This, ladies and gentlemen, is my strong suit: pulling comic characters you might not know about from the ether and telling you why they’re awesome. I get to be nerdy and people will read it and even find it interesting. In short, I want to tell you about more of the awesome women of Marvel Comics. We’ve talked about how important it is to pull back the veil on the representation of women in Marvel, and why it’s important to not leave people out of the coolest categories. So, while I’m on the subject on Marvel and the representation of women, I’d like to indulge the basest of my weeaboo instincts. Let’s talk about some Japanese girls.
I’ve been told that it’s a crime I haven’t seen Iron Man 3 yet. I’m waiting for the crowds to die down. I swear I’ll see it this weekend and write about Tony Stark’s problems for Saturday.
I’m constantly thinking about how geek culture can take the next step and move closer and closer to equality. I think that, as a writer, it’s my job to think of ways I can use my talents to better society. I mean, I’m paid to write. It’s not the hardest thing to do. I should at least do something important with this.
So, I opened a word doc and typed away until late, coming up with new superheroes that would rock the comic world to its core, and I came up with this.
I think we need an autistic superhero.
After The Avengers came out, many people discussed Captain America’s famous line about God and Thor.
Some people were surprised that Joss Whedon, an atheist, included the line in the movie. Others were either pleasently surprised or dismayed at the inclusion of religion in the Marvel Movie Universe, but the most interesting response, and the one I’m going to address here, is: How can Captain America still be a monotheist when he knows two gods personally? People also pointed out that characters like Iron Man, who is typically written as atheist, would also have issues coming to terms meeting two gods.
In the comics in general, a variety of religions are often included or referenced. In the Marvel universe there are mentions of Christianity, Norse Mythology, Greek mythology, Judaism, Islam, and other forms of Paganism and Wicca. However, despite all these religions being referenced, it is usually the pagan religions that are “proven” when characters actually meet the gods they learned about. For today I will just address religion in the Marvel Universe since each comic book universe deals with religion a little differently.
Content note: spoilers, graphic content
Two weeks ago Wednesday, news came that Robert Morales, Marvel Comics author and entertainment journalist, passed away at the age of 55. Samuel Delany, author of too many science fiction novels to name, broke the news on Facebook:
Robert Morales was one of my closest friends—and had been since he was seventeen years old. He died at his home in Brooklyn this morning, leaving his father and mother. He was fifty-four. We spoke on the phone for many years, at least once a week and often more. I am shattered. His many friends will miss him deeply. He had agreed to be my literary executor, and the idea that he would pre-decease me never entered my head. For me and many others he was an indispensable friend. To say he will be deeply missed is an incredible understatement.
My comment on his passing is not timely. It is a fortnight late and the story of his death has been covered by at least ten other websites. All I can say is that Morales was a creative powerhouse and he, his inspiration, and his passion will be missed.
Morales’ legacy, however, lives on. His work with artist Kyle Baker, Truth: Red, White & Black, is one of Marvel Comics’ most compelling ventures into the subject of race in America. Truth reveals a backstory for the Captain America mythos in which the Super Soldier Serum was tested on black soldiers in secret, resulting in the death and mutilation of all but a few.
The Everyman (or Everyperson, as the case may be) is one of the most underestimated and important characters in storytelling. The Everyman is a character with no powers or special abilities outside of those that a normal person might have. The Everyman is not the chosen one; they usually are the stand-in character for the audience (though not always); and they can be the main character or supporting in the story. But the biggest and most key factor here is that they must be a completely and utterly ordinary character. This character represents what a normal person would be like in an extraordinary situation.
Many movies, TV shows, and books like to indulge in our fantasies by revealing that an ordinary person is actually someone amazing. These stories say, “Are you an awkward outcast and loner? Well, that’s actually because you’re a wizard/demigod/slayer/the chosen one!” And while this particular plot is great and all, at some point when watching or reading about one of these characters, you might wonder what it would be like if you were in the story. You then quickly realize that you are not a mutant/fairy/genius/alien and that you would be extremely screwed if you were to step into the story just as you are now.
But what if you weren’t? The beauty of the Everyman isn’t just that they are completely normal and average, but that they somehow survive against all odds in impossible circumstances.
So without further ado, here are my Top Ten Everyman Characters in Geekdom:
I feel like I have been waiting all my life for an all-female Marvel team comic. Marvel doesn’t have the best history with female led titles. They cancelled some of their most popular titles like X-23 and She-Hulk, and some never even make it to a shelf when Marvel gets too nervous about “taking a risk” with a female-led title.
