Do you believe rape, be the victim male or female, should ever be used in stories? Even if simply in someone's back-story? If the answer is yes, how would you write it? How would you handle it?

I think, as a writer, if you’re planning on using rape as part of a character’s origin story, it is important to consider why you want to use it in the first place. To start with, it’s important to acknowledge that rape along with other forms of sexual violence are crimes that don’t get taken seriously enough by society and the justice system at large, and should therefore never be presented in ways that trivialise it. This is, unfortunately, a mistake that many writers make.

A lot of times when writers use rape in fiction, it is either done to disempower women and serve as a catalyst provokes another (usually male) character into action, or it is done to provide a woman character with a traumatic event that’s unique to her gender that motivates her into becoming the person she inevitably becomes. In the case of men being raped by women in fiction, it is often presented in a way that depicts female sexuality as ‘animalistic’ and something that the man ‘should enjoy’ because he’s being raped by a ‘hot babe.’ In the case of men raping other men, it is still presented as ‘animalistic’ and ‘pleasurable.’ All four cases trivialise and normalise rape culture, as well as completely dehumanise the victims in the narrative.

All that into consideration, it is especially important to take into account the message you are sending by using rape in your narrative and the attitudes you can potentially influence in the process. In particular, you need to consider the ramifications that using rape as a plot device can have on your readers, some of which can include victims of rape which can produce triggers. 

Questions to consider when you write:

  1. Do I have something important to say about the reality of sexual violence as a real problem that needs to end, and the consequences it has for its victims?
  2. Does my character—who is the victim—have agency in their own narrative and do they have a voice?
  3. Is the reason I want to use rape in my story is to function as a plot device that both shocks the reader and motivates my main character? Or so that the character can address the realities of sexual violence and bust the myths that surround it?
  4. Is my character going to be depicted dealing with the aftermath and doing what they have to to recover from it?

In all cases, it’s best to avoid using rape for shock value since it once again dehumanises the victim and trivialises the problem. If you yourself are not a victim of sexual violence, it is important to do research on the topic and understand the problem from the victim’s perspective as well as the context with which rape actually occurs. A lot of times it’s easy to reinforce myths about rape, which is exactly what you DON’T want to do. 

So, to answer your question, I think rape can be used in narratives, but how and why it is used is very important to consider. 

Do you think that Connor Hawke could fit into a rebooted Infinity Inc. series?

If he was still the son of Oliver Queen (who did originally exist on Earth-2), actually resembled the character from the post-Crisis continuity (as opposed to a Roy Harper look-a-like), and the JSA members were still old enough to have adult children, I think he would fit in quite nicely.

That being said, I honestly wouldn’t be interested in a New 52 Infinity Inc series. Outside of the second generation Trinity (Huntress, Power Girl, Fury) who were also members, none of the original cast members are in existence. There’s really no point in having an Infinity Inc if the members are not comprised of the children of the JSA members. We still don’t even have a Justice Society as we speak.

I'm holding off on Worlds' Finest #21 until Batman Superman #9 comes out. Any idea if it's safe to read WF#22, or will that spoil the crossover thing?

Issue #22 picks up right after the crossover event.

You can however read the 8-page ‘Huntress Year One’ flashback story in the middle of the issue since it only details a Helena Wayne’s official outing as the Huntress. No details from the crossover bleed into that story.

Also, Helena cut her hair short for her first year as the Huntress (allusion to the Birds of Prey Huntress played by Ashley Scott?) and we see the first version of her Huntress costume before it evolves into the version we see now.

You also can’t go wrong with Yildiray Cinar art for the Huntress flashback story. (Honestly, I wish he would’ve drawn the whole issue. No offence to RB Silva, but Cinar has a better handle on anatomy and his art looks better in general).

How did you fell about the Brave and the Bold replacing Helena with Damian?

I answered that in this post, but I’ll repost the relevant paragraph here:

On the front of media representation, there has been an overwhelming lack of [Helena Wayne] in this area as well. To date, there have only been two appearances of the Helena Wayne version of the Huntress outside of the comics, one of which was [Legends of the Superheroes in 1979]. Her most recent appearance since then was in the short-lived Birds of Prey television series, which lasted from 2001 to 2002.

The closest we got to having a Helena Wayne in an animated TV series was in Batman Beyond which was ultimately scrapped, and in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, which was actually Helena Bertinelli in Helena Wayne’s pre-Crisis costume. Much of her development on this show was even based off of the pre-Crisis Helena Wayne far more than her actual comic book counterpart from the post-Crisis continuity. But swapping Helena Wayne for Helena Bertinelli was honestly the least insulting development that happened on the show.

