Tuesday, June 30, 2009

WTH Authors?

2009. The Year The Authors Lost It.

Alice Hoffman pulls a screed and apparently joins the flock of authors in desperate need of a publicist to control author contact with the public. Via her Twitter, now since deleted (that link goes to goggle cache) there's a glimpse enough at her responses to make the linked report not seem completely fabricated out of thin air.

And also some guy named Alain de Botton loses it at a reviewer and actually typed these words:

I will hate you till the day I die and wish you nothing but ill will in every career move you make. I will be watching with interest and schadenfreude.

Heaven's wept people, but apparently authors are going into shock that real people read their words and may not like them. Where did they think their royalty's came from? Royalty fairies?

At least these two don't seem to be going into shock that non white people read their words. But Hoffman did go into Cramer & Sh.tt.r.ly territory by allegedly posting the phone number and other personal contact info of the reviewer. Not exactly an 'outing', but not Ms. Manners behavior either.

Unholy bumbletuck, there's something in the water. There's something in the water. Or we all need tinfoil hats. Ok, maybe not we, but published authors. Tin foil hats and non metallic fillings.

ETA: It's just occurred to me that Twitter might actually have done something about the account (the way they haven't in the pass, re: harassment) and deleted the account.

ETA 2 - A little something extra:

I know I should expect emotional responses to my comics that deal with emotionally charged issues, but I didn't expect the amount of vitriol slung at me by Ms. Sammy. I'm accused of creating "ineffectual holier-than-thou guilt trips", "privileged , clueless pontification" and even racism!

Gotta love that 'An even racism', can you hear it? 'An even baby eating! An even vampirism! And even necrophilia!' - The impossible, absurd, ridiculous!

The review in question by a woman of colour is here at Sequential Tart.

Once again, a PoC sees the history laden baggage and threats and stereotypes of PoC that a white person insists are immaterial and non-existent. Once again a white person gets huffy at having it pointed out it's only their white privilege that allows them to view the world that way.

I find it very telling that someone could care so much about the fate of animals, but not take a moment to see the possibility of stereotypical framing of people. I wonder, if the reviewer had explained things as:

"If someone had done to wolves, what you did to South Asians in your comic, wouldn't you, the professed animal lover be upset? If someone had only portrayed them as vicious killers than man needs to shoot (from planes) and then said the purpose was to raise awareness of the illegal hunting, (from planes) and that they'd done all the research and knew this hunting to be a fact. Wouldn't you still have been upset at the depiction? At the fear of wolves you think people would have walked away with?".

Big Egos and Lack of Empathy, tin foil can't cure that.

Monday, June 29, 2009

PSA: Possible Unsafe Space

Pam's House Blend, a blog I've found pretty helpful and reliable when it came to keeping up with GLBTI issues, has recently developed a policy to ban anyone who uses the term CIS to describe those assigned a gender at birth that doesn't contradict their sense of self. (Whether it is just for one thread or the whole blog is unclear).

Here is more information with some history/context of how the banning came about.

And here is an example, I believe, of the ban hammer coming down.

The moderator responsible is Autumn.

Please stop. (2.50 / 2)

This is going nowhere, and is starting to offend people at The Blend.

And in a post that's theme is about behaving civility, I'm not having any of it.

Public warning in this thread -- next person who uses this thread to make comment defending "cis" terminology gets a trap door drop.

Understand, dyssonance?


As if there were safety in stupidity alone.
--Henry David Thoreau
by: Autumn Sandeen @ Sun Jun 28, 2009 at 21:24:10 PM CDT

Sunday, June 28, 2009

No Title Adaquate

[Written 2 days ago. Forgot to post]

Insomnia fuels more gaming thoughts - mostly due to poking around The Old Republic, Star Wars site (it's got a webcomic I want to look into - see, relevance, eventually)

But it's not 'ooh pretty' that's spawned this bit of thought. It was clicking on a blog entry where someone was excited about 'three blue drops' in one session.

Aside: Yes she explained stuff enough for me to get context, but I'm not explaining because I don't give a damn.

What struck me was her utter excitement and not only completing a quest that involved killing things and gaining profit from them, but killing this rare creature, before anyone else showed up to claim the kill, and her getting profit from it.

And I was shivery disgusted.

Her excitement pinpointed the conquest for me.

Two clicks before her, I was reading this idiot (from Az), I'm not about to link who was going on about What Would Jesus Drive, and part of his spiel was :

He doesn’t put water jugs out along the border because he believes in upholding secular laws, i.e., rendering unto Caesar. Crossing a scorching hostile land to trespass on a neighbor’s land isn’t the kind of thing he would condone and smacks of putting his father to the test. He would give anyone a drink of water and a lift to the next town, where he would gently turn them over to the proper authorities and say a prayer for their safe return to their family.

As a carpenter, he has built his share of fences to keep things in and keep things out, but he stakes his reputation that having a well-built fence keeps things neighborly. Although he strongly advocates free will, putting boundaries on some things helps people stay on the right path, and even though his father’s prayer contains the words “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us,” he wasn’t talking about that kind of trespassing.

He enjoys his freedom and would give the shirt off his back to a stranger, but he isn’t to be taken advantage of either, stressing that we live in the world we create — for better or worse — we know the basic rules and they do not include coveting our neighbor’s land or property.

The italics are the part I was originally going to quote, the smaller text what I'd reference. But I thought perhaps it needed to be seen all at once, to understand my response of:

Have you checked your answering machine? I’m SURE Jesus called to tell you America’s First Nations AND Mexico want their land and property back, with interest.

Also Africa is holding on his line two, she says “Give me my children back!” -

Between those three, and all their works, blood, sweat and tears you’d be living in a stone hut in Europe somewhere. Maybe. If wars for ‘more’ hadn’t killed off your line generations ago.

