“Leave Geo-Force alone!”: Writer Tony Goins defends everyone’s least favorite DC superhero in a multi-part series of posts (Don’t worry, none of them involve a YouTube video of Goins crying; just lots of gorgeous old Jim Aparo art). You may never look at Geo-Force the same way again! Or at least you’ll never look at Tony Goins the same way again…
“One nice thing about comic books is that they are an inexpensive hobby”: This quote from comic shop retailer Jason Weymouth, taken from a business story in the Burbank Leader profiling his shop, makes me wonder what his other hobbies include. I’m thinking maybe yacht racing and okapi polo?
New year’s prediction: He won’t actually create the next Pokémon. But it doesn’t hurt to try.
Bringing up their future plans: NBM will continue their “Forever Nuts” program with a May collection of the first two years’ worth George McManus’ Bringing Up Father daily strips, in the same hardcover format as their Mutt and Jeff and Happy Hooligan books. Details here.
Crackpot posts nonsense on the Internet: Obviously, that in and of itself is hardly news, even by the standards of the lazy link-blogging I’m doing here. But as tempting as it may be to just ignore blogger Valerie D’Orazio the way one normally ignores ill-conceived, poorly-written blog posts expressing crazy-person positions, D’Orazio is also president of Friends of Lulu, a non-profit organization devoted to promoting female participation in the comic book industry. So when D’Orazio speaks, even when she’s doing so not in an official capacity for the organization but just as a blogger trying to find content between a personal post about her mood that day and a few jokes about the latest Batman movie casting rumors, readers understandably have a hard time refraining from thinking, “Wow, this is who Friends of Lulu wants leading them?!”
On December 8, D’Orazio started giving her opinions about the Australian man who was convicted for possessing child pornography for having a pornographic Simpsons parody, whose conviction was recently upheld.
Many of her readers disagreed with her position, which was similar to that of the Australian judges—pornography involving Bart or Lisa Simpson is child pornography, despite the fact that Bart and Lisa aren’t actually children. (This distinction is actually extremely important issue, as unsavory as it may be to contemplate, as American courts are also dealing with the issue and how it applies to comics).
Then she decried Comic Book Legal Defense Fund boardmember Neil Gaiman’s statement (which my colleague Sarah Jaffe discussed recently) and disagreed that the CBDLF should take a position at all, as it was bad for comics. Another post, entitled “Forgot To Get The Memo”, in which she accuses people who don’t think illustrated child pornography meets the legal definition of child pornography of being hypocrites. And then, finally, she took it to a ghastly extreme in a December 17 post, in which she conflated Simpsons pornography with DC’s recent tacky upskirt Mary Marvel cover, a copy of Jeph Loeb, Ian Churchill and Norm Rapmund’s Supergirl run and Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie’s Lost Girls (whew!) and, well, you can probably see the problem with conflating cartoon porn with “sexy” PG-13-rated comic book covers featuring teenage superheroines and a $75 work of highly literate pornography by the industry’s most accomplished and well-regarded writer.
That led to 125 comments (as of Sunday morning; D’Orazio reads comments before posting them, so there are likely quite a few more awaiting her okay), and a lot of back and forth between D’Orazio and her readers.
To simplify one point D’Orazio keept making: Images of children, even illustrated ones created from the imagination and/or depicting children who don’t actually exist (like Lisa Simpson), engaged in sex acts, are child pornography, are harmful, and there is something wrong with anyone who imagines such scenarios. (To extrapolate from that last bit, that would presumably include the people who create them as well as use them).
Johanna Draper Carlson, who maintains the blog Comics Worth Reading, put it in perspective in a Friday post, by framing it thusly: “a leader of a comic industry non-profit group is obviously feeling attacked because of her stance against the CBLDF.”
Is it weird that the president of one comic industry non-profit group is openly opposing another comic industry non-profit group, and calling everyone who disagrees with her perverts who are harming the comics industry by supporting a potentially unpopular cause, like illustrated child pornography?
It can’t be very good PR, if, at the very least, when you think of Friends of Lulu you think of some crank on the Internet, and, while the two groups and their members may privately disagree on quite a bit, it doesn’t seem productive for the president of one to imply an either/or conflict between the two (I imagine the same folks who would support one are likely to also support the other).
It’s equally mystifying that D’Orazio singled out Lost Girls (a work that, unlike anything DC Comics publishes, actually does include a few images of children engaged in sexual acts), as it is co-created by a female comics artist and was, a few years ago, probably one of the highest profile works by a female comics artist being published that year. Melinda Gebbie’s an artist that the president of the Friends Of Lulu should be supporting and championing, rather than labeling a sicko whose work should be illegal. Isn’t she?