Tag Archives: Comics Alliance

Don’t Just Hire Minority Creators [Promote Hiring Them, Too]

It should be absolutely no secret to any and all of you that I’m an advocate for diversity. There are a myriad of different reasons for this, from the “it would be nice…” of seeing a little more colour in popular media to the more specific “think of the children” that pertains to White boys specifically [not White girls or Black boys and girls] having their self-esteem boosted by watching TV. What some people don’t realize is that the need need for diversity extends beyond actors and the characters they portray to the actual creators involved.

I’m not going to say that a White man cannot ever be involved in the creation of art that discusses or features minorities and their struggles- it’s a topic I touched on when discussing children’s author Rich Michelson and the books he’s written about the Civil Rights Movement. These stories can, and have been, and will continue to be valid, the question remains as to why we live in a world where a James Brown biopic can be created as a summer blockbuster and have “all the producers, writers, and the director [. . . be] white.” At what point should anyof these people stopped and thought to themselves, “Maybe a Black person would be able to provide a perspective on this that none of the rest of us could?” “Immediately” is the answer in case you were wondering.

This is all a lead-up to how, if this is definitely a problem in our current culture, we can change things. As history would dictate I am going to be coming at this from a distinctly comic-related perspective, but the issues therein can be paralleled across the board to TV and movies.  Continue reading

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Writers’ Roundtable: Pride Week

EVAN: Dear readers, the three of us have gathered once again to discuss what is arguably one of the most important contemporary cultural events in recent years: Pride Week.

Things are going to be very different for us given where we live [it is a huge deal here in Toronto], and I suppose I’d like to start this off by asking what our respective cities are like right now-

GORDON: Well, here in Vegas over the past weekend we had half-naked people in neon paint dancing around the streets, but that was just the Electric Daisy Carnival. Seeing as we’re looking at heat in the triple digits, I don’t imagine we’re going to be having a stellar Pride Parade, but that’s just my guess…

EVAN: But you do have an actual Pride Parade over there?

GORDON: I have no idea, I’m afraid. I’ll look it up now. [awkward pause] Okay, we do- but it’s in September.

KAT: Well, I am currently in Williams Lake and when I looked up “Williams Lake” and “Pride” together, all I was able to find was site after site discussing Williams Lake’s Pride in their upcoming Stampede. So I’m going to go ahead and say there will be pretty well no public displays here for Pride Week. There is, however, a Pride Society in Victoria so I’m expecting to see some pictures hitting my Facebook page soon of the Pride Parade there. Continue reading

What Do We Want From America [In Terms of Diversity]?

As I was walking around doing errands yesterday I began to muse on one of my favourite topics: diversity in media. While this could’ve been a very pleasant stroll on an afternoon that felt much more like spring than winter, my mind felt the need to challenge itself with a question I’m sure often leaves the lips of those who are sick of “having diversity crammed down their throats”: Why is the US held responsible for all of this? Continue reading

Shame Day: Negativity

As some of you may know, I played a lot of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm last week. Having played the campaign from Tuesday to Friday, I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was many, many times better than its predecessor, Wings of Liberty, and I only had good things to say about it.

Now, I am a person who thoroughly believes that a discerning eye is needed when approaching anything. Millions upon millions of people ate Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises up with a spoon, and shower it in praise. I haven’t personally taken the time to write this all of this out, but I’ve discussed it with friends for hours, and can leave it up to Christopher Sebela of Comics Alliance and “first black comics editor” Christopher Priest to speak on my behalf. Suffice to say, I was not terribly impressed.

You read that right. I did not like The Dark Knight Rises.

And, since The Dark Knight Rises was a film I thoroughly disliked, I should mention that I am very willing to find flaws in the things I love. The Avengers was a film that I really, really liked, but I’ll be one of the first people to tell you that Hawkeye really got the short end of the stick, and that [SPOILERS] the Chitauri just flopping over like a bunch of Trade Federation droids probably deserved some sort of explanation.

To get to the reason I decided to write this post. When StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty came out StarCraft Legacy writer Gradius put together a very extensive review of the single-player campaign, and he was not very gracious. I remember reading it three years ago and agreeing with him on almost every point, the story needed quite a bit of work.

Then maybe four or so hours ago I read his review of Heart of the Swarm, and he ripped it a new one. While I will admit that he peppers his review with positivity he ultimately ends up damning its entirety with faint praise. It leaves no stone unturned, and takes time to dub the game’s creators as being “juvenile” and utilizing “fridge logic.” I finished it and felt sick to my stomach.

I wish I could edit this to have Kerrigan shedding a single tear.

Why was I so upset? I have argued extensively about why I think a widely beloved film is objectively bad, does this make me a hypocrite? Have I taken something that other people hold dearly and spat on it, making them feel as I have?

No, I don’t think so, and it all has to do with how you say what you’re saying.

