Marvel movie madness

Elayne Riggs

Elayne Riggs is the creator of the popular blog Pen-Elayne on the Web. She was a founding member of Friends of Lulu, an organization dedicated to increasing the involvement of girls and women in comics, as readers and creators. She is married to inker Robin Riggs, with whom she shares two cats, and has odd love/hate relationship with Hillary Clinton.

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13 Responses

  1. Chris Gumprich says:

    Excellent start to what promises to be a fantastic story.

  2. Dave says:

    This looks to be a terrific story, possibly award winning – one that (get ready for the pun) holds no punches!

  3. Vinnie Bartilucci says:

    Gah-damn.Yeah, this'll sell a few copies when it gets traded.

  4. Mark Behar says:

    Great work!

  5. Russ Rogers says:

    The White-Colored people hated him. He made a mockery of their manhood, and flaunted his skill with a dancer's grace. He conquered their women with the same ease, then laughed at their frustration."When black men anywhere grab their dicks, they're celebrating the memory of…The ORIGINAL JOHNSON."This work is a bold statement. There is no question that Trevor Von Eden wants to have an "in your face" style. Johnson's fist is drawn literally bursting from the panel to hit the reader square n the jaw.I just don't understand all the machismo. All the dick grabbing. Slavery, segregation, racism were/are a sin, a stain on the United States history and present character. But Trevor Von Eden makes it seem like Slavery and Racism are attacks on Manhood, attacks on black MEN. They are not. They are attacks on humanity. Women and men."He conquered their women with the same ease and laughed at their frustration." Their women? Whose women? The women that white men owned? He CONQUERED women? Did the women know they were being conquered? "With the same ease?" Does Von Eden mean he BEAT the women too, with his fists? Because there are some historians who portray Johnson as a wife beater. And whose frustration is Johnson laughing at? The white MEN who think they OWNED the women Johnson CONQUERED? Or is it the white women who are frustrated by being conquered and beaten?Trevor Von Eden points out the dire irony of the Constitution declaring that black men are to be counted as three-fifths of a human being in a nation that is dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. But, how were women counted? How were women counted by the law and by men? Women were left without any say. Women were treated as pawns in the games of men. Pieces to be used, fought over and conquered.Johnson's achievements in the ring may have punctuated the point that black people are not inferior. Johnson had skill and bravado and Von Eden uses that might to symbolize the dawn of an era of black liberation and enlightenment. But, Johnson did not have an enlightened attitude toward women.Von Eden alludes to the trumped up Mann Act Charges for which Johnson was convicted. Even today people are working to get Johnson posthumously pardoned. But Johnson's relationships with women were far from enlightened. They were often sad and sometimes tragic. For instance, Johnsons' first wife, Etta, killed herself. I've seen this interpreted as the act of a depressed woman who could not deal with society's intolerance of her interracial marriage. I've also read this as the desperate act of a wife who could no longer deal with traveling around the country along with her husband's two mistresses or getting beaten by him for voicing her displeasure in the situation. I wonder how "The Original Johnson" will portray the Original Mrs. Johnson.Johnson's career might be seen as an attack on racism, but his personal life seems to have been marred by sexism. How will "The Original Johnson" treat the stories of Etta, Hattie, Belle, Lucy and Irene or any of the other women Johnson used, loved, married, conquered or discarded? Will Von Eden interpret Johnson's confusing relationships with women just as a series of conquests, notches on his belt? Page 9 of this story doesn't seem to promise a nuanced portrayal of women or Johnson's love life.There is no question that the art is POWERFUL. This is a Masterwork. But, so far, "The Original Johnson" comes across as very sexist. Men need to realize that their POWER is not centered in their dicks and their fists. Because women's fists aren't as strong and they don't have dicks. So if you make historical interpretation all about dicks and fists, you are going to leave out a significant portion of it. These are just the opening pages, the preface, the preamble to "The Original Johnson." I can't make definitive judgments about this. But I'm very curious. I'm very curious to see what Trevor Von Eden has chosen to leave in this story and what he has left out.

