Sunday, March 19, 2017

Iron Fist (season 1) creator credits

...Wow. That was a waste.

Anyway, yet another Marvel Netflix series has dropped so here's whose ideas contributed to Iron Fist. Don't blame them.

My other Marvel creator credit lists are found here.

Roy Thomas: co-creator of Luke Cage, a hero with unbreakable skin (Hero for Hire #1, 1972); Iron Fist, alias Daniel Rand, orphaned at the age of ten and raised in the city of K'un-Lun, where he trained in the martial arts to become their greatest warrior, passing every test and trial before him until gaining the power to channel his chi into his fist, making it superhumanly powerful; Iron Fist called a "living weapon"; Wendell Rand and Heather Rand, Daniel's parents who perished nearby K'un-Lun; Harold Meachum, Wendell's business partner who betrayed him and had Wendell and Heather killed; K'un-Lun, a hidden city found in the Himalayas which exists within another dimension and only connects to Earth at intervals spaced years apart (Marvel Premiere #15, 1974); of Daniel Rand fighting the dragon Shou-Lao the Undying, an immortal dragon, and received a dragon-shaped brand on his chest from the dragon along with the power of the Iron Fist; Lei Kung the Thunderer, Daniel's K'un-Lun mentor in the martial arts; of the Thunderer's insignia; of Daniel leaving K'un-Lun to return to New York and seek his parents' killer, Harold Meachum; of Scythe, an assassin who battles Iron Fist (Marvel Premiere #16, 1974)

Chris Claremont: co-creator of Colleen Wing as a Daughter of the Dragon (Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #32, 1977); of Davos, a resident of K'un-Lun; of the Steel Serpent brand (Iron Fist #1, 1975); of Daniel Rand being disliked in K'un-Lun as an outsider (Iron Fist #2, 1975); of Davos working with Joy Meachum (Iron Fist #3, 1976); of Iron Fist's power to heal injuries using his chi; Iron Fist using meditation to recover his strength (Iron Fist #4, 1976); of Jeryn Hogarth serving Wendell Rand in the past (Iron Fist #6, 1976); of Colleen Wing following the path of bushido and wielding a katana (Iron Fist #7, 1976); of Jeryn Hogarth, a lawyer who works for Daniel Rand (Marvel Premiere #24, 1975); of Davos as Lei Kung's son (Marvel Team-Up #63, 1977); of Davos training alongside Daniel Rand to become the Iron Fist; of the Iron Fist as a title which many have held over the centuries (Marvel Team-Up #64, 1977)

Larry Hama: co-creator of Daniel Rand fighting the dragon Shou-Lao the Undying, an immortal dragon, and received a dragon-shaped brand on his chest from the dragon along with the power of the Iron Fist; Lei Kung the Thunderer, Daniel's K'un-Lun mentor in the martial arts; of the Thunderer's insignia; of Daniel leaving K'un-Lun to return to New York and seek his parents' killer, Harold Meachum; of Scythe, an assassin who battles Iron Fist (Marvel Premiere #16, 1974); of Harold Meachum suffering from ill health after killing Iron Fist's parents; of Joy Meachum, Harold's daughter; of Iron Fist battling ninjas (Marvel Premiere #18, 1974); of Ward Meachum, a relative of Harold and Joy who bears a grudge against Iron Fist and hires men to attack him; of Colleen Wing, a Japanese woman, ally and sometimes love interest of Iron Fist (Marvel Premiere #19, 1974)

John Byrne: co-creator of Davos, a resident of K'un-Lun; of the Steel Serpent brand (Iron Fist #1, 1975); of Daniel Rand being disliked in K'un-Lun as an outsider (Iron Fist #2, 1975); of Davos working with Joy Meachum (Iron Fist #3, 1976); of Iron Fist's power to heal injuries using his chi; Iron Fist using meditation to recover his strength (Iron Fist #4, 1976); of Jeryn Hogarth serving Wendell Rand in the past (Iron Fist #6, 1976); of Colleen Wing following the path of bushido and wielding a katana (Iron Fist #7, 1976); of Davos as Lei Kung's son (Marvel Team-Up #63, 1977); of Davos training alongside Daniel Rand to become the Iron Fist; of the Iron Fist as a title which many have held over the centuries (Marvel Team-Up #64, 1977)

Gil Kane: co-creator of Iron Fist, alias Daniel Rand, orphaned at the age of ten and raised in the city of K'un-Lun, where he trained in the martial arts to become their greatest warrior, passing every test and trial before him until gaining the power to channel his chi into his fist, making it superhumanly powerful; Iron Fist called a "living weapon"; Wendell Rand and Heather Rand, Daniel's parents who perished nearby K'un-Lun; Harold Meachum, Wendell's business partner who betrayed him and had Wendell and Heather killed; K'un-Lun, a hidden city found in the Himalayas which exists within another dimension and only connects to Earth at intervals spaced years apart (Marvel Premiere #15, 1974)

Matt Fraction: co-creator of Crane Mother, a mystical entity connected to K'un-Lun (Immortal Iron Fist #4, 2007); of K'un-Lun as one of the capital cities of Heaven (Immortal Iron Fist #5, 2007); of the Iron Fist called an Immortal Weapon (Immortal Iron Fist #7, 2007); of Iron Fist being sent into a tournament against various martial artists, including The Bride of Nine Spiders (Immortal Iron Fist #8, 2007); of Daniel Rand teaching at a dojo (Immortal Iron Fist #16, 2008)

Len Wein: co-creator of Daniel Rand fighting the dragon Shou-Lao the Undying, an immortal dragon, and received a dragon-shaped brand on his chest from the dragon along with the power of the Iron Fist; Lei Kung the Thunderer, Daniel's K'un-Lun mentor in the martial arts; of the Thunderer's insignia; of Daniel leaving K'un-Lun to return to New York and seek his parents' killer, Harold Meachum; of Scythe, an assassin who battles Iron Fist (Marvel Premiere #16, 1974)

Doug Moench: co-creator of Harold Meachum suffering from ill health after killing Iron Fist's parents; of Joy Meachum, Harold's daughter; of Iron Fist battling ninjas (Marvel Premiere #18, 1974); of Ward Meachum, a relative of Harold and Joy who bears a grudge against Iron Fist and hires men to attack him; of Colleen Wing, a Japanese woman, ally and sometimes love interest of Iron Fist (Marvel Premiere #19, 1974)

Ed Brubaker: co-creator of Crane Mother, a mystical entity connected to K'un-Lun (Immortal Iron Fist #4, 2007); of K'un-Lun as one of the capital cities of Heaven (Immortal Iron Fist #5, 2007); of the Iron Fist called an Immortal Weapon (Immortal Iron Fist #7, 2007); of Iron Fist being sent into a tournament against various martial artists, including The Bride of Nine Spiders (Immortal Iron Fist #8, 2007)

David Aja: co-creator of Crane Mother, a mystical entity connected to K'un-Lun (Immortal Iron Fist #4, 2007); of K'un-Lun as one of the capital cities of Heaven (Immortal Iron Fist #5, 2007); of Iron Fist being sent into a tournament against various martial artists, including The Bride of Nine Spiders (Immortal Iron Fist #8, 2007); of Daniel Rand teaching at a dojo (Immortal Iron Fist #16, 2008)

Stan Lee: co-creator of Daredevil, a costumed crimefighter; of Karen Page (Daredevil #1, 1964); of the Hulk, a monstrous super hero (Incredible Hulk #1, 1962); of the Hulk having green skin (Incredible Hulk #2, 1962); of Stark Industries, Tony Stark's technology company (Tales of Suspense #45, 1963)

Bill Everett: co-creator of Daredevil, a costumed crimefighter (Daredevil #1, 1964); creator of the white male orphan raised in a Himalayan city and trained to become a great warrior through many trials, then returning to the world outside to use his mystical gifts (Amazing-Man Comics #5, 1939)

Sal Buscema: co-creator of Dr. Paul Edmonds, a psychiatrist who assesses the mental status of a super hero (Avengers #227, 1983); of Roxxon Energy, a ruthless criminal corporation (Captain America #180, 1974); of the exclamation "Sweet Christmas" as an epithet (Defenders #24, 1975)

Frank Miller: creator of the Hand, a clan of evil ninjas who battle Daredevil (Daredevil #174, 1981); of the Hand's ability to mystically resurrect fallen warriors (Daredevil #187, 1982)

