It’s Never Enough

Last night I watched as black person after black person stood up to condemn the rioting in Baltimore.  They stated clearly they thought this was wrong, that these young people throwing rocks and concrete and wounding cops were thugs and trouble making opportunists out to create mayhem.  They noted they would pursue these violent criminals.

And yet, conservative white America is not satisfied and scoured all the condemnations for their opportunity to twist the narrative.  Their chance to denounce the city and it’s officials.  It took seven and a half minutes of one press conference to find their “smoking gun”, but they got it.

It really does not matter how aggressively black people condemn a riot.  For White America, no amount of condemnation is good enough.

Just remember…cops got hurt, but unlike Freddie Gray, their wounds were superficial.

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.

But It Is Fantasy

One genre that takes a lot of hits for diversity is Fantasy.  And considering how often fantasy books can be very white (*cough*Game of Thrones*couch*) it is a just point.

A common defense is that it is a set in a time and location where there were not non-white people.  This is pretty easily proven false, there is medieval art depicting black knights and noble-people.  The best response, really, though is, “What you can imagine trolls and dragons…but a black person…that kills your suspension of disbelief?”

However, I have seen some extend this statement to condemn use of structures of oppression having no place in fantasy.  Slavery has no need to exist in a fantasy world.  But I am not sure I buy that.  It is lazy to use slavery as your in for having black characters in your book.  But to argue that you cannot address a fundamental flaw in humanity (our willingness to exploit each other for gain)…well, that kind of stretches credibility.

When it comes down to it, I find it harder to believe a fantasy world where people do not exploit each other than I find it hard to believe in a world with dragons and trolls.  After all, the world we live in is full of people who exploit, violate and treat their fellow humans quite badly…and there are trolls.

Using the worst of humanity in your world building gives your heroes something to stand against.  Of course these things can be handled badly (over reliance on rape comes to mind) but that does not mean they have zero place in fantasy worlds.  Imagining a world with dragons?  No problem.  Imaging a world sans the ills that have plagued humanity for centuries?  Pretty hard to buy into.