Kibbles 'n' Bits, 3/26/12: Jiro Taniguchi in the spotlight

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§ A Manga Moveable Feast spotlighting Jiro Taniguchi has just wrapped up. Taniguchi is a master storyteller, and his work has a lot more “western” feel than many other manga. Anyone looking to dip a toe in the world of manga would probably find him a good place to start.

§ As part of the MMF, Ed Sizemore interviews Stephen Robson of Fanfare/Ponent Mon, one of the nicest guys in comics and one of the best publishers as well. Check it out!

§ Another write-up of that Chris Claremont talk revisits the idea of a Kathryn Bigelow-directed X-Men movie that never happened. Sigh.

 Kibbles 'n' Bits, 3/26/12: Jiro Taniguchi in the spotlight§ Here’s something so shocking you may not be able to believe it happened. DC published something related to a female character that people found controversial! This time out it was Wonder Woman, who is revealed to come from a race of semen-stealing, man-murdering misandrists. GeekMom did not like it.

Do I think the creators of this book are deliberately trying to downgrade Wonder Woman and her origin and what it means to many women? No, I don’t think so at all. Many times, Brian Azzarello has stated that he wanted to write a horror story using Wonder Woman and that’s exactly what he’s doing. I don’t think he saw how problematic it was, especially in our current political environment when a woman who speaks up for access to birth control to control cancer is called a “slut.” Here are the Amazons, who are supposed to represent the best of their gender, now changed into man-hating mass murderers. To say nothing of the fact that Wonder Woman is also viewed as a gay icon and now the biggest group of fictional lesbians are basically evil. I think it was blindness to the history of what Wonder Woman means to many women, especially to geek girls, and general cluelessness on the part of editorial who approved it. Added to that some of the other problems with the DC reboot that I’ve talked about over on GeekDad and last year on GeekMom, and it’s frustrating as heck.

Tucker Stone and Abhay Khosla touch on it as only they can in this hilarious review column. In addition, Abhay suggests his own alternate origin. That’s the source of the Lynda Carter on a skateboard gif accompanying this, if you want a clue.

I haven’t read the issue in question yet, and it seems unfair to comment on it until I do. However, reading about it, it did strike me as the sort of thing that General Jack. D Ripper might come up with.

jackdripper Kibbles 'n' Bits, 3/26/12: Jiro Taniguchi in the spotlight
YOU know, the character from Dr. Strangelove who was so concerned with his precious bodily fluids. ANYWAY…

§ Dustin Harbin is profiled in the Charlotte Observer. The piece contains the usual alarming description of the poverty of the cartoonist, but we’ll quote a different part, just to break things up:

He drew himself getting broken front teeth replaced at the dentist, reading R. Crumb while eating oatmeal and tucking himself into bed under new flannel sheets. He depicted himself hanging out among patrons at Amelie’s Bakery with the caption, “Tea makes old ladies talk super loud.” He sketched cartoons about chewing with his new teeth, fighting depression, buying milk at Target, drawing, tweeting, cleaning his toilet and scanning his diary comics onto his computer so he could upload them to his website.

§ Headline of the day: Local cartoonist travels to France for comics festival . It was Josh Cotter (Driven by Lemons) and he went to Angouleme. And had a great time.

§Frank Santoro notes some newish artists that you might like. Do I link to Frank Santoro every week? I guess so. And why not?

§ I enjoyed the convention memories contained in this post a lot. I guess that’s why I write about “comics culture.”

Comments

  1. Having read the Wonder Woman issue, and since I’ve been thoroughly enjoying WW more than almost any other DC title since the relaunch, I have to admit, it’s a shame that people are seeing it this way…but that’s the world we live in.

    WW shouldn’t HAVE to be a gay icon, nor should she have to be treated as such. She should be available for any sort of story, especially one that is focused on Greek myth. The Greek myths are horrible stories, and the Amazons were pretty frightening in those stories. Certainly, they weren’t a collection of cuddly lesbians.

    That said, WW is a gay icon, and we do live in a world where minorities need their icons because the world often craps on them. It is a world where a woman with a sexually liberated view is publicly reviled.

    I’m glad that GeekMom seems to see that this wasn’t an intentional slight, but an unfortunate turn of events born of a desire to tell a particular story. It’s too bad we live in a world that makes it difficult for stories to be enjoyed on their merits.

    (I hope this comment doesn’t come off as an excoriation of GeekMom or her opinion. I get it, and to some degree, share it. But Wonder Woman is a really good comic right now, and I wish that could be the focus of how people reacted to the book.)

  2. Kate Fitzsimons says:

    … Nope, not seeing the accidental. I will give you that the author probably didn’t think of the gay icon / homophobia issues. No problem, most straight guys don’t think that way.

    But there is absolutely no way to wiggle out of the misogyny. You have a race of immortal warrior women generally living in peace and harmony with each other on what is sometimes referred to as “Paradise Island” as the backstory for one of DC’s proclaimed Big Three and depicted in a very positive light for most of the history of DC Comics.

    And when you reboot them, you decide you’re going to make them all sex murderers?

    Right. Gosh, what a surprise that anyone might find that misogynist! The author couldn’t have predicted that people would be offended by this! Wait, no, that makes no sense.

    Yes, it fits with many stories in myth and legend about Amazons, but not DC’s Themiscyran Amazons.

    The fact that this author and his editor didn’t notice that he was basically writing the equivalent of turning Ma Kent into a serial killer says a lot. (DC, I dare you to write Ma Kent as a serial killer in the main DC timeline. Oh wait, she’s a nice married housewife with Superman for a son, we can’t have that.)

  3. Kate, I think you underestimate the ennui of DC readers who need ever more and more shocks just to keep picking up the book.

    I have no doubt that we could also learn that Martha Wayne is a serial killer and Pa Kent is a cannibal just to keep things interesting.

  4. Todd Allen says:

    Well… based on the last issue of Batman, I’m expecting one of Bruce Wayne’s relatives to show up as a reanimated assassin, so while I think it’s more likely to be a great grandfather, you could be right.

  5. rinsmith says:

    Well, I’m a woman and I’m perfectly ok with this story. I’m familiar with Wonder Woman but I’m not a regular comics reader. While I’m aware that WW has long been a feminist icon, I didn’t know she’s now a gay icon as well. (Though it makes sense.)

    The problem with being an icon is that it limits a character’s portrayal. An icon is expected to perfect and flawless; which often translates to boring and predictable. I hate that people are so sensitive nowadays that it’s hard to tell good stories without the risk of offending someone. It’s one thing if someone was intentionally trying to insult a certain group, but I don’t think this was the case here. Personally, I wouldn’t mind reading this story; it sounds like it might actually be entertaining. And that’s the main thing that I look for in my reading material.

    As for WW being a gay icon; has there ever been a story in which she’s a lesbian or bisexual? If not, why not?

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