Friday, September 28, 2007
It's Funny Because He's Teh Gay -- GET IT???
It's funny because Piper is TEH GAY! Get it?
He's a homosexual and he wears prom dresses!
Because that's what gay men do!
Just in case you forgot that Piper was teh gay --
That's so funny!
Milton Berle from 1955 sez:
Can you imagine that if instead of a gay man this was with a woman or an African-American?
"Oh, I get it -- he's black! I forgot! It's an offensive joke, but it's just Trickster being a dick, so it's okay!"
Anti-Semitic Comment In "Countdown" #32?
I'm not normally sensitive about stuff like this but did anyone read the Eclipso origin this week? Something jumped out at me that really bugs me.
In the second panel, the narrative says "As the Old Testament gave way to the fairer and more balanced God of the New..."
Is DC saying that the Christians worship a better God than those who only believe in the Old Testament (like Jews)?
First, it's an ignorant statement - it's the same God
Second, even if unintentional, DC should give more thought when tying religious issues into comics.
Third - and this just makes me laugh, they make God sound like Fox News ("Fair and balanced"?!?!)
I know it's just a poorly-written 2-page story that is trying to explain 40 years of ridiculously convoluted continuity, but I just wanted to at least raise the point that DC writers need to be more sensitive and DC editors need to do their jobs...
another poster, "rsokolic," wrote,
"More importantly for DC Comics (although perhaps less so for the rest of the world), the page associates Eclipso, who has always been identified as a villain in the DC universe, with the Hebrew Bible, and the Specter, who has always been identified as a hero, with the Greek Bible.
The implication is that Judaism (at least ancient Judaism) was villainous and Christianity (at least ancient Cristianity) heroic. This is about as clearly anti-Semitic as one can be - saying Jews bad, Christians Good. This seems much closer to teh type of racial anti-Semitism that was the foundation for the Holocaust. In this conception, it is not merely that the Jewish faith, or the Jewish God is bad, but that Jews themselves are less good than Christians.
This is about as bad as the old portrayals of Wing and Pieface in the '40's, '50's and '60's. Julie Schwartz must be turning ovrer in his grave (Not to mention the Spectre's creator, Jerry Siegel, or Joe Schuster, Gil Kane, Jack Kirby or the other followers of a less fair and balanced God who created the comics industry).
Interestingly, this issue was published during the 10 days of Repentence, when Jews ask for foregivenness from those who we have harmed (part of the rituals ordained by our unfair and imbalanced God). Perhaps the writer and editor of this two page back up, or even the Senior Vice-President and Executive Editor on behalf of his staff, should make a suitable show of contrition or regret for this slur"
Was this short bit of narration anti-Semitic? Or, as other posters on the DC Message Board commented, is the original poster just being too sensitive & PC?
First of all, the idea of a "New" and "Old" Testament is Christian in nature. Jews refer to their sacred books as the Tanakh, and academics refer to them as the "Hebrew Bible."
So right off that bat, if you want to make comparisons between different characters in your comic and you put the Old & New Testaments in there, you're already sort of in the danger zone in terms of offending someone.
If the symbolism was indeed there in this "Countdown" story that evil Eclipso = Old Testament and Good Spectre = New Testament, then you've got some problems. But I haven't read the issue so I'm just going off of what I have heard.
As for whether it's a slur or just a lot of PC bellyachin', what do you think of this "BC" cartoon (published on Easter/last day of Passover):
Is this cartoon saying that Christianity has replaced Judaism? Or that even the Jews were responsible for killing Jesus? Or is this just a cartoon about cavemen who apparently have menorahs and elegant glassware?
It's verrrrry complicated. We tended not to use overt religious stuff in our books at DC. This is why.
Fangirl Fridays: The Underoos Edition
Welcome once again to "Fangirl Fridays," that fine magical place.
Ou Est Mas Evil?
Cyborg Superman has the seniority, but Ragnarok has the cooler name.
Knight Rider Rides Again, This Time With Transformers
NBC is bringing back "Knight Rider" -- this time with evil transforming cars!
But the burning question is, who will play Michael Knight?
McDuffie on Diversity in Comics
From an excellent interview he's done with the BitTorrent blog:
BT: It seems that in an industry that’s based on pop culture, that things like race and sex would take a backseat…
DM: Well think about it, half the population is female, and how many female writers are there?
