The latest run of Young Justice is called “Invasion,” and while it is not in any way the same, it draws certain elements off a late 80’s comics crossover called “Invasion,” in particular focusing on the discovery and exploitation of the Metagene and ways to eliminate powers, control metahumanity and the like, as well as the use of shapeshiftes (Durlans in the original).
“Invasion,” the comics crossover was plotted largely by Keith Giffen, working with scripter Bill Mantlo. Mantlo, known more for his Marvel work, where he created and developed long runs on the Micronauts and Rom, as well as creating properties like Cloak and Dagger, was involved in an automobile hit and run in 1992, which gave him irreparable brain damage. He had some progress getting better, after institutionalization, but his insurance ran out and he ended up in the only care facility his family could afford (and that just barely). The story is heart-rending for anyone to read. For someone who grew up with his comics, it is agony to think about.
DC? Warner? You don’t owe Bill Mantlo anything, legally. He did a job for you, did it well, was paid and you both move on. I don’t mean or want to claim otherwise. (I might have choice words for Marvel in this regard, but not DC). But here you are, drawing elements off work Mantlo did for you for a storyline in a popular cartoon. This is an opportunity. An opportunity for great press. An opportunity to have a public statement — to say “we recognize that we have no financial obligation to Bill Mantlo, but we and all the modern comics industry owes a lot to this man, and as the “Invasion” storyline develops, we want to demonstrate the kind of heroism we have always stood for.”
Please. Subsidize Mantlo’s care. It might be too late to give him the kind of recovery he once could have had, but at the least you can greatly improve his quality of life. At the least what progress could be made could be made.
I don’t have much I can offer as inducement, but here’s what I can offer. I’ve been critical of the New 52. I don’t apologize for that. But if you do this… I’ll buy every issue of every comic in the New 52 produced in its first year. It will take some time — I’m not particularly flush — but as long as they remain available via Comixology I’ll do it. I’ll buy all the good ones I couldn’t get to. I’ll buy all the ones I don’t care for. Hell, I’ll buy all the ones I actively dislike. Red Hood and the Outlaws? I’ll buy every. Stinking. Issue.
Like I said, it’s not much, but it’s what I can offer. It absolutely pales in comparison to what you can offer Bill Mantlo, his family and his legacy.
Upon hearing of the death of Gore Vidal, I had an immediate, almost visceral reaction, which I immortalized in Twitter form. That is the rhetoric of the age — immediate thoughts, put out in a form that was immediately visible for all to see. It was, in its way, the anthesis of Gore Vidal’s writing.
Still, I stand by it the next day, and will cheerfully reproduce it here:
I called the (inevitable) political cartoons of Vidal at the Pearly Gates inappropriate for two reasons: one, because Gore Vidal didn’t believe in Heaven. As with Christopher Reeve (an Atheist) and George Harrison (a Buddhist), there is something vaguely offensive of depicting Gore Vidal’s undergoing Heavenly judgment in an affectionate style. And two, because Vidal claimed Buckley was in Hell, and I have to believe if given the choice, he’d pursue him down there.
But, if there’s a Buckley knife fight. I’ll forgive them. More after the break.
I am not a Christian. I am also not a Conservative. I have opinions which are not held by neither the average Conservative Christian nor the average Christian Conservative. This is my right, even as they have the right to be Christian and Conservative.
However, I am also a writer. Right now, I’m writing a (I believe this is the term) fuck-ton of fiction.
I work very hard, both in terms of necessary research and in building writing skills, in making realistic, sympathetic Christians, Conservatives, Conservative Christians and Christian Conservatives in my stories. I have been dismissive before, and been rightly called on it. And I try to learn from my experiences. And, when I’m writing, I’m trying to reflect the world and nation I live in — in particular, a nation where forty percent describe themselves as conservative or very conservative and (as of 2008) seventy-six percent describe themselves under the very broad rubric of Christian.
I have very little interest in making forty percent of the characters in my stories one dimensional strawmen. I have even less interest in making seventy-six percent of the characters in my book intolerant ideologues. And when I write about those forty or seventy-six percent, I would like to do so accurately.
Why? Well, one seminal Christian principle, which is common to many other religions, is summed up in two verses. Matthew 7:12 (Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets) and Luke 6:31: (And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.) I would like my own philosophy, ethics, beliefs and principles to be represented well in the fiction of others. Further, I would like a character modeled on myself to have nuance and depth, being more than a mouthpiece for an overly simplistic interpretation of what someone on the other side of the aisle thinks about Liberals or Agnostics. The only way I know to encourage that is to live by it.
