Wednesday, June 30, 2010

And this is why I like Dinah.

The following is blatantly stolen from DC Women Kicking Ass, who reblogged it from various others.  It's too damn wonderful not to share:

One of my favourite JLA moments from Meltzer’s brief run. Dinah, Roy and Hal up against an army of Red Tornado body clones, with great strength and lots of powers, and extremely dangerous. She picked up one of Roy’s arrow heads, leapt onto one of the Tornadoes and punctured it full of holes from head to toe in an effort to find the weak spot. And she did this faster than Hal’s ring could scan the Tornado body for the weak point. BADASS.
Also, Ed Benes, for once, did not focus on the breasts and ass (well, not as much as he generally does), and the intensity on her face came out perfect.

This is so hot it BLOWS MY MIND. Just when I think I couldn’t possibly be more in love with her than I already am…she kills me dead.
I totally agree. That scene showed why Dinah was chosen to lead the JLA.


I myself haven't read the issue, it's been ages since I've regularly read the JLA, but Dinah Lance is amazing.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

One course over, let the free time begin!

On Saturday I finished my pre level 3 in British Sign Language.  There was no exam, but we did have to do a presentation on something linked to Deaf culture.  I chose to do my presentation on the Centre for Deaf Studies at Bristol University, and the closure of the Deaf Studies course.

So, in order to make an easy blog post, here's the text of the presentation:


  • Centre for Deaf Studies (CDS) is part of Bristol University
  • CDS opened in 1978
  • It was the first academic insitution to focus on research and education to benefit the deaf community
  • Most of the staff are Deaf and all can sign

 Mission statement
  • To develop Deaf Studies in ways that benefit Deaf people and promote their inclusion in and contribution to society.
  • To increase hearing people's understanding of what it means to be Deaf.
  • The Centre's work focuses on adjusting to Deafness and hearing loss, not the prevention or cure of hearing difficulties.
  • To establish Deaf Studies as a valid subject and a worthy field of research.

CDS works in 3 main areas:
  • Research of Deaf Studies
  • Teaching programmes in Deaf Studies
  • Deaf programmes including information and consultancy and the provision of short courses and dissemination of information

Research in conducted in 5 main areas:
  • Sign language and sign linguistics
  • Sign language acquistion
  • Deaf community, Deaf culture and Deafhood
  • Cognition, mental health and education
  • Video telecommunication, video information and e-learning

CDS has a list of firsts:
  • It conducted the first funded research on sign language in the UK
  • It offered the first full time training programme for Interpreters
  • It offered the first BSC and MSC in Deaf Studies in the UK
  • It offered the first University training programme for Deaf people, taught in BSL


The Centre has developed a wide range of resources for both Deaf and hearing people.

  • Deafstation - for people fluent in BSL.  It provides daily news and information in BSL.
  • Signstation - For people learning BSL.  It has video, pictures and information about BSL, Deaf people at work and Deaf awareness.
  • Mobile Sign - a video dictionary with over 5000 signs.  For people who work with Deaf people, have Deaf customers or want to learn how to sign.  You access the dictionary from a mobile phone phone and download the signs required.

    • Deafresource - Provides information on the Deaf Community, sign language and Deaf Studies.

    • VOGS - It provides guides for working with Deaf people covering topics such as using Intepreters, facts about Deaf people and sign language and frequently asked questions.  VOGS means 'Vocational Guidance Standard Model for Deaf People'.

    Future of CDS
    • In May 2010 the decision was made to close the Deaf Studies course.
    • Lack of financial viability and academic quality were the reasons given for closing the course.
    • The last intake will be in October 2010 with the final students leaving in 2013.
    • 75% of staff face job cuts, many of these will be Deaf.

    For more information visit

    Now, isn't it a damn shame they are closing the course?

    Monday, June 28, 2010

    Supergirl #53

    I loved this issue.  Everything about it was spot on.

