Tagged: The Walking Dead

Joe Corallo: United Against Hysteria

I didn’t think I was going to write about Howard Chaykin, Image Comics, and The Divided States of Hysteria. When the first controversy sparked up the beginning of last month I had already committed to an interview with a team working on a Kickstarter project for my column that followed said controversy. While people still talked about it some after I thought people had basically covered the scope of the issue and I wouldn’t have anything constructive to add.

Then this happened followed by this apology from Image Comics and Howard Chaykin. I tend to discuss these sort of occurrences in the comics community and I really haven’t lately so it’s time for me to get back to that.

Full disclosure: I have met Howard Chaykin before at a few conventions, got a Lois Lane sketch from him some years ago, and attended a panel back at the first Special Edition NYC spotlighting him with fellow ComicMix columnist Martha Thomases in which he recommended we read the Tom De Haven novel It’s Superman which is actually quite good and one of the best things you’ll ever read that stars The Man Of Tomorrow.

I don’t want to rehash all the details you likely already know, and if you are somehow into comics enough to read columns on comic book news sites and are not aware of what’s been going on, it’s covered in the links provided. You can also type in keywords in a Twitter search and find plenty on this. So, rather than restate the information, I’ll tell you how I, someone that discusses diversity in comics and adjacent topics, read this situation.

First, nobody is ever obligated to purchase and enjoy a comic. Period. If people see a cover or an image from a comic that makes them not want to read it, they don’t have to. They’re allowed to voice their displeasure and tell their friends and the Internet they don’t want to read it and you shouldn’t either. People are allowed to look at a comic and decide against it without reading it.

It is not against the concept of free speech to openly discuss why you do not like or support something; it’s nearly the entire point of free speech. Nor is speaking out against this comic censorship. Howard Chaykin and Image Comics have every right to put out this material and you and anyone else have every right to actively not support it if you so desire.

It’s up to the marketing people and the publisher to convince people that their product is worth their time and to spend money on it. Part of the blunder that took place here is that Image had worked out getting The Divided States of Hysteria a Pride variant when the content inside didn’t fit for that audience. More eyes, including a lot more queer eyes, were on this book because of that variant and it being Pride month. Had this book come out without that variant and later on in the year I think it may have glided under the radar a bit and while their likely would have been some backlash, it wouldn’t have hit the same levels.

Another factor is that this is an Image comic. While Image does have some gruesome books like The Walking Dead, most of its line-up is pretty accessible to a wide comics audience. A publisher more well known for its over-the-top stories and graphic imagery like Avatar Press may have been able to take on The Divided States of Hysteria with less backlash.

The political and cultural environment is just not where this book is either. People are upset, depressed, and frightened by what we see coming out of the White House; I know I am. Had the results on November 9th, 2016 been different then maybe people would have been a little more open to the idea of a comic that’s talking about a horrible alternate reality. It hits a little too close to home for many right now.

The timing of this book was way off. Particularly with the portrayal of a trans sex worker being brutalized. What may have seemed edgy or even acceptable decades ago in terms of representing a trans character doesn’t fly anymore. At least fourteen trans women, mostly trans women of color, have been murdered just for being trans this year, and more trans women were killed in 2016 than in 2015. I encourage you to follow the link in the last sentence and to read the names of those we’ve lost. Audiences not only are demanding more from trans representation in all media, but it’s necessary and can save lives.

Finally, I want to talk a bit about Howard Chaykin himself. Some people have criticized him for being “an old white guy.” While there is some truth to that, it’s a bit more complicated. Howard Chaykin was born October 7th, 1950. He had a rough childhood moving many times as a kid across New York City, being raised on welfare, finding out later in life that who he thought was his biological father was in fact not and having a cruel adoptive father.

Despite all that, and despite the fact that many doors shut in front of him as he tried to develop his career early on because he’s Jewish, Howard was able to get his start in comics before branching out into other media. One of his early works, American Flagg!, was also a political satire and starred Reuben Flagg, an overtly Jewish lead at a time where that was far from common in mainstream comics. Hell, it’s uncommon now. That work, in particular, went on to inspire multiple generations of comic creators, including Warren Ellis, Matt Fraction, Frank Miller, and Brian Michael Bendis.

I’m not writing all this to make you change your mind on The Divided States of Hysteria. If you don’t want to read it, don’t. If you don’t like Howard Chaykin’s work, continue to not like it. If you want other people to know you feel that way, let them know.

What I am saying is that he is a person, he’s fought his own battles for decades to get where he is, he may have been through more than you know, he and Image Comics are in no way advocating bigotry, there is absolutely no need to make personal attacks towards Howard, and his entire body of work should not be summed up in one poorly timed and arguably poorly executed comic book.

