§ Nice Art: The Inhumans comic may have been cancelled, and the tv show may have been a fiasco, but it seems the Black Bolt series by Saladin Ahmed and Christian Ward is beginning to build up some critical notice. The first collection comes out in two weeks, usually a good point for the jumping on. I haven’t read it myself, but there is no denying the stylish art of Ward.
§ I never really weighed in on the CB Cebulski/Akira Yoshida thing and it seems to have faded quite a bit. For the record, the whole “pretending to be Japanese” thing is massively offensive. It’s equally obvious we don’t know the whole story, though. A highly placed Comic Book Person (not from Marvel) texted me “Was this Akira Yoshida thing a surprise? Everyone knew about it.” My personal theory about the matter is one that explains most of the mysteries and discrepancies, but I guess we’ll have to wait until Sean Howe’s granddaughter writes her history of Marvel in the 21st century. Anyway, for the record I had squirreled away some links.
Best article by an actual Asian person: Clara Mae’s No, Marvel, Promoting a White Guy Who Faked a Japanese Identity Is Not Normal which takes a level headed look at the known facts and issues while still clearly pointing out what made it offensive.
Best article by a Bagladeshi–American Asian person: cartoonist Priya Huq on CB Cebulski’s Asian Mask: Why the Anger? which explains just that very well.
Best article by a white man (!) Sam Thielman’s What Evil Lurks in The Hearts of Men which examines the Orientalism behind the subterfuge.
One claim often made is that by hiring Yoshida, real Japanese creators lost a potential job. We don’t know if that actually happened, as Mae points out, but in his editorial capacity, Cebulski brought several actual Japanese talents to Marvel, including Kia Asamiya, Sana Takeda (who drew Cebulski’s mini series Drain, her first US work, I believe) and more. I point this out not to excuse the offensive ruse, but to wonder if the anger over the bad thing has washed away work by the very people being defended. It would be interesting to look at real Japanese creators who worked at Marvel post-Yoshida; they definitely exist.
§ Best ofs: Abe Riesman weighs in at Vulture withThe 10 Best Comics of 2017 – his list includes the out-there Connor Willumsen’s Anti-Gone, a personal fave which is showing up on several lists, so good going.
— chainsawsuit (@chainsawsuit) December 7, 2017
§ This comic sums up a lot of things.
§ Women Write About Comics has launched a sister site covering media: Ms En Scene. there you will find things like Megan Purdy reviewing My Friend Dahmer, so bookmark! Or like it on Facebook. Or however you jot down content now.
§ The comments section of this Comics Journal piece is brief but contains a halting conversation on whether R. Crumb’s work will still be the revered as the greatest comics of all times as tastes change. To those who doubt, Matt Seneca suggests that Alex Raymond was an influential in his day as Crumb was in his. My take: Crumb will never be forgotten as a pioneer, but the problematic nature of his work will take a toll.
§ A major character in One Piece is getting a makeover. SPOILERS.
§ Senator Pat Leahy (D-Vermont) is one of the few people in our government who has not yet been asked to step down due to sexual misconduct. This alone is newsworthy, but in fact he’s not only a lawmaker, he’s a big Batman fan, a hobby that has drawn ribbing from the 77-year-old’s colleagues:
Batman has been by Leahy’s side during his long political career, which began with his successful 1974 Senate run, in which he won in a three-way race. One of his opponents? Bernie Sanders, the future senator and presidential hopeful. Leahy was just 34 at the time. Today, even if the tall lawmaker is slowed a bit by age, he is forever young at heart — a Batman logo adorns his agenda, visible on his desk. Leahy says his passion for the hero of Gotham City has made him the target of some “good natured teasing” from fellow senators over the years. Leahy is actually a serious comic book fan and collector. His favorite author is Frank Miller, best known as the author of “The Dark Knight Returns,” a mid-1980s series portraying a gritty, middle-aged Batman in a violent future, and the comic book series “Sin City” (1991-1992) and “300” (1998).
ONE OF US. (Bernie Sanders’ campaign manager was a comic shop owner, so the panel is strong in Vermont.)
§ Many people have been talking about a pro-life Zootopia fan fic comic in which Nick knocks up Judy and they having a falling out when she wants to terminate her pregnancy. It’s called I Will Survive and its by someone who uses the name Borba. Say what you will about a woman’s – or a rabbit’s – right to choose – but this is a pretty good looking comic.
§ Studio coffee run: That Quentin Tarantino R-rated Star Trek movie is apparently not just a clickbait headline — it’s moving along the pipeline!!!! Writers are being sought to pen the script from Tarantino’s idea. Have you seen a great “Tarantino’s Star Trek” comic yet? link in the comments!
§ Speaking of Star Trek, I love all interviews with Marina Sirtis, who played Deanna Troi on Star Trek TNG, and this is a good one including Gene Roddenberry belief that three women characters on one show was too many!
AVC: What was going on behind the scenes to make you feel that way?MS: Well, Gene felt that there was one too many women on the show. And you need a doctor [Gates McFadden as Beverly Crusher] and a security chief [Crosby as Tasha Yar], but you really don’t need a psychologist. It was as simple as that. Security chief is viable, a doctor is viable—a psychologist, not so much. So I was getting fired. I asked Majel Barrett-Roddenberry straight out, because we were very close, and I asked her a few years ago, before she passed away, and I said, “I was going to get fired that first season, wasn’t I?” And she went, “Yep!” The irony of the whole situation is that at the end of the first season, I was the only one left out of the three.
§ As long as we’re talking media, South Park ended its season this week, and the satire has grown a bit flustered because the real world is like a satire that hasn’t closed Saturday night…and looks like it won’t close at all. The AV Club and Vanity Fair discuss the pitfalls of the season. Via VF:
Like I said, it’s not a particularly veiled or nuanced message. But it also speaks to how haunted the series has been by Trump ever since he took office. In the past, South Park was not wedded to political satire. In fact, it was a relatively rare occurrence on the show. Trump, however, has consumed the national conversation to such a degree that not talking about him can make any satirical program feel out of touch; just ask late-night hosts, whose field has seen a similar dynamic play out, buoying the topical Stephen Colbert over the more fun-and-games oriented Jimmy Fallon. Historically, most of Parker and Stone’s best work had nothing to do with politics—but, now, that’s not always an option. And Stone and Parker’s traditional “both sides are wrong” approach to humor is also no longer compatible with the national climate.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.