    That cover.   It's not often you get to see Kara in this pose, usually it's Clark, so it's really gratifying to see this as the cover.  The confidence of her!  The complete invulnerability and the pride and ease at which she's striding into action.  She's so self assured.  It's just fantastic.

    Of course, the Kara we greet inside isn't quite like this.  The New Krypton saga has just ended and she's lost everyone, again.  We open with a nightmare that she's having, where she's back in project 7734 and the dead Superwoman and her dead parents are trying to take her back.  She's bursts awake and notices that she's burnt the ceiling with her heat vision.  Which leads us onto this scene:

    This is my absolute favourite scene in the book.  I love the curl of her lip, the fact she's actually fixing the damage, that she's flying while doing household chores, and the way she describes what she's doing to Lana.  This is justa  really good Kara Zor-El character moment, I think.

    Also, notice how her hair has got shorter.  I love details like this.  This is not a pencil error, through the entire book her hair has been cut short, presumably as a symbolic thing to help her move on from the trauma of New Krypton being blown up.  Kara also asks Lana to call her Linda from now on - she wants to drop the whole Kara identity and settle into being Linda.  On first reading I dislike this direction, but on second reading it makes more sense.  She's had a pretty rough time of it, no wonder she wants to get away from the El identity.

    Later on we see Dr Light and STAR Labs trying to cure Superwoman, by using the machine Kara developed to save Lana from the Insect Queen.  I don't think this is going to end well. :/

    Then we see Kara and Lana having coffee and the window explodes.  Kara refuses to go investigate and Lana storms off declaring that she won't support Kara when she refuses to help people.  This is whole issue is character driven.  Even with the obligatory explosions and fights, this is justa  damn great portrait of Kara's life.

    Finally, we see Dr Light and Gangbuster investigating the crash, which turns out to be Bizzaro Supergirl.  A fabulous ending to a great comic.  I am so looking forward to Bizzaro Supergirl, partly due to Amy Reeder's superb covers.

    All in all, this is a great issue to kick off a year of crossover free stories! Comic of the week, no doubt about it.

    Friday, June 25, 2010

    On Stories

    Glamour magazine recently did an article on 'The weird sex things he secretly wants to try'.  Number 6 was female superhero sex*.  The text reads:

    'Our female superhero crush isn't only about the fact they are drawn with proportions so pneumatic they make Barbie look like a Dickensian waif.  They project power and confidence, yet they are always troubled.  Sometimes they need rescuing, if only from their personal demons, and we're just the sensitive he-men who could do it.
    The great thing is, any real-life woman can be a superhero - just be strong and confident, and let us know you need what only a man like us can give'.

    Emphasis mine.

    First off, let's get John Stewart's views on this:

    Secondly, that isn't a description of any superheroine I know of.

    What is really bizzare about the text is that it's turning the costumed woman into a doll, existing only for the male lover.  In the view expressed, the woman has no autonomy, that's all taken away to make all her actions, desires and characteristics about the man.  She needs to be rescued by her great manly lover!  He can soothe all ills and pains!!

    This is a good example of how even women's magazines, supposedly writing for and about women, still publish stuff explictly from the male gaze point of view.  They could have taken another approach to (or indeed criticised) this point of view, but no.

    I realise that it is a fantasy, but fantasies reflect reality.  Glamour talks about feminism and tries to put across some sort of pro womens rights agenda, yet they also include articles like this.  Reading it I can't help but recall all those examples of bad anatomy, all Greg Land's pornface art and all those times when women's fierceness and independence is destroyed by comics such as Superman/Batman 72 (more Lois from that issue here), or other books where women's roles are relegated to the sidekick, or downgraded to being the love interest.


    I recently read Going Under by Justina Robson.  This is the third book in the Lila Black series.  Lila is a cyborg on an earth where ther Quantum Bomb of 2015 brought the human, elf, demon and faery planes into co-existence.
    On page 116 of the first paperback edition the nature of the hero and the heroine is discussed:

    (This conversation takes places just after a female demon has died in a dramatic and senseless manner. She demon was young, beautiful and talented and so has been labelled a hero).