Feel lucky China isn’t even bothering with you.

Aside: Yes, sometimes I respond to idiots just because I wouldn't feel right not to and then I never check to see wth blibberblabber they said back.

But let's go back to the excited WoW-er and her 'blue drops', two due to killing some rare creature.

Maybe other folk wouldn't have connected the two and ended up thinking - Conquest For Profit. But I did. And I really don't care that the beings being killed are monsters, because that's too close to savages and that description is too close to what's been used to describe me and mine, and many people I care about; 500 years or not (and sometimes just yesterday).

And suddenly I start to wonder if my subconscious has been dealing with this, as I'm dealing with feeling bored and thinking the game mechanics are pointless.

And I realize that I'm likely never going to look at any game, where there's killing of an indigenous species for points, money, loot/special items, in the same way again.

And then it gets worse.

Because I realize that I already know this, because I love the webcomic GOBLINS which is all about the ingenious species trying to survive against and rebel against a system that sets up their very lives as xp for low level adventurers. That very theme is why I love that comic so much - kill the Goblins, loot their society of precious artifacts is the INSTITUTION being fought against.

And I wonder, how many times a day, a week, a month, I need to forget that fact (and it's facets), in order to enjoy a pastime without my head exploding at the culturally indoctrinated Conquest against those differently technologically enabled; against the minority indigenous.

It's like the Matrix, except you never get out and if you're not careful you can forget you're in the machine and forget why that matters and forget the whole thing's rigged.

And I start thinking about Resident Evil 5 and Reclaiming Africa For The White Protagonist/Forces Of Good and how very many, many people could not why it was explosive and divisive to slot people of African Heritage in place of 'mobs that need killing so something good can happen'.

[Comments so very, very off]

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Jenna 6! Free! Whoo Hoo!

Does this count for Juneteenth? I think this should count for Juneteenth!

This link goes to the news of Whee!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Navel Gazing About Video Games


My favourite part of games, I've discovered, are the cut scenes; cut scenes, additional info scenes and personalizing a character. I think this may have something to do with my love of sequential art, comics and animation.

Through fussy toe dipping in the waters of gamedom, I've come to realize that I... don't really want to run around shooting things, slaughtering things, magicking things or collecting stuff to bring to someone else so I can collect more stuff or win a prize. Having written down my thoughts on animation and comics, I think I've figured out that I'm not attracted to gaming at all. I'm attracted to the art.

Which means that when the cut-scenes are over, and the art takes three steps down so the engine can run, I'm left quite, quite cold. Which by the way, explains why I adored Perfect World as the first gaming environment I'd been in where that didn't happen - unfortunately there was still a lot of slaughtering and collecting, no matter the amazing personalization, and I got real bored, real fast. Well, that and attempting to explore the environment and go 'ooh shiny' resulted in me getting the crap killed out of me by mobs four levels above me.

Aside: Who the heck decided to call them mobs anyway? What the heck is wrong with monsters, bad guys, opponents, those freaky looking things? I can't believe I actually picked up that lingo. Where's my vocabulary pride?

Now it's possible that gaming just isn't at the technological level to appeal to me. It's not yet sophisticated imagining plus play. I can't pick a character, have them pick a musical instrument and start wandering around in the virtual world, plying my trade. Or maybe I could, in the SIMS, though I'd probably end up less bard and more rockstar and my avatar would be kind of small, and speak sim-jibberish and yeah - not the Holodeck.

Aside: Clearly Star Trek has warped my mind. I want a Holodeck and I keep demanding a PADD and to hell with that iPod thingy.

But it's not just the art I like. I'm intrigued by the stories. My other unconscious gripe with gaming, I think, is the fact that they aren't books.

They have these glorious set-ups, corrupted world governments/corporations, near or actual apocolypse, colonization in space, the fall of the empire, the rise of the empire - and there's sweeping dramatic music and beautiful architecture and cool looking machines -- *buzzer sound*

And then it's time to go running around collecting things and/or killing things in order to reach the right level, collect the right prize to run around collecting more things and killing more things. And I end up spending time slogging in between cut scenes that finish telling me the story - unless it's Final Fantasy 8. I gave the eff up on that when I got told a sidequest was actually mandatory and I needed to go back. Screw that, said I - and I went online and read the damn walkthrough.

Aside: The coolest things online to do with games are walkthroughs and wikipedia. I can get the whole plot in the five to twenty minutes it takes for me to read.

I'm kind of glad I've figured this out. Because for a while I thought it was some kind of deficient attention span mixed with a hate of having to go through the same thing twice. If I pick a different character I don't actually want to have to go through the same intro, and the same set up and I only have marginally less impatience if it's the same intro and set up thinly disguised by race/class and place.

So for a while I wondered if my attention span only lasted long enough for demos. I can remember slipping into a 36 hour obsession with the Pharaoh Demo and then I bought the game and the shine seemed to wear off after about a week because so much of the game was 'expanded version of the demo'. Of course at the time I didn't realize that. I just thought I was cracked in the head for spending 30 or 40 dollars on a game I got bored with so quickly.

Aside: Right now casual games where I can fall into an almost zen like zone like Match3 etc... (particularly Cradle of Rome. I'm gonna actually buy that some day) seem to fare better. I want more levels in those games because playing doesn't seem like grind.

Of course in the midst of writing this realization and testing out my theory by specifically looking for game trailers and cut scenes, I come across Star Wars: The Old Republic and their promo stuff is claiming actual story development for a MMOG with consequences an cause and effect. And here I blink my eyes, because sure, yeah, if you give me story to tie in why I'm running here and thither and yon, it might make me stick around. But then again, I'm haven't bought GuildWars, despite reccs, because I just don't believe the story will be enough. Now that I know I'm not interested in games for the gaming, I understand that if I'm buying/playing for story, then I won't be happy with shoot/kill/hack/slash with story to the side on a separate plate.

