Jay Lynch, one of the fathers of underground comix and creator/writer and/or artist of such treasures as Bijou Comix, Phoebe and the Pigeon People, Nard n Pat, and Garbage Pail Kids, died of cancer this afternoon at age 72. His most recent work was providing the cover art for Fantagraphics’ new book, The Realist Cartoons. He will be missed by his many, many friends and fans.
I’d known Jay for almost a half-century, and I’ll be taking the liberty of commenting on a man I regard as one of the most important cartoonists of the post WWII period in my usual space here Wednesday.
Why is it… that 20th Century Fox’s Legion teevee series is so good but their X-Men movies suck so bad?
Why is it… now that Geek Culture has become so damn legitimate, I can no longer afford to be a Geek?
Why is it… that Wild Dog has lasted longer on television than it did in the comics?
Why is it… now that Marvel understands that their Civil War II Big Event was not well-received by readers or retailers and that their other recent Big Events hardly were any better received, they decided to restore the Marvel Universe to its more traditional roots – by launching still another Big Event?
Why is it… that Krypto was named Krypto? Do you know any Earthlings who named their dog Eartho? Not even the Marx Brothers named their dog that. And if Krypto were to chase a car, he’d catch it and rip it apart with his teeth. How do you train him to not do that? Bop him on the head with a rolled up newspaper and he’ll rip your lungs out.
Why is it… that Warren Beatty spent millions and millions in legal bills to protect his rights to a Dick Tracy movie sequel – and then did nothing with it? For some reason, Warren Beatty has been on my mind the past few days. Maybe he’s going to reprise his role as Milton Armitage in a Many Lives of Dobie Gillis remake.
Why is it… that comics fans seem to loathe Ben Affleck? He’s one of our better actors and outside of Gal Gadot his performance was just about the best part of Batman v. Superman. You wanna dump on a superhero actor, dump on Henry Cavill. He can’t act worth a damn, he can’t even deliver lines, and he’s so stiff you’d think cameras were his Kryptonite. They might be at that.
Why is it… that the GrimJack movie hasn’t happened?
Why is it… that the return of Reed Richards happened on the last page of the current issue of The Despicable Iron Man, or whatever that title is called? Actually, I really dug it. Which begs the question…
Why is it… that Brian Bendis seems to be on so many fanboy shitlists? I like his work. Yeah, he’s pretty much got one voice for most of his characters, but it’s a good voice. And he remains one of the very few writers who can make a three-page conversation compelling.
Why is it… that two different publishers are publishing their own versions of the Harvey Comics characters at the same time? Are their license contracts written as Mad-Libs books? Is NBCUniversal (this week’s owner of Harvey Comics, as of this writing) this sloppy about all their catalogs? Can I get the rights to Late Night With David Letterman, just to get that video tape library out of the vault? And, speaking about Harvey Comics…
Why is it… that Universal hasn’t made a Hot Stuff live action movie? Maybe they could get Ben Affleck to star. Or write. Or direct.
Why is it… that I can’t write one of these columns without mentioning Donald Trump?
Wow. I never thought I’d miss that little ditty. Granted, whenever that tune consumes my brainpan it’s the version recorded by The Who and not the one from the ancient teevee series. I find myself humming Neal Hefti’s remarkably enduring theme song every time a new Batman movie screws up. Yup, this means I’ve been humming it a lot lately.
The latest batastrophe – as of this writing – came down last week when the director of the upcoming release The Batman quit the picture. That’s a big problem, as he is also the co-writer of the movie… and, oh yeah, also its star.
Arguably worse, the top choice for replacing director Ben Affleck, Matthew George Reeves (no relation to anybody who starred as Superman), quickly dropped out of the negotiations. One is reminded their March 16, 2018 release, The Flash, also has gone through multiple directors.
