Ring Out the Old: The 2012 Year-End Wrap, Episode Three
Today on the cards: is transmedia the unparalleled liberation it's hyped to be? We don't answer that question without getting into the Old West, Mark Twain and Walt Whitman, Green Lantern Simon Baz and Ultimate Spidey, and, naming a candidate for Writer-of-the-Year…
@MichaelDStewart: I think, we get into here the inverse of transmedia, where as another media version is so dominant that the other creators are left humbled to find ways to connect to that version.
@uu3y324rdry: YES! The "dark age of transmedia".
@MichaelDStewart: Or the stalling of transmedia.
@uu3y324rdry: We've spoken about this quite a bit over the year…and your view of this stalling really hit home for me with the new issue of Hawkeye (#5, released either this week or last). We see mainstream Marvel, Earth-616, and we see an African-American Nick Fury. Like the Fury from Whedon's movieverse Avengers, itself based on the Fury from Mark Millar's Ultimates.
It's the eye-patch-wearing Fury and everything…and suddenly, on that page in Hawkeye…I'm just out to sea…WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?!…and in the dialogue…whaddaya know…he's the "son of the original Nick Fury".
@MichaelDStewart: Yeah, in comics, unlike some other media, they just don't recast all that much. They give a storyline explanation, even fairly preposterous ones.
But Marvel has during this year and the last few tried to realign their comic universe with their movie universe. Their are still plenty of hiccups, and some disconnects. But that how it has to be or else you lose two audiences.
DC hasn't been able to do that. One, their more recent movies have been more about art as opposed to adventure, and they just haven't invested in the properties in that way.
@uu3y324rdry: I say thee aye!, as they say. On both your points. The thing that smarts about an African-American Nick Fury in Marvel's Earth-616, is that it robs Ultimate Marvel of something unique. And it almost seems to render the Ultimate line as something of a failed experiment.
@MichaelDStewart: Yeah, but we don't want the kids going to the Marvel movies reading Ultimate Marvel.
Simon Baz is inducted into the Green Lantern Corps in DC
's Green Lantern #0
@uu3y324rdry: Sure. [:
I really unplugged from Ultimate Marvel during Ultimatum. That was really the point I just couldn't see beyond. And I was honestly sad to see it fold. Except the Ultimate line really didn't and I just couldn't really get back into to it anyway.
@MichaelDStewart: Either you watch the disaster movie or the post-apocalyptic movie. Not both and not together as one.
@uu3y324rdry: Right! Then there was a faint ray of hope with new Ultimate Spidey. But those hopes were really dashed very quickly. The thing I feel Ultimate Spidey failed at is the exact same thing this new Green Lantern Simon Baz got stunningly, shockingly right.
@MichaelDStewart: If you're going to make a character ethnically diverse from the white America, have it mean something.
@uu3y324rdry: It's the idea that with harnessing the character's ethnicity in…
Oh the way you said it was so much better [: But yes, emphatically! Exactly that!
@MichaelDStewart: But, on the inverse, is it bad for a character to be something other than European ancestry without having it to be some statement about ethnicity and diversity and the such?
@uu3y324rdry: Interesting. Either Key or Peele make that point on their WTF interview with Marc Maron. The idea that Martin was a breakthrough cultural artifact, because Martin Lawrence played a character who was primarily unlikable.
@MichaelDStewart: That character is American of Irish descent, this character is Latino, this character is American of Asian-African descent. They can all be superheroes, they can all be villains. They are all equal in sense of race and creed. What separates them is skill and personality.
New Ultimate Spidey inspired the death of original Ultimate Spidey in Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #4
@uu3y324rdry: I do take your point. And I think what Geoff Johns is crafting with Baz is sublime. And here's why…
@MichaelDStewart: I don't disagree with you. I offer the flipside because I struggle with these things too.
@uu3y324rdry: I know you do, we've spoken about these issues so much this year, and years earlier.
But on Baz. Thematically Simon Baz is a horse-thief that you can already see moving out West…into the Old West…and becoming a legend akin to Wyatt Earp. So what you've got is Johns filtering an non-European American through the same mechanism of mythical storytelling as Mark Twain or Walt Whitman processed their art.
@MichaelDStewart: That's an interesting point.
@uu3y324rdry: That's why for me, for writer of the year, I've really got to call it for Geoff. For that. And for Harvey Bullock's fall in Batman: Earth One
So yeah, just to swing back to Baz…what you get is an Arab-American being framed in the same way as a mythic hero of the Old West. And I know how deeply you wrestle with these ideas of identity…and also the re-ignition of America from its European roots.
So really for me Geoff's Simon Baz unites the new electoral map of America…(the Democrats leveraging the increase in ethnic diversity versus the GOP just kinda flopping about on the issue)…with your concerns around American Vampire.
@MichaelDStewart: It certainly plays into this narrative of the US changing, of evolving into the meltingpot it was hyped to be.