Aside: Leveling. I kind of get it came from D&D and yet... You have to be this level to have this armor which is needed to kill this thing, to get that armor which helps on yonder quest to get that level to... The mechanics bore me. To tears.

I admit I may just have been repeatedly exposed to things with thin/weak story elements. If I didn't know what I wanted, I couldn't very likely be making good purchase/try decisions. And in a D&D game there's character interaction and some story to tie the mechanics together. It's just that hasn't seemed true to me when it comes to MMO or even self contained/single player games. Single player games have felt like books with a lot of slush and drag and effort(on my part) in the middle and MMOG have felt directionless and like one big 'exotic'/ masquerade fight club.

Of course, all these lovely game creation companies aren't going to switch to making movies just to satisfy me - which leaves me to try and hunt down possible tie in books, I guess. I had the idea sometime last year when I was really intrigued by the universe of Hellgate. But I wasn't going to buy the books without some sort of recommendations so I tried my library system - things must have gotten lost and I was too busy to realize the books never showed up.

I still have the wonder if the books will satisfy me or be something only those who play the game will be able to fully appreciate. And was I, am I lucky that Hellgate has books? Do other games with interesting worlds have books? Do they have comic books? Because yes, I love story but the whole reason I end up 'ooh shiny' about a game is the look of the thing, and being awed by details and shadowing and the mechanics of natural or unnatural movement.

Aside: Of course there are universes I would never want to play a demo for, or watch a trailer for, but that would intrigue me book wise. I can handle zombies to read Resident Evil books, if it has books (does it?) because there's a kickass female protagonist. And because it's really easy to put a book down when something disturbs , trying to unsee and image? ...

At least as I try to figure this all out, I can always watch Zero Punctuation & Unskippable.

{Comments Open}

Gain A Little, Lose A Little

via Kirk in the Box, who can always be counted on to point and mark the crazy, freaky, mind blowing and other glee-I-snarfed-your-brain:

Devil's Due Publishing: BARACK THE BARBARIAN

And based on these scans over at Kirk's, I want this comic. It's not just the fantasy spin on something we all saw playing live last year and it's not the chance to get in on the ground floor on a Conan type myth-arc (though unless they offer digital downloads at a reasonable price, my ground will be a trade eta: Pullboxonline.com!) - it's that I had a hell of a lot more hope Pre March 2009. This could help me hold on to that feeling again.

I'm black, and gay, disappointed in America's seeming continued regime of torture, the lack of transparency as promised, several full of BS statements and acts by the Obama Administration towards non Americans and smaller or destabilized foreign governments - the list goes on. And I've been comforting myself with thoughts of The West Wing and hoping someone writes down on a napkin: Let Barack Be Barack.

I didn't think Obama was the Messiah, but I desperately wanted change and he seemed like he would definitely be a change. Moreover he seemed to understand the need for change. He seemed to understand the respect for leadership and government that was missing and why it was important and how it fit into the fabric of the US.

But lately I've ended up feeling like he is simply a better brand of liar - better because he doesn't deny reality while lying about it, making the behind the scene wheeling and dealing more obvious.

Barak the Barbarian? Doesn't have to hold to or be responsible for non-Fiction Barack's actions. He can rekindle my dying hope, while kicking monster ass and being as amazing a hero as the writers can imagine.

My one hesitation, is Manny The Fixer, described by Kirk as a 'sneaky sidekick'. I'm hoping those are his words and not actually in the comic since it makes me twitch as anti-semetic.

But Hilaria of the Amazons? After all the strife and ugly of the nomination process - Hilaria of the Amazons is, well, the same kind of fictional second chance, but one I didn't realize would make me feel so much better.

And with Larry Hama as the writer, I have to wonder if Red Sarah's (why is she called that if her hair's dark? I'm hoping this is a reference to her sword being red with blood. eta: Red Sonja has/d red hair ) resemblance to The Baroness is on purpose.

PoC writer, PoC main character and hopefully many PoC supporting characters to come.

And now for the loss

Cover art for, and snips of the 'Post Racial Commentary' accompanying Dwayne Mcduffie's last JSA issue. Warning the commentary is Stupid White Comic Fans being Ugly White Comic Fans.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Glory Be! The World Is Not All Fail

Click to go see some beautiful sneak previews of GLORIUS. She's brown, and she kicks butt to save the world!

It is in fact an entire POC saving the world cast.

I look forward to hearing about when I can buy this adventure. In the meantime, here, have some more art

Thank You Torchbearers.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Something's Happening @Photobucket

Photobucket believes the word GAY in a search automatically makes it an ADULT/SEXUALLY EXPLICIT SEARCH ATTEMPT and sends you to a warning page.

Now maybe, just MAYBE, this has something to do with the bright orange background with blue and white globe of ATT/CINGULAR on the very front page.

Or MAYBE there's been a rash of uploaded explicit pictures using the tag or keyword gay and Photobucket wants to let roaming viewers know they aren't the place to look for that stuff.*

The problem, however, is that the word gay is in the search phrases 'gay marriage', and 'gay rights' which makes Photobucket look a mite homophobic. Cause not everyone's going to sit there and do what I just did, which is:

As of 11:27pm EST, June 23, 2009 - the following search terms DO NOT bring up the warning page.

* Trans

* Transgender

* Gender

* Genderqueer

* Queer

* Homosexual

* Homo (1 immediate image marked TOS breaker)

* Dyke

* Bulldyke

* Lesbian (several immediate images marked moved or deleted)

* Fag

* Faghag

* Equal Marriage

* Queer Marriage

* Transvestite

Affected words: gay, tranny, shemale.

