Tag Archives: controversy

Around the Tubes

The weekend is almost here and we’ve got so much to do to rap up the year while hopefully dodging bad weather. What do you all have on tap? While you think about that and wait for the work day to end, here’s some news from around the web in our morning roundup.

South China Morning Post – Marvel ‘insults China’ by making its first Asian superhero film about Shang-Chi, a son of Fu Manchu – This isn’t too surprising though it’s most likely the origin will change. Still, will the history be a problem for Marvel Studios? It’s a big deal as the studio relies heavily on the region for their films bottom line. The country is a powerhouse when it comes to the box office and any bumps could be devastating in the short and long run.

Reviews

Geek Dad – Martian Manhunter #1

New Rule: Bill Maher No Longer Gets to Talk About Topics He Knows Nothing About

stan spidey

Source: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

I’ve been thinking about this since I first read about that Bill Maher blog post within which he calls into question Stan Lee‘s legacy, the intelligence and maturity of comic book fans, and the continued relevance of comic books in today’s world. I’ve been thinking that I didn’t want to write about the comedian who makes a living pissing people off, who’s only relevant in controversy, and that I didn’t want to add another article pointing to his blog.

But then, in a quiet moment, I realized I was a little bit miffed at his words, and decided to try and find the blog post in question to see if he had been ever so slightly misrepresented. He hadn’t been. His words, which a vast majority of comicdom have taken umbrage at will be pasted at the end of this post should you want to read them without visiting his blog post.

Given that this was posted less than a week after Stan Lee’s passing, there have been numerous articles covering Maher’s November 16th blog post and the reaction to it. There has been a lot of vitriol and anger. People have called him callous, attention seeking and irrelevant, but that Maher made such tasteless comments shouldn’t really surprise anybody. In what I understand to be a standard case of saying dumb things to provoke people and get a reaction because he’s a “comedian,” Maher has stayed remarkably true to who he is.

He is, like all of us, entitled to his opinion. And if he thinks that the young adults of this world are basically over grown children because of comics, well, then fair enough. If he wants to casually dismiss the death of a man who many of us hold in extremely high regard (even if he had his faults), then that’s his right. To do so after cashing a paycheck for Iron Man 3 is a bit hypocritical. Possibly he’s still bitter over being fired by ABC, which is also owned by Marvel’s parent company Disney.

But to do so whilst getting some pretty key things wrong? That really makes me laugh. With anger. Within his first two sentences, he has some pretty large, but easily researched, errors – and this is what, I believe, is the source of the anger directed at him.

The guy who created Spider-Man and the Hulk has died, and America is in mourning. Deep, deep mourning for a man who inspired millions to, I don’t know, watch a movie, I guess.

Firstly, Stan Lee didn’t create Hulk or Spider-Man alone, and never claimed he did (though there are valid arguments as to how much he contributed, this is neither the time nor place for that). Claiming he did invalidates the contributions of Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, two men with legacies that should rival Lee’s, and who inspired just as many as Stan did. Stan Lee inspired millions of comics fans to do a lot more than just watch a movie. A half hour of research would have turned up so many examples of this – whether it be industry professionals or fans like you and I, Stan Lee (and Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko) touched the lives of millions across his decades in comics.

kirby ditko.jpg

Source: co2comics.com

But sure. Say he inspired us to, I don’t know, go see a movie. What has Bill Maher inspired anybody to do? His career high was DC Cab in 1983. That’s a genuine question by the way, because I’ve never really paid much attention to him before.

Which may also be part of the reason for his blog post. Maybe he’s angry at the outpouring of grief over of Lee’s death, or maybe he wanted to use Stan Lee’s death to further a political agenda against millennials making America dumber. That is, after all, what the majority of the blog post is about. Once he grabs our attention with his casual disregard of Stan Lee’s death, he hits us with a treatise about millennial stupidity, blaming it in part on comics. Because comics are the One Thing that millennials didn’t give up and consequently remained dumb.

And that, my friends, is also a little out of touch.

