Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It Would Be A Stronger Loving World

I think my blog writing block started after I saw the "The Watchmen." I had several rather strong opinions on the subject, and realized that none were really fit for print. Not the usual topics -- sexism, violence, blah blah. No, just topics...the danger and folly of the industry putting their hopes on one particular comic book movie to save them (especially when the movie was R-rated and featured characters that were not part of the collective mass consciousness), Rorschach the hip anti-hero who is also the embodiment of everything his fans probably profess to hate, Zack Snyder's blatant 9/11 references sprinkled throughout and what they might mean, and, finally, Alan Moore's ultimate prophecy embodied in the nerd with the ketchup stain on his shirt on the last page of the graphic novel.

Lots of topics there to have fun with. Just couldn't do it. This wasn't the forum. I mean, just the statement that I don't think the Watchmen are a part of the collective mass consciousness alone could spark the sort of angry debate that takes up an inordinate amount of my time and again fulfills Moore's prophecy.

There were other things. I had hired a career coach to look at my various projects objectively and give me some advice. I explained to her everything about the "Occasional Superheroine" blog -- how it started, about "Goodbye To Comics," everything about the blog up to this point. And she said what I had already figured out myself. That the blog was so tied into this strong, adversarial, tumultuous energy that even if I wrote about harmless topics, it would still attract some people who wanted more anger, more tumult. So I could write about daisies and there would be some brilliant individual who would react angrily with: "Daisies?! What do you have against petunias?!" And so on and so on. Because they're addicted to the drama. I get it.

I get told every once in a while by well-meaning people that this sort of tumult and schadenfreude is just the warp and weft of the Internet community, and not a big deal at all. Within that point of view, I often feel as if I'm the one singled out as doing the worst behavior of all -- being real and saying how I actually feel at any one given time. I'm told not to act like a martyr, and then instead to just sit and not say anything. Which is sort of like...being a martyr. I guess it's better to be a quiet pious-eyed martyr, of the old Christian variety, than an annoying loud-mouthed spouter of opinions. That's what I got from those conversations.

My career coach said to me that that I wasn't a muckraker or a ball-breaker, but I was a truth-teller. Or, at any rate, that's how I should be. The difference was in how I presented that truth. A big stumbling-block for me has been my perception that ultimately, society hates the truth and truth-tellers. That if somebody went through the trouble of burying that truth, it's probably because society wanted it *gone*, dead, away. Is there even any market in the truth these days? Can we make a CW show out of it? Or maybe truth is okay, as long as it's gory and full of that familiar schadenfreude. Jade Goody dying of cancer = acceptable truth. Because of all the gory details. They can film that shit, package it, put it on the cover of OK magazine. But being sit down and told in detail why your economy is fucked? Before the crisis? Nobody wants to hear that. That's like stuff you see on public television.

This blog jumped the shark for me several times. By "jumping the shark," I mean that my desire to continue it and my mission were severely shaken. They were not the times you might think. No, they were really subtle. Hearing the "he's just a big lovable grumpy guy" about the man who sexually harassed me -- from somebody who had originally convinced me to sue DC Comics for the harassment -- was one such instance. In one sense, it was harmless. It was a harmless comment. But it just sat with me. It knocked my equilibrium off. I still remember where I was when I read this as a text message. I remember the patterns the varnish made on the wood of the library desk when I read this message.

There were things at DC that happened years after I left that shook, for me, the mission of this blog. On one hand, I think they validated things I already said. On the other hand, they were so real, so really messed up, so beyond the pale, that to write about them in a flip manner had become completely inappropriate. It explained everything and yet couldn't really be talked about. I just wanted to go back and write about daisies and call it a day.

People have been asking me about that whole "Scans Daily" fiasco, and the only thing I have to say about it is that I followed the recent controversy and it further helped to shake my mission. I read the X-Factor issue in question, by the way, because my BF had purchased it and said "you must read this!" and I did and I loved it. That's how I expanded my current reading list and tried new things. There was a purchase involved.

Finally, a recent post I did regarding Friends of Lulu was like the cherry on top of the shark jumping, but in an ultimately positive way. Being yelled at and told "there's no need for Friends of Lulu!" only convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt that there absolutely needs to be a Friends of Lulu. Being told that there was no need for women to support each other only convinced me that there absolutely was a need for women to support each other. And so I turned my attention to just that. I took the type of work I was doing for my clients -- blog consultation, the strategic utilization of content, and the development of social media outreach -- and decided to apply it to Friends of Lulu. Which takes a lot of time to do. But I felt it went back to what my coach said. "How do you tell that truth?" Am I a muckraker or a truth-teller? How am I going to make a difference?

