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.

Continue reading

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Quick Rec: Horror Noire on Shudder

If you’ve got an hour and a half to spare and an interest in learning about the role of Black people in front of and behind the camera when it comes to the horror genre, check out this brilliant documentary on Shudder’s streaming platform asap!

(Also, I need the book that this was inspired by asap. I’m putting it on my wishlist because it’s so amazing!)

 

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Queer-Coding, Bad-Bat-Takes, And Why The Joker Isn’t That Important to Batman

Content Warning for stereotypes built from homophobia and transmisogyny that are present in the Joker’s portrayal across the years.


“In some ways, the Joker is a dark reflection of who Batman is. The loss of Bruce Wayne’s parents could’ve driven him to that edge, to where he could’ve become the Joker himself. But instead, he fought against that. Batman’s trying to bring order to the world. The Joker’s trying to bring chaos to the world.”

—–Dan Didio, Superheroes Decoded, Part One: “American Legends”

If the word “camp” is applied at all to the eighties Batman, it is a label for the Joker. This sly displacement is the cleverest method yet devised of preserving Bat-heterosexuality. The play that the texts regularly make with the concept of Batman and the Joker as mirror images now takes a new twist. The Joker is Batman’s “bad twin,” and part of that badness is, increasingly, an implied homosexuality.

—–Andy Medhurst, “Batman, Deviance, and Camp”

Despite what many comic book writers, editors, and some comic historians currently, the idea that the Joker serves as Batman’s darker “other half” is one that hinges on incredibly modern interpretations on the character that go hand in hand with ham-fisted attempts to squash them into these roles.

It’s also, not very accurate.

Didio’s comments in the first half of Superheroes Decoded are, at this point, the party line. They’re part of this attempt to reframe the Joker as necessary to the Batman’s mythos to the point where neither character can survive without the other, framing them as codependent and lost without one another. While I can see some validity in that statement where the Joker is concerned, I don’t see the point in making heroes that can’t exist without that one villain to torment them.

I especially don’t see the point in making Batman one of those heroes. Continue reading

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Stitch Does Stuff in February 2019

Stitch does stuff in february 2019.png

What am I going to do in February 2019?

Well, for the first two-weeks of the month… probably not that much.

I’ll be visiting my elderly father in the USVI for a multi-purpose visit (he hasn’t been well, I won’t be able to visit for his birthday in April, my brother is getting his babies christened while his family is there, and doing research for a couple of stories I have set on the island) between the 4th and the 13th.

While I’m in the USVI, I don’t have internet access unless I get a ride to the local library or hang out at an internet café downtown where the tourists hangout. (I could go to the university to use their wi-fi/computer labs since I already need to ask a question of the librarians for a project I’m doing, but it is weird to hang out at a school I haven’t attended in like eight years.)

Despite the fact that I’ll have my big laptop with me, I probably won’t have that much time to work so I’ll be using my time from today up until my flight leaves to write and schedule as much as possible for the time period. Some content is already scheduled on my website and Patreon as well as some tweets to make up for the fact that unless I borrow my bro’s phone, I won’t be able to communicate with y’all.

Therefore, everything on this list is tentative because it depends on how the trip goes and how much free-time and writing headspace I can grab during the trip so I’m not playing catch-up any more than usual following my trip.

Wish me luck, folks!


Website

The Great Big Anita Blake Reread: Obsidian Butterfly

Strap yourselves in for another ridiculously long installment of my Great Big Anita Blake ReRead. I’ve got stuff to say about everything the novel did really well, what it still sucks at, and the one thing I wish I could carve out of the book with my bare bloody hands.

The Cruel Prince review

I should finish up with Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince some time during my trip. As I love fucked up fae stories? I have to review it.

Spiderverse and Miles Morales: A Spider-Man Novel, When Authenticity Matters

I’ve talked a ton about a) why I think Brian Michael Bendis kind of sucks at writing Black characters and b) why representation of marginalized people matters. In this piece, I’m going to talk about what Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Jason Reynolds’ Miles Morales novel so different from what we’d gotten on Miles before and how, some level of authenticity is important when we’re dealing with representation.

Queer-Coding, Bad-Bat-Takes, And Why The Joker Isn’t That Important to Batman

Despite what many comic book writers, editors, and some comic historians currently, the idea that the Joker serves as Batman’s darker “other half” is one that hinges on incredibly modern interpretations on the character that go hand in hand with ham-fisted attempts to squash them into these roles.

It’s also, not very accurate.

In Retrospect: The Authority Volume 1 (Issues 1 -12)

In a new blog essay series, I look at media I loved in my nerdy past and talk about what I loved, what I wished it did differently, and how it needs to change/how it may have already been updated. In this inaugural installment, to celebrate the awesome updates made in The Wild Storm comics out now, I talk about the first twelve issues of Wildstorm’s The Authority before Mark Millar got his gross little hands on it.

What Fandom Racism Looks Like: Misogynoir – Black Women in the Way

Few things inspire more misogynoir than a Black female character that fandom thinks “gets in the way” of a ship involving two white characters.

