Sunday, April 30, 2017 

The New Yorker pays lip service to G. Willow Wilson

The latest fawning effort by a mainstream propagandist for the sake of Islamic taqqiya comes from the New Yorker, whose interview criteria with convert G. Willow Wilson contains quite a few money quotes. For example:
Wilson’s “Ms. Marvel” is part of a long-delayed demographic shift in the world of comic books. Thor is now a woman; the Hulk is a Korean teen-ager. The “Black Panther” franchise has been remade by Ta-Nehisi Coates, who has recruited other prominent black writers—recently, Roxane Gay and Yona Harvey became the first two black women to write comics for the company. Kamala Khan is the first Muslim superhero at Marvel to have her own series, and though the character has been greeted with enthusiasm—the first issue reached a rare seventh printing—there has also been a backlash, which Wilson addressed on her Web site in a blog post titled “So About That Whole Thing.” “If you’re going to write a smug thunk-piece about the ‘failure’ of ‘diversity’ in comics, maybe don’t use the cover image of a book that’s had 4 collections on the NYT graphic books bestseller list, won a Hugo and cleaned up at Angouleme,” she wrote. She also argued that the focus should not be on “diversity” but on “authenticity and realism.” Within a day, her comments had been reposted thousands of times.
Quite a predictable leaning in favor of shoving the original protagonists out for the sake of new ones, rather than give them roles of their own, if anything. Since when wasn't there the demographic shift they speak of? Obviously, this article ignores - the mention of Black Panther notwithstanding - that there have always been plenty of women and characters of different races in superhero comics, and not just the costumed adventurers. There've also been co-stars, which could be even more effective. Yet all that matters to the press propagandists - to say nothing of the publishers themselves - are the costumes, and not even the characters, seeing how we're asked to care more about the outfits. That's why, ironically, "diversity" is failing. As for authenticity and realism, it's pretty apparent her work offers none of that.
Wilson’s introduction to comics came in the fifth grade, when she was given an anti-smoking pamphlet featuring the X-Men. Later in the school year, she asked to join a group of boys who were playing mutants on the playground during recess—the “X-Men” cartoon on Fox had become her favorite show. They didn’t want a girl in their group, but she told them she could play the glamorous mutant Storm, who, in the comics, is the daughter of a Kenyan princess and an American photojournalist, and can control the weather. “It speaks to the power of women done well in this kind of role,” she said. “Those boys didn’t care much for girls but they really cared for Storm.”
Seriously, she makes it sound like the boys were homosexual (on which note, it's mentioned later down the paragraphs that she put a gay character into the Muslim Ms. Marvel book, which isn't likely to make all Islamists happy, but we'll get to that later).
...Wilson’s parents were secular liberals who had left Protestant churches during the sixties. To them, God was a “bigoted, vengeful white man,” she writes in “The Butterfly Mosque,” and atheism was “not just scientifically correct, it was morally imperative.”
I guess this explains how she got to where she is now. And when she thought she needed to find a religion she considered perfect:
She began looking for one. God seemed too absent in Buddhism, and she couldn’t stomach Christianity’s idea of inherited sin. Judaism, she writes, “was a near perfect fit, but it was created for a single tribe of people.” Islam welcomed converts, and Wilson began teaching herself about the religion. She signed up for Arabic classes, started reading the Koran, drank less. In classic college-student form, she got a lower-back tattoo: it read “Al Haq,” meaning “absolute truth.”
Oh, what's this here? Only one tribe or community? By that logic, the biblical Ruth of Moab's example is invalid. Now this is telling something about her line of thinking. And tattoos are actually considered haram under Islam. Some absolute truth she follows, then. The superficial way she puts it, there's reason to be skeptical she actually even tried to apply for conversion to Judaism, because there are movements around that'd be quite ready to accept her, if she wanted to join.
Three weeks later, terrorists flew two planes into the World Trade Center. Watching news clips in which Muslim fundamentalists claimed that their religion was incompatible with the West, Wilson started to believe them. She sought out critics of Islam, hoping to puncture her attraction to it; she read novels by Hanif Kureishi and Salman Rushdie. “I had high hopes that ‘The Satanic Verses’ would cure my religiosity,” she writes; it did not. [...]
I get the feeling she had nothing but contempt for Rushdie, a man whose life was made miserable under the threats issued by the Iranian ayatollah Khomeini in 1989. Fantasy writer Roald Dahl made the situation worse when he scapegoated Rushdie. Now, here's how she got the job replacing Carol Danvers as Ms. Marvel:
...she got a call from Stephen Wacker, a longtime Marvel editor, and Sana Amanat, at the time an assistant editor. Wacker and Amanat had decided that the new Ms. Marvel series should star a Muslim teen-ager, and that Wilson should write it. Amanat, a Pakistani-American Muslim, would be the series editor. (Amanat also edits the “Hawkeye” and “Captain Marvel” reboots, and has since become a director of content and character development at Marvel, known for her striking and unorthodox instincts.)
What I do know about Wacker is that he's the kind of "editor" who comes off sounding like a public moralist.
The idea seemed, to Wilson, shocking and wonderful; she had become resigned to compartmentalizing her faith and her interest in superheroes. She wrote her first comics shortly after the firestorm over Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, in 2005, and when, in 2010, she wrote two fill-in issues of “Superman,” a message-board community had lamented DC’s flagship falling into the hands of a Muslim. “I could see the headlines,” Wilson recalled, of her thinking about Kamala Khan: “sharia law at marvel!” For a year, she and Amanat talked on the phone multiple times a week, for hours at a time, drafting different versions of Kamala. Every decision was freighted. Would she cover her hair? Could they find an artist to draw her without that cartoonishly voluptuous female-superhero chest? They knew the many lines along which the character could be criticized: traditional Muslims might want her to be more modest, and secular Muslims might want her to be less so. Some would be wary no matter what.
And from what news turned up since, it's clear some are. Notice the bizarre use of "secular" - something she claimed to once be herself - when talking about certain segments of Muslims, instead of the word "moderate"? Does that make sense? Hardly. As for her getting a job writing Superman, that's no surprise, recalling Paul Levitz turned out to be a cowardly dhimmi who was among the staff approving of a joint project with the Kuwaiti propagandist who conceived "The 99". And that was just one of the examples of how a man who once had a well regarded run on Legion of Super-Heroes in the 80s went downhill in later years.
The conventional superhero brings peace through retributive violence; when Batman saves Gotham, much of the city is destroyed. This trope, Wilson knew, sat uneasily with certain Western ideas about Muslims. For a time, she suspected that only a tongue-in-cheek approach would work. “I had originally envisioned her power set very differently,” she said of Kamala. “Explode-y powers, an ironic type of thing.” On the day of the Boston Marathon bombing, carried out by two young men who subscribed to radical Islam, she changed her mind. “I sat down and I tried to think, What would I want to put in their hands instead of the story they’d been given? What would the world look like if they didn’t have to be the bad guys? How can I draw on the same faith tradition and arrive at the opposite place?” Twenty-four hours later, she had figured out Kamala’s backstory.
Hmm, look how she/they/both, make it sound like the Masked Manhunter causes the destruction, and not the criminals he battles. Come to think of it, look how they make it sound like "conventional" heroes are all about carnage. And isn't that interesting that she originally thought of giving the character explosive powers, despite the fact that there were terrorists attacks with nail bombs, in Israel and elsewhere, long before 2013 when the Boston Marathon bombing took place? Why only after that terrible incident did she decide it'd be a bad idea?

