After revisiting the adorable Doctor Strange of the Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur comic last week, I found myself craving more Strange stuff. And while I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to bring myself to watch the MCU movie, I do own a few trades’ worth of Doctor Strange comics. I remembered enjoying them well enough when I first read them, so I figured the time was nigh to revisit one and see if older, woker Saika still thought they were any good. And that’s how I ended up rereading the 2007 comic Doctor Strange: The Oath, by Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin. Turns out, while it’s a good standalone story to read if you’re interested in the good Doctor, it’s also full of some tired tropes and isms.
First, dear readers, a confession: I never read the Batgirl of Burnside comics, more out of a disinterest in Batgirl as a character and DC’s New 52 as a whole than out of any particular feeling for the aesthetic or storytelling. I bring this up because the creative team from that Batgirl comic (comprised of Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, and Babs Tarr) has found a new home in Motor Crush, an indie comic with a cyberpunk feel that focuses on a motorcycle street racer with a strange problem and everything to lose. It’s my first outing with this particular trio of creators, and I’m mostly having a fun ride of it (that’s a pun, folks) so far.
Spoilers after the jump!
Cheers, love! The cavalry’s queer!
If you haven’t already heard, Blizzard Entertainment revealed to the world last month in their holiday comic Reflections that Lena “Tracer” Oxton, the mascot character for its acclaimed multiplayer game Overwatch, was a lesbian. Given how omnipresent she is in the game’s marketing, it was awesome to see this first step for queer representation within the game’s universe.
Within the statement that followed the comic’s release, in which they clarified that Tracer’s particular flavor of LGBTQ-ness was the L, Blizzard also confirmed that Tracer would not be the only character in Overwatch who identified somewhere within the alphabet soup of non-hetero sexualities. This, of course, led to immediate speculation about who else in Overwatch was queer.
In these discussions, Aleksandra “Zarya” Zaryanova is a frequently heard name. Indeed, Zarya’s bulky build, pink hair, and overall aesthetic seem to fit the common idea of what a butch lesbian looks like. That, however, is exactly where the discussion becomes tricky.
Lost Girl may not be the greatest show out there, but it had quite a lot going for it with the intricate urban fantasy world of Fae and lovable characters, quite a few of whom are LGBTQ+, B in particular. The representation wasn’t without its problems, of course, as in any other show, but over the course of it, we were introduced to Bo, Vex, Tamsin, and Mark, all of whom are bisexual main/recurring characters with compelling character arcs, including the female protagonist. And, sadly, you hardly ever see this much bi (or even generally queer) representation in fiction that’s not specifically LGBTQ-themed.
Spoilers for the concluded series below.
There’s something about December that makes me reflect on life. As I spend holiday time with family and the new year rolls around, I wonder just how much I’ve changed. Am I any wiser? Have I done anything to make my life better for myself, or anyone else? Am I okay with the way my life is now?
Recently I re-read the graphic novel Lost At Sea by Bryan Lee O’Malley, and I took a moment to appreciate the kind of coming of age story it is. It doesn’t play the main character as some naive person going on some glorious quest to save the world. Instead, it shows a young woman coming to grips with her life. She’s hit a point
where she questions what makes her happy, and how that’s changed in the present. It goes over the kind of thoughts people have growing up but never really talk about, because they’re either considered awkward or embarrassing. This comic encourages people to be open about their emotions and doesn’t color it as purely a feminine problem. It shows that everyone has these thoughts, whether they be as simple as “I’m getting old” to an existential crisis.
Spoilers after the jump! Continue reading
This past week I discovered a new level of procrastination that I had never felt before. Yesterday was my last day of class—after ten years of college—and at eleven the night beforehand, I still had two projects to finish, including my final. Naturally, instead of working my ass off, like I should have, I found a fan comic. I then read this comic—all 873 pages—in one go. I found myself so enraptured by the story and my lack of willpower to do anything else that it wasn’t until ten in the morning the next day that I realized “fuck! I have homework!”
Everything worked out for the best, though. I got an extension until Monday.
But seriously, after being a full-time student with two jobs and an internship, Dragon Ball Multiverse was exactly what I needed to help me get away for a few hours. It might be a fan comic—which is never as good as the actual thing—but if I hadn’t known that before going into the story, I would have thought otherwise. Dragon Ball Multiverse is thought out, true to the characters and to the original art style, and it keeps up with the original theme of the original narrative. That is, it has lots of fighting, explosions, and an abundance of Super Saiyans.
