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Old August 9th, 2006   reasonablefan1 is offline   #49
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I've always been a big believer in implied violence. Sometimes what you don't see is scarier and more horrifying than what you do see.
ddf
Matches

I do think that is true - especially when it comes to concepts like torture.

However, IMHO, the focus on the "depiction" misses the point. For me, it is not the "graphic" nature of the violence or the sex so much as the context and the point.

I think there is a qualitative difference between the violence in the first 30 minutes of "Saving Private Ryan" and the violence in a typical slasher/horror film.

In the case of Superboy-Prime, I think the violence had to be intense.

Another example is Black Adam. It is too easy to romanticize his rhetoric and turn him into one of those 90s anti-heroes writers tried to make "honorable" while sweeping the killing under the rug. But we are constantly forced to deal w/ the ugly side of that rhetoric by having Black Adam's callous disregard for life shoved in your face in a way that you can't get away w/ the "well, he deserved it" excuse.

The other side of using implied violence is that it can make violence and killing and death MORE permissible and MORE acceptable.
 
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Old August 9th, 2006   Chris D. is offline   #50
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to save typing I'm just gonna say great post reasonablefan
 
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Old August 9th, 2006   Stephen Henel is offline   #51
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I've always been a big believer in implied violence. Sometimes what you don't see is scarier and more horrifying than what you do see. Hitchcock used that idea quite well over the years. Unfortunately in this case I'm not sure how you show that Pantha's head got punched off without actually showing the head. IMO Max shooting Ted Kord was unnecessarily graphic - a panel of Max pulling the trigger would've been enough. But the Pantha thing - I dunno, maybe it could've been done in silhouette or something, but I'm not sure that's much different really.
ddf
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Silhoutte was what I was thinking, too, but they may have just shown Superboy winding up for a punch, a panel of the sound effect, a whole bunch of shocked expressions, and then see a head (largely obscured by hair) rolling to a halt, with Pantha's dead eyes glancing upwards. You can accomplish a lot in implied violence with enough creativity. If you look at "Avengers Forever," they were able to show Tigra getting ripped in half by the Hulk in a way that was very effective, but not overly graphic.

Of course, decapitation may not have been overly neccesary either.

I think there is a qualitative difference between the violence in the first 30 minutes of "Saving Private Ryan" and the violence in a typical slasher/horror film.

In the case of Superboy-Prime, I think the violence had to be intense.

Another example is Black Adam. It is too easy to romanticize his rhetoric and turn him into one of those 90s anti-heroes writers tried to make "honorable" while sweeping the killing under the rug. But we are constantly forced to deal w/ the ugly side of that rhetoric by having Black Adam's callous disregard for life shoved in your face in a way that you can't get away w/ the "well, he deserved it" excuse.

The other side of using implied violence is that it can make violence and killing and death MORE permissible and MORE acceptable.
ddf
reasonablefan1

As for implied violence making death seem more permissable, I don't think death will ever be a casual thing in an industry where even peripheral characters have a fanbase. Also, a point to be made is that while experiencing extreme violence in a detached way, it is very frequent for readers to react with nervous laughter...there are people that find over-the-top violence absolutely hysterical. I know, because I've spoken with people who weren't able to read the decapitation scene without laughing. Rather than make the scene more viceral, extreme violence can actually undercut its own drama, and make the scene a subject of parody. Saving Private Ryan, as I remember, was pretty realistic in its violence...Crisis, on the other hand, was kinda cartoony in its violence, like an M-rated Looney Tunes.
Last edited by Stephen Henel; August 9th, 2006 at 12:53 PM.
 
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Old August 10th, 2006   Paul_King is offline   #52
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I really enjoyed writing this one. Of course the scene is controversial - people die in horrible ways. But it's certainly not a snuff film. It's a tragic moment.

Geoff
ddf
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You know...

That scene worked so well as it was published.

I do some commenting on the boards about violence and stuff but this scene wouldn't have worked any other way.

As the scene and panels progressed, it became more tragic and powerful.

