Saturday, May 15, 2010

Dear Marvel Writers Who Aren't Mike Carey: Knock It The Hell Off [Updated]

Okay, first things first, and please be aware that this post is going to have bad words in it, but first things first- have you seen this shit?

 ....Uh..... okay, one word for this, lemme just dredge it up, oh yeah, that would be- NO.

When? When, exactly, in their long involved history of being such dear friends and teammates, did Rogue and Sentry- OH WAIT THEY WERE NEVER THOSE THINGS. Hmmn. Back to the drawing board.

It's this sort of irresponsible bullshit that clutters up a canon to the point where Peter David has to be hired to come in and fix it. I am stunned that in the middle of Mike Carey's extraordinary work with the character, the years, now, he's spent bringing Rogue back to a place of real characterization after she was drowning in a sea of muddled unhealthy 'romance' plots, Paul Jenkins (with the influence, I would image, of one Brian Michael Bendis) would pull a bush league move like this. It's crap.

I want a timeline. I want a backstory. I want citations. How dare you make something as important to Rogue's character as physical intimacy a punchline in a book that has nothing to do with the X-Men or their lives. It is so disrespectful to the fans, and to the writers who actually love and are writing the character. This is nonsensical. This is LAZY. This is stupid. This is detrimental to both of their characters. This is sloppy, thoughtless retconning at its worst. And you should be extremely disappointed in yourself.

Addendum: I want Mike Carey to respond to this, and then I want him to fix it, and I believe he CAN.

Addendum Redux: HE DID. Reader and my new best friend James sent us an email that contains Mike Carey's response from his facebook wall.

Mike Carey: Wow. I need another cup of coffee.

Okay, guys, I'm going to comment here in a fairly circumspect way. I've responded to some of you in one-to-one message threads, and I'm going to ask you not to come back to me on this, because there won't be anything I can add.

As everybody knows, I try not to do ret-cons - and as I type that, my nose just ... grew by about a foot and a half. What I try not to do is "type 2" invasive ret-cons that erase things that are commonly supposed to have happened. I'm shameless about type 1 ret-cons, where stuff happened but you just didn't know about it until now. The whole of the Professor X incarnation of Legacy was made up of stories of that kind.

This is a type 1: it happened, because Rogue says on-panel that it happened. It was behind the scenes, invisible, and the chronology isn't clear, but it happened. Is it surprising? I think so. In terms of Rogue's behaviour in relationships, her sexual morality insofar as we can infer it, her personal history up to this point, this revelation is hard - on the face of it - to reconcile.

But as someone says above (sorry, thread is too long to find the reference again quickly) what we know is minimal, and we can fill in an infinite number of stories around these few details. There are ways it could have happened that would make sense. I won't be the one who tells the story of how it actually did happen, but I'm accepting that it happened and the story is there to be told.

Characters in a shared fictional space are created by a kind of consensus. Someone dreams them up and puts them onto the stage, but a whole lot of someone elses then fill in the blanks. When you get contradictions, or apparent contradictions, fans build their own conception of the character from the parts they like most or believe in most.

This is a dangerous and frivolous analogy, but look at the Bible. I'm an atheist, but I'm happy to acknowledge that there's a core of teachings in the Bible that vast numbers of people base their lives on - but crucially, it tends to be a different core for each of them. You take what makes sense to you, and you view the rest with some mixture of tolerance and caution.

I think you have to do the same with shared universes.
 Does it bother me that Mike is, to an extent, going gentle into that good night? Yes. It absolutely is. Because I want him to be as vocally disdainful and outraged as I am. But Jenkins is, in the loosest and only most technical of terms, Carey's peer and so he can't call the dude out. No matter how I wish he would. Alas. Still, knowing that he disagrees with this on the most fundamental basis of the character reassures me that he'll deal with it- or not- as is appropriate and make it somehow work. Mostly I feel this because, post-Nicieza, Mike Carey is the only one who has.