By far the one that stabbed me the most in the heart was the reattributing of Helena Wayne’s origin to the character of Damian Wayne, who in the comics continuity, is actually the son of Talia Al Ghul and not Selina Kyle. Even though this was an ‘alternate universe story’ that Alfred cooked up within the show’s canon, it was also a story that heavily borrowed from The Secret Origin of the Huntress written by Paul Levitz in 1977.

And that about sums my feelings on that.

Generally speaking, do you think Lois and Superman could actually make a baby, even though he is an alien?

In a universe where people die all the time and are completely resurrected through extraordinary means, where aliens from other planets resemble human beings on Earth, where magic is a thing that exists, and more recently Greek gods can reproduce with normal humans (hello Zola!), I don’t see why a super-powered Kryptonian man and a normal human woman can’t have a baby together.

If the concern is ‘but what if that baby kicks through Lois’ stomach?’ Don’t worry. Kryptonians on Earth only get super powered after exposing themselves to the sun. That baby will not be seeing any sunlight until it comes out of the uterus after month nine. As such, Lois has nothing to worry about because she herself can’t absorb sun radiation the way Superman can. 

If you could make an animated feature for Helena Wayne's origins like they're doing for Damian, how would you do it?

I would do it entirely from scratch and base it off of her pre-Crisis origin instead of her New 52 one. One thing I would do differently is further develop Helena growing up alongside her parents and depict her going to law school.

I would especially focus on her relationship with her mother, Selina Kyle, since relationships between mothers and daughters are rarely depicted positively on most mediums. I also would just like to see more interaction between Selina and her daughter.

How do you feel about Selina in Batman #28 where she is the new Kingpin of Crime?

I haven’t actually read the issue, but from what I’ve seen of the scans, I’m more worried about how DC is going to ruin the Bruce and Selina relationship to get her to that point. 

In the scans that I saw, she read an awful lot like Silver Age Selina (you know, the one that wore green), which had me wondering if they’re thinking of bringing her back to an exclusively villain status. If they go that route, I told myself I’ll officially drop the remainder of my DC pull list until the publisher gets its shit together. (My pull list at the moment consists of only three New 52 titles. THREE).

Under different circumstances, I think the idea of Selina being a crime boss in itself could be interesting and it wouldn’t be too out of character for her if done right. But if she becomes a crime boss as a consequence of Bruce betraying her in some capacity, I will not be pleased with that.

Different Anon, but what if Batman was Fury's Father?

I don’t think that’s likely since the Earth-2 Batman was already established as being a husband and father in his early 20s, and Bruce doesn’t strike me as the kind of man who cheats on his wife who is also the mother of his daughter.

Just a theory but what if the new fury's father turned out to be earth 2 superman

I’m pretty sure Tom Taylor is smart enough to not go that route with the Earth-2 Fury given how much Lois and Clark means to their fans. He already got a lot of flack for being tasked with fridging a pregnant Lois in the Injustice comic, and that’s something that’s going to stay with him forever. I honestly don’t think he’ll consider any ideas that’ll put him in that position again.

If DC editorial gets Tom to write that story, there will surely be hell to pay since that would be the final frontier of insults for Lois Lane fans to endure after she’s already been fridged on Earth-2 and transformed into a robot on top of that. All of that before fans had a chance to get to know who she was on Earth-2, and even moreso since this was the version of Lois that was married to Superman.

There are only so many insults Lois and Clark fans can endure before it becomes a matter sending a series of angry letters to DC’s offices in Burbank, California, and that’s assuming they don’t start flying across every pond first to start marching to their offices in Burbank.   

Did either karen or helena ever say or imply "hey i like as more than a friend." or flat out say i love you?

Prior to the New 52, they were never presented as having romantic feelings for one another. This was certainly true during the pre-Crisis era of comics in which they originally appeared in. Helena back then was presented as being 100% straight with Kara lacking romantic interest in anyone. 

The closest we ever got to Helena Wayne implying that she might be romantically interested in Kara was in the JSA Annual that Geoff Johns wrote in 2008. Within the context of that story, she explicitly acknowledged to Kara that was never in love with Harry Sims (her pre-Crisis boyfriend) and that she had ‘loved someone else all her life.’

Kara immediately assumes Dick Grayson, but Helena neither denies nor confirms this. The only other thing that potentially supports that idea is the fact that Helena was a lot more happy to see Kara than Dick when both offered their support while she was going through a very dark time. She was also very receptive of Kara’s support than Dick’s, and was incredibly upset to find out she revealed her most intimate thoughts to a Power Girl that wasn’t *her* Power Girl. 

I don’t know how Johns himself functions in relationships, but turning down the support of someone you’re in love with when you’re going through some dark times is not something I typically see in human behaviour. Even I don’t do this and I’m not someone who falls in love often.

On the flip-side though, it is also true that women typically feel more comfortable disclosing themselves to a close (typically female) friend a lot more than the person she’s in love with, or even in a relationship with. So there’s that.