§ Nice Art: Paul Mounts posted a variant cover by Art Adams for Avengers Asssemble! Issue 700 that he colored, which is a nice tribute to Barry Windsor-Smith’s Avengers #100 cover. This Bronze Age look is strong style.
§ Heckuva day, huh?
Last year when I took my oldest kid to London we went to the bowling alley where Nic Cage took Mindy in Kick-Ass. This was poignant as Daughter No1 inspired me to CREATE Big Daddy and Hit-Girl when she asked me to write a father and daughter super-team…https://t.co/0kVKyFCgLJ pic.twitter.com/bazBAWc5Ly
— Mark Millar (@mrmarkmillar) August 20, 2018
§ This tweet may be “poignant” to some, but to many it will mostly be disturbing.
§ Not too long ago actress Kelly Marie Tran nuked her social media after being subjected to racist and sexist abuse mostly over her character Rose Tico in The Last Jedi. Yesterday she penned a deeply moving op-ed in the NY Times documenting how she has struggled to overcome prejudice:
And those words awakened something deep inside me — a feeling I thought I had grown out of. The same feeling I had when at 9, I stopped speaking Vietnamese altogether because I was tired of hearing other kids mock me. Or at 17, when at dinner with my white boyfriend and his family, I ordered a meal in perfect English, to the surprise of the waitress, who exclaimed, “Wow, it’s so cute that you have an exchange student!”
Their words reinforced a narrative I had heard my whole life: that I was “other,” that I didn’t belong, that I wasn’t good enough, simply because I wasn’t like them. And that feeling, I realize now, was, and is, shame, a shame for the things that made me different, a shame for the culture from which I came from. And to me, the most disappointing thing was that I felt it at all.
Because the same society that taught some people they were heroes, saviors, inheritors of the Manifest Destiny ideal, taught me I existed only in the background of their stories, doing their nails, diagnosing their illnesses, supporting their love interests — and perhaps the most damaging — waiting for them to rescue me.
And for a long time, I believed them.
Luckily, Tran has overcome these oppressive messages – but it’s an uphill struggle. She’s the first Asian woman to EVER appear on the cover of Vanity Fair? This magazine is 35 years old. This post’s title is the moving last line of the piece. But as I read it, I could only think “White people, please stop gaslighting non-white people.” As a woman, I know what it’s like to be demeaned, demoralized, talked over and ignored. But as a WHITE woman, I am not questioned about my right to belong in the mainstream of society every minute of every day. I had a supportive upbringing that allowed me to believe in myself, but when you’re questioned about your right to belong constantly, you will question yourself, and spend all the energy you should have used to follow your dreams just to fight to exist. This is the very essence of racism. White people, don’t do it. This is why diversity matters and why we need to fight for it.
§ I guess Wolverine has a new, blacker costume, as designed by Declan Shalvey who is “helping” Steve McNiven on the RETURN OF WOLVERINE.
“I’ve wanted to work with Declan Shalvey forever—you can ask him! I’ve talked to him a million times about telling a story together,” Soule told Marvel.com. “The timing’s never worked out, until now, for RETURN OF WOLVERINE, and I think it’s great he’s come aboard. He did a new design for one of Logan’s outfits in the story that I love, and he’ll get to choreograph a massive battle sequence with the X-Men, too. Declan’s wonderful, and he’ll do a hell of a job.”
§ Comicbook.com did the heavy lifting of narrowing down the three candidates for the horrifying, traumatic death that DC is promising us in Heroes in Crisis. It will be either Tim Drake, Roy Harper, or Kyle Rayner. How many Robins can they kill anyway? My money is still on Roy!
§ Mark Russell has made quite name for himself with stuff like Snagglepuss and Flintstones, and here’s he’s interviewed about those and his Ahoy Comics work.
While writing it, did you have self-doubts?I didn’t really have to deal with self-doubt, because I hadn’t been a big fan of The Flintstones, so I sort of was playing with the house money. It loosened me up, to say what I wanted to say and not worry about the franchise, or some legacy. And that is the only way to write. You just have to think, “For better or worse, this is what I have to say.” You can’t be worrying how this will sit within somebody else’s cherished universe.
§ SANPAKU is an intriguing sounding graphic novel coming up from creator Kate Gavino later this year and she spoke with The Nerds of Color
I notice you included a lot of Filipino cultural aspects to it, just like Catholicism and sainthood. Did you really experience that? What made you come up with Nurse Vilma for Sainthood?Well, growing up in Houston when Selena died, that was a huge event for the community because everyone loves Selena. She was from Corpus Christi, Texas. I remember because this was around the same time that Princess Diana and Mother Teresa died and there was a lot of talk in the Catholic community about them becoming saints. So, when Selena died, there is also the same chatter about wanting her to be turned into a saint as well. Even though, it was kind of like a common knowledge that her family were Jehovah witnesses. So, I was always fascinated by the process of how you become a saint, like you have to prove that you can perform miracles and then the pope has to approve everything and, because of that, like I’ve always just been interested in the saints in general.
§ I’ve much enjoyed Kyle Buchanon’s coverage of superhero movies and the like at Vulture, now he’s moving over to the New York Times. I hope he can still give us scoops about the Justice League movie.
§ Jim Starlin is living his best life, and he’s earned it.
