Featured Post

Book Review: Wolfpack by Abby Wambach

Showing posts with label comics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label comics. Show all posts

14 March 2017

Review: America Issue 1


America Chavez, aka Miss America, finally has her own stand alone series and if you missed the news I wouldn't be surprised. While America's arrival has been a hit especially in the feminist and LGBT media, if you went to Marvel.com and tried to find any news, you'd find yourself on a character page that doesn't have an icon yet.

Maybe this reflects a hesitancy to fully embrace this bad ass queer Latina superhero? In the first issue we get to meet America as she kicks ass, kisses her girlfriend, punches Hitler, and has a horrible first day at college. I legit cried when I saw that she is attending Sotomayor University. I mean, THIS COMIC!!

Go ahead and click on this section of the map to read the motto of S.U. I need a hoodie from this school.

Why should you pick up a copy?

Because it is a moral imperative. America is part of the growing Marvel universe that looks like the world. She also looks and acts like a young Latina ready to be on her own, complete with the swagger and attitude of a young person. Alas, keeping with the trope that one must rise above without parents, America has lost her mothers. Marvel is working on representation in relation to our superhero and her creators and it matters, so buy a copy.

Outside of supporting representative media, it is a great first issue. While I am a comics reader and have been consuming a lot of Marvel since Thor was reborn as a woman in 2014, I am not super familiar with America's backstory. Which can be good when a comic is relaunched like this. There is enough backstory and current story that left me wanting more. Plus America reminds me of so many of my Latinx friends that I can not wait to see what she does next.

Go buy a copy from your local comic book store or buy a digital copy from Marvel.

Disclaimer: I bought my own copy and get no kick back for telling you to buy this comic.

14 March 2016

Book Buzz: Investigating Lois Lane: The Turbulent History of the Daily Planet's Ace Reporter

Investigating Lois Lane: The Turbulent History of the Daily Planet's Ace Reporter by Tim Hanley is an intriguing look into a character most people consider a sidekick. As someone who has never read any of the Superman comics, my grasp of the mythology is based on the 1980s movies with Margot Kidder as Lois. I always loved her spunk. While I am far from finished with this book, it is already shedding light on not just the origins of Lois, but what the comics industry was like in the 1930s and 1940s.

What I have found the most fun about this book is that it is arranged so each chapter starts with discussing Lois Lane, the character. The subchapter is then focused on the stories of real life people who brought Lois to life.

I'm posting this as a Book Buzz in order to alert Chicagoans that Tim Hanley will be at Women and Children First this Wednesday at 7:30 PM for an all-star panel discussion with Lauren Burke, Caitlin Rosber, Katie Schenkel and my friend Anne Elizabeth Moore. See you there!

Please purchase your own copy of Investigating Lois Lane from Powells or Indiebound and support Viva la Feminista.  

Disclaimer: I received a review copy from a publicist.    

20 November 2015

Thor is the new face of breast cancer

It has been just over a year since the world was introduced to a new Thor...the woman who now wields the hammer. Earlier this year we found out that the new Thor is none other than Dr. Jane Foster. Added to this story line is the fact that Jane has breast cancer. When we catch up with Jane in The Mighty Thor she is in the middle of a chemo treatment.

The image of Jane at her treatment was a punch in the gut. I have far too many friends enduring that same routine. Another one was just added to that list. #FuckCancer can't be said enough. There is something about the images of Jane in the room with others receiving treatment that is just shocking. I am not sure what I thought the room actually looked like, but having never been in one, it was enlightening.

We see Jane go from dying cancer patient to unstoppable superhero. In a previous series we know that Jane will not accept magical cures. Chemo is her best chance to beat cancer's ass. There is a twist that I won't reveal here that puts Jane's ability to kick cancer's ass in jeopardy.

I really hope that we don't get an all pink issue of The Mighty Thor to mark this battle. The pinkification of breast cancer awareness is overdone. As one of my friends with breast cancer ranted during October, we are well aware of breast cancer. Buying pink things will not get us closer to a cure or prevention. But this issue is not full of pink. Rather I feel that this issue has given me one of the starkest views of breast cancer treatment that I have ever seen.