Oh, and: Come on, Fraction. EMMA FROST got to speak at Kurt's funeral over Rogue? EMMA FREAKING FROST? And then the one funeral she shouldn't have even BEEN AT, let alone spoken up during, and away we go. Good Lord, Marvel, get it together.


Arturo said...

How much do you want to bet the response - if we get one - will be one of the following:

* "We were just trying to provoke a reaction"
* "It's part of the Marvel Women campaign!"
* "It's magic - we don't have to explain it."
* "OMG it's just comics, guys!"

EruditeChick said...

There is no response for this except "April fools".

Chantaal said...



Anonymous said...

I love Rogue. I agree with you whole heartedly.

CodyNAkhmed said...

Hasn't Rogue been able to touch people for a little while now? (I mean, in comics-time, I'm not sure...but in real world time, it was at least before the Utopia issues and whatnot, no?)

So, there was really no need for this "shocking revelation"- I'm sure someone else could make a list where she's been depowered, or power inhibitors were involved, etc. and she was able to be intimate with people she had, you know, a not-forgotten relationship.

Unknown said...

You know, I get pissed off with comics just like anyone else. Maybe even more than most, but I have to say, this isn't really that big of a deal.

It doesn't ruin Rogue's character or change continuity. Rogue has probably had sex before. She lost her powers for months in Claremont's X-treme X-men. I seriously doubt she and Gambit didn't get it on.

As to the Sentry, established continuity says that the reason he isn't in all the stories you remember is because everyone's memory of him was wiped. Therefore there's no precedent thats says he and Rogue didn't have sex. (He also had Crystal of the Inhumans. No venom there?)

This is just a casual aside that will eventually be forgotten.

Hardly a reason to freak out.

Arturo said...

I think the big difference between this scene and Robert's fling with Crystal was, Crystal was a part of the scenes that dealt with said affair. So she was fully written as a part of the moment. Here, you've got Rogue going Steel Magnolias and Johnny Storm and Cyclops gossiping about it after the fact. Rogue doesn't get to speak for herself.

Now, if we'd gotten this reveal in a flashback format, or if we'd seen a conversation where Rogue told the team of her own volition, "Look, remember when I didn't have my powers? I met this guy ..." then it would have come off better.

In any case, Jenkins was off the mark here, particularly when you stack this up against Rogue's characterization in X-Men Legacy.

EruditeChick said...

@Adam I disagree, for a couple of reasons. 1, like Arturo says, this is TOTALLY off the mark with what Carey is doing with the character, and what he's done is rectified some serious negligence on the part of past writers.

We know for a fact that Rogue lost her V card to Gambino in the cave of woe during the whole 'trial of Gambit' ordeal- so if the retcon places her sexual encounter(s) with Sentry before this, it is hugely impactful to one of the most important character moments she ever got, namely by devaluing it. We know she lived with said ragin' Cajun for a while in California, although God knows we'd all love to strike that run from the record, without her powers, as a couple, so if it occurred then, that makes her a cheater, and she canonically, demonstrably hates cheating.

So the in between time. Writers tried unsuccessfully to force chemistry between her and Colossus, and equally unsuccessfully to introduce a new character, Pulse, to create drama and give her someone to pair off with. She spurned him out right, because she's been hung up on Gambit- one of the many issues Carey has done a great job of addressing and moving her away from.

So when, exactly, could this relationship have happened that it wouldn't be hugely impactful on her character? Other than the ugh-god-really? post-Laroca X-Treme arcs or the weird mireful wasteland that even came after that, when in her development or career would this relationship have been even remotely feesible?

She's my favorite character. Of all comics, ever. Since I was 8 years old. This is like if someone decided Spidey had had a gay experience in college and just dropped a mention of it into a book. In the words of Kitty Pryde- yeahbuhwuh? IF it had been handled with ANY sort of care, thoughtfulness, eye to characterization, or how it would effect her actual relationships or the books she's actually in, then maybe I'd just feel miffed and Jossed.

But it wasn't done with ANY of those things. It's just cheap bullshit.

Jack B. said...

