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Saturday, June 02, 2007


The Giant Sucking Sound You Hear Is Matt Brady

Whatever you think of the various Marvel controversies, I think we can all agree that Matt Brady is perhaps the most servile toad in what passes for mainstream comics journalism. From his latest salad-tossing of Joe Quesada:

Despite your (Marvel’s) intentions or lack thereof in regards to the now infamous Heroes for Hire #13 cover, which last week you made clear was not or intended to suggest “tentacle rape” [groan], when something like this is created that some people can and obviously have interrupted it as suggesting or too close for comfort to something like that, do you ever consider making a change in acknowledgement of those who are upset by it, even if it wasn’t your intention?

Is that too slippery a slope to go down, to give in to public protest even when it wasn’t intended to be what they’re protesting?

Of course Joe responds with the "I'm sorry if you're upset for taking it the wrong way" non-apology favored by dicks everywhere, from your worst ex to the President, which is no surprise because Joe is a dick, in the business of selling crap comics* to other dicks. As long as he wants to keep prying money out of sexually-stunted losers' pockets, the last thing he can do is come out and admit it. Joe gets extra points for avoiding the actual point by arguing an extreme that no one else did:
I took every single exception that every single person had, regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexual preference, what have you, into account and decided to make sure I wasn’t upsetting everyone of those applecarts, I wouldn’t be able to ever publish another comic again.
So it's obvious that Quesada can never listen to any complaint that anyone might ever have about any subject, no matter how justified, because it would mean the end of the entire comic industry. Why do you hate America so much, girls?

Anyway, that's Joe. But Brady, good God--I don't know why I think he should know better. He clearly knows what side his bread is buttered on. Still, it amazes me the depths to which he will sink in order to maintain his access, how far he goes beyond the call of duty to curry favor with these people. What kind of question is the above for anyone who professes to call himself a journalist, even if it's a journalist of superhero comic book companies? "Interrupted"? Brady can't even transcribe his own interview correctly? And how many times could he assert that Marvel clearly didn't intend anything suggestive by producing a cover featuring giant, veiny, cylindrical shapes dripping white goo on the hyper-inflated breasts of unconscious, chained-up women? Judy Miller was tougher on the Bush administration. These aren't even softballs; Brady is lovingly blowing clouds of dandelion seeds. He's an embarrassment. Why not ask Joe if these complainers are hurting America, or if people should pray for him in the face of his adversity?

*Ed Brubaker and Jeff Parker books being the exception to the rule

It's long been rumored that Brady is a shill and I think it's now been proven. I don't think Quesada realizes how stupid he is making himself look with all this "Gee guys I looked real hard at the cover and I just can't see what all the fuss is about." Come on, is it that hard? How many alternate covers does Marvel put out? And now people are BEGGING for one and he just can't see his way to doing it? Karma's a bitch. And I think she might be a feminist too.
If we follow Joe Q's logic, nobody would ever have to do nething to change or grow as a person ever again.

Like, if somebody say to me, "it would be better for you if you didn't eat cheeseburgers and fries for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day"

then according to Joe Q my response should be "if I listened to what everybody says I should and shouldn't eat, I'd never be able to eat nething again, and I'd STARVE"


Which is totally missing the point XD

There's a difference between listening to ppl and then deciding what are legitimate complaints and advice and what you should do about it, and just tuning them out. >.>;;

I get the feeling Joe Q is just tuning out the criticism completely. Listening doesn't NECCESARILY mean you have to follow what they tell you, but it does mean keeping an open mind. :\
The superhero comic book companies have a very peculiar relationship with their fans. Because the traditional direct market audience is so small, so particular and pays so much, guys like Joe know that they have to provide "access" and show "respect", and they work overtime to instill brand loyalty--to convince readers that they have a stake in the fates of the characters and even the direction of the books, etc. Stan's letter columns in the 60s performed the same function, inviting readers into the club. But the editors and creators really, really can't stand the flip side of their marketing, namely, readers who actually feel empowered. These company people have grown used to deflecting (but usually, eventually accommodating) the demands of guys who want Barry Allen back as the Flash. Frankly, that kind of resistance is understandable, and given the niche market, the tension is unavoidable.

Unfortunately, the Joey Qs of the comic book world refuse to make a distinction between the trivial and the non-trivial. To them, complaints about crass exploitation, racism and sexual violence are no different, and are to be treated no differently than complaints about the lineup of the Squadron Supreme.

I think one reason for this is that Marvel and DC have grown very good at servicing one particular kind of fan--the aging white male continuity freak--to the exclusion of all other audiences. At this point, catering to those fans' basest instincts and opening up to new readers *is* effectively mutually exclusive. While Joe will often pay lip service to attracting different kinds of readers, actions speak way louder than words. All he means whenever he says he would welcome more women readers is that women should learn to love exactly the kinds of comics he makes now. Cool girls would get the "joke". That he employs so many bad faith arguments tells me that he's not confused, he's sneering.

