Tag Archives: batman

Around the Tubes

Some big releases are out this week! What has everyone excited?

Around the Tubes

The Jewish Daily Forward – All the Jewish Superheroes – Some good history for folks.

The Breeze – Unmasking Batman? JMUTeach offers unconventional electives – As someone who thinks a lot of college is worthless, this isn’t helping win me over.

Kotaku – Doctor Doom Invades The Upcoming Marvel Heroes‘ Roster – Anyone psyched to play this?

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Comic Vine – Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier #1

Comic Vine – Guardians 3000 #1

Comic Vine – Thor #1

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50 Years of Batman’s Evolution with The Piano Guys

The Piano Guys with is composed of a pianist, cellist, a videographer, and a music producer have released a music video that celebrates nearly 50 years of Batman. Listen to their musical celebration of Batman’s music!

Fear of a Black Kid Flash. Not so Much a Female One.

wally westAn interesting thing happened last week when in the Teen Titans version of Futures End that a new Kid Flash was introduced in the wake of the company-wide crossover.  Or more accurately another new Kid Flash was introduced. Earlier this year some fans were upset at the long-awaited return of Wally West to the DC universe, the problem that they were upset that the character was black. While this was not too much different from some other reactions – such as the reveal that the Earth 2 Alan Scott is gay – it is interesting especially after this new female Kid Flash was released to little fanfare or reaction. No one at all seemed to complain about this new character, seemingly also taking over the role of Wally West, though the incursion was potentially just as comprehensive. After all the character is never named and could have just as likely been named Walda or Wallis as any other name (thus allowing a nickname of Wally.)

Although they are based off of general consensus and are generally pretty silly, the so-called rules of the internet cover this topic to a degree, specifically rule 63 which states that for every male character that a female version of this character also exists.  While not absolutely true, it is often the case at least with the most popular characters. Some are direct rip-offs, though very rarely does a character assume the actual identity of the character, though the new female Thor is potentially going to change this. The female characters generally are presented in one of two ways. Either they are a female character that is modified into the costume of a male hero, as in the case of Stephanie Brown in the costume of Robin or May Parker in Spider-Man’s costume, or with separate characters in obviously feminine costumes as in the case with Supergirl and Batgirl.  In these cases though the character is separate and not taking over for the main role. While this in itself could be interpreted as a statement of gender, it is still worth noting that each character has their own self and their own past.

kflashThis being the case it would seem that the problem with the case of Wally West is not that directly of skin colour but that of identity. Wally West was an established character for many, and to change something as deep as skin color for many readers meant a fundamental change for the readers. Is this fair though?  If indeed the female character had been named either Wallis or Walda (I know these are more obscure names) would that have been so easily forgiven?

Before answering that it is maybe relevant to have a look at some of the major black characters from the history of comics. A lot of the major black characters came from a time when being black was a big part of their identity, especially with the introduction of these characters in the silver age.  In the case of Black Panther or Black Lightning, there was no question about their skin color as it was right in their names. While this did not hold true in every character (such as with Falcon or War Machine) it was still a notable part of their identity. In the comic book setting where the suffix “–man” is the expected commonality, it was necessary for a time to distinguish between skin color and gender. Black Lightning is perhaps one of the worst cases of this, as for a time his true identity as a black man is hidden behind his hero facade of being a jive-talking street character. He was not allowed to be educated as a hero, instead he was forced into racial stereotypes. Still those stereotypes existed, and they were even there with other characters. If Black Panther were called White Panther instead, the main association with the color to the character would not be skin color.  Instead, someone would expect that the character has some kind of powers related to the word “white.”

There exists a lot of other names in comics to distinguish one version from another. One major example is the previously mentioned example of –girl which is used almost exclusively for female versions of male characters (with the exception of the Legion of Super Heroes characters as well as Wonder Girl), but in terms of the Flash there was already a descriptor for this difference – “Kid”.

