Geoff Johns’ Simon Baz: Politically correct Green Lantern joke 20

Two tattoos — but only one of these characters is a car thief. Hint: He’s near and dear to liberal writer Geoff Johns.

Geoff Johns’ new Green Lantern, Simon Baz, has something in common with me — we both have “courage” tattoos. The major difference between us? He’s a car thief, and I’m a law abiding citizen. I got mine while I was on leave with my Army buddies in Greece and everyone from my platoon decided it was time to get some ink. I hated all the options available, but I wasn’t about to deal with the jokes that would follow if I punked out. Simon Baz? His ink seems to stem from all the hardship he had to endure as a Muslim American, post 9/11. Sadness. The kind of sadness that propels a man to a life of crime.

The Four Color Media Monitor and Carl’s Comics beat me to covering Green Lantern 0 — the politically correct nightmare of a comic that couldn’t have come out at a worse time for Johns — but this one is too good to pass up. Johns, taking a cue from the Obama administration, was probably hoping to hit the “reset” button on September 11 with the introduction of a prominent Arab American superhero. He was hoping his portrayal of the racist, Islam-fearing Middle America and the water-boarding U.S. government would tell Muslim comic fans everywhere, “Hey, we’re the bad guys, but there are liberal creative types like me who are exposing it to change the world.”

Unfortunately for Johns, the Libyan militias who murdered Ambassador Christopher Stevens, two former Navy SEALs and another American on September 11, 2012 had other plans. It turns out that the world is more complex than a Geoff Johns comic book after all. Who knew.

Here’s the abridged version for how Simon Baz came to be:

  • 9/11 happens. Simon Baz, from Dearborn Mich., is subsequently harassed for his heritage after the attacks.
  • Somewhere along the way, Baz becomes an automotive engineer. He loses his job, and becomes a car thief.
  • Baz steals a car that ends up having a huge bomb in it. He drives it to his old, abandoned factory during a police chase, and it explodes.
  • Baz is interrogated. He becomes frustrated that in a post 9/11 world, in Dearborn Mich., that a Muslim engineer directly linked to a blast that took down an entire factory is suspected of having terrorist ties, and yells: “I’m a car thief, not a terrorist!”
  • The government doesn’t believe him. Let the water boarding commence! (Oddly enough, this happens under the current administration. Sadly, “President-indefinite-detention-for-Americans-Obama” is not mentioned by name. That sort of thing, name-dropping a sitting president in a negative light, stopped in comics when Bush left office, I guess.)
  • The famous ring chooses Simon Baz to become a Green Lantern, telling him “You have the … error … ability to overcome great fear.”
  • Cliffhanger.

Personally, I don’t care that Simon Baz is Muslim. I really don’t. What I care about is that once again we have a liberal writer who feels the need to jam his politically-correct vision of the world down the reader’s throat.

Note: Images below are not in the order they appear in the book. If it’s not obvious why, feel free to ask in the comments section.

Look out! It’s post 9/11, and gangs of predominantly white anti-Islam bigots are roaming the streets looking to pick on a random girl wearing a hijab. Yawn.

Cop #1: “Hey Chief, we chased this guy down. He drove a car filled with enough explosives to take down an entire automobile plant. It’s rubble. Lit up the night sky. Background check says he’s an engineer. Muslim American. Yes, he’s from Dearborn, Mich., but I think we can rule out terrorism, dontcha think?”

“I told you, I’m a Muslim-American carjacker and NOT a terrorist! Why does everyone go to the terrorism thing every time there’s a lone Muslim dude at the scene of a megaton explosion? Yeesh. My parents should have stayed in the Middle East, where Christians like you guys are second class citizens and you don’t have the power to pull this kind of crap.”

While I’m sure the “error” message Simon got from the ring will explain why a thief was chosen as a Green Lantern, it is rather interesting that out of all the good Muslims in the world … Geoff Johns chose a guy whose instinct is to resort to crime when he’s in a jam. PS: His costume also looks like something that he pulled from a Hamas bargain bin. Might want to change that one, Mr. Johns.

