Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Women in Wheelchairs: A Case Study in Inequality

Comic books are largely a static medium. Captain America will always be the straight-laced, optimistic, idealistic soldier. Superman will always be the incredibly powerful yet distant hero. The X-men will always be the oppressed minority. No matter how many new twists comic book writers throw in there (I'm looking at you, Electric Superman), the characters by and large come back to home base. 

So what has baffled me for a long time is that in a fantastical world with insane technological advances, magicians who can rewrite reality, and people who can reform matter by thinking too hard at it... Barbara Gordon can't get her spine fixed. While I'm of the opinion that Babs is more interesting as Oracle, the info-hacker extraordinaire, on top of the fact that she can absolutely hold her own despite being wheelchair bound... it doesn't really follow internal DC logic that someone wouldn't have figured out a way to make our favorite red-headed crusader of the night (sorry Kate) all walkable.

Comic artist and illustrator Erica Henderson has wondered the exact same thing and produced a light-hearted and fab comic piece addressing this exact issue [source]:

Monday, August 30, 2010

SuperQueeros! for September 1st, 2010

Queers in comics for the first day of September, go!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #38

Buffy is back!!!!!!! Yup, BTVS returns from its summer hiatus for it's five-issue final arc of Season 8! And now that Dark Horse owns the characters of Angel, get ready for a vampyr-bf-filled rock-em-sock-em finale that will kick butt and set us up for Season 9! Joss is penning this story, so watch out for the shrapnel from the inevitable explosion of AWESOME!

Avengers: The Children's Crusade #2

The most anticipated comic book event of my entire life continues this week with the Young Avengers, the nebulously-cannon New Avengers, and Magneto mixing it up on the streets of New York! And then it's off to find the Scarlet Witch! With Billy and Teddy! HEART!!!!!!

Torchwood #2

More Ianto-inclusive adventures with Cap'n Jack as the sweet new Torchwood comic continues! In addition to getting part 2 of the "Broken" story from last issue, there's also a zombie vs. Torchwood prison rumble in "Fated to Pretend" (like that MGMT song!)! With all that coolness stuffed into one story, how can you not buy this issue??? #youcan't

The Authority #26

I don't know how many issues it will be before the Authority returns to Earth (or if it will take as long to get back as it did to reach their destination...) but they've arrived at where the Carrier was taking them! Find out if they'll get the thingy that can save the world as the Authority wrap up their 'verse-spanning journey! #Rainmaker!

Secret Six #25

It's the Secret Six vs.... THE SECRET SIX! Now that two teams of Secret Six have been formed it's time for them to beat each other up until only six villains remain standing!!!! Find out if Scandal makes the cut, and who she's got to cut to do it!

House of Mystery #29

TURSIG TELLS US A BEDTIME STORY!!!! Also, Witches + Goblins vs. Robots!!!! This issue is just going to rock. And Tursig is going to be awesome. Which is awesome. #awesome

Friday, August 27, 2010

Racebending - 0, Marvel - 1

We posted earlier about how the casting call for the Runaways movie neglected to mention Nico's ethnicity, a move that struck fear into the hearts of Runaways fans everywhere. Would Marvel, so soon after M. Night's The Last Airbender debacle, be so callous as to whitewash away Nico's Japanese-American ethnicity?

Well, racebending.com is reporting that Marvel issued a press release in response to their concerns, stating:

"To address your concern over casting for the role of Nico, as we do with all of our films, we intend to stay true to the legacy and story of the comic when casting these parts. Thus, our goal is to cast an Asian American actress as depicted in the comic series and the casting notice will be adjusted accordingly."

Well, I think Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury and Michael Clarke Duncan's Kingpin would argue that racebending is, in fact, something that Marvel does, but clearly the comic book giant has done the right thing today by opting to spotlight the diverse nature of America and its superheroes. Keep it up, Marvel!