Geoff, you really know how to write powerful character pieces. I'm glad your instincts (read: skill at craft) lead you to get to this sequence.

Great article also. Insightful as usual.

I can't wait for the Hardcover of IC!

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Old August 10th, 2006   Paul_King is offline   #53
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I've always been a big believer in implied violence. Sometimes what you don't see is scarier and more horrifying than what you do see. Hitchcock used that idea quite well over the years. Unfortunately in this case I'm not sure how you show that Pantha's head got punched off without actually showing the head. IMO Max shooting Ted Kord was unnecessarily graphic - a panel of Max pulling the trigger would've been enough. But the Pantha thing - I dunno, maybe it could've been done in silhouette or something, but I'm not sure that's much different really.
ddf
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First of all:

You had all better sit down for this one.




good.

I couldn't see IC or Countdown working any other way. Both scenes (as with the "Kobra's heart" scene in JSA) had to be presented that way they were. Violence and all.

SBP was loosing control. His emotions were not letting him keep his powers in check. SBP's crying only worked if we SEE how far he went over the line. The violence WAS there to shock but it directly contrasted to the depths of disregard and victimization SBP felt. A visual cheat would have lessened the sadness of SBP's emotions after that moment.

In Countdown, the headshot was a wake-up call and a definate whoa moment after the last 70+ pages of build up. It forced me to sit for a minute and soak it all in. Without the "punctuation" of that scene, the end would have had more fizzle and less punch.

Now if this kind of violence happens too much past these it will lose it's impact.

But I believe these scenes were very plot driven and character driven necessities.
 
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Old August 10th, 2006   Jeff Nowicki is offline   #54
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You know...

That scene worked so well as it was published.

I do some commenting on the boards about violence and stuff but this scene wouldn't have worked any other way.

As the scene and panels progressed, it became more tragic and powerful.

Geoff, you really know how to write powerful character pieces. I'm glad your instincts (read: skill at craft) lead you to get to this sequence.

Great article also. Insightful as usual.

I can't wait for the Hardcover of IC!

-Paul
ddf
Paul_King

I've never read a Titans story with Pantha in it. (Except for that JLA/Titans three issue miniseries by Devin and Phil.) I recognized her, but I wasn't buying Titans when she was a member. I was all Vertigo back then!

I was shocked by the scene and I felt horrible for everyone. I think Phil's layouts on the page are amazing to look at. Superboy's talking and all of the sudden your eyes follow his fist and suddenly the reader is transported inside Superboy Prime. It only lasts a second, but I was shocked just like SBP was. And the aftermath of his attack wasn't some gruesome close-up of Pantha's head. Phil pulled the panel back as far as he could. After the shock wears off, we suddenly feel the anger of the other Titans. The layouts are gruesome, but they are a testament to Phil's ability as an artist as well. Lord knows what this page would have looked like in the hands of a lesser artist.

Many people complained that SBP didn't kill anyone important. Every character is someody's favorite. And the Titans are more like a family than any other team in the DCU. The first Crisis claimed many Titans (Aquagirl, Dove, Kole) and it was tragic for me to see the cycle repeated. It wasn't like that infamous issue of Eclipso when everyone was killed for shock value. We had to witness the biggest family in the DCU lose the most. This makes Nightwing's decision to remain on the cold Outsiders team even more valid.

Seeing Superboy kill made the scene even worse. This could have been our Clark under different circumstances. His reaction to Pantha's death made this tragic. Most horror films make it cool to kill. Heck, there's some new dvd that let's you pick how you want the characters to die. This wasn't like that. It also reflects back on the scene in TT when Conner was looking at the statues of the fallen Titans and making stupid jokes. These Titans died because he needed help. It made his death and sacrifice all the more powerful. I think Geoff did an amazing job on the rewrite. Then watching two more Titans(Wally and Bart) risk it all to stop him was beyond sad. Then we lost Conner! The Titans fell the hardest. (Tempest went missing as well...)

I think this scene rivals Cassie holding Conner as the most emotionally charged moment in the series. I'm interested in the hardcover now as well. Is it going to have a section of commentary like Identity Crisis did?

