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CSBG Archive

3 Chicks Review Comics – Episode 019

IT’S EPISODE 019!

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN, DOWNLOAD, AND/OR SUBSCRIBE TO ITUNES NOW.

Inside this episode! This week we review Secret Six #34, American Vampire: Survival Of The Fittest #1, and The Never Weres.  Hot topic this week…could it be anything other than the DCnU?  The September “re-launch” is all anyone in comics is talking about – which we’re sure DC considers some measure of success.  Chick of the week is a tribute to one of the best female characters in all of comics, who will sadly be retconned back into oblivion come September.  Barbara Gordon as Oracle, oh how we loved thee.  There’s also a long discussion after the credits in which I try to convince Maddy and Sue to give Buffy The Vampire Slayer a try and the whole thing evolves (or devolves?) into a discussion about our influences and inspirations in fiction.  I didn’t want to cut it because it’s interesting stuff (and I just don’t get to rant about the awesomeness that is Buffy enough), but I put it after the cut as it’s a bit off path from the rest of the cast. Enjoy!

Episode links!: Dearth of Female Creators in the DCnU, Let DC know what you will (and won’t!) be buying, Big news – Catwoman is apparently sexy!, So Says Judd Winick, which is good, cause I didn’t know she was sexy!, Open Letter to Diane Nelson, She Has No Head! – Again, She Has No Head!, Cameron Stewart on Digital Comics, Visibility & Disability*, Oracle Is Stronger Than Batgirl Will Ever Be, BlueJayBirdie, Thoughts On Batgirl and Disability.

*Maddy refers to Puckett 101, the author of the Visibility and Disability piece as a lady, in fact he is a gent.

3 Chicks Review Comics is a podcast featuring female comics lovers and bloggers Sue from DC Women Kicking Ass, and Maddy from When Fangirls Attack! along with me, Kelly Thompson. Tune in weekly to CSBG every other Monday at noon as we review comics, and discuss hot topics of the week. In addition to the blogs above, you can also follow us all on twitter as well: Kelly, Maddy, and Sue. Special thanks to Nik Furious for our awesome 3 Chicks theme song.  Follow CSBG and Kelly on twitter, so that you never miss a She Has No Head! post or 3 Chicks podcast!

*As always beware of spoilers if you haven’t read the books in question!


107 Comments

[...] A new episode of 3 Chicks is up! [...]

SKIM writer: Mariko Tamaki!!!

Man that was the most venomous, entitled, screechy, whiny thing I have ever listened to. Nothing could please you people. Please quit reading comics.

Kelly:
Haha, how did I know you’d find a way to keep the Buffy thing? And yes, apologies to Puckett101.

Ross:
Yes! Mariko Tamaki! I knew her last name was Tamaki, but couldn’t remember her first name and didn’t want to screw it up. Should’ve double-checked beforehand, my bad.

HeMan:
Well then, I guess I only have one piece of advice for you is: please quit listening to our podcast.

I would like to issue the following corrections to my portion of the podcast.
1) Scandal Savage’s girlfriend Liana was not dressed as Scandal when she met Scandal. She was dressed as Knockout. I stand by my assertion that being Scandal’s girlfriend is, despite her hotness, a dangerous job.
2) I referred to Diane Nelson as Diane Lane as one point. Given that Ms. Lane is playing Ma Kent in the Superman movie, I can see why I was confused (plus only one cup of coffee XD)
3) I pronounced Dan DiDEEO as Dan Didyo. But really given the variations others have for his name I am not feeling too guilty.

And finally HeMan? We enjoy doing our podcast and our many listeners enjoy listening to it. That you don’t does not both me in the least. My suggestion is DON’T LISTEN! XXOO

@Nick Obviously I was referencing the XXXX version of WikiLeaks XD

Just to play a bit of devil’s advocate, the very first thing I thought of when they announced the new Batgirl was that she’s gonna get a story arc or two as Batgirl and then she’ll turn into Oracle after she’s hurt in action. I think the Oracle identity is very important to DC, and the most important part of her character development is her journey to the identity of Oracle. So there’s a distinct possibility that the Batgirl relaunch is intended to take readers on a new version of that journey.

Maddy: Skim is one of my favorite comics ever so i’m a Mariko & Jillian Tamaki superfan!! i almost did a Vertigo book with Mariko but it fell through, story of my life. XD

anyway, great episode!!! really dug this one.

While I won’t go so far as HeMan, I had to roll my eyes when one reviewer described the DC Reboot as “rotten to the core”. Especially since DC seems to have retained all their female talent, just not put it on the September Launch titles. Does not looking for enough indy talent (or talent locked up at their rival company) and making do in house qualify as “rotten”? That strikes me more as fiscal conservativeness, something I won’t fault DC for in the face of the risk their taking.

There are valid, political stances one can filter their view of comics through (read Women in Refrigerators, Male Gaze, etc), but too often I see fanboyism (fangirlism?) touted as if it is something more important or politically relevant than it actually is. DC can support female characters and their exposure to the public without bending over backwards to parade a select few female characters that certain fans have chosen to champion despite frankly dismal sales.

As of the relaunch in September, there are strong creative teams and visual directions on Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Batwoman, and Supergirl, with females filling in one third to one half of all the team books (besides Justice League and maybe Stormwatch).

Compare that to Marvel. How many female characters have their own title there? X-23, the female clone of Wolverine? That’s it? Spider-girl got her title canceled after just 8 issues (which Marvel canceled their longest running title starring a female character for). Indeed, even thought the Invisible Woman is supposed to be acting monarch of Atlantis in FF, the only scenes which have featured her so far in FF have centered around her letting Spider-man into the Baxter Building and making sandwiches (not to mention that out of of the hugely expanded cast of FF, ranging from Spider-man to Doctor Doom to the Mole Men, all of those characters are male). The last time Storm got her own miniseries, it was about her marriage to Black Panther (they don’t even interact anymore) and Ms. Marvel’s series ended shortly after she was replaced with an “interchangeable” blond super villain.

I hear nothing but discussion about DC’s terrible sexual politics, but it seems to me they’re doing a good job comparatively. I wonder if the case is more that some readers are upset that certain characters they enjoy are not visible in the reboot, spurring arguments which present themselves as political, but are more wrapped up in fanboy preferences than actual concerns for the sexual politics of mainstream comics.

I really don’t want to criticize this, but everything i’ve read or seen by Kelly the past week or two has been quite repetitive. Also quite negative too.That’s not a good mix.

@James You seem to want to make mitigate the very real concerns we have expressed about DC with the excuse that “they are better than Marvel”. But really, so what? You can argue the exact opposite and say that Marvel has done a much better job identifying and grooming a stable of female creators. You can argue that Marvel has done better with mixed sex teams. You can argue that they were far faster to implement diversity into their teams with Misty and Storm.
What Marvel does in comparison to DC is irrelevant. The fact remains that DC has said that their reboot is to make things less confusing and bring in new readers. Yet you can encapsulate the issue around females in this reboot with the statement Dan DiDio made in announcing their “Young Justice” books on io9 saying “all the former Robins are getting showcases.” What he meant, as of right now with 52 titles announced, was all the male Robins. Given the controversy of Stephanie Brown getting her tribute as the “girl Robin” which sparked the creation of GirlWonder.org, his words, given what we see announced, are very concerning. DC has four current and former Robins but they have only one true Batgirl? Tell me how that works.
And your statement “DC can support female characters and their exposure to the public without bending over backwards to parade a select few female characters that certain fans have chosen to champion despite frankly dismal sales.” Which characters are you referring too? Which sales? And how does that map to their goal to have new readers, which one would assume would be drawn from women. We do make up 50% of the population ya know.

James, I think you’re conflating the number of female characters vs female creators a bit. I think Marvel is possibly doing a bit better on the female creators front lately, and has shown more interest/commitment to doing so with past projects like Girl Comics. Yes, DC has more titles that are lead by female characters–though the reboot will see fewer of them than the number we’ve had for the past couple years.

2 female creators out of a 105 on DC’s September? That’s a problem, and as I said in the cast, it’s one that mainstream comics have been cultivating for a while now, no doubt through institutional sexism. But we seem to be regressing when there are only TWO women who DC hired to work on this new line-up. Whatever their reasons or excuses, it is still a problem.

And if there is more comics content that DC will be producing that may have female creators on board, they haven’t said so yet, so this is all we have to go on.

As for fanboyism/fangirlism, it would be fangirlism for me to demand that every bit of nerdy minutiae I know of and like about Oracle be retained in this reboot. But the regression of Oracle into Batgirl seems to be to be motivated by a twisted combination of sexism, ableism, and ageism (and when we get into the fate of Cassandra Cain, racism). Yes, I love the character and I’m upset that she be regressed and changed, but that doesn’t negate the problematic issues that factor into that change and regression.

Oh gosh, you’re complaining about Steph not being mentioned as Robin by Dido? I doubt Bill Willingham even remembers writing the what….4 issues she was in as Robin?

Dido has said many times anyways, it was HIS IDEA to make her Robin in the first place. He made her Robin, just so it “MATTERED” when she was killed. So, you can thank Dido that she was Robin in the first place.

Yeah, a lame reason, but it is what it is.

Sorry for the “rant” guys.

@James: DC has NOT retained all their female talent (judging by the titles currently released) as mega talented artist Nicola Scott is not currently scheduled for any books. Additionally, creators I would call very female friendly (Jamal Igle, Bryan Q. Miller, and so far – though there’s rumor that he’s on something that’s yet to be announced – Dustin Nguyen) have also disappeared from the roster.

I believe the “rotten to the core” comment was in specific reference to not only the lack of female creators and characters showing up thus far, but the fact that creators are being woefully mistreated in this “relaunch” and that the re-launch announcements and PR has been terribly handled. It all rather reeks the creator treatment most of all.

You don’t give a shit about the creators of your comics? That’s fine. I do give a shit. I don’t like the stories I’m hearing from creators, they’re pretty alarming. You can read some of them on Bleeding Cool, some have been confirmed to me (and to Sue) directly by creators, though I’m not personally at liberty to discuss specifically what I’ve been told.

Sure you’ve got strong visions for Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Batwoman, and Supergirl (and I’ll throw Birds of Prey into the mix as well) for the re-launched books – but those were all pre-existing books…so it’s not like we’re getting some awesome new content there. Meanwhile, word is that Power Girl and Zatanna are being canceled and we definitely know that Suicide Squad is over, which was not only heavy on the female cast but one of the only (if not the only) LGBQT friendly book. These are not positive things. You don’t go from 8 books to 5 and go “YES! AWESOME! I’M SO EXCITED!”

