Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Why Can't Comics Just be Fun?

I have been reading comics for over thirty years it is one of my greatest pleasures or at least in once was, the big two are caught at a cross-roads now that comic book movies have opened the doors to readers they feel the need to placate to. When I was a kid in the 80s, I went to the comic book store bought my comics, never heard any complaints about what the publishers should or shouldn't be doing, people would get their panties bunched about their favorite hero getting busted by someone one, but thats about it. There was no internet to sway them. There are some issues I run across that do re-kindle the feeling I used to get out of reading comics as a kid, but the writing is not as true to who the characters I have grown up with. In fact super-heroes became the new mythology of the western culture. In some cases like Thor pulling from older myths of other cultures. But those guys and girls in spandex represent our higher selves. Now I seem to be deriving more enjoyment from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, than last weeks issue of the Hulk. This is a problem because all of those shows and movies we are enjoying are based on character established back in 1961. So for we'll say 50 years considering how bad the past year has been, these characters have stood the test of time. So why change them?

One reason is writers who are not well read in the source materials and do not know how to write Steve Rogers as Steve Rogers or Peter Parker as Peter Parker so they try to put a spin on it. But in forty years from now something like Thor being a girl will be taken as seriously as when he was a frog. And if we want to get into the real lore of the character, well Thor is a god. How about we make a comic where Jesus is a girl? Or the Buddha is a girl? How would that fly? How are those deities any more sacred than Norse gods, who are still worshipped by pagans today? But what this is really about is how to please everyone? How can we reach into the wallets of every demographic? Disney seems to have done a pretty good job of this and Mickey is the same mouse he has always been. I said it once and I'll say it a hundred times, if you want strong female characters why not give Valkyrie or Sif the spotlight? Thor is a name that sells. Why doesn't Sam Wilson get a Falcon comic? Captain America is a brand that sells. Another Thor is fine there the horse alien Thor Beta Ray Bill, who won a hammer of his own fair and square. The new Thor has not beaten Odinson.Even if your only knowledge of Scandinavian culture came from the show "Vikings" you would be aware there was a certain social order and no way Odin would just say,"Ok, Little girl you can be my son." Since gods might be depicted as having certain human characteristics , they can never be not worthy of being a god that what they are. Are they going to write a comic where they say to Jesus come down from that cross we need the wood to build this little girl her own manger? So why call her Thor? It's not to give female fans a strong woman, its because the name sells the comics.

All of this is beginning to take the fun out of comics , and is making the companies put out a lower quality of product. I look forward to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, if I was watching it an some one was sitting next to me in my living and saying things to me like "Why is Agent Coulson the star of the show. Why is he a man?" I would wait until the commercial and pick them up and toss them out the door with a swift kick to the teeth to thank them for ruining my enjoyment. So why do I continue to make the mistake of clicking on articles on Comic Book Resources written by some of their liberal attention seekers? It was an honest mistake this morning when I clicked on Joseph Illidge's the Mission column. I need to avoid it. It is like a lingering fart that makes me want to clear out the room.

He went above and beyond. Comparing Thor to Captain America, the current incarnations of the books mind you. He first went on to praise the female Thor, he was also under the delusion it was because He is now a she. Not the case, I read it because I know Odinson and the characters related to Odinson are going to be in the book, the female character is the weakest developed of the bunch, one reason being is she doesn't have decades of development behind her. However in his article Illidge stated that it took him 90 minutes to read six comic books, this seemed long to me so I went online and found six comics I had not read before and timed it. It took twenty minutes. So if it took him four times longer, then well... I guess that why Odin makes all kinds of people some are just better at something than others. This is a concept Illidge doesn't grasp as he complained Sam Wilson, was struggling to much to be Captain America. The reason for this Joseph is he is not cut out to be Captain America, Sam is much better at being Falcon. He can't hang gong toe to toe with some of the guys Cap fights. One reason for this is he is not even half as strong. This is canon, Wilson can only lift 480 lbs, Rogers can lift over twice that. He then goes onto say like most black people in real life Sam Wilson's book has little chance of success. The reason is the book has had it's moments, but the concept is dumb so it should fail, its a gimmick rather than just getting a writing to pen a good Steve Rogers story, when Captain America 3 comes out do you think Wilson would have still been in the red, white and blue? No, he'll be Falcon that what he is good at and succeeds at. Even Luke Cage is a better leader of the Avengers than Wilson. Cage is not struggling he sticks to what he's good at.

