Column by Steve Bennett
Posted by Steve Bennett on January 18, 2017 @ 10:28 am CT
This week, I really wanted to address some new business, like Marvel continuing to rely on the busted event model in spite of Civil War II, or how Marvel has stopped including a digital download code in their print comics (see "Marvel Switches Free-With Digital Program") just as DC is starting a similar program (see "DC Adds Free Digital Copy to Rebirth Titles"). But once again, I find I need to write about some previous topics.
For instance: for years, I’ve commented on Superman’s recent wardrobe revisions. Although it’s still controversial (in some quarters anyway) I’m on record as being in favor of DC removing his red shorts (see "Confessions of a Comic Book Guy--Underwear on the Inside"). Though, like a lot of other people, I must confess that it was only after they were gone that I realized they actually served a practical purpose--they kept you from staring at Superman’s "groinological area" (as they use to call it on Mystery Science Theater 3000).
In 2011, I said DC exchanged something classic for the all-too-soon dated textured hyper-detailing NASCAR/NASA look found in such (then current) movies as Prometheus, The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises. Naturally, I was pleased, when in 2016, these unnecessary additions were removed and the comic went back to a more classic look. Now they’re changing his costume once again, (see "DC Reveals Superman’s New Costume"), so that now it's essentially his traditional suit, sans shorts, which I’m all for. With Superman, simple is always best, seeing as how children should always be able to draw his costume. Because when they can’t, the long-term viability of the brand is probably in peril.
Confessions of a Comic Book Guy--Guilty of Being Girls") about the potential appeal of The Wasp and how Marvel should make up for decades of neglect by finally giving the character her own comic. So, I’d be remiss if I didn’t write at least a little about how much I enjoyed The Unstoppable Wasp #1 by Jeremy Whitley, Elsa Charretier, Megan Wilson and Joe Caramagna. When you say someone has “an attitude,” it’s almost never a positive one, but the new Wasp, young Nadia Pym, is relentlessly upbeat and optimistic in spite of having a dark past.
As I keep saying, I’m always looking for something I’ve never seen before, and this title certainly qualifies. It’s also just a solid first issue of a superhero comic with a lot to recommend it other than the insidious suggestion females can actually be scientists. As Bleeding Cool put it, the nice thing about The Unstoppable Wasp is "if you don’t want to read it, you don’t have to." Which, of course, hasn’t stopped there from being some backlash from people who are clearly threatened by the very idea of female superheroes. Heat Street said "Marvel’s 'The Unstoppable Wasp' Isn’t Feminist - It’s Insulting,” and another which will go nameless (because I literally can’t use one of the words in its name here) dubbed it "Marvel’s latest Feminist cringe comic."
New 'Riverdale' Cast Photos"), and while most of the actors looked their parts, I think they came closest when they cast Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones. I was particularly impressed with how they modernized his signature headgear by turning it into a crown/woolf cap combo. But I did notice that instead of Juggy’s slightly sour default expression, a reflection of his innate zen remote resolve, Sprouse has more of an emo vibe.
This interpretation made much more sense when I read "Cole Sprouse Talks Playing Jughead Jones" on Bleeding Cool and read "this is a very different Jughead than the asexual, burger-loving teen of the comics. Sprouse describes the character as more noir... sardonic, sarcastic and schemy... even referred to him as creepy." I know that sexy prime-time soap operas absolutely require at least one bad boy, but that sounds more like the perfect job for Reggie, not Jughead.
Confessions of a Comic Book--Totally Called It"). Which is disappointing, but not surprising, seeing as how the storylines of a prime-time soap opera are primarily driven by murder and sex. I’m guessing the producers wanted to keep the option of Jughead available for a romantic relationship. But it’s also possible they were afraid their audience would consider someone who didn’t want to have sex to be an unreliable weirdo. It’s hard not to see this decision as a missed opportunity to let them know this isn’t the case, and provide, in the words of Charles Pulliam-Moore in a piece on Fusion, "representation of a growing community that’s been largely misunderstood."
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.
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