I wrote a column early on in my SHNH tenure about how DC was doing it better (although only slightly) than Marvel when it came to women. And while it’s still true to my mind that Marvel is short on female led titles and that they’re far too quick to cancel those titles (Ms. Marvel, Black Widow, Spider-Woman, Spider-Girl, She-Hulk, etc.) when compared to DC they have appeared to be pushing on getting more female creators involved over the last two years (Kathryn Immonen, Marjorie Liu, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Emma Rios, Fiona Staples, G. Willow Wilson, Stephanie Hans, and all the ladies of their Girl Comics experiment, not to mention Kate Beaton’s brilliance in Marvel’s Strange Tales anthology) and for that reason alone they feel like they’re advancing female diversity a bit more to me these days.

All that said,neither of these companies is some sterling example of integration, and where is the comparison coming from? I don’t recall any of us spending a lot of time talking about the one company being better than the other in the cast? They both fall down pretty hard if you ask me.

Sue, I’m not sure I would characterize what Marvel does as grooming a stable as much as having such creative bulk that they can just sort of let a larger stable of talent fill in the space created by the bulk of their events. Aside from Sarah Pichelli headlining the Ultimate Spider-man relaunch, I haven’t seen a lot of exposure on independent titles. I mean how much can you stick random people on Fear Itself and Spider-Island tie-ins and call it a creative force? And for that matter, how is a title like “Girl Comics” not more demeaning than the title “Batgirl”. At least one is a recognizable franchise name. The other could well be seen as demeaning to the actual talent involved. I think that if you can’t compare the two major publishers to one another, what can you compare anything to? But if you’re adamant, I’ll concede the comparison.

What I won’t concede is that Stephanie Brown “counts” as a Robin when the term is used the common vernacular. I would certainly say she counts as Batgirl though. Didn’t Gail Simone say that, if no one else was using her or Cassandra Cain that she would work them into Batgirl?

As for:
“And your statement “DC can support female characters and their exposure to the public without bending over backwards to parade a select few female characters that certain fans have chosen to champion despite frankly dismal sales.” Which characters are you referring too? Which sales? And how does that map to their goal to have new readers, which one would assume would be drawn from women. We do make up 50% of the population ya know.”

While I certainly wouldn’t argue that women shouldn’t be catered to, especially if DC is hoping to capture wider demographics with the advertising and availability of their new, relaunched titles, I see a definite distinction between “potential female comics readers” and “vocal current female readers”. The former is 50% of the population, the latter is a small percentage of the already small percentage that is modern comic book readers. DC doesn’t have to cater to the latter to gain the former. Indeed, it seems obvious that the limited degree to which they have been doing so (un-friging Stephanie Brown, their current crop of female lead titles such as Batgirl, Powergirl, and Zatana, etc) have been fairly unsuccessful in doing so.

As a fan of the current run on Teen Titans, I’m sad to see the current team go. I’m actually sad to see Beast Boy vanish in the reboot (probably to a rebooted Doom Patrol?) just as someone has finally expressed interest in writing him as an experienced leader. However, because DC is aiming their reboot at a general audience, not the hardcore Wednesday crowd, these changes are to be expected. Similarly, DC may well have decided to start pushing their titles like Batgirl, Supergirl, Birds of Prey, Catwoman, Batwoman, and Wonder Woman to female readers, but that does not mean catering to the current crop of female readers any more than it would another group of hardcore hobbyists.

@Sandbag: Yes, you should definitely judge my work entirely based on two pieces I produced (largely about the same subject) over the last two weeks and ignore the other 102 pieces I have written for this site. Yeah, that makes absolute sense.

Also…how is raving about three comic books (Secret Six, American Vampire: Survival Of The Fittest, and The Never Weres) considered negative? Jeez.

@Sandbags Well, Bill Willingham sure seemed to remember Stephanie and the efforts to get her a memorial case in the Batcave when he commented “I wanted to gun down those girls who kept asking about the memorial case” at HeroesCon last year. And your point about DiDio making her Robin how is that relevant?
@James I’m still not sure of your point. What does Girl Comics have to do with Batgirl? One was a poorly titled, but positive effort to highlight female creators. Our issue with Batgirl is not the title, but who they have chosen to now fill it with now.
And simply saying Stephanie Brown doesn’t count is the problem. Why doesn’t she count? Was she not a Robin? Does the term of her experience mean she doesn’t get to hold the title? These questions were asked over and over a few years ago. And since they did end up giving her a case, I guess DC did say she was a Robin. And while Gail Simone has said she may use them it doesn’t mitigate the fact that they weren’t used.
Your argument seems to be that vocal current female fans don’t have any correlation to new female readers. But that’s just silly reasoning. One would assume the vocal, loyal female fans that exist in a medium that makes it as difficult and frustrating to be a female fan is a good indicator of how your product is going to be received when you go out to a larger audience.

Okay.

Sorry that my comments were aimed at this piece and the other from the last week. They were relevant to this, not the 100 other articles you’ve done. That makes sense to me. I don’t mean to be an asshole or whatever you want to call it, I like most the stuff of yours on CSBG. I just haven’t enjoyed the recent stuff on the DC Relaunch you’ve done.

Just wanted to add that my favorite member of the Bat family is Cassandra Cain and she is the least likely to survive the reboot. Also, my favorite team is the JSA and they don’t have a book solicited. I’m trying to optimistic.

Sandbags:

As Sue referenced above, yeah, Bill Willingham remembers: http://girl-wonder.org/gwog/2010/06/things-that-matter

And yes, I am well aware that Dan Didio was the one who decided Stephanie Brown should be made Robin before they killed her off, and have heard him speak about it to fans. Which makes the omission of her as a Robin in this new DC line-up all the more egregious when all for male Robins are “showcased”, given that he is very much aware of the symbolic importance she represented for a lot of fans.

Having discovered this podcast last Wednesday I am now completely caught up on the previous eighteen episodes and am about to dive into today’s installment.

Just wanted to say that this is the most intelligent, insightful and interesting comic podcast I have ever listened to and it really is a shining beacon in the current darkness of general bigotry and fail that exists in the medium. I range between restrained excitement and total despair on the DCnU… Looking forward to hearing the three of your views.

Probably more rambling after I’ve heard. Cheers!

[...] Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources Posted in new additions, Uncategorized | Tags: [...]

“Especially since DC seems to have retained all their female talent, just not put it on the September Launch titles.”

Where have they put them then? If you’re privy to information about their next assignments, particularly Amanda Conner and Nicola Scott, I’d love to hear it.

In the meantime, here’s a nice graph from Bleeding Cool: http://www.bleedingcool.com/2011/06/12/gendercrunching-the-dc-relaunch/

To be honest, I can’t even imagine a “Birds of Prey” without Oracle. So much of the differentiation between that title and all the other superhero teams is the interaction between the field agents and the controller. It’s also fair to consider the Birds of Prey as “Oracle’s team”: She’s the one who put it together in the first place, who seems to ultimately decide who’s allowed in it, and who brought the team back together for the relaunch. Her hacking skills were also the team’s edge, getting them out of too many life or death situations to count. With the removal of Black Canary toward the end of the original run, Oracle has been the one constant thread throughout the series. Without her, Birds of Prey becomes a pretty generic title in my mind, no different from several dozen other superhero booksand not worth my attention.

As for the Batgirl relaunch, I really don’t like the idea of devolving Oracle back to Batgirl. Beyond the disabled representation aspect is the reduction of a more complex, more compelling, and more powerful character back into a lesser position. In the words of DC’s own canon being reduced to a “distaff counterpart” to Batman. This is especially upsetting as other characters already exist who can fill the Batgirl role, yet there only is one Oracle. There are probably only two scenarios that would be acceptable to me: either set the new Batgirl in the past (unlikely since they seem to like all these bloody crossovers) or have a scenario where a younger Barbara Gordon is brought from the past to the present. Have her initially have some good adventures, but show that the loss of Oracle has had a massive negative impact. At the end of the series, have her choose to go back in time to become Oracle in time to prevent said catastrophe, in spite of knowing the inevitable personal cost.

Ultimately I hope DC realises that if there were no Oracle, it would be necessary to create one. :)

Disagree, Herring.

If there was no Oracle Batman would be forced to be a better detective. And Watchtower duty would be more important in JLA.

Also, how does Batgirl being able to walk disqualify her from also being Oracle?

@James
Being able to walk does not disqualify Barbara Gordon from being Oracle. Being Batgirl disqualifies her from being Oracle. You can’t dominate the information superhighway if you are wasting all your time involved in a fistfight with some loser. The lack of Oracle in the new Birds of Prey confirms this.

And you are fundimentally wrong if you think all Oracle does is pass information on to Batman. She has her own objectives, runs her own force, and will tell Batman to GTFO if he tries to pull any bat-dickery on them. As Oracle she is, if anything, Batman’s equal or superior in terms of crimefighting. Now she’s relegated to a defacto sidekick role.

My questions to you are:
Do you think batman could easily pick up the slack that a missing Oracle would generate, given he not only investigates, but splits his time getting into fights with supervillians and patrolling the streets?
And do you think it might reduce the number of cases Batman could clear over a given time period if he was forced to do all the investigation himself.

Herring

Yes, Batman could easily do this. Because Oracle exists to fill a niche she creates by existing.

Before the Calculator, villains didn’t run around like a chicken with its head cut off, they just organized or got intel from random sources without a default information broker.

Just the same, Batman can do whatever he wants. By needing an information broker, it just takes away from the things that Batman can do. If he didn’t have one, he would get info anyway and be more impressive for it. Oracle basically fills in for the Bat Computer or the JLA Watchtower Database in term of story-telling device. It’s a meta answer, but I stand by it.

Sue,

How does one jump to the conclusion that no more Oracle spells the end of the use of technology/internet, etc in the DCU? Can there be no other characters that do the same thing with the same tech?

Maddy,

Thank you for acknowledging the positive things that DC is doing. Yes, they’ve got a long way to go. But between Kelly’s blinding rage and Sue’s damning faint praise through what sounded like gritting teeth, your genuine positive remarks were most welcome.

