Category Archives: comics

Gayin’ Up DC Comics!

So there was much discussion back and forth about who the big DC hero coming out was and it’s been announced:

Alan Scott  – Green Lantern

So whipping out my comic book cred a bit. Alan Scott is not the Green Lantern most of you know. He’s very rarely appeared in media beyond the comics. His original origin had nothing to do with the Green Lantern Corps (or as I like to call them SPAAAAACE COOOOPPS!) it had to do with him finding a green lantern fashioned years ago in Ancient China that instructs him to make a ring which it then empowers.

Most folks don’t know Alan Scott as the Green Lantern, he’s old school – the Lantern of the 50’s and the JSA. Most people know Hal Jordan the 70’s era Green Lantern who was called out for being privileged and white by his privileged and white friend Green Arrow.

So number one why this “coming out” is bullshit is that Alan Scott is not a major superhero any longer. In most recent comics he’s taken on a more wise elder mentor role but he’s not a huge name. Also it’s not a coming out of Alan Scott, if they were keeping him in the main continuity and having an older man come out as a gay man long after he had kids who are now adult I would be  all over this. We so rarely get the POV of the older man coming out of the closet post-family and kids that it would be extremely interesting to see it in a superhero context.

That’s not what they were doing.

What they are they doing are retconning the whole thing.  Alan Scott is not in the main DC universe. He’s no longer an older man with kids, he’s a young hero on Earth-2.  So he’s not in the main storyline, he is no longer the mentor to Kyle Rayner or the father of Jade and Obsidian (we’ll come back to this later) instead he is on a different earth. Okay do I really need to explain the issue with taking a character, reinventing them as GLBTQ and then shunting them into the secondary world (tertiary? quartary? quintary? who knows with comics?)?

Continue reading

Genius Wins!!!!

So remember my post about the Comic – Genius?

It actually was one of the two winners, it will be made into a regular series! I can’t wait for the second issue even a little bit. So exciting! Maybe those who pick up the comic and don’t know what institutionalized racism and classism look like and work will learn at least a little something.

People like the one who wrote this comment on my blog today in response to my original post on the comic. His name is Radolpho but I like to call him – Poor Little Klan Boy

Author : Radolpho (IP: 69.41.111.106 , 69.41.111.106)
E-mail :
URL    :
Whois  : http://ws.arin.net/cgi-bin/whois.pl?queryinput=69.41.111.106
Comment:
You sir, are the most ill informed moron proudly displaying a chasm on your shoulder. We all get it your black, you lived/live in the ghetto, your tryin to make a name for yourself, but its hard for a nigga right? Whity always tryin to keep you down? and the Popo just addin to da heat yamean? Maybe, if you weren’t speeding with a 40 in your left hand and a trunk full of fresh crack you were about to sell, after robbing a 7-11, the cops wouldn’t be “in your rear view”, and maybe if you didn’t get out of the care tryin to be a spike lee super hero wavin your gat saying “dis injustics nigga” the cops wouldn’t take aim, and maybe, just maybe, if you didn’t aim your gat at them the cops wouldn’t feel a profound enough need to live that they pump your sorry ass full of tax paid lead. But dont take my word for it, I was just a white kid from inner city Baltimore, who was beat up, stolen from, and otherwise humiliated on a daily basis only for being white. If you dont want the LAPD to kill
you, stop acting like the people in this trash comic, and maybe they wont need to.

Yes, every black person deals crack and has a gat. Yes every black person steals and has shoot outs with the police (plus we sings and dances real good!). You haven’t internalized the stereotypes you see on tv at all. You haven’t judged an entire race on your interactions as a child, where a lot of us were bullied for being other. Oh no you are clear and fresh as a daisy with no chip on your shoulder at all. In fact I don’t understand why you’re not running for president right now!

Review Up!

My review of Comic Book Tattoo is up at Fantasy Magazine right now:

The reason you should buy this anthology is simple: it’s awesome. The diversity of art styles in the book range from stark lines to photo-realistic to “cartoonish” to the avant-garde. And the plots are just as diverse. Almost every genre is represented — science-fiction, romance, paranormal, dark thriller, fantasy, and slice of life. The true thrill of the book is how none of these differences detract from the stories or seems jarring. They just flow from one to the next until you find yourself on page 300 without realizing it. You don’t go from a story of joy directly into one of pain; instead, you’re led in a slow wave of emotion from depressive to euphoric and everything in between.

