Friday, July 30, 2010

The Wonder Woman Who Isn't

And now for something on a lighter tone.
DC Comics has decided to give Wonder Woman a makeover. More specifically, they have completely redesigned her costume so that it no longer even resembles the traditional Wonder Woman costume. According to Wonder Woman writer J. Michael Straczynski, the new look is an answer to the question, "how does she fight in that thing without all her parts falling out?" Frankly, while I usually admire Straczynski's writing, anyone who actually believes that question deserves an answer needs to rethink writing for comic books. Comic book costumes, whether male or female, have never been about realism. They are about achieving a certain look and the only look this new costume achieves is, "I'm going to the mall and hopefully I'll be met there by someone with better fashion taste."
If you couldn't tell, I think the new costume stinks. It doesn't stink because it removes the traditional red, white, and blue. While modern comics writers' continued attempts to remove Americanism from their products is annoying and offensive, the American look on a character who is not supposed to be American never made a great deal of sense. It doesn't stink because they put Wonder Woman in pants, though the idea of an Amazon warrior princess wearing spandex pants makes about as much sense as putting Batman in dayglow pink. It stinks because it is a bad design that doesn't even pay homage to the icon of Wonder Woman. And it looks suspiciously like they just copied one of the old Donna Troy costumes and added some "updates".
Wonder Woman does not belong in black pants and a leather jacket any more than does Superman (Anyone remember that lame costume design for Superboy?). It is a ridiculous clash with the character. Wonder Woman is an Amazon warrior princess who now looks like a teenager's fashion nightmare.
That jacket? "She can close it up to pass it for the freedom to fight..." Really? A major superhero is just going to close up a jacket to "pass unnoticed"? Closing up the jacket is going to "hide" the striking woman who stands well over 6' tall and is wearing shining bracelets-gloves-things and a glowing lasso? Somehow I don't think so. Besides, I'm looking at your drawing and there is no way she is closing that jacket. Let's just say it wouldn't stretch that far.
The pants? An Amazon Warrior princess in pants? Really? That makes sense to you? Okay, so the old granny panties didn't make much sense either. Then how about we update her look to a Greek-styled armored skirt? That gives freedom of movement and can be sufficiently long enough to keep the squeamish from whining. Also, you might want to take note of the fact that the color black does not belong anywhere near anything worn by Wonder Woman. She is not Catwoman or Batgirl.
The top is fine. It's still red, still has the "W". I am amused by the fact that it is also still low-cut enough that I have to wonder how it answers the "parts falling out" question.
DC does this occasionally. They change an iconic character's look, trying to "update" it and make it fresh, and it always fails. Every time they end up reverting to the iconic look to prevent an army of fans from storming their offices. They've done it with Batman, Superman, Superboy, Flash, and who knows who else. You would think they'd learn eventually.
In short, this is not Wonder Woman. This new design would only barely fly in an Elseworlds or what-if type story, but it becomes official in the mainstream Wonder Woman comics today. Anyone taking bets on how long it lasts?

Let's see if I can attach a few pictures for comparison.

This new thing they're calling Wonder Woman.

I don't care for the muddy colors in this one, but the physical design is nearly perfect and would address their supposed issues.

Classic Wonder Woman, as done by the untouchable Alex Ross.

I won't even go into the stupid redesign of Wonder Woman's origin since no one will pay attention to it anyway. Wonder Woman is an Amazon warrior princess from the island of Themyscira, no matter what the geniuses currently in charge try to claim.

Copyright note: The images in this article are used for reporting and comparison purposes only. These images do not belong to me and I make no claim to them. Wonder Woman and all associated imagery belongs to DC Comics.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Busybodies Are At It Again

