Friday, June 04, 2010


Justice League: The Rise of Arsenal #3

What makes a man start fires?

Why is the sky blue?

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning? The last thing you think of when you go to sleep?

Are you unhappy?

Do you like your life, are you comfortable with the choices you have made?

Why do you read comic books?

Do you have any other hobbies that require such a large time commitment?

Do you only read comics you enjoy, or do you regularly read comics you do not enjoy?

Do you have any children? If so, how many and how old are they?

Do your children ask you questions about the comic books you read?

Do your parents ask you questions about the comic books you read?

Do you ever ask yourself about the comic books you read?

Is it OK to read a bad comic book as long as you are clear to project an attitude of condescending superiority towards the idea of reading genre material?

What about a bad comic book that isn't "genre material"?

Do you hold bad superhero comics to a higher or lower standard than bad non-superhero books?

Have you ever read a comic book so bad it made you question your commitment to your hobby?

Have you ever felt the need to broadcast your opinions on a bad comic book?

Do you ever ask yourself why people make bad comic books?

Do you think its a question of intelligence or a question of commerce?

Is it possible for an intelligent person to make a bad comic book whose badness can be wholly blamed on editorial dictation, or does the blame for a bad comic book at some point devolve irreducibly onto the creator?

Does a bad comic book matter?

Does it mean anything beyond the fact of its own badness?

Can a particularly wretched comic book surpass the circumstances of its own badness in order to become a symbol of a larger malaise?

Do you think it's appropriate to judge all superhero comics on the basis of their level of appropriateness for a hypothetical audience of pre-teen children?

If yes, do you actually know any children who read superhero comics?

If no, do you know anyone above the mental age of twelve who would be entertained by most superhero comics?

Do you feel guilty for still reading superhero comics?

If yes, do you feel the need to periodically and ritualistically molest the open sore of your own festering guilt?

Do you think you are a more morally righteous person for castigating bad art?

Do you think anyone cares? Do you read this question as rhetorical or substantive?

If you do not feel guilty for still reading superhero comics, then why do you waste time reading bad ones?

Do you believe that people read bad comics to make themselves feel better?

Do you believe that people like to feel superior to escapism because they don't like feeling inferior to art?

Does it frustrate you that iTunes is often much less user-friendly than advertised?

Does it offend you when comic book artists either forget or are never told that certain characters are Asian?

Do you think that people of Asian descent are often ignored, either tacitly or explicitly, in American society?

Why are there so few prominent Asian-Americans in national politics?

Why are so many Asians in comic books inscrutable and ruthless martial arts masters?

Why is it OK to fuck a multinational terrorist with a body count in the millions? Would it be OK to fuck Osama bin Laden if he were a hot Asian chick and not a grody old man?

If you were Robert Smith of the Cure would you have sex with your makeup on?

Would you become upset if your lover could not get aroused if you didn't wear your makeup?

What's your favorite Cure album?

Do you think that Roy Harper listens to the Cure? Do you think his favorite Cure album would be Pornography or Head on the Door?

Have you ever suffered severe depression?

Have you ever suffered severe depression as a direct result of tragedy?

Do you believe that popular entertainment trivializes tragedy?

Do you believe that it is ethically suspect to create art that uses the Holocaust as a setting?

Do you believe that it is ethically suspect to create art that uses the terrorist attacks of September 11 as a backdrop?

Do you believe that it is wrong to create art that uses the audience's familiarity with the September 11 attacks as a trope while also displaying a seemingly blithe disregard for the actual experience of having lived through a massive terrorist attack?

What if you wrote a story wherein a super villain demolished a major American city and killed thousands of people, and yet all the characters expressed a marked emotional detachment totally unlike what millions of real people really felt during a real tragedy that persists in the living memory of anyone old enough to read these words?

Shouldn't 9/11 have made it harder, rather than easier, for superhero comics writers to casually murder thousands of civilians in order to get their villains over?

Is it odd that, in hindsight, Civil War seems positively classy in its portrayal of massive tragedy and its immediate aftermath?

