Archive for politics

Life With Archie: The Bravest Comic On The Stands?

Posted in book review, brilliance, comic books, politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 6, 2013 by vagabondsaint

AUTHOR’S NOTE: When I posted my last entry (Unhappy Trails:  A Farewell To “Scalped”, 12/13/12), I also had this entry in mind and had, in fact, planned to write it that night.  However, by the time I finished that entry, it was 4 AM, I was tired, and decided instead to write this article the next day.  That next day, I didn’t wake up until after noon Pacific Time.  As a matter of habit, one of the first things I do after waking up is read online news, and after reading of the events of December 14, 2012, I decided to delay this post. I think it’s been long enough now.

I’m going to go ahead and say this:  Life With Archie is the bravest comic book on the stands today.

Why, you ask?

Because they’re not afraid to take a stand on issues.

Take, for example, marriage equality.  (I don’t call it “gay marriage” because that implies an explicit difference between “straight marriage” and other types of marriage, and since all marriage is two people that love each other making a public, legal commitment to each other, I see no need for the distinction.)

Gay characters are not new to comics.  Underground comics have had homosexual acts and characters depicted since the late ’60s. . .but of course, that’s the underground stuff, and who pays attention to that?  Mainstream comics publishers largely ignored homosexual characters until the 1980s, when DC published their first obviously gay character, Extrano (“strange” in Spanish) for the mercifully short-lived series The New Guardians in 1987.  The biggest reveal, however, was that Marvel’s character Northstar, longtime member of the Canadian super-team Alpha Flight, was gay (because he’s already French-Canadian, so why not make him gay?), though his creator revealed later that he was supposed to have been gay from his first appearance in 1979 but wasn’t due to an anti-gay character policy at Marvel Comics.

After that, gay and bisexual characters fell out of the woodwork.  The Authority’s  Apollo and Midnighter were the world’s finest gay couple; Gotham City detective Renee Montoya, a major supporting Batman character, was outed as a lesbian by Two-Face; John Constantine of Hellblazer was revealed to be bisexual (though he mostly sleeps with women and is married to a woman);  Hulkling and Wiccan of The Young Avengers were a gay couple; the new Batwoman is a lesbian; and in revising their entire universe, DC Comics made Alan Scott, the Green Lantern of Earth-Two  gay (sorry, Jade and Obsidian, the guy who was your dad pre-revision is now gay, so I guess you won’t be coming back for the New 52). . .the list goes on and on.  By 2010, you wouldn’t think a gay character would make news anymore.

But it did, when Archie Comics, long thought of as the most traditional, wholesome, conservative, “safe” comics company out there, introduced an openly gay character named Kevin Keller in Veronica #202.  It made news worldwide that gay had finally come to Riverdale, and at that point, it was a surprising move but not exactly a groundbreaking one.

Until February 2012, when, in the pages of Life With Archie, Kevin Keller married his boyfriend, Dr. Clay Walker.  Gay kissing was still new to comics then; longtime homosexual Northstar had just finally kissed his boyfriend on-panel the year before (after almost 20 years of being out of the closet); although The Midnighter and Apollo had been shown kissing before then, Neil Gaiman had been exploring gay and transgender themes in Sandman, and John Constantine had been in several homosexual sex scenes, they weren’t as mainstream and being written by mostly British writers besides.  At that point, marriage equality was only the law of the land in six states and the District of Columbia, with many many more states having laws on the books specifically preventing same-sex couple from getting married, so it was a pretty bold move for “traditional, wholesome” Archie Comics to make at the time.

Just to add a little more controversy to Kevin and Clay, their story was that they met in the military, when Kevin was injured fighting in Iraq and Dr. Walker had been his medic. . .and this was just after the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  Archie Comics wasted no time jumping on that subject, and the issue containing the wedding (#16, if you want it; it sells for $20-$40 now) of Keller and Walker became one of Archie Comics’ fastest-selling issues of all time (which is no mean feat, considering they’ve been going for over 70 years).

