Marvel Just Discovered Girls (And It’s Killing Me)

With Geek Culture being mainstream now, growing up geek is both awesome and easy.  Swag is everywhere, major bookstores now carry a *lot* of weekly comics, and The Avengers are box office gold. All of these things are great, which is why I’m going to come off as the curmudgeon screaming at kids to get off the lawn.  In my day (seriously? did i just say that?) we had to go to an actual comic store which usually wasn’t in our town, have swag imported without Amazon’s free 2 day shipping, and live with the fear that Joel Schumacher had killed the super hero movie genre forever.

The Bat Nipples are infamous.

Growing up geek for my generation was not only harder, but for a girl it was a bit less inspiring.  While my cousins got to be The Turtles, I had to be April O’Neil.  They got Spiderman, Superman, and Batman.  We were stuck with Mary-Jane, Lois, and Catwo…okay, Catwoman is really awesome. (And the ’90’s animated Batman also gave us Harley Quinn, but it wouldn’t be until 2009 that she started to get the respect she deserved.)  Basically, being geek and girl meant suffering through horrible side characters while we waited for our day in the sun.  The good news?  It’s finally here!  The bad news?  Marvel is killing it (and not in the good way).

The mid to late 2000’s saw a surge of activity focused around acknowledging that girls like comic books.  They were starting to get a lot of recognition as fans, and the big houses were starting to pay attention to our request for more females in a heavily male dominated genre. Now in the mid 2010’s we’re happily reaping the benefits.

DC has revisited Batgirl, and (continuing with their slightly darker tradition) given Catwoman,Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn a much more prominent role. Ms. Marvel graduated to Captain Marvel, and will be getting her own movie!  The most exciting (to me) was the 2013 announcement and subsequent release of an all female X-Men team for the new graphic novels.  I was so excited for their release, and so far they’ve lived up to my inner hype.

Seriously, how awesome are these women?

A lot of progress has been made regarding the female presence in comics, and It’s all really great.  But here’s the problem, they didn’t stop there, or even slow down.  They saw us, the female fans hungry for something more than magic bracelets and a golden lasso, as a cash cow and they are milking us dry.

They’re turning Thor into a woman.  They’ve created one network show about Agent Carter from S.H.I.E.L.D. and they’ve made a deal with Netflix to make “A.K.A. Jessica Jones.”  They’re talking about a Black Widow movie, but that’s on hold while ScarJo destroys “Ghost in the Shell”…again, not in a good way.  Finally, they’ve just announced an all female Avengers.

DC Comics has been letting us wade in, releasing things slowly so we have time to savor and enjoy our hard-won ass-kicking females.  Marvel just sort of picked us up and threw us into the deep end like the kid afraid to swim at summer camp.  It’s overwhelming, over committed, and frankly all just moving a bit too fast.  So it’s with a heavy heart that I say I’m sorry Marvel, but I think we just want two very different things right now.  You just want so much from me.  I know you don’t like it when I spend time with DC, but they just seem to…get me right now, you know?  We’re in the same place.  I’m sorry Marvel, I really am, but I think we just need some time apart.

Except for those X-Men graphic novels.  You can keep those coming.

Radio Silence

It’s been too long since I’ve posted, and unfortunately I can’t say it’s for good reason. It’s actually a really bad reason: vanity.  Pure, simple, unadulterated vanity.  You see, I think know people wish to be seen in a certain light.  Some want to be seen as happy, others hot; some want their congenial nature to shine while others have no problem letting their anger be heard by the whole world.  I tend to be a member of the former over the latter, and while Real Life has never cared which camp we want to be in, social media has given us control over these things.  Well, it gives us a sort of control over them in the sense that we have more power than ever before to show a larger portion of the world only what we want them to see.  This is why my radio silence has been pure vanity.

Over the past month(ish) we’ve had to deal with a serious health scare, issue, and resulting treatments.  I’ll get into details about it at a later date.  For now let’s just say we’ll have the “in sickness” part of the vows sufficiently covered.  (All is currently good on that front right now.)  While I know no one expects me to take time out to blog between doctor visits or in hospital waiting rooms, that lack of expectation doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have.

This blog was meant to be a chronicle of my journey to loving myself, loving my partner, and loving my life all exactly as they are.  If I ignore, cut out, or refuse to write about parts of that journey just because they aren’t happy or pleasant for me to think about, do they go away?  No, no they don’t.  They get more powerful.  Instead of being released into the universe like an unwelcome ghost they sit in my brain and give power to the voices of fear, doubt, and insecurity.  *And* I become the blogging version of  Those Instagram Girls.  (You know the ones- they photoshop and filter every picture, selfie, and snapchat before it ever hits The Net.)  I don’t want to be one of Those Girls.

