Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Obi Bloggers Kenobi...

....

DigitalFemme mentioned Steampowered in her 1000th post celebration. Does anyone reading have experience with buying games online and downloading them?

A quick search online found some issues with payments (but in other countries other than the US) and some random update problems and some criticisms as to how the business is run. I'm still wary, however, since this involves putting their software on my computer and part of the criticisms have to do with collecting information and sharing it and loops in their privacy policies.

Anyone with info to share?

I'm currently fascinated by PuzzleQuest since it involves the 3match games I like (just learned the term for it last night) AND a little bit of possible RPG/adventuring.

I'm currently under the weather and a touch grumpy and soothing games will help me feel better. I'm hoping during the first days of the New Year to have some thoughts on WebComics etc... But I'm not the only one whose body is flagging. Decembers Carnival just got bumped to January. More on that later too.

For now I'm just going to curl up, drink lots of fluids and attempt to feel better.

HAPPY 2009

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Drive By Posting

Wee Little Aang Look Alike

Note: Yeah, still pissed that Paramount Pictures wants to be OLD WHITEY McRacist the UnChanging Appropriator.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Faces of Color: Webcomic MAGELLAN

aka, Willow attempts not to cut people.


This past week & weekend, I've had the chance to look over some pretty interesting webcomics. I think I may add a section where I just link to all the ones I'm reading. I'm being oddly comforted by them in the wake of well, Bendis NuMarvel and D-whatthefuckaretheydoingnow-C.

This Faces of Colour I'd like to point to a web comic called Magellan. First page here.

Magellan follows the life of a non superpowered young woman named Kaycee Jones who's going into her first year at what's basically Superhero College - Magellan Academy; which trains the heroes of tomorrow. So it's kind of like a female Batman going to 'Sky High'. The universe already has it's equivalent to Xavier's for those who don't want to go into superheroing as a career but would rather become police officers, doctors or even just accountants.

Kaycee's smart, and in tip-top physical condition. But she's having to deal with friends, fellow students and faculty members wondering if a non-powered individual can really cut it in the school. And most of all, she's having to deal with something of a 'Batman Effect' - as those same individuals wonder if the impetus that started her on the road towards becoming an official hero won't lead her instead down the path to vigilantism (which is phrased in this world as taking the law into one's own hands usually with bloody ends). Even as I cheered Kaycee on, I loved that she lives in a world where those sort of questions are asked. Where heroes need psychiatric evaluations. Where there's the knowledge that with great power, often comes the need for training and learned stress management skills.

Now, while I do not believe Kaycee's white; though British Descended Australians can get fairly tanned; Magellan still qualifies for Faces of Colour because of Kaycee's hero, the Aboriginal Australian - Go!Anna. Go!Anna's plot twists through Kaycee's for a goodly portion of the long arc, making her not just someone's inspiration in the world, but a current driving force of plot and exposition. I got two major heroines in one plot arc.

And if I don't discount Kaycee's first year class mates, who run the gambit in skin-tone, nationality and ability - I have several other heroines and heroes to follow as well.

But it's more than just seeing Superheroes of Colour, or an interracial couple where neither partner is white. It's seeing those characters with plausible motivations, male and female. It's seeing a world brought to life. It's seeing Superheroes based somewhere other than the USA. And it's seeing the ripple affect of all actions, those heated and those we think coldly calculated. Ripple affects are another thing I'm a sucker for.

I also love ensemble pieces. I love X-men because of the ensemble. I loved Buffy and Angel for the ensemble action. I love seeing teammates grow together, learn together and get closer. Magellan gave me all of that in it's archives. It's a very rich world, with a 'gathering of the new generation' vibe going on and wonderful nods to the old heroes and a broader universe. The first long arching plot is finished now and something new (a crossover with another web comic) has just begun; So there's plenty to read to get you hooked on this world.

Friday, December 12, 2008

That's it

The world has officially gone fuck wit crazy. Man convicted in Australia for Simpson parody porn.

Because Lisa Simpson is clearly people and should not be discriminated against for having three fingers, a thumb and actual yellow skin.

"...Justice Adams agreed with the magistrate, finding that while The Simpsons characters had hands with four fingers and their faces were "markedly and deliberately different to those of any possible human being", the mere fact that they were not realistic representations of human beings did not mean that they could not be considered people."


2008 - I give up on you.

All the world's white, the rest of us merely live in it.

Hi,

My name is Willow and I'm upset, confused and feel incredibly insulted. There are several conversations happening right now about the Avatar: The Last Airbender live action casting. And I keep seeing stuff like this:



"But there's no ASIA in that universe, so how can they be ASIAN? Plus, Ang is so light skinned and he has big wide ROUND eyes so he's obviously white & Zuko is at least mixed. But really the Fire Nation is the only one who's anything remotely Asian...."



And it hit me really, really, REALLY hard that white people have absolutely no problem with the central villains of the piece being Asian. But the heroes (and one anti-hero) are so OBVIOUSLY white (or at least half-white).

And on top of that, it hit me that even WITH the trappings of the fantasy ghetto; the architecture, language, names, writing, symbols and marital arts of East Asia it was never obvious to this group of people that this was a Non-Eurocentric, non white-centric fantasy.

I'm reminded of seeing a sliver of a post by Elizabeth Bear where she ended up having to prove that there are black people who have red hair and freckles by posting PICTURES. Because someone couldn't quite take the author's word on her work that her characters were. not. white.

WHAT THE FUCK DO WE WHO ARE NOT WHITE HAVE TO DO TO EXIST IN YOUR ALL WHITE WORLD??!!


I'm trembling at the realization that because I don't want to write about characters of colour in ethnic fantasy ghettos - then my characters won't be seen as not being white. If fricking AVATAR characters aren't obviously Asian, then what the fuck hope do any characters I write have?

If I say brown, will everyone who is white think 'Oh, they have a tan'?

If they're dark with anything but brown eyes, will that been seen as further proof of their whiteness in the eyes of everyone who isn't me?

Do my male characters have to be big and muscular and very dark skinned with no name in order to be a person of colour?

Will my hero, no matter what, be seen as white? Because all these people need is a honky is the only thing white people can see? Because that's what they're saying about Avatar. That of course Aang is white. He saved the day!

I am shaking in my anger and my fear and my mind blown wtf and... I think, my hatred. Right now I seriously, seriously hate white people. No doubt this feeling will pass, especially as seeing how I have relatives various groups in the world would look upon as white. And I love those relatives dearly.

But right now? I'm hating.

I hate the fact that two very white guys, went out of their way to create a non-white, non-Eurocentric fantasy world and apparently for quite a few people, they failed in that task.

I hate the fact that people are bringing up LOTR as a defense of seeing whiteness in Avatar. As if LOTR wasn't primarily about a Euro-centric, specifically British-centric white mythology as Tolkien himself wanted it to be..

I hate the fact that unless you're as dark as burnt walnut with a flat nose and bright white teeth and big lips - then in fantasy you won't be seen as being of colour.

I hate the fact that unless someone specifically refers to a character in stereotypical, caricature terms they won't be seen as Asian.

I hate that there are so many people who cannot see how they're using white as the default.

I hate that there're people asking me why I'm upset, cause skin tone doesn't really matter, what matters is the heart of the story.

I hate and despair.

ETA: A Letter Writing Campaign Against Avatar:TLB's White Casting

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hello Neo

This was originally posted in my personal journal, but some recent entries by various people on their blogs nudged my thinking that it should be reposted here. And I know I want at least one person in particular to see it.

Remember the Dove Evolution ad? Go on, youtube the words and you'll find it. Well I remember that it clued me in to the exact details of how models don't look anything like themselves in the final product. I had always had a general sense and then a bit more when it came time for me to do my own dabblings in photoshop, but this made it specific for me.

Then last night came PhotoshopDisasters. The next time I hear my sister mention working herself to the bone to exercise and stay fit and not be fat (she's taken after our mother in a serious way and is very petite but worries because Mom, is well, Mom) I'm going to point her to this site. Because it made me realize that as a whole, we the general public, myself included, no longer know what a real human body looks like. Specifically we don't know what a real female body looks like.

I caught some of the touchups after a few moments. But how often do people really stare at advertisements for several minutes? I tend to flick by them very quickly in magazines etc, unless something in particular has caught my eye. And I soon realized as I flipped through the site that if I wasn't already prepared, if I didn't already know things were screwy, I might have missed so many things. Which means in my head, I've begun to see the most distorted things as representative of the female form EVEN WHILE THINKING I WAS AWARE OF THE BIGGER DISTORTIONS.

It's been a revelation. Too skinny long arms, a little waist creation, body parts missing, everyone's wrinkles and sun lines and laugh lines (wrinkles of any sort) faded out, breasts the size of the model's head(Which came first? This feature in comics? Or comics copying photoreferences ? Who set the standard for this screw up?), plastic faces, something called 'monoass' where the asscrack has disappeared, bobble heads, impossible heights and more.

The link with the touched up faces but the untouched up reflections hit home to me just how much isn't done anymore with good lighting, good makeup and good angles. They don't seem to try and find people's good sides anymore, they instead create them. It blew my mind. A little created waist, change a face shape, remove shadows, remove life. One woman there had what I call in my head the 'hearty, healthy, slightly horsey British woman' look - that was completely morphed into smooth faced Hollywood leading lady, if not starlet. She looked like her own younger and less outdoor inclined younger sister (who happened to be born when their Mom & Dad could afford braces).

