Marvel flinches on hack writing after backlash, but actions speak louder than words

Iron Man 7

It appears as though sagging sales, fan backlash, The New York Times dropping comics from its “bestseller” list, and a general consensus that Marvel has lost its way has finally pushed the “House of Ideas” to return to its roots. Bleeding Cool reported Feb. 6 that a back-to-basics approach will take place in 2018.

The website said:

“Last week’s Marvel creative summit I am told by well connected sources who have proved themselves in that past there was more of a focus on what DC Comics internally called “meat and potatoes” comics that preceded their doubling down on the popular characters and bringing back old favourite takes with DC Rebirth.

I am told, as Marvel brings back the X-Men line with a bang, to expect a return to more of a status quo for titles such as Thor, Iron Man, Hulk and more. A more familiar looking Marvel Universe by the autumn – although, just as with Captain America, as classic-look-characters return, expect new characters to keep a number of their books. …

I am told to expect that Secret Empire will be a bit of a last hurrah for this kind of [politicized] storytelling from Marvel for a while. A little how Marvel writers were told to get the use of the Marvel 616 dimensional nomenclature out of their system before it was done away with for good…”

Twitter, YouTube, and other social media websites were abuzz — in a positive way — with this news, but your friendly neighborhood blogger would like to remind everyone that actions speak louder than words — and Bleeding Cool reporting.

While it is true that Marvel has flinched in the face of a growing number of fans who are sick and tired of political preaching shoved into their books, it is also true that its writers and editors only made the right decision when all other options were essentially taken off the table.

If Marvel had to hemorrhage fans to DC Comics for months on end before its top brass decided to retreat on their social justice crusade, then it stands to reason that they will return to their old ways as soon as possible. Even Bleeding Cool’s report indicates that this is merely a tactical retreat by the New Puritans.

At this point in time Marvel has done nothing tangible — I repeat, nothing — to engender good will among the fans it has alienated for years.

There has not been any admittance that loyal customers were treated like dirt while classic characters were needlessly dumped upon for the sake of diversity.

Now is not the time to let up, but to stay increasingly engaged in terms of holding the publisher accountable for partisan or sloppy writing. Until Marvel and its creative teams consistently deliver the goods and extend an olive branch to those who were told to “eat a bag of d***s,” then they should not be patted on the back.

It is time to be cautiously optimistic, but it most certainly not the time to shake hands with writers and artists who have rarely missed an opportunity to sucker punch long-time readers.

David F Walker Twitter bag

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George Perez’s ‘red state’ protest: Principles and wife’s desire to belly dance collide

It was just about three months ago that this blog covered artist Humberto Ramos’ decision to boycott “red states” in response to the 2016 presidential election. What was not discussed was artist George Perez’s identical stance. Luckily, Mr. Perez has added a caveat to his boycott, which has allowed for a new YouTube video on the absurdity of it all.

Remember, folks: George Perez’s principles end where his wife’s desire to belly dance begins.

Mark Waid: ‘Every superhero you love’ is a SJW

There was once a time when activist-writers tried to hide their attempts to hijack comic books and turn them into little more than social-justice propaganda. Writer Mark Waid has changed all that. This week he took to Twitter and told the world that “every superhero you love” marches (or flies or teleports) under a SJW banner.

Check out my latest YouTube video on Mr. Waid’s opinion that comic book writers should look to anti-free speech ideologues for inspiration.

Douglas Ernst Blog Welcomes New Contributor — our old pal from ‘Colossus of Rhodey’

colossus

This blog stumbled across a rarity years ago: A digital oasis that mixed comic book news with conservative and libertarian thought. The website was called Colossus of Rhodey. Its run went of over a decade, and somewhere along the line your friendly neighborhood blogger got to know moderator Dave Huber. He will now join the team as a contributor, and I couldn’t be happier.

Whether Dave is keeping a watchdog eye on higher eduction over at The College Fix, or exposing the political buffoonery of comic book creators on Twitter, I always enjoy his work. I hope you do, too.

Suicide Squad reviews skewed by political correctness

Suicide Squad is out, and the reviews are not kind. It is fair to say that David Ayer’s script has problems, but the level of vitriol aimed at the movie is ridiculous. Just as political correctness inflated the positive reviews awarded to Ghostbusters, the same mentality allows critics to unjustly savage of movie like Suicide Squad.

Check out my latest YouTube video below for the full story and let me know what you think in the comments section below.

‘Batman: The Killing Joke’: First 30 minutes, odd sex scene overshadow Joker’s tale

Joker glass

Fans of Batman: The Killing Joke waited since 1988 to get their hands on an animated version of their beloved tale, but it has finally arrived. Is it possible for the product to be anything less than amazing with Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill providing the voiceover work to a big-budget production of Alan Moore’s tale? The short answer: Yes.