Login or logged out doesn't seem to matter. Now, if further on this month, or this year some of these words end up flashing an adult content warning sign - this may well be another #Amazonfail. Until then, it can't hurt to let Photobucket know we're waiting and watching - statistical data be damned.

*Brought to my attention by Kayden of Dreamwidth.org who did contact Photobucket and received a boilerplate reply.


Warning Page Text: Your search term probably relates to adult content. Photobucket DOES NOT host sexually explicit content.

Warning: If you are under 18 or live in an area where it is illegal for you to view explicit content try another search.

or... Continue your Photobucket search here

Trailer: Avatar The Racebender


It's apparently getting THE SEEKER's craptastic treament on top of the race failing, cluelessness and willful ignorance - if that trailer, along with prior publicity shots, are anything to go by.

THE SEEKER by the way, was another beloved YA property, (a book in a series by Susan Cooper) that a Hollywood Studio got their hands on to make into a movie.

The studio modernized and mass identificationized a classic until it was unrecognizable.

* The Fans Rebelled.

* The movie FLOPPED like a wet cow turd, even after promo materials changed the name as if in hope of making consumers not recognize the PoS.

Hopefully people walking out of Shalayman's version won't discredit the beautiful and original animated series. Considering the good one is the one without Shalayman's name all over it - I think there's a good chance.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

She Who Scars Her Citizens

Trying to get caught up on my feeds reading, I stumbled across something I'd missed, written by my favourite DCverse fan-writer way back in March; Mithen.

For me, Batman is a symbol of hope in a very different way than Superman is. Superman is the dawning hope, the inspiring hope, the hope that brightens the soul. Batman, on the other hand, is the hope that keeps going even when there's no reason for it, the strength to get out of bed in the morning when there seems to be no point, the will to keep moving through the darkness when you're not certain there will ever be an end to it. He's a willed hope, a bone-deep faith that a mere human can make a difference, even when days and weeks and maybe even years go by without seeing that difference at all. In many ways, that's far more amazing to me than the sunlit hope Superman stands for. Hope when there's nothing to hope for, faith within the utter dark night of the soul.

I think that is the best description of why a little girl with a not so good childhood, found Batman and held on tight. It's why she's alive today; A Gothomite by right.

Willow Loves Sequential Art

This is the orignally, totally random sparked post on why I love comics & animation that I've been talking about.

It started because I read the word thrupt somewhere online and there was mention of it as a sound effect. Which made me think of pffsss and clonk and clinkdink, which made me think how it's possible to have those sounds as the prelude to visual and audible media (music or tv/movies) but how difficult and perhaps odd it would be to start writing and only have sound effects with nothing to describe what else was happening. Where perhaps the reader was left to assume these sounds were happening in the dark.

And it hit me right then, that this is why I love comics and animation.

What? You knew my brain was weird when you decided to read me. Buck up and follow along now, be brave.

Comics in my head is the perfect expression of imagination. It's the perfect combination of visual images of the mind, with words (the mental narrator) telling a story. Animation is the perfect expression of mental media made manifest (try saying that three times fast). There is no need to think human bodies can't do that, therefore actors can't do that; Or those costumes would be expensive; Or where would we film this, how would we build that set?

Comics & Animation only require someone to draw what can be envisioned and someone to plot out the story. I'm not even getting into voice acting and dialogue, because there can be animated film with no dialogue at all (Fantasia is the easiest example) and possibly there could be animation with no sound effects, no sound at all - which wouldn't be the perfect merger of aspects of the imagination, after all imagination includes sound (except perhaps for the deaf). But it wouldn't be impossible to do.

Now, to some extent a lot of what I've said, especially the part with no sound, could be used to describe only comics; sequential art. And that would be correct. And it does explain why I fell in love with comics from the start - someone wanted to share their mental pictures with me, and here were words to guide me as part of their inner narrative voice.

Later I would learn that it's often not one artist who is also the writer who is also the colourist. But that didn't change my first groove concept of comics as - 'this is what's in my head and now I share it with you as exactly as I am able'. It's never seemed lazier to me than reading a purely prose book, because I still had to engage.

Animation goes beyond graphic art for me, because it's closer to the actual movie of the mind. Putting aside the awareness of the world, I can think 'This is how they see Batman's cape waving in a Gotham building downdraft. This is how they see the steely reserve and muscle tension in this cop's eyes. This is how they see the body-language of an infuriated mother. This is how they see the casual, lazy slouching walk of the kid with no particular destination in mind.'

Actors are great. And I love moments when they are in the moment and eyelashes flutter, or nostrils flare for that one last sturdying breath the way I would imagine needed to happen in a scene - the way I'd see it, or be anticipating seeing it in my mind.

But actors don't always get it right, unfortunately, or many times don't end up playing to their strengths or don't think, sometimes, to add little grace-notes that ground a scene or a moment.

Example, I would probably pay cash money to see Vin Diesel in a movie, in a starring role, where his character had no dialogue what so ever. I'm not talking about making the character somehow mute and somehow involving sign language (of some type). I'm talking about a movie where it was accepted that his character didn't need to speak.

I believe Diesel's characters when he's in a fight scene and when he's reacting physically off another actor. As soon as he opens his mouth, I usually lose all connection to the emotion of the scene or for the character.

Aside:This is my personal scale of physical and emotional (via dialogue) connection to the audience.

Vin Diesel ------ Dwayne Johnson ------ Keith Hamilton Cobb (cue the seraphim chorus)

In animation the physical is part of the art (the drawing). It's part of the visual. It's seen as important. It's planned ahead. Those little moments of grace notes; the clenched fist, the wind in the hair, the eyes flickering to the side - it's part of the creation. It's known (in my ideal perceptions) as more important than a celebrity face, or enough scenes where someone cashable takes their shirt off.

