Z vs FAN SERVICE!!!

‘SUP, DUDE.

oh no

YEP. YOUR’RE DOING IT AGAIN.

Leave me alone.

DONE DEAL. REAL QUICK BEFORE I GO: WHAT’S YOUR WORD COUNT AT RIGHT NOW?

Shut up! I’m refining my process.

OH, SHAME ON ME FOR INTERRUPTING THE BARD WHILE HE’S AT WORK.

Weren’t you supposed to be me, like my subconscious or whatever? You’re being awfully snippy.

WOULDST THE BARD LIKE ME TO TONE-ETH DOWN THE SASS?

I thought the whole point of you was to help me with my writing. This isn’t getting me anywhere.

WHY ARE YOU STILL DOING IT, THEN?

I don’t think I can even remember at this point.

LET ME ASK YOU THIS: HOW MUCH TIME HAVE YOU ACTUALLY SPENT WRITING SINCE THE LAST POST?

Since the introduction? Like, right after! I don’t remember anything about the last two days that doesn’t involve writing, in fact beyond my immediate surroundings I have no idea what’s going on in the world. California could have sunk into the Pacific Ocean yesterday and I’d be none the wiser. You’d think with all that time I’d have something to show for it but PBBTPBBTPBBTPBBTPBBT

ARE YOU HAVING A STROKE?

I’m fine! I was trying to do a sound effect thing, like when you make a raspberry noise with your mouth? Like that. I’ve got nothing, is what I mean to say. Give me a break.

SOUNDS LIKE YOU’RE HAVING A PRETTY ROUGH GO OF IT.

I got four hours of sleep last night, so yes, on the whole I’d describe things right now as “shaky”. Also “blurry”. Let’s just say it’s a good thing I’m sitting down.

NOT ALL BAD THOUGH, RIGHT?

I mean yeah, sure, not completely terrible. When I’m just “talking” or whatever you want to call it, that part’s pretty fun. But then I try to get into the real stuff I want to talk about it doesn’t click. I’m trying to come at it from different angles and none of it sounds like me.

WHAT WERE YOU GONNA TALK ABOUT?

Well, it’s kind of an awkward topic. I’m trying to spin it in a way where it doesn’t sound stupid, but there’s really no way to talk about it where I come off looking good.

I THINK THAT PARTICULAR SHIP LEFT THE PORT A WHILE BACK.

Let me dream, darn you! Or darn me?! I still don’t get how this works and I’m the one writing it!!!

CHILL, DUDE. IT’S PROBABLY NOT AS BAD AS YOU’RE MAKING IT OUT TO BE. WHY DON’T YOU BREAK IT DOWN.

“Break it down”, sure. Yeah. Okay. Okayokayokay. So…you know how being a grown man who reads comic books can sometimes lead to some awkward situations?

OF COURSE. IT’S NOT ALL FAST CARS AND FUN TIMES.

Yeah, no, there’s waaay less cars than advertised. Really though, thinking on it now, how do cars even relate to comics, metaphorical or otherwise? There’s like zero correlation between those two things.

THAT HOMELESS MAN LIED TO US.

He probably lied about a lot of stuff, which would explain his current living arrangements.

MAYBE WE SHOULD GET BACK TO THE REAL PROBLEM.

The homeless?

NO. WELL ACTUALLY YES, THAT IS A REAL PROBLEM, THOUGH IT’S REALLY MORE OF A SYMPTOM OF A MUCH LARGER ISSUE SHAPED BY NUMEROUS SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC FACTORS, NOT HELPED BY A GENERAL LACK OF CONCERN BY-

Cool story bro so I was in the mood to pick up some comics the other day and I remembered-

EDUCATE YOURSELF DUDE.

AND I REMEMBERED that the first collection of this new My Hero Academia spin-off comic came out the other week.

OH, I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW THEY WERE DOING A SPIN-OFF! THAT’S AWESOME! I LOVE MANGA.

No, not “manga”.

…YES. IT’S A COMIC BOOK FROM JAPAN. THAT’S WHAT MANGA IS.

No I know, you were just mispronouncing “manga”. It’s “man” like “John”. Man-ga. No worries; it’s a typical rookie mistake.

PRONUNCIATION DOESN’T FACTOR INTO IT! THE SPELLING IS EXACTLY THE SAME!

Eh, potato potato.

PLEASE JUST CUT TO THE CHASE.

