Friday, September 09, 2011

A "GD" boycott on Grant Morrison and Action Comics?

Every once in a while, I stumble across a story that, due to the sheer ridiculously absurd nature of it, starts to give me a migraine.  This morning, it was a piece at Comic Book Resources reporting that a North Carolina comic retailer was launching a boycott of DC's new Action Comics series and its writer, Grant Morrison.  So what sort of pernicious plot could have possibly been perpetrated in the pages of this periodical to provoke such a passionate proposition? (Ahh ... alliteration. Gotta love it.)   It's all because of a single panel that, according to Jeff Lamb, owner of aptly named Asheboro, NC comic shop, The Comic Conspiracy, shows DC's newest version of the Man of Steel in a blasphemous light.

Is Morrison's Superman flying around Metropolis spewing out bile and hate in the "New 52"?  Not quite. In fact, not even close.  Instead, the panel in question doesn't even have Supes uttering a single complete word.  Instead, it's just two little letters that have riled Lamb up as "a slap in the face to Superman, Christians and Superman creators Siegel and Shuster!!"

It's safe to say that the DC Universe has been turned upside down with in the post-Flashpoint continuity.  Characters have been de-aged, marriages have ended, the dead have returned to the land of the living, and some characters have been blinked out of existence.  Despite these changes, the DC heroes are still heroic and the Last Son of Krypton is still one of the good guys.  Unfortunately, Superman's latest weakness had nothing to do with a little green radioactive rock ... it's a seemingly innocent literary device called "onomatopoeia".

In Action Comics #1, Superman is put through his paces as only he can.  Hey, the book does have "Action" right there in the title.  During one particularly action packed scene, Supes gets shot by no less than an artillery shell fired from a tank.  While something like that might've left smoldering bits and pieces of the Average Joe strewn all about the landscape, Superman takes the blast full on, knocking him for a loop with a grunted "GD" popped into a word balloon for effect.  Lamb claims to believe that the "GD" word balloon was an abbreviated way to have Superman say "God Damn", or something to that effect.

To that, I say, "Huh?" (Which, by the way, would technically be yet another example of onomatopoeia ... depicting a confused   bit of exasperation by me)

On the Facebook page for his store, Lamb wrote:

"I deal with books like Crossed and The Boys. I accepted gay characters being introduced into a children specific book like Archie Comics. I however am getting very tired of having comic writer's liberal agendas force fed to me. Mr. Morrison has stepped over my line. If I have to stand alone on this... I will."

He went on to post that, "The boycott stands. All orders for Action Comics #2, as well as any other books written by Grant Morrison will be cancelled as soon as Diamond Comics opens it's offices today. I ask my customers to understand as best they can. I understand that it's only a comic and it's not the real world, but I feel that as a Christian I have to draw the line somewhere."

Lamb's opinion is that Superman was created to be "the 'perfect' superhero. Unblemished."  He then went on to say, "It grieves me to see a liberal Scottish schmuck like Grant Morrison take these liberties. I'm sorry, Superman would NEVER take God's name in vain."

Wow ... all of that from a simple "GD"?  To me, it read simply as a grunt uttered from the force of getting HIT BY A FRIKKIN' TANK SHELL!!  It's not any different than when I write "UGH" to represent an exasperated frustration.  It was a sound effect ... nothing more.  No sinister motive or political agenda being pushed in any way.  And I'm not alone in this thinking.  Aside from the vast majority of people who've commented on the issue already in other outlets, you know who ELSE thinks it was just a sound effect?  Umm, how about the guy who wrote it ... Grant Morrison.

Earlier today on the official DC Universe blog, The Source, the "controversy" was addressed directly, with Morrison stating via email:

“It should go without saying that the offending panel and caption, a mere ‘GD’, is a sound effect grunt – to suggest Superman’s breath being forced through gritted teeth – much like ‘DHH’, ‘GNUHH’ or the many others used throughout this book and in general in the comics business. It’s not in any way representative of God or a curse.”

It pains me that it seems people just want to read WAY to much into things sometimes.  It reminds me of a quote attributed to Freud. "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."  And in this case, sometimes a grunt is just a grunt.

I'll be perfectly honest ... I have some questions about whether or not this whole thing was just a publicity stunt dreamt up by Lamb. Despite all the holier than thou rhetoric earlier in the day and all the buzz the story got from the comic newswire, in light of Morrison's response, Lamb now says that "The boycott is lifted. Once again my apologies to Grant for the unwarranted name calling." I can't help but wonder if Lamb ever actually got around to making that call to Diamond early this morning to cancel those standing orders on Action Comics, as he claimed he would "as soon as Diamond Comics opens".

There's an old saying that claims there's no such thing as bad publicity ... but sometimes, it still can leave a bad taste in your mouth.

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