"So when, exactly, could this relationship have happened that it wouldn't be hugely impactful on her character? Other than the ugh-god-really? post-Laroca X-Treme arcs or the weird mireful wasteland that even came after that, when in her development or career would this relationship have been even remotely feesible?"

During the time period you mention Bob was married to Lindy. Everybody knew it. You've already stated Rogue's hatred of cheaters and the fact that she canonically lost her virginity to Gambit. Which means Jenkins is pulling this out of his you know what. I'm sure he saw the scene in Hercules' funeral where the women who bedded him spoke up and thought that was "kewl". Except Herc is a nice guy who readers like and Sentry was a psycho who no one cares is dead.

So, yeah, Carey can't be happy about this.

Sylvina Solaris said...

PROTIP: I think what they were getting at is that The Sentry was the ONLY person who could be with Rogue because he had the power of a MILLION SUNS. So, what they're getting at here is that she could be with Sentry because he was so powerful and WOULDN'T be effected by her power because he has an INFINITE amount of energy/lifeforce.

The reason this doesn't exist in any comics or isn't shown anywhere is because of the whole "meta" 4th wall existence of Sentry, where he existed back then but was removed from ALL comics and such in our world so The Void wouldn't come back and consume the Marvel Universe. Totally bullshit, but, yeah, this relationship happened while Rogue still has her powers and before Bob was married to Lindy or whatever her name is. This was Pre-Sentry's first appearance in a comic in the ACTUAL non-meta sense when it was just a limited by Jenkins.

Kenny said...

My whole problem with it is Bob has been with Lindy longer than Rogue's been an adult.There is nowhere for this to fit.

Sylvina Solaris said...

Weren't Bob and Lindy split up at one point in time?

Anonymous said...

I use to joke that if I were to write a X-Men book it would have this line:

(random x-man): Now that Doctor Doom has shot us with that ray that removed our powers we must.. Hey where did Rouge and Gambi... OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's sad that this would have been a much much better way to handle that scene...

ZC said...

Dammit... There's NOTHING on that page, or in that whole comic, that indicates that she had sex with him. She ONLY says that he was the only one who could HUG her, and then Johnny asks if they were DATING. He's not asking Cyclops if they had sex. He's asking if they were an item.
And if they were dating, it happened before Bob got married (because he was totally devoted to his wife) and as such, it would have been AGES before Gambit even came along.
So you're all complaining about two characters having a relationship in the background because you're misinterpreting Johnny's words to mean "did they have sex?" when he's really asking "were they an item?"
Seriously. Do you people read the books, or just insert your own meanings and skip the actual words?

Anonymous said...

Let me throw in another element here: Jenkins also wrote in an older Sentry story that in the time before he disappeared the only X-Men the Sentry knew were the original 5.

There's a scene where he sees the newer X-Men at Xavier's (Logan Kurt and ROGUE among others) and he doesn't recognize any of them! Except Angel and he asks why he's blue.

So by Jenkins' own writing this can't have taken place long ago. Sentry never knew Rogue before he came back! Jenkins tries to imply this precedes all Rogue;s other relationships ("He was the only one!") Which is impossible by his own stories.

So this would then have taken place in the last few years? Where on earth would that remotely fit?

And let's not forget the insultive notion again that she apparently just slept with him just because he was immune to her power.

Jenkins clearly had no clue or care about Rogue or her personality or history. And I can't believe they thought it was okay to put something so drastic in the past of Rogue of all people, for who, as you say, intimacy and physical touch is so important.

Anonymous said...

I hear what you're saying, I've tried to argue the same myself. But when people say "Did they...?" - "Yeah" sadly almost anyone in society will assume that it's sex. And it's clearly what Jenkins meant. But you're right, the whole dialogue scene is vague and awkwardly written.

But even if it was just dating, check my previous post: it still doesn't fit. Because it can only have taken place in the recent years. Just doesn't work.

