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Intro and Outro music “Hurts Like Heaven” by Coldplay
I’ve been told by various social media outlets that I haven’t posted anything in a while (9 days), so being the panicky person that I am, I figured I’d let y’all in on what’s been going on in La Casa de Maniacal Geek and what the future looks like for the time being.
First of all, I’ve been in a state of sickness for the majority of those nine days wherein I wasn’t furiously posting. Pretty much within a few hours of seeing Deadpool (which is awesome and fun and you should all go see it) I’ve been in and out of all the symptoms you can read off a NyQuil bottle. Normally, being sick only puts me out for a couple days, but this also happened to be the week my boss was on vacation the whole time, so I was acting as the sole Archivist for a company that has nearly one thousand employees. Suffice it to say, I haven’t really had the time to convalesce like I normally would. Hence, very little posting because putting more than a few sentences together exceeded the amount of energy available to me at the time.
Not to worry, I shall recover, but there will probably be more That Girl with the Curls podcast postings in the next couple weeks than articles. Writing takes a lot more of my time and energy, but the podcasts are far more immediate and quicker to turn around for your listening pleasure.
Also hindering the article writing process is my desire to write more prose – preferably the kind I can get paid for – as well as focus on some more creative projects I’ve only been half-heartedly tinkering with. In case you missed the announcement, I will have a story coming out in June, entitled “Her Majesty’s Untapped Fury,” digitally published by Mad Scientist Journal for their Summer 2016 Anthology. It was a fun story to write and it reinvigorated my love of writing fiction. Plus, Emerald City Comicon will be descending upon Seattle in less than two months, so I’ll have plenty to report back on as well as a few guests lined up for podcasts.
Lastly, I’ll be doing some website cleanup, making things a little more presentable as well as adding older articles I’ve had waiting in the wings for a while. The Backlog will be mighty and full of the fun ramblings you’ve come to expect from me.
So, that’s all I got. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a pillow to rest on and some trashy tv to watch.
Dear Bruce Timm,
You probably don’t remember me, but we met briefly at this year’s Emerald City Comicon. Susan Eisenberg actually introduced me to you but since you’re not much of a talker and I was nervous/shy it was a very short “Hi” “Hello” kinda thing.
Anyway Bruce – can I call you Bruce? – I’m writing this because you and your teams on Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League, Justice League: Unlimited, and Batman Beyond are the reason I’ve been a long time DC Comics viewer and reader. I live and breathe the DC Universe more than anything (I have Big Barda tattooed on my arm for crying out loud!), so when I saw that you were returning to WB Animation for more DC Animated Movies, I was stoked. And then it was announced that the next movie you’re working on after Justice League: Gods and Monsters will be an animated version of The Killing Joke.
Bruce, if I could make one request of you before this movie has its script locked down, it’s this: Please leave Barbara Gordon out of the movie.
I don’t say this lightly. I’ve thought about this a lot and I even had a lot of reservations writing it down, but my brain won’t shut up about the subject so I feel compelled to let you know why. Mostly it’s that I’m so tired of having this conversation because it really seems to confound some people as to why myself and a great deal of female comic book readers have a problem with The Killing Joke. To be fair, there are some aspects to Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s work that I enjoy, especially the philosophical dilemma of what turns men like Batman and the Joker into Batman and the Joker. But there are parts of the book that are problematic and you know exactly what I’m talking about because, should you decide to go all the way with this movie, you’re going to have to address it within the story. Namely the shooting, torture, and sexual assault of Barbara Gordon by the Joker. If you could please just do me the solid of taking this out of the movie, along with Barbara, I’d appreciate it. And if you’re worried about the integrity of the story without Babs in it, let me assure you…
Nothing would change.
