Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Batman, Possible Power Shift, GL Promotion

Subject: Batman and Robin #3

Dear Rest of the Batman Books,

On the topic of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's "Batman and Robin #3".

decidedly not for kids

That is how you make a Batman comic.

Try harder.

That is all.


The League

Shifting Tides at DC Comics

Word on the street is that DC Comics, a subsidiary of Warner Bros., is shifting offices within the mega-corp that is Time-Warner. While remaining within the moive side of the business, rather than the print and publishing side of the business, it sounds as if DC will now be under Diane Nelson instead of Alan Horn.

I've not worked in Hollywood, but its my assumption that Ms. Nelson has got to be toughest of the sharks to have become head of a division at a company like Warner Bros.. This is all good news.

1) I don't know anything about Alan Horn, but I do know what DC Comics has been like as an entity under his watch, and the movie production schedule has been shoddy at best. As Marvel spits out 2 - 3 movies a year, DC is getting one every two years or so to the silver screen.

Not to mention WB's inability to exploit anyone but Batman for kids' entertainment. That is completely ridiculous.

2) Horn has said, under oath, that he doesn't think the character of Superman is worth anything. Ie: he doesn't know how to bring it to the big screen, so it must not be possible.

Hogwash, says I and a whole lot of other Super-fans.

3) DC is probably unaware of how contentious their relationship is with their female readership. What may pass unnoticed on comic covers, in the overt sexualizing of DC's female charatcers, etc... may get a very different read from Paul Levitz's new boss.

Anyway, I would not want to be the Publisher having to explain the Guillem March Power Girl covers to the new boss.

4) New bosses mean new blood. While I do like Paul Levitz, in so far as I can tell, it would be nice to know that complacency is not the go word at DC. At minimum, even with no risk of turn over, it seems likely that everyone will be trying a little harder, and maybe actually worry a bit about the new executive looking over their shoulder.

I do hope this news is true. DC could use someone from up top looking down on what they're up to. I don't want anyone in particular to lose their job, but it'd be nice to see DC try a little harder to make less of their line so easy to dismiss.

Blackest Night Ring Promotion

Okay, this tidbit of marketing news puts a smile on my face.

I'm enjoying the heck out of Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi's epic over in the Green Lantern books "Blackest Night". In fact, as I type this, I'm wearing my official Blue Lantern shirt. Why, because these dudes are my new favorite dudes in comics.

Thus far, two key things have happened:

1) A whole spectrum of new colored Corps have begun to appear. Red = Rage, Blue = Hope, Yellow = Fear, etc...
2) The Black Lanterns have appeared. From an unknown source (so far) black rings have crossed the DCU, finding dead superheroes and those significant to our living superheroes, and raising the dead. Only, you know, EVIL.

It's some messed up stuff.

At any rate, DC will soon have a give-away promotion in which you can collect what will be cheap, plastic versions of the rings.

insert amazed/ delighted gasp here

In high school, I still remember DC putting out a Green Lantern ring, and I'm STILL mad I lost that thing (I bought one at a comic shop for $3 years later). So, yes, this sounds like a great idea to me.

Rings, please

I shall require, of course, a Blue Lantern ring for my everyday wear as well as one for display purposes.

Maybe when the new Flash ongoing materializes, we can see something similar for Barry's ring?


Fantomenos said...

Didn't we all take a quiz to figure out what kinda lanterns we were?

I think I got red, so I guess I'll stick with that, even tho black constitutes the bulk of wardrobe.

Oh, and for people complaining that this is denigrating the beloved memory of the Dibny's? I think elongated zombie is totally sweet, and after reading the Elongated Man Showcase, i'm not sure what kind of vaunted legacy we're talking about, here.

The League said...

Well, I theorize that many long-time DC readers still get wigged out by any change to the DCU in any way.

I also note that every. single. time. DC has an event, during the build up before the heroes have a chance to react, a certain faction of readers misses the whole "there has to be a crisis to fix" part of the story. It's kind of sad. I think these readers should stick to trades so they can know immediately that everything will work out.