Yeah, I was hooked.
I don’t know how I feel about the season finale. I’ve got mixed feelings not only about the resolution in general, but also about the last ten minutes of the episode that set up next season. Welp, let’s get on with this. In this episode, Stiles is possessed by a spirit who just wants to play Go and teaches Stiles how to play, which inevitably gets them into all kinds of shenanigans. Wait, wait, sorry, no, I’m thinking of Hikaru no Go. Wrong show.
Spoilers below the cut.
Last week, I talked about “The Warriors Teen”, the first section in Son of Asgard, a twelve-issue story about Thor’s youth by Akira Yoshida and Greg Tocchini. In some ways, I like “Enchanted” more than I like “The Warriors Teen”, but in other ways, I find “Enchanted” very problematic. It does have a lot of positives; for starters, it really delves into the issues Sif faces as a female warrior in a male-dominated world, but unfortunately, the story falls into many sexist and stereotypical traps along the way.
Spoilers ahead, and a trigger warning for sexual assault.
When I get a break and can sit down and actually enjoy myself on Tumblr, I often find myself getting angry at many of the things that are posted and reblogged in my fandoms. There are many things that piss me off, but recently it’s been the extreme gender roles and sexism against certain male characters. That’s right—the feminist is going to talk about sexism against men.
I have always believed that sexism affects men as much as women, but in very different ways. Men, just like women, are forced into gender roles and societal expectations that they don’t necessarily want. When teaching feminist theology to my college students, I tried to point out to the men (because I always felt no one else was) that they should be just as insulted by sexism and gender roles as the women. After classes, many of my male students approached me to say that they were angry about the gender roles men were placed into. They felt they had to always be tough—not necessarily physically strong, but that they always had to act macho and unaffected by everything. They felt threatened and uncomfortable by ideas that claimed men couldn’t be loving or nurturing as fathers; that they shouldn’t say anything about it if they felt (or were) sick. They felt pressured to avoid asking for help or working toward peaceful compromises, but rather, felt that they must always be the aggressive loner who does his own thing. These are all roles that greatly influence men’s lives today.
So what does this have to do with fandoms? Well, masculine gender roles often results in stereotyped male characters like Dean Winchester, Batman, Derek Hale, and Wolverine, whom fandoms love and think are awesome. Now, granted, many of the characters I just listed have a lot of depth. Dean, for example, really grows and develops as a character (at least in the first five seasons), so it’s not that I think these characters are necessarily negative stereotypes. What bothers me is how fandom reacts to other male characters that don’t fit the typical male stereotype.
For this post I’m going to talk about the three male characters I see picked on the most by fans: Sam Winchester, Superman, and Scott McCall. I always said these three characters need to sit down and get a drink together because it really makes no sense that the fandom hates them as much as they seem to. Of course, none of this means that the entire fandom hates a certain character, but that enough people hate a character that the rest of the fandom starts to notice it and see it as a problem. (I really should point out that characters like Superman, Sam Winchester, and Scott McCall are also male stereotypes of a different sort, but that is a post for another time.) For now, let’s look at why these characters are so hated.
It’s that time again—when the Doctor Who fandom explodes with theories and arguments over who will be the next actor to play Doctor Who’s titular role. Many people, including our own Lady Saika, have called for an injection of diversity into the role. I tend to agree; I’ve thrown my hat into the Idris Elba fangirl ring. One of the more contentious issues in the fandom is whether or not to cast a woman for the role. BBC has stated that they aren’t ruling out the possibility of a female Doctor. Some argue that the show needs to cast a woman as proof that we’ve moved beyond sexist stereotypes, that the Doctor’s reference to the multi-gendered regenerations of the Corsair (another Time Lord, long dead) in “The Doctor’s Wife” is proof enough that Time Lords can regenerate into Time Ladies. Some argue that the question is moot, that it shouldn’t matter whether a man or woman is cast, it should go to the actor with the best audition. I’m going to argue that the Doctor should remain a man.
Wait! Don’t go! Most of the arguments for why the Doctor should remain a man are pretty weak, if not sexist. They usually boil down to “It’s always been that way!” or “The Doctor is a man!” or “Women are companions, why do they need to be the Doctor too?” But I think I’ve stumbled upon an argument for why the Doctor should retain his maleness, rooted in feminist theology.