  6. Vinnie Bartilucci says:

    Yeah, I'm thinking you're reading too much into this, Russ.I read this as the kind of thing you'd hear in a modern b-roll before a fight, full of bluster and violence. And in 1900, it would be entirely normal to refer to everything in the masculine. So connecting everything to "man"hood seems perfectly logical. As TV's frank said, Boxing is the Sport of Men, after all.White culture's attacks on Johnson were exceedingly cruel, and exceedingly personal. TVE's description of Johnson as the first free black man is both brilliant and correct. He didn't just represent the black man feeling his oats in a free world, at the time he WAS the black man feeling his oats. He was literally and figuratively the single role model for black america, and he had to be Stopped, witha capital "S" and with (you should pardon the phrase) extreme predjudice.I'm looking forward to seeing Trevor's take on "The Long Count" and what his take/opinion will be on the Willard fight. Yes, there has been a great deal of talk about Johnson's treatment of women, and I'm confident we're not going to see it get glossed over. But, if I may dip a toe into the pool of acid this may be, (and please don't anyone take this the wrong way) a LOT of men did then. What we call wife abuse today was not considered a problem back then. Yes, it was and is wrong, but THEY didn't KNOW or believe it was wrong. Just like 50-odd years before they didn't think slavery was wrong. You can't fault someone for being ahead of their time, if I recall the saying correctly. So while it was unquestionably wrong, I don't know how much of an affect it has on the story. This is a story that could get both Trevor and ComicMix some great mainstream media attention. It is a damn shame Jack Johnson is not better remembered for his role in boxing and in raiding the self-esteem of Black americans. I hope press releases are going out to Sports Illustrated and Bob Costas' office at HBO.

    • Vinnie Bartilucci says:

      Let's make that, "raising the self-esteem of Black americans", shall we?Friggin' keys keep moving arounf on me…

  7. Russ Rogers says:

    Vinnie, Johnson's "wife abuse" went way beyond beating his wife. It involved traveling with his wife AND two other mistresses. It involved consorting with prostitutes. Rampant philandering. Don't tell me THEY didn't KNOW or believe any of that was wrong in the early 20th Century.Johnson is an important figure in the world of sports. He's an important figure in Black History, an important figure in American History. He deserves to be remembered and revered for his achievements. His prosecution, under the Mann Act (TWICE), was a blatant abuse of power, an injustice.But this b-roll, full of bluster and violence, PRAISES Johnson for his treatment of women. This b-roll makes a direct connection between Johnson's skills in the ring and his sexual prowess, his treatment of women. And I don't think his record with women is at all laudable. I just don't think, even by the standards of the early 20th Century, can we see Johnson's treatment of women as having much class. Just because he may have banged a lot of famous women (Moulin Rouge star Mistinguette, German spy Mata Hari, and sex symbols Lupe Velez and Mae West are linked to Johnson) … that doesn't make his affairs classy.

    • Adriane Nash says:

      Um, did the women not have freewill? Obviously they were willing to put up with the 'abuse' of not being the only one. The man seemed to have women lining up for mistreatment, why is that all on him as a bad thing?

      • Russ Rogers says:

        There are some indications that Mr. Johnson's first wife SHOT herself rather than take his abuse. I would not call that "putting up with the abuse;" I would call that taking a dramatic and tragic way out of a very abusive situation. They were married for less than a year when she shot herself. And within three months of her death, Jack Johnson had started an affair with an 18 year old stenographer. Mr. Johnson's second wife (that stenographer, who he married to keep from testifying at his first Mann Act trial?) divorced him, citing his repeated infidelities as the reason. I would call that using "freewill" and NOT putting up with Johnson's abuse. I'm certainly not holding up Belle Schreiber, the prostitute (and Johnson's mistress) whose testimony got Johnson convicted the second time he was tried under the Mann Act, as a paragon of virtue. By the accounts that I've read, Belle Schreiber was not all that classy. So yeah, if a significant percentage of the women "lining up" for the Jack Johnson treatment were prostitutes…well, I don't think that's the mark of a classy guy. Just because a con man can find a string new marks, that doesn't mean the people who have been conned were asking for it. Heck, OJ Simpson has no shortage of women willing to date him! Just because Johnson could find new women to use and discard, that doesn't mean he didn't leave a trail of bitter women in his wake. One of them, Belle Schreiber, testified against him in court and put him in jail for a year! I see that as the revenge of a woman scorned, hardly the actions of someone lining up for more mistreatment.If Jack Johnson was the first major athlete to usher in a groupie culture of women sleeping with athletes to gain access to their money and fame, well phoey, that's low class on both fronts. And there are plenty of examples of how poorly that melodrama reads getting replayed again and again, even a hundred years later.

  8. Jason Millet says:

    I'm just gonna comment on the quality of the work and not get into the politics. At least least until we see how it develops. It's great to see the great Trevor Von Eeden back and producing such quality work! Thanks you Comicmix!

  9. Brian K. Morris says:

    Awesome work, Trevor!!! And your writing is just as powerful as your artwork. I love the line about "land of the free and the home of the slave."Great work! I'm eager to see further installments! :)Brian!

  10. Khalid Birdsong says:

    This is a beautiful book! It's about time we had a comic like this one out.