That they missed the point that its SUPPOSED to be a bad thing when your friends come back and try to kill you is a bad thing... not surprised those same fans missed that point.

As per any Elongated Man legacy, I enjoyed him in the 80's Justice League comics, and don't think anybody cared about Ralph and Sue at all until Identity Crisis (back when the fanbase was making nosie about "Who is Sue Dibny, and why should I care?"). So, yeah, the "legacy" of Elongated Man doesn't really win me over.

Sinestro said...

Seems like the Blue Lanterns are like the UN of the Lanterns. I'm not sure that's entirely good.

2) You should post a photo of that shirt.

The League said...

I liked how Geoff Johns described the Blue Lanterns at San Diego. What he said was that Hope is great, but without the Will (wink, wink), it didn't do a whole lot.

But combined (the Green and Blue), it made them a formidable force.

If we want to draw out the comparison to the UN, then similarly, without will, the resolutions and actions of the UN make little difference. But when resources and will are applied, then it can be a force for good.

I literally just got off the phone with a former UN attorney who is working on a non-profit project related to his former work which is very much worthwhile.

I also have a deep appreciation for the how's and why's of the UN, and feel its mostly the cowardice of politicians that's kept it from being the efficient organization it could be for global welfare and the end to events like what we see in Darfur.

Not just hope. Will to do something.

J.S. said...

I think people mostly object to the U.N. because of paranoia about how the U.N. represents the possibility of some sort of totalitarian, one world governemnt which will dictate rules and impose laws on people all over the world. Personally, I think that sounds extremely far fetched. So far what I've ssen out of the U.N. has been a desire to engage in humanitarian efforts, the use of peacekeeping forces to try to prevent genocide and ethnic violence, and attempts to provide diplomatic mediations in order to avoid wars. The U.N. is underfunded lacks the support to always effectively accomplish its ideals, but, overall, I support the organization (maybe not in every detail of every policy, but in their overall goals of trying to promote peace, human rights and well being, and international harmony).

Ganthet said...

Perhaps that's next year's big DC summer event ... How the Blue Lanterns are trying to take over the Universe through gridlock'd diplomacy.

The League said...

I think you're confusing Green Lantern comics with Star Wars prequels.

Fantomenos said...

Funny that we turn to the UN, since I've been thinking a bit on why I'm so uncomfortable with it. I assure you, I'm not a black helicopters conspiracy guy, but I believe very strongly in the idea of representative govt.

I guess I feel like since the nations are not united on any single goal, the exercise seems pointless. And any time we're in a situation where Libya gets to dress down the US for its human rights violations in a legitimized forum, clearly things have gone haywire.

There's a great piece in this month's Harper's by Naomi Klein about an anti-racism forum at the UN going horribly awry that pretty well illustrates (in my mind) the futility of such an organization. That's not Klein's point (quite the opposite), but was what I took away from it.

The League said...

by the way, I actually don't think the Blue Lanterns are any more like the UN than the Super Friends. I'm not sure if Sinestro has been following the comics or not.

But on Fantomenos's point: We're mostly just better programmed to accept that somehow the US system of putting up with someone from our bordered landmass bitching at each other makes more sense than people on some other landmass bitching at each other.

I understand that people get a bit bent out of shape over, in theory, a government that's been taken out of their hands, but aside from fairly sensible regulation (don't kill everyone in another country, etc...) the UN is fairly benign.

In the wake of WWII, the intention was to help prevent another holocaust and create a world organization which could hold leaders of any nation accountable for their actions in a recordable manner, and possibly intervene with a show of force when possible.

The mission has expanded to become largely humanitarian in effort. Americans remain largely unaware of these efforts, mostly, I guess, because we generally don't look beyond our won borders and because of our nature as a wealthy and stable country, the UN seems sort of pointless from the comfort of our sofas.

