Sunday, December 19, 2010

Lack of Education: A Rant.

Actually, Guy...

you're wrong.

Or, at least, your writer is.

Guy is from Baltimore; he majored in psychology and education. He served as a counselor for prisoners, and is best known professionally for having taught physical education to the mentally handicapped.

Who wrote this panel? Does DC even have editors? Is there no longer a requirement that writers know, quite literally, the first thing about the characters they write?

Next year, I hope to read more stories from this author about:
  • Kate Kane's Christmas
  • Clark Kent's upbringing in the tough streets of Suicide Slum
  • How Bruce Wayne started penniless and earned his millions
  • and the Martian Manhunter's early life on Jupiter.
If I thought the writer knew better, and was just having Guy be ironic -- "I don't want to be a teacher, or, I know what really teaching is, and this is just a waste of my time"-- then I'd feel better.

But I don't believe that for one second, and I doubt you do either.


Imitorar said...

That issue was written by Geoff Johns and Dave Gibbons. And Johns is usually so good about obscure bits of continuity. That said, I think I've heard something about Guy being a law major, so maybe his past was retconned? Or maybe nobody can bother to use one of numerous online references to brush up on Guy Gardner's history. *shrug*

Ron Hogan said...

It's not exactly obscure: I remember the quite prominent mention in Guy's Secret Origins story.

This pretty much reads Johns, for whatever reason, is assuming that the Guy Gardner of Justice League International is the way Guy Gardner was from his first appearances.

The only charitable interpretation I can come up with is, rather than irony, post-coma Guy somehow forgetting his pre-coma past. OR, as you suggest, maybe we all missed a retcon.

Scipio said...

There was, to my knowledge, exactly ONE reference to the idea of Guy having been a lawyer; it was a throwaway joke in a one of the JLI reunion stories ("No wonder he's such an asshole!' was the point).

That's compared to the character's entire history of having one consistent backstory.

Guy's background as tough inner-city teacher with a heart of gold is one of the things that's kept him human (and bearable); I'd hate to see that taken away from him for no good reason at all.

Anonymous said...

Well, I believe it. Guy may have been a teacher in the past, but that was a part of his life that doesn't square with who he is today. It could even be that today's John Wayne wannabe feels a little ashamed to have been a schoolmarm once.

And this is Geoff Johns; I bet debated the matter long and hard before deciding that it didn't advance the story to say, "I'm not a teacher ANYMORE". No doubt he was sorely tempted.

I'm not an employee of the Fashion Bug. But I was once, a long time ago.

SallyP said...


Oh Geoff Johns...I love you, but you surely did flub on this particular one. I remember reading that and going "whuh huh?"

Since it has never been specifically retconned, I am assuming that Guy is STILL a former teacher, who incidentally graduated from the University of Michigan with a double major in Education and Psychology...which is certainly more than can be said for Hal Jordan...or even Batman. So there.

If he had only said that he had given up on teaching or something, it would have made perfect sense.

Odkin said...

Well, this panel has thaught me one thing - either this comic has an extremely shitty artist or Guy Gardner has recently had an extremely severe stroke.

Anonymous said...

Actually, we all may have missed a retcon here... Johns has Booster Gold screwing around with Guy's college career some in early issues of that title, making Booster convince him to travel cross-country at a pivotal time to spend time with his dying father. (Thus preventing him from meeting Sinestro and inheriting Abin Sur's power ring.) Maybe that trip convinced Guy to change his major? At the very least, Johns knew about Guy's history at that point, so he had to have thought about this before he had Guy say it.

Anonymous said...

I took it to mean that Guy is simply not interested in being a teacher anymore, that while he once was qualified, he no longer feels, after sustaining a substantial head injury, that he is one now. Plus he was a Gym teacher, wasn't he? That's not really teaching to a lot of people.

Bryan L said...

"Does DC even have editors?"

I don't believe so, at least not in the traditional sense. There are individuals with those titles, but they do not seem to "edit." For example, they:

1. Do not correct continuity (star writers are always right, and if they're not, it's because they know better, so they're right anyway).
2. Do not require basic story structure or plot (What do you mean it doesn't make sense? See #1).
3. Do not perform or require research on the part of writers or artists (see #1).
4. Do not correct spelling (see #1).

I asked a comic professional a couple of years ago what editors actually did now, and he said they moved jobs through the system. We called those "traffic managers" back in my agency days.

Accursed Interloper said...

Geoff Johns once showed me time-traveling Michael Holt, circa 1940s, getting the Jim Crow treatment from a passenger train conductor ... IN PITTSBURGH ???
Geoff Johns manages to misuse the verb "decimate" in more issues of more different titles than any other writer in comics, past or present.
Geoff Johns annoys and irritates me in a lot of ways like that, but ahmina keep on reading them as fast as new ones come out.