But that’s not why I call Life With Archie the bravest book on the stands.

(SPOILERS FOLLOW.)

In issue #22 of Life With Archie, Clay Walker is shot while attempting to prevent a robbery. (Had to be the black guy, didn’t it, Archie Comics?) Luckily, he survives the shooting and the would-be robber is captured after being clocked with a hammer by the store’s owner.

In issue #24, Kevin discovers that the unnamed shooter was a previously-convicted felon who bought the gun from a licensed dealer through a “loophole” (it’s later stated that he’s talking about the gun show loophole).  Kevin then rattles off a few statistics (“gun-related homicides are more than twenty times higher than in other developed nations”) and announces he is retiring from the Army to do something about it. . .and his “something” is. . .

Wait for it. . .

Kevin Keller decides to run for the US Senate on a gun-control platform!

Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) just proved in November that an openly-gay candidate can win a Senate race; she became our first openly-gay US Senator and was sworn in on Thursday, January 3, 2013.  So you could say the precedent has been broken. . .except that #24 came out in November and was solicited three months earlier (as all comics are), so the story was written before her election, when she was still running a very tight race against Tommy “I’m gonna kill me some Medicare” Thompson.  (It’s worth noting that Tammy Baldwin still can’t legally marry in her home state, though she can have her same-sex marriage from another state recognized in Wisconsin as a “domestic partnership,” so Kevin Keller’s still got one up on her.)

In issue #25, Kevin expounds more upon his gun-control views, states a strong view that the Second Amendment pertains to the right to bear arms for “a well-regulated militia” and asks “why do we need an estimated 200 million guns in the hands of this country’s 300 million citizens?”  (His number is actually quite low; the 2007 estimates are 88.1 guns for every 100 US citizen,which comes out to about 274 million guns in this country, a figure that has no doubt gone up, since there were massive spikes in gun sales every time a black guy got elected President.)

Now, I am sure that some of you are saying that it’s not such a big deal to jump on the gun-control bandwagon now, after what happened in Newtown.  You’d be right; that terrible tragedy has changed a lot of views on gun control for many people, as it and numerous other tragedies before it should have done.

And I’d agree if it wasn’t that Life With Archie #24 came out in November 2012, and #25 hit the stands (and my greedy little palms) on Wednesday, December 12, 2012. . .two days before Newtown.

And that’s why I call Life With Archie the bravest comic book on the stands today:  it took on marriage equality before the 2012 electoral sweep that nearly doubled the number of states with legalized marriage equality with a firm, unmistakable statement of support; it took a strong pro-gun-control stance before the tragedy that catapulted gun control back into the national conversation; and it’s poised to do even more with Betty-and-Veronica rival Cheryl Blossom having been ravaged by breast cancer and now starting up her own foundation to fight breast cancer.

I never thought I’d say this, but here it is:  I wish Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Image Comics, and IDW had half the intestinal fortitude that Archie Comics does when it comes to addressing relevant social issues.

Life With Archie: the best-written and bravest comic book on the stands today.  Go read it, it’s brilliant.

VS – 1.6.13

Redirect

Posted in comic books, humour, politics with tags , , , , , , on December 14, 2009 by vagabondsaint

I originally started this blog with the intent of writing about two of my greatest loves:  comic books and video games.  Yes, I am both a fanboy and a gamer, and this blog, this politics/current events blog, where was I was going to share my (dubious) wisdom on both topics with adoring audiences.  It must be noted that this was my second attempt at doing so, after my initial attempt to start an online community of like-minded fanboys and gamers failed miserably, for some reason.

I honestly have no idea why this didn't work out.

Then along came the exciting, history-making, panties-dampening excitement of the 2008 election cycle, and I got swept right up into it, so this blog became about that.

And now?

Now I’m just sick of politics.  It’s revolting, it’s disgusting, it’s horrible. . .and that’s just Joe Lieberman.  To make it even worse, it’s addictive:  try to quit it and you’ll go through severe, traumatic withdrawals.

