Sunday, December 30, 2007

Ooo!

This is one of the most awesome things ever.

This page should make WFA link-farming more enjoyable.

Yeah, off-topic but I've been neglecting this blog.

Some interesting stuff in this thread about women and religion, particularly Artic Stranger's Post #40:
For men, women represent a loss of power. To fall in love is to give your heart away. If you give your heart away, you can be hurt...very badly. (There was a recent play where one character tells her daughter, "Don't be the one in the relationship who loves the most. That person gets hurt. You need to be the one who is loved the most. You wont get hurt then."

Throw in the sexual drive, and boom...you have a very threatened man. How does that song go? "When a man loves a woman..." (See song lyrics at the end of Post)

Then throw in the historical feeling of men that one of the worst things you can be called is "sissy" or "pussy" or some other term to denote that you were a feminine type man. (In ancient Rome homosexuality was rampant...well SODAMY was rampant, homosexuality did not exist... and it was considered fine to be the one screwing other men, but you did not want to be the one who was screwed by other men.) Sexuality is a fluid thing, and most women have some masculine characteristics, and most men have some feminine characteristics. Men are much less comfortable with their feminine side than women are with their masculine side. (These are tendencies, not iron clad rules.) So when the feminine appears in a man, he feels threatened, from within, but he can easily focus the threat outward to other women.

Now throw in religion. Let's take Augustine, one of the main culprits in the Christian wrong turn on sexuality. Augustine was a man obsessed with sex. He was the one who prayed, "Lord make me chaste, but not today." It was his attraction to his mistress that kept him from fully converting to Christianity. When he did convert he renounced her and his child he had with her.

Now as I was writing that last paragraph, I ALMOST wrote, "It was his mistress who kept him from fully converting." Notice how I almost put the blame on her. It was rather instinctual, and I had reframe my own thoughts. That "innocent" little slip is a habit for many men who want to devote their lives to God. The major impediment most will encounter will be their relationship with women. And since we are masters at self-delusion and self-justification, it is rather easy to see how the problem shifts from "I have a problem dealing with my desires about women" to "Women are a problem to me." When that move is made, men must be protect from women.

(And remember that sexual roles were pretty segregated at one time. A lot of what women did was a HUGE mystery to men. And we did not know as much about anatomy either, so even the way women were structured was a mystery. Where DOES that baby come from? What is the deal with all that blood?)

So eventually, to "protect" men from the effects of women, they eventually put them into one of two boxes; virgin saint, or whore. They are either helping us toward our goal of sainthood (usually by making an incredible sacrifice of their own sexuality, violently and graphically) or they are seducing us with their sexuality and are poison apples.

Blogosphere!

Cheer me up, dammit.

Kalinara has been regaling me with a list of unusual fictional properties that people will write male-on-male pornography about, but this just seems to be depressing me more.

(Though if she could find enough Lensmen slash I'd feel a certain justice was served for riddling the space opera genre with sexism. Sure, I probably wouldn't read it. But I want it to exist.)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Weird

My referral stat suggests that a number of people are reaching my sites through the Mary Jane Statue posts from May and June.

There must be a new post out there on this subject that I haven't found yet.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

This is odd. (And annoying)

How is it that the last hour and a half that I've seen tonight is stuff parodying feminism?

I mean, seriously, two sexual harassment storylines and a gender-separated education storyline that all have "The feminists are overreacting" as a major plot point. (Well, I've seen the last one before and I guess it's fair to say the theme there was "The feminists are being naive" but the other two paint feminists as jumping the gun and men as needing women to civilize them which pisses me off too) Those stories as irritating on their own, but three in a fucking row is infuriating.

It's especially bad because I don't get a night off to just watch television very often, so it really sucks when it's the night of the antifeminist backlash.

Time to put in a DVD, I suppose.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I almost skipped the whole holiday.

Anyway, since there's about ten minutes left of this one, have a Happy Christmas and here's a cute video for you.



Sunday, December 23, 2007

Create a superheroine?

Newsarama:
According to Shadowline editor, Kristen Simon, “I’d been hoping to see a super-hero book with a strong female lead to act as a counter-point to our popular Bomb Queen series, but none were forthcoming. So I decided to come up with a contest to create a super-heroine for the 21st Century.”

As with any writing job, I see two downsides to submitting: 1) They could reject my idea. 2) They could accept my idea and let everyone know how stupid it is.

The upside is that whatever I can come up with will NOT be the dumbest thing on the pile.

(And that if it is, only I and the Shadowline editor will see it.)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Of course they're playing cute for the Cluemaster's daughter.

Well, Didio's little hint just tosses another clue on the pile. Apparently Stephanie Brown is coming back to life and the reason is obvious:

DC will do anything to avoid redesigning the Batcave.

Who wants to push for a Batcave Katma Tui memorial next?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wow.

For the approval of the internet, I submit the following definition of courage from Will Pfiefer's blog:
Meanwhile, I almost forgot to mention that the AMAZONS ATTACK hardcover was due in comic book stores last week. (I forgot mostly because I haven't gotten my box of comp copies yet -- c'mon, DC!). It's all six issues for a mere $24.99, complete with a lovely slipcover and sketchbook section, both by artist extraordinaire Pete Woods. Just the thing for under the tree!

As always, if you have any questions, comments or criticisms, feel free to air them here. I really do want to hear 'em.

Yes, even about AMAZONS ATTACK.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

*Ahem*

[unpracticed attempt at self-promotion] I believe I've mentioned in the past that I sold a small story for inclusion in the Ruins: Terra collection.

Well, after a slight delay that collection is now available on Amazon.com.

It contains two whole pages of my fiction writing (written for today's attention span), along with many substantially more involved stories.

In case you have some last-minute holiday shopping, you can go for the good shipping and get it by December 24th. [/unpracticed attempt at self-promotion]

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Dear god, it's back.

Kadymae discovered the odious "Nice Guy letter" making the rounds, and linked a few reactions to it. I found hers was the best:
If you agree with, or would possibly write, "You ignored the nice guy. You used him for emotional intimacy without reciprocating, in kind, with physical intimacy."

You are not a nice guy. You never were a nice guy. You will never be a nice guy.

You, are the text book definition of a user and that mean, thankless, heartless bitch (of either sex) is on to you like white on rice, so unsubtle is your approach. And, as an aside, an in kind reciprocation would be returned emotional intimacy. What you're asking for is not a like exchange.

The world owes you neither a living nor a lay.

Okay, I've dated this guy. Multiple this guys, actually, before I wised up. This is the guy who pretends to be your friend until he gains your trust and your sympathy, then he manipulates you into dating him. Then he tries to manipulate you into bed.

And if you are honestly, sincerely not interested -- he counts on your guilt and softheartedness to prevent you from turning him down. He turns you into the evil bullying bitch in his sob story if you do turn him down right away. If you go out with him once or twice to give him a fair chance, then let him down easy, then he turns you into the evil bullying bitch who led him on for so long in his sob story.

"Nice Guy" is a dirty word in the feminist community because that's how this guy describes himself, as a "Nice guy who can't cut a break." In reality he's a world class bitter manipulator.

"Nice guy" is just when a bitter manipulator puts on a mask to pretend to be a decent fellow.

I'd much rather a decent fellow, a guy who is actually honestly your friend. Yes, those guys exist. They don't whine about that not being rewarded with sex for being friendly. They are friendly when they actually want to be friends. When they want sex, they don't play up their pathetic sob story, trash all other women, and use guilt to get it from a girl who just wants to talk.

God help you if you're shy or anxious yourself. Because then he's out to assassinate your self-esteem just so he can get a lay. See, being firm and clear and making an enemy of the "Nice Guy" is probably the only way to get rid of him. He knows this, so he plays on any part of your behavior to make you think he's really a decent fellow and you don't want to hurt his feelings. And you want him to be a decent fellow. You need to believe he's a decent fellow, because otherwise your mind is worthless. Otherwise, the only reason anyone would want to talk to you is to get closer to your body. You want so badly to believe he was genuinely interested in you as a person that you go and make excuse after excuse for this guy and let him manipulate you into that relationship. You do this until the circumstances are dire, and you may be stuck with him forever.

Then you finally drop him, and feel like you're a bitch for doing so. And he goes ahead and reinforces that.

I'm sure by now that some "Nice Guys" don't think they're being malicious (just as the shy anxious girl thinks she's being nice by not nipping this thing in the bud). One of Kadymae's commenters talks about how he used to be one and is now learning to be a decent fellow.