As I wrote yesterday, I moved to digital comics, so feel free to download the issue and read yourself. I would really love to hear from those who have fought or continue to fight breast cancer. Or perhaps it may be too triggering. One thing I know, we have a new face of breast cancer and she's gonna kick its ass.


I am trying to raise $1,000 for Bitch Media by December 31st. Please consider supporting this almost-20-year-old independent feminist media organization by:
  1. Simply donating $10 or $100.Whatever you can give will help!
  2. Subscribe! Right now subscriptions are 20% off AND you get a geeky pencil set.
  3. Gift a subscription! Perfect for your favorite feminist pop culture junkie!
  4. Join me in being a sustaining member of Bitch Media by giving a small amount every month.

19 November 2015

I think I'm going digital


The past year has seen me purchase a lot of comic books featuring kick ass women. All Hail, Kamala! I love wandering into either the shop near my office or up the street from my favorite bookstore and seeing what is new. But now that I have a few must-reads on my list, I am thinking of going digital. While I don't think I could ever go digital for full-length books, but I have been reading Buffy digitally, currently on my phone, for almost the entire series. I really love how comics move on e-devices.

But when it comes to the pile of comics that I have at home, I think I need to go digital. At least for my Marvel titles. Maybe I can stick to the hard copies for the indie titles.

I'm a collector, so I hate the idea of having part of a collection in hand which is easy to share, while the other part digital.

I'm just being a total dork, right?

Well here goes nothing...


I am trying to raise $1,000 for Bitch Media by December 31st. Please consider supporting this almost-20-year-old independent feminist media organization by:
  1. Simply donating $10 or $100.Whatever you can give will help!
  2. Subscribe! Right now subscriptions are 20% off AND you get a geeky pencil set.
  3. Gift a subscription! Perfect for your favorite feminist pop culture junkie!
  4. Join me in being a sustaining member of Bitch Media by giving a small amount every month.

09 October 2015

Thoughts on DC Super Hero Girls


The sexualized depiction of female superheroes has always been a point of contention about anointing Wonder Woman or Xena as feminist icons. The male-gazed bodies out weigh the feminist messages for some. As one friend’s daughter asked, “How can Wonder Woman save people in her underwear?” A meme that continues to pop up in my Facebook feed has Wonder Woman announcing that if she doesn’t get pants, no one gets pants.

So when I found out that Mattel was being tasked with creating the action figures for DC’s Super Hero Girls project, I was skeptical. How could the company that brought us “I hate math” Barbie (No, I’ll never let them forget that one!) create anything but a Batgirl who looks more in need of a sandwich than one who can bust down a door? Well one quick trip to Mattel HQ and I was proven wrong.

As a disclaimer upfront, I was a gender and body image expert brought into review the line and offer my point of view. I was paid for my time including travel and hotel. I did NOT leave Mattel HQ with a suitcase of swag.

It was a full day meeting with reps from Mattel, DC and others involved in the launch of this new universe. I heard of their market research including that they found no gender difference in superhero worship. Girls like ‘em as much as boys do. Surprise! Surprise! Not. There were differences though and the one I was struck by was how kids want the superhero to save the day. Boys are much more likely to want the bad guy to die or be locked up, while girls want the superhero to talk some sense in the villain and convert them into a hero. With me at the table were, as Bloomberg put it, "half a dozen of [Mattel's] biggest critics: a collection of feminists, bloggers, and academics." I really expected to go into that room and spend all day lecturing on gender, body image and put my two Gender & Women's Studies degrees to more use in 6 hours than in the last 20 years.

Instead I was blown away by most of what I heard and saw. While I did critique some of their research - pointing out that girls are just as guilty as aggression as boys, but they don't hit as often - and the toy mock ups, overall I liked what I saw.

The first thing we got a sneak peek of was the cartoon series. The show's premise is that the DC superheroes are now all teens and in high school together. Wonder Woman does not show up right away. Rather Bumblebee and Harley Quinn are the superheroes already at the school. The cartoon's intro is embedded below. I know, I know, locating all the superheroes, except Batman, in high school is not canon, but hell, after the new 52, what is canon anymore! It's a cartoon and it looks fun. "DC has major plans to put Super Hero Girls everywhere kids are. It will have dedicated Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts, there are plans for TV specials and direct-to-video projects, plus girls will be able to read the characters’ continuing adventures in a Random House middle-grade novel series and in DC graphic novels."

