Sunday, January 31, 2010

Scarlet Betch Episode 15: "Girl Power!"

Back again with another episode of Scarlet Betch! Jason and Anthony dish about a lot of our lady heroes this week, and I don't mean that strange "Female Force" comic book. Batwoman, Wonder Woman, X-ladies (and Magneto), and much more!

Featured music this week is by the DJ Mint Royale featuring Gene Kelly.

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Friday, January 29, 2010

This Just In: Gail Simone Hates Wimmen!

According to Simone's twitter account, @GailSimone (#ff guys!!), Wonder Woman's line that she must "do the dishes" when referring to cleaning up Quetzalcoatl's bile off of a subway train and otherwise helping to make right the destruction she and the snake god wrought on a city park is being attacked by a member or members of the twitterati as sexist.

I have to admit, I was definitely taken aback by the line when I read WW this week. Not that I don't think Wonder Woman is inept at dish maintenance, but I definitely think of the princess of Themiscyra as a being above gender roles and, in fact, menial labor. I think the problem might be that I assume women doing dishes is playing into submissive gender roles, instead of just maintaining order. I mean, if no Amazon ever did dishes, their island would smell gross, right?

But logic aside, I think the joke worked because it played into a sense that, while Diana is a big, strong, snake-god slaying woman, at the end of the battle the Man still subjugates her. Oh gosh! When you ask yourself if the joke would have worked for Achilles, how do you answer yourself? And if you say it wouldn't, is gender-based humor always offensive? Or would this count as satire, ironically subverting the system?

What do you think? Is this feminist stuck in the second wave? Do they have a point? Feel free to flame guys! Let's get in on the DRAMA!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

iPad, Menses, and Sexism. Oh My!

I'll readily admit that I am an enthusiastic Apple acolyte-- however to be fair, I'm also equally enthusiastic and evangelical about all those nifty Google web applications. So, like the masses of gadget geeks across the nation, I waited with great anticipation as to the announcement of the then rumored iSlate, now officially announced iPad. I was an early adopter to the tablet PC revolution (which turned out more like the recent Iranian green revolution than a gloriously bloody and victorious French one), having used a hybrid tablet PC throughout my college career. I loved the idea of stylus input and handwriting recognition, paperless notes, and dynamic pressure-sensitive digital art. The implementation of all these great ideas by Microsoft was a lackluster to say the least.

So the prospect of the Apple tablet for me was great. I faithfully waited for the announcement, watched the liveblogs and the tweets. But I became suddenly displeased by the sudden outbreak of the now ubiquitous iPad/Maxi-pad joke. A poor choice on behalf of Apple marketing execs? Perhaps. Only time will tell. After all, the peanut gallery laughed at the iPod name.

But the fact that so much attention has been given to the iPad qua feminine hygiene is really childish and frankly sexist. A recent CNBC segment discussing the iPad launch descended into a death spiral of anti-woman cringing and menstruation hate when a female correspondent declared her distaste for the product because it reminded her of feminine hygiene. Her male peers then proceeded to audibly groan and make derisive comments about menstruation.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Invasion of Lovecraftian Proportions Imminent

Some crazy shit has been going down in the airspace above Norway. First we get some batshit crazy spiraling vortex cloud, which was later claimed to be a malfunctioning Russian missile test (as if that would make any of us feel any better). Now, an amateur photographer has captured images of strange jellyfish shaped phenomenon bouncing off the northern lights.

Prepare yourselves, my children. For the elder gods are coming. RUN AWAY!!

"In this way it would act like an 'iridium flare.',These are created by sunlight reflecting off iridium satellites and appear as bright white flashes in the sky. One problem with this theory is that the light intensity from the Northern Lights is 100,000 times weaker than the sunlight. But Mr Hansen said this did not exclude the satellite reflection hypothesis." source

 Under closer investigation, I can now definitively say that this is either Cthulu returning from the unspeakable parallel dimension to which he was imprisoned, or the flying spaghetti monster. But I hate Pastafarians and their hipster ironic atheism.

