It may sound like I’m tooting my own horn, but given the award nominations, critical acclaim, and most importantly die-hard cult following not a whole lot of people will disagree that Arsenic Lullaby’s VooDoo Joe is one of the most endearing characters published in any independent book in the last ten years.
He is a unique juxtaposition of bully, enabler, villain, and a-hole. He has been the basis of some downright inventive stories…who can forget scenes like one first published in 2000,
or this one
Yes, there is a core personality to Voodoo Joe, so much so that even if he had no mask you’d be able to tell which character speaking was him. Hopefully though, you’ll all love the new reboot just as much.
Just kidding…I haven’t sold out to DC and as long as I own VooDoo Joe he’s not going to change much other than occasionally wearing a trench coat.
NOW…let me tell you a little story. This is true…even though it sounds a bit like Mike’s tale from Breaking bad. I had a friend who was a cop in the city of Chicago. About once a month he’d get a call on a domestic violence incident at the same house. You probably can guess what the drill was. .. Go there, see the woman with a black eye, arrest the abusive nob…only to have her bail him out or refuse to press charges based on “he didn’t mean it” or”he really does love me” or “he’s trying”. Rinse , repeat. Well in the Hollywood version of this sort of thing the cop takes to guy to a dark place and threatens murder. In real life my friend handled it like this- Turn the sirens on about a mile away so the abusive boyfriend has plenty of time to escape, File a nice boring report without having a crying, bleeding woman trying to stop you from handcuffing a drunk belligerent jackass. This may seem harsh and maybe even grounds for firing, but on the other hand…you don’t have to be a Chicago police officer for five years to know that some situations are just screwed and you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. Cry “you’re blaming the victim!” all you want…the sad fact is some people go back for the abuse over and over and over…for reasons the rest of us simply cannot, in our minds or hearts, understand. That particular woman probably still saw some shred of the man she fell in love with despite what he became, or perhaps something in her childhood made her too scared or insecure to leave and find someone new. those of us who would not go back for a second broken nose will never truly know…
So what does this have to do with comic books? oh…I dunno…
(not that there’s anything wrong with that…other than it was really really boring)
AND who can forget
I could list two dozen examples of story lines, and bad directions taken by Marvel and DC that have had readers grinding their teeth and pulling their hair out. Reboots and pissing on the notion of continuity, current events ham handedly passed off as story arches, deaths that we all know aren’t deaths, and retooling of characters that are 50 years old instead of putting forth the effort to create news ones. You readers who are constantly disappointed by, screwed over by, let down by, and had your beloved character bastardized by Marvel and DC…I ask you…when are you going to get tired of the abuse and just leave? Just take whatever good memories you have left, keep them in bags and boards and find new memories with someone who gives a damn. The big 2 aren’t going to listen to your little petitions and emails. You people couldn’t even get a basic cable station to relaunch Firefly. Because these companies don’t care AND they figure you’ll keep coming back anyway…because up to this point, you do. Maybe if you didn’t they still wouldn’t change. They make more money in one weekend of a movie premiere than in a decade of publishing comic books. Your 10.00-40.00 a month doesn’t matter to them.
I’ll tell you what though, it matters to me. It matters to other Indy publishers, It matter to smaller comic book companies. We are in constant and direct competition with these people, and your 10.00-40.00 a month can be what keeps us afloat.
The big 2 are not going to stop this behavior…they just are not. Anymore than the abusive drunk is going to stop, and he at least says “I love you,I won’t do it again”.
When you have had enough abuse, when you are tired of black eyes…
There are other options. I could recommend these and/or you could find your own…or you can open the door after work and pray that he has changed and that tonight will be different.
and of course…
***Special Thanks to Matt Wendt for the “Voodoo Joe 52” illustration