To all 3 Chicks,

The absence on all of your websites of Gail Simone’s response to Jill Pantozzi’s essay is, well, I’m just going to say it, horribly and almost comically biased. It’s particularly sad that there’s not a link in site on WhenFangirlsAttack and dcwomenkickingass. But there are plenty of comments and links infering that Gail Simone and anyone taking part in a project that has Barbara Gordon return to being Batgirl is an ableist sellout. I have no doubt that is because Gails response to Jill puts a big period on the discussion. That women like you would try to silence another womans perspective on the subject through subtle omission makes me, a fellow fangirl, ashamed. You’re better than that. I’ll be interested to see if that link or mention of that interview between Jill and Gail turns up on your blogs.

Do better ladies.

@James

It seems you want to return to a simpler time where Batman was utterly infallable in his deductive skill, and somehow found time to do investigation (protip: it usually takes a dedicated police unit to do this), patrol (another dedicated police unit), while still finding time to fight supervillains, be an executive on countless businesses and put in appearances as a sociallite. However to a most thinking people, this stretches suspension of disbelief past breaking point. If Batman was trying to do all that, he’d probably solve one or two serious crimes a year tops, because he simply wouldn’t have the time to do any more.

Nor is it reasonable to expect a computer (without direction) to perform the analysis needed to interpret the information it may gather. However if you are prepared to accept this “thinking computer plot device”, credit would go to said plot-device and not batman. Batman would not be anymore impressive for relying on a piece of machinery than relying on another person.

I also note you shy away from discussing Oracle’s role as a leader, and controller of her own force, and try to cast her as nothing more than a glorified bat-computer. I can’t imagine why you see only one dimension to her, except perhaps that you are viewing the whole Batman franchise with rose (or perhaps silver) tinted glasses.

Oracle was created because forward thinking writers saw that computers were becoming more important. They decided that the role of electronic information analyst and hacker would become full time roles, which someone could not reasonably be expected to perform effectively while simultaneously fighting crime on the streets. I note that reality has shown this to be the case, with police and governments forming dedicated e-crime and e-defense units. So yes Oracle fills a niche, however that niche was going to exist even if she didn’t. Just as Batman fills the niche of old fashioned investigator superhero, Oracle fills the niche of electronic investigator superhero.

Maddy is still the worst part of this podcast. Replace her, please! Still looking forward to Gail’s take on Batgirl. Couldn’t care less about Cass Cain or Stephanie Brown. Please de-cry this as a “mansplation” as you do with most criticism. Just ask that you add a caveat for gay men like me, maybe “gay-splation” or “hetero-normative-splation”…..not to be super critical–do really enjoy the podcast–just not Maddy’s contributions.

I could easily be wrong, but there is a tattooed woman sitting at the bottom of the BIRDS OF PREY cover. She isn’t Barbara Gordon, but my hunch is that she is the new Oracle. It would be a way for DC to have their cake and eat it too …

@Jennifer:

Is this the Simone link you’re referring to?

http://www.newsarama.com/comics/gail-simone-dicusses-batgirl-and-oracle-110609.html

If so, there was no malice in leaving it out. Thought I didn’t find it particularly compelling or insightful…which is probably why I didn’t bother to include it.

If you read this column or listen to this cast you know that I’m a huge fan of Gail Simone, as is Sue who regularly supports and talks about her work on DC Women Kicking Ass (hell, Sue’s review of Simone’s Secret Six in this very podcast is WILDLY positive). That said, we don’t personally agree with the decision by DC to regress Barbara Gordon from what she has become as Oracle back to a younger Batgirl…regardless of who they have writing it. I’m sure Simone will do well on the title, she loves and respects the character and is a wonderful writer, but I won’t be reading it as I don’t agree with the decision and think it’s problematic on multiple levels as I discussed in my column last week and to a lesser degree on the cast. We don’t all have to agree here. And the three of us expressing our opinions here is just as valid as Simone expressing hers…but you seem to take issue with our having opinions…which I don’t get.

Another thing to remember…this podcast? It’s not unbiased journalistic reporting. It’s basically a 3 person op-ed piece. Also? It’s not scripted. So stuff gets said, frequently stuff that we wish we’d said differently or things we wish we’d added to or expanded on (or never said at all in some cases)…you can’t treat it like a journalistic piece in the NY Times finely crafted and honed for weeks to perfection. Have a little perspective.

@Erik: Your comment about Maddy is not really the kind of constructive criticism we’re looking for here. It’s coming off really rude and borderline inappropriate. Kind of shocking really considering you say you enjoy the cast.

Also, regardless of orientation…if you’re a dude…wouldn’t it still be mansplaining? If I was to say that’s what you’re doing…which I’m not. Not sure I understand your point.

@Dean: Yeah, it’s entirely possible, given the positioning especially, that the tattooed lady is the “new Oracle” still not happy with that idea if it also means regressing Barbara back to BatGIRL jumping from rooftops and throwing punches. :(

Yeah I have to call you guys out too, not just for the over top negativity but also for the fact that you’re mostly just indulging in fairly stock standard whiny fanboy overreaction while also trying to claim some moral high ground by couching everything as a feminist issue.

@Jennifer You are going with the argument that anyone with technology can replace Oracle. I think that, frankly, that is highly dismissive of the character. I made several references to the fact that Barbara has many more skills than just the ability to tap a keyboard.

Also the idea that I am damning DC with faint praise seems to suggest that my concerns are not warranted. Why do you think that? Can you tell me why you feel comfortable with what you know right now regarding the female characters in DC? Don’t tell me what you think will happen; tell me what you think with the 52 solicits unveiled. Because I can tell you that there are many, many readers who are not happy. The fact that you are, Jennifer, and seem to be angry that we are not frankly smacks of silencing. I am MORE than entitled to my opinion on this issue. And the idea that I am not positive on DC is also a questionable assertion. I certainly call them out but I am also quick to praise.

And finally let me address your final comments. Gail Simone is a terrific writer and someone I am quite fond of. I mentioned specifically in the podcast the fact that she, who beyond being a good writer knows knows and loves the character, is the only mitigating factor that I have right now in DC doing this. I have NEVER said or implied that she is an “ableist sellout” by taking this on. I don’t believe it and I am angry that you chose to pick and choose my points to try and make that assertion. As I said in the cast DC seems to have been hellbent on the idea of doing this. And it is towards them that I have directed ALL of my dissatisfaction and anger. I read Gail’s interview and I thought she did a good job in trying to explain what it is being done given the very little detail that she was allowed to divulge. And we clearly don’t know everything yet. But, as I said, all we know is that Barbara Gordon who is currently Oracle will in September once again be Batgirl. And on the cover of the comic she is being shown as not in a wheelchair. And we are told that she’ll be swinging through Gotham. Yes there is more to the story. But right now? It’s what is there that we and many, many, many other readers are reacting to.

Jennifer:
A link interview from Jill Pantozzi and Gail Simone went up on WFA last night, along with many, many other links. We are not able to update WFA every day, so sometimes it takes a few days for new links to be posted. If you have any links you’d like to submit for us to include, send them to us.

While it was an interesting interview, I don’t believe it “puts a period on the discussion”. Although I disagree with some of the things she says, I don’t have anything against Gail Simone for taking the job of writing Batgirl, even if I really dislike what’s happening to the character and question the motives behind the decision to do so.

Erik:
Well gee, thanks. Listen, I’m open to constructive criticism, but telling me I suck and then walking away isn’t very helpful.

And I’m not sure I fully understand the charges of negativity, when each of us reviewed books we thoroughly enjoyed and recommend without hesitation. Although yes, there was criticism in our Oracle segment, our love of the character is a testament to all the good work DC *has* done over the years. And I do applaud DC for its efforts in diversity (though there’s room for improvement), am happy to see a Static Shock book, and am thrilled to see a Blue Beetle book again.

What was interesting to me about the Simone/Pantozzi interview is that it had a chance to say something very significant, which was “Gail Simone decided to make Barbara Gordon Batgirl.” That, to me, would have been a huge deal and I, for one, would have been saying something along the lines of, “If Gail Simone, who has quite possibly written more Barbara Gordon stories than any other writer, wants to make her Batgirl again, I think we should allow her the freedom to do what she feels is right for the character.”

However, that is precisely what the interview did NOT say. As Simone notes in the interview, Barbara Gordon was going to be Batgirl whether Simone wrote the book or not, so while the idea certainly had its appeal for her once she learned that it was going to happen no matter what, it was not creator-driven. It was editorial-driven. And such a position makes it pretty clearly open to all the criticisms about the motives that Kelly, Sue and Maddy have been making, criticisms that would not have been there as much had the decision been made by Simone.

So yeah, I don’t get the citation of the interview as some “trump card,” either.

I’ll try to address the negativity, as I see it, in a civil way. I’ve listened to this cast since it began, and I’ve listened to it because it is an intelligent show that offers different perspectives. I keep telling myself to stop listening to it because, personally, the negativity outweighs the insight.

Increasingly, it feels like the hosts of the show are unhappy with comics, but feel like they have to read them. More than once, the show has skipped weeks because there was nothing good to talk about, or because the week’s news was so infuriating. There’s always this sense that you’re *this close* to giving up on the whole thing because it’s so bad. Kelly even said in this episode that, if she weren’t writing reviews for CBR, she’d drop DC entirely. Who wants to listen to anyone talk about comics out of obligation? No matter the subject, and no matter how intelligent the conversation, it is a real downer to listen to people talk about things that make them unhappy. The three or four recommendations in each show often feel overshadowed by the unhappiness, in terms of time allotted, passion, and intensity of language.

It’s not about the feminist angle, b/c one reason for listening to the show in the first place was to learn more about that. It’s also not offense at criticism of DC or Marvel, b/c, as of last week, I don’t have any of their comics on my pull list.

Maddy: I’ll give a couple bits of constructive, hopefully helpful, criticism. First, you use a lot of space-fillers like “um” and “but uh”. That is very common, and easy to fix simply by being conscious of it. Also, when you speak, you are constantly editing what you’re saying. You will stop mid-sentence and change terms, or start over completely. This can be a good habit when writing, b/c you’ll find the best way to express an idea, and the finished product will be better for it. In speech, however, this makes it very hard to follow the flow of ideas. It’s hard for the listener to know which words and phrases count vs. which should be ignored. I’ve had this problem myself when talking about anything complicated or nuanced, and I suspect it’s pretty common for people who write a lot.

