Wednesday, January 11, 2006

What I bought - 11 January 2006

January - the month to cull the herd! Let it begin! Bwah-ha-ha-ha!

This week: some titles might not make the cut. An issue angers me a lot more than it probably should. One of my favorite titles stumbles, while another of my favorite titles comes to an end (with a promise of resurrection - hallelujah!). I fearlessly question the writing of a very good writer, one who could kick my ass if he felt like coming to Arizona - which he won't. It's all here, gentlemen and ladies!

DMZ #3 by Brian Wood and Riccaro Burchielli
$2.99, DC/Vertigo
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"On The Ground," the initial introductory storyline, concludes with kind of a whimper, but it's appreciated because it's only three issues long. This allows the discriminating reader to decide in less time than usual whether he or she wants to continue. Well, I think I'm going to jump the ship on this sucker. It's just not doing it for me. The premise isn't terribly original, the characters aren't terribly interesting, and although I like the interaction between, say, Matt and Zee, I don't find either of them all that memorable, so what's the point? From Matt's inner monologue at the end of the book, it sounds like this may be the kind of series that wanders all over New York, and Matt learns a little bit about the DMZ at each place he goes. Meh. This issue, meanwhile, is just there. The army busts into Manhattan, kills some people, loses some people, and Matt decides to stay in New York instead of using his Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card. It's disappointing, because I had high hopes for the series and enjoyed the first issue, but its quality has dipped in the last two. It's not a horrible book by any means, but it's just not that interesting. Sorry, Brian. I still like Local!

Daughters of the Dragon #1 (of 6) by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, and Khari Evans
$2.99, Marvel
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Okay, this issue made me angry. I might go all high-and-mighty liberal telling y'all what to think, but bear with me, please. First, the book:

Misty and Colleen are trying to find four bad guys. Said bad guys are goofballs of the Marvel U. - Humbug, Freezer Burn, Whirlwind, and 8-Ball (I love 8-Ball!). They decide to find Freezer Burn first, because they know where he might be - with his girlfriend, who's the mother of his kid. The problem is, those four goofballs stole something from a publisher who is willing to kill them to get it back - they were just stealing jewelry and didn't realize they took anything else. Shit hits the fan, and Misty and Colleen find themselves in the middle of it.

It has a lot of potential, and it is, in spots, a lot of fun. Well, not the killing part. But still. The idea that goofy villains bite off more than they can chew is always nice to see, and the fact that Misty and Colleen are going to have to pull their fat out of the fire is a nice set-up for future issues. I probably won't be around, however, because this issue made me angry.

I don't know if anyone has been keeping up with the whole thing about sexual harassment in comics and Lea Hernandez's decision to stop working in comics. I would link to the various articles, but there have been a lot of them, and When Fangirls Attack is keeping up with them. Anyway, it's fascinating. So maybe I'm just being all sensitive to these sorts of things these days, but the whole ickiness of this issue bugged me.

First, let's look at the cover. Yes, there's nothing drooling fanboys like more than sexy chicks holding weapons, but this one is kind of weird. What's up with the guy with the rubber ball strapped in his mouth? Weird. I bet that guy digs it, though. Eeeewwww.

Anyway, Misty has some breasts on her. Yes, I've harped on breasts before, but check these out:
Misty's breasts
The art in the book is a bit weird (I generally like it - it's got a Pander Bros. kind of thing going on), so that's not the most egregious thing in the book, but they're sure bizarre-looking. You can't look away!

Then Colleen shows up:
Now, this isn't an "all-ages" book (it could be, with a few tiny minor changes), but this is a bit excessive, isn't it? The jumpsuit is fine, but the two ladies are out fighting the Rhino (we'll get to him), and isn't Colleen just a teeny bit frightened she might just, you know, pop out? And way to make sure we're all looking at her nipples, too. That's classy.

Colleen is standing on the Rhino's hand (his last name is O'Hirn?) because she just drove Misty's Mustang onto his head (which is pretty funny - a good deal of this book is fun). The Rhino throws the car off of him and attacks!
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Nothing wrong with that, right? Yeah, it's a fine page, nothing offensive here. Except:
 Posted by PicasaRhino is wearing shorts! Dear God, you have to be joking. He's already wearing a suit, but because it covers him completely, people might think it's his skin, so quick - put some shorts on him! So, let's review: it's okay for Misty and Colleen to be, quite literally, busting out of their clothes, but the Rhino needs shorts. Somebody shoot me.

