Sunday, June 28, 2015

Let's Talk About Race/Gender/Sexuality in Comics... Again...

  I would like to start this off with this thing from the Onion which, in the title alone, sums up how ridiculous I find naysayers of color blind casting:

Comic Book Fans Adamant That Human Torch be Played by Actor Whose Body Actually Engulfed in Flames

  So, would that be better?  I mean really if your going to complain about the actor who plays the character why not complain that the Human Torch isn't being played by a man on fire or that the actor playing The Thing isn't a giant craggy rock monster?

  On to what I'm really here about.  Good news everybody!  Stan Lee says to create new ethnic characters!  And if you won't do it HE will!  So don't worry roughly 100 million non-white members of the population, your ethnicity will be proudly represented by this old, rich white guy who was last culturally aware back when segregation was a thing and was a voting adult through the Civil Rights.  Clearly he's the person to rally behind.  It's not that I don't like Stan Lee but I think we might give him too much credit, somehow we've made him the King of comics and I don't know if that's entirely earned or not.  It may not be entirely unearned but I think we need to be careful about who we assign crowns to and why.

  So let's talk about race in comic books, again, sorted, in no particular order, by the dumb ass statements I see.  I primarily use the word and concept of race in the examples below but the word race could be interchanged with gender/ethnicity/religion/sexuality.  I tried to stick to one concept to make things easier.

Monday, June 1, 2015

If I Made It: Comic Reform

  I was thinking about comics this morning, as I often do, mostly about the industry of comics and how there is just so much stuff out there.  I don't really think that makes things better, I think it ends up diluting your product.  I think, from a logical standpoint, it makes more sense to have fewer things across more mediums than a lot of things in one medium.  The most important thing to remember is that comic books, and their related intellectual property, is an industry now and not a business.  A business is a mom and pop stationary store.  If stationary dries up, as long as they have the store front, they can change things up and sell something different or find another job is something retail related.

  An industry needs to self perpetuating and being that means you can't eat your customers or yourself for the sake of profit.  The idea of an industry is you take less profit initially so you make more money over time because if your industry collapses nobody has a job anymore.  If your stationary store goes under you can still find a job in the 'retail industry'.  If the retail industry goes away you can't suddenly get a job in healthcare.  So you have to ensure the security of your people and even your competitors by not salting the earth for everybody.  Since I know Marvel the best I'll be using Marvel in my examples but I'm not really criticizing Marvel or any particular brand.  This is just how I would do it if someone gave me full control over a major brand in the industry.


  In January of every year I would take two weeks and sit down with everyone to hash out a plan for the year.  The plan isn't set in stone but it would act as a guide.  This would be the time for all the departments to talk and plan.  What are our movies doing?  What should we do to support it?  How should comics, TV and movies tie-in?  How can we support that with merchandise?  What are our titles coming out this year?  Who's working on them?  What are we building to?  What are our character arcs?

Happy Birthday Lea Thompson!

Happy Birthday
  I saw this in my Facebook feed and thought I'd write a post because she has been a huge part of my own youth having grown up along side her career.  Back to the Future and Caroline in the City being two major things in her career that I enjoyed the hell out of.  But because I'm a huge Howard the Duck fan I thought I would celebrate it by posting this recent interview where she talks, briefly, about shooting Howard the Duck.  She initially describes it as 'painful' but goes on to say some nice things.  She is also a Minnesota native, like myself, so there is much love there.

  I also want to point out that the soundtrack was written by the incredible Thomas Dolby and performed by Lea Thompson as the lead singer of Cherry Bomb.  The title song, which was part of the movies finale, was the result of Dolby collaborating with George Clinton who was the head speaker of the Parliament Funkadelic and sung by Lea Thompson!  Say what you will about the movie but the soundtrack was a pretty good bit of late 80's New Wave and Lea Thompson was very competent as the lead singer of Cherry Bomb.  Lady Thompson if you ever want to give an exhaustive interview of your Howard the Duck experience I would be happy to do that.  If I could I'd interview everyone involved with that movie.  If I could get the people I would do all Howard the Duck podcast series.  Thank you for all your work Lea Thompson!