    (Lila speaks) 'Heroes can't be self-doubters Malachi,' she told him.  'I read it in the book of rules.  That means I can't be a hero.  So at least I'm safe from that one.'
    (Malachi speaks) 'That's the spirit!'. 'You could probably be a heroine though' he added. 'You're in love, you're racked with self-questioning, you're at the mercy of society's higher forces and you're riddles with a form of consumption.  That's quite gothic'.

    Why are the two definitions so different?
    I'm fairly certain the description of the heroine is meant to be tongue in cheek, whilst still being a valid comment on Lila.  Nevertheless, that idea of the weakened heroine is taken from a lot of literature, so why have female protagonists in literature been given this damaged role?

    Given Lila's personailty and abilities you could add super to the front of heroine and still be making an accurate observation.  By this book, Lila's machinery is melding with her fleshy bits and she can produce guns and other weapons out of her arms just by thinking about them.  A bit like Guy Gardner as the Warrior.  Lila may question herself and the motivations of those around her, but she's not a passive person drowning in her own worries.  She gets on with things.  She does what needs to be done.  She's pro active.  She may not like what she's become but she does know who she is.  She's a pretty darn good fun character actually**.


    Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett.
    Withces Abroad is a Discworld story about stories.  On the Discworld there is an element called narrativium.  It ensures that stories happen according to basic fictional tropes, such as wheels that roll out of fires and gently come to a stop, or third princes embarking on and succeeding on a quest where their elder brothers have all failed.  Page 8 of the 1997 paperback edition says this:

    'Because stories are important.
    People think that stories are shaped by people.  In fact, it is the other way around.
    Stories exist independently of their players.   If you know that, the knowledge is power.'

    One of the main themes of the book is how you shouldn't treat people as if they are characters in a story.  You can't make happy endings for people.  It's immoral to attempt to do so.

    The flip side of this is that as the text says, stories are important, they do have power.  They give us a framework to navigate through life.  They reflect our experiences and value within society, even when they don't feature us.  When we have fiction we don't entirely like or agree with, we create our own stories and narratives to satisfy us.  Any long time comic fan knows how this happens.

    This role of stories is why I have included Witches Abroad in this post.  What does it say when Glamour tells us a story where women will always need and depend on men?  Where Going Under tells a story of how heroes are strong and heroines are indecisive?
    And what is the significance of books like those in the Discworld series which highlights the existence of these narratives and give us a different kind of female protagonist?

    *Yeah, cos that's really weird.  I think Glamour may be jumping on a bandwagon here.
    ** According to the blurb this book is 'the work of a smart and sexy novelist having smart and sexy fun'.  This description tickles me and so I mention it whenever I mention the book.

    Monday, June 21, 2010


    I've got flowers out, a yellow candle aflame and amber incense burning.  Next door are having a birthday/end of GCSEs/solstice party and my crappy day is finally at an end.  I've just eaten dinner, I am about to have a cup of redbush tea and the house smells nice.  Amber incense works much better now rather than in deep midwinter.

    Happy summer solstice everybody!  (Or Happy Yule if you live in the other hemisphere!)

    Sunday, June 20, 2010

    I write more things

    This weeks comics reviews coming up.  Spoilers for Brightest Day #4, Jokers Asylum II: The Mad Hatter, Joker's Asylum II: The Riddler.

    Brightest Day #4
    Well this was interesting.  One of the things I like about these weekly or bi weekly books is the character studies we get to see.  52 was very good at that as it introduced me to Renee, Isis and Osiris.  Brightest Day is going to re introduce me to characters I haven't read in a while, and woudl otherwise not really get to see.

