I’ve got a lot on my mind tonight!
First, H’s epic overview of Infinity Inc. continues at The Comic Treadmill, and, as always, when the man talks about Roy Thomas/Earth-2, I listen, and am moved to respond! Let’s do it point-form, shall we?
1. You win H, Infinity Inc. IS the worst team name in the history of comics. I’ve ruled Big Jim’s P.A.C.K. ineligible, since it was just a stupid toy line–I don’t think anyone ever wrote/drew adventures for Jimbo, the Whip, Warpath, and Dr. Steel… at least I hope they didn’t! Of course, there’s always Team America to consider…
2.Yes, Issue #2’s confrontation at the “MacTavish” restaurant was awful, and it pained me to read it. I’ve always loved the ol’ “super-heroes at the all-night cafe” scenario, but clearly, the spectacle of “Elvira bugging the freaks” pales in comparison to the immortal X-Men #47 (wherein Hank McCoy makes short work of a “motorcyclist” named “Cairo” while a guy called “Fat Man” chants poetry), and the even more fondly remembered X-Men #31 (written by Roy himself), in which “Bernard the Poet” hits on Iceman’s date Zelda, and has his espresso frozen but good. Both of these mutant classics are set at the “Cafe-a-Go-Go” (which ranks a close second to “The Coffee Bean” as my favourite Silver Age locale… Yes, I’m a troubled man–I’m fascinated by super-hero comics, but I have no interest in fight scenes, except insofar as they can be read as expressions of something other than mere playground scuffling!)
3.Speaking of fight scenes, Infinity Inc. #2-4 has way too many of them, and none of them make sense–which contrasts sharply with the first issue of the series, so promisingly free of fisticuffs, after the initial battle/misunderstanding…
4.About Norda–H, I’d love it if you found something in Alter Ego regarding Roy’s intentions with that character. As always, I was just guessing yesterday…
A Note on all of this “Team Comix” stuff
I usually don’t get involved in the whole “how do we save comics?” thing because… well… I don’t have any disposable income, and I don’t buy new comics, so who cares what I think, right? As I’ve stated previously, I’m not particularly interested in comics as a medium, and I had never participated in the sub-culture (outside of weekly trips to the comic store from about 1987 to 1991), until I started this weblog.
Now, Dirk Deppey has been very busy lately, talking about the pernicious effects of the Direct Market upon the prospects for diversity within the medium, and I don’t suppose I can fault him–after all, he’s got a personal interest in seeing that his company’s product gets maximum exposure. However, what all of the “comic stores are killing comics” people seem to ignore is that most “comic stores” have never been “comic stores” at all!! In Montreal, we’ve got retailers with names like “Captain Quebec”, “Heroes and Villains”, “Super-Heroes”, etc–do you see what I’m saying here? They are “genre stores”. We also have bookstores that specialize in stuff like New Age material, and Sci-Fi. I don’t have any interest in either type of book, and I wouldn’t set foot in either establishment–but I would never dream of telling the owners of these stores to ‘diversify’ their product! They are specialty shops!!
It seems to me that a lot of the griping is being done by people who went to comic stores as kids, and have now, for whatever reason, “outgrown” the super-hero habit (which they associate with children/immaturity), but wish to continue frequenting their fondly-remembered childhood haunts… Solution? Make your local super-hero guy sell (and promote) Drawn & Quarterly titles! What? That’s like becoming a vegetarian and then insisting that your favourite burger joint start selling samosas…
I wouldn’t have bothered with this rant, except that I read this coment/exchange, on the Comics Journal Messageboard in fact, and I felt it needed seconding:
Do you think the lack of confident males (creators/creations/community) in alternative comics could be the reason why alternative comics haven’t taken off in the mainstream as well as we all would like?
Define “mainstream”. The bookshelves at the mall up the road are groaning under the weight of the latest restocking of JIMMY CORRIGAN.
