Casting is Amazing for 13th Doctor

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The new Doctor was announced Sunday morning. It is Jodie Whittaker!

This is an amazing choice. Doctor Who has always been about change and wonder. Change with each regeneration of the Doctor, change with each companion’s story arc, and change to new companions. Wonder about new planets, crazy aliens, and pure exploration.

The change has become less and less pronounced with each regeneration, though. There have always been obvious attitude shifts between the Doctors, but now, after 13 different white British men have played the Doctor, it feels like too much of the same. For a show based on change, that has absolutely frustrated long-time fans like me. For newer fans, imagine that the show you’ve watched since you were young demands that every few years you lose the main character you love, and a completely new one, with some similarities, takes over. Each regeneration (re-casting of the Doctor) is sad, but you see that real change can also bring a real dramatic payoff. The new Doctor can do things the last Doctor couldn’t. Say things the last one couldn’t. Make even crazier plans. You fall in love all over again, and the show surprises you again.

Doctor Who has hit a rough spot in recent seasons. (Search 2017 viewership if you want to know how rough.) The changes between Doctors are less obvious, making the payoff less rewarding. A show that hinges much of its change and wonder on surprising the audience is having trouble making anything seem new anymore. We know these male Doctors too well. They may say and do some things differently, but we know their reactions too well. How they show their ego and hide their feelings. How they order everyone about.

I agree completely with the cheers of representation. It matters that Doctor Who finally has a female Doctor. It may not matter much to people well-represented in their fandoms, but to those who aren’t, it means a lot. It doesn’t just matter to young girls, either, but to people of all ages who have been waiting for this. It matters for two big reasons. One: dreams. Sometimes it doesn’t even occur to you to believe you can be Doctor Who, or a starship captain, or a spaceship mechanic. I mean you don’t KNOW any women who are those things. Then one day you do, and it occurs to you that there is a possibility. The path exists. Not everyone becomes what they dream of, but the dreaming is important to propel you into future success.

The second reason is even bigger, and it gets into not what you think is possible, but what everyone else as a society thinks you could be capable of. It isn’t just dreamers not dreaming big enough that makes it hard for the first person to do the thing no one else of their race, class, gender, sex, etc. has done before. There is always someone who is thinking of trying things. It is hard because everyone else is unconsciously re-asserting that their idea of the world is how the world is. They don’t even know they are doing it. They see how the world is, through their own experience, plus discussions with other people, and from watching media like TV and the internet. They see it, and they reinforce it. That world they are reinforcing usually leaves a lot of people left out. The exact reason that so many people are raging about a woman becoming the center of this show is the very reason we need it.

Now some are claiming it breaks the rules of the show’s universe. Does this change break the rules set up by the show? Nope, another time lord sometimes regenerates to a woman, and the Doctor has previously said that he has never tried to regenerate into a woman. It has also been made clear that the Doctor does not always get what he wants during regeneration, or he’d be ginger by now. Any and all of these details fully support that this follows the rules of the show’s universe. People can act like they are concerned about the integrity of the show, but in fact they are trying to preserve a world where a woman doesn’t become the center of this show. They really needed to see a great actress as the main character long ago, so they’d feel that having a female lead sometimes is just how the show is, and how the world is.

Above and beyond all of that, this is what is right for the show. This show is dependent on change. This regeneration needed to not be another white man. We’ve seen some amazing actors from our male Doctors, and they’ve really covered a lot of different personalities, attitudes and viewpoints. However, a woman, will bring a completely new point of view that will make even the basics of Doctor Who new and different.

More than that, I’m excited for what Jodie Whittaker specifically can bring to the show. Her prior work shows the emotional depth of her range as an actress. As the grieving mother of a murdered child on Broadchurch, she took her character through every emotion in a very honest way. By casting someone with her range, I’m hoping this is a signal from the producers of Doctor Who that the now-typical “the Doctor hides feelings until great crazy sacrifice is needed” isn’t going to be a weekly plot point anymore. We KNOW that deep down you are a big softie, Doctor. You can stop hiding behind your jokes, your rage, and your awkwardness.

Many of the personality changes between Doctors are drastic swings from one type of personality to another as well. We had ten’s exhaustion at the pain of living with regret and self-loathing, followed by eleven’s excited puppy enthusiasm for everything. Now after a Doctor who had issues dealing with and showing his emotions, the new Doctor will be played by an actress who has proven she can portray deep emotions. So I’m hoping that this new Doctor will finally embrace something none of the previous Doctors ever embraced: displaying emotions beyond rage, disappointment, and humor. The Doctors have shown other feelings, but almost always under extreme circumstances. The depth of most of their feelings they’ve hidden behind a facade. I hope this regeneration is to a Doctor that isn’t afraid to show and deal with their emotions. And before anyone starts complaining about how they don’t want an emotional Doctor, shhhh – you already have an emotional Doctor. I’m just asking for a Doctor who is evolved enough to not feel they need to hide everything away. Some things, sure. The Doctor will always be SECRETIVE. However, that’s very different than being emotionally repressed.

Now at this point you may be thinking I’m suggesting I want a Doctor who cries a lot. Or cannot be a calm badass when necessary. I did not say either of those things, but I used the bad words emotions and feelings and your brain probably thinks I mean let’s make the Doctor a weak blubbering mess. If you have the time, possibly you should think through who you know who doesn’t process their feelings well and if they seem heroic to you, and the people that you know who confront their issues and are honest with themselves, and if they don’t seem almost super human. Also, watch Dr. Horrible. He’s a badass anti-hero, and he has plenty of time to examine his flaws, his mistakes, and his desire to rule the world, all while singing.

This is not to suggest that a Time Lord who has witnessed and lived through so much trauma can with one generation be healed and balanced or anything that radical. I still fully expect a slightly damaged and very egotistical Doctor. But the Doctor has been running from his feelings for far too long. It is time she took some time to reflect on herself and truly become all she’s capable of being.

Here’s the thing. I’m sure the Doctor has a million more psychological problems and oddities. Until we get past the most obvious, we won’t get to explore them all, and after all, this show is about wonder and exploration.

Of course, in case being emotionally repressed is a core trait of the Doctor that even the new show runner, Chris Chibnall, is unwilling to give up, I am still excited to see the role played by someone as talented and soulful as Jodie Whittaker. She can handle all of it. But I’m begging you, let’s have a doctor who is allowed to have emotions. Please.

DCC Last Minute SQUEEEEEEing

TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE DENVER COMIC CON AND AND ALL THROUGH THE HOUSE… SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!

Alright, I don’t have time for a fancy organized post. So here are some random last minute con prep thoughts!

1. You, fellow nerd-person, are formally invited to attend our Denver Comic Con panel Natural 20: How RPGs are Changing the World on Friday 6/30 (TOMORROW! OMG!) at 4:30PM in room 607. It’ll be D&D story time, and we’d love for you to come and tell your own D&D stories on the positive theme of how D&D helps us all with team building and making friends and joy and story telling and snacks. If you haven’t played pen and paper RPGs, come anyway! We are fun people.

