Archive for March, 2015

You heard me right.  Let’s talk about Christine.

Seriously, we are going to talk about Christine.  Christine needs to be talked about, here.  It is crucial.  Christine is a typical girl.  She does makeup, dyes her hair, and enjoys shopping. Travel and photography are a thing for her here.  Always doing that “posting pictures of her food” thing.  Obsessed with the arts and love stories.  Maybe she enjoys pets, too, always calling everything with two eyes cute.  Hangs out with guys.  This is Christine.  Maybe long, blonde hair if you want.

I know what you’re thinking: How could you do this to Christine?

Now, let me flesh out Christine a little bit more.

Christine does makeup and hair dye because she likes to cosplay comics and horror movies (her favorite kind of movies, mind), and her natural hair color isn’t blonde.  When she goes shopping, it’s for games, comic books, and sports supplies, because she rallied for her highschool to get a girl’s lacrosse team and ended up being the captain.  Her writing and arts interests lie in fantasy, like Lord of The Rings type fantasy, with a slight romantic and dramatic twist throughout.  Her favorite pet isn’t a cat – it’s a lizard, and she tends to think Skinks – yes, in all of their bug-eating glory – make the best beginner lizards, but her interests lie with the larger monitors.  She hangs out with guys, but hasn’t wanted to date.  And never has.  She’s not much of a cook either and is a blackbelt instead, so she didn’t cook that food she posted a photo of.

Right.. so that’s Christine.  What’s that?  Were you expecting Gucci bags? (Not that there is a problem with Gucci bags, but there is a larger point to this point.  She may buy Gucci every once in a while).

It was recently International Women’s Day, and while I am not usually a huge fan of Anything Day (reasons), I thought it would be an appropriate time to write this sort of post I have been planning quite a while.  Mind you, there is no real Christine, she does not exist.  If a Christine out there fits the description, you kick ass, except this is not intended to be you, or anyone you know, even if they are not named Christine.  Christine also has a birthday – she was born today at 8:00 PM, so unless you go through infancy to highschool in less than 20 minutes and happened to have physically come out of my head like something out of the Alien franchise are you the Christine I am referring to.  Sidenote:  I nor Christine hate men.  If I hated men, I certainly should not be involved in several male dominated fields (I am not referring to comics).

Regardless, I thought I’d take a look at the history of women in comics.  By the way, if you haven’t figured it out already, Christine becomes Christine the Comic Writer, much like Rosie the Riveter.  Rosie the Riveter has a better ring to it, though, I admit…

Christine is inspired by Nellie the Nurse, Millie the Model (good god, really?), and Tessie the Typist (aka a fancy secretary, not sexist at all).  Apparently, starting in the Golden Age Archie Comics geared comics toward women and women primarily read comics but I am not at all convinced the storylines were anything deeper than learning how to use the vacuum (of course, being taught by a man) or fighting over a guy.  .. Or both.  Considering Archie Comics made the comic known as, well, Archie, which features two ditzy women fighting over who gets to date one (gasp) tall blonde dude, I am probably not far off.

Another sidenote is that this isn’t some PR appeal or some awful attempt at being politically correct: this is not my motive, and considering I curse on my blog, that would be a very misguided assumption on your part because cursing isn’t politically correct.  I actually do have a post in the works (mentally) about something regarding men/boys/males.  Originally, I was going to merge those two together, but I’d like to go to bed sometime before tomorrow morning for once.  I’m giving up playing Civ V for you.  Appreciate the post (or else).

But after that Golden Age, Nellie, Millie, and Tessie were all born.  And I am making Christine be born.

