Monday, April 28, 2008

More Awkward - Hack/Slash 2

This started off as a comment reply to Kali921 and then became a review and some disbelieving 'I still like it!?.

Cause I do.

So I took it all the way.

Hot damn it feels like a ridiculous guilty pleasure. It makes me think of Ikki Tousen. I unashamedly adore every crotch shot, and ripped shirt, and fanservice double entendre of the Ikki Tousen anime.

Hack/Slash has panty shots and girls making out but it also has a Slasher Mythology. It strings together Michael Meyers and Chucky and Freddy and all those others into a LORE, with RULES and possibilities for original characters.

There's a tagline somewhere that it's what Buffy would have been if Robert Englund and Wes Craven had helped create it. And I don't find that tagline to be a joke.

The whole bloody hulking, big brute black male protector should also get on my nerves. A lot. But then they went and made the main female protagonist develop a bonded in blood solid friendship with a WoC. And they contrasted that with the deep friendship she has with said protector. And it made me believe that black folk in this universe are just lucky not to be around the craziness for the most part.

It made me believe not in a 'colour-blind' heroine. But in one who sees bad guys and innocents and that's it.

The art varies in one shot to one shot / arc to arc and honestly some of it I didn't enjoy. But when I thought about it, sometimes the art was a very subtle expression of the world view of the antagonist.

And getting back to the plot, it's like Wes Craven's Mind + Joss Wheadon Action & Characterization + X Files Mystery + Epic Saga Telling with chocolate sprinkles of violence and gore. At least to me.

For years I couldn't even look at a poster for Chucky, the damn thing disturbed me so much. And last night, in the middle of the night, I read Chucky vs Hack and I laughed and I felt involved in the plot and it felt right and fitting to me that he should be part of the universe.

I don't think the series is for everyone. I don't even understand why it's not freaking me out. I have no clue why it is that it doesn't disturb me, whereas as replied in a comment last night, Marvel Zombies definitely does. I can't even look at the damn cover. And I have no interest in reading any zombie comics.

I think this is appealing to me on an urban fantasy + urban legends level. It's appealing to the lover of myths and mythic heroes in me. It's taking all those tropes I've read about for slasher movies; that were apparently mocked in the Scream movies - which I couldn't watch and didn't get the point of - and making it relevant to me in a format I do get; heroic epic adventure in a modern landscape.

And it's combining all of that with some serious satire and commentary on popular culture, gender issues history, and issues of survivorship.

I think I also relate to the main character because her mother did horrendous things in the name of love and she spends her life wondering about what she, herself is capable of; what lines might she one day cross or is she daily crossing and re-drawing.

Morality and philosophy in a slasher comic; at least to my eyes. No wonder I'm impressed/surprised.

I can't remember where I saw it, either Box-in-the-Box or Lurkerwithout... Ok just looked it up. It was Box-in-the-Box who discussed/noted that lately quite a few narratives have:

...performed a reductive surgery on the idea of what it means to be a "hero," taking the concept from "someone who accomplishes or excels" to "someone who endures or survives."

It's a very short post, (from last year) but I recommend you read it.

Anyway, Cassie Hack does both. First she survived, then she got pro-active about it. Now she combines it to make sure others survive.

Maybe it HAS just been a long time since I saw a girl kick a monster upside the head or blow up a big ugly with a rocket launcher. But if I'm not the only one who has, I think Hack/Slash might satisfy.

Well this is awkward

It's late, I'm reading Hack/Slash and despite myself I'm liking it.


1) Not liking gore

2) Not having grown up liking slasher movies

3) The lonely black face per grouping (so far)

4) That Vlad, despite his name, brings to mind a combination of 'Magical Negro' and 'Strong Buck Protector' that makes me cringe.

I have obviously been suffering a serious lack of girls smacking monsters upside the head, cause damn it, I really like this. This is part of what I'd hoped LKH's Anita Blake would be - back before she had the comics, back before it was all SEX SEX SMEX ORGY.