I’m choosing to be optimistic about DC’s relaunch. The (credible) rumors of last-minute shuffling of creators make it hard to be optimistic. But I want them to be good, so I’ll let myself hope for it until the actual product proves me wrong. It looked like they were building up Nicola Scott to be one of their big guns, so it is surprising that she’s not on one of these new number ones. I’m hoping that they’ve got her working on something that hasn’t been announced yet–maybe a series to debut later, or something for the rumored Wednesday Comics 2–but time will tell. Secret Six wasn’t the same without her.

Well… As the chicks know, I’m a big fan of the podcast. I’ve listened to and enjoyed every episode so far. I listened to this one last night and it was no exception.

I honestly don’t understand the accusations of whining and negativity. Every podcast includes positive reviews and recommendations, and it’s clear from how passionate Kelly, Sue and Maddy are about these books and characters that they love comics. To tell them to stop reading is ridiculous.

Do they have a biased view? Of course. Who doesn’t? But as Kelly said above, this is not meant to be unbiased journalistic reporting. It’s specifically intended as commentary from a female fan perspective. It really kind of blows my mind that someone who is not interested in hearing and learning from that perspective would spend TWO WHOLE HOURS listening to this podcast, and then dismiss it as worthless in a comment. Seriously. If you’re not even interested in engaging in some kind of discussion, why are you wasting your time?

Anyway, about the Gail Simone interview on Batgirl, I agree with Brian above. That’s a very good point. I posted a response to the interview on my blog (it’s buried about halfway through this post: http://irrelevantcomics.blogspot.com/2011/06/dc-relaunch-good-bad-and-ugly.html – scroll down to the section on Batgirl) and I have two problems with it.

First, Gail says that the regression of Barbara Gordon is more accessible if the whole DCU is being regressed along with it, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. Geoff Johns has said that the GL books basically continue from where they left off. Same seems to be true for most of the other Bat books. (Damian is around, etc.) It’s very difficult to piece together exactly what the DCU chronology is going to look like in September and based on what little information we have, it’s sounding more and more like books are going to be set in different time periods. Which sounds very confusing and like the opposite of the new-reader-friendly simplified line of books DC was supposedly going for.

Second, Gail keeps emphasizing that we don’t know everything and she can’t talk about story details yet. While I understand that this is true, it’s a big problem, because DC chose to make certain information available based on what kind of buzz they were hoping to generate. So they were clearly banking on the controversy. They want people to believe that Barbara Gordon has been regressed and Oracle is no more. Even if it turns out that there’s some kind of weird in-story justification for all this, or there’s some kind of fake-out and the status quo is brought back after a few months, does that really justify the exploitation of fans’ worst fears? Well, that depends on your perspective. If you think of DC as a capitalist corporation whose only goal is profit (which it is), then maybe. Certainly as a short-term policy, it’ll generate some cash. People talk about it. People buy the books to find out what the deal is. That’s the whole point, right? But as a long-term policy? If you think of it in terms of showing a little bit of respect for marginalized fans who already have a very shaky relationship with a publisher that constantly seems to ignore them?

I’m sure people will dismiss that as “fan entitlement,” but I think it’s more complicated than that.

TL;DR version:

I guess I got a little sidetracked there, but the point I really wanted to make was that Kelly, Sue and Maddy all bring valid points to this discussion and you can agree or disagree with some of what they say, but calling it “whiny” or “negative” doesn’t add anything of value to the discussion.

PS: My above comment was posted before Paul’s, so it wasn’t directed at him.

PPS: I mean, it was written before I read his post. Sorry.

@Heman Oh really? You mean because they are three intelligent women criticizing a company’s decisions in regards to women and minorities in the comics medium? Would it be less supposedly “screechy” and “whiny” if it were three men complaining about Batman’s yellow oval? Maybe you stop listening if you can’t keep up.

@Erik What is wrong with you? You realise that Maddy is a person and that your comment to do away with her is offensive and rude and not at all constructive?

@Stevedore Um, first of all, there are very few podcasts that actually look at how women and minorities are treated in the comics medium. Secondly, this isn’t whining about Batman’s yellow oval or Hal Jordan’s constructs. It’s criticism of the problems in the medium, how women and minorities are portrayed and how that portrayal is pervasive. There are issues that are brought up in these mediums that affect people in real life (ie. negative racist stereotypes of “all black men are criminals” portrayed in such mediums affect actual black men in reality — they face distrust, among many other problems, due to such stereotypes. I’m using this as an example of the pervasiveness problem, not necessarily what Kelly, Sue & Maddy have brought up in recent podcasts) Comics might be entertainment, but that doesn’t mean the medium should escape true criticism.
If you want to think critically about the medium these women, I, and probably yourself, love and are engaged in, then listen to this podcast. If you want to hear people complaining about Batman’s yellow oval or actual trivial critiques (because the ones these ladies bring up are NOT trivial), then there are numerous other podcasts to listen to.

As well, anyone who regularly listens to this podcast knows that it’s not “all negative.” There are many very, very, very valid criticisms brought up. But then the 3 chicks spend nearly an hour gushing about how amazing Scott Snyder and Jock’s work on Detective is and breaking it down in detail. And the only reason why they are criticizing the company and what creators do is because they love the medium so much and want to see creators and the publishing companies DO BETTER.

Also, I’m just going to echo everything @Basque said so very eloquently.

Travis Pelkie

June 14, 2011 at 7:58 am

So I know that Gail Simone is one female creator, but who’s the other? Honestly, I don’t remember hearing.

I haven’t listened to the podcast yet, but really, even as a casual observer, how can you NOT see that DC is crapping out on female friendly stuff? Yeah, there’s WW, but OF COURSE there’s going to be WW. As much as I personally likee the Catwoman and Suicide Squad covers, I completely understand that female readers are going to find them…weird, to say the least. And Power Girl and Zatanna get left in the cold, Batgirl gets totally changed up…how, as a female reader, would you not be at least a LITTLE negative?

And I’m not particularly someone who gets worked up over not enough female representation et al, but dammit, Kelly’s raised my consciousness. Grr!

And really, if the comics are to be “new reader friendly”, forget how many Robins there are — the casual person on the street knows Dick Grayson is Robin. If Damian Wayne is (apparently) Robin, and there are 3 former Robins around, how “new reader friendly” is that?

Although personally, I’d think you’d want to forget that Stephanie was Robin, just because of how stupid the storyline was where she “died”. (I started typing out a synopsis of that story, but it hurt just to think about.)

I said on another post, with the announced Stormwatch lineup having no icky girls, I wonder if J’Onn is going to use his shapeshifting powers to have wild man-alien-man-man-transformed-by-aliens orgies at their HQ.

On that note…

@Pelkie: If you go by Bleeding Cool’s chart (linked above) the second female creator is a cover artist – Jenny Frison I believe. Technically, Amy Reeder is also a “scheduled” creator, as she’s the next artist on the Batwoman book, but her book won’t be out for months. So for now, it’s just the two ladies.

@YanBasque, @Georgethecat @OminGuy: Thanks for the supportive words. They’re few and far between today – so they’re especially appreciated.

It’s funny…after doing this for nearly two years I still NEVER know which of my free content is going to freak people the fuck out. I said much of the same stuff talking about some of these issues last week on SHNH and got really considered polite feedback that surprisingly agreed with me quite a bit. Ah well, it’s the internet.

I guess what I’m talking about isn’t the same as the “negativity” other people are talking about. It’s more a general thing, and definitely my own subjective reading (hearing) of the show, which could be worlds away from what the hosts of the show intend.

Erik is the worst part of the comment thread! replace him!!!!

MADDY FOREVER <3

maverickman874@hotmail.com

June 14, 2011 at 11:52 am

Maddy is great. Its awesome to see someone so passionate about a comic character (Sue as well). The girls seemed disappointed with DC this week but they have been positive about comics in previous podcasts. Fans who have loved comic book characters for along time have legitimate gripes when they are suddenly uprooted from their established story lines. The girls do this because they genuinely love comics and I like the nature of these unscripted discussions.

Also for a Marvel fan such as myself, Maddy provides valuable insight as someone who is not as familiar with 616. Its interesting to listen to the reactions of newcomers to my favorite characters.

When I saw the full 52 solicits and grasped what DC was (and wasn’t) doing, I started looking forward to this podcast more than the vast majority of the comics. There are some potentially great titles in the mix, but it is profoundly dumb slate overall. While I do not wish you any upsetting feelings, but I knew that your smart reaction to their dumb moves would be entertaining.

Sadly, that does not make the roster of titles and mix of creators that DC chose to relaunch its universe any better.

Let me take a step back. The periodical comics model seem to be on the knife’s edge of extinction. The current readership is no longer large enough to support the industry. Bound collections will probably persist, but the odds are that those include less and less new content without the periodical business to defer the cost.

The plan that DC unveiled is both brilliant and desperate. It will garner a ton of attention and probably induce new people to read comics for the first time in a very, very long time. I was really hoping that DC would roll out a slate of titles that seemed likely to retain those new readers, but I am dubious.

How does one jump to the conclusion that no more Oracle spells the end of the use of technology/internet, etc in the DCU? Can there be no other characters that do the same thing with the same tech?

The TRS-80 Whiz Kids are waiting by the phone. The phone that’s not connected to their dialup modem, that is.

@Sue,

“Jennifer You are going with the argument that anyone with technology can replace Oracle. I think that, frankly, that is highly dismissive of the character. I made several references to the fact that Barbara has many more skills than just the ability to tap a keyboard.”

Actually I’m not going with that argument at all. You stated quite clearly in the pod cast that DC getting rid of Oracle was tantamount to them getting rid of the use of internet/technology etc. That somehow the two were inexorably linked. That that technology is part of society and what is DC thinking by getting rid of all that. The implication being that there can be none of that without Oracle. Oracle is a great character. You seem to think that having another character that can incorporate that technology in a DCU without Oracle is being dismissive to the character. That misses the point entirely. The question that you ignored in favor of defensiveness over the character was “how does one jump to the conclusion that no more Oracle spells the end of the use of technology/internet, etc in the DCU?” It wasn’t “Oracle is dispensable because anyone can type”. Sigh. Even with Oracle in the DCU had Wendy incorporating that tech as well as Robin. Are you saying that in the future, whenever DC has a character that incorporates technology that they are automatically being dismissive of Oracle?

“Also the idea that I am damning DC with faint praise seems to suggest that my concerns are not warranted”

That’s a conclusion that you’re jumping to all on your own. I was referring to the clear disingenuousness of that praise. One can easily listen to the pod cast and listen to Maddy and you speak of the “positives” and easily come to the same conclusion. Or just read your blog where every “I acknowledge that they did this and it‘s a good thing” is followed by a “but” which is then followed by a 500 word criticism.

