Congratulations Are In Order
First thing’s first, I’d like to extend all the congratulations in the world to Em Liu of Fiction Diversity for having one of her articles hosted on The Hooded Utilitarian. This is thrilling to me for a number of reasons, listed in no particular order: she’s someone I follow and who I’ve had conversations with between our two blogs , The Hooded Utilitarian is one of my go-to places for pop culture critique on the internet, and the topic she wrote on is one that is very near and dear to my own heart, namely: “Hollywood’s (Real) Problem with the Asian Male”.
I very, very strongly recommend that you read it in its entirety, because with the sole exception of one small portion I’ll be addressing I believe it to be the gospel truth. If you still absolutely refuse to for some absurd reason, and I’m going to ask you to check it out again before moving on . . . the post catalogues the portrayal of Asian men in American cinema, specifically in terms of their desirability. It was particularly eye-opening to me in that one of the earliest examples goes back to the late 1950s with The Crimson Kimono [poster on the right, obviously].
After elaborating on how things have mostly been downhill from there, Liu takes care not to shy away from the fact that one of the cultural reactions to this trend has been “a troubling emphasis on the need for the Asian male to simply ‘get the girl‘ onscreen.” Allow me to take a brief, and very relevant segue to discuss how strongly that idea resounds with me, and how badly I once wanted [and oftentimes still do want] this.
The Thirst Is Real [Leonard Nam Should Be In More Stuff]
I very vividly remember being in my early teens and watching a trailer for 2004’s The Perfect Score-
To stop you before you get there, yes, it is funny that Chris Evans [aka Captain America] and Scarlett Johansson [aka Black Widow] appear together years before their stints in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And yes, in her dream sequence she does imagine becoming a leatherclad ass-kicker, life is weird, isn’t it? Carrying on- Continue reading
Posted in Asia, feminism, language, race, relationships, sex
Tagged asian, badass, Brian McBrian, capable, competent, competition, conquest, desirable, diversity, Fast Five, Fiction Diversity, film, Gal Gadot, Gisele, Han, Hollywood, Leonardo Nam, male, male gaze, relationships, representation, sexuality, Sung Kang
Before we really delve into this review, can we please pause for a moment and gush over its cover? Jake Wyatt returns after providing art duties for issues 6 and 7 last year, reminding us that if he wasn’t doing his own thing with his creator-owned Necropolis we would fully welcome him back with open arms. No offence to Alphona, of course, but Wyatt’s about as great a fill-in artist as you can get for whenever the Canadian needs to take a break.
Which of course isn’t to deride current artist Takeshi Miyazawa, because he is likewise killing it. We’ll get there when we get there, though, because this latest arc, “Crushed” is a ride.
Yes, the very handsome Kamran is very much still a factor, and yes, he is also an Inhuman. Just in case it wasn’t a big enough deal that he is also a nerdy Pakistani-American it just so happens that he too was given powers by the Terrigen Mist that gave Kamala the ability to embiggen, etc. How his story intersects with our heroine’s and proceeds is fairly straightforward, so I thought I would draw your attention to two parts of the narrative that can be told given who Ms. Marvel is, specifically. Continue reading
Posted in comics, race, relationships, religion, review, writing
Tagged 14, Aamir, art, character, comics, Crushed, diversity, G. Willow Wilson, Ian Herring, Inhuman, Joe Caramagna, Kaboom, Kamala Khan, Kamran, Lineage, Marvel, maturity, minority, Ms. Marvel, Pakistani, realism, representation, review, Sana Amanat, Takeshi Miyazawa, villain, Violence
This isn’t going to be the longest post for two reasons: 1) I made a bet with a friend and am only eating leaves for the entirety of today [this was my breakfast] and am therefore weak in mind, body, and spirit, and 2) this is a very straightforward assessment that two other other writers have already broken ground on already. Let me take a single step back, though, and remind you of what happens in a week’s time and why I’m writing this.
Furious 7 comes out.
I know I used my love of comic books to springboard my post on Flash Boys, the novel Aaron Sorkin refuses to write a screenplay for because “there aren’t any Asian movie stars”, but here we are again. Well, sort of. See, comic books only reach so large an audience. Comic book movies, on the other hand? They find themselves as two out of the top five highest grossing movies of last year [four of the top ten]. Everyone wants to get in on that business, to the point where a shared universe of larger-than-life characters was one of the goals of the truly awful Dracula Untold. Here’s the thing Universal, you already own The Fast and Furious [referred to as FF from this point on] franchise which has been going hard since the early aughts.
Remember at the end of Iron Man when Tony Stark meets Nick Fury for the first time and your nerdy friend gripped your arm so hard you thought they would snap it and whispered directly into your ear that “it’s happening“? The FF movies have been pulling that same move for years without the help of a narrative that’s been ongoing since the 60s. Every one of their reveals is builds on the preceding films,and the fact that they’ve managed to make this viewer drop his jaw is worth mentioning in and of itself.
Posted in Comedy, comics, family, film, race, relationships, writing
Tagged action, Brett White, comic book movie, continuity, diversity, evolution, family, film, Furious 7, In Your Face Jam, Marc Bernardin, movies, reveal, shared universe, The Fast and the Furious, Vin Diesel
Look, I know I was tough on Ms. Marvel last month. It was a so-so issue, a fact that surprised me greatly considering it guest starred the Norse god of trickery. The thing is, even then I wasn’t worried that it was some sort of herald of less-great things to come, and the latest installment of Kamala Khan’s adventures is one of the best yet.
Everything that was missing from the Valentine’s issue is present here. Inhumans? Check. Genuine hero vs. villain throwdowns? Check. An exploration of the life hyphenated-American youth live, AKA the cornerstone of immigrant literature? Ch-ch-ch-check.