So far I'm hooked on hutzpah and mythology - a good book will always get me if they make the mythology realistic.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Long story short? I said fuck 'em

I have considered adding a Rules Of The Road type post and link to it in the sidebar. I have added a link to the 2006 "About Seeking Avalon" that used to be an easy find back when it was the guest book/sticky post on livejournal.

But what point is there in adding rules of interacting on my journal. The fact that comments are moderated says up front that I'm not allowing fools to have a say on my blogger. Journals are free, they can get their own.

And I seriously doubt anyone who gets into an argument to me, while flashing their privilege and condescension will have read ahead of time that three is my limit in fruitless communication. So I'll end up mentioning it as I cut off the then in present conversation; each and every time.

The journal has evolved since 2006. I can barely believe I'll have a fricking blogiversary in August. Two years even. Truth is I probably wouldn't have stayed if I hadn't began speaking up about the things that bothered me AND about the things I adore, in other "4 color" entertainment.

{ Oh Animation, my baby, you sleek seductive, beguiling thing you, all muscles and intellect and brilliant hues }

Where was I? Oh yeah, idiots & Seeking Avalon - I'm not going out of my way to tell them that water is wet, and coffee is hot and being an idiot, far less a privileged sexist ass, will lead to mocking and then a polite discontinuation of the conversation. And I think I've made it clear that I DO NOT DO RACISM 101. And that link is also in the sidebar, moved it up a bit too.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

End Apartheid Now

We have lost BlackAmazon. Go here to see her signing off.

Ragnell has a post up, about how the feminist community failed to police itself. It is not a bad essay. Where it fails, however, is in aspects Ragnell no doubt was hesitant to get too deeply into outside of analogy; which was brilliant.

"If Feminism was a well, and racial equality was the only process available to purify water, we'd all be drinking sewage.

Admittedly, no one is perfect, but in general most people are willing to admit their shit does indeed stink. But every time someone at the Feminism Well points out that the water smells funny, the rest of the room shouts them down insisting that only the cleanest, clearest water comes from the Well of Feminism, and the idea that it may be polluted is a dirty lie spread by the Patriarchy in an attempt to prevent us from drinking water and hawk their Super-Concentrated Bottled Man-Juice (TM), now with EXTRA Oppression Power!"

I started this blog because Ragnell and Kalinara inspired me into having a voice on comics. The list of bloggers and journalers who inspired me to have an open and obvious black voice on something that inspired me as a child and helps me think of the future; that list is too long for me to remember clearly from day to day. It starts with my former roommate, sweeps through her LJ friends list, hops a ride through deadbrowalking, circles PoC Daily, loops around TheAngryBlackWoman and pulled into a stop not just at this blog, but in the creation of The People of Colour Scifi & Fantasy Blog Carnival.

But it's now missing two.

Any further words I'll have on this subject are likely to be beyond inflammatory. Just know, however, the next time someone says to me: 'It's only a comic / It's a colouring error / What's wrong with a ghetto backstory? / What do you mean you can't see the CoC's? They're not OBVIOUS that's all / You only want a Black Superman, Superman is for everyone! ' and other shit like this, I will get angry, just as I have been angry.

I will let them know their racist, privileged bullshit has no place in a fandom/community devoted to heroic actions, hearts and deeds. Apartheid has no place in comics fandom.

I will remind myself that the flames of my anger are fuel to keep going.

My voice may be coming from left field, from my chosen patch of territory. But this is my chosen patch. And I feel a need to keep going at least long enough to see others in my corner, so that when I burn out, it's not left undefended.

And no, I'm not so naive as to think I won't burn out.The rest of society is too well trained in racial deafness. I just watched two others burn out right before my eyes. But until then - I am a queer, wellspoken, black female immigrant. I may well be a womanist. And I plan to make comic reading, racist, privileged lives uncomfortable and uneasy as MUCH as I can.

Will and determination as a super power? I'm sure you've heard of it.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Someone Is Wrong ( This Black Woman's Not Awed Remix)

Dear Brett,

No I'm not "courageous" enough to post your comment (I call it being unfair, like life). Yes I am aware that I selectively dropped the bits from your original comment that got me the most teeved. Seeing as how it was an open letter to you and you knew what you wrote, I don't see the problem. Especially as I disallowed comments to that open letter.