The whole thing, especially the stuff it took me a while to notice just started me thinking of when they do the photoshopping well and we, consumers, the audience, don't notice. And all of a sudden the phrase 'impossible standards of beauty' take on a whole new and deeper meaning. I remember growing up and realizing that it took hairstylists and professional make up artists, and someone picking out your clothes and good lighting and choosing the best angle to accent your best features, along with a photographer who knew what he or she was doing in order to look as perfectly laid out as possible. And even knowing all that, even being told that by women in my family, everyone still wanted to hope that they'd have a good day on that special occasion and get the perfect picture from the perfect angle and get to see themselves looking not just well, but radiant.

And even if they never reached their personal goal of dazzling, they still looked wonderful. I've had my moments where I thought I looked beautiful. Those were when I was younger. As I've gotten older, even though I'm comfortable with aging (it's a miracle to me I'm still alive and kicking), I feel beautiful less and less often. And I think that has to do with the fact that I'm not seeing people (particularly women - even more specific the few black women around) with character in their faces, caught in a way where you see their eyes glow and the soft curve of a lip and it all comes together to be attractive. That's more something I find myself doing as I walk along the street now, noting how someone's characteristics make them all of a piece. In the media there's just this soft focused perfection.

It's startling to realize that today they'd photoshop Nichelle Nichols. NICHELLE NICHOLS! Unhura the HOTTNESS herself. A woman who is still kicking ass in the beauty department today, would be fixed. You know how people talk about how Marilyn Monroe would be called a lard ass by today's standards? It goes deeper than that. Forget about mere photo 'retouching', Joan Crawford's nose and chin would get fixed today, virtual plastic surgery. Instead of being a commanding presence, who knows what role she'd get slotted into.

I can remember being disappointed when Isabella Rossilini was removed as the face of LANCOME. I'd grown up with her as such. I couldn't imagine any other spokesperson. And stubborn little me, never bought myself or my mother LANCOME again. Luckily, Mom felt the same way. Isabella Rossilini is a beautiful woman but of course she can't compete with younger models being molded like clay in post. They're even doing it with the men. No one's safe at all from this Barbie Plastic Perception of Perfection.

It occurs to me that my personal inability to see myself as a whole, may have been influenced by a culture that sees and promotes people as an assemblage of parts. If I'm unconsciously spending time trying to assemble the images I see into a whole person - it's no wonder I look at myself and try to assemble things in my head using the same process. And heaven help me because my limbs are never going to look that impossibly long, nor my waist or bust match the other impossible designations. Seriously if only people who have eating disorders are being made aware of just how BAD this crap has gotten - it's a damn shame. Because the rest of us are getting fucked over too.

And I haven't even begun to mention the erasures. One shot in particular, this one, for GAP I believe, caught my attention. The young black model? She was originally in the midst of the group, now she's solo, singular, out in the cold. This one is blatant. Other erasures are subtle in that one's eyes are likely to more easily believe a limb connects to the closest body even if that body already has all relevant parts. Some badly done erasures are freaky. But again, I'm thinking about the ones not on the site. The ones done well where we'll never know if the old man with the flowers had a WoC Wife, or a male partner for that matter. Where we never realize important officials really WERE at certain meetings and photographs were taken - they were just edited out for whatever reasons...

It kind of hit me the whole:


In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''


We create our own reality

Just who is we? And what is it that 'we' is creating?

I don't think these are idle questions. They relate to so much, as much about fashion and self esteem and body image as politics and gender equality and gender and sexuality rights. What else beside real bodies do you and I no longer know how to recognize? If the game of the day is 'We Create Our Own Reality' - then doesn't it add a sinister shade to the original push against Prop 8? And doesn't it make the Yes on 8 folk seem that much smarter? They created a reality for others to vote against, and a reality under attack - even though neither one was the actual reality.

Who is We? And just what reality have they created? Just how different is it from what many of us experience every single day in our lives? Who's been getting airbrushed out? Who's been getting slipped in? Once upon a time wasn't it the accepted practice of a fascist regime, a fascist reality, to create reality? To dictate that things didn't happen the way the public remembered them happening? To decide that someone's name would be crossed out and their picture erased and the public was never to mention it or discuss it again? Isn't that going on now?

And please, don't go 'OBAMA'. This is the machinery he's been left to work with, with little rats burrowing in the corners holding tools, specifically wrenches, to gum up the works.

There's a man in Iowa, currently on trial for having manga the government deems objectionable. Some if it may be lolicon. Some of it may be yaoi. What's known for sure is that out of everything seized in a raid - a raid created because a postal worker decided that the markings on Christopher Hadley's mail were objectionable to his reality - Hadley now faces up to 20 yrs in prison for only a few images.

over 1,200 manga books or publications; and hundreds of DVDs, VHS tapes, laser disks; seven computers, and other documents.


Hundreds upon hundreds of images - but he could face prison time as a private collector for just a few. And his case has to fight not just the unjustness of everything that happened, but the reality being presented that there's no way police and law enforcement officials would arrest someone over comics, so there must have been something icky like child porn or worse.

He could go to jail because someone (not just the prosecutor) is creating an image of a reality, one that threatens the ideal vision of the community he, and Hadley and the jury are part of and he's pointing Hadley out as the threat to that ideal, as the weed to be plucked out to make everything better again. It's all smoke and illusions and bullshit, but a finger's pointing. A scapegoat has been chosen. Why think?

To add a touch more relevance to this because this is my sequential art blog, I've a thought on NuMarvel and Joe-Q and The New Marvel Reality sparked by this entry on PostModernBarney.

The contention arising among comics fans, and the discomfort people are feeling because of Quesada and NuMarvel (and possibly NuDC) is it because they're changing the reality of what Superhero Comics ARE. So on the surface it seems like old timers complaining who should just STFU and women whining, and OMG do black people ever shut up about racism. But it's all more than that. It's more than a partiality to stories of old or heroes of old. It's more than wanting comics to be BETTER. It's perhaps not wanting them to de-evolve. It's being able to remember, to recognize what superhero comics used to be and what they are now; what they're becoming.

Continuity is more than just keeping a record of the stories in some order. It's remembering and recognizing the REALITY of said stories; how the universe works.

But reality is being dictated and we are to accept the status quo, because we've been told that this IS the status quo - don't question it. So Norman Osborn in a group that includes Doom, Namor and Loki, is in charge because it has been commanded that this reality is the status quo. Love is war. Marriage is worth less than a Deal With The Devil. Badass is a man who seduced a teenage girl and impregnated her. Tigra is weak. The Hood is a good A-list villain.

Because they have Weapons of Mass Destruction.

It's not art, it's porn. It's icky porn with ties to no community standards.

Missing limbs and photshopped bizzarro anatomy in fashion and consumer ads is beauty.

Holy crap. Wasn't the Matrix supposed to come with a messiah and cool powers?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Character / Plot Wish List

What's yours?

There's so much aggravating and steaming and pissing off... and as I was describing something to a friend that I'd wanted to see - the thought of it made me happy. First time I've felt happy about mainstream superhero comics in months.

So I figured I'd share my squee and ask what impossible thing would you want to see happen in DC or Marvel? It's coming upon the Season of Transformation (of Lights & Renewal). So if a powerful fantastical being could grant you a comic book wish, what would it be?

Me?

I'd want the Cosmic Dazzler Mini. I'd want a build on Dazzler becoming more comfortable with her powers and abilities and the mystery solved as to why she was coming back from death in Excalibur. My Cosmic Dazzler would have a scene where Dazzler and Quasar (Phylla-Vell) meet and in the middle of confusion and questions there's an attack and the bad guys have to deal with two determined women holding glowing swords of light.

Think how pretty that would look!

And the only way my Cosmic Dazzler Mini would be better is if included a guest arc with Monica Rambeau where she too is revealed to be part of a Cosmic Light Order. Oh yeah, did I forget to mention the part where Dazzler's ability to play on the Cosmic field is not just a natural outgrowth of her mutation but the result of a vestige of the power cosmic nesting within her in the past few years since Galactus asked her a little favour? Cause that'd be in there too.

And my dream mini would end with Dazzler forming her own team. The times when Alison picked music over do-righting have long since passed. She can be an ass-kicker with a phenomenal voice. But I'm so tired of her singing being the only thing a lot of writers remember about her.

While I'm dreaming, when Monica comes back from the cosmic adventure, she'd pull together NEXTWAVE again and then they'd go around kicking cops in the groin, blowing shit up, killinating supernatural monsters and FIGHTING CRIME!

Seriously, why can't NEXTWAVE be the Marvel answer to Shadowpact? Why can't Dazzler get her own supporting cast? Sprinkle in a mutant or two, some reservists from other teams - voilĂ .

Anyway, that's my crazy, impossible, will likely never be done, fantasy story with a favourite character. I probably have others, but this is the one I've wanted the most recently. What's yours?