At the end of the day, Joe Quesada is the direct heir to original DC publisher Harry Donenfeld, who made his name selling racist, sexist exploitative pulp magazines like Spicy Detective. Comics have come full circle back to their soft-porn "smooshie" ancestors. I'm sure Joe is well aware of this. Yes, it is aggravating to see him pull a clearly disingenuous, smirking "Who, me?" routine like a low-rent Alberto Gonzales in front of Congress, with Brady playing the role of an obsequious, complaisant Fox News courtesan.

If an obvious tentacle rape "joke" on an all ages comic cover bothers you, Marvel doesn't want you as a fan, and they have a two-pronged strategy for disinviting you from their party. 1) they publish the comic and 2) they feign ignorance, blaming you simultaneously for having a sick mind and being such a tight ass.
I think you've got to give the guy a little bit of leeway (I mean Brady, not Quesada).
Sure we'd all like to see some hard-hitting journalism, we'd like to see the hard questions asked (and hopefully answered). But it doesn't work that way. Joe doesn't HAVE to do these weekly interviews. And if Matt starts annoying the hell out of Joe with questions that he doesn't want to deal with, then that will be the end of Joe Fridays and it might end up being tougher for Matt to get interviews with other Marvel creators.
So there is a fine line he has to walk.
I listen to a lot of sports-talk radio (big sports fan ... plus the music scene lost my interest long ago so I really don't find a lot lot I consider 'listenable' on the radio) and they run into the same issues. I live in Houston so we've got local professional teams. The radio hosts interview the coaches/managers and GMs all the time. And yes, as a big sports fan there are questions I would like them to pose to those individuals - the hard questions that get discussed a lot on the radio by the hosts and call-in listeners ... but there is a fine line between what we all want those guys to answer and what the hosts can really put to them. Because again, if the hosts badger those guys enough on certain topics, then they will just stop doing the interviews. And then you've got nothing.
I'd rather have Joe Fridays with what we get currently than no Joe Fridays at all.
I wish Dan Didio would do a similar weekly interview as well.
Point taken But there's a difference between avoiding the hardest questions and being a complete sycophant. I understand that Brady has to maintain good relations with these guys in order to keep his access to them, but often he goes way beyond that to advocate their positions for them. He doesn't need to do this; he seems to want to.
What's the point of having Joe Fridays anyway, in its current form? Brady never asks a question, and Quesada never gives an answer, so what would anyone lose if it just went away forever? "What's next for Marvel that'll be awesome?" "Some wild stuff that I can't tell you about right now, but you should definitely buy it when it comes out because it'll be awesome." "Hey, I think this controversy is stupid, what do you think?" "I think I'd agree with you if I knew what you were talking about, which of course I don't, wait who said that."

Or, to put it another way: "do you think your relatively young defensive core hurt you against this more experienced team?" "No comment, but thanks for asking. Hey, same time next week?"

Well, same time next week for what? Not to sound overly dickish, but I don't see anything to value in Matt Brady's access to Quesada. It's really as though he has no access to him at all. Were it not for the fact that the whole charade makes me think less of both parties and their respective organizations it'd be cruising along at zero semantic content. Even "we played as hard as we could but still lost" has more meat to it.

I guess I sound a little angry. Sorry about that; too much coffee.
I... don't know.

Whatever happened to "if you don't like it, don't look at it, and especially, don't buy it"?

Everyone is offended by everything these days, and, these days, everyone is assuming that when they are offended, they are also injured and/or damaged and therefore, the entity that has caused them offense is somehow obligated to provide a remedy for that offense. To, in the legal parlance, 'make them whole'.

I'm not wild about that cover, but, y'know, I wasn't wild about the first cover I ever saw on the new HEROES FOR HIRE series, where Colleen Wing and Misty Knight were walking around wearing, essentially, a layer of body paint each.

It bothered me, because I'm a fan of every predecessor title the current HEROES FOR HIRE has, and a fan of the characters in the current book since, I don't know, Chris Claremont's time (although I much preferred Jo Duffy's work on the strip) and those women simply would not have EVER appeared in public in those clothes.

But my response to things that offend me has never been to scream in outrage about how offended I am and how it is imperative that the universe immediately be altered to suit my own particular tastes and whims. I would have liked to support a title called HEROES FOR HIRE, I have found that I could not (for reasons I find much more meaningful than annoying covers, like, the writing sucks big hairy moose tentacle), and therefore, Marvel doesn't get my two bucks every month and I call that even.

It aggravated the jesus out of me when I didn't get to watch the first two episodes of NYPD BLUE because a local station director decided I shouldn't be able to see it. If I'm going to be aggravated when other people proscribe things that offend them, which do not offend me, then it seems to me that, if I'm going to think of myself as a reasonable and mature human being, I have to apply those same standards to myself.

So, yeah, that's a pretty gruesome cover, but, well, Marvel has a right to publish it, and my remedy is, I don't buy it.

It seems simple to me, but, well, maybe I'm just stupid.
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