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Jim Lee Speaks on Harleygate, Teaches Fans About Context

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RE: Jim Lee Speaks on Harleygate, Teaches Fans About Context

Postby J.m. Hunter » Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:17 am

Having followed both Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner's work from underground mostly to mainstream Marvel and meeting Amanda in person, I get the context that they were going for. I hate to see flack coming there, way. So to clarify, is the issue that everyone is taking with the fact that DC/P.R. dept(, you know the branch that take website writers into the back and threaten them), that they didn't provide the context? I don't want to see a trend where we start asking Garth Ennis to stop creating like Garth Ennis.

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Re: Jim Lee Speaks on Harleygate, Teaches Fans About Context

Postby Grayson » Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:19 am

I can't help but notice that apparently, Jim Lee doesn't know how to use Twitter. :|
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Re: Jim Lee Speaks on Harleygate, Teaches Fans About Context

Postby SuperginraiX » Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:25 am

I get this feeling that Jim Lee was honestly trying to do his best to explain the problem with this situation. Except he didn't understand what the problem actually WAS.

Mr. Lee, this isn't an issue of interpreting a panel incorrectly. There was no panel. There was a script describing a panel. A whole page of them. At no point did that script say anything about this being a dream sequence or fourth wall breaking stuff. It didn't need to, of course. Writers all have their own style. Hell, maybe that little tidbit of info was on another page of the script.

The real issue, as I see it, was that someone... I don't know who that person is... but SOMEONE took this page of the script and said "yeah, this is the page we're using for our public contest. There's no way this could be misinterpreted."

I mean, just pay attention to what you're doing! And when you make a really idiotic move, it's ok to say "Oops! We... we're just a barrel of idiots up here. Sorry." We all make mistakes. Own up. Just ONCE, please, someone at DC own up to not being perfect. I'd respect them a lot more.






And, yes, people. I make mistakes ALL THE TIME. I do a lot of apologizing. :lol:
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RE: Jim Lee Speaks on Harleygate, Teaches Fans About Context

Postby Jude Terrorr » Sun Sep 08, 2013 12:42 pm

It isn't the script that's the issue. It's the use of four panels from the script with no context in a contest, which effectively results in the message "hey artists, send in pictures of Harley Quinn naked and killing herself to win a gig working for DC" a week before Suicide Prevention Day, and then the belligerent blaming of the fans for not understanding the context (which wasn't provided - turns out the script was actually satirizing DC's reputation of mistreating and sexualizing its female characters). DC shoots itself in the foot repeatedly over this stuff, and rather than learn from it, they just double down and blame the readers.

In other words, the issue isn't that Palmiotti wrote this in a script. The issue is that someone in DC marketing saw this and said to themselves "THIS panel is the one to use for this contest, that will never backfire!" And rather than say "Yeah, that was pretty stupid, in retrospect," they just double down.

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Re: RE: Jim Lee Speaks on Harleygate, Teaches Fans About Con

Postby Victorian Squid » Sun Sep 08, 2013 12:54 pm

FBtron wrote:Having followed both Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner's work from underground mostly to mainstream Marvel and meeting Amanda in person, I get the context that they were going for. I hate to see flack coming there, way. So to clarify, is the issue that everyone is taking with the fact that DC/P.R. dept(, you know the branch that take website writers into the back and threaten them), that they didn't provide the context? I don't want to see a trend where we start asking Garth Ennis to stop creating like Garth Ennis.


If you really needed that clarified, you just aren't paying attention. :lol:

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Re: RE: Jim Lee Speaks on Harleygate, Teaches Fans About Con

Postby SporkBot » Sun Sep 08, 2013 1:33 pm

FBtron wrote:It isn't the script that's the issue. It's the use of four panels from the script with no context in a contest, which effectively results in the message "hey artists, send in pictures of Harley Quinn naked and killing herself to win a gig working for DC" a week before Suicide Prevention Day, and then the belligerent blaming of the fans for not understanding the context (which wasn't provided - turns out the script was actually satirizing DC's reputation of mistreating and sexualizing its female characters). DC shoots itself in the foot repeatedly over this stuff, and rather than learn from it, they just double down and blame the readers.


You're right, DC didn't provide context for the script.

HOWEVER (man, why am I playing Devil's Advocate lately? Especially for DC...), the vagueness may've been a means to get a feel for the entrants' styles. If they let the artists use the imaginations for the panels, they see who has the most originality or creativity. For the tub scene (if I had the talent they'd want), I'd draw Quinn in an old-timey one piece suit with a ducky inner tube.

