Tagged: John Ostrander

John Ostrander: Whore To Culture And Other Working Relationships

I’m over at Facebook a fair amount. I use it not just for friends and family, people I actually know, but also as a way to keep in touch with fans which I think is important. I try to give them a good personal experience with me because I value them; their support enables me to make a living as a writer. Some publishers have an interest in hiring me because they know I have my own fanbase.

So I post things and answer questions or notes – sort of like at a Con – and it’s nice. Most of the fans are very respectful; sometimes, maybe a little too respectful. There have been those who refer to me as “master”. I appreciate it as a token of respect but, to be honest, I’m uncomfortable with it. To my mind, I’m just a working guy and my work happens to be writing. It’s how I make my living – buy food, pay the bills, and so on.

I’m a professional writer and I take great pride in that; people pay money to read what I’ve written and, as I’ve said elsewhere, that’s something I’ve never taken for granted and never will. There’s a big demand on your dollar today (mine too) and if you spend the money on one thing chances are you aren’t spending it on another. Maybe if you buy a comic I’ve written you can’t buy some other comic. So it’s my job to make sure you get your money’s worth.

I’m not a “fine” writer; I’m a storyteller. Both as a reader and a writer, my big interest is “and then what happened?” I’m not a stylist although I can turn a good phrase. I’m not apologizing in any way; I’m proud of what I’ve written but I know what I am and what I am not.

I had an interesting online discussion some years back with a defiantly amateur writer. He claimed he was “purer” as a writer because he didn’t accept money for his work. In fact, he claimed I was a whore and prostituting myself for taking money for something I should have done for the pure love of it.

I will confess to be a bit flummoxed by this. I wasn’t sure how to answer. I could have said that he probably couldn’t prostitute himself because nobody would pay him; it’s hard to make money if you’re an ugly whore. However, that would have been mere pique and invective and dodged the central question – does getting paid for my work inherently make one less of an artist? Shakespeare (a greater artist than I) got paid, as did Dickens, Shaw, and many other talented artists.

On the other hand, there are plenty of hacks out there who will grind out anything to make a buck. There are times I have taken an assignment, not because I loved the character or the concept but because I needed the work and the paycheck. However, I’ve never put in less work as a result. I have to find something in the character that I can relate to, into which I can invest myself. It’s not always easy but it is always necessary. In some cases I am more successful than in others but the effort is always there because I know that, at some point, someone will put down real cold cash to read it.

I write to be read. I know one of the cardinal rules of writing is, first and foremost, to write to please yourself and I do that. However, I don’t only do that. I’m aware as I write that, hopefully, someone is going to read those words as you are reading these words. If one writes only to please oneself, then I think that’s literary masturbation. I’m not saying there’s anything inherently wrong with masturbation; I’ve dated Five Finger Lucy myself. There’s the old joke that goes “if it wasn’t for masturbation, I’d have no sex life at all” and, at one point in my past, that was very true. However, I also happen to think that sex with a partner is, well, better.

When you connect with your reader, it’s like flipping the electric switch to “on”. The electricity flows and it can flow both ways. It’s that connection with the reader that I’m looking for. In my stories, I ask my reader, “Have you ever felt this? Thought this? Considered this”? If they have, then we share something. The electricity flows between us. There’s a bond between us. We celebrate a shared humanity.

That’s my job. That’s what I get paid to do. What I get paid has never determined the effort I put into the work; it has enabled me to do it without expending time and energy making a living some other way, time and energy that I need to put into the work.

I’m not a master; I could never claim that for myself. I’m a guy from Chicaguh who writes for a living; a working stiff like most of you. Most days, I love what I do and, on the other days, it’s a grind, like any other job. Overall I’m proud of the work I’ve done and I hope to keep doing it until I drop. To quote James Earl Jones in Field of Dreams, “It’s what I do.”

Photo by mpclemens

John Ostrander: WWGJD?

