Entertainment Weekly’s written all about a new book by comics writer Alex Segura titled Secret Identity, which seems to build on a number of head-shaking clichés the social justice crowd just loves to push:
Amidst the modern superhero zeitgeist, many of us are familiar with the big names from comics history: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko. But Secret Identity centers around a female protagonist, Carmen Valdez. Carmen is a lifelong comics fan who relishes the chance to work in the industry, but is also frustrated by the sexism of the boys club around her. As a queer woman, she has even less time for their various flirtations and harassments.
That’s where the title of Secret Identity comes in. Carmen finally achieves her dream of co-creating a brand-new female superhero — but in order to bypass male gatekeepers like her boss, she decides to leave her name off the project. So she ends up with a bifurcated life like Clark Kent or Peter Parker: By day, she works as an assistant in the (fictional) Triumph Comics offices. But on her own time, she writes the adventures of the street-level superhero known as the Lynx.
So let’s see if I have this correct: a man should not be attracted to a woman who’s a lesbian, and any and all acts of trying to start up a conversation and ask for a date are “harrassment”. And all the menfolk are sexist gatekeepers and nothing else. Which must include Lee, Kirby and Ditko, right? It’s hilarious they’re talking about gatekeepers, since that’s exactly the problem with leftists now dominating the industry, but political leanings are never called into scrutiny.
Secret Identity is not the first novel to dramatize the process of comic creation. Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is still the gold standard in that regard. But with Secret Identity, Segura wanted to actually include the comics written by his protagonist. So every other chapter or so of the novel includes a full page from a Lynx comic, written by Segura but drawn and laid out by artist Sandy Jarrell with lettering by Taylor Esposito. You can check out some of those pages below, along with an exclusive cover image for the first issue of The Legendary Lynx #1 and Jarrell’s original design for the character — neither of which appear in the book.
Lefty Chabon is one of Segura’s influences, unfortunately. But more on that later, because for now, here’s another fishy statement:
Female superheroes have not always been handled well by male writers and artists. At one point in the story, the Lynx is totally taken out of Carmen’s control and handed to male hacks who are favorites of the boss. This plot development is reflected in that chapter’s comic page, which looks more campy and exploitative than the rest.
No doubt, they mean in terms of sexuality, right? Segura also cited his influences in an essay written for Crime Reads, and they are quite a dismay. They include for example, Grant Morrison:
Few people are more fascinating than Morrison, the writer of legendary comics like All-Star Superman, Batman RIP, Seven Soldiers of Victory, Animal Man, New X-Men and so many more. This book is a guided tour of his brain, and his take on the modern mythology that is superhero comics and the media that springs from them.
This is such a groaner, based on Morrison’s own leftism, and how crude his X-Men run was. Maybe even more eyebrow raising is his citation of Jill Lepore and Marc Tyler Nobleman (and even Ty Templeton):
Lepore, a magnificent historian and writer, dives into the origins of Wonder Woman – including the women who influenced the character’s creator, William Moulton Marston. Similarly, but in graphic novel form (and an accompanying documentary), Nobleman and Templeton tell the story of Batman’s forgotten co-creator, Bill Finger, and his sad end and the quest to properly credit him for his work decades after his death. Both told stories that are sadly not uncommon in comics—creators losing proper attribution for their work or toiling in secret. Two elements that were prominent in Secret Identity.
I wonder what’s so special about such a pretentious leftist as Lepore, and a book writer like Nobleman whom I recall refused to defend Finger’s Golden Age co-creation with Martin Nodell, 1st Green Lantern Alan Scott a decade ago when James Robinson first foisted the damaging retcon of homosexuality upon the 1st Emerald Warrior. I’m not supporting Nobleman if he won’t defend Finger and Nodell’s creation to the fullest. And then, wouldn’t you know it, J. Michael Straczynski comes up on Segura’s list:
JMS—creator of Babylon 5 and writer of a number of major comics, including Thor, Amazing Spider-Man, Rising Stars, Superman, and more—has a track record any writer would fawn over, but his story is one loaded with tragedy and sadness, but capped by a resilience and determination that’s awe-inspiring.
Well at least Segura’s right about that, yet won’t admit it’s what he’s doing himself, despite all the tragedy and sadness JMS foisted upon Spider-Man, among other famous creations. So, Segura doesn’t believe Spider-Man’s Sins Past and One More Day were atrocious? Well, considering he’s an industry vet, that could probably explain the sugarcoated approach to the issues involved, airbrushing them out of the picture. But, it gets worse. Segura cites far-leftist moonbat Glen Weldon:
Weldon, a savvy and talented cultural critic for NPR, is also an unabashed fan of Batman in every iteration. His history of Batman’s place in pop culture is bursting with information, and it’s presented in his typical, witty style—a perfect book for a Bat-obsessive, but welcoming enough to hand to anyone. I was particularly interested, when revisiting this, to see how Batman’s source material was tweaked and changed for other media. That doesn’t play out in Secret Identity, per se…but who knows where it might?
I wonder how a man obsessed with appropriating other people’s creations to suit his PC agendas makes for a great choice on Segura’s list? Weldon is one of the most awful contributors to NPR, a leftist bastion themselves, and Segura’s not helping by lauding his resume. “Informative” and “witty”? Please. I don’t believe Weldon’s really a Bat-fan, and something tells me Segura isn’t either. And then, what’s this, he’s also chosen Abraham Riesman, despite the belittling attitude he’d taken against Stan Lee:
In this powerhouse biography of comic book legend Stan Lee, Riesman demystifies the man behind the “The Man,” and digs into previously ignored periods of his life, including his Jewish roots and his time post-Marvel.
