Comics Review – Thanksgiving ’15

Its been awhile since i’ve reviewed a comic, but it’s also been awhile since i purchased a comic and it did something more than sit in my bookbag until it transitioned to sitting near my toilet on my “Books to read if my cellphone ever dies” stack. The comics i’ve mostly been reading have been what i buy at Koch Comics down in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Come with me sometime, buy a whole lot of dope old shit, and leave satisfied. Unlike some of the comics i read today.

I will be reviewing Iron Man #1 relaunch (???), Secret Wars – Planet Hulk #5, Secret Wars #6 and Kaijumax. Of these three comics, only one of them actually served more turkey than stuffing.

Iron Man #1 – Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez

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Honestly purchased this comic cause it comes with a removable cover that is a cool print. I am not so much a fan of Iron Man as i am a fan of Iron Man Costumes. Anytime they release a new series, i buy the new issue to check out the new design. So mad props because i dig the new streamlined costume which is a big departure from previous designs. It is smooth, but with sharp angles. Compare to the Bleeding Edge Iron Man, which was just like poured baby oil on Tony Stark’s smooth balls. Not a fan.

I’ve also never been a fan of Bendis’ writing. Not on anything, but he’s hard to avoid in the Marvel Universe, even though his writing style is really only suited to stories taking place in a very limited quasi-whedon-esque section of Queens, somehow he ends up on across the Marvel Universe, resulting in a universe that sounds like a small section of Queens. When it comes to dialogue, its something that he can handle with ease, but if you want anything, like say a character who’s primary appeal his cutting edge science fiction and big robot action, you will have to be satisfied with about three pages of that. For a relaunch, its a failure. There’s maybe one line about this new armor and why it (and this series) is different than any previous take. It somehow (remains unexplained) able to replicate the capabilities of any other previous iron man armor ever made. How this machine is now any different than magic actually serves to weaken the introduction of the new armor, as science fiction works best with how a writer introduces rules to his world and then works within them to provide unexpected stories.

There’s something happening with Madame Masque, and you can’t bring yourself to care about it, because Bendis treats a relaunch like an extended teaser trailer. There would be more character development if it had some Nolan BRRAAAAAHM noises over a feverish montage.

The bulk of the issue takes place on a date where a woman calls Tony Stark a ‘horn dog’, and he acts surprised. The sheer lack of self awareness that Tony Stark would have to have to be surprised at this, reminded me that Bendis is best when writing teenagers, not grown ass men who live in an age of social media and celebrity gossip. Overall, the writing fell flat, although the art was clean and served to tell the story well – there wasn’t much in this relaunch, and I have no confidence that Bendis could bring any new or interesting ideas about robotics or cybernetics into this series.

Secret Wars #6  & Secret Wars – Planet Hulk #5, – Jonathan Hickman & Esad Ribic, Sam Humphries & Marc Laming

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Secret Wars should be right up my alley. As a kid, i read more “What If?” comics than the actual canon. I love seeing new takes on familiar characters, and for the most part, it is fun to see the different varieties and costumes of a character side by side. Nostalgia is effective, and this parallel universes allows one to indulge in nostalgia while also satisfying that fan-fiction impulse to remix.

But its hard to derive anything more than that from these series, as besides an almost impenetrable plot, none of these characters seem to matter at all. They are the literal left overs of destroyed universes, and you can’t make a meal out of scraps. Like, i guess you could, but Marvel is building their house of ideas into an actual house (BattleWorld is where all these characters from all of the marvel multiverse are …battling live), but you need more than just “Look at this Evil Hulk, its actually Evil Steve Rogers, WHOA!” as the emotional climax of your issue. In Secret Wars #6, most of the drama is derived from the fact that Evil Dr. Doom is leader of the Fantastic Four, and Good Guy Reed Richards seems to have an evil-lish Reed Richards partner. I shouldn’t have to read that trope three times in two issues.

I’d say Planet Hulk’s was a brisker read, but compared to its name-sake, The Original Planet Hulk was much more compelling and engaging, with actual Hulk still feeling hulkish in a world where he can be hurt. In this world, Steve Rogers can easily kill a Hulk in one axe swipe. Secret Wars #6 is such a drag. That shit feels like you woke up in the middle of a lecture and your professor is just staring at you mad offended that you don’t get what their talking about. I’m sorry, all three of these Marvel comics are obstensibly action/adventure stories, but there is way too little of any action, and these writers are not bringing any kind of real ideas to justify having these great artist draw a lot of biceps not lifting shit. Imagine if that next Ip Man movie with Mike Tyson has them just having a nice conversation, how disappointing would that be. These comics are trading on the excitement of a PLANET of HULKS, a WAR that is SECRET, and a MAN of IRON. We get a convo with Hulks, a convo that is secret, a convo about making iron man suits. Stop talking, start showing. None of these I would say are poorly written, but it often feels like they forget what they are writing.

These were three issues, one at the beginning of a new story, one in the middle, and one the final issue – none of them felt like anything more than just a few ideas tied together that amounted to “So, this happened.”

Esad Ribic paints some beautiful scenes, and his landscapes and otherwordly locations make me wish the script could keep up. There are some interesting ideas, like a school of leviathans in a massive ocean, or a lonely island fortress housing a holographic head of Dr.Strange, and the art makes it worthwhile to visit them. But that’s all you do, I wish the story did more than jump from cool little idea to another. I can’t say much about Planet Hulk’s artist, because on page one there’s a glaring anatomy error where the left arm of Bucky has a hand that is facing the wrong way. Worse – Captain America is holding hands with this hand. The rest of the art was fine, but i couldn’t see how that got past an editor.

Kaijumax by Zander Cannon

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Some people told me about this comic, and for awhile, I avoided it. I draw a comic called GAMMA, and its a parody of many elements from the tokusatsu genre, so I try to keep away from things I feel like could influence what I wanna make. I gotta go back and get the earlier issues. I had no idea this was such a funny book. Great idea of putting giant monsters on a giant island prison, and playing it like an actual prison drama. Its pretty twisted and silly and all the parts work together. The art is loose and very cartoony, and it rings really true for a fan of Kaiju monster movies. This was my favorite read of the comics I recently purchased, and I can’t wait to read more. Also, I wish i had this idea, which is the biggest compliment you can give someone.

Now i’ll just steal this idea, even bigger compliment right?

That’s my review for Thanksgiving. Hope you liked it.

