If we’re talking crap comic book superhero films: Dolph Lundgren Punisher must be spoken

If people are going to insist on swinging Catwoman and Elektra around the place like some form of ‘Get Out Of Argument Free’ card in discussion of female superhero movies. I’d like to remind people of the following items of comic-book to cinema.
The Punisher I:Dolph Lundgren Version
I’d also like to illustrate the subsequent Punisher films.
The Punisher II: The Profit Margin
The Punisher III (The BreakEven!
Where’s my sequel/franchise reboots for Elektra (break even) and Catwoman (narrow loss) since they returned much better investments that the first Punisher, and that saw two franchises?

Cross post

Head over to the ‘Bully Says’ blog and readJohn DiBello full post
Comics oughta be fun. Comic book conventions ought to, as well. But as long as harassment goes on and there is no clear-cut official written rules on convention behavior and what to do in circumstances or physical or mental assault, our hobby runs the risk of alienating and endangering those within it.
I’ve put a word across to a friend who’s involved in the business. If you’ve got contacts for events like these who work in the management teams, pass the link onto them, and pass the link around.
(Thanks to kalinara@WFA for the headsup)
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Tags: Comic book, Comic-Con International, comics, Convention, Fan convention

Saturday Morning Cartoons

Lisa Fortuna mentions there’s no Wonder Woman cartoon, and it occurred to me, that I wasn’t immediately keen to see a Wonder Woman cartoon produced. Which, given my loyalty to ElectraWoman and DynaGirl, wasn’t entirely something that made sense to me.
I thought about it for a bit, and what struck me wasn’t that I didn’t want a Wonder Woman cartoon I wanted there to be more than one go-to female lead for a Saturday morning cartoon. The DC male usual suspects list has expanded from the go-to team of Batman and Superman to include Green Arrow and Blue Beetle. So why just stick with a cartoon Amazon when there’s options for a go-to team from Zatanna, Black Canary, Huntress, Spoiler, Misfit, Barda, Supergirl, Raven, Starfire, Arrowette, Mia/Speedy(II) cartoon, Fire, Ice, or Barbara Gordon (either Batgirl or Oracle)
And then it struck me, that I could hear the auto-counterargument of ‘But nobody knows who [$female_character] is…’ as the reflexive beat down. True, few outside of the comic book circles know Arrowette, Speedy, Fire, Ice et al… just like the way few outside of the game know this chap called Blue Beetle. I like the Blue Beetles (more Ted and Jamie, less so Dan) but outside of fandom, who’s really heard of the Blue Beetle? At least Green Arrow was on Smallville but so was Black Canary.
Beetle? His push will come from the cartoon. So I say it’s time to give the push to some less recognized female characters. I mean, imagine a set up of Brave and Bold II: Oracle, Black Canary and Zatanna.
How much literal, figurative and animated ass would this line up kick?

Tags: Barbara Gordon, black canary, Blue Beetle, Green Arrow, Saturday morning cartoon, Wonder Woman

Batman 673

Goddamn Batman! I’m actually excited about getting to the comic store and handing over cash for DC products. Roll on the shopping spree tomorrow!
Dear DC
Thank you for listening.
Dear Friends of Girl-Wonder.
Thank you for speaking.
Dear Opponents of Girl -Wonder
Thanks for letting me quote Christina Aguilera at you.
Dear Mary
Thank you. You thought of it, you believed in it, and look what it’s done so far.
Designated Sidekick
(and damnit, I’m crying because Steph got the recognition so long over due)
Tags: batman 673, dc comics, project girl wonder, robin, stephanie brown

Selling with the Sexy

I’ve been looking over the sales figures for Marvel, and I have to admit, I’ve been wrong about the sales power of sexy.
Right now, there’s a scantily clad sales machine with slender hips, massive torso, clad in a loin cloth skirt and very very little else. This semi naked sales machine has doubled, and I mean DOUBLED the sales figures of one of the tie in comics.
This sales bombshell is none other than….

