Public Self Laceration For Incompetence: Young Avengers Edition
Professionalism a-go-go here, obv.
You know the Hardback of our entire run of Young Avengers is out before the end of the year? We’ve been asked if there’s anything we want to tweak for it.
Clearly, the typos.
I need to locate the Teddy/Billy and Kaplan/Caplans, etc, which are the main ones. Now, I’m going to do it myself obviously, but it’s been a year and I don’t trust my brain, as I made the mistakes first time.
In short: shout out if there was anything that bugged you.
You can assume any responses along the lines of “WHERE WERE TEDDY’S HOOP EAR-RINGS!?!??!” will get an eyeroll.
Anonymous said: In your YA run, when all those evil versions of the team appeared, why were there no alternate versions of America Chavez? And was the nazi Kate Bishop a nod to Über?
3rd Reich Kate Bishop was more a nod towards all those alternate dimensions where the Nazis won. If you’re talking alt-dimensions, that’s one of the most common ones, so felt like a necessary beat to hit.
As revealed in the last issue, America is from outside the multiverse, in a singular dimension. There’s only one of her.
Anonymous said: I know you've mentioned a couple of times that there will be lots of diversity in the Wicked and the Divine, and I'm glad to hear it, but I can't help but find your refusal to confirm the presence of trans characters in it or, for that matter, in Young Avengers a little concerning. I sometimes worry that you think LGB are all that's necessary to be represented of the LGBTQIA community and I hope that is not the case.
Sorry for the delay on this one. Complications.
I actually wrote an enormous answer in response to this - getting on for 2000 words. I showed it to people, obviously including Trans friends, tweaked it a bunch and then decided it really was too much information and I should do something really cut-to-the-core.
In terms of Young Avengers, all I was aware of ever talking about Trans issues connected with the book was a question about The Utopian Parallel. I’ve been aware that this has been going around the fanbase as evidence of transphobia, and wanted to actually address my thinking. Because I basically presumed by the way I’d seen it talked I’d presumed I’d fucked up hard by being blithe about something.
Anyway - nosing at the lovely Bisexual Books I found that the original post had been saved, and I got to see what I said.
At which point, I’m angry. By my limited following of the debate, I’d somehow internalised what people said I said as something even vaguely related to what I actually did say.
The basics: Miss America is a Wonder Woman analogue. The Utopian Parallel is a Paradise Island analogue (i.e. isolated place solely populated by women). There’s obviously much more to it than that, but that’s very much the basics. America was my nod to the original YA plot, where a character who appears to be taking after one character is actually really taking after another.
To the point:
How do Trans people fit into this alt-dimension Paradise Island? I could write essays on this, and in fact did in the first draft of this post. How does gender or sex or anything work in a place like that? In YA there were many cultures who see concepts of we see in a certain way in a different way. It’s certainly something I could have explored if I continued. I probably would have.
I didn’t, so I don’t get to do a fucking word of god and shit on anyone else’s story that decides to do with Miss America and go in a way that I didn’t foresee or “approve.” I’d put whoever writes that story into the position of having to deal with people using my words to beat them up. This is just not something I can do.
I’ve finished writing Young Avengers. I don’t get to write it any more.
That’s why I give a straight answer to that. It’s not my straight answer to give.
In terms of Trans characters in YA generally, yeah, it’s not something we did in terms of speaking roles (I mean, that’d have been true even if I did a solid answer to the question above - I’d say there’s Trans people on Earth-212 or Earth-crowd-scene-proper, but it wouldn’t actually make them part of the story.) I did consider a concepts, I’ll admit, but the ones which most fit inside our METAPHOR! aesthetic seemed like pretty bad stories, and ones that have been done before.
But overall? I left a more diverse team, both in terms of sexuality and race than the one I found. One book can’t do everything. All books should do something. That’d kind of the point.
In terms of The Wicked + the Divine, it’s a simpler answer: that we have to tell anyone anything about the book before it launches is something we despise. In an ideal world, the first you’d know about anything solid in the book is what you see when you open the first issue. The reality of business means we can’t do that, but we want to keep as much of the content of the cast as fresh as we can. We want you to meet characters for the first time as we’ve presented them. We want you to learn and befriend them.
Anonymous said: "[A piece of art] belongs to you, that audience of one" doesn't seem to mesh with the sort of patronising (sorry) statement you made when declaring America's sexual orientation, re: those of us who happily read her as bisexual/lesbian-leaning but generally queer were outright wrong. (No need to publish this but I just needed to say it.)
Actually, I’d like to answer it, because I was looking for a place to write about this and apologise.
Let’s front load this before I tell the story of what was going on there: I apologise entirely. That wasn’t aimed at you, and that I said something that could be aimed at you and other people like you, is mortifying.
Okay – that said? This is the situation which led to me fucking up.
I don’t follow YA fandom as closely as I once did, for a lot of reasons, primarily I’m not writing the book any more. Around the time that ask came in, I was informed by friends that some people were trying to argue that Miss America could be straight. This is intellectually bankrupt behaviour from people who have acted out for months, done clearly to try and upset and confuse people. When I followed the community, I saw these people relentlessly post triggering, racist, homophobic material to the tag, and continuing to do so no matter how many times other people explained how problematic and upsetting it was. So basically, I was furious at them when the ask arrived.