As the character gained more depth though, he was no longer associated with his own name and instead that of another, Wally. He became a real hero in the way that real heroes do, that by association by their non-hero names is almost as evident as with their superhero names. In this way it is not possible to have a character named Batman that is not Bruce or a Superman that is not Clark. The question is though, is whether skin color and gender are so tied to those identities. It would seem as though the answer in both cases is yes, except the more so for skin color. Not all fans, but some fans are willing to make fewer exceptions for a black version of a character than for a female version, and perhaps some of this is tied to identity but some is not.

A distinguishing factor here is the previously mentioned aspect of power. Even Supergirl, who is as much Kryptonian as Superman, is never said to be able to match him in power, despite their powers having nothing to do with their specific gender physiology. Equally Stephanie Brown, for the short time that she took over as Robin was never seen as his equal, even being regarded by Batman as an unnecessary risk to be allowed to act in the role. It is thus the case that female characters rarely break the gender role/stereotype of the female gender, but it is not the case with a black character. Black versions of the white characters are usually just as strong and able at superheroics, and this is likely also part of the outrage over the characters. That in some ways the girls will never compete truly for the title, but that the black men can, and this is the true danger with a black version of a favorite character. A black character makes the original white character replaceable, while a female character only makes a lesser powerful version of that main character. In the first case fans will often reject the change, but in the second case it is more acceptable.

In light of all the commentary about the medium in recent months, be it over the black Wally West or over the comments about the new direction for Wonder Woman, it is important to note that certain aspects of the medium and their fans are still stuck with some outdated thinking.

Target Exclusive Unmasked Batman Pop

Funko has announced a Target Exclusive Unmasked Batman Pop which hits stores nationwide this week. Check it out below!

Target Exclusive Unmasked Batman Pop

Fashion Spotlight: Arkham Family, NANANA, and Flash: The Animated Series

Ript Apparel has three designs today for fans of DC Comics. Arkham Family, NANANA, and Flash: The Animated Series from hartzack, Gil, and ArchXAngel20 will be for sale on September 22, 2014 only!

Arkham Family by hartzack

Arkham Family

NANANA by Gil

NANANA

Flash: The Animated Series by ArchXAngel20

Flash The Animated Series

Graphic Policy Radio Talks Gotham with Guest Scott Kaufman

GP Radio pic MondayThis Monday Graphic Policy Radio is back for a brand new episode. We have a very special episode with return guest Scott Kaufman, who you might know as SEK. The show airs LIVE this Monday at 10pm ET.

The fall television season has begun, and with it brings numerous shows based on comic books. Debuting Monday is Fox‘s Gotham, a prequel of sorts exploring the city of Gotham before Batman. Instead of centering on the Dark Knight it instead revolves around James Gordon and the Gotham Police force, before collorful characters became the center of crime. It’ll feature some familiar faces, including the origin of some of DC Comic’s most iconic characters.

Scott is the proprietor of the AV Club’s Internet Film School and an associate editor at The Raw Story. He also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money, podcasts, and is an expert on Game of Thrones.

We want to hear what you think of the show, as well as the other shows that’ll be on the air. Call in with your thoughts at 619) 768-2952 and Tweet us what you think @graphicpolicy.

New York Comic Con 2014: Batman: The Complete Television Series Swoops In

PrintAdam West will bring Batman: The Complete Television Series to New York Comic Con in a panel on October 9.

Fans will get all the details on the most anticipated home entertainment release in fanboy history when Warner Bros. Home Entertainment puts West center-stage for a Bat-tastic look at Batman: The Complete TV Series.

Starting at 6:45pm on the Main Stage in the Jacob Javits Convention Center, fans in attendance – and those live-streaming the panel at home – will get an inside sneak peak at all the exclusive content in this long-awaited home entertainment release, as well as dazzling HD remastered footage from the landmark series.

Batman: The Complete TV Series will be released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment as a Limited Edition Box Set, and on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD, starting November 11, 2014.

Diamond Select Toys This Week: Batman, X-Men, Plants vs. Zombies, Sin City and Universal Monsters!

It’s New Toy Day at comic shops across North America, and Diamond Select Toys is kicking off the countdown to Halloween with a delivery of monsters, zombies and other creepy customers! New Minimates from Sin City and Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare join action figures from the Universal Monsters films and DST’s first-ever original-concept action figure, Van Helsing! Plus two new silicone trays, inspired by the X-Men and the Classic Batman TV Series, that will make any Halloween party a success!

