Thursday, July 31, 2008

Braveheart and a crazy news day

Following on from this historian's review of Braveheart I read yesterday I was inspired to watch Bravehart again. Yes I know it's a really daft movie, even before I read the article I was very aware that's it's not remotely historically accurate but it's really good fun!
I had forgotten how bloody it is though - it revels in it's violence. Yet somehow it still looks like a Monty Python movie! I kept expecting cries of Ni! to go up. Good stuff.
And I guess as, y'know, this is me, I should point out the WiR scene - William's wife getting killed purely to give him motivation for the rest if the film. That might have happened. But it didn't need to be framed so.

Aside from that, today and the last few days have been crazy for news.

Jill Dando trial The first article up described him in the sub header as a local nutter. Methinks The Guardian suspects he's guilty.
Water on Mars! And earlier in the week lake found on Saturn moon.
Man gets beheaded on bus trip. What. the. fuck.
Britain's prehistoric rock art Cool stuff
Haitian's making and selling mud cakes to feed starving populace Fuck, that's incredibly wrong.

Did people see the new Black Canary as Barbie controversy recently seen on the internets? The story was run by The Sun newspaper, which, if you live in the UK and know this paper you will know to take what they say with a large pinch of salt. They are a tabloid. They lie. They will fabricate and exaggerate to produce an overly simplistic sensational story. They certainly won't do considered research into the character or present an unbiased viewpoint.
But if you don't know the newspaper (actually I am loath to call it a newspaper), you may not realise this.
Anyway what struck me about this was how it was picked it up by many American blogs and how people seemed to think that this reaction, both from The Sun and the religious group quoted, was representative of attitudes generally in Britain. Because we are a pretty diverse nation and we don't all think the same way. I'm not quite sure where I'm going with this, I don't think I have a further point. So. We're all individuals (I'm not) and we're not a hive mind. Glad we got that sorted out.

Oh yeah. People compared Black Canary Barbie to Catwoman Barbie. I really like Catwoman Barbie. I'm obviously wrong in the head. I won't buy it though. I'm holding out for the Amazonia Wonder Woman. Isn't she good?!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Butch women to be sex tested at the Olympics

Women who look too manly may have to go through sex tested at the Olympics.

Suspected athletes will be evaluated from their external appearances by experts and undergo blood tests to examine their sex hormones, genes and chromosomes for sex determination

Wtf? You just know that this will only apply to women, and I betcha anything there will be physical tests involved too. Wtf is wrong with people? Who thought this up?
Interestingly, male to female transsexuals won't have to undergo the test.

How about intersex people? Where do they fit? Actually that's the wrong question to be asking.
How fucking dare they* take it open themselves* to ascertain and second guess who isn't womanly enough? As the F Word article says what parameters are they going to use to choose who to test? Hips and Arse not round enough? Boobs not big enough? Too lean? Too muscly? They're athletes for fucks sake, they're meant to be lean. is the implication that you can't be a real woman if you're an athlete?

I can't help but think that is meant to put women in their place and publicly humiliate them for not looking like good little wifeys. (I don't mean that this was done on an explicit conscious level, but I think that anyone reading this blog will realise and know about the subconscious effects of living in a patriarchal society that produces and encourages many subtle codes and methods that criticise women for not adhering to the proper model of femininity.)

I think that if Ami reads this she'll go justifiably mental.

On a funny note, read this taken from the Guardian article:
'It is believed that as many as 10,000 East German athletes were caught up in a nightmarish state-sponsored attempt to build a race of superhuman communist sports heroes and force-fed cocktails of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.'

That's just hilarious - superhuman communist sports heroes! It's like a comic gone bad. And before anyone gets the wrong end of the stick (this being the internetz I'm sure I'll find someone to offend) I am well aware that's it's not funny for the individuals involved, and it's a deplorable thing to do to someone, but the idea is very funny. Which is where it should have stayed.**

*No I'm not quite sure who 'they' are. The morons who thought up and then agreed and then put in place the facilities to do this stupid test I think.
**Whew. back covered.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Renee Montoya

Possibly a stupid question. What ethnicity is she meant to be? Cos I'm reading Batgirl now and she looks to be drawn white. I've seen her in other comcis and I thought she was black. Then I've read on the internets she's hispanic.

