Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::start_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::start_lvl(&$output) in /home/xemnu/thepostgameshow.com/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 0

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::end_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::end_lvl(&$output) in /home/xemnu/thepostgameshow.com/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 0

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /home/xemnu/thepostgameshow.com/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 0

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::end_el() should be compatible with Walker::end_el(&$output) in /home/xemnu/thepostgameshow.com/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 0
The Post-Game Show » brother voodoo

Posts Tagged ‘brother voodoo’

SDCC09 Day One: The View from Up Here

Friday, July 24th, 2009

I’m not in San Diego for the Comic-Con. I’ve been three times before, and I was thinking of going again this year, but it’s too daunting a prospect. Tickets and hotel rooms both sold out at such a rate as to suggest the whole thing was going to be a hellish scrum, and that doesn’t seem the best way to spend my money.

So instead I’m watching the news from afar. The big news from yesterday as far as the mainstream media is concerned was the Twilight panel. I twittered last week; “I predict there’s going to be a Twilight-fuelled mob riot at SDCC this year, and at least one comic creator will be killed. Mark my words!”

I was wrong. Well, so far. But the LA Times did report on squabbling in the shanty town that sprang up in the queue for the Sparkle Vampires days in advance. Do I feel like I’m really missing San Diego this year? Who wouldn’t want to be in the same place as thousands of dirty cranky hormonal Twilight obsessives, I say!

breadline

It seems the young girls in the queue (aka Twilight’s intended audience) were being bullied and jumped by the over-entitled ‘Twi-Moms’, the crazy Jean Teasdales who make the Twilight phenomenon so terrifying. It’s one thing to have inappropriate stirrings for buff 17-year-olds, but quite another to be loud and obnoxiously tribal about it at the sprightly age of 40-something.

In tech news, Comixology has announced an app for reading comics on the iPhone, which is interesting, but not necessarily compelling. Reading comics on a screen may be (part of) the future, but I personally don’t much enjoy reading text on a screen the size of an iPhone, and I don’t see comics being any more fun to read that way.

Longbox also announced a few more names signed up for their digital comics service, including NBM, Dabel Brothers and Archaia - but still no ‘killer name’, which is what I think they’ll need to be a big success. The closest they’ve come is the news that some Image creators will be signing up with their own work, but I had already assumed that would be a the case when Kieron Gillen mentioned that he’d written such a provision in to his contract.

grantandadolf

Robot 6 at CBR is running a quote of the day for SDCC, and for preview night they ran a quote from Grant Morrison, which included this:

“I don’t care about geeks, you know? Geeks shouldn’t be given power. When geeks get power, you get Hitler.”

No, Grant, you get Barack Obama.

Actually, that’s bullshit, but it’s not as big a pile of bullshit as the Hitler comparison. It’s so dispiriting to see how readily creators turn on fans when they get mired in crossover, event, and marquee superhero comics and get a greater exposure to the outspoken maniac minority. For whatever reason, the average quality of Grant Morrison’s work was higher before he started writing mainstream DC titles, and if that realisation is making him insecure, he shouldn’t take it out on the fans. That’s totally what Hitler would do if Hitler was writing Batman.

A few movie posters have been unveiled, including one for the boys, and one for the other boys:

hexprince

DC Western Jonah Hex is not a comic series I’ve ever read, but I was mildly interested in the movie. This poster has killed that interest stone dead. It looks sterile, tacky, and full of Megan Fox, and it conjures up bad memories of LXG and the laughably bad movie version of Jean Giraud’s Blueberry.

Prince of Persia… well, Jake Gyllenhaal still doesn’t look very Persian, and the wig still looks like a wig, and the choice of font is just odd, but what the hell, he’s pretty, so I am going to go and see this.

jeftevoodoo

Talented Spaniard Jefte Palo has been announced as the artist on the new Brother Voodoo title at Marvel, written by Rick Remender, and the previews look lovely. I refuse to call it ‘Doctor Voodoo’, as I think it’s patronising and racist to suggest that a black character needs to be called ‘doctor’ to get some respect. If the counter-argument is that ‘Brother Voodoo’ sounds too cliché, well, maybe you shouldn’t be publishing a book about a Haitian houngan with a skull painted on his face? You’re either committed or you ain’t, Joe.

On a final note: a lot of my friends are freelancers for major publishers, and this is a busy week for them, so they probably haven’t had a chance to read my piece on the Hyatt boycott in defence of gay marriage. Here’s the problem: I’m calling on the comic industry to show a social conscience, but the comic industry isn’t taking my calls.