So before I let all of people personal issue bleed over into my enjoyment of comics, which are becoming the battleground for social debate, and what some people think social change, I think I'll stick to clicking only on what matters, super-heroes in the comic books, it's supposed to be fun not like watching CNN,it's always been about escape. If you don't find a character you relate to escape with then you are reading the wrong books. I'm an alcoholic but I would much rather read the Hulk than Iron-man.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Enough is Enough- More Violence in Comics

Enough has finally become enough when it comes to being politically correct in comic books. D/C Comics finally showed that they do not have the stones to stand up for their creative integrity by pulling a variant cover for an upcoming issue of Batgirl. The cover in question… see above is a tribute to one of the most iconic Batman stories ever Alan Moore’s “the Killing Joke”. The story won an Eisner Award was written in 1988 and went on to influence both Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan’s vision of the Joker. It was one of the first books to show that comic books could challenge you and held more depth and weight than men in tights playing cops and robbers. So for feminists to get out raged that some in comics would pay homage to a classic graphic novel like “the Killing Joke” well it really holds no weight and if that is all you have to get your panties into a wad about then go live in a third world country where people actual problems that go beyond getting upset about something they saw on the internet. Hell… there are people who have no internet at all, in fact they don’t know where there child’s next meal is going to come from, there is something that is upsetting not Bat-girl crying.

But that is only the tip of the iceberg. Rafael Albuquerque dropped his purse on his keyboard after requesting D/C pull the cover and said he understand it touched a nerve and didn’t want to make people hurt or upset. Grow some thicker skin pal. Art is supposed to touch nerves, especially when you are depicting villains, when you are dealing with the dark world of Gotham, the evil has so be horrendous worse stuff has happened on the show, and that ABC. Comics should be edgier than ABC. D/C attempted to placate the audience in question by saying “violence and harassment have no place in comics or society”…what? Now this can be taken two different ways one that people fighting on Twitter and making death threats is wrong. If you take anything anyone says to you from the safety of the anonymity the Internet provides then it’s time to go to Wal-Mart and buy your self a pair of big-boy panties.  But this could also be taken as violence and harassment don’t have a place in comics meaning Bat-man and the Joker really just need to sit down in group therapy and talk it out. There no need for Captain America and the Red Skull to keep punching each other. D/C if violence had no place comics would not exist; violence is always the means of resolution in comics, at least the good ones. An example of no violence in comics would be Super-man Returns. Kent didn’t throw a punch the whole movie and it sucked…end of story. In fact comics should have more violence, one of the best moments in comics was when Sentry ripped Ares in half during Siege. Give me more of that and if you don’t like go back to reading My Little Pony. You want peaceful inspiration where every one is respected, go talk to Rainbow Dash.

My five-year-old daughter loves Batgirl. If she saw that cover in the comic book store with me she might wonder what was going on and I would tell her some times the good guys win and some times they don’t, looks like Bat-girl is having one of those days. Once she is twelve she is welcome to read my copy of the Killing Joke and make her own judgment about it. Will it send a negative message about women’s place in the world? I don’t think so. Women get shot every day. Men get shot every day. People get shot, that’s the world we live in. Barbra Gordon got shot. Not because she was a woman, but because the Joker will shoot you, even if you are Booster Gold and try to go back in time to stop him from shooting Bat-girl. The Punisher will shoot you too and he’s a good guy. That’s the world we live in. Deal with it.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Week in Marvel

This week in Marvel Hulk  12 was the best of the bunch. Mark Bagley seems to be the only one really knocking it out of the park. It  sucks Dr. Green had to de-power the Gamma Corps. I thought Gray was Glen Talbots, and a peek a Marvel's very own wiki confirms this, so how is he black when he gets de-powered ? Under stand they want diversity in comics, but changing some one's race when it's established canon they are white is poor editing. As for the other Avengers. Avengers World 18, felt more like an X-men book. On the better side of mediocre . Avengers 42, continues to set up the Secret Wars, about as good as that book as going to get with the story they are choosing to tell.

The Guardians of the Galaxy team up was fun. The art looked like it came right out of the 90s. Guardians of the galaxy have to be every where they are like the new- X-men there appearance in Angela, helped an other wise dull book, the whole Black Vortex thing is a lot of hype about nothing.
I dislike the art in Wolverines 9, but I like Daken even without his arm, but it has flipped the character around and now he doubts himself.

