Tag Archive | X-Factor

Thor Costume and Going Digital

Need someone to talk me down from this ledge. REALLY wanting to purchase a female Thor costume. Buycostumes.com dropped a lovely 25% off coupon in my inbox this morning and I’ve been agonizing over the decision ever since.

The Thor movie is one of my favorites, and I am tempted to start-up a subscription for X-Men and Thor comics. Just get back into comic books again period.

Therefore I need some input on a few things:

1. Should I purchase this costumehelmet and hammer?

Or no? I have until the end of this business day before the coupon expires, and then it probably wouldn’t be worth it. What would be worth it? Stumbling around drunk in a wicked cool Norse god helmet. 

A Lady Loki outfit is also quite tantalizing. But they don’t have anything pre-fabricated. And can you imagine those horns around drunk people? Dangerous, dangerous stuff. Even in a regular comic book convention, I would be afraid of knocking people over all the time.

2. Should I subscribe to superhero comic books again? I love my local comic book shop, but I’m just not getting out there often enough to empty my box properly. Then it expires and I feel guilty and never open a box at that shop again. To save all the embarrassment and heart-ache, why not just subscribe to the monthly shipping services? It’s around $30 bucks a title for the year. The whole year! I drop that much each time I enter the comic book store.

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Spreading the Link Love: 7/8/2010

HIGH SCHOOL CHRONICLES OF ARIEL SCHRAG

Thanks to the lovely She Has No Head! column running an article on the Top 10 Webcomics, I was introduced to Ariel Schrag’s Ariel and Kevin Invade Everything. She is the author of four comic books (published in three volumes) chronicling her High School years (1995-1999).

Everyone who was in HS in the mid-to-late-90s should check these books out. Hell, everyone who went to HS in the last two decades would probably be able to find something which resonates with Schrag’s voice and experiences. She drew me in by reminding me so much of a group of my HS friends, and then held me captive for almost 900 pages of illustration and text as she explores her sexuality and attempts to tackle her art, classes and eventually a part-time job – all while preparing herself for college.

My personal favorite is Potential – it garnered her an Eisner award nomination.  This one is the documentation of Schrag coming to terms her homosexuality, falling in love for the first time, and suffering through her parents divorce. It’s raw and blisteringly painful but perfectly captures the essence of HS and first love. It was nearly impossible to put down.

My only bone of contention is with the final book – Likewise. It’s far too experimental for my tastes and strays heavily from the format of the first three books. It features blank panels, sketchy scenes and lots of word salad. There is also not a strong feeling of closure, especially since this is the final volume in the autobiographical series. Of course, it doesn’t take much effort to learn that she eventually went to Columbia and spent a few seasons as a writer on The L Word.

What’s compelling is that she was able to conceive, create, publish and distribute this work at such a young age, with seemingly little support from her parents (aside from freedom and funding).

Most of the artistic style featured is cartoonish, but the few sequences where she renders herself and her love interest Sally in full artistic scope are mind-blowing. I would love to see more pieces like that evolving in her work, but she manages to eek a lot of emotion out of the big eyes, skinny limbs and tousled hair of her subjects.

Highly suggested!

Bechdel Test: All three books PASS the women test, two PASS the men test and no books PASS the race test.

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Comic Book Catch-Up: The Peter David Edition

The reviews have been sparse the last few weeks as I’ve been catching up on at least a years worth of several series I follow. You all know of my passion for Peter David books, so the first batch of catch-up I’ve done is with his titles specifically. So, let’s get this party started right…

SHE-HULK: Peter David Style

As promised earlier this month, I’ve been really making an effort at finding a non-mutant female superheroine to follow in a regular monthly series. She-Hulk, as penned by Peter David, seemed like it was built of instant win. Not so. Ever since a conversation with comic book sage, Hisham, it’s been quite impossible for me not to see how meta his writing becomes at times. I dig his sense of humor, but it was not jiving well with the She-Hulk I remember from earlier days.

