Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009


International Blog Against Racism Week.

Go read. Learn. Perhaps even write something to be linked yourself.

Do Not Be Stupid.

(July 27th - August 2nd)

ETA: State Of "The PoC in SF Carnival", aka Willow is exhausted.

Little Drops Of Oasis

Rebecca Mayes. Audiogamer.

She reviews games with songs.

So far my favourites are Hank Bodaire (Sims3), The Infuriating and Alluring Case of Mr Kyle Hyde (Hotel Dusk) and Press A (WiiSports). But I like them all.

Beautiful, fun songs.

Of course I may be biased because I really like singer/songwriter women.

In other news my ears are too small for the holes/hollows in my headphones. Squished earlobes are painful.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Dear Japan, (specifically Madhouse)

Thank you for making Wolverine a Character of Colour. So Much Thank You. Now I do have something to look forward to in 2010.

Also, you have managed to make me somewhat interested in Iron Man simply by artstyle - he's now a man in a very tiny mecha, vs an asshole running around in his own bullysuit. And if that's Pepper Pots with the green hair?

Hot Damn!

Squee and Love,


PS: I am totally in love with that villain.

PPS: Everytime America takes something Asian and whitewashes it, I'm going to try and remember there's the possibility of the reverse happening (PoC Co-Opting) - so I don't cut me some honkeys.


Dear Regular American Marvel,

You still suck 100 donkey eggs. With maggots. But at least you gave permission to have something actually cool happen.

Continuing To Roll My Eyes At You,


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Self Publishing Here I Come

The entire premise of this book is about a compulsive liar,” said Melanie Cecka, publishing director of Bloomsbury Children’s Books USA and Walker Books for Young Readers, who worked on Liar. “Of all the things you’re going to choose to believe of her, you’re going to choose to believe she was telling the truth about race?”

Protagonist of Colour? What Protagonist of Colour? This book could quite obviously and clearly be about a white girl who lies.

I have read Liar by Justine Larbalestier, that quote above, to me, misses so many points of the book... I would really like to sit down with that individual and find out just what exactly they think Liar is about. Because while I am not 100% pro Liar, because of the narrative style and the hitting of some situations that hurt me when I read it - I can at least admit that it is a story that attempts insight into the confusion of being a teenager, a black teenager, growing into becoming a sexual being with a touch of searching for sexual identity and possibly gender identity.

I may not like how the book did some things. But I do not believe I'm completely in the dark about what the writer was trying to portray. I should hope that if I am missing things, I'm less in the dark than one Melanie Cecka whom doesn't seem to have paid any attention.

“I do think it’s going to raise awareness of race in teen literature to new levels,” said Cecka. “Clearly, our striving for ambiguity with this cover, and for it to be interpreted as a ‘lie’ itself didn’t work for everyone. But again, if this jacket proves a catalyst for a bigger discussion about how the industry is dealing with its books on race, that’s a very large good to come of this current whirlwind.”

Because what the book industry needed, what YA literature needed, what it all needed to start a dialogue (because of course one hasn't been going on for years and been particularly loud this year) is a honkey on a cover.

Justine Larbalestier's own words on her disappointment in the cover. Beware many comments trying to make it about all authors and the lack of control in all covers, rather than specifically focusing on how lack of authorial control on covers affects race representation.

I had a moment of pause over 'response to idiots' or 'respectfully disagree'. But I cannot find it in myself to respect the person who made the quoted statements. Why should I respect someone who obviously cannot respect their own author? Why should I respect someone showing disrespect to People of Colour (by putting a white face on the cover aka this is one more book not meant for you).

Respect is earned. Bloomsbury et al have no currency here.

[eta: Silly me. Forgot Verbe Noire. Self publishing is not the ONLY option anymore]

Friday, July 24, 2009

Once Upon A Time

Many many years ago, little Willow belonged to a Star Trek PBEM RPG; Star Trek, Play By Email, Role Playing Game. And little Willow had been made Commanding Officer of a staging area of said game; Outpost Foothold (Qam'uch).

Just before little Willow was made commanding officer, there'd been another who'd decided what the Klingon Outpost needed was a nearby planet, with Aliens. But then that person left and the game itself went through a kind of revolution; things shuffled and changed, administrators and duties changed and little Willow was left to create those Aliens. And create, organize and visualize the Outpost. And she did.

And when time came for the big reveal, it was well liked. But then those in charge said that Willow had to give credit to the guy who'd left because he'd thought up the concept of having a planet nearby in the first place, with possible non human aliens.

Little Willow was mad. Really really mad. This guy had left! He had nothing to do with the biology, physiology, geography, religion or politics of the planet she'd created. He'd only said 'Hey, maybe the nearest planet was inhabited'. And then he'd gone.

But Willow got told that that contribution needed credit and if Willow didn't like it, she could take her toys and go home. And, that's a difficult choice for someone to make eager at the chance of their own rp Command and for someone for whom the whole concept of people playing Star Trek seemed damn near miraculous.

But it has never, ever, been forgotten.

"He's our friend and he's been part of this game longer than you, and who are you to withhold the credit he deserves."

"But he didn't do the work! He didn't create anything! And then he abandoned the game!"

Little Willow eventually gave up the game a few months later; possibly only two months later. And it was the first time she'd ever walked away from something she'd created; cut the cord, detached and try not to look back. It was a hollow feeling. Echoing. And it was a circumstance that leaves a mark.


