whores, whores" Miller.

You are right. It really isn't different than most of the stuff out there now.

I wonder what can be done. I suspect superhero comics have become so locked into this small, freaky fanboy niche that overgrown man-children are the only market they think they can get. And so anything that doesn't succeed within that narrow little niche is deemed a failure. With the market as it is today, is it possible to break out of the old boys network.

Maybe my mind is clouded by nostalgia or I'm placing too much importance on "relative to its time" or maybe I'm only remembering the exceptional stuff, but I don't think things were quite this bad back in the mid-1980s.

Date: 2010-06-04 03:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cursor-mundi.livejournal.com
Re: F "W,W,W" M: LOL, I do try! (Also: calling it like it is.)

I'm friended to someone who just told me that she wants to break into the comics industry at the editorial level, precisely to correct some of the problems that are showing up now. Comics publishers have really backed themselves into a corner: they recycle, over and over, the same characters into multi-media formats that will get the characters noticed (DC is worse at this than Marvel, admittedly), and then moan that no one's interested in their stuff. I mean, Batman or Superman is really the choice from DC; there have been Wonder Woman shows, but nothing feature length, nor with any care behind it, to appeal to the Third Wave feminist crowd. And Marvel's introduction of Iron Man--a character that's always had a huge female readership in part because he's respectful to the women he dates, and also because he's intelligent, a go-getter, and good with his hands...shut up, that isn't dirty!--as their flagship is a good idea, because Wolverine? Yeah, gross, sexist, doesn't think because he'll heal everything, nothing but offensive weaponry.... Objectification is a two-way street, but often male publishers don't think of that; they only consider their own perspectives. But then both DC and Marvel go and change the characters in the comics to match the films, and it's like, guys, keep in mind that media type matters! Also, PS, your consumers can tell when you're being money grubbing idiots.

I think the 1980s were very earnest, and a lot of that entails socially-progressive entertainment; also, with first and second wave feminisim, civil rights, etc., the 1980s was still very much the time of mobilization, of incorporation into the social fabric. Once it's there, it's really easy to fall back to pre-activist times, because activism is exhausting. I see a lot of the writing that's going on now as a result of the exhaustion of the writers in the face of activism: of course women are equal, now we just need to entertain! And then, bam, you get Arsenal, or stuff like the Ultron Initiative, in which feminization is portrayed as a disease for laughs. (Iron Man's a woman! LOL! Isn't that just AWFUL, you guuuuuuys?!)

Honestly, I'm refusing to read new comics these days. It's the only way I can protest. There are apparently some good stories out there--there's Girl Comics or something--but I want to read about Iron Man and Batman, because heeeey, I'm female and I would like my fantasy reading to be slightly disconnected from my every-day existence. And I want my heroes to be decent human beings, and I don't want that to be constrained by gender--I want gender to be recognized, but I don't want essentialism because that's too easy. WOE.

Date: 2010-06-04 05:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] puckrobin.livejournal.com
I hope your friend makes it and invites others along, because the editorial and writer boards of those rooms are worse than men's locker rooms. (Listen to the Word Balloon podcast if you just want to cringe.)

There's always Hawkman and the Martian Manhunter to objectify. (g)

I think Wolverine's sexism comes and goes. When it comes to the X-Men, my default image for the characters is the 1980s because that's when I was reading the book. And remember him calling women "Frails" a lot in the early days. (A term which I've never heard outside of a comic book.) But within a few years, he was deferring to Storm and even Kitty Pryde a lot. But Wolverine got kind of ... well, like the characters in the later seasons of MASH where they all grew to respect each other as people.

You're so right about the earnestness of the 1980s.

My memory of the 1980s was the team books, and they were very women-centric. And also, team books were the most popular books of at least the early 1980s. Half the Titans were women. Half the Legion of Super-Heroes were. Sometimes even more than half the X-Men. More than half of the New Mutants. With the Avengers, Wasp was the leader and She-Hulk, Scarlet Witch and the female Captain Marvel were all prominent and capable members. And before the Detroit League, in addition to Wonder Woman, the Justice League had Hawkgirl, Black Canary and Zatanna (who wasn't in fishnets at the time) as well as Wonder Woman. And with She-Hulk, even 50 percent of the FF were women. And with the X-Men, Avengers, Defenders, New Mutants and at least some of time with the Legion, the team leaders were women.

Certainly to my mind, the X-Men were as much about Storm, Kitty and Rogue as they were about Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Colossus.

My impression of the team books today is that not only is percentage far less, but Black Widow, Spider-Woman and Ms. Marvel seem less distinct for me than the characters back then . (My default Avengers is also the 1980s when Wasp was a bit fun-loving but thoroughly capable leader. At some point in the 1990s, a writer a bit older than me got nostalgic for the brainless and flighty Wasp of yore.)

Most of the people who wrote those 1980s team books were men. But 25 years on, and I don't think the number of active female superhero writers is all that much different from the days of Jo Duffy and Louise Simonson. Gail Simone is the most prominent one that's coming to mind. And there's something sad about that.

I wonder if this phony rebellion of "I'm against political correctness" (a term which I believe was coined by the opponents and not the supporters, although the wannabe rebels don't act as such) really killed these advances.

I remember when the Justice League cartoon came out, fan boys were mortally offended that they were using Hawkgirl and the John Stewart version of Green Lantern. (For the benefit of those who don't know but are actually reading this far out of some sense of loyalty or masochism - Green Lanterns are like sci-fi cops. The most prominent ones were white men, but John Stewart is black. And in the 1960s-1980s versions of the characters, Hawkman and Hawkgirl were equal partners, despite the usual top billing and prominence of the male half.) To me, it made enormous sense as it allowed the show to be somewhat inclusive without going the old Superfriends route of minor, token heroes like Black Vulcan and Apache Chief. People acted like the inclusion of one black and one extra female character were somehow a threat to the tradition of the Justice League.

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