Controversy LinkBlogging

Cool Things to Look At

Storming the Tower explores autobiographical comics by comparing how artists draw themselves with actual photos. I was impressed by how faithful many of them were. What a great use of the net! The one omission I noted: Paul Pope. I never fully understood his art style until I met him, and then suddenly, it all made sense — he’s drawing himself.

The funny folks at Comics Alliance explore a set of fan drawings of boy superheroes turned into sexy girls with less clothing.

Wow, DC Got Me Excited About One of Their Comics!

Just when I thought I was done with superheroes, I saw the news that Ted Naifeh (Courtney Crumrin, The Good Neighbors) will be drawing a Teen Titans backup. That’s not enough, by itself, to get me to buy — I like his art but I want more than pretty pictures — but I also love the concept, involving three mystical teens, two of whom are the most exciting new character ideas I’ve seen in superheroes in a while. Black Alice, who can turn herself into versions of other mystical heroes; Traci Thirteen, a magician I liked reading in Blue Beetle and Doctor 13: Architecture & Mortality; and Zachary Zatara, Zatanna’s cousin, become the Coven. Ok, the name’s cheesy, but the rest intrigues me. The story starts in Teen Titans #83.

Girl Comics Reviewed

I don’t get comics weekly any more, so I haven’t seen an issue yet. I love the creators involved, hate the title and what it says about the publisher, but I’m looking forward to reading it.

Unfortunately, the reviews I’ve seen so far have been mixed. Boys don’t like it: Christopher Allen called it “ghastly”, “slapdash”, and “phoned in”. Chris Sims says that although the art is “good-looking”, the stories are a “mixed bag”, singling out the Punisher piece as “aggressively, pointedly mediocre”.

But girls do: Caroline calls it “a treat” although she says she’s already the target market because of her love of comic book heroines. Are there other good reviews about the title I’ve missed?

RIP Milestone

I started reading Milestone at the origin, because they were just coming out when I was getting back into comics (the time that stuck), and I loved seeing stories and art more nuanced and real-world than the flat four-color heroes I remembered. I was excited to see the announcement for Milestone Forever, one last story with the characters, and I’m looking forward to reading it. Given all the history with DC, though, I don’t know why I believed this time the treatment would be different. It wasn’t.

I believe this line of comics makes the whitebread DC folks uncomfortable, and as a result, it’s been marginalized and neglected. The easiest way to see this? Ask yourself why DC didn’t bother to do much of anything to tie into the successful Static Shock! cartoon. And yeah, I know that the deal structure has an affect on their decisions. DC wants to own things, not share. Even though 50% (or whatever) of a lot of money would be better than 100% of none, they still fixate on the 100%.

Saddest of all is this comparison, using a parable from Hardware to show how optimism becomes resignation and an inability to keep fighting a system biased against you.

Cry for Justice Kills a Kid

Spoiler!

The problem I have with killing off Lian Harper is that she and her father had such dramatic possibilities that were found nowhere else in the DCU. He was a single father superhero. She grew up around heroes but had no powers. Her mother was a super-villain (a wonderful metaphor for the ex you don’t want to interact with but have to). She was a kid with her own personality, not just a plot device. There is SO MUCH story potential there that’s been tossed away for … what? Yet another “oh, this story is meaningful because someone dies!” shortcut stretching for meaning? That’s already a cliché in the genre.

The creators have been seen saying “we got a reaction from you, so we got what we wanted”. I think they’re mistaking disgust, apathy, and resignation (“they did it again? I knew it”) for excitement and interest. They have once again demonstrated their lack of imagination publicly, which should show how ill-suited they are for working in a fantasy genre. Unless they’re revealing that they fantasize about killing kids and shooting bad guys in the head, in which case, back away slowly.


12 Responses to “Controversy LinkBlogging”

  1. Bytowner Says:

    Seems as if there was a stereotype disguised as a genre convention to enforce with the Lian Harper decision: superheroes must never succeed at raising families. Same thing happened with the Parker-Watson marriage in the Spider-Man books over a year or two earlier. Ditto with the Dibnys in Identity Crisis. And on and on…

  2. Bytowner Says:

    As for the Milestone characters…we shouldn’t let it go. Or give up.

  3. Sarah Says:

    If you come to my house and poop on my floor, you’ll get a reaction from me, too. Is that really something to aspire to?