BT: Right exactly what I mean. It seems like that wouldn’t be an issue in this time. It’s 2007 how can that be going on?
Key Words Are Key
Do you have any idea how many hits these two gave me over the last week?
Blasts From The Past: "Groundbreaking New Gay Superheroes"
CNN: December 9, 2002
"Marvel Comics plans to break new ground in the comic book industry by introducing the first openly gay title character in a comic book.
The character will appear in a revival of the 1950s title, "The Rawhide Kid." Marvel expects a February debut.
The new series pairs the original artist, John Severin, now 86, with Ron Zimmerman, a writer for the "Howard Stern Show."
The Rawhide Kid has been a Marvel character since the 1950s both as a main and a secondary character. However, it was not until Zimmerman approached Marvel with his idea of a homosexual Rawhide Kid that sexuality was mentioned in the discussion of the character.
"Kathy Kane's return as a socialite-turned-caped-crusader might not draw much attention outside the comic book world, but Batwoman's other secret is causing quite a fuss.
DC Comics says the character, who was brought in originally in 1956 as Batman's love interest, will be reintroduced as a lesbian as part of an effort to diversify its superhero roster. Kane is open about her sexuality with her friends, but has not come out to her family, executive director Don Didio said.
A quick Google search for "lesbian Batwoman" drew more than half a million hits with some blog posts calling it a sign of "the steady decline of our society," and others questioning whether a 5-foot-10-inch redhead in big boots and a skin-tight suit was a role model or a straight teenagers' fantasy."
Well, the latest "Aquaman" series seems to be kind of cancelled. Mixed feelings, I helped edit the series way back for the first batch of issues. Our biggest problem with Aquaman was "reimagining" him -- trying to reposition him for today's readers. There was a really brief moment when we even toyed with the idea of making him subtextually bisexual. In the end, we settled for the water hand.But in case DC is looking for ideas on how to reboot the character, may I suggest:
Flesh-colored Speedos and two-headed humanoid sea-horses. Gotta love 'em.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Smallville Premiere Liveblogging
7:59 - Family Guy ends, Luke Perry in bed with Adam West, sweet!
8:00: Episode recap. Oh look it's "Superman Prime." Is Lana dead? I don't think so. Lois is cuter than Chloe so Chloe must die! Magic tears! Bizarro Superman.
8:01: Didn't this dam breaking thing already happen in the first Superman movie?
8:02: Nice flood effect. Luthor is now underwater in a police car...and Clark is WTF in the woods. Kick to the face! Baa-cock!
8:03: Evil Clark's voice sounds like his balls dropped, what's with that?
8:04: Oh this so happened with the dam in the first movie! Now Clark is f**king with the flood... What's going on here? Can Clark stop time? No he's evaporated all the water. Of course.
8:05: New-ish intro. Last Lex season, sad emoticon. Yay Chloe boo Lois boo Supergirl.
8:08: Lex is at bottom of ocean, banging his big head against the glass to get out. Houdini! Oh snap, is he dead? No, he's seeing a beautiful blond woman. Oy vey! That's Supergirl. Lex's life saved by teh hotness.
8:09: Superman prime is impaled on his own petard, as it were. There's blood everywhere. He roasts some dude with his crazy heat vision.
8:10: Lois is pulling dead Chloe out of danger- - lots of dead floaty people. "Down here we float...we all float hahahaha..." Oh no it's evil little bastard superbaby clone! Kill him kill him!
8:12: Lionel Luthor is all washed up & some mystery guy pulls him away and we're back with Lois and the little evil boy a door breaks its Superman yayyyyyy "It looks like it caved in," duh.
8:13: Evil clark getting high off of the green crack...I like Welling playing evil, he's got that oh face, you know the one ohhhh...
8:14: Lex is alive and faced teh hotness of Supergirl -- a John Williamsy refrain, then she flies away.
8:19: Chloe is in the Smallville medical center. "Lois you gonna tell me what happened?" "Maybe I was dreaming." Thinking about it, she should have left that 8-inch knife in, Chloe might still be alive! Oy vey, the "warm light" stuff, very new agey.
8:21: Lois is going to f**k Lex up. Calls him "Dr. Evil" see because he's bald and evil. "Lois, there is something you should know..." "Make yourself useful for once, Smallville!" Dis!
