Tag Archives: ComicsAlliance

Asian Iron Fist: Point, Counterpoint, and My Two Cents

hi-yahhYesterday Entertainment Weekly revealed that Marvel had finally found their next star in Game of Thrones actor Finn Jones. The character he’ll be playing is Daniel Rand, AKA Iron Fist, the face of their fourth Netflix-exclusive series [following DaredevilJessica Jones, and the upcoming Luke Cage]. I could sum up who he is, but EW did a pretty good job with that in their coverage already:

“…Iron Fist is Daniel Rand, who at age of 9 travels with his family from New York to a lost mystical city called K’un-L’un. After some tragic twists of fate, Rand is adopted by the city’s ruler and taught advanced martial arts and the mystical power of the Iron Fist. As an adult, Rand returns to his native New York and begins a career as a superhero.”

In the comic books Danny is, much like his silver screen compatriots Captain America and Thor, White, blonde-haired, and blue-eyed. Ever since it was announced that he would be headlining his own show there has been a discussion over what race he should be, with Keith Chow over at Nerds of Color making his stance clear with his article “Marvel, Please Cast An Asian American Iron Fist“. As soon as the news hit my tumblr feed was flooded with like-minded individuals, with one post in particular that caught my eye, presenting the following two tweets-

-labeled “Point” and “Counterpoint”, respectively.

Now I have no intention of dedicating a large portion of this post to Liefeld, known in many comic book circles as being a man incapable of drawing feet [though now probably vastly more famous for co-creating Deadpool]. He also had just the two words to share, as opposed to a full article that Wheeler penned on the subject, so instead I’ve chosen to have Albert Ching of Comic Book Resources take his stead. Continue reading

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David Goyer is the Worst, And We’re On A Break

So this post could be the logical continuation of my Shame Day post on Akira, which focused on Hollywood’s complete lack of respect for a film they’re looking to remake. David Goyer, a man I already cared very little for as a screenwriter, said some disparaging things about She-Hulk in a podcast [which from my understanding has since been edited somewhat]. He went on, however, to insult comic book fans everywhere, with the words:

“How many people in the audience have heard of Martian Manhunter?”

<pause>

“How many people that raised their hands have ever been laid?”

I could certainly delve into this much more, but Chris Sims over at ComicsAlliance already has, and done so quite well. Check out what he has to say, because he smartly points out that the one who just said these things has a hand in the future of DC’s cinematic universe. I’ll bring everything concerning that terrible man to a close with the following two panels-

shulkienotimpressed

Anyway, as the title of this post would suggest, I have some blog news for you all. Continue reading

Clearing My Head of Man of Steel, A Short Post

Here’s the deal, folks. My grandfather has been ill since Sunday, and in the hospital since Tuesday. I’m getting up very early tomorrow to spend an hour with him before work, and probably should  have been in bed over an hour ago.

Not only that, but I saw Man of Steel on Tuesday.

Let me just say that there were bound to be some people who took issue with the reimagining of the character, and still others who would stand by its merits as a film, but I never foresaw this. The amount of divisiveness this movie has created is unbelievable, and the opinions I’ve read have been at such far extremes and delivered with such furor. People have debating Man of Steel like it’s the church’s stance on predestination.

The thing is, I am one of those people. Continue reading

Shame Day: DC Comics

shamedcThe fact that I got home and remembered the title of this post, but not what exactly DC got wrong is not a good sign. Sorry, let me rephrase that. It was difficult for me to remember which PR catastrophe DC pulled off to warrant me finally dedicating a Shame Day to them.

Today [I am writing this on Monday night] is a dark day in comic book news because one of my all time favourite sites, ComicsAlliance, is no more. That doesn’t have anything to do with this post, but I needed to take the time to mention those writers and the years they dedicate to that site. It was nominated for an Eisner; come on, AOL.

That horrific news was followed up by the announcement by fellow comic book site The Outhouse that they had been blacklisted by DC. Continue reading

Storm and “Black Hair”

This is somewhat of a continuation off of yesterday’s Fame Day post, concentrating particularly on the Marvel character Storm. Kris Anka’s design for the weather-wielding Ororo Munroe harkens back to her appearance in the 80s [seen on the right].

Keeping consistent with most changes to beloved comic book characters, the mohawk was met with both praise and scorn.

Trawling the comments section of the ComicsAlliance article on the topic, I came across two guys who were very interested in not just the style of her hair, but the state or quality of it as well.


Earlier on Scafin commented about wanting to see Storm’s hair in its natural state. In following up with my reply to his thoughts  [and with a slight miscommunication as to what I meant by “black hair”] he said:

I don’t mean color, though. I really want to see her with white, afro-textured hair. I understand why she was given relaxed hair when she was introduced, as that was the norm back then, but the ubiquity of relaxed hair has declined since then.