Of course, as soon as Affleck walked away from the director’s chair, the trolls started jabbering about how great it would be if he walked away from the cowl as well. And that soon morphed into a belief that he would turn his back on the whole Momma Martha complex. This is not a surprise, as the Internet is quite capable of meeting Donald Trump’s dark vision of the media in general. And maybe he will – but I kind of doubt it. He’s in Justice League and he’s contracted for at least a couple more appearances in gray battlegear. But, hey, it’s Hollywood and as we all know, Hollywood is the one place where gravity does not work.
Some fans won’t forgive him for Daredevil. Jeez, I know I’m in the minority here, but Daredevil was an okay movie. In fact, I think the director’s cut was “good.” And maybe some people thought everybody involved with Batman V Superman should be punished, just like our sensibilities had been punished. I belong to the slightly larger pool of eyeball owners who thought that Affleck turned in a fine performance as the world’s oldest Batman. The movie sucked, but Ben did not.
Some fans – and there’s a lot of overlap here – seem to be taking the position that Warner Bros should just drop the whole Batman thing. Yeah. Dream on. If they’re desperate enough, Warners would offer George Clooney enough to fulfill Auric Goldfinger’s most golden wet dream. It’s Batman.
For example. For the second week in a row, The LEGO Batman Movie out-earned everything else on Popcorn Row. I haven’t seen it yet, although I have enjoyed most of the other DC Lego movies. But, just as Batman is also something of a regular on Robot Chicken, one cannot deny that the Darknight Detective (who doesn’t really do much “detecting”) has massive and enduring appeal. I don’t know why – many of the extra-media interpretations of the guy have really, truly sucked – but I’m rather fond of The Bat myself and I’d love to see another really good Batmovie.
But, probably, not as much as Warners wants to see another really good Batmovie… even though the crappy ones did well at the box office. That Clooney movie brought in $238,207,122 when it first was released, and – by way of comparison – that’s at least $364,353,620 in 2017 dollars.
If they’re still seeking a director, maybe Frank Miller is looking for work.
A lot of people have been bitching and moaning about our latest president. Some think he’s an impulsive idiot. Others, a dangerous megalomaniacal narcissist with a remarkably selective and astonishingly petty memory. Still others find him a dangerous man who is likely to destroy the American Dream and, quite possibly, America.
Even though I believe all of that may be true, I have this to say about Donald J. Trump: he has gotten Americans to pick up and read a book or two. And that includes graphic novels.
It has been well-reported that, after he reamed out Congressman John Lewis by falsely accusing him of not helping “his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart, not to mention crime infested,” sales of Congressman Lewis’s autobiographical three-book graphic novel series March went through the roof. Amazon actually sold out, something I thought was nigh onto impossible.
A week later – and the man’s only been in office for 20 days, total – his anointed spokesliar Kellyanne Conway said, in response to Trump’s claim that three to five million people attended his inauguration, that media reports of at best one million were lies and they (Team Trump) had the “alternate facts.”
Alternative facts, you say?
Two things happened almost immediately. First, people learned they could be completely frightened yet laugh hysterically at the same time. Second, they ran out (to their computers, smartphones, and cars) and purchased copies of George Orwell’s dystopian classic 1984.
For those who have yet to indulge in this science fiction classic – and, really, you should – 1984 is the novel that gave us such phrases and philosophies as “war is peace,” “freedom is slavery,” “ignorance is strength,” “it’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words,” and “if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”
That last one is my favorite.
According to Publishers’ Weekly, “Print sales of the Signet Classics edition of 1984 for the week ended January 29 were almost 26,000 copies at outlets that report to NPD BookScan, making it the biggest selling book in the week. Sales the previous week were about 4,500 copies. The book was also #1 on the iBooks bestseller list… ‘In one week, Signet Classics has reprinted 500,000 copies of 1984,’ Signet v-p and executive publicity director Craig Burke said. ‘That’s more than we sell in a typical year.’”
Previously, the number one best-seller was… wait for it… March.
