Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Black Captain America
Black Female Iron Man
Latino Blue Beetle
Black Female Huntress
You would look at all these major characters at the Big two and think there would be a major step in diversifying both universes.
But that’s not the case at all. These characters are just tokens who will be discarded once the gimmick stops being popular.
On the surface it looks like Marvel and DC are making a serious effort at diversity. However, when one looks at who is on the payroll Marvel and DC today it’s still 95% White males.
And because the creators of these “diversity” heroes are STILL 95% White males no one can really take this attempt at “diversity” seriously.
If White Males creating these so called “diverse” heroes of different ethnicities, then where is the diversity?
If the big two were really serious about diversity they’d be serious about hiring more minorities behind the scenes to write and draw their comics. There are thousands of talented writers and artists of color like myself who would have been interested in working for them.
But instead of looking at our portfolios, the White Males at the Big Two would rather pretend to promote diversity in a passive aggressive way by oversaturating the market with poorly developed, poorly designed knock-offs of White characters. And then when these characters fail to catch on, blame the readers for not buying said characters.
Meanwhile, characters of color that have built a following like John Stewart, Steel, Mal Duncan, Battle Star, Pulsar, Vixen, Mr. Terrific, Icon, Static and countless others remain unused and ignored by the Big Two.
Perhaps if the big two made a serious effort towards hiring writers and artists of color they could be a bit more creative with the existing characters in their catalogs. Maybe they could build a bigger following for those well-known characters I mentioned.
But it seems the White Males at the Big Two don’t want any Black heroes overshadowing their icons the way Static was starting to back when Static Shock was on the air. The whole idea of a Black hero made by a Black man being as popular as Batman and Superman scares the shit out of many comics creators.
Why? Because one of the last fiefdoms of White Supremacy would be dismantled. Superhero for some in the comic book business and some comic fans means White Males being superior to everyone. A Black creator working on White superheroes shatters that ideology of White males being superior. The whole idea of a Black man or woman controlling the fate of a White male hero is a scary concept for many in the comic book business.
And the whole idea of creators of color coming into their workspace and creating better stories and better characters makes them uneasy.
Instead of creating a Black version of a White hero, how about the Big two go out and hire talented Black writers and artists to work on their comics. That would be a serious step in the right direction towards diversifying the comic book industry.
Monday, July 18, 2016
There’s a big controversy over RiRi Williams the Black female Iron Man. However, once a reader looks past the flash, they see there’s little substance.
Structurally, RiRi Williams is a poorly designed character. Basically she’s a Mary Sue in an Iron Man suit. What’s a Mary Sue? A character who knows everything, can do anything and everything based on whatever situation the writers throw her into. Because that character is a cipher who represents the writer in a fantasy world like the Marvel Universe.
Looking at the foundations for this so-called 15-year-old genius, she’s just too smart for her own good. And the foundations for her creation are virtually implausible even from a comic book perspective.
Some will argue that 15-year-old Peter Parker made his own webshooters. Yeah, gifted and talented kids that age can create small simple devices like that. And the formula for Spider-Man’s webbing would be fairly simple to create with basic household chemicals and stuff like rubber cement.
Others will argue that Reed Richards created all sorts of inventions when he was younger. But he didn’t become Mr. Fantastic until he got bombarded with those cosmic rays. And he didn’t refine his inventions until he got older.
And a few will debate that Tony Stark was a brilliant inventor even when he was a child. But Tony Stark spent years inventing and creating and learning from his mistakes before he even came up with the Iron man armor in that VietCong camp with Professor Yinsen. And over the years he refined his tech improving it with each passing year going from cogs gears until it evolved into a micro-circuited mesh armor featuring advanced computers and weaponry such as repulsors and pulse bolts.
In each of those cases we saw a natural and organic progression to these characters development and growth over their character transformation arcs. But you’re gonna tell me RiRi Williams at 15 is so smart she’s gonna be able to hack Abe Zimmer’s tapeworm, hack Stark Enterprises’ private security files and find the specs for Iron Man’s Armor and start building her own suit?
I’m sorry that’s Mary Sue Territory.
Even 15-year-old Tim Drake in A Lonely Place of Dying wasn’t this smart. Yes, Tim deduced Bruce Wayne was Batman in that classic story. And he figured out Dick Grayson was Robin and there had to be some sort of tragedy that led to Batman being solo. But after he put on the Robin suit to take on Two-Face in that junkyard it still took him two YEARS of training before he was ready to put on his own Robin costume.
And in that time he had to prove himself against Bat rogues like KGBEAST, King Snake, Lady Shiva and the Joker. The big problem with RiRi Williams is that she isn’t a well thought out character. I just can’t believe a teenager, even a genius who goes to MIT can build an entire suit of Iron Man armor. Having been on a college campus, I know most dorm Singles are the size of a walk-in closet. If Tony Stark needs a lab at his corporation to build his armors, where would she have the room to keep the equipment and tools and computers to keep that kind of equipment?