Btw, Mike Carey has politely and professionally said he felt it did not fit his view on Rogue, and that he found it hard to reconcile with her history and character but it's canon since it's in print. However, he has no intention of revisiting it. Bascially he's going to ignore the crap out of it.

(except he said it nicer;)

EruditeChick said...

@ZC: Yeah, you're right, absolutely nothing about "He's the only one who could hug (touch) me" and "I mean did they-?" "Yeah" implies there was a sexual relationship.

Except all of it. So, I'm sorry, I misspoke- you're completely incorrect. And in more denial than I am, which I completely understand, because this sucks.

@UnrulyWeds YES EXACTLY THANK YOU I could freaking cry.

And I would LOVE a link to that Mike Carey quote. God in heaven, Jenkins is an asshole. At least Carey's just going to put it out of mind. I know I'm going to pretend it didn't happen. JFC.

Ron Purtee said...

This is exactly how they are going to fix it. Just like they fixed the Captain America being shot point blank and STILL coming back thing...

it's all a time travel issue. Thanks assholes. Thanks a lot. Yep. I think I hear Image calling.

Indigo said...

I am frankly rather flabbergasted and astonished that there is so much rage and vitriol over this.

Rogue is no little virgin flower. This is not the first time she has had sex. And it's not necessarily cheating on Gambit considering how unhealthy their relationship is, and how many times he's been made evil and they've been officially separated.

While in the Savage Land she and Magneto.

The cave with Gambit himself before the trial of Gambit.

Possibly with Joseph because of his magnetism protecting him from her powers.

She slept with Colossus right after the six month gap because it turns out Metal!Piotr can touch her.

She has an existing sexual history, with at least 3 previous partners who aren't Gambit; and the fact that she slept with someone else who can touch her is very in character for her, because finding people who can safely touch her is a rare thing that means a lot to her.

I daresay people are wigging out not because she didn't bring it up until the funeral, but because Rogue is being written as a woman whose sexuality is not the same as a "regular person's" -- because of her powers, it can't be. So she jumps for the opportunity when it presents itself.

There's nothing wrong with that.

EruditeChick said...

@Indigo Some problems with your argument. She never slept with Magneto- they felt a spark, had a moment, whatever one would like to call it, on-panel. Not followed through or pursued by either of them, at the time. Have not slept together.

Kissed Colossus while he was armored up, which was the follow through from a panel in the 80s where she was thinking "Hot damn, Petey's good lookin'" (paraphrased). Did not sleep together.

Possible she slept with Joseph, but no proof whatsoever or any real implication that they did.

Now personally, there are any number of people I would like to see Rogue explore relationships or be intimate with- and the two can be mutually exclusive. But that's not what this is about.

Unless this JUST HAPPENED, unless her relationship with the Sentry JUST HAPPENED recently (which they say it did not since it happened when she couldn't control her powers) then it changes every previous relationship she's ever had. She has more sexual angst than anyone in the Marvel (possibly any? Poor thing) U. Her virginity and eventual lack of it were integral to her character and her journey. That doesn't mean I wanted her to stay one or balk at the concept of her having sex with whoever she wants- I don't. Oh Hosanna, the list of people she should be tapping that AREN'T Gambit, though I love him, I can't even begin.

If you look at the post and my comments, I think I've been reasonably consistent in my problems with this: There is no place in the timeline for this to have happened that doesn't major undermine, degrade or eff up another storyline or important character arc. The chronology DOES NOT work, or at least it won't until Mike Carey MAKES it work.

It's disrespectful to fans and Jenksin' peers to slap this in the middle of this already WTF book with no consideration for history, character, or consequences and without consulting the person who's been writing her almost exclusively, and the best she's ever been written, for years now.

Rogue's sexuality is tied up in her powers, the two are inseparable issues. She ISN'T a blushing virginal ingenue, she's a robust, flirtatious, sexual person, but you don't have to be having sex to be those things, and up until Uncanny 350, she wasn't having sex. Now, there's a weird sort of ill-defined period after that, for her, and they could try to put this into that in terms of chronology, but then it makes her a GIANT HYPOCRITE because she hates cheaters.

