Supporting Stitch’s Media Mix

Stitch's Media Mix

WHO I AM AND WHAT I DO:

I’m Zina and I’ve been running Stitch’s Media Mix since March 2015. I created my site as a site for fandom and media criticism after being frustrated by my inability to find a safe, welcoming place where I could be a part of these conversations in the fandoms that I already belonged to. I love being in fandom and I love the act of being a fan, but I feel as though there’s room for improvement that is always being overlooked. I’d love to be able to change certain things about the overarching institution of fandom, but for now, I’ll settle for educating and snarking my way to change in my main fandoms.

Using my academic background (I have a BA in History and am getting my MA in Literature) and my experiences as a queer Black member of fandom, I try to tackle the media I consume and the fandom spaces I inhabit from a critical and faintly snarky angle. I use my website to host my writing: media critique, analysis of fandom tropes and trends, book reviews, and the occasional bit of original fiction.

My goal is to talk critically about the media we create and consume in order to urge fandom to become a more welcoming place for marginalized and underrepresented groups of people. I want everyone to be able to have a seat at the proverbial table without it being pulled from underneath them.

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When White Villains Get Woobiefied: Kylo Ren Is Just A Monster In A Mask

Notes: The following post will mention childhood abuse (and who gets to have that kind of trauma respected/made up for them to give them weight and validate their actions) and spoilers from the film and novelization versions of The Last Jedi as well as mild spoilers for Last Shot. Images come from StarWarsScreenCaps.Com.


More care has gone into fabricating a sobbing wreck of a backstory for Kylo Ren where he’s been dealing with childhood abuse (that is supposed to explain why he’s somehow the most interesting/compelling character of the sequel trilogy) than has gone into showing any empathy or interest in analyzing the one character in the sequel trilogy who does have that backstory, but gets none of the empathy: Finn.

Today in “that’s literally not canon”, I’m going to be picking apart an article from The Mary Sue about how Kylo Ren’s story is about childhood abuse; one that says things like:

“Rey and Kylo relate to one another about their childhoods, which included parental abandonment and neglect, and abuse, as well as their Force abilities.”

First off:

As far as I know, there’s nothing that shows that Ben’s childhood included parental abandonment and neglect. Nothing. Nothing across two movies. Leia sending her Force Sensitive son (who was in late teens/early adulthood) to train with her Force Sensitive brother is not neglect.

We currently have ZERO canon that shows what his childhood was like, but we know that the whole point of the Ben-to-Kylo Ren transformation was that it came out of nowhere and that nothing in Leia’s relationship with her son prepared her for his full leap not just to the dark side, but to full on fascism.

The most we can say with confidence about Ben before he was Kylo, is that he was radicalized by Snoke who preyed on his insecurities at some point most likely when he was a teenager.

But we don’t know anything about what Snoke did – that presence probing Leia’s uterus back in that Chuck Wendig book does not count — but I suspect we never will considering his abrupt death in The Last Jedi. Continue reading

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A thought about werewolf stomachs:

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I don’t remember who I was having this conversation with (but it was probably someone in the English department because that’s where I keep having these conversations) but the subject of werewolves and their eating habits came up and the person I was talking with was like “okay, but what happens to the raw meat when they turn back human”

And I didn’t even have to think about it.

Werewolves aren’t human.

They’re humanoid.

They’re always werewolves even when two-legged.

Werewolves aren’t wolves either.

Therefore, their stomachs are werewolf stomachs – not human or wolf.

So they can eat anything that humans can eat as well as anything wolves can eat.

I argue for all of the benefits and none of the drawbacks.

Trust me, I’m a werewolf expert.

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Five Things I Want From Amazon’s Eventual Lord of the Rings Series

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For some wild reason I can’t understand, Amazon has decided to start with a quarter of a billion dollar budget for their upcoming Lord of the Rings series. As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, that initial $250 million dollar deal is only the tip of the iceberg since, “When production expenses like casting, producers and visual effects are factored in, the series is expected to cost north of $1 billion”.

Shows with bigger budgets than most Hollywood blockbusters are a current “big” thing with HBO’s Westworld and Game of Thrones pulling in huge audiences and costing millions of dollars per episode. (Westworld$100 million price tag reportedly had a for its first season and Game of Thrones surely has surpassed that in all of their seasons.) Same goes for the BBC and Netflix series Troy: Fall of a City.

