Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

It's Halloween! You know what that means! I'm taking the day OFF.


Okay, fine, here's a makeshift card for all of you! From Warrior #42...

Because terror is a wardrobe.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Occasional Strawman?

I always find Occasional Superheroine an interesting read and today's no exception. In the entry that caught my eye today, OS points out that "Well, do you have a vagina? No? Then be quiet." is a bad way to have a feminist discourse with a man.

Which is of course true.

This is, however, in response to this post, and honestly, I don't think "Well, do you have a vagina? No? Then be quiet." is the argument that the original blogger is trying to make. I think OS is burning a strawman in effigy here, instead of responding to the actual argument.

"Take a step back" is not the same as "Be quiet."

Women and men are different. I know as a feminist hive-minder, I'm not supposed to say that. We are though. Society programs us differently, it tells us different things, it teaches us how to see ourselves in different ways.

What pings a woman as sexist may not always ping a man as sexist, and vice versa. This does not necessarily make either side wrong, but it does mean that people aren't going to see things the same way.

And the thing is, our society is still fairly patriarchal. It's still male dominated and male oriented. Everything from movies to books to television shows portrays a generally male point of view. (Even things like romance novels or "chick lit", it could be argued, portrays a masculine point of view because female writers are often bound to conventions based on a generally male publisher's idea of what women want to see. The really fascinating thing to do is to compare romance novels to fanfiction. As the latter tends to truly be a heavily female dominated genre without any sort of male publisher or editor quietly influencing the process, it makes for an interesting comparison.)

That means that in the argument about "who sees the other's point of view better", women have a bit of an "advantage". Of course, we'll never know truly what it's like to be a man any more than a man can know what it's like to be a woman.

But the fact that almost everything in our popular culture is expressed from a default male point of view helps.

Am I trying to argue that in a male versus female discussion about sexism, the female voice is always right? Of course not. That would be ridiculous. There are plenty of feminist complaints that I look at and go " know, I think this one's a stretch." I've even blogged about them.

But the thing is, since our society still defaults to a male point of view, that means that a man does not necessarily need to see sexism at all. (Similarly a white person does not necessarily need to see racism, or a straight person doesn't need to see homophobia.) This man isn't being obtuse, nor is he a misogynist, (an accusation that gets thrown around far too heartily for my taste) he is generally a well-meaning, fairly open-minded man who doesn't realize that sometimes a handi-cap is necessary because the other player doesn't have the same level of training or materials to be a true opponent in the game.

This guy is usually a feminist. If he understands where female complaints come from, he tends to be fairly sympathetic (though he may not always agree of course). But he doesn't realize that since he's in a position of power at the start, that HIS point of view is considered default, that others are being hurt by this.

It doesn't apply the same way in reverse. A ball-busting feminist doesn't have to understand where male complaints against accusations of feminism are coming from. We already know. Society shows us this every day, from the default comic book magazines highlighting T&A shots (and finally declaring themselves "for men") to the argument that a television show with a female lead is a risk because both men and women can identify with a male lead, but half the audience is lost with a female lead. (That argument STILL exists, which, after years of Alias and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, boggles the hell out of me.)

Saying that a woman shouldn't remark on what a guy considers/should consider sexy doesn't work the same way either. Because, again, our media is very very clear about what straight guys apparently consider sexy. (I would like to emphasize straight here, with a side comment that a gay man and a straight woman probably have about as equal a chance of actually understanding what a straight man finds sexy. And that both groups have, in their own ways, had the images shoved down our throats.)

The place where the situation is somewhat comparative though, is for men who veer away from the traditional masculine ideal. Men who are more emotional or sensitive. Men who are working in traditionally feminine jobs. Men who aren't 100% straight. Those voices tend to be neglected and ignored by mainstream entertainment as well.

At the same time though, the situations are somewhat different too. They both deal with sexism, but they deal with different branches. I don't understand what it is to be a male teacher and see implications that only damaged or sick men become teachers of small children, for example. I don't understand what it's like to watch television and see only caricatures of myself performed in some sort of modern day minstrel show like Will and Grace. If I'm in a conversation about this aspect of sexism, I have to keep in mind that my own experiences may not apply, and that I should acknowledge that there might be underlying factors that I'm not in position to see.

Likewise, in a discussion about sexism as it applies to women, even these men may not see all of the underlying elements.

Again, I reiterate, to the point of redundancy, this doesn't mean that a man shouldn't engage in debates about sexism. I certainly don't hesitate to weigh in on racism or homophobia, after all. I'm saying though that there needs to be the awareness that there may be problems under the surface, and that when we're in the dominant mindset of society (and we ALL are, at some point or another, there's nothing innately WRONG with being mainstream), it is our responsibility to show empathy to the person we're speaking to. Our voices are heard, theirs may not be.

We don't need to agree, but it's very possible to disagree while still displaying respect and empathy for another's specific circumstances. There are ways to say "I don't agree" without dismissing or trivializing another person's point of view. The key is to accept that not everyone's going to see things the same way. And ultimately, accept that very likely you will not be able to change the other person's mind. They've heard, and probably internalized, a lot of these arguments before. It doesn't mean that they're not worth expressing again, but it's usually NOT a new insight.

The issue isn't "Well, do you have a vagina? No? Then be quiet." it's "Do you have a vagina? No? Then please first think." Which, come to think about it, is very good advice for those of us who have vaginas as well.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Movie News!

So there's gonna be a Green Lantern and a Flash movie!

This is pretty cool. Though I wonder at the wisdom of using Hal in Green Lantern and John in the JLA movie. It seems like it could be very confusing for non comic fans.

Then again, will non-comic fans really be watching it? Besides, there's always sequels. :-)

Oddly though, I've more to say about JLA and the Flash.

The Flash stuff is interesting. I was wondering why the Flash touted as the "youngest member" would be Barry Allen. Especially since, unlike the JLA Pilot from the nineties, where it made sense to name him Barry even if he had Wally's personality, because everyone remembered the tv show, it doesn't make sense now. Anyone who thinks "Flash" is probably going to think of the Justice League cartoon, not some cheesy old live-action show.

And, while I love Barry too, Wally's always struck me as better for the team dynamic of the Justice League. A calm nice guy is always valuable, but the youngster growing up with the group is usually more compelling. Not only does it give "an in" for the younger/newer viewers, but there's usually more potential for tense group dynamics.

Now, having the Flash that's "the youngest member" and having the Flash that's "Barry Allen" be two different Flashes? That would make perfect sense. And really, Barry's death would be a really good place to set the action.

Origin stories tend to get bogged down by this, that and the other, needing to spend too much time getting everything in place before the action. I've always preferred what I call "the Three Musketeers" method. When you get one new guy/gal joining up with a pre-established group (or at least folks that already somewhat knew each other). Then that character, whether it's D'Artagnan, Elle Greenaway, Tim Bayliss, or whomever, becomes the audience entry point, allowing us to get to know the characters through their eyes. Meanwhile, the other characters get to have these complex interrelationships that are a lot of fun.

It saves time too, because the newbie invariably gets a trial by fire, so it rushes right into the action instead of wasting a lot of time with set-up. A movie like this, you need action. Lots of it.

Starting with Barry Allen's death would give a bit of seriousness to it too. It's easy enough for a movie like this to be cheesy and cartoonish, probably inevitable really. It's never going to be Batman Begins, and really it shouldn't be. These characters aren't Bruce, and the same sort of story is NOT going to work for any of them. And honestly, would we really want all the comic book movies to be Batman Begins? If I want to see Batman Begins again, I'll rent it. Or watch Dark Knight, which does admittedly look good. But just like not all heroes are Batman, not all heroic movies should be Batman Begins either.

Anyway, starting with a death would emphasize that while it is cheesy, cartoony and fun, there are still consequences. If that's where they're going with this, anyway. It'd make sense, at least.

I'm mostly happy because I like Wally. Also, hey, Linda would maybe be in it too! Sure Wally's had other interests previously, but they're relatively unimportant and easily skipped. I love Linda though. She's strongwilled and a lot of fun. And heck, it's nice to see more non-white leading ladies. (Not that I have anything against my own race, but it's not like I'm suffering for lack of representation, :-).)

