If you wanted me to be honest, I don’t think some redesigns are as drastic as others make them out to be. I mean, it’s really not much of a big change given what Mickey’s been wearing in the cartoons whilst the only thing that’s changed a lot about him is his face. (His appearance in the new shorts might just be be somebody else’s style.) Between Superman and Superboy, it’s the latter that’s got a bigger redesign and recently went back to his 1990s punk rock outfit for some nostalgic reason.

Likewise for Wonder Woman, the biggest redesign she’s got isn’t so much about lengthening her shorts to resemble trousers (though it does look strange) but rather replacing shorts with a skirt. Supergirl, almost without exception (that’s barring the times she wore a leotard, shorts and a white blouse), alternated between red and blue skirts. One person’s black is another person’s blue (sometimes linguistically so). These changes aren’t really that big.

Others however tend to get tweaked ever so slightly if because the initial design’s not really that good (Tigra for instance gets this as she’s supposed to be part tiger/beast). Not necessarily always because it’s ugly but it’s either too hard on the cartoonist or because it jars with the inherent concept. Not that Tigra should go entirely furry but that she really does deserve to be depicted with more consistent tiger/animalistic features.

(The uncanny valley being the only way to desexualise her somewhat whilst retaining her outfit in a way.)

Then there are characters with genuinely drastic redesigns. Something like what the Flash and Cheetah recently got. The latter being remade into a proper furry in the DC Rebirth comics though it practically owes to the DCAU production. (What Robin got was just replacing the shorts with longer trousers.) Sometimes some redesigns aren’t really that drastic though it does deconstruct some of the problems with said design in some cases.

Not so beholden

I guess sometimes it doesn’t take much of a hater to point out that Kitty Pryde and Tim Drake (and anything else) aren’t always quite what their fans make them out to be. Though that involves objectively pointing out something like say Kitty Pryde being hot-tempered and gullible (as in she’s always a pawn for villains and tends to lose her crap almost every time from what I remember) or Tim Drake being way more sexually active than Jotaro Kujo would ever be.

It’s not that Jotaru Kujo lacks flaws, he’s one of those JJBA characters who aren’t as openly perverted (he may’ve read smut but that could be about it) as far as I remember or know. Though I suspect with both Kitty Pryde and Tim Drake deliberately targeting a much narrower audience than JJBA did in the 1990s and early 2000s, inevitably the former two’s fans are likelier to ignore or gloss over such characteristics as they live vicariously through them.

Even though ironically other characters are very much them as expected by fans. Something like Jotaro being way calmer than Tim is (not that he can’t get angry) or Halo Jones actually indulging in things most other, albeit real life women do like shopping and having a dog (Kitty Pryde doesn’t seem to shop and tends to do boy things more). I’m not that fond of Kitty and Tim but then again this essay proves that it doesn’t take much of a hater as much as you just have to objectively point out things.

Albeit things that don’t sound sweet at first but still.

Not that Tim lacks a personality

Like I said in another post, it’s not that Tim Drake lacks a personality. He does but contrary to his fans and respective author(s) he’s actually more sexual, aloof and temperamental than they expect him to be. (Jotaro Kujo by contrast is aloof but helpful and merciful.) In the same manner, Kitty Pryde’s rather temperamental and gullible to boot. It’s not so much that Jotaro’s any more well-adjusted either (or at least not without unlikable flaws like aloofness).

But being that unfond of Kitty and Tim makes it easier to see their flaws. The same can be said of anything or anybody else even if the critics sometimes aren’t always that hateful. It’s like knowing that person might be maladjusted because they tend to be independent out of distrust (bad experiences, overly scolding/demanding peers, neglect, bullying/abuse) and tend to stonewall you for wanting to know them more (or that they don’t remember things when asked).

Basta, it takes more indifference (or suspicion) to nitpick flaws more easily though keep in mind those making the criticisms aren’t always that hateful either.

Generous Attempts

Sometime ago DC tried to make its comics accessible again by offering anthology magazines in Walmart stores. Walmart being a well-known retailer in the US. While there were others having doubts about it, admittedly I get the impression that at least they’re trying to do something about it. Even if it’s almost outdated. Not that print magazines and newspapers aren’t being published at all though I think with DC prioritising DC Access (or something) there’s a chance that more and more comics publishers might go the way of Summit Media.

To put it into perspective, Summit Media used to publish magazines until their CEO decided to go completely digital. That worked to its advantage though it does give me some memories of myself buying those magazines before. Now it’s like a distant memory (for some) and for me, it’s both a memory and an omen of what DC and Marvel might turn into if they seriously prioritise webcomics at all. They do or did publish webcomics before. But I have a feeling that if they did, that’s when they’re doing webcomics seriously.

