4 Reasons Why You Should Watch Ghostbusters 

I’m going to watch Ghostbusters tonight and I am crazy excited. Here’s why I can’t wait to see it in the theatre, and why I think you should shell out the money to watch it there too.

1. It will piss off the misogynists spewing their garbage all over the Internet

As you may have heard, the trailer for this year’s Ghostbusters reboot was the most downvoted video of all time. Even though every woman knows not to read the comments on any video containing a woman, I thought I’d take a look just to see what was rising to the top. I was treated to comments like these,

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This, along with the general sentiment that “any reboots staring women couldn’t be good,” was the first strike that got me excited to watch the movie. Mostly, I was just feeling spiteful towards the internet trolls who teamed up with the goal of making this movie suffer.

2. It will piss off racists who are using their dislike for the movie to publicly air their racism

Leslie Jones has been in the news quite a bit more than her costars. Recently, it was because she called out designers for refusing to make dresses for women who aren’t sample size.

Jones costar, Melissa McCarthy, also experienced this size prejudice “two oscars ago” when many designers refused to make a dress for her. In one of those rare nice moments on the internet, many twitter users spoke out in support, and Christian Siriano quickly stepped up to design a stunning red dress for the Ghostbusters Premiere.

Unfortunately, Jones didn’t solely receive support online, she was also criticized for not being pretty enough for designers in the first place. One critique went so far as to say,

“It’s not their fault you’re built like an NFL player and look like a dude.” 

While this insult is awful enough to begin with, much worse began to pour in after the movie was released. Jones attempted to expose many of these racists by retweeted some of the worst tweets, but eventually she was overwhelmed.

Since many of these commenters are hiding behind their screens, it’s hard to know how to fight this kind of hate. However, it couldn’t hurt to support Jones’ first big film and tweet a little #LoveForLeslieJ.

3. This little girl’s face

We’ve addressed the problem of representation (or lack of representation) over and over on this blog. However, the picture above may summarize this issue better than any words I could write. If you’ve ever watched a character who looked like you do something cool on the big screen (especially when you were a kid), then you will understand how important it is to provide roles to actors from a variety of backgrounds and walks of life.

4. It was actually a great movie

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 When I first started this post, I hadn’t actually seen the movie. Tonight I went to my first viewing (I say first, because I plan to go again soon).
Even if I set aside the reasons I listed above, I’m still glad I saw this movie. It was funny enough to keep me laughing out loud (although admittedly a few jokes fell flat). The characters were also relatable and the plot was interesting enough to keep me watching. If I’m completely honest, I probably enjoyed it even more than I did the originals.
Whatever the reason, whether to spite racists and misogynists, or to introduce cool new heroines to your little girl or even to just enjoy an entertaining blockbuster, Ghostbusters will deliver.
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There Are Actual Newts Less Slimy Than Gingrich

This week’s post won’t be a long one. After all, there’s not much to say that we (and a thousand others) haven’t said already.

It’s been another day, another senseless and tragic attack.

Another wave of people sending their “thoughts and prayers”, another wave of people mocking the ease and meaninglessness of profile filters.

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Another reaction of people pointing out our own hypocrisy as attacks twice as deadly (though no more or less terrible) go without mention in Africa, Asia, South America.

And nothing we’re going to do in the next days and weeks will change what’s already happened. The only thing we can do is decide how to react, and readers, please don’t react like serial philanderer and defender of ‘traditional marriage’ Newt Gingrich.

 

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You’d think a guy who does this would be more thrilled about the prospect of a fundamentalist Islamic theocracy…

His reaction to last week’s appalling attack in Nice has been to propose- I kid you not- a “Sharia test”, in which all Muslim Americans would be tested to see if they support fundamentalist Islamic law. Any that did would be promptly deported, Gingrich says.

 

Now some of you might be saying, “But Gordon, you stalwart vassal of decency and dignity, is that really so absurd? Gingrich himself stated that he doesn’t have problem with moderate Muslims and that he’s even ‘glad to have them as citizens.’ And you support the complete separation of church and state, so wouldn’t you be cool with this?”

No, and I’ll tell you why.

Answer me this- what’s a “Muslim?”

It’s someone who believes in Islam, right?

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As with Christianity, Judaism, or any religion, “Muslim” isn’t a strict definition. I grew up in a 90% Muslim country, and I saw everything from Muslim women wearing full niqabs to Muslim women wearing tight jeans and skimpy shirts that’d turn heads in America. And there was everything in between. The Muslim man who fasted during Ramadan but had his cheat days. The Muslim woman who observed religion as part of her culture, but not as part of her faith. You had the hippie-style Muslims who argued for the fundamental unity of all religions, and you had fire-and-brimstone Muslims who argued for the destruction of the unbelievers. And all of these people lived in the same country, the same city, and very often, in the same family.

