By Arturo R. García
John Stewart, the Green Lantern from Warner Brothers’ Justice League and Justice League Unlimited series.
There’s a stink surrounding DC Entertainment’s alleged intention to kill off John Stewart last week, and it sticks out when you consider this ostensibly non-related promotional item: the company is now pushing a digital-only book based on the adventures of Batman. Specifically, the Batman of 1966:
“The juxtaposition of offering a retro “Batman 66″ comic as a current and modern digital first title is fun,” said DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson.
“DC Entertainment is the most prolific producer of digital first comics and, as we work to create new and compelling content, this is a great way to also preserve the legacy of our characters.
“It’s exciting to roll out the new Batman 66 comic as part of this bigger initiative with our Warner Bros Consumer Product partners.”
DC has previously released digital-first television tie-ins based on “Arrow” and “Smallville.”
Again, there’s no direct link between the company’s digital division planning to resurrect this version of Batman and the DC Comics editors wanting to off the incarnation of Green Lantern that managed to gain mainstream acceptance without being involved in a Hindenburg of a motion picture. But what it does tell us is this: the company would rather court fans of a nearly 50-year-old television show–one synonymous with the cheesiest stereotypes about comic books as a medium and the fandom surrounding it–than the fanbase of a critically acclaimed television show that was on the air less than a decade ago.
Gee, I wonder why that could be?
By Arturo R. García
Aqualad stands at the ready in “Young Justice.”
With just a few days until the series end, we come not only to prepare to bury Young Justice, but to praise this series and its creative team for not just engineering one of the best seasons by an animated series–perhaps one of the top five ever–but for doing so while making full, honest use of a cast of characters that got only more diverse as the series went on.
Spoilers under the cut
Courtesy: DC Comics.
By Arturo R. García
Longtime readers will remember the infamous Twitter discussion between Son of Baldwin and Marvel Comics editor Tom Breevort, where Breevort proceeded to demonstrate how limited the comics industry’s thinking can be when it comes to race.
Not that things have gotten markedly better all of a sudden, but it was pleasant to have a good conversation on the subject vis-a-vis DC Comics’ Superman last night with one of the more notable writers in the industry, Mark Waid, who tackled the character in the Superman: Birthright miniseries, and more recently has earned praise for his work on titles like Irredeemable, Insufferable and Marvel’s Daredevil.
I put together a Storify for the chat, which can be seen under the cut. One note, however: the discussion centers around the representations of the character prior to DC’s reboot last year. So, no short cape and jeans talk here.
By Arturo R. García
The comics world lost a pioneer last week with the passing of artist Tony DeZuniga, who died in the Philippines from complications from a stroke. DeZuniga is best known for being the co-creator of DC Comics characters Black Orchid and Jonah Hex.
DeZuniga’s association with Hex would span almost four decades: 38 years after introducing the character in All-Star Western in 1972, DeZuniga returned to draw Hex for a stand-alone graphic novel, Jonah Hex: No Way Back.
DeZuniga began working as an artist in his native Philippines as a teenager in the 1950s, during the country’s boom period for comics (or Komics, as they were called). In the early 1960s he moved to New York to study graphic design and advertising, a career he would pursue for a few years before returning to the U.S. toward the end of the decade and earning art assignments from DC editor Joe Orlando. DeZuniga became the first Filipino artist to break into the American comics market.
But more importantly, DeZuniga made sure he wasn’t the last to do so, as Comic Book Resources’ Kevin Melrose noted:
He used the opportunity to open the door for other Filipino creators, convincing Orlando and DC Editor-in-Chief Carmine Infantino to visit the Philippines in 1971 to recruit such artists as Alex Niño, Alfredo Alcala, Nestor Redondo, Fred Carrillo, Vicatan and Gerry Talaoc.
That same year DeZuniga collaborated with writer John Albano to create Jonah Hex, the disfigured Western antihero with whom the artist is so closely associated. “[John] asked me to draw the concept for the character, and one day I was at the doctor’s office and I saw this chart with a man, showing him half muscle and half skeleton,” DeZuniga recalled in a 2010 interview with Comic Book Resources. “I thought to myself, ‘This is neat,’ and I got the concept. When John Albano saw it, he was very happy.”
Under the cut you can find just a few examples of DeZuniga’s work with a variety of characters.
By Arturo R. García
This is just an idea that’s been kicking around my head for a few days, but I’d like to get everyone’s early take on it. Let me begin by listing reasons a POC-centric geek gathering should happen:
- Because we’ve already seen Geek Girl Con and and Bent-Con step up for communities typically marginalized or exploited by genre-related industries.
- Because Christina Xu’s GGC wrap-up raises questions that still need to be addressed:
in an age when superstar rapper Nicki Minaj name-checks Street Fighter characters and streetwear brands team up with comic-book companies like Marvel and DC, who exactly is the geek referred to in GeekGirlCon? To be a geek, do you have to prefer filk over bounce? Is it a self-identification?