Damn, I'm actually more excited about JLA/Flash than Green Lantern! Blasphemy! (I'm sure that'll be remedied when they have more news. I hope they remember to give Hal a concussion at least!)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

It Could Always Get Worse...

I love fanfiction. I really do. I think its incredibly creative and the best written tends to resonate with the part of me that's always adored tie-in novels, for that extra bit of time/adventures with the characters I love. And bad fanfiction resonates with the part that likes Mystery Science Theater. Or Charmed.

I've never really been able to write fanfic though.

This isn't because I doubt my ability as a writer, (I'm no Hemingway or Fitzgerald, but I can string some sentences together, at least), nor is it because I lack ideas...

However, I don't trust my sense of restraint. For example, if I were to write a fanfic right this moment, it would probably be horrendously bad slash involving Plastic Man and Bouncing Boy.

It would contain a completely un-ironic, serious use of the word "trampolining."

Yes, like THAT.


Saturday, October 27, 2007

Interesting bit from Flash!

Okay, I'm prefacing this with the admission that I haven't yet bought my comics this week (had waaay too much crap due to even think about making the trek) but Living Between Wednesdays posted this image from Flash 233 that I simply HAD to steal and re-upload here.

Okay. 1) Pwn3d. I admire Batman and all, but Wally's kind of right about this one. Even the surviving Robins need severe therapy. Also, since he's one of Dick's best friends, he can totally say that too.

(Interesting contrast with Bart, who WASN'T Wally's student, and Wally had made damn sure had two very good mentor figures who could do the job better than he could. Bart may have died, but it's a markedly different situation than Jason or Steph.)

I love Roy's expression too.

2) I admit, I'm really iffy about people trying to tell other people how to parent if there isn't a clear-cut case of mistreatment. Especially when the others aren't parents. I mean look at that group:

Diana? Clark? John*? Hal (I'm presuming that's Hal, as I said, I haven't read the issue myself yet.)? Sure, they're nice folks, but they're hardly parents.

Admittedly Jefferson and Roy ARE parents, but, assassin mother aside, their daughters are hardly in the same situation. And like Wally so admirably points out.

Personally, I think Wally and Linda are not making the right decision here, either, but I like that they have fairly valid reasons for their choices.

... Somewhat annoyed that they had to explain themselves, but maybe that'll read better in context.

3) Four Robins. :-) I'm not an advocate for a case or anything, but I like that Steph's been acknowledged here. This should brighten some folks' day.

You know, I always thought Steph and Wally had a lot of similarities as characters. One of these days I ought to write that post up.

I hope the rest of the comic's this good. :-)

Edited to Add: (And thank you, guys, I *do* see John there. :-) I just forgot to type his name, which has been edited in now. :-) I do know the difference. I mean the brunet, left corner, last panel as possibly Hal. I'll find out for sure when I read the issue. :-))

Friday, October 26, 2007

Recommendation Help?

Just finished huge assignment and I need a pick-me-up. Well, also a nap. But I can do THAT one on my own.

So anyway, since I'm feeling a little robotic right now, and I'm realizing a dearth of appropriate material. I'm looking for recommendations for anything with robots (preferably androids, I like my robots humanoid and my humans robotic, :-)) or cyborgs.

Help me out?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

My thoughts on recent controversies.

Heh, I feel like I've kind of been remiss in not talking about any of the big controversies yet. I'm not sure why I haven't, so I will. :-)

Okay, as to the Tigra thing, I'm going to preface this by saying that I didn't read the issue in question and that all I'm going off of scans that Cheryl Lynn has up.

Honestly, looking at them, I think what we have is more Bendis giving a character he reputedly doesn't like the shaft in terms of badassery to make another character look better, but I don't necessarily think there's conscious sexism involved. I tend to think Bendis chose her more out of the reputed dislike than because she was a woman. And portrayed her weak, for much the same reason.

That said, I do think the "this is sexist" folks have quite a bit of substance to their accusations. Especially as I don't think it was terribly necessary to accentuate cleavage so much in a collossal beatdown.

Someone did bring up Sharon Carter in a comparison to Tigra, asking where the outrage was there, which was an interesting point. Personally, I'm not terribly outraged by Tigra, so I'm not the best person to answer, but I do think a big difference is that 1) Sharon's ongoing struggle and emotional aftermath is a major plot to the series, 2) Sharon really hasn't lost any of her competency in the process, it's not like she's known for awesome anti-telepathy/brainwashing skillz and got brainwashed in a second. He was disguised as her doctor and had a fair bit of time to plant the suggestion, 3) her mind control isn't done by a half-assed recently created villain that I've never heard of, presumably to make him look cool, she's a victim of the Red fucking Skull, 4) she managed to be mind controlled and kill Steve all without convenient cleavage baring rips in the clothing, and 5) Brubaker's earned a lot more benefit of the doubt than Bendis with regard to treatment of female characters.

And that particular interview that I'm too chickenshit to call out by name seeing as I sorta work for them certainly did not make Bendis OR the interviewer look particularly good. No one's asking for agreement or sympathy here, but some objectivity would be nice.

I also haven't said anything about JLA #14. Which probably is a bit hypocritical because I did comment on the H4H cover. It admittedly might be some of my DC bias coming through, but I think a big part of it is simply that the center of my H4H complaint was that this was the cover. The cover is supposed to entice you to buy the issue.

I'm not saying the JLA #14 image is particularly tasteful, and hell, if I were a parent, I'd be decidedly annoyed to find that in one of my kid's books, but it's not exactly the same situation for me. That said, I really wish they'd get a different artist.

Oh, and there's no dripping tentacles that look like they're creeping toward breasts and orifices (orifi?), and that does rather make a big difference to me.

Finally...Death of the New Gods...

I'm in denial really. But also, I never trust any death that occurs in "issue 1".

The kitchen bit was a bit much.

Though it does make for interesting story possibilities involving deaths being faked in kitchens. Could resurrect both that character and Katma Tui that way. :-P

Huh, guess I did have some things to say after all.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Huh, Anita Blake as best adaptation? (Via Blog@.)

I mean...really?

Anita Blake?

I'm just saying, the scant issues I've read, well, admittedly, I've never been fond of the source material. But I really really don't like the art either (Exhibit A.) I've never seen characters look so visibly devoid of actual thought.

I also thought the narration choices didn't really flow well and often felt choppy or incongruous.

Then again, to be fair, I guess the success of the adaptation really depends on how well it reaches the fans of the original source material, and every Anita Blake fan I know seems to really like it.

(In said company, I bite my tongue. No sense being a killjoy, yeah? :-))

Still, I'm kind of sad that "the Babysitters Club" didn't get it. The ones I've read were really cute and well-done. I guess it's not quite the same sort of target audience though... Too bad.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


You know, it's occurred to me, I don't really "get" Hawk and Dove. Mostly, admittedly, because I've read damn little with them (either version).

I figure they were supposed to be representative of pro-war/anti-war sorts, and there's something involving Lords of Order and Chaos, but ultimately I'm lost.

It seems like a lot of folk really care about the characters, considering how passionate many folks still seem to be about the whole Monarch/Extant thing.

So I'm curious about them, and I'm hoping that maybe some Hawk/Dove fans out there might be willing to recommend some storylines or issues to help me better appreciate the characters.

Any advice?

Monday, October 22, 2007

If It Please the Court...

Apropos of pretty much nothing, Ragnell's post here reminds me of a different counter-argument that I see a lot when it comes to feminist complaints, particularly in the form of T&A and unrealistic body image and stupid get the idea. I'm sure you can guess what it is.

It happens to men, too.

Okay, you know what, this post is not going to argue that statement. You see, I've learned something from law school. There's something called a summary judgment.

Here is a quick overview. Another definition is available here.

Here, let me explain my understanding of it in layman's terms. (Do keep in mind that I AM new at all this.) Okay, basically a motion for summary judgment is filed before a trial starts, in which one side essentially says "Okay, these are my facts and these are the other side's facts. Even if everything the other side claims is true, a reasonable jury could not find in their favor according to the law." The judge then looks at the facts and then may decide that this is the case and offer a ruling without the question of the evidence and facts ever going to the jury.

Pretty clear?


So that's what I want to do with this argument. Sure we're not in a courtroom, and this isn't a matter of law, but that won't stop us from applying the basic concept, right? Let's assume the aforementioned counter-argument is true.

