Thursday, April 29, 2010

Magic 8 Ball The Movie

New York Magazine reports that Paramount is planning a "National Treasure type action-adventure" movie based on the Magic 8 Ball fortune-telling toy:

"Now, when even the most one-dimensional toys are getting the 2-D treatment (Battleship, the Ouija board), Paramount Pictures has decided audiences are finally ready to embrace the Zen simplicity that is Magic 8 Ball: The Motion Picture."

Magic 8-Ball. Isn't that what these producers use to make their movie-making decisions in the first place?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Pop-Cultural Archetypes: Gladys Kravitz

Mrs. Kravitz: Keeping the world safe from magical Civil War dudes since 1964

(This post was done by request, from someone seeking more info on Gladys Kravitz. )

One of all the all-time great sitcom "heels," Gladys Kravitz was the eternally nosy neighbor whose entire reason for living seemed to be to prove her next-door neighbor Samantha was really a witch. While Gladys would constantly insinuate that she was merely doing this as her civic duty because "those people just aren't normal next door," I always thought her obsession stemmed from a deeper sense of inadequacy.

Gladys's "inheritor," Mr. Furley: "I see witches...uh, I mean teh gay!"

Gladys had a long-suffering husband named Abner who never quite believed her but occasionally went along with her hair-brained schemes to "out" Samantha (note the subtext) just to shut his wife up. As the series went on, Abner began mentioning Gladys's "medication" a lot -- a possible side-effect to witnessing levitating tables and magical babies on a regular basis.

Actress Alice Pearce had a long career before Bewitched came along, starring in such films as "On The Town" with Gene Kelly. Pearce was diagnosed with terminal cancer just before the TV show that made her famous began, and worked while suffering from the disease all the way up to her death in 1966. While part of Kravitz's "appeal" was her somewhat odd appearance, when you realize it was partially due to the fact she was in treatment/dying it kind of gives you pause.

Gladys II's "O" Face.

After Pearce's passing, the rather cuddly Sandra Gould took over the role of Mrs. Kravitz -- but she never quite matched the work of Pearce. Gould was more an annoying "Aunt Harriet" from Batman type character, lacking the intensity of Pearce.

Mrs. Kravitz will always be emblematic not only of the nosy next-door neighbor, but of the character with an almost stalker-level of obsession with "outing" the protagonist. Other such archetypal characters would be J. Jonah Jameson from Spider-Man, Principal Rooney from Ferris Bueller's Day Off, the Ropers from Three's Company, and Chief Inspector Dreyfus from the Pink Panther series. Even Lois Lane/"Lois Lame" from her 50s and 60s Superman appearances had that quality in spades.

It seems like the Kravitz archetype seeks to define themselves through the contrasting of themselves with entities that they consider to be "rule breakers" and outside the status quo. Thus Samantha is "a witch," Spider-Man is "lawless," Ferris is a dangerous tempter of youth, etc. In this equation, the archetype sets him- or herself up as an "Authority," even if this is not really the case. For example, in reality Gladys Kravitz holds little to no authority in her household or in any other real area of her life. Jameson might hold some weight as editor of the Daily Bugle, but this time it is the readers who know better -- he can manipulate his fictional audience, but not the real audience reading the comic book.

Lastly, there is the paradoxical quality of the Kravitz archetype's obsession with their target. While a Samantha Stevens or Ferris Bueller might, on the surface, seem to be a true bane to this archetype's existence...they also seem to be its reason for living. And thus we have the classic tale of a pre-modern Lois finally proving that Clark Kent is Superman...then what? The air is out of the sails. Indeed, for the Ropers, who never have intercourse, they might be living vicariously through the imagined sexploits of their young attractive renters.

Gracccccccce! Somebody wrong on the Internet again!

There is a crucial scene at the end of Ferris Bueller's Day Off where Ferris's sister comes face-to-face with Principal Rooney. As almost a Rooney-in-training, she realizes that her persecution of her brother will ultimately make her a douche like Rooney. So she gives up on "Kravitzing" Ferris. Meanwhile, Rooney continues his path and ends the movie with a walk of shame on the school bus, spit upon and in tatters. Similarly, Inspector Dreyfus ends his career in a mental asylum.

In a television show that seemed to have a great deal of gay subtext, Gladys Kravitz seemed to also represent nervous Middle America's reaction to homosexuals and other "minority" groups who were slowly mainstreaming. The Stevenses didn't need to be gay or "witches" -- they could have just as easily been new African-American next-door-neighbors. In a sense, the Internet is full of Kravitzes trying to find every last real or imagined bit of dirt about Barack Obama. What about that birth certificate? Did you see that secret hand gesture Michelle made? What does it all mean? Why won't anybody DO anything?

