Monday, February 19, 2018 

The JTA fawns over Bendis

Of all the news sources that could sugarcoat Brian Bendis' career, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency has really disappointed me too:
DC Comics’ newest writer says that the choices he has made for his new Superman series are “deeply connected to [the character’s] origins.”

And those origins are very Jewish.
But bragging about wrecking other people's toys most certainly isn't. Don't expect this otherwise irresponsible news syndicate to recognize the importance of history and why it'd do some good to challenge these scribes with theirs. However, this article does tell something interesting about his background:
Brian Michael Bendis, who recently jumped ship from Marvel to DC Comics, will start drawing new comic books with the iconic superhero in May. He happens to be a product of a strictly Orthodox Jewish day school in Cleveland.
I'll soon note why this is embarrassing, especially if they don't mention whether it was a Haredi school he went to. First, here's one moment in his career they brought up, but didn't specify where it came from:
Bendis is perhaps best known from his days at Marvel as the man who killed off Spiderman — or at least his alter-ego, Peter Parker — in order to replace him with a new half-black, half-Hispanic character who gets bitten by a genetically altered spider. He said he was trying to make the comics look more like the real world.
If they'd at least have noted it was in an alternate-dimension setting (the Ultimate universe), it probably wouldn't be so dismaying, but they failed to do so, and as a result, make this worse than it actually is. They're not even concerned about the publicity stunt approach Bendis was known for, which made his run on Avengers so bad too. At least Miles Morales, in the end, didn't replace Peter Parker wholesale when he was merged with the 616 universe proper, but it doesn't excuse the fact Peter's still been subject to some of the worst editorial mandates in history. But making comics look like the real world has already been done years before, and I'm sure Bendis knows it too.

Now about that part involving the Jewish school he went to:
He said the rabbis at his school did not enjoy his drawings, in particular the sketches of men in tights. He frequently got sent home for his artwork.
I'm not sure what kind of school this was he went to, Orthodox sect or otherwise, but if this part is true, those "rabbis" gave the Judaist religion in any form a bad name, and people like that explain perfectly why anybody could be discouraged from practicing religion. Not specified is whether they're ultra-Orthodox/Haredi/hasidic, because I'd figure that bunch, if any, are the ones with the real negative view on creativity, and they'll have to shoulder responsibility for turning Bendis into the kind of leftist he represents, but I'm guessing they're stupid enough not to. Or is it possible Bendis is going for victimology? I just don't know.

The article also cites his quotes from Forbes about taking "the American way" for granted, and I won't be surprised if their coverage is little more than a subtle anti-conservative slam, exactly the problem with a lot of the left-leaning members of the Jewish community Bendis is pretty much part of.

Since we're on the subject, he's still working for Marvel in ways of moviemaking, and while a Kitty Pryde movie is a fine idea in itself, Bendis' hiring to write a screenplay is most certainly not:
Deadpool director Tim Miller and Brian Michael Bendis, one of the biggest authors in the comic book world, are teaming for an X-Men spinoff.

The duo are developing a project called 143, which will be set in the X-Men universe, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. Bendis, who wrote various X-Men comics during his almost 20 years at Marvel, will write the script, while Miller will direct.

143 is a code name for the project which sources say will focus on the character Kitty Pryde, a mutant who can phase through objects. The character was played by Ellen Page in 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand and 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Gee, the same writer who mistreated Jean Grey, alternate timeline doppelganger or not. I know it's entirely possible he'll write a movie, which is less overlooked than comics, with more respect for the characters, but that's still no excuse for all the harm he did at Marvel since the time he first worked there, including, most notoriously, to Scarlet Witch in Avengers prior to his run on X-Men. As a result, that's why Bendis is somebody from my community I'm simply not proud of, because his sleazy acts of yore only caused embarrassment.

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Trinity University discusses racial representation in comics with predictable superficiality

The Trinitonian covered a panel held for discussion of how minorities are depicted in the comics at the university, and they even villified the Comicsgate campaign:
In anticipation of the opening of “Black Panther,” the first major film featuring a black superhero protagonist, Trinity Diversity Connection (TDC) hosted a diversity dialogue called “Who Gets to be the Hero?” on Tuesday, Feb. 13.
Everyone who believes in honesty and goodness no matter the race/nationality/ethnicity, of course. But why do just the costumed characters matter? Sometimes, I think a certain segment of society got carried away with the superhero genre, and not enough attention was even placed on the co-stars.
“For specifically black people in America, there’s never really been a representation of black super heroes,” said Nyarko. “Especially with Black Panther being from Wakanda, which is a technologically advanced isolationist fictional African country, it represents everything people of African identity hate about what colonialism did to a lot of African countries — it took them away from that prospective future.”
The cliched assertion there've never been representations of black superheroes turns up again, dampening the impact of valid complaints to be made about the history of what white colonialism did to south Africa. I've cited them before, and will again, there's also John Stewart in Green Lantern, Mal Duncan and Bumblebee in Teen Titans, Luke Cage, Black Lightning, Storm, Misty Knight, 2nd Captain Marvel Monica Rambeau, Vixen, and even the Milestone cast developed by Dwayne McDuffie. The way they put it always comes off sounding like black superheroes come in the thousands and can be met on every street corner across the city.
“This event is part of the ‘Black Panther’ movie showing that TDC is also having; the title of this talk is ‘Who Gets to be a Super Hero?’, so we’re going to discuss representation of race and gender in superheroes, and how society is impacted by who gets to be called a superhero,” said Chiev. “I think it’s super important with how Hollywood and media is getting more representation of minorities, and I think it’s important to discuss it, especially at a school like Trinity, which is majority white.”

About 15 people attended the discussion. Nyarko opened the event.
That's all? Doesn't sound like their meeting had much impact. Besides, don't most of the superpowers in comics usually come by coincidence? Fate, in a fictional world, chooses who gets to be one, we don't get to decide. It's the writers of said fiction who do.
Hughes’ presentation focused on the history of comics, and specifically the portrayal of black superheroes in the industry, going back to the Jackie Ormes comics from 1937.

