Thursday, August 04, 2011

Adventure Comics #529 Review, and More

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

The other Academy students notice the fight in Legion HQ and show up to help. Cosmic King is holding his own just fine, but in the end he tries some kind of lethal attack on the students, and Variable Lad uses some kind of reflecting power to defend them. Both Variable Lad and Cosmic King are killed in the process. Gravity Kid quits the Academy to join the SPs on Takron-Galtos.

Review:

So that's Adventure Comics.

It ended on an up note, anyway (in the sense that the story was pretty good, I mean). Although I suppose we'll see the title surface again at some point.

I'm curious about how the timing works out between this comic and LSHv6. Cosmic King showed up in LSHv6 #15, and we know now that that couldn't have happened after this issue. So it must have been before it. Is there going to be a panel in LSHv6 #16 where Saturn Queen pulls Cosmic King out of the fight and sends him to Earth?

I don't really care for how both Adventure and LSHv6 ended, or will end, with characters dying. It's too conventional. It's a surprise twist that isn't surprising or twisty.

At the end of the issue, Bouncing Boy says that the students have increased their odds of becoming Legionnaires with the events of this story. I'm not sure I see it. True, they were brave; true, they showed initiative. But they didn't use teamwork to any noticeable extent. They couldn't really use their powers effectively against Cosmic King. The only one who really got through was Variable Lad, and he got killed. To me, they don't look any more like Legionnaires than they did before.

For the Jaquaans, what exactly is the advantage of that third arm on their back? How did it evolve? There's no eye-hand coordination with it, so how do they learn to do anything with it? I'd like it if some smart science fiction thinker came up with a real good story to explain that.

Art: 75 panels/20 pages = 3.8 panels/page. Two single-panel pages.

Low panel count, but it felt like a substantial story, so what do I know. Very pretty work by Borges, too; I direct your attention to Variable Lad on page 4 for an example of what worked for me.

In Other News:

Well, we're getting a miniseries where the Legion crosses over with Star Trek, published by IDW. I guess that's one idea. It'll be drawn by the Moys, which is cool as far as the Legionnaires are concerned but I can't quite picture their style being applied to Star Trek. Best news for me is that it'll be written by Chris Roberson, for whom this whole thing is right in his wheelhouse. I've wanted to see him write the Legion for a while.

I've thought of a couple of people like that, people whose takes on the Legion I'd enjoy seeing. Matthew K. Manning, for instance; he wrote a few issues of LSH31C that I enjoyed, and I figured that he'd do okay if he had a real chance to explore the characters. Or William Joyce: he's got that pulp-retro-future sensibility that ought to work great.

That's good thinking, right? Those are two decent candidates?

Combine them with Roberson and Fabian Nicieza and Paul Levitz, all of whom are going to be writing Legion comics this fall, and all of whom have impeccable credentials, and you've got five white guys. So I just fell into the same trap DC Comics did when they were doling out books for the relaunch. How come there have been so few women working on the Legion? For instance.

Not none. Mindy Newell. Mary Bierbaum. Colleen Doran. Gail Simone. But, issue by issue, across the long sweep of the Legion's history, very few.

And I don't imagine it's anything malevolent on DC's part that leads them to do what they do. They're doing what's easy. They have a stable of creators they know, trust, and like, who are acceptably professional and who are willing to write and draw whatever Geoff Johns thinks up for the 52 different titles, so where's the percentage in looking around for anything other than that?

This is something else people have been talking about a lot this week. For instance, my colleagues over at the Legion of Substitute Podcasters wrestled with this topic and came to conclusions I disagree with. Colin Smith at Too Busy Thinking about My Comics took on a related topic.

I read an article recently, and I'd link to it except I can't for the life of me remember where I read it, about some company who does some kind of creative work. Might be advertising or something; I dunno. The people in charge of the company decided that, for the work they did, they were going to hire 50% women and 50% men, period. So they did it and it worked out great for them. They're thrilled with the results of this policy. So, okay: why can't DC do the same thing?