Warning: spoilers below.

“Look at the flowers.”

A seemingly innocuous line that should set shivers through regular fans of the TV series, The Walking Dead. (more…)

Marc Alan Fishman: 2014—A Comic Odyssey

Marc Alan Fishman: 2014—A Comic Odyssey

Each year Unshaven Comics has been around, we’ve declared a goal to meet. At first, the goal was simple: make a comic, and sell it at “the con”. Done. The following year? “Sell more books than we did last year.” Checkity-Check. To be fair, this has remained a sub-goal every year thereafter. In 2013, our goal was to attend literally as many conventions as we could possibly get into, and sell as much merchandise so-as to afford a trip to the glorious Valhalla of conventions, San Diego Comic-Con. Suffice to say, had we emptied out all our coffers? We would have succeeded. But, spoiler alert: We didn’t get accepted as artists for the alley at SDCC. So, we’ve wiped the tears away, and looked towards 2014. As suggested to me by Joe Olmsted, who I’ll actually talk about here in a just a bit, I’d like to share with you the conventions Unshaven Comics will be attending this year… and why we chose them.


John Ostrander: Short Form and Long Form Storytelling

My favorite new show on TV this year is The Blacklist. It’s on opposite another show I enjoy a lot, [[[Castle]]], which is now in its sixth season. Assuming it makes it (and I certainly do hope it’s renewed). I wonder if I’ll still love The Blacklist five years from now.

The new trend in American TV appears to be serial anthology shows such as [[[American Horror Story]]] and True Detective. Both take a season to tell a complete story and then the following season tells a different story but in the same genre. [[[American Horror Story]]] often keeps most of the same actors but then casts them in different parts. You tell the story and then you move on, giving a complete beginning, middle, and end.

There’s a lot to be said for that. The BBC series, [[[Broadchurch]]], told a good story – so much so that I wonder how they’re going to do a sequel as they evidently plan to do.

With a long running series, you have to find ways to keep it fresh if you want to keep the viewers coming back and the reasons for continuing the show are often financial and economic ones rather than creative ones. (more…)

Mindy Newell: Who’s The Real You When You’re Writing?

“Whenever there is a decline of righteousness and rise of unrighteousness then I send forth Myself.”
—Lord Krishna to Prince Arjuna,[[[The Bhagavadgita]]] (Song of God)

Sanskrit in origin, and a central principle of the Hindu religion, an avatar is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “the incarnation of a deity in human or animal form to counteract an evil in the world.  A central principle of Hinduism, it usually refers to 10 appearances of Vishnu, including an incarnation as the Buddha Gautama and the Buddha yet to come, called Kalkin.”

In the 21st century, it has also come to mean that little picture that represents the user, blogger, columnist, commentator, gamer, or fan on the Internet, and (usually) will tell you something about that person, whether it is whom that user, blogger, columnist, commentator, gamer, or fan admires or identifies with, or even their sense of humor about themselves.  (See my avatar on my Facebook page, for instance, which is from the artwork of Anne Taintor and reads “I plead insanity.”)

James Cameron’s [[[Avatar]]] blended the two definitions in his hero, Jake Sully—Jake is both the “user” behind his genetically engineered Na’vi body (Jake’s avatar) and the “incarnation” of the savior of the Na’vi civilization.

Writers can also use avatars. (more…)

Martha Thomases: A Call to Alarms

Thomases Art 140207This is the time of year when the ComicMix crew starts to firm up our attendance at various comic conventions in the year ahead. It’s a frustrating process because there are a lot of shows and we can’t go to all the ones we’d like to attend.

It also makes me really angry.

Last year was the first in a long time that I went to a bunch of cons. It was fascinating and fun most of the time, but annoying at others. Twenty years after we started Friends of Lulu, there are still remarkably few women invited to be guests at the shows.

This is odd, because there are a lot of women working in the industry, and (capitalists take note) even more buying comics and tickets to cons. Wouldn’t show organizers like to demonstrate to this market segment that they are welcome and valued?

