Today, I watched Nash and Linkara's review of the mid-nineties attempt at making a live-action Justice League show - it was a TV movie that reminded me very much of an old DCOM (Disney Channel Original Movie) called Up, Up and Away - the similarities are uncanny! And something Nash said in the beginning got me thinking. For context, this review was either written or published around the time that last year's Green Lantern was still being talked about; Nash mentions that DC is planning on a live-action Justice League of America movie in order to capitalize on Marvel's success with this summer's The Avengers - well, he didn't say that last bit, he only mentioned the JLA movie on its way, but you get the drift, right?
So yeah, it got me thinking... how does DC plan on being able to pull this off? I mean, any average moviegoer who doesn't really pay attention to comics (read: my parents) would probably look at the whole thing and go "oh, they're trying to do what The Avengers did" - that is, if they were able to tell that Batman and Captain America are from two different publishers. No, I'm serious - I had to explain to a non-comics-reader that Superman and Spider-man would never be on screen together because they were from entirely different universes, and I'm pretty sure that whole thing still went right over her head. But in any case, anyone who pays attention to the publishers' logos and the film companies and all that jazz will probably pick up on that competition between the Big Two. Lines will be drawn. Fandom wars will be raged--- wait, that happened already. It's still happening.
Um... so anyway--
The point is, people who don't happen to be comic geeks will recognize that DC is just trying to mimic Marvel's success with their Avengers formula, and I am sincerely, seriously wondering: how do DC and Warner Bros. plan on pulling this off?
|LET THE PISSING CONTEST BEGIN!!|
Now, I'd like to declare my prejudice before we go any further: I am a Marvel fan first and foremost. I've been more into the Marvel properties since I was a wee lil' Lexi and I will always adore Spider-man as my first Western superhero love (the first superhero I ever loved was Sailor Moon and if you laugh at that, I will find you and whack you over the head with my Goddamn Princess Stick TM.) I'll admit that Wonder Woman and Static have a special place in my heart as well (WHY, DC? WHY DIDN'T YOU DO STATIC RIGHT? I AM SO DISAPPOINT, DC. SO DISAPPOINT.) (AND FOR THE RECORD, WHY CAN'T YOU DO WONDY RIGHT, DC? SHE'S NOT HARD TO DO RIGHT! YOU HURT ME, DC.
YOU'RE TEARING ME APART, LISA!) and because of my love for those characters I actually do want to see some success from the DC camp. Wonder Woman has been due for a solo comeback for about thirty years and while I have the entire run of the Static Shock cartoon, Static is a fantastic and yet tragically untapped hero that I desperately want to see in the mainstream again.
|Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman in the 1975 TV series|
|Key artwork from the 2000-2004 TV series|
(And don't remind me that Dwayne McDuffie has now retired to the Studio in the Sky. I'm still crying about that.)
The thing is, DC doesn't really deserve Marvel's success - at least, in my opinion. And before you throw those tomatoes, let me make it clear: I do enjoy some titles from DC. But in the past few years - especially since the reboot and the start of the New 52 - DC has kind of not really been kind to my demographic. Specifically, the female comic book reader.
DC has made it plenty clear that they are catering to the Straight White Male demographic of comic fans, and it couldn't be more obvious that they don't have as organic a talent at weaving in those "minorities" bits that Marvel does. Marvel has North Star marry his longtime partner in Western comics' first ever official gay marriage? In response, DC retcons a minor Green Lantern from several generations ago - seriously, no one I asked knew who the guy was - and says he was actually gay, either completely retconning his marriage and fatherhood (which produced a fairly prominent character in the modern storyine) or just pawning that wife off as his beard. Um, DC? It's 2012. Most of us young, hip people are A-OK with gay marriage. Well, I am. I'm not so sure about the basement-dwelling fanboy comic geeks that actually do exist in real life (I know because I've met several, and they are the reason I carry a taser in my purse) but the majority of us? We'd be fine if one of the main characters of a title was both a superhero and on the spectrum of sexuality.
And some fanboys had the audacity to be pissed off that that character came out of the closet. They accused the DC writers and thinkers of "ruining a character's history"... and I just... I just don't have a coherent answer to that in which I do not end up swearing like a trucker and attempting to strangle the idiot that first spoke that thought.
And it irks me that DC, instead of doing something bold and daring, fell back into the "safe routine" of outing a minor character that had no bearing on current mainstream storylines and current mainstream titles - he's featured in an alternate universe (Earth-2) and that is literally all I know. For the love of God, Shatterstar is a bisexual alien who is a prominent member of the X-Force, and Northstar is a member of the X-men who married his partner on-panel in a special issue of Astonishing X-men! For all of Marvel's faults, they have more characters of color, more characters on the sexuality spectrum, and more prominent women in their titles than DC tends to have!
