Sunday, June 10, 2007

Just an observation, and I'm sure it's not startlingly original, but what with everybody (on the Net, anyway) talking about Heroes For Hire covers and Dark Mary here, I can't help but shake my head at how eagerly and how successfully all these otherwise well-meaning commentators are providing publicity for characters and books that otherwise nobody much really cares about at all. I mean who, besides the fine folks who write and put out Alter Ego, really talked about, or even cared much, about Mary Marvel anyway? Actually, the last time I remember this much Mary M discussion going on was when this, JLA Classified #8, came out. Seems like the only way that dear, sweet Mary can get any attention is when she dresses in black and acts all naughty. What this says about people is up to you, dear reader.

I'm just a little surprised at how everyone, myself included with this very post, seems to be so eager and willing to perpetuate all that hype and publicity for character developments and depictions that they regard as vile, in poor taste, unnecessary, and at best regrettable.

"But what should we do?" You ask- "If we see something we feel isn't right, we must bring it to light in order to express our displeasure and let those who perpetuate such tripe know that we find it reprehensible and hold them accountable!" And that's true, this being America and all that. But where does protesting begin and unintentional shilling end? Ya got me. It's a fine line.

Me personally? Well, my knee-jerk reaction is to be sad that once more a light-at-heart character must be presented in a dark fashion in order to stimulate the presumed audience, which apparently can't get enough "serious" takes on the licenses. I don't necessarily have that rose-colored viewpoint a lot of the fanmen/women out there have, that superhero comics should be, by strict definition, "fun", "lighthearted", "escapist", and any number of adjectives you can come up with, like they "used to be" when (insert the decade the speaker grew up reading such comics here). I grew up in the 60's and 70's, reading every comic I could get my hands on back then, and to be fair a lot of that storytelling was also adjectives like "cliched", "trite", "dumbed down", "formulaic", and anything that grownups could glean out of them had to be read between the lines, or appeared in obscure corners of each company, in titles such as Killraven, Warlock, and others. I lean towards finding it regrettable, but am not exactly sure I prefer this to Dark Mary above there. For sure, the excesses of the Garth Ennises and Frank Millers out there often cross that selfsame line, but without someone willing to tae a more realistic, "adult" look at comics and comic characters, we wouldn't have the likes of Chase, Hellstorm, Timespirits, American: Flagg!, Planetary, and many, many more. So what's an (presumed) adult reader with no real inclination to see his reading art form of choice revert to the fashion in which they appeared in his childhood to do?

Persevere, I guess.

On a tangential note, I wish that a certain writer whose work I normally admire wouldn't hold this attitude:

A character who stays cute, charismatic and funny isn’t very interesting. So, it’s better to put that character through some tests and see if they come out the way they came in, or if they undergo some changes that ultimately make them a stronger, more interesting character.

Sounds like it's easier to rely on absolutes like the above, rather than try to make such characters interesting. Makes me very concerned for Jingle Belle and Sheriff Ida Red. Anyway, I have no doubt that status quo will be restored eventually, and it doesn't sound like anything really Sue Dibny-esque will be involved, so I find it hard to really get het up about it, especially since I cheerfully passed on 52 and have no plans to get Countdown either.

And heaven help me, I kinda like the black shinyl vinyl costume. I'm such a pig sometimes.

Spinner Rack Junkie is coming soon, if anybody's interested.

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