The article also parrots the now familiar mantra about sales:
The première of “Ms. Marvel” sold more copies digitally than it did in print—a company first. Marvel doesn’t release digital-sales numbers, but piecemeal statistics have shown female characters performing especially well in digital formats. [...]
And how come they haven't shown those particular statistics either? Why must we take even this tommyrot at face value? Where anything with female casts could perform well today is in the independents, far more than the mainstream superhero books. It's pretty apparent today that, when you have companies submerging themselves in political propaganda and such, along with company wide crossovers wrecking organic storytelling, selectively or otherwise, women who're looking for talented writing aren't bound to waste their money on stuff that contradicts all that any more than men are. Plus, let's say the book really was doing well in digital sales. Wouldn't a lot of other books be doing well too? Yet it's clear from what's going on recently that this is not the case. "Piecemeal stats" alone is not enough to convince.
The relationship between this divided landscape and the most recent Presidential election is not lost on her. At the coffee shop, as a barista cleared our plates, we talked about how the stakes of every identity-politics debate feel heightened since November—and also about new alliances that seem to be forming in the election’s wake. Wilson spoke with some astonishment about the fact that she could include a gay secondary character in “Ms. Marvel”—the blond, popular Zoe—and still have mothers and daughters show up to her readings in hijabs. “It’s funny. Those right-wing bloggers who said my work was part of some socialist-Muslim-homosexual attack on American values, they really created the thing they feared. There wasn’t a socialist-Muslim-homosexual alliance before, but there sure as fuck is one now, and I love it.”
Boy, isn't that hilarious. And unsurprising she wouldn't acknowledge that truly, Islam is hostile to homosexuality, even as there's a bizarre double-standard in the Religion of Peace when it comes to men and underage boys. As for alliances between Islam and socialists/leftists, yes, there sure does seem to be one now, more than ever before. Given how the sales have been tanking of recent, it should be pretty apparent that, despite her claim of other Muslims willing to read the book, not many are. And let's not forget that the election issue from last November pretty much compounded the political motivations behind the series' launching. At the end of the article, they bring up Indonesian artist Ardian Syaf, who's since been shown the door at Marvel:
Three days after we met, another controversy involving Marvel and Islam bubbled up. An Indonesian artist named Ardian Syaf had seemingly embedded a political message in an issue of “X-Men.” The governor of Jakarta, who’s Christian, had been accused of insulting Islam. In one panel, Syaf alluded to a protest against the governor; in another, he referenced a Koranic verse that is interpreted by some to mean that Muslims can only accept the leadership of Muslims. Wilson responded to the controversy with another blog post, which explained to her readers that the verse in question “is subject to a truly fantastical amount of bullshittery in the modern era.” Syaf had taken a verse that originally addressed a seventh-century situation and applied it, in her view dubiously, to a democratic, multiethnic, twenty-first-century state. “Ardian Syaf can keep his garbage philosophy,” she wrote. (He was subsequently fired by Marvel.)

