Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Night Fights: Double M - Round 8: My "Shocking" Take On James Gunn!

In recent weeks I've had to cut down on my blogging due to time constraints, so I've had to keep my opinion pieces to a minimum and just focus on the Friday Night Fights: Double M posts. Remember how a few weeks back I came up with the clever idea of occasionally slipping my opinions on comics into the fight posts themselves. My Wonder Woman fight a few weeks back was one of those. And now.....brace comes another. This time it's my take on the recent James Gunn/ Guardians Of The Galaxy controversy. 

But don't worry, I'm not going to subject you to my overlong word salad tonight. Instead, I'm going to let tonight's titanic tussle do the talking for me. In Team Titans#2, by Marv Wolfman, Kevin Maguire (who, ironically, was engaged in one of the many Twitter discussions I witnessed on this topic), and Will Blyberg, a squad of future Teen Titans has travelled to the present to prevent Donna Troy's baby from growing up and ruling the world. (Just roll with it.) Here, they're fighting against present-day street thugs who have set fire to their teammate Redwing's wings. Hint: My opinion is hidden in the last two panels below with Dagon and Kilowatt.

Hint#2: That's a non-lethal charge.

Was the real-life lesson learned? The jury's still out. Meanwhile, let's enjoy tonight's shocking fight music by KISS

For more shocking lessons, click here. And don't forget to vote!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday Night Fights: Double M - Round 7: Greg Dulli Can't Protect You Here!

Welcome to the latest round of Friday Night Fights: Double M. Time to rock 'n roll! And tonight, we mean that literally!

Tonight's Britpop brouhaha comes from Phonogram: Rue Britannia, written by Kieron Guillen and wonderfully illustrated by Jamie McKelvie.

Synopsis: David Kohl is a phonomancer, a magician who draws magical power from music. He's also a complete bastard. He comes to Ladyfest, a feminist music festival in Britain, to draw musical energy, get laid, and meet a fellow phonomancer named Lady Vox whom he'd heard was at the festival.. Unfortunately, the last part was a ruse engineered by The Goddess to trap David.

David tries to invoke some lyrics from the Ohio band Afghan Whigs, but....

.....let's just say The Goddess is definitely NOT a fan!

You hear that, David? Greg Dulli can't protect you here!

But he and the Whigs can give us tonight's fight music. (Listen for the musical reference for the above scene at the 0:56 mark.)

For more phonomancing fracases, click here. And don't forget to vote. Or The Goddess might get angry!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Night Fights: Double M - Round 6: ROM-ble In The Bronx!

In honor of the recent news about Hasbro filing for the ROM trademark, tonight's round of Friday Night Fights: Double M features a showdown between our favorite Spaceknight and the original Heroes-For-Hire team, Luke Cage (aka Power Man) and Iron Fist.

In Power Man And Iron Fist#73, written by Mary Jo Duffy and illustrated by Greg LaRocque, ROM has come to New York and banishes some Dire Wraiths, including one who took the form of a prostitute, to Limbo. Unfortunately, to the human onlookers, it looks like our Galadorian Gladiator simply killed random people in cold blood. One of those onlookers, the prostitute's pimp, hires Luke and Danny to stop ROM.

Let's see how that works out for them, shall we?

Now it's Luke's turn.

Pay attention to how Luke is waling on ROM's rocket pack here. It'll come into play shortly.

Now it's back to Iron Fist, where ROM tries a different attack. After all, if you can't beat Iron Fist's chi...


At this point, our Spaceknight's just ready to cut bait

However, as he tries to use his rocket pack, the one Luke had just been beating on...



And on that awful pun, here's tonight's fight music by Pat Travers.

For more Spaceknight smackdowns, click here. And don't forget to vote!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Show Of Hands: Female Cosplay Edition

Here's a question for both male and female geeks everywhere: Which would you prefer to remain as part of comic geek culture?

A.) Cosplayers like THIS?


B.) Guys who spout misogynist crap like THIS...

Honestly? I don't know about you folks, but for me? It's not even a fucking contest.

And yes, that's Starman/Ex Machina Tony Harris. I don't know what possessed Harris to wake up and commit this type of career suicide. Retiring from comics art? His mega-rich uncle died and left him as sole beneficiary in the will? Don't know, don't care.

All I do know and care about is that this "fake geek girl" meme needs to die a quick death.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Friday Night Fights: Double M - Round 5: The Pros And Cons Of Wonder Woman!

For tonight's round of Friday Night Fights: Double M, I'm going to feature a scene from a comic series I conyinue to have mixed feelings about: Brian Azzarello's Nu52 Wonder Woman.

This new WW series is a classic case of "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how DID you enjoy the play?", except that in this case there actually IS an enjoyable theater play. There is a lot to like here: Azzarello presents a compelling Vertigoesque take on our Amazing Amazon. Strife is one of the breakout characters (in my opinion) of the Nu52. And then there's the beautiful art and design work of Cliff Chiang.

On the other hand, there's the 500-lb. elephant in the room. The "that" in "other than that, Mrs. Lincoln", if you will: The the downplaying of the "woman" in Wonder Woman. Many of the character's uniquely feminine elements have been diluted or replaced by more (generic) masculine ones. Whereas pre-Flushpoint Diana was essentially a golem created from clay and infused with feminine power by the goddess Aphrodite, in the Nu52 world she has a daddy, Zeus, who is now the source of her power as well. Yep, that's right: Wonder Woman now has daddy issues.

