Tribute: Dwayne McDuffie

“If you do a black character or a female character or an Asian character, then they aren’t just that character.

They represent that race or that sex, and they can’t be interesting because everything they do has to represent an entire block of people.

You know, Superman isn’t all white people and neither is Lex Luthor.”

-Dwayne McDuffie

Many of you may have heard but Dwayne McDuffie passed away yesterday. McDuffie was a major powerhouse in the comics and animation world. He was executive producer of All Star Superman which recently released, Ben 10 and was creator of Static Shock. He along with Bruce Timm were the driving force behind the critically acclaimed Justice League.

He was also the founder of Milestone Comics, a comic book line that featured black superheroes and other champions of color in its title.

McDuffie did for POCs what Gail Simone has done for women and what the recently passed Perry Moore did for LGBTQs in comics and the media.

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Questioning Young Justice

Like many comic book fans, I’ve been watching the new Young Justice series on Cartoon Network.

In fact I just finished watching the latest episode where Artemis enters. For the most part I’ve been enjoying the cartoon. And that’s saying a lot because for me the Bruce Timm DC Animated Universe (Batman, Superman, Static Shock, The Zeta Project, Batman Beyond, Justice League) was the pinnacle of excellence and an impossible act to follow.
But the new series is showing promise and I’ve enjoyed it for the most part. However it’s already fucking up on something fierce.

Questions, I have them.

I have them indeed.

Open discussion: Black folks and romance – getting it right

Since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and it’s currently Black History Month, how about we combine the two?

What’s your wishlist for Black people in romance? Not just novels – movies, comic books, video games, what have you.

Have you seen something that gets it right? Do tell, and explain what’s awesome about it so we can find something that doesn’t piss us off.

What’s on your Please Stop This Shit list?

What do you want to encounter when romance and Black people are in the same media?

10 Steps To Making An Excellent Gay Movie

I wrote this post about two years ago for the month of Pride. Much of this post provided a basis for the Queer Tropes post I penned last year which I also plan to post here in the not-too distant future.

Actually I could write endlessly on this but for the sake of time and space on the internet, we’ll limit this to 10 fundamental steps.

It’s become obvious that some gay “storytellers” need to be educated thoroughly and expeditiously. Because if I have to endure this bullshit again, it will not end well.

Take thorough notes, I’m gonna move fast, and this will not be pretty. Class in session,  and you’s about to get schooled, suckas!!!

Here beginneth the lesson!

Queervision: The Little Mermaid (Disney)

Nothing is sacred here at Ars Marginal. Not even your childhood. This Queervision post takes on the modern world’s great mythmaker. That’s right, we’re queering Walt Disney movies. Not Disney movies with flesh-and-blood actors. I’m talking about the super kid-friendly stuff, those animated features complete with animals that sing and dance and shit.

Like many people in my generation, I grew up on Disney movies. And, naturally, they have completely warped my expectations of life and relationships. Well, there was that whole thing where I identified more with princes than the princesses (mostly because what the princes and I had in common was wanting to get with the princess). And if you want to know the root of my thing for nerdy, skinny, pale-skinned brunettes with big brown eyes – look no further than that fucking Belle.

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Films Of Fail

I’ve come to the realization that nothing is more effective in nearly converting me into a homophobe than gay media itself.

More than Fred Phelps and the religious right, by the time I’m finished watching a gay flick, I’m usually almost convinced that the conservative right is well…right….about the evils of ALL gayz including my masochistic self for subjecting myself through two hours of torture. By the time the film is over, I’m usually about to check myself into an ex-gay reparative therapy.

And I say this as a proud gay man.

Now if stereotypes hold true and you take into account the number of LGBTQs who supposedly work in Hollywood, then you would think that one could find some cinematic gems with LGBT films. Alas that’s rarely (if ever) the case. I hold out hope that I’ll find that mythical unicorn of a well-executed gay film. But for every Brokeback Mountain, Torchwood: Children of Earth, Save Me or Rites of Passage (movies of awesome), we’re subjected to the pure unadulterated bullshit like two of the films I’m going to discuss today:

Shall we discuss?

Illness and entertainment

Tell me if this sounds familiar.

