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DC Publicity Handler Keeps Tight Reign on Finches in Wonder Woman Interview

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LOLtron

Rain Partier

Postby LOLtron » Fri Aug 01, 2014 7:53 pm

In an interview with CBR, a DC publicist explains to Meredith and David Finch what they "can talk about" in question about David's controversial Wonder Woman feminist comments.



Source: CBR

Remember how much fun it was when Tim Marchman exposed DC's paranoid interview process that involves having DC publicists staying on the phone to monitor conversations and make sure creative talent don't say anything out of line during an interview with Len Wein about Before Watchmen? No? Well, let's take a trip down memory lane, way back to 2012:

Having no idea how this could happen, I ended up on the phone with Len Wein, who edited Watchmen, and as a writer helped create iconic superheroes Wolverine for Marvel and Swamp Thing for DC. Wein is writing two of the new Watchmen comics, including Ozymandias, which debuts tomorrow. I wouldn’t say he was yelling at me, but he was speaking with exclamation marks, which because he seems like a nice guy, I’d ascribe at least in part to occupational hazards.

“These are not shady business dealings!” he said. I had just told him that I thought an argument he was dismissing was really about shady business dealings.

They certainly strike the outside world as incredibly shady, I said.

“I’m sure Pam’s going to jump in here,” he said, “but I completely disagree with you!”

“And it’s not his place,” said Pam, “to talk about the business.”

Pam, who had arranged and was monitoring the call, works in some capacity for either DC Comics or its parent, DC Entertainment, a division of Warner Bros. whose mission, according to a press release from a few years ago, is “to fully realize the power and value of the DC Comics brand and characters across all media and platforms.” Warner Bros. is itself one of the many subsidiaries of Time Warner, which has annual revenues larger than the gross domestic product of about half of U.N. member states, which I mention because it suggests the scale of the vast unyielding drive for profit that has led to, among many more obviously horrible things, Before Watchmen. (I should also mention that I have happily cashed Time Warner checks.)

“Pardon?” I said.

“It’s not Len’s place to talk about the business!” said Pam. “He can really only talk about what he’s writing and what he’s doing with these characters now.” Which, fair enough.

 

Okay, well, Before Watchmen was pretty controversial in that DC was taking one of the most beloved and respected works in comics history and turning it into a cheap cash grab complete with Watchmen-themed kitchen appliance merchandise. But it seems this isn't such an odd practice, as DC has just employed it again.

Meredith and David Finch did an interview with CBR today about their upcoming Wonder Woman run, and of course, the conversation eventually turned toward David Finch's comments last month about how he didn't want to call Wonder Woman a feminist. Despite the CBR interviewer, Casey Gilly, purposely wording the question and follow-up as inoffensively as possible, a DC publicity person felt the need to "interject" and explain to the couple how to answer the question (specifically, to talk about how Wonder Woman doesn't need big muscles, because as we all know, feminism and big muscles are basically interchangeable terms). Here's the excerpt:

David -- there were some previous comments you'd made about your version of Wonder Woman not necessarily being a feminist character, and being more grounded in beauty and strength. I'm wondering how that point of view has changed as the series progresses? What are you thinking about when you're defining Wonder Woman for this new arc and how are you bringing in Meredith's point of view for this loving, grounded, humanitarian character?

David: It was really Meredith's take on the character that made me feel like it was the right thing for us to do. I thought she had a really great grasp on her, and I love it when a character has an easily definable core. That seems to be the most true. So, talking to Meredith and her saying who she thought Wonder Woman was -- it was like, that's a great approach.

?Wonder Woman is a feminist icon, and its something that has been important to me from the beginning. In drawing it, I wanted to make sure that I approach, in a respectful, inclusive way -- [David trails off]

My question is not coming from a defensive point of view. I know that the word "feminist" can mean different things to different people, depending on the context. I don't think you meant anything negative by that comment, and I was hoping to hear more about what was important to you, as an artist working on the series, and how you're defining the character.

[At this point in the interview, a DC publicist interjected, saying, "I think part of it is what you were talking about earlier is her body type and how she doesn't have to have these big, huge muscles and you're putting her into everyday situations and actions. You can talk about that."]