He also makes the leap that somehow a public that’s interested in comics and comic related entertainment is a factor in our current state of politics. This ignores the history of comics that have been regularly progressive and forward thinking, far ahead of society. From Superman’s fight against political corruption, to Captain America advocating for entry into World War II a year before the US did, to discussing issues like drug addiction, the AIDS crisis, advocacy for LGBTQ rights, and so much more. A society truly into comics wouldn’t result in the election of Donald Trump. Maher doesn’t seem to know that but that hasn’t stopped him from opening his mouth on the topic. But, that’s a regular thing for Maher, whether it’s vaccines, Islam, or his inability to challenge his alt-right guests who he provides a platform (when even tech platforms are deplatforming them). Again, Maher speaks on a topic he knows little about but seems to hold comics impact on a level they just aren’t.

Fewer people read comics than, say, watch sports. Or play videogames. The latter has also seen a surge in popularity over the past three decades, but isn’t mentioned in the blog post. Probably because nobody famous enough in videogames died the week Maher wrote his blog post. But Stan Lee did, and so comics became his target.

Fine. Whatever.

But I don’t need to tell you millennials aren’t dumb. Nor that comics are a form of literature. You know this. Maher doesn’t, or doesn’t care. He doesn’t care that he has the wrath of comicdom coming down on him because right now we’re all talking about him.

So screw you Bill Maher for using Stan Lee’s death as a launching pad for your inane tripe. Screw you for using the death of a legend to try to bring yourself to relevance.

Screw you.

stan lee middle finger.jpg

Source: reddit


The text below is directly from Maher’s blog post. A link to the original post, and the hundreds of angry comments is further down.

The guy who created Spider-Man and the Hulk has died, and America is in mourning. Deep, deep mourning for a man who inspired millions to, I don’t know, watch a movie, I guess. Someone on Reddit posted, “I’m so incredibly grateful I lived in a world that included Stan Lee.” Personally, I’m grateful I lived in a world that included oxygen and trees, but to each his own. Now, I have nothing against comic books – I read them now and then when I was a kid and I was all out of Hardy Boys. But the assumption everyone had back then, both the adults and the kids, was that comics were for kids, and when you grew up you moved on to big-boy books without the pictures.

But then twenty years or so ago, something happened – adults decided they didn’t have to give up kid stuff. And so they pretended comic books were actually sophisticated literature. And because America has over 4,500 colleges – which means we need more professors than we have smart people – some dumb people got to be professors by writing theses with titles like Otherness and Heterodoxy in the Silver Surfer. And now when adults are forced to do grown-up things like buy auto insurance, they call it “adulting,” and act like it’s some giant struggle.

I’m not saying we’ve necessarily gotten stupider. The average Joe is smarter in a lot of ways than he was in, say, the 1940s, when a big night out was a Three Stooges short and a Carmen Miranda musical. The problem is, we’re using our smarts on stupid stuff. I don’t think it’s a huge stretch to suggest that Donald Trump could only get elected in a country that thinks comic books are important.

Source: Adulting

Action Lab Releases a Statement on Ivan the Pervy Ghost Controversy

Today Action Lab Entertainment fell in hot water over one of their New York Comic Con exclusives, Ivan the Pervy Ghost One-Shot which some saw as promoting harassment of cosplayers (and harassment in general). That comic was being released under the Action Lab: Danger Zone imprint. Danger Zone is an “adult” imprint focused on mature material.

The exclusive comic by Bryan Seaton and Dan Mendoza was not to be offered in print again. A digital release was to come out later this year. The comic was being in sets of 1 Regular and 1 Risqué cover with a signed and numbered certificate of authenticity. Retailing for $100, $50 from each set sold at was to go to help Hurricane victims of Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

When issue over the release was raised online, Action Lab: Danger Zone tweeted less than professional responses in return to which “the hack” excuse was dropped. In fact the account was not hacked, a person who should not have had access had indeed had access.

In response, Action Lab’s publisher/CEO Bryan Seaton released the following statement:

As Publisher of Action Lab Comics, it was never my or Action Lab’s intention to promote or make light of cosplay consent issues. We recognize that sexual harassment of cosplayers is a very real issue and particularly that it is one some of our own creators have spoken out on in the past. In retrospect, we agree that the cover of Ivan is ill-considered, and we will be removing this cover as one of our NYCC exclusives.

