Robot 6

Quote of the day | A specific effort not to push readers away

Atomic Robo and his diverse Action Scientists

“One ‘defense’ for not making the effort to be inclusive is, ‘Aw, but man, I don’t want to have to think about this stuff, I just want to read/write stories.’ And, y’know what? We’re sympathetic to that. Thinking about it can be really taxing, confusing, and depressing. Imagine if you had to think about that stuff all the time. Perhaps due to being not white? Or not male? Or not straight?”

Brian Clevinger, explaining why Atomic Robo is specifically designed to be as inclusive as possible, while still telling awesome stories

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22 Comments

strangest attempt at making a connection between being a lazy writer and societal sexism/racism of all time

RegularSyzedMike

May 25, 2012 at 5:18 pm

I really have no good excuse for not having bought all Atomic Robo books available save for the fact that I haven’t bought much of anything fun for a while :P

I just want good stories first and formost. I remember when Ellen DeGeneris had her comedy show and it was really good and had a stellar cast. Then the comedy and entertainment became secondary to her political agenda and it wasn’t funny anymore. Not because of her position, but her show jumped the shark because her agenda became the driving force. And the art suffered because of it.

I personally fit several minority groups and are underrepresented in comics, but I don’t buy comics or really care if someone on the page “represents” me or not, just as long as the story is good.

Jake Earlewine

May 25, 2012 at 5:21 pm

“A specific effort not to push readers away”

Does that mean they’re not going to reboot 52 comics, wipe out their character’s established histories, and push away most of their loyal customers of the last thirty or forty years? Yes, I think that’s a worthy goal.

But the paragraph quoted in the column seems like it’s missing vital information. What is he talking about when he says “inclusive”? What “stuff” is it he doesn’t want to think about? I can make up my own answers… I don’t want to think about war, pollution, murderers, child molesters, or right-wing politicians.

People are misinterpreting. The New 52, while not succeeding in every book, was about diversifying their publishing line in genre and in representing minorities, and in that regard was making the attempt to do what Clevinger is talking about: that is, to be more inclusive of one’s audience by giving them positive representations of their race/genre/sexual orientation, and not ‘driving them away’ with crassly sexualized females or what have you.

Of course books like Catwoman and (to a lesser extent) Red Hood failed in that regard, but certainly those complaining about the New 52 probably need to find another venue in which to do it. That’s not what this quote is about.

….In what universe is Red Hood somehow LESS offensive than Catwoman was? Red Hood had Starfire just offering herself up to anyone in a red costume. Catwoman had it’s title character sleep with someone everyone assumes she’s been sleeping with for the past 30 years. Mind you, the fact that she spent half the comic in various states of undress is definitely strange, but I’d rather that than have her asking Dick and Tim if they wanted to take a run at her. >_<

People seem to forget that – for all the love that the fans claim – DC was a DISTANT number two to Marvel in sales. I question the claim that DC had no good stories considering things from Batman RIP and Battle of the Cowl to Superman’s New Krypton to Wonder Woman’s Rise of the Olympian to Green Lantern’s Sinestro Corps War to Legion of Superheroes Crisis on Three Worlds. All incredible, fun stories….but no one was buying. That simple. The facts bear it out that in the last decade, DC wasn’t breaking the top 25 except for the occasional Batman and eventually Blackest Night. Was it bad stories or that to keep up with a character continuity – some of which went back to 1986! – was more and more cumbersome and inaccessible to new readers or readers who wanted to get back in after missing some issues/years were lost.

Now for some reason, after the DC reboot everyone is claiming they loved the old stories and old continuity and everything but the sales were not there. WW got a reboot with pants because no one was buying, even when WW got her first female writer in history. DC rebooted and got new readers and while no one loves every title generally there are at least one or two that people like….and that’s on par with the old DC as well….but there are a lot more different titles….it’s not all just Justice League superheroes anymore with titles like I, Vampire, Justice League Dark, Frankenstein, Resurrection Man, Man of War and so forth. It’s not just about minority/racial/ethnic representation…it’s about putting out more than just Batman Batman Batman (oh…and Superman and Wonder Woman) on the shelves for DC readers who don’t want Batman. They’re at least trying to do something new and different rather than repackage the same old the way A vs X is just Civil War 2 – Wrestlemania: Marvel.

@B Smith

There’s no proof that the New 52 got new readers. Stop making unsubstantiated claims

Comic readership is down. The industry is a bit of a sinking ship right now. Just because some completist nerds bought EVERY SINGLE title from the New 52 for the first few months does not mean new people have flocked to comics because of the event – certainly not in any significant numbers

WIth the way DC launched Firestorm after building him up in Brightest Day/Darkest Night, now we have this CRAP series introduced by Ethan Van Sciver…….DC can have the New 52. I only get Batman books now…..I hope every new series in the New 52 FAILS.

I’ve sent my letters to DC/Editors and posted on their Facebook page about the mess they created….still no responses.

Screw the New 52

“Was it bad stories or that to keep up with a character continuity – some of which went back to 1986! – was more and more cumbersome and inaccessible to new readers or readers who wanted to get back in after missing some issues/years were lost.”

