Thursday, October 20, 2011

Scott Lobdell Defends Starfire Portrayal And Neal Adams Further Convolutes Batman Continuity

Newswarama interviewed Scott Lobdell recently, who is working on Red Hood And The Outlaws, among other projects. Among the many topics covered was the notion that Starfire was overly sexualized in a fashion that promotes gender inequality.

Lobdell told Newsarama that he found fan reaction to be unfair. His comments imply that he believes Starfire’s character is one of a woman who is in complete control of her sexuality. Which, to be fair, kind of is how she is portrayed. The problem rests with how he repeatedly made references to her choosing to be so hyper sexualized, but there’s no implication within the story itself that the way she acts is actually a result of lifestyle choices. The second issue of Red Hood And The Outlaws only changes things from her being a wanton sexpot to actually being Jason Todd’s slutty personal secretary. The issue hit the newsstands yesterday.

DC is also getting flak for both the Catwoman comic and the short that came with the Batman Year One movie released on Tuesday. In my debut post, I defended the comic, saying it explored the sexual metaphors inherently associated with the superhero and costumed vigilante genres. The short, on the other hand, while still a fantastic piece of art, had no such symbolism. It’s roughly 15 minutes and two of them focus on us watching the villain watch a stripper give a very detailed and erotic striptease. Thanks to camera angles, no bare breasts were seen, but one has to wonder at why almost 20% of the short focused on what was blatant fan service if not to provide, well, fan service.

The interview with Lobdell made mention of how the new continuity for the trio will begin to be explored starting with issue three. Memories (flashbacks, perhaps?) of the characters will explore their pasts. This will be important, as fans have raised numerous complaints about the lack of a shared continuity across the many Bat titles. What doesn’t help is how The New 52 is handling Batman: Odyssey by the legendary Neal Adams. It reads like a classic Adams story (complete…with… Shatner-speak….levels of…ellipses…overusing).

However, it’s set a few years in the future, but Dick Grayson is still an inexperienced Robin. If the miniseries is indeed part of the main continuity now, then it may very well be the biggest continuity flub so far. The only way that could work is if Adams was under the impression that the timeframe of the Justice League comic is the present, in which case it could fit between JL and the present titles.

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