Monday, October 10, 2016

Shade the Changing Girl #1

Being that Shade the Changing Man was my favorite comic book in my late teens, I can't imagine I'll be anything but disappointed by this.

The Commentary!
Why Shade the Changing Girl? Why not Shade the Changing Woman? Is it because we assume grown ass women have matured past the point of enjoying comic books, so why not market this to younger women? Is it because male nerds are so frightened by the prospect of autonomous, individualized adult women and their aggressive sexuality full of mandatory oral sex and probable rimming that DC doesn't want to scare them away with an adult female protagonist dealing with adult female issues and problems? Like, you know, constantly dealing with man-children locked in a state of arrested development who have no job and no car and can't engage in a conversation that doesn't include the phrase "d-pad" in it? Is it because the world can accept a cute, pixieish, vibrant, perky girl but who wants to deal with a dour, serious woman who is so sick of this world's shit that she can't get through a sentence without peppering it with at least two or three fucks? I suppose the idea is that young people buy comics and young people will flock to the Young Animal series and young girls, especially, drive fandoms. So if you want to get this comic book started on the right economic foot, you target it to girls and young women. Although if this were Shade the Changing Woman and she was based on somebody like Laura Silverman, I'd fucking buy ten copies of this every week and hand the extras out to strangers on the street. Give me a fucking Shade the Changing Woman over a Shade the Changing Girl any day. As Luke Cage said, "Dumb men like little girls." Also, the Young Animals imprint doesn't really justify Shade being a girl and not a woman because isn't Cave Carson and his Cybernetic Eye going to be a goddamned adult man? Doom Patrol also suffers from the main character is a perky young girl syndrome. I don't mean to suggest I'm against perky young girls as leads. If the writing is there, I'm up for anything. It's just getting fairly obvious that if a comic book company wants to introduce a new female lead, it's almost certainly going to be a cute perky off-the-wall alt girl. Why not a grown ass woman, is all I'm saying?!

The issue begins with Shade the Changing Girl climbing into a body of a dying girl on Earth. I'm assuming she's from Meta but I don't know if she's found her own Madness Vest or she's come to Earth via a different means. I wish she would have entered a convicted killer like Shade the Changing Man did! Oh! Maybe this dying girl is a killer! Or a mean girl, at least. Then everybody will be all, "Ew! You're a jerk!" And she'll be all, "What? No way! I'm sensitive!"

That's my summation of Shade the Changing Man. "You murdered my family and raped me!" screamed Kathy George as she flipped the fuck out. "No! No! I love you, Kathy! I'm a sensitive poet!" cried Shade in the body of murderer and rapist Troy Grenzer. "Fucking Romeo and Juliet, this is," snarked Lenny, the ever unfazed smoking artsy type who really should have been the main character in Shade the Changing Girl. Maybe she'll be a supporting character!

All sorts of crazy shit happens in the wake of Shade the Changing Girl as she walks down the halls of the hospital. A Rac Shade poem floats in rainbow narration boxes. Shade decides she loves Earth in only the way a teenage girl can love something, completely and even more completely than the next teenage girl who dares to say she loves Earth.

Shade's new body's parents are really into Corgis. Probably because they're the only breed of dog that isn't an annoying asshole.

Now we come to the part of the story where the writer feels like the reader is just confused enough and must be thinking, "How did this happen?" So the writer, being an experienced writer who knows that you can't have a reader being too confused for too long (especially if they're stupid), decides to jump the narration back in time for a bit of an explanation. Although the explanatory prologue story takes place on Meta, so it will probably just make things more confusing.

Yesterday, two creatures were fucking in a Metan museum on Earth in front of the Rac Shade Madness Vest display. One creature is a pudgy vaping bald squid-human hybrid. The other is a bird lady who is in debt, can't keep a job, likes squid penis in her cloaca (is that how it works?), and has lots of alien lovers. She doesn't like her life on Meta and dreams of being in a place where they feel big feelings and drink Pepsi. So she's all, "I'm going to put on Rac Shade's Madness Vest which is less vesty and more trenchy than the name would imply. Madness!

The bird girl is named Loma and she's a huge Rac Shade fan. She even remembers the poem Shade wrote about his death! I think the improbable moon poem was the poem that haunted Shade which eventually led to his dead body. It's quite possible it's a different story line altogether! I have no room in my head for other people's thoughts! My head is only full of my own present thoughts. Hell, I can't even remember what I wrote in any comic book commentary from last week!

Speaking of past commentaries, if you search my site for "penis", you'll find 509 results! Oh! Now 510!

Loma puts on Shade's Madness Vest and floats off to the Madness Zone and, from there, Earth! Where she enters Megan's body and starts the story! One of her first thoughts after the memory is "I wonder where my body is!" Well, Loma, I've got bad news for you! It's going to be dying and rotting away in the Zone of Madness while you have crazy adventures on Earth!

On her way back to Megan's home with Megan's parents, Shade has a memory of Megan's life partying at the pond with her friends.

She is in the body of a Mean Girl! Grandmaster Comic Book Reader!

Megan's "friends" at school are distraught that she's awake and coming back. Mostly they're concerned that Megan will remember how they tried to kill her because she kept putting them on her Burn List. Or maybe they're just more concerned that she'll take one of their spots in the synchronized swim team. Is that a metaphor that her friends are on a team where they all have to do the same thing and act alike? Is it a statement on conformity?

Meanwhile on Meta, Mellu Loran, Shade's one time fiance who hated him and has gotten old and is now an important bureaucrat, heads up the investigation to find the person who stole Shade's Madness Vest. Also, Loma Shade's friends are glad she's gone in much the same way Megan's friends are not glad she's back.

The rest of Megan's memory that Shade hasn't quite remembered yet plays out for the readers, just in case they needed details on how Megan's friends tried to kill her. It turns out Megan's boyfriend just gave her a lot of ecstasy and they left her floating in the pond tripping balls so that she'd drown. Which, I guess, she partially did! Some synchronized swim team they are! How good could they be if they weren't also willing to take too much ecstasy and partially drown? I give them a 1.5 overall for this routine.

The Ranking!
+1. Oh boy! A comic book where the main character is not liked by anybody in either of her two incarnations! I bet she learns some lessons about selfishness and friendship! Although she really isn't that different from Shade. Just because he portrayed himself as a sensitive poet, it didn't mean he wasn't completely obsessed with his own pains and anxieties to the point that he really didn't give a shit about anybody else. Sure, he loved Kathy George! But only in that way that he loved the idea that he could love something more than anybody has ever loved anything because he was such a sensitive poet. When he found out Troy Grenzer had sex with Kathy and she liked it better than when she had sex with Shade, it was the worst pain he'd ever felt in his entire life. Which then meant it was the greatest joy in his entire life because he was a sensitive poet feeling such big feelings! Just the kind of shit Loma Shade is hoping to feel on Earth! And she's going to be feeling those same kinds of feelings soon since everybody already hates her!

Wow. I think I just realized why I loved Shade the Changing Man so much in my late teens and early twenties! I knew I loved it because it was a reflection of what I was feeling at the time but this is the first time I really thought about how consumed Shade was with his own pain and sadness. I don't think he wanted to feel joy or happiness because it's so less intense than suffering and heartache. I don't think Loma is looking for that but I have a feeling she's going to get quite a bit of it. She will be in high school, after all.

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