Tag Archives: Gay

Photo Challenge – Something You’re Reading

3 Jul

After a bit of a false start, Kevin Keller and I are both enjoying “Summer Fun!”  So, that’s to say that I’m a little to be reading at the moment what with all of the disc I’ve been throwing lately…  I’m barely keeping up with my pull list for comics, but I have managed to squeeze in some reading over the last month.  Like 3 volumes of Tiny Titans (super short reads, I know, but they’ve made me laugh pretty hard for a comic reading), 2 volumes of Criminal, and the 2nd volume of Incognito.

Kevin Keller’s comic features prominently because I won’t be only reading that one for fun.  Sure, I’ll get some enjoyment out of it because I’ve grown fond of Archie Comics.  However, my end goal is to utilize this comic for my article on Kevin Keller and the representation of gay identity within the comic series/the Archie Universe as a whole.  It’s been rather frustrating because I think the series is shipping on a bi-monthly schedule so I’ve been waiting awhile for this one.  I decided that my scope would encompass the miniseries, the gay marriage issue, and the first three issues of his own series to make the grand total 8 comic books (though, Life With Archie #16 is basically two comics in a magazine format).

While working on my article on comics, I’ll read some while I’m at it.  The other two featured are The Infinite Horizon and Green River Killer.  The Infinite Horizon has Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto as the team behind the series.  It’s a post-apocalyptic horrorshow that sounds pretty awesome.  I picked it up on Free Comic Book Day and have been going through my stacks so I can read it.  From what I’ve gathered (both reading and viewing) Phil Noto is a phenomenal artist.  Green River Killer is a crime comic.  I bought it for Emerald City Comic Con to get it signed, but it was in the shipment that came late from Amazon so I wasn’t able to bring it.  On the outside I don’t think I care too much for crime comics, but I continually find myself reading them and enjoying them… I must secretly enjoy the hell out of them, then.

What’s on your reading list?  I have a whole box full of stuff I need to read, but it’s always great to hear what other people are reading.

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More of the PHOTO CHALLENGE?  Follow the link for the whole list of posts!

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Writing Challenge #9: Underwear

16 Feb

I already revealed one secret this week, so I am not about to take a picture of myself in my boxers.  Though, the main reason is probably because I’m too lazy to do it (I feel shame/I just realized I have a webcam on my computer).

Anyway, I’m totally rocking some H+M boxer shorts right now.  They have a dark blue elastic band and are turquoise.  I have a pair that are the inverse of that, and I also have a pair that are the two blues and white triangles.  I decided to try on some tighter boxers that showed off my booty some more in the fall.  So, now I have three pairs of this type.  I would buy more, but it’s $20 a 3-pack at H+M.

ALSO, I took a gay and lesbian lit class last semester, and three or so of the guys (there were, I think, 5 guys and everyone of them was gay except for me) always shopped at H+M.  How do I know this?  Because half of the stuff that I tried on and didn’t wear, they bought and did wear.  It was slightly embarrassing.  I came really close to wearing something some other person bought.

AND I DID, once.  One of the guys had the same boxers as I did.  *Sadness*

I don’t mind being associated with gay culture, but I really hate wearing the same clothes as someone else.

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Check out the full Writing Challenge by following the link!

Beginners – Review!

14 Jul

In many ways, I came into Beginners expecting a comedy.  Son finds out after his Mother’s death that his Father has been gay his entire life.  He learns from his Dad (Hal) about embracing life and relationships in the final four years of Hal’s life despite Hal not being there for his childhood.  Oliver becomes close to his Dad and is there for him in Hal’s declining health, but everyone can see that these are the best four years of Hal’s life.

Interspersed through these touching moments with his father, we are brought into the present as Oliver begins an odd but lively new relationship.  Hal takes what he learned from his father and finally applies them to his life.  Of course, he must take the big risk which he has already shown in his previous relationships to be too much to handle.

Throughout this whole film I was smiling.  Sure, there were a lot of sad moments, but I suppose I knew everything would work out in the end.  In many instances, that’s what you need in a film: something that surprises you but still follows down a path well-traveled.  Every character has their own flourishes and clearly show that Mike Mills, the writer and director, had a great grasp of the material considering that it is based off of his real life experiences with his own father.  Also, I couldn’t help but to see some of the unique characteristics in Anna as are in Mills’ wife, the ever wonderful Miranda July.

Ewan McGregor has always been hit or miss for me, but he surprised me in creating an easily identifiable character that you follow.  Oliver thinks big and you want to will him into succeeding.  He doesn’t always manage it, but he takes it and moves on.  Christopher Plummer also provides a unique Character in Hal.  For someone so distant throughout his son’s entire life, he suddenly explodes into life and community once he begins living his gay life.  Mélanie Laurent provides a character that is beautifully weird, and I couldn’t help but to identify with her.  She has a thing about nibbling on people for no real reason… and I totally do that.