Hughes noted the racial history of representations in comics, from Whitewash Jones in “Young Allies” and Ebony White in “The Spirit,” both created by white writers, and reflecting dominant racial ideologies of the time.
Wait a minute. Jones and White, superheroes?!? Vigilantes, maybe, but they were not costumed crimefighters. Whitewash was a supporting character in Young Allies and Captain America during the Golden Age, introduced by Stan Lee, while Ebony was a taxi-driving ally of the Spirit in Will Eisner's famous comic strip. What's significant about them historically is that they were both stereotypically illustrated, though on the plus side, they were otherwise treated respectfully, and Ebony acted heroically by helping Denny Colt solve crimes. If the approach to illustrating was the subject, that's one thing, but to say they're superheroes when they were anything but dulls the discussion's edge even more.
Joy Umoekpo, sophomore treasurer of TDC, finds the lack of diverse representation problematic.

“I think it does matter because I think a lot of white people might not know black people,” said Umoekpo. “Just seeing them on TV might break down those stereotypes.”

Other students present at the discussion agreed with Umoekpo’s sentiments.
How many out of 15 did or not? Oh, never mind that. What matters is that there's never been a lack of representation, on the panels or in real life. Christopher Priest (whose actual name is Jim Owsley) was one of the earliest black writers in comicdom, though he's had a pretty hit-or-miss career, as he once stated his jobs in editing demonstrated.
Black presence in the comics industry evolved in the following decades, with Black Panther’s first appearance in the Fantastic Four comics in 1966. These representations still tended to have racialized undertones, such as Luke Cage: Hero for Hire, which started running in 1972.

“Basically it was what white people imagine black people sound like …. It’s a step forward from the images we just saw [Whitewash Jones], but not what we would think of as a powerful and empowering images,” said Hughes. “Structural racism is real, and it’s real in the comics industry.”
What, you mean when Cage would exclaim, "sweet Christmas"? Please, that's just the kind of surrealism you could expect to find in a fictional world filled with science-fantasy. And here, they finally bring up another black hero, created during the boom of blaxploitation films like Richard Roundtree's Shaft. And it was all about an anti-hero who'd been framed for drug trafficking by his former buddy Willis Stryker, who was jealous over his courting of girlfriend Reva Connors, and wound up in a hellish prison at the mercy of a racist sentry where he went into an experiment and got his superhuman powers.

But today, racism in the industry, whatever the form, is not exactly what it could've been decades ago. Today, there's anti-white racism turning up too, and writers like David F. Walker make nasty comments against the audience they apparently don't want. And the panelists don't know a lot of the industry members are on their side? Then again, you couldn't possibly expect these SJWs to care either way. Certainly not after they turn to attacking fan movements trying to protect legacies of established white characters from abuse:
Even now, when writers do try to include racial minorities in comics, they are met with backlash, especially from many of the fans that have long followed the characters, a movement known as #ComicsGate.

He cited people such as John C. Wright and Vox Day, both of whom criticize Marvel and DC for promoting social justice, saying that it supersedes being able to tell a good story.

“Characters come to us with decades of history, and all kinds of legacies that creators feel they need to attend to … [like] taking Peter Parker out of the game and making Spider-Man Miles Morales,” said Hughes. “You do have creators who are doing their best to diversify the space, and you have their fans who are trying their hardest not to let them.”
Umm, Morales, thankfully, hasn't replaced Parker wholesale. That's the good news. The bad news is that writers like Dan Slott have spent nearly a decade doing their damndest to make the stories unreadable. It doesn't take a genius to tell the panelists consider Mary Jane Watson expendable either. This is all you need to know the commentators at Trinity, despite claims to the contrary, aren't fans of the original material, and if not, there's no chance they give a damn about the new material either.
Hughes concluded his discussion by showcasing Lion Forge Comics. This new comics platform included titles that are interconnected, and which are attempting to bring more diversity to comic book worlds by showcasing heroes who are queer, disabled or racial minorities, among other identities.
And that's fine. If it's such a big deal, develop your own comics, for heaven's sake, and better still, push for genuine marketing. But don't insist that legacy characters be artificially replaced by weakly scripted newcomers designed only to appeal to niche audiences without talented writing to accompany them. The article ends with this:
“I wanted to have an event that came before it that helped people understand the importance of Black Panther — going to watch the movie is great, but if you don’t know why people are obsessed about it, then you don’t understand the significance of a movie like that,” Nyarko said. “More people need to show up to TDC — if you’re going to be liberal, and talk about liberalism on campus but you’re not showing up to events that talk about things, you’re fake.”
I think even the panelists are fake. If all they care about is brand new characters in the costume and not the old, they're not and never were dedicated to the art form, nor were they ever grateful to the early pioneers. And since when didn't conservatives ever care about these ideas? Their leftist biases are way too obvious to make their stand work. If only fifteen people really did show up, then while I'm sure there's plenty of liberals who care about the BP movie, which has succeeded at the box office, it's pretty evident not many cared about some speakers on campus with such a narrow view of the world.

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Sunday, February 18, 2018 

Batman has a "Cry for Justice" moment as the new Batwoman kills Clayface

I may not think it was a good example to make the new Batwoman a lesbian. But I don't think this story in Batman #974 was a good idea either:
For fans of Clayface, the cliffhanger in Detective Comics #973 was worrisome. Sure, characters come back from the dead all the time, but with the cover of this week's Detective Comics #974 featuring what appeared to be Basil's dead body - and warnings from the future Tim Drake hinting about this incident - things didn't look good.

This week's issue spells it out - Clayface really is dead.

And Batwoman really did kill him.


Whether some writer in the future decides to revive him or not, for now, the Bat-family is being torn apart by what appears to be one Bat-family member killing another one.

What Happened

After it's confirmed that Basil's not coming back from this, the team joins Batwoman on the rooftop where she took the shot. Readers learn that - even though Batwoman's actions arguably saved lives - Batman's upset with Kate because… you know … no killing allowed.

Tim's even more ticked off
(wishing his future self didn't turn out to be right), and Cass is straight-up freaking out (being the most emotionally attached to Basil).

Kate claims she did the right thing - that she knows the rules of engagement, and it was time to engage. She says she'd do it again, given the same choice, and believes she saved Cass' life.