Check out the whole review here.

Comics – Vote For Genius!

So Top Cow Comics is having their pilot season where they release 6 one-shot comics and people vote. The top two vote-getters get picked up as series. I’m really hoping Genius is one of the two. The story…well -

Alexander, Hannibal, Napoleon, Patton. What if the greatest military mind of OUR generation was born in strife, surrounded by violence and combat since birth? When the gauntlet is dropped, the question isn’t “How did 17-year-old Destiny Ajaye unite the gangs of South Central into a killer army and declare war on the LAPD?” No, the question is, “Can anyone stop her?”

I think the question is – Should anyone stop her?

Already a lot of folks are saying how hateful the comic is and how horrible it is that Destiny has organized the gangs into a force to attack the police. How most of the police are really good people and this doesn’t make sense. I’m willing to bet all my possessions that 99.9% of those folks have never lived in the ghetto. To them the black-and-white in the rear view, the flashing red-and-blue is indicative of safety and protection.

To me and most other brown folks – well we know the score, the police are just as likely to fill us full of 40 bullets, say we had a gun afterwards and get off when they go to trial as to save our lives. We’re told over and over that our lives don’t matter,  that the police can snuff out our breath in a matter of seconds and have absolutely no repercussions. It is a war, a cold war at times, an undeclared war all the time but a war none the less and we (brown folks) are all – whether we acknowledge it or not – potential victims.

Amadou Diallo, Johnny Gammage, Abner Louima, Sean Bell, Rodney King, Ousmane Zongo, Patrick Dorimund, Kathryn Johnston, Steve Biko, Robert Davis, and those are just the ones that received national attention and not even all of those. I’d like to point out that in most of these cases the police themselves were not punished at all. Sure the county or city might have paid millions to the family but the killers were just allowed to return to work – what message does that send both to the terrorists and the community they’re terrorizing? 

If you live with that constant fear you don’t need to see the cops act bad and evil to know the justification for this war, you live the justification every damn day. And this is nothing new, we’ve tried to bring this up many times – remember Fuck Tha Police (1988) & Cop Killer (1992)? This is far from the first time we’ve brought it up and far from the first time we’ve been placated by a bunch of nice words and no real change has happened.   

Also the hypocrisy of folks that will read horrible graphic comic that slaughter women and brown folks like pigs – “Wanted” comes to mind – but somehow this comic is too violent or too angry? These are the same folks that are ready to pick up the whole Grand Theft Auto series and slaughter minorites, women and police with equal abandon and for no reason at all! Just because they’re there.  But this comic with it’s societal critique and political message is somehow too offensive or violent?

What you really mean is this you’re scared. That you realize the inequity in our society, you see it and do nothing about it and the fact that brown folks themselves might take action – violence in response to violence “By Any Means Necessary” kind of violence – scares the pants off of you. It’s why society always talks about MLK jr. instead of Malcom X (despite the fact that later in life their positions flip-flopped). You acknowledge the inequity by the constant fear that brown folks will riot, you acknowledge that they might have a reason to riot and that scares you more than anything.

Go Here To Check Out The Preview Of “Genius” And To Vote For It.  Vote now and often – I think you can vote once a day.

Other Discussions Happening About Genius:

White People Can’t Understand Police Corruption @ Seeking Avalon (Has some of the odius comments in the post itself, pay special attention to the ‘Special Notes’ Avalon’s Willow adds to a couple)

Frustration…thy name is LJ conversations @ Karnythia’s LJ

Tangentially – LAPD Looking For Andrea Wilson-Smith – Missing 14-Year-Old Girl @ And We Shall March

(links via delux_vivens)

Post-Script: I don’t think I have to point out how awesome it is that the military genius of our generation is a black woman.

E.T.A. – I’m really glad it’s getting good reviews.

Elves, Elves and more Elves!

I’m sick of elves! Their pale-as-moonlight, arrogant, earth controlling, long-lived, ivory-skinned,  lawful-“good” (oh, except when they have black skin, forgot that!) always-hollywood-skinny asses make me throw up in my mouth.

