Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Kirk's Soapbox - A Collection of Random Thoughts, Vol 3

Welcome to another edition of Kirk's Soapbox - A Collection of Random Thoughts.  As the name suggests, this post is simply a collection of random thoughts on comic related news and think pieces from around the web.  Each, on its own, probably isn't worthy of a post in and of itself, but, as a collection, works.  It's also a place where I get to sound off on random topics and ideas with impunity as, well, it's my soapbox. MINE.

This edition of the Soapbox sees me discussing the actor chosen to play Heimdall for the upcoming Thor movie, some weekly comic talk, Power Girl's costume and even some Blackest Night speculation (mild variant cover spoilers for those worried I guess).  Hit the jump for these and more.

Idris Elba to Play Heimdall in Thor - Yeahbuwha-?

How the hell does that even work?  Changing Nick Fury or Kingpin to an African American actor is all fine and dandy since both have no real ethnic or racial background that defines the characters.  However, Heimdall, and all Asgardians, are based on Nordic gods and there were few, if any, dark skinned people living in Scandanavia or the surrounding area at the time and the gods, themselves, have always been depicted as caucasian.  I know this isn't grounded in historical accuracies of the region, but, come on, this doesn't make any sense from a casting standpoint. 

Weekly Comics

I spoke about weekly comics on my Twitter feed earlier in the week and wanted to speak about the topic a little more.  What I asked on Twitter was if the whole weekly comic fad had run its course or if it would be something that continues with the odd project, alla Wednesday Comics.

Most people agreed with the sentiment that the format had run its course and that the weekly comic was just too much of a time and money commitment, especially when the quality can quickly become suspect.

However, while I'm against weekly comics in general, at least under the current pricing and quality level of the product offered, I wouldn't mind seeing it rolled out every now and then for random projects, such as with how Wednesday Comics did.  Wednesday Comics simply wouldn't have worked as a monthly newspaper, so I think it simply had to be weekly to succeed.

Other projects I could see using it are event based tie-in books.  I doubt most companies would favour the idea, but I think a Countdown-like 'spine' book for an event or an anthology-like title, alla a Shounen Jump or other manga collections, would be a perfect addition to an event.

Look at Blackest Night and its numerous 3-issue tie-in miniseries.  Each could have been broken up and paced for a weekly comic that told an overarching story for Blackest Night that would have added to the main Blackest Night book.  It would accomplish the same thing, but add a common narrative and connection to each of the tie-ins as well as "forcing" people to read them in the weekly format.  I doubt they'd ever go with this format, seeing as delays in the weekly or the main event book would be disasterous, but it's one way I could see the weekly format used such that I'd actually consider buying it.

Power Girl Costume & The "Boob Window"

Power Girl's reasoning for wearing the costume she does drew some ire from the folks over at 4th Letter! recently and got me to thinking about the character again.  It amounts to writers putting their own twisted reasoning for the "boob window", as the hole in the chest part of her costume is known, into the character's mouth in a bit of 4th wall breaking, half assed explanation to the readers on why she dresses like that.

This got me thinking about other interpretations of the character, such as the animated DCU version, which was given a much more modest bust size for the JLU cartoon (technically, she's never called Power Girl, but it's obviously based on her in the Fearful Symmetry with the Galatea character).  A simple toning down of her exaggerated proportions would go a long way to removing the more ridiculous aspects of her costume, particularly as it pertains to the boob window.  Alternatively, a simple patch over the hole wouldn't hurt either.

Taking it a step further, I'd go ahead and opt for the Kryptonian size-reduction surgery.  It would definitely help with any future back problems she's bound to have and, maybe it's just me, but I wouldn't feel embarrassed to the point of closing the book up if someone walks by when reading a comic with her on the cover or inside it anymore. 

Siege Deaths

Marvel Executive Editor, Tom Brevoort, was pretty talkative on Twitter this past weekend and let slip that there would be "three big casualties in SIEGE".  I'm not sure how to take this.  Death is so overrated in comics, doubly so as of late with everyone and their mother back from the dead in Necrosha and Blackest Night as well as Captain America and Batman, the last two big casualties, both back from the dead in some form or another.  It makes you wonder just how big a casualty they could be in Siege or how long before they'll be back.  Whatever happened to Joe Quesada's "dead means dead" moratorium back when he first became Editor-in-Chief at Marvel?