Cass isn't buying it and rips the Bat-symbol off Kate's chest, saying that symbol means to never kill. She believes Clayface could have been saved. Tim also thinks there is "always" a "better way" than killing.
Reading this, I was reminded of James Robinson's Cry for Justice miniseries, which served as little more than an excuse to kill off Speedy/Arsenal's daughter Lian, whose mother is Cheshire. Something I don't think was reversed to date, and DC editorial must've been overjoyed if it was dropped down the memory hole. Even before that, there was Greg Rucka's defamation of Wonder Woman circa the Infinite Crisis crossover, where she killed wrongfully villified Max Lord to stop him from mind-controlling Superman, and how do he and Batman thank her? By condemning her for breaking the same judgemental rule. This whole no-killing-even-in-self-defense position has long gotten way out of hand. Especially if it doesn't apply to aliens of the non-humanoid variety.

I can only wonder if they would've done a story like this with a homosexual male character taking similar actions? If not, then it hints at how lesbians, by contrast, are seen as easy prey in fiction as compared with male counterparts. I think the story as seen in this Batbook suggests that, because of the social justice elements Kate Kane's character was built on, they must've considered her the character who'd draw the least objections from the audience who'd find her structure a turnoff. But given how the storyline comes at the expense of the other cast members, all forced into standings vehemently opposed to killing even to save lives, that's one more reason why it's a failure, the chances of Clayface resurrecting notwithstanding.

And to think Spoiler and Cassandra Cain had to wind up stuck in an atrocity like this!

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Saturday, February 17, 2018 

Geoff Johns was suitably demoted from his position on the DC films

Here's some thankful news: the DC equivalent to Brian Bendis when he worked at Marvel (and who's now going to work at DC too) has been demoted from the higher position he once had on Warner Brothers' adaptations for the silver screen:
About early December 2017, The Wrap gave out the exclusive that Co-President of the DC Films division, Jon Berg had been removed.

Most recently, The Hollywood Reporter revealed the new President overseeing the DCEU under DC Films would be former New Line Cinema production executive, Walter Hamada, a story, which we had also covered on one of our editorials at Bam Smack Pow.

This notably demoted Johns from his position of co-runner and president of DC Films to merely a creative consultant, who will “work closely” with Hamada. The question to be asked: was Johns qualified to steer the ship of the DCEU on the silver screen?
I can provide the answer: NO. Absolutely NOT. This was the man who perverted the Flash and Green Lantern back in the comics with offensive violence, weak characterization, forced, abrupt retcons to several characters that added zip to their stories (at least 2 examples I recall were Cyborg and Golden Glider, yet that was nothing compared to the repellent portrayal of the Turtle as a child molestor in issue 213), and he was part of DC's worst company wide crossovers. He practically took bloodletting and other nasty acts of violence in DC output to a new level, and even if he hadn't put his personal politics into the books he's writing, as he later did with GL, that still wouldn't make them any good. I remember one report stating some crew members on the GL movie blaming Johns for its failure, as he was actively involved in much of the production. And despite the news site's attempts to exonerate Johns from blame, chances are entirely possible he had his share of errors in developing a film drawing from the cast setup he used for his New 52 reboot of Justice League. And I ask again - what's so wrong with Martian Manhunter that he had to be dropped?

Since we're on the subject, I found another site talking about the content of his books, making valid points, though that's just the beginning of what's wrong with his overrated writing styles:
At worst, his dialogue sounds like it’s trying to be more “adult” or just sounds painful.

Case in point in not only Forever Evil but also Blackest Night, the phrase “It makes me hot” is said (in both cases) to make a female character look more sadistic. It seems really “tryhard”, cheap and you know EXACTLY what word he meant to use there instead of “Hot”. Again, it’s not like his dialogue is the worst thing ever but it’s either dull or trying a bit too hard to sound mature (a problem we’ll discuss in a moment) and that’s a big problem. [...]
Hmm, this is telling something. I may not have thought his writing was the most sexist-plagued you could find years before, but he certainly got worse, and now that I think of it, his ill-treatment of Magenta was degrading. More telling though was the hammering of violence involving his one-note Reverse-Flash 2.0's assault on Linda Park West. And the dialogue, if we take his Teen Titans run as an example, contained a few irritating, superfluous words, one of which alluded to child molestation and in another situation, Starfire wound up sounding like a bimbo when she said, "Garfield [Logan] does seem to be acting strange." after he was hypnotized by the young-looking Brother Blood featured in a forced nostalgia story that came second in the run, and when somebody states she meant the bird-calls, she said, "that. And he usually stares at my chest." But this line was so forced, lamebrained and served as little more than a cheap way to have Wonder Girl bump Superboy's side to hint she'd rather he not make comments like that, all at Starfire's expense. It sure wasn't funny, and I didn't laugh. On the topic of violence in Johns' stories, the site says:
I should preface this by saying that I love violence in fiction. My favorite action movies tend to be pretty bloody and I’ve always thought a little blood in fiction never hurt anyone. That said I’ve always felt that Geoff Johns’s use of violence was a little too… desperate. What I mean by this is that unlike, let’s say, a Tarantino movie, Johns’s violence isn’t playful or funny but it seems more like he’s still afraid that people assume Comics are for kids so he plays it up a lot. In some things I think it works, like Blackest Night, which was about zombies so blood and guts naturally played a role, or Forever Evil, which focused on villains who generally aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.

But at some points you have to ask yourself: Did Aquaman REALLY need a scene where horrible fish creatures slaughter some sailors on a boat? Did we really need to see a man shoved in a shark’s mouth in Green Lantern Issue 4? Was it truly necessary for us to see a kryptonian getting stabbed through the head on the first page of Superman: Brainiac? How was the story benefited by seeing Bart Allen’s knee being shot to bits, then learning he would have to be operated without anesthesia and watching said operation happen with his pained face front and center?
The violence in his stories may not be depicted humourously, but still carries a feeling of cheap sensationalism and fetishism. And I'd be careful about saying Blackest Night and Forever Evil are workable stories. Especially if they only served to depict notable characters as zombies for trolling the audience, which, from what I can tell, is exactly what they intended.
Hell, that’s best case scenario. At worst it’s right down detrimental to the story. Infinite Crisis tries to judge other comics for being too dark and violent, while partaking in as much violence as it can. Oh yes, I totally got the idea that comics should lighten up between all the scenes of people getting swords through the chest, arms being ripped off, heads being punched off and, the crowning achievement, a man getting his eyes PUSHED THROUGH HIS HEAD!
By Black Adam, no less. No wonder I swore off of Johns' take on the Justice Society. Just because BA is a villain, does that make it okay? Of course not.

I also found a sugarcoated interview in the Comics Journal where he brought up one of DC's most notorious employees while talking about whom he works with:
WILSON: Do you find that you keep up an ongoing communication with the artists or do you just work through your editor?