By contrast, an experience in a different Trek game; Holofleet brings up a different set of memories, mostly smiles, sometimes a couple of face palms at youth and stupidity (namely my own). Someone took me under their wing in Holofleet, challenged me to be a better writer. After a while I did stop rolling with the punches of round robin rpg - getting irked at how others, especially newbies, saw and portrayed my character.

But I have never forgotten warm acceptance, teasing, instruction and friendship.


Shaun Darlington died earlier this year. In February. Since I still follow Holofleet bulletins, I got the email. It's taken me this long to be able to think about it/ write about it.

Knowing someone is alive, even if you're no longer in communication with them is a solid comforting thing. Somewhere out there in the world, going through the day to day, is someone you care about - even if it wasn't possible to tell them so when you were closer.

Learning that person has died, is gut wrenching.

"Why was I such an immature, bitchy, clueless, asshole?"

"Why didn't I try and stay in contact despite leaving the game?"

"Why? Why? Why?"

"Why did they have to die?"

Going through various Geocities sites, trying to remember old usernames (forget remembering old passwords), seeing the past laid static before your eyes, seeing how far you've come and knowing yourself enough to read between the lines of your own words - well, it makes it clear why so many therapists advise journaling.

I trusted Shaun, heaven knows why. I don't trust very easily at all. But I trusted Shaun. I risked and dared in friendship. With a male (lesbian quasi separatist here). Little Willow trusted, my past self who was more vulnerable and fragile and young in oh so many ways. Little Willow trusted even after being told all sorts of things about how much she didn't know about real life and how stupid she was in that prior game that only brings up bad memories.

To me this makes/made him an extremely remarkable man.

Maybe that's why it's taken me several months to try and say goodbye. To try and get some sort of handle on this hollow feeling which hurts far more than leaving a creation to bullies. I think perhaps good memories touched by loss burn in a way that bad memories can't ever emulate.

"Goodbye Shaun and Thank You."

2009 More Authors Be - You Know The Drill

Granted, it's Harlan Ellison being Harlan Ellison; a racist, misanthropic, asswipe who feels he's G-d's gift to SF and therefore untouchable. Which I suppose is a redundant description since really, all I need to say is 'Harlan Ellison'. Y'know 'I grab a woman's breasts at an awards ceremony and then act affronted when people go WTF Harlan Ellison where is your home training? - Ellison.

Apparently, like so many authors on the internet (y'know, Anne Rice, LKH, Bear) he can't stand the thought that people call out his dumb shit. So now, he's retreated to his tower and called out his minions fans minions to 'Do something about' the NWA.

Yeah, he said that.

The person he's calling that? K.T. Bradford. Her graceful response is here.

The part that I find actually hateful, is his clueless white man privilege in claiming 'I can't be a jackass with racist tendencies because I helped Octavia Butler - so there!'. Like Ellison wasn't a gatekeeper in an industry Butler wanted to do well in. Like black people don't have to deal with racist, privileged jackasses all the time, with a smile, so they can get something done. Like Octavia Butler, having been one of the three names white people invoke to claim SF isn't exclusionary can't rest in peace now, she's got to be dragged out to protect white men (who haven't even bothered trying to find a new and LIVING shield for their shenanigans).

Yeah I know it's Harlan Ellison, it's like pissing in the wind to point out he's being Harlan Ellison. But I can wash my clothes and take a shower. I've been doing that since January when this year's spectacular inauguration wtf kicked off in SF Racefail.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Part of A Previous Essay On Ghetto Lit / Kimani Tru

KIMANI TRU bills itself as: The ultimate destination for entertaining fiction for African-American teens. Friendship. Love. Family. School. Life. Drama. We have it all covered from the city to the suburbs and everywhere in between. Reflecting your dreams. Your issues. In your voice.

I grew up with Nancy Drew and The Baby Sitter's Club and Encyclopedia Brown and Sweet Valley High (they had mysteries and adventures too) among many others. The thought of my sister getting to read the same stories, but with black protagonists excited me. She's dealing with very different issues than I had to deal with at her age. I grew up in the Caribbean where I had to be told my best friend was specifically white and just not a Bajan. My baby sister's known what it means to be a black person in a car the police flags to the side since she was four.

Scrolling through the site, I picked one book that looked interesting and sent off to the library for a copy to read. But I was so excited at finding the imprint, I recced the label to my little sister before I read the books. Luckily, by the time I did read she hadn't gotten around to buying them yet and I quickly put a stop to that idea.

And while it was my fault I recced the books without reading any first, I thought these were books about how difficult it is to be a teenager while feeling all alone, never realizing that everyone else isn't actually that different. If you've read Sweet Valley High etc, perhaps you know what I mean - books about cliques and first dates and being popular or not so popular and parental pressures and trying to sort yourself out. In fact I thought the books were for teens ages 14 or so and up.

I picked up The Edification of Sonya Crane. I thought I was going to read a book about a white girl whose mother gets caught up in drugs and thus circumstances force them to move to a black neighbourhood where the girl is mistaken for being biracial.

Yes, her mother gets caught up in drugs. But that can be a fact of life for some teenagers and I didn't think that would or should be an immediate warning sign for graphic content.

Heck I may not have read the books before recommending them to my sister, but I did check out Amazon.com. And I can remember rolling my eyes at one reviewer (of the very book I'd picked as interesting to me) who was in an absolute tizzy because she glanced through the book before giving it to her daughter and was appalled. I remember thinking that person was trying to hide discomfort at certain aspects of race relations perhaps being brunt and honest from a black point of view.

I was wrong.

So. So wrong.

The Edification of Sonya Crane is a book with graphic underage molestation, rape, sex, drug use, violence, more rape, graphically described sex acts, pregnancy - at that point the cussing was passing under my radar cause WTF?

