Characters. Culture. Curls.

Mic Check…Still with Me?

Hey y’all,

Sorry for the radio silence while I work on some things with partners and my real life gigs! But hop over to my friends at Forces of Geek to check out my first piece for their site, a review of Birth of a Nation (which opened this weekend). Given my, uhhh, “generally loquacious nature” I am off to grab celebratory “it is much harder than I thought to not post a review when you saw the movie 6 weeks ago” pancakes.

See you next week (with content!)

Your Blerd from ’round the way

Stand (Or Sit) By Me: Allies in Entertainment

The internet is rife with posts on how to be a good ally these days. The intended audience is generally the layperson who may feel paralyzed in their fear of saying the wrong thing or acting in the face of what seems like overwhelming odds stacked against the oppressed. However, what about those on the stage? What information and pressure is being exerted in order to make sure that those with significant voice and power are standing up for the rights of their coworkers and fellow performers? Before we touch upon currently trending “we believe in you” hashtags, let’s examine two examples (one popularly known, one less so) of two well-known actors who became privilege-flexing allies, starting with one of the most famous and problematic movies in cinema: Gone With The Wind. Continue reading “Stand (Or Sit) By Me: Allies in Entertainment”

Guest Post: Star Trek Beyond, from Someone in the Beginning

Hey guys, I’ll be back in 2 weeks but please give a warm welcome to my mother, Lois K. Adams! She was kind enough to pen this write-up of what this latest movie looked like through the eyes of an OG Star Trek fan after we went to a Trek-tastic Boston Comic Con. In addition to being a great blerd mom, she is the Pastor at First Baptist Church in Sharon Massachusetts. In her spare time (<– just kidding, she has none) she enjoys hanging out on the Vineyard, engaging with her fellow Delta Sigma Theta sorors, and watching my beautiful niece who is sure to grow into a fine young Uhura woman.  *I was responsible for this intro, images, and captions*

Captain’s Log – Stardate: 2016.232

From its first airdate, I have held this series very near and dear to my heart. There was nothing like Star Trek fifty years ago and my fondest hope is that fifty years from now, my grandchildren will also be as intrigued with Star Trek as I have over the years.

My niece will be assimilated, resistance is futile

I truly do want the series to boldly go into the future and always be part of the present dialogue for sci-fi buffs. Continue reading “Guest Post: Star Trek Beyond, from Someone in the Beginning”

Guest Post: Modern Heroes

Hi y’all, and greetings from Atlanta GA! I’m happy to hand over the reins to this week’s guest author: Michael M. Khorshidianzadeh is a High School World History teacher and was born and raised in Brockton Mass. He is of Iranian and French Canadian descent and is part of the first generation on his Iranian families side to be born the United States. Michael’s wife is of Colombian origin and his daughter is a wonderful mix of all 3 backgrounds. Michael is an avid Star Trek fan and a believer in the Vulcan concept of infinite diversity in infinite combinations. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his family, drinking coffee, reading and wondering how to save to world.

Nearly 80 years have passed since Superman and Batman’s first publication. The world of 1938 and 39 was one of impending war, growing fascism, institutionalized racism, corruption in the law and business, sexism, enforced inequality, domestic abuse and criminal gangs populated by people who saw crime as a lucrative and more accessible way to make money than an honest day’s work. Superman and Batman served as escapist fantasy for people from their everyday lives. They were heroes created in the images of what their creators wanted to see in the world. The fantasy was that criminals and bad people who couldn’t be stopped by the police for whatever reason could be stopped by vigilante justice.

Comic book heroes, particularly the mainstream heroes like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the X-Men, Avengers, and the Justice League, just to name a few, are well known because they all successfully addressed crucial issues and concerns of the time and in many ways, still do. Paradoxically, though the heroes don’t seem to come from all walks of life. It isn’t bad that nearly all of the major heroes are apparently what most people would consider “white”. No apology is needed by the creators or readers nor is any in depth explanation needed as to why they the heroes are predominantly “white” Americans.