As a publisher of creator-owned books, Action Lab doesn’t believe in censorship – but we do believe in respecting our readers, being sensitive to issues in our community, and owning up to our mistakes. In short, we made a mistake, we did something dumb, and we sincerely apologize. As part of the comics community, we appreciate your comments and feedback and we will continue to work to get it right.  When we do something wrong, please call us out. We want to be a publisher where every reader feels welcome.

In response to the Twitter controversy that spawned from the critique of the cover, Seaton went on to say:

I would like to apologize on behalf of Action Lab and Action Lab Danger Zone for any and all rude and inappropriate tweets. We do not believe these tweets where done by any Action Lab staff but by a malicious third party. Passwords have now been changed and tweets deleted but damage has already been done and again we apologize.

We’ve asked for clarification if the comic will be available with a different cover and plans are still to release it digitally in the future.

Cee Lo and Teen Titans Go!, a Musical Combination That Falls Flat

The Night Begins to Shine” by B.E.R. is some 80s-inspired electro-soul music that’s well know to Teen Titans Go!, the popular cartoon geared towards kids. The song, a favorite of Vic Stone aka Cyborg, is the heart of a four-part Teen Titans Go! special that kicked off on Cartoon Network this week.

To promote the episode, three new versions of the song along with two other B.E.R. songs heard in the special, are being released through WaterTower Music. One of those new recordings is by Cee Lo Green, a musical artist with a troubling past in actions and words, and one musician a show aimed at kids shouldn’t be embracing. The singer has had legal issues including drug charges, accusations of rape, and a defence of rape of which he had to walk back (and that was also to defend Bill Cosby).

In August 2014 the singer pleaded no contest to one felony count of “furnishing a controlled substance – a charge stemming from a July 2012 incident in which a woman accused the singer of slipping ecstasy into her drink.” He was ordered to complete 360 hours of community service.

But, that “controlled substance” charge was the tip of the iceberg as the woman he slipped the drug too also accused him of rape after waking up naked in the singer’s bed not remembering anything. The prosecutors said there was insufficient evidence to file rape charges of an intoxicated person (some reports say the prosecutors found it to be consensual).

Then the singer defended the action Tweeting:

If someone is passed out they’re not even WITH you consciously, so WITH implies consent. People who have really been raped REMEMBER!!!

The singer then apologized for the Tweet with:

I truly and deeply apologize for the comments attributed to me on Twitter. Those comments were idiotic, untrue and not what I believe.

and

I do realize in retrospect that it was highly sensitive, what I tweeted – highly irresponsible. It did stem from emotion causing some involuntary action, and I do believe that, maybe just possibly, we could all give each other a margin for human error.

The year of those charges Cee Lo quit the popular television show The Voice to avoid being fired, which rumors indicate all revolved around his legal troubles at the time. NBC called it a “mutual decision.” He was booted from at least two concerts and TBS cancelled his television show The Good Life over the charges.

Flash forward to 2017 and Green is on a rehabilitation tour attempting to deflect from past issues and rebuild his career and that apparently includes providing music for a kids show. There’s something chilling and nauseating about seeing an accused rapist rehabilitate his reputation and career and partially doing so through a venue aimed at kids is even more sickening. We shouldn’t be enabling this as consumers and shame on WaterTower Music for being complicit in it all and allowing a toxic personality to be involved in something that’s for kids.

Drawn & Quarterly Decides to Not Publish Berliac’s Sadbøi

A few days ago Drawn & Quarterly announced that it would be publishing Sadbøi by Berliac. After becoming aware of some troubling and offensive comments the graphic novel publisher has changed their mind and announced that they would indeed not publish the publication.

In 2015 Berliac published an essay that compared “cultural appropriation and transgender people.” Drawn & Quarterly was unaware of the article and the “consequent public discussion about.”

In an apology yesterday, the company said they “do not agree with the essay, its defense, nor the tone and aggression he displayed in this and subsequent debates,” and that they did not do due diligence when deciding to work with the creator. After learning of the statements, they can no longer fully support the release and will not be publishing it.

You can read Berliac’s comments here as well as his follow up commentary about it.

Sadbøi is “seen as a statement on the treatment of immigrants—the challenge of being expected to conform to a society’s ideals in a world that prematurely condemns outsiders.”