The thing about this newly locked in Lord of the Rings deal is that we’re at $250 million for a series we know next to nothing about and that’s kind of amazing. This is an expensive series that has the potential to go anywhere and do anything – within the confines of Tolkien’s worldbuilding.

So here are five things that I desperately want to see from this Lord of the Rings series that no one on this green-ish earth asked for.


Continue reading

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[Stitch Goes Places] Elizabeth Acevedo & Tomi Adeyemi in Conversation @BooksandBooks

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I love book events. Talks, signings, readings… You name it and I’ll probably enjoy watching an author I admire and adore do it because I just think they’re cool.

So when news first dropped about Tomi Adeyemi going on a book tour to celebrate the release of her debut novel Children of Blood and Bone AND that she’d have a tour-stop in my lovely neck of the woods at local bookstore Books and Books AND that she’d be in conversation with the ridiculously talented Elizabeth Acevedo (whose debut novel The Poet X is also amazing), I got obnoxiously excited.  Continue reading

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#NowWeRise – Children of Blood and Bone Blog Tour (Moodboard + Blogging Bits)

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You know, I think this might be the first time I’ve ever done a blog tour?

When I got the email about possibly doing something for the release of Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone in its release week, I kind of like got all giddy. What a great opportunity to do something fantastic in order to celebrate one of my favorite books of 2018!

In Tomi Adeymi’s Children of Blood and Bone, the Ìwòsàn Clan is the clan of the Maji of Health and Disease. As a result of this totally awesome “Discover Your Magic” graphic, that clan is… my clan, but my majj power isn’t that of healing, it’s of inflicting disease.

My maji power (Cancer) is the magical equivalent of Typhoid Mary.

Which I find fitting because of my relationship with illness.

I’m honestly always sick.

Or suffering from something.

Right now, I’m actually pretty sure that I might even have the chicken pox. (Though… probably not as I was vaccinated as a child and I think that’s supposed to stop that from happening.)

So for me, there’s something absolutely captivating about the idea of maji whose power centers around causing illness instead of healing it. Continue reading

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While You Sleep: A Black Panther Drabble Collection

While You Sleep - Title Card (1)

Four times T’challa watched someone sleep and one time that the tables are turned.

Absolutely un-beta’d. Spoilers for Black Panther abound. The last two snippets are set between the end of the final fight scene and the last scene in California. They also diverge from the end of the film.

Content warnings for character death, trauma from character death, and implied violence.


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The first time that T’challa holds his newborn sister Shuri in his arms, he worries for a moment that he’ll drop her. Then she nuzzles close in her sleep, tiny lips parting with a smacking yawn, and he knows that he’d never hurt her. Not even on accident.

She’s hours old and so very small, warm and soft in the cradle of his elbow, her dark little face tucked up against his chest. She barely has any hair atop her head aside from a faint whisper of black hair that is pitch black and feather light against the dark brown of her skin. Continue reading

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[Problematic Fave] Batman Thrillkiller

Content warning: I talk about two canonical ships that involve adults and teenagers (one in relative detail and the other not in specifics) and a reference to the writer’s transmisogyny in another series.


Problematic Fave - Batman Thrillkiller

Earth-37, the alternate earth that serves as the setting for Batman: Thrillkiller, was one of my favorite worlds in the DC Universe despite the fact that the actual story and art are… problems.

Back when I first read the miniseries, I think it hooked me with narration boxes that see our masked heroes juxtaposed against the transitional period that this Elseworlds tale exists in:

We tend to define our lives by the decades – the gay nineties, the roaring twenties, the depression thirties. The calendar reads 1961 – but it’s a time of transition. It’s not the fifties anymore – the decade of Ike, of McCarthyism, of Jack Kerouac – and it’s certainly not the nineteen sixties of the sexual revolution, of the war in Vietnam, of turning on, tuning in, and dropping out. Like the rest of the USA, Gotham was jumping with a giddy optimism – no one could guess at the dark days that lay ahead.

This first set of narration boxes is set against a backdrop of Gotham City, Batgirl and Robin at the top in shadow and the city they’re attempting to protect at the bottom. There’s something about watching comics try to establish a sense of realism and historical context in their works that just… entertains me. The next few pages establish the historical context of this Elseworlds — JFK is president, Elvis was discharged from the army, and the Beatles weren’t yet a thing. It’s a set of pages that immediately and successfully establish realism and a connection to the time period and it works.