I don't read or care about Sentry's history, but someone here said he and his wife might have been split up. Well, if his temporary separation and her post-Virginity/Gambit pre-X-Treme dance card was unfilled... that's a pretty small window.

It has nothing to do with Rogue's right as a character to seek out relationships, especially physical ones. It's that this is so clearly an ill-formed and poorly, stupidly executed afterthought that makes it a problem.

Anonymous said...


Couldn't agree more. It's amazing how many people online with strong opinions clearly don't know her history very well. "Oh but she slept with lots of people. Magneto, Joseph, Colossus, etc" Of course, any reading of the actual comics shows clearly that none of that happened.

Even after Joseph demonstrated his ability to negate her powers, all that happened was a kiss on the forehead and 1-2 issues from that she says out loud that Gambit is the person she loves.

It's just painfully obvious Jenkins knows nothing about Rogue's history and may not even know she lost her viriginity ages ago and had plenty of sex with Gambit. I get the impression someone even had to tell him she's in control now because that line seems shoved in.

And when she says 'oh he was the only one who could touch me and now he's gone' is really hard to swallow those literal words suggests she's really only heartbroken because her only chance of touch is gone. Or possibly the only man who ever did touch her.

And NONE of those things apply to Rogue and haven't for years. But it can't have taken place long ago because like I wrote above: Jenkins himself established that before his return, The Sentry never knew Rogue or any of the X-Men other than the original 5!

Like you say I don't mind per se either the idea that she had more sexual encounters, if handled well, and good choice of partner that make sense somehow, but this...

That's my poblem. Even when I try to go "oh well, it's canon. Go with it." I can't because it just. Doesn't. Fit. Anywhere.

This is a serious f@ck-up...

Unknown said...

You know what gets me about Mike Carey's comment? The way he drops 'it won't be me' in there. And then talks about how you build your canon from the parts you like and understand and such forth.

Reading between the lines: 'I won't address or mention this in my books, because I am going to pretend it didn't happen because it is DUMB.'

I mean, that might not be how he meant it. But I like to interpret it as such.

TheMightyServo said...

Alternately, it could be written as just a hug - which to Rogue would be a pretty major thing. Of course, that would require the following dialogue to be addressed & dismissed, and would require some creative writing to get out of... which would've been totally unnecessary if Marvel writers weren't suffering from terminal graphorrhea.

But really:
"This is a dangerous and frivolous analogy, but look at the Bible. I'm an atheist... yadda yadda I'm not taking sides here but something else in history may have had contradictions even if I readily admit I don't understand and profess my ignorance yadda yadda it's important to you dumb readers but I think it's just as silly as other things I don't believe in yadda yadda you need to tolerate stupid and contrary writing"

That's the kind of thing Michael Bay would say to defend TF2, or Joel Schumacher would use to defend bat-nipples.

EruditeChick said...

@TheMightyServo But what can Mike Carey say? "Paul Jenkins is a douchebag who didn't consult with me on this and Joe Quesada can lick me for allowing this to get through"? No. He's a professional, working in an industry where the writers have zero proprietorship over characters. It's not like Mike Carey has the patent on Rogue and, being the best at writing her, gets exclusive rights to do so. His response is an extremely tactful way of saying "I disagree with this and am going to ignore it". At least for as long as he can.

Your analogy relates people who are directly responsible for grotesque and epic fail shrugging it off. Carey's quote is in response to not just one but several other people's screw up.

TheMightyServo said...

@EC - You're probably correct.

Given how there are a limited number of writers working on a limited number of titles, that especially with interlocking continuity, you'd think the left and right hand would both know what they're doing and there'd be some type of communication.

Then again, it's Marvel. *Sigh*

Still, one would think that someone working on any fairly important character would go "hey, you've been doing a lot with this character and the fans like it, what do you think of this idea/story hook I'm working on?" But I suppose that is assuming they actually talk.

It is probably something that'll fade & be forgotten, however.

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