JOHNS: Yeah, I talk with my artist. I mean I work with my editors, who are great too. I work mostly with Eddie Berganza and Adam Schlagman at DC, but no, I’m constantly talking to them and with the artist. With Francis, because he is so expressive and he has such a clean style, it calls for a clean writing style, so that less is more in that case. So I don’t want to do narration when I work with Francis. I want him to be nice and open and just let the story flow, and don’t have captions interrupt the story. I only want to do dialogue, action and heart with that book [The Flash].
Remember: if Johns had a high enough, influential position after a while, he could surely have pressed for Berganza's dismissal. But he didn't, and so it was only after the Buzzfeed coverage that the creep left. And how could he write the Flash with heart when it was so joyless? There's more here I may as well scrutinize:
WILSON: Would you say then that focusing so closely on fear, were you making a concerted effort to contextualize what was going on in the larger society at the time as people look back on the last 10 years and there’s anxiety and fear in American culture because of what has been transpiring domestically and abroad? Would you say that it affected you, that here’s fear as a viable thematic concept?

JOHNS: Absolutely. I mean look at American society in the 1940s. There was World War II but then in the 1950s everything got really nice and kind of everyone sees the 1950s as a quaint, suburban soda shop society because everybody experienced that fear in the 40s. But then you had a whole generation growing up in the 1950s who didn’t experience the fear in the 40s and they rebelled in the 60s, so it’s almost a cycle. Sure. Rebirth came out in 2004 and I’d begun working on it in 2002 and that was at the height of anthrax being sent around to news reporters and it was crazy. So, I’m sure, absolutely, that it was influential. I think also that you have a generation now that’s grown up with that anxiety, but soon we’ll get to a generation and it’ll be interesting to see what they gravitate towards or what the next decade or two is like when you have that generation that grew up not remembering 9/11. What’s that going to be like?

WILSON: That’s a good point.

JOHNS: Yeah, what are they going to rebel against, because they didn’t have that fear and anxiety that threw society upside down?
And what's this supposed to be? A minimization of 9-11, and the elements involved? It strikes me as a tasteless thing to say, and while he may be holding his cards close to his chest, Johns has still pretty much confirmed why I don't consider him a good writer. And if he has any responsibility for botching the Justice League movie, that's why his demotion is richly deserved. Besides, if the movie doesn't involve the kind of excess his comics do, that only means he's not interested in appealing to the masses through comics, because his style in comicdom doesn't have commercial appeal.

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Michael Turner may have been a talented artist, but his Identity Crisis cover drawings are a stain on his record

I recently noticed this comment by Ethan Van Sciver about the late artist Michael Turner of Witchblade and Fathom fame:

Was Turner a gent? I'm sure he had a decent personality. Was he talented and had great character design? Certainly. But if this is to be the subject of the week, I'm afraid no amount of good work he did when he was still around excuses the fact he drew the covers for Brad Meltzer's misogyny-plagued Identity Crisis in 2004, the story that made light of the topic of sexual assault, and was written with a 99.9 percent masculine viewpoint.

Sure, Turner may have only drawn the covers, and not the story inside, which was illustrated by the overrated Rags Morales. That's why Turner may not have to shoulder as much blame as Meltzer/Morales. Nevertheless, Turner's willingness to connect himself with what liberal-leaning Alex Ross was not willing to associate himself with still comes off as a tacit approval of the rancid story inside, and that casts a pall over even the best of his work. Because of this, I've had to take a lot of Turner's past work with a grain of salt.

Of course, Turner's been gone for over a decade now, so it's become a moot point, and reading any better work of his is easier now than it would've been at the time. But it's still a terrible shame Turner had to sully his image by associating with an obnoxious product that flies in the face of the comics he's more famous for. Artists like Van Sciver shouldn't overlook that.

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Friday, February 16, 2018 

Chuck Dixon reminds us of the anti-conservative blacklist in comicdom

Dixon was interviewed by Bounding Into Comics, discussing his work with author Vox Day (who's one of the earliest I know of to coin the Comicsgate phrase after Gamergate), along with his Levon novels and another project he'll be producing at IDW, and also reminded that the anti-conservative blacklisting in the comic book medium is still quite real when the topic of artist Will Caligan comes up:
BIC: Will also lost his job because of his very personal Christian and conservative beliefs. There have been a number of people who hold similar conservative and Christian beliefs who have also had their careers threatened or lost. Do you see this as a serious problem in the comic book industry?

Chuck: Damn right. A lot of great talent is either unemployed or underemployed because of either their personal religious or political beliefs. Their personal beliefs. The blacklists are very real and a lot of careers have been damaged. And as bad as this kind of discrimination is, the effect of silencing other creators who fear for their livelihoods is even more far-reaching. It’s intimidation, pure and simple; a radical core of far-left editors and publishers forcing their ideologies on the creator community as well as the readership.

Most damaging, in the long term, is the hiring of staff and assigning of freelancers based on their political beliefs rather than any kind of merit. The result is the current crop of, frankly, mediocre efforts from companies that used to be the industry leaders. It’s hard to find even a competently written and drawn comic let alone anything that could be called exemplary examples of the medium.

We’re all paying for this with depressed sales overall and the loss of readers who may never come back.

BIC: Blacklists seem to be a pretty hot topic right now. One Twitter user even created a pretty lengthy list for customers to boycott certain professionals. He labeled these professionals as the “main contributors… to the declining quality” of comic books. What are your thoughts on this list?

Chuck: I don’t like lists of any kind. Blacklists, redlists, enemies lists or ****lists. While it’s true that a number of people on the list I saw are guilty of writing agenda-driven comics, a few on that list are vocal personally on political matters, but not in their work. The declining quality of comics is due to creators who prioritize their ideology above their professional standards. So much of the stuff I’ve seen is simply poorly crafted comics. They call attention to themselves by doing crap work. No lists needed.

BIC: I also read Marvel has had you on a blacklist for over 15 years. Is that true? How do you go from writing one of their best-selling comics with Punisher: War Zone to completely blacklisted?

