Not the Comic Books I Grew Up With

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Images from “Uncanny X-Men #7,” “Uncanny X-Men #52,” and “All-New X-Men #40” found at “Bounding into Comics.”

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I received quite a bit of feedback on my last blog post, mainly in social media. So when insomnia seized me by the throat tonight, I re-read some other “controversial” material I’d sampled earlier and figured, why not? I need to kill some time and let being sleepy overwhelm my anxiety (long story).

I follow the blog Bounding into Comics and yes it does come from a somewhat conservative place socially. While I periodically complain that the entertainment industry has forgotten how to entertain, they/it does have other characteristics. One can be found in the “Bounding” article Every Single Comic Book Character That Has Been Retconned To LGBTQ+.

No, I’m not going to rant about LGBTQ representation in comic books or anything else. The world is a diverse place and that will naturally be reflected in what we watch, read, and listen to. Any form of entertainment is a product of its times which is why making and then remaking a movie or TV show decades apart will yield two different products. Compare the original 1960s Lost in Space with the much more recent Netflix remake (which admittedly I’ve never watched, but I’m convinced the two shows must be very different from each other). It’s also why it’s reasonable to have gay characters in comic books today when you would never have found even one when I was growing up.

Getting back to the article, there are only six DC and Marvel characters listed out of hundreds or perhaps thousands of superheroes, so it’s not like it is a big deal. The complaint that author John F. Trent makes is that each and every one of these fictional people started out as totally straight characters. Every single one.

And every one was retconned to become bi or gay.

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Why Don’t Men (Supposedly) Read Books by Women? Hint: It’s Not Because of Sexism

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This all started with an article in The Guardian titled Why do so few men read books by women? by M.A. Sieghart (the “M.A.” standing for Mary Ann). Her article (which she wrote to promote her recently published book) is quite short and her answer is simple. Men are sexist.

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Promotional image of Mary Ann Sieghart

Author Gwenda Bond commented on twitter about this, but it wasn’t until I read the rebuttal on deus ex magical girl by D.G.D. Davidson (a guy) that I found out about it.

I don’t know if Ms. Bond’s interest in the topic was the same as Sieghart’s, but Davidson wrote a killer response.

The article just a little long, but it’s worth it. I don’t want to reveal too much, but it has to do with another issue of mine; how the entertainment industry keeps missing the boat as far as actually entertaining.

For instance, in Davidson’s article:

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Book Review of “Abaddon’s Gate,” the Third in the “Expanse” Series

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“Abaddon’s Gate” by James S.A. Corey

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Finished reading Abaddon’s Gate by James S.A. Corey (Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) which is the third in the Expanse series. It was a little harder for me to get into at first, unlike Leviathan Wakes or Caliban’s War. Starting things off with Jim Holden and the crew of the Rocinante drinking and gambling in the casinos of Ceres didn’t set the right tone for me, at least not in the beginning.

Also, there was the plethora of new characters to absorb. True, each of these novels introduces characters unique to a particular book, but this one seemed to have a ton, including Anna, Bull, Tilly, Cortez, and Clarissa/Melba, and that’s just the short list.

Since each chapter is told from a specific person’s point of view, I had to keep reminding myself who that person was in the earlier portions of the novel. It was a tad “offputting.”

Oh, and Joe Miller makes a comeback but not as you might imagine, thanks to he, Julie Mao, the asteroid Eros, and the protomolecule all being thrown into the atmosphere of Venus, “cooking” for a while, and then having “something” emerge.

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Rejection and Feedback

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Found at typinglounge.com – No image credit given

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Random stuff.

I haven’t been writing much lately. Okay, I haven’t been writing anything new at all. I do technical writing for my day job of course, and I just finished yet another freelance job updating/refreshing test questions at the back a technology book (it’s actually more interesting than it sounds, pays pretty well, and has a quick turnaround).

What I have  been doing is submitting previously rejected short stories to different publishers, actually trying for more “mainstream” periodicals.

This is where the rejection part comes in. One story is basically urban fantasy/crime story (I’ve just submitted it yet again, so we’ll see) and the other is a sort of “pirates in space” tale, complete with oppressive colonizers, revenge, and swashbuckling. I even included a fictionalized version of a famous author.

The vast, vast majority of time when you get those rejection emails, they’re pretty standard fare and offer no feedback good, bad, or indifferent. This last one did:

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“Superversive” Books for Children

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Cover art for “Elephants Are Not Birds” by Ashley St. Clair

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Every once in a while, I’ll craft something here about Superversive as opposed to “subversive” writing and other art forms in Science Fiction and Fantasy. The idea is that for the past several decades, the entertainment industry in general has moved away from ideas such as:

  • Heroes being heroic
  • Doing good for the sake of being good
  • A happy ending isn’t such a bad thing after all
  • Love and beauty are real in the world and in people
  • It’s okay to be spiritual/religious beings and maybe we aren’t complete if we shun that
  • Family is positive and not dysfunctional
  • Civilization is better than chaos
  • Strength, courage, honor, beauty, truth, sacrifice, spirituality, hope, and humility are all virtues and have their place in stories. Superversive tales should NEVER leave the reader in despair

No, not every single SF/F book published in the last twenty years is doom, gloom, and overridden by a progressive politics and social view…

…it just seems that way sometimes.