Moreover, where would she get the money to make this suit? Iron Man suits must cost millions of dollars. Even crude knock-offs are gonna cost a couple of thousand bucks. Even with Workstudy this kid ain’t got that kind of cash. And she wouldn’t find these kinds of tools to make an Iron Man Suit at the MIT Bookstore.
And when would she even have the time to even build this armor? Even geniuses need time to sleep and eat. Not to mention going to class. Yeah, Tony has time to tinker with the Iron Man suit he built. But he owns Stark Enterprises. He has other employees working for him running things so he can focus on bigger stuff like building Iron Man suits and saving the world.
Like Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens RiRi Wiillams just knows too much and can do too much. She’s underdeveloped and poorly thought out. Who needs Tony Stark to be Iron man When RiRi Williams is just as smart as he is? Who would need Reed Richards in a couple of years? With the direction this character is headed she could be the next Wesley Crusher building her own starship.
When I look at RiRi Williams she shows me how little Brian Michael Bendis knows about Iron Man. Instead of crafting stories utilizing Tony’s rogues and supporting cast, he creates this Mary Sue to overcompensate. Yes, she’s a black Female. And she’s got on an Iron man suit. That’s the flash that gets people’s attention.
But she lacks the foundation for a solid character transformation arc. Good characters have strengths and weaknesses that can be fleshed out during their character transformation arcs. It’s their flaws and imperfections that allow us to connect with them and identify and relate with them. If a character knows too much and can do too much early on there’s no room for them to learn and to grow.
That prevents the reader from learning and growing with them. Taking away from the reading experience. And giving the reader no incentive to care about their adventures.
I know Marvel is desperate to add some diversity to their ranks. And Black readers are desperate to see characters of color in Mainstream comics. But poorly thought out poorly designed characters don’t help diversify the marvel Universe. In most cases these “Colored” versions of White characters just get lost in the shuffle like Battle Star did in the 1990’s. If Marvel wants to diversify their universe, then create an original Black female character with tech-based powers. That’d sell more comics in the long run than creating another Iron man knock-off that’ll be forgotten in three to five years.
Friday, July 15, 2016
Okay, I’ve been really busy. Right now I’m working on two projects: The Spinsterella prequel Spellbound, and a nonfiction project inspired by a series of YouTube Videos I did called Why You shouldn’t Hire a Mangina. When I did those videos I realized there were a lot of Simps in the workplace. And I wanted to teach men why they should STOP SIMPIN in the workplace.
Every year men put their careers at risk Simpin and trickin on the job. And they cost their companies billions of dollars in sexual harassment lawsuits and losses from crimes like embezzlement and fraud in their quest to chase the panties of some female on the job. I’m hoping the STOP SIMPIN in the workplace book will help men understand why they need to put themselves FIRST on the job. Because the only person looking out for a man on the job is himself
Anyway, here’s a sample chapter of the book I’m hoping to have out by either the holiday season or early 2017.
Chapter 18 (Tentative)
The Dangers Of He Said, She Said Situations
One of the most dangerous places for a man on the job is working alone in an office or part of an office space with a woman. In those situations a man doesn’t have anyone around to witness what goes on between them. If there’s some sort of workplace issue or personal issue between them, a man can find himself in between a rock and a hard place.
Simps think being alone with a woman in the office is actually a good thing. They believe if they’re alone with a woman they’ll have an opportunity to make a powerful first impression on her. And if an innocent conversation that turns sexual or happens to escalate into horseplay between him and a woman he’s getting brownie points with her.
He has no idea that he may have possibly signed his own pink slip. In some cases he may have even have signed his own arrest warrant. What most Simps don’t know is that being alone with a woman in an office creates a he said she said situation. And in that situation it’s his word against hers.
And usually in the workplace Human Resource managers are going to take her word over his.
Simps don’t understand that predatory women love situations where they are alone with men. Because they know they can turn them to their advantage. Predatory women love getting people’s emotions riled up. And they use people’s emotions to turn herself into a victim and him into a villain. And because most workplaces are gynocentric and most HR people will favor the female, she knows he doesn’t have a leg to stand on in a he said, she said situation on the job.
Predatory women will use he said she said situations to set themselves up for a sexual harassment lawsuit or civil lawsuit. And with only two witnesses they usually win. Because it’s hard for a company to argue against a sobbing woman on the witness stand.
Smart men make sure they keep their professional interactions with women public. And they make sure there are always witnesses around when they are working with women. If they have to work in private with a female they always bring another female employee with them to witness their interaction. Some men make sure to have some sort of recording device on like a Smartphone to have a visual and audible record of their communications. The more evidence a man has to protect himself from a he said, she said situation, the safer he’ll be in the workplace.
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Jack Kirby once said that Comics will break your heart. I have to wonder if I dodged a bullet back in the 1990’s.
Ever since I was a kid I always wanted to write comics. But looking at the state of the industry these days I’m starting to think I dodged a bullet.