    Looking at the Hawkpeople, I am mostly relearning that Carter is a bit of a dominating bonehead and that Sheira is letting him walk all over her.  I am willing to be shown that initial interpretation is wrong though.  And I still miss Kendra.  I love the land they've ended up in.  There's something about flying cities and/or flying lumps of earth that's makes me shiver.  I particularly love the chains linking the earth lumps, how intriguing!!

    I'm really excited about seeing Dove in this book.  We didn't get to see enough of her in Blackest Night so I'm glad she's being picked up in here.

    The new Aqualad story is off to a good start, and hey it's nice to see they've managed to being in a black guy instead of killing them all off.  I have no clue who this Mera lookalike is, but to me she looks like a cross between a pink and red lantern Mera.

    Lastly the Firestorm story has me intrigued again.  Ronnie in civilian clothes bores me, much like how Kid Devil in human form bored me.  The skinny white skater boy look is dull.

    Jokers Asylum II: The Mad Hatter
    Ahh, now this was bloody excellent.  Far and away the best book of the week, and not something I had expected to be written by the same guy who did Supergirl Cosmic Adventures (Landry Walker).
    There's a lot of repetetive dialogue in this (mostly about tea) and it works, as it reinforces the Hatters madness and struggle within himself (mostly not to drink the tea).  I've only come across the Hatter in Secret Six before but this Hatter fitted with that Hatter really well.

    Keith Giffen and Bill Sienkiewicz did the art, which is also excellent.  Half of it is like the cover, scratchy and threatening, and half of it is childlike in primary colours.  Which also fits quite well with the Secret Six book too I suppose.

    Anyway, it's really really really good.

    Joker's Asylum II: The Riddler
    I didn't intend to buy this.  I meant to buy the Harley one instead.  But as I didn't check the DC website before I went down to the shop I just picked up the first 2 Joker's Asylum books I saw.  Then got home and realised I should have bought the Harley one.  Oh well.  This turned out to be pretty good as well.

    Like the other books this week (is this an 'I get to re-discover characters week' or something?) I have only come across the Riddler a few times elsewhere, mostly in the Gotham City Sirens books.  This story is from before he reformed and features him searching for love.  Except cos he's unhinged he's actually a stalker and then threatens the young lady into being with him.  Still, a good book.

    I think I'll have to remember to pick up the Harley one next Thursday.  I shall buy it instead of GA #1.

    Friday, June 18, 2010


    Please help settle an argument between the boyfriend and me.

    Would any of you comics fans ever consider buying a title based on the Letterer?  For example, Todd Klein?

    Your input would be greatly appreciated...

    Tuesday, June 15, 2010

    It's too early in the morning

    for this much misogyny.  So says John Stewart:

    From GL vol3.  Guy was perving over some models, John responded.

    I have decided this will be my default response to any crap I discover.  Should have put it up on these post really.

    Monday, June 14, 2010

    Call for papers: Being a feminist academic (UK)

    I got emailed this the other week and thought it would be worth posting, with the vague idea that I might have more than one academic type reading this blog.

    I will add that I am not any of the named people listed in this Call out, and am not an academic, or associated with this call out in any way.  I don't think anyone should confuse me with the clever people who do this type of research properly!

    But hey, they specifically mention black feminism!

    Please feel free to distribute this to your contacts or crosspost wherever you like.

    Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Special Issue: Being a Feminist Academic.

    Editors: Katherine Sang, Susan Sayce, Josie Kinge, Simy Joy.
    DECERe, Norwich Business School, University of East Anglia, Norwich, Norfolk, NR4 7TJ.

    A growing body of academic literature argues that there is a resistance to feminism and gender equality within universities, particularly amongst the student body. This is supported by popular media which cites resistance to feminism within a broader societal context. Feminists working within universities report a range of problems. Feminist academics may challenge students’ gender attitudes, causing discomfort which may result in complaints. Additionally feminist academics may be vulnerable to abuse from male students who enrol on women’s studies courses with the intention of causing disruption.  The increasingly commercialised nature of UK higher education (HE) has resulted in a corporate culture which may be incompatible with feminist ideals.