However, to play along with the speculation on the three deaths, my picks were:
  1. Hawkeye - It would be hilarious to see Bendis kill him again and watching the internet explode.
  2. Thor - It would pave the way for the return of Thunderstrike.
  3. Spider-Man - With Clone Saga resurgence taking place at Marvel of late, we're primed to have Ben Reilly come back as the one true Spider-Man.  Killing off Peter would make it so no one could complain.  

The Invincible/Atom Eve Pregnancy

The above is an image from Invincible #68 in which we find out Atom Eve is pregnant.  I felt like this should be bigger news and something people should have been talking about more than I am seeing.  I know teen pregnancy isn't exactly the most ground breaking thing to see in a comic or even something new or unheard of, but it's not often you see two teenage heroes in a mainstream/non-obscure indie comic having unprotected sex and the girl getting pregnant.  Hell, the closest we get to comics being topical these days are overbearing political soapboxing by the writer or horrible Barack Obama guest appearances.

Even something simple like divorce, which is a goddamn sin in Marvel's eyes, is so taboo that Marvel had to have Spider-Man make a deal with the devil to get out of his marriage to Mary Jane.  The poor guy can't even have sex with a girl or get drunk without Marvel back peddling in order to explain away how he didn't do anything wrong.

So, you can understand why I'm a bit non-plussed over the complete lack of any real discussion over something like this.  Is it because Invincible is from Image and not nearly as high profile as Marvel or DC, despite fantastic trade sales and higher monthly sales than some Marvel and DC books?  Is this just not "edgy" enough to warrant a discussion these days?  I'm not calling for this book to be recognized as some ground breaking achievement in comics, but it seems like something noteworthy and worth more than a casual shrug that the collective comic masses are giving it. 

Reader Question - Will Batman Appear in Blackest Night #5?

The above is the variant cover for Blackest Night #5 and by no means a spoiler.  I'm just curious what people's thoughts are on the above image?  Black Hand has been carrying Batman's skull around for most of Blackest Night - will Batman finally make an appearance? The next issue of Batman and Robin is also touted as a Blackest Night tie-in, lending credence to the idea.  Let us know what you think.

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Andrenn said...

I think the Eve pregnancy is a pretty big deal both for comics and for Invincible. Usually characters don't have babies until their old or married and even if they somehow get the baby born, it gets eaten or is killed within 2 panels. Though I do think this is a pretty big step for the Invincible series.

Primewax said...

My Siege vote is Spidey. There's been this mysterious lift of the Clone Saga ban, and I doubt its without reason.

The Dangster said...

I used to have a problem with a black Kingpin. While your argument about Heimdall is quite solid, I'm just gonna have to be a jerk and pull out the fact Elba is a good actor and the part should go to the person who's most talented with it.

I hope Batman is a black lantern, they've been promising a Justice League vs Dead Justice League showdown.

*sigh, Powegirl's boob window. Yes, it's a bizarre design but to be fair, male heroes have costumes that reveal skin (same amount of objectification). Look at Plastic Man, Robin, Vibe, to name a few. None of these offer any protection or make any sense beyond them looking cool (when they were created). Same with Huntress's stomach window. In the end, poking holes in costumes is the last thing you should worry about. No pun intended.

Radlum said...

Well, IIRC, Eve was having problems with her powers in the previous issues, so I guess some people (like me) don't think that the pregnancy is gonna last.
Regarding Idris Elba; I certainly don't mind if he is playing a nordic character; anyone that has seen The Wire can agree with me in saying that he is a great actor. I believe that, as long as a character isn't set to be of a defined race (like Black Panther or Captain America), then that aspect can be changed if it ensures that a good actor plays the character (though a good actor that fits the character must be their first choice)

Klep said...

@Radlum: Sounds like someone forgot about Isaiah Bradley!

Aaron K said...

@Kird: Setting up the return of Thunderstrike? You say that as if anyone anywhere is pining for Thunderstrike. I really didn't like Eric Masterson when he was Thor before; I certainly have never shed a tear over his subsequent demise. (And I see no chance of Thor really dying since he just came back from the dead a year or two ago and his book sales are excellent.)

