Thursday, May 31, 2007

Seeing The Glass Half Empty

Today's Journalista! entry starts by juxtaposing my optimistic thoughts regarding editor Matt Idelson's new run on Supergirl with the Paul Gulacy run in Idelson's "Catwoman." The inference seems to be, "Matt's going to fuck this up and let the artist give Supergirl banana tits just like Selina."

I think this is really unfair and looking at the glass half empty, or, for that matter, completely empty. Idelson's run on "Catwoman" encompassed more than Gulacy. It also included this:
In addition to Paul Gulacy, Idelson's run boasted the artistic talents of Darwyn Cooke, Cameron Stewart, Pete Woods, and Javier Pulido.

This, to me, brings up a larger issue.

I think that our quest for excellence in mainstream comics should include acknowledging when the Big Two get it right. Providing positive feedback where it is due.

For example, I've heard a fair amount of bitching about DC's "Minx" line. And really, "Minx" did disappoint me because it sort of became a Vertigo-lite for teens instead of actually taking the mainstream superhero comic and skewing it for teens and female readers like I originally thought they would do. But there is good stuff in the "Minx" line. There is female-positive stuff. Why not talk about that as well? Why not send a signal to companies like DC that such initiatives are welcomed?

Because you know how it's perceived on the publisher's end?

The publisher tries to do Something Right. Maybe it's a little awkward, maybe it's perceived as too little. But they try.

And then they get kicked in the teeth for the effort. And they think, "well it's much easier to just feed the fans the Wizard Magazine fodder and leave it at that."

I have absolutely no reason to defend DC at all except from this point of view. For me to bitch about DC non-stop and not acknowledge when they Do Something Right would undermine what journalistic integrity this blog has. You know, "journalistic integrity." Between "Tim Drake in underwear" posts.

Of course, by August when the new "Supergirl" comes out I could be eating crow on all this. Maybe Kara will be exploited yet again. But I don't think Idelson would do this. Because to do so would be betraying countless adolescent girls out there who are looking for a role model in a sea full of Paris Hiltons, Lindsey Lohans, Nicole Richies, et al. And maybe it sounds kind of funny to refer to Supergirl as any sort of role model. I mean, "girls don't read superhero comics." But she can potentially be a role model. The same way Wonder Woman can, the same way Batgirl can...if DC plays their cards right. If they go for the long-term investment instead of the quick buck. half full.

And I liked the Gulacy run. It was fun. And it's #@%&^% Paul "Master Of Kung Fu" Gulacy, for Christ's sake. What are you going to say? "Well, you're legendary artist and all, but you draw banana-boobs. Sorry." Huh.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Die Bart, DieYes, I'm mean. Loved Bart in "Young Justice." But now he must go, goodbye Bart, goodbye.

Barry Allen = fan favorite
Wally West = eh
Jay Garrick = interesting
Bart = no

Paging John Wesley Shipp, the sexiest Flash EVER:
Um, Exactly How Old Is Tim These Days?

I'm just asking because...

because I'm trying to figure out how to relate to this art from Robin #162

He's almost 18, right? I remember when he was just this little overly-burdened Gen Y scrawny thing...

Now, is it ok to show Tim in his underwear (and there are more shots in the link) but not Supergirl if they are around the same age? Or is it only exploitation when it involves a female? Or are all the Tim underwear pics rendered in a non-exploitative way? All I know is, the Scans Daily crew was a-droolin'.
Riverdale: The Rise Of Raj
Tales From Riverdale Digest #21, shipping June 6th, will feature Raj Patel, Archie Comics's first character of Indian ancestry.
Together with an increased focus on the African-American Chuck Clayton character & Veronica's friend Ginger Lopez, it seems that Archie Comics is making a concerted effort to make their books more diverse. And I have to say, after reading the Pulse article featuring Raj, I don't get that whiff of "tokenism" that sometimes hovers over these diversity efforts. Raj is a well-designed & unique character & I'm looking foward to seeing what the publisher does with him.

And yes, I'm 33 and still read Archie. It's a stress reliever and a pleasant diversion after all that Bendis.
Nicole Richie: Only Anorexics Can Attend Her Party

From her party invitation, according to The Daily Telegraph:

"There will be a scale at the front door. No girls over 100 pounds allowed in. Start starving yourself now. See you all then!!!"