I find it no more ridiculous that Libya gets to dress down the US than Sarah Palin gets to stand up and accuse Obama of creating death panels that want to kill her baby. Its a public forum and theater. It doesn't mean that anyone actually has to believe what Libya is saying.

I've had hard time pinpointing the American disdain for the UN, but it seems to come largely from the incredulous belief that anyone would ever say anything bad about the US (see: Glenn Beck). But there is a difference between political theater and an inability to hear criticism. Libya may be calling the kettle black, but the US's record on human rights is not spotless.

I appreciate that there's an organization that could put American war crimes on the record, even if the thought of a UN prosecution of US leaders is highly improbable.

Look, I love the US. I have no love for Libya. I celebrate the 4th like a crazyman. And I understand that there's all kinds of political chess that occurs at the UN that's intended to play well on TV's that aren't in North America.

But if I'm going to dissolve the UN, then I'd have to consider being just as ready to dissolve a government in which anyone from anywhere, be it Libya, Wyoming, or Sugarland, Texas has any say in how my pocket of the world works or calling my local leaders on illegal activity. At least I can see what the goals are of the UN.

There is a lack of will to accomplish the goals of the UN. Of that I have no doubt. We're still seeing regular genocide in Africa, and as Americans we whine when the rest of world dares ask us a few questions.

It's not a perfect organization, but its a step toward a world struggling to move out of tribalism, regionalism and racism and possibly take some responsibility for ourselves.

Fantomenos said...

Wow! Why is that the 9th comment on a GL based blog entry and not, oh I dunno, its own blog entry?

Seriously, I'm glad this tangent has provided such fertile ground for discussion. And, yeah, Sarah Palin's comments are crazy, but she's an elected official representing a constituency. I'd feel much better about Libya's comments if I thought they had anything to with the feelings of, say, Libyans.

And certainly I would not argue that our record on human rights is anything close to spotless (if you have me pegged as a Beck fan, I am guilty of some internet dissimulation. The fantomenos household gets its news from Maddow and Stewart.) but I think when we lose sight of some clear distinctions between our evolving (and sadly, sometimes regressing) commitment to civil liberties and tinpot dictators, it is difficult to have any meaningful discourse at all.

Eg, we have many citizens here who demonize homosexuals. This makes the struggle for gays to attain equality difficult and painful. However, Ahmadinijad flatly denies that homosexuality exists in his country...

I guess I feel like giving these guys a seat at the table is akin to letting Charles Manson have an audience with the pope to air his grievances about the Catholic church. It's not that his points aren't valid, but when one interlocutor has a swastika carved into his forehead...

Anyway, namaste, and again, I'm glad I provoked this discussion, but it was not my intention to be a provocateur.

The League said...

I hear you, Fantomenos. I don't feel Kim Jong-Il has any legitimacy as a leader, so if he gets the podium, it doesn't matter what he says. He doesn't appear to have the legitimacy to be able to take the mic at all.

Its a side-effect of how the UN is set up, and its an unfortunate side-effect. To bring it back to comics, I still remember putting down "Death in the Family" when you-know-who was appointed an ambassador to the UN, and thought "well, gee... that's kind of screwed up".

But Kruschev banging his shoe is not all that the UN is about. I guess I'm a bit overly idealistic about the mission, but as we started this thread, I'd much rather have the hope for nations to come together to fight despots, hunger and respond to emergencies than a world in which that wasn't even a possibility.

BTW, not that its the worst thing in the world, but I wasn't actually referring to you as a Beck enthusiast. I've just got his contradictory, self-serving "principles" on the brain a lot lately.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

WOW..what a great discussion. I love when something like a comic book sparks all kinds of debate about real world issues. You never let me down League when it comes to interesting posts.

The League said...

Thanks, Cal! One thing I love about maintaining this blog is that we can have these discussions. I always feel like I took something away from what folks Fantomenos have to say. And we usually manage to have these discussions without reducing to name-calling and accusing one another of hating freedom.