Oh that chest and those legs and that tiny skirt

The Incredibly Sexy Hulk.
World War Hulk is #1 on the comic book box office, and the Hulk’s impact on the Heroes for Hire franchise has not been missed.
08/06 Heroes for Hire #01 84,006
09/06 Heroes for Hire #02 66,949 (-20.3%)
10/06 Heroes for Hire #03 60,770 ( -9.2%)
11/06 Heroes for Hire #04 38,070 (-37.4%)
12/06 Heroes for Hire #05 31,318 (-17.7%)
01/07 Heroes for Hire #06 27,513 (-12.1%)
02/07 Heroes for Hire #07 24,476 (-11.0%)
03/07 Heroes for Hire #08 22,563 ( -7.8%)
04/07 Heroes for Hire #09 21,444 ( -5.0%)
06/07 Heroes for Hire #10 -20,503
06/07 Heroes for Hire #11 41,298 WWH related
06/07 Heroes for Hire #12 41,229 WWH related
09/07 Heroes for Hire #13 40,086 WWH related
00/07 Heroes for Hire #14 Part 4 of WWH content
00/07 Heroes for Hire #14 Part 5 of WWH storyline
You want to sell comics in this modern day market place? Strip down one of the big boys and put him in the crossovers.
Half Naked Hulk sells comics. Big bulging semi-naked men sell comics. It’s just economics, so DC, pants those eras, buff those pecs and show me some Batmanflesh for that sales bonanza.
It’s what the market wants isn’t it?

Oh that chest and those legs and that tiny skirt

The Campaign for Change in Comics: Shouting loudly is fast tracking the change

‘You can get much further with a kind word and a gun batarang than you can with a kind word alone.