“Can you tell me why you feel comfortable with what you know right now regarding the female characters in DC? Don’t tell me what you think will happen; tell me what you think with the 52 solicits unveiled”

For one thing, I go by the creative teams, not the solicits. Am I happy with every creative team? No. Am I happy with some of them? Yes. Are you actually trying to say that you’ve never bought a comic book that had a solicit you didn’t like? If fans went strictly by solicits we’d never read anything. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the comics have not been released yet. I am totally fine with criticisms based on writers and artists reputation and previous works. Fire away. What I question is the level of outrage displayed and amount of indictments leveled at a book based on a one to two sentence blurb for a comic you haven‘t read.

“The fact that you are, Jennifer, and seem to be angry that we are not frankly smacks of silencing. I am MORE than entitled to my opinion on this issue.”

Again, that’s a conclusion that you are jumping to based on nothing. And I’m not angry, just puzzled. I never said you weren’t entitled to your opinion. And to say that I’m trying to silence you because I choose to wait and see before releasing any outrage is a ridiculous conclusion on your part. If you can find anything in my post that said your opinion isn’t as valid as mine or that your not entitled to your opinion I’d love for you to point it out to me.

“I have NEVER said or implied that she is an “ableist sellout” by taking this on. I don’t believe it and I am angry that you chose to pick and choose my points to try and make that assertion”

Now we get to my “anger”. I only have your spoken and written words and “actions” to go by. Here’s what one commenter on your blog said…

“We also all know that if DC was attempting something terribly sacrilegious to the integrity of this character, Simone would not only NOT take the job, but Simone would steer a Barbara Gordon-eque take down on the entire comic company.”

To which you responded…

“Gail’s under contract. She has some editorial fiat but at the end of the day she’s got to answer to the man just like the rest of us.”

The implication being? Toeing the company line? Gail stated very clearly in her conversation with Jill (which you chose not to print)…

“But I myself was not on board the relaunch at first and it caused some real friction. I had to be sold”. She also stated “But before I would ever come on board, it had to make sense, it had to have a purpose. I have other books I can write, and DC could find someone else to write Batgirl.”

All of those comments that Gail made in the article you chose not to link to on your site very clearly flies in the face of your comment (as well as to Brian Cronin’s comment). One of your blog readers made the comment…”I want an explanation for why they thought this was the best future for the character.” Well Sue, Gail’s response to Jill goes a long way to answering many of those questions. So why not post it? You were more than willing to post the announcement she made about taking on the book but not willing to post the very detailed comments as to the why’s of it. But you are clearly not interested in hearing that. No Sue, you are the one doing the silencing. Silencing another woman because her comments undermine your agenda. You should be ashamed of yourself.

And that brings me to Kelly. Kelly, not posting a link to Gail’s response isn’t about “You”. It isn’t about journalistic integrity. It’s not about whether you personally thought it was insightful or not. It’s not even about you liking Gail or not or whether or not you will ever read her new Batgirl comic. Her response was part of the conversation. Part of the dialogue. Jill, a woman, wrote a lovely essay about her thoughts on this. Gail, a woman, gave her a thoughtful and sensitive response. I don’t think it was malice not to post the link. It was certainly stupid. I thought it was censorship on your part at worse. A gross and irresponsible oversight at best. It was ignoring another woman’s point of view on a subject that you…YOU have brought up and discussed that didn’t jibe with yours. And I didn’t expect you to give a 5000 word response or to even talk about it at all. Just a link. That’s it. That goes for Sue as well. Sue is the one that has been discussing this on her blog. That she consciously chose not to include Gail’s response as “part of the dialogue” is reprehensible and shameful. On both of your parts.

The fact that you are both so defensive and leap to the conclusion that I don’t want you to have your own opinions is simply bizarre. What I want is for Gail to have her opinion. At no time do I even infer that your opinion, Sue’s opinion, Maddy’s opinion isn’t valid or that you don’t have the right to state it. That you and Sue automatically equate my criticism regarding your blatant disregard for a point of view that you don’t share as somehow silencing your voice seems incredibly paranoid and defensive on your part. And that neither of you can see that disregard is incredibly wrong headed of both of you and incredibly sad.

And clearly, this has touched a nerve with both you which leads me to believe that you know what you did was wrong. The fact that both you and Sue keep saying over and over again that “I love Gail Simone! I said it 10 times! I love her!” is also telling and evasive and symptomatic of denial. No one is questioning you or Sue’s respect for Gail or her writing. What I question, and what neither of you seem willing to address is that you thought it was okay to silence another woman’s voice, an important voice in the comic book world and at DC on a subject that both of you have been discussing for the last 2 weeks and something that has been the biggest comic book news on the internet for the past two weeks. Sorry Kelly and Sue. Your love for Gail aside, there was simply no excuse for that. Two of you have now posted that link. I will be curious to see if there will be a “third” posting. But I won’t hold my breath.

Maddy, thank you for posting the link. I wasn’t aware of the frequency with which they were posted so I apologize for my unfounded criticism of you and WFA. I very much enjoy what you’re doing with WFA. And just to be clear, I enjoy 3Chicks, I enjoy dcwomen, I enjoy She Has No Head. I just think that this time two of you failed dismally and should take responsibility for it.

Gail Simone clearly states it was editorial fiat.

That she got excited about the change (after it was a given that it was GOING to happen whether she wrote it or not) is immaterial. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s great for Simone that she is interested in the book. You’d hate to see a writer doing a title when their position is “this is dumb, but better me than someone else” so it is great that the idea (that she did not come up with) inspired Simone to do a comic that will hopefully be a cool comic, but everything Sue, Maddy and Kelly are complaining about exists as a criticism. Simone’s interview does not address any of their criticisms outside of perhaps non-existent ones like “Gail Simone was forced to write this comic!” or “Gail Simone hates Barbara Gordon!”

Again, what the interview showed us was that, if Gail Simone (who I, and I presume others, trust with knowing what is best for Barbara Gordon) had her way, BARBARA WOULD NOT BE BATGIRL. That she is willing to make the best of the move that she, herself, would not have done, is great. It shows that she is a professional comic book writer who can make the best out of a situation and see the good aspects of it (a similar example is how Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis were forced to use second-stringers on their Justice League title when they didn’t want them, but embraced the set-up and made an awesome comic book). The interview does not address the decision-making of DC Comics editorial, which is what Kelly, Sue and Maddy are taking issue with, not Gail Simone’s enthusiasm and optimism about the upcoming Batgirl comic book.

Jennifer, I am very puzzled by that quote you posted from Gail’s interview and how you interpret that to somehow contradict Sue’s comment (that she has to answer to the man) or Brian’s above (that it wasn’t Gail’s decision to put Barbara back in the Batgirl costume).

In fact, I think the quote you posted says the exact opposite of what you believe it to say. In other words, it directly supports what Sue, Brian and I all seem to agree on – that it wasn’t her decision. It was an editorial decision.

Could she have decided not to write it? Yes. But could she have convinced DC to reverse the decision and let her continue to write her as Oracle? I don’t know, but I certainly don’t get that impression from the quote (or the general tone of the interview or anything else she’s said on Twitter or elsewhere).

I’m not sure why you put so much importance on that one interview not being linked to on these blogs. For one thing, it was widely circulated on twitter and all over the comics blogosphere. It’s not like by not linking to it Kelly and Sue were hiding some big secret. Everybody who followed these blogs or is willing to spend the time to listen to this podcast would have already been aware of it.

You’re looking for motivations that simply don’t exist. They didn’t post the link to it because they didn’t think it was necessary.

Gods. THANK YOU BRIAN.

I started writing something trying to say exactly what you just said and it came out all “ARGH GRRR WHA OMGARGHGNIN)IBWNI)WRRANDDONTLETTHEDOORHITYOUINTHEASSONTHEWAYOUT”

So, cooler heads have thankfully prevailed. EXACTLY WHAT BRIAN SAID.

@ Jennifer. Let me put it to you another way. For 22 years the face of technology and the internet in the DCU was Oracle. Oracle was the “infojock” Oracle was considered to be the one person (outside of the Calculator) who owned that turf. It’s her THING. There is no other character who is so completely connected and associated with technology and it’s use and application in crimefighting. So if she is gone, then you lose all that. Certainly Wendy (who does not appear to be in this reboot) and Tim have used computers. But their application of them has been at a level far below that of Oracle.S to answer you question again “How does one jump to the conclusion that no more Oracle spells the end of the use of technology/internet, etc in the DCU?” Oracle means as much to the end to the use of technology as getting rid of the Flashes would mean to speedsters in the DCU. You’d still have some folks able to run well under a 4 minute mile but it’s not the same is it?

And it’s nice you think you have the ability to ferret out real praise from “disingenuous” praise. But you don’t. I praise when there are things to praise and criticize when there is need to criticize. The fact is that there is more of the latter than the former from my lens and point of view. And really it’s not as if I going around making this stuff up. And as far as solicits vs. “wait to read the comic!” arguments? Comic companies are the ones doing the soliciting as we’ve said many, many times here and elsewhere, we have to react to what they give us. They can’t expect people to lay money down for a comic book based on a solicit and then handwave criticism of it with a “oh you don’t know what’s really in it”

And finally for you last set of remarks. Despite Yan and Brian chiming in I am going to anyways.

For some reason you seem to be obsessed with the idea Kelly and I am not supporting Gail Simone or am undermining her or silencing Gail because we didn’t link to the most read interview on Newsarama last week an interview that anyone who is interested in this surely had read. As two other people have told you, you are not reading the interview correctly. As Gail has said, people need to make up their own minds about the book. I don’t quite how you cooked up this conspiracy I have against Gail, but you need to let it go. It is a fantasy.

Yeah, the idea that they had some kind of ethical responsibility to link to Gail’s “seriously, I hear you, but trust me” interview is preposterous to me. I don’t at all understand where the 31 flavors of moral censure in Jennifer’s broadside are coming from, but of coruse she’s entitled to her opinion, and nobody else needs to worry about it if they don’t want. I certainly wouldn’t.

That’s just my two cents as a professional journalist of 20 years, mind you. Feel free to disregard it too if you like.