Her publicist goes on to tell In Touch Weekly that Nicole was just having a little fun.

Well, that's just awesome.

I'm so glad Richie can stare death in the face like that and just laugh it up. Too bad she's taking down so many teenagers who idolize her with her.

Her dad is the guy who sang "Say You Say Me" and "Dancing On The Ceiling." Doesn't he have any frickin' authority over this chick to make her gain some frickin' weight?!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Kara Lohan

When the news broke a few months ago regarding the new editorial direction of "Supergirl," I had a particular picture in my mind how the character might be envisioned under the reign of Matt Idelson. I based this largely on how Idelson's "Catwoman" developed -- moving away from the tits & ass Jim Balent years into a woman-friendly, slightly "indy" vibe.

Looking at these concept pics by Renato Guedes on, I feel justified.

Okay, so DC did Something Good.

I mean, there *is* a shot with her doing the Marilyn Monroe up-the-skirt routine, which isn't necessary. I mean, you never see Spider-Girl doing poses like that.

But basically, this art is a vast improvement, and almost brings me back to those halcyon Gary Frank years of yore.

As new "Supergirl" scribe Tony Bedard said to Pulse,

"Now, if I was 17 and ruled by hormones, the zero-bodyfat, nearly-naked Supergirl would probably be my fave. But Renato's take is much more like a living, breathing person, which makes her all the more endearing and fascinating."

Oh, one more thing...
With thanks to Chris of the excellent Expertologist
Note to online comic reviewers: Dan Slott reads his reviews. And if you rip him a new one -- like Comic Slop did with his last She-Hulk issue -- don't be suprised if the dude responds.

Comic Slop:
"Slott immediately turns the character in a strumpet--she has two one-night stands in four issues and attempts another with Wolverine, who tells her--and Marvel's intended nine-year-old audience--he doesn't want 'Juggernaut's sloppy seconds.'"

"No. Nine-year-olds are not the intended audience for SHE-HULK. I have actually made a point of that at comic signings, letting parents know that this is a book their wee-ones should NOT be picking up."

And Slott:
"Starting with #15, the character has been promiscuous-- maybe even recklessly so. She's had two flings and tried to initiate a third. If you want to call a person-- who's come off a longstanding-but-failed relationship and then played around with 2 lovers-- a "strumpet", that's your call. I don't think this would even be an issue if the protagonist of this comic were a man."


I like "Squirrel Girl," personally.

(with thanks to David The G.)
Oh, My Stars & Garters

A customized Slave Leia action figure made to look like a "Marvel Zombie"

The text from Toyfare:

"Hideous? Yes. Still sexy? Ashamedly, yes. Do you want to know how it’s done? You bet your midi-chlorians you do!"

via Journalista

See, this is why Comics Journal acts so snotty about the whole Wizard thing.

She's enslaved -- and she's dead! Dead sexy, that is!
Black Canary To Make Honest Man
Out Of Green Arrow

According to Dennis O'Neil on Comic Mix, the longtime couple are finally getting hitched.

But the real question is, will she do his laundry?

And will he shoot the ring from a custom-made "wedding arrow?"
The Sound Of 10,000 Fanboys' Heads Exploding
A gaggle of Slave Leias at Star Wars Celebration IV.

Oh, and there's video, too.

Okay, how does Marvel get ripped a new one for the MJ statue but the whole "Slave Oola" thing never gets slammed?

She's Princess Leia Organa -- stateswoman, hero, rebel. AND SHE'S IN A SLAVE COSTUME! CHAINED BY THE NECK TO A GROTESQUE LUMPEN MASS!

More curious -- the apparent enthusiasm these fangirls (and fanboys' girlfriends) to dress up as said character.

I mean, even Rachel did it for Ross!

I, for one, would never dress up like Slave Leia for any man.

But I might do Firestar.

Friday, May 25, 2007

*Isn't He The Cutest Thing?*
Manstream Awards

Whether you're a serious feminist looking to lampoon the oversexualization of comics, or simply a fanboy looking for the latest superheroine naughty bits thoughtfully collected all in one convenient location, the Manstream Awards is for you!

(not to be confused with the "4-Color Jizzy Awards")

Thursday, May 24, 2007

"If Perez Hilton Rated Comic Book Covers"

"too much Zatanna crotch"

"tasteful knickers"

"slut no more!"