Let's set aside any argument about cultural and societal assumptions and pressures and anything regarding context and the emotional response of the readers of each gender. Let's assume for the moment that "it happens to men, too" is absolutely and unequivocably true.

How is that a defense against a feminist assertion for change?

It happens to men, too. So we're assuming that most male readers understand exactly how it feels to look at a caricaturized version of yourself that is unachievable, impossible, promotes unrealistic standards of beauty, reduces them to a sex object or a non-entity unimportant for their own agency. That male readers understand that feeling of frustration and emptiness and resignation at the sheer unlikeliness of finding a character that they can identify with and can be their own power fantasy without seeing them abused or degraded or marginalized in some form.

It could be true. I'm not a man and I'm not a telepath. I don't know.

But what I do know is that if this statement is indeed true, that is more reason to change things. Because there is no reason for a significant portion to feel this way. There simply isn't. We all should be able to enjoy good stories and power fantasies without having to constantly wonder "did this happen because of my gender?" We all should be able to see characters that represent idealized versions of ourselves without feeling like they're empty caricatures meant for someone else's eyes, and we all should be able to unequivocably enjoy our hobby.

If this situation is the same for men, men can speak up and change it with us! There is nothing that says a triumph for us couldn't also be a triumph for you if you make your voices heard. If Superman's gigantic pecs makes you feel the same empty frustration and gives you that dull sinking pit in your stomach that makes you feel slightly nauseous even as you try to squint around it and enjoy the story anyway, then that's just another reason for change! We don't need to be unhappy!

Of course, that's assuming that the men arguing this actually DO believe what they're saying and actually are made as unhappy by the portrayals and depictions of men as many feminists are about women. If this turns out not to be the case, if in fact the evidence does not support this defense...

Well, that'll be something for the jury to decide, won't it?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Non-Comic, but Everyone's Talking About It...

Okay, as a preface, I have to admit that I (GASP) haven't read the Harry Potter books past the first one. I thought it was cute, but not to my taste. But you'd have to be living under a rock not to hear the latest news.

So Ms. Rowling has said that she considers Dumbledore to have been gay. Which is cool, really, since it's so rare to see gay characters outside of a certain prescribed role. And it means a lot that a positive male role model is considered to be gay.

But it seems to me, it'd have been better to have established that in the books, ya know?

Okay, I've heard that the last book has a lot of subtext, like I said, I haven't read it myself, so to be fair it could be the most blatant scenes this side of "you've never flown with me". And by many accounts Harry's not the brightest bulb and probably wouldn't have noticed...

But still, subtext isn't text. And there are ways to very clearly establish a character's homosexuality while still retaining a young adult rating.

And if the excuse is that since Harry would never consider Dumbledore as a sexual being to begin with, and thus, it would never have occurred to him that his mentor might be gay...

Well then, is there really a triumph in asserting that THAT character gay? When for all intents and purposes he's functionally sexless?

It's true that establishing the character as gay officially in the books might have hurt sales, even aside from all the crackpots who banned it because of the "witchcraft", but you know what? That's what makes the decision courageous.

Waiting until after all seven books are published and having been sold for all those millions of dollars, then saying as a veritable afterthought "Well, I always thought he was gay." That means nothing. She doesn't lose anything from this action. Nothing is ultimately gained. Maybe a few people will reread with that in mind and it will affect them. Maybe some people will throw out their books, but it doesn't really matter. They've already been bought. And sooner or later, her assertion will be forgotten in all the other multitudes of interview material she's given.

What would have been admirable is to have it confirmed in the books. To risk sales and boycotts and banning in order to give her audience a positive portrayal of a man who is a wise and vital mentor figure, and incredibly powerful personality, and happens to be homosexual. I bet it would have meant a LOT to a lot of readers and even if a lot of folks did freak out and ban it, maybe she'd have been able to reach some people.

And hell, you can't tell me that it would have cost her sales that much to slide a direct confirmation into the seventh book. Not with everyone camped outside at the bookstore the way they were. They'd have to BUY the book to freak out at it.

I'm not writing this to try to attack Ms. Rowling. Of course she should write the story she wanted to write and she has every right to see her characters in whatever way she wants, and to choose what traits end up showcased in the stories themselves.

But I don't think she deserves kudos or cheering for this one.

(Edited to add, Chris Sims points out that Rowling IS writing the Encyclopedia for the series. If Dumbledore's sexuality ends up in an entry, THAT would impress me and I would hence rescind many of the criticisms in this post. But not until then. :-))

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Reason #4562 to Love Guy Gardner...

Guy is immune to grandioseness. In fact, trying to use some sort of fancy-pants impressive name or title is the surest way to lose a pissing contest with Guy Gardner.

Yes, bald guy with big weapon, "Amped Maser Blast" is a very formidable name.

But it loses something when followed immediately by a guy wielding "the spank ray".

Now run along and do your job, loser. :-)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday Night Fights!

Yes, just in under the buzzer!

From Legion of Superheroes 215, Cosmic Boy shows us the importance of the phrase "dress for success"!

(Now Bahlactus is a man who knows his clothes.)

Rounding Out the Crew!

Hey, cool! Kirk and McCoy've been cast!

That should be everyone right? Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Sulu, Chekov, Uhura, Scotty?

I have to admit, I'm kind of sad Scotty's not going to be Paul McGillon, but hey, Simon Pegg! I think he does have some weird young-thin-Scotty thing going on, so that should be fun.

I have no idea who the guy playing Kirk is, but I'm thinking that's a good thing really. Means awareness of prior roles isn't going to get in the way for me. (I'd worry about that for Quinto as Spock, but I think Spock's probably an easier role to be...Spock in. As opposed to being Sylar-on-the-Enterprise. Kirk's less...I don't really want to say iconic, but there's something that makes him more likely than Spock I think to be over-powered by previous roles. I have no idea if that makes sense outside of my head, but there you go.)

The pictures on IMDB aren't enlightening to me, though I like the one on Blog@. I hope he keeps his hair like that. He looks appropriately smarmy and yet oddly hot. So that's good for a Kirk.

...this is totally going to revitalize Star Trek Original Series slash, isn't it?

The one I'm kind of leery about, well make that two, since I'm not sure it's a wise idea in this day and age to cast a Korean man to play a Japanese man*. Then again, there ARE a fairly high percentage of ethnic Korean people in Japan that it might work. But it does seem to suggest a whole "all Asian ethnicities are interchangeable" thing. Oh well, hopefully Cho, who I'm unfamiliar with, will bust out with a damn awesome Sulu portrayal and I'll be so impressed that I don't think about anything like that. I hope he has a good voice, Takei has, like, the awesomest voice ever.

ETA: Will points out in the comments that Sulu is a Filipino name, however, I have to admit, I still consider him a Japanese character. Mostly because he's been given both a Japanese first name in the book, and when his culture is clumsily referenced in the show, it usually resembles a typical sixties caricature of Japanese.

Karl Urban as McCoy? Really? I mean, everyone else seems fairly visually well matched to their original counterparts. (Saldana and Quinto, I think, evoke their predecessors the most. Yelchin doesn't look terribly like Koenig, but Chekov's a relatively minor role, and he looks about twelve and can presumably fake a Russian accent, so he should work. Even Cho looks like he's at least of a comparative build as Takei was.) They're also relatively minor actors still as well. Quinto and Pegg are probably most famous, and that's for one role, or a handful of quirky, hilarious British movies.

Urban though really doesn't remotely evoke DeForest Kelley to me, not being slender or southern, and none of his roles that I recall have ever utilized a capacity for a sharp tongue or rapier wit able to keep on fairly level playing field with a Vulcan. It doesn't necessarily mean he can't, of course, but it definitely seems like a stretch. With the others, I can easily see possible reasons they were cast. Him not so much. He's probably not more well known than the others, I guess, but he SEEMS like a bigger name, if that makes sense. He's very distinctive.

Oh well, considering everyone else seems to fit amazingly well visually, I should probably give them the benefit of the doubt.

Hey, will there be a nurse Chapel?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

GA/BC spoilers. Mmm-hmm...

Okay, so...Green Arrow/Black Canary did pretty much confirm the obvious w/r/t that particular death.