Women were either “career oriented” (wtf does that even mean?), perky teenagers, or romance heroines.  The romance involved women could either be good or bad, and if they’re good, they were probably stuffed in the refrigerator.  I don’t really get the whole “bad” vs “good” distinction, just because we could have a gay superhero (I’m being 100% serious) being tempted by another gay man, or a strong superhero woman being tempted by a guy.. but.. ok. This is still around – I recently saw some kind of book regarding comics and it specifically mentioned “tempting women”.  Like as an entire section.  Are we career oriented in that our career is stalking a male superhero now in some sort of odd desperation to date or have sex with him?  I don’t understand…

Among the first female superheroes were Scarlet O’Neil and Black Fury.  Scarlet O’Neil aka the Invisible Woman was plain clothes and walked around doing things like saving little kids and getting kidnapped.  In general, it was not action packed (source: Wikipedia).  Then you had Miss Fury who was.. eventually turned into a dude, obviously?  Black Fury (aka Miss Fury) became John Perry and Rex King.  She then wasn’t revived until 1991 in which case I am not including it.  I’m strictly ’40s to late 50s right now.

Who knew one of them would maintain a blog in 75 years.

And I know I may get the crowd who is like “get over it” but I’m not like actively blaming society for doing this 75 years ago.  It’s really just retrospective out of my own curiosity.  And Christine’s.

Regardless, after the slight abomination that appears to be The Invisible Woman, we actually see Sheena, Queen of the Jungle.  Of course, she happens to be blonde, and tall, and wearing heels, and white, but probably the best of the bunch at the time.  From Wikipedia:

As Trina Robbins, in The Great Women Superheroes wrote:[5]

[M]ost of [Fiction House’s] pulp-style action stories either starred or featured strong, beautiful, competent heroines. They were war nurses, aviatrixes, girl detectives, counterspies, and animal skin-clad jungle queens, and they were in command. Guns blazing, daggers unsheathed, sword in hand, they leaped across the pages, ready to take on any villain. And they did not need rescuing.

Sheena seemed to be pretty successful, and seemed to have a fair amount of abilities.  She was able to turn into whatever animal she made contact with and ability to communicate with wild animals.  The first superhero though, who was a woman, was apparently Fantomah, a woman who never aged and turned into a skull-like creature to fight crime (nice, I like the morbidity; it’s not “lady like”).  In a time where saving children without any action was the norm, at least it’s a step in the right direction in a time when Peggy Carter was still Captain America’s damsel in distress (I fucking hate that term).  She had always been needing to be saved, and I admit as a Cap fan it was nice to see Peggy take the stage for another reason than needing Cap to come save her.. really.

Yes, we’re hopping over to the big guys. Particularly, the history of Wonder Woman.

Funny story.. Wonder Woman was the suggestion from a wife of a guy.  William Moulton Marston, a psychologist, thought comics had uncracked potential,and his wife insisted he create a superheroine.. so.. he explained it as Sigmund Freud would, while also believing women should rule the world?:

“Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power. Not wanting to be girls, they don’t want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving as good women are. Women’s strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman.”

If you’re unaware, Sigmund Freud had an R-Rated (is there something higher than R?) theory about women, that they didn’t want to actually be women, and they envied men because they were men, and they distanced themselves from their mothers for this reason and subsequently hung out with dad.  Frankly, I don’t want to be goddamn tender and submissive whether I am a woman or not.  But regardless, that was the mindset, I guess, of the time.  At least he listened to his wife and created the first widely recognized female superhero.  Really, I’m not delving too deep into this just because it’s blowing my mind a little bit.  That statement is clearly sexist but he also wanted women to rule the world, and was slightly sexist against men, believing women were more honest?  I’m supposing that is stereotype, therefore wanting us to the rule the world is also sort of sexist?  By the sounds of it, it’s meant in a stereotypical/sexist manner for both parties, with men elevated in importance, slightly?…

How I feel.

By now, though, we’re starting to realize women are people (now the Silver Age).  Lois Lane is created, Batwoman, Jean Loring, and Carol Ferris, all “career women”.  Iris West, Kathy Kane, and Vicki Vale have been thrown into the mix.  Still, though, sexism weaved some of their cores, as we all know Lois needed to be saved a few times, and Batwoman apparently used perfume and a hair net as weapons (god, at least make her use mace instead of perfume if you’re going to be sexist).  Unfortunately, I will not detail all of these, it’s 10 PM now, Christine is probably graduating high school, I feel like I am growing old writing this post, I’m eating peanut butter and jelly in mass quantities in an attempt to keep myself from starving.  Sort of like Tom Hanks in Cast Away.  But with a laptop, instead of a soccer ball.