(At least until the day when people expect you to racebend out as many or more of the ethnic majority as you racebend in. Then please make your movie casts diverse and interesting! #reimagining #firstnationsironfist)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Blue Ranger Billy Finds New Calling as Lavender Ranger

I grew up during the 90s. And pretty much every kid in my generation grew up watching the Power Rangers. It was an unavoidable social phenomenon. The zany costumes, the dinosaur zords (even though two "dinozords" were actually prehistoric mammals), and that fabulous proto-drag queen Rita Repulsa... I couldn't resist. Although due to the unfortunate circumstance of sharing a name with the Red Ranger, I was forever type cast as the fearless leader, when deep inside I longed to be just like nerdy, acrobatic Billy the Blue Ranger.

I distinctly remember having a crush on Billy growing up. The nerdy outsider, failing to plug into the power of masculinity, not to mention Yost's impressive physique stirred my 7 year old self into quite a tizzy. I even remember being really upset when Billy left the team to pursue love with his aquatic lover (forget same sex taboo... we're getting to interspecies kink). 

Lo and behold, over a decade later, David Yost who played Billy in the original American Power Ranger series has confirmed that he is gay in a series of interviews with Nopinkspandex.com. Check them out after the jump!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Angel Moving to Dark Horse

This news came out a few days ago, so apologies for the late pick up. Turns out our favorite brooding LA vampire, Angel, will be moving over from IDW to Dark Horse to join with sister title Buffy. The announcement came a bit unexpectedly as Dark Horse evidently pre-empted itself by including a mention of it in its "Horsepower" column. Newsarama writes:

IDW's Angel ongoing series starts its final arc with November's #39, which sees both new co-writers in David Tischman and Mariah Huehner, and the return of a familiar Angel enemy, interdimensional law firm Wolfram & Hart. The six-issue arc is meant to transition directly to where Dark Horse Comics will pick things up in late 2011.
According to Allie in Dark Horse's statement, the return of Angeland his supporting cast is "necessary" to Buffy< and Angel creator Joss Whedon's plans for the upcoming Buffy the Vampire SlayerSeason 9 series, not entirely surprising given the key role Angel has played in the currently unfolding Season 8 comics. No specific plans for a new Angel-starring series from Dark Horse were detailed at this time.

This is exciting news for Buffy and Angel fans who've been keeping up with the books. I've been a little disenchanted by Angel's season 6 comic run, but knowing that the title is now coming under supervision of Dark Horse, and will finally be united in ownership and continuity with Buffy... I envision a much more harmonious and frakly, better written, book. Now, the only question is when the frak is Season 8 going to finish?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Holy Retro-homophobes, Batman!: A trip down memory lane

The 1960s have clearly seen a renaissance of late. It seems everyone is going mad over Mad Men along with a whole cornucopia of 60's themed media (A Single Man, Pride, A Cloud Over England, Howl). And with this retrospection on the radical age with its sexual revolutions et al., it serves as a good reminder to remember the state of queer rights in the 60s. Mad Men's Sal got the boot last season after coming up against his homosexuality. While painful to watch as a fan of the character it is certainly a wake up call to consider just how closeted a society America was and in some ways continues to be.

Cartoonist and blogger Sam Henderson digs up this pretty in pink treasure titled "My Son, the Daughter." He writes:
This was a book published in 1966, back when the idea of someone being gay was funny in and of itself. I don't know for sure, but Mort Drucker's probably embarrassed by it now.The same publisher also did a couple books of “Fannie Hillman” illustrated by Sergio Aragones to cash in on the Jewish mother schtick of the time. It's weird how the people behind Jewish jokebooks were most likely Jewish while the gay jokebooks were written by people who probably never even met a homosexual.
On one hand My Son, the Daughter is steeped in the running homophobic joke of reviling the sissy. But at the same time, it is in some ways a relief to see the ways in which gay men's lives were open enough to receive this level of layered satire. I'm ambivalent as to hating on the author because in some strange way, I find the book liberating in a strange sense. Check out the full scans at Henderson's blog, The Magic Whistle.

