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 along as I figure out how to bring change to  my main fandoms.

Using my academic background (I have a BA in History and have my my MA in English/Literature) and my experiences as a queer Black person in 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 focus is on talking critically about the media folks create and consume in order to forge a path towards making fandom 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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Fleeting Frustrations #3: When White Queer Icons Like Ezra Miller Fail Us

Seeing Ezra Miller’s face everywhere makes me feel some kind of way.

On one hand, I’m constantly charmed by Miller and I like that they’re a queer icon (who just apparently came out as non-binary). Their Playboy photos are pretty (so pretty) and I really do like knowing that one more performer in a superhero film is queer.

On the other hand, I’m always painfully aware of the fact thatnot only did Miller co-direct TheTruth According to Darren Wilson (a film intending to sympathize withand see the other side of events that led to Mike Brown’s senseless murder),but that it’s not a hard limit for many of the queer non-Black people that findout about it.

At the end of the day, it stings to realize that to many people, Miller’s queerness is seen as more important to talk about than the casual racism behind Miller working on a film that exists to humanize a racist murderer.

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[Image Post] Finn Needs A New, Less Racist Fandom

Finn_Doesnt_Need_Redeeming

Source:  Where Are Y’all Getting Your Characterization From? Finn Isn’t A Coward, Or Selfish, And He Doesn’t Need A Damn Redemption Arc.


I love Finn from Star Wars. It’s not just because I not-so-secretly want John Boyega to fall wildly in love with me and marry me (but like…), but I think Finn is one of the most compelling characters in the sequel series.

Which is why I can’t get over the fact that so many people disagree with me on how amazing Finn is. Heck, I still can’t believe that folks think Finn is up there with Jar-Jar Binks as the worst character in the ~Star Wars Cinematic Universe~.

Or that many of his so-called fans wish he’d just… die. Continue reading

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[Review] Thrall by Avon Gale and Roan Parrish

NOTE: This review is being posted with the promise that if/when I eventually return to this book and un-DNF it, I’ll write a full review that reflects that.


Thrall cover

BUY ON AMAZON

I wanted to love Thrall, Avon Gale and Roan Parrish’s updated take on Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

I liked what I’d read of it, but loving it did not happen. Continue reading

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Dear Comic Fans, It’s Been Four Years And I Still Don’t Get How Y’all Are So Darn Angry About Racebending

Dear Comic Fans, It’s Been Four Years .png

Aren’t you people tired?

I know I am.

Every year since 2015, I’ve written a post about fandom’s backlash against and racist responses to racebending – where “historically white” characters are reimagined as characters of color in media. Every year, I watch the months tick by as I hope fandom will, for once, not be full of turds that think the response to racebending – especially when a Black woman is involved – or any sort of representation for people of color, is to go full fucking racist over it.

Harassment campaigns.

Abuse tweeted at the performer and anyone that defends them.

Gaslighting.

Seriously, it’s exhausting to watch these temper tantrums play out by folks that’ll then turn around and accuse anyone who points out how ridiculous they are, of being “sensitive snowflakes”.

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Wonder Woman:Earth One – Volume 2  – Somehow Worse Than The First

Note: This review contains descriptions and images of things from this book that include (but are not limited to): Nazis, sexual assault, the whole MRA and negging plots Morrison writes and Paquette illustrates, and all the misogyny that really has no place in a Wonder Woman Book


WWEO - Credits Page

If you thought that two years would lead Wonder Woman: Earth One creators Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette to figure out that maybe their approach to a reimagined version of Wonder Woman in the previous volume wasn’t acceptable and was in fact frankly misogynistic, well… you’d be wrong.

I talked about all of the issues in the previous volume two years ago (including a comment where I described Paquette as having a “Greg Land-esque art style, incredibly sexualized”), but there’s literally no sign of growth or an awareness of what feminism actually is in the second volume of DC’s Wonder Woman: Earth One series. Continue reading

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What Fandom Racism Looks Like: #NotAllFans

WFRLL - #NotAllFans

Inspired by this tweet thread I wrote.


Fandom really doesn’t like to acknowledge that it has multiple problems with race and racism.

From members of fandom writing racist alternate universe stories where characters of color are dehumanized, tortured and killed off (as a form of “putting them in their place”) to the harassment that fans direct at fans and performers of color, there’s no way to escape the fact that fandom – transformative and curatorial fandom spaces– is racist as hell.

One thing that I’ve noticed as I move through various fandoms is that few fans want to acknowledge that the problem and commentary calling out the problem are coming from inside their specific fandoms and social groups within fandom. If a fan of color points out the racism in an aspect of fandom or in harassment they’re receiving from people in fandom, one of the first responses that they get from members of that fandom is…

“I know racism sucks, but don’t generalize a whole fandom based on one person.”

