It’s Easter!!! Happy Easter, everyone!!
It seems like only yesterday that I finished watching every episode of Supernatural for the millionth time (at least) and decided it was time to try something new. I knew that many of my Tumblr sisters were hooked on Teen Wolf but I was worried about getting into it. I wasn’t going to watch Twilight # 237687.987 but with werewolves this time. To my immense relief, not only was Teen Wolf not Twilight, but it might be one of the most enjoyable shows on TV right now. Before I knew it, I had watched both seasons on Netflix, looked up everything about the show, and forced MadameAce to watch so I would have someone to discuss things with.
Now we’re sharing the love, and trying to convince those of you who might be hesitant to give Teen Wolf a try. MadameAce already covered Teen Wolf season one, so now it’s time to talk about season two.
Warning: Spoilers that MadameAce tried to avoid for season one will probably pop up here, but I will try to keep spoilers for season two to a minimum. But still be warned: Spoilers!
The further I look back at the start of my manga consumption, the more I realize that I didn’t exactly traverse a conventional path. Rather, I had pretty weird tastes, as is evident by this week’s pick: Yuzo Takada’s 3X3 Eyes.
If I remember correctly, this was the second manga series I ever read. It had action, humor, good characters, but I’ll be damned if it wasn’t a bit confusing—although in a good way, as opposed to the terrible storytelling of Seraphic Feather. And, well, I suppose it would have to be at least a little bit confusing. After all, Takada created an entirely new mythos for a story spanning across several countries and encompassing a political plot as well as an ancient cultural coup. There was a lot to cover, and not all of it fit within the confined spaces of the comic panels.
So just to be clear, I want to say that I have yet to play a Final Fantasy game that I don’t like, which may seem surprising, considering that I do nothing but complain all the time. Oftentimes, Final Fantasy X goes from something I genuinely think is good to a guilty pleasure, but other times, it’s completely infuriating. I’ve mentioned before when talking about XIII that I prefer games that start off weak and end strong, compared to games that start off strong and end poorly. Unfortunately, Final Fantasy X falls into the latter category. The first part of this game is pretty okay. We’ve got a great setup with some unique characters, we can see what’s at stake, and on top of the entire apocalyptic catastrophe that’s going on we’ve got religious oppression.
There’s a lot happening in this game. Also, much like IX, it tackles some pretty deep subjects, like death and sacrifice. On top of the aforementioned religious oppression. Unfortunately, X just couldn’t keep up its momentum.
How often do you see minority characters in fiction? They’re pretty rare. When you read fiction, unfortunately you normally see a white protagonist alongside a plethora of supporting white characters. Possibly a minority sidekick, if you’re lucky. Minorities of both sexual orientation or race are underrepresented in teen and young adult fiction, according to this YALSA study.
But why is it so necessary for authors to write characters that accurately represent our world? It all boils down to facts—namely, the fact that races other than Caucasian exist in the real world, and when there is a fantasy world in which no minority characters exist, it’s basically telling minority characters that they aren’t good enough to exist even in a fantasy world. If elves and hobbits and dragons and dwarves can all wander around Middle Earth, there shouldn’t be anything terribly far-fetched about a few characters of color in the mix as well.
It never ceases to amaze me how our pop-culture tries to insert what are clearly Christian themes into comics, TV shows, and many other forms of media, but then, in order to not offend anyone, tries to pretend that those Christian elements aren’t really there. It’s maddening!
Two examples of this that always bugged me were in Charmed and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Charmed featured White Lighters as major characters in their series and Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s last season had Buffy doing battle with The First, the very first evil.
White Lighters are clearly angels. Just call them angels. The minute you hear what they are, you think angel! White Lighters are beings of the light who guard their charges, healing and guiding them when necessary. Am I crazy or does that sound like a guardian angel? It does, doesn’t it?
And perhaps you could say that many mystical beings have these sorts of functions. But the White Lighters have certain imagery to them that obviously shows that they are at least inspired by Judeo-Christian angels. Most obviously, their realm looks like fluffy white clouds and the wear robes of pure white that look like clerical vestments. The only thing missing is wings.
Now onto Buffy, where we have The First, a force that appeared before time. This being first appeared to Angel and tempted the vampire into trying to kill Buffy. This same being reveals to Angel that it is the reason that Angel escaped from Hell. When The First later appears in Buffy, it employs a second in command, a defrocked priest named Caleb. Though this one is more ambiguous, it is pretty clear that this being is Satan. It existed before time, like the angels in Judeo-Christianity (including Lucifer); furthermore, this is the being from which all other evil stems. And if this wasn’t enough, the connection with the Caleb, the defrocked priest, makes the connection to Christianity very clear.
Now there is nothing wrong with trying to make TV shows, books, or other media more open and watchable to people who are not of a Judeo-Christian background, but that isn’t what is happening in these shows. They are creating new characters or myths, but simply using the same Christian ones and then saying they aren’t. To anyone with a basic understanding of Christianity, these references are obvious. So writers of any shows, comics, movies, or books, just call a spade a spade or use more diverse or original religious themes in these shows.