    Feminists working within academia have been able to affect change to the benefit of marginalised groups and are often loyal to their institution. However, some feminist academics report a perceived need to keep their feminist identities at home while expressing a desire to unite their identities of ‘feminist’ and ‘academic’.

    Much of the extant literature does not explore the intersection between a feminist identity for academics and ethnic minority status. There is some suggestion the diversifying of the student body within Western universities may offer hope for black feminism, although further empirical evidence is needed. Marginalised academics may prefer to undertake work within their own communities, although such applied work is often not recognised by leading journals, potentially resulting in further marginalisation.  It has been argued this has led to a focus on feminist theory rather than feminist practice within universities.

    This special issue focuses on feminism within universities. Given the broad range of definitions of feminism, we do not provide one. Rather authors are invited to provide their own. Our aim is to further understand the experiences of feminist academics (faculty, research staff and PhD students) in relation to their teaching, research, relationships with colleagues and career progression. Papers are invited from academics at any stage of their academic career from any country. These papers may be reflective pieces or empirical work. Papers could include reflections on (but are not limited to):
    • Feminism and career progression
    • Intersections of feminism with ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, academic discipline, type of institution or age.
    • Feminist activism within universities
    • Relationships with students
    • Relationships with colleagues
    • Feminism and research
     The call is open and competitive. Each submission will be subject to the usual (blind) review process. Submission to this special issue implies that the paper does not contain original work which has previously been published and is not currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. Authors should follow the journal’s regular author’s guidelines. We ask that papers are no longer than 7000 words.

    20th June 2010 call for papers opens
    1st March 2011 submission of papers
    1st July 2011 authors notified of outcome of peer review
    1st October 2011 authors to submit final papers to Editors.
    1st November 2011 Editorial decision

    Prospective contributors are welcome to contact the Guest Editors prior to submission to discuss the suitability of their work for the special issue.

    Kate Sang
    Norwich Business School
    University of East Anglia
    NR4 7TJ

    Susan Sayce
    Norwich Business School
    University of East Anglia
    NR4 7TJ

    Josie Kinge
    Norwich Business School
    University of East Anglia
    NR4 7TJ

    Simy Joy
    Norwich Business School
    University of East Anglia
    NR4 7TJ


    Oh, if anyone wants this in a pdf document email me at paicomics at yahoo dot co dot uk and I'll send on the original pdf I got sent.

    Sunday, June 13, 2010

    Sequential art at it's finest

    To cleanse the palette from earlier nastiness, I decided to post an example of really really good comic art.  So called sequential art, it tells the story in sequence, panel by panel, and in this case, you need no words to explain what's happeneing.  I've taken this from War of the Superman  #1 (reviewed here).






     Now. wasn't beautifully done?  Technically, the art is no masterpiece.  But it gets across the emotions and story very well, irrelevant of whether you know the backstory.

    See kids, comics can be good!  And clever! And worthy!

    Saturday, June 12, 2010

    Last week's comics, brief thoughts on

    Very brief.
    I enjoyed Brightest Day #3, Arthur getting eaten by a dead orca was fun.  It's still not looking to bright, but give it time.  I would like to see more Osiris though.

    Red Robin #13, while good, was not as good as previous issues, although I did love the cover.  Timmy looks so pleased with himself, someone should give him some cookies and milk.

    Superman/Batman Annual #4.  So THAT's who Terry is!  I've been reading about him in The Black Cat's great little web comics and been completely ignorant of where he came from.  he's good.  He's a much better Batman than Bruce or Dick.  I may even pick up the Batman beyond mini.
    I also think I espied a few extar Robin memorial cases, including a girl!Robin outfit.  Huzzah!

    Friday, June 11, 2010

    Where stuff that gets made public reveals a nasty side

    Having joined up on twitter recently I have been following various people.  Some are famous, for example Gail Simone.