Regardless of PBJ here, Marvel is playing catch up, and creates their first female superhero in the form of Invisible Woman…. several decades after Wonder Woman.. and Mr. Fantastic has had instances of.. abuse…

Come on.. you can do better than that…

Regardless, it is very interesting, considering Marvel’s movies/tv shows.  You know.. Black Widow.  Peggy.  Rogue.  Jean Grey.  All the superheroine Avengers. Wasp.  Regardless, originally, Marvel’s heroines (yes, we don’t need to say “female superheroes”) were treated as less than equal. It is almost as though they are quietly hiding away from their past mistakes.. and Not-So-Mr. Fantastic’s mistakes.. while creating all these strong women.  DC Comics was not a beacon of light, exactly, either, due to this policy:

[the] Editorial Policy Code regarding the portrayal of women, which stated, “The inclusion of females in stories is specifically discouraged. Women, when used in plot structure, should be secondary in importance, and should be drawn realistically, without exaggeration of feminine physical qualities”.

So more or less, women in stories was discouraged, unless they happened to somehow supplement the superhero.  Which.. just about makes sense.  Obviously.  Though, everyone did this it seems – I guess DC just put it in writing?  Did Marvel do it too?

Regardless, I’m moving on, because I bit off more than I can chew.  To the Bronze Age! (sidenote:  If I seem like I’m rushing, I’m waiting for a larger point and I am about to hit one.  This is all pretty generic information).

The part we’ve been waiting for.. assuming I was alive.  The feminist era.  The part where all the women realized, there is something seriously wrong with Mollie the Model or whatever godforsaken terrible name they gave her.

Aside from the comic character “Man-killer” being made, this was overall not that bad of an era.

I just.. I don’t have a witty comment for this.

People start realizing women are just as capable of leadership as men, and Mrs. Fantastic becomes the leader of the Fantastic Four, and Wasp becomes a founding Avenger.  Jean Grey becomes Phoenix, Storm is created, and one man sets out to revamp some of them: Chris Claremont.  He revamps and helps settle Rogue, Psylocke, Storm, Jean Grey, and Kitty Pryde.  Suddenly, the teenagers become serious, and women are now a thing (as in popular).  Notice a lot of those or all of them have been in movies, now, or very famous at the least.  But the elephant in the room is not any of these: It’s Ms. Marvel.

Ms. Marvel isn’t in a movie.  She is getting her own movie.

Ms. Marvel, apparently, seems to embody Marvel’s troubles with representing women during that time due to her controversy.  She worked at a magazine obviously geared toward women, and her headline was “This Woman Fights Back!”.  It’s very possible Marvel picked Ms. Marvel to be their first female-led movie, well, because that is more or less what she was designed for in the first place.  She was a symbol of the push to get more female characters and not portraying women as damsels in distress – let’s only hope she lives up to that despite not being known to the general public.  But still, despite the apparent symbolism here, do you think someone like Black Widow would’ve been a better pick?  Is there any possibility there will eventually be a Black Widow movie?  Is that why they picked her and not some other random superheroine?

In between all of this, we get Barbara Gordon, who is injured by the Joker after the events of The Killing Joke, who takes things a step further – she is disabled, now, but became the leader of Birds of Prey.  She’s another example of the strong women blossoming now, and everyone collectively realizing women are people and not cooking machines.

Now, we hit the Modern Age.  Now.  Probably your childhood.

We start off the era with Tank Girl:

The eponymous character Tank Girl drives a tank, which is also her home. She undertakes a series of missions for a nebulous organization before making a serious mistake and being declared an outlaw for her sexual inclinations and her substance abuse. The comic centers on her misadventures with her boyfriend, Booga, a mutant kangaroo.

I’m sorry.. I’m sorry what? A mutant kangaroo?  What the hell?  I know nothing about this, so I’m not commenting, but, if you happen to know, do tell me, because mutant kangaroos?

