Saturday, October 21, 2006

Beefcake/Cheesecake Week Continues Unabated

Meet Mr. June (Rank unknown):

He's posing for charity:
More than 18,000 service men and women have been injured in the war, and more than 2,600 have given their lives for our freedom. Many of the wounded are young and face an entire lifetime of “healing” and coping with disabilities. Regardless of partisan or political views, our country recognizes the need to aid our service men and women who endure great sacrifice to protect our freedom.

You may have heard about it or seen it in the media, now you can order the 2007 America's Heroes Reconnaissance Marines Calendar for yourself and/or all your friends. 100% of the proceeds go to our wounded heroes and their families as directed by those who have been awarded the Purple Heart.

(Found via Racy Thoughts and A Distant Soil)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Beefcake/Cheesecake Week: Classic Content

Anyway, for the two of you reading this blog who haven't seen it, here is my Green Lantern Conspiracy Theory.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Cake Appreciation Week Continues!

Dust devils cypress
Ripening fruit
Ascending quick
Into the author's bathroom

*Ahem* Sorry, wrong Cake. I meant Beefcake/Cheesecake Appreciation Week.

I just ranted about this artist, but it's unfair to read Guilty Pleasures and not share, so here it is. Aubrey, as drawn by Brett Booth.

(Click for a bigger picture, as usual)

We interrupt your regularly scheduled superhero-themed programming for an impromptu rant about a vampire book.

Okay, I picked up Anita Blake: Guilty Pleasures out of morbid curiosity.

I've heard a lot of nasty things about Laurel K. Hamilton, so I fully expected to be angry at her. I braced myself for it. (See, this is how you can tell I'm a superhero comics fan. I regularly pay for things which I know will piss me off.)

However, I wasn't quite prepared for this.

Five pages in, and the artist fucks up before the writer does.

I'm sorry, if the narration says "The button she's wearing doesn't bode well for the evening" you sure as hell had better make the button readable! Obviously, this is a difficult thing trying to translate a prose work to comic format -- but unlike most adaptations the writer is trying to use the medium and you are not helping.

And shouldn't the damned editor have made certain that translated properly when the pages were printed?

And how the fuck do you work in comics and not know that your 11x17 page is going to be considerably smaller when it's finally printed? How do you not compensate somehow?

Guilty Pleasures creative team, you are now officially on my shitlist. I have no fucking clue who you are, or what else you've done, but this panel just pisses me off.


That is all.

Just finished Birds of Prey #99

The lesbian subtext is strong in this one.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Just Because I Like It Doesn't Mean It's Good

Today I read something that looked like it could possibly have a good point, but the writer's objectivity had already been shot to hell in the previous posts on the blog. Couldn't even read it without thinking about the prior inconsistencies, but the start seemed promising. I ended up just skimming it.

The few words I did pick up had me looking for a point, and not just any point. I wanted a particular point that I hadn't been able to verbalize yet. I wasn't thinking so much of the post itself, but of the posts before it, and the inconsistancy seen in those critiques. It reminded me, and these are two things that won't seem related on the surface, of a point I'd seen elsewhere.

Bear with me, these are related. Days earlier on a different blog, I saw one hell of a point in the comments:
While your overall point is well taken - death and mutilation as a substitute for actual character development and storytelling re often a sign of bad or lazy writing, just like interpreting "action" to mean "fight scenes" is lazy - I see far more fans than creators obsessing over characters to the point of revering them more than real people. This preoccupation with "don't you dare do this and that to a character I like" tends to undercut the point of wanting to read better stories. If fans cared about real people - say, the real people working on the comics they read - more than fictional characters, there would be a better way of putting these entreaties.
(Emphasis mine)

I touched on this a little earlier when I got upset that so many found (and no, that writer has not yet answered me) a moratorium on female character death to be a good idea somehow.

I've stepped around this for too long, afraid I'd hurt my own arguments, my friends' arguments, or just plain too many people's feelings.

I've seen three forces at work over the past year, three forces that are always at work in any fan community. They are often at odds with each other, but right now it's getting ridiculous.

We all have an innate Fannishness when it comes to our favorite fictional constructs themselves. We see ourselves in them, see our mothers, our fathers, our significant others or just admirable traits we'd like to see ourselves, our families and our friends. As such, we can take the decisions made using these characters very personally.

