Saturday, April 25, 2015

Why Iceman is not half as gay as Gambit is

You must be tired of reading this but I was all ready to finally do another FLASH FRIDAY post when Disney went and crapped all over another hero.

Yep, gone are the days when X - Men were real men ( or X - Männer in my case ) all thanks to writer Brian Michael Bendis to get some publicity for ALL NEW X - MEN. I guess the sales must be floundering on that title.


Now I must admit that I gave Bendis ( I´m shortening the name from now on, not to dis the man - to which I would havbe good reason - but really because I´m lazy ) a second chance after he wrote what will probably go down as THE WORST story in Avengers lore EVER, the train wreck that is AVENGERS DISASSEMBLED. Longtime readers of this blog probably know all the reasons why the story sucks so much but the three things I will mention ( because I think they may come up in some posts in the near future ) is the total destruction of the character of the Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye going down in one of the most stupid death scenes I know ( basically he´s too stupid to take of his quiver ) and Doctor Strange explaining that there is no such thing as Chaos Magic after spending an entire storyline ( in his own title mind you, so Bendis had no way of knowing that ) looking for a new source of mystical power after he lost the favor of the guys he used to call upon. You would never guess what the new source of mystical power was that he used since then. Right. Chaos Magic. But that doesn´t exist - at least according to Bendis. So how could he use magic against the Scarlet Witch if his magic powers were based on Chaos Magic which according to him does not exist ?

I´m not going into this whole debate but if you want to read more about this check out Brian Cronin´s The Abandoned An’ Forsaked – Scarlet Witch Uses Chaos Magic ? post on COMIC BOOK RESOURCES´ extensive Comics should be good archive and also Neilalien´s Doctor Strange questions .

So despite all this - and a few other selected catastrophes where Marvel heroes behaved out of character - I gave Bendis a chance on ALL NEW X - MEN and so far ( I´m currently at issue 30 ) I have enjoyed the book.

In fact, apart from the months when Tim Bradstreet actually managed to deliver some art for WOLVERINE & THE X - MEN it was the only x - book I read. For somebody who has fallen off the X - Men train and not read an X - Men comic in years ( which includes basically everybody except the few diehard X - Men fans that still existed ) this was the perfect book because I had no idea what the hell was going on in the x - universe. One of the biggest things in AVENGERS vs X - MEN was Cyclops killing Charles Xavier - for everyone but me. I didn´t know he was still alive because in the last X - Men comic I read he was dead. So he was alive and then dead again.

And I guess I wasn´t the only one who couldn´t make heads nor tail of the new mutant universe. So a title like ALL NEW X - MEN, in which the five original members of the X - Men are brought into our time and everything has to be explained to them was the perfect jumping on point. Because the original X - Men had the same questions like the long absent readers.

Is Magneto currently one of the good guys or bad guys ? Was a member of the Hellfire Club really a teacher at Xavier´s school ? What the hell is a Xorn ? Since when does Wolverine remember his past ? By the way, who is this guys with claws coming out of his hands and what´s his obsession with beer ? Why hasn´t the mutant situation improved ? And what was that leather jacket nonsense all about ? Okay, so Jubilee lost her powers but got really big breasts in exchange, then was turned into a vampire and now runs around with a baby. That sounds totally normal, right ?

But not only does the series have an interesting story with the added bonus of the original members meeting up with their older counterparts, the art by Stuart Immonen is some of the best of his whole career.

Good writing, good art . . . . well, exceptional art. If you think that Stuart Immonen´s art looks good on regular pages you have to see his awesome double page spreads. Immonen totally kills it on those double pages.

Another big plus for me was that I love a good time travel story. And here Bendis really uses the possibilities of the concept of time travel. Not only do the X - Men from the past meet their counterparts from the present but they also encounter the X - Men of the future. Who are revealed as the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants when the REAL X - Men from the future arrive. It´s a really big no holds barred everything goes romp through time and space to borrow a phrase from one of my favorite television shows ( the space thing coming into play when they meet the Guardians of the Galaxy and Jean Grey goes on trial for her crimes as Phoenix ).


And here´s one of the first problems of the whole " Iceman is gay " story. The Iceman of the past who gets outed by Jean Grey - or better bullied into saying that he is gay - has met Iceman of the present who is not gay.

What´s more, he has also met his future self who is also not gay.

Okay, current Iceman - not gay. Future Iceman - not gay. Past Iceman - suddenly gay. How does that work ? If you ask me, young Jean Grey convinces young Iceman that he is gay although he isn´t. Since current Iceman really knows he isn´t gay he puts young Iceman into a facility to de - gay him with the help of future Iceman because he doesn´t want to risk becoming gay at some point in the future because of some stupid notion Jean Grey put into the head of his past self. Do you have a headache already ? Then let´s look at how it happens in issue 40 .

Bobby doesn´t come out of the closet and say he´s gay. He is railroaded by Young Jean Grey who tells him that he is gay and she knows because she has read his mind. Without his permission. But since she is getting him to admit that he´s gay it´s all right. Because where homosexuality is concerned the normal rules of human ( or mutant ) behavior do not apply.

There are so many things wrong here that I don´t know where to begin. If you knew somebody and you were convinced he was gay would you do something like this to him when he´s clearly not ready to do it himself ?

Is Bobby only pretending to be interested in girls or completely clueless ?

Some people may think this is helping him but how can it be helping him if you do it for him ? Now the whole thing gets even more complicated by the fact that we don´t get to see into Jean Grey´s head. Or Bobbie´s for that matter. Which is something that does happen in comics or movies.

So we don´t know what exactly Jean saw or read in Bobbie´s mind. All we know is she says he´s gay and she knows because she read his mind. So she found some thoughts of him about how hot Hugh Jackman is ? I think he´s hot - for a guy mind you - that doesn´t make me gay. Did he just think " Wow, I´m really totally gay although I can´t admit it . " or what ?

