Responding to Eric Powells Creator Front For Diversity In Comics

 

This is response to this video, called CREATOR FRONT FOR DIVERSTIY IN COMICS, starring Eric Powell, creator of The Goon:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPk6chRXDDg&


Now, before I say something, I want to clarify few things. I do not have anything against Eric Powell or The Goon. I'm not a fan but neither a hater. I'm not against diversity, it's a thing we really need more. While I'm a fan of mainstream comics, I like to have something different from time to time and there is absolutely nothing wrong with having an alternative. Without smaller publishers we would live in Marvel and DC monopolistic dictatorship and that's never a good thing. I may not read non-superhero books but I know that without them there would be no competition that stimulates superhero publishers to look for new ways and to improve. I clearly agree with general idea of this front, more independent comics is a good thing.


(I also have to have colossal ego to argue with established creator who knows the industry, while I'm a total nobody, who never had published a thing, but that's just me)


That saying, I don't agree with the way this video was done and with it's message. Blaming superheroes and big corporations does nothing to solve the problem. This video didn't really do anything to have the fans know about independent, creator-owned comics. It's just exaggerating and oversimplifying the problem, making big business a scapegoat for „print format dying” (something I don't believe in, by the way. Books survived radio, TV, video games and Internet, they will survive E-books, same goes for comics) and making it looks like there are only two options for creators – either do their own, creator owned comics, or be „fucked in the ass by superheroes”. And what with all creators who do both? Brian Bendis writes Avengers and uses Marvel line to publish his personal projects, which are owned only by him and hi artist, like Powers or Scarlet. Matt Fraction does the same with Casanova, Ed Brubaker with Criminal and Incognito and Mark Millar basically publish one creator owned book for each Ultimate Avengers series. They're just using Marvel's publishing line, but they are the ones who own the rights to those comics. Warren Ellis writes for Marvel for the money and publish lots of his personal projects at Avatar Press. Speaking of which, they for years allows creators publish their personal projects that Marvel and DC doesn't want to and a lot of writers takes advantage of it, like Christos Gage for example. And it's not like all superhero comics are from Marvel and DC, there are many creator owned superhero comics, like Irredeemable or Invincible or The Boys. We cannot blame the genre for problems in the industry (and what is wrong with superhero crossing with other genres?).


I think that approach that this front/Eric Powell has taken is what independent comics need. Negative campaign may make people laugh and blame big companies but that's it. People don't care about poor creator, they buy comics to read a story. And when they go to comics store, think what they're more likely to pick up – unknown comics that is „indie” or something they're familiar with? It's like in a commercial I seen when I was a little kid. There was a bike. Words „It's a good product” appeared. It's wheels have disappeared. Words „But producer didn't took care of it's brand” appeared. It's frame has disappeared. Words „Client bought other, well-know” have appeared. Entire bike had disappeared.

What creator owned comics need isn't crying that they're dying because of big bad Marvel and DC. They need good advertising that will make them know to larger audience. Instead of trying to make superhero fans feel bad and but creator owned comics out of pity, Eric Powell and this front should make commercials telling people how awesome The Goon and other comics are. This will be a far better way to raise the sales that this video, which people will laugh at, say „damn right” or create some controversy and make mainstream fanboys be pissed, and then they all will forget about whole thing. It may be a good start, however, it creates controversy that brings attention. But if nothing will follow it, if there won't be campaign to make creator owned comics more know to general public, it won't change a thing. If you want me to buy creator owned comics, tell me which and why. A has been said, now I'm waiting for B.


And why do you think?

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Black Cat – Escaping From Catwoman's Shadow in Deadpool Style.

 

There are characters in Marvel and DC that are seen as each other equivalents. Maybe not the biggest names (I bet we could generate beautiful debate over who is Marvel's counter part of Superman Captain America or Thor), but there are some characters that gets placed together at instant. Flash and Quicksilver or Aquaman and Namor just to name a few. One of commonly made pairing is Catwoman and Black Cat.


Selina Kyle and Felicia Hardy have a lot in common and I doesn't mean just obvious cat theme. They both are often switching between the light and dark sides of the force, a lot of their appeal comes from how they blurry the line between good girls and bad girls. A lot of their charm comes from provocative and seductive approach and their complicated relationships with respective heroes – Batman and Spider-Man. Every time we see one of them interacting with hero, we don't know if this time they will be opponents, allies or lovers. Both are attractive women and are well aware of it and aren't afraid of using it to archive their own goals.


However where Catwoman could carry own two ongoing series, who both lasted long enough to score near magic number of 100 issues (first has 96 and second has 83), Felicia's never got more than a mini-series or supporting character role in other people's comics. And yet, as her recent appearances shows, under the wings of right writer she has gigantic potential. In Marvel Divas we could see her more realistic, human side, it showed more of her as Felicia than Black Cat. Heroes For Hire has subplot about her romantic relationship with Paladin and how she tries to drag him completely on the side of angels. Even one of Spider-Man backstories put her in different light than usual. I haven't read read her last mini, but I heard good things about her portrayal there too.


