Gail Simone’s new policy on writing comics

Comic book writer Gail Simone went to Twitter today to share her new policy about the comic books she will write in the future:


The abbreviation “LGBTQ” stands for Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer. I believe only one of the terms must be met to qualify. For example, a person does not have to be both lesbian and gay to qualify. By person, I mean a fictional comic book character. The abbreviation “poc” stands for person of color. Since it isn’t a real person, but a fictional comic book character, the correct abbreviation would be “coc” for character of color.

That could be problematic. Coc sounds like cock. People might think Gail Simone will only write comics that include cock.

Gail Simone's new policy on writing comics - Bent Corner
A cock on a fence.

It’s always interesting when someone announces something virtuous before they do it. If one wants to write comics that include characters from groups not usually seen in comic books, a better way to go about it is just to do it. Allow the public to discover on their own how inclusive you are.

Announcing it beforehand on Twitter spoils the enjoyment a reader would feel when seeing organically that one of the characters is part of a minority group. Now, people will go into any Gail Simone comic looking for the character who satisfies her new self-imposed inclusively mandate. Some may even consider these characters as tokens. That would be unfortunate.

I’m not sure why bisexual gets lumped into the same group as gay, lesbian, and transgender. When a person who is bisexual enters into a committed relationship with someone, presumingly only having sexual relations with their committed partner, are they still bisexual?

Hopefully, that’s something Gail Simone can explore in a future comic book.

There is a new Superman and he is Chinese

I haven’t been following what’s going on in the world of comic books these days, especially superhero comic books. Movies have taken the place of actual comic books when it comes to superhero storytelling.

It would seem that I’ve been missing a lot. For instance, Superman is now Chinese.

There is a new Superman and he is Chinese - Bent Corner
DC ENTERTAINMENT

It appears from the cover art that not only is Superman now Chinese; he is Communist Chinese. His uniform is red and features the stars from the Communist China flag. Even when Superman was a Kryptonian- American, he didn’t go around wearing parts of the American flag as a uniform.

There is a new Superman and he is Chinese - Bent Corner
Buy “Red Son” on Amazon

This isn’t the first time Superman has been portrayed as a godless Communist. The 3-issue Elseworlds miniseries Red Son told the story of what would have happened if baby Superman’s spaceship had landed in the Ukraine instead of Kansas and he was raised in the Soviet Union. It came out over ten years ago, and I haven’t read it since. I remember enjoying it. I thought it was an interesting premise.

This new Chinese Superman doesn’t look quite so interesting. In fact, it looks quite bad. The artwork looks cheesy and just ugly. I wouldn’t pay three dollars to read it, although I would probably pay three dollars not to read it.

When it comes to reading comics, you’ll have a much more satisfying experience reading older stuff. Avoid any of the material produced in the last five years. DC Comics and Marvel have been putting out a lot of social justice warrior friendly junk lately. Marvel has been especially bad. Thor is now a woman. Ms. Marvel is now a Muslim. The good news is that they both publishers have such an extensive back catalog of work, it doesn’t really matter. You can just ignore the new stuff and go back and read the older material.

Or wait for the movie.

Mark Waid sounds absolutely insane

Comic book writer Mark Waid wrote a long post on Facebook sharing is his feelings on the 2016 presidential election. Spoiler alert, he’s not too happy about how the whole thing turned out.

Donald Trump won and Hillary Clinton lost. Like Mark Waid, I’m not happy with Trump being our president. Even though I voted for her, I wouldn’t have been happy if Hillary Clinton won either. That’s one of the things that made this election such a giant, Costco-sized bucket of suck. No matter who won, the result was going to be pretty awful.

Mark Waid began his post by stating that his therapist told him that he’s in the grieving stage with the outcome of the election. The post pretty much goes downhill from there.

He then talked about appearing at comic book conventions in red states. Some comic book professionals have vowed not to attend comic book conventions in states that voted for Donald Trump. Mark will not do that. He’ll attend conventions in red states. The difference is, he’ll use his straight white male privilege to create safe spaces at these conventions.

From Mark Waid’s Facebook account:

As a straight white male, I carry with me a certain amount of privilege. That doesn’t mean I’m diving through a money bin. Privilege doesn’t mean I snap my fingers and women come running. What it means is that I was born with a pigment and a nationality that makes me safe from hate crimes, from bigotry, from the kind of fearmongering our President-elect spewed in all fifty states these last 16 months.

So I’ve decided to use that privilege on the convention trail. I respect and agree with my friend Humberto’s decision, but I’m in a different place, and after talking to my friends who are Not Like Me, I think it’s a better use of my privilege to go to shows everywhere and help create safe spaces, as many of you already do (and thank you). It is pretty literally the least I can do.