Am I the only one who finds it highly suspicious that Jean just happens to take a peek at Iceman´s head to find out he´s really gay right after he has made some inappropriate remarks about some of his female team members ? Because that´s totally what women do. They make up stuff just to mess with your head. They tell you you´re adopted or your penis is too small or that you are gay. And this Jean Grey is one loco broad, ese.

I mean everybody´s going " If Jean Grey says it it must be true because she can read minds " but we´re talking about somebody who became - or is destined to become - one of the greatest mass murderers of all times as the Dark Phoenix. Or has everybody already forgotten all about this ?

Yes, Jean Grey is not really the most mentally stable person in the x - universe especially if she gets plucked from the past, thrown into our time and told that she will become a monster and die a few times in the next years. That knowledge can really do a number on any normal person.


Okay, so let´s just for a moment assume that Jean did read Iceman´s mind and discover he´s really gay. Why hasn´t any of the other telepaths on any of the numerous mutant teams ever found out he´s really gay ?

I mean, what about Professor Charles Xavier ? He´s a pretty big telepath and while some argue that he didn´t know because he makes it a habit not to invade people´s privacy ( a concern the young Jean Grey clearly does not share ) he trained the X - Men in defense against the dark arts . . . . I mean defense against telepathic attacks. And for that he probably had to go into their deepest minds and would have stumbled about that.

Are we really meant to believe that young Jean Grey is a better telepath than adult Charles Xavier ? And that she somehow managed to uncover in a few minutes what he failed to notice in decades ? We are talking about a time span that begins in the sixties here. Now there are people who argue that if Xavier knew Iceman was gay he would have never told him about it as long as he himself was not sure about it ( another thing young Jean Grey has no reference for ) because that could influence the whole thing. If you have seen the first MATRIX movie you probably know what a self fulfilling prophecy is. So the argument here is that IF Xavier knew Iceman was gay the moment he told him that he would have technically turned him gay or something - which is much too metaphisical for me.

Professor X - too busy abusing his power to notice that Iceman is gay ?

Another argument is that as a mutant Iceman was already a victim of prejudice, hatred and bigotry so Xavier didn´t want to add fuel to the fire by revealing Iceman´s gayness. Which is total BS. If you are a mutant your life is already effed up enough. I mean there´s giant robots out to kill you just because you were born. What more are they going to do to you ? Hit you with the really painful death ray instead of the soft and gentle death ray ? Take away your X - Box or give you a bad grade ?

I mean Storm was never singled out from the other x - Men because they thought she would be hated more than other mutants. A mutant, an atheist, a woman AND black ? Clearly she has to suffer more than other mutants. Is that really what Disney now wants me to think ? That all people are the same but some mutants are clearly more effed up than others ? Sorry, but this kind of thinking doesn´t really work for me.

If political correctness means to divide discriminated persons into some kind of rating system depending on their " level of discrimination " I don´t want no part of it. Like, this would be discrimination but because a gay / lesbian / muslim / black person does it it´s okay ? When did this kind of reverse discrimination against certain individuals become acceptable ?


To come back to the main topic, yes, the X - Men comics have always been about being different but that doesn´t automatically mean gay.

Stan Lee came up with the idea of mutants not because he wanted to represent homosexuals and therefore he came up with these people who were born with special abilities. The simple truth is that he was sick and tired of always having to come up with a super special origin story like a radioactive spider bit him or he got hit by a radioactive gamma bomb or they were bombarded by radioactive rays from outer space. Because it´s really hard to always come off with a good origin story for every hero and with the advance of science people knew that you were more prone to die from radiation poisoning than get powers from a radioactive accident. So Stan just said " Let´s make them mutants. " and that way didn´t have to invent different origin stories for every mutant which in hindsight was a good thing because they grew like mushrooms. If you don´t believe me the whole thing is one of the original soundbites from the Man himself and you can listen to it on STAN LEE´S AMAZING MARVEL UNIVERSE, a book I pimped on this blog when amazon offered it at a bargain price.

I know it´s hard for some people to understand but there are individuals out there who are different and misunderstood and persecuted and who are not homosexual. Gays don´t have a monopoly on being different and certainly not on the X - Men comics. So, no, X - Men doesn´t equal gay and therefore there is no imperative for a gay member. I also don´t buy into the logic that on one side being gay is something you are born with and you can´t do anything about it but a gay man can have sex with a woman for years because he doesn´t know better or he´s afraid to tell.

Either you know you are gay and only have sex with women to pretend you are not and have a gay relationship on the side or you are not as gay as you think. I mean there are thousands of husbands who go to great lengths to come up with fool proof plans just to cheat on their wives and I´m led to believe that a gay man who has more reason to do this can´t ?

Or the whole thing that Iceman´s past relationships with women were what you call " experimenting " . I don´t know but it sounds like an awful lot of experimenting in a field he´s not supposed to like. My Mum always tells me " How do you know you don´t like something if you haven´t tried it ? " which usually is followed by her trying to get me to try some food I ALREADY know I do not like because I have FRIKKIN tried it a hundred times already. There are some things you don´t have to try for yourself - like running into a brick wall get hit by a bus - to know you don´t like them. There ARE others but if you keep experimenting and experimenting and experimenting you have to ask yourself if you really do not enjoy it.

So which part of the picture above shows Reed Richards experimenting ?

Now to come back to the topic of somebody reading Iceman´s mind and finding out he was gay - what about the White Queen of the Hellfire Club, Emma Frost ? She has spent quite some time with the X - Men and she never said anything about Iceman being gay. I mean she even switched bodies with him at one time so she definitely would have found out there.

