Monday, October 31, 2016

The FBI Cooks Up a Nothingburger for the GOP

The big corporate news is some terrible, awful scandal that’s something somehow about emails that nobody knows anything about.
It’s so shocking one swoons!!! 
Comey, the Republican FBI chief, has cooked up a perfect nothingburger for the GOP — no facts, no emails, no charges, no allegations, no names, just a big cloud of suspicion about Clinton that the Republicans will fan until election day. After that, the matter will be completely forgotten. After all, it’s hard to remember something that consists of nothing.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Do Do That Judo That You Do So Well

A surprising number of superheroes moonlighted as judo, jiu jitsu and karate instructors.
One-page features of “judo tricks” were not uncommon during the Silver Age. Harvey Comics’ stuntwoman turned movie star turned masked crime-fighter, the Black Cat, offered them. In Archie Comics’ Adventures of the Fly, the 1940s superhero the Black Hood was recruited for the task. A little later, in the mid-1960s, Charlton Comics’ ‘action hero” Judomaster joined the club.
But the oddest and most obscure of the lot was Bobby Bell, a teenaged sidekick and/or mascot to a superhero who actually outlasted the hero himself.
In Adventures of The Fly 1 (Aug. 1959), the boy made his debut wearing a costume like the Shield’s (who had debuted two months before in his own title as Lancelot Strong, a Silver Age revamp of MLJ’s Golden Age Shield Joe Higgins).
Apparently president of the Shield’s Young Americans’ Club, Bell’s relationship to the Shield — whether sidekick or just fan — was never made clear because the Shield’s comic was killed after only two issues, the victim of a lawsuit threat. DC Comics had claimed the hero was too much like Superman.
Even his name was ambiguous, shifting from Bill Bell to Bobby Bell or Bob Bell. Whatever. Bell stayed in the ring giving instructions in the martial arts through Adventures of the Fly 11 (July 1961).
This quirky how-to sideline of superhero comics eventually died out, and it’s easy to see why teaching children how to battle each other might raise some eyebrows. Superheroes may not fear the criminal element, but they have a healthy respect for lawyers.

Friday, October 28, 2016

I Wish, I Wish He'd Go Away

The Chinese artist Liu Bolin
“Why is the mutual interdependence between ourselves and the external world not the most obvious and dominant fact of consciousness?” Alan Watts asked in his 1960 book This Is It.
“Why do we not see that the world that we try to control, our whole inner and outer natural environment, is precisely that which gives us the power to control anything? It is because we look at things separately instead of simultaneously.
“When we are busy trying to control or change our circumstances, we ignore and are unconscious of the dependence of our consciousness and energy upon the outer world.
“When, on the other hand, we are oppressed by circumstances and feel controlled by the outer world, we forget that our very own consciousness is bringing that world into being.
“For, as I said, the sun is light because there are eyes to see it — noises because there are ears to hear them, hard facts because there is soft skin to feel them.”
“…If, therefore, consciousness ceases to ignore itself and becomes fully self-conscious, it discovers two things: (1) that it controls itself only very slightly, and is thoroughly dependent on other things — father and mother, external nature, biological processes, God, or what you will, and (2) that there is no little man inside, no ‘I’ who owns this consciousness.
“And if that is so, if I do not own my consciousness, and if there is even no ‘me’ to own it, to receive it, or to put up with it, who on earth is there to be either the victim of fate or the master of nature? ‘What is troubling us,’ said Wittgenstein, ‘is the tendency to believe that the mind is like a little man within.’”
I’m reminded of the 1899 poem Antigonish by the American educator and poet William Hughes Mearns:

Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn’t there again today,
I wish, I wish h’'d go away...