I’m not hard to find at shows. If you’re a fan or creator and are ever, ever made to feel uncomfortable on a convention floor, come find me. If it’s a fleeting thing, just come hang out. If, on the other hand, you can point out the aggressors, I will rain HELLFIRE on your behalf, I PROMISE you. Ask anyone. They’ll tell you that I’ll flip tables on bullies and creeps, and I’ll have your back. And while I’ve never had to use it, I’ve got enough clout to have hatemongers flat-out thrown out of shows, and I am not above those sorts of nuclear options.

I’ve never seen Mark Waid in person, at least I don’t think I have. Judging by his photos, he doesn’t strike me as a very intimidating person. I don’t think he’d ever be mistaken for a Dothraki Bloodrider.

Not Mark Waid.

I haven’t felt the need to attend a comic book convention in quite some time. It just never seems worth it. Panels are now usually posted to YouTube. You can buy anything sold at a comic book convention online, usually for a lot less than what it can be purchased for at the convention. Not that you would necessarily even want to buy anything sold at a comic book convention, unless of course it has nothing to do with comic books.

Now that Mark is offering to use his straight white male privilege for anyone who asks, it might be fun to go to a comic book convention again.

The next time Mark attends a convention in the neighboring red state of Pennsylvania, I may have to go. I want to see him rain Hellfire and flip tables. I don’t even know what Hellfire is. Something tells me it’s not nice. Hellfire sounds dangerous, especially if used indoors and without proper ventilation.

Now that I think of it, the last time I went to the Baltimore Comic Con, the fire alarm went off. Everyone had to exit the building. Could Mark Waid raining Hellfire on someone have caused the fire alarm to go off? This was before his promise on Facebook, but who knows if Mark Waid follows liner time. If he’s powerful enough to rain Hellfire, maybe he’s powerful enough to manipulate time and space.

I annoy my wife all the time

If it takes too long to see Mark Wade do his thing, I could have my wife go to Mark’s table to have him autograph my copy of Kingdom Come #3. She could then just casually mention to Mark that I annoy her.

It wouldn’t even be a lie. I annoy her all the time. She’ll ask me to do something and I then forget to do it. That’s got to be very annoying.

Once Mark hears that I’ve annoyed my wife, that I annoy her all the time, he’s obligated to rain forth his Hellfire upon me. He’s also obligated to flip my table. Considering that I wouldn’t have a table, that might be hard for him to do. He promised to do these things on Facebook, so by law, he has to do them.

That sounds like a lot of fun.

Otakon to move to Washington DC in 2017

Otakon, the annual anime and manga fandom convention is taking place this weekend at the Baltimore Convention Center. It will be Otakon’s final year in Baltimore. The Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC will begin hosting Otakon starting in 2017.

Why the move? Because the Baltimore Convention Center hasn’t aged gracefully. From the official Otakon website:

The primary driver for this move is the state of the facilities in Baltimore and their uncertain future. The Baltimore Convention Center has not aged gracefully and there are proposals to replace both the BCC and the Arena over the next five years. Any upgrades would require at least a temporary move and would result in disruptive changes in our facilities regardless of the final outcome.

The Arena is the Royal Farms Arena located a block away from the Baltimore Convention Center. I haven’t been there is years, so I don’t know if it too has not aged gracefully.

Another problem with hosting Otakon in Baltimore is the city itself. Parts of Baltimore are dangerous, not the kind of places you’d want to go dressed up as Sailor Moon.

twitter.blmYou also never know when the Baltimore police will kill someone. It happens all the time. When it does, there’s good chance there will be riots and the city will burn. Black Lives Matter.

There’s a reason the HBO series The Wire took place in the city of Baltimore.

A man walks past a burning police vehicle, Monday, April 27, 2015, during unrest following the funeral of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries about a week after he was arrested and transported in a Baltimore Police Department van. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
A man walks past a burning police vehicle, Monday, April 27, 2015, during unrest following the funeral of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries about a week after he was arrested and transported in a Baltimore Police Department van. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

I’ve been to Otakon only once, and I didn’t care too much for it. Although my interest in Anime and Japanese pop culture is not the greatest, I do have some interest in it. What stood out the most was how rude and obnoxious everyone seemed to be. I had more people bump into me at my one day there than I had the prior twenty years combined. I’ve been to Star Trek cons. I’ve been to comic book cons. The fans at Otakon are just different.