"Reflecting your dreams. Your issues. In your voice."


What was this?!!

It's Street Lit for the Kiddies, is what it was.

To look at the book covers I couldn't imagine that they think modern black teenagers should all be relating to drug lords, physical child abuse, child neglect, drug abuse and grown men forcing themselves onto fifteen and sixteen year old girls. And I really don't care if this is just one book in the whole imprint. They included it in the imprint. They sent it out into the world to represent them; And now it has.

When did I end up the naive one for thinking a book that emphasizes the rivalry between two girls in a highschool setting would not have the scales tipped because one discovers the other blowing a teacher behind the bleachers - with mentions of saliva and penis veins?!??!

Am I just old?

Or is this, part of that unpleasant picture I mentioned before as to what is modern black/ African American literature, what it should be about and who reads it.

Because I'm not liking this picture, not at all. But I have no idea what to do to change it.

[Eta: This portion reposted to add to this post about Kimani Tru being owned by Harlequin]


I'm about to wear out capslocks. I warn you now.

So apparently, Ehalequin.com holding a backlist for Kimani Tru books means that Harlequin Books holds Kimani as an IMPRINT. I checked Wikipedia. It seems true.


KIMANI TRU billed itself as: The ultimate destination for entertaining fiction for African-American teens. Friendship. Love. Family. School. Life. Drama. We have it all covered from the city to the suburbs and everywhere in between. Reflecting your dreams. Your issues. In your voice.

The Edification of Sonya Crane, the book from the Kimani Tru imprint I read - disgusted me. Absolutely, disgusted me. It's the 'Penis Veins' book in my head. The book that was not about a young white girl, finding herself thought mixed and getting a unique perspective on herself, race relations and highschool life. That was the book I wanted. That was not the book I got.

Instead I got a book about a girl forced to give head to her mother's drug supplying boyfriend. A girl who only stopped the bullying of another highschool student when she caught said student giving head to a teacher under the bleachers - with mentions of glistening shaft, and penis veins. A book that had a teenage girl walking in on her mother passed out on the living room sofa and getting molested by her boyfriend, who doesn't stop when the teenager walks in and minutes later, goes upstairs to interfere with said teenager. A book about a white girl drowning herself in black identity and getting into trouble and 'becoming a problem' as she 'embraces blackness'.

A book that I could not finish and had to flip through to see if it was really continuing to go where it seemed to be headed. It was. It did.

A book that disgusted me.

To find out that Harlequin is responsible for that book. That Harlequin is pushing this ghetto lit as YOUNG ADULT AFRICIAN AMERICAN FICTION - brings me to tears AND makes me nauseated.

It's not that I never suspected Harlequin of having/harbouring racist tendencies. But this...

White teenagers? Every time you turn around someone's complaining about a book because they're not meant to be exposed to gay people, sex, drugs, anything turbulent.

But apparently black teenagers - well, girls using their bodies giving sex for love and acceptance and good grades, pimps and drugs, prisons and ex-cons, mothers being casually raped, teenage girls being casually raped, that's all good when it's lit for black youth.


Straight. Up. Poison.

{eta: I'm going to give away or throw away every last LUNA book I own. Including the Mercedes Lackey stuff)

PROOF! We Are Not A Monolith (& stuff)

Digital Femme gets all excited about Blackest Night. Her descriptions turn me the eff off. I found myself going:

"Is this supposed to be happening in the same universe and time frame as Batwoman and New Krypton?" and rethinking my urge to buy those trades - cause I don't want to see any of Blackest Night splashed around, even if I buy those two second hand or something.

I'm also (not just like DF) in that I'm not likely to read just for spectacle. New Krypton and Detective Comics (with Batwoman) are nibbling at me because they intrigue me about characters. I'm very much a character girl (what with being that crazy woman walking around thinking 'What Would Batman Do' and then doing it).

On the flip side, Marvelverse? I don't even care anymore. It's kind of scaring me. I imagine myself hearing that Monica or Allison has been killed off and my instant reaction is - well, guess I'll start writing fanfiction.

Oh the X-men went all evil and/or got blown up? - That's sad.

They castrated Beast? - Was he even using that body part? Eh. Whatever.

Scott Summers has become Emma Frost's boytoy sex slave and has been mind whammied? - Eh, hopefully they won't need to revive Jean from the dead so someone can slap Frost down for that.

Ok, maybe the last one has a little bit of caring from me. What with the whole 'slapping down' but I'm not inclined to want to see it, so I'm thinking it counts under the 'Meh'.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tired Of Hurting

I just finished Shannon Hale's Book Of A Thousand Days last night. It was recognizably Mongolian inspired to me (as well as fairy tale inspired) and I loved it. I'd picked it up at the library because the cover says she was the writer who wrote Princess Academy which is another YA book I've read and greatly enjoyed.

I like plucky but thoughtful/reflective female protagonists. Young women who think before they act (and after they act and better yet during the action). They are more believable and admirable to me than heroines counting on luck or even strength/aggression.

Flipping to the back of Book Of A Thousand Days, in the library I saw that Shannon Hale is white. And I was filled with a keen disappointment. But I had enjoyed one of her other books and I hadn't once thought those characters where white, so I thought I'd give this one a try.

I feel I can safely say that this is two books now by Hale that I've read that are nothing like Lian Hern/Gillian Rubinstein's Across The Nightingale Floor. The two Hale's tales I've read have not been generic white fantasies dressed up in exotic cloth. The culture of the protagonists have helped form them uniquely. To take out an aspect of Dashti's life and trials and substitute it with something else, would change the story completely. As to take out an aspect of Miri's life and experiences.

