Thursday, July 14, 2011

"Tony Stark makes you feel, He’s a cool exec with a heart of steel..."

Quick update on the comments John Byrne made concerning racism at Marvel,
Mr.Shooter responded to my asking him if he knew based off his time as EIC and Ass.editor there, if this might have been true. He responded with the following:

"Dear Dale,

I worked at the Marvel office every working day (and some that were supposed to be non-working days) from the beginning of 1976 through the end of the seventies, and on after that until mid-April 1987. John Byrne was a freelancer living in Calgary, Alberta when I started at Marvel. The time he spent in the office while living in Canada is best counted in hours. At some point, he moved to the New York Metro area, but nonetheless, was still working at home, not in the office. He wasn't there every day.

To my knowledge, none of the examples John sets forth above reflect reality. To my knowledge, no such things ever happened, with the sole exception of an incident I mentioned in a post recently, that is, Starlin cleverly hiding the word "fuck" in the design of an ornate door frame. It was caught and removed.

During my entire time at Marvel, as far as I know -- and I was in a position to know -- there were no overt, significant expressions of racism, sexism, anti-LGBT bias, anti-ethnic bias against any ethnicity or any other such prejudice and hate at Marvel by any staffer. Marvel may have been a snakepit at some points, rife with backbiting, petty politics and childish squabbling, but with all that, it was remarkably enlightened in terms of equality and respect issues. The people who worked at Marvel then were very smart people, whatever else they might have been. They were aware and enlightened, as a whole, regarding those matters. If there ever were any expressions of bias, I guarantee you that people around the offender, their peers and coworkers, would not have stood for it for an instant.

Exception: Jim Owsley/Christopher Priest, who is African-American, was fond of making jokes with racial overtones. Nothing hateful. More the Saturday Night Live irreverent humor style than the edgy-to-nasty National Lampoon style. People laughed. He was funny. There was no malice. Did anyone else ever make a non-PC joke? I'm sure. I'm also sure that if they were "utterly and deliberately extreme," I would have heard about it and taken appropriate action.

Other possible exceptions: There were a few freelancers, including a couple of notables, who from time to time expressed prejudice and hate. They either learned to keep their venom to themselves or quickly wore out their welcome. Spouting prejudice in the office wasn't tolerated by anyone who worked there every day. There was one staffer who didn't last long who, I was told later, was quietly anti-semitic and racist. If he had been more open about it, he wouldn't have lasted a day." 

So there you go. While it's possible that Byrne might have overheard a comment or two and Mr.Shooter did not, I more inclined to believe Mr.Shooter about this, especially since he claims that Byrne hardly ever showed up at the Marvel offices.

 I asked him if it would be alright to post his response on John Bryne's message board, and he said:

"Dear Dale,

I think posting my response on John's message board serves no good purpose, but that's up to you. He and his readers will surely catch wind of it anyway. But I stand by what I said and I don't care who reads it."

I agree whole-hardedly about that, as Byrne's supporters will just pounce on what he said like hyena on a wounded animal. I'll probably post anyway, but yeah I doubt it'll make any difference whatsoever. 

Now on to the good stuff....and another thrilling episode of Random.....Comic....Review!!!!!!

 What If?..#8  Iron Man Lost The Armor Wars?(Mid Dec 1989) written by Danny Fingeroth, art by Greg Capullo

I liked this issue because, as the title says, it explores a possible world where Iron Man didn't win the Armor Wars that all began because of Justin Hammer stole and gave Stark's technology to villains. It's a real scary premise, not just for Tony and friends, but also for the reader. Imagine the possibility of armored criminals improving there armor thanks to Tony's stolen Iron Man designs?
Well, that's what happens here, as Tony finds out that Justin Hammer is behind various indviduals getting their hands on Tony's tech.
The exact point when everything goes to hell is when Antman Scott Lang, fails to escape from Justin Hammer's trap. Sure he's able to still let Tony who stole his technology, but now he becomes the prisoner and unwitting pawn of Hammer. Lang gives up everything to Hammer since Hammer's got Lang's daughter captive also. After that it's a fast sleigh ride into hell, as Hammer's tech people figure out how to gain remote control of Tony's armor again. Hammer was able to control Tony's armor last time, forcing Tony to kill an ambassador in front of alot of witnesses. This time he makes things worse for Tony, forcing him to reveal his identity to Hammer, then put a neuro-collar around his neck so Hammer can totally control whatever Stark does. From there, Hammer forces Tony to blow up a S.H.I.E.L.D. base, The Avengers east coast island headquarters, the West Coast Avengers' base, Stark Enterprises, and finally Tony's own home. That's just cold as hell man!
Then just when you think Hammer can't sink any lower, he forces Tony to reveal his identity to the world and accept responsibility for all those attacks. Hammer's fixing to have more fun with poor Tony, when thankfully A.I.M. agents storm Hammer's compound and take him out. This releases Tony from Hammer's control, but all's not well yet. A.I.M. goes after the people that have used Tony's stolen tech so that no one else can have it. Tony goes into hiding, dyeing his hair blonde and shaving his Tom Selleck mustache. He contacts the other armored villains and convinces them that they all need to work together if they want to survive A.I.M coming after them. They reluctantly agree, and go off to attack A.I.M directly.

While the fight's going on, Tony manages to sneak down to where another suit of armor is sitting. This is the Firepower armor that Tony fought during the regular Armor Wars. He dons the suit, rescues Scott Lang and his daughter, and goes back finish his fight with A.I.M. Tony and his crew eventually kick A.I.M's ass, but then turn on Tony after he demands that they leave their armors behind. Nice strategy there Stark, pissing off a bunch of guys that outnumber you and can fuck you up!

 Well, right ass Tony's right about to meet his maker, the WCA, led by The Captain(Steve Rogers), show up and save his ass. After the fight, they tell Tony their taking him to jail. Tony says fuck that(not really but he should have), and almost comes to blows with them, but wisely decides against it. He says "I'll take my chances in jail."

And that's how it ends; with the cat out of the bag, Tony's tech becomes public domain. Meaning this world is in for a rough time ahead dealing with the consequences of Justin Hammer's actions.

Poor, poor Tony huh?

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