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Revisiting the Fantastic Schools Anthologies

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Promotional materials for the Fantastic Schools series.

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You may remember that my fantasy short story “Sorcery’s Preschool” was published last fall in Wisecraft Publishing’s anthology Fantastic Schools, Volume 2. It’s the tale of a four-year-old girl and the day her grandmother takes her to a very unusual pre-school, one for gifted and very young (and potentially dangerous) magicians.

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Review of “Doom Patrol” Season Two

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Promotional image for the second season of Doom Patrol

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I finished watching season 2 of the Doom Patrol TV show last night. As I mentioned in my review of season 1, the show is available as a set of DVDs at my local public library.

The show remains heavily based on many of the later issues of the comic book, which means it’s even more bizarre than when I was reading it as a kid in the 1960s and 70s.

Season 2 picks up where season 1 left off with the “Patrol” including Cyborg/Vic (Joivan Wade) and the Chief’s/Niles Caulder’s (Timothy Dalton) daughter Dorothy (Abigail Shapiro) shrunk down to “Ant-Man” size after their escape from Mr. Nobody (Alan Tudyk) in the “White Space.” They end up living on Robotman’s/Cliff’s (Brendan Fraser) large model race car track which includes tents and various other structures.

The team is still shaken by the revelation that the horrible accidents that left each one of them disfigured, ruining their former lives, were directly engineered by the Chief in his attempt to uncover the secret of immortality. They are all just failed experiments.

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Nightfall on Danny Street

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– Source unknown – found at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge 373

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Walking across the bridge spanning the freeway, Matt was startled to see a young woman leaning back against the rail. He was momentarily aroused and then embarrassed when he looked at her breasts projected forward thanks to her arched back. Was she going to commit suicide? He stopped and almost reached out. Instead he said, “Excuse me.”

She lifted her head so he could see her face. For an instant, he hoped it would be different, but, of course, it wasn’t. Like everyone else, he couldn’t see her face, just the forehead to chin mask everyone wore these days. Even though most of the city had complied with the vaccination order, the CDC had issued yet another order continuing the mask mandate for another year “just in case.”

“I help you with something?” Her voice was muffled but still carried an annoyed tone.

Matt made eye contact hoping to communicate his sincerity, but he felt like he was invading her privacy, while her gaze uncomfortably bored into his soul.

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Review of “Doom Patrol” Season One

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Promotional image for season 1 of “Doom Patrol”

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Okay, so I just finished watching Season 1 of the Doom Patrol television show. I noticed that seasons 1 and 2 of the show were available as DVDs at my local public library and I thought, “what the heck?”

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My Greatest Adventure issue 80.

Actually, as a kid, I really enjoyed the old Doom Patrol comic book. First featured in “My Greatest Adventure” comic title issue 80 (June 1963), it chronicled the saga of three misfits forged into a superhero team by scientist/genius Niles Caulder, also called “The Chief.” The original team was made up of Robotman (Cliff Steele), a race car driver who was in an accident so horrific that only his brain survived. The Chief put that brain in a robot body. Elasti-Girl was originally actress Rita Farr who, filming on location, was exposed to a volcanic gas enabling her to grow to giant size or to shrink into a tiny form. Negative Man was test pilot Larry Trainor who flew his rocket plane into a radiation belt. The plane crashed, and Larry discovered that not only was he permanently radioactive, but for sixty seconds, he could project a negative image of himself that could travel at the speed of light and had amazing abilities. The only trick is that N-Man has to get back inside Larry’s body before the minute is up or Larry dies and N-Man disintegrates.

In looking up the full history of the comic book (see above link), I saw that it had gotten a whole lot stranger than it first started out.

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Return of the Space Princess

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Promotional image for the “Dejah Thoris” comic book series by Amy Chu (Author) – Based on a character from the Edgar Rice Burroughs “Barsoom” series.

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Screenshot from the comments section of the Mallard Fillmore comic strip.

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Just so you don’t miss the important quote in the above conversation:

The Superversive Literary Movement is in opposition to wokism, saying that any politics in a work of storytelling should serve the story, rather than the woke commandment to ensure that the story serves woke politics. The Space Princess Movement is a subset thereof.

That exchange occurred in the comments section of the conservative comic strip Mallard Fillmore written and penned these days by Loren Fishman but occasionally featuring the work of its creator Bruce Tinsley.

You can find the comic strip at ComicsKingdom.com though I warn you that the topics are indeed supportive of a conservative viewpoint and the comments are from pro-conservatives with pushback delivered by counterprotesting trolls “under-the-bridge-dwellers.”

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