 

Dull, Repetitive, Completely Expected, Mundane “SHOCKING ART”

Today one of the first images I saw on Facebook was a drawing of Batgirl with her shirt torn open, exposing her breasts, rope strangling her, a bare foot and torn knees, and a bloody hammer next to a face covered in her tangled hair. Instead of sharing it, because so many ‘supporters’ of art already have liked it, and shared it, including some well known artists, i’m gonna share images of Batgirl that aren’t about her being brutalized.

art by Murphy Anderson (correct me if i'm wrong)

art by Murphy Anderson (correct me if i’m wrong)

Every time this subject comes up, and now its like twice a year, I see so many male cartoonists that have never experienced rape that decided everyone needs to know their many lofty opinions and thoughts on their right to draw rape, write rape – in any comic, at any time, regardless of tone or necessity.

I believe everyone has the right to draw or write or say anything they want. I also have to write to respond to them and call them assholes. I’m fine with their right to draw anything, that is, if I was actually having this debate with creators that had half an ounce of taste, sensitivity and intelligence. Or more importantly, any kind of experience with rape and brutality in their lives. The problem is I am fully aware of how completely separated, isolated, and ultimately SAFE from assault they are and have been, and yet they lecture about how others have to be less sensitive and exposed to their scum. They are a cowardly and suspicious lot, because they use the language of artistic freedom to cover for their inhumane juvenile obsessions.

We might feel tempted to just cry out about how this is such distasteful art!  That it should be removed! But I don’t even feel that anymore. I’m resigned.  It simply reinforces my belief that comic professionals and to a larger extent, comic conventions are hostile to women and minorities. It’s not all the T&A and pin-ups and rapey comics I want removed from the industry, although I wish there was a lot less of it. Its the old timers who are out of touch, their legions of fanboys that support any bone-headed move they make, the bullies and the creeps, the dick pics and the soft men, the pale faces and the sweaty palms – that I want removed. More specifically, I want their culture that they protect and defend and promote to be removed. There’s a myth of Nerds, that these communities are open to all, especially the marginalized. That myth has been totally debunked faster than you can say “PWNED!” The Nerd community recreates the power dynamics of the larger society in miniature, and in its isolation, has mutated into a caricature of the worst facets of racist and sexist America. Old timers, reveal opinions from 35 years out of date, evidence of a community that has nothing challenging it for decades, except now in the real time democratic reactions of twitter and tumblr. Although these social streams of anti-oppressive consciousness tend to fuck up almost as often as they help, it’s probably the first situation of its kind where the “vocal minority” can actually prove that it’s not a minority, its a rightful participant in this culture, same as all the gamer and comic nerd fuckboys.

We’d like to believe, i’m speaking as a comics professional, that when you see fanboys going into fits supporting some distasteful art, that THOSE are the vocal minority. Comics as a whole, IS liberal and does pretend to be progressive. We like to maintain this myth that an Old Timer is just one of a few. That one republican comic artist or writer you know, he’s just naive! But the creators of these nerd past-times created the culture of hate along with it. I don’t believe a video game makes you go out and shoot someone, or that a bad comic cover makes a rapist out of a man. It is simply images that reinforce a culture that says some horrible acts are more permissible than others. Every time you can drive your car in GTA blasting at sex workers after you fuck them, thats just one more troll online deciding its cool to blast verbally at a woman, telling them they’ll forcibly fuck them. We can argue that GTA is fiction and must be protected, and i’d agree with you. But then what argument do you make when an anonymous teenager says he’s playing a character on twitter, and that he must be protected as well. His is a fiction that has become real, but since no one is having an actual intelligent conversation about the limits of fiction and also the responsibilities, we are left with our dick in our hands. The culture doesn’t kill people, people kill people. I believe that’s true, but its the culture that forgives them and permits it to occur.

Babs Tarr

Male, often white cartoonists and their fans continue to complain about artistic integrity, artistic merits, and artistic rights. These are all concepts that they actually haven’t properly explored. So many of them are non-artists and shouldn’t even be participating in this conversation, but such is the result of a free internet. The concept of artistic integrity, artist merit, and artistic rights, are these comfortable struggles that they love to champion. They love to say #jesuischarlie as if they are fighting ISIS on the frontlines. They love to say that they alone are holding up the 1st amendment in the USA. But they don’t even realize that they are making up fiction as they speak. A drawing of brutalizing someone does as much for free speech as telling a young girl or young boy that they are ugly and won’t amount to anything. These free-speech patriots do more damage to growing artists and creators than any gov’t agency. The only censorship that occurs is the one where minority and female and trans voices continue to remain silent in our nerd communities because of these culture wars. I’m sorry I value someone’s right to feel safe over your juvenile interpretations of centuries old artistic arguments. I’m sorry I value someone’s right to feel welcomed and encouraged to make more work, over your defenses of the same demographic to keep making the same type of work.

If shocking art is something you enjoy and defend and has a place in comics, why is it always in the least shocking way, in the way we always have seen before. Male on female violence. White Male on POC violence. White Male on POC female violence. Exploitation comics written by the same demographic, read by the same demographic. Tom Neely telling me that i was once amusing, but now he’s tired of my complaints when I discussed Fukitor negatively.

Why is shocking art only pushed in one direction ever? Why are the exploitative elements in comic art so perfectly aligned with the power structures in society? Why do underground comix perfectly reflect mainstream comics worst qualities? If art is about shocking people, why do artists in comics only like to shock women and minorities? If shocking people is about bringing awareness to a subject, through ridiculousness and over-the-top parody, why does it never bring any new awareness? Why is the take away never “Men use their dicks as knives and it kills people,” but usually its “Men use their dicks for fun. This is just a comic, get over it!”

I often focus on whiteness, white culture and white males because when you’ve spent enough time in bars and hotels and cons and you see these same arguments manifested, perhaps more politely, with the same group of people, and whiteness and maleness is what they all have in common, it seems way too gracious to then censor myself and say #notallwhitemen. They’ve dug that grave, now i’m burying them. 