Of course, the vision in animation might be coming from the director. And I've learned that many different artists draw many different scenes and they're gone over again and again (especially for computer generated animation) and there's a consensus to be reached about what is a good position, good posture, is it moving the story forward by showing and not telling, is it confusing, or awkward, does it look impossible by human body standards for some reason. And all that no doubt often gets debated and contrasted against time and deadlines.

But I love imagining that. I think that's why I love dvd commentaries so much, because they make a movie with physical actors into a study, for me. It makes it very clear that someone had a vision and then I find out whose vision ended up in the final cut. It helps me appreciate moments I may have missed, because I don't stare at film the way I stare at static art - I'm too busy following the actual physical action, instead of having a moment of pause in my head to intuit the action, as in comics. And with animation there's a split second pause in my head where I wonder how they'll do it, what choice will they make, how will that flow with the style they're going for - that makes animation seem somehow slower to me, but in a good way - whereas physical actors often seem too fast to track.

I can remember being so intrigued when I first saw Jackie Chan Adventures and how the city and surrounding environment seemed barely actualized, all hints and suggestions and mostly colour for the movement of the characters in the foreground. On the one hand I figured it was done that way to make it easier for the tasks of drawing action (similar poses over and over again - without specific detail to make the movement seem choppy). But it also left me feeling like the world the characters lived in was in soft focus, thus setting them apart as the heroes. They were more real, for having more knowledge.

And Cyber9, I adored the blockiness of the art there in a world where the plot often felt (to me) as if every character of import was a puzzle piece in a larger picture.

I don't know, maybe I should blame Sesame Street, for giving me ideas about people in paintings stepping out of the frame; and in the end I was drawn the most to the art that made that possibility seem real - as if any moment leaves would rustle, or someone would laugh, or leap.

I want to say it's the unique facsimile of life that I think draws me, but that feels tongue twisted and just a shade off, unbalanced.

Maybe it makes no sense to figure out why I love animation and comics - sequential art - as much as I do. It's just unabashed delight. I was confused with myself earlier (in the week), at being drawn to an artist's style despite his subjects and content. But isn't that what various people who try to push art appreciation on every generation of kids want us to feel? Some connection to the flow of a line, or a unique use of colour? Don't they want us, encourage us to develop independently an appreciation of certain eras in art or schools of expression?

Comics and animations are my art appreciation and my preferred viewing art style - liking the lines that hint of motion and life in a way many, more considered (appreciated? denoted?) styles aren't.

I don't think I've come to any real conclusion at the end of this, except to say that I understand more of my dislike for porn face and tracing - there's no life (to me) in that art until the colourist tries to bring some; tries to engage the imagination. There's no sense of movement when one traces a still vs thinking of the entire scene as alive and in motion. And I understand now, it's more than 'childish' love that makes me think people are idiots who say 'It's just a cartoon' when it comes to animation.

Semi Random: I've never thought the term elitist was necessarily a bad term in and of itself, but now I want to call those who would look down their noses at sequential art, elitist when I think what I really want to say is close minded, closed off, maybe even small minded and snobbish.

Friday, June 19, 2009

When It Comes To Art - Can You Have A Type?

I do not understand myself. I really don't. Perhaps that's pretentious sounding. But I'm hoping, maybe it's just honest. Let me explain. I am currently in a self created erotica, sex, romantic relationship null void. That is, I don't really want to read about it, see it in whatever I decide to watch, or hear about it. I wouldn't call it a G rated personal cocoon, but it's definitely a General Interest focus.

I'm looking for graphic novels, comics, and books that have adventure or mystery and action as their A plot, with friendship as their B plot and then maybe, something romantic as their C plot. Considering how often Hollywood in particular feels the need to throw in a love interest for whatever reason they tell themselves; formula, bring in the pink dollars, wtf ever, it means that finding visual media lately has been difficult. Heck, looking up images of actresses lately has been fraught with 'WTH? Why is she pushing that at the camera. The f*ck? What the? Ow... her chiropractor must have thanked her profusely' and more.'

And then comes Demonic Sex.

I'm almost laughing as I type this, at how out of left field that is, by the way. Demonic Sex is, I believe, a gay erotic comic, involving, well, demonic sex. I find the dialogue flat and crude and stupid. And I say this aware that the dialogue is possibly akin to regular porn dialogue. Considering I've never gotten the point of people contorting themselves while naked in front of a camera - I'm going to admit to a bias against the dialogue from the start.

Bad dialogue. Bad, corny, stupid, wince and cringe worthy text.

But the art...

And this is where I get into not understanding myself. Not only am I not currently interested in sex, there's nothing about western gay porn (by men, for men) that I find the slightest bit appealing. It's primarily paying a lot of attention to body parts I don't find the least bit attractive.

So I don't know where to put my 'Ooooh' over the art of this comic. I really don't. At first I thought it was a case of being dazzled by the colours - I love colour. I have poured over the pages of Greg Land's work because of the particular colourist and the life it brought to his drawings.

But then I realized I was not just ignoring the words completely, I was thinking about the artist's choice in composition - how the scene was laid out. How the shadows played. What my eye was seemingly meant to be drawn to. And then on top of that, I found myself noticing body proportions. That's more than just 'ooh colours'.

I have an entry I need to post about why I think I developed a love of animation and comics (sequential art as a whole). The main idea in it, is that I love the thought of getting to see someone else's imagination, as close as possible, brought out of their heads.

That said, I never thought I was the kind of, well, pompous twit who could go on and on about the art in a piece, totally removed from the dialogue (don't they create a whole? shouldn't they interrelate?). I mean I've known, conceptually, that there are people who follow certain artists from Marvel to DC to Image, to various Indies and back again. But knowing and understanding are two different things. I know for myself, I've discovered that most of the times Greg Rucka is involved with something in DC, I find myself drawn to it and intrigued by it; intrigued by his interpretation/imagination of familiar characters. I'm currently peeping with one eye open, through my fingers at World of New Krypton even though it only took about 4 years for me to get fed up with the big two after re-introducing myself to superhero comics and a love for them that had never died.