And a shot from space:

END OF THE WORLD! and/or a Dr. Who Episode featuring Philip Pullman

Superqueeros! for January 27th, 2010

Every Wednesday boys stumble over themselves to ask me what SuperQueeros! is and I say, "It's my weekly round up of what queer-inclusive comics are hitting the stands near you. If you think I've missed any, leave a comment and let me know." Then they swoon. ;)

Detective Comics #861

For the next three months we have double the Batwoman as she and Dick crossover into each other's titles. Detective promises to be as freaky as ever when Batman and Batwoman team up to stop a Cutter. The covers are still J.H. Williams III, but the interiors are going to be another artist because J.H. is working on the pages for Batwoman #1!!! So he's not gone, just promoted.

Batman and Robin #7

Finally, I get to write about Morrison's Batman and Robin! I look forward to this title every month, and now that Morrison's taking his stab at Batwoman, I'm twice as chuffed! My only reservation is that Morrison showed a strange POV on queer parents when he gave Jenny Quantum/Quarks (I can't keep them straight) the line "Uncle Apollo." YOU DON'T CALL ADOPTIVE PARENTS "UNCLE", GRANT. Hopefully that's all behind him and he can bring us a Batwoman as awesome as the first part of this series. EDIT: Morrison calls his take on Kate Kane, "the acid bubblegum version of the character."

X-Factor #201

Yay! Any day with a new X-Factor issue is a good day, and any day with Layla Miller teaming up with Dr. Doom and Mr. Fantastic to kidnap the Invisible Woman and take down X-Factor is AWESOME. I wonder how a fight between superqueero Shatterstar and Layla would go? Would even he lose to the woman who "knows stuff"? And, if she's the Layla Miller who gave all her memories to her past self, doesn't that mean that she shouldn't know stuff any more? For that matter, what has grown-up Layla been DOING since Decimation??? #answers!

X-Men: Legacy #232

Rogue + Magneto = OTP? That equation has always confused me, but there are a set of writers who thinks it's super-logical, duuuh. Judging from the cover and the preview, Carey's going to be taking his stab at this (arguably) classic pairing, but let's hope he doesn't skimp on the inclusion of Destiny in this story! Rogue's adopted mom would probably have a thing or two to say to Rogue about her choice in paramours. However, give that Mystique's age is both greater than Destiny's and undetermined, that advice might not be what we'd assume.

Wonder Woman #40

New Wonder Woman storyline! The cover looks like it features the five children of Ares (simply because there are five of them, not because they look particularly Ares-ian), so it'll be interesting to see if they are and, if so, what Simone's take on them will be. Traditionally they would be the children of Ares and Aphrodite; what would that mean for Wonder Woman, who is both Aphrodite's Violet Lantern and the perennial enemy of Ares? Simone is set to raise some interesting questions, she's been revitalizing this title to critical acclaim, the past few issues have been uber queer-inclusive, and, since this is a new storyline, it's a great time to pick up the title. Plus, an investment in any Simone title is an investment in shirtless hunks fighting, so it's not like there's a "lose" scenario here. #fabulous #fierce #fiiiiine

Gotham City Sirens #8

Oh GCS! You are the tease of all supervillain comics! The Riddler started out his life in comics as a man driven over the edge because he was a closet-case, but who knows if his current incarnation has any queerings of his sexuality. The similarly ambiguously sapphic Sirens are starting up a Riddler team-up/double-cross/something-messy, so jump in now to see what develops. If nothing else, it's four of the Bat's greatest villains all in one title. #win

Justice Society of America #35
JSA makes the list because Bill Willingham is a cool guy (on his twitter account), the preview really grabbed my attention, and eventually the team is going to save Obsidian and he'll become an active member. So if you want to follow this title's whole Obsidian-inclusive run, you technically want to grab this issue. Even though he's still an egg.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

No Dragons in this Dungeon or One more reason for nerds to avoid getting incarcarated

I have only recently come to the wonderful world of table top role playing games. I would have likely gotten involved at an earlier age, but when my mother discovered my printed copy of Dungeons and Dragons 2nd edition (lovingly printed on a dot matrix printer... it was huge and involved a lot of perforated edge tearing), she had me destroy it, lest I be seduced by the witchcraft-y wiles of Wizards of the Coast. It wouldn't be nearly ten years later after graduating college that I would have my second introduction to the genre. 