I think I know what’s on the landing at the top of those stairs. It’s a mirror.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

America: The Wreckage and the Reckoning

The American government, run by corporations whose sole motivation is greed, has ignored the needs of ordinary Americans for decades.
From the world economic wreckage caused by the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act to the Iraq war based entirely on lies to the disintegration of middle-class wages to an epidemic of armed toddlers to the police shootings of unarmed citizens in the streets, Americans’ quiet desperation has been growing steadily louder and louder and louder.
No, everything is not “just fine.” Societies in which things are “fine” do not create demagogues, people who use misdirection to peddle ugly, racist, violent solutions to the enraged and fearful. Demagogues do not arise by happenstance, out of nowhere. They arise only because you have ignored the festering conditions that create them.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Solving the Mystery of Lew Harper

Something about Paul Newman puzzled me.
More than once, I’d heard the anecdote about how Newman changed the name of Ross MacDonald’s private eye character Lew Archer to “Lew Harper” for the 1966 film Harper. The story went that Newman had had two hits in Hud and The Hustler, and wanted to extend his lucky strike with a third alliterative title.
But that would have made Newman kind of stupid, and the keenly compassionate liberal Newman didn’t strike me as being stupid. Hence my puzzlement.
The mystery was solved by Tom Nolan, the biographer of Ross MacDonald (who was really Kenneth Millar). Eyeing United Artists’ immensely popular James Bond films while considering turning McDonald’s first Archer novel, The Moving Target, in to a movie, Warner Brothers decided to acquire all the film rights to Lew Archer and make a series. But Millar wasn’t willing to part with those rights for less than $50,000.
“I’d much rather see the deal fall through than risk having Archer lost in the clutches of the Warner octopus … I say nuts,” Millar said. But the studio didn’t want to pay Millar’s price. Their solution: change the character’s name and make a series anyway.
Newman’s wife, actress Joanne Woodward, later told the anecdote about her husband’s H superstition on the Tonight Show, and a myth was born. Presumably that sounded better than saying that the studio wanted to cheat the writer out of his fee.
Screenwriter William Goldman knew the true story, because he was the guy whom the studio asked to think up a new name for Lew Archer. Goldman picked the two-syllable “Harper” because it sounded like “Archer.”
 “If you know anything about the movie business, you know it’s all bullshit,” Goldman said. 

The God of Thunder Clouts a Kind of Castro

A weak, vulnerable person is transformed by magic lightning into a caped, Herculean hero who can fly.
Um, could you narrow that down a little more? That could be anybody.
In his second adventure (Journey Into Mystery 84, Sept. 1962), the Mighty Thor exploited his built-in Captain Marvel motif by having Dr. Don Blake trapped before a firing squad, unable to reach the walking stick that would change him into the thunder god. This echoed the many times in which Billy Batson, Mary Batson or Freddy Freeman ended up bound and gagged and unable to utter the villain-vanquishing word “Shazam!”
Having fought off an alien invasion in his first outing, the thunder god flexes his considerable muscles against a modern army this time out. The story is full of those multi-panel feats of staggering strength that Jack Kirby was so good at delivering.
The tale continues the commie-bashing featured in Marvel’s brief superhero revival in 1954, but this time the heavy has a heavy resemblance to Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro, who’d only been in power three years. Because DC’s superhero titles usually backed away from real-world politics, Stan Lee instinctively went in the other direction, toward giving Marvel’s characters additional verisimilitude by grounding them in a more recognizable world.

How the GOP Fell Into Its Own Fox News Trap

Fox News is the cutting edge of conning the American public. They road test the propaganda at top speed, then get CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Lara Logan to buy the used sedan.
Propaganda posing as journalism is great for your side, right up until you fall off the cliff in the dark. By creating the Fox News fog machine, the GOP has blinded itself.
“For a sense of just how misinformed Republican voters have become, consider a few of the provably wrong things many believe. “Seven in 10 Republicans either doubt or completely disbelieve that President Obama was born in the United States. Six in 10 think he’s a secret Muslim. Half believe global warming is possibly or definitely a myth concocted by scientists.”

Saturday, October 22, 2016

And Who Will Get the Blame?

And when the electoral dust settles, who’ll be blamed for the Republican Party’s enthusiastic selection and embrace of the most xenophobic, greedy, racist, demagogic, sexist, duplicitous and ignorance-cheerleading GOP candidate in history? Why, “Both Sides,” of course.
This will happen so fast our proverbial heads will spin. Then Trump will be made to vanish as if he’d never existed, just as George W. Bush did.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Jimmy Olsen as Elastic Lad? That's a Stretch

After the great superhero extinction of the early-to-mid 1950s, any number of perfectly serviceable character concepts were going begging, and ended up recycled into non-superhero titles.
So it was that Jimmy Olsen ended up with Flash-like speed in September 1956, Hawkman-like wings in February 1958 and finally the flexible form of Plastic Man (Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen 31, Sept. 1958).
While other superheroes were vanishing, Superman — thanks to his popularity on radio and movies and then on television — actually gained titles. By Sept.-Oct 1954, when the Jimmy Olsen comic was added, Clark Kent’s alter ego was already headlining Action Comics, Adventure Comics, Superman, Superboy and World’s Finest.
Plastic Man had only been out of business four years when exposure to an alien chemical gave Jimmy his stretchy powers. Later, Prof. Phineas Potter’s stretching formula would enable Jimmy to become Elastic Lad for short periods.
Elastic Lad’s adventures became almost a backup feature for Jimmy, appearing repeatedly and even earning him an honorary membership in the Legion of Super Heroes.
Even Lois Lane got in on the act as Elastic Lass (Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane 23, Feb. 1961). The unstoppable Composite Superman used Jimmy’s Elastic Lad powers to defeat both Superman and Batman.
The quirky, oddball nature of the Plastic Man powers made them perfect for Jimmy’s adventures. They enabled him to maintain an occasional superhero persona while never threatening to steal the spotlight from the real hero, Superman.
Ironically, while in the semi-comedic form of Elastic Lad, Jimmy had his most tragic and finest moment. In Alan Moore’s 1986 swan song to the Silver Age Superman, Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?, Elastic Lad, Krypto and a super-powered Lana Lang willingly gave up their lives to defend Superman.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Flash: The Four-Color Hermes of the 1940s

The comparative religion scholar Joseph Campbell famously said, “The latest incarnation of Oedipus, the continued romance of Beauty and the Beast, stand this afternoon on the corner of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, waiting for the traffic light to change.”
That being the case, I suppose no one should have been surprised to find the latest incarnation of Hermes zipping around a comic book in January 1940, complete with winged petasos.
Created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Harry Lampert, the Flash was among the first of the shtick superheroes.
In just two years, Superman, Captain Marvel and their various copycats had already covered the ground of the all-purpose superhero who wielded an array of powers. By 1940, to get ahead, a super being had to have a gimmick. So The Human Torch burned and the Submariner swam, Hawkman could fly, Doll Man could shrink, Wonder Woman could be female and the Flash could run really, really fast.
College student Jay Garrick was one of only three characters who became a superhero by smoking, by the way. In a chem lab, while breaking football training with a cigarette, Jay accidentally knocked over some beakers and further polluted his lungs by breathing in the fumes that turned him into the Flash.
As wish fulfillment, speed rated high with kids. Speed, fueled by their boundless energy, was after all the one area where children could outdistance the somewhat worn-out adults who talked down to them, punished them and generally looked after them. But just think what you might do with some real speed…
Artistic restriction can often be the parent of creativity, and the decade of the Flash’s initial run gave the writers plenty of time to come up with satisfying variations on the theme of speed. The Flash could run up the sides of buildings and across water. He could catch bullets, vibrate through walls, create multiple images of himself and become invisible. His one power turned out to make him nearly as omnipotent as Superman’s many. The popular character raced around in Flash Comics, All-Flash (a title devoted to his adventures), Comic Cavalcade and All-Star Comics with his fellow members of the Justice Society of America.
The feature was initially marred by crude art, and the early adventures of this seminal superhero are difficult to enjoy for that reason. But by All-Flash 31 (Oct.-Nov. 1947), an artist named Carmine Infantino had arrived to make the Scarlet Speedster’s adventures a pure pleasure. Infantino would carry the character, in his second and even more successful incarnation, right through the 1950s and 1960s.
I’m sure, dear reader, that you already recall the other two characters who got their super powers from smoking. But at the risk of appearing pedantic, I will remind you of them. In 1963, the Japanese robot superhero 8 Man restored his powers with “energy cigarettes” carried in a cigarette case on his belt. And in June 1974, Daily Planet editor Perry White acquired Superman-like powers from some cigars given to him by grateful alien mutants.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Always Look on the Bright Side of Armageddon