The same cannot be said for the characters in Nightingale who could as easily drink beer as sake, eat wheat as rice, dress in robes as kimono, use broadswords as katana, have lords and a high king as shoguns and emperor (even if the last two terms were not specifically used - it was very obvious what they were).

But this is the cover of The Princess Academy that I read; A string of girls against iconic style mountains wearing clothing that made me think of the mountains of Peru, or at least that area of high mountains and tribes in South America.

This is the cover I found on Hale's website. Either Miri is now white, or some other girl in the book is and she is thought important enough to be on the cover. There is a third cover I found while looking the first version up and at least there the girl on the cover has been drawn and painted with browner skin and dark hair and against a background that looks more South American than European (or even at a stretch, Greek)

I'd liked Hale's writing enough that I came online to see what other books she'd written. And now I'm struck with bittersweet, because apparently she's behind the plunky retold Rapunzel reviewed by Karen Healey of Girls Read Comics; She's the author of the book who was interviewed about gender and fairytales and comics. She managed not to make me feel sick inside, in that telltale way I get these days around white feminists. And First Nations people matter in this (Rapunzel) fairytale, in terms of the fabric of the world's society.

But there's that cover. There's Dashti represented only as hands on Book Of A Thousand Days (inside at least she and her world are, to me, obviously Asian). And the hurt is so strong and so deep - the odd sense of betrayal that I had dared hope this writer would be different - even as I know writers seldom have say over their covers at all. But the hurt doesn't care about that fact; all it feels, all I feel, is that here is yet another example of more people in charge of media distribution going 'Oh, the consumer won't buy a PoC lead'.

I'm aware of my hurt. I know why I'm hurting. What makes me truly upset is all the girls who don't know where that splinter in their soul is coming from. The ones who're encouraged to read ghettolit because it's about them, because it might be the only thing for them; heroines who use their body and sex appeal to deal with drug dealers, scoundrels, ex-cons and pimps.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"But Why Are You So Angry?"

Congregating while black

Driving while black

Walking with significant melanin

Being in front of your house in short pants as a teenage girl while black

There Is A NEW #1 Danger While Not White:

Being In Your Own Damn House While Black

[Police Report Here]

I know I mention 'While Black' a lot and in this post mention melanin only once. But I have not forgotten the Sikh Family In Texas, who were arrested though they called the police BECAUSE A BURGLAR HAD ALREADY VIOLATED THEIR HOUSE (2008). Or the Asian Family shot at, two parents, six children, as police raided the wrong home - the police officers got medals of valor (2007).

And no, it's not even a case of one egregious mistaken identity a year.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Asian Super Heroes Go To San Diego

Angry Asian Man has the details of : Secret Identities at San Diego Comic-Con / Asian American superhero Contest.

Secret Identities, in case you forgot is an Asian Superhero Anthology.

[ Yup, still fighting the disease/malaise/lethargy every time I want to promote something PoC / PoC & Comic Related. It's like I can feel the full weight of the white stupid it will have to fight against, just to exist. Ugh. But baby steps, yes?]

Sunday, July 19, 2009

My Thoughts On The GL Movie Casting

1. Oh hi there Hollywood racism. Goodbye John Stewart.

2. John Stewart IS MY GL (Thank You, Bruce Timm)

3. My 2nd GL is Kai Ro (Before there was Aang, Kai was my raised by monks savior of the world).

4. Prior to Jon Stewart becoming MY GL, I knew of my father's/uncles' GL - Alan Scott.

5. Which means I had no idea Hal even existed until I got back into comics in my late 20's.

6. Ryan Renolds would make a good Kyle Rayner (given what I've absorbed about Kyle).

Saturday, July 18, 2009

White Ignorance + Racism

Over the course of this protest, I really have underestimated how insular a LOT of Americans are, especially when you get into towns that don't have a lot of multiculturalism, like. It's just plain ignorance.

For people who've never learned/seen/been exposed to anything Asian beyond fortune cookies and sweet-and-sour chicken balls, I suddenly understand that when they watched the cartoon, all they see is 'fantasy'. All the architecture, clothing, food, writing, names, movements - EVERYTHING that is so plainly and clearly Asian to us? Is just to them....a fantasy. It's all made-up. They don't know that so much of the world is based on real cultures, they don't get how much attention to detail and research the creators put into the cartoon, because they've NEVER SEEN THESE CULTURES, IRL.

They simply don't know. And they've never HAD to learn. Gyah, it's so crazy and sad to realize that people have lived such insular lives.

-- glockgal

And someone (jedifreac) makes another powerful statement, this one about Cognitive Dissidence in the same post. It goes to a whole lot of what was discussed during RaceFail about the difference between 'But I'm a good person / I don't find it racist, therefore it (whatever it is) can't be racist!' But that's a different entry. Right now I want to touch on isolation, multiculturalism, ignorance and things along those lines. And yes, I am going to bring up Pat Buchanan (but not link to him) and his statement about 'This country was built by 100% white men'. Because it's relevant. Because there are people out there who honestly believe that slavery had nothing to do with America's prosperity (and rapid accumulation of it in such a short space of time / for such a young country). There are people who don't know the Chinese built the railroads West. And there are people who do not know exactly how much the earlier colonists just moved in and took over whole First Nation's villages with crops and seed stores and stocked wood even, due to plague.

