Let’s face it, 2016 was tough, and 2017 doesn’t look to be much easier. So let’s delve into some of our favorite geeky romantic pairings to help us cope! Yep, it’s Valentine’s Day, that sickeningly sweet holiday when our authors nominate and then vote on ships for our Top 20 Romantic Couples in Geekdom (10 Canon/10 Fanon) list. It is now my duty to present to you the super cute and sexy ships of 2017!
Gentle readers, you may or may not know that I love me some Steven Universe. You may or may not also know that a new Steven Universe ongoing comic series debuted earlier this week.
I’m usually not that interested in comics series that are directly tied to ongoing series—for example, although I liked the various six-issue Adventure Time series that delved into the backgrounds of characters who might never get a lot of showtime, I never really felt the urge to pick up the actual Adventure Time comic. However, I broke with my personal tradition this week to try out the new Steven Universe series, because, well, I love me some Steven Universe.
Spoilers for #1 below the jump!
Happy Black History Month, dear readers! This month has always meant a lot to me on a personal level. Being a Black person, I’ve witnessed erasure of our achievements, dismissal of our problems, and omissions of us from opportunities. These types of slights often expand into nerd media, where representation is already scant. In that spirit, I want to discuss an issue that makes the existing representation troubling. We need to stop giving non-human characters Black traits to code them as “other”, as alien from the protagonist and audience. These characters, rather than just being another character in a group, are specifically different or strange.
I’ll be candid with you, reader: it’s been a tough few weeks for me. Like many others, between winter blues, the political climate, and the often negative nature of nerd critique, I’ve been in a bit of a slump. In times like this, I like to look at some of my favorite media that resonates with me on an emotional level.
I appreciate sincerity and vulnerability in media. In my opinion, that has been a common through-line in a lot of viral fandoms in the past few years. There is definitely room for being a badass, and admittedly, that’s an enjoyable trait to watch play out in a story. However, I think many of us are craving a sense of vulnerability in our characters, not just physically, but also emotionally. We want to be be able to empathize and connect with the characters by knowing how they feel, what their aspirations are, and what they’re thinking. Of course in superhero media, the protagonists are relatively invincible, but are they people under all that? In the past couple years, I’ve seen some really great uses of emotional vulnerability, and I think they illustrate the benefit of creating these character traits.
Minor spoilers for Steven Universe and major spoilers for Undertale after the jump!
In honor of Bisexual Awareness Week and Bi Visibility Day, today I would like to talk about my favorite canon bi characters. Unfortunately, bi characters are so difficult to find, and even when you do, most of them fall under the same harmful stereotypes, not to mention that the word bisexual isn’t even used in the vast majority of cases, making it harder for people find and identify or identify with the characters. So, with that in mind, I also want to share some of my dreams for better bi representation.
Many of you have seen the Steven Universe episode “The Answer”. Many of you had the same reaction I did which was an unequivocal “this is the sweetest thing ever!” Some of us were surprised (and impressed) that they’d been allowed to “get away” with it, even in a show like SU. But what was it about “The Answer” that was so groundbreaking? It was a seriously cute love story about two immediately likeable characters; a fairy tale romance that was as innocent as it was beautiful. It was also the first fairy tale most of us had ever encountered where the two star-crossed lovers were both female.
If ever there was an example of innocent (and insanely adorable) love in a cartoon, this was it. It’s a storybook romance about an aristocratic seer and an impulsive soldier falling in love and defying the established order to be together, becoming rebels fighting for the survival of Earth in the process. That is the kind of story that seems like it would be a natural fit for a Disney movie. It’s the kind of story kids are exposed to on a regular basis and it’s considered appropriate, healthy, and even necessary. But none of those stories have queer characters, especially not in the leads.
The fact that Ruby and Sapphire are depicted as women is what made this groundbreaking, even though it is the kind of story most kids grow up watching over and over. By featuring two female characters instead of a heterosexual couple, this episode pushed boundaries—boundaries that make no sense to begin with. I mean, this isn’t an Adult Swim show we’re talking about. We’re not seeing or hearing about anything that could be considered remotely explicit; there’s not even a kiss in the episode! It’s a cartoon that no parent would consider objecting to if it told a heteronormative story with the exact same plot and dialogue. The simple fact that the two leads happen to be women made it seem taboo; or at least “edgy”. It often feels like these stories can’t exist in children’s media.
But, like all inclusive stories, the people being included gain while nobody else loses. Everyone who watched got to see a fairy tale romance about two of our favorite characters, and girls realizing that they love other girls got to see that their stories are just as beautiful and inspiring and normal as any other. It is precisely the lack of stories like this that give them the air of controversy and sometimes make them feel… different.
That is what Rebecca Sugar and SU’s other creators attempted to address with The Answer and in adapting it to book form, they have taken an incredible (and incredibly cool) new step in that direction.
So… Steven Universe, am I right?
This “Summer of Steven” has been a wild ride, opening audiences’ eyes further to the injustices going on on Homeworld, the internal struggles of the Crystal Gems, the increasing grey morality of everything, and how Earth and its inhabitants keep moving on through all of this. While the Crystal Gems are focused on the immediate problems on Earth—allowing Jasper to run around is probably not great for gemkind or mankind alike—today’s fic takes a look at the current situation from another point of view: the view of Homeworld’s Pearls.