The thing is, Storm as a character has always had straight, white hair. The fan-run Marvel Database tells me that she’s descended from “an ancient line of African priestesses, all of whom have white hair, blue eyes, and the potential to wield magic.” That answers Scafin in that the character has never had “black hair.” It’s part of who Storm is now [having been depicted as a young child that way] and to retcon that many years of portrayal would fare poorly with fans.

This leads to another question, though, which is why Storm was designed this way at all. This comment on an article about Storm’s marriage to the Black Panther had the following to say about the character’s creation:

I’m going to break this down as quickly and efficiently as possible, so we can concentrate on the more important aspects of the comment.

  • People are upset about the marriage because Marvel didn’t lead up to it well enough. In other words, they weren’t invested, and that’s adding to the fact that marriages in comic books typically do not work [see Peter and Mary-Jane in “One More Day.”]
  • That this is the sexual domination of White over Black when one of the very first relationships Storm gets into in the comics is with Forge, a member of the Cheyenne people. He was not, and still isn’t, white.

David Brothers, a blogger on staff with ComicsAlliance, agreed with part of what Africa had to say, commenting on the same article:

I liked Hudlin’s run on Panther. It was one of the precious few times that Storm actually felt like a black character, instead of a fetish object with blue eyes and perfectly straight hair.

This is in stark contrast to the article he wrote for Marvel a year earlier titled “A Marvel Black History Lesson Pt. 1.” In it he has more than a few good things to say about the heroine, which can be summed with these words:

If Gabe Jones stood for reality, Black Panther for ingenuity, Robbie Robertson for integrity, The Falcon for equality, Luke Cage for self-awareness, and Misty Knight for unadulterated cool, Storm was the combination of all of their traits and more. She was the daughter of a Kenyan princess and a photojournalist from Harlem, and therefore a direct link from African Americans and the continent known as “the Motherland.” She was powerful on a world-class level, refused to allow anyone to be her master, and commanded a massive amount of respect from all who knew her.

Taking into account Brothers’ apparent conflict in viewing the character, I
personally come away from this with the knowledge that Storm is more than just eye candy, she is a strong [in terms of power and character] heroine on par with many of her peers.

While Storm having straight hair may have been a product of the time she was created in, that in no way affects who she is as a character. Marvel has the right to maintain consistency in how she is portrayed, and has other characters who are better examples of having “black hair.” While the event of her marriage had its flaws Storm remains someone who has both strong ties to Africa and one of the most prominent black superheroes of all time. The straightness of her hair should in no way detract from that.

Fame Day: Kris Anka

Today’s Fame Day post is dedicated to the artistic genius of Kris Anka. I’ve been following his work on the superhero redesign blog Project : Rooftop for some time, and was thrilled to see him get the recognition he deserves on ComicsAlliance yesterday.

Apparently Anka had been hired by Marvel to design the costumes for the new Uncanny X-Force series, and he puts his own spin on the new roster of Storm, Psylocke, Spiral, Puck, Lady Fantomex, and their nemesis Bishop.

The biggest changes are in Psylocke losing the unitard for more of a full body suit, and Storm reverting to her 90s look with a fantastic-looking mohawk. Utility was definitely prioritized, and story as well. Working with Uncanny X-Force writer Sam Humphries it was decided that the grey in Spiral’s outfit should be opaque. This fit with the knowledge that Spiral was a character was “a little more confident in her sexuality,” without making the costume’s raciness over-the-top .

Anka’s design philosophy for the team is as follows:

The costume themes were something from the very beginning that I wanted to strive for. I felt that every costume should not only highlight the personality of the character it is wrapped around, but also of the function that the costumes will serve towards. At the end of the day, these costumes have to look like they can get into a tussle, and actually be able to handle it.

This certainly translates over to the many other redesigns that can be found on his various art blogs, and one I want to highlight is his version of the  Avengers.

From left to right: Iron First and Crystal, Ares and Ms. Marvel, Iron Man and Venus, Bucky (Winter Soldier) and Thor.

In another illustration, entitled “avengers – dont f-ck with us,” the entire team is explained in the description, with the idea that he wanted his Avengers to be “a family first off.” Ms. Marvel acts as leader, Venus as a strategic asset, Ares carries Stark-designed weapons that can collapse in on themselves. Every design point has a reason, and it all adds up to clean, recognizable  costumes.

His redesigns for DC’s trinity [Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman] are images I go back to over and over. His vision of the the Last Son of Krypton shows that you can do away with the red shorts over blue tights, provided you break it up with a little bit of colour [the yellow buckle, the red lines on the side]. I’m looking at you, costume designer for Snyder’s Man of Steel.


All in all, Kris Anka is a name to look out for. In the ComicsAlliance interview Humphries admits that “My only wish is that we could keep going until we redesigned the entire Marvel Universe!” If only that were true.

