Hartnell had been the adult, the stern grandfather of early 1960s England. Troughton’s tramp with his mop top hair signified a shift in society toward the more free-wheeling and open society of London in the swingin’ sixties. And then along rumbles the Third Doctor in his jalopy Bessie, resplendent in Chelsea boots, velvet jackets, ruffled shirts — the very picture of the sartorial excess of the late 60s/early 1970s. And what’s more, he brought more than one outfit. When the Third Doctor encountered the First, the First Doctor irritably dismissed his later incarnation as “a dandy.” The Second Doctor called him “Fancy Pants.”
I don’t think its any surprised that I’m not a fan of The Killing Joke. I consider it to be at best a mediocre Batman story and one of the lowest moments in DC history in their treatment of female characters.
We all know what happens to Barbara Gordon in the book. We all have heard the tales of Alan Moore calling Len Wein for permission to shoot Barbara Gordon in the book and the response he received:
"I asked DC if they had any problem with me crippling Barbara Gordon - who was Batgirl at the time - and if I remember, I spoke to Len Wein, who was our editor on the project…[He] said, ‘Yeah, okay, cripple the bitch.’
For years there have been discussions about how Barbara Gordon was treated in the book - shot, stripped and photographed naked. I, like many others, have bluntly called it torture porn.
But of course others differ. I’ve been told that there is no rape so there is no mysogyny. That “Jim Gordon is also naked, so it there is no sexism.” That it isn’t about Barbara being a woman but about her being collateral damage.
Sure. Sure it is.
Today some original art from The Killing Joke showed up. And it shows that page. You know page with the photos that Jim Gordon is shown of his daughter.
Recently I moderated a panel discussion on CanLit and the SF/F genre and it got me to thinking. Specifically, it got me thinking about memory. And that’s because if there’s one thing modern Canadian literature is full of, it’s memory. Years ago (a decade, mebbbe?) an industry journal published a chart detailing the subjects of that season’s big-bet books. It was a tongue-in-cheek piece, but it turned out that some ridiculously high percentage of the ‘must read’ novels were all about memory. Ha, it’s funny ’cause it’s true! Next to identity, memory is one of the themes that helps define a distinct Canadian Literature.
Here’s the thing, though: that’s not just true for CanLit. All stories are about memory.
Painting: “Memory or the Heart,” Frida Kahlo (1937)
When Andreyko was announced there was some speculation DC chose him for the job because he is an out gay man. But as the email interview I did with Andreyko earlier this week shows the idea of his joining Batwoman wasn’t DC’s idea.
"My father was a slave and my people died to build this country, and I’m going to stay right here and have a part of it, just like you. And no fascist-minded people like you will drive me from it. Is that clear?"
Paul Robeson, to the House Un-American Activities Committee, June 12 1956
(Detail of frame by Al Ewing, Greg Land et al from Mighty Avengers #1.)
One night, when I was poking around on the internet for something mindless to play, I stumbled across a game called Naked Woman (Steep Hill). The description: “Control the fate of a naked woman riding down a steep hill. 20 options decide her doom. Feel free to suggest any other fates she can face!” My response was something akin to watching a horror movie between your fingers – I had a feeling that I’d wish I hadn’t seen it but I couldn’t quite bring myself to look away.
Mad Science Throwdown: Princess Bubblegum vs Frankenstein
“No one can conceive the variety of feelings which bore me onwards, like a hurricane, in the first enthusiasm of success. Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of light into our dark world. A…
To enumerate the number of horror films that draw from Christian folklore and mysticism would result in a list long enough to qualify as a tome. To do similarly with Buddhist and Taoist folklore would result in much the same, only with a lot more Lam Ching-ying doing backflips. But if you turn the horrific cinema lens on the rich ocean of Jewish folklore, you come up with almost nothing. Oh sure, every now and then a rabbi totters on-screen to help out a priest with some esoteric passage in the Old Testament, but that is Judaism in the service of Christianity, rather than Judaism on its own tackling its own assortment of ghosts and monsters and legends.
“The behavior of the man in question is considered normal in this business. And the few people who know about it consider it to be my fault for “falling for it” when he feigned interest in my work. In my pursuit of doing this work professionally I ran a gauntlet of this sort of thing.”—
Every time I have a conversation with another woman about conventions or pros to be careful of, every time we discreetly pass around names and tips for staying safe, it burns me up so badly to know that dudes are not, as far as I know, having parallel conversations about NOT DOING THAT SHIT IN THE FIRST PLACE. Certainly not with the frequency and volume and routine that we recommend wearing heavy shoes and not letting yourself end up alone in a corner with that one guy.
I’m putting this firmly on the men in comics, because, you know what? Men are the overwhelming majority of the folks in the industry with institutional and hiring power. Even most of the most senior women in editorial departments answer to one or more male boss, usually a dude who has been in the industry long enough and played its games effectively enough to be pretty solidly entrenched in the existing power structure, and, even if he is basically a decent human being, to have capitulated to and internalized and regurgitated appeals to tradition and status quo over things like personal dignity and safety and minimal professionalism.