Travel Foreman: co-creator of the Iron Fist called an Immortal Weapon (Immortal Iron Fist #7, 2007); of Zhou Cheng, a martial artist who fights Iron Fist (Immortal Iron Fist #17, 2009)

Jason Henderson: co-creator of Colleen Wing as a member of the Hand (Shadowland: Daughters of the Shadow #1, 2010); of Colleen leaving the Hand (Shadowland: Daughters of the Shadow #3, 2010)

Ivan Rodriguez: co-creator of Colleen Wing as a member of the Hand (Shadowland: Daughters of the Shadow #1, 2010); of Colleen leaving the Hand (Shadowland: Daughters of the Shadow #3, 2010)

Brian Michael Bendis: co-creator of Jessica Jones, an alcoholic private detective (Alias #1, 2001); the Night Nurse, a medic who treats superhumans (Daredevil #58, 2004)

Archie Goodwin: co-creator of Luke Cage, a hero with unbreakable skin (Hero for Hire #1, 1972); Claire Temple, a physician who knows Luke Cage (Hero for Hire #2, 1972)

George Tuska: co-creator of Luke Cage, a hero with unbreakable skin (Hero for Hire #1, 1972); Claire Temple, a physician who knows Luke Cage (Hero for Hire #2, 1972)

Jack Kirby: co-creator of the Hulk, a monstrous super hero (Incredible Hulk #1, 1962); of the Hulk having green skin (Incredible Hulk #2, 1962)

Roger Stern: co-creator of Dr. Paul Edmonds, a psychiatrist who assesses the mental status of a super hero (Avengers #227, 1983)

Dan Brereton: co-creator of the Singing Spider, an instrument of death used by the Bride of Nine Spiders (Immortal Weapons #2, 2009)

Cullen Bunn: co-creator of the Singing Spider, an instrument of death used by the Bride of Nine Spiders (Immortal Weapons #2, 2009)

Jay Faerber: co-creator of Iron Fist battling the Hand; of the Hand seeking to control Iron Fist's power (New Warriors #7, 2000)

Jamal Igle: co-creator of Iron Fist battling the Hand; of the Hand seeking to control Iron Fist's power (New Warriors #7, 2000)

Duane Swierczynski: co-creator of Zhou Cheng, a martial artist who fights Iron Fist (Immortal Iron Fist #17, 2009)

Russ Heath: co-creator of Zhou Cheng, a martial artist who fights Iron Fist (Immortal Iron Fist #17, 2009)

Pat Broderick: co-creator of Jeryn Hogarth, a lawyer who works for Daniel Rand (Marvel Premiere #24, 1975)

Steve Englehart: co-creator of Roxxon Energy, a ruthless criminal corporation (Captain America #180, 1974)

Robert Bernstein: co-creator of Stark Industries, Tony Stark's technology company (Tales of Suspense #45, 1963)

Marshall Rogers: co-creator of Colleen Wing as a Daughter of the Dragon (Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #32, 1977)

Jimmy Palmiotti: co-creator of Colleen Wing wearing a white jumpsuit (Daughters of the Dragon #1, 2006)

Alex Maleev: co-creator of the Night Nurse, a medic who treats superhumans (Daredevil #58, 2004)

Don Heck: co-creator of Stark Industries, Tony Stark's technology company (Tales of Suspense #45, 1963)

Justin Gray: co-creator of Colleen Wing wearing a white jumpsuit (Daughters of the Dragon #1, 2006)

Khari Evans: co-creator of Colleen Wing wearing a white jumpsuit (Daughters of the Dragon #1, 2006)

Michael Gaydos: co-creator of Jessica Jones, an alcoholic private detective (Alias #1, 2001)

John Romita: co-creator of Luke Cage, a hero with unbreakable skin (Hero for Hire #1, 1972)

Steve Gerber: co-creator of the exclamation "Sweet Christmas" as an epithet (Defenders #24, 1975)

Marco Checchetto: co-creator of Bakuto, a member of the Hand (Daredevil #505, 2010)

Antony Johnston: co-creator of Bakuto, a member of the Hand (Daredevil #505, 2010)

Andy Diggle: co-creator of Bakuto, a member of the Hand (Daredevil #505, 2010)

Win Mortimer: co-creator of Night Nurse (Night Nurse #1, 1972)

Jean Thomas: co-creator of Night Nurse (Night Nurse #1, 1972)

Monday, March 13, 2017

Iron Fist, Shangri-La, Amazing-Man, Kung Fu and the Mighty Whitey

With the debut of Netflix's Iron Fist television show nearly upon us, many people in and about the internet have been commenting on matters of race in the Iron Fist saga - that is, that the hero is, in the comics and on the show, a white guy who gained his powers from an Asian culture.

So, let's begin our history lesson - but first, we'll have to step way back and do some pop culture history.

#1: The Fabled Lost City

There is a tradition in fiction of lost civilizations, places which are kept out of reach of modern man. These places may be hidden in a distant jungle, in an underground cavern, atop a high mountain, on the bottom of the ocean or the surface of the moon. Iron Fist's homeland, K'un-Lun, is such a place; it is a city which lies within an alternate dimension and can only be accessed through a portal found in the Himalayan mountains. And so, before we can start talking about K'un-Lun as an appropriation of Asian culture, we have to acknowledge it's actually an appropriation of western culture which could be said to have been appropriated from Asian culture. Er... or something like that.

British author James Hilton wrote Lost Horizon in 1933. It tells of a fantastic city called Shangri-La which is virtually hidden in the Himalayas and unknown to the world at large. Shangri-La is a paradise of knowledge and is used in the novel (and 1937 film adaptation) as an escape from the punishing realities of contemporary times - the idea that even if western civilization perished in World War II, humanity's knowledge would be maintained in the yet-peaceful land of Shangri-La. The only truly fantastical element in the novel is that people in Shangri-La have extraordinarily-long lifespans but outside the city's borders age rapidly. And so, K'un-Lun is likewise a remote Himalayan retreat which, nevertheless, boasts a surprising understanding of the western world - Lost Horizon was an extremely popular book in its day and was remade as a (terrible) film in 1973, a year before Iron Fist's debut. Yet Hilton had himself based Shangri-La upon a pre-existing city in Asian lore: Shambhala, a Tibetan kingdom which was likewise a repository of knowledge ruled by the wise and just. But K'un-Lun owes a debt to more than simply James Hilton and Shambhala.

I suppose we also have to talk about the 1947 musical Brigadoon by the American Alan Jay Lerner. It's the story of a Scottish village which appears for only one day every 100 years. Similarly, K'un-Lun appears on Earth only once every 10 years. It feels as though one of the reasons K'un-Lun had that restriction was because the initial creators (Roy Thomas & Gil Kane) didn't believe Iron Fist would ever be returning there after his origin. Besides Brigadoon, you can see many ideas from Scottish/Irish/English folktales about fairies in the concept of a place which is sometimes there, sometimes not and where time does not necessarily pass at the same rate.

#2: The Hero Who Journeys to the East

The super hero genre owes a tremendous debt to the pulp magazine hero the Shadow, who directly inspired many of the earliest comic book heroes. In the radio version of the Shadow, he bore "the hypnotic power to cloud men's minds so that they cannot see him," which was a secret he learned "many years ago in the Orient." Well, that set off a mawkish band of imitators. According to the resources of my friend Jess Nevins, some early comic book heroes whose origins consisted of brushing up against the mysticism of "the Orient" (usually Tibet) includes: Thin Man, the Vision, Howard Thurston, the Green Lama, Wonder Man, Thun Dohr, the Human Meteor, Illuso, the Flame, Gun Master and Commando Ranger. But, most significantly, there was Amazing-Man.

Amazing-Man was created by Bill Everett and published by Centaur starting in 1939's Amazing-Man Comics #5. In that comic, we were first introduced to John Aman, an orphan who was selected for his "superb physical structure" and brought to the Council of Seven in Tibet. Said Council was comprised of men in hoods not unlike those of Iron Fist's uncle Yu-Ti (and one of the Council is a heavy, much like Yu-Ti). The Council gifted Aman with "kindness, tolerance and bravery" and set him through a barrage of tests where he had to be strong as an elephant, quick as a cobra, survive being stabbed with throwing knives and prove himself adept at various languages. Following this, one council member injected Aman with a serum which permitted him to become invisible while generating a green mist around his body (hence his other alias, "The Green Mist").