Wilson couldn’t help but take the dispute personally. When she wrote those two issues of “Superman,” seven years ago, the message-board critics had seen it, she said, as an attack on American values, simply because she was Muslim. Syaf, with his hidden messages, was playing into their hands. Wilson had told me that when she converted, some of her friends had worked to hide their apparent unhappiness; years later, she realized that they had experienced her choice as a referendum on American life. It occurred to me that this may be how some conservative comic-book fans experience her Ms. Marvel—as a referendum on “American” comics. Wilson agreed: “They’re asking, ‘What was wrong before?’ And you’re like, ‘It’s not about wrong. It’s about more.’”
As expected, they paid lip service to her taqqiya, even as at least a few prominent sites with comics coverage linked to the authentic texts from the quran verse 5:51 Syaf was alluding to. Point: if they could greenlight the kind of whitewashed propaganda Wilson's been specializing in over the past 2 and a half years, it should be no surprise they could have such an ignorant view of Syaf's thinking as well. I'm sure she knows not everybody will be fooled by her tedious attempt to brush away the whole controversy as a mere nothing, and sales of recent can prove that. Her defensive approach is almost hilarious by now. If she wouldn't be clear about any of the content of Islam, then somebody's bound to figure out she's hiding something.

And that's why the whole Muslim Ms. Marvel gimmick has been dropping in sales of recent. The politics alone are a turnoff.

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Saturday, April 29, 2017 

India's CRPF produces a comic about its battle to defeat jihadists

The India Times reports that India's Central Reserve Police Force published a comic about their battle with the Laskhar e-Taiba, Islamic jihadists in Kashmir, which tells of the battle the CRPF had with the terrorists at an airport, and the book is intended to boost the morale of the police/army troops.