I've got one question though, considering that some time has passed, during which the body's been kept in that weird stasis thingy, leading everyone else to think she's losing it. (Though WHY she had to kill him is still pretty unexplained. I mean, sure, a normal woman might have had to do that, but a world class martial artist with a sonic cry pretty much ought to have a non-lethal means of incapacitation.)

So...why did it take so long for them to look into it at all? I mean it's great that Batman believed her and all, but why did it take so long?

For that matter, given the general technology of the JLA: auto-docs, Green Lantern rings and the like...are we really supposed to believe Everyman's power is so absolute as to fool Oan technology?

Of course, to be fair, it's very possible Hal was too damn dumb to scan him even with Dinah's protests. I wish I could say that's out of character, considering how both have returned from the dead and all, but Hal can be pretty stupid sometimes. I could actually believe he never thought to scan.

But Batman really doesn't have any faster ways to determine if the body is real? Or Everyman is actually powerful enough to fool those incredible technological resources.

Oh well, either way, I'm glad he's dead. It's a shame because I thought Everyman was a really interesting idea at first, and particularly enjoyed his appearances as Ted Kord in Manhunter (sadistic!), but ever since he's seemed to be overused, and worse, ineffectively used. He seems to now be villainous deus ex machina.

I hope he's dead for good, yeesh. As to whether I consider the series...well, thus far I'm indifferent, so it'll probably depend on my whim and size of pocketbook at the time the next one comes out. I'm not holding my breath though.

(I was looking at the solicited cover again, I still think it's got to be a male figure. Going by limb width/proportion, that said, they could have specifically designed the outline like that to throw us off. AND there's pretty often a catch involved when we see bodies being cradled on the cover anyway. I'll be interested in that one...depending on the victim...)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Rich has some interesting news at his blog about Outsiders.

I've got some mixed feelings, I have to admit.

On one hand, I generally like Chuck Dixon's writing. I'm sorry to lose Owen though, since I really am fond of the character. I definitely hope he pops up again somewhere soon since boomerangs are neat. Of course, then I have to wonder what the damn point was to those match up, only one can win, issues anyway.

Geo-Force...well, I hate to admit it, but I do find him just a teeny bit appealing. He amuses me. Also, if he's in a book, just maybe they'll keep up that weird friendship with Sand and he'll cameo. It's a long shot, but damnit, I want my favorite character to show SOMEWHERE.

Batgirl on a heroic/semi-heroic team ought to make a lot of folks happy. :-)

The part that gives me trepidation though is Thunder. Specifically the fact that Anissa is fairly undeniably involved with Grace.

I like Chuck Dixon in general, but I also read Grifter and Midnighter. And I've got some very strong doubts as to how Dixon's going to handle this relationship. I'll give it a chance, of course, but I'm not terribly optimistic. His track record isn't very good at all.

Well...I guess I'll wait and see...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


So the DC Solicits are out (with a scant handful of Marvel ones available as well).

Got some interesting things out there and some reactions from me, of course, in no particular order.

-They've FINALLY found Ray Palmer? Holy heck that took a long damn time! How long does it take to search 52 universes anyway. :-P

-Teen Titans Year One looks interesting, but what the hell is up with Aqualad's face. Why does he look all sunken-eyed zombie? I mean I get that it must be hell being Aqualad, but still!

-I'm guessing that Raven'll be off the Teen Titans, if only because they're doing that whole Titans East thing. It'd be weird to bring back that team and leave her with the spratlings.

-I'm enjoying Countdown and most of the tie ins, and Kory and Buddy are always a fun team. But honestly, I couldn't care LESS about Forerunner. Sorry.

-Crime Bible still looks pretty neat though.

-I really hope that body Ollie's holding isn't Connor's. I mean...sure, no one seems to have figured out what to do with him in ages, but that's just mean. Sheesh.

-This "Familiar Costume" thing in Gotham Underground and possibly Robin looks fairly intriguing. I may not be all gung-ho for the memorial case, but it'd be nice to see Steph acknowledged by the characters a bit more.

-Goddamnit, this Booster Gold thing is really intriguing me. All the nifty Time Travel things.

-So are we gonna see the post Crisis version of the Joe Chill's capture? Because that'll be pretty interesting.

-I like the Superman solicit's parenthetical inserts. (On the moon), indeed.

-Supergirl's getting ANOTHER "Startling new direction"? I'm trying to be optimistic here, but this is starting to sound like a maze.

-Finheaded costumes never look good, sorry, they just don't.

-Flash looks fun (and no Acuna!) while GL is really intriguing. I wonder if those rumors about an Oan Civil War are going to be true. That ought to be fun.
--Why hasn't anyone given Mongul a yellow ring before?

-Yay, new wave heroes in JSA. I've been intrigued by the new Mister America from the first arc. There's just something so powerful about being forced to see the absolute worst consequences for herodom and still putting on the mask. Also Jakeem's finally back!
--On the downside, this means it's even less likely my favorite'll get a speaking line. But I do like the idea of a Justice Society with a wide JLU esque membership.

-A JSA Classified that's actually about characters that haven't been showcased there before? Neat! Plot sounds kind of Orphean, but I won't write it off too quick.

--Wonder Woman's sounding particularly interesting. Exactly the sort of aftermath I've been hoping to see.

And for the record, I totally think the new Cap design is a trick. :-P I'm just sayin'.

Monday, October 15, 2007

On being the Greatest. (Spoilers for GL 24)

This has a LOT spoilers for GL 24. You are warned.

I've been thinking about the whole idea of the "Greatest Green Lantern Ever". And how often the phrase is used to describe Hal. I know it's a descriptor that's had a lot of folks worried about the outcome of the Kylax storyline, worried that Kyle was going to be torn down in order to re-elevate Hal. Some folks even were insulted on behalf of their own favorite Lantern. After all, when it comes down to it, each Lantern has his or her own strengths and flaws. Each one has moments of heroism and weakness. While a reader's individual preferences will likely determine how he or she ranks the characters, when it comes down to it, most have at least the potential to be equal.

But Hal is unquestionably the "Greatest Green Lantern Ever".

Ultimately, that has nothing to do with ability. Or even strength of will. It has very little to do with how he stacks up to any of the others. As fitting for a group of people whose power is based on will-power, imagination, emotion and faith, it all has to do with perception.

Let's take John Stewart for example.

John is solid, sure and true. He's the foundation of any group he's in. The voice of sanity, stability and common sense. In the case of the JLA, he's a lot more grounded and approachable than any of the Big Three. He's got authority and presence, but without Superman's loftiness, Wonder Woman's unconscious grandeur, or Batman's...bat-ness. When he's with the other Earth Lanterns, he's the architect. The one who thinks and weighs and measures. Even when he's angry, and I tend to think he's probably the Earth Lantern most in tune with his anger, it's focused and directed and channelled. There's a reason why no other Lantern could have fronted a series like Mosaic.

At the same time, John can't be the "Greatest Green Lantern Ever", because of the very nature of his strength. He's the rock. The support. The fist and the wall. But who really notices that sort of thing until it's needed? Who really recognizes the roots of the tree until the gust of wind threatens to blow it away? Who notices the wall of the house until it protects you from unwanted invasions? John's is the kind of strength that's relied upon but ultimately taken for granted. The only way John could really assert himself to the point where he would finally get the recognition that he truly deserves would be to withhold his support, so that his value is finally noticed in his lack, but that wouldn't be true to his character. He's too much of a hero to force that sort of recognition. Which sadly means, he won't get it.

How about Guy Gardner?

I'm not an unbiased person here, since clearly I adore Guy. He's simultaneously obnoxious, annoying and abrasive, as well as the most genuinely compassionate, caring and even nurturing of all the Lanterns. He's the bartender, the mentor, the partner, and sometimes the cattle prod. When Soranik needs that little dose of anger to remind her of her confidence, Guy's ready with an insult to spark it. When Kyle needs cheering up, or a pair of shorts, Guy's ready with the model-watching or ring constructs. When Jaime Reyes needs connection, Guy gives him a book from Ted Kord. When Hal needs forgiveness for Parallax, Guy's already written it off to the point of faux pas. When a new, doomed hero needs someone to notice him for just a moment, Guy'll buy him a drink.

