Monday, May 21, 2007

50 Things I Love About SUPERHERO COMICS (meme)

50 Things I Love About SUPERHERO COMICS

1) Batman - A character who turned his personal tragedy into a need to protect others from having to go through the same thing? I've been loving on him since I was 4 yrs old.

2) Gotham - Dark, broody, grim, with many tiny specks of light.

3) Batman / Deathblow - The Artwork & Story

4) The World's Finest - The depths of friendship and just plain love between two seeming oppsite larger than life characters; Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, Emperor Joker, etc

5) Unexpected team ups like in Marvel/DC crossovers where Captain America meets Batman and they size each other up in moments and slight body movements and then decide to listen to each other and fix the real problem.

6) Getting to watch Kevin Smith and Neil Gaiman fanboy and create canon.

7) Girls in white costumes kicking ass (Dazzler, Dagger, Captain Marvel aka Monica Rambeau, PowerGirl)

8) Busiek's Jack in the Box - He's black, he fights crime, he ties criminals up with super silly string!

9) Eric Lensherr - Father, Comrade, Leader, Sneaky son-of-a-Gun, Guy Who Reduces Sentinels To Pools of Metal Uselessness.

10) BKV's Runaways

11) The concepts of Sorcerer Supreme and Dr. Fate - Fighting supernatural battles against chaos for the forces of order that no one else even knows is going on.

12) The fact that alternate universes, time-space warps, aliens, magical spells that rip into reality, avenging ghosts, hell, demons, fallen angels, atheist heroes, gods from myth, and body switching can all play a part in the same universe sometimes even the same city.

13) The fact that Lucifer quit hell and opened a Club.

14) "Bub"

15) The fact that a seeming pastiche/homage character (like Samaritan) can make you fall in love with the inspiration character (like Superman) and suddenly see him with all new eyes.

16) Every time Superman goes "Actually, I've been holding back. But I don't need to - you can take the damage." And then proceeds to punch someone through three buildings, a stadium and a random empty lot of grass - with one hit.

17) People with shadow powers who fight on the side of good.

18) Nightcrawler

19) The Hiketeia - Getting to see Wonder Woman whup my beloved Batman while showing her true differences compared to modern mortals.

20) Thinking you've found everyone you could like in one universe only to be introduced to yet another. In my case Booster Gold & Blue Beetle.

21) The unique mix of tragedy, comedy, drama, love story, family complications and team building that goes along with saving the city/world/universe

22) Gotham Central

23) Ed Brubaker's Catwoman (Getting to cheer for a thief)

24) Greg Rucka & Wonder Woman being like peanutbutter and chocolate

25) Invincible - Even though I wish I could see something as wonderful as this played out with a girl in the title role, it doesn't make it any less wonderful.

26) Discovering John Constantine, his life, his work, his varied adventures, failed relationships and personal grit.

27) Scott Summers

28) The fact that Barbara Gordon got more interesting, productive and far reaching to me as Oracle.

29) Crazy fucked up story-lines about falling in love with the bad guys.

30) Women with power hammers; Barda, Hawgirl

31) Women who smash

32) Atlantis being the biggest region in the world.

33) Harleen Quinzel

34) Pamela Isely

35) Venom Kisses

36) Wind Powers

37) Gypsy Moth

38) Helena Wayne - Huntress

39) The Morlocks

40) Radioactive spider-bites, magical amulets, soul binding jewelry, helmets, gamma radiation, funky blood transfusions, a mutant gene, nana-technology, time travel and other implausible causes of super powers.

41) League of Assassins

42) Luck Powers (Hmm Longshot, Domino, Shattershot)

43) Mojoworld

44) Elseworlds, WhatIf's, AU's

45) Alfred Pennyworth

46) The fact that DC's main continuity verse led to Paul Dini's Toonverse!

47) The possibility that with 52 dimensions now, PowerGirl might get to revisit her original universe. (And meet up with her best friend #38!)

48) Wakanda - It's hokey and occasionally offensive and when not offensive dismissed. But it's still an African State that's one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world.

49) Spandex/Gortex costumes are cool and colorful and may be worn with a leather trenchcoat.

50) Kung Fu as a Superpower - thus carrying my love of the Kung Fu Flick into a something I can read.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Raise Your Voice - Go Directly To TypeCasting

So I'm surfing my feeds and going through links and I come across a mention or two of myself. And the mentions are about the fact that I'm indignant and angry at the blogger behind Comics Worth Reading. And there are words about how I and others who are indignant aren't learning anything and how Johanna has walked the walk.