Sue,

The inference going around on the internet and on your blog is that Gail went along with it on company orders or for a paycheck. I can link to countless comments in your blog that said as much and that you not only failed to disuade but reinforced. The point is that Gail did indeed have a choice in this matter. The point is that Gail “decided” to write Batgirl, not that Gail was repsonsible for the editorial decision to get rid of Oracle.. That’s the point. I don’t know why you and Brian are so confused on that point. The difference between what Brian points out and what you infer adds up to roughly a country mile. And I’ll “let it go” when I see the article linked to on your blog.

re: “Oracle means as much to the end to the use of technology as getting rid of the Flashes would mean to speedsters in the DCU. You’d still have some folks able to run well under a 4 minute mile but it’s not the same is it?”

Thank you for clarifying. Of course that completely contradicts the point you made as phrased in the podcast that losing one means the end of the other but thank you for at least owning up to the contradiction. “not the same thing” is a completely different position all together.

Brian,

re: “The interview does not address the decision-making of DC Comics editorial”

Then I guess you missed the part where Gail says..

“A lot of readers and a lot of editors had a story problem with Oracle, in that she made for such an easy, convenient story accelerator, that we missed the sense of having characters have to struggle to discover, to solve mysteries. Famously, it helped make Batman less of a detective and more of a monster hunter.”

But even that isn’t going to the point. Kelly claims that the article has no insight and wasn’t worth posting even a link to. Sue just blatantly didn’t post it because it didn’t jibe with her flame fanning. Kelly is completely disengenuous. Are we really going to say that Gail Simone, one of the most populuar writers at DC male or female, a writer who is involved in one of the most polarizing aspects of this huge story, are we really going to say that what she had to say to Jill wasn’t news? Wasn’t important to the discussion? Wasn’t remotely relevant? Sorry, but that is ludicrous. Nor is it the point that the article was “available” somewhere else. Gails original announcement that she would be writing Batgirl was also available somewhere else. Jill’s original essay was also available somewhere else. Right Sue? The point was that it was an attempt to marginalize an important point of view in this discussion. The point is that neither Kelly or Sue wanted to hear it or address it or acknowledge it because it interfered with their “raging”. That is the point. What makes it shameful is that that pov belonged to an important female voice in the comic industry and that other females willingly chose not to acknowledge it. All the diversions and straw men “I love Gail’s” can’t change that simple fact ladies and gentlemen. Saying over and over that “it’s not relevant” changes nothing.

Jennifer:

You are off your freaking rocker. The reason the link was not included, and this is the LAST TIME I’M SAYING IT…is not because Gail sucks, or her book will suck or because I am somehow trying to silence GAIL FREAKING SIMONE. It is because it was not RELEVANT TO THE DISCUSSION that was had. What Gail is going to do with the book, why she decided to take it on, etc. are not what the discussion is about. Had we been talking about any of those things then you’re right, a link probably would have been a good idea. But we weren’t and aren’t having that discussion. I have no idea what Gail will do with the book or why she came on. It’s just simply NOT WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT.

The discussion was about our feelings that it is a mistake for DC to retcon Oracle back to being Batgirl for a variety of reasons that have NOTHING to do with Gail Simone. We did not discuss Gail’s article (I had not even read it at the time that we recorded the cast) and therefore it was not referenced in the “EPISODE LINKS” which are links that we referenced in the cast and which are there to make it nice and easy to follow along should people so desire.

The only DC book I’ve been buying lately was Batgirl, and I was buying it because Steph was in it, so you can guess how I feel about this reboot.

@Kelly, Sue: I understand you can’t go into too much detail of what you’ve heard from other creators, but I have to ask. Based on what you’ve heard, how much, er, “credit” should go to DiDio/Johns for this overall reboot and the way other creators have been treated?

@ Jennifer. To echo Kelly, you are on dangerous ground here. You need to seriously get off this link thing. And you also need to learn to read and listen before you start throwing out personal attacks. You’ve been told several times that we don’t hold Gail responsible for Barbara going back to Batgirl. We said on the podcast that the only freaking thing that mitigates it is GAIL WRITING it. And, by the way, I’ve told Gail personally that my anger about this is not with her. JENNIFER READ THIS SLOWLY. NO ONE ON THIS PODCAST BLAMES GAIL SIMONE FOR BARBARA GORDON BECOMING BATGIRL. We do have issues, as was stated in the podcast and on the blog, with DC making the decision to make Barbara Gordon Batgirl. In the interview that you are obsessed with Gail says she has a great story, that she’s excited and that we don’t know it all. That’s good. I thought the interview was good given the very touch circumstances (Again something I told Gail personally). But that doesn’t mean we can’t be upset and concerned with what we do know which is Barbara Gordon is now Batgirl again. How is that difficult to understand? Now please for all our sakes take you wacky anger elsewhere.

Again, you are trying to divert from my point.

Kelly, in your previous SHNH article you talked SPECIFICALLY ABOUT BATGIRL AND THE REBOOT. You LINKED TO JILL’S ESSAY and failed to LINK TO THE RESPONSE TO THE CONCERNS RAISED IN THAT ESSAY. I wasn’t referring to the comments in the podcast, I was referring to you and Sue addressing the subject initially in your respective blogs and then OMITTING the resoponse back to Jill which you could have EASILY linked to IN THAT SAME ARTICLE. GET IT?!

Sue,

“NO ONE ON THIS PODCAST BLAMES GAIL SIMONE FOR BARBARA GORDON BECOMING BATGIRL”

THAT WAS NOT WHAT I WAS EVEN SAYING. GOOD LORD! Can you two NOT READ? I said very clearly IN MY LAST POST that that WASN’T THE POINT. The point is that you deliberately OMITTED Gails response while linking to every other piece of OUTRAGE on the subject that there was. Be evasive and avoid the REAL ISSUE all day long, the simple fact is that you are both guilty of that little bit of CENSORSHIP of another WOMAN’S point of view. I’ve never seen two people so intent on denying a simple, provable FACT. Get over yourselves.

Travis Pelkie

June 14, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Hey, I started getting Kelly’s comments in my email again. Yay!

And I dug buttler’s tech comment.

Hey, Jennifer:

Kelly’s last She Has No Head column was posted on June 6.
The Newsarama interview with Gail Simone was posted on June 9.

So you’re freaking out because she didn’t post a link to an interview that was only published three days later?

Jennifer:

Kelly’s latest She Has No Head article? Published on June 6th. ( http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2011/06/06/she-has-no-head-again-she-has-no-head/ )

Jill Pantozzi’s interview with Gail Simone? Published on June 9th. ( http://www.newsarama.com/comics/gail-simone-dicusses-batgirl-and-oracle-110609.html)

If you have some information about Kelly secretly having the ability to travel through time, please fill me in, because I would be very upset to discover she had been keeping it from me.

(PS: Kelly, I want to go back in time and see some GODDAMN DINOSAURS, okay? Also, introduce me to Booster Gold and Doctor Who, pretty please?)

Jennifer:

Seriously Jennifer? This is what you’ve been bitching about?!

First of all, learn some fucking clarity in your writing.

Secondly, did you happen to look at the dates of these articles you’re so fucking enraged about? The SHNH post went up on JUNE SIXTH. I added Jill’s link, after the fact in the comments section on the same day because it was highly relevant to what I was discussing in that post regarding Barbara as one of the lone non able-bodied heroes in the entire DCU, and because I was made aware of it mere hours after the post went up and thus thought it might be significant to the current discussion. I still don’t think Gail’s interview with Jill is highly relevant to that post, as it wasn’t what I was talking about there (or here), but REGARDLESS, that interview came out DAYS LATER. THREE DAYS AFTER I POSTED THE ARTICLE. And if you happen to give a shit, which it’s clear you don’t, it also came out while I was on the road traveling for my day job which pays me (which this gig very much does not) and as such I didn’t even READ that interview until I got back into town and after the freaking podcast. I haven’t looked at my original post or the comments since last Monday…again, JUNE SIXTH.

Do you really suggest that a good use of my time is go trolling back through all my old columns (which number over 100) indefinitely updating them with NEW (not even significant but whatever!) information?

Move on Jennifer. I’m done with you here. This is the last response you’ll be getting from me – here or anywhere.

Travis Pelkie

June 14, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Duh, Kelly can time travel!

It’s hard to understand that just because Brian linked to the last SHNH this past weekend, that doesn’t mean it was written this past weekend. People can’t read, man.

Also, the fact that you’re calling not linking to an article censorship is ABSOLUTELY INSANE. You need to get a grip.

@Whacky Jennifer. What the fuckety fuck fuck are you talking about? Censorship? Silencing? No one understands what you are upset about. No understands your point. Wait, let me correct that. You don’t have a point.

If I may…

I do not feel that any of these three women censored or ambushed me, or treated me unfairly in any way. They are under no obligation to agree with or even acknowledge my comments. I have always seen this podcast and their respective columns as fun op/ed pieces with elements of journalism and activism, but above all, they are fun. They are opinions. I do not feel at all misused by these three women, all of whom have been dedicated, strong voices both for good comics and good ethics. More than enjoy them, I cherish them.

I disagree with a lot of statements presented as fact on this particular episode, to be honest. But even that is a quibble. I hope they continue to tell the truth as they see it, even if (maybe especially if) it means they disagree with people whose work they generally tend to like. I like this podcast, and am grateful to these three women who have done so much to promote female creators and great comics in general.

They are the good guys.

It’s an emotional issue and things get heated. I hope people can respect opposing opinions to some degree.

I haven’t talked about the interview with Jill, but I will say I never felt it would end the discussion. I don’t know if the discussion SHOULD end. The thing I couldn’t help noticing is how much Barbara fans agree, how many of our stories are favorites, how many specific traits of hers we share admiration for. We can be fans of Barbara and still disagree.

Jennifer, I appreciate your perspective and kind words, and I did have to skim a little bit due to limited time, but these women are entitled to their opinions, right? I feel like there’s been a lot of shouting already.

Wow, just got to the end…3 chicks, don’t you think the response to Jennifer is getting over the top?

Can we go to neutral corners?

Or, what if we all just started yelling at Cronin?

Seriously, the “crazy” and “insane” stuff seems a little much, guys.

Gail:

I completely confess to going too far. But the tone from go was off the charts wrong if she wanted to have a civil dialogue. From her first post I was accused of “silencing other womens’ voices” told my work “was horribly and comically biased” and that I should be “ashamed”. All for not including a link to an interview on an opinion piece. I ended up wasting a massive amount of my day dealing with this…I got tired and I was worn thin. Finding out that I was expected to TIME TRAVEL in order to do what she was accusing me of was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. That said, I should have reigned in the cussing and just exited since I was clearly getting nowhere with her.