Batman Classic TV Series Silicone Tray

Bang! Zok! Pow! Add some punch to your punchbowl with this silicone tray inspired by the Batman Classic TV Show! This bright green tray casts up ice, gelatin and chocolate in the shape of the iconic Batman logo, as well as the show’s famous sound effects. Unless you’re Mr. Freeze, freezing things has never been so fun! Comes packaged in a full-color box. (Item #APR141981, SRP: $15.00)

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Marvel X-Men Symbol Silicone Tray

A Diamond Select Toys Release! You don’t need Iceman to chill your drinks for you any more! This silicone tray featuring the famous “X” logo is great for ice, gelatin and even chocolate, so you can cast up some refreshments for your next baseball game or extinction-level event! Comes packaged in full-color box. (Item #MAR141959, SRP: $15.00)

XmenIceTray1 XMenLogoTray1

Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare Minimates Series 1

A Diamond Select Toys Release! The brand-new PvZ console game is now the craziest set of Minimates mini-figures ever! Two zombies and four plants from Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare come together in this battle-ready six-pack, as the Cactus, Sunflower and two Pea Shooters take on the All-Star Zombie and Engineer Zombie. Each Zombie Minimate mini-figure is 2 inches tall with 14 points of articulation and features a variety of interchangeable parts and accessories. A Diamond Select Toys release. Designed by Art Asylum! (Item #MAR141938, SRP: $19.99)

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Sin City Movie Minimates That Yellow Bastard Box Set

A Diamond Select Toys Release! The most dangerous city on Earth is now a far less dangerous line of Minimates mini-figures! The first assortment of black-and-white Minimates based on Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller’s hit movie Sin City includes four different mini-figures from “That Yellow Bastard”: Hartigan, Nancy, Senator Roark and the Yellow Bastard himself. Each 2-inch mini-figure features a variety of interchangeable parts and accessories. Designed and sculpted by Art Asylum! (Item #MAR141948, SRP: $19.99)

SinCityMinimates1 SinCityMM1a

Monster Hunter Van Helsing Select Action Figure

A Diamond Select Toys Release! Monsters beware! Diamond Select Toys is unleashing a fearsome foe upon every monster action figure in your collection, and it’s none other than famous monster-hunter Van Helsing! Based on an original design, this 7-inch action figure comes armed to the teeth with stakes, axes and a crossbow, making him more than a match for any and all supernatural creatures. Van Helsing includes a deluxe cemetery base, featuring a female vampire rising from the grave, and comes packaged in Select-style display packaging, with spine artwork. Sculpted by Jean St. Jean! (Item #APR141978, SRP: $24.99)

VanHelsingSelect VanHelsingSelect_1

Universal Monsters Select Son of Frankenstein Figure

A Diamond Select Toys Release! The monster returns! Diamond Select Toys revisits Frankenstein’s Monster with this all-new figure depicting the monster in his outfit from 1939’s Son of Frankenstein. This 7-inch-scale action figure features an all-new sculpt with all-new articulation, and can strike multiple poses on his deluxe display base, featuring equipment from Dr. Frankenstein’s lab. The Monster and his base come packaged in Select-style display packaging, with spine artwork. Sculpted by Jean St. Jean! (Item #APR141979, SRP: $24.99)

FrankensteinSelect SonOfFrankSelect

Universal Monsters Select Creature from the Black Lagoon Figure

A Diamond Select Toys Release! Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water! Diamond Select Toys revisits the Black Lagoon with this all-new figure depicting the world-famous Creature, first seen in 1954’s Creature from the Black Lagoon. This 7-inch-scale action figure features a new sculpt with over 16 points of articulation, and can strike a wide variety of poses on his deluxe display base, which features a skeleton and an undersea rock formation. The Creature and his base come packaged in Select-style display packaging, with spine artwork. Sculpted by Jean St. Jean! (Item #APR141980, SRP: $24.99)

CreatureSelect CreatureSelect_1

Is Aquaman a Victim of Power Creep?