She even was better than him of controlling his powers - was this because he spend a lot of energy on repressing something ? If Emma found out he was gay would she not have used this to mess with his head since she was still on the side of the villains ? And what about Cyclops ? He and Emma have had a lot of  intimate contact physically as well as telepathically. Would he not have found out ? Maybe she really is that good at hiding things from Scott but there are too many " buts " in this train of thought.


Another big " reason " that people cite for Iceman being gay is that he had sex with Mystique who is a shapeshifter. Because if you are having sex with a shapeshifter this can only mean you want her / him / it to become a boy or a man without your teammates finding out you´re gay, right ?

Wrong. The reason why you are having sex with a shapeshifter is probably that you want to have sex with a teammate - a girl - who doesn´t want to have sex with you or you are too afraid to ask because . . . . I don´t know, maybe read minds, like Jean Grey ? So it would totally make sense.

She never read that Iceman was gay. She read that he wanted to butter her sandwich and that shocked her so much that she told him he was gay.

And before you tell me how improbable that is - am I really supposed to believe that Iceman thinks he has to have sex with a shapeshifter in secret because the other X - Men will not accept that he is gay ? Do people who think along these lines ever read an X - Man comic in their lives ?

There are numerous reasons to have sex with a shapeshifter apart from the teammate thing or having sex with a superheroine who you know would never touch you with a ten foot pole. It could be to have sex with a female super villain without having to worry that she kills you afterwards.

Which might be a moot point with somebody like Mystique anyway. Way back when I started this blog I did a - much missed by longtime readers - section called COMICBABE BATTLE which also included the hot women on the Fantastic Four. There was a post about the runners up and one about the finalist which to my own surprise was not won by the obvious choice, MILF Susan Storm, but by Lyja, Johnny Storm´s shapeshifting skrull wife.

I explained the pros of shapeshifted sex at length in those posts ( in fact I went a bit overboard and had to give Lyja her solo post ) so I won´t say anything more on that subject matter than that there are certain benefits if your sex partner can look like anybody, any celebrity - alive or dead.

So Iceman is not the first male in the Marvel universe who had sex with a shapeshifter and Nobody is saying that Johnny Storm must be gay. At least until now. And you know they did it because Lyja had his egg and all.


Which leads us to the Rogue thing and the title of my post ( I know, you thought I´d never come around to that ), a thing that´s more based on the movie universe than on the actual comics. Iceman had a relationship with Rogue in the movies before it happened in the comics. I would even say that it would not have happened in the comics if it hadn´t happened in the movies first. In fact, it didn´t happen in the comics which for many is a sign that Iceman is indeed gay. There is an issue where Iceman goes on a road trip with Rogue and the " tell " that he is gay is that he is not trying to get Rogue into his bed. And I have to say foul on this one.

If every man who does not try to get the woman closest to him into his bed immediatelly is gay that would be a lot of men. Maybe Bobby had other things on his mind on that day or maybe she just wasn´t his type. I read an interesting post ( probably related to the Batgirl thing ) about how female leads in comics have trouble finding a partner because nobody even the most perfect male specimen is not good enough. On the other hand it seems that any female is an elegible choice for any male in comics no matter how she looks like. And that doesn´t work in the real world and it doesn´t work in comics. So maybe Rogue just wasn´t Iceman´s type.

Or it could be that Iceman knew that somebody else was always putting the moves on Rogue and wanted to avoid being caught in a love triangle.

That´s right, my little Gambito. If there ever was an X - Men who needs to come out of the closet it´s the X - Men´s Cajun fighter ( bazinga ).

I mean, come on. If being in a relationship with Rogue is a sign of being gay would Gambit not have first dibs on this ? Am I really the only one who makes the connection here ? If there´s one über compensating member of the X - Men who always has to show off and even tries to come off much cooler than Logan it´s Gambit. Really, the fake french accent, the unshaven look that went out with Don Johnson, the long hair and that awful trench coat with body armor underneath - how much gayer can you get ? And then the fact that he was wearing this coat all this time just because he knows that it will rain some day. That´s not something men do. And the whole thing with the playing cards. That´s the worst you can try to throw with the aim of hitting your target. The worst I tell you.

And then he picks the one girl of all the hot women in the x - teams who can´t be touched to be his girlfriend. She´s like " Oh, Gambit, I love you but we can never consume our love. " and he´s all " Pas de probleme, mon chere, I´m fine with that. " and this is not highly suspicious to anybody ?

For me Gambit is a representation for everything that was wrong in the 90s. He´s what happens when you try to build a character based on what the marketing experts tell you is hip with the readers. He should not even be in the X - Men after they found out he was mainly responsible for the MUTANT MASSACER, one of the bloodiest incidents in mutant history.

Now people have told me time and time again that he should be forgiven to what I answer if they would say the same about a person who aided the Nazis or somebody who participated in the lynch mobs. If you ask me, he got away easy with the X - Men just leaving him in the antarctica to die.

Which happened in UNCANNY X - MEN 350, one of the X - Men comics I have read most often and not only because Gambit gets his just reward ( there´s some Madureiras art ). It´s one of the best written single issues by Steve Seagle which got totally butchered in the german translation.

Okay, back to our topic IF there is a character who is gay because he´s in a relationship with Rogue it should be Gambit. So why is it Iceman ?


Because nobody cares, that´s why. I know, there´s this whole thing now on the internet - and I´m participating - but it´s not about Iceman. It´s really more about the way they did it. Because it makes no sense like I´ve been saying the whole time. This is just Bendis trying to get the spotlight because I don´t believe for a minute that he just wanted to " write his story without it all becoming a big deal ". If that´s what he wanted he would have written it differently because it is possible to have gay characters in the Marvel universe without it becoming a big deal.

Like Wiccan and Hulkling on YOUNG AVENGERS. They are a gay couple and they never made the big news headlines. Why ? Because like I already wrote in my Is Warren Ellis gayer than Erik Larsen ? post, there are certain writers who just include gay or lesbian characters to become newsworthy. And it´s our own fault if they still succeed with this.