Before we move on, let me first stay that I find central premise of The Killing Joke — we are all just “one bad day” away from becoming the Joker — rather intriguing.

The Joker says:

“Let me ask you something. What does it matter if you send me back to the asylum if it doesn’t matter to me? I’ve proven my point — Gordon’s been driven mad. I’ve demonstrated there’s no difference between me and everyone else. All it takes is one bad day. That’s how far the world is from where I am — just one bad day. You had a bad day once, am I right? Oh, I know I am. I can tell. You had a bad day and everything changed. Dressing up like a flying rat doesn’t hide it. It screams it!

You had a bad day and it drove you as crazy as everybody else, only you won’t admit it! You have to keep pretending that life makes sense, that there’s some point to all this struggling. You make me want to puke. I mean, what is it with you? What made you what you are?

Without getting into too many spoilers, I must say that specific scenes are incredibly thought-provoking, particularly when it comes to exploring the rule of law in a world populated with vigilante superheroes. The Joker conjures up a scheme to prove to his rival once and for all that moral relativism reigns supreme, and he certainly makes the case to those who are not eagle-eyed when it comes to spotting spurious arguments.

Joker Batman book

Where The Killing Joke fails, however, is its well-intentioned attempt to add extra depth and dramatic tension to the script.

Two words come to mind: Batman sex.

Batgirl kiss

Longtime DC readers can correct this Marvel fan if he is wrong, but has Batman ever appeared as anything other than a father figure and mentor to Barbara Gordon? This version of The Killing Joke turns Ms. Gordon into a smitten girl with impulse-control problems and Batman into a caped crusader who robs the cradle.

One can almost hear the internal monologue of screenwriter Brian Azzarello: “If Batman sleeps with Barbara Gordon, then it will sting him even more when he finds out that she was shot by his arch enemy. Then, when he realizes that the Joker raped her — yes, they have both been with the same woman — the audience will understand why Bruce might go over ‘the abyss’ in the end…”

The problem, however, is that a self-contained 30-minute tale simply cannot set the stage for a relationship between the two to grow. It comes across as forced and, quite frankly, creepy. Perhaps this reviewer is in the minority, but the bizarre nature of the scene lingered with me for the entire movie — so much so that I would recommend fans of the comic book consider skipping the first 28 minutes all together.

If you are a fan of DC’s animated movies, then I would suggest watching Batman: The Killing Joke when it comes out on Netflix. It is not worth the $14.99 YouTube charges if you are by yourself, although a fun night can be had if you split the cost three ways with a couple of friends.

Did you see Batman: The Killing Joke? If so, then let me know what you thought in the comments section below. I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Editor’s Note: I always thought that the story behind “The Red Hood” was rather dumb. Moore’s attempt to humanize the Joker by turning him into a failed comedian always seemed lame to me, but I would like to hear a hard-core Batman fan’s take on the subject.

‘Wonder Woman’ trailer reaction exposes intellectual bankruptcy of Paul Feig on ‘Ghostbusters’ critics

The new Wonder Woman trailer came out on Saturday and the reaction has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic. Facebook feeds, Twitter streams, and YouTube videos exploded with excitement at the product. What has missing over the last 24 hours is someone who points out the obvious: Paul Feig’s “slime Ghostbusters critics as sexist” strategy only demonstrated his intellectually bankruptcy.

There are not armies of men (at least in western nations) who have a problem with seeing strong women on film. That was a lie meant to divide people for Sony’s benefit.

The Wonder Woman trailer wraps a giant “lasso of truth” around Mr. Feig’s desperate attempt to save his shoddy product. You cannot get any more “girl power” than Wonder Woman, and every time a shameless Hollywood producer tries play the sexist card in the future they should be punched in the face with the collective fist of fan-approval for Wonder Woman.

‘Justice League’ trailer arrives: Fool me twice, shame on me…

The new Justice League trailer arrived today, and the good news is that it looks awesome. The bad news is that Batman v Superman looked just as amazing and then turned out to be a sloppy mess.

Zack Snyder is an strong visual artist, but at this point in his career it seems like his Achilles heel is a propensity to sign off on scripts that are half-baked.

Check out the trailer below, watch my YouTube video, and then let me know that you think about the fate of Justice League in the comments below. I really hope Warner Bros. took the fans’ criticism to heart, because overall they know what they’re talking about.