Mystical pregnancy. I have talked about this particular trope before, but only in conjunction with mpreg fics. This time I want to go into more detail about how harmful this trope is to women, especially since, beyond its popularity in sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, this trope is being used more often in recent popular culture.
In case you are unfamiliar with the Mystical Pregnancy trope, watch this video first. Anita explains things better than I ever could.
Mature Content Warning!
Animal traits being incorporated into sex and sexuality is nothing new. People say that this trope in fanfiction is weird or creepy, but I say: look to your own kinks, people. What do you think all that vampire romance on your shelf is? Yes, horror, sci-fi, and fantasy novels have especially incorporated animalistic characteristics into sex. Whether it’s a vampire bite, becoming a werewolf’s mate, or sleeping with a centaur, people seem to constantly be looking to the animal kingdom in order to spice up their sexual fantasies.
Earlier this week—Monday to be exact—my secret love for the comic series Elfquest finally became known to the public. However, thanks to the ever-watchful Lady Saika, now I have something more to fangirl over! Despite the idea for an Elfquest movie being continuously shot down by larger studios like Warner Bros., two wonderful independent producers, Stephanie Thorpe and Paula Rhodes, have taken it upon themselves to make this long awaited dream a reality.
Their trailer (posted below) not only shows some beautiful costume work and settings, but also that these ladies have a great appreciation for Wendy Pini’s series. Almost every scene they’ve choreographed I can match exactly to a scene from the series meaning that they know what they’re doing. I’m a little disappointed that, while the Elfquest ladies certainly are badass and deserving of all screentime, we don’t get to see what the dudes look like. However, if the interpretations of Leetah and Clearbrook are anything to go by, I have no worries. And that Winnowill is perfect.
Although the public will most likely have to wait several years before this fantasy hits reality, it will be well worth it to finally see them in all their glory on the big screen.
Read the full article here via The Mary Sue.
As Halloween departs, winter begins to set in, and while this brings forth images of snow and holidays for some, it means one thing for me: being sick until spring. It’s happened for many, many years so I’ve come to expect it by now, but I have a special cure or at least something that makes me feel better. From as long as I can remember, every time I had to stay home from classes I always read my mother’s Elfquest comics, and for some reason that seemed to do the trick. I wouldn’t exactly call Elfquest a manga, but I do believe it was an important step in getting the graphic novel to be the respected medium it is this day and even bringing an early light to Japanese animation and manga.
Reaching all the way back to the late 70’s, Wendy and Richard Pini’s cult classic focuses mostly on one tribe of elves, the Wolfriders, and their tribe leader, Cutter. In their history, it is said that the Wolfriders are born with the blood of wolves coursing through their veins. As such they’re able to tame wolves and adopt them not only as pets, but as family members. After their forest home is destroyed, the Wolfriders head off to seek a new home only to find that the lush lands they had been promised by the trolls that were ‘helping’ them are anything but. Faced with endless desert in front of them, the Wolfriders continue on for days until they run across another tribe of elves, the Sun Folk. Closer to the ways of their ancestors, the High Ones (eight alien-like beings who were the genesis of all elves), these desert dwellers offer not only safe haven, but also conflict to the deep-rooted ways of the forest folk.
Of course, this is only the first two volumes. Later on, they go on to find a couple more tribes of elves—there are only about four or five total in Pini’s verse—travel through time in a way that doesn’t make me cringe, deal with a full out war, romance, drama, the list goes on. However, I’m going to be honest here: I have not read any of the newer stuff. My knowledge of this series goes right up to Bedtime Stories (which is more of an anthology of new, previous, and other stories that have no bearing on the over-reaching plot), but in everything I’ve heard the good things about the later issues have been few and far-between. Certainly looking at the Wikipedia entry leads to a much more confusing universe than what I left on and it’s somewhat uninviting.
Also, some people may find some of Pini’s elven culture a little uncomfortable. While most of it fits under normal fantasy, the issue of romance is completely new. In this verse, the ability to have children is called being ‘recognized’ and to initiate this one must know their partner’s soul name—a name that is barely ever spoken, only known through their hearts. It can be as simple as just telling your partner your soul-name. But it’s not always that simple, and the issues it can cause are shown in the very first story arc. When the Wolfriders arrive in the Sun Folk’s village, their healer, Leetah, immediately realizes Cutter’s soul name. The problem is that Leetah wants nothing to do with him and ignores the feelings that this recognition brings. This causes her to become ill until she finally accepts it. The idea that some outside force thrusts love upon you and that it will always work for the better in the end doesn’t sit well with me. However, the delicacy and respect that other relationships in the series are dealt with really is quite impressive. Never have I seen a polyamorous relationship that was drama-free and quite so touching.
If you feel like taking a dip back in time, the series in its entirety is on the internet for free (legally) on Elfquest’s official site. The art is gorgeous and every colored page really grabs your attention, many of the characters are compelling, and I’m certain that you’ll have a favorite from the headstrong Rayek to the intelligent Savah. Check it out here!