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      CommentAuthormister hex
    • CommentTimeMay 11th 2010
     (8208.21)
    @ joe.distort - Nobody looks like Bruce Wayne. Okay, maybe Christian Bale.

    Much as I hate to invoke 'Women In Refridgerators', is there any validity to the premise? That female characters get horribly treated to make them 'gritty' or 'relevant'? Is ANY 'bad' treatment of female characters automatically this?

    What about minority characters? Is it possible to have a, say, black villain, who's irredeemably evil without coming off as racist? Come to think of it, are there any great minority villains? Most of Like Cage's rogue's gallery ... are not all that great and that's putting it mildly. Similar for asian vilains, one runs the risk of invoking Yellow Peril-ish storytelling.

    Also, the original point about 'legacy heroes' being replaced by 'minority' characters (Firestorm, Atom) who are then eplaced by the original white heroes (this is a Geoff Johns thing mainly and the article takes pains not to tar Johns as a racist, which I'm all but sure he's not).

    Or Rob Liefeild thinking Shatterstar is RUINED FOREVER because a subsequent writer made him gay.
    •  
      CommentAuthorJJH
    • CommentTimeMay 11th 2010
     (8208.22)
    Or Rob Liefeild thinking Shatterstar is RUINED FOREVER because a subsequent writer made him gay.


    One of the funniest internet flip outs ever...
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      CommentAuthorMG
    • CommentTimeMay 11th 2010
     (8208.23)
    @mister.hex:

    It's the cart before the horse problem. If someone sets out saying "I want to write a black character" as opposed to "This character is many things, one of them is Black" you get the fingernails on the chalkboard sound.

    Making superheroes "gritty" is so old at this point it's beyond the valley of the cliche. What's disturbing with female characters is the cheap use of rape as story point or "character development". It's a creepy way of making comics "relevant" and it often comes off really hamfisted.

    Gay characters? God, that's a whole bag of nightmares. Took 4 years to get Batwoman into her own book (God bless JH Williams) and that was as big and splashy a bump as any GLBTQ character I can recall. Apollo and Midnighter were great fun. Marvel's had a weird track record, on the one hand you have the gay couple in "Young Avengers". On the other "Rawhide Kid"...

    Speaking as a member of the GLBTQ community, I just don't look to mainstream superhero comics for anything insightful or even reflective when it comes to my people.
  1.  (8208.24)
    @isaacsher

    ok then, then i totally agree. some people see boobly characters as demeaning, some see empowerment/representation. i just thought it was going to derail into something WAY stupid.
    •  
      CommentAuthormister hex
    • CommentTimeMay 11th 2010
     (8208.25)
    @ MG - I liked Rawhide Kid. Stereotypical? Well, kinda. Fun? Hell, yes! Plus, John Severin! It was camp, yes but the Kid was an ass-kicker and memorable, whereas in his "traditional" portrayal, he was just another cowboy who always won.

    Don't forget Northstar, who, when they originally wanted to 'out' him, Editroial said no and they had to MAKE HIM INTO A FAIRY (later ret-conned). Also, he was supposed to have AIDS (he was shown coughing a lot for about six issues - that was supposed to be AIDS but they backed off on THAT too, saying his "fairy" physiology was incompatible with Earth.)

    And correct me if I'm wrong but Batwoman's just the lead in Detective. It's not 'HER' book. Once Bruce comes back, what're the odds he takes over the main feature and she becomes a back-up?
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      CommentAuthorPaladine
    • CommentTimeMay 11th 2010
     (8208.26)
    I believe Rucka was offered to take Batwoman to her own book, but chose to go independent instead. Or something.
    •  
      CommentAuthorMG
    • CommentTimeMay 11th 2010
     (8208.27)
    @Mister Hex:

    Wow, Northstar...wow...that is just bizarre. Even for superhero comics.

    The whole Batwoman thing stems from what I've read and heard about the character's sexuality being something of a touchy subject for DC, especially with all the attention on Batman around that time with the films. There's a SIZABLE gay following for comics of all kinds but I've never seen lesbians get as excited about a mainstream character as they did about Batwoman. But hey, she's getting a book now.