I read an issue with her as a respected lawyer, struggling with balancing work, superhero duties and a relationship. Seems pretty relatable. Unfortunately for this new direction – Bounty Hunter She-Hulk has too many throw-backs to a lame reality TV show I’ve watched a few episodes of. And it confusingly includes a Skrull woman who assumes her identity. They live in a trailer park and roll around in an RV. I dunno, nothing about it really sung off the pages for me. I gave the trade paperback the first 20 pages and then honestly couldn’t press myself further. But I tried, alright? I really did.

 

FALLEN ANGEL – To Live and Die in Bette

The first of the three Fallen Angel TPBs – Red Horse Riding – opens with a young boy being able to pass in and out of Bette Noire in his sleep. He witnesses the start of the war between good and evil being waged there (or perhaps, evil and more evil?). By the conclusion of the book, Jubal (son of the previous evil magistrate) has successfully deprived his 1/2 brother Jude of the title of Magistrate, and is in control of the City that shapes the world. Except he’s a freaking all-powerful demon now. So, that sucks.

The next book, Cities of Light and Dark has to do with Black Mariah, Jude and Liandra (who escaped) chumming about in the real world, attempting to find someway back to Bette Noire to reverse all the bad mojo and dethrone Jubal. They make it to one of the other cities (apparently there are four), but on the way crash an airplane, battle a shark, and jump into a volcano. Which of those three things screams moody noir to you? Oh right, none of them. Hmph.

Long story short – they win the battle and then, Illyria from the Whedonverse shows up and wants to kill Liandra (cause the Powers That Be asked her to). They go on a magical journey to find three instruments of power Illyria needs to retain her God form, but in the end she is convinced that being in Fred’s body ain’t so bad.

No single part of these elements is stand-alone awful, it just isn’t resonating with me. The first few TPBs were mystical, ethereal and fairly low on the camp, cheese and witty back-and-forth.

The entire series feels so uneven at this point. The concept is great, and the world David’s created is intensely fascinating, but I feel like its floundering. Personally, I could do without the “special guests.” Unless they really fit with the story, and the universe…I don’t want them there. Despite it’s flaws, I’m still attracted to the series and will continue to follow where Mr. David leads.

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Books To Get Excited About

I started reviewing Marvel’s line-up for February and March in an effort to rekindle my love for X-Books and the Marvel brand as a whole. Wasn’t expecting much in the way of titles I would actually pick up, especially after scanning through their releases for this week and the rest of March. Dismal, dismal stuff – most of the X-Titles. However, a few of them sparked interest, as well as some other material I never knew existed. Kudos to Marvel for winning me back as a reader. For now.

It’s unfortunate that the X-Factor synopsis for the next few books looks absolutely painful. Not sure I’m going to be able to get back into this book with the fervor I had reserved for the first 25 issues of it’s latest reincarnation. While I love Peter David…Dr. Doom is completely un-interesting to me. *tears*

This isn’t the sum total of the books I’m considering getting back into (or picking up for the first time), but the other publishers are going to have to hold off for a bit. I’ll check in with Oni Press and Dark Horse later this week and give a run-down of what looks interesting there.

Girl Comics #1

X-Men Origins: Nightcrawler

X-Men: Hope

X-Men: Second Coming

Nomad: Girl Without a World

– Phoenix Saga #1 (the Marvel page link appears to be broken, it’s a prequel to X-Men: Second Coming)

Kick Ass TPB (collecting issues #1-8)

What are you all reading and/or looking forward to?

BACK to basics: Fray, Tank Girl and more…

So – I’ve been a bit neglectful of my blogging duties, but all in the name of good fun..and making ridiculous fan vids.

Another reason is that I’ve sworn off graphic novels and tpb’s until something more interesting crossed my path. I was getting tired of scouring the library shelves for some semblance of a reasonable title, and coming up with books that weren’t really holding my attention. And just to reassure you all – I managed to find a few decent titles.

