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Wait, What? Ep. 110: Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Jeff Lester

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One of the two delightful pieces of art made for us by the impressively talented Garrett Berner (a.k.a. The Mighty Gar)

It’s our last podcast of the year!  Yes, after this two hour and ten minute Whatstravaganza, you get a nice two week vacation from our wee voices nattering on and on, answering your questions, picking apart your comics.  Finally!  Some peace and quiet for your holidays!  Doesn’t that sound pleasant?

Anyway…after the jump!  More art!  Lots of links! A hastily assembled and incomplete “Best of” list! And also: Show Notes!

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Another great piece by Gar. We owe that man an “Eternals” debt of gratitude! (Ha,ha! See, because Kirby did The Eternals and…?)

All right, so as you may recall, last episode we answered four questions and had something like forty-seven questions remaining.  Did we get through them all in one two hour podcast, you may be asking…?

Well, no.  but we did manage to do the following:

0:00-8:03:  We open with a delightful reading from Graeme of a well-loved holiday sketch.  Then we go on to discuss Graeme’s emerging status as a Canadian broadcasting superstar, internet deadlines, just about everything but comics.  Because (as you know by now), that’s the way we roll.

And you know, as long as I’m posting multimedia links, I wanted to draw your attention to a few things, in case you missed them:  a short but sweet interview from Al Kennedy of the famed House to Astonish podcast over at The Beat!; an all-superhero sketchcast from The Irrelevant Show with most of the sketches written by the brilliant Ian Boothby (his Superman vs. The Parasite sketch struck a special silver-age nerd sweet spot for me); and the two Cheat Sheets Abhay has done to date, featuring voice work from the brilliant Tucker Stone and yours truly, the first on the 1960s

and the second on Rap Music.

Oh, *and* speaking of Tucker Stone, I know I’ve clued some of you guys in to the great Comic Books Are Burning in Hell podcast, but I should also mention that if you like Wait, What? and you like movie nerdery, you should check out Travis Bickle on the Riviera, a fantastic movie podcast by Tucker and Sean Witzke that is always entertaining and funny and smart.  I really should’ve hyped it sooner but I am Lay-Zee  (Kryptonian scientist and wastrel).

Whew!  So between this episode and all of the above, you should have enough to keep you busy during our two week absence, right?

8:03-10:35: But here’s some comics talk–about Action Comics #15 by Morrison, Morales, and crew.

10:35-12:53: (Graeme also really liked Doctor Who #3 by Brandon Seifert & Philip Bond.)

12:53-17:10: Because it was a free comic on Comixology, we also discuss the first issue of the Star Trek/Dr. Who Assimilation2 comic by Tony Lee and J.K. Woodward.

17:10-44:32:  Question! from Matthew Ishii (and Dave Clarke):  “’Re: Leinil Yu overselling emotion in scenes. I was at a talk by Colleen Doran (comic writer and artist on a bunch of things) who criticized the comics industry as a whole trending towards this, because of the impact of Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. You guys are all about Kirby, do you think this is a fair comparison.’ I’d be interested to hear you guys talk about that, as a guy who loved manga and hated superheroes his entire childhood.” We also talk about the current situation with Gail Simone and DC.  We also bleep ourselves.  (Maybe for the first time ever?) We also talk more about what the hell DC is thinking?  Also, Graeme gives a New52 pitch for Scooter that is, frankly, stellar.  And since he’s been rereading the Fourth World Omnibus, we also discuss Kirby (because how can we not?) and his amazing run on Jimmy Olsen.  And also Geoff Johns.  (Oh, god.  I really should’ve broken all these out into individual time-stamp entries.  Sorry!)

44:32-53:27: Question! from Matthew Ishii:  “Q: What comics are famous and considered classics, when the writing was mediocre but the art elevated it?  Likewise, name some comics where the art was pulled from good to great by the coloring or the inking.”

53:27-54:19:  Non-Question! from David Oakes:

“‘Waiters’
Are
Fans,
Forgo
Long
Explanation”

54:19-57:35:  Question! from Dan Billings:  “Why is it so hard to drop books? I am heading into the shop today and realize I am reading 16 books – money-wise, that’s crazy and quality-wise, there are not 16 good books coming out this week. Or is this something I should address with my therapist instead?”

57:35-1:02:56:  Question! from Ian Brill:  “This has nothing to do with comics but I want to ask Graeme something I’m surprised it took me this long to figure out to ask. When you’re writing career started was it difficult to switch to the American spelling of words? Do you sometimes find your original education colouring your spelling choices, leading you to have to apologise to your editors?”

1:02:56-1:03:18: INTERMISSION ONE (of one!)

1:03:18-1:14:43:  And we’re back and right into… Question! from moose n squirrel:  “What’s the deal with Alan Moore and rape? […] Somewhat related to this, a second question: if all the horrible sexist shit in comics and comics culture were swapped out with horrible racist shit, do you think comics readers would take the same ho-hum attitude towards it all? Like, if Alan Moore put scenes of, I don’t know, Black people being lynched in all of his comics, would people just shrug and say, “oh well, that’s Alan Moore, when you read an Alan Moore comic you’re bound to get some gratuitous lynching” the way they seem to do with his gratuitous rape, or would they see some line being crossed? Is it the case that comics culture is grossly sexist and racist to boot? Or is there a reason why it’s sexist but not (as) racist?”

1:14:43-1:17:35: Question! from T:  “Also, do you think such a think as “house styles” still exist at the Big 2, either for whole companies (e.g. a “Marvel Style”) or for lines within companies (e.g. the “Vertigo style,” the 90s X-Men Harras house style, the Weisinger Superman house style, the Schwartz Bronze Age Superman House style, the Schwartz Silver Age House style), etc. If there are current house styles at the Big 2, what are they? Are they art-based house styles, like when people used to say there was a “cartoony art” house style in the Berganza Superman books? Is it a writing-based house style, like people claim Ultimates had in the beginning. Is it a comprehensive art/writing house style like the 90s X-books had? If there are no more things as unique house styles at the big 2 anymore, what do you consider to be the last example of a true, unique “house style” in the Big 2?”

1:17:35-1:19:38:  Question! from T:  “Oh, last question: Does the abysmal state of Jeph Loeb’s writing for the past year show that he’s gotten somehow much worse than he used to be, or is it proof that his earlier, praised work was overrated and is now due for critical reappraisal?”

1:19:38-1:25:31:  Question! from T:  “Okay, Marvel or DC promises you they will hand over the reins of your all-time favorite character or concept to a certain writer for a guaranteed 100-issue run, and this run will not only be the only place to read about your favorite character or concept, but no one else will be allowed to write said character or concept during this duration, this 100-issue run will have zero editorial edicts and the writers will have total free rein over the concept and can do whatever they want. Also, if you don’t accept this deal, there will be no comics, adaptations, guest appearances, or anything with your favorite character or concept for a 10 year period. Yes, a 10 year moratorium, even if we’re talking Batman, Justice League, Avengers, or Wolverine. (Okay, so this is a far-fetched, impossible concept I know, but just go with it).
Your choices are:

1) Jeph Loeb
2) Brad Meltzer
3) Chuck Austen
4) Mark Millar
5) Brian Bendis

Which one do you trust the most with your favorite character/concept?”