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Not a whole lot different than the West. I’d argue that the vast, vast majority of this country’s “Christians” are of the Easter-and-Christmas variety, though you can find plenty who’re in church twice a week. There are plenty of Jews who happily munch on their bacon cheeseburgers on their way to the store to pick up a mixed-fabric sweater and there are plenty who’d be nauseated at the thought.

It gets worse.

Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses call themselves Christian, most mainline Protestants and Catholics would staunchly disagree with that definition. Likewise the Nation of Islam (and its offshoots) would probably not be seen as orthodox by your average Sunni or Shia adherent. Plenty of religions are a hodgepodge of varying philosophies: Jews-for-Jesus, Atheist-Buddhists, Hindu-but-I-attend-my-wife’s-church, you name it.

How exactly are you going to measure something like that?

No seriously- how are you going to measure that?

Are you going to have vans of government agents sitting outside of mosques, taking notes about who goes in or out? Are you going to commandeer wedding registries or rifle through census records? Muslims barely make up 1% of the US population but there’s still 3.3 million of ’em. Are we to believe that the government will, over the next decade or so, visit and interrogate each and every one?

And what if you did?

Do you think that there’s going to be anyone who tells the friendly FBI agents “Oh dang, you caught me. I totally support the implementation of a theocratic Islamic state relying on the most extreme interpretation of the Koran and other teachings. I mean, I know that Gingrich is proposing I be deported for saying that, but I just wanted to be honest with you. I’ll go pack my things now.”

Of course not. That has got to be one of the stupidest and most-ill advised things Gingrich has proposed since he asked his second wife for an open marriage. If- if– some would-be theocrat is stumbled across, they’re simply going to say “no.”

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Because it’s a ****ing stupid idea.

The end.

(Oh, and by the way- there’s no such thing as “Sharia law.” There’s a massive debate within the Muslim world over what’s actually mandated and what isn’t and there’s an almost infinite range of perspectives, opinions, and theories- none of which are even close to universally accepted. Saying “do you believe in Sharia law?” is like asking someone if they like “Biblical law”- some detailed ****ing clarification is probably going to be asked of you.)

Asian-American Creators in Comic Books As Of July 16th: 2 Out of 3 Ain’t Bad

The last time I wrote a post that was titled in a similar format was back in 2013, which followed another the year before. Both were written because at the time events had occurred in the comic book industry that touched on LGBT representation. Given the fact that Western comic books don’t necessarily have a dearth of Asian creators [Gene Luen Yang, Annie Wu, and Jerome Opeña being just a few examples] it’s actually sort of surprising that it wasn’t until this week that I felt justified in putting together a similar post.

What’s unfortunate is, as you can probably tell by the title, that it’s not all good news. With that in mind I’m going to go with the classic “sandwich” delivery, with the positives buttressing a negative. That said, and without further ado-

Greg Pak’s Totally Awesome Hulk #15 Brings a Tear to My Eye

I should probably clarify that I have not read the 15th issue of Totally Awesome Hulk. That won’t actually hit stands until this upcoming October. That said, the cover was released in the Marvel NOW’s Previews Magazine this past Wednesday [with leaks hitting the internet a little earlier]. You can see the cover below in all of its glory-

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Cover art by Mukesh Singh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Clockwise from the very top of the cover is: Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel [Pakistani-American], Shang-Chi/Master of Kung Fu [Chinese], Amadeus Cho/Totally Awesome Hulk [Korean-American], presumably SHIELD Agent Jimmy Woo [Chinese-American], Cindy Moon/Silk [Korean-American], and lastly a character I can’t place who Bleeding Cool cites as being Winter Soldier [which I could not confirm through my own research].

What struck me was that this is a comic book cover from one of the the two major publishers [DC and Marvel] on which every one of the many characters depicted is Asian. It’s also not an established team of Asian heroes like Big Hero 6 [the film adaptation of which you know my exact feelings about]. This is especially notable in light of the fact that other comics like Sam Wilson: Captain America #10-

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Sam Wilson: Captain America #10. Written by Nick Spencer, illustrated by Angel Unzueta.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cover art by Marguerite Sauvage.

-and the cover to Black Panther #7 [as seen on the right] communicate the ideas that a) Black heroes exist within this universe and b) just like in many real life situations, Black people can and do congregate together.