Okay so maybe that’s a little harsh but it’s true. I’m tired of Celtic urban fantasy in general and elves specifically. Although I should say that like any overused trope there are ways to make it new and interesting again, such as Marie Brennan’s Midnight Never Come which linked faerie England with Queen Elizabeth I from her rise to power to her golden age. Those instances aside I’m sick of elves. 

Maybe this is because I didn’t have a “proper” introduction to elves. I didn’t read about elves in Tolkien or any of those authors who followed in his tradition. My introduction to the fanciful creatures came from a comic called – Elfquest. Created by Richard & Wendy Pini this series explored a tribe of elves that lived in the forest and their ongoing altercations with both humans and trolls. Eventually they escape and make a trek across the desert where they run into another tribe of elves  who’re guess what? Brown! And the Sun-Elves of the desert aren’t more savage and wild than their whiter forest cousins, in fact they view the Forest-Elves in that way while they are more civilized and urbane.

Already Elfquest is a step ahead in the race department with y’know an actual biological basis for elves that dwelled in the sun developing darker skin as opposed to the ricockulous idea that elves going underground and being cut-off from sunlight would darken their skin to midnight black. There is no evilness connected with the darker skin, there are heroes and villains on all sides but beyond even that the villains are all complex. None of the villains are simply evil they all have motivations and reasons for doing what they do and being the way they are.

It’s more than that though. The way the series dealt with sex/love was so innovative and progressive.  These elves had bonds between pairings of all genders and even three-bonded relationships. They weren’t shy of their bodies, they had open marriages, they had relationships with many differing levels of commitment and investment as opposed to the normal dichotomy of spouse/partner/mate versus friend. And the different relationships had varying levels of intimacy – some that included sex not only as a benefit but as a tool to connect and keep those connections strong. The series acknowledged the idea of soulmates while also stating that great love was possible and important even without a mating of souls. Basically the elves in this series valued love, family,  loyalty and friendships above all else – across all differences. Of course there were also fights with power-mad witches, searching for past ancestry, exploring different worlds and times and being haunted (literally) by someone you both loved and killed.

So after reading Elfquest being introduced to the more traditional fantasy elves was quite a let down. Sure there were occasionally elves that weren’t white but they were invariably the more savage “wild elves” or the universally evil “dark elves”/”drow”. Or if the main character was one of these “savage” or “evil” races then they were a good person but only as an example of how the rest of their race fit the stereotype exactly, the exception that proves the rule.

These elves were rigid and boring and more hide bound than the humans in the stories, they took forever to move and seemed to lack empathy or sympathy and run on pure arrogance…and this was the “pure/lawful good” race? This is what we’re supposed to consider good? This belief that they are always right, this arrogance that they know best. That very idea will sound familiar to anyone aware of colonialist reasoning. And this post isn’t even really getting into the HUGE problems with morality being connected to race, where whiter skin usually marks the race as good and dark skin marks them as evil and the colonialist thoughts that went into the creation of that trope and the racist notions it perpetuates.

Maybe it’s my politics or how I was raised but I much prefer the elves that accept folks for who they are, don’t think they know everything and value emotions and fighting for what’s right above tradition and safety. I’d rather the baseline for elves be ones that come in all different shades with no savagification or evil tied to their skin color. I’d rather if writers wanted to adapt an elf mythos they chose Elfquest over Lord of the Rings. The Elfquest elves take diversity and progressive writing in mind while the elves of Tolkien descent just seem to try and reestablish old stereotypes of race and gender.

Links – Female, Muslim & Mutant, Olympic Rumors, WoC & Beauty Carnival, Publishers Contract Issues – Deja Vu & Why Say No?

Links for today!

*Broken Mystic explores the position of Muslim Women in comics comparing the American-created Dust and super-heroines created by Muslims such as Noora, Hadya, Jalila and Aya in two parts – Female, Muslim and Mutant (Part 1, Part 2) . All characters are deconstructed and its a very interesting exploration of the true existence of Muslim women and the biased Western views of the lives of Muslim women. Also the comic he talks about “The 99″ sounds pretty awesome I’m picking up the English translations as soon as payday swings around.  

*Racialicious talks about black athletes being banned from bars in Beijing during the Olympics and the xenophobia and racism that’s been directed at Chinese since these unsubstantiated rumors popped up. It all exploded at Perez Hilton’s blog and the comments are really quite horrifyingly racist and soul-killing – Perez Hilton Hates Yellow People.

