Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

I'm back! And reading! And maybe even blogging! No promises!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Aw. Cute.

This looks like the cutest thing ever. It reminds me of all those girls at Toys R Us I saw rushing to buy cute bags or bicycle things or lunchpails with the "S" on it.

I admit, the current Supergirl has grown on me now that they seem to have stopped with the shower scenes, pseudo-incest and spikes (Thank you for that), but this is just adorable. I kind of want her on a T-shirt. :-)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Posters Oooo.

Wow, the UK Posters for Dark Knight are stunning.

Well, actually the Batman one seems a little same-old same-old, nothing against Christian Bale of course, but honestly, you see one gloomy looking Bat in front of a dark background, you've seen 'em all.

I like that his mask seems less of the soft, skull-fitting type in the previous movie. It wasn't bad looking and was probably more dignified, but honestly, it screamed Midnighter to me more than Batman. I'm old fashioned, I like my cowls hard and my ears pointy.

Oo. That came out dirty. :-P

The Joker one is lovely. I don't even like the Joker. I think he's the most overrated Bat villain ever. And his one claim to genuine scary evilness is negated now that Jason Todd's roaming around again.

But Heath Ledger does/did make him look so genuinely creepy.

I like the Harvey Dent one best. Mostly because Aaron Eckhart is hot. I'm shallow, I never much gave a damn about Harvey before. Now because he's played by someone I find attractive, I'm all about the eventual two-face.

Does it make me less shallow if I'm looking forward to the mutilation? I like the admittedly cheesy blocking one side of the face thing. What can I say, I'm easy. :-)

I think the one with the Bat cycle looks kind of silly in comparison, but honestly, I'm one of the handful of fans that actually adored all those boring ass Alex Ross JSA covers with one hero against the black background, so I can't really trust my own taste on the matter.

It looks like it'll be a LOT of fun. Hopefully I survive finals so I can live to see the movie. :-)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Words of Wisdom from a Compatriot in Dire Straits

Still studying for finals, still behind, still not posting. :-P

I will however provide you with this idea for a comic that my good friend and co-sufferer in finals hell told me at lunch the other day:

Mandatory JLA sexual harassment sensitivity meetings.

As taught by Batman.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Because Medicine is Cool

I was rereading some of the early issues of 52, specifically the part where the space-faring folks come back in various degrees of merging and giant-dom and it occurred to me that, in the same way that I want to see a law-themed comic in a superhero universe, I want to see a medical one too.

I mean really, with all the supervillain schemes and weirdness, there have to be a lot to play with. And we know from House, ER, Scrubs and all that that hospital/medical themed crap has an audience.

Of course, I know nothing about medicine (whereas I know a teensy bit about law) so I couldn't offer any examples, but it could be neat! I mean, if nothing else, the presence of aliens, magic and metahumans would already complicate matters.

And you could bring in the "famous" doctors like Dr. Mid-Nite or Soranik Natu for special consultations and things like that. It'd be fun!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

This is not a political blog

This is not and has never been intended to be a political blog. This blog is about comics and other pop-cultural-y enjoyments, plain and simple. Feminism comes up a lot because I'm female and that will invariably affect the way I percieve comics/other enjoyments. But this isn't a feminist/political blog in and of itself.

That's why, initially, when famous internet blogger Amanda Marcotte outright plagiarized an article from blogger Brownfemipower, I was horrified and disgusted, but I didn't say anything about it. We have one of the most prominent feminist bloggers outright plagiarizing from the work of a blogger of color and acting appallingly in the comment sections of posts in which she's called out. She may not have quoted word-for-word, but paraphrasing is also plagiarism, and clearly there was a lot of that done. All it would have taken is one link to reference her source!

I still think it's shameful that most mainstream feminist blogs have done jack shit to call her on it. Oh sure, that idiotic Open Source Boob thing manages to catch their eye, but not one of their own plagiarizing someone who ought to also be seen as one of their own but clearly is not.

But I'm being a hypocrite. Because I didn't post anything about it either and while I'll never have the traffic that those blogs will have, it's still important to talk about this sort of thing. To call people out on this sort of horrifying behavior.

I convinced myself that because this wasn't a political blog that I shouldn't talk about this matter. Then I saw this.

Fuck. That.

How the fuck did that get past the publisher? Apparently they wanted retro. Well they got retro, all right. The blatant, undeniably racist imagery is, I guess, just some kind of bonus. In their apology, they claim they weren't thinking. That's for damn sure.

And what does Amanda Marcotte say about this?

I see the concerns about the images. I didn’t choose them, and rest assured if I had looked them over, I would have said something and had them changed before it went to print. I have sent the concerns onto the publisher.


This isn't even the first time this has happened! What about the original cover of the book? The one that apparently lead to a claim that "avowed liberals" ought to be given some sort of benefit of the doubt and we should assume that it's meant with coy irony?

No. It doesn't work that way. Not any more than a self avowed feminist would get a pass on blatantly sexist work. A liberal does not get a pass here. People earn the benefit of the doubt. And dismissive comments or huffy excuses are fairly easy ways to lose it.

The original cover is no longer available at Ms. Marcotte's link of course. It was a pastiche/homage to King Kong that was viewed as racist by a number of people. I've never seen the image myself, so I can't judge, but I can judge Ms. Marcotte's response. Notice, how in the Pandagon post, she edits to say that she's passed the concerns along (THAT sounds familiar) where it would be reviewed. I note that while she points out the problem of a "potential rights issue" there is no mention of the allegations of racism.

(Edited: Lauredhel at Hoyden About Town has the old cover here.)

That's convenient.

I don't buy that Ms. Marcotte didn't see the prints before they went out. After a mistake like the previous one? She clearly had enough influence to convince them to change the cover image, which she had well in advance. There is very little reason why she couldn't have had a look and caught them making the same mistake twice.

Actually, I amend that. Not the same mistake twice, the same mistake once again but even more blatant!

Seriously, I can buy being ignorant that a King Kong pastiche has racist connotations. I may well have not caught them myself, but this involves a white woman saving a white man from dark-skinned spear chucking natives!!!.

Either Ms. Marcotte is a complete and utter idiot or she brushed off the concerns of a considerable portion of her audience as meaningless and never gave a second thought to the people she might have hurt.

This has gone beyond mere privilege-based insensitivity. What we have here are repeated occurrences of racist behavior. We have someone who has appropriated the words of a blogger of color, involved in the use of blatantly racist depictions, who has responded to any criticism with dismissiveness, haughtiness, scorn, and even in some cases outright venom.

I don't think Ms. Marcotte is ignorant or clueless. I don't think she's an idiot either.

I think that Amanda Marcotte is really and truly a racist.

