04 January 2007

Blog: One Diverse Comic Book Nation

Over in the left column, a little ways down, are "Blogs of Note", my short-list of the most essential comics blogs that I check regularly for updates. If the democratic blogiverse is akin to the [self-elected] House of Representatives, than these blogs are the House Ways and Means Committee. Some are new, some aren't; some I usually agree with, some I often don't; but each one is a highly recommended read. (Sadly, a few are on indefinite hiatus, but remain linked in the hopes they one day return.)


One of the most recent additions is Loren Javier's One Diverse Comic Book Nation, a self-described "out gay Asian American man" who loves comics and has taken on the noteworthy mission of tracking and, more importantly, commenting on diversity in comics. In some ways, he's the third member of the Axis of Diversity, joining Glyphs and When Fangirls Attack.

Javier's quickly become one of my favorites for his even-handed and wide-ranging coverage of the blogiverse, and his look back on the year in diversity was so good, I asked him to let PopCultureShock republish it so it could reach a wider audience and he graciously agreed to it. It's up now, and if you haven't already read it, you should do so now.

He's currently in the middle of a dustup regarding John Ostrander's "Grotesk" storyline in Batman #660, which featured a villain named "Johnny Karaoke", one of the goofier villains ever to appear in the grittier-by-the-minute DCU. (The end of the issue includes the supposedly lighter OYL-Batman telling a bad guy: "Prepare to bleed.")


Johnny's a purposefully walking stereotype of a Japanese karaoke singer with a posse of molls he calls his "Geisha Grrls", and some fans have taken issue with Ostrander's use of Pidgin English in the dialogue. The whole thing is part misunderstanding, part agenda-driven, in my opinion, but Ostrander added fuel to the fire by responding to the criticism and using the label "ORIENTAL" instead of "ASIAN" in his comments, which some have understandably found offensive.

Click over for relevant links and some interesting comments, including my own two cents on the situation. While this is a case where I don't agree with Javier's take on the issue -- the actual issue, Batman #660, not the issue of Ostrander's use of "Oriental", which I do agree with -- it's a good example of how to express one's displeasure online, offer an intelligent criticism, and not come off as just another whiny blogger piling on an easy target.

If you haven't come across him already, bookmark his site and add his feed to your Bloglines account, Google Reader or whichever method you may use and check in regularly.

2 comments:

Loren said...

Guy,

You are too nice. Thanks for such a nice review of my site. I really do try to make it a place where people can come to discuss diversity, no matter your view. It's also nice to see that there are people passionate about the issue. When I first started the site, I wondered if people would be interested in discussing diversity. But, as you can see with the Batman #660 entry as well as others, there definitely are!

Thanks again, Guy!

Loren

Tim said...

Guy:

As I said over at Loren's site (and on your comicspace page), thanks for helping foster the discussion to a better place.