I think they'll kill Bucky. Let Cap be unable to save him again; see how that messes with his mind.

Tyler said...

I dont think the next issue of B and R is a Blackest Night tie in, the next storyline is called Blackest Knight (although I could be wrong). Im pretty sure its just going to explain what happened to bruce. which may lead to blackest night.

Ethereal said...

Who dies during Siege? I'll say Emma Frost, Iron Man as long shots, but still possibilities. Hawkeye would be hilarious. Bucky is a possibility, but really doubt that Brubaker would ever let that happen. Luke Cage? If it's not confined to heroes, which seems like a weird concept, then alot of the cabal could get wrecked. Sentry is possible. Hood, please!?

Daryll B. said...

Annd there we go with the kick off of my hate for Siege already...Can't ever let death be a surprise or evolve naturally can we? Even though I hated the fact that they offed(?) Kyle in GLC, at least that was done w/o teasers and hyperbole.

The reason the pregnancy reveal is so powerful is that up until that scene, this Invincable issue read like any other. Say what you will about Kirkman, he is one of the few that can make the small moments seem powerful and surprising in the genre these days.

I tired of the Power Girl thing and trying to reason it away. I will follow what Palmotti has said about it: She wears the costume because she likes it.

Simple. I personally don't know why every writer feels the need to try and rationale it away.

Suppose I, as a black comic reader, were to ask Johns, Busiek and Ross about why they loved the Golden Age and Silver Age so much? I know that those are a part of their childhoods and remember the heroes fondly but to me I would see the "whitewashing heroics" of the time just because of other factors. THAT'S what I equate the whole Power Girl Uniform thing to. Those who will hate it will continue to hate it. There will be no conversion or accepting it, so DC can let this idea drop.

Eric Masterson, Ben Reilly, a black asgardian, and a zombie Batman tease all in the same article. Kirk's mind must be blown by now...lol All that is left is to wonder did Spidey or Goblin kill Gwen Stacy?

Flip The Page said...

The three deaths will be James Barnes (no idea what to call him now. still buckycap by siege teasers?), Spidey and Osborn.

.... Okay not Osborn. Um... Sentry?

Anonymous said...

About power girl windows boob, i have a stupid thought bout the story: an arc when power girl wield 'S' insignia, that insignia form circular instead hexagonal like supes do.
Then powergirl become crazy and start killing earthman because her planet is vanish during crisis. Superman arrives and beat her then ripped 'S' sign on her chest. Screaming "you are not from krypton!".
Well bad story though..

Eric Rupe said...

Atom Eve's pregnancy is a non-issue for two reasons. 1) Invincible was outsold by both Strange Tales and Magog on the October sales carts and 2)teen pregnancy isn't really controversial anymore. Essentially, it's a "everyday" issue involving two characters the comic reading public doesn't really care about.

I would also think the fact that most children of superhero couples rarely survive is another reason people don't care. Hell, I don't actually expect the kid to survive.

Ivan Antonio said...

Wow, nice Blackest Night cover.

Anonymous said...

On Batman, I guess he will be making an appearance. Yes, his skull has appeared in almost every BN-related issue, but that cover shows the skull reattached to his body and a ring on his finger. Given that we don't really know if the skeleton is truly original Bruce Wayne's (I've personally tried to rationalize it as the skeleton of the Bruce that most recently died after living the gazillion lives he was punished with), so I'm hoping for a Bizarro-style Bat-Lantern.

On Invincible, teen pregnancy is just not shocking anymore, as has been said hundreds of times. DC's Spoiler went through it a whole ten years ago!

As for Idris Elba, it makes PERFECT sense fron a casting standpoint. Marvel, which prides itself in being 'relevant', needs a black character in the movie. And having Elba play Heimdall is a much better idea than throwing in a random streetwise sidekick to serve as a plot-device and guide to Thor in the real world, no? Plus, he's a God, he can be whatever color he wants.

brandon said...

my guess is yes we'll see Bruce Wayne in BN #5.

wouldn't it make sense to kill Bucky from a strategic point of view in siege? It would solve the problem of two Caps and give Rogers some motivation and storylines in good run.

glspotlight said...

