The comic blogosphere seems to grow larger every day and just like comics, sometimes it’s pretty easy to get a little lost. “Meanwhile…” will act as your map pointing out what interesting discussions are happening out there while you’re reading Blog@Newsarama.
Well, this is the tour of the blogosphere from our swanky new digs at Newsarama. I’m glad to be here and I just want to take the time to thank everyone who helped make it happen. Big ups to everyone! Now lets see what we can find out there floating in the ether this past week. Oh! Here we go, if you’ll just take a look to your left you’ll see…
We all know Stan Lee as a huckster and a showman, but have we ever stopped to look at what his politics might be? Nobody Laughs at Mister Fish looks back at his early work to find out and discovers…he’s apolitical?
I just want to warn you that this next sentence will sound very strange. Ready? Troll Dwarfs with Tommy Guns conducted a survey with a series of questions focusing on Women and Comics and received 42 responses with some interesting results.
The primary research question of this pilot study was whether objectified or highly sexualized images of women affect the comics-buying decisions of female fans. The hypothesis was that such images would affect purchasing behavior. A weak or inverse correlation between the fans’ having been offended and decisions not to purchase would tend to disprove the hypothesis; a strong correlation would tend to support it.
It can be presumed, based on the access to and sources of information about the survey, that the responders are fans invested enough in comics to read comics blogs or discuss comics online; since the responders self-selected, it was clearly not random.
Click here to view the results of the survey.
Link Via When Fangirls Attack
Double the Double Articulation
Jim Roeg has started a back and forth discussion on his own blog over the recent X-Men movie, X-Men 3: The Last Stand. It starts with a post on Deconstructing Brett Ratner’s X3 (2006): How to $#%&! It All Up and Betray Your Principles Without Really Trying.
Were my expectations for this film too high? Obviously. But the carelessness with which X3 was handled makes me angry because movie properties like X-Men—properties that have a global reach, which speak directly to kids, and which advertise their moral/philosophical pretensions—have a responsibility to follow through on the ethical vision they promise, even if those ethics are sometimes cartoonish and oversimplified. In short, these are relevant and potentially influential cultural narratives. They deserve better and so do their audiences. Didn’t someone once say, “with great power comes great responsibility”? Oh, wait, that’s right—Brett Ratner isn’t a comic book fan. Never mind.
Then, he lends his blog to a friend named Thomas who follows up with a post titled Little Scott in Slumberland, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Beast / an X3 response-essay (They like the long titles over in Double Articulation Land) which just might make you see X3 in a different light.
Singer’s realism was commendable, and the sci-fi framework within which he situated his films was nearly flawless, but as Roeg points out, X3 is much more THX-1138 than it is Star Wars. The narrative comforts provided by an easily understandable science-fiction universe rooted in realism have been abandoned, and the Beast serves as a signifier of just that. The Beast is one of those shiny metal moments. His artifice tells us that the “real” X-Men director has left the building, that someone new is in charge, and that he is going to take us somewhere else entirely.
Social Agendas and Comics
Ragnell is never one to shy away from a subject. She isn’t shying away from this one either as she discusses incorporating social issues into comics and how you can be inclusive without resorting to an agenda.
Holly in Catwoman, Damon and Todd in Manhunter. Josiah and Rupert in the Power Company. The writers using these characters are being inclusive. There are there, they are part of the story, they have not been used to teach anyone a lesson. They are all homosexual, but it’s not something that is brought up in every appearance (except for Todd, who counts as a “Significant Other” character at the moment — his relationship to Damon is his tie to the cast). They are not brought in specifically to point out that they are gay. Their sexual orientations have an effect on their individual plotlines, but as supporting characters their individual plotlines do not overcome the main plot of the book (Batwoman will be different in this aspect). They are not singled out of hurt specifically because they are different from the main characters or the characters in other books. They are individuals, not stand-ins for the entirety of the LGBT community. They are not simply mouthpieces for their creator’s views on social injustice.
Scott at Polite Dissent handles the medical corner of the blogosphere and this last week he’s been inspecting The Über-Doctor.
One of the enduring concepts in comic books is that of the über-doctor. These are individuals who are beyond brilliant. No matter what their original field of study, they have also mastered every other discipline that’s even vaguely related to science. Unlike Scotty, they can break the laws of physics, and the only limit on their abilities is the imagination of their writers. Über-doctors can be found in many comics, though most seem to gravitate to Marvel. Such über-doctors include Hank Pym, Henry McCoy, Charles Xavier, and Michael Holt.
He then goes on to list those Über-Doctors that appear in comics from time to time.
Happy Anniversary to Glyphs: The Language of the Black Comics Community who celebrated one year this past week.
Mike Sterling Has Driven Me Insane
It all started with his post summarizing a message board discussion on “V versus The Joker”, which contained the phrase “Joker does not die unless his joker card is destroyed.” Oh, but he wasn’t done with me, no sir! He then opened the floodgates of madness by showing The Life Cycle of The Smurf. Look away my friends…this way lies madness.
Within 24-48 hours, the eggs hatch, and the wormlike Smurf larvae feed upon what’s left of the Bigmouth. The Smurf-blown corpse of the Bigmouth serves yet another purpose, as the remains also serve as fertilizer, feeding the unusually large mushrooms that are native to Smurf forests. The engorged Smurf larvae burrow into these mushrooms, hollowing them out as they grow, and continue to use the excavated mushrooms as nests upon reaching maturity.