And if it doesn’t happen? If my ilk are characterized… well, as ideologues of any political or philosophical bent often characterize those different than themselves? Hey, at least one of the two of us will write with the empathy and compassion mandated by Scripture, right?
Let’s open with a link, shall we?
So. The link above is to a really well done roundup of all the debate surrounding a case of harassment at Readercon 23, held from July 12-15 in Burlington, Massachusetts. I’m not going to rehash it in any depth. In particular, I’m not going to directly name names of the people involved. They’re readily available. The source material in that post above has them. You can find them. But I don’t particularly want to mention the perpetrator’s name and I can’t imagine the victim needs her name brought up again. I’ll go into some basic explanation after the break, but really you should go up to that link and get lots of detail and perspective.
Though it was the Snarkoleptics group, and that remains cool, it wasn’t ever actually my group for such matters. I’m not sure if I’m listed as a moderator or not — last I knew, it was McKenzee’s project. I’ll have a look later and see what can be done.
For decades Marvel has been trying to come out with their own version of Superman. Some might say the Hulk is it, some might say Thor, but neither of them really fit the bill in terms of Marvel having an iconic strongman “truth, justice,” and blah blah character like DC has with the Man of Steel. They have tried tons of times to create this mcguffin and have failed, sometimes miserably so. The most recent and infamous example of one of these failed attempts would be this guy:
The Sentry make his debut back in 2000 in a miniseries after a little hoax put out by Marvel trying to establish some long forgotten super character into the histories of some of their other creations. He was basically a blond Superman with schizophrenia and some serious drug addiction issues.
He started out okay but unfortunately he eventually fell under the pens of writers who didn’t have a clue what to do with him. Fans hated him…and I mean REAL HATRED. If you are feeling very, very brave sometime go on any comicbook discussion website, message forum, or whatever and start a thread on discussion of this guy. Have a bottle of something very strong handy. I’m serious the only other characters I have ever seen generate so much fanboy rage and vitriol directed towards them and the people who like the character and generate so much controversy are Batman, Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Hal Jordan.
To be fair though Marvel really, really shagged the pooch with this one and eventually things got so bad that they were forced to kill him off. That seemed like the end of Marvel’s little experiment with creating their much desired Superman character.
What took Marvel so long to realize was that they already had one. They’ve had one for years. It just took them a few decades to come to this realization because their Superman character is a woman.
Ms. Marvel was created back in the 70s as a sort of female version of Captain Marvel, at the time the Kree superhero known as Mar-Vell…and back then HE was the Superman character for Marvel, an alien soldier from another galaxy who came to Earth and eventually became a superhero. Through some freak accident during a battle between Mar-Vell and one of his enemies Carol was exposed to some radiation that somehow altered her DNA to resemble Mar-Vell’s since he was holding her at the time. As a result she got all of his powers.
Years later she was stripped of those powers but then got some new powers when she was experimented by Marvel’s little villainous aliens the Brood. She became Binary, spent some years flying around the galaxy with space pirates, and then became slightly depowered again and went to calling herself Warbird.
In the early 2000s Marvel decided to have her start calling herself Ms. Marvel again and Bendis took her on in his Might Avengers book. He made her the leader and of course since he’s Brian Michael Bendis and Ms. Marvel’s first name isn’t Jessica (*ahem*) he proceeded to do nothing with that except have Doctor Doom call her a “fat cow” at one point, and have Ares mistake her threatening him with physical harm for flirting.
Marvel tried to have a solo series for her but it was canceled after 50 issues…not a bad run for a typical Marvel owned female solo title since it actually lasted longer than many others, but the way it ended and why wasn’t so great.
Anyway Marvel was trying to establish Carol as their “premiere superheroine”, their version of Wonder Woman, with Sentry as their Superman, and Moon Knight as their ripoff of Batman. It didn’t go over too well since as I said Sentry was pretty much universally loathed, no one knew who Moon Knight was, and Carol…well, about the only thing that she and Diana have in common is that they’re both women and they’re both really, really strong.
See when I said that Marvel already had a Superman character, I wasn’t just referring to the surface commonalties like the fact that they are both super strong. To make my point I’m just going to list their attributes in bullet points below.
First up is the big guy himself.
—stands for Truth, Justice, and the American Way
—alien born on another planet
—absorbs energy from the sun, allowing him his powers
—powers include flight, super strength, super-speed, super-senses, about a gazillion different types of vision, and energy projection (mostly via heat beams from his eyes)
—works at a newspaper
—invulnerable to most forms of harm
—can survive in space
Just a few there that immediately come to mind.