    I'm just bloody sick of characters being gay or lesbian being a matter of controversy for anyone.
  2.  (8208.28)
    yeah, i dont know why its even really an issue. BUT im also super far left, so my opinions definitely dont reflect the mainstream
  3.  (8208.29)
    @mister hex,

    It is definitely possible to have irredeemably evil non-racist characters. Black Manta, for example.
    And uhh... I'm sure there's more!
    • CommentAuthormosborne
    • CommentTimeMay 11th 2010 edited
     (8208.30)

    And gender? Two words - Power Girl. One ,ore word - stripperiffic, as in costume. DC seems to be ahead of Marvel in this respect (Batwoman, The Question) while Marvel has ... Girl Comics. (Perhaps I missed it but I haven't seen the second issue of that.)


    Apologies if this sounds snarky, but it's 2010. Power Girl no longer sums up any notions of gender in comics. I love the character to bits, but she is no means the zeitgeist. What's always been most interesting about her is that writers almost always use her as a vehicle for their views on the prevailing feminist ideology of the day. Even the stellar run that Palmiotti and Grey are wrapping up on her solo is as much about being a single career driven woman in New York as it is a superhero book. There's a lot more things to say about her good and bad than "she's a woman who still has 'girl' in her name and look there is a boob window on her outfit."

    while Marvel has ... Girl Comics. (Perhaps I missed it but I haven't seen the second issue of that.)


    Aside from a naff title, that's a great thing. It's part of a company wide initiative that has hugely raised the profile of female characters and creators. Marjorie Liu now has two ongoing titles to her name (Black Widow and the recently announced X-23 spinning out of the Women of Marvel one shot), for one thing. Kathryn Immonen is using Pixie: Strikes Back to bring the X-Men's teen girls (Pixie, X-23, Armor, Blindfold, and Mercury) together for the first time where they have ever said more than two words to each other (on panel) despite living in the same place since before M-Day. And so on.

    With that said, here's the best I can do at collecting my thoughts on the issues presented:

    Superhero comics should always skew towards the minority to some degree, in my mind. The vast majority of notable superheroes became superheroes because they looked at society and saw something that was inadequate and could not be rectified by conventional, legal means. The X-Men of course are and always will be the penultimate example of a minority group that turned to vigilante action to protect their own and the x-gene McGuffin keeps the race, gender, and class options wide enough to admit appropriation from any marginalized group (which is a great marketing tool).

    One of the fundamental flaws of Kick Ass was how whitewashed the whole thing was. Even if the first "real world" superhero was some pantywaist middle class white kid, it certainly wouldn't stay that way. There are Palestinians out there painting themselves blue in imitation of the Na'avi, after all. Wasn't Omar Little West Baltimore's Green Arrow and Shakima Griggs a pre-Question Renee Montoya? If you look at the kind of social conditions or traumas that create the vigilante class of superhero and cross reference that against crime statistics in the real world, I seriously doubt that billionaire playboys would be one of the most affected demographics.

    You don't have to be a member of a given minority group to write them well, you just have to be a good writer with a sensitive ear. Greg Rucka's work on Detective Comics one of the better examples. In the same week that the flasback issue where Kate was discharged from the army for homosexual conduct hit the stands, lesbian news and culture site Autostraddle was devoting a great deal of it's front page to DADT related news stories. There's no excuse for poor characterization of any demographic when we live in an era characterized by ubiquitous access to information. In most cases, for every genderfail and racefail instance you can come up with in mainstream superhero comics, you can find a brilliant example of understated storytelling.

    Of course when I say "genderfail," I mean cisgender victims of sexism. The state of non-normative gender expression is pretty fucking terrible relative to what the world looks like when you step out your front door. The fact that I identify as transgender may colour my perspective, but the idea of presenting superheroes as some kind of ur-man/woman is ludicrous and out of step with everyone but baby boomers, if that. For years, some of my favourite characters in comics have always been shapeshifters because they could do what I couldn't; instantly pass as the other gender without all the muss and fuss. Except that with few exceptions, most shapeshifters are written from the perspective of having one concrete gender identity and switching to the other for convenience or subterfuge. Twice in recent history, Marvel had the opportunity to step forward and do some really progressive, mind bending things with their shapeshifters and balked both times.

    At one time Chris Claremont brought the idea to Marvel that he wanted to reveal who Nightcrawler's father was, one of the final surviving mysteries of the long and tangled family trees of the children of the atom. He intended to subvert the long held assumption that Mystique was his biological mother by revealing that she was in fact Kurt's biological father and that Destiny was his mother. Instead, Marvel editorial decided that it would be preferable if Kurt's father was the devil (sort of).