Then we are introduced to our villainess, Ricadonna (I don't know if it's her first name or her last, or if it's her only name). She's having a party. Now, she runs a publishing empire - she's not a high-class whore. Keep that in mind as you check out her party clothes, in contrast to the people around her:
What. The. Fuck. Seriously. Again, I don't mean to be a prude, but what the fuckin' fuck?!?!?!? And because that's not enough, on the next page she disrobes:
Butt shot
That's pretty unnecessary, if you ask me. I believe the word is "gratuitous."

So Misty and Colleen decide to track down Freezer Burn. Under the category "Too Much Information," Palmiotti and Gray decide to reveal something about Misty we didn't need to know:
I have to call bullshit here. Yes, it's a comic, so realism shouldn't be that big of an issue, but are you telling me she runs around in that outfit and has nothing protecting her delicate parts? Give me a break. This panel is just more puerile crap.

The ladies go to Freezer Burn's girlfriend's apartment. Freezer Burn is apparently a stand-in for comic book nerds everywhere. Here he is, getting beaten up by the bad guy Ricadonna hired:
Freezer Burn
Now, I'm sure Freezer Burn is a nice guy and all, but there's no way he's getting a girl like this:
Also, not to delve into realism again and not to be too icky and scare all you happy bachelors out there, but that girl recently gave birth. Not to get too specific, but after a woman gives birth, she doesn't look like that. There are consequences to pushing a kid out of a small opening. Anyway, that was just a minor thing, but it bugged me.

Finally, the issue ends with some bad guy (I assume I should know who he is, but I guess I'm not as much of a Marvel Drone as I should be) threatening Freezer Burn's baby. This was the final straw as far as I'm concerned, but not for the reasons you think. Threaten kids all you want, Palmiotti and Gray! I'm fine with it! However, you and I both know there is NO WAY that kid dies, so it's an empty, meant-to-tug-at-our-emotions-cheaply threat. In entertainment, kids and pets simply do not die. (The most obnoxious example of this is Independence Day, when God forbid that damned dog dies in the tunnel but nobody has a problem with killing thousands of humans, including poor Mary McDonnell and Harvey Fierstein.) So there is not threat here, which renders the cliffhanger ending worthless. Boo!

Am I thinking too much? Should I just let it go? Is this just mindless entertainment and I shouldn't make such a big deal about it? I don't know. I don't know if we should hold creators responsible for creating this culture where women are objectified even when they're supposed to be in charge. There's no reason why these things I've pointed out have to be in this book. It would still be enjoyable without them - in fact, in my case, the book would be a lot more enjoyable without them. I don't know. I don't think I'll buy the rest of the mini-series, because all this stuff bothered me enough so that I wasn't able to enjoy the story. Am I crazy?

Desolation Jones #5 by Warren Ellis and J.H. Williams III
$2.99, DC/Wildstorm
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This might be sacrilege to some, but I'm thinking of dropping DJ as well. Again, it's a decent enough book, but I'm not sure I'm enjoying it as much as I should. The culling continues!

In this issue, Ellis basically recaps what has happened in the previous four issues. This in itself is a bit of a problem, because it means that Ellis realizes that having Williams draw this so lovingly (and it's gorgeous) while having a meandering plot like it does means that we're going to lose the thread. I assume he's going to wrap things up next issue, and when that happens, I will sit down and read the first six issues in one sitting, and see where we go from there. It just seems like this is a whole shitload of sound and fury. I'm also tired of Ellis pulling his Mary Jane thing (that's what it's called, right, Brian?). When Jones tells Robina about killing a girl with his bare hands, we're supposed to get all choked up about it, but we've read it before in Ellis books, and like threatening a kid, it no longer has an effect on us. Ellis, it seems, thinks his protagonists are all noble souls who have done reprehensible things but are now trying to make up for them because they still have a conscience. Michael Jones = Richard Fell = Spider Jerusalem = Jenny Sparks. Sure, they all have differences, but they're essentially the same. The reason I actually like Richard Fell is because he doesn't seem to have the "balls" of a typical Ellis character - and by that I mean he's not as self-assured as they project, even though they're all wounded deeply anyway.

I'm probably not making any sense. This book seems to want to be about something different than it should be, and provide Ellis with yet another place where he can vicariously live through his heroes (not that he wants to be Jones, necessarily, but I think he wants to live in a world like the one he writes). Sigh. We'll see after next issue.