It's lovely of you to accuse me of being unable to read when my phrasing of a statement included the words "twisting your metaphore".

It's lovely that you used an analogy that compared an internet disagreement to a specific super heroic war time action; In or out of context.

It's lovely of you to call me dear, personally, just as you referred to female, gender issues conscientious bloggers as 'My dear Wonder Women'.

It's lovely how you USED said analogy and the above phrase to try and twist the power politics of gender around and further detract from the original discussion.

It's lovely of you to AGAIN miss the point of my orignal posted entry response.


Sarcasm Note: Lovely is being used for other than its dictionary purpose.

Personal Note: I will c/p to you something I wrote to the person with whom I actually had a disagreement of thoughts. "I never promised you a rose garden. I never claimed to give you a clean or clear slate to convince me of anything."

Why you seem to think I'm going to look for entries, or follow up on supposed gender equality cred, by you, - I have no damn clue. Does my journal LOOK like Ragnell's? Answer is no. First off all hers is usually green and mine is pink.

General Note: I am not a fair person. I do NOT suffer fools gladly. I especially mock anonymous fools. (You could have put a name in the text, Brett). And three times is as much as I plan to ever engage in conversations that go nowhere. Ragnell will have a conversation with you patronizing asses. She has hope for you, along with a hefty appetite for troll du jour.

I have no time for your various, rubber stamped, society approved entitlements.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Someone Is Wrong... (Anonymous Chicken Feather Remix)

Dear Anonymous Person who couldn't even sign with SOME sort of pseud,

I don't publish the comments of cowards.

I laugh at your attempt to switch things from my perspective of a pompous ass kisser picking on another blogger using a strawman argument that various other individuals saw through, to accusing "Real Women of behaving in a stereotypical manner for no real reason"

You also disgust me with comparing this whole scenario to Wonder Woman's murder of Max Lord and twisting your metaphor to make her an unreasoned killer.

You, like the person you're defending have missed the entire point. And you're right, YOUR feminist credentials do read like 'I have lots of black friends'.

ETA: [ Actually it's worse, it reads voyeuristically thus making you a patron of a minstrel show. Reading WFA is passive and as the linklist links pro and con doesn't actually establish anything more than a sound byte mentality towards gender issues.]

Not to mention the fact that you calling me a feminist shows you're clearly not paying attention.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Let There Be LIGHT!

I can't quite remember when I found FLARE online. But she reminded me so much of Dazzler, that I loved her instantly thinking of her as a combination of Dazzler & Wonder Woman. Recently with I've had a chance to peruse issues and back issues. I've made another go at the Herioc Publishing website.

I ended up sending this letter in their feedback form:

Is there any particular reason you have an all white universe?

Will you ever have characters of colour and specifically black characters among your heroes?

I think I saw one mention after much searching of your site of a possible heroine but I could not figure out what super powers the afro-ed, short shorts wearing, wiggling her backside to the camera, individual was supposed to have. And I certainly couldn't find any book layouts or panels of her interacting with others.

Is Heroic Publishing, pro Apartheid, pro Segregation?

Do you simply not want blacks and other minorities to buy your products?

As a little girl, Alison Blair and Tandy Bowen were my heroes, they could light up the dark. They made nightime not scary. I adored them, totally adored them. I still adore them. Except I'm old enough now to realize I've never seen a brown or black person with those kinds of powers. They tend to get shadow powers.

Terri Feran could join the first two in a heroic triad of characters that make my inner little girl get up and sock'em rock'em punch'em.

But it's incredibly demoralizing to me, to look at the comics produced and see no people of colour at all. Maybe here or there in the backgrounds, especially when one of the reformed Nazi characters is having a moment 'These people, these savages, these non pure bloods' but not heroes.

One would think that in a universe where there are heroes who were raised secretly in Brazil by Nazis to be the ubermen who'd rule the world, who then turned against their masters, there'd be some importance in showing a black or brown or red or golden face among the heroes and their new allies.