I, for one, am sick of complaining about it. I’ve decided to do something.

I want to use my position as a busy body on this website to point out conventions that don’t have many women on their guest list. For example, Emerald City Con, which I’ve always wanted to go to and sounds amazing has, on their website, a list of 235 guests, of which 20, I think, are women (I qualify that because there are some names that could be appropriate for any gender).

Here’s another example. Heroes Con, which is one of my favorites, has 48 announced guests, and only four are women.

The Asbury Park Con has announced 54 guests, and three are women. No women listed on any panels currently scheduled.

A press release I received today from Baltimore Comic-Con said, “This year’s previously confirmed guests for the show include: Marty Baumann (Pixar artist); Jeremy Bastian (Cursed Pirate Girl); Dave Bullock (Batman Black and White); Greg Capullo (Batman); Bernard Chang (Green Lantern Corps); Sean Chen (Amazing Spider-Man); Jimmy Cheung (Infinity); Cliff Chiang (Wonder Woman); Frank Cho (X-Men: Battle of the Atom); Richard Clark (House of Gold & Bones); Steve Conley (Bloop); Alan Davis (Wolverine); Tommy Lee Edwards (Suicide Risk); Garth Ennis (Preacher, The Boys); David Finch (Forever Evil); Bryan JL Glass (Mice Templar); Michael Golden (The Ravagers); Cully Hamner (Animal Man); Dean Haspiel (The Fox); Adam Hughes (Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan); JG Jones (Green Lantern Corps, Batman Black and White); Justin Jordan (Luther Strode, Green Lantern: New Guardians); Barry Kitson (Empire); David Mack (Shadowman); Kevin Maguire (Guardians of the Galaxy); Ron Marz (Witchblade); Bob McLeod (X-Men: Gold); Tradd Moore (Deadpool Annual); Mark Morales (New Avengers); Dan Parent (Archie, Veronica, Kevin Keller); David Peterson (Mouse Guard); Eric Powell (The Goon); Joe Prado (Justice League); Brian Pulido (Lady Death); Ivan Reis (Aquaman and The Others); Budd Root (Cavewoman); Alex Saviuk (Web of Spider-Man); Andy Smith (Superman #23.1: Bizarro); John K. Snyder III (Zorro Rides Again); Allison Sohn (sketch card artist); Charles Soule (Thunderbolts); Ben Templesmith (The Memory Collectors); Peter Tomasi (Batman and Two-Face); Herb Trimpe (GI Joe: A Real American Hero); Billy Tucci (Shi); Rick Veitch (Saga of the Swamp Thing); Matt Wagner (Grendel); Mark Waid (Daredevil); Bill Willingham (Fables); Renee Witterstaetter (Joe Jusko: Maelstrom); and Thom Zahler (My Little Pony).”

As you can see, that is two women.

There can be a lot of reasons for this. Sometimes, publishers promote their “hot” talent for guest spots. Sometimes, the people planning the show want a particular kind of fan to attend, and that kind of fan has testicles.

However, when there are no women on the guest list, not only does it send the false message that women haven’t achieved prominence in our corner of the entertainment industry, it also reduces the number of women on panels, taking part in our public conversations.

So I’d like to keep track of who is being welcoming to women, and who isn’t. I would also be delighted to report on who is being welcome to other groups who are under-represented, such as people of color and LGBTQ folks. It would be my honor to be your ally.

I’m not asking for a quota at shows. I want to see more women, but I don’t have a number in mind. I’m not making any demands. I’m simply reporting facts, gathered from promotional material (including websites) created by the shows’ promoters.

It is my opinion that if there are more women welcomed as guests at these shows, there will be fewer incidents such as this. As I said in a previous column, “It would be easier for women to be taken seriously by convention goers if they were taken seriously by convention planners. I don’t think we should sit back and wait for others to fix the problem. I think we need to fix it ourselves. Every time we see bad behavior, we should say something, loudly. Every time a convention or industry event ignores women, we should ridicule them for their lack of knowledge about our industry and its future.”