I am glad that SBP didn't kill Krypto.
 
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Old August 10th, 2006   JLG is offline   #55
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The impact is lessened when you realize that, for a power like SBP supposedly going batshit insane, he only, coincidentally, managed to kill three thrid-string characters who hadn't been around for a while. That kind of blatant popularity contest makes the scene incredibly artificial. It's not "random," it's not "real." Random and real would be Robin or Nightwing or Wonder Girl dying in the fight, because war and death don't care about popularity. Instead it's playing it safe, and fooling the fans who can be glad their favorite characters, protected by plot and popularity, with pseudo-realism.

And it's a cheap way of shocking the reader by having so much extreme violence. Note that Countdown set up Ted Kord as a tragic, heroic figure before dying. Johns has no set-up for Pantha, if she was so "important" to die first. He just has characters show up and then get killed brutally, we have no attachment to the victims, so why should we feel why he's going crazy? The characters he killed have as much development as the anonymous Thanagarians he killed, and Johns relies on cheap shock value instead of making us feel sad that a character died. Johns even said that he wanted the reader to focus on the violence itself and SBP, rather than, you know, a person dying. Not to mention the first death is so ****ing campy and ridiculously over the top, that it screams how desperate for shock it is. The lack of any detailed response from the Titans makes the whole thing even more detached. It's like the gore-filled, crappy horror movie mentality has leeked into comics. This kind of violence doesn't fit the context of the underwear pervert universe.

You don't need extreme violence in order to get the same effect. There's a reason people say artists do great work figuring out creative ways to subvert censorship. Maybe Johns should've practiced self-restraint in writing IC, instead of writing "OMFG ROLLING DECAPITATED HEAD! ****ING HARDCORE!!!"

Many people complained that SBP didn't kill anyone important. Every character is someody's favorite. And the Titans are more like a family than any other team in the DCU. The first Crisis claimed many Titans (Aquagirl, Dove, Kole) and it was tragic for me to see the cycle repeated. It wasn't like that infamous issue of Eclipso when everyone was killed for shock value. We had to witness the biggest family in the DCU lose the most. This makes Nightwing's decision to remain on the cold Outsiders team even more valid.
ddf
Except we never saw anything in IC or the Titans tie-in to show this. No scenes showing Pantha, BW, or Bushido interacting and showing that family bond with the Titans. As I said, no set up. You know what we got? Nightwing saying Pantha, Wildebeest, and Bushido would be forgotten and indeed, so far, they have been (Johns not bothering to show any memorial or statues for the other dead Titans, emphazing Superboy's death with the statue out front of the tower)- so much for family.

So in terms of panel space and the reasons in choosing them (****, Johns even said one reason for killing Pantha was that she wasn't around lately), they aren't important as far as Geoff and the narrative is concerned - they are killed for shock value, to move the plot along to get SBP going craaaaazy.

Seeing Superboy kill made the scene even worse. This could have been our Clark under different circumstances. His reaction to Pantha's death made this tragic. Most horror films make it cool to kill. Heck, there's some new dvd that let's you pick how you want the characters to die. This wasn't like that.
ddf
Except you could've replaced Pantha with anyone else, and the result would've been the same. It's not Pantha herself dying that's the cause, it's the violence and death itself. Geoff is functioning in the same way a horror film does - kill people in the most creative and gruesome way possible. SBP is no different than any slasher serial killer villain at that point, wanting the scene to be about him killing rather than who's being killed. It's not a "strong character driven" moment, Pantha and others are just obvious plot devices. If Johns had given time to the Titans before and after the fight, instead of showing us the violence, then you'd be right. But Johns took the cheap and easy way.
Last edited by JLG; August 10th, 2006 at 02:01 AM.
 
