Category: fandom

May 11, 2010 / / books

by Guest Contributor Tami, originally published at What Tami Said

Until I cracked my first urban fantasy book a couple years ago, I would have guessed that the genre was some sort of kinky Zane meets “The Lord of the Rings” thing. Not so.

Urban fantasy is a subset of fantasy defined by place; the fantastic narrative has an urban setting. Many urban fantasies are set in contemporary times or contain supernatural elements. Wikipedia…

The genre is also sometimes dubbed “supernatural romance.” At any rate: Fantasy…romance…those books are not generally my bag. But when the first season of HBO’s “True Blood” wrapped, I was jonesing for more sex, intrigue, female heroes and monsters, so I tucked into Charlaine Harris’ series that spawned the popular show. After quickly dispensing with every book in the Sookieverse, where a telepathic waitress and her neighbors in fictional Bon Temps, La., deal with the “coming out” of the world’s supernatural population, I moved on to Kim Harrison’s “The Hollows” series. Harrison’s world centers around a red-headed, leather-clad half-witch half-demon and her partners, a foul-mouthed pixie and a surly, bisexual vampire. Harrison’s nine volumes consumed, I sampled one Laurell K. Hamilton Anita Blake book before finishing the whole of her Merry Gentry series, which follows the exploits of a fae princess and her multi-hued band of lovers. (No, not black, white and brown–more like green, lavender and rainbow with the errant pointy ear or tentacle.)

I’ve developed a fondness for the urban fantasy genre. The books make fast, fun reads. But for me, someone who is drawn to issues of race and gender, even trashy, literary confections represent an opportunity for social analysis. As you may have guessed by the descriptions of some of the more popular urban fantasy series, the genre is all about creating new worlds with new societal norms. In urban fantasy, werewolves walk among us, Elvis really is alive (or undead) and the American Vampire League fights for the rights of marginalized former people. What I find curious, is that though their chosen genre frees them from the replicating the hierarchies of the real world, most authors of urban fantasy still manage to re-create common biases surrounding race, gender and sexuality. Read the Post Analyzing urban fantasy: Sex, violence and the supernatural

February 25, 2010 / / art
February 19, 2010 / / comics

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By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

Over at Marvel, the solicitations for May listed two books starring POC characters. Perhaps the most surprising is Amadeus Cho, Prince Of Power, a mini-series starring the young Korean-American running buddy of Hercules. Amadeus, acknowledged as the eighth-smartest man on Earth, is tasked to assume Hercules’ mantle by Herc’s sister, Athena. Her reasoning is, to deal with a pending crisis, the next P.O.P should be more formidable mentally than physically.

Thankfully, Cho has been steered clear of “smart Asian” territory by his creator, writer Greg Pak. Pak has consistently played Amadeus as not just intelligent, but cocky enough to team-up or work against other other Marvel brain-boxes like Reed Richards and Henry Pym. So while this is just a limited series, it’s good to see Amadeus get more of a spotlight.

cagetboltsMeanwhile, the Thunderbolts series gets re-tooled yet again, this time with Marvel mainstay Luke Cage as the star. Cage has been a presence in the Marvel U. since 1972 (remember the Gold Shirt and Tiara?), and starting in Thunderbolts #144, Cage is placed in charge of a supervillain rehab program as part of the company’s much-hyped “Heroic Age” event.

It’ll be interesting to see how this isn’t presented as anything but a demotion for Cage, who was heavily featured by Brian Michael Bendis in both Daredevil and New Avengers over the past few years. (Speaking of the Avengers, what we’ve seen of the team’s new line-up looks very, uh, monochromatic.)