Thrillkiller is a genre mishmash with elements of noir fiction, your sort of typical superhero story, and some air of the 1950s morality movie in the style of Reefer Madness. Which could be awesome except…

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[Small Stitch Reviews] A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole

Technically, there are spoilers for Black Panther in this review… Right there at the top.


A Princess in Theory Cover

If you walked out of Black Panther on your first (or third) viewing and were hit by a craving for some sweet romance in the same vein as the sweetness between Chadwick Boseman’s T’challa and Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia, boy do I have the book for y’all.

A Princess in Theory, the first book in Alyssa Cole’s new Reluctant Royals series, is a fantastic “lost royalty” story centered on the evolving relationship between a potential princess that doesn’t know her own past (but does know her way around a lab since she’s an epidemiologist) and the prince who happens to believe in happy endings (but needs to do a bit better about his big reveals). Continue reading

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Women of Color in Marvel Live Action Properties – Elektra Natchios

Women of Color in Marvel Live Action Properties is an essay series that will look closely at the portrayals of female characters of color by actresses of color in Marvel’s various franchises. I was inspired by the fact that a lot of these female characters don’t get anywhere as much love as white female characters in similar roles and that we’re not as likely to see fandom analyze why they’re empowering. They don’t get meta-fandom or essays unless it’s about placing them in relation to white characters. I want to celebrate the women of color that inhabit the same worlds as our favorite superheroes while looking at how and why they’re important to fans like me.


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Alexandra Reid: Her name was Elektra Natchios. You are not her. You are much more than she ever was. There was a man. They call him the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen. And in this other life, he let Elektra die.

Defenders Season 1, Episode 6 “Ashes, Ashes”

Elektra Natchios deserves better than Daredevil – the show and the character.

Introduced in Daredevil’s second season episode “Kinbaku”, Elektra is an old flame come back to burn Matt Murdoch, appearing in his apartment under the pretense of asking for a favor from the man she once cared about. Elektra is a morally grey character, a complex figure who disrupts Matt’s life just by existing.

She’s also a survivor of childhood abuse that includes neglect, manipulation, and violence from a parental figure, something that she has not been allowed to cope with. Elektra’s mistreatment by Stick, a man who serves as an abusive pseudo father figure for both her and Matt, is a significant element in the latter half of Elektra’s appearances in Daredevil and yet his abuse’s effect on her relationship and mental health are largely glossed over.

Her complexities as a character who has survived horrible mistreatment and who has been shaped into and used as a tool by two different sides in a war largely wind up not getting their fair share of attention in plots dominated first by Matt Murdoch alone and then the entire crew of the Defenders.

For this essay, I’m going to talk about Elektra as a complex anti-hero, one whose status as a survivor shapes her characterization and her approach to relationships. Continue reading

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Queer Coded Villains Aren’t That Awesome

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AKA “Hux and Kylo aren’t the queer coded villains you’re looking for”

I woke up  on MLK Day swearing that I’d dreamt up a tumblr post where someone quoted Martin Luther King Jr. in order to defend Hux, Kylo Ren, and the First Order. When I went through my archives, not only did I find out that the post was real, but I then stumbled back over a post I made in response to one arguing that Star Wars’ Hux was coded as queer and that said queer-coding was a good thing.

And I mean –

A fair amount of people not only read Kylo Ren and Hux as queer-coded within their canon, but:

  1. Queer coded villains are actually kind of shitty and they definitely shouldn’t be something to aspire to or admire, and
  2. I don’t know how they leap to that conclusion of Hux and Kylo as queer coded in the first place.

For one thing, there’s a difference between a character – especially a villain – being coded as queer in their canon (typically via stereotypes about femininity/masculinity, style of dress, speech, interactions with other characters) and a queer fan deciding to read a character as queer because they see themselves in the character.

If they’re actually present in canon, queer coded villains typically come from a place of homophobia – conscious or otherwise. They come from a fear of supposedly non-normative genders and sexualities and from society straight up repurposing queerness (or stereotypes about queerness) as a go-to for “spooky and scary” because well –

Heterocentrism kind of needs to portray queerness as a dangerous avenue to stroll down. Continue reading

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