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Old August 10th, 2006   Geoff Johns is offline   #56
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SBP is no different than any slasher serial killer villain at that point, wanting the scene to be about him killing rather than who's being killed. It's not a "strong character driven" moment, Pantha and others are just obvious plot devices. If Johns had given time to the Titans before and after the fight, instead of showing us the violence, then you'd be right. But Johns took the cheap and easy way.
ddf
JLG
Your bias shows. It was a character moment - for Superboy-Prime. And it's not about him going "craaaaazy" as you put it. I explained it pretty specifically in the article - it's tragic. For everyone.

Including Pantha.

Pantha is obviously your favorite character and I understand your bias but you're coming dangerously close to being less than constructive. Especially your blog.

Lata,

Geoff
Last edited by Geoff Johns; August 10th, 2006 at 02:26 AM.
 
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Old August 10th, 2006   Geoff Johns is offline   #57
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First of all:

You had all better sit down for this one.




good.

I couldn't see IC or Countdown working any other way. Both scenes (as with the "Kobra's heart" scene in JSA) had to be presented that way they were. Violence and all.

SBP was loosing control. His emotions were not letting him keep his powers in check. SBP's crying only worked if we SEE how far he went over the line. The violence WAS there to shock but it directly contrasted to the depths of disregard and victimization SBP felt. A visual cheat would have lessened the sadness of SBP's emotions after that moment.

In Countdown, the headshot was a wake-up call and a definate whoa moment after the last 70+ pages of build up. It forced me to sit for a minute and soak it all in. Without the "punctuation" of that scene, the end would have had more fizzle and less punch.

Now if this kind of violence happens too much past these it will lose it's impact.

But I believe these scenes were very plot driven and character driven necessities.
ddf
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Old August 10th, 2006   Augustine is offline   #58
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I rather liked the reaction of Superboy Prime when he did kill Pantha, it wasn't the killing Pantha that caught me so much as his reaction to it. He was horrified, scared, frightened and you know if he could have he would been anywhere than there. He wanted to go home, he wanted his family, his life and friends back again.

I'm sure all of us on some level can relate to that at one time or another. It's tragedy in motion and only helped to propel him down a path that he had already started on.

In a way it reminds me of Vaders fall to the darkside.
 
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Old August 10th, 2006   Joshua Pantalleresco is offline   #59
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Honestly, this scene was my favorite in IC4. It was powerful and very graphic. But the most amazing part of this scene was that I actually felt sorry for SBP for what he did. His reaction wasn't of a killer, but of a scared little boy that wanted to go home, and I don't think I would have gotten the same reaction if Pantha's death hadn't been so brutal.

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Old August 10th, 2006   JLG is offline   #60
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Your bias shows. It was a character moment - for Superboy-Prime. And it's not about him going "craaaaazy" as you put it. I explained it pretty specifically in the article - it's tragic. For everyone.

Including Pantha.

Pantha is obviously your favorite character and I understand your bias but you're coming dangerously close to being less than constructive.

Lata,

Geoff
ddf
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I'm still not sure it comes off like that. I know I'm biased, But I am trying to look at this critically, and beyond my preferences. There's got to be a reason this disturbs me more than, say, a death of a favorite character in Full Metal Alchemist, for an example.

But any tragedy to the Titans feels like it was overlooked and dropped in IC and the tie-ins after that fight happened. Why has it taken so long (and running) in 52 and Titans to get the rest of the Titans' response to the whole thing, if you wanted it to be about the Titans' tragedies? Although, Bushido's little bit where he breaks his sword, maybe. But I don't think one panel of Pantha alive with one line is enough, or one panel of BW growling and Red Star making a generalized threat (he couldn't say that it was his lover who was killed? Just the threat of violence and revenge?). There's no set up for her death to say what's tragic about it for her except she died a particularly brutal and humiliating death - nothing about her unresolved origins. You wrote in your interview that she was chosed to die for Red Star's story, then it was for her (which makes it the double whammy of being a WiR case, counting that it was about "what SBP did" and his "character moment" instead of "Pantha died!" ).