Fables #45 by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, and Andrew Pepoy
$2.75, DC/Vertigo
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One of my favorite titles hits a bit of a snag this issue, which I think must wrap up the d'jinn storyline. Why do I only think this? Because there's really no clear signal from the creators. I admire Willingham's ability to keep a lot of balls in the air and make each thread a part of a bigger tapestry, but it would be nice to know that next issue we're going to be focusing on something completely different. This issue kind of meanders along, as Yusuf suffers horribly at the hands of the d'jinn, Sinbad learns his fate for bringing the d'jinn to Fabletown in the first place, Boy Blue discovers what his tasks will be at the Farm, Bagheera gets all the good lines, King Cole goes to Iraq and is introduced to the real Baghdad, and then the issue ends on a weird note. I'm not kidding - this is the last page:
It's like Willingham was in the middle of writing something twice as long and said, "Whoops! Here I am on Page 22. The end." Strange. And we never do find out if the d'jinn went back in the bottle, which is why I can only assume the "Arabian Nights (And Days)" story is over.

As usual when there's a weaker issue of Fables, I'm willing to forgive it because I know when I sit down and read the whole damned series it will flow fine, but this was a weird way to finish. Willingham is turning into Bendis - setting up stories well but finishing them poorly. Don't be Bendis, Willingham!

She-Hulk #4 by Dan Slott and Scott Kolins
$2.99, Marvel
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She-Hulk #4 is a nice, self-contained issue that manages to explain what happened to Jennifer after her last title got cancelled and tie into the events of the larger Marvel U., as well as present a nice little murder mystery in the bargain. Not bad. Not bad at all.

It's a flashback issue, as Jennifer thinks about going back to the town in Idaho that she destroyed last year while rampaging around. I'm not familiar with the story, but apparently it's pretty important. It doesn't matter, however, because Slott does a fine job summarizing the events. Jennifer feels guilty about destroying the town, so she hooks up with "Green Cross," a charity organization devoted totally to help out sites destroyed by the Hulk. This is an idea so brilliant it staggered me, but Slott makes it sound like it's just sitting around and anyone could have picked it up (the best ideas always are, I guess). While digging through the wreckage, a body is discovered. This really makes Jen crazy, because she didn't think anyone died. She does say something ridiculous, though - that no one has ever died in a Hulk attack. I'll forgive Slott for that, I guess (and for his use of the word "apagogic," which I had to look up). She investigates the death, and learns that all is not what it seems. We also learn some other secrets, especially about the founder of the Green Cross, which, if it ties into continuity in any way (I don't know - can anyone help me?), is a very cool thing. If it doesn't, well, it's still a nice idea by Slott.

The interesting thing about this book is that it's not funny in the least. More than that, it's not really "fun," like this book usually is. That's not a big deal, because I don't mind seriousness, especially if it's done well. Jen is unable to turn into She-Hulk, and Doc Samson tells her she will when the time is right. She finds the right time, but it's not when you might expect. There's also, as I mentioned, a murder mystery, and shockingly enough, there are enough clues for us to solve it on our own. I always appreciate that.

A very nice book. If you don't read She-Hulk, you can pick it up and give it a try without worrying about stepping into the middle of a story. Kolins' art is fine - I'm not his biggest fan, but it's pretty good. I still hope Bobillo is back next issue, when Jen takes off with her mystery Avenger (someone else I don't know, but probably should).

Small Gods #12 by Jason Rand and Juan E. Ferreyra
$2.99, Image
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Small Gods comes to an end as an ongoing with the conclusion of the "Nightingale" story, which ends pretty much as it has to, but that doesn't mean it doesn't pack an emotional punch. Michael and Crissy face off at the end, and Crissy seems to have the upper hand, and then Michael has it, but in the end, we're left wondering who really did. It's just another nice issue from this team in a string of excellent ones.

For those who didn't buy this, well, shame on you, but wait! in March there will be a two-issue mini-series, in color, to tempt you. If you were daunted by the black-and-white, or you missed the early issues of this title and didn't want to jump in halfway, check it out. Only two issues! What will it hurt?

Ultimate Extinction #1 (of 6) by Ellis and Brandon Peterson
$2.99, Marvel
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Whoo-hoo! It's the third mini-series about Ultimate Galactus! Maybe Peterson will be able to draw the whole thing! Wouldn't that be a hoot?

