comics

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Tools of corporate power.

“The companies see talent as disposable, because so many people want to break into comics,” Seidman said. While some individuals at a given company might fight for a creator, the corporate structure as a whole is completely unaccountable. “There’s no shortage of people to fill spaces. Once you get past the people they really want to keep because they mean sales, they don’t give a fuck.”

Economic exploitation creates the conditions for sexual exploitation to flourish, and the comics industry as it currently exists cannot address the one without tackling the other. Sexual harassment, in all its various forms, is not simply a social problem; it is theft—of a victim’s time, dignity, of their ability to create work in peace and pursue financial or social opportunities. Moreover, it is theft of a creator’s ability to pursue a livelihood in their chosen field. Harassers don’t simply prey on those made vulnerable by precarity: they actively make the spaces and institutions they inhabit more precarious, and keep workers disorganized and afraid to the company’s financial benefit. Think of it, if you like, as grooming on a grand scale: the cultivation of a workforce that can be trusted to go along with sexual and economic exploitation—to grin through clenched teeth, to say nothing out of fear—and drive out those who can’t.

Asher Elbein on labor rights.

This exact same atmosphere (of fawning over badly behaving superstars while treating everyone else like disposable churn) is also part of the reason I bailed on Big 5 publishing…

2020-10-20T08:05:21+11:0026th October, 2020|Tags: , , , |

Orange Skull.

I didn’t think of myself as especially political compared with some of my fellow travellers, but when asked to kill a relatively anodyne reference to an Orange Skull I realised that perhaps it had been irresponsible to be playful about the dire existential threat we now live with, and I withdrew my introduction.

International fascism again looms large … and the dislocations that have followed the global economic meltdown of 2008 helped bring us to a point where the planet itself seems likely to melt down […] Armageddon seems somehow plausible and we’re all turned into helpless children scared of forces grander than we can imagine, looking for respite and answers in superheroes flying across screens in our chapel of dreams.

Art Spiegelman (re)learns that everything is political.

Timely reminder that the CEO of Marvel donates substantial sums of money to Trump, as well as functions as a political advisor, and is actively involved in censoring any criticism Marvel employees attempt to make about the regime in the name of being “apolitical”.

(Also that last line probably could do with a whole essay of unpacking all on its own because… wow. What a massive, potentially unintentional, neg against the superhero genre. I mean… I’m into it. But also… wow.)

2019-08-19T08:20:57+10:0019th August, 2019|Tags: , , , |

Systemic failures.

To me, it’s disturbing whenever I see authority figures embracing Punisher iconography because the Punisher represents a failure of the Justice system. He’s supposed to indict the collapse of social moral authority and the reality some people can’t depend on institutions like the police or the military to act in a just and capable way.

The vigilante anti-hero is fundamentally a critique of the justice sysytem, an eample of social failure, so when cops put Punisher skulls on their cars or members of the military wear Punisher skull patches, they’re basically sides with an enemy of the system. They are embracing an outlaw mentality. Whether you think the Punisher is justified or not, whether you admire his code of ethics, he is an outlaw. He is a criminal. Police should not be embracing a criminal as their symbol.

Gerry Conway on the Punisher.

Conway is, of course, the creator of the Punisher. So… y’know. There’s that.

2019-01-23T13:25:13+11:0024th June, 2019|Tags: , , |

New books for June 2019!

New books! Mostly my haul from Continuum, plus one Kickstarter reward, and one book from Japan. Titles include:

  • Andrzej Sapkowski, The Last Wish
  • Alison Evans, Highway Bodies
  • Marlee Jane Ward, Welcome to Orphancorp
  • J.S. Breukelaar, Aletheia
  • Amanda Bridgeman, The Subjugate
  • the remaining B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth collected volumes
  • the Over the Edge core rulebook
  • a touristy artbook of demon and ghost ukiyo-e works I bought from a museum in Harajuku.

Also, if you squint, in the top left of the image you can see the box of Werewolf: the Apocalypse character sheets from the game we haven’t played for like a year because half the players decided to have a baby. Pfft.

2019-06-18T10:19:49+10:0018th June, 2019|Tags: , , |
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