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Monday, May 06, 2013

Taking another break....

Hey, there, audience.

I'm just writing this to say that I'm going to let this site go quiet for a while. I know, I know, I've done it before without saying a word, why do so now, blah blah blah.

I am really doing this for me. Because to be quite honest, that's all it has ever been: me rambling to myself. I am the only constant here, so I need to tell myself I am not going to write anymore. I know it sounds weird, but you creative types out there know what I mean. There is nothing more devastating to a wannabe writer than a blank page. And that is all this has been. A repeated torture session of blank pages.

I really don't have any reason or motivation to continue. I can't make up my mind what I want this site to be. I can't  even decide how I want to write a freaking book review, for crap's sake. There isn't any real demand for my two cents, except that which I create for myself. And despite this, I still beat myself up for not doing anything, simply because I think I must. And I can't do that anymore.

I'm tired, guys. I'm tired of trying, of forcing myself to do something I get nothing out of. So I am consciously and willingly shutting off. No promises to update, no affirmations of "just write" or any of those stupid platitudes. No shame at seeing another empty page. 

I've got nothing interesting to say. About anything. And it's time I realized it.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Superheroes, White Male Gaze And Colorblind Casting

Just a quick post while this is still on my mind.

So, if you travel in the same geeky circles I do on the web, chances are you heard the rumors about Michael B Jordan (The Wire, Chronicle) being considered for the role of Johnny Storm/The Human Torch in an upcoming Fantastic Four reboot.

Courtesy of Comic Book Resources Facebook Page

When this news broke, the those geeky circles went a little...bugmunch crazy. It was basically a rehash of the drama surrounding the Donald Glover/Amazing Spider-Man  casting rumors. That led into the other bit of drama surrounding the decision to replace Peter Parker in Ultimate Spider-Man with a biracial legacy character, Miles Morales
Picture courtesy i09
Oh and let's not forget the utter rage unleashed when Idris Elba was cast as secondary character/plot device Heimdall in Thor. Which really didn't make sense to me, because he also played Roque in The Losers, and that guy was white(ish, couldn't really tell from the coloring, but he certainly wasn't brown). Of course, Roque was just a guy, and Heimdall is a Norse deity, so of course one is more plausible than the other. But why?
Picture courtesy of Comics Alliance/Yahoo!

What's the big deal? Why all the nerd rage over what barely amounted to rumors in the top two cases, and what was a fairly innocuous role in the latter? Well, it seems the biggest objections are based on fidelity to source material; the idea is that since the characters were created as Caucasians and have been such for so long, they should stay so in all portrayals of the character, or at least in any popular media. Now sure, one could interpret the complaining as racism, intentional or not. And there are those who plainly state such. But a good number, arguably the majority, are making earnest arguments about the issues with changing something that is pretty intrinsic.  They use the example of changing Black Panther or any other minority superhero to a white person as proof as to why this wouldn't work. Race is indeed an essential part of the character, and changing that would utterly undermine both him and the stories being told.

And that would be a good argument in any other world but this one. Here, it is bullcrap.

The real problem here is white male gaze, and it's overpowering and ingrained nature. These characters were made white males because that was who was doing the creating in the first place. And due to that gaze being so widespread, it has become the default. Nobody questions a white superhero. Nobody asks if this guy is able to do the job because he is a particular hue. Nobody is treating him as the unofficially official representative of his particular race. Nobody assumes that he has to look or act a certain way to considered either a viable superhero or a viable white person. When a superhero is white, there are no questions or assumptions. No sideways glances and whispers behind the back. There is no "white" attached. He is just a superhero.

It is NOT the same for black superheroes. Or Hispanic ones. Or gay ones. Or female ones. And that's sad.

So yeah, I'm not weeping over black Spider-Man. I'm not going to gnash my teeth for a Human Torch that isn't an Aryan dreamboat. I just want the best people involved, who can truly embody the character. The Human Torch is a jerk, an annoying little brother whose ability to project and manipulate fire matches his "hotheaded" personality. He is also a steadfast friend and family member  who will and has fought to the death to protect those he loves. He is a hero. Now the question is: what in that brief description requires him to be white? What about his official Marvel bio? Or his Wikipedia entry? Or anything that describes him as a character and a person? What exactly, besides the circumstances of his creation requires him to be white in order to still fit them?

Huh. "Circumstances of his creation." That's really what it's all about. Chance. Circumstance. Happenstance. Anybody could have done it. He could have been Joachim Storm. Or Jericho Storm. Or Jenny Storm. And nothing central to the character, nothing central to enjoying the character would have changed.