That last point is what truly made me love this comic, because the rest of the Khans get some quality pagetime after being out of the spotlight for so long. Take the following panel-
It takes place after we see Kamala training in the Inhuman version of the X-Men’s Danger Room, and while seeing Medusa worry about her subject [she is queen of the Inhumans, after all] is intriguing all I could think of was: “older Pakistani people would probably not be down with the skin-tight leggings she has on.” Lo and behold we have her ammi chiding her for her indecency. Continue reading
Posted in art, comics, family, race, review, Youth
Tagged 13, Aamir, amma, appa, art, auntie, Bollywood, character, comics, cousin, Crushed, diversity, G. Willow Wilson, Ian Herring, immigrant literature, Inhuman, Jersey City, Joe Caramagna, Kaboom, Kamala Khan, Kamran, Marvel, Medusa, minority, Ms. Marvel, not incest, Pakistani, representation, review, Sana Amanat, second-generation, Takeshi Miyazawa, uncle, villain
If you’re reading this comic issue to issue, like I am, I know what you’re thinking: a new Ms. Marvel, already? Not that I [or you, in all likelihood] am complaining, but the last issue did come out just two short weeks ago.
Brought to us by the usual crew with the new addition of artist Elmo Bondoc, this is a much-needed lull in the action. They can’t all be spitting truth about the generational divide, and it seems like forever since Kamala’s doing everyday normal high school kid stuff. Given the cocktail of emotions that the average aforementioned teen is comprised of,what better way to return to that part of her life than on Valentine’s Day?
That was a hypothetical question, but one that was meant to be answered by the enthusiastic response of “there isn’t one!”. With that in mind, it breaks my heart to say that this is probably the worst issue of Ms. Marvel to date. WHICH–
please, put down your pitchforks and hear me out for a second- simply means that as one installment of a title that has knocked it out of the park for the past eleven consecutive issues this one scores a double. Maybe a single with the man on first stealing second. Sorry, I’ll stop with the baseball metaphors. Continue reading
Posted in art, comics, relationships, review, Youth
Tagged #12, art, Bruno, character, comics, dance, diversity, Elmo Bondoc, friend zone, G. Willow Wilson, high school, Ian Herring, Jersey City, Joe Caramagna, Kamala Khan, Loki, Loki: Agent of Asgard, Marvel, minority, Ms. Marvel, representation, review, Sana Amanat, splash page, teenager, the Inventor, truth serum, valentines day, villain
As predicted in my last review, this issue does in fact feature the downfall of the villainous Inventor. What I did not foresee, however, is how Alphona would be bringing his A-game when it came to illustrating our shapeshifting heroine’s triumph over evil. Seriously, there are some jaw-droppingly beautiful splash pages featured here.
For the most part my recaps of Ms. Marvel are exactly that, short summaries of what went down in addition to some exploration of any themes therein, so I feel it only fair to take a few paragraphs to focus on the art itself. To begin with, a “splash page” is:
“a page in the comic book where there are no other panels and the character or scene fills the entire page of the comic book.”
Issue #11 features three such pages, which would be more than overdoing it according to J. Caleb Mozzocco, one of my favourite comic book journalists. The reason for that being when you only have twenty-ish pages of comic [21 in this case, including the recap page] having one of them taken up by a single panel can make it feel like you’re not getting enough bang for your buck. Rest assured that that could not be further from the truth in this case-
While the entire page is indeed taken up by a single illustration there’s a strong sense of movement, with readers being able to trace Kamala’s journey through the innards of the deathbot with ease. The word boxes help to anchor a start and end point, and the intricacy of the gears as well as her cartoonish contortions keep you from turning the page even after you’ve finished reading the words. I could go on praising Alphona’s work, though, so as to the actual narrative- Continue reading
Posted in art, comics, review, writing, Youth
Tagged #11, Adrian Alphona, adults, art, character, comics, diversity, G. Willow Wilson, Generation Why, Generation Y, help, Ian Herring, identity, Jersey City, Joe Caramagna, Kamala Khan, Lockjaw, Marvel, minority, Ms. Marvel, police, potential, representation, review, robot, Sal's Used Cheese, Sana Amanat, shapeshift, splash page, support, symbolism, teenager, the Inventor, villain, visual gag, worthless, young people, Youth
I love watching comedies when I’m in school. It allows me to check out mentally on those days when I feel like I can’t seem to turn off my brain. Although I am looking for thoughtless fluff, I still want to avoid straight-up terrible writing and plots. This makes my comedy search a little more difficult. Luckily, John and I came across Galavant, which provides what I am looking for in at least the following five ways.
1.It’s funny, without being offensive
I hate Seth MacFarlane. Just don’t like the guy at all. Yet his form of humour (i.e. let’s see how far we can push the line without getting in too much trouble) seems to dominate contemporary comedy. There certainly have been times when I have laughed at Family Guy or American Dad, but more often than not they leave me with a sour taste in my mouth.
One of the only gif’s from Family Guy that made me laugh instead of cringe.
I still want something that will surprise me into laughing out loud, but I don’t want to only ever be surprised because the punch line was too offensive for me to be expecting it.
Unlike McFarlane’s shows, Galavant is all about pushing around puns and being- well, for lack of a better word- silly. After being bombarded with jokes that make fun of real life trauma, it’s nice to be able to laugh at something because it’s just silly.
“Maybe they’re up your butt”
Posted in Comedy, music, television
Tagged American Dad, cameos, diversity, Family Guy, Friends, funny, Galavant, How I Met Your Mother, humour, John Stamos, Karen David, Luke Youngblood, Medieval, New Girl, offensive, puns, Richy Gervais, Seth MacFarland, silly, The Mindy Project, third-wheel, Weird Al Yankovich, whitewash, Xanax, your-mom