*A new carnival is looking for submissions. The Women of Color and Beauty Carnival looks to explore:

This Carnival is intended to focus on beauty and what it means to and about women of color. In particular, I would like to see discussion go beyond a focus on the ways in which women of color can internalize self hatred to the ways in which women and communities of color recognize and celebrate beauty.

Submissions from women and men of color are welcome, focusing on these areas:

What does beauty mean to women of color?

What is the difference between beauty and ethnically based sexual stereotyping? How does stereotyping and white supremacy affect our concepts of beauty, and how can we create change? What kind of responsibility do white women who identify as allies have to analyze and take ownership of their privilege in this area?

How do popular standards of beauty based on generalized whiteness affect our relationships with ourselves, each other, and between different groups of people of color?

The deadline for submissions is August 5 so hop to it, I’m gonna try to come up with something myself for this soon.

*If you’re even marginally involved with the publishing world in any capacity then you probably remember last year when Simon & Schuster and the Authors Guild went head-to-head over a change made in their contracts. If you didn’t hear about it or want a quick refresher go here. Pub Rants is a great blog by Agent Kristin who blogs about new writer mistakes, query letters, contract negotiation and more. This morning she brings us news that though S&S’s bid to change the contract failed here in the States the Random House Group is now trying something similar in the U.K

*Liz Henry over at Feminist SF – The Blog! asks:

Why are characters in SF so reluctant to Undergo The Great Change or quaff the vial of super-spice or be part computer or become immortal or have my DNA reengineered to be part-alien and merge with the giant group nanoconsciousness?

Then asks readers what they would do if offered that kind of choice. Head over and join the discussion. I’ll go into more detail in my reply over there but the simple answer is I would not hesitate to “quaff the vial of super-spice” at all.

Media Friday: In Honor Of Comic-Con

So sadly I could not afford to go to Comic-Con this year but I’ve been following some of the news coming out of it in some of my favorite blogs. The most exciting news I’ve heard is about this new comic about a lost hero known as the “Blue Marvel”, io9.com gives us the downlow:

Talking about the latest book, Grevioux explained that it’s a book that he’s always wanted to do. In the late 1950s and early ’60s, the most famous and well-loved hero in the Marvel Universe was the Blue Marvel… until it was revealed that he was, under the cowl, black. “In the ’60s, a black man with that much power wouldn’t have been perceived as very friendly, no matter the [intent],”explained Grevioux, which leads to President Kennedy asking the hero to go into hiding to help the burgeoning civil rights movement. His hiding works too well, and when the hero’s nemesis returns 40 years after his presumed death, it’s up to the Avengers to find the forgotten hero. (io9)[emphasis mine]

Head over to the link for some art of the Blue Marvel. I’m very (tentatively) excited about this, it shows an understanding of race relations that very often absent from other comics. I mean we’ll have to wait and see how it all goes down but I’m naming it a win for now.
Also in honor of Comic-Con, one of my favorite movie scenes ever. Hooper X goes the fuck of in the “diversity panel” of a comic book convention from Chasing Amy.

Happy Friday everyone, have a good weekend and for everyone down at Comic-Con in San Diego have a fantastic time and don’t forget to bring me a present!

Links – An Icon Passes On, Musical Muse & Buffy Still White As Ever

Three Things:


#1

If you haven’t heard already actress Estelle Getty, best known for her portrayal of Sophia on Golden Girls passed away yesterday. Getty had a long and varied career on the stage and on screen both large and small but her iconic status comes from her signature role as Sophia. Golden Girls is one of the ultimate feminist shows to be, not only in the messages but in the set up of the show and the characters. Feministe goes into it more here but I really think of Golden Girls as the first feminist show I watched. I still watch it often, on the Lifetime Channel, on DVD, etc. It’s a great hilarious show and the highlight is almost always Sophia’s witty, sarcastic one-liners. She was an icon not only for her wit but for her activity and sexuality well into her 80’s. She was the old person we all wanted to grow up to be.

Estelle was 84 and had been sick for quite a while, she was found yesterday in her Hollywood home.

