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Comics Movies Review

Movie Review – Wonder Woman

We saw an early screening, and I’m happy to report director Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman is everything DC should be doing in all of their movies.  It’s epic in scope, as befitting one of DC’s trinity of heroes.  It’s does something interesting with Diana’s origin, managing to homage both her classic origin and the more recent takes.  It has a great deal of heart, something DC’s other EU movies have so far lacked.  It’s genuinely funny, and not in the “this is a joke, please laugh” way that Bruce delivers that “I’m rich” line in the Justice League trailer.  Gal Gadot embodies Diana admirably, whether it’s handling her business on the battlefield or delighting in her first experience with snow.

The cast of characters surrounding Diana are great, with Robin Wright and Connie Nielsen leading the way on Themyscira.  Chris Pine’s is sneaky good as Steve Trevor, a man capable of being rescued and upstaged by a powerful woman.  The baby-men still railing against all-women showings of the movie could learn something from him.  Their romance never feels forced.  I wish we had more of Etta Candy as Lucy Davis’s reaction faces are great.  I was also surprised with how well Wonder Woman handled the particular horrors of World War 1 – since it wasn’t the focus of the movie it would’ve been easy to gloss over what trench warfare was doing to people, but they didn’t.

Any downsides are fairly minor.  The villain is a bit undercooked, taking a page from Marvel’s book, once you get past the surprise reveal regarding him.  The last third of the movie is a bit of a tone-shift from the first two thirds, but you just know they had to have a big battle scene to end things on.  The slow-motion, 300-esque bits with Diana fighting was overused but I’ll allow it.

Wonder Woman was the first DC movie since The Dark Knight where I found myself leaning in, hanging on the action and the character building bits.  Take your kids (not just your daughters) and enjoy the ride.

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Comics

Comics Twitter is a JERK!

Subtitled “Ask me about MY feminist agenda”.

The thing about this whole mess I don’t get is, why do the misogynist man-babies get so wound up about a book they didn’t read?  They are gleefully vile in attacking Chelsea Cain after the cancellation of the Mockingbird series, and the preview of Joelle Jones’s cover to Mockingbird #8 seen in part above.  Why?  Why are they so threatened by the idea of a comic book series not directly aimed at them?

I’m late to Mockingbird, mostly because I didn’t have a ton of cash for comics over the past year or so, but I’ve read it up as the issues have hit Marvel Unlimited and it’s quite a bit of fun, enough that I’m going to get the trades.  The thing is, if I hadn’t liked it I could just…not read it.  Even if I had bought the first issue, and not liked it, I’m out, like $4.  I could MOVE ON and not make my whole life about the fact that a woman wrote (or drew or colored or lettered) a comic that was not specifically targeted to me.  The fact that Hellcat exists doesn’t actually stop me from reading Iron Man or Batman.  Your local comic shop isn’t going to smack that issue of Superman out of your hand, rip a five-spot from your wallet, and stuff an issue of Lumberjanes in your bag whether you want it or not.  Look, I guarantee comic companies don’t want to replace your manly comics with feminist ones, they want to sell BOTH.  They will make more of whatever sells.  Marvel would put out 100 books a week if they all sold 50k copies.  They don’t, so some books go on, and some get cancelled.  Mockingbird didn’t find an audience, but the correct response shouldn’t be to crow about it and harass the creators behind it beyond all reasonable endurance.  You should be celebrating that a company is willing to try something different than just another comic about a white guy punching bad guys because his parents died.

There is no excuse for what happened to Chelsea Cain, or any other person who has been chased off or had vile insults and threats leveled at them for the ‘crime’ of doing something in a formerly male-dominated space.  Don’t give in to the impulse to gatekeep ‘others’ out of your hobby, and seriously, don’t take your hobby so seriously that you think abusing strangers is a good idea.  I get really tired of being a part of fandoms that act like this (I’m a gamer too).  I plan to be a better ally, and so should you.

Anybody who wants to check out Chelsea Cain’s work, see the below:

  1. Mockingbird, Volume 1:  I Can Explain
  2. Mockingbird, Volume 2:  My Feminist Agenda
  3. Heartsick
  4. One Kick

Go ahead, step outside your comfort zone.  You may just be glad you did.

Categories
Comics Life

The “For Boys” Problem

MattieCapSweatshirt
My girls!

This is my daughter, Mattie (and the back of my other daughter, Eva).  The girls have taken on my love of comics, mostly due to the show Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  M is wearing her new Captain America hoodie which may be her new favorite possession.  Upon seeing it in the store, Eva squealed “Daddy, do they have a THOR ONE???” but a quick check of the racks showed that they did not.  Hey, his last movie came out a while back.  So I did a search for ‘Thor hooded sweatshirt’, and the first link went to the Disney store.  As soon as the link loaded though, I rolled my eyes.  “Thor Costume Hoodie for Boys” it says.  The thing is, for a kid that is under say, 10, hoodies are all pretty much the same.  I had no problem buying that out of the ‘boys’ section, but a lot of people would avoid that.  Online, it shouldn’t even BE a problem.  Just tag it for both and drop the “for boys” out of the name.