Oh and by the way? If Ms. Marcotte were a man, I don't think there'd be any talk of some kind of "safe space" from which to issue an apology. Why the fuck should she get one? The Open Source Boob guy didn't get one. Brownfemipower certainly didn't get one!

No. If there's an apology to be made, if there's an apology seriously meant, she can make it. She certainly hasn't been a slouch in appearing in many of the comment threads about the subject, so why not drop an "I'm sorry" instead? Or on that famous blog I've heard so much about. What was it called? Pendagon? Pandragon?

Oh well. I'm sure it will come to me.

(Edited for an update: Ms. Marcotte has indeed apologized for the content of the book. I'm glad to see that, though I can't help but note the link to the Seal apology with "they accept full responsibility." Classy.

An apology for general conduct during the various scandals would possibly be appreciated too, but that's probably hoping for a bit too much to ask for.)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Search Engine Fun

Thoroughly in panic mode right now, as my first final (and worst subject) is today. Yeah. So no post. None. Go away.

Though I just wanted to reveal, as I'm wont to do on days I'm too lazy/busy to post, my favorite search engine query of the day:

"bug zappers attraction"

I don't know who you are, out there with your inexplicable fixation on pest control devices but all the more power to you. :-) Bug zappers are nifty and there are worse attractions to have. At least you'll be bug-free. Best of luck to you, man!

Unless you're a bug, in which case, you probably ought to fly far away. FLY!!!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Okay, weird.

Okay, I haven't bought my comics yet (finals, bleh), but this both elates and bewilders me.

On one hand, YAY! Nick Fury!

On the other...seriously, Dominic Purcell? Really?

I mean, I don't particularly have anything against the guy and could easily see him as the base design for some superhero or another, but as Nick Fury? Really?

It's not like Purcell's ever played a particularly Fury-esque character, as far as I know. And it's not like there's any sort of physical resemblance. I always thought Nick was thinner and older than the version based on Purcell. Did he overdose on the Infinity Formula and shave his head?

Maybe one of the LMDs had an identity crisis?

It's just such a weird nonsensical choice. Especially since the other depictions, i.e. the Secret Invasion cover, has Fury looking appropriately Fury-esque.

I mean, if they really want Purcell's face in a comic, why not draw him as Dracula? It'd at least tie in to that horrible movie. :-)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Happy Birthday, Ragnell!

It's Ragnell's birthday!

Well, I suppose you're right, Zombie-Kilowog, it won't actually be for another few hours. Still must you be a kill-joy?

Anyway. Ignore Zombie-Kilowog, enjoy Kyle's ass, and have a happy birthday!!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Urk. Newsarama's got links up to images of the manga versions of the X-Men.

Actually, I have to admit, I don't think the manga version of Wolverine's that bad. He's much too pretty to be Logan, naturally, but that's kind of expected given that it's manga.

I admit, I'm a traditionalist anyway. I also thought Hugh Jackman much too pretty to play Logan.


Wait, are those cat ears?!

Seriously, I can't tell given the quality of the picture but...

Okay. I take it back. Cat ears Egads.


I suppose there's nothing wrong with the shoujo Kitty, though honestly, there isn't much about her that particularly evokes "Kitty" to me. Which is weird since cat ears aside, I do think manga-Wolverine does have some bizarre Wolverine-ish quality. Maybe it's just that he gets a more dynamic pose.

But yegads, poor Beast. You deserve better than the amorphous blob treatment!

And I still say the plot: Kitty as only girl to be accepted to Prof. Xavier's school would be better if it were Jean. I know, there's no reason that these sort of adaptations ought to religiously stick to the source, but it seems silly to me that that exact set-up is used for a different character.

Besides, honestly, the original five line-up's perfect for shoujo. You have the slightly mysterious brooding sunglasses wearing one complete with secret rough-and-angsty past, the shiny rich charming playboy, (complete with love triangle), the cute class-clown and the self-effacing genius. I mean hell, Iceman's even going to be in the story.

Admittedly, there's no Nightcrawler as goth. But honestly, Nightcrawler as a goth is a cringeworthy idea anyway.

Though I admit. Mostly it's Cyclops. I think Cyclops was pretty much made to be a shoujo manga male lead. He's pretty (under the right artists), angsty, secretive, broody, slightly bitchy, and repressed. That's not exactly a rare combination in shoujo manga-land. :-)

Heh, I do think the creative team is decent and probably will do okay things with the premise, but I do like to gripe. But still. Goth!Nightcrawler and Totoro!Beast? Egads.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Miscellaneous Thought

It occurs to me that I'd like to see a Kid Devil and Snapper Carr team-up issue.

I don't really have a reason why. It just seems like it would be interesting. And Eddie could use a mentor that doesn't completely suck.

Actually considering that Snapper once tempted a demon out of Hell with cheesecake, I'd be interested in seeing a confrontation, preferably in the form of a tempt-off, between him and Neron. :-)

Great powers versus cheesecake. I know which I would choose. :-)

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Distracted as I was by the Ms. Marvel cover (which, by the by, I still think is wretched. :-)) I forgot to note this cover, which makes me exceedingly happy. (via Newsarama)

Ahh, Nick Fury, how I've missed you! Never go away again! <3

Fury's incredibly hot on this cover too. <3

I'm also intrigued by the implied Young Avengers/Fury team up. I guess Thor and at least one of the Captains America will be involved too. What with the "one has a hammer, one has a shield" thing.

Unless that refers to Fury. Who has a SHIELD after all. Or will as soon as he feels like stealing it back. :-) Probably thinking too hard about that though. Either way, I'll be happy.

Oh well, I guess this means I'm pretty much hooked to the end of this mini. At least it's better than Civil War. :-)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

1000th Post?

According to blogger, this is my 1000th post. Um.

Honestly, I wish I had something of import to say. Or even something vaguely significant. Unfortunately, I finally got to see Hot Fuzz for the first time and my mind is blown with the awesomeness.

Seriously, I thought it was a good movie...but when he kicked the old woman in the face over her shotgun, I knew it was the awesomest movie I've seen in a long time, if not ever.

I'm actually rather interested in Liefield's new project. Which isn't something I EVER thought I'd say. But yeah, I might pick it up.

I'm not much of a practicing anything, (I've been a lapsed Catholic for officially longer than I've been a practicing Catholic at this point in my life, and I'm pretty much functionally agnostic) so it's not like this has a particular religious significance to me, but I do find myself curious to see where he's going to go with the premise.

What's boggling and embarrassing me in turns is that I think I actually like the art. Seriously. I mean, it's still pretty unrealistic/stylized, but... I'd like to see more of it. I particularly like the one where the paratrooper leaps on the other guy with a knife. It's kind of nifty. I wish he'd draw like that more often.

I'm actually curious about a Liefield comic. Weird.

Friday, April 18, 2008

So. Uh. Red Sonja.