Chuck: When you don’t fall in lockstep with everything Axel Alonso believes. Of course, which of us is still working in comics today?
Thankfully, it's Dixon, if only because Alonso was recently fired by Marvel towards the end of the year for turning them into a double-disaster after Joe Quesada received an undeserved promotion. And Quesada, by contrast, is still working in comics on the next floor, while C.B. Cebulski's acquired the job of EIC. But was Alonso really the reason Dixon got blacklisted? I'd assume Quesada was, because Dixon had already been working on several stories published in one of the Marvel Knights entries before they shunned him altogether, and the MK line was what got Quesada the job as EIC.

As for counter-blacklists, I understand if Dixon disagrees, because he must think two wrongs don't make a right. For now, I can say that, while I may be willing to buy some of Jim Zub's work for companies like IDW, I cannot buy his work at Marvel until Quesada's left just as Alonso has. There's every chance Quesada will try to exert bad influence, and surely do what he can to prevent restoration of the Spider-marriage, which remains a challenging question as Cebulski takes charge of editorial. Rotten apples like Quesada cannot be ignored, because it's clear they still have influence.

And even Dixon's made mistakes - or at the least taken questionable steps - in the past that need to be avoided too if Marvel and DC are ever to regain full readability, coherence and trustworthiness.

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Thursday, February 15, 2018 

Unfortunately, if Dan DiDio is co-writer of this book, nobody alienated by his ego in the past should buy it

Newsarama interviewed the awful editor/publisher of DC, who's trying to convince everyone they learned from Marvel's mistakes with diversity (and again, he takes the spotlight while Bob Harras sticks to the shadows). But anybody who knows how badly DiDio handled things in the past knows why it'd be a bad idea to be deceived this time too, no matter how valid any points he makes here about how to manage diversity are. They're putting out a book called Sideways in an attempt to prove to everyone they know the right approach to take introducing cast members of different race, but one of the problems is that he's a co-writer:
As DC's co-publisher, Dan DiDio knows that the success of the company's "Rebirth" initiative relied upon returning core characters to their best-known status quo. So when faced with the challenge of adding more diversity to the line, DiDio thought that DC's approach needed to leave the company's most revered characters unmodified.
I don't think this answers anything, if the above alludes to their major players, and not the minor ones like Atom, Blue Beetle and Firestorm, who were replaced in the costumes by men of different race (similarly, a character called Kate Spencer replaced the original male Manhunter in that role back in the mid-2000s) soon after Identity Crisis went to press.
Thus the "New Age of DC Heroes" was born - including this week's launch of Sideways, a book that DiDio is co-writing himself. The new line of titles features brand new characters that were designed, according to DiDio, to fill gaps that creators and editors felt were missing from the DC Universe.
And just why would we with experience from the 2000s want to buy a book this repehensible ignoramus even so much as co-wrote? If memory serves, at least two other books he wrote nearly a decade ago sold dismally, so while introducing a brand new character of Puerto Rican descent is admirable in itself, having DiDio as a crafter only evokes the old expression "patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel". He's obviously hoping everyone's suddenly willing to forgive if he does this the right way. I think not. Anyone who lets DiDio off the hook after he engineered Identity Crisis - the miniseries whose structure was degrading to women and victims of sexual assault - will be out of their minds. He certainly hasn't apologized for it. Here's more from the interview:
But we're also going to show that this character interacts with the DC Universe. And we'll be meeting some of the other members of the New Age of Heroes within the first few issues. And then we'll have some guest stars from the DCU that I'm really excited about, because that's when Grant Morrison comes in and gives me a hand on a couple of issues in the latter part of the year.
First, that "New Age of Heroes" sounds an awful lot like one of Marvel's own vapid events, which could be a vital clue to how pretentious this'll be regardless of how they handle introducing a POC. Second, Morrison is another writer we could do without, and has been overrated for a long time. Let's remember, he was the one who made X-Men unappealing in the early 2000s. And, there's another problem turning up here that plagued DC's visions in the same decade as well:
Nrama: Let's talk about that collaboration. You're co-writing from the start with Justin Jordan, and then, as you mentioned, Grant Morrison will be working with you two on future issues. Is this because of your time constraints, or more of a choice on your part to collaborate?

DiDio: Yeah, for me, I love the collaborative nature of comic books - interacting with other folks, getting ideas and trying to find ways to make them work. The melding of ideas and getting different perspectives. I think it rounds out the product, you know?

That's what's been great about Kenneth. He brings a visual style in a way that I didn't normally see in these characters, but I think it added so much additional life to them.

Justin Jordan is helping bring in a youthful voice and a sensibility that I think helps ground the characters that feel more useful for today.

But once the story moves into the Dark Multiverse - and the story will move into the Dark Multiverse for a period of time - that's when I really wanted to bring Grant in.

I don't think anybody can best explore the kinds of ideas that we're going to push forward in that story than Grant Morrison.

I would feel deficient and not doing my best job if I didn't have Grant with me really leading the way.
I think that's an admission he knows he's not fit for writing comics any more than editing and publishing them. What's more, if they're turning to a dark angle, that's one of the prime errors they made over a decade ago, not unlike the 1990s, so it's clear something's wrong he won't admit. Then, DiDio tries to validate himself by making logical points about how to introduce a character:
Nrama: As a publisher at DC, can you talk a little about the idea behind the "New Age of DC Heroes" that you're rolling out, with this book as one of several hitting the shelves soon?

DiDio: We're having a lot of fun. We made a lot of noise about this being artist-first. In the beginning, we really wanted to open up the visual style and sensibility.

But really, what "New Age of Heroes" is really about is returning to a lot of basics in comic book storytelling that we've sort of lost along the way - the return of secret identity; the opening up of the storytelling; the romance, intrigue, the challenges that come with being a hero and trying to negotiate that against your normal life.

And most importantly, we wanted to bring new characters in.

We want to diversify in a way that feels natural and organic, rather than forcing change upon characters that people fully understand in a certain manner already.

So we love the "New Age of DC Heroes" - I really feel like we're pushing ourselves. The hope was to create characters that were filling gaps in our line-up without ultimately replacing other characters.

I think that's what was key.
Certainly, that's the key to introducing new characters. But if they intend to bring in the dark approach, that's a terrible mistake they've merely compounded, and there's been far too much of that over the years. I've said this before, and will again, that if Marvel's creations had all been subject to the kind of darkness DC's been forcing down everyone' throats, they would never have succeeded. And if this is all DiDio can think of doing with a new creation, then no wonder it's not bound to be successful. His name alone is reason enough to avoid it, much like Joe Quesada is at Marvel today.