Exit question: Can any movie be bad if the trailer use’s “Icky Thump,” by the White Stripes? If Justice League doesn’t do Jack White proud then your friendly neighborhood blogger we be one angry blogger…

Frank Cho pushed off Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka’s ‘weird political agenda’

Wonder Woman #2

Anyone who has ever doubted that modern social-justice activists have a lot in common with the Puritans of the 1600s needs to look no further than the career trajectory of artist Frank Cho.

Comic book fans know all too well how Mr. Cho’s work makes feminist heads explode on a regular basis, but his sudden departure from Wonder Woman perfectly spotlights everything that is wrong with the industry.

Mr. Cho confirmed to Bleeding Cool on Thursday that writer Greg Rucka’s “weird political agenda” has forced him to cut short the 24 variant covers he originally planned for the book. There was allegedly friction between the two over the amount of skin shown on the artist’s variant (yes, variant) covers, but anyone who looks at them knows immediately that such a claim is absurd.

“I tried to play nice, not rock the boat and do my best on the covers, but Greg’s weird political agenda against me and my art has made that job impossible,” Mr. Cho told the website. “Wonder Woman was the ONLY reason I came over to DC Comics,” (emphasis added.)

Translation: Mr. Rucka, like all the other activist-writers in the industry, seeks to punish anyone who does not march lock-step with a thuggish ideology that hides behind the rhetoric of “tolerance.”

Check out the embedded video for the full story:

Ben Affleck, puffy Batman, slurs up storm during ‘Deflategate’ ‘f–k’-fest

Ben Affleck Any Given Wednesday

Batman v Superman is now in the rearview mirror and the general consensus is that it was a sloppy mess. Warner Bros. says changes were made to Justice League after the critical tsunami rolled in, but now its key star — Ben Affleck — is once again acting like a fool in public.

Sometimes “Batman” says he doesn’t like Republicans. Sometimes “Batman” nearly cries when someone says Islamic terrorism is, in fact, Islamic in nature. Sometimes he volunteers to do a show on finding one’s roots and then tries to cover up the fact that his ancestors owned slaves. These days, however, the puffy-faced (Botox?) star is launching into slurred f***k-fests that make him look like an immature frat boy. He is 43 years old.

Mr. Affleck, aka Bruce Wayne, looked like an alcoholic on Bill Simmons’ Any Given Wednesday, and now it will be exponentially harder to forget his antics when Justice League finally arrives in theaters.

Ben Affleck tweet

Here is 1:33 minutes of Mr. Affleck’s rant on the NFL’s decision to go after Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for “Deflategate”:

“Deflategate is the ultimate bulls**t f***ing outrage of sports — ever. It’s so f***ing stupid that I can’t believe it.  Do you realize (slurred) they gave him a suspension for a quarter of the regular season, which would be equivalent of suspending a baseball player for 40 f***ing days … which is what they do when you get busted taking steroids. And by the way, if the NFL had real testing, it really knew how to test for steroids and HGH in the NFL, there’d be no f***ing NFL.

So instead, what they did was suspend Tom Brady for four days for not giving them his f***ing cellphone. … I would never give an organization as leak-prone as the NFL my f***ing cellphone so you could just look through emails and listen to my voicemail. … The first thing they’re going to do is leak this s**t. … Maybe Tom Brady is so f***ing classy, and he’s such a f***ing gentlemen, that he doesn’t want people do know that he may have reflected on his real opinion of some of his coworkers.”

Ben Affleck Pats tweet

HBO’s Bill Simmons tried to quell talk about the star being drunk by noting how the show tapes in the morning.

Note to Mr. Simmons: You just made things worse.

Either Ben Affleck was still drunk from the previous night, or he was drinking in the morning — because there is no mistaking what fueled his weird facial expressions, slurred speech, and countless f-bombs.

Bill Simmons

Fact: I said in my review for Batman v Superman that Ben Affleck did a fine job. An unpolished script and Jesse Eisenberg’s Jar-Jar Binks-like performance nearly destroyed the movie. I do not have an irrational dislike of the actor, but it is difficult to cheer for him when, in many ways, he acts like the pompous jerk who tried to embarrass his character in Good Will Hunting.

Ben Affleck Good Will Hunting

Warner Bros. needs Justice League to be pitch perfect after dropping the ball with Batman v Superman, and that will not happen if Mr. Affleck’s personal life prompts him to act like a buffoon.

When a man slurs his speech and acts like a drunken fool before millions of YouTube viewers, then he becomes a joke. When he becomes a joke, then millions of fans will not consider him a convincing Batman. That is the truth. If the people coughing up money for Justice League want to see a profit on their investment, then they will speak to the actor about his behavior sooner rather than later.

Watch the video and determine for yourself if Ben was merely “fired up.”