Archive for November, 2014

Marvel: “Hire Some Actual Black People”

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

LOL! That was my snarky comment to the LA Times concerning Sam Wilson taking over as Cap. Here is the broader context of my remarks:

“…what do you think publishers can do to better engage a diverse audience that will produce new comics storytellers?”

Hire some actual black people.

Sam Wilson, as I understand him, would never take on the Cap role: it’s not who he is. He *might* do it to honor Steve Rogers, but Sam, as I understand him, would realize the Captain America symbol is so much bigger than the man; it is the embodiment of an ideal, one that Sam, as I understand him, cannot wholly and unflinchingly embrace the way Steve did. As such, Sam, as I understand him, would have more integrity than to assume the identity at anything less than full investment in what Steve stood for–not 85% or wherever he might be in terms of how Sam, as I understand him, sees the world.

Assure me that (1) Sam is in character and that he has somehow gained the 15% necessary to even want to do this, and (2) that this change is permanent and irrevocable, and then maybe, possibly, I could get in the zone with this.

Sam is or was a social worker. They may have retconned that out, but that was his original profession. Do you have any idea what a crappy job that is? You go into housing projects and report people who have a new iron or too many TVs in the house. Your caseload is a mile high and your heart breaks every single day. Now, to be a social worker in New York City, you have to have an MSW. Every time I read Sam or Falcon “talking jive,” I want to throw up. Sam, as I understand him, has a MSW, which you cannot earn if you cannot articulate the language.

He’s a guy who had a heart for the disenfranchised, for the least among us, which makes him something of an evangelical. He’s seen both the good and the terrible things government can do. Steve Rogers is unique among all human beings not because of the Super Soldier serum but because of his unapologetic commitment to the promise of America, his belief in moral absolutes, something most of us would consider somewhat naive. It works for Steve because Steve is 110 years old. Sam—or, frankly, you or I—are simply not capable of seeing the world the way Steve Rogers does or living out that level of commitment. We’ve seen too much; even our best idealism has been tainted by gross disappointment. That stuff just rolls off of Steve Rogers in a way it never could roll off of Sam Wilson.

Sam, as I understand him, has, however, become infected not necessarily with Steve’s patriotism but with Steve’s integrity. If Sam could not commit 100% to the ideal of Captain America, he would not wear the uniform. Sam is not a patriot in the same sense of the word as Steve, but he’d honor both Steve and the Captain America uniform by not draping himself in that legacy if he couldn’t be what Steve was. At best, he’d modify the suit and call himself something else, which would be fine with me, but I personally don’t see Sam taking on the Captain America role unless Marvel has retcionned him somehow or the Red Skull is mucking with his personality again.

Please To Explain

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Can anybody explain to me: (1) how they did this: I mean, this looks expensive and at least mildly technically difficult, and (2) why they did this? I mean, they can’t possibly be making money off of trademarked characters… or could they…? These shorts are a little silly, but only a little. The Batman guy is actually pretty good. Help an old guy out and explain what I’m looking at, here…? (more…)

Election Post Mortem

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Ever see those terrible, evil commercials where Ed McMahon or Wilfred Brimley looks soulfully into the camera and lies to old folks? You know, the reverse mortgages, life insurance, Medic Alert and healthcare scams? To me, that’s what the entire 2014 political campaign season was about: lying to and scaring old folk. I think my brain literally melted from the onslaught of insulting, soporific ads reducing terribly complex issues to MacDonald’s Happy Meal slogans. The manipulative, stupid formula played out again and again—the scary music, the grainy, black-and-white photo of the political opponent, “he voted against (or for) such-and-such…” which conveniently leaves out the fact legislators often vote for or against things not necessarily on their merits but because of extenuating factors like stupid amendments tacked onto bills or insider political shenanigans which kill bills in their crib.

Every day, my mailbox filled up with junk—expensive, oversized glossy junk printed in huge letters so old folk can read them without searching for their glasses. One of my favorites, an anti-Udall glossy which included a NY Post quote from the year 2000, nine years before Udall was elected to anything. How stupid do these people think I am?

Of course, the messaging is not for me or even my mom. It’s for my grandmother, my great aunt and her group down at the senior center. It’s for low-information voters who vote out of anger, resentment or bias rather than resolve to compromise in order to actually do what’s best for their community, state or country. It’s all about winning, now—this zero-sum formulaic fanaticism. (more…)