You’re watching a movie, TV show, or play. After you’ve spent a little while with the characters, getting to know them (and love – or hate – them), suddenly you’re smacked with a revelation: one of the characters is revealed to have a chronic illness of some kind, rendering them more noble and tragic than they otherwise would be.

If I took Hollywood’s word for it, living with a chronic illness not really a big deal. It might be inconvenient at times, especially when you haven’t had your meds, but otherwise it’s just a matter of managing your condition and going on with life. People who are open about the difficulties they face, they’re just whining. They need to shut up and go live life to the fullest. Because that’s what a chronic illness is – a motivator! Be bold and daring! Do all that stuff you said you always wanted to do but didn’t because your lack of illness made you take life for granted (because, obviously, you never knew anyone who dealt with the shit you’re living with now). If you admit that you feel fear and pain, you’re a loser who doesn’t have their priorities straight.

But there are perks, though! You don’t get your health, but people will find you sympathetic and endearing no matter how much you fucked up before. Being sick frees you from being a moral agent. Actually, it frees you from being any kind of agent at all. You just get to hang around and be a symbol of the strength of the human spirit or some shit. Granted, in real life you’d probably be a symbol of how fucked up our health care system is here in the USA (hahaha – good one!). But seriously, fuck your life. We’re making movies/TV here.

And if you die – oh, MAN! Do you have any idea how much pathos you’ll give the friends and family who survive you? What’s that, you say? What about your happiness and well-being? Fuck you! This ain’t about you or what you need or want. We’re talking about the attractive leading actors playing your friends or family. If you don’t die of a painful disease, how can we prove that they’re deep and sensitive and all that jazz?

You really don’t expect us to treat you like a complex human being with complex problems that can’t be solved with a soundtrack and a gimmick, do you? Heheheh! Hey, Bob, this one wants us to treat sick people like real people!

Dear Hollywood

I know you all LOVE to have hot women who can whoop ass in your movies. Many men have the fantasy of “taming” a female “beast” of a woman. I’m not going to talk about THAT stuff here.

But can I just suggest that if you have such a woman in your movies, she actually weigh MORE than 110 lbs. AND have at least SOME muscle development? I’m getting tired of seeing women with who are supposed to be able to deftly weild weapons that are twice as thick as their spindly arms. And I cannot get behind a chick that can supposedly leathaly shoot an arrow from a bow whose draw weight is higher than her total body weight. Unless those weapons were made by Nerf, I ain’t feelin’ it.

Yes, I understand while said men like the fantasy of seeing women fight, they don’t want to see manly-looking women doing it. I get that most het men don’t like the female bodybuilder look. I also understand that getting you all to accept all body types and sizes as normal and acceptable is like you all finally treating Black women as if we were really human and, well, WOMEN, so let me give you a couple of examples of “doing it right” that you’ve actually did a pretty good job on in the past. One was Xena: Warrior Princess. Both Xena AND Gabrielle looked like HEALTHY women who had actually gone through puberty and gotten ALL their female hormones. They also looked sexy. And I’m not talking “PC” “everyone is beautiful in their own way” sexy. I’m talking random men (and a few women of any orientation) going, “I’d hit that soooooooooooooooo hard and sooooooooooooooooo many times.” And both women actually LOOKED like they could fight with the weapons they weilded.

The second example is Linda Hamilton in the second Terminator movie. She was toned as you’d think someone would be who had been living with guerrillas and learning their trade for the 10 or so years she had John Connor with her. She looked like someone who could hold her own in a firefight, which she did in that movie and she didn’t have those big, bulging, “icky” man-muscles that folks don’t want to see in their hawt fightin’ chicks.

So next time you want to cast the latest size 00 ingenue to weild a 40 lb trident like it was a baton, you may want to send ol’ girl to the gym and make her take some MetRX or something so she won’t look like a blade of grass next to her weapon.

Juss sayin’.

Towards a queer Black womanist liberation poetics

I know it’s a mouthful, but it’s basically about creating ways of understanding and evaluating theatre works that center queerness, Blackness, and womanhood instead of the same ol’ straight White dude schtick.

Here is where I lay out what I’m doing.

Then I ask, “Why should you give a shit what queer Black women have to say?

And after that, why a queer Black womanist liberation poetics matters to straight White dudes.

Check ’em out. But even if you comment here, please leave comments over there too.