At the same time, Guy can't be the "Greatest Green Lantern Ever" either. For one thing, his strengths aren't those of a traditional hero, people may appreciate characters like Alfred or Ma Kent, but no one will tout them as great heroes. (Though they should. :-)) Moreover, a great deal of Guy's effectiveness comes from the fact that it's deep inside the most obnoxious jerk in the DCU. It doesn't matter how often we see him act with caring or compassion, it's always just the tiniest bit surprising when it happens. And thus it has a lot more of an impact. He has to be seen for his flaws, as that guy who's likeable in spite of himself (or even downright hateful), in order to best appreciate his strength when it emerges.


Oh come on! Kyle's whole schtick is being the newbie, the clueless one, the one who Ganthet was stuck with because he didn't have time to make a real choice. He's the everyman. At the same time, he's the guy who stopped a supernova in a conjured safe, whose subconscious accidently almost destroyed the universe while kicking the simultaneous ass of the entire Justice League, who became a god and then gave it up - but not without fixing his hair first. He reached the Hal inside Parallax and convinced him to give his life for Earth, and he was the one who found the true nature of the beast and dragged Hal back out. And where Hal needed the help of the Spectre, a semi-divine agent of God, to be free, all Kyle needed was a painting and a pep-talk from a friend.

Kyle does impossible things all the time, often because he doesn't know that they are impossible, others because there's literally nothing else he can do. He gets scared, nervous, over-whelmed, confused, and distracted, but at the same time when it counts, he sucks it up and gets the job done. He carried the torch ALONE, and then rebuilt the Corps. And now he's traveling the multiverse with an ex-girlfriend and a possible psychopath. The whole thing though is that Kyle really can't be the "Greatest Green Lantern Ever". Even when he's Ion. Even when he's all-powerful. Because that's not who he is. Even with the power of the gods, he's still a kid with more heart than sense and that's readily apparent to anyone who takes one look at him. He's underestimated and overlooked, ALWAYS to the bad guy's detriment. And that's the way it is.

How about the others though? Alan? He's not a Corpsman, for one, and for the second, as elder-statesman he can never be considered even remotely comparable to the others anyway. Whether you call him the Starheart, Green Lantern, the Sentinel, or the old guy, Alan Scott is Alan Scott. "Greatest Green Lantern" would be a diminishment.

Sodam Yat? He's got the prophecy on his side, but he's not terribly grand for all that. Mogo? Chaplain and planet, he's more of a mentor than a hero, for all his awesomeness. Soranik? She's young, abrasive, awesome and still learning. Kilowog? He's the trainer, and like Mogo and Salakk would be set up as some sort of Other, outside of the normal evaluation of Green Lanterns.

Hal Jordan though? For all his arrogance and egotism, his vanity and his foolhardiness, his recklessness and his blind spots, his dickishness and presumption, Hal is the quintessential Green Lantern. He's handsome and brave, altruistic and noble, reckless and triumphant and always, always confident. And despite all his undeniable faults, that's what everyone sees first. Even when he's hated, he's hated like a legend rather than a man.

For a group that relies so much on will-power and belief, Hal WOULD be considered the greatest. Not because he's got the strongest supply of either, but because of the way he captures the imagination. He's the storybook hero or the prodigal son or the villainous betrayer. He's a living archetype. He IS the "Greatest Green Lantern Ever", because they make him so.

The fact that he's a man, three-dimensional, flawed and imperfect underneath is what makes it interesting. Because the story does show that being "the Greatest Green Lantern Ever" is as much of a burden as an accolade. With all that pressure and expectation, admiration or trepidation or outright hate, is it any wonder that he's closest to the Earth Lanterns? They at least see him for who he is...most of the time.

Besides, remember, Sinestro was the last guy on that pedestal, and Hal himself has already taken the plummet once. It's a damn long way to fall.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Random Ridiculous Realization:

Apparently there are a few people who read this thing who have actually watched Criminal Minds. So I can share this one and someone out there will actually know what I'm talking about! Yay!

Okay so, I've come to the realization that if you give Tim Drake twenty years and an FBI badge, you'd totally end up with Aaron Hotchner.

They're both scary, intense, and stuck simultaneously trying to lead a team of disparate and capable folk while playing emotional support for brilliant older men with Issues (capital I) who are constantly skirting some sort of mental breakdown.

Admittedly, Tim would be much better in a fight, while Hotch has never worn festive red and green while following around a guy dressed up as a giant bat. That we know of.

Still, now I'm gonna have a hell of a time not giggling through the next episode. My brain is a strange strange place.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Last-Minute Beefcake!

It seemed wrong to let a Beefcake Week pass without paying homage to one of the classics.

And have I have a doozy for you! From Marvel's Masters of the Universe 8!

Let's add up all the elements shall we? We have:

1. nonstandard costume! (underwater gear! And flippers!)
2. bondage! (It's a He-Man comic, so pointing that out is like pointing out the frequency of Superman encountering Kryptonite or Hal Jordan getting laid.)
3. villain who enacts said bondage through embrace (I don't think that's what Mr. Rogers meant...)
4. with really long tentacle like arms. (The better to squeeze you with, my dear)
5. Let's not overlook that slightly phallic looking missile thing (I have no idea what that is.)
6. AND the gratuitous shooting of the bad guy in the crotch. (And for the record, that's a harpoon gun.)

And that, ladies and gentleman, is why He-Man is a legend. Hah.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Non-Comic related, but Funny To Me:

Okay, I know of maybe one person who reads this blog that actually watches the show, but this Criminal Minds video made me laugh enough to make it the first (and likely only) YouTube video I ever embed here:

My childhood and adult loves are colliding, man. Deep.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Really now?

Okay...don't get me wrong, I adore cheesy 80s cartoons like nothing else. But, um...this both amuses and horrifies me.

A CGI Thundercats movie should definitely be entertaining, or at least entertainingly bad.

But I have to admit, there's a part of me going "So wait, WB would rather do Thundercats than Wonder Woman?!"

Okay, Transformers did fairly well, but Thundercats is kind of a completely different kettle of fish here. Is there anyone who thinks this will remotely turn out well?

On the plus side, if it bombs, maybe we'll end up with a moratorium on movies involving anthropomorphic cats.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Wes Dodds is a Dork!

It's occurred to me, I haven't made fun of Wesley Dodds in AGES. Let's face it, as much as I love Wes, he does have his decidedly lame, stupid or jackassy moments. (I've immortalized quite a few on this blog in fact!)

Today, I'd like to highlight a nice bit from JSA Returns. As a background, JSA Returns is a nice little miniseries of connected stories starring different team ups back in the 1940s. My favorite of course is JSA Returns #1: A Terrifying Hour.

It touts itself as a Star-Spangled Kid/Sandman team-up, but through a selection of mishaps, ends up a Sandy the Golden Boy/Pat Dugan team up.

And is all the better for it, I must say. But anyway, what happens to Wes?

Well, first, Sylvester gets himself brainwashed. Then he subsequently brains Wes.

What's great about this is that, notice, Syl's not even TRYING to hit Wes! He's aiming at Pat! PAT however has the brains to DUCK.

Pat then punches out Sylvester, which is incredibly satisfying seeing as how Sylvester's a freakin' tool, and he and Sandy save the city, so it's all good. But poor Wes misses all the excitement! (Next time warn AND duck, goober)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Beefcake Week

SallyP's declared it Beefcake Week! I can go for that!

Here's my entry, starring that scantily clad Atlantean that no Beefcake week should do without:

I don't know what he's doing to that missile, but my inner twelve year old finds it incredibly amusing.

(From Avengers #40.)

My Disorganized Musings over the WB Movie Thing...

I haven't written anything about the whole WB Robinov "No female leads" thing, mostly because I'm not sure what I think about it.

Honestly, I'd like to see some corroboration that he actually said it. I don't mean anything against Ms. Finke, but there are a number of reasons (which the CHUD article points out nicely. It's not that I think that the author is making it up, but I do think that there are a lot of reasons to wonder about possible misunderstandings.)

Ragnell actually found and linked to a response from them and naturally it was denied that he said such a thing. Which of course they would, but their denials should ideally be given the same weight as Ms. Finke's assertion if there's no corroborating evidence otherwise.

Of course, there's a whole mess of other problems in their response that Ragnell addresses nicely there. (Three?!)

I'm still not sure what I think about this. I mean, don't get me wrong, the sentiment's horrific and vastly irritating. And three movies lined up in 2008 with a female lead? That's pretty fucking sad.

