Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The New DC Implosion?

Wow, and I though Marvel was F***ing up. Apparently my “wait and see plan” on buying new comics (otherwise known as “buy the trade if the series gets a good response”) was a much better idea than I thought. Rumor has it (yuck, yuck) that Countdown sucks hard. It’s ill-conceived, poorly written, and totally unintelligible unless your reading dozens of other titles a month. Amazingly, DC has centered their whole line on this loser. Countdown is the Heaven’s Gate of Comic Books and no Director’s Cut is gonna save it.

Now, I’ve been reading the collected 52 trades as the response was positive, but I was weary after Identity crisis, Infinite Crisis, and a multitude “no resolution” miniseries. But now I realize that 52 was a fluke. We’re back to the murder and rape fest that’s typified mainstream comics of late.

Valerie D’Orazio's insightful post at Occasional Superheroine lays it bare in a 12-point argument that’s very illuminating. Dan Didio is in trouble. He knows it. We know it. Dogs know it.

After reading the Newsarama interview with Dan Didio, I have come to the conclusion that the situation at DC has become so dire that to continue to publically mock "Countdown" would be in bad taste.

Honestly, I do not see the current regime at the company lasting any more than 6-12 months tops. "Final Countdown" will indeed mark the end of an era, an era that started strongly -- if not controversially -- with "Identity Crisis," reached its peak with "52," and crashed and burned with "Countdown."


Some of her arguments really stand out for me such as: #3 Didio has helped launch a renaissance in feminist comic book activism. # 4. DC is just doing “the Crisis” over and over again (boring), #8 DC is pissing off the Big Dogs at Time/Warner with their “DC Hates Women” storylines. #10 Sales are tanking, and #12 investment in the short-term as opposed to the long-term (which has been one of my biggest gripes).

The “DC Hates Women” has gotten so bad it’s making its way into mainstream press. See here for the Mother Jones article that Valerie mentions. Also in a following post, she notes how the new Batwoman, a character I was really enjoying from 52, disappears from the DC universe. I guess the neo-con fundies can’t allow a gay character that’s related to one of the big three (Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman) and so DC caved. This tells me that that all the work that went into 52 was quickly undone by Countdown and other DC titles.

Oh and for the fanboys out there who defend the “DC Hates Women” storytelling lets use a little analogy. It would be like Uhura on Star Trek, who didn’t get a lot of screen time but was present and accounted for, suddenly getting raped and murdered to get a rise out Captain Kirk. Sure women in comics haven’t always been well presented but what’s happening now is altogether different. The difference in this case being sexism from the greater society reflected in comic stories vs. the misogyny of a few creators and editors that pull the strings. Do you get it now? The old stories were sexist. The new stories “hate women.” These are two separate issues, with the later being the most insidious.

So I guess I’ll buy the last two trades of 52 and wonder at what could have been.

-Swinebread

12 comments:

Scott said...

We’re back to the murder and rape fest that’s typified mainstream comics of late.

Rape fest? Maybe I'm missing something, but what rapes have happened since Identity Crisis, which happened about 2 years ago? How many rapes do you need for a fest?

Don Snabulus said...

The old stories were sexist. The new stories “hate women.” These are two separate issues, with the later being the most insidious.

Excellent distinction and one I've seen in different circles in my every day life.

Anonymous said...

Rape fest? Maybe I'm missing something, but what rapes have happened since Identity Crisis, which happened about 2 years ago? How many rapes do you need for a fest?

2 for a rape fest, but only one for a rape and murder fest. Unless, of course, rape isn't that serious because of who it happens to, then it would take five rapes for every murder.

It really comes down to how many rapes does it take to satisfy your skepticism?

Scott said...

It really comes down to how many rapes does it take to satisfy your skepticism?

Some? A few? More than 1 certainly.

I'm not sure how many it would take because I don't know how many rapes it would take for me to think of something as a rape fest. This post makes it seem like they are happening all the time, but I can't think of any except maybe the refence that the new Hawkeye made to having been raped, but that was in Marvel. So who in DC was raped? I think I read something about there being rapes in Jonah Hex, but I don't tend to read the book. Is that was this is about?

Where are these rapes? Can anyone point me to them?

Come to think of it, I'm not sure I'm aware of many (or any??? -- wait, I know of one from this week in a book I haven't read yet in a story arc that has already killed 4 or so men) murders of women in DC since IC either, at least not of A, B, or C list characters.

Swinebread said...

I'd love to talk about this but don't have time right now, gulp!

ladybug said...

If we want to take the intellectual route, I guess all we need is a comparison of Promethea, and the newline of the DC Comics...

Sounds to me like they are taking the thrill kill/maim/torture route a la Grand Theft Auto, Half-Life and all those ultra-violent/women as pleasure bots (or non-existant) video games....

DC CEO-"These games are selling-maybe we can do it for comics!"
DC Accountant-"Yep, that's right, you tell the creative dept to let all the bitter divorced guys who have anger management problems go hog wild!"

Stupid-turning a comic storyline into anime slasher porn is going to backfire on them big time.

Because they are really, really boring.

Scott said...

Now we have slasher porn in DC comics? What comic book is this? Seriously, all this talk of what is in comics reminds me of WMD in Iraq. Everyone is sure they're there, but when we look ...

Jar Jar said...

Duh, I'm going to intentionally miss the point of posts and comments and parse out words and small phrases just to keep an argument going. It makes me feel big and important.

Swinebread said...

Scott - you’re technically right when you say there hasn’t been any sexual assaults since Identity Crisis (I think) but what I’m talking about is the environment. The permissiveness that allowed such an awful story as IC (that was sickeningly promoted by the author as honoring past JLA stories) is deeply infused in the DC Universe right now at least for me. I feel that a rape could happen at any moment and the powers that be at DC would be way cool with it. These characters that have been built up over time are being strip-mined and disposed of so fast I can’t keep up. Many of my favorite characters have been killed off over the last two years and frankly I’m sick of it. For me that’s included in Rape. Rape also means an aggressive violation (more of a classic description of rape but there you go), I think I’m very accurate when I say the spirit these characters has been violated. I have no idea how long you have been reading comics, but for me there is something seriously wrong with what is happening. There are some dark, gross twisted stories being told, that have driven me away IMHO.
Now you’re obviously more up on what DC is currently publishing in the way of new comics, but I’ve been driven away.

Rape is a loaded word and maybe I shouldn’t have used it, but that’s how I really feel about what’s going on. If that’s what I think the creators are doing at DC, than that’s what I think they are doing.

The rape of the DC Universe is what I’m talking about.

Swinebread said...

jar jar - thanks for stopping by. :)

Ami Angelwings said...

That IS a good analogy :D

Too bad mr. crusade ignores everything except his mathematical point XD

Swinebread said...

ami - yeah, it really bugs me that some guys are defending what's going on by saying it has always been that way... It hasn't.