All New Spider-Man (In With the Old)

In a statement that surprised nobody, Kevin Feige confirmed that the new Spider-Man will be Peter Parker.

I typed that sentence on April 15th.  Then, I got a message that my father had died.  Suddenly this did not seem all that important for me.  This is why I have not posted in nearly two weeks.  And in that time, generally, Spider-Man news has been a distraction.

What has been stated since is we have seen a slate of the front runners for the new Spider-Man and they are (expectedly-to me anyways) very white.  There were claims that Marvel and Sony was definitely looking to have a non-white actor in the role, and that they might ditch Peter Parker entirely.  I did not find these claims all that credible.  The idea that Marvel was interested in ditching Peter Parker upon getting to bring him into the Marvel Cinematic Universe…well, that was hard to believe.

The best news was that we are not getting a third treatment of the Spider-Man origin.  On the other hand, the rumored title for the next Spider-Movie is Spider-Man: The New Avenger.

And that is terrible.  There is no way that is a good title.  Sony and Marvel need to toss that aside.  It should be something along the lines of the the Spectacular Spider-Man.  The New Avenger?  Just terrible.

Choking On the Truth

Over at Comics Alliance, Rue Walker has a piece up called The Poison’s Within Us All: Mistreatment and Harassment in Geek Spaces.  It is a very good piece, that is starting to ask questions that have been on my mind of late in regards to how we handle outrages.  If I understood Rue correctly over on Twitter, she will be dealing with some of that in her next piece.

In the meantime, it is a great article worth reading.

We’d like to believe that good and evil are relatively straightforward, not to mention self-defining. A good person does good things because they want to do them, while a bad person does bad things for the same reason. In this magical moral kingdom, intent and action are one, but let’s be honest: they ain’t. The difference between a bad act performed with the best of intentions and a good act motivated by bad reasons is the difference between a mistake and hypocrisy, and I’ve yet to meet a person who hasn’t been guilty, at some point, of both.

The Ultimate Spidey

Yesterday saw the release of the final issue of Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man.  Secret Wars is next (which will apparently suspend/end every comic I currently buy from Marvel) and then after Secret Wars, Miles is an Avenger.

I will not lie…I am not entirely sure I get what the post Secret Wars Marvel is supposed to be exactly.  Is it just blending some of the Marvel worlds into one world?  Will people remember the old universes?  Or will they be living lives as if this was the only universe they ever knew?  Is it just combining the Ultimate and 616 universes into a single universe?  Or will it also incorporate elements of other Marvel worlds?

Will Ganke die?

I have really enjoyed Bendis’s loooong run on the Ultimate Spider-Man books.  I thought he did a terrific job with Peter Parker and Miles Morales.  In fact, after my hiatus from comics, Miles was one of the reasons I thought to check back in on the scene.

The idea that the Ultimate Universe is going away is, oddly, a more bitter pill that the 616 for me.  The Ultimate Universe has been down for the count, only to survive multiple times…and now they will not be coming back…and I am sorry to see it go.

Feminists Are Not Trying To Break Your Toys

So…Frank Cho is under some understandable fire for a sketch he did of Spider-Gwen.  Spider-Gwen is a teen Gwen Stacy from the recent Spider-Verse comic series.  She has had a fairly successful start to her own series.  Cho decided the best way to recognize the character is to do an homage to Milo Manara’s rather infamous Spider-Woman cover.  That cover was met with heavy criticism due to it’s porn heavy pose…

The thing that adds to the issue here is Gwen is a teen, which gives it an extra creepy element.  Part of the problem with this art is I think artists take no account for age of characters.  They just treat all females who are past puberty the same…”sexy”.  Granted, I could be wrong… I am mainly giving a little benefit of doubt here that Cho was not thinking at all about how old Gwen is supposed to be, as opposed to assuming he thinks drawing teen girls in “sexy” poses is totally cool.

Invariably, this gives rise to panic from certain segments of comic-dom that feminists and other SJW are trying to “take away our toys.”  Although I have never seen feminists who advocate the removal of sexy drawings from the spectrum of comics, you do hear folks decry the attempts to “take away the sexy”.  What I have seen is feminists advocating for “better sexy” or appropriate places for the sexy emphasis.  In other words, a Spider-Woman cover should be distinguishable from a Tarot cover.  Teen characters really should not be in porn poses.

I know many feminists who are Adam Hughes fans, and I have not seen any clamor to prevent him from getting work.  Feminists are behind the production of various sexually themed comic book anthologies.  Escher Girls is strictly critical of embarrassingly bad artistic choices done in the name of “Sexy”.  Feminists are not trying to end “sexy” in comics.  They are simply trying to challenge the definition of what is “sexy”.

People who worry about the Phantom Feminists trying to steal all “sexy” from comics need to step back, reassess and understand, the woman they fear does not really exist any more than Powergirl does.  Feminists are not trying to remove supposed sexy from comics.  They are just asking for it to be consistently better when it appears, rather than insulting.

And that is not much to ask.

Walk On (Spoilers)

Spoilers follow…

Tragic death is kind of a way of life for the Walking Dead.  By the end of the season, at least a couple seemingly big characters are killed.  The series only has about four or five people left from the first season (Rick, Glenn, Carol, Carl and Morgan).

