So as if it weren’t wonderful enough this week to have to be discussing the dickwolves issue all over again, DC has made the geek world even more wonderful for us to enjoy. (please read that with a tone of dripping sarcasm) Wow has this been a 10 steps backwards week for the geek world.
So what did DC do?
There were two main things that came up this week both involving female characters from the DC universe, with the subjects of gay marriage, and sexualizing suicide.
Batwoman is an openly gay character in a long term relationship. DC tooted its horn with the New 52 and how it would involve openly gay characters. Yay progress right? Well. Kinda?
This week the writers of the award winning series (and frankly one of the best series DC has going for them) announced they are leaving. Why? Because DC discarded the plans for a wedding between Batwoman and her long time girlfriend Maggie Sawyer. (And made other demands of the team that would alter the character and story.)
Way to be progressive DC, glad to see you are blowing smoke at everyone about being oh so diverse and progressive. While the writer J.H. Williams III has explained on Twitter that it has never been presented to him that it is an “anti-gay marriage” thing by DC…but I have to wonder at that.
Someone told me that DC has taken a thing of not showing marriages at all. (Superman and Lois did it…btw) Wait? What? What sense does that make in story telling? That is like when TV shows in the 50s would show the post coital cigarette and have married couples sleeping in separate beds. It makes no sense. Also I would like to point out that they have done weddings in the past. Suddenly because it might not be just a man and a woman getting married they are just avoiding having any of their characters getting married?
Recently at a panel DC Co-publisher Dan DiDio said: “Heroes shouldn’t have happy personal lives…” when he was addressing the Batwoman issue. I am going to call a flag on the play here because while yes I am well versed in the hero cycle, in the Bat family character types, I am going to point out from a storyline what makes a hero more vulnerable to being hurt than love? What could cause more conflict for a hero than conflict between love and duty? Look at Gail Simone’s Batgirl, how Barbra Gordon struggles between her love and respect for her father and her calling to be the hero Batgirl. So wait, should we not have families in DC comics either…they might make the heroes happy. No more interpersonal relationships at all.
I would also like to snarkily point out who said that allowing the couple to get married would be an end all guarantee of the hero being happy? Your argument Mr. Didio doesn’t hold enough water for me to make tea.
Look, if you let the characters get engaged, let them get married. Don’t dip your toe in to diversity and expect all of us to cheer for you…go all in for it and show us you mean what you say. (If you read yesterdays post about PAX, starting to see a trend on how I want people to actually SHOW they mean what they say??)
BTW DC, I’d like to point out to you that you are really messing up if you are behind the times compared to the military who is allowing gay marriage. Just saying…
Okay, I am going to be blunt here and use very straight forward language. What dipshit thought up the DC contest to draw Harley and decided that one of the possible scenes should be a suicide scene with her naked in a bathtub? Let me quote the contest so you know what I am talking about:
Harley sitting naked in a bathtub with toasters, blow dryers, blenders, appliances all dangling above the bathtub and she has a cord that will release them all. We are watching the moment before the inevitable death. Her expression is one of “oh well, guess that’s it for me” and she has resigned herself to the moment that is going to happen.
When I read this at first I thought it was a hoax site basically pointing out the lengths of WTF DC goes to. Apparently not, apparently this is just another example of the rest of us not getting the joke.
There was huge internet backlash on this and rightly so. When you read what is being asked of artists to draw, it comes across as the sexualization of suicide, because you know sexualizing our careers, our hobbies and frankly just about everything about us was not enough to do to women…let’s take the issue of suicide and sexualize that as well.
Writer Jimmy Palmiotti explained on his FB page:
“What is happening here is Harley is breaking the 4th wall…and talking to the audience about the writers of the book…and how nutty they are. We used the words “naked” because we did not want the artist to draw harley in her costume and we all know you can’t show nudity in the comic…and we also know you have to cover her “parts” with objects and what not…but the idea was she is taking a bath with all this hardware around not believing how far the writers went. The whole story is one big long imaginary scene done by different artists of extremely absurd over the top circumstances.”
Ooooooh so we just didn’t get what you were going for. Was there a character limit on your contest message that you couldn’t have explained at some point what the subtext of the theme was? Talking to some friends who work in comics that is something that writers and artists discuss quite often… Really, was there a character limit like on Twitter that kept you from giving explanation to the theme?
Last thing on this one (for now) there is NO reason to tell the story Palmotti says is the intention of this 4th wall breaking thing that she needs to be naked. None at all. This is supposed to show us the audience how “nutty” the writers are?
I think this more shows us how out of touch the writers are.
TL:DR….so here are my point(s)…
Okay, going to go back to the point that I have been making a lot this week. It does not matter what you were trying to do or communicate if that is not what the audience receives. Communications is not about the words coming out of your mouth nearly as much as the meanings that reach your intended audience’s ears. If what you mean doesn’t actually come across, you have failed.
It does not matter if DC keeps saying they are not anti-gay or that they are about diversity, when they have some of their best writers and artists leaving a book because they are not being allowed to show that diversity.
It doesn’t matter that after the fact that the writer for the DC contest is coming out explaining to us that it is a meta joke, that it is breaking the 4th wall. The message of that contest, of that particular image is the sexualization of suicide.
Look you can do what you want for your art, First Amendment and all that, but coming back after and saying “you didn’t get it” is also your right…but I would hope the time is taken to step back and think about why people didn’t get it…because maybe we aren’t the only ones “missing” the point.
Support your words with your deeds or GTFO. DC’s actions this week show while hyper sexualizing things like suicide is totally okay but showing two women who love each other getting married is just not. No matter what they say that is what their actions show