Post by scottharris on Aug 8, 2009 18:28:10 GMT -5
I've got a new comics blog up and running. I've basically taken the Form the Vault thing I've been doing here and turned it into a blog; I'll be doing reviews of new stuff as well, plus some features, but a lot of it will be back issue reviews. I'm using some of the ones I've already done here so you'll recognize some of the posts, though I'm reworking them to smooth them out.
That's a great idea, and I'm really glad you took the plunge! I always felt that your reviews were "blog-worthy" (is that too Seinfeldian??) and I'm sure you'll find an audience quickly. Best of luck!!
The hilarious "panel of the week" you spotlight, from DC's Falling in Love, reminds me of something I've been meaning to ask for a while. I don't have that issue, but I know you do (since you covered it in a past Vault): is there any panel in that story that resembles Lichtenstein's 1964 work "Good Morning...Darling!" (in other words, a panel which he would have used as the basis for this work)?
Lichtenstein's "Good Morning...Darling!"
Last Edit: Aug 10, 2009 18:41:00 GMT -5 by sharkar
Post by scottharris on Aug 11, 2009 6:56:27 GMT -5
Thanks for the kind words everyone. The site seems to be fully functional, so I'll probably begin updating it later today; I'm aiming at doing a post a day except on Sundays, so maybe 6 posts a week give or take.
Sharkar, the panel Lichtenstein swiped from is not in this issue of Falling In Love. I tried to figure out where it's from, but with little success; you'd think this information would be easy to find on the internet, but strangely I didn't see it included in any of the big sites about Lichtenstein. I did find this interesting website:
WHich has credits for almost all of Lichtenstein's works; however, this specific image is just about the only one they don't have credit for. They seem more interested in the artist than in the comic itself, so even though they have the original panel posted, I didn't find any information on the sight about what comic it actually came from.
Some of the comments and articles on here are really interesting as a lot of them are pretty angry at Lichtenstein, basically calling him a thief and a hack. Not quite sure how I feel about him myself to be honest.
Yes, I've seen that Deconstructing Roy Lichtenstein site in the past--have visited it often, in fact...but thanks for posting the links, Scott--I think people here will enjoy taking a look.
And thanks for checking out that Falling In Love issue.
As can be seen in that Deconstructing site (and elsewhere), RL used the work of Romita, Heck, Tuska, Sekowsky, Pike, Abruzzo and many others as starting points for his million dollar masterpieces. I find it interesting that when RL was in the army in the '40s, his superior officer was--Irv Novick (as noted in Les Daniels' Marvel book and in other publications). RL was "inspired" by Novick's work too.
Back to your blog--it seems like the ideal venue for your humor and knowledge (my question is, what took you so long? ;D). I like your layout a lot...and you're smart to have stash of inventory handy, namely your old Vault posts!
Post by scottharris on Aug 16, 2009 10:53:57 GMT -5
Over at my blog I've just posted an interview with inker Bob Almond, who has worked in the business for almost two decades on stuff like Black Panther and Warlock and the Infinity Watch. He's also a huge Avengers fan, though we didn't get into that much in the interview. As always, you can check it out at comicsvault.blogspot.com/
BTW, I'm glad you noted your blog's URL within your recent post (as well as in your first post in this thread), because in the URL you include in your signature, the second "c" in comics is missing. C'mon, make it easy for your fans to access your blog! ;D
Post by redstatecap on Aug 31, 2009 18:44:45 GMT -5
I read the Hawkeye article (and some others) on your blog. One could add other examples to the phenomenon, for example the Wasp being a "great leader." She never was. The character was a frivolous ditz most of the time, until a writer decided that overnight she'd be shown as a fantastic leader. Anyone remember when that happened? I wanna say the early 200s, but I could be totally mistaken.
Post by scottharris on Aug 31, 2009 22:28:19 GMT -5
Yes, that happened during the Fall of Yellowjacket storyline by notorious precedent ignorer Jim Shooter. I will say, though, that I think the process wasn't quite as abrupt as you are remembering. After Hank was disgraced and lef tthe team, Jan voted herself in as chairman basically as a way to rebuild her confidence and keep herself busy. I think Shooter and the other writers at the time were trying to show that Jan was basically playing a role in her relationship with Hank (and as an extension, the Avengers) that required her to be ditzy in order to support the type of relationship they had; but once the relationship was over, she reinvented herself to face the new reality.