One part of this is clearly to get into the news. Because they didn´t choose Cyclops - that would have been too unbelievable after his time with Jean Grey and Emma Frost. They didn´t pick the Beast because they already tried that and backpedaled on that a few issues later. They didn´t pick Angel because they didn´t want trouble with the catholic church - if you´re making an angel gay that´s like picking a fight with the pope. So who´s left of the original X - Men who´s not a girl ? Right. The ice dude. The one member writers have been struggling with for years. Let´s be honest, there are no big stories involving Iceman which don´t include him losing his powers or his powers getting out of control. So you pick the X - Man who´s always in the background and turn him into a homosexual.

They didn´t get the attention they wanted with Northstar, Shatterstar, Rictor or any of the other b - or even c - listers like the Avenger´s Living Lightning so now they try their luck with one of the original X - Men.

And they want to give SONY the finger. SONY is clinging to the X - Men movie rights like the devil to a sinner´s soul so Disney is turning the Inhumans into the new X - Men. And they make Iceman gay. How you like that SONY ? I think it´s just pathetic. I have been reading ALL NEW X - MEN so far and I totally planned to keep it on my pull list. Yes, Stuart Immonen has left the title to do black Captain America but Mahmud Asrar is one of the best pencilers in the business right now so there´s no big problem there. They are going to make Mike Morales Spider - Man a team member in the next issues which I don´t have a problem with. I never read any of his ULTIMATE SPIDER - MAN issues but more because it´s not my book. My brother was following that series - at least until they killed off Peter Parker. I´m anxious to see how they end up in his reality.

But the whole " Iceman is now gay " thing ? That is so hamfisted that I doubt I will be reading the title after that. Which is a real pity because there are really not that many good titles left at Disney. But who knows ? The whole Marvel universe is supposed to end in a few months anyway so who knows how long our new gay Iceman is going to make it in the end.

I don´t know but it seems to me that there are not many decent writers left at Marvel. Iceman is gay because Jean Grey tells him. Thor becomes unworthy of Mjolnir because somebody whispers something in his ear. And Ghost Rider is now Ghost Racer because he drives a car. This is not comic writing but definitely abuse of drugs or other illegal chemical substances.

Two founding members of the Avengers are down - is Iron Man next ?

And this is the point where it´s time to end this and leave other things like black Captain America for another post. Today´s post has become rather long so the video section is equally long with two parts : one that ties in with Today´s topic and one that is about something completely different for all the readers who are tired of gay Iceman at this point.

Since this is the first video I saw about the whole " Iceman is gay now " thing I´m putting this one first. It echoes a lot of my thoughts on the whole matter like Marvel doing this whole thing to pander to the gay community and make headlines. They know what Disney´s reasons for this are : " Hey, look. We just changed a text bubble, added three letters, now he´s gay so you will all blindly love Marvel and give us money. "

For the sake of diversity here´s a video that has all the arguments for Iceman being gay. I don´t agree but I also don´t want to deny that there are people out there who think that gay Iceman is the best thing ever.

Another gay Iceman video, this one is more in my ball park.

And last but not least a video that shows that there are gay comic fans who are not so sure how they are supposed to feel about the whole thing.

But let´s get to the part that I like to call the entertainment section. This year is the tenth anniversary of New Who and since I already mentioned the show in the post here´s a video about this. Sadly, this is a fan video and I don´t know if the BBC has plans for an anniversary special or not.

And we´re staying on the subject of cult science fiction with one of the funniest videos I´ve seen in a long time. An alternate scene you won´t find on any DVD extras. Warning : once it´s seen it can´t be unseen !

Speaking about funny videos this one probably makes more sense - and is more entertaining - than the upcoming Superman vs Batman movie.

Our last one combines bad entertainment and time travel : episode 3 of the horrible AVENGER UNITED THEY STAND cartoon show starring Kang.

New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest / best of the best

Shut up and keep squeezing monkeys !

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Avengers - it was the best / worst of times

A few days ago I was commenting one one of Terry Hooper´s post on the excellent COMIC BITS ONLINE blog ( which you can find on the blogroll and need to check out every day ) that the Vision in the new AVENGERS - AGE OF ULTRON movie reminded me a lot of how the android looked in the godawful AVENGERS : UNITED THEY STAND cartoon from the 1990s.

The 90s were not a good time for the Avengers. They had the Gatherers storyline and I guess I´m one of the few readers that liked this alternate universe mish mash. What most comic readers didn´t know back then was that this was still the good part. Yes, the worst was still to come.

Then came THE GATHERING, one of the worst stories ever where Tony Stark goes totally mental and tries to wipe out all the Avengers. In the end it turns out that Kang was behind it all and after Tony sacrifices himself he gets replaced by teenage Tony Stark. Well, THE GATHERING was so bad that Disney decided to give it the omnibus treatment which shows that they will put anything into an omnibus for a quick buck.

Speaking about a quick buck that´s exactly how much you had to pay for the 99 cents series AVENGERS UNPLUGGED. It was one of the 99 cent books Marvel was experimenting with to see if they could sell cheap comic books. The only 99 cent book that really sold was UNTOLD TALES OF SPIDER - MAN because unlike the Avengers book the only cheap thing about it was the price. I´m really surprised people payed for this.

Although as bad as this was it was in the final issues of the preceding series that somebody had the brilliant idea to turn Janet VanDyne into a real insect like creature, to sell some toys or fit some weird fetish.

You might think that the team roster is strange but that´s because the company that was doing the cartoon wanted to do an Avengers show but because of licensing right they could not use Thor, Captain America or Iron Man so they took the team roster of the Avengers West Coast.

