Tagged: Joss Whedon

SHUT UP, SIT DOWN, GET OUT

SHUT UP, SIT DOWN, GET OUT

I Am A Man - Ray Fisher

Ray Fisher is out at Warner Bros.

From what I take from his writings, he loved playing Cyborg, and it showed. But Ray called attention to what he claimed was at times discriminatory treatment on the Justice League sets.

From the start, this was no-win for Ray. He knew the risk and still went on. He’s taken a lot of, ” let it go, don’t rock the boat, shut up, sit down.” The comments about how he’s going to lose millions because of his big mouth are partially harsh. Those remarks come with attacks on his intelligence and race.

The “dumb darkie” stereotype is always a reason when a Black person draws attention to an injustice that may stop all that money coming in.

Orlando Jones knew the risk when he shined a light on an American Gods director. He was “rocking the boat, and better stop” was a typical post across all social networks.

Ray Fisher knew the risk, and yeah, it may be a dumb move to put at risk your seven-figure income for a purpose for some— but what Ray and Orlando did wasn’t stupid, dumb, or crazy.

Yeah, the “crazy” tag is likewise standard when Black people put their bank on the line. The perfect example is Dave Chappelle. When he walked away from $50 million, he was called crazy and stupid.

Dave, Ray, and Orlando are only doing what the great men and women who died to give us what freedoms Black people have today did.

They are calling attention to the discriminatory behavior of those in power. They did so at significant risk to their careers and bank accounts.

The entertainment industry produces thousands of underdog stories annually. The business is built on good beating evil. Reading some of the negative comments, perhaps there is a market we are missing:

CYBORG: BATMAN!! SUPERMAN CALLED ME A NIG….!

BATMAN: SHUT UP & SIT DOWN! 

CYBORG: He called you a Democrat. 

BATMAN: OH, HELL, NO! WHERE’S MY KRYPTONITE!?


I believe Ray; I know a guy in a similar albeit lesser-known situation with a comic company.

Let’s do some conjecture.

Assume there is no claim of wrongdoing by Ray; he hasn’t said anything to anyone. But two WB employees claimed Ray was loud and rowdy and called the company racist during the Emmy Awards. So bad was the outburst, the two WB representatives signed affidavits swearing to this explosion of racist hate from the actor.

If that happened, he SHOULD lose the Cyborg gig. WB would have every right to let him go. Having that kind of energy around is toxic and will most certainly lead to a bigger disaster.

Let’s change it up a bit.

Suppose Ray created Cyborg and wasn’t a relatively new actor but a well-established actor and producer. Oh heck, let us say Ray also founded the Actors Studio and the WB made millions off his students who honed their skills under Ray.

Hey, let’s go ALL OUT, shall we?

For shits and giggles, let’s imagine Ray created Cyborg, was a well-established actor and producer who founded the Actors Studio and the WB made millions off his students.

Let’s pretend he’s so accomplished his independent productions are in markets not even the WB or any other major studio is in, leading to an honor no one else in Hollywood has ever achieved.

A Nobel Peace Prize, plus his name on a school, and he rescues kittens!

Should Ray be still be fired if he accomplished all of the above?

Yes.  

Hating a giant corporation is the right of every American. It is not a “do what you want” card. Being loud at one of the industry’s quintessential events, calling prominent studio racist— yes, he should be terminated and banned from working with said company and their related companies and subsidiaries. Whatever he achieved in life, no matter how much money he may have, offensive conduct has consequences.

Now, let’s say Ray had IRON CLAD proof he was 2000 miles away. To save themselves from a PR nightmare, WB would move quickly to issue an apology, hire him to be Cyborg again, and the two liars would be fired, perhaps even arrested.

Now imagine if WB knew the truth but BANNED HIM ANYWAY.

That’s what happened to Ray.

He raised an issue that everyone is aware of now. Joss Whedon was fired after an investigation, and people will now tread lightly.

But why punish Ray?

There’s no way Whedon, who made Hollywood MILLIONS, was let go unless something dreadful happened. Why was Ray punished for bringing light to dark deeds?