Roy Thomas, being quite the fanboy, deliberately cribbed many details from Amazing-Man's origin for Iron Fist. At the time, the old hero-goes-to-the-mysterious-east origin was mostly neglected, although the 1960s had included a few notable heroes in that mould such as Doctor Strange, Doctor Droom (later Doctor Druid) and Deadman. You might be surprised to hear that Batman was not one of these heroes at the time; it wasn't until a fill-in story written in 1989 by Christopher Priest that Batman's origin was altered to include a trip to Tibet - a detail which would subsequently become quite visible in the 2005 film Batman Begins.

#3: The Martial Arts

Next up, we have to talk about the martial arts film phenomenon. By 1974 it was a big business, coming one year after Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon, which became a major point of reference for martial arts films in popular culture. More than that, there was the television program Kung Fu starring the not-at-all-Asian actor David Carradine. Kung Fu brought the martial arts craze into living rooms across the USA, including those of Marvel Comics' creators. Steve Englehart & Jim Starlin lobbied Roy Thomas to obtain the license for Kung Fu but Thomas noted the series was owned by Warner Bros., owners of their rivals DC Comics; instead, in late 1973 they debuted the new Marvel series Master of Kung Fu featuring as protagonist Shang-Chi, whose personality and ethos were roughly based on that of Kung Fu's Kwai Chang Caine.

Gil Kane said that Iron Fist came about after he saw his first kung fu movie. He was instantly jazzed about creating a kung fu comic book series himself and this led to him joining with Roy Thomas. Therefore, we can trace the lineage of Iron Fist thusly: Kung fu movies -> Amazing-Man -> Lost Horizon -> Shambhala.

However, Iron Fist faltered somewhat shortly out of the gate. Kane was interested enough in the martial arts to draw the first issue, then he jumped off. Larry Hama stepped in for four issues as the new artist, while Len Wein and Doug Moench became the writers. Tony Isabella & Arvell Jones covered only three issues, then after two issues by Chris Claremont & Pat Broderick, John Byrne took Broderick's place and the Claremont-Byrne team became the longest-lasting Iron Fist creative by a country mile.

Due to the immense upheaval, Iron Fist didn't quite gel as a series until the Claremont-Byrne days. The initial storyline dealt with Iron Fist's origin, then his quest for vengeance against his father's killer. Isabella & Jones shook up the concept a little by introducing the idea that K'un-Lun could be reached at other intervals through magic, setting the stage for many of Iron Fist's return visits to the extent that K'un-Lun's supposed disconnection from Earth would become largely forgotten.

#4: Iron Fist's Race

"But Mike," you say, "this is all very interesting and well-researched but you're dancing around the real issue: Iron Fist is just another Mighty Whitey." I appreciate the compliment, but I do prefer "Michael." I won't argue the point of Iron Fist being a Mighty Whitey; like many of those to whom the trope applies, he's a white guy who travels to some remote place inhabited by non-whites, then proceeds to be better at whatever it is the locals specialize in than any of them. Sure enough, Daniel Rand is raised in K'un-Lun from approximately ages 9-19 and succeeds at every trial placed before him (just like Amazing-Man), claiming the power of Iron Fist.

Yet if you had asked me about Danny's race 10 years ago, I would have told you he's half-Asian. And 10 years ago I wrote for The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, so that would have been a rather authoritative declaration.

Here, let's go back to Danny's origin again; what is often overlooked in the origin story is that Danny's father originated in K'un-Lun. As narration in Marvel Premiere #15 puts it: " Even as a child, you knew your father had always been an enigma to everyone! Appearing out of nowhere, nearly a decade before -- becoming an instant entrepreneur, with mysterious funds" Then in Marvel Premiere #16, K'un-Lun's ruler Yu-Ti, the August Personage of Jade, reveals Danny's father Wendell was his brother - making Yu-Ti Danny's uncle. Therefore, Danny's lineage is half-K'un-Lun! That seems pretty conclusive, huh? Danny's 50% Asian, which mitigates all that 'Mighty Whitey' stuff. Danny's full name would even be given as "Daniel Rand-K'ai" on occcasion (usually in the OHOTMU). It seems as though Iron Fist's creators intended for Danny Rand to be half-Asian!

Of course, Gil Kane didn't drawn Wendell Rand to look Asian. You could chalk that up to an art error if you really wanted to. Later, in Power Man & Iron Fist #75 (1981), Jo Duffy suggested Wendell had been adopted into Yu-Ti's family but it didn't catch on, nor did it make sense based on anything previously established about Yu-Ti. But, unfortunately, Ed Brubaker & Matt Fraction's Immortal Iron Fist undid these little-explored fine details. Immortal Iron Fist kinda makes the 'Mighty Whitey' thing even worse by introducing Orson Randall, the previous Iron Fist, who was also a white guy who wound up in K'un-Lun. For a character who died within six issues he's actually got a backstory which is just as convoluted as Danny's. Brubaker & Fraction did at least introduce the idea of K'un-Lun possessing various sister cities which each had their own champion or "immortal weapon;" most of those immortal weapons were Asian guys (one of them was Amazing-Man, who had fallen into the public domain).

So it was that in Immortal Iron Fist Annual #1 (2007), Brubaker & Fraction established Wendell Rand as an All-American orphan kid who met Orson Randall and through him, eventually went to K'un-Lun and became a citizen. So, there was a perfectly acceptable means to firmly establish Iron Fist as one of Marvel's most prominent Asian heroes, but they went the opposite direction. Thanks for ruining it, white guys.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Unearthed: The Batman Chronicles #5

Today has been International Women's Day and I hope your day was... womanly...?

To that end, leave us take a look back one of comicdom's greatest female characters and a beloved woman comic writer; neither one is with us today, yet the legend lives on.

Alan Moore originally didn't intend for his Batman: The Killing Joke one-shot to be part of DC Comics' continuity, much less for it to be considered one of the definitive works in the Batman mythos - yet, it certainly has been since its publication in 1988. Even then, the comic elicited a strong reaction over the scene in which Barbara Gordon was shot by the Joker. It brought an end to her career as the costumed hero Batgirl. At the time, DC were certainly determined to pare Batman down to the status of a loner as he'd likewise lose his sidekick Robin (only Nightwing was spared as he wasn't considered a Batman character then, but was instead a Teen Titans character). Many fans felt the offhanded way in which Batgirl's career ended was unworthy of her.

Among those fans were John Ostrander and his wife Kim Yale. In the pages of Suicide Squad they introduced a mysterious computer hacker named Oracle who began assisting the Squad and, over the course of about two years, was finally revealed as the wheelchair-bound Barbara Gordon. This new identity proved a clever one as in the 1990s the internet's usage spiked dramatically, making Oracle's mastery of computers all the more relevant. She was soon welcomed back into the Batman family as an indispensable ally, led her own team the Birds of Prey and joined the Justice League! Pretty gratifying for a character who could have easily been kicked to the curb. Through it all, she remained a heroine despite her circumstances which helped inspire many fans who were themselves dealing with one form of disability or another.

And then in the 21st century DC Comics went, "Whoa! Look at my navel! Why have I never realized how amazing this navel is? Check it out, everyone!" And so, Babs went back to being Batgirl. Pity. But I'm not here to talk to you about that; in 1996, Ostrander & Yale finally gave Babs a proper origin story to detail how she went from the hospital in Killing Joke to becoming the mistress of information. It's called "Oracle: Year One - Born of Hope" and appeared in The Batman Chronicles #5, an anthology comic with various creators offering tales about Batman characters. This was one of three stories in that issue. The cover above was drawn by Howard Victor Chaykin & Tommy Lee Edwards, while the story itself was drawn by Brian Stelfreeze and Karl Story.

The story opens with Barbara in the hospital shortly after The Killing Joke. Batman visits Babs, but she's not particularly happy to see him. You see, Batman knew all of her secrets as Batgirl but had never told her he was Bruce Wayne and there was some lasting resentment between them due to this (something which also came up in Ostrander & Yale's Suicide Squad). Babs sums up what the Joker did thusly:

"Shooting me... kidnapping my Dad... it was all just a way to get to you. Do you understand how humiliating, how demeaning, that is? My life has no importance save in relation to you! Even as Batgirl, I was perceived just as some weaker version of you!"