Here's the thing, though. It's not really being "nice." It's not really being decent. It's not really being personable in any way. It's being jealous of other men and assuming that all women reason exactly alike (thinking "Hey, that asshole has a girlfriend. I don't. Maybe all women only like assholes" and letting confirmatory bias work its magic). The best I can judge from the writings and whining of professed "Nice Guys" is that this is wanting to be an asshole but having such low self-esteem you feel you can't get away with acting like an asshole. It's this horrible combination of cynicism, cowardice, and pessimism that acts like flashing sign to ward off any chance of procreation.

Honestly, you having trouble getting laid and want to? Stop forwarding the misogynistic emails. Stop trashing your ex-girlfriends. Stop trashing your would-be girlfriends. Stop being fucking sneaky about your crushes.

Read a self-help book. If you can't implement the advice there, see a psychologist. Work out your personal issues before blaming women for your problems.

Then go to the local singles scene.

I know that this is harsh advice and that some of you may doubt my credentials in this area. So for the end of this post I have prepared some brief answers to predictable responses. (These answers will likely not prevent anyone from insisting that I do indeed blame men for everything, but fuck them if they can't read the rest of this blog or even the rest of this post.)

"I'm too shy and nervous around women!!" It is not the job of a girl to help you with that. That is what the shrink is for.

"Only losers go to those mixers and use online dating services!" So you're saying that scheming to get close to a woman by pretending to be her friend makes you NOT a loser somehow? At least with a dating service you're an honest loser, and you have a shot at being a winner.

"It's not worth the trouble." Then don't do it. But don't blame the rest of us for not having a social life.

"My ex-girlfriend really is a bitch." Bitch is a pretty misogynistic insult to be throwing around when you actually mean it. (Yes, I've used that insult about five times by this point, but I'm illustrating attitudes not expressing my actual opinion.) That aside, some ex-girlfriends are genuinely unpleasant people. Have you noticed a pattern of unpleasant ex-girlfriends? Do you feel that these girlfriends were all unpleasant because of your pleasant nature? Do you expect women to be inexplicably unpleasant in reaction to your pleasant nature, and blame the women for it? Do you feel that your ex-girlfriend was an unpleasant girlfriend specifically because she withheld sexual intimacy? If your answered "no" to these questions, then your girlfriend was probably just an unpleasant person. If you answered yes to all (or just the last one) of these questions, you are the unpleasant person. (If your answers are mixed, I suggest soul-searching and not taking my posts so personally.)

"Ragnell, you bitter repressed feminazi bitch -- you're a fucking comic book blogger. What the hell do you know about socialization?" I know who is to blame when I spend a Saturday Night blogging. When I spend a Saturday Night blogging, it's because I didn't put the effort into stepping outside my door. Even if I have a date and it's canceled or a I have a crush and it wasn't reciprocated there are plenty of places to go and plenty of people to see where I live.

Okay, sometimes there's a damned ice storm to blame.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Help me out here.

I'm looking for what you call it when in a TV show/movie/book the main cast members are all white, but there's a black person in a minor part that's a respected position of authority (the rarely-seen boss, the Judge, the Doctor, the local police officer) so that the producers can claim positive racial diversity without having to actually spend time writing plot and characterization for someone who's not white.

I can't be the first one to notice this, so I know there's an easy snappy name for it.

(This isn't for a project, I just saw a movie where they did this and it was really obvious and it has me trying think of the name for it.)

ETA: No, Token's not the word I'm thinking of. There's no importance on what role is played by the character when you use that term. (I also hate that term because too damned many people use it to bash John Stewart.) I'm thinking of when the only person who's not white only appears in one or two scenes and they are specifically in a position of authority. None of the plot can center on them. They aren't even necessarily helpful. They just show up and function as the authority figure for the main character's plot.

ETA #2: Thanks, Matter-Eater Lad. Black Lieutenant Syndrome

And Notintheface? I blame you for my being on Youtube instead of collecting WFA links tonight.

*Ahem* HAMMMMMMEEERRRRR!!!!!!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Initial reactions to Green Lantern #25 (Vague Spoilers)

(This is your best chance for a happy post this week.)

Hey, is that Arkiss?

Ooo... Pretty Colors...

Are all the violet ones girls? Dammit! Okay, its in character for the Zamarons but still pretty-groanworthy given what purple equals.

Ooo, but Kyle's mask is drawn properly.

Hey, that sappy sequence kind of worked.

RAKER!!!!

Hey, cool, his partner's a girl.

Her uniform is not completely ugly. Exploitive and impractical (no possibilities for a bra at all), but it does not make you want to throw up from the hideousness in addition to the exploitiveness as the last two Reis-designed female costumes did. Maybe its just because she's Apokoliptian and that dominatrix shit is kind of the style there.

(Yes, I do think about these things on the first reading.)

Aww, John and Guy look so cute.

Holy shit, someone remembered Leezle Pon.

And that Guy is good with kids.

(I'm sure this particular sappy sequence is meant to state that this is Hal's extended family.)

Ahhh.. Like any good superhero story there's a feeling of accomplishment and the hint that things are going to worsen considerably by the time anyone notices that the problems still exist.

No, seriously, I consider that a good thing. Its traditional for serialized storytelling. The most important part, though, is that feeling of accomplishment so that the reader believes the heroes can handle the little bit louder and little bit worse of the next time around.

And... No, I wasn't expecting those last four pages. I should have seen that coming, because that really is about the worst way for that new rule to backfire, but I didn't.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

News

From Paul Kidby's website:
AN EMBUGGERANCE

Folks,

I would have liked to keep this one quiet for a little while, but because of upcoming conventions and of course the need to keep my publishers informed, it seems to me unfair to withhold the news. I have been diagnosed with a very rare form of early onset Alzheimer's, which lay behind this year's phantom "stroke".

We are taking it fairly philosophically down here and possibly with a mild optimism. For now work is continuing on the completion of Nation and the basic notes are already being laid down for Unseen Academicals. All other things being equal, I expect to meet most current and, as far as possible, future commitments but will discuss things with the various organisers. Frankly, I would prefer it if people kept things cheerful, because I think there's time for at least a few more books yet :o)

Terry Pratchett

PS I would just like to draw attention to everyone reading the above that this should be interpreted as 'I am not dead'. I will, of course, be dead at some future point, as will everybody else. For me, this maybe further off than you think - it's too soon to tell. I know it's a very human thing to say "Is there anything I can do", but in this case I would only entertain offers from very high-end experts in brain chemistry.
(Via)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Oh, here's where we differ.

I got linked on Tamora Pierce's blog as a rebuttal to her previous post, and yet another comment got my attention. This one from Tintin about female superhero fansites:
Ah, all right, I think, to be more precise- ironic considering my earlier choice of words- I'm tired of the sense of embattlement I get from these sites. To have to constantly fight to be able enjoy something...I don't understand it.
I'm answering this one here because I think I've zeroed in on the thing people can't seem to understand about feminist superhero fans, and its important enough that I need everyone to read this one:

Enjoyment is the default state.


Once again, I really really like superhero comics. (Particularly Green Lantern.) I get a lot of joy out of them that I don't bother to blog about because I'm too busy enjoying my comics to do so.

And most of the feminist fan bloggers I know feel the same way. When things are good, they are happy and you get one-line posts saying "This is SO AWESOME!" and some incoherent giggling if someone bothers to look up from the issue.

The problem comes when you are reading along, enjoying your comic, and something interferes with that.

That something being a disgusting new costume, a looming refrigerator, a sexist joke, an out-of-character scene, a really fucking stupid editorial direction, the inclusion (often creation) of a character who is nothing but a sexist caricature, a professional saying something unbelievably stupid, a butt/boob/crotch/leg/open-mouth shot that is totally unnecessary and interrupts the flow of a story, an awesome character getting shit on to make a male character look better and so on and so forth.

And when that happens, I stop reading and I fume for a bit. Then I boot up my computer, write about what bothered me, say a few rude things about the professionals, unload a bit and go back to the parts I like. Sometimes the bad outweighs the good in a particular book and I drop it, but on the whole there's usually a lot I like. That is why I keep reading.

Sometimes it takes a bit longer to go back to the parts I like. A day or two. A week. Until the next issue of something else I enjoy comes out. Until a certain creative team change occurs. I know a few people who are waiting on Editor-in-Chief changes to get back to what they like. Usually I just need to unload and analyze a bit, maybe rearrange my purchases or write a letter. (I have to write a letter or email or make sure I post in a place the creator'll find it, because I go into Happy Mode at a convention and know I'll never think of anything that pisses me off there.)

Sometimes I'll enjoy something incredibly on the first reading, and see a problem on reflection of the work or on the second reading, so I'll write about that when it occurs to me. Sometimes I will greatly enjoy something, but criticize a weakness of it anyway because the weakness exists and the story would go from pretty good to FUCKING AWESOME if not for that weakness.

