In Brightest Day: Chess’s Florence Vassy

In part one of my three-part series on the musical Chess, I focused on Anatoly Sergievsky and the problems that he faced when making a decision between the game he loves and the woman he loves, Budapest-born Brit Florence Vassy.

0906170342181828494_673770_v1Florence is an interesting character. Not only does she love the game of chess, but her hatred toward the Soviet Union is far more complex than anything I have ever seen in a musical before.

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Sexualized Saturdays: All I Need to Know I Learned From GTA V

I’ll take “Titles I Never Thought I’d Use” for $500, Alex.

clue (1)I was all ready to chalk Grand Theft Auto V up as a failure in representation. In all fairness, I didn’t expect to ever see a Grand Theft Auto game actually stop taking potshots at the LGBTQ+ community. Since I started playing GTA games with Grand Theft Auto 3, there was always that one character created as a stereotype of a gay male, complete with an effeminate voice, color-coordination, and neckerchief. The game developers over at Rockstar North aren’t all that subtle. 

BernieCrane-ArtworkThat’s Bernie from Grand Theft Auto IV. He is a former soldier who came out sometime after the fictional war he fought in. That’s great, but the way protagonist Niko describes Bernie’s soldier ways compared to today gives the audience a not-so-subliminal message that, because Bernie is gay, he is automatically different.

While it’s not always the case, I don’t know of any cases in real life where someone coming out changes the essence of who they are as a person.

Fast forward to Grand Theft Auto V, which just came out Tuesday, where I have noticed some subtle changes to the GTA universe that hint that Rockstar is moving away from stereotyping LGBTQ+ characters. In one of the first missions, protagonist Franklin gets into a discussion with a bigoted paparazzi member, Beverly, concerning in-game gay rapper Clay “PG” Jackson.

Man, who gives a fuck if he’s gay or not, man? The man is not married. It’s his business. Leave motherfuckers alone… why do you care, man?

I found this to be a drastic change from previous GTA games. Instead of the protagonist staying neutral, like Niko did frequently in cut scenes, Franklin makes a logical statement concerning Jackson. Beverly’s statements, in comparison, seem about as ridiculous as they are. Franklin makes sense. Beverly is a dick.

While this is the only reference to the LGBTQ+ I have run into yet, Rockstar North has been taking steps away from relying solely on stereotypes. In 2009, Rockstar North released Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony. The focus of the game centered on Gay Tony, a nightclub owner in the fictionalized Liberty City.

6406-gta-gay-tony-prince-artGamers can see the development of Rockstar North’s thought process in The Ballad of Gay Tony. The character still holds traits that could be considered stereotypes. His voice is slightly effeminate and his nickname itself is a label. But the focus on the character analyzes his humanity, not his sexual preference. The fact that Tony is gay doesn’t really matter to the development of the story arc.

Now, I’m only halfway through the game as of Friday morning. The end scene could have a character that uses and abuses every LGBTQ+ stereotype in record time and if so, I will definitely write about that. But I’m finally getting the feeling that Rockstar is realizing that compelling story-telling trumps malicious stereotypes any day, and it’s making me look forward to the potential addition of an LGBTQ+ character in the game’s DLC packs.

In Brightest Day: George Lucas Sucks at Emotions

In April, I wrote a piece on Luke Skywalker’s emotional problems, specifically relating them to his father Anakin’s anger management issues.

However, I missed a key part of Skywalker’s mental and physical health that, let’s be honest, I shouldn’t have missed.

2-1BpokeWhoops.

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In Brightest Day: Tony Stark’s Other Disabilities

I have already covered Tony Stark’s descent into alcoholism. In truth, that article was very short-sighted on my part. I did not take into account that Stark’s transformation into Iron Man involved more than just the one disability, and that alcoholism is just part of the larger structure of Iron Man’s profile.

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The Pokémon Problem

When I was younger, I loved Pokémon. I loved the show. I loved the video games. I loved the trading cards, both as collectibles and as a game.

pokemon-logoWhen I got older, I broke out the old Game Boy and started Pokémon: Gold again.

I got extremely upset when I realized that I was taking part in a country-sanctioned animal-fighting league.

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On Nationalism in Comic Books

Justice LeagueA couple days ago, DC Comics announced that the Justice League of America was moving to Canada starting in April, 2014.

Details are very limited right now. From what I’ve read, the Justice League is moving because of some kind of dramatic change.

The reason this threw me for a loop is, admittedly, I don’t think of Canada much. Yes, I know they are America’s brothers to the North, and I love whenever I get a chance to visit Toronto. But, I’ll admit, I haven’t been anywhere else in Canada. I know there is more to Canada, but I just haven’t had the chance to visit past the Air Canada Centre.

So to have the Justice League of America move to Canada was, weirdly enough, a “huh?” moment for me.

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Sexualized Saturdays: Transgender People in Comics

One of my first articles with Lady Geek Girl and Friends focused on the announcement that Alan Scott, the first Green Lantern, would be gay in the New 52 comic series.

At the time, I thought it was a ploy by DC Comics to make money off the LGBTQ+ community. It’s a thought that I still have to an extent. While Alan Scott has been a strong character, I felt that the reveal that Scott is gay, when in the main universe he has a wife, was wrong. I felt it would’ve been better to have a new Green Lantern come out from the beginning, so all the pieces on that Green Lantern would be consistent. It’s a general problem I have with New 52.

I also hoped that there would be a wave of new characters living more diverse lifestyles, especially transgender characters.

And, yes, I am aware of SheZow, but I’m discussing comic books right now. SheZow will be tackled once I can find more episodes of the show.

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