On the other hand, in Spider-Man, she seems mostly reduced into infamous T&A and poor man's Catwoman, aside abovementioned backstory. Brand New Day staff couldn't agree over which girl Peter should be with to the point the started raping them but they could agree to completely ignore all Felicia's character development and put her in her old role again (which is one of multiple reasons why I'm not reading Spider-Man anymore).


Black Cat's problem is, that she is struck in this „Spider-Man's Catwoman” role and not a lot of people want her to be anything else. Where Selina has been developed into her own woman, so she could get away from Batman's shadow and carry her own comics, Felicia has every mayor character development hidden under the carped the moment Spider-Man writers wants her to be his funny naughty girl that can tease him again. Thanks to that she is struck in role Catwoman grew out long time ago, like a younger sister having to wear older sister's clothes.


This reminds me of another character, our beloved Merc With A Mouth, Deadpool. As we all remember, Deadpool was created as a partial parody and partial rip-off of Teen Titans arch enemy, Deathstroke and he would remain as only that, if it wasn't for Joe Kelly, who put him through serious revamp. New Deadpool has been born partly by taking all that was different between him and Deathstroke and exploring it. This, combined with humor and good alternative his comics became for grim and gritty titles of the 90s are one of many reasons behind his huge success. After that he no longer is seen as poor man's Deathstroke and his hidden potential can shine in all it's glory and billion of comics. I think that Black Cat, to achieve her true potential as a character, needs the same thing. At this point it's mostly wasted and for every time she can shine there is a time they force her to be Spider-Man's theme park version of Catwoman, a role she grew out long time ago.


And what do you think?

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Does The World Need God Squad?

  So, this is my first blog, hope I'm not gonna screw this up.

Let's face it. We all love epic storylines. Wars between gods, Universe-saving quests, helpless fights against Lovecraftian monsters from other dimensions, planet destructing battles, powerful individuals going against entire armies or space fleets alone, dramatic fights at the verge of destruction of reality itself – tell me you read those words, imagine those things without any emotions, that you imagined all those things and did not feel any excitement and and I will call you a liar. We love when our comics are epic, otherwise there wouldn't be such vocal group criticizing Brian Bendis' New Avengers for not being epic enough. If I would have to summary this year of Marvel in one word, it would be “Epic”. Marvel started this year with Siege, followed with three different volumes of Avengers trying to top each other over which will have most epic start – with The Avengers has to save the timeline, New Avengers - entire Universe and Secret Avengers The Multiverse. Meanwhile X-Men seen their last  stand in war for the future of entire mutantkind and invasion of vampires. Space wasn't free of epicness either, not with one of the best comics of the year, Thanos Imperative, going on. Mystical side of the Universe isn't any better with Chaos War - the threat to the existence of everything. You might have any opinion you want about, you may think it was good or bad, success or failure, but I don't think anybody can deny that Marvel tried to give us as much of epicness we love as they could. Next year may, hopefully, continue this trend, with upcoming adventures of Annihilators and new event, so-called “Fear Itself”.


I was thinking what else of the epic side they could give us, what team could have most epic adventures. It has to be strong team, made of the strongest beings, ones fans calls heavy-hitters or big guns. The ones strong so much that their whole presence indicated things are very, very serious. Annihilators are good example - when you see so many strongest players of the Cosmic side of Marvel together, you know they're not gonna deal with some space pirates. There is another team who has such vibe, that can make you feel that they aren't here for something Avengers could put down. No, they're gonna take down some ancient evil and kick it unholy butt. Wait, I take it back. Not one ancient Evil. Hundreds of them, at the same time. I'm talking about the team of gods, team of the immortals. I'm talking about team of people touched by powers beyond human understanding. I'm talking about team of those who are such powers.


I'm talking about God Squad.


Marvel Universe has seen two incarnations of this team. First one was gathered by Athena and Earth's patheons to fight Skrull gods during Secret Invasion, from enslaving every diety on Earth. Second one has to stop former member of first one, Amatsu Mikaboshi, now know as Chaos King, from destroying all of creation. First team included Demogorge, terrible monster who eats gods. Second has Galactus – Devourer of the Worlds – himself. Sounds as pretty damn epic to me and that's the point – when God Squad gathers, you know they're not gonna fight with some common threat. Guys they take on are from the highest mystical league. Dormammu, Hela, Mephisto, Lucifer, Dragon Of The Moon, Oblivion, Shuma-Gorath – that's only few of threats such team could take on. When it comes to God Squad, it comes to the most epic thing you got.


The team has simple selection – it contains gods, or those who are equal to gods and have certain, mystical feeling, like Daimon Hellstorm or Silver Surfer. This means that, while selecting new roster, writers can choose from large variety of big guns – from Eternals and actual gods to those related to them like Thunderstrike r Beta Ray Bill to demons and angels, or one's like Ghost Rider or Doctor Strange. The only constant are Amadeus Cho and Hercules, who were on both incarnations of the team and give some link between every version.


Would I like to see God Squad, maybe not current, but new incarnation, getting their own mini-series, or maybe even ongoing? Hell yes. With good writer and strong team, this would give me daily dose of awesomness for months.


And What do you think? Is it good idea to give God Squad their own comics? Or should they stay as temporary team, gathering only when new, great menace threatens the world of mortals and immortals alike?

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