8:22: Lex is alive and on the lam, looking at his wedding ring boo hoo hoo. "I was dead and there was this light..." all this stuff with the light, touched by an angel, etc.
8:23 "Her soft skin, her hair, that half-awake smile, that nice firm ass, those heaving..." He's turning himself in even though he is rich and doesn't have to.
8:24: Lois: "is that you Clark" oh no it's evil Clark but she doesn't know..he catches a look at her ass ah hahaha horny superman prime bizarro clark. She's getting turned on you can tell.
8:25: Uh oh it doesn't look good for Chloe, they get out the paddles she's dead so sad why did they drag this out?
8:29: Chloes alive...and naked. Clark: "Chloe's gonna be okay isn't she?"
8:30 What s**t is clark doing now? Is he psychic too? He finds Chloe yay "why am I in a morgue?" "she looks like crap"
8:31 Did Lex's guys do something to Chloe? She finds a labcoat that fits her pretty quick, oh no she found out about Lana too boo hoo
8:32: Lex in jail, totally OJ-ed.
8:33: Oh crap Lex is all born again now...and Superman Prime comes in conveniently enough, disembowels the lawyer, squishy sounds.
8:34: "You took Clark's body. "Just a few cells."
8:39: Product placement - Dell. Gotta get a dell! (We're not going to see Supergirl until the end are we?)
8:40: We miss Lana good cry wah! "Phantom Clark thing." "Chloe I don't know how to stop him." Chloe calls evil Clark "Bizarro." Damn Chloe those are some big earrings.
8:41: "Reeves" dam -- get it "Reeves." Ahhhh Martian Manhunter in a hot purple leather jacket. Looking good!
8:43: "That's why his face distorted when he got into the light." "Come into the light...all is welcome! All is welcome!" Good and Evil Clark have reverse color schemes.
8:44: Lex pulls a big gun oh snap Lex watch out he's gonna kill you. Throws him into those pipes. Oh now Evil Clark's got the crack fiending overdose buzzzzzzzzed...
8:45: Ohhhhhh slow motion punch! Watch out Clark he's on the green PCP! Tom Welling looks so fetching grimacing evilly.
8:46: Clark has a healing factor just l ike Wiolverine. He is going to kick evil boy's ass. Evil Clark looks like he has that tech virus from X-men, slow-motion rocky moves, he punched him into the air.
8:50: Oh no, Clark is all depressed. "Who's to say he's any more emo than I am?" Oh that's evil not emo.
8:51: "Hate is so clean." How old is the actress who plays Chloe now, 35?
8:52: "I'm not human." Emo! "The fact that you're from a galaxy far away..adds character."
8:53: Boo Lois. You're so bossy with your Farrah Fawcett hair. (finger goes into throat)
"If you ever grab my ass again, I'll be grabbing your head with me when I go." Evil Clark sex harass.
8:54: So Supergirl was like in this episode for less that two minutes? You could have had a prop in her place for those scenes.
8:55: More emo speech by Clark.
8:56: Chloe sets fire to her death certificate, "those producers will never get me off this show now!"
8:56: I hope they don't drag this whole Lex-as-born-again-martyr thing all season. BF: "this is Smallville - they forget about things." Oh yeah let him take that picture of him & his wife with him into prison sure.
8:57: Oh Lana is in this fake-ass China with this fake-ass wig. Laaaaaaaame!
8:58: Supergirl -- now has a full punk Earth outfit on, puts on her fashion accessories very solemn-like.
9:04 Watching The Office, still thinking about Lana in that fake-ass wig.
Occasional Interviews Presents: Scott O. Brown, "Man Of Comics"
Scott O. Brown is a man of many hats -- a great comic book letterer, an award-winning publisher through his imprint Cyberosia, and the writer of Platinum Comics' "Atlantis Rising."
Scott currently has the graphic novel "Nightfall" out from Platinum, about a tough Texas prison which is secretly run by vampires using the inmates to feed on.
SB: I got a papercut from a radioactive copy of Watchmen purchased at a flea market for $3.00, transforming me into a Man of Comics, with the ability to write, edit, letter, pencil, ink, color, publish, and design comics and graphic novels.
OS: Your new graphic novel "Nightfall" is about vampires in a prison setting. What inspired you to write such a unique story about bloodsuckers?
