Humor vs. Character: Death Match?

October 28th, 2009 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell


The character responsible for Kyle disgusted lip-curl is Bueno Excellente, Garth Ennis’s Section 8character.  Bueno overcomes evil with the power of perversion.  Seriously.  A drugged sexual encounter between Kyle and Bueno is implied (although it is possible that Bueno managed to save Kyle), in the above panels.  Some people have said that, whichever scenario is implied, the above panels are a rape joke, and would have an effect of Kyle’s character.  Other people say that it was just a joke and not part of continuity.

(There’s also a ‘just a joke’ argument versus an ‘offensive’ argument.  Since that always comes up, I’ll briefly summarize my thoughts on the matter.  Phrasing something humorously doesn’t mean the central concept isn’t offensive, and if someone is tough enough to make jokes about sensitive subjects, they should be tough enough to take criticism.)

I haven’t seen Bueno in action, so I don’t know if the moment is out of character for him, but I imagine that this was just meant as a funny shout-out to another comic book, and not an important part of either character’s history.  (Unless Grant Morrison gets hold of it in 30 years.  Then it will be the basis for several whodunnit-type story-arcs.)  There are other moments scattered through comics that do the same thing.

Much was made of the Tamora Pierce (Edit: Jodi Picoult was the actual writer.  Thank you David Uzumeri.) Wonder Womanissue in which Wondy dropped an injured man she was carrying when he made a lascivious remark about her.  It was supposed to be a humorous beat, but many readers pointed out that it was an out-of-character move for Wonder Woman that could have had serious consequences.

Savant and Creote were introduced in Birds of Prey.  Savant was a computer genius who had no ability to judge time; he wouldn’t know if he had done something yesterday or a decade ago.  Creote was a Russian ultra-thug who, it was revealed, was gay and in love with Savant.  They were bad guys who were semi-redeemed over about forty issues, and then left the story.  About ten issues later, when the Birds need someone they can trust to take car of a young girl, Creote turned up in an apron with a feather duster under one arm, oven mitts on both hands and balancing what looked like a casserole dish.  The panel was a funny image, but Creote was established as a glowering tough guy who was indifferent to his surroundings; indifferent, in fact, to everything that wasn’t Savant.

Obviously, the skill, timing, and context of these moments influence how people take them, but so does personal taste.  Some people don’t mind a little out-of-character wackiness if it’s in service of an overall humorous tone.  Others don’t think its funny if it doesn’t feel right for the character.

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Final Edit Week 5: Day Six

April 1st, 2009 Posted by Gavok

We’re almost done with yet another week of this awful Morrison mind-scramble crap. God, what a hack. Between this and his Seven Soldiers run, I don’t even get why the man gets any work. Did you even read his New X-Men run a few years back? The guy who followed him was SOOOO much better.

But enough about that. Yesterday’s update saw some incomprehensible garbage involving Rubik’s Cubes and Metron as a tard. I don’t know, Final Crisis sucks. Let’s move forward!

As always, thanks to david “hermanos” brothers for helping me with this. He wanted me to remind you that a new Seaguy miniseries comes out today. Make sure to stay far away from that tripe. The last one was bad enough. Fucking Morrison.

We’re almost done with this week. Tomorrow, we get Darkseid at a rave and a guy with a bunch of bubble monitor things wrapped around his head. You can see a preview here.

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A Hal of a Guy

December 4th, 2008 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

First of all, I apologize for the title of this entry.

I’m not particularly well-versed in Green Lantern lore, but I’ve noticed a few trends in how people respond to Hal versus how they respond to Guy.

Even discounting the Kyle fans, Hal seems to be the less popular of the two. Among fans, an appearance by Guy gets cheers, while Hal is viewed as business as usual. There are a lot of reasons for that. Hal is business as usual for Green Lantern fans. When a character has been appearing pretty regularly since 1959, it’s a lot harder to keep up his appeal compared to the guy who, despite a shortlived series of his own, gets added in for spice every now and again. Guy is the more extreme character, and extreme characters tend to be interesting.

But Guy has his own deficiencies. Deficiency. Okay. He’s a jerk. A biggun. However, that deficiency is also his strength, as a character. Why? Because every character and every writer makes it clear that they know he’s a jerk. Once that happens, once the text makes it clear that the story is about a jerk who also happens to do good things, it’s possible to relish the outrageousness of the character the same way we can relish the violence and the spandex costumes.