  • Al Capone Some Goddamn Batman
    My Background: I’ve read Dale Carnegie’s ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’, Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, Kotler and Roberto’s Social Marketing, and I’ve written Competitive Marketing Strategy (along with Strategic Internet Marketing). I’ve got a bit of a background in marketing, lecturing, social marketing, politics, lobbying and selling expensive commercial product to an unwilling market. I have a PhD where I developed a new theoretical model to describe how people deal with the hypernew products and the key factors involved in getting the really new stuff out of beta and into people’s hands via their hip pocket.
    My role: I’m a mercenary civilian contractor. Trained as a marketer, employed as a marketing educator, and working as a columnist and military adviser consultant to Girl-Wonder and the Project Girl Wonder, my self anointed part in this process is to aggravate, agitate and educate.
    It’s easy to dismiss complaints about sexist portrayal of women in comics if it’s just coming from female readers. All the usual dismissal methods roll out and get thrown around. Throw in the complaints from men, and it makes it harder to pull the wholesale dismissal. Being an aggravating male with a propensity to snipe on topic areas where I can pull out the heavy artillery as required means I can get under the skins of certain bloggers, draw some heat, and make the sockpuppets dance.
    It’s called stirring. I do it well. For example, to agitate the crowd, I could put forth my hypothesis that the desire for overwrought caricatures of women that are distorted, impossiby proportioned and unattainable figures could be the result of overcompensation to mask other latent desires and needs. Similarly, being able to start fights, point out flaws, raise counterpoints and every now and then stand on the rooftops and shout at the top of my lungs is a valuable part of the change movement. Gandhi was the last saint like figure to bust out a completely passive move set for victory. The rest of us get along by being much more human and flawed.
    Somedays, at the end of it all, you just can’t avoid the fact Dan DiDio has a tendency to be a dick (not as in Grayson). He’ll never accept such a judgement of himself, but when you’re looking at the things he does accept, it’s worth being in the category of wrong in that man’s head. That said, is it counter productive to call him a dick? Probably not since a huge chunk of recent rounds of problematic content to come from DC have had his fingerprints on it, letting him (and the successors to his title) know that his actions are tarnishing his reputation will help in the long haul. If people thought he was a respected figure for the decision that’ve been made, statements said, and general dickishness, then it’ll be a cold shower moment of ‘Wait…do I want that for me?’ for the next in line to consider when planning how they’d deal with the situation if they were the editor
    One of the things about this sort of change campaigning activity is that our internet addicted TV stained minds have been taught by by a news media with weekly ratings battles that any sort of long term activity beyond 18 months is a failure. Compare this with the fact it takes 10 to 12 years to get someone through school, another 3 to 5 years to get through college/university, and the entire Harry Potter franchise took 10 years to from releasing the first book to releasing the last book. Changing the way a comic book industry works in 18 months? Sure,it’s possible, but I heartly recommend fire and nuking from orbit if you want to be that quick. Otherwise, take some time and schedule it for generational change.
    My view on the comics book change movement: Are the various campaigns making headway? Hell to the yes. Are we all doing it the hard way? Yes, because there isn’t an easy way. This is generational change that I’m talking about in aiming for the reform of the comic book industry. I’m talking about keeping the fires burning for the people starting out into the game now as much as trying to persuade those at the top to reconsider their position and standards. When the DCU and Marvel replace the current editor, that editor will still have been shaped by coming through the same sort of system that created the current mindsets. Within a few editors, and a couple of generations of writers, artists and in-house staff changes, then you’ll start to see people implementing the sort of changes that are being blogged about here and now.
    I’ll speak solely for Girl-Wonder (there are other groups who can speak for themselves). People have heard of the site, the associated causes, and the Robin-in-a-jar project. I was looking at this sort of recognition around three to five years in, and certainly nothing of the level we’re at right now we’re on the radar of the majors and that’s rapid fire success.
    The Framework: In social change, there’s this wonderful little model we use to demonstrate how social causes take effect.
    Prochaska and DiClemente’s Stages of Change Model
    Stage Characteristics
    Pre contemplation Potential targets are unaware of issue
    Contemplation Targets become aware of the issue and start to consider it in light of their lives
    Preparation Targets determine what they need to know or do to change their behaviour
    Action Targets trial the alternate behaviour
    Maintenance Targets adopt the alternative behaviour long term as their ‘normal’ behaviour
    In my opinion, Girl-Wonder is somewhere in Precontemplation to Contemplation for the vast bulk of the comic book fandom, industry, readership and creator base. To get to Action and Maintenance will take time, and the implementation of an additional array of strategies which will come into play in Preparation and Action. That’s the time and place for negotiations, creating alternative products for creators, making exchanges and trade offs.
    Right now? There’s a need to raise the roof, start the fires and let the world know that there is an issue, the issue is important enough to require addressing, and that girls read comics and they’re pissed.
    You’d be surprised how much this is an under realised issue in the business. Even the fact that girls read comics wasn’t something the mother of a girl standing in the comic store in front of me was 100% onboard with despite the fact her daughter was selecting comics to purchase. There’s some light on the subject, but there needs to be more light. Perhaps a large bonfire with a huge plume of smoke so people can see that yes, there’s smoke, there’s fire and there’s something afoot here worth investigating (and it’s a worthy sacrifice for the rum to make).
    So right now, on the generational change for the betterment of comics project timeline, this whole damn thing is running way ahead of schedule because ass is being kicked, attention is being raised, dialogue is being opened with people who are saying or thinking ‘Look, I know so and so is a tool about this, but I don’t want to be one myself, what can I do?’ and a bunch of very pissed off people are getting to shout loudly, stomp and do all the sort of frustration venting moves that are par for the course in any other environment seeking long term change.
    Once the foothold is established in contemplation, and the advance scouts hit the beachhead of Preparation, then it’ll be time to look at options, alternatives and talking quietly in deal making situations. Right now, this movement has some attention to raise, and one of the many ways it’s being done is by shouting loudly and being visible.
    PS: Project Girl Wonder is in currently in dual win situation either DCU relents and matches Jason ‘Not Dead’ Todd’s Case with Stephanie ‘Still Dead’ Brown’s case, and the balance is redressed, or DCU continues to provide a clear example of how a dead female Robin is treated with less respect than a dead-and-got-better male Robin. DCU can prove a point about gender in comics, or correct an editorial oversight.
    PPS: For those wondering about time frames and comparative success look at how long it took for comics and tradepaperbacks to move from ‘Funnybooks for kids’ to being sold in mainstream book stores and reviewed in mainstream newspapers. (Don’t forget to check when the last ‘Comic books aren’t just for kids’ story ran as well)
    Prochaska, J.O., DiClemente, C.C. & Norcross, J.C. (1992). In search of how people change: Applications to addictive behaviors. American Psychologist, 47(9), 1102-1114.

Green Arrow, Black Canary, and the Wedding Issue: AKA Let’s destroy the viability of this franchise!

Dear DC
Why are you systematically trying to destroy the Green Arrow and Black Canary franchise? Why must you insist on adding Deathstroke the Uninteresting into the mix? Deathstork hates Ollie. We get that. We got it the last 3 times, and the time before that and over in JLA and would you just get a new schtick here? Oh, look Deathstrokinghimself has pointed his big sword at Canary again… twice or three times now? CANARY CRY? No. Canary whimper.
That’s okay, it’s not like Canary wouldn’t be able to hold her own against a human oppone… oh forget I said anything.
Plus, for the record, as a man who has been hit by their partner (said partner is an ex-partner), no, it doesn’t lead to hot sex and lasting marriage. It leads to damage, confidence loss, feelings of betrayal and a shit load of other problems with later relationships, trust and friendships. It’s abuse, it’s violence and that whole fight to slap sequence is serious domestic abuse from both sides. Why did you turn the Canar/Arrow relationship of sheer joy at being reunited after the OYL absence into something so destructive?
So, fuck you DC. If you wanted me to quit a franchise, next time, send a fucking e-mail. I’m out. It’s only a matter of issues before Mia and Roy and Connor are trainwrecked as well. I’d rather remember the Black Canary of Birds of Prey, and the Green Arrow of Quiver than this mess.
Disappointed Sidekick
PS: Why don’t you go commission a movie where you take GA out of the costume, confiscate his arrows and bow and stick him in a super villain prison just to finish off the franchise?
PPS: Go read Karen’s take on the comic.
PPPS: Thus far, I’ve seen one positive review of the comic. If you liked it, that’s your choice, and I’ll respect that so long as you respect my choice to dislike it. Agreeing to disagree is part of the way the world works.

