We did another episode of the show, we’ve done a few actually and I’m just needing to remember to post them here more often, join us wont you?
Comics publisher DC had said several weeks ago that it was going to reveal one of its major characters as gay. They then announced it was Alan Scott. I’m a fan of Alan Scott, he’s my favorite Green Lantern, with that love of a character comes the knowledge that he is not a major character. Even amongst many Green Lantern fans I know, he is a “Who?” when they ask me who my favorite Lantern is. In general, I can’t say “Alan Scott is one of my favorite characters” without having to explain who he is. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like a major character to me. They also say he’s iconic, with which I say, Green Lantern is iconic; Alan Scott isn’t.
Again, this is coming from a super-fan of the character, there is a difference between a “major character is now gay” and “a character is now gay and we’re now making him a major character”. I remember the rumors buzzing around with people thinking it would be one of the Robins, Tim Drake being the common idea. Robin and Tim Drake are major characters, even if Tim Drake is now Red Robin, most people who know comics vaguely can admit that he’s still a major character. Alan Scott was in no one’s running for it, even Alan Scott fans, because we know he isn’t a major character.
Alan Scott is on so few people’s radars that he’s only become a major character to the general audience due to this change. I’m alright with Alan being gay now, what I’m not for is the erasing of his kids, especially of his son, Obsidian. You see, Obsidian is/was gay and now no longer exists due to de-aging Alan Scott. DC has literally replaced one gay character with another. Worse, they totally wiped the slate of Obsidian, it’s worse than if they’d killed him, at least there he’d still have had an effect on his father, sister and friends; now he’s nothing and we only have this trade off.
This isn’t progress, this feels like they are filling a quota and that is not right. You make a character gay, alright cool but why did you have to get rid of another? Is Obsidian ever going to come back and will he still be gay or are there too many gay people for you now? I highly doubt it was your intention to come off this way DC, you can’t be that stupid and bigoted, but it can sure as hell be read that way when you hear “DC is making one character gay and got rid of another gay character by doing so”. That’s what happened, and it sounds vile when you see it put in the most clear cut way.
I was originally just going to write how DC had gotten everyone’s hopes up by saying a major character was going to be announced as gay and how they pulled the rug out from under us by making it be a minor, if beloved by what fans he has, character. That was a sneaky thing to do, but then to also state they had to get rid of his children, one being gay himself, is just terrible. It reads more as a publicity stunt than Marvel marrying Northstar. I say this since this comes from a company that thought Spider-Man being married was boring; so what’s that going to say about Northstar who isn’t a big league character like Spidey?
The big two publishers want to be seen as progressive but not doing any real work at attaining progression. They just want people to look at the surface and hope that’s good enough. Except they expect people to stick around and read what’s inside so they can get more of their money, but then the audience realizes what they are getting is half-hearted.
STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math)
Banned from Kickstarter for being a Stalking Victim — Wow, Kickstarter. Good. Fucking. Game.
‘Sandwich Makers’ Finally Described as ‘Female’ in Facebook’s Leet Speak Option — “In the interest of hearing all sides of the situation—it’s only fair—I fired off an e-mail to our contacts at Facebook PR asking for comment on the “54ndw1ch m4k3r” description. Not long after the e-mail was sent, I checked the settings again and “54ndw1ch m4k3r” had quietly been changed to “Female” under the Leet Speak option. But why did Facebook wait until now to do so?”
Hackerspace for Moms in Berkeley — Holy cow, this is so cool.
Chimamanda Adichie: The Danger of a Single Story — I may have linked this before and I’m likely to someday link it again, but every time this comes back on my radar, I just want to share its awesomeness.
Before you ask, I’m not linking to the stupid Oatmeal bullshit because no.
The Type of Women I Want to See at PAX — A personal essay on being trans at a gaming convention.
Colonialism and Games — A game specifically designed to bring up discussion about colonialism.