Heroic's website is partially confusing however, so maybe there are wonderful characters of colour in their universe that I just can't find with a site map.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Someone On The Internet (blah blah blah - Pt 3)


Maybe this isn't the right time to bring up my Feminist credentials. The thing of it is - given my track record - I didn't think I HAD to bring up my Feminist credentials in my original post and the only reason I did so here is because

a) I've never spoken with you before and you don't know me.
b) you obviously hadn't read any of my other pro-feminist work.

I'd always assumed that the people who said there were some female comic book fans who couldn't be reasoned with were idiots. But by your own words ("But you had individuals willing to talk to you, to point things out. I'm not one of them, but they did exist.") you have proven them right.

You have admitted that you have no intention of hearing me out or of trying to talk with me on a reasonable level.

As you say, I tried explaining myself to Kali and Ragnell. I offered to send Kali a copy of a Red Sonja issue I thought was good since she said she enjoyed the movie and wanted to like the character concept. She declined. And that's fine.

Ragnell said she disagreed with me on my belief that Mallet was manipulatory. I stuck to my guns and she respectfully said she didn't want to talk about it anymore. That's fine. I'll still read her blog and enjoy their work even if they no longer feel like talking to me.

You think I'm a caveman and you know what - that's fine too. You can go back to ignoring me and I'll go back to my blog and stop bothering you.

Because I know who I am. My readers know who I am. And they know that your assumptions about me are untrue.


Here's the thing before we all go to our respective corners.

I don't care about what your readers think of you. I care that my introduction to you was you behaving in a certain manner and my continued interaction with you is you not owning up and taking ownership of your actions.

* It doesn't matter if every other night that Bob drives he's sober, if I meet him when he's driving drunk.

* It doesn't matter if every other time Bob has faced disappointment, he's owned it, if when I meet him he's all 'fucking N*******'

* It doesn't matter if every other time Bob dated a girl, he respected the word no, if when I meet him, he's just left some girl passed out, underwear around her ankles, sperm down her legs in the corner of the party.

* It doesn't matter if every other night Bob's shouted but never hit his wife, partner or child, if when I meet him, their cheeks and skin show red and bruises.

The point is when I met you, you were acting like an ass. You made this big hue and cry claiming something had happened that clearly hadn't. Then when your strawman argument was pointed out, you polished your feminist cred and tried to show me your shiny badge. When that didn't work, you've decided to call me an unreasonable female.

None of your actions so far have said to me that ANYTHING you did in the past wasn't but so much bullshit, hot air and a clammering for attention and some sort of free pass in gender issues.

Kalinara and Ragnell know you and took the time to go over to your journal and discuss things with you. I didn't set foot in your journal. I had no wish to talk to you in any attempt to tease out what you really meant or understand you better. I, from the start, have had no investment in you and you've given me no reason to want one.

I never promised you a rose garden. I never claimed to give you a clean or clear slate to convince me of anything. I responded to your point of view with my own. I said I thought you were wrong. No one I respect, via their words and actions, has disagreed with me.

Someone On The Internet Is Wrong (Pt 2)

Looking2daStars (aka, The Trilobite) has commented to me:

Hi. Trilobite in question here.

I enjoy the irony of this. I post a story to defend a comic series and a heroine - which and whom I enjoy most of the time - after someone else posts a commentary that painted a picture of every single Red Sonja comic being just like this.

I attempt to explain the story fully and lend some context that Red Sonja isn't just killing a baby for the hell of it - she is KILLING a demonic being that just tried to kill her.

Then again, I'm of the old CCA school where demon = monster = okay to kill. I score high on the Zombie Survival test too - the one where it asks how comfortable you'd be shooting loved ones who had fallen to the legions of the damned?

I admit: That Batman analogy was not the best. I tried to use irony to prove a point and the point got lost in the shock value.

Apparently I need to say this, so I'll say it: I am NOT in favor of rape. I realize that rape is a VERY BAD THING.

