My weekly TV column is up at Torontoist.
Reaction to the previous wash samples was generally in favour, with a contingent strongly holding out for unaltered original pages.
Well, this may change attitudes. Because here are some more greywash samples. But this time around, rather than me doing the washes, Davinder is doing the washes. And as you may have noticed, Davinder is better at this whole “art” thing than I am.
The difference, I think, is apparent.
EDIT TO ADD: In comments, Murc dissents:
Dalakhra and Kahal’s faces in particular just look WRONG.
This is where we have to disagree especially, because I speak for both Davinder and myself when we say that one of the main attractions of greywashing to us both is the fact that we can really visually emphasize the fact that most of the cast of this comic isn’t white.
That matters. Yes, from context the alert reader can tell that Kahal is black-skinned rather than Arabic-toned, and that Fezay is probably darker-hued than Dalakhra or Rayana, and that Alric is whiter than all of them by far. But it’s not immediately visually apparent on the page, and we both think that it absolutely has to be for numerous reasons, not all of which have to do with storytelling.
I also think it’s important to stress that although Davinder is much better than I am at this, what you’re seeing here are still roughs. (Kahal’s skin tone in the first sample is mostly untouched and we’re experimenting with ways to really bring it out.)
But: we also realize that there are some people who really love the stark white lines of the original art. We get that and we appreciate it, and we’re going to explore ways to bring an “original edition” into print eventually.
This is absolutely insane – and perfect evidence that people who complain about use of the word “privilege” should really shut up, because I can’t think of a better example of behaviour stemming from belief in one’s own privilege to be a total dick.
(See also: the culture of gamer “ownership”.)
EDIT TO ADD: In comments, switchnode has pointed out that the MPOC blogger also has a personal history of being at least moderately controversial/possibly awful, as well as potentially sloppy in her historiography. My counterpoint is so what.
The criticisms and attacks made on MPOC aren’t about her personal history of internet use – they’re fairly obviously personal attacks and intended to shut her down. Even if they were relevant (and I can’t imagine a scenario where “she was mean first” would be even remotely relevant as a justification in this regard; I mean, come on, didn’t we all learn this shit in kindergarten?), violent threats would still not be justified. Period. End of story. Finito. That Is It.
For me, the best part of San Diego Comic Con (or, as it should really be named now, San Diego General Geek Interest Con That Just Happens To Include Comics As the Tiny Minority Interest They’ve Degenerated Into, or SDGGICTJHTICATTMITDI for short) isn’t going. In fact, it’s decidedly not going, because the building is pretty much at fire code capacity and the lines for everything are so long that you pretty much spend half the con queuing and frankly I’d rather go to a really well-run community-built mid-size con like CONvergence these days…but that isn’t to say that I don’t look forward to this weekend each year. Because this is the weekend that EVERYONE announces EVERYTHING.
There’s a lot to take in, and I’ll probably do some more dissection next week after the dust settles and we know everything (Lucy Lawless and Mockingbird in ‘Agents of SHIELD’! James Gunn signed to write and direct ‘Guardians of the Galaxy 2′! First images of Gal Godot as Wonder Woman!) But right now, I’m interested in talking about Marvel’s new ‘Star Wars’ comics.
Interestingly enough, they look like a giant leap backwards to Marvel’s old ‘Star Wars’ comics. That is to say, they’re all going to go back to the gap between ‘Star Wars’ and ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, filling in some of the gaps now that the old continuity has been thrown out and there’s a different group of people deciding what happened in the new expanded universe (and theoretically paying more attention to keeping things consistent than Lucas did, although that’s something that’s easy to promise and hard to deliver). Unlike Marvel’s old ‘Star Wars’ comics, though, they’re writing these with an actual awareness of the destination (Hoth), and less of an episodic random science-fiction structure. (Meaning that unless they’re keeping things very much under wraps, we won’t see Jaxxon the Space Rabbit.)
One other thing that I’m intrigued by (and I should stress here, I’m defaulting to “cautious optimism” more than enthusiasm, because my tolerance for ancillary ‘Star Wars’ material has gotten lowered over the years by…well, by reading lots of it) is that they also seem to be willing to explore the actual consequences of things that were glossed over in the old continuity. Mark Waid is going to be doing an entire series about Princess Leia dealing with the destruction of Alderaan, which is something that I don’t think has ever been sufficiently explored. That’s a horrifyingly traumatic experience, and I have to imagine that Waid has a lot to say about it. Another series, by Kieron Gillen, deals with Vader’s rise to power in the aftermath of the destruction of the Death Star. Since this is something I’ve talked about on my own blog, in which I suggested that there was a lot more going on behind the scenes than Tarkin “holding Vader’s leash”, I’m interested in seeing where they go with this one. (Plus, I’m always a sucker for stories about devious internal politics among the bad guys. I don’t know why.)
