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.
I really wanted to rec something lighthearted for you guys, but after a long week with a shitty boss, I had no mental energy whatsoever to relate to anything outside my own personal experiences. So instead, I ended up going through my pages and pages of bookmarks trying to find something that featured a completely platonic relationship and that was also safe for my current mental state.
In the process, I came across an older story about Jason Todd, Dick Grayson, and their brotherly hatred for one another. Well, Jason Todd comes with his own psychological problems, and most stories with him deserve multiple trigger warnings, but since my depression and anxiety sucked ass this week, reading a fic about a character going through a massive panic attack ended up being exactly what I needed. Not A Brother Not A Friend isn’t a safe read in that regard, but it was definitely platonic and relatable, and for this week, that was good enough.
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?
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.
I didn’t intend to write this post about yet another queer comic. I didn’t even intentionally buy one, not that I’m complaining—the guy at the comics shop just described Heathen to me as a re-imagining of Norse mythology similar to ODY-C. Since ODY-C is a trippy and beautiful comic re-imagining the entire Odyssey with a cast of only women, you can see why I might be interested. Of course, given its almost entirely female cast, ODY-C is also preeeetty gay, so the comparison probably should have tipped me off.
Heathen starts with a bit of lore-building: the Valkyrie Brynhild, formerly leader of Odin’s immortal warrior women, was cursed by the Allfather after refusing to follow his orders. She must live her endless days in exile and must marry a mortal. Brynhild, however, was able to parley that she would at least be able to choose said mortal. (This exchange entirely lacks gendered language, heyo foreshadowing.) Odin agreed, and sent her off to await her erstwhile suitors.