  4. Barney Says:

    I can’t really get excited about Ted Naifeh working on Teen Titans. While I’m sure the money is good for him from my perspective, as a reader, it just means he won’t be working on comics that I’ll want to read. The same is true of Judd Winick, who seems to be hated by the superhero comic fans who are his audience now but is truly missed by anyone who enjoyed Barry Ween Boy Genius.

  5. howard Says:

    “Even though 50% (or whatever) of a lot of money would be better than 100% of none, they still fixate on the 100%. ”

    To be a bit pedantic, this isn’t strictly true.

    If they give Milestone 50%, the next Milestone would also want 50%. If they don’t, the next Milestone might give them 100%.

    Also, instead of printing Milestone, they could push something a Zuda that gives them 100%.

    There’s plenty of business reasons to want to destroy Milestone.

  6. Suzene Says:

    Had to struggle with whether or not to pick up Girl Comics. Utterly loathe the name and the lack of thought behind it. Really like about half the writing talent, have severe aversions to others, but then Colleen Coover’s art makes up for a lot. In the end, issue #1 didn’t meet my “character I love/creator I trust” criteria for anthology books, so I gave it a pass. #2 will get another shot, though.

    I probably will pick up Teen Titans #83, though. I don’t know the writer, but I’m fond of all of the characters, and I’d like to see Ted Naifeh’s take on them, especially Black Alice and her eternally-shifting wardrobe of gender-bent costumes.

    I think so far as DC is concerned, anything that gets people talking about the book is a good thing, no matter if they’re raging or applauding (see also: Willingham on Spoiler; Kyle and Yost on their hill of dead child/C-list characters). It is lazy writing and playing into a tired genre stereotype, but “Cry for Justice” sold well, and odds are not enough people are going to drop books from their pulls to make anyone involved think twice before they haul out the next mini-fridge.

  7. Johanna Says:

    I understand the idea that controversy sells — Marvel’s Bill Jemas did it very well last decade, but the difference there is that the books were better than what DC is pushing now. They’ve successfully driven most casual readers out of the market, so you’re right, I suspect sales don’t change much, but that’s not a good thing. From my perspective, it’s the sign of a very unhealthy market, when only the die-hards are left.

    Howard, you’re evil, but correct. :)

    Barney, good point. A creator’s time is not infinite. If they do X, they can’t do Y. On the other hand, if Naifeh makes some good money from this gig, maybe that will free him up to do some others with different ways of making money.

  8. Suzene Says:

    Very much. As you said: these sorts of stories breed disgust, apathy, and resignation in the fanbase, and it is very hard to get someone you’ve burned to buy into your next project. The only good thing I can say about it is that occasionally I get people who’ve had their fill of the main books to spend their $4 on smaller titles that need some love.

  9. Avi Green Says:

    This isn’t the first time DC’s coughed out a story with a violent infanticide – a year and a half ago, Geoff Johns depicted Inertia doing it to Josh Jackam in Rogues’ Revenge, but I only became fully aware of it a couple months after the book was published when I read an update on Bill Walko’s Titans Tower fansite. After I realized what Johns had done for no good reason, I will never read his future output as a writer ever again. It’s almost ironic that Robinson, who co-wrote at least 2 series with Johns that were fairly better than what Johns wrote solo, would lose direction just as badly.

    As far as sales are concerned, it’s worth noting that even crossover sales have begun stagnating, and it’ll be harder to continue justifying the low sales their whole output gets much longer.

  10. Caroline Says:

    You’ve probably seen this by now, but for reference of those reading this post, When Fangirls Attack has a good collection of links to reviews (positive and negative, by men and women) for Girl Comics #1:

    http://womenincomics.blogspot.com/2010/03/so-many-many-links-part-one.html

  11. Coming Up: DC Comics Due May 2010 ยป Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] I am looking forward to Teen Titans #83, because of the new Coven backup, as I already mentioned, plus I’ll keep reading The Great Ten and The Unwritten. Otherwise… it’s a shame [...]

  12. DC Spinner Rack: Secret Six 22, Teen Titans 84, Doom Patrol 11, Wonder Woman 600, Tiny Titans 29 » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] of Black Alice, I regret recommending the Coven of Three backup. (She’s one of the three, along with a boy Zatanna and Tracy Thirteen.) It’s [...]

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