Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Occasional Links: The Mr. Rogers Lovefest Edition

Heidi Meeley points out in her blog the discrepancies between the original solicited Catwoman #74 cover...
and the final one:
At the risk of falling into a pit of my own hard-won cynicism and cold-blooded marketing analysis so soon after the holidays, I will temporarily keep my mouth shut and invoke the following:

It's never really good when they can Google "Your Name + Hitler" and come up with several pages worth of hits.
I don't feel that Will Smith meant to say that the Nazi dictator was Awesome with an A, but when you're doing a press junket for a so-so I Am Legend remake during Christmas time, there's no need to get into strained metaphors utilizing genocidal maniacs. I don't want a history lesson from Smith, Brad Pitt, or even Sean Penn. Well, maybe one from Ellen DeGeneres, because she's so damn pleasant.

Did you know that Cathy Lee Crosby of That's Incredible fame was the original TV Wonder Woman? I was trying to forget this, personally.

Over at Digital Femme, Cheryl points out that Misty Knight has lost her trademark Afro:

I liked the fact that Misty was a character who was secure enough and loved herself enough that she wasn't going to dump a vat of caustic lye on her head or risk scarring herself with hot metal in order to look acceptable.
This reminds me of when I was twelve and sitting next to an African-American girl at the beauty parlor. She was having her hair straightened, and I was having a perm. Why can't females be loved for who they truly are, dammit?! See, now I'm going to be cranky all day.

Incidentally, when I saw the title of another Cheryl post, "Yo, OS Heads!", I really didn't click the link thinking it was about me.

Really. I'm not that egotistical.


Fast on the heels of the "Fatgate" controversy, Jennifer Love Hewitt feeds the homeless in a heavily-covered media event. Is this her (or her publicist's) way of symbolically saying, "I don't stuff my face, I stuff the face of others?"


Kids, if you don't like the way your current comic books are written, remember:

See, here is where I think DC marketing is brilliant. By currently producing some lackluster titles now, consumers are forced to turn to where the money *really* is -- in the backlist. Monthly copies at your comic shop are mere pennies to a big corporation, whereas Barnes and Noble, Borders, and net the big cash -- and with mainstream audiences, too.

Of course, in several years when the amount of trade-paperback worthy new material dwindles, there may be a little gap in quality backlist. But there will still be plenty of readers who haven't been introduced to Watchmen, Kingdom Come, and Batman tales from the 1940s.

And let's face it, all the mainstream companies are putting out expensive collected editions of stuff whether the sales or quality warrants it or not. It's standard now to, in many cases, plan the collected edition at the same time the original is being produced. If it has a gorgeous cover, beautiful binding, and shrinkwrap it MUST be worth that $25 or $30 or $50, right?

And where will DC's next ground-breaking works of art like Watchmen, Dark Knight, Kingdom Come, Batman Year One, Starman, or V for Vendetta come from? And does it really matter?

And now: THE KINKS!


  1. Yeah, I don't mind the boobilicious nature of that cover so much, but it IS funny.

  2. DC is producing quite a few quality books but most people would rather talk about how much Countdown sucks and how DC kills all its characters and the like. Sometimes I wish books like Checkmate would kill someone in a horrible just to get some attention because that's all people seem to notice.

  3. You know, I read your posts a couple times a day. They're one of the highlights in my breaks during long, never-ending days in my windowless editing room. Sometimes I laugh hard, sometimes I get excited by upcoming releases, and other times I get pissed off.

    This Catwoman thing really pissed me off. Maybe it's stupid for a 36 year old guy in Santa Monica to get upset over the treatment of a comic book character by her publisher, but characters like Selina have meant something profound to me for 30 of my 35 years. And this plain sucks.

    This Selina-T&A retouching is a real disservice to the character, and DC seems to do it with a disappointing regularity.

    There are certain characters in the DC roster where these pin up shots don't bother me. I mean, Starfire was introduced as a centerfold girl. And Black Canary has always worn fishnets and boots with a black leather boustier for crying out loud. Are we surprised when she's drawn to look like she's posing for the cover of a motorcycle magazine?

    And a character like Vixen is a working model (plus, she actually gets to wear a long sleeved top AND pants, so she's more covered than most women in the superhero universe).

    Others like Huntress and Power Girl (can we do something about her stupid name?) have admittedly sexy outfits that look they were designed by a 14 year old boy. But they're so tough, bad ass and intimidating that it often takes some of the inherent "sex" out of the equation (except when someone like Benes gives Kara boobs the size of Texas).

    But Wonder Woman and Selina are the two most iconic and awesome female characters in the DC roster-- hell, pop culture in general. And yes, I read your post on the stupid bondage fantasy roots of Diana's past. But in the right hands, Wonder Woman is a brilliant warrior with a powerful message (despite the star-spackled underpants).

    In both KINGDOM COME and NEW FRONTIER, Diana was a truly awesome, intelligent, powerful character who was written (and drawn) with love and respect. And guys like Timm and McDuffie wrote what may be the best day-to-day interpretation of her ever on the JL and JLU series.

    Selina, for her part, has almost always been a tough, take-no-prisoners character who got the upper hand on Bats, not just because she was hot, but because she was smart, athletic and strong.

    Reducing both of these women to a Farrah Fawcett-style one piece bikini shot poster is insulting to the characters. It demeans them and worse, weakens them. It makes them about the boobs and the ass, not who they are as people.

    We rarely (if ever) get beefcake shots of the guys. I mean, sure...Dick Grayson seems to take 30 showers a day and Vic Stone looked like he could have been in the Village People with those short-shorts and thigh high boots. But DC would never give Bats or Supes the same insulting treatment as they do WW and Catwoman.

    DC seems really intent on keeping these guys protected in their convention-style glass show cases. Why can't they show the same love, respect and protection of their two most important female characters?

    The only logical answer is the same one you've pointed out countless times on your site-- the company is run by white guys who don't know better.

    Look, I'm a white guy who tries to know better, but I also can't help drooling like Pavlov's dog when I see some bikini shot of Selma Hayek or Elisha Cuthbert. But if someone wanted to show me the same shots of Michelle Yeoh or Katherine Hepburn, I'd pass. Not because those women aren't freakin' gorgeous. But because the were always about something more than their looks. They were-- and are-- strong, intelligent, noble AND gorgeous.

    It's be nice if DC finally realized just how special a commodity they have with these two women in particular. Characters like Diana and Selina don't grow on trees.


  4. i agree that reducing female characters to sex objects is a travesty, but at the same time, i think taking sexuality out of the equation presents a drab flatness that is inherent in the other end of the equation. i like pin-up covers, as long as they stay on the "complex & sexy character" & not "simple masturbation material," which is a fine line.

  5. I'll tell you where the next Watchmen or V for Vendetta is going to come from, the indies like Top Shelf. The mainstream comic companies are dead; just publishing pamphlets to keep their IP's valid.