That said, I still do not understand why anyone who has a problem with rape and violent imagery would be reading a book like Red Sonja. If you don't like that kind of thing, fine. You don't have to read it. But by that token, you shouldn't go posting images from a book you don't like and then go treating it like those exact instances are commonplace within that title.

I do think you have a point on how cliche it is that when a female character goes evil, she becomes bloodthirsty and sleeps around. However, in this case, I think it works since Sonja is so well known for being chaste and using violence as a last resort. It's meant to show just how much she changed in the alternate reality. Cliche, yes... but sometimes cliches work.

Regardless, I can't help but think that you didn't read anything else I wrote before you concluded that I had my nutsack used to replace my brain. I'm actually a long-time WFA contributor and have had work published in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Feminist carnivals... including an article about Red Sonja's status as a feminist icon and the issues behind her origin.

I still laugh at the irony: that I try to encourage people to look at the whole of a story before judging it and I now find myself being judged as the next Mad Thinker or anon a mouse by people who won't read the whole of my body of work.

Ah well. Your choice.

My Response:

Dear Trilobite Of The Stars,

It's all well and good to pull out your feminist credentials at the right moment. This is not the right moment. You sound a lot like a white guy who goes 'But I've read Frederick Douglas and Malcom X and I got an essay published in an African American magazine. I can't be racist or full of privlege.'

ZMallet was pointing out a trope, one you just agreed with in your comments to me - Female heroine turns evil, wears black, sleeps around, kills indiscriminately.

His post points out that trope storyline is a WHATIF. His context makes it clear the storyline is not one he finds appealing as a story OR as a whatif.

He has comments to someone else who went 'eew, I so agree to the eeewh'wherein he points out this isn't standard for the comic or the regular writers. But oh yeah, this one shot is full of eewh.

And then you get up on your podium and begin to say that he manipulated things in order to point out the eewh, and the trope and you use words like 'motivation for the rape' and then wonder why the women you know, or who know about you are all cutting their eyes and telling you to crawl back into your cave and pick off your own fleas.

If you act like a Mad Thinker, even once, you get treated like a Mad Thinker. And you get thought about differently. Show your ass in public and people will label you a baboon and baffoon and other b words, like bastard.

But you had individuals willing to talk to you, to point things out. I'm not one of them, but they did exist. Yet you continued to defend said action and to treat the women who were trying to point out the fallacy of your argument as if they were hysterical, irrational or too traumatized and squeamish about rape to listen to any point. And so you ended up talking to an audience of one, yourself.

Now it's very egalitarian of you to treat Zmallet as you then treated those women, or perhaps it was you treated those women as you treated Zmallet; exactly even, precisely and with no difference. But I believe a jackass brays just as loudly to anybody.

Side by Side

So I'm tripping along, singing a son... [ scratch that ]

I'm scrolling down WFA (yay twitter notification) and I see this post labeled:Whoreswhoreswhoreswhoreswhores.

My first thought?

Huh, someone's posting about Frank Miller.

So I click on it. And guess what???!

Someone WAS posting about Frank Miller.

Dear Frank Miller,

Your fans (some at least, a big sum) think you have one note. And that note?


whore (hôr, hōr) Pronunciation Key n.

1. A prostitute.
2. A person considered sexually promiscuous.
3. A person considered as having compromised principles for personal gain
4. A female character created by Frank Miller who makes any claim to power or who carries a gun aka not the good girl.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Someone On The Internet Is WRONG! OMGZ!

So there's someone online who claims that ZMallet 'manipulated' his review of Red Sonja's WHAT IF storyline.

Personally I don't think Mallet manipulated the review. I have no idea exactly how he's meant to have done something like that. Is manipulating a review like massaging numbers?

ZMallet posted, with scans, this story where an evil Red Sonja, rapes a guy, then rips off her own baby's head (the resulting child from that rape).

The scans show her saying "You tried to kill me!" to the baby. And the baby has an evil demonic look so it's not as if she's crazy and thinks normal birthing pains are murderous intent.