I'll give an example: The artist and co-creator of the webcomic Shadowgirls was reading the script given by the writer (and other co-creator). It said that some guy in a lab coat walked into a room and revealed a syringe. Well, the artist took it a few steps further: He turned the lab coat guy into a cyborg with a bionic hand that turned into a syringe (and it looked freakin' cool).

So while the lack of context for the scripted imagery may be almost as irritating as the shameless and unnecessary sexualizing of the character, it may be a way to offer the artists that will enter, freedom to express themselves through their craft.

Y'know...before pissing off said artist(s) and forcing him/her/them to walk off the book.

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Re: Jim Lee Speaks on Harleygate, Teaches Fans About Context

Postby Victorian Squid » Sun Sep 08, 2013 2:39 pm

No, not giving enough context to an artist is how you get a fucked up comic book, unless it's meant to be some sort of jam book ala an "exquisite corpse".

Various writers describe scenes to their artists with differing degrees of detail, but not giving your artist any context at all would be stupid. Even more stupid if you have no previous working relationship with them whatsoever.

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Re: Jim Lee Speaks on Harleygate, Teaches Fans About Context

Postby TimH » Sun Sep 08, 2013 3:01 pm

Twitter is funny when people use to it attempt a long, complex discussion. :lol:

Jim Lee should have written a blog then provided a link to it. :smt005

But as for context, here is my Harley entry for the try-out comic:

Harley is sitting on a commode. The half open door says "Men" on it. She is holding what looks like a scepter. The scepter is vibrating. Poison Ivy is squatting in front of Harley and rubbing Harley's knees. They both look very happy. Batman is approaching the half-open door. Something is projecting from his abdomen, but the shadows obscure it.

CONTEXT: Gal Pals Harley and Pamela have stolen the diamond scepter of King Henry IV and have fled to the museum restroom to inspect that it is the real thing. Batman has tracked them down and is going to shoot them with his net gun.

:smt026 :smt007

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Re: RE: Jim Lee Speaks on Harleygate, Teaches Fans About Con

Postby achilles » Sun Sep 08, 2013 3:15 pm

FBtron wrote:It isn't the script that's the issue. It's the use of four panels from the script with no context in a contest, which effectively results in the message "hey artists, send in pictures of Harley Quinn naked and killing herself to win a gig working for DC" a week before Suicide Prevention Day, and then the belligerent blaming of the fans for not understanding the context (which wasn't provided - turns out the script was actually satirizing DC's reputation of mistreating and sexualizing its female characters). DC shoots itself in the foot repeatedly over this stuff, and rather than learn from it, they just double down and blame the readers.

In other words, the issue isn't that Palmiotti wrote this in a script. The issue is that someone in DC marketing saw this and said to themselves "THIS panel is the one to use for this contest, that will never backfire!" And rather than say "Yeah, that was pretty stupid, in retrospect," they just double down.


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Re: Jim Lee Speaks on Harleygate, Teaches Fans About Context

Postby achilles » Sun Sep 08, 2013 3:16 pm

TimH wrote:Twitter is funny when people use to it attempt a long, complex discussion. :lol:

Jim Lee should have written a blog then provided a link to it. :smt005

But as for context, here is my Harley entry for the try-out comic:

Harley is sitting on a commode. The half open door says "Men" on it. She is holding what looks like a scepter. The scepter is vibrating. Poison Ivy is squatting in front of Harley and rubbing Harley's knees. They both look very happy. Batman is approaching the half-open door. Something is projecting from his abdomen, but the shadows obscure it.

CONTEXT: Gal Pals Harley and Pamela have stolen the diamond scepter of King Henry IV and have fled to the museum restroom to inspect that it is the real thing. Batman has tracked them down and is going to shoot them with his net gun.