So, this blog and I are taking a break from politics.  Time to go back to my original escapes from reality, comic books and video games.  I need to have fun for a while, remind myself that political machinations are not the entirety of society.

So, next post, video games and comic books!

VS – 12.14.09

Death Is Unfair

Posted in media failure, politics, randoma with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2009 by vagabondsaint

Death is ridiculously unfair.  To some, death is the act of a kind, loving God, seeking to bring home his favoured soul when their time on earth was done, their divine mission fulfilled; to others, death is just the random end of life.  Either way, it’s unfair.

Don’t believe me?  See my examples (and please note I am not calling for the deaths of any of these people; I’m just saying that Death could have made better choices):

Senator Ted "Health Care Reform Is My Life's Work" Kennedy: Dead

Senator Joe "Shut Up And Die, Poor People" Lieberman: Alive

Death is unfair.

George "Brilliant Comedian" Carlin: Dead

Dane "The Actually Funny Guy Is Above Me" Cook: Alive

Death is unfair.

Edward R. "Good Night, And Good Luck" Murrow: Dead and still smokin'!

Sean "Good Night, And You're Fucked Because Obama Is A Socialist Who Wants To Take Your Guns And Your Health Care And Sleep With All The White Women" Hannity: Alive, damn it

Death Is SUPER Unfair. It really is.

William F. "Best Man In The Republican Party" Buckley: Dead

Ann "Best-Looking Man In The Republican Party" Coulter: Alive

Death is really f***ing unfair, and also really really hates the living.

I’m just saying, death is unfair.

VS – 12.15.09

This Just In. . .

Posted in politics with tags , , , on September 3, 2009 by vagabondsaint

This just in. . .

Next week, President Barack Obama will give a special address to America’s children.

On a side note, he will also give a speech to America’s students.

VS – 09.03.09

My Letter To My Congresspeople

Posted in economics, politics with tags , , , , on December 14, 2008 by vagabondsaint

This is the actual letter that I sent to my Congresspeople, regarding the auto industry bailout.  Since it failed, I guess the fault is mine, though my reasons for opposing it are different than what the GOP gave as theirs.  The first paragraph is what Fuse had in their form; the rest of it is all mine.  Anyway, presented for your approval:

I have serious concerns about Congress passing a bailout of Detroit even while Detroit continues to push lawsuits against the States that are trying to strike down state greenhouse gas laws. My position is simple: NO BAILOUT MONEY UNLESS THE LEGISLATION ENDS DETROIT’S LAWSUITS AGAINST THE CLEAN CARS PROGRAM!
It’s utterly stupefying that the same companies that are taking actions against the concerns of states have the gall to come ask the Federal Government for money.  At the very least, they should drop these lawsuits before they receive a dime of federal money.  Washington is only one of the 13 states that, in acting to clean up the environment, found it self the target of legal actions by these car companies that want taxpayers’ money so badly.  I do not want a dime of my money going towards these companies that are busy fighting these lawsuits in court, and they definitely should not receive any money without first dropping these suits.  If that is not made part of any bailout agreement, then the federal government has just given money to the car companies that will be used to finance their lawsuits against state governments!
It’s time for the Big 3 to learn that Americans are so serious about protecting the environment, we’d rather watch at least one of them fall than give them money to keep fight change, poisoning our environment, and hold tight to our dependence on foreign oil.  It’s way past time that change came to Detroit.

*******************************

So was I right?  Only Representative Adam Smith responded, with a form letter stating he was out of the office.  Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell have not replied, as of yet.  Senate votes on the bailout were not available as of press time.

VS – 12.14.08

Crunch Time

Posted in politics with tags , , , , on November 3, 2008 by vagabondsaint

I have been reminded that I’ve been remiss in posting anything for the past couple of weeks (by my wonderfully charming best friend) about the impending election.  Truth be told, I was just sick of it.