And all superhero fans are like this, to a point. It just gets worse when the complaint or weakness is sexism, though, because that brings a whole bunch of people with stock answers of "Of course you're annoyed by that, superheroes are for guys", "That's the way things are, have been, and always will be," "I LIKE it that way so get lost" "Who invited the GIRL?!" and the ever popular "Sergeant? Throw this smelly little lesbian over the side."

That's where the battle comes in. We want to rant like all fans do. We want to write to the publisher like all fans do and let them know what's going on. But because of the nature of our complaints, that certain things are offensive to women, our opinions get invalidated by a culture that claims that superhero comics are male power fantasies.

So what it all comes down to is not constantly fighting to enjoy something. What it all comes down to is fighting constantly in order to be able to express our opinions about why we didn't enjoy something we should. Its fighting to have those opinions listened to so that our natural enjoyment of the genre will not need to be interrupted again.

That's an important distinction.

Its probably one that someone who doesn't automatically like these stories and characters may find hard to understand. Its definitely one that someone who only knows me through this blog -- my place of venting -- may find hard to understand (though I think I've thrown enough love at Green Lantern that it should be clear). But that's the base of it.

Understand?

FemWatch Episode 1

No, not a superhero video. Its a selection of choice interesting surprising horrifying fucking incredible comments found in the feminist blogosphere.



(Via)

A comic book for which I feel nothing.

I got a comment that I wasn't expecting:
BTW, could you please pass on the comics that you picked up at Wizardworld on to someone who actually does care about female comics creators? If you stated you absolutely hated and loathed the independent comics I write and publish but linked my website to let people decide for themselves, it'd least get some server hits, but it's been over a year now. Thank you.
For starters, I do remember Stephanie. I bought her comic at Wizardworld in 2006. I did not like her comics. I thought I was being nice by not reviewing them at this site, because there wasn't much to say. I'd made sure to pay for them so she wouldn't lose money because she was very nice in Artist's Alley, but I didn't have the heart to give it a bad review. I didn't really have the inclination to give them a bad review.

See, I didn't loathe or hate them either. I usually hate something because it is remarkable in its horribleness or something that could be awesome but was ruined by incompetence. But instead I found 21st Centurions bland and unimpressive.

The story was unmemorable. I didn't care about it. It certainly seems like something I should like. But I can't get into it. I start to read and lose interest halfway through the page. I put it down, distract myself and wait for a moment I might like to read it. The same thing happened again. I forced myself to continue and resented the book for bring forced to continue reading something that doesn't capture my interest. I can't even remember the character's names, and there's nothing I found remarkable about any of their personalities.

I'd say I needed recognizable characters, but I never saw Omega the Unknown before I picked that book up and was instantly hooked. I devoured Dynamo 5 with the first issue. I've read tons of teambooks with no prior emotional investment in any of the characters. All they have to do is hook you early enough.

This did not.

And it didn't hook me later on, either.

It is possible that the artwork is distracting me. This isn't unskilled or untalented artwork (which would definitely be noteworthy) but there is a generic and uninteresting quality to it. It tries to be dynamic artwork. It doesn't fail spectacularly at being dynamic artwork. It merely doesn't succeed at being dynamic artwork.

The first time I read it, I placed it to the side after getting to the last page and found I couldn't remember what I'd just read when I finally finished it. I promptly forgot about the entire book. I went to next thing I'd gotten at that convention, which didn't impress me either. I'd bought several interesting-looking indie works, thinking I'd just do a post with one or two sentence reviews of all of them. I optimistically thought I might find something like Pop Gun War there. I was wrong. I didn't find anything worth writing about when I got home, so I gave up on that idea and spent my money on toys at the next convention. I went back to the advice of indie-saavy bloggers and the guy at the comic book store for what non-mainstream comics are worth checking out. Such people are more adventurous than I.

Here is Stephanie and Mark Heike's website, in case you see something you like. If you feel I have no taste in art, or constantly find yourself uninterested in what excites me (in which case I have no idea why you are reading this blog) you may enjoy 21st Centurions.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

An Open Letter to the Comics Blogging Community That Anyone Can Respond To But Probably Shouldn't Bother

Please stop with the open letter format before it gets too old. I know that it is the nature of the internet to take a joke, stretch it beyond recognition and run it into the ground over the course of a decade but we should think about nipping this one in the bud. I also know this joke hasn't spread to too many blogs, but I've seen at least four posts with the title which means its probably time to put it to rest.

I'm all for cross-blog talk, but it would be nice if we got back to a little variety.

While we're at it, the phrase "hive vagina" finished running its course a little over a year ago. It was inhumane to force it to do the first extra lap, let alone pushing it so far beyond that. This phrase is wheezing rather pathetically and needs to be allowed to pass to the other side now.

And before anyone makes an anonymous comment, I know the irony of complaining about this format in a blog post using this format. That is the joke. Thank you.

19th Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans

Where: Girls Read Comics (And They're Pissed)
When: January 5th
Deadline for Submissions: January 3rd
Contact: ten[dot]karen[at]gmail[dot]com and submission form

Submission Call

Notice: Accepting Volunteers to Host the 20th Carnival. Email Ragnellthefoul[at]hotmail[dot]com if interested.

Give up all this?

Karen Healey:
I fully support any woman who turns her back on the Big Two and makes her own comics, and I sympathise entirely with the frustration and rage that engender that "If you won't change these comics, I am willing and eager to make my own" decision.

The thing is, as a reader, I'm not prepared to cede that territory. White Tiger is *mine*. Power Pack is *mine*. Rogue and Storm and Emma Frost are *mine*. Insofar as they belong to any fan, they belong to me, just as much as to those protesting feminist activism in the comics. And I don't want to write them. I want to read them without being disgusted or wearied or saddened by the sexism with which they are portrayed.

I can't believe that nothing will ever change, when so much has changed already. I have to believe in a future where sexism in artworks, like sexism in general, is considered as outdated and bizarre as a "democracy" where women aren't entitled to vote - superhero comics included. It won't be in my lifetime, but I can do what I can now.

I can support indy creators *and* work for change in the Big Two. Because I won't be satisfied with less.


Karen's answering Tamora Pierce, the latest person to chime in and second Elizabeth Bear's Dear Patriarchy as a call to leave the mainstream and create more entertainment free of the stresses of mainstream gender-based assumptions.

The people who roll up their sleeves and say "Lets just do our own" are people who would probably be inclined to make their way in the published world whether they were satisfied with the entertainment out there or not. They are writers who have stories to tell. That is awesome.

However, even those of us who like to tell stories like to listen sometimes. And a lot of us have our favorite characters and settings that we grew up with, that we learned to love, and that we are very very attached to. We like those characters and settings. We want to escape with them.

Those characters and settings are legally owned by someone else. That's all right. We want to give those people who own the characters money for stories with them. We want to support them and keep the stories coming.

And there's things that fans love and hate, little directions and fannish things and characters. And then there's the stuff that's bad for everybody. There's the insulting messages, the confining cliches and stereotypes that are nearly everywhere in the world and that slip into these stories with these favorite characters. They piss us off too.

But we would like to give the owners of these characters money. And we know they would like money. So we, as readers and fans and customers tell them what needs to happen in order to keep that money coming.

And sometimes it is ignored. And sometimes it is listened to. Sometimes we shout. Sometimes we whisper. Sometimes they insult us. Sometimes we get pissed off. Sometimes we don't realize we were insulted. Sometimes they try to pander to us. Sometimes we love that. Sometimes we get angry anyway. Sometimes they laugh with us. Sometimes they make us so happy we can't write anything but nonsensical little fangirlish words. Sometimes they piss us off and we can only write obscenities when describing what they did. Sometimes they play on our insecurities and fears and anger to get more money anyway.

And some of us give up and go off to make their own stories.

But some of us stay and keep complaining and reading and talking and buying. We stay because we remember when we are listened to. We remember when they at least tried to pander to us for a change. We remember when they laughed and joked with us. We remember putting down the issue and dancing. We remember when we were so happy we could feel the joy and excitement rise in our chests and stop our vocal chords from forming the words to describe it. We remember being so excited after reading a first issue just to try something out that we went straight back to the comic book store to catch up on the entire series. We remember when they played on our insecurities and fears and angers but understood why we felt that way and wrote what they did because they felt that way too. We remember when we cried because the story was just so good and it was that good because we went in knowing the character and caring for them already.

Some of us remember all of that even though we get pissed off at times. And so while we drop series and follow writers and try to minimize the bad as much as possible we don't truly leave. We don't leave because we know the good things will happen again.