"but what you don't know is that in the very next scene they totally get out of this and kick ass"

"bad news is, you're defeated. good news is, you have a *haut* butt. glass half empty, glass half full."

"I want to tap some of *that*. On a cracker. And he can bring the utility belt."

"she totally wants you. yes, *you*"

"it's ok when a woman does it to another woman."

"camel toe!"

"what you don't realize is that in the very next scene he's rescued by the Heroes For Hire"

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Other Shoe Is Ready To Fall, Sir
(image from here)
from Heidi's blog regarding various and sundry kerfluffles as of late:

"BTW, I’ve received a few oblique communications that hint that TPTB are not as oblivious to the issues being raised over the last few days as their public silence would indicate. Developing."

You know, I've been following these things for several years now, these issues regarding women both working in comics and how they are portrayed as comic characters. I've never seen the other shoe drop. The closest I've ever seen the other shoe dropping is the swiftness with with the editor on Supergirl was replaced and various rumors that following my "Goodbye To Comics" some of the art on certain comic books were altered either in the penciling or inking stage to change potentially offensive images of women.

I love comics. I don't want to hurt comics. I love Marvel and I've managed to work up a tolerance for DC.

But to TPTBs everywhere: drop the other shoe. Say something. Do something. Acknowledge what's going on. I know you really don't want to see women alienated from this industry. But the silence only adds more fuel to this fire.

In my own case, nobody wanted to let that other shoe drop. Nobody wanted to admit anything happened, that anything was wrong. So everything was silenced, erased, quieted. And then one day I "rebooted" this blog and said what nobody wanted said. Because the silence from those who had the power to defuse the situation in a proper way demanded it be said.

But this mounting silence creates resentment, anger, and eventually, it comes out in one blog or 1,000 blogs. Or a book. Or a movie. Who knows?

Let the other shoe drop. Defuse this clusterf**k and the many clusterf**ks like it and the many clusterf**ks we aren't even aware of.

And whichever company takes the first step and makes a public stand on this issue is going to be the winner.
Giant-Size Doris Day Two-For One Team-Up 64-Page One-Shot Special In Prestige Format Card-Stock Glow-In-The-Dark

"Thanks for reminding me again of one of the reasons why I chose to stop seeking work in the "mainstream" (or is it "MANstream?") comics."

"Well, she’s bending over. Pin-up girls do that."

"Now, as we all know, I publish pornographic comics. Not just tease comics or pinup comics or sexy comics- hardcore pornography. Poles & holes, money shots, manga-style spurting penii, cartoon boobies bouncing, etc. I am not ashamed of the adult comics my company publishes. This is because I try to be a responsible editor and I believe there should be adult comics out there with consensual sex, women enjoying themselves and not being treated as mere objects, couples in love who can't keep their hands off each other, and the radical idea that sex, in all its forms, should be fun and pleasant and positive. This means it's often difficult to find artists who understand these concepts, and we often have to reject stuff with very nice art that contains things like rape, snuff, extreme violence, and the like. "

"I imagine Sana Takeda wanted to sell more books."

"Women who display what many regard as traditional male traits - such as assertiveness, independence and ambition - are more often the targets of sexual harassment than "feminine" women, the Canadian research has found. The situation is worst in workplaces dominated by men, where women with so-called masculine personalities - described in the study as "uppity" - suffered more than twice the harassment of other women."

"Anyway. Here goes my irrational, obsolete, and admittedly uneducated view on sexism in comic books: It exists. YES, women aside from supermodels and porn stars don't have those curves. YES, they're frequently scripted into compromising positions. YES, many female characters are "tarted up" and overly (overtly?) sexual. So? They're comics."

"It's been my empirical experience that cultural leaps forward often come from a situation where it's "darkest before the dawn."

"As I’ve been hinting for a long time, the integration of women into the comics world (again) is easily the biggest sociological aspect of comics current rise to respectability. It may actually be the CAUSE of it. Comics regaining a bilateral appeal is a huge story, and any demographic shift in any sphere brings discomfort and border skirmishes... Before moving on, I need to point out that one of the reasons Johanna, Valerie and I are all so snarky and/or jaded is because we’ve been to the mountain. We’ve worked in the comics industry... the messages I received engendered in me a powerful need to help others by showing these message up for the ignorant, insecure messages they are."

