How Doomwar Could’ve Been Epic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So for the last few months I’ve been following the Black Panther storyline which led to Doomwar: an all out war between the Black Panthers, and some of Marvel’s other superheroes against Dr. Doom.

I have to say I was disappointed. Not so much because the plot was bad but because as a writer and as a fan, there were so many opportunities to make Doomwar one of the most memorable company-wide storylines ever. The fact the ball got dropped on a an event that featured characters of color as the lead protagonists doesn’t make me comfortable either.

So indulge me as I share my views on what was done wrong, what was done right, and in my opinion what should’ve happened to make Doomwar epic.

Indulge, Indulge I say!

Cass Cain Counts

Cross-posted to boost the signal.

A campaign has been launched to bring Cassandra Cain back back fulltime to the DC Comics universe and we need your help.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the character, Cassandra Cain served as the titular heroine of the first ongoing Batgirl comic book series. Of Asian descent, she is also the first non-white member of the Batman family and has remained one of the most prominent non-white superheroes, with a massive following from a wide demographic of fans.

But more than that, Cass is a groundbreaking character because her success is based primarily on the fact that she is handled with the same care and respectability that’s usually reserved for cis straight white male protagonists.

She debuted in April 2000, at #23 on the sales chart list, selling nearly 50,000 books. ( http://www.comichron.com/monthlycomicssales/2000/2000-04.html) Her title averaged around 25,000 in sales and her final issue in Feb. 2006 sold more than 26,000 copies (http://www.comichron.com/monthlycomicssales/2006/2006-02.html), which is more than the current Batgirl title is selling. In fact she’s outsold legacy characters such as Green Arrow and Aquaman.

However despite the overwhelming success that she’s brought DC, Cass has been another casualty of the ongoing trend of racefail and erasure of characters of color from the DC Universe. She was repeatedly on the receiving end of shoddy storylines, absurd mangled characterizations and was summarily dismissed and written off while less successful characters have been privileged with reboot after reboot.

There’s an online petition asking for the return of Cassandra Cain.

Why does this matter? Because exceptional characters shouldn’t be eliminated simply because they’re a minority. Why does this matter? Because women, POCs, LGBTQs, etc. deserve to be showcased and celebrated just as much as cis straight white protagonists. The truth is we desperately need more Cassandra Cains, Storms, Renee Montoyas, Black Panthers, Wiccans, Midnighters. It’s not acceptable for us to be a supporting sidekick or background dressing, it’s time for us to take center stage.

And we’re asking you to help us show DC why diversity matters and why Cass Cain Counts.

“Ash” by Malinda Lo

I’ve been busy working on my list of good books, in the fantasy genre, that contain GLBTQ characters and one of those books just stood out from the rest so it’s getting its own entry. I’m going to keep the plot spoilers to the minimum although I’ll be happy to discuss the plot in the comments.

My local supermarket has a tiny area where it sells books. The young adult section is even smaller and filled with the same old bestsellers like Twilight and Twilight 2 and Book-That-Looks-Similar-To-Twilight. One day when I walked by the book section, there on the shelves was the unthinkable; this national chain, in its very select choice of teenage books had Ash.

Now that wouldn’t be significant if you looked at the cover. It’s a shiny book that blends in with all the other young adult titles. The back cover offers no hint to the startling twist that is in the book.

“With her parents gone, Ash finds herself a servant in the house of her ruthless stepmother and there seems no hope of finding happiness again. But Ash is unaware of her mother’s legacy, and that it will lead her to a magical place. A place where love, identity and belonging are all waiting.”

They were selling a ‘lesbian retelling of Cinderella’ written by a lesbian author, to children without as much as a warning label. The last time I was in a bricks and mortar bookstore, I found the same thing. Ash was there, on one of the book displays with nothing to separate it from the rest of the young adult literature.

I find that attitude so utterly refreshing.

Great, now Cinderella’s gay too!

Fixing Frank

So since queer media has been a popular topic on this blog for the last few posts and we’ve had so many excellent discussions…and it’s obvious that Ars Marginal is the latest victim of the EVIL HO-MO-SAX-U-OWL Agenda (GAY MEDIA? OH NOES!!!!!), I thought I’d post a movie review on a gay film and follow suit, since all the other cool kids are doing it.

;D
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Neo’s Law #7: It’s not enough to be right about the argument. Your methods and motives have to be on point.

You’ll see what I mean.

