Wednesday, August 30, 2006

About Seeking Avalon

~ Present / 2009 ~

What's New:
I'm not still sure this counts as my comics blog. It's become about more than graphic novels and sequential art, it's become about media and media representation in Speculative Fiction. It's become about Non White Futurism & Fantasy, about Intra Non White Peoples Dialogue and Observations when it comes to representation in fictional worlds of wonder; cg animation to black and white inked indie comics and all the text in between.

The political is personal here.

~ 2 Years Ago ~

Ah the inevitable out of date introduction.

Hi, hello, how are you ? Me? I'm just fine. More than fine. I'm writing a comics blog. I'm practically giddy. See, I went to the trouble of doing pros and cons - if anyone's actually reading this and keeps reading it, you'll see I do that a lot; make lists. And I came up with thirty possible essay topics, off the cuff, at six o'clock in the morning after being up all night. So obviously I have something to say. I've been having something to say. Maybe more than thirty essay topics.

Maybe I've been keeping quiet because as an immigrant I fell unhappily into a land where all of a sudden comics were the domain of boys and I've been shutting up about them every since.

But no more. Cause hey, it's the internet and aside from the relative anonymity, there are all these wonderful blogs written by women talking about comics and their pov as women. And since early this summer because of them I've fallen even faster, back into my childhood fandom, from the initial trip about two-three years ago. Or maybe I've opened the door as an adult and I'm ready to talk and discuss and share rather than read alone and wonder alone about wtf they were thinking of, and hell, now I don't have to squee alone either.

I grew up reading comics. I never read 'See Spot Run'. I read Fantastic Four, X-Men, Batman (my first and forever love). I had young teenage uncles try to appease me by buying me Dazzler and Katy Keene. I liked Dazzler. I also liked Cloak and Dagger, one of my other great childhood loves. I couldn't quite get the point of Katy. And there was another model too, whose name I've forgotten. I followed Spiderman in the paper, but I didn't much see the point in having a full comic to read him.

I loved the colors, I loved the stories. As a little girl who was being read Hemmingway, Whitman and Buck for my bedtime tales, I loved the thought of myths with color; larger than life figures, living, loving and fighting. My grandfather told me stories about my ancestors and kidded that on his side I was related to the Digo tribes in Africa. And when my uncles were busy, I snuck into their rooms and read about Storm the African Princess with amazing powers and Captain Marvel, leader of the Avengers. They were one and the same kind of tales to small me, with words I sometimes had to go back and look up. They were, are, amazing.

I missed them when I moved, not being able to have someplace to sneak to and read someone else's monthlies, not knowing where to go, not finding them in a bookstore. I was far too young to know about a comic store and I wasn't with anyone who could take me. I took to watching cartoons and wondering why the stories didn't seem to have as much depth and were all about the laughs. Scooby Doo was a poor substitute for Batman. Their mysteries sucked! (No offense if you like Scooby Doo. But I never got the love) And Archie comics were in all the grocery stores, but nothing ever happened in them. And even if Sabrina's Aunts were interesting, she wasn't. And Josie and the PussyCats seemed to stumble into things rather than hunt them down and often times only Josie had moxy.

Also if I wasn't careful or I asked the adults around me to do it, I got the Christian versions of Archie and I found myself wondering what accepting Christ had to do with a story about an ordinary boy, his horrible car, and the two girls who kept on fighting for him despite the crosses they wore.

Then came Batman the movie, Tim Burton, Michael Keaton. Finally something that was like the legends I'd read as a child. And like the legends I was currently reading to get my fix of the heroic; Norse Legends, Native American Stories, Anglo Saxon Folklore, Arthurian Fables, FairyTales. Aside from Cinderella I was almost twelve/thirteen before I got into Rose Red and Snow White and the darker side of the Grimm Brothers.

Sometime around fourteen, I finally heard about 'the comic book shop'; After spying some boys in class reading comics and asking where they'd got them from. It was like seeing water in the desert. For both of us actually.

They'd never heard of a girl who knew about Spiderman and Mary Jane and Brock and Doc Oc. I got quizzed on the spot. Thank goodness there was a substitute. They let me read them and I got momentarily caught up, thrown into a sea of Peter Parker Clones, and having missed Jason Todd's arrival and death and wondering who the hell that Robin was. I didn't know who the New Mutants were, but I could tell them about Storm and Cyclops and Jean, Hank and the Iceman. And I could tell them about Dazzler and mutant politics and all about the origin of Magneto. I didn't recognize any of the Avengers and they had no idea who I was talking about when I talked about a black, female team leader who wasn't Storm. Some of them were also immigrants, but they were boys and somehow, they'd found the comic book store. And they were allowed to go there. I wasn't.

After that it was several years later before I came across trades in a bookstore and at the library and I didn't have to worry about spending money every month if I didn't have it, or finding my way to the ever illusive 'comic book store'. I still haven't ever been to a comic book store. But I've caught up on my favourites and I've found new ones and in the interim well made cartoons like Cybersix and the 90's X'men cartoon and the various Saturday Morning Spiderman cartoons and the so beloved Batman: The Animated Series had kept me close to the worlds of fiction I'd first discovered and called my own.