Okay. My new policy for mini-series, since I read far too many of them. I will read the first issue. I will decide if I like it enough to get the rest. I will then buy the issues but not read them. When it's done, I'll read them all. Yes, some minis will plummet in quality, but that's the chance I take. I will let you know if the first issue is any good, but after that, you're on your own. Except when I tell you if the inevitable trade paperback is worth it.

So. Ultimate Extinction. The final battle against Gah Lak Tus. The first half of this book is exposition, with Reed Richards explaining how the big creature works. Nasty. Ellis is always good at explaining how something will kill everything else. But, of course, because this is an Ellis book, we have ... superfluous panels!
Do we really need these? This is not a main book - it's a mini-series with guest stars. Give us non-stop action, Warren! Okay, it's a small nit, but given this "event's" track record (entire issues in which nothing happens) , I thought I'd point it out.

The second half of the book stars Ultimate Misty Knight (she's everywhere!) tracking down a religious cult leader who seduces rich women and steals their money. I suppose the leader turns out to be Ultimate Archangel, but who the hell knows. Anyway, I'm sure it will be connected to Gah Lak Tus in some bizarre, Ellisian way. That's cool.

I'm a fan of Peterson, so I like the art. The shading is nice, too - it looks rougher than his usual stuff, especially when Misty is doing her thing, which matches the tone of that part of the book.

I'm in it for the long haul. I have been for a while. Call me a sucker. Go ahead!

Ultimate X-Men #66 by Robert Kirkman, Tom Raney, and Scott Hanna
$2.50, Marvel
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The Kirkman era begins on Ultimate X-Men with "Date Night," which is a lot more ambitious than it sounds. Kirkman dives right in, juggling several vignettes as the X-Men go their separate ways for a night, but you can sense he has some ideas about where he's going, which is nice.

The main story, I hope, will deal with Jean and her Phoenix power. As you can see by the cover, this might not be too big a leap, but it's nice to see that at least some X-Men (Wolverine, in particular) are aware that Jean is manipulating them, and it appears they might be ready to confront her. We'll see. Meanwhile, Charles has a date with ... well, I won't ruin it. Someday I'll post about the "failure" of the Ultimate line, and Xavier's date is symptomatic of that. Meanwhile (I told you there were a lot of vignettes!), Kurt and Peter visit Alison in the hospital, and Kurt doesn't like hanging out with the homo. I always love when, in entertainment, oppressed minorities have their own prejudices. It's interesting, and I hope Kirkman does something with it. Meanwhile, Bobby and Rogue ... get it on. Somehow. Something to do with Rogue having absorbed Gambit's powers. Again, I don't mean to be prudish, but how old are they? Rogue, I guess, is old enough to get into a casino (wasn't she in one in the Annual?), but maybe she just looks older. Bobby is still a teenager. Yes, teenagers have raging hormones, and if Rogue threw herself at me when I was a teenager I certainly wouldn't say no, but I'm not a teenager any more, and if they're going to jump into bed I hope Kirkman at least acknowledges that it might not be the best idea. I'm still uncomfortable with Jean screwing Logan during Millar's run, so this development bugged me. I do like that Bobby is sort of screwing Gambit as well. Run with that, Kirkman!

Not a bad beginning after Vaughan's excellent run. I was a bit trepid about the new creative team (well, not Raney, because I like him, even though his art seems rushed here a bit), but it's a good start. We'll see how Kirkman continues next time.

Man. That's a lot of blather about comics. Sorry for the ranting. Feel free to tell me how stupid or overly sensitive or politically correct I am!

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Anonymous RAB said...

Strangely, my first response to seeing those panels from Daughters of Little Annie Fanny -- I mean, Daughters of the Dragon -- is to grab Frank Miller and cop a line from Jon Stewart:

"Stop hurting comics! Why are you hurting comics?"

If Miller accurately protested that he had nothing to do with the comic book in question, I'd say "But people see you doing this sh*t and think it's okay. Rightly or wrongly, these people look to you as an influential figure in comics storytelling and take cues from the example you set. Is crap like this the legacy you want to create?"

1/12/2006 02:39:00 AM  
Anonymous myk said...

>> In entertainment, kids and pets simply do not die.

Yeah, this realization made me sit through THE FOG as a kid. Still, I got four words for you: Assault. On. Precint. 13.