Next we saw the toys. I was really nervous because I could see all the early concept drawings and I was in a room full of Monster High dolls. Would I be able to remember all the things I was sure would be wrong with these dolls? Then the reveal.

I think the last time I examined something so closely was when I made sure that second pink line was an actual line. The action figures stand on their own. Christine Kim, the lead designer, said she made sure that the dolls could stand on their own. After a false start on the dolls, she told her team to use photos of athletes and dancers as models. This is why these dolls have muscle tone. Sure the legs are longer than this short lady would want, but I was told it's about the fact the dolls have a lot of joints so they can be posed in many different positions. And the photos here are of the smaller actions figures, there will be larger dolls that are even better in terms of body size.

This line should blow up in popularity. Those of us who grew up on Linda Carter's Wonder Woman will want this doll. And we will buy another for the young people in our lives. As the Mary Sue points out, this is an entire line of superheroes created just for girls. But as we stressed in the meeting, it should be a line for both girls and boys. There are boys at the high school and the action figures are large enough to fit with other action figure lines. Marketing this line as gender neutral as possible was one of our big pleas. Alas while Target has removed gendered aisles, that's just one store. Will boys be brave enough to walk over to the girls' aisle in Wal-Mart to grab a Batgirl?

Hopefully they will. I want to go back to the research finding about how boys expect the villains to
die or be jailed while the girls expect the hero to help turn the villain around. We saw a clip from the cartoon where Harley Quinn is so excited to have Wonder Woman as a roomie that Wonder Woman is annoyed to death. We've all been there right? We pull back and the annoying friend walks away. I've also been that annoying friend and it feels terrible. Wonder Woman realizes that Harley is just excited and goes over to hang out with her. It was a sweet moment. And while not all depictions of superheroes shows the villain getting killed, they rarely turn the villain into a superhero. Maybe, just maybe this cartoon will give boys an image that not all "bad guys" are bad, but are people who do bad things. I know, it's a lot to expect from a cartoon and a plastic doll.

But wait, that's not all. We will not only be getting cartoons and action figures, but we are getting accessories! Yup, one of the accessories we are getting is a Wonder Woman shield that shoots out little discs. Oh, my dear readers, it took the threat of sure arrest that I did not walk out of that room with my own Wonder Woman shield. I seriously teared up when I held it. It is exactly the type of toy I would have begged my parents for when I was a kid. It shall be the only thing on my wish list until it is mine. Oh, hell, who am I kidding? I'm gonna be at Target the day they hit the shelves.

This universe is not perfect. In fact what we saw were mock ups. Things can and will most likely change before we can get our hands on them. The show will run and something offensive will be in it. Mattel and/or DC will screw something up. But I did not go into that room looking for perfection. What I found were a lot of people who appeared to want to do the right thing. Change is incremental and I saw a lot of incremental changes and then some. Muscles on a doll is a world away from the unrealistic Barbie and Monster High dolls. Girls and boys will play with these toys, watch the cartoons and, hopefully, color in the coloring books with a more realistic view of what bodies look like.

As the header on this post shows, my family is a family that does superheroes. We go to the movies, wear the costumes and watch the shows. I love superheroes which is why I have been such a critic of how they not only depict women, but been so pissed when women superheroes vanish when it comes to merchandise. In my Bitch piece about Wonder Woman I express fear of what that movie will look like. I do not trust Hollywood to do her justice. But this cartoon and the action figure I held, those should do her justice. That is if someone higher up doesn't screw this up.

15 April 2015

Review: Bitch Planet #1, #2 & #3

If you were to judge "Bitch Planet" by its back cover, you would expect a barrel of feminist camp awaiting you. The back cover of the first two issues are a play off 1950s comic book ads for x-ray glasses and hypnotizing tools, this time the glasses see through men's intentions and you hypnotize women away from being perfect...to allow you to take the top slot! I do want to conceal $3.00 in an envelope for a new signature.

But once inside, the world of "Bitch Planet" will take your breath away. The premise is that in the near future humans have found a planet to exile problematic women at an auxiliary compliance outpost, aka Bitch Planet. It is clearly run by a cadre of men who take joy in seeing non-compliant women punished into submission. But with a tip of the hat to Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale," the women are greeted and interrogated by virtual women who look like Faye Dunaway in a Xena costume and even some women in riot gear.