And we complain because we know those things would be happening more often, but the company forgets that women are reading too. The company forgets that there's a lot of shit out there in the entertainment world and the real world that's getting called up by the writing and the art that's interfering with the story. Writers and artists forget that when we point that out, we're telling them a better way to communicate with us and get those good moments that keep us shelling our money.

So every once in a while someone tells the mainstream to "Fuck off" because they can write a better story themselves. Good for them. The bad outweighs the good for them, and they feel they're better off working on their own stuff.

Good for us, because we can read their stuff and grow to love it too.

Still, for some of us the good does outweigh the bad. Its just the bad is so pervasive and distracting and just plain wrong that we have to talk about it if we want to have any way of keeping sight of the good.

So yeah, go off and write good stuff. I'll read some of it. I may even try and write some of my own. (I wouldn't hold your breath, but its an idle fantasy many of us have.) But give up reading the stuff I love completely? No, fuck that. I'll continue to enjoy what I enjoy and complain about what interrupts that enjoyment.

And sometimes the industry won't listen, but sometimes it will.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Never thought I'd say this, but...

Anyone wanna play BINGO?

Yeah, I can't believe I stooped to that one (though I'm not sure I remember a Gay Comics BINGO card, I'm sure every argument in that post is on it if there is one). I've been of the opinion that the BINGO cards are good for a one-time laugh, but actually used they tend to be conversation killers, and just off-putting and arrogant. Its an inside joke often presented to an outsider at the offset. Not a recipe for actual learning.

I used to be so thoughtful, I'd break down every argument and engage every idiot -- but there's a point where what you read is just so tired and overused you can't take the argument seriously enough to concentrate on debate anymore. You either want to pound your head against the wall in despair at the endless barrage of blindness or point and laugh at the person who doesn't realize that everything he's said has been addressed and debunked ad nauseum, to the point people are sick of arguing it anymore. The latter option is considerably less stressful.

Trolls often count on the former, and play ignorance long after they should. (And there's the not-exactly-small percentage of the population that simply doesn't absorb this stuff, no matter how often they see or -- or even bother to read it.)

So we'll make BINGO jokes, or something similar. It passes the time and relieves the stress. Some people use them too often and only ever make fun of the opposition, some people don't lighten up and make fun rather than debate often enough.

Its a tool for keeping sane rather a tool for persuasion. In my day job the toolbox has both a hex driver and a scribe, because different aspects of the job require different tools.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Blue Beetle indirectly named second-most competent superhero.

City Crime Rankings:
The study ranked Mission Viejo, Calif., as the safest U.S. city, followed by Clarkstown, N.Y.; Brick Township, N.J.; Amherst, N.Y.; and Sugar Land, Texas.

El Paso was ranked the second safest city with cities of a population of 500,000 or higher. El Paso was the third safest city in the same population grouping last year.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ooo..

Kalinara found news on the Dresden Files comic book.

Butcher's writing the adaptation. (Which could be good or bad -- I like that the author of the books is adding a new plot to the series, but novelists don't always translate well to comics.)

I'm with her that I'm a bit disappointed Morgan's white in the comic. I got the impression somewhere in the first book he was black and was actually surprised when people pointed the casting out as a change. And Murphy's back to blonde.

The series is awfully whitewashed to begin with, and its pretty bad in the early books. Like Butcher didn't notice the only character who wasn't white was Susan for several novels and so started to filter in the Knights, the Council, Rawlins and Carlos when he got the off chance. All relatively minor characters.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Catching Up

I just got back from an exhausting Thanksgiving visiting my sun-worshiping mother. She keeps the most ridiculous hours, up and about at times no sane person would consider, and expected me to conform.

Hopefully, the daylight didn't do too much damage to my skin and eyes. I normally avoid the stuff if at all possible, so my resistance is probably pretty low to it.

Posting should start again when I catch up on the blogs and the news and get bored of the new doll and the cookbook I found back home.

To pass the time until my inevitable next post, you anonymous commenters can fight each other in the comments of this post.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ugh!

Just when you thought it was safe to return to Green Lantern:

They're using that hideous porn costume in the Star Sapphire action figure!

And this is, of course, the only female figure in the new batch. There's no Soranik, there's no Iolande, there's no Arisia, there's no Laira, there's no Boodika, there's just an old Kingdom Come Jade figure (funny how they made a Jade figure only for the Elseworlds where she got a costume with a glowing boob window) and a Katma Tui animated figure that won't stand up because she's wearing fucking high heels!

I'm filing down the jewelry on Fairy Barbies to try and get R'amey Holl and they give us porn-costume Star Sapphire to play with.

Bastards.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Last Lines: Wonder Woman #14 (Spoilers)

I realize now that I'm the only one who hasn't blogged a review. Well, it was really good and I am not very good at the positive reviewing thing. I tend to just go "ooo..." when I react to something I like and that's not very interesting to read.

But I feel a bit nostalgic for when I did do weekly reviews, so let's examine the last line of the issue.

"Kill all you find!"

This is said when arriving on a particular island.

Those of you who read the issue, stop and think for a moment about who is on that island. She was right in the opening part of the book.

Think about the speaker. The leader of a bunch of Nazis.

Now, think about this character's history and the team membership that seems (at least according to lines dropped in JSA and one conversation with Wildcat last issue) to still be in continuity. Then think about how likely she is to react to a bunch of Nazis who intend to kill her.

Think also about this character's history of lacking restraint in battle.

There are very few ways that this encounter could suck, even fewer of which tend to be found in a Gail Simone comic.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Booster Gold #4

I consider myself a jaded superhero/science fiction fan, but I'll admit the setup for next issue threw me for a loop. I was expecting Melodramatic Superhero Time Travel Plot Cliche #4, which gives the protagonist the exact opposite objective.

That is a way to make things interesting, though. Its highly unlikely DC will let them succeed, which means we'll get to see the good guys deal with failure and scramble to fix what they can. However, if they do succeed (and we get a sliver of a chance of this because DC has a big crossover coming up and we know they like to juggle shit around when they have crossovers planned) we get to watch several DC writers frantically try to adjust to the new timeline.

Granted, both options could result in the writers and editors falling flat on their faces, but success really wouldn't be the least bit impressive if there wasn't a decent chance of screwing things up very badly.

Eh.

In kind of a bleh mood lately. Will to blog hovering slightly above nonexistent. Motivation at subterranean levels. Absent-mindedness currently in the stratosphere, so ideas are not really surviving long enough to reach actual blog post form.

Not dead.

Managed to semisubstantially meet at least one blogging commitment.

WFA updates will happen before the end of the weekend.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pleasantness

I went to the store today expecting Simone's first issue of Wonder Woman, and was surprised by a new Courtney Crumrin story, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen trade at a discount and All-Star Superman.

Wonder Woman starred a version of Diana I like, a version of Nemesis I like, and Themiscyra is not forgotten.

There was a one-page characterization scene between Kyle and Donna in Countdown this week.

Concept art for a Dresden Files comic book. (And a teaser blurb for the tenth book.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Oh dear.

Umm....
Hey, don't blame me. Blame society. For better or worse, geeks (and here, I mean male geeks) are considered cool. Not as cool as guys who, you know, are good-looking and have lots of money. But still pretty cool. Obviously, girls can be geeks, too, but they're slightly more limited in what interests they can pursue and still maintain respect in the eyes of the world. Girl gamers? Cool. Girl comic book fans? Cool. Girl doll collectors? Not so much.
Okay, who told this poor guy he was considered cool? Because that was not nice.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Submission Call!

18th Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans

Where: Trouble: More Than Bargained For
When: November 30th
Deadline for Submissions: November 28th
Contact: anna[at]annaoverseas[dot]com and submission form

Special Request:
I'll be looking for any posts that fall into the idea of Feminist Sci Fi and Fantasy, but I'm hoping espeially to see a lot of posts on gaming this month - from Tabletop to LARP, from MMORG to MUDs, from Let's Pretend to CCGs, anything that you'd define as gaming is of interest!


Notice: Accepting Volunteers to Host the 19th Carnival. Email Ragnellthefoul[at]hotmail[dot]com if interested.

Numbers

Kalinara was writing her post about Thunder when she messaged me asking how many college-aged/teenaged black female superheroes (not fully-grown career-aged women like Storm and Vixen, but early 20s/teenagers). I could come up with.

She were stumped at two, Thunder and Empress (Empress who will never be seen again because Peter David couldn't resist making a dumbass pun with her name). I thought of XS, and then realized bitterly that neither she nor Kid Quantum (who was a pretty cool character and the fucking leader of the Legion of Superheroes for a while) counted because they were retconned out in the last reboot in favor of the New Diverse Legion of Super-Heroes (also known as "a large group of white kids, a green kid, a blue kid, and a black kid who almost never gets panel-time").