Basically, that’s one of the most useless responses you can give a person talking about something currently impeding their ability to enjoy their free time and security in fandom.  Continue reading

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Urban Fantasy 101: Rec Yourself

Urban fantasy 101 - Rec Yourself

Are you an urban fantasy (or contemporary paranormal romance) writer that wishes they got recced more often on my Urban Fantasy 101 posts? Or are you a fan of the genre/s and want to shout out a book or series that hasn’t gotten a link or a mention before?

Well, you’re in luck because I want y’all to rec yourselves (or your favorite authors)!

Fill out the following:

Books/Series Name:

Author:

Genre/Subgenre:

Any warnings you think readers might need or want:

Link to the author’s social media:

Link to the book/series:

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Stitch Does Stuff in November

Stitch does stuff in November.png

This month, I’ll be doing a ton of writing.

Not only am I continuing to play catch up on a deadline I’m still chugging past (I’ve got 2.5 chapters on my outline left to actually finish), but I’m also doing NaNoWriMo  (at my own, slightly smaller goal of 30k words) and I’m doing K. Tempest Bradford’s course with daily writing exercises for NaNoWriMo (thanks to the magic of scholarships).

So I’m busy as hell and writing every day for  like… hours.

It’s scary, but I’ve got goals to hit and content to produce.

On top of that, I’ll also be doing my regular blog and patreon posts (on a smaller, more responsible scale to take all the other writing I’m doing into account).

So here’s what’s coming up this month!


Website

What Fandom Racism Looks Like: #NotAllFans

The final draft of the piece I’d originally written and posted on Patreon. Now with additional solutions for what to do instead of derailing criticism and commentary with that “not all x fans” nonsense.

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Urban Fantasy 101: A Quick Guide to Dastardly Demons

Urban Fantasy 101 - A Quick Guide to Dastardly Demons

Demons are another urban fantasy and paranormal romance staple and, like the vampires and shifters I’ve written about before, they encompass a wide range of various supernatural species across different cultures. A demon in one urban fantasy or paranormal romance series might not be recognized as a demon in another and, generally, these demons don’t look like the ones in demonology around the world.

What even are these demons?

We talked about this in UF101: Mythology Soup: sometimes, we squish a whole lot of things together that maybe… don’t quite need to be squished together. In the urban fantasy and paranormal romance genres, demon can sometimes count as an umbrella term under which a whole bunch of other supernatural beings are expected shelter.

Case in point? In Hannah Jayne’s Underworld Detection Agency series, the term “demon” kind of encompasses anything that’s not human. That includes “actual” demons like the kind we’re used to seeing as villains of the hour on episodes of Charmed and Supernatural and other supernatural species that aren’t typically associated with the demonic. Like werewolves, zombies, and vampires.

Talk about casting a wide net, huh? Continue reading

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Stitch Recs Spoopy Stuff

Just in time for Halloween, here’s a list of ten of my favorite spoopy things that y’all should consider checking out. If you need specific content warnings for anything, send me a message here or on Twitter!

Note: most of the links that lead to Amazon are affiliate links!


Certain Dark Things Cover1. Silvia Moreno Garcia’s Certain Dark Things

WHERE TO BUY IT

Back in 2016, I did a review for SMG’s fantastic urban fantasy stand-alone novel for Strange Horizons where I say that it is “the book I wish had been my introduction to vampires in literature back when I was a kid”.

Certain Dark Things is a dark and innovative urban fantasy novel that gets you to reimagine the vampire as we know it, subverting the species as the genre tends to do it, and offering an interesting take on those bite-y bloodsuckers.


Food of the Gods Cover2. Cassandra Khaw’s Food of the Gods (the Rupert Wong duology)

WHERE TO BUY IT

Gorgeous and gloriously gory, Cassandra Khaw’s lush writing makes the horrors of Rupert Wong’s life and his experiences as a chef for a bunch of human-eating ghouls and gods almost… appetizing. I’m constantly torn between being flat out grossed out by and salivating over food I shouldn’t want to eat. (I reviewed the second book in this duologyRupert Wong and the Ends of the Earth – for Strange Horizons and talked a ton about Khaw’s use of Greek mythology.)


Franken Fran Cover3. Franken Fran

WHERE TO BUY IT

Despite the fanservice -y covers (that really don’t have anything to do with the actual plots of the stories within), the Franken Fran series is a solid, body horror-filled series about how messed up people are. It’s an unsettling series focusing on Fran, the cobbled together creation of the missing scientist Dr. Madaraki, who just wants to follow in her “father’s” footsteps.