We’ll also be giving out a few things because why not? Critters, we love you. Please come and say hi! OMG can you believe that last episode? EEEK!

2. Jody Houser is coming. JODY HOUSER IS COMING TO DCC! 

She’ll be in Artist Alley at booth O-01. Faith, guys. Not Buffy Faith, but flying super sarcastic superhero faith. If you aren’t reading it you should be. It just won some fancy award. It is hilarious. FAITH! JODY HOUSER!

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3. Carolyn Nowak is also going to be there. LUMBERJANES! It is such an oddly cute and deep comic. Plus they DCC17_CAROLYN-NOWAKhad a crossover with my other favorite cute and deep comic Gotham Academy! So much love. She has some really great comics up on her webpage too. One is about almost astronauts and evil bitches next door. I just started it and want to read it instead of typing this sentence. You can find her in Artist Valley Table N-26! Or at these panels: Creating your own Independent Comics Friday at 12PM 8bit Stage @ Kids’ Lab, Not Just Angry Superman – Comics Young Women Can Identify With Friday at 2PM Room 503, Boom! and Kaboom! Saturday at 1PM room 503 (also includes Sam Sykes, Jim Campbell, and Ian McGinty), Comics Writing Careers for Young Women Saturday at 4PM 8bit Stage @ Kids’ Lab.

 

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4.   Georges Jeanty (artist for Buffy Season 8, 9, Firefly comics) is back this year for the 20th Anniversary of Buffy! He’ll be at Artist Valley, Table A-02. He has the party table. Last year there was music, and people were just hanging out talking nerdy stuff. It is a very entertaining place where you can feel free to discuss if that big thing that almost ate fake-buffy at the beginning of season 8 is a dragon or not. He’ll also be on these panels: Diversity in Comics I – Are Things Really Changing? Friday at 1PM DCCP6 Coast City Room, Buffy Comics 20th Anniversary Creator Celebration Sunday at 1:30PM Room 501.

 

5. Snacks and non-alcoholic beverages are allowed at Comic Con. Since it may reach temps that put wookiees in danger, you should think about bringing some. Snack bars! Dried fruit! Undried fruit! Trail mix! Put some snacks and water in your bag right now before you forget!

6. Oh wait, that was it. I’m going to go back to reading this comic about the bitches next door to almost astronauts. It is pretty vital for my con prep right now. HAVE FUN THIS WEEKEND, CON PEOPLE!

DCC 2017 Preview: Authors!

Comic Cons are always a series of difficult nerd choices. Who do I meet? Which panels do I go to? What do I do when I’m not buying more art than I have wall space for. (I’m considering putting art on my ceiling now.) I’ve been studying the Denver Comic Con guest list and panel schedules. Here are the authors I plan to attend at least one panel for. They’ve written some pretty amazing things, and if we all sit very quietly in a room as they talk, maybe we’ll hear something incredible, funny, true, and/or insightful.

(Updated, sadly, to remove Bonnie Burton. She had a last minute emergency and can’t make Denver Comic Con this year.)

Catherynne M. Valente is a New York Times Best Selling and award winning fantasy and scifi author. She’s written a lot of things,DCC17_CATHERYNNE-M-VALENTE-New but my favorite so far is The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making which starts out wonderfully: “Once upon a time, a girl named September grew very tired indeed of her parents’ house, where she washed the same pink-and-yellow teacups and matching gravy boats every day, slept on the same embroidered pillow, and played with the same small and amiable dog. Because she had been born in May, and because she had a mole on her left cheek, and because her feet were very large and ungainly, the Green Wind took pity on her and flew to her window one evening just after her twelfth birthday.”

Catherynne M. Valente’s DCC Schedule:

Mistakes Were Made (Friday 6/30 2:30PM Room 402),               The Writing Process of Best Sellers (Saturday 7/1 12PM Room 407), Millennials Rising -YA Literature Today (Saturday 7/1 3:30PM Room 402), Start Short, Get Good (Saturday 7/1 5PM Room 407), Is This a Kissing Book? (Sunday 7/2 10:30AM Room  402), The Best Writing Advice I Was Ever Given (Sunday 7/2 3PM Room 407).

She also has signings on Friday 6/30 (11AM-1pm Author Signing Booth 2), Saturday 7/1 (1:30-2:30pm Tattered Cover Signing Booth), Sunday 7/2 (12-2PM Author Signing Booth 1).

 

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Charlie Jane Anders is the author of All the Birds in the Sky, which won a Nebula award. She’s also co-founder of i09, and has published a lot of short stories. All the Birds in the Sky is pretty hilarious, but a heart breaking kind of hilarious that most of us nerds understand. Based on her writing she may also know how to program spells. I’m going to all her panels just in case.

Charlie Jane Anders DCC Schedule:

Steampunk vs. Cyberpunk (Friday 6/30 12PM Room 407), Avadakedavra! Magic in Literature (Friday 6/30 1PM Room 407), Fight the Power! Fiction for Political Change (Friday 6/30 4:30PM Room 402), I Wish Someone Had Told Me (Saturday 7/1 4PM DCCP4 Keystone City Room), Representing Gender Non-Conforming People in Fiction (Sunday 7/2 11:30AM Room 402), Writing Strong Women in Fantasy and Scifi (Sunday 7/2 1PM 8bit Stage @ Kids’ Lab).

She also has signings on Saturday from 11AM-1PM at Author Signing Booth 3 and Sunday from 4PM-6PM at Author Signing Booth 3.

 

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Cory Doctorow is the award winning scifi author of Little Brother and Homeland. Books that delve into protecting our privacy and personal freedoms against a surveillance state. He’s also a co-editor of Boing Boing, a journalist, an activist, and has a mention in Ready Player One by Ernest Cline as a geezer who “had been doing a kick-ass job of protecting user rights for over a decade.”

Cory Doctorow’s DCC Schedule:

The Future is Here (Friday 6/30 1:30PM Room 402), Fight the Power! Fiction for Political Change (Friday 6/30 4:30PM Room 402), The Writing Process of Best Sellers (Saturday 7/1 12PM Room 407), Creating the Anti-Hero (Saturday 7/1 1:30PM  Room 402), Millennials Rising -YA Literature Today (Saturday 7/1 3:30PM Room 402), Economics, Value and Motivating Your Character (Sunday 7/2 11AM Room 407), Urban Science Fiction (Sunday 7/2 3PM DCCP4 Keystone City Room)

He also has signings on Friday 6/30 from 2:30-4:30PM at the Tattered Cover Signing Booth, on Saturday 7/1 from 4:30-6:30PM at the Tattered Cover Signing Booth, and on Sunday 7/2 from 12:30-2:30PM at the Tattered Cover Signing Booth.