Johanna has walked the walk - good for her. Johanna has a resume she can be proud of, also good for her.

None of that changes the fact that she said something that I personally found dismissive and confusing and so I commented and asked her to explain herself. Her reply was that she'd seen people burnt out. I understood (and still understand) her to have said that she'd given up on superhero comics as they are and believes that if they were to change they'd stop being what they are and that there needs to be some other slice of the pie that gets carved out.

She explained herself to me. The fact that I don't agree with it and I think it sounds a lot like giving up - is on me. And I'm allowed to have my own bloody opinion. I'm not beating up on her. I don't care about her. I don't know her. I know what she said and how she explained herself and we're two different human beings who get to have differing views.

On my journal, I asked the question for people who aren't burnt out / don't think it's all a waste of time. I wanted to know if they think it's useless self masochism or if they think that by making noise and calling for change and perhaps through that inspiring current and budding artists and writers to 'think differently' specifically about superhero comics that some change can come about. I wanted to know if they thought that there should be a start over and the industry as we know it should be left to become a production line that caters specifically to the kind of people quite a few of us have been rolling our eyes and shaking our heads about these last few weeks.

I wanted and still want to know if they think we should leave Superman and Batman and Spiderman and WonderWoman and the X-Men alone and stop asking to see representations of them and their worlds as we want to enjoy them and simply create a whole new myth universe for ourselves.

Johanna responded in her own journal with a list of superhero comics she does like.

Now it's quite possible I was less clear on what my thoughts were than even I realized. The post was labeled Semi-Complete Thoughts, but maybe that aspect of it got passed by. And I know that because I have been involved in another project where visibility and making a noise is key, I was and I still am in a frame of mind where it seems to me that it is very important to press for a change in perspective of female comic heroes and have those changes represented in the mainstream; no tokens, no created to be killed off, no forgotten about until someone needs to die heroically.

That doesn't change my question and who I want to hear/read from and pay attention to. I don't want to pay attention to someone who's burnt out. That's not the type of role model that inspires me to keep walking the walk. I started this journal because I was inspired that I had a voice and a right to my voice. And through this journal I've started and am working on a Blog Carnival because I've been inspired to have something that celebrates characters and creators of color in SF. Who knows what more inspiration could lead me to do. I look forward to finding out. And if indignation is part of that inspiration fuel, so much the better. There's a lot that's been accomplished in the world based on that fuel.

Finally Johanna is Johanna and I am me and at the end of the day I'd hope we both basically want stories we can read and feel satisfied with. Neither of us are mindless shrews.

I don't know why it seems to be believed that when women, in particular, disagree that it's an immediate catfight and claws will come out and blood will drip and we'll tear each other to shreds rather than work out the point. It's a myth. Johanna is not the first and probably will not be the last female blogger I disagree with. For example I have my own thoughts about Stephanie Brown. She is not the first and will probably not be the last comics-sphere blogger whose point of view is not similar to my own and is one I just don't get.

And she is also not likely to be the last person to link me to something a black comics blogger has said about race, racism and struggling for visibility and respect, as part of a reaction that seems more than slightly 'I'm not gonna touch that race thing' and makes me feel as if she missed my point and the question I was starting dialogue over; That she was instead busy scrambling away from the merest hinting specter of a race relations discussion and my point/queries got lost.

Actions like that make me feel as if every black comics blogger is expected to feel exactly the same way about the same thing. So that if one black comic blogger has responded like XYZ then we all have to believe in XYZ.

Just like women, minorities are individuals too. My question was individual. As was the link she posted to.

BTW & FOR THE RECORD: I said she made me feel as if she was side-stepping a point. MADE. ME. FEEL. As in - My interpretation of her actions. I'm not in her head, I don't know what she thought. I used an analogy that's relevant for me . I wanted to see if she'd rephrase herself when thinking about it that way and end up saying something new about her point that would clarify it for me. That said, I don't care if she's 1/4 Cherokee, if she has black friends or even if she is of minority ethnic origin herself. (Though I would be surprised she didn't realize how that phrasing would come across). She reacted to me and phrased things in a way that made me go 'Whoa...she felt accused'. And so after I replied I didn't go back. There's no point in having a discussion if everyone's huffy. Nothing really happens.

What I Want In A SuperHeroine
What I want is a woman I can want to emulate; one who can kick butt, save lives, take names and smile because she's done a good job.