I am a fan of Eric Larsen’s work, and I actually feel that for the most part, he was taken a bit out of context. He still has some out dated ideas, but they aren’t nearly as revolting as his supporters. He was the weird uncle at thanksgiving who says colored person instead of Person of Color, unfortunately he brings along with him and entire contingent of weird uncles. Unfortunately, he allows that contingent to reinforce the worst of his beliefs and in term, he sanctions even worst beliefs. What could’ve been a neutral discussion of older costume designs vs. modern costume design, something any artist would enjoy reading, ends up tripping over its own points because he can’t separate comic design from the ever-present male gaze. That is unfortunate, but now check out all the gamergate dudes who are hanging out on Erik Larsens facebook page. Who are crying “CENSORSHIP!” and don’t know the meaning of the word. Who are the same types of dudes who like a photo of Batgirl with a bloody hammer next to her face.

Bruce Timm

Ask yourself, do you think they didn’t exist before? What responsibility does Erik Larsen, but more accurately, all creators in these industries have for creating the culture that has allowed this rot to fester. I leave you with this quote, from actual art, hundreds of years ago, HAMLET:

Horatio:

Have after. To what issue will this come?

Marcellus:

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

 

 

Comics Review

The last time i reviewed comics was about a year ago? I’m not really sure, i mostly stopped reading comics after reviewing comics for a bit and when i actually began thinking about what i was actually consuming, felt deeply dissatisfied. Reviewing comics is exhausting, but more so it really began feeling like i was trying to find the critical value in cereal box literature. Lately though, i really began wanting to read a comic again, not anything significant, just anything i can find. Something short and sweet. Maybe it was because i’ve been making more work for myself again, feeling happier just doodling comics and telling stupid stories. When you think about taste, we don’t perceive our own perception as part of that taste. In the same way as when you take a bite from a piece of food, you don’t account for the flavor of your own mouth to see if you like it.

Maybe criticism is useless in a stagnant medium, like ice cream losing its flavor after many bites, and just tasting vaguely sweet. The comics i purchased were 3 old comics, and 2 brand new ones, all of which seemed to share a common DNA – junk food. But not all junk food is created equal.

Guardians of the Galaxy Team Up #1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Art Adams

I only buy comics based on art nowadays. For the most part, i believe the writer in most american comics is almost completely unnecessary. I don’t know of any writer that i’d choose to read their work if they weren’t being carried by a fantastic artist. I don’t know of any of my peers that actually look forward to reading any comic writer’s work if its just prose. As an artist, most scripts i receive i treat mainly as blueprints or suggestions, the final form is something they aren’t aware of.

Arthur Adams is a really gifted cartoonist, and Bendis is a talented writer in as much as he is an extremely capable writer. He knows how to cross the street in the fewest steps possible. But reading this comic was probably the least exciting of all the books I purchased. It was so “by-the-numbers” that it read as a mad libs for superheroes. Vague cosmic threat, generic skull-faced aliens, quippy witty bantering superheroes. Bendis is one of the pioneers of the over-saturated ping-pong style of dialogue, he fills the same role as Joss Whedon did for television, and Tarantino does for film. It is absolutely boring at this point. Sometimes it feels every writer in mainstream comics writes in some variation of this style.

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Occasionally, Gamora, the green female character speaks in the haughty ways of a space warrior, similar to Drax the Destroyer, the muscle bound green fellow. But it’s handled completely inconsistently. This is a criticism i have for this style of writing at its worst, its always at the mercy of being quippy, even if it means the character switches from Thor-speak to Gilmore Girls on the same page.

Reading this comic, i wonder how bored Bendis and Adams must be with these stories, but i also wonder if they aren’t bored at all, and believe this is great work. It reminded me of the disappointment i always felt when i was reviewing comics on the regular, so many hours are being spent around the country, so many artists and writers and conventions and airplane rides, based on so many vacuous empty ideas that say nothing new and are fully satisfied in their mediocrity. Guardians of the Galaxy Team Up #1 was made by a machine, its components happen to be humans. It is a well made product, be sure to buy the slightly different variation of this product next month.

Some Beautiful Panels:

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I actually thought the above panel was some fine cartooning. Its simply a sequence where the space ship is twirling about, and so the panels themselves being flipping in circles. It is disorienting without becoming confusing, so i gotta give props to the artist for handling it with style.

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That expression is awesome. Its such a cute little moment, that it reaffirms my hopes that these aren’t completely soulless automatons churning out products. A lot of Art Adams work reminded me of one the last comics i read and enjoyed, Elias the Cursed.  Elias the Cursed, is a fairly typical sword and sorcery comic, but as a total piece of work, just has a bit more vitality and heft to it. I would love to read a Guardians of the Galaxy comic that was treated as a bit less disposable. I think that’s a feeling that i experience a lot reading new comics.

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Ms. Marvel #9 by G.Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona

Ignore that cover, its straight up terrible. Medusa, the long haired woman sitting in the throne is well rendered, but Lockjaw has a strange lecherous appearance. Some artists are great at rendering one thing, like pretty women, but drawing giant bulldogs, not their strong suit. It’s okay, sometimes i’ll get a cover job, and i don’t got time to do it, but i really need the dough, and i just wing it. I’ve made some garbage covers, and i just think “Oh well, i gotsta eat.” So Jamie McKelvie, i understand and forgive you. Please read my comic “Pug Quest” for some tips on how to draw cute smushed face doggies.

But this comic was great! Super fun and the writing WAS whip-smart and cute without trying so damn hard to seem whip-smart and cute. This was like the Tina Fey of comics, where that Bendis comic was the girl on OkCupid who insists she’s JUST LIKE TINA FEY, OMG. This is a comic where i feel like the artist and writer are not only in tune with each other, but also are working towards making a really great project, not just getting it done and cashing the checks.

It’s harder to say why something is good, versus why something is bad, so i usually spend less time on things i like. Hey, maybe i suck at telling my parents i love them too. Don’t hate me cause i have trouble handling emotions.

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The way Ms. Marvel’s stretchy powers manifest is drawn with such cartoony imagination, that her powers aren’t just this neutral feature of hers, but actually reflect the character’s personality. Imagine when we thought about how Superman flies, or how Spiderman swings, artists really thought about how those characters would do those activities. Oftentimes it seems Superman flies just like every other character flies. Their is so many little moments in Ms.Marvel that the writing and art really is inspiring. Compare the stiffness of Lockjaw on the cover of #9 to the interior art from issue #8, where he is a goofy bouncy huggable giant pug.