 

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Diana Gabaldon is the best selling, award winning author of The Outlander series that is now a TV series on Starz. There time travel. There is action, doctoring of gross wounds caused by the action, and sexy times with kilts. What more do you need?

Diana Gabaldon DCC Schedule:

Young Women – Write Yourself a Novel Career! (Friday 6/30 1pm 8bit Stage @Kids’ Lab), Mistakes Were Made (Friday 6/30 2:30PM Room 402), Outlander – with Diana Gabaldon & Andrew Gower (Saturday 7/1 11:30AM Night Lynx Stage @ Main Events), From Page to Screen (Saturday 7/1 1PM Room 407), The Art of the Complex Villian (Saturday 7/1 4pm Room 407), Is This a Kissing Book? (Sunday 7/2 10:30AM Room 402).

She also has signings on Friday 6/30 from 11AM-12:50PM at Random House / Del Rey Signing Booth, on Saturday 7/1 2pm-3:50PM at The Tattered Cover Signing Booth 2, and on Sunday 7/2 12-2pm at The Tattered Cover Signing Booth 2.

 

DCC17_FELICIADAYFelicia Day is an actress, creator, and writer of the web series of The Guild, and author of You’re Never Weird on the Internet (almost). She’s also a co-host/creator of the web series Vaginal Fantasy Book Club.

Felicia Day’s DCC Schedule:

Felicia Day (Saturday 7/1 4:30PM Night Lynx Stage @ Main Events)

She also has photo ops on Saturday 7/1 from 12-12:30PM and Sunday 7/2 from 12:30-1PM at the Celebrity Summit that require tickets.

 

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John Scalzi is the author of many fun Scifi books with some serious bits. He likes to pull you in with silliness and sarcasm then break everything and get serious. He’s known for his series Old Man’s War and Hugo award winning Red Shirts. He’s also hilarious on twitter and his blog.

John Scalzi’s DCC Schedule:

Laughter in the Face of Disaster (Friday 6/30 11AM Room 407), Military Scifi an Institution (Friday 6/30 3PM DCCP4 – Keystone City Room), Fight the Power! Fiction for Political Change (Friday 6/30 4:30PM Room 402), The Writing Process of Best Sellers (Saturday 7/1 12PM Room 407), The Hardness Scale – Is Fiction Better Squishy or Solid? (Saturday 7/1 3PM Room 407), Economics, Value and Motivating Your Character (Sunday 7/2 11AM Room 407).

He also has signings on Friday 6/30 from 1PM-2:50PM at Tattered Cover Signing Booth 2, and on Saturday 7/1 from  10:30AM-12:30PM at the Tattered Cover Signing Booth, and on Sunday 7/2 from 2PM-4PM at Tattered Cover Signing Booth 2.

 

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Mary Robinette Kowal is an award winning author of the Glamourist History Series, which is like Jane Austen with cool magic. She’s also an award winning puppeteer, and has cool picks of dragon puppets and weirdo creepy hearts on her webpage.

Mary Robinette Kowal’s DCC Schedule:

Kicking Butts in Corsets (Friday 6/30 2PM Room 407), The Past is Here – Writing Romantic Fiction with an Historical Backdrop (Friday 6/30 5:30PM Room 402), Let the Wookiee Win! It’s Okay to an Uplifting Story (Saturday 7/1 11AM DCCP4 Keystone City Room), I Wish Someone Had Told Me (Saturday 7/1 4PM DCCP4 Keystone City Room), Is This a Kissing Book? (Sunday 7/2 10:30AM Room 402).

She also has signings on Friday 6/30 from 10:30AM-12:30PM at Author Signing Booth 2, and on Sunday 7/2 from 2:30PM-4:30PM at Author Signing Booth 2.

 

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Robin Hobb is an award winning, best selling fantasy author known for her Farseer Trilogy. From her writing, I assume that she possesses all the writing secrets in the world. I’m so glad she’s coming to Denver Comic Con. I can’t wait to hear her talk.

Robin Hobb’s DCC Schedule:

Avadakedavra! Magic in Literature (Friday 6/30 1PM Room 407), Mistakes Were Made (Friday 6/30 2:30PM Room 402), Creating the Anti-Hero (Saturday 7/1 1:30PM  Room 402), The Art of the Complex Villian (Saturday 7/1 4pm Room 407), But is it Epic Enough? (Sunday 7/2 11AM DCCP4 Keystone City Room), The Best Writing Advice I Was Ever Given (Sunday 7/2 3PM Room 407).

She also has signings on Friday 6/30 from 4-5PM at the Random House / Del Rey Signing Booth, on Saturday 7/1 from 11AM-1PM at the Tattered Cover Signing Booth 2 and 2:30-3:30PM at the Random House / Del Rey Signing Booth, and on Sunday 7/2 from 4-6PM at the Tattered Cover Signing Booth 2.

Finally, some of our favorite authors from previous years are returning to Denver Comic Con to impart more of their writing wisdom, including: Amalie Howard, Kristi Helvig, Sherry Ficklin (Booth D12 and D14), Corinne O’Flynn, and Sue Duff. Also, Callie Bates has her debut book The Waking Lands due out tomorrow! Possibly not enough time to read it before DCC, but it has some great early reviews so it might be worth catching some of her panels too!

Download the new 2017 Denver Comic Con app to view the full schedule and add these and other panels to your schedule!

Snack Report: Gamer Vacation Edition

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Video game vacations are my favorite. Going to work is torture when you’ve just started a new game and you’re busy collecting some random thing. I can’t stop collecting the random thing! If I get 5 more I can build another random thing that I NEED! All those hours not playing? *shudder* At work you can of course read articles about the game you’re not playing, or message your friend about your game separation pains. None of it will help because you’ve been rudely pulled from your full gaming experience to adult. Taking a game vacation is really the best thing for you!

I’m obsessing slightly about my upcoming game-cation. Mass Effect Andromeda looks just as huge and detailed as the last game. I’m one of those crazy gamers who loves doing anything that isn’t the actual main plot. SIDE MISSIONS! RANDOMNESS! Searching for weird cool things under random rocks on a random planet because you never know!

In my obsessing I’m realizing, there are other adult things that may try to intrude on my gaming. Making food happen, getting enough caffeine for if stopping to sleep is too hard, and dessert of course. I mean poor food planning could lead me to have to put on pants and go to the store in the middle of talking to every NPC in a place. You can’t just stop mid-place with only half the NPCs talked to! That would be insane. YOU MIGHT MISS A SIDE MISSION!

I’ve finalized my snack list. These are foods that once prepared are easy to re-heat, or that could be eaten cold. They’re also easy to graze on while still gaming. Stopping for a meal is just more adulting, don’t fall for adulting!