To name but those two books, all this massive sales growth is due to the statements of Donald J. Trump and his sundry lackeys. Trump is motivating people to read.
That’s amazing, and that’s wonderful. Given the reported choice of material, this phenomenon is likely to bite Trump in his considerable ass, which, of course, is likely to give him quite a headache.
The phrase “may you live in interesting times,” falsely designated as an ancient Chinese curse, remains quite a threat nonetheless. And, clearly, we live in interesting times.
I have one question, though: what books should I read in response to Trump’s disenfranchising Mexico and Australia?
FIRST SPOILER ALERT: This week’s column is going to reveal all sorts of dark, nasty, sinister and provocative stuff about the new Riverdale series on The CW. If you haven’t seen the show and you intend to do so and you’re not going to be illegally downloading it, you might want to avoid the considerable amount of wit and wisdom that follows.
SECOND SPOILER ALERT: The aforementioned wit and wisdom will implant an image in your brain that you may never be able to get rid of. You have been warned!
Archie Andrews has sex with Miss Grundy in the back seat of a Volkswagen.
I guess I should applaud any 75-year old dude who gets to have sex with his high school teacher. And maybe I do, except that Geraldine Grundy did commit statutory rape. Then again, Archie’s probably tired of being harassed by Waldo Weatherbee and if he knew Waldo has the hots for Geraldine, he might have been indulging in an act of revenge.
Also then again… in the Riverdale television series Archie has been established as a sophomore. That puts him at the age of 15 or 16, and if Archie really is your “typical teen-ager” if given the opportunity he’d have sex with a plot of warm mud. And a tip of Waldo’s toupee to Lenny Bruce for providing me with that lovely illusion.
I’ll assume they’re setting up a storyline wherein Miss Grundy gets busted for statutory rape and Archie is left trying to explain the situation to his sundry objets d’ amour. And he’s got a lot of them: Veronica Lodge, Cheryl Blossom, Betty Cooper (in fact, she’s the one in love with Archie, a love that has been unrequited since before the attack on Pearl Harbor), and – I’m guessing here –Josie McCoy of Pussycats fame.
And, since I have your attention, shouldn’t the Pussycats trade-in their little kitty-ears for pink knit caps? C’mon, get on the bandwagon, ladies!
The Riverdale teevee series has been well received by critics and either loved or hated by Archie comics fans. It’s not your father’s Archie. It’s not your grandfather’s Archie. But it absolutely is Archie if said universe were to have been created today – and if it were not done as a comedy.
As every critic has pointed out, Riverdale is very much in the vein of The CW’s stereotypical programming. It’s a romantic thriller with all sorts of dark nooks and crannies. Archie Comics have done these types of stories before, particularly in the recent Life With Archie and Afterlife With Archie series. In fact, the latter was (or is, depending on if they’ll ever continue the series) written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the creative director for Archie Comics and the writer/executive producer of Riverdale. There’s nothing wrong with that, and the sundry Archie characters have been so well established that they make the transition from comedy to melodrama with ease.
I enjoyed the Riverdale pilot, which is noteworthy in that I am far, far removed from The CW’s target audience. Of course there is a lot of set-up in that first episode, and Jughead was barely in it outside of his role as narrator. Much of the comic relief falls to Kevin Keller, which works nicely. As for Hiram Lodge being the show’s Gordon Gekko, leaving his wife Hermione to try to renew her relationship with a now-divorced Fred Andrews and thereby complicating the Veronica/Archie side of the romantic polygon, then Riverdale might not be your cup of tea.
Actually, reread that last sentence and remember my opening bit about the Volkswagen. If you can’t handle those truths, then Riverdale certainly is not for you. But I’ll be watching it, at least until I walk away muttering about what’s wrong with these kids today.
