Saturday, September 29, 2007

Issue #3: People of Color in SF Blog Carnival

The third People of Color in Scifi & Fantasy Carnival is up and live @ Bellatrys Livejournal.

Please, please go take a look. It's a very interesting collection of links and commentary, noting everything from Victorian attitudes on the Dark Continent to the treatment of Characters of Color in Boy's Love Manga.

And she mentioned Coptic Art!

Also October has a host but I haven't heard back from the people who said they'd be interested in November & December. So, any takers?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Excited About Anime

I've taken to watching a lot of anime lately. Behind the cut-tag are my thoughts on the first 25 episodes of Claymore. The series runs 26 Episodes and I've got to wait around for the fansub of the final one (end of season, end of series, I don't know). But the last one aired this past Wed.

Before the cut, however, I will say that there are amazing similarities between Claymores (the female warriors in the series - which is also a manga - and Slayers, as in Btvs. Like there are serious similarities, but in a very interesting, if occasionally frustrating and potentially gender wtf way.

If you don't mind being spoiled for some concepts of the series, click the cut-tag. But I'm really going to try not to give away too much. I just need to say now that Claymores are female warriors who are half-human, half-demon, with blonde hair, run by a shadowy organization of men.

Yes, the parallel to the Slayer (aka Buffy the Slayer vs simply one of many) is right there in your face. And don't worry, if you like Faith - there's a Faith too.

Right from the start when I realized that shadowy male figures, who are obviously handlers, and are part of an organization with no name, are effectively controlling these amazing women - I went wtf.

I didn't like that episode of Buffy where we discovered that the first Slayer was essentially raped by demons, under the watchful eye of selfish tribal elders and that until Buffy came along women had been dying in the name of protecting humans from the dark as pawns of an organization of those elders and their descendants for centuries. It turned the whole concept of the blonde girl in the alley turning the tables on the monsters right back around to women as the victims. Not to mention women being granted power by men, but said power being so dangerous that the women need guarding ever after.

As Claymore reveals itself in it's first few episodes I felt more and more uneasy. And yet I was hooked by a very clever play on show it don't say it. Bad fiction tells me the protagonist is a hero (as in champion of good) but then shows me said character being selfish, dishonest, petty, vain and any number of other things.

Claymore tells me that these women warriors are not to be trusted, that they are dangerous tools barely held in check. But then it shows me a protagonist who affects people in positive ways. It shows me someone who is thoughtful, protective, aware of her limitations and faults.

And then it begins to show me why the protagonist and her comrades in arms might voluntarily wear a facade of uncaring. It shows me how they're treated by the populace and their own handlers. It shows me how even their friendships are used against them. Most of all it shows me that however these women were chosen or chose to become such protectors from the moment that was done, they were treated as less than humanity while protecting humanity.

There's an angle I loved about Season Five of Buffy, wherein Buffy slowly realizes that everyone is telling her how weak she is because of her power. As a survivor of abuse I know full well how easy it is to be talked, bullied and emotionally battered out of realizing that you can fight back, or walk away. I loved watching Buffy realize that she had several groups of people pulling the same shit on her to keep her from realizing the truth - that she wasn't lesser or wild or dangerous or even inexperienced and badly trained. (I guess that explains my dislike for S6. To me S5 was a high and then...well that's another essay)

Obviously in this kind of show, Claymore, the protagonist will be special some how in one way or more than one way. The similarities with Buffy continue, to me, in that unknowingly our protagonist draws people to her. Within an organization that seems determined to keep it's warriors isolated and alienated - for the most obvious reason, I suspect, of preventing them from banding together against their superiors - this is suspicious.

Loyalty, Caring and Warmth as suspicious.

How often are those considered to be defining traits of female characters (and women in real life for that matter) and how often are those very traits used as weaknesses? Her too soft heart. Her too caring attitude. She needs to toughen up. She trusts too easily. She's mislead through/by love. She's too open.

Over and over again. I've seen it in fiction.

Now truthfully any heroic figure with hangers on they care about is opening themselves up to hostage situations, pain and possible manipulation. But to me there's something distinct in how such possibilities set up female characters as self-created victims, whereas with male characters it's the villains doing something purely vile and 'not game' somehow. But I digress.