SB: I was actually inspired by Joss Whedon's Buffy and Angel TV shows. I always thought the idea was so obvious it would inevitably show up on either show. When it didn't, I took the matter into my own hands and wrote a spec script for Buffy. Despite interest from agents, my complete lack of desire to move to LA at the time stopped me from pursuing a TV writing career, so in the end, to get the story out there, I retooled it into what became the graphic novel.
OS: Did you do any research about prison life for this book? Watch a few seasons of "Oz," perhaps?
SB: Just enough to hit the story beats. At 62 pages, there is a cost/benefit ratio to the realism. Trick with research is to do just enough to make sure a story like this has enough credibility to suspend disbelief. To make the story work, I actually had to do more research on UV lighting than prison life.
And I've never seen "Oz."
OS: Have you always had an interest in writing horror comics?
SB: I love horror comics. My latest, They Do Not Die!, with my long time collaborator Horacio Lalia is being serialized at Ambrosia Publishing: http://theydonotdie.ambrosiapub
But the truth is, I just love writing comics. Doesn't matter if I'm playing in the horror genre or not. My first book, Second Soul, is a cyberpunk thriller. My second, Death Valley, is a western with slasher overtones. I have both a superhero and a high school comedy in development, as well as a political thriller. Horror is nothing more than a tool to explore whatever theme I feel the need to sink my teeth into.
OS: "Nightfall" has been previously available as a webcomic at Drunk Duck. What has been your experience with the webcomic format? Do you see it as in competition with print media or something that might compliment it?
SB: The thing with Nightfall is that it is written for the Euro-sized graphic album format. When I first wrote it, there was no immediate intent to publish it online. As Platinum's business model grew, then so did the opportunity to present Nightfall on the web.
I think using the Internet to compliment print comics is a great idea, though I don't believe it's really being used to its full potential. Zuda might be a step in the right direction, but I think something even bigger needs to be done to really make webcomics a cultural, creative, and financial force to be reckoned with.
OS: You were the founder of the acclaimed Cyberosia publishing imprint and are now working with Platinum Studios. Exactly how long have you been in the publishing side of the comic book industry? And how long have you been writing comics professionally?
SB: I actively published through Cyberosia for five years, but I've been writing professionally ever since 2000. My involvement with both overlapped a bit. With Cyberosia laying dormant for the most part, I've focused my energies on writing and lettering. In one form or another, I've been working professionally in comics for almost eight years.
OS: "Nightfall" seems like the perfect story and property for a Hollywood treatment. Have you considered that at all?
SB: That was the whole point of pitching it to Platinum. Just getting my foot out the gate at the time as a writer, they seemed like the perfect publisher to take advantage of it. It moves forward in fits and starts, and I suspect it'll get made eventually.
OS: You also have another series coming out from Platinum called "Atlantis Rising" -- can you tell us something about that?
SB: It's a sci-fi war epic about a Clash of Civilizations. A separate species of humans and their entire society have developed in parallel to ours beneath the ocean, and they launch a terror campaign against perceived injustices committed against them by surface nations. Reporter Angelica Danielson gets caught up in the middle, and learns firsthand more than she ever wanted to know about crimes on both sides of the surface.
The art is by talented newcomer Tim Irwin, with colors by Andy Elder. It's a gorgeous book, but don't take my word for it, it's being serialized online athttp://www.drunkduck.com
Or you can order the first issue for twenty-five cents from Diamond: AUG073922
OS: Thanks for the interview, Scott!
Diamond Select's "Formalwear Sue Storm" limited edition statue.
Hey don't get me wrong, it's a nice statue and all...and a bit more respectable than that Mary Jane thing a while back (remember?).
But what makes this image distinct from just any old everyday good-looking blond in an evening-dress?
I mean, they could have at least made one of the arms in a see-thru resin or something to give the illusion that she was using her powers.
Who is the market for "Formalwear Sue Storm," anyway? She's too clothed for the "removable skirt" anime statue crowd.
"Formalwear Sue Storm"...you know what this reminds me of?
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
The Newly-Savage She-Hulk Cover Gallery
And of course,
Gotta love "Google Images"
From Taboo To Mainstream
I must agree with those readers who feel Lois has become too oriented towards "social causes," "minority groups," and so on. A comic book must primarily be a source of entertainment if it is to sell, and it is easy to jeopardize its success in this respect by overemphasizing moral messages. This applies to Lois' Women's Lib convictions also.