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Friday, April 28, 2017 

Ronald Perelman was a leading factor in Marvel's decline during the 90s

In this opinion column on Mile High Comics from 2002, a writer from Colorado cites a certain businessman who once owned Marvel as one of the guilty parties in Marvel's downfall during the 1990s:
...I believe that Ronald O. Perelman outperformed Wertham in the harm that he inflicted on the comics industry. When he took over ownership of Marvel comics in 1989, Marvel was coming off of a series of record years of both sales and earnings. Part of that growth in earnings had been based on the popularity of the Marvel line of characters, but even more derived from the fact that New World Pictures (Marvel's previous owner) had raised prices by 50% (from 65 cents to $1) during its 3-year ownership of the company. While these price increases help generate significant short-term profits, they also ate away at the core of Marvel's business, those fans who were purchasing the entire line of comics published by the company each month.

Sadly, Perelman severely aggravated this problem by raising prices by another 100% over the next seven years, and by increasing the total line of Marvel titles from approximately 60 when he took over, to nearly 140 different monthly issues at the peak. Calculating the math in this scenario is fairly easy. In 1985, comics were 60 cents. With 40 regular Marvel titles being printed, it cost a typical fan $24.00 to purchase every Marvel comic book being printed. That left plenty of disposable income left over for trade paperbacks, toys, and other related Marvel goods. Even for collectors of modest means, it was possible to be a "Marvel Zombie" for only $6 per week.

By 1988, the number of Marvel titles had increased to 50, and the base cover price was $1. At a $50 total cost, that was a 110% increase in the cost it took to buy the complete Marvel line in just 36 months. On the retail end of the business, we saw a few collectors dropping out of the business due to these new higher costs, but most stayed. In fact, that was the period when we saw the greatest growth in the number of Independent comics titles, as publishers such as First, Dark Horse, Comico, and Eclipse nibbled at the edges of Marvel's market share.

When Ronald Perelman took over Marvel in 1989, his goal was to expand Marvel's business. He had his team start by increasing the number of titles being published, raising cover prices on a regular basis, and salting the monthly output heavily with special issues that could derive extraordinary profits through such inexpensive means as enhanced covers. At first, it looked like his plan was succeeding brilliantly. Sales and earnings soared as fans purchased huge numbers of these higher-priced books. What we heard in the stores, however, was an accelerating stream of complaints against the high cost of comics. Initially this criticism was focused on the higher-priced enhanced comics, but it quickly became apparent that the higher cost of collecting was forcing many fans out of their chosen hobby.

While we also heard many complaints about the quality of comics being produced in 1993, it was evident that the problem was greater than that one simple element. A survey of the books from that period does show a large number of mediocre titles being published, but there were also some very good ones. So why did so many long time fans quit? The answer seems to be a combination of time and money. Fans who had been purchasing every Marvel title were frustrated that they could no longer afford to purchase the whole line, and were even more frustrated that they didn't have the time to read them all. Rather than cut back to what they could afford, this substantial portion of the comics collecting community simply chose to quite collecting altogether.
Yep, the rise in price was a problem. I fully agree with that. But I would also add that Marvel, under onetime EIC Jim Shooter, has to shoulder some blame for bringing us the influence of the first company wide crossover, Secret Wars. The Big Two never recovered because they remain firmly stuck on its template in any way possible, and that's one of the ways creative freedom on an individual book was all but destroyed as even the consecutive writers themselves had less objections and willingly took part to the point they were part and parcel of the problem. And if there was any creative freedom, it was selective only, depending on what hack writers they're employing, and just how rabid their leftist politics are. Even smaller companies like the revived Valiant have resorted to crossovers at least once so far, which only proves they lack confidence in their ability to sell the individual products on their own, and their continued use of the monthly pamphlet format instead of going straight for trades is another letdown.

Here's a followup column to the first one. Perelman will have to be remembered in business history as one of the company executives who brought pricing to where it stands today. Since these op-eds were first written, cover prices have gone up to 4 dollars and could be going higher soon. Those books that are cheaper may have less pages, recalling DC and Marvel both chose to cut back on page counts of recent, which evokes the 1960s and 1970s, when there were various comics that were 20 pages or less. The insularity of the publishers, combined with the mainstream press' protection by not commenting on any of their negative practices, is just what's led them to the bad shape they're in today.