Another thing I don’t like about Otakon is the price. They don’t sell single day tickets. The event takes place Thursday through Sunday. If you want only to go to Friday’s convention, you have to purchase a four-day $100 membership. They get away with this because they cater to hardcore fans, the type of fans who wouldn’t dream of going to Otakon for only one day.

I’m a much more casual fan of anime and Japanese pop culture. My casual fandom isn’t conducive to forking over $100 for the privilege of attending a convention for one day.

Comic books are a dead, decaying medium

The San Diego Comic-Con is taking place and movie studios premiered special trailers for their upcoming movies. The following four movies are based on comic book characters.

The trailers:

Suicide Squad

Wonder Woman

Justice League

Doctor Strange

I watched these trailers and felt excited about watching the movies they represented. Never in my life, not even when I was a kid, have I experienced that same level of excitement over an upcoming comic book event. These trailers show just how dead the comic book medium is. The prime medium for telling and consuming superhero stories is not in print but in movies and television.

For a while now, I think I’ve preferred my superhero stories to be presented in movies and TV, not monthly comic books. These trailers just drove that point home. Comic books are as dead as cave drawings. If a superhero story is worth telling, it will be told in a movie or a TV show. If it’s only worth being told in the pages of the $4 monthly floppy, then I don’t want to experience it. I’ll wait for the movie or TV Show. If that leap never happens, if it languishes in the dead medium of flopping comic books, then I’ll take a pass.

Petition to keep Dan Slott off Twitter

I feel like an activist! I just signed an online petition over on Change.org to keep Marvel comic book hack writer Dan Slott off Twitter. The petition was created by the good people over at The Outhouse.

The petition:

With Marvel’s general attitude of contempt toward fans, combined with their reliance on gimmicks, reboots, and super-mega-crossover events over quality storytelling, it’s difficult to enjoy their comics. However, that difficulty is increased if readers use social media and witness superstar Marvel writer Dan Slott being a total jerk on Twitter. Seriously, the guy responds to anyone who criticizes him or Marvel with vitriolic tirades, even if they don’t mention him. This is not appropriate behavior for a high profile professional working for a global corporation and the largest comics publisher in the US.

Surely, the Walt Disney Corporation has some sort of guidelines for its employees on social media. Are they just not paying attention to comics because the industry has, at most, 100,000 readers (if we’re being really generous)? Surely, they would not want their company represented by an irate comic book writer frothing at the mouth at fans, journalists, and anyone who gets in his way.

Marvel, Disney, make Dan Slott stay off Twitter. Honestly, we’re not sure how he even manages to write Amazing Spider-Man and Silver Surfer when he appears to be angrily tweeting at fans and journalists around the clock. It must take at least two hours to write Silver Surfer – one hour to watch an episode of Doctor Who, and one hour to adapt the plot to a comic script. How does he find the time?

The world would be a more cordial, pleasant place if Dan Slott stayed off Twitter, or at least followed some reasonable corporate guidelines to curtail his childish, abrasive behavior.

I think it’s strange that his corporate overlords haven’t tried to rein him in on Twitter. Some of the stuff he says is really quite peculiar and overly aggressive.

My favorite Dan Slott story was from about ten years ago. He went on file sharing sites and asked people to stop sharing his crappy comics:

I am Dan Slott, the author of THING Vol.2. And I am asking you to PLEASE stop downloading it. A lot of time and hard work went in to the making of this comic. How well it sells– the demand– the need for the comic, helps to determine what kinds of jobs I get in the future. In that sense, each comic that’s SOLD acts as a kind of vote towards my career– how high profile an assignment I’m offered– whether or not I should get a bump in pay– and so on.

By electronically downloading this comic– without paying for it– you effect [sic] my livelihood. Please stop. If you have downloaded this work, do right by me (especially if you enjoyed it) and purchase a copy the next time you’re at your local comic shop/book store.

DemonoidSomeone then posted a screenshot of his Demonoid account. He was an active member of the file sharing site and had shared over 10 gig of movie and/or TV files with other users.

He tried to justify it by saying that he only downloaded things (Swedish amputee porn?) he could not get on DVD because the content owners had not yet made it available in the United States. He argued that people who downloaded his comics didn’t have that problem, they could go into their local comic book shop and buy the comic.

I think he was ignoring the embarrassing stigma one would deservedly receive if they went into their local comic book shop and tried to buy a Dan Slott comic. Some people just aren’t up for the public humiliation something like that would cause.

By asking people to go into a comic shop and buy one of his comics, it was almost as though Dan Slott was advocating bullying. That was wrong back then and it’s wrong now.