Most of us have Creator Loyalty towards the writers and artists who handle our favorite characters the way we prefer. It makes us gloss over their mistakes, ignore even blatant problems in their work, and sometimes defend them to a ridiculous extent. Those of us with friends in the industry are especially vulnerable to this.

And lastly, everyone has some degree of Social Conscience. This where the actual analysis comes in, and we notice inequalities. The women only fulfill certain roles. This is where we notice that the nonwhite characters are being pushed to the background. Here's where we notice that all of the characters in samesex relationships are dying, or look to be dying very soon. It where we notice one writer has the same weakspot with all characters who have X in common. It's where we notice that our favorite characters that have X in common are all getting the short end of the same stick.

Fannishness and creator loyalty fuck up social conscience, beyond belief.

I know this, because I read just about every comics blog that touches social commentary in existence. (If you see someone blogging about race in comics or gender politics or sexuality that doesn't ever get linked at one of my blogs, please email me the post address.)

Over time, it becomes really obvious when the first two have overrun the third.

I guarantee I'm going to regret this post. Tomorrow, I will completely wish I hadn't written it. But Elayne's comment wasn't commented on in that thread. And it's not like this was a long comment thread.

It's an uncomfortable truth, because with out some fannishness and some loyalty, we're simply not fans. But how do we keep fannishness and creator loyalty from negatively influencing any social commentary on our favorite characters?

I really don't see a solution. At least, not one for a community. I can examine myself on a personal level and listen to what other fans are saying about my favorites. But I don't know about anyone else.

Plot Conveniently Removed

Yeah, like Beefcake/Cheesecake Appreciation Week was going to go by without a shot of Kyle Rayner in his short-shorts.

Queer Legion (QL) has more at Planetary Chance Machine.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Point

I wasn't going to do an entry for this Carnival, but things change.

Specifically, things changed because I read this. I saw the obvious strange assumption in the review and I replied, perhaps a bit snarkily. (I'm known to do that. Marionette and a few shocked people on livejournal can tell unflattering stories about when I snark before I think. My social training is from Italian-American family dinners, military service, my macho job, and online geekdom. Sharp, cruel statements reign supreme and gain respect.) I received a rather exasperated reply, which went off into a tangent. I'm not going to talk about the conversation over there, I'm just going to address the tangent.

Let's clip a couple segments of her response to talk about:
That being said, witchhunts based on art that shows big tits or hookers or (sometimes quite clumsy and stupid) scenes of rape does not really make a huge difference in terms of making change outside a small corner of the blogosphere. Only bridges built between the male & female sectors of comix fandom will get any sort of real change accomplished.
(Strange, that's what I thought I was trying do with a linkblog that connected with no commentary and linked to all sides of the issue -- of course, I'm getting ahead of myself here)
At the end of the day, the only thing justifying writing a blog is to express honestly how you feel
The first part is important, but the last part is where I disagree completely.

I write, and I read other blogs, to learn.

If you look at my early archives, you'll find a number of opinions and posts you wouldn't see now. the wording is different, the subject matter is different. I think much of it is funnier. I used to just do reviews, and point out things from time to time.

The point where that changed is the point where I found one of my posts linked in the Sixth Carnival of Feminists (hosted by Reappropriate). I'd been at Philobiblon by random wandering before, and commented. I think that may be how they found my little Wonder Woman post.

Now up until that point I was in the community I was used to, comics fandom. Bloggers were mostly message boarders who had gotten sick of the free for all on message boards they didn't moderate, and decided to stake their own claim in cyberspace. It was very familiar territory, full of people I was used to dealing with. I'm still very fond of this territory, but the political blogosphere was new and interesting.

And the "personal is political" and sociological blogs were even better.

I was so excited I volunteered immediately to host an edition of the Carnival. I was actually very disappointed to have to wait so many months, but I got busy in the meantime.

From Reappropriate and Philobiblon I followed every link that looked promising. I absorbed as much as I could like a sponge. Prior to this I had just been dipping my toes in the waters of Feminist blogging with some of my "feminine view of comics" type posts. I was always up for critical analysis. This section of the blogosphere was like getting a brand new toolbox for Christmas after you'd been using just a screwdriver and a hammer. I applied these tools to my own area of expertise, comic books, and found that they were just perfect for what I'd wanted to say.