1:25:31-1:32:09: Question! from Ben Lipman:  “What’s the deal with people acting like Alan Moore is the only writer with rape in his works? Isn’t he just working within the tropes/archetypes of the genres he works in? Isn’t it weird to ignore all the acts of violence in his works, to only focus on the sexual violence? Moore has a rep for writing about rape, despite that sex fills his works and is mostly shown shown as a positive life-affirming experience – I would say positive sexual encounters far outweigh the negative one’s in his works. Is it perhaps the fans/commentators who are in fact fixated on rape? Did JG Ballard have to put up with this shit?  What would it take for Jeff to end his financial boycott of Marvel? What steps do they need to take to get him back?”

1:32:09-1:32:56: Question! from Adam Lipkin:  “It seems that the inevitable “Wait, What?” Drinking Game has to have a rule requiring listeners to take a drink every time Jeff talks about editing something out and then never actually doing so.  But after the last episode, there needs to be a rule for times when he talks about editing something out and then actually does so (but still tells us something was cut). Is that a sip, a chug, or some other amount?”

1:32:56-1:37:04:  Question! from gary:  “Graeme, if you had to replace Jeff with another host from world of comics (writers, artists, editors, etc), who would you replace him with and why? Jeff, if you had to replace Graeme with another host from the world of comics (writers, artists, editors, etc), who would you replace him with and why?  And together, if you had to take on a third person on this podcast, who do you think would fit into the rhythms of your podcast?”

1:37:04-1:40:52: Question! from gary:  “If you were given free reign of What If, what would be the titles of your first 3 “What Ifs”? Also, if you were given free reign of Elseworlds, what would be your first 3 genre mash-em ups?”

1:40:52-1:42:32Question! from Tim Rifenburg:  “I was curious if you guys specifically use a pull list for certain books or do most of your buying “off the rack”. Would you be buying less books if you did not have a pull list?”

1:42:32-1:45:12:  Question! from Matthew Murray:  “In light of recent news what are some lost gems of Vertigo? What uncollected series should we be searching back issue bins for?”

1:45:12-1:50:08:  Question! from Brock Landers:  “Also, coming from the generation who entered comics when the Wolfman/Perez Teen Titans and Claremont/Byrne X-men were the two biggest books, I had this notion.  Have DC horribly mishandled the Teen Titans franchise since Wolfman/Perez or was it just a product of it’s time and it doesn’t have the same conceptual vitality and depth as the X-men?”

1:50:08-1:52:50:  Question! from gary:  “What comic book by Matt Fraction is most like a Waffle Cone? What Matt Fraction comic book is least like a Waffle Cone? Please elaborate on both.”

1:52:50-1:54:13:  Question! from Kag:  “Where should we, as comic readers, be hoping Karen Berger lands? At an existing mid-major (IDW/Dark Horse)? At an existing “art house” (Top Shelf/Koyama)? At a major publishing house (Random House/Penguin)? Or do we want her launching a startup?

1:54:13-2:11:43:  Then, instead of going on to the next question(!), we decide we should turn to Jeff’s cobbled together “Best of/Last Minute Comic Book Gift List,” cobbled together in part from my introductions.  As mentioned herein, this list is far from exhaustive and there are so many tremendous works out this year I didn’t read that I almost didn’t put together a list.

Anyway, because I want you to have access to something like a list from me,  here it is:

  • Empowered Vol. 7 by Adam Warren:  Didn’t get enough love this year I thought.  The fight scenes in this book are master classes in comic book pacing and storytelling.  Blew my mind.
  • Action Comics #9 by Grant Morrison, Gene Ha & others:  An amazing single-issue comic, a jaw-dropping act of bravado in a work-for-hire context, and a surprisingly persuasive defense of work-for-hire.
  • Double Barrel by Zander Cannon and Kevin Cannon:  If you have any kind of access to a digital comics reader, you should check out this great serialization/anthology/comic book clubhouse.
  • Pope Hats by Ethan Rilly (issue #3):  Not cheap, but a beautifully illustrated story about a real and recognizable world that is all the more enchanting for it.
  • Saga  & Multiple Warheads:  Two strangely similar-but-different casual sci-fi epics, one from Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples, the other from Brandon Graham (whose other title Prophet just missed making this list).
  • Marvel: The Untold Story by Sean Howe:  Not a comic but an amazing (and amazingly ambitious) history of Marvel Comics.
  • New Deadwardians by Dan Abnett and I.N.J. Culbard: A spiffy little read and will make a great trade.
  • The Voyeurs by Gabrielle Bell:  Turns out this left Graeme cold, but I really loved this collection of quasi-dreamlike autobio comics.
  • Bandette by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover:  Digital-only, and the three issues to date are gorgeous, funny, and fun.
  • Popeye #3 by Roger Langridge and Tom Neely:  A fantastic single issue where all of the love and craft by Langridge and Neely manages to transcend any of my reservations about work-for-hire being done in the style of the original creator.
  • The Lovely Horrible Stuff by Eddie Campbell:  Only $4.99 if you buy it digitally (which is how I read it) and the way Campbell uses various digital tools made the book feel like one of the first real “digital” comics I’d ever read.  Disquieting and fascinating.
  • Gisele issues of Archie (esp. Archie #636 by Gisele):  I love Gisele, and apparently I love gender-flipped Archie and gender-flipped Jughead.  Yikes.
  • American Barbarian and Final Frontier by Tom Scioli:  Read one in print, the other online [link:  ] and I adored them both.  Of course, I’m probably the perfect audience for Scioli’s strongly Kirby-influenced style but I really admire how he tries to find a balance with pastiche work that is neither post-ironic nor knowingly arch.   It’s super-sophisticated in its primitivism, I think.
  • The End of the Fucking World by Charles Forsman:  An addictively dark mini-comic that uses its format for maximum effect. Forsman’s a guy I can’t wait to see more of.
  • King City by  Brandon Graham:  Realized the trade of this only got collected this year, so some people may not have discovered it until this year…maybe you haven’t discovered it yet?  If so, you should: it’s a canny and addictive blend of slice-of-life and sci-fi adventure comics.

Other stuff Jeff dug:  The Valiant reboot; Shonen Jump Alpha; 2000 AD Digital; the digital reprints of Crying Freeman over at Dark Horse Digital; the second and final volume of the Kamandi Omnibus by Jack Kirby; and the amazing graphic novel adaptation of Donald Goines’ Daddy Cool by Donald Glut and Alfredo Alcala.