Designated Survey 01: What are your priorities for art, character and costume in comics?

Missing Attachment
There’s a lot of assumptions in comic book fandom about what’s important, what other people like, who reads what and what priorities people put on different factors.
Me? I like a little bit of numbers with my speculation. So with that in mind, I’d like to introduce to you all…
Designated Survey

Designated Survey

Click Here to take survey
This debut issue of the Designated Survey is asking you to put some preferences down on what you want in a comic book, what’s important in comic book characters, and what makes a superhero outfit more than just a fancy dress costume?
Plus a couple of questions of what really matters when it comes to parting with money for four colour stories.
Links for spreading the survey around the place after the cut.

For those of you who wish to pass the survey around, copy and paste the link

Click Here to take the Designated Sidekick Designated Survey

When worlds collide: X-Bratz?

Arad, the man behind the ‘Spider-Man’ and ‘Fantastic Four’ franchises, raised eyebrows in Hollywood when he switched gears from his comic book safety zone to produce the tween-empowerment movie inspired by the freakish dolls with enormous heads. In explaining the move, he insisted that Bratz are ‘X-Men for girls’ — it’s just that their superpowers are singing, fashion, soccer and cheerleading.
Oh. My. PLEASE? PRETTY PLEASE? Can we have X-4 be just that?
Wolverine singing cabaret numbers?
Cyclops shopping for brand name glasses?
Soccer with Nightcrawler? and with Colossus in a little cheerleader outfit cheering his beloved Nightcrawler on?
Professor X’s Magic Makeover Party!
Iceman’s and Pyro arguing over who has the prettiest scrapbook (then making up and making out)
Angel being all angsty and writing poetry and standing on the roof of … damn, is this X-men or Buffy? Um, Warren being all pretty and winged and trying to find a salon that styles feathers.
Please? It’d be like ‘Bratz for Boys!’. A sure fire winner!

The paper mirror

I didn’t see myself reflected in the same panels which tekanji used, which itself is the nature of the paper mirror. What I did see in these two frames was something I’d taken for granted. Something Willow E pointed out…
… I want to see myself reflected in our modern myths, in these powerful tales of courage and wit, bravery, sacrifice and determination. I want my own heroes (those just like me through appearances, background or ethnicity) to be weaved into the general tapestry. I want the lessons learned and encouragements given to apply to me (and other women like me). I want to see aspects of my dreamings.