Most of the people who give an opinion about DC's failure to hire female comic creators will say that they don't want quotas; they want the best people hired who will therefore produce the best comics. Which is all well and good except that
a) the available talent for DC certainly exceeds the number of available jobs by so much that DC could restrict themselves to the most constraining of quotas and still be able to fill the jobs without any perceptible loss in quality
b) it's easy for white guys to say that they just want the best comics possible; maybe the rest of the world could use something in addition to quality out of their comics (and, sure, it's true that superhero comics have a predominantly male audience... but is that the chicken or the egg?)
c) if your comics have been so overwhelmingly white-and-male for so long, how do you even know that you're getting the best comics? I bet baseball fans of the 1940s thought they were seeing the best possible baseball, too, before Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby and Aaron and Mays showed them that they weren't.

So, never mind Manning and Joyce for a while. What would Kelly Link do with the Legion? What if they turned the title over to Colleen Doran? Or Tara Tallan?

When I open a comic book, I want to see stuff I've never seen before. And, sure, I'm a Legion fan: I want to see Legion stuff I've never seen before. But at this stage I don't know if Paul Levitz is going to give that to me. Maybe we could try something radical and let someone from outside the boys' club have a pop at it.

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31 Comments:

Anonymous Jim Davis said...

Most of the people who give an opinion about DC's failure to hire female comic creators will say that they don't want quotas;

I think this is a complete non issue. This is a self selection process. Most of people interested in pursuing a career in comics are white males; certainly most people interested in reading comics are white males.

Now you could argue it doesn't have to be that way; manga obviously has wider appeal.

So the question then becomes what product other than the standard superhero fare should DC be producing in order to attract non white male readers and by extension non white male creators? Would you be enthusiastic for DC to drop some titles (say Legion, for example) in order to make way for more female friendly projects?

Such things have been tried in the past (Milestone comes to mind) with singular lack of success.

the available talent for DC certainly exceeds the number of available jobs by so much that DC could restrict themselves to the most constraining of quotas and still be able to fill the jobs without any perceptible loss in quality

That's an interesting assertion. Can you name 25 female writers and artists that are looking for work at DC or Marvel whose work is up to snuff? Who do you think is being shut out by the old boy network?

10:32 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Now you could argue it doesn't have to be that way

That's exactly what I was going to say!

Would you be enthusiastic for DC to drop some titles (say Legion, for example) in order to make way for more female friendly projects?

I'll never be enthusiastic about DC dropping the Legion. Then again, the Legion is, or could easily be, perfectly female-friendly. As could many other of DC's big properties. So I don't really accept the assumptions behind the question.

Can you name 25 female writers and artists that are looking for work at DC or Marvel whose work is up to snuff?

Can I? No. Can anyone? I bet they can. Can DC? I bet they can.

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Jim Davis said...

Then again, the Legion is, or could easily be, perfectly female-friendly. As could many other of DC's big properties. So I don't really accept the assumptions behind the question.

By female-friendly I don't mean that females wouldn't be offended by them. By female-friendly mean attractive enough to females so that the demographics of the buying public, and ultimately the creative talent, would change radically.

In case that's not clear take romance novels as an example. Romance novels are male-friendly in the sense that males wouldn't be offended by them. But romance novels would have to undergo major changes in order to attract male buyers.

Romance novels are probably a good counterpoint to your proposal that DC hire a lot of female staff. Should Harlequin fire half its editorial staff and replace them with males? Should they favor submissions from male authors so that equal numbers of male and female authored books are published even though submissions are overwhelmingly from females?

I think romance novels are like superhero comics in that they both are niche markets catering to very specific tastes which happen to be largely gender specific both on the consumption and creative ends.

Like most niche markets they might eventually die out but there's nothing inherently wrong with them that needs to be fixed.

Can anyone? I bet they can. Can DC? I bet they can.