I'm not saying this development necessarily worked or was fully supported by history, but it wasn't quite as arbitrary as you might recall. Stern then left her as team leader for most of his run, so that she was leader for a long time in Avengers terms, from roughly #217 or so until the end of the Mansion Siege in #277m but she also wasn't actually that great of a leader. When I was a kid reading her later issues, where she really started butting heads with Hercules and Namor, I didn't pick up on it, but rereading them recently I was struck by the unlikely fact that I kind of sided with Hercules on this one. He had a point about how annoying she could be, The last 15-20 issues of her leadership she really started being short and a bit demanding with people and during the Mansion Siege she basically wanted to just throw in the towel for awhile -- and then did quit as soon as it was over. I don't think she was a bad team leader, but she wasn't great either.
I will say that one weird thing does come up during this time -- after trying to establish this new, independent Jan, Shooter then writes her in Secret Wars just like the ditz she had been before. He can't even be consistently inconsistent.
Post by scottharris on Sept 28, 2009 10:20:10 GMT -5
Hey gang. Today I posted an interview with Tom Brevoort. I asked him some questions you might be interested in, including stuff about how Disassembled came about and what led to the decision to kill Wasp. You can read it here:
Scott, I've enjoyed all of the interviews you've posted. Kudos to your hard work -- they have been really nice.
Since it's topical to this board, I've posted a Silver and Bronze Ages Avengers Top 10 Stories over at Bronze Age Babies (click on link below). As with any list, once done there are always changes that could be made. If I had to squeeze in another storyline, it would have been the first Sons of the Serpent tale. Culturally relevant for its time. Not sure what I would drop out, though.
Post by scottharris on Oct 14, 2009 9:33:55 GMT -5
Over on my blog I have a new feature today called Ask the Vault. Basically, I'm answering reader questions about comics -- or any other topic. Any questions are fine. Of course, in order to do this, I need questions, so if you have anything you'd like to ask about comics or anything else, please post the questions here or over in the comments section of my blog and I'll answer them in an upcoming post.
Post by scottharris on Oct 15, 2009 8:48:35 GMT -5
I've got a couple questions so far, but I could use more. Anyone have any questions they want answered? I'm happy, as you've probably noticed, to offer my opinion about most any comics subject, so if you have any questions, even hypothetical, lay them on me.
Post by scottharris on Nov 2, 2009 21:56:32 GMT -5
Howdy. A couple days ago I posted an essay about the depiction of women in comics over on my blog, which has generated some debate (much of which is on facebook so you won't be able to see all the comments, unfortunately). Since I know we have some female board members, I thought I would post the link here, as I would be interested in hearing their opinions (and, of course, everyone else's opinions as well).
Post by thunderstrike78 on Nov 3, 2009 12:46:57 GMT -5
That's a very good blog you wrote, Scott, and I think you really hit the nail on the head. Remember when those kinds of sexualized poses were restricted to certain types of comics? I used to walk right past all the issues of Tomb Raider and Danger Girls and such. I knew even then that mainstream comics sexualized women to a great degree, but at least (I told myself) they aren't so bad as all THAT. Nowadays, of course, those same covers can be found on many Marvel comics.
I remember some comments made by Frank Cho when he started Might Avengers: something to the effect of "I tried not to give all the women huge breasts, but halfway through I decided '&^%$ it! Everyone gets a D cup!" Now, I'm a man and I appreciate an attractive woman as much as the next guy, but it IS hard to take some of these characters seriously when they're prancing around in their underwear and six-inch heels.
I've always thought that, if I ever create a female super-hero, I would make sure that she was at least as fully clothed as, say, Captain America. There's nothing wrong with form-fitting costumes, but artists should be conscious of the fact that not everyone looks like a Barbie doll, and that women simply COULD NOT perform all of these acrobatics and combat techniques in panties, high-heeled boots and open tops.