Isn't it odd to structure a series explicitly around rehabilitating an oft-maligned villain, only to end said series with the grisly murder of said villain?

Is it good or bad that more comic book writers do not possess direct familiarity with narcotics use?

Don't you think, if you're going to do a story about heroin use, it might be helpful to watch Trainspotting first? Or at least listen to this? Or this? Or this?

Do you think Roy Harper is more or less hardcore for smoking heroin, as opposed to the more commonly portrayed intravenous usage?

Do you think heroin causes uncontrollable violent rage? Have you ever actually read a book describing the effects of heroin addiction?

Do you think a comic book that manages to trivialize terrorism, drug addiction and the death of children is reprehensible or hilarious?

Do you think that Roy Harper should feel bad that he can't get his penis hard in order to have sex with his mass murdering inscrutable and ruthless Asian martial arts master ex-girlfriend?

Is that the most improbably sentence I have ever written?

Do you think that a person's favorite David Bowie album says something deep about their character?

Do you think that Grant Morrison gets a free ride from fawning critics or a bad rap from philistine proles?

Do you think that certain scenes in The Rise of Arsenal are specifically intended to recall parallel scenes in Batman R.I.P.?

Did you expect to see Red Arrow screaming "Zur-En-Arrh" as he crouched in his dingy alleyway?

Do you recall that Bat Mite came to Batman whilst he was under the influence of crystal meth in much the same manner that Red Arrow's ex-pusher and dead daughter appeared whilst he was under the influence of heroin?

If Grant Morrison had written The Rise of Arsenal, would it be praised or condemned?

If a man named J.T. Krul rewrote certain scenes from Batman R.I.P. using a much less popular character, would the results be praised or condemned?

Do you think you're better than J.T. Krul because he wrote a bad comic book, or do you think he's in on the joke?

Did you know that J.T. Krul has a number of production credits on Seinfeld?

Do you find that to be an inexplicable statistic?

Do you feel bad when you see reviews devolve into ad hominem attacks on creators?

Do you believe that crass escapism deserves to be judged more harshly than unsuccessful art?

Do you believe that the distinction between escapism and art is meaningful?

If no, do you believe that people who do make such a distinction are making insupportable and condescending qualitative judgments that betray a snobbish insecurity?

If yes, do you think you possess a sure fire way to discriminate between the two categories in all cases?

Do you think that the mercenary motivation behind most or all superhero comics precludes honest creative expression within the genre?

Do you think the inability of academia to properly contextualize the implications of the previous question results in an attitude of benign condescension towards the medium on the part of even the most well-meaning academics?

How do you believe scholars of the future will judge a cultural artifact such as The Rise of Arsenal?

WIll the book be dismissed as aesthetic trash or embraced as an accurate retroactive bellwether of mainstream comics culture trends circa 2010?

Step back from the realm of the hypothetical: do you think you should judge mainstream comics culture on the basis of its worst book or its best?

Should America be judged on the basis of 300 years of slavery or the Declaration of Independence?

Does a bad comic deserve to be so relentlessly vilified, or is it merely the herd instinct in practice, the coppery smell of spilled blood inflaming the nostrils of a hungry pack of ravenous animals?

Are all the critics dogpiling on The Rise of Arsenal just lining up to take a swing at this week's whipping boy out of a sense of friendly competition with one another, in order to see who can summon the wittiest bon mots?

Is it just one big dick measuring contest between the biggest pissants on the internet?

Is there something vaguely pitiful about seeing so many grown men wet themselves with the sheer pleasure of writing mean things about a bad comic book?

Should the word "vaguely" in the previous question be changed to "extremely"?

Is it upsetting when comic book artists don't know how to differentiate the textures of flesh, leather, metal and plastic? Does it bother you when all the people look roughly plasticine?

Did you, like me, just now realize that Red Arrow is essentially a nickname for your cock? And that having a guy walk around calling himself Red Arrow in the light of day is like unironically calling yourself Big Johnson?

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