Ten Year Old Makes Audio-Only Game for his Blind Grandmother — HANG ON I HAVE SOMETHING IN MY EYE
TV AND FILM
Tosh.O Suggests Dudes Should Grope Women For Laughs — So can we arrest him yet? I discovered that making mediocre television isn’t a crime (unfortunately), but surely this must be?
How to Spot a Male Fauxminist — Male Fauxminist, better known as The Nice Guy
Why the ‘Girl’ Matters: Yet Another Post About Geek Girls and Gamer Girls — While I don’t agree with using the word “girl” to self-describe, I respect opinions and think that, of the opinions that disagree with mine, this is well-stated.
Hey Everyone: Stop Taking This Picture. No, I Mean It — The tits/ass/glance over the shoulder shot. You know the one.
DC Women Kicking Ass has an article that discuss the changes in Wonder Woman’s portrayal of the Amazons. This also reminds me that DC has a new origin story for Harley Quinn that came out on the 14th.
Let’s play a game shall we? Do you think either of these new stories are really all that positive of a change? If you answered with “No,” “Of course not,” or “It’s DC” then I’m sad to say you’re right!
The Amazons now trick men into sleeping with them so they can get pregnant, and afterwards they kill the men. Effectively, they’re human praying mantises. That’s not all though. They then trade away any male-born children for weapons from Hephaestus.
As DCWKA points out, while this may have connections to some historical groups (not necessarily the Amazons), it doesn’t mean that the magic-as-hell DC version of the Amazons need to be sexist cliches. I generally like what the new Wonder Woman comic is doing, but this was a misstep in in its re-imagining of the world of Wonder Woman. We have a generally great comic, but then we get this, and I’m just reminded that I can’t escape some of the crap in comics.
And Harley. Oh, Harley…
I have actively been avoiding the mess that is the new Harley Quinn since I saw her new outfit, which looked like a reject back up dancer. The new character has lost all the charm of what made Harley fun and replaced it with Sex (the capital s is important due to it being her defining mark. See the “clown car” example. … Actually, don’t do that. Ever). This is similar to how Starfire has been ramped up in the idea that Sex is her defining characteristic. You know, cause they’re women.
Originally, Harley was the Joker’s psychiatrist, and while talking with him she started to fall for him. As she continued to fall for the man, she herself began to take on her own madness. She would go on to join the Joker as both lover and partner in crime. Harley and Joker were constantly on-again-off-again in their very messed-up relationship.
Now, Harley’s dumped into the same chemical that made the Joker, by the Joker, and against her will.
So instead of the tragic story of a person who fell for the wrong guy and made all the wrong choices, we get someone who is forced into a life of crime by someone else. One of the reasons Harley was so fun is because she made her own decisions. She might be nuts, but she owns it. She is madness; hear her roar. Now we just have another villain made by another villain. This story has been done before, usually for short-lived villains who exist as just another victim. Harley isn’t a mad fool in love anymore, now she’s just a copy and paste of the Joker.
DC, I gotta ask: why change these things? Were people clamoring for new Amazon or Harley origins? Were the previous stories really that displeasing to the fans? I don’t think we had a problem before, but now we do. This is just more evidence for the “DC is in a race with Arizona for misogyny capital of the world” argument. DC has made me, a straight 26 year-old male (their supposed target demographic), turn away from one of his favorite characters. I have been avoiding Harley since they rebooted her. All news just gets shoved away, since it’s never good. The Amazon thing just seems like a need to make things gritty in a series that has been otherwise stellar.
Knock it off, DC. You just make me want to leave this behind, when your brilliant new look involves turning characters I like into cheap eye candy with even worse dialogue. Seriously, a clown car? Ugh.
This morning on twitter, Kate Beaton posted some hilarious guides to identifying feminists, as would have been written by them MRA type folk.
If you find yourself perplexed by this, thinking this is an unfunny and untrue caricature, that’s good. It means you don’t know about MRAs. I’d recommend keeping it that way.
… otherwise known as “marriage.”
