Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Here, Here for Hereville

One of the webcomics that I used to follow is being published on real paper, and since that's how I prefer it anyway, I will definitely be buying a copy of Barry Deutsch's Hereville. For those who are not familiar with Barry Deutsch, he hosts a political website called "Alas, A Blog," which is always interesting and well-considered, even if they all are way to the left of a regular, Middle-of-the-Road Democrat like me.

A review of the Hereville comic by someone who read the whole thing is here. The comic is called "How Mirka Got Her Sword," and is about a young Orthodox Jewish girl who sets out to slay dragons, which has all the elements that my little Raggirls will love, and looks to be the first comic book to crack our Bedtime Story Ritual since The Courageous Princess.

The first 22 pages are available for free at The above page is page 11 of the story, and my personal favorite.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Wonder Woman #19: Working to Close The Disconnect

So, you know how Batman tries to protect the people of Gotham city, and it is his success if Gotham's water supply isn't poisoned, and it is his failure if a single Gothamite is murdered?

You know how Superman tries to protect Metropolis, and the Flash protects his city, and Manhunter protects her city? You know how much it sucks when your entire city blows up?

Well, it's really easy to come up with villains for superheroes who want to protect their city from harm. Intergang has rigged a series of bombs that will explode in the heart of Metropolis, and only Superman can save the day! Superman saves the day, and that's his job.

When the Flash stops one of his Rogues, he's doing his job.

Wonder Woman is different. What is her mission? It's not to protect Paradise Island, or Boston, or wherever the heck her embassy was. It's not really to fight bad guys, the same way Batman's or Manhunter's is.

Wonder Woman's mission has always been -- in some form or another -- to be Paradise Island's Ambassador of Peace in Man's World. Sound's great, but what does that actually mean? Who is your enemy? How do you know when you are actually doing your job? In 1942, it meant "Fight Nazis!" After 1945, though, it got a little murkier.

When the Silver Swan swoops in, or the Cheetah attacks, putting down these assaults are a distraction from pursuing her mission of peace, they are not the mission itself. So, does she ever actually DO her mission?

Well, once Diana called a Peace Conference on Paradise Island, and was thwarted by Eris, the goddess of Discord, who -- as best as I can recall -- somehow turned Wonder Woman into a tree until Lois Lane rescued her. I'm a little fuzzy on the details, and this cover image isn't sparking my memory much.

Okay, that's a fair take. A lot like fighting Ares, you are the emissary of Peace, you fight a big fight with the goddess of Discord, the embodiment of your opposite, and your peace summit is a "success" (whatever that means). Good for you. Have you actually caused any peace in Man's world?

Not so much.

Maybe I'm just being a Circe sympathizer, but when she accused Diana of traipsing around fighting supervillains, instead of actually helping people she kind of had a point. And that's not even counting the "very special Blossom" issues about teenage suicide and whatnot.

So, okay, being the Ambassador of Peace can mean fighting the god of War or Eris. But the irony of "fighting for peace" has to wear through pretty quickly. Who should a good Wonder Woman villain be?

Well, hey! Look at Wonder Woman #19.

A Green Lantern, intent on an all-out war against the Khund. What is Wonder Woman's mission? To be an Ambassador of Peace. How can she accomplish this? By convincing the Green Lantern to oppose the war. How does she do this? By beating him up, and then offering her hand while she allows him to beat her up.

"You shame me," the Green Lantern says.

"That was not my intent," Diana responds. A small lie, of course. She knew he had honor and could be shamed. Otherwise, she would not have allowed herself to be beaten after she had already won the fight.

A make-shift peace conference, some off-screen Etta-action, and some sort of new sub-section to the Book of Oa about part-time work, job sharing, and emergency family leave, and . . .

Holy Coherent Narrative Structures, Batman! The Ambassador of Peace to Man's World has actually gone out into man's world and acted as an ambassador of peace.

What will Gail think of next?

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Should Batman kill the Joker?

Blog@ asks if Batman should kill the Joker because the Joker is crazy, keeps killing people, and cannot be contained.

The answer, of course, is "No," and not just because "Batman doesn't kill."

No, Batman shouldn't kill the Joker because we can be pretty certain that he would quickly come back to life somehow, and we shouldn't be willing to take the risk of finding out what happens when an already-crazy person is thrown into a Lazarus Pit.

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Friday, April 04, 2008

The New Five Dollar Bill

Apparently, we will be getting a new five dollar bill. A picture of the back is above. The most obvious change (the big, honkin', purple 5 on an American Greenback) raises the question:

Have America's financial crises been instigated by:

A. George W. Bush's failure to promote a strong dollar policy;

B. The Joker's spraying the U.S. Mint with Joker Venom, which turns the currency Purple and Green, and plasters a little smile onto President Lincoln's dead lips:

C. Lex Luthor, whose identical trademark colors signify that he is in the process of staging a coup and re-taking the White House through control of the currency.

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Rose Wilson Is A Penis

At least, that appears to be how Ravager is being classified in the most recent Teen Titans.

Am I reading too much into this?

1. Wonder Girl begins by describing Ravager with a clearly phallic metaphor.

2. The Clock King (or whoever the lame villain is), is torturing Kid Devil, and as part of his psychological assault, he tells him that Ravager isn't coming to rescue him. What does he say?

"Not a glint nor a flicker . . ."

Glint nor a flicker? What a very odd turn of phrase here. Kind of jumps out at you, unless, of course, Ravager is being compared to legendary "dirty comics" character CLINT FLICKER, which, when the L and I are blurred together, gives you another penis reference.

3. Once you get started though, its hard to stop. Rose's rogue gallery in this issue -- Dreadbolt, Copperhead, and the Persuader -- the first two are kind of self-explanatory, but even "The Persuader is listed in Naming of Parts: Gender, Culture, and Terms for the Penis among American College Students as a bona fide slang term for -- yep -- Penis.

So, there you have it. Former villain, struggling hero, current member of the Teen Titans is a penis, is called a penis, and she has to fight off a bunch of evil penises to save the day.

So, Rose. You've just been compared to a phallus for 22 pages. Do you have a reaction?


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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

"This Book Is Just a Big Lie"

Scene: Sunday at the Barnes & Noble. I am reading to the Raggirls a book that I think all three of them will enjoy.

Me: "George was a very curious monkey, but he always seemed to be getting into trouble . . ."

Eldest Raggirl: He doesn't have a tail.

Medium Raggirl: Yeah, he doesn't have a tail!

Me: What?

ER: He doesn't have a tail.

Me: He doesn't have a tail. So?

MR: Monkeys have tails. If it doesn't have a tail, its not a monkey.

ER: Yeah. I learned that in school. If he doesn't have a tail, George is an ape, not a monkey.

Me: So, Curious George is an ape?

ER: Yes, but it says that he was a curious "monkey." This book is just a big lie.

Disillusioned by literature, Eldest and Medium Raggirl wandered away. Youngest Raggirl, being less than 2 years old, was less concerned about the Ape/ Monkey distinction, and continued to enjoy the story.