Kele Okereke Likes Joe Madureira

Kele Okereke of Bloc Party (former band) and The Boxer (current solo album; lead single Tenderoni) just posted some favorite comic book covers on his blog by the awesome Joe Madureira (website)! That's friggin' sweet! An excellent musician/out gay man who reads comics enough to appreciate a particular artist? Look out NPH, you've got some competition for the title of Hottest Gay!

Monday, August 23, 2010

SuperQueeros! for August 25th, 2010

I'm a proponent of using bisexuality to make storyline-flexible queer characters. By definition the lesbian and gay communities' romantic dramas are insular and often disconnected from our day-to-day interactions with the (majority straight) rest of the world. IMO, bisexuality is a great way to let new and old characters have a queer storyline, while not invalidating past romances or forbidding future non-queer couplings. Plus it fights bi-phobia! And if this week is any indication, it's a track that a few good writers are taking advantage of:

Dark Wolverine #90
It's the end of Dark Wolverine! Well, this series, at least! Stay tuned, though, as Daken moves from one eponymous solo series to another with next month's launch of Daken: Dark Wolverine #1!! (Oh, right, this month: find out how the "Dark Wolverine" segment of Daken's life ends! He totally flirts with a gay anti-mutant activist in the preview, so #hot and #thought-provoking!)

X-Factor #208
Rahne's back! And like any good storyline featuring pregnancy and bisexuality (#oxymoron) we get a pregnant-wolf-woman vs. cloned-alien-swordmaster betch-fight! It'll be like a flashback to Rahne's X-Force days (last month?), but with better writing! And, side note, isn't this baby NOT Rictor's? Like, isn't it some Norse wolf-god's spawnling? Layla Miller: Puppy Edition, subtitle: "I Smell Stuff"? Meaning Rahne should stick with her baby wolf-daddy, not break up my longest fan 'ship?

Anyway, back to the main plot, stuff with the Norse hell goddess Hela is going down or something. To paraphrase Pam Ravenscroft "Blah, blah, Norse emergency, blah."

X-Men: Legacy #239
ANOLE!!!!!!! LOA!!!!!!!!!!! KILLING ROBOTS!!!!!!! It's like the good old days of Kitty phasing through Sentinels all over again, but with more explosions and punching! This is one of my fav books on the market today, and it has Anole AND Rogue! (And Magneto and Loa and Indra!) #buyit

Wildcats #26
Blah, blah, magic emergency, blah. Apollo + Midnighter are in this book! They're not listed in the solicitation, and with a team this expansive they might not be in the book at all, but get it anyway! Because gay marriage is teh cutexorz!!!!!

Justice League of America #48
The end of the Starheart saga! A White Lantern reveal!!! Some Obsidian/Starman make outs? I don't think I remembered to get this month's issue of the JSA, but when last I left our gay boy and bi boy one was evil and one was unconscious. Plus they'll have to finish fighting Obsidian's dad before they can "have each other's adopted babies," but I've still got my fingers crossed! #wallacewellsrocks

Wonder Woman #602
Blah, blah, amazon-rape secrets, blah. Wonder Woman kicks some more guyz and stuff and finds out some scary thingz. I'm buying it, but there's been no indication of queerness, just butt-kicking. And the weirdest woman-in-the-refrigerator storyline evar. But what they're doing with an iconic character is interesting, if fated to be as fleeting as Superman's post-resurrection redesign.

Gotham City Sirens #15
Denouement and new storylines! Catwoman deals with the aftermath of her battle with her sister and Poison Ivy's new job takes an interesting turn! They say villains drive stories, and this is one of the best books out there, so Q.E.D., I guess. The Sapphism might be a little on the light side to warrant a place in this column, but by femme-fatalism (a new category of "awesome") it makes the post.

Madame Xanadu #26
Boys are smelly! Well, at least this boy is. Sammy's malodorous melodrama is the focus of this issue of the GLAAD-nominated comic. Will MX be able to help Sammy, or will this comic just stink?

Friday, August 20, 2010

New Url! Buhbye blogspot!

Just a housekeeping post. But for all your betches out there who can't stand type excess keystroke into your keyboard... i give you Scarlet Betch's new url: www.scarletbetch.com!

