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When most comics fans see Bane, they think of a quintessential 1990s supervillain, the super-strong “Man Who Broke the Bat.” But when conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh sees Bane, he thinks of a left-wing conspiracy.
As Warner Bros. makes its final promotional push for The Dark Knight Rises, which features Tom Hardy as Batman’s hulking nemesis, Limbaugh launched into a screed linking the prominence of Bane in entertainment news with the prominence of Bain — that is, the venture-capital company co-founded by Mitt Romney — in the political debate. Oh, don’t act surprised.
“Do you think it is accidental that the name of the really vicious fire-breathing, four-eyed whatever-it-is villain in this movie is named Bane?” The Hollywood Reporter quotes Limbaugh as saying on today’s show. He apparently acknowledged that the development of the Christopher Nolan film predates the current line of attack by President Obama’s reelection campaign, but even the pesky tendency of time to move in a linear fashion — retroactive retirements aside — can’t get in the way of a good conspiracy theory!
There’s a scene in the 1938 screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby where Cary Grant’s character discovers that Katherine Hepburn’s character has taken his clothes in an attempt to keep him from leaving her. In desperation, he puts on the only thing he can find — a sheer, pink robe of hers — and storms around the house, looking for something else to wear.
When the owner of the house arrives and demands to know who the strange man is and why he’s wearing that robe, an exasperated Grant shouts, “Because I just went GAY, all of a sudden!” punctuating the word “gay” with a leap into the air.
I’ve been thinking of that moment this week, as the mainstream superhero publishers seem to have been metaphorically running around in metaphorical ladies nightwear, metaphorically leaping in the air and shouting: DC and Marvel have gone gay — or “gay!” — all of a sudden.
Of course, the bit in Bringing Up Baby was meant to be a joke, the very sight of the virile, handsome, zenith of masculinity Cary Grant dressed in women’s nightclothes was in and of itself so ridiculous as to be funny without elaboration (although the image has since taken on some irony, given decades of speculation about Grant’s personal life, but let’s not get into that). It was also made more than 70 years ago.
As you may remember from a few months ago, BOOM! Studios jumped on the presidential-campaign bandwagon with its Decision 2012 comics, each of which features a different presidential candidate. The President Obama comic came out this week, and as Johanna Draper Carlson pointed out, no writer is credited — which is odd, in this day and age.
Odd enough that I e-mailed BOOM! Studios myself to see what the story was. Marketing Coordinator Emily McGuinness was quick to reply:
We hired a young, incredibly talented writer to do these, and that writer elected not to take credit. Why? Well, they saw it as a great opportunity to refine their craft but didn’t want to be associated as the ‘political comic book writer’ moving forward. They’ve got some cool projects coming up, and wanted the focus of their next stage of career development to be on that. It made sense to us and we were happy to be respectful of their decision (no pun intended).
That makes for an interesting parlor game in about five years: Which prominent comics writer was behind the Obama comic? I’d look for someone with a love of text boxes and footnotes; the comic consists mainly of juxtaposed pictures and text, and it reads more like an illustrated prose bio than a comic. It’s non-sequential, if that’s a word.
The writing isn’t bad, but if I were going to write a compelling comic (as opposed to a hagiography), I’d include the juicy details about Obama’s 2004 election to the U.S. Senate, in which his opponent self-destructed in a sex scandal and the Illinois Republican Party drafted Alan Keyes as a replacement. Heck, I could do an entire miniseries on that election alone, and it’s a shame the writer covered it in a single panel. Maybe they were too busy with that next project to give it much thought.
Comics | In a post subtitled “Why the new biracial Spider-Man matters,” David Betancourt shares his reaction to the news that the new Ultimate Spider-Man is half-black, half-Latino: “The new Ultimate Spider-Man, who will have the almost impossible task of replacing the late Peter Parker (easily one of Marvel Comics most popular characters), took off his mask and revealed himself to be a young, half-black, half-Latino kid by the name of Miles Morales. When I read the news, I was beside myself, as if my brain couldn’t fully process the revelation. My friendly neighborhood Spider-Man was … just like me? This is a moment I never thought I’d see. But the moment has arrived, and I — the son of Puerto Rican man who passed his love of comics to me, and a black woman who once called me just to say she’d met Adam West — will never forget that day.”
Publishing | Popular comic-book guest star President Barack Obama will make a brief appearance in this week’s Flashpoint #4. DC Comics Executive Editor Eddie Berganza told USA Today that the inclusion of the actual President, rather than a fictional counterpart, signals that the danger is real — something that will get pushed as the publisher prepares for the September relaunch. [USA Today]
Conventions | More than 31,000 anime and manga enthusiasts flocked to Baltimore over the weekend for Otakon, one of the biggest fan-oriented anime conventions. There were a few anime and manga licenses announced, but mainly it was a meet-and-greet for fans and publishers. [Anime News Network]
Comic creators James Hudnall and Batton Lash have come under fire for a recent comic strip posted on the conservative website BigGovernment.com.
The duo regularly contributes a comic strip called “Obama Nation” — a play off of “abomination”– to the site, part of Andrew Breitbart’s online network. The Feb. 12th strip featured President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama eating dinner, with the president eating very small portions and the first lady eating a plate filled with hamburgers as they discuss her now one-year-old anti-obesity campaign. You can see the full strip for yourself after the jump.
MSNBC commentator Lawrence O’Donnell called it “a racist obscenity” on his program yesterday, while Mediamatters.org said, “It’s been a long time since I’ve expected anything approaching comity from the conservative media, but this is the sort of stuff most of us left at the grade school playground.” And on Technorati, Bill Schmalfeldt wrote, “… Brietbart’s hack comic drawers don’t understand satire. Instead, they show the First Lady as fat and scarfing down cheeseburgers, which she doesn’t do, they show Obama’s ears as impossibly large, the cartoon isn’t funny in the first place, and there’s no grain of truth on which to hang the satire.”
