Stitch @ Teen Vogue: Tim Drake Is the 1st Canonically Queer Robin & Fandom Got Us Here

Outside of richly, weirdly romantic superhero novels like Devin Grayson’s Inheritance, Weldon is right. The visual nature of superhero comics leads to queer readings in a way that prose often won’t. Prose, up front, often rejects the interpretations that fans have put together. There’s less wiggle room for fans to interpret a lingering gaze or the nearness of two characters or the oft-used Pieta pose as queer when the words on the page are explicitly saying otherwise. As a result, fans have largely had to make do with what they’re given and interpret these moments queerly, playing with characters in their fanworks that largely weren’t “confirmed” to be queer by the powers that be… until recently.

Tim Drake Is the 1st Canonically Queer Robin & Fandom Got Us Here

This is the nicest thing I have said about DC in my entire life and… they deserve it. I was a diehard DC fan from about 2009 to 2016 (my peak was 2012-13 in terms of content) and the whole time I was surrounded by other queer fans who just really loved these characters a lot and wanted the representation that came from seeing your favorite character be just like you. I am still friends with my core group of DC fandom friends and it’s been over a decade of growing, writing, and shipping together. I’m considering dusting off my old fics just for those babes. That’s how real it is.

Anyway; so when I saw “Sum of Our Parts” in Batman: Urban Legends and realized that Tim Drake, one of the Robins I queered (yes, I did that for them all, shush) was getting a queer canon? I just knew I had to write about not just him, but about the Big Two’s queer superhero game. This piece is heavy on DC because that was my main fandom for a huge portion of my life, but there are Marvel references and a quote from Danny Lore, a creator I adore. I think that it’s important to

And of course: there are indie comics with queer superheroes, like The Pride! And those comics exist too because queer fans didn’t see themselves in the mainstream superhero comics! I didn’t cover indie superhero comics for this because the focus was the fandoms, but that’s on me! I’m slowly returning to my roots as a comics fandom loudmouth though, so I will make up for it!

Please share the link to the article with anyone you think would be interested in it and share on Twitter if you can! Thanks!

Link Lineup – August 2021

It’s always so hard to pare down my links to a manageable amount rather than pouring out the entirety of my bookmarks for the month. But between last time and now, I have read some incredible things! Here’s a sampling with the usual added commentary.


Ignoring A Problem Doesn’t Make It Go Away: On Lindsay Ellis and Anti-Native Racism

She finishes her brief segment on her Twilight Apologia grievance by doing a classic “see I’m a liberal ally to the brown folks” move straight out of a JK Rowling’s tweet: adding the link to the Quileute tribe’s fundraiser to prove that she’s not racist, she cares about ACTUAL problems that the Quileute folks face. Not something as trivial as representation in Twilight but REAL problems. Clearly she cares more about indigenous issues than the indigenous people she’s arguing with. 

In any case, you don’t need to be native to know there isn’t much sincerity to someone who dedicates two hours to taking shots of whiskey for every “apology” they have to make. Quite frankly it would’ve saved her time to just upload a five second Youtube video of her telling us to eat shit. The same message would’ve been delivered expeditiously. 

A lot of people think that ignoring a problem like racism in media – here anti-Native racism in Twilight and Pocahontas… and Ellis’ coverage of both after the fact – will just make it go away. Add in a heaping helping of Ellis weaponizing her white womanhood and lumping in real Natives trying to educate her in with the very legitimate harassment she does get… And you’ve got a disastrous approach in one.

I thought this piece by Ali Nahdee was brilliant, insightful, and is a must-read for people who genuinely care about representation in media, fighting anti-Native racism, and holding ourselves and our favorite content creators accountable. In this country, Indigenous communities are mistreated and misrepresented as the norm. Media is one of the biggest ways that their cultures are repackaged – often being boiled down to a single experience set up to serve for the whole – and it’s important to recognize when we and our favorite/popular cultural critics drop the ball on recognizing that.

