Brain Food – Episode 12

Hello everyone, and welcome to another first for me as I discuss the anthology, Steam Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories!

This is more than simply titilation, but a collection of short stories that revolve around steampunk while also having a plethoral of interesting, fascinating characters in various stories that range from political intrigue and espionage to plain old, lovely romance, all while being seen through the lens of people that steampunk normally would not include. It was a fantastic read and the editor has, in recent months, released a second volume that I highly recommend you all seek out and buy.

Why Piracy Is Not Responsible For Ruining Entertainment

I found this brilliant piece over on Comics Alliance a few days ago and the article eloquently and succinctly broke down my feelings on why piracy is the least of the entertainment industry’s problems.

While the author is specifically discussing comic books, I think his points also apply to television, movies, music, publishing and other entertainment mediums.

One other point I would also add is that another reason why the entertainment industry continues to hemorrhage is because it blatantly ignores and denigrates marginalized audiences. Marginalized audiences who aren’t straight and white and have disposable income and is virtually an untapped market.

Despite evidence upon evidence that proves that diversity and marginalized media done with respect equals success, the powers that be would rather stick to the same business model and are essentially doing this:

Kevin Keller #3-#4

My review of issues #3 & #4 of the Kevin Keller miniseries is live over on Prism Comics:

Among the many reasons why you should check it out, I managed to quote Jay-Z, MLK, and Archie all in one review. If that doesn’t procure my rightful place in the Hall of Fame of All Things Awesome, nothing will.

 

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

- Martin Luther King Jr

I didn’t think it was possible for the storytellers behind the Kevin Keller miniseries to top the first two issues of the four part miniseries (namely issue #2), and yet, somehow, they did so with the power and fury of a 1000 suns. This is definitely one of those times where I don’t mind standing corrected.

Read more……

Brain Food – Episode 11

Hello everyone, and welcome to the first video of the new year! Apologies for this one coming out so late, but I’ve been pretty busy.

Nonetheless, I bring to you the latest episode, wherein I review the graphic novel Birth of a Nation, written by Aaron McGruder and Reginald Hudlin, and drawn by Kyle Baker.

Brain Food – Episode 11

I hope that everyone enjoys it… I even added in a small blooper reel at the end.

Open discussion: The Chosen One cliche

You read about it in books, see it in movies, and play it in video games.

In so many stories, when there’s a Huge Menace or Big Evil threatening the world, only one person who has been chosen by destiny is fated to defeat it. That person is the Chosen One.

Can I just state, for the record, that I hate the shit out of this?

Besides the fact that it’s lazy storytelling — after all, it’s a lot easier to say Destiny Said So than to give protagonists real reasons to make real choices that have an impact on the world — there’s also the fact that most of the time, the Chosen One cliche says some pretty side-eye-worthy things about the world and who matters. If the Chosen One is the only one with the ability to fight Real Evil, and this individual is more often than not male, White, straight, cisgender, middle to upper class, young (or rather not middle-aged or old), able-bodied, and has no mental illnesses, what does that say about the people who don’t fit that mold? Are they too weak? Too stupid? Evil themselves?

Let’s look at this logically even though the cliche itself makes no fucking sense. Let’s look at history. Do you know what we call people who believe they have a special destiny that they must impose upon the world for its own good? Narcissists and megalomaniacs. These are not traits that go well with things like compassion, which is one of those crucial hero type qualities.

Not to mention, when you look at the really old myths and legends, those Chosen One types tend to come from the underclass and shake up the status quo rather than preserve it. What scares the Bad Guys about people trying to change things is that they never see it coming. Because they value only power, when they look for threats, they overlook those they consider powerless. They never realize that one of these days, the people they exploit and abuse will get sick of their shit and someone will decide to do something about it.

So let’s do away with the Chosen One. Let’s leave prophecy and fate out of what makes someone a hero. What do you think are some ways we can do that?