I largely entered roleplaying games in a reverse order than most gamers, having my first games be White Wolf games (Hunter and Exalted). I only recently had my first real experience gaming with Dungeons and Dragons. The high fantasy environment feels at once both new and familiar. It's very much like my experience with modern gay history. I had experienced the products of a culture, but only later unearthing the roots from which the many derivations and rebellions of our modern gay era have sprouted from.

So when I heard that a Chicago-based court recently ruled that it was legal for a prison system to ban the play of Dungeons and Dragons, and was not, as the plaintiff alleged, an infringement on his 1st Amendment rights; it brought a simultaneous chuckle and knowing sigh. The image of hardcore violent crime inmates rolling initiative is highly humorous to me. I also want to know they sneak their twenty-sided die into the prison @_o:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

SuperQueeros! for January 20th, 2010

Every Wednesday boys stumble over themselves to ask me what SuperQueeros! is and I say, "It's my weekly round up of what queer-inclusive comics are hitting the stands near you. If you think I've missed any, here's my number, let me know." But you can just leave a comment. ;)

Dark Avengers #13
It's the beginning of the end for our favourite anti-heroes as SEIGE begins in earnest. Who will win? Who will die? Will Dark Wolverine make out with anyone? Will I actually buy this issue? All these questions may or may not be answered in this book!

Dark Wolverine #82
This book might actually have some making out. Word on the street is that Daken has his own secret, devious, and dark plans. Here's hoping that they involve manipulating shirtless fitness models! Note: If I ever become editor of Marvel we are definitely have a Gail Simone-penned DCU crossover whose sole purpose is have Catman and Daken nakedly make out. #OTP

The Authority: The Lost Year #5 (of 12)
This is being teased as the classic bump-in-the-night story, but none of my stores have been carrying this title, so I have no way to judge the applicability of that archetype. Also, Apollo and Midnighter! Maybe bedroom-playing Daken and Catman! But in that marital game, who would play which role? This and other mysteries maybe answered in this book!!!!

Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-Long SHOW CHOIR?!

Glee + Joss Whedon = Geekgasm... or... Gleekgasm, if you will.

Glee + Joss Whedon + Neil Patrick Harris + Kurt's new boyfriend = the rough equivalent of a gay geek fourgy of indeterminate splendor.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Michael Ausiello revealed that not only is Joss Whedon slated to direct an episode of the hit tv-show, but Neil Patrick Harris is in definite talks to guest star in the episode.

Ausiello also notes that this is not only a reunion for Whedon and Harris, who famously partnered for the award-winning Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-Long Blog, NPH will also be reunited with choreographer Zachary Woodlee, who choreographed the musical episode on How I Met Your Mother.

On top of that, if adding Neil Patrick "Gay Man of the Decade" Harris to your list of guest stars wasn't enough, it was also revealed that teen queen, Kurt, is finally getting a boyfriend. No more mopey-eyed, unrequited stares at Finn for our limp wristed lothario. And even better, we're dodging that tired gay high school storyline of the fairy dating the closeted jock secret relationship bullet. It's 2010 and gay teen relationships are in. The relationship is described as a "power couple", "Prom King and King."

I. can't. wait.

The gayest show on TV just got EVEN gayer. Oh, and to put the cherry on top of the proverbial sundae... Jane Lynch will be singing "Vogue" on the Madonna episode. *win

News Flash! House of Mystery!

Matt Sturges, author of Jack of Fables, JSA: All Stars, House of Mystery, and much more, has just tweeted some spoilers for his openly gay goblin character in House of Mystery. In his own words:

matt_sturges: Just outlined next year's worth of House of Mystery. It'll be the only comic on the stands in which an openly gay goblin becomes a war hero.

