What I thought of Titans: Rebirth #1

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The Teen Titans, or Titans are BACK!!! Sit down, control that excitement for a second as DC’s Rebirth even trundles on as it absorbs Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons Watchmen into the regular DC Universe in an event that won’t be matched until the next big DC event. This issue by writer Dan Abnett and artist Brett Booth picks up the story of Kid Flash readjusting to the world after returning in DC Universe: Rebirth #1. 

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Wally West is being slowly remembered by those he meets and fight scenes erupt in this superhero-by-numbers tale from Dan Abnett, who at one time, was a decent writer, but anyhow, after some fairly dull pages of people fighting, Wally gets the rest of the Titans to remember him because of the Speed Force, something now used by writers to get themselves out of any hole they need.titansrebirth2

Wally explains to his mates that someone stole a decade of their lives, and the others suggest a Mister Twister as the culprit even though he sounds like a sexual deviant as opposed to a cosmic villain.

So Wally explains the person that stole ten years of his life is coming back to do it again and after talking for ages in some exceptionally average pages of art they decide to take the fight to them, but we know it’s Dr Manhattan from Watchmen, The one thing that becomes clear here is that DC are building up to a Big Revelation not to mention the horror of a Big Fight against Dr Manhattan is looming and that’d be horrendous.

Titans: Rebirth is a thin read. It’s an introduction to a new series that may or may not be fun, but the entire thing is just dull. It really is corporate superhero comics by numbers with no joy. Yes, there’s love for the characters there but its all so boring. This ultimately is just another cog in the wheel and it shows.

Can Male Comics Fans Stop Threatening Women With Rape?

DC Comics are printing yet another Teen Titans comic for what seems the 200th attempt, and here’s the cover for it.

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It’s a pretty awful cover, but look at it remembering that these re supposed to be teenagers, so why has Wonder Girl (the blonde character in the centre of the page) got tits that look like a  Page 3 model?

It’s because DC are pandering to a core readership while doing it’s best to alienate potential readers, or ‘women and girls’ as they’re better known as. There’s nothing too different to what’s cropped up in a number of superhero comics, but the problem with this is that it’s, well, creepy but I’ve touched upon this sort of thing in the past. So when Janelle Asselin wrote a critique of the cover for Comic Book Resources title Anatomy of a Bad Cover, the reaction is insane, not because Asselin’s piece is rubbish. It’s not. the reaction to it is because she dared actually say what a number of male fans didn’t want to hear.

Let’s start with the elephant in the room: Wonder Girl’s rack. Perhaps I’m alone in having an issue with an underaged teen girl being drawn with breasts the size of her head (seriously, line that stuff up, each breast is the same size as her face) popping out of her top. Anatomy-wise, there are other issues — her thigh is bigger around than her waist, for one — but let’s be real. The worst part of this image, by far, are her breasts. The problem is not that she’s a teen girl with large breasts, because those certainly exist. The main problem is that this is not the natural chest of a large-breasted woman. Those are implants. On a teenaged superheroine. Natural breasts don’t have that round shape (sorry, boys). If you don’t believe me, check out this excellent tutorial from artist Meghan Hetrick.

A secondary problem is that no girl with breasts that large is going to wear a strapless top for anything, much less a career that involves a lot of physical activity. In previous New 52 “Teen Titans” covers and issues, we’ve seen this same costume, but more often than not, WG’s breasts are drawn smaller, or the top is pulled up higher. The way Rocafort has drawn her here, we’re one bounce away from a nipslip. On a teenager. In case you forgot that entirely relevant point.

And this line is worth repeating:

Lest you think I’m singling Rocafort out for doing what, let’s be honest, way too many comics artists do (drawing unrealistic, circle-shaped monster boobs on teen girls)

These are only two comments in a lengthy critique of the cover but this was enough to provoke a response against her which wasn’t just from fans stabbing their replies into Twitter, but a professional by the name of Brett Booth.You can read his reaction in this article from the Outhousers, and it’s utterly reprehensible along with the people falling in line cowardly behind him and in one case because the person doesn’t want to annoy DC and lose all that exclusive content for their blog. Well fuck exclusive content. Don’t call yourself a journalist or an aspiring writer if all you do is repeat corporate news, as that just makes you part of their marketing team.

The reaction however became much, much worse as Asselin makes clear in her blog here. 

You see, I’m also doing a survey about sexual harassment in comics. (If you’d like to take this survey, you can find it here.) And so as soon as the angry fanboys started looking me up after the CBR article, they discovered this survey and started answering my questions and using the open box at the end to write in all sorts of awfulness. I’ve gotten all manner of bullshit within the survey now, but at least the ones with the rape threats or other asshole comments tell me which responses to disregard.  If you really want to “get me” and prove that sexual harassment doesn’t exist in comics, I don’t know, maybe it’s better for you to answer honestly about how you haven’t been sexually harassed. Because certainly sending me rape threats proves my point, not yours.

This has been followed up by an article by Heidi McDonald at The Beat which needs to be read by anyone with even a remote interest in comics, especially superhero comics. In it she calls out for men to step up and speak out about this sort of shite, so here;s me speaking out about this shite.

There is not one fucking serious reason why any woman needs to be threatened with rape, or diminished as ‘not a real fan’, or whatever bollocks these wankers come up with to make her opinion worthless. Make a criticism of her piece rather than wade in like some massive arsehole throwing around rape threats because a woman has dared to suggest that your wank fantasy superhero comics are a wee bit weird.

Comics should be for everyone, and superheroes more so than any other genre so having a load of ‘fans’ try to close the genre off to anyone who isn’t ‘one of them’. It’s depressing and people like Brett Booth should really know better because if DC Comics keep cutting out women and kids from their titles and aim their books solely at 20-40 something blokes then it doesn’t take a genius to work out that they’re going to hit a point when publishing comics ins’t sustainable, at least on the scale they are at the minute. There won’t be enough new readers buying smaller selling books like Teen Titans to make it viable and people like Booth will have helped cut off a way of making himself (and others) a living.

It’s not hard. Be nice when you can be, Call people wankers who deserve it. Don’t threaten to rape women from the anonymity of your keyboard. Start acting like human beings, not spoiled fanboys with no real morals or concern for other people.

Really, it’s not difficult.