It doesn’t matter if Ray was an entry-level actor (he’s not) or had won the Nobel Peace Prize, founded the Actors Studio, etc.— he was wronged, and at significant risk to himself, he fought to do the right thing.

The right thing cost him millions, as it did Joss Whedon.


Some think both careers are over. I hope both can return to their craft, but I’m certain Joss will make a comeback, absolutely.  Not so sure Ray will, and you know why.

Hollywood takes their power to treat people like shit seriously. As evidenced by the following true story:

A major studio is aware of a director who intentionally set out to destroy a actor’s career. A career that mimics the fictional one created above, no Nobel Peace Prize but a similar resume.

Would you care that someone with power decided your fate as if you were Eddie Murphy in Trading Places?

Is there a statute of limitations on evil? Would your advice be to let the devil have his due? Would your opinion be ‘move on?’

The director let criminal treatment go, and for years he took the hit. His peers offer no help because they still have a relationship with the studio—their advice; move on, shut up, sit down. He tries, then the studio calls, they want to make his dream project!

They make it without him after giving him false hope.

He’s got a damning paper trail proving that’s his work, but they ignore him.

How DARE he call them out on their theft!

What should he do?

What would you do?

 

Marc Alan Fishman: Just A League of Their Own

Somewhere around the mid-point of one of the chaotic action sequences in Justice League, a thought echoed in my head. “Avengers was better. I know it was. But why?” Put a pin in that.

And while we’re at it, consider this the blanket SPOILER ALERT. I’m not going to be holding back on plot points and such.

Justice League was a solid effort to continue DC’s course correction. Full stop. The flick tries hard to shake itself of its sullen feeder-films – save for Wonder Woman, which wasn’t downtrodden at all – and ultimately sticks the landing by final credit roll. Over the course of two hours (and change), Zach Snyder, Joss Whedon, and Chris Terrio assemble their (kinda) Lanternless league efficiently. The threat is worthy of the big bangers of the DC(E)U. The quips and sardonic looks feel well-worn and dare I say earned.

So why did the entire movie leave me feeling an uneasy mélange of contentedness balanced equally with ennui? I mean, Rao-be-damned, the movie just made me use the word ennui!

When I noted the efficient assemblage of the titular superteam, it comes couched with a cacophony of caveats. Our introduction to Barry Allen / The Flash seems to speed through his origin in a manner sans-irony given his power set. While he’d been on the fringes of Batman v Superman, we’ve been granted no real anchor to his character by the time he’s donning his car-wreck of a costume. It’s all flashes of awkward Big Bang Theory Sheldonisms smashed on top of tearful angst over the incarceration of Henry Allen. Late in the film, he shares a moment (one of the better exchanges, I should add) with Victor Stone / Cyborg, declaring they are the accidents. But because it comes so late – during the predictable recuperation of the nearly-defeated team scene (that all superhero team movies need, I guess) – it just feels like a tacked-on bon mot, instead of a necessary moment of respite.

And what of the aforementioned Mr. Stone? He’s Deus Ex Machina – ironically, figuratively, and literally. He’s given what might best be described as the affirmative action gift of the longest origin of the group, but never are we invited in the mind of the part-man-part-machine. Stone is stone-faced essentially for the length of Justice League, removing every ounce of characterization Khary Payton has been investing into Cyborg since 2003. When Cyborg of Justice League mutters a soft-spoken Booyah, it comes with the tenacity of a wet fart – meant only as lip-service, not fan-service.

And then we have Aquaman by way of the Abercrombie shirtless collection. WWE’s Roman Reigns, err, Jason Momoa exists as multiverse variant of Arthur Curry so devoid of the traits I’d long associated with the character, I all but abandoned any known factoids of the comic book original minutes into his first scene opposite Bruce Wayne – who himself was enjoying his take on the Fall Hugo Boss collection. Their shared scene, the one you no doubt saw in the trailers and commercials, sets us up for the League’s water-based warrior. He’s a hard-drinking, hard-fighting, surfer-lone-wolf with a pitchfork and a chip on his shoulder. His origin isn’t really told so much as it is scribbled, child-like, on a bar wall, and then half-dialogue-vomited in an appropriately confusing underwater scene. Verily.