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“Hey girl hey,”

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“…hey,”

 

The Saga of Crystar – Crystal Warrior by David Simons and Ricardo Villamonte

I bought this because the cover was dope, but this was pure junk food. The thing with junk food is quality still matters. You can go deluxe and get Ben & Jerry’s ice creams, or you can be a broke ass homie getting that fake vanilla stuff for 2 dollars. I did a little googling, and Crystar was supposed to be Marvel’s shameless toy cash in. I had a feeling it would be, because the comic goes through the motions of introducing and giving a brief synopsis of almost a dozen characters. At least 4 of them are superfluous. But it’s a cash grab, and these are all dope action figures. Story-wise, even for a clearly commercial property like this, there’s way more plot packed into this comic than the Guardians comic above. This thing took me like 5 times the amount of time to get through. At some points, i was like “THERE’S MORE?”

But yo, check out these dope panels.

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“I AM SATISFIED” What a smug dude answer. The villain is the twin brother of Crystar, who both inherited the kingdom, and villain walks in and is like “Yo, technically, i still am also the rightful ruler of this place too, even though i’m like evil now.” And their advisor dude uncle actually finds this to be a very reasonable argument, and exiles Crystar. How he made the mental leap from “You two chill out and just rule together,” to “Ok get out Crystar, you weren’t being fair so now you get nothing,” escaped me. But I really found it hilarious that evil dude’s grand plan was arguing on a technicality. I love evil dude’s design too.

I really wanna go on ebay and buy the toys now. Merchandise advertisement = successful.

DEVIL DINOSAUR #5 and #8 by Jack Kirby

Save the best for last. Sometimes i find Jack Kirby comics boring. Like you open them up, and it’s like the moment you become an adult and fireworks no longer impress you. But every once in awhile, you hear the boom-pop-fizzle and see the brilliant lights of a fireworks display, and you become a kid again and you can’t look away. Devil Dinosaur is like that. Its such a silly idea, where Devil Dinosaur and Moon Boy are practically a Sherlock Holmes and Watson arrangement. Moon Boy does all the talking, but you really get the feeling like Devil Dinosaur is the brains of the outfit. One comic was about some cavemen trying to steal Devil Dinosaur, the other one was about some giant robotic aliens have kidnapped Moon Boy. The Result – Devil Dinosaur just tears shit up. The whole book is just an excuse for action, and its pure and you really understand why Jack Kirby is so universally adored. There’s so much energy and fire and power in each panel, and it just hurtles forward. There’s no ego, no self-satisfaction, no “Look how clever and topical i’m being,” dialogue. These comics exist in their same powerful form now as they did decades ago, like a radioactive isotope with no half life, all killer.

Check out some of my favorite panels:

 

A lot of times i hate that we call Jack Kirby “The King”, not because the title is undeserved, but because now sits an empty throne, everyone seemingly too humble to attempt to take it. But everyone’s not reeeeally humble, they are just too fake to admit they want it, and too scared to think they’d deserve it. But greatness doesn’t come to cowards, you can’t make great art unless you see the heights that can be reached and try to go higher. I wish more artists and writers would strive and fail to be as productive and unrestrained as Jack Kirby, imagine what comics would look like if we all believed we could be like him or even better.

 

We are all making junk food, but i feel like Jack Kirby was like Willy Wonka, asking questions like ‘What if we made a football helmet out of brownie dough and then drove our cars into dipping dots ball pits?” meanwhile, Bendis is like ‘Here’s a chocolate chip cookie with precisely 9 chocolate chips, the optimal amount of chips for this cookie,”
Anyway, read Ms. Marvel, it does a body good.

Slowing down to Smell the Roses

The last year of my life has been one of a lot of changes. Well, not changes, more like leveling up. I moved to a new city (Portland), distant friends became closer friends, and close friends became more distant. As the song goes, “Love Changes and Thug Changes, and Best Friends become Strangers” Word up. I never have worked as much as i have worked this year, in a career of my own choosing. I got my own apartment, and i thought i’d be terrified of being alone, but that never happened. I became really angry at comics, angry at everyone who makes and likes comics, and then mostly got over it. I’m always terrified that my life will crash and burn, that my career will fall apart, that all my talking shit will come back to shit on my parade. So far, no shit storm. So what did i learn?

I’ve just finished inking a really big detailed piece for possibly the biggest project of my career so far. Big detailed pieces are what i’m known for, but lately i find that my speed in drawing them has decreased. I’m unable to draw as quickly as before, but i think its because i’m unable to skimp or rush or be satisfied with lackluster panels or illustrations. A lot of times, all i could think about was “GET THE JOB DONE” And truthfully, i could probably continue to do that. There’s really no such thing as negative feedback in comics. For instance, i felt my Catalyst Comix work, could’ve been more rendered and got way more love from me. At times, i’d see reviews, and it was indistinguishable from earlier praise of my work. This was praise-inflation in action, the process of never ever giving real critical feedback so everything is just this monotone mediocre rehash. Overall, i loved working with Joe Casey and Dan McDaid and Paul Maybury, but i feel like the book could’ve been a blast-off, but it started off with a bang and then sorta walked pass the finished line. Now that the book is done, and is all collected and wrapped up in a nice cover (that i drew :D), i’m happy I got the chance to work on it, but i’m not happy with my own work in it.

I did a lot of complaining about comics in the last year, and so many people’s response to it was plain stupid, i heard countless times “You should focus on your own work,” Now looking back at it, they were right, but for the wrong reasons. The response to a critic that “You can’t do better” is a dumb position, because they aren’t trying to get better at making art, they are trying to get better at talking about art. So a lot of the conversation then shifted to “You can’t do better than (insert other critic)” It ended up being the same conversation. I wasn’t satisfied with my own work, and i knew there was no outside force that would ever call me out on it. I can ignore the random fandoms that just hate whatever isn’t familiar, but i found it really difficult to accept that i’m joining a conversation where everyone quacks like ducks. But I shouldn’t go to a lake and blame the ducks for quacking, and economic concerns will always trump aesthetic goals in the real world. If i wanted to make better art, i had to stop caring about everyone else. Comics and good comics, criticism and good criticism, it’s all pointless. A circle jerk of faux intellectualism in a niche interest in a young medium. I was the only person to blame if my work wasn’t as good as it could be. If the scene sucks, its because you suck? No, not really. You can’t just leave the dishes in the sink, and say the flies are a coincidence. But if your work sucks, its because you suck.

I do really enjoy good art, i really love seeing friends of mine and artists i know make work that impresses me. I love seeing my brothers and sisters hustling to tell stories. I am passionate about everything i do, and i don’t know how to look at something bad and not have a revolting reaction to it. If you don’t have strong opinions about art, and you’re an artist, i think you should quit.

