Friday, July 16, 2010

Conclusion again

It's time again to give it a rest
Well, I guess in my second effort to prove more items that I think could come in helpful, I've done what I could.

It's a shame that, just when I thought there might be light at the end of the tunnel, I and others of my standing were proven wrong. Both DC and Marvel have just kept going with their deaths for the sake of both that and publicity stunts, among other actions that simply register as tasteless. No valid or convincing human drama, no nothing, just more violence, deaths, and other vulgar acts for the sake of desperate publicity is what they're doing.

Worst part is how Geoff Johns and Joe Quesada were promoted to "chief creative officers" for their companies, and neither are any good, as time has told.

Sooner or later, Marvel and DC are going to find that their incompetence and lack of communication with the wider audience will lead to the shutdown of their book publishing divisions, and a large trail of destruction will be left behind.

Is there a way to save these great works of serial fiction? IMO, the best way to do that would be for someone with the money and an interest in the book publishing world to buy the comic book publishing arms of DC and Marvel, meaning that they'd be seperate from the toy and movie divisions (if Atari could split into 2 companies, as they did for nearly a decade, it's possible the same could be done with DC and Marvel). They could also shift to a format other than pamphlets with longer lifespans like trade/prestige format, and that could be the way to go. They could also do away with a lot of the junk this past decade has seen coughed up. Then, maybe they could regain the energy they once had.

But for now, that's just a pipe dream. I do hope that maybe someone who cares, loves superhero comics and has the money it takes can do as I suggest one day. Until then, there's no way we can tell what the future will hold for us.

Now, it's time once again to retire this blog, and only hope that one day, luck will turn the good way again for DC and Marvel.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Profile: Sif

First appearance: Journey into Mystery #102, March 1964

History: the sister of Heimdall and childhood friend of Thor and Balder the Brave, she had been born with golden hair like many other Asgardians, but due to a nasty trick played by Loki, and an attempt he made to fix it, she developed black hair instead. Thor thought she looked even lovelier as a brunette, and thus, Loki's attempt to ruin their happiness failed.

Current status: on Earth with a few other Asgardians, Thor included, in Oklahoma.

Was subjected to the following act of discrimination: during 2007-2008, when J. Michael Stracynski was writing Thor, and the Asgardians were reborn on Earth in the bodies of humans, he had Sif reborn in the body of an old woman suffering from cancer, with only a special mirror to help show her real image.

What's wrong with how this was done? Knowing Stracynski's modus operandi since the turn of the century, it doesn't take much to figure for starters that anything he does will be like turning gold into straw instead of lovely brunette hair - and his subversion of Sif to the sidelines during that weak story was, for lack of a better word, insulting.

Thankfully, as the storyline ended, her whereabouts were figured out, and she was taken out of the old woman's body and restored to normal. And we can only hope Stracynski never gets his mitts on Thor and the other Asgardians ever again, nor Spider-Man, for that matter.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Record: J. Michael Stracynski

A long overrated writer who first got his start mainly film producing and scripting, most notably with Babylon 5, a Star Trek ripoff, his track record with female characters isn't particularly impressive. Here are at least 2 examples of his own mistakes:
  • He may have said he was against it, but he went along with whatever rewrites Joe Quesada did to Sins Past, and tarnished the image of Gwen Stacy, making her look more like a mindless slut than a flawed but otherwise decent girl, by implying that she had sex with Norman Osborn and had 2 kids as a result. Even if the resulting atrocity wasn't entirely his fault, the story he had in mind was pretty lame and needless to begin with, so I'm not excusing him so easily.
  • He claimed he was against it, to the point of wanting his name removed from the writer's credits, but he went along with One More Day anyway, Peter and Mary Jane's sellout to Mephisto, and the erasure of the Spider-Marriage following one of the worst crossover tie-ins to date, Civil War. Given his prominent stature as a Hollywood producer, I've got a hard time believing it was that hard for him to refuse, and save himself a lot of embarrassment.
  • When he was writing Thor for at least a year, he had Sif reborn within the body of an elderly woman named Mrs. Chambers who was suffering from cancer, courtesy of Loki's meddling.
  • His plans for Wonder Woman, changing her timeline and all but reducing the Greek mythology in her background, for 2010's storyline, leave me with even less reason to buy that he's sincere.
As far as I'm concerned, Stracynski is nothing but a big charlatan with little true devotion to what makes Marvel and DC heroes tick, and little interest in real character development or interaction (he didn't use the supporting cast in Spidey much, if at all, nor did he try to come up with any new ones who could be used long-term. If he did though, I fear they would've been more along the lines of political correctness; he is a boilerplate Hollywood liberal, after all). He should not be working in comics, and it's high time already for him to go back to Tinseltown where he belongs.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Profile: Alanna Strange

Alanna Strange
First appearance: Showcase #17, November 1958

History: the daughter of a humanoid scientist named Sardath on the planet Rann, she later became the wife of Adam Strange, the archaeologist who was transported across the galaxy courtesy of a Zeta ray, an invention of her father's, where Adam became a hero of the peoples of Rann (as the story went for many years, it had the annoying effect of wearing off and teleporting him back to Earth when he wasn't hoping for it). She joined him on many adventures in their galaxy sector, including some team-ups with the Hawks of Thanagar.