But to be contemplating continued viewing of something where I have no interest in it at all, past the art? That kind of makes me wonder at myself.

All the same, Sean Platter's work is oddly (freakishly?) pleasing to my eye. It makes me wonder how much more I might enjoy completed pieces (his website has random things up) on a topic that wasn't making me recoil because of current mental sensibilities or well, orientation.

I know his interplay with light and shadow and the lone city glimpse he has up on his site, made me immediately try to imagine him drawing Gotham. The demons he's drawn make me think of gargoyles. And his action sequences make me think of epic battles; the posturing, judging, tactical evaluations, the rush of limbs, strength against strength times wit.

There's a scene I just saw of a man's throat being cut, which made me think of Tim Burton's Sweeny Todd, but better. The sequence made the art come to life, and be painful, instead of seeming gorily overplayed.

Apparently when I say Batman made a big impression on me as a child, I'm really not kidding, people. Or maybe I should say Gotham made an impression on me. How an artist would breathe life into Gotham seems to be one of the subconscious ways I judge art.

That said, going "Cool artist", I guess, is not the same as thinking I must buy this work. Still, it makes me wonder at myself at how I just saw past something that disturbed me, to somehow find a pretty.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Can't Escape It

This is a link to Penny Arcade Webcomic for June 12th 2009. It features a story idea of theirs called Automata.

Here is an excerpt of their thoughts on it:

Automata, nineteen-twenties crime fiction which unfolds in a time where "machine intellect" has been outlawed. It wasn't always, certainly, and the problem of what to do with the existing "stock" of fully sentient, mechanical citizens endures. Detective Regal and his stenophone Carl Swangee traverse the margin where these worlds overlap.

The comic itself shows Carl Swangee, a machine intellect, being hassled old school by cops. I could be wrong, but I believe one cop holds his truncheon up against Swangee's throat.

The comic upset and disturb me. Though it might very well be meant to. Oppression hurts. Seeing a representation of oppression hurts. Remembering the times one has faced similar acts of oppression, hurts.

I'm slowly going through Penny Arcade's back archive. I've had people mention the site to me off an on again for various reasons. The last was either their guild in Perfect World (a massive multi player online rpg) or their comic about racism in Resident Evil 5 (I liked the news entry better than the comic). Their back archive doesn't have me much believing I should look for them to handle issues well, should something like Automata move forward past an intriguing proposal/introduction. And I'm not sure I could bear to follow yet another 'The world is all white, and the oppressed aren't human'.

But it hit me, about how difficult it is to get away from certain things and how obvious people need things to be. Putting a truncheon up against an entity's throat is an easy visual of someone being a bigot and a bully. Putting a big sign saying 'No Heart, No Soul, No Service' is a big call back to 'No Irish' and 'No Dogs, No Chinese' and 'Whites Only'. Obvious, neon signs, like silhouettes and caricatures of a rigged and biased system. Meanwhile everyday, people live with the subtle, invasive and entrenched.

It reminds me a bit of depression and some people's views of it - if you're not bleeding, then there's nothing wrong with you.

In other news - I've got a bit on animation I lost heart with somewhere in the middle towards the end. I'm going to try and work on it more. And there are books out I want to point out. Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology is out. I first mentioned the book ages ago, I thought during the 1st, PoC in SF Carnival - but I can't find the reference now. Point is, it's out. And I have links to excited people. I need to get on that.

PS: Those who were curious about the teacher who held a Survivor like ordeal in her class and cast off the autistic 5 year old? She got her job back. 2009, remaining the year I just plain give up on humanity. It seemed so nice too. The inauguration in January was such a pick-me-up. And then, slow slip slide to triple, blood filled ugh. Including Obama.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Mirror Mirror

I put this post up in drafts last night thinking when I woke up, maybe I'd feel a little better about the world. I don't.

Media; comics, movies, tv, radio talk shows and books (OMG the books), keep showing racist, bigoted, prejudiced, painful, degradation filled, unapologetic 'this is how it is, shut the fuck up and deal' examples of the world we live in. And then idiot, upon idiot upon mindless idiot opens his or her or their mouth and says:

"It's only books, it's only tv, it's only a game, it's only comics, it's not important. It's not like it'll affect real life. You're blowing it all out of proportion."

Let me list the things these idiots find to not be a big deal. Let me list you the things I find exhausting. Let me list you the weight and despair I've been feeling lately so much so that escapism has been increasingly impossible for me.

* Shock Jocks, talking about transgender children as deserving of brutality, physical violence, shaming - in particular shoes flying at their heads and society 'beating them down'.

By the way, the way society beats down queer and transchildren is by bringing guns to school and shooting them, or brutally beating them to death at the side of the road and claiming gay and trans panic ie 'They were so abnormal, fear freaked me out and I temporarily lost my mind and just wanted to get it away'. Society beats them down by calling them freaks, by encouraging their own parents to call them freaks. By having books that suggest stripping a teen naked is the best way to check someone is the gender they say they are. By having talk-shows where ratings go up for every episode where audiences there and at home get a chance to jeer at them. By having an industry set up to set them straight (in all the ways that means) by being 'tough'. And finally, by making them so damn depressed that at seven, and nine and eleven years old, they kill themselves, because they've gotten the message they're not wanted.

* American (& The Western World's RAPE CULTURE). I could not click the link after reading the summary of four youths accosting a child in a locker-room, for two months, where his screams were heard outside but no one did anything, said anything. Not even him. I cannot go into further details because that is so triggering for me personally, so upsetting that discussing it more would make me walk outside and randomly start castrating men.

