That’s mighty white of ya

May 13th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

* finally, I’m not sure I understand either Sean Collins’ piece on superhero regression or the piece that inspired it, but it seems to me kind of dopey to pin racial diversification on swapping people out of costumes. The worlds that the superheroes live on have such a hopelessly retrograde and inadequate sense of anything other than their white people that I don’t hold out for them ever getting better.

-Tom Spurgeon, Random Comics News Story Round-Up 05/12/10

He’s right, of course.

Most cape books barely have a handle on decent characterization, and expecting the Big Two to catch up with reality is dumb. Sorry, Charlie, but that just ain’t gonna happen.

I’m not saying that they don’t manage to do nice things with colored folks sometimes. I quite liked Jason Rusch as Firestorm, and Jaime Reyes as Blue Beetle gave DC a nice Spider-Man character. Cassandra Cain had a fantastic hook, and John Henry Irons was a nice twist on the super-scientist character. Even boring old John Stewart is not without his charms.

But, when you get down to brass tacks–all of these are third stringers and supporting characters now. And guess who gets the axe when the time comes to up the ante? Guess who can fade into obscurity with minimal impact on the status quo? If you expect the Big Two to push a more diverse or realistic cast rather than pandering to the idea of legacy or iconic characters… well.

How’s that working out for you?

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Tom Spurgeon is Emperor of the Universe/Comics

October 5th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

Tom Spurgeon knows how to fix comics, and he’s got a list of 24 things to start with.

10. Institute A Gender/Race Rooney Rule At The Bigger Comics Companies

I know this would be controversial, and maybe not even desirable. Still, I can’t help but think of the National Football League’s Rooney Rule when I think of the lack of female creators and creators of color and the even bigger absence of such individuals in industry positions.

What this would mean is that for every job and for every freelance gig that opens at a participating company, a woman or a cartoonist of color would get to pitch or interview for that gig. This doesn’t mean they’re hired, or doesn’t mean that you can’t have as many folks as you want of whatever gender or racial background pitch or interview if you want. What it does is guarantees that those people that haven’t done well in the comics industry are for the length of the program getting in front of more people with power in the comics industry. They have an opportunity for the duration of the program to make an impression and gain experience at making presentations to comics industry editors and publishers. In return, the industry gets a more frequent look at a group of creators and potential industry members that it has — for whatever reason — not done a very good job of exploiting to maximum effect. If an industry like professional football can matter-of-factly look at its history of hiring and giving assignments and realize that they’re not making the best use of all the talents out there for whatever reason, the comics industry should be able to do the same on a volunteer basis.

This is actually one of the least interesting points in a 24-point essay. It’s the least interesting because all of the other points are so good, particularly numbers 6, 7, 11, and 24.

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New Fred Hembeck Interview!

March 11th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

Find it at The Comics Reporter

SPURGEON: I know that you have an appreciation for the older comics. Can you talk about some of your more fundamental influences? Certainly your work was very different than other stuff that was being done at the time. Do you have classic influences?

HEMBECK: At one point, I sat around — and this was several years before I had anything published — just re-drawing Beetle Bailey strips. So I kind of had Mort Walker in the back of my head. I also sat around re-drawing Neal Adams strips. You can’t see that. [Spurgeon laughs] I have like a whole sketchbook from when I was 18 where I copied whole issues of Green Lantern/Green Arrow and Batman. I’m going, “Man, I’m the new Neal Adams.” But I guess they didn’t need one.

I’m a little late linking to this, but it’s a great read. Who doesn’t love Hembeck?

Why doesn’t he get more work?

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Cam Stewart, Graeme McMillan, Secret Origins

January 11th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

I think my first Cameron Stewart book was Seaguy. I’m pretty sure it was, anyway– I didn’t become a Brubaker/Stewart Catwoman fan until they were nearly off the book. I’m a little fuzzy on that point, though, I might be wrong.