Now I feel kinda daft for even having to ask this question, but I reckon the DC editors should feel even dafter for not having her drawn consistently.

Someone help me out here?

And talking of Batgirl, Cassandra's intense isn't she?! This series is providing more ammo for my Batman is a jerk view. More on that later when I don't have an exam the next day.

Monday, July 28, 2008


There's gonna be a new Cloak & Dagger mini! Hurrah!!! As you can guess I'm rather keen on these two. It seems that Valerie D'Orazio will be writing it. I quite enjoy her blog, but have no idea whether she'll make a good comics writer or not - she used to edit at DC, JLA and Identity Crisis. And it looks like they'll have a manga style artist in. Which I'm not convinced about, we'll see.
On the plus side, that's a woman writer, artist AND inker. Rock on. Of course I know this doesn't mean the story will be better than in men wrote it, but it's nice to see the comics world opening up (more) to women.

And Neil Gaiman doing a Batman comic? That should be goooood. Neil Gaiman is wondrous. Check out American Gods if you haven't already - (see, I read actual novels sometimes too!)

Today I read Joker's asylum - Scarecrow - very good! lovely art! and Superman 678 - still loving Renato Guedes art, and Supergirl is in the next issue, hooray! Trinity is still rubbish, I only read half the comic. Can't be arsed to read the rest. maybe on the weekend.
I also watched more Buffy and got to evil leather clad vampire Willow episode - Dopplegangland. every time I watch that I'm more and more impressed by the writers and by Alyson Hannigan. And also more lecherous, but that's an aside.

Finished reading Nightwing yesterday. My my, he's a self involved angsty sort of chap isn't he? Am on to reading Batgirl (Cass) then it will probably be Harley Quin. Then I'm not sure, Green Arrow or Wonder Woman? Old Matrix Supergirl issues? Decsions decisions...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Random things...

Isn't this good? See, people aren't all shits.

I'm nervously sitting on my hands trying to avoid Dark Knight spoilers. Can't believe I won't have time to see it for at least a week...

Tips on dealing with exam stress would be much appreciated. Also, ways in which I can get to sleep (without getting drunk!) would also help.

But yeah, its Caturday and there's a new cat on my street so some stuff is alright. Oh god roll on Wednesday evening.

Darwin fraud

This Darwin fraud case..from what I can tell both of them hatched the plan. They are both responsible for defrauding the insurance companies and for lying to their sons and friends. And yet, nearly every headline I've seen has focused on how Anne lied on what she did. One of the Guardian's headlines reported the story as a couple facing fraud and being found guilty. Yet so many of the other newspapers headlines that I've seen, (mostly tabloids), have reported the trial verdict as Wife gets convicted, not Husband and Wife.

Hmm, I wonder why that is?

And from one of The Guardian's articles, a quote from the Detective Inspector who led the investigation:

"For her to say 'I had to go along with it because John told me', I just don't know how any mother could do that. She was out and out despicable and I don't have the time of day for her."

People, you disgust me.
If you want a better written post on this go here. I'm too fucking stressed to think straight.

Nightwing... (spoilers)

I've been hideously busy lately hence the lack of posts. I'm still hideously busy but today I've given myself a day off to just relax and do what I want, instead of what I should do. Hence lots of Nightwing reading and some blogging. I'm looking forward to getting my life back.

So, I am reading my way through the Nightwing series now and I must say it's pretty enjoyable. Far more so than I expected, and has a lot less problems than the Flash run did. Which means less indignation for me, hurrah! This will be another long post, interspersed with pictures.

Firstly, Greg Land did a run on this title and I was very surprised to notice a complete lack of pornface. Obviously I've been doing the guy a disservice before as he appears to be able to draw women in normal looking poses. Whether he's traced them or not I can't tell, and the art isn't particularly stand out, merely average, but still better than I expected. I'm considering giving him kudos for not constantly drawing pornface but then I realise it's a sad state of affairs to congratulate someone on not drawing porn in a non porn comic.

