“Those Are Our Superpowers”: Dreadnought and the Importance of Queer Stories By Queer People

This weekend was the Emmys, and usually, nothing much interesting happens at the Emmys aside from the opening monologue. However, I was ecstatic to hear that one of my very favorite TV shows from this year, Master of None, won the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. The episode nominated, “Thanksgiving,” was about the story of protagonist Dev’s queer Black friend, Denise, coming out to her family through the years and was co-written by Lena Waithe, herself a queer Black woman. In Waithe’s acceptance speech, she said:

I see each and every one of you. The things that make us different – those are our superpowers. Every day when you walk out the door and put on your imaginary cape and go out there and conquer the world, because the world would not be as beautiful as it is if we weren’t in it.

Waithe’s words are both true and a rarity in today’s world, which generally pays lip service to LGBTQ+ solidarity but hardly ever celebrates the stories of actual (non-white and non-male) queer people. The idea of LGBTQ+ people being superheroes in their own right, not in spite of but because of the parts of themselves that mainstream society often doesn’t accept, is something that many queer youth need to hear and which many superhero stories need to understand.

Many superhero stories will rely on faulty allegories for the LGBTQ+ experience, like the X-Men hiding their abilities from their parents, despite the fact that queer people are not inherently dangerous. These stories often have little to no actual representation, and they almost never show the LGBTQ+ experience in an authentic, realistic light. Fortunately, the world of publishing is slowly pushing itself towards diversity, and one of the fruits of this labor is the 2017 novel Dreadnought by April Daniels. As a superhero story about a transgender protagonist written by a transgender author, it’s every bit as real as Master of None’s “Thanksgiving” and is a beautifully written novel that shows how a superhero story can be more than just another coming-of-age tale.

Minor spoilers for Dreadnought and trigger warning for transphobia/internalized transphobia after the jump.

(via goodreads)

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Trailer Tuesdays: Bright

For the past few years, Netflix has been on a roll with the original content. Though at first Netflix was only known as a DVD rental site and then a TV streaming site, its forays into original content are now probably what it’s most known for. Shows like Voltron: Legendary Defender, Sense8, and the various Marvel Defenders series have all garnered (mostly) high praise, and with them to jump off of, it’s no surprise that Netflix quickly went from original TV shows to original movies as well. At the end of this year, Netflix is releasing Bright, a fantasy cop drama with A-list actors that looks to be Netflix’s bid at its next famous property. The trailer looks good, but I’m afraid it may raise more questions than it answers.

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Web Crush Wednesdays: Brainchild

I’m not usually into horror, but while I was on my webcomics binge this break, I stumbled upon a little comic called Brainchild. I didn’t know anything about it and I had the vague idea that it was about mutants, so I went in pretty much completely unprepared. Quick update: it’s not really about mutants. However, it is about an enormous, unsettling conspiracy that looks to have a great effect on the personal and professional life of its protagonist, Allison Beaufort. I was thoroughly creeped out and thoroughly entertained, and that’s all I can ask for from a webcomic.

Trigger warning for body horror after the jump.

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Magical Mondays: What If “What If” Wasn’t Grimdark?

Over our summer break, I was reading a book whose protagonists traveled to alternate universes which, frankly, I didn’t like very much. But it did get me thinking about the idea of alternate universes in fiction. Not the scientific concept of alternate (parallel) universes—though that’s often the subject of many sci-fi stories—I’m talking about the alternate universes that result from one thing changing in a fictional story. What if Charles Xavier died before he could found the X-Men? What if Captain America was a Nazi? Undoubtedly, a lot of things would be bad. And unfortunately, this is the kind of alternate universe that we often see in today’s fictional media. However, the idea that one different thing could change everything is so broad that I don’t understand why this kind of grimdark change is the most common. Fanfiction also often deals in alternate universes which diverge from canon, but the changes of fanfiction, on the whole, all tend to be more positive and more emotionally satisfying. Though many mainstream movies and TV shows disdain this sort of happy story, an alternate universe which changes originally negative canon material into positive new story fodder can bring with it a wide range of different emotions than the usual grimdark reboot is capable of.

What if… not this. (via bleedingcool)

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Fanfiction Fridays: This American Life episode 141: A Whole New World. (Transcript) by NaomiK

A lot of popular fictional stories have, as their primary premise, their protagonists traveling from one world (typically our world) into another, far different, world. Whether this is something like The Forbidden Kingdom (a movie about a white savior transported to ancient China which I nevertheless loved as a child) or the much better Spirited Away (a movie about a young girl who falls into the spirit world and grows up along the way), traveling to new and fantastical worlds is such a part of our fictional tradition that it’s seen dozens of times in new stories every year. But very few of these stories really explore the emotional cost of traveling to these new worlds. That’s where today’s fic comes in. Through the use of an unusually real medium, This American Life, today’s story This American Life episode 141: A Whole New World. (Transcript) discusses the pros and cons of traveling to new worlds.

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They Solved His Empathy Puzzle: The Ineffable Joy of The Adventure Zone Finale

It’s been a summer of endings for my favorite series. Always Human wrapped up its wlw slice-of-life cuteness in early June, Orphan Black finished in early August, and finally The Adventure Zone, whose humor got me through much of last year and this one, came to a close this past week. Though The Adventure Zone will continue, this particular adventure about Merle, Magnus, Taako, and a world of delightful NPCs is now over. Fittingly enough for this comedic fantasy-ish podcast, it ended with a finale which would, in other series, be considered extremely cliché. As other people on this blog know very well, I balk at the slightest hint of anything cheesy, but when I finished listening to this finale, I wasn’t rolling my eyes — I was happy. Somehow, through its 69 episodes (yes, 69, the sex number), The Adventure Zone boys had managed to construct a story in which a loving ending wasn’t only enjoyable, it was also practically required by the preceding narrative.

Massive spoilers for the entirety of The Adventure Zone below.

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A Fond Farewell to Clone Club: Reviewing the End of Orphan Black

Luce: Well, guys, it’s been a long journey to the finale. Five years of twists and turns later, we’ve finally reached the end of the journey (or, at least, this journey) for Clone Club. But how did our favorite clones fare at this, the end of all things, and did they all make it through unscathed? Reviewing the end of Orphan Black is too much to take on alone, so I’m super glad to be joined by all of our faithful Orphan Black review team for this very last review.

Spoilers after the jump!

(via denofgeek)

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