I just picked up House of Mystery this month, so I don't know much about the goblin character. I wasn't certain when I read that issue, but from the tweet it appears he's a central character. If you need a critique to whet your appetite, HoM seems like a cute, slightly-twisted, romp of a book. If you like Fables or Tales from the Crypt, HoM is right up your alley. Plus, this month's issue featured a gay cowboy, so ++BONUS++! (even though he met with a Lovecraft-ian demise...)

Scarlet Betch Episode 14: "It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's Buffy!"

We're back at it again with another episode of Scarlet Betch. Jason and Anthony betch about the new SuperBuffy, the aimless but amusing Batgirl, the feminine Mystique (and her cosmic shaman friend, Nate Grey), and much much more!

Featured music this week is from the Glee soundtrack because I just got it and can't stop listening to it. And now, YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO STOP EITHER!

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Age Before Beauty: How To Stick It To The Man With Retro Gaming

If I may, I would like to pontificate on a subject that is very near to me (quite literally, I am currently typing this on the laptop where I store hundreds of ROM files): retro gaming. I like to consider myself a scholar/poet of the subject, as there is yet no assembly of academics who can dispute such a claim. As far as you and I are concerned, I am a celebrated guru of retrosexuality, and it is with these credentials I hereby dub Jason and Anthony as Betchian Reverends, just in case they had any doubts as to my 8-bit divinity. But there will be time enough for convincing you of my accolades when I market this knowledge for profitable gain. Now, while I am still humble with poverty, I wish to impart upon you this knowledge with only the hope you will plug the shit out of this on your facebooks or LJs in exchange.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Betch is BACK!

By the time I cam around to comic books in college, Kitty Pryde was kind of before my time. My main entry introduction to the X-men was through the Saturday morning and after-school cartoon show from the '90s where Jubilee had been firmly placed as the precocious young upstart/plucky kid side-kick to Wolverine.

But where Kitty Pryde DID deeply affect my growing up is kind of circuitous: Kitty was Joss Whedon's inspiration for Buffy, his most iconic character to date. All that woman power, feministy, girls-kick-ass-too-ness found in Buffy was all wrapped up in the adorable package that is Kitty Pride.

So, as a newcomer to comics, I fell in love with Kitty for entirely different reasons and contexts. But when she ultimately sacrificed herself at the end of Whedon's run on Astonishing X-men, I was brutally crushed. I knew that she was going to have to die. I mean... it was being written by JOSS WHEDON. The fan favorite always gets the axe. But even knowing it was coming didn't cushion me from the emotional blow.

But I am happy to report that come March 2010, the betch is BACK!

The Original Scarlet BETCH

Here at the Scarlet Betch we endeavor to bring you the 411 on queers in comics (and miscellaneous geekery) as it happens. But I believe we also have a duty to report when someone in the comic book world is being a red-hot, some might say scarlet, BETCH. Right now no company is a better example of that than the creators of the Scarlet Witch herself, Marvel comics.

Yesterday Marvel announced that they had GENEROUSLY decided to make a HUMANITARIAN offer to comic book retailers around the nation. Remember November's Blackest Night tie-in books from that little comic book publisher, DC? You know, the ones you ordered 300 copies of because they came with those multi-coloured plastic rings? Yeah, they've been taking up a lot shelf space, not being sold, right? (Don't answer, we know it to be true) Well, if you send in 50 stripped covers from those issues Marvel will GRACIOUSLY, out of the KINDNESS of their HEARTS because you are a STRUGGLING small business and they are a MAGNAMOUS SUPER-COMPANY, give you something that you will be able to sell: the ultra-rare Deadpool variant cover issue of SEIGE #3.

Because one issue of Seige and Deadpool is equal to 50 issues of Blackest Night tie-ins.


Here's the list of comics whose covers you can send in:
Adventure Comics #4
Booster Gold #26
Doom Patrol #4
Justice League Of America #39
Outsiders #24.
R.E.B.E.L.S #10

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

GLAAD Award Nominees!

