I am, as the song goes, still alive.
I assume, if you can read this, you are also. But if you're reading this from beyond the grave, that is unspeakably cool and (if possible) you should comment and tell me so immediately.
I keep having annoying problems when I try to log in to LJ, so I haven't tried in a while. My bad.
I truly, completely. deeply suck at LJ.
For the first time in a long time, I have two front teeth again.
OK, so... when Jim Shooter came back to Legion of Super-Heroes, I was happy about it, and I posted about it, and ultimately it turned out to be less than great. Now, Paul Levitz, my all-time favorite LSH writer, is doing the book again, and I'm really happy about it, and I hope my happiness continues to be justified by the book this time.
For those of you who don't know, the Legion is a group of Super-Heroes (as we can see by the name) who operate in the 31st century. (It used to be the 30th century, but I think it ticked over when the 20th century ended.) Because readers' conceptions of the future, and particularly the technology of the future, have changed over the course of the book's history, early LSH issues look anachronistic and weird. As Levitz himself puts it:
Be warned that the phenomenon of "chronicler's error" lurks in all Legion tales- because technology changes so much in the next thousand years, it's impossible to neatly fit all the facts together, much less correctly depict all the changing technology (we once believed they used jet packs or flying belts, but in all probability the flight ring was their most important device from close to the team's inception.
In other words, "don't blame us because no one saw the personal computer coming in 1958." It's a fair point. And I don't mind. But I think it should apply to sociology as much as it does to engineering and history.
I think some Legionnaires should be depicted as what we would today call "people of color." It makes no sense to me that the future is as lily-white as it's usually painted. And I think it would be really nice if, without announcing any in-story reason for the change, some Legionnaires (and I don't really care which ones, frankly) were drawn to indicate non-white heritage. Because assuming the vast majority of Legionnaires are white makes just about as much sense as assuming the microchip was never invented. Maybe even less.
I'm not going to lie. I won't boycott the book over this. (Considering I'm boycotting Marvel over plot changes to Spider-Man, I'm not sure I like my priorities.) But I think any LSH artist that doesn't do this is missing a bet.
I am a little fuzzy on the whole "good/bad" thing. I admit this freely, and I'm not being sarcastic. I have personal standards of "good" and "bad", but they're quirky and not always consistent.
One of my biggest problems with genre fiction is a tendency to excuse horrible things that a hero does because they are wearing a T-shirt that says "hero"- or, as I believe they'd put it over at TVTropes, holding the hero ball. It's not the excusing as such that bothers me- I am certainly capable of special pleading on behalf of characters I like. The thing that bugs me is some variation on. "it's okay to treat character X that way because character X is just an orc/a vampire/a Dalek/whatever." Deception, abuse both physical and mental, petty cruelty- all excused because the target is "bad." It absolutely drives me up a wall. Almost inevitably, we are later asked to hate the villain characters even more because they have the gall to treat the hero characters exactly as the heroes have treated them.
I prefer to read about, sympathize more with, and even admire more, characters who don't try to excuse their assholery with this kind of rationalization. I would much rather hear "yeah, I lied to him, and I'd do it again" than "I lied to him, but it's okay because he's bad."
A related complaint is this: I don't like it when heroes spit in the soup. If someone invites you over to dinner, you don't go into their home and then spit in the soup. You just don't. It doesn't matter if someone is a complete monster, in personal action as well as species. By accepting their hospitality, you've agreed to put that aside. (The same goes for offering them hospitality.) In particular, there is one scenario guaranteed to get me rooting against a hero faster than any other.
As happens, a hero and a villain are teaming up, to fight against a greater threat or just because the author thinks that would be cool or whatever. There's some downtime, while the truce is still in effect. The villain makes some idle, polite chitchat- the key here being that it's not a veiled threat or a deliberate attempt to needle the hero. It is, honestly, just making conversation. "I hear the Mets are gonna suck this year." And the hero gets all snippy and starts going "we're not friends, you suck, I am super super better than you."
That's when the little voice in my head starts rooting for someone to fuck the hero up, really really badly.
(And then there's the one where the hero gets all mad at some character who gives him a boner, just because she [heteronormative bias!] disturbed his equilibrium. But at this point, I should just do a post on how much I want to see Harry Dresden get the full Prometheus.)
So last night this three year old girl comes at me with a piece of styrofoam about three times her height, explains that it is her sword, and challenges me to a fight. Those were pretty much her exact words: "This is my sword. We fight." And then she comes at me.
How cute is that?
Merry Christmas, if you're into that sort of thing. :) Merry whatever-you're-into, in fact.