"We lead frantic lives. Filled with needs and responsibilities, but completely devoid of any actual purpose. I say let’s try to enjoy the simple things. Life should be like a basket of chicken wings: salty, full of fat and vinegar, and surrounded by celery you’ll never actually eat, even when you’re greedily sopping up the last viscous streaks of buffalo sauce from the wax paper with your spit-stained index finger. Yes, that is as life should be, Night Vale."
I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I am a firm believer in the idea that there need to be more happy stories about queer people. Thankfully, certain creators seemed to agree, and back in 2015, I was able to buy Dates Volume 1, an anthology of queer historical fiction. While it was created through Kickstarter, I didn’t back it at the time… because I didn’t know it existed until my at-the-time comics shop held a release day party. However, I’ve got a second chance to help out this awesome team, and that’s why my web crush this week is Dates Volume 2, and their currently active Kickstarter.
Every queer person knows how hard it is to find ourselves in fiction, and how much harder it is to find fiction where our stories don’t end tragically. And of course, it’s particularly difficult to find happy queer characters in historical fiction. We wanted to work towards evening the score, and the result was Dates 1: a 176 page celebration of queer identities of all kinds, across the world and throughout history. We were thrilled by the reception to Dates 1, and we knew people still had more stories to tell, so we decided to do it all again. And just like last year, there are no tragic endings. [emphasis theirs]
I’ve been a Marvel fan over DC since I started reading comics – the first single issues I ever bought were the starts of Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Captain Marvel run and Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye. Marvel continues to put out some amazing, progressive, and inclusive stories from its B-list characters, but at the same time it’s also putting out some of the most tone-deaf unpleasantness I’ve ever seen from a major media company in its flagship titles. What’s most frustrating in this whole complex fiasco is that, in making these terrible writing choices, Marvel is not just being problematic and offensive, but is actually dramatically undermining the entire history of the characters they’re messing with.
I haven’t heard any complaints, so I’m going to keep on keeping on reviewing the various queer comics that have come into my life. Honestly, it’s pretty damn awesome that there are enough of them that I haven’t run out yet. This week’s subject is a new series from Dark Horse called The Once and Future Queen, which, as the title’s riff on T. H. White implies, is a “Return of King Arthur” story with a female Arthur.
I definitely judged this book by its cover—I picked it up entirely based on the intriguing title and cover art alone—but in the end I’m not sure how I feel about it.
This is the problem: a younger, more naïve Saika was so, so excited for the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie. The trailers were so good; it was a different and new premise from the typical Marvel formula… and then she was massively disappointed by the movie itself.
An older, wiser Saika then sat down to watch this trailer. And found, to her great surprise, that she was once again interested in the shenanigans of these space-faring assholes. Is it too much to ask for that this movie will be the GotG we deserve and not the fratsplosion we got last time?
Overwatch recently introduced some new characters into its ever-growing world, including a new playable hero. And while the giant centaur-like Omnic tank Orisa is an interesting addition to the fighting lineup, her creator is more interesting to me. Efi Oladele is an eleven-year-old inventor from the highly advanced African city of Numbani. Despite her young age, she’s already received worldwide attention after receiving a prestigious grant for her robotics work. After a mysterious attack at the Numbani International Airport, Efi was inspired to use her grant money to create a new protector for her city from an old OR15 defense bot. Thus, Orisa was born. Orisa is well-intentioned but still has a childlike innocence despite her many fighting capabilities, and Efi, while a genius, is also still an adorable preteen. The bot and her creator are to put it in simple terms, too precious, too pure, so I was excited to stumble upon a fic that captured that, especially since it hasn’t been that long since they were introduced.
On a rare break from my binge of reviewing the latest in queer comics (don’t be alarmed, that regularly unscheduled programming will be back before you know it, I’m sure), I picked up a middle grade graphic novel that provides a different sort of representation. Hereville #1, How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch, touts itself as featuring “yet another troll-fighting 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl”. And while it has a veeery busy corner of the market in which to distinguish itself (that was my sarcasm voice), Mirka mostly comes out on top.
Fear is a powerful thing, and creatures that terrify, from the Nazgul of Lord of the Rings to Septimus Heap’s magogs and the Sidhe of The Call, are ubiquitous throughout fantasy literature. The characters who face these creatures don’t simply stroll onto the battlefield and take them down; they are afraid, and in overcoming their fears are able to defeat their monsters.
In many series, magic is used to help characters face their fears without necessarily having to face down the actual thing causing the fear. Consider the boggart in Prisoner of Azkaban, for example: while it takes the shape of the things it senses that Lupin’s class fears, it doesn’t progress past that. A boggart-turned-dementor cannot Kiss away a soul, for example. While learning to face a fear does not always remove a character’s fear entirely, being able to recognize and acknowledge what they are afraid of can help them grow and develop as characters. Genre fiction is ideally placed to allow characters to do this because of the magic involved, and in doing so, it can offer us important guidance for dealing with our own fears.