I do think there will be an end-point to this blog very soon, and I will carry the conversation onto another blog under my name. I will certainly talk about comics, pop-culture, my life, etc, but it will be done from a new forum. A lot of the passion I put in my posts...maybe it's time to put them in my comic book writing. I need to do this. I'm not the same person I was when I started this blog. I'm not better or worse, I'm just different. My goals are different. My perception is different. It's been almost three years this April since the accident that helped inspire my writing of "Goodbye To Comics," and I've changed a lot. What really needs to happen is to compose the final sentence on this blog, thank everyone who supported it, and write "The End." And start anew. And let the fun begin.


  1. Anonymous12:49 PM

    It's your blog, and it's yours to walk away from if you feel you have to. It'd be our loss, but don't let it be yours.

    It would indeed not be a bad idea to put your energy into something lasting, and I'm sure lots of people would support that - comics, prose or whatnot.

    Good luck!

  2. It is sad that Truth is not necessarily a desired commodity these days. More often than not, those who DO speak the truth end up having the modern equivalent of a 'stoning'. It's even sadder that there are many people out there just spoiling for a fight... about anything! Petunias are as good a cause as any to them.

    Some people will be indescribably angry when you tell them Truths that they don't like. No matter if you tell them in the best possible way. Still, it is important to have people who will stand up and say these painful and uncomfortable truths. Without them, we are lesser as a society and as people.

    Remember that for everyone who tries to tear you down for speaking honestly and truthfully, there's one of us cheering you on.

  3. I've read your blog for over a year now (and the origin plus selected other entries) and have this observation - you don't seem happy. Not that you are "unhappy" but you've expressed more than once in different ways that you have a distinct lack of joy in comic-y and blog-y things. Since those play a large part in your life, there is obviously some overall influence.

    I think getting the career coach is a good move. At the end of the day, your only obligation is to yourself. However what you think that obligation should be and how deep and wide it should stretch is a decision not an inherent truth. This outside POV might just be what you need to make that decision.

  4. Good luck but you won't need it. Knowing when to change direction is a blessing.

  5. When you tell the truth about ugly things, you ARE a muck-raker, but that's a GOOD thing to be. If a tenth of the actual "journalists" in the real media were muckrakers, we may not have all the problems we do right now.

    If it's too stressful for you, stop. I, however, like to hear your analysis and opinions

    Now onto the criticism.

    I would distinguish between facts and opinions. When people challenge your opinions based upon the facts, they are not (necessarily) upset that you are a truth-teller, they may genuinely disagree with you and as far as vitriol or contempt go, you have dished it out as well as taken it.

    The idea that negative responses on this blog are primarily due to you being a truth-teller suggests an inflated ego and paranoia (which is a by-product sometimes of a self-centered personality).

  6. BTW, I will do my own searching, but what is this scans daily thing?

  7. Great post, deeply felt. And excellent subliminal images.

  8. I understand the desire to move on to a new chapter, and to some extent I think you're right - no matter what you post here, you're going to inspire disagreements of some kind or other.

    Good luck - and I'm sure we'll all be here till the '150,000 years later' card flashes up at the top of the blog.

  9. A few points:

    1. Nothing wrong with rebooting a blog. I'm doing the same right now- I'm getting everything together to finally start writing under the new, abandoning Sometimes, you just need to start fresh.

    2. I was disappointed lately to see you stop writing the controversial posts that you had written before. Even when you covered "hot" topics, it was evident that you didn't have the same fervor that you had before. And I was disappointed that I didn't get to engage you in an argument over the Dark Knight bit; I found your take interesting, but wanted to explore further how a company should respond when a product they've heavily marketed has unintended consequences. But hey, that happens.

    I've taken a few lessons from your blog. Unfortunately, there is still rampant sexism in comics fandom (not a surprise, but a sad fact). We're not very good as humans in separating our unhappiness over a stated fact from the person who stated the fact. And when you write something, you have little control of the consequences once it's out there.

    I do hope you keep truth-telling. We need it. The world is never solely the way we view it; I liked seeing how you viewed the world. You're not only a truth-teller, but also an educator, and I look forward to more lessons.

  10. Always leave it open for a sequel.


  11. OccasionalSuperheroine is a good brand name; if it has been branded too negatively, well then, I guess it makes sense.

  12. Anonymous2:49 PM

    Looking forward to your next forum. Good on ya!

  13. Forget my last post. I know what the scans daily thing is. Sounds like nothing to me. Copyright infringement is copyright infringement.

  14. No matter where you go from here, thanks for what you've given us with this blog. For me, it started out as an interesting read during my lunch breaks, but it's become something more meaningful than just entertainment.

    Heck, you persuaded me to go out and buy my first-ever superheroine comics. And I read them. And while Wonder Woman still isn't the right genre for my tastes, Ultimate Elektra was a pretty good read, and I'm looking forward to trying out Spider-Woman.

    I picked up and read a TPB of Blue Beetle because of you. And I really enjoyed that one, and found a greater appreciation for the broader DC universe.

    And I've started to think more critically about some of the issues about gender, voicing your opinion, public perception, and other struggles you've recounted and philosophized over.

    So thank you for your courage, dedication, honesty, creativity, and time.

    It's like Kirk said, except in that paraphrased and modified sort of way: Don't let them do anything that takes you away from your writing, because while you're there... you can make a difference.


  15. Truth-teller, muck-raker, comics blogger, fan-girl, industry insider, often accurate futurist, humorist, regular ol' human being trying to figure out their place in the world, activist.

    You've needed (personally) to get out from under this site for a while. You've flirted with it plenty. Don't wait another week. Do what you need to do, where you need to do it, and the people who adore you will adore you else-where, and the trolls will no doubt not lose your scent either, but that isn't the point, I don't think.

    I hate that feeling when I know I need to leave or quit something, but I keep doing it for any of a number of reasons, trying to make it work for the benefit of others, when everything about it just feels wrong to me (talking about collaborations mostly, or projects, but it sounds like what you have been going through.) Don't go through it anymore, move on.

    The good news... Is that I swear you have done some of your best pieces in a long time here recently, so you can leave this behind for a new forum, on a high note.

    Good luck with however you proceed. Your friends (real and imaginary internet friends) will support you, and maybe new things will open up as well.

  16. Wait, though...

    Was THAT the goodbye? Or was that the post floating the idea that, quite possibly / most likely one day soon, there will be a post that IS a goodbye?

    Never been one to pick a fight on the internets, 'specially w/ you. But if you're gonna do it (abandon OS, that is) well - you just do, y'know?

    I imagine, ESPECIALLY with the other stuff that you're writing, you're probably hitting that wall, where you start wondering if a blog is a viable "publishing platform" to get your voice out there, or just a narrowly defined "genre"

    I don't know the answer to that. But for my part, I keep plugging.

    In that spirit, let me start the ball rolling on the spam that clutters up dormant blogs


    yes. it's come to this.

    Good luck to ya!

  17. You'll tell us where you're going though, right?

  18. Anonymous5:26 PM

    Life coach? What do you have against psychologists?!

    All kidding aside, if O.S. was gone, I'd miss an integral part of my ritualistic checking of updates. Sure, I could just go to the new blog, but I'd miss the old one that I happened upon in a Google search late one night.

  19. This isn't your last blog post is it?

  20. Wow. It's writing like this that makes me want to encourage you to keep writing, somewhere I can access it and read it somehow.

    I'm a Christian, so that's part of the framework with which I interpret the world. My wife shares your penchant for truth telling, and has gotten similar reactions. She's also an extrovert (in the Jungian sense) and that kind of reaction from people approaches being intolerable for her. But denying that charism for prophecy, also grows to be intolerable in the face of injustice or inequity. What she works at is keeping the tone of her message in a place she can live with, and not letting the frustration of deaf ears make her stop entirely. When the way forward is completely blocked, she gives herself freedom to leave, finally. But there's a lot of room for self-doubt at every step of that journey.

    Thanks for all your sharing, and God bless wherever you go.

  21. I get where you're coming from.

  22. As with all things, I encourage you to do what you feel is right, Val. ^_^ Personally I find you to be inciteful, entertaining, and I always love to see what you've posted about. Keep up the good work and don't let the Haters get you down.