"Yeah, I said to myself that I would write this all down one day in some sort of memoir, or I would become active in Friends Of Lulu and protect women everywhere, or I would do a half-billion other noble things so I could see the "silver lining" in my struggle. But deep down I could still see my dad ripping that Wonder Woman poster off my wall:
"You ungrateful bitch! You fucked it all up! You touched the fizzy-lifting drink! Now you win nothing--NOTHING!" And I just wanted to make him happy."
A Chick Drew ThisSana Takeda

I'm going to reserve any punditry or editorials
until well after my third cup of coffee for the day.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Will OS Manage To Explain This Cover Away As Just Another Harmless Homage To A Earlier, Kinder & Gentler Time In American Pop-Culture That We Shouldn't Get Our Panties In A Twist About?

Well, she's going to give it her best shot. But she has a lot going on at work at the moment, so it may take a few days to come up with something.
Carnival Of Butt Shots
...over at Skewed Perspectives.

More 4-color ass than you could ever hope to see in one place other than an Ed Benes comic.
Which Character Will
Anthony Michael Hall
Play In The Next Batman Movie?

a) Riddler

b) Azrael

c) Harvey Bullock in fat suit

d) Nerd

e) Musclehead who forces a scissor-handed freak to get violent and spend the rest of his life in his creator's remote laboratory on a hill carving images of Winona Ryder out of ice thus providing an ersatz snowfall to population of normals below.
Fear of Big Ones

When I was in college I belonged to a feminist organization for English Majors. I had never really done any "feminist" sorta things before this, having been raised on largely male-oriented media and having mostly male friends. But college introduced me to a world of new perspectives, and I embraced them.

We had health fairs where we taught about AIDS awareness and issues about rape. We had a sexual harassment taskforce. I introduced the idea of using the comic book format to introduce our ideas to a wider audience. We had poetry readings, "women's spirituality" talks, everything.

One day on an open mike poetry reading a new girl that we hadn't seen before stepped up to the front of the room and read her piece. She had giant breasts squeezed into a tight silver spandex shirt. After she read, and her and the other women who were not of our "core" group left, I was witness to the following exchange:

"Can you believe the nerve of her?"

"Her tits just hanging out like that?"

"It's so gross!"

"Those ugly things...they're so fat!"

"She thought she was all hot and stuff. Like she was better than us."

"She looked like a cow."

"She just does that to get attention from guys. It's so *pathetic*."

"She doesn't love herself."

"They were like two big pendulums."

Between this and the way the one guy who *was* accepted into our group was treated (alternatively as "resident beefcake" and favored eunuch), I lost interest in the group. No, it wasn't that I lost interest. My idealism took a hit. I held this group to a higher standard than others and maybe that was wrong.

But I still think we need to examine more closely why we think the depiction of big breasts in comics is offensive.

I know that part of it is that that particular physical attribute is used too often -- this is true.

I know that part of it is that big tits are often used as a way merely to stir up male sexual interest -- this is true, and it reduces the female character as merely an object of the male gaze.

But I also think there is probably another factor in play that's never addressed. And it probably never will be. And that's ok. But I know this factor exists.

Monday, May 21, 2007

What Sexy Comic book
Villainess Are You?

Take this quiz!

It's not easy being blue. And naked.
Anatomy Of An Eating Disorder

First 3 panels from from Scans Daily:

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Covers That Don't SuckJSA #8: Non-anorexic body-type believably supports upper region. Says: "I'm a fierce, powerful female." Also says: "STOP LOOKING AT MY BREASTS!"

Outsiders: Five of a Kind Grace/Wonder Woman:
Two strong women doing superheroey things.
Wondy's crotch is totally exposed, but in a non-alluring manner.
Okay, the torso is a little masculine. Okay, Grace looks a little masculine.
But it's totally not sexually exploitative.

Thor #1. Pointed out to me by the omniscient Sammy. Mike Turner can still draw, the JLA boob thing was just a nightmare, there's no place like home, there's no place like home. Makes you wonder if the later JLA covers look a little rushed because he was going to knock this one out of the park <---only speculation, I'm sure totally not true.

Of course, bad covers make for better posts.
But it's not like I'm wishing for them or anything.