Meredith: That's what I'd said earlier -- you look at Kacy Catanzaro right now, who was the first woman to make it into the "American Ninja Warrior" finals. She is 5 feet tall, 100 pounds, and she did things that, for me, are superhuman, and for a lot guys are superhuman. I look at that, and when people get hung up on Wonder Woman having a specific body type -- go tell that to Kacy. Women are strong, whether they have big or small muscles. It's not the size of your muscles, but obviously [it's] the size of your heart that really is what's important. That, for us, is going to be central. Its what I want people to get out of the book. It's about heart.

 

Ok, so what can we learn from this?

First, obviously both Finch and DC have learned something from last month's feminist comments. They're clearly terrified of addressing this subject again, judging by Finch's rambling and the unnamed (Pam?? Is that you??) PR person's interjection.

Second, DC recognizes that they have a publicity problem, and they're apparently trying to keep it under control, which brings us to..

Third, though we knew this one already, even when DC is trying their best not to look stupid in public, they're still comically bad at it. The only thing worse for publicity than having your talent say something dumb and offensive in an interview is making it obvious that you need handlers to make sure your talent doesn't say something dumb and offensive in an interview.

And finally, that it's not the size of your muscles, but the size of your heart, that's important, whatever the fuck that means.

Bravo, DC. Seriously, well done. You always find a way to brighten our day. Just probably not in the way you intended.



Written or Contributed by Jude Terror


READ THIS ARTICLE ON THE FRONT PAGE, HUMANS!
User avatar

TimH

dINGO

Postby TimH » Fri Aug 01, 2014 8:19 pm

Heh, that is funny--somebody did a YouTube comedy sketch about a married couple arguing on the phone when their government surveillance minder (Dick Cheney) interrupts to help them resolve their differences.

But you know corporate hierarchy... there is "leadership", there is labor / talent. The PR person reminded me of a busy-body manager popping up on a teleconference to complete a stuttering subordinate's sentence.

What I find most amusing is the relative unimportance of these comic book debates, yet the corporation must field an army of lawyers and communication majors to make sure nobody misunderstands how fluffy and innocuous the Finch Wonder Woman run will be.

"Ignore the flaky artist who can't talk. When he said Wonder Woman goes down on Guy Gardener, he meant to say that she gets knocked out while flying, and Guy Gardner catches her and carries her down to the ground. Mr. Finch, what did we discuss about the 'artist draws', the 'publicist speaks'?"

"I-I was just trying to explain that I don't like associating the word 'feminist' with Wonder Woman because in my mind feminists are mean and bossy. I consider Meredith a feminist. And, trust me, I don't want to draw a sexy comic about my wife with super powers. She wouldn't believe the lasso of truth anyway."
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IvCNuB4

Staff Writer

Postby IvCNuB4 » Fri Aug 01, 2014 8:22 pm

LOLtron wrote:And finally, that it's not the size of your muscles, but the size of your heart, that's important, whatever the fuck that means.


Make a hawk a dove,
Stop a war with love.

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TimH

dINGO

Postby TimH » Fri Aug 01, 2014 11:00 pm

It's funny what an impact that show had--considering how nowadays everybody wrings their hands over how hard she is to write.

Heck, man, half of the episodes didn't even have writers!

Everybody overthinks things nowadays...

"The world isn't ready for a woman. Yes, it's true that our ancestors did things differently, but that all came before the stock market crash in 1988 that destroyed society and forced us to rebuild. It became a man's world where only the most predictable survived. Do something unexpected and you might find yourself at an art house complaining that nobody understands you."
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S.F. Jude Terror

OMCTO

Postby S.F. Jude Terror » Sat Aug 02, 2014 1:35 am

I thought of a fifth thing that can be learned from this too. CBR publishing that note in the article probably really pisses DC off. I like it. :lol:
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Andrew Zeppolini

FACEBOOKTron

Postby Andrew Zeppolini » Sat Aug 02, 2014 8:11 am

There is no way they can fail to look stupid not trusting their own people.
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americanslime

Flying Mongoose

Postby americanslime » Sat Aug 02, 2014 9:09 am

Meredith Finch wrote:That's what I'd said earlier -- you look at Kacy Catanzaro right now, who was the first woman to make it into the "American Ninja Warrior" finals. She is 5 feet tall, 100 pounds, and she did things that, for me, are superhuman, and for a lot guys are superhuman. I look at that, and when people get hung up on Wonder Woman having a specific body type -- go tell that to Kacy. Women are strong, whether they have big or small muscles. It's not the size of your muscles, but obviously [it's] the size of your heart that really is what's important. That, for us, is going to be central. Its what I want people to get out of the book. It's about heart.!