Sue Sylvester: somewhere, somehow, somebody's having fun.

Further, our entire celebrity news machine might be institutionalised Kravitzism, poor plain Gladys sneaking peek after peek at the "beautiful people" next-door. Is that "O" face a look of disapproval...or rapture?

There's a famous Bewitched clip where Gladys, from over the fence, peeks on Samantha diving in what she thinks is a swimming pool:

The joyful, almost orgasmic pleasure Gladys expresses at the sight is almost creepy. But then Gladys peeks further. There's no swimming pool. Samantha was swimming but there was no pool. Gladys's joy quickly changes to horror and anger. She has to expose this. But what was Gladys really so angry and horrified about? That reason is the key to this archetype. Why J Jonah really so mad? Who shot his pony when he was 5? Is Lois really trying to win that Pulitzer by "outing" Superman? And who is Mr. Furley kidding, anyhow?

With a new crop of potential Kravitzes in pop-culture (Sue Sylvester from Glee, for example) and a culture that seems to be, in part, Kravitzised, there may be no end to the shocked "O" face of the unwitting stalker.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Much Ado About Kravitz

EDIT: To all my readers who are not hardcore comic book fans: this is what passes for "Internet feuds" in this neck of the woods. Yes: this is our Aimee Mann vs. Ice-T slapfest. I know it's sad. Between this and "The Losers" boxoffice, I don't know how we'll get our respect back in the larger entertainment community.

Earlier today I received an email from Johanna Draper Carlson ("who?"), seeking comment on a story she wrote feigning interest and concern in an organization she has done nothing but deride and put down for many years. Getting the email from Johanna was actually a good thing, because it gave me an opportunity to tell her how I feel about her. Which is that on the list of most unpleasant people I've met in this industry, she is #2 behind the man who sexually harassed me, way before people like Dan DiDio. Sorry, backstabbing "feminists" trump blustery bluster guy. At least with blustery bluster guy, I know up-front what I'm getting.

Anyway, she wrote back to me in her patented "very adult and reasonable" shtick and said she was so sorry to hear of the enmity I had for her, for she had absolutely no idea where it came from. Certainly it couldn't have been related to such measured posts on her blog such as "Valerie D'Orazio Hates Women." Oh, no.

She also recounted her constant and unwavering support for Friends of Lulu all these many years, which was pretty hilarious considering how untrue that was.

Johanna Draper Carlson, in essence, reminds me of the person who reports her next-door-neighbor for the kids being too loud, and then waits behind the blinds excitedly for them to get in trouble. She'll wait all day behind those blinds. And brag about it loudly in church on Sunday. Kinda like Mrs. Kravitz from "Bewitched." Johanna is like the Mrs. Kravitz of the comics blogosphere.

Anyway, Johanna expressed sadness and disbelief about me declining to have an interview with her. As a consolation, I said she could quote from an interview I did on the topic with a real journalist. Which I think I was fair.

Best of luck to you, Johanna. I'm sorry I stole your thunder by having a more compelling DC story than you. I know that was shitty. You were supposed to be the most wronged by DC, and I took it away. Then on top of that, I dared have different opinions than you did. Then on top of that, I was involved with an organization that you had a long-standing vendetta against. But life is too short to be consumed by hate. I'm sure if we ever run into each other at a comic con, we'll just laugh and laugh. "It's just comics."

Sometimes you just gotta go twitch your nose and call it a day.

Friday, April 23, 2010

More On Archie's New Character Kevin Keller

The Kevin Keller Khronicles Kontinue:

Making it to the Google Trends top ten list, the story regarding Archie's first openly gay character has been covered everywhere, from NYT to WSJ to PH.

The reception seems to be mostly positive, with the usual jabs against what was perceived to be Archie's usual "square" image and the general consensus that it was assumed Jughead was gay. (I agree with the opinion that Jughead is more likely asexual, or might have some all-encompassing food fetish)

While most online discussions on the topic have been reasonably civil, there were a few grumbles:
"Great idea, Archie Comics! Change a format that worked for generations! How about, to keep up with the times, we:

1) Have Veronica get an abortion?

2) Have Jughead get an STD?

3) Introduce drugs into the mix?

4) Get Archie's parents a divorce?

5) Put burkas on the women?

6) Have them march in an Organizing for America rally?

7) Do an issue devoted to threesomes and group sex?"