And once more Mallet saves me from EVER buying a comic I might otherwise have considered buying:

It's annoying, you know? Because I really really LIKED the movie. Okay, the acting was abysmal, but I liked Sonja, and I liked her relationship with what's-his-name. I even wrote a fairly positive review.

I've never been so glad I haven't picked up the comic. Ick.

Maybe in a few months I'll flip through it in the store and give it a try, but it won't be for a fairly long while.

I'm not going to ask "what were they thinking?" because I do understand the use of brutality and horror in comics like this. And, well, I'm not nearly as sensitive about the use of rape or murder in non-superhero comics. It's a genre thing, for me.

At the same time, I don't have any particular interest in seeing that sort of thing quite so explicitly. I'm very much a fan of the cut away, fade to black, suggestive scene change, whatever. My imagination can supply its own details.

So, yeah, I don't know. I kind of wish I didn't see that, but I'm glad for the warning. Much better to know now that something's not likely to my taste than to get into it enthusiastically, innocently turn the page, and come face to face with that all unexpecting.

Mallet describes it as an "imaginary story" so I'm guessing most of the series is not like that. But on the other hand, if the creative team pulls that sort of thing once, they may well do it again. I think I'll pass.

Hmm, I think maybe I'll rent the movie again sometime soon though. Bleach my brain. :-)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

More Casting News! - GI Joe

Damnit, the more I see of the GI Joe movie the more I want to see it.

Have they cast Duke yet?

I don't think I know anything about Rachel Nichols's acting career, so I can't judge on that score, but when it comes to filling out the costume, she seems to be doing very well. I like that she looks appropriately ass-kicking there. :-)

And crossbows are always cool. :-)

I've seen some complaints about the GI Joe as an international/UN sort of thing, which apparently is what they're doing for the movie. Ultiamtely, I think that's probably a good thing. At least, I can't see how it'd change the general story that much, and it will probably sell better overseas than a story about the American military might, given the current political climate. It's probably a wise decision to go this route.

Anyway, I still don't know if I think the movie will be good, but it looks like it'll be entertaining, so I'm there!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Oh for Fuck's Sake...

I'd like to think I'm relatively tolerant of T&A on comic book covers, in general. I've certainly mellowed in the years since I've had my tirade against midriffs at least. I bought She-Hulk regularly despite the silly covers until the writing got to be too much for me, and I'm usually okay with Ms. Marvel too.

And unlike my partner I thought this cover was fucking hilarious.

I still do. Hee. Sorry, Ragnell. :-)

But maybe I'm wrong, because the cover linked in Rich's post here makes me twitch.

I swiped the cover in question:

Someone please tell me this is a hoax. Or at least that there's a variant cover. Because I like Ms. Marvel. I do. It's a good comic far better than the idiot covers they put on it. I get the need for cheesecake and usually I can look past it.

But I can not walk into a comic book store and purchase that.

Ms. Marvel's been skirting the line for a while, but this looks like it was lifted straight off the jacket of some military-themed porn!

This COULD be a clever cover. It has the elements at least. I really do like the pins and the background. But this completely robs the cover of all that cleverness. Seriously, what the fuck?

And it's not like it couldn't be sexy AND clever. Carol's hot. Military uniforms and fatigues are hot. Easy equation.

This though, it's just lazy! And embarrassing!

Pfeh, I hope nothing of import happens in this issue, because if that's the cover facing me in the store, I am NOT going to be caught dead buying it. Egads.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I don't usually pay attention to statues but the ever-awesome Mallet showed me this.

Okay, you know, I'm not a huge fan of Jade (I tend to like her better in theory than in execution), but that is an amazing looking statue.

I've always adored Jade's character design. I mean, green is inherently awesome, and she actually tends to wear costumes that, while revealing, still manage to cover the important bits up.

The base and expression are awesome too. Seriously, that's one phenomenal statue.

I wonder if that indicates they'll bring her back soon. I mean, last I remember, she was hovering about Alan Scott's ring, so presumably it shouldn't be THAT hard to devise a way to bring her back. I'm not a huge fan, but the green powered daughter of Alan Scott is a fun concept and besides which maybe having his sister around might open the door for giving Obsidian some more dialogue/exposure. It'd be nice. :-)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Death in the DCU

It has occurred to me that given the sheer amount of resurrections and the like in the DCU (or Marvelverse for that matter, but I'm primarily a DCU reader), I'd really like to see a comic series from the point of view of the local mortician, or perhaps cemetary worker.

Just imagine it:

"Oh hello again, Mr. Savage. It's been awhile. Yes, I did keep your personal effects for you. Would you care for a spot of tea?"

(I'd imagine Vandal Savage and Resurrection Man are regular visitors.)

"Welcome back, Mr. Queen! Shall I put your gravestone back in storage for you?"

For that matter, do you have to get a new gravestone every time you die? Or do they just cross a line through the year of death and carve a new one? Because that would get silly real fast.

Donna Troy.
Beloved Friend and Sister
19xx - 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008

I'm just sayin'.

I'd imagine zombie attacks are quite the pain in the ass. Who pays for the labor involved in reburial?

I think this may be one of those "lifestyle" superhero comics, like the law firm idea or "superheroes in the DMV" that pretty much are the sort of thing that only I would read.

Still, it'd amuse me :-)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Good News!

Heh, I'm sure everyone else has already heard about this, but just in case there are other stragglers aside from myself...

Ambush Bug's back!!!


The other previewed solicits look interesting enough, but yay! Ambush Bug!

(Though WTH is up with that Final Crisis cover? I admit, I'm intrigued...)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Nifty Newsarama Stuff

Apparently, we can read the original script for Spider-Man 2.

That's pretty nifty. I haven't read it myself, yet, but I am awfully curious. I'd be more interested in seeing the script for Spider-Man 3 though. As disappointing as the movie was overall, I thought there was some potential there. (It certainly wasn't as bad as X-Men 3. Ick.) Mostly, I thought, it would have been best to split it into two movies. A shame, because I thought the casting was phenomenal. Even if, for example, Topher Grace's Brock was nothing like the comics one, I was really intrigued by his take.

It'd be interesting to see what the script writers originally had in mind and if it's better or worse than what made it to the screen.

And this is just cute. I like when game shows offer prizes based on the players' actual interests, and well, it's a nifty prize!

Though JK Parkin's notion of a game show hosted by a genie did make me think about what kind of game shows would be available in the DCU/Marvel-verse...I bet they'd be a lot of fun! :-)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Movie Actors

I was talking with a friend on AIM and we got to talking about the Justice League movie. My friend expressed the idea that it was a bad idea to have Superman and Batman in the movie played by new actors as opposed to Christian Bale and Brandon Routh.

I've seen that opinion expressed before, a lot of places, and honestly, I think it's a bit silly.