Yes, we finally got up and bought our own domain. So feel free to pass it on. ScarletBetch.com!


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dustin Nguyen + Stephanie Brown = Brilliant

Dustin Nguyen, DC Comic artist extraordinaire, has been making waves in the Bat family with his work on the successful Streets of Gotham, evidently someone at DC thinks he's been doing a good job and have assigned him to work on the Batgirl ongoing series. I've been a big fan of Nguyen and his work on Streets, and his just astounding watercolors. Nguyen writes:

“This is definitely going to be an exciting venture for me, besides the outline Bryan has for us, I’m just plain excited to be drawing Batgirl... This latest incarnation of her has lots of the aesthetics of the original Babs that I love and some new ones. It’ll take me some getting used to drawing a female in horns, but I’m looking forward to putting away the ‘mean and moody’ for a while and kick in the ‘fun and sexy.’”
 I can't wait to see Steph get the grade A art treatment that she deserves. [via Newsarama]

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

SuperQueeros! for August 18th, 2010

Sorry I missed last week! I was on vacation in Canada where all they sell is thousands of copies of Scott Pilgrim. By the way, did you see the movie? AMAZING, right? (It's AMAZING, guys)

Now to comics!
The Authority: The Lost Year #12
This is it! The final issue of the Autority's Lost Year! They've been hopping from dimension to dimension seeing themselves in many different lights. What will happen now that they're finally going to make it home? Will the Authority have learned from their various dopplegangers, or has this whole thing just been a prelude to their fall? Find out how this story wraps up THIS WEEK!

New Mutants #16
"Inferno Nouveau" continues as we finally meet the new (literal) team of "Hellions" secreted away during the infamous Inferno crossover and raised to do battle with the New Mutants! This is the plot that's going to lead into the Fall of the New Mutants storyline, so expect strife! (But not Stryfe. This is the Heroic Age! Cable has been replaced by X-Man. Who is way cuter.) Also, expect Karma's robotic leg!

JSA #42
It's the penultimate issue of the Starheart arc! The JSA and the JLA have teamed up to stop a possessed Green Lantern, Obsidian, and Doctor Fate (all JSA-ers...) from wreaking havoc on the world's ecosystems, but they've been captured and half-killed as they tried to invade the Starheart's moon base! How will our team get out of this one? And can Starman cure Obsidian with a kiss? (Can we please make that relationship a reality, instead of merely my fever-dream? PLEASE????)

True Blood #2
Story time continues! Watch as the cast of the awesome HBO show tell each other their dark, shameful, and sexy secrets! Includes Lafayette ("La La" to his mom), though it's Sookie's story this week.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

NERD ALERT: Casting Call for Runaways Film Fails to Mention Nico Minoru's Ethnicity

White-washing of Asian roles in Hollywood is a long and sad tradition. From the horrid James Bond film You Only Live Twice, where Bond masqueraded as a Japanese man by taping his eyes, to the more recent and highly controversial The Last Airbender, a film based on a critically-acclaimed and smash hit Nickalodeon show Avatar: The Last Airbender, where the entire non-white cast of characters were dunked in a vat of bleach and came out looking like Ken and Barbie dolls... except for Dev Patel, who we love.

Racebending.com is a fan-based site that came about in response to The Last Airbender racial-casting-gate and has been partnering with groups like Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA) to protest the white-washing of Asian American roles and stories in Hollywood. The latest potential offender is the upcoming Runaways film, based off of the absurdly  awesome and much adored Marvel comic of the same name (not to be confused with that other Runaways film, which features Kristen Stewart's uncanny ability to be disinterested at everything).

In the casting call for the new film, the brief character bios for all the original Runaway crew are present. Nico is described as "Uniquely beautiful, nurturing but guarded Female, must play 16-18 Must be at least 16 by January 2011". No mention of the fact that Nico Minoru is explicitly identified and drawn as Japanese American in the comics. It should be noted that the other person of color on the original squad, Alex Wilder, who is African American in the books is so identified in his character bio:
Boy 1: Very smart, natural leader, in need of a father figure
Male, African American, must play 16-18
Must be at least 16 by January 2011
What gives Marvel? Do the right thing! Nico can still save the world/be a tortured soul and be Asian!