This is the reason it's so important to point out why it's horrible to erase First Nations from a speculative narrative. This is the reason it's horrible that so many African American inventors have been written out of history. Quick example? Dr. Mark Dean, an African American who holds three of the nine patents for the IBM PC model. An African American helped make PC's an appliance. I didn't even know that at the beginning of the month, and I look for stuff like this. This is the reason that it is alarming that the Texas Board of Education is seriously considering Cesar Chavez and Thurgood Marshall as not being historical figures of enough importance to be taught in their curriculum and included in their books. I can't find my original source link, but use a search engine, enter the terms, look it up. It's real. This is happening now in 2009. And by the way, it's not just ethnic/racial minorities who aren't being considered important. My original source link mentioned historical women as well.

Glockgal's statement made me think about Racefail and how much general white people just don't know. It reminds me of something my father said, which was, that I was expecting Americans to know something about post colonial theory, when post colonial to them likely meant after 1775-1783 and the end of the American Revolutionary War. Granted the hubris isn't just held by White Americans. Though I've admitted in this blog before my surprise at how quickly Britain has forgotten basic geography of places that were once their colonies. Still they, in general, can be said to know of these places. Whereas in towns in the middle of this large land of America, People of Colour were purposefully run out; chased out of town and off their land so white people could move in and collect/acquire assets (yes, the history as happened to the First Nation tribes was made to repeat itself). There's a reason that there are towns in the US without any black folk, where people grow up only seeing People of Colour on television.

Avatar: The Last Airbender (the animated show), has Inuit and Japanese and Chinese and Korean and South Asian (East Indian) culture, big and bold in dress, food, language, martial arts and architecture. But if you're ignorant of those cultures, of that food, of that language of that architecture, if you've only ever seen it depicted as a fantasy land (ghetto) where white characters run around and save the day - then how would you ever know it was REAL?

How would you, theoretical white person, know that armor design, that sword move, that parka (that atiqik) is real? How would you know that hairstyle, that blade, those shoes, are real? How would you know the artwork reflected something real? The art style of the show itself, reflected something real?

If you're the theoretical white person who lives in a town filled with other white people and you've only ever seen People of Colour on tv - how could you begin to understand that Aang doesn't need to be yellow toned, with slanted eyes in order to be read as Asian? How do you know your own ignorance? Your utter and absolute ignorance?

I'm not giving a pass, by the way, to people who go 'But it's not the Klan! It's not burning and lynching! So it can't be racist'. I'm not giving a pass, not just because the level of ignorance is a crime and a privilege (guess how much other people know about white cultures, guess why they need to - hint, it's for survival). I'm not giving a pass, because I've seen people use lynch casually. I've seen people use the imagery of lynching, casually (totally looking at you Peter David).

Ami Angelwings mentions this very thing constantly. She's Chinese Canadian. Chinese New Year, celebrated by Chinese Canadians is seen as Chinese. Whereas Saint Patrick's Day is seen just as Canadian. Not Irish Canadian, but Canadian. The normalizing of European Ethnicity as default White Culture means so many individuals probably feel they're knowledgeable because they know about Octoberfest and Green Beer and Renaissance Fairs.

Another place this ignorance comes up is when fantasy fiction that includes non-white ethnic mythology and traditional storytelling gets labeled Magical Realism, because Fantasy Fiction happens in Pseudo Europes.

Which leads me back to Avatar and all the people who said it's fantasy so there aren't any Chinese, Japanese, Inuit People!! Because Fantasy happens in Pseudo Europes which means white people. Which makes all the ethnic elements of Avatar, but so much fantasy dressing - made up stuff to make the universe just a little bit different, just a little bit cool and exotic.

Unashamed, self perpetuating ignorance.

Colorblindness - the assumption that everyone is white and everything is white culture with a little something extra, something strange and exotic made up but easily subtracted to make it all white again.


[eta: blockquote & link] Original link re: Texas School Board


"I think it's one of those things where I pull my hair up, shave the sides, and I definitely need a tan," he said of the transformation he'll go through to look more like Sokka. "It's one of those things where, hopefully, the audience will suspend disbelief a little bit."
- Jason Rathbone

Click here to visit Kali921's site for IMAGES OF THE WHITE HEROES (of fail) in M.Night. Shaylaman's THE RACEBENDER.

Yeah, when you wonder how 2009 managed to burn me out? Racefail's 1, 2, 3, and all this Lily White Avatar Shit.

PS: Racebending.com / also @LJ on:
Visulizing Aang | The Yellow & Brown (black) face

[[[In case you're wondering, I want this to flop so hard, it makes A SFYFY Original Movie look good. I want M.Night's children to point at him and say 'FOR SHAME'. I want his elder relatives to point out his failure and compliance in some abject racism. And I want every producer and executive who agreed with this travesty to watch their money BURN. I particularly want the foreign market to FURTHER TANK LIKE THE TITANIC. And if possible, someone should get fired.]]]

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Nibbles & Nostalgia

Batwoman in Detective Comics has been attacking me via the nibbles. The imagery seems to pop up everywhere I surf online. Gorgeous art, and Batwoman with the bright red flowing hair. There are several personal reasons for me to be drawn to Batwoman.

Yeah, I'm a lesbian. Big whoop.

Yeah, I'm a Bat fangirl. Straight up hardcore.

But my first non baby doll, was Batwoman. My mother refused to buy me a Barbie. My father refused too. Between the two of them, even though they were separated at the time, Barbie was just not in my future as a child (I didn't get one until was 9 or 10. And that was because my mother saw a black Barbie and black Ken on a visit to the States and that tipped the scales. We won't get into the week of adjustment for my heart not to be broken over the fact she wasn't blonde.