Reading through my last few paragraphs may make you believe I utterly loathed Justice League. But you’d be wrong. For every dour note I left the theater with, came an equal smirk of joy overseeing the goodness that Snyder actually captured. Superman, after two incredibly dark films finally is presented the way we want him to be. Full of hope, love, and swagger. Wonder Woman continues to be the best female protagonist in comic book films by several levels of magnitude. And Batman? He’s rich. He’s funny when he wants to be. Believably human. And hilariously voice-modulated. All that, and we didn’t get any meaningless self-sacrifices, or fighting a giant blue sky-beam. Heck, the stinger at the end of the film even got me to clap.

So, why then, did I inevitably wind up in an Avengers conundrum? It stands to note that there’s no way to ignore that Marvel assembled their uber-team successfully a full five-years ago. And by the time it made its way to the movieplex, had given the general teeming masses of newly minted fanboys (and girls) time to live with the main members of their cast (Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor primarily). Because the feeder films (Iron Man, Captain America: The First Avenger, and Thor) had all been well-received, there was a feeling of earned glee when the Avengers coalesced to punch mindless CGI aliens for forty minutes. In contrast, Justice League carries with it the weight of mismanaged and darkly derided prequels (minus Wonder Woman), and oozes desperation from its pores. It’s cut-to-shreds-by-committee, and feels as such. Avengers was lived in. Justice League came across like a wrongly-coined #MeToo.

But perhaps, there exists a silver lining amidst my kvetching. Justice League did leave me excited for what was to come. And it’s that feeling above any others that leaves my eyes on the horizon for the pantheon of DC superheroes… rather than the floor in collective shame.

Emily S. Whitten & Chris Roberson – Serenity: No Power

I always love talking with creators about their process, and I’ve been a fan of Firefly for years now So it was a pleasure to sit down with Chris Roberson, writer of Serenity: No Power in the ‘Verse, to chat with him about his experience creating this tale. Chris offered some cool insights into his writing process, and, of course, we both geeked out over the world of Firefly and our mutual fandom. Read on for the full interview below!

Emily: What is it like for you playing in the ‘Verse, when there is so much to it, and there’s such a great world that’s already been built?

Chris: It was incredibly intimidating. I was a fan from the day that “Train Job” aired. And they aired out of order. Kids; they don’t understand that not only did they not air all the episodes, but they were in the wrong order! So I was there the whole time in the audience. And I was a rabid fan. When the prospect of working on the book first came up a few years ago…the gestation of the book was fairly long. It was the better part of three years from when I was initially offered, “Hey, would you like to do this?” to it actually being done. I worked with four different editors over the course of that time.

So as a fan it was incredibly intimidating. Because it was super fun, and I was like, “Cool, I get to do all this stuff!” but at the same time, I didn’t want to disappoint the rabid fanbase.

Also, I was able to justify all kinds of purchases that otherwise I wouldn’t have bought. Quantum Mechanix’ Atlas of the ‘Verse, and all that stuff; and blueprints of the ship – that was a work expense.

I needed the blueprints just to figure out, like, “How do you get from this room to this room in the ship?” When you’re watching the show, it’s often hard to tell, because of the way it’s edited around. I’m like, “Wait a minute, how do you get from the cargo deck to that room?”

E: I know what you mean because sometimes in the show it’s hard to tell where they’re coming from. Like that one scene where Kaylee throws Mal the wrench so that he can get into the hatch, and I’m thinking, “Where is he going from and to?”

C: Yeah – and also where the interior of the ship maps to the exterior, was something that I had to spend some time figuring out.

E: And then of course there’s the mix of English with Chinese. Did you have any background in that?

C: Oh God no! If there was anything I had to justify more in every script, it was those. Those are sourced directly from the scripts. There are several-volume collections of all the scripts from the show and also from the film. I referenced those heavily. In the scripts I think they would be written out, but then I would have to reference something else to get it into the right characters. And luckily in the back of the most recent role-playing game there’s a thing in there of all of them transliterated, so I was able to drop those in. But in almost every case I would have to say, “Okay, that line was spoken by this character in this episode;” and then I had to send scans of the pages from the role-playing game to the editor to say, “Here’s where I’m getting this from.”