It didn’t get any better when I scrolled to the bottom of the page.  Six more related items, all hoodies for Marvel heroes (and R2D2), all “for boys”.  The Thor character page for girls is desolate, with a Mr. Potato Head toy, a set of figurines, and Disney Infinity 2.0.  Last I checked, glasses, wall clings and books work the same for either gender.

BoysHoodies

I find the lack of Thor stuff for girls particularly funny right now, as Thor in the comics is going to BE a woman in just a few weeks.  Cosplayers of both genders have been dressing as Thor forever.  Women and girls go to comic book movies, they work in comic book stores, they read comics.  Why don’t the companies making this stuff get that?  There are sources for stuff at some of the more niche sites on the web, but most folks aren’t going to WeLoveFine or SuperheroStuff.  The girls who want to wear this now are the ones who will pick up a Spider-Man comic on a whim when they get to be teens, and will be filling Tumblr (or whatever fills that role in 10 years) with GIFs of whoever the next Hugh Jackman, Chris Evans or ScarJo is.

I hope this gets better.  DC and Marvel both have some really great books starring female heroes they could get more gear out there for, but sometimes your daughter just ends up loving Captain America, despite how many times you read Ms. Marvel or Captain Marvel around them.  Let’s support it, okay?

Categories
Featured Media Movies Review

The Dark Knight Rises

Spoilers, in case you still haven’t seen it yet.

I’ve seen The Dark Knight Rises twice now, and my head is still swirling.  After the first time, I agreed with the prevailing sentiment that it was a good finish to the trilogy, but The Dark Knight was better on its own, and left it at that.  But it kept popping up in my mind, making me think over the parts that worked and didn’t work, and I finally decided to see it again yesterday on the spur of the moment.  I might’ve enjoyed it more, then, especially since I was seeing it fresh vicariously through the people sitting behind me.  They’d obviously only seen the previous 2 movies and didn’t know much about Batman outside of that, as every new twist brought forth a gasp or an “oh SHIT” reaction.  I’d grin to myself as I knew one was coming (spoilers:  Bane breaking Batman’s back, Ra’s al Ghul’s “appearance”,  Talia knifing Batman, Bruce Wayne appearing at the end).  I also teared up a bit more, and the replaying of the scene of young Jim Gordon wrapping his coat around little Bruce Wayne slayed me.  The first time, only Alfred at the graves got me that hard.

I really enjoyed the way fear has been used as a theme through the trilogy.  Bruce learns to conquer fear itself and use it against his enemies, but finds that without the fear of dying, you lose the strength that comes from adrenaline, that gives even us normal, non-League of Shadows trained folks the ability to perform amazing feats when our lives depend on it.  It’s an interesting twist, to me, the idea that a crimefighter who is usually outnumbered and outgunned would actually NEED fear.

Unlike some, I loved many of the fan shout-outs (some mentioned above) and would swoon if they could somehow convince DC/WB/whoever to make a Batman Beyond-ish movie with Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a new Batman, and Bruce Wayne in a mentor role.  But that’ll never happen, no matter how well they set it up.  Does anyone know if JGL can do a raspy voice?

Hey, Catwoman.  I’m surprised I got this far without mentioning her.  I thought Anne Hathaway did a fine job, and the counterpoint of someone trying to escape the coming danger versus someone who runs headlong into it (after she pushes his buttons with the heist) was quite interesting.

Let’s discuss this, guys.  I feel like I have a lot of thoughts just below the surface, waiting to come out.

Categories
Featured Media

Where Comic Books Make Us Uncomfortable

By now, you may have heard of DC’s mass reboot of most of their comic books, and some of the expected backlash.  A new spin, though, is the shall we say gratuitous sexyfication of females that occurred along with it.  You can read this response to what’s happened to Starfire from a 7 year-old comic fan, as told to her mom, an author.  Now none of the ‘boobs and skin’ focus in comics is particularly new, or specific to DC, although these recent changes kind of drive it all home.  As an occasional comic reader, I’ve always rolled my eyes at fact that you have to be a designated ‘kid sister’ type character in a comic to NOT have large projectiles jutting out in front of you, held perfectly in place by  – of course! – a skin tight costume.  Looking at them now as a parent, I’m even more uncomfortable.  I am actually much more likely to avoid the books with female characters, as I don’t want my kids to think this is normal.  Male superheroes can be tall, short, skinny, musclebound whatever.  Why are all females scantily clad and buxom?  It’s like the big companies got caught in a loop of declining sales – make it edgier/sexier – slight improvement – go further! – until they reached a point where it was too much.  The uncanny mountains are a bit too in your face.

I don’t know, now I’m rambling.  I know there are good independent artists doing fine work, and probably one or two of the ‘mainstream’ books that would be OK, but these are the characters I grew up with.  I’d like to share Spider-Man with my son {and later, my daughter} without wincing every time someone like the Black Cat slithers onto the page.