Tagged: David Finch

Martha Thomases: Geek Humanity


As a child, I loved the Legion of Super-Heroes. Teenagers from all over the galaxy formed a club together and saved the universe, sometimes several times an issue.

The rules for joining the Legion were a bit odd and really didn’t stand up to scrutiny. No one could have the same powers as another member, unless they were Superboy, Supergirl or Mon-El. Abilities that were not super on a hero’s planet could qualify that hero for membership, like telepathy and chameleons and magnetism. I suppose if we, as a people, were blind, someone with sight could be a member, but we wouldn’t know because there wouldn’t be comic books because, really, they are better when we can see the pictures.

Anyway, I didn’t really care about the Legion by-laws, since I would be a teenager if, by some chance, I lived 1000 years and could apply for membership. I cared about all these people, so different from one another, who still teamed up and made things better.

So that’s the lesson I’m urging us, the emissaries of Geek Culture, to learn from Where We Are Now.

Since the election results were announced last week, there have been a tremendous number of hate-crimes committed. This is in addition to the uptick in hate-crimes the year before.

These are actual crimes — vandalism, stalking, assault — not just threats and hurt feelings. This is not to say that threats and hurt feelings aren’t real things.

ComicMix pal Heidi MacDonald recently reported on the latest bout of on-line harassment directed her way. If you click on the link and read the comments (which, normally, I would urge you not to do, but this time it’s educational), you’ll see a weird combination of solidarity, rage and condescension.

What struck me most forcefully was the anger some commenters held against superhero comics with female leads, especially if those characters riffed off earlier versions. While I don’t think Donald Trump won the Electoral College because RiRi Williams is Iron Man, he did capitalize on the same rage we see in those fans.

And I don’t get it.

I mean, I understand that it’s annoying when a creative team takes one of my favorite characters in a direction I don’t like. I couldn’t stand what David and Meredith Finch did to Wonder Woman. That said, it was easy enough to skip their run on the title and re-read some of the thousands of other Wonder Woman stories that I had liked previously. I have reason to believe there are a similar number of Tony Stark Iron Man stories out there.

Also, there are lots and lots of other comics written and drawn by people who might have written or drawn a Tony Stark Iron Man story, and they might have stories about other characters that would appeal to this reader.

I have no problem when readers who don’t like RiRi Williams or the Finch version of Wonder Woman complain about the stories they don’t like. I do it all the time. However, I do have a problem when readers who don’t like the direction a series is taking make physical threats against the creators or those critics who do like the series.

Marvel, and DC, and Disney, and other corporations do not owe their customers a steady diet of the same stuff. That would be a business model that is doomed to failure. There has to be constant attempts to broaden the market or in five or six decades, all the existing customers will be dead.

As a fandom, we can’t sit around and gripe when our favorite media (comics, film, TV, music, yada yada yada) don’t spew out a steady stream of the same stuff we loved as children. We cannot expect the entertainment industry to love us as much as our parents did.

Read what you like! Explore a little and, maybe, find more to like! Liking more different things is fun! And teaming up with people different from yourself lets you discover what your own super-powers might be.

David Finch joins The Whisper Campaign!

We’re proud to announce the cover artist for the hardcover edition of The Whisper Campaign… David Finch!

David Finch is known to comics fans far and wide for… oh, where do we start? He’s drawn Batman, Justice League of America, Avengers, and is currently drawing Wonder Woman for DC. He’s been a fan of Norm Breyfogle’s since his work on Prime for Malibu, and was thrilled to help out. He’s also making the original cover art available as a perk to add to the money raised.

So get yours now— as of this writing, we’ve only got 215 hardcover copies left!

Martha Thomases: Wonder Woman, Goddess of What?

Hera help me, but I think I have to write about Wonder Woman again.

I know, I know. I already wrote about the new team of Marilyn and David Finch in which I said “She is supposed to be strong and independent and a peaceful warrior, not armored eye candy.”