Random: This post is possibly the sort of crazy dream post that belongs in the Happy Making blog, Mallet and Canton and I had wanted to try

Saturday, December 6, 2008

ETA: Philosophical Catfight

Cnt: From here

I just saw the perfect snippet (from a piece on Twilight 'the phenomenon') describing perceptions of women and for me, women in fantasy fiction societies, wherein the heroine alone gets to prove herself different. I disagree with the author's final conclusion - “If I can condemn vigilantism and stand up for due process while still enjoying 24 and Batman pictures (or pulp fiction like The Devil’s Advocate), then feminists can certainly enjoy Twilight.”

I'm not going into Twilight more than to say that I don't view it as female escape fantasy and I do not believe a man, the quoted speaker, should get to decide what female escape fantasy is - far less what feminists, womanists or gender equalitists can enjoy.

The quote, however, I find useful to the point of my previous post.


There are two main classic cultural myths of females, two false assumptions that have been used as the definitive excuses to subjugate and disenfranchise women for centuries in all manner of societies. The first is that women are devious and reckless creatures who tempt men who can't control themselves. As a result of these fiendish seducers, the weak but noble men do all manner of vice and corruption, deeds that without the temptation of the women they would not have even considered. But, wait, they are also weak-willed and emotionally fragile creatures that cannot care for themselves and must be protected from peril and shielded from emotional complication ('the fairer sex'). - (Source)



These descriptions sparked a flow of words and comprehension from me. I went "Of course! It's the Whore/Madonna Complex all over again" A simplistic title of my current thoughts, perhaps, but no less apt, I think. Fantasy fiction societies, particularly those in an ethnic fantasy ghetto do tend towards Vamps and whores and dangerous women of which the heroine is NOT one. Or good girls, Madonna's, virtuous if fragile women, of which, again, the heroine is NOT one. She is the Spunky Determined Girl! An option three squished in around the edges, though these days more likely firmly wedged in between to make the stereotypical depiction duo into a trio.

And yet, all the while the one main thrust of all these types of heroines is that they have to disdain other women. Disdain the good girls who never reach out and grab what they want; disdain the bad girls who never let things come to them for being selfless and noble or disdain both for not being (just as good as) a man with breasts and more open emotions.

And I think I understand better now why I associate the combination of world building with such underpinnings mixed with a fantasy ghetto to come from a white female author. History has shown far too many white female, self defined feminists, disdaining other women and walking all over them (or throwing them under a bus, or to the wayside) to get what they want.

PS: Do not mistake my thoughts to mean I will embrace, blindly, the hand of a white self labeled feminist who calls me sister. I'm pondering fiction & fictional representations, not indulging in a round of Be Stupid.

Friday, December 5, 2008

When The Plot Is A Philosophical Catfight

This was not originally going to be a post. But once I attempted to get it down to 140 characters I realized I did actually have more to say; The main thrust of which is that I'm sick and tired of white female authors writing fantasy books set in 'ethnic' fantasy lands where those ethnic societies believe a woman can't handle magic/can't handle power but now comes their heroine who will break the mold and prove them wrong.

It's patronizing.

It's not just the fantasy ghetto, where People(Characters) of Colour are limited to fantasy worlds that resemble their real world culture/analog. It's also a certain conceit about who is writing and what they're writing about. I get that there's a movement to get more female heroes, character role models in the world. But I think what jars the process for me is that the society's reasoning, no matter the fantasy cultural ghetto, is usually so damn WESTERN in origin.

Western and financially privileged.

The latest book and paragraphs to set me off are Eon by Alison Goodman. There's an exerpt up on the flash website here: http://www.eonbook.com/; There is also a first chapter up here in PDF.

Now I haven't read the book and I'm not panning Alison Goodman. I'm being honest about what set me off; what felt like a straw on an overloaded camel.



Women have no place in the world of the dragon magic. It is said they bring corruption to the art and do not have the physical strength or depth of character needed to commune with an energy dragon. It is also thought that the female eye, too practiced in gazing at itself, cannot see the truth of the energy world.


I just...

Am I the only one who sees something like that and gets a mental image of strong, broad backed women of colour who tend their gardens (farmland) and do hard working chores and are strong family matriarchs and the backbone of their family? And then go WTF?

An I the only one who ends up thinking, sure there were some rich white women somewhere who had servants doing the cooking and cleaning and child minding and spent their days buying material for dresses and giving teas and socializing, gossiping, gathering information on the moods of the circuits and whose family was having a weakness their husband could then exploit in business? Actually, that last bit might be giving those women a bit more agency than is often implied - what with the 'Treat a woman like a spoilt, rich, child' thing that tends to be the undercurrent in these kinds of fictions.

I'm not sure what angers me more, actually - the premise itself, or the fact that the premise tends to always want to put up one singular woman as an example that an entire society's way of thinking is wrong. It's... do they really mean to have the whole 'prove yourself' rigmarole intentionally mimicked in fiction?

The world just seems messed up to me when I'm looking at gender biased Anne McCaffrey and thinking that she at least had women doing dangerous jobs alongside men as a matter of course. Yes, one woman might be special because her dragon was a Queen - but she wasn't the exception showing what women could really do if they could just all be as brave and daring. There were women a dragback risking their lives and women in the fields in the ground crews risking their lives. And even Menolly's story revolved around music being deemed useless in a fishing village where there were women, like men, doing things to keep body and home together.

Anne McCaffrey!

Ms. Tent Peg Rape Can Make A Male Gay! (it's all about hormones in the anus - google it)

Anne McCaffrey brings to mind heroines who excel in a world where other women are already successful in their day to day lives.

I think perhaps that others have mentioned this before in variations - Anita Blake Syndrome, for example. Where the character is tougher than a guy, a better shot than a guy, has a stronger stomach and nerves of steel than a guy and earns their respect just by breathing.

But that's not quite the same as seeing what I saw and just knowing the author had to be white. Twelve mystical energy dragons kind of sealed it but the One Woman Who'll Risk It All, just put the neon sparkles on. One Women Capable Of Overcoming Innate Female Vanity & Selfishness.

Does anyone ever call these writers on internalized misogyny?

Then again maybe I'm missing something. Maybe I'm just too whacked in the head to understand how momentous the triumph of one female protagonist against a world that expects her to never dare or try or to fail if she does. Maybe I'm too busy thinking about books where the protagonist's sex doesn't have to be oppressed in order for her to excel. And where the authors aren't trying to say that Western Civilization is the end all and be all and look how well it's doing. Cause really? Someone needs to hold up a mirror.

(Cnt here)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Warner Brothers Make Willow Unhappy

The BluRay 'The Dark Knight' has three commentary/documentary sections, including the making of the IMAX scenes - WHICH IS ALL MORE THAN WHAT'S AVAILABLE IN THE 2 DISC SPECIAL DVD EDITION

I realize all the white-collar, (bad word smoking, bad word bading, bad word) executives decided on BluRay and there was confetti and champagne and pie. But what the hell? So it's either pull out $400 dollars for a PS3 or $300 for Blu-Ray for your tv, or as an extra drive on your computer or DON'T get the majority of extras which are the reason I (and I'm thinking others) even buy for home anymore?

In this age of watching things online and torrenting, the only reason to pay money for a movie is because you actually want to support it. And I like the happy trade off of paying for something I haven't ALREADY SEEN, namely, behind the scenes documentaries and commentary which comes with a movie I have seen and liked.

Batman Begins won me over enormously for not having a commentary track by giving me an hour or so of glorious backstage footage and interviews and insights into making the movie. Now in order to get that for The Dark Knight I need to have BluRay or Bust?

WHY am I -not- supposed to just download the movie if I want to view it again? Or wait for it to come on cable with no interruptions and just tape the damn thing? Cause seriously, why spend money if I'm basically going to get something I could get off cable (that's already being paid for)?

This isn't even a rant, really. Cause I just want to grrrr and growl. Hopefully there will be an even more special, super dooper, wide-screen (the current dvd offerings are fullscreen) with an extra disc for commentary DVD offered hmm, in a month, maybe two months from now.

But it still means The Dark Knight is not something I'll be getting myself for Christmas. And if any friends of mine who DON'T know how strongly I feel about extras gets it for me - I'm likely to crush them by returning it and telling them to get their money back.

Hell, my mother bought me the theater cuts of the LOTR trilogy and it took me a damn year to even open it and that's cause I had a severe jonesing for FOTR and couldn't get anything online to stream correctly and in such a way as I could properly fall asleep to it. The extras on those suck horrendously too. Though heaven bless my mother for attempting to get me something I wanted. It's totally my fault that I couldn't find the energy to go all the way to the store franchise she got it from.

I've happily waited months and months to learn about the costuming and suit change and what it was like being back in Chicago. I don't like watching all the run up specials on tv before a movie comes out. Because that would involve watching tv and also I like being pretty damn pristine when it comes to certain movie watching experiences. And with comic book movies, you often already know the plot, so why not be unspoiled as to the new manifestation of the tale.

Crap.

Crappity crap.

