Web Crush Wednesdays: Superheroes in Full Color

As we Americans slog on toward Thanksgiving, it sometimes feels like there isn’t a whole lot to be thankful for this year, what with politics, celebrity deaths, and natural disasters coming one after the other in one big avalanche of awful. Even though Tumblr is often not great as well, I tend to use my malfunctioning blue hellscape of a dashboard as a handy mental escape, particularly this month. So today, I’d like to rec a site I’ve followed on Tumblr for a long time called Superheroes in Full Color.

webcrush picThough we often bemoan the lack of characters of color and works created by people of color in our mainstream media, the fact remains that the content we seek is likely out there somewhere, just sorely under-hyped. Our major franchises are things like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars, all universes created by white people and all of which feature few, if any, characters of color. So if you’re the type of person who wants to read a more diverse, inclusive story, where should you start looking for this type of content? Today’s web crush is going to be a handy resource for you.

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Web Crush Wednesdays: Rent-A-Minority

web crush wednesdaysBy now, it’s a pretty observable fact that the U.S. has a major problem when it comes to race and inequality. We see it through star-studded outrage, like Hollywood’s #OscarsSoWhite, or companies attempting to start a well-meaning but poorly-thought-out conversation on race, like Starbucks’s #RaceTogether. Not only does this illustrate the results of racial inequality in the U.S., it also brings light to the fact that very few organizations have people of color in positions of power, or else these might not have been issues in the first place. Looks like a lot of Americans need a handy way to seem like they’re not racists. Enter today’s web crush: Rent-A-Minority.

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Web Crush Wednesdays: Finite Incantatem

Though the last Harry Potter book was published almost ten years ago, its fandom has never died. It might have waned a little, but recently, with a play and another movie coming up, it’s come roaring back. And true to form, that means more creative fanworks from fandom. One such fanwork is an ingenious new webcomic called Finite Incantatem.

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Fanfiction Fridays: SMOF by hollimichele

But man, if you want to get anywhere in Galaxy Quest fandom, you Don’t Talk About GalaxyCon ‘99.

I’m a n00b, by Quest standards– started watching with the New Adventures, right as LJ was taking off. The funny thing is, I’m not much younger than the biggest BNFs. They just got a head start, and were fans of the old show even though they were barely born when it was airing. I hear older fans grumble about it, sometimes. They wonder how a bunch of twentysomethings ended up not only the biggest names in fandom, but in charge of the con and friendly with the cast, besides.

“That picture from Jason and Gwen’s wedding is circulating on Tumblr again,” I tell my housemate. “Did you know Brandon Wheeger was a groomsman? He was barely out of high school– how did he even manage that?”

Max rolls her eyes at me. GQ isn’t one of her main fandoms, though I’ve made her watch most of the episodes on Netflix. Still, she picks up enough secondhand to know most of the main fannish players. “You’ve got a really weird grudge against that guy, you know,” she tells me. “You need to drop it. You’re friends with Katelyn, aren’t you?”

“Mostly I just really like her fic,” I say. To be fair, she writes really, really good fic. Her Laliari is amazing, and she even makes me like Roc. “The fact that she’s part of Brandon’s weird cabal is something I’m willing to overlook.”

“It’s not a cabal,” Max reminds me. “They’re the concom, not the Illuminati.”

“The Illuminati would be less banhammer-happy,” I grumble, but I let it drop. GQ fandom, for all its weirdness, is pretty well-run by its benevolent overlords: minimal wank, maximal inclusiveness, zero tolerance of cosplayer gropers or entitled man-children. I’ve even volunteered at GalaxyCon the last few years, mostly because Katelyn comes up with really awesome programming for the fanwork track, and she knows I can be trusted to not go mad with power if she lets me sit on her panels.

And, of course, because I know that You Don’t Talk About GalaxyCon ‘99.

Remember how just yesterday I was saying that Galaxy Quest’s only real issue was its lack of inclusivity? When the Galaxy Quest crew had to go to its fans to figure out how to maneuver around their ship and save the day, Jason called Brandon and his group of white male mega-fans to help them out. It was a nod to fandom, but it was only really for the stereotypical fans, even though it was clear from the convention shown in the movie that there were fans of color and female fans in the audience. So why not let some different people be the mega-fans for once? Fortunately, there’s fanfic to help out.

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A Linkle in Time: Nintendo’s Recent Steps toward Inclusivity

The TriForce Heroes experience (via midnaslament @ tumblr)

The TriForce Heroes experience
(via midnaslament @ tumblr)

Recently my brother and I started playing TriForce Heroes, the newest installment of the Zelda series on the 3DS. While this game didn’t necessarily catch my attention from either the Nintendo Directs or E3, when I watched other people play it and saw how much fun they were having, I decided I had to pick it up despite its forced multi-player angle. However, I did also want to pick it up for one other reason: the fact that this game is the first where Link isn’t restricted to a certain type of clothes based on his gender. It’s sad to say how unique it is for a game to both allow characters to wear whatever the fuck they want with no consequence (via in-game perception) and to practically encourage it. While this is what it looked like from the outside, I couldn’t be sure until I played the game myself.  At around the same time as TriForce Heroes’s release, the Zelda fandom received another announcement that seemed to promote the message that, well, if some part of Nintendo was going to take the steps to being more inclusive in their games, it was going to be the Zelda franchise. But how effective will their efforts be? I can’t predict the future, but if anything, I think it’s a good start.

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Web Crush Wednesdays: Games Writing at Offworld

Writing about art can be a tricky subject. There are many paths to consider, such as composition, context, and creator intent. Complicating this matter is the debate between objectivism and subjectivism. Furthermore, the multitude of perspectives from which critique can be built is unfortunately underrepresented. Even if there are many varied opinions on topics, a diverse group of writers can improve the range of opinions expressed. This week’s Web Crush Wednesday, Offworld, works to add more marginalized voices to the mix in various geek and tech cultures.

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