And that's not all. As Ragnell and Certain Shades of Limelight have stressed on Twitter, not only is the source of her power now masculine, but thanks to the "0" issue, so is a significant amount of her training, with much of her past combat tutoring now supplied by war god Ares, thereby de-emphasizing her Amazon training. (And honestly, Azz, if you had to have a god overseeing young Diana's combat training, you couldn't have picked Artemis instead of Ares? Her Roman name is even "Diana", for heaven's sake!)

Still, the series is full of scenes like tonight's fight from Wonder Woman#1 by Azzarello and Chiang of....

...Wonder Woman headbutting a centaur.

See my dilemma?

While I'm sorting out my inner conflict, allow me to link to tonight's fight music by Natalie Merchant.

For more wondrous walloping, click here. And don't forget to vote!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

The Shrinking Tent Effect

(One of the casualties of having less time to blog is less time to write full-blown analysis pieces. However, this is an idea I've been formulating for the past few months, and the wake of this week's election results gave me the perfect framing device.)

There's a lot of post-election analysis concerning why the Republicans took such a beating this past Tuesday. Many of the Republicans are blaming a combination of factors, including Hurricane Sandy, Chris Christie, and Mitt Romney himself. But I think I've pinned the real reason down:

It's because the Republican Party has fallen prey to what I call The Shrinking Tent Effect. The Shrinking Tent Effect seems to happen to some communities over the course of time. The steps are as follows:

1. Recognizing a need for more members, a community attempts to make itself more inclusive.

2. Said inclusion efforts succeed in initially drawing the community more diverse new members.

3. However, over a period of time, membership in the community tends to gradually dwindle, beginning with those same newer members.

4. As community membership dwindles, a fiercely loyal but also fiercely reactionary core following remains. Said core following begins to represent an increasingly higher percentage of the total group over time.

5. The community begins to notice said reactionary core following and begins to increasingly cater to that following.

6. The reactionary core following notices the community's increasing dependence upon it, thus becoming increasingly vocal and demanding.

7. Consequently, the community begins to cater to the reactionaries even more.

8. This catering begins to alienate the more reasonable, moderate, and diverse members of the community, driving an increasing number of them away, further increasing the percentage of reactionaries and further increasing the community's attempts to placate them.

9. The reactionaries become increasingly emboldened and their behavior grows increasingly out of touch with the mainstream public, until actions that would have been deemed unthinkable only a few years ago (such as booing a gay soldier or attempting to "redefine" rape) become routine.

10. The community eventually loses its power,and becomes irrelevant or extinct.

This cycle seems to be nearly complete in the Republican Party. The fiercely loyal social reactionaries in the Tea Party asserted themselves in 2010 after decades of being placated by the GOP, and then they essentially became the GOP. As they asserted themselves, they drove out more reasonable conservatives either through primary challenges (see: Richard Lugar), or retirement in disgust over what the party became (see: Olympia Snowe). But after the last two years of obstruction, hyperpartisanship, and general craziness, many of those same Tea Partiers found themselves unceremoniously dumped like the Boston tea at the event which inspired their name (see: Allen West, Joe Walsh, and rape apologists Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock).

However, I've also noticed signs of the Shrinking Tent Effect at various stages in other communities, most notably in the religious community, the gaming community, and especially in the comics community.

That's why the more conservative bishops and other religious leaders have become increasingly bold about blurring and even attempting to eradicate the separation line between church and state, even to the point of telling their congregations that their souls depend upon whom they vote for, with said behavior leading to a growing exodus from organized religion.

That's why a small but vocal percentage of male gamers see no problem with sexually harassing female gamers online and, when called out on it, defend their behavior as being an intrinsic part of the gaming community.

And that's why you have things in comics and comics fandom like gang-rape attempts in all-ages comics aimed at young girls, sexual harassment of female cosplayers at conventions, and cyber-harassment of female bloggers (including rape threats and death threats) for having strong opinions on comics.

See the parallels?

All four of the communities I mentioned above need to do some serious soul-searching: Are the reactionaries in their memberships an irreplaceable asset? Or are they a crushing liability which threatens to plunge them down the road to irrelevance or, worse, extinction?

If they're smart, they'll realize the answer is the latter. But if they mistakenly decide it's the former, they may find themselves casualties of The Shrinking Tent Effect.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Friday Night Fights: Double M - Round 4: Daredevil Brings The Kane Pain!

For tonight's round of Friday Night Fights: Double M, I'm bringing in someone whose fantastic fisticuffs have yet to grace this bout: Gil Kane!

Tonight's Kane-raising combat comes from Daredevil#146, written by Jim Shooter and illustrated by Gil Kane and Jim Mooney. Synopsis: Bullseye has taken over a TV station and challenged Daredevil to a live fight, so DD obliges him. Bullseye is getting the upper hand, but then.....

And Daredevil hits the Bullseye....REPEATEDLY! (Hey, it beats the hell out of stabbing him!)

Tonight's fight song by The Knack pays the 'Devil his due.

For more Gil go-rounds, click here. And don't forget to vote!

(Special thanks to Doctor K.)