Another way I identified with the film was with a character named Elliot because, well, that’s my name (plus a t).  At one point, Elliot takes Oliver out to spray paint the town with graffiti (Oliver using hilariously social conscious messages).  He tags a place with “LEIT”.  This was of course before you found out his name was Elliot, and he spells it out as L-E-it which I’ve totally done.  My favorite is El-E-Yacht.

The film does reuse some of the same footage as somewhat of a flashback which I sort of have a problem with.  Plus, a dog talks which works and doesn’t work at certain points.  We also get peeks into Hal’s work-life which I would have liked to get a bit deeper of an insight into.

Overall, this is a feelgood film.  It has all of the right quirks.  And, appropriately enough, I came out of the theater to a double rainbow in the sky.  It made my evening, and I’m continuing to think about it.

Post-Flashpoint Renumbering

31 May

Okay, for you comic book fans that have been reading DC for awhile and are not in the loop check out this article.

Is it just me or does Batman have bigger muscles than Superman?

So, in September every single DC Book is going to be renumbered to number one.  This includes the long-running Detective Comics or the recently reaching 900 Action comics and so forth.  Sure, they may return to the legacy numbering on some issues (like the soon approaching 900 in Detective), but it seems like this stuff is going to stick.

Flashpoint will basically become our modern Crisis on Infinite Earths where we start over again.  Continuity will be wiped out (for the most part, I assume) and everything will begin fresh and anew.

There are a couple problems with this:

  • With so many #1s in September I frankly have no idea what I’m going to buy.
  • I am deathly afraid that they are going to ruin my understanding of some of the characters (i.e. Batman).
  • For the next year or so it seems like most of the stories will be origins.
  • Will the new characters introduced reflect a greater diversity?
  • And, of course, some of my favorite characters (my beloved Tim Drake) will more than likely cease to exist.

Nevertheless, the more I think about it, I believe that this is probably a good idea.  It’s world building and allows for creators to come up with fresh and innovative stories without relying to heavy on the past.  Sure, Batman Inc. will most likely be wiped out and so far it has been genius (I really like Dick and Bruce in the Batman role), but it may be for the best.  Indeed, I was volunteering last Thursday and talking to my co-volunteer which was a guy in his late 40s who was genuinely interested in comics.  I realized that explaining who had been Batgirl and how many Robins there have been was probably very confusing to him.  So, to get new readers in, this may be a wise idea.

Nevertheless, I’m worried.  I feel like starting afresh is a great idea, but what may be so potential downfalls?  If we’re starting the universe over, then I want more female, transgender, gay (the new Batwoman series will launch this fall), African American, and people of all sorts of different cultural backgrounds to take the lead.  However, from what we know of the new Justice League, it seems like they are reinstating the masculine and white paradigm.  So please DC, I agree that – despite my love for some of these characters – it’s probably a good idea to hit reset, but take advantage of the opportunity at hand and DO NOT go back to the same heteronormative stuff that you’ve been shelling out.  Including some of those characters that provide diversity to the line up will gain you many positive approvals from outside the typical male, white, heterosexual audience.  This will perhaps draw in new readers rather than just pissing off old ones.  So, take advantage.

This is actually making me care a little about Flashpoint.  So, good job.

COMM 370 – Week 3

9 Feb

The readings for the last week elected quite an emotional response from me.  Many of them made me rather upset at the world or disappointed in it.  Then again, there were moments of hope.

Nero’s identity as a black gay man seemed to be a rather typical story but one that was no less powerful.  I found it intriguing that he could go through so much and still reflect rather insightfully about it.  I feel like it must be hard to have someone say the accept you for who you are, and then imply that they’re not fully proud of you or comfortable with you.

Gerhard’s piece on Sex and the City got me very upset.  I have seen a little bit of the show and understood it as this ridiculous thing out in pop culture celebrating women by overfeminizing them and not showing the intricacies of their culture.  I find the show very upsetting because it suggests that you can have all of the things the women have – being sexy, smart, successful, and fabulous – only if you’re white, upperclass, and are fairly attractive.  They can engage in their sex talks because they have the freedom to choose, the freedom to explore, the freedom to put societal concerns to the side.  And yet, it is this very freedom that holds the show back because it only engages that particular audience.  I just find the idea of the women eating, drinking, shopping, and fucking so outlandish because they are let loose upon the world.  I am not asking to restrict these women, I am just calling out that the show has a very elitist viewpoint of the world.  Women viewers from all different sections can fantasize themselves into the show, but in the end they are trapped into thinking that they could almost be equals to men.  However, that equality to men can only be equalized if, like the women of the show, they retain their feminine qualities and utilize them to succeed.