So I think we all know by now that in 2010, Archie Comics introduced Kevin Keller, an openly gay man living in Riverdale. His introduction was so popular that the comic sold out, and it was the first time they ever had to do a reprint. Recently, Kevin Keller got married, and it’s possible they’ll have to do another reprint, because that one sold out too.
Well, certain conservative groups are not happy. (When are they ever happy?) Million Moms decided to threaten boycott over this, threatening stores like Toys’R’Us for even stocking the comic. However, Archie creators and Toys’R’Us totally read the news, and decided to hold the line.
So, like, that’s pretty cool. But then CEO of Archie Comic Group, John Goldwater, went and said this (emphasis mine):
We stand by Life with Archie #16. As I’ve said before, Riverdale is a safe, welcoming place that does not judge anyone. It’s an idealized version of America that will hopefully become reality someday. We’re sorry the American Family Association/OneMillionMoms.com feels so negatively about our product, but they have every right to their opinion, just like we have the right to stand by ours. Kevin Keller will forever be a part of Riverdale, and he will live a happy, long life free of prejudice, hate, and narrow-minded people.
It’s that time of year again! Where people in love try to make up for months of neglect with a bouquet of roses and enough candy to make anyone beg for insulin, or where everyone else waits for the day after to get gobs of heart-shaped confections at 75% off and binge away their misery at being foreveralone.
…Ok, maybe I overexaggerate a bit.
But! Valentine’s day is still a great way to tell your friends/boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse/significant other/friend-with-benefits how awesome you think they are! And here’s a fun ways to do it!
Gender-swapped superheroes! I’m particularly fond of the Archie ones, and the X-Men always have a special place in my heart.
But if V-Day really isn’t your schtick, then you can adamantly proclaim that you’re celebrating Arizona’s Centennial! Go give the Grand Canyon State some love!
For those of you who don’t know, a bit over ten years ago Gail Simone coined the phrase “women in refrigerators” as a shorthand for describing how, in comics, all female superheroes come to a bad end. This was originally coined after Alex DeWitt — Green Lantern’s girlfriend — was stuffed in a fridge so that Green Lantern could have some feelings about things.
That was thirteen years ago, and sadly, we haven’t really moved hugely forward. There are things we can point out as good, but the bad examples really do outweigh them, in all media. We can point out instances of fridging in an instance, and the term is so widely used, people automatically know what it means. But we don’t have a term for the opposite thing, when women in comics are written in such a way that makes us jump up and down and point and say yes, this (other than, I suppose, “yes this”). So DC Women Kicking Ass asks, can we have that conversation? Can we figure that term out?
I think it’s time for another rule. I think we need to develop criteria or examples that represent the best of what women in superhero comics can be. We need a crystallizing moment, panel or set of criteria that can be said is the epitome of women should be portrayed in superhero comics.
But will the criteria be? What should we call it? What should it look like?
I haven’t seen much in the discussions that makes me want to take note — though there’s an awesome “won’t someone think of the men” which made me LoL forever — but yeah, I’m going to think about this. A way to highlight the positive and the awesome.
A tumblr called Less Tits and Ass, More Kicking Ass is rocking my damn face right now. This takes those comic book covers and panels where women are drawn into anatomically impossible positions, and corrects them.
So, yeah, that’s pretty awesome. It’s possible to be sexy and anatomically correct! Go figure!
Over at iFanboy, Jim Mroczkowski discusses the frustrations of buying comics for his four-year-old daughter:
It’s frustrating. This is yet another one of those times when I feel like I am taking someone by shoulders and saying, “I am trying to give you my money. Please, just take it,” and they’re going, “Sorry. We have nowhere to put it. Hey, does your daughter by any chance want to see Catwoman get boned?”
She does not, sirs. Not as such.
This little girl is on the hook, man. She’s not waiting for a romance comic or a manga or some diversification of the line. She doesn’t even need a new strong role model. She likes the ones you’ve got already. The pump is primed. She would love to read a Wonder Woman book, just not one where every woman who isn’t naked in the first issue is a whore that gets murdered.
I find it so ironic that a lot of people still think comics are “for kids” and yet it’s hard to find comics for kids.