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Fri, Sep. 6th, 2013, 06:12 pm
There's A Reason I Created This Userpic

Ahhh, DC Comics. Always with the maturity and good clean fun.

I don't think it's any secret that I've had it up to HERE with what the writers and editors at Marvel and especially DC Comics consider to be cutting-edge material, mostly because their material tends to include lots of cutting edges. But this is just frickin' nuts.

And I see the stuff in the comments on that page about the potential meta and meta-meta context. Nope, sorry, no biscuit. DC's animated wing is doing just fine without this crap; Marvel's animation is nearly as good, and of course the movies are great. No, the people in charge at DC Comics these days are the sad, repressed damaged goods people used to think were caused by comics.

I can certainly deal with violence in comics (said the guy who loved Frank Miller at the beginning of his career, long before most people had heard of him). Absolutely sexuality (said the proud owner of the three-volume hardcover Lost Girls, every issue of XXXenophile, and lots of other smutty goodness). But there are... not limits. Standards. There's an old adage about rules, and how they're made to be broken... but sometimes they're made to be followed, because they work.

Every once in awhile, someone posts an old page from the earliest days of Spider-Man or Fantastic Four, or even Superman during the Curt Swan heyday. And it's wonderful how much story and characterization Stan and Steve or Julie and Curt crammed into six or nine panels... and how there actually was story and characterization going on.

Remember the chest-burster scene in Alien? Ridley Scott famously didn't tell the cast what was going to happen, to make sure that their reactions were all believable... to force everybody in the film, and thus everybody watching the film, into a new and unknown realm of horror.

Sometimes I feel as if modern comic creators are trying to do that all the time.

It ain't the medium -- it's the people who have forgotten, or never learned, storytelling... and, possibly, how to have fun.

Thoughts?

This entry was originally posted at http://filkertom.dreamwidth.org/1638494.html. You may comment there or here, although LJ tends to have a livelier conversation at this time.

Fri, Sep. 6th, 2013 11:07 pm (UTC)
palenoue

But what can we, the fans, do about it? We've protested, signed petitions, stopped buying comics altogether, ranted mightily in comment sections, but it just keeps getting worse.

Hmmmmmm... maybe a video montage protest with a catchy tune? If it went viral that might get someone's attention.

Sat, Sep. 7th, 2013 12:00 am (UTC)
mrfnord

But Wait! There's More!

I'm not totally sure if this is stupid and bigoted or just plain stupid. With DC editorial it's hard to tell one way or the other.

Sat, Sep. 7th, 2013 12:35 am (UTC)
gardnerhill

Next up - the white 50something dickboys at DC have another meeting to scratch their collective cement dick-heads and ask each other Why Gurllz Arnt Buying Are Comix.

I adored Harley Quinn from the animated series - it was so cool to have a psycho-killer Bat-villain who just happened to be a woman, with her great costume, her hero-worship of "Mistah J" and who was not sexed up and dumbed down so as not to be a threat to the boy viewers.

Aaaand it seems DC Comics let the greasy Captain-Sweatpants wing of their creative team get their sweaty fingers on Harley, so they could sex her up AND fridge her at the same time. Which isn't fucking creepy at all.

Sat, Sep. 7th, 2013 04:03 am (UTC)
laurel_potter

I've stopped buying comics, mostly because I don't have the income anymore. But I'd rather dig out the old 60s, 70s and 80s comics anyway, than what's being produced today.

Sat, Sep. 7th, 2013 09:35 pm (UTC)
alverant

Let's not forget the DC reboots. The Legion of Superheroes titles were the only DCs I collected for any length of time just to see them wiped from existence in yet another reboot. I think reboots can be useful if done right, but DC never did them right.

Mon, Sep. 9th, 2013 02:42 am (UTC)
laurel_potter

Ooo, a Legion fan! Yeah, I have them up to about two years ago, and then I just gave up.

Sat, Sep. 7th, 2013 05:32 am (UTC)
lemmozine

My. Comics have changed since I read them. The last one I followed at all was Groo. Most of my comics reading was in the 60s. I did read a lot of underground comics when they came out, and I'm a huge fan of R. Crumb, but I can't believe they have that kind of garbage in a DC comic. Do children still read comic books? Is that available where kids buy and read comics? If I were a parent and that kind of thing were out there, I think I'd duct tape their eyes shut until they turned 18.

Am I getting to be one of those old people I always hated?