Hudnall, a former writer of Alpha Flight and Strikeforce Morituri, as well as creator of the ESPers and Harsh Realm, responded to the criticism: “There is nothing racist about the cartoon. The artist (Batton Lash) merely drew the first couple in caricature, which is what political cartoonists do. All we’ve done was to take a mild poke at the hypocrisy of the first lady. The press has already detailed the kind of foods served at white house dinners. It’s rarely diet friendly. Such as the menu at their super bowl party.”
Lash, the creator of Supernatural Law, said: “What’s racist about it? Cartooning — specifically political cartooning– has always been about exaggeration, whether it was Nixon’s prominent jowls, Carter’s toothy smile, or Bush ll’s beady eyes. If our current president is exempt because of the color of his skin, I think that would be racist. By the way, I didn’t depict the First Lady as fat — just a hearty eater!”
“You know, my sense is the Republicans recognize that with greater power is going to come greater responsibility.”
— President Barack Obama at Wednesday’s White House press conference on the 111th Congress’ surprisingly productive lame-duck session and the transition to a GOP majority in the House of Representatives next year. Sounds like he won’t be crumpling his sensible suit and tie in the trash and saying “President No More!” anytime soon.
Welcome once again to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy based on certain spending limits — $15, $30 to spend and if we had extra money to spend on what we call the “Splurge” item. Check out Diamond’s release list for this week if you’d like to play along in our comments section.
If I had $15:
I’d be all about the Axe Cop, Volume 1 ($14.99). Should be the best thing since Katie Mignola’s The Magician and the Snake.
If I had $30:
I’d add On the Case with Holmes and Watson, Volume 5: The Adventure of the Speckled Band ($6.95) and Robert E. Howard’s Savage Sword #1 ($7.99). Those On the Case books are cool and a Howard anthology of new and reprinted material sounds awesome. Especially when the creators involved include Paul Tobin, Marc Andreyko, Tim Bradstreet and Barry Windsor Smith.
Only in Riverdale would President Barack Obama and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin share a shake at the local soda shop. Above is the cover to December’s Archie #616, which guest stars both politicians in a story about student government campaigns that “spiral out of control at Riverdale High!” It’s Archie vs. Reggie throwing mud at each other in the political arena, as Obama and Palin are pulled into the fray.
The story continues in Archie #617, the cover for which can be found after the jump.
Legal | A Belgian court will rule next week whether Herge’s 1931 collection Tintin in the Congo will be banned because of its depictions of native Africans. The decision, originally expected today, following a nearly three-year-old effort by Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo, a Congolese man living in Belgium, to have the book removed from the country’s bookstores, or at least sold with warning labels as it is in Britain. [Guardian, Mail Online]
Libraries | Robot 6 contributor Brigid Alverson reports on a C2E2 panel devoted to helping librarians deal with public challenges to graphic novels. On a related note, she also talks to Jeff Smith about a Minnesota mother’s attempt to have Bone removed from libraries in her school district. [Publishers Weekly]
You know him best as the mastermind of Project Rooftop, but apparently cartoonist Dean Trippe has a sideline gig as Barack Obama’s presidential photographer. How else to explain the photo series “Barack Obama Looking at Awesome Things” Trippe is hosting on his tumblr, featuring our chief executive getting up close and personal with Lion-O’s Sword of Omens, Green Lantern’s Power Ring, Speed Racer’s Mach 5, Luke Skywalker’s Lightsaber, Batman’s batarangs, Captain America’s shield and many more objects of geekery? (Oh man, if you thought the debate over whether Red Hulk would be able to pick up Mjolnir was divisive….)
(via Ryan “Agent M” Penagos)
He’ll be there to kick ass and push for health care reform, no doubt.
As you’ve no doubt already seen, the above Obama/Joker mash-up has been making the rounds lately; it’s been posted up on placards and utility poles in Los Angeles and gotten the attention of quite a few bloggers.
According to Politics Daily, it also got the attention of radio personality Rush Limbaugh, who found the comparison apt:
Conventions | San Diego and its convention center are fending off suitors for Comic-Con International, which generates some $16 million in direct spending for the city. Helen Kaiao Chang reports on some of the behind-the-scenes wrangling to keep the convention away from Los Angeles and Las Vegas, even as “the homegrown event … [busts] at the seams” of the San Diego venue.
“We’re working hard to keep them in San Diego,” says one convention center official. “The economic impact to San Diego is profound.” [San Diego News Network]
Publishing | After round after round of firings, Wizard has announced two promotions and a new hire. Longtime staff member Mike Cotton has been promoted from managing editor to editor while Andy Serwin has moved from assistant managing editor to features editor.
The magazine also has hired Casey Seijas as managing editor. Seijas previously worked at Wizard as a writer and editor before moving on to Vertigo, where he edited Hellblazer and assisted on numerous other titles. He left the DC Comics imprint in summer 2008 to co-edit MTV’s new Splash Page blog, but was let go a few months later in a round of Viacom layoffs. He stayed on as a free-lance writer. [Wizard]
Yesterday Arcana Comics released the third issue of their Greatest American Hero mini-series, which featured the above variant cover. The book joins a never-ending list of books that have featured President Barack Obama on their cover, from Amazing Spider-Man and Savage Dragon to Barack the Barbarian: Quest for the Treasure of Stimuli and My Neighbor Taro-kun.