And yes, many (most?) female characters would probably NOT be comfortable with being so openly sexual and teasing. For some characters, it's fine--the Enchantress, Catwoman, Emma Frost, etc. Many characters will use it just like many women in real life like to use it to distract men. Many other female characters, however, will NOT. I've never understood Carl Danvers to have that kind of personality, but when you look at the cut of her costume and the poses she is sometimes shown in, you'd never know it. As much as I like George Perez, I never liked his gypsy design for the Scarlet Witch's costume for the same reason. I know Wonder Woman's costume is iconic, but she looks ridiculous. And those are just off the top of my head.
One of my favorite female characters ever was Jolt, during the original Thunderbolts run. Not only was she fully clothed and not sexually exploited (perhaps because she was supposed to be a young girl), but she actually got a full personality and good development. I was heartbroken when she was killed because she was such a rare breed: a well developed, unsexualized female comics character.
Of course the problem is that female characters have almost always been written and designed by men. Now, being a man myself I would like to stand up for my own sex but the reality is that many men (Especially those involved with comics apparently) are only comfortable with women if the women are either lesser than them or sexually submissive. In the early days, sex wasn't such an issue but the women had very little power and clearly saw themselves as less than the men. The earliest women were Invisible Girl, Wasp, and Marvel Girl. They could, respectively turn invisible, shrink and fly, or move objects around. They were all clearly the weakest members of the team. There were many quotes such as in an old Avengers issue I recently read where the Wasp is trying to figure out which button to push on a control panel and said, in essence "If only I were a man so that I could understand things like this." This was typical of those early days. The women often pushed buttons to release the men so that the men could fight or complaned of missing hair appointments. Through the years, the women grew as characters and many female characters became as powerful or more powerful than their male counterparts. As this happened, their costumes grew skimpier and their poses became more sexualized. They had become as powerful and competent as the men but still needed to please us by showing off their breasts and strutting for us. The men weren't threatened by this women's strength because they were sex objects. I for one would love to see a strong, powerful woman who doesn't look like a french maid or a Playboy bunny but I think that just plain scares the creators way too much.
Post by scottharris on Nov 3, 2009 17:28:27 GMT -5
It's all good, Dave. I check all the sites regularly so I can read them. It would be nice to have all the comments in one place so everyone else could read them, but since a lot of them are on my facebook page, that ship has already sailed. So this is fine.
This got me to thinking-- how many of Marvel's female characters have clearly been sexually abused? And was it handled appropriately? (The answer there is generally "No").
Carol Danvers was effectively drugged, kidnapped, held hostage for months, and sexually coerced via drugs/machines (raped), and it took fans writing in well after the fact to point out that this was wildly out of line in the way it was presented.
Mockingbird was abused in a similar way by-- Ghost Rider, wasn't it? And the result of her letting her attacker die when she could have prevented it is that her husband leaves her. I don't recall this being addressed in any depth before she died. (Actually, maybe it's been touched on since she's come back.)
It is CLEARLY implied that She-Hulk's body was invaded in a sexual manner in her John Byrne graphic novel. By SHIELD, of all things. She more or less took it, and had destroyed the heli-carrier by the end of the story.
Sharon Ventura ("She-Thing") was gang-raped by a huge gang of supervillaing (geeze) while she was a different version of Ms Marvel. HORRIBLY traumatized. And while I don't know where her story is right now, she never seemed to get outside or professional help, and had nothing but bad things happen to her for several years. It was just never addressed, other than being a "secret bad thing".
Hmm. I do notice that these are all, like, 20 year old events. So they may not even be relevant to this conversation. They seemed like envelope-pushing at the time, yet revealed an unfortunate lack of insight into the realities of this kind of trauma. Nor can I imagine the writers/editors would EVER have considered having one of the male heroes be sexually abused. And, honestly, I would prefer to never, never, NEVER have to see EITHER being depicted in a comic book. There comes a point where the ugliness is just gratuitous, and ceases to entertain. (Good example: During Secret Invasion, when Madame Masque and several Hood cronies are torturing that captured Skrull, who died under the interrogation. Horribly intense and realistic-- and I wish I'd never read it. . . )
Hmm, yes, I tangented here considerably. Possibly this wants to be a new thread?