Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Of Fish and Tarts

For those of you who may not know, is an online news service and editorial column that promotes itself as "working towards raising the awareness of women's influence in the comics industry and other realms".

I hardly read them… if ever. Usually because the substance of their articles consists of things like how the Wonder Woman of the late 60's was depowered longer than the Superman of the late 90's. [*]

Occasionally though, I will hold out hope that maybe they have gotten better and my next visit won't be as bad as I last remembered it. Sadly, my trip there yesterday was not that day.

What was it that I found? Well, I’m going to warn you. It’s really stupid. And strangely enough, had nothing to do with feminism or comics. I guess it fell in that “other realms” category.

The reviewer apparently took a trip to a Red Lobster and was disappointed that it wasn't a five star meal.

Think about that for a moment.

This person actually wrote a “snotty, food-critic” review, on a comics site, to share the brilliant discovery that Red Lobster is a run-of-the-mill fish house.

Unless you've been living in the jungle for the last twenty years (or have never heard their jingle) you know that Red Lobster is NOT a high class restaurant.
Will you get a better meal than at Long John Silvers... Yes.
Will you get a better meal than Apple Bee's... that's debatable.
NOBODY goes to Red Lobster and expects to be eating at a classy establishment. That's just silly.

So what was her “high and mighty” review of her visit? Well, besides the required gripes about the food quality, she objected to the restaurant patroned by many families with children under the age of seven, people liked lots of butter on their lobsters, and she got her entree before she had finished eating her salad.
And no “feminist “ commentary would be complete without at least one reference to porn, which was her description of their commercials and her excuse as to why she went there in the first place.


I spent the better part of last night randomly bursting out into fits of giggles thinking of this article. Not because of the content so much, but that this review was posted on Sequential Tart of all places. What does this have to do with comics, or feminism? It’s like the reviewer ran out of ideas and just decided to gripe about her dinner because she had a deadline coming up.
If you want to read this article, you can go HERE. Because I believe that people who are willing to make a fool of themselves publicly should be shared with friends. That way, we can all laugh together.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Power Girl, WTF?!

It's up! It's up! It's up! Whoo Hoo!!!

My editorial on Power Girl is up on

Female creator, Kat Rocha talks boobs, feminism, and DC's new Power Girl series.
By Kat Rocha (with a little help from Josh Finney).

Growing up, as I did, an awkward tomboy teen with big breasts and absolutely no interest in being "girlie," finding females role models I could relate to was nearly impossible when it came to film and TV. Throughout the 80's and 90's, if a woman was tough, she was always shown as a bra-burning dyke, or made "approachable" by way of a strong maternal instinct. Terminator 2, Red Sonja, Aliens --these films are remembered for their strong female leads, but think about it. Were any of these women kick ass simply for the sake of being kick ass? No, Ripley was an motherly protector, Sonja an avenging man-hater, and Sarah Connor a little of both. And as much as I enjoyed these films, I can't say I identified much with any of these so-called feminist role-models. Someday, maybe, the rest of Hollywood will figure out what Joss Whedon did a long time ago, and that is feminine strength has nothing to do with being a frigid harpy...but I'm getting ahead of myself.

So yeah. For me, the media's portrayal of strong women remains lackluster at best.
And when it came to the portrayal of women who shared my particular bra size, it absolutely sucked. Television, movies, even novels --if a woman has a D-cup or more, she is automatically a slut, a buffoon, or worse, the resident bubble-headed foil for the “Plain Jane” to make look stupid. It's no wonder beautifully endowed actresses now routinely hack off their breasts to improve their marketability in Hollywood.

So growing up, as I did, an awkward tomboy with big breasts, who enjoyed action movies and sci-fi, who wanted to be the hero-adventurer in my own right. Where did I find my role-models? Where in the world would a budding young geek girl find sexy, no-nonsense heroines who were gutsy and powerful and not weighted down with the tired mommy/man-hating baggage that Hollywood likes to pin on its tough chicks? Where indeed.

As you can tell, I don't buy into the whole "comics are sexist" bull that pervades so many editorials on a certain other website. For me, comics have been a sanctuary. It is the only medium where I can routinely find strong, beautiful women to cheer for and inspire me.

And this is why I am so upset about DC's new Power Girl series. They've taken my favorite caped goddess and reduced her to a third-rate Emma Frost. She's snotty, prudish, and her inner-monologs read like the spoiled rich girl who found her way into a women's studies major. This is not Power Girl. This is not the Kryptonian tough girl Geoff Johns wrote so well in JSA. In the hands of Gray and Palmiotti, DC's number-one sexy tomboy not only falls flat, she hits an all time low. Now, I am aware there's been an event recently with the word "Crisis" in the title, and naturally, the DCU has become even more convoluted, but I'll say it again, THIS IS NOT MY POWER GIRL!