Friday, August 6, 2010

NY Chinatown Arcade Totes Loves Homos

I've lived in New York City just over two years now. And no matter what neighborhood I've actually held residence, I've always felt my home was Manhattan Chinatown. I get my groceries there, I volunteer there, I eat there, I hang out there... and yes, I even game there. Chinatown Fair Video Arcade, or more colloquially known as the Chinatown Arcade, has been a fixture of the lower Manhattan neighborhood for quite some time. In fact, it's purported to be the oldest arcade in New York City, and also one of the last old-school Japanese-style arcades on the east coast.

I've always enjoyed dropping into Chinatown Arcade after a meal or between grocery stops, and I've even met some of my best friends at that arcade. So it made me really happy when Kotaku posted a recent story on how the hole-in-the-wall arcade has slowly become a safe-haven for a burgeoning queer gaming population:
"It's a friendly environment," said Amir Santiago,18. Along with Gabriel Cortez, 17, and Pedro Villalta, 17, he frequents Chinatown Fair at least three times a week, often coming after all three finish school. Cortez and Villalta come to the arcade to play Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) though it could look more like a practice routine. They both are capable of breezing through songs on the highest difficulty. Santiago admitted that he comes for the fighting games, in particular Tekken 6, but doesn't mind watching his friends play DDR. In between games, Cortez often sits on Santiago's lap. His boyfriend embraces him lovingly. "Teens feel safe to be openly gay here," Cortez later informed me. They're not the only ones to take liberty with the arcade's open environment. Queer and transgender gamers express themselves without inhibition, even during the arcades busiest hours.
 While I can't definitely say that Chinatown Arcade is the font of queer acceptance that the post seems to suggest. I do know that I've hung out with almost all of my gaymer friends in New York at Chinatown Arcade. If you're a native New Yorker and never been, make a point to stop by and offer up some quarters as patronage. The age of the arcade is passing and these last outposts of geekdom need to be preserved, lest all we are left with are the Dave and Busters of the world... *shiver*

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Gaymers Admitted to Gay UN, aka Manhunt

I saw this graphic on a friend's Facebook wall. It's one of those post 'em and tag 'em grids that ask you to lump your friends into tightly defined categories. I don't usually pay attention to these kind of memes since they're mostly all the same thing just with different 1980s nostalgic references (the Care Bears come to mind). But this one from Manhunt caught my eye, if not for its sociological slice of gay life.

What surprised me is that despite the monolithic amounts of gay "types" with all the lingo to accompany it (for example: bears, cubs, otters, wolves, and panthers are not only different types of furries, but also types within the gay subculture... and that's just ONE gay subculture), gaymers made it to the grid!

Lodged between the "Frat Boy" and the "Sk8ter Boi" is our Star Wars wearing, PS3 playing avatar complete with a halo of D&D dice. #awesome

Now I almost want to make a grid just for Gaymers!

*I also think it should be noted that on the grid of gay, there seems to be MAAAYYBBBBEEE two people of color... just sayin' is all.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Scarlet Betch Episode 25: "Wiccans, Vampires, and Batgirl"

Scarlet Betch is back at it again. Jason and Anthony talk about the latest trends with gays and comics, including the return of Young Avengers, Allen Heinberg, Wiccan's turn, Batgirl, X-men vs. Vampires, and much much more!

Featured music for this week is Freezepop's "Do You Like Boys"

SuperQueeros! Emergency Update!!

An egregious error on my part: I forgot to mention the Torchwood comic that comes out tomorrow! (Thanks, io9, for the reminder!) This issue follows the post-Series 2, pre-Children of Earth team as they deal with a Selkie-related murder. but who cares what the story is about, right? It's Torchwood and Ianto is in it and it's written by Barrowman and his sister. I mean, I don't think I know a single human being who is NOT going to buy this comic book!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Why Jo Chen is the bestest evar: Buffyslash

I've been a fan of Jo Chen for a long time. I was first introduced to her body of work while reading Runaways way back in college. Her iconic and hauntingly realistic style distinguishes Chen from the rest of the industry, and it's paying off. It seems that every which way I turn I run into Chen's art, between her Buffy Season 8 covers, her video game artwork like the Fable franchise, and her work for Marvel, Dark Horse and who knows who else. But what makes me love Jo Chen more than anyone else? She's totally a slashfiend.