Well, okay, I get on one hand. Christian Bale plays a really good Batman and Brandon Routh practically embodied Christopher Reeve. So in that, I understand the complaint.

But I don't really understand the notion that the audience will somehow be confused by the whole deal.

I think the movie going public will be able to look at the bat ears and the "S" cape and realize who these guys are supposed to be.

I dunno, it just seems silly. At some point or another, we've had JLU, Teen Titans, some version of the Batman cartoon, and Smallville all running on television at the same time. If you count reruns of Lois and Clark or Adam West's Batman, we get even more. Or network showings of Michael Keaton/Val Kilmer/George Clooney as Batman, or Christopher Reeve as Superman...

I honestly don't think that it's going to be that big of a deal to see another fellow in the iconic tights. I don't even think the fact that it's NOT Routh or Bale would be THAT much of a discouragement for people to see the movie.

It's like Sherlock Holmes, I think. Sure, Holmsian fans probably have their favorite version of the great detective, be he Brett or Rathbone or someone else entirely, but that usually won't stop them from enjoying any of the other versions. It's the nature of the character.

Honestly, I figure it's better this way. I suspect Justice League (I refuse to call it "Justice League: Mortal" because I have taste) is going to be a fairly light action-y romp. There'll probably be some seriousness, but no one's going to watch this thing for epic herodom or dark grittiness. It's going to be a completely different tone from Superman or Batman, and while I don't doubt that Bale or Routh could do it, this saves some cognitive dissonance. We don't have to wonder then why Batman is so gloomy or solitary in his own movie, or why he doesn't call Superman for help. It's an AU, or something like that, and having a different face behind the mask will help with that notion.

I'm not saying I think the Justice League movie will be good. It might. It might also be delightfully awful. But I think it might not be a bad thing to have all mostly-unknown actors in this sort of thing.

If nothing else, if it sucks absolutely, we can completely forget it exists without tainting the good actors' resumes. heh.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Titans #1, of all things... (Minor Spoiler Warning)

Today was a good day for comics. (Sand had lines!!! And GLC was great too of course. I liked seeing everyone summoned especially. But the fangirl in me keeps going "Sand had lines!!!" But I digress.)

One thing that surprised me though was that I ended up deciding to buy Winick's Titans. (Warning, this post contains mild spoilers relating to the aftermath of Titans East, so if you don't want to be spoiled for that part of this issue, don't read)

This is surprising because I tend to be very give-or-take with Winick's writing in general, and except for Wally, I really don't have a lot of interest in the original Titan line up. (I will thank Mr. Winick and Mr. Churchill for that nice shower scene.)

I actually enjoyed Churchill's art this time around, which surprised me. I actually liked his rendition of naked Starfire (which I don't resent. Equal opportunity eye-candy, heh). I suppose I just don't like his version of Supergirl's particular build/body type. I still think it's weird that Raven's reverted to highschool age, because it makes her significantly younger than the rest of the cast now. But it's not that visually jarring.

On the plus side, we got to see the end result of Titans East. Which I'll spoil, since I know a few people who probably won't get the comic who'll be somewhat happy by it. At least I know I am.

I was annoyed that the end of Titans East seemed to kill off so many interesting minor characters (especially Hawk and Dove. I'm indifferent to Dawn, but I really like Holly.) In this issue, we get to see the culmination though and it's somewhat more optimistic.

Cyborg (who we knew wasn't going to be killed) is "unconscious but stable".

Hawk and Dove are "serious but stable". (Yay!)

Son of Vulcan, Lagoon Boy and Anima are "comatose". (I know someone'll be happy Son of Vulcan's still alive!)

Little Barda is "critical". (I'm happy about this, I thought she had potential, though the bandaged eyes are a bit discomfiting.)

So really, the only one actually dead is Power Boy. And he wasn't really redeemable or hero-worthy anyway. This satisfies me.

On the other hand, the plot twist at the end is so utterly predictable (again?!) that I can't really see myself picking up the next issue.


Unless of course there's another Wally-shower scene. Heh.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

I Hate Arkham

Chris Weston has an interesting post here in which he argues that Batman should kill the Joker.

I disagree strongly of course, because I don't think Batman ought to be killing. Not that I have anything against superheroes killing, mind, but I think Batman, as a character, skirts the line of "going too far" awful close sometimes. I think his intention not to kill is one of the few things keeping him on this side of the line.

Batman strikes me as the sort of fellow that needs those self-imposed boundaries or else he simply won't be able to function.

That said, the whole psychopathic murderer that's impossible to contain and breaks out all the time IS a problem. I certainly wouldn't be adverse to seeing heroes who ARE willing to exert lethal force actually deal with him. (Though I admit, I'd doubt it'd stick. It's comics and all. You kind of HAVE to have the recurring villains.)

What I'd like to see, and I'm fairly certain I've said this before on the blog, is Bruce Wayne actually put some money into Arkham to make it something that doesn't look like an early twentieth century house-of-horrors. Seriously, it's the sort of place you expect to hear someone screaming "IT'S ALIVE" during a thunderstorm, after they're done brutally electroshocking the patients and the like, of course.

Not to mention, I don't think "Asylum" is necessarily PC anymore. The connotations, you know. Besides, aren't places like that supposed to try to treat the mentally ill? Instead, all we get are mental health professionals losing their own minds. And who can blame them, working in a place like that. The place probably feeds into the delusions of the mad and breeds them into everyone else.

Sure these people are criminally insane lunatics, but Arkham is a lawsuit waiting to happen. You can't tell me, with Bruce's money, he couldn't team up with something like STAR Labs or Tyler Co. and make a dozen well-funded, state-of-the-art, up-to-date mental hospitals that could actually (and humanely) contain these criminals/patients.

I mean, sure, as a comic reader, I know they're going to get out anyway. But it would be nice to see Bruce use his money to take a proactive step in hindering these guys' inevitable escape. And as much as Arkham's an iconic image, it doesn't really suit the modern age. It'd make sense, maybe, as a secret headquarters for villainy, but you can't tell me the place would fly in our modern medical and criminal justice system. Hmph.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Okay, I admit, I'm always neglecting the previews, but Flidget is awesome and made me look at the JSA one and...

SQUEEEE!!! Sandy has LINES! He gets dialogue that's not creepy and cryptic! A personal conversation even! And stuff to do! And is even unmasked!!!

...boy needs a haircut something awful though.

But yay! My favorite character actually gets to DO STUFF!!!


Okay, I'm done now. Thank you. Is it tomorrow yet?

No Blogpost Today!

I'm taking a break from blogging today. Though I would like to share that the most recent search term used to get to my blog is:

batman dressup minigames

I approve of this for many reasons. Mostly because the thought amuses me and I would have fun with a minigame involving dressing up Batman. I would place him in many undignified outfits while leaving his mask on so there's no doubt about who he is. Because I've never outgrown my love for paper dolls and rampant silliness.