Yeah, well, Marvel seems to deal pretty well with a continuity that goes all the way back to the 1960’s. DC keeps stumbling over its own continuity. One of the differences between Marvel and DC regarding continuity: Marvel uses a more relaxed “let’s just pretend it didn’t happen, shall we?” approach; DC, on the other hand, validated the continuity-trivia-obsessed section of fandom with Crisis on the Infinite Earths, and are stuck with the upkeep of an increasingly non-sensical, re-re-re-re-re-written continuity.

@ Demon Dogs: The only one who doesn’t get this is Fat Cat a local long running shop that dumped Sci-fi and Fantasy to concentrate exclusively on comics post 2008.Talk about a business model guaranteed to fail.The person now in charge is even claiming a market share of pre teen and young teen readers that nobody else is seeing.This might be happening in larger markets somewhere,but in significant amounts in our local small market I doubt it will continue for long at 3.99 a comic.The real problem with DC 52 was launching that many books in one calender month.Given the economy and the amount of competition out there they should have gone in lean and mean,and maybe would have been a little more successful.Add to that Beyond,Before,and DC National promotions at increased prices(regardless of page count) and we have 6 cancellations with JLI right behind.Right now the replacement dog in this market is GI Combat,and possibly H for Hero.So it goes.

As a huge fan of Atomic Robo even I find Clevengers statement as rambling and somewhat incoherent.So does this mean AR is about to come out of the closet?

nu52 vs Marvel: What? Who cares?

“strangest attempt at making a connection between being a lazy writer and societal sexism/racism of all time”: What? Like, what? Part of lazy writing is allowing societal sexism/racism to color your writing in negative ways and not making any effort to address or combat it. That is literally the problem in every form of American narrative for entertainment and it’s quite pervasive. I cannot figure out what you think your objection here is.

“Rambling and somewhat incoherent”: What? Maybe read the whole article for context.

“AR is about to come out of the closet”: What?!

That quote is missing a paragraph break before “And, y’know what?”, which is probably throwing people off.

The whole point of the quote, and the article preceding the quote, is that writers need to put more effort into making their comics more inclusive and less offensive.

Heck, just making the comics less offensive and writing better stories would probably be enough. There are audiences out there that don’t want to see gritty murder stories with angsty heroes or lots of T&A.

What’s wrong with writing specific stories that only appeal to certain people or just to the creator him/herself? Not everything should be for everyone. Sure, if you want to make all inclusive comics, alright, but its not important for to do so. There should be comics for everyone, but not all comics should be for everyone.

People say comic readership is down, but that’s not true. Only the narrow-minded “mainstream” readership is down. Stop making blanket statements that only concern a certain part. Comics are on the rise, just not in the shops. Shut up.

Crisis on Infinite Earths was just a way for DC to streamline it’s product line and make them more cohesive like Marvel.
Infinite Crisis and Zero Hour were for continuity nerds, while making the continuity even harder to track.

Just having characters that are indicative of the myriad types of people in the world is better than trying to write specific stories that stress the ethnic/sexual/gender identity of one specific character the reader may never see again.

i don’t think anyone who’s read AR can doubt that they tell great stories, they just manage to ALSO be inclusive with embarrassing themselves

@Demon Dogs!: “strangest attempt at making a connection between being a lazy writer and societal sexism/racism of all time”

Yes, it is so weird that a guy would respond to a letter from a female fan who says she’s never enjoyed a comic book before by suggesting that lots of male writers and artists make books that don’t appeal to women.

@Monel: “I personally fit several minority groups and are underrepresented in comics, but I don’t buy comics or really care if someone on the page “represents” me or not, just as long as the story is good.”

Let me guess: white, straight, male, right?

I mean, that’s cool. So am I. But I don’t go around trivializing it when other people want representation.

@Mr. Pants: “What’s wrong with writing specific stories that only appeal to certain people or just to the creator him/herself? Not everything should be for everyone. Sure, if you want to make all inclusive comics, alright, but its not important for to do so. There should be comics for everyone, but not all comics should be for everyone.”

That’s really a long set of strawmen, innit?

The problem is that the majority of superhero books put out by DC and Marvel target the same audience and that audience is shrinking.

@Thad

Let me guess, white, male, California resident. Right?

So far gone at being politically correct that you spend your time looking for slights where 98% of the time there aren’t any

Again – with feeling – bad writing does not equal racism or sexism. Bad, lazy writing equals bad, lazy writing. Racism and sexism equals racism and sexism

In other words, write GOOD stories, featuring whatever kind of characters you want, and readers will come. Write bad, lazy stories, and readers will stay away. But I’m sure you’re too far gone sipping the PC kool-aid to even be able to logically process what I just said to you.

Let me put it another way, a story does not have to have a character like me in it for it to be GOOD and for me to enjoy it. But I know that idea does not fit your PC agenda, so carry on

Demon Dogs!, just to make sure I understand: you can tolerate racism and sexism so long as the writing is good. Is that correct?

Does that also apply when the story itself is not ABOUT racism and sexism, but is ITSELF racist and sexist?

Put words in people’s mouth much? When did I say that??

PS – give some examples of racism and sexism in comics. Do you even know what those 2 terms really mean??

Good luck

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