Tells you a lot about the state of American superhero comics doesn't it? *sigh*

Good aspect number 2: There's this new hero on the scene called Tarantula, she's a lady superhero. Her and Nightwing met then she tries to lose him. Of course, Grayson has been trained by the world's greatest detective so works out she's hiding under a ledge. Like a spider. Do you see what they've done there?

Here's the page:

She slapped him, hurrah! There's not enough of that going on. On a bad note, this woman has grown up in Bludhaven, she knows what it's like. And yet leaves her torso exposed. Shouldn't she be wearing Kevlar? Or something protective? Oh no, exposing flesh is more important than a coherent framework.
Now I think I mentioned before about how the Pied Piper's gayness wasn't really talked about in the Flash comic. They've done a lot better in Nightwing. Basically Dick gets partnered with a new guy who keeps getting beat up in the locker room by a bunch of homophobic policeman. Dick steps in, because y'know he's a hero and protects the innocent etc.
One of the muggers says 'What, are you Grayson, his boyfriend?'. There's a pause and Dick responds 'What if I am?'. We're meant to think that shows how wonderful Dick is, he's not a bigot and he doesn't care about what people think. A knight in shining armour for his abused colleague. I think that this is a very heterocentric way of viewing things. And this is dealt with on the next page!
If you can't read the text the dialogue is as follows:
Grayson: I'm going to file a report with Amy [the boss] OK? The problem's theirs not yours. And I'm here for you, you don't have to deal with this alone..
Gannon: No, you know what? As long as they're hitting me, the problem's mine. And I'm not alone, though that's got nothing to do with your smug little moment of PC bravado back there. save your speeches for your girlfriend Grayson. The only thing I need you to do for me is make sure I don't get shot in the back between 8 and 6.
Fucking score. It's really rare to see that point of view put across. To reinforce that gay people don't need to be saved by straight people, that we're not alone and we're not angsty. And in a later issue we go to Gannon's house and see his fella. And it's explicit they are in a relationship, it's not using hints!
Last point. This big guy called Roland Desmond thinks Nightwing caused his mother to have a heart attack and die. So he sets out to destroy everyone Dick knows. He blows up his apartment block, kills all the residents bar 2. He has Dick's circus set on fire, injuring and killing many. He blows up his partner's house intending t kill the whole family, he goes after Babs (who Dick obviously tries to save despite the fact Barbara is more than capable of holding her own. Pfft. Male heroes).
When Dick and Tarantula catches up to Roland he realises Roland will kill everyone he knows, everyone he saves, everyone he smiles at, shakes hands with etc. So Dick makes the choice to let Tarantula shoot him. Predictably this sends him into a meltdown as he's crossed the line. Then something weird goes on with the story. Tarantula takes Dick onto the roof to make their getaway:

Well blow me but that don't half look like they're having sex. Which is a fucking weird plot twist for a start. Now bear in mind that Dick is ranting and raving at this point and really isn't in his right mind..definitely not in terms of consenting to sex anyhow..which makes me think that isn't a sex scene, it's a rape scene.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Trinity number 6 or arrrggh I'd like to tear my hair out now

Someone remind me why I'm still reading this. Oh yes I know, I'm a completest and I'm going to buy the first 12 issues then leave the rest and possibly pick up the trades. Despite the fact I'm really not liking it.
Again, this weekly series is meant to set out Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman's place in the Dc Universe. Establish why they are the big 3. establish why they are so important. And so far we've seen Supes treat Wondie like she's a 5 yr old and a rather interesting new character called tarot. Who I still like.
However, in this issue, we see Tarot establishing how the big 3 relate to Truth, Justice and the American way, and we see them all working out what they mean as a trinity, or unit of 3, and how they relate to each other. Which is where it all gets fucking stupid.