Fran is honest, uncalculating, and genuinely means well. Unfortunately, her good intentions definitely don’t end well for most of the people she’s interacting with.


Superstition Cover4. Superstition

WHERE TO BUY IT

Superstition is the terrible hot mess of an urban fantasy show that I’ve always wanted. It is a capital-m Mess and understandably got canceled after its first season, but I can’t help but feel slighted because Supernatural (another hot mess of an urban fantasy show) is on season 14.

Following the Hastings, a family of Black demon hunters who try to keep the peace in their town, this is a 12-episode series that was canceled too soon. Scenes of body horror and graphic violence abound and while it’s a messy Mess, it’s definitely spoopy. Marathon it if you have cable, buy it on Amazon if you don’t.


The Nature of balance5. Tim Lebbon’s The Nature of Balance

WHERE TO BUY IT

I had a paperback copy of this book back when I was twelve or thirteen and it destroyed me. I literally didn’t sleep for days after reading this novel and part of it is because at the start of the novel, a bunch of people die in the middle of the night, not waking up from their dreams. It’s super graphic and violent… I was a child when I read this. There’s a scene where cows are eating… people? I think? I can barely remember anything aside from the terror I felt.

(At one point, my sister surprised me while I was reading in our laundry room at the time and I honest to god peed a little.)


Tokyo Ghoul Cover6. Tokyo Ghoul

WATCH ON FUNIMATION/BUY THE MANGA SERIES

If you don’t know about my intense love of Sui Ishida’s Tokyo Ghoul already… where have you been? I love this series so much. Kaneki is one of those pretty bland self-insert anime leads, but he’s surrounded by a cast of characters that definitely make up for his personality.

I’m into this series because of characters like the gourmet ghoul Shuu Tsukiyama, tattooed Miyavi lookalike Uta, and the cutie pies that make up the Quinx squad. And… the cannibalism.

The series’ weak points are some major plot holes, Kaneki himself, and some representation of gender non-conforming characters in the second series (re) that feels transphobic to me.


Crimson Peak Cover7. Crimson Peak

WHERE TO BUY IT

Crimson Peak refueled my love of gothic romance and horror. I literally wrote a 7000+ word paper on how it could serve as a spiritual successor The Portrait of Dorian Gray back when I was in grad school. It’s not the most diverse movie out there (there are no main or recurring characters of color or queer characters in the film) and while it loses points for that, the horror of the film and the women at its heart definitely allow me to keep some of my goodwill towards it.

I saw this movie twice during its first week in theaters. I own the novelization, its audiobook, and the artbook. It scares the hell out of me every single time and I love it. (Bonus: you do see Tom Hiddleston’s pale little butt in this movie so if that’s your thing, enjoy that quick flash of skin.)


8. Undead Uprising: Haiti, Horror and The Zombie ComplexUndead Uprising Cover

WHERE TO BUY IT

Colonization is awful. Obviously.

In Undead Uprising, the scariest thing about the zombie myth is the role that anti-black racism, the legacy of slavery, and colonization from the world’s major powers played in the development of the creature alongside pervasive and racist myths about Black monstrosity and our own mythologies.

I’m only halfway through this book, but it’s an interesting and often upsetting look at the true origins of a horror movie staple.


9. Junji Ito’s FrankensteinFrankenstein Cover

WHERE TO BUY IT

Junji Ito’s work terrifies me. That is obviously the point.

While I have never been able to read some of his original works all the way to the end because I literally couldn’t handle the fear they inspired, I found his Frankenstein adaptation to be one of the most interesting adaptations of the 1818 story.

His art style lends to gothic horror very well and on top of that, he does a very great job of rendering Frankenstein’s creation as both horrific and hurting.


10. Pet Shop of Horrors TokyoPet Shop of Horros Tokyo

WHERE TO BUY IT

Akino Matsuri’s Petshop of Horrors series was a formative influence for me when I was a little kid getting into manga. While it is a truly beautifully rendered manga with a stunning cast of characters and creatures, it’s also a very visceral horror series about the ways that humans can be monstrous.

In Pet Shop of Horrors Tokyo, the sequel to Matsuri’s original mid-nineties series Pet Shop of Horrors, is set in Tokyo, an ocean (and possibly twenty years) away from the previous series as Count D returns to giving humans gifts in the form of pets that are (and do) more than we expect.

I have no idea how the series ends because I only have 8 out of 12 volumes (and the last 4 aren’t in English) but up until the end of that series, it’s a superbly spoopy series with all kinds of messed up situations. (Also: I am gonna die mad at Tokyopop for fucking up as a publishing company.)


Those are my spoopy faves, now what are yours?

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