aquamanPower creep is a loosely defined term mostly because it is subjective in its application. Generally speaking though, power creep can be roughly described as the general evolution of character’s powers over time. For the fickle readers and writers of comics, these powers becomes part of the character’s canon, and represent abilities and powers which should be perpetuated. In the golden age of comics, Wonder Woman once found herself trapped in outer space, and needing a source of oxygen, she ground her earrings to dust, somehow releasing enough oxygen that she could safely breathe. It did not matter that this was a throwaway occurrence or that it made very little sense, but all of a sudden Wonder Woman’s earrings had the ability to allow her to breathe in outer space. The same kind of runaway powers are prevalent in almost every hero, with debates over who can smash a planet, or a sun or a galaxy.

The advent of power creep is not always to an infinite degree. Sometimes the creep comes and then goes. Many fans either applauded or decried the post-Crisis Superman as written by John Byrne. Gone was the outlandishly powerful character who could scarcely be stopped by any theoretical angle. It seemed as though that anytime that he faced a threat that he developed a hitherto unseen power and that this power became another part of his canon. Fans might even look to the extreme such as in the movie Superman II when he throws his S-symbol from his chest and it becomes a giant cellophane trap for his enemies. In contrast Byrne created a character, that while still strong far beyond human capabilities, still had some limitations. The new more approachable and realistic character was what some wanted to see and what others did not. Regardless, this character did not last long either before returning to near omnipotent powers.

Among the core members of the Justice League and of the A-list of DC Comics characters, Aquaman is the one that has received the most negative attention in the years since his introduction. He was long thought of a running joke among those that looked at the medium from afar, with numerous comedic jabs at his unimpressive powers being a staple of social media and some paid professional comedians. The question is though, how did the character end up as a running gag for so long.The main problem it would seem is in the setting of the character. The undersea world is a great one for exploration, with the likes of Jacques Cousteau having made a career just out of underwater exploration. The appeal of the underwater world is there, but equally in terms of how comics tend to allow power creep onto characters, it also became one of a limitation. For DC characters with such ill-defined power or ability inspiration as “Super”, “Wonder” or “Bat” it is easy to expand their abilities beyond those of those words, as the words can be taken to mean different things, even in the case of “Bat” which might only be a creature to some, but to others represents the night or sneakiness or resourcefulness. “Aqua” it would seem is a limitation in terms of how comic writers thought of powers to develop for the character.

Some writers rightfully pointed to the fact that a character that can swim underwater and withstand the great depths and pressures of the oceans would be equally be superhumanly strong, maybe not the levels of Superman and Wonder Woman, but well beyond that of a normal human. While there were some sensical derivations of his powers, others were goofy. The ability to speak to or command marine life might have been a logical power to attach to the character, but equally this power was ill-defined and also generally useless, at least when it compared to the ability to move mountains or walk through walls. Equally so, when the character lost his hand in the 1990s during a reboot/darkening of the character, it was replaced by nothing other than a small harpoon, the writers once again unable to think of anything for the character beyond the aspect of the sea. His power creep did not occur to a great degree, but it seemed that when it did, that the character just became a bit more aquatic than he had before. Even compared to a pretty aquatic character in Namor, the Sub-Mariner, Aquaman’s powers were very sea based as Namor showed the ability to fly.

aqotherTo be fair since the relaunch of the new 52, the character is one of the DC properties that has really taken off, now ostensibly holding down two separate series at DC, a capability that previously had only been able to be accomplished by Superman, Batman, sometimes Green Lantern and rarely Wonder Woman. It would seem that the serious tone for the character now is one which has aided him, at least in the public perception. As his own entourage of the Others provides his own superhero team, they fill out the slow creep into more powers that another character might have experienced since long ago. As to whether power creep is actually a good thing or not is up to the fans to decide, but for so long it seemed, at least until recent years that Aquaman was left behind in the balance of powers.

Pop! Heroes: Arkham Asylum in October

From Arkham Asylum, the award-winning action-adventure video game, Funko is releasing a diabolical new Pop! series! Arkham Asylum is home to Gotham’s most vengeful criminals! The new set of figures includes Batman, the Joker, Nurse Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and Killer Croc.

Batman and the villains of Arkham Asylum are coming this October!

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