thedeadparrot: (sniping the unsuspecting)
(posted by on Feb. 16th, 2016 08:38 pm)
I just read the first volume of Bitch Planet, and it's a little hard to talk about because the story is just warming up, and it's taking its sweet time. Which is fine. I just have a hard time forming strong opinions on certain things until I get to see how they unfold.

But really, the reason why I'm writing this review isn't because of the plot of the thing, which has a lot of different ways in which they could play out, but instead, because the tone of the comic really sticks with me.

I described it on Twitter as 'a primal scream of feminist rage' and that's pretty much exactly how and why it works. It took me a bit to get on board with it. The first issue feels a little too 'The Handmaid's Tale meets Orange is the New Black' and it felt like it was checking off boxes on 'patriarchy is horrible and women suffer under it a lot' checklist that feminist literature/media tends towards.

But.

But.

Then the story transforms into something else entirely. It's not just about female suffering. It's about female anger and female agency as well. There's almost a visceral power fantasy in it, the ability to fight back, to take what's awful in the world and shove it in the faces of the people who don't know or don't care or who are perpetuating it. There's a pulpy glee to the worldbuilding that prevents it from being dreary. I'm glad people recced it to me, and I'm glad I get to pay that rec forward.
thedeadparrot: (boston)
(posted by on Dec. 3rd, 2015 07:15 pm)
for [personal profile] escritoireazul
(I'm happy to take more topics!)

This is so tough for me to say because I consume a lot of media and I hate ranking things. So here's a list of 5 things I have enjoyed a lot over the past year! I will most assuredly forget things or leave things off that I will totally regret not mentioning earlier. Anyway, I'm just going to talk about what I liked about these things without caveats, even though they're imperfect and flawed.


Sense8

This show was such a breath of fresh air! It's so easy for scifi/genre entertainment these days to be cynical and grimdark, and I'm no exception to that. It's so refreshing to have a show that is unabashedly humanist. It's not all sunshine and flowers. The world can be ugly and imperfect, too, But it's a show that believes human beings are worth caring about, that we can be better than we are. It's such a lovely and powerful message.


Jessica Jones

I noped out of Top of the Lake because it was so dismal and so bleak. I complained to a bunch of friends that I was sick of stories about 'men doing awful things to women'. I wanted more stories of 'women doing things'. And this is that show for me. It's all about women having agency, struggling to make correct decisions, even when the villain is the embodiment of a lack of agency. I loved the way the metaphors and the genre trappings fit together perfectly. I loved how many different types of female relationships and female characters are portrayed. I loved that it was a story about recovery not revenge.


Ms. Marvel (vol 1.)

It's a fairly standard 'girl gets powers, has to figure out how to use them and also how to maintain a secret identity', but it's done with such verve and detail and sweetness that I can't help but love it. The handling of Muslim identity was great. It taught me things I didn't know anything about. And I loved that I could see plenty of my teenage self in Kamala.


Magic Mike XXL

This movie is full of contradictions for me, but I can't help but be entertained by it anyway. Where the first movie is split between its desire to be gritty and real and also dirty-fun entertainment, this one throws out all the gritty realness in favor of going all-out on the dirty-fun entertainment. And strangely enough, it's a much better movie for that.


Inside Out

I am generally a sucker for Pixar, and this was just such a warm, heart-wrenching story of growing up, told in a delightful way. I legit cried like a baby in the theater because the emotions were so visceral to me. It makes its argument that we need to learn to be whole people, to embrace all the flawed, imperfect sides of ourself and use that knowledge to grow and become better. It doesn't make this journey easy. It's one of the hardest things in the entire world. And this movie is all about how difficult and how painful it can be and how rewarding it can be if you can succeed.
thedeadparrot: (death and dream)
(posted by on Sep. 26th, 2015 05:09 pm)
The Dispossessed

It was good, really good. But that's LeGuin for you. So very deliberate and measured and controlled.


Ms. Marvel Vol. 1

I know I'm so late to this party, but I love it so much? It's so good? It follows some very well-worn paths in terms of discovering powers and the tensions of secret identities, but it does it with such specificity and verve and style that I can't help but love it. It also tackles the immigrant experience in a way that felt very true and honest to me, and I love Kamala so much! She's navigating so many different things, and I love her for that.

I need Volume 2 posthaste.


Uprooted

I know I'm not the only person to notice this, but the Dragon is totally 80% Rodney McKay. Fanon Rodney McKay, naturally, and I definitely felt a whiff of Fanon John Sheppard in Agnieszka's relationship with him, where magic = ATA gene. There's definitely that similar sort of brusque dismissiveness masking jealousy and grudging respect and also, instinct vs. scientific reasoning, etc.

Overall, I enjoyed it immensely in the same way you enjoy a well-constructed fanfic, entertaining and satisfying, and it goes down so very easy.
thedeadparrot: (need for speed)
(posted by on Apr. 22nd, 2015 08:48 pm)
So I ended up reading Second Quest, which is a lovely comic about Zelda (the video game series), an interrogation and deconstruction of it. I want to like it more than I do. It's written by the guy who wrote Saving Zelda and it's drawn by the guy who did the art for Braid, and that was definitely more than enough for me to be willing to give it a shot in the first place.