I love Moebius, i know so many artists who love Moebius. I don’t want to be Moebius. I want to be better than Moebius. I have friends that get straight up disgusted when i say that. Like “How DARE you?” But i don’t believe in sacred cows, cause i love eating beef. But it’s not pride, it’s respect for myself and for other artists, because i have to believe that he’s not unique. He picked up a pencil like any other man, and he kept drawing til he got it right, like any other man. Anyone can be the best there is, and i love seeing beautiful art so much, that i don’t want it to be unique. A rising tide lifts all boats. My dissatisfaction with comics on a whole, stems from a dissatisfaction with myself. I knew i felt dissatisfied, so after Catalyst, i made the conscious effort to really pull out the stops for Judge Dredd – Mega City 2.

Mega City 2 was a unique book. I didn’t expect to have as much creative control as we did, and maybe it was because i stopped worrying about deadlines and rushing before actually making it look as nice as possible. I hate missing deadlines, and i missed them by a good month at one point, and after that, was racing to catch up for the rest of the series. But i just thought “Fuck it, I’d rather lose the project than make a comic where i can’t be proud” Was that the wisest decision? I don’t know, probably not. Did it make my editor happy, absolutely not. I’m amazed that Ryan Hill was able to pull off such stunning coloring on such a crazy schedule.

A lot of my work ethic has been “Just get the job done” and just not worry about the shortcomings of thinking that way. Discipline and focus are all fine and dandy, and i do hold all artists to a very high standard, but just getting the job done isn’t enough any more. Yes, there are lots of shitty things that get in the way of making great work, but i have to think “What am i capable of?” and not “What’s keeping me down,” I can’t pull all nighters anymore, instead, i go to sleep when i’m tired, and try to wake up at the same time everyday. Instead of powering through and crashing, i take my time and value each page. I used to just ignore mistakes or quickly ink unfinished pencils, but now i’m learning to see my blind spots. Artistic blind spots are the worst, because you know you’re bad at something, so you work around it, constructing a universe around a black hole. Everything orbits it, gets distorted by it, and for the artist, absorbs their focus every time it’s in the real world, hoping no one will mention it.

Maybe that’s how i’ve been approaching everything. Hating on comics like i was hoping to drag light away from an event horizon. I don’t know why i thought trying to do my best Catcher in the Rye impression was gonna save anyone. No, where fans of bad comics are going, they don’t need eyes to see. I wasn’t being honest with myself. I wanted to love comics like Brandon Graham loves comics, like Joe Keatinge loves comics, like my boy Derick Skuds McKinley loves comics, like a lot of my friends who i respect love comics. For whatever reason, i thought i had to. I make comics, i should love comics!

I was in a mad dash to find what i loved, that i never thought “But this isn’t how i love things” Everything i love, i learned to love over time, slowly. I’ve never been a voracious reader, i’m more of a mosey on around reader. This year i learned the importance of focus. Not only on focusing on what is good, but learning on what to focus on at all. I love action movies and i love good art and i love hard workers and i love working hard on my own projects. So many things, like Michael Bay movies, i love to fight about. I love a good fight, but i don’t like a pointless fight. I thought i hated bad work, but i don’t actually. Because i don’t care that people love reality tv, or that my mom loves the Harry Potter movies, both things that i think are pretty bad usually. It wasn’t that i hated bad comics, it’s that i hated insincerity. Inflated praise for mediocre work, or feigned hate for work you’ve never read or watched. I was fighting the wrong fight. I was guilty of being insincere myself, in hating on something i wasn’t even a fan of.

I offer no fixes for ‘comics’, i seek no experts or critics, or recommendations. Now my focus is tighter, and i just love what i love and that’s usually not comics, but that’s okay, and i love talking about comics and i love hating on things, but it’s only satisfying to hate on things you have hope in. Thinking back, it was only 11 years ago that i didn’t even know what a convention was, or what a comics career looked like.  Now i’m arguing on the internet like i’m an expert, with other artists and non-artists, writers and wannabes, fans and fanboys, and everyone is pretending they are an expert on a medium that’s can’t even decide if they should call it a graphic novel or a comic book. Critics who spend their entire days on twitter, throwing around playground wisdom in 140 characters. Talking about what’s beef, talking about talking shit, talking about who’s hip hop and who’s not. I am wasting my time in recess. We are all juveniles, and i think it’d be better for me to just stay in study hall now, and practice my panels.

I read this post by Jed Alexander, an artist i frequently bumped heads with about comics. He wrote that we are living in the golden age of comics, and i agreed with it, even though i felt like i should disagree with him. Now thinking about it, i realize why. Because i don’t believe we are living at the end of a golden age, where all the pioneers have explored all the lands where the milk and honey is flowing, i believe we are at the beginning. It’s not these last 10 years, or these next ten years. It’s been these last hundred years, and will be the next hundred. None of us can be experts, its impossible. When i go on wikipedia and i click through the eras of art history, they pass by in the hundreds of years. A hundred years ago, Little Nemo had just begun falling out of bed. Presently, dozens upon dozens of artists from around the world, are drawing Little Nemo falling out of bed, with hundreds and thousands of fans around a newly formed instant communication device contributing funds so that it can be published, so they can read it, using a wholly new economic system. The times, they are a changin’.

I’m creating for the future, but i’m in a conversation that has only recently began in the past, and stretches infinitely in the present. My perspective has changed, in an effort to bring whats important into focus. That is what i’m learning this year. I apologize however, if this entire post seems a bit more scattered than usual. Ain’t that just how it always is. Try to see one thing, and everything else goes blurry.

Summer Time Reading

I’ve been reading some crazy good stuff lately. When i go to a comic book store nowadays, i think “Hey, if i’ve been this harsh with comics for so long, maybe i should just give up on comics like how some dads give up on their other family.” Like a sick part of my brain, wants to buy comics just to hate on some shit, but like a lot of comics don’t even inspire hate. You ever hear something described as so ‘meh’ its ‘meh’? That’s what’s mostly everything, you don’t even wanna review it, you just want your time back. But you can’t ever get that time back, and why waste time not being passionate. I love haters, i love lovers, i even respect a motherfucker who tells me that they LOVED Man of Steel. Shit, i can’t take that away from you, no matter how many times i tell you you’re wrong. You are wrong, you should not like that movie. But even myself, i’ve watched Man of Steel like 3 times now, and it’s fun to hate. It is inspiring. It is inspiring in the same way as Shia LaBeouf’s face is inspiring to punch.