AND! AND! Does anyone remember last year's disastrous attempt to make a new Wonder Woman TV show?
|I can't see her ass; all I can see is fear.|
...PANTS TO BE DARKENED!
Not only was I left wondering if the people writing that pilot had ever cracked the spine on a Wonder Woman comic, does no one remember Lynda Carter's run as Wonder Woman? How could someone mess up Wonder Woman's concept so badly?
And I came to the realization that... DC just doesn't care. They really don't. They completely retconned Diana's backstory and shoved her into the most hackneyed romance of all time with Superman - and don't think it's a temporary thing, the DC bigwigs have confirmed this to be the new status quo - and completely missed the point of Wondy's character in her New 52 incarnation. Shaking up the status quo doesn't mean throwing away all the history and richness that the character already had! Many of my friends - longtime Wonder Woman fans - are completely disgusted and are cancelling their subscriptions to the title thanks to these changes.
As for Static? They handed him off to some writer and that writer clearly had never seen McDuffy's work (I WILL HUNT THAT WRITER DOWN AND MAKE HIM WATCH THE FREAKING CARTOON, GODDAMN) because the title was canceled barely a few months after it restarted. It wasn't selling well, and one of the unsavory fanboys that I mentioned above smugly told me it was because the character was badly written and the entire title was a stupid one anyway. Again. Strangling.
So many encounters with similar DC fans just lead me to the conclusion that they are mirroring the attitudes of the DC heads and writers and editors and artists. That, combined with the fact that ROB FREAKING LIEFELD was in charge of a title or two - plus the surplus of Escher Girls in the comic art, good grief - made me very wary of modern DC published works. I just don't think the company is in the right place right now.
Which brings me back to the Marvel vs. DC dueling banjo movie shenanigans. If the JLA movie doesn't work out and bombs as badly as the Green Lantern film? I'm not going to feel too bad. They've managed to gain some credibility back by sort of treating Batman with respect - I haven't seen any of Nolan's films but I can tell you even so that they're a lot more respectful than the late-eighties-early-nineties films to the original concept of the character - but why is it that Batman and Superman get more respect than Wonder Woman and Static and all of those other characters that DC screwed over in order to please the sleazy fanboys (SERIOUSLY, THAT STARFIRE REDESIGN, GOOD GOD--
|THAT IS NOT STARFIRE, THAT IS A BLOW-UP DOLL THAT LOOKS LIKE HER. SCREW YOU, DC!!)|
(ALSO, SPINES DON'T FREAKING WORK THAT WAY, YOU NUMBSKULLS! LEARN ANATOMY!!)
So do I have any sympathy, empathy, or pity for DC? Well... no. As much as I want to see both Wonder Woman and Static have comebacks and become respectable lead characters for their respective titles, I'm also kind of wishing I could just snatch them up and stick them in the Marvel universe so that they can bond with the Avengers and company. You all know Steve and Diana would totally get along, and Peter and Virgil would be total bros. And does no one remember that Richie, too, is gay? Okay, okay, off the tangent. Back on track.
And I fully acknowledge that Marvel isn't perfect either. But! At the very least, Marvel is the lesser of two evils. With any luck - and any common sense on the Marvel bigwigs' parts - we might get a Black Panther movie or a Luke Cage movie (oh be still my fangirlish heart) and seriously? That's more than DC's tried to do (was Renee Montoya even featured in the Dark Knight trilogy?) in their movies, their TV series and cartoons, and their comics. I'd give the writers a "you tried" star, except I don't even think they tried at all.
And I do have a more personal story (it's rather stupid, actually) as to why I tend to side even harder with Marvel on all of this, but that's for another time.
Anyway, those are just my thoughts, in freeform, stream-of-conscious format. I basically just word-barfed.
In the end, if DC does well and manages to please a majority of its fans like Marvel did? Kudos to them. Give me my Wonder Woman movie.
Don't screw her up like you did with the Catwoman movie. Maybe they'll get a gold star then. But I'm not holding my breath. I don't really have much faith in their current direction. (WONDER WOMAN WAS MADE FROM CLAY, YOU HEATHENS. SHE WAS NOT FATHERED BY ZEUS. GOOD GRIEF!!) But just for the sake of the characters that I love, I do want some measure of success. Maybe the proposed Wonder Woman origin series, Amazon, will be the boost the character needs to make a resurgence? Maybe Virgil Hawkins will show up on Arrow? (Doubtful, but I can dream, right?) Either way, DC needs to recognize who its readers are and learn how to please the many instead of the few. Those straight white male readers aren't the majority anymore, folks.
Lexi out. G'night, y'all.