Graeme agrees with some but adds three I didn’t mention:

  • Dustin Harbin’s Boxes;
  • The Crackle of the Frost by Lorenzo Mattotti and Jorge Zentner; and
  • The Nao of Brown by Glyn Dillon

2:10:45-End:  Closing Comments!  Best wishes for the holidays and the New Year!  Join us in 2013 for more fun, yeah?

Oh, and right–the podcast itself!  That would be helpful to include, right?  I mean, it’s on iTunes and everything, but that’s not everything, is it?  No, not by half, it’s not!  Feel free to warm your Christmas ears below:

Wait, What? Ep. 110: Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

And as always, we hope you enjoy…and thanks for listening!

60 Responses to “ Wait, What? Ep. 110: Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow ”

  1. Wonderful end to a great year guys :)

    RE: Graeme was on Canadian television
    What?! When? Where? link?

    RE: Colleen Doran discussion
    How I described what she said probably wasnt fair. She was talking about how every editor and person in the industry was telling her and everyone else to studying Kirby and Ditko and to really focus on that dynamism. More, more dynamism and action! Colleen’s style, while very beautiful, doesn’t really do that sort of thing.
    She was speaking more from a ‘cant their be room for every type of style’.

    RE: American system isn’t really set up to do that sort of nuanced acting storytelling comics.
    Loved you guys turning the discussion towards this. I think its more to do with how editorial runs M&DC. Walking Dead is mostly about normal looking people talking to each other and feeling things and it was produced with the american model. Unwritten, Y: the Last Man, and Sandman were as well. I just think that the tastes of superhero fans are so far away from that that you dont get large chucks of issues devoted to just conversations. What does everyone else think?

  2. This episode was a little to “rapey” for my taste.

  3. So, I should probably add this addendum: The Canadian radio interview thing didn’t happen, despite two valiant attempts from all involved (Well, me, at least) thanks to technical issues and scheduling snafus and whatnot. Canadians, you are free from the sound of me in your ears! Well, unless you listen to this episode, of course.

  4. I could totally see Gail Simone being hard to work with. I may be setting myself up to be attacked because she has such a loyal online following, but I could totally see her being nasty and difficult. She has this sugary sweet online persona that she does to build up a rabidly vocal online fanbase, but I’ve also seen her engage in some of the pettiest, most passive aggressive nastiness whenever someone rubs her wrong.

  5. Probably won’t have a chance to listen for a while, but I wanted to get this in quick.

    (1) Mr. Berner, you are a legend in the making.

    (2) Graeme and Jeff: I should have asked this in the questions thread, but would you consider doing a podcast with Internet Sensation Abhay Khosla on the line? If so, MAKE IT HAPPEN. (please)

  6. I agree with Dave Clarke! I watch Canadian television all the time, and unless Graeme was on the other channel (which I doubt!) I never saw him!

    And Mr. Lester’s description of free love in “Cheat Sheet: The 1960′s” is pretty much the entire plotline of Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre.

    Feed your mind, earthlets.

  7. Me on Canadian television – It was back in… crap, October, I think? Late October or maybe early November, and it was on CTV.

  8. It’s interesting to hear Graeme worry a tiny bit about leaving sentences in articles that his editor at Time may have to rewrite. As a UK sub-editor, I worry not one jot about writers handing in work with the odd dodgy construction; I simply rewrite the ‘offending’ sentence. If there’s a problem with the sense, I’ll check with the writer, but otherwise, a quick tweak will do the job. If the writer actually notices the change on publication, they’ll not fret for a second. If you’ve saved them from looking bad, they may well say ‘ta’.

    US publishing houses seem a lot more respectful of their contributors’ words than UK equivalents. I can’t believe writers in North America are as precious about their work as they seem to think.

    I suspect we have ‘writers’ while the US has ‘Writers’.

    Graeme, you’re a good writer, I can’t see ever having to give you a damn good subbing …

  9. PS, love the splashes, Garrett!

  10. Christmas came early!

  11. 1. If DC called me tomorrow asking for ideas for Aquaman *or* Scooter, I have pitches ready to go.

    2. If I had to pair Jeff with someone else on the podcast instead of Graeme, I pick Steve Wacker.

  12. I wouldn’t mind Hibbs sitting in 3rd chair one more time.

    Thanks for another year of podcast excellence fellas. Looking forward to WW2K13.

  13. Haven’t listened yet, but:
    1) Did I miss Hibbs sitting in the 3rd chair the 1st time? If so, which ‘cast did I miss?
    2) That Cheat Sheet: The 1960′s had me in stitches. Haven’t viewed the Rap Music one yet, but Jeff, you did a splendid narration job, and I’ll echo Cass’ request to put Abhay in the 3rd seat if Hibbs is not already filling it.

  14. I echo the calls for Hibbs and Abhay guest shots. Also: Tim Callahan.

  15. Thanks for answering my Moore question, guys, even though, as it turns out, you totally didn’t have to. And sorry for cluttering up the last thread with replies and replies-to-replies… I’m not a crazy person, honest!

    Those Kirbified art pieces are awesome.

  16. On Gail Simone: She’ll go on about how she loves loves loves this character she’s written, or this scene from one of her comics makes her cry, and her fans post the same deeply impassioned things. I can therefore imagine her a fierce advocate for her scripts against editorial changes. Me, I just wish Batgirl seemed less like a torture-porn slasher film every time I flipped through it.

    Which brings me to Alan Moore … Flipping through the last issue of Simone’s Batgirl at the shop, the cliffhanger seemed to be a threat by some Joker (who has just severed her mother’s finger for laughs) to force the heroine to marry him, whereupon he says he’ll chop off her arms and legs and put her in a basement. And this is in no way extreme for current DCU. Makes me think about Moore’s quantity of rape/sexual violence. By mostly writing for “adults” now and away from corporate trademarks, he has freedom to introduce more rape (and also, as his defenders note, more positive sexual content).

    So I wonder whether mainstream superhero stuff is not crossing the same lines because they lack whatever hang-ups/obsessions we might want to ascribe to Moore, or because their corporate overlords are there to draw a line. I can’t imagine the editors and writers who’ve made DC into the House of Dismemberment & Dead Children in this past decade are holding back because they feel, hey, some things are just going too far.

    This thought, then, is more about the side question of how much sexism, racism (and I’d add, general inhumanity) is embedded in comics culture, rather than exceptionally concentrated in the mind of Alan Moore. (I think questioning Moore, or any other writer, on the use of such story elements is valid and important, and should continue, and don’t mean “everyone else WOULD do it” as a reason to absolve Moore of any objectionable content.)

  17. On Action Comics 15: I wish I could be as enthusiastic as you guys, but I feel like this comic has degenerated into a series of post-it notes for stories Morrison once thought up but can’t quite be bothered to tell. And given how inconsequential the time-jumping has turned out to be, I wonder if it wouldn’t have made more sense just to tell the story in chronological order in the first place. We keep skipping around from beat to beat but nothing is given any room to grow into a story I could care about.