Lebanon’s Economic Ministry Calls for a Ban on Wonder Woman

Spats between nations looks like a hurdle even Wonder Woman can’t deflect. Lebanon‘s economy ministry has asked the country’s security agency to ban Warner Bros.‘ Wonder Women which opens this week. The reason? Lead actress Gal Gadot is Israeli. The former request hasn’t been received as of this post.

Lebanon is officially at war with Israel and a decades-old law boycotts Israeli products and bars Lebanese citizens from traveling or having contact with Israelis. The war has flared up on and off of the years with a devastating volley in 2006 that left hundreds dead and damaged Lebanon’s infrastructure.

Gadot is Israeli and like many of its citizens, served in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). She has also spoken out against the group Hamas who is considered by many to be a terrorist organization.

The ban requires a recommendation from a six-member committee from the Ministry of Economy, but that process hasn’t begun. The film is slated to open Wednesday and would be shown in at least one theater in Beirut.

Some members of the BDS movement have also attempted to build a boycott of the film. The “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions” movement condemns Israeli policy towards Palestinians calling it “apartheid” and “settler-colonialism.” Some see the BDS movement as anti-Semitic.

(via Al Jazeera)

Hero Within Launches Wonder Woman Men’s Jacket, Brings out the Haters

A few days ago, clothing company Hero Within launched their summer collection and one item in particular got folks talking… in the usual misogynistic walled off stereotypical fanboy sort of way, the Wonder Woman Denim Jacket. With a live action film coming down the road it makes sense for anything clothing line focused on superhero inspired clothing to include pieces inspired by or featuring Wonder Woman for individuals of any gender. The haters saw it different.

“Why is a man wearing it?”

“That’s gay… shouldn’t that be a woman modeling that… and be for women???”

“You’ll probably get bullied for wearing this.”

“It’s not a subtle logo it’s across the whole back of it I’m sorry but I can’t say that this is for men it is a Wonder Woman jacket you should have just went with a female model it’s just the way Society is and on one side of it it has nothing to do with you being masculine or not whether you want to wear it it feels like you’re trying to push this upon someone like if you don’t you’re wrong or sexist get out of here”

That’s a small collection of some of the brilliance responding to what is a cool design. The logo is subtlely worked into the stitching, a unique aspect if you ask me (It being a denim jack it is another thing. Lived through that once.)

What’s baffling was even the concept of this being a jacket FOR MEN seemed to be lost on many of them (see comments on how the model should be a woman) as if men couldn’t also be fans of Wonder Woman (who is a diplomat, bad-ass warrior, and tied into all sorts of mythology, what’s not to like?).

Tony B. Kim, the CEO of Hero Within, took to the company’s blog to call out the haters and keeps it simple in that fashion is a way to show support for your fandom and there’s no reason guys can’t wear clothing with Wonder Woman on it.

But, this is the latest example of the gatekeeping and backwords thinking that pervades geekdom (and businesses in general. Read Kim’s post for that). There’s no reason why a guy can’t wear anything with Wonder Woman or WW logo on it, just like there’s nothing wrong for a woman to wear something featuring Superman or Batman. If you’re a fan, wear your fandom proudly… I’ll just judge you if it’s a jean jacket.

The Wonder Woman Denim jackit normally $129 is on pre-order for $109.

Lucha Comics Releases Statement About James A. Bretney’s Islamophobic Comments

Lucha Comics is a small press company out of London, Ontario Canada and while you won’t find them in the pages of Previews, you will find them on comiXology and DriveThruComics. James A. Bretney is a comic creator published by Lucha Comics whose comiXology bio says:

An American film director, screenwriter and producer, James decided to pursue a career in the arts after 12 months with the U.S. Army in Iraq. James is an outspoken conservative and very active in politics.

Bretney is also Islamophobic spouting out enough reprehensible things to get his Twitter account suspended. While Bretney regularly posted anti-immigrant/conservative Tweets, two days ago he went after lawyer, author, and Harvard Islamic Studies Fellow Qasim Rashid telling him “go home. We don’t want you here” and “Qasim, your troll Army will not save your soul. Love Jesus or go to hell. You have been warned.”

Things exploded from there.