Or West Coast Avengers which is how the book was called until somebody realized that if they changed the title it would be much nearer to the top if comic book stores put their comics alphabetically. In any event naturally the cartoon was neither called West Coast Avengers nor Avengers West Coast because as always the tv people know better than the comic people.

AVENGERS WEST COAST had it´s great moments especially under writer / artist John Byrne who started things off with the brilliant VISION QUEST storyline that tried to clear up a few things about the Vision´s previous origin story although it ultimately just served to further complicate them.

At least until the whole mess was sorted out in one of the best limited series in Avengers lore ever, the aptly named 12 issue maxi series AVENGERS FOREVER written by Kurt Busiek and drawn by Carlos Pacheco.

Yes, there was a time when the Avengers didn´t suck. Although - case in point - this comic and the cartoon happened around the same time since according to wikipedia the relationship between Wanda and Wonder Man was based on the storyline from the Busiek and Perez AVENGERS restart where Morgana Le Fey transforms the whole planet into a medieval world.

Now one reason why I just had to post the AVENGERS : UNITED THEY STAND cartoon was that the Vision in the new movie looks a lot like the one in the cartoon so maybe somebody owes these guys some royalties.

The other reason I post this is that by sheer luck ( or bad luck depending on how you see it ) I saw the first two episodes of the cartoon show just the day before I saw pictures of the new Vision. To my eternal shame I have to admit that I never saw an episode of the cartoon ( which might have something to do with my mental stability )  and when I finally found the first two episodes they were so bad I have to find the whole show.

There are so many things wrong with the show - Hawkeye REALLY looks like somebody from a carny, Wonder Man is as big as the Hulk, and is that really how americans think the Scarlet Witch speaks ? - anyway, I made a promise to Terry to put the first episode into one of my next posts.

And since it ends on a cliffhanger and I don´t like to leave you hanging here´s part 2. Let´s see if the new Avengers movie is better than this.

Since this post is about Marvel movies I want to start the video section with one about their most successful one, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY.

For more classic Star Lord check out this post by Old Groove to read the entire issue of MARVEL SUPER SPECTACULAR 10 that has the story " World in a Bottle " by Doug Moench, the great Gene Colan and Tom Palmer.

And if you still haven´t had enough about the original Star Lord fly by Peter Doree´s THE BRONZE AGE OF BLOGS for MARVEL PREMIERE issue 61´s " Planet Story " by Doug Moench and the wonderful Tom Sutton.

It´s been quite some time since this blog had some Doctor Who related content so I´m posting the classic comic relief episode " The Curse of Fatal Death " which I haven´t watched until last week. It´s really not as bad as I had feared, Rowan Atkinson does a really good Doctor as does Hugh Grant. There are some jokes I didn´t like but it´s very much in the same tone as some of the episodes I´ve seen with the Master, I think it´s hilarious through how many regenerations the Doctor goes through in a really short amount of time and we get the first female Doctor Who.

Speaking of Doctor Who, I know that fedoras are all the craze with Whovians but Power Girl Kristi Thinks has some bad news for us.

And last but not least here´s another video from SWITCH RELOADED with Martin Hill as N24´s Tatjana Ohm. I know I already put one in my last post ( my 125th post, yay ) but these things never last very long on YouTube.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Feminists agree with Dr. Fredric Wertham

I wanted to do a FLASH FRIDAY or SUPERMAN SUNDAY post since there have been some things that I wanted to address about their origins but at the moment another big crisis is happening in the comic industry, namely the big companies bowing to the peer pressure by SJWs and Comic Geek Chique to replace their normal heroes with gay / black / female versions.

It´s all a big conspiracy to further their own sick agenda by brainwashing people, censor artists, writers and companies to ruin comics forever.

Now you might think that´s overreacting and that there is no such thing happening. Then my dear friend I have to say you are wrong. The reason why you don´t think this is happening is that these people clothe their brainwashing and censorship in righteous causes and legitimate outrage over important issues. The problem with that is that when you take a closer look you see that all of these things that get blown totally out of proportion by social networks like twitter that there is not much ground to the accusations. Why ? Because in most cases the persons who start these crusades ( I´m using that word on purpose ) are misinformed, ignorant and . . . . I can´t even call them afficionados because they don´t even have that basic knowledge about the characters they complain about.

Case 1 : ChangeTheCover forces DC to pull rape promotion cover

This sounds like good news because rape is wrong and a big company like DC should not promote it or show it in a positive light . Sadly that´s not what REALLY happened here. What really happened is that a bunch of misinformed women who are probably not even regular comic readers but rather bandwagonhopping comic geek chique who started reading comics because it´s trendy now since they saw it on BIG BANG THEORY who have no idea of who Batgirl really is got the artist Rafael Albuquerque and DC to pull a cover because they know better than the guys who have written or read about her for a few decades what is right or wrong for Batgirl.

Now I could go into detail about the whole thing but thankfully I found this video on YouTube that explains it really comprehensive. Just watch this :

So let´s dissect the thing here. First of the cover in question was NOT the real cover BUT a variant cover. One of 25 variant covers for this issue.

For people who are not familiar with variant covers - and I guess a lot of them who have come here via a link on an outraged post aren´t - those are special covers done by comic companies to get comic buyers to buy more comics. I have always said that this practice of artificially inflating sales by doing these variant cover months that often have nothing to do with the series they appear on will one day bite the comic companies in the behind and now it finally has. But back to the explanation of variant covers : the thing is that for every 500 issues that a comic shop buys it gets 1 ( in words ONE ) variant cover. So you might say that there must be comic shops that buy more or at least around 500 issues of BATGIRL so they have this special cover in question. That WOULD be true if this was the only variant cover OR comic shops could pick which variant cover they get. Which they obviously can´t since then it would have been enough to ask comic retailers not to buy or sell this particular variant cover instead of making all this brouhaha and going to the top people at DC. But this is only 1 of 25 variant covers so that according to Murphy´s Law a comic shop may have to order 500 issues time 25 which brings us to 12,500 issues just to get this BATGIRL variant cover - by accident or on purpose.