That’s by becoming more like Summit Media. Heck Image, Dark Horse. Archie and Fantagraphics might end up doing the same. Instead of a suffocating duopoly that’s crippled US comics magazines we have a growing multitude of webcomics publishers ranging from GoComics and personal blogs to big name brands like Marvel, DC and even Fantagraphics. For now, though they do well with online subscription offline they make bank off of graphic novels/trade paperbacks and magazines.

Some of the primary Disney brands

Fox–The most recently acquired brand from News Corporation (at the time of this writing), used mainly to fight Netflix which is now reported to be bigger than Disney. As to minimise the issues with having a near monopoly, Disney has excised/divested some Fox franchises as well as its own stakes on other companies elsewhere. I could’ve seen it coming especially with the Disney films showing up on Fox Family here in the Philippines.

Marvel–Acquired in 2009, Disney took advantage of some of its franchises to build up the Marvel Cinematic Universe (to my memory) and practically helped introduce a lot more people to Marvel comics this way. This might have influenced Marvel to go SJW (same for DC) as to take advantage of a growing female audience and would do anything to be less sexist (whatever they can do about it) to appeal to them, despite flaws every now and then (same for DC).

Lucasfilm–Acquired in 2012 for some reason, albeit one that’s controversial among some Star Wars fans especially with how they willingly tampered with Star Wars canon never mind that most people don’t really recognise Mara Jade much, let alone care about her a lot. Of all the Disney brands mentioned in this post, Star Wars is something I’m really in the dark about. If because I’m not too intimated with it much so.

Actually ageing

Like I said in another post, real time ageing might resolve at least some of the problems superheroes have with continuity. In the sense of absolving some of the issues with the constant reboots and alternate timelines. It wouldn’t get rid of retcons and when it comes to evidence about celebrity and historical activity, new evidence seemingly ‘retcons’ public understanding of these. But it does make it easier on the characters and stories.

It’s possible to do a continuity free story (or at least something with light or consistent enough continuity) without the characters ageing. But the big problem with superhero stories (as well as other genres) is that they run on the illusion of change. It’s like they can’t risk changing the character without angering fans, which is understandable. But it’s also hampered by status quo.

Both of these might explain why children and grandchildren often tend to come from alternate timelines in cape stories. It’s not necessarily always the case in other fictions which aren’t without their own problems* so to speak. But it does make it rather poignant that Jotaro and Joseph of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures actually aged in real time and turning out to have families of their own, whom they’re not always careful with despite mentoring other relatives.

At least Jolene, Giorno and Josuke didn’t come from alternate timelines, at least not yet as the series hadn’t rebooted yet when they appeared at all. (Not that JJBA’s entirely issue free.) Perhaps in the case with superhero comics and Simpsons cartoons, the real problem might be continuity. Possibly bigger than other 2D serials involved (as far as I know about it) so real time ageing (or close to it) might be enough to resolve many, if not most problems.

*The Simpsons has this problem where the characters never seemed to actually age and some fans wonder how much more bearable it is if it allowed them to age at all.

Soured snow

Like I said, I have a feeling that in turning Caitlin Snow into an intersex werewolf would not only screw with expected stereotypes of black and white women (wherein the only unquestionably human female’s the black girl) but also get people soured on dreamy geek girls which coincides with their growing involvement as well as apparent mainstreaming of furries and anime (Killing Bites). Whether or not the characters on Killing Bites are furries is up to anybody’s guess but they’re much more anatomically sound/plausible than the average animal-eared type is.

(Whoever said that giving Tigra paw-like hands must be onto something.)

Tigra’s pretty much the prototypical geek girl gone wild in the sense of having started out as the more modestly dressed Cat with a biology degree to boot and admittedly had a more convincingly feline design to boot. Though I think Killing Bites and Caitlin becoming a werewolf might allow a more consistently animalistic looking Tigra to happen, given the repeated attempts to make her look more bestial most notably what became of her in West Coast Avengers.

But it’s also controversial enough to allow this to happen to other characters. It could be Felicity Smoak turning into a hyena (due to Caitlin’s experimentations) or Kitty Pryde becoming permanently reinvented as a leopardess. All of these are possible due to Caitlin’s infamy but one that leads to a change of taste in fictional women, if these ironically lead to what others call traps. As in male characters that convincingly pass for female and something actual transgenders have issues with.

Not to mention it also proves Jean Baudrillard’s point about crossdressers being potentially more feminine than most women are, often to an exaggerated degree. In this context, traps are less threatening than Caitlin and Felicity will ever be but in the sense of not usurping patriarchal structures and questioning boundaries between not only genders but also species. Though it wouldn’t be any better.

But not only Caitlin soured everybody on it.