All the tragedy comes from the extreme violence, which, I think, is a cheap way of trying to goad shock from the audience. There isn't anything about the characters of the Titans and victims there. You could've chosen any other hero than Pantha to die first, and it wouldn't have changed the whole thing at all. That doesn't sound like good characterization at all. That the victim is nothing more than an anonymous plot device sent in to get killed, and the focus is on their mutilated corpse then the character itself, that speaks more to the splatterhouse horror aesthetic than anything else. If there was tragedy about heroes being forgotten despite their sacrifice, it didn't seem to come off that way, since Nightwing's dialogue and the lack of a memorial to anyone but Superboy reinforces that artificiality of picking who dies (not to mention the shallow reasoning shown in the interview).

If you wanted it to be tragedy for everyone, it can't just be Superboy's character moment alone. You mentioned in the interview that you wanted it to be about "Look what SBP did!" rather than "Pantha died!" That doesn't sound like making it a tragedy for everyone, it seems like you wanted the decapitation itself to be what was important, not the tragedy of who died and the Titans' family being decimated.

However, I really appreciate you writing a reply, and I'm sorry it had to be while I was screaming and ranting at you.
 
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Old August 10th, 2006   E2Brutus is offline   #61
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But any tragedy to the Titans feels like it was overlooked and dropped in IC and the tie-ins after that fight happened. Why has it taken so long (and running) in 52 and Titans to get the rest of the Titans' response to the whole thing, if you wanted it to be about the Titans' tragedies?
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JLG
Although I agree with Geoff in general about the focus of this particular scene, I can see where you're coming from here as well. While Pantha's death was portrayed only as it affected SBP, there should be a mention somewhere of the lost Titans. Superboy gets a huge statue, but Pantha, Baby Wildebeest and Bushido get...what?

Then again, it took until the lastest issue of Birds of Prey for any mention of a Ted Kord memorial. If TPTB couldn't shoehorn in a funeral for the guy that kicked the whole thing off can you really be surprised that Pantha & cerw didn't get anything?

Betweeen the remaining issues of 52 (at least one of which will be focusing on the Teen Titans) or the upcoming arc in TT about the interim Titans--a great opportunity for a flashback to the Titan funeral--there's still a chance. I'm sure it'll come as "too little too late" for you, but it's there.
 
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Old August 10th, 2006   JLG is offline   #62
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Then again, it took until the lastest issue of Birds of Prey for any mention of a Ted Kord memorial. If TPTB couldn't shoehorn in a funeral for the guy that kicked the whole thing off can you really be surprised that Pantha & cerw didn't get anything?

Betweeen the remaining issues of 52 (at least one of which will be focusing on the Teen Titans) or the upcoming arc in TT about the interim Titans--a great opportunity for a flashback to the Titan funeral--there's still a chance. I'm sure it'll come as "too little too late" for you, but it's there.
ddf
E2Brutus
My personal feelings is that something more could've been done with the Titans tie ins - those seemed like a golden opportunity to flesh out the Titans' side of things instead of SBP. There are good people in this world, not just with the "Big Names," this world is a just one when anyone sacrifices themselves like that. You could've had scenes with the various Titans answering Good Superboy's distress signal, showing the whole "Titans as a family" bonds and the heroism of all the Titans members despite SBP's ramblings about the world being corrupt etc. etc. Instead, the Titans coverage of the battle was all fixing Beast Boy's origin and basically going through the same events with different perspectives, from what I remember. I'm sure the Nightwing-Superboy journey could've been compressed to show the aftermath of that battle, rather than having the only mention being how they'd be forgotten.

Given that IC was all about what heroism is in a "corrupted" world and who are the "real" heroes, at least in the Titans tie-ins it would've been nice and fitting place for the heroism of those Titans to be highlighted, to contrast SBP even more. If Superboy was able to inspire everyone else, I wish more space was given to those who inspired Superboy, who died aiding him. It seems odd that, for a series trying to explore what heroism is, they only uncritically care about certain cases. As I complained about it before, having a statue of an individual instead of all the Titans who died in front of a team headquarters that purpots to be about family and teamwork, carries a certain kind of meaning. What message does it send that Superboy gets a statue outside, but the rest of the dead Titans are hidden away inside?