Just hear me out for a second and bear with me because I’ll most likely be covering story elements that you’re well aware of but are important to point out nonetheless. Within The Killing Joke, Joker, as a means of torturing Jim Gordon and getting at Batman, shoots Barbara, paralyzing her, strips her naked, photographs her, and it is HEAVILY implied that she’s raped. And this is just to torture her father and Batman. The only times we see Barbara are when she’s shot, when Jim is shown the photographs, and when Batman goes to her in the hospital. At no point in this story does Barbara make any decisions or take any actions that effect the course of the story. She is a PAWN, a piece of the story that is actually about Batman, Joker, and her father. This is the definition of both “fridging” and the “sexy lamp” tropes. Barbara serves no narrative function except as an example of the Joker’s sadism in order to provide motivation for other characters.
Quite frankly, I could do without it. Preserving the integrity of the story doesn’t have to include the maiming and humiliation of a character who currently has one of the top-selling books at DC Comics, one that has attracted more young women and new readers than DC could have hoped for. I can only imagine what will happen when those girls and their parents decide to pick up the new animated feature that includes Barbara and the horror that would result from watching such intense scenes of violence committed against a woman. Yes, Jim Gordon is tortured as well, but he gets resolution at the end as well as a moment to assert how his moral compass hasn’t changed despite the machinations of the Joker. Barbara gets no such moment.
And please, if we could avoid the “but she becomes Oracle” part of the justification for including Babs in the story should you choose to do so. She doesn’t become Oracle in the book and it’s a logical fallacy to assert that The Killing Joke is directly responsible for her new identity. There was no plan in place for Babs to move on as a superhero post-Killing Joke and she was all but written out of the comics until Kim Yale and John Ostrander laid the foundations for her second life in Suicide Squad and Manhunter. The Killing Joke is only responsible for showing just how much regard for Barbara DC Comics had when Len Wein gave Alan Moore permission to “cripple the bitch.” The Oracle argument is further invalidated when one considers that amidst the New 52 reboot DC editorial could have easily erased The Killing Joke from Babs’ backstory, putting her in the position of starting from scratch as Batgirl without the story hanging over her like the Sword of Damocles. Instead, editorial kept The Killing Joke as canon but eliminated her time as Oracle due to the truncated timeline. It was more important to keep her paralysis and assault then it was to show her character growth as a hero operating out of a wheelchair. I mean, are you planning on doing another animated movie where we get to see the rise of Oracle? Anything including Batgirl? I see the next movies after Killing Joke are Batman: Bad Blood (featuring Batwoman) and Justice League vs Titans slated for release next year but wouldn’t an animated movie celebrating Batgirl or Oracle make more sense as a followup?
I ask only because the current Batgirl book from the creative team of Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, and Babs Tarr is ridiculously popular and directly responsible for bringing in new readers to DC Comics, many of them young women and little girls. The tone and the style of the book is lighter and brighter with an explicitly feminist mindset. The team has gone above and beyond to ensure the integrity of Barbara Gordon/Batgirl while keeping her accessible to all readers regardless of gender or age. The kicker being we’ve already gone through a Batgirl/Killing Joke controversy, one where the team asked that the Joker variant cover be removed from their book because it was the antithesis of the women-positive message the team had cultivated in actively distancing the book from the Killing Joke as much as possible.
Bottom line: The Killing Joke is toxic when it comes to attracting female readers and I doubt the animated movie would fare much better considering the most recent batch of animated movies have been all but gleeful celebrations of the PG-13 rating with plenty of violence and coarse language that makes it impossible for me to show them to my five-year-old nephew who loves Batman. It just doesn’t make sense, from a business perspective, to develop an entire line of superheroine products and merchandise for girls aged 6-12, one of those heroes being Batgirl, and then put out an animated product that features said character being horrifically injured and abused. I doubt whoever ends up writing the copy for the DVD/Blu-Ray is going to mention what happens to Babs in the description, so won’t that be a fun family moment when mom and dad buy their young daughter the newest animated movie that features her favorite hero only to watch the awful events that occur.
As a female reader, as a person who loves the animated movies and DC Comics, please write Barbara Gordon out of The Killing Joke. I would prefer she not be featured rather than sit through a movie that’s just going to be uncomfortable on all counts. And this isn’t a case where “then don’t watch it” matters. What matters is the continual validation of The Killing Joke and the insistence from DC Comics and some fans that it’s an essential story regardless of how it treats Barbara. There are others ways to torture Jim Gordon and I’m sure you have plenty of talented writers who could think of a million ways to push him without using his daughter.