This week’s heart-stopping controversy revolves around the question “is it ever okay to punch a Nazi in the face?” Such an occurrence happened during the Trump Coronation in Washington last Friday and of course it was captured by news outlets and smartphoners alike. And of course the footage went viral – much as the Nazis themselves did in the 1930s.
Comic books have been beating on Nazis since the invention of the staple, so one might think there wouldn’t be much controversy within our particular donut shop. During WWII, there was no greater Nazi-beater than Captain America – it pretty much was his raison d’être – so it is slightly surprising that the current writer of Captain America (indeed, both Captains America), Nick Spencer, said beating on Nazis is wrong. “… cheering violence against speech, even of the most detestable, disgusting variety, is not a look that will age well.”
Hmmm. That begs the question “is violence a form of free expression and, thus, entitled to First Amendment protection?” I think that’s a fascinating discussion, although I wouldn’t want to go to court on it. It’s definitely a “whose ox is being gored” affair.
On the other hand, we have writer Warren Ellis, no slouch when it comes to writing superheroes and a genuine clever bastard in the Ian Dury sense of the term. He said on his website “… yes, it is always correct to punch Nazis. They lost the right to not be punched in the face when they started spouting genocidal ideologies that in living memory killed millions upon millions of people. And anyone who stands up and respectfully applauds their perfect right to say these things should probably also be punched, because they are clearly surplus to human requirements. Nazis do not need a hug. Nazis do not need to be indulged. Their world doesn’t get better until you’ve been removed from it. Your false equivalences mean nothing. Their agenda is always, always, extermination. Nazis need a punch in the face.”
Far be it of me to paraphrase Mr. Ellis, but I think once you strip away the elegance what he’s saying is “They’re fucking Nazis, you morons!”
I see his point. And I agree with it. Yes, it’s illegal – hit somebody in the face and you risk going to prison. Some things are worth that risk, and if all you’re doing is punching a Nazi in the face, you just might be working for the greater good of humanity. Besides, a few generations ago we used to shoot them.
I don’t have to tell you everything the Nazis stand for, but to mention just a few items they stand for genocide, methodical elimination from society, torture, global domination and Fascism. Please note, I’m referring to Nazis and not to “radical Islamists.” The fact that today’s Nazis use their philosophies to justify anti-Islam activities is confusing, but Nazis lack perspective.
An important aside: We tend to conflate Nazism with Fascism. They are two different things. Whereas all Nazis are Fascists, not all Fascists are Nazis. Many Fascists do not engage in genocide and they seem to be of two minds about torture. They define global domination in strict business terms, and they are actively engaged in nation-running to benefit such domination. They particularly like to work from the “inside circle” of a charismatic government leader’s cabinet. Yesterday’s munitions maker just might be today’s casino operator.
I understand why some teenagers are attracted to Nazism. It’s simple, it’s tribal, it’s brutal (hey, there’s a difference between punching people in the face and hording them into gas chambers), and, damn, they do dress well. But lucky for us, if good art direction was what it took to win a war, we’d all be goose-stepping today.
Back in the 1970s we tried hitting assholes in the face with pies. It didn’t work: we still got Nixon and Reagan and Cheney and Trump. We were so wondrously naïve back then. Punching alt-right leaders in the face might not stem the tide of Fascism in the United States, but maybe it’s a start. It sure beats bullets and bombs.
There are two types of comic book characters that are nearly impossible to sustain: the omnipotent hero, and the omnipotent villain.
Whereas both feed nicely into the mythic environment, both suffer the same problem. If they can do anything, what can they do next?
Many decades ago, Michael Moorcock more-or-less tackled this question in his “Dancers at The End of Time” series of novels. Those who lived in the pocket universe of Moorcock’s creation could create, recreate, and alter any aspect of “reality” at any time. But this series was much more fantasy than heroic fantasy, even as contained within the author’s dark worldview. Characters are omnipotent, but they remain individuals with their own unique flaws and predilections.
