I decided to add “equality” given that I do read a lot of articles with intersectionality that cover stopping a lot of -isms, and they are all equally important. As always, these are links that I found interesting and you might too.
Books Nominated for 2013 Hugo Awards!
Woohoo! Chicks Unravel Time & Chicks Dig Comics were nominated for The Hugo Awards. Big congratulations to the editors, all the other writers, and everyone else involved in the production and love of these books. 🙂
Huzzah! Both Chicks Dig Comics and Chicks Unravel Time, which I contributed to, are nominated for Hugo Awards. Congratulations to the editors, all the writers, and to everyone else who also contributed to these books.
Ironically, both are nominated for the same award, in the Best Related Work category. Both are rad books and products of the love and hard work of everyone involved. I don’t think I’ll be making it out for the awards in person, but will be celebrating all the fun with everyone else online as they’ll be streaming it.
I fell in love with G. Willow Wilson’s The Butterfly Mosque hard. Which seems like an odd thing to say about a memior, particularly one by someone still alive and who’s only a year older than myself. (Also we live in the same awesome city of Seattle.) Wilson’s memoir is about her conversion to Islam, about her marriage to an Egyptian man, and about forging her own identity as an American Muslim learning to live in Egypt and the Middle East in a post-9/11 world.
While Wilson and I live very different lives, I was drawn in by both the beauty and truth in The Butterfly Mosque and the telling of a story about building an identity that is different from the various ones prescribed by society — whether American, Muslim, or Egyptian, in this case — and standing up for what works for her. I highly relate to taking the path that works best for oneself instead of the easy road. And Wilson certainly does not take the easy path.
I’m pleased to say that I have a lot of favorite female writers. But I am the type of person to seek out female authors on purpose. Gail Simone is one of my favorite comic book writers. She’s written for such book as Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman, Gen13, and Secret Six, and she’s greatly added to the canons of some of my favorite female characters.
Simone started off as a fan. A comic book fan who noticed that women characters were mostly ignored, tortured, and killed to serve the stories of the male heroes. Simone created a database of sorts cataloging all the atrocious torture and deaths women characters were subjected to in far greater numbers than their male counterparts. She coined the term, “Women in Refrigerators” for these unfortunate acts.
Simone caught the eye of DC Comics, and they decided to hire her as a writer. She’s been on their payroll ever since. Simone’s run on Birds of Prey is one of the most celebrated “female-friendly” comic books out there. The reason being not just that Simone can craft a good story, but because she treats her characters — whether female or male — the same. The Birds of Prey is a team largely composed of women, mostly protecting Gotham City (though they do venture out). At the heart of the team is Oracle (Barbara Gordon, the former Batgirl), Black Canary (Dinah Lance), and Huntress (Helena Bertinelli). These women and others not only have adventures and defeat bad guys, but they are genuine friends and family. In a genre where women rarely have their own agency in stories, it’s even more rare that women work together and become friends with each other. Simone says she didn’t set out of create a “female-friendly” comic book, but by DC Comics hiring a woman writer with the sensibility to tell women’s stories, Birds of Prey was able to reach an expanded audience with women fans.
Simone also had a great run on Wonder Woman, where she not only reunited Diana with her mother, but even let Wonder Woman have a love interest again. On the other end of the spectrum, Simone’s Secret Six is about the nasty things villains do to heroes and do to each other, proving that women writers can be just as sick and twisted as their male peers.
When I was in religious school, my 7th grade theology teacher skipped over the story of Deborah, and really, all the stories about women in the Bible as they just got too incongruous with the view of the patriarchy we were learning. As a budding feminist and a quick reader, I decided to read these stories while he was going on a tangent I could ignore.
Deborah is featured in the Old Testament in the Book of Judges. She is the only female judge. The judges are warrior-leaders of God and deliver His word to the people.
Deborah is a prophetess who leads the Israelites against the Assyrians. She foretells the coming battle and clearly sees how the Israelites can win. Deborah is portrayed as strong and independent, perhaps hearkening back to the matriarchal roots of Judaism as her story could come from 12th century BCE.
Deborah’s story also features another woman Jael. Jael is actually the one who kills the Assyrian leader when he seeks refuge in her tent.
I love Kate Kane and Renee Montoya’s relationship as depicted in 52 and Detective Comics. I’m a little bit of a sucker for opposites attract. Of course, Kate and Renee aren’t that different than they first appear to each other and perhaps that’s the real reason why they break up.
While Renee and Kate come from different backgrounds — Renee is pure working class, while Kate is a rich socialite — both have a law and order background and then later become superheroes. Kate and Renee hook up right after Kate’s kick out of the military due to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and Renee’s a newly minted cop. As Renee heads toward a detective promotion, Kate finds herself asking how she can make the world better, only to run into the Batman himself. Of course, on the personal side, Kate’s out to her family and accepted, and Renee’s still very much closeted.
