Falling in Love with Jonesy

(via cbr)

It was really only a matter of time before I picked up Jonesy. It’s got an eye-catching art style, it’s received lots of love, and if that wasn’t enough, artist Caitlin Rose Boyle is a resident of my hometown of Pittsburgh. That said, before getting the first trade, I didn’t actually know what the story was about. It was actually fun, though, to be able to go into a book basically cold and be surprised by what took place. In this case, what took place was an inclusive and diverse magical realist take on a typical high-school slice-of-life story.

Spoilers after the jump!

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Cute Demon Crashers Set to Return with Cute, Comfy and Consensual Queer Content

Cute Demon Crashers start menu

Screencap of Cute Demon Crashers’s main menu (once you’ve completed all the routes… which I did, because I love)

I don’t normally seek out erotic visual novels, but if I did, I doubt I’d leap to describe them as “delightful”. But Sugarscript’s Cute Demon Crashers proved the exception in both of these, by not only getting me to play a sexy dating sim but leaving me with a warm fuzzy feeling that (you’d think) would be uncharacteristic of the genre. If you look at the creators’ mission statement, though, you’ll realize that was the point:

In our team, we felt there was a need of consent and safe spaces in 18+ VNs for women, and NaNoRenO 2015 was the perfect excuse to make a game to fit those needs!

Consent and comfort is a massive, integral part of Cute Demon Crashers. College student Claire (who the player can rename) accidentally summons three incubi and one succubus who sense that she’s lonely, and over the course of the game she can bond with them and learn about them, and, if she wants to, pick one to have sex with that night. Whichever adorable sexy demon she picks, the ensuing sex scene is sweet, gentle, sometimes funny, and each demon is lovely in their own unique way. Because consent is an integral part of the development team’s mission, it’s an integral part of the gameplay: plenty of options pop up throughout the scene, with Claire’s lovers asking her if she wants to do this, or that, or stop. And indeed, a big stop button is available in the corner of the screen at all times. If you hit the button or want to back down, the demons never make Claire feel bad about it, and they do everything they can to make sure she’s physically and emotionally comfortable throughout the whole process.

There are no bad ends in this visual novel. It’s entirely about having a good time and exploring sexuality in a fun, safe, and comfortable way, with the magical love demon aspect managing to be adorable rather than skeevy like it could be. The whole game was a delightful and fun experience, which is why I’m super excited that Sugarscript has announced that they’re working on a “Side B” sequel/spinoff for the game.

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Sexualized Saturdays: Teaching Consent to Kids

Trigger warning: mentions of rape throughout.

We’ve established again and again that pop culture has issues with consent. From that horrible Jaime and Cersei sex scene that the directors insisted wasn’t rape (it was) to almost every siren-related fantasy plot ever, the one thing that’s obvious about understanding consent is apparently that no one does.

That’s kind of terrifying. It’s pretty horrible that adults just don’t get simple concepts like “no means no”, “inability to consent means no”, “the absence of a yes means no”, or “coerced consent is not consent”. And what’s worse is that, when this way of thinking lodges itself in our cultural headspace, it isn’t just adults who are on the receiving end of it. Rather, this mentality creeps its way into children’s media as well, and too often goes entirely unchallenged within that media. Kids aren’t going to go read a blog post about Snow White or Sleeping Beauty’s inability to consent while asleep after watching those movies—there needs to be some kind of message within the film (or book, or show) that shows them why it isn’t kosher. And while there’s a lot of onus on kids’ media to be didactic in some way, a lot of it still falls flat.

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Throwback Thursdays: Ella Enchanted

Ella_enchanted_(book_cover)It’s apparently a good week for reading Cinderella retellings. I only just started reading the steampunk-y Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell, but when I realized that it was Throwback Thursday, I turned to one of my long-time favorites: Ella Enchanted.

My copy of Ella Enchanted is so old that, when I turned it over to read the back cover, I realized it didn’t have a bar code—instead, in the place of where one would be was a message that this particular copy was only available for sale during in-school Scholastic book fair events. So. The likelihood that I’ve owned it since it came out in 1997 is actually pretty likely. It’s pretty well-loved by this point, and it was just as wonderful as I remembered on reread.

If you haven’t read it, beware of spoilers after the jump!

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Throwback Thursdays: Stargate SG-1

Welcome to another edition of Throwback Thursdays! I want to talk about the sci-fi show of my childhood—Stargate SG-1. The story starts as an ancient teleportation device, the Stargate, is discovered in Egypt, and Dr. Daniel Jackson, an anthropologist, joins the team lead by Col. Jack O’Neill to explore the worlds connected by the Stargates. The team is also joined by Dr. Samantha Carter, astrophysicist and member of the U.S. Air Force. On one of their expeditions they meet Teal’c, an alien slave warrior. He betrays his masters, the Goa’uld, and joins the team. The Goa’uld are a parasitic alien race pretending to be gods, and they remain the main enemies of our heroes for most of the show’s run.

Stargate_SG-1_teamAs a child, I loved this show because it was set “now” and the Stargate allowed them to travel to different planets without any tedious or scary space travel. Daniel and Sam were my favorites—as a child who would grow up to be a scientist, I related to their excitement and curiosity about learning about different planets, people, and technology. Now, as an adult, I decided to revisit my favorite series to see if it’s as good as I remember. I actually just finished watching the entire series. And, well, the result is mixed. But despite my annoyance at various offensive tropes, I still loved it, mainly because of the awesome female characters.

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Magical Mondays: Conception by Love Potion

Trigger warning for discussion of rape throughout this post.

Since the publication of the final Harry Potter book, J.K. Rowling has offered us many bits of trivia about the HP universe. Some of these are interesting and some are frustrating, but few are so problematic as what she shared about Voldemort’s inability to understand or feel love. In a Q and A hosted on The Leaky Cauldron, she said that it had its basis in his being conceived under the effects of a love potion. She said his conception was:

[A] symbolic way of showing that he came from a loveless union – but of course, everything would have changed if Merope had survived and raised him herself and loved him. The enchantment under which Tom Riddle fathered Voldemort is important because it shows coercion, and there can’t be many more prejudicial ways to enter the world than as the result of such a union.

Now, as we’ve discussed before, one of the polarizing aspects of the LovePotionBottleHarry Potter books is that they tend to use magical allegories as substitutes for real issues. Lupin’s lycanthropy is used as an allegory for AIDS, for example, and racism based on skin color was replaced by racism based on percentage of Wizarding blood. And as I have pointed out before, love potions are essentially magical date rape drugs.

Are you seeing why I’m uncomfortable yet?

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No Really, Trust Me: Pan’s Review of Loki: Agent of Asgard #4

It’s that time of the month again, friends: time to be irritated, aroused, and emotionally compromised. By which I mean it’s time for Agent of Asgard.

When last we left our dashing not-hero, he was in possession of a magical sword that didn’t belong to him and his evil adult self was gallivanting through Asgard’s past, shooting fish with bazookas and otherwise messing junk up. The consequences of Old Man Loki’s prying and meddling are yet to be revealed, but the consequence of stealing Sigurd’s sword is pretty straightforward: a pissed-off Sigurd. Thereby follows the plot of Agent of Asgard #4, wherein Sigurd climbs many vertical surfaces, Loki wears tight pants and has ulterior motives, and Verity has had just about enough of all this.

*aspirates heavily*

*aspirates heavily*

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