Official Snack List of my ME: Andromeda Game-cation:

Pizza. Pizza pizza pizza. Pizza is a gamer go-to! You can eat it hot or cold. It is ready for when you realize that mission you’d thought would take no time, dumped you right into another action scene, and now that you’ve killed all the things you need FOOD! I’m going to cook the day before vacation, so I can have FANCY pizza, but delivery works too. I’m addicted to this pizza from The Pioneer Woman, though. Caramelized onions, prosciutto, lot of cheese! Mmmm…This pizza will hopefully see me through several days of random meals. Other good replacements are pizza rolls, or even making your pizza on naan bread, french bread, or english muffins to save yourself from dealing with pizza dough.

Smitten Kitchen Buckeyes!

Photo by Deb Perelman/SmittenKitchen.com

Dessert. This is a gaming vacation so dessert is essential. Not every meal should be as adult as pizza. I fully plan to eat dessert instead of a meal at least once a day, probably with a soda. Sugar-caffeine is how gamers survive long missions.  I love peanut butter and chocolate! My Kentucky relatives always used to make buckeyes when I was a kid. If you haven’t had these they are sugary peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate. Smitten Kitchen has a great recipe for Buckeyes that I love. If buckeyes don’t seem like the dessert for you, Smitten Kitchen is a go-to site for desserts. She’s a very dedicated dessert tester. If she says a recipe is the best, she’s done the science. She knows! I should really move in next door to see if she gives samples to her neighbors. If baking is too complicated, find a local bakery!

Caffeine. It could be you don’t need this. Happiness and game excitement might carry you through nonstop playing! You may also get stuck in a weird place in the game and need some extra energy. Better be safe and stock up.

Dip. What is even the purpose of a couch vacation if you aren’t gonna eat a fancy dip while talking to alien NPCs about if you can get their credit chit back from some other NPC that wants you to do something else? NPCs are so needy. You need dip for in between your pizza and dessert meals! You know what though, you probably should have some more protein. Buffalo Chicken Dip! It is like eating cheesy wing dip! Frank’s hot sauce has my favorite recipe for this. It is great with corn chips. I use cheddar cheese, not blue cheese. I also like it hotter, so I do about 3/4 c. hot sauce. But you might want to taste it before listening to a crazy person and adding more.

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Olives and Cheeeeeeese. This is the easiest snack. It requires taking it out of the fridge and maybe putting it on a plate before stuffing it in your mouth. It is perfect for game-grazing! I usually get an aged gouda, a port salut or soft goat cheese, an english cheddar that smells super earthy, and a stinky blue cheese (drizzle some honey on that.) Yum. Olives need to be pitted for safety!

For olives treat yourself and go find a grocery with an olive bar. Then you can get a variety! Genoa salami, crackers, apples, pears, pickled veggies, candied pecans…these can only improve your olive and cheese experience. Fresh herbs too. A little fresh thyme on a soft goat cheese is magic.

Bacon Sandwiches. Alright, my no cooking plan was for anything but bacon. Bacon is nice. You’ll also need some breaks eventually. Why not use your break to cook some bacon! I love a bacon, avocado, tomato sandwich on toasted bread with a bit of lime juice and mayo. Now this is messy food. It may be tough to eat without getting the controller messy, so this is probably a chance for you to eat while looking online at all the silly things everyone else is doing in game. Reddit is my usual go-to for this, but right now they’re complaining about faces and character creation? It’ll be better in a week when there are silly game videos and screen caps!

EXTRA SNACKS. As much as you plan, you don’t know what you’ll be craving. Best to have some back-up favorites around. In fact, I’ve got fruit and veggies since I suspect a few days of eating the above, I may start craving lighter things. Of course, if I want more fatty sugary things, then peanut m&ms or reese’s pieces are wonderful. Chocolate truffles. Cookies. COOKIE DOUGH. Popcorn. All of these can round out your vacation diet.

Finally, you should probably also buy the game, get the updates installed if you can, do some gamer stretches, make sure you have enough clean pajamas, and warn your family and friends that you may go silent for a while.

Legion is insanely lovable

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Legion is a horror-soap-opera told by a man who has done a lifetime of drugs. It never goes quite so far as to make sense. Just as you get close to a thought it bleeds into another thought and neither are really clear, and all you really know is that this show is lovably insane.

This post only includes vague spoilers because I don’t really know what’s going on in Legion.

I truly love how they just keep telling David Haller that he’s sane. That he isn’t schizophrenic (a long-term mental disorder of a type involving a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behavior, leading to faulty perception, inappropriate actions and feelings, withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion, and a sense of mental fragmentation). Yet the show is all breakdowns between things that should work together, and mental fragments.

No, they think he’s completely sane, and they just need to prove this to him by prodding him into remembering his most traumatic memories. Obviously. Don’t you feel sane inside your trauma? Also, while they are there proving his sanity, they’d also like to set off his powers. Now some people who’ve set off his powers were killed instantly, but that doesn’t seem to give anyone pause.

Instead, every episode they are back at it. Set off his powers! Go inside his fractured mind! They’re constantly saying things like HE SHOULDN’T BE ABLE TO DO THAT! Usually in situations that show that no one is in control. No one. It is complete chaos.They are poking the bear, but this bear has superpowers!

It is wonderful. They are leading an expedition into his creepy, horror brain. They just keep going back in. In more and more dangerous ways! Let’s push him further! Let’s look deeper! It’s such a bad, bad idea, but I just love it. Yes, go! GO LOOK! There are paper mache heads, snicker-snacks, yellow eyes, red lights…They are trying to solve the mystery of his personal horror. So I guess that means it is a Horror-mystery-soap-opera with drugs.

I’m kind of afraid they’ll solve it, but then again, that may lead to more fragmented thought plot. I am definitely not reading the comics, searching google, or watching my comic show that said it would talk about it this week. I don’t want to ruin the creepy surprise!

I think it’s the seen-through-drugs lens that makes it all so fun. It isn’t a realistic horror that is just HORROR. It is so stylized that even reality doesn’t look that real in this show. It’s all just the gleeful part of a bad horror movie where you say, “YES! GO INTO THE BASEMENT ALONE WHEN THE POWER IS OUT!” It is really quite lovely, and you should watch it.

Legion airs on FX on Wednesdays.

5 Things Vox Machina Can Do to Avoid a Fiery Death

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Art by caiomm at http://caiomm.deviantart.com/

It’s Thursday, people of geekdom, which means it’s time for Critical Role! The heroes of Vox Machina have little time left to prepare for a showdown with Thordak, The Cinder King. In an attempt to control our fears, and build our excitement, we put together this little advice column for our favorite adventurers. Vox Machina, please don’t die! Tal’Dorei needs you, and so do we.