But Batwoman (possibly more Batgirl), with her motorcycle, and secret lair and bright red wig. I loved the show as a child. And I couldn't help falling in love with my action figure, once I got over the fact that she too was not a taller, thiner, blonde Barbie doll. She was definitely cooler, her limbs were more articulated and she and Supergirl could kick doll tail all over the place. I distinctly remember once having them battle the carpet sweeper in my Dad's office. Once I got over not having a Barbie doll to play dress up clothes with and who'd hang around a pool - I think I embraced super hero doll playing whole heartedly.

Batwoman calls out to that little girl, to nostalgia, in ways I can't begin to explain. And as I mention Rucka's take on Wonder Woman all the time, it makes it easy to believe I won't be disappointed. But Rucka's only human. And he's a man, and white - extra spin on human fallacy. So I'll wait. My inner little girl doesn't want things this hard as a regular occurrence. So I'm paying attention. But it is frustrating to realize that DC could very well get my money in a couple months, despite my over all dissatisfaction with them.

PS: I am currently fantasizing about an alternative for the trade paperback, with a comic floopy size backing of art, with a disc placed on it, disc art matching the backing. With single issues as pdfs or cbrs. And possibly some extra art. (yeah, even my fantasies don't think it'd go as wondrously far as behind the scenes/interview with artists etc)

[Comments Allowed]

Second Verse, Same As The First

This is not an entry about sexism, racism, cisgenderism or heterosexism. This is an entry about digital comics. Explicitly, this is Yet Another Digital Comics Post By Willow. YADCPBW - damn, it doesn't make a catchy acronym.

Why another post? Why not.

Mostly though, I'm writing because I'm realizing that just like there are fans who talk about holding a book in their hands, the feel of the paper stock, the good binding, the typeset - for books and I'm sure similar sensations for comics, I want to talk about the sensation of being a digital fan.

Recently I read through the Star Wars: The Old Republic webcomic, available at the massive multiplayer online game site. And it hit me how much I love that moment when you determine if you want to read full screen web-browser, or full screen monitor, or if the art is laid out enough that you can read as is. I love the graphic flip to a second page. I love reading single page style, with two page spreads coming up only if the art cues for it and then bam, wonderful large art, right there. That I can zoom in on to see the fine details done by inker and colourist. I love the preview panels that pop up showing bits of colour and hints of layout. I love knowing ahead of time how many pages a comic is. As much as I'd love to have all these things possible on a portable e-comic reader, I enjoy it as it is on my computer monitor. I enjoy it more than reading prose ebooks.

I've said before that individual comic issues aren't for me. And they aren't. Not the physical individual issues. I have several in my home right now that I rarely go through and read, because they're either old and fragile back issues. Or they're the more modern comics all glossy and ink and if I'm looking at glossy pages I'd prefer a hardcover if I have to have a book at all.

But also, comic art is changing. And while I'm not completely sure I like the change, for example I've not at all enjoyed the way Marvel in particular seems to be swinging to cinematic still shots - a lack of layout and movement I think of as dead art - there are individuals trying to fuse the two. And seeing that lit up on screen feels epic in a way holding something in my hand just wouldn't.

I also don't like how insubstantial floppies feel. Or rather to keep this on positives, I like the way an adobe pdf handles when I'm reading a single issue. I discovered this reading the single issues of The 99. I can get excited about a new installment and not waiting on trades with a PDF. It represents part of a whole, I can eventually burn to disc, write a name on a label (or make a special label for) and have right there for my own enjoyment. Plus it makes the thought of buying the series in trade a choice of a different venue, instead of me feeling like I'm spending money twice, and the second time just for binding it.

Those glossy pages in paper floppy issues make it feel less like waiting for trade and buying is about better paperstock and quality production.

And digital copies to take with me when I leave the house? I loved the chance to share The 99 - Origins with my little brother and father. It's like taking movies with you to share with people, or taking music. Here, join me enjoying this. This is something I might get you for a present / something you should consider buying for yourself. I love the thought of Greg Rucka's run on Wonder Woman someday being portable. So I could open up a laptop somewhere and go 'Here, this is what I mean'. Or 'I'll bring them for you to read when I come up'.

For the first time I think I buy the concept that there is a Digital Generation. And what's tactile and comforting for said generation will obviously be very different from the generations that came before. But the impulses have the same basis. Digital to me is portable, the way a paperback might be portable for someone else. Yet I thrill to the thought of something the size of a paperback or trade holding 100 of my favourite books - my personal favourite library on hand. I thrill to the thought of having choice when I catch moments to read, to either re-read or read new. I thrill to the thought of never being without a book. I thrill to the thought of one click download of not just ebooks, but comics. All comics. Going to the website of an indie artist, writer and illustrator and boom, I paid my money, I have their work in my hot little hands.

I recently read How Mirka Got Her Sword - it's available in 'dead wood pulp' for $20. I love the style and colours of the story and I realized, something on heavy paper-stock, with that style of print and colour is something I would actually enjoy having and holding in my hands. It says 'book' to me in a very unique way.

Whereas most other comics say digital.

[Comments Allowed]

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Wonder Woman's Lacks

Things I am tired of. I am tired of Circe vs Wonder Woman. Yes, I know I stopped reading DC (and Marvel). But something possessed me to look up images of WW on Deviant Art. There was good stuff. There was also an over abundance of softcore porn and raunchiness and abject and total male gaze wherein she looked anything but a strong warrior. I'm not sure if it was just made up to look official or not, but one image had a cover like scene, with her behind Batman.