But let me just say, that screaming for help as the pain continues and realizing that no one is coming, has got to be one of the most demoralizing, spirit crushing things a person can ever experience. And leads right back to seven and nine and eleven and thirteen year olds killing themselves because no one believes that life and school in particularl is actually hell on earth.

What's most, draining, about this, is that this occurrence of a rape gang is not new. It's not. There was the gang that raped a black girl and video taped it on their phone. And the gang that raped a mentally disabled girl, and taped it on their phone. This is what now? The third or fourth year with an incidence of a school based rape gang? Maybe it's the fifth or sixth and I just blocked things out. There's also the prosecutor that promoted the thought a thirteen year old was asking for it.

* Mental & Physical Assault In Schools. An autistic little boy being voted out of the classroom as disruptive, in a vote set up by the teacher meant to help come up with ways to help him, by assessing his needs. A First Nations, American boy, having his parents need to sue to get him into class without cutting his hair which would be against his tribe's beliefs. A Canadian First Nations boy actually physically assaulted by a teacher, who CUT OFF HIS HAIR and then put him in front of a mirror and told him how much better he looked.

You can't be yourself if being yourself is being not white. If being yourself is being non neurotypical.

Where are the books that show how various tribes hold onto their traditions, which are as important as Irish or Scottish traditions, as important as German or Polish traditions? Where are the books that reaffirm that these peoples do exist, and are attempting to thrive and live and love in our modern society and this is how they do it?

Without enough books like that, there's no societal osmosis of information. If there's no baseline of information, there's no respect. No respect and people think they can lay a hand on a First Nations child as if he doesn't have parents, or family or elders or a tribal government that will say anything. Without enough books and knowledge there's no pause for someone white to think their actions are something out of the forced boarding schools many native children (in the Americas, In Australia) were sent to. That they're saying school is a prison and they will be just like the rest or there'll be trouble.

But books aren't important. Right? Books aren't real life. Comics aren't real life. There's no way having a First Nations hero on a tv program somewhere or in a comic book might have made some of the other children speak up; might have clued the assistant teacher who did this; might have clued the Principal or other administrations into how wrong it was.

I'm almost too tired to talk about the * Lack of Equality Among Blogging Feminists In Regards People With Disabilities. If any group needed an intersection of media and social justice, in order to get the layers of social justice (often called intersectionality), it's that group. Women with disabilities? Still women. Mothers with children with disabilities? Still women.

2009 is just draining. It's draining to see who keeps popping up to say that representation has nothing to do with making the world a better place. That presence has nothing to do with acceptance and tolerance, compassion and understanding. Who keeps popping up to say 'But this never mattered to that group before', shameless that their own words show how much they haven't been listening.

It's one slammed door of unwelcome after another. I'm currently still in mild shock, that DC is proudly promoting the sketches, with notes for the SuperYoung Team. I can't even get into the team itself. It's the fact those racist, painful, clueless white man notes are being published under DC letterhead...That they're proud to say it represents them; their sketch version of a Japananse Hero Team, is a Japanese version of Loud, Ugly, Unclean, Rude American Tourist. That is 'Super, Whacky, Anime, Funny Speech, Misused Terms, Fish Eye Lens, Kawaii Gameshow, Celebrity Mash Up' - Don't worry, it's got a theme song to make it easier to remember.

It's the shock of realizing I can't find images of female celebrities anymore that don't have them pushing out, arching back, or some other version of what used to be a boudoir pose, with far more skin covered and far less pouty lip. I'm not sure anymore the porn face tracers and copiers are actually copying porn.

The stories we, as a people in Westernized Civilization have been telling ourselves - well, they're doing their job. Women are hungry, rail thin, hangers for secondary sexual characteristics. They can kick ass(sexily), but they like to have a unique parnormal boyfriend on the sidelines ready to step in, just in case. And the one's without male ownership of some type, are free game. As is any gay male under the age of 21 - what other use do they have but 'practice for the real thing' and to make some 'normal' hero feel slightly uncomfortable. Minorities are mostly invisible, except for when they're making life easy, or potentially complicated for some white avatar; Feisty Latina, Sharp Mouthed Black Woman, Muscle Thug Black Man, Asian Geek Guy, Exotic Asian Love Interest (of few words). First Nations are all dead, but they conveniently left behind a culture to be pillaged and spirituality to be savaged and folk lore goes to the highest bidder. And anybody with a mental illness is either a villain, or a poorly misunderstood, quiet genius, in need of (forced) medication. Oh yes, and anyone with a physical disability, well, they stay inside. There are laws against the 'ugly', y'know. Really.

Wait, not we. Black, gay, some disabilities, female - shoot. I'm a ghost in a basement somewhere. I'm not part of Western Civilization's (particularly American civilization's) mirror of itself.

It's depressing and isolating, but I guess it should give me hope. Except, who do I mirror? Who do I speak to if I decide to tell a story? The other ghosts? Or maybe it doesn't matter. Maybe writing will serve me the way rp serves me, as a way to involve myself with something besides the horror house, twisted images I keep seeing and all the damage they do.

If you've wondered why I'm not talking so much about comics or even animation anymore - well, that doesn't feature much in private shared action fantasy.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Learning Moments - Soaked In Tears

For the past couple of weeks, I've been taking a break and cringing everytime I saw something I wanted to talk about but couldn't find the energy to. There is a lot; comic book projects coming to fruition, my attempt at buying Razor Kid (which failed due to internet checkout weirdness), and a couple other things.

And I thought, perhaps what I needed to do was focus on things that make me happy and get rolling on that before doing anything else for a kind of boost. Because it's really felt as if the events of the first Four, five months of the year have just tapped me out.