Anyway, good luck in your endeavor, random searching person! I salute you! May you find that which you seek!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Name Meme!

This is actually a livejournal meme, but it looked like fun and I do like rambling on about myself so I decided to appropriate it. :-)

1) My username is _______ because __________.

My username is kalinara because, well, I don't entirely remember. I think I was about fourteen at the time and trying to find a name to use for AIM. My initial choice was "Calimari" at the time because I enjoyed the thought of being named for squid, but it was taken. So I think I just scrambled in, replaced some letters, scrambled it more and ended up with something resembling a name and it was free so I took it. It's the sort of screenname that tends to be free everywhere, so I've used it ever since. For the record, it's officially uncapitalized but that's mostly because I'm too damn lazy to hit the shift key. So I don't mind either way, do what you like. :-)

I subsequently found out that it's the name of a village in India or Nepal. Which is kind of cool but completely unintentional. Any resemblance to a Hindu goddess's name is also unintentional, but I can't admit to being upset about the effect after the fact. :-)

2) My name is _______ because ___________.

My name is Melissa because my dad is a devious bastard. See, there's this thing, in my dad's immediate family in which some of his siblings for some bizarre reason decided to name their children after the same sex parent. My aunt Louise married a guy named George, had kids: Louise and George. My uncle Charlie has a son named Charles. It's very odd and no one's sure why they did that since it's not a cross generation tradition or anything.

Anyway, my father's something of a white sheep in my family and he ended up being the one who named me. For years I thought he just had better taste than his siblings and that's why I'm not named for my mother (whose name is Debra). Until I looked it up.

(For the record, I like the name Debra. It's naming your kids after their parents that I think is a little unimaginative. :-))

See, "Debra" is Hebrew meaning "bee". "Melissa" is Greek and it means..."bee". And I realized that my dad doesn't have better taste, he's just damn sneaky.

To this day, he won't say outright if he meant to do that or not, but he gives the most annoying smirk ever when I ask. Because he's a devious jerk of a man. Heh.

3. My journal is entitled ____________ because ______________.

I named my journal on a whim after I picked my template. I'd initially planned to do some sort of tasteful green affair, but then I saw this bright eyesore pink one and just HAD to pick it.

I'm not actually a big fan of pink (though I've nothing against it) but I simply couldn't resist a template so...obnoxious. I wanted a name equally as annoying.

Also, back when I was a huge manga/anime fan I'd always found the three-word/phrase series names to be rhythmically amusing. (i.e. Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon, Magic Knight Rayearth, Puni Puni Poemi, and so on.) So I toyed around until I had: Pretty, Fizzy Paradise. It just seemed to suit. :-)

4. My friends page is called _____________ because ___________.

Not a livejournal, so this one doesn't apply. :-) I call it a blogroll and I used to be so good at remembering to add people to it.

But it's probably been a good year since I've actually updated it. Honest, if you've linked me and I haven't linked you, it's not because I don't like you. It's just because I'm too lazy to touch the damn thing and the sheer number of people I ought to be adding makes me cringe a bit.

One of these days, I WILL get around to updating it, damnit.

5. My default pic is _________________ because _____________.

My default pic is from Green Lantern v3 151. (Seen clearer here.) Quick context: people are acting bizarre (I think it's the fault of Brainwave, Jade's ex) and this one old guy tries to mug someone. Kyle, having figured out that this is a mass case of people going batshit, subdues him via conjuring a giant teddy bear.

And then the guy bites it! And Kyle's all "Hey! Don't bite the bear!!!" And I giggle. Because honestly, if I were lifted in the air by something large and fluffy, I would bite the damn thing too!

Also, it's remarkably rare to find a user image that doesn't clash with the eyesore pink that is my blog. But the light lime green color's usually a safe bet. My original icon, a tiny green kooshball, was chosen for the same reason (also, I like tiny spiky things).

6. My LJ's subtitle is ___________ because ____________.

Well, this isn't an LJ, but you can see my subtitle as "Robotic Proto-Lawyer of DOOOOM."

I used to change it around a lot based on a whim or a turn of phrase that I found particularly entertaining at the time. I'll probably change it again when something new catches my eye, but right now this subtitle suits me. I AM possibly an evil robot. I'm a proto-lawyer in my first year of law school. And I will bring DOOOOOM. Eventually. :-)

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Remastered, why?

They're remastering Star Trek episodes now? I did not know that. I'm dreadfully behind on the times.

You know, I've never understood the whole "Let's take old things and try to shove in new effects!" thing. Like the DVD release of the Five Doctors. You know, a whirling triangle that captures each incarnation of the Doctor is still going to look pretty stupid whirling about and translucent as it does two-dimensional and black.

And don't get me started on Star Wars. I actually liked the prequels mostly* but I'm still incongruously annoyed at Han-suddenly-not-shooting-first or Hayden-Christiansen-at-the-end-of-Jedi changes. I'm one of those sorts of fans.

*(though I was always rather annoyed that Owen Lars was suddenly Anakin's step-brother, because Obi-Wan might be a liar, but he really didn't have a reason to claim Owen was HIS brother during ROTJ darnit. It made the antagonism between Owen and Obi-Wan much more interesting, but I digress),

I dunno, I don't really have anything against creators refining their vision after the fact, but it effects like that never fit. There's just something off visually, no matter how much they try to blend the new and old images together. It's almost never an improvement.

Well, except maybe that time the DS9 cast ended up in the Tribble episode of the Original Series. That was awesome.

Really, I'm just one of those geeks that is against anything that changes from what I like, and I admit it. But really, that kind of thing does tend to look silly. I'll have to see if I can catch an episode and see for myself.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

So What About the Men? Some Thoughts on Body Image and Gender

Over at my post about Barbie dolls, commenter Mark Engblom had a comment that I thought deserved more interest.

I wonder why the possibility of crazily-muscled male action figures warping a boy's body image is never talked about.

My response in the thread was:

Interestingly, Mark, I see that sort of thing talked about all the time. Oddly enough, it always seems to be in response to a genuine criticism to something with a debatably harmful portrayal of women, seemingly as a reason to dismiss said criticism.

Now why it doesn't seem to ever be brought up as its own issue, well, I wouldn't begin to try to conjecture.

I stand by this response, because I do think the question comes up more genuinely as an attempt (albeit probably a subconscious one) to silence any sort of discussion about potentially harmful portrayals of women. I doubt it's malicious, but it's a fairly obvious attempt to silence because if you think about it logically, this conclusion results: "Okay, so this portrayal of women may be harming women and this portrayal of men may be harming men, so we should change them both!"

And yet, somehow this obvious conclusion is never mentioned by anyone who brings up the male perspective. In fact, it seems to be brought up with a tone of "What about the men?" with an added dose of "Well, it hurts both of us so quit your bitching."

