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Bitch Planet and its agenda thoughts? - comicsalternative.com

Bitch Planet and its agenda thoughts?

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Joshrocker
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Bitch Planet and its agenda thoughts?

Postby Joshrocker » Mon Dec 22, 2014 11:17 am

This was discussed on the last reviews show (episode 113).

I completely agreed with Derek and his thoughts on Bitch Planet. I liked the issue and added it to my pull list weeks ago but the heavy handed agenda was a little over the top. I knew that there would be tones of the subject matter throughout but personally thought it was too much. There are ways of making your points but letting the reader subtly come to the conclusion on their own. I think it's much more effective for someone to need to think about a meaning versus coming straight out and being preachy.

As for the issue itself, I liked it. It was a good first issue. It will stay on my pull list for the foreseeable future.

I found it interesting that I had my own personal thoughts on the issue and hearing that point brought up during the podcast.

I'd love to hear everyone else's opinion.

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pacino
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Re: Bitch Planet and its agenda thoughts?

Postby pacino » Tue Dec 23, 2014 8:02 am

I didn't enjoy that because I'm not the biggest exploitation fan, but to be fair to the creators of this book there is no subtlety within that genre.

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Re: Bitch Planet and its agenda thoughts?

Postby Joshrocker » Tue Dec 23, 2014 8:48 am

You're definitely correct, there is no subtlety within that genre. This was different however. This wasn't about over the top gore or nudity it was about a social agenda (and for the record, an agenda that i'm in no way opposed to). I just felt it almost cheapened the "lesson" they're attempting to teach. The ones who probably need to hear the message the most will probably be turned off from future issues. The people who agree will stick around and it will become preaching to the choir.

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Re: Bitch Planet and its agenda thoughts?

Postby Derek » Tue Dec 23, 2014 1:49 pm

Hey Joshrocker and Pacino, thanks for chiming in on our review show from last week where we discussed Bitch Planet #1. That's actually a title I've been thinking more about since we recorded that episode, and I have to say that the more I think about it, the more I feel annoyed at the heavy-handedness in the issue. I still think this is one of those titles that will read better in trade than in individual installments -- so does that mean it's not a "successful" first issue? -- but what really gets me is the fact that the creators didn't let the art speak for itself. Instead, they opted to include that mini-essay at the end as an interpretive directive. Are the creators not confident that their message/theme will be clear enough without Danielle Henderson's brief commentary? I agree with Andy that pieces like that can be useful when discussing the subject matter of a title, but did we really need such overt cues out of the gate? Let the first narrative arc congeal, and then include such essays as supplementary material to the trades.
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pacino
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Re: Bitch Planet and its agenda thoughts?

Postby pacino » Wed Dec 24, 2014 7:54 am

That's a good point. The essay was poorly placed in the back of the initial issue. Let the work speak for itself a bit.

I guess it depends on HOW one does that sort of thing. Scott Snyder's writings in the back of Wytches have been fantastic, but they are also sort of explaining his thought process behind what Wytches means to him.

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Re: Bitch Planet and its agenda thoughts?

Postby Derek » Wed Dec 24, 2014 12:51 pm

Good point, Pacino. I've no problem with Snyder's writing at the end of the first issue of Wytches, as it gave a context and background...specifically, the creepiness of woods he experienced as a kid. And there are many other creators who do something similar, give us substantive background and context about the process or genesis of their comic. (Although I really dislike the kind of afterword that functions more as filler than anything, such as the "This is the music I was listening to as I drew this" kind of stuff. Why do I really need to know this?) But what we find in that first issue of Bitch Planet is more of an exposition on the subject matter. Henderson's piece tells us what we should be getting out of the story. And, again, I ask, shouldn't the story speak for itself without any supplement or "crutch"?
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Re: Bitch Planet and its agenda thoughts?

Postby Joshrocker » Fri Dec 26, 2014 10:48 am

If you have confidence in your writing and art then the story should absolutely speak for itself. In retrospect I think they actually did a good job conveying the point that they are trying to make. Then the needless essay was included and I felt like it cheapened the work before it. I have pondered how much my experience with the book would have changed without the essay.

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Re: Bitch Planet and its agenda thoughts?

Postby Andy » Fri Dec 26, 2014 4:13 pm

As I said on the podcast, I tend to disagree with this reading of the book, and of the inclusion of the essay in the back. First, I see it as more of a supplement to the main story--a way of expanding the discussion of the themes of the book, rather than an attempt to drive home certain points to ensure that all the readers get it. In that sense, I see it in keeping with what Kelly Sue DeConnick did with the backmatter in Pretty Deadly, or what Matt Fraction does with Casanova and Sex Criminals. In fact, I think that Sex Criminals may be a good comparison, where the reader is invited to join in to this group of Brimpers and explore the themes and the humor of the series in a different way. Fraction and Chip Zdarsky definitely have an agenda with that book, though the agenda may not be as politically heavy as Bitch Planet.

I would also compare what Bitch Planet does to what Ed Brubaker does with the backmatter in his books, too. Again, the "agenda" there is much less controversial, but I can't imagine criticizing Brubaker for doing comics that are noir homages and then beating us over the head with essays about classic noir films and famous Hollywood crimes. It's all supplemental and part of a larger discussion that the readers can engage with if they choose.

Is it a problem, then, that Bitch Planet uses its backmatter to service a more politically charged agenda?

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Re: Bitch Planet and its agenda thoughts?

Postby Derek » Fri Dec 26, 2014 5:17 pm

No, Brubaker and Fraction are doing something different...as is many others who provide supplemental material in the back of new comic book titles, some successfully and some otherwise. There are just different reasons (or agendas, if you want to call it that) that the creators chose for whatever reasons, and for some readers that might resonate. For my own reading proclivities, I'd rather polemical matters be handled by the art itself...that is, if the art is the intended delivery system of the message. Then again, I prefer a Call It Sleep to a Jews without Money, hands down (sorry for the literary, perhaps obscure, comparison). Yes, I agree with Andy that the Henderson essay can be very useful supplementary material. My question, though, with Bitch Planet is why be so in-your-face in the very first issue? Why not give us more story or more effective story that leaves no question as to any message? This strategy of presentation didn't work for me, so perhaps I'm not the ideal reader for this particular title. At least in its early stages...and if you remember on the podcast episode, I mentioned that completely outside of the essay issue, I felt that this was a first issue that left too many holes or questions, probably reading better in the trade (or maybe benefitting from a longer first issue, the kind that Image tends to do fairly regularly when it comes to world-building). So that, on top of the essay at the end, left me with a summary feeling of so-so-ness.
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Re: Bitch Planet and its agenda thoughts?

Postby Joshrocker » Sat Dec 27, 2014 8:17 pm

I do disagree about the quality of the first issue. I thought it was a decent issue that gave you enough substance while leaving plenty to be fleshed out in future issues. I always love the oversized first issues as there is usually a lot more story that could be told but I thought Bitch Planet handled its space well. I'm definitely curious about how the story plays out and am looking forward to coming back next month.

Andy, when you enter the more policitcal side of the world I think you're held to higher standards. It's no longer just a form of entertainment. When something is out only to entertain you, it simply comes down to whether or not the content is enjoyable. When you're searching deeper for a meaning and a vehicle to advance your "agenda" (using the word agenda doesn't see appropriate when discussing equal rights but you get my point) it deserves more scrutiny.

But anyway...I don't want to beat a dead horse. I'll continue to pull this issue and look forward to future installments.


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