Monday, December 28, 2009

Belated/Early Holiday Greetings and Rambling about the DC Comics Encyclopedia

A Belated Merry Christmas, and an early Happy New Year.

My $&*# external hard drive died over the holidays, taking most of my files with it, including an awesome scan of Ma Hunkel dressed as Santa Claus punching out a burglar in a Santa Claus mask.  (Which was, incidentally, going to be my Christmas post.)

Oh, well.  At least the hard drive's under warranty.

In an unrelated note, I got the DC Comics Encyclopedia for Christmas.  I'm amazed at how bad the editing is.  On one page, it says that Dr. Light killed Sue Dibny . . . and on another it says Jean Loring is the killer.  How did the editor let such a blatant contradiction slip by?  My guess is either laziness or incompetence.  Or both.  (And that's an error I noticed while flipping through the thing.  I haven't even read through the book yet, and I've already noticed at least one other major mistake and several nitpicky ones.)

Come on, DC.  I expected better, especially considering the price of the book.  Heck, next time you need something edited, let me do it.  My vast comics knowledge, nerdiness, and my ability to utilize an amazing resource known as the Internet will result in much better editing than what's displayed in this book.  And I guarantee my prices are much more reasonable.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

My thoughts on Dr. Arthur Light

For the most part, I am against the idea that any character is irredeemable.  Even the worst characters have the chance of becoming well-rounded and compelling under a good writer.  I would say that even the most blatantly stereotypes, bland cardboard cut-outs and hated characters can be saved.  99%  of characters are redeemable, if given to a good writer (in terms of being good characters, not in terms of being moral characters).  But Dr. Arthur Light?  He is in the 1%.

Dr. Light needs to die, die horribly and stay dead.  No cameos.  No flashbacks.  No mentions.

DC needs to treat him like the disgusting piece of garbage he has become and pitch him.  DC has been oblivious to the fact that many fans loathe the character.  And not in the way that DC intends.  He's not a character you love to hate.  He's a character that you want to vanish from comics entirely, preferably after a horrendous death.

Ever since he was retconned into being a rapist in Identity Crisis, he has been defined as being a rapist.  He has no personality outside of that, and even if he did, his character would be forever tainted by his years as "Dr. McRape."

But rather than try to fix this, writers after Identity Crisis tried to "one-up" his portrayal as a rapist.  Since the "rapist" personality has gotten old, they aren't going to make him well-rounded.  They'll just do everything we can to make him sicker and more twisted.

He must have more rapes retconned into his past.  He must rape a bunch of teens he forces to dress as the Titans.  He must turn every conversation to rape.  And in the most recent Justice League of America issue . . .


He must be resurrected as a Black Lantern so he can attempt to rape the female Dr. Light.  All while insinuating that's she's a prostitute and that she wants to be raped by him.  And mentioning the time they swapped bodies and inviting her to guess what he did with her body.  And slowly destroying her clothing until she's left naked.  And making threats against her children which I'm sure we're meant to assume mean he's a pedophile as well.

I said it before, and I'll say it again: Dr. Light needs to die, die horribly and - most importantly - stay dead.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Rethinking Justice Society

I haven't been particularly impressed by Justice Society since Geoff Johns left.  But the most recent issue has made me rethink it and the past few issues.  (Spoilers in 5, 4, 3, 2 . . .)

I still think the little "filler story" between Johns and the current writer is fairly bad.  (Although I'm eternally grateful that it was used to show that, in spite of Grant Morrison's better efforts, Director Bones is still alive and awesome.)  The issues after it are flawed, but the story arc is progressing and becoming more interesting as it goes.  Mr. Terrific's "death" was lazy, but the fact that the culprit was a character who has been established as a creepy multiple-murderer makes it slightly less cheap.

The split of the team wasn't great, but that seems to be due to editorial mandate rather than the writing team's idea, so I'll let it slide.  What can I say?  I'm a JSA fan, so in my mind, two Justice Society books are (hopefully) better than one.

The story seemed to quit meandering in the past issue, and it's managed to peak my interest just when I was starting to think the story was going to go in circles.  Johnny Sorrow is an awesome villain that I'd like to see more of . . . but his sudden fixation on Stargirl is more than a little creepy.  Heck, he was already unbelievably freaking creepy when he was fixated on Sand.  And depending on your interpretation, he might have actually raped Sand when he was still a young sidekick.  This makes his focus on Stargirl wrong on so many levels.  (Wrong, but definitely compelling.)

