There is a new donation incentive available for Incubus Tales! The wallpaper is colourful, fun, and homage to Power Boy (or Power Girl, take your pick! The boob window is always lovely) and Robin, all in one.
This is a lossy version that I shrunk down. The actual wallpaper, of course, also doesn’t have the URL across it (or the box for the URL). Plus, I’ve included both the full-size image, along with several resized to common resolutions.
You can also get the wallpaper by getting a commission from me, or buying anything in my shop and letting me know!
I’m trying something especially fun with this chapter: anyone who gets this wallpaper can write and give me a suggestion for another costume or costumes to put Dhiar in, as another homage! I will be doing more than one hero-themed wallpaper for this chapter, so this is a great chance to give your input!
Thanks in advance for your support! It is always appreciated.
A preface and disclaimer: this is a geeky post. If you don’t want to hear my opinion about major superhero comics, feel free to ignore it!
I haven’t liked DC for years. I haven’t liked Marvel for longer. I used to follow both of them, and I’ve read comics from…well, let’s just say that telling you would date me terribly!
The retcon they’re doing is disappointing. But probably not for the reasons a lot of people are getting up in arms about.
The main reason why it’s disappointing is because it’s cherry-picking, and furthermore it’s just putting the universe back in the hands of the same bad writers who effed it up in the first place. Let’s not mince words here.
Most of the major superheroes have been FUBAR for years, Batman and the Bat Family especially.
Some people are outraged that Barbara Gordon, the original Batgirl, will be retconned back to where she was Batgirl. It doesn’t bother me. She was better as Batgirl because she was actually a distinct character, instead of a hastily-invented character thrown around a concept that didn’t suit her. She was never a computer geek. Pre-Crisis, she was a detective so skilled that she figured out Batman and Robin’s secret identities easily, but to protect their masculine pride, she let them believe that she hadn’t. She was a successful politician. She learned a lot of hard lessons on her own. With Crisis, that went pretty much down the tubes.
Then came Alan Moore, with a one-shot graphic novel he was assured would never be taken into continuity. It was, despite it not fitting at all. He regretted ever doing it and was outraged. With good reason.
Chuck Dixon’s unprecedented terrible run on the Bat-titles (and all the other titles he ruined in the DC Universe in the wasteland that was the 90s) retroactively turned Barbara into a dorky incompetent who had no business adventuring. Suddenly the strong woman, the librarian who could match Batman’s knowledge for trivia and information, was turned into nothing but a simpering fool who wasn’t cut out to do the very serious work that was wearing a goofy costume and fighting villains.
The rest of the ‘Birds of Prey’ characters are just as bad, if not worse. Black Canary used to be an interesting, clever character with a cool super power. An unbelievably sexist run by Mike Grell turned her into basically a bit of totty who got sexually tortured and made sterile, which took away that super power for some time. This is the character who fought Batman to a standstill in an issue of JLA pre-Crisis.
Huntress used to be the dynamic, deeply-faceted daughter of Batman and Catwoman, conflicted in her heritage, unready for her inheritance, and placed in a similar situation as Dick Grayson from her world. It was an interesting relationship, interesting potential that was stifled by the overambitious and ultimately disappointing Crisis on Infinite Earths. Now she’s just a sociopathic nutjob who is regarded as an unstable maverick, untrustworthy, dishonourable, and with none of the legacy that the character once had.
And we are lamenting the loss of these elements that made the characters so comparatively flimsy? We are lamenting the characters being turned into some of the most anti-feminist, sexist bits of stereotypical writing that has ever flounced across the page of comics?
I understand that Oracle is inspiring for some who share her condition. However, Barbara Gordon was never suited for the role of Oracle. It was not even intended. And it is furthermore supremely implausible, in a world where people can fly unassisted and stop a train with a single hand, that she would be so fiercely resigned to her fate. If anything, it is insulting to those who suffer from the same condition.
There are aspects I would like to see more in comics. It’s true, seeing someone who shares something with you can be validating. I think the role of Oracle should be filled by someone, namely a character that suits it. Such a character can be deeply inspiring and interesting. But what superhero comics are about, at least to me, is escaping a little while from my reality, becoming a nigh-invincible, clever, admired hero who can do almost anything. Fighting the villain and winning, in a world where things are a bit more straightforward than this one.
To be honest, it makes me more unhappy to see someone who shares my physical limitations in a superhero comic. It reminds me of a less happy and less invincible reality that I ultimately have to return to. And in a world of so many technological and magical marvels as the DC Universe, I would not want them to remain in that state, when there are so many easy solutions to it. Just because I can’t have it myself doesn’t mean they shouldn’t.
And additionally, they’ve kept Barbara in a totally unsuitable role for the past umpteen years. I don’t see anything wrong with putting her in a role that at least suited her and wasn’t just hastily back-built to fit a piece of storytelling that was never ever actually meant to be canonical.
I can only hope that they retcon most all of Chuck Dixon’s contributions, such as Dick Grayson being ‘fired’ as Robin (this doesn’t work for so many reasons), and similar goofs. I don’t mind if some characters take a little bit longer to show up, because you know what?
I’ve sat here for over twenty years, sickened at most of the comics I saw and what the writers did to the characters I loved, how they casually and irreparably fucked over every single one of my heroes. If they can put even a fraction of that right, I will be at least more satisfied than I have been with DC in the past twenty years.
I think the one thing that they will need to learn to do is to write things as episodically as the television animation, if they hope to get and retain a new readership. The accessibility of the Justice League Unlimited series, for example, and the Batman animated series, brought them great success, as did the Teen Titans series. If they can capture that with the comics, by keeping the characters iconic and the situations reasonably self-contained, they will have a hit. If they can recapture the youthful innocence, the pure perspective, which made comics such a massive hit with audiences ten times as large as the current readership, then they will succeed.
I don’t intend to jump on the bandwagon, though. Unlike DC, I don’t just go with that and to hell with everyone and everything else. As I said, this is just going back in the hands of the people who messed it up beyond belief in the first place.
But at the same time, I don’t think that this is going to be necessarily a bad thing. So many characters have been FUBARed by DC, taken past the point of where they are interesting or workable, married off or killed off, incapacitated or pushed into roles that do not suit them, or worse — as in the case of the adult founders of the Teen Titans — utterly ruined as characters and people, unusable except attempting to ignore all that has been done with them before.
This can work. It probably won’t. But it’s in their hands now.
At the very least, it’s a step in a better direction. We can hope. We may be disappointed, but we can hope.
At the very least, before you become incensed at something being undone, know what came before, look at it, and decide based on that. You don’t have to do like I did and read almost every issue. But it helps to read some outside of your best-known period, to get a better idea of what once was, and what might be again.
Maybe it won’t be so bad.