Hal, on the other hand, is a Hero. He is shown as not only the first Green Lantern, but the best Green Lantern. The sense I’m getting from diehard Green Lantern fans is that the outrage is not just about the mistakes Hal makes, but the fact that he is being sold as the One True Lantern. Because of that, all of his flaws, from his odd courtship with Carol Ferris to that little tantrum during which he almost ended the Universe, are being excused or ignored. And so Guy, with his rudeness, sexism, arrogance, and sometimes outright meanness is popular, and Hal is reviled.

Maybe a little accountability goes a long way?

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Infinite Crisis: The Graphic Audio

August 31st, 2008 Posted by Gavok

Can you believe Infinite Crisis only ended a little over two years ago? It feels so much longer. At the time, it was an exciting time to read DC. A lot was going down, 52 was on the horizon, One Year Later was starting up, among other things. The miniseries did come off as a letdown, but considering how hyped it was, how could it be anything but? By the time the seventh issue landed, with its rushed art to meet the deadline, I couldn’t be happier to be done with this whole storyline.

Sometime after, author Greg Cox wrote a novelization of Infinite Crisis. Such an odd concept, isn’t it? A novelization of a comic book? It’s like the literary version of hearing a country singer covering a rock group’s hit song. I guess I shouldn’t talk, since years back, before I was even into comics in the first place, I read the novelization of Knightfall. Plus there’s the whole movie novelization thing I do for the sake of getting site hits.

I didn’t read Cox’s take on Infinite Crisis, but through chance, I discovered an interesting piece relating to it. A company called Graphic Audio had done a book on CD version of his take. That’s right, an audio book based on a book based on a graphic novel. What an insane concept. Too curious, I ordered the two sets and spent a couple weeks listening through them. Yes, weeks. The entire story is told with twelve discs over the course of thirteen hours. Thirteen hours to tell the story of seven issues.

Well, that’s not fair. It’s more than just the seven issues. Cox chose to cherry-pick tie-in issues to help pad out the story to differing success. This includes the end of Crisis of Conscience where Superboy Prime attacks Martian Manhunter, the Spectre vs. Shazam fight from the end of Day of Vengeance, the part of Gotham Central where Crispus Allen got killed, an issue of Aquaman and parts of the Rann/Thanagar War Special.

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Ruining the Moment: Volume 2

February 3rd, 2007 Posted by Gavok

Hal Jordan watched a snail crawl along the edge of a straight razor. That’s his dream. That’s his nightmare.

Hey, now. Looks like it’s time for another installment of Ruining the Moment! Let’s roll.

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WWWIF: The Real Reason We Read Comics

September 2nd, 2006 Posted by david brothers

It’s the weekend, so we’re going into silent running, so to speak, but I do have one thing for you.

Hulk vs Thing. Batman vs Captain America. Superman vs Foolkiller.

We love comics for the fights and the conjecture, right? Hulk vs Thing is passe now. What about the fights we never get to see? Who cares about Black Cat vs Catwoman when you can see Shang-chi vs Richard Dragon? Black Racer vs Death? Slapstick vs Plastic Man?

So, I present to you– “WWWIF: Who Would Win In a Fight?” Volume one–

Who Would Win In a Fight?

Mary_Jane.jpg vs AllStarSuperman3.jpg
Mary Jane “Face it, Tigress– I’m gonna kick your face in!” Watson-Parker
Lois “Stop the Presses! There’s about to be a murder!” Lane
(it isn’t Lane-Kent, is it? If so, pretend I typed that!)

Who would win in this battle of the wives of the most popular superheroes out there?

On the surface, this just seems like Party Girl vs Army Brat. Lois Lane grew up a tomboy, eager to please her father, last time I checked. It may all be different now that it’s ONE YEAR LATER. Her pops taught her how to fight, shoot guns, and generally gave her that foundation to become a hard-hitting, take-no-guff investigative reporter. She’ll run into warzones to get a scoop if she has to. She’s a rough gal by any means, and has even taken on Cadmus with only the help of Matrix Supergirl. It’s worth noting, though, that whenever she’s taken hostage, it’s usually by a giant monster or Titano or Bizarro or someone way out of her league with superstrength and all that. She may not be able to handle supervillains, but she can bust Luthor in the chops all day. She’s been depicted as close friends with Bruce Wayne/Batman, and I’m almost positive that she’s done some “Superhero’s Wife Self-Defense Training.”