Oh, and there’s also a ‘Star Wars’ comic by Jason Aaron which presumably features some sort of conflict between the Rebels and an empire of some sort, possibly an evil one. I’m sure it will be competently executed, but the pitch doesn’t exactly sizzle. Still, I’m much more interested in these than I have been in any ‘Star Wars’ comic in a long time, which is definitely a good sign for Marvel. Good luck to them, I say, and watch out for the fans who can’t handle change!
FLAPJACKS: So should I sign up for Nerd Block or Loot Crate?
MGK: Is there a third option that involves not spending your money on either of those things?
FLAPJACKS: Look, I am a still-relatively-young man with no dependents. If I don’t spend my money on meaningless, superfluous crap, what am I going to do with it? Invest it into a savings account of some kind?
MGK: I know you’re being sarcastic, but the fact that I want to say “yes” there makes me feel old now.
FLAPJACKS: Exactly so. You are an old nerd and you forget the days when you spent money on stupid crap. Or, alternately, alcohol.
MGK: Alcohol dissolves away after killing only a few brain cells. Nerd crap clutters up your room and eventually your storage unit forever. Most of it isn’t even biodegradable. And yes, I spent money on stupid crap, but at least I was purposefully spending money on specific stupid crap that I wanted, rather than, for example, gambling that stuff I want is also the stuff that a third-party distributor was able to buy at reduced prices because not enough nerds bought it at full price.
FLAPJACKS: I have to admit, that gamble does not seem like a smart gamble, seeing as how people generally buy things they want to own if they can afford it.
MGK: Exactly. What are the odds that the one gianthead POP! figure that I might actually want is the one in the box? What are the odds that the black nerd-themed tee-shirt in the box is a shirt I want?
FLAPJACKS: Nerds do love black tee-shirts, though, so for the target audience the shirt is -
MGK: It’s a tee-shirt! THEY ARE LITERALLY GIVEN AWAY FOR FREE ALL THE TIME.
FLAPJACKS: But even so, any tee-shirt has some value. And the various things within the box are going to have a higher collected retail price than the price of the shipping box.
MGK: How many Loot Crate or Nerd Block unboxing videos have you watched?
FLAPJACKS: Literally none.
MGK: I have watched many of them, mostly out of morbid fascination, and I can tell you that every single one of these unboxing videos is the same. You get two or three “well… that’s okay” reactions because nobody wants to call out Dork Box for being bullshit, one or two “all right, that’s cool I guess” reactions when it’s something they sort of think is neat but didn’t really care to own, and about one time in three you see somebody actually get really, genuinely excited about something in their Geek Pak, which is the Happy Coincidence result.
FLAPJACKS: I have noticed that usually, the items that excited people are books or comics, because almost everybody can find value in a book or a comic. Because you can read those, as opposed to just having it sit on your shelf.
MGK: I thought you just said you have watched literally no unboxing videos.
FLAPJACKS: I might have lied. But really, I think you’re missing the point of the Spaz Luggage. You’re reducing it to a faux-tribal thing -
MGK: It is a faux-tribal thing. It’s entirely about delivering the idea of “nerd culture,” which is a stupid idea that exists only because cynical manufacturers of crap which eventually goes into Stash Containers can make money off people by suggesting that they’re a specific subculture because some of them like the same TV shows.
FLAPJACKS: Maybe, but that’s not the real selling point. At least, I don’t think it’s the primary attraction of buying into this.
MGK: Do go on.
FLAPJACKS: People are spending the money so they can recapture the feeling of being a little kid at Christmas. When you were a little kid at Christmas, you didn’t know what you were getting for presents. You just got things -
MGK: Assuming you weren’t poor.
FLAPJACKS: Yes yes you’re a social justice warrior, ANYWAY, they were the best things ever because they were yours and you got to open them and discover what they were. Little kids just like broad swaths of things so if you give a kid a superhero thing, ANY superhero thing, that kid is all “SUPERHEROES YES” and then they jump up and down a bit because they’re happy. As adults, we don’t experience that. We instead know what we’re going to get in advance on our birthdays, if anything. Surprises are rarities. Dweeb Post is selling experience, not crap.
MGK: And they’re also cleverly making you pay for it in advance so that when you receive it, it “feels free.” But it isn’t; it has an opportunity cost, both in terms of the money you spend and also in terms of the superfluous crap you don’t want but inevitably get and the excess packaging you have to throw away. Why does anybody subscribe to this on an ongoing basis? Is the hit of joy when you, on one occasion, get something you really like worth three months of the nerd equivalent of thinking “sweat socks. Thanks, Grandma”?
FLAPJACKS: I dunno. So which one should I sign up for?
MGK: Neither of them, since I know you’re going to use my credit card.