The creation of white heroes is not a problem. What is a problem is the notion that by default, heroes should be white or that a person of color can’t be cast or take on the identity of a character which was originally white. Continue reading “Guest Post: Modern Heroes”

The Killing Joke: Get Your Gordon On

I wasn’t going to write at all today. However the more words I put down, the more sane I am feeling. There is something absolutely surreal and unbelievable about the world right now. I know I’m not alone in feeling like I am living in the first few pages of a superhero’s origin story. If the news were presented in graphic novel form, it would be in the range of Issue #1 pages 1-8, the darkest moments before the dawn where all is death, terror, and mayhem. To quote the ever witty and geekily aware Kevin Ott: The world has basically turned into a shitty Frank Miller comic.

Speaking of exceedingly twisted works, one of the darkest one-shot comics will be coming to the big screen in a little over 2 weeks. Batman: The Killing Joke will be the first R-rated original movie in the DC Universe to be released in theaters. And as I was rereading it this week to make the events fresh in my mind for the screening I found hope in a work that even its own author has described as “too nasty…too physically violent.”  Continue reading “The Killing Joke: Get Your Gordon On”

Quiet Down Front: Moviegoer Madness and the Glory of Screeners

Ahhhh, the summer blockbuster season. There is nothing more heartening to a comic culture geek than knowing that with the end of the academic year comes a glut of interpretations of our favorite graphic worlds. It’s the time when the dark, frigid, Oscar-baiting movies of the winter fade away and make room for lighter, warmer, explosion filled fare.

It is also my single most hated time to try and see anything that I might enjoy.

simpsons treehouse

I’m sure you have shared the experience of going on the opening weekend of a much-anticipated film to find the audience filled with the soft glow of cellphones well after the lights go down. Other patrons sit around you, speaking to their seatmates in conversational tones and volumes best saved for post-cinema lobby chats. Several rows seem to have bladders the size of acorns as they cannot make it through 120 minutes without leaving to go to bathroom, seemingly uncaring about what they may miss onscreen. And as your ire slowly rises, you wonder if it was truly worth it to spend the $15 just to see something in a theater.

I feel for you.

The exercise of attending a movie has changed in the last decade or two. My closest AMC has reclining pleather seats that seem plucked out of a Jordan’s Furniture warehouse. I assume that this is so I have optimum comfort as I sip the gin and tonic I’ve procured from the full bar out front. Lying supine certainly doesn’t help me with my Frito pie, pizza, or chicken tenders and fries entree. But it does make me wonder why they are trying so hard to replicate my living room when I willingly left that place to partake of their giant screen, popcorn, and surround sound.

Here you go! Enjoy the movie…or not…you know, whatever

What happened to the movie theater experience that mimicked going to see a stage performance? Where we all agreed that once the lights went down, our eyes and attention went to the screen in front and not in our laps? This phenomenon is not limited to the big budget action movies; nearly all films suffer from the same disengaged audience. The fact that AMC even BRIEFLY considered allowing for texting inside of a theater felt like the end of days for the 2 hour escapism from real life that seeing a movie in theaters should offer you.

Ticket sales have been on the decline and theater chains have been tossing ideas out left and right to try and lure moviegoers back into the experience. While I am occasionally disturbed by their innovation (the only thing I want to feel is a sticky floor underneath my sneakers, and the only scent should be melted butter and freshly popped kernels) I know that they are simply fighting to stay alive as home viewership rises exponentially.

My one saving grace, my quiet island in the bay of distraction, is the glorious but elusive screening pass. Continue reading “Quiet Down Front: Moviegoer Madness and the Glory of Screeners”

Givin’ Em Who They Love

It’s Pride Eve in Boston! Tomorrow is the city’s 46th Pride Parade, and the downtown area will host over 20,000 people (both LGBTQ and allies) to celebrate loving who you love. The whole weekend is beautiful and fun and powerful and I hope to see some of you there or at the various block parties. I remember my first parade fondly as it was the year Queer As Folk came out, and the summer after the Gay Straight Alliance started at my high school. I think I held onto my “Lipstick Like Lindsay” paper fan for months afterwards, and I was glued to HBO to watch the messy but loving relationships of the entire Pittsburgh gang. Soundtrack was also banging (Crying at the Discotheque was on heavy iPod Shuffle rotation).