I don't really give a damn about even better picture quality and better sound quality. I grew up watching a black and white tv. I've shaken my milkshake to a transistor radio. As long as there's no static and the picture's not blurry and green is really green and distinct from blue - then I'm quite happy and satisfied. Heck there are some old westerns I've heard all sorts of good things about - but I'd rather wait until technology can let me make them black and white on purpose because I'd rather that than the faded colours of 70's filming. Jewel tones are what I'm still excited over. Dolby 7 channel surround sound? I thought they wanted me to go out to the movies more often, not sit around at home simply waiting for a DVD.

And 'A Digital Copy'? Someone needs to clue me in to what that's about. You can't transfer the movie you bought onto another device, but you can move this digital copy? Once? Possibly to iPod (which is proprietary) and heaven help you if you use something else? And that digtal copy will also expire after a certain point?

What?

This is supposed to stop people downloading/torrenting shows they already own just so they can have the freedom to move them around as suits them in this age of multi-devices?

...

And all of this BS and graft is also why I can't have a proper device that lets me read prose, colour comics, listen to movies and music and NOT be a laptop?

< Insert More Badwords Here >

They Never Said Math Is Hard

Mattel has successfully won their case against MGA, the producers of the BRATZ dolls.

Now I'll be the first to admit I loathed the Bratz dolls. But something Digital Femme said made me pause just now. I loathed the Bratz dolls because I NOTICED THEM.

I've long since passed the age of playing with Barbies. I'm used to passing by and not noticing all the Pink and Blonde fluffiness of Barbie. If I hear news (Barbie's break up with Ken, for example) it's usually because it was something that hit an actual news cycle (possibly on a slow day).

On the other hand I was always noticing Bratz. The dolls, the clothes, the accessories, the infant versions, the pets. I even watched the darn Bratz movie. And all because there were three extra reasons FOR me to notice.

I noticed Sasha, Yasmin & Jade.

I noticed that it was a Latina, an African Descended American and an Asian American who had super sexualized lips and eyes. I fretted that there were FINALLY dolls in the mainstream for every little girl; and yet was the implication that all girls were hootchies?

Bratz made themselves relevant to me and I hadn't even realized that. They made themselves so relevant that when I first caught sight of the My Scene Barbie - my first thought was Mattel was copying Bratz. And I hadn't realized I've been waiting to hear how it failed - because I didn't believe that anyone but blonde and blue eyed Barbie would get attention (accessories, blah blah & stuff).

And for all my grr about stereotypes, I've just realized that Mattel has never released a movie like Bratz. Yeah yeah, it was the wrong thing to say that fashion accessorizing is a superpower. But have you noticed Barbie's movies? They're always animation, either cgi or traditional. Blonde Barbie is always the star with various friends (mostly white) circling around her while she gets the prince, conquers evil or risks her heart.

In the Bratz movie? I saw 4 real girls dealing with a real life issue of friendship drift. 4 real girls. Sure they had slim bodies, but those were real bodies. It was possible for any little girl to imagine herself as one of those 4 real girls. Moreover I saw 4 real families. Divorced parents. Mom and Dad and Grandma. Mom and Dad (with ideas about being the model minority). Single working Mom.

It's horribly true you don't appreciate some things until they're gone. I didn't take the time to really think about just what I'd seen in that movie. And DF's words made me really think about why I noticed the brand in the first place.

There's a reason MGA Entertainment was kicking Mattel's pastel butt! And it's sad and frightening to realize that by ligitgating their competition into closing - there's no impetus for Mattel now to look at what worked with MGA and capitalize on it. How soon before it's back to the Queen of Pink in her pink castle mansion with the pink convertible and her ever ready himbo while all her friends circle three steps or more behind with a big ass 'FRIEND OF BARBIE' stamped on their foreheads?

PS: Guess I know what I'm getting my little sister for the holidays. Wonder if they had a comic book version? There's bound to be something similar I can grab before Mattel steps on it too, right? Either way, I'll definitely be shopping for something Not!Pink.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hey You Perv! I'm Talking To You!

No, really, I'm talking to you. Yes you, the regular comic book reading, manga one or two (or several more) owning, anime and cartoon loving, graphic art geeking, individual. The postal service could call you a perv and you could go to jail. YES YOU. Yes the US Postal Service!

Don't believe me?

Meet Christopher Handley. He like a lot of people, bought some manga from Japan. The Postal Inspector (that's US Postal Service Special Police) decided he didn't like the imagery on the front. It seemed objectionable. So he opened the package. He can do this. It's his job.

Aside:I actually had a Postal Inspector come to my highschool law class and talk about his job. He told funny anecdotes. One of them involved a vibrator and batteries and mass embarrassment on all sides. That's when I personally realized that all things that can go buzz or whir, from toy cars to marital aids, shouldn't come shipped with the batteries already in them.


The Postal Inspector thus opened up the parcel from Japan and thought 'This seems objectionable to me' so I shall inform the Federal Authorities. Christopher Handley then picked up his package and drove home while the Postal Inspectors, Immigration & Customs, some Special Agents, and the police followed behind him. Kind of like what happened to a Mayor of a small town in Maryland - except they shot and killed the Mayor's two dogs in their 'follow and seize' on the WAR ON DRUGS.

When Christopher Handley got home, they (the men with jack boots) then barged into his house and seized all his comic, manga and anime related paraphernalia. That includes seven computers, various DVDs, VHS tapes, manga books and stuff aka, geeky comic stuff. And he's being charged, (he, a private owner collector and NOT a comic book shop owner) with "possessing manga that the government claims to be obscene".

Mr. Handley faces up to 20 years in prison. For only a HANDFUL of images in his ENTIRE COLLECTION.

Right about now you might be asking yourself, if you clicked the link about the Mayor, what one has to do with the other. Well, let me tell you. In the follow and seize mentioned above, the mayor of a small town got home, found a package addressed to him on his porch and took it into his house. The police had already followed the package from the post office. Once they saw someone take possession, they barged inside, killed his dogs as 'possible aggressors' and arrested the Mayor.

Now the Mayor, was a Mayor, and white. So the mix up and the realization that someone likely in the post office had been planning to intercept the package was soon discovered. Didn't help his two dogs, but he ended up fine, unlike the times the police barge in shooting in the wrong house for drugs raids and don't apologise to anyone.

Aside 2: I wanted to put up a link to one particular story that had bothered me. Where police broke into a home with several children and the man, an immigrant, thinking gangs were invading his house, tried to defend his family with a shot gun. Shots were flying everywhere and it was the wrong house the police had raided. But I can't find that link. And unfortunately TOO much comes up in Google under 'Police Raid Wrong House'.


So please, think on this, if it's that easy to frame someone in the WAR ON DRUGS and if it's that common for police to raid the wrong house - how easy will it be if Christopher Handler is convicted, to frame someone for A WAR ON PERVERSION. Hell, forget frame, how much more factual and actual and how much more power will there be FOR A WAR ON PERVERSION.

And do remember, perversion is in the eyes of the beholder.

'Objectionable material' cases tend to have to deal with the Miller Test and community standards, yadda yadda.

But you see, I happen to know a word. TWINKS. It's an innocent enough word. But when you put TWINKS together with graphic art and erotica, then you CAN get material that some community, likely anti-gay, is going to shout to the rafters is OBJECTIONABLE FILTH. And that if you squint your eyes and hold it sideways, looks like pedophilia because the smooth skinned gay male is represented graphically as underage (in their eyes). And the next thing you know, artists and gay men who like graphic art with TWINKS are dealing with possible jack booted officials coming into their home and grabbing things for prosecution.

I also have a show I like beyond all common sense. I like IKKI TOUSEN. A show full of panty shots, women's shirts ripping off, violence and a randy mother. It's funny to me and I like the background plot themes. But who's to say that my having it isn't me having OBJECTIONABLE MATERIAL? The characters are in highschool. I may well be admitting online to having seen the underwear of a fictional high school girl.

O THE HORROR. The graphic HORROR!

But that's all 'Japanese' stuff, you say? Those are those strange foreigners with their strange ways? They sell sex aides in vending machines so what do you expect? Well, what about TAROT? Or EMPOWERED? Aren't those as American as Apple Pie and Superman?

And what about the many, many webcomics that titillate while telling an interesting or funny tale? You get their trade paperbacks in the mail, don't you? You download their ecomics on your computer, right?

And what about people who commission naughty or risque art? Inside joke. Private fantasy? The men in jackboots don't give a damn.

What about SLASH? WINCEST, PETRELLICEST, Captain America & Iron Man making out in a journal icon, blog image header, fanart and FAN commissions of your favourite teen characters (or celebrity idols) who're kissing? Hell, you could probably hit all sorts of objectional bells with a comic book fan art commission of Apollo and Midnighter just chilling shirtless in bed together, reading a story to a young Jenny Quarx - even though it's signed by the official artists or creators.

Don't say it couldn't happen.

Assumptions and Arrogance let Prop 8 Pass!

And please, don't tell me that this won't happen in Obama's America. Because it's happening now and THIS IS OBAMA'S AMERICA. This is what he's inheriting. And if you pay attention to the news, the people currently in charge are burrowing like viruses everywhere they can in order to keep their hands on strings of power. Besides, The O is about communities working towards change. He's shown us our power to affect the world. He's going to expect us to USE it.

We, those of us who can afford it, can start by donating to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund . As much as I dislike paypal, they've got one. We've seen how powerful small donations at a time can work too. Others, please pass this information along. Please talk about it. And for crying out loud don't mince words. Really make it hit home that this could happen to ANYONE.