He was also interviewed by CBR, where he gave this hilarious statement:
CBR: Dan, the first thing that strikes me about Sideways #1 is the tone of it. It’s not completely lighthearted, but it has a breezy, fun tone, and a likable character. That all feels very deliberate. How important was tone to you when crafting this series, and the story you wanted to tell with this character?

Dan DiDio: That was my main goal for the series. That reflects a lot of my own personality. I enjoy when things are more fun and engaging. I like the sensibility and sense of discovery that comes along with this story, and as the character is figuring out his powers, he’s explaining it to the audience himself, in his own way. I wanted this book to have a different sensibility, a different tone than what might be seen in some of the other New Age of Heroes books.
Those familiar with the dark tone he shoved onto the DCU in the past know why this rings hollow. Why should we believe somebody who considered darkness valid in almost every way, save for selective choices in writers they hire, to have a bright personality? During the mid-2000s, darkness became the norm in quite a few of their books at the time Identity Crisis was foisted on the brand, which he mandated, and now we're supposed to believe after all these years he's got a fun and engaging personality? Don't fall for his trick.
Let’s talk another collaborator on the book — co-writer Justin Jordan. How did he become involved, and how does the collaboration work between the two of you?

It’s a training for me. Justin was important for me because he has a more youthful voice in his storytelling. The last thing I want to do, forgive me for saying it this way, is being that old guy writing young voices.
But does he want to be the co-writer saddled with another who's going about business the wrong way? Because there's another problem with how this book's been handled: the co-writer, Justin Jordan, seems to have blocked a quite a few people on Twitter, which is no way to win confidence.
That Sideways looks like an attempt at DC’s Spider-Man. I’ve seen that comment quite a bit, I’m sure you have as well. What’s your response to that?

Blue Beetle is DC’s Spider-Man! [Laughs]

It’s an interesting thing. One of the things that I like to do is look at past successes and what made them successful, and then present them in a way that makes them original and unique in their own right. If you look at Spider-Man, or any of these characters created in the early ’60s, it was a sensibility that they had that I feel has been lost in comics. If you’re making your comparisons to Spider-Man because we’ve returned the conceit of secret identity, the challenge that it is to be a young kid in today’s society while struggling with powers that you don’t really understand, and trying to deal with all of the emotional issues that come with being a teenager, then I love that comparison.
I think this is a telling sign he still believes the offensive handling of Ted Kord in the mid-2000s was justified, all for the sake of bringing in the Latino character Jaime Reyes as the replacement. Do they really lack so much confidence they can't just retire Ted Kord from the role without drama and then bring in a newcomer, if it's that important to them? Or, they don't have what it takes to write a compelling spotlight for Ted himself? Besides, it's clear he misreads what made past products a success. If Marvel resorted to the kind of shock value DC used in the 2000s, I'd never have found their famous creations appealing.

DiDio was also interviewed by Comics Beat, who're just as sugarcoated, and he told them something that sounds farfetched even by today's standards for youth:
Lu: Absolutely. And one of the many identities that Derek wears is that of a minority. Like you mentioned, Dan, you wanted to create a character like Derek to help introduce more underrepresented groups to the DC Universe. What sort of work did you, Kenneth Rocafort, and Justin Jordan do to make sure that his experience felt authentic to the reader?

DiDio: First thing’s first. I don’t wanna put words in…the first thing is that one of the reasons why Derek is Puerto Rican is because Kenneth is Puerto Rican. And with that, he brought an authenticity to Derek’s style of dress, attitude, personality, and how Derek conveys himself in general. And in Derek, I see a lot of the body language that comes from Kenneth. I see him in the expression of how this character acts and behaves, and the people that travel in Derek’s circle.

My fiance and her son– she has a 15-year-old son, so a lot of this is based on him– his attitudes and personalities. Watching him interact with his friends– how they can all be sitting in a room together, not speaking, and actually texting each other side-by-side. It boggles my mind, but it shows you that teens are expressing themselves differently today than they did 20 or 30 years ago. And that form of expression is just another thing that we can draw a story from. It’s something we can present in our character as we portray him over time.
This is hard to swallow. When you're sitting in a room with several people, chances are you're bound to be talking vocally with somebody, and not merely texting round and about. On a computer console to people across town, that's entirely plausible. But in the same room together? Doesn't make any sense to me.

But if there's something to gather from this interview, it's that until now, DiDio may have been an example of what quite a few of the most prominent people in the medium are like now: not married and have no children of their own. Sort of like several European politicians, including Britain's premier Theresa May, Holland's Mark Rutte, Germany's Angela Merkel, Italy's Paolo Gentilon, and while France's Emmanuel Macron's [much older] wife Brigitte Macron does have children, he himself does not. Is it any wonder today's executives in comics don't understand what it takes to find an audience? Besides, as noted, there's also that dark angle to ponder, most recently embodied by the Metal event:
Lu: So we are gonna get more of that Dark Multiverse? That’s not gonna go away after Metal?

DiDio: The Dark Multiverse, we have a plan later in the year. We’re gonna go into the Dark Multiverse for a very specific reason. And those are the issues that I’m bringing Grant Morrison in to co-write. He’s gonna step into Justin’s role at that point. Primarily because nobody can write the Dark Multiverse, or any sort of Multiverse, better than Grant Morrison! And I wouldn’t even venture into that dimension without him. How about that?

Lu: I like that! That gets me excited. I’ve been waiting on pins and needles for any kind of Multiversity 2.

DiDio: Yeah! We talk about that. But I love the idea of exploring [Multiversity] in little bites like this. And just getting glimpses of it. We talked through our world and the Dark Multiverse, so when we start to move into the Dark Multiverse section of the story, it’s going to almost be like the lowest-level of subconscious in Inception. It’s trying to form, but it’s not forming correctly. And it’s constantly re-creating and falling apart because there’s just not enough substance for [the Dark Multiverse] to have a continued existence. So it’s kind of been reshaping itself. And ultimately once you step into that world, you get a better sense of where Derek’s powers are coming from.
The more he babbles about a Dark Multiverse, the more questionable his intentions are. It's also a strong hint they don't intend to abandon company wide crossovers by any stretch, and if they're going to keep on with that, it's no wonder their projects aren't going to impress in the long run. In a way, however, he's right that the dark angle doesn't have enough substance to even justify its use, though that's surely not what he meant to say. And a low level of subconscious does describe how these concepts are handled.