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Thursday, April 27, 2017 

So, what was Marc Guggenheim saying about moving away from politics, again?

Guggenheim, writer of X-Men: Gold, claimed earlier that the X-Men would be moving away from an overflow of politics. But the following news about the second issue, along with the following panel, coming soon after controversy artist Ardian Syaf caused with his koranic stealth messages in the premiere, leaves good reason to wonder if Guggenheim's little more than a laughable liar:
Another left-wing metaphor for right-wing politicians who want to do nothing else but declare even the most American-born mutants like Cyclops "foreigners" and deport them no matter what their own politics, ideologies and educational background. And a TV channel that's bound to be a metaphor for Fox. Just what the world needs.

To make matters worse, Comicsverse is fawning over this new mess:
X-MEN GOLD #2 shamelessly dives into the current political climate and, rightfully, makes no apologies for it. The irony of Ardian Syaf’s hidden political messages is not lost on anyone. It becomes even more ironic after reading X-MEN GOLD #2. The issue deals with the deportation of mutants, an entire race (or species in this case) blamed for the crimes of the few, and violent voices calling for heinous actions which won’t solve the problem at hand. The X-Men metaphor has almost never been as relevant as it is now.

X-MEN GOLD #2 makes powerful political statements that decisively embrace tolerance, diversity, and acceptance. In the last issue, I deduced X-MEN GOLD alluded to a political commentary on the Trump Administration. Allusion became reality in issue #2. While the issue does feature the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants reborn, the X-Men’s real enemy is far less tangible. While the X-Men battle against the newly reformed Brotherhood, intolerance, the real enemy, surrounds them in a political climate full of fake news and dangerous rhetoric. Rhetoric as dangerous as this in the X-Men Universe has only one goal — to rid the world of mutants. Only this time, politics eclipses what used to be open bigotry.
If it's shameless, I don't see how there could be anything "rightful" about it. Plus, didn't the senator Robert Kelly once embody a political adversary for mutants in the early 1980s? Predictably, they won't stress complaints about liberal hostility to conservatives in the stories and whether they're valid. Instead, they basically admit they're throughly okay with that, and see nothing wrong with attacking the Trump administration, designating them as bad on the basis of being right-wing.

It sure doesn't look like there's anything to miss in this new spinoff series, written by an openly leftist writer who even made a gross joke about Mary Jane Watson, and wouldn't admit the X-Men went downhill in the years after Chris Claremont left in early 1992. If he hasn't avoided making subtle attacks on rightists, then how can we believe there won't be more to come in future issues?

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017 

Fayetteville Observer's sloppy look at women in the medium

The Fayetteville Observer published an article taken from the Chicago Tribune covering the C2E2, about comics allegedly becoming increasingly female. When they bring up mainstream superhero products, however, that's where their news definitely collapses. First, here's some comments made by writer Amy Chu:
“We’re two women, just walking around this convention, and one of our first experiences is checking out the artists area and getting asked by guys if we’d model,” Chu said. “It was way worse than Wall Street — nobody on Wall Street ever asked me to model. And you’d get mansplained all the time, on everything. Nobody cared about a Harvard MBA.”
I'm not sure what's wrong with being asked to model for artists; I'm sure it's happened as far back as the Golden Age, recalling that the wife of either Jerry Siegel or Joe Shuster provided inspiration for Lois Lane's character design. Actually, what's really annoying is Chu's citation of "mansplaining", which is just liberal gibberish.
“I wouldn’t say it’s great now for women in comics,” she said. “It’s no advantage. People still question your professional credibility all the time. But we are getting closer to parity.”