So while I’m trying to keep track of how many women are treated as professionals at shows, I’d also like to also offer my mailbox (martha@comicmix.com) as a place where women can share their unpleasant experiences with disrespectful men and boys at the same shows. With their permission, I’d like to ask show promoters to explain how such things can happen under their auspices. If my editor and I think there is a story, we’ll run it.

All e-mails sent to me will be considered to be “on the record” unless there is a compelling reason to keep it confidential. This means that if, instead of keeping to the spirit of this conversation, you hurl gratuitous insults or threat me, I’ll make it public (including taking it to the authorities if I feel threatened).

Let’s stand up for ourselves and let our voices be heard. The people, united, can never be defeated.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

MONDAY: Mindy Newell

A WEEK FROM THIS AFTERNOON: Oh, that would be telling…


Dennis O’Neil: Cold Weather Fans

O'Neil Art 140206Went into the living room this morning, looked out the big window and… what do you know? Snow! That was four or five hours ago and it’s still coming down: small flakes, but a lot of them. I guess we should be thankful that this weather wasn’t happening Sunday, because Sunday, as some of you may have heard, was the day of the Big Game, which was played at New Jersey’s Meadowlands, which is a quick drive to New York City (unless Governor Christie’s minions are conducting a traffic study) and New York City is a quick trip to where I’m sitting and so I’m guessing that the snow’s falling on the Meadowlands as it is falling here and if that had happened yesterday it might have interfered with the game. And wouldn’t that have been the worst, most horrific, most devastating, civilization-crumbling event in recorded history?

Oh sure, I guess the Meadowlands has guys who tend to the playing field and maybe they could have made it playable, but still… And imagine being a fan huddling in the stands. No matter how big your thermos full of hot coffee might be, you’d be cold! And being cold might have interfered with your enjoyment of the game and that might have wreaked psychological trauma upon you, leaving you a quivering shell of your former self.

The Broncos lost. That was the team I was rooting for, though not rooting very hard, because although I’ve visited both Seattle and Denver within the last year, I was in Denver most recently – ergo, the Broncs are my guys!

(By the way… Colorado recently legalized recreational marijuana and what happens? Their team gets clobbered in the Super Bowl. So the right wingers must be… er – right. Go ahead, quarrel with logic!)

But something’s wrong here…

Oh, wait, yes. Comic books. This column – hell, this entire website – is supposed to be about comic books. Not football, not Governor Chris Christie, not the lovely snowfall – comic books! So, could a canny blathermeister somehow mix football and comics? Well. I do believe that everything is related, but putting those two topics together in the same column might be a challenge. Comics have never been much about sports. There were a few sports-themed comics in the 40s – All Sports and Babe Ruth Sports, to name two – but not many. And later? The pickings are sparse. DC published six issues of Strange Sports Stories in 1973-1974 that, under the editorship of Julius Schwartz, conflated sports and science fiction. Let’s give it a “nice try.”

So why the de facto segregation? Maybe the stereotype is valid; maybe humans who enjoy reading aren’t often the same humans who enjoy violent contact games. Enormous generalization, sure, but maybe one with a grain of truth buried within it. Or maybe the creative folk never sussed out how to do sports in panel art narrative. Maybe the timing was never right. Maybe maybe maybe…

…I’ll write about something entirely different next week.

FRIDAY: Martha Thomases

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

SUNDAY: John Ostrander


Marc Alan Fishman: The Powerpuff Pituitary Problem

What’s one more  pundit’s perspective on the recent Powerpuff hullabaloo, right?