Yes Dirk, there is a “mainstream”, and I think it’s safe to say that those vital waters don’t flow through your local “Fortress of Comics-Dude”. That’s just a backwater (a fascinating backwater, as far as I’m concerned, but we all know I’m peculiar). At a “mainstream” store–like my place of work (a medium-sized genral bookstore located near a university), for instance–the Graphic Novel section is likely to have 20 copies of Louis Riel, or The Acme Novelty Datebook, Jimmy Corrigan etc for every super-hero TPB(we don’t even stock Watchmen!)–and forget about finding any Marvel Masterworks or DC Archives… What I’m saying is this–I shed no tears when “Nebula Books” went out of business, why do you care if the super-hero guys go under? There will still be outlets for Fantagraphics books…
Okay, now about all of these
Listen, I’ve avoided going into any great detail re:my Animal Rights views here, because this is a forum for discussion, and, as Matt O’Rama (check the comments) and I agreed recently, you cannot debate first principles… Either you “convert” or you don’t, and that’s all there is to it. Yeah, you can convince someone to become a vegetarian through reasoned argument–the health benefits, the whole “cattle farming takes up too much space on the planet” thing–but that’s not what PETA is trying to do! They are aiming for gut-level assent to the proposition that all of the sentient beings on the planet have the right to be treated as ends in themselves. It’s not about “being nice to the animals” (any more than rights-based democracy is about being nice to the average citizen). It’s about accepting them as real. What kind of planet would we have if everyone made this leap? Who knows? I certainly don’t. But that’s not the point–and remember, I have no interest in trying to convince anyone reading this that my Animal Rights propostion is in any sense “correct”. We’re beyond good and evil here. I’ve made a radical choice. So have you. What I’m interested in here is the notion people seem to have that PETA could act in any way other than they do, and whether they should be prevented from disseminating their message.
Young children need time and guidance to be able to deal with the world’s ugliness. Even if you agree with these idiots, you cannot seriously think it’s ok to give this crap to a 7 year old kid.
PETA is off the planet with this shit, and if they put it in my kid’s hand while I was standing there (or any other parent reading this) they’d draw back a stump.
This is pretty typical of the response that PETA’s pamphlet has generated, and it’s disgraceful. When “Dave-in-Texas” says “Young children need time and guidance to be able to deal with the world’s ugliness”, what he really means is–kids should not be forced to think about horrors until they are taught that those horrors are not horrors at all, but merely ugly realities… At that point, the battle for conversion is already lost. Congratulations “D-in-T”–your kids will wind up just like their old man: ornery bastards ready to chop off the hands of any pamphleteers that disturb their tranquility!
We protect our children too much. Exposure to visceral images at an early age opens us up to a whole universe of radical choices, and offers up at least a possible opportunity for the excercise of free will (not that I really believe in such a thing… but even the staunchest Calvinist believes that the Word is an important trigger of “conversion”, despite the fact that “Election” is predestined. Believe me, I am not making a flip comparison here–in both cases, a complete “transvaluaion of values” is effected.)
So anyway, believe what you want. And certainly, I don’t condone any acts of violence Animal Rights people might commit. That’s just insanity, you don’t make change by terrorizing the majority. Change happens when the majority assents to it… Moreover, I don’t have the slightest desire to “convert” anyone, I like just about everybody, and I’m not suited to delivering harangues, but I do think that, in our society, we owe it to ourselves to make sure that the “means of conversion” remains operative, and protected from the kind of violence that people like this other Dave are wont to invoke.
This is NOT “psychological child abuse”, this is an image–and a message–designed to provoke an existential crisis, and, as Bill Sherman makes clear, the crisis need not lead to the resolution that PETA is looking for… Either way, it’s fine with me, I just don’t want to see our children “protected” from ideas until they’re old enough (and blinkered enough) to just explain them away… There are no easy answers, and there’s more wrong with the world than just “ugliness”. I’m not saying that my choice is the only one possible. I’m just saying–let your kids decide these things for themselves, and stop polishing the sharp edges off of reality for them. You aren’t doing anyone any favours…
Good night friends & happy new Year!