I love the idea of a feminist examination of Zelda and of the video game tropes that animate it, and the comic definitely takes a good stab at it. But there's something about the execution that doesn't quite resonate for me.

Maybe it's that my expectations were too high. Maybe it's that I'm comparing it (unfairly) to what I've seen fic writers do with problematic canons (hell, and problematic fannish tropes!) and how they poke and prod at it until they've cracked it wide open instead of just tipped things over a bit. Maybe it's that I'm unfairly comparing it to Broken Age, which has similar themes and has more time and space to explore its ideas. But it feels like a shallow, lumpy experience. Parts of it feel too drawn out. Parts of it feel too rushed.

I like the main character Azalea, but she's kind of your standard Plucky Girl Who Walks Away From Omelas kind of archetype and doesn't go much further than that. There are pieces that reference Zelda lore and mechanics, but that feel kind of half-there, not fleshed out enough. The trinkets, for example. The bird companion. Her relationship with her father.

This is a lot of griping, though, and it's a lot better than I'm making it out to be. It has something to say and it articulates it in a cool way. The art is gorgeous. There are plenty of moments of pure wonder. It's jam-packed with interesting ideas. But there's also something frustrating at the center of it, and not in the good way.
thedeadparrot: (staring at the sun)
(posted by on Dec. 4th, 2014 09:17 pm)
for [personal profile] stultiloquentia
Posting Schedule

Sex Criminals is a comic book series about sex.

That was probably a little self-obvious, right? It's in the title after all.

I had a discussion with some of my coworkers yesterday about comic books, ironically enough, and one of them talked about the distinct divide between superhero adjacent comics and comics that come out of the indie scene. Sex Criminals is definitely one of the former. When you're used to the language of superhero comics, how do you write a comic book about sex? Give people magic powers when they have orgasms, of course.

Of course.

Sex Criminals is a comic book series about a man and a woman robbing banks with magical sex powers.

Sex Criminals is a comic book series that uses magical sex powers as a way of talking about sex in a way that's sharp, nuanced, and funny.

Sex Criminals is a comic book series about confused teenagers trying to muddle their way through understanding how sex works.

Sex Criminals is a comic book series about adults falling in love with one another.

Sex Criminals is a comic book series that contains a long-running joke about a sex shop named Cumworld.

Sex Criminals is a comic book series that you clearly should read based on that criteria alone.

Have I mentioned that I want Sex Criminals AUs to be the new, hip AU in fandom? People should write all of them for me.
thedeadparrot: (flying)
(posted by on Dec. 4th, 2014 06:34 am)
for [personal profile] stultiloquentia
Posting Schedule

The problem with trying to recommend Saga to people is that it is always one or two steps away from sounding terrible.

"Okay," you say to a potential reader, "it's a Romeo and Juliet story, but it's not about their tragic love affair, it's about everything that comes after that point, like running away from bounty hunters who want to kidnap and/or kill them and their child. Oh, and instead of feuding families, it's warring planets (well, planet and its moon) because they're kind of space aliens, and it's not really science fiction, it's more like science fantasy, because they can do magic and stuff."

"Uh huhhhhh," the potential reader says, eyes glazing over.

"But it's really good!" you say.

"Right," the potential reader says. "Sure."

At least most of the internet agrees with me. That definitely makes the sell a little bit easier.

Half of the reason why I was willing to give Saga a chance was because I knew the writer's previous work, Ex Machina and Y: the Last Man. Ex Machina in particular stuck with me, tbh, probably because I have lots of technopathy feelings. It's the story of a superhero who has hung up his cape, such as it ever was, and runs for office as mayor of New York City and wins. It deals with the after effects of his time as a super hero (while he's still super powered, of course) and the political battles he needs to fight as mayor. It's never a particularly strong critique of superhero tropes or a particularly strong commentary on the nature of politics, but what it does do is just as important. It explores the interactions and intersections between the two, superheroism and politics, with unflinching honesty and genuine care.

And that's why you should read Saga.

Saga is about taking something that sounds kind of ridiculous on paper and making honest and funny. It doesn't shy away from those giddy science fantasy feelings of awe and adoration and wonder, but also it refuses to glorify war or use love as a magical spackle to fix all relationship problems or make bounty hunters cool rather than kind of pathetic and sad. At the heart of the series is a story about marriage and childrearing and family and how genuinely difficult all of those things are, exaggerated as they may be by the science fantasy setting. It takes that world and shades it full of feelings. Not the reflected feelings for hero's journey stories or fantasy stories long past, but feelings for these particular characters, these particular foibles and successes.

Oh, and not everyone is white.

Plus, the art is gorgeous.

Okay, caveat time. Some of the reason why it sounds so terrible is because early on, some elements feel like they were birthed from the brain of a teenage boy who has been unleashed on an HBO TV show. Whoa, sex and violence and cursing? I can do it however much I want wherever I want? Let's introduce a character while he's fucking another character! Let's have alien giants with huge balls! Let's have a female alien bounty hunter wander around topless! But those elements never overwhelm the story and they settle and recede into the background as the comic moves on.