How so? Why not start with the most obvious --Power Girl's bountiful chest. Or more specifically, how it is handled under Gray and Palmiotti. Right out of the gate in issue #1 they've got Karen bad mouthing a young man, a nice guy, no less, just because his eyes wandered southward for a moment and noticed those huge cans of hers (which just happened to be packed into a cleavage revealing top that's cut just above the nipples). Being a woman with a sizable rack myself, I can tell you this is the biggest load of crap I've seen in a while. It's a cheap shot, it's completely out of character for Karen, and smacks of the kind of thing "sensitive men" equate with being a strong female. For the record, gentlemen, strong women aren't afraid of their sexuality. They don't need to put down men who find them attractive. Only the most insecure of females would flaunt their goods in a low-cut top and then complain at the first hint of notice.

This, of course, brings me right back to Geoff Johns and his take on Karen. There is a subtle, but huge difference between the way the writers handle the same subject. Here's an excerpt from Johns' JSA Classified when Power Girl notices Jimmy Olson eyeing her chest at an inappropriate moment. Karen's internal monologue reads, "But he's still a guy...They all take a quick glace down, some of the women too." Now let's take a look at a very similar scene in the Palmiotti/Gray Power Girl #1, "I can overlook his staring at my chest. It's something I had to get used to a long time ago." The difference is subtle, but it's an important one.

Johns' Power Girl is stating a fact. She aware of her attributes. She's aware that men (and women) find her voluptuous figure attractive, if not down right distracting. She doesn't hold it against Jimmy for noticing. Is she a little annoyed for him taking a peek at an inappropriate moment? Sure. But clearly she doesn't think less of him. Why? Because Johns' Power Girl is a woman who is comfortable with her body and has nothing to prove (on that front, at least). On the other hand, Palmiotti/Gray takes a similar situation and turns Power Girl into a dismissive, stuck-up, jerk. Really, if she's so concerned about people noticing the twins, she should cover the damn things up! There, done! Fixed! Now shut up!

Really, I think Johns nailed the boob issue best in JSA Classified when Power Girl saved the window washer from know, the popular "eyes up here" scene that has proliferated onto nearly every Power Girl fan site on the net. A warm smile and a little good nature ribbing was all Karen needed to make her point. And by her expression, you even get the sense she found the whole situation, dare I say, a little cute.

But it isn't just about the boobs. If it were, maybe I'd be willing to give Gray and Palmiotti a pass. But no, it gets worse. Much much worse. Not only do they turn Power Girl into a snotty prude, Gray and Palmiotti then fall back on the most predictable of plot devices for a female hero...a megalomaniac nemesis who also happens be a raging sexist. In fact, Gray and Palmiotti are so sure this plot device is still fresh they give us not one, but two, yes TWO sexist Neanderthals for the audience to hate. And just for good measure to ensure no one misses that they're making a "feminist" statement, one of these sexist men actually happens to be an ape-man. Gosh, guys, laying it on a bit thick, aren't you?

Every good writer knows that villains are the standard by which a hero's worth is measured. Superman has Luthor, Green Lantern has Sinestro, Batman has...well, the Bat has more cool villains than anyone. Who does Power Girl get? Ultra-Humanite. The dollar-store version of Gorilla Grod. You want to talk about sexism? THIS is sexism! This is freakin' Power Girl! A member of the JSA! A full-powered Kryptonian! This woman can hold her own in a knock-down drag-out with Black Adam! And Gray and Palmiotti choose to stick her with Ultra-Humanite!?!?! The guy is the Fisher-Price "My First Nemesis" of villains! His big master plan in the story is to steal Power Girl's body and conquer the world by gender-bending. What the hell?! Batman never has to put with this kind of crap...okay, well maybe sometimes he does, but you get my point.

Which brings me to the second cookie-cutter misogynist to appear in Power Girl #1, Bevlin. Please, can somebody tell me why is this guy in the book at all?! He is such a cliché he doesn't even qualify as an actual character. Far as I can tell, Bevlin's only function is to be the stereo-typical sexist white guy in a scene that could have been ripped straight from the Lifetime network. I mean, Karen actually says to him, "Get out and take your sexist nonsense with you?!" Seriously, what the hell is this?! Gray... Palmiotti... Stop for a minute. Think about who you're writing for. This is POWER GIRL. This is the woman who offered to introduce Isis to her fist. And the best you could come up with is, "...take your sexist nonsense with you?!" Guys, did your brains slip out?! Did you suddenly think you were penning an Ally McBeal episode?

I guess what it all comes down to is I expected more from a stand alone Power Girl series. I mean, she's part of the big leagues now. She's got her name as the masthead. And THIS is how she gets to make her debut? Matching wits with a gender-bending gorilla and a corporate douche? Imagine if this had been The Flash? Or Martian Manhunter? How about Doctor Fate? Would Doctor Fate ever be pitted against a villain who hates him because he's a man, yet wants his body? I didn't think so.

