Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Teen Titans #63: Two Mutilated Chicks

No, but seriously, they both become superheroines and best friends and might even sleep with each other. And that's hot.

Can anybody tell me if this book is ok to give to a 12-year-old girl that I know? I have a stack of Archie Digests to send to her, and I'm wondering if I should include some Teen Titans as well.

Oh I'm sorry -- was I having an opinion again? I know that pisses some people off.

No, you're right, this type of stuff is totally appropriate.

It's funny, these images brought to mind Kegadoru -- a fetish in Japan where it's hot to see young women injured and in bandages -- for some reason.
And hey, look -- if you're angry that I point these things out, and are perhaps worried that it will impact DC negatively in some way -- don't. All it does is give them free publicity, and introduces the books to more adult markets, which is what they want. They just want more adults to buy their books, and the little kids can buy the baby comix with the smiley faces, and the whole 10-14 year-old-base can go play their gory video games and maybe, when they are so full of bloodlust and jadedness to violence and gore, they can slip right into reading the mainstream comics again.

Outside of babydom and toddlerville, the media is quickly becoming a place where anything vaguely "family friendly" is considered square and a money-loser. So please do not weep for DC Comics. They can only *wish* their product could be considered so controversial. Their strategy for appearing "relevant" is a cross between the couple dancing to "Hammer Time" at their wedding and the Monty Python "Salad Days" sketch. So any posts pointing out excess violence or dirty language in their books is a big plus for them. They're crying all the way to the bank.

And for all you know, these posts could be planted in a massive conspiracy to make books like "Teen Titans" badass and edgy and hence marketable. I should get a stipend. As it is I only get "World of Warcraft" spinoffs to review. So I'm the one who suffers.


  1. I mailed you some comix.
    I guess I could knock out some sort of World of Warcraft mini if you are exclusive with that kind of thing. (That's a joke. Yeah, I'm not that funny.)

    In all seriousness, if I had seen Kitty Pryde torn to bits when I was a kid I think it would have bothered me a lot.

  2. There is always Tiny Titans!

  3. Anonymous11:19 AM

    Teen Titans? I certainly wouldn't give it to any 12-year-old I know. Perhaps not so much on content grounds (though it must be said I have few boundaries when it comes to giving reading material to young people), but because it's pretty much shit.

  4. I think everyone comes to this blog to read your opinions Val.

    And yes, sometimes 'any publicity is good publicity'.

    I just wish you would point out disturbing panels from other companies comics as well. At times the good you are doing (by pointing out misogynistic images, etc) is overwhelmed by the unrelenting anti-DC vibe that comes off here. It might weaken your point.

    I still enjoy coming here ... just waiting for Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, IDW, and etc to also take their lumps from your discerning eye.

  5. I've probably become real jaded about this kinda stuff, but this really hasn't bothered me. It's certainly different from McKeever's work that I know, but I guess that's just a good show of versitility. However, heavy stuff like this I wouldn't neccessarily put in a book called Teen Titans. Yeah, sure, you need to get serious now and then just to have balance, but a book with that kinda title should be light and fun. At least that's my standpoint. Save the heavy for JLA.

  6. I'm pretty much the biggest DC fan I know. Probably about 75% of the new comics I DO buy are DC but I don't see an anti-DC agenda here. That may be because I agree with a lot of what Val says but because I consider her comments to be anti-bad taste and anti-stupidity.

    And, yeah, DC isn't going to be hurt by anything said in a blog unless it's Didio or Morrison saying it and probably not much even then. DC really couldn't care less about the blogosphere or, it seems, their fans.

  7. I miss Geoff Johns on TT :(

  8. First of all: Ugh. What a creepy fetish.

    And second, Teen Titans is the *last* comic I'd give to a kid. I don't think it'd particularly hurt them if they saw it, but I try to give my niece and nephews (much younger than tweens anyway, so this is beside the point) something that's actually worth reading. If it stinks for a guy in his 30s, it'll stink just as bad for a kid. We might have different tastes and interests, but at the end of the day, crap is crap.

    I'm looking forward to when Eddy Barrows gets a chance to draw something I'm interested in reading again, since I liked his art in 52 quite a bit.

  9. I haven't seen the whole book, and thus, cannot speak to context, but don't you expect people to get beat up in comic books?

    After all, if you make your living by pounding on bad guys, the law averages practically demands that, you, too, will get the stuffing knocked out of you by some villain.

    As the father of a 3-year-old girl, I'm not sure I'd want her exposed to such images between the ages of now and, say, 10. But when you're getting into junior high age, it might be more appropriate, with adequate parental supervision and oversight.

    "Bridge to Terabitha" contains equally disturbing imagery, and I read that when I was 10.

    I guess the question here is what the debate is over: the imagery or the fact that young women have been singled out for violence.

    If it's a debate about the latter, let's have it. But if it's a complaint about the former disguised as a complaint about the latter, it should be out in the open.

    Just my contrarian 2p.

  10. Hey Valerie,

    As a very strong, passionate, life long DC fan I have no problem with anyones opinion about their stuff whether I agree with it or not. And frankly in this case I agree. I used to love TT and now it's been dropped right next to Titans. In all honesty I should have read the writing on the wall when Ms. Martian was set up by her evil future self to be gang raped in a bathroom. I mean, just yuck.