In contemporary superhero stories, in comics and in the sundry external media, we do not have the luxury of controlling our landscape. We work in collaborative environments with a nearly infinite number of characters, and it seems damn near as many creators. So if one creator had something very specific in mind, in short order diverse hands will interpret it, reinterpret it, mold it or simply ignore it in order to fit the needs of the present story.
Let’s take Darkseid as an example. When Jack Kirby created him, he maintained complete control of the character. Nobody else in the DC universe deployed him for use in their storylines. One could argue that much of the DCU at the time could have used a massive Kirby infusion; then again, one could argue that such appropriation would have pissed Jack off the way it did when he was creating magic at Marvel.
Jack’s Darkseid was about as omnipotent as a character could be. I had the impression that when one of his well-populated schemes was near defeat, the stone-faced guy simply found it … interesting. He would note the results, evaluate the efforts of his lackeys, and move on to the next scheme. “Whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger,” or, at least, wiser. It would have been interesting to see how far Kirby could have taken that.
After he left DC, others picked up the characters and the mythology and slowly but surely incorporated it into the DCU. Some – many – of these writers and artists were among the best working in the genre at the time. But by expanding Darkseid’s story turf, they had to weaken the guy slowly but surely. He remained the most evil of the bad guys, but he was just that: the badist of a well-known and growingly tiresome bunch. The more he was around the more he was defeated, and he couldn’t continue to simply walk off-panel with his arms behind his back nonchalantly voicing philosophical folderol.
Overuse undermines the uniqueness of the character. Just ask The Joker.
So how do you stop the unstoppable, or, as Superman editor Mort Weisinger said (frequently), “What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?” Well, what could happen is, you get one hell of a good superhero story.
The first time.
After that, such characters get weakened or get tiresome or both. There’s no suspense in repeatedly observing the adventures of a being that is both unstoppable and immovable. You can bring the character back after a significant period – something superhero comics seem incapable of doing – when and only when you have a story that is worthy of its cast.
Redundancy undermines uniqueness, and uniqueness becomes tedious.
If you were to ask me if I had a favorite character among all the heroic fantasy teevee shows and movies over the past five years, and damnit I wish you would, I would immediately respond “River Song.”
For those who came in late, here’s the mandatory Journalism 101 background:
River Song is an ongoing but breathtakingly occasional character in Doctor Who. A remarkably capable, strong and intelligent archaeologist/con artist/warrior-protector with a great sense of humor and about 92% of all the sexuality ever expressed in the 54-year history of the program, she has been, is, and/or will be married to the Doctor – it’s time travel, Mr. Gittes – and that poses all sorts of thrilling opportunities. It also begs the issue of “until regeneration do us part.” She’s kind of a partial Time Lord, having absorbed some of the Doctor’s DNA while being conceived in the TARDIS. Yes, she’s the daughter of two of the Doctor’s former companions.
Yup. I really love time travel.
Ms. Song is played by Alex Kingston, and in addition to some crackerjack writing from Steven Moffat, Ms. Kingston is the reason why this complicated yet highly entertaining character works. She’s known in the States for her work on such teevee shows as Arrow (where she plays Dinah Lance I), Gilmore Girls, Macbeth (playing Lady Macbeth; duh), Upstairs Downstairs (the 2012 series), Law and Order SUV, and ER. My favorite of her work that I have seen came in the teevee movie The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders, where she played the title character and shared the boards with such folks as Diana Rigg and Daniel Craig.
In other words, Alex Kingston’s career orbits the nexus of fan reality.
You might ask why I’m bringing River Song to your attention at this time, if I already hadn’t just done that. The people at Big Finish, arguably the world’s largest publisher of original full-cast audio stories, released their second box set of River Song adventures. The Diary of River Song Series 2 co-stars Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy, both playing her husband The Doctor, and together the four adventures runs about four hours and change, not counting the bonus “behind the scenes” disc full of audio extras.