And that was the blaze to set an explosion, metaphorically, in my mind.

I love Batman, but Diana would not be behind him. Beside him, yes. But not behind.

Which led to me thinking about Diana's enemies. Batman has 'The Joker', like Superman has 'Lex Luthor'. But they both have an entire gallery of ne'er do wells. Diana has Circe and Ares. That's it. That's all I've ever seen. No matter what happens, it all eventually spins back to Circe and Ares.

Perhaps there is some executive decision somewhere that states that Diana, Princess of Thymascaria, The Wonder Woman, cannot have more enemies than Circe and Ares, with Cheetah as some kind of local, C level bonus round.

Clayface, Ras As Gul, Killer Croc, The Riddler, Penguin, Rupert Thorne, various mobsters of Gotham - that's a list straight out of my head as I write this. No checking Wikipedia. That's what hits me when I think of Batman. And yep, I totally forgot Catwoman.

Toyman (is he a shared villain?), Metallo, That 5th Dimension Pest whose name I can't remember to spell, Zod (when he's around), Darksied (when he's alive/around) - I'm trying to remember comic villains and not just Superman: The Animated Series villains. But that's my list, off the top of my head of Superman bad guys that do not include Lex Luthor.

Ok, Ares, Circe, Cheetah, andThe Silver Swan - for Wonder Woman. But I don't think there's been an update on The Silver Swan in a while. But where's the savy business mogul, of perhaps a cosmetics industry or fashion magazine who doesn't like what WW has to say about empowerment and make-up and following the crowd? I mean that's a superficial villain at best, yes. But why hasn't it happened? More than once if it has actually happened.

Why doesn't WW go up against magic consistently? Batman can't do magic. Superman sure as heck is vulnerable to magic. Why isn't that WW's domain as part of the Trinity? Why isn't she dealing with modern manifestations of ancient powers? Why isn't there a nice crossover between her and Batman where she's called to help because Gotham's Gargoyles have come to life (the city's supposed to be heaped on top of malevolent and festering magics, right). And it's ancient power leaked from between the worlds and not something Jason Blood has an easy answer to?

Why doesn't WW fight Monsanto a corporation that's perverting nature while crushing farmers under mountainous debt? Why isn't she using her presence and influence to advocate for investigations into their business practices? Why isn't she showing up unexpectedly and stopping them from harassing farmers, throwing people off land they'd owned for generations?

Why isn't WW helping her universe's version of Fiji and their fight to have fresh water, against corporate interest that bully their government?

Yes, Superman takes a certain tact because he doesn't want to be portrayed as a benevolent alien dictator. But Wonder Woman has/had a mission. She's a product of ancient gods. She's a humanitarian ambassador from a more evolved (philosophically, scientifically, magically) civilization that's NATIVE TO EARTH. Why aren't there WW embassy buildings all over the world?

Why haven't other Amazons joined her cause to help humanity and become staff to those embassies?

Why isn't Wonder Woman a movement?

Why aren't her enemies the political rulers/dictators of various countries? Perhaps in league with shadow councils of their native cultures and gods?

For the record, if Wonder Woman was a movement as well as a person, Amazons Attack - having people barging into women's shelter's would have made a lot more sense. Y'know, if they were Wonder Woman Rehabilitation Centers or Education Clinics etc.

My respect for Kurt Busiek grows and grows, because I've just remembered that's kind of what he did for Winged Victory.

Apparently what I should do is think of a good name for an archetype and write my own damn stories (I'm not giving a damn about traditional avenues of publishing) - because damn, I'm fed up with spits and starts of writers who don't have any idea what to do with her; whether or not their cluelessness is compounded by editorial fiat.

And my Amazing Warrior Princess won't have to pick a thong out of her behind.

PS: I heard about the new status quo vis Gail Simone. You do not want to hear my opinion on it. It gets ugly.

Dear Chris of ISB

I mean, I know that she was originally intended to be female, and then changed because Capcom thought the American SNES-buying audience would be happier with a transvestite hooker than Mike Haggar actually piledriving a woman, and then replaced with two decidedly male characters for the American release, and the whole thing’s way more complex than it ought to be. Even this issue seems to have fun with it, with Cody’s “you’re not much of a lady” and her irate response, which could be taken a couple of ways.

Not that I particularly mind, you understand, but it’d be nice to know which comics I read involved cross-dressing prostitutes. My filing system is oddly specific.

Dear Chris of ISB,

Transvesite, Transexual and Transgender are three separate and individual words. They have three different meanings. They correspond to sexual identity, orientation, gender, civil rights and sexuality and sexual expression. Transvestite is the one that 99.9 percent corresponds to sexuality (the act of being sexual) and sexual expression (how one performs the acts of being sexual).

While I understand in POST RACIAL AMERCIA (which is apparently POST ISM AMERICA), it's all the rage to be a bigot big and bold, your words are incredibly crass and ignorant. I have a difficult time believing that in the comicbook blogsphere, you are unaware of non cisgendered, non heterosexual comic bloggers. Your little 'joke', hurt and aggravated two people I care deeply about and just PLAIN PISSED ME OFF.

It doesn't matter that CapCom has a hole in the corporate brain and a need to appease 'Americans who don't believe in hitting women'. It doesn't matter that the word Futanari (which is basically a third sex in Japanese art) does not translate well. This is Laura Framingham level 'research' and 'caring' here, that you couldn't stop and think of Posion as transgendered.