  1. HEALING POTIONS. Hundreds of healing potions. Potent healing potions. Thordak was tough when he was just a dragon. Now he’s taking on fire elemental crap from some crazy powerful heart stone thing. He’s glowing red and bringing the whole fire plane over. Uh, not good. Fire breath, claws, tail, probably other crazy fire elemental stuff. He could kill you in one round. Don’t wait for healers. They might be dying on the other side of the battle. DIY healing.
  2. TALK. We know you can. In fact, it’s probably our very favorite thing about you! Well, that, or your fabulous hair. Use those free actions to focus on battle talk in character! Make yourself say something quick at the end of your turn. Quick information sharing every single turn. Examples could be: “DYING!” “Raishan has turned on us!” “Thordak is wearing cute underwear!” “POISONED!” “Grog is really a dragon too and we’re surrounded!” Though if that last one is true, you’re all hosed and I would probably just give up.
  3. HIDE. Better cover and hiding places are essential. We’ve learned the drawbacks of the mansion. Stupid being on another plane where magic jewelry phones don’t reach. Make that Plan B. For Plan A, maybe a quick half wall that curves over? Percy’s a genius, ask him.
  4. FIRE RESISTANCE. Seriously. You’re going to be cooked alive. Scrolls of fire resistance! Potions of fire resistance! Whatever you can find! SHOP FOR YOUR LIVES! Life may only need things to live, but you guys need some major fire resistance. Not everyone can be as cool as Pike with her badass armor. Help yourselves. Oh, and throw in a Heroes Feast while you’re at it. Just in case.
  5. KEEP GILMORE ALIVE! For real. We will come in game and perform a TPK if you let him die. Sorry, sorry. That was aggressive. We are all stressed. We just love Gilmore the most.

As a bonus action, we have added the following:

5 Things Critters Can Do to Survive

  1. BEER POTIONS. Characters could die in a round! Make sure you heal your emotions with your favorite drink. Maybe Grog will lend us his Alchemy Jug? Potions of Wine, Gin or Diet Coke can substituted as you see fit.
  2. TALK. Twitter. Chat. Make sure to use all caps. You can panic with us and the rest of your fellow #critters together!
  3. GET IN THE MOOD. Listen to this freaky soundtrack to get yourself pumped up. Oh crap, they’re all gonna die.
  4. FIRE RESISTANCE. We all better get some fire resistance too. Thordak hates everyone. I’m not sure we’re safe. Make sure the blanket you’re hiding under as you watch is fire resistant. Carry a fire extinguisher everywhere. Can’t be too careful .
  5. PRAY. Sacrifice some chocolate. Gods like chocolate. And by sacrifice, I mean eat it. If you don’t like chocolate, send it to us. We will make your god offering ourselves because we love choc…I mean, we love you that much.

We hope Vox Machina takes our advice in the loving spirit it was intended. And who knows? Maybe Thordak will wake up tomorrow and decide “Nah, I think I’ll go back to the Fire Plane, this is boring.”

Oh who am I kidding? We are so boned.

A Chat with Amy Taylor

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Amy Taylor is the writer and director of Jess Archer Versus, a recent series out on Amazon Prime and YouTube that follows a trouble-making detective and her side kick. Jess and Chase create as many problems as they solve, and his motivation is cheese. Here is a recent chat we had, a literal chat. I replaced each “lol” with “yes” so we sound more professional. There was also an inappropriate Game of Thrones bit…

 

SiG: Tell me about Jess Archer Versus. What’s your pitch to new viewers?

Amy Taylor: It’s essentially Veronica Mars meets an Edgar Wright film – so if you like either of those things, you should give Jess Archer a try 🙂 It has the mysteries to solve, and the prickly, cranky teen girl detective like Veronica Mars, and then it’s got the sense of humor and style of an Edgar Wright film (although really it’s probably most influenced by Spaced, the TV show he did with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost)

SiG: I love Veronica Mars, and I love Jess Archer, but I didn’t get the sense that Jess had a marshmallow center. Is that a major difference?

Amy Taylor: Well, it’s really deeply buried. Hopefully if we get the chance to do another season we’ll see a little more marshmallow. Right now the only one who probably even knows she has a marshmallow center is Chase. Jess’ cranky exterior is actually one of the things I like most about her – I think girls are socialized to always try and be nice, so it’s fun to write a female character who doesn’t care about that at all.

SiG: YES! So there is potential for season two? What needs to happen to make a season two, and what can we expect from more Jess and Chase adventures?

Amy Taylor: I’d love to make a season two. I think the actors would all be on board. I just need to figure out the funding. We’ve just gone up on Amazon Prime for streaming, so if we do well there, that might help us get money for a second season. And I’m submitting to cons/festivals, anything to get us exposure that would hopefully translate into views. Every view gets us closer to another season.

SiG: Amazon Prime is a huge step! Congratulations!

Amy Taylor: Thank you! And as far as what their adventures would be…I’d like Jess and Chase to explore the world of high school theater. I’ve got some ideas for a ghostly mystery that would work well in that world. Of course like a Sherlock Holmes story, there’s always a scientific explanation…but I do get a lot of joy out of imagining Officer Turner getting freaked out because the school might be haunted.

SiG: Well the school might be haunted!

Amy Taylor: Yes, it might be. I’d like to see Officer Turner team up with the janitor to hunt ghosts! That could be a spin off!

SiG: Ghost Hunters side quest would be hilarious!

Amy Taylor: I’d also like to delve a little more into the Jess/Chase friendship and see what happens when we really put some strain on it.

SiG: Season One’s funding from the Kickstarter was just $15K. How did you make that work? The lighting looked excellent by the way. Usually low budget means bad lighting!

Amy Taylor: Oh thanks! I’ll pass on your compliments to the DP. Yeah, 15K was tough, but we got a ton of help. The cast and crew worked for free (a lot of them had worked on the Jess Archer short film we did a few years ago), and we were able to shoot at Ohio University where I went to film school, and they very generously gave us a break on housing and equipment, so we were able to make our money go far!

The DP actually shot the original short, and the main actors also returned, so we could generally shoot pretty quickly because everyone already knew the tone and sense of style we were going for…so that was helpful in saving money. We shot the short film in five days and that was about 13 minutes and we shot this in 7 days and it’s just a little less than 42 minutes.

SiG: So if you were able to put together a bigger budget for season two, what extras, besides paying your great cast and crew, do you think you could bring? Longer episodes maybe? Or would you want ghost effects?

Amy Taylor: I would LOVE to do longer episodes. So yeah, that would definitely be a goal. And paying cast and crew would be huge. They so deserve it! I think I’d also want to try a few more stylistic flourishes. We were able to do a few, like the opening of episode 6 where we shot it like a silent film, but I had to downsize a lot of those ideas in the script because it was like, well, that requires a whole different set up with lights and production design, and maybe we don’t really have the time to do that, particularly for something that will only be onscreen for a couple seconds (most of them were quick little fantasy sequences where we’d whip in and whip out). So I ended up cutting some fun stuff out. As is always the case…but if we had a bigger budget and more time, I’d like to get a little more of that in there.