§ I honestly can’t remember if I linked to this, yet another in the series of article in the British press about what graphic novels to read now that Sabrina made them fashionable, but it’s a nice list.
§ I love the honesty and humor of Keiler Roberts’ work, and she has a new book coming out, Chlorine Gardens, and the AV Club looks inside:
Cartoonist Keiler Roberts doesn’t shy away from pain in her autobiographical work, understanding that the hard parts of life are what make the joys so valuable. Her work is as delightful as it is harrowing, exploring how these different emotions often intersect. Her first book for Koyama Press, Sunburning, was full of hilarious comic strips about her family and her career, but it also dove deep into her struggles with mental illness, giving readers a multifaceted impression of the artist. She continues that introspective exploration in her new Koyama title, Chlorine Gardens, which delves deeper into the difficulties of having and raising a child while also detailing how Roberts deals with an MS diagnosis that adds even more stress to her already difficult situation.
§ There’s been a loose end from the James Gunn controversy that I much wanted tied up: just before he was fired from Disney he was teasing an announcement at Hall H at Comic-Con, which would have been made the day after he was let go. What was it to be? Turns out it is a “Secret Horror Movie” coming out from Sony in November. Gunn is only producing the film – David Yarovesky will direct – and no one knows what it is, although a teaser image suggested the manga Berserk, the video game Bloodborne or even the Grant Morrison/Chris Burnham book Nameless. Those are very unlikely however.,
According to an official release date schedule from Sony (via ScreenRant), Gunn’s secret horror project will hit theaters on November 30, 2018. It’s worth noting that while everyone (including Sony) is referring to this as “James Gunn’s horror project”, Gunn isn’t the director – he’s one of the producers. Back in 2017, Variety reported that Gunn would produce a horror film for the production company The H Collection, with director David Yarovesky at the helm. Yarovesky is a longtime Gunn collaborator, and also directed the music video Guardians Inferno for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Very little was known about the film after its initial announcement, save for the fact that the project would reunite producer Gunn with his Slither star Elizabeth Banks.
§ It’s been a long time since we obsessed over Bruce Campbell here, but in an interview he has some salty words for the trouble with being in a Superhero movie franchise:
“That’s Sam Raimi all the way,” Campbell shared with ComicBook.com about what drew him to those films. “Big blockbuster movies, whenever I see an actor get cast in one of those, I wince, because I go, ‘Oh, that poor son of a bitch is going to be in that suit for 10 years.’ If shooting schedule’s seven months of shooting, you get your one month in the Bahamas, and then you’re promoting for three months, then you go right back to the next sequel, back in that same f-cking suit.'”
Quotable Bruce Campbell. Perhaps that should be a regular feature here?
§ In writing this following item, I want to point out, I don’t know what it is I’m writing about exactly. It’s like when your mother found your comic books and got it all wrong. But it’s something. I dn’t watch Voltron or know anything about it except that it’s a big obot, I guess, but I do know that Voltron is very popular with fanfic, and several gay ships regularly top the charts. And I know that one of the main characters was recently made canonically gay, a huge win for the fan community right? Wrong, because the boyfriend got fridged off screen and….okay here’s where I’ll let this piece on Inverse take over
Needless to say, this didn’t sit well with fans. Accusations of queerbaitingand that crusty-ass bury your gays trope echoed around the fandom courtroom louder than a trial in a Phoenix Wright game. Some felt that wasn’t the case, that the creators never explicitly stated how we’d meet Adam, that it was a good showing of the hardship of war (even if Shiro has been through hell already), and that fans were projecting their own ideas onto the plot. Showrunner Joaquim Dos Santos has since written up an apology. It goes into the intent to create an inclusive series, hints at possible restrictions faced, discusses that trope I mentioned, and reveals the hope of Shiro being a character who breaks the stereotypical “hardened soldier” image.
In some ways this story seems, to an outsider, to reinforce some of the ideas about a fandom that’s never happy: fans wanted a gay Shiro, fans got a gay Shiro but they didn’t like how the producers actually executed the storyline. It’s easy to think that fans are never happy, but honestly, killing off Shiro’s partner to toughen him up is such a trope, gay, straight or anything else. The fan/creator relationship is such a minefield these days. What to do? Inverse’s Briana Lawrence suggests a sensible route to take:
So the question becomes, what should mainstream creators do? When they’re doing press interviews, hosting giant panels, and tweeting to thousands upon thousands of fans, what should they do?
Simple: Let the story do the outing.
Telling us about these characters before we get to meet them is only part of the problem, because it’d be fine if we actually got that well developed queer character we were hoping for. As it stands, there’s a track record for mediocrity when creators open the closet door before we even get to look at it. The reason why fans praise Steven Universe, for example, is because the queerness isn’t just coming from the creator’s mouth. It’s in the story. The reason why we all lost our collective minds over Yuri on Ice is because the characters were fleshed out — both separately and together.
It’s worth reading producer Joaquim Dos Santos’s apology in full becuase you see the modern showrunner struggling in a world where liking tweets becomes an act of violence. They meant well but it seems that by making an announcement ahead of time, the Voltron producers wanted to pander to their fans without giving them substance. They wanted to have their cake and not let anyone else have a big piece of cake. And that was a big mistake.
At least I think it was. I’d be interested in hearing actually informed takes on this.
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.