If nothing else, this proves Segura’s not a Lee fan, if he’s got no issues with how negative the tone against Lee in the book was. He probably doesn’t appreciate that Roy Thomas took issue with Riesman either. Powerhouse, my foot. Another bad leftist cited is Michael Chabon:
Without Kavalier & Clay there would be no Secret Identity, full stop. I remember being completely enamored by Chabon’s work in college, and feeling so seen by his third novel, which blended golden age comics with the character-driven and complex narratives he’d already gotten a name for. The idea to blend comics with a novel came from reading this book, and wondering what the comics featuring Kavalier and Clay’s creation, The Escapist, would look like. Dark Horse eventually published those, too—but impatient youth that I was, i wanted them embedded in the novel!
I guess Segura doesn’t mind Chabon, as a TV producer, sought to offend Star Trek fans by killing off notable characters from The Next Generation series in the Picard reunion show. Rather than make people proud by honoring a famous sequel from 1987-94, Chabon chose to go the alienating route. It doesn’t help Chabon is such a leftist either. Oh, and praising Chabon wasn’t the only troubling thing Segura did. There’s also this screencap to ponder:
It never ceases to stun me how these charlatans continue to sugarcoat an “author” who penned one of the most repellent comics miniseries of the mid-2000s, Identity Crisis, which almost makes Star Trek: Picard look tame by comparison when you consider how crude the DC book’s approach was. Worse though, is the realization the crowd Meltzer appears to have been addressing was either unaware he’d done something so vile, or, they didn’t care. Which just goes to show what’s wrong with both information and education these days.
Segura also spoke about all this with the Orange County Register:
Q: Can you recall a book that you read and thought: That was written just for me?
Michael Chabon’s early novels – “The Mysteries of Pittsburgh,” “Wonder Boys,” and “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay” — just felt like they were created for me to consume, because they explored worlds that really interested me and were not singular in genre. “Kavalier and Clay,” in particular, was a seismic influence on my own work.
And that’s decidedly just one of the problems, as mentioned before.
Q: What do you find the most appealing in a book: the plot, the language, the cover, a recommendation? Do you have any examples?
I care about character. It’s where I start as a writer and what pulls me into great fiction. I also find the best nonfiction/true crime succeeds when it centers around people—their quirks, their demons, their conflict. If it’s just plot-driven with little time spent servicing people, I lose interest.
In that case, why did he give such a glowing praise to JMS, and even Meltzer by retweeting one of his posts? I’m sorry, but this is such ignorance he’s putting on display.
He also spoke with Publisher’s Weekly, and they told:
Segura divides his time between his day-job in comics marketing–he has worked for DC and Archie Comics and is currently senior v-p sales and marketing at Oni Press–and writing crime novels, including five acclaimed Pete Fernandez mysteries, set in his native Miami. He’s also written Star Wars Poe Dameron: Free Fall, a YA novel about the Star Wars hero, and a series of Archie comics. His comics writing credits range from Archie Meets Kiss to his creator-owned title The Black Ghost.
Segura says Secret Identity owes a lot to Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, which blended comics and literature “in a very cool way.” So when he wrote Secret Identity, he wove actual comics sequences (drawn by Sandy Jarrell) about a key character called The Lynx into the story. PW talked to him about how Secret Identity took shape and why he chose to set it in an era when comics were in decline.
This is such laziness already to say Chabon’s book is “cool”. But even more telling is that Segura’s written a Young Adult novel, based on Star Wars, no less. Curiously enough, he also told them:
Why did you choose to set Secret Identity in the 1970s?
It was a particularly interesting time for comics in that it was before comic shops became prevalent. You’d go to the newsstand for your comics, and you’d pick up what was there, but there was no guarantee that you could get the next Amazing Spider-Man or whatever. The industry was falling apart financially. In 1975, it was a very insular industry, and it was very much driven by superfans or people that were working in the industry as a means to getting somewhere else. You’d work in comics a little bit and then maybe travel or write for TV, unless you were someone like Carmen, or someone like [real comics industry writers and publishers] Paul Levitz or Len Wein, people that came up through fandom. I wanted to show that contrast, and I want people who are familiar with comics today to see a very different industry, while still echoing themes that are important today, like characters and creative credit.
Gee, isn’t that saying something…decades too late. Just how isn’t the industry collapsing today, I wonder, as compared with the Bronze Age? Of course there were failures and series cancellations at the time; just look at the “DC Implosion” circa 1978, when at least a few lower selling titles got put out to pasture. But what’s so new about this, compared to modern times, where you have worse than cancellations, but only so many relaunches and reboots galore, as the Big Two waste so much resources on series that don’t sell well at all, and most importantly, sell well below 50,000 copies in pamphlets?
I just don’t get how Segura sees the 70s industry failing financially/artistically, but not today’s. Or how it doesn’t remain insular, assuming it was during the Bronze Age, at a time when conventions were coming about, and Stan Lee was usually one to communicate, far better than his successors ever did. Did it ever occur to Segura most superfans at that time were far more respectable of the creative components that made mainstream superhero fare work well than what we see now? Guess not.
Segura just sounds like another pathetic, self-important writer who’s pandering to wokeness, and obscuring much of the better elements of the past 50 years. So his new book is decidedly not something to waste money on, and certainly not with the influences he relied upon.
Originally published here.