    Following Gail Simone has increased my respect for her a thousandfold.  Her tweets are funny, and she's so far exhibited only decent-person ideas.  Today (Tuesday 8th June) she has been talking about The Killing Joke, y'know, that comic where Barbara Gordon, then Batgirl, got shot in the spine by the Joker and paralysed.

    When editorial approval was sought for this particular plot, the editor (Len Wein) reportedly yelled down the hall:

    'Cripple the bitch'

    Isn't that hateful?  Isn't it venemous?  Granted, I do not know the tone in which it was said, but the words are ugly.  What struck me after asborbing this bit of (old) news, was the way in which feminist are accused of treating characters like real people.  Isn't that just what this editor is doing?  Why ascribe the word 'bitch' to a fictional character, in that context, if they are not in some way real to you?

    And if Barbara Gordon is indeed real to you what does this say about your attitude to real flesh and blood women and wheelchair users?

    Which is why I find the statement 'Cripple the Bitch' quite disturbing.  It's along the same lines as Bill Wilingham saying:

    "I wanted to gun down those girls who kept asking about the memorial case"

    at the recent heroes con (reported on here).

    I am someone who believes words are important.  I think those sort of casual throwaway line regarding violence usually betrays some feeling of anger, hate or violence within a person.  Or at the very least some sort of detachment towards others.  You certainly can't fully appreciate and support the full meaning of those phrases without being a very malevolent person.*

    So this leaves me kind of sickened.  And this is exactly the sort of thing that says women (and people with disabilities) are not welcome.  It's the same mentality that puts rape scenes into comics (or any popular culture medium).  It's the sort of shit that makes me very wary about the types of internet sites I inhabit and makes me distrustful of any new people I meet (men and women, because these views permeate all genders).

    *I am not in any way stating that using a wheelchair is a negative thing.  But I believe that the editor who uttered those words thinks that it is a punishment of some sort.

    Thursday, June 10, 2010

    Respectful to crass

    Remember what I was banging on about in my Superman/Batman review last week?  Well I scanned the offending artwork.

    Seriously, how do you go from this:

    To this:

    I ask again, why has Lois got her bra out just when she's about to be burnt at the stake?

    Wednesday, June 09, 2010

    Go NHS!

    Sort of.  I had an eye test recently, about a year late but that's my fault for not keeping tabs on when I was a due a check up.  I've been wearing glasses since I was about 7 (or maybe 6, or 8, or 9, I really have no idea), so about 23 years then.  I am short sighted and about 5 years ago my prescription became a complex one, meaning that I now get my eye sight tests free and about £13 off my glasses.  This is awesome, because I cannot function without wearing glasses.  A complex prescription means that one of the measurements has tipped over to be -10.  Which is sort of where I get to the point of this post...

    My prescription is as follows:
    (Right eye) Sph: - 9.75, Cyl:  -0.70, Axis: 1.55
    (Left eye) Sph: -8.25, Cyl: -2.75, Axis: 8

    But it turns out you can write prescriptions another way. amd it means the same thing:

    (Right eye) Sph: -10.5, Cyl:  +0.75, Axis: 1.55
    (Left eye) Sph: -11, Cyl: +2.75, Axis: 8

    In the second one I've added the Cyl to the Sph figure, and made the Cyl figure +.  (I think that's what the recptionist said you did, at any rate my prescription is def over -10).

    Anyway you will now see that my prescription reads as -10.75 and -11 for the Sph figures.  When you get a free eyesight test and money off your glasses, the admin folks in the NHS check these figures to ensure that you are actully entitled to your NHS voucher.

    But it turns out that unless you write the prescription at the higher value (e.g. the -10 figures) for Sph it is highly likely the NHS admin monkeys will say you aren't eligible for the voucher.  Even though writing the first prescription (under -10) means the same thing.  Which leads me to believe that the NHS are employing people who are either stupid or ignorant, as they apparently can't add numbers together.