For those not in-the-know, let me catch you up mighty quick. The Cartoon Network and IDW publish a Powerpuff Girls comic book each month. Recently, artist Mimi Yoon’s variant cover to issue #6 hit the Internet, and soon thereafter, everyone went crazypants. Or maybe it’s more apropos to say crazyintheirpants. If you look at the art for today’s article (above) you’ll see Yoon’s piece.

Are you lighting your bra on fire yet?

It depicts Blossom, Buttercup and Bubbles as pin-up inspired… shall we say… more mature versions of themselves, feeling victorious after defeating an oddly gigantic Mojo Jojo. All three look at us, the viewer, with kewpie-doll-meets-smoky-playboy-cartoon eyes. Their outfits true to cartoon scale, but their proportions now in an uncanny valley inches shy of legal jailbait. They exist as true ‘toons; impossibly impossible in every way.

For many a’ person, this is ludicrous, angering, and a smite upon the very Earth. But much like last week’s Wonder Woman crisis, I’m not lighting the torches, nor and I leading the mob towards Castle IDW.

I’m not sharpening the blade to thrust at the fire-starters either. As I read it, said blaze was started by a friend of mine, Dennis Barger, who owns and operates a great store in Taylor, MI. His point is valid: a book clearly aimed at children has little to gain over what might be construed as a less-than-wholesome depiction of the titular (‘natch) characters. He, as a parent and a store-owner, felt that it was a poor choice for a cover – even if it was only a variant cover – and as such sought to spread the word amongst the socially interconnected in order to create discussion. He succeeded. And, it would seem it also vilified him to those looking to stand up for the artist, and the artistic choices made therein. Debate is debate though… and for creating one? I tip my hat to Dennis. He got us talking, as we are all prone to do, about feminism on one hand, and the over-sexualization of children’s properties on the other.

When I saw the cover in question, I giggled. Then I paused. Then I thought “Huh, that really is a bit much, right?” Then I moved on. Arguments abound circle the choices of the artist here. Why age the kiddie property in this manner? What does an image of a Powerpuff Girl, nay, Powerpuff Young Woman do for a li’l lass (or lad) who reads the book? More to the point: How does this art in particular seek to become a commodity, had it not been canceled, and released to the public without any more fanfare than an ad in Previews?

To answer my own questions: The artist was working in the faux-pin-up style that is clearly rendered beautifully, and that style wouldn’t allow the Puffs to be pre-pubescent in order to fit the style. For a little guy or gal, the cover is fantasy: what might Blossom, Buttercup, and Bubbles look like a bit down the road? Oh, they’re taller.

I’m not much for overly sexualized underclassmen in mini-skirts and mascara. If IDW saw the work and thought that there would be a subset of customers out there who would pursue the book because of the cover, I guess they are entitled to an opinion, and I wouldn’t shake the hand of any man buying the book because of it.

It’s simply an evil that exists for reasons that should shame all of us within the industry. Certainly we can debate the merit of Wonder Woman donning doomed pantaloons, or the need for Power Girl to have a boob-window versus the current feminista costume designs of the newerish Captain Marvel and Smasher. But when that debate turns towards an innocent property like the Powerpuff girls or the oddly matured My Little Pony Equestria license? Well, that’s where gentlemen like Mr. Barger make themselves loud and clear.

Children are the future and we shouldn’t make them feel like they need to grow up faster than they already are. Seeing blossoming buttercups bubble out from a skin-tight spandex suit is simply a dart hurled at a target that misses by a country mile. Had it come out, would it have created a generation of young girls praying for their own set of mosquito bites? Would it have let loose a cadre of boys with ill-fitting trousers chasing those aforementioned lasses skirts? Hardly.

The cover was a wink and a nod towards the adult purchasers of a children’s title. It was a variant cover that any responsible parent – or parent simply not looking to answer several questions they’d rather not deal with – would have purchased the normal cover. The debate is out there, and where controversy is birthed, so too will new bullets be fired into the fray. Common sense dictates to us the truth behind the yelling.