DiDio's main problem is that his attachment as a writer to these books only compounds the perception he's engaging in vanity projects to suit his pretentious MO. New additions to an old cast/universe are welcome. But not terrible writers like him. He did so much wrong to the DCU in the past, it'd be ill-advised to let him off the hook any more than Joe Quesada after what he did to Marvel at the same time.

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Patrick Zircher says something sensible for a change about relations with consumers

He seems to be coming to terms with how unproductive his past conduct was, with rightists or otherwise:

The article, if I'm correct, came from Bleeding Cool, and Bounding Into Comics has more on the subject. Well that's good he's coming to his senses and realizes that negative attitudes towards the audience doesn't help the medium one bit as a whole. I still wish though, that he'd apologize for upholding Identity Crisis and that embarrassing variation he was the illustrator for in Nightwing about 14 years ago. Simply put, it does no favors for his own reputation, and Devin Grayson's disowned the story, so I believe it could do Zircher a lot of good to follow her example, and not serve as an apologist for Brad Meltzer's offensive farrago either. A good way to repair a reputation is to distance oneself from distasteful projects.

Anyway, this latest news involving Zircher apparently came on the heels of an announcement by DC calling on their freelancers - and hopefully internal staff - not to engage in "mean spirited" comments online. It possibly came as the result of the whole controversy involving Ethan Van Sciver, and the letter says:
Dear DC Talent Community –

The comic book industry is a very special creative community dedicated to telling epic and legendary stories of action, heroism and intrigue with a rich and diverse portfolio of characters. Both DC’s employees, as well as its extended family of freelance talent, contribute to our success and are direct reflections of our company, characters and comics.

As such, DC expects that its employees and freelance talent community maintain a high level of professionalism as well as reasonable and respectful behavior when engaging in online activities. Comments that may be considered defamatory, libelous, discriminatory, harassing, hateful, or that incite violence are unacceptable and may result in civil or criminal action.

In addition, comments that may be considered insulting, cruel, rude, crass and mean spirited are against company policy and guidelines. We ask, and expect, that you will help to create an online environment that is inclusive, supportive and safe.

Below you will find the most current version of the company’s social media guidelines. If you have any questions, please contact DC Talent Relations department so that we can be of assistance.

DC Entertainment Social Media Guidelines for Talent

This policy has been developed to empower DC Talent to participate in social media activities, represent their creative endeavors well and share their passion for DC’s characters, stories and brands. We recognize the vital importance of online social communities and this policy reflects our commitment to the best possible use of social media. Below are DC’s recommended guidelines when partaking in social media.

Stay positive when you post and we also recommend that you avoid negative comments in this very public forum.

You may want to refrain from engaging with individuals who may be speaking negatively about you, other talent, DC, our fans and the comics industry as this is a no-win situation.

If there has been a personal threat to you or those around you then in addition to alerting DC, please involve the proper law enforcement authorities.

Use good judgment when posting, reposting and liking comments, photos and videos as these may have unintended consequences.

Talent should take special care when using social media to ensure that comments and postings made by you are not associated with DC.

Under all circumstances, please indicate that you do work for DC, but that your comments are your own and do not reflect those of the company.

The internet is permanent regardless of “privacy settings” or other limits you may try to place on your posting. Think before you post, comment, retweet or like something.

Do not reveal plot points, storylines or launch timing — including photos or video of in-progress assets, artwork, story outlines, scripts, panels, announcement details, etc. without coordinating with DC Publicity. Members of the press may follow you on social media, and your posts can — and probably will — become news.

Don’t break news on social media. If you have any questions on what you can or can’t post on any platform, DC Publicity or Talent Relations departments are available to assist.

If you’d like to share DC news on your social pages, we recommend sharing news from DCComics.com, DCE-sanctioned social media pages and other news widely reported on credible news outlets.

If you are contacted by members of the press or asked to participate in an interview about your work for DC, please coordinate this with the DC Publicity department so that news can be rolled out in an orchestrated fashion and elevated on DC digital and social channels as well.

And finally, we recognize that there can be a dark side to social media and to that end if you feel that you are being harassed or bullied through social media channels because of your work for DC or your association with us, please feel free to contact the DC Talent Relations department so that we can be of assistance.
Well I'll give them credit for recognizing that both freelance and staff attitudes have been out of control for some time now, and that's why it's vital for both divisions to simply refrain from serious interactions with the audience. Thus, it leaves the query: is Marvel going to ensure the same be done at their end of the spectrum? After all, Dan Slott for one acted so embarrassingly bad over the past few years, that's why anybody as far-left as he is has to be reined in and told they cannot keep doing this anymore. And while Ron Marz may not have worked for either company of recent, he's lost his mind many a time too over awful leftist politics. Thank goodness IDW had the brains to discipline Aubrey Sitterson for causing them bad publicity with his 9-11 comments, and they finally parted with him by the end of the year, as the GI Joe spinoff he wrote turned out to be a disaster.

In fact, here's one writer who hasn't been working for DC lately who's not taking the news kindly:

Well, I guess so, if only because if that's how it's gonna be, DC won't be able to offer Hine any assignments again for quite a while, because they [hopefully] don't want the controversy he could wind up causing. Which, now that I think of it, could explain why Dan DiDio scrapped the Twitter account he once had, as people who recognized that he was mainly responsible for devastating the DCU in the mid-2000s surely condemned him on the platform, and he just couldn't take it any more than he could requests that Stephanie Brown be restored to her role as Spoiler (and Chuck Dixon should be rehired for regular assignments without question over his politics). Hine's the writer who crafted that Islamic propaganda in one of the Batbooks, and if he's not sorry, then he won't be missed. Somebody else told him he lost respect for Hine over the political tirade he posted. And IMO, Hine deserves to lose a lot of respect if he keeps this up.

Augie deBlieck, who may or may not still write for CBR, had a better comment on the topic:

Exactly. If it's online and accessible in any way for public reading, then it's not personal but public. And so many left-wing comics writers have made asses of themselves online over the years - far more than any conservatives combined - that it's advisable for any business to set guidelines for what can and can't be done on the web. IMHO, it'd be better to just run accounts on social media sites like Facebook and not Twitter, because a character limit of 280 is little more than an excuse to write utter nonsense, rather than something intelligent.