Whatever the larger story, that this person claims needs to be told and included in any review of this story line, the fact still remains that in it, Red Sonja rapes a guy and kills a baby.

The end result is STILL, yet another story of a female heroine who when turned evil - sleeps with every and anyone she wishes with no discerning grace. Whatever the dissenter's thoughts on the matter might be, the TROPE Zmallet was pointing out still holds true.

Not to mention the secondary tropes of "Get powers from a Goddess, AFTER A RAPE, and the only time you can sleep with a guy is if he can physically over power you. Get Powers from a GOD (an evil god) and flip to the whore side of the madonna/whore complex, so far in fact you force yourself on someone else!"

I'm not sure the person criticizing Zmallet's review got the point he was making. Especially considering that they posted this

Sonja's only reason for raping Osin is because a prophecy said that he was meant to father the Anti-Christ (or the Hyborian equivalent) with her as the mother. That doesn't make it any less icky but it does give Sonja with a motivation past "Well, she's evil - so she must be a slut." - a subtext that I believe was mistakenly (although not, I think, intentionally) implied by mallet's original article.

I REFUSE to get into the arguments about legitimate motivations for rape. I will pop a virtual cap in people's arses if I try.

As for Zmallet's sarcastic "Hey Kids! Comics!" at the end of his post... I first learned about Red Sonja from the movie; Which I saw on tv when I was maybe twelve or something like that. Maybe thirteen.

While I haven't followed the comic since discovering it WAS a comic, that's mostly been because I haven't been sure I wanted to see a strong warrior female in a T&A fantasy setting. Which is all that's come across to me with the various solicts.

Still, if you saw that movie and figured chainmail cold ass bikini or not, you wanted to see if it was like Xena ...

Well, Hey Kids! Comics!

PS: Came -this- close to labeling this 'response for idiots' Changed it.

9:18pm - Looking2daStars posts:

You don't like rape and yet you read Red Sonja? Isn't that a bit like saying that you don't like the idea of children losing their parents and then continuing to read Batman?

I cannot read anything more by this Trilobite. That comparison (which involves BATMAN so you know my wraths been stoked) is just so full of utter I REPLACED MY HEAD WITH MY NUTSACK. YAY NON BRAINS FULL OF SPERM - that I can't think to reply to it. Which works because what could I possibly say to someone who makes that argument given that I do in fact adore Batman because I don't like the idea of children losing their parents.

Friday, April 18, 2008


I just discovered that the reason I hadn't read any of Ami's Rants of Doooom in a while is because somehow the feed never got added to my feedreader.

That has been rectified. Yay! There shall be SuperCute in my READING!

In other news, I'm considering a Seeking Avalon Twitter. On the one hand it seems pretentious as all hell. But on the other, I do have little thoughts I don't post because it seems not worth the trouble. Just the little bit about Ami wouldn't have gotten posted if I didn't think of adding this bit about whether or not a Twitter makes sense.

Realistically I'd love a Jaiku connected to this account. But Google's taking their sweet time getting THAT all set up - ok so my impatience is unwarrented. But blah.

Dear Frank, Plz To Be Getting New Brain KbaiThanx

Oh bloody, buggering, entrails dripping, mustard shitting, pus spewing hell.

Click here to see a poster of Frank Miller bending over Will Eisner's 'The Spirit' and prison raping it with Marv's detachable and no doubt daunting penis.

WARNING: The shrieking of fresh meat being defiled may be upsetting to some of you.

ETA: April 19th - The Screaming Trailer

Thursday, April 17, 2008


BrownFemiPower has a final word to say to all those bullshitters and privilege blinded jackasses that miss the point completely.

I wanted to do a post about WOWIO.COM and all the lovely comics they have available. I have about 300 (not counting full series) potential free downloads (3 a day, no more than 30 a month, personal email address or 1cent credit/debit charge then refunded)

If you were interested in Dr. Saida Nri who was featured in TORCHBEARERS;they have ADRENALINE.