E: That’s very complicated.

C: Yeah. It’s the job.

E: Well, and writers enjoy that kind of stuff. Otherwise why would you be a writer?

C: I love research.

E: What, if any, input did Joss have, or what kind of guidance were you given about where to play or how to play in the ‘Verse?

C: It was more from the other direction. It was me suggesting things and asking questions and then being told what I could and couldn’t do. And in almost every instance – they said yes to, I think, pretty much everything I suggested. It was a strange experience, in that the comic is now the canon. Because normally when you’re doing licensed work – and I’ve done a lot of it – your job is like, to shake all the toys out of the box, play around, have a cool story, and then put them all back where they belong. So when you’re doing licensed stuff, you’re often slotting a story in between these two episodes, or this season and that season. But because the show ended and now this is the show, essentially, the pushback I kept getting was that I wasn’t changing things. I wasn’t making enough difference in the status quo. Because I kept basically getting everything back together again at the end. I had to mess some stuff up. And that was one of the things that was really intimidating. It was like – people are going to be mad at me. Because I’m screwing stuff up for these characters; but they made me. They forced me to.

E: I was going to ask you about fan reactions, and that plays right into this. Because, particularly I noticed (SPOILER ALERT!) that Mal and Inara have some back-and-forth that is worrying, especially at the end. And at this point, they’re a couple, which is also a different thing than in the show, so if people haven’t been reading the comics, they wouldn’t know. Fans might be happy, but…then there’s also that weird thing with Jayne and Zoe and – poor Jayne, is he ever going to be not lonely? So tell me about working on those relationships, and any fan reactions?

C: I was basically picking up threads that had been laid down in Leaves on the Wind, the previous series that Zach Whedon had done with Georges Jeanty. It was interesting to me to see the way that those relationships had developed. That River had kind of taken Wash’s place in a lot of ways; in that she was the pilot, but also that she had this kind of almost co-parenting thing? We didn’t see that there, but I could see that it was a possibility. She was definitely filling a hole that was left when Wash was gone. So beginning No Power in the ‘Verse, the crew is kind of broken down into these mini subsets, these pairs and trios. And yeah, Jayne is not in one. He’s him, so he’s just kind of bouncing around. So a lot of where the plot came from was: look at each of those little clusters of characters, and see where is an interesting place to put strain.

Because basically these people are locked in a building together always. So whatever friendship or relationship – romantic, platonic, whatever, they have – if you can’t leave, forever, there’s going to be strain.

E: It’s an interesting dynamic to work with.

C: Yeah – it’s like being stuck in a hotel forever. So those are the points where I thought, “Oh yeah. People are going to be mad.” But by and large, certainly I think Joss has trained a viewership and readership that expects bad things to happen to his characters, right? I love all those characters, but it couldn’t just be five issues of everybody having birthday cake, and having fun. That’s not a story. So that’s what the story turned into, was like, do those then re-form in certain ways, once those have been broken apart? Or do they change shape a little bit?

E: Of course, on top of that we’ve got the larger story of the Alliance and Calista and her group of creepy followers trying to get River back. Did that come out of – I don’t know if I want to spoil things – but it builds up into something that looks like in the next story, it’s going to be a really epic thing. Where did that come from?

C: There is a document – I’m not sure if I remember what the provenance of it was – but it’s included in several of the companions, and in the role-playing game. But Joss wrote it in the early days, I think to give the writers and the crew initially an idea of how this world worked. It’s a brief history of the ‘Verse, about 1,000 to 2,000 words long, written in the vernacular of the show; a history of what’s happened before now. It’s like a more elaborate version of that spoken-word intro that you got in the pilot. But in there, he talks a lot about the war, but there’s a line in there about soldiers who weren’t happy to lay down their arms – these Peacemakers. And it had actually been mentioned and visited in one of the earlier comics. But I felt like that was an interesting thread to pull, because Mal had broken in his own way, but there were a ton of other soldiers out there, and what are those guys up to? And maybe they still have axes to grind. Just looking at real examples from history, people have different agendas. We might agree that those are the Bad Guys, but how far are you willing to go? What are you willing to do? So that’s largely where those characters came from, was this offhand reference.

