Funnybook Babylon

December 13, 2008

Lasting Legacies

Filed under: Blurbs — Tags: , , , , — David Uzumeri @ 3:45 am

If you think you can leave any sort of lasting legacy, you’re deluded. And I was deluded for a long time. But we live and we learn.

Mark Waid

I really, really love Superman: Birthright.

More than any other story, to me, it defines what Clark, Kal, the Kents and the House of El represent and the beacon they’re meant to be to humanity; far more than the dyslexic Lois Lane and meek Clark of the 1970s, the overconfident football jock of the 1980s or the po-faced stoic of the 1990s, Birthright illuminated and really crystallized, to me, who and what Superman is. I owe Mark Waid that forever.

So I was pretty damn surprised to see that he feels he hasn’t left a legacy. I don’t know if this is some kind of momentary lapse of reason or what, but dude, snap out of it – who gives a shit if your story got thrown out of continuity a few years later? It’s not like a whole generation of comic nerds didn’t read it, many of whom will re-enter the industry. Remember Len Wein’s Untold Legend of the Batman, perennial favorite of cereal box tie-ins, and how it got tossed out of continuity (just like Birthright!) a few years later by Crisis? And how basically the past two years of Batman stories have centered around reincorporating its “let’s compress the entirety of Bat-history into X number of years” method to dazzling effect?

Nobody’s deluded for thinking people are going to be inspired by a really damn good Superman story, personally or creatively, and that’s what Birthright was. It may not be THE OFFICIAL BACK STORY of the ONE TRUE SUPERMAN OF NEW EARTH right now, but these things embed themselves in the soil of continuity to take root and grow; they’re percolating in the back of the minds of the readership, and a few years from now some guy’s applauded take on Superman is going to be based on this story that’s getting “bulldozed over.”

The short-term decisions can always be short-term with the wave of a magic wand. Nothing is permanent, and the whims of editors will always be overriden by popular consensus in the long run, even if it takes a little bit too long. Perhaps I’m channelling Adam Smith a little bit too much in my vision of the the equilibrum of comics continuity, but I really think that in the end the shit falls to the bottom and the cream rises to the top no matter how long it takes, and if the work is solid – and especially if it’s a highly marketed story that’s likely to remain in print and available, like most of Waid’s material – there’s no telling what effect it could eventually have, or what kind of legacy it could inspire.

September 17, 2008

FBBP #72 – [Expletive Deleted] [fixed]

Filed under: Podcasts — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Joseph Mastantuono @ 10:55 pm

NOTICE: We had an export issue on our previous post of this podcast. If you have downloaded it, please listen to this one instead, the second half of the Achewood discussion on the previous one got garbled. I blame Apple, and their lack of support for Soundtrack Pro.

This Week: We review Chris Onstad’s The Great Outdoor Fight, discuss the All-Star Batman & Robin controversy, talk Final Crisis: Revelations and debut a new segment, “Yes, This is Being Published”.

YTiBP’s debut topic is Vertigo’s forthcoming Haunted Tank series. You can read a special preview of it on this toilet seat. No, really.

After cutting this podcast, I realized that yes, I am a Hater. Hate, hate, hate, hate, hate! I got Silky Johnson and Buc Nasty on lock, I’m gonna be Hater of the Year!

We go into a lot of detail about the Great Outdoor Fight, so if you aren’t a regular Achewood reader and don’t want your experience “spoiled” you can read the whole story online before listening. Or don’t, just don’t come crying if we reveal the final fate of The Latino Health Crisis.

June 3, 2008

FBBP #60 – Attack of the Scots

This week’s podcast featured more Scotsmen than a Mel Gibson fight scene!

  • Grant Morrison! (All-Star Superman! Batman! Final Crisis!)
  • Frank Quitely! (All-Star Superman too!)
  • Mark Millar! (1985!)

Joining us on the podcast is FBB’s own David Uzumeri, an expert on this exotic species.

Back in America, Marvel is pushing Fred Van Lente and the Periscope Studios Crew. Under Mark Paniccia, they’ve been all over the Marvel Adventures line, Incredible Hercules and the newly announced Marvel Zombies 3 and The Age of the Sentry, We talk about the different style they bring to the Big Two, and what kind of fans that might be attracted by their books.

Finally, FBB proudly announces a new sister corporation, FBB Publishing! Listen to learn the terms of our “pact”, and its advantages over our competitor’s contracts who want to take advantage of impressionable youth! Deviant Art creators, join us! We pay $20.25 for a finished page: just enough to keep your self-respect.

May 17, 2007

The Furor over the Mary-Jane statue

Filed under: Articles — Tags: , , , , — Joseph Mastantuono @ 8:21 pm

Mary-Jane bends over some laundry, the statue.

Checking out the apparently widespread “fan-girl” rage and confusion depicted in blogs rounded up nicely here, I can understand where this statuette can get such a strong reaction out of people.

I believe almost anyone who looks at this statue is likely to feel a bit disgusted. But here’s a weird thing, I think that if you had a statue of mary jane in full lingerie, or any other rather sexually explicit pose, it wouldn’t have engendered that response.

Even her posing in the same pose (laundry basket and all), in an issue of spider-man (where I think the pose comes from) wouldn’t have gotten that response. The problem is that in a statue or statuette one is used to seeing the artist’s idealized or iconic pose of the character… And this statue shows that MJ’s idealized pose is the do laundry while in a position that implies she’s waiting to get railed.

I don’t think the problem that the shot is cheesecake or pin-up style or even submissive. How many chesse-cake style statues are produced that no one blinks an eye at? The problem is that the medium of the statuette inherently doesn’t have context. And this pose without context is ridiculous. Especially that every OTHER statuette you see, whether some ideal character, totally cheese-cake sexualized character, or even slightly bondage type pose isn’t laid out in such a way. Yes she’s the super-hero’s girlfriend/wife but she’s always been played as the firecracker artistic type. A character that these female viewers identify with in such a traditionally submissive pose, does have a bit of a “women belong in the kitchen and they should enjoy it” tone.

Her face and pose directly imply the “Hey, LOOK AT ME DOING SOMETHING DIRTY” but without the reverse shot that’s in the comic of Peter, which would make it ‘ok’. She’s also performing for everyone, in a pretty demeaning way, as in the statuette the can’t be the the gaze of Peter to contextualize the action, you are only left to imagine the grubby paws of your local comic book neck-beard caressing it, wishing mary-jane was his girlfriend so he could stare at her ass while she does his laundry, smiling… Not as a panel of the same thing which would be MJ just looking sexy while doing laundry or Her actively seducing parker, or any of the myriad of contexts which would make this acceptable, understandable, or even comprehensible behavior. Because it’s not the implied sexuality that’s making the fan-girls rage and the more mature fans embarrassed and disturbed, they’re used that. It’s the statue implies that the comic book fans don’t just like big tits, and sexy drawings, but they like submissive women who should count themselves lucky to be doing their super-hero husband’s laundry.

I don’t think the makers of this statue actively thought this through, I think that they just weren’t thinking. And don’t really get that statuettes don’t have the same luxury of context that comics do. And I think that’s indicative of a real problem in this industry and why this particular statue has gotten this kind of response. Some people just aren’t thinking.

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