Agreeable LinkBlogging

Three things I agree with:

Steve Flanagan on the recent JLA/JSA crossover. He didn’t like it, pointing out obvious craft problems that shouldn’t have appeared in a professional publication and indicting what passes for writing these days:

For Brad Meltzer, super-heroes are his imaginary friends. He wants to hang out at their clubhouse, playing games. They can call him “Brad”, and he can call them “Bruce” and “Clark” and “Hal”. Grudgingly, he fits in a few shards of plot. But his heart’s not in it. […] it is in the nature of the DC Universe these days that writers have to make choices about which versions of past continuity to adhere to. But it is foolish to draw attention to this unavoidable weakness, and downright perverse to base your whole story on asserting your preferred version of continuity over all the others. [Geoff] Johns is interested in exerting control over an imagined world more than in telling stories that can stand up on their own.

I share Heroine Content’s praise for Geena Davis founding See Jane, “a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the varied roles of female characters in children’s media.” Brava!

Since women and girls make up half of the human race, the presence of a wide variety of female characters in our children’s earliest media is essential for both girls’ and boys’ development. See Jane seeks to engage professionals and parents in a call to dramatically increase the percentages of female characters — and to reduce gender stereotyping — in media made for children 11 and under.

Ryan at Metamorphostuff tackles the complicated issue of mistaking superhero comics for all comics, especially when debating portrayals of women.

It comes up periodically on a few blogs and forums that far too many people say “comics” but in fact mean “superhero comics.” More specifically, they mean “Marvel and DC superhero comics”, and, to be entirely specific “the Marvel and DC superhero books I read.” […] for the life of me I can’t fathom the idea of throwing good money at bad product month after month. A bit of complaining when a title hits a rut is one thing, but continuing to follow something that makes you angry month after month strikes me as masochistic at best. All of which is to say is that when someone says “comics should be like this”, what they really mean is “the comics I’m reading should be like this.”

Hmmm, those last two fit together oddly, don’t they? I think it just brings home how superhero comics these days so clearly aren’t for kids anymore. The DC comic I enjoy most is Teen Titans Go! (with hope for Legion Comic With Too-Long Title of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century), and both of those have a nice gender balance and reasonable, non-sexist portrayals. Whew! Contradiction averted!

6 Responses to “Agreeable LinkBlogging”

  1. James Schee Says:

    My problem with how some of todays use creators use continuity, isn’t so much the continuity.

    It is that some of the creators seem to have this skewed rememberence of a past story that they base the new story entirely on. Yet their memory is so skewed it makes no sense to anyone who doesn’t see thing as they did.

    BTW, I hope you do start enjoying the LSH Adventure book, since it looks like Teen Titans Go will be canceled soon.

  2. Thad Says:

    Paul Dini had an LJ post about See Jane a couple months back ( ). The gist is that, while it’s certainly a noble endeavor, Ms. Davis, well, doesn’t seem to know what she’s talking about. Her best example of a negative portrayal of a female character in a cartoon is Smurfette, and she doesn’t even mention the most obvious examples of positive and negative female role models in current animation, Kim Possible and Bratz.

    But again, that was two months ago; maybe she’s done some research since then.

  3. Johanna Says:

    I don’t know that I’d consider Paul Dini a great source on creating fiction for girls, myself. And whether or not Smurfette is a good idea (I lean towards no), that doesn’t contradict the essential problem of needing more good role models for girls.

  4. Matthew Says:

    Actually, I don’t think that they like the character too much. If they actually DID like the characters, they would be writing them well.

    I really do want to write DC superheroes someday, but I’m worried that it will just be interpreted as fanwank.

  5. Johanna Says:

    Oh, I have to disagree. I’m sure people have written great stories with characters they didn’t personally like, and sometimes, liking something too much makes you too cautious and safe. Or misleads you into following completely the wrong direction.

  6. Matthew Says:

    And I have to politly disagree with you, at least when it comes to American superhero comics.

    The reasons I read most of these comics is because of the characters. The have incredibly well defined personalities. A good writer, in my humble opinon, should let these characters, essentially, ‘speak’ for themselves. In an attempt at making fanscripts, I’ve found that the characters with well-defined personalities, wrote themselves. As a writer, a could control the situation, but I could not control the character’s reaction to the situation. That’s how well defined they were to me.

    Brad Meltzer, however, IS trying to control the characters. He’s not letting the character be themselves; he’s just putting words in their mouth. As far as I’m concerned, if you can’t or don’t let these characters write themselves, you eithier are not a good writer of American superhero comics, or you just don’t care about the character.

    Really, these american superhero are a paid form of fanfiction (which is the only fiction I can do, which is why I want to work for DC/Marvel one day despite their stupidity), and the worst fanfiction are the one where the author tries to control too much. The best fanfictions are when the author sets up a situation and just describes what happens.




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