Gee, no bestiality on that list? Isn't what they use for arguments against gay marriage all the time? "I guess that means it's OK for me to marry my horse! Right?! Right?!"

I love this idea being spread by a few cranks that adding a gay character in Archie = introducing "sex" to Riverdale. You could easily say having mostly straight characters = introducing "sex" to Riverdale. Adding a person who has same-gender romantc partners or interests doesn't equal adding "sex" any more than the eternal love triangle of Archie/Betty/Veronica = adding "sex."

Really, when I read some of the crazy comments on this story left on sites like The Beat, I realize that this move on Archie's part is more important than probably the publisher even realizes.

On a totally different note, Jughead is kinda a tool sometimes, isn't he?

Nice, Juggy. Real nice.

Video: The Amazing Thor

No, the other one.

Bonus: Thor bends a steel bar with his teeth:

I can't tell you what a find this was as I randomly searched for videos last night on my iPhone. This is the coolest stuff I've ever seen ever.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Archie Comics To Introduce Their First Openly Gay Character

Why is Archie Comics consistently one of the most progressive comic book publishers out there? How did this happen?

"Archie Comics, home of the famous Riverdale High students Archie, Betty, Veronica, Reggie and Jughead, is about to welcome a new classmate this fall! On September 1st, Kevin Keller, Archie Comics’ first openly gay character, will be welcomed into the town of Riverdale.

“The introduction of Kevin is just about keeping the world of Archie Comics current and inclusive. Archie’s hometown of Riverdale has always been a safe world for everyone. It just makes sense to have an openly gay character in Archie comic books,” stated Archie Comics Co- CEO, Jon Goldwater.

VERONICA #202 features the full-issue story, “Isn’t it Bromantic?” that introduces Kevin, Archie Comics’ first openly gay character. Kevin Keller is the new hunk in town and Veronica just has to have him. After Kevin defeats Jughead in a burger eating contest at Pop’s Chocklit Shoppe, she desperately latches onto him. Mayhem and hilarity ensue as Kevin desperately attempts to let Veronica down easy and her flirtations only become increasingly persistent."

Plus: this isn't even for a "mature readers" book, but one for adolescents. It takes a lot of guts for a such a publisher – especially one that had been so previously connected with "tradition" – to consistently push for such a diverse and integrated expanding universe for their characters, one that reflects real life. You know, not to make these changes because they've got a diversity-mandate gun to their heads, but because they want to. I've talked to several people connected with Archie Comics and that is indeed the case, a desire to make every reader feel that there is somebody they can relate to in those comics.

So wait, Riverdale High's not going to block Kevin out of the prom and create a fake prom for him & his boyfriend and the learning-disabled kids? Really?

"Archie’s hometown of Riverdale has always been a safe world for everyone."

That's a really important quote.

Bonus: Annoying Veronica cluelessly chases after a gay man for an entire issue. I'd pay to read that.

Should "Looney Tunes" Be Rebooted?

The Cartoon Network has announced plans to "reboot" Looney Tunes as a half-hour comedy with Bugs and the gang living in the suburbs with "colorful neighbors." This is obviously not the first Looney Tunes "reboot." While some might argue with me, Tiny Toons Adventures always seemed like a LT reboot, followed by of course Baby Looney Tunes, the Looney Tunes live-action/animated movies, and, most weirdly, the superhero-styled Loonatics.


Each iteration of the familiar Looney Tunes crew featured its own unique dynamic and style. The current LT Cartoon Network is proposing seems like, based on premise and art, a sitcom.

I have some basic rules about Looney Tunes:

1. They can't all be friends living in a clubhouse (or condo).
A basic element of classic Looney Tunes is that of natural enemies. Elmer was Bugs's enemy. Sylvester was Tweety's enemy. Wiley E. Coyote was Road Runner's enemy. All with good reason: predators versus "food." To take it out of the law of the jungle for a moment, there should (IMHO) always be friction/professional rivalry between Bugs and Daffy. All these things caused vital conflict, and a vehicle for the plot to move forward.


In contrast, a plot that involves all the gang banding together to fight, say, aliens? Meh. You've just killed what made these characters great. I realize with the dawning of "family friendly" cartoons in the late 70s/early 80s the classic Looney Tunes got criticized a lot. But without that vital conflict between various characters, you make them into just another generic cartoon bunch. (Ditto everything I just said for those rotten Tom and Jerry reboots where they are "buddies").