--letter printed in "Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane" in 1972.
Here is a rehash of the old complaint that adding too much of the "social causes" of the day will wreck a comic book & alienate its audience. In this case, the complaints were about too much women's lib & "minority" issues in the "Lois Lane." You could easily hear such a complaint today about including gay characters in a comic.
Was it difficult for DC & Marvel to integrate characters of color into their books back then? Did they get complaints? Was the issue ever raised internally that expanding the diversity of their superheroes might alienate fans?
And once they had characters like Black Panther and the John Stewart Green Lantern in place, was there a taboo against having them in any sort of situation that might be construed as an interracial romance?
How did comics get to the point where Jessica Jones & Luke Cage could become a couple? It seems so normal in comics now, but was it a taboo twenty years ago?
Of course, twenty years ago you had Storm & Forge. Was there any controversy over their relationship? Why did it seem harder to have an interracial relationship in movies & TV at that time than in comic books?
I'm throwing these questions out to you now because I see a parallel with the way gay characters are handled in comics today.
Twenty years from now, will having gay characters in the Justice League & X-Men -- ones that are just mainstream high-profile members and don't get killed every issue -- be absolutely commonplace?
Is it all about the passage of time?
Or will gay characters, while included, still have that sort of metaphorical baggage in terms of being disproportionately killed off, having f**ked-up doomed relationships, etc.?
And while interracial relationships in current pop-culture seems somewhat mainstream, are they still suffering from the same metaphorical baggage?
The most overt example of this in my memory is the interracial couple in the "Dawn of the Dead" remake who have the demon zombie baby that has to be shot. And now you have Luke Cage & Jessica Jones's baby possibly Skrully.
Anyway, when will different types of people just be considered people in these pop culture narratives -- without baggage, without subtext, without things that undermine them built-into the script?
Or can that really be? Or do you need a wealth of diversity within the industry itself to achieve that goal?
Or can you really fully escape the baggage of a history of being misunderstood & discriminated against?
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
My Fake Psychic Comics Gossip Column -the humor edition
My fake psychic abilities -- or spider-sense, if you will -- have told me that in an effort to stop leaked spoilers for "One More Day," Marvel Comics has decided to close down the Internet.
In other phony news, it has been announced that Zuda, DC's webcomic initiative, have, in the interest of "full disclosure," posted not only the contracts for their creators but their names, addresses, Social Security #, blood type, and MySpace passwords. In the interest of "full disclosure" DC is also working on getting those Area 51 documents and just as soon as they do, they will be sure to post them as well.
Hey, what about that Green Arrow, huh? I always knew that loudmouth Black Canary was also...A PAIN IN THE NECK!
Those crazy Swedish cartoonists who brought you Muhammad in various degrading images are back again, my fake insiders within the world of European comic art have told me. This time, they will be drawing naked pictures of yo momma. But that's okay, because it's all in fun.
Speaking of those damn high-brow intellectual comics, my cards are indicating to me that Dan Clowes will be asked by Hustler magazine to do a series of highly erotic pictures of flaccid pale white men standing in darkened doorways with existentialist expressions on their faces.
This just in: my fake moles within the DC Comics reprints division have said that plans to do an omnibus-sized hardcover slipcase edition of "Visionary: The Best Of Judd Winick" are in the works. It will come out right after a hardcover reprinting Dan Didio's run on "Superboy."
And finally, a rash of Steve Ditko sightings have been reported all across the country. Hundreds of reports of an unassuming older man in glasses and a suit who had created Spider-Man are flooding into local police precincts and media outlets every week. Cattle have been mutilated. Samples taken from the cattle indicate some sort of radioactive material. Cows are giving birth to eight-armed calves with superior strength and reflexes. The national guard have been called in. Taxi cabs are turning into giant-sized robots. It's a f**king mess.
Well, that's all the fake comic book gossip we have for now. Please come again.
Gun Marketers Sez: "Pink Is For Girls"
According to this article, gun shops across the country are stocking up on pink handguns and rifles to attract the all-important women market.