Hamas called. They want credit for the new Green Lantern costume or they’re taking you to court, Geoff Johns. Well, that or they might kill someone.

Ah yes, no American comic featuring a Muslim would be complete if the creators didn’t make sure to let everyone know how dark and twisted America is at its soul. I heard that if you’re Muslim and you get caught jaywalking, you might wind up with a black bag over your head at an undisclosed location. Geoff Johns told me, so it’s probably true.

Again, I really don’t give a rip that Simon Baz is Muslim. I don’t even care if he puts a force field around himself during battle to take time to pray to Mecca. Knock yourself out, Mr. Johns. But what I do care about is the lopsided debate that you’re injecting into the material. Sure, you’ll go to the Arab-American National Museum to do research, but I doubt anyone like Ayaan Hirsi Ali will ever be reached out to. Ever. So instead of getting a thought-provoking read about culture clashes and religion, we get yet another lecture from the sensitivity police. No thanks. I think I’ll save the disposable income.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll read Guy Delisle’s Pyongyang for the tenth time.

Note: The Pyongyang review is here.

About these ads

20 comments

  1. Yeah, I don’t really care that the character is a Muslim, either (I don’t really care what a character is, as long as he or she is interesting), but the fact that a liberal writer like Johns basically whitewashes the immediate days following 9-11 and bows to political correctness, either, is what actually bothers me. Also, for someone who seeks to “excise” stereotypes, Johns doesn’t even consider that making an Arab-American a car thief might be considered by some to be more than a little stereotypical.

  2. I am really glad you found that Hamas pic. I was just trying to figure out why the costume disturbed me and that was it.

    From what I’ve read here this version of the Green Lantern sounds almost hilariously stereotypical. A disgruntled ex-auto employee down and out on his luck as a Post 9/11 Muslim? Of course he’s going to be from Dearborn. Talk about cliche…as a Detroit native, it seems like a cheap tactic to exploit the region for political gain. I’ll give the author a pass as it appears we share the same hometown, but c’mon….

    • Over at Reddit some guy tried to make it sound like I pulled the Hamas thing out of my butt, and that if I didn’t know that Simon Baz was Muslim I would have never made such a connection. A.) That’s not true, and B.) Some guy who writes a Muslim character who … is a thief … who finds himself blowing up an entire automobile factory in Dearborn, Mich. … should think a little harder about the costume.

      It’s lazy writing, pure and simple. ‘Secret War’ was a comic with plenty of liberal themes running through it, but it was a good book because it had sharp writing. Geoff Johns just dropped the ball.

      • Yeah, Secret War is just about the only Brian Bendis-authored comic that I like. It had sharp writing, like you said, even if it was written from a liberal POV. As for your point about Reddit, I’ve never used it, mostly because I can’t relate to the liberal-minded college kids that are on the site.

      • Since movies go thguroh reboots all the time, It’s no surprise a comic book company would think it could do the same and have success. Just remember when the dust settles and the initial excitement wears off (and it will wear off), only the stories will keep people coming back. In fact, if you produce good product in the first place, you don’t need a gimmick to sell your comics.

  3. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for proving I’m not alone with this opinion. I appreciate this article. If I knew you I’d shake your hand. Johns has talent but he is a shameless hyper liberal Obama nut grabber.

    • Ha. Well, while I’m a little disturbed by the image you just created in my head with the “nut grabber” line, I will say that you are definitely not alone. There are a lot of conservative comic fans out there, but for whatever reason they don’t speak up.

      And, I agree with you on the talent. I hate when a really good writer goes out of his way to insert his politics into a book. They often will shoe horn it in there, and the quality of the writing suffers.

      Thanks again for the read, Gary!