People whine about wanting more female-centric comics, but X-men is boring as all hell, so not making a great case for that argument.Speaking of female comic books, Spider -Woman 5 , was not bad , but what happened to her powers? Shouldn't it only take her one hit with a sledge hammer to knock a hole in the wall? I can knock hole in a wall with one hit and no powers, so should she since she's in the 5 to 7 ton rage. I would think she would knock the whole wall down. The motorcycle thing, seemed a little CW.

The books I passed on this week were  Rocket Raccoon, Original Sin, Iron Fist and Hawkeye, because they have been so terrible I can't even bring myself to flip through them anymore. Why some of those are big sellers is beyond me I think they are geared towards hipsters who want to be geek-chic by reading a comic, but don't really care for super-heroes. I salute  them with my middle finger for their efforts.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Now What Marvel?

Marvel has been so focused on movies it seems the quality control of the comics has slipped in the past couple of years. It seems half the books are cleaning up the messes made in Marvel's so called "big events"  or the are ramping up to make another mess. If you have heard anything about the up-coming Secret Wars event, then this catastrophe on the horizon is pretty evident. The worst thing about these events is every since Avengers vs X-men, they have been pretty anti- climatic. From the snooze fest that was Age of Ultron  to garbled story-line of the recent "Spider-verse".

Clean up from Axis is still under way in Superior Iron Man, this book is drawn better than most, it would take another column to go into the downfall of the companies art. 5 explores the origin of the Teen Abomination, who proves to be even more connected to Stark's past. Almost devoid of any action except a flash back scene that is kinda cool as it goes back to the 70s and shows Iron-Man fighting Whiplash for a few panels, even though that a fight we have seen almost too many times at this point. Then on the Avengers side of the fence we have the New Avengers ramping us up this week for Secret Wars, but not a punch is thrown. Secret Avengers is so poorly drawn it's hard to digest the story. When M.O.D.O.K became and Avenger I was pretty much done with that book. The Thor annual was three terrible stories , Thor is in my top five favorite Marvel Heroes ( the other four are the Hulk, Dr.Strange, Scarlet Witch and Vision)  so for me to not have any investment in the book is a sad state of affairs , not asking for Marvel to wow me with every book, but at least don't make me loose interest in my favorite characters.It looked like Invaders is coming to a close in this weeks issue, no one is shedding  any tears from that one with out Steve Rogers as Captain America that team has no point.  S.H.I.E.L.D. was one of the weeks best books it felt like one of the Spider-man team up books from the 80s. The story worked and good things are happening all around on this one.

That was almost the only Spidey book worth buying. Amazing Spider-man has so of the company's better art work, but every Spider- was saying good-bye. Peter Parker and Otto the Superior Spider-man had a throw down. Then in a step down in the art department is "Spider-man and the X-men"  which feels like the Ultimate Spider-an cartoon. the book teams him up with the kids from Xavier academy. The fight solid holograms of Spidey's foes.  Who would  have thought that Spider-man 2099 would be one of the weeks best comics. It was fun watching him get his butt beat by the Maestro Hulk.

The first issue of Spider-Gwen debuted. Boy was it a stinker. The art was marginal. Story thin a rice paper and I could not find myself caring about a single character in the book. Sure the Vulture showed up, the voice he was written with did not even seem like the same character. Marvel is trying to be diverse, but can't seem to get a grip on a female super-hero in her own book. Capt. Marvel might be the best of the bunch, but more often than not it bores me to tears. I like Carol Danvers, but I have a feeling her solo movie will make Halle Berry's Cat-woman seem like a good idea.

Wolverines was the best of the X-titles. It feature Fang from the Imperial Guard, who opening a six-pack of kicked butt on Wolverines foes and family. Amazing X-men, was half-way decent, the Living Pharaoh becoming the next Juggernaut took me by surprise. All- New X-men was a book I really enjoyed and now barely has a story line worth following. It crosses over into their Black Vortex event, featuring Nova and the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Rounding out the week in Marvel is Fantastic  Four, this issue was more build up though I was pleased that the Hulk was throwing down against some monsters with Ben Grimm and Dare Devil which was another transition issue. Inhuman was well drawn, but Blackbolt giving up his thrown to Medusa who he let slap him around is not in character at all.  Well better luck next week...books to buy  this week... Spider-man 2099, S.H.I.E.L.D and Wolverines. If you are a huge Juggernaut fan then Amazing X-men is a must.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Fifty Shades of Fraction