While SB 1070 has claimed the lion's share of the attention lately, it was far from the only law scheduled to go into effect in Arizona today. One of those new laws is the so-called sexting law, which makes it a class 2 misdemeanor for minors to send or possess sexually explicit text messages to or from another minor. The law appears to be aimed primarily at teens, those being the main culprits according to most surveys on the subject. I still think a class 2 misdemeanor is overreacting, but it certainly beats the asinine alternative of charging these teens under child porn laws for taking pictures of themselves. Stop and think about the illogic of that for a moment.
That is not really what I want to discuss today, though. I realize that I am in the minority here and there is no indication that American public opinion will change in my lifetime. We will continue to treat post-adolescents as though they were 8-years-old and then we will continue to wonder why they have no idea how to act like adults when the time comes. Then, of course, we will continue to wring our hands and claim that we do not know why this is, because we are too busy "protecting the children" to pay any attention to reality.
Skip it. No one will pay attention anyway.
What really caught my attention here was a talk with Chris Segrin, University of Arizona department head of communication and psychology professor. Segrin has apparently done studies on the subject and he is clever enough to notice that the previous situation (using child porn laws against sexting teens) didn't make sense. Now he wants to do studies on sexting at the college level.
“If college students were doing this, it would be much more difficult to catch them.”
Catch them? Catch them for what? Are we saying that a university department head is not aware of the fact that college students are not minors? Sure, there is the occasional 16 or 17-year-old who is ahead of the curve, but their numbers are so small as to relatively not count. College students are legal adults. When it comes to sexting, there is nothing to "catch them" about. It is none of your business.
There is no argument that sexting is not the most brilliant activity in the world, but then, most of a teen's activities are not the most brilliant activities in the world. If you haven't noticed that then you probably don't spend much time around teens.
This kind of ties in with a report I read the other day claiming that colleges don't do enough to keep students from drinking? The reason? They don't nag college towns into cutting down the number of places one can acquire alcohol or requiring stricter standards for those who sell alcohol. Really? Those are a college's areas of responsibility? Silly me, I thought colleges were for higher education.
Somewhere along the way someone got the hair-brained idea that our colleges were supposed to be something more like 19th century finishing schools. According to this line of thinking, colleges are supposed to be brainwashing ... excuse me, I mean teaching young adults about everything from acceptable social norms to how to make the perfect protest sign. Meanwhile, education (you know, the kind parents are actually paying for, that comes in curriculum and textbooks) standards are dropping like rocks and the value of a college deploma is slipping closer and closer to worthless.
Maybe of these so-called professors spent a little less time micromanaging things that are none of their business and a little more time teaching the subjects they are being paid to teach, we might find that some of these "problems" fixed themselves. You'd be amazed by what people can do when they actually learn.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Letter To The New York Times

I realize that I have been quiet lately, but I will be trying to change that. Let's start by taking on one of the biggest newspapers in the country, shall we? I sent the following letter to the New York Times today. Shall we see how they respond?

I am curious as to whether or not your newspaper continues to employ a legal department or are people like Paul Krugman allowed to write libelous statements in your editorials and get away with it simply because it is called an opinion piece?
In the article titled "Who Cooked the Planet?" dated July 25, 2010, Krugman writes the following paragraph:

"You’ve probably heard about the accusations leveled against climate researchers — allegations of fabricated data, the supposedly damning e-mail messages of “Climategate,” and so on. What you may not have heard, because it has received much less publicity, is that every one of these supposed scandals was eventually unmasked as a fraud concocted by opponents of climate action, then bought into by many in the news media."

This is a blatant lie and I have a very difficult time believing that Mr. Krugman does not know that it is a lie. It has been argued that the importance of the emails was overstated; it has been argued that the emails did not mean what people claimed or thought that they meant; it has been argued that the emails did not invalidate the science. It has not been argued, let alone charged or proved, that the scandal was a fraud.
An accusation of fraud is an accusation of a crime and for a newspaper to print that someone has been proven to have committed a crime knowing that no such crime has been proven is libel. Ask your legal department, if you still have one.
I fully realize that Mr. Krugman believes that he is above the common man and thus able to say anything he pleases with impunity, but this is not legally true. He is bound by the same legal standards as all the rest of us and you, as a prominent newspaper, are even more bound.
I am sure that you will prepare a correction for this before any lawyers become interested, though I am equally sure that you will bury that correction so that no one ever sees it, except by accident. You should be aware, of course, that bloggers will be quite interested in such a gaff in such a major newspaper.