More NonSense: Dawn of the Civil War

Captain America: Civil War

Critics and fans have observed that a common theme connecting the much-derided  Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice ( leading to a corporate reshuffling) and the more well-recieved Captain America: Civil War is how both comment on the current political climate in the U.S., namely the issue of America's descent into authoritarianism. Some have noted, with some dismay, that the titular hero Steve Rogers has now become an un-American douchey libertarian/unilateralist. It's also a 180 degree turn from the days when Tony Stark was the jerk telling Congress and the military to kiss his @$$, but is now willing to work with more government oversight because he once unintentionally created a genocidal AI called ULTRON who almost destroyed the world. On the other hand, unwieldy bureaucracies (the U.S. army, World Security Council, S.H.I.E.L.D.) have consistently let Steve down, and the government tossing his pals into a maximum security prison located in the middle of the ocean without due process isn't helping him change his mind. Good or bad, it's not entirely out-of-character for Captain America's cinematic incarnation. For all the hype, the filmmakers doesn't necessarily side with him on this.

Superheroes may not be real. The Manichaean world view the genre espouses doesn't quite fit the real world. But their central themes of authority and violence seem to have struck a familiar chord with film viewers. Or maybe it's the cool special effects that only the studios can afford.

Some have noted that with the release of X-Men: Apocalypse, the X-Men film franchise has not kept up with superhero movie trends. With Civil War's reveal of a dorky, bright spandex-wearing Spider-Man and the unexpected success of fourth wall breaking Deadpool, there's greater pressure on filmmakers to be faithful to the source material. Alas, Superman's red trunks will probably not be making a comeback given that they've been banished from the comics.

One of the more noteworthy features of Civil War was the number of Black superheroes on screen. Particularly important was the introduction of Black Panther. Unlike the Falcon and War Machine, he's clearly a hero who goes through his own character arc, and not just a sidekick. This primes the audience for the upcoming Black Panther movie, which reportedly has now cast Michael B. Jordan and possibly Lupita Nyong'o. That's a pretty strong cast. There's also an article on how Nate Moore, the lone African-American producer in Marvel Studios' film division, helped bring these characters to the screen.

DC Comics released a statement regarding their sexual harassment policies. While not addressing specific incidents, this is clearly an attempt to address regarding the allegations against Eddie Berganza and the firing of Shelley Bond. Honestly, the banal wording feels like an attempt to downplay/bury the controversy over DC's less than ideal workplace culture. It's the kind of culture which finds it acceptable that Berganza can be the editor for Wonder Woman: Earth One, a book about a feminist icon created by an all-male team.

Wonder Woman #37 by Darwyn Cooke.

R.I.P. Darwyn Cooke (1962-2016), who lost his battle to cancer. His family has indicated that donations can be made in Cooke's name to the Canadian Cancer Society and Hero Initiative. Cooke's distinctive style didn't ape trends toward more complex and murkier art, but often evoked a more classic age, making him one of the most recognisable artists working in mainstream comics. He's perhaps best known for DC: The New Frontier. and his adaptations to the Parker book series.

R.I.P. Maurice Sinet, a.k.a. Siné (1928-2016), French political cartoonist and activist known in his home country for his anti-colonialist, anti-capitalist, anarchist views. He founded the short-lived journal, Siné Massacre, in 1962, and L’Enragé in1968. He worked for a time at Charlie Hebdo until he was controversially sacked after being accused of anti-semitism (Siné was a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause). Siné died after undergoing surgery at a hospital in Paris on May 5th.

There's an article on why Kate Beaton recently decided to return to her hometown of Mabou, on Cape Breton island, and how the move has changed her perspective. This piqued my curiosity about her planned book about Fort McMurray.

Here are some photos and panel recordings from the Toronto Comics Arts Festival (TCAF), which took place from May 13 – 15.