    Isn't that ridiculous?

    However I am highly grateful to have the vouchers, because as stated above, I couldn't function without wearing glasses.  The bad news is that even with the money off voucher, and with having new lenses put into old frames, I am still having to pay £231 to be able to see.  Of course, I could spend £130 and have lenses like milk bottle tops, but then I would resemble a mole.  Bollocks to that.

    The receptionist lady who was advising me on all this initially said the NHS voucher was for £80.  I nearly fell off my seat with joy.  But it turns out that that is only for those on benefits.  £80 is a great deal of money off glasses, but if eligible (which I wasn't because my partner has a job), I would still be paying out between £50 and £150.  How's that fair?

    Ahh, the vagarie sof our National Health Service.  Lets hope the Tories don't demolish it.

    Tuesday, June 08, 2010

    Ian Sattler is a prat

    "It’s so hard for me to be on the other side because it’s not our intention. There is a reason behind it all. We don’t see it that way and strive very hard to have a diverse DCU. I mean, we have green, pink and blue characters. We have the Great Ten out there and I have counter statistics, but I won’t get into that. It’s not how we perceived it. We get the same thing about how we treat our female characters."

    (emphasis mine)

    I would use a stronger word than prat but I don't want to fill up people's blogrolls with rude words.

    I'm not going to even bother explaining why that's such a stupid thing to say.  (Besides DCWomenKickingAss has already doen it rather well).  This is the kind of shit that makes comics seem insular and not for the everyday person.  These ridiculous arguments are the reasons I started up New Readers.., to prove that there is good imaginative, progressive, quality comics out there.  And I'm still having difficulty finding decent comics with non white characters, (but that's a more a reflection on my reading tastes than on the state of comics today).

    Anyway, Ian Sattler. you are a prat of the highest order.

    Monday, June 07, 2010

    FIFA blocking distribution of condoms at World Cup

    Originally seen on Shakesville, which links to this Guardian article.

    The Guardian explains it thus:

    "Fifa's tight restrictions on venue, where only official sponsors are allowed, will prevent fans gaining access to the condoms and to crucial health information, Aids organisations warned.
    "To date Fifa has not permitted any civil society organisation to distribute HIV- or health-related information and Fifa has not provided any written confirmation that condoms may be distributed at stadia and within the fan-fests," the groups said in a statement. "This is despite the fact that commercial sponsors selling alcohol will have dedicated spaces available." "

    Various AIDS groups and Shakesville refer to this as FIFA banning distribution of condoms - I am not so sure this is the case.  I think that FIFA are only allowing sponors to advertise/distribute stuff so that they can make maximum money out of it.  They won't make money from civil societies distributing condoms, so to me, I understand it more as FIFA blocking, not banning free condoms.  Greedy bastards - that's capitalism for you.

    (And yes, I do think identifying and using the right terms are important, because language is important).

    Either way, it's a pretty disgraceful thing to do, especially as:

    "South Africa has the world's largest number of (People living with AIDS), with an estimated 5.7 million people infected – about one in every five adults. There are around 1,400 new HIV infections every day and nearly 1,000 AIDS deaths."  (Filched from the Shakesville post).

    We already know that thousands of women are going to be transported to South Africa to meet the demands of male football fans who decide they 'need' to buy sex.  AIDS and HIV is huge problem is all of South Africa.  FIFA should be taking some responsibility for this.  But I guess I must be asking too much when I request that people take some responsibilty for the world and the people around them.

    Sunday, June 06, 2010

    Coming out in Comics: Supporting cast

    From Green Lantern vol 2, issue 137.  We have a better look at how to deal with sexuality.  Judd Winick wrote this, and it is a proper coming out tale.  Kyle Rayner is telling his young assistant, Terry, that he's proposed to his giurlfriend, Jenny Lynn Hayden.  Terry doesn't take it so well.  I don't want to scan the whole comic, so what follows are some of the most relevant panels.

