Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Bring on the Fun!

It's the second day of a new year and having just endured a week of upper respiratory infection including fever, chills, racking coughs, a vile sore throat, the grim spectre of death reaching it's clammy hand toward my clammy throat, pushing me, pushing, ever nearer the DEADLY PRECIPICE.... dear lord, let death come swift...!
Seriously, this sucked.
And feeling like death from Dec. 26-Jan.1 notwithstanding, worse and longer than I've been sick I think in my life, this was still one of my better Christmases.
Not my favorite holiday.
And, as of now, better by two paragraphs than a year of writer's block.
I may or may not have mentioned that in 2007 I set myself the goal of writing the two novels that are stewing ever cold and moldier in my brainpan.
I failed. Then, for good measure, I failed again.
There is an upside. I wrote two comic books published at Happy Harbor Comics. One soon-to-be published, anyway.
This was good.
This was not my goal.
For whatever reason, best worth considering at length but perhaps not in this forum, I have not written what I wanted to write. I am almost as miserable about that as the airway infection.
And yet I somehow have the gall to finally be inspired to write something again:
Where the hell to do I get off, for gosh sakes!
No really, where do I get off?
Not Peter David's last three issues of She-Hulk comics.
They're a little disappointing.
They're a little boring.
This is my all-time favorite comic character and my all-time favorite comic writer. This should be a no-brainer, kids. Mike will be over the moon. GAH-RON-TEED!.
Mike is scratching his head and fretting the 2.50 a month.
Why is the funniest She-Hulk comic this month Howard the Duck#3 by Templeton and Bobillo?
Where is David's funny? Where is his sexy?
Three months this comic has broken necks, bounty hunting, and barfights. I asked for none of these three 'b's. I'm talking 'bout bellowing guffaws, bon mots, and... well, buns and boobies but the art's just not there for me either, lately.
See, bounty hunters are assholes.
Boba Fett? Asshole.
Doawg? Asshole.
Actually, I'm just talking out mine. Bounty hunters are very cool right? Like Boba Fett. And Dawgg. Or whatever.
But bounty hunters (forgive me) in the only two examples I can think of, are not the brightest and best. She-Hulk is a lawyer. That worked fine since Stan created her. Also, David's first 3 issues are better than Stan's single issue of She-Hulk. Trying to remember, of course, that these men are my freakin' idols and comic book geniuses of the highest order.
Just riddle me this: IS Savage She-Hulk issue #1, Feb. 1980 Stan the Man's best work?
Are She-Hulk #22-24 Peter the Deity's best woik?
Why are my shorts in a bunch? I suppose my expectations were too high. I am a fantastically impatient man-child with little to no sense of my own reality. I like complaining.
All true.
But Mr. David has a Skrull character. I LOVE SKRULLS! Stan's best alien, swears I! Where's the harm? Two green bounty hunter gals hittin' on the bad guys n' drivin' a beat-up truck, taking green-tinted nude showers perchance, *ahem* but I've lost my train of thought... I mean, if you wanted to pair up She-Hulk and a Skrull it'd be Jen Walters and Lyja the Lazerfist, right? I mean, c'mon they've both been in the Fantastic Four. That's the green partner that makes the most sense. The only Skrull Jen has a good excuse to hang out with, really.
Jazinda? Who's Jazinda?
Why are you introducing a new Skrull?
Fine, my ol' pal Kirk reminds me editors make choices too. Maybe none of this is David's fault. Maybe an editor demanded Jen change jobs, cities, attitudes, friends, personality, and start sucking.
No seriously. FLAME ON! I'm calling it like it is! Why is this comic not enjoyable? Dan Slott should not be able to out write Peter David?!
But what was the last David thing I liked?
-Light and Darkness Saga volume one? Very bored
-1602- ending moved me, but to depression. (ie- last panel Watcher looking down unsympathetically on girl drowining alone. Yikes.)
-Last two Knight Life novels? Like, mortar bored.
-Captain Marvel when Captain Marvel kills his own infant son in his crib to prevent the tyke becoming Space Hitler, when in fact a dolt amateur like me thought all C.M. had to do was get his marvel-tubes tied or not bang Songbird or get an early abortion or ANY other not-killing-his-own-son choices? God damn that was a shitty thing to do! When Wonder Woman killed Max Lord I for the life of me still cannot come up with another option. Captain Marvel had tons of options AND IT WAS HIS BABY SON!
See, David did move me. He moved me to anger and discarding most of my Captain Marvels.
See, it turns out DC has a Captain Marvel much purer and you wouldn't write a story like that for him. No sir!
AWWW, Fudge.
I'm so angry, and it's probably mostly at myself.
If my writing idol has an off day, or an off year, how can I justify WRITING ANYTHING AT ALL!? 'cause if somebody so great can disappoint sometimes than how much MORE often am I going to blow serious written stink-balls? Every time? Yeah, probably.
Because David is GOOD. He's really, really good.
Sir Apropo? Good.
Young Justice? Good.
Maddrox? Star Trek? Crusade? B5? Space Cases? Good.
F.N. Spider-Man? Even that Uncle Ben, murderer bit P.D. thinks people hated? Really Good.
Everything ever? The guy is DAMN GOOD.
The Captain's Daughter made me weep. Seriously, I was a big girl's blouse. Well, at 17 I was a very scrawny girl's blouse.
Imzadi was brilliant. He made me care big "C" care, about Riker and Troi who let's face it were mild rip offs of Decker and Ilia (who face facts stanked up the place) and despite fine actors as Riker and Troi had never had writers at that point do their feelings justice.
There are so many more.
I think David's Star Trek annual #1 was the first Star Trek thing I ever read ever.
He is so darn brilliant. Prolific as hell. He seems so unbeatable but this comic...
Maybe it's the lead character herself.
Geoff Johns frakked She-Hulk up, too. The Avengers: Search for She-Hulk graphic novel:
She-Hulk claims for the first time in a twenty year history her transformations to the She-Hulk are based on fear, not rage. I could have throttled the man who would go on to write 'Infinite Crisis', for Odo's sake.
"'I'm Geoff Johns! I'm writing the Avengers! Mah, mah, I'm so great! She-Hulk the closest thing the Marvel Universe has to a respectable, strong female character and I gotta figure out what she's all about... ummm, Yeah, she's a scaredy cat!'"
Then Chuck 'Sucking's My Middle Name' Austen put her in bed with Juggernaut.
People, fellow nerds and dudes of deep feeling everywhere, please. Say it with me.
Hulk is the wild, unsupressed rage of a small boy with deep emotional problems.
She-Hulk is the wild, unsupressed pleasure of a grown woman who kinda likes life.
If Hulk is powered by rage, She-Hulk is not powered by fear but, say it with me : LUST. Lust for life, as perhaps Iggy Pop said.