The first issue showcases how easy it can be for men to call the compliance police on bitchy wives and how easily mistakes can be made. Without spoiling this issue, we do see the classic middle-aged, middle-class white woman in peril. We also encounter the Foxy Brown Black woman who is not going gentle into that good night. By the second issue we also are knee-deep in the well-worn framing of a penal colony that is so remote that human rights no longer exist and riots are such a common occurrence that they happen at the peripheral of the comic's frames. Every third issue of the series will be a special guest artist issue and will dive into one character. We find out what led to Penny Rolle being sent to Bitch Planet. Her whole mystery is not revealed, but enough that it is another punch in the gut. Her name makes me wonder and hope that it is a tip of the hat to Penny and Ester Rolle from "Good Times." Because I LOVED THAT SHOW as a kid.


Here is where I admit that I completely missed the chatter that built up this comic series. And if you did too, you might get to the end of the first issue thinking, "Why the hell did I buy the second issue? What kind of blaxpotation is this? Is this good? Um, what happens next?" After that dizzying moment you look at the next page and realize that Danielle Henderson, the genius behind "Feminist Ryan Gosling," was instrumental in the development of "Bitch Planet." WHEW!

OK, so yes, there is a chance that an amazing Black feminist theorist can have a hand in a problematic project. BUT...Danielle's past work gave me the faith to keep reading to the second issue. But that's not all. The first issue includes a call to arms from Danielle in which she asks us if we are compliant. It addresses many of the challenges feminist movements are facing at a time when we have women leaders and role models, but patriarchy is just under the surface of our lives. Or so disguised that it seems under the surface. Danielle asks if we are scratching that surface and challenges us to keep it up. So I'm gonna keep reading. And you should start.

Like now. Really.

29 March 2015

Review: I've got a bad feeling about Princess Leia's comic book series

When I learned that Princess Leia was getting a comic book series, it made sense. Women-led comic books are all the rage, especially given the ass kicking that "Thor (2014)" has been doing in sales. But after two issues, I am quite disappointed. "Princess Leia" picks up at the end of the "A New Hope" when Leia presents Luke & Han with medals.

SPOILERS BELOW....

The issue that Leia must contend with in this series is what to do after the destruction of Alderaan. Not just personally, but as the Princess of Alderaan. And here's where I feel the plot goes off track...The idea that the Empire is going to hunt down any remaining citizens of Alderaan is believable. I get that. But what I do not get is that Leia is portrayed as not just impulsive, which she is, but dumb impulsive. She was bad ass. See video I found on YouTube below...Go on, watch...



The first two issues paint Leia as too trusting and far more Princess Vespa than Leia.

Now her mission is to find all of Alderaan's orphans and preserve its culture. I hope this is more Indiana Jones than anything else. But I fear for the worst.

This is disappointing because for one thing, this is supposed to be a mini-series. We have little time to allow for Leia to act like as immature as she does. And we must remember this bridges "A New Hope" with "Empire" where Leia is clearly climbing in leadership status. Perhaps this series is part of a learning curve that helps ANH Leia evolve into ESB Leia? I am confused folks! I want bad ass Leia, not a princess that clearly needs to be saved and grounded.

Are you reading the series too? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @veronicaeye.

13 February 2015

Catching up with Thor, Wonder Woman and Ms. Marvel (Spoilers)


The last time you checked in on your blogging goddess, she had finished the first issue of the new Thor, the first two issues of Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman and a bunch of the new Ms. Marvel. Today she picked up the latest issues bringing us up to Thor #5, Ms. Marvel #11, and SCF Wonder Woman #6. And how are they?

SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!

THOR: We are still learning about the new Thor. The mystery woman is still hiding behind the mask, but we do learn that she cares about the original Thor. When he comes back from the dead (you knew he wasn't really dead!), she is relived. And while he fights her for his hammer (the source of the super powers & the name "Thor" she now possesses.), he eventually realizes that she truly is worthy of being called Thor. There's a fight scene in one isses where Thor meets up with a bad guy who teases her about being a feminist.