So recently I caught the film adaptation of the play Fixing Frank. With it being a gay film, I feared it was going to suck. And not in the scintillating hawt man-on-man action way either. Sadly more often than not, gay media plays to the worst stereotypes and does more damage than the right-wingers could ever dream.

However in this case, I was pleasantly surprised and was glad that I was wrong. This was one of most cerebral gay films I’d seen in ages. With three of the of the most morally dubious and questionable men, what was kinda disturbing to me was that the film’s most sympathetic character was the ex-gay therapist.

Oh yes. You read that correctly.

Queervision: Passengers (2008)

First up on Queervision is Passengers (2008), a movie that somebody (probably the lead actors) paid hush money for so it will quietly disappear into the cheap section of your local video rental store. As much as I luuuuuuuuuurve You Know Who, I won’t act like this is cinematic gold, OK? But it ain’t her fault. In fact, the actors are completely blameless.

The blame lies squarely on the writer and director, who both seem to believe that cock is the answer. What happens to us after we die? Cock. What will help me overcome my fear of life? Cock. Are aliens watching us? Cock. What’s the best way for a therapist to relate to her patients? Cock. What’s the last digit of pi? Cock. What’s 2 + 2? Cock. With that cock-centric attitude, the least they could do is put some gay porn in this movie. At least that would make my internet husband Neo Prodigy happy.

But our focus here is not pointing out the fucked up gender shit going on in this movie (these two sites do that quite nicely). We’re gonna instead focus on the slivers of queerness this movie lends itself to (slivers that would have been a hell of a lot more interesting than what we got).

Why would I choose to queer this sleeper bomb instead of some of My Main Girl’s more successful (both financially and artistically) films? Because queering The Devil Wears Prada, Bride Wars (OMFG! SO FUCKING GAY!!!) and Havoc (aka Gangbanging Dykes Smoking Crack) would be too fucking easy. Even Alice in Wonderland could be queered without breaking a sweat.

Passengers is a bit tougher to crack because it has a main character who trades in her batteries for some flesh n’ blood dick and thus could possibly be straight. Not that I’m complaining, but considering that the dude has “date rape” and “domestic violence” written on giant red flags that follow him everywhere, she shoulda just gone with more Duracell and another vibrator. Or, in Queervision terms, a Feeldoe, harness, and Shannon (Clea DuVall – Remember Graham from But I’m a Cheerleader? Exactly. You see where I’m going with this).

I’m getting ahead of myself.

Queervision: Looking at cultural media through a queer lens

Queervision is going to be a subversive and transgressive look at cultural  media that (on the surface) doesn’t include LGBTQ content. As LGBTQ people can attest, most of the time we don’t see ourselves in mainstream media at all. And when we do see ourselves, it’s often – shall we say – distorted. Our sexuality is less about how and who we love and more about how we are supposed to fit into a heterosexist paradigm.

Queervision is a way to rectify that. Putting on our queer goggles and looking at films, TV shows, and other media through an LGBTQ lens, we’ll reconfigure the dominant narratives to center our ways of living and loving. This is a fancy schmancy way of saying that, as LGBTQ people, we take what we can get. And if aren’t invited to the party, we’ll crash the motherfucker.

We’re going to take the assumed cisgender and heterosexual default and turn it on its ear. This is us saying, “You might not see us, but it ain’t ‘cuz we ain’t there.” This is us saying, “You can try, but you can’t erase us.” This is us saying, “Who’s to say that character is not one of us?” This is us saying, “We ain’t making up ‘the gay’ – it’s already fucking there! And the shit would’ve been better if they had the guts to go there!”

You Can Take Your Sexy Star Wars Gear and Shove It

Every day it seems like another geek site is linking to another sexified Star Wars thing. Star Wars burlesque. Star Wars bathing suits. And today, apparently, Star Wars characters reimagined as classic pin-ups.

Now, I like sexytimes as much as the next person, and Star Wars has long been a bastion of nerdy sexytimes on account of a certain gold bikini. But let’s talk about context: that gold bikini appears when our diplomat princess has been captured trying to rescue someone else, and her punishment is to sit there in her undies choke-chained to Jabba the Hutt (who nobody can convince me is not secretly a giant penis).

And she’s pissed about all this. So the first opportunity she gets, she takes that chain and strangles her captor. Without remorse. She refuses to be passive and pretty, and the gold bikini is ditched because it just plain gets in the way. Leia is a princess, and she has one hell of a smoldering romance going with Han Solo, but there is more to her than her sexuality. Jabba’s fatal mistake is that he forgets this.

Point your lightsaber here (and get your mind outta the gutter!)