As always thanks for your reasoned comments, and I’m glad that you don’t feel we were trying to silence you or censor you, regardless of whether we agree about Barbara Gordon/Oracle/Batgirl or not.

So posts are never edited or changed to allow for updates? Um…FAIL.

And I couldn’t have been any clearer Kelly, you simply chose to ignore what I was saying and reframe the argument so you wouldn’t have to take responsibility for your incompetence or shadyness, I can’t decide which it is.

Sue, the model of decorum as always. But then, name calling and histrionics are you speciality.

Gail,

You are awesome as always. But I wasn’t trying to keep them from voicing their opinions. I was simply trying to get them to let you voice yours. Apparently that was too much of a hardship for either of them.

Welcome to the Internet, Kelly. ;)

Seriously, I still react in haste to certain behaviors in criticism, but you can’t control the reactions of others, only your own. So, I am trying to be less defensive. It’s definitely a process and I still mess up, but hopefully, each screw-up gets a little smaller each time, you know?

Maybe I’ll be smart one day. People who care have strong opinions. People who don’t care don’t give a crap.

I prefer the people who care.

Anyway, absolutely, no worries on this end, and Jennifer, again, I appreciate the kind words.
Everyone’s entitled.

For what it’s worth, I also blame Kelly’s lack of time travel for most of what’s gone wrong in my life. We should form a Kelly Revenge Squad or something.

Oh wait, that would just be the comments section of her average CSBG column.

I agree that my comment wasn’t constructive. I really do enjoy the podcast, but have been anti-Maddy since she admitted that she didn’t know who Jean Grey/Marvel Girl was in a previous post. I am probably a bit too pro-Marvel to enjoy the cast fully. Love you guys, and will continue to listen–I just tend to disagree with Maddy more than the other two. Didn’t mean to come off so negative.

I took her lack of comics knowledge (even though it was Marvel–Jean Grey is a major comics topic) to be offensive, since she was voicing opinions on general topics in comics–I find it hard to side with her arguments–especially when she lacks a basic foundation on women in comics–and I do not pretend to be an expert–but feel that not knowing who Jean Grey is…is a bit ridiculous when you are commenting on females in comics! This is my opinion and I realize that voicing it in a non-specific, negative way was inappropriate. I still stand by my recommendation that someone else replace her.

I think Erik might have a thing about Marvel Girl. Just a theory.

@Travis I do! But I think I’m not alone in my thinking that she is a major female force in comics.

And because I neglected saying so earlier:
Thanks for deciding to continue these podcasts. They are a real fortnightly treat.

Personally, I don’t understand this Maddy hate. If anything she delivered the most professional and even handed critique this episode (highlighting the positives as well as negatives). Plus she managed to mention Star Trek, so Maddy_Respect++

Finally LOL at that “sexy sexy sexy” quasi-Austin Powers impersonation. It was so awful it crossed a theshold and somehow became awesome (something I doubt the catwoman comic itself will achieve, though not from lack of trying). If I could bottle that impersonation, it would go on my shelf of “so bad its good” right next to Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste, Braindead and Meet the Feebles.

Travis Pelkie

June 15, 2011 at 1:25 am

@buttler: We DID form a Kelly Revenge Squad, but she went back in time and dismantled it before we could do anything. I believe it mostly involved pantsings in junior high school.

Well, I’ve got to blame SOMEBODY for that.

@Erik Am I right that your mean comments about Maddy are because you believe she doesn’t know who Jean Grey is? What evidence do you have of that? Maddy’s been one of the editors of When Fan Girls Attack for two years. I think you do her a disservice when you assert she doesn’t know comics. But I think you do yourself a bigger disservice when, after being called out on these comments and admitting they were inappropriate, you restated the same thing. I am going to steal Kelly’s time machine and bring back Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix to chat with you if you don’t start being nice.
@herring Just so you know, when I was doing that horrible impersonation of Austin Powers I wasn’t just doing it with my voice. I was also recreating his finger pointing and shoulder rolls. I hope that adds to your enjoyment and moves me higher up on your shelf of awful.
@Gail Thanks for stopping by.

Erik, I never said I didn’t know who Jean Grey was. I said that I had never heard of Jean Grey being called “Marvel Girl” or read her origin story. It’s true that the number of X-Men comics I’ve read is negligible, but it would be impossible for me to have seen every X-Men cartoon and movie, and have been hanging around comics fans and websites for several years, and NOT know who Jean Grey is.

People are totally allowed to not like me! (Just get your facts right, folks! ;-) )

I do understand Paul’s criticisms of my speaking patterns, and have been aware of them since we started podcasting. My “um”s and “uh”s are something I’m a bit self-conscious of, but have yet to figure out a way to excise them from my speech.

This was both the most interesting and most depressing episode of the podcast. Welcome to the 2 hour club, BTW.

I listen to a lot of podcasts, and they are majority male. It never dawned on me how short-changed female characters are in this new gamble DC is making. I did realize that the creative staff is no more diverse, but just shuffled around. Still the same amount of women on staff, still the same amount of non-whites. I’m not saying hire a diverse staff just because, but is it impossible to find more than two capable female creators, for example?

I think we are all jumping the gun when it comes to speculating how good/bad/poor idea these new titles are. I know we’re comics fans and we can’t resist judging what is to come, but I still feel quite optimistic about this “remix.” I think I’m most optimistic about the move to digital and the attempt to lure new readers in.

Screw that guy, Heman. You “won,” tough guy. Way to go.

@Maddy I really was trying to be constructive. Things got really heated in this thread, and I don’t want my comments to be taken in that spirit.

On the “negativity”: Usually when something about a podcast doesn’t work for me, I just stop listening. I’ve done that a lot this year. Sometimes I think I should just say something, but I don’t b/c I think it will be taken the wrong way and make no difference. This time I did say something because this show does provide perspectives that I’m not getting from other podcasts, so i don’t want to just stop listening. I don’t know if that was the right choice or not. Maybe it is just not a show for me.

Paul feedback is the lifeblood of a free podcast. A podcast that just goes on without people saying what they feel about it will probably go on without any attempts to change or grow.

@All: Let’s just be clear here…it’s not a “time machine” it’s the “ability to travel in time”…much cooler as far as I’m concerned as a power is less likely to break down on me than a machine when I’m chilling in 12 BC with no way to fix it. Although, little known fact, I do have to eat a lot of leafy greens in order for my ability to time travel to work, which CAN be a factor.

Just…you know, wanted to set the record straight.

Paul: Yes, I do realize your criticisms were valid and not mean-spirited. Thanks.

Sorry to pipe in.

Re: Maddy and Erik: Maddy (if I may call you that) Erik’s a Jean Grey fan, your name is Maddy. You’re never going to be ‘good enough’ for him. ;-) (See Summers, Scott)

@Ms Simone: I understand your exposition is likely limited due to those pesky NDCs. That said thank you for your continued commentary. I’ll miss your work (While I’m tempted to ge Batgirl, I feel I have to avoid it to protest my loss of Stephanie and the Titans reboot).

Re: HeMan: I assumed from the name and post it was a joke.

In general: We are all passionate about our favourite characters, but at the same time, please can we keep the profanity down? Children might be reading.

I assume from Heman’s name and comment he’s an internet tough guy.

Wow. This is all still going.

I’m just going to say that everyone is always entitled to their opinion. But there is a fine line between fandom and entitlement that I feel the outrage over Barbara Gordan and the DCnU at large oversteps.

Is Barbara Gordan a great character as Oracle? Of course, no one has ever said otherwise (well, probably someone, but not me).

Is she less marketable as Oracle than as Batgirl? Yes. That’s really the long and short of it. People know Barbara from TAS and even from the lasting image the Adam West Batman series has burnt into the public consciousness.

I’m going to paraphrase a line from a stand up routine by Daniel Tosh (doesn’t he have a show now? is that any good?) : Do you ever notice how I start my jokes with general appeal and then get more and more specific until only one person is laughing? Why do I do that? That’s not how you make a career.

Oracle is resonant with a small percentage of dedicated fans within an ever shrinking bubble of fandom. Barbara Gordan as Batgirl has the potential to be a hero to so many more. The bitching and the kvetching is fine now, where EVERYTHING anyone (except probably Gail Simone herself) says is reaction to conjecture, but what are you going to say when, hopefully, young girls read and are inspired by Barbara Gordan’s strength, capability, and spirit as Batgirl? That they’re enjoying an “ablesit” abomination of a previously good character? It’s in everyone’s (not just female readers) interest for titles like the new Batgirl to go out and find an audience, show them why superheroes are cool, and bring them into, not just the DCU, but comics in general.

Is it a huge problem when Professor X gets to walk every other decade? If so, I certainly haven’t heard the same level of reaction. Maybe because Barabara standing up is mainly a problem because of the fanboyism of a certain vocal demographic of fans.

(Notice I have avoided the stance that Barbra’s un-crippling is probably the best and most inspiring cases of un-friging in the history of comics, even though it’s one I personally subscribe to. I mean, shouldn’t we be happy that Barbara Gorden has joined the ranks of “indestructible” franchises like Superman, Batman, Spider-man, Wolverine, and Wonder Woman, who we know will be back to normal shortly after any destruction/change/upset? Even if that’s sometimes to our own chagrin?”

tl;dr That’s why I find the “political” complaints about regression and ableism in regards to Barbara Gorden to be silly. Nothing is set in stone. Everyone who reads comics can sympathize with the pain that comes when a character you love goes in a direction you don’t agree with. But that’s comics. To paint it as something larger or “evil” is at best pretension and at worst grandstanding.

In comedy, you have extremes: broad gestures, slapstick, “dirty language”, topics, etc. Some comedians go to extremes to make a larger point in order to get the audience to think as well as laugh. To a large extent, this extremism has crept into a broader spectrum of not just entertainment but society as a whole, which is whole ‘nother sociological discussion.

(Bear with me, I’m going somewhere.) :)

Kelly, Sue and Maddy could sit around with tea cozies and biscuits and politely discuss their various points like some stilted ’50s women’s issues radio program. Or, they could have a natural discussion that fits their personalities, express their analysis of stories and situations and really embrace their vested emotions in characters, stories and the medium that we all love (or else we wouldn’t be here in the first place).