At the same time, I suppose I don't think they're stupid enough to stick with this idea. Sure, there's the idea that men won't go to a movie, particularly an action movie, with a woman as lead.

But you know, all it takes is for another movie like Alien. A Ripley for this generation. Or even another Pitch Black (I was surprised how little a presence Vin Diesel's Riddick was throughout the course of the film, the real story belonged to Radha Mitchell's Fry.) Or a Fifth Element, maybe, using both a main hero and a main heroine.

Elektra and Catwoman tanked. But Underworld, the Kill Bills, the Tomb Raiders and Resident Evils (barring the last one)? They tended to sell.

Comic book movies are always spinning off acquaintances. I truly think with a stronger actress at hand, Storm would have joined Wolverine and Magneto in having a spinoff movie. And if this Hulk does well, you KNOW She-Hulk will be inevitable. (A hot scantily clad green woman punching things can't go wrong!)

I guess I just don't see the studios sticking to this no-woman trend for long. The movies are in an admitted nadir now, but trends are cyclical and pretty soon execs are going to notice the way male and female fans take to Aeryn Sun or Kara Thrace. They'll remember Alias (or even La Femme Nikita).

They'll remember pretty quick that the ideal woman centered action movie, an attractive woman kicking butt tends to sell well to both the woman and the straight male crowd (sex, violence and power is always a combination that draws folks to the the theatre.)

If Robinov said it and meant it, he'll take it back as soon as the right idea gets pitched into his head. And if he doesn't? If he clings to the idiotic policy enough to let our generation's Alien slip through his fingers and get snatched up by Paramount or someone else? Well, he'll rethink the next one. Or he might be out of the job.

It is great to see all the responses and anger and griping and discussion this is causing though, because if nothing else, it's reminding the movie making folk that we are out here, pocketbooks in hand, just DYING to spend money on a good movie with a woman lead. Companies understand money, they'll take that hint and use it. We'll benefit from this in the end.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Sleeping. Go Away.

I have a big-ass paper due today (which naturally I procrastinated on to the point of ridiculousness), I'm too damn tired to give you a real post.

Instead, now that I can, I'm going to do like Guy here:

...well, aside from the touching of the weird thingymabob, exploding, and ending up in some weird parallel world as a tiny kid version of myself.


Okay, nothing like Guy there. But the smoke coming off of his chest makes me snicker, so I'm posting the picture anyway.

Good night!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Bats and Bug Zappers: Why I'm Enjoying the Jason/Kyle Rivalry

I've been seeing this idea here and there in certain places regarding Kyle and Jason, essentially dismissing their characters' interaction to a good guy/bad boy type rivalry over Donna.

This is strange to me, because I have a deep aversion to that sort of infantile love triangle. It's never portrayed well on any side. Either it's told from the good guy's perspective, which comes down to "Women only go for jerks." Which smacks of an entitlement and bitterness I've seen far too often in real life. Newsflash guys, the reason women don't date "nice guys" like you is that we can actually SEE the bitterness and entitlement. It becomes very obvious very fast. You could be the nicest guy in the world, genuinely, and just incredibly shy, but if we sense that frustration and resentment toward our gender, we're probably not going to date you. The other guy might call us annoying pet names and posture and generally act like a jerk, but he isn't the one pinning all the bitterness and dissatisfaction of his own life on our shoulders.

Or it's from the bad boy's perspective. The bad boy is dashing and smooth, while the good guy is bland staid milquetoast. The girl then ends up a conquest and prize in what amounts to the bad boy establishing dominance over the milquetoast. Yeah that's flattering.

But I digress.

I've been liking the relationship in Countdown/CotU/et al though and I really think it's because there really isn't a triangle.

Yes, Kyle is attracted to Donna. They'd been together a long time and he'd probably be keen on restarting their relationship. She was also there when his mom died and he's just coming out of a very traumatic time, so the emotional ties are going to be important.

He doesn't particularly like the chemistry he sees between Donna and Jason. But I don't actually read it as possessive so much. He's not irked because Donna's got chemistry with another man, he's irked because he doesn't like Jason.

And to be fair, who can blame him?

Don't get me wrong, I think Jason's a pretty interesting guy now that they've settled on a consistant personality for him that isn't snidely whiplash. He's dark, but he's got a lot of good reason and everyone with a brain can understand why he reacted badly to the Jokester for example.

But Kyle doesn't really know any of that. Where would he have found any of that out? It's not like Bruce gives Power Point Briefings on the ins and outs of his Robins. Tim Drake had already been well established as Robin for about two years when Kyle got the ring. Dick and Jason had the same costume, I'd be surprised if he'd known there WAS a dead Robin.

He seems to have some idea who Jason is now, true, but I'd imagine that's because Jason was running about as Red Hood and wreaking havoc for a while. Bruce probably ended up briefing the others with something like: "This is Red Hood. His real name is Jason Todd. He used to be Robin."

That'd be all the others really need to know. They're warned to expect a heavy level of competence, martial arts ability, and general Bat-trained creepiness. There's no reason they need to know about his death or any of that other stuff. And while he MIGHT tell a close friend or ally like Clark or Diana the truth, Kyle really doesn't fit in that category.

All Kyle likely knows about this guy is that he's an ex-bat, that he's terrorized Star City, New York, and Gotham. He's attacked Oliver Queen and company. That's about it.

And then when they meet, there's the added complication of Ryan being yoinked away from them. Kyle wants to go after him. Save him. Whatever. Jason wants to push on. Both attitudes are reasonable and both are in character. But Kyle's from a work culture that heavily, heavily emphasizes "Leave no man behind." The recent Parallax stuff just drills that even deeper.

Bats and Green Lanterns are pretty well known for their ideological differences. Kyle's the only one who EVER managed to get along with Bruce without the inevitable clash of wills. The Bats ideology is based on causing fear, tight self-control, strict physical training, and back up plans galore. The Lanterns ideology is based on overcoming fear, adrenaline, emotion, faith and sheer mindless determination. This isn't to say they're stupid (though sometimes Hal or Kyle really skirt that line, :-P) or that they're not capable of clever schemes. But in general, back up plans and second guessing aren't their thing. Bats also brood, where Lanterns repress and try not to think about it. (Though admittedly, in Guy's case, repression involves punching things)

Batman's scary enough that Kyle avoided the clashing that Hal, John and Guy fall prey to sometimes, but Jason's not that far from his own age. So the ideological clash returns in full force. The Ryan thing drills that home. Jason sees it as moving on with the goal since they can't help him. Kyle sees it as abandoning an ally to their fate. It's difficult.

(This may tie in with why I'm actually very happy with the lethal force directive in GLC, and I hope it stays around for a while. I'm not saying I want the heroes to kill, necessarily. But it makes yet another contrast to Batman. Batman can't kill. It's such a cornerstone of his ideology. Slippery slope and all that. But the GLC are soldiers and law enforcement. Making the call, taking a life, should never be an easy thing, but they should be able to do it if they have to. And it'll mean more if/when they don't.

And then there should be Internal Affairs type investigations and inquiries when it does happen...that could make for some interesting stories right there.)

Kyle definitely doesn't like the chemistry between Donna and Jason, but it's not possessiveness. He's not staking a claim. When Donna left Kyle and eventually started seeing Roy, he was a bit jealous, but he got along fine with Roy. This isn't "my girl is shacking up with that guy" anger. This is "someone important to me may be getting involved with someone dangerous." He's worried.

That's a completely different situation. If they were dimension hopping with Roy, or Ryan, and Donna started with the vibes with one of them, he'd probably sulk a little. Grumble. Mope. But he wouldn't be hostile. They're not dangerous. Where Jason?

Well, those decapitated heads in a duffle bag seem to support Kyle's attitude.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

A team-up I want to see!

It shouldn't be any shock to people who visit this blog that I love superhero team-ups. Especially when they're not part of some giant crossover extravaganza and just some excuse to gratuitously get two completely unrelated characters kicking bad-guy ass together.

It occurred to me that a team-up I'd really like to see is Kate Spencer and Selina Kyle.

I'm not sure how it could be plausible really, though a lawyer and a cat burgler would undoubtedly make for entertaining...culture clashes at some point. I suppose it could end up being a court thing (Maybe Selina knows about/has access to evidence that would clear a client, or something like that.) That's not really important though, since the real point of the story would be both women in costume kicking the crap out of badguys.