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Finally, a note on last week’s bit of mock-outrage over Captain America taking on “The Watchdogs,” which may or may not have been inspired by the Tea Party – who want you to know, by the way, that they would never mockingly call a black man “Obama,” as happened in Captain America #602. As MightyGodKing put it:

My word, why would anybody ever associate tea partiers with racism? Read the Post Race & Comics Round-up: Around The Marvel Universe

February 8, 2010 / / WTF?
February 2, 2010 / / Ask Racialicious

by Latoya Peterson


Regular reader Charlotte wrote in with a very interesting question:

I’m in a class at my university that focuses on cult movies and gender issues, and my professor has been describing the cult movie phenomenon as specifically white and middle class. You guys have been running a lot of articles on fans of color recently, and I was wondering whether what my professor said was actually true. Do you know anything about the breakdown of cult movie audiences? Or are we just watching all the white cult movies and paying attention to the white cult audiences? The readings she’s assigned have agreed that audiences are certainly mostly white, but we’re also studying most of the more accepted/acceptable/entrenched cult movies, like Rocky Horror or Bladerunner.

Good question.

I suppose there are two questions at play – what defines a cult classic, and which things are considered cult to what types of audiences? Read the Post “Are All Cult Movies White?”

January 25, 2010 / / comics

By Guest Contributor Bao Phi, originally posted at the Star Tribune Your Voices Blog

I’ve told this story a million times: when I was young, my father kept me off the streets and saved much needed money buying me the toys I wanted by getting me a library card and teaching me to walk to the Franklin Avenue library, and there began my love of books and stories.

What I’ve written less about is the books I gravitated towards: books about mythological monsters, Greek gods and heroes, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Lord of the Rings, my older sister’s Elfquest collection and X-men comic books.  And the secret of many a nerd of color from the ‘hood: my lifelong devotion with role playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons, and Vampire: the Masquerade (making vampire fixations embarrassing long before Stephanie Meyer).

Although I had friends in and out of the neighborhood who were also nerds, it definitely wasn’t typical.  I remember one of my fellow nerds of color inviting me to a Rifts game in a tough tone of voice as if he was initiating me into a gang, all the while looking around nervously as if his street cred would be in serious jeopardy if anyone overheard him talking about how much SDC a Glitterboy had.

Nowadays of course, being a nerd can mean big money.  Everything from Tolkien to comic books to video games is finding its way into mainstream America’s fast food blood stream.  Along with it seems to be the rebellious streak that goes along with being the kid who gets picked on for knowing how to write in Tolkien’s Dwarven – a certain righteousness about being the odd person out, the strange smug martyrdom that comes from knowing that painting miniatures and possessing a dice bag marked you as being a freak and an outsider.

But then how do nerds of color like me fit in, and how do we deal with fellow nerds who don’t want to talk about things like race and class in comic books, video games, role playing games, and movies?   I’ll be the first to admit, I got into all of that stuff for the escapism it allowed.  It was invaluable to me, as a refugee from a war growing up in an economically poor urban area, to fantasize that I was someone else, somewhere else.  I’d rather be a paladin with a war horse riding to battle a chimera than be the Vietnamese ghetto refugee nerd running from the dudes on my block who tried to jump me on my way to and from CUHCC clinic to get my teeth cleaned.

Read the Post NOCs (Nerds of Color)[Essay]

January 19, 2010 / / fandom

by Latoya Peterson

I came across this gem while browsing the Hathor Legacy.  Blogger Ankhesen Mié has been watching the debate on fan forums about the Trek reboot (specifically the Spock-Uhura relationship) and decided to create a quiz around some of the most common sentiments:

1)    Do you feel horrified when you see Spock kiss a woman who looks like Uhura, and don’t know why?

2)    Do you look at Zoe Saldana and feel you “just can’t trust her” but can’t say why?

3)    Do you think Uhura’s not a very feminine character, but just can’t say why?

4)    Would you prefer Spock to be with Christine Chapel over Uhura?

5)    Do you think the Spock/Uhura relationship—in the story—is controversial because of Uhura?

6)    Do you consider yourself a “die-hard” Trek fan but still don’t agree with the pairing?

7)    Have you watched all things Trek—shows, films, interviews, etc. pertaining to this cast—and still think this pairing “came out of nowhere”?

8)    Do you think the kissing was “just wrong” and that Zachary Quinto was hurt by the writers? Read the Post Is Star Trek Exposing Your Latent Racial Issues?

September 11, 2009 / / comics