Dark Horse Comics “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (the comic book continuation of the TV series) has an upcoming issue in which the character, after a night of drunken sex with men she does not remember, decides to get an abortion. Nothing else better illustrates why Comic Books are not for kids, and don’t make money. A topic covered originally in the 2008 post “Comic Books Dirty Little Secret”. Comic books today serve as intellectual property holders (continuing publication to hold rights to characters that would otherwise revert to creator’s estates), and incubation for movie ideas that inevitably fail.
From the Daily Mail story:
After trailing the latest issue with the teaser that Buffy is ‘distracted by a rather personal problem’, her character is seen telling vampire Spike – who may or may not be the father – that her life is in freefall: ‘I’m going to have an abortion.
‘I’m barely able to hold onto a job. I live with roommates who are about to kick me out. And I can’t even hold my alcohol well enough to remember who got me pregnant.
‘I can handle the Slayer stuff … But everything else I’m not ready. At least not now.’
The award-winning TV show, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, ran from 1997 until 2003, but her story has been continued by creator Joss Whedon in comic book form.
He told told Entertainment Weekly: ‘A woman’s right to choose is under attack as much as it’s ever been, and that’s a terrible and dangerous thing for this country.
’I don’t usually get soap box-y with this, but the thing about Buffy is all she’s going through is what women go through, and what nobody making a speech, holding up a placard, or making a movie is willing to say’
Memo to Joss Whedon: Middle and Upper Class White women rarely get abortions. Because they don’t generally have drunken unprotected sex with men they barely know. Abortions statistically are dominated by Black women, and to a lesser extent lower class White women. No one makes movies about abortions, because most White Middle and Upper Class women find it distasteful. Not the least of which is because delayed fertility makes having a baby quite difficult.
[The real actress behind Buffy, Sarah Michelle Gellar, has been quoted as saying her "best work" was the birth of her daughter.]
Nor of course is a “woman’s right to choose” in jeopardy, merely the right of the Government to mandate religious organizations that object on religious grounds to be forced to provide it. Whatever one’s feelings on abortion, it is not a fun, happy and uplifting experience. And the idea that religious organizations can be forced by the government to violate their doctrine by being commanded to do things (rather than refrain from them) is a recipe for total government control by elites over every aspect of ordinary human life. The old Puritan (and Scandinavian) culture of total communal control over every aspect of behavior writ large.
Nevertheless, this is the state of comic books today. Not entertainment oriented towards young boys, offering mostly mindless but harmless fun. Rather, a dose of moral lecture.
This is because comic books are not published, for the most part, to make money. Rather they are published to provide moral lectures on the failings of ordinary Americans by the cultural descendants of Cotton Mather.
If you wondered why “Cowboys and Aliens” lost money, or very likely “Kick-Ass”, it is because modern comics are not popular. No one reads them. And they are mostly written by guys who don’t have a clue about how to reach the young male action movie audience.
Can anyone imagine Superman’s Lois Lane getting an abortion in the 1940′s? Or anything like that? Are young men interested in women getting abortions? Of course not, they find it a mostly distasteful subject they’d rather avoid. Its not … entertaining.
This bodes ill for the upcoming “Avengers” movie, written and directed by Joss Whedon. Doubtless Thor and Captain America will become gay lovers, or some such nonsense. To give us all a good moral lecture by our betters on homophobia. Or something.
Bucking the trend (hopefully) is the return of Valiant, with X-O Man-o-War leading off the return. It is a marvel (no pun intended) that only the Valiant and Malibu and Comic’s Greatest World universes had any new and compelling superhero characters. Marvel and DC largely failed in the 1990′s and thereafter in creating new and compelling superhero characters, and various indie attempts have also failed. Why did Kick-Ass fail to get men into theaters? Because the character was not compelling. The same was true for Cowboys and Aliens (all high concept and no likable character). Meanwhile the Captain America and Thor and Iron Man movies all succeeded because they were character-driven. An abiding sense of patriotism and duty by a former 90 pound weakling of the Depression; a maturity born of experience by a God who finally understands his duty; and the remaking of a wounded (externally and internally) of a brilliant playboy who senses his technical skills can save people besides himself, and in saving others he saves himself.
All of these are characters, and not just that but deeply appealing to boys (and men who remember being boys). They are about something: duty and patriotism, by a man who used to be weak. Relating to a powerful father, either present or long-dead. More than just a PC lecture by one’s “betters” the stories and characters provide adventure and excitement along with ever-deepened characters.
The action movie, such as it is, depends largely on decades old (in some cases nearly 70 years old) work by pulp-oriented writers who created or shaped superheroes like Superman, Batman, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, and more. The current crop of writers just can’t conceive of anything but a PC driven moral lecture.
And that’s not entertainment. Nor is it for kids. Nor is it a money-maker.
There is a lot of ruin in a nation. And even more in the comic book industry, DC being owned by Time-Warner and Marvel by the Disney behemoth. Valiant’s return is a good thing, in that it potentially is a direct rebuke to the “Buffy gets an abortion” moral lecture. And one that has the ability, in an age in flux, to capture the imagination and loyalties of a whole new crop of boys who will grow up to be men. Want to teach kids a “moral lesson?” Then you have to entertain them first, and provide MALE characters they want to emulate: Superman’s power tempered by compassion; Batman’s revenge tempered by limits; Captain America’s duty and patriotism and leadership; Iron Man’s redemption by heroism.
Of course, lost in this is the total destruction of the Buffy character. The first five seasons or so of the series painted a reasonably heroic and while flawed, basically good female character. Little girls loved the character. Because she was in fact, lovable. The show and the character (much to the displeasure of the lead, Sarah Michelle Gellar) went off the rails when Whedon turned over the show in the final two seasons to show runner Marti Noxon, who proceeded (with Whedon’s feminist approval) to make Buffy fall in love with her bad-boy vampire rapist (Spike) and turn into a raging bitch, who was cold and abusive to everyone but her bad boy lover. The comic book series had Buffy turn into a “bi-curious” lesbian, and now a college drop-out raging alcoholic who has anonymous hook-ups that lead to unplanned pregnancy.
Ironically if Joss Whedon wanted to deliberately paint feminism in as ugly and unflattering light as possible, he could not have done a better job with his literally empowered heroine. She’s literally this woman:
Or perhaps this one: