Friday, October 26, 2007

Top 4 Reasons I Don't Care That Big Barda Is Dead

This past week there's been quite the kerfuffle about Big Barda's death (appearing off panel, apparently, which I agree, is a total cop out and cheat). Perhaps I will get flack for this, but here are the top 4 reasons why I don't care.

1) After the fiasco that was Infinite Crisis, I have foresworn all DC crossovers. I skipped 52 -- even though from what I gather there were a plethora of interesting story threads, and won't touch Countdown or the Death of the New Gods with a 10 foot pole. I know this is controversial, but I find DC's crossovers too convoluted and steeped in way too much continuity to be enjoyable; as such, I prefer Marvel's. The irony of this being said on a blog called Mister Fanboy is not lost on me. Because her death happened in one of the aforementioned DC crossovers, I have doubts that it matters one wit and won't be retconned during the next big event in such a way that it causes even more confusion. Say what you will about Marvel's big events - and I am sure you will - but theirs tend be much more finite and self-contained.

2) Big Barda means nothing to me (sadly, the same goes for her husband, Mr. Miracle). Sorry, but for one reason or another, her storylines/books were never the ones that I read. That by no means implies that she wasn't a worthwhile character, but it means I'm not all that familiar with her. Even when a gifted writer such as Gail Simone featured her in her last Birds of Prey arc, I didn't get much of a feel for her - or why I should really like her. Perhaps that was due to the fact that there were so many other female heroes in the story and it was hard to make Barda shine, but she vaguely came across as like the Hulk - Barda Smash!

3) I liked Knockout better. Using the work of Simone again, through Villains United, Secret Six, and then Birds of Prey (again), I really learned to like Barda's fellow New Godsian (?, or whatever). The cynical amongst you might say that because I am a guy, and because Knockout was in a same-sex relationship with Scandal, of course I would like her. However, that's not really the case. I appreciated her brashness (which I got the sense that Simone was getting at with Barda herself, but just didn't work for me). I bring up Knockout for two reasons. A) She had a similar origin to Big Barda and I learned to like her and appreciate her first, without being exposed to what I have come to learn is a confusing backstory for all of the New Gods and B) I was actually sad when she got killed (although super-miffed that there was no follow-up in Birds of Prey - thanks Editors!)

4) It's fiction. Character's die. They are then often resurrected. Phoenix. Psylocke. Ice. And the list goes on and on. Perhaps it's finite, but that doesn't mean the writer is directing this at you (reader) specifically. But then again, if Dazzler were to truly bite the dust in continuity, I would be pissed as all get out too and therefore happily be wearing the label of a true hypocrite. I think this goes back to my 2nd point in that the character never really resonated for me.

I was going to include a 5th reason, but I just couldn't think of one.

So, there you have it. Give me a reason why I should care. Seriously. Why am I wrong? Or am I right? Why is the world shaped like a triangular burrito? Discuss.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

So anyone that does care and has written their beliefs are not entitled to their personal opinions that you don't have to read because you do not care?

Why such an empassioned attempt to anger others that do? That does not seem to be the actions of someone who does not care.

People who don't care just ignore it, or simply state it. They don't attempt to justify it to the people that do.

10:51 PM  
Blogger ethan said...

whoa....i don't care either and i think that fanboy is just reacting to the plethora of blogs where people are freaking out about barda's "death". some of us just don't get why it's a big deal.

11:12 PM  
Blogger zhinxy said...

Whoa there anonymous, I care a whole lot about Barda's death, and I don't think Mister Fanboy is saying I have no right to!

Nor do I think he's trying to anger me! You can tell me if I'm wrong, Fanboy, and I'll happily duel you. ;)

12:07 AM  
Blogger Joel Bryan said...

I totally agree with point 1, feel the opposite about point 2, 3 is a wash because hey, you gotta like what you like and that's fair and 4 is problematic because while it's certainly true of comics, it's not necessarily true of fiction as a whole.

Actually, I wish it were less true of comics and that the dead stayed dead more often than not.

Mainly, it's a non-event for me because like you, I don't read these big crossovers for exactly the same reasons you don't, and because as far as I'm concerned, everything that needed to be said about Big Barda was written by Jack Kirby years ago and the various takes on her since have been pretty pale.

Also, yeah she'll be back. Maybe even in this story for all we know.

3:57 AM  
Blogger Fanboy said...

This is interesting. I honestly didn't expect to strike such a raw nerve here. What led me to make the post was a response to the response on the web. I didn't by any means want to imply that those who disagree with the way her death went down were somehow not entitled to their opinions.

I think anonymous read WAY too much into what I was saying. For one thing, I was not all that impassioned about the whole thing - which was kind of the point to begin with. And quite frankly (and I apologize if this sounds harsh), in what world do you live where people don't offer opinions on things they really don't care about or effect them? In my world without glass houses even those who could truly care less for celebutards, has occasioned to comment on Paris, Brittney and Lindsay -- or for the more erudite amongst you, Bill and Hillary's sex life or Romney's religious beliefs.