Oh yeah. So, I was looking in the manga section and saw there was still a copy left. I was curious so I thought I’d pick it up and see if it was worth it, but I couldn’t get past the cover because of…well…

Screenshot_20180714-202815~2

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

You’re laughing.

SORRY. SO THIS IS ABOUT THE “COSTUME” THEN? OR LACK THEREOF?

You know what my first thought was when I saw this? “How can I purchase this book with the smallest number of people thinking I’m some kind of pervert?” Look at where they placed the bar-code! That kind of thing doesn’t just happen. This was coordinated and carried out with malicious intent.

IT’S…SORT OF CLOSE, I GUESS.

You think I’m reading too much into it.

YOU’RE LITERALLY JUDGING A BOOK BY IT’S COVER RIGHT NOW. IF ANYTHING YOU’RE NOT READING INTO IT ENOUGH. YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW WHY SHE’S DRESSED LIKE THAT. THERE COULD BE A TOTALLY LEGITIMATE IN-STORY EXPLANATION.

You think the cashier will see a “legitimate in-story explanation” or will they just see a grown man buying a comic book with the picture of a teenage girl giving them an eyeful? That kind of thing tends to give off mixed messages.

YOU’RE NOT BUYING A PLAYBOY MAGAZINE, YOU’RE BUYING A COMIC BOOK. IF IT WAS AS BAD AS ALL THAT THEY WOULDN’T SELL IT.

It wasn’t just this one book though. If anything it was more of a tipping point for where my head was at. Once I started thinking about it I ended up going down a rabbit hole in my own mind.

YOU’VE BEEN READING SUPERHERO COMICS FOR PRACTICALLY HALF YOUR LIFE. HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU READ WHERE FEMALE CHARACTERS ARE STUCK IN RISQUE AND/OR JUST PLAIN IMPRACTICAL OUTFITS? THE ANSWER BEING “WAY TOO MANY”. THIS ISN’T ANYTHING NEW.

Exactly. I look at stuff like this and I’m reminded of the books published back when I was a confused teenager, as opposed to the even more confused adult I am now.

YOU STARTED IN LIKE 2001. THINGS AT MARVEL AND DC WERE A LITTLE UNEVEN BUT IT WASN’T LIKE YOU WERE READING ANYTHING SCANDALOUS. IT’S NOT LIKE THEY WERE 90’S COMICS.

Eh, it wasn’t great. You remember some of the covers the Big Two were putting out: Psylocke? Heroes for Hire? Power Girl? Anything with the Star Sapphires???

AH YES, THE ALL-LADIES “PINK LINGERIE” CORPS. VERY PROGRESSIVE.

For all the good stories they may have been telling there was still a lot of stuff about how they depicted women that was, and is, kinda skeevy.

IT’S TRUE: BOOB WINDOWS, SKINTIGHT LEOTARDS AND DENTAL-FLOSS THONGS DON’T EXACTLY SCREAM FAIR AND EQUAL REPRESENTATION.

To say the least. I guess I could put a lot of that stuff to the side because lately things have been, maybe not better, but there’s more of a balance. There are plenty of superhero comics now where the women can dress functionally and still look awesome, especially on Marvel’s side of the fence. Squirrel Girl! Captain Marvel! Ms. Marvel! Freaking Spider-Gwen! Seriously with Spider-Gwen, whoever designed that costume deserves a medal.

THAT HONOR GOES TO ROBBI RODRIGUEZ, AND YES, IT IS A FRIGGIN’ AWESOME SUIT. SHAME THAT A LOT OF THESE KINDS OF FEMALE-DRIVEN TITLES AREN’T SELLING BETTER.

Right?! So I guess when I saw that manga cover on the shelf the other day, something just kind of triggered in my brain. Not necessarily that it was bad, but just like, we’ve done a lot better in the last few years and it feels like the superhero genre has really made some headway. Do we even really need stuff like this anymore, especially in this day and age where people can and will find the same kind of thing online for free? I don’t know, maybe I need to just admit that I’m not the target audience for this stuff anymore and move on.

