The latest in DC Comics related news items from December 20th - 22nd, 2013!
Scott Lobdell outed as a con creep; offers lame duck apology!
As the comic book industry is dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century, suddenly acts of sexism or downright inappropriateness from major industry professionals are becoming far less tolerated in a more viral online world. Now as it seems the movement for better female inclusion and treatment within the industry rises, the sorts of people who used to act crassly at conventions now are being outed as fans and the industry seek to find a better way. Merely last month, Brian Wood was revealed as someone who, at best, used his position to try to score dates from young female artists at cons (while married). This time a bigger fish was on the hook; former 90's "Uncanny X-Men" glory child and current DC Comics writer Scott Lobdell. Considering that it seems DC Comics can't go more than three months without some jaw dropping bad news in regards to public relations, this comes at an inopportune time for them.
Independent creator MariNaomi ("Kill & Tell: A Romantic Resume, Ages 0 to 22") was a part of a recent LGBT-themed Prism Comics panel alongside several other comic creators - including one she dubbed "DB" who was said to be the most well known at the panel. Over the course of an hour, according to her illustrated account, "DB" went from offering sexually inappropriate jokes at her direction to all but propositioning her for sex as well as mocking her sexual orientation and Asian heritage during the photo op session. MariNaomi swallowed her pride and was silently appalled by the entire humiliating experience - which was not aided by a rushed apology "DB" issued to her husband in the front row at the end of the farce. MariNaomi did not want this to become "a witch hunt" and did not name this creator; instead she hoped to illustrate how lewd behavior against women not only happens among professionals in the comic industry, but happens on a panel before an audience which a moderator present and nobody sought to halt it. The story was recounted on "The Beat", and things only escalated as the comments section saw debate on the course of action, including other professionals such as Mark Waid and Tony Bedard getting in their two cents.
Many people online were doing their homework to figure out who "DB" was against the protests of MariNaomi and "The Beat". Perhaps sensing a public relations disaster, "DB" (perhaps standing for "diminished bum") Scott Lobdell revealed his identity and reached out to "The Beat" (which is run by Heidi MacDonald, a friend of his) and issued the sort of standard media apology that admits little wrong doing and makes any admission seem very impersonal. Lobdell claimed that it was his "lame attempt at comedy" and he was not aware of how offensive he was being; which seems illogical considering he apologized to MariNaomi's husband (but not her) immediately after the panel only after being notified that her husband was in attendance and witnessed the entire ordeal.
While Lobdell is well known for "Uncanny X-Men" and "Generation X" at Marvel Comics, his presence on the LGBT panel was likely due to him outing Northstar in "Alpha Flight" as well as creating Bunker, an openly gay (and highly stereotypical) homosexual superhero during his run in "Teen Titans". A peer of DC Comics' co-publisher Jim Lee, he was on board for the start of the "New 52" era, writing "Red Hood and the Outlaws" as well as "Superboy" for the publisher in 2011. He has since gone on to write "Teen Titans" and currently, "Action Comics". His debut on "Red Hood and the Outlaws" sparked much controversy for writing Starfire as a male fantasy figure who poses in extreme manners exiting water in a "barely there" bikinni and seemed to exist for little more than random sexual encounters with any man she meets. This was seen as disgusting at worst and short sighted at best, as Starfire was best known for appearing in a children's TV cartoon for five seasons beforehand. Naturally, this made the rounds online and has done little to endear Lobell with modern audiences or diminish the reputation DC Comics has carved for itself in the past two years as a frat house for immature has beens from the mid-90's era run by a media division which desperately copies what Marvel Studios does without matching their wit, heart, or soul. One hopes 2014 will be a better year for DC Entertainment's outreach to their audiences. It is hard to imagine it getting much worse.
Considering DC Comics is moving to the west coast entirely in 2015, now would be the time to exorcise some demons and do what has to be done to face the rest of the decade.
Variety reports that "Her" actor Joaquin Phoenix has caught Warner Brothers' eye to play the villain in the upcoming Superman/Batman film which already features Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, and Gal Gadot. The rile is unknown but the safe bet is for Lex Luthor. Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad") was rumored to be up for a role earlier in the year, but that rumor has gone nowhere. The critically acclaimed actor may be best known for playing the antagonist in 2000's "Gladiator". Considering the film debuts in 2015, it's true enemy won't be Luthor or Doomsday but the sequel to "Avengers" which hits that same summer.