Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Night Fights: Thunder - Round 10: Sleepless In Atlantis!

For tonight's round of Friday Night Fights: Thunder, I'm going deep. About 20,000 leagues deep, to be precise, courtesy of this Aquaman tale in Adventure Comics#435, written by Steve Skeates and illustrated by Mike Grell. Grell only illustrated three short stories of our favorite Sea King back in the 70's but is still perhaps my all-time favorite Aquaman artist.

Synopsis: Some Atlantean shrimp farmers are going about their workday when...

....they're knocked out by none other than Black Manta and his gang, who have been making a series of similar attacks on Atlantean farms by inserting a special chemical into the sea area which renders Atlanteans unconscious. Manta had even used the chemical against Aquaman earlier to make him groggy and beat him up. So this latest robbery should be smooth sailing, right?


Beating a guy up and then just flopping him on his ship's deck in full view of his henchmen? Harsh!

And in honor of Aquaman blowing all of Manta's plans to Smithereens? Here's our fight music.

For more waking waterlogged wallopings, click here. And don't forget to vote!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Mea Culpa Of My Own To Valerie D'Orazio....And Everybody

You may have read the recent revelations of how Chris Sims harassed and cyberbullied Valerie D'Orazio online during the period of 2007-2010. Notice I'm not saying "allegedly" because both D'Orazio and Sims agree it happened. He's apologized for it, and there's been some discussions, particularly on Twitter, about the sincerity of his apology and whether it can truly be accepted in light of the consequences, like PTSD, that D'Orazio continues to live with to this day. But I'm not going to go into that here.

Instead, I'm going to issue an apology of my own. To Valerie D'Orazio. And to everybody who's ever felt the sting of online harassment.

It's not for the online harassment D'Orazio received. I wasn't part of that, nor was I really aware of it. Despite reading both of their blogs, somehow I wasn't really aware of the extent of the ongoing feud between Chris and Val, other than seeing his scathing 2010 review of her Girl Comics 4-page Punisher story. I was very busy with my real life at the time, working a ton of overtime at a stressful job while also dealing with an engagement, then a wedding, and then my first year of marriage.

Also, I wrote this post before I had joined any social networks. It would still be 1 1/2 years before I'd join Facebook, 2 1/2 years before I'd join Twitter. Meaning it would be a while before I'd learn the true scope of the abuse routinely directed at women online. Before learning that scope routinely included even rape and death threats. (Which, to be fair, I'm sensing weren't part of Sims' repertoire here, but I can't say for certain.) Part of this was the privilege of not receiving these threats that came with being a male. The rest was plain old ignorance.

And it was this ignorance that led me to say something I deeply regret.

There was a period of time where D'Orazio had written things on her "Occasional Superheroine" blog that had drawn the ire of other comic bloggers. The one that brought things to a head, around January 2009, was where Val told one commenter that you couldn't call yourself a "feminist" if you bought or supported DC Comics. That spurred bloggers like Sally Pascale and Kalinara to call her out on her words.

It also spurred me to vent my spleen about it here. And therein lies the problem.

I tried to be fair and reasonable in my opinions on D'Orazio despite my irritation with her. And for the most part, I think I succeeded. Naturally, as I had written this years before the advent of the Nu52, there were things about DC where she was proven right about and I was proven wrong. No harm there. And there were other things in my post, like my calling out of her "it's OK if it's Marvel" attitude (to paraphrase Dorian Wright) I stand by to this day.

But then there's one paragraph I wrote that makes me absolutely cringe.

Here's the lead-in to it:

Now here's what I wrote next. I think the problem will be very clear.

Hint: It's the last five words.

You see the problem?

Expressing doubt, even a hint of doubt, about someone's online abuse claims, especially a woman's, discourages others from coming forward and can perpetuate their suffering and even increase the abuser's victim count. After all, if no one will come forward, the next potential victim won't have a heads-up, will they? And if one abuser gets away with it, it emboldens more abusers to think they can too. And it discourages their victims from coming forward.

It's a vicious cycle. And I'm sorry for my contribution to it here. It doesn't matter if it was a rare lapse. It doesn't matter how ignorant or naive I was. It doesn't matter that I felt the person was unreasonable used polarizing rhetoric. It doesn't even matter that she probably doesn't know me from John Doe. It was wrong.

I've tried to be good about not blaming or doubting the victims over the course of my life. And for the most part, I've succeeded. But in this instance I failed. I failed Ms. D'Orazio and failed myself. Miserably.

I'm sorry. And it won't happen again.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday Night Fights: Thunder - Round 8: Upon Further Reflection....

In light of recent news about Superman's new jeans and T-Shirt "costume", I thought I'd showcase Big Blue in his classic look for tonight's round of Friday Night Fights: Thunder.

Tonight's atomic altercation comes from Superman#308 by Gerry Conway, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, and Frank Springer. This issue was part of a classic 3-part Bronze Age story arc that was....not one of my favorites. The premise was that, fearing that Supes' obsession with stopping polluting industries was becoming too great, Supergirl revealed to him that they were actually human mutants (their powers came from radiation Fred Danvers and Jonathan Kent were exposed to) and that Krypton and their exploits with various remnants and artifacts, including the bottle city of Kandor and the Phantom Zoners, were all part of a delusion Clark created in his own mind to block out his true origin.

While this was a bold premise on Conway's part, the story that resulted wasn't quite my cup of tea. At times, Superman was written wildly out of character. Some of the scenes were overwrought. Lopez would quickly become on of my all-time favorite Super-artists, but at the time he still had a few bugs in his Supes rendition to work out, and Springer's inks left much to be desired. Still, it did have some nice character moments and, best of all, showcased how clever and effective the Man Of Steel can be when he is on his game.

Here, the atomic-powered villain Radion, fresh from his retreat from Superman after the latter foiled the former's plan to detonate a nuclear reactor and mutate everyone on Earth, has retreated back to his lair, where he is berated by his protege, the Protector, a mutant who can change his molecules into a variety of different elements. Unfortunately for them, they're about to get an unexpected guest..

And how will Superman stop these two?

Like this.

Now that's how Superman is done, people!

And what better fight music is there for this battle "supreme" than this?

For more reflective rumbles, click here. And don't forget to vote!

Friday, March 06, 2015

Friday Night Fights: Thunder - Round 7: Better Fighting Through Chemistry!

It's time for Friday Night Fights: Thunder to get metal, courtesy of this chemical conflict from Metal Men#46, written by Gerry Conway and illustrated by Walt Simonson. Synopsis: The Metal Men are trying to stop Chemo from rampaging through Venice, Italy. Their previous encounter with the walking chemistry ended with their leader Gold being destroyed and the rest of the team getting their shiny metal asses handed to them. So now Tin, the smallest Metal Man, has come up with a plan to stop him.


The fight music for tonight's catalytic clash comes from Minnesota's own Semisonic.

For more exothermic embroglios, click here. And don't forget to vote!