Reconstruction for White Boys—Role Models in Comics

thankshawkeyeThe toxic masculinity at the heart of nerd culture has been exposed—most noisily through Gamergate, but via plenty of other incidents as well. While sexism has been the most obvious motivator for these reactionaries, spillover into racism, homophobia, and transphobia are par for the course. At a fundamental level, this burst of nastiness is a reaction to the first real challenge to the privileged position of white men in nerd culture.

Things have degenerated into something of a civil war in nerd culture, and while it rages on, it is becoming abundantly clear that the good guys are going to win this one. I’m not so optimistic as to say that hatred and oppression will disappear, in nerd culture or anywhere else, but there is at least a growing consensus that those things are wrong, and deserving of criticism.

The doors are open, and white men no can longer dominate. But this change comes only after generations of being told that those stories are universal and vitally important. For years, white men never needed to share the stage, and the tales of others were pushed away. As we finally start to knock down the worldview that so deeply privileges one identity, it becomes imperative to reconstruct whiteness and masculinity as something new. Before, the construction of these identities was deeply rooted in claiming entitlement to a supreme position. Now, we need a construction which both rejects that entitlement and recognizes what enormous privilege remains.

Terrorist organizations, like the Ku Klux Klan, forced Reconstruction to end in the American South before its time, leading to an enormous and destructive backslide for civil rights. White men in nerd culture are now threatening or executing political violence for the same purposes. We need reconstruction to make sure they do not succeed. Comics, so long at the forefront of everything toxic about nerd masculinity and exclusivity, have taken up the call, and are finally white, male characters into new roles which fit in a diverse world. With any luck, these are not just changing stories, they’re going to be changing readers.

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All-New Hawkeye #1: Memory, Trauma, and Who Are These New People Writing My Hawkeyes?

hawkeyenumber1coverOkay, if you’re a comics fan, or a sci-fi/fantasy fan in general, you’re probably pretty comfortable with time being less of a straight line, and more a mixed-up ball of timey-wimey… stuff. That said, it probably threw you a little bit to see All-New Hawkeye launch negative six weeks after the conclusion of its predecessor, Matt Fraction’s beloved Hawkeye. Oh well; Book One’s use of flashbacks helps you take the odd ordering in stride.

In any case, the adventures of Clint & Kate are now in the hands of Jeff Lemire and Ramon Perez, under the editorial guidance of superstar Sana Amanat. Amanat—now Marvel’s Director of Content & Character Development—headed up Fraction’s Hawkeye, and her portfolio includes Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Captain Marvel, Daredevil, and of course, Marvel’s emerging flagship, Ms. Marvel herself, Kamala Khan.

shortangrymanpunchespeoplewolverinekamalaWell, then, I suppose it’s worth giving this one a chance.  

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Celebrating the “brotp”: Ten Awesome Platonic Friendships

Pretty much everyone who has read fanfiction has an OTP—a One True Pairing that they ship harder than anything else. But what about the couples that are just awesome buds, and who you like together as friends but not romantically? Well the recently coined term ‘brotp’ is there for you. And since Valentine’s Day puts and unnecessary emphasis on being in a romantic relationship, I figured I’d take this post to give a shout-out to some of the awesomest platonic friendships out there.

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So You Want to Be a Strong Empowered Female Character? The Hawkeye Initiative Can Help

Sometimes Tumblr likes to think of itself as the Internet’s bastion of social justice. Just last week Tumblr exploded with scathing critiques of an old post from “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn, which initiated both a petition to have him removed from his job and an apology from Gunn. And now the Tumblr social justice machine is at it again with their most hilarious attempt yet: the Hawkeye Initiative.

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So You Want to Read Comic Books 2.0: Hawkeye

I’ve been teetering on the edge of picking up a current comic book series for a while.  I mean, I have Sandman, and Watchmen, and a couple Marvel Essentials I picked up at Comic Con, and I’ve read the first two Runaways, but I didn’t really feel like I had properly gotten my feet wet because I hadn’t read anything with a big-name superhero(ine) in it.

I really wanted to pick up an ongoing series, but I wasn’t sure what to read. I would go into my local comic book store and awkwardly stare at the new release shelves and then buy a collection or an Adventure Time comic instead of just… asking for help.