One of the other threads I found – I realized there was a story hidden in Inara’s backstory that had never been explored.

E: That was very interesting to me too. It kept being mentioned, and no one knew why she had left, and then you pulled that out.

C: I noticed that in reading through the scripts. It’s right there. It’s mentioned fairly early on – she left under a cloud; this was not her first choice, to go out and live in dirt, basically, this really classy lady. So that was a fannish question of mine – “Let’s see what’s back there? What’s interesting about that? What would cause her to have to do that?”

E: No Power in the ‘Verse is out in hardcover now. So what is coming next here? Are you working on something else with this?

C: I don’t know what their next plans are. I have been told that they are doing more stuff, but I don’t know what it is.

E: Okay, well I’ll keep hoping, because you set something up here that I want to know more about – what are Mal and the crew going to do next? But also, you had mentioned working with Georges Jeanty. I’ve known Georges and his work for a long time, and he has a history of working on this type of series, like Buffy, and Firefly, that have ended in the show, but then they’ve come into the comics world. So what’s that collaboration like? 

C: Oh, it’s great! I mean, I really like when a collaboration is really collaborative. It sounds trite but it’s true. Like, I don’t feel like, “Here are your marching orders; go do this thing.” Because I always try as much as possible to solicit input and suggestions on the story side of things from the artist. And there is a gag, a long-running gag in the book, that was entirely Georges’ suggestion. The one with Jayne and the hats, the sweaters… That was him.

E: Well bless him for that one, because that did make me laugh.

C: And as soon as he said it, I was like, “Oh, yeah, that’s perfect!” It also helped give a much-needed lightness to it. Because it’s a really heavy story. You gotta get some jokes in there somewhere. So that basically was Jayne’s job in the book.

E: Well here’s the next question – how does his ma always know where he’s gonna be?

C: That was actually something I had to work out the logistics of, and I went back – in that episode where he gets the hat, it’s kind of set up that they check in to see if there’s mail for them. So somehow the way the ‘Verse works is they’re basically “Mailbox, Inc.,” but on different planets, and these guys are going from planet to planet but occasionally check in to see, “Is there anything here for us?”

E: That makes sense. I noticed in reading that there’s a great balance between the characters and the action. Do you, as a writer, have to consciously work on that? Because this is a story with a lot of characters – a Badass Crew! And on top of that, an action series. How do you deal with that as a writer?

C: I start with the visuals, so my scripts always begin with…the first things I write are the panel descriptions. Which are basically my suggestions to the artist, how I think they’re going to draw. Like, “In my head, this is how I think you and your style would do it; if you have a better idea, do that.” And only after I’ve written the entire issue’s-worth of those do I go back and figure out, “Okay, what has to be communicated verbally? What has to be spoken?” And then I put as little of that in as I can.

E: Very cool. I noticed in the back of the hardcover trade, we also have a little fairy tale, which is super cute. I assume that came out as an individual issue?

C: It was actually included in last year’s Free Comic Book Day offer.

E: So how did that happen?

C: Well, the book hadn’t even been announced, but they asked me if I would do a Serenity piece for FCBD, and did I have any ideas. The art is by Stephen Byrne. And Stephen had done a bit of fan art a year or two before that that was like, Disney-Serenity. And so I was like, “Okay. How do we get to there?” And I ripped the plot off entirely from an early ’80s issue of Uncanny X-Men, where Kitty Pryde is telling Illyana Rasputin basically what the X-Men have been doing the last couple of years as a fairy tale. So in that way I was able to tackle some pretty heavy storylines. Like the death of Jean Grey was one of the things that was included in this fairy tale version of the story.

E: Yeah, and this of course tackles Wash, and that is a really interesting way to do that.