There exists a very popular series of YouTube videos reviewing the Star Wars prequels done by Red Letter Media. My housemates in college adored them, and I distinctly remember them watching the Phantom Menace review and having a really great time doing so. I didn’t really share in their enthusiasm.

The honest truth is that the reviewer acknowledges where the prequel films went wrong, and makes some incredibly insightful comments about simple storytelling structure within film; there’s some great stuff there. The problem for me was that his videos are dripping with sarcasm, disrespect, a smattering of immaturity, I could go on. It’s a fantastically written analysis packaged in a format that I found really unappealing.

When my friends and I saw X-Men: The Last Stand back in high school we walked out and broke down how it could have been improved. Highlight the relationship between Bobby [Iceman], Kitty [Shadowcat], and Rogue [does anyone call her by her real name?], make the mutant cure more of a topic of discussion among the X-Men, creating divisiveness within the team, etc. We did a lot of the same things that the reviewer did for The Phantom Menace, but we did so by focusing on how it could be better instead of why it was so awful.

We did.

I am a huge proponent of people thinking hard on what sort of media they consume, and processing whether or not it was actually good. On top of that, I also strongly value the ability to find the good in everything [The Last Airbender had good . . . costume design . . . there, I found something]. My mother told me for years that “if you have nothing good to say, don’t say it.” I slightly disagree. If you have nothing good to say, say it in a way that isn’t dripping with snark. Say it in a way that will convince people to see that no, it wasn’t good, and this is exactly why, and this is how it could be.

There are some things I downright disagree with in regards to Gradius’ review of Heart of the Swarm, but at it’s core I see a huge fan of the franchise who has ultimately been disappointed by Blizzard’s first two installments in over a decade. That being said, he doesn’t so much throw the baby out with the bathwater as he just chucks the whole tub out the window.

I love reading reviews. I love reading what other people have to say about films I’ve watched or comic books I’ve read. What I hate is when negativity seeps in, and when it actively seeks to prevent me from legitimately enjoying something that I once did. I appreciate your opinion, and I generally want to hear about it, but I also want you to give it to me straight, free of your spite and vitriol.

Gun Control and Cartoonists

As most of you should know by now, I am a Canadian. And as a Canadian, I actually know very little about American gun control laws. Yes, I know about the Second Amendment and have been somewhat in the know about the encroaching legislation brought about, more or less, due to the tragedy that befell Sandy Hook Elementary.

I also know about the National Rifle Association, whose job it is, apparently, to make sure that American citizens continue to have the right to bear arms. They also have a lobbying group called the Institute for Legislative Action [ILA]. Wikipedia let me know that members of Congress have ranked the ILA as the most powerful lobbying organization in the US for a few years in a row now.

Now I know what you’re thinking. “Dang, Evan, get to the point already. This doesn’t even have anything to do with comics, which are definitely your forte [and that you probably write about too much].” Well, dear reader, allow me to cut to the chase.

By cartoonist Jimmy Margulies. Also the image that Comics Alliance used, but hey, it’s perfect for the topic.

This morning Comics Alliance released an article titled “14 Editorial Cartoonists Make NRA Blacklist For ‘Endorsing Anti-Gun Positions.’” Its focus was a list that the NRA-ILA had put together of people and organizations who have been known to lend their “name and notoriety to anti-gun causes.” The reason they bring this to attention is that joining the National Black Nurses` Association and actress Catherine Zeta Jones are 14 political cartoonists. Described as being “journalists [who] actively editorialize in favor of gun controls laws” they are as follows:

The links provided for each cartoonist were provided by the article on Comics Alliance, and are super useful. Unfortunately, the link they provided for the NRA-ILA’s blacklist was much less useful. The problem is that the link [which you can check here] does not work, by no means due to the fault of the comics news site. It turns out that whoever runs the site has since taken it down.

But wait, there’s more!

Luckily for me [and, consequently, you], Internet Archive exists. By taking the dead-end link and throwing it into their “Wayback Machine,” I was able to retrieve the list, available for your viewing pleasure:

THE NRA-ILA’S BLACKLIST FOR THOSE WHO HAVE
OFFICIALLY ENDORSED ANTI-GUN POSITIONS

Does anyone else find it disconcerting that a) an organization that is known for promoting the right to tote firearms has a blacklist of any kind, or b) that they’ve since taken down this page due to it receiving media attention?

Since the NRA considers gun ownership to be a civil right they have dubbed themselves the “largest and oldest civil rights organization in the United States.” I’m not at all implying that there’s anything inherently menacing or threatening about their list, I’m questioning their transparency. If there’s nothing wrong with the list, then why take it down? Was it to hide the fact that there could exist a list so ridiculous that it lumps together R&B group Boyz II Men, actor Jerry Seinfeld, Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, Inc.,  and the Washington Post?

I’m not sure why it happened, but I’m letting you know that it did; what you do with this information is entirely up to you. It also has to do with comics on some level, which you know I can’t not write about.