A female character you hated but grew to love: Jean Grey (Day Three)

Jean Grey from The X-Men

Jean Grey
Jean Grey: that was one ugly outfit.

So it’s not so much that I hated Jean Grey, she just was probably my least favorite X-Men. I tried to like her, I really did, but she just didn’t appeal to me. She was always too much of a goody two-shoes and a suck-up to Professor X. (Something I disliked in myself as a child.) And Jean was too afraid of her powers and why did she date that Cyclops guy? (If there was one character I disliked more, it was Cyclops.)

Perhaps, I should’ve started by saying that my first exposure to Jean was in the X-Men Animated Series from the ’90s. Where in addition to all the things I complained about above, she also had the worst costume out of the bunch. And when everyone else is wearing primary yellow and blue spandex and you take the shitty costume award, that’s saying something.

Jean tried to be interesting. She did the whole Phoenix and Dark Phoenix storyline. And that was set IN SPACE (which always makes everything better, in my opinion). But at least in the animated version, I felt like everyone was having adventures and Jean just had things happen to her. Jean transformed and then used some of her superpowers, and maybe this whole spiritual change just didn’t transfer well to my child brain or children’s TV. I was far more preoccupied with Lilandra running her armada.

But thankfully, I’m not a child anymore, and I like Jean now. I don’t think she’ll ever be my favorite, but I have an appreciation for her I did not. Which makes it really a shame that Marvel keeps using her as their poster child for popular characters staying dead.

And maybe someday, I’ll rewatch the X-Men Animated Series and see what child-me and adult-me can argue about.

Buy X-Men: Volume One and see if my childhood nostalgia holds up.

Favorite supporting female character: Etta Candy (Day Two)

Etta Candy from Wonder Woman

Etta Candy knocks out a Nazi guard.
Once again, Etta Candy saves the day. This time, she uses candy to bribe a guard, knocks him over the head, and disables a power grid. From the 1940s.

Over on my comic book blog, I’ve been slowly working my way through 1940s Wonder Woman and keeping up with the current run. While I love and adore and want to be like Wonder Woman, I’ve also grown to love and adore Etta Candy.

Etta was created as the comic relief. As the fat, ugly, and funny foil to the athletically slender, beautiful, and regal Wonder Woman. Etta spends a lot of those early comics talking about her love of candy and spanking her sorority sisters. (No, I am not joking.)

While at the same time, Etta is spunky and has a lot of self-confidence. She regularly hits on men, telling them how beautiful they find her; unlike Wonder Women who’s over in a corner pining away for Steve Trevor. Also without Etta and her Beeta Lambda Sorority Sisters, there’s no way Wonder Woman would’ve won all the battles she has with Nazis and other Axis spies. Etta is always ready with a fist.

When Etta gets left at the altar by a spy, she declares him unfit for her and punches him in the face. That’s right, Etta doesn’t slap you; she decks you. And then instead of wallowing in her sorrows, Etta declares weddings silly and just wants to ride horses with her best friend, Wonder Woman (Diana).

Sadly, Etta and Betta Lambda were written out of the comics due the Comics Code Authority cracking down on gayness in comic books. I blame the real stagnation of Wonder Woman on her lack of gal pals. Straight, gay, or otherwise.

But in the 1980’s, Etta was brought back as a female friend for Wonder Woman. And this Etta ends up marrying Steve. How many texts can say that the supporting female character married the male lead who was head-over-heels in love with the female lead at one time? (Or in another universe, whatever, DC.) I think this is pretty awesome.

Of course, poor Etta still got labeled as the fat kid. In an unfortunate run, Etta develops an eating disorder and passes out from hunger/malnutrition/low blood sugar while trying on her wedding dress. And this makes me sad for the Etta who offered Steve and his soldiers candy on top of a train they were attempting to sneak aboard to defuse a bomb.

Thankfully, Gail Simone took the helm of Wonder Woman, brought Etta back, and did right by her. Etta is not slender like Wonder Woman, and both she and Steve have aged. But this time, Etta is working as a spy for Checkmate and toned herself up. She’s become the general that she always was in the ’40s. Only instead of bossing her sorority sisters and captured Nazis around, she actually has real commandos of her own.

I love you, Etta Candy.

Read about Etta’s early days, buy Wonder Woman Archives Vol. 1 by William Moulton Marston and H.G. Peter.

Sprinkles Around the Web 12/25-12/30/10

Sprinkles from around the web

Long time, no link posts. Time to get back on that horse. Anyway, here are some links that I’ve found interesting around the web. Your mileage may vary, and yes, I’m putting all the GeekGirlCon stuff first as it has to do with me. Besides being awesome in general.