Now, surely Palmiotti is no John Carpenter (if he was, I might start reading his books) and, having a five months old son myself, there is nothing I´d like to see less than the little one being harmed...

Meaning, aren´t, like, all or most cliffhangers in mainstream hollow? As I understand it, tt´s all about cheap thrills anyways, no?

1/12/2006 04:10:00 AM  
Blogger Bastarður Víkinga said...

"I suppose the leader turns out to be Ultimate Archangel, but who the hell knows. Anyway, I'm sure it will be connected to Gah Lak Tus in some bizarre, Ellisian way. That's cool."

While I assume you're just kidding, I'm going to mention it anyway:

It's Silver Surfer, dude.

- Viking Bastard

1/12/2006 05:26:00 AM  
Blogger markus said...

Good call on the daughters and DMZ. People being able to say "This is no longer/not good, I am not enjoying it anymore and will consequently drop it" is one of the reasons I like this blog so much.

1/12/2006 09:23:00 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Damn it. Of course it's stupid Silver Surfer. Damn it. He doesn't have his damned surfboard, so I missed it. I must turn in my nerd card.

And not all cliffhangers are about cheap thrills. Sure, that's there too, but occasionally there is a sense of danger. I agree, I would die before I allow harm to come to my kids, and that's why people go for it in fiction, but I don't feel anything because I know it's bogus. And it's not a total hard and fast rule, because some writers have balls.

Silver Surfer. Damn it. Why does he have wings?

1/12/2006 09:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Dizzy said...

I wonder if Slott knows that there already is an organisation called the Green Cross (several in fact)

1/12/2006 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger AFKAP of Darkness said...

It just seems like this is a whole shitload of sound and fury. I'm also tired of Ellis pulling his Mary Jane thing (that's what it's called, right, Brian?).

Methinks you mean "Mary Sue," and i concur... it's the reason i've never really bought in to the whole Ellis worship.

after i read Transmetropolitan (and didn't much care for it) all his characters seemed to be different versions of Spider Jerusalem, who appears to be Ellis himself (or at least his idealized vision of himself)

1/12/2006 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger Bill Reed said...

Sacrilegious sucker.

1/12/2006 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger Bastarður Víkinga said...

"Silver Surfer. Damn it. Why does he have wings?"

To, uh, surf the skies?


1/12/2006 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

But then he's no longer a surfer! Too ULTIMATE for me! I love the surfboard.

1/12/2006 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger Bastarður Víkinga said...

It's Ellis' biggest flaw: His hate of camp.

I mean, he disses Donald Duck & Co. all the time! The greatest comic magazine in existance!

The nerve!

Still, at least he actually tries something different. Gah, how tired I am of non-ultimated-ultimations.

1/12/2006 01:10:00 PM  
Blogger Lea Hernandez said...

Those are some hypnotic breasts in DotD. Weird and hypnotic.
The art's really pretty good, too. Too bad about the interesting choices made.

1/12/2006 05:10:00 PM  
Blogger Christopher Burton said...

Now, she runs a publishing empire - she's not a high-class whore.

But what if she publishes porn?

1/12/2006 05:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But what if she publishes porn?"

Christie Hefner doesn't dress like that.

(Not that playboy is hardcore, but still...)

1/12/2006 07:23:00 PM  
Blogger Erik said...

If Ricadonna was a high-class whore she'd be wearing more clothes.

I think Ricadonna is Paris Hilton or Lil Kim. Or any one of the dozens of other rich people who managed to get money and success, but regularily display no class when it comes to fashion.

This was worn to the Emmy Awards.

This showed up an Oscar post party. (She has to know by now that certain fabrics pretty much disappear when hit with flashbulbs, but she still wore it...)

So I definitely buy the dress. (Check out the links on the left of that site for Lil Kim's "finer" moments.)

So I don't mind her dressed like that at the party, because it tells me something about her: She's rich, powerful and desperate for attention. Money and power means to her "look at me I can do what I want". That one shot tells me that. (The fact that almost everyone is looking in her direction suggests to me that she's having the effect she's looking for. Paris would be proud.)

The underwear shot tells me nothing I don't already know, so I'd call it gratuitous.

And Misty's breasts. No underwear? No support? She's gotta be working on some pretty serious backpain.

1/12/2006 09:14:00 PM  
Blogger Apodaca said...

Why is it that the majority of mainstream comic artists think that fancy = whorish, in terms of clothing?

