Betsty Braddock (aka Psylocke) before and after ninjafication. She is not depicted as particularly Asian-looking on the left, but she is supposedly inhabiting the body of a Japanese woman.
Psylocke highlights the deep problems with representations of race, ethnicity and gender in superhero comics. I never gotten over her 1989 transformation from Captain Britain’s big-haired hippie sister into hottie Asian ninja in butt-floss. My complaint about Psylocke is not the race-bending—I am all in favor of black Human Torch or Heimdall and support people’s desire to see an Asian-American Iron Fist—but that her transformation was written into the X-narrative to fulfill the dual fetish of the Asian woman and the exotic ninja killer trope is egregious. She just looks Asian. She is literally an Anglo woman whose mind has been put in an Asian woman’s body with no connection to any form of Asian culture or family or community, except in the most facile way that being a “ninja” makes that the case.
From “XX-Men: The Failures of Brian Wood’s All-Woman X-Team.” Read the whole thing here.
Great poem, Purdy is great, Downie is great. One of my favorites.
At The Quinte Hotel
by Al Purdy
I am drinking
I am drinking yellow flowers
in underground sunlight
and you can see that I am a sensitive man
and I notice that the bartender is a sensitive man
so I tell him the beer he draws
is half fart and half horse piss
and all wonderful yellow flowers
But the bartender is not quite
so sensitive as I supposed he was
the way he looks at me now
and does not appreciate my exquisite analogy
Over in one corner two guys
are quietly making love
in the brief prelude to infinity
Opposite them a peculiar fight
enables the drinkers to lay aside
their comic books and watch with interest
while I watch with interest
a wiry little man slugs another guy
then tracks him bleeding into the toliet
and slugs him to the floor again
with ugly red flowers on the tile
three minutes later he roosters over
to the table where his drunk friend sits
with another friend and slugs both
of em ass-over-electric-kettle
so I have to walk around
on my way for a piss
Now I am a sensitive man
so I say to him mildly as hell
"You shouldn’ta knocked over that good beer
with them beautiful flowers in it”
So he says “Come on”
So I Come On
like a rabbit with weak kidneys I guess
like a yellow streak charging
on flower power I suppose
& knock the shit outa him & sit on him
(he is just a little guy)
and say reprovingly
"Violence will get you nowhere this time chum
Now you take me
I am a sensitive man
and would you believe I write poems?”
But I could see the doubt in his upside down face
in fact in all the faces
"What kind of poems?"
"So tell us a poem"
I got off the little guy but reluctantly
for he was comfortable
and told them this poem
They crowded around me with tears
in their eyes and wrung my hands feelingly
for my pockets for
it was a heart-warming moment for literature
and moved bt the demonstrable effect
of great Art and the brotherhood of people I remarked
"-the poem oughta be worth some beer"
It was a mistake in terminology
for silence came
and it was brought home to me in the tavern
that poems will not realy buy beer or flowers
or a goddam thing
and I was sad
for I am a sensitive man
I wrote a post on The Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil” over at The Hooded Utilitarian (click on image above to see it).
An excerpt:Baudelaire may have said that “The finest trick of the devil is to persuade you that he does not exist,” but I think it is just the opposite. The finest trick humanity ever played was persuading itself that he devil was real..…
Junot Diaz and Edwidge Danticat discussing what they want for the holidays in the December 2nd, 2013 issue of New York Magazine
So hyped that Danticat loves Dazzler. I’m kind of tempted to send her my collection, but I won’t… She can read this though:
A sixteen-page bonus insert Marvel’s Guide to Collecting Comics - included in Amazing Spider-Man #234 (November 1982).
There is a lot of goodness in this very strange and simplified look at collecting comics. No Bronze Age for one… and the quaint idea that collecting comics can lead to riches.
Text by Mark Burbey
Editor: Mike Friedrich
The burning of comic books in the name of upholding “moral decency”, in the wake of the obscenity trials surrounding frederic wertham’s book, “seduction of the innocent”.Wrong.
This photo is from Binghamton, NY 1948 - six years before Seduction of the Innocent was published. And I am not sure which “obscenity trials” this refers to - Do you mean the Senate hearings on juvenile delinquency?
There had been “moral panics” about the influence of comics before Wertham’s book.
Bernie and Hyman’s interracial friendship - bonds reinforced through their love of a good superhero punch-up, unaware that their bus driver is really the Jackal! (from Amazing Spider-Man #147 (August 1975)
Rereading the first major story arc in DeConnick’s series I also came to appreciate her attempt to write Ms./Captain Marvel into a revisionist feminist text. It struck me as a laudable attempt to make manifest the purported feminist subtext of the character.
Marcus casually explaining to Carol Danvers (aka Ms. Marvel) how he coerced and eventually manipulated her into “consenting” to being raped.
The key bit: “Finally, after relative weeks of [pampering her and giving her gifts]—and, admittedly, with a subtle boost from Immortus’ machines—you became mine.”
This was all part of a bizarre plan to have her give birth to him when she returned to Earth, allowing him to go there as well. When he is “born” there, he quickly grows to adulthood, and then he and Carol go off to “live happily ever after” (with her rapist/child) and her former teammates just congratulate the happy couple!
(from Avengers #200 - Oct 1980 - Drawn by George Perez w/writing credit shared by Perez, Jim Shooter, Bob Layton, David Micheline).
A definite low point in Marvel Comics (you can read more about it here), but thankfully a far cry from the revisionist feminist vision of Ms. Marvel-turned-Captain Marvel written by Kelly Sue DeConnick in 2012-13. Look for a post on DeConnick’s run on The Middle Spaces tomorrow, “‘Let’s Rewrite Some History’: Captain Marvel & Feminist Revisionism”