Because it’s been on my mind, this week I’m talking about the love lives of comic book characters. Specifically, the call for gay characters and the #GiveCaptainABoyfriend movement, which came out of the #GiveElsaAGirlfriend hashtag. I’m not even discussing the latter, because it’s an obvious yes. Let heteronormative storylines go Elsa. Do it!

Tweet from @TheDanaAddams. Text reads #GiveElsaAGirlfriend because half of Frozen is one big metaphor for being in the closet, getting outed, and coming to terms with yourself

As someone who loses her mind whenever a Black female character is brought up that isn’t Storm, I understand how much it means to have someone relatable on the page. I also get the pain of seeing someone that you really care about get rewritten into something completely different *cough*HailHydra*cough*

One of the best arguments for a MCU* Cap and Bucky and/or (<–see that? I’m being greedy) Sam ship* happening in the next movie is that the timing is pretty choice. His letter to Tony about not feeling like he has ever really belonged could segway wonderfully into a slow-burning coming out story. And for all of those who keep bringing up his two female love interests, I would like you to think very hard about that justification in the context of actual life. Continue reading “Givin’ Em Who They Love”

Passing, Code-Switching, and Being Real[ly You]

Guys…X-Men: Apocalypse is out today.


I’ve been following news about this movie for a while now, and by the time you are reading this I will be sitting in whatever theater chain I think will have the least people playing hooky, eating popcorn, and trying not to shout my emotions at the screen because I’m in Boston (so I might be the only Black woman in the theater REPRESENT).

I am crazy excited to see Oscar Isaac (Apocalypse), Alexandra Shipp (new Storm yaass), and Lana Condor (Jubilee) represent for POC actors. But one of my favorite COCs (characters of color) to follow up on in this film is an oft misunderstood angry blue woman: the world-straddling Mystique.

Do I still have you? Or did you close the window in total disgust? Continue reading “Passing, Code-Switching, and Being Real[ly You]”

I Like What I See in the Invisible Minority

Last week I had outlined this lovely post about Captain America: Civil War but held off on polishing it up till this week. I wanted to hit my local shop on Wednesday to pick up Black Panther’s 2nd issue (cop it fam!) just in case something Mr. Coates wrote had relevance to my own take on T’Challa. Since I rarely carry cash, I was browsing for a trade* to reach that critical $10 credit card minimum. CHEW Vol. 11: The Last Suppers was my top choice. It’s the second to last trade paperback for the series, which follows FDA Detective Tony Chu as he uses his unique gifts as a cibopath (able to generate psychic impressions of the entire life of whatever he eats) to investigate crime through some great procedural work and the occasional nibble on a perp or victim. When it finishes CHEW will be the first full run that I have ever collected, and my heart aches to see it ending.

Rob Guillory & John Layman at last year’s Boston Comic Con CHEW panel, moderated by Clay N. Ferno of the League of Ordinary Gentlemen Comics Podcast

Not only is it witty, well-drawn, and full of please-explain-this-because-what twists, it centers around a non-stereotypical Asian lead. And I am not reading into this folks. There are notes on original art from early issues that say “non-stereotypical Asian”. What does that translate to? A character that is trusted to lead his partners (both white and black), gets the girl, and is shown as a crime-fighting badass without resorting to panels of him doing karate or intensive lab work. I’m sure the upcoming animated adaptation featuring the voices of nerd all-stars Steven Yeun, Felicia Day, & David Tennant will be some kind of wonderful.

But that’s not the only reason I switched focus this week. Continue reading “I Like What I See in the Invisible Minority”

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