Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Links du Jour: Gay Dumbledore, Azrael, and Neil Gaiman's Superdog

The Return of Azrael

I don't talk much about Azrael, but there was a time when he was one of my favorite comics characters. He eventually turned into a directionless mess, but when he started out he had a cool name, an interesting origin with tons of potential, a great supporting cast, and the coolest costume in the history of superheroes.

I hate that his ongoing series was allowed to continue far past the point where Denny O'Neil knew what to do with the character. He should've been retired when Denny ran out of ideas, but even though DC rode the Azrael horse until it died, I've always believed that the right creators could revive the character and do something really great with him. There's just too much potential there.

Marc Andreyko started hinting at a possible return in Manhunter and I'm eager to see where that goes when Manhunter finally returns from hiatus. In the meantime though, Comic by Comic notices an Azrael appearance on the cover of an upcoming issue (#8, if my figuring is correct) of Frank Tieri and J. Calafiore's Gotham Underground. Of course, Spoiler -- another dead Batman ally -- is on the same cover, so maybe that issue focuses on fallen friends or something. It's nice to see Az's face on a comic again anyway.

Realism and Superhero Comics

I'm not a Garth Ennis fan, so I've never been tempted by Hitman, but this review (you have to scroll down a ways) made me want to read JLA/Hitman. Mainly the part where Ennis explains why realism and superhero comics don't mix: "because there are real situations where men have to kill to succeed, and Superman and Batman don't really have the 'moral courage' to get their hands dirty." It's an interesting opinion that I don't disagree with. The Never Kill manifesto is something that needs serious exploration and possible change if superhero comics are to embrace "realism" as part of what they are.

I Love My Dead, Gay Dumbledore

I wish I'd thought of that line from Heathers myself, but I totally stole it from my fellow Newsarama blogger Tom Bondurant who said it when the Newsarama group was discussing this story amongst themselves. Anyway, I'm sure you've heard the story by now about J.K. Rowling's recently outing Dumbledore at Carnegie Hall during her Open Book Tour.

I agree with some of Ian Randal Strock's thoughts on it in that if fans want to ignore that bit of information, they certainly can since Rowling never made it part of the stories. But I disagree with Strock's assertion that it just doesn't matter since it's not part of "canon." Fans who want to ignore Dumbledore's sexuality -- as revealed by his creator -- will have to make a conscious effort to do so. Whether it's in the books themselves or not, the fact is now in the public consciousness and Dumbledore is irrefutably gay. Ignoring that fact isn't so much a valid choice as it is simple denial.

And so, to Strock's question, "So what?" I say that this is kind of important because there are Harry Potter fans who didn't think they knew any gay people before this announcement. And now, for the first time in their lives, they realize that someone they really cared about (fictional though he may be) was gay. And it's going to force them to take a hard, inward look and decide how they're going to respond to that news.

Neil Gaiman's Dog Looks Like Krypto

During hunting season anyway.


Tucker Stone said...

Thanks for linking to the Hitman review. Just got some serious hatemail, and it's nice to know that your kindness balances me out for the day.
Tucker Stone, The Factual Opinion

Michael May said...

Hatemail SUCKS. Glad to be of help. :)

Anonymous said...

I didn't mean so much "it doesn't have any effect on readers today." I meant "ten years from now, will new young readers coming to the books know that she said he's gay, and will it affect how they read the books if they don't know?"

Michael May said...

I see your point. It'll be interesting to see if this verbal addition to the series will follow the printed version into history or if the public consciousness will eventually forget about it.

I'm thinking that it may follow. I wouldn't have thought that a couple of years ago, but the way that fans interact with pop culture is so different now thanks to Web 2.0. There's a lot more potential now for readers to keep this sort of verbal addition alive.


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