I'm sorry I can't believe that Jenette Kahn and Paul Levitz spent the last 35 years trying to keep talented women out the comics field; quite the contrary.

2:12 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Your romance-novel analogy is an interesting one and I don't have a response to it at the moment; I'll put it in a separate comment when I do. Oh, hold on: I just thought of it.

Two things. First, romance novels are flourishing and superhero comics are struggling.

Second, there are fans of superhero comics who would like to see the genre/medium become more inclusive of girls and women. And are quite vocal about it. I can give you links if you want 'em. To the best of my knowledge (and my wife reads quite widely in this area, so I assume I would have heard about it) there's no corresponding movement with respect to romance novels. If there was, then Harlequin should respond to it.

I can't believe that Jenette Kahn and Paul Levitz spent the last 35 years trying to keep talented women out the comics field

I don't believe it either, and said as much in the original article.

2:24 PM  
Anonymous AJay said...

Having re-read the Legion Academy arc I have to say that it really worked well for me. The story went places and defied my expectations. The newly introduced characters had their own personalities and I got to love some and dislike others. I was truly shocked by the deaths of Cosmic King and Variable Boy, I do hope to see another member of his litter try to join the team.
I was expecting that the student to die might be Gravity Kid, which I thought be too "Star Trek black ensign" for comfort.

2:41 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I'm not completely sold on them yet, but I'm willing to be convinced.

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Jim Davis said...

...there are fans of superhero comics who would like to see the genre/medium become more inclusive of girls and women.

But exactly what do you mean by "more inclusive"?

Do they want the product to change drastically so it attracts more women as readers and buyers? If so, how?

Do they want more women creators? Again, the product will have to change drastically to attract them. Again, how?

Do they want to see particular female creators working at DC? If so, who?

And certainly superhero comics are struggling. But they're struggling because they're superhero comics not because of the high percentage of white males creating them. Non comics readers, male and female, black and white, have better things to do with their time. They aren't put off by the gender of the people in the credits box.



I don't believe it either, and said as much in the original article.

But then you contradicted yourself later when you "bet" that DC could name 25 female writers and artists that are looking for work at DC or Marvel whose work is up to snuff.

If they exist and are talented enough why didn't Levitz or Kahn hire them?

If they're not talented enough why hire them now?

4:38 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

But exactly what do you mean by "more inclusive"?

Probably means different things to different people. I'd say any of your definitions might apply.

Superhero comics have lots of problems, most prominent among them being that there's no good/easy way for a new casual reader to start reading them. But one thing that means is that they can't afford to alienate half the planet Earth as part of their potential audience.

And, yeah, a woman who's considering reading a comic book might be put off if all she sees in the credit boxes, or even most, are men's names.

But then you contradicted yourself later

I try to make a practice of never contradicting myself, and I don't believe I did it this time.

If they exist and are talented enough why didn't Levitz or Kahn hire them?

Because it was just as easy for them to keep hiring the same people they had always hired; the existing (qualified!) writers and artists haven't gone away. And there's also no shortage of talented up-and-coming male creators.

Plus, you know, we all tend to have a picture in our heads of what a successful job applicant looks like. And it looks like a white guy. And as long as that's true, we're going to have to bend over backwards to make sure that white guys don't have an undue advantage in such situations. If that means we have to have a rule, then we should have a rule.

Jim, is there some reason why you feel strongly enough about this to argue your position so intensely?

7:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Gravity Kid and Power Boy are a couple now.But Lamprey was nuzzling Power Boy a while back--do we have a 3-sided affair going on here?

What took down the cadet's ship? Was it Cosmic King,or a result of Variable Lad's transformation? Or the Science Police? Let me guess--the answer will be revealed months down the road,and it will be a vital part of the Levitz masterplan...

1:54 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I have to believe there's nothing there with Lamprey. If there was, we probably would have gotten some kind of hint of it in the last couple of issues, especially since she's not even being sent to the same planet as the rest of them.