I can understand not liking Fifty Shades of Gray , however I think Marvel writer Matt Fraction and I dislike it for very different reasons. He is a pretty horrible writer, he penned the worst run of Thor ever, and now on his blog he has gone above and beyond the realms of stupidity by saying the following  “So there’s a movie out this weekend based on books that romanticize, fetishize, glamorize and normalize abusive relationships…And while sex is great and finding someone into all the stuff you’re into is great, sex is not consent to violence, a relationship is not permission to abuse, and there are thousands of women and children who have to deal with that fundamental and erroneous misconstruing of truth and wild misinterpretation of love every day.”

This goes beyond ignorance.For Fraction to be such a supposedly politically correct artist that feels so strongly about diversity in comics, it seems odd he can can insult and show prejudice against an entire lifestyle. As a member of the kink community myself, I can attest that we can be a little elitist and feel about Fifty Shades of Gray the same way old school goths feel bands like Blood on the Dance Floor. In fact I found the book to be rather boring and vanilla. I can understand if it really delved into golden showers and fisting, but it was a far cry from 120 Days in Sodom. Fraction obviously by his statement does not understand the concept of bdsm. Nor did he even crack the book open. If he had Fraction would have found  the two characters came up with contracts and safe-words, as they engaged in this as two consenting adults. Abuse has neither. I also know the main female character doesn't have children, so I am unsure how they even came up in the conversation. He finds that a touchy subject, leading you to believe someone must have been touchy with him as a child. Having issues is fine making judgements about a book you have never read is not. It is ultra-moronic and even that gives morons a bad name.
In response to the fact that the film’s earning millions made him feel “a little sick to think about,” Fraction is planning on matching donations to the Futures Without Violence charity  violence against women. Hopefully this money will go to fund his wife the poor Kelly Sue Deconnick's supply of  Duracell batteries since they  must have the most boring sex life. I am not one of these insecure idiots who wants the kink community to have certain minority rights and be accepted by society. I could not give a fuck what society thinks about me and what I do. I adhere to the fact the stronger you feel about something the less approval you need from others in regards to it be it kink or religion. For some one to speak out on a public platform about something they have no god damn clue about is an insult to even idiots with half a brain. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Why Spider-man's Arrival into Marvel Films Might Not Be a Good Thing

Sure Marvel set the internet ablaze with the announcement that the character would be swinging his way into the Marvel Studios films after being kicked around in some rather shoddy and too often maskless Sony films. The logistics of this vary depending on the ever shifting accounts some sources say Sony will have the last say other sources cite Marvel as being the final word. It is pretty much decided that this will occur during Captain America 3, which is going to tell the Civil War story that put Stark against Rodgers with Spider-man eventually caught in the middle.  Then a stand alone Spider-Man movie will take place in 2017, pushing the release date of Thor 3 and everything thing else that is not an Avengers Sequel back, such as Captain Marvel, the Inhumans and Black Panther. Sure that is exciting in theory, but before you get your hopes up, having Spider-man might be worse than not having him at all.

I was first clued into what has now swelled into a bigger debate on-line, one which should clearly only have the one right answer, when I read the press release in regards to casting that stated they are looking for an actor considerably younger than Garfield to play Spider-Man. The key word here being Spider-man. They did not say they were looking for a younger actor to play Peter Parker. This means it could be the Spider-man from the Ultimate Universe Miles Morales, a black kid who became Spider-man after Peter Parker died and Norman Osborn did a little genetic tinkering with him. It could be all a legal illusion since Sony still has Spider-man related projects in the work, so like the wiggling being done to share Quicksliver, it could be the deal means Marvel can use Spider-man, but Sony still gets Peter Parker. In this case everyone loses.

