Friday, April 22, 2016

Profile: Lucy Lane

Lucy Lane

First appearance: Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen, April 1959

History: the younger sister of Lois Lane, she began as an airline stewardess and occasional girlfriend of Jimmy Olsen's. When the DCU was reworked in 1986, she was reintroduced as more of an air traffic controller.

Was subjected to the following act of discrimination: in the early 1970s, she was seemingly killed in issue 120 of Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane after a boating accident in Latin America.

What's wrong with how this was done? Depending on your viewpoint, the story from SGFLL was handled far better than a lot of the nastiest storylines DC put out in the post-Crisis era. It did serve as a motivation for Lois in the remaining years of her own series, who quit her job at the Daily Planet at the time and became a freelancer.

Was there anything good to come out of this? A short time later, Lucy was found alive in the series where she'd first debuted, SPJO, towards the end of its own run in the early 70s (both series ended in 1974 and were replaced by the semi-anthological Superman Family, which ran for at least 8 years). She continued into the post-Crisis era and had some pretty good stories built around her.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Profile: Aquaman


First appearance: More Fun Comics #73, 1941

History: coming 2 years after Sub-Mariner's debut in early Marvel books, Aquaman was easily the second most famous seabound superhero, although it was in the Silver Age when Arthur Curry really became significant with the first solo series that ran during 1962-71. It was in this series where Mera was introduced and they married for many years. His creators were Mort Weisinger and Paul Norris.

Was subjected to the following act of discrimination: in the 2nd issue of the mid-90s series written by Peter David (from September 1994), Arthur lost his left hand after a verminous villain named Charybdis - who paralyzed his ability to communicate with sea life - forced it into a piranha-infested pool, where it was promptly turned into mincemeat. He later replaced it with a short harpoon-style blade, not unlike what Captain Hook's got in Peter Pan.

What's wrong with how this was done? Coming at a time when Kevin Dooley - who turned out to be one of DC's worst editors in the 90s - was at work, this was a pretty gratuitous attempt to make the Sea King more "badass". His personality was soon rendered more aggressive and unhinged, and it's apparent Dooley and company were going out of their way to make Aquaman not all that different from other superheroes at the time, who just had to have "drive" so people could supposedly identify with them.

Even today, with overrated writers like Geoff Johns in charge, this hasn't changed so much. Aquaman may have regained his left hand since, but the grisly tone Dooley started (and Johns amplified) still prevails.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Record: Dan Slott

Of all the unqualified writers Marvel/DC could hire as part of their closed-shop clique since the mid-2000s, Slott is one of the worst. He's been part of Joe Quesada's mandate to wipe out the Spider-Marriage, and there have been a few more lugubrious steps he's taken in the career he's had this century. I'll list at least 2 examples for now.
  • He wrote a story in 2014 where Peter Parker's body was taken over by Doctor Octopus, leading to a tacky series called "The Superior Spider-Man", and a storyline where Otto Octavious, in the body of Peter, makes "love" to Mary Jane. Which is basically rape in disguise, as a women's topics website put it.
  • Almost a year later at the Florida Supercon, he went along and justified Joe Quesada/Axel Alonso's opposition to the marriage by saying that Mary Jane is "anti-Marvel", by claiming, "Everyone Peter falls in love with is so classically beautiful, and to me that is anti-Marvel." In other words, he was saying that everything Stan Lee ever thought of conceiving was wrong, while at the same time he implies beautifully structured characters/people are bad ideas. (Next thing you know, he'll be saying Edgar Rice Burroughs and Will Eisner were wrong to make Dejah Thoris and Sheena the Jungle Queen beauties!) And, he completely obscures all the characteristics ever applied to Mary Jane in better days. His defense is superficial at worst, and super-cheap.
Slott is bound to go down in history as one of the worst, most self-important and self-justifying writers, a true embarrassment if there ever was one.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Another try

How long has it been since I last posted anything on this particular blog of mine? About 6 years, I guess. Which is long enough.

Within that time, there have been things happening, and little or none of it was for the better. Like DC and Marvel alike rebooting their universes, pandering to advocates of "diversity" by changing the racial makeup of their cast members - and even their sexual orientation - instead of creating new characters. They've even been pandering to extreme left politics and advocates of censorship (know today as "social justice warriors", for example), all at the expense of everything that ever made the older material work well. And all under the protection of a press that's been backing them to the fullest, without any consideration whether the steps they're taking are making things worse.

As a result, I've been thinking lately that maybe I should try to add a few more entries to this blog, since there are a few more examples, probably even coming from smaller publishers, that will come in as vital information to get an idea what's going wrong with today's comics medium. I'd posted entries for various female characters, and also men, since both sexes have been victims of the political correctness in many ways, and I'll try to add some more. It'll probably take time, since I am busy with other matters and can't always find the time today to write about exactly what I'd want to.

For now, let this be a message that I'm still around to work on this little experiment of mine, and I'm going to keep trying to do more for it. Have a good February 2016.

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.