That said, DC's own executives still have to be held accountable on their own part for serious errors made in the storytelling they produce, and on that, they cannot be ignored any more than Marvel's.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018 

50 comics stores closed in a year, and so did Bleeding Cool's reader comment fields?

Here's something Bleeding Cool had the audacity to let us know - as many as fifty comics specialty stores closed since January 2017, both in the USA and Canada, and it obviously had what to do with Marvel's social justice machinations.

But not only that, there's another interesting matter I noticed on the article pages at BC: the Disqus comments program they were last using is not only gone, it hasn't even been replaced by any other comments program setup. It appears to be the case for about a week so far, and when I load the article pages, no comment forms turn up, though there is a mailing form that does. No Facebook comments, no nothing. I guess the controversies they led to finally backfired on them so badly, drawing such criticism from even the most hardcore liberals, they finally decided to drop them altogether.

There's also not much in ways of advertising, if at all. What ads do turn up are Taboola Corp sets at the bottom, along with a small ad frame for a Dark Horse product on some pages, and even some in-house ads for BC video tapes as well, in both a large top frame and the instertitial frame turning up at the bottom of the screen. The latter, if that's all they're advertising now, is especially telling. Presumably, BC got some companies so mad because of their biases and clickbait culture, they withdrew? I don't know if that's the case, but if it is, they've done what to deserve it.

They might restore the comment fields and more ads in time, but so far, what I've seen of a reduced setting on their site leaves what to think about.

And, since we're still on the subject of stores, the Detroit Metro Times announced that a local specialty store in the Ferndale district is closing too. The manager had an interesting theory why it got to that point, along with Marvel's disasters:
It might seem a counterintuitive move, given the fact that these days comic book superheroes like The Avengers and Wonder Woman are arguably more popular than they've ever been, with a steady stream of blockbuster movies based on Marvel and D.C. characters released in the past few years — and showing no sign of slowing down. But Kelly says it could be a case of video killed the comic book star, and the popularity of the films might actually be syphoning attention from the comic books.

"I've been trying to figure it," he says. "Marvel put out a lot of crappy product last year. There's a lot of competition for superhero [stuff], as opposed to comics. There's movies and video games. And I don't think younger people are coming into the hobby so much."
Now that's an interesting idea in the first paragraph highlighted why comics are collapsing - the movies drew away audience from the comics. But that's mainly because Marvel and DC both were turning out dreadful stuff that didn't appeal to anybody, and either shoved social justice down the readers' throats, or modified the comics to serve as a means for movies to build on without offering any good substance, or both. Combined with the unfortunate pricing at 3-4 dollars, as well as likely reduction of page counts (in recent years they were cutting the story length back to 20 or less pages, and even trying to put ads on the same pages as the stories, much like some comics of the early 60s), and you can understand why many potential readers wouldn't want to buy their books, because not only are the stories trash, there's not even enough story to justify the price.

I do think some comics readers who're willing to see the Marvel movies might want to consider though, that if Marvel cares more about the movies - which they usually produce now - more important than the comics, maybe it's not such a good idea to pay money for a ticket, because why do what Joe Quesada surely wants, even as he took every step possible behind the scenes to drive people away from the comics? I've thought about this, and just don't see the point of bothering today.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2018 

The censorious moderators at Reddit shut out all Comicsgate discussion

It's the same kind of attitude by leftists towards Gamergate all over again. One Angry Gamer has some information on how Reddit's section moderators - including their DC Comics forums - are banning the discussion of the Comicsgate campaign:
While the PSAs from both sub-Reddit boards makes it seem as if #ComicsGate is some kind of harassment campaign, the actual subscribers aren’t swallowing the blue pill at all. In fact, many of them are quite aware that #ComicsGate – much like #GamerGate – is not about harassment. A female comic book reader reproached the moderator of the DC Comics sub-Reddit after he tried to state that #ComicsGate was about targeting women, people of color, and those in the LGBTQ community, she wrote

“Jesus, no it’s not. Female comic fan here, that’s not what it is at all. This is an attack on comics creators with conservative views or who just happen to not think all people who disagree with them are not Nazis. Did you not see Ethan van Sciver being attacked for his beliefs and people leading campaigns for firing him despite having never said a bad thing ever about women in comics?”
It goes without saying those moderators won't help the medium they supposedly care about. I think they should get out of the moderator business altogether.

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Marz makes another negative comment about Trump, and attacks the Comicsgate campaign too

Wouldn't you know it, Marz is going against the campaign whose goal is to help save the industry you'd think he loved. First though, here's a more political tweet he wrote:

Good grief, that is just so disgusting what he wrote. And I don't think we need R-rated Star Wars movies either; I just think we need more entertainment that isn't littered with stealth politics that take away entertainment value. He's probably trying to put words in other people's mouths, and make it sound like the subject is about something totally different. Anyway, here's where he answers another writer/artist's query involving the Diversity & Comics videos:

It's always possible to just log out and look at the Twitter page manually, so what else is new? He continues to justify his visions:

But the important goal is to conceive a story with elements and merit that'll entertain the audience enough to buy and read the books. Otherwise, how will they make money? This would surely apply very well to creator-owned products, because the writer usually hopes everyone will buy his/her story, right? And if they don't put a lot of good work in development, then it's no surprise when it doesn't succeed in the end.

I've heard that some more comics stores have been closing recently. If nobody buys the products in the store, the managers won't be able to maintain a fully operating one.

So Stan Lee wasn't working for the readers when he introduced all those famous heroes in the Silver Age, was he? My, how fascinatingly biased. But no surprise for anybody familiar with Marz's run on Green Lantern.

And Marz feels good to be part of something - the establishment! Comprised of the very people who thought it fully acceptable to turn Hal Jordan into a murderous monster, in a precursor to the SJW activists of modern times.

And this is a prime example of a "creator" insulting the audience. He doesn't appreciate any dissent, and can only think to respond with the utmost cynicism and contempt. What a shame.

Oh, and since we're still on the subject, he replied to a right-winger posting a picture of a conservative he admired with the following:

Spoken by one. I think he should ponder those the Democrats have had in their ranks, whom the party only began recently to turn against. And maybe he should also consider refraining from being so negative towards the Comicsgate movement that's recently begun to pick up steam. Otherwise, he can't be surprised when the industry finally collapses under all the serious errors it made, not the least being Emerald Twilight in 1994.

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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