Either way, the man is crazy good. Every book he’s ever done looks 2008% rock solid. He’s got a fun and expressive cartoony style. Lately, I’ve been enjoying the man’s ongoing webcomic at Transmission-X, Sin Titulo. Link to the first page here, as that previous link takes you to the latest comic. Whoops, should have warned you I guess!

Anyway, the comic is really good. Stewart has a pretty smooth writing voice and the story is really engaging, though I’m not sure where it’s headed. Plus, I can get my Cam Stewart fix once a week this way. That’s good stuff.

It’s funny, but I haven’t thought about Seaguy in a long while. In a very real way, Grant Morrison’s Seaguy and JLA Classified #1 were the reasons why I started blogging about comics around this time in 2005. My first comics blog was Guerilla Grodd (shut up it was clever back then). My first post was on JLA Classified #1. A few posts later, I posted the first of two explorations of Seaguy, with an imaginary third rounding out the trilogy. I really want to rewrite these. It’s been a while since I have really dug my teeth into a subject, not to mention reread Seaguy. I feel like I could bring a lot more to the table now.

Speaking of blogging in 2005, one of my favorite sites was Fanboy Rampage. It was a linkdump of all the best (worst) comics fans had to offer and run by one Graeme McMillan. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say it was probably my favorite comics blog back in the day. Imagine my surprise when I move to SF this year and the guys are like “Hey, do you know Graeme?”

So, yeah, Graeme McMillan is cool people and I’m pretty pleased to call him buddy. He’s got a fun interview with Tom Spurgeon over at the Comics Reporter. Give it a look, all right?

Man, do you guys remember when comics blogging was all The Beat, Journalista, a little Warren Ellis (“The Bendis Board is full of rape-os”), Fanboy Rampage, Neilalien, and ADD? I feel like I’m leaving people out, but it’s late and my memory is bad. Casey and Fraction on the Basement Tapes, Augie on The Pipeline… Three years, man. Wow.

Controversial opinions–

–Have you ever wished for the death of a comics creator, be it an EiC, writer, or artist? Maybe an editor or colorist if you’re really into funnybooks? If you can answer yes, you probably suck as a person. It’s just comics, man. Chill out.

–The “comics fans are shut-ins/creepy nerds/worthless man-boys/fat/neckbearded/stunted” stereotype needs to be lost, stat. It doesn’t matter whether you’re explaining why comics are sexist, poorly written, racist, or whatever– lose it. It ain’t true, man. I know a bunch of people who read comics. I don’t know any shut-in creepos. Let those dudes do their own press– we don’t need to do it for them. Real recognizes real and they need to be invisible.

–Have you ever used the word “overrated” in a review? If you did, I probably didn’t finish reading what you wrote. Overrated is a stupid word that has no place in a review. It basically means “This is popular and I don’t like it so I’m going to diss everyone else’s opinion in an effort to make myself look smart(er).” You might as well be saying “as if” as far as I’m concerned.

–Seriously though– it’s just comics. It’ll be okay. Go read Kraven’s Last Hunt or Batman: Year One or Flex Mentallo or Casanova or something you haven’t read yet that’s generally well-regarded if comics right now are making you mad. If it’s getting your blood pressure up, back up off it. It ain’t worth it. It’ll come around.

–I’ve been listening to Lupe Fiasco, T.I., and Juelz Santana pretty much exclusively for the better part of a week now. It’s a weird mix of maybe 16 hours of music (9 of T.I., 5 of Lupe, and 2 of Juelz). T.I. for the south (deuces up, a-towns down), Lupe ’cause he’s a nerd, and Juelz because he’s sick at storytelling. “Gone” is dope.

Youtubes, which are probably nsfw if only for lyrics and the fact that they’re youtubes:
Lupe Fiasco: I Gotcha, Dumb It Down, The Cool (Music only)
T.I.: Big Things Poppin’, Hurt, U Don’t Know Me
Juelz: Oh Yes, Dipset Anthem, Gone (Music Only)

Man, I love that sample on Oh Yes. “Wait a minute mister mista mista mista”

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