Archives for posts with tag: aliens

batmite

With the announcement that the New 52 would be coming to an end, DC Comics also announced 24 new (or at least variations of previous) titles that would be debuting in June and the creative teams that would be working on them. Of the titles, a few stand out to me- Cyborg with art by Ivas Reis and Joe Prado, a couple of Robin-related titles, a Midnighter book, to name a few. Similarly new creative teams on current titles were announced and I’m intrigued to see how American Born Chinese and Boxers and Saints writer Gene Luen Yang taking over Superman– an author who writes about alienation writing about my favorite alien. In honor of the new titles, I’ve thrown together a few ugly bits of fan art. In addition to the Bat-Mite image up top, you’ll find renditions of Black Canary and Starfire.

blackcanary

starfiresoe

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Eat your weiner

One of the most efficient devices employed to distinguish a character from the setting in which that character has been placed is to have that character encounter something commonplace in the setting, but alien to that character. Examples of this abound, particularly in television and film- two mediums that lend themselves too easily to intellectual laziness. When exploring the idea of time travel, this trope is particularly over-used- think Encino Man, Dark Shadows, Captain America, etc. Seeing someone from the past or future encounter the present fills the contemporary audience with some flimsy pride- “I’m so much informed about physics than Captain America because I know who Stephen Hawking is!” when a much better assessment might be who understands the work of Einstein or Feynman better. I suppose we should forgive our story-tellers for relying too frequently on this crutch as it continues to serve effectively in creating an atmosphere and pleasing the herd. In cases of time-travel, the joke is overused, but not particularly offensive. Its humor somewhat simple and too familiar, but capable of accomplishing its objective because of that simplicity and familiarity.

bananasuperboy

In addition to time travel, this device is often used to show how alien aliens are, how robotic robots are, how foreign foreigners are- to identify the outsider. In these cases, the joke can feel a bit more like bullying and certainly more ethnocentric. The relationship between comic books and cliché is important- it gives pop art its substance. In both plot and art, the comic book works from the necessity to establish identifiable types and, like other mediums of artistic expression, the comic book works best when it uses those types against themselves. Recently in the New 52, DC Comics employed this trick- not once, not twice, but thrice! (possibly more, I don’t read every DC title)

1. In Justice League International, the British hero Godiva introduces her Chinese teammate August General in Irons to the exotic food that every 20th Century American child aspired to be: hot dogs. Following the tradition of this trope, August General  in Iron is baffled by the strange item and Godiva feels like an ambassador of holy truth. This one’s pretty dumb because Chinese people love themselves some sausage. Sausage has been a part of the Chinese diet for a long time and while hot dogs were introduced more recently, they’ve been in China for more than a century and have infiltrated Chinese daily life (usually eaten on stakes rather than in buns) to such an extent that surely August General in Iron had many opportunities to eat a hot dog before joining the JLI. (pictured at top of article)

2. In Superboy, Cassie and Kon-El find themselves on a mysterious island shaped like a question mark. Like any teenager would in this situation, Cassie makes her first priority skinny-dipping and her second finding food. Superboy understands neither bathing nor eating because he’s an alien clone only months out of his test tube. Like Godiva, Wonder Girl becomes a somewhat sexualized ambassador of truth- tada! Boobs and bananas! (pictured in the middle of the article)

3. The first time in the New 52 that DC Comics employs this trick is in its flagship title Justice League, a title which must be mandatory reading for all the creators working in the DC universe as its effects are felt by the most titles. Because of both the book’s central role and its popularity, we can assume that the creative teams behind Justice League International and Superboy witnessed the most eloquent of this cliché’s employmeny in the new 52 when a young girl introduces Wonder Woman to ice cream. (pictured below)

icecreamwonderwoman

I don’t think this joke is too offensive and I certainly don’t think it’s very creative, but employed with certain consideration, the joke can be very offensive and perhaps even creative. When the joke is posited between classes and especially classes weighted by race or caste, this cheap amusement can be especially damaging- “Look at the peasant who can’t figure out which fork to use!” or more bitingly “Look at the peasant who can’t read, can’t operate a computer, can’t afford the same level of health care or education, etc.”

One variation on this theme is the immigrant humbled by the awesomeness of the United States. One example of this in the New 52 can be found in Teen Titans when the hyper-gay hyper-immigrant hyper-Latin-American hero-type Bunker first encounters Red Robin in the land of the free and home of the brave.

bunkerashillbilly

When the Other is amazed, the Hegemon is what?

No matter, the cat likes to eat both the country mouse and the city mouse.

canthelpfallinginlovewithyou

Here’s a little fun I had with Elvis Presley.

weirdocolor

Here’s some stuff I did last night using an old graphics tablet I rescued from being thrown out. I hope it really freaks you out.

sagacollage

The news that Apple has refused to carry Saga #12 on its iOS apps reaffirms my disappointment with the world. I know I tend to primarily discuss DC titles on this site, but I definitely read other books and Saga is probably the best comic being published right now. I really like Saga and love gay people, so I’m going to use this platform to offer my support to two things that help my life feel miraculous- Saga and homosexuals. I think the world benefits from seeing the contradictions in the human condition as exposed by the narrative of Saga. As someone in an interracial/international/intercultural marriage, I feel a certain affinity to the book’s protagonists and I believe anyone who has had immigration all up in their marriage should have sympathy for all the gays putting up with government roadblocks to their attempts at wedded bliss. I don’t think gay people should feel like they have to get married to prove anything though. I worry that the politicizing of gay marriage must put some additional pressure on many relationships. Apple’s decision to ban the book over potentially offense that would be taken over “two postage stamp-sized images of gay sex” is not only cowardly, conservative, homophobic, reactionary, against their economic interests, and universally uncool, but it’s also hypocritical. Saga is a sexy book and its sexuality consistently defies the limits of both our contemporary morality and our scientific understanding. Apple has made the first eleven issues available through their iOS apps despite their being liberally adorned with profanity, sexuality, and nudity. This issue is being singled out for its gayness and that’s not cool.

If Apple is worried about kids, they shouldn’t have ever made Saga available. It’s neither suitable nor intended for immature readers. The violence in the comic alone makes it a questionable choice of reading material for a child. A lot of conservatives speak of the spectre of the gay teacher who will transform classrooms into gay training camps. Gay activists and sympathizers usually try to appease the person in the argument by assuring them that gay teachers wouldn’t teach homosexuality. I think their argument is correct. I’m been pretty certain of the sexual orientation of many of my teachers and I never remember being taught homosexuality. I do remember being taught a lot of heterosexuality in school, brain-washing levels of heterosexuality. As I’ve gotten older and looked at a statistic or two, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are too many people on this planet and that it is in the interest of our species’ survival to teach more homosexuality to future generations.

I would like to recommend Saga to you if you aren’t reading it. You should know it does get a little sexy, gross, violent, clever, satirical, challenging, and funny in some parts. If that’s not something you’re ready for, maybe you should skip it. Finally, one more recommendation- you should consider being gay if you haven’t. It’s at least worth the consideration.

THINGS CAN CHANGE IN A DAY as a somewhat muddled explanation emerges from Comixology saying they made some sort of error…smells like a dog with a tail between its legs. Either way Saga #12 will be appearing on iOS apps sooner than Saga #13

back to inspector spacepanda

Are you considering time travel as a plausible treatment option for premature ejaculation?

indianda panda jones

Archeology is about blowing stuff up and breaking antique treasures.

pandabanditpassage

Just some space cowboy stuff-  it’s not connected to the Panda Bandit project, at least not any more connected than these other pandas.

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