Hal Pictures Green Lantern Butt's FOREVER!: A Little Whine About Winick

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Friday, October 08, 2010

A Little Whine About Winick

I seem to be displaying all of the least attractive features of a self-entitled Fangirl, and in some ways, I'm heartily ashamed of myself. In other ways however, I'm feeling awfully cranky.

What would most fans do, if suddenly, Batman or Superman were to be portrayed as whiney, cowardly, and completely out of character, in comparison to their previous depictions? I'm betting that there would be a helluva lot of screaming.

So why is it that when Judd Winick does exactly that to a woman character, there is hardly any outcry at all, except amongst a few? I'm speaking of Tora Olafsdottir, aka Ice of course, but actually, this same scenario can be applied to several other characters. I don't think that Winick portrays women particularly well. I gave up reading Power Girl, whom I am VERY fond of, because he made her suddenly totally incompetent. For twelve glorious issues, Palmiotti and Gray and Amanda Conner had portrayed her as smart and sassy and fun to be around. Now she's lost her joie de vivre, not to mention all her money, and seems to be stumbling around from crisis to crisis without a clue. Not my cup of tea.

Ice, whom I have pointed out before has ALWAYS been portrayed as one of the nicest, sweetest most loveable characters in the DC Universe. She wasn't a first tier character, and she may not have been everyone's favorite character, but I honestly can't think of too many people who didn't at least like her. I've always loved Ice. I know that she made her debut in the Global Guardians, but it was in the old Justice League that she came to life, along with her best friend Fire, and I thought that she was a breath of fresh air.

It isn't necessary for a woman to be "strong" if it means that she's going to be portrayed as bitchy. Tora was sweet and gentle, but she had a core of steel that was always depicted as being there when she needed it. And having Guy Gardner for a boyfriend meant that she needed it a whole lot. She just didn't go around making a big production out of it. It was NICE having someone who was...nice.

I understand that coming back from the dead can be disconcerting, but I just can't get over the way that Winick is portraying her in the bi-weekly series of JLI. I actually am enjoying the new series, because I love the characters, but every other week, it still sticks in my craw, when Tora starts swearing.

Superman doesn't act like this, and for good reason. And if someone suddenly started writing him that way, there would be one fair old hullabaloo. Pissing and moaning, and cursing doesn't make Ice look tough or strong...it makes her look pathetic. I can't think of a single person who thought that the unfortunate darkening of Mary Marvel was a good idea...so why would they think that it was a good idea to blacken the good name of the last Good Girl that they have? There isn't room in the comic book industry for a genuinely nice female character?

I'm depressed.


At 8:09 PM, Blogger Shelly said...

I'm not reading the book, but I agree. At least with Mary Marvel, I figured it was the corrupting force of dark magic, but there's no excuse for changing a character's personality. Everyone will write a character a bit differently, but that sounds pretty extreme.

At 8:37 PM, Blogger notintheface said...

I'm still pissed at Winick about that "roomful of rapists" line, but I also agree wholeheartedly about Winick's characterization of Ice. I kept waiting for him to come up with a damn good reason for the personality change, but none has come so far.

At 8:39 PM, Blogger LissBirds said...

Oh, Sally, I agree with you 110%. Why can't DC editor's see things the way we do? *sigh*

I really hate it how "strong" has been equated with "badass" or "bitchy," just like you said. There are many kinds of strength, and there are some quiet, dignified people out there in the world who are solid as a rock.

Plus it makes me sad that no one wants to see a "good girl" anymore. There needs to be at least a little bit of niceness and sweetness to brighten things up.

At 12:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I don't know who Ice, Power Girl, or Wonder Woman is anymore. Hint to writers: It's not enough to get the hair color right and give her boobs. At least Gail Simone's got Black Canary back before she irrevocably reverted to screaming, incompetent Faux Action Girl.

-- Jack of Spades

At 12:31 AM, Blogger Martha said...

I wanted to throttle Winnick last issue when, after a really pretty nice heartfelt talk between Tora and Bea, Tora calls Bea a bitch. That was by far the best Ice scene in JLGL so far, since she finally seems to be coming out of the whiny doldrums, but then, ugh. "You're such a @#$%." Which I guess isn't technically calling her a bitch, but what's another word that fits, needs to be bleeped, and isn't worse.

At 1:18 AM, Blogger LissBirds said...

Martha, I had completely forgotten about that! Ice calling Bea a bitch was so completely unneccessary. Doesn't Bea realize her best friend had a complete personality replacement?

