Friday, December 08, 2017

Record: Gerard Jones

You may have heard, since the beginning of 2017, that onetime comics writer Gerard Jones was arrested on charges of storing child pornography in his computer equipment, and is suspected of committing an even worse offense over in Britain. Besides those revolting discoveries, I do believe his record as a comics writer has some items in it worth pondering. What he may have done wrong with any and all of the superhero books he'd written, not the least being the books he wrote for Malibu Comics, and that could be both before and after Marvel bought them out in 1994. So here, I may be able to list at least a few moments in his writing career worthy of attention.
  • In the premiere of Green Lantern volume 3, John Stewart's watching a TV news report that includes word of a child kidnapping. In light of the discoveries of Jones' crimes in real life, that's obviously not going to age well.
  • In the second issue of the series, Guy Gardner goes to a porn shop (where he finds the Tattooed Man and picks a fight with him all for the sake of making Guy look like a parody of "jingoists"). I think we can all figure out why time won't be kind to that story segment.
  • The Guardian named Appa Ali Apsa, first introduced by Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams in the early 1970s as an observer for GL and Green Arrow at the time they were "hard travelin' heroes" was turned insane, deadly and villainous in the beginning story (when it was first reprinted in 2003, the given title was "The Road Back"), becoming the adversary they had to combat, and was finally killed at its end. In retrospect, I don't think this was getting off to a good start, taking a decent character and turning him crazy and murderous (he killed another character, seen in the 2nd issue). Mainly because Hal Jordan didn't seem particularly miserable they had to wipe him out. If anything, it was hardly focusing on the real villains in GL's rogues' gallery, who could've made for just as good a premise. Jones did all this just to set up a story where several colonies of races from across the galaxy would learn to live together, as though that couldn't be done.
  • In the 1st Green Lantern Quarterly from 1992, he wrote a story featuring Arisia, where the alien girl who'd boosted herself artificially to a theoretically mature age in 1986 had now reverted mentally to the age of a 13 year old. In light of the charges filed against Jones in 2017, this is why his early 90s story doesn't age well now.
  • In the 5th issue of Guy Gardner's 1992-96 solo book, while he's searching for Goldface, he goes to a ranch that had at one point housed a brothel, and a most disgusting joke is made about child sex slavery. This almost singlehandedly destroys the series, and whatever potential Guy once had as a solo star.
  • In the 1992-93 GL: Mosaic spinoff, he wrote Ch'p, the chipmunk-like alien, getting killed by a truck on the planet Oa (a whole colony of humans was moved there by Appa ali Apsa). And I'm wondering what was so wrong with the poor little guy that they had to turn him into a sacrifice on the alter of slaying minor characters just because of how supposedly easy that was?
  • Although Jones did resurrect Katma Tui in GL: Mosaic, it was otherwise as an energy construct, and I'm not sure it was even in the same way Wonder Man/Simon Williams was. As a result, I'm not sure if Jones ever exonerated Carol Ferris properly. After all, that storyline from Action Comics Weekly in 1988 where Carol slew Katma when she was under the Star Sapphire influence was a very bad step in storytelling, and not reversing it entirely, IMO, did little to help mend a serious mistake.
  • In the Martian Manhunter: American Secrets 3-part miniseries from 1992, there's an obscene moment in the 2nd part where a "child pimp" named Skeeter sexually molests a young child actress named Patty Marie, in a scene that stinks of creepy, repellent self-indulgence, and was minimized soon after, as it was never mentioned again. Making it truly awful was that the girl was killed in the 3rd part, and whatever point Jones was supposedly making about communist infiltrators during the 50s collapsed like a mountain of bricks.
  • In the first storyline or two from Wonder Man's 1991-94 series, there were some subtle attacks on capitalism, with an inventor who'd become a criminal now wanting to do business with corrupt governments overseas, all because he thought he'd been taken advantage of earlier by domestic corporations.
  • The 1st of two annuals in the Wonder Man series features disturbing moments like the actress Ginger Beach's teen brother Spider whacking some other actresses on the rears while wading through the water at an island where Simon and the bunch have gone to do some filming, and later, when Ginger is kidnapped by a Hydra computer system on the island and strapped to a stretcher cart, she says it was groping her as it whisked her off to a chamber on a rocket system where she was kept until Wondy could free her. That scene was really atrocious, right down to Spider calling to get the "pervert machine" off his sister, after what he did several pages before to the actresses, strongly hinting that the character was intended as a Mary Sue by the writer.
  • In light of the allegations against Jones, his jokes in Justice League Europe focusing on Power Girl's boobs and cleavage aren't bound to age well. (Nor for that matter is an idiotic joke he made about women sipping diet soda and becoming aggressive as a result.)
  • I'd mentioned before that Jones wrote a story starring Shanna the She-Devil in Marvel Comics Presents #70-73 during 1991? There's something else he's left in a broken heap for at least a while, but then, what good is a story that relies on horror elements when somebody like him is doing the scripting?
  • Though he never scripted the mainstay MCU's Hulk, he did write Hulk 2099, part of Marvel's mid-90s 2099: World of Tomorrow line, which wasn't very successful, and if he was doing it for the sake of exploring his whole notion of violent entertainment being "good for kids" he sure blew it, because of some hypocritical arguments he made on violence right over there.
  • One of the most notable titles in the Malibu line of superhero knockoffs he wrote was Prime, a Captain Marvel clone about a young teen boy gaining powers to turn into an adult superhero, who went after child rapists, including a school instructor. It goes without saying Jones' own arrest for sex felonies will ensure this Malibu product falls flat on its face.
  • Towards the end of his official career in superhero comics, he wrote Batman: Fortunate Son in 1999 (the title appears to be inspired by a Bruce Springsteen song), an early-days OGN tale where the Masked Manhunter and Dick Grayson, in his early days as Robin, were investigating the case of a rock star accused of blowing up a studio. The message of the yarn was apparently that rock music makes people insane. Oh, isn't that classic. I don't know what Jones was smoking when he came up with that one, but it's very ridiculous, especially now that he's been arrested for his sexual misconduct felony.
Over the past year since Jones' offenses made headlines, I've had to reevaluate some of the stories I read that he'd scripted, and concluded they weren't so entertaining at all, let alone respectable of past works that came before, and the Ultraverse books will surely wind up under an entirely different perspective now. Recalling that he won an Eisner in 2005 for his history books like Men of Tomorrow, it remains to be seen if the board of directors thought to revoke his prize, which he didn't deserve to win. He belongs in the category of overrated scribes whose personalities can easily ensure their stories wind up becoming more dated that others.