I am perhaps not being fair to Mark here. I don't mean to single this out as his motive. I'm no mind-reader after all. I think it's an innocent least on a subconscious level, as it is for most men (it's usually men who ask this for some reason), but I also think, and again this is probably unfair but it's the impression I get, that guys like Mark are rather bored or have heard enough of complaints by women about this subject and would be perfectly happy to never talk about it again.

Too bad. I'm not going to stop talking about something I see as a genuine problem because some people are bored of hearing the complaints. You want me to stop boring you with complaints? Help fix it. Otherwise, suck it up.

I'm not going to deny that the generically overmuscled physical archetype that we see in superhero comics and the media and in GI Joes, action figures, Ken dolls and the like probably do harm men. I don't have access to any sort of statistic, but I've seen the effects of steroid abuse and I've known men who've had eating disorders and body image issues, men who are plastic surgery addicts too. While I don't think the toys and superheroes are directly the problem, I do think they, like Barbies and the girl superheroines, are symptomatic of a greater problem and worth examining and yes, if it comes down to it, even changing.

I think there are a number of factors as to why there are more complaints about the harm to women than to men. You can decide yourself if they're valid, or just excuses. Personally, I think they're somewhat valid though and worth considering.

1) The men are an idealization of strength, the women of "sexiness".

This is a reason seen often on feminist sites so I won't bore you by harping on it. I think there's some element of truth in it, of course. The men are seen more as idealized self-images, the women as a man's idealization of woman. There's a small but subtle difference there. The men are portrayed as an idealization by their own terms, women by how desirable they are to men. You're a lot more likely to see ugly male heroes than you are ugly female heroes after all.

I tend to think 1) is something of a smokescreen though for a deeper reason:

2) Both the images of men and the images of women in the media are by and large chosen and promoted by men.

This is true for sure with regards to superhero comics. But even in completely female-oriented fields like Romance novels, which are by and large written by women, the publishers and editors, the folk who choose what books get released, are men. There are female authors who have been told point blank by male producers that "that won't sell to women," which, if you think about it, is fairly ridiculous. Sure, not every woman is going to come up with awesome ideas and some will bomb and the romance novel industry at the hands of these men does fairly well, but what it comes down to is we still have men determining what kind of male images are being created for female consumption.

Barbie is a little different. Barbie was created by a woman during a time when the head of Mattel was also a woman. This is truth. However, Mattel was created by a man and I think that if you look at the stockholders and CEOs of that time, you're going to see a lot more men than you will women. If you look at the current leadership team of Mattel, there are a lot more men on it than women. And it's still working in a media society that was first and foremost created by rich white men.

And of course, these companies are going to go with what sells. However, we're working with a weighted deck. Who originally tried these methods that work? Those old rich white men. Why did they choose these particular methods? Probably, they made the most sense given the perspective of those men and society at the time. Would other methods work? Who knows. What if we try something new and it doesn't work?

But that's not the right question. The question is "who decides the consequences if it doesn't work?" The question is "How long of a chance do you give these new methods?" I mean, think about it, customers are used to things a certain way. Something new is going to spook them at first. So how long do you give them to get used to it? And more importantly, who makes that decision?

It's perhaps not surprising then that most companies stick to the status quo as created by these men. The Ferris University's Jim Crow Museum site is a marvelous site looking at the prevalence of racial stereotypes in the media through the Jim Crow era into the modern day. It deals with racism, not sexism, or rather, it deals with sexism but through racism, specifically added burdens suffered by black women throughout history, but even if the focus isn't quite the same, the perspective is still remarkably useful when examining the perpetuating harmful media stereotypes and where and how they continue.

Think about it this way. Remember the kerfluffle earlier where a CEO apparently claimed they were going to stop making action movies with female leads because Elektra, Catwoman, the Brave One, et al, bombed? Whether that was true or not, it's a scarily plausible scenario. We know those kind of decisions get made all the time.

But really, the movie making industry is billion-dollar, and if you look at all the action movies that bomb, I'm fairly certain you're going to find a lot more fronted by men than by women. (How many horrible Rocky or Rambo movies are there?) But no one would ever believe a company saying that they're going to stop making action movies starring men, right?

Let's not even get into how we might see Bruce Willis or Sly Stallone even now leading an action movie, but the closest equivalent to a woman of similar age in an equivalent "return of" role is possibly Sigorney Weaver. According to IMDB, Ms. Weaver was born in 1949 and thus she would have been 48 in Alien Resurrection, starring opposite young and cute and innocent Winona Ryder. Bruce Willis was 52 in Die Hard, and Sylvester Stallone will be 64 in time for Rambo. I think Ms. Weaver's pretty much the exception that proves the rule however. It's very hard to find women of comparative age leading an action movie unless we're talking about Demi Moore in Charlie's Angels 2. And most of the press surrounding that had to do with how good she looked for her age and how she was banging a 25 year old.

Even having more women in CEO and shareholder positions is only a baby step toward finally equalizing the media influence, since ultimately these women have had to grow up in the industry created by men and have had to play by the rules of men. They play well and are now in a position to get things done, but how have all those years affected their own perspective? The shadows of their colleagues and predecessors are still very palpable.

Ultimately, I'm digressing. I think the point however is that there's a difference between a harmful portrayal that is self-inflicted and one that is inflicted on you. Both are bad and both ought to be changed but it's a lot harder to genuinely play the martyr. Yes, I'll believe that Superman, Ken and GI Joe can cause harmful body issues for men, but considering that men are running DC, Mattel and the like right now, there's nothing stopping you from changing it.

3) Arnold Schwarzenegger is less scary than Karen Carpenter.

This is rather tied into the strength vs. sexiness argument. But not completely.

See, okay, I'm more than willing to acknowledge that the body image issues reflected/projected by GI-Joe and Superman and company are harmful. I can buy that the media promotes steroid use and plastic surgery and eating disorders for men.

But lets look at the token representative for each side of this issue.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is kind of the poster child for 80s action scary steroid use. He is, at least, the first name that pops into my mind of someone who probably has used steroids. (I don't know if it's been proven, to be fair.) This is of course how we remember him:

(Swiped and re-uploaded from here)

He looks strong and tough and a little scary. I don't want to think about the long term effects those drugs and his exercise regime probably had on his body. I don't want to think about the pain he must have now. I certainly don't want to think about how many men died or suffered horrible damage from steroid use.

But I don't have to. Because this is how I remember Arnold Schwarzenegger when I think about Arnold the poster child for probable steroid use. If I think of him now, it's as:

(Swiped from here)

This guy. Politician, governor. Whatever health issues he has now are easy to ignore. He looks fine, healthy.


