What the frak? It’s June? When did that happen!
§ Graeme McMillan wonders What Would Happen To Marvel If The Kirbys Won?, and the answer, apparently, is that they would have to do like that dachshund, and go around with their withered hindquarters supported by a little wheelie thing:
Marvel, of course, would be in trouble, not only losing the ability to publish a large percentage of their line (Even assuming that non-Kirby characters and series spun out from the Kirby series – X-Factor, War Machine, and so on – would remain with Marvel) but also having to surrender the rights to almost every active movie project at multiple studios (No surprise, perhaps, that Marvel is moving forward with a movie based on Brian K. Vaughan’s Runaways, which will not be affected by any ongoing lawsuits coming from the Kirby heirs’ demands), effectively – if, presumably, only temporarily – wiping them out as a multimedia power altogether.
§ Marc-Oliver Frisch investigates 10 Things Superhero Comics Do Better Than Any Other Genre in Any Other Storytelling Form which includes many of the usual explanations like colorful costumes and big, macho fights, and also:
9: Let Creators Explore the Limits of Their Imagination Without Being Hampered by Logic or Plausibility
This is related to the previous point, but it reaches farther: The creators of superhero comics are free to imagine and explore all the things mentioned above, but more importantly, they are also free to imagine and explore things not mentioned above—things not mentioned anywhere at all, in fact. The human imagination is limitless in theory, but tends to be hampered by practical concerns like the requirement to adhere to a consensus of what’s acceptable by standards of logic and plausibility.
Is this REALLY one of the things that Superhero comics do best…or one of the things that COMICS do best? I think if you were plopped down in a room full of Krazy Kat, Thimble Theater, Milt Gross, Jim Woodring, Walt Kelly, Gilbert Hernandez, Carl Barks, Chester Gould, James Kochalka, Cathy Malkasian, Kozue Amano, Dash Shaw, Renee French, Hergé, Moebius, Akira Toriyama, Jeff Smith, Jason, Kazuo Umezu, Charles Burns and Tom Neely, for instance, you might think that comics just did fantastic world building in GENERAL best of all. I’m all for brave people in colorful costumes doing impossible things — the “kick ‘splod” paradigm — but as all the talk of “canon” of late shows, imagination in the superhero genre has become ossified into ritual. Or as Will Eisner once put it, “As long as young boys doubt their masculinity, there will be a need for superheroes.”
§ This very loosely structured piece by Michael Cieply in the NY Times explores Warner Brothers’ movie hopes through the lens of Jonah Hex, but notes that the biggest non-superhero comic book movie of all remains MEN IN BLACK.
Warner is betting heavily that its “Green Lantern,” which is now shooting and is set for release in June 2011, will open the door to a new wave of DC-based films. But first it has to make something out of “Jonah Hex.” A relatively inexpensive film, with production costs of about $50 million, it occupies prime real estate on Warner’s summer schedule — and points up the difficulty of turning an outsider’s art form into movies with broad appeal.
Related: At an investors meeting last week, Warner studio head Barry Meyer spelled out that with the Harry Potter franchise coming to an end, Warners is turning to DC characters as their next tentpole:
And he said his team has been preparing for the franchise’s end. Meyer particularly highlighted that DC Comics characters are key parts of Warner’s future, mentioning a July 20, 2012 release date for the latest “Batman” film by Christopher Nolan and a holiday season 2012 “Superman” film. He added that the studio is also “nearing” a greenlight for a “Flash” movie, with films featuring Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Mad magazine characters also in development.
§ Speaking of Green Lantern, the plot outline has been revealed:
Hal is a gifted and cocky test pilot, but the Green Lanterns have little respect for humans, who have never harnessed the infinite powers of the ring before. But Hal is clearly the missing piece to the puzzle, and along with his determination and willpower, he has one thing no member of the Corps has ever had: humanity. With the encouragement of fellow pilot and childhood sweetheart Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), if Hal can quickly master his new powers and find the courage to overcome his fears, he may prove to be not only the key to defeating Parallax…he will become the greatest Green Lantern of all.
Here’s the thing: I love this stuff — comics — and I want to share it with everybody. I realize tastes aren’t universal, but when really good stories are held back from finding a mass, multicultural audience by the whitebread nature of the protagonists, it’s depressing. You can’t just change race of major icons, sure, but the world around them should still reflect the world we live in, because otherwise it’s alienating. I don’t want to read, and enjoy, comics that alienate other people for unnecessary reasons — it’s depressing, and it kills my enjoyment, too.
§ And Marc Bernardin says the unthinkable:The last thing Spider-Man should be is another white guy
So why couldn’t Peter Parker be played by a black or a Hispanic actor? How does that invalidate who Peter Parker is? I’m not saying that the producers need to force the issue; that they need to cast a minority just for the sake of it — but in the face of such underwhelming options like Billy Elliot and the kid who played young Voldemort, why not broaden the search? It’s not like any of these blokes are lighting the world on fire like a young Johnny Depp or Leonardo DiCaprio.
If you read the Green Lantern synopsis above, it is another case of Avatar-ism, a.k.a. “It Takes a White Man To Save the Universe.” Which is all fine and dandy, because white men need heroes too, as long as they understand that in other galaxies, it takes an Andorran, or a Mon Calamari, or a Neptunian to save the universe.
In honour of the end of what will surely be remembered as the best run of Power Girl appearances (that’s right, not just in her own comic: anywhere) I was going to put together a timeline of PG appearances that would necessarily showcase the changes to her costume and *ahem* carriage over the years. The longer that I worked on it though, the more it became evident that I was going to end up with a thirty-year history of one character’s boobs. Which was kind of the point, I admit, but it was far to creepy for me to go on.
§ Tom Spurgeon’s annual guide to surviving CCI ages like port in the bottle but it held some shocks for us.
Tip #96. Seek Bathrooms Out Of The Main Flow Of Traffic
The convention center does a generally good job with keeping the bathrooms clean and functioning, but it may be worth seeking out one or two restroom spots far from the maddening crowd. I’d also suggest just straight-up making friends someone with a room at the Omni, Marriott or Hilton for use of their bathroom, but there’s really no good way to initiate that conversation.
It is deeply disturbing to realize that finding a comfortable place to go to the bathroom is something that you need to plan ahead and a shock to realize that we have developed our own favorite potty stops over nearly 20 years of going at San Diego. But, upon reflection, perhaps our favorite ladies room is the one on the mezzanine outside the panel rooms. It never seems too crowded and there are rarely any costume-related log jams.
§ Phoenix Comicon! Marc Mason went and had some gripes about the press policy, but found lots of cool people to talk to. This report by a blogger named Himani suggests it was well-attended. And this photo set from Eric Esquivel suggests that it looked much like most comicons, except that the pipe-and-drape was red and white instead of blue and white, and also people did very strange things in photos.