Mary Jane, on the other hand, turned into a flighty party girl after growing up under a physically absusive dad. She turned popular, approached serious things as if they were jokes, and made every girl in school into an enemy when she became the girl that every guy wanted. How many of you know popular girls who never got into fights? That’s right, I’m willing to bet that MJ is a scrapper. I’m sure that she knows how to acquit herself in a one-on-one match, and she probably fights dirty, too. It’s hard to knock someone out. It’s easy to make them bleed so much they can’t see. She’s also gotten personal close-combat training from Captain Freaking America. That has to count for something. She’s been kidnapped by every villain ever, so I’m sure that she’s learned how to look for weaknesses before going in for the kill. She may not be able to handle a slavering monster like Venom, but she’s no shrinking violet, either. She’s also got webshooter bracelets and can use them like Spider-Man, even though technically you need superstrength to be able to swing around. For the purposes of this battle, we’re going to assume that she can’t swing, but she can climb and make nets and such.

This seems pretty evenly matched. Rough’n’ready tomboy vs Super-hero trained model. Assuming no weapons, this would probably be a pretty even match. Lois Lane has experience, but she’s also got to be pushing 40 by now. Mary Jane is somewhere between 27-30. I will say that Kate Bosworth is an adorable Lois Lane, but she’s adorable because she looks to be roughly twee and a haff yeaws old.

MJ’s got the advantage of a younger age, but they both are probably in around the same shape. I might give MJ the edge in shape, because she’s a stage actress now, and that isn’t easy work. Evenly matched, I’d say, but Lois would probably win unless MJ put her down early. MJ is young and brash and could make a stupid mistake and get hit with some savate or whatever they teach in the Army now. On the other hand, I think that MJ would go for that early win with a shot to the face, followed by a headbutt or kidney punch.

One problem: Lois Lane falls into superpowers like other people stub their toes. It’s entirely possible that, during the fight, Lois will get hit by kryptonite or Superman will cough on her, or something will happen, and she’ll end up as Superwoman again. If that happens, MJ is toast. Considering the sheer ruthlessness that Superwoman displays fighting Lana Lang for Superman, she’d laser MJ’s head off and be done with it.

So, basically, all things being equal: either could win. They’re too evenly matched. But, if Lois lucks into powers, as much as it pains me to say it, advantage Lois.

Agree? Disagree? Show your work. Who do you want to see next? I’m thinking maybe Iceman vs Ice (Iceman wins ’cause Ice is dead! Hurrr!) or maybe Guy Gardner vs Wolverine. Perhaps Kyle Rayner vs Noh-varr. I’m taking suggestions, though!

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Comics vs. Cartoons: A Look at Diniverse Designs

February 14th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

Next Monday seemingly marks the end of one of the greatest eras in animation. For fourteen years, we’ve been given what people call the “Diniverse” (named after a guy who barely writes actual episodes anymore). It started back in 1992 with a primetime showing of Batman: the Animated Series and after all these years, it’s going to die out with the finale for the fifty-eighth spin-off, Justice League Unlimited.

Lord knows the Diniverse made its stamp on both the world of animation and the world of comics. Characters like Harley Quinn were introduced… as well as more forgettable folk like Livewire and Lockdown. The comic version of Supergirl started wearing the white t-shirt and tight skirt made popular by Superman: the Animated Series. John Stewart took Kyle Rayner’s place as the token Green Lantern on the Justice League roster. Batman Beyond showed up in the pages of Superman/Batman for no reason whatsoever.

There are obviously changes here and there over how certain characters are portrayed. Many consider the Kevin Conroy-voiced Batman to be the defining version of the character, compared to the close-minded, paranoid caricature he’s become in the comics. Sure, the Joker kills people here and there on the cartoons, but at no point would they ever have him cripple Batgirl and strip her naked in order to drive her father insane on Cartoon Network. In the comics, Green Lantern and Hawkgirl have never been an item, nor has a big chunk of the JLU roster been members of any Justice League roster. Hawk and Dove sucked in both mediums, so there is that. Read the rest of this entry �

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