Karen Carpenter is one of the first names anyone thinks of when they think of eating disorders. I know she's how my mother explained anorexia to me. A beautiful singer, beautiful voice. Amazing and talented lady. But how do we remember her?

(swiped from here)

It's weird how horrible and ghoulish I feel posting that. I felt worse seeking out the image. How do you think to yourself "I need an image of this poor woman just before she died" and not feel just a little monstrous. This not the image that I remember my mother showing me in a tabloid, but it's bad enough.

That poor woman.

It's a scary image. It's tragic and horrifying and it's not something we can brush away or ignore because this woman is a politician in California now. This woman isn't a politician in California. This woman is dead. And so are so many other girls who've followed in her footsteps.

I'm not saying that anorexia is worse than steroid abuse. I'm not even saying that more girls die from anorexia than boys do from steroid abuse. I don't know about any of that. I'm not about to compare the long term physical effects.

I'm saying that the first name that comes to mind whenever anyone mentions the possible harmful effects of GI-Joe and Superman is alive and well and a successful politician. The first name that comes to mind whenever anyone mentions Barbie is not.

It's possible that other people thinking of this issue think of a tragically dead bodybuilder and Tracey Gold and it's different. But I think enough people share my blindspot that it becomes easier to see the harm one way than in the opposite. So we're going to talk about the issue from that side more.

This is wrong and unfair, of course. But the cure isn't to stop talking about Barbie and Supergirl and the like, it's to keep talking about them AND about Superman and GI-Joe so that the problem is real and palpable to both sides. So that we can change things for everyone.

4. Girls and Boys tend to look at numbers differently.

Over at his blog, Mad Thinker Scott examines Karen Healey's examination of heights and weights as provided by Marvel editorial staff.

Scott makes some good points in examining both sexes and likely factors, but there's one thing that stuck in my mind the first time I read his entry:

I’m assuming that straight men are like gay men, in that we know what we like when we see it, but we don’t know how much it actually weighs. I know guys who like heavy guys, skinny guys, body builder types, etc., but I have never heard even one use a number in relation to the weight of the guys he likes. Never. I couldn’t tell you much any of the guys I’ve found attractive weigh. Because I don’t believe that guys tend to have an ideal weight with an actual number attached to it, I suspect that Karen is engaging in a little projection; i.e., she knows women tend to have ideal weights in mind for themselves that they think will make them the most attractive and that those weights tend to be lower than what doctors would suggest is their ideal weights for good health, so she assumes that men also have ideal weights in mind for women. Multiple studies have confirmed that women think about weight more than men and that women are more likely to have targeted ideal weights for themselves than men do. It doesn’t surprise me to find that Karen appears to think that the weights associated with the Marvel characters are associated with ideal weights while I think they have more to do with men being relatively oblivious to what women weigh. I’m assuming straight men think more like gay men, and she’s assuming they think more like women. (And of course, I think I’m right!)

I think Scott's right. I don't think the Marvel editors really know how much 5'10" and 120 pounds looks/weighs on a woman. I think they're guessing. Maybe they're using supermodel weights. Maybe their wives/daughters lie about their numbers. Maybe they do know women with those sizes (though I sincerely doubt it because in general, those proportions don't manifest in that body type).

But that's not much of a comfort to me.

See, I know what those numbers tend to look like. Moreover, I know my own numbers. I know the numbers of most of my friends. I know the numbers of my mother and grandmother. Most men, I think, don't know or focus on numbers as much unless they have a particular reason (i.e. weight requirements for a job/sports team/et al) but when you're a woman, I think it's hard to ignore.

I know that I'm four inches shorter than Felicia Hardy and twenty-five pounds heavier. By numbers, that makes me 5'6" and 145 lbs. I appreciate that to most guys, that's just a number. Sadly the best picture I have of me is here. I don't know if you can see much of my actual body type/build, but there you go. You can see the comedically large foot I'm using to annoy the dog. I love my comedically large feet.

I'm not posting this picture looking for compliments or comfort or reassurance. I'm usually perfectly happy with my height, weight and build. I think I tend to look thinner than I am, which I do like. I'm a little vain in that respect.

But I have a confession to make. And it's a stupid doozy of one. But see, I didn't know how much I weighed until I went to the clinic last week. And when I saw the weight settle on 145...I found my brain mentally comparing every height and weight statistic I knew. And yes, that includes comic book characters. And during that mild freak-out, the unrealistic stupid guessing numbers started to drown out the real ones.

God, I have never wanted to slap myself so hard.

Fortunately I came to my senses. I've always had a fairly sturdy self-image, I like how I look now, and really, I don't think I'd be too bothered about being heavier (though buying new clothes would be annoying.) As long as I don't think about the numbers.

Because it really is the numbers that count. Many people with anorexia or bulimia focus on the numbers. See, it's about control for a lot of people. And there's the idea that if the suffering person can reach that target weight, then things will be better. It's not a magic thing. Not a "if I can reach 115 lbs, my life will magically change." It's more a "if I can drop this weight, then it means that I can control myself. This won't beat me." Of course, in the end, it's the illness in control. The numbers change, decrease. The goals get more extreme. Perspectives distort and failure takes on new meanings. And victory doesn't help, because in the end it doesn't change anything. It just drives you to push harder.

Until you die.

It's why sometimes, I think, we overreact or go to such extremes about this issue. It's a scary issue. Because these diseases don't start as some full blown compulsion to just stop eating or throw up food. They're control disorders first and foremost, and as such, they're subtle and insidious. They start out small and reasonable. "Well, if I can just drop five pounds, I'll look better and feel healthier." It's hard to argue with that. And for many people it stops there. But then there are some who, energized by the triumph, decide to go farther. "Well, you know, if I drop two more dress sizes, I can borrow Sandy's blue dress!" Again, fairly innocent. "...wouldn't it be nice if Sandy's dress was even a little too big for me?" Then... "I'm just a little over x lbs. If I can just lose a little more, then I'll stop."

And so on and so forth. And each step is so small, it seems so reasonable. And it doesn't stop. And failure is crushing. Since you can't really win the game, you can only define yourself by your failures.

I don't think it's really about being thin, or rather, that's how it starts, but it's really about something you can measure. But at the very least, the images from the media, the lessons from society are helping things along, giving the compulsion a focus.

And people die.

We might not be able to completely fix the problem, but we can at least get rid of some of the factors that make things so much worse.

It's a really complex issue. All of this is. I do think, however, that we should be talking about it. We should keep talking about whether Barbie or Supergirl projects a negative body image and we should be talking about whether Superman and GI-Joe do too. Because really, just because you're NOT complaining doesn't mean that a problem isn't there.

And closing your eyes and plugging your ears won't make a possible problem go away, it just makes you look silly. Complain. Discuss. Help FIX it.

Or get out of the way.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Animated News

Yay! Animated Jaime! I know lots of folks that'll be thrilled about that!