The Killing Joke ended with Batman and the Joker laughing together. Babs remarks: "I heard how you two stood there, laughing over some private joke. Tell me -- was it me?" Batman exits the hospital. "Good. I hope I've hurt him." Babs states. When she finally leaves the hospital with her father her first attempt to enter her Dad's car is shown in great detail as it takes more than a page for the task to be done, Babs' first taste of how complicated her new life will be. Of the next six months she concludes: "Worst of all was the fear I felt -- of being physically helpless, unable to defend myself, of having no sense of self, of feeling that I meant nothing, that my life was now over." She also worried that if her father died in the line of duty she would be left to live on charity.

Deciding to revisit her old investigative skills Babs puts together a computer lab with some financial aid from the Wayne Foundation (and thus, Batman secretly repays part of his debt to her). With her computers, Babs becomes engrossed with the internet. One day, her father mentions the trouble the department is having with a computer-based felon called Interface (a villain from Ostrander & Yale's Manhunter) who has the metahuman ability to link herself to computers. Babs tries to use the internet to dig up information on Interface but is noticed by the villain, who catches up to Babs one day in the street and shoves her wheelchair in front of a car. Babs survives, but now finds she has the determination to see this investigation through to the end.

Returning to the internet, Babs looks for someone to teach her a new form of self-defense to avoid another episode like the one with Interface. Batman, using his identity of Matches Malone, directs Babs to Richard Dragon, the 1970s DC martial arts hero. Dragon teaches Babs how to fight using the escrima method, learning how to wield twin batons as weapons. One night, Babs has a dream in which she appears as Batgirl and confronts the oracle at Delphi; the oracle turns out to be Babs as well and this gives her the idea for her new identity. Now disguised as Oracle, she contacts Interface and sets a viral trap in Interface's own computer so that when she attempts to link to it it causes Interface to be caught in an unending loop. To win her freedom from Oracle, Interface agrees to admit all of her crimes to the police.

The story ends with Babs taking again to the streets, now more confidant than before. "I am no longer a distaff impersonation of someone else. I'm me -- more me than I have ever been. My life is my own. I embrace it, and the light, with a deep, continuing joy."

One year later, Kim Yale died of breast cancer. She is still survived by her husband, John Ostrander.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Logan creator credits

This has been a good week for me to watch X-Men films I guess.

As always, my master list of creator credits is here and your additions/corrections are most welcome!

Chris Claremont Co-creator of: Rogue, a mutant clad in green with a white stripe in her hair (Avengers Annual #10, 1981); Wolverine as one of the X-Men, recruited by Professor X; Colossus, an X-Man whose body transforms into organic steel (Giant-Size X-Men #1, 1974); Donald Pierce as an anti-mutant bigot; Donald Pierce converting his followers into cyborgs like himself (Marvel Graphic Novel #4, 1982); Wolverine flying into berzerker rages (X-Men #96, 1976); Wolverine's claws as a part of his body; Wolverine's pointed hair spikes; Wolverine's vice for smoking (X-Men #98, 1976); Wolverine's real name as Logan (X-Men #103, 1977); Wolverine's vice for drinking alcohol (X-Men #110, 1978); Wolverine possessing an enhanced healing ability (X-Men #116, 1978); Xavier using an automated wheelchair (X-Men #118, 1979); Wolverine's skeleton and claws laced with unbreakable Adamantium (X-Men #126, 1978); Donald Pierce, an enemy of the X-Men (X-Men #129, 1980); Donald Pierce revealed as a cyborg, fights Wolverine (X-Men #132, 1980); Macon, a mercenary who fights Wolverine (X-Men #133, 1980); a near future where Wolverine is an old man and mutants have been hunted into virtual non-existence (X-Men #141, 1981); Caliban, a bald, albino mutant who tracks other mutants, friends with the X-Men (Uncanny X-Men #148, 1981); Macon as a cybernetic soldier who fights mutants (Uncanny X-Men #152, 1981); Rogue affiliated with the X-Men (Uncanny X-Men #171, 1983); The Reavers, a team of mercenaries led by Donald Pierce who are all cyborgs like him; Pretty Boy, one of Donald Pierce's Reavers; Bonebreaker, one of Donald Pierce's Reavers (Uncanny X-Men #229, 1988); Macon as one of Donald Pierce's Reavers (Uncanny X-Men #248, 1989)

Christopher Yost Co-creator of: X-23, a young girl given Wolverine's powers through genetic experiments, along with Adamantium for her claws; X-23 possessing two claws on each hand and one claw in each foot (X-Men: Evolution animated series); Dr. Zander Rice, chief scientist of the program which created X-23; Dr. Rice's father having been killed by Wolverine; X-23 planted in a surrogate mother (X-23 #1, 2005); X-23 given surgery to receive Adamantium claws; X-23 loved by one of the project's female medical staff (X-23 #2, 2005); Dr. Rice's efforts to create a perfect clone of Wolverine (X-23 #5, 2005); X-23 liberated from Dr. Rice's project by a female staff member who names her 'Laura' (X-23 #6, 2005)

Craig Kyle Co-creator of: X-23, a young girl given Wolverine's powers through genetic experiments, along with Adamantium for her claws; X-23 possessing two claws on each hand and one claw in each foot (X-Men: Evolution animated series); Dr. Zander Rice, chief scientist of the program which created X-23; Dr. Rice's father having been killed by Wolverine; X-23 planted in a surrogate mother (X-23 #1, 2005); X-23 given surgery to receive Adamantium claws; X-23 loved by one of the project's female medical staff (X-23 #2, 2005); Dr. Rice's efforts to create a perfect clone of Wolverine (X-23 #5, 2005); X-23 liberated from Dr. Rice's project by a female staff member who names her 'Laura' (X-23 #6, 2005)

John Byrne Co-creator of: Wolverine possessing an enhanced healing ability (X-Men #116, 1978); Xavier using an automated wheelchair (X-Men #118, 1979); Wolverine's skeleton and claws laced with unbreakable Adamantium (X-Men #126, 1978); Donald Pierce, an enemy of the X-Men (X-Men #129, 1980); Donald Pierce revealed as a cyborg, fights Wolverine (X-Men #132, 1980); Macon, a mercenary who fights Wolverine (X-Men #133, 1980); a near future where Wolverine is an old man and mutants have been hunted into virtual non-existence (X-Men #141, 1981)

Dave Cockrum Co-creator of: Wolverine as one of the X-Men, recruited by Professor X; Colossus, an X-Man whose body transforms into organic steel (Giant-Size X-Men #1, 1974); Wolverine flying into berzerker rages (X-Men #96, 1976); Wolverine's claws as a part of his body; Wolverine's pointed hair spikes; Wolverine's vice for smoking (X-Men #98, 1976); Wolverine's real name as Logan (X-Men #103, 1977); Caliban, a bald, albino mutant who tracks other mutants, friend of the X-Men (Uncanny X-Men #148, 1981)

Billy Tan Co-creator of: Dr. Zander Rice, chief scientist of the program which created X-23; Dr. Rice's father having been killed by Wolverine; X-23 planted in a surrogate mother (X-23 #1, 2005); X-23 given surgery to receive Adamantium claws; X-23 loved by one of the project's female medical staff (X-23 #2, 2005); Dr. Rice's efforts to create a perfect clone of Wolverine (X-23 #5, 2005); X-23 liberated from Dr. Rice's project by a female staff member who names her 'Laura' (X-23 #6, 2005)

Jack Kirby Co-creator of: Mutants, a collection of humans with powers who are feared by other humans; the X-Men, a team of mutant heroes who were based in Westchester County; Cyclops, a member of the X-Men; Professor Charles Xavier, a bald, crippled mutant telepath and founder of the X-Men (X-Men #1, 1963)

Stan Lee Co-creator of: Mutants, a collection of humans with powers who are feared by other humans; the X-Men, a team of mutant heroes who were based in Westchester County; Cyclops, a member of the X-Men; Professor Charles Xavier, a bald, crippled mutant telepath and founder of the X-Men (X-Men #1, 1963)

Roy Thomas Co-creator of: Adamantium, an indestructible metal (Avengers #66, 1969); Wolverine, a man with metal claws which extend from his hands (Incredible Hulk #180, 1974); Sauron, an enemy of the X-Men who resembles a humanoid pterodactyl (X-Men #60, 1969)

Len Wein Co-creator of: Wolverine, a man with metal claws which extend from his hands (Incredible Hulk #180, 1974); Wolverine as one of the X-Men, recruited by Professor X; Colossus, an X-Man whose body transforms into organic steel (Giant-Size X-Men #1, 1974)