Yes, Power Girl is female. Yes, she's going to run up against some gender issues from time to time. But this? This is just, I don't know...embarrassing. If you are going to tackle the gender issue, put a new spin on it. Give readers something we haven't seen before. And most importantly, keep the character true to herself --strong, sexy, and kick ass. Like I said before, growing up as an awkward tomboy with absolutely no interest in being "girlie," Power Girl spoke to me on a personal level. She has all the qualities that make many male heroes awesome, and a few others that are awesome in a uniquely female sort of way. All I'm asking is that she be treated with a little respect in her own damn book.

Eh....who knows, maybe in a few issues Gray and Palmiotti will reveal that Karen is actually a robot, or from Bizzarro world, or heck, even a Skrull. We can only hope.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

3 Sentence Reviews for May 20th, 2009.

I’ve never felt the need to do this before but I figure, what the hey. I’ve got a blog, it’s that what people are supposed to do with blogs, right? Most of these are new releases but some are a bit older, so, bare with me.
Ok, here we go.

Dark Reign, the Cabal:
Doom is awesome. Namor is a dick, but he’s awesome. Why are the other people in this?

Uncanny X-Men #510:
I have no idea what the plot is or what is going on, and I really don’t care.Hot chick fights on every page=total fan service AND my two favorite characters, Spiral and Deathstrike are among them. Come on, look at that cover, leather-clad lovelies duking it out doesn’t need a plot. And the whole issue is like this!

Astonishing Tales #3
I want an entire mini-series set in Mojoworld. The Spider-woman story should have been a stand-alone one shot. I’m all for genetic engineering and all the cool Cyberpunk 2020 stuff, but test-tube babies driving mecha is an incredibly wrong premise… that makes no sense to begin with other than giving the audience and “ick” factor. (oh, and the art for the Wolverine/Punisher story is kick ass)

Hilarious and sick. I love that he did the “I’m a changed man, honey.” routine and the dumb bitch fell for it. Also the shoot-out at the fast food place was awesome.

Justice Society of America #26:
Great way to have a nice, humorous break after the battle with Black Adam. The heros in the convenience store buying ice cream was one of my favorite scenes. Also, loved Starman’s innuendo about his future “adventure” with Thunderbolt… or is it in the past? 

Power Girl #1:
*sigh* uh.. until I get my full review up, I’ll let Power Girl herself say it. “Hurts… so…. much… this is BAD…”

Atomic Robo Vol.3, #1:
Never read the series before but after the CGS show about the first book, I decided to check it out. Josh actually said it best when he said it felt like it was a follow up to the 2000AD series Necronauts. The twist with Lovecraft was perfect and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series as well as the previous books.
Unwritten #1:
Ok, now, the plot synopsis seemed harmless enough, a satire on Harry Potter sounded great. Do you really have to put in all the biblical apocalyptic crap… and lay it on so thick too while you’re at it. If I had known these guys were aiming for Harry Potter meets the Da Vinci Code, I wouldn’t have bothered.


Oh, and last but not least. Happy Aniversary to my wonderful Husband. It's been 4 years and not a day goes by that I don't think I'm the luckiest woman alive to have you.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Archaia Interview @ The Pulse

Jennifer M. Contino of The Pulse sat down with the creators of Awakening, Lone & Level Sands, Robotika and Titanium Rain and talked about the new Archaia and what they have in store for this year.

As a sample of what you'll read, here is our very own Josh Finney and his answer to what was it about Archaia that made it worth the wait...

"What was it about Archaia that made it worth the wait? Well, I suppose Mark Smylie had a lot to do with it. Those boyish good looks, that winning smile of his, his odd Obama-esque manner of speaking. What other reason does a comic creator need, really? Ask yourself, could Marvel ever promise such a fine, fashionable editor and chief? I can guarantee you Joe Quesada does NOT perform bare-chested tai-chi every morning before a convention. Mark? Well, maybe I've never seen him do this, but I'm pretty sure Mark does. Beat that, Marvel!"


Friday, May 1, 2009

More Takshaka, Art, and Booting People in the Head

If you do nothing else, listen to how awesome these songs are...

a) follow the link to Amazon and get yourself some OR
b) go to iTunes and get yourself some

At the very least, please leave a review on either site.

Thank you.


And now, a new art piece. I did this one for my uncle-in-law for his birthday. In the full sized version, there is a ghost of an image of red snap-dragons in the background.

If I am correct, the kanji reads something like "Creative Dragon"... but I would like to know from anybody who understands kanji if I got it right or totally wrong. :)

If you are like me, your day job can get to be really boring. Wouldn't you love to just hop over your desk and boot that anoying guy two desks over in the head? Well, unfortunately you can't without getting arrested, but that doesn't mean you can't have a chibi version of yourself do some headbooting for you.
I introduce you to A simple idea that is amazingly fun and entertaining. You can CLICK HERE to see my "brute" and "chalenge me" in the arena.