Even before these respective examples came to light most of these heroes were fairly recognizable by the public [Storm and Black Panther, Nick Fury Jr.], but they also shine light on the lesser-knowns [Misty Knight, Doctor Voodoo, Spectrum].

The cover to Totally Awesome Hulk #15 is the first major step in my recent memory to bring a similar awareness to Asian representation in comic books, and it’s very clear that a conscious decision was made by Greg Pak [a Korean-American himself] to do this. It’s no exaggeration that just seeing the cover made me emotional, and I cannot wait until October to get my hands on the issue.

Frank Cho Stirs Continues to Stir Up Controversy Over Wonder Woman Variant Covers

There’s no such thing as the perfect week.

Frank Cho, a Korean-American artist and the initial collaborator with Greg Pak on Totally Awesome Hulk [their similarities to the titular character further discussed here], announced two days ago that he would be walking off Wonder Woman as variant cover artist with Issue #6. Deciding to go to Bleeding Cool, Cho explained that:

“All the problem lies with [author] Greg Rucka.

EVERYONE loves my Wonder Woman covers and wants me to stay. Greg Rucka is the ONLY one who has any problem with covers. Greg Rucka has been trying to alter and censor my artwork since day one.

Greg Rucka thought my Wonder Woman #3 cover was vulgar and showed too much skin, and has been spearheading censorship, which is baffling since my Wonder Woman image is on model and shows the same amount of skin as the interior art, and it’s a VARIANT COVER and he should have no editorial control over it. (But he does. WTF?!!!)

I tried to play nice, not rock the boat and do my best on the covers, but Greg’s weird political agenda against me and my art has made that job impossible. Wonder Woman was the ONLY reason I came over to DC Comics.

To DC’s credit, especially [Art Director] Mark Chiarello, they have been very accommodating. But they are caught between a rock and a hard place.

I just wanted to be left alone and do my Wonder Woman variant covers in peace. But Greg Rucka is in a hostile power trip and causing unnecessary friction over variant covers.”

 

For those who are not familiar with comic book journalism websites, Bleeding Cool excels in tracking a lot of what goes on behind the scenes in the industry. That said, they’re also known for rumour-mongering, a practice with a so-so success rate. They have also devoted many an article to the artist’s last controversy over covers, noting each time one of the illustrations made its way online.

While Rucka has made no official response to Cho or to anyone else asking for comment save for the following tweet:

As far as an actual example of the “censorship” Cho is decrying, pictured below is the aforementioned cover to Wonder Woman #3, with the final cover on the left and the original art on the right:

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Notably absent is the character’s panty line, shown on the right. Apart from the cropping, the art appears untouched.

It should be restated that Cho was not fired from the gig, but instead chose to leave of his own volition. As a creator doing work-for-hire the people at DC comics had every right to ask for edits to be made to whatever iss submitted to them. It was also his choice to approach the comic book journalism site most likened to a tabloid to announce the reasons behind this. The true irony is that the artist’s sensitivity over what occurred feels out of line with his approach to the outrage others have felt about his own work.

Gene Luen Yang’s New Super-Man #1: This Man of Steel is a Boy From Shanghai

Particularly worth spotlighting as the first-ever DC book I’ve decided to buy issue-to-issue, New Super-Man comes from the same writer of one of my favourite graphic novels, American Born Chinese. That book proved that Yang understands a lot of the innate conflict in being Asian-American, living your entire life in a country but never quite feeling like you fit in.

Cover art by Viktor Bogdanovic.

Cover art by Viktor Bogdanovic.

With that in mind, several months ago he wrote a blog post for the DC Comics site in which he admits almost immediately that “I’ve only visited China twice, so my understanding of Chinese culture is through echoes.” That said, he wants to do everything he can to make his portrayal of the character as authentic as possible, and the majority of the post spends time picking apart exactly how and why he landed on the name “Kenan Kong”.

It’s but one example of how committed he is to the authentic portrayals of Asians, and it can be strongly felt throughout that first issue, which was sold in comic stores everywhere this past Wednesday.


It’s my hope that this isn’t the last such blog post that I piece together, and that part of the reason for that will be even more Asian creators working in both mainstream and indie comics. While the news won’t always be positive, the dream is that with even more talent we’ll be able to see the best that they have to offer, especially in regards to pushing representation in my favourite medium.

Who Killed Archie? Solve The Riddle to Save Our Marriage

A major bone of contention between my wife and I is the debate that threatens to pull our marriage apart (well, not really, but you know what I mean). It centres around one question:

If Archie was suddenly murdered, who would his murderer be?