I mean, it's not like porno fashion ever made anyone instantly think "class".

1/12/2006 09:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dizzy said...
I wonder if Slott knows that there already is an organisation called the Green Cross (several in fact)

Yep. But the fact that there are several (in my mind) means that it's safe to have another. Especially in the Marvel Universe.

Heck, there were two characters called Nova running around at the same time. I doubt anybody would mind a fourth or fifth Green Cross.



1/13/2006 08:15:00 AM  
Blogger Guy LeCharles Gonzalez said...

Still catching up on my reading, but this jumped out at me, re: Daughters...

Not to get too specific, but after a woman gives birth, she doesn't look like that.

It depends on what she looked like before getting pregnant, actually. My wife looks very much like the woman pictured here, before and after giving birth, both times bouncing back to her original shape within a month or two.

As for Icicle, or whatever his name was, the precedent for that kind of odd couple hookup was established long ago by sitcoms, and is reinforced by almost every commercial directed at guys. Can't really fault the writers or artist on that particular standard.

Overall, I enjoyed the issue despite its...ah, visual clichés? Both Colleen and Misty are written well, and Ricadonna is so obviously a parody - as opposed to the less obvious Vicki Vale in ASBARTBW - that, in terms of objectifying women, I'd say the creative team's committed the equivalent of a misdeameanor, at worst. I guess I'd just hate to see them unfairly drawn into the larger, very serious discussion of sexual harassment in comics.

1/13/2006 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Yeah, Freezer Burn and his girl aren't the first odd couple, but it annoys me when comic book artists and writers, as well as sit-com writers, as well as advertisers, ALWAYS put a rotund dude with a smokin' chick. It's stupid wish fulfillment.

I suppose Ricadonna is a parody, but it doesn't make me like her portrayel any better. No, this isn't as egregious as All-Star Batman and Robin, and I certainly don't mean to imply that this book is as horrible as the serious issue of sexual harassment, but this book does seem like a perfect little symptom of how comic book writers and artists view women and themselves (Freezer Burn could be a lot of comic book pros that I've seen).

1/13/2006 11:12:00 AM  
Anonymous John DiBello said...

Now, she runs a publishing empire - she's not a high-class whore.

But what if she publishes porn?

Christie Hefner doesn't dress like that.

Maybe she publishes comic books. Comic books like Daughters of the Dragon in which two characters I liked from the seventies and was looking forward to uin this series but foolishly didn't flip through the bok before I bought it got turned into titty-fetish plaything impractical no-undies centerfolds. Comics like that which exist as wank rags for guys who can't buy Maxim. Who see a black woman as a big-titted underwearless Foxy Brown ripoff and a Chinese woman as a underwearless Asian fetish doll.

You know, the kind of shit that is KILLING THE INDUSTRY!

God, but I love comics. Why do comics hate me so much?

1/13/2006 10:33:00 PM  
Anonymous A.L. Baroza said...

Maybe she publishes comic books. Comic books like Daughters of the Dragon in which two characters I liked from the seventies and was looking forward to uin this series but foolishly didn't flip through the bok before I bought it got turned into titty-fetish plaything impractical no-undies centerfolds. Comics like that which exist as wank rags for guys who can't buy Maxim. Who see a black woman as a big-titted underwearless Foxy Brown ripoff and a Chinese woman as a underwearless Asian fetish doll.

You're kidding, right? Have you read those '70s Daughters of the Dragon stories, especially the B&W ones in Deadly Hands of Kung Fu? They were full of Claremontian bondage scenes and thinly veiled lesbian subtext. Now, nothing wrong with lesbian relationships. If they were presented as a couple without that patented skeevy Claremont voyeurism, no problem. But that was never the case. I especially remember a Claremont/Marshall Rogers story where Misty and Colleen get into a fight with some ninjas or something and get their clothes torn off for no reason than to show some titty. And I don't think Misty was wearing a bra then, too.

Not to mention the near-rape situations Claremont always loves to put his women characters in.

For god's sake, this is hardly new. The Daughters of the Dragon have never been anything more than exploitation bait--when they're not "the girlfriends". And at least Palmiotti hasn't tied them up yet...right?

You're all kidding, aren't you?

(Although, yeah, putting shorts on the Rhino is pretty damn stupid.)

1/14/2006 12:28:00 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Of course it's nothing new, Mr. Baroza, but as the old saying goes, that doesn't make it right. It just bothers me that comics professionals simply can't move past it.

