Thursday, September 15, 2011

Diminishing returns (re: Amanda Waller and other stupid shit)

(Part of this post is adapted from a late-night rant on Twitter while everybody else was apparently asleep.)

(This is in response to this.)

Okay, look, I don't know what goes on behind closed doors at DC Comics. I don't even know what goes on behind open doors. I'm just trying to understand. I know there is a reboot-that's-not-a-reboot going on. I know they want to make things different. And I know that every change potentially will anger some fans, and if DC worries about that too much, they won't be able to get anything done. But still. Just explain to me, somebody, please. What reasoning could possibly have led to the decision to make Amanda Waller skinny?

How did this come about? Did DC editors sit together at a meeting and say, "Yeah, that fat bitch Amanda Waller, gotta do something about that"? Or, "Amanda Waller is a great character. We should do something with her." "Hey, what if we made her skinny?"

I just don't understand. What purpose does it serve? Does it make the stories better? Can people relate to her better if she's thin? Does it make the character more marketable or recognizable or relatable or new-reader-friendly or fresh or edgy or whatever? What is it? Explain it to me, because I just can't make any sense of it. It seems utterly useless and wrong to me.

I can only think of two possible explanations.

1. Total ignorance at a level so incredibly high that it makes me embarrassed to imagine.

2. Done on purpose because it will piss people off and make them talk, and controversy is better than apathy.

I'd like to believe that DC editors are not the kind of disgusting filth that would actually go for #2. So I guess I'm going to have to assume that this was a result of ignorance and stupidity. Unless someone else can suggest another possible explanation that I'm missing. But whatever the reasoning was, I just find this extremely sad.

I've been a good sport since the launch of the New 52. I was a very vocal critic of a lot of DC's decision, but when the relaunch finally came, I cheered for it despite my problems with some aspects of it. I was onboard. I bought books I hadn't originally planned to read*. I was surprised by some of them. I wrote positive reviews (and meant every word in 'em). I shared my enthusiasm on Twitter and elsewhere. Yeah, I still think making Barbara Gordon Batgirl again was a terrible idea, but if Gail Simone is making a good book out of it, I'll give it a chance.

But then I see this kind of bullshit and it's like DC is thanking me with a slap in the face. It makes embarrassed for supporting this company. Being a fan of DC lately means constantly being ashamed of the stupid shit they pull EVERY FREAKING WEEK, it seems.

It almost makes me regret buying all those books the last two weeks. I was going to jump off the bandwagon with this relaunch, but like a well-trained spineless little fanboy, I marched to the comic book store and gave them my money in exchange for those overpriced little colourful pamphlets full of incredibly stupid characters doing incredibly stupid things for the sake of our entertainment. And now I feel ashamed.

Ultimately, what they did to Amanda Waller is no worse than what they did to Barbara Gordon or any of the other characters who were negatively affected by the reboot and lost some of what made them special in the first place. So why is this the change that inspires this rant? I don't even know. I'm just sick of DC shitting on the characters and the fans who love them. And I just know that if anybody asks Dan DiDio about this at a convention, he's going to roll his eyes and yell out, "Next question." And maybe if people bitch about it on Twitter and Tumblr enough, then the following week, they're going to put out an official statement saying that, no, in fact they really really care what people think and diversity is important to them and blablabla. I don't care anymore, DC. I can already imagine all your half-assed attempts to spin this into a positive thing because I've read them a thousand times over.

What am I going to do about it besides posting this rant? Am I going to stop buying comics? Well, no. I'm just pointing out that it's one more blow, and every time something like this happens I care a little less about these characters and this company. There have been a lot of blows lately. And it almost came to a point where I completely lost interest. But then somehow the excitement of the New 52 won me over. But it's a case of diminishing returns. It may not be today, it may not be this week, it may not even be this year. But at some point, I'm going to say, "You know what? Fuck this shit. These books are not worth spending my money on anymore." It's even possible that this has already happened and I'm just in denial about it, holding on desperately to my own illusions because I WANT TO LIKE COMICS more than I actually like them.

(* Yes! I actually buy every comic book I read, not like a lot of other people who cry foul on Tumblr and Twitter and who download all their books for free on torrent sites.)


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