Still, women were treated as sex stories.  Because sex sells.  As a result, the wonderful and amazing and my personal comic writer hero, Gail Simone (she retweeted me once!), started the Women in Refrigerators campaign after seeing a Green Lantern comic where GL finds his girlfriend dead because of a villain and stuffed in a refrigerator.  Ever since that, using women for the “sex sells” excuse and depowering or killing women has become less and less.  And that is where we are now, along with more LGBT diversity such as Batwoman.

Yeah.. more work to be done, here.

I understand that both sexes are inaccurately portrayed, but this is also the guy who made “Captain America” become “Captain Americhest” (seriously, that drawing has obliques everywhere).  Above is Ms. Brokeback, considering her back is anatomically broken because of the need to exaggerate her chest and butt.  There is still work to be done, but hopefully, if that trend means anything, we can get it done – without gender tension.

At least X-Men has shown it has strong female characters, and two female-led movies are on the way.  Now, finally, we are reaching some semblance of equalization.  Peggy Carter helped paved the way.  Wonder Woman got it started, and Ms. Marvel helped us out.  Black Widow kicks ass, and X-Men is chock full of X-Women.  Finally, women are having a bit of a foothold in comics because of the characters.  We aren’t all the same, and we don’t have the same interests – including the traditional ones.

When you read comics or create female characters, think of Christine the Comic Writer.

(Happy belated International Women’s Day).

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So I haven’t been updating as much.  A lot of you are probably wondering why.  I have always put something out… whether it was a spotlight post, small review, comic book review, QA.. I always pulled something out of the sky.  What happened?  Did you just get lazy?  Did you just stop caring?  No.  None of the above.  I guess it’s time I came clean, and after a day where it’s appropriate.

Feb. 28th is Rare Disease Day.  Recently, yes, my pets got sick – but that’s largely over now and everyone is better!

If you’re not interested in anything remotely personal, I suggest you stop reading.  Don’t be an asshole, either, because that’s not cool.

Here’s some happy shit before we start.

So, what’s the problem?  Why did I figuratively and literally fall off the face of The Planet? Well it was Rare Disease Day.

(FYI: I’ll go back to full time.  The fact I’m even writing this is amazing enough, and means it’s slowly going back to normal.)

I fit into that category.  I have a rare disease, and that is why I haven’t updated.  While I’m not ready to reveal exactly what it is, I’m going to ask you to not foo-foo rare diseases.  There is a larger point to this post other than me telling you why I haven’t been here and why I haven’t been able to update.  Before you click off in an attempt to save yourself from a state of depression, I’m really actually pretty cool about it and I make it funny (I think?).  Think of it this way – you’ve been reading me this long without knowing a thing about it.  It’s only since it completely KO’d me have you found out anything.  And I didn’t want to tell you.  I didn’t want to tell you I had anything wrong with me.

It’s like I’m in a relationship with my blog.  Facebook status changed.

My pets ended up being okay a few weeks ago. But, the fact is, you know some things about the people you read/watch/hear/etc.  You know maybe they have kids or are in college.  You know circumstances of their lives that will affect their content in other words.  Unfortunately, this is my circumstance that makes a pile of dog shit more attractive than my life at times.  Long story short, I am a superhero.  Yes, you read that right.  I am a superhero.  I am an X-Men. I am the Batman.

Nevermind, I’m getting carried away.

Here’s the deal: I have superpeople powers (oddly, my own character is not superpowered).  I have a connective tissue disease.  I’m uber-flexible to the point where I could join the circus and probably become filthy rich and famous, and I could be on American Horror Story (technically). I can tell the temperature without even looking at a thermometer, and certain normal medication doesn’t work on me because of genetic resistance (in other words, taking Motrin is like eating Skittles).  In fact, I once needed local anesthetics and the doctor would have overdosed me if he gave me any more.  It does not work on me.  Yeah, I felt the entire procedure, because local anesthetics don’t work on me (I could see the look of horror on your face already).  It made for a very uncomfortable procedure and a very freaked out doctor. In all honesty it was hilarious.

I wish I could say I possess super-strength, but I’m working on it.  Yes, this is all a part of that “rare illness” thing I mentioned.  It affects everything. Eating, sleeping, blogging, fish tanks, what I can eat, college, what jobs I can get, etc.