Indeed, when C2E2 2017 begins Friday at McCormick Place, the comic book publishing industry will look much more female than it has been in decades, from the crime fighters leaping across its pages, to the writers and artists and editors who created them. The notable characters represented at C2E2 this year by a writer or artist include the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Batwoman, Spider-Gwen, Supergirl, Batgirl and a newly female Thor; among the several female creators attending are Chu, Jordie Bellaire (“Dr. Strange”) and Kate Leth (“Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat!!”), who started an online forum named Beware the Valkyries exclusively for female comic book store employees.
So, no questions raised as to whether turning Dr. Jane Foster into a female Thor - but with a male name - of all things, was an auspicuous idea to start with? They may not admit it, but it was otherwise a financial failure laced with political motivations, and one of the reasons why Marvel was losing audiences. Chu's right though, that this isn't the great time for women in comicdom the mainstream press would have you believe it was.
Marvel and DC, historically the largest comic book publishers, won’t release customer demographics, but the past couple of years have seen several studies, from among others Publishers Weekly and Amazon’s popular Comixology hub for online comics, that suggest between 30 and 50 percent of new comic book readers in recent years have been female. “This is certainly the strongest moment in ages for women, in terms of representation for creators and characters,” said Hope Nicholson, author of a new history, “The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen.” “In the 1940s, in the golden age of comics, female readership was on par with male. Torchy Brown, one of the first female characters in comics, was made by a black woman, who kept the merchandising rights! In the 1930s! Only now is it returning to anything like parity, and I think that’s because women have a million new entry points now, like social media and web comics.”
If we're talking about non-superhero comics and non-corporate products, yes, you could call it a strong moment. But anybody who thinks it's a great time in the world of costumed crimefighters should get a reality check; everything they're doing is at the expense of established characters, and they're not creating any new ones. And now, here's where the article takes a turn for the worse:
Owner Patrick Brower said he was, in a way, also being practical: “Without question, the majority of new customers we get now are women. And that’s because there’s more representation, and not just of gender but sexuality, religion. I’m a middle-class white guy who grew up with white superheroes, and I never thought, ‘This is for me,’ because of course it was. But when you get a Ms. Marvel, who is a female Muslim teenage hero? That’s an industry holding up a mirror to its audience.”
What, is he saying today's audience - and even yesterday's - is Muslim by and large? Wow, is that hilarious. And no Armenians are given mention. If there was a sizable audience of them, he probably wouldn't say anything. And is there more representation of religions today, or, is he just hinting at Islam?
Ms. Marvel, among the creative watermarks for comics recently, was a breakthrough. Now there’s a Chinese Superman, a black Captain America. Thor is a woman. Batwoman is a lesbian. Independent publishers have been even stronger with strong female characters: The best-reviewed, most popular indie titles in recent years are either written, drawn and starring women (“Bitch Planet,” “Monstress”), or written by men featuring strong females, in particular Brian K. Vaughan’s “Saga” and “Paper Girls.”
I'll give them some credit for pointing out independent publishers being a leading force for books with female leads and writers, but how sad they're perpetuating the support for the liberal garbage that ruined much of Marvel these past years, and DC too. Predictably, not a word about how successful or not the finished products were artistically. And that's why the newspapers are as much of a joke as the publishers whose work they're fawning over.

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Monday, April 24, 2017 

With Joe Quesada making the announcements, why should we trust them to deliver?

Marvel claims they're returning to the use of the more recognizable cast members of their universe. But the following article is one more clue that everything's bound to be undermined considerably:
Marvel Comics is kicking off a new initiative this fall titled Legacy that will "embrace our roots and move enthusiastically forward" in according to Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada.
Sorry, but if he's in charge, I don't see why we should trust them. That they're making this another "event" is yet one more reason to give pause.
While emphasizing the storied past of the Marvel Universe, the publisher is also mixing in newer characters as well.

"From there, the Marvel Legacy initiative spreads out across the Marvel Universe, showcasing epic storylines hearkening back to the glory days of Marvel starring Odinson, Squirrel Girl, Spider-Man, the Avengers, America Chavez, Iron Man, Moon Knight, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Marvel, Luke Cage, the X-Men, Captain America, Ms. Marvel, Deadpool, the Champions, Wolverine, Ironheart, Hulk, The Punisher and so many more!"
Just as I suspected, they'll still be insisting that we accept, for example, a character like Kamala Khan whose very creation was built around her being Muslim, all without being open about the content of the religion. Some of the promotional material they've put out shows Miles Morales is going to be part of this fishy new direction too. Absent from what's been told so far is whether the Spider-marriage will be restored. If they won't do it, then they needn't wonder why Spider-fans will continue to avoid the Spidey titles by and large. So long as any of these diversity-pandering characters retain the components they began with, they certainly won't work. And much like Quesada, even Axel Alonso's another reason to avoid this. On which note, ABC's Good Morning America has some of his own drivel:
"Let's just say there's a last-page reveal that's probably gonna break the Internet."