:smt026 :smt007


:lol: :lol: :lol:

I think I prefer my context.... :P :oops:
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Re: RE: Jim Lee Speaks on Harleygate, Teaches Fans About Con

Postby achilles » Sun Sep 08, 2013 3:19 pm

FBtron wrote:Jim Lee I used to respect you. Your art inspired mine for many years especially the way you drew Batman, Poison Ivy, and Superman. However your actions and redesigns in the reboot and your treatment of DC characters has left me cold. The issue with the Harley Quinn contest is NOT the bloody tub scene! It's the fact that all four scenes do NOTHING to reflect Harley Quinn's character or explain who she is! It's a bland attempt at comedy and gives the idea that Harley is just a depressed woman with no laughter in most of her life. This is not just a reaction to Harley! You have allowed this to be done in both costume redesigns and the new origins and stories to international iconic characters like Wonder Woman, Hawkman, Poison Ivy, Starfire, Wondergirl, Superboy, and Raven (just to name a few) you have missed the very heart, soul, and purpose of why these characters were created, who their fans are, why they are who they are, who they are and what they stand for, and why they’ve been a success for decades! Your reboot has missed all those points and you have changed them for the worst! When you redesign and reboot characters, especially ones as iconic as DC’s, you must know who they are and why they’re successful! You keep the elements that made them unique! The reboot refused to do that on every character but Batman, Superman (mostly), Animalman and Aquaman. It’s clear you have picked and chosen favorites. You chose who got to stay themselves and keep what made them iconic and who didn’t. You have a responsibility to show the world who these characters are and why they’re successful despite how you feel about them! Changing them based on your tastes is not what you are to do! You are to embrace these characters and show the world who they are DESPITE your own personal tastes and how ridiculous they may seem. These characters were NOT created by you and it is your job to make sure their costumes, stories, and origins follow who they are and what they are meant to do. You have failed at this, both Dan and you. I’m sorry to say. You let your own personal judgment and views cloud your views and cast shadows of change on the DC Universe that have both lost the heart and soul of these characters and pushed away fans. Each character is unique and has a certain draw to them in comics. You and Dan had a job to secure that! When working with characters in any works of fiction, you must treat these characters as if they are real! Novels, TV, movies, comics, paintings, drawings, plays, it doesn’t matter! In the world of fiction these characters are real and you must treat them as such with the utmost respect! Yet you and Dan failed to do so. That is what the New 52 rage is all about! That is why people are angry over the panels! Suicide and the bathtub have nothing to do with it! It’s the lack of understanding and supporting both your fans and characters, resulting in changing these characters origins, personalities, looks and everything based on your tastes that have launched all of this hate and outrage towards DC! You are heads of a company! You cater to your consumers! You do no cater to yourselves! You all promise after Flashpoint that the New Earth timeline would be relaunched with little changes so new and old readers would be able to start over with everything intact. Everything before was to be launched to issue one and the past twenty plus years would be explained! You failed to do that and you betrayed your fans, creators, and characters. Once you realize that truth, then maybe you can take steps to make amends. Stop blaming fans for “overreacting” or being “wrong”! You are a business and your core fans: their needs and views should come first! What they feel should be understood and respected! Remember they are the consumers of your product! You failed to do that in the New 52. Constantly blaming you core fan base and telling them they’re wrong for speaking out based on views and feelings on characters many have supported and loved all their lives is a poor and unethical business move on your part. Once you accept that what you’ve done to the DC Universe has hurt both your business and your relationship with the fans, then maybe you can take the steps to fix this! Until then you will continue to see all this hate and outrage over your choices. Every action has a consequence. I say this as a fan of your work; you are dealing with the consequences of your actions. Defend your actions all you like, but you reap the seeds you have sewn.


I agree with this.
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Re: RE: Jim Lee Speaks on Harleygate, Teaches Fans About Con

Postby MikeinLA » Sun Sep 08, 2013 3:30 pm

FBtron wrote:It isn't the script that's the issue. It's the use of four panels from the script with no context in a contest, which effectively results in the message "hey artists, send in pictures of Harley Quinn naked and killing herself to win a gig working for DC" a week before Suicide Prevention Day, and then the belligerent blaming of the fans for not understanding the context (which wasn't provided - turns out the script was actually satirizing DC's reputation of mistreating and sexualizing its female characters). DC shoots itself in the foot repeatedly over this stuff, and rather than learn from it, they just double down and blame the readers.

In other words, the issue isn't that Palmiotti wrote this in a script. The issue is that someone in DC marketing saw this and said to themselves "THIS panel is the one to use for this contest, that will never backfire!" And rather than say "Yeah, that was pretty stupid, in retrospect," they just double down.



I understood the context quite easily. There were four, somewhat surrealistic, panels being described. Given the fact Harley Quinn is a comedy character you can assume its something being done for laughs. Knowing that the point of the issue (according to the easily accessible solicits) is Harley is looking for an artist to her new comic, its clear that they are going for some kind of Chuck Jones's inspired "Duck Amuck" lunacy.