So i’ve changed my approach. I’m no longer getting random comics from Floating World, i’m no longer even really caring what the words on the page say. Truth to be told, the writing is usually the weakest part of a comic. Writers are like grilled cheese instructors. Some dudes need instructions to make a grilled cheese. Do you put the butter on the pan first or on the bread? How many slices of cheese? But the artist is the one who brings the ingredients and puts them together. I’m not saying all writers are this lame (i’m not contractually obligated to say NOT MY WRITERS, but i’m gonna say NOT MY WRITERS, cause i really like working with Douglas Wolk, Joe Casey, and Erick Freitas – shout outs), but a lot of writers could use a refresher course on not being lamer than the end of a horse racing movie. I only go looking for that high level, pure shit. Art that makes me regret leaving it in the store. Art that makes me feel small, makes me feel stupid, makes me feel like if they ever dated a girlfriend of mine, i’d know i couldn’t measure up. So this is the stuff i’ve been pretty happy to read.

I’ll start with the floppies, which i mostly avoid.

Star Slammers by Walt Simonson

So who doesn’t like some Walt Simonson. I found the story nearly incomprehensible, these are like a race of mercenaries, the BEST mercenaries, and they can just beat up everyone. I read this nearly at the same time i read the Metabarons, and they are almost identical in the way they approach this race of bad-asses. I don’t know if its a swipe or whatever, probably someone who reads a lot more comics can nerd me out on this, but its basically a whole race of perfect superdudes. Kind of if you liked Thor, Superman, etc. but thought they needed more guns and klingon style dialogue. But the art is pretty star slamming. Something about those fat lines, the little ink scratches on the edges of armor, the stippling and kirby krackle, you can understand how this style evolved into the “put scratches on all textures and faces to look cool” style of the 90’s.

This is your fault Simonson – just kidding, i love Liefeld

So the whole thing has got that retro appeal, with ridiculous costumes that don’t look ridiculously bad. Its strange, you see all the weird knee pads, shoulder pads, gauntlets and helmets, and you just think “That works.” I don’t know why even Kirby’s giant Galactus Helmet works, but they are so outlandish that they just read as “legendary”. With superheroes, there’s like an uncanny valley with costumes. Very close to something we can make/buy ourselves, we accept it. Something that goes to the other extreme, that’s cool too. But that weird spot in the middle, just looks like bizarro pajamas. Compare movie Thor to movie Superman –

Magic Science Armor

Magic Science Onesie

The most impressive part of the art is some truly innovative panel layouts. The scene where all the warriors are trying to mind link, is done with these fractured layered panel grids, some of which are full-white out until they finally unify as one connected mind, on this perfect grid. It looks like it would inspire a hundred imitators to do poor imitations of this sublimely simple device. Remember, everything you love about comics, you’ll eventually see a shitty version of. Star Slammers was fun, even with its goofy story, and i love the proto-Warhammer 4o,000 designs.

The next floppy i picked up was that latest She Hulk #5 by Charles Soule and Ron Wimberly.

The cover alone is worth the price of admission, by Kevin Wada

I’ve read the previous issue, and Soule’s got some light elegant writing. I ain’t mad if i keep reading this, but i’m not reading cheap tricks to try to force drama or write so little story i have to buy the next issue. Half these comics nowadays feel like they are asking you to deposit 50 more cents to finish your phone call with a sex line. You’re always just so close to being satisfied before the writer starts acting coy again. Just giving me the damn story in 22 pages or less, is that so hard? Last issue of She Hulk, she’s rumbling with Dr. Doom, and it was funny and She Hulk brings more than just punch punch pow to every situation. Same here with #5, which is illustrated by the ever-kinetic Ron Wimberly.  I don’t know why everything is done with a fish eye lens, but i like it, and it makes you feel like you’re watching the dopest Busta Rhymes video featuring Marvel Superheroes. Even a scene of She Hulk and the Shocker having some chinese food is infused with a cool energy.

He’s got that head nod shit, that makes you break your neck. Woo-Hah! He’s got you all in check

On to the next one – Batman Incorporated #13 by Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham

It took me awhile to actually finish reading this one, even though its a year old. There was some shit about Talia Al-Ghul, their son, blowing up Gotham Tower, tearing up Gotham City, blah blah blah, It wasn’t actually very interesting. It almost felt like Morrison was tired of writing this story, cause it wasn’t so much an epic conclusion than just a “I’m gonna leave the bathroom cause i can’t shit anymore, but i still feel like i have to shit”. But don’t let this get you down, cause i got this for Burnham.

Lately i’ve been seeing a lot of Mike Allred, and it’s like i’ve hit an over saturation point with his work. It’s not that i think he’s a bad artist, i think his stuff is great, but it feels like it’s gone as far as it can go. If i’ve seen one faux-retro Allred piece i’ve seen them all. The colors, the lines, every human face. Why am i talking about this? Because i remember when i first saw Chris Burnham’s work, and my first thought was to dismiss him as a Quitely clone. I wasn’t into it, like someone switched my mayo for miracle whip. But he’s an artist that i think has more ahead of them than behind them. I really like his work now, and part of that is that it keeps looking fresh. For a Batman comic, which is always so deadly serious, its nice to see a sense of fun. Here’s a world where a dude has made a whole gang of Bat-dudes. It’s like watching that Warriors movie. The faces are gnarly, and that scene above, feels closer to the tone of the sixties Batman show, than any of the Batman ’66 comics i’ve read.  Chris Burnham is more Allred than Allred at this point, and it’s only because Burnham isn’t getting comfortable. Below is a variant cover for Aquaman, in which Allred simply swiped images for underwater creatures from google imaes. Go ahead, google “megamouth shark” “frilled shark” and “hydrothermal worm”, its like he copied and pasted them on to the page. This is still a cool cover, but you can see that the least amount of effort has gone into it. Swiping is only cool if it says something about what you just swiped or you transform it enough, otherwise you’re just being lazy. I hate lazy artists. I really like Chris Burnham. Since its a year old this comic, i should see where he’s at now.