I MEAN – YES YOU’RE GETTING OLDER NOW AND IT’S WRONG TO EXPECT EVERYTHING YOU LOVE TO GROW UP WITH YOU. BUT MAYBE THE PROBLEM IS THAT YOU’RE PUTTING ALL OF COMICS UP ON THIS GOLDEN PEDESTAL, TRYING TO MAKE EVERYTHING LOOK MATURE AND ADULT, WHEN THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THAT NOT ALL COMICS ARE GOING FOR THE SAME THING. SOMETIMES IT’S OKAY TO ADMIT THAT NOT EVERYTHING IS HIGH ART.

I mean, I would never call it “high art”. That would make me look super pretentious.

HEY, REMEMBER THIS?

punisheronthebeach

Uh, are you asking me if I forgot the *classic* 1993 Marvel Swimsuit Special featuring Frank Castle aka The Punisher? I take offense at that, good sir!

YOU FORGOT TO MENTION IT’S THE FIRST AND SO-FAR ONLY APPEARANCE OF THE PUNISHER SKULL SPEEDO. “SKEEDO”? I DUNNO.

It’s an interesting choice on Frank’s part, to be sure.

KNOWING THE PUNISHER HE’S PROBABLY GOT THAT THING TRICKED OUT WITH A DOZEN CONCEALED WEAPONS.

Well you never know when there’s gonna be another impromptu drug deal/beach volleyball tournament. Franks’ gotta be prepared. They happen a lot more than you might imagine.

YOU LAUGH NOW BUT WHEN THE BULLETS START FLYING AND THE BALLS START BOUNCING, YOU CAN BET THAT THE PUNISHER WON’T GET CAUGHT WITH HIS PANTS DOWN.

Whatever the case may be, I think we can all agree the Punisher doing this kind of thing qualifies more as “funny” than “fan-service”.

IT CAN BE TWO THINGS.

Sure, but if you really stop and think about it it’s really only funny because it’s a typically masculine character being objectified in the same manner as the female characters. It’s not so much levelling the playing field as it is sending it up: it’s more parody than progress. The rest of that book, with a few exceptions, is more of the same cheesecake fluff I’ve been yammering about.

WELL IT IS A SWIMSUIT SPECIAL. MAYBE YOU’RE EXPECTING TOO MUCH FROM SOMETHING THAT WAS DESIGNED TO BE A GLORIFIED PHOTO-SHOOT COMIC.

Fair point. I freely admit that sometimes I get so wrapped up in trying to prove to people that comic books are a “legitimate” form of entertainment that I forget that they are allowed to be a little juvenile too. No medium, be it movies, TV shows, or even just plain old regular books is without its fair share of “junk food”. The problems I’m having with comic books could be applied just as much to a lot of the anime I watch, for instance. Maybe I need to admit to myself that things could be better, but that sometimes I need to lighten up a little bit.

That being said, I know there are still some problems with the portrayal of women in comics that could stand to be addressed. There’s room for all kinds of representation for women, even the silly ones can have a place in comics so long as the creators are able to justify it. Whatever the case may be, when it comes right down to it stuff like this should be the exception, not the rule.

SO DID ANY OF THIS HELP YOU? TALKING IT OUT, I MEAN?

Kind of? Despite all of the missteps we’ve made along the way I still believe comic book companies and creators have by and large done a better job of balancing things. Who knows? Maybe someday I’ll even feel comfortable being seen with a book like this in public.

NO YOU WON’T.

Not in a million years. I just went ahead and ordered the digital version. Problem solved.

YOU’VE SOLVED NOTHING.

I know I didn’t, gimme a break! You know, real change takes time! Jeez man, you sure know how to club a bum when he’s down.

DO US BOTH A FAVOR AND NEVER SAY THAT AGAIN. ANYWAY I GUESS YOU’RE BACK TO SQUARE ONE THEN?

Yes and no. Maybe there’s room for more of this…whatever the hell it is I’m doing right now. This sort of self-analysis was a pretty interesting experiment, but now I’m feeling pretty drained. Maybe I’ll try something simpler for the next post, like a good old-fashioned comic book review?

SOUNDS DOABLE.

But then again…who knows what awaits? Who can tell what lies beyond the horizon, and who can say what the future holds?

YOU’RE JUST REPEATING YOURSELF NOW. WRAP IT UP.

Could my first real comic book review…also be my last???

Later, Squares!

SORRY GUYS, HE’S JUST…HE’S REALLY TIRED. HE’LL BE OKAY BY THE TIME THE NEXT ONE ROLLS AROUND.

HOPEFULLY.

MAYBE.

One thought on “Z vs FAN SERVICE!!!

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