These days the comic book business is in turmoil. Practically every year there’s a reboot at the big two. Books barely last six or eight issues before they’re cancelled. Creative teams change at the drop of a hat and there’s no real direction or even continuity between titles. Everything is so unstable that heroes don’t even keep the same secret identity or even the same gender anymore.
Comics are more confusing today than when I was a kid. Back then you saw your favorite characters in those brightly colored costumes and bought your favorite comics. The stories were easy to follow. Anyone and everyone could figure things out.
But looking at the mess the Big Two has become I wouldn’t want to write comics these days. Having to deal with the jumble that is today’s continuity would be a NIGHTMARE. Thanks to all the reboots, retcons and relaunches it’d be a headache just to plot a story arc. Who’s dead? Who’s alive? Who is even the main character supposed to be? And what universe are they in again?
It’d be heartbreaking for me to be in the middle of writing a story arc and be told by an editor that the series was cancelled. And it’d be a real insult to injury to find out that all that hard work I put in wound up being erased from continuity in a reboot six months later.
I’m starting to think I’m better off writing novels, screenplays fantasy and YA fiction. Yeah, the road is pretty rough on this side of the street. But the publishing business has always been a rough game. But when I look over at the comic side of publishing and see how brutal it is to creators, I’m starting to realize things are better over here than over there.
At least we authors on the trade publishing side get to keep the rights to our characters. And we have a say over how they’re adapted on those rare chances they’re brought to TV and movies. And when we self-publish, we control what direction our characters go in.
In the trade publishing world there are no reboots, no retcons, and no restarts. Every story is an entry point, and stories are still easy to follow. If someone even proposed a reboot in the trade publishing world they’d be shot down not only by editors but by readers as well. Readers of romance and genre fiction like sci-fi just wouldn’t put up with that bullshit.
Yeah, I’d still love to write comics. But looking at the business these days, I’m starting to count my blessings. As stressful as the world of trade publishing is, it’s not as soul crushing as working in the comic book business.
Monday, July 11, 2016
That’s just part of a short list of characters I believe who would be better off staying dead.
But unfortunately they’re walking around the land of the living right now.
I’m not a fan of killing characters. I’ve often expressed my regrets about killing of E’steem in 2002. So I’m very hesitant to kill a character off unless it’s absolutely necessary.
But there are some characters whose deaths had an impact on a character. And were significant in their histories. A few had an impact on the universe they were in. And I have no problem with those characters staying dead.
When I look at the deaths of characters like Bucky, Barry Allen, Jason Todd, Norman Osborn, Gwen Stacy and even Hal Jordan they had a lasting impact on the characters in the titles they were featured in and even the universe they participated in. Some of these deaths like those of Norman Osborn and Gwen Stacy were so iconic they became part of the Spider-Man legend. Others like the death of Barry Allen they resonated for decades throughout the DC Universe. And a few like Jason Todd’s death and Bucky’s death led to characters like Batman and Captain America growing and changing for the better.
The way I see it there are some characters who are better off dead. Their deaths are a major part of a characters’ backstory and a major part of their history. And to undo them would be sacrilege.
Unfortunately, writers desperate for sales in today’s comic book business have undone most of these significant deaths to shock readers into buying more comics. And while many do buy them, in the short-term, the legacy of the characters gets tarnished in the long term.
With each resurrection of major character in a historically significant story, the impact of death in comics has no sting these days. Readers no longer feel the emotional impact of a character’s death the way they did when Amazing Spider-Man #120-121 came out and Gwen Stacy and Norman Osborn died. Nor do they feel the impact of a heroic death like Barry Allen’s death during the Crisis of Infinite Earths. These days most comic readers are so indifferent to the announcement of a death of a major character they’re just counting down the hours before they’ll be brought back.
I never thought I’d see the day when Superhero comic books would become Looney Tunes. But here we are. The death of any superhero these days has as much meaning as Daffy Duck or Wile E. Coyote.
If there are no historically significant deaths in a characters’ universe or a comic book universe then where is the readers’ incentive to buy into the stories. Why should the reader care about buying comics if writers can’t leave any part of the backstory or the character’s history intact?
With nothing to connect readers to the past many characters are becoming lost and directionless today. One of the main reasons comics feel so jumbled and confusing today is because writers keep trying to undo the past instead of moving forward with the future. Bringing back dead characters whose story arcs were finished decades ago. Many because they’re looking for a stunt to grab readers’ attention.
When what would really grab readers’ attention is a great story. I’d like to see a comic book writer craft a great story without killing any major characters like I did with TheMan Who Rules The World.
There are some characters are better off dead. And a smart creator will leave those characters dead so that other characters and readers can learn and grow from their loss. From those deaths a writer can teach lessons about life to the reader that will help them appreciate reading the adventures of the heroes they enjoy today. Sometimes the greatest comic stories aren’t about superheroes saving the world, but about the people who help readers deal with something every human being has to do like coping with the loss of a loved one.