2. Don't write exclusively for kids or hip adults. Just write some good stories, dammit.
Trying to craft Looney Tunes tales into hitting a certain demographic is just disasterous. The original LT was never meant to be a strictly "kids" property. It was a universal, speaking in the universal language of slapstick and butt-kicking. It achieved a wideness and age diversity of audience that few cartoons have been able to replicate. Baby Looney Tunes, for example, could have been anything. It could have been Baby Flintstones, Baby Peanuts, Baby Garfield, etc. By the same token, if this new Looney Tunes hopes to play mostly to the Family Guy/Simpsons crowd, that's fine. But it's not really the classic Looney Tunes that made those characters so enduring in the first place.

3. Don't make traditionally mute or incomprehensible characters talk clearly.
Warner Brothers made this mistake early on with Wiley E. Coyote back in the original cartoons. It's like giving a voice to Snoopy. It doesn't work. I don't want to hear Tasmanian Devil say more than a few words strung together by guttural sputtering. Road Runner only says "beep beep." Road Runner is like Beaker from the Muppets: "beep beep" and "meep meep."


4. Don't create female characters out of the males in drag.
This one really gets my goat. I know Looney Tunes has traditionally had a deficit in female characters. But sassy "Lola Bunny" is a shitty character invented to a) stop depicting Bugs in drag and b) to put an end to those gay Bugs rumors. She's an apostate and a loser and certainly they could have come up with something better. Of course, this goes as far back as the personality-less Petunia Pig (basically Porky with black pigtails). I think the only cartoon that managed to pull off this stunt is Muppet Babies with Scooter lookalike "Skeeter."

5. Stop whoring out Tweety.
Yeah, he's got a cute design, but Tweety Bird doesn't have the personality nor depth to justify the heavy merchandising focus Warner Brothers has given him.

So those are my five rules about rebooting Looney Tunes. If you want to read ore about the finer points of Looney Tunes and other classic cartoons (and how some reboots completely bastardize them), the John K Stuff blog is a great reference.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Emma Frost Updates

Just a few updates on my upcoming X-Men Origins Emma Frost one-shot --

First, I've seen the first half of the book, and it looks great. I really strove to give Emma an origin on the same level as other classic Marvel heroes and villains. Not saying that I'm as talented as those tale-crafters of yore, but I was certainly inspired by them. This is the secret origin of Emma Frost that I don't even think Emma herself really wants revealed.

Second, the new on-sale date for the book is May 25. This was a relief to me, as I hadn't even had time to contact my favorite local comic shop and order copies yet (you will be getting an email from me shortly, Tucker).

Third, X-Men Origins Emma Frost was the most-viewed book for that ship week on Comixology. I'm not sure what that really means, but let's just run with it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"Toddlers In Tiaras"

How does that quote go? "Jesus wept?"

Really, isn't there a "Jersey Shore" ripoff show that TLC could be doing instead? "Kate & Jon: Reunion" perhaps?

Can't even use the "sexualizing teens" tag for this post because they're barely kindergartners.

EDIT: and you want to know what really frosts my shit about this? these girls don't even look cute. they look creepy.

Scott Baio Versus Jezebel & How Twitter is Ruining Celebrities

"You want my taxes to support lazy poor people? Commie."

File this under another reason why I don't need to know more about my favorite celebrities outside of their work. I had the biggest crush on Scott Baio's Happy Days character "Chachi" when I was around 8 years old. Charles In Charge only solidified Baio in my mind as The Cool Guy.

So to see him Twitter about not wanting to pay taxes because it provides "lazy people" with things like food, shelter, and healthcare – well, it's a little douchy, but OK. To each their own political view. Now, to have his wife call readers "lesbian shitasses" and that the reason they are "lesbos" is because they're so "far left" no man would want them...well, now it's getting pretty ugly. Now we've reached the part where every time I watch Chachi say "Wa wa waaa" I'll think of "lesbian shitasses." (Baio used his old catchphrase in his Twitter war, by the way).

"lesbian shitasses"

Is Twitter causing public relations specialists all across the country one big collective bleeding ulcer? At least an "overly spontaneous" celeb on MySpace or a blog has to at least sit down at a computer and go through a process to write a post. With Twitter it's instantaneous.

F**k Charles, I'm rooting for "Bibleman"

While I'm not going to make a list of celebrity Twitterers who've just about destroyed their image with me due to their Tweets, let me mention an actor who I discovered was as cool as I hoped he'd be: @JohnLarroquette. Really great Tweets, great taste in art, overall cool guy, a joy to follow.