A friend recently sent me this short story for Darkhorse that Chen illustrated back in 2009 for a web-based freebie called Darkhorse Presents. It features some hawt Angel/Spike slash and lets homegirl Chen get back to her slashy roots:

also a sample of Chen's more explicit and potentially nsfw stuff after the jump:

CAUGHT! Inception just a DuckTales Rip-Off!

So the ever-vigilant sentinels of cultural purity over at videogum.com have broken the STORY OF THE CENTURY (after that dinosaur one). It turns out that Inception, the new Christopher Nolan film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Caine, Tom Hardy, Ellen Paige, and Ellen Paige's scarves, is just a rip-off of a Duck Tales comic book! What the F, Batman director, Leo D, Riddler, Alfred, Guy with iPhone, Kitty Pryde, and Kitty Pryde's scarves? Where is your sense of creative integrity???

Monday, August 2, 2010

Paleontology Retcon: Triceratops never existed, now introducing the incredible shape-shifting Torosaurus!

So I don't know about the rest of y'all, but when I was a kid I went through three major phases growing up. I had a horse phase (aka My Little Pony phase), a teddy bear phase (aka Care Bear phase), and a Dinosaur phase. I memorized paleontological information like a tiny child-computer. I spent hours building skeletal models of dinosaurs, putting together dinosaur jigsaw puzzles, and playing with dinosaur toys (My 5th birthday party was dinosaur themed, complete with a craft station where we made stegosaurus hand puppets... my mom was AWESOME).

But suffice it to say that I was dino-cuh-razy, and the dinosaur that was at the top of my all time cool list was the Triceratops. Nothing was more kick-ass than the three horned beast. T-Rex? over compensating. Brontosaurus? Bronto-SNORe-us! Triceratops was where it was at. That's easily why my favorite Power Ranger was Blue Ranger Billy with the Triceratops dino-zord (and I infinitely despised the fact that I shared a name with that tool of a Red Ranger and fake-native american).

Now imagine my horror when I read the headline this morning that revealed scientists releasing a paper detailing how they believe that the Triceratops never actually existed. #horror

SuperQueeros! for August 4th, 2010

Happy August! Four brand new Wednesdays await us, so let's see what the queer superheroes are up to in Week One!

The Authority #25
It's one part denouement and one part... nouement(?) this issue as Hawksmoor explains his super-secret ultimate-weapon-secret that he kept from the crew until last issue, just in time for the Carrier to reach its final destination. But where or to what has the Carrier been taking the Authority? And who, what, and how is it being guarded? (Because it wouldn't be a story without someone guarding it/he/she!) Also, Rainmaker is so the star of this cover!

Secret Six #24
Okay... I'm confused. The solicit for this month's Secret Six literally reads: "In a small, corrupt mining boom-town, six remarkable strangers who hate each other band together in a bloody last stand against an army set on destroying them all!" Have we warped back in time to the creation of the Secret Six? In the Old West? And why doesn't Deadshot dress like that more often? And will Knockout still be alive???

The Rawhide Kid #3
Another penultimate issue as Rawhide Kid tells his origin story right before he faces off against the Sensational Seven. This piques my interest a little bit: will Rawhide's story be as blatantly stereotypical as his current status quo? Or will we get a more nuanced, interesting origin? This issue could be a game changer for how I see Marvel's most fierce gun fighter. Stand by to judge!

House of Mystery #28
The witches are off and they're taking Fig with them! Given that the witches have hired the goblins to fight their war with them, and that Tursig narrates the story-within-the-story next issue, I think there's a pretty good chance that they're taking everyone's fav gay goblin along for the ride! I wonder what he's like on long road trips...