There’s been a lot of negativity and mudslinging in this campaign, lots of pundits and moutpieces all over the news channels, and it just got to be too much for me.  Not to mention that caring got kinda difficult after I mailed in my absentee ballot.

But now, on the eve of an election that will make (Obama) or break (McCain) America’s future, I’m getting excited about it again.  About 26 hours from now, America will (hopefully) have a new President, either the first biracial President or the oldest President with the least competent Vice-President ever, and America will definitely change.

I’m getting antsy about it, to be honest.

While I’m here, I’d like to speak to my California readers, if I have any:  vote “yes” on Proposition 2.  This proposition will enact stricter, tougher bans on animal cruelty at farms, by phasing out the horrible living conditions these animals are forced to undergo (phasing them out in order to ease the economic burden of, you know, treating animals humanely for a change).  The benefit for humans is that animals with room to grow produce better meat and don’t get sick as often, meaning less growth hormones and antibiotics making their way into outr bloodstream.  America has the habit of following California’s lead (thanks for the anti-smoking laws, jerkholes), so please please please do the right thing here and lead America in phasing out cruel and inhumane treatment of animals.

If you’re not in CA, call somebody there – anybody, just pick a name out of the white pages – and ask them to vote yes on Proposition 2.

Oh, and remember, a vote for Barack Obama is a vote against an addled, inconsistent, possibly senile President with a bad temper. . .and a power-hungry VP with fewer morals than the wolves she supports shooting from airplanes.

See you Wednesday, in a new America. . .or from Canada.

VS – 11.3.08

Hope You Have Some Pepto Handy

Posted in politics with tags , , , , , , , on October 7, 2008 by vagabondsaint

Got the pink stuff nearby?  You might need it. . .I certainly did.

Voting is a fundamental part of our democracy.  Remember the pre-Revolutionary War slogan “no taxation without representation“?  Voting is our way of assuring ourselves of representation, that we have a voice in government and it will be heard and act in our best interests (ideally).  Voting is our way of making sure the people have the power; after all, elected leaders only serve at the choice and will of the people, and can be removed by the same method (ideally).  Okay, so it’s not a perfect system, but it’s ours, and this is what makes America a true democracy.

So it pisses me off, sickens me, digusts me, and enrages me when I find out that people, specifically a particular political party which shall go unnamed (Guess One Party, if you would), is making attempts at voter suppression; i.e., scaring, intimidating, or misleading voters away from the polls, by a variety of tactics, such as:

  • a false flier circulating in Philadelphia neighborhoods, claiming that undercover police officers will be waiting at the polls to arrest anyone with outstanding warrants or any unpaid parking tickets or other traffic offenses;
  • using home foreclosure lists in Michigan to prevent people who live in foreclosed homes from voting
  • changing the proof of ID rules (and turning away nuns for not having drivers’ licenses!  Actually, that’s kind of funny)
  • making it more difficult to even get to voting places for largely minority areas in Indiana
  • challenging an Ohio law allowing voters to register and file an absentee ballot on the same day that has been on the books since 1981. . .they’ve had plenty of time to fight against it
  • blocking nonprofit groups from registering veterans to vote at VA facilities, a move undertaken by the Veterans Administration, who are supposed to be acting for the rights of veterans!
  • . . .and so many other dirty tricks that there’s a wiki made just to track them

If, by this point, you haven’t been drinking Pepto-Bismol in a manner quite similar to how a wino swigs Thunderbird, you are a stronger, or far more cynical, person than I am.

You know, terrorists, in the Bin Laden vein, only intend to stop you from voting inasmuch as death tends to stop you from doing much of anything.  It’s just incidental to them.  These Good Old People, however, fully intend to stop you from participating in a fundamental part of our governing process!  They seek to deny you a right unquestionably guaranteed for all by our very Constitution!  And they’re not even going to kill you while they’re at it; they’re just going to take away your right to remove them from power and force you to live under their control.

So you tell me. . .who’s really America’s worst enemy?

VS – 10.07.08