Wednesday, September 28, 2016 

A fluff-coated article about Luke Cage

In this sugary article on Arcamax, they talk about the history of Luke Cage, who's getting a Netflix series of his own this TV season. But oh my, are there some pretty awkward moments in this otherwise annoying column that doesn't do many favors for its topic:
On screen, Cage favors a shaved-head look and street clothes, which is more or less how he's depicted in the comics, where he's a valued member of various Avengers teams. He's also been, in the past, a fill-in member of the Fantastic Four, as well as an occasional part of the informal pseudo-team known as the Defenders -- of which we'll have more to say anon.
Although the article does mention later on (albeit very half-heartedly) that Luke did grow his hair normally in better days, the way this part's written down could easily make you think TPTB made drastic changes to his physical appearance pretty quickly, when it really happened post-2000, after Brian Bendis took over and resorted to some lazy cliches. Which, in fact, is an even worse problem with this column - there's no opinion given on whether the most recent takes on Luke's appearance are even in good taste. Personally, I think the shaved-head look is very unappealing, and makes Luke out to look like he doesn't have much self-respect. Just a nod to a degrading form of subculture, IMO.
His initial outfit was an eye-opener, to say the least. Black Spandex leggings were matched with a yellow, chest-baring silk shirt; yellow boots; a chain belt and a metal headband/tiara. Much has been made of the chain imagery and the name "cage," but probably more thought has gone into it by readers than by the creators. For me, though, the baffler was the tiara (topped with the requisite '70s Afro). As they say in the comics, "What th-?"
Yawn. He's not the only hero or combatant to wear a headband, and it actually did look pretty cool for a vigilante. The open-shirted look was considered a macho idea during the 70s/80s, and probably helped appeal to girls, so what's his point? There were some movie stars and celebrities who dressed that way back in the day.
Speaking of euphemisms, "Luke Cage" strove for an urban, street-level grittiness, and -- surprisingly -- often succeeded, despite its G-rated nature. But one thing Cage couldn't do was cuss, so his go-to phrase was -- and I am not making this up -- "Sweet Christmas!"
And Superman's was "great guns/Krypton", and either he or Perry White's was also "great Caesar's ghost". Wonder Woman's was "suffering Sappho", "great Hera", and "merciful Minerva" (Donna Troy may have used at least one of those to boot pre-Crisis). Robin's was "holy fill-in-the-blank". And Kid Flash's was "jumpin' jets". What's the big deal if Archie Goodwin and John Romita Sr. wanted to do their own variation on DC's own exclamations coming from at least a few of their heroes? Were they supposed to be cussing too? Oh, and I don't see what's so G-rated about a book that did involve issues like race relations, drug trafficking and deaths when it originally began in the early 70s.
Some of this made the Li'l Capn -- a middle-class white kid in the South, all too familiar with ugly racial stereotypes -- a little uncomfortable. Anecdotally, though, the black kids I knew didn't mind the cringe-worthy elements in "Luke Cage." They were just so happy to see a superhero that looked like them that they loved the book. It's possible they felt like I did when I first saw nerdy, bullied Peter Parker, and felt the electric shock of recognition.
Umm, what stereotypes are we talking about here? Would that include the new shaved-head look Cage sports today, which is ludicrous? Why do I get the feeling it doesn't?
So "Luke Cage" could get away with "Sweet Christmas" and a chain belt. And a supervillain named "Black Mariah," who was a hugely fat black woman who stole from ambulances. And black thugs who spoke and dressed like Huggy Bear on "Starsky and Hutch."
Okay, I can concur that the idea of an overweight black woman in itself does sound insulting. But since when didn't anybody living in that era ever dress like Antonio Fargas on the notable 1975-79 police series (one of the first at the time to feature a sense of humor) in real life? Now that I think of it, there were other people on the same show who could dress in street clothes not all that different from his, so I don't see what the point is here either. (I guess the clown who wrote this column won't even thank the producers for an episode in the 1st season where a motel manager was seen reading a copy of Werewolf by Night either, eh? I should know, I've seen all 93 episodes!)
Even that didn't keep Cage's sales viable forever, so with issue #50 he got a partner -- Danny Rand, a.k.a. Iron Fist. Raised in the extra-dimensional city of K'un Lun, Rand was a world-class martial artist who could also channel the power of his chi, turning his fist "like unto a thing of iron," as the text kept reminding us.