The Hydrogen War of 1986 almost completely destroyed life on the planet Earth.
But DC Comics wasn’t going to let a little thing like that spoil the fun.
Hence the Atomic Knights, a post-apocalyptic saga of adventure introduced in Strange Adventures 117 (June 1960).
I can remember, as a 6-year-old, being slightly unsettled by the idea of a nuclear war in the DC universe. That would mean that all the superheroes had finally failed, wouldn’t it? That was a notion that also occurred to Alan Moore in Watchmen.
In DC’s sunny science fiction titles, alien invasions were routinely thwarted by pet dogs and mail carriers, and plesiosaurs were tamed and put on display at SeaWorld. So the idea of worldwide nuclear disaster seemed jarringly out-of-place. But if anybody could make World War III seem like a walk in Central City Park, it was the gang at 575 Lexington Avenue, New York City.
Meanwhile, 1.3 miles away at 245 W. 44th St., a new musical called Camelot spotlighted the Knights of the Round Table’s defense of right against might. The optimistic Kennedy “Camelot era” had dawned, and that same theme — reason against barbarism, the rule of law over tyranny — would be reworked by writer John Broome into the Atomic Knights, a plucky band fighting to reestablish human civilization. Their ancient armor was practical as well as symbolically idealistic. They found it shielded them from radiation guns.
Editor Julius “Julie” Schwartz’s science fiction comics always emphasized a reliance on learning and reason. The Knights included a schoolteacher and a scientist — two professions frequently derided in 21st century America’s celebration of ignorance, but well respected during the Silver Age of Comics.
Murphy Anderson’s clean-lined, optimistic art also had a lot to do with the series’ reassuring nature. I suspect it was just the kind of Buck Rogers story Anderson had always wanted to do.
“Years later, as I sat at my drawing board, my phone rang and a familiar voice greeted me,” Anderson recalled in his introduction to a hardcover edition of The Atomic Knights. “It took only seconds for me to realize who the caller was (and the reason for his call). Mike Barr, well-known comics writer, did not waste time or money!!! I caught on immediately, and replied, ‘Of course, Mike! Today is October 29, 1986 … the day the terrible Atomic War of World War III began and lasted only twenty days!!’ Mike’s infectious laugh boomed in my ear and triggered my own laughter in return.”
Energy creatures, crystal monsters, yellow-skinned alien invaders, blue-shirted Nazis, knights in armor, ray guns, riding Dalmatians and giant ambulatory plants that serve you dinner in restaurants — this was the kind of Armageddon a kid could love!

A Mission to Make the Worse Appear the Better

Republican propagandists like Luntz and Rove have successfully demonized the terms “liberal,” “entitlement,” “social justice warrior” and “politically correct.” Their intent was to discredit the very concepts of compassionate politics, earned government benefits, people who fight for the rights of others and politeness.
The GOP is on a constant propaganda mission to redefine language and make the better appear the worse. As Jeffrey Martini observed, science and education are now described as “liberal scams.”

Thursday, October 13, 2016

'Darkroom:' Mary Maddox's Best Thriller Yet

By Dan Hagen
Mary Maddox writes in the margins of 21st century America.
The central Illinois novelist’s thrillers often feature females economically and emotionally on the fraying edges of society, marginal people whose meager access to resources heightens their peril when something wicked their way goes. They haven’t got much with which to fight back, except wits.
In Darkroom, Kelly Durrell’s friend, Day, is benighted, a fact we can hear and smell even before we see her. Maddox’s deft description clues us in even as Kelly returns to her home with groceries. “Manic whoops and a whiff of cannabis seeped into the garage. Daffy Duck was getting high… A teenaged girl lived inside the body of a thirty-eight-year-old woman.”
Maddox sketches character in clear, economical lines: “He raised the empty mug and wiggled it; ‘Hannah.’ The server gave Alan a brisk nod and went on taking the order of a couple nearby. ‘Hannah likes girls.’ His tone insinuated that straight women fetched him beers at once.”
With one friend drugged-up and bipolar, and another who is cheating on her powerful and vengeful husband, Kelly is dropped into tension on page one of the novel, and Maddox weaves those threads around her swiftly. With several novels’ worth of experience, her sense of suspense is sure-footed.
Day is trouble, but she also has potential — specifically, the discernment of the professional photographer. “She studied (the photos), so caught up in Day’s experiments with contrast and nuance that she forgot she was looking at herself. It came as a shock when she remembered. The faces weren’t the familiar one in her bathroom mirror, the woman who dabbed her smudged mascara with a tissue and dreaded going to work. The photographs showed a woman with amazement shadowing her eye, a woman caught in the world’s strangeness.”
Caught indeed.
Tracing her vanished friend Day, Kelly finds evidence of another disappearance, and knows she’s getting too close to somebody who makes people go away for good.
But Kelly, who is credibly heroic without bravado, keeps searching as the shadows around her grow longer, until she finds herself on the radar of a Blackwater-like corporate police force that doesn’t mind murdering people for a client’s convenience.
Maddox sets aside the supernatural elements featured in her earlier suspense novels, and they are not missed here. She’s written a page-turner with realistic perils and motivations and palpable tension, one that builds momentum like a rockslide. It’s her best suspense novel to date.
Maddox’s novels are available at and Barnes & Noble Booksellers on line.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