I honestly could give or take another Fantastic Four movie. I see the promise behind the material, and the last films certainly fell short to me. And Michael B Jordan is a talented young man who should be given a lot more roles. But I'm not going to cry if this ends up another internet rumor. Just like I won't cry if it becomes fact. All I want is a good story.

Am I wrong?

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

I'm Not Saying, I'm Just Saying...


Heroic leader who is set up as the chief representative of his/her species

Bucky O'Hare Default Shepards

Member of all-female species with immense psychic powers, who is also de-facto love interest and fanservice, who is direct competition with latest female guest star
Jenny Liara Character Box

Deadpan snarker who acts as sharpshooter and main ship gunner, has cool injury to one side of face and goes rogue from his previous job to join the crew
Deadeye Duck GarrusME200

Boisterous big guy from a proud warrior race, known for berserker rages and frightens the crap out of most mooks
Bruiser Wrex Character Box

Adorkable young genius who gets involved through happenstance and for some reason cannot return home, proves to be tougher and more courageous than they first seem
Willy DuWitt Tali Character Box

Artificial intelligence that serves as backup tech guy
AFC Blinky Legion

Massive god-like AI that mind controls his minions into doing his bidding, seeking to eradicate the pesky organics keeping him from total domination/eradication of all known life

Dragon to the massive AI above, that leads the enemy forces, becomes a cyborg and only sees others as either tools, scum or annoyances
Toadborg Virmire Saren Fueltank Full Shot Cropped

Humanoid yet clearly alien threat that acts as antithesis to dominant races (reptile/amphibian vs. mammal and organic vs synthetic), who were once thought a joke/empty threat but thanks to above AI have become much more dangerous
 New Geth Races Page Image

Joke character that keeps getting in the way of the plot, thinks he is more important than he is and everyone would rather he just shut up and go home
Air Marshal ConradVerner

Awesome spaceship with fitting name that is known for being a prototype with experimental technology (that mainly acts as a handwave)
Image Normandy Render

Personal vehicle that steers like a b*tch but deserves a bit respect (although one is clearly superior)
Courtesy this guy
 Mako 2

Federation of alien worlds united to fight the invading menace, with rank and file members just as brave as the main hero....
Commander Dogstar Anderson Character Box

but led by the most useless council imaginable
Vice Chairman Griff Citcouncill

I'm not saying, I'm just saying...

(Bucky O'Hare and Mass Effect are owned by their respective owners. Images used, unless otherwise indicated, are from The Bucky O'Hare Fan Fiction and Information Site and Mass Effect Wiki. Used for humor purposes only.)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Numbered Things I Love and/or Hate: DC Comics (Over the Last Decade)

When we last left off, I was expressing my opinion on the current mainstream comics landscape with regards to Marvel Comics.Well, it is only fair to give the Distinguished Competition the same treatment.

So, DC Comics. They...have not been having as good a time as Marvel has. Despite releasing two of the most lauded and respected films of the last decade (and an apparently middling follow-up; I still haven't seen The Dark Knight Rises) and an excellent run on video games that the new Injustice: Gods Among Us is shaping up to continue, everything else has gone kinda...bleh. Their one time dominance of animation has dwindled down due to killing off those few shows that were growing into themselves and becoming much more developed (good night, Young Justice and Brave and the Bold) while replacing them with half-hearted clones of previous successes (seriously, Teen Titans? Seriously? And I'm not even bothering with Beware the Batman). The live-action department hasn't been doing much better, with Arrow pretty much the only non-Batman property to remotely stand for any length of time. And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the elephant in the room: the New 52. A editorial and marketing crapstorm of epic proportions. With every hit, another two titles got knocked out before their first storyline got finished. But with Man of Steel on the horizon (although still involving Nolan) and the comics universe now reaching a weird state of equilibrium, can DC get back to being top dog once again?

To be honest, I've always leaned more towards Marvel than DC. That's not to say that there were no DC titles I liked, just that I found myself drawn more to the other guys growing up. And when the few DC titles I did follow slowly faded from publication, I found myself drawn less and less to them. Of course, this means that my frustration with them has lasted a lot longer and hit a bit harder than Marvel did.

I'll try not to repeat myself in this post, but I will say that a lot of the negatives in the Marvel piece applies just as much to these guys. Hell, just swap out Bendis for Geoff Johns (or to a lesser extent, Grant Morrison) and Civil War for Mad Libs Crisis.

Enough. I'm getting bored. To the good stuff:

Cover photo
Image courtesy of DC Comics Google+ page

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Updates Ahoy!

So for those of you still keeping up with me and the blog, I am going to be trying some new things over the coming weeks. Hopefully I will not fall on my face with them.

One is an epic surprise that, once seen, a lot of you familiar with my past antics are gonna wonder why I didn't do it sooner.

So stay tuned!

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