So what I'm saying, really, is that Chachi loses and Dan Fielding wins.

a "lesbian shitass"

Postscript: It should be noted that Scott Baio's wife clarified her earlier statements, saying that while the Jezebel crew & readership are still "lesbian shitasses," she has many lesbian friends who are not shitasses, as well as people of different colors, sizes, political views, special needs and "with or without animals." I wonder how her lesbian friends ("with or without animals") feel about her using the word "lesbian" as an automatic pejorative denoting women (gay or not) who can't get any men.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ebert: "Video Games Can Never Be Art"

Roger Ebert said on his website recently that video games can never really be "art."

"Let me just say that no video gamer now living will survive long enough to experience the medium as an art form."

As an only occasional video game player, and someone nowhere near a "hardcore" fan, I have to disagree. While video games vary in quality and intellectual depth, some have really complex and fascinating stories and backstories. The artists on many of these games have built intricate and visually stunning unique "worlds." I definitely see these as things with artistic merit.

Do video games lose its chance to be considered "art" because it (sometimes) involves competition, points, and winning? Don't movies, TV shows, and even books have to go through a similar process – unless we are talking about "art house" productions where making money is not an issue? Even good movies, classic movies, movies that Roger Ebert has enjoyed? Aren't those productions so put through the wringer of producers, marketers, accountants, and public relations that what comes out the other side might be thought of, under such criteria, as not being art – but a product? And box-office returns: that's the points, the game, the realm of winners and losers.

As to the point that players will not see truly art-worthy games in their lifetime? I think they've already seen them. Further, I believe a lot of the future of movies – especially big-budget – will involve a videogame hybrid. Which, understandably, is a concept that Ebert might find horrifying.

I agree with Roger Ebert a lot, and I think he makes a passionate argument against video games being considered art. I've just known too many video game writers and designers to accept that. They ARE artists. They are creative, accomplished, and are happy to see their visions make it to the screen (or monitor, touchpad, etc.). Just because a video game is written in a different format as a screenplay or a novel doesn't automatically disqualify it as art. Just because someone is designing an entire world – down to the surfaces of walls and floors – for a game doesn't automatically disqualify him or her as an artist.

Maybe what Ebert really means is the old "fine art" versus "art for the masses" argument – and that's a debate for another day.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Twitterer Stalks Alyssa Milano

Via @Alyssa_Milano

"Dear dude that continues to open new accounts to send me vile tweets, I have reported you every time so stop. Sincerely, NotKidding"


"How To: Prevent and Report Online Stalking: (via @mparent77772)"

Sigourney Weaver On Why James Cameron Lost The Oscar

Sigourney Weaver on why James Cameron lost the Oscar to Kathryn Bigelow:

"Jim didn't have breasts."

Thanks Sigourney! The next time a woman wins a major award and some jerkoff wants to huff and puff about it being "affirmative action," they can just quote you! Perfect!

She also dismissed Hurt Locker's Academy Award wins as follows:
"Today it's fashionable to give the Oscar to a small movie that nobody saw."

This is why I don't really want to know what celebrities think, I just want to enjoy their movies.

Ditto for some celebs on Twitter.


More: Laura Barton at The Guardian discusses Weaver's Bosomism.

Sony Shocked That Seth Rogen Green Hornet Movie Is Seth Rogen Green Hornet Movie

This article about how Sony execs are allegedly horrified at the campiness of the Green Hornet movie Seth Rogen & Michel Gondry turned in – including claims that Rogen doesn't really look like the Green Hornet – is just too much...

#1: You hired Seth Rogen to play the Green Hornet. You hired Seth Rogen to play the Green Hornet. You. Hired. Seth. Rogen. To. Play. The. Green. Hornet.

#2: Michel Gondry lists Superman III as a moviemaking inspiration in general.

#3: You hired Seth Rogen to play the Green Hornet.

Personally: I'd love to see a bizarro, campy, avant-garde interpretation of The Green Hornet. But I guess the execs didn't feel it had that WAAAAAAAAAARRRRRGGHHHHHH monster blockbuster quality that the 3-D Tron Legacy, which GH is scheduled to open against, is believed to have.

Also in the article: alleged WB exec loss-of-faith in Losers, Jonah Hex, and Lobo.

You know, I have to wonder if this is all just jumping the gun because they're afraid these "quirky," non-mainstream comic book movies can't run up against juggernauts like Batman, Iron Man, etc. It's like it all has to be behemoths, guaranteed sellers.

Interested in the box-office for Kick-Ass. If it bombs, it won't help the situation any.