From the beginning they have stated and restated that Blackest Night #6 is heavy on Bruce Wayne's return, and that's why Batman and Robin #7 was pushed back. Don't get your hopes for ANYTHING Batman related in #5.

smkedtky said...

With regards to THOR and its casting: I figure that the Norse Gods are named such do to being the subject of worship by the Nordics. Therefore, while the Norse (Nords?) are all of a similar ethnic appearance, their gods don't need to be. Now I understand that the Norse Gods were created by these people and, as is usually the case with religion, "God" is made in the image of man (the one who created Him, anyway). That's why Jesus has been portrayed as black or white among others, Budha has Asian features, etc).

In the case of THOR, however, we're accepting (for the sake of argument and the movie) that these gods are real. If the gods were NOT creations of the worshippers but, rather, discovered by them then it stands to reason that they could vary in their etnic profiles. Actually, being Gods, it is conceivable that they would reflect a more diverse range of ethnic types since they would belong to the world and not just to any specific region that worshipped them.

In stories/fables/religion God (or in this case Gods) reflects the follower. If they were, in fact, real and not limited to the confines of religion, they could look like anybody. Religion, ultimately, is a selfish luxury. Most people believe that their God is the only one and that He looks just like me.

smkedtky said...

Also, with regards to Batman and his corpse. I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere but in FINAL CRISIS, weren't the evil New Gods cloning an army of Bruce Waynes/Batmans to fight for them? I always assumed that the skeleton Superman carried out was one of those clones.

Jonathan Soweidy said...

Heimdall would make sense as a different ethnic type. According to some documents Heimdal is one of the Vanir an older tribe of gods than the Aesir (thor, odin). the two tribes warred and merged with the more warlike Aesir coming out on top.

Melissa said...

Meh. The Marvel Norse mythos doesn't bear that much of a resemblance to the original. I'm not really fussed about the casting.

Anonymous said...

I am very happy that Elba was cast, he is a fantastic actor. I agree with the other posts, Gods can be any color they want.

mrpeepants said...

I heard a writer's take saying that Power Girl said she's been meaning to put something but never got around to it. Or something to that effect at least. Sounded reasonable and funny enough.
With less overt crazy overt body proportions, the costume wouldn't be an issue.

Anonymous said...

re: Invincible

"is it b/c Invincible is from Image and not nearly as high profile as Marvel or DC, despite fantastic trade sales and higher monthly sales than some Marvel and DC books?"


"Is this not edgy enough to warrant a discussion these days"


". . . it seems like something noteworthy and worth more than the casual shrug that the collective comic masses are giving it."


Basically, Invincible is violence porn. That's all it is ... blood and gore followed by more blood and gore... oh and a girl gets pregnant in btwn. NOT ON MY BUY LIST

I'm afraid Millerism and Imagism is going to filter down to Marvel and DC and those co.'s books are going to get bloodier and bloodier as well. It's already happeing; DC has this obsession of ripping off guys arms and Morrison has a Silence of the Lambs take off another person's face obsession.

Eventually I will just stop reading the crap. And won't allow my kids to read that gore either.

- Seafire

Jessica said...

Honestly people? For those of you saying "God can be any color he wants!": This is true. However, since most ancient cultures created their gods and creation myths long before they traveled to other regions of the world, it would make more sense for the Nordic gods to be, well, Nordic in appearance. The same way that South American gods are South American in appearance and African gods are African in appearance.

Imagine if, in modern cinema (not obviously racially biased shit from the earlier days of film making), that we depicted an African fertility goddess as a blond-haired, blue-eyed Caucasian woman. I don't think too many people would be happy.

Now let's take a look at comic books. It'd be all fine and dandy if we took Wonder Woman or Power girl and made her black. Hell, I'd be fine with it as there isn't much diversity in western comics (or eastern manga, for that matter...). My point is, nobody would care. But god help the casting director who casts John Stewart or Moonday as a white person.

Listen, I think Elba is excellent casting for Thor as far as his acting goes, even if it isn't really the most appearance accurate choice.

Just don't be so shocked if one or two people come out of the woodwork going "wtf?". It doesn't make them racially insensitive or racist in any way....it just means that they may prefer accuracy over performance.

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