In fact, P.A.D. was the one who clued me into that determination, not in so many words but during his legendary run on Hulk he put an explanation for gamma radiation (the energy source of Hulks everywhere) into the mouth of character shrink Dr. Samson. Samson was giving a lecture on the effects of gamma rays and pointed out that the radiation unleased things people were holding in their heart of hearts. This meant that multiple-personality disorder anger issue boy Bruce Banner became the Hulk, but Samson himself and every other irradiated person manifested differently based on their innermost self. Emil Blonsky, filled with self-loathing became the hideous Abomination. Sam Sterns, desperate to overcome his lack of smarts, became the smartest evil genius around. Samson himself manifested the superhero he wished he was. And, Jen Walters, not mentioned in the presentation, I concluded had repressed her sexual energy and resulted in a very bombastic and debatably dangerously sexually liberated individual.
Not a fearful person. Not a weak person. But a woman who expressed her desires clearly, intelligently, and as much as possible, physically.
That's part of the difference between Jen and Bruce: how long can a regular person stay mad? Not very long. That's why (I surmise) Banner is always reverting to normal. Because even he can't stay perpetually enraged.
But She-Hulk can stay aroused and excited about life practically every hour of every day. She doesn't historically spend much time as her human self because she prefers to be Shulkie.
And that is a very appealing character for me. 'Lust for Life' Thanks, Iggy.

Or, if you prefer here's the 7 Deadly Gamma Ray Sins:
Wrath- The Hulk
Lust- The She-Hulk
Envy- The Leader
Greed- The Abomination
Pride- Doc Samson
Sloth/Gluttony- Hubert St. John (obscure John Byrne Hulk villain brought into play here because I really wasn't sure how to round out the analogy)

Maybe lustiness isn't a heroic emotional trait to most people.
Maybe that's why Johns decided she was powered by Fear.
There's no right or wrong, of course, I'm just entitled to my wacky opinion, but a super-strong sexually liberated woman character in a comic is kinda super-rare. DC's Wonder Woman used to have a sexy side, I'm told, but regular folks maybe prefer a preachy sexless statue.

Sex isn't the whole issue. But it's a factor. I personally recommend the return of Wyatt Wingfoot. He was a cool boyfriend for She-Hulk, but maybe stoic turns to shallow under a bad writer. Or was Wyatt a stereotype? I'm never sure about these things. More critical than a boyfriend for She-Hulk is a funnybone. I know the Civil War and World War Hulk were a bitch, but I don't demand lifelike realism in terms of a period of depression, mourning, some suicidal I wanna be a lone wolf bounty hunter moping or what have you. I wanna get back to fun.

I buy one comic from DC a month. Booster Gold. I stress the word comic. I'm talkin' Funny books. Granted, life, death, Joker crippling girls, yellow-fear armies, it's not quite what I expected either, but I'm lovin' it. It's intense, action-y, it's a little funny, and I hope it gets funnier. Or fun-er.

Same for Shulkie. I buy one Marvel comic a month, and it's the green gal. This is real basic, primary color stuff. In the words of Andrew W.k. WE WANT FUN!

I will learn patience, I swear. What David's got going for him now is I'm a desperate, writer's blocked pissant unworthy to ink David's socks.
That's why I'll still be buying She-Hulk next month, and you should, too.

At least until someone explains why it isn't more fun.

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