Though what the heck is up with Green Arrow in that promo art? I never was fond of Ollie's design sans beard.

The show still looks cute, though! And Jaime!!! :-)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

DVD Releases!

Okay, so everyone else I know seems to be excited over Freakazoid,Tiny Toons, and Birds of Prey coming out on DVD. And actually, so am I. Well, at least about the first two, I'd never seen enough of Birds of Prey to decide if I'm really happy about the latter. Though I'll enjoy the opportunity to rent it.

My local video rental place pretty much rocks, so it's only a matter of time before they get pretty much everything. <3

Actually though, I'm most excited about Witchblade.

It's kind of weird because I've never particularly had the urge to read the comic itself. I've heard it's good, of course, and I'm sure I'll try it eventually, but, well, I'm in no particular rush.

I adored that show though. Well. At least until they pulled the reset button at the end of the first season, I never quite knew what to make of it after that. But that's probably more because I didn't have a lot of time to watch during the second season. I have no idea about the quality of the show as a comic book adaptation. But I thought it was neat. Sara was awesome. I liked the ghost-partner, and the ex-Baywatch partner, and I thought Ian Nottingham had the best name ever (which I suppose is attributable to the comic instead, but well, I saw the show first. :-)) and Kenneth Irons was creepy and...

I'm really looking forward to just sitting down sometime and having a marathon. It'll be fun!

I am totally buying Freakazoid too though, right after. :-)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Disjointed Thoughts About Barbie

Over on her blog Pai, a feminist blogger named Saranga has an interesting take on the Supergirl Barbie.

Barbie Supergirl? Barbie's are fucking horrible. My particular brand of feminism hates them, they're fucking bimbos. And you want to make the DC female superheroes into Barbies? You want to take away all their individuality, their distinctiveness and separate identities and pour them all into one hollow plastic identikit shell? Fuck. Off. My beef with Barbie is they are sold as the ideal woman, the prettiest, the most slender, the tallest, the best shape you can be. And there's only ever one shape. From the website - From urban teen to fantasy queen she's every girl! Not mine she fucking aint.

First, while I do understand why a follower of certain brands of feminism might hate Barbie Dolls: there are certainly issues with regard to the "ideal image" presented if nothing else, Saranga's take on Supergirl as a Barbie genuinely doesn't sit right with me. Making superheroines into Barbies isn't about taking away individuality, distinctiveness and separate identities to pour them all into one hollow plastic identikit shell, it's simply about having a miniature version of that superheroine to play with.

Same as action figures, really. And honestly, it's not like female action figures bodies come with a whole lot of actual variation either. Much as I do enjoy the Kandor-arc Nightwing and Flamebird dolls I raved about, I can't help but notice that for two characters with such disparate heights, weights, builds and ages in the comic they look awfully close to the same figurine in the pictures Shelly's linked.

If anything, small and ultra-thin sixteen year old Kara looks to be the more buxom of the two in that particular camera angle.

I can't really argue with the "Bimbo" complaint, much as I would like to. I remember when I first began working in the toy store how sad I found it that all the really interesting dress-up potential that I remember the dolls having seemed to be gone the way of the dodo. Back when I was a kid, I remember all the cops and pilots, olympic athletes, astronauts, cowgirls and the like that the dolls came marketed as. Admittedly, my pilot doll's hat was bright pink and she wore particularly impractical stiletto heels, but that kind of came part and parcel with the whole deal. Now, I suppose we're lucky enough to have "baby doctor", "pet doctor" (of course, god forbid someone spell out veternarian or pediatrician on the box and teach kids a new word or two. That strikes me as sad, especially because I learned how to spell Czechoslovakia from a Barbie box. And then the country split. Most useless skill ever. Thank you, Barbie!) and possibly a teacher or two. Oh, and Ballerinas of course.

I was particularly crushed to see that the nifty costume sets appear to have fallen by the wayside in favor of trendy fashion fever ensembles. Don't get me wrong, I do like a lot of them, but I miss the sheer variety that used to be available. (I'm of the age of nostalgia, everything was better when I was a kid, don't mind me! :-))

At the same time, as much as Barbie may dress like a bimbo, that doesn't make her one. Barbie is what the child who plays with her decides she is. Sure, there will be girls for whom Barbie is nothing more than a party girl who loves to shop, but there are also those girls out there who do a lot more with their dolls than that. Mine was a mercenary swordswoman, thanks to a gnawed off ski-pole and some clever creativity with a Wild West wardrobe. And I know many other girls who found their own way to play "outside the box.

So I suppose I do argue with the Bimbo complaint. Because it really does dismiss the fact that behind the doll, there's a living breathing person who is finding her own way to externalize her fantasies.

It seems to be especially silly to me because the DC Heroines aren't bimbos themselves. Supergirl? Black Canary? Wonder Woman? Batgirl? Well, I suppose, to be fair, sometimes it depends on who's writing them, but traditionally these are not bimbo characters. Dressing a Barbie Doll in costume and sculpting face/wig to resemble the character won't suddenly make these characters Bimbos.

I do think there is merit to the complaint that when you have Barbies, it really is a one size/one build mold. I don't think it's about being tallest or slenderest though (especially because all of the "Barbie's Friends" dolls use the same mold), I think it's just because, ultimately, we're talking about fashion dolls here. Fashion dolls are about the clothes first, so it's fairly natural that Barbies are going to be sculpted in a particular way, so that they can fit the clothes. The dolls aren't being made as a value judgment as to what the perfect woman should look like.

This isn't to say some children haven't internalized the message that they should look like that, I'm sure some have. But I think that's more indicative of greater problems with our medias' message, of which Barbie dolls are one part. It's something that needs fixing all around. Not just the dolls.

Ultimately, dolls are dolls. They're fun. They're placeholders for our imaginations. They're us and not us. And sometimes, they're superheroes. Which actually makes me more than a little jealous since I had to make do with a gymnasts' uniform and a makeshift handkerchief cape for my superhero doll. But then the nice thing about being an adult is being able to buy for myself. And while my own inner seven year old isn't much for Supergirl, she can't WAIT for a Black Canary doll of her very own. :-)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Caution for Minor Spoilers for the Secret Invasion Prologue

Feh, like anyone's NOT spoiled. (If you're not, go away!)

Ooo! I may get to like this whole Marvel Digital Comics thing. Prologues are fun.

So help me, though, if Dum Dum Dugan dies, there's going to be heck to pay, I tell you! Heck to pay! You know, I always knew that I was the sort to go hyper-protective fangirl over certain characters. It's in my nature. I did not, however, know that one of those characters includes Dum Dum Dugan.

Learn something knew every day. Huh.

You know, if they just marketed this thing as "Nick Fury comes back to clean house" to begin with, I'd totally have been on board a lot sooner. Invasion, Schnvasion.