How to Fog Up a Smoke Monster

An unintended consequence of overreliance on your physical strength can be intellectual weakness. In other words, bullies aren’t too bright.
Homer knew it. Who survived the Trojan War — the vainglorious tough guy Achilles or the canny Odysseus? And Stan Lee and Jack Kirby knew it, too, in their seemingly endless series of giant monster stories in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
These planet-shaking wonders could typically be conned by a clever human who cut some pictures out of a comic book, or threatened them with a cigarette lighter.
That’s what happened to poor Diablo, the lead monster in Tales of Suspense 9 (Dec. 1959). Despite his gigantic size, telepathic powers and Dr. Doom-like habit of shouting “Silence!,” the alien smoke monster was chased back off into interstellar space by some guy who terrified him by puffing out the smoke from a lighter.
The story, a favorite of mine, illustrates one of the tricks Kirby used to jazz up his monster invasion and early Marvel superhero stories. As the alien invader or supernatural threat indulges himself by describing the horrors to which he plans to subject we poor human weaklings, Kirby goes to town illustrating his thoughts, thereby bringing in more spectacular action scenes and making the tale less static.
Diablo reappeared in Marvel’s first 25-cent giant comic, the excellent Strange Tales Annual 1 from 1962, and later returned to make the mistake of threatening the Incredible Hulk. The Hulk is unimpressed by smoke monsters. 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Hail to the Creep

a meme by my friend Bruce Kanin
President Lincoln: “...that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
President Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you.”
President Trump: “Grab ‘em by the p*ssy!”

Friday, October 7, 2016

The Channel That Killed American Journalism

The channel that killed journalism turns 20. American ignorance and stupidity in the 21st century, so carefully cultivated by Fox News, is like quicksand. There’s no bottom there anymore.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Marvel Universe Grows as the FF Shrinks

I must have reread Fantastic Four 16 (July 1963) more often than any other issue, and now I think I know why. For me, this was the issue that really cemented the crowd-pleasing concept of what we would come to call the “Marvel universe.”
Two years into their run, the now-familiar and well-loved title characters were joined by another favorite superhero, the Astonishing Ant-Man, to oppose that prince among super villains, Dr. Doom. The Fantastic Four had already met and skirmished with the Hulk and Spider-Man, but this time, confronted by the peril of miniaturization, they called on Ant-Man for help.
Calling in the expert would have been a natural move in the real world, but was still a relatively rare one in comics, where — despite the existence of the Justice League and the World’s Finest teams — superheroes often seemed to pretend that other superheroes didn’t exist. In her own title, for example, Wonder Woman would fend off an alien invasion by herself, with never a thought for the heroes who might help.
With an eye on the insiderish fanboy thrill that crossovers gave readers, Stan Lee was also certainly aware that bringing newer characters into contact with the company’s most popular heroes would be a great way to provide them with wider exposure.
“And there is a lot to tell in this issue — from contacting Ant-Man, to discovering a hidden world, to helping the royal family which Doom has imprisoned to take back their throne,” comics historian Don Alsafi observed. “And yet, as we’ve come to expect, there are wonderful little details as well. For instance, before they embark on their micro-journey, Reed tracks down Ben at his girlfriend Alicia’s apartment to test out a new serum, one that he hopes will be instrumental in someday changing the Thing back to human, permanently.
"Meanwhile, Sue is grappling with the problem that while she can turn invisible, she can still be identified by creatures with a strong sense of smell, such as dogs, and so is seen experimenting with different kinds of perfumes in an effort to ‘deaden’ her own scent. Even Johnny gets a bit of attention when Pearla, the princess they save from Doom's clutches, sends a few flirtations his way before the FF leave their realm. Any hopes that this could be a potential love interest for the Torch are for naught, however, as Pearla’s next Marvel appearance would take 19 years to occur.”

