Heroine Addict: What’s Left Unsaid

More and more current comics are featuring a broad range of characters, with different genders, races, and sexualities becoming more prominently displayed. Increased representation is an amazing thing to see, especially in an industry so wrought with (ironically) archaic attitudes towards anything “different.”

But sometimes representation isn’t always as it seems.

Characters in pop media are usuallysappho assumed to be straight until proven otherwise. Even characters who are widely recognized as queer icons (like Wonder Woman) are editorially forced to not only deny those ties, but also to decry them as “weird” or “incorrect.”

One of the things that comes out of this attitude is the prevention of canon characters from being anything other than straight. When characters of non-straight sexualities are introduced, they tend to be new characters (with Alan Scott and Kate Kane as tenuous exceptions). Beyond that, characters who were always intended to be gay, like Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s Northstar, were editorially not allowed (rumor has it, due to former Marvel editor-in-chief Jim Shooter policy against openly gay characters).

Instead of supportive representations of pre-existing characters coming out as queer, writers tend to rely on implications. But are these implied sexualities actually helping queer representation in comics, or are they causing harm?

I think a great example of this problem is Harley Quinn #2. Building off of the original relationship between Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, first introduced in Batman: The Animated Series, this issue offers a titillating piece of dialogue between Harley and Ivy:

beavers

The dialogue is humorous, but has a huge implication that Ivy is interested in the double entendre meaning of the word “beaver.” Of course, in reality, Harley is just introducing Ivy to Bernie the stuffed beaver, but the silent implication of romance remains.

kissAs the issue continues, it also shows Harley and Ivy sleeping in the same bed, with Ivy even giving Harley a kiss on the cheek before she leaves. The problem with this is, titillation aside, nothing is outright stated. The characters exist in this ambiguous limbo of interpretation. While it’s easy to say that DC just isn’t ready for Harley to be portrayed as a queer character, or that it doesn’t make sense in canon, with her steadfast devotion to the Joker, this comic still teases at the possibility, no matter how slim, of an incredibly well-known and popular character being gay. But the issue does not provide that positive representation that is sought after, instead it offers up the comic equivalent of Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl.”

Per-New 52, Gotham City Sirens alsolove teased at the possibility of Ivy being a lesbian, with Harley cruelly mocking Ivy’s potential romantic interests in her. Again, the possibility of a queer character and perspective is instead skirted and, in its place, a mean joke about Poison Ivy trying to get with someone who is “clearly straight” is inserted.

HarleyQuinn_A_580_537e968fa7ed74.99374786In a recent interview, writer Jimmy Palmiotti teased that “issue #7 may have a page in it with Ivy and Harley that I think will keep people talking for a very long time…” but the interview then goes on to reveal that Harley and the Joker will be getting married in an upcoming issue, as well.

It’s unfortunate that all characters follow this unstated rule. Because the comic industry is dominated by straight, white men, that is the overwhelming perspective that is presented in comics. It’s not a bad thing that the perspective exists, it’s the fact that there are so few other perspectives represented. Diversity is important, but there seems to be very little room for characters, writers, artists, and other creators of different races, sexualities, and points of view.
One can only hope that indie comics will continue to offer alternative perspectives from the big two, and that maybe, one day, Marvel and DC will catch on as well.

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MythSpoken #42: “Kickstart My Life”

The MythSpoken Crew is back and talk DC weekly series, the Fall TV schedule, and the perils of KickStarter.

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Show Notes

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MythSpoken Special: Original Sin #1 Review (CSI:616)

Marvel Comics’ Original Sin #1 released this week and the MythSpoken crew delves into the identities of the mysterious figures behind the Watcher’s death and the investigation into his death.  We will be spoiling events in the first issue, so make sure you read it first!

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MythSpoken #41: Han Coughed First

The MythSpoken Crew is back and this week talk about geek privilige, geek elitism, and TV/movie adaptations.

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FCBD: Les Miserables: The Fall of Fantine

Free Comic Book Day is coming! Come celebrate FCBD with us on May 3rd starting at 11am. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be previewing some of the books that we’ll be giving away!

FCBDLesMis
Title: Les Miserables: The Fall of Fantine
Publisher: Udon
Synopsis: A sneak peak of the upcoming manga adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables
If You Like It: The full adaptation will be available in August!

