Here’s the deal, folks. My grandfather has been ill since Sunday, and in the hospital since Tuesday. I’m getting up very early tomorrow to spend an hour with him before work, and probably should have been in bed over an hour ago.
Not only that, but I saw Man of Steel on Tuesday.
Let me just say that there were bound to be some people who took issue with the reimagining of the character, and still others who would stand by its merits as a film, but I never foresaw this. The amount of divisiveness this movie has created is unbelievable, and the opinions I’ve read have been at such far extremes and delivered with such furor. People have debating Man of Steel like it’s the church’s stance on predestination.
It took me some time to think of a Fame Day topic that also intersected with Valentine’s Day [which is today, if you didn’t know], but once I came up with it there was no doubt in my mind that it was the right one.
In the pile-on of proper nouns that was that last paragraph, I’ve neglected to define what exactly Sci-Fi Speed Dating is. Sci-Fi Speed Dating is regular speed dating, but at a comic convention, meaning that most of the participants are cosplaying [in costume]. Everyone must involved must be single and interested in members of the opposite sex [they can be interested in the same sex as well, but it must be in addition to that], and, since I don’t want to go through every single rule, it’s hosted by a very large man dressed up as a Jedi; he is hilarious.
To give you a fuller understanding here’s the first episode, “Brony Friend Zone (Alex)”:
It paints a picture of the stereotypical nerd/geek, a bespectacled pudgy young man with chops who lives with his parents. A show’s got to have some variety, though, and Episode 3 stars a girl named Brittany:
For the record, I would go get coffee with this girl in a heartbeat. I don’t even like coffee, but I would order some and drink it if it was something she was into.
Brittany is a person who “likes video games, particularly BioWare, comic books, Marvel, [she likes] the shows Once Upon A Time, Lost, Doctor Who,” in case you missed that. She’s also, by most people’s standards, not a physical representation of what a nerd looks like. She’s also friendly and personable, exhibiting none of the tendencies we’ve been expected to observe thanks to shows like The Big Bang Theory.
The reason I’ve decided to spotlight Geek Love today is because it highlights the diversity within the growing community of people who identify themselves as “nerds” or “geeks.” Episode 4 features a guy who cosplays as Jimmy Olsen [“Superman’s Pal”], and basically no one he talks to recognizes him. As a comic-lover it was hard for me not to get upset at them and scream at the screen, “You call yourselves nerds?!” They were, though. They just like different things. Episode 6 follows Mary, who’s primarily a movie buff. That differentiates her from someone who is very into anime, but doesn’t discourage her from “looking for love” at this convention.
As a show Geek Love also serves as a means of discussing how important your personal likes, passions obsessions etc. are in finding a significant other. Over on his blog Mightygodking discussed this in reaction to a story arc of popular webcomic PvP, and while I may not agree with him 100% his discussion on the necessity of shared interests in a relationship is a good one [be sure to check the comments section, too!]. Clearly the people on this show are looking for potential girlfriends and boyfriends at Sci-Fi Speed Dating because finding another person who loves the same things you love is important to them. How high this should be on your personal compatibility list is up to you, but for them its rank is up there.
Geek Love is a pretty fantastic show for people who are interested in comic books, video games, science fiction, and finding a person to share all of that with. It’s also arguably a good show for anyone who wants their perceptions of that particular sub-culture to broaden their views.
John Seavey, one of the writers on Mightygodking, wrote a response to what happened, titled “From the “How To Be A Decent Human Being” File….” In it he decried Tosh’s response to the woman, and basically lay down that freedom of speech or not, threatening someone sexually is not something you ever do.
I talked to Gordon about this yesterday, and not to turn this into another “Evan and Gordon Talk” post, but I had to add just a little of our conclusion to this one:
[after agreeing that probably no one in the audience actually took Tosh’s words “seriously.”]
EVAN: I mean, I guess we can both be on the level that to at least one member involved, Tosh, it was not a threat.
GORDON: Agreed. You also promised to crap in my bed. [I will not deny this -E.]
EVAN: Valid, but 1/5 of all Gordons don’t have their beds crapped in.
Similar to my first post on the word, there are those out there who believe that this is all a matter of sensitivity. Comedians like Louis C.K. have defended Tosh‘s right to free speech. Others on the internet have taken more creative avenues to back up the “rape joke” that was made [warning for language and content]:
The video, for those who don’t feel like or want to watch it, is a press conference with the character “F-ck Bot 5000.” He answers that rape jokes are off limits, while jokes about “9/11,” “dead babies,” and “making fun of autistic children” are perfectly acceptable. The point being, from what I can tell, that people are being overly sensitive about a particular buzzword, but letting these other topics slide completely.