We have defended our theories in public and in private. We have tried to gain the support of others in the hopes of winning the argument by sheer volume, but alas we are still locked in this bitter battle. So it has come to this, our final plea to the internet and its readers.

I, John, will be arguing that Archie Andrew’s murderer could only be one of two people: Betty Cooper or Jughead Jones. Katherine will be arguing that the only possible murderer is Veronica Lodge. We beg that you help us decide. Who is the true killer?

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We see you brooding in the background Jughead. Image courtesy of Bago Games.

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Was It Justified? A Helpful Flow Chart On Whether Or Not That Black Dude Should’ve Been Gunned Down

Recent events have seen a rival of our national discussion on police, racial minorities, and the seemingly unending instances of violence being inflicted by the former on the latter. In light of this, we here at Culture War Reporters thought it might be helpful for everyone to break down this complex (or perhaps not so complex) issue with colorful boxes and simple choices.

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Why TF2 Doesn’t Have Female Characters [And Overwatch Does]

I’ve played 31 hours of Overwatch to date. Now that pales in comparison to the 322 I’ve clocked on Team Fortress 2 [often shortened to TF2], but the former has only been out since late May and I’ve had the latter for several years now. There’s time to even the scales, is all I’m saying.

31hoursNow those 31 hours may not communicate this this very well, but I am all about this game. As a self-proclaimed Blizzard [the studio behind the game] fanboy who has spent actual cash money on every one of their recent releases save for World of Warcraft I’ll admit that I was already primed for it, but where Diablo III: Reaper of Souls languishes half-finished I don’t see any excitement drop-off in sight for Overwatch.

Counting herself as a fellow member of the game’s 10 million or so players, Polygon contributor Susana Polo’s interest stemmed from a different place. To wit, the presence of so many playable female characters was a huge draw for her in spite of not being “a big shooter fan”. While as a whole the its roster is startlingly diverse [it ostensibly only has four Harveys; see here for an explanation of the terminology] it’s Polo’s perspective, primarily her comparison between Overwatch and Team Fortress 2, that I want to focus on.

Comparing Apples Blues and Oranges

Her article has its foundations in a conversation she had with a former co-worker, namely regarding the fact that “It’s shitty that Team Fortress doesn’t allow you to play as a woman”. As another class-based shooter with a focus on objectives over kills juxtaposing the two only makes sense.

Team Fortress 2 was released by Valve in 2007. The game offers a total of nine different classes to choose from, most of them White, all of them male [as far as we know]. While there has been much speculation about the Pyro [who is fully masked] being a woman there has been no confirmation from developers at this point.

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Overwatch has 21 heroes, with Blizzard already teasing another on the way. Of these characters eight of them are female. While not as close to 50% as the actual number of women in the world, it should be noted that of other 13 two are Omnics [robots] and another is a hyperintelligent gorilla.

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Now what we could do is chalk up the creative decisions made by the studios as simply matching the current climate surrounding consumer expectations. While female gamers have always existed it’s within recent years that they’ve become more vocal and made their presence more known, something which the industry appears to have tuned in to.

Given that TF2 was created nearly a decade ago maybe we can cut Valve a little bit of slack for merely keeping up with the times, such as they were. Having made that decision let’s instead change gears and ask a different question: “Why hasn’t Valve added female skins to TF2 in the nine years since it was released?” Continue reading

The 3 Best Pieces of Advice I’ve Received in 3 Years of Marriage

I started writing for the blog a little before I got married. Around the time of my anniversary each year, I’ve written a post about my married experience. For my first anniversary I shared “4 Things I Didn’t Expect” (about marriage) and last year I gave you “4 Reasons Why Marriage is Worth the Risk (Even in the Age of Ashley Madison)“. This year I was thinking about what sort of married life wisdom I could share with you, and the only thing that came to mind was advice that older and wiser people had told me. So, as my third wedding anniversary approaches (next month) I’ve decided to share the three best pieces of advice I’ve received during my marriage.

1. Go to Bed Angry (Sometimes)

I’ve always been a fighter when it comes to my relationships. I think that discussing an issue can allow you to unearth the deeper problem and talking things out can keep you from feeling resentment. By the time I got married I had also heard and/or read one piece of marriage advice over and over again: don’t go to bed angry.

I’m glad someone told me to cast that advice aside.

Instead, they suggested that sometimes we really should go to bed angry. Because sometimes, even the best of us want to strangle our partner for a reason that will seem pretty silly the next day. Often, by postponing that impulse to vent your irritation, you can avoid making an argument out of something that doesn’t really matter.

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