I found Gerhard’s discussion of the hints or possibilities of a homosexual subtext to the show compelling.  It hints that there may be something positive and not purely postfeminist to Sex and the City.  The way the women bond together is so close.  Hell, they spend more time together than they do with any of their sexual partners.  Nevertheless, the show hints at this prospect, but it ultimately confides itself with the societal, heterosexual norm.

Cuklanz and Moorti’s piece on Law and Order: SVU was fairly compelling.  I found it interesting that they found so much positive and so many avenues explored and yet they settled that the show has a “cumulative effect of the anti-feminine traits” which “makes the series appear more misogynist rather than feminist” (124).  To me, I can see how they came to this conclusion, but they spent so much time arguing the feminist nature of the show to only round it up with one very bad dock mark against the show’s representations that brought it back down.  Then again, on further reflection, I suppose that the conclusions in the paper are sound.  The beginning of the article instills such hope for the series that it almost outweighs the negative aspects in the end.  The show represents a variety of domestic abuse often showing survivors and never engaging the audience in the actual abuse but the aftermath.  This is then coupled by feminine characteristics in the character of Elliot Stabler hindering his ability to fully perform his job.  While, Benson’s character, has to adopt masculine characteristics in order to succeed at her job.  I suppose the largest negative aspect of the show is its representation of the mother.  I found it very compelling that the author’s discovered time and again that the root cause of family abuse to be in the mother’s role rather than the father’s.  Therefore, the mother has such a large influence over the family while the father is barely present.  This seems to be a common theme for shows or media to promote one or two positive behaviors but rely on continued stereotypes that hinder themselves from being pro-feminist.

Padva’s critical look at The Simpsons was an enjoyable read.  This mostly came about in its focus on the narrative of the “Homer’s Phobia” episode.  Even in description, the show readily makes itself satirical and pro-queer representations.  The descriptions of “camp” was interesting because I kept on thinking back to my experience with the word: Boy Scout Camp, Basketball Camp, etc.  All of these things that were fairly masculinized using the word camp that Padva found the OED to describe something “theatrically exaggerated; effeminate; homosexual.”  It’s funny then that the gay character finds the Simpsons so camp when their choice of decor was probably made 8 seasons before as a stylistic choice for practical reasons and was only now being investigated for other undertones or second characteristics.  Homer’s realization in the end helps provide a great representations of queer identity: we’re all at least a little queer and we should embrace rather than ostracize it.

Similar to Nakayama’s interest in representations and prevalence of Asian-Americans, Han’s examination of gay Asian men within gay publications was very compelling because it was not something I had really considered.  First off, I’m not gay nor am I Asian.  So, that would make me more likely to be uninvolved with the situation, but, when it’s brought to my attention, I recognize it as something very strange.  The most upsetting thing about the article was that, when represented, gay Asian men are seen more as commoditities than actual people for the White gay audience.  I suppose this sort of thing affects Asians in general such as White Men’s sexual obsession with Asian women because they still look like children.  It begs the question, “Why Asian?”  Why are they so easy to turn into a commodity for western society?  These questions are the ones that underpin Han’s article, and shows that there is a large dispositional representation of Asians nearly everywhere in the west, and, when they are shown, it is for personal pleasure or humor rather than as positive portrayal of their (gay) culture.

Veronica #202: An Assimilationist Archie

17 Oct

All right, I’m going to begin by stating that many of the terms I’m utilizing I discovered through Herman Gray’s Watching Race: Television and the Struggle for Blackness.  While his book focuses primarily on Blackness, I believe his term of Assimilationist can be applied to out groups such as gender, sexuality, religion, or politics.  In this case, I will utilize his term to apply it to the recent introduction of Kevin, the first openly gay character in Archie comics.

To begin, I would like to take into account Herman Gray’s explanation of what he believes is assimilationist programs:

The worlds they construct are distinguished by the complete elimination or, at best, marginalization of social and cultural difference in the interest of shared and universal similarity (85).

This can clearly be seen in the introduction of Kevin into the Archie-verse in Veronica #202.  In fact, the reader is first shown Kevin as he is challenging Jughead to a burger eating activity.  Like most teenage boys, Kevin joins in on the fun of competition.  Not to mention that Kevin is the ideal man with a square jaw and flowing blonde hair with blue eyes.  Kevin’s gay identity is stated as basically a fact which can be ignored because he’s just like everyone else.

I have to admit, though, that is a great joke about the love triangle between Archie, Betty, and Veronica.