Claymore intrigues. There's the organization. There's our protagonist. There's her personality and actions and how those are viewed by the organization. And then there are the reflections of the protagonist in the form of her comrades. Remember all Claymores have blonde hair and oh yeah, silver eyes. So they're a group that look peculiarly alike.

The Faith reflection is a Claymore who likes blood too much. She lives for the fight, the thrill, the hunt, the action and the blood. Claymores are feared for being half-monster (called youma). The Claymore version of Faith is a monster, she's still simply wearing her human face. It's a self deception that had me wondering if there'd ever be circumstances where she'd come head to head with that or if instead she'd end up a monster with no idea she is a monster, because really if she feels the same on the inside what's the difference?

Ahh yes, the reason Claymores are feared for being half-monster is that Claymores tap into their demon potential in order to fight the human preying demons. But if they tap into too much they become a monster and have to be hunted down themselves.

What? You're saying I should have mentioned that earlier? Why? The organization keeps tabs on each warrior, remember? The moment one reaches that point - well snap chop cut it's over. Thank you for playing and no there's no door prize on the way out.

Besides this way even without seeing the episodes, hopefully you have a sense of a champion trying to do good, treated like an animal, in fear of her own abilities, all while attempting to follow the rules and her own sense of honor.

Let me know if you looked it up.

PS: It's also a Manga with a slightly variating plot.

x-posted personal journal

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Wtf Comic World? WTF

The Stupid It Is Contagious At The Executive Levels

Or more than likely; Copycat Copycat OMG.

So Marvel goes and says : Hey Wolverine's a bit of the old slut and he's kind of ancient, he's got to have spawn lurching around the globe. So they make it so. With the really tired plotline of tortured bratty boy child, wants to kill his father, new nemesis, blah blah blah, shadow schemer manipulating him, blah blah blah.

I can dislike the storyline and not follow it and wait for Logan to get interesting again. No problem.

But what the fuck DAMIAN WAYNE?

Ibn al Xu'ffasch - Son of the Bat / Grandson of the Demon, raised in secret by Talia, part of an ELSEWORLD UNIVERSE is suddenly canon? And roaming around being balls to the gas pedal bastardastic?

I know there's no such thing as a new story, just creative ways of telling the same stories told and retold and expanded upon since the beginning of time.

But seriously DC? Seriously?

I know if I say: Have Thee No Shame - someone will tell me that there's no proof or something that that they're copying a storyline, or mention that the concept of Batman's Son was going to fall off a licensing map or something.

I. Don't. Care.

I just... g'damn it. I have to wait another decade for DC to start doing stuff that doesn't make me want to stick all their wangs in an electric pencil sharpener.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Pretty Coloured Concepts

So someone on my personal InsaneJournal flist had a link up to DrawerGeeks and a couple of the images there pinged with me and pinged hard.

The flister linked to Wonder Woman drawings in particular and I was hit hard, right between the eyes by this one. Muscles, strength, a bit of a cocky if sincere smile. Have I mentioned how much I like the artist who did Rucka's run on WW? Rucka played up the myth elements I old so dear. But I also wanted to lick that WW and work in the embassy. She was strong and elegant and powerful, confident and complex and mesmerizing.

Among the drawings on the WW page, I also liked this one. In my head I think of her as 'Political Activist Wonder Woman' - A savvy no nonsense super heroine well schooled on international law and the laws of the countries with the most heinous acts against women, who rescues or helps mugging victims while dashing from conference to conference and who stalks through the streets of foreign cities doing battle with gods and demi-gods there who influence the people to keep women down.

Just Barely Not Crotchless WW was my second least fav. Because despite the thong she's active. Whereas this WW... I suppose I should be able to see it as a woman enjoying the breeze perhaps or something like that. But the whole pose just says 'object for male gaze' and I can't seem to find any strength in it.

I can see her turning to meet Talking!Barbie at an open air cafe. You remember that Talking Barbie, right? The one who said "Math Is Hard'.

The Princess Lei Page has me thinking I may need to find out which of the Star Wars Comic TPB's are good. Because wow, after so much Padme in the face I'd forgotten what a strong human woman (or at least human seeming) looked like.