And I thought they crashed the ship because they were in a rush and didn't really know how to land it right. Or maybe it was the LSH HQ defenses?

2:11 PM  
Anonymous Rob said...

I was disappointed in the death of Variable Lad. I'm not disappointed because I liked him. I'm disappointed because I didn't really know anything about him. I couldn't describe his personality and I hadn't seen enough of him in action in the previous handful of issues to really care about him when he died. If Glorith had died or the new Chemical dude or even the Gravity guy or Dragonwing, then I would have been more shocked as I had gotten to know them a little.

The other problem with Variable Lad's powers was that it was hardly ever apparent what power he had adopted. So when he turned into that snake-like thing, what powers did he have? How did he overcome Cosmic King? I'm not looking for answers, just expressing some (mild) disappointment.

Hopefully when Dragonwing, Chemical guy, and Glorith join the new Legion, their powers (and especially the rules and limits around Glorith's powers) will be explored more.

3:41 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I can go along with that. It surprised me a little because Variable Lad didn't look disposable. He was something of a legacy character, he was of an unusual but sorta familiar species, he had a superpower that might be interesting to explore. Don't expect a guy like that to die. Gravity Kid seemed much more likely to me.

(I know you didn't ask for this, but my idea about his powers as a giant crystal snake is that he could reflect superpowered attacks. Only partially, as it turned out...)

5:04 PM  
Anonymous Rob said...

Re-reading the issue, I noticed in two separate panels that Cosmic King's turn-your-body-to-gas rays seemed to be bouncing back off Variable Lad's snake form skin - so your analysis seems to be correct. But yes, alas, only partially for the poor lad!

5:41 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Fits in with superhero ethics: don't kill, but sometimes you can't stop them from killing themselves if they insist on it...

6:43 PM  
Anonymous Jim Davis said...

Plus, you know, we all tend to have a picture in our heads of what a successful job applicant looks like. And it looks like a white guy.

Please speak for yourself, Matthew.

Jim, is there some reason why you feel strongly enough about this to argue your position so intensely?

???

I don't think I have anything on you in the intensity department.

6:59 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Please speak for yourself, Matthew.

What, you don't think it's true? I mean, none of us want it to be true...

I don't think I have anything on you in the intensity department.

But surely I am the most easygoing of men.

No, I'm serious, though; is there something about what I'm saying that bugs you more than the stuff I usually say?

7:55 PM  
Anonymous Jim Davis said...

What, you don't think it's true?

It's hardly a question of what I think, surely? That's a very sweeping statement and you don't give any background on how you arrived at that conclusion. I suppose it's possible that Levitz and Kahn are deep down in their soul of souls racists and sexists but I haven't seen any evidence of it. I only know them by reputation and what they've written and said. Nothing jumps out at me that indicates they have something against women or non whites.

But surely I am the most easygoing of men.

You seem to have a fair amount of passion on this subject.

No, I'm serious, though; is there something about what I'm saying that bugs you more than the stuff I usually say?

Usually, whether I happen to agree with you or not, your opinions are well reasoned and the premises and conclusions are laid for all to see.

In this case, you didn't do that. You've tossed out some fairly serious accusations of sexism and racism, mostly by implication. I don't know who is in charge of the hiring and firing of the creative talent at DC. Eddie Berganza? Bob Harris? Diane Nelson? Dan Didio? Jim Lee? Geoff Johns? It seems you've tossed these people and their predecessors like Levitz and Kahn under the bus on very thin grounds. I thought maybe I should speak up for them.

If it bothers you I'll stop.

9:57 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

It doesn't bother me, but this:

You've tossed out some fairly serious accusations of sexism and racism

is not what I'm doing.