  18. I second Graeme’s recommendation of The Nao Of Brown. Really just a beautiful book.

  19. Thank you for indulging me on my questions. I appreciate it.

    RE: Best Vertigo Series that haven’t been collected which should be found in quarter bins?

    I always liked Finals by Will Pfeifer and Jill Thompson was really funny and dark. It is four issues worth seeking out because it is something any college students can relate to. I highly recommend it.

  20. @Gary: Finals was collected into a single collection about a year ago when they were doing their Vertigo Presents series.

  21. “This thought, then, is more about the side question of how much sexism, racism (and I’d add, general inhumanity) is embedded in comics culture”

    More than the culture in general? Probably not. More than other entertainment/medium cultures? Almost certainly not. Making it harder to figure out is comics society is really small, filled with even smaller sub-cultures and has a discourse dominated by a tiny number of “thought leaders”.

    Mike

  22. Mr McMillion$! Gentle Jeff!
    Say it ain’t so, Joe! Is that it then until the New Year? If this is indeed it then I should thank the two a youse for all the magical aural escapades you have gifted us with throughout this, the Year of The Dragon that was. Thanks and all the usual season’s greetings of whichever (dis)belief system you (un)subscribe to! (Graeme’s an Anabaptist and Jeff’s Amish right?)

    Special guest star? I haven’t listened to the ‘cast yet so I don’t know if there were rules but howabout Tom Spurgeon? I really miss the old days when he would pop over here and then he and Hibbs would strip down and oil up and set to wrassling in front of the roaring fireplace of sales figures, or what have you. Yeah, that didn’t really go where I wanted. But, Tom Spurgeon? He seems like a nice man. Of course, Abhay, Hibbs AND Tom Spurgeon would be bestest. (And SHAKO!)

    Joyeux Noel and Happy New Year! (And just plain vanilla thanks, natch.)

  23. ” I wish I could be as enthusiastic as you guys, but I feel like this comic has degenerated into a series of post-it notes for stories Morrison once thought up but can’t quite be bothered to tell.”

    That’s the exact criticism of The Filth that I heard when it was coming out.

  24. Thanks for answering my question! Best wishes for the end of 2012 and look forward to lots of great podcasts and posts in 2013.

  25. I agree with Marc on Action Comics.

    This chapter might read well if the book is ever collected in it’s entirety, but buying this as a monthly title hasn’t been worth the time or the money.

    Cheers for another enjoyable podcast though.

    Happy Holidays

  26. Simmered: And “it’ll all work out in the end” was the exact defense of Final Crisis when that was coming out.

    The Filth told a series of complete one- or two-part stories that also added up to a greater plot. The last couple issues of Action Comics have just bombarded us with concepts (mostly shopworn ones) without doing any of them justice. The two books aren’t even in the same league.

  27. I was excited about Action Comics for the first few issues, when it seemed like Morrison was trying to play against type, writing the earthbound adventures of a brash, populist, Golden Age Superman. I was hoping Morrison might stretch himself creatively by dropping his usual “fifty zany half-ideas that don’t add up to a whole” approach, steer away from the half-baked metafiction, and actually grapple with issues like class and privilege which his work has managed to squirm uncomfortably away from in the past. But things went off the rails pretty quickly, and went down that well-worn path that leads to the scene where Morrison climbs onto an elementary school stage, dims the lights, and tells Charlie Brown the real meaning of Superman.

    Beyond the disappointment of seeing Morrison further recycle himself, this Action run has been uneven, frequently dull, and often just plain bad. Why does Lex Luthor get a major setup only to disappear entirely from the book a few issues in? Why does the tone lurch from hardscrabble coming-of-age superhero story to cornball Silver Age pastiche back to the coming-of-age story, only to shift to what appears to be a clumsy parody of that earlier Silver Age pastiche? Why is the art so terrible? Who came up with that godawful redesign of Metallo? Whose idea was it to cast the Constucticons as major recurring villains? Why the hell would Morrison decide to make his last major story revolve around Mr. Mxyzptlk, a character we have never met in his run and have no emotional investment in, rather than centering it around the actual title character, a version of the character, incidentally, that he’s yet to give us a reason to care about?

    The truth is, aside from All-Star Superman and New X-Men, Morrison’s excursions into mainstream superhero fare have been wildly uneven at best. I’m looking forward to what he can do on his own: I think he’s said everything he needs or wants to say about the importance of corporate-owned characters in funny costumes doing horrible things to each other. I’d happily read the last Seaguy, though, or something else from the Morrison who wrote We3.

  28. Also, just to pick on it a bit more: Action #15 seems to imply that Superman is the only person in all of space and time who is clever enough to trick Mxyzptlk into saying his name backwards, to which I can only say… really? REALLY? Because “Kltpzyxm” isn’t the kind of thing you say by accident once, let alone multiple times, unless you are a buffoon, and if you’re a buffoon, presumably just about anyone pull this over on you with a little effort.

  29. Haha, yeah, that’s not going to happen. There’s a reason why Tucker and Jeff are the voices of those videos– plus, there’s a reason I need to type so much on the internet. (The reason is I’ve got a personality like rocks pooing on sand. Spoiler Warning). Yeah, this magic isn’t getting podcast anytime soon.

    (I like that this is just Jeff and Graeme anyways; that’s the whole charm to me– though Hibbs drop-ins for big stuff worked great for that new 52 episode, I thought…)

    that Teen Titans question seems like a tricky one to me. good answer but… tricky question…

  30. I think the Teen Titans question misses a viable third option. It offers two options. First option is, was it mishandled after Wolfman/Perez. Second option is, was it just a product of its time? But I offer a third option of, it was mishandled even under Wolfman and Perez and was simply never that good and got by on the fact that it felt at least superficially like a Marvel book and had cool art. It lasted as long as it took for readers to realize “Hey, this book really isn’t that good” and after a while the only people left were diehard fans.

    When I say “wasn’t that good,” I mean it wasn’t that good as a superhero book. At the end of the day, people generally read superhero books for the power fantasy. Readers like power as a main course with a side dish of relatability. Wolfman/Perez made the New Teen Titans a main course of relatability with just a smidgen of power on the side. All they did was get their asses kicked. No kid wants to read a comic book where the superheroes REMIND them of their real life impotence or cry more than the reader in real life. Especially back then, when the readers were kids and really wanted to escape into those fantasies of being stronger and unable to be bullied.

    I don’t think the Teen Titans cleanly won a single fight in a decisive, dominant fashion, and if they did, Wolfman made sure to turn the villain into an abject loser first like he did with Dr. Light. I think The Teen Titans popularity lasted however long it took for the readership to realize that Wolfman had no plans to ever evolve them from a self-pitying pity party that could only ever decisively beat henchman and no one else. The worst anticlimax had to be Judas Contract, where Dick Grayson makes a big deal about getting his mojo back and getting a new identity and leveling up aaaannndd…immediately returns to getting his ass handed to him, getting captured and he and the team don’t decisively beat anyone. The bad guys are dispatched by falling rubble or something. That had to be the straw that broke the camel’s back for readers back then I think.