C: So I suggested Stephen. I said I would love to have him. I was assuming Joss would be cool with it because Joss already liked his fan art, and I think that was the only written feedback that I got from Joss. He just said, “Charming,” or “Utterly charming,” or something like that. And I was like, “All right, I’ll take that!” It also made people cry.

E: It did tug my heart strings a little bit there. So with Emma, the cute l’il baby, and also Bea and Iris, who we haven’t seen as much of, and obviously not in the show, what’s it like crafting new characters in this ‘Verse?

C: It’s an interesting challenge. Particularly with those two, taking a character who was basically what River would have been if she hadn’t been busted out, and is now being kind of deprogrammed, running around the galaxy having adventures. It was fun, to see, “What’s that like? What have they been doing?” We don’t get to spend as much time with them as I would like.

E: Anything else you’d like fans to know about this book? Or about your other work?

C: It’s out now, it’s gorgeous, it’s super good! Mostly what I do these days is set in the world of Hellboy, so they can check that out.

Thank you, Chris, for sitting down with me for this interview (and Dark Horse for setting it up). Check out Serenity: No Power in the ‘Verse, out in hardcover now.

And until next time, Servo Lectio!

 

Mindy Newell: Feet Of Clay

I don’t carry a sign over my head announcing my feminism—I do it with a tote bag from Emily’s List, which I use to, uh, tote my lunch and papers and such back and forth from work.  Said bag is inscribed with the following:

feminism noun fem-i-nism ‘fe-ma-,ni-zam

The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities

—Merriam-Webster

I’ve always thought of “equal rights and opportunities” in terms of work and salary, but I suppose it can also be applied to the prerogative of making a total ass of yourself in public, regardless of gender.

I am referring to the “Whedon vs. Cole” controversy that my buddy John Ostrander talked about yesterday, and which has caused mucho uproar all over the web, including over at the Whedonverse fan site, which is supposedly shutting down over it, although I had no trouble opening the site when I tried today.

As I replied to John,

Struggling man succeeds, becomes rich and powerful and famous.  Man cheats on wife while spewing words about feminism and publicly praising wife.  Ex-wife chooses to feel herself empowered by publicly detailing events that happened while married to ex-husband.  Ex-husband, through a spokesman, says that allegations are misrepresented.

Old story.

Yes, I am saying that Ms. Cole made an ass of herself as much as Mr. Whedon (allegedly) did.  And no, I won’t be surprised to be hit with outcry and insults from individual women and attacks from feminist websites.  I get it, I do.  What I think is definitely a very unfeminist thing to think.

But sometimes the best thing to do is to walk away and not look back; there’s a Wiccan belief (yeah, I tend to think of myself as a “Jewiccan”) that whatever harm or ill wish you inflict on another will come back to you three-fold.  So allow the universe to take care of it.  Karma, as they say, is a bitch.

John also mentioned his GrimJack episode in which Gaunt shot someone in the back.  Which made me remember the two-part Magnum, P.I. story that opened Season 3 of that venerable and much-beloved series.

In Part One of  “Did You See The Sun Rise?”, a compatriot from their days in Vietnam visits [Thomas] Magnum (Tom Selleck) and his friend TC (Roger E. Mosley), telling them that all three are being pursued by a man named Ivan, a Russian agent who caught and tortured them during the war.  At first, neither believes Nuzo; they think he is suffering from PTSD.  But it turns out that Nuzo is right; Ivan is somewhere in Hawaii. But the Navy wants to keep Ivan alive (for their own reasons) and assigns Lieutenant “Mac” MacReynolds, another friend of Magnum’s, to make sure that he does—they are afraid that Magnum and TC will kill Ivan; in other words, find Ivan, but make sure Magnum does “nothing stupid.”  So Mac claims that he quit the Navy, and starts hanging around with the private eye, saying that he wants to “learn the biz” from Magnum.  After a night oat a bar, Mac says, “Let’s drive up to the lookout point, and watch the sunrise,” rushing ahead of Magnum to get into the Ferrari.  The car explodes.