Because Marvel is less likely to take chances on new titles, for the longest time DC Comics has been wiping the floor with Marvel in terms of female-led titles. DC has always had THE female comic with Wonder Woman, but has followed that title up with other consistent female led titles like Birds of Prey, Batwoman, Batgirl, Supergirl, and several others. When it comes to female representation in comics, Marvel tends to pale in comparison—until now.
Recently, Marvel has been stepping up their game with titles like Captain Marvel, Red She-Hulk, and Journey into Mystery. Now finally, Marvel is giving us an all-female superhero team with Fearless Defenders!
Right now, the team is more of a duo as the comic writers attempt to set up and build the team. In this first issue, we meet heroes Valkyrie and Misty Knight who fight mercenaries and zombies. Hell yeah!
I personally never really knew much about Valkyrie and Misty Knight before this comic. I only knew a little of Valkyrie from Thor. Apparently, these characters were chosen to introduce the fans to some minor, but awesome characters.
We have a diverse cast developing with Misty Knight as an awesome black female character, while Valkyrie and Annabelle Riggs, an archaeologist and friend of Misty’s, seem to both be queer characters. The comic even provides us with an awesome lesbian kiss between Valkyrie and Annabelle.
The story is awesome and well written. It moves at a fast pace, keeping the reader entertained. Cullen Bunn, the writer, provides a feel for the characters so that readers who have never heard of Misty Knight or Valkyrie won’t be terribly confused.
My only and, quite honestly, biggest problem is with the art. The cover art is to die for, and I really wish Mark Brooks would have done the art for the comic book as well. Will Sliney, the main artist, constantly gives the characters annoying poses worthy of the Hawkeye Initiative, especially to poor Misty Knight who is really over-sexualized.
Aside from the sexist poses, I just really don’t like the art. During the awesome lesbian kiss I noticed that Valkyrie’s hand was really poorly drawn and defined. Her fingers were clumped together making her hand look like that of a Barbie doll.
But please, please, please, don’t let the art scare you away. Fearless Defenders truly is an awesome comic and it needs to be supported if Marvel is going to continue to publish it. It has diversity and a great story. It’s definitely a comic worth picking up.
Ever noticed how some fanfics write your favorite male characters as girls?
A gender bender, or genderbending, is when an author writes a character as the opposite of the gender that he or she is in canon—that is, the writer changes the character’s physical gender (not gender identity, although that could make for a fascinating fic as well). Relatively few stories use genderbending as a way of exploring transsexuality or the more complex issues of gender identity. Typically, as MadameAce has said in a previous post, genderbending is used to spice up existing romantic pairings between characters.
There are several reasons that authors normally use genderbending. The author might want to see more girls, due to either a lack of existing female characters or the existence of really poorly written female characters. Sometimes if the relationship in the story is (as fanfic tends to be) comprised of two guys, the author genderbends one of the characters so that the pair can more easily have children. But regrettably, in most fics, genderbending reads as a trope where guys (for the most part) are turned into girls and then there is a lot of sex, for reasons. The problem is, if you’re changing something as fundamentally definitive as a character’s physical sex, it shouldn’t be glossed over or used as a gimmick.
And I don’t care who hears me say it.
This post was meant to sing the praises of the new Captain Marvel comic, but instead I find myself burdened with the glorious purpose of tearing a rich white guy I don’t know a new asshole on the internet.
James Gunn, if you don’t know who he is, is the director who has been tapped to helm the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, due in 2014. He is also the author of this post, The 50 Superheroes You Most Want To Have Sex With. [trigger warning for that link: sexism, homophobia, general rage-inducing assholery] [Edit: He seems to have taken down the original post but you can still see a cached version here, thanks to nothing ever really going away on the internet.]
There is nothing wrong with being attracted to a superhero character. There is nothing wrong with wanting to screw a superhero. (I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t sleep with Batwoman, for example.)
But the way Gunn comments on the entries in his list makes him sound less like a respected director and more like an unwashed neckbeard who has never seen a woman outside of bad porn. Here’s a highlights reel of the commentary, care of tumblr’s othothegreat and buckycaps:
the art he chose in general, especially for the female heroes, is really gross and terrible, but here are a few more sexist, misogynistic, sex-shaming gems:
- “for those men that love rude bitches, [emma frost] the white queen is the way”
- [on natasha romanoff, the highest ~debut] “considering she’s fucked half the guys in the marvel universe, that’s quite a feat” Continue reading
Well, ladies and gentlemen, it’s the day after a long and arduous election year. We are all tired and maybe upset about who won or maybe not (depending on your preference), but we are least glad it’s over.
Well, we decided to have our own election! These are Lady Geek Girl and Friends’ Top 10 Fictional Geek Presidents!