Covered neck to toe, with just a sliver of shin and thigh showing but so much strength and attitude. Yes, I too (like some of the boys) had my 'OMG Princess Leia is HOT' moment. Though it had nothing to do with the gold bikini - except for the part where she was strangling Jabba. That was seriously hubba.

A little more thigh showing but still Leia attitude. Leia as Asian which I'd never really considered before, despite the hairstyle. A wonderful active, active, suddenly big eyed anime loss of agency combination of sketches, that does without words what I feel a whole bunch of various blog entries have tried to say about active heroine vs male prize.

And then there's this. I don't care how stick figure it seems. It hit me right in the chest that not only had I never thought of Leia (or the princess) as possibly being Asian, I'd never imagined her brown. < -- This relates more to my recent private practice of mentally (or on private spreadsheets) creating a People of Colour version of popular fictional worlds.

Medusa isn't a a superhero - tradtionally anyway, But some of the art there is rich fodder for the imagination.

Oh and not to leave out the men - this image - is evocative of about 70% of how I feel about Superman.

In Other News: I've been thinking about if to call this a 'comics blog/journal' or if to find some way to include my hunting for heroes through anime and brightly coloured art. I'm still trying to figure out if I want to move it. Blogger confuses me when I'm weary - no layouts I like and something about it just... it jars me out of the headspace to write in SA. Otoh, I'm disliking Livejournal's policies, I moved my personal journal already, and 6Apart just switched CEO's. It's not as I get a ton of traffic here to be contributing to their content offerings, eyeballs for ads blah blah. But I'm still feeling hinky about being here. Like I left an abusive situation but I go back to do laundry.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

omg please I think it's squee

Dear People,

Online Comic-book stores. Good ones. Tell me.

I want The Marvel Tarot.


Speak quickly before the urge passes and Marvel becomes 'those ratty bastards' again.

Friday, September 7, 2007

People of Colour in SF Blog Carnival

Submissions here for the next PoC SF Carnival. :)

Just a little nudging.

Deadline is September 25th/2007

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

For Christmas I Want A Male Genetalia Guillotine

So I read this post about Wonder Woman and I'd have commented on WFA if I could find the damn comment button. But since I couldn't...

"Gets between the wonder thighs"

The misspelling of Xena as Zena.

Wanting Wonder Woman to seduce bad guys.

Wanting her to beat up on bad guys without a second thought...

I understand fully that Wonder Woman's purpose in the world is difficult to get a grasp on. And I fully agree that there should be far more godly and demi-godly goings on in her titles. I've believed for a while that she should be here to protect man's world from the gods, so that man can still have free will - that Wonder Woman wants to remind mankind that they don't have to bow down before every semblance of power and that peace through inner strength is something every individual can attain.

But "Gets between the wonder thighs"?!!!

I know I tend to see WW as a feminist asexual or lesbian figure and that's just me. But wtf? On the one hand this poster is talking about making WW more than a mouthpiece for issues, making her iconic in a way that Superman and Batman are for the very basest and slowest and simplest of comic book readers. But his path to that is all about getting men to identify with the man who 'gets between the wonder thighs'.

Obviously I'm having trouble finding words about how violating this idea seems.

Are there stories I know nothing about where comic book guys get to fantasize putting the superpeen to some woman other than Lois Lane? Or the BatCondom gets slicked up with the yoni juices of a whole host of women because...well Batman needs a break from his g'damn mission ?

Y'know I like the thought of WW with a consistent support cast. I like the thought of her with a significant other. Heck I happen to think the concept of Steve Trevor as a laid back, feminist male interesting, despite my personal feelings about WW as lesbian icon.

But wtf?

It's difficult to take a women warrior seriously all the time?


Is it difficult to take seriously a mere mortal battling super powered aliens and meta-humans on equal footing? No. When it's Batman we don't blink - because it's BATMAN.

Why should it be any different to go 'Oh, she can punch through a steel wall because she's WONDER WOMAN'.

I feel...slimed. I'm well aware this is my personal thing - but I feel slimed that someone looks at WW and thinks the easiest way to make her relatable is to have some guy get between the wonder thighs - as if the way to make WW popular is to remind male viewer's she's still nothing but pussy.