That's how Marvel's Axel Alonso describes "Legacy," a new initiative that will take things back to the comic book company's iconic history, all while keeping an eye on the future.

It all begins this fall with "Marvel Legacy No. 1," an over-sized, one-shot special that's 50 pages in all. It's written by Jason Aaron with art by Esad Ribic and features a special, 4-panel, fold-out cover by Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada.

Alonso, Marvel's editor-in-chief, told ABC News that this is a book that is going to send shockwaves throughout the comic book industry.

"That story functions as a preview of what's to come. It's chocked full of twists, surprises, Easter eggs, and let's just say, a last-page reveal that’s probably gonna break the internet," he said. "It's a big moment, something we continually get asked about. We are going to answer that question."
Why don't they answer them now, instead of going the cliched route of keeping everything secret until after it's gone to press? Point: even if Mary Jane Watson's back as Peter Parker's wife, Quesada/Alonso's presence is still bound to ensure some degree of alienation.
Easter eggs -- hidden nods to longtime fans -- are at the core of what "Legacy" is attempting to do, Alonso said. The content will be exciting for new fans, but will also pay off in a different way for hardcore fans of the Marvel Universe.

"With 'Legacy,' we want to tell stories that are accessible to all, but remind readers of Marvel’s rich history,” he said. “To drive that point home, a number of our titles will return to their original series numbering, and our stories will invoke that history, reminding readers of connections between characters they may have forgotten about, and ushering in the return of some big characters who’ve been missed. Above all else, we want to inject our comics with a massive dose of fun."

He continued, "I think 'Legacy' will also prove that absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder."
That's saying a lot more than they've actually done to date. Easter eggs alone don't guarantee talented writing, let alone plausible, organic character drama.
"Legacy" will also finally answer some of fans' questions about their beloved characters, including if the universe is big enough for Miles Morales and Peter Parker to both be Spider-Man. The same will be answered about whether Riri Williams and Tony Stark can both be Iron Man.

The key here though, Alonso said, is that there are no old characters or new characters, there are just Marvel superheroes.
Is that saying there's no co-stars? Not even Ben Urich? In that case, I'm not sure why we're supposed to care. That Miles and Riri are made such a notable focus of this special only further suggests they don't have what it takes to just drop a poorly crafted direction quietly. That's surely the biggest problem at both Marvel and DC, that they can't bring themselves to abandon failure in a quiet manner and above all, admit they made mistakes.
"Legacy" will follow another initiative, "Secret Empire," where the heroes finally get caught up to speed on what readers have known for months -- that Captain America is actually a Hydra agent. Alonso said that series will be a rallying cry and unifying factor for the heroes before we get to "Legacy."
We did not need Secret Empire any more than we needed a story where Cap was turned into an evil antagonist. It goes without saying their wording is also reprehensible; they know perfectly well that's not and never was what Kirby/Simon created Steve Rogers to be.
"None of 'Legacy' hinges on the death of a major character at all," he added. "A lot of this may hinge on some resurrections. If there ever were a time to bring back characters, it would be during the 'Legacy' era."
While this in itself is a positive approach - avoiding the long sleazy and sensationalized idea of building an event on the deaths and villifications of any character - that still doesn't prove Alonso/Quesada are repenting. Besides, they've also sent telling signs they have no intention of ceasing with the company wide crossovers for good, no matter how catastrophous it's finally turning out to be.
The series will span the entire universe and touch on the "glory days" of characters like Odinson, Squirrel Girl, Spider-Man, the Avengers, America Chavez, Iron Man, Moon Knight, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Marvel, Luke Cage, the X-Men and many others.
Wait a moment, what's that? The new lesbian heroine? What glory days did she ever have? She just debuted! And if they're talking about Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel, that's not what she began her superheroine career as. She began as Ms. Marvel, and worked far better in that role (not to mention the costume drawn by Dave Cockrum). This is another sign something's wrong.
The aesthetic of "Legacy" will be a trip for longtime fans as well, with little vestiges from the past like the cover value stamp and corner box art that Marvel used years ago.