The downloadable version can be secured from Big Finish for a mere twenty bucks American, Amazon is charging a bit more for the physical five CD box set.
This isn’t a review because I have yet to hear the material. If it sucks, I’ll apologetically apologize anon… once the surprise wears off. I’m a big fan of Big Finish’s work, although I’ve only heard a fraction of their couple-thousand hours of original Doctor Who material starring all of the living Doctors from Tom Baker to John Hurt aside from Matt Smith (as of this writing). More to the point, I listened to The Diary of River Song Series 1 starring Alex Kingston and Paul McGann (the eighth doctor, if you were to count them in order of first appearance) during one of my infamous cross-country drives and it was absolutely great.
River Song last appeared in the 2015 Christmas special “The Husbands of River Song.” It was her first meeting with her husband Peter Capaldi, and because of where it is set in time she does not recognize The Doctor. In fact, she’s married to someone else, for a while. It’s a great jumping on episode for those who haven’t seen River Song, Peter Capaldi’s doctor, and/or Doctor Who. It’s well-written, clever as hell, sensual to excess and more fun than a barrel of monkeys. And we all know everything is better with a monkey.
Even better: this episode gave us the introduction of Nardole, played by British comedian Matt Lucas. He returned for this year’s Christmas special as the Doctor’s, umm, valet (the Doctor is companionless for the nonce) and Nardole will return for about a half-dozen episodes in the upcoming season. Americans might recognize him for his role in Community where, coincidentally, he played a fan of the ersatz teevee show Inspector Spacetime.
I hope to see River return sometime this season as it is Steven Moffat’s last as writer/showrunner. I hope to see River Song return anywhere at any time, if that latter phrase has any real meaning in a world where time travel exists.
But, hey, I’ll settle for Alex Kingston returning damn well anywhere.
Let me be the last to wish you a happy new year. Actually you – and my Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind audience – are the first people upon whom I’m bestowing these tidings. I’m writing this on Boxing Day because I’m leaving town for a week. I think I’m going to Chicago, where I shall reflexively ask Barry Crain for Sonic Disruptors pages.
While in the Windy City, I will be meeting up with my ol’ pal and fellow ComicMix columnist John Ostrander, another expatriated Chicagoan. He will be in town along with Mary Mitchell to visit (or annoy, as the case may be) a gaggle of his relatives. We will be doing at least two things together, the first of which is having a profoundly fabulous dinner with also-fellow ComicMix columnist Marc Alan Fishman and the Unshaven Comics crew, and as many wives and children as possible that can tolerate a couple hours of seriously immature behavior.
The other reason John and I are getting together is that a couple months ago we started work on what may very well be the most important comics project of our lives… or, at least, mine. We’re working with a woman who is most certainly one of the most important people I’ve ever met, and I’ve met a lot of important people.
That’s why I’m in comics. The important people usually aren’t (but that’s changing), and variety is the spice of life. But this project combines the two; in fact, it combines just about all my Sybilistic professional personalities – comics, politics, media, and youth social services. Maybe it’ll be my one last parting shot; if so, it’ll be the one of which I’d be proudest.
As Eric Idle famously wrote and sang, “Life’s a laugh and death’s a joke, it’s true / You’ll see it’s all a show / Keep ’em laughing as you go / Just remember that the last laugh is on you!” Truer words were never sung, particularly from a cross on a movie set in Tunisia.
No, I’m not going to tell you what this one is all about. Not yet. Once everything is nailed down, contracts are signed, and moral non-disclosure agreements are no longer necessary, you bet I’ll babble on. I’ll bet John will, too. And others.
It’s a shame that the “famous Chinese curse” may you live in interesting times is apocryphal. For the record, the phrase “may you live in an interesting age” was first uttered by Frederic R. Coudert in 1939 at the Proceedings of the Academy of Political Science. He attributed it to his friend Sir Austen Chamberlain, brother of the infamous British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who claimed to have heard it from Chinese diplomats a few years earlier. However, Sir Austen didn’t speak Chinese and never went to China, so it is likely his sense of truthiness was as on-target as Sir Neville’s “there will be peace in our time…” uttered right after he gave the Sudetenland to Adolf Hitler a year before the start of World War II.
