Robot 6

Comics A.M. | Origins of Green Lantern Simon Baz; ‘Ultimate’ legacy

Green Lantern Simon Baz

Comics | Green Lantern writer Geoff Johns talks with The Wall Street Journal about the introduction this week of the newest member of the Green Lantern Corps Simon Baz, an Arab-American Muslim from Dearborn, Michigan: “As fantastic as the concept of Green Lantern is of an intergalactic police force, the comic has had a history of grounding in the now and dealing with modern characters and concepts and Simon Baz is that. I wanted to create a character that everyday Americans have to deal with. When 9/11 hit, he was 10-years-old. His family was devastated, just like every other American. He’s grown up in that world. It’s just part of the daily life, the new normal.” [Speakeasy]

Comics | The new Spider-Man, Miles Morales, reaches a key moment in Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #14, when Aunt May gives him Peter Parker’s web-shooters and the formula for for his web fluid. Writer Brian Michael Bendis explains why he waited so long to pass along the iconic tools: “‘This is like Excalibur. This is it. This is like being bequeathed the sword,’ Bendis says. ‘But, young Miles and (his friend) Ganke trying to figure out how to make web fluid is going to be my favorite stuff to write ever in the history of writing of anything. Just because someone gives you a formula and says, “Here, cook this,” doesn’t mean you can.'” [USA Today]

Politics | Robot 6 contributor Graeme McMillan explains why political conventions are more like Comic-Con International than, say, a trade show: “Yes, they’re safe spaces in which you can discover your community and get your niche nerd on, but they’re also shows that are meant to rally enthusiasm to help introduce things — be they movies, comics or Presidential candidates — to the world at large, and in both cases, they are events where it is very clear to those producing or even simply exhibiting that the eyes of the world are upon them.” Comic-Con has more cosplayers, though. [Time Entertainment]

Amy Reeder

Creators | Amy Reeder (Batwoman) talks about her work process and the experience of jumping from Tokyopop to Vertigo’s Madame Xanadu: “It was unbelievably stressful, and the deadline pressure was tough on me. But it taught me a lot about being a professional, and I had great examples to look up to – and it earned me three Eisner nominations, which meant a lot of job security after that.” [Sequential Highway]

Creators | Eva Volin interviews Ben Hatke, whose second Zita the Spacegirl book, Legends of Zita the Spacegirl, came out this week. It’s a bit more contemplative than the first Zita book: “There’s a lot of action in this book and that is fun both to draw and to write, but I also wanted to show a bit of travel, and let us see Zita coming to grips with just how big the universe is. That realization of the size of the world is, I think, a common part of growing up, even for kids who don’t get trapped on another planet.” [Good Comics for Kids]

Deadlands: Raven

Publishing | Annapolis-based digital comics publisher Visionary Comics eschews not only paper and ink but also bricks and mortar; it has no permanent office, but the staff of six meets regularly at the Double T Diner. The company is running a Kickstarter to fund its second graphic novel based on the Western/steampunk RPG Deadlands, and it’s shopping around a secret project to film producers that could be Visionary’s biggest deal to date. [Patch.com]

Reviews | Joe McCulloch reviews Jack Chick’s Satan Comes to Salem with the same piercing eye he turns on comics that aren’t crazy evangelical tracts. [The Comics Journal]

Editorial cartoons | “Cartoons are a great barometer of freedom. If a cartoonist can draw the president, then that’s a free press,” political cartoonist Daryl Cagle told students at the JJ Institute of Art in Mumbai, India. He also told them that positive themes make for bad comics—”Cartooning is a negative art form”—and that he misses the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il because he was such good cartoon fodder. [Hindustan Times]

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9 Comments

Dear WSJ, Superman had pants before the reboot too.

Read GL #0 last night. It was well done, but I had predicted a key element of the plot. Not exactly but close enough. Also the art was fantastic as usual.

Thanks for spoiling the 1 day old Ultimate Spider-Man issue.

Jerks.

There are people living outside North America, you know?

What about a non-North American Green Lantern?

“I wanted to create a character that everyday Americans have to deal with.”
And that can’t be done without supplanting an established white character? There’s no possible way to create a compelling new character ‘of color’ that isn’t simply a copy of an existing anglo one? Do these cultures that you feel so passionately that we must have trouble ‘dealing with’ not have ANYTHING unique of their own to capitalize on other than being not white? This character exists purely to manufacture some controversy and in two years or less he’ll be slaughtered by the latest pumped-up new ‘bad ass’ crossover villain.

Arab American from Michigan? Wait, that’s Sabu from ECW! Hell yeah! Extreme GL! Oh, sorry, no it’s some Arab American guy who will upset the status quo because Americans don’t differentiate between Saudi’s crashing planes and any other Arab descended person right? So people will distrust him? Even though he’s wearing a GL uniform which they all know means he’s a good guy. What’s next? A female GL tries to play in the Masters and the world goes topsy turvy? Come on. I know it seems like Americans are all racists bastards but we aren’t. PLEASE don’t let this devolve into him not being trusted by americans at large because they somehow know he’s Arabic. We did John Stewart in the South already. People know there are aliens and monsters and stuff. They shouldn’t get worked up over an Arab green lantern.BLEEH.

Instead of whining about reverse racism, why don’t you guys actually read the comic? Then bitch to your heart’s content.

Almost all of them are non-north american.

I can’t decide if Johns is pandering with his non-white GL (“hey look guys, I’m cognizant of problems faced by non-white people! I’m not racist!”) or if he genuinely thinks that there is story potential to this specific character that can’t be dealt with using pre-existing characters. I suppose that’s what this comes down: is there something unique about this specific individual that justifies the story choices made by Johns.

We can wring our hands about racism and reverse-racism and pandering and whatnot, but what it SHOULD come down to is whether or not Johns is doing right by the story rather than the politics.

On the other hand, as with the introduction of the new Ultimate Spider-Man, I’m of the opinion that ALL kids need superheroes to look up. When I grew up, I had my pick of superheroes that looked like me and came from the same socio-economic class. What with globalization and the increasing number of children with access to comics, there needs to be a reflection of them within comics. Thus, I’m all for a wider more complex variety of superheroes.

As for the idea that black, Latino, Middle-Eastern (whatever that means), Asian heroes should have their own superhero and not supplant pre-existing white heroes… well that’s very nice in theory, but we’ve seen that very few non-white original characters make it. Generally their titles are cancelled due to low sales (this industry is unforgiving) or the characters are murdered in some ridiculous way in another title.

Superheroes are a flexible varying concept. There have been other GLs that have been accepted by the mainstream: John Stewart, Kyle Raynor, Alan Scott, etc etc etc. I fail to see why this particular character can’t add anything to the discourse.

Of course, I despise Johns’ style of writing, so I’m hoping a more competent writer can take over this particular character.

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