A lot of folks won’t remember this clip from the 1996 MTV movie awards but it’s hilarious and always tickles me 
The Golden Girls doing Clueless  


#2

One of the most anticipated Comic book releases this year (and not just by me) is Comic Book Tattoo. The 480 page anthology contains over 50 stories contributed by over 80 comic book artist/writers (I’m talking a who’s who of the industry) and everyone of the stories takes a Tori Amos song as it’s base.

It’s premiering this week at Comic-Con but since I’m too broke to go I went ahead and ordered it on Amazon.com yesterday. They have all three versions of the book: The Limited Edition (regular price – $149.99/Amazon.com – $94.49), the hardcover (regular price – $49.99/Amazon.com – $31.49) and the paperback (regular price – $29.99/Amazon.com -$19.79). Being, as I mentioned above, broke I ordered the paperback version and it’s a good thing to as it’s the only one listed as In Stock at the moment, the other two versions are listed as not yet released.

This is so exciting, I keep checking my order every hour to see if it’s shipped yet. Amazon says I’ll recieve my copy by this Friday and I hope they’re telling the truth because I fully expect Friday night to be spent in a haze of transcendence as I listen to Tori songs on repeat while reading the stories they inspired.


#3

Karen Healey over at Girls Read Comics, And They’re Pissed talks about her relationship with the Buffy comics and the fact that they still can’t seem to keep any People of Color in the main cast even now in  I Was Reading On The Train, So I Couldn’t Throw the Book.  Anyone who’s discussed Buffy with me knows that though I do love the show I have so major issues with it as well. One of these issues is the lack of People of Color in a Southern California town which is just illogical. It’s the same reaction I have to shows set in New York with no POC: …wuh?…

In fact in my essay in the WisCon Chronicles Two I touch on Buffy as an extremely all-white show. I mean the last season introduced in my opinion two stand out POC characters, Rona & Principal Wood except look how they ended up in the last episode both extremely injured and clinging to life.

Anyway the point is that as good as some feminist fans think Joss is on gender  (Digressing! -though I think he’s better than a lot of men I disagree vehemently with those in the feminist community who practically deify him and have to fight not to scream “I Told You So” at those who are so disappointed with his web series Dr. Horrible because of it’s horrible third part – The Hathor Legacy has more on the badness of Dr. Horrible in a recent post) he is pretty bad on race. I mean folks want to point at Firefly/Serenity and say “Look he’s good on race truly he is!” but …no, as much as I love both Firefly and Serenity and hope for a sequel just …no it’s not being good on race to just have POC in the show. The POC actually have to be done well and be full and complete characters that don’t rely on problematic stereotypes:  Book -Magical Religious Godly Negro, River – Scary fighting Asian chick but with white parents which Idon’t get, Inara – Sexualized darker skinned Latina. I mean maybe Joss was really going to disrupt these things later in the show and never got the chance but there’s no evidence he was gonna do that either.

Okay off to work!

I Have a New Favorite TV Show!

Now it might seem premature to label a show your favorite when you’ve only seen two episodes but the ABC family original The Middleman is some really good TV. It’s superhero TV at it’s best, it harkens back to the Batman TV show with its visuals and bad special effects at times but the dialog is hip, fresh and funny the side characters are entertaining and there’s a lot of mystery but it doesn’t feel incomplete the way Lost always felt to me.

I stayed away from the show originally because #1 it was on ABC Family which automatically makes me go *smh* because I’m unsure if ABC’s idea of family programming has ever entertained me and #2 all the ads made it seem as if the female lead Wendy Watson (played by Natalie Morales) was going to be a scantily clad sidekick there to look hot in leather and shoot big guns and not really the focus of the show.

Then a couple days ago while idly surfing Netflix’s Watch Instantly feature I saw that the first two episodes were available so I decided to give them a try. Boy was I wrong, it’s fantastic romp through a crazy world of mad scientists, demons and aliens. Also Wendy is far from an extra body she’s actually the lead protagonist and it’s great to have a Latina actress playing a superhero (well apprentice/successor but still).