Swampson by Bjorn Daniel Miner

Bjorn gave me this comic at a signing. It is a pretty little package, thin and hefty. When i see work like this, it makes me proud of all the artists who are striving to make comics. Most of the time, all i feel is anger at going to a small press show, and table after table has identical looking work. They’ve all figured out that most of their currency will be in trades, so everyone’s trying to get rid of their hyper-inflated currency. Its three short stories, all of which have some pretty funny moments, without having to resort to drug and/or genital references to get its edgy laughs. Its refreshing to read an indie humor comic that’s not trying to fulfill all of Vice Magazine’s editorial mandates (Please add someone on the toilet, please add crude sexual antics, please write something that will be offensive on tumblr).

The best story is the one about the jerkwad kid trying to get into the main characters’ tree house. The Jerkwad isn’t entirely unsympathetic, but he goes to pretty disturbing extremes to get what he wants. I remember when my brother and I were kids, we had a neighbor who was our enemy. We never walked past each other without yelling at him, and vice versa. But we could never understand why the kid would pull his penis out at us. The kid would drop his pants and swing his dick around, and we’d be disgusted and tell him that he’s gross. This is how the stories in Swampson feel, you don’t know why they are doing this, and kids often have the most mysterious motivations, but it all makes sense to them. Bjorn ties it all up though, and it never feels like he’s just writing stream of consciousness comics. The stories are dreamy and strange, but the writing is on point.

Adventures of a Japanese Businessman by Jose Domingo

This is probably the best comic i’ve read in months. A static panel layout, and within there’s the craziest adventures of a static character. If you’ve ever played the videogame Katamari Damacy, you’ll know the joy of turning a corner and finding some strange scene playing out that you could not imagine. The colors are so vivid, and the movement through the world is so animated, it made me want to stop what i’m doing and draw a comic in this same format. I want this to be a genre of comics in itself, something everyone tries their hand at, just to see what they come up with when they only impose the fewest rules on themselves, but follow them strictly. The book, published by NoBrow, is also a beautiful object in itself, with a hard cover and spot gloss. Really, you should have this in your collection, because it’s a book you’ll keep coming back to for inspiration.

Metabarons by Jodorowsky & Jimenez

Steelhead with a new head

This is one of those comics that i’ve been meaning to read for a long time. You know, one of those things you’re embarrassed to say you haven’t read? This is it. I finally got a chance to pick it up, and it is as beautiful as everyone says. Its like if Star Slammers started working out one summer, lost all its baby fat, and the next time you saw him, you’re all like “Daaaaayum!” But the story leaves something to be desired. It’s mostly repetitive like the bible. This dude begot that dude, this person slept with this person and begot this person. There’s incest, father-son rivalries, and the women are there to just keep the genes going. I didn’t care that the story wasn’t mind-blowing, because the art often was. Alien vistas, strange civilizations and awesome mega-violence that never lets up for hundreds of pages. The sheer size of the thing is impressive alone, and i wouldn’t be surprised if this didn’t have its own religion in 100 years. At least it wouldn’t result in wimpy Jedi-faith followers cosplaying in bathrobes.

Finally, the last great book i got, wasn’t a comic, but a book of Maps by by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski

I always say that my biggest influence in my life, when i started out drawing, were children’s books. Children’s books have an efficiency to them. It becomes impossible to find what you’re looking for on wikipedia or google, because you’re not allowed to browse or aimlessly explore. Children’s books provide an entry way to a billion concepts, without being overwhelming. Perfect clarity is necessary for a simple understanding, and simplicity encourages further exploration. Combining maps with hundreds of adorable illustrations related to each place is the perfect introduction to a new world. A world that we live in and never know enough about. For seasoned pros or new creators, this book is a must have for anyone who loves maps, world building, and history.

All of these comics and books i was happy to have read, because each one has planted seeds in my head for my own art. What if i draw maps more like the Mizielinskas, or how do i refine my work to Juan Gimenez’s level? The energy of Wimberly, or the playfulness of Burnham? I never review comics for other people, those reviews are always in my head. My harsh approach is universal, because it must inform my own work. A lot of conversations about criticism are always demanding GOOD CRITICISM, and i’ve read more effective criticism about criticism than i’ve read of actual criticism. It’s all pretty circle-jerky. But what is criticism for me? It’s just a way of putting in words, not what i want from the comics medium, but what i want from myself. All the hate and harshness, all the praise and pleasure – Its just a letter from my future self. People get the impression that i think i’m the best there is, but doing most creative work, often feels isolating and depressing. You’re doing all this work, for what? Because there’s an 85 year old man, somewhere in the future, who is everything i want to be. I’ll never become that man if i don’t believe that he’s better than i’ll ever be, or that comics can be better than we ever expected.

Thanks for reading.

 

More Brown in my Red White & Blue Spandex

I recently came across two articles, which at first, you probably wouldn’t see why they connect at all. One of which, is a map of all the languages spoken the most, after English and Spanish, in america.

http://gizmodo.com/the-most-common-languages-spoken-in-the-u-s-state-by-1575719698

The 2nd article, is a Bleeding Cool article which is uncomfortable with Wally West, the Flash superhero character in the DC universe, now being depicted as an african american.

http://www.bleedingcool.com/2014/05/06/why-the-new-black-wally-west-is-just-offensive/

I agree with the Bleeding Cool essay. I must admit, i really do hate when existing characters get a race-lift. Not for the obvious racist reasons, but because i don’t want brown people to forever have to fit in the shoes of a white person’s legacy. Kingpin, Wally West, Nick Fury, the Human Torch, and fans cry out for James Bond and Doctor Who to be played by a minority or a woman now. And through all the progressive teeth-gnashing, I simply feel it is like we’re drowning in the bath tub. All that flailing, but there’s no real progress made. I don’t want your old tired characters. I don’t want Doctor Who, after 900 years of white maleness, to suddenly discover he’s missing his dick or his skin got some melanin in it.

Doctor Who isn’t a white alien, he’s an alien they choose to be white

So what? Do you really think these white writers are gonna actually gonna confront what its like to be a minority in a white world? They either ignore it all together, like DC’s ham-fisted attempts to make Cyborg a relevant character or the characters are still trapped by the limited world view of the white male writers, who are often trapped by skin-color stereotypes, decades old urban culture (Yo wassup dawg, i was just hanging out listening to this sweet rap music!) and orientalism (My father was killed and i must honor our ancient ways, Master). No, as long as the writers remain a homogenous pale lot, and the rest of their universe reflects that, you’re not doing me any favors by mixing up your race flavors. Also, it makes it really annoying to argue with someone why turning a character WHITE is much different than turning a character BLACK. White is everywhere as to be invisible, and becoming invisible is the best thing next to being normal in a racist world.