Monday, October 3, 2016

Frank Lloyd Wright on American Wrongs

Frank Lloyd Wright’s sumac window, 1902,
Dana-Thomas House, Springfield, Illinois. 
By the dawn of the 20th century, architect Frank Lloyd Wright had discovered something I didn’t learn until the 21st century — that kleptocapitalism must finally and necessarily destroy the standards of every profession with which it comes in contact.
In his 1900 speech to the Architectural League of America in Chicago, titled The Architect, Wright “…reminded his colleagues that in this country commerce had triumphed over art,” wrote Robert C. Twombly in his book Frank Lloyd Wright: His Life and His Architecture. “The lust for money had reduced the architect to a servant of the business community.”
Wright charged that the American architect “…panders to silly women his silly artistic sweets,” trading experimentation and individuality for financial security.
“(The architect) now modeled commercial buildings after Greek temples and luxury homes after Louis XIV palaces, all because the businessman and his wife ‘knew what they wanted,’” Twombly wrote. “No longer an independent spirit, the architect had become a salesman, peddling prepackaged ‘styles’ from the files of huge ‘plan-factories.’
“At the height of the industrial revolution in America, Wright was painfully aware that the new corporate elite had usurped the status of the professional, reducing him to an employee at its beck and call.”
In 21st century capitalism-gone-wild America, that sad state of professional degradation applies not just to architects but to physicians, educators, military officers, police officers, attorneys, journalists, you name it.
For pity’s sake, judges have been caught framing innocent American children because they’ve been bribed by private prison corporations to provide warm bodies in order to increase the corporation’s lucrative taxpayer subsidy.

The Weird Appeal of the Winged Wonder

Assets for the 1940s Hawkman: a uniquely memorable and coolly weird costume with a hawk’s head mask and dramatic wings. Why the medieval maces and flails? Why the bare chest? The character always caught the eye, which is probably why he was cover-featured in every other issue of Flash Comics.
Liabilities for the 1940s Hawkman: his un-unique power of flight, which was initially an asset. Remember, not even Superman and Captain Marvel could actually fly at first. But flight quickly became Standard Operating Procedure for comic book superheroes, virtually the ante to get in the game. Characters like the Human Torch and the Submariner got flight as part of a package deal with other impressive abilities. Even superheroes who don’t actually fly often simulate the freedom of personal flight — think Batman, Spider-Man and Daredevil.
Successful superheroes require unique angles, and Hawkman lost one of his early on.
Hawkman also somehow developed the power to talk to, though not command, birds. While interesting, it’s nothing that Cinderella couldn’t also do.
Created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Dennis Neville in 1940, Carter Hall, the Winged Wonder, developed his own mythology, which included enduringly intriguing archenemies like the Gentleman Ghost (who was later to clash with Batman and Superman). Hawkman appeared in every adventure of the Justice Society, not being sidelined like the Flash and Green Lantern because he was never awarded his own exclusive comic book title.
The Winged Wonder also made a contribution for gender equality when his reincarnated girlfriend, Shiera Saunders, also became his sidekick and crime-fighting partner, Hawkgirl.
Introduced in Hawkman’s initial adventure, Shiera first spread her own wings in All Star Comics 5 (July 1941), inaugurating a theme we’d see echoed in Mary Marvel, Bullet girl, Fly Girl, Batwoman and so forth.
I always like to observe how popular culture provides a funhouse mirror reflection of social reality. I find it telling that Hawkgirl now appears more often than Hawkman, and often alone.