(And, as of Spring 2019, this blog is also an accidental Iron Man shrine. Oops!)

Thursday, February 20, 2020

I Don't Want Men's Hand-Me-Downs (Late Post)

"It's time we had a female __________."

Actually, no: it's not.

I don't need Female 007. I didn't need Female Ghostbusters. I didn't need Female Doctor Who. Our culture is already awash in original female heroes. You just need to dip into the right source material -- and then you need to make your final product good.

Everyone loved Wonder Woman. While that movie wasn't perfect, it was still incredibly appealing -- and shock of shock, there was no need to steal a male character to pull it off. Again, if you choose the right source material - if you adapt the right comic or the right novel - you will find the female representation you crave. True: those characters don't often have the benefit of widespread name recognition. But maybe it's time we bring these already extant fictional ladies into the limelight instead of lazily attempting to coast on what has been given to men.

That's the problem with all but a handful of Female __________ properties: the coasting. As soon as creators get into that Female __________ headspace, all we get is That Character You Already Know... With Tits! And why watch that when we can watch That Character You Already Know... Original Blend? And that's not even getting into the terrible marketing campaign that invariably accompanies Female __________, which generally makes her movie/show sound like woke homework instead of a pleasurable diversion.

I think I know where Female __________ is coming from: a mistaken belief that a particular franchise's historical maleness somehow excludes women from its fandom. But that's certainly not my experience. As you may have noticed, I have zero trouble identifying with male characters. No one needed to throw boobies on Tony Stark for me to fall head-over-heels in love with him in all of his iterations. That's because my reading of Tony goes beyond his sex, focusing on his personality and his very human struggles. His dick, to put it crudely, is utterly irrelevant.

Bottom line: We shouldn't encourage the current generation to be so shallow and surface trait oriented. A character's innie/outie status is one of the least interesting things about her -- along with her color and whom she prefers to bang.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Video: The Betrayal of Luke Skywalker

Sorry: I know I've been posting a lot of YouTube content lately, but this analysis is outstanding.

Friday, February 14, 2020

IMB, 2/14/20: Bringing More Iron Man to YouTube

Yeah, I'm not liking Iron Man 2020 so far. And yeah, I'm planning to write a take-down of "The Secret Origin of Tony Stark" one day -- because I totally mean it when I declare it the most pointless Iron Man arc of the last decade. :-P

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Essential Listening: The Purity Spiral

The Purity Spiral is a BBC Radio program that covers what readers of this blog will surely recognize: social justice activists' using well-meaning attempts to diversify hobby groups to colonize and destroy said groups. This particular journalist covers controversies in the knitting and young adult literature communities, but we've seen the very same thing occur in gaming, in science fiction literature, and in comics -- all fandoms that are generally liberal in outlook and are thus ripe for the taking.

Towards the end of this program, the question is asked: how do we identify the warning signs of a potential purity spiral? To answer that question, I'd first like to point to my post on Toxic "Diversity;" many important signs are discussed there, including emotional reasoning (as revealed by the rejection of criticism and/or contradictory evidence), bullying and censorship, and the like. To that, I would add that if activists within your particular hobby group can't articulate a clear, achievable end goal, you're definitely looking at the makings of a spiral and should take whatever steps are necessary to stop that shit in its tracks.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Two of My Video Reviews

Earthworm Jim is no longer on sale, sadly -- but if you can borrow it from someone, you should!

Thursday, February 6, 2020

IMB, 2/6/20: A Recent Invention (Late Post)

Tony Stark's Arrogance: A Recent Invention

As of now, I have revisited all the Iron Man comics that were published between his debut in 1963 and 2014 (not to mention a bunch of his appearances in the Avengers line and elsewhere) -- and based on what I've read, Tony Stark wasn't depicted as arrogant until the late 90's (and back then, it was still only an occasional flaw).

I'm sure that must sound weird to the normies out there - or to the young'uns who've only read his 21st century iteration - but I swear to God, just before the century turned, there was a distinct shift in how Tony was written.

Some themes remained constant of course. Tony has been a hard partier from the word go. And yes, he's always displayed what I've described in previous posts as a "need for mastery" -- i.e., a need to have control over his own fate. But unless I've missed something, the Tony Stark of the first era (i.e., the era spanning Tales of Suspense and the first volume of his solo series) isn't prideful -- like, at all.

As a founding Avenger, Tony integrates himself into a team with no trouble; indeed, it's Hawkeye, not Tony, who's most likely to get on Cap's case in this period. Meanwhile, in his own line, Tony shows a repeated tendency towards self-criticism and self-punishment (which, granted, does persist in the better modern books despite the aforementioned shift). When he realizes early on that Pepper has a crush on him, he doesn't pursue her as if she were his birthright; on the contrary, he does everything he can to push Pepper into Happy's arms because "no woman should bear the burden of having a partner who could die at any second." (Yes, that's his exact line of reasoning.) When he gets into a fight with Cap over a misunderstanding, he berates himself at the end of the issue for being an idiot and not realizing he was being played. When he tries to quit being Iron Man and people get hurt, he declares himself a heel and immediately gets to work setting things right. I honestly could go on and on listing examples of first-era-Tony being humble, ethical, and sacrificing.

So what happened? I think Tony's later writers may have fundamentally misunderstood Stan Lee's stated reasoning for inventing the character. Lee once said that he wanted to challenge himself by making a hero out of someone people were likely to hate: a rich, attractive military contractor with the entire world at his feet. In other words, Lee wanted to break a stereotype. This is just my theory, but I think more recent writers transmogrified that into "people had reason to hate Tony before he became Iron Man" -- even though there's zero evidence in early canon that Tony was behaving in a way that supports that notion. And no, the simple act of making weapons is not that evidence. War is inevitable (sorry, utopians); thus, there's nothing inherently wrong with equipping our military with the tools it needs to fight those wars effectively. On the whole, the support for the modern interpretation of Tony Stark, as far as I can tell, all comes from later retcons -- not from Lee's original creation.

No, yon writers of Axis and Superior Iron Man: 616 Tony is not a reformed sociopath just one nudge away from pure depravity. At least, that's not how he was originally written. That's you guys deciding that Tony could not have agreed to pick up military contracts unless he was simply a bad person. That's you guys dumbing this shit down to satisfy your own knee-jerk sensibilities.

(Can you tell I've changed my mind and decided to cover everything -- including the absolute trash? Yeah: I've succumbed to the temptation to complain.)