Marc Silvestri Co-creator of: The Reavers, a team of mercenaries led by Donald Pierce who are all cyborgs like him; Pretty Boy, one of Donald Pierce's Reavers; Bonebreaker, one of Donald Pierce's Reavers (Uncanny X-Men #229, 1988)

Bob McLeod Co-creator of: Donald Pierce as an anti-mutant bigot; Donald Pierce converting his followers into cyborgs like himself (Marvel Graphic Novel #4, 1982); Macon as a cybernetic soldier who fights mutants (Uncanny X-Men #152, 1981)

Barry Windsor-Smith Creator of: Logan going on a rampage, killing many of the Weapon X Project's staff (Marvel Comics Presents #81, 1991); Co-creator of: Adamantium, an indestructible metal (Avengers #66, 1969)

Walter Simonson Co-creator of: Rogue affiliated with the X-Men (Uncanny X-Men #171, 1983); Rictor, a young hispanic mutant who can generate control over seismic activity (X-Factor #17, 1987)

Steve McNiven Co-creator of: a near-future in which Wolverine has grown older while most of his fellow heroes are dead and goes on a road trip with an old ally (Wolverine #66, 2008)

Mark Millar Co-creator of: a near-future in which Wolverine has grown older while most of his fellow heroes are dead and goes on a road trip with an old ally (Wolverine #66, 2008)

Mirco Pierfederici Co-creator of: Wolverine's healing factor wearing down, causing him to slowly die from Adamantium poisoning (Wolverine #5, 2013)

Paul Cornell Co-creator of: Wolverine's healing factor wearing down, causing him to slowly die from Adamantium poisoning (Wolverine #5, 2013)

Louise Simonson Co-creator of: Rictor, a young hispanic mutant who can generate control over seismic activity (X-Factor #17, 1987)

Howard Mackie Co-creator of: Christopher Bradley, a mutant who generates electricity from his hands (X-Men Unlimited #8, 1995)

Joe Quesada Co-creator of: X-23 cutting herself (NYX #3, 2004); Wolverine's real name James Howlett (Wolverine: The Origin #1, 2001)

Tom Grummett Co-creator of: Christopher Bradley, a mutant who generates electricity from his hands (X-Men Unlimited #8, 1995)

Michael Golden Co-creator of: Rogue, a mutant clad in green with a white stripe in her hair (Avengers Annual #10, 1981)

Herb Trimpe Co-creator of: Wolverine, a man with metal claws which extend from his hands (Incredible Hulk #180, 1974)

John Romita Co-creator of: Wolverine, a man with metal claws which extend from his hands (Incredible Hulk #180, 1974)

Neal Adams Co-creator of: Sauron, an enemy of the X-Men who resembles a humanoid pterodactyl (X-Men #60, 1969)

Paul Jenkins Co-creator of: Wolverine's real name James Howlett (Wolverine: The Origin #1, 2001)

Andy Kubert Co-creator of: Wolverine's real name James Howlett (Wolverine: The Origin #1, 2001)

Bill Jemas Co-creator of: Wolverine's real name James Howlett (Wolverine: The Origin #1, 2001)

Jim Lee Co-creator of: Macon as one of Donald Pierce's Reavers (Uncanny X-Men #248, 1989)

Tony DeZuniga Co-creator of: Wolverine's vice for drinking alcohol (X-Men #110, 1978)

Joshua Middleton Co-creator of: X-23 cutting herself (NYX #3, 2004)

Thursday, March 2, 2017

X-Men: Apocalypse creator credits

I'm primarily interested in figuring out who's responsible for the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, but I don't mind examining these X-Men pictures. This one felt like a lost episode of the 1990s Saban cartoon! The rest of the creator credits are found here.

Chris Claremont Co-creator of: Psylocke (Captain Britain #8, 1976); Storm, an African X-Man dressed in black with the ability to manipulate the weather; Storm called a 'goddess'; Nightcrawler, alias Kurt Wagner, a German mutant, X-Man and former circus performer who has blue skin, three digits on his hands, a long pointed tail and the power to teleport, leaving behind a cloud of smoke; Wolverine affiliated with the X-Men (Giant-Size X-Men #1, 1974); William Stryker, an anti-mutant zealot (Marvel Graphic Novel #5, 1982); Raven, alternate identity of Mystique (Ms. Marvel #16, 1978); Mystique, a blue-skinned shape-shifting mutant terrorist dressed in white (Ms. Marvel #18, 1978); Psylocke's codename (New Mutants Annual #2, 1986); Xavier's school utilizing holographic technology (Special Edition X-Men #1, 1983); the Blackbird jet, the X-Men's primary mode of transportation (X-Men #94, 1975); Moira MacTaggert, a human ally of the X-Men (X-Men #96, 1976); Moira as a one-time love interest of Xavier (X-Men #97, 1976); Wolverine's claws as a part of his body; Wolverine's pointed hair spikes; Wolverine connected to Jean Grey (X-Men #98, 1976); Jean Grey manifesting new abilities in the form of a fiery Phoenix (X-Men #101, 1976); Wolverine's real name as Logan (X-Men #103, 1977); Professor X battling enemies on the astral plane; Storm as a young thief in Cairo, Egypt (X-Men #117, 1979); Xavier using an automated wheelchair (X-Men #118, 1979); Magneto as Quicksilver's father (X-Men #125, 1979); Moira MacTaggert's son (X-Men #126, 1979); Jean Grey losing control over her heightened Phoenix powers (X-Men #129, 1980); Blob dressed in a black costume with yellow belt (X-Men #141, 1981); Caliban, a bald, albino mutant who tracks other mutants, speaks in third person (Uncanny X-Men #148, 1981); Magneto as a survivor of the Holocaust with a serial number tattooed on his arm; Magneto's daughter killed, embittering him against humanity (Uncanny X-Men #150, 1981); of Xavier's School residing on Graymalkin Lane (Uncanny X-Men #152, 1981); Xavier and Magneto as former friends who fell out (Uncanny X-Men #161, 1982); Nightcrawler as a Christian who prays during dire situations (Uncanny X-Men #165, 1983); Storm wearing black leather and a mohawk (Uncanny X-Men #173, 1983); Mr. Sinister, a figure who studies mutants (Uncanny X-Men #221, 1987); Xavier's school being destroyed (Uncanny X-Men #243, 1989); Jubilee, a teenage mutant affiliated with the X-Men (Uncanny X-Men #244, 1989); Psylocke as an Asian woman with purple hair dressed in a blue costume (Uncanny X-Men #256, 1989); Psylocke generating a psychic knife from her hand; Jubilee dressed in a yellow coat and large earrings (Uncanny X-Men #257, 1990); Cyclops wearing a blue costume with a yellow strap across his chest; Jean Grey wearing a blue and orange costume (X-Men #1, 1991)

Stan Lee Co-creator of: Mutants, a collection of humans with powers who are feared by other humans; the X-Men, a team of mutant heroes based at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters in Westchester County; the X-Men's black & yellow costumes; Jean Grey, a teenage X-Man with telekinetic powers; Cyclops, a teenage X-Man whose ruby quartz glasses help control his power of destructive optic blasts; the Beast, alias, Hank McCoy, a brilliant X-Man with superhuman strength and agility; Professor Charles Xavier, a bald, crippled mutant telepath and founder of the X-Men; Magneto, a red costumed helmet/cape wearing mutant with powers over magnetism and frequent foe of the X-Men; Angel, a mutant with white feathered wings which allow him to fly (X-Men #1, 1963); the Danger Room, a special facility within Xavier's school where his students test their powers; Xavier having contacts within the federal government (X-Men #2, 1963); Cyclops' real name Scott Summers; the Blob, a mutant with superhumanly dense fat (X-Men #3, 1964); Quicksilver, a superhumanly fast mutant with silver hair; Xavier and Magneto arguing their differing philosophies about mutants (X-Men #4, 1964); Cerebro, Xavier's machine used to locate mutants (X-Men #7, 1964); Beast as a jack-of-all-trades scientist (X-Men #8, 1964); the X-Men using jets for travel (X-Men #10, 1965); the Sentinels, large purple robots which fight the X-Men (X-Men #14, 1965)