  31. I was excited about Action Comics for the first few issues, when it seemed like Morrison was trying to play against type, writing the earthbound adventures of a brash, populist, Golden Age Superman. I was hoping Morrison might stretch himself creatively by dropping his usual “fifty zany half-ideas that don’t add up to a whole” approach, steer away from the half-baked metafiction, and actually grapple with issues like class and privilege which his work has managed to squirm uncomfortably away from in the past. But things went off the rails pretty quickly, and went down that well-worn path that leads to the scene where Morrison climbs onto an elementary school stage, dims the lights, and tells Charlie Brown the real meaning of Superman.

    Morrison has been stuck in this mode for a while. He views the characters as a showcase to show off how damn clever he is and how he’s such a zaaaannnyyy concept machine, just spitting them out left and right. His writing just screams “Look at me! Aren’t I just the smartest! And aren’t you smart by extension for being my fan and recognizing my greatness!” That’s how I feel with Morrison’s books after JLA. He’s not there to showcase the characters, the characters are there to showcase him. His books just feel like a metafiction circle jerk between him and his diehard fans, and when I read his work I feel like some voyeur that just accidentally stumbled into the circle jerk in the middle by accident.

  32. Re: Morrison

    I like Morrison’s zany stuff, I like the cute concepts, im like him pulling together stupid bits of continuity and making them work, and im not even that fussed if he doesnt get the characters right. I just wish he wasn’t writing about ‘comic books’.

    Final Crisis being a story about how comics need to be more adventurous. Large swathes of his Batman run being about how Batman is a primal concepts and that its permeates all of time and space. The justice league are like modern myths.

    My favourite thing about anything Morrison has written, the interaction between Dick and Damian in B&R, was actually about something that exists in the real world(relationships between brothers). And even though We3 isnt super conceptually deep its still about animal rights.

    Maybe moving away from superheroes will do him some good.

  33. “Beyond the disappointment of seeing Morrison further recycle himself, this Action run has been uneven, frequently dull, and often just plain bad. Why does Lex Luthor get a major setup only to disappear entirely from the book a few issues in?”

    I think that’s pretty clear: because Morrison, like everyone else writing for “the new 52,” is making it up as he goes along. It seems like neither Morrison nor anybody else writing Superman has any idea how they want to handle Luthor, Lois, or any of the other characters who are kind of important to the franchise. As you note, Superman himself has been basically absent from his own book, nothing more than a lump of muscle that gets hurtled into the increasingly dull villains.

    This is why you shouldn’t try to cook up a line-wide reboot in six months’ time.

    “I’m looking forward to what he can do on his own”

    I was too, prior to Happy! Ah, well; maybe he had to burn off the fever.

  34. Also: “Why is the art so terrible?”

    More to the point, why did DC give one of their flagship books to an artist who a) isn’t any good, b) can’t make a deadline to save his life, and c) has no following to speak of? Do they really think all those fanboys were buying Identity Crisis for the art?

    Dave: Agreed (though I still like his Justice League).

  35. It seems very unfair to criticize Snyder’s run for not having women when he devoted a whole issue to adding a new woman to the Bat-Family along with a gay character. That isn’t to say that he doesn’t have issues when it comes to gender, but I was surprised to hear you say there are no women in Batman.

    You should also read The Mindless Ones’s annotations for 2009. They make a great point of Moore’s focus on rape being rooted in a sense of horror and hatred which he holds towards the crime. It doesn’t excuse the issue of there being so much rape, but does make Moore seem less like a pervy old wizard.

  36. I have a question about our culture: why is rape considered so much worse and threatening than murder? Like, I really don’t like gratuitous rape in comics, and I was majorly against Identity Crisis and Women in Refrigerator types of comics for those reasons, but as a humanist I find the recent trend of gratuitous murder to be so much worse, especially at post-Didio DC. First, it happens far more often and callously. The books care chock full of it. Second, while women are the focus of most rape storylines, both women and men are killed in droves at DC and Marvel. Third, murder is a bigger deal than rape, although arguably maybe not in superhero comics, where death seems to be easier to recover from than rape.

    I mean, this “Death of the Family” storyline is not even done yet and the sheer carnage I’ve seen inflicted so far is worse than any Joker story I’ve seen yet, to give just one example.

  37. I’m not happy with gratuitous bloodshed any more than I am with gratuitous sexual violence, T. But speaking for myself, there’s a particular reason why rape bothers me in the way it does, which is that rape – both in our society and in fiction – disproportionately targets women as its victims, and ends up creating a culture of rape in which women in general are terrorized and expected to conform to a very strict set of norms and behaviors lest they be “punished” with sexual violence. The overwhelming majority of rape survivors never report their assaults, assuming that reporting their assailants is a futile act; those who do go to the police end up having their sexual history put on trial in a “blame the victim” act. We live in a violently sexist society that stacks the deck in favor of rapists and against their victims; no murderer is excused of his crime on the basis that the murder victim might have been “asking for it” or “sending mixed signals,” no one who gets mugged in an alley goes to the cops to get told that they were wearing something that might have made someone beat them up and take their money.

    And in this context, in this society, if an artist is trying to depict sexual violence in their work, they have a responsibility to present it in an intelligent and responsible manner, which considers the history, the context, and the effects of sexual assault. Alan Moore, to put it lightly, does not do that. The victims of rape in his work have fallen in love with their rapists (Sally Jupiter in Watchmen), have felt honored and grateful (!) for the violation (the cop in Neonomicon), have been raped in ways that have basically reduced them to plot devices (Barbara in The Killing Joke), or in ways that otherwise showed a lack of interest in the aftereffects of sexual assault on actual human beings (Mina in LoEG 1969). Moore has played rape as a joke, as in Top Ten and the first LoEG book; he’s played it for straight titillation, as in Lost Girls; he’s often played it for a bit of exploitative shock value (I’d argue the utterly gratuitous rape of Nemo’s daughter in 1910, and the “raped-to-death” scene in League vol 2 are both examples of this). What he hasn’t done is show a realistic, human experience of rape and its aftermath, or try to show sexual violence in a larger social context. Does he have an obligation to do this? I would argue yes – that if he’s going to have rape in his books, he needs to have a damn good reason for it – otherwise, he’s just being gratuitous and exploitative. (See also, his “rehabilitation” of the Golliwog in the Black Dossier.)