Some Other FCBD Books
The New 52-Futures End
Bongo Comics Free-For-All 2014
Archie Digest 1st Issue 

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FCBD: Archie Comics Digest 1st Issue

Free Comic Book Day is coming! Come celebrate FCBD with us on May 3rd starting at 11am. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be previewing some of the books that we’ll be giving away!

ArchieFCBD2014
Title: Archie Comics Digest 1st Issue
Publisher: Archie Comics
Synopsis: A collection of tales from Riverdale High!
If You Like It: Check out the monthly exploits of Archie and the gang in Archie.
All Ages!

Some Other FCBD Books
The New 52-Futures End 
Bongo Comics Free-For-All 2014

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FCBD: Bongo Comics Free-For-All 2014

Free Comic Book Day is coming! Come celebrate FCBD with us on May 3rd starting at 11am. We’ll be previewing some of the books that we’ll be giving away!

FCBD-2014-Bongo
Title: Bongo Comics Free-For-All 2014
Publisher: Bongo Comics
Synopsis: A collection of Simpsons comic shorts.
If You Like It: You can check out the monthly Bart Simpson and Simpsons comics.
All Ages!

Some Other FCBD Books
The New 52-Futures End #0 

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FCBD: The New 52-Future’s End #0

Free Comic Book Day is coming! Come celebrate FCBD with us on May 3rd starting at 11am. We’ll be previewing some of the books that we’ll be giving away!

DC_FuturesEnd

Title: The New 52-Future’s End #0
Publisher: DC Comics
Synopsis: DC Comics kicks off it’s newest weekly series with a special zero issue.  35 years in the future, Bruce Wayne realizes that to save his present he needs to travel back our present to stop Brother Eye!
If You Like It: The New 52-Future’s End #1 launches May 7th.

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Game the Game: Retrostar Design Blog #1: Embrace the Cheese!

RetroStar

So, Spectrum announced Retrostar awhile back. The intention of it is to emulate the sci-fi shows of the 70s: BSG, Bionic Man, Buck Rogers, etc. Not the films of that era, but specifically the TV shows.

I have taken it upon myself to dissect this “genre” and my goal is to come up with a game the forces the GM and players into an experience that feels like a 70s sci-fi series, with all that implies.

Instead of designing a core mechanic that allows players to punch, and shoot, and pilot, I am starting someplace else.

What makes these shows special? What makes the 70s sci-fi experience unique? There are lots of systems out there that let players fight and shoot and pilot. I want the play session to feel authentic. Steve Austin doesn’t solve every problem by just using his bionics. The scenes with bionics are the highlight of the show. To use a cinematic example (I know this is about TV shows, but bear with me, this is a great example), we don’t see lightsabers in every scene.
Why? SFX budget.

So, one of my design goals is to have each session have an SFX budget.

Secondly, frequently these shows had some real 70s-isms in them, stuff that makes them feel dated and topical (and in this situation, usage of these terms is a positive). So, I want some way to bring these sort of 70s-isms into play, whether it is a discussion on race, or divorce, or a cheesy disco scene. We want to embrace these things and make it so that a session of Retrostar feels unlike any other sci-fi game out there. We do not want folks saying “man, this system is awesome, I can’t wait to run a hack of Retrostar for my hard sci-fi campaign.

Third, TV shows have certain tropes. An most episodes of BSG will have a dogfight, Steve Austin will have to run fast or jump high, etc. So, any series being played with Retrostar should have this built in.

These are my three primary goals for Retrostar, and I have been taking notes, and jotting down ideas how to make these be an integral part of the game. Referring back to Intention, Mechanics, Setting: I want them to mesh perfectly together. It’s a big challenge I have set for myself, and I really excited thinking about the possibilities. Will there be a core mechanic for fighting? Absolutely. But I want these three design components an integral part of the game, so I am starting there as opposed to having them be a secondary concern.

To give a teaser and peel back the curtain a little, one idea I am toying with is a card based mechanic that helps control the flow of the game, ensuring that each BSG episode would have a dogfight or two, and so on. It is an idea in the early stages of germination no doubt, but some neat ideas are coming out of the design process.

Please feel free to comment with your thoughts and suggestions! And know that I am not adverse to letting you on the design process as well! For now, my internal tagline is:
Science fiction- take a scientific principle; pose a question or hypothesis about that principle; and then explore the effects of that principle on society/culture. Now, add disco!

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MythSpoken #40: Amazon Attacks!

The MythSpoken Crew is back and this week they talk about Amazon taking over Comixology, Diversity at PaxEast, and “bending”.

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ScaryBeasts

Show Notes

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