Jack Kirby Co-creator of: Mutants, a collection of humans with powers who are feared by other humans; the X-Men, a team of mutant heroes based at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters in Westchester County; the X-Men's black & yellow costumes; Jean Grey, a teenage X-Man with telekinetic powers; Cyclops, a teenage X-Man whose ruby quartz glasses help control his power of destructive optic blasts; the Beast, alias, Hank McCoy, a brilliant X-Man with superhuman strength and agility; Professor Charles Xavier, a bald, crippled mutant telepath and founder of the X-Men; Magneto, a red costumed helmet/cape wearing mutant with powers over magnetism and frequent foe of the X-Men; Angel, a mutant with white feathered wings which allow him to fly (X-Men #1, 1963); the Danger Room, a special facility within Xavier's school where his students test their powers; Xavier having contacts within the federal government (X-Men #2, 1963); Cyclops' real name Scott Summers; the Blob, a mutant with superhumanly dense fat (X-Men #3, 1964); Quicksilver, a superhumanly fast mutant with silver hair; Xavier and Magneto arguing their differing philosophies about mutants (X-Men #4, 1964); Cerebro, Xavier's machine used to locate mutants (X-Men #7, 1964); Beast as a jack-of-all-trades scientist (X-Men #8, 1964); the X-Men using jets for travel (X-Men #10, 1965); the Sentinels, large purple robots which fight the X-Men (X-Men #14, 1965)

Dave Cockrum Co-creator of: Storm, an African X-Man dressed in black with the ability to manipulate the weather; Storm called a 'goddess'; Nightcrawler, alias Kurt Wagner, a German mutant, X-Man and former circus performer who has blue skin, three digits on his hands, a long pointed tail and the power to teleport, leaving behind a cloud of smoke; Wolverine affiliated with the X-Men (Giant-Size X-Men #1, 1974); Xavier's school utilizing holographic technology (Special Edition X-Men #1, 1983); the Blackbird jet, the X-Men's primary mode of transportation (X-Men #94, 1975); Moira MacTaggert, a human ally of the X-Men (X-Men #96, 1976); Moira as a one-time love interest of Xavier (X-Men #97, 1976); Wolverine's claws as a part of his body; Wolverine's pointed hair spikes; Wolverine connected to Jean Grey (X-Men #98, 1976); Jean Grey manifesting new abilities in the form of a fiery Phoenix (X-Men #101, 1976); Wolverine's real name as Logan (X-Men #103, 1977); Caliban, a bald, albino mutant who tracks other mutants, speaks in third person (Uncanny X-Men #148, 1981); Magneto as a survivor of the Holocaust with a serial number tattooed on his arm; Magneto's daughter killed, embittering him against humanity (Uncanny X-Men #150, 1981); Xavier and Magneto as former friends who fell out (Uncanny X-Men #161, 1982)

Louise Simonson Co-creator of: Angel's wings damaged in combat (X-Factor #10, 1986); Apocalypse using servants dubbed Horsemen; War, one of Apocalypse's Four Horsemen (X-Factor #11, 1986); Famine, one of Apocalypse's Four Horsemen (X-Factor #12, 1987); Pestilence, one of Apocalypse's Four Horsemen (X-Factor #15, 1987); Apocalypse using four Horsemen; Apocalypse wielding advanced technology; Death, one of Apocalypse's Four Horsemen; Angel recruited as Apocalypse's Horsemen (X-Factor #21, 1987); Apocalypse having existed since the days of ancient Egypt, at which time he was worshiped as a god; Angel given metal wings by Apocalypse (X-Factor #24, 1988); Angel called the Angel of Death (X-Factor #38, 1989)

Walter Simonson Co-creator of: Angel's wings damaged in combat (X-Factor #10, 1986); Apocalypse using servants dubbed Horsemen; War, one of Apocalypse's Four Horsemen (X-Factor #11, 1986); Pestilence, one of Apocalypse's Four Horsemen (X-Factor #15, 1987); Apocalypse using four Horsemen; Apocalypse wielding advanced technology; Death, one of Apocalypse's Four Horsemen; Angel recruited as Apocalypse's Horsemen (X-Factor #21, 1987); Apocalypse having existed since the days of ancient Egypt, at which time he was worshiped as a god; Angel given metal wings by Apocalypse (X-Factor #24, 1988); Angel called the Angel of Death (X-Factor #38, 1989)

Len Wein Co-creator of: Wolverine, a man with metal claws which extend from his hands; Wolverine's codename 'Weapon X' (Incredible Hulk #180, 1974); Storm, an African X-Man dressed in black with the ability to manipulate the weather; Storm called a 'goddess'; Nightcrawler, alias Kurt Wagner, a German mutant, X-Man and former circus performer who has blue skin, three digits on his hands, a long pointed tail and the power to teleport, leaving behind a cloud of smoke; Wolverine affiliated with the X-Men (Giant-Size X-Men #1, 1974); the Blackbird jet, the X-Men's primary mode of transportation (X-Men #94, 1975)

John Byrne Co-creator of: Magda, Magneto's wife (Avengers #186, 1979); Professor X battling enemies on the astral plane; Storm as a young thief in Cairo, Egypt (X-Men #117, 1979); Xavier using an automated wheelchair (X-Men #118, 1979); Magneto as Quicksilver's father (X-Men #125, 1979); Moira MacTaggert's son (X-Men #126, 1979); Jean Grey losing control over her heightened Phoenix powers (X-Men #129, 1980); Blob dressed in a black costume with yellow belt (X-Men #141, 1981)

Roy Thomas Co-creator of: Quicksilver wearing the colors blue and white (Avengers #75, 1970); Wolverine, a man with metal claws which extend from his hands (Incredible Hulk #180, 1974); the X-Men testing their powers against training robots (X-Men #22, 1966); Cyclops and Jean Grey as a couple (X-Men #32, 1967); Cyclops dressed in a blue costume (X-Men #39, 1967); Cerebro designed with a helmet affixed with twin cables (X-Men #40, 1968); Jean Grey's power of telepathy (X-Men #43, 1968); Alexander Summers' codename Havok (X-Men #58, 1969)

Jim Lee Co-creator of: Psylocke as an Asian woman with purple hair dressed in a blue costume (Uncanny X-Men #256, 1989); Psylocke generating a psychic knife from her hand; Jubilee dressed in a yellow coat and large earrings (Uncanny X-Men #257, 1990); Cyclops wearing a blue costume with a yellow strap across his chest; Jean Grey wearing a blue and orange costume (X-Men #1, 1991); Psylocke wielding a sword (X-Men #6, 1992)

Barry Windsor-Smith Creator of: the Weapon X Project, a rogue government operation to transform Logan into their agent (Marvel Comics Presents #72, 1991); Weapon X outfitting Logan with a sensory helmet while programming him as their agent (Marvel Comics Presents #78, 1991); Logan going on a rampage, killing many of the Weapon X Project's staff (Marvel Comics Presents #81, 1991)

Scott Lobdell Co-creator of: Apocalypse wearing out his bodies over time, requiring him to transfer his essence into new bodies (Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix #4, 1994); Xavier finding his telepathy difficult as a child (Uncanny X-Men #309); Apocalypse transforming people into stone (Uncanny X-Men #332, 1996); Psylocke wielding a sword (X-Men #6, 1992)

Marc Silvestri Co-creator of: Mr. Sinister, a figure who studies mutants (Uncanny X-Men #221, 1987); Xavier's school being destroyed (Uncanny X-Men #243, 1989); Jubilee, a teenage mutant affiliated with the X-Men (Uncanny X-Men #244, 1989); Famine, one of Apocalypse's Four Horsemen (X-Factor #12, 1987)

Werner Roth Co-creator of: the Sentinels, large purple robots which fight the X-Men (X-Men #14, 1965); the X-Men testing their powers against training robots (X-Men #22, 1966); Cyclops and Jean Grey as a couple (X-Men #32, 1967); Cerebro designed with a helmet affixed with twin cables (X-Men #40, 1968)

Fabian Nicieza Co-creator of: Apocalypse's true name, En Sabah Nur (X-Force #37, 1994); Apocalypse lying within his crypt to recover his power (X-Men #14, 1992); Magneto's name as Erik Lehnsherr (X-Men Unlimited #2, 1993)

Herb Trimpe Co-creator of: Psylocke (Captain Britain #8, 1976); Wolverine, a man with metal claws which extend from his hands; Wolverine's codename 'Weapon X' (Incredible Hulk #180, 1974)