Just In Time For MLK Day

I swear DC is making sure I don’t give them money:

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Mister Terrific? Static Shock? Cancelled!

Just in time for the national celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, Black comics fans were treated to some less-than-pleasant news this morning …

As part of the six new May books being announced today, DC Comics has also announced six cancellations, all ending on their eighth issues. Men Of War, Mister Terrific, O.M.A.C., Hawk And Dove, Blackhawks andStatic Shock …

… it is notable that two of the books, Mister Terrific and Static Shock featured a single male black lead, leaving Batwing. A modicum of self recognition is superhero titles is sometimes necessary, and it is a shame that this has been denied many now. [sic] But sales on both these titles were rather low, comparatively. Although they both will have sold tens of thousands more copies than they would have done without a DC Relaunch.

Admirable that DC grand poobah Dan DiDio allowed his own title to be cancelled, it’s also worth noting is that DC went from employing 100 percent of the Black writers in mainstream comics — Eric Wallace and Marc Bernardin — to having zero with this move. Neither Wallace nor Bernardin had a comment as of press time.

In the mean time, it’s interesting to note that we again are finding it hard to secure a place in the Direct Market environment, as the retailers who buy the books were unable to market to our demographic successfully enough for these titles to have sales figures strong enough to survive. Having two Black writers at DC and none at Marvel was interesting enough, but now Black voices have been silenced in the “mainstream” industry, and only one DC book with a Black lead — Batwing, written by Judd Winick — remains.

As we so often do, times like this make us miss Dwayne McDuffie …

[Source: Bleeding Cool]

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Let’s note how DC hasn’t (at least as of me penning this post) replaced the black writers or the black titles with other black titles. It’s the typical “We tried it didn’t work, WHAT MOAR DO YOU PEEPUL WANT?” But just went with white stories with white peepuls.

And before racist white folks start making the fallacious “It’s About Sales” argument, let me point out that Magog flopped repeatedly and DC was hellbent on trying to make him happen.

And meanwhile I”m STILL waiting on my Cassandra Cain series.

Cassandra Cain my boo , a woman of color with disabilities, outsold Green Arrow, Aquaman, Catwoman, Stephanie Brown, and whole slew of white characters and note how nearly all of them have been given reboot after reboot after reboot, no matter how many times they have flopped.

We’re talking about the SAME Cassandra Cain that is DC brass has admitted is the most asked about character at conventions.

This is why black folks and other POCs need to start using our resources to create and support our own stories. Because clearly mainstream (read: white) has no desire to do so.

Wasn’t New 52 supposed to be a brand new day at DC and they promised to fight to be more inclusive? Because it looks to me like it’s still business as usual.

The Ojibwe ‘Ajijaak’ Storybook Project on Kickstarter

I saw this link in another blogger’s twitter feed, and knew that it deserved a big signal boost. With untold unique language going extinct daily, this storybook project is one necessary and worthwhile step in protecting at least one language from disappearing completely.

From the project’s Kickstarter page:

The making of the Storybook “Ajijaak!”

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Round Table: LGBTQ Edition

A few months ago, four POC novelists held a round table discussion which tackled the challenges that authors of color have to face in both the publishing industry as well as the media in general in terms of race, gender and orientation.

http://arsmarginal.wordpress.com/2011/10/04/round-table/

With diversity in media, in particularly in terms of queer content, an LGBTQ-themed round table was recently conducted. This time it was opened up to playwrights, comic book creators and artists of various storytelling mediums.

Participants submitted questions and topics they wanted to address. What was interesting reading the responses while composing this round table. The participants only saw their own responses, so the answers often made for fascinating reads. With an eclectic mix of writers from very different backgrounds, sometimes there would be seven vastly different answers and in certain instances, the answers were unanimous and almost verbatim.

One thing was certain, this was definitely a conversation that has been long overdue, and certainly one that needs to continue.

Seven storytellers, one powerful discussion.

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