We’re busy little bees with GeekGirlCon, a celebration of geeky women by having a convention in Seattle in 2011. We’re busy raising funds in order to secure our venue and have a date and place for the convention. We’re 50% of the way toward our funding. Please donate.

Or come out to support us!

We had a “Hero of Canton” flashmob. (Take a second to find me. Or cheat with photos.)

GeekGirlCon Christmas Greetings If you’re not sick of the holidays, check out a season’s greetings from GeekGirlCon.

Estrocast Episode 3: Geek Girl Con Hear me (and Kiri and Kelcey) talk to the Estrocast about GeekGirlCon.


Dinosaur Comics Hitting right to the heart of the holiday season, Dinosaur Comics does it again.

Atlantis movie shelved ‘indefinitely’ Brad Wright and company continues to punish SGA fans for not watching SGU. Hey, try writing better shows or maybe adding some women and minorities to your writing staff. Just saying.


• Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg on Why We Have So Few Women Leaders Continue reading “Sprinkles Around the Web 12/25-12/30/10”

Sprinkles Around the Web 9/24-9/30/10

Sprinkles from around the web

Yes, it’s back. Here are links that I’ve enjoyed in the past week from around the web. Your mileage may vary.

• First, go nominate @geekgirlcon for the best non-profit over on the Mashable Awards.

• Second, Happy Queer History Month! Or LGBTTIQQA (did I miss anyone?) History Month, if you prefer that.


I bruised the heck out of my foot. Sprained it or something. I had to walk with a cane all last week. Ouches.


A review of Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation. Kate Bornstein and S. Bear Bergman have edited a book about young people who are transpeople and gender queer and RJ’s review just makes me want to read it more.

Writer Greg Rucka gives a preview of Chapter 2 of his new Queen & Country book. I love Queen & Country and am so excited that Rucka’s writing it again. Continue reading “Sprinkles Around the Web 9/24-9/30/10”

Confessions of a Geek: No iPad, No Kindle, No iTunes

Erica and Winston in front of books
Me and Winston, my cat, in front of some of my books.
I didn’t order an iPad. I don’t have a Kindle or Sony e-Reader. I don’t buy TV or music off iTunes. I still trudge every week to the comic book shop to pick up my weekly stack. I still frequent used book stores to collect whatever trashy vampire book I’m reading next or cookbook I want to pillage for recipes. I still buy CDs and pay for my favorite shows on DVD. I still have freaking vinyl records.

Admittedly, I have a love for books — yes, the physical form in my hand. They never run low on batteries and only cost you page wrinkling or under $20 to replace when you drop them in the bathtub. However, I wouldn’t mind giving up my CDs and DVDs for digital copies. If for no other reason, I’d have more shelf space for books. (Oh, yes, I am that girl, the one you never want to volunteer to help move.) I’ll admit to owning an iPod, and how it’s much more convenient to have 128 GB of music at my fingertips when I need to tune out at work.

I don’t own an iPad or Kindle and I don’t buy from iTunes because of Digital Rights Management (DRM).

I don’t like the idea that Amazon could hit the kill switch on a book I paid money for. Same with iTunes. And how many generally technologically savvy friends have I had who’ve killed all the music on their iPods due to syncing issues related to DRM. I’ve also had several tell me that every CD they buy off iTunes, they immediately burn to a disc, which rather defeats the point of digital copies. The iPad premiered with a Marvel Comic Book app. It looks very slick. Besides some issues I have with pricing, how do I know these comics aren’t going to disappear when Marvel decides I can’t own them anymore?

Amazon tells the consumer how many times s/he can share books to different devices and with other Kindle owners. Marvel doesn’t allow sharing, unless you want someone to borrow your $500 iPad. iPods are set from the factory to wipe their entire harddrives when hooked up to a different computer.

I think I’ll keep my books, my CDs, my DVDs, and yes, my vinyl records until someone sorts out this DRM issue in a way that’s pro-consumer, not pro-corporation. I’m okay with being old fashioned here.

Life Advice of Sookie Stackhouse: Reviews Club Dead and Dead to the World

Life Advice of Sookie Stackhouse
Life Advice of Sookie Stackhouse
I did it. I read the next Sookie Stackhouse books, both Club Dead and Dead to the World. Yes, yes, despite my outrage at Living Dead in Dallas. My excuses went from already owning it to being sick and wanting to read something that didn’t tax my brain too much.