Sat, Sep. 7th, 2013 07:04 am (UTC)
bayushisan

*SIGH*

You know it seems like every week I'm reminded of just why I stopped buying American superhero comics, or at least comics from Marvel and DC. I hate what they've done to some of my favorite characters, like never allowing Spiderman to actually grow up (Linkara did a very good analysis of this in his review of One More Day, which I think was his 200th review)

You know what I want to see in a superhero comic? Here's a hint. SUPERHEROS! Not anti-heroes, not jackasses with guns blowing each others brains out, not the Joker supposedly murdering a helpless Catwoman by shooting her in the head, and certainly not any of the other crap I've seen come out in the past few years.

I want real heroes again. Men and women who want to do good, who want to use their powers to help people and not these cynical editorial mandated BS stories that make no sense in context to the characters.

I don't think that's going to happen though. At least not until enough fans have had enough. Not until we've had enough of Frank Miller's misogyny and perversion of Batman (speaking of which I'm actively refusing to purchase or support anything else with his name attached to it until further notice). We have to send a very clear message to these pinheads. The fans matter. ALL the fans, and not just the 45 y/o males. The women and young girls, the teens and the kids just getting into comics, the old fans and the new fans. We all matter and it's long past time that we made them see that.

Sat, Sep. 7th, 2013 02:15 pm (UTC)
alverant

+1 heck, +2

Sat, Sep. 7th, 2013 03:43 pm (UTC)
bayushisan

You know the really interesting this is that if you look back at the DCAU from Batman: the Animated Series all the way through Justice League Unlimited, including Batman Beyond and even Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, is that those series all got it. The characters were heroes, even Batman, though he was more of a loner, especially after the events described in Return of the Joker. Those shows were great and remain some of my favorite animated series ever.

Move up to Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes and Spiderman: Unlimited (the new one), these are both really good and seem to capture the old school heroism that's missing from a lot of today's comics.

Even the Marvel movieverse is doing a better job at showing heroes. Just look at Captain America: the First Avenger. Even though Avengers was a great movie Captain America remains my favorite of the series for one very simple reason. Steve Rogers is a good man, who wants to do the right thing for the right reason. When he finds out that soldiers are being help captive and no one is planning on going after them, he just goes. No hesitation, and no wondering if he should or shouldn't. People need help and he can be that help so he just goes and helps. Evey time I watch that movie I smile and feel better because Steve is what I envision a hero to be. Too bad Marvel and DC are so busy trying to recapture the Dark Ages of comics, and get back the 90's fans that they're losing everyone else.

Sat, Sep. 7th, 2013 04:58 pm (UTC)
alverant

Agreed. I'm not so sure about the new Avengers show though. It seems a bit harder than EMH. I haven't seen the new Spider-man but his show is in the same universe as EMH (including a few cross-over episodes).

Marvel and DC have decades of mythology built up. That's its strength and its weakness. It's a strength because of the wealth of material. It's a weakness because it's hard to get the whole backstory without a big initial investment on the part of the reader and since comic book heroes don't age (much) the history in the comic book doesn't always hold up as real world time passes.

Sat, Sep. 7th, 2013 08:14 am (UTC)
marrael

Due to work, I've had incidental sabbatical from the Internet the last week or so. The last fiasco I was steeped in online before this DC thing was Miley Cyrus' VMA performance. Now this, and I can't help but feel it's all part of a wider culture, the culture that still doesn't GET IT, that mistakenly believes that being EDGY means hypersexualizing and objectifying women to whatever extreme they can get away with. Because you know, the opposite and cop-out would be staying "politically correct", a phrase which has been villainised like no other. One might as well go watch a rom-com if you want a film without controversy, action or half-dressed wimmen to gawk at and judge. And we all know those are wimmen's touchy-feely movies are of no worth, AMIRITE.

Personally, I got tired of this envelope pushing of science-fiction/superhero media long ago. It may be me getting old, or it may be that I've long wondered where the limits are, how much more violent and sexual films and "edgy" media are going to push the line to help people to get their kicks. It's de-sensitizing, like drug use. I think it can be argued that youth/male-target-audience films/media have a lot of signs traditionally associated with addiction--you get numb, you go "I've seen this before, now I need more" and the makers of these things are only too happy to provide.

I don't want to offend anyone here with these musings, but it's just something that strikes me strongly after years of not going to the movies, following my pregnancy. When I do go back, I'm overwhelmed by the OTT special effects, sexualisation of women, the violence and overblown stakes, and I HATE IT. I'm waiting for others to opt out like I have, but I suspect I'm in a tiny minority.

I mean, for me, screw these franchises and blockbusters, it makes no diff to me--I used to be a fan of some things until I cut the cords. I don't even have a team I'm rooting for (DC/Marvel)--it's a false choice to me. I like the actors in some of these films but I wish I could see them in other things. I don't like where a lot of media and big media is heading, so I've opted out.

