Peter G (sinetimore) wrote,
Peter G

Once More With Feeling -- Scott Lobdell And The Starfire Controversy

Oh, goody.  It seems the controversy surrounding Starfire in Red Hood And The Outlaws have pushed sales into the stratosphere.  The comic is a runaway success and everyone is talking up a storm about it.

Too bad it's such a piece of shit.  I would love to see a worthwhile book, like something by Terry Moore or Jeff Smith, get this much attention.  But no.  It's this book.

The new "come fuck me now" Starfire is more of a focus than Catwoman.  Why?  Simple.  Catwoman has always had a sexual vibe.  Starfire is a beloved character on the beloved all-ages Teen Titans cartoon show.  People picking up this book to see their beloved character are shitting themselves right now.  You couldn't have made this worse without have Robin and Raven join her for a three-way (oh, lord, I just know I gave some people some ideas I'm going to regret seeing as I surf the Internet).  Indeed, Catwoman's bullshit has pretty much been forgotten as everyone continues to chime in on Starfire.

(Side note to all the people bitching about the depiction of Starfire's character:  now you know how I feel about Supergirl.)

I have never been a fan of Scott Lobdell.  He didn't grasp the characters or flow of X-Factor after Peter David jumped and completely derailed it.  He is servicable as a comic writer, but not much more than that.  I am not aware of any story he's written that is fondly remembered by fans.  Now, that was back in the early 90's.  It appears part of the problem is Lobdell hasn't advanced as a writer at all in the intervening years.  A blog caught up to him, and had this to say --

Kory was definitely being evasive/sarcastic because she did NOT want to talk about her past with them and issues that will come up later in the series. She does not have a memory of ‘a goldfish’ as some people have been saying ‘round the ‘net.

Also, Jason was lying to Roy about certain implications he made in the first issue to Roy about Kory. I won’t say what exactly because I don’t want to spoil the next issue, especially since it’s not out yet.

This also may be uncomfortable to bring up but while talking about the ‘controversy’ over Starfire, Scott got VISIBLY upset when speaking of some of the demeaning terms he has seen/heard written about his portrayal of Kory in various comments [Not the actual articles, just the comment sections]. He pretty much said that he couldn’t believe some of the terms people were throwing out and you could tell that he was really broken up that people would think in those terms and that it was okay to spread them around.

Scottie, Scottie, Scottie.  You are attributing all this to people not picking up on sarcasm?  And who cares what plot twist is coming up?  First appearances are crucial.  I spend a long time trying to figure out how to introduce characters without seeming stilted or disrupting the flow of the story.  It can be done.  Writers do it all the time.  The fact is, there was no hint that Starfire was being sarcastic because there was nothing to put what she was saying in some sort of context.  The fact that NO ONE is saying, "Maybe we'll learn the truth about Starfire in the next issue" is proof positive.  Might've helped get the point across if Starfire had said she didn't want to talk about it or changed topics instead of offering herself as a fucktoy.

There was a movie in the 70's called Chatterbox about a woman with a talking vagina.  It didn't just talk, it wanted to be a singing star.  I can't tell you if the movie was any good because the entire time I watched it, I thought, "This went from idea to script to pre-production to production to post to marketing to release, and not once did anyone say, 'We're making a movie about a talking vagina.  Somebody stop us!'"

Same principle applies -- you wrote a standard comic book to appeal to people who expect comics to be like what resulted.  There's no subversion.  There's no defiance.  There's no, "Yeah, we know you boys buy this for the hot chicks, fuck you, I'm telling a story" like Gail Simone does all the time.  You created an obvious sex caricature with no immediate explanation.  And at no point did you stop and say, "Maaaaaaaaaaaaybe I'm not being clear here."  And the fact that it apparently didn't occur to you that introducing a character in that way might possibly be taken in a way other than you claim you intended (I'm looking forward to the next issue to see if there might have been some last minute rewrites to the dialog.  Ain't Photoshop grand?) is disingenuous at best.  It's one thing for it to be a mistake, just sloppy writing.  It happens, people say and do things that get misunderstood.  It's happened to me in my writing, pro, self-published, here on my blog, even personal e-mails.  But the fact that you are apparently offended by the reactions and are defending this as some plot twist that will make sense in hindsight ("I'm sorry you were offended, but I'm not sorry I did it") instead of at least owning up to the shitstorm you stirred up does not speak well of how you handle the art of writing.  Bottom line:  you blew it, and you are trying for damage control.

Worst part?  Jim Shooter's blog:

Don’t get me wrong, I’m in favor of sex, in favor of sexuality, in favor of expressions of same in any creative endeavor involving representations of the human condition. There is more sexuality in my work than in most comic book writers’ work. Sexuality is an important component of every character I write, just as it is an important part of every person I’ve ever met, even if by denial! And I’ve written a wide variety of characters with a wide range of sexual natures.

The problem I have with Starfire is that she’s a device, not a character. Feh.

Jules Feiffer once said comic books were “booze for kids.” Starfire as portrayed here is porn for kids. You know what I mean. Feh.

Get a real writer, DC. Or, Scott Lobdell, get a grip.

A blurb at the bottom of the last page promises “To be explained…”

Yes, DC and Scott, I think we deserve an explanation for what you’ve done.

Thanks to Scott Lobdell, I'm actually agreeing with Jim Shooter on something.

Thanks a lot, asshole.
Tags: art, comic books, comics, destroying childhood memories, did not do the research, haven't we suffered enough, important life lessons, infernal gall, let's talk about sex bay-bee!, stupidity, technology is a beautiful thing, wtf

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