Diana starts it off. 'It's not just what we stand for separately. Whatever it is, it's about the 3 of us a group - about the relationships between us. the two of you are friends. but not always easy one. and I've briefly been romantically attached to each of you. Which I find interesting since you ares o different.'
(emphasis mine)

She's been relegated to a fucking romantic interest! She's Wonder Woman! An Amazon! Once goddess of truth! From an island of women! And now she can only see herself as a romantic interest!
She then goes on to say:
"Clark, you are a solid supportive man. Kind, and giving of yourself - Good husband material - as they say in those magazines of Etta's.....
Bruce Wayne though? Bruce is a thrill dangerous, exciting but not Long term. You've given all your focus to your mission, and there's little left for ties beyond that."
(emphasis mine again)

Arrrrgggggh. is this really how she stands? Is that really how she sees herself? And them?
Nothing about her friendship with them coming first? nothing about Bruce and Clark's romantic relationship (come on you know there's subtext there) No no no it's all about how she crushes on them but they're not suitable. What the fuck?
Now there's nothing wrong with being a romantic interest, but to position Diana as so, in a series which is defining these 3 heroes, (and yes I know it's only 7 weeks in and there's a lot more tog o, but this is establishing the bounds of their relationships and tie snow), is incredibly fucking reductionist.

I thought we'd moved past the men and women can't be friends thing. She fights side by side with them in battle. She's trusted and respected. Except apparently not in this. Bollocks to you.

Diana of Themyscria. Defining herself by who she's fucked.

Maybe there's been a weird Marvel/Dc crossover and this Diana is a skrull. I can only hope so.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tyr - not Norse

From the Faroe Islands instead. I'm rather disappointed by that. Still awesome though.

Edit: Can you say OMFG? Battle Metal band Turisas cover Boney M's Rah Rah Rasputin.
I love metal covers of pop songs. I'm now thinking we should have stayed to watch them at the gig, but hey, I was having such a bad day I just needed to go home.
For bonus points - check out the decidely non metal crowd of models they've got to be the fans. Lame.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Abortion and rape

Saying that abortion is not allowed except for cases where the woman has been raped is all very well, except that most women's rape claims aren't believed.
What are people proposing, that raped women who become pregnant have to prove it through
the courts before they can get an abortion? Cos that'll work, with all 3% of rape cases resulting in a conviction. Or do they just have to prove it to their doctor? Cos that's bullshit as well. Aren't most doctors still male?

And whatever your personal views on the right or wrongness of abortion, safe legal abortion has to be a better option than a dangerous backstreet abortion.

(Me, sitting at home, listening to women's hour, getting inspired and avoiding work)

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Rape trigger warning
Fuck you world
What the fuck is wrong with people. She was 4 years old. Fuck you.

Flash - Linda Parks - Whitewashing

Ar god I'm hungover. Feeling very delicate today as I went out to a party last night and got to bed on my mates sofa at about 6am. Good party - twas a fancy dress theme and there was an awesome Heath Ledger Joker there.

I need muffins. Unfortunately I don't have any. What I do have is a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment at having finally finished reading 250 odd Flash comics. That was a mammoth run, and really really enjoyable. They are all the Wally West and Bart Allen Flashes.

Admittedly, the first 60 were more rubbish as I don't like William Messner-Loebs writing, except for Chunk, who's a bloody brilliant guy. Tis a pity he's not really in the picture any more.

Mark Waid's run was by far the best, and not just because he brought in Impulse, who I adore. His year 1 story arc, 62 to 65, was just wonderful. I can't quite work out why there's another Flash year 1 - Flash Annual number 8 - as surely there is only one year 1 story to tell? And which one is in continuity? *confused*. Anyway I don't know how they compare as I haven't read the annuals yet.

Mark Waid made Wally more human, more rounded and let him grow up. He also developed Wally's relationship with Linda into something real and intense and oh so touching. Despite what my rl friends may say, I think I am actually an old romantic after all. The thing about Wally and Linda is that their feelings for each other act like a beacon and no matter where Wally ends up in the time stream, or the speed force, or other danger, he will always come back to Linda because she's his rock. And I think that's awesome. Everyone needs a rock.