What I'm saying, I guess, is that despite everyone's best efforts over the past, oh, half-century or more, there is still racism and sexism around, in general, and that DC's hiring policies, which are almost certainly well-intentioned and fairly conceived, have nonetheless led us to a point where

a) DC's roster of creators is overwhelmingly male, and
b) fans are complaining about it
c) at a time when the comics industry is gasping for breath in the first place

so it's time to try something new. I'm not saying that they're racist or sexist; I have no reason to believe that they are. I'm suggesting that they change their policies so that they can be not-racist and not-sexist better, and that I think this could make their comics better, or at worst shouldn't make them any worse. And what's wrong with that?

10:19 AM  
Anonymous Jim Davis said...

a) DC's roster of creators is overwhelmingly male, and
b) fans are complaining about it
c) at a time when the comics industry is gasping for breath in the first place

so it's time to try something new. I'm not saying that they're racist or sexist; I have no reason to believe that they are.


I really don't know what to make of this, Matthew.

If, as you state, they're not sexists or racists then the creative talent at present must be about the best that can be had subject to the limitations firms like DC are subject to despite being overwhelmingly male. That being the case any radical change in the creative talent, such as you advocate, can only lead to a lower quality product. The wisdom of lower product quality in an industry that is, as you put it, gasping for breath is, to put it politely, not obvious.

If fans are complaining that DC is not adopting blatantly sexist policies like hiring and firing creative talent based solely on gender even if it means an inferior product one has to wonder exactly what they're fans of. It sure doesn't seem to be superhero comic books.

I suspect that there are sound biological, sociological, and/or psychological reasons why comics about very powerful people in very colorful costumes that trash each other and everything else in sight appeal overwhelmingly to males on both the creative and consumer side. And I stopped wondering why women don't get the Three Stooges a long time ago.

1:39 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

the creative talent at present must be about the best that can be had subject to the limitations firms like DC are subject to despite being overwhelmingly male

This assumes that DC has been perfectly efficient in identifying and hiring the best talent available. My point is that we disagree about the distribution of talent in the comics industry. I think we can agree that the Grant Morrisons of the world are very rare, and I think we can also agree that the Gail Simones of the world are pretty rare.

But what I think that you seem not to think is that once you get down to the next tier below them, talent is fairly abundant, and you don't need to keep giving work to a guy you've already got just because you know him; there are any number of men and women out there who are just about as good and maybe a little better. (This is treating the quality of someone's work like it's a fixed level, which is obviously not true.) So I disagree with you that the quality of the product would suffer.

I suspect that there are sound biological, sociological, and/or psychological reasons why comics about very powerful people in very colorful costumes that trash each other and everything else in sight appeal overwhelmingly to males on both the creative and consumer side.

If that was all superhero comics were (never mind all they could be), they wouldn't appeal to me either. Nor, I suspect, you.

1:54 PM  
Anonymous Jim Davis said...

But what I think that you seem not to think is that once you get down to the next tier below them, talent is fairly abundant, and you don't need to keep giving work to a guy you've already got just because you know him; there are any number of men and women out there who are just about as good and maybe a little better. (This is treating the quality of someone's work like it's a fixed level, which is obviously not true.) So I disagree with you that the quality of the product would suffer.

We'll have to agree to disagree here. I think creative talent is much like anything else - it forms a pyramid with the A-list superstars at the peak and the barely adequate D-listers at the base. DC naturally hires from as close to the peak as practical. Replacing talent near the peak with talent near the base is not sound policy.

But, for the sake of argument, let's accept your premise that the particular creative talent assigned to a book has no affect on its quality. Let's imagine, as you suggest, that DC's editorial staff would do just as well flipping coins or picking names out of a hat to select talent rather than their current policies, except for a few obvious superstars.

It would still result in a predominantly male staff because most of the names in the hat would belong to males.

Now, as you claim, there are fans who aren't interested in the books per se, only the gender of the talent. No doubt they would want DC to have two hats, one with the names of women, one with the names of men, to be chosen from equally (or maybe not equally). I can't imagine DC actually adopting such a blatantly sexist hiring policy. But I might be wrong, I know the higher ups at DC only by reputation. Maybe someone should suggest it to them and report the reactions?