In the second part, Magnum discovers that Nuzo is actually Ivan’s operative, and that TC was “brainwashed” while in captivity in Vietnam.  Nuzo triggers the brainwashing, which will cause TC to kill a visiting Japanese prince.   Magnum stops TC in time, but due to political immunity, Ivan is set free.  But Magnum captures him, and while Magnum holds a gun on Ivan, they have this conversation:

Magnum:  It was all planned, back at Duc Hue?

Ivan:  Not specifics, not even target.  Just trigger.

Magnum:  How many others are out there like TC?

Ivan:  You are still a schoolboy, Thomas, using schoolboy tricks.

Magnum:  No tricks.  Who’s next on your hit list?  Begin?  Thatcher?  Reagan?

Ivan:  I have a plane to catch.  If you are going to shoot me, do it now… You won’t.  You can’t.  I know you, Thomas.  I had you for three months at Doc Hue.  I know you better than your mother.  Your sense of… honor and fair play.  Oh, you could shoot me—if I was armed and coming after you.  But like this—Thomas…never.  Goodbye, Thomas. 

Ivan says Do svidaniya, turns, and walks away.  Magnum stops him.

Magnum:  Ivan?

Ivan stops, turns to face Magnum, saying, Yes?

Magnum:  Did you see the sun rise this morning?

Ivan:  Yes.  Why?

Magnum shoots him in cold blood.

One of the reasons this episode was so effective was that up to now, Thomas Magnum, P.I., was played as an extremely likable character.  He’s endearing, he’s comic, he’s vulnerable, and often insecure.  He’s faithful.  He makes mistakes.  He lives from hand-to-mouth.  He can be incredibly lazy.  So much like us, in fact, that we forget that he is a Navy SEAL, that he’s trained to kill, that he’s seen and done things that he would rather forget, that we would find horrific.

This episode is a slap in the face, a bucket of ice water sloshed over our bodies, a lightning bolt“Holy Shit!” we collectively said.  “I forgot that he’s a Navy SEAL, that he’s trained to kill, that he’s fought in and survived a brutal war, that he’s seen and done things that are really, really ugly, and can still do them.” 

Only children’s heroes are perfect.  As adults, we are bored by them.  Think of Star Trek: The Next Generation’s first seasons.  Be honest…it was pretty damn boring, wasn’t it?  (Really, if it hadn’t been Star Trek, I’m convinced it would have quickly been cancelled.)

Gaunt and Magnum are the best kind of heroes.

Those with feet of clay.

And for those who worship Joss Whedon, think about that before sending him to the Hellmouth.  And do the same for Kai Cole, okay?


I want to extend my sincerest condolences to ComicMix’s Mike Gold and Adriane Nash, whose beloved sister and aunt died on Saturday.  May Hashem and the Goddess bring all of you peace. 

John Ostrander: Should This Man Be Considered A Role Model?

“I am myself indifferent honest, but yet I could accuse me of such things that it were better my mother had not borne me.”

—Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1

Joss Whedon created Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is credited with writing strong female roles and espousing feminist ideals – but not by his ex-wife, Kai Cole, who on the blog The Wrap accused him of being a serial cheater during their marriage and was a “hypocrite preaching feminist ideals.” This has led to a number of (now ex) fans venting their anger and feelings of betrayal.

Is it true? I dunno. I don’t know Whedon and Cole personally. Could she be lying? Possibly. Could he be an asshole? Possibly. It’s not the point of this column, however. The question I want to consider is – should Whedon, or any artist or celebrity, be considered a role model?

A role model is someone who is held up as an example to be emulated. They can come from any walk of life; indeed, they don’t have to be living or real. Isn’t Superman a role model? Sherlock Holmes? Wonder Woman?

Barack Obama is a role model to many, although probably not to those who think of Donald Trump as a role model (shudder).

Charles Barkley once famously said, “I’m not a role model… Just because I dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids.” He caught a lot of flak for that at the time but I tend to agree. The work can and must exist apart from its creator. Edgar Allan Poe was a drug addict. Picasso had multiple mistresses. Wonder Woman’s creator, William Moulton Marston, lived with both his wife and a lover i