Sat, Sep. 7th, 2013 02:27 pm (UTC)
alverant

I think you made some excellent points. Personally I don't mind the OTT special effects or stakes if it adds something to the story and it entertains me. That's all I want from a movie, entertainment, and if it makes me ponder some things about life that's a bonus. If it's not you're thing, that's OK.

The idea of PC is (as I understand it) is not to be unnecessarily offensive by using harmful labels. Now I think most of the push against PC are people who are just looking for a license to offend everyone else for their own amusement and shore up their fractured egos and other such reasons. Basically they're looking for an excuse to be a jerk.

I haven't been doing much new sci-fi lately pretty much for the reasons you described. I just haven't found one that appeals to me for a while and I haven't had the time to read any books in light of all the other things I do. It's made me doubt my position as a fan. So thanks for posting what you did. It's good to know I'm not alone.

Sat, Sep. 7th, 2013 04:13 pm (UTC)
gardnerhill

"Political correctness" used to be an in-joke among lesbians about friends so hyper-aware of all the oppressed and marginalized groups that they pretty much couldn't walk, eat or breathe (How can I be a vegan and wear cotton? How many bees died pollinating the cotton field that made this blouse?).

The term's been co-opted by the right-wing and its attendant assholes - and now it's sneered by white straight Christian males who are upset that they can't tell racist and rape jokes without getting backtalk from the Untermenschen.

Sat, Sep. 7th, 2013 11:36 am (UTC)
joecoustic

I didn't know (or if I did I forgot) that part about Alien. That might help explain why that scene, as well as the whole movie, made such an impression on me! :)

Sun, Sep. 8th, 2013 12:36 am (UTC)
filkertom

It made an impression on a lot of people. One of the defining moments of modern cinematic horror. Problem is, I think most filmmakers looked at that as a benchmark of shock and gore, not of storytelling.

Alien is an odd beast of a movie. I love the film, although I think it is far too slow. I think Scott could've cut about fifteen minutes out and not lost one jot of tension. But it's pretty much a textbook scary movie, with enough original technique and style thrown in to make it a classic of the genre. (Some people still consider it a science fiction movie. That's like saying Jaws is a fishing movie.)

Sat, Sep. 7th, 2013 02:42 pm (UTC)
alverant

I've left comics almost 4 years ago when I got laid off. To be fair, getting laid off was an excuse. I hitched my horse to Marvel and I was sick of how they were treating their characters. I would start collecting a new series and then it would get canceled. It didn't seem worth the $4 an issue anymore and I was running low on storage space (I have about 17 long boxes filled with comics that are doing nothing for me).

I thought about getting back into them now that there are digital comic books but what Marvel has done since I left hasn't encouraged me to come back. In the 90s I had a favorite superhero. He had a decent 50 issue run but since then it's like they didn't know what to do with him. His origin got ret-conned, they threw him in some cosmic story, then with a bunch of teenagers before they killed him. It's like they don't want me back.

There are titles like Honor Brigade and Johnny Saturn on the web that are pretty good. Those are the ones we need to support.

I'd love to get into comics again, but it seems they've lost what made me interested in them in the first place. The only comic I collect now is Knights of the Dinner Table (just got issue 201 last night).

Sun, Sep. 8th, 2013 12:39 am (UTC)
filkertom

I only buy compilations of things I like anymore. Mostly, older comics I loved. My most recent purchases (over the past six months) include Jon Sable Freelance Vol. 1, the first Nexus Omnibus, Teen Titans: The Judas Contract, and the Showcase edition of Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld. (That one REALLY needs a color printing.)

Sun, Sep. 8th, 2013 01:04 am (UTC)
sdelmonte

My only comment is that I still love a lot of DC's comics, and I just ignore the things I don't like. I think, however, I am the only online fan who feels this way.

Fri, Sep. 13th, 2013 06:35 am (UTC)
90scartoonman

Well, you're not giving money to the stuff you don't like, so that's good. And also, sometimes I think the publishers are happy when people protest and criticize them loudly because that means people are talking about them.

Mon, Sep. 9th, 2013 06:54 pm (UTC)
vettecat

I've been a WW fan since the early 70s, and regularly followed a number of DC titles for years, but I dropped DC entirely with the 52 reboot. I have no idea what's going on in their heads but I don't want any part of it. Can someone please tell these people that going for maximum shock is not a long-term creative strategy? What ever happened to actual storytelling?

There have been a few decent titles over the past few years (PS238, Love & Capes) but they haven't lasted.

I worry sometimes about what H. will read when he gets old enough. He's growing up in a mixed DC/Marvel household but very few of the comics lining the shelves are recent. I don't want him to innocently wander into a comic store, pick up a recent issue, and get hit with explicit torture scenes.