At 6:50 AM, Blogger SallyP said...

I can understand that Tora may actually know a few swear words...she did hang out with Guy after all...but that she would USE them? Constantly and inappropriately? Bea isn't running around cursing, neither is Booster or Captain Shinypants. Just Tora.

Sweet, innocent demure Tora.

It makes no SENSE! If Winick is trying to be daring, then it isn't working, it's just bloody damned annoying.

See, now he's got ME doing it!

At 2:02 PM, Blogger Saranga said...

who's captain shinypants?

Tora should never call Bea a bitch, even if it is in jest. That's just wrong.

I'm not particularly keen on Ice myself, I prefer characters with attitude and am not so interested in the nice ones, but they should still be included in the universe!

At 6:46 PM, Blogger SallyP said...

I call Captain Atom Captain Shinypants, because he's...well, he's so SHINY! And I don't like him very much.

But at least he's not swearing.

At 7:04 AM, Blogger Erin S. said...

I assumed there was a lot of backlash against this and those who weren't exactly upset are waiting to see what comes of this storyline. I know there have been threads on the dc boards with people expressing a extreme dislike of the change. And I remember one person that defended the change listed places since her return that gave hints that some change was already taking place within Toras' character.

I recall around Infinite Crisis there was an outcry against Batman acting like a jerk to everyone including people who were only being helpful. Like he was the only one that could solve things, couldn't admit he was wrong and everyone else was in the way. I remember it getting to the point that people wanted to see Bruce fail because they blamed him for Teds' death and thought he deserved to be beaten down by Booster.

If you want an example of a female character there was also a huge backlash for DCs' treatment of Cassandra Cain. A popular character they screwed over for no good reason. As much as I love Steph I still can't find it in me to get her book.

While a cursing Tora makes me cringe I suppose I'm more interested in seeing what happens after she gets over it then what happens while she's still furious.

At 1:28 PM, Blogger SallyP said...

I didn't even think of Cassandra, but there's no denying that she's gotten the short end of the stick as well.

Fortunately she hasn't been written by Winick.

I'm not saying that characters can never change, that would be ridiculous and boring...but if you are going to have them completely change their personalities, there had better be a plausible explanation. So far...I haven't seen one.

At 9:47 PM, Blogger Erin S. said...

Maybe it doesn't seem like a good explanation but I prefer Winicks' better than the "Cass is evil because she was born that way" explanation before the retconned it into being drugged. I dunno, I'm actually interested in seeing at least one hero upset over dying. It always rubbed me the wrong way how characters just brush it off like it's nothing.

At 7:05 AM, Blogger Sea-of-Green said...

>>What would most fans do, if suddenly, Batman or Superman were to be portrayed as whiney, cowardly, and completely out of character, in comparison to their previous depictions?<<


At 7:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You need nice girls to get the maximum effect out of bad ones. The same applies to killing characters and skimpy costumes. It's about balance and variety.

At 8:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most people mistake nice for whimpy and a push over. It happens to Tora, Mary Marvel and even Donna Troy. Winick definitely isn't the only one doing this and it's to bad. Women don't have to be super badass to kick ass, Superman can pull of nice and kick ass, why can't these women?

At 12:12 PM, Blogger Ashley said...

I'm so glad you mentioned Gail Simone. I really enjoy her writing and wish she'd get back on the Wonder Woman team. Maybe it's because she's a woman herself but she just knows what it takes to write strong, self-controlled bad ass women...without turning them into bitches.

At 1:59 PM, Blogger Jack Bennett said...

"There isn't room in the comic book industry for a genuinely nice female character? "

Let's be honest. The answer right now is no. Outside of maybe Marvel's Squirrel Girl I can't think of a single "nice" female character that hasn't been darkened for no known reason in the last several years. Mary Marvel, Miss Martian (they did it to her too), Tora.

When you say you can't think of a single person who thought the "darkening of Mary Marvel" was a good idea, in reality that only pertains to the readers/consumers who let DC know that storyline was an EPIC FAIL early on. But you know who did think it was "a good idea"? Dan Didio - and the Editors/Writers who surround him (including Winick, remember ComaMary in Trials of Shazam?). For some reason TPTB at DC do think stuff like this is a good idea, even though their readers don't like it. They don't know how to write "nice" people as interesting characters so the solution is to make them as mean and angsty as everyone else. Lazy writing.


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