This Just In…
Wolverine is not a %^&* Samurai!! Sadly, neither is Jim Belushi. I know… It was hard for me to take as well.
Tom Spurgeon’s new book on Fantagraphics has a production blog. See old drawings by Gary Groth!
Ninja Tunes, now with crispy comic shell to go with its chewy musical center.
Things can make a comic fan happy these days. Who would have thought!?!
Comic Book Urban Legends are revealed at CBR: Comics Should Be Good. Secrets behind Batman: Year Two! Also Wendy Pini as Red Sonja and whatever happened to Gyro Gearloose!
The #1 Issue in Comics is the #1 Issue
Carla doesn’t like #1 Issues too much and goes on to explain why in a new post at Snap Judgments.
I really believe that comic book publishers see #1 issues as a way to make money, not tell a story from its start. How else can you explain Marvel’s crazy numbering system or how storylines that could easily be strung together get portioned off into mini-series? They think (and to an extent, are right) that the customer will see the #1, think ’start’ or ‘this issue will be worth money someday!’, and pick that up. But really, it’s not necessary for a start, if it ever was. Most books have a handy dandy recap in the front that gives you the bare bones of what you need to know to jump into that issue. Most #1s just rehash info you might have gleaned from advertising, just the hooks to make sure you pick up #2. See the first Civil War issue, as most of the info in was told over and over and over in the media and public eye.
Reviewing Good Reviewing
Chris Tamarri, proving he’s good at this whole review thing, reviews X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl 1-5.
At its final, this is one of those Rorschach stories that’ll reflect the opinions of any given reader better than its own intentions. For my part, I couldn’t help but see the series as primarily concerned with redemption. That’s a direct translation of its conceit, of the idea of living and dying and somehow, possibly, living again. (Milligan’s view of the afterlife is a fairly standard tiered system, not with a revolving door-type existance but rather a membrane, where the dead couldn’t possibly ever force themselves out, but they could be pulled externally with a minimum of effort, fairly explicitly putting the onus for these characters’ lives within the whim of the readers. How? I wouldn’t want to spoil it…) When, inevitably, evil fails and good takes the day, it’s wholly uninspiring. The drama is never a product of a moral duel so much as a question of whether or not each side had willing combatants, whether to act rather than how.
Men Who Draw Women
Sean Maher singles out artists who draw women, not cheescake.
But, then, y’see, there’s the other guys. Men who draw women – beautiful women, sexy women, cute, pretty, glamorous, and so on – who really put some craft into it and, in my opinion, make comics with beautiful women look good. Both in an aesthetic and in a “your girlfriend won’t slap you” sense. Today’s post is a tribute to three such gentlemen, the integrity of their art, and the beautiful women of their imaginations.
Bozo, Jimmy Olsen, and Suspension of Belief
Jake of Ye Old Comick Booke Blogge tells a humorous story that illustrates how we push aside reality in order to read certain comics and how easily we get used to it by comparing Jimmy Olsen to watching Bozo the Clown.
Perhaps I could have been more specific, but the point is that by watching Bozo every day, I came to accept bright red, gravity-defying hair as the norm. By that same token, when we read comics we voluntarily suspend much more reality than the majority of people can comprehend.
That said, it’s surprising what things can take you out of a story when you’re already accepting a world where babies from doomed planets land on Earth to become our protectors and being at ground zero of a nuclear bomb test could be the best thing that ever happened to you.
Who’s In Your League?
Bully wants to know who you would put in a modern day League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
A few ground rules first, because it’s easy to overpopulate a twenty-first century league with superhumans and adventure characters. As Moore himself points out, the adventure character wasn’t invented in the Victorian Age, but it was certainly the Renaissance of fantastic literature and led to the explosion of the Golden Age of Superheroes. In this day and age following the rise of the adventure and comic heroes of the 1930s, it would be child’s play to put together a kickass League of, oh, let’s say, Batman, Captain America, Doc Savage, Zorro, Electra Woman and Nacho Libre.
But I’m gonna play fair. I’m gonna pick most of my modern-day league draft choices (and alternates) from non-superhero literature, and I’m going to place them within the heroic archetypes that together make up a interesting, caustic, effective and controversial League.
Nu Marvel and Vertigo
What went wrong with Nu Marvel and why didn’t it last as long as Vertigo did? Plok examines the differences between the two movements.
Vertigo lasted, but this couldn’t last, and for the simplest of reasons: because Vertigo brought a vast wave of new readers into DC without displacing any of the old ones (well, at least not right away), but all NuMarvel did was attract the attention of (I flatter myself) the cool people, but it was all at the expense of the old uncool people. And so yeah, great, NuMarvel was exciting, it was a phenomenon, it reached out to old comics readers who’d gone off it all, and younger readers who’d never gotten into it in the first place, and the odd person who was positioned outside the established market entirely…but just think, people: for every civilian girl or new kid or college student NuMarvel grabbed for itself, it lost three old Liefeld junkies who could be counted on to buy five out of six variant holo-covers, push fake new Number Ones over 500,000 in sales, and just generally behave irresponsibly with their pocketbooks.
Illustration Site of The Week
His simplistic style is a little easy to underestimate. The reality is there’s a ton of thought behind his work and the colors and design of each panel is truly stunning.
Thank for the Props
Before we end this week’s column I want to give a quick shout out to all of the blogs, sites, and readers who’ve congratulated us on our launch. Thanks everyone! We really appreciate your support.