The shows’ basic premise is that a sarcastic, rude, unflappable young woman right out of art school is recruited as the apprentice to The Middleman, a former Navy Seal who could have been plucked from some random 50’s health film (he’s constantly saying things like “Golly Gee”, “Jeepers” and “Now that’s just mean/rude”). Wendy proceeds to ride The Middleman for his language and also has an antagonistic relationship with their extraterrestrial robot Ida, often calling her “3PO” (After Star Wars robot C3PO). The back and forth between The Middleman and Wendy has some clunkers sure but for the most part it’s funny, hip and very comic book. For example the constant references to her father that disappeared under mysterious circumstances are so ham-handed at times that any comic book reader (or anyone with ears really) will know that this is something that will pop up in the show relatively soon.

The side characters are also pretty damn funny. Lacey, Wendy’s Roommate, who’s a confrontational conceptual artist and very much the pseudo-liberal who gets arrested pretty damn often for protesting. Nozer, the African-American guitar player that Wendy exchanges song lyrics with in the hallway every time she comes home. Ida, the ET Robot who’s “been cranky since her appearance circuit got stuck on disapproving school marm version 2.0″ and continually insinuates that Wendy’s only cool under pressure ’cause she’s always high.

And yes I admit that the special effects tend to be kind of low-budget but really the episode villains are not the reason to watch, even though their fun in a really ludicrous way. It’s the journey to find the villain that packs the most hilarity with revelations of Succubi, Incubi, illegal experiments and extra-marital affairs all making appearances.

Funny, Hip, Inspired and Corny by turns it’s been quite a while since a show grabbed me in so few episodes. Let’s hope that #1 they don’t mess it up and #2 that it stays on the air long enough to find its footing and really wow us.

To say anymore would be spoiling but if you have Netflix then take a couple of hours to watch the episodes on there, or find some other way because no matter what you have to at least check out, if only to let me know if you agree with my over-enthusiastic response.

IBARW3, Debunking White Fantasy, Top 25 Black Superheroes & Shopping

A few links for the day

#1International Blog Against Racism Week 3 (IBARW3) is set to go from Aug. 4 – 10.  Here’s the call for submissions:

This year’s IBARW will take place between August 4 through August 10 (although please let me know if the dates conflict with important holidays). The theme (completely optional) is “Intersectionality,” as in, the intersections of various oppressions (ex. racism + sexism, racism + ablism). Suggestions and critique welcome here.

How Can You Help?

1. I need people to help compile links to posts. Last year, there were four of us and about 500 posts; I’m hoping this year will be bigger. Each person will basically take a day, put up a post in the ibarw comm, then tag links in the IBARW del.icio.us. If there aren’t enough people to do one day/week, we’ll rotate. We’ll also keep track of requests to retag posts in case something is tagged wrong. Also, if you can read a language that isn’t English, that would also be really useful for tagging non-English posts.

2. Volunteer to make icons! Examples from last year.

3. If you’re not American by self-definition, I would really, really, really appreciate a post or posts from you, as the “international” part of IBARW is very important. Extra love and appreciation if you aren’t from an English-speaking country/nationality. Posts in non-English languages are also very welcome!

4. Spread the word!

5. Post! If you’re white and don’t want to take attention away from POC bloggers, I respect that. But if you still want to contribute without taking attention away, you can also links to posts by POC or drive traffic or search for IBARW links for the compilers.

#2 Bankuei breaks a lot of shit down in his post – Debunking White Fantasy:

Well, why is that? All these weird species either boil down to alien non-human species or white people that look a little different and act funny. In other words, neither type threatens to dislodge the white normative. (Remember, human is synonymous with white!).

When and where we do see characters of color, they’re carefully shown with heavy stereotypical markers- asian people dress and act like this, african people dress and act like this, etc., because in that way, they’re not complex and full humans and threatening to the fantasy itself

Check the post out, you won’t be sorry.

#3 Black Voices has their list of the Top 25 Black Superheroes of All Time. Of course going through the list you see a lot of stereotypes and caricatures, non-humans and very few women. That’s not Black Voices fault at all but I would have liked a little more criticism on how these heroes were often bastions of racism and dehumanization on a really large scale but I realize that’s not what the list is about. I didn’t agree with a lot of the characters on the list or their placement but I can’t disagree with their number one, who despite his problems is one of my favorite superheroes.  

#4 Last for the Sci-Fi shopping geek in all of us, Best Buy is having a sale on DVD TV seasons from Fox including Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, Angel, X-Files, Dark Angel and more. Head over and shop until you’re overdrawn, it’s what I intend to do ;).