Present Day
Nowadays I'm playing catchup via the library system. It was hard enough discovering that the Huntress was no longer Helena Wayne. And that Diana had a new origin. With all the stuff that's happened in the past three years with DC and Marvel, I'd much rather know before hand if something's worth it before I buy it. And then, there's the impatience. After waiting so many years to catch up on 'old friends', I'd rather wait and read a story arc all the way through than wait week to week and hope nothing prevents me from finding out what happened next. I'd rather not read it at all, than read it and be interrupted. There's only so many times you can go through that. And I've been through it enough.

Currently I'm about to investigate 'The Authority' for the first time; care of my county's library system. And this past weekend I walked smack into Runaways Vol 1 and realized that no one had 'pimped' it to me properly. My main memory was that it was the series where Cloak and Dagger come back only to have some little girl defeat him. It was more than that, it was so good in fact that I didn't walk out of there and rush home to reserve the book on my library account. I bought the damn thing and let my budget tremble and try and recover.

I've read The Dark Knight Returns. I'm geeky enough to have wanted the Batman Begins Collections DVD with the comic inclusion. And sure enough there was the art I remembered from when I was younger. I've just, finally read Year One. It took ages to hunt down and find a copy through inter-library(county) loan. Yes, when I said I use my library system, I really meant it.

Dick and Jason and Tim make sense to me, now. And I realize that I'd been confusing Jason with Bruce Wayne Jr from 'Generations'. See what happens if you're only hitting up teenage boys for hits, like nicotine addicts and cigarettes and not finding your own way to what you want? Confusion reigns.

I'm currently wary of Ultimate Spiderman. Ultimate X-men wasn't disappointing. It was good, very good. And yet.... I think I found myself comparing it to the cartoon 'Evolution' and Evolution came out on top because Xavier had one major personality/character thread there. I'd been looking forward to a 'Shadowy!Xavier' and I felt gyped (ETA: 2011 - WTH past self?) cheated by Scott's eventual reaction to things. Btw, my first major character analysis in here is going to be all about Scott. Ahh Scott Summers, my second stoic, emotionally restrained, brooding superhero darling.


I miss Scott a lot actually. Everything I've picked up about 'House of M' since I've started getting back into comics, has had me putting it down again. Somehow I've lost trust with Marvel and 'Civil War' seems redundant to me. It's hard to imagine a universe where the mutant registration act didn't go over well, somehow changing the name and including a different spectrum of people and all of a sudden because these guys say they want to help, they should be on a list. After quasi-concentration camps, and small children being taken from their parents I can't imagine the rest of the super hero world in Marvel is so blind, or so self-centered that they think somehow that they are different and any children they have won't be scrutinized all over the place.

I guess you can say I don't get it. It makes me wonder if the rest of the powered world were just sticking their thumbs up their asses when the MRA was going on. It's hard to believe in super heroes who apparently don't watch the news or read the papers further than finding a crisis to insinuate themselves into. Maybe when the trades come out and I read them, I'll feel differently. There's a lot to be said for not having to scan a mess of crossovers in order to get the point of a story arc.

On the plus side, as I said before 'Runaways'!

On the not so plus side, Marvel Zombies?!! WTF was up with that? No really? WTF? Eating Silver Surfer and Galactus? WTFizzle?

I love Batman. I love WonderWoman and Catwoman and Renee Montoya, Black Canary and John Stewart is my first Green Lantern. Probably because it was less easy to confuse John with Kato assisted Green Hornet. I think I was in my mid teens before I realized that Hal was not a jackass who'd dropped his minority partner and put on a skin tight suit. I've burst into new deep love for Jason Todd, now that I've gotten to know him. And I'm happy as anything he's 'alive' for me to know more.

On my DC to buy list are Gotham Central, Vols 1 and 2. And because of them I'm waiting, and watching to find out about the new Batwoman, because I have followed Montoya from B:TAS and anything that further, better explores her life might be worth it. Please let it be worth it.

Because OYL and 52 weeks... Just from what I catch up on on the various review sites and hear friends talking about and see scans of, hasn't really impressed me so far. I end up getting confused and pissed off about things only to read more and get...confused and pissed off. So I've avoided even flipping through things at the bookstore.

And piling onto the things happening with DC that make me back away slowly are Frank Miller's All Star Batman and Robin. For the record, I don't think it has anything to do with the real Batman. My Batman would send his Batman straight to Arkham where he belongs.

Virgin Comics
Being a post colonial native, I'm eagerly hunting down anyone who might sell this online, and hoping they make it to trade. Because again, never been to a comic book shop and what I've heard online doesn't make it seem worth squishing agoraphobia.

Artists & Writers
Greg Rucka and Brian Azzarello are two artists who've won my heart; in No Man's Land and Deathblow respectively. The torch burns brightly and I'm developing a steady trust for them wherein my wallet comes out into my hand at the sight of them; sometimes the budget refuses to stretch, but the point is I'm willing. And I think I sincerely want to follow Kevin Smith because his Green Arrow arc touched me and made me see the character as more than an out of step, out of sequence 'Robin Hood' mock up.