The Point Radio: The Town That Loves Zombies

For six years, the town of Jasper, Alabama has been struggling to complete an independent zombie film. Now SyFy is shining a light on their plight with the docu-series, TOWN OF LIVING DEAD and we talk with resident Tina Teeter on how her life has been eaten up by they project. Plus BAR RESCUE star, Jon Taffer, is back with checkbook in hand but is there anyone who deserves his help?

We are covering New York Comic Con in a big way.  To see what we are up to, follow us on Twitter and Instagram. And if you can’t make the show, we are carrying LIVE video feeds from NYCC at our website, GetThePointRadio.Com starting on Thursday. Don’t miss a minute.

THE POINT covers it 24/7! Take us ANYWHERE on ANY mobile device (Apple or Android). Just  get the free app, iNet Radio in The  iTunes App store – and it’s FREE!  The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE  – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

“The Walking Dead” Is Bigger Than Football

The Walking Dead

Late, but worth noting: nowadays, TV shows based on comics outscore the NFL. And that’s why there are seven new shows coming that are based on comics.

And among the people with real buying power, The Walking Dead won. Imagine that. We now have a new emblem of Americanness. “Oh, Cody was like the typical all-American kid in high school. Blonde hair, blue eyes, was president of the Walking Dead fan club.”

via ‘The Walking Dead’ Is Bigger Than Football – The Wire.

The Point Radio: THE WRITER’S ROOM Opens Again

COMMUNITY’s Jim Rash is back in THE WRITER’S ROOM for another season, and he previews it all here for us including an episode dedicated exclusively to comic book shows. Plus Tyler Labine talks about his new paranormal comedy, DEADBEAT, which is ready for your binge watching and Thanos will pull the Marvel Universe closer together.

THE POINT covers it 24/7! Take us ANYWHERE on ANY mobile device (Apple or Android). Just  get the free app, iNet Radio in The  iTunes App store – and it’s FREE!  The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE  – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

The Point Radio: The Doors Close On WAREHOUSE 13

SyFy is bring the curtain on WAREHOUSE 13 with a last run of six original episodes that begin next Monday (April 14th) on the network. Stars Eddie McClintock and Joanne Kelly, along with show runner Jack Kenny, talk about how it feels to say goodbye in such a short window. Plus 2014 has not been a banner year for comic sales and even the zombies could’t keep stores alive in March.

THE POINT covers it 24/7! Take us ANYWHERE on ANY mobile device (Apple or Android). Just  get the free app, iNet Radio in The  iTunes App store – and it’s FREE!  The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE  – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

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…)

Martha Thomases: Frontieres Sans Comics

Please forgive me.  I’m hideously jet-lagged.

Also, I haven’t read a comic book nor any of the news sites for more than ten days.  Whatever the scandal du jour is, I don’t have an opinion.

Although I was in Israel for more than a week, I didn’t see a single comic book.  I saw some newspaper cartoons at the Holocaust Museum, and the international edition of The New York Times in Jerusalem had strips, but that was it.

There were no comic book stores in any of the areas I walked through.  I would think this might be some kind of kink in tourist destinations, but the Arab market in the Old City had three yarn shops.  They were clearly designed for the local market (meaning they had no high-ticket tourist bait), so why were there no comics?

Certainly, the kids new about American superheroes.  On Purim, not only did I see various Supergirls but Iron Men, Hulks, Spider-Men and more.  It’s funny to see a kid with side-curls and a Thing t-shirt.  I hope Jack Kirby would be pleased.

One of the most amazing people I met was in Akko, a city in the Western Gallilee.  He had been in the Army, like many Israelis, but he and also been a junkie and had been in prison for a spell.  He got himself together and was working with teens at risk.  One of his projects was to organize a chess club.  Chess is the hip thing to do in Akko.  Arab kids play it.  Jews play it.  They play in tournaments together.

He told the story of a tourist couple, walking in the old section of town late at night, who saw a group of teen boys standing around a dark corner.  The tourists were frightened, but had to walk that way.  When they got close to the boys, they saw that two of them were playing chess, and the rest were watching.

It’s what the cool kids do.

It seems to me that a kid that can learn how to play chess can learn how to plot a story, or at least appreciate a story with a good plot.  If there isn’t a comic book shop in Akko (and, like I said, I didn’t see one), maybe that’s a business opportunity.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to catch up on The Walking Dead.

Photo by Keshet: GLBT inclusion in the Jewish Community

The Point Radio: Fairy Tale Fantasy In WINTER’S TALE

It’s a fairy tale, it’s a fantasy and it’s a romance. WINTER’S TALE covers a lot of territory as it makes the jump from novel to film. Director and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman and star Colin Farrell talk about how the magic strings it all together. Plus Bryan Singer picks up a comic property and you can get set to binge watch STAR WARS CLONE WARS in just a few days.