For those of you following me on Twitter, you might’ve noticed my #LifeAdviceofSookieStackhouse tag. As I read these novels, I couldn’t help but think Sookie was attempting to give me advice on life. Her advice ranged from fashion — mostly due to Harris’ obsession with detailing everyone’s outfits — to boyfriends — write it down when you get hurt due to them — and wisdom passed down from her grandma — situations were even grandma would swear. I find the idea of compiling all of Sookie’s advice, both good and bad, pretty hilarious.

Pearls of wisdom:

On friendship: When you dump a body together, that creates a bond.

On playing hostess: When hosting a vampire, he’ll love watching Buffy: the Vampire Slayer on tape.

On lust: If there was an international butt competition, Eric would win hands down — or cheeks up.

On fashion: Ash green tracksuits can be prim-but-sexy when accompanied by a bow in your hair & beaded sneakers.

On patriotism: Bad should be stopped; bad should be overcome. That’s the American model.

On feminism: A woman — any woman worth her salt — could do whatever she had to.

But getting back to the books: Spoilers ahoy Continue reading “Life Advice of Sookie Stackhouse: Reviews Club Dead and Dead to the World”

Q&A: Relationships with Books

1. Which book has been on your shelves the longest?

Probably the children’s book about the adventures of a tooth fairy and me. Remember those stands in the malls in the ’80s where they’d put your child’s name in the book and print it right there for you. (Wow, 80s technology, that must’ve been annoying at the time.) Anyway, it’s a thin little memento from my childhood.

The oldest book I own is a copy of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which was given to me by my great-grandma. I never read it. And keep it more as a family heirloom than anything else.

2. What is your last read, your current read, and the book you’ll read next?

The last book I read was Charlene Harris’ Club Dead, the 3rd book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. Currently, I have a stack of comics to read and am part way through Tara Hunt’s The Whuffie Factor, which I’m reading slowly and taking job-related notes on. I’m not really sure what book I’ll be picking up next. I have an entire shelf full of “to-read” books. Continue reading “Q&A: Relationships with Books”

11 Book Meme Questions

LeVar BurtonI’m a big reader from way back. Yes, I vote for libraries and I have a fondness for Reading Rainbow and LeVar Burton. English major as charged.

01. Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?

Occasionally, I’ll have some popcorn. Mostly, however, I drink water while reading. If one could have a water addiction, I’ve got it.

02. Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?

I don’t mark the books I read, except my Bible, which has notes all over from my years in Lutheran middle school. Marking books doesn’t horrify me, so much as annoy me. The only time I’ve been horrified by my own marks in books was those I made when I was younger and I’m just being horrified at my young self.

03. How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?

Mostly, I use bookmarks. Some of my bookmarks I’ve had since I was kid. My favorite is one with stars on it that I got at OMSI when I was a kid. It’s shiny.

04. Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?

I read both. Mostly, fiction, but I’ve been known to enjoy nonfiction as well.

05. Hardcopy or audiobooks?

I’m a sucker for the hardcopy. Which is why I’m not sure if I would ever get a Kindle to read books from. My middle name might as well be “needs another bookcase.” I do listen to audiobooks on my iPod when I’m working as I can’t exactly sit there and read. I find that the audiobooks need to be funny to keep me entertained. Currently, I’m listening to Terry Prachett’s Discworld novels. Yes, all of them.

06. Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?

I prefer to read until the end of the chapter, but if for whatever reason I need to put the book down, I can at any point.

07. If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away? Write it down to look it up later? Just try to infer what it means from the rest of the sentence, and keep going?

I try to infer. If it’s something that really bugs me or I have my computer open for a quick dictionary.com search, I’ll look it up.

08. What are you currently reading?

Tara Hunt’s The Whuffie Factor: Using the Power of Social Networks to Build Your Business, various weekly comics, Philip Pullman’s The Amber Spyglass, and Terry Pratchett’s Reaper Man.

09. What is the last book you bought?

Tara Hunt’s The Whuffie Factor: Using the Power of Social Networks to Build Your Business and my weekly comic pull.

10. Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can read more than one at a time?

I would say one at a time, but my reading list suggests otherwise. I would say that I read one at a time with different purposes. I read one comic at a time. I listen to one audiobook (Pratchett) at a time. I read one book (Hunt) at a time. And I have Jason read one book (Pullman) to me at a time.

11. Do you like re-reading books?

I rarely re-read books. There have been a few; mostly, they were ones I read when I was a tween (not all of them YA books either) and I remembered really enjoying them, but I’d forgotten a lot of what happened.