Fan Behavior That Embarrasses Everybody

OK, here's the situation: I'm at this special free screening of the first Doctor Who episode of the new season in NYC. Afterward, there's a Q&A with the stars of the show, Matt Smith & Karen Gillan. Everything is going fine until the last question of the evening, when this middle-aged guy comes up to the mike and asks Gillan if she's a "chubby chaser." He proceeds to invite her to the sushi bar next door if she is.

This cringe-worthy moment was greeted with universal groans and gasps by the rest of the audience. The people I was sitting with looked like they were hit in the face. Gillan just sort of shrunk in her seat and appeared *horrified*. I found out later that an almost identical situation happened to her the day before at another Doctor Who Q&A at the Apple Store.

Really, what's the point in making that remark to Gillan? What is hoped to be accomplished? It feels almost like an aggressive act. He had three (count em three) questions/comments at his turn on the microphone: one regarding how Matt Smith was a great doctor, one to Steven Moffat about writing, and the "chubby chaser" remark directed at Gillan. It's like that's all he got out of her performance: she was a piece of ass.

If there was anything encouraging about that situation, it was the across-the-board disapproval of this guy's actions by the rest of the fans. I might not have expected that 15 or even 10 years ago. It used to be normal that the pretty females in these TV shows and movies were understood to be "eye candy" at conventions and whatnot. But that didn't fly with this crowd at NYC, a group of about 350 fans that spanned gender, race, and age.

Now, was the progressiveness of the crowdevidence of the growing maturity/inclusiveness of fandom in general? Or is it a trait specific of Doctor Who fans?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Woman Of Steele

she's tired.

"I bet if Morrison was a woman you'd be tripping over yourself to gush praise all over Batman RIP. You claim to be for some kind of equality or equilibrium between men and women, but i'm not fooled. You're the same as what you spend so much blog time railing against, but with the sexes switched around. Batman RIP is the greatest thing to happen to Batman in the last twenty years, but don't worry, I don't need you to acknowledge that in order to appreciate the truth and beauty inherent to the statement."
--typical hate mail (or, "hate-male") for "Occasional Superheroine"

I am often consulted by the media as an "expert" on issues related to feminism in comics – or, to put it more generically, "women in comics." Long after the expiration date for my desire to talk about these issues, I was advised to "keep the woman angle up" as to make myself stand out in the comic book industry, to make a name for myself. But the problem, other than the fact that I've "moved on" from this topic, is that as of 2010 I do not believe that women with strong opinions about feminism & mainstream comics "mesh."

But to clarify that: I do not believe that what is *popularly* thought of as the mainstream comics audience meshes with issues of female equality. Not the actual audience for this material if the requisite demographic data was performed outside of the direct market, taking into account both bookstore & digital sales. When I say "popularly thought of," I mean the lazy, safe, unscientific, unsound marketing research view of the situation, where most of the readers of superhero comics are "fanboys." Even looking at actual sales sheets given to advertisers, the gender breakdowns for male versus female readers are eyebrow-raising: something like 5-10% female readers maximum. As a marketing & advertising professional, I would really like to see the methodology used to come up with that data.

artist's rendering of what Batman would look like on
an iPad if DC got their act together

But if there is any interest at all I still have in the topic of feminism in comics, it lies in the fact that the biggest gender equalizer will come from 1) highly increased bookstore sales & 2) the boom in digital comics sales via iPhone, iPad, etc. That revolution is already here. The sea change is already happening. It's a done deal. And when the dust clears, and the requisite marketing research is conducted, you will see not only far more female readers of mainstream comics, but far more readers of both genders who are interested in genres outside of superheroes from their mainstream comics publishers. And the publishers, sensing the new direction of the money trail (as they should), will adjust the course of their offerings as needed. Yes, even DC, once they get that iPad app up (one day).

And that, really, is when geniuses like the person who sent me the above piece of hate mail get marginalized into postage-stamp collecting status. I'm sorry: that's an insult to philatelists. Bottle-cap collectors.

rare variant bottle-caps

The funny thing is, I've actually said more things on this blog defending not only what is thought of as "fanboy culture" but the right to have things like cheesecake elements in comics. But to an angry, threatened, god-knows-what-state-of-mind individual, just the fact that I have opinions and a vagina is upsetting (hey, just the word "vagina" is upsetting). It doesn't matter what the content is. I'm playing in their sandbox. My peas are touching their mashed potatoes on the plate and it feels weeeeeeeird!