Then, of course, there’s the whole “legitimate rape” thing. On August 19th Todd Akin, Republican nominee for the state of Missouri Todd, told KTVI-TV that “First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Now I’m no Biology major, but I have friends who are, and none of them can back up his claims. His words have, of course, created quite the uproar on the internet. Jezebel compiled a very thorough “Official Guide to Legitimate Rape,” which compiles the ways in which the word and act have been portrayed in past years. I strongly recommend checking it out.
Finally, game designer James Desborough wrote a post this past June entitled “In Defence of Rape.” After admitting that the title is instigative at best, he, and this is a direct quote, states “Rape or attempted rape is a f-cking awesome plot element, one of many.”
Gordon and I talked about this one as well, and the issue is, at the heart of his argument, not wrong. The gist of what he’s saying is [and I quote Gordon] “Look, rape can be an effective and powerful storytelling element, so long as it isn’t trivialized.” And that’s not something I can disagree with.
What I can disagree with is his statement that “I’m not prepared to take spurious claims about ‘rape culture’ etc at face value without something substantive to back them up.” It’s one that he uses to defend his argument, lumping “rape culture” in with the “‘all men are bastards’ argument.” I don’t see what can be more substantive than the gigabytes of rape porn on the internet. I mean, it’s not like it’s hiding or anything. If some weirdo gets off on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo then that’s one instance, but the people creating rape porn for a very large audience is not.
Rape is, as ever, a hotly debated issue. While we can always say that people are being too sensitive, the fact is that it is a very real, legitimate act that happens more than once a minute. It’s not something to be made light of, and especially not something to “jokingly threaten” someone with. It is also not something that can simply be thrown around in speech without strong knowledge of what’s being talked about.
Part of this post hinges on you having read the last one I did, Aaron Diaz: Has a Lot of Opinions About DC. In it I wrote about webcomicker Diaz, his redesigns of DC characters [and his reasons for doing so] in particular. Where that post and this one overlap is that Diaz wrote new origin stories for his reboots, and these have been the subjects of replete praise.
Christopher Bird, creator [and namesake] of the blog Mightygodking, is another man with ideas that involve the intellectual property of others. A man who knows [and loves] comics, he’s written his fair share of postsaboutthem, and demonstrates an impressive knowledge of the work of both Marvel and DC. We would expect someone in his position to have strong opinions about the direction both companies are going with their comics, maybe even implying that either company would do well to hire him to write for one of their properties.
MGK should write Marvel’s Doctor Strange. And he has reasons.
Eight days ago MGK released the 42nd of his “I Should Write Dr. Strange” posts. That’s 42 reasons why Marvel certainly wouldn’t suffer by putting him in charge of writing about the Sorcerer Supreme himself.
The reasons, however, are never directed at his own qualifications. From the very first post, in which he creates a scenario where the colour blue has been magically leached from our existence, he presents stories. There’s little to no explanation whatsoever before he starts it off with the sentence, “One day, you wake up, and blue is gone.” From then on it’s a description of an eerie, uncomfortable scene right up until the last two paragraphs. The last one is but a single sentence, “And that’s why this is a job for Dr. Strange.”
I read through all 42 of his reasons this week, and was thoroughly engrossed and enchanted by every one. As someone who loves comics but isn’t terribly familiar with Dr. Stephen Vincent Strange, I found myself garnering an appreciation for the character and wishing that these stories, all hypothetical, were a reality.
Where MGK really excels in his knowledge of the lore behind it all. Whereas Diaz took and remade characters, creating an entirely new universe for them, MGK makes his narratives fit in Marvel continuity and acknowledges the world he’s writing in even though he has no obligation to do so. When he writes about Dracula he mentions Blade, and when writing about the death of Cytorrak [picture shown above] he makes sure to hint that there’s a chance not all is well with the Juggernaut. He even justifies his entire act of writing these reasons by explaining how it all continues to work even when Doctor Strange was no longer Sorcerer Supreme.
When it comes to writing about comics, especially Marvel and DC, it’s easy to criticize. While Diaz provided an alternative of sorts there’s a sense, in his redesigns, that he rejects a great deal of the characters’ original origins and histories. I enjoyed a few of his takes on a few heroes, but ultimately wasn’t convinced that this was an entire world worth creating.
MGK, Christopher Bird, on the other hand has won me over with his tremendous tales of superheroism and magic. He tips his hat at every turn to the ones who came before him, even though he technically does not come after them. He doesn’t disparage current writers [which isn’t to say that he’s never criticized any aspect of the industry], but instead provides stories, dozens of them, to prove that he knows the character and what he’s doing.
And, if after all of that, he hasn’t proved that he should write Doctor Strange, maybe he can convince you that he should write The Legion.