I have some friends who feel Marvel will do the right thing and make this Peter Parker. But let's think about the fact they already gave us the Ultimate Universe version of Nick Fury. But it can be argued that's because every one loves Samuel Jackson. Then came black Norse gods.To which even Jackson raised and eyebrow at. Marvel is operating under the misguided notion that there needs to be more diversity in comics, since the movies are bringing them at a wider audience . But didn't these fan boys and girls buy them when Thor was a man and Captain America was white? Then why change that. Why not give the existing female and black characters a bigger push. But some might say there are not enough super-heroes of color in the pages of Marvel...maybe not if you are stupid and just don't know the mythology but last time I counted there is Blade, Luke Cage, Storm, Black Panther, Brother Voodoo, War-Machine, Bishop, Falcon, Cardiac, Cloak, Deathlok, Bill Foster aka Goliath,Synch, Jetstream, Misty Knight, Triathlon, Moses Magnum, the new Power-man, Moon-boy, Sun-spot, Rage, Night-thrasher, Rocket racer, Silhouette, Patriot, Photon, Prodigy, Prowler, Puma, Vibraxas, Anarchist, Krystalin, and White Tiger...only five of those have hit the big screen so there's the problem. Another question is where is the out cry for other demographics not represented Jewish super heroes, Asian super-heroes, Polish super-heroes or native american super-heroes?

If wanting the character who have stood the test of time for the past fifty plus years to be depicted like they are in the pages of the comics that immortalized them is racist then I better start burning crosses, but even a writer of color for the Washington Post stated that while it's great to have Miles as a Super-hero it's still too early to have him on the big screen. He is not the only one others ask the same questions I do along with others like what happens one Obama is not in office? Why has it taken them so long to bring in Black Panther? Marvel will tell you Miles Morales is a very popular character...sure, but is he more popular than Peter Parker ? I think not.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Dragon- con News

New Slate of Superheroes Community Service Projects Lets Dragon Con Fans Lend a Hand

ATLANTA – January 12, 2015 – Dragon Con, Atlanta’s internationally known pop culture, fantasy and sci-fi convention, has selected the Lymphoma Research Foundation – Georgia Market as its official charity for 2015. Dragon Con will match dollar for dollar, up to $50,000, any money raised for this charity at the 2015 convention.

Dragon Con also announced its slate of Superheroes community service projects for Dragon Con members and fans in the Atlanta area. This program is now in its second year.

In 2014, the convention raised over $115,000 for its official charity, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, and collected 535 pounds of food. Through the Superheroes program, Dragon Con fans contributed more than 900 hours of community service.

“Selecting the Lymphoma Research Foundation as our official charity this year was a very personal choice,” said Rachel Reeves, convention co-chair. “We are grateful that organizations such as this are working hard to improve treatments and cures for this devastating disease.”
Two long-time members of the Dragon Con family – Eugie Foster, Director of the Daily Dragon, and Mark Brown, Co-Director of Convention Operations – recently died from lymphoma, while a third member is currently battling it.

Lymphoma is a group of blood cancers, most notably non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which accounts for about 90 percent of cases. Other types include Hodgkin lymphoma, myeloma and immunoproliferative diseases. Over half a million people are currently living with lymphoma in the United States – the most common blood cancer in adults and the third most common cancer over all among children.

Three Superhero projects are currently planned for the spring and summer of 2015. In addition to having a great time, people who participate in any of these service projects will be invited to an exclusive celebration during this year’s convention and will receive a Superheroes t-shirt.

“We had a great time last year, getting together as fans and volunteers, to do something good and make a difference in our community,” Reeves said. “Donations are always important, but there are plenty of organizations that also need volunteers to carry out their mission.”

The first Superheroes project will see a return to the Atlanta Community Food Bank partnership, with a half-day of work in an ACFB supported community garden onMarch 21st.

Community gardens act as a powerful tool for social change by providing neighborhoods with fresh vegetables, attractive landscapes, and place to meet and work towards positive goals. Volunteers help with weeding, seeding, planting, tilling, cleaning, clearing, and any other activity that can possibly take place in a garden.

For the second project, Dragon Con will field a team of volunteers to raise money and participate in the annual Lymphoma Walk, supporting the Lymphoma Research Foundation, on April 11th at Wesleyan School in Norcross. In addition to the walk team, the Superheroes will have other opportunities to volunteer at the walk – possibilities include registration, t-shirt table, set up/clean up, and route cheerleaders.

A third project is in the works, and details will be announced when they are confirmed.

About Dragon Con
Dragon Con is the internationally known pop culture convention held each Labor Day Weekend in Atlanta (Sept. 4 – 7, 2015). Organized for fans, Dragon Con features more than about 3,000 hours of comics, film, television, costuming, art, music and gaming over four days. For more information, please visit www.dragoncon.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information on the Lymphoma Research Foundation, please visitwww.lymphoma.org.

For more information on Atlanta Community Food Bank, please visit www.acfb.org.