I’ve also wanted to get back to my regular old novel roots, and devour a few books I’ve had on my list for awhile. My latest conquest was Middlesex by author Jeffrey Eugenides. It was refreshing adult and literary content. And now I’m ready to return to the wonderful world of comic books.

Even though I’ve been “gone” for two weeks, since my world seems to revolve around comic books, and movies, and comic books – I stumbled across a few comic related tidbits I felt compelled to share.

00056My latest fan-vid (oh, the nerdosity temperature just rose a few degrees in here) is all about a tpb I picked up during my 25th birthday – Fray written by Joss Whedon with art by Karl Moline and Andy Owens. It follows the story of Melaka Fray – a slayer living in a future that is reminiscent of Firefly – with some similar phrasing – “rutting” being the best example.

However – Fray has no knowledge of how to be a slayer and instead leads the life of a hardened thief – running from a tragic past.

The art by Karl Moline is fantastic, and the coloring by Andy Owens is rich and bright – everything you would expect and want from a future with flying cars. Is there a future without flying cars? Where the hell are OUR flying cars!?

But I digress…I also stumbled across Tank Girl through ON Demand last week. Can I just take a moment to say that I love DVR? Having the power to record the shows that I love and watch them whenever I want, fast-forwarding through shit commercials…phew…it’s a TV revolution.

Right – back to Tank Girl. I dug the screwball antics of the main character and the randomness of the plot, but at the same time…it reminded me of all that had been so off-putting about comic book movies made in the last decade.

And what it is that has made comic book movies so distasteful in the past? The cheese factor. Since I’ve not read Tank Girl, I’m not sure how true the movie was to the comic, but the campiness was firing on all cylinders, and made it incredibly difficult to forget you were watching a movie based on a cheeseball comic book. Which was probably the intention. But it didn’t work all the time.

It felt like a 1.5 hour commercial for the series. And though I find myself intrigued, and considering taking a gander at the book…I’m not certain TankGirl will ever make any Top 10 comic movie lists I put together. And on that note – here’s a Top 10 List:

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Girls on Film

This one goes out to all the ladies.

I just read a New York Times article, on the advice from another comic obsessed woman blogger, about the lack of good roles for women in Hollywood movies and Hollywood comic movies. I immediately got on board with the idea presented in the article. It’s something that I only really started to notice mid-way through my HS career.

It happened while reading Siddhartha during my senior year of HS. I was trucking along with the material, and then stumbled upon the passage where the male protagonist up and leaves his wife and children to go off and attain enlightenment.

Why? Because he could.

There was no other reason for it. His wife was left alone to tend to the children and the household while he went off on some completely selfish religious journey. Then, it occurred to me that up until that moment, all the folks I was idolizing (writers, artists, philosophers, religious figures) were men.

So what did that mean for me?

That was the final straw. After spending so much of my time in HS learning about the deeds and exploits of men, and reading their collected works – I was done.

That’s when I realized there were a different set of rules for men to operate with in the world. And as a woman – I would have to try harder to find what would be relevant and resonant for me.

8 years later – and I’m still looking.

So a few questions I have: Where are all the women? Where/How are the people who look like me represented in history books, politics and the cinema?

Here are some answers for you…

And some more answers as well – straight from the mouths of the women who are playing second (or third or fourth) fiddle to the Male Heroes in this summer’s biggest blockbusters.

And while men get the heroic pose covers – these talented, intelligent and engaging women are pictured as meek and playful as kittens.

Here’s something to chew on: I was REALLY excited to see “Baby Mama” because it hosts not one, but TWO well known female comedic leads – Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. The trailers are hilarious, and guaranteed to get a laugh from me every time. Successful women comedians are rare, and films that brilliantly show-case their talents are just as rare. So, yay right? It seemed like there was nothing that could go wrong…

But then it did. Dan was the first one to notice it as we sat in the darkened theatre, munching on popcorn and red vines. He leaned over and whispered, “there’s something wrong with the projector bulb.” I squinted and then shook my head. “No, there’s not.”