"As a kid, I remember ruining some of my comics by cutting out the value stamp," Alonso admitted. "I had 'Incredible Hulk' No. 181 and I cut the value stamp out, what was I thinking?!"

That issue was the very first full appearance of Wolverine in 1974.

"We are going to remind generations about that history," Alonso promised.
Which isn't the same as proving they have what it takes to tell a good story. And is he implying he wished he'd left the value stamps in place so he could make big money? That's hardly putting value in the stories inside the cover.

Quesada/Alonso proved themselves untrustworthy from the start, and I don't see any reason to trust them now. I'm sure there's more people out there who realize the same. Besides, it sure doesn't look like they're going to apologize for all the awful mistreatment of Mary Jane Watson.

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Saturday, April 22, 2017 

One good thing Gerry Conway's done of recent

If there's anything Gerry Conway's done right in the past few weeks, it was issuing a negative response to Muslim artist Ardian Syaf for his anti-semitic reaction to Marvel's dismissal over his subtle insults in X-Men:

I guess we'll have to give Conway some credit for condemning Syaf. But if he disapproves of subtly injecting bad ideological themes into the books, does he also disapprove of books like the Muslim Ms. Marvel which are practically dishonest about the Religion of Peace? Point: a dishonest portrait through rose-colored lenses is no better than a scene with bad verses hidden in the background. And till now, Conway's seen nothing wrong with exploiting the codename of the role he co-developed with Dave Cockrum for Carol Danvers in the late 1970s (Danvers herself had already been created in 1968) for a concept and story setup depicting Islam through superficial, dishonest visions. How does that help?

Since we're on the subject, this reminds me of G. Willow Wilson's taqqiya defense. One of the things she said later, in her attempt to claim the koranic verse 5:51 wasn't what it happens to be, was what can be read in the following:
After all the chatter around Syaf’s drawings has died down, one of the few lasting effects of the controversy will most likely be that it will be harder for Muslim artists and writers to work for conflict-averse cultural behemoths like Marvel. As G. Willow Wilson, the creator of Marvel’s popular Muslim character Kamala Khan, writes: “Ardian Syaf can keep his garbage philosophy. He has committed career suicide; he will rapidly become irrelevant. But his nonsense will continue to affect the scant handful of Muslims who have managed to carve out careers in comics.”
See, I think what really bothers her is the realization that Syaf's slightly more open approach with Islam, as compared with her more stealth-based tactics, will draw people's attention to the fact she's writing a book whose own problems include being political and factually dishonest from the start. I'm sure she knows not everyone's going to take her own taqqiya tactics at face value, and some will wonder why she's never included any verses from the koran in her scripts, if she hasn't at all so far. Or, they'll do research, discover all those hundreds of different verses and themes in the koran, and start asking millions of questions, making it harder for her to "explain" each and every one. People could ask, "how can a company supposedly concerned about an artist slipping revolting verses into his art backgrounds be employing a writer who remains dishonest about the same in a book she's writing?" It's worth noting that some of the sites reporting on the topic earlier linked to encyclopedia sites for Islam featuring the verse, one more reason why it won't be easy for her to keep up the pretend act.

That's why, if there's hopefully more good news to come out of this whole affair, it's that Marvel may decide to back away from continuing to support the Muslim Ms. Marvel book. It's already been tanking further in sales, particularly since the election issue, one of the most blatantly political propaganda moments in the series' run so far, and they may figure it best not to make such characters into co-stars in the books featuring the heroes they were meant to "take after", since many audience members would rightly suspect the propaganda could continue even then. After all, the whole structural build of the diverse replacements for the earlier cast members is so obviously politicized in their own way, it's impossible as they're currently developed to take them as anything simpler. And DC may decide to eventually let go of the Muslim Green Lantern they shoved into their books too, for many of the same reasons, since, if the audience catches onto one example, they're bound to figure something's not right with the other.

For now, it's only something we can hope will be the result, but I think they may realize already that the public is catching on, and they won't be able to keep up their shameless charade for much longer without causing their sales receipts to sink.

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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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