O Say Can You See: The Greatest Patriotic Super Heroes of All-Time
All of our religions but the Judaic and the Greek think more of us dead than alive. (Joseph Heller, from Picture This)
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“You know that this is an authoritarian government,” he told the cardinal. “And I know you do not like authoritarian governments.”
“That is so, General,” the cardinal replied. “I do not like them.”
“But authority comes from God, Cardinal,” Pinochet said.
“Authority, yes. Authoritarianism comes from men,” Silva Henriquez said. (Mary Helen Spooner, from Soldiers in a Narrow Land)
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“At the end of the twentieth century, we are trying to separate inseparable strands, to divide this one from that one, because this one may be Macedonian and that one may be Bulgarian … Here the men sit back like the old men of Crete, talking about nationalism and hate while the women do all the work.” (Robert Kaplan, from Balkan Ghosts)
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As always, I like to put my BEST OF list up before the year actually ends, mostly because it drives Greg Burgas crazy. Probably since the last Monday of the year is reasonably close to the end of the year it will drive him less crazy, but we’ll just have to be okay with that. You can’t win them all! As always, my feeling is that if I haven’t read it by mid-December (and let’s be clear there are MANY I have not read) then I’m not going to be able to get to it in time for it to make my bests and worsts lists anyway so it’s all the same in the end.
So what’s on this year’s list? Well you can bet it’s going to be a lot of stuff I’ve already been excited about this year, but it’s still fun to see it all stacked up here in the end I suppose. Again this year I didn’t have it in me to do any worsts…call it optimism, call it fatigue, readers choice!
Let’s get to it, shall we?
It’s that time of year again, the time for a million lists, including my 25 Favorite Fictional Females in comics list. Like all years, this was tough. Like all years, I’m never quite convinced I’ve got the list right, but for better or worse, here we are!
Fair warning, if someone was repeated from a previous year, I often cribbed some of the text from my previous post with some light updates to reflect changes. Here are last year’s list and the first list in 2010 (as well as a 10 ladies making a run for the title list) in case you’d like to read about even more female characters in comics. It was a really exciting year and with a promising 2015 ahead of us I’m very excited about where we are when it comes to our progress with female characters – as always things are a bit two forward and one back, but we’re making progress! I’d like this list a bit better if there were more indie ladies on it (there are so many that are worthy) but Marvel’s push with female characters this past year did a good job of gobbling up a good number of spots.
Like last year, what I found most interesting is how some characters managed to triumph over lack of material or worse, bad material. Wonder Woman, despite the fact that I can’t read her book, hasn’t fallen much– maybe she’s just got so much iconic power that others are helpless to overcome the big shadow she casts? I spent a lot of time when trying to organize my list this year thinking about the characters that I’d most like to see creators work with in new series – that was how I ended up defining where they fell – how interested I found myself in seeing them in new stories. Still, you can’t underestimate the power of reading both old and new – Black Widow makes the list this year (finally) thanks to some damn fine work by Nathan Edmonson and Phil Noto, while Big Barda shoots up the list because I took some time out this year to read/re-read all her classic Kirby stories…and how can one deny her utter dominance after doing that??
Anyway, thinking about just getting started on things and being new to something reminded me of discovering comics when I was a teenager. The joy an frustration of fumbling through the dark with no idea what I should be reading (I’m old, the Internet was barely a glimmer in the most advanced readers eyes!).
My eventual comic book shop was helpful, but it took me a while to find the right shop…and even then I felt enough like a stranger in a strange land for a time that it took some time to start having actual conversations about comics with anyone other than my younger brother who was as in the dark as I was (though he remains my favorite person to talk about comics with). What I would have given for a road map!
However, as mentioned above, I’m old, so comics were a lot cheaper and it wasn’t the end of the world to waste a buck or so on a crappy comic. Today, with a few indie exceptions, even the cheapest comics will cost you $2.99…and that’s a lot to risk on a comic.
“The novel I would most like to read at this moment,” Ludmilla explains, “should have as its driving force only the desire to narrate, to pile stories upon stories, without trying to impose a philosophy of life on you, simply allowing you to observe its own growth, like a tree, an entangling, as if of branches and leaves …” (Italo Calvino, from If on a winter’s night a traveler)
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There’s been a lot of controversy going around with women and comics, driven in large part by a piece former DC Editor Janelle Asselin wrote about the new Teen Titans cover on CBR. It’s sparked a lot of good discussion and as usual, a ton of nightmarish behavior. I thought a lot about writing about it, but I gotta be honest, it’s just not in me right now. Maybe it’s not true for everyone, but for me, to take on these big pieces that you know are likely to be controversial takes not only a lot of literal time but also a ton of mental energy and I just don’t have it in me right now for either of those things. Maybe that will change in the coming weeks and I’ll have something of merit to add to the discussion, but for now, read Asselin’s piece and also this most excellent piece on Comics Alliance by Andy Khouri.
Here we’re just going to talk about the absolute awesomeness that is LUMBERJANES. The kind of comic every young girl should get the opportunity to read – and hell, young boys too. It may be designed with “hardcore lady-types” in mind, but it’s wonderful reading for anyone, in fact, perhaps it should be required reading to broaden minds and generally spread happiness and goodness to the world.
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