What I Want In A SuperHero
Someone I can wish to emulate. Someone who can kick butt, save lives, take names and smile because he or she has done a good job. I want someone with a great supporting cast (either of allies and friends, or of reoccurring enemies). I want someone with a history that feels real and who has understandable emotional and then physical responded to a situation. Even if that understanding doesn't hit me until two days later or three issues down the line. I want someone my inner little girl can want to imagine protecting her bedroom at night. I want someone my baby sister will be proud to pretend to be when playing and not feel like my brothers got all the 'cool' characters. I want when, heaven forbid, a disaster happens, for me to wish and wonder 'What would have happened if SuperHero X was real'. I want someone who inspires others into instant joy and squee and long debates about their history and philosophy and who can hold a con panel discussion their characterization for a whole two hours.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Semi-complete Thoughs: Should we pack our bags and go' - Equal Representation In SuperHero Comics

Is it facetious if I ask if Superhero Comics are not and will never be comics worth reading?


The person behind the website seems to strongly believe that superhero comics will

"...break your heart before you’re able to achieve substantial change... "

She's observed it happening to people - burn out.

I can understand that. I can understand fearing it. But what really are the odds of women and underrepresented minorities suddenly spinning off a slice of the comics publishing pie to create their own sub-industry?

I mean, what's the real story being what happened with Milestone and Static?

On the other handt I don't like being told I'm beating my head against a wall. Everyone is of course entitled to their pov. Our thoughts are who we are. But because of that, my thoughts are who I am too. And I want the industry to wake up. I don't want to end up with my wants and needs being placed in a 'ghetot'.

Maybe change won't happen in a big way in the next five, ten, fifteen or even twenty years. But it definitely won't happen if I stop trying - right?

And I do think there's something intentionally marginalizing about going off to find my own sandbox. It's the big two who're marginalizing their potential consumer base. They're the ones with narrow focus. They're the ones too scared to risk.

So they exclude me or misrepresent me (general me) and I do what?

I'm really, really struck by 's post about the narrow focus of Marvel specifically and how they're alienating potential consumers.

But am I to take that and go in a corner and figure out a way to tap that market? Like the nerd getting the cheerleader to prove the bullies' wrong?

I'd really like to hear from people who don't find super-hero comics a waste of time. Is it time to promote super hero web comics? Well Fantastically Heroic Comics, because superhero is copyrighted and trademarked, isn't it?

Even if a sub-industry/subsect grew out of no where to prove there's an audience. That audience and those creators would never get to freely use the term 'superhero'. We'd lose that. And sure it's just a word, but I wonder if it's a word that would become a symbol of what we've given up on in order to be heard.

Though not really heard either, right? Because for example African American Literature can touch all the same themes as other genres but tends to sell less because it's perceived as being only for blacks. And there's some really good reading to be found under titles labeled 'chick-lit' but it's not seen or treated the same way as regular literature. In fact I'm one of those women who ends up almost automatically belittling it because I don't want to read something perceived and generally represented as so narrow and without broad appeal. So would this sub-set industry be perceived as only for - insert your minority here- ?

How freeing can your adolescent power fantasy be if you're squished in a corner against the wall? If it's given the chance to be treated as something less?

And I admit to having adolescent power fantasies. I'm proud of my day dreams. To this day I get caught between wanting Dazzler's powers, Wind Dancer's powers or Skid's (Sally Blevins).

What adolescent doesn't want powers that makes them feel special? Or that lets them express themselves in a way words can't? What about all the adolescents dealing with stress and emotional and physical abuse who lose themselves in comics and wish they had powers to protect themselves and their families.

I've experienced for myself what quietly accepting the status quo can do to limit your imagination. I don't want that for my baby sister. I don't want that for her generation or the ones that come after. I don't want them thinking they can't imagine x, y or z because they're not boys, or not white or not American.

I know that's why I just might keep banging my head against a brick wall.

The Comic. It was all shapes and colors. Four colors. Four primary colors. Art - Maybe.

I've seen the previews of All Star Batman & Robin #5. I've also read Sin City.

I don't particularly want to see Diana as the Heir Apparent of Old Town. Some others may. Personally I think Miller's suffering from some type of writer's fatigue. And I'm grateful that he and Laurell K Hamilton of the Anita Blake series and the comic book 'Guilty Pleasures' will never, ever, meet.