They also have FLARE, who reads to me like Dazzler meets WonderWoman and goes TOTALLY KICK ASS. And the concept of getting my greedy, happy, hands on her story cheered me immensely - until I realized people are STILL being stupid, ignorant, racist assholes all over the feminist blogsphere.

If anyone wants me, I'll be enjoying my free comics and reading up on Womanist Ideology, writers and forebearers.

I may want to change/d my feminism tag.

ETA: Some seriously brilliant words on how privilege and appropriation from the underprivileged disenfranchised/oppressed, devalues blogging as a legitimate intellectual enterprise.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Fuck Pandagon

Do not even speak to me about Pandagon and the appropriation of BFP's words re: Women and Immigration and Abuses.

Right now? I'm not happy at all with anyone who claims to be feminist and who is also white.

Cassie Edwards and Peg Seltzer have a new friend. Amanda Marcotte, plagiarist and WoC Voice Stealer.

ETA: Remembered there was an option to disallow comments. Leaving up the ones that got through first.

April 11 - ETA(5:29pm): Someone in comments in one of the many posts discussing this brought up BRING IT ON (the movie) as a possible remedial lesson for Amanda Marcotte in how appropriating from WoC will eventually lead to humiliation and epic fail.

It both made me smile and think of Chris Sims. It also reminded me that WoC bloggers are ALL Cheer Captains here.

Although, I do kind of want to "Beat these Buffys down"

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Fair haired, fair browed yet dissimilar


I've been wanting to write this one for a couple of days. One of my favourite anime and manga storylines is CLAYMORE. The main characters in the story are all blonde. Every last one of them. It's part of a trait that makes them what they are.

And no, I'm not about to go off on a rant about blonde white girls taking over everything or blondeness as a special power.

I like CLAYMORE. It's like Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Xena. I find it kickass. I'm more excited than I know what to do with to realize that the manga is still ongoing and that it differs from the anime. As I've no idea when/if series 2 of the anime is coming out. And the manga is currently giving me all new story!

But I repeat, it's a black and white world in the manga where all the major female characters are BLONDE.

And none of them look alike!

That, ladies and ladies and one or two gentlemen, is my point.

Insert the obligatory kick to Greg Land's worthless nutsack here. [ kick! ]

But I was absolutely enthralled when I realized how much the artist for Claymore was kicking the ass of Land and several of his contemporaries.

How often do I find myself trying to identify female characters by their costumes when I read super hero comics? All the fricking time, is how often. Ok, maybe 90% of the time. But here is a comic, sequential art, where all the main characters, and there are several, are blonde and wearing the same damn uniform! And yet the artist has them with different noses, lips, shape and size of mouth, eyes, hair styles, breast sizes, heights, reaches.

It made me think of the phrase I've seen a lot since I started blogging and reading blogs about comics; "What mysterious power does manga hold?"

And I think being able to tell characters apart is one of them. A big one.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that for me manga goes weird in the other direction. I can tell the girls apart, but the men? They often look the same - pretty, with either short or long hair; spiky short hair, long swishy long hair. And male body types seem to fall into; broad shouldered, long legged male, young lanky twinky male, muscular patow! bulging! male and the rounded face barely into their teens proto-child.

I'm going to wait and see if it's because I'm more aware of the female body and there are subtleties I've yet to read in the male form in manga. It's also possible that most of the manga that catches my eye has female protaganists (I leave you to wonder why - ahem - not so subtle) and so I just haven't been paying attention to the boys in the same way.

Because as I think about it now, I do note that male costuming is somewhat elaborate. In their street clothes/ school clothes I tell Ichigo and Ishida apart by their hair mostly. But not in street clothes, their costumes are distinct and elaborate, Ishi and Ichi both having the long, lanky, twinky body type. Naruto had the round face until Shippoden.

Hmm, more thinky thoughts for later. Still though, a manga of all blondes, each with different body types, hair, eyes, mouth, nose, sneers, smiles, and body language? Yeah, I can see why manga could be winning a younger generation. I'm not even in that generation and I'm all HELL YEAH!