These female-friendly firearms include a Remington 20-gauge shotgun with a pink and black stock emblazoned with the slogan: "Shoot like a girl if you can!"
I was curious if this was really going on, or just one of those cute "stranger than fiction" news items that turn out to be bogus. So for your viewing pleasure:
A Pink Glock
A Pink Girl's Rifle From Walmart -- Order Yours Here!
A Pink AK-47 Clone
The Rock's "Captain Marvel" Identity Crisis
The MTV movies blog reports that The Rock is in talks to play not only Captain Marvel -- but Black Adam as well!
It's unclear whether he will play one and not the other or both in the proposed "Shazam!" movie -- but on the MTV blog he puts the matter up to a vote for the fans.
The context is three women supporting their friend as she's dying of cancer.
And is that John Byrne helping Tom Batiuk out on art?
More possible Byrne on "Funky Winkerbean": here and here
Batiuk's use of superheroes to illustrate the heroisms people perform every day -- whether it's facing a disease, supporting a friend, or overcoming a fear -- is a wonderful & positive use of the genre.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Weddingus Interruptus (More Green Arrow/Black Canary B*tching)
From a Newsarama interview with Judd Winick on the "Wedding Special":
NRAMA: Speaking of fun, and speaking of it coming to a screeching halt – that last scene. That was something that a lot of people were picking up on even before the issue. Was Ollie’s death in the mix from the start?
JW: Yeah – but actually, it was supposed to be Black Canary, but we changed our minds. How do you like them apples?
1) So Ollie is dead -- deeeeed. Again. It's official After all that s**t to bring him back.
2) Were gonna kill BC from the start, eh? What a wonderful way to plot an event. All this foo-foo nice wedding stuff just so you could kill her off. That would have gone over WELL! Yeah, take a character Gail Simone is known for writing and give credence to the ol' "Women in Refrigerators" meme she started.
3) Then again, "WIR" also referred to majorly f**ked up things female characters have had to go through. So under Black Canary, next to "sexually mutilated and made sterile," you can write: "was forced to kill her own husband just before coitus on their honeymoon bed because he was going to stab her."
4) Ollie is DEAD! Deeeeeeed! Read:
JW: In Green Arrow/Black Canary #1, the world has moved on, but Dinah has only moved forward one inch. She’s having, to say the least, a very hard time coming to terms with Ollie’s death…almost to the point that she’s not going to come to terms with Ollie’s death. She’s going to set her own terms in regards to how she’s dealing with Ollie’s death, despite the fact that everyone else is moving on.
Deeeeeeeeed!!!! Deader than a dead parrot! Deeeeeeeed!!!!!
And Newsarama readers react:
"So glad I quit subsidizing Winick."
"L-A-M-E. They already killed Ollie, why do it again?"
"This was awful. In fact, it was so bad, I had to throw it away because the comic was stinking up the house."
"I really don't like wedding issue when we don't actually get to see them get married."
"Only in the Didioverse would they actually marry a character. Then kill him off... in the same issue. If it wasn't so pathetically predictable, it'd be funny."
"Canary is a master - a MASTER - of the martial arts having survived training by Shiva and that crazy woman sensei that she took Sin from. She has the canary cry - and her only recourse to save herself is to Jamie Lee Curtis him in the neck with an arrow??"
"This is more Final Crisis editorial stink! Yes, Ollie is really dead and a lot of the other icons are going to start buying it until FINAL CRISIS. DC Comics are going to blow for the next year and 3 monthes until this Final Crisis crap is over. Notice how everybook is taking a turn towards the worst?. Especially the memberships of the team books? I always feel like I wasted my money on Winick books. 5 minute read. Adolescent plots and obnoxious plot twists that destroy the characters for the sake of shock value."
"Absolutely f#cking amazing. No explanation for why the supposed martial-arts expert Dinah didn't simply render Ollie unconscious with her free hand instead of taking an arrow and stabbing him through the neck. And no explanation for why she didn't even attempt to use her Canary Cry. It's so laughably bad you expect this to be a deliberate red herring, but you know what? I honestly don't think it is. Winick is just that bad of a writer."
"when will Didio learn death doesn't sell unless if it's Batman or Superman."
and the immortal...
"I miss Kevin Smith."
There were some nastier comments that I've left out. And, on the positive side, feeling was pretty unanimous that Amanda Connor's art was great.