For the record, She Is. As stated officially by Capcom representatives, her pre or post op status depending on country being inconsequential. An operation doesn't make someone a girl, being a girl makes someone a girl. Just like the fact you have a penis, doesn't make you man, but instead seems to make you an asshole.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

99 Reasons...

Below is the bulk, organized portion of an entry I started working on about two weeks ago. I'd titled it.

99 Reasons To Be Happy

I thought I had mentioned before The 99, but now I'm having difficulties finding a reference in the blog. The 99 is

* A superhero universe based on Islamic principles and the 99 names of Allah

* A Muslim X-Men/Xavier's School For Mutants (kinda)

* A superhero universe filled with characters of colour; adults, heroes, teenagers, people on the street.

* Epic.

You can go to the website and learn about Noor Stones, and the history of the creators, and read the bios of many characters. And, I sincerely hope some of you will, buy digital downloads of the comics themselves.

But I just want to talk about my utter excitement. They're currently using Paypal and Paypal Credit Authorization (for those who don't wish to have a paypal account) and you buy by the issue, so I'm no longer confused about what exactly I'm paying for and who I'm paying it too. So that since I discovered information on The 99, last year I think it was, I'm finally holding more than the free Origins issue in my hot little virtual hands.

It is surely no secret at all that I love superhero comics and no further secret that Marvel and DC have disgusted and/or disappointed me - so much so that I've turned away from them, stopped looking up trades, stopped wanting to know much of any damn thing going on with them.

Aside: World of New Krypton aside, which is a Greg Rucka project for the moment, and is thus, as tantalizing to me, as water to a thirsty person.

Here is a world that's giving me what I want, the way I want it, multinational heroes with strengths and weaknesses and needs and friendships and ethics lessons outside of 5 minutes in a summer blockbuster movie.

Then today, I learned The 99 Will be meeting DC's Trinity and my heart sank.

I'd been so excited about The 99, that I couldn't finish writing an entry. I was too busy reading and buying more, talking it up to my siblings and holding on to my joy. And now my heart sinks.

I know business wise this is a big deal. And I have no doubt the creators feel tremendously proud. And that it will undoubtedly introduce The 99 to even more readers. But all I can think about is Milestone Comics and enfolding, and Static as the only character from an entire universe they seem to give a damn about over at DC.

But that's secondary to just plain horror. Just strong no. I don't want The 99 tainted by DC. By the way they let their colourists lighten the skin of Characters of Colour. I don't want something so good tainted by how DC treats non Christian religions. I don't want The 99 tainted by how DC treats women.

I'm so hurt and disappointed and crushed. Those words can't even really describe what I'm feeling.

The 99 is NOT The Great Ten's "Mother of Champions" OR Most Excellent Superbat. They shouldn't be associated with a franchise that treats cultures like that. The 99 shouldn't be associated with Nu'bia, or with Black Adam & Isis, who're occasionally black and predominantly misguided evil.

The idiots who made comments about never supporting a black superhero in 'mainstream comics' as linked to over at 4th Letter, I don't want them seeing The 99. I don't want them talking about my new heroes, flapping their gums and spitting out idiocy. They've got their heroes. White and 'pristine' (and over sexualized) and just for them. Why can't I have my heroes without them having even a dot of input and remarks and ugliness. If they'd never buy a book with a mainstream black hero, are they going to buy books with predominantly brown skinned heroes? With Muslim heroes? I don't want to hear about the filth and mockery and whatever else curdles and rots in their minds that they feel the need to type out on the internet. I don't want that near The 99.

Needless to say, even if I am Batman's girl, I won't be buying the mini-series. I sincerely hope it's not in continuity for The 99, but even if it is, I'll just miss whatever develops during those issues. And I desperately hope that it won't affect the story of The 99, or too much affect the characters I've grown so quickly to care about.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Alien Nation

Recently I've had the gratifying experience of rewatching episodes of a beloved childhood show and finding them dripping in thoughtful examinations and presentation of minority experience, privilege, racism and more.

Newsarama, "If it's news that will rip your heart out and shit in it, while violating your childhood memories with a piece of raw pork, Newsarama will bring it to you" (my personal label for them - which holds even though a friend brought me the news, they were the link). Has brought word that SciFi with it's new stupid ass name, is remaking Alien Nation and Tim Minear of Angel (the series) is driving the show.

I have no words for my fear and disgust and bright tears. It's been bad enough to have so many people convinced racism isn't a problem because hey, it's the future, it's 200something. It's been made fucking worse, to have people go 'Woot! Black President! Post Racial America! Suck it non whites!'

White privilege? WTF is that? I ain't got no stinking privilege you uppity n*gger.

And now a show that's been feeding my soul, and helping me hold on to my love for Non White Futurism and Fantasy, is being exhumed, savaged, and slapped with Contemporary For Our Times, New Interpretation, By Tim Fucking "Sure Joss, Let's Not Have Any Asians In Our Asian Future" Minear.

Thank you, Kenneth Johnson, for the original. For the respect and the effort.

Fuck You. SciFi Channel.


The new "Alien Nation" will likely take place in the Pacific Northwest, and will take place about 20 years after the first ship of aliens - who have been banished as slaves - crash lands into Earth.

By the time the show begins, some time in the 2020s, the alien population has multiplied from a few thousand to 3.5 million. And much of the "newcomers" live their own segregated existence, in what Minear compares to the North African ghettos in France.

"You can take (the original 'Alien Nation') a step forward and really do a show that encompasses the clash of civilizations, and the idea of a ghettoized minority," he said. "You can touch on racism, terrorism, assimilation, immigration. And there's room for satire."

Kenneth Johnson did it better the first time. It got recognized and won awards.