Next time, keep the kids as kids. Let the ‘shippers keep their fanfic fantasies to themselves… or you know… their Tumblr accounts.

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

MONDAY: Mindy Newell



Martha Thomases: Pete and Me

thomases-art-140131-150x146-2040142Pete Seeger died Monday evening. He was 94 years old.

You can read about his life here in the newspaper of record. A simple Google search will get you a bunch more versions, but these are the facts.

And the facts are so incredibly inadequate at this point.

The first time I saw Pete Seeger perform was on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1967. I’d heard him sing on the radio occasionally but had never seen him, nor did I think about it a lot. I was 14, so please cut me some slack. As a big fan of the Smothers Brothers I found out bit about him before the show aired, including the fact that the reason I had never seen him was that he had been blacklisted for refusing to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee. You can see his performance here. Rather than grovel his way back into the public’s perception, he instead proceeded to piss off those who were upset about him before. Here’s a story from The New York Times about his performance. To me, this is the key quote: “Mr. Seeger’s political views, which sometimes get into his songs, have often aroused controversy. He was convicted in 1961 of ten counts of contempt of Congress for refusing in 1955 to answer questions of the House Un-American Activities Committee. The conviction was reversed in 1962.”

It still took them five years to put him back on the air. Here’s a transcript of his testimony.

You kids today probably don’t understand what it was like to have a popular culture that influenced the political discourse, that made a difference in people’s lives, that was about more than selling cars or phones. Pete Seeger not only talked the talk, but he walked the walk. He celebrated our musical heritage and used it to urge us to live up to our highest ideals. And he made it fun and uplifting to join him.

Was he a Communist? Yeah, for a while. So what?

I want you to watch a few of these clips. There’s this one, an antiwar song from the Johnny Cash show in 1970 . And this one from a British television show in 1964. This is a nice version of Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young.

In 2008, he performed during the weekend celebration of Obama’s first inauguration. Bruce Springsteen had just put out an album inspired by Seeger’s life , so they performed together. You can see them singing Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land.”  Is that George Lucas singing along in the crowd? It’s certainly our President singing along… on my favorite verse!

In September 2013, not even six months ago, he performed the same song at a benefit for Farm Aid in upstate New York. According to his son, he was chopping wood last week.

As you watch these performances, let me point out a few things. He plays a banjo that is inscribed, “This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender.” Most important, he always looks like he’s having a great time. Singing songs brings him so much joy, and he wants his audience to sing with him and share the joy. That’s the most radical position of all.

What does this have to do with comics? Everything. When Pete Singer lead his audience in songs, he was never really “in charge.” He’s sneak in each line of the lyrics before he sang them so we could sing, too. He never suggested we might be terrible singers, because that was not the point. We sang because it felt good. When it feels good, it is good.

Comics seem to be learning that lesson. More people make comics for the fun of it than ever before, publishing on line, distributing any way they can. You can see more styles of art and storytelling than I could ever imagine when I first started reading them. Do I like them all? Of course not. But I like the energy and the joy these folks bring to telling their own stories. They don’t need the Big Two (or any corporation) telling them how to go about their art.

When I was working at WIN, an antiwar weekly, in 1974-1975, I would occasionally get a note from him, complimenting me on some piece I wrote, always signed with a little doodle of a banjo. Although we never met, I was tickled that he took the time to encourage me.

When all the other kids his age were listening to Raffi, I played Pete Seeger songs for my son as a kid. Those were our family values.

Thank you, sir.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

MONDAY: Mindy Newell


Marc Alan Fishman: A WONDERful Problem To Debate

Marc Alan Fishman: A WONDERful Problem To Debate

Don’t you love when a spoiler leaks to we, the misbegotten nerds, and suddenly the Internet is on fire? I sure do. And nothing has gotten our ragespew a flowin’ in recent memory like the potential spoiler (ahem… alert.) that Wonder Woman would be a descendant of the Kryptonian colonists of yesteryear in the Man of Steel movieverse. Funny enough, it didn’t phase me in the least. Whereas some of my close personal friends let loose a brilliantly recorded tirade railing against the very notion of it, I simply concluded that it made sense to me. Rao be damned!

