Hey readers! It’s Ray Sonne, filling in as your host of the DC Daily Planet until we find your next newscaster. And man, what a week.
Spoilers for Rebirth and DC movie news ahead.
So. Rebirth is here. Five years ago, I would have been all over this because it’s named after the second superhero trade I ever read: Green Lantern: Rebirth (and yes, I knew the connection as soon as I saw the line’s name announced). This comic squalled into this world, begging me to fall in love with it, and in a different dimension where DC hadn’t hurt me as much as it had these last 2 years I could have. There’s crazy time travel stuff! Crazy New God references, such as a brand new baby Darkseid! AQUAMAN AND MERA BEING SUPER GORGEOUS AND IN LOVE! Green Lantern and 52 laid out the DNA for my comics tastes and Rebirth had quite a lot of callbacks that I nerded out over back in 2011.
But, you know. You grow up. You read a more diverse array of comics. You gain some self-respect. And you realize that while you grew, your favorite corporate capitalist superhero publisher remained the same—that same including a whole lot of sexism, racism, and queerphobia.
Doesn’t stop you from feeling like you’re punched in the gut every time you’re reminded, though.
God, the amount of attention women characters were given in comparison to male characters in this comic was pathetic. Introducing Aqualad as gay through his homophobic mother? Knocking the new black Wally West out of the way so they could replace him with the original white Wally West? I think we all saw that coming like 3 years ago when they first introduced the new Wally as some kind of thumb-nose to the older fans.
Yes, DC has organized their new line of books so that both Wallys appear prominently, but if we ever start ignoring the history of this company pushing aside characters of color to give yet more space to white characters, let’s not start today.
Despite all of these problems, DC will get a temporary sales boost from Rebirth and most of the comics press will cheer and celebrate as if it’s a huge win, but let’s keep reality in check here. It’s direct market numbers. It’s kiddie pool money. The truth is? No one wins here. Not the new readers who loved DCYou, not the company itself in the long-term, and not the creators who—so I am hearing a lot recently—got seriously screwed over in the process. Again. So now we know for sure DC’s editorial didn’t actually learn anything worth learning from the New 52 despite Geoff Johns naming every Rebirth chapter after themes like LOVE and LEGACY.
You know what’s really love? Treating people who aren’t cissexual white men as if they’re human and deserve their own stories. You know what gets you a good legacy? Showing the people who work themselves to the bone for your company for not nearly enough pay that you value them.
So here we are. We’re stuck watching the millionth circus act as DC plasters on a smile, saying it has a message of hope. Nice show, except happiness is for straight white male heroes and the small group of people who want to shell out double the money for bi-weekly books only. Next year, things will be the same financially because 20+-year-old ideas can’t compete with Image Comics, never mind Raina Telgemeier. But, you know, Geoff Johns is really good at pacing (for the most part, anyway) and capturing the distinct voices of all the different DC male characters. So I guess there’s that.
In happier news, Margot Robbie is a badass. She apparently talked Warner Bros into not just a Harley Quinn movie, but a DC female heroes movie. Names like Batgirl and Birds of Prey are cropping up as possibilities for Harley’s co-stars and Robbie brought on a woman screenwriter. She’s producing the project, too. Not bad!
I loathe to compare DC and Marvel when it comes to their films because we don’t compare every single romantic comedy or every psychological thriller unless context outside of genre calls for it, so take a good, hard look at Fox and Sony too. The closest any of DC/WB’s competitors have come to gender progress is Deadpool calling out Hollywood sexism before going in for the same exact boring rescue-the-girl climax a million other status quo movies have. In a sane world that actually ran on money and not biases, Fox would have cashed in on Jennifer Lawrence’s popularity and started producing a Mystique film years ago. If we are going to give DC/WB credit for anything, they are going for it. It probably helps a ton that Robbie’s project lines up quite well with their young-girl targeted DC SuperHero Girls line.
It’s also pretty damn nice that Wonder Woman is the first woman-directed live-action movie to get a $100 million budget. Not nice in the course of the entirety of female film history, but nice because well, it’s so appropriate that the Wonder Woman movie gets a few revolutionary landmarks. Am I the only one who gets giddy every time something new is revealed about this film?
Warner Bros. may have accidentally revealed the identity of the DC cinematic universe’s dead Robin during a studio tour. I have never spoken about my opinions on the Robins, so it’s not spoilery for me to say I AM SO RELIEVED IF THIS IS TRUE, THANK BABY DARKSEID.
That’s all for now, but an addendum before I go: one of my favorite DC superheroes had her first appearance 17 years ago this month so I want to take some space out here to appreciate it.
Happy birthday, Angela Spica. I regret many things since I started reading comics, but I will never regret you.
Tune in next week, folks!