  38. Oh, I forgot to compliment Garrett Berner on his smashing pictures! Compliments to you!

    moose n squirrel:
    Sure, if, as you appear to have done, we remove the instances of sexual violence from their context within the works of Alan Moore in which they appear then, yes, he is just being gratuitous and exploitative. Because if we are taking the ravings of the insane “honoured and grateful” unfortunate in NEONOMICON at face value then, no, Alan Moore hasn’t got a chance has he? If we are going to remove context and interpretation then, yes, we are just left with incidences of sexual violence which impress mostly for their prevalence and depravity.

    Sexual violence is of obvious concern to Alan Moore and I bet you dollars to donuts he thinks he has “a damn good reason” for including it in his work. You disagree and there’s not really much to be done about that but isn’t it better that a writer of his calibre addresses rather than ignores the subject? Yes, sometimes he fails to address it properly as (he himself admits) in THE KILLING JOKE. And then, well, maybe it’s just me but I don’t know if there are many (any?)comic books which “show sexual violence in a larger social context” quite so adeptly and damningly as FROM HELL.

    I guess just don’t understand why Alan Moore gets singled out for such opprobrium when writers like Mark Millar spray sexual violence all over their work like it’s just a spot of harmless cheeky fun.

    Alas, I still have no idea what the Hell he is thinking with the golliwog business.

  39. I think Moore’s status as comics’ Great Writer (maybe the only one, at least according to critical consensus) enables him to avoid criticism in some quarters. Combined with the shallowness of most comic book criticism, Moore gets a pass.

    The pattern of Moore using rape as a plot device (poorly, as moose n squirrel made clear in the above comment) didn’t become apparent to me until it was pointed out on line a few years ago. I’ve read a lot of Moore comics* and I’m not totally dense, but I didn’t clue into it myself. I wouldn’t be surprised if many readers didn’t get it either.

    The “general inhumanity” in comic book culture MBunge pointed out is probably the other reason Moore doesn’t get called out for including rape in nearly all his stories, more people aren’t appalled by the level of violence in the Nu52 books, we still have issues with representations of women and minorities, etc.

    * not Lost Girls, any Avatar stuff, of half the ABC line.

  40. Great ep! I’m glad you didn’t think I’d only posted my question to get a rise. My head almost fell off from sadly shaking during the initial pass of discussing Moore. If you read the recent interview with I’m in The Guardian, or listen to him on various BBC radio program’s, he seems very switched on with modern times, and notmoutmof touch at all. It’s only inside comics he is viewed that way.
    I don’t really understand on any scale how Scott Snyder could be seen as a more progressive or feminist writer than Moore. We could directly compare their Swamp Thing runs, and I think Moore would come out on top in terms of being feminist and progressive, even though the style is occasionally outdated. We could compare Snyder’s Batman to V For Vendetta…

    If we’re going to name and shame creators over relying on rape, or treating it as a punchline, as much as Iove his work, Garth Ennis probably wins the trophy, and then forcefully inserts into whomever came second place.

    The two-part 90′s epic “What If The Avengers Lost Operation Galatic Storm?” was my favourite ever What If. I was a yonug’un, new to comics, and I didn’t read Avengers or know what Galactic Storm was, but that comic rocked. People dying, hooking up, ding, coming back from the dead as robots – at the end Wonder Man is reincarnated in The Visions body, and hooks up with Scarlet Witch! He’s all “It feels weird to kiss with synthetic lips”, she’s all “I’m used to it because you’re in my dead husband’s body”.
    As a new reader, What If is the book that exposed me to the wider Marvel universe, and the appeal was that heroes lost and people died and every emotion and action was always turned up to eleven.

  41. My two favorite What Ifs:

    What If Rick Jones was the Hulk? – Don Glut decided Rick Jones was a beatnik and gave the Hulk slang to match. It must be read to be believed.

    What If Conan Walked the Earth today? – The second Conan in the 20th Century story showed Conan forming a gang, dressing like a pimp in one scene, and fighting Captain America. Awesome.

  42. JohnK: “isn’t it better that a writer of his calibre addresses rather than ignores the subject?”

    Only if he handled it well. I can’t think of a comic he’s done this century that has; better to ignore it than to do it badly.

    I don’t think Moore does get singled out for criticism on this, except by a handful of readers. As one of that handful, I’ll say that I’m critical of Moore’s casual treatment of rape precisely because I expect better of him. “Mark Millar does it too!” is an awfully low standard.

    A digression: has Scott Snyder really brought back the queer, gay-panic version of the Joker, as I read somewhere? I dropped Batman a while ago, but the house ads showing the Joker applying lipstick (that was so edgy 26 years ago!) do not inspire confidence.

  43. @Mike Loghlin: I remember What If…Conan Was Pimpin’! That was great! I forgot he fights Cap. So, I guess that one won’t get reprinted anytime soon. Sigh. Pimp My Cimmerian!

    @Marc:”..better to ignore it than to do it badly.” Yeah, okay. That’s a win right there. I’m just not comfortable with the blanket condemnation of Moore simply because of its presence in his work. Sometimes he’s done it well and that gets totally lost in the heat of the reaction. But, yeah, “..better to ignore it than to do it badly.” Fair enough. A bit more care certainly wouldn’t go amiss, Mr Moore!

    Well, it wasn’t so much “Mark Millar does it too!” it was more “Mark Millar does it worse!” But then that’s true of so many things.

    Anyway, I’m swearing off sexual violence for Christmas. Happy holidays all!

  44. “As one of that handful, I’ll say that I’m critical of Moore’s casual treatment of rape precisely because I expect better of him.”

    Not really feeling this argument but can it not also be said that “expecting better” of someone when it comes to how they write or “feature” rape in their creative work is a bit low brow critically speaking? You’re not really evaluating the work as a work. You’re moralizing.

    Let’s look at it this way, Rape happens every day. Every minute in some part of the world. What if the real horror of it is that speaking purely statistically it is a very “casual” reality of the human condition? The fact that we are not constantly curled up in a little ball over the horrors that go on in the world speaks to our VERY casual treatment of a GREAT many things.

    Rape is a terrible, awful, thing to happen. I think it and other crimes of hatred are one of the worst flaws of humanity.

    That said, were I an artist, my personal sense of indignation and outrage may or may not feature in my work. I don’t owe you a sermon or a meditation on the necessary sensitivities of dealing with an abominable act in the frame work of a twenty page comic, do I? My latest novel? My Law and Order spec. script?

    What are you looking for that is so lacking that you need it specifically from Alan Moore, the author? There are countless texts about the appropriate real life responses to the crime of rape.

    Now if you’re talking about being a moralist that’s your own choice and frankly, Alan Moore comics as entertainment is probably not really “for you” per se.

    There is no moral style guide to describe the terms under which these things can be mentioned and there are many fine, fine works that feature a rape, or child abuse, or all manner of horrible crimes. Some of these works use these crimes and their repercussions in extremely complicated metaphorical ways and others as a simple blunt instrument of plot.

    I think, as in many interpretations of creative works, it’s what you – as a consumer – bring to a piece that sets your table.