The fact that they're both mothers, and that Kate's got that uneasiness regarding Batman and is affiliated with the Birds of Prey should make for some interesting complications.

I really want to see Andreyko write Selina. :-)

It would be cool though, wouldn't it?

Friday, October 05, 2007


I have a very very important question for everyone who reads this blog.

Why is there not, to my knowledge anyway, a MacGyver comic book?

Has there ever been a MacGyver comic?

Because that really seems like a missed opportunity there. What with all the implausible science, aversion to guns and what not.

Okay, I admit it, I just want to read a comic book where the hero takes out a militia with three paper clips, a rubber band, fountain pen and globe of the Earth, damnit. That sort of thing's timeless.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Multiversal Algebra: Captain America = Wonder Woman???

I've read a few comparisons of Captain America and Superman and it's occurred to me that I don't always think they work. National symbol elements aside, the two characters aren't really all that similar. Even their roles as national symbols are different, Clark (in the Modern Age anyway) never specifically made the decision to be a national symbol. He just wore his costume as a way to save people while still maintaining a fairly normal life. There's a lot less of an element of "duty" involved. Clark as Superman acts according to his moral code and holds himself strictly to it, but it doesn't strike me as the same sort of duties and responsibilities that make up Captain America. Captain America is a very conscious symbol of America, the counterpoint of the Red Skull's terrorism, it's a role that's bigger than the man. Cap's idealism is quite a bit different than Superman's as well. He's occasionally naive, but he lacks Superman's open innocence. He's generally nice and polite, (when he's not brooding up a storm), but he's seen a lot more than Clark has, and it shows.

Cap's got a fair amount of similarities to Batman, being originally considered the "least powerful" (though by far the most effective/skilled) of the Avengers. His powers, depending on whatever Marvel's saying that week, are mostly reliant on the "pinnacle of human potential". But really, aside from that, the correlation's even worse. It's Batman. Further elaboration's probably redundant. Heck, even Bucky was far more of an equal partner/younger brother figure rather than the surrogate sons that the Robins became. Well, at least in the Silver Age flashbacks and later. I'm shaky with Golden Age Cap continuity.

It occurred to me though, there is one DC hero that has a tremendous amount in common with Captain America, who really ought to be considered, if anyone, his direct analogue. Wonder Woman!

I'm primarily thinking of the post-Crisis/Modern Era/Perez Reboot version of the character here, but they really do have a tremendous amount in common.

For example, they are both "fish out of water" with regards to modern American society more so than farmboy Clark or scary borderline psychotic masquerading as a floofy millionaire socialite could be. Diana is from Themyscira. Steve is from 1945. Both for that matter are from societies that are either militaristic (in her case) or in the grips of a messy war (in his).

Both of them are serving something greater than they are. Captain America isn't just some guy parading about in blue, doing what he thinks is right for the heck of it. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) He's got a cause. A calling, essentially. His idealistic America isn't necessarily reflected by the reality, but his devotion to those principles is absolute and nearly religious in quality. Superman and Batman don't have anything like that. Diana though, is not only the representative and Ambassador of Themyscira, she's also a servant of her gods...depending on what's going on in her comic at the time, of course. Both have had their loyalties tried and tested, and even found themselves at cross-purposes with their nations/deities/ideals, but the emotions remained.

There's even an interesting element of both of them being essentially created by the cause they serve. Clark was born a normal child of Krypton, only getting his powers as a result of Earth's sun. Batman always had his intelligence/money, but the drive and formation of the hero comes from his parents' death. Diana though was created by the Goddesses for a specific purpose(s) and given her powers as a part of that. Similarly, while Steve Rogers might have been born a perfectly ordinary (if sickly) kid in NYC, Captain America was created by the US Government's Project Rebirth, also for specific purposes.

Both Diana and Steve have a very pure sense of justice, and while both have a general aversion to killing and generally attempt to avoid it, they've both shown willingness and strength enough to use deadly force if they have to.

Their relationships to other characters tend to have interesting similarities. Both characters have, at certain times, ended up relying heavily on more worldly personalities to adjust to modern society/other upheavals. It's kind of interesting to compare Cap's relationship with the Falcon, especially during the time he lived in his office, to Diana's with Julia Kapitelis or to a lesser extent Helena Sandsmark.

Steve and Bucky's relationship really has a lot more in common with Diana's and Cassie's than it does Batman and (any) Robin. At least post-Golden Age. Cassie is not as much of a partner as Bucky tends to be portrayed as, but to be fair, she's also not a member of the US Military either. However, just like Bucky's training and abilities came largely from a source outside Steve, Cassie's powers were obtained in a manner that Diana had no part in. Bucky joined the army. Cassie asked for powers. Diana might have been an inspiration, but ultimately the decision and initiative were all hers. Also, where the Robins tend to end up surrogate sons, Bucky and Cassie really have/had more of a sibling relationship with their respective senior partners/mentors. They might lack the skill/powers/fighting experience of Diana or Steve, but they're also not as emotionally dependant on them. (In Cassie's case, it's probably helped by the fact that she has a mother, a very involved and formidable one. Tangentially, I really wish they'd do more with her.)

There's something similar in the way that the two use their secret identities. For Superman, he's just Clark Kent dressing up in silly clothes to save people. For Batman, well, Bruce Wayne is really mostly a tool to facilitate his work as Batman.

Cap and Wonder Woman are different. Steve is Cap is Steve. WW is Diana is WW. It's not the same as Superman, because being "Captain America" does mean more than being "Steve Rogers", "Wonder Woman" means more than "Diana Prince". Their primary identity is involved with the heroic role rather than the secret identitty. But they lack the disconnect of Batman and Bruce Wayne. I think for those two characters, it's really more like wandering around in civvies. Temporarily free of the constrains of their real job, but otherwise exactly the same person. (Heck, it's not like Diana had a secret identity at all for the longest time, and whether Steve did or not pretty much seemed to rely on whatever the writer felt like.) It's probably worth noting that both ended up temporarily working with law enforcement even in civilian guise.

It's interesting that both heroes managed to retain a lot more of their ties to the Golden Age than did Superman or Batman. Captain America's more obvious of course, what with the freezing. Can't have a Cap origin without punching nazis. But Diana too. Her origin might be separate from the Golden Age now, but the ties between "Wonder Woman" and the JSA/Golden Age ended up strong enough to warrant a convoluted time travel story sliding Hippolyta in her place. That seems like it means something, but I'm not sure what.

Ultimately though, it's really interesting how the two actually seem to correlate. They're not the same of course, but the similarities are there. Which means if they ever do another Amalgam Universe again, I wanna see "Captain Wonder".

Also, I kind of want a drawing of Cap in Wonder Woman's breastplate and panties. Because it'd make me laugh. And I'm a sick sick person. :-)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Nifty News!

Okay Ragnell showed me this, which is pretty darned exciting!

A comic book version of the Dresden Files ought to be a lot of fun!

I'm a little leery about the Dabel Brothers though, considering the Anita Blake adaptation, but then, it sounds like Butcher is VERY involved with this one and hopefully that'll exert some sort of quality control.

At the very least, I hope they don't go with the same artist/style. Admittedly, they probably won't. Dresden Files has a completely different tone as Anita Blake. (Thank god.) Harry might not be so bad in that artstyle (being less designed for show, so to speak), but I can only imagine what they'd do with THOMAS. Egads.

I'm pretty easy going when it comes to adaptations though. I really enjoyed the short-lived tv version (It's going to be weird to "see" Bob as he is in the books rather than as Terrance Mann...and my shallow side hopes that Harry is drawn with some resemblance to Paul Blackthorne.) So I'll probably enjoy it.

At least I KNOW about this one ahead of time rather than just finding out recently that there's been a Highlander comic for god knows how long! My first love and I MISSED it! So frustrating!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A Fangirl is a Fangirl

So there's been a fair amount of talk about the term "Fangirl" lately.

Since the origin of this debate essentially comes from being linked on WFA, and I'm the one who came up with the name of the link blog, I thought I'd weigh in.

Jade of Nerd in High Heels (a very snappy name itself, if I may say) asks if The term 'Fan Girl' is derogatory. (She concludes yes, here.)