But why Stargirl?  If I recall correctly, she didn't interact with Sorrow at all during the storylines he appeared in.  I'm hoping an answer to "why Stargirl" is on the horizon, because I'm getting a little tired of the question going unanswered.  Because I can't see a good answer to the question, and if it seems like the writers pulled it out from where the sun don't shine, I'm going to be majorly ticked.

Even though I've spent a good chunk of this post complaining, I'm still feeling more optimistic about the direction that Justice Society is going than I have in a while.

I'm also crossing my fingers about JSA: All Stars.  Some of my favorite C-Listers are in that book and I really want to love it.  But I couldn't really tell from the first issue if the series is going to be any good.  I'm not much for "grim and gritty" so I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Thoughts and Musings about Women Comics Bloggers

Since I became a comics fan, I've read quite a few blogs, many of which were written by women.  Women may be a minority in the comics audience, but from my experience they are a vocal minority.  If something ticks them off about a character or a storyline, they are more than willing to let you know.  It's great.  They are sharing their love of comics with the world and tackling issues that they find important.  As far as I'm concerned, the more fans discuss and debate comics, the better the comics community will be for it.

But there's a trend I've noticed with some women comics bloggers.  Women in Refrigerators, When Fangirls Attack!, Zamaron . . . maybe it's just the blogs I've read, but it seems like women comics bloggers are focused almost entirely on women's issues.  There's nothing wrong with that . . . but I can't see myself ever do that.  It's just too limiting.  Too restrictive.

There are countless things that you can comment on in comics: plot, character development, the current trends and direction of the comics industry.  There are endless amounts of debates to be had: Should Spider-Man have organic web shooters?  Are editors overstepping their bounds when they mandate storylines?  What's the ideal Justice League line-up?  Did the X-Men end up embracing racist thinking when they adopted the "homo superior" talk of Magneto?

Why limit yourself to just "women's issues" when there are so many other issues that are out there to discuss?  Why should the be-all and the end-all of the woman comics blogger be women's issues?

If a character is well-written and complex, I don't care if they're a man or a woman.  As long as they're a fully-fleshed out character, I'm happy.  I didn't care, and in fact didn't notice, that the superheroes on Batman: The Brave and the Bold were outnumbering the superheroines by a huge margin until it was pointed out to me.  I was too busy having fun watching the show and geeking out over the appearance of some of my favorite C-Listers.  I didn't care what the exact male-to-female hero ratio was as long as the show was good.

I'm sure plenty of people would disagree with me on that.  They would argue that there aren't enough women in comics and that it does matter whether that character is a man or a woman.  It does matter if there are less female heroes out there than male.  That because of this, there should be more focus on women's issues in comics.

That's fine.  If they want to blog about women's issues, more power to them.  But I'm not going to restrict myself to only a narrow range of issues.

I love comics.  I also happen to be a woman.  The two have nothing to do with each other.

Edit: Fixed really stupid typo.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Musing about comics and manga

I love superhero comics.  I also love manga.  This makes me wonder: how many comics fans are also manga fans?  Manga is unlike American comics in many ways, the most prominent being that American comics tend to limit themselves to the niche of superhero comics.  But there is manga in pretty much any genre you can name.

But that doesn't necessarily mean that a fan of superhero comics would like manga.  If you like seeing superheroes, you aren't going to find many Japanese comics with American-style superheroes . . . or very many with Japanese-style superheroes, since the superhero genre is a tiny percentage of the manga market.

I'm a fan of both American comics and manga, but it isn't because they're so similar.  It's because they're so different. Manga and American comics both appeal to me in different ways.  I love superheroes, and American comics are loaded with them.  I like manga because of the huge variety that it offers.  I've read manga in the genre of martial arts, detective fiction, sports, romantic comedy, fantasy . . .  Which one I'm reading at any given moment is dependent on my mood.

I wouldn't be surprised if there was a fairly big crossover between the American comics and manga audience.  I also wouldn't be at all surprised if there were big chunks of both audiences that think the other genre is inherently inferior to their beloved genre.