So we were still at two. We consulted the Museum of Black Superheroes.

Managed to come up with Bumblebee and that one X-woman Grant Morrison introduced (the one with the fly wings who had kids with the chicken-boy).

Beyond that we had Peekaboo for a supervillain who could be redeemed.

Reaching past DC and Marvel properties, I can think of Tesla Strong, the Rocket from Icon and Slingshot from Dynamo 5.

Oh, and that woman who flew in Major Bummer. (I think her name was Val.)

That brings us to 11 total. 4 in limbo (only 1 that I've seen in the last two years). 2 retconned out. 1 a villainess (also in limbo). 1 in a universe no longer published. 3 active in ongoing series.

For blonde college-aged/teenaged women alone I can think of Supergirl, Secret, Arrowette, Spoiler, Wonder Girl, Saturn Girl, Speedy, Arisia, Terra, Buffy, Dagger, Dream Girl, Rose Wilson, Flamebird, Husk, Valkyrie, Dolphin, and Andromeda.

18. Without looking. 6 active in ongoing series. 6 in limbo (4 that I've seen within the last two years). 3 dead. 1 retired. 1 retconned out. 1 retconned into adulthood (but still active).

Now, the white superheroines I listed are just the blondes. That is not counting characters with red, black, or brunette hair. That is just young women with yellow or white hair.

And I didn't have to look up people to come up with 18 blondes. But I had to find a website to jog my memory to think of more than 4 black women.

Something's off here.

Wait a minute.

Isn't 2.5% of "not significant money" not significant enough money to hurt the company if you fork it over?
They currently receive nothing from the use of their content on the Internet; and they are asking for a flat percentage of 2.5% of revenue. The AMPTP wants to pay .3%, and they claim that it's too soon to tell if they can make significant money from offering content on the Internet. Writers and much of the known universe understandably find this a little absurd, especially as members of the AMPTP continue to tell their stockholders about the millions to be made from new media.

Recommended Reading

Saturday, November 10, 2007

This illustrates my point better than I could.

In a recent comment section I said that comparisons between the recent Wizard cover blurb and segregation based on the "Continuum of oppression" fell under the "Slippery Slope" logical fallacy.

For those of you who are curious as to exactly what is meant by "Slippery Slope Fallacy", see the second half of this post.

Also on that website is a great example of a parallel made between the Civil Rights movement and feminists who want better comics of the sort I was complaining about earlier.

Obsidian got a speaking part?

Why wasn't I informed? Why did I have to wait to read JSA #10 a week late to find this one out? I mean, he was talking for at least three pages there. That's HUGE for this character. That's more panel-time than he's had the entire series.

Maybe they'll actually use him in a fight in a few issues.

Okay, maybe that's too much to expect. But wow. Obsidian actually got a speaking part.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Tangibly close now.

Wonder Woman #14 preview's up!

(I can't believe it, since I whined so much when they got picked up for the book, but I really missed the Dodson art.)

Finally caught up on my comics.

Countdown Week 26 has what is now my favorite "Donna Troy Dodges Death" sequence.

Jason deserves to be hit on a regular basis for being a jerk all the time.

I think I'm starting to love Donna Troy.

She's just so casual about this sort of thing by now. She punches Jason (Actually, his still having internal organs on the inside of the chest after she hits him twice is evidence that she has excellent control over her strength) and then scolds him for being rude, and rather than reassure Kyle (who is, wonderfully, the only one who didn't realize she wasn't a goner and is pretty thrown by the whole revelation) she seems to just roll her eyes at him and rattle off some exposition.

"Yeah yeah, Jason's a really big asshole but not that big an asshole. Bob helped. Let's get on with the multiverse-wide scavenger hunt."

She's coming off (over all the specials and the weeklies) as this bland sweet-natured person who has just enough flexibility in her character to be temperamental when the writers need her to be, and is resilient enough to always be good for either a fake death or a real death. I can honestly see the appeal now.

In fact, I think its safe to say I'm reading Countdown for Donna right now almost as much as Kyle.

I want to see her die and/or hit Jason again.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Oh, for the love of little green leaves!

Stop making segregation comparisons when talking about sexism!!!

Please.

It makes you look like an asshole, which makes any further conversation awkward and/or hostile.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Oh, and while I'm here...

Everyone who read this post and thought that "lowest common (male) denominator" means "men are the lowest common denominator" needs to retake English next semester.

You fail reading comprehension.

Seriously, that's really fucking bad because I specifically added the "(male)" because presumably the lowest common female denominator would involve pushing a completely different set of stereotypes. (I don't know, bodice rippers or boy bands or whatever stupid insulting stereotype of fangirls you figure is the worst.)

To be honest, I made a mistake by not specifying "straight male" because a "lowest common (gay male) denominator" would be quite different as well. I apologize for that oversight.

But the prevalent idea came out of fucking nowhere.

I mean (and I know I'm repeating myself but dammit some people seem to need that), the very reason I added the (male) is because if I had put "lowest common denominator" in reference to a magazine that caters directly to men, that is calling men the lowest common denominator. By adding the (male) I was leaving room for an equal low involving an all-female audience or an audience of mixed gender. (Note to those seeking a lowest common mixed gender denominator: Explosions appeal to everyone.)


Still, some unbelievably idiotic readers read that and thought I meant the opposite.

Now, I admit, I've put out my poorly worded phrases and my mixed messages. There have been miscommunications that are entirely on my shoulders in the past.

This is all on the distant end, though. I don't know how anyone fucked up reading that one.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

I can't believe I have to make this post.

(And one last Wizard post. This one is entirely tangential anyway.)

I've seen several places that people have been saying "Well, the Feminists have SAID that if DC and Marvel want to be male-only they should put it on the cover, and now that Wizard does it they're all pissed."

Yeesh. Here's the thing about DC and Marvel and I'm going to say it before some dumbass at one of those companies (probably Marvel) thinks this might be a good idea. I was a teenaged reader in the 90s, lured by my sister with the X-Men Saturday morning cartoon. I never got the "boy's club" impression off of comics even in the midst of the Image craze. Growing up with the animated series I grew up thinking superheroes were for everyone and you know what? The Archives, Essentials, and Showcases support me here. They're loaded with sexism but the same sexism you find in gender-neutral and female-aimed entertainment from the same eras, just look at old 60s sitcom plots involving women and compare them to plots involving girls in the comics.

These things were for everybody, and they still should be.

Here and now I freely admit that if Marvel and DC were to brand their stuff officially as a "boy's product" I would be seriously pissed off for two big reasons:

1) They would be taking something away that I enjoyed as a child, taking it away from me as an adult and any young female relatives I would have wanted to introduce to the hobby I loved. Oh, I would be free to buy it if I chose to do so, but my honest reactions as a paying customer would not be welcome because of my gender.
(Arguably, this is the unofficial state of the industry right now.)

2) Because they would be telling me directly that despite having been a loyal paying customer they don't care for my money anymore and don't give a shit if they offend me and I stop reading. I would not be welcome because my money is not as good as a man's.

This is why I can emphathize with the Stephanie Brown-fans. I'm not a Spoiler fan, I'm not a Robin fan, I could give two shits about what's in the damned Batcave. I'm a casual Batfan, no more.

However, these women had a hero, a favorite comic book universe, and a number of elements in the Batverse told them girls were welcome there.

And they were taken away. Not just Stephanie, but Leslie and Onyx. Montoya, Dinah, and Barbara went to other parts of the DCU. Selina stayed, but Selina is a slinky antihero/villainess who fulfills a lot of fanboy fetishes.

Effectively, Gotham went from being for everyone to being for boys.

If you really think anyone'll be happy seeing that spelled out on the cover, you're in for a surprise.

If not, and you are bringing up an argument that basically states "They weren't for boys when I started reading! Why am I being pushed away?" as a "See, you got what you wanted!" gloat, you are a jerk.

And if you are saying "Its always been this way," you're being an ass. If that's true, then how did all of these people who are so "easily offended" by the "natural state of comics" ever get to the point of being regular fans?

Something got worse.

Why This Is Notable.

Not that I'm above beating a dead horse but I really wasn't going to bother with this Wizard thing again.

Except for the large amount of people who don't seem to understand why Wizard magazine feeling comfortable enough to brand itself on the cover specifically as a "Men's Pop Culture Magazine" should piss anyone off.

For those of you shrugging your shoulders, I'd like to bring two comments to your attention.

First, Papervolcano at Blog@Newsarama:
What I am concerned about is Wizard-the-organiser-of-Cons. I’m not sure how separate the two are, but is this attitude going to be translated to the various Wizard-Worlds? Are women going to be explicitly unwelcome there too? God knows Cons can be iffy places for women at the best of times, but if the Wizard Worlds are emblazoned with the “Number 1 Men’s pop-culture convention!” banner, that’s going to exacerbate a lot of problems.