If that was all superhero comics were (never mind all they could be), they wouldn't appeal to me either. Nor, I suspect, you.

Now you're being silly, Matthew. Of course that's not all superhero comics are. They have all the elements of the literary form like plot, character, drama, romance, humor, etc, etc just as other genres like westerns, horror, romance, war, crime, mysteries, gothics, science fiction, etc do. The powerful characters, colorful costumes, endless battles, etc are what distinguishes the superhero genre. It's these distinguishing elements that attract predominantly males, on both the consumption and production ends.

1:31 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I hope that you haven't felt, during this discussion, that I was frequently misinterpreting things you said. I've tried not to. I say this because you've just misinterpreted a whole lot of things that I said.

We'll have to agree to disagree here. I think creative talent is much like anything else - it forms a pyramid with the A-list superstars at the peak and the barely adequate D-listers at the base. DC naturally hires from as close to the peak as practical.

See, I do agree with that; start to finish. But what I think is that the As and Bs are rare enough that you can't fill out 52 titles with them, so you have to drop down into the Cs to do that. And I think that Cs are plentiful enough that you can take your pick from them. At no point was I suggesting that DC replace As with Ds; that would make no sense.

let's accept your premise that the particular creative talent assigned to a book has no affect on its quality.

That is certainly not my premise. I think that replacing one C with another C may have a good effect, a bad effect, or no effect, depending on how well the two Cs match up with the book.

Now, as you claim, there are fans who aren't interested in the books per se, only the gender of the talent.

That is certainly not my claim. The book itself is, must always be, the most important thing... but I think there are people who also care about who it is that's telling the story.

As for your two-hats thing, well, that kind of is what I was suggesting, although I wouldn't want to randomize it. I wish I could remember where that article was I mentioned above, about the company that did set themselves a quota and found it worked great for them. As it is, I might be lying about it, for all you know. I always do that: see something interesting and forget where I saw it. Anyway, my premise is, if DC did that, they might just find that they liked how it turned out.

The powerful characters, colorful costumes, endless battles, etc are what distinguishes the superhero genre.

This I also agree with. But those are ingredients, and you can come up with a lot of different recipes from them. And I don't think there's anything about the sample space of those recipes that's inherently more suited to men than women.

2:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a general shout-out to all forums...please urgently boycott the Wonder Woman forum on Comic Book Resources.
The lead moderator, AEGISBEARER, has been arrested on two charges of lewd and indecent behaviour with two of the pupils he teaches.
As of today CBR still refuse to either suspend or fire him; this is a situation that cannot be allowed to continue.
A general warning has gone out to all forums about this individual and the situation will continue to be monitored until appropriate action has been taken.
Thank you for your time.

3:52 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I'm going to leave that comment there, but I'm not really comfortable about it. I mean, first, I don't know any more about it than you just told me. Second, charged is not the same as guilty, and the presumption of innocence is an important thing. Third, CBR can run their site however they want and I'm not convinced they're wrong. Fourth, it's unclear to me how having a criminal moderator, assuming for the sake of argument that he's guilty, is a legitimate ground on which to criticize a website.

So I dunno. Everybody make up your own minds about it.

9:57 PM  
Anonymous Jim Davis said...

I say this because you've just misinterpreted a whole lot of things that I said.

I assure you that's not intentional. I just don't think you've grasped the full implications of many of your statements.

And I think that Cs are plentiful enough that you can take your pick from them. At no point was I suggesting that DC replace As with Ds; that would make no sense.

What you were suggesting (I hope this isn't misrepresenting) is that DC replace people it accepted with gender neutral hiring policies with people it rejected with those same gender neutral hiring policies.

That is certainly not my premise. I think that replacing one C with another C may have a good effect, a bad effect, or no effect, depending on how well the two Cs match up with the book.