Reflections on Anime Boston (Pt 1)

There are many things I want to write about in this blog, many things that have struck me in the last week to two weeks. I've mentioned I went to Anime Boston. I really enjoyed the experience too. Though I don't think I'm likely to ever go back just for the sake of the con. This has nothing to do with the organization of the con, or the people I met. In fact I fell in love with the concept of commissioning art, so if anything Anime Boston will always be a milestone in my relationship to art.

But the thing was, I've watched Naruto, with the fan subtitles (cause that's the best way for me - I enjoy hearing the original Japanese voice actors) and I adore Bleach (OMG I can squee and fan girl) and yet I'm not particularly FANNISH about any of them.

Now I feel like I need to go into some big discussion on the definition of fannish and where I come from and it comes from and my formulation as a self aware fan through media fandom and the internet and the primarily female centric/created space I've been in for the past seven or so years. But that, truthfully, would be a digression. I'm going to assume that when I say fannish that it can at least be understood as. things. that. rocked. my. world.

I may squee for BLEACH, but CLAYMORE, FATE / STAY NIGHT, JUUNI KOKKI aka THE TWELVE KINGDOMS, these are the shows (and manga) that reach out to me and make me want to share them with everyone. These are the things that make me go 'O. M. G! Saga! Epic! Pathos! Liberte!' Strong storytelling, compelling characters and art and costume/world construction that hits me right in the gut.

AB did not have the shows I am fannish about. Yes, I found Antique Bakery and discovered I would like to read it. And yes I bought myself Toyko Pop's PANTHEON HIGH, which I adore because it's about the gods of mythology, their children, the end days and epic heroic adventures. But PH was also not represented beyond the books at AB.

It was very strange to be surrounded by so much, of which I didn't give a damn. I found myself constructing costumes from my favourites in my head, imagining what it'd be like to see someone cosplay them. It was my attempt to feel more a part of things.

But even then, a conversation with the person I was there with had me looking at cosplay in a whole new light. I'd always seen it as professional dress-up. It never occurred to me, until she stated her views, that the main object was to look as closely like your chosen character as possible. Now she expressed her views in a kind of frustration as she's South Asian, an enormous Yugi Oh and Gundam Wing fan, with golden sienna skin tone. There aren't a whole lot of characters who look anything like her in terms of skin tone.

There popped my bubble of what I'd look like in Saber's armour from FATE / STAY NIGHT. And I'm not the right skin tone for Yoko from TWELVE KINGDOMS either.

So there was that slightly sinking, new perspective. And that combined with panels I didn't have much interest in, bands I'd never heard of (though that could change as I'm getting better at connecting music I like to the people who actually sing it), voice actors I don't much care about - since I prefer the original Japanese. It was a lovely spectacle, but one from which I felt removed.

Not to mention the guilt of having picked up my badge the day before the con started and knowing that in the line that went around the building (some people waited in line 5 hours) and then some, were people who'd be enjoying things perhaps far more than I currently was.

Is it possible that there's some other anime/manga con somewhere that I'd enjoy more because it won't be Gaia panels and videos I don't particularly want / need to see? Yeah, I guess so. And the truth was I had a lot of fun with my friend, so I didn't much miss a few of the panels that had interested me that I couldn't make. It just put things in perspective for me about my likes and dislikes and what made it all worthwhile.

And that was the artist gallery. (More on that later)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Manga Got Me!

I went to Boston Anime. I will write about it eventually. Right now however? This is my reaction.

"OH CRAP! I just spent a week reading nothing but manga! Now I'm reading all my comics backwards!!!!!!"

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Back From Vacation!

I went to Boston Anime and then spent a week in the city. I'm back now playing catch up on everything from comments to 'I can't believe they did that'. The latter by the way would be much more fun if they didn't keep doing things that should be implausible, impossible and dreadfully fantastic (in the sense of fantasy - unicorns and rainbow fairies)

Is there something I should absolutely not miss? Cause I doubt I'm getting through 500 unread messages/posts anytime soon.

For those looking for information on March's Carnival - It's going to be a late Art Edition right here @ Seeking Avalon.