Thank you for your time,
P.S. That Batman short was awesome!
REEDPOP AND EMERALD CITY COMICON JOIN FORCES TO PRODUCE THE ‘PREMIER COMIC BOOK AND POP CULTURE CONVENTION IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST’
NORWALK, CT — January 13, 2015 – ReedPOP, the world’s largest producer of pop culture events, is adding another show to its portfolio with the Emerald City Comicon (ECCC). Today, the company announces that the ‘premiere comic book and pop culture convention in the Pacific Northwest’ has joined its family of leading experiential fan events. The partnership will take effect for the eagerly anticipated 2015 event taking place March 27-29 in downtown Seattle, Washington.
ECCC, known for being a fan-oriented and comics-focused show, was founded in 2003 by local comics retailer Jim Demonakos and opened to 2,500 fans its first year. Since then, attendance has grown steadily reaching a record 70,000 in 2014 and an expected 80,000 in 2015, with 3-Day already sold out! With new comic and celebrity guests each year, ECCC stands out in the industry as providing a unique experience with heart for fans of all ages. Additionally, ECCC has created a charity art book each year since 2009 – Monsters & Dames – that has raised over $75,000 for Seattle Children’s Hospital.
Demonakos had this to say about the partnership, “We are huge fans of what ReedPOP is doing across the globe in this pop culture space and the ECCC team is excited to have them help us elevate the fan experience at our event. We are also very much looking forward to bringing the ECCC brand of fan-focused events to help ReedPOP amplify their conventions even further.”
Since ReedPOP’s first event in 2006, the sold-out New York Comic Con, the group has sought to produce exceptional experiences for passionate audiences and grow the industries surrounding these passions, and this philosophy has led to burgeoning attendance, the support of major creators and publishers and partnerships with leading entertainment brands including Lucasfilm (Star Wars Celebration), UFC (UFC Fan Expo) and Penny Arcade (PAX).
In recent years, ReedPOP has turned its attention internationally, recognizing pop culture audiences emerging throughout the world, where it has produced once-in-a-lifetime experiences for these new fans and connected exhibitors to these hungry, unexplored markets. ReedPOP’s previous global events have been set in London, Germany and Singapore, and the company planted its biggest global flag to date last year in Australia, creating an Australian team to launch PAX Australia and partner with the Oz Comic-Con series of events. ReedPOP’s efforts in India were recently announced through a partnership with Comic Con India — with events in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. The company also added Paris Comic Con into its fold as announced at New York Comic Con.
“The addition of ECCC to the ReedPOP family is a huge win and we couldn’t be more excited to see how we can make each other better,” said Lance Fensterman, ReedPOP’s Global Senior Vice President. “The ECCC team is tremendous and have put together an amazing show. I know there are things we can introduce to the mix and look even more forward to what the ECCC team can bring to all our events around the globe.”
For more information on this year’s Emerald City Comicon please visit www.emeraldcitycomicon.com.
ReedPOP is a boutique group within Reed Exhibitions exclusively devoted to organising events, launching and acquiring new shows, and partnering with premium brands in the pop culture world. ReedPOP is dedicated to celebrations of popular culture throughout the globe that transcend ordinary events by providing unique access and dynamic personal experiences. The ReedPOP portfolio includes: New York Comic Con (NYCC), Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2), Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) Prime, East, South and Australia, Oz Comic-Con, Comic Con India, Paris Comic Con, Star Wars Celebration and UFC Fan Expo. The staff at ReedPOP is a fan-based group of professionals uniquely qualified to serve those with whom they share a common passion. ReedPOP is focused on bringing its expertise and knowledge to world communities in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, India and Australia. (www.reedpop.com)
Built on a fan-first mentality, Emerald City Comicon (ECCC) has established itself as one of North America’s largest and most respected shows of its kind. Since 2003, ECCC has continued to cement its reputation in both national and international circles in the industry as the show to be at to kick off the convention season.