ANYONE.

Because it effects everyone.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

While I Was Watching Vixen

Uhm, so I asked people before I made this post. And they told me that Connor Hawke is still supposed to be multiracial. Superboy Prime did not punch the non-white out of him.

And yet....This doesn't look even biracial to me. This doesn't look like the artist had one idea and the colourist had no idea how to blend things. That looks like a tanned surfer dude.

In all honesty I cannot remember which races make up Connor's biracial identity. My memory of seeing him for the first time involved blonde hair which suggests Caucasian (White) and dark skin which suggests, being Black or South Asian. And I'm fairly certain his eyes used to be drawn without a fold. So at the very least, my first impression was he was multiracial with traits from his parents and his grandparents.

But what part of the previous image or this image brings that multiracial identity to mind? Hell in this pic he looks more like Ollie's son than anything else. Which leaves what? A heavily tanned surfer dude who also slings arrows but is into Zen. A Californian, maybe even San Francican. [Writing Edit: Just been told he doesn't do archery anymore - so just a surfer then?]

I'm asking honestly now - When Superboy Prime punched the black off of Vixen, and the pants off Wonder Woman and we were watching in horrified shock, did he knock Connor Hawke into Aryan purity?

It's a question that's got to be asked, don't you think?

DC lost me a while ago. Everytime I check back, however, I find less and less reason to regret walking away. Sort of like Marvel (with Dazzler and my newest love, Shulkie) but that's a rant for another day - or maybe not. I've already stated Marvel doesn't care about people like me. And I bet pretty soon Mr. Terrific will drop from Third to Seventh most intelligent man in DCverse and DC will be more obviously forcing & shoving people like me away.

Yeah, good thing for webcomics and indies and the occasional manga. But I'm still rapidly becoming A GIRL WHO DOESN'T READ SUPERHERO COMICS.

It's sad.

*attempts not to feel beat down, rib kicked and depressed aka Tigra Bendisized*

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wowio Says To Comic Creator "Bend Over Deeper"

Right, so Wowio owes Chris, creator/artist of webcomic Misfile, about 7k dollars. And it's over due 105 days and counting. And they've already paid out 3rd quarter orders.

I was feeling a little - "You don't give people second chances, Willow. Is that always wise?" For a while there. Since I've not gone back to cruise Wowio since...wow, since AUGUST apparently. I've just directed my attentions elsewhere.

Now I'm really glad I haven't been giving them even click per visitor money. But at the same time I'm pissed that they're adding to the fuck-ups on models of digital comics accessed/purchased online. Their failure is going to be another useless bump in the road that bigger studios/corporations will look at to say 'Digital Comics Is A Lost Cause' and that saddens and ticks me off.

I don't have a lot of money right now, but even on a budget - Blue Beetle is something I'd have paid money for if I could get a digital copy. Maybe I'm a new brand of collector. But I don't want things in boxes taking up space, needing dusting that I have to worry about evaluating for insurance for fire or flood. Give me digital comics I can have on my computer, on disk and saved online/off site. Make my comics accessible and durable in an e-reader. I would actually buy a comics e-reader even if it didn't let me read regular prose books as long as all the comics I like, from webcomic favourites to indies could be updated on it.

It's effing lonely on the digital frontier and then an idiot in assless chaps (Wowio) walks in, smelling of stale air and ego and expects me to be grateful.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Small Post

... of giggles, squiggles, and joy.

Just found MightyGodKing's Speculative Fiction Photoshopped Retitles. I'm very pleased to discover I have not been imagining this one one book/series in particular. And that there was a very solid reason I couldn't find it.

It's kind of hard as a kid (and even as an adult really) to say.

"I'm looking for Asshole Leper Hero Finds Fantasy Land".

Just mentioned to Karen (GRC) and she pointed out that some people would have tried. And I realized I have actually failed like a fish one time and feel very blessed that the talented librarians at Central know me by face at least and thus know what I tend to read. It also helped that I knew which shelf I thought I'd picked it up. In the end, the cover was recognized, the author was found and I got book two.

But while I'm very comfortable talking about horse protagonists 'Asshole Leper Hero'... just... as true as it might be. I couldn't see myself saying it. Especially since I wasn't sure if that was my personal impression or not.

Now to find out (within the next year) if Stephen R. Donaldson was as interesting as I'd thought.

About me: Still working on my NaNo. Still avoiding a whole host of people and bs online concerning 'the black community'. And quite frankly, trying not to loathe the rest of you. Or at least not think up recipes for you.

PS - I am curious about the red vomiting Red Lanterns though and if anyone else is as interesting as 'Ruffles'.

Friday, November 7, 2008

When Chickens Come Home To Roost

Once upon a time I wrote an essay for Girls Read Comics. Once upon a time, my views on the difficulty of finding, seeing and believing in characters of colour in the visual medium of comics was seen as bashing on gays and gay characters of colour. I was called homophobic and a whole host of other things.

Once upon a time my anger at being silenced as a black woman and as a gay black woman with negativity and ad hominem attacks was overwhelming and I kicked GirlWonder.Org to the curb and didn't look back. To this day I can't bring myself to support them and mostly try not to actively bash them - and that alone comes from friendship with individuals.

When you see the crap flying all over the Internet and other media about how the reason Prop 8 passed in California was because of the black vote - just remember that story. Remember the discomfort that spawned some of the hateful words against me and my thoughts and opinions. Just remember how it wasn't expected that I correlate between three sets of oppressions.

Just like I was ignored, the black vote in California was ignored by the No on 8 Agenda. It was expected that the black vote would be for them and while that expectation lay, the Yes on 8 folks took time to enter communities and listen and talk and include. They didn't assume that of course church going minorities would already be on their side. It was too important to them to assume.

They believed that 6.75% of all Californians was a vote worth courting. They believed spending some of that 60 million on funding on 6.75% of all Californians was worth it from the start and not to be scrambled last minute in the last weeks of campaigning.

The black vote is not responsible for Prop 8 passing. White gay pride is. White gay hubris and the force of power of rich, white gay men & women, who only remember the importance of civil liberties for the three seconds it takes to quote Martin Luther King Jr, (and one of his tamer speeches at that) and then immediately forget about him, and the struggle that continues today for blacks and other minorities.

Y'know what this whole thing makes me think of? The fact that I have never, ever read or heard of the non-white population within Marvel Universe being courted to help refute the various Registration Acts. Meta discussion abounds about who is the mutant Malcom X and who is the Mutant Martin Luthor King Jr - both of whom are white skinned men (for all that Eric's jewish). But mutants going out into the public and saying that 'If they can restrict us for our DNA and for who we essentially are, than they can strip you of basic citizen's rights just as easily. It will set a precedent' - I've never seen that.

If you know of a story where that happened, drop me a line. If a writer ever compared the anti-mutant stance of 'They have no control over themselves' with how much fear there was back in the day at free black men and women - let me know.

Still, allies are relationships you cultivate. Mercenaries are people who you hire to support you, mutely and without expectation of input. If the organizations behind No on 8 wanted unpaid & silent support that would just show up at the right time and quietly disappear afterwards, they started their campaign living in a dream world.

Social Justice, it's not just a watchword or a t-shirt slogan, it's a way of life.


[Now, I am tired and pissed off and I'm going to return to resting now and working on my NaNo.]

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Atten: B'Sphere

Dear People Who Keep Commenting Me On My Marvel + Gay People = Oh Hells No Post,

Please stop commenting. The majority of you keep wanting to discuss or point out that Guggenheim was being pro equal marriage.

I. Don't. Care


I realize I was not at my most coherent because I was just so effing angry that equal marriage and the bad storyline of A DEAL WITH A SHIV GIVING LORD OF HELL, A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL were being equated at all.

It was a shitty comparison and a shitty analogue. And yes, I still think it showed a level of callousness to have an official spokesperson make such a statement. The level of callousness equates to me that MARVEL DOESN'T CARE ABOUT GAY PEOPLE.

Homosexuality is good enough to mention in a backhanded attempt to pander to homophobic comic reading buzzballidiots and it's good enough to attempt to appeal to some mystery demographic and show your 'liberal cred'. But it's not good enough for any particular attention to be paid to having or promoting a stable character.

And if someone dares to comment/post an essay reply mentioning The Rawhide Kid, consider yourself already internet stabbed.

Guggenheim had a poor, extremely poor choice of words. Why all the surprise that someone would state outright that MARVEL DOES NOT CARE ABOUT GAY PEOPLE?

I've already been saying MARVEL DOES NOT CARE ABOUT BLACK OR BROWN PEOPLE.

Marvel's captained and steered by middle class white guys who're living out their power fantasies even if said fantasies crush the dreams of consumers and other fans - that is people who aren't them. If you're not a middle class hetero white guy and you're still enjoying them - bully for you. But don't expect me to put up with consuming the same amount of bullshit. Garbage in equals garbage out. I stopped swallowing. I won't swallow. Read into that what you will.

The next person who comments or emails me about this, please know that while I delete your remarks without reading them - I'm imagining your private pinkish parts being caught in a cusinart.