I put it to one person like this: picture a moderate Republican in the RNC right now, where the poster-children for the party are people like Glenn Beck & Rush Limbaugh. Picture not only the embarrassment because of the way Beck & Limbaugh act, but all the criticism you get from your own party for being a moderate. I think that's why I've always had my radar on RNC chairman Michael Steele in the news. Poor Michael Steele. The Republicans chose him as their chairman largely to show they were "progressive" and not racists. And Steele went in there and was going to change things, he challenged Limbaugh, and all that. And what happens?

what do you do when this is the public face of your party?

The problem, as I see it, was that the RNC *truly* didn't want Steele there. They wanted to look like they were progressive, that Steele's race wasn't an issue, but really in the end it was. The RNC – or rather, what's *popularly* thought of as the RNC, the core loud fringe group – truly didn't want change, truly didn't want reform, truly didn't want progressives, and sure as hell didn't want a black man in a leadership role. And that's why, personally, I feel that if you followed where this recent scandal regarding Steele came from, you'll find that his own party stabbed him in the back. Of course, that's just my opinion.

The real losers in the RNC are the masses of truly progressive and middle-of-the-road Republicans who don't want maniacs representing them in the party or the press. Now they're faced with either going along with the madness and being painted with that broad brush as a fellow hate-monger, or leaving a party that honestly left them a long long time ago.

Anyway, that's how I feel. I feel like Michael Anyway, that's how I feel. I feel like Michael $&##@# Steele. I feel like an idiot.
amp;##@# Steele. I feel like an idiot.

Trying to have a middle-of-the-road attitude on things like sex in comics has made me few friends on the "Feminist Comics" side of the aisle either. One of the things that I've learned is that what is extreme on one side will have its extreme mirror on the other side. Which is to say: I've been Michael Steeled twice. Which means: I am punk-rock fucking hardcore awesome.

punk rock fucking hardcore awesome

With all this Michael Steeling I really think there is only one thing left to do, and that's say "fuck it" and just go to a fetish bar. Really, I see no other course of action but to finally put on the "feminazi" outfit so many of my hate mail writers have accused me of wearing, grab my whip, and have a jolly good time.

Now, a feminazi outfit, what would that be, really? Are we talking Isla, She-Wolf of the SS? Like, a literal Nazi? Or is like some sort of army outfit, like GI Jane? Like maybe a female drill-sergeant? Combat boots and a riding crop? I don't know, "feminazi" – it sounds kinda sexualized to me, like a piece out of someone's fantasy. Wasn't this in a Frank Miller movie or something? Oh wait, I've found a picture of a feminazi:

artist's rendering of what a "feminazi" might look like

There we go. Yeah, I can see what those letter-writers mean. She probably writes about rape in her comics and stuff. You know, just like Alice Walker. Man-haters.

Best of all are the well-meaning people who tell me that I can't discuss these issues on my blog because I "embarrass" myself. Oh, like the actions of some of your brethren don't embarrass the entire industry and fandom? I'm told to "be nice" and meanwhile scores of people get a free pass to be as disgusting and threatening and misogynistic and homophobic as they want? You've had anonymous emails describing in explicit detail how you give sexual favors in order to get a job? You've had comic news websites write to you to change the credits on positive reviews of your book because they thought it would hurt their reputation? You've had to make decisions on what characters to write based on not wanting to get death threats? Fuck. That. My. Friend. Seriously. You do NOT know what I have gone through.

But this is not a bid for your support. I'm done with politics. You know, except for the type of politics that involves why Lady Gaga is bringing about the New World Order; I'm still on tap for that. But everything else: I'm done. I don't need to campaign. In the end, Steve Jobs and Charles Darwin will take care of everything. I'm just going to throw my jackboots up on the desk, lean back, drink a kombucha, and chill. Because I'm tired.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"Women Don't Have Real Feelings"

From Comically Vintage

Eldritch On Zuda

Zuda competition entry Eldritch is a rollicking Lovecraftian romp by Aaron Alexovitch & Drew Rausch. The plot involves a group of would-be teenage “witches” who intentionally infect themselves with a mysterious plague that turns them into "monsters." Will the infection be stopped in time before California is crushed with a thousand quivering tentacles?

Writer Alexovich is no stranger to comics, having worked on Kimmie66 & Confessions of a Blabbermouth for DC's Minx line, as well as Vertigo's Fables. He's also lead character Designer for Invader Zim and Avatar the last Airbender. Artist Drew Rausch's work has appeared in Boom! Studios'Cthulhu Tales and Zombie Tales, as well as the critically-acclaimed cult hit Sullengrey.