There's a lot of interesting interchange back and forth (I think Brainfreeze has a nice post up.)

What I want to know is...does it matter?

I remember a while back there was a podcast floating around which criticized WFA for using the term, I'd link it if I could remember where it was, but it probably doesn't matter. There was something about how using the term somehow lessened our cause.

I consider that bullshit, but your mileage may very.

Jade quotes sites that differentiate fangirls from fanboys as being more involved with shipper debates than canon debates. I think this differentiation is arbitrary and meaningless. Sure there are many female fans particularly interested in who's romantically involved with whom, and slashers in particular make a very large subset, one that is likely not matched by the male fans.

But ultimately is that the definition of "fangirl"? I don't think so. I think the most important components in "fangirl" are simply "fan" and "girl".

There are many female fans more interested in relationships than canon, but there are quite a few who like to pick apart canon as well as any man. I've gotten into my share of "can Hulk beat Superman?" or "Wolverine vs. Cyclops" fights after all. I like to dissect canon. I like to nitpick and bitch about inconsistancies and the like.

So if you use the wikipedia and common definitions of fangirl, I'm really not one. I'm a fanboy.

But I'm not a boy. I'm a girl. Are you saying that whether I squeal over a particular actor, stalk someone at a convention, or care about romance versus nitpicking, that those qualities somehow override my GENDER?

I'm a fan. I'm a girl. I'm a "fangirl". I've got just as much claim on the title as anyone else. In fact, since "fan" is a fairly old term, as is "girl", I'm pretty sure it's a term that's older than any of those linked sites. There may not be documentation to support it, but it's hardly unique nomenclature. "Fanzines" existed as early as the nineteen-seventies, (they were in fact the origin of the term "slash", from the relationship denotion of "Kirk/Spock". I wouldn't be surprised to find out some women writing in "fanzines" would decide to call themselves "fangirls".

And even if not, I've used it longer than that wikipedia site's had the definition. Longer than the other sites Jade's linked. Why should those definitions, written by outsiders, trump mine and those of other women who've taken the term for themselves?

To try to argue "fangirl" as derogatory implies a sense of shame that simply doesn't exist among most of the people who actually claim the title. It's not even a matter of reclamation as is the case with "bitch" or certain racial or homophobic slurs. I feel no need to reclaim a term I've used since I was a twelve-year-old kalinara first embarking on the internet in 1995. It's always been mine and has been long before those sites written by non-fangirls have tried to turn it into something mean.

Sure some outsiders, often men but not always, might try to turn the phrase INTO something derogatory, but hell, I've seen some men turn "woman" into a derogatory term. Does that make it by nature derogatory? No. A woman is a woman. The only negative meaning is from someone who wants to feel powerful by belittling someone else.

"Bitch" means "a female dog". It's by nature a derogatory term designed to put down the target by comparing her to an animal. "Woman" means a female person. There is nothing innately dirty or insulting about being called a woman. There is no attached negative meaning except for what some stupid people try to latch on to it.

By extension "fangirl" means a "fan" who is a "girl". Anything else added to it, anything derogatory comes from outside of the classification, from context rather than inherent to the term, and I don't see why that should have anything to do with me.

I am a fangirl. I use the term proudly. If anyone wants to read something negative into that, they're more than welcome to do so. I reserve the right to laugh derisively at anyone who tries though.

Monday, October 01, 2007

I Like Ice, You Like Ice, Everybody Likes Ice!

This is where I type a really long entry specifically on my love for Tora Olafsdotter.

But first, I'd like to go into a personal anecdote.

When I was nineteen, in the summer after my freshman year of college, I decided to take a life-guarding class. I've had swimming lessons since I was about six months old, and even very briefly stinted on a swim team before back problems got in the way so while I was a bit out of shape, it didn't take that long to get used to the laps and exercises. I'm a fairly strong swimmer and of the three girls in the class, I was the best at getting loose from the clingy drowning victim. (A big kid too, I gave him bruises.) I did well enough with backboarding and was probably the best of us at CPR.

I even figured out how to dive under the water and not lose my glasses. Which is a pretty good trick, I think. It's all in the angle of the neck.

Anyway, the teacher had been a lifeguard for twenty-odd years and went on and on about how she was so alert and kept such strong authority of her pool that she had never even had to go in the water. Ever.

I remember the odd feeling I got when she asked me about my major, Japanese Language and Culture, and said something like "They're all so polite and self-effacing, aren't they?" I thought that was pretty fucking racist, though I didn't understand that particular tone in her voice. Eventually I would.

The tests came around. From what I could tell I didn't do any worse than the other girls but I was the only one who didn't get certified. I took the instructors' word that I still needed work, and came in every day for two weeks after. The guys and gals who worked at the pool were really nice in re-enacting drowning so I could keep at it. They seemed a bit puzzled as to why I was still there too. My perpetual clingy-victim (already certified himself) even told me that I was doing a good job. But I trusted my teacher's judgment.

After two weeks, my teacher sat me down and told me that there was nothing wrong with my ability, but she didn't want to sign my certificate because she didn't think I could keep order and authority in the pool. She felt that I was too quiet and self-effacing, too polite. She didn't think I could shout. The fact that I was studying Japanese was just more evidence against me. (Clearly the woman had never been on a Japanese subway. Or wandered about Sannomiya at nightfall. :-)) God, I wonder, if I'd been Asian and not white, if she'd have signed the certificate at all.

This was ridiculous. I mean, I'm pretty sure you can tell from this blog that I'm not some kind of wall-flower. I do act quite a bit more deferrent in class, because I'm the student. I'm there to learn. I don't see the point in acting out if I'm trying to learn something, thank you. In a position of authority, I have a lot of witnesses who can testify, I'm very different. I'm an utter bitch. :-)

But even so, even assuming I was as quiet as I seemed. There was no reason to assume I couldn't do my job. I've met quiet people in authority who were considerably more imposing than any yeller. And even if I did end up having to go in and rescue people more than she did (and come on, SOME of that at least had to be luck)...there was nothing wrong with my ability to do so.

She did ultimately sign off on my certificate, but only because I'd spent every day of those two weeks and she couldn't deny I was competent. I know this because she TOLD ME so.

I spent two extra weeks I could have been looking for a job proving to this woman that my decorum was not an impediment to my ability.

Because apparently loud, aggressive, obnoxious people are the only good lifeguards.

Right. A belated "Fuck you" to that racist and judgmental bitch.

Anyway, that's the thing about Ice. See, Oracle, Black Canary, Power Girl, heck, even Lois Lane. They're all forceful, aggressive women. Diana might be more diplomatic, but she still punches people.

And that's wonderful. It is. Ultimately in personality, I think I'm also of this type. I'm normally aggressive, bitchy and opinionated and not afraid to state it. It's wonderful to see such strong women in comics.

I've heard the complaint about "men with breasts", which is utterly ridiculous. And almost invariably, in my experience, made by men. Society may push us to act differently, but there are plenty of women who have a lot more in common with these so-called "men with breasts" than they do with the characters that the accuser thinks are more womanly, and while we appreciate the inclusion in the male gender, the tits and vagina kind of tend to indicate that we DO actually count as women, thank you. And there are more of us than you tend to think.

That said, it's also true that not every woman does see herself similar to Dinah, Barbara, Karen, Diana, or any of those types. Women come in all shapes and sizes and attitudes, after all. There are plenty of women who DO embody more "traditional" feminine virtues, who are soft-spoken, sweet and prone to tears.

And there's no damn reason THEY can't be heroes either.

Tora is wonderful for that. It can't be denied that she's soft-spoken, sweet, and prone to tears and emotional displays. She does have an inner core of temper, but it takes the atomic bomb level force of obnoxiousness that is Guy Gardner to actually bring it out. She's NICE. She's POLITE.

And she's as much of a hero as any of those other gals.

Even if I personally see myself as having a lot more in common with the Barbaras and the Dinahs of the world, I don't think being mistaken for a Tora should remotely have any implication about my abilities.

It's the same satisfaction that Superman brings, showing the hidden inner strength behind all the world's meek and mild-mannered Clark Kents. Characters like Clark, or Barry Allen, or Tora Olafsdotter are important because they show the variance in human nature, and how heroism isn't limited to just one specific personality type.

Too bad my lifeguarding instructor wasn't a comic book fan.