Batman has battled many enemies but now has to face the anger of rightwing US bloggers furious that the comic book caped crusader has recruited a Muslim to run his crime-fighting franchise in Paris…
The hero he picks in France is called Nightrunner, the alter ego of a 22-year-old from Clichy-sous-Bois, a tough Paris suburb where urban unrest sparked riots in immigrant districts across France in 2005.
Bilal Asselah, a Frenchman of Algerian origin, was caught up in that unrest and at one point he and his friend got beaten up by police who mistook them for rioters.
“Furious”? Umm…no. While I would normally revel in the chance to grab the hook you’re dangling into conservative waters, intellectually pull you into the deep, chew you up, and then spit you out as chum for another blogger…I’ll pass today, AFP. Instead, there’s a different angle I’d like to take, which is DC’s decision to reinstate their Letters to the Editor section:
Posting comments via Facebook or Twitter seems faster than a speeding bullet, but DC Comics is going back to its Silver and Bronze Age ways, returning readers’ letters to the pages of its comic books…
Letters pages were once common in comic books and gave far-flung readers the chance to weigh in on stories, heroes, villains and make requests about what should happen next. Those pages gradually disappeared not only in DC’s comics, but those of other companies, too, as the Internet, e-mail and the rise of Facebook and Twitter all but rendered them obsolete.
David Hyde, DC Comics’ vice president of publicity, quietly announced the change on Monday, in DC’s own blog, The Source. Reaction was positive with one reader remarking that “as a fan of DC Comics since boyhood (more years than I care to remember), one of the things I looked most forward to was the letter page, so very excited.”
Someone needs to ask this anonymous reader what he thinks of Nightrunner, or Wonder World Consensus Woman, or Superman: Earth One. Then they need to ask him whether or not he thinks DC’s Letters to the Editor page would ever print his point of view if it differed in an intelligent way with the powers that be in their corporate offices. My guess is, they wouldn’t.
Robert Gibbs recently tried to make the claim that the White House was somehow more transparent due to Twitter. This is a blatantly misleading statement, as it confuses information with the vehicle that provides it! Some DC readers might think the company is doing a great thing, but I’m inclined to believe one reason they’re doing it is because in the age of Facebook and Twitter it’s the one area where they have total control over the feedback readers see.
Don’t believe me? Anyone who read Marvel’s One More Day, in which liberal Joe Quesada destroyed Spider-Man for tens of thousands of fans by allowing the character to make a deal with the Devil, knows what I’m talking about.* In the wake of One More Day they’ve filled their Letters to the Editor page with reviews from readers who are giddy over the direction of the book. As I said my nerd-tastic response at the time, (jump in at 3:20 if you’re not an uber-nerd) it was as if the editors of Marvel went to the Kim Jong Il School of Journalism. Reading the page was often hilarious, as it was 180 degrees from reality: readers left the book in droves.
If the editors at Marvel and DC can get you looking at their hand picked (and perhaps hand-written?) responses to controversial story lines or creative missteps instead of online—where “right wing bloggers” give you a heads up that stories like Marvel’s Fear Itself might be more liberal claptrap—they’ll be happy. New technology has destroyed liberalism’s ability to silence the conservative point of view, whether it’s on the radio, television, or in print. Conservatism, honestly articulated, is always a winner. They hate that. And they really don’t like to have the spotlight (or was that the Bat Signal?) shown on them. But if we don’t want to keep shelling out money for tales that tell us our worldview is beneath theirs, we need to redouble our efforts.
I’ll see you in DC’s Letters to the Editor page, dear reader…and if I don’t, I’ll see you here!
*I’m sorry, my fan boy friends, but for all intents and purposes Mephisto is the Devil.