Now according to the internet sales figures of BATGIRL are somewhere between 40,000 and 65,000 issues depending on the month. And let´s be generous here and say that 70,000 issues of BATGIRL would have been sold that month. If you apply the 12,500 issues to get this particular variant hypothesis you have 5.6 copies, let´s say 6 copies. If you apply the 500 issues to get the variant we still have only 140 copies. So the whole s - word - storm broke loose over 140 copies of a comic. Tops.

The second thing is the history of Batgirl which I obviously have to explain since nobody apart from some " hardcore comic fans " know about this.

And with " hardcore comic fans " we mean comic readers / creators who have not just recently jumped the comic bandwagon because it´s trendy now to be a comic geek and who remember the Batgirl BEFORE the NEW 52 and even the PRE - CRISIS Batgirl ( oy, don´t ask me what a crisis is ).

What most people ignore in all of this back and forth is that Batgirl is not a character that originated in the comics but much rather was invented for the campy Batman tv show portrayed by the fabulous Yvonne Craig.

Batgirl proved so popular that she was later introduced in the comic books where she played the role of sidekick to Batman and Robin suffering from all the ridiculous cliches about women that were the norm at that time.

She later on was written more realistically or let´s say emancipated but she never was her own character still playing the sidekick to Batman or at least always being in his shadow as a kind of female version of Batman.

She never became her own persona until the aftermath of The Killing Joke which - big surprise - the woman who instigated this whole campaign to change the cover of BATGIRL 41 ( and when I say change I mean cancel since Rafael has not done a new cover yet ) admits to not having read.

What´s more she says that she only had a loose understanding that The Killing Joke was A Thing - if you want to go and call one of the most popular Batman stories in the entire history of that character just A Thing - and that even without knowing the proper context she was disturbed. Furthermore she writes that there are a lot of readers like her, perhaps a lot of younger and female readers who have come to comics recently - maybe even because of the BATGIRL relaunch. Which I find legitimate.

I know that there are new readers who don´t have the huge knowledge about all the comic characters at DC. And it may surprise some people out there but even such an old geezer like me was new to the DC universe once. I didn´t start reading comics in the Silver Age ( oy, don´t ask me what the Silver Age is ) and I had to get back issues to find out more about the characters. But that´s the thing. Back in the day we didn´t get off halfcocked without knowing things. I don´t know if it has to do with Today´s comic reader´s lack of initiative ( aside from starting senseless s - word - storms on twitter ) or if it´s purely a female thing or something only feminists do but if such a cover had been released when I started reading comics the first thing for a person unfamiliar with the work it refers to - The Killing Joke - to do would have been to read the thing. It´s not such a big book, it´s only 64 pages. That doesn´t take too long now.

First off, The Killing Joke was never intended to be part of the official Bat canon. It was an ELSEWHERE story, which is an imaginary story that happens, might happen or might never had happened in some far away alternate reality that also told a POSSIBLE origin story for the Joker.

It became part of the official Bat lore retroactive because the story was beloved by so many readers and especially comic writers who referenced it a lot. If you don´t know what the story is about go out and read it. And I´m not saying this because I want to piss you off but because it´s really a very good story and I don´t want to spoil your reading experience. What I will mention is that in the story the Joker shoots Barbara Gordon in the spine which will cripple her later on, strips her naked and shoots pictures of this to show to her father, Police Comissioner Gordon, in an attempt to break him and make him loose his sanity just to prove a point to Batman.

Because that´s what the Joker does - he is a twisted sicko who does effed up sick s - word because he´s like a psychopath and crazy and all that.

To wrap up my comments on The Killing Joke there are two things that may have been changed retroactively : Joker raping Barbara Gordon after shooting her and Batman killing the Joker on the final page of the story.

Again, back when I first read it these things were left for the reader to decide. On the last page Batman has his hands on the Joker which could be him leaning on the Joker or attacking the Joker. The last thing we see is a sound that could be a police siren or the final scream of the Joker as Batman breaks his neck. For years that has been up for readers to decide but in recent interviews many comic creators have said that Batman kills the Joker in the end. Something he hasn´t done in the regular comics.

The same goes for the rape. It is not shown in the comic although being shot at, stripped naked and then being photographed is bad enough and surely falls under sexual assault. Some people argue that the rape is not shown on the photos you see in the comic but there might be some photos the readers does not get to see. There also is the argument that it would not be necessary for the Joker since the pictures of Gordon´s daughter bleeding and naked would be enough to achieve his goal. On the other side it would not be beneath the Joker to do it just for kicks or because there are no lines he won´t cross. Again, for years this was left for the individual reader to decide but recently the official canon is that the rape happened. There also are comic readers who ask why the fact that Jim Gordon also was stripped naked and forced to wear some kind of bondage outfit never made the kind of impact that what happened to Batgirl did.

Which I think has to do with the fact that he wasn´t shot at before that. As someone who just had a knee surgery and went through rehab I know that these kind of injuries are a bitch you do not easily recover from.

Anyway, it may be common consensus that Barbara Gordon was raped in The Killing Joke but it also was the common consensus that Dinah Lance was raped in The Longbow Hunters. Until writer Mike Grell carified that she was attacked and tortured but not raped. What you think happened is not always what happened. But back to what happened after that.

Barbara Gordon ended up in a wheelchair but this became a big turning point in her life as she refused to be a victim and instead played a new role in the superhero community taking up the name of Oracle.