Updates and Junk

  • PCA 2019 Planning Post
  • Updated Who I am/What I do Post

Patreon

Ships ‘n Shit: Team Kill Dracula

One of the best ships to come out of Netflix’s Castlevania series is the OT3 relationship between dhampir Alucard, occasionally tipsy supernatural expert Trevor Belmont, and snarky Speaker Sypha Belnades

Stitch Loves Villains: Mariah Dillard

I’ve been promising a piece on Luke Cage’s Mariah Dillard since season one of the show. Now, I think I’ve got my angle. Since she’s a villain I love, I’m going to focus on that aspect of her character under my Stitch Loves Villains umbrella.

The Great Big Anita Blake Reread: Narcissus In Chains

  • Snippet ($1 Tier)
  • Draft ($3 Tier)

In book #10, the Anitaverse gets really gross. This is the start of the badness. I recommend preparing yourself with a stiff drink because this book is bad.

Urban Fantasy 101: Magical Negros in the Genre

  • Snippet ($1 Tier)

I’m experimenting with topics for upcoming UF101 posts and I’m trying to see where I can go when talking about magical negro figures in the genre. I wind up scrapping a ton of UF101 pieces or putting them on the back burner/forgetting about them, but I think I’ve hit on something with this one.

Worldbuilding Wednesday: Nobles

A lot of the fantasy I’ve been reading (and some of what I’ve been reading) focuses on nobles in various groups. I want to talk about fixating on class and navigating writing wealth when you don’t have much/and keep tweeting #EatTheRich on a regular basis.

What Fandom Racism Looks Like: The Problem With Preference

  • Snippet ($1 Tier)
  • Full Draft ($3 Tier)

At some point this month, the draft of “What Fandom Racism Looks Like: The Problem With Preference” will be up. Before then, I’ll be putting up one last snippet!

Urban Fantasy 101 Notes

  • Vampires Are People Too – “Show, Don’t Tell” is good advice when it comes to making sure readers get what you’re trying to put across when it comes to talking about the humanity of supernatural beings. What happens when the author only tells us that these characters are supposed to be sympathetic but… don’t show them.
  • Hate Crimes – I keep coming across UF books with hate crimes/hate groups in them and I want to talk about what these crimes look like and why, if you’re going to use hate crimes and set up vampires and other supernatural beings as minorities, maybe… be more original? (I just have a bone to pick with how the allegories for race/disability/etc layered on these dangerous preternatural beings don’t even try to aim for originality when it comes to oppression.)

Women of Color in MCU Live Action Properties: Nakia

Am I going to write 2000 words about how Nakia was the best character in Black Panther and deserves to be loved? Yes, yes I am.

This month there won’t be an Audience Participation poll because I won’t have time to work on a piece and tweet reminders at the beginning of the month. Next month though, I’ll be back on track with it. I plan to have March’s post scheduled to go up on March 1st at midnight and I already know what I’m putting up for TWO poll options next month!

The Usual Support Links

Ko-fi:  ko-fi.com/A477I4N

PayPal: paypal.me/ZinaH

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/StitchMediaMix/

CV: stitchmediamix.com/zina-h-cv/

Book Wishlist: link: https://www.amazon.com/registry/wishlist/UXW2K0AOL5YK/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_ep_ws_RWWByb2JFWTRJ


I hope your February is awesome!

I’ll be posting pictures from my trip on twitter (@stichomancery) or instagram (@stitchmmix) whenever I get a chance/some service downtown or when we head to the island all the wannabe expats hang out on, but expect mostly radio silence for half of the momth! (I’ll share video and audio too, but that’ll probably go up when I’m in the airport on the way out.)

I appreciate y’all a ton and I can’t wait to get back and share my island with y’all as well as the stuff I do manage to get written this month!

(And then in March, it’s BLOG ANNIVERSARY AND GIVEAWAY TIME!

Stay sweet, pumpkins!

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What Fandom Racism Looks Like: Misogynoir – Convenient Excuses

If you’re new here, start at the introduction!


wfrll - misogynoir - convenient excuses

A 2011 article on pop culture website Oh No They Didn’t entitled “Fandom and its hatred of Black women characters” opens by asking readers “What do Martha Jones, Tara Thornton, Guinevere, and Mercedes Jones have in common?”

The short post details the various ways that fandom goes out of its way to diminish the awesomeness of Black female characters, but for this section, I’d like to look at the excuses fandom gives for why they don’t like –and frequently, actively hate – Black female characters.

Livejournal user flint_marko, the author of the ONTD post, provides a handy list of insults that fans use to excuse their hatred of these female characters that includes:

  • They have an attitude problem.
  • They’re lazy.
  • They’re mean.
  • They’re stupid.
  • They’re ungrateful.
  • They’re selfish.
  • They’re sluts.