I ask these questions because I’m legitimately curious; if fandom is the uniting factor, then the increasingly diverse audiences for all of our favorite geek media (video games, sci-fi, comics, etc.) should be offered a place at conventions like GGC. If, in fact, geekdom here is actually defined by a set of social norms and practices (or the lack thereof) that just happens to coincide with fandom, then geek communities need to have some serious internal conversations and own up to that.
- Because, while San Diego Comic-Con and other conventions featured race-positive programming this year, that still doesn’t make them safe spaces.
- Because you can still say the same about any number of fandoms.
- Because in spite of this fact, there’s still members of fandom – consumers, creators and executives alike – who still won’t own up to the fact that there’s geeks out there who react with hostility whenever somebody points out a problematic portrayal of race.
- Because there’s got to be creators and aspiring creators of color out there who need a place in which to meet and network outside of the “general population.”
- Because, while it was great to read about DC Comics getting called out on the carpet at SDCC with regards to gender issues, I shouldn’t have to doubt that raising the same questions about race would get half as much discussion outside of sites like this one or Racebending.
- Because the Akira adaptation is still happening, proving Hollywood didn’t get the message about The Last Airbender.
- Because this might be the best way left to get those same industry forces to listen to our concerns, in a place where we can set the terms of discussion.
Again, this is just a kernel of a concept right now, but … what do you think, Racializens? Would you be up for a full-scale gathering?
By Guest Contributor Cheryl Lynn Eaton, cross-posted from Digital Femme
Comics, completely consumed by superheroes, has only two active fandoms—Marvel and DC. Given that my budget allows for only one ongoing series and I don’t feel right illegally downloading comics, I’ll have to pick one fandom in which to participate.
I’ve chosen my comic. It’s Wonder Woman. I’ve chose my fandom. It’s DC.
I feel horrible. I feel like I’ve just chosen my gender over my race.
By Arturo R. García
DC Comics has added to the buzz surrounding its’ relaunch with the announcement that Teen Titans will feature a gay POC character starting with the series’ third issue.
On one hand, this is something to be happy for, and Titans artist Brett Booth has already expressed his support for gay marriage and gay rights in discussing the new character, Miguel Jose Barragan, a.k.a. Bunker. But, as Booth wrote on his blog, he’s aware that he and series writer Scott Lobdell are wading into a complicated issue.
We wanted to show an interesting character who’s [sic] homosexuality is part of him, not something that’s hidden. Sure they are gay people who you wouldn’t know are gay right off the bat, but there are others who are a more flamboyant, and we thought it would be nice to actually see them portrayed in comics. Did we go over the top, I don’t think so. I wanted you to know he might be gay as soon as you see him. Our TT is partly about diversity of ANY kind, its about all kinds of teens getting together to help each other. It is a very difficult line to walk, will he be as I’ve read in some of the comments ‘fruity’? Not that I’m aware of. Will he be more effeminate than what we’ve seen before, the ‘typical’ gay male comic character, yes. Does it scare the shit out of me that I might inadvertently piss off the group I want to reflect in a positive way, you’re damn straight (pun intended!)
By Arturo R. García
The image above is the last page of DC Comics’ new Suicide Squad #1, which debuted yesterday. And to the chagrin of many fans thus far, the woman in the panel on the left is writer Adam Glass and penciller Marco Rudy’s “reimagined” take on Amanda Waller.
In her original incarnation, seen at right, the woman known as “The Wall” was notable not only for being a non-superpowered human with the confidence and cunning to stand up to the likes of Batman, but to be consistently presented as DC’s resident spymaster (she was frequently involved with prior incarnations of the Dirty Dozen-like Squad), but for being depicted as powerful without looking like the “superhuman ideal.”
The character has also emigrated onto other media platforms. CCH Pounder voiced an animated version of Waller in the Justice League Unlimited animated series; Pam Grier played her on television during the final season of Smallville; and earlier this year, Amanda Bassett stepped into the character for the movie Green Lantern. That said, Waller’s involvement as a “star” in the comics has primarily been restricted to espionage-type titles like Suicide Squad or Checkmate, where she was part of an ensemble. She’s never been called upon to carry a title on her own.
Which makes the decision to revamp the character – whether it was Glass and Rudy’s choice, or something dictated to them by DC head honchos Dan DiDio, Jim Lee and Geoff Johns – even more ill-considered than their decision to draw up a Suicide Girls-like character (seen at left) and call her Harley Quinn. What made Waller unique was that she really did look like a regular person – she just had enough of an iron will to maneuver herself into a position of power. For DC to seemingly transform her into one more skinny gal seems to be a particularly arbitrary choice in a company-wide relaunch that has already divided its’ existing fanbase. Or, if this move was made in order to entice new readers to give the new Squad a shot, then who does this company exactly want to attract? This guy?
Update: Glass was quoted by Bleeding Cool as saying, “Amanda Waller is not defined by her size but by her attitude and she still has plenty of that.” Which doesn’t explain the change at all, of course. Bleeding Cool also reported that Rudy has been replaced as the penciller for the series in favor of Federico Dellocchio.