  4. Good article and sad but funny Hamas uniform similarity. I like reading comics to take a break from the real world. I know writers base many stories on current issues and problems, but it bothers me when bias is clear to the reader. I have several reasons I stopped buying Marvel comics (death of Punisher) but the Captain America tea party and Spider Man Obama love affair was over the top and lame. Johns has shrunk the importance of Sinestro and Hal to elevate the prophet Baz. To be honest GL has been mediocre since Brightest Day.

    • Thanks for the comment, Mark. I meant to keep up with the title to write on Baz, but for a number of reasons that hasn’t happened.

      I used to spend big bucks on Marvel (I was never a huge DC guy, but I do enjoy Batman), and now I’m basically down to zero. They did it to themselves, too. That’s the sad thing. I’ll read indie stuff that my friends recommend, and I’ll keep tabs on a few titles, but my comics consumption has gone down considerably. A part of that is because of the contempt writers/artists show towards readers with a conservative worldview.

      Anyway, thanks again for taking the time to read and comment. I really appreciate it.

  5. While i understand your opinion and your views, i appreciate Johns taking on this subject matter in the first place!

    Being from India and being able to strongly identify with the backlash simon did in the comic,having been so myself in chicago and indiana at the time, I was intrigued but skeptical about this book. I ended up buying this comic and am following it currently. I do agree the whole car thief thing and simon carrying a gun is sloppy at best and could have been done better. Maybe even re-thought out I do appreciate the bigger picture as to where this is going. Meaning having a middle eastern character/super hero in the first place, that isn’t a magician or sorcerer! I got a chance to meet Johns at a recent signing at his comic book shop in california and thanked him for it. This may be shoving down politics down readers throats but to me it also represents other minorities having a chance to have their stories and viewpoints shown.

    This is a starting point and again I agree Simon being a car thief /and the dialog didn’t resonate with me . I choose to trust geoff and where he is taking this story and acknowledge the fact that if it was any other writer that was middle eastern or ethnic descent, this story would not have been printed. Only because Johns wanted to tell it, did it finally happen. I see this as a door to more ethnic characters being given a chance.

    Also I understand being harassed by the fear of certain people isn’t as bad as what people go through in actual war. Having been in the US NAVY and not seeing any combat , i can get that viewpoint, but i will never forget what it was like for those initial months of being treated like an outcast because of political fear and suspicion. I carried around a lot of anger and rage because of that and had to let go of it.

    btw: simon baz is currently being “recruited” in the JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA series by waller, the comic book has gotten much more interesting especially with his interactions with sinestro and the conservative hal jordan in the regular green lantern book. I will continue to but both…

    i trust in johns storytelling and where he is taking this character even if that means there were some weak choices and initial setup problems along the way……..

    MAKE MINE DC.

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment, Neil. Yes, we will definitely have to agree to disagree on this one. I meant to do a follow up on this post but haven’t gotten around to it. I’ll probably wait until they release the first 10 issues in a trade paperback and then write something.

  6. lol i hope everyone knows geoff johns’ grandmother is straight up lebanese, so its not so much whitewashed as just fantasized. everyone wants an interesting story. no one complained when Guy Gardner, irishman, was stereotyped as a cop

  7. I don’t see what the problem is? I’m a lapsed Muslim teenager and I found it really relatable, even the hijab thing happened to my cousin. I didn’t find it very political at all, you just seem like as gigantic fucking buttmad faggot.

    • “I don’t see what the problem is? I’m a lapsed Muslim teenager and I found it really relatable, even the hijab thing happened to my cousin. I didn’t find it very political at all, you just seem like as gigantic fucking buttmad faggot,” (NotSayingMyName – aka, gay bashing anonymous Muslim guy).

      Does it seem odd that you that you talk about intolerance showed towards your coursin while using gay slurs like ‘butt-mad faggot’? You’d fit in really well in many parts of the Middle East, where they imprison and kill gay people. I wonder when Geoff Johns will write about guys like you.

      Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a story to read about a mall attack in Kenya with AK-47s and grenades, in which Muslims specifically targeted non-Muslims. I wonder if Geoff Johns is familiar with it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s