Tweets began to be directed towards Lucha Comics in protest and threatening boycotts. Yesterday the company responded to a lot of the Tweets generally responding it was a person’s “right” for the boycott and that they were looking into the issue “closely” so as to not make a “rash decision.”

Today Lucha Comics released a statement about the incident.

The company called the comments and content “disturbing” and “upsetting” but as an individual, it’s not something the company has control over. He’s not an employee but releases his comics through the publisher. They also emphasize the often repeated line that boycotts don’t just impact Bretney, but the “artists, cover artists, letterers, and more”

The company isn’t “cutting” him off as they feel that “does not address the root problem,” but they will be putting Bretney’s next two projects which have been written with no art on hold.

Lucha Comics will be “posting further thoughts” after a planned family vacation.

Punisher Logo with “Blue Lives Matter” Gets Removed from Police Cars

The Punisher is a vigilante who uses murder, extortion, torture, kidnapping, and threats of violence in his war on crime. He’s also apparently what some police officers look up to. The Catlettsburg Police Department in Eastern Kentucky added the Punisher skull logo to eight police cars with the words “Blue Lives Matter.”

The design was spearheaded by Police Chief Cameron Logan who worked with a vinyl decal shop on Louisiana to print the decals (was there no decal shops in Kentucky!?). A similar decal is being sold by David Klotz Enterprises out of New Jersey. There it’s listed as the “Thin Blue Line Punisher Skull Window Decal.”

The design was approved by the city council and Mayor Randall Peterman. One member objected, but he was elected after the approval. His criticism is over the cost, not the message. The idea was to “give back to the police officers.” Which begs the question what is this “giving back?”

The Punisher is a vigilante who breaks the law by killing criminals, making himself judge, jury, and executioner. A veteran, he’s exactly what the police are being accused of, abusing the rights of individuals. The police chief sees it as a “warrior logo.” Which makes one wonder if he endorses what that skull logo represents.

This is the latest example of the mainstreaming of the Punisher who debuted in 1974 and has starred in numerous films and appeared in the second season of Marvel and Netflix’s Daredevil with his own solo television series soon debuting.

The character is the antithesis of the law and order police are supposed to represent. He has in fact murdered police officers in his “one man war.” Not to mention the irony of appropriating intellectual property without permission. You know, theft.

This isn’t the first time controversy over police using the logo has arisen. A Georgia SWAT team used the logo in a video showing off their militarization. The military has often used the symbol in units. If the Punisher is someone that police look up to, it’s no wonder so many citizens are being murdered by police.

(via Lexington Herald Leader)

Marvel’s Perlmutter Cuts $1M Check for Trump’s Veterans Fundraiser

marvel featuredThursday saw the latest Republican Presidential debate, but this one was controversial as candidate Donald Trump refused to attend due to his rampant sexism misogyny fear of Fox News‘ Megyn Kelly who was one of the moderators for the debate and he felt was mean unfair to him in the past.

Instead Trump held his own rally raising money for wounded veterans during the same time of the debate. It’s unknown WHAT charity that Trump’s fundraising will benefit, but that didn’t stop Marvel’s CEO Ike Perlmutter from committing $1 million to the fundraiser, which raised $6 million according to Trump himself. That was mostly from a small group of wealthy donors, including some felons. As far as folks can tell, the donations will go to the Donald J. Trump foundation, which has no history of being involved with veteran groups.

You can watch Trump announce Perlmutter’s donation a little after the 1 minute mark:

The Hollywood Reporter said when they broke the news:

“One of the great, great men of our country in terms of business and talent,” Trump said.

A rep for Perlmutter said: “The Perlmutters are thrilled to support their friend Donald Trump in his efforts to help veterans.”

The Perlmutters also donated $2 million to Marco Rubio’s campaign this season.

This isn’t the first time Perlmutter has been involved in Presidential politics. He also donated to Rudy Giuliani’s failed Presidential bid.

perlmutter_donations

Earlier this week Marvel announced their teaming up with the Wounded Warrior Project to help raise awareness about issues facing veterans. That has issues unto itself, which we laid out, as the WWP has been accused of wasting money raised and benefiting employees.

So, when it comes to veterans and Marvel this week, they’re 0 for 2.

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