Current status: still adventuring, and mother to a young daughter as well.

Was subjected to the following act of discrimination: in the miniseries Adam Strange: Man of Two Worlds from 1990, it was revealed that Rann's population had a negative opinion of him, and he'd just been teleported there to serve as a breeding stud (there had already been allusions to this premise first featured in an issue of Swamp Thing in 1987 written by Alan Moore). Alanna died while giving birth to their daughter Aleea. Adam was left feeling disgusted and disillusioned with Rann and went back to Earth where he dated another girl for awhile.

What's wrong with how this was done? Adam and Alanna Strange were more victims of political correctness, and possibly even that DC's writers were ashamed of their own stable of amazing works as supposedly too silly for words.

Was there anything good to come out of this? Thankfully, almost 8 years later, in JLA #20, Alanna's fate was reversed (written at a time when Grant Morrison was relatively better in handling superhero comics), and she and her daughter were reunited with Adam.

Even so, her initial fate was an early example of the kind of political correctness that ruined a lot of 1990s comics.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Profile: Tana Moon

Tana Moon
First appearance: Adventures of Superman #501, June 1993.

History: the first love of Superboy, when Kon-El was debuting, she was a reporter for the fictional Galaxy Network Broadcasting company who gained some of her fame as a result of the Boy of Steel's provision of an exclusive interview for her. They maintained an on-off relationship for several years.

Current status: dead

Was subjected to the following act of discrimination: died at the hands of Amanda Spence in 2000, via electrocution.

What's wrong with how this was done? I've got a sad feeling it was done less as a motivation for Superboy and more as a wish by the editors to just discard cast members as they were coming to the point of cancellation for the Superboy series.

Worst, she may have bitten the big weenie because she's not literally Lois Lane.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Profile: Mirage

Danielle Moonstar, Mirage
First appearance: Marvel Graphic Novel #4: The New Mutants, 1982

History: an American Indian girl from Colorado, she has the ability to create illusions that could be based on her opponents' fears or wishes. She even acquired magical powers after an adventure in Asgard. She is of Cheyenne background, and was a leading member of the New Mutants and X-Force for many years.

Current status: unclear.

Was subjected to the following acts of discrimination: during House of M, she was among many mutants who lost their powers. And Emma Frost threw her out of the Xavier school because she thought that without powers, she didn't belong.

What's wrong with how this was done? It's pretty obvious by now that House of M was not worth the paper it was printed on. But the story in New X-Men #22 in 2006 where Frost gave her an eviction notice only adds insult to injury. When Storm lost her powers for almost 2 years back in the 1980s, Prof. Xavier didn't tell her to scram, and recognized that even without superpowers, she could still be quite effective. What was done 4 years ago with Moonstar and Frost is just one more stupid example of writing that makes the latter look like a cad, which is not a good idea even for an anti-heroine.

And what's really sad is that one of the best characters who graduated from the New Mutants years ago has now been reduced to a state of mediocrity.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Record: James Robinson

There isn't much I can think of to say about this once-lauded writer who penned the adventures of the original Starman's son in the 1990s, since it was only recently that he screwed up, big time. But what I have to offer for now is related to the miniseries where he threw all his credibility as a scriptwriter out the window - "Cry for Justice".
  • Some people have criticized Kara Zor-El's depiction since 2004 as over-sexualized. In Cry for Justice, such arguments were certainly valid - one of the advertisements for this junk featured her depicted "headless", that is, almost all her body but not the head, which is ridiculous, and the inner story pretty much featured this absurdity at least once more too. Robinson and company even insulted people's intellects with a coverscan that showed Supergirl and Capt. Marvel Jr. kissing, but not only does this not take place in the story, it turns out to be Prometheus in disguise.
  • At the end of this abomination, which saw a few characters killed for starters, Star City is destroyed along with close to 100,000 other people, and among the dead is Lian Harper, Roy Harper's daughter with Cheshire. All this in order to send Roy and mentor Ollie Queen down the road to darkness. To make matters worse, when Green Arrow shoots Prometheus to death at the end, in a followup miniseries the Justice League is depicted turning against him, including Barry Allen, sadly enough, because dealing out punishment against a supervillain for a violent crime is apparently illegal. Simply stupefying.
Robinson may have once been well regarded as a writer. But to do a hack job that was superfluous and only furthering the flood of contrived shock tactics and publicity stunts DC has become notorious for this past decade - destroys any notion he's sincere. Some of the worst storytelling effects in the DCU came as a result of their publicity stunts over the years. Robinson is not making things any better by collaborating in all these efforts.