Dan: “Yeah, there is – see how there’s like a soft glow on the screen, and everyone is kinda fuzzy.”

Me: “No – that’s the glow of romantic comedy. There’s nothing wrong with the bulb, that’s the movie.”

And I realized, much to my hearty dismay, that indeed – there was the soft glow of romantic comedy all over Baby Mama. It stank of “rom-com” softness.

Worse than that? The two women sniping at one another over economic and social class differences. This film would have 98% of my Gender, Class and Culture course from last term shrieking obscenities at the screen. *sigh*

I had such high hopes. Can there be a movie tailored to women that does not involve weddings, romance, soft lighting, and jokes about menstruation?

Can there be a film/movie where the woman isn’t seen as the mother, daughter, sister, lover, girlfriend, secretary (uhm, don’t we call them administrative assistants now?), or help-mate of the male lead character. Not this summer, and most likely not this year.

On a different note: I thought it was brave of “Baby Mama” to briefly recognize it’s own stereotypical attitudes towards “white trash,” but it hardly excuses the rest of the insults hurled by the preceeding 3/4’s of the film. I thought Poehler did a lot to really humanize the character she was playing, but all in all – I was turned off by the use of the word white trash, the upper-class-liberal attitude towards children and the lower class, and the deliberate placement of romantic comedy elements in what could have/should have been a film about a woman and her baby mama.

Come on – that concept in and of itself is intriguing.

I’m going to assume that Hollywood “ized” the film towards it’s assumptions of what women would want to see. Whoever cut the trailers was smart enough to leave most of that romantic comedy bullshit on the floor, but it was certainly a kick in the teeth to get to the theatre and realize it was a lot of the same old.

Many men really don’t understand the beef women have with hollywood, comics, and history books.

I can respect that, because they don’t get to see a world (or at least a Hollywood Blockbuster season) that relegates them to less-than-sidekick roles. They’ve never had to preen the history books for the one or two token persons of their gender who’ve possibly invented something clever, led an army, or ruled a kingdom.

It’s easy to brush these supplications off as mere “feminist bullshit.” But I’m tired of having to identify with leading men (yes, even if a token male minority is thrown in for diversity).

I want more WOMEN on film, in film, and making films. And the same goes for the comic industry. I’m tired of having the female body used to sell, sell, sell without any homage being paid to the reality of who women are. We have high pain tolerance, amazing organizational and leadership qualities. We can fly airplanes, hold presidential offices, serve and protect, pump your gas, balance your checkbook, repair your HVAC system, own property, perform your spinal surgery…

But we can’t star in your movies. Not really. Not yet.

And if we do…men won’t come to see us. Unless we’re half naked. Why? Because men don’t like to see strong woman doing the things that men do. Am I wrong? Someone please tell me that I’m wrong about that! Because I would love to be wrong (just this once though, not all the time).

If I didn’t love comic books (and thusly, comic book movies) so much, I would seriously consider boycotting this summer blockbuster season. I really and truly would.

Hollywood really needs to pull it’s act together and get back to what I enjoy most about comic books – team dynamics. There are great books out there (Avengers, X-Factor) and television shows (Lost, Heroes) that show-case strong female characters, without having to subvert the lime-light to men ALL THE TIME.

Well, I mean – for awhile anyway, LOST had that quality going for it. Lately it’s been very male character centric, and decidedly less appealing to me personally.

One of the other film franchises I felt was at least moderately giving women a fair shake, X-Men totally killed off it’s strongest female character (X-Men: The Last Stand) and de-powered the other. Leaving only Storm – whom Halle Berry had already mangled thoroughly.

There’s not much else to say. The status of women in films is especially pitiable at the moment. It seems to fluctuate, with some years being kinder to my gender than others.

I wouldn’t say this is Hollywood’s women-friendliest year, by far.

Much Love, Mindy C