So, Internet, why all the anger? Well, the knee-jerk reaction is to simply say the pitch is not in line with the true origins of the character in the source material. It’d be rude of me to then say completely straight-faced “Oh my gawd, you’re absolutely right! In fact, I concur that the only way to enjoy a character’s portrayal in a different medium is to ensure that his or her origin matches perfectly detail-for-detail their previously published debut!” Then you’d roll your eyes, and call me an ass.

Well, go on, call me an ass. Because you know what? I give a flying invisible jet’s patootie if Wonder Woman descends from ancient Kryptonians. Or that Superman killed Zod. Or that Batman will not be Bruce Wayne, but Dick Grayson.

Ha! Got you there for a sec, didn’t I? The simple fact is as a fan of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, what I care most about isn’t their backstory but how they are portrayed in the present of the film.

I understand the fear and outrage. We proud geeks – covetous keepers of our continuity – despise the idea that movies or TV shows depicting our wares must be muted, diluted, or otherwise repackaged to appease the lowest common denominator. But when it’s done with conviction, quality, and common sense, we tend not to get our underwear so wedged up our own asses.

Remember how much we all loved Tim Burton’s Batman? OK, remember how many of us loved it? Well, I don’t recall the masses going insane-in-the-bat-brain over the revelation that the Joker was one Jack Napier. And while I recall plenty of nit-picky problems over Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, nary a word of anger seemed to spewed over the organic webshooter after the film came out. Same could be said of the blackcasting of Michael Clark Duncan as the Kingpin, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, or Idris Elba as Heimdall. Funny how that is, isn’t it?

And where is the utter outrage at the animated DCU? Or Marvel’s Hulk Agents of S.M.A.S.H? And what are we going to do with all the yutzes who like Arrow?! I mean, last time I checked, Oliver Queen had a god-damned goatee. Interesting enough, all I hear is good things about the show. Even the notion that a Flash spin-off might occur has seemingly traveled the Interwebs without igniting civil war. And this week when someone dropped that Donal Logue might play Harvey Bullock in a pilot revolving around a police procedural Gotham show? Somehow, we all woke up the next morning perhaps uttering that scariest of phrases… “I’ll see it when it comes out, and make up my mind then.

And therein lies my point. It’s not a factor of fear that Warner Brothers chooses to reimagine Batman in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, or change gears with Superman twice within a 10 year period. It’s all a matter of business. The same could be said with Disney/Marvel. Consider cold and calculated business that allows characters like Gravitron and Blizzard to be reimagined on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in order to better suit the long-terms plans of their movies and television series. As I’ve come to find here in my waning youth, the all-mighty dollar drives all that we love in the world of content creation. While true passion for characters and story may drive we the few and proud creators… without the financial backing of crazy-mad corporations, what we build may exist only on our hard drives, our sketchbooks, and our minds.

If Wonder Woman in the polarizing Man of Steel DC movieverse ends up with a strain of Krypton flowing in her meaty non-clay veins… so be it. I’ll care far more that she is portrayed as regal, strong, and self-assured. If Themyscira’s statues tribute Rao over Zeus, big whoop-dee-doo. So long as it’s filled with overly tall, buxom, man-hating women (you know, who are all like… empowered and crap) then my prayers shall be answered. Or better yet? If the character, her background, and her portrayal all lend to the forward momentum of actually realizing a cross-picture universe for DC… then we’ll soon be living in a golden age. With powerful franchises from both the big two comic book publishers in place, those evil unwashed masses who dilute our precious universes may end up loving the same characters we love.

And when they do? They might just take that bold leap to a comic shop to see what they’ve been missing all along.

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

MONDAY: Mindy Newell