Floundering though they are, they still set a lot of the tone of the industry.

Personally, I haven't spent money on Wizard in over three years, but the easiest major convention for me to attend is one of theirs.

As a person who no longer reads the magazine it doesn't really bug me, but as a regular convention-goer I'm a bit out of sorts here.

Second, Rachel in her livejournal:
It's relevant because it's visible, and because it markets itself as the comics magazine. Also, it owns a huge number of other comics periodicals and many major conventions.

So the fact that it's now advertising itself as a men's magazine says a good deal about its attitude toward women in comics and sets the tone for a LOT of affiliated industry coverage and events.

As Rachel says, they are visible and for years they have been the superhero fandom magazine. Its a little irksome that they don't feel they have to even pay lip service to potential female readers.

Dumb as the magazine is, insignificant that this blurb may be, you can't blame people for being pretty pissed. Its more of the "girls don't like superheroes" shit and I know I'm not the only one sick of hearing and reading that idiocy.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Mystery Solved!

Okay, its not much of a mystery why Wizard is declaring themselves a men's mag now, but there was enough room to wonder just what they were thinking.

Now we know.

Cheryl Lynn has the missing piece of the puzzle:
And why the hell did Wizard reps approach female fans and ask them to fill out surveys at conventions this summer? Why ask us to participate and then slam the door in our faces?

Its not hard to arrive at a working hypothesis here: Sales were falling. They needed a way to bring them up. They could expand beyond comics or try to capture more of the comics-buying community. They explored the option of opening to a wider comics-reading audience and surveyed female convention-goers.

They looked at the results of the surveys and realized they would need to change things they didn't wish to. Maybe they were just too chickenshit to risk a change, or had no faith that the male audience would be willing to read news and views without round shiny breasts next to every paragraph, or maybe they just didn't care enough to make the effort.

So they went and decided to go beyond the comics-reading community to pander to the lowest common (male) denominator everywhere so they wouldn't have to be a magazine for everyone who reads comics. Just men who have interest in comics-related things.

Which is their prerogative. From a business sense, it'll probably work. The less insular they are to the comics community, the better they'll do overall.

I'm not mad, though. I haven't read them since High School. Fuck 'em. We have Comic Foundry as a print magazine for everyone. We have online sources for news. We have blogs for commentary.

With any luck, this means in a few years we'll be rid of them. They'll have to do more movies and television to appeal to a wider base. The comics content won't be so central to the magazine anymore. The companies will have to put more into the other sources, just for lack of room.

Its just so depressing that right now DC and Marvel are taking their big news to an officially gendered source -- and they are still, we all know they are and will for a long time to come. Wizard'll still be considered the major industry mag for too damned long yet.

Would be nice if we could get a print version of Sequential Tart or something similar out there, but it takes a long time and a lot of resources for a feminist magazine to get off the ground, and a long time and a lot of resources for a comics magazine to get off the ground. A magazine that's both has its work cut out for it. (The postal service is not making things any easier right now.) It'll take a while to get anything like that organized and even after its all together it'll take a while to get out to most of the public. I mean, how often do you see an issue of UVC? [Link has sound.] You need to dig it out and request it to get hold of it most places.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Sadly, I have work tonight and couldn't get the night off.

For a seasonal post, see Chris Sims. (I wouldn't read that at work, though.)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I can't fake surprise at this blurb...

(Via)

I just can't tell if this is an attempt to "diversify" the magazine by going beyond comics to general "men's interest" or if they figure this will make the female fans not bother to criticize them anymore.

Probably a combination of both, judging by Haenhle's exploration of the interior.

Draw Your Own Conclusions

Despite Warner Bros scrambling to get their superducks and directors in a row to make two films as fast as they can because the upcoming JLA movie, one movie has been put on hold because of the upcoming JLA movie.

Guess which one.

Way to show everyone how dedicated you are to "telling good stories regardless of gender", Warner Bros.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Okay...

So I just saw a commercial for Beowulf.

Now, I had to double-check the website to make sure Angelina Jolie was playing who I thought she was playing.

And yes.

Yes.

She was playing who I thought she was playing.

They went and made Grendel's Mom sexy.

I don't know what to say.

Okay, happy moment's over

Aww hell, its the guy who wrote The Flash: Fastest Man Alive.

Eh. There's still time for doing the creative team shuffle. Its just an early announcement.

*Blinks*

I would have a nice, long wordy reaction to this were I not too busy jumping up and down and clapping.

Now, I know some of you want to comment with your pessimism. I'm sure, when the casting rumors start, I'll be in a grumpy mood on and off, too. I am purposefully not looking at the directing and writing credits listed to avoid being letdown for a few more minutes.

For now, though, just let us enjoy this perfect moment, where we can appreciate that someone in a position to actually make the movie believes the movie is worth making. I am not allowing comments on this posts specifically to keep readers from killing my happy moment.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Friday Night Fights

For Bahlactus, Kyle Rayner and Barda Free in an art museum.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Countdown #27

I suppose this one counts as spoilers so here's a spamming image.



Anyway, to answer anyone who is about to ask (or has assumed by putting my name in the title of their post that I actually give a shit about this particular character) what I think of this after my recent ranting -- Sweet!!! I had Weeks 26-29 in the Donna Troy pool!

In all seriousness (and in all seriousness I really don't care much for that character) this all happened right after a fight (though she didn't do shit in it), there was no tantalizing flash of cleavage as she went down, and its been proven time and time again that no fridge can hold that woman. (Really, Kyle's reaction shouldn't be "No!" but "I know she'll be back next week, but I'm still very pissed off by the intention!") I can understand some of her fans being pissed (really, she didn't do shit in that fight, and you can tell this was to get Kyle good and pissed), but this doesn't strike me as really bad. A storyline where Donna dies and then comes back to life may as well be a storyline about Superman getting a cat out of a tree. You can do it well and interesting, and get some empathy going with the characters, but you really can't inject a lot of shock and suspense into it.

I'd say it has the positive of classifying that love triangle talk as the creators trying to mislead us, at least. Except for the sarcastic dialogue when Kyle first joined the group (Jason said "he's dreamy" about Kyle when talking to Donna, like he was teasing her over Kyle or possibly a bit jealous) that had me thinking maybe Jason carried a torch, I wasn't seeing the romantic tension. Donna and Jason tolerated each other, Kyle and Donna were friendly (but not friendly in that way), and Kyle and Jason were at each other's throats. That proves nothing, because Kyle and Jason are the sort of people who would be at each other's throats over the aisle seat in a movie theater. Really, with Kyle showing off like an ass (I swear, it seemed like they were writing Hal -- post-Parallax euphoria, perhaps?) and Jason was being his usual bright and cheerful self at the beginning its no wonder they started off badly and went to worse from there.

It is nice to see Jason being a proper asshole again. He was getting too comfortably cranky with the others.

It still doesn't make sense to me.

I know I've mentioned this before, but I finally caught up with GLC and Blue Beetle and one question just kept running through my head.

Why does Brik have breasts?

At first glance I love her design. She's big and blocky and strong. Not normal for a female character. But... She has boobs. Big honkin' boobs.

Okay, I know, they wanted something to mark her as "female" and a basically humanoid female-shaped rock can work, but even with that in mind it makes no fucking sense that they should be round.

She's not a mammal or even made of flesh. She's not carved by an artificer. They don't suit her original story purpose. She was made to be the "ugly girl" who had a crush on Hal while he went crazy for Carol! Why did they feel a need to give her boobs?

Its just so fucking ridiculous. I can't read a scene with Brik without wondering why she has them. I especially can't read a scene where the artist draws her shirt torn without wondering why they're drawn like Arisia's breasts. I mean, okay, a Generation 1 Arcee-style "shelf" placed strategically in the spot where it mimics a human woman's chest (a "rack"?) would be one thing, but these are round bouncy boobs. They are almost always drawn as round bouncy boobs, even though the rest of her character design suggests there should be a blocky shelf instead. (The blocky shelf would imply female just as well, by the way.)

It just doesn't work. Why does a silicone-based rock entity have boobs?! There's no in-story reason for it. What sort of fucked up evolutionary path led to giant rockwomen with breasts? (It must be an evolutionary path, because if there was a deity actively involved in her creation there's no way that sort of feature would be there. Agony in childbirth? At least there's a physiological reason. Giant rockwomen with breasts? No reason. No reason whatsoever. Only humans think of that shit.) What kind of universe do they live in that such a design came about? What was the artist thinking when they designed her? Did they realize it totally takes you out of the story that you have to stop and think "oh yeah, some artist wanted to draw boobs" and then try and immerse yourself back into the universe of Green Lantern which only works until you see Brik's boobs again. They boggle the mind. Why do they exist?