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[Stitch Talks Ish] Episode 7: Stitch Gets Nostalgic

Transcript

Hello, Darlings, this is our first Stitch Talks Ish issue episode, my bad, since May or June. If you missed that episode, it was an episode about the way that non-black people — not just white people, this also includes non-black people of color — were utilizing the phrase “Black Lives Matter” while also being incredibly anti black in practice, and to specific black people, like myself. And it’s been several months since the start of widespread conversations about police brutality, fatal anti blackness, systemic oppression, and the universality of anti blackness; and the important thing to note is that it hasn’t gotten any better.

As I record this right now. There’s another… There are two black men who have been shot by police officers one, I don’t know where he’s from, I don’t think his hashtag is currently trending. But one was shot seven times in front of his children after getting into his car following breaking up a fight. Like dude was completely unarmed. He was basically shot for being a good samaritan and trying to stop shit. And as I write this, as I, as I talk to you guys, I’m very much aware of the fact that we are hurtling towards a time when the United States is not going to be safe at any level for any of us, and kind of especially black people. And the same people who have plastered Black Lives Matter across their… their social media, while publicly and privately slandering black people, who will accuse black people, like myself, of using Black Lives Matter to gain some sort of clout in a world that hates us, and does not care about us, are currently pretending they care about Black Lives Matter, Black people our very, very fucked up future that is looming or speeding towards us.

And so I suggest if you haven’t listened to that episode already, please listen to it; and please be better about who you, are what you do in fandom spaces in, your social spaces, if you have them. But this episode is supposed to be a lighter episode. So no more talk of that, I guess.

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What Fandom Racism Looks Like: Keep Calm and Wait Your Turn

keep calm and wait.jpg

One step forward for white women in nerdy culture… doesn’t actually equal a step forward for all women.

After years of talking and writing about the need for representation in media, I obviously recognize the need for representation in media.

However, I can’t stop feeling some frustration about how white women are frequently set up by nerds and within fandom as the proper first stop for representation. Read More »

“You Can’t Ship a Protagonist and an Antagonist”

Content Notes: This post is ostensibly about abuse (and how fandom assigns “abuse/r” labels based on the role a character plays in their respective narrative). I also quote dialogue between Jessica Jones and her abuser Kilgrave and discuss abuse related to Batman and the Joker. But the entire post is about abuse and it may trigger survivors so… Read carefully.


“You Can_t Ship a Protagonist and an Antagonist”

It’s a bit worrying that to huge swathes of fandom, the words “villain” and “antagonist” are now synonymous with “abuser”.

I’m a lurker by nature, so I’m always watching the way that fandom clings to or discards trends or tropes in their favorite source media and the fanworks that they produce about them. One thing I’ve noticed is that recently, within certain fandom spaces, the words “villain” and “antagonist” are more and more frequently conflated with the word “abuser”, something which I find worrying and frustrating.

In many fandoms, I’ve seen villains called “abusive” just by virtue of their being the villains. I’ve also started to see the terms “abuse”, “abuser”, and “abuse apologist” being thrown around willy-nilly to try to somehow show fans the error of their shipping ways (usually by calling them names or suggesting that they’re as bad as the fictional villains – or real life abusers in the accuser’s past).

Only that’s not how any of that actually works, but that’s not stopping it from happening in several fandoms that I’m in or have been adjacent to and I have… thoughts.

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[Book Review] Behind the Mask: A Superhero Anthology

Title: Behind the Mask: A Superhero Anthology
Editors:
Tricia Reeks and Kyle Richardson
Authors:
Kelly Link, Cat Rambo, Seanan McGuire, Lavie Tidhar, Carrie Vaughn, Sarah Pinsker, Kate Marshall, Michael Milne, Aimee Ogden, Nathan Crowder, Keith Rosson, Stuart Suffel, Jennifer Pullen, Matt Mikalatos, Patrick Flanagan, Ziggy Schutz, Keith Frady, Stephanie Lai, Chris Large, and Adam R. Shannon
Rating: Recommended
Genre/Category: Superheroes, Slice of Life, Supervillains, Anthology
Release Date: May 16, 2017

Publisher:  Meerkat Press

Order Here: AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE

Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All of the views in review are my own. Additionally, the spoilers in this review range from mild to kind of major.