GLAAD has just announced their nominees for the 21st Annual GLAAD Awards, and the nominees for comics are some very familiar, high profile names:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer by Jane Espenson, Steven S. DeKnight, Drew Z. Greenberg, Jim Krueger, Doug Petrie, Joss Whedon (Dark Horse Comics)
Detective Comics by Greg Rucka (DC Comics)
Madame Xanadu by Matt Wagner (Vertigo/DC Comics)
Secret Six by Gail Simone (DC Comics)
X-Factor by Peter David (Marvel Comics)
Congrats to all the nominees and congrats to DC for having such a queer positive year!
Also, does anyone know what's queer about Madame Xanadu? Because wikipedia hasn't been able to clue me in yet...

For the full list of nominees, click here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Superqueeros! for January 13th, 2010

You know the schtick: I scour the solicitations each week for LGBTT-SAP...etc. characters and you guys make your pink dollar known. If you let me know when I've missed somebody, I'll edit the entry faster than Buffy on a sugar high!

Buffy has super powers! Like Superman! And now she is going to go and save all of her friends! I don't know how I feel about BtVS bowing to such cliche comic book norms (from the preview of 32 we can see that she has gained, essentially, Superman's classic abilities). This will either enable Buffy to be more herself than ever before, or it will turn the book into Heroes Season 2 and 3: Everyone's So Powerful We Made Them Idiots so that the Plot-Required Inaction is Plausible. Until we find out, however, I'm going to sit quietly and loyally by this title to see where Joss's going, hoping for another "Gifted," but understanding that it might be as wanderingly mediocre as his Runaways run.

I love this book! This week Nate's gonna go crazy on Norman's punk-ass! Hopefully we're gonna see the team work together to match and better the Psionic Shaman's unparalleled abilities. Of course, this book has been throwing curve balls recently, what with the giant brain made of people, etc, etc, so who knows how this will turn out! #shirtlessboys

YES!!!!!!!! Tim Fish on Northstar and his bf!!! Spotlight on Jubilee!!! Martha Johansson in a race against time! A Quentin Quire cameo AND an Anole cameo! Gambit doing something moody! This book has it all, people! Pick it up, read it, love it, and will it to your children. Plus, does anyone else think that the four kids on the cover would not make the most excellently dysfunctional team?

Secret Six #17

This is a continuation of last week's Blackest Night: Suicide Squad that I didn't cover because I didn't know the Six would be guesting. Evidently that issue was a little scattered, as this one may prove to be. But it's Simone, so check in for the requisite beefcake and lez-mance!

Way back in the day when this title was alive and not a resurrected Black Lantern title, Selina had a friend of the Sapphic persuasion. Be on the look out for her cameo in this "Selina vs. BL Black Hand: Grudge Rematch" one shot. EDIT: I'm not guaranteeing a cameo, just figuring there will be one.

Star Trek: Captain's Log: Sulu #1

Just because George Takei is everyone's favourite gay uncle. And he looks so dashing in his uniform.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Jetta VsThe Internet: Pixel Force's Left 4 Dead

I'm not very good with making decisions. When going to get ice cream or frozen yogurt, I have to have chosen my flavor before I even get there, or else I will become lost in fixation over the plethora of delicious choices and make my friends late for whatever it is that people with real degrees go to get their bank accounts replenished.

This year, for New Year's, to make the most of my limited decisive capacity, I let my friends make a list of new year's resolutions for me, so that I could make progress with my life and feel like I was achieving some game's objectives. For added measure, I added a few of my own at the bottom, knowing that by the time I sobered up and realized the jagged handwriting was mine, I would already be too excited and involved to talk myself out of it.

#38: Find a weird game on the internet, play it, review it (with numbers), and post a video of you playing it on the web. Every week.


For the sake of brevity, I will only record myself playing it for the first time, until I die/lose/etc. This will keep loading times down, prevent me from shirking even more of my responsibilities, and perhaps entice you to play the game on your own, to see the parts of the game my lack of skills had once kept hidden from you.

So let's begin with what I will call Jetta vs The Internet

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Wristband communicator? I'm so there.