The second issue wasn’t much better. It involved a rather convoluted effort to (re)create the original, Donna Troy Wonder Girl, but in a way that made her grim and gritty and probably the pawn of an evil, power-hungry crone. As a power-hungry crone who doesn’t like to think of herself as evil, I found this to be a personally distasteful plot development.

Still, I recognize that I don’t represent a significant part of the audience, so I thought I’d give it one more try. Open-minded… that’s what I am.

By the first page of issue #38 (current run), I knew this would be my last issue.

If you haven’t read the story, Diana is not only Wonder Woman but the new God of War as well, so there are lots and lots of battle scenes. The story opens on Themyscira, where the Amazon army fights a big, bad monster.

With bare midriffs.

Not the monster. It is, I presume, naked, but covered in scales and shadows. Most of the Amazons, however, leave their bare skin fully exposed. They might have metal bras, and possibly metal thongs to protect their sexy bits, but otherwise, they are naked. It also seems that the higher one’s military rank, the more clothing one is entitled to wear. No one, however, gets to have any protection on her thighs.

Am I supposed to believe that this is what a warrior society does when faced with danger?

It’s not even lazy. It would take nothing more than a different choice by the colorist (and/or whomever supervises the colorist) to make a bare torso look as if it were covered with armor. I have to believe that someone thought it was titillating for the Amazon cannon fodder to be semi-nude.

There are other ridiculous and incoherent parts to the story. Diana is haunted by nightmares and wakes up in a bed with bloody sheets. Every woman on this planet who is lucky enough to sleep on sheets has had this experience. I would imagine that writer Meredith Finch has had this experience. However, rather than being something normal, an event that requires nothing more than a trip to the bathroom for a tampon (or its Amazon equivalent), it’s presented as being a Portent of Things To Come. I find this almost as difficult to believe as bare-belly fighting.

Later in the story, a female television news reporter is doing a story from Peru. Her head is covered as it would be if she was a Muslim woman, or a Catholic woman in a church. She could be Muslim and this is an attempt to bring in more diversity to the landscape of the DC Universe. If that’s the case, it is haphazard. Perhaps I’m over-reacting, but it took me out of the story.

Especially since I thought the reporter was Lois Lane. And then I realized I thought that because she was a female reporter with dark hair, and other than that, looked like every other female character in the story. Why is Lois Lane there? If it isn’t Lois, what’s the news agency? How did they find out about the big, superhero emergency?

I don’t think I’ll ever find out, because I don’t intend to buy any more issues by this particular creative team. Please tell me if it ever gets any better.


Martha Thomases: And Today’s Holiday Is…

Today is Boxing Day. According to Wikipedia “Boxing Day is a holiday traditionally celebrated the day following Christmas Day, when servants and tradespeople would receive gifts, known as a ‘Christmas box’ from their bosses or employers… in the United Kingdom, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, South Africa, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and other Commonwealth nations, as well as Norway, the Netherlands and Sweden.”

Which is, as the British say, bollocks. With no history or evidence whatsoever, I consider Boxing Day to be the holiday in which we put all our unwanted gifts into a box they came in and return them to the , store for something we want. And since that works better as a premise for this column, that’s what I’m going with.

Here are some trends from 2014 popular culture that I would like to see returned and exchanged for something better:

  • The new Wonder Woman team. I don’t know anything about the strategy that involves putting a married couple to work on the same book at the same time. Perhaps the editors thought everything would flow more smoothly if the writer and artist were in the same house. However, in the case of Meredith and David Finch, I think they made a poor choice. Finch’s art is too reminiscent of the kind of T&A that passes for story-telling these days, and Meredith’s words and plots don’t help any. I don’t think I would enjoy their characterizations of any super-heroines, but certainly not Wonder Woman. She is supposed to be strong and independent and a peaceful warrior, not armored eye candy.
  • Making trilogies into four parts. I understand that movie studios want to get every last penny they can from the ticket-buying public (and, later, the video-on-demand buying public and the DVD buying public). I understand that lots of people get jobs from making an extra movie. Unfortunately, they don’t take the epic and re-divide it into four parts. They take the first two parts, then split the third in two. The first part of the third book ends on a cliff-hanger and is not in the least bit satisfying. That’s not how story structure works.
  • Incompatible media. I’m old enough to remember the conflict between Beta and VHS. More recently, I remember the conflict between Blu-Ray and HD. It was incredibly aggravating and stressful to want new technology, but to also know that picking the wrong format would cost thousands of dollars.