    However, since the dorks who said FoL didn't need to exist are inspiring you... WOMEN IN COMICS ARE FINELOL, R4PE IS A LEGITIMATE STORYTELLING TECHNIQUE, AND WOMEN NEED TO GET BACK IN THE KITCHEN LOLZ.

  23. As much as I've enjoyed your blog posts, I'm looking forward to your comics writing thrice fold. It'd be a large loss for a grand gain. Of course, I'd love to have both.

    I put you in the same category I put Judd Winick. He has a unique voice, so he gets given a superhero comics job and becomes a distinctive voice. It seems obvious DC should be using him to create the next Scott Pilgrim (or Barry Ween) phenomenon, but DC doesn't specialize in that. Anyhow, don't let doing superhero work distract from what you can do uniquely well.

    Definitely help push forward Friends of Lulu. They're great folks, scrappy and idealistic. They have a great cause and quitting because you've ALMOST won is crazy. We can debate how close we are to a friendly comics and mediascape, but only the blind don't see the problems. From a selfish perspective, FoL provides you with a supportive community and the chance to inspire another generation with those ideals. Here, you're mostly debating with thirty-sumpin geeks (such as me, tho I'm about to hit 40 sumpin later this year). That's fine, but it's hard to change the beliefs of the middle aged, no matter how good the argument.

  24. Hey all, thanks for the really supportive comments!

    I'm pretty sure the end is near for this blog; it's been a good run, and I feel it's a natural time to end it.

    I'll officially post the link to the new blog in the next entry on this blog, but just as a preview:

  25. Have to agree with ultraaman here.

    Been reading this blog for a while and over the last several months, the posts seemed to be less happy and more angry, anger that seemed directed not only at certain people and issues you were discussing, but increasingly at the segment of your blog readers who disagreed with you.

    Your stepping back from the controversial posts seemed a good idea although I would have suggested a temporary respite and perhaps a reassessment of how you approached those issues from a fresher perspective rather than the permanent hiatus you seemed to indicate.

    I for one will sorely miss this blog. It's one of the first 3-4 sites I hit every day. Losing it will suck, but if the price is more passionate writing it'll be a bitter pill but I'll manage to get it down. As long as I get to read the results in Cloak and Dagger.

    And if the blog manages to resurface, all the better. After all they resurrected Spider-Girl over and over. So anything is possible...

    Whatever you choose to do, it'll be gripping reading indeed. And that's good enough for me.

  26. I have greatly enjoyed your blog and consider myself fortunate to have followed it for most of its run. If "truth is beauty," then I'd say this has been beautiful--despite (or because of?) the unvarnished honesty of human experience that you've blogged about. I never expected to find that in a comics blog, but here we are!

    I look forward to reading whatever you write next!

  27. I've always appreciated your truth telling, and I've always thought you had a beautiful and unique writing voice. Best of luck and I look forward to continue reading your words, whether in comics, the blogosphere or elsewhere.

  28. No matter the topic, ever since i found this blog i haven´t stop following it.
    You are a good writer.
    Keep at it.
    Greetings from mexico.

  29. While I'm saddened that this chapter is ending, I'm excited that you're going to embark on something new.

    I look forward to the next evolution.

  30. Anonymous5:37 AM

    The pictures to all the finales that left on an Unfinished note were brilliant.

  31. Well I have enjoyed coming here for some time and have always felt that your posts (even when I disagreed with you) were thought-provoking and intelligent. I can't say those adjectives apply to a lot of blogs.

    I will move along to the new site when it happens.

    Congratulations on this next phase of your career/life.

  32. Thanks for all the great reading you've provided me over the past two years, Val. I haven't always agreed with your viewpoint, and I've sometimes winced when you've waded into a fight with someone who's commented negatively, but I've always found your writing to be well done and informative.

    Good luck with all your endeavors. I'm sure I'll be reading you in other forums.

  33. Anonymous3:52 PM

    Comment section on your new blog doesn't seem to work.

  34. Sounds lame but sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do right? Whatever it is, do what you enjoy and the happiness will be there waiting.

    Nice touch with the finale pics btw. :)

  35. Hail and praise to you Val! I'm so happy for you. You are doing the right thing, I think, to choose the manner of your moving on.

    While I regret the loss of a luxury -- the great work you have done on our behalf to figure stuff out. The new life is always greater than the old life.

    You are supremely fortunate to be able to live your dream and pursue new fun and joy. So much love to you as you give us a worthy end to this effort. It is time.