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.


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.


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.]