A Fact-Check for the Four-Color World

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A Different Kind of Political Panel

As someone who's running for Congress, I found this entry in Rich Johnson's Lying in the Gutters column rather interesting.

Cartoon advertisement for Jim Webb, Virginia candidate for U.S. Senate

Excerpt from "How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way" by John Buscema

Notice any similarities? And Rich doesn't comment on it, but that final panel looks familiar too. Not unlike a Kirby pose, such as this one. Can anyone place it?

Personally, I think there's great potential in comic-format political advertising. But 'borrowing' panels for official publications isn't a good way to explore a new medium.

And this isn't the only controversy to come out of this flier. Webb was also accused of anti-semitism, although I think he's innocent of that charge.

Webb won last week's Democratic primary.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Apology and retraction

I know this sort of thing seldom happens in the blogosphere, but that's why I publish under my real name. I have to take the hit when I'm full of it.

I was full of it recently when I complained about the regional dialects in "American Way." According to people who read this thing and actually live in the areas involved, the slang used in the story is accurate if a bit obscure.

Apologies to John Ridley.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Equal Protection for Mutants

Law student Ivan Ludmer of the blog Joint Strike Weasel posted this interesting analysis last week:

Equal Protection for Mutants--A Confluence of Unfortunate Events

Looking at the movies (not the comics), Ivan evaluates what the implications of the 14th Amendment guarantee of Equal Protection would have on the Mutant Registration Act and mandated mutant cures. I haven't seen X3 yet, but I largely agree with his conclusions.

For a similar analysis, check out Bob Ingersoll's "Law Is A Ass" column on this exact topic (at least, the Mutant Registration Act half) from back in 1988. He covers some extra ground that Ivan didn't, and while his reasoning is similar, he ends up with a different final conclusion. The reason being that Ivan was talking about the MRA of the cinema, and Bob of the MRA of the printed page. Despite requiring pretty much the same thing of mutants, the latter has a flaw that would probably be fatal to its constitutionality. Can you guess what it might be without first reading Bob's column?

Monday, June 05, 2006

American Way #4: regional dialects?

I've been enjoying the Wildstorm miniseries "The American Way" despite occasional lapses in its portrayal of US history and culture. With the latest issue, it became painfully obvious that the writer is not an american.

We get as far as page two before the point is hammered home by Attorney General Robert Kennedy declaring "this is one hell of a cock-up, letting the world know this New American is a negro." (The story takes place during the Civil Rights movement of the early 1960s; "The New American" is a faux-superhero, part of a team created by the government as part of a national morale-building effort during the Cold War.)

I don't know anything at all about John Ridley, the writer of this series, but after reading this issue, I'll bet good money that he's british, based solely on his use (and misuse) of slang. Habitually, he has characters use words and phrases that I have only heard used by people from Great Britain, such as the aforementioned "cock-up".

Other examples:
On page 5, Lucky refers to "our east-coast minders." An american would have called them his "handlers."

On the same page, Southern Cross says "Bad enough you shine us into thinking...." I've searched a few online slang dictionaries, as well as Dictionary.com, but I can't find any definition of "shine" that fits the context in which it's used here. If this is in fact a southern US term, I've never heard it before. I welcome a correction or clarification.

On page 7, Freya says "The path to bettering Pharos doesn't travel through me." In this case, the term "bettering is used to mean "getting the better of." In american usage, "bettering" would mean "to improve." Granted, Freya is allegedly a Norse goddess, but it's clear she learned to speak english in Europe.

Aside from the misuse of slang, there is the matter of sentence structure and rhythm. Every character in the book speaks like a brit, even the ones with allegedly southern accents.

I found the dialect errors in this issue jarring enough to mar my enjoyment of the story. Fortunately there was a really brutal and violent conclusion to the comic which effectively engaged my lowbrow american sensibilities and allowed me to forget about the language thing. Here's hoping the next issue does a better job of making the characters sound like they actually live in the country they are portrayed as being from.

As Henry Higgins said, "why can't the English speak english?"

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