Now, to normal people, teaming a streetwise black superhero with a privileged white superhero might be like unto a thing of crazy. But it made perfect sense to fans, who recognized what the two had in common: Both were the products of fads that had faded (blaxploitation, kung fu films), and both had books on the verge of cancellation. Combining them might reap the readership of both fan bases, and keep both characters in print.
Which it did. But hold it, what's this about a "privileged" white guy? Danny may have grown up in an all but other-worldly city where he was raised by the local leadership to become a master martial artist, but going back home, he was anything but a true millionaire, and initially got framed for the murder of businessman Harold Meachum, which put him in a position not all that different from what Luke Cage had to live through for a time. That's hardly what I'd call a privileged kind of life.

The new Power Man TV show may find success, but this column doesn't do either that or the source material any justice with its pretentious approach.

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Monday, September 26, 2016 

SJWs just can't get into the hobby for the leisure

The Centre Daily Times wrote about a comics store that's drawn plenty of crowd. But, there's also certain entrants who seem to only care based on their ideology:
Caulkins took the back door into comics, gravitating toward characters that operated toward the fringes of their respective universes. As a gay man, he is on the lookout for stories that include LGBT representation, characters that were difficult to find in the pages of titles like “Captain America” or “Iron Man.”
Sounds like the kind of social justice warrior who didn't get into the hobby for pure escapism, but rather, for politicized reasons. When I look about for stories these days, it's anything that can offer decent entertainment without sledgehammering the audience with the mentality the above goes by. Despite what they say, I wouldn't be shocked if the current CA and IM series do have what he considers such a big deal.
He believes that times are changing though.

Caulkins called the comic-themed Netflix shows amazing — but he also mentioned the energy and resources he’s noticed both Marvel and DC Comics devoting to more diverse storytelling that can resonate with a wider audience.
Oh, it's certainly "resonating" alright. At laughable levels often well below 100,000 copies sold. Even the paperback collections don't seem to do much better. The whole marketing model is now a joke. And that's because the publishers, stunningly enough, are uninterested in catering to larger audiences. None of which interests anyone involved in the writing of the article, predictably.

And there's one example of a SJW who sees his whole way of thinking as such a big deal, but probably not quality of storytelling development.

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Sunday, September 25, 2016 

Kita-Kyushu's global manga competition

An article in the Asahi Shimbun announcing that the Japanese city of Kita-Kyushu is holding a global manga competition to promote Japanese culture, and precede the planned Olympics that'll take place in Japan in the next few years.

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Friday, September 23, 2016 

Joss Whedon and Avengers movie stars make an anti-Trump video ad

The Avengers director and onetime comics writer hasn't just brought his ultra-leftism to the fore yet again. The star cast of the movie itself have joined him in a political advertisement:
Writer-director Joss Whedon has assembled his Avengers cast — and a bevy of other Hollywoods stars — for an anti-Donald Trump campaign ad released Wednesday timed to the launch of his Save the Day PAC, which encourages Americans to vote on Election Day.

Titled “Important,” the ad features Avengers stars Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo and Don Cheadle as well as Julianne Moore, Jesse Williams, Neil Patrick Harris, Keegan-Michael Key, James Franco, Cobie Smulders, Stanley Tucci, Rosie Perez, Yvette Nicole Brown, Martin Sheen and Leslie Odom Jr., among others.

“You might think it’s not important. You might think you’re not important,” Ruffalo says in the three-minute clip, before Key adds, “but that’s not true.”