This is my plea to my friends and to anyone else in comics or comics reporting; please spread the word. Whether you agree with the boycott or not, you must agree that it’s better that people make informed choices. “I didn’t know about the boycott” or, “I don’t know what the boycott is for” is the popular meme of the moment. People should know. Please, pass the link around.

Credit: I’m getting my news from CBR and Newsarama. You should too!

Voodoos & Don’ts

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

bro-voodoo4

Brother Voodoo is back!

This may not be the most exciting news you’ve heard today, but it is a little exciting for me. Brother Voodoo, AKA Jericho Drumm, is a magical Haitian superhero in the Marvel universe. He debuted back in 1973 in the pages of Strange Tales, just a few months after the voodoo-themed Bond movie Live And Let Die. He is kind of awesome, and very much underappreciated. It appears he’s now taken over from Doctor Strange as Marvel’s Sorceror Supreme, which could see the character propelled into playing a much bigger role.

However, his return has raised a few eyebrows. Even though he only appeared fleetingly in a recent issue of Avengers (I forget which flavour; Uncanny or War Zone or Caramel Ripple), and only said a scant few words, those words were enough to merit a double-take. The words were; “My name is Jericho Drumm. They call me Brudder Voodoo. What da hell is wrong wit you people?”

Given that Brother Voodoo is a physician educated in the United States, this broad regional accent seems a little peculiar - and outdated. Writer Brian Michael Bendis observed on his Twitter; “the accent is established. Nothing I can do about that”. But that’s not true.

First of all, one of Bendis’s favourite characters is Luke Cage, another black 70s superhero who used to speak jive. He doesn’t anymore, because it would be ridiculous. Bendis is not averse to making changes to his characters. Furthermore, Bendis is notable for imposing a certain consistency of rhythm on his characters’ speech patterns. Sometimes works very well, but it has also lead him to write the third worst Doctor Doom in comics (after Mark Millar, whose Doom calls another man ‘master’, and J Michael Straczynski, whose Doom likes to have a bit of a weep).

Second; it’s not established. On the contrary, in Brother Voodoo’s first appearance, everyone else in Haiti spoke that way:

brovoodoo1

But Brother Voodoo did not. The panels below show his first uttered lines, and there’s not a ‘dis’ or a ‘dey’ a or a ‘brudder’ among them - and that’s true throughout all of his original appearances. However broad the stereotypes that Brother Voodoo encountered, however cringe-inducing the caricatures, he himself never called anyone ‘mon’.

bro-voodoo-2

We’ve gone from, “I am called Brother Voodoo” in his first appearance to, “They call me Brudder Voodoo” in his latest. I’m sure there must be a precedent for Brother Voodoo talking this way, but it’s not the case that this is how he always speaks.

Now, Marvel traditionally responds to online criticism by attacking the critic, because Marvel hates people who read their comics, so I suspect their comeback here would be to call me a racist for suggesting that an educated person can’t have a heavy regional accent. Obviously that’s not what I’m suggesting, nor do I think this portrayal of Brother Voodoo is the product of racist attitudes on their part.

I just think it’s dumb, and perhaps thoughtless, to write the character this way. Even if it were how he was originally written, dialogue spelled out in a regional dialect tends to look and read badly. Chris Claremont loves doing it, but at least he largely limits himself to Scots and Southerners. When you get into accents that are associated with racial stereotypes, where those regional tics have historically been used in the media to present a group of people as stupid, or savage, or comical, then you’re entering choppy waters. In just a few lines of dialogue, this version of Brother Voodoo skirts uncomfortably close to evoking a Sambo caricature. It would be like having an Asian superhero mixing up his Ls and Rs.

I’m open to the possibility that I’m being too sensitive. I’m aware that, one panel in, I’m quick to jump to conclusions. I’m also quite sure Bendis didn’t mean to stir up any unfortunate associations. He’s a nice guy and an intelligent writer, and I’m sure he means well. All that said, I know I’m not alone in having looked at that panel and thought, “oh dear”. If we were living in a post-racial world, it ought to be just as fine to write a Haitian character with a thick Haitian accent as to write a Scottish character with a thick Scottish accent (which is to say, it ought be equally awful either way). Even then, though, I think Brother Voodoo earliest appearances suggest that he’s not that guy.