Which is different from the fact that I fully believe that Joseph Loeb's writing set in motion the epic love saga of Batman and Superman in 'Superman/Batman'. But so far I've only been able to buy the first volume. however, as as much the middle stanzas of the song haven't been as enjoyable as the first either plotwise or artwise.

And as much as I appreciate Dennis O'Neil's creation of Ra's As Ghul and I've enjoyed his Nightwing stories I don't have the same implicit trust. I'm currently trying to read his novelization of 'Knightfall' and as of now, I keep putting it down. So far I also only seem able to enjoy the Original Characters in Devin Grayson's 'Inheritance', even though I did enjoy Rise of Sin Tzu, wonderfully. Huh, maybe it's because I did enjoy it so much I'm being so harsh on 'Knightfall' which came before but doesn't interest me in the same way even though it's a similar enough plotline. Maybe it's because Bane bores me? Something to think abut.

Brian Michael Bendis, Warren Ellis, Alan Moore (Though 'From Hell' scared and depressed me and I couldn't finish it), Bill Willingham, Peter David, J. Michael Straczynski (mostly for B5) Mark Waid (Crux rocks in ways that fricking titillate!) along with Steve Epting.

(Subset Artists Include: Colorists: Frank D'Armata, Justin Ponsor, Caesar Rodriguez. Pencilers: Lee Bermejo, Jim Lee, Writers: Gail Simone, Brian K.Vaughan [2-3 series and counting])

CyberSix based on a Brazilian comic novel which I doubt I'll be able to afford even if I could find it and then I wouldn't understand it; was like Batman and Batgirl mixed into one. If you've never heard of it, look it up. There's intrigue, genetic experimentation, a defender of the knight and one kick ass secret identity.

Avatar the Last Airbender is a new love, but none the less good and I look forward to getting the whole of Season 1 on DVD. It's well written, well drawn, beautifully if subtly stylized and it made me care.

B:TAS is gold. 'nough said. Same for Batman Beyond. Also Kevin Conroy is Batman and Mark Hamill is the Joker and that's that for me. Those are the voices I hear when I read.

Roswell Conspiracies: Aliens, Myths and Legends is a little show that I wish would come out whole and complete on DVD. It's more than worth it and yes, it is me who set up the Wiki site for it in the first place. Which shows how much I adored it and thought it ought to have one cause I still don't know what I'm doing in Wikipedia. And I'm only too grateful Joe Pearson rounded things off for me. Still have to find out the exact proper run date. And I highly suggest following the fan discussion where the first three episodes are summarized quite beautifully by one fan.

Ikki Tousen is my unabashed echi anime love. And only a dislike of Kevin Griffen's re-imaginings of the series, plot and dialogue keep me from buying the manga.

Shock & Surprises
For me just writing this intro I've been surprised that I have so many concrete likes and dislikes. That I could remember the names of various artists, even if it was just first name and last and I had to wiki or google to pin down who it was. It's the fact that they made such an impact and that I've unconsciously drifted towards their work unlike the way I've hunted down specific writers and characters. Plus side, now I don't have to 'drift' I can research and find more of what I'm likely to like.

Journal Icons
Or who are those people you're using in your icons? In short, they're dream casting. In long... they're still dream casting. Having fallen back into comics via role playing games, I've spent a lot of time looking for inspiration for a role, something in a face, a certain photograph. Having come from a pbem past, I was more used to just having to find one image that worked. Which is a very good basis for me to use the best of my icons, (once my computer lets me find them) and continue making icons in a certain mold. So yes, to me, Michelle Pfieffer would and could possible make the most kick ass Mystique ever; purely based on my thoughts of the actresses' talent and certain imagery I've found.

Will I update this impromptu 'in depth' Introduction? Maybe. Chances are I might just review the series I'm currently reading when they're done and they'll have posts of their own and this will be a snapshot in time. But who knows. As for essay updates, I've got that list of thirty I want to look through and who knows what else I'll think of. Right now something about 'The Unappreciated Colorist' is already swimming in my mind and it'd make '#31'.

Someone read this and asked me about Vertigo and I realized, whoa I hadn't even thought about Vertigo. So here's an easy update for comics I may have forgotten.


* Read V for Vendetta. Adored the writing. The art was 'eh... so so'. Or maybe it was the colors that made it seem a bit more drab and depressing that it needed to be. I didn't focus on the artwork so much.
* I adore Fables.
* Have read 'Sandman' And Neil Gaiman won my love for using continuity errors are fricking plot points! Now that's writer.
* I have Lucifer on hold at the library. I'm not sure if it's for me. But the concept seemed interesting. * I've read only one Swamp Thing comic in my whole life.
* I've enjoyed Hellblazer, and hope to start hunting down more of him in my local and county library systems soon.
* I also have Y: The Last Man coming to me in time for September 2006. Vols 1-3 on reserve.


* Ex Machina. As someone who spent most of her life as a New Yorker, as well as being someone who can't wear a watch, I just love this series so much.
*The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, however, I seemed to be burnt out from.

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