—she was a U.S. Airforce colonel. Doesn’t get much more American than that.
—powers derived from alien DNA
—can absorb all sorts of energy, including solar (also nuclear, sonic, electricity, and others). The more energy she absorbs the more powerful she gets.
—powerset includes superstrength (even the Avengers: Earth Mightest Heroes cartoon stated that she was as strong as the Hulk), flight, superspeed, and energy projection (mostly in the form of photon blasts from her hands). In extreme situations she has the capability to go back to her full Binary powers.
For awhile there back in the 70s she possessed a sort of “seventh sense” allowing her to know when danger was coming. It hasn’t really made an appearance in recent years.
—worked at a newspaper (same one Peter Parker did in fact) writing some column/magazine
—invulnerable to most forms of harm
—can survive in space
Now let’s look at Diana:
—big on Love, Compassion, and only resorting to violence when necessary
—pre-new 52: made of clay and blessed by Greek Gods
—post new 52: daughter of Zeus
—has a mother she doesn’t always see eye-to-eye on (most times in fact)
—came to “Man’s World” on a mission of peace and has become Earth’s defender.
Beyond the powerset and the gender she really doesn’t have much in common with Carol Danvers. In fact I can’t say Marvel really has anyone who would fit the bill as their version of Wonder Woman. I mean created by pagan gods/is a pagan god, has a parental figure they don’t get along with, and has been humbled by some time on Earth and has become it’s protector? Can’t think of anyone who would even come close….
Alright, alright, I’ll admit I’m probably stretching it a bit there.
Anyway point is that Carol has long fit the bill for Marvel’s long-sought after Superman character. Before her there was Captain Mar-vell, whose return from the dead has been teased…and teased…and teased….and….teased….over the years ever since the graphic novel “Death of Captain Marvel” came out, but let’s face it: They aren’t ever going to bring him back and if they ever do it’s been teased so much that by now people are sick of it and they would react with a big ole “Meh”.
Captain Marvel #1 comes out next week but Carol made her debut as Captain Marvel in an issue of Avenging Spider-Man today. I look forward to reading it.
The costume is actually growing on me. I wasn’t too crazy about it at first but now…eh, it’s cool. But the HAIR…
Marvel, the 1980s called. They want their hairstyle back. Seriously…..the costume I can live with and as I said it’s growing on me. But a fucking mullet?! Really?
I have little to add to this, save that I’m entirely in agreement.
In a world where DC is only beginning to figure out maybe, just maybe, they made a tactical error in alienating half the human population… Marvel has discarded the female-centric element of Carol Danvers’s name — the ‘Ms.’ that, disingenuously given the feminist origins of the pronoun, relegated her to being “Woman” instead of plain “Hero” — and instead christened her with one of the oldest and most legendary hero names on the landscape.
And with DC’s rather… ridiculous… decision to just call the original Big Red Cheese ‘Shazam,’ she is the only Captain Marvel.
If they ever do another Marvel vs. DC comic, forget fighting the Hulk. I want Supes taking on the Captain. And I’m not going to swear he’ll win.
EDIT: I meant to make mention of Monica Rambeau, who was Captain Marvel first, before she had the first of two codenames taken away by… well, the same guy. And we should acknowledge that before editorial fiat decided to wreck her for no real reason, Mary Batson was technically one of “the Captains Marvel” in her modern incarnation — but everyone everywhere just called her Mary Marvel anyway, so….
Just a fast note to say that some of the Mythology of the Modern World myth suggestions I’ve been getting are fantastic, and I’m really looking forward to answering them. The process of getting the answers done is actually really long (in part because I want to do this right by the stories, in part because I want a really long buffer before I start posting anything anywhere), but I wanted to say “wow — thank you!”
Here are just a few of the questions I’ve gotten. There are (quite a few) more I’m looking forward to answering, but this is a nice sample:
- Why do there seem to be a handful of a few chosen people who seem to always be able to find to spot on the subway platform to stand do that when the train arrives, the doors open right in front of them ?
- Why are so many internet commentators barely literate people with anger issues? (Admittedly, that one might have had a buried second meaning.)
- Why is it so much easier to find a lost or misplaced book after you buy a replacement?
- Why does it take me the same length of time to get somewhere no matter how which mode of transport I take? e.g. London to Edinburgh: Car = Short flight, but long security = Fast train, but slow buses from station at either end.
Got a burning question about the hidden nature of the world? Ask it here!