The “interesting times” version cannot be traced back further than the late 1940s and was brought to the attention of most by Robert Kennedy in 1966, in a speech the Senator made in Cape Town South Africa. Bobby said, “There is a Chinese curse which says ‘May he live in interesting times.’ Like it or not we live in interesting times. They are times of danger and uncertainty; but they are also more open to the creative energy of men than any other time in history.” Of course, the Chinese curse quote was total bullshit, but we do not know if Bobby Kennedy knew that.
Nonetheless, the sentiment is accurate. May we live in interesting times can be quite a curse.
It is up to us to make certain it is not.
Happy New Year. Try not to fret too much. It scares the horses.
I’ll admit, I am deathly afraid I haven’t pissed enough people off this past year and I’m rapidly running out of time. But, damn, people keep on pissing me off and, like every jamoke who has a keyboard and an Internet connection, vengeance is mine.
As Geek Culture enthusiasts, there are lots and lots of incredibly important issues for us to discuss. Fan-women get dumped on viciously for committing the crime of voicing their opinions. Women gamers often are treated like they are Typhoid Mary. Women cosplayers often are regarded as fair game for convention-attending degenerates. And there’s that bit about only having to pay women 77 cents on the dollar, and that’s something that affects absolutely every aspect of a woman’s daily life. As human beings, intelligent women continue to be marginalized as ditzy babes. Our incoming president acts as though women who are not “10s” on the Blake Edwards scale are beneath notice.
So what has grabbed our attention this past month?
Martians… Do you look like this?
After less than 60 days on the job, Wonder Woman got fired as the United Nations’ honorary ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls. This was done in response to a petition signed by 44,000 people (as of the time WW was made redundant) who believe that Wonder Woman is, according to CNN, “’not culturally encompassing or sensitive’ and was an inappropriate choice at a time ‘when the headline news in United States and the world is the objectification of women and girls.’”
I cannot help but think that, as the UN’s honorary ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls, Wonder Woman would have done an enormous amount of good. For 75 years she has been the objectification of female self-reliance, self-determination, ability and compassion. Wonder Woman is known the world over, and next year she will become even better known. The Trailers for this upcoming Wonder Woman movie already are in theaters and online.
Amusingly, the star of this forthcoming Wonder Woman movie, Gal Gadot, told Time Magazine “There are so many horrible things that are going on in the world, and this is what you’re protesting? … When people argue that Wonder Woman should ‘cover up,’ I don’t quite get it. They say, ‘If she’s smart and strong, she can’t also be sexy.’ That’s not fair. Why can’t she be all of the above?”
Ms. Gadot most certainly knows what she’s talking about. She has been both a member (and combat trainer) in the Israel Defense Forces and, prior to that, Miss Israel. Like all women in her position, she suffered greatly from online sexual and anti-Semitic harassment. She can talk the talk because she most certainly has walked the walk.
The objectification of humans has been going on forever. Tom Mix got his start in movies in 1909 and, then as now, few men look like him. He was just about as big a star as we’ve ever had. Theda Bara got her start in movies five years later and, then as now, few women look like her. Did people want to? Certainly. We objectify ourselves. That’s where it starts.
To repurpose a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, better we should judge ourselves and each other by the content of our character and not by the wrappings that contain it.
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Do you think anybody would dare offer Wonder Woman 77 cents for each dollar they would pay Superman?
Not twice. Most certainly, not twice.
The first three illustrations are from the work of Brian Bolland, simply because I feel like looking at some of Brian’s artwork, a not-uncommon feeling. The “We Are All Wonder Women” piece was drawn by Catherine and Sarah Satrun.