I mean there I was reading and thinking - Ok, make her relavant and bring in the gods and give her a true purpose other than something vague, make her the people's living goddess and yeah there should be something about the atrocities committed against women, hmm hmm maybe she should could be connected to some version of a feminist amnesty international.

And then all of a sudden - slimed.

I'm not saying it's wrong to think that of the Big Three, WW could be the one with gentle humor. Because that would actually be nice. She's beautiful when she laughs and humor and laughter are about a lightening of the human spirit. And it'd make her distinct from 'The Boy Scout' and 'The Dark Knight'. But humor because her strength isn't believable even in the world of fantasy?

And 'get between the wonder thighs'....


I feel sick and I want to cry at the realization that anyone would think that way about her and feel it should become part of her general characterization.

I love superheroes but g'damn I'm fed up with this 'Superheroes are for boys, so boys come first' bullshit. Yes boys had Robin Hood, but Red Riding Hood came first and she tricked the Wolf into setting her free in the original stories. Just because our early years heroes wear glass slippers and ball gowns and run away from home to get away from insane letcherous fathers doesn't make the superhero groove any less deep or set early for lack of those characters having penises.

"Get between the wonder thighs."

G'damn I need to go watch Buffy hit Parker in the head with a tree limb now.

More On The Squee

I'm still reading and thinking of the suggestions provided with my last post. But I've found myself seriously wondering about the direction of Seeking Avalon and what I have to say.

Right now I feel as if it's not comics I want to talk about and/or comics that I love - but Superheroes. I love superheroes. I'm going to think about this in a little while, along with the definition of a superhero, whether or not there are characters who would be called superheroes if they were in comics vs being in novels or on TV.

I'm also going to think about the fact that I have white people fatigue. I was looking at scans from Black Canary recently. And I like Black Canary. But all I could see was blonde Dinah and blonde Ollie and I just felt tired. Really, really, tired. And fed up. And omgwtfthey'reeverywhere! Which of course is life, but why is it bugging me so much right now?

Virgin Comics is looking more and more like good possible refuge. Have to look up the trades.

Monday, September 3, 2007

But Where Has The Squee Gone?

The first anniversary of Seeking Avalon has come and gone without comment. I'd been hoping to move the journal off livejournal and to post more.

But RL stuff has eaten up a lot of my time and thoughts and recently when I get to comics I'm just so pissed off it feels draining.

I don't want Seeking Avalon to die off without even a full year's worth of posts. I like it. I like that I started talking. I like where that talking took me.

I'm just...oddly joyless atm.

Where's the squee?

I've lost my squee. And it makes me more down than Austin Powers when he lost his Mojo.

I need to get my hands on Spiderman Loves Mary Jane and Blue Beetle, because I hear people squeeing from that corner of the comic world a lot.

G'damn I miss my squee.

I'm so...pissed.

I'm pissed at Joss taking over Runaways - because if I want Jossstyle I'll pick up Angel or Buffy Season 8.

I'm pissed at losing the chance to be current in BOP while Gail Simone is doing it. But that's an old withered bit pf piss.

I'm shaken wary pissed at what's to come next with Supergirl.

I'm sick and tired of hearing half the internet go 'OMG WTF They're RUINING KYLE!'

Dude, it's not ASBAR, shut up.

I'm pissed at being diplomatic. I'm pissed at trying to see other people's pov. I'm pissed at the persona re-invention that I've observed to happen in some blogs or with some bloggers every 3 to 6 months.

I'm pissed people like Scott over at Yahoo even exist on the same planet and breathe the same air. I feel about him the way I felt about general white South Africans during Aparthied.

Where's my squee?

I need squee.

Maybe I should go back to trying to do a character analysis every once in a while. I have fallen in love with new characters since i started writing about comics.

Still, I need more squee than that.

Anyone got squee? Are you willing to share?

In Other News: Anime. Yay 12 Kingdoms. Yay Bleach. Boo TokyoPop for telling me I'll get one fricking 12 Kingdom Novel a year. That's 11 fricking years dirtwads!