And yet, death was not the primary focus of Sunday’s season finale for season 5.  It was survival, mercy and the value of life.  From the seemingly certain sacrifices and threats of murder, there were only two characters that lost their lives.  For all the anticipation, Glenn survived the season, showing Nick mercy after Nick tried to murder him.

After throwing the crew under the bus, and showing Sasha tremendous disgust…after demeaning her, her brother and Bob, the truth comes out…it is really his own self loathing driving his actions.  He let his parishioners die horrible fates because he was a coward.  We saw glimpses before…but here he was ready to die, because he was broken from the guilt.  And yet, in the end, rather than kill Gabriel, we see Maggie, Sasha and Gabriel holding hands, clearly praying.  I was not happy with Gabriel going behind the family’s back…but I am all for a redemptive message.

The final moments before the credits were powerful.  As Deanna cradles her dying husband, you see her idealism seems to bleed out with him.  The look on her face tells us that in that moment, she decided to side with and trust Rick’s view on how it has to work.  And yet, the story gives us a final glimpse with Morgan, Daryl and Aaron, the reaction of horror as Morgan speaks Rick’s name.  The setup for next season is strong.

I also noticed that the show did some real misdirection, using fan’s knowledge of the comics.  The “W” did not turn out to be Whisperers.

The Answers We Seek…

A few things that have come up regarding the Val D’Orazio and Chris Sims Harassment situation…

One?  Why did he wait so long to apologize?  In an ideal world, Chris would have apologized when he realized the damage he had done.

This is the most damning part of the post harassment.  Chris offered a reason that, while I kind of get it, simply does not absolve this severe lapse in judgement.  His reason was, she had cut herself off, and he did not want to force the situation on her.  But the thing is, had he simply apologized a few years ago there are at least two possible ways it would have played out.  One, maybe she would have angrily said “fuck off, Sims.”  But at least he would have been making the effort.  That would have said a lot for others even if she had rejected it.  Another likely possibility?  She accepted the apology they made peace and the Gamer Gate folks had no (intentional or unintentional) ally.  Chris Sims blew it on this front.  It makes any apology now one that will be severely scrutinized.

Two?  This went on from 2007 to 2010.  Chris Sims started working for Comics Alliance under Laura Hudson’s guidance in February of 2010.  Why did they not vet him better?  My theory is they did not really vet Chris.  They looked at his blog popularity, his general writing style and thought he would add something to the CA world.  How could they overlook this?  I also think the truth is a little harsh.  I do not think many people thought what was going on was “Chris is harassing Val.”  I mean, I read posts where he basically said how much he did not like Val.  But I missed some of the harsher comments he left for her, since it I pretty much only read comment threads where I had commented.  And there were a lot of folks (some more progressive than Chris was at the time) who were coming down hard on Val.  The discussions surrounding threats on line had not hit full swing yet… I suspect the truth is, a lot of folks just did not think of what was happening as “harassment”.  So, it was not treated as such by CA when they hired Chris.  I am actually trying to reach out to CA folks on this one.

Three? Chris paid no price for this.  Here, I find myself wondering what the solution is…does the Chris of today not get to work in comics because the Chris of yesterday was a terrible person? If we are not demanding he be fired…what is the appropriate punishment for behavior from 7-8 years back?  Outside of apology, how must he pay?  How should he suffer?

Listen, I am not speaking in hypotheticals here.  From first through twelfth grade, I got harassed and bullied.  My bullies all got away with it.  They suffered nothing.  I stated on Facebook yesterday that Sim’s comment asking D’Orazio if she was “gonna cry, little girl” fills me with an anger that wants to punch that Chris Sims in the face.  I hate that one comment with a intense anger.  But what…was I supposed to call the WB when one of my bullies was a lead on a semi-popular show of theirs?  I really hate to believe the only justice would be to prevent them from making a living, especially when, in Sim’s case the person in question turned around for the better.  And frankly, everybody who came down on Val paid no price for it.  They all went on with their lives, and if we are going to take this seriously, it is not justice to only demand Sims pay a price.  According to Val, Sims was one of the worst not because he wrote bad things (she indicates his followers wrote far worse)…  so why are the folks who followed his lead not being held to account for not paying a price?  Because they are not about to write an x-men comic?  That seems pretty weak.

Four?  Did I mention Gamer Gate?  Yeah.  Why?  Because what actually started this was not a tweet from Val.  What started this was that Val and her husband were aware Gamer Gate was about to use this as an attack on Chris and Comics Alliance…which explains why Chris e-mailed an apology to Val’s husband.  He reached out to Chris and CA.  People have argued it does not matter.  But it does…because Gamer Gate does not care about Val or her values.  They are using her to attack people who have argued and fought for the same things as her.  GG hate Comics Alliance and their “SJW Ways”, and saw the history with Val as the perfect weapon against people who call for diversity within comics and gaming.  This is not something to be pushed aside.  It is not a diversion.  And it is not an excuse.  It matters.

Chris has now repeated taken responsibility and apologized, which is sadly rare.  If Chris lost the X-Men gig, I would shed no tears (though it is not karma-he did not get her removed from any comics)…but I am really not sure how giving in to the mob mentality now is a critical hit of the mob harassment mentality of then.  What is the price the changed person should pay?