THE POINT covers it 24/7! Take us ANYWHERE on ANY mobile device (Apple or Android). Just  get the free app, iNet Radio in The  iTunes App store – and it’s FREE!  The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE  – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

The Point Radio: STAR CROSSED Brings Romance To SciFi

Premiering next Monday (February 17th) on the CW, STAR CROSSED mixes a bit of X-Men with Romeo and Juliet into a new sci-fi/romance series. We talk to Aimee Teagarden, Matt Lanter and creator, Meredith Averill, on just what the series will be. Plus Batman leads the sales list in what turns out to be a slow start to 2014 for comic shops.

THE POINT covers it 24/7! Take us ANYWHERE on ANY mobile device (Apple or Android). Just  get the free app, iNet Radio in The  iTunes App store – and it’s FREE!  The Point Radio  – 24 hours a day of pop culture fun. GO HERE and LISTEN FREE  – and follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

John Ostrander: A Fair-to-Middling Earth

ostrander-art-140126-150x113-4909151Different media have different demands, and adapting work done in one medium for another can be problematic. Comics, especially super-hero comics, used to be very difficult to make into films. We did not believe a man could fly; we believed he was lying belly down on a table with a fan blowing over him. However, CGI and other technology caught up with films and, today, some might say the superhero film is more faithful to the feel and spirit of the lead character than the comics are.

I think that’s the key, especially when adapting novels into films. Novels are too long to be strictly adapted into movies; Game of Thrones works fairly well, as does The Walking Dead, because they are TV series. The episodic nature allows for the kind of development that mirrors the length and structure of the source material.

It comes down to what do you keep in, what do you cut; what do you omit and what do you add; what plot elements are the most important, what are less important; what’s necessary to tell the story? What choices do you make? These are basic questions for any story but are even more vital when you’re adapting another person’s creation. How true must you be to the source material – to the letter or to the spirit? Who is the primary storyteller?

When it was first announced that The Lord of the Rings was going to be made into movies, I was hesitant, dubious, and worried. I love LotR and I just didn’t see how it could be done. However, director Peter Jackson made a believer out of me. His adaptation is not perfect, no, but the fact that it exists is damn near a miracle.

When The Hobbit was announced, initially I was very psyched. Originally, Peter Jackson was only going to produce, not direct, but due to delays he eventually wound up taking over the director’s reins again. J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Hobbit initially as a children’s book and, while in the same setting of Middle-Earth as LotR, Tolkien only later amended the book to tie into the later work. Some characters appear in both works.

The Hobbit is a shorter book than LotR so I was only mildly concerned when it was announced it would be made into two films. It’s when Jackson announced it would become three films that I started to become apprehensive once again. Still, Jackson had earned my trust with LotR. I adopted a wait and see attitude.

Well, I’ve seen the first two parts of Jackson’s The Hobbit and I am somewhat less than thrilled. They’re not bad films per se but it’s been made very much into a prequel for Jackson’s LotR and not to the source material’s benefit.

Warning: spoilers of both the movies and the books follow.

The basic story is the same: the titular Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, is dragooned into a motley crew of dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield, to reclaim their kingdom. Coming along is the wizard Gandalf the Gray. Woven into the story is how Bilbo won/stole the One Ring from Gollum. This, combined with an appendix Tolkien wrote, is the story of how the Great Enemy, Sauron, regrouped at Dol Guldur as the Necromancer until he was driven out by the White Council, including Gandalf (who disappears from The Hobbit’s storyline for a while to do this).

Adding this to the film makes sense and fleshing out that part of the story is fine. I also don’t have a problem with adding Legolas to the story or a new character, Tauriel, or even her possible romance with one of the dwarves. What bothers me is padding and bloating in the storyline. There’s a protracted running, jumping, yelling, fighting scene in the underground kingdom of the Goblins that could have been right out of the Mines of Moria sequence in LotR. It goes on way too long. Richard Armitage, as dwarf leader Thorin, is simply too good looking and something of a stand-in for Aragon in LotR. There’s a battle between the dwarves and the dragon, Smaug, within the mountain kingdom that simply never happened in the book and, again, goes on way too long.

For me, this is now less J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and more Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit. It’s less about picking the elements to best tell the original story than what Jackson feels like doing. Some things he gets absolutely right, such as the aforementioned scene between Bilbo and Gollum. In that he keeps very close to the scene as written by Tolkien and it works wonderfully. A later scene, between Bilbo and Smaug, does not stick as closely to Tolkien and it suffers for it.

I will undoubtedly go to the third film when it comes out and I will have all three in DVD or Blu-Ray format as they become available, including the inevitable Director’s Cut versions which may be even more bloated. I understand this is Jackson’s vision of The Hobbit but it’s a lot darker than the book was. I’m very glad these films exist at all; I just would have liked it if they had been a little more Tolkien and a little less Jackson.

MONDAY: Mindy Newell