Now, as for the sexualizing suicide, nonsense: one only has to read the description of the offending panel to realize the point of the panel isn't to titillate. She's nude, but nudity doesn't always correlate to sexuality. Secondly, the description of how they want the character's expression is clearly non-sexual.

So, yeah, it was pretty easy for me to figure out. But then, I'm not stupid, nor do I have an ax to grind with DC comics (or a website to shill that catalogs the company's many real missteps).

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Re: RE: Jim Lee Speaks on Harleygate, Teaches Fans About Con

Postby S.F. Jude Terror » Sun Sep 08, 2013 3:49 pm

MikeinLA wrote:

I understood the context quite easily. There were four, somewhat surrealistic, panels being described. Given the fact Harley Quinn is a comedy character you can assume its something being done for laughs. Knowing that the point of the issue (according to the easily accessible solicits) is Harley is looking for an artist to her new comic, its clear that they are going for some kind of Chuck Jones's inspired "Duck Amuck" lunacy.

Now, as for the sexualizing suicide, nonsense: one only has to read the description of the offending panel to realize the point of the panel isn't to titillate. She's nude, but nudity doesn't always correlate to sexuality. Secondly, the description of how they want the character's expression is clearly non-sexual.

So, yeah, it was pretty easy for me to figure out. But then, I'm not stupid, nor do I have an ax to grind with DC comics (or a website to shill that catalogs the company's many real missteps).


I understand the context as well. That doesn't change the fact that DC, a company which is constantly under fire from the internet for this type of thing, should have seen the potential for epic clusterfuck (and THIS website is the one that actually reported on the context, while hundreds of other, more popular, more "respected" sites went with DC WANTS YOU TO DRAW HARLEY QUINN NAKED KILLING HERSELF, just like all the mainstream sites that went with DC BLOCKS BATWOMAN GAY MARRIAGE). That's not The Outhouse grinding an ax - we were fairer than most sites that allegedly don't have an ax to grind.

The fact is, a casual observer could easily see how badly that contest go wrong, so why can't DC's paid, professional marketing department?

To argue that the story makes sense in context is a straw man argument, because nobody is claiming it doesn't make sense in context (though perhaps the topic of suicide used as a humorous plot device a week before worldwide suicide prevention day is an ill-considered choice under any circumstances). The real argument being made is that DC should have seen how easily this would be "misinterpreted" and either hedge their bets by explaining it better, or go with a different page entirely and avoid it.

But they didn't, because they are epicly stupid when it comes to PR.
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Re: RE: Jim Lee Speaks on Harleygate, Teaches Fans About Con

Postby MikeinLA » Sun Sep 08, 2013 3:55 pm

S.F. Jude Terror wrote:
I understand the context as well. That doesn't change the fact that DC, a company which is constantly under fire from the internet for this type of thing, should have seen the potential for epic clusterfuck (and THIS website is the one that actually reported on the context, while hundreds of other, more popular, more "respected" sites went with DC WANTS YOU TO DRAW HARLEY QUINN NAKED KILLING HERSELF, just like all the mainstream sites that went with DC BLOCKS BATWOMAN GAY MARRIAGE). That's not The Outhouse grinding an ax - we were fairer than most sites that allegedly don't have an ax to grind.

The fact is, a casual observer could easily see how badly that contest go wrong, so why can't DC's paid, professional marketing department?

To argue that the story makes sense in context is a straw man argument, because nobody is claiming it doesn't make sense in context (though perhaps the topic of suicide used as a humorous plot device a week before worldwide suicide prevention day is an ill-considered choice under any circumstances). The real argument being made is that DC should have seen how easily this would be "misinterpreted" and either hedge their bets by explaining it better, or go with a different page entirely and avoid it.

But they didn't, because they are epicly stupid when it comes to PR.



Its not a straw man argument. People are saying that DC looks bad because the panels aren't in context and open to interpretation. That's the claim being made. I'm pointing out the context is there in the descriptions of the panels themselves. So, if there is any misunderstanding, its the fault of the reader.

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Re: Jim Lee Speaks on Harleygate, Teaches Fans About Context

Postby IvCNuB4 » Sun Sep 08, 2013 4:00 pm

"Straw man" is rapidly becoming the new "Neo-Classic" :P
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