Ted Kord... I don't know...I kinda feel that even though he's been dumped on by DC, at least they gave him a story where he was the hero and some development before they killed him off. Granted you can argue it was dragging him through the mud and kicking the corpse, but it seems like something compared to the one panel alive Pantha got for all the supposed importance of her death. I mean, when you go back and read panels like this, you realize that she needed a hell of a lot more than a one panel quip. Her tragedy just doesn't come up beyond, "**** it sucks to have your head punched off."

I am hoping something is there. I am and have been on pins and needles waiting for some kind of mention in Titans and 52, #38 being the last chance. I'd love for nothing more than for Geoff to prove me completely wrong, and his followups to be just as good as Gail Simone's story was. I want to eat my shoe. But I find it hard to believe there wasn't anything important happening with the Titans (heck, where's Red Star?) to show in the first weeks of 52 until 21 weeks in. But maybe that's the pitfall of the real time format, and not really Geoff's fault. But the lack of any mention so far, and this latest bit that Pantha was killed for Red Star's story, doesn't give me much hope that it's not just a Refrigerator Case. But as I said, I want to be wrong.
 
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Old August 10th, 2006   Chris D. is offline   #63
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I think the scene was handled well. It was supposed to show how confused and out of control SBP was and how dangerous he was. It conveyed that. Third string chatacters were killed. It happens. It's comics. They can always come back

JLG after reading your rants, I really have to ask you why you're so sexist. To most people reading the issue, a bunch of heroes died. More died after that scene. But to you PANTHA DIED!!! A FEMALE died, which shows that you're truly not comfortable with women being heros and facing the same consequences as men. Obviously in your mind they are not equal, bc a woman hero's death is is cause for such outrage. Your WIR example is the same. Of the 3 main GLs(Alan, Hal, Kyle) people died in all 3 origins. Only in one did a female, Alex, die. Again causing 'controversy" but really saying people really don't believe in equal treatment.

I also find iinteresting, your complete outrage over a fictional character but you have no hesitaion throwing personal barbs at a real person( I perused your blog). There's something wrong with that. Constructively criticizing an event you may not agree with is one thing, acting the way you are, well it says something about character
Last edited by Chris D.; August 10th, 2006 at 08:26 AM.
 
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Old August 10th, 2006   JLG is offline   #64
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JLG after reading your rants, I really have to ask you why you're so sexist. To most people reading the issue, a bunch of heroes died. More died after that scene. But to you PANTHA DIED!!! A FEMALE died, which shows that you're truly not comfortable with women being heros and facing the same consequences as men. Obviously in your mind they are not equal, bc a woman hero's death is is cause for such outrage. Your WIR example is the same. Of the 3 main GLs(Alan, Hal, Kyle) people died in all 3 origins. Only in one did a female, Alex, die. Again causing 'controversy" but really saying people really don't believe in equal treatment.
ddf
Chris D.
Huh? That's one heck of a way to twist things. I'm "not comfortable with women being heros and facing the same consequences as men"? That's a loaded, fallacious claim if I ever heard one. Where did I ever say that?

Look, if Pantha died the way she did in the original draft - quick and at the same time as BW in the thick of things - I don't think I would've had as strong as a case, since her death there is treated the same as the men's. However, having her be the first to die, and the death that sets SBP off, that death is not equal to the others. Also note how one of the reasons Pantha was chosen to die first was for Red Star's and SBP's development (never mind her story was unfinished). Very different treatment than other men's deaths. How many male heros are killed off based on the decision that they'll affect their girlfriend/wife's story?

And what about Katma Tui?

I also find it interesting of your complete outrage over a fictional character but you have no hesitaion throwing personal barbs at a real person( I perused your blog). There's something wrong with that. Constructively criticizing an event you may not agree with is one thing, acting the way you are, well it says something about character
ddf
But I have been constructively criticizing an event - how many times do I have to deconstruct a scene, discuss what goes into it and what the implications of it are? Funny how you ignore all the critical stuff I've been trying to do, and throw up claims about how I'm "sexist" and only making "personal barbs."
 
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