And then I woke up this morning to see that a friend who hadn't been feeling very involved lately, had decided to take a first step towards interaction, by friending the new Scans_Daily.

That would be the Scans_Daily, run by individuals who found nothing inciting, contemptible or racist in this statement (made at their sister community noscans_daily:

"That's my opinion, so feel free to comment, suggest things and ask questions. You can also insult me and call me a big privileged white idiot who doesn't know anything about anime, but I won't hear you because I got Mein Kampf 2 on tape and I'm listening to it while getting a swastika tattooed on my shaved head. Also a unicorn, a really racist unicorn who hates unicorns of other colors because illegal aliens stole his job at the unicorn racism factory." {Do note the OP has since deleted their journal and their comments in that thread}

That would be the mods who banned someone (yes, box_in_the_box, has issues with agitation, not the point) for saying in the first comment that any post ending with such a statement was total fail, right from the start.

That would be the scans_daily mods who want, apparently, their comm to be a safe space from racism, transphobic statements, sexist statements and more. But who haven't educated themselves on the myriad of ways those statements can come about and who ALSO seem to want this 'safe(r) space' community without doing any of the damn work of creating such a space.

What do I mean about not educated? Well, one of the mods (I believe it was one of the mods, can't find the thread now) thought that the inclusion of the word unicorn proved that the statement was fantastical and meant as a joke. Never mind that there ARE racist jokes, where racists laugh. Said mod also didn't know about The Wild Unicorn Herd Checkin and why a statement about racist unicorns was very pointedly racist.

Yeah, I know, as if throwing Mien Kampf up in there wasn't a big ass clue.

How are Fans of Colour supposed to believe that certain words and online actions WILL NOT BE TOLERATED, when the mods of the comm have blinders on and are too busy or whatever to keep up with what's going on for Fans of Colour in the world of Speculative Fiction?

Then comes the part where the Scans_Daily and NoScans_Daily mods, throw up their Golden Rule Post, and at the bottom declare that racist talk won't be tolerated - WHILE CLAIMING THAT EVERY DISAGREEMENT MUST BE HAD CIVILLY AND CALMLY and
here, read it for yourself
. They give examples of acceptable criticism.

So Tone Argument and then Tone Argument Exemplified when someone takes offense at it being said to be ok to call people on their privilege. Reason being he doesn't believe privilege exists.

This is acceptable? You gotta be kidding me. A person saying this is saying they know things about my POV on the world based on, mostly, my race, gender and sexual preference. How in the world is this "friendly"?

I'm HIGHLY insulted whenever someone says this to me and I certainly don't come to this comm for that sort of thing.

It implies that A) privilege exists B) being a part of some groups usually means X,Y and Z about someone and C) that said person said/ did whatever in part due to some some aspect of their background that the person criticising actually knows little to nothing about in most cases.

After all, isn't saying that to someone making more than a few assumptions about them?

I believe that regardless of what one is in life there are times and situations where being with be a plus and times when it will be a minus. I believe that this is a simple, inescapable fact of life.

Now if you mean do I think that "privilege" as is it most often defined in modern fandom circles exists then no. I believe that definition of things is, in fact, a sterotype which makes broad assumptions about people based on a few key facts about them and that life is far to complex to boil things down to such a broad level.

That opinion seems to piss a lot of people off...

And someone else immediately claims that racist is the second most nasty insult ever. Y'know, perpetuating the idea that people throw it around as an insult and don't use it as a descriptor:

It's a well-known fact that "you're racist!" is the second-nastiest insult in the English language. For non-rational, historically contingent reasons, it's more hurtful than "you're a totalitarian!" or "You're a Communist!" If you choose to make it a policy to let users drop an insult that vicious on each other, the idea that "rude remarks will not be tolerated" becomes absurd.

What do I mean by not doing the work? Well I was initially further disappointed that the mods would put the onus on Fans of Colour to help them refine a policy after they'd already put their post up (thus the seeking help note at the bottom). It appears that they've already begun to incorporate some of that refining (the post now includes references to tone - I wish I'd saved the original).

It meant that after dealing with the initial in your face racism, people had to then educate the mods. It's a little like educating the cowboys after coyotes already ran the cows out of the barn. I wonder if the mods realize how much it takes out of Fans of Colour to interact with them at all after they failed hard and failed harder.

And after all that 'Tell us what to do to make this place safer for you'. Even in a post meant to be discussing racism, people make racist statements and nothing happens to them.

No wonder I and many other FoC are exhausted, if either through words or actions the set up is that we have to police any space we're in if we want it to be safe for us - from educating the mods, to calling out isms when we see them. And we have to watch our tone, when we do so, our lose a place to be fannish in. And any allies that might be about, already on the cusp between what is comfortable and what is right, are then encouraged to silence by being told that to be outraged, is to break community rules and be booted out of the space as well.

I realize that many people would want to say (but can't because comments are NOT open) "But at least the mods are trying." You do not get an A for effort in not being racist. Either you pick yourself up, dust yourself up, and keep trying to be a descent human being, or you crawl back under the rock that spawned your maggoty existence.

Right now someone's lifted a rock at Scans_Daily and there are all these bleached white worm looking things wriggling in a frenzy to crawl back into darkness.

And I'm disappointed for my friend who was trying to dip toes back into the water not knowing it was filled with scum.


Note: Future shorter posts may be likely, because it is better to shine a light for a small instant in the dark, than to stumble about (and let others stumble with you) with eyes shadowed.

Further Note: A link to the mod thought on the offensive passage. Duplicate thoughts on her personal journal

Last Note: If anyone's wondering why I haven't been discussing comics lately. Check the bottom of Kali921's post about Scans_Daily. Yet another black character a paler shade of white woman. I'm busy hunting down anything SF related that doesn't make m throw up.