This is why the first article stayed in my head. Mostly because it states the obvious, that the United States is quickly becoming a latino country. But more so, that nobody is noticing. Latinos emigrate to this country, and their children or their children’s children, unless they mention it, “pass” for white. Passing is one of those topics that only exists for minorities. Will a white writer ever be able to write a character who passes for white, and lives as a white guy, but knows that they aren’t? Or in many instances, many people who pass for white, simply consider themselves just that – white. But regardless of a person’s personal racial status, passing for white is an exercise in becoming invisible. So when i see progressives getting mad that James Bond isn’t played by Chiwetel Ejiofor and bigots getting rabid when Wally West changes colors, not only do i see it as a pointless culture war that we’re all losing, but i selfishly think “What about us Latinos?” It often feels when i’m discussing the inclusion of minorities (pft) in media, one of the largest untapped markets is the latin AMERICAN, which no one even thinks to include. Xavier will never become Javier. Peter Parker will never be Pedro.

What is shitty about all this, is that it just becomes oppression olympics. Because the game is rigged, you end up feeling like asking for more of YOUR peoples means less for the rest. Because we think we can only have so many characters get the classic race lift, you’re not allowed to say “Hey, this time, lets not make it a black man” cause even typing that, makes me feel gross. I love to see brown people of all shades in parts, i know i’ll always get a Nick Fury and now a Wally West and Human Torch into african americans (who are almost always written by white guys anyway), but i rarely, if ever, see any character who’s latino/latina. Race-lifts are wrong, not because of the characters themselves, because characters can be whatever the fuck you want. Race-lifts are wrong because who is doing the lifting.

Which i think the problem is rooted in the writers themselves, who don’t create new characters, if they do, they are still often white. Instead, they simply transform existing characters into what they think is the most ‘other’, which often is black or asian to them. You don’t need to write new characterization if you just make a palette swap of an existing character. That’s why there are so many Ryu/Ken clones in Street Fighter.

There are always two counter-arguments. 1. That people only relate to characters of their own race/gender. Bullshit, just shutup. Everyone who’s not white and male, must be so much better at relating to characters then, or white viewers are just fucking morons. 2. That existing characters are the only characters people want to see. Also bullshit: Harry Potter, Fast & Furious, Twilight. All three are films which did millions, using wholly new characters, in the last ten years. But either way, ignoring a market in a capitalist system is the exact opposite way of making money, so even you economists can shut up. In comics though, arm-chair economists are a dime a dozen, so you always have someone saying why whichever character didn’t sell. I don’t buy it. If you can make me care about Hal Jordan Green Lantern, who is by far, the most boring, uninteresting, least appealing white guy in the DC-universe, you’re just not trying to sell minority characters. And since they aren’t trying, they just hire from their stable of white dudes and put an editorial note: Please make this character black. It’s so easy, anyone can do it. Hiring someone who actually knows what its like to be brown? That’s difficult.

And it’s difficult to be brown in a white world. Your presence is always treated as if you’re making things dirty. So you assimilate, you disappear. You code-switch, you pass.

So i grew up in a household, that although not explicitly, but implicitly, assimilation was desired. Be american, with the understanding, that being american means being white. To the extent, where i’ve had arguments where i have to say that there’s no distinction between being american and also being latino, but that thought just doesn’t make sense to some people. We all drink the racist kool-aid, it means to be a part of American culture is to be as white as possible. It’s not a melting pot, its not a mixed salad. It’s a race to the bottom of the bowl of an ice cream sundae – stay vanilla. If you don’t speak spanish, you’re a gringo. If you don’t use African American Vernacular English (what people still call ebonics, when they are usually being insulting), you talk white. If you pass the pencil-test, you are white. Latinos have thousands of different cultures, dialects, distinctions. Afro-cubans like me, German Jews like Don Francisco, Racist Republicans like George Zimmerman. Latinos look as white as Cameren Diaz, or as black as Zoe Saldana. As a result, most writers have no clue what makes a latino a significantly different character. 99% of the time, the character is mexican. Ignoring the hundreds of countries that are not Mexico. Mexican Ghost Rider, Mexican Blue Beetle, Half Mexican Spiderman 2009, and ambiguously half “latino” Miles Morales. Why mexico? Cause to a lot of people, that’s the only kind of latino there is.

Lets not believe that there are no minorities in the highest positions in comics. In fact, DC and Marvel have an extremely diverse creative staff. Jim Lee, Joe Quesada, Axel Alonso, and throughout the industry you’ll find artists and writers of all shades. Yes, mostly dudes, but dudes sing the pledge of allegiance to James Brown. But by living and prospering in a racist society, you must perpetuate racist conditions. Latinos often have the racist privilege of entering a white-dominated culture, and simply dropping their accents at the door, just like the Irish did! I’m sorry, but the Irish shouldn’t’ve had to, and neither should anyone else.

We are not solving any problems by filling out a racial draft card when we write new characters. One black, one asian, the rest white, double up if you can by making them minority women. We are not solving any problems by race-lifting old characters. We wouldn’t have to play oppression olympics, if they didn’t make it so only a few could win the lottery of becoming a legacy character. To race lift or not to race lift? Race lift the fucking writing staff.

For now, i’m still running the race, and i gotta play the race card, cause they stacked the deck against us. Until we get a Justice League that protects the world, by being from the world, and not just europe, we’ll still have these pointlessly juvenile arguments about black Wally West, black Heimdahl, black Kingpin, oh, and asian Atom. The argument is over. Everyone knows Kingpin was the best part of the Daredevil movie. But i’ll never see Professor Javier trying to calm the hot latina fire of Juana Gris, el Paloma Del Fuego. She would be played by J.Lo, playing ambigiously latina and/or mexican and her sexuality will be central to her powers.

Follow up edit –

Referencing the Slate article, which showed the top languages spoken AFTER English and Spanish, its come to my attention that even that article, was bullshit. Plainly distorting the facts.

In NJ for instance, Italian is NOT the third most spoken language, it’s actually Chinese.

So the whole eastern seaboard is English, Spanish, and Chinese. Most of the action in Marvel and DC take place in cities on the eastern seaboard. Name 1 character in the Avengers and/or Justice League who is Spanish or Chinese. This is the problem.

Read more here – http://aapivoices.com/slate-youre-doing-it-wrong/