SYNOPSIS

Behind the Mask is a multi-author collection with stories by award-winning authors Kelly Link, Cat Rambo, Carrie Vaughn, Seanan McGuire, Lavie Tidhar, Sarah Pinsker, Keith Rosson, Kate Marshall, Chris Large and others. It is partially, a prose nod to the comic world—the bombast, the larger-than-life, the save-the-worlds and the calls-to-adventure. But it’s also a spotlight on the more intimate side of the genre. The hopes and dreams of our cape-clad heroes. The regrets and longings of our cowled villains. That poignant, solitary view of the world that can only be experienced from behind the mask.

The authors in this collection, both established and new, are all dexterous and wonderfully imaginative, each deserving of their own form-fitting uniforms and capes. Some of the stories pulse with social commentary, like Cat Rambo’s whimsical and deft “Ms. Liberty Gets a Haircut” and Keith Rosson’s haunting “Torch Songs.” Others twist the genre into strange and new territories, like Stuart Suffel’s atmospheric “Birthright,” Kate Marhsall’s moving “Destroy the City with Me Tonight,” and Adam Shannon’s reality-bending “Over an Embattled City.” Some punch with heart and humor, like Matt Mikalatos’s satisfying “The Beard of Truth” and Chris Large’s adventurous “Salt City Blue,” while others punch with bite and grit, such as Michael Milne’s evocative “Inheritance,” Aimee Ogden’s poignant “As I Fall Asleep,” and Jennifer Pullen’s heartfelt “Meeting Someone in the 22nd Century.” Some of the stories feature characters who might not be superheroes in the traditional sense, yet are heroic nonetheless, such as Sarah Pinsker’s imaginative “The Smoke Means It’s Working” and Stephanie Lai’s majestic “The Fall of the Jade Sword.” Some shine a unique, captivating spotlight on supervillains, like Keith Frady’s dramatic “Fool” and Carrie Vaughn’s romantic “Origin Story.” Some are somber, ponderous works, where our heroes consider their impact on the world, like Lavie Tidhar’s regret-tinged “Heroes” and Nathan Crowder’s resonant “Madjack.” Others tread more light-hearted waters, with heroes adjusting to the sometimes-comical, sometimes-stressful life in the public eye, like Seanan McGuire’s entertaining “Pedestal” and Patrick Flanagan’s lively “Quintessential Justice.” And then there are the softer, quieter moments between heroes, as they navigate their extraordinary lives in their own unique ways, such as Ziggy Schutz’s tender “Eggshells” and, of course, Kelly Link’s captivating “Origin Story.”

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Laundry Day – Comet City Stories

 

laundry-day

On her first day of actual, licensed superheroics, young speedster Pix comes to a startling realization about her chances of surviving once she goes head to head with a super-powered criminal that thinks nothing of smacking her down like a fly.

 

Pix is going to die.

It’s her first day of actual, licensed superheroics and she is going to die before she even gets a chance to use her League discount card to buy a cup of coffee at the nearest Sundollars. What freaking luck.Read More »

Supervillains (No-So) Anonymous – Comet City Stories

Comet City Supervillains Not So Anonymous

Every single person in the room shifts their chairs to the side with a cacophony of screeching, squeaking, rubber and metal on linoleum when I walk in to this month’s Supervillains Anonymous meeting in the basement of one of Comet City’s many rec centers.

I don’t blame them. I know what I look like, who I am. Nearly six feet tall with dark brown skin and purple scales spattered like paint across it, I look just normal enough to pass as entirely human. At least until I open my mouth and people get a look at my fangs and forked tongue and remember that some snakes are poisonous.

But then, what else could anyone expect from someone that used to be Mama Mambo’s prized protégé, Viper?Read More »

[Snippet]: Four Flights

This snippet is from another original story, one set in a universe similar to our own except for a few minor history changes and the fact that there are beings called EXOs running around. This story is (hopefully) going to be for my submission to The Book Smugglers’ Open Call for short stories ,The theme is ‘Superheroes’ and this story, about an EXO struggling to find her freedom is pretty darn super.

I’m looking forward to finishing it and seeing where it goes.

Enjoy the snippets, folks!


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