It distracts from an otherwise lovely story.

Come to think of it, this is the first I've seen Brik since Recharge. Did they realize her design is tough to explain and just shove her in the background until the Blue Beetle guy wanted to use her, or do they just not know what to do with a full-figured rock-woman whose primary story purpose is to crush on Hal?

And I think I'd be okay with them if just one single character were to wonder aloud why a rock entity has boobs. Just a throwaway line in the dialogue. You can't tell me Guy's too polite to mention it. Or that the Doctor isn't curious.

I mean, is there no sanity in Green Lantern whatsoever?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Using someone else's words as a jumping-off point for my own angst.

Kevin on the current Marvel Universe setting:
Think about how frightening it would be to live in the Marvel Universe now. Think about being a political commentator not knowing if your thoughts were being monitored because of a blog post you made. Think about being someone in power, not knowing if you were actually standing beside who you thought you were at a government banquet. Think about being a person with extraordinary abilities who's forced to sign up with The Initiative or stay in the closet for fear of prosecution. Finally, think about being an ordinary citizen having to tolerate a de facto police state because of an accident in a small town in Connecticut.

This is probably me being some sad Captain Yesterday sort, but when I pick up a superhero comic, I want something that doesn't provide a version of our current state of affairs with even more paranoia lumped on top. Weird, I know.
As I said to someone about the prospect of Millar writing a Superman movie (that rumor is dead now, by the way) -- What, you don't want heavy-handed political allegory that reminds you how much the situation in the real world sucks in your escapist entertainment?

Its not that political and social issues can't be done in superhero comics, its just that you get to a point where all of the wonder and fantasy of superheroes get sucked out of the story in order to serve "the point," and the world you're reading about becomes a place you don't want to spend your spare time in anymore.

I don't read any Bendis anymore for kind of the same reasons. I don't want a story where my heroes knuckle down under the sort of stuff that I have to worry about every day, only with a supernatural/superpowered flavor. Give me something with space aliens trying to take over the universe, please. Or a plot to kill God. Or a side-trip to Hell to rescue someone. I don't need to see drug-dealers, rapists and jackass street toughs beating the shit out of my heroes.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

For Future Reference

If you want to link-bait When Fangirls Attack, there is no need to troll my personal blog and drop little hints about reactions on your own blog, then force me to follow your name to your profile and check all your blogs looking for the topical post. There's a good chance I might miss what I'm looking for that way and instead link something that makes you look like an ass. (Now if the post that makes you look like an ass is actually the one you meant, then yes this can work. But you may not always be so lucky.)

Also, don't count on linking my personal blog, my name, or WFA. That won't always get you noticed. Search engines are unreliable in this aspect, I don't always check for links to catch my links, and I'm not shelling money out for the long referral list on the WFA stat counter. I'm only doing this so long as I can up my blood pressure for free, dammit.

And if I've linked you once, I may not find you again. Whether I consider the site worth remembering depends on how many posts about the subject in question you had on your front page and my mental state at the time I found you.

There are two reliable ways to get linked on When Fangirls Attack. First, there is contact information for both myself and Kalinara on the sidebar. Use it. Email your link to us. If it is not on topic, we will ignore you. If it is, we will link you. Second, comments on When Fangirls Attack are once again open (and if I see fifty comments questioning our policies again, I will make you all pay somehow) and you can leave your link there.

That said, Written World is my fucking blog. Not yours. My comment section is not your fucking soapbox. I know that sounds childish, but Blogger and Wordpress and Livejournal and Insanejournal are all free services. You can get your own fucking blog and say whatever the fuck you want and delete whatever comments you like and be as rude or nice as you want. (If you are blogging about women in comics, let me know in one of the two reliable ways, I will link you on WFA.) If you're going to be long-winded, make it worth my while. If not, write a post on your own fucking blog and link it in the comments of the appropriate (links on a post that have shit to do with the link will be deleted according to my whims, even if they are from blood relatives and/or about women in comics) post here. (If it is about women in comics, I will link you on WFA.)

However, I'm not completely heartless. If you would like to play with my trolls, feel free. I don't mind if you break them.

Quote

And further, I would say that that would be something anybody could read about. Thats not--and I'll put this in quotes--"a male power fantasy." I just read that again today and boy did that piss me off--when somebody was talking about comic books--"Typical male power fantasy"--Well no, its not. There's nothing male about it. Its a power fantasy. Everybody has them.
-- Lene Taylor, I Read Comics Show #58 (About 3/4 of the way through, and she follows up with a rant on art)

Sexy Costume Suggestions

Dorian has 'em.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

More Death of the New Gods Ranting

(Because I have to get this out of my system.)

I mean, what were they thinking? That convention season's a few months off so we'll all pissed at Marvel by the time they have to face us? That no one'll notice? That no one'll throw things at a Comicon panel?

Gooey things, like rotten tomatoes and glops of pudding and jello.

Or did they fucking do it on purpose? To get us riled up. So that in a few months they'll leak a preview image of her in Final Crisis and they can ride the "YAY! She's BACK!!!!" reaction. Maybe. Maybe.

Maybe its because I've seen enough cool female characters killed off then not resurrected as planned (Arisia) or resurrected only to have the death remain in continuity while the resurrection is forgotten (Katma Tui) already that this bugs me. That its a first-issue death that might be undone soon doesn't really soften this blow.

No, on second thought, its the kitchen. Katma died in the same fucking stupid way. Its the fucking kitchen that pisses me off. Even if she's back next issue. Its the fucking kitchen.

I don't like to attribute to malice what can be attributed to cluelessness, but this is a fucking kitchen floor dammit! How can they not have known what it says to readers when they have the body of a female character found on the fucking kitchen floor?!?!

The only way to get closer to referencing Women in Refrigerators is to actually put her in the refrigerator!!!

And its Starlin. He's tricky. A tricky bastard of a writer who probably enjoys watching women yell at him. I wouldn't put this past him. Not for a moment.

Fuck you even if it is a trick Starlin. Because that means you knew. You did it on purpose to piss us off so you could laugh at us. Fuck you, and the editor who signed off on this.

And no, I'm not buying the fucking series just to see if you resurrect her or if you leave the job to someone else. So stuff it old man!

Wait a minute...

Why is it that people who answer feminist critique with "This is nothing new" don't seem to realize that that's pretty much the whole problem? That it goes on, that's its been going on, that a whole bunch of people are getting fed up with it and we're reaching the point where creators are going to find themselves dodging thrown maxi pads at conventions if they don't learn to fucking shape up right fucking away?

Then, on the other hand, part of me wants to say "No, it wasn't this bad. I started reading in the fucking 90s, and it wasn't this bad. There were T&A characters, and I ignored them, but the characters I liked got treated with respect and at some point that started to erode and now I'm just trying to get through this anti-woman nightmare period by complaining about the problems so I won't have to give up on the male characters I love as the only way I can avoid watching all the female characters I love are being dragged through pigshit of varying viscosity in order to conform to the wish-fulfillment fantasies of some jackass creator and his flock of jackass fans because the 21st Century is apparently the ideal time to put uppity women back in their place after that nasty feminist movement."

I think there's an ebb and flow, and we'll have a few years of decent female character treatment followed by a few years of backlash. I figure that's why it seems like things are getting worse when in the past they have been this bad before, because right before this we had a period of relative calm and complacency. So we get this illusion of this sort of thing having been "always there" at the same time we get the creeping feeling things are getting so much worse.

Death of the New Gods Spoilers (Big one)

I still think this is a trick, and that if it isn't it'll all be undone after the next crossover. These characters aren't ever really gone.

But still..

On the kitchen floor?

No signs of battle?

Katma Tui-style.

You killed that character on the fucking kitchen floor.

That character.

Okay, not only had this better be a trick, this had better be a trick undone next fucking issue because anything less than an immediate "there is no way she could possibly die like this so its obvious that the whole matter is a HOAX" is an insult and proves that somebody at DC clearly has their head up their ass.

And reminds me I'm still pissed off about Katma.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Oh, this is lovely...