1/14/2006 10:16:00 AM  
Anonymous A.L. Baroza said...

I'm not defending that stuff. I simply don't buy comics I have no interest in. I'm not buying the Palmiotti series. But really, are there fans of Misty and Colleen for something other than the T&A factor?

I'm just saying this stuff's always been a part of comics. This new outrage that mainstream superhero comics were all sweetness and light until Frank Miller put his grubby hands on Batman is just silly. And yeah, I know that last statement is a horrible reductionist simplifcation--I don't want to be parsed to death here.

I was specifically responding to John Debello's comment--which I'm pretty sure is tongue-in-cheek anyway--that somehow these characters, which were so great in the '70s, have somehow been defiled by Palmiotti's series.

I really hope he was joking. God, was Misty Knight ever anything but a Foxy Brown ripoff?

I've got no problem with nostalgia. But nostalgia for something that never existed--namely substantial, non-exploitative representations of the freaking Daughters of the Dragon--is kinda misguided, IMO.

1/14/2006 03:12:00 PM  
Anonymous A.L. Baroza said...

Oh, and in case my point wasn't clear, I hope that comics fans who really are outraged by Miller, Meltzer, Palmiotti et al, use their market clout to support work that isn't exploitative, instead of complaining why their beloved superheroes are fanboy wank material. Talk with your wallets.

Lea's out there. She's still working. Support the alternative.

1/14/2006 03:39:00 PM  
Anonymous John DiBello said...

Nope, I wasn't kidding. Yep, I am a Daughters of the Dragon fan. I really liked them in Iron Fist and X-Men.

I have never seen the nude scenes in the b/w issues that have been mentioned just the last couple days, so I wasn't aware of them as history. Chalk that up to ignorance of the subject.

And yes, mea culpa, you're right--they were not much more than stereotypes of female action characters from the movies.

My point is, and I do have one, that just because something was done once or twice or several times in the past is no excuse to keep on doing it with better printing and coloring technology. "Comics are not just for kids," we keep being told. Now, more than ever, comics are getting respect, and that includes some superhero comics. But you can't honestly tell me there is a point to Supergirl dressing like Shakira or Colleen Wing's braless cleavage except to appeal to those who enjoy using comic book characters--good god, fictional pen-and-ink-and-color superhero characters--primarily as sex objects. This is not advancement of the medium in any way.

We no longer have a medium in which black people are drawn with massive pink lips. Or Asians colored bright yellow (a Sandman Mystery Theatre story in the past ten years did, if I remember correctly). We no longer refer to Tom Kalamku as "Pieface." Why do we read comics that delineate nipples on women for no story reason other than guys think it might look cool to see Misty Knight's nipples?

It of course runs counter to the logic of the story: why would highly trained, physically-capable bodyguards dress like this? Sure, suspension of disbelief argues that everyone in comics dress impractically, but when the sole answer is 'To tittilate the male readers of their comic book,' that's a reason that not only insults our intelligence and admiration for the medium, but more important, it actively drags it down into everything that its critics say it is: adolescent, sexist, titillating trash.

It's actually a fun and interesting story. I loved the line "That'll buff right out." But the sexuality or the artwork does not add an iota to the story. Rewrite it in your head with Misty and Colleen wearing jeans and sweaters...heck, even in Emma Peel leather catsuits...and with Ricadonna in a little Gucci dress or Versace suit, and it doesn't lose a thing except the gratuitousness skin-book quality of it.

You may be saying at this point "Geez, get a life! It's only a comic book!" Which indeed, you're absolutely correct. And that's why I also absolutely agree with you and will vote with my wallet and not pick up the remaining issues of this series. I made an error in grabbing the book off the shelf without flipping through it; I won't make that error again.

1/14/2006 10:49:00 PM  
Blogger Adam said...

Comics like that which exist as wank rags for guys who can't buy Maxim.

won't that degrade the comic book's value? here, i'm assuming that the same fanboy masturbators are the same fanboys who worry about its value in overstreet price guide (or whatever they call it nowadays).

and speaking as an indescriminate masturbator, i find comic books to be too... out there, to be used as a wank object.

You know, the kind of shit that is KILLING THE INDUSTRY!

how so? i mean, really, how is it affecting the comic book industry? are we talking more about the international scene, or just the americans here?

i've found that it is a bit impossible to seperate the two.

understand that i am playing devil's advocate here.

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