In other news, the Special Edition PoC in SF Carnival - IBARW ISSUE. Go read it and learn something. It's good for you.

PoC in SF Carnival - IBARW Special Edition

Like last year, this year has a Special Edition Carnival devoted to recapping International Blog Against Racism Week, started by Oyceter @ Livejournal.

The issue notes a generalized percentage of 50% POC participation this year. As someone also involved in bringing awareness that there are POC and POC issues online, in geekdom and specifically SFdom, those numbers are heartening.

Oycter notes she needs better outreach to Latin@s and that her goal for next year is more input from non-Western, non-American participants to get their points of view. And it's a reminder to me that I should keep up Faces of Colour as a visual reminder that the people involved in creating and promoting Speculative Fiction come from all countries, skin colours, ethnicities and cultures.

Go and check it out. I'm sure there are things missed during the week back in August. I know I still have some tabs bookmarked to get back to and I saw a few links I'd missed entirely.

The next Carnival will be hosted in December by Delux_Vivens @ DeadBroWalking. The theme "Men of Colour in Speculative Fictions.". There's more than enough time for you to write something and submit for the carnival with a link via her livejournal address or to my email for me to forward it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Ingredients of Silence

This is not how I intended to come back to a prior post about the power of naming. I wonder if this means there's a third post in this somewhere? But tonight I had the experience of calling out someone who used a term that's usually a racist slur. In the course of conversation I got told that:

a) The person using the slur was biracial

b) Her feelings were more important than my defending a fictional character from a possible slur

c) Her white friend uses that term to describe herself all the time. So the only racist is me, who sees the term and thinks woman of colour.

These things have all led me to think about the power of naming. Did the individual interacting with me know that I too am a woman of colour? It's possible. But somehow I doubt it. The way the card was played, and yes, I'm calling it a card quite on purpose, I could tell this was meant to silence me. She's a woman of colour therefore she has more right than I to decide what is racist and what isn't. And usually that card's only trumped on the assumption that the other person is a 'well meaning white person making things uncomfortable'.

And right then it occured to me that race is a name of power. Not calling someone by their name, is name power. Not calling them by the right name, is name power. Mocking their name, is name power (which is the third essay that'll come about at some point in time). But self labeling is also name power.

Perhaps it's my fanciful mind. But I could so clearly see her drawing a circle about herself, sticking in some zodiac signs, lighting a few candles, exhaling and then going, all Pokemon style. "I choose you! My non-White side! Go forth and battle this bitch who's getting on my last nerve with her insistence that feelings have been hurt by a mere word! SILENCE HER!"

And even as I describe that, I can so easily see another circle, with another individual drawing up power from somewhere, symbols glowing in yellow candle flame. "I choose you! My 1/16th Cherokee/Souix/Cree/Apache/Insert First Nations Tribe Here - Heritage. Go forth and SILENCE my accusers. Manifest as a Princess, oh great, great, great, great, great, great, great grand-mother and repulse those that would label me insensitive, racist, or ignorant!"

I haven't gotten any further in my thoughts that that, however. Because obviously the self-naming/self-labeling spell gets bounced off someone who also is a minority, or who perhaps is listed on their Tribe's rolls, or their parents are. Or better yet, the spell bounces off knowledge, rightenousness and history. But all too often, I'm sure, someone is silenced. Someone does get confused because they were certain they saw what they saw, but now...

And I haven't thought of a spell that'll counteract that. How do you tell the budding anti-racists they need yet more knowledge? Doesn't it seem daunting to them that they need it, not in a general way to understand more or learn more but as a shield against this kind of crap?

Is there a way to stop people pulling out their bag of tricks and glitter? Is that a better use of time and energy? And what about people who have dual or more heritages? What about people with colonial history in their past where various tribes of the oppressed intermingled? I've seen quite a few heads come near to exploding when they realized the person they were trying to silence was South Asian, Black and Chinese.

Any thoughts?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

*Sigh*

Someone remind to that no matter what happens in my life, I have to write a story where all black people (and south east asian folk, and first nations folk - aka everyone brown and possibly also asian) gets sucked through a dimensional vortex thus leaving the future to the white folk.

While I've had issues trying to read Elizabeth Bear, I do love the concept that in one of her worlds nanites ate up all the white people.

Why the sudden 'oh my freaking head'?

Revolution of the Mask. It's apparently done by the blogger behind Atop the 4th Wall which is a blog I've read and enjoyed. In his comic, however, in the future which seems very 1984 meets Brave New World, only with superheroes; it's a far flung future where for decades people have been living as cogs. White people.

Now maybe the superhero known as 'Mystery Man' is covered head to toe cause he's black. At which case I just laugh and laugh and laugh at the stereotype. And if you don't know what stereotype I mean - do some research. You're on the effing internet.

But far flung dystopian future - all white folk.

So again I need to write the story of People of Colour getting on space ships and moving out to live among enlightened beings in the damn stars. So I can explain why you never see us in these futures.

Actually, that ties into a novel idea I already have.

*goes to write*

ETA: Also while I'm discussing things that sadden and aggravate me. In his future where everyone belongs to everyone else. You see men having sex with women. And what looks like, possibly a man having sex in public with another man. It's hard to tell, the figures are drawn behind the point of view protaganist. But there was no sign that in this future where you're not allowed to say no - that any women might be taking sexual advantage of the men. The men aren't drawn with downcast eyes and weariness on their faces. Except for whatever's happening on page three, panel 2. Cause what? The only unwanted sexual advance for men is from another male?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Quick Note On Acknowledgement

This needed to be more than just a twitter comment to JSmooth of Ill Doctrine. Smooth's a good guy. He got me interested in video blogs. He got me interested in hip hop again. And he's just gotten noticed for a bit he did on racism and the word racist. And I'm happy for him. The video is three or so minutes of win.

Thing is though, the video also mentions principles I've heard coming from The Angry Black Woman blog, and Angry Black Bitch and I believe Brownfemipower. Basically my online reading circle is full of Women of Colour and I've heard these principles again and again and AGAIN.

From them.

Women of Colour

Obviously in conversations about race, things will be repeated over and over again by many people. It's Racism 101, spin, spun and pre-digested a lot of the times. But I can't help noticing that the women of colour I know online who've said the same thing, over and over again didn't get noticed. Their words aren't ending up on college ciriculums. In fact just this year there's been some serious sh*t started because of word appropriation and disrespect from the white femiblogsphere.

Now maybe part of this lack of notice is because they blog, they don't post videos. And three minutes out of someone's life vs the seven minutes it might take to read a blog and have to provide your own music is just a touch too difficult. Maybe it's because they have ANGRY in their names, or in their tone, or in their blog labels.

But the next time someone makes a quip about 'The Missing Black Woman Formation' without actually stopping to think about what it means to and for Women of Colour to be invisible - they should understand why they get cybersmacked.

All props to Jay. I'm serious here.

But it's just depressing.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Astro City: The Dark Age Pt 1

I don't know why the opinions I saw about it were all about how it disappointed and how it wasn't enough. I can't go into a whole big thing about it right now - but I liked it. I liked the fact that it shows how the mood of an era can shift things. Maybe it's easier for me to read it now than people who read it when it was current. Maybe as I look around the US and see how the mood of a country could have serious, serious stakes for the future, it's not at all difficult for me to believe that an evil mastermind plot, like any other, to frame a superhero got blown all out of proportion because the mood was right for it to be blown out of proportion.

The public wanted something to believe in and they decided they were going to believe in control and that control would take a specific form. And so it happened. And yes it's a horrible, horrible waste and it's unfair and it leaves one stunned. But it's real. Our perceptions and pre-conceptions affect the way we see the world; mood is power. After all just ask someone who struggles with depression or someone with a mental disability that involves periods of mania. Mood is power.

The mood of the polulance was dangerous, unsettled and restless. Various politicans wanted to shunt blame to someone. A target was picked and led to the slaughter.

I'm seriously intrigued as to how else the foundational moments of the Williams brothers is reflected in the mood of larger society as the tale continues.

Laugh When They Pee Themselves. It's Healthier

Sometimes no matter how hard you try to talk yourself out of something - you just aren't going to win. I've ended up writing about this.

THE GRAYSONS


Dear Warner Brother, The CW, All Other Idiots,

* [ insert prolonged, rolling on the floor, near peeing myself laughter here, with giggling hiccups ] *


So basically what you're saying is, you want ONE TREE CREEK VILLE, where for some reason, Dick Grayson is not eight, or ten years old and a sudden orphan. But is instead a teenager who can have a first love, in a time period where the whole damn world knows his parents are gonna bite it and he's gonna end up traumatized and angry and malleable enough to end up as 'THE BOY WONDER', Batman's brightly covered, moving target, decoy, sneaky little backtalking, drive the Joker crazy, tie you up for stealing wallets, sidekick.


* [ insert prolonged, rolling on the floor, near peeing myself laughter here, with giggling hiccups ] *


Kalinara mentions already hating Dick, and thus possibly enjoying the train wreck.

I...

Smallville ruined Superman for me too. Ruined him so well and so badly that I forgot, until reading Kurt Busiek's Samaritan that I had ever liked him. Then, spurred by this seeming new love for Superman, I started reading more and more and stumbled back into Lois and Clark and suddenly I was looking up Superman the Animated Series and going 'But wait, I used to adore this guy!'.