The problem this year is not the machines, but the purveyors. I enjoy lots of streaming services, especially Netflix and Amazon Prime. Unfortunately, my Apple TV won’t let me watch the latter on the big TV in my living room. I could buy the plug-in that Amazon makes, but that way lies madness. I don’t want a bunch of little plastic devices sticking out of my television set. I want one that lets me access whatever I want.

  • Intolerant fan bases. I never thought I would live to see the day when my beloved comic books would be an important part of the popular culture. Not only do they inspire movies and television shows that win awards and top the ratings charts, but they earn spots on top-ten lists. It’s really great. People I know from the non-comics parts of my life read graphic novels now.

Unfortunately, not everyone is happy to see nerd culture in general, and comics in particular, become popular. Gamergate is still an issue. Women at comic conventions still get hassled, especially (but not only) if they are cosplayers. Twenty years ago, when a bunch of us started Friends of Lulu, we were harassed by those who were threatened by our involvement in the industry>.

I think the reactionary voices are louder now than they have been because they are on the way out. I think the capitalist glee at the new customer dollars will eventually overcome the boys club (and the white club, and the straight club and the Christian club etc. etc. etc.).

Here’s wishing you more and better in 2015.


Mindy Newell: Wonder Bitch

Wonder Woman“I’d love to kiss you, but I just washed my hair.” – Bette Davis

Over at GeekMom.com , founding editor and columnist Corinna Lawson wrote a review of both Wonder Woman #36 (featuring the new team of Meredith and David Finch) and Superman/Wonder Woman #13 entitled “Memo to DC: Wonder Woman Likes People. Honest.”

Corinna is not happy.

Neither am I.

Now it’s true that my opinion of the Amazon’s most recent adventures are tainted a bit by my experience in working on the title with two of the best people in comics, George Pérez and Karen Berger, in that I think we did the definitive version of Diana, incorporating and being true to the Greek mythology from which the character sprung. It’s also true that the tinge of envy I feel whenever I hear that a new writer has come on board the tile – Hey, DC!! What am I, chopped liver? – may color my reception of said new writer. And it’s also true that, if ever given the chance to write the character again, my take could be considered fairly radical – a feminist icon who is not pro-choice? Is, in fact very much anti-abortion. For reasons, good, logical reasons, I have gone into in previous columns.

But what bothers me most about Wonder Woman today is evident in the dialogue and scene descriptions that Corinna mentions in her review and that I read for myself. For instance, there is a scene in which two Amazons argue about helping their Amazon brothers….

Hold it right there!

Amazon men?

Can you say oxymoron? Emphasis on the moron.

And there’s a lot of complaining – uh, bitching – on her part.

“…how will you ever grow stronger if you need us every waking moment?” she grumpily says as she rescues some human civilians.

And she bitches while waiting for Clark to finish writing up an article, “Why does

this take so long? Do you need to learn more words? And why are you using this ancient relic of your laptop?”

And she bitches when Clark gives up the fourth taxi to someone else during a rainstorm even though it means they will be late to the theater, never mind that they are both soaked to the bone.

Because, you know, Clark is such a “super” gentleman, while Diana is an Amazon bitch.

Although there is no such scene, something tells me that this Diana certainly lets Clark have it when he leaves the toilet seat up.

Bitch, bitch, moan, moan.

•     •     •     •     •

“Remember…the Force will be with you, always.” – Obi-wan Kenobi

Have you seen the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens? It’s only 88 seconds long, but that was all it took for me to swoon and drool like Pavlov’s dog in anticipation of a return to that galaxy so far, far away.

13 months to go?