Gizmodo the gadget blog to beat posted about this Wristband Communicator. Granted it's only really a bluetooth headset on a wristband... but how else am I going to communicate with the other Power Rangers?

This is the next best thing in my effort to become a Starfleet officer. These Starfleet Communicators also posted on Gizmodo are slowly but surely bringing science fiction into the present.

Alls I got to say is one word:

Superqueeros! for January 6th, 2010

Happy New Year!!! You know the schtick: I scour the solicitations each week for LGBTT-SAP...etc. characters and you guys make your pink dollar known. If you let me know when I've missed somebody, I'll edit the entry faster than Barry Allen on a sugar high!

Nation X: X-Factor #1
Ricstar goes on a roadtrip! XFI is headed to Utopia to discuss why Cyclops decided to tempt fate by naming his first island-nation "Utopia". Okay, maybe that's not what the solicitation says, but a boy can hope, right? Either way, Ricstar makes an appearance so I'm a happy camper no matter what happens. Also, Siren is in the final preview page, which means that this comic is one of those nebulously timed spin-off issues that might be set after the main title's current storyline. So, technically, this issue might be a spoiler. Hopefully Peter David will first address the temporal mechanics of this book, then have Ricstar make out for a page, and then let Valeria Richards swoop down and snark at Cyclops until he changes the name of his island.

New Mutants #9
YAY! Necrosha is OVER! Well, the main storyline isn't, but the interminable New Mutants tie-in is! And we get reveals about New Illyana's (aka New-Yana) twisty origins and purpose on the team. If you remember, she 'ported into present-day 616 to pull a Heroes and save-the-cheerleader, save-the-world, but ATM we have no idea who the Claire of this storyline is. Hopefully, though, Karma will be the Gretchen and we can have some super-cute lesbian romance (aka lez-mance). Of course, given the tone of the series so far, I'd say that that's about as likely as Cannonball NOT punching a teammate in the neck. #wtf #heisnotadrunkenredneck #heisafarmboy

Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2 (of 3)
OMG I CAN'T WAIT FOR THIS ISSUE! WW vs. Maxwell Lord was pretty wicked, but now we have an issue whose place in the timeline of Blackest Night will have drastic effects on the subject matter of this issue! Will it be Necrotic Wonder Woman or Star Sapphire Wonder Woman who graces these pages? Maybe we'll have a look into her mind during the events of BN #6 and see both! Either way, it'll be awesome and epic and hopefully she'll fight with Mera! #iloveWW

The Authority #18
World's End is over! Yay! And from the looks of it, Apollo is alive, mobile, and sporting a sexy new haircut! I'm definitely picking this issue up for that last reason ALONE. Also, there's some big question about whether the Authority will use their revived Carrier to return to their dimension-hopping status quo or if they'll stay and be helpful and return the current, crappy Wildstorm U to it's formerly only semi-crappy status. I say, "Detch it, betches!" but mostly because I think it's pretty clear that they're gonna stay and save all the babies and kittens and stuff. Sigh... maybe there will be man-on-man snuggles? #hopeful

Monday, January 4, 2010

I Choose You, Lady GaGa!

Saw this video over at the Bilerico Project. Someone astutely has made the connection between Lady GaGa and pokemon in her latest video, Bad Romance. I have to say I was a little skeptical at first, but now after watching the video, all I can see in her outfits is pokemon.

"Lady GaGa, use Confuse Ray!"
[The Media became confused. The Media hurt itself!]
"Lady GaGa, use Bluffin' with my Muffin!"
[The Media becomes locked in a logic paradox and self implodes. It's super effective!]

Also, after hearing the short Pokemon pardoy of Pokerface.... I am convinced someone needs to write new lyrics for that song. "Can't catch my, Can't catch my.... Pokemon."

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Scarlet Betch Episode 13: "Let's Party Like It's... er... 2009"

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Krazy Kwanzaa, Whimsical Winter Solstice, and Happy New Year from all of us at Scarlet Betch. We hit up Wonder Woman, X-men, Batwoman, Necrosha and much much more!

Featured music this week is Prince's 1999. One decade down, kids.

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