When Renee becomes the Question and Kate is Batwoman, they rekindle their relationship briefly in 52. But when the Religion of Crime decides that they need to sacrifice Kate, Renee tries to shut the organization down and save Kate. Kate would much rather save herself. She ends up pulling a knife out of her own chest and stabbing her captor, only to pass out into Renee’s arms.
Both Renee and Kate are very stubborn women. Women who want to save the world and themselves. They don’t like relying on others.
Perhaps some day, Kate and Renee will hook up again. But Renee will have to stop being so stubbornly independent, and Kate will have accept help more often. Because they are so adorable together.
Nico Minoru and Karolina Dean from Marvel Comics’ Runaways
Nico Minoru and Karolina Dean from Runaways have a wonderful platonic friendship, despite starting off as being almost complete opposites. Nico is a goth-influence teen and good with magic. Karolina is a blonde Californian teen, who’s actually an alien and can fly with rainbows. Their parents were life-long friends, but the girls never really got along with each other.
That was until Nico, Karolina, and the rest of the Runaways find out that their parents are actually super-villains. And oh yeah, they all have some kind of superpowers or near superpowers.
When the kids runaway from their families, Nico becomes one of their default leaders, and soon Karolina becomes her confidant. There’s a little awkwardness as Karolina has a crush on Nico, and Nico isn’t interested and straight. But the women become best friends.
Together, they keep the group stable, and they are the ones to make sure that the younger Runaways are taken care of and that the team has a home.
One of my favorite scenes between Nico and Karolina is after they throw a Runaways‘ prom. As Karolina watches everyone being happy, she starts missing her girlfriend Xavin. When she becomes visibly upset, Nico calls off the prom. Instead, Nico and Karolina hang out together and comfort each other as best friends. The scene is an incredibly sweet moment of girl bonding.
• What Superhero Comics Look Like A great little article breaking down how Osborn #3 by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios is scripted and put together art-wise, also how it applies to the very best of current comic books.
3) Everybody wanted Uhura to kick some ass this time around. But they couldn’t figure out how to have her kick ass in a teeny minidress, without needing a lot of strategically placed lens flare. The writers spent two months trying to figure out a plot reason why Uhura might have to put on some pants, or maybe some leggings, for part of the movie. What if they go to a planet of leg-biting monsters, and she has to put some protective leg coverings on? Or maybe Spock shows her a special Vulcan ritual, in which practitioners must wear pants as a sign of devotion to pure logic?
Maxine Kiss from Iron Hunt (Hunter Kiss books) by Marjorie M. Liu
I’ve only read the first book in Liu’s Hunter Kiss novels, but I loved it so much. I couldn’t put it down, and I loved Maxine very much. I love how she calls herself out on her own bullshit and always seeks the truth and finds a way.
Maxine comes from a line of women warriors with special tattoos. During the day, these tattoos live on their skin, but at night, they peel off and become demons which protect her. Each demon has its own personality and special abilities. As a hunter, Maxine and her female ancestors before her rid the world of demons, mostly zombies, but there are other creatures out there.
Of course, there’s a curse of sorts involved, that on the daughter’s 21st birthday, she gets the tattoos, which leaves her mother vulnerable and soon dead by the Blood Queen of zombies. While at the same time, Maxine has some hereditary knowledge and was taught and loved by her mother.
As an adult, Maxine is very capable. And she’s capable of changing how she sees the world and saves the world as she falls in love with Grant, a former priest who can reform lost people and some demons, and meets people she forms real bonds with.
Lyra ‘Silvertongue’ Belacqua from His Dark Materials
Lyra starts off her journey as a nosy young girl spying on her father, hiding in a wardrobe with her daemon Pantalaimon. She has an enthusiastic spirit and an intense interest in learning and exploring. Lyra wants to know more about the world, and she does not think that children should be limited because of their age. Additionally, Lyra has a great passion as an advocate for others.
Lyra starts off on a simple mission: to find her friend Roger and to figure out why someone wants to kill her father Lord Asriel. But Lyra soon finds out that there’s more to the kidnapped children and Lord Asriel than she first realizes. As Lyra grows, she also gains powerful allies. She becomes perhaps the first human to become friend and allies of a panserbjorne Iorek Byrnison. She also befriends witches, sea gypsies, and sky pilots.
I was worried in the second book, The Subtle Knife, in that it seemed to focus too much on a new character Will Parry. And I was even more disappointed when Will was clearly going to be her love interest. While first loves and sexual experiences are certainly a part of growing teenagers’ lives, I was worried the text focused too much on that part of Lyra’s growth.
However, Lyra truly does become a hero by the end of the books. She also becomes an adult.