As readers of this blog know, I'm a big fan of Drew Rausch's work, and am very excited about Eldritch. If you would like to vote for Eldritch, you can read it here.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

"Bring On The Bad Girls" In Women of Marvel Magazine

Hey all, just letting you know an article I did about the supervillainesses of the Marvel Universe – "Bring On The Bad Girls" – is in the Women Of Marvel: Celebrating Seven Decades magazine on stands now. This is a pretty thorough overview of female villains (and reformed villains) from Scarlet Witch to Songbird – and of course Emma Frost.

The magazine also has a bunch of other articles on female Marvel characters, and some nice reprints so if you have a chance please check it out!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Comics About Conspiracies, Occult, Paranormal, etc

Hello all, I'm putting out a public call to help me come up with more comics-related content for my new blog The Daily 23.

Specifically, I'm trying to put together a list of comics/graphic novels past & present that contain the following themes:
  • Conspiracy theories.
  • Extrasensory abilities (not so much about run-of-the-mill superpowers, but more how such abilities would be regarded/manifested in "real life").
  • The paranormal (with an accent on bringing in "historical"/literary paranormal elements rather than straight mainstream superhero stuff).
  • UFOs & aliens.
  • Metaphysical/religious/occult/mythological themes.
  • Weird science/Fortean themes.
Looking for particular story arcs of note as well individual titles.


Occasional Links, The Too Sexy For My TARDIS Edition

Damn midi-chlorians

! Viewers complain new Doctor Who "too sexy." Actress Karen Gillan, who plays Amy on the show, defends her short skirts: "I tried on different things and when it came to the short skirts, I just thought it was right. I mean, look down most high streets and girls Amy's age wear that. It's not that weird."

! Jeremy Bulloch looks back at 30 years of Boba Fett and fans asking him to tell them a little but more about that E-33 blaster rifle.

! A related item: An Assortment Of Underachieving AT-ATs

! Is Birdemic this generation's Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes?

! Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy break up after 5 years, announce split via Twitter (because, you know, that's what people do).

! VIDEO: 2.5 year old uses iPad for the first time, device surprisingly toddler-friendly.

! The most expensive hair in New York: $46,000. "You work hard, you play hard," Brandi says. "My hair is my biggest accessory."

! Lesbian prom girl Constance McMillen's classmates start Facebook page called "Constance quit yer cryin." Hilarity ensues.

! Cops 1, Xander 0.

! Disney greenlights Tron Legacy sequel before Tron Legacy is even released. That's how good a movie Tron Legacy is. I guess.

! Awesomeness and shiny jackets: The Album Covers Of Eastern Europe 70s Pop Stars.

You know, I just couldn't decide this morning whether to post the (rather high-quality) Big Lebowski porn parody trailer or the long-awaited Human Centipede trailer. Having viewed said Human Centipede with my morning cup of coffee and deeming it the sickest thing I've ever seen ever ever ever ever ever, I'm going to just link to it (NSFW). It's like a sci-fi version of "Two Girls One Cup" co-starring a guy who looks like a cross between Udo Kier and Christopher Walken. You know, maybe it's just me, but if you're traveling in Europe with your friend and the car breaks down and you find the creepy mansion with the Udo/Walken scientist inside with the giant painting of the siamese fetuses on the wall, maybe just maybe you should expect to wake up with your mouth sewn onto an anus. Not blaming you if this happens, but it should be considered as a distinct possibility.

On the other hand, The Big Lebowski: A XXX Parody (mostly SFW) is a delight for the senses. Special props to "Peter O'Tool" as Walter Sobchak:

Monday, April 05, 2010

Occasional Links: The Original Energizer Bunny Edition

! 90-Minute "Attack of the Clones" review from the person who brought you the 70-minute "Phantom Menace" review.
! Original Energizer Bunny to be auctioned off in Beverly Hills. Unlike this up-for-auction automated Bunny, today's Energizer Bunnies are made of CGI.

! EW reports that the Big Bang Theory cast will appear in "superheroine drag" in an upcoming episode.

! Size comparison of 100 Pixar characters.

! The odds various characters on LOST will make it off the island.

! Take a tour of Rush Limbaugh's tacky apartment. Includes beach mural in bedroom, of course.

! The Winnie the Pooh Gang Vs. Calvin & Hobbes: who would win?

! Does the iPad's bookstore edit out the word "sperm?" It's the important things.

! A selection of iPad political cartoons. Obligatory cartoons of grandpa with "get off my lawn" expression and Obama distributing free iPads to masses.

! "Retire Ronald" – the official website of the campaign to take down that damned scary fast-food clown. Send a personalized retirement e-card to Ronald.

VIDEO: Christopher "Kid" Reid turns 46 today. Feeling old yet?