My main beef with these issues is how Linda is drawn and coloured. She's Korean, this is made explicit from the start, yet she morphs into a white person several times over this run, and even when she's drawn Korean she's not always recognisable as the same person.

Picking out a random selection of images:

Flash 28:
Flash 78:

Flash 114:

Flash 159:
Flash 233:

And perhaps the worst, Flash Secret Files and Origins 1:

I think the above is the worst because it's meant to be a definitive biography of the character. And portraying her as white is pretty bloody shit. And I know art styles change over time but c'mon, we always recognise Lois, and Jimmy, why wasn't Linda drawn consistently?
Whiteness isn't the default state of being. Is it really difficult for editors and artists to remember that there are other ethnicities in the world? Apparently not. And it's not just Linda this happens to. DC recently fucked up (yet again) with Vixen. Strange how the white heroes are never 'accidentally' given a new ethnicity.
And on another gripe about that Secret Files and Origins issue, having now read the entire Flash v2 and v3 books, I feel pretty safe in saying that the Pied Piper is not an outspoken gay man. Not outspoken about his gayness anyway. In not one issue did he fight and champion for gay rights, and in fact his being gay was mentioned very rarely. His boyfriend was never labelled boyfriend, rather it was inferred.
This is all lame as a very lame thing.
And I'm still gutted over Bart Allen's death, but at least the storyline was really well done, and 'a gripping read', as they say.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Good grief - vintage ads

Over at Occasional Superheroine's blog.
The bicycling and pacifism ones confuse me. I thought that people weren't so blatant about sex back in the day. Seems I was wrong.
To be fair I just roll my eyes at most of them. Except for the Leggs one.

And this one just makes me laugh!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Women Bishops

This whole debate about women as Bishops has got me to thinking to when I was a kid. I went to church, and Sunday school, I've been christened and had my communion and possibly done other ceremonies that i can't quite remember. My mum is from Dublin so is Catholic. Whenever we went to stay with her family we'd get taken to Church, which I mostly remember as being incredibly incredibly dull.
But you know, my mum tried to bring us up Catholic. It was an abject failure, possibly not helped by my dad being the most sceptical person alive when it comes to religion.

What I mostly remember about my reasons for not believing, as a kid, and a pretty young kid at that, was that I was utterly astonished that someone would be asking me to worship a man. It did not compute. What did men have to do with me and why should I be so grateful and prostrate myself before one? I lived in a predominately female household (mum, sister and my dad. even the pets were female). And my mum has always always been an ardent feminist.
Worshipping a goddess, that would make far more sense, and from there was spawned my interest in the norse, greek and celtic pantheon.

And as I got older I realised that being Christian made absolutely no sense given that they do not allow women to hold positions within the church. Cos we're, y'know, dirty and that.
There was a great debate on radio 4 yesterday morning - the traditionalist guy opposing the ordination of women bishops gave a couple of absolutely rubbish arguments as to why women shouldn't be ordained:
1) There are lots of women who also oppose it. (Yep, the vagina hive mind strikes again)
2) It's not sexism, it's theology.

Wtf? Anyway, I say bring on the women bishops, bring on a female pope. I don't think religion is an inherently bad thing, and allowing women to hold positions of power is not a bad thing. I don't think including women will lead to a more natural, less aggressive, less dictatorial religion, but it's gotta open up more kids eyes to the idea of a god or goddess. I'm liking Alanis Morrisette as God in Dogma. Awesome movie, go rent it out now if you haven't seen it.

And on another note, I'm about to start reading Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti of Feministing fame. I"m very excited about this. Anyone else read it and care to share their thoughts?

Monday, July 07, 2008

Is Trinity in continuity?

I ask because I can't see how it fits in with the ongoing plot of the Superman title (I'm not reading Wonder Woman or Batman), and also, with this whole RIP Batman rubbish that's going on, I assume Batman isn't going to die or ascend to become a god if he's still existing in Trinity.

Help anyone?