LOVE THIS.

And so far your comics-obsessed blogger is loving "Thor." There are moments when the comic deals head on that Thor is now a woman. Then there are moments when it is just about Thor fighting bad guys. The original Thor is on the hunt for who new Thor use to be, so that will be a fun adventure as his first two attempts were. "Thor" is highly recommended. This little girl would agree. 

SCF Wonder Woman continues to explore the mythology of Princess Diana in short stories. For the most part it's pretty awesome. The art work in the first story of the current issue is a little iffy as it meanders into objectification and stereotypical drawings of women characters. But the stories are both solid. Both deal with Wonder Woman's continuing attempt to solve issues in a peaceful manner.

Last up is Ms. Marvel. Kamala, oh how this character continues to grow as she figures out her place in the world and in her role of superhero. Maybe it is because she is a teen that these stories are more emotional. Her first 'big bad' threw everything at her. Since she is still discovering all her powers and limitations, she continues to get herself in tough spots. And this causes your stomach to drop! Even if you know she'll find a way out. The anticipation is amazing. She is not only representing for young women and Muslims, but also for her generation as you can see from the snap shot I took. She is standing against the stereotype of the tuned out Millennial.

And what did your comic reviewer see at the end of two of these comic books? An ad for a Princess Leia series. Add to this the upcoming all-lady Avengers and you may need to send money fast!

22 October 2014

Review: Ms. Marvel, Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman and Thor

I can't tell if my new habit of buying and reading comic books is a symptom of a midlife crisis (reminder, I turn 40 in December, send cupcakes & Southwest points!) or a reaction to all the awesome woman-led comics on the market. Let's go with the latter. I say that because 2014 has to be the year of the woman superhero in comics. While I am not a regular comic book reader, I do try to keep my ear open for news like this. So let's do this:

Ms. Marvel: Launched in February 2014, this is the story of a teenage Muslim girl who obtains the powers and title of Ms. Marvel. Kamala Khan lives in Jersey, has overprotective parents and thus has a very strict curfew. I'm currently on issue #9 and continue to fall further in love with this character. Kamala is super bad ass because she has so much to fight against. Not only in terms of the mysterious bird-man genius who keeps testing her intelligence and strength, but well, her parents and the expectations they have of her. I was a hesitant to like "Ms. Marvel" at first because when Kamala turned into Ms. Marvel, she was the stereotypical Ms. Marvel - blonde, leggy and buxom. But once Kamala learns to have some control of her powers, she remains Kamala but dressed as Ms. Marvel. Because she is still in high school, it has some Buffy-ness to her. There are moments she just wants to be a normal girl, but for the most part she embraces it.

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman: Launched in August 2014, this series is a collection of "non-continuity stories by an ever-changing roster of creators," so no need to worry about jumping on this late. There are only two out so far, but I am enjoying posting snippets of the issues on Instagram.

In these two issues, Wonder Woman has reclaimed her crown as the feminist superhero. In issue one she comes to the rescue of a fanboy who is teased for liking "girl stuff." Issue two features an origin story with a young Diana being tasked with upholding justice.

The nifty aspect of this series is not just that writers get to put Wonder Woman in any scenario without having to worry about continuity, but that it is a digital-first series, so by the time I get a copy of the issue at my work-neighborhood store, it's already been online for some time.While I enjoy reading "Buffy" as a digital comic and I swear that comics and magazines are why tablets were created, I'm sticking with the hard copies. And yes, it is with the hope that Ella will find them, pick them up and enjoy them as I have.

Last in this ladies of comics round-up is Thor, the new girl on the stand. There's only one issue out and it is all about how the original Thor dies. Sorry for the spoiler but this is how we get to have a new Thor. There's also some hint that a larger power is in on the end of oldThor and the rise of newThor. The guy at the comic book store said that the people in charge of Thor (2014) are fabulous and to fasten our seat belts for an amazing ride. Despite referring to Thor (2014) as "girl Thor," I'm gonna trust him on this. Just because any comic this as a variant cover has to be good. And I can't wait to dive in to see what Thor has in store for her enemies.

23 March 2011

Feminist Parenting: Searching for a Superhero

This post is part of the WAM! It Yourself Blogathon! WAM! It Yourself is a multi-city decentralized conference on gender and media run by Women, Action & the Media. Events are taking place in seven cities and online from March 20th to March 27th. Check out the full schedule of events here!