Men in comics, especially men in positions of institutional power and popular visibility, you need to step the fuck up. It has been going on for so, so, so goddamn long. And the women who speak up get written off as squeaky wheels and malcontents and difficult, and patronized and blacklisted and quietly driven off, and everyone is fucking terrified to go public because the worst perpetrators are the most entrenched and protected.
So: If you’re in a position to speak up, and you’re not doing it; if you’re a boss who looks the other way while your male employees edge out and harass and sometimes even flat-out assault female colleagues and fans; if you’re a professional with enough of a name to command attention; and you see this and don’t speak up long and loud, fuck you. Fuck you so much, for standing by while shitheads poison the well because you were too afraid or apathetic to rock the boat when you were the only one with an oar. Fuck you for throwing your colleagues and people who could and should have been your colleagues under the bus, or standing by quietly while someone else did; for sitting on evidence and documentation; for not speaking up when you have the credibility and platform to make an actual goddamn difference.
I mean: When I said that one guy in the first paragraph, you knew who I was talking about, didn’t you? Doesn’t matter if we were thinking of the same names (and oh, you adorable, naive children who assumed that there could only have been one). What matters is that you knew and you didn’t do a fucking thing.
This week, I thought I saw the first snow of the season. Turns out it was actually sleet, which is kind of like snow’s annoying idiot cousin. But I got excited anyway, because the thing is…
I love winter.
Don’t get me wrong: that doesn’t mean I don’t love fall and spring too. Bright green things unfurling; leaves flaming against a crackling sky – both are wonderful. Spring and fall are energizing and beautiful. Summer… eh, not so much. The heat’s nice, but the humidity can go back to hell at its earliest convenience. I like to do things in the summer, but the season itself is on the bottom of my list.
“You know those girls everyone loves to shit all over? The ones who really fucking love something? Those girls, man. They take all that energy, all that circulating fire in their veins, and instead of letting it destroy them, they choose to love, ferociously. Be it a band, or a book, or a series of films. They do it to keep themselves sane, and yet we mock them for it. Teenage girls find a buoy for themselves in the sea of emotional ruin, and they hold on tighter than anyone else.”—Segment of “Why I Fucking Love Teenage Girls (A Personal Essay from an Almost Adult)” (via acciowomp)
You can easily glance off the top of any book by Stephen King–get a few frights and move on. But there’s a hidden world beneath almost all of his books, and not only is it frightening, it’s incredibly intricate (see this flow chart). I revisited King’s Dark Tower series and some of the related books, and while I’m not entirely sure it was worth it, here are a few things that struck me.
(Illustration from The Wind Through The Keyhole by Jae Lee)
Made from lemons—or possibly lemon candy—the Earl of Lemongrab is one of Princess Bubblegum’s creations in the animated television series, Adventure Time. (I’ve also written about Adventure Time, here). As Princess Bubblegum tells Finn (hero of Adventure Time), “He was the first one of my experiments gone wrong” (“Too Young”) and Lemongrab has gone very wrong since he was brought to life late one night. He is one of the most disturbing Frankensteins* I’ve ever seen. In fact, Lemongrab is the first creature who has instilled in me the sense of utter wrongness that characters in Frankenstein feel upon encountering Victor Frankenstein’s stitched-together son. I so often identify with the monster, that it is fascinating to sympathize with those he freaks the hell out.
“I think I can speak for all of us: We’d rather be doing slapstick comedy. But because we were so concerned, at the time, with getting our work into theaters, we thought: ‘Eh, horror films. That’s a good way in.’” More history of Evil Dead II at The…
“Sometimes I tried to imitate the pleasant songs of the birds but was unable. Sometimes I wished to express my sensations in my own mode, but the uncouth and inarticulate sounds which broke from me frightened me into silence again” (Frankenstein, 110).
Although Planet of the Vampires is as much horror as it is science fiction (just as Haunted World was equal parts mythology and horror), he weaves the two genres together seamlessly to create a film that contains the wonder of science fiction with the creeping paranoia of horror.
That’s a tough character choice. The writer has to make someone who already has already demonstrated that he has no respect for the law and by extension, public welfare, into the hero. That’s hard going. Thing is, when it works, it works really REALLY well.
Screen Editor Alex looks at flaws, failures, Raising Arizona and Run Fatboy Run:
I feel like there’s a lesson in a thousand quirky movies that I, in my struggles to do my absolute best at all times, never quite seem to learn: our limitations don’t make us less lovable. They may drive us crazy and make us more irritating, but being flawed is something we all share. We’re all good at this and suck at that. It’s one of the roots of compassion.
It’s also why I’m fond of movies like Raising Arizona or Run Fatboy Run.
Other more serious writers have written about Rep. John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell‘s The March, Vol 1. (Top Shelf, 2013) . They’ve written about the audacious presentation of solemn historical material in a graphic novel; John Lewis’ contribution to perfecting the Union; The March‘s importance in relation to American History and the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington; and even how Lewis was inspired by a ten cent comic about the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King.
What I keep returning to is young John Lewis’ fondness for chickens.