  11. I don't always agree with you (it'd actually be a pretty boring blog if I did), but I am in a hundred percent agreement on the pointlessly disturbing nature of Teen Titans and its ilk. You may get a lot of people sending you emails about how you're out to get DC or whatever, but my first thought is always "thank god SOMEONE is saying something".

  12. Invincible had a little kid plowing through a bad guys innards...oh wait, it wasn't from DC Comics.

    If its all so bad, stop reading it. That is what I'm doing with this blog.

  13. Well, at least unlike last issue, this one doesn't have a cover that looks like it might be from the Johnny DC line.

  14. Die in a fire, Femenazi.

  15. Val, I totally agree with you. In fact, I've agreed with the last several posts you've made on the subject. Which is why I'm going to suggest that you maybe think about putting the angry response in the comments to specific people who disagree with you (and even more specifically, who disagree with you rudely) instead of in the body of the post.

    I understand that there are people who are not just pro-DC, but who take it personally when someone makes even a reasonable criticism of the company, and I sympathize. But it feels kind of awkward, reading your blog entries and feeling guilty and hurt for something I didn't even say.

  16. @ groovydaddy: I haven't seen the film if that's what you're talking about, but the most 'disturbing' things in the book were a) a reference to child abuse, and b) the accidental death of the main character's best friend. That's after-school special stuff. That's not violence for the sake of violence.

    It's not that I don't expect a bit of violence in a superhero comic. Of course I do, violence is inherent in the genre. But that does not mean that all bets are off and and every act or consequence of violence portrayed is justified by the story. That's like saying every romantic movie should contain an explicit, hardcore sex scene. It may not be illogical, but it's hardly necessary or even aesthetically fitting.

  17. Sorry, that was kind of a jerky thing to say.

  18. Or, if it's all so bad...

    Continue writing about it and expressing your opinion in the hopes that comics companies will realize this kind of pandering to the latest gore or "dark'n'nasty" craze does nothing to further storytelling in this medium and serves only to alienate readers.

    Continue deploring crap in all its various forms.

    And maybe some fans- or at least one in particular- will realize that what's happening in some other comic isn't relevant to the discussion here.

    Invincible doesn't have a history of "all-ages" storytelling behind it. No one in their right mind ever remotely considered that title as a possible gift for a child. It hasn't been suddenly reconfigured because of some lame-brain company-wide marketing ploy to appeal to Saw or the "torture porn" demographic with supposedly mature storylines that are actually childish and inept.

    And then... after that... maybe that fan will realize the discussion isn't that all violence in comics or dark themes in comics are wrong or inappropriate, just the artificially and clumsily grafting them onto a certain book with the word "Teen" in the title.

    To suck all life and light out of the stories in favor of the relentlessly negative, the grim, the depressing and the downbeat, minus the aesthetic qualities in the writing and the art needed in order to justify said storylines or themes.

    Just ignoring it isn't going to change things. Making some noise is.

    That's what I'm doing by continuing to read this blog.

  19. The other funny thing is, people just can't take their own advice and simply stop reading something they disagree with, like this blog. They can't just walk away in silence, they have to make a big show of their snitty, dramatic exit in an attempt to shame you into toeing whatever line they think you should be toeing.

    And heaven forbid they should remain and engage in discussion and present counter examples for why junk like this is totally okay.

  20. I think we're assuming what fandom always assumes--that there is no big picture, no plan. Oftentimes, fans will complain about one thing or another, but it's all just part of a larger story arc that eventually sees resolution. How many times have fans complained about part 3 (of 6), only to have the writer or someone else say that it's part of the story and we need to read the whole thing?

    That said, it's hard to have faith in DC's "big picture" with what happened with Countdown.

    Plus, I'm not terribly interested in seeing heroes turned into victims, no matter what tier or gender they are. In fact, I like to look to the "lesser" heroes for even greater levels of heroism. To paraphrase Joss Whedon, if these heroes truly are "lesser," then being in their line of work makes them extraordinary.

    Does this mean "lesser" heroes shouldn't take a beating every now and then? Well, if they do, I should hope it's not pointless. After Black Canary's brutal treatment in Gail Simone's first arc on Birds of Prey, the hero went on a journey to become better at what she does. For Canary, it was a wake-up call.

    Will any of these heroes in Teen Titans be "waking up" anytime soon? Isn't there some big Green Lantern story coming up where all the dead come back to life or something? If so, shouldn't DC be doing a better job of foreshadowing it?

  21. One, I can't believe imagery like this is acceptable in a book that's not labeled for Mature Readers.

    Two, even if it was for mature readers, that's still pretty fucked up.

    Three, why does the push for "realism" in comics equate to horrible maiming, cursing, raping, etc.? Sure, the world is certainly a violent, fucked up place. But you can be real without being a sadistic fuck. Comic "realism" is so dark, jaded, and cynical it makes it hard to enjoy comics sometimes.

  22. Anonymous9:27 AM

    I totally agree with you Val, this comic turned to crap and I droped it a few months ago. I am glad that I didn't pay money to see this.

  23. Wow.... A lot here, and not a lot of time to comment on it all, however, I just want to say that this seems to goto the larger problems at DC right now, and maybe we need to start a "Get rid of Dan Didio" campaign, if there isn't one already....

  24. if only they had females cutting themselves in private like all strong women should do. ;-)

  25. I seriously hope you're joking, Snow Princess.

  26. Anonymous10:55 PM

    I hear that DC is going to star putting Stephanie Brown in every title.

    Even the ones with Wolverine in them.