  45. A digression: has Scott Snyder really brought back the queer, gay-panic version of the Joker, as I read somewhere? I dropped Batman a while ago, but the house ads showing the Joker applying lipstick (that was so edgy 26 years ago!) do not inspire confidence.

    Snyder is going SO overboard with the homoerotic undertones between Joker and the Batman that it’s really kind of disturbing, because intentionally or unintentionally I feel like he’s playing up gayness for the effect of creeping out the readers. He’s flirting, calling Batman “Daaaarrlling” and practically mincing. The whole Batman Joker dynamic just seems like some kind of toxic, dysfunctional gay relationship between two partners who fight all the time but can’t break up, and the citizens and police and other superheroes of Gotham are people who are forced to suffer because these two nutjobs can’t work out their issues constructively.

  46. Smitty, you’re getting worked up about arguments I haven’t made. I expect better of Moore because he’s a skilled writer who has handled these subjects much better in the past than he has over the last ten or twelve years. Period.

    Pointing out that rape happens in the real world is not a justification for using it frequently, and poorly, in fiction. If anything it’s an argument against further trivializing a crime that is already far too ubiquitous and far too ingrained in our culture.

    Also, if you have to tell me that Alan Moore comics aren’t really “for me” because I don’t like comics that treat rape casually, that might be a sign that Alan Moore’s comics treat rape far too casually.

  47. He’s handled these subjects “differently” in the past, Marc. Differently. “Better” is your judgement. I think my most trenchant point was really, the one I made above about why one would need Alan Moore, specifically, to address rape in a certain way or under a certain rubric of agreed upon standards that “live up” to his previous efforts. If it’s not to your expectations leave it out or become the man’s editor and fight for changes in the script.

    We make noises about comics being Art but if we refuse to accept that the medium contains people who have different views and perspectives who bring those perspectives to their work then we really DO just want more work for hire merchandising dreck.

    I just think it’s not an argument you can make that as an author he’s got to handle things in any specific way for the “greater good.” That’s not really his job to be some kind of moral barometer for comics decorum on any subject – positive or negative.

    All you can do is take it in and say, “I think that piece was far too comfortable with rape, let’s talk about it.” Not rolling in with “Alan Moore must do X,Y,Z to satisfy my expectations for how rape is to be treated in a work of fiction in the medium of comics.”

  48. Sorry, Smitty, but by your logic nobody could ever complain about any aspect of a comic–or a book, or a movie, or any other work of art–unless they were somehow able to become the editor or producer or what have you and physically change the script.

    That’s completely ridiculous, the kind of arbitrary and unattainable standard that’s laid down to silence conversations, not promote them. Of course my judgment of Moore’s comics is my judgment, and yours is yours. Where does noting that get us, exactly? “That’s just your opinion, man” is the last resort of somebody who has no other argument.

    And no, interrogating writers’ views and holding them up for critical examination is not demanding “more work for hire merchandising drek.” Kind of the opposite, actually. Treating comics as an art form means opening them up to critical readings, not shutting down the debate when it goes to places we don’t like.

    So: I think that Alan Moore’s comics since the turn of the millennium have been far too comfortable with rape, presenting it in a gratuitous or trivialized manner, and you can make a solid case that this trend extends even farther back in his career. Let’s talk about that instead of sniping at each other as a way of avoiding the discussion.

  49. I’m a little lost as to when Moore has treated rape casually. He’s not Brad Meltzer, if he features rape it’s a key part of the story.
    The closest he’s gotten too a gimmicky rape was Neonomicon, at least according to the voice of the masses at the time, and I’m not sure if you read that one, but it’s probably the most brutal horrific rape scene ever done in American comics. He took a key part of horror stories, mobsters raping girls, and made it sheer horror, not something that motivates the hero into action. If you think that was casual I don’t want to see your special order manga!

    But where’s the other tacky one’s from across this decade? Marc, you say he used to handle rape well, but not across this decade. Have you got some specific examples? (my goodness we have to type some weird things in this discussion!)
    Moose’n’Squirrel gave some but just pointed to every scene with sexual violence Moore’s ever written (ignorining the book about the prosititue killer), and then subjectively judged each scene to be lacking in a way that leaves little room for discussion. If the starting ground is that the three character’s affected by that arc in Watchmen wasn’t interesting, and that Top Ten and LoEg played it for laughs, Lost Girls was straight titillation, and FROM HELL doesn’t exist, there’s little room to move from there.

    I’ll pay that he does use rape to further the plot in Century: 1910, but is it “utterly gratuitous”? It’s caused by the rising evil/violence growing in the town due to the Black Freighter’s approach and motivates Janni to bring the opera Pirate Jenny’s revenge fantasy to life, setting the Nautilus/Black Freighter loose upon the town. Somewhat interestingly, although it is a rape revenge fantasy, it fails to harm the two characters we’ve seen encourage and cause the violence in the town.

  50. “That’s just your opinion, man” is the last resort of somebody who has no other argument.

    First, and at the risk of seemingly overly arch I am not a “hippie burnout.” To put a summation of my generally congenial post that way is something you should not do – if ever – and especially dismissively.

    Second, here are arguments you’ve already ignored:

    1) I think my most trenchant point was really, the one I made above about why one would need Alan Moore, specifically, to address rape in a certain way or under a certain rubric of agreed upon standards that “live up” to his previous efforts.

    2) I just think it’s not an argument you can make that as an author he’s got to handle things in any specific way for the “greater good.” That’s not really his job to be some kind of moral barometer for comics decorum on any subject – positive or negative.

    So, to restate, Why Moore specifically and further why Moore under “conditions” of standards?

    Surely there are writers who address things “just so.” Those who hit the mark of what you’re asking for from your narratives. For example, wouldn’t we be better served encouraging people to read “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” for a stunning and stirring interpretation of the life long implications of rape? The alternative being subjectively “arguing” that Alan Moore is shit for rape narrative.

    This is going to come off as lecture-ish but I’m really just trying to put my perspective into it. I don’t come to art asking it to teach me how to feel about things. I don’t expect art to CONFIRM my feelings about life, law, or relationships. To me, that would be doing it backwards. I come to art and if it causes a change in me then great. If it causes me to reinforce my feelings by an opposition relationship then great. But I go to art seeking information not affirmation. Show me the spectrum, not just the color RED.

    Art can inspire (All Star Superman) or it can make me feel disgusted (Bloodshed, non-consensual sex) but I don’t demand the next piece from whoever to “feel how I feel and support what I believe to be right and proper.”

    Alan Moore does not owe us, as readers a specific interpretation of rape that is consistent across a body of work. I believe that to ask for that, to ask that rape be treated “less casually” or to adhere to Moose ‘n Squirel’s standards, is basically asking for a book written to your own expectations of decency and decorum. That’s why I mentioned you should become the editor because to ask such a thing is basically tantamount to being involved in the creative process.