I hiked down to McCormick Place to attend the second annual Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo on Saturday. I was able to attend by requesting a press pass. I'm not writing this because it was a condition of the pass though. OK, disclaimer out of the way. How did it go?

It was fun. I could only attend for a few hours, but it was fun to sit and watch all the fans walking around. The families passing on their love of comics & comic-related entertainment to the kids. The geek couples dressed up and holding hands. The groups who dressed up in themes or didn't dress up at all. But the group that drew me in the most were the dads walking around with their daughters. 

After my pass was in hand, I headed to the expo floor to make a bee line to Dark Horse, the home of Buffy Season 8...and soon Season 9. I was disappointed at the lack of Buffy stuff, but I did get to spot a mock-up of the Buffy lunchbox, to be released in the summer, which may find a home in my kitchen. I did get to play with Dark Horse's app, which is freaking awesome. Alas, no eReader of any kind in my hands, so I'll leave the awesomeness to others. 

Then I ran to the theater to catch a discussion on "The Walking Dead" and after that a panel on "Dollhouse." It was fun to hear from the actors. The funniest parts were when the actors realized that there were kids in the audience. This usually was preceded by an actor swearing (Jon Bernthal) or describing something in a sexual manner (Eliza Dushku, "I'm so going to hell..."). 

So I offer these suggestions:

* Parents: If you are going to a comic book convention or such, please remember that there will be adult language and most likely adults dressed up in costumes not suitable for children's eyes. Some ladies like to wear corsets and fishnet stockings. Some guys do too. 

* Actors and others we pay money to gawk at: As much as you might think, "Oh, my work is too violent for a 5-year-old!" There's a 5-year-old in the audience because her mom thought it was ok to watch your movie or because his dad loves your work so much, the kid is playing on the floor. 

*Somewhere in there is a nice middle where we can be comic geeks and parents all at the same time.  

As the mom of a girl (who was not with me, she had prior commitments) I did keep an eye out for kid-friendly and especially girl-friendly comics. I found a few that I'll check out, but no real stand outs. Then I saw a few more dads walk past me with their young daughters. "What is he thinking?" So I asked. 

I walked up to a man who had two young girls in tow. "Are you the dad of these young women?" "Yes, I am." I introduced myself and asked him what he thought of comic books and the comic industry having two types of women characters, (ditzy) girlfriend or sexy hero. "They were just talking about that! Girls, you were just talking about this." He introduced me to his daughters who were about 10. Sorry, I was short on time and didn't ask vitals. They went on and on about how they were in search of a superhero. One of the girls had chosen Poison Ivy ("She's evil!"), but wanted another woman character to love. Her sister was hesitant about Poison Ivy, so was far more eager to identify a woman comic book character (didn't even have to be a hero) who was smart and wasn't "just the girlfriend." The dad also talked about the need for strong women characters for girls to read about. He was definitely disappointed about the current crop of offerings. 

If I had spent more time at the expo, I would had asked a mom with a son about what she thought comics were teaching him about women. Although, I feel like that question might feel a bit attacky if I didn't know the person. "So what do you think this busty woman is teaching your 10-year-old about women? Huh!?" 

Sunday has been kid's day and they get in free. Hopefully if the cards align properly, we'll plan a family trip to C2E2 2012 on kid's day and wander around asking parents these questions while the kid tries to find her own superhero. I really want to know more about how parents navigate this territory. Comics not only have depictions of adult bodies that are totally unrealistic, even for guys, but they are also high on violence. Are the parents who bring their kids to shows like C2E2 the "cool" parents? Or the "sketchy" parents?A little of both?

The kid knows who Buffy and Xena are. She has seen bits of Buffy, but we don't let her watch scenes that are too violent or even too "gross" looking. For example, she can't quite handle zombies right now. So vamped out vampires might not go well. While Xena is bloody and a little sexy, it's also super campy. And I want to share them with her!

Bottom line is that I just want her to have her own Buffy and Xena to obsess over. Is that really too much to ask?

Disclaimer

This blog is my personal blog and is not reflective of my employer or what I do for them.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

As Seen On