Yes, ghost effects would be fun too.

SiG: Yes, the fun stylistic add-ons really set the tone. I would definitely love more! This sounds like you were very rational about your budget and your plan to shoot this, but it had to have been hard. What was your biggest obstacle?

Amy Taylor: Probably the fact that because I’m based in LA, the actors are mostly in NY, and most of the crew was in Ohio where we shot, we couldn’t actually get together in person to rehearse or look at locations together etc. I was able to go to Ohio with my producer (the guy who plays the janitor) to scout locations and set the wheels in motion. We had a great producer in Ohio to keep things on track (the guy who plays the zombie), but the actors weren’t able to be in the locations until the day of, and the DP didn’t have a ton of time to prepare. He was mostly working from pictures and from memory since we had actually shot in some of those places on the short film. And really we didn’t manage to get the whole cast together to rehearse until the table read the night before shooting. Again we were very lucky because the main actors had already played these characters, and the newcomers were really prepared, and came in and nailed their lines and characters. But yeah, it was difficult to bring together being in all different parts of the country. And of course time was always an obstacle on the actual shoot days. Again with all the stylistic stuff we wanted to do, there’s a ton of different camera/lighting set ups to get everything, so the DP and I really worked to try and streamline everything as much as possible so we could make our days.

SiG: See? I knew there was drama!

Amy Taylor: Yes, such drama!

SiG: What’s your dream project. If you had a huge huge budget, and got to do whatever you wanted?

Amy Taylor: OH MY GOD! Okay so two things. Is that allowed? I’m saying them. I’d love to direct a big-budget fantasy/sci-fi film – I actually have the first draft of a script – Mad Max: Fury Road meets The Matrix…kinda. And I’d love to create/showrun a sci-fi show – actually I’ve written a show bible. It’s inspired a little by, if you’ve ever read the Morgaine books by C.J. Cherryh? And then there’s some elements of Firefly and Fringe….so yeah, either of those. I’m a huge fan of Joss Whedon so the dream would be to have a career similar to his where he does TV but also film, and he’s got that sense of humor in his work even when things are really dark. Anyway, either of those or, you know, direct a Star Wars movie.

SiG: I don’t quite understand how Mad Max would merge with the Matrix, but I would still want to watch it!

Amy Taylor: Coming 2020…Mad Max meets The Matrix..find out how those two go together!

SiG: Ok last one. What is your favorite movie/book/comic/tv thing right now?

Amy Taylor:

SiG: CHOOSE! CAKE OR DEATH! Oh wait that’s something else.

Amy Taylor: Death! Wait, Cake! Cake! Dammit.

Oh, right now? Let’s see…favorite movie would have to be..bah! I can never answer this with just one. The Princess Bride, but also The Last Crusade, Mad Max: Fury Road, Moulin Rouge, and Singin’ in the Rain. Favorite book…The Silmarillion and Pride and Prejudice. Favorite comic…Sandman. And TV….um….AHHHH!!! Okay give me a sec…. Blergh, okay, um, I’ll restrict myself to shows that are currently still airing so that’ll be Game of Thrones (and Veep…I couldn’t do just one!). Wow, my brain almost exploded trying to choose.

SiG: So now, in order for fans to have season two, and you to eventually make Mad Matrix, we need to get people watching season one, which is out now on amazon prime and youtube. Anything else we can do?

Amy Taylor: Yes, watching on amazon and youtube, and really just spreading the word whether that’s via FB or twitter etc., or telling people about us in real life. If you can leave a review on amazon or a comment on youtube that would also help.

SiG: Liking, following, reviewing and sharing! The usual! Great. Thanks for chatting. I think I now have a better understanding of how crazy you are.

Amy Taylor: And I thought I was hiding it so well! Thank you so much though for doing this. Really appreciate it!

Reading List: Women and NB Artists in Comics

Recently, my comic reading list got a lot longer. On August 5th, Milk Fed Criminal Masterminds and Kelly Sue DeConnick brought back the #VisibleWomen shout out to women and non-binary genders working in comics. Everyone posted their art, comics, and links to their work. Overall, the mission is to get women and non-binary genders hired and more visible in comics. As a comic lover and reader, for me it was a way to promote with retweets, and also start this ever-growing reading list! Many of these artists/writers also have Patreon sites or other ways for regular people to support them until they have comics in stores. Or maybe we’ll support them so well they won’t even need stores.

Now there were so many #VisibleWomen, that this article is just part one. More to come next week. Happy reading!

 

shattered-starlight

 

Shattered Starlight by Nicole Chartrand

Farah Shaughnessy is a magical girl. Or rather, she was a magical girl. Now, instead of saving Montreal from the forces of Chaos and Entropy, she’s just trying to hold down a decent job to pay her rent and still trying to get her life together a decade after the breakup of her team. When strange things start happening around her and old enemies start to reappear, Farah has to make a choice: face the things she’s been running from all these years or put down her astral weapon hockey stick and walk away for good.

 

Alice-and-the-Nightmare

 

Alice and the Nightmare by Michelle “Misha” Krivanek

Alice and the Nightmare is a comic heavily inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. It follows the story of Alice Heart as she attends the prestigious Phantasmagoria University, where Wonderlandians like her train to enter and collect the dreams of sleeping humans. The comic features magic, dark fantasy elements, and plenty of sweet tea time treats!

 

 

rainboots and mandrake roots

 

Rainboots & Mandrake Roots by Aud Koch

For high school students Nicky (who is a dragon) & Sam (who is not a witch), life is a bit more complicated than getting to class on time and finishing your homework. College applications, overbearing family members and the peculiar magical politics of their hometown all conspire to make Nicky & Sam’s senior year a memorable one.

 

 

Agents of the Realm

 

Agents of the Realm by Mildred Louis

Shortly after starting their first year at Silvermount University, five young women discover they’ve each been chosen to protect our world and its newly discovered sister dimension.

 

 

 

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The Black Bull of Norroway by Kit and Cat Seaton

The land of Norroway is unfamiliar and uncompromising, and teenage Sibylla doesn’t know the rules to the game she’s been swept up in. Betrothed to a monster who might once have been a man, she must find a way to break an ancient curse, and keep her humanity in the process.

 

 

Balderdash comic

 

balderdash! by Victoria Goog

balderdash! tells the story of two witch girls and their friends in the small town of Löffel. We first follow Georgie, a young witch from an elk ranch on the outskirts of Xalé. Georgie ventures from her home in the Northern Mountains to the River Valley, where she hopes to train under her idol, the baker Fausto. At the same time, we follow the young witch Afia, a young scholar from the large capital city Bakunini. After an academic debacle, Afia leaves her home in the South to go to the River Valley and learn about the mysteries of High Magic on her own. (Also, it includes recipes!)