You can find Kris Anka on various places on the internet:

deviantART: http://anklesnsocks.deviantart.com
Blogger: http://anklesnsocks.blogspot.ca/
tumblr: http://kristaferanka.tumblr.com/
twitter: https://twitter.com/kristaferanka

And don’t forget to search for his stuff on Project : Rooftop!

Aaron Diaz: Has a Lot of Opinions About DC

If you peruse the website ComicsAlliance daily, like I do, then you’ve stumbled upon the increasingly controversial work of webcomic artist Aaron Diaz.

Starting in early October, with his post on tumblr Rebooting the Justice League!, Diaz has gone from being the creator of webcomic Dresden Codak to becoming the supposed saviour of the comic book industry. Featuring his own personal take on DC’s super hero team, he redesigned everything from costumes to origins.

This spawned a few other posts, such as Rebooting DC’s Villains!, in which he recreates the Legion of Doom as the “Secret Society,” and Rebooting Batman!, where the Caped Crusader is recreated to fit his new alternative DC canon [his earlier incarnation of the Dark Knight can be seen here]. Beginning with his take on the Justice League, each post has been featured on Comics Alliance, much to the delight/irritation of its readers.

Diaz states clearly that his reboots were spawned by DC’s own “New 52” [which I discussed, in part, here]. Their new designs for Starfire and Harley Quinn, in particular, were targeted in their elevation of sex appeal over utility. Diaz gets downright aggressive in his post DC Comics Reboots Dresden Codak!, where he imagines what it would be like if the company redesigned his own webcomic.

As you can see above, the female characters are overly curvaceous and barely dressed, while the men are very obviously the same male body type with different costumes and hair colour. While a point is being made satirically, he single-handedly slams the work of an entire publishing company instead of the individual artists or writers responsible for the designs he dislikes.

As one would expect, the comments on his tumblr consist almost entirely of praise for his work. One particular question asks “Can you just, like, take over DC and make this happen for reals? These redesigns actually look like superheroes I WANT to read about.” On his Justice League reboot Stephanie Charette admits that “I have never before commented on anyone’s Tumblr, but I must. This is what the comic’s industry needs to do. THIS. THIS. THIS.”

Leaving his tumblr for more balanced opinions, the comments on his features on ComicsAlliance provide a happy medium between blind adoration and outright disdain. Paying no heed to the ones about the rate he updates his comic [which is neither here nor there], there are comments which were written calmly and logically.

On one of ComicsAlliance’s latest features, Aaron Diaz’s ‘Tales of the Uncomfortable’ Takes a Halloween Look at Harley Quinn, a commenter states that “The message of DC has been beaten like a dead horse (particularly on this site) and I really don’t know what else to say anymore.” Thankfully someone else does, and they bring up a post on the tumblr of webcomic artist Amanda Lafrenais. The commenter even pulls a direct quote:

And I REALLY enjoyed, save for minor nitpicks, Aaron Diaz’s redesigns, criticisms and praise of costumes. However his newest post on the subject about cleavage and crimefighting kind of made me wanna talk about it. A friend pointed out that, yes baring your breasts is very impractical in fighting. But so are capes. And spandex. And having no padding or armor.

In her post Lafrenais goes on to push the idea that costumes aren’t really intended to be realistic [their utility further broken down by Edna Mode]. While she admires what Diaz has done, she implores artists not to “take the fun away,” and that there is a point where “practicality ends and fantasy begins.” Even though her post doesn’t address part of what Diaz is railing against, the overt sexualization of women, she does attempt to soften the extreme logic from which many of his designs were birthed.

On a personal note, I liked many of his redesigns, particularly his take on Batman and Robin. Conversely, I strongly disliked  some of his ideas, primarily taking Gorilla Grodd and making him more “Planet of the Apes” than “Mighty Joe Young.” The man has some great ideas [their originality contested by many commenters on ComicsAlliance], and he aims for a creative revitalization of the industry, which I can agree with.

My issue would be with the apparent bitterness his work gives off. His reboots were all well and good, but his portrayal of DC rebooting his own characters was unnecessary and extreme. I can understand in part why he’s doing what he’s doing, but he could cut down on the vitriol.

Lastly, I was very confused with a particular question I read on his tumblr. When a reader asked if he would be willing to redesign the entire DC universe, similar to what Marvel did with Brian Michael Bendis and their Ultimate line, Diaz responded with “I’d do it, and only if they paid me five times whatever Marvel pays Bendis.” I’m unsure as to whether he meant it sardonically, or if he actually believes he deserves five times the money Bendis does. Either way, I found it difficult to take.

Tune in next Thursday, when I write on Christopher Bird, aka “Mightygodking” [or “MGK” for short]. His titular blog is one of my all-time favourites, and his opinions on comics [and one character in particular] are deserving of some exploration. Particularly when viewed opposite of those of Aaron Diaz.

[follow-up post can be read here]