Although this is obviously just a silly faux answer to avoid talking about feminism, that still pisses me off.
When Superman is drawn as a 98 pound weakling I'll accept the possibility that that isn't just an excuse for "Dave can't draw women with muscles". Till then, I'm much more partial to the Gilbert Hernandez approach.
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IvCNuB4

Staff Writer

Postby IvCNuB4 » Sat Aug 02, 2014 11:33 am

americanslime wrote:Although this is obviously just a silly faux answer to avoid talking about feminism, that still pisses me off.
When Superman is drawn as a 98 pound weakling I'll accept the possibility that that isn't just an excuse for "Dave can't draw women with muscles".



Maybe Finch could try "homaging" his She-Hulk figures :P

Image
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americanslime

Flying Mongoose

Postby americanslime » Sat Aug 02, 2014 6:45 pm

IvCNuB4 wrote:

Maybe Finch could try "homaging" his She-Hulk figures :P

Image


That's a bit of an improvement. It seems like Finch's Marvel work was actually a pretty big step up from most of his DC stuff. Everybody still had the same basic face and whatnot, but it felt like he was trying a lot harder.
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BubbaKanoosh

2009 Most Valuable Poster

Postby BubbaKanoosh » Sun Aug 03, 2014 12:18 am

This is going to be shitty

zryson

FROGMAN

Postby zryson » Mon Aug 04, 2014 4:15 am

Its not too surprising to see the publicist asserting their power. I've met more than a few over the years and they like to keep a very tight grip on the reins.
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Rob Thompson

Zombie Guard

Postby Rob Thompson » Mon Aug 04, 2014 5:39 am

zryson wrote:Its not too surprising to see the publicist asserting their power. I've met more than a few over the years and they like to keep a very tight grip on the reins.

Not the ones who know what they are doing.
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OneWhoIsAll

Great Scott!!!

Postby OneWhoIsAll » Mon Aug 04, 2014 10:51 am

Stigma of the creators comments and view points aside.

Anyone actually belive that the new Wonder Woman run might crash and burn? Like sales start to drop at a fast pace?

Is it like the average sales of Wonder Woman Solo around 30 000 as it is? (their was a boost in numbers is July I notice.)
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Rob Thompson

Zombie Guard

Postby Rob Thompson » Mon Aug 04, 2014 10:54 am

OneWhoIsAll wrote:Stigma of the creators comments and view points aside.

Anyone actually belive that the new Wonder Woman run might crash and burn? Like sales start to drop at a fast pace?

Is it like the average sales of Wonder Woman Solo around 30 000 as it is? (their was a boost in numbers is July I notice.)

How were sales when Mike Deodato was on the book?
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IvCNuB4

Staff Writer

Postby IvCNuB4 » Mon Aug 04, 2014 11:01 am

Sales stats for past year:

06/2013: Wonder Woman #21 -- 35,999 (- 3.1%)
07/2013: Wonder Woman #22 -- 35,539 (- 1.3%)
08/2013: Wonder Woman #23 -- 34,747 (- 2.2%)
09/2013: #23.1: Cheetah -- 49,297 (+ 41.9%)
09/2013: #23.2: First Born -- 44,154 (- 10.4%)
10/2013: Wonder Woman #24 -- 34,308 (- 22.3%)
11/2013: Wonder Woman #25 -- 33,532 (- 2.3%)
12/2013: Wonder Woman #26 -- 32,773 (- 2.3%)
01/2014: Wonder Woman #27 -- 32,035 (- 2.3%)
02/2014: Wonder Woman #28 -- 31,464 (- 1.8%)
03/2014: Wonder Woman #29 -- 30,989 (- 1.5%)
04/2014: Wonder Woman #30 -- 31,094 (+ 0.3%)
05/2014: Wonder Woman #31 -- 30,655 (- 1.4%)
06/2014: Wonder Woman #32 -- 48,235 (+ 57.3%) Bombshell Variant Cover
-----------------
6 months: + 47.2%
1 year : + 34.0%
2 years : + 2.1%
5 years : + 47.3%
10 years: + 65.0%

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