    I'm more disappointed than upset about that one, but Joss Whedon's handling of Karolina Dean and Xavin is probably one of the most offensive things I've ever read. Xavin was a Skrull who generally presented as male until he was engaged by pre-arrangement to Karolina, a recently out lesbian. At first Xavin said that it wasn't a problem because he could just shift to a female form for her. However he continued to present as male occasionally until it became a point of tension in the relationship. Whedon dealt with this when he came onto the title by dismissing it. Xavin is now all femme all the time. This is a title with a relatively high amount of teen readers. What kind of message is that sending to trans youth or lesbians who present themselves as anything less than the femmiest of the femme? It's a slap in the face.
    • CommentAuthorgzapata
    • CommentTimeMay 11th 2010
     (8208.31)
    @JJH- where can I find liefeilds comments on that anyways?
    • CommentAuthormosborne
    • CommentTimeMay 11th 2010
     (8208.32)

    Speaking as a member of the GLBTQ community, I just don't look to mainstream superhero comics for anything insightful or even reflective when it comes to my people.


    Of course not, but there's no reason that we shouldn't hope and strive for a situation where you could.
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      CommentAuthorJJH
    • CommentTimeMay 11th 2010
     (8208.33)
    @gzapata - Originally, I read a passing reference to it and then went and googled something like "Liefeld upset over Shatterstar" and it was like the Internet bloomed.
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeMay 11th 2010
     (8208.34)
    Tim Gunn, of Project Runway, classiest men in the world Tim Gunn?
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      CommentAuthorPaladine
    • CommentTimeMay 11th 2010
     (8208.35)
    mosbone: that was Whedon? Damn.
    • CommentAuthorIsaacSher
    • CommentTimeMay 11th 2010
     (8208.36)
    @RenThing -- YES. Go to youtube and look up Tim Gunn and Crazy Sexy Geeks. He did a two-part sitdown with the host about costumes, and it's very fun to watch.
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeMay 11th 2010
     (8208.37)
    @IsaacSher

    Wow, ok, I'll have to go find that.
    • CommentAuthorDarkest
    • CommentTimeMay 11th 2010
     (8208.38)
  4.  (8208.39)
    What kind of message is that sending to trans youth or lesbians who present themselves as anything less than the femmiest of the femme? It's a slap in the face.


    I wonder when everyone decided that trans youth or lesbians were that dumb? Just blank slates with no cultural sophistication at all. Never once thinking "wow, guess Whedon wasn't interested in that plotline," and going straight to "oh shit the Man doesn't want us to be TG, that fucker."

    Not having been aware of what you were talking about, I googled, and found this on AfterEllen:

    Possibly the poorest plotted element of The Runaways has been the marriage of Karolina Dean to Xavin. For those not familiar with the series, Karolina Dean is a lesbian character who is one of a group of crimefighting teens. Shortly after it is revealed that she is in love with Nico, the series conveniently has her leave planet earth because she is betrothed to Xavin, a Skrull. Xavin appears in the form of a man but when Karolina reveals she's gay, Xavin shapeshifts into a woman. Later Karolina and Xavin join back up with the Runaways. Getting beyond the arranged marriage aspect (which is extremely disturbing and in poor taste in itself), Xavin stays in male form quite a bit (apparently because Xavin needs to be for battle...ummm okay). In a series called Civil War, Xavin is always in male form.

    Joss Whedon recently cleaned up these problems smartly repairing the damage done. In issue # 29, it is revealed that when not focused enough to stay in a shape, Xavin's non-shifting gender is female. Nice save by Whedon who also has Xavin in female form through most of his 6 issues.


    The title of the article is Is Terry Moore going to heterosexualize Karolina Dean?.
  5.  (8208.40)
    And this illustrates very well why I'm monitoring this thread for wank quite closely.

    The version of comics that's in your head? Is not necessarily the one everyone else is reading.

    Understand that I am utterly supportive of your needs and goals, but when you open up the throttle on something that, perhaps, not everybody else has read in the same way and a little superhero comic is suddenly ranked with De Sade and Mein Kampf? That's when the FAIL klaxon goes off here at Ellis Imperialist Heteronormative Patriarchy Castle.

    Please bear that in mind.