So I start again, I don't hate Dick Grayson. I love Dick Grayson. I wanted to be Dick Grayson. I figured parental divorce could take the place of being horribly orphaned. But being Batman's sidekick? Being trained to fight crime? Becoming a cog in the wheel of Batman's mission? I was all for that. And I was all for Nightwing and Dick striking out on his own and figuring out why he did what he did and if he still wanted to do it.

Dick Grayson's life before Bruce Wayne is something precious and warm. It's family, and light and laughter and death defying stunts. It's the heart of Nightwing sailing over rooftops and essentially doing perfrance art: Violence Ballet On A Criminal In 4 Minutes.

Dick Grayson's life before Batman is the stability of a loving family as towns change around him; the smell of sawdust and pancake makeup and animals. Though in this day and age it's more likely to be mortor oil and gas from death defying bikers, Manderin or Cantonese from a signed troupe, amazing clowns, lots of dogs, and those cool folk who spin while hung up by their hair.

Still, as wonderful and interesting as it is and as wonderful as it is to get stories about Dick going back to the circus for time to clear his head, or to visit - a show about Dick Grayson before his life changes forever, is freeze framing the moment before a cold bullet enters his heart. It's bullet-time torture.

When I combine the thought of that, with how hated Clark Kent became in Smallville (that I couldn't even watch past Episode 4, I believe way back in Season 3); When TPTB didn't ever concieve of making the show an AU where Superman either was an alien overlord or a babbling idiot directed by an overseeing presence and Lex Luthor was the hero - to play on Rosembaum's charism, chemistry and popularity - all that mixed with these frozen memories of Dick's before his life became shadows and lies and deceptions and freedom only behind a mask...

It's like watching a small child scribbling in crayola over a piece of - nay, watching a grown adult who actually should know better, adding flaking bits of plastic to a masterpiece of form, vision and movement and then going "I Made It Better! See!"

But I've discovered The DCAU Trades. So really, I'll just watch the rest of the world go "But What The Hell Is This Cursed Thing". Sort of like I watched the WB/CW mess up Tarzan.

Monday, September 29, 2008

More Than Skin Colour (A Vixen & Others Redux)

There's a conversation happening over on livejournal about the difference between light skinned privilege (and problems) and white privilege and most important of all, the fact that white people Do. Not. Get. To. Decide. Who is POC enough. White people do not get to police the POC community for authenticity. See the links for more. Note - those posters will ban AND mock idiots, read all first before commenting.

The conversation sparked something in my own head which I feel the need to make clear. The problem with Vixen was never that she was being made into a light skinned character of colour. The problem was never that darker skinned fans of the character and fans of DC in general had a problem with (as was said several times by some ignorant and unknowledgeable people) the artist being Brazilian and putting up his interpretation of a Woman of Colour. The problem was that Vixen was created a dark skinned sister and suddenly she was no longer. And in the real world, when a dark skinned woman suddenly turns lighter skinned, it's usually because she's using toxic products to BLEACH HER OWN BODY. And the reason she's using said products has to do with racism and colonialism and the idea that the ideal beauty is white or as close to white as possible. THAT is the problem behind Vixen's lighter skin tones, and Misty Knight's.

You see it hit me that the comicverse/comic blogsphere is an interesting and perhaps perfect place to see how much outsiders think they know about the POC community. And how often they get things wrong or they get wrapped up in old arguments that were created in the first place to cause strife and separation and a denial of foundation and a solid base.

It is more than a rant or an academic treatise on the fundamentals of beauty when POC bloggers talk about hair texture and style and the color of the skin of a character. It's about a history that we as POC can never, ever, forget; it's in our bones and our blood and our grandmother's tears over our skin when we stood in the sun too long playing like innocent children. It's in the fears of our mothers that our fair cheeks would attract some wayward lecherous man who would never be held accountable because as pale skinned as we, the innocent child might be, we were still OTHER enough to be a mere animal and the victims of a predator. It's in the sighs over a baby boy being beautiful but dark which makes it, to this day, unlikely he could live to see twenty one, or forty.

When is hair more than hair? Skin more than skin? When it's dark skin and dark hair, sometimes kinked and sometimes not. When are eyes more than eyes? When they're slanted, with different folds. When eyes and hair and skin are all a line that represents inclusion or exclusion. When there's intergenerational trauma. When what you look like involves history as recent as your grandparents that no one wants to talk about because of the bad things that happened that can never. ever. be rectified.

Each bit of melanin in our skin is a word in a history that often only other POC hear screaming. That is what is up on the page with POC characters. To deny Vixen her dark skin and her flatter and larger nose; to deny a character his locced hair, or natural fro, is to try and erase an ocean of history... because those who made the decisions and sign off on the prints are still cocooned in the sense of power their ancestors had when they raped a land; India, Africa, Australia, Vietnam, Laos, Japan and more. It's a violation of the memory of the past, the weight of the present and the promise of the future.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Mincing MINX

If you've read my Twitter then you saw me laughing at the collapse of MINX. I also admitted that my laughing might mean I'm headed for hell in a svelte sports car hand-basket with velvet cushions and nubile massage servants. Truthfully I think at some point you seriously just have to laugh or you end up paying a lot of money to repair all the walls in your home that are covered in head dents.

I didn't like MINX. And it's not just PLAIN JANES I didn't like, I didn't like the line up. It didn't interest me. It didn't interest me on my own or as something to give to the young girls in my life; quite a few who are young girls of colour who've enjoyed every manga or anime suggestion I've ever given to them.

Ragnell at Just Past The Horizon (Newsarama Blog) mentions the same concept in her Friday coloumn. MINX was doomed to fail despite all the talk it got because it was set up TO fail. Forget a bookstore, it's like DC didn't take the time to walk into a local library and study where the girls went. And they certainly weren't bright enough to ask a librarian.

I've watched for the past three or so years (and a bit over) young girls pouring over the manga sections of my local libraries. Magical Girl stories are new to them; new and exciting and wonderful. It took me a long time to realize the very obvious fact that they and I are a generation apart and thus they've never heard of some of the books I read or shows I watched around their age. Manga is there and in their faces with adventure stories.

The librarians can hardly keep up. And yet... MINX is dead.

Chicks in Chainmail, Xena, Buffy, the concept of frigging Nancy Drew - Poof - over the heads of DC and a lot of other players who like to give lip service to the concept of equality and diversity but who really are old and set in their ways; rusty gates closed shut on the concept that Trix are for kids, silly rabbit comics and adventure is for whiteboys.

I can remember there were a series of adventure anthologies when I was growing up that were all about GIRLS OWN ADVENTURES in order to match and meet the concept of the genre of BOYS OWN ADVENTURES. At the time I thought the title and promotion was silly but I ate up stories of girls caught up in accidental tourist spy games and living as part of a WW2 French Resistance; girls who were detectives and hunted down wrong doers...

I must have been 10-11. AND GIRLS WHO DID THINGS was like candy.

Mercedes Lackey's Valdamar Series? They had strong female characters doing things; Elspeth and Talia. They had a Queen who chose her country over her private life and who battled to balance being a mother alongside being a ruler. Susan Cooper had girls caught up in fantastic universes who became part of the everlasting struggle between the powers of dark and the powers of light.

And the thing is, there's a very strong and popular trend in books right now that shows what happened to those girls who read those things when they grew up. It's called URBAN FANTASY / PARANORMAL ROMANCE.

This is not the place to debate the seeming interchangeability of those two genre titles. We can bitch about that later. But the point is, Girls/Women caught up in fantastic adventures, trying to balance life against the supernatural, or magic; caught up in spy plots and underground societies and fighting for the cause of good against evil - IT'S BEEN ONE OF THE STRONGEST GROWING MARKETS IN A DECADE!

So really DC, where did you think those women came from? Did you think they just sprung up whole out of the ground like Dragon Teeth Warriors and only in their twenties did they suddenly decide they wanted a bit of magic and adventure and excitement in their reading?

And for those who are still having the hangup with PARANORMAL ROMANCE and would like to use it to say those aren't adventure stories - Have you read any of them? Because I'm telling you plainly the reason UF has become interchangeable with PR as a term is because of the same stereotypes that lead to MINX's failure. The publishing industry saw women eating up these stories and concluded they were buying them for the 'romance' because women buy romance books therefore if a woman is buying a book, it MUST have to do with romance.

For the record? There's romance in comics. Scott Summers and Jean Grey. Would the bloody Phoenix Saga mean as much without the romance between the two? What would happen to all the plots that have to do with Wolverine's part as the odd man out and potential interloper? Nate Grey and Madelyene Pryor? Susan Storm and Reed Richards? Susan Storm and Namor? Misty Knight and her Kungfu Boy Danny? Ring any bells? The whole BND sucks scandal in Spiderman revolves around what? Mary Jane Watson and her romance and marriage to one Peter Parker.

Ollie "can't keep it in his pants" Queen and Dinah Lance, The Black Canary.

I just had to throw that one last one out there by itself but the list goes on. Barbara Gordon and Dick Greyson. Jim Gordon and Sarah Essen. Does the boys club of comics actually think they don't have romance in their works? And if women buy romance and thus any books women buy MUST be romance - then why aren't women buying their comics...