Also, it takes forever for new issues and new volumes to come out, but that's probably to be expected considering how good it is.

Volume 4 comes out this month! I am so excited to get to read it.
thedeadparrot: (crouching tiger)
(posted by on Apr. 11th, 2009 03:14 pm)
First, a PSA: Yes. I'm going to be joining Dreamwidth eventually. Just thought I'd put that out there.


Next! I picked up Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology, because wheeeee, Asian American superheroes! I'm enjoying reading it, for the most part, but hmmm, I do have lots of thoughts:

- It's very much an anthology of a shared world, with a lot of different creators, which is very cool, but the stories are very short and not all of them are good at working with that little space. Some of the time, the characters/situations are just way too frustratingly short. Individually, the art styles are lovely, but I do love the patchwork, mishmash feel of the different styles next to one another (all in black and white except for one section). I love the way it shows how varied and different we are, how many different voices we speak with.

- I like the way it deals with history, Chinese railroad workers and Japanese internment camps, but see above as to why I feel like it's frustrating when they touch on these ideas and can't spend a lot of time following through on these ideas.

- I am less pleased with how they deal with Asian-American historical figures like Vincent Chen and Wen Ho Lee, because I don't know, they feel uncomfortably like RPF without the disclaimers.

- It really should be called "The East Asian American Comic Book Anthology". South Asian creators/characters are not very present, though there are a few.

- I am also displeased that there's a "Girl Power" section, because it seems to mean that female superheroes are frustratingly absent from the other sections (and the number of female creators overall is also frustratingly small). I realize this reflects the rest of the superhero comics industry FAILING ALL THE TIME in this regard, but I do have to say I found it disappointing. Though if I'm comparing it to the superhero comics, maybe I should be glad that there have yet to be any women stuffed in refrigerators or have rape as part of their origin stories?

- I think I like the stories best when they act as a criticism of race issues within superhero comics themselves. Most of them play on superhero tropes, and all of them touch on racism, but the fanfic nerd in me really likes to see that reclamation of problematic stories.

- I also lol every time an overbearing parent is referenced/shows up. (And it happens A LOT.)

Overall, a very fun (though somewhat uneven) read.
thedeadparrot: (batman begins)
(posted by on Aug. 2nd, 2008 05:53 pm)
So, there's this Batman comic series called Gotham Central, and I love it like cookies. It's all about the cops of Gotham trying to fight crime and go about their business with supervillains and Batman running around causing havoc. It's pretty obvious that The Dark Knight was influenced by it, as there's a bit with the Joker that's almost identical between the movie and the comic. It's wonderfully moody, dark and intelligent, and I love the Law & Order feel to it. Plus, the third-person pov of Gotham and how it works is just excellent.

But that's not even the best part. The best part is that there are female characters! Who are genuinely characters with their own story arcs and motives, and they're allowed to care about things besides husbands and babies! And there are characters of color! Who are not thugs! And are in fact about half or more of the main characters! And there are lesbians! Who are not crazy or dead! And even though the two lesbians both like and respect each other, they are not, in fact, romantically involved in any way whatsoever! This is not to say that the series is without issue, but it's so much better than I would have expected.

Tragically, this series only lasted for 40 issues, mostly due to some of the creators leaving for other things, but it was definitely amazing while it lasted. And it definitely makes me angry that we have such a shoddy Montoya clone in The Dark Knight. They should have just made her the real deal.

If you're interested in taking a peek, the [livejournal.com profile] scans_daily tag is here.
thedeadparrot: (porcelain)
(posted by on Aug. 10th, 2005 10:36 pm)
Yeah, so I've been lazy for a while. I want to see a new movie, but all of the ones in theaters a) I don't care for or b) suck. The Brothers Grimm looks interesting, if only because of Terry Gilliam, but it sounds vaguely dumb, so yeah, maybe not.

Finally, finally, finally got my room assignment. I'm not on Keeney Quad, which totally screws with my sense of placement, but I think I'll figure things out. My roommate likes Monty Python and the Beatles. This is such a fortuitous event, I'm tempted to give up atheism. Now if I could be certain that my schedule is going to work out.

Read a whole bunch of Batman TPBs because yes, I am lame.

Thoughts:
The Long Halloween/Dark Victory )
Dark Knight Returns )
Batman: Year One )
No Man's Land )

There's a whole bunch more that I could comment on, but I think I'll leave it at that for now.

Ocarina of Time is a great game, but unlike KotoR, playing it for extended periods of time is not an option. Also, because I'm using an emulator, I just simply cannot beat this one part, and it pisses me off. Argh. The arrow keys are just not the same.

I want to read V for Vendetta. The trailer has piqued my interest, and everything about it sounds like it would be my sort of thing. Will check it out later.

Facebook isn't that interesting/good/whatnot as people were hyping. Seriously.

I think I might be able to get around to working some more on I Might Be Wrong. If I can pull myself away from my Batman obsession, of course.
.

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