  • Willow E of Seeking Avalon guest blogging on GRC …
    I have to admit to being both clueless and getting the point in parallel. It’s not an acheivement, it’s a mistake of assumption that because I read that as a post from a fan of comics, so would everbody else. We’d all pick up the column, see that point, get that point, and go ‘Yes, this is what comic creators need to think about. Telling stories that resonate with the readers through characters they can identify with in their own lives’ . After all… back in January, I was after the same thing
    Some of those more and more readers might actually want to see characters that speak to their lives, their desires, their hopes and their dreams. When I was in high school, having Oliver Queen and Dick Grayson was to have characters who I could identify with, and to use to pin my fantasied reality of an ideal world to my reality. I wanted to be Oliver Queen, muckraking journalist by day, costumed crime fighter by night. I had that character, and the white male middle class entitled and privileged costumed hero to call my own.
    For me, Ollie Queen wasn’t about being deniably ambiguous. He was about being identifiable and unambiguous.What’s wrong with wanting the rest of the place to have characters they can call their own without having to permanently wear a shadow of deniability?
    There’s something about the paper mirror that I’d forgotten. Something, that by virtue of my position in society, I’d overlooked. I’m used to seeing the reflection, to seeing the character that’s about me, for me, by people who want to tell stories to me. I talk a lot about identifying with Green Arrow as my paper reflection, as many people have noticed. In the last couple of days, I realised something.
    Green Lantern, 76
    I may want to be Green Arrow, but I’m Green Lantern. I’m white, I’ve got authority and power, I’ve got privilege, and I’ve been blind to race. I never addressed race because I never thought of it because I’m part of the crew that benefits from the invisibility of others. When Willow E talks of identity, it’s identity of race. When I talk of identity, it’s for gender or sexual orientation, because I have unambiguously white characters to call my own. I can identify with Dick Grayson or Oliver Queen or hundreds of other white characters. This option isn’t there for everyone, and I never noticed that.
    Since Willow’s post, I’ve been facing up to that realisation that I never dealt with an issue so ingrained to the treatment of people as people, not little categories of [Us][Sort of like us]and[Other]. Part of facing up to that fact has been that I have not wanted to willingly accept the responsibility for missing this, or taking it on in the future.
    I wanted to say ‘Hey, look, having enough trouble holding it together on the whole feminism front, so, uh, I’ll take a pass on the race issue’. Here I am sitting in my nice safe suburb, with my nice safe career in my nice safe established comfort zone thinking about conceptual paradigms of ‘mission creep’ to justify ignoring racial issues.
    I want this to be very clear. I wanted to not tackle this, and I wanted to justify my way out of dealing with the issues and excuse myself from room and slink off to a comfort zone.
    It’s one thing to be blind.
    It’s another to close your eyes tightly and claim not to be able to see.
    So, the way I see it is this I have a choice.
    I can open my eyes, and start down the path to doing something positive to address the issue of race in the DS column, and in my life.
    I can keep my eyes closed and say ‘I benefit from this, I wish for it to continue’.
    I could mount an argument against getting involved, I could justify my way out of it, and I’d be able to point to all sorts of justifications and probably even some citations and references. I’d be talking complete bullshit though, I didn’t tackle race before because I didn’t see it. Now it’s been pointed out to me, I don’t have that excuse.
    To be bluntly honest, I ran through a bunch of thought processes.
    ‘I don’t want to have to deal with this’ (What? I think everyone else wants to?)
    ‘But I’m just a white guy with privilege, what use can I be?’ (this stopped me with feminism?)
    What do I know about race?’ (what did I know about marketing before I started studying it?)
    ‘I’ve been a big enough class traitor over feminism*’ (seriously, see the footnote for explanation)
    I spared myself the embarrassment of dredging the truly inane squares on the bingo card, but I figure 3 squares and the freebie before I hit the brakes on shy of calling out ‘HOUSE’.
    For a few days, I have given the idea of keeping my eyes closed serious consideration. This is an unpleasant truth to consider, for me to say and perhaps for you to read. But it is a necessary truth for me to have to realise for a period of time, knowing that there was a problem, I wanted to not get involved. I ain’t no saint, I ain’t looking for pats on the back (or the metaphorical cookie). Just a record of the realisation that I had a choice here, and I had to think about that choice, and when I made that decision, it was just that a decision. It wasn’t innate, it wasn’t automatic and for anyone else who finds themselves in my position, understand that the temptation to look the other way was strong.
    I want to open my eyes. The light’s gonna hurt like hell, but I ain’t doing this because I want to feel better about myself. I’m doing this because closing my eyes and wishing for it to go away is to support making people invisible. To perpetuate something that is wrong, and to support with actions what I oppose with words.
    Individual responsibility means fronting up and making the personal changes. It means saying ‘I’ a lot, and doing things by myself but not necessarily for myself.I have a lot of work to do to in this area, and I will make mistakes, and I run the risk of backsliding and not addressing any race issues over time. But I know as well, I’m not doing this alone, and I know that I have access to a truly amazing community of people, both within Girl-Wonder, and across the broader internet.
    Year Two of operation ain’t gonna be easy.
    Count me in.
    Designated Sidekick
    *I do want to put an explanation on this point: This is a surprisingly recurrent issue in my head. I know that I was raised by the patriarchal system and attending an all male Christian Brothers school under the patronage of Saint Joseph is pretty much the pinnacle patriarchy factory. Some days, I can’t stop the thought that I am actually a traitor to my class from popping into my head. There’s some deep code that runs under the surface and I know it’s there. That’s doesn’t stop the code from running, it just helps identify the source of the pop-up windows in my mind, and knowing what’s my thoughts, and what’s a residue from the system that was meant to keep me in line.
    Discuss the post here in the comments, or down yonder on the G-W Message Boards
Green Lantern, 76