Anonymous said...

To be fair about Pittsburgh, it's not as simple as "North=tolerant, South=racist". The biggest distinction over the years had to do with how embedded in the law the racism was. You'd find no shortage of racists in the North, you just wouldn't find as much Jim Crowery.

Here's some fun trivia: in the early 1900s, the largest chapter of the KKK was the Summit County, Ohio branch. Not only are we talking a state so far north that any farther north is Canada, but several trails of the Underground Railroad went through Summit County, and one of the stops was at John Brown's dad's house. In fact, it was at a church in Hudson (again in Summit County) that a sermon inspired John Brown to take up arms against slavery.

More fun trivia: when the draft began during the Civil War, there were riots against blacks, and many many blacks were lynched (as in to death). By Northerners.

I'm not trying to equivocate to excuse the institutionalized racism of the South, as is in fashion these days; but even the North has its racism to answer for. I say this as an Ohio lad myself.

Anonymous said...

Those riots I was referring to were in New York City. Coulda sworn I said that, but apparently I left that out.

Anonymous said...

I'm reminded of an old issue of "Birds of Prey" in which the Huntress said that she wasn't religious. Apparently, she didn't notice that she always wears a cross, but only rarely if ever has she fought any vampires.


Accursed Interloper said...

"To be fair about Pittsburgh, it's not as simple as "North=tolerant, South=racist". "

To be fair about actual genuine history as it was lived by real people in the real USA, Jim Crow seating arrangements on passenger trains WERE exactly that simple. South of the Mason-Dixon, that shit was a matter of state law (in some states); north of the M-D, nuh-uh. Railroad companies, and Pullman, went along with it the same way they went along with local liquor laws; in some counties they had to close down the lounge car; in some states they had do practice seating segregation.
Yeah, I get that racism itself wasn't confined to specific regions. But the history was what it was, and doesn't need to be "helped" to look any worse.

Accursed Pedantic Interloper said...

This started out being a complaint about a proofreading problem, so now OF COURSE I've contributed one of my own. In my above post, I write about racism in the past tense, like it had gone away or something. That's wrong; it hasn't. But at least I can use "decimate" correctly.

Diamondrock said...

I made a similar complaint recently on my blog. Did anyone else notice how the Jewish kid in the Jonah Hex holiday story (who is supposed to be the ancestor of Batwoman) buried his father under a makeshift cross?

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'll admit that I didn't know exactly what happened to Michael Holt in the issue in question, so it sounded like the complaint was "racism ... in PITTSBURGH"? If it was a matter of Holt being forced by law to sit in the back of the car, then I'll agree that's going too far. On the other hand, if it was a matter of a single conductor being a racist jerk (which is what I thought you were saying), well, welcome to the 1940s.

Accursedly Interloping Pedanterizer said...

Here's my problem:
"4. Skitt’s Law
Expressed as "any post correcting an error in another post will contain at least one error itself" or "the likelihood of an error in a post is directly proportional to the embarrassment it will cause the poster." "

Here's how it applies:
A: "it sounded like the complaint was "racism ... in PITTSBURGH"?"

Well, that's so almost right... but... As I completely failed to make clear, the actual complaint was "OFFICIAL racism ... in Pgh ??"
Skitts Law would predict this result, given what I was complaining about.

Aforementioned Accursity Pedantist said...

Wait, what were we talking about before that? Oh, um...
I just now tried to re-read Atom & Hawkman #46 March 2010, by Geoff Johns, edited by Adam Schlagman & Eddie Berganza, and I got as far as the fourth panel of the second page when “tradgedy struck.” Julius H. Schwarz, MUST it be like this? One writer and two editors couldn’t, between them, catch that? It’s a “tradgedy.”
But wait, but wait, WHY was I re-reading it? Because it was all by itself so goddamn good the first time, and as part of a more elaborate story it had important plot details that contributed to my enjoyment of many “adjacent” stories, plus it had horrifying villains and a desperate struggle against them, leavened with sparkly little moments of unexpected humor. Just like every damn other comic that this same writer writes.
Just to put the “decimate” and “tradgedy” thing in perspective, doncha know?

TotalToyz said...

You know, it is just possible that Mr. Johns originally put the word "anymore" in Guy's "I'm not a teacher" rant and the editor removed it.
Case in point: Peter David's final issue of Spider-Man 2099. He intended to go out with a big reveal, that the Goblin 2099 was Father Jennifer. He had her open a trunk with the Goblin's costume in it. The editors wanted the Goblin to be Spidey 2099's brother, so they stuck in a word baloon with the brother saying to Father Jen: "Watch this trunk for me." True story.