I like life and living. I'm not ready for a second Big Bang.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mary Jane Watson

SludgeSuckerOf The Deep: I thought that MJ was hot in the Spiderman series, but now that she's a figurine and completely slutty: I'm diggin' it even more :-D

RandomPerhapsNotEnitrelyUselessGuy: The proportions are all screwed up. Nobody, but nobody has a waist that thin and tits that size. I'd be too busy wondering about her eating disorders to get a hard-on.

SludgeSuckerOf The Deep: I could care less about proportions. It's something about the red hair and the fact she's cleaning bent over...

Me: Y'know, there's something called porn, and something called the internet and something called a credit card. You should look into those. And possibly aloe vera wet wipes to clean up all your spills.

SludgeSuckerOf The Deep: Is this before or after your mother's face becomes a reservoir for my "deposit"? I don't need those things because I have a g/f. I was merely saying that I thought the figurine was hot. Nothing more or less. You sound like you could use some porn or a good proctologist to remove the penis from your rectum. Do you hear that? It's the fun being sucked out of the room. Don't rain on other people's parades because you're not happy with yourself.

Me: Wow, hostility with violent sexual innuendo. Well I feel myself all turned around from a stirring and articulate statement.

"I have a g/f"
May you and Seven of Nine have a long happy life together.


The original poster - RandomPerhapsNotEnitrelyUselessGuy: had ended his post with

"RandomPerhapsNotEnitrelyUselessGuy:is mostly angry about this because it means less chance of meeting a hot and intelligent girl in a comic book shop. If said hot and intelligent girl does show up, she'll just be pissed off, so what's the point?"

Ok, so maybe I shouldn't have responded the way I did. But now I find myself wondering if any woman should ever walk into his comic shop without a taser, an attack dog and and a very comfortable semi-automatic.

Why is it the guys who find statues of fictional women 'hot' and appropriately 'wood causing' are inarticulate slimey little fucktards who sound so women hating you find yourself frightened for their grandmothers?

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Not Quite Ready - But Why Wait?

When I'm not accidentally sending pebbles down hillsides to fall onto LJ like great big stony avalanches, I talk with comic bloggers and feminist bloggers.

In one such conversation, someone suggested that instead of waiting my turn and doing a Women of Color Edition of the Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction & Fantasy Fans (currently on its 13th Edition) that I instead start a carnival for People of Color in SF.

So I did.

The Carnival for Fans and Creators of Color in Science Fiction and Fantasy.

I thought at first when it was suggested that we don't have enough of this kind of discussion for there to be a Carnival. Then pointed out that by having the Carnival it could well encourage people to speak up more.

I know that my feminist slanted comic blog came about because of exposure to the Feminist Carnival and the bloggers on it. And came about because of discussion on LJ as well. So while I feel like I'm going out on a limb and assuming that having one central place with links will actually be read; it doesn't feel like such a fragile limb.

There are a few safe places for discussion on lifejournal, where you don't feel as if you're talking Race Relations 101, over and over and over again; where you can talk to the choir and share. But there are people who don't have livejournals who're discussing CoC and PoC in SF. I don't get caught up on them nearly as often as I'd like. And I've found myself wondering recently if they're out there in the blogsphere alone and/or unheard or only seldom heard.

I know that I've recently been dealing with the huge realization that somewhere in my unconscious was the assumption of certain spaces in SF that were just for white characters (or characters who weren't described as visibly other). It's shaken me and made me wonder about other writers - published or not, and other fans of color and if they've ever had a discussion happen that opened their eyes. Or if they'd even know where to go to read thoughts about that.

This is an experiment, I guess, in community building specifically for SF. And if it fails, it fails. But I don't see the harm in trying. And I think there might be a lot of good that can happen.

I'm nervous and a bit terrified and feeling out of my depth and hoping I don't mess this up horribly. But it feels too important not to try. It's just hit me in the face in the past few days how much community can mean.

I've created the Carnival for Fans and Creators - comics, games, authors, what have you. It's main site is on Blogger right now. I've also created a Carnival Delicious.

I'm thinking of a publish date of June 15th (which should give me time to recover from my move and help organize things) So is there anyone who'd be interested in participating by writing or pointing out links they've stockpiled or bookmarked/delicioused? Is there anyone interested in hosting? Pimping? Is there anyone who is fantastic at using delicious and want to help there? (Cause frankly, I think I suck at it) Is there anyone who's noticed something I've missed?

PoC SF Carnival: We Exist. And We Are Not Invisible