Jim Mooney Co-creator of: Raven, alternate identity of Mystique (Ms. Marvel #16, 1978); Mystique, a blue-skinned shape-shifting mutant terrorist dressed in white (Ms. Marvel #18, 1978)

Paul Smith Co-creator of: Nightcrawler as a Christian who prays during dire situations (Uncanny X-Men #165, 1983); Storm wearing black leather and a mohawk (Uncanny X-Men #173, 1983)

Terry Kavanagh Co-creator of: Apocalypse called 'the first mutant' (Rise of Apocalypse #1, 1996); Apocalypse involved in the construction of pyramids (Rise of Apocalypse #2, 1996)

James Felder Co-creator of: Apocalypse called 'the first mutant' (Rise of Apocalypse #1, 1996); Apocalypse involved in the construction of pyramids (Rise of Apocalypse #2, 1996)

Adam Pollina Co-creator of: Apocalypse called 'the first mutant' (Rise of Apocalypse #1, 1996); Apocalypse involved in the construction of pyramids (Rise of Apocalypse #2, 1996)

Don Heck Co-creator of: Cyclops dressed in a blue costume (X-Men #39, 1967); Alexander Summers, a mutant with plasma burst powers, brother of Cyclops (X-Men #54, 1969)

Peter Milligan Co-creator of: Essex, Mr. Sinister's true name (The Further Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix #1, 1996); Mystique as one of the X-Men (X-Men #181, 2006)

Gene Ha Co-creator of: Apocalypse wearing out his bodies over time, requiring him to transfer his essence into new bodies (Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix #4, 1994)

Tom Sutton Co-creator of: Beast as a biochemist; Beast transforming into a furry body (Amazing Adventures #11, 1972); Beast's blue fur (Amazing Adventures #15, 1972)

Clayton Henry Co-creator of: Apocalypse having human worshipers across the centuries who assist in his survival (Apocalypse vs. Dracula #1, 2006)

Frank Tieri Co-creator of: Apocalypse having human worshipers across the centuries who assist in his survival (Apocalypse vs. Dracula #1, 2006)

Bill Mantlo Co-creator of: Wolverine traumatized by the process of being augmented by the government (Alpha Flight #33, 1986)

Sal Buscema Co-creator of: Wolverine traumatized by the process of being augmented by the government (Alpha Flight #33, 1986)

Arnold Drake Co-creator of: Alexander Summers, a mutant with plasma burst powers, brother of Cyclops (X-Men #54, 1969)

John Romita Co-creator of: Wolverine, a man with metal claws which extend from his hands (Incredible Hulk #180, 1974)

Neal Adams Co-creator of: Alexander Summers' codename Havok (X-Men #58, 1969); Havok as one of the X-Men (X-Men #65, 1970)

Gerry Conway Co-creator of: Beast as a biochemist; Beast transforming into a furry body (Amazing Adventures #11, 1972)

John Paul Leon Co-creator of: Essex, Mr. Sinister's true name (The Further Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix #1, 1996)

Robert Kirkman Co-creator of: Jean Grey wielding her Phoenix powers against Apocalypse (Ultimate X-Men #93, 2008)

Harvey Tolibao Co-creator of: Jean Grey wielding her Phoenix powers against Apocalypse (Ultimate X-Men #93, 2008)

Brent Anderson Co-creator of: William Stryker, an anti-mutant zealot (Marvel Graphic Novel #5, 1982)

Rick Remender Co-creator of: Psylocke as one of Apocalypse's Four Horsemen (Uncanny X-Force #16, 2011)

Jerome Opena Co-creator of: Psylocke as one of Apocalypse's Four Horsemen (Uncanny X-Force #16, 2011)

John Romita Jr. Co-creator of: Xavier finding his telepathy difficult as a child (Uncanny X-Men #309)

Andy Kubert Co-creator of: Apocalypse lying within his crypt to recover his power (X-Men #14, 1992)

Joe Madureira Co-creator of: Apocalypse transforming people into stone (Uncanny X-Men #332, 1996)

Bob McLeod Co-creator of: Xavier's School residing on Graymalkin Lane (Uncanny X-Men #152, 1981)

John Buscema Co-creator of: Quicksilver wearing the colors blue and white (Avengers #75, 1970)

Ethan Van Sciver Co-creator of: Beast as a teacher at Xavier's school (New X-Men #117, 2001)

Grant Morrison Co-creator of: Beast as a teacher at Xavier's school (New X-Men #117, 2001)

Jan Durrsema Co-creator of: Magneto's name as Erik Lehnsherr (X-Men Unlimited #2, 1993)

Paul Pelletier Co-creator of: Apocalypse's true name, En Sabah Nur (X-Force #37, 1994)

Jackson Guice Co-creator of: Apocalypse, a powerful mutant (X-Factor #5, 1986)

Gary Friedrich Co-creator of: Psylocke's psychic powers (Captain Britain #34, 1977)

David Michelinie Co-creator of: Magda, Magneto's wife (Avengers #186, 1979)

Bob Layton Co-creator of: Apocalypse, a powerful mutant (X-Factor #5, 1986)

Larry Lieber Co-creator of: Psylocke's psychic powers (Captain Britain #34, 1977)

Mark Gruenwald Co-creator of: Magda, Magneto's wife (Avengers #186, 1979)

Ron Wilson Co-creator of: Psylocke's psychic powers (Captain Britain #34, 1977)

Steven Grant Co-creator of: Magda, Magneto's wife (Avengers #186, 1979)

Steve Englehart Co-creator of: Beast's blue fur (Amazing Adventures #15, 1972)

George Tuska Co-creator of: Jean Grey's power of telepathy (X-Men #43, 1968)

Alan Davis Co-creator of: Psylocke's codename (New Mutants Annual #2, 1986)

Roger Cruz Co-creator of: Mystique as one of the X-Men (X-Men #181, 2006)

Dennis O'Neil Co-creator of: Havok as one of the X-Men (X-Men #65, 1970)

Friday, February 24, 2017

"I reject it." Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus review

Yesterday I mused about objectivism in the comics; today, it's libertarian Christianity! Why am I making these choices?

Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus is the most recent graphic novel by Christian-Libertarian-Canadian-Cartoonist Chester Brown. In a way, it's a response to his book Paying for It, an autobiographical work where he depicted how he gave up on dating and began seeing prostitutes instead; included in the book were many scenes of him arguing in favour of prostitution to his friends.

Since then he's entered into politics and Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus is a sort-of political manifesto for the decriminalization of prostitution. I'm not especially well-informed about the matter politically but Brown framed his argument by invoking the Bible and that's something I possess a smattering of knowledge in.

The book is a series of vignettes which retell particular stories from the Old & New Testaments. Some of them will be very familiar and represented pretty much the way you remember them; other stories have been altered so as to fit Brown's thesis on prostitution. Every chapter is either a story connected to prostitution or a story about a disobedient person being rewarded (the parable of The Prodigal Son is perhaps the best-known of these and Brown does include it).

The connective tissue is Brown's belief that Jesus' mother Mary was a prostitute. He notes that the women Ruth, Tamar, Bathsheba and Rahab all appeared in Jesus' lineage as told in the Gospel of Matthew and each women could be considered like-a-prostitute (Rahab literally was; Tamar posed as one for a deception; Ruth and Bathsheba had extra-marital sex, which is a bit flimsy so far as the argument goes). To Brown, the reason Matthew listed women in his genealogy was to subtly hint to his readers that Mary had been impregnated by some guy prior to her marriage to Joseph. To this end, Brown retells the story of Joseph learning of Mary's condition, revised to include the prostitution.

Brown's argument that people "find favour with God because they oppose His will or challenge Him in some way" first turns up in his revision of Cain & Abel where he posits Abel did wrong by keeping animals, yet when he made an offering of his sheep to God, God was pleased with him, which disturbed Cain (leading to Abel's death). Like so much of his arguments, it seems ad hoc post ergo hoc. Brown is determined to win his argument, so reframes the scriptural accounts to suit his predetermined agenda; there's nothing in Genesis to suggest it was wrong for Abel for keep sheep, but because God tells Adam to toil for "the fruits of the soil," Brown assumes the omission of livestock in that mention indicates there was a law against it. What we find instead is that Cain was hard-hearted, much like the older brother from the Prodigal Son. This is an attitude which comes up again and again in the Bible and is one of the linchpins of Jesus' teaching - that following God's word is insufficient if one is doing so expecting a reward, notoriety or is any other way closed-off in their heart.