I think I'm gonna purchase Final Crisis. Ulp. More wasted money. Or not, cos I'm rather into the whole story now. I'm definitely gonna buy Final Crisis - Rogues revenge cos it's dealing with the death of Bart Allen, an event that has left me utterly heartbroken and made me cry. Nearly.
Yes, you may say I get far too involved in my books, I say it's a good book if it drives you to tears.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Buffy Kara and Huntress win, Superman dickishness, and Titans confusion

I'm rubbish at thinking up titles. Maybe something will come to me after I've written this.
Feels like it's been ages since i've put anything up here. And since I now have real life friends knowing where this is located I'm feeling kinda embaressed again at having a blog.. umm..I think I should just get on with it.
On with the comic news! Real life news makes me too angry to write about. I've had stuff going around my head but I just want to relax now and I can't do that if I think about real life stuff. So, to the comics!

Manhunter 31. Hurrah it's back! And I've got a sneaky suspicion I missed number 32, damn. Anyway. It's goood. The art, i'm not decided on. It's different to my normal fare, but I think that's good. It's definitley not tits and ass everywhere, which I shoudl be very thankful for. the story? Well the fuirst part is reintroducing Kate Spencer to us. Then she deals with a really lame Atomic Skull. Then it shifts to where the next story arc is really going, the US?Mexico border. Real life story. For about 10 years someone or a group of people have been killing women in the area. usually mexican women, presumably travelling across ther border to work. 400 have been killed and the authorities are doing fuck all about it. Look up Ciudad Juarez.
So yeah, the comic is covering this. Kudos to the writers, and double kudos points for calling it a femicide and being explicit about the fact that's it's women getting killed because they're women.

Teen Titans 60. You bastards. You've gone and taken Rose off the team and now I'm gonna be buying terror Titans which will undoubtedly be shit. Rose belongs in the Titans, please don't let this be a permanent removal. Also, Eddie and Rose need to be a couple. That panel with Eddie skipping? Made of win.

Superman 677. Really not remembering a lot from this. Renato Guedes art is always great - there's pants covering the whole bum for a start. Just flicked it open and of course, Krypto! Although, Superman saying 'man'? He says golly, he's not cool and trendy!

Huntress 3 and 4. Number 3 bored me. Number 4 didn't. This mini is so wonderful. And a cameo by Barbara Gordon! Helena is so focused. So dedicated. Next issue will be good. Face off between Bruce and Helena.

Supergirl 31. The art is rubbish. Bring back Guedes, or the Drew Johnson & Lee Ferguson tean. Their art was so simple, yet it worked so well. The story and plot was good though, although I am a sucker for Kara based introspection. I'm rather confused about how this all fits in with the plots of say 8 issues ago though. I think I need to re-read the later issues.
(Side note, what the fuck is up with the ambush bug/Dan DiDio thing though?)

Trinity is bloody rubbish. The covers are shockingly bad. The main plotline bores me, and I'm only vaguely interested in this Tarot lady. Plus, Superman is back to being a dick again. In issue 4 he appears to be telling Diana off, like she's a naughty 5 year old who's not obeying the rules. She's not respected or treated as an equal and this really gets my goat. In issue 5 he doesn't trust her fighting skills, ability or strength. Now, even if you want to ignore my fangirlish sense of entightelment I know I'm displaying, there's another problem with this. This series is meant to be showcasing the premier 3 superheroes in DC, how they work together, why they are important and what bond they share. And I'm not seeing that.
Also, I can't believe Diinah would cecede the fight so willingly to the 3 of them. She's not a rookie, she's hard as nails and can take on one hell of a lot.
Shame on you Kurt Busiek.

To end on a better note, Buffy 16. I am loving this season. Dawn's a centaur! A freakin' centaur! Kennedy's back and calling Buffy a homophobe, something I have always agreed with, and then there's FRAY! Am really trying hard not to jump up and down in excitement here, but I am so excited about this plotline! This issue in particular read just like the tv show.
Of which, I am up to season 3, episode 12, Helpless. I really really like this one. I have no incisive or cuttign edge commentray I'm afraid, I just liked it, a lot.
Oh and Allecto has another Joss post up. I haven't read it yet, but I probably will do. And maybe I'll respond again. If I get a spare minute.

I thought of a post title.