Barbara became THE über computer whiz that provided the Batman family with everything a computer could do like gather intel. Subsequently she turned into this urban legend in the costumed society that first assisted the Justice League on missions making the impossible possible and later on provided her services to the entire superhero community. If you were really connected you had a direct link to Oracle. Barbara even recruited her own team, the Birds of Prey, to go on missions of her choosing.

She even had a second encounter with the Joker - although he didn´t recognize her - where she more than held her own and even got her payback by smashing his teeth in and ruining his smile. You go, girl.

Barbara Gordon went from female Batman knock off to standard damsel in distress who got crippled to antagonize the hero to becoming her own persona who wins against impossible odds. As Oracle she was a much more accomplished and a much more interesting character than Batgirl ever was. And it´s not like she was the first or even the last Batgirl.

There was the Golden Age Batgirl, Betty Kane, the niece and sidekick of the original Golden Age Batwoman Kathy Kane ( who was not a lesbian ).

After Barbara Gordon there was Cassandra Cain a.k.a. Latex / Bondage Batgirl who couldn´t speak but had the ability to read body language which she used in her fighting style. Of course DC changed that in the first issue of her ongoing solo title by giving her back the ability to speak which made her loose her fighting skills. Thus turning an once interesting character into a shallow shadow of herself no one wanted to read about.

But the most stupid Batgirl of them all was Stephanie Brown a.k.a. Spoiler or like I call her the Failer. Because she has failed at every superhero identity that for some unknown reason comic writers keep putting on her. To put things into perspective : she sucked so much at being Robin that she ended up getting killed in a gang war SHE started to impress Batman. The only flaw in her plan was that one of the key figures to this plan was Matches Malone - which apparently everybody BUT Stephanie Brown knew was a disguise for Batman. I mean Jason Todd was an a - hole that didn´t have any friends but he didn´t start a gang war and he ended up being killed by the Joker ( or the readers depending on your take on the thing ).

So what was Stephanie´s reward for being the worst Robin ever ? She was resurrected and became the worst Batgirl ever. Okay, time to wrap it up.

I wanted to mention the new attacks on Frank Cho´s SPIDERGWEN cover, the female Thor and black Captain America but this whole Batgirl thing has just gotten too long so we will have to discuss this in another post. I really thought my next Bat - related post would be about Bat - artist Norm Breyfogle´s work beyond Batman but that´s not always how things work.

So Barbara Gordon became Oracle and went through a trial by fire which made her a better character and a positive example for handicapped people - at least until the NEW 52 hit. Which played Tabula Rasa with all Bat characters. Catwoman got stupid ( How else do you call a catburglar who not only steals from the mob and thinks they can get away with it but then brings the loot to their fence who is her only friend not realizing the gangster have to make an example by killing whoever they find with their stuff ? Yes, gangsters can´t report to the police if they get robbed. But they don´t need to because they find whoever did it and fit them for a pair of cement shoes, capische ? ) and sexed up beyond recognition.

NEW 52 Selina Kyle had a past as a prostitute and frequent on panel sex with Batman while still in costume. I guess they did have sex before this but we didn´t see it - at least the artists didn´t insult our intelligence by telling us that they do have sex but they still keep their costumes on.

The NEW 52 Batgirl still went through the things Barbara Gordon had to endure in The Killing Joke but instead of it being the big trauma that ended her Batgirl career she just got better. Which kind of downplayed the whole impact of it a little bit which is one of the reasons why I find this whole thing blown out of proportion. To pander to a possible female demographic DC made her even younger in her new incarnation which makes the whole thing with the Joker even creepier - which is totally DC´s fault. They have to decide if they want to have totally oversexed Catwoman with the über grim and gritty Joker who cuts off his own face and tuckers it back on because he´s just craaazy ( more like stupid because that must hurt like the Dickens ) and girly Batgirl in the same universe. I have nothing against a funny take on the Batuniverse since I´m a big fan of the TINY TITANS books ( the best TEEN TITAN related comic during a few decades ) but DC has to make up their mind.

As for the variant cover I wouldn´t have pulled it because even if it might upset some female comic readers who are not familiar with the concept of variant covers, the comic it refers to or even the history of Batgirl ( but they know it´s offensive because they are women )  it´s just a variant cover and there is such a thing people call freedom of expression.

Maybe I´m twice as sensitive to censorship because I grew up in Spain and Germany. In Germany the Nazis had a thing called " Gleichschaltung " which was a process by which the Nazi regime successively established a system of totalitarian control and coordination over all aspects of society including what people were thinking and what kind of art was acceptable and which was labeled " degenerate art ". Now you may think that this is a thing of the past but the aftereffects of this indoctrination are still there in Today´s german culture. I have mentioned in a few posts that there is a different rating system in Germany for films which does not explain WHY a movie gets a certain rating. Because it is none of your business.

The people from the FSK know better than you what is appropriate for you to see and what is not and they don´t have to explain themselves. There was a movement by parents to get ratings like the ratings in the US that explain why a certain movie has a certain rating ( like language, nudity, violence or adult situations ) so the parents had a better understanding if the movie was appropiate to watch for their child but all the government did was make the rating stickers much bigger. The politicians just don´t understand what the people want and the FSK ( which is a joke because it means voluntary self control but it is not voluntary if you can´t get your movies into theater without it ) doesn´t need your approval. They also don´t need any special qualification and don´t have to know anything about movies, the movie industry, art, culture or what´s harmful to children. Which is a big thing in Germany because there is no censorship.

There exists only the legal protection for children and young persons. It even says so in the german constitution : Censorship does not take place.