And then I heard really great reviews of both the current Hawkeye and Captain Marvel books on Tumblr, over and over again, and I thought, “self, this is it. We are going to get these books while they’re in print and read them and open a new path in my road to ultimate geekdom.” So I grabbed my debit card, abducted my roommate to be moral support, and marched into the comic store ready to go. I talked to the guy at the counter! He was very helpful and nice! I was saddened to learn that Hawkeye #1 was out of stock and probably not getting another print run, and that Captain Marvel #1 was similarly out of stock but might be in next week. Undaunted, I put my name on a list, bought Hawkeye #2 and #3, and Captain Marvel #2-5, and marched home with my spoils.

So the friend of anyone who wants to start a series like Hawkeye but is foiled by an out of print #1 is Comixology.  This website lets you buy a digital copy of the book you want, downloadable to several mobile devices or readable on the website. They have a really cool guided reading setup that guides you through each page panel by panel rather than making you squint at the entire page on your computer screen. This is where I found Hawkeye #1. And now I get to the actual review part of this post.

The first page of Hawkeye #1 states:

Clint Barton, a.k.a. Hawkeye, became the greatest sharpshooter known to man.

He then joined the Avengers.

This is what he does when he’s not being an Avenger.

That”s all you need to know.

This was terrifically reassuring to me as a new reader. I know what a Clint Barton is. I know what a sharpshooter is. I know what an Avenger is. That was all I needed to know to understand this comic. And before I say anything else, let me say this: Go buy it right now.

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Trailer Tuesdays: Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters

Jeremy Renner is back in theaters this January, but this time not as our beloved Hawkeye, but rather as Hansel in the new movie, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.

The trailer seems exciting, action packed, and interesting enough that I will go see it. Maybe even really enjoy it, who knows? It doesn’t appear to be a very outside the box type of movie however, it seems to be the typical “spice up the fairy tale by making it darker and more action-packed” type that we have been seeing lately. That wouldn’t necessarily a bad thing, but so far most of those movies have only been okay, if not downright terrible. So if Hansel and Gretel really want to impress, they are going to have to do something different and, based on the trailer, it doesn’t seem like they’re going to.

There are a couple concerns I have about what I saw in this trailer. At one point in the trailer Hansel says something about Gretel being kidnapped. Now Gretel seems pretty capable throughout the trailer so I will be really annoyed if the movie deteriorates into damsel-in-distress type story and puts all if not most of the focus on Hawkeye Hansel.

Another comic book movie alumni will be featured in this movie: Famke Janssen who notably played Jean Grey in the X-Men movies is playing… Muriel. Well, I have no idea who that is, and the trailer doesn’t tell us, so here’s hoping she plays a cool character.

For now I reserve judgement on Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters and hope for the best.

Avengers: The Drinking Game

This does what it says on the tin. Use this as an excellent way to celebrate the release of the Avengers on blu-ray and DVD earlier this week! 😀 (Yes, I know it came out Tuesday; I was trying to be a responsible drinking mentor and postpone possible inebriation till the weekend.)

This game is possibly a little more drinking-heavy than the last one I posted, for virtue of the fact that the last one was to be played during a LotR movie marathon and the Avengers is only two and a half hours long.

Without further ado, and in no particular order, da roolz:

Before drinking, choose a character name.

Take one drink when:

  • Your character’s first or superhero name is said.
  • Clint poses.
  • Fury says a baller one-liner.
  • Natasha says ‘red in my ledger’.
  • Tony calls someone a nickname instead of their real name. (Superhero names don’t count; think “Point Break”, “Rock of Ages”, “Reindeer Games”, “Legolas.”)
  • Thor says ‘brother.’
  • Bruce calls Hulk ‘the other guy.’
  • Steve doesn’t understand modern things.
  • The Glowstick of Destiny does something. (It’s so multi-useful! It zaps! It brainwashes! It makes julienne fries!)
  • Someone says Tesseract.
  • Coulson’s an awkward fanboy.

Special rules:

  • You can try to say lines in unison with the movie, but if you fuck it up there is a three drink or one shot penalty.
  • Whenever Thor grabs Loki’s neck, drink for the duration of neck grabbing.
  • Whenever Loki monologues, drink for the duration of the monologue.
  • When Coulson ‘dies’, finish your drink. (‘Dies’ is in quotes because I refuse to accept that we’ve been Jossed and that he’s actually gone.)

Enjoy!

And remember, as always, Lady Geek Girl and Friends does not condone alcohol poisoning, underage drinking, or collaborating with Thanos to take over Midgard.