My writing was clearer, and more precise, but somehow just never clear enough. At the same time, Kalinara and I had started When Fangirls Attack. Other people were writing about the exact same subject that stirred my creativity. Most of the earlier ones used the basic tools, but eventually we found ones who were using tools so complicated there wasn't even room in my toolbox for them yet.

Through this larger part of the blogosphere, I was able to share what I knew with the rest of my community, and I was able to reach out to the small areas where the two communities crossed. As I did that, I was able to expand my own horizons, and refine the rougher ideas.

This is still going on.

This is more than simply self-expression. This is an exchange of ideas. This is interaction. This is communication.

Most importantly, this is learning.

It may only change things in this small community, but it does change this community.

More importantly, it changes individuals, and individuals change worlds.

Perhaps that statement is too optimistic. Perhaps both statements are optimistic.

I can say one thing is true. It has changed this individual.

And that change may not mean anything to world, but it means the world to me.

No, Kali, I haven't forgotten about Beefcake/Cheesecake week...

Here's a Wonder Woman picture that gave me a laugh.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Ion #10 Cover

Okay, this really spoilery cover just made me love the writer, the artist, everyone involved. I am having 90s editorial stunt flashbacks, and this time its a good thing.

I haven't read through closely yet.

They're up.

On first glance:
-- No Wonder Woman. It looks like bimonthly meant delays like the one that moved issue three to November, and issue four to December push books back an extra month anyway!
-- No Green Lantern mainbook.
-- No Firestorm.

-- We get another Green Lantern Showcase. The issue with Katma Tui's first appearance will be inside!!!
-- Best case scenario, the cover to Manhunter means that Judd Winick's not working at DC anymore, if I remember the man's words correctly. Most likely, it's them playing around.
-- Captain Comet is still Captain Comet in the solicits!

Carnival Time!

The Sixth Edition of the Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans is up at the Hathor Legacy.

The Seventh Edition will be at Racy Thoughts on November 20th, details forthcoming.

And, as always, I am still on the lookout for hosts. Email me at ragnellthefoul[AT]hotmail[DOT]com.

(Also notable (though tangential): The political Carnival of Feminists is celebrating its first anniversary on October 18th with the catch-all theme of Feminist Blogging, submissions deadline is Tuesday Evening, I'd imagine GMT (since the host is in England).)

Please repost whereever you can!

Oh, and this is an especially notable item from the Carnival for Marvel Fans!


I was looking for an excuse to link this post, but I can't think of one.

Kalinara had a suggestion, maybe a Beef/Cheesecake Appreciation Week is in order?

From the good artists, of course.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Since I'm doing memes anyway...

Courtesy Random Panels.

Memes you shouldn't answer while drunk.

Spencer unearthed an old Random Panels meme, and set out a challenge.

I have used the linked meme-machine to illustrate the most natural concept that comes to mind -- A Bearded Nun from Outer Space.

The Holy Feathered Order of Azjeeckle centers around a single convent on Tiricia VII. This convent is a training school that teaches spiritual discipline, character building, holy combat skills, and the arts of Tirican Energy Manipulation. One of their final vows is to leave the convent for several years to put these skills towards for the good of society. After a certain period of time, the survivors return to teach others these skills.

Sister Bluebeard has just left the convent for the first time in her life. She heads for the bright lights Baluzrom City, accompanied only by her wits, her weapons, and a Born-Again demonic cat.

(ETA: Yeah, I left a lot skin showing. I liked the skin template with the bandages and the cuts to much to cover it.)

Lost Girls

Someone posted a few NSFW pages, and the most brutal comics community on livejournal's giving it the once-over. I found this comment pretty much summed up my feelings:
Yeah. I found these scans about as unerotic as it's possible for porn to be. It feels like such a male fantasy of how women think and act (right down to the fact that Dorothy apparently has orgasms just from intercourse).

Or perhaps it's just the wrong kind of fantasy for me. If Alan Moore had written Lost Boys, all about the sexual awakenings of Peter Pan and Huck Finn and Christopher Robin, I'd probably shell out $80 or whatever it cost. So long as there was some Captain Hook/Peter Pan action, anyway.
That might be why I found it so uninteresting when the clerk showed me this in the store. He'd wanted to see me angry. It was pretty dull, for Alan Moore and for porn. I didn't find it nearly as rage-worthy as a change to Captain Comet's name.

Melinda Gebbie does have a beautiful storybook art style. Hopefully she'll get more work from the press.

(I saw the Tinman scene, though. It wasn't worth $80.)