    So no, I’m not “resorting” to anything to close down the debate. I’m trying – desperately – to open it up beyond “Let’s all shame Alan Moore” or any artist who doesn’t give us what we want out of art.

  51. Hi Ben,

    I share your discomfort at some of the things I’m about to type. This is, to say the least, not the conversation I wanted to be having two days before Christmas. But some problems are too important to ignore.

    Also, I have to get this line of yours out of the way:

    “If you think that was casual I don’t want to see your special order manga!”

    I know this was a joke, but if you genuinely want to have a conversation about a troubling subject of this nature, jovially calling the other guy a pervert is probably not the best way to open. Also maybe not the most appropriate move for someone who’s *defending* Moore’s omnipresent rape scenes. (See, that wasn’t nice at all, was it?)

    I think you and I probably have a very different opinion of what’s integral or important to the story. Moore’s rapes are certainly… prominent… but I feel that he rarely treats the rapes or their victims with the gravity and the humanity that they deserve. And being excessively brutal or horrific a la Neonomicon doesn’t mean they aren’t casual (maybe I should use the term “gratuitous” or “exploitative” instead – though many of them are also trivialized or played for laughs).

    I don’t think this has always been true of Moore’s work, and sometimes he has explored sexual violence as a theme and not just a cheap shock. From Hell can’t avoid the subject, though that’s not an excuse (he chose the subject matter, and plenty of stories “about” rape are still exploitative). What really sets From Hell apart is that he writes the victims as real women with real lives, treats their murders with deadly seriousness, and shows how those crimes are rooted in larger social customs and inequalities. I assume that’s why Moose left it off his list – I certainly don’t include it among Moore’s casual or exploitative works (although it does belong to his career-long pattern of depicting sexual violence, especially violence against women). But it’s also more than 16 years old at this point (it began in 1989!) and it doesn’t really belong with his more recent work from this century.

    I have no desire to comb through Moore’s output and detail every single rape scene from the last twelve years, but here are a few of the lowlights:

    League of Extraordinary Gentlemen volume 1 opens with Mina getting sexually assaulted by a mob of lascivious Arabs (rape with bonus racism!) at the beginning of the first issue. By the end of the first issue, she’s posing as a prostitute and is threatened by Hyde, who’s been killing prostitutes. The second issue opens with Griffin’s rape spree at Rosa Coote’s, which is absolutely, unequivocally played for laughs. None of these are “key parts of the story,” which ultimately revolves around Moriarty’s war with Fu Manchu and is mercifully rape free (so far as I recall) for the next four issues.

    …but that goes away in LoEG volume 2, which has Hyde’s rape-murder of Griffin, and the Black Dossier, which has Bond’s attempted rape of Mina along with the various sexual assaults (again, played for comedic purpose) in the Fanny Hill story, and Century, which has Janni’s rape, Mina’s rape by Voldemort (again, how integral is that to the story?), and Harry Potter’s implied rape of one of his teachers. I may have forgotten a few others.

    Then you’ve got Lost Girls, which not only features multiple rapes but explicitly defends them as being okay since they’re just stories. (This stands in marked contrast to Promethea, which was telling us that all stories are true and fiction has the power to shape reality at the exact same time, but Moore was happy to disavow this responsibility for his rape scenes.)

    Top Ten has already been covered, and if the defense of the rape in Neonomicon is that it’s super brutal, well, that doesn’t really defend or justify it, does it?

    Promethea is pretty good about this… right up until Sophie and Barbara ascend to the sphere of Chokmah (issue 22), where they discover the source of all existence, the primal scene for the creation of the universe, is Pan raping Selene.

    Quote: “The myth, where Pan RAPES her, although… it’s almost like she WANTED that. Like he HAD to.”

    I’m going to let that sink in for a minute.

    I’m sure somebody will argue that Moore also “had to” include this since it lies at the foundation of his magical beliefs. I would counter that Moore is in charge of his own stories, and furthermore that the guy who chooses to worship a fraudulent snake god is pretty much in charge of his own magical/religious beliefs, too.

    This just might be the most troubling rape scene in a career that’s filled with them. Moore writes rape as the source of all existence and then goes on to write the dialogue where his Strong Female Character justifies it as necessary. Perhaps even desired by the victim.

    Explains a lot about his other comics, really.

    I’m a lifelong fan of Alan Moore’s work – believe me, I would have bailed on any other writer long ago. But it’s time for us to start admitting that this is a problem.

  52. Smitty, if you think your last post was generally congenial, you need to go back and reread it. I didn’t respond to your other arguments because they were arguing against positions that I never took and other impossible straw men.

    I’m not saying that Alan Moore specifically has to address rape or any other subject matter in a certain way. I’m saying that he *does* address it in a gratuitous and exploitative fashion and that criticizing that is absolutely fair game.

    You can keep trying to lay down rules for who’s allowed to talk about comics and how they’re allowed to talk about it. I’ll keep talking about the things I find troubling in Moore’s work. Those are two separate conversations.

  53. Marc, what I’m saying is that there are as few rules for people who actually CREATE this stuff as there are rules for the people who TALK about this stuff.

    That you’re telling Moore that his fictional creations need more this or that or what have you to be “acceptable” is the biggest “straw man” argument you could possibly put out there.

    Okay, Marc. My view is too…something. I get it.

    Thanks, bowing out.

  54. Yeah, that’s not what a straw man is, but I’m happy to end this unproductive tangent.

  55. Hurm. No. But yes, let’s be done.

  56. Well look who came by to crap all over Brian’s message board! I always enjoy it when some “big shot” who can’t or won’t run his own board uses another site to beat his drum.

  57. Re: Alan Moore and rape
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iE0u1Ph3KDk

  58. Well look who came by to crap all over Brian’s message board!

    Who exactly are you referring to?

  59. I’ve read this comment thread and I’m kinda confused here. Can’t we have a middle ground? Like, saying while Moore is an excellent author and while his rape scenes are in context, he goes to that well a bit often? Moore is my favorite living fiction author and I love reading Ben Lipman’s and J_Smitty’s thoughts, but…I dunno…maybe I’m missing something. After reading this thread, my thought has been, “Why is it not ok to admit that even the best writer has flaws?” This probably isn’t what you gentlemen are arguing and I should probably step out.

    The golliwog thing was confusing, though. Like, I guess Moore and O’Neil were trying to take it so far out of context in an attempt to remove any racial connotations? I think they bit off more than they can chew on that one.

    I guess I’m as interested when Moore fails as when he succeeds. No matter what, you know he’s swinging for the fences each time. But it’s ok to admit every attempt isn’t a home run, right?

    It would be interesting to look at the failures versus successes of other comic creators. Like, who ever talks about the times Jaime or Chris Ware tried to really stretch and came up short? Why does Moore fascinate us so much?

  60. You know, forget i said anything. Instead “Merry Christmas to all.”

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