Weird Giants With Jill on a Sponge

If you haven’t been listening to my podcast – the Jersey Jamcast – this week is the perfect week to dive right in!

I did an “Un-Jersey” Jamcast featuring some of the podsafe music I have had at the top of my iPod’s playlist. There’s a lot of big artists there.

Sponge. They Might Be Giants. Kathy Valentine. Weird Al. Jill Sobule.

Yes – you read that right – Weird Al. I got permission to play his new song “You’re Pitiful”.

I also play a new song from The Broadband – a Jill Sobule fronted band that has a song about Net Neutrality.

So go and check it out. I think you will like!

–*Rob

Diversity, and serious issues in comic books – good or bad?

Saw this story yesterday about the return of Batwoman as a lesbian, and about DC Comics’ attempt to broaden the diversity of the characters in the line. They’re reimagining Blue Beetle as Mexican, The Atom as Asian, and there are some other changes.

I have two concerns over this. The first is that this is kind of granstanding by DC comics in an attempt to gain publicity and ergo increase readership. However, I’m not sure I think they are disingenuous on this front. They did a great story arc a few years back about Green Lantern’s assistant Terry. At the time Kyle Rayner was Green Lantern, and he is a cartoonist. He hired Terry as his assistant, and the character grew and turned out to be gay. He also then became the victim of a gay hate crime, and the storyline was handled amazingly well. So I don’t think DC would purposely do this just for a grab for attention.

So my second concern though is that we get blog posts like this. And this. It becomes a fun little novelty, rather than a way to address a serious issue. That bothers me. DC’s trying to pioneer something here, and all people can do is make jokes…

But this all points to a bigger issue, that has been hanging out there for a long time: Comic books, no matter how hard they try, are never taken seriously. DC is trying to broaden some horizons here, and they get lipstick lesbian jokes.

Marvel is writing an amazing arc right now called “Civil War” which spans through all their titles. It involves the government asking the superheroes to register with the government itself. This would jeopardize many of their secret identities – the very thing that allows a lot of them to do their work. The parallels they have in this storyline to real life are multiple. The divisive nature of the issue wuthin the superhero community is not unlike our divided red/blue country. The issue of people registering with the government echoes sex offenders’ registration – their loss of anonymity, or taken another way – the idenfication of secret government operatives. There’s a lot of deep stuff going on in this storyline.

But all we’re gonna get is “well….it’s just a comic book..”

–*Rob