When DC or Marvel (or any other publisher/distributor in any medium) makes an announcement that they are unveiling a new event, status quo or some other radical marketing gimmick, change for the sake of change (rather than a natural story development), they are implicitly inviting discourse; if you aren’t talking about them, you aren’t thinking about them which probably translates into not giving them money. Comics, books, films, music – every creative medium has been affected by editorial/production influence. Sometimes the results are good, sometimes the results are not – but this is usually subjective.

Kelly, Sue and Maddy care about the medium – stories, characters, creators – and they care a great deal. That passion shows and they do a wonderful job. If 3 Chicks Review Comics were a professional gig rather than something put together for fans by fans (and put together very well), there might be a little more polish to it. Maybe they’d create scripts, maybe they’d edit more of the verbal faux pas and maybe they wouldn’t get so worked up and passionate about what they’re doing.

But we get that raw, engaging passion complete with occasional instances of Kelly’s expletives, Sue going hypersonic and Maddy searching for the right word or phrase. (And it’s “live” to the extent that they all occasionally get get get stuck for what they want to say, or communicating so fast they trip up) – and that just adds to the nuances of their conversations. Because that’s what the ‘casts are – conversations between 3 friends, shared with anyone who is interested. I’m tempted to call their quirks “endearing” but that’s not quite the right word, and I especially don’t want anyone to infer that I’m being condescending by saying that.

It’s opinion/editorial, not news, not even faux news. And the point of it is to get people to think about their concerns, join in the conversation (online here or amongst ourselves) and whether we agree is immaterial as long as we’re engaged and seriously considering the issues and working for change where needed. It isn’t necessary to agree with them, but it does help to try to understand what prompted their reactions.

@Jennifer: please look up the definitions for “infer” (it is not a synonym for “imply”) and “censor”. You keep using these words but they do not mean what you seem to think they do.

@The 3 Chicks themselves – I’ll be back for more fun in a fortnight (and regularly on your various personal blogs, reviews, whatnot).

I will say that while i’m against turning back the clock on Barbara and feel like her taking back the cowl is like a successful businesswoman wanting to be a cheerleader again (and I say that as a big fan of her Batgirl years), the very worst thing DC could do would be to make her Batgirl again and then cripple her all over again. If they ever do decide to go back to the current version of Babs, shifting the timeline to undo whatever revisions they’re about to do would be vastly preferable to putting her through all that again. (And Hera knows there’s plenty of continuity shifting and unshifting going on–look at whatever the Hades is going on with Wonder Woman right now–not that any of that will matter soon enough anyhow.)

@LiveWire – you know, you’re probably right about Erik’s reaction to Maddy!

Wow, I rambled on and I’m back again? Yeesh.

Still, for what it’s worth, there’s really no easy answer to the Barbara Gordon Batgirl/Oracle/crippled/walking dynamic. It’s like the old question, “Have you stopped beating your wife, yes or no?” (Yes, violence toward women has a long history in comedy, too. I was tempted to change it to “husband”…) Then again, I’ve been reading comics for almost 40 years and though I hated to see them go, I was quite content for Hal Jordan, Barry Allen, Bucky Barnes and Jean Grey stay dead. But again, that’s a whole ‘nother discussion.

@James:

Just a few things. 1. I see Barbara’s “de-fridgeing” as what Ostrander and Yale did with the character (and those that followed them) over the past 23 years. She doesn’t have to walk and be regressed in age, intellect, capability, etc., as BatGIRL to be “de-fridged”. To me she was “de-fridged” long ago when she transcended a horrible thing that was done to her and became the woman she is today, regardless of obstacles. That’s all far more interesting to me then a quick dip in the lazarus pit (or whatever).

That said, (2.) I don’t disagree that it’s always been problematic that Barbara somehow has to remain in the chair when everyone and their son (Damian, I’m looking at you kid) can recover from similar injuries (or worse). That’s been a problem for a long time (and I said as much in my SHNH post from last week) but waiting more than two decades to “solve” it (or revisit it?) doesn’t wow me with “hey! we’re finally righting this great wrong!”

3. I don’t think I called any of this “evil”…did I? If I did, I overstepped. I think it’s sad, I think it’s unfortunate, it makes me unhappy, it depresses me, it alarms me about comics and role models…all sorts of stuff…but I don’t think it’s EVIL. I save my proclamations of EVIL for unzipped catsuit zippers as anyone reading Drunk Cover Solicits In Three Sentences Or Less knows…

4. Seeing the reaction that fans of Green Lantern (who are not fans of comics) are having to a “white guy being cast as a black character”, makes me think DC’s whole “oh, Barbara is the recognizable Batgirl to “everyone”” is an argument only made when convenient for them…when it suits their purposes. To most of the world that doesn’t read comics, Green Lantern is Jon Stewart, a black dude.
http://www.bleedingcool.com/2010/11/22/just-seen-the-green-lantern-trailer-why-is-he-not-a-black-guy/

All that said…if Batgirl actually does usher in some great movement of young women readers, that’s great. I don’t believe it will any more than I believed a spunky young blonde with a strong cult fan base would do the same thing two years ago – and there was plenty of hype surrounding that announcement/change as well. To me it’s not enough of a net gain to be worth it in part because I don’t think it’s going to bring any great sea change. But that’s just me.

@buttler. CO. TO. THE. SIGNED.

@Keith: Thank you. So much more eloquent than I have been over the last two days…and much appreciated.

Just a note about Barbara Gordon: not only doesn’t she get her booked dropped in the wake of this post-Flashpoint event, but she gets to be young again, AND she could walk. I personally know the worth of Oracle, but who is to say that Batgirl will not become as valuable as Oracle? She can’t sit at some computers and provide valuable data?

Doesn’t sound like Barbara Gordon got the worst of it.

@All:

As a general FYI I thought you all should know that “Jennifer” has in fact been revealed (no surprise really) to be a longtime troll and stalker of both mine and Sue’s named John. He’s been banned on CSBG, 1979 Semi-Finalist, and DC Women Kicking Ass…and I’m sure other sites where he shares his special brand of awesomeness on the regular.

You can all still consider “Jennifer’s” opinion valid of course, but you might want to consider the source.

@ the Livewire re: the Erik and Maddy comment — I liked it, but it required a lot of Pryor knowledge.

wakkawakkawakka

@Kelly — the time travel is done in conjunction with leafy greens? So…it’s gas powered?

Alright, I’ll stop now. Oy.

Re: Jennifer.

@Kelly Are you sure he’s not a 58 year old male from NW Ohio who goes by Paula Brooks? ;-)

Well trolls or otherwise, the Three Chicks set a new record for the number of comments on a given episode of their podcast. So there’s a positive right out of DC’s “all publicity is good publicity” playbook :)

At 2+ hours and talking about the death/rebirth/remix of DC Comics amongst other topics, it’s chock full of stuff to comment on.

Y’know, the more I consider it – reading what Gail and DC are / are not saying – the more I think that the reboot is being used as a chance to explore Barbara’s story and career as Batgirl before taking her down the path to Oracle again, but removing their perceived “deus ex wheelchair” aspect from the character – and creating a different (i.e., non-WIR) circumstance for it. This would be great as it means DC really wants her to be a major player. That would really be fantastic.

Or, y’know… Geoff Johns just wants all of his pre-Crisis childhood comics back. ;)

That’s a good point. Some of these characters could have been rewound in time just to relive their continuity all over again, just with some tweaks.

That’s a good point. Some of these characters could have been rewound in time just to relive their continuity all over again, just with some tweaks.

Anton Chekhov once said, “”If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.” For cape comics, that first chapter is their origin. It is the irreducible minimum of the character.

Those origin stories get tweaked and retold over time, but certain elements tend to recur. Superman is always the last son of Krypton who falls in love with Lois Lane in his first adventure. Batman is always grieving the loss of his parents. Wonder Woman (almost) always saves a downed pilot and (almost) always wins a contest over her fellow Amazons to escort him back home. The Flash is always transformed by a freak lab accident. Green Lantern is always selected by a dying alien as uniquely qualified to wield the ring.

The fun of re-boots (or Elseworlds stories) is seeing the thousands of different directions that can branch off those basic starting points.

What makes Barbara Gordon different as a character is that she has two perfectly good origins. The double origin is often attempted and rarely successful, but Oracle was the big exception. One is the Batgirl origin, which is that a very smart young woman looked at Batman and said “Hey! I bet I could do that!” The second is the Oracle origin in which a slightly older woman with deep ties throughout the DC Universe was crippled by a random act of violence and found meaning through using her talents to prevent other people from suffering a similar fate.

On a personal level, I prefer the second. I get the appeal of the first, but it is less unique. Still, I have a ton of faith in Gail Simone as a story-teller, so I am keeping an open mind.

@keith Bowden. DC has said that The Killing Joke is still in continuity so unless they change the result of it I’m not sure how the remove the WiR aspect of Barbara becoming Oracle.

I also think that the Batgirl books is going to be set earlier in the DC timeline. If Action Comics and the Justice League can do it, then why not Batgirl. (I also think this is going to be very difficult for those hypothetical “new readers” to figure out how all these books fit together, but who cares? It’s not like those readers actually exist.) The biggest clue from Simone’s interview is where she acknowledges that it would be “weird and wrong” for her to be called BatGIRL if she’s in her 30s and has been in the JLA and been the leader of Birds of Prey, etc. But, she says there’s a reason in the story for the name to make sense.

I really don’t believe there’s ANY good reason to call a character a girl other than if she actually is young enough to be called that, so I’m assuming that means Barbara is younger. And since DC is telling us (and Gail has hinted over and over again on Twitter) that most of the current continuity hasn’t been erased, then the only logical way to piece all this together is to conclude that they are setting the book in her early days as Batgirl and will later either flash-forward to her Oracle days, or actually take us through most of that history in the book.

Problem is, if this is true, some of Gail Simone’s other arguments in that interview completely fall apart. Like this:

“I do feel as a storyteller, and I think anyone who writes will back me up on this, whether it’s big budget screenplays or beloved homemade fan fiction…characters are not supposed to be preserved in amber.”

By “preserved in amber” I’m assuming she means not being allowed to evolve or change. And I totally agree with that. What makes stories interesting is how characters grow and evolve through them.

I would argue that to bring a character back to an earlier status quo is EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE of character evolution. And if the stories that are going to be told about that regressed character serve the purpose of bringing that character back through her already known history so she can end up in the same place she was in before this whole reboot started, then that’s even worse.

I guess I’m not a storyteller, so maybe I don’t understand how these things work. But if writers think keeping characters in amber is boring, then maybe DC should allow the characters to keep moving forward instead of constantly forcing them to move backwards.

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