So now that I’ve related it to something you clearly will be able to relate to as a comic book reader, you need to understand the other side of the coin.

For every superpower, there is a downside.  The uber-flexibility means I’m also in pain a lot without much rhyme or reason.  The pain also means I have the attention span of a squirrel when I am in pain. Normally people say attention span of a goldfish, but because I have fish as pets, fish have longer attention spans than you think so I will not diss them!

Most of the time, I’m fine.  But lately, it’s kicking my ass – it’s like as if Superman couldn’t control his super senses for a little bit.  In the process, you couldn’t tell that there is anything wrong with me.  I look completely normal, until I make giant claws come out of my han-… wrong power..

But you know, I’m also telling you because our heroes do have limitations.  Superman was bullied because he had super-senses.  Wolverine can’t go through metal detectors.  Cyclops needs those fancy ass glasses. Even Batman probably could be his own psychology case study, and forget about Captain America, who had a long list of illnesses in The First Avenger.  Granted he’s not sickly now, but they all had limitations.  If you ever wanted to know what being a real life superhero was like, you could interview me – because being uber-bendy has it’s perks.  I’ll probably never break a bone because I’m flexible.  I could prevent slipping better than any person in my immediate (and probably extended) family, possibly better than my cat.  It requires me to exercise a lot, so that also means I have some semblance of super strength involved here.  I could pinpoint the temperature inside or outside because of my hypersensitivity to it – I know if someone raised the heat 1 degree in my house. One.  Degree.

In elementary school – and high school – I was probably the fastest or in the top three of fastest people in the classes because of my flexible legs, and I never have an itch on my back I can’t get to.

^ you.  Itches you can’t get to suck.  Sucker.

So, everyone has their bad times.  Superman, Wolverine, Cyclops, Professor X (seriously I reacted the same way he did almost), Captain America, Magneto… and every other super powered person you could imagine.  The concepts of illnesses isn’t new to comic books and Barbara Gordon brought it even more into the spotlight.  Hell, even Hulk qualifies a little bit, and if you consider Iron Man to be unhealthily conceited, he does too.  You can’t “fix” me just like you can’t “fix” them.

Don’t define my blog by the one reason that I can’t write for a few days.  If it must be in the equation, define it by letting it drive my interest in comic books.  Define it by  “she’s a real superhero” (yep, I’m a she, people). She could be an X-Men.  But know that’s why I haven’t been here – been out saving the world, you know?  Busy…

I will be back full time within the next week or so, and I don’t let it keep me down – if I did, I’d be writing about how much my life sucks.  If I did, I wouldn’t write here or take care of big fish tanks or dogs or cats or cooking my own meals.  If I did, I wouldn’t go to a gym or go to college or do everything else everyone else does.  If I did, I wouldn’t still want to be writing comics or have another job I do now, whether it’s mine or someone else’s character (yeah, I want to write comics, and I am working on my own character book).

Just remember, I’m not any different than the people you read about. I identify with them because people think I’m weird when they hear I’m so stretchy. People have asked what is wrong with me and then stopped me halfway saying they didn’t want to know. People have outwardly asked me if it will kill me in very insensitive ways. An ex-boyfriend left me over it via text message while I was in a doctor’s office trying to figure out what exactly was wrong. The fact is, people have been prejudiced against me because I’m bendy and need some small but significant accommodations sometimes – like being able to move around if I need to. It really is nothing graphic or strange – but people don’t like it. I scare people but I am not scary. Just like the X-Men.

I’ve always identified with Barbara Gordon and the X-Men since my diagnosis, and that’s why we need more characters like her. We need more disabled people talking regardless if you can see their disability or not. My disability is genetic so it was always there even before I knew it was – and I always felt out of place or as if something was wrong with me. Then I found out and I had doctors sitting around debating the course of my illness/life and when I’d need a wheelchair, if I ever did – and if that were to happen, I’d like to think I’d be the real version of Barbara Gordon.
But the comic characters get it.

Do you?

(This post was also meant to raise awareness for Rare Disease Day 2015).