    The penny drops for Kyle Rayner:

    A couple of nice little pages explaining about how stereotypes are wrong.  This is not shoehorned in and comes across really naturally:

    How to deal with the coming out process:

    And the moments when Kyle sits down and talks to Terry:

    Kyle's butt comment could be read badly, but as it has been pretty well established that Terry and Kyle are good friends I read this as friendly ribbing.  Some people make compain about these scenes and say it's heavy handed.  I disagree, I think it's dealt with respectfully and maturely and I think there is place in comics for dealing with social issues.  Later issues dealt with Terry getting pretty badly attacked by homophobic idiots and looked at his recovery, his parents (non supportive) reactions, and his efforts to raise awareness of homophobic bullying.

    I take my hat off to you Mr Winick, this storyline was done very well.

    Saturday, June 05, 2010

    Who shall wear the rings?

    Thinking back on Blackest Night, I reckon the rings went to some of the wrong people (no shit I hear you cry).  So, I'd like to have seen them go to these people:

    Orange (Avarice): Lex Luthor.  The canon choice works for me.
    Yellow (Fear): Scarecrow.  As for Lex.  The guy peddles in fear, an obvious choice.
    Green (Willpower): Hal.  Well why not.  Superman Red Son: Elseworlds convinced me of his willpower even if the GL comics didn't.
    Blue (Hope):  Superman.  Because, c'mon.  he's the foremost icon within the DCU.  The symbol of all that is good and all that humanity can strive for.  He keeps our egos in check and makes everyone who meets him feel like they can be a better person and make a difference in the world (unless you're a villain, then you're fucked).
    Indigo (Compassion): Wonder Woman.  As was noted in the blogosphere at the time, Diana's emotions and feelings for the world are centred around compassion, not love. Making her the pink lantern was a supremely sexist choice, made worse by that godawful outfit.
    Violet/Pink (Love): Wally West.  Because of Linda being his anchor.  Those two are, to me, the most perfect example of love within the DCU.  More so than the Hawks.

    Thsi leaves Red (Rage).  Mera didn't really work for me, her transition to Red Lantern felt forced, altho once turned, she made a very good angry vomity hero.  I really don't know who I'd pick.  If this had all occured back when Kara was new returning to the DCU, she'd have been a good choice.  If somewhat ineffective (because I feel that she wasn't trained well enough and would be a loose cannon.  Maybe that would make her very effective, I don't know).

    Guy got a red ring then was cured, so I don't want to count him.

    Other than that I came up with the Hulk.  Yeha I know, wrong universe.  I'm not too good on DCU villains (other than the rogues who certainly aren't rage filled).

    What do you all reckon?  If I get enough answers I'll put up a poll.

    Friday, June 04, 2010

    Coming out in Comics: Where lesbianism leads to violence

    From Green Lantern vol 2 3, issue 93 (1997).  It's Halloween, it's a Green Lantern story, so we must create a story with a bad guy picking on some innocents, in this case, fellow tenants in the apartments where Kyle is renting:

    It's great to see background characters who are gay.  Unfortunately, presenting them in such a scenario as this tends to reinforce the idea that being a lesbian is fraught with difficulties and pain.  In this case, people want to murder you because you're gay.  I prefer stories such as these where sexuality is incidental to the narrative.

    This is not say that there isn't room for stories which look at homophobic violence, just that the particualr way it is framed above, is not my favourite way of doing so.

    Thursday, June 03, 2010

    Wednesday, June 02, 2010

    Tuesday, June 01, 2010

    Coming out in Comics: Bling

    This is a rare Marvel edition, the scans were very kindly supplied by James Ashelford (a thousand apologies for being so late in using them!).

    This is from X-Men: Legacy and it appears that Bling's preference for women is well known to the other characters, but this is the first time the reader finds out about it.  Nicely done, I'd like to see more of this.