The large plot motivator is interesting.  It involves Kevin remaining in the closet to everyone except for Jughead mostly through Jughead’s manipulation.  He continually stalls Kevin from outing himself to the rest of the characters because he believes it will be a good joke to have Veronica build up her hopes at winning the handsome newcomer and then crush those hopes in a maniacal fashion.

Most of the humor that comes from the book is through the reader being in on Kevin’s sexuality and watching Veronica clearly fail time after time to succeed at the impossible.  Now, I have to give Archie some credit for not suddenly straightening Kevin in order to give Veronica a new love interest.  In fact, they remain fairly stout that Kevin is gay and there is no changing that.

However, my issue comes from absolutely no gay culture manifesting itself with Kevin.  He could easily be a stand-in for the captain of the football team.  He never hits on any guys or develops a love interest of his own.  Granted, this is a Veronica book so it centers around her, but I believe that they could have shown some of gay culture through the comic.  Yes, this is a comic primarily for children, but it could have pushed some more boundaries rather than rearranging facts.

The show therefore acknowledges Kevin’s sexuality but it frames the cultural distinctions and conflicts based on his sexuality in a way that appeals to visions of similarity and universal harmony (Gray 85).

The show also never has any “sustained engagement with the messiness, confusion, and tension caused by [prejudice] and inequality that punctuate the daily experience of so many members of our society” (Gray 86).

In that case, the show never critically investigates some of the problems that Kevin may have for being gay.  Instead, he is the happy, smiling, friendly, new person who loves to eat but has to fend off unwanted potential girlfriends.

Despite the negative reaction I have to the comic, I still have to applaud Archie comics for going out on a limb.  Many parents (at least the outliers) may have had or do have reservations about a gay character being in a comic meant for children and pre-teenagers.  Yes, they presented him in an assimilationist way, but this is one of those instances that I am happy to see anything and everything that portrays a positive image of being gay.

Archie would make huge strides forward if, in future comics, they provide Kevin with more of a background and possibly a homosexual relationship/flirtation.  That would definitely be a comic I would like to read.  Archie did a decent job at showing someone who is gay, and I believe they can make a large impact on the industry in the future with this character.

More Batman Frames Fun!

27 Feb

Inspired by the Batman Frames Generator from the other day, I decided to go back and read some Batman annuals from the 60s.  Man, Batman sure had some kooky adventures!  That guy, what a goofball, honestly.  So, here’s some highlights of reading… then, I’ll show you some other fun I had.

Stripey action!

Yes, there is a Zebra man of all things.  He has magnetic powers which basically have absolutely no relation to his obsession with Zebra stripes.  In this lovely little diddy, he shoots Batman full of zebra/magnetic energy!  Woo, that’s a bad day, right there.

The pits...

Funny that I’m listening to What’s Yr Damage? right now.  Anyway, there once was a time in a faraway place named Gotham City where DA Harvey Dent became Two-Face when a criminal threw acid over… half of his face!  There also was once a time when Harvey Dent got over it.  Then, another time in which DC had no idea how to bring a great villain back… So, what did they do?  Yeah, create a second Two-Face.

Wait, what magic could they pull to do this one?

As simple as having actor Paul Sloane play in a TV movie about Harvey Dent becoming Two-Face in which… he becomes Two-Face himself!!!  Oh Shit!  Nnnooooooawwwwwwoooooo, way!  DC, you gots some original 60s ideas, right there.

Memorized Lines!? You're a killer.

Yes, because he’s so crazy as a stand-in for Two-Face.

What other awesome things do the Batman Annuals contain!?  Yes, that’s right, multiple stories about Batman meeting up with INDIANS!  Yes, Monique, eat your heart out and spit in a soft drink because I just brought in racist depictions of Indians to the mix!

Batman: a Better Indian than the Indians.

In the first 6 annuals I read, there wasn’t just one story about Batman dealing with Indians, there was THREE!  It was actually the most recurring story element out of all of the annuals.  Yes, Indians came up more often than any villain or even Superman.

The Bat-(smoke)-Signal: A modern example of ingenuity.

Oh yes, DC, you did us quite a favor of depicting Indians as raving imbeciles.  …geeeeeessssssss…

So, then I decided to fuck with some frames myself that I found hilarious.

At first, I was going to mess with this shoulder massage image because it looks like Batman is whispering for Dick to be quiet and stay still as something slips into his behind… Then, I realized, “Hey, the image speaks for itself!”

Shhh, it will all be over real soon, but call me "daddy".

And now, we’re entering into some of my fun:

Why Batman doesn't go to parties anymore.

Now, let's go play hopscotch.

I couldn't resist.

I hope you enjoyed the frames fun I had!