When I say that fandom hates Black women, this sort of thing is a prime example. All of the examples that flint_marko gives are things that fandom has used to excuse disliking or hating Black female characters throughout the years. Continue reading

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[Small Stitch Reviews] Lies Sleeping (Rivers of London #7)

Note: This short review contains some spoilers for the previous book in the series.

lies sleeping cover

Lies Sleeping, the seventh novel in Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series, is so good that I stayed up until 3 or 4 in the morning – on a day I had to wake up at 5:30am – to finish it. Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series is one of my all-time favorite urban fantasy series and the list of things I love about it would take up several single spaced pages in one of my notebooks. Continue reading

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Stitch Takes Notes #1 – Kohnen Pages 19, 25-26

Stitch Takes Notes is an ongoing and flat out random feature now up on my website wherein I share the non-urban fantasy notes I take for various academic/academic-adjacent books I’m reading.


stitch takes notes

I’m a huge fan of Screening the Closet: Queer Representation, Visibility, and Race in American Film and Television, Melanie E. S. Kohnen’s book on whiteness and queer representation/visibility in Western media.

Everything about this books speaks to my own (more informal) work on race in fandom and I want to shake it at a bunch of people. I’m largely reading it for fun – as opposed to reading it because I need it immediately for a piece – and I’ve been taking notes on it and putting it into my context/the context of fan-studies in a totally sweet Batman notebook.

I’m not going to put all of my notes out there because then you’d probably wind up with half of the book quoted online because of how much of it I find valuable, but I wanted to put some of my notes up so that y’all can see the connections I’ve been making from the book.

So here are some notes and quotes from when I was going over pages 18-19 and page 25 of Kohnen’s brilliant book: Continue reading

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Sporking For A Good Cause: Laurell K. Hamilton’s Shutdown (Anita Blake 22.5)

sporking for a good cause

First things first here is a list of charities that you can (and should) donate to in order to help people directly affected by the government shutdown here in the US. Many of these people aren’t going to get paid even once the government re-opens and right now they’re suffering greatly. If you can donate, you can help someone get a little bit of financial security in these trying times.

Now, some backstory:

In October 2013, the US government was shut down for several days as a result of the Republican congress really hating the idea of letting the United States people get anything close to universal healthcare.

In response to the shutdown and ostensibly for her readers impacted by the shutdown as government workers, Laurell K. Hamilton posted “Shutdown”, a short story (or, more likely, a deleted scene from  the novel that had come out in July of the same year, Affliction) about the werewolf alpha Richard Zeeman introducing his newest human lover to Anita Blake and her main-shapeshifter squeeze, the wereleopard alpha Micah Callahan. This 7200-word story is a quick and frustrating look into the life of one of Anita’s former main lovers.

As Hamilton posted this story with good intentions and reuploaded it with the threat – I mean, promise – to figure out a sequel or original short story if the shutdown continues – with good intentions as well, I am sporking it with the best intentiions at heart. I would appreciate it if my followers/readers donated to one of the charities or organizations I linked to at the beginning of this piece.

So, now that you’ve (hopefully) donated to an organization that’s going to help folks impacted by the government shutdown, let’s start the sporking (for a good cause). The usual trigger warnings for any conversation about the Anitaverse apply here as I’ll be talking about the consent issues in the short, internalized misogyny, kink/sex shaming, and sexual violence. So read carefully if you can!

Note: If you prefer to listen to your sporking, here’s the MP3 narration I did! Don’t forget to donate, you nerds!
Continue reading

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Ships ‘n Shit: Symbrock

Ships n Shit - Symbrock.png

 

One half of the ship is a down and out reporter who’s having a hard time of things.

The other is a hungry-for-brains symbiote, an extraterrestrial blob that thinks violence is both the question being asked and the answer it deserves.

I’m talking about Eddie Brock and Venom, a ship made for monster fuckers in fandom and folks who just really liked the idea of dating someone that basically lives in your body. Fandom has thought of the Venom symbiote as a site for particularly fucky content for years now, and it wasn’t just because of that intensely (and accidentally?) erotic panel between the symbiote and Hawkeye.

(Though that panel helped.)

In the comics, Eddie Brock’s relationship with the symbiote is… fraught. More fucked up, than funny.

In Venom however?

The film manages to balance funny and fucked up and from it, fandom gets… fucky.

Which I am entirely here for.

Now, let’s talk about the characters involved in this ship in a little greater detail Continue reading

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Fleeting Frustrations #4: What’s the Deal With Reverse Harem Romances?

fleeting frustrations 4

There are only about three thousand books that come up when I search for “reverse harem” so let me start out by letting y’all know that I do get that it’s a small part of the overall genre and makes up a teeny tiny percentage of the books published.

But the point of my Fleeting Frustrations pieces is to air a grievance, and on this site: no grievance is too small, too petty, or too focused on a niche within a specific genre for me to air it like laundry on a line. Continue reading

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What Fandom Racism Looks Like – When White Characters (Somehow) Aren’t White

wfrll - removing whiteness

Let’s keep this short and salty: did y’all know that there are people – thankfully a minority in their respective fandoms – that will claim a white male character or actor isn’t white for some reason or another.

Well, if you didn’t know before reading that sentence, I’m willing to be that you’ve figured out what you’re gonna learn today in this installment of “What Fandom Racism Looks Like”.

One of the weirdest things I’ve ever come across in all of my years of fandom is this relatively recent thing where fans of a white male character – usually one half of a powerhouse ship involving two white characters – somehow get it into their heads that said white male character isn’t actually white after all.

I don’t get it. Continue reading

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