I love it when people comment on two-week old posts and expect you won't notice:
This post is stupid, mean, and spiteful. These people get on Newsarama just to state how bad they think Greg Horn’s art is when the truth is so plainly the oppposite? You guys are all just haters. Take a look at Greg Horn’s client list (pasted from his website at www.greghornjudge.com) over the past 6 years and PLEASE explain to me why all these art directors and brand managers are WRONG and you are RIGHT? These art directors are trying to preserve their livelihoods by hiring the best possible talent! Meanwhile, you guys are giving your hateful opinions for free. I think you guys are feeble little worms, AND you are jealous jealous haters. Quit hatin’!!!
D_Nife187
GREG HORN’S CLIENT LIST:
Marvel Comics
Allstate Insurance Company (LEO BURNETT)
Nike (WIEDEN & KENNEDY)
MAD magazine
Powerade (WB)
ESPN Gamezone (WB)
2K GAMES
Electronic Arts- EA SPORTS
Random House Publishing
Universal Studios/ Vivendi Games
Top Cow Productions
Virgin Comics
Wizard Entertainment magazine
Official XBOX magazine
Bacardi.com
HIP Interactive
3D Realms
Warner Bros.
Mattel (WB)
Jumbo Games (Big Ideas)
Penguin books (The Berkley Publishing Group)
Carlsberg Lager (Saatchi & Saatchi)
GM General Motors (McLaren McCann)
Integrated Beverage Group
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus
Image Comics
Pontiac (Marvel Comics)
Blizzard entertainment
Sony Online Entertainment
Digital Extremes
Dynamic Forces
Clampett Studios (WB)
Wizards of the Coast
Inquest Gamer magazine
ToyFare magazine
Bicycle playing Cards
100% Playstation magazine
PSE Playstation Entertainment
PCGamer magazine
Devil’s Due publishing
Fantasy Imperium (Shadowstar Games)
Harris Comics
Malibu Comics
Fleer Corporation -Overpower card set
Diamond Select
Platinum Studios

GREG HORN’S ART WORK SELLS COMIC BOOKS AND MERCHANDISE ALL OVER THE WORLD, WHILE YOU SPEW PURE HATRED ON A KEYBOARD. How’s that working out for ya?
So, to recap:

1) I'm full of hatred for daring to say that I dislike something I would have to pay money for myself.

2) I'm a feeble little worm because it often prevents me from spending money I otherwise would.

3) I'm jealous because I find much of his work exploitive and insulting to the female form.

4) I know nothing of art because I'm not forced to pander to the lowest common denominator (usually the basest of human desires) so that I can scrape up a profit.

5) My opinion does not matter, because the man makes money.

6) I do nothing but spew hatred on a computer when I state my opinion in a public forum.

7) All of the listed companies know better than I do, because they make money at it.

We're all on the same page now, right?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I haven't bashed the Perez Reboot in a while...

You know, I don't always agree with Scipio when it comes to women in comics. (I actually tend to rub my hands together wickedly in anticipation when I see him post specifically about feminism because I am a bad bad person who likes to watch people fight.)

This time he hit the nail on the head:
But writers seems intent on using Hercules as a bad guy. Maybe that's because, as much as she needs friends, WW needs enemies even more. Personally, I blame George Perez, who needed a cheap and easy Overbearing Male Bad Guy from myth to use in the version of the Amazons' origin he wanted to tell. Instead of using the traditional version of Amazons (the one used by both the Ancients and Marston) -- buttkicking women warriors who founded a society that didn't need men -- Perez chose to make them victims.

Why? Because in Perez's mind and time, the only people with virtue are victims, and all villains are victimizers. If you remember, Perez's Amazons were formed from the souls of women who'd been the victims of male aggression and violence. Because, you know, gods forbid women should decide to do anything except as a reaction to or consequence of men!

So he made Hercules an Evil Male, who deceived Hippolyta (et al.) with promises of love, then drugged, enslaved, and raped her. So that the gods could criticize the Amazons for being soft-hearted, trusting, and open to love; women's weaknesses! So the gods could punish them for being equally open to both war and love; so the gods could punish them for being well-rounded people instead of axe-wielding mankillers (so blame Perez the Scythian for that, not Pfeiffer). Once again, Perez paints the Amazons not as exemplars, but as victims.
Putting rape into the backstory of the entire population of Themiscyra is just one of a long list of WW reboot sins. (That list also includes sucking the life out of the Gods, making Wonder Woman a newbie after Crisis when the other franchise leaders were kept as experienced heroes, and removing the love interest.)

To be fair, I believe it was Greg Potter and Len Wein who plotted and scripted the first storyarc of the reboot, the retrofitted origin story, while Perez did art. Perez took over writing chores with issue 5 or 6. Still, the Bana-Mighdall nightmare parody of feminism is Perez's fault.

Proof DC pays attention to complaining fans...

...and tries to get money off of them without giving them exactly what they want. From the January Solicits:
JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL HC
Written by Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis
Cover by Maguire & Austin
Art by Kevin Maguire, Terry Austin and Al Gordon
A new hardcover collecting the classic JUSTICE LEAGUE #1-6 and JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #7 from the late 1980s! Can an unlikely new Justice League line-up work as a unit to stop terrorists at the U.N., a brigade of Rocket Reds, the Royal Flush Gang, and other threats — or will they succumb to in-fighting and bad jokes?
Advance-solicited; in stores March 12 • FC, 192 pg, $24.99 US
A hardcover.

As a Green Lantern fan who bought so many Hal Jordan flashback stories, this really made me laugh. The editors may change, but the business never actually does.

(Thanks for catching this one Matt.)

Recommended Reading

Adventures in Lame analysis on the problems of introducing a female geek and a male beauty to the Beauty and the Geek reality show.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Awww...

I like this cartoon's cute little Hal. (Thanks, Zuke)

See, we're not so crazy after all! (More Dark is Rising stuff)

As a fan, I've had a lot of people tell me "the movie doesn't have to be just like the book!" and that I'm overreacting when they change something stupid and it annoys me. Now, personally I think I'm pretty relaxed when it comes to movie changes I don't think Superman: Doomsday butchered the plot of a graphic novel, but rather told a lovely alternate version of that story. Same for the DCU animated series from the past ten or fifteen years, the last two X-men cartoons, and the Batman Begins. (X-3, on the other hand, was like someone took a jackhammer to the X-Men mythos, but I digress). Change can be good in a good movie.

Still, I get "You're overreacting" a lot when I complain about a Hollywoodized property.

Its not often I see anything along the lines of "Maybe you're not being that melodramatic." Today I saw something like that:
However, when properly processing the aforementioned list of changes, it does seem like director David Cunningham and writer John Hodge stepped over the line. I can see the justification for a large number of the modifications (which mostly seemed geared towards increasing conflict and tension), but in total it's a pretty dramatic reinvention of the story. For one thing, instead of learning about his powers by magically absorbing the content of an ancient text, our young hero learns about "the light and the dark" by Googling it. For real.
(Googling, good god.)

Okay, so the reviewer isn't completely on our side, but she changed her mind about making fun of us. That's better than I (dyed-in-the-wool Green Lantern fan that I am) usually see. She says after that she doesn't fully empathize, but she's asking for people to share the traumatic destruction of their childhood favorites as they moved from book to film. Go share.

And as long as I'm sharing Seeker reviews, these guys are pretty mean to the movie.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Countdown 29

Oh thank you. That character has been treading on my nerves since he was introduced.

Now, can anyone tell me what the fucking point of his existence was?

Green Lantern #24 Spoilers

Dear Geoff Johns,

Its time to talk. You have a serious problem. You need help with your dialogue.

Okay, maybe your word processor deleted a few lines in that Kyle-Hal scene. (And in that exchange between Parallax and John, because John's line about staying black came out of nowhere.) But there's not excuse for Kyle's words on the last panel. I know what you intended, it didn't work.

Also, work on your timing. Just because we all know to expect several issues of action that amounts to twiddling your thumbs and then an issue where everything happens at once (well, everything happens one panel after another, but he always packs more in the issue right before the resolution than in the past year of the series, and things seem to move too fast).

Bad stuff out of the way, I liked this issue. I'd be lying if I said I didn't want Kyle free without any help, but I think the way it unfolds works nicely.

I can't express how happy I am you had Hal point out that he had help from the fucking Spectre. I was beginning to think you retconned that out, and it would be annoying. Now, I'm going to go ahead and assume Kyle's stronger since Hal needed an entity of Biblical power, the embodied wrath of God, to get him loose and Kyle just needed a pep talk.

I'm also a little annoyed that Guy was so quick with those construct shorts, but we can't have everything we hope for. I'm going to lose money on the lack of a scar, but we have two months for aftermath stories and there's a chance that Reis missed it.

Thank you for turning Kyle back to a regular Green Lantern, and thank whoever designed that new costume. (except the mask -- what is it about Kyle and masks?) I hope it has a zipper. It looks like the top is a zip-up jacket and I think it would be cool to have him standing around with the coat part unzipped and a Green Lantern T-shirt.

I look forward to the next installment.