Only youth protection. The strange thing about german youth protection is that apparently even adult citizens still fall under this kind of protection because there are some movies which you can´t get in an uncut version even if you are an adult and there are no children or young persons living in your house who could be harmed. That´s a concept that was very hard to explain to my spanish relatives. You may ask yourself what all this has to do with comics but there is also the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons and the Federal Department for Writings Harmful to Young Persons. They put comics on the index, order police raids of comic book stores although there often are no legal grounds for that and even put one of the biggest publishers out of business - mainly because one local politician wanted to make a name for himself and the other publishers turned a blind eye to this because they wanted to get their licenses. There have been many discussions how to avert this it´s almost impossible to organize any kind of union for comic creators. Some of them even WANT this kind of censorship because it is still ingrained in the german populace that somebody HAS to control movies and books and art - that´s a quote from basically every discussion I had on german messageboards which in turn is one of the reasons why I started this blog.

Now the people of Spain are of a different mindset because they also experienced censorship during Francoist Spain but while this was also performed by a fascist regime ( or authoritarian depending on which theory you prefer ) the general populace did not willingly take part in this. So in Spain things like censorship are not taken lightly and a really serious thing while here in Germany you most often have problems making people understand WHEN censorship of art or creativity is even happening.

Now I want to quote Sam Roberts´ post on REAXION which tells us that the Comics Code Authority has indeed returned but under a new disguise : 

Comic book fans are familiar with the “ Comics Code Authority ,” a long running censor for the comics industry. For decades, the CCA controlled what you could and could not say in comics. For example, comics about vampires, werewolves, and zombies were banned, as was the use of the word “ crime. ” Sexual depictions were outright forbidden. The CCA began in 1954, and by the 90’s was considered an obsolete relic of a more censorious age. By 2011, the only publishers that still adhered to it were DC and Archie, and both of them abandoned it shortly afterwards. Today, it’s viewed the same way we view the Spanish Inquisition or Jim Crow laws: something barbarous that our ancestors did, but that we, with our advanced and progressive culture, would never do.

With #ChangeTheCover, feminists have brought the Comics Code into the modern era. If you need any further evidence that modern - day feminists are just latter - day Puritans, here are four items from the Comics Code:

- Rape scenes as well as sexual abnormalities are unacceptable.

- Nudity with meretricious purpose and salacious postures shall not be permitted in the advertising of any product; clothed figures shall never be presented in such a way as to be offensive or contrary to good taste or morals.

- Females shall be drawn realistically without exaggeration of any physical qualities.

- Suggestive and salacious illustration or suggestive posture is unacceptable.

Sound familiar?

The issue here is not rape in comics although that has been long a thorn with feminists. But then The Killing Joke was not attacked directly.

Probably because that would never have worked. And if you did this where would you draw the line ? IDENTITY CRISIS is another fantastic comic but there is also a rape scene in it. And even if you somehow managed to change that this event had so many repercussions that you could not change them all. Plus there are plenty comics out there where women are raped, assaulted and murdered. Well, men too but we like to ignore that. Instead you just go for the easy target because you know there will be a big media hype around it which helps you get into the news. And of course DC used this to get into the news as the comic publisher who listens to their female readers ( or the feminists ) and pulls an offensive cover.

The really dangerous thing is that like political correctness this is just another way to control what you think or what you read. It should be really alarming to which extremes the whole farce went and how many people jumped on the bandwagon without feeling a need to inform themselves of the facts about this. Remember, it always starts with the small things.

Usually I provide a lot of links for the post but since there are too many for this whole Batgirl thing - and you have no trouble finding them -  I´m just including this one ( well, apart from the links I have already included in the text ) by Cathy Young at TIME who elaborates that Comics like Batgirl shouldn´t require a " Good Feminist " seal of approval and that the answer to get more positive female protagonists is more creativity and less policing, proving there are women with a different viewpoint.

One of the things I already tackled in a post is the casting of black Johnny Storm ( why is the black dude the one who gets set on fire again ? ) and while I have no intention of addressing that again I want to include some links to J.Lambs blog SNOOPY JENKINS. Being a nerd of color he has some interesting arguments to make why black Johnny Storm is not a good idea - since you basically also would have to change a lot of his personality and his relationship with Ben Grimm. There is also a must read post on why putting token black guys in superhero movies is not progress . Yes, a lot of the posts are grounded on his particular point of view BUT a.) I don´t think a lot of the points he makes would be as believable coming from a white guy and b.) while that is a factor in posts about how unrealistic Xavier´s dream is in the X - Men , why he reads comics or that comics need to evolve to really be more diverse there are others about why we should wait for the Wonder Woman movie ( or Gal Gadot´s appearance in the Superman vs Batman movie ) before criticizing the casting or that the new Robocop movie can hold his own against the classic one in a detailed analysis of both . What I´m saying is that it´s a blog worthy to read.

Speaking about worthy reads I want to include two more links, one about THE FRANCO YEARS in Spain and one about BATMAN AND FASCISM .

There are a few things I could only mention shortly in this post and since one of them was the Comics Code I wanted to post this excellent video by Amy Dallen about the Code´s history. I don´t think I posted this before.

Another thing I did not get to elaborate is the new female Thor. I´m still hoping to address this in a future post but in the meantime here is a really good explanation why female Thor ( at least this version since there have been female versions of Thor before ) was received so negatively while the new black Captain America was not. I like to compare it to Green Arrow : when Oliver Queen died Connor Hawke took up the mantle of Green Arrow. But he did not call himself Oliver Queen which is basically what this new Thorgirl does. Anyway, just go and watch the video already.

One of the few good things about the Batgirl controversy is that during the making of this post I stumbled upon the videos of KRISTI THINKS. It has been a while since there has been anything Power Girl related on this blog so I hope this helps. I´d tell you not to get distracted by her chest but that´s really impossible and one of the reasons why I´m posting this.

Speaking about women with Power Girl like qualities I have mentioned Tatjana Ohm - the news anchor with the biggest breasts on german tv - once or twice before as well as the on point parody of her by Martina Hill on the sixth season of SWITCH RELOADED. Back then I didn´t find any good videos about that but now there are finally some on YouTube.

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