So no, not everything I write will be funny, geeky, or amusing.  Most of it will be, because generally my life is happy, geeky, and fun.  Some of it will be painful, or sad, or scared.  But I promise all of it will be real.

Living with Geek Flag(s) at 1/4 Mast

Growing up geek and a girl, I struggled with finding a way to fit in most of the time. Theater has always been my life, so that flag was always flown loud and proud, but I also love super heroes, dragons, hobbits, magic, Disney, and Harry Potter.  I also went to a Baptist school for a large portion of middle and high schools.  Care to guess how well those interests went over?  Let’s just say I got to know the guidance counselor really well.  I also figured out very quickly which of my interests would be tolerated by my surroundings vs. which would get me labelled “hedonist” and “satanist.”  Pressure to be accepted, even slightly, by my peers became huge.  I wanted so desperately to not be told I was going to hell on a daily basis that I eventually caved.  People around me seemed at least mildly tolerant of the theater stuff, so that became my focus.

I established “safe places” for my geekier interests.  My cousins were always great. Spending summers with the four of them gave me the chance to read their comics, play their video games, and actually play.  To this day one of my favorite memories is playing TMNT with them, especially the episode where April gets turned into a mutant cat.  So Much Fun. I also had an awesome friend in the house behind me who shared my interest in magic and ancient Egypt.  We used to control the wind with our badminton rackets.  But kids grow up.  I saw my cousins less, and backyard mystic sessions became fewer, farther between, and eventually non-existent.

For a while I was able to get away with visiting the local comic shops to keep up on Batman and X-Men, but that didn’t last long. It turns out that shop-keepers don’t like it when you come in once a week but never actually buy anything. I quickly became persona non grata.  (I’ve been told I lucked out there, what with so many varying/convoluted story lines that all my favorite comics had to be rebooted various times.)  That part of my life became limited to an after school cartoon, a weekly BTVS viewing, and before bed reading, which was ever discussed with anyone.

By the time I found an environment where all of these things would be easily accepted by friends (college), I wasn’t really sure how to fully be myself anymore.  I definitely used some of them as an outlet, which made things a lot easier.  I slowly got more comfortable letting more of my interests be known, and even exploring some new ones.  It felt really good to have open conversations about Gandalf vs. Voldemort or where the real life location of Gotham probably is.  Things like that helped me start to figure out it truly was okay to be who I am.  I reevaluated my proverbial flag pole, and started having weekly viewing parties of “Big Bang Theory” with my “geekiest” friends.  Turns out, it’s a much better way to live.

18 Months Ago

“If you can’t get on board with video games, we’re probably not going to work out.”  These were the first words The Viking said to me in our very first apartment together, and initially I thought he was joking.  I even giggled at him while unpacking my myriad kitchen gadgets.  Then I walked into the living room and realized: he wasn’t joking.

I stood there gaping, both in awe and slight fear, at the sight in our living room.  Seven consoles plugged into our television through various HDMI cables, auxiliary cables, and a multi-in av box (which I had never seen before) were the first things he unpacked and set up. I recognized three of them.  The Nintendo and Super NES were staples of my entire generation’s childhood, and I’d seen XBox360 at a friend’s house once or twice before but never played one.  The rest I had never seen before; some of them I didn’t even know existed.  (Sega Saturn? Seriously, what even is that?)  Next to follow were his collection of toys action figures and collectibles, followed by his wall hanging of someone called “The Major” and a framed picture of the most demented Alice and Cheshire Cat I had ever seen.

I knew he was a geek.  I knew he played magic and video games, watched anime, and collected comic books and graphic novels.  Before moving in together he challenged my “NORPness” on a regular basis by exposing me to science fiction writers, taking me to superhero movies, and making me read some of his graphic novels. He even brought the Super NES to a hotel once for a weekend just to so we could play Mario together.

What he didn’t know was that I was sort of a geek too.  I secretly loved Batman, X-Men, and Dr. Who (which he had surprisingly not seen).  I grew up watching and playing TMNT and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers with my cousins. I never missed an episode of “Batman the animated series” because I was obsessed with Harley Quinn.  I would vehemently defend Buffy as THE female superhero of a generation.  I even went to anime club in college for a brief time, but stopped because I came in half way through a series.  I just didn’t talk about such things.

That was 18 months ago, and while I’m still learning to accept a lot of what makes me a geek, I’m having a lot more fun with life now being open about it than I ever did trying to hide it.