 

 

Cucumber Quest

 

 

Cucumber Quest by Gigi D.G.

Cucumber Quest is a comic about bunny kids going on adventures and having fun. Although it starts off very darkly with Caketown being seized by an evil queen, which prevents Cucumber from going off to the magical academy. For heroing reasons.

 

 

 

m.f.k.

 

M.F.K by Nilah Magruder

This story is about Abbie, who just wants to get to the mountain range called the Potter’s Spine, scatter her mother’s ashes, and then live out her life in sweet, blissful solitude. Unfortunately, everyone she meets wants to either whine at her about their woes, tag along on her quest, arrest her for no reason, or blow her to bits.

Journeys are hard on the social recluses of the world.

 

 

 

Princess Princess Comic

 

Princess Princess by Strangely Katie

Amira and Sadie are two very different princesses who decide to take their happily ever after into their own hands. Princess Princess was my first attempt at a longer comic narrative, and I hope one that depicts different kinds of female strength and relationships.

 

 

House on the Cliff

 

 

The House on the Cliff by Mar Julia

The House on the Cliff is a comic about magic, meddling, girls, and the sea, and some misunderstandings.

Her Universe Fashion Show

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I’m going to talk about nerd fashion! Fair warning: everything I know about fashion I learned from Tim Gunn and Project Runway. This is not a fashion site, and if you are a fashion expert, run now. Now that that’s out of the way, I’m going to opinionate!

I’ve been missing Project Runway, and watching Her Universe Season One with its fashion show finale, has filled my fashion show need. There wasn’t Tim Gunn or Swatch, but there was daring fashion, crazy execution, and a lot of fandom talk, which Project Runway doesn’t even have!

Now watching Her Universe does require signing up for Comic Con HQ, for five dollars a month, but trust me. It is worth it and more. The show starts with a review of 100 nerd couture designs. One hundred. They are reviewed by a group of people who care about nerdom, how women are perceived, and FASHION. It is a meeting I would’ve loved to sit in on in real life, although watching on screen was a good substitute!

Next the group of designers was narrowed down, and those chosen designers were set loose to create. Now at this point in the show, I have to say a mentor figure could’ve really helped many of these designers. Sadly some of them were doing something closer to ready-to-wear, and while their designs were great, they were overshadowed by the extravagance everyone else was bringing. Some designers also were probably taking on a lot of additional work that would have minimal payoff. Now don’t think for a minute I didn’t love every single design! They were gorgeous! However, I know Tim Gunn would’ve said, is it necessary? Do you need a transforming moment? Or should you just focus on your wow dress and make it the best you can?

In any competition, there is a limited amount of time and money that can be put towards a design. I think I would’ve loved and enjoyed some of these designs even more if they hadn’t included a transformation or lighting element. Now that is ridiculous to say. Those things were an exciting wow factor, but with the venue, most of the dress lighting could only be seen if the runway lights were mostly off. So mostly you saw the lights or the dress. For the transformation dresses, besides the dress that won for its transformation, one of the designs was weaker than the other. So while the transformation was nice, there was also a slighter weaker design presented for part of the runway. Instead of a spectacular design walking the whole runway.

Now, let’s be clear, what I’m really saying is I want it all. I want a nerd project runway. I want the designers to have the help of a seasoned teacher to help them refine their designs so that they can all get to their best possible design and execution. Now if you add that, it is even more to film, but hopefully it is something they can expand into.

While I’m being greedy, there’s one more thing I want. This was a couture runway competition, but it was to find designers to make ready-to-wear clothes for Hot Topic. Now designers who make ready-to-wear can’t always succeed at couture, and vice versa. Now for pure enjoyment, I want to see a couture runway. I really really want to see it. It was beautiful this season, and I can’t wait until next season.

Her-Universe-Princess-of-Legend

Princess of Legend

However, these designers are competing to make ready-to-wear, so let’s see what they would design for ready-to-wear! The Zelda dress, Princess of Legend, designed by Michelle Ramsay is something I would absolutely wear on an everyday basis. If someone were to sell it, I’d buy it today. However, in the couture line-up, it wasn’t extravagant enough to stand out. So even though that designer is probably capable of selling me a wardrobe of clothes, she wasn’t judged on her ready-to-wear skills.

So let’s have both. The designers would make one couture outfit, one ready-to-wear. We get the pure love of couture craziness, but also the practical competition to make ready-to-wear for us. Really, we are deciding who will make our nerd clothes! We should see how well they can make everyday nerd clothes.

Now let’s take this one step further. Why can’t I buy fancy nerd gowns?  I usually hate dressing up, but that is because the choices are grim. I will make up a reason to wear the gorgeous gowns created in this competition! Now maybe Hot Topic isn’t interested in selling formal nerd clothes, but if there’s a market there’s a way. Let’s not wear regular formal wear ever again! Wedding to go to? Hate all your options? Buy some nerd formal wear! Anyone who gets the reference will gather around you, and I promise that wedding will be a lot more fun!

So now the final step. Why don’t we split the competition? One runway for ready-to-wear outfits, one for couture. One competition for the Hot Topic collection, one for another that sells formal wear! Then we’d have it all. I’m just saying. It’s come this far for us. Why not a little further?

Her-Universe-Ode-to-the-goblin-king

Ode to the Goblin King

Finally, I want to stress the things I loved about Her Universe that should never change. These designers respected and loved their fandoms. They weren’t designers just trying to sneak into a contest to win. They were committed to nerd life and nerd fashion. For example Sarah Rader, who designed the Ode to the Goblin King dress, actually put the lyrics to As the World Falls Down into the lining of the jacket. Which made me tear up. Harmony Leiker was so excited about the upcoming Fantastic Beasts that she designed her dress, Newt’s Menagerie, without a single screen shot. Ericka Anguili who designed a Dean Winchester inspired outfit, The Huntress, was worried about representing Supernatural right. She really shouldn’t have been worried. Pants with a flannel half skirt dipped in blood red dye? With the supernatural symbol at the collar? You are the fandom. You represented. With Ashley Eckstein’s dedication, I know this show will continue to be about actual nerds designing, as it should be. The design is nothing if it doesn’t represent us.

I was also very proud of the designers who walked their designs down the runway. You were fierce and delivered like a pro. I really loved that touch, honestly, and I hope designers continue to be encouraged to walk the runway if they want to. This again, is about us, the nerds, and I’d hate to see it turn into an all model runway show.

Now, stop reading this silliness and go watch season one at Comic Con HQ.

Remember to vote for your favorite on the Her Universe website by midnight on 8/11!

Trina Robbins Interview!

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A lot of things come to mind when we think of Trina Robbins: Incomparable. Badass. Wonder Woman. Sassy. Outspoken. Feminist. Legend. Type of woman we want to be when we grow up. (Shhhh…we’re still growing up! There is still time!)