Unless of course the answer is that women are and if women are buying and women obviously aren't always women but grow up to be women from being girls and little girls then....

Why aren't you following the logic, DC? It's a trail of solid breadcrumbs. Wait, don't tell me you never heard of Hansel and Gretel? It had a kickass girl in it too.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Marvel Doesn't Care About Gay People

Just Like George W. Bush Doesn't Care About Black People



I have been quiet recently because I'm trying to get control of my blood pressure. It's been doing somewhat scary things and my doctors and I need to figure out if it's additional stress, my body just being in a state of disrepair or if something else is going on chemically.

Right now I'm feeling like it's a serious combination of factors. Because WHAT THE FUCK, MARVEL?!!!!.

Guggenheim said a lot of people who aren't reading Spider-Man or refuse to read Spider-Man are judging it based on misunderstandings. "Part of the problem with the controversy behind One More Day is the understanding of what was retconned overstates the extent of what was done," he said. "Everything that happened in the last twenty plus years of comic book history happened! The only difference is that Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson weren't married. They still dated. They still lived together. They still love each other. They just weren't married. Judging from the letters and death threats we received, I think some people were confused. It all still happened."

"Here's my attitude, if anyone is upset about the marriage going away, then they must all be pro gay marriage," he continued. Because if you're pro gay marriage, you understand the distinction between a marriage and a civil union -- that a civil union is not equal to a marriage. We downgraded Mary Jane and Peter to a civil union. If that bothers you, then you're pro gay marriage."


For the record you know I have this shit screencapped.

I think I now understand why Marvel's Civil War resulted in a fascist Tony Stark, a dead Captain America, a mob brutalized Tigra and Misty Knight getting skin lightening. Marvel's become the FOX NEWS of Comics; pro Republican, Pro American Family Association, pro - White Privilege, anti-gays, anti-blacks and obviously anti-women.

FUCK YOU MARVBL


That whole last paragraph, what the fuck is that? WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?! I'd almost think they were trying to say something positive about marriage vs civil unions except that 'IF IT BOTHERS YOU, THEN'....

No. No I refuse to attempt to not hate these people. It's not going to happen.

"Hi, we're Marvel. We used A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL to DOWNGRADE A HETEROSEXUAL MARRIAGE into a MERE CIVIL UNION, Y'KNOW THAT THING THE QUEERS GET."

FUCK.

YOU.

MARVEL.

More outrage via LurkerWithout and Kirk of Box In The Box.

PS: Marvel? You really need to teach your people some PR so to spin your bullshit better, because YOUR ASS IS SHOWING AND YOU NEED TO WIPE!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

GENIUS Won!!

Click here to read all about how GENIUS is one of the top two who won Top Cow's Pilot Season 2008.

My fav quote from the whole thing:

“I blew my voice squealing like a happy pig for a half hour and came up with at least five victory dances,”
- Afua Richardson

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I'm Alive, Just Quiet

I found my 50 Things I Love About Superhero Comics from last year.

In other news - there's an image of Iron Man lifting Captain America from the waist? They're at some sort of parade. Apparently I didn't save the image on this computer or save the link I found it at. Can't find it, or even a hint that I ever commented anywhere about it.

Does anyone know it? Have it? Can point me to it?

A friend of mine doesn't believe it exists, she thinks that Cap holding an unconscious (or dead) Iron Man is the 'OMGtheirloveissohomoerotic'-est image ever. And it really isn't. There's also one I think I saw on scans daily involving IM and a Cap Shrine?

Friday, September 5, 2008

White People Can't Understand Police Corruption

This post is about Genius and my fear it won't get enough votes to get made into a proper series. Right now I'm seriously considering cobbling together something in photoshop and photocopying it at my local library and putting some flyers up and hope people see it. All the kids in my old neighbourhood were big on Myspace and this is a storyline they can understand. It's a storyline I understand.

'Cause like I said in my title; White People Can't Understand Police Corruption.

This thread and this one here on a different livejournal community show people going - "But the author hasn't shown these cops as bad. There's just rampant killing of the police! The police are the good guys! There's not even any racial slurs!!!! WTF??!! They just gunned down officers for no reason!!"


No reason?

NO REASON???!!

"Yeah" Someone else says, '"It's not like this is North Korea or China or something."

So apparently it's only understandable that the police can be fundamentally corrupt; can think of human beings as disposable, if said police are part of a communist government. And it's only understandable automatically that the police are blinded by their own prejudices when said police are Gestapo and the people oppressed are Jews (not even homosexuals and Roma because most people don't know or don't care about that if they pay attention to the Holocaust at all).

GENIUS is a a storyline about a tactical/military genius in the form of a 17 year old girl from South Central LA who plain as hell knows who the enemy is and is organizing her people against said enemy.

Just because you don't see a cop say n*gger doesn't mean they haven't done anything wrong. It's just privilege sure as hell showing because whites can afford to think of the police as their friends and the system as being for them- or at least they could if they weren't involved in protesting the war and getting beat the crap down in St. Paul for the RNC. And even that's not the same, the police there need to come up with some kind of excuse (however flimsy) to buss those asses. To bust a black ass?

1 - Driving while black.

2 - Driving in a 'too expensive car' while black (expensive being relative to the officer in question and his, sometimes her, perception).

3 - Walking while black.

4 - Standing on a street corner with age peers, while black (from ages 13 and up).

5 - Being black and requesting rights and equality.

6 - Being black and a sex worker.

7 - Being black and female and dressed up for clubbing.

8 - Being black and running away from gunshots.

9 -


  • "The subject was a black male."


  • "We believe the perpertrator was a black male."


  • "She said she was held at gunpoint and her car and children were taken from her by a black male."


  • "Be on the lookout for a black male, between twenty and forty years of age...."


  • "But this was just another incidence of black on black crime."


  • "An all time rise in black on black crime."


  • "The main police suspect in the case is a black male."


Just because this is the United States of America doesn't mean there's not a whole lot of similarity between here and now in the present and what happened in South Africa before the end of Aparthied. Just because we no longer have to go in through back doors and sit in the back of the bus and we get to apply for jobs alongside whites doesn't mean anything more than how much things all got shifted to the shadows instead of being bold in sin and sunlight.

Now to quote some stupidity from people who refuse to see that the cops have been in a war with blacks (specifically from the ghetto) for a long, long, time.

Goattoucher:
Are they oppressed by the police like the Nazis conquering Europe? Are they oppressed by the police like the British squeesing the lively hood out of the colonials and imprisoning those that speak against them?

I don't live in wonderland, but can you tell me the way to Exaggerationville?

________________



proteus_lives:
Oppression? HAHAHAHAHA. Ever heard of North Korea? China? Burma or take your pick of shitty African countries, Russia, the Middle East and the list goes on. These people oppress themselves, try living in a place like the list and tell us about opression. Her tragic flaw is that she hasn't signed up with the police and is working on taking out the drug dealers and pimps and thugs that make her neighorhood a horrible place.

This is just about misdirected anger.

People only hear about bad cops on tv and the media but the majority of them are good men and women who do their jobs, put their lives on the line and people shit on them.

________________


gwynethfar:
Stupid people aside, I don't think I'd back a comic that showed graphic depictions of law officers being killed. Especially when the comic doesn't make the motive of the main character clear. It's just one big, long "Fuck da police" sequence.

If it had been set up differently, like the cops she was after were all part of a corrupt, underground unit controlled by an evil DA who was targeting the young men of the neighborhood to help keep the drug trade going or something like that, then it would be a good story. Right now it's just, "I am the only black person to ever understand military tactics! Tremble in fear!"


Special Note: Clearly no one's ever told Gwynethfar that Hannibal was black. And she's also convinced the only white villains are mustache twirlers.

________________



suitablyemoname:

1. LOL @ "women in poor communities are allowed to do Women's Work, and therefore men would totally take orders from them".

Sure, the woman might handle all the money, do all of the cooking, and might be the only person in the house with a real job, but if you ask the husband who the Head of Household was, especially if said husband is a gang member with access to all the fun tools that implies, you'd get a very different answer.

2. In which case the mother or alpha woman being the head of household is even more unremarkable if we're trying to assess whether gang members raised in these surroundings would take orders from a 17-year-old girl

Special Note: Cause we all _know_ that shit could only happen to a half white made up character portrayed as real life Margeret Seltzer's Appropriating Memoirs

________________


Over and over and OVER again the black community says - "We do not live in the same world!", We do not. live. in the same world!"

Whoopi Goldberg: " No, no, I, I want you to. But what I need you to understand is the frustration that goes along when you say we live in the same world. It isn’t balanced. And we would like it to be. But you have to understand, you have to listen to the fact that we’re telling you, there are issues, there are huge problems that still affect us. And you’ve got to know this if you want to know us."

And some whites have pointed this out as well. "Black and whites live in two different worlds." They say. "It is different!" they say.

GENIUS seems poised to be yet another voice declaiming this. It's not even out yet, but whites? Still not listening.

ETA: One can vote for GENIUS here on myspace; look for the inset poll. Or here on TopCow's front page, again look for the inset poll at the bottom of the page.