“And the only way we can prove that to you is by having lots of famous people” appear in the video, Downey Jr. jokes.

“A sh*t-ton of famous people,” Moore adds.
I don't think any of the actors from the Avengers movie are important after reading this, nor the director. I do think they're embarrassing whatever legacy the film might have by yammering away with more leftism and declaring all conservatives inherently evil while obscuring all the pressing issues we face today. Whedon's decidedly a joke, and no matter the quality of his past TV shows, he'll be remembered in history as a blabbermouth who doesn't know when it pays to remain neutral. The same goes for the Avengers film cast, who IMO haven't done the franchise any favors.

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Thursday, September 22, 2016 

Mike Baron's jab at SJWs

The creator of Nexus and Badger recently took aim at social justice warriors:

Well, I'm glad to see he's aware they're a bad lot. They spoil artistic value and freedom, and don't even buy the products they complain about over petty issues. Nobody should pay any attention to SJWs. Congrats to Baron for understanding what's wrong with them.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016 

Dan Slott's attacks on Donald Trump

Let's see what the awful Marvel scripter has to say about presidential candidate Trump, whom he doesn't like. For example:

Thanks for obscuring victims of violence by "immigrants" to non-entities, Slott. So, do the feelings of a 5-year-old girl who'd been raped by Syrian/Somali boys in Twin Falls, Idaho not matter? The city councilman who insulted the girl's family apologized. Perhaps Slott should do the same for ignoring the plight of rape victims attacked by pseudo-migrants?

And Slott has awful morale when it comes to serious issues.

But Hillary Clinton never lied about the emails and Benghazi, did she?

But Clinton's foundation never misused any of their slush funds, eh?

He'll probably be less grateful to the NY Post after he realizes they reported on the Clinton slush funds. On which note they never spent much of it on charity funding. Less than 6 percent.

Man, Slott sure is pretty cheap in his rants against Trump.

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Manga history books winning with all ages and sales

Here's an article in the Asahi Shimbun about the success history books for manga are finding with all ages, and similarly, in sales receipts.

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Monday, September 19, 2016 

Neil Gaiman's ungrateful to the Sad Puppies campaign

Though the Hugo awards have come and gone last month, the Sandman writer won one for his Overture story, thanks in part to the Sad Puppies campaign, which did a bit better this year than last, despite the MSM's attempts to make it seem otherwise. But did Gaiman have any thanks to offer? As the following makes clear, that's not exactly the case:
Gaiman also nodded to the controversy of recent years as fan groups the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies have urged the Hugo’s voting members to follow a specific slate of candidates. The author ridiculed such slates:

“It meant a lot to see ‘Sandman: Overture’ nominated for a Hugo Award and was disappointing to see that it had been dragged into the unfortunate mess that the pitiable people who call themselves Puppies had attempted to inflict on World Con and its awards. I would have withdrawn it from consideration, but even that seemed like it would have been giving these sad losers too much acknowledgment.”
They did him a favor and demonstrated that they weren't letting any politics get in the way, and how does he thank them? By parroting the exaggerated narrative that Sad Puppies are just evil meddlers and not folks who don't want the awards hijacked by SJWs. Yet another clown who rejects half his audience over peanuts.

That said, I personally found his Sandman work overrated, if only because I don't think he made good use of Fury/Lyta Hall in that 1989-96 series (and come to think of it, not even Silver Scarab/Hector Hall). Making Morpheus sound like he wanted possession of Lyta's infant son Daniel was ludicrous, ditto turning Lyta de facto insane with anguish later on when her kid went missing so she could be seen exacting revenge on Morpheus with the Furies in tow. And where were her Infinity Inc. colleagues during most of this? And Geoff Johns made everything worse.

I guess that's Gaiman for us, being a PC buffoon who doesn't want a big audience, and doesn't show any gratitude to people who don't make too big a deal out of his politics, no matter what the quality of his books.

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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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