When I responded that I considered her a lesbian, had written her as a lesbian, I added the impolitic insult in my annoyance at what these people were doing. While I don’t agree in punching down, I also don’t mean that wilfully misreading things to upset people should be entertained. I wanted to give a clear line.
However, in my anger, I’d thrown a hand-grenade of an insult. It didn’t just target those people. It hit people like you. I was angry and rash and I’m sorry. I had no desire to upset you. In fact, I had the complete opposite desire.
Publishing something when you’re angry is a bad idea. If you have to say something, you probably shouldn’t.
I’ll try to be better in future.
Right – consider this post ended. What follows is a second post, a real answer to your rhetorical question. I am in no ways trying to mitigate anything above.
The idea squares because everyone gets to have opinions not only on the art, but on other people’s opinions. You can believe what you want, and that belief is holy to you – but your beliefs can be offensive to others (at worst) or merely rejected for various reasons (more reasonably). When talking about art, it’s fine for you to take things however you want. However, the further you go away from the text, and what can be supported by what is actually in the text, the more people are going to raise their eyebrows.
Anonymous said: Do you feel comfortable revealing what some of those 'subtle balls' might have been in Young Avengers and Journey Into Mystery? (Or anything else you've written)
Young Avengers was designed as a closed statement. Everything I wanted to resolve was resolved. Everything we didn’t was areas I wanted to leave for future writers to play with, if the idea appealed.
Basically, all the balls were caught. There’s still some fairly hefty balls I haven’t seen anyone spot in Young Avengers, even though they were thrown and caught. There’s some very sleight of handy stuff going on, y’know? Balls everywhere! Young Avengers is as clockwork ball-machine as much as anything I’ve written, with the exception of THE SINGLES CLUB.
(“Young Avengers has fairly hefty balls”, etc.)
I think the biggest ball in JIM was in the Mephisto issue, when I set up the Mayan gods, which I was hoping to get a couple of issues in around the end of the Mayan Cycle. In the end, we didn’t have space, and I prioritised getting on with the core plot. It was always going to be a lighter, additional one.
The arc was basically about the end of the Mayan Cycle.
You know Mayan Football? There’s all sorts of interpretations about it, but one of them was that the two teams were basically about what the next year was going to be like. If one team wins, it’s a good one. If the other wins, it’s going to be awful.
Anyway - I had the idea that the Mayan Gods play a game of Mayan Football at the end of the eight thousand year cycle to decide whether the lighter or darker gods will be dominant.
This cycle, the darker gods have cheated, and there’s only one of the lighter gods around to play. He turns up in Asgard, looking for Help, and Loki ends up assisting as a Manager. Basically, it’s a classic sports-movie structure of putting together a team of underdogs that manage to get it together just in time for the big win.
Anonymous said: If there had been a 'Season 2' of Young Avengers, what would it have looked like?
The main ideas I had were really low-key. Much more like issue 6. Very street level. Shared accommodation. Essentially the “The Young Avengers at University” sort of set up.
runespoor7 said: Hi, I wanted to ask you who/what you associated with It's A Sin in Young Avengers? It's A Sin was basically *my song* when I was 17, so I was very excited when I saw it featured on the playlist, and I'd love to know your thoughts.
I actually started writing about the whole list, but happy to jump in here.
I suspect you may be able to guess this one.
"When I look back on my life
It’s always with a sense of shame
I’ve always been the one to blame.
For everything I long to do
no-matter when or where or whom
has one thing in common too
It’s a sin.”
Yes, it’s mainly Loki.
Works in elsewhere in a few other people in the book - Prodigy and Marvel Boy have their moments when they’d recognise themselves in the song, but it’s mainly Loki.
In passing, the wonderful dry litotes in here…
"At school they taught me how to be
So pure in thought and word and deed
They didn’t quite succeed.”
Is just one of my favourite things. When YA plays it soft, that’s sort of the effect I’m looking for.
theoraclenayru said: I'm not sure if you've talked about this before, but can you clarify America's sexual orientation? Please and thank you.
Do I have to? Really?
I mean, next time I’ll consider doing a…
…but do I really have to?
(She’s a lesbian. I have to say that any reading of YA that argues otherwise is performing Demiurge-level reality warping.)
GLAAD Media Award For Outstanding Comic Book: Young Avengers
GLAAD have announced their awards tonight. Read more here. However relevantly…
Outstanding Comic Book: Young Avengers, written by Kieron Gillen (Marvel Comics)
And drawn by Jamie McKelvie, Kate Brown, Mike Norton, Kris Anka, Stephen Thompson, Becky Cloonan, Ming Doyle, Joe Quinones, coloured by Matthew Wilson, Jordie Bellaire, Maris Wicks,Matthew Wilson and Lee Loughridge, lettered by Clayton Cowles and edited by Lauren Sankovitch, Jake Thomas and Jon Moisan. And bearing the fingerprint of others too, I dare say.
More than a little overwhelming. Incredibly honoured.