Ethan, thanks for coming to my defense. I think you read my intent mostly correctly. The only thing I think you read wrong is that I DO get why it's a big deal for folks (Amy Reads if you're out there, I assume you fit into this category - pipe up), but I was just commenting that it didn't for me. My fault for not making that clearer. That's what I was trying to get at with my comments on Knockout.

zhinxy, I think you hit the nail on the head. No need to duel ... this time.

joel bryan. I like the way you dissected my specific points. We all can't agree on everything, and for those things that we do not, that's cool. As for you comments on #4, you're right, it is problematic. It's something that is often stated in blogs, cultural critiques, etc. about similar instances.

So there you have it. I am somewhat surprised that I am getting responses to what I wrote, but I'm a big boy. Keep them coming.

12:11 PM  
Blogger Amy Reads said...

Hi Mister Fanboy,
So, there you have it. Give me a reason why I should care. Seriously. Why am I wrong? Or am I right?

I think that what you get right is that the comic book continuity hasn't really given us much reason *to* care about Barda. She's a fascinating character with an infinitely fascinating background, one of the few comic book superheroes in an equal, empowering romantic relationship, and hell, she's a Fury. But truly, those aren't Enough of Answers to justify your caring. Barda has been treated with Great Love in the Simone Birds of Prey series, but truly, I think she deserves her own title. At least a mini-series (which I would be Very Happy to write for you, DC!). I highly recommend Mr. Chabon's ode to Big Barda, which unfortunately, seems to be no longer on The Internets.

But I think, for me and my love of Big Barda, it ultimately comes down to the following:

1) The name "Big Barda" isn't an insult, as the attachment of "big" to any woman's name could be considered such.
2) She's strong, stronger than her husband, and neither he nor she has a problem with that.
3) She escapes a life of slavery and hate and pain because of love. This is a common theme in the nineteenth-century literature that I love, but unlike it, she doesn't have to die in the end, but is allowed to live happily (for a while, at least).
4) She's a big strong warrior, and I do so love my big strong warrior women (is it any wonder that This Humble Author's favorite superheroes are Wonder Woman and Big Barda, then?).

Why is the world shaped like a triangular burrito? Discuss.

Because there is no love in outer tortilla space.

I certainly can't make you love Barda, because we can never force others to like what we like, no? And I respect your opinion, and your right to express it, as always, Friend!
Amy, who still owes you Lone Wolf and Cub (!!!)

1:52 PM  
Blogger Amy Reads said...

Hi Mister Fanboy,
PS 10 months ago, Loren Javier asked me what I wanted to see in 2007, and I said a Big Barda title.
here are my reasons why.
Also? I would love to see Loren come back to the world of blogging!

1:56 PM  
Blogger Fanboy said...


As usual, you have some of the best thought out responses. Thank you for taking the time to tell me why the character of Big Barda meant so much to you. Your take on her went a lot towards framing the love so many have for her. Although I am mostly unfamiliar with those character traits, I can understand why she engendered so much good will. Although I still contend that (too my surprise), Simone's Birds of Prey turn with her left a lot to be desired, it was clear Simone had a lot of affinity for the character.

And I totally agree with you that her name is one of the best ever.

Thanks for reminding me of your 2007 wishes for Barda. I had read that at the time and had completely forgotten about it. My bad. And I agree with you 100% about Loren. Once his dog passed and his other personal dilemmas occured, it appears as though his priorities in life shifted and blogging wasn't one of them. I hope that changes. I always enjoyed his posts.

As for why the world is shaped like a triangular burrito ... The answer truly comes down to a peace treaty of sorts between myself and a true friend (illicit pharma was involved, I do admit) agreed upon on the Monterey Peninsula in 1987. I should say no more. Still, I shall adopt your answer from here on out for fear of divulging the real truth to those who truly wouldn't ever understand.

And have you even watched Lone Wolf and Cub yet? If not, why?

5:59 PM  
Blogger M. said...

Actually I think your reasons all have merit. The only thing I wonder about is this bit:

"Even when a gifted writer such as Gail Simone featured her in her last Birds of Prey arc, I didn't get much of a feel for her - or why I should really like her. Perhaps that was due to the fact that there were so many other female heroes in the story and it was hard to make Barda shine.."

I get that you didn't get a sense of her, but why would the number of female heroes be a factor in that?

Seriously, I'm not trying to start a fight, I'm just really curious. Have you had the same problem with a similar number of male heroes?

I'm thinking that just perhaps with so many heroes (regardless of gender) Simone just couldn't keep them all interesting, and that is certainly a valid criticism and reason for not connecting with a character.

7:27 AM  
Blogger Fanboy said...

M: Good point. I was trying to get at the fact that the storyline has too many heroes, all of which happened to be female. In my mind, Simone was trying to make them all shine, but I guess there's only so much one can do in few good issues. I feel the same way about many of the X-titles and otehr team books like JLA as well with their mixed-gender cast of characters. BTW, I am a huge fan of Simone's work so I cringe at sounding as though I am picking it apart like this.

9:05 AM  

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