We were first exposed to the power that is Trina Robbins at Denver Comic Con 2015, when we saw her on a panel about the Golden Age of Comics. She was outspoken and inspiring and really the best part of that panel, so naturally we were thrilled when she returned to Denver Comic Con in 2016. As a speaker at a main event panel kicking off the 2016 show, Trina assured us that, having not been invited, she was about to crash a panel later that morning featuring creators of Wonder Woman comics. She made good on that promise, and for many of us, that Wonder Woman panel was one of the highlights of the weekend.

Trina has worked as both an illustrator and writer in comics. She was the first woman to draw Wonder Woman in Wonder Woman’s title comic. She’s also a herstorian, highlighting women contributions to comics, her most recent being Pretty in Ink. Trina’s history book Women at War is available for free at her website.

Many of us have felt slightly queasy at some of what happens in comics, and Trina has been there to make guidelines. Posing and clothing matter in art! Major female characters should have a bible as to how they are drawn. When they don’t that opens the door for artists to exaggerate the character’s appearance to be highly sexual. Trina’s matter-of-fact stance that women should be depicted as humans, in how they are drawn and in how they are written, is inspiring.

Now, we get a chance to help Trina Robbins! Trina has a Kickstarter to collect and print her comic series Dope, that we talk about more below! It goes through 8/19/2016!

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Trina Robbins and Mindy Newell at DCC 2016!

SiG: How long have you been going to cons? 

Trina Robbins: Wow.  My first con was Phil Seuling’s second NY Comic Con, in 1969. I was on an underground cartoonist’s panel, and I remember wandering around the floor and over hearing 2 teenage boys talking and one of them said, “I hear Trina’s coming.” And I thought omigod, somebody knows who I am!

SiG: What is your favorite Wonder Woman arc you worked on?

Trina Robbins: I have loved the last 3 that I wrote, but I guess I’d have to say my 30 page Sensation comic. I’ve always liked the Cheetah and thought that she had possibilities going beyond being just another villain, so it was satisfying to write a story in which she and Wonder Woman work together. Not to mention I was happy to be able to squeeze in stuff about vivisection and destroying our rain forests without (I hope) getting too preachy.

SiG: We’ve always been a bit confused about how Wonder Woman grows up in an all female society, but often has been given male love interests, and doesn’t seek out a lot of female friends or companions when she leaves that society. Do you have an opinion on that transition for her away from the amazons?

Trina Robbins: I loved the Holliday girls!  But the guys who in the past wrote Wonder Woman, I think gave her all those male love interests so nobody would think she was a Lesbian. If I could write an extended story arc, I would give her back a version of the Holliday girls.

SiG: Have you seen the new Wonder Woman movie trailer? What did you think? 

Trina Robbins: I love it, but it’s so dark! Isn’t it ever daytime with full sun on Paradise Island?

SiG: For anyone just starting to read/see your work what should they start with?

Trina Robbins: My early stuff makes me cringe, but around the 80s I think I hit my stride. You probably know that there’s a Kickstarter to reprint my adaptation of Sax Rohmer’s novel, Dope, and I think that really holds up as some of my best work. Or maybe they should read my last and final history of women cartoonists, Pretty in Ink, or one of my non-comics books that I really like, such as Tender Murderers, my book about women who kill.

SiG: Yes, the Kickstarter to collect and print your Dope comic into a graphic novel! It looks amazing. (I can’t believe I didn’t ask about it first. We are a little Wonder Woman obsessed lately.) A female becoming ensnared in London’s drug culture seems like a very dark topic for comics in the 80s. What was that like creating it?

Trina Robbins: Haha! I too am obsessed by Wonder Woman! I can’t believe that she’s finally done right: story, art, and all!  We need no further proof that we women are winning the comics world.

About Dope: Ooh, I wouldn’t call it dark so much as pulpy. Sax Rohmer was a master pulp writer, and this story is absolute blood and thunder, opium dens and all. The characters are so colorful, they just asked to be interpreted in comic form, but this is in no way grim’n’gritty, like those awful comics of the 90s. Of course I drew it, so we don’t have “bad girl” characters with brokeback poses, and I carefully researched the clothing, using old magazines from the period, unlike so many male cartoonists of that time, who thought if you just made the dresses long, it looked old. I am a stickler for research, in case you didn’t know. Dope was one story that I thoroughly enjoyed adapting!

SiG: You came into an industry where women characters were lacking, what do you feel like you brought to your women characters?

Trina Robbins: In those early days, when the industry was hyper male-dominated, my characters were fantasy reflections of me. Just like Tarpe Mills’ character looked like her and ever had her cat, enabling Tarpe to have adventures on paper, while the flesh and blood Tarpe sat at her drawing table, I could have adventures and be different kinds of women just by drawing them.

SiG: What was the most fun character to work on?

Trina Robbins: GoGirl!, done by Anne Timmons and me. I loved creating that character, my take on the superhero, and Anne and I made a great team — she is a pleasure to work with, and she’s such a good artist! Too bad the book was before its time, back in the days when the comic shops were all guy stuff so we got lousy distribution.

SiG: In your career, what did you get away with that you were surprised you got away with?

Trina Robbins: When I wrote “Wonder Woman, the now and Future story,” beautifully drawn by Colleen Doran, I was able to list domestic violence hotlines and shelters here and in the UK on the inside back cover. People have told me, “How good it was that DC included that list!” And I respond, “DC didn’t include it, *I* included it!” Still, they let me, and that was good.

SiG: What is your favorite story about your time in the industry to tell (and please tell it!)

Trina Robbins: Well, okay, it should probably be a positive one, huh? Here’s one I tell when people ask me for advice: It was at a San Diego Comic Con, around 1998, and I walk by the Topps table and see that they’re publishing Xena comics, and my heart skips a beat because I am such a Xena fan. So I go over to the guy standing behind the table and I say, “Hi, my name is Trina Robbins and I’ve written Wonder Woman and I would kill to write Xena.” And he’s all snooty and nose in the air and says, “We already have our writers.” So I could have been Hemingway, but he doesn’t care. So I walk a little further down the table and there’s a woman. So I go up to her and repeat my spiel and she says, “Sure, email me,” and hands me her card. It’s Renee Witterstaeter, and we have since become friends and I love her! Long story short, I emailed her when I got home and she wound up accepting my 2 part Gabrielle story. Not as good an ending: Renee left Topps shortly after that, my next editor was a guy, and even though the TV people okayed my next Xena story and I wrote the whole thing, he never used it. But the moral is, if one editor doesn’t like your proposal, try another editor.

SiG: We try our best to promote women doing great work, and support any artists creating fully realized female characters. Is there anything else we can be doing to encourage stories with great female characters?

Trina Robbins: I think you’re doing it — you, and all the groups like you. There has never been a better time for women in comics!

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Remember to check out Trina Robbins’ website and her Kickstarter which closes on 8/19/2016!

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