Brown also recounts the parable of the Three Talents but instead of the Biblical accounts he turned to an apocryphal source, the Gospel of the Nazarenes. Normally, the story tells of 3 servants given different amounts of money; the first doubles what he's been given, likewise the second and the third hides the money, fearful of losing it; the master is upset with the third and gives his money to the first. In the Nazarean account, the first doubles the money, the second hides the money and third spends it all on pleasure. The master rewards the third by giving him the second' money. Says Brown, "I almost immediately became convinced that this was how Jesus actually told the tale."

If the Nazarean account were valid (we don't actually have a copy of it, only references to it) then I would point to the moral of the story being similar to that of the Prodigal Son - that if the master (God) is indeed merciful to the one who wastes his reward (man) then there is a message of penitence in the story, not to tell us that we can break God's laws and it's okay but that we can break those laws and, if we appeal to his mercy, will be okay.

I can easily recommend Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus if you want a book to fight with. Ultimately, however, it's designed to persuade you over to Brown's perspective by one of the oldest tricks in the book - saying Jesus is on his side.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

It's no Mystery, Man.

The most recent issue of the fanzine publication Ditkomania recently published its 95th issue with a special look at philosophy in Steve Ditko's comics. I am not one who enjoys Ditko's philosophy (objectivism), especially not in the manner by which he delivers his ideas, usually by way of kicking over a straw man. Overall, I find objectivism incompatible with my own morals. Still, I enjoy Ditko as an artist and value his perspective even though I'll never share it. It was with some trepidation that I approached Ditkomania #95. One article in particular stood out.

In an article titled: "Steve Ditko: The Other Side of the Conversation," Gavin Callaghan looked at various comic books which had some reference to objectivism. Some of these were very interesting, such as his look at the Werewolf by Night villain Hangman, whose objectivist slant wasn't obvious to me. There's also an interesting review of a Star Trek comic which criticized objectivism in way which Callaghan admitted made good points. However, Callaghan truly did not care for a comic called Mystery Men which was published by Marvel Comics in 2011 by writer David Liss and artist Patrick Zircher. For some reason, Callaghan did not credit Zircher or other artists of the stories featured in his article - strange, considering that as a Ditko fan he should be aware that much of what ends up on the page is due to the artist.

Mystery Men turned up in this article solely because objectivism's creator Ayn Rand appears - not identified by name, but with dialogue which clearly points to her identity. In the comic, set in 1932, Rand belongs to a boardroom of prestigious Americans (others may likewise be actual figures from the time but none I could identify) who are being led by the General as part of a cabal to use black magic on behalf of the demon Nox. The boardroom is likewise partnered with the Nazi Party. Callaghan rejected this interpretation of Rand as she was against superstition. Okay, fair enough, although this is a fictional universe where magic is real so it's not quite the same thing. The boardroom members are also proposing a business-military alliance which Callaghan says Rand would also have been against; fair enough.

But in the course of the review Callaghan goes off-topic to deliver a rant against one of Mystery Men's protagonists, a masked vigilante called the Operative. The Operative is meant to be a throwback to the early heroes of the comics and the pulps who had little more than determination and a mask. The Operative is a normal man dressed in a suit and who wears a mask. We first meet him in Mystery Men #1 as he's in the process of stealing jewels from a wealthy woman, justifying it to himself as "This -- this Depression, they're calling it -- is crushing those people down there on the street. But up here in the penthouses, it's jewels and champagne. You can't tell me that's right. So my little capers... well, let's just say I have no trouble sleeping at night." The money the Operative obtains from the jewels is then used to save tenants from being evicted from an apartment building whose landlord has been jacking up the rent. Callaghan complains of this scene:

"Never mind the fact, of course, that these rich people PAY for everything they BUY - thereby providing a living to those from whom they purchase such services. This source of income was an especially valuable thing during a depression; but Liss does not seem to understand this basic economic fact."

I think the key to the Operative's actions in the opening is that he's stealing jewels, not money. The Operative's anger appears to be against those who have inherited wealth, rather than earned it. The Operative is later revealed to be himself a child of privilege, the son of the book's lead villain the General. Callaghan complains about this, though I'm not certain why (he goes from complaining that the Operative is "very wealthy" to a discussion of the General, then about Rand and doesn't return to that point; it looked like a setup for arguing the Operative was a hypocrite but the accusation is absent). The story is very clear that the Operative uses money to help those less fortunate, expressing indignation at those who "don't know what it's like to grow up poor or to claw for everything in life." That actually sounds like an endorsement of objectivist thought to me - not the robbery, but the ideal of earning wealth with one's own effort rather than by right of birth; isn't that something objectivists hold sacred?

The Operative's status as a thieving outlaw seems to draw from the tradition of Robin Hood and A.J. Raffles (both were born to privilege but turned to crime - although Raffles used crime primarily as a diversion, not actually wanting the money or using it to benefit others). On that note, Callaghan turns to Steve Ditko himself in a form of Appeal to Authority:

"Of course, Steve Ditko had already deconstructed this erroneous myth of the Robin Hood (and his just redistribution of wealth) long before, in his story 'Count Rogue', published in Mr. A #4, way back in 1975."

Steve Ditko had an opinion on something? Shoot, better pack it in, boys! It is not necessary for the audience to agree with the Operative's actions. I wouldn't want to be robbed by him simply because he judged someone more worthy of my wealth. In fact, the Operative goes on from issue #1 to become a crime fighter instead of a thief-with-a-heart-of-gold and that journey seems important to me - that he rises above his initial station to later help others. I know, altruism is likewise held in contempt by objectivists and they are also against characters with gray morality (hence the condemnation of the Operative for being other-than-white), but to the rest of the world the Operative is a crook with a barely-justifiable cause who later finds a better cause to fight against (his father).

Callaghan scoffs further at the idea "How the General expects the Depression to actually HELP commerce is left unexplained, although such conspiratorial thinking is typical of the Chomskyan left." I don't know what that last invective means but it is true that some people profited from the Great Depression, just as some recently profited from the recent housing collapse. In the case of the Great Depression, it didn't necessarily mean overnight profits, but for those who could afford to invest and play the long game there were businesses, properties and resources available for a pittance. The General is not proposing the Depression would help commerce - he's proposing it would help him and his allies.

Callaghan continues on to compare the Operative to the Khmer Rouge as an Ad Hominem Attack:

"Ultimately, Liss's 'Operative' vigilante is just a step or two up the rung of the leftist ladder from the Cambodian Khmer Rouge dictatorship in the 1970s, who also sought to build a more 'just' society by exterminating those whom they saw as an overly-wealthy middle class (killing over a million people in the process). Certainly, the Operative is more of a villain than Ayn Rand herself ever was."

How do you even begin to address the comparison of thieving = genocide? This was the point where I knew I had to compose a response because it's such a maddening, reductive argument. Perhaps I can attempt to construct this from an objectivist viewpoint; to an objectivist, A = A. To me as a Christian, sin = sin. Therefore, the crime of thievery = genocide. So far so good. But likewise, Ayn Rand committing adultery = genocide. Ayn Rand promoting a philosophy of selfishness in opposition to the Golden Rule = genocide. That is, Ayn Rand was but a mere human being and I reject her (and Nietzche's) belief in the greatness of man, rather I believe in the democratic equality and falleness of men, the equality of sin, the equality of mercy and the equality of the final judgment. Stealing from others is wrong from an absolute moral sense - it is unnecessary to draw comparisons to genocide and it speaks to a weakness in Callaghan's argument that he deemed it necessary to invoke the Khmer Rouge in order to fashion a straw-man argument against the Operative, rather than confine his diatribe to the Operative's own words and actions. As a whole, I feel Callaghan's review of Mystery Men is too quick to find fault with the book and too angry at the author for holding different social viewpoints.

In conclusion: There's a lot more to Mystery Men than the Operative or Ayn Rand (the Operative is one of 5 featured heroes) and it's an interesting attempt to craft super heroes who fit the 1930s, especially from a 21st century perspective (the heroes include a black hero and a female hero in order to comment on 30s-era racism and sexism). The economic downturn of 2008 - fashioned by the laissez faire system Ayn Rand admired so much - no doubt influenced David Liss' own commentary on the Great Depression and the disproportionate power wielded by the wealthy over the middle-and-lower classes. You can purchase the series on Comixology and can learn more about Ditkomania here.

I have now officially spent more time thinking about Mystery Men than anyone other than Liss or Zircher.