But clearly that can't be the case. I am not intimately familiar with how DC hires and fires. I presume it uses an audition and/or interview system much like other organizations. I presume when filling a vacancy they have a fixed budget for contracting talent. The size of the budget will determine the quality of talent they can hire. If DC has a writing or pencilling position open it will attract candidates interested in filling that position. Let's say it's the Legion book. Writers will be asked how familiar they are with the Legion, do they read the Legion, what tone would they set for the Legion, what direction would you take the Legion, please dialog these sample pages, etc, etc. Pencillers would be asked to draw a few pages from a sample script, render various characters, design a Khundish ship, etc, etc. From all these interviews of perhaps a dozen or more C-listers, even if all are equally talented, one will stand out above the rest as having the best ideas to move the book forward. It won't be a matter of "you can take your pick from them". That's why managers interview or audition prospective talent.

Now hitherto this gender neutral process has resulted in predominantly males being hired. You're suggesting that gender neutrality be abandoned and females be given preference in hiring. I fail to see how restrictions on the available talent one is allowed to hire from can maintain product quality much less increase it. The whole notion seems counterintuitive.

I am reminded of complaints that the Mechanical Engineering faculty is predominantly male. But if mechanical engineering majors are predominantly male how could it be otherwise? That's where the faculty ultimately comes from.

But those are ingredients, and you can come up with a lot of different recipes from them. And I don't think there's anything about the sample space of those recipes that's inherently more suited to men than women.

I'm afraid the demographics of the superhero comics readership don't support that contention.

I'll leave you the last word, Matthew, since we've seem to be making the same points over again. I've enjoyed the give and take. I always look forward to your reviews.

2:27 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I'll leave you the last word, Matthew, since we've seem to be making the same points over again.

All right, well, I'll try not to misuse it.

What you were suggesting (I hope this isn't misrepresenting) is that DC replace people it accepted with gender neutral hiring policies with people it rejected with those same gender neutral hiring policies.

I don't like to put it like that. After all, acceptance and rejection, in this industry, are never final. A rejection isn't "never"; it's "not this time". Similarly, an acceptance isn't "forever"; it's "for now". Employment with DC and Marvel is pretty fluid. As you know.

Also, I would think that DC should be able to look around and say, gee, that's really not a lot of women; maybe our hiring policies, as well-intentioned as they were, didn't turn out to be as gender-neutral as they were intended to be, so from here on in we'll start doing things differently.

From all these interviews of perhaps a dozen or more C-listers, even if all are equally talented, one will stand out above the rest as having the best ideas to move the book forward.

In the scenario you've described, yes. Fine. Hire that person. But that isn't always how it works. Sometimes you might get two different candidates standing out among the rest. Or three. Or maybe there's a fourth whose take is just as good but it's not the kind of thing DC usually goes for, and it doesn't sound like the kind of thing fifteen-year-old boys would snap up. Or something else. Situations in which there's some leeway, is what I'm saying.

And, remember: I'm not arguing for a different brand of monoculture here; I'm arguing for diversity. Something for everyone.

I'm afraid the demographics of the superhero comics readership don't support that contention.

Well, let's not pretend that the superhero genre has reached anywhere near the limits of its potential so far, in any medium.

3:32 PM  
Blogger Ken said...

I finally was able to pick up the issue, and man did it fly by.

I came away with the feeling that both Cosmic King and Variable Lad have the potential to return based on each of their powers.

10:33 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I guess they do. I don't really see the need to bring either one back, though.

10:41 PM  
Blogger Murray said...

For what it's worth...
with regards to the Wonder Woman forum moderator... a quick google search led me to this site
http://comicperday.blogspot.com/2011/07/fall-of-hulks-red-hulk-tpb.html
where the comments suggest that he did no such thing.

1:41 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Thanks.

2:09 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Anybody reading or rereading these comments and interested in the discussion Jim and I were having may also be interested in this:

http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/08/29/superhero-comics-women-sexism/

which I thought was a good article.

1:18 PM  

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