I had been quite cryptic in my past few posts about a project I have been working on. Now that it has been published, I am sharing it with you here.
In December I attended a local comic convention and met a comic industry creator who I hit it off with. He was fantastic to talk to and gave me great advice. I emailed him after and the product of those emails is the work I will have on his comic creator news website.
My first article has been published – today actually. I interviewed Ram Devineni, the comic book creator of Priya’s Shakti. Priya’s Shakti is a comic book tackling the pervasive rape culture in India, but it’s anti-sexual assault message transcends borders and is a message for the whole world.
Please take your time to read this, I worked so hard and Mr. Devineni was an amazing person to interview!
So this year at New York Comic Con DC didn’t have much of a presence other than a few television show related panels (Arrow, Gotham, The Flash, Constantine…) and also the big homage to Batman and his 75th anniversary.
However, in 2016 it will be Wonder Woman’s 75th anniversary. Though the woman with the indestructible gauntlets, a tiara, the Lasso of Truth, and sometimes an invisible airplane is a cultural icon just as synonymous as her DC mates Batman and Superman, she hasn’t quite received the same red carpet treatment them.
Just yesterday DC announced their 10 plan film from now until 2020. And Wonder Woman is on that list with Gal Gadot set to star (she is also starring in Batman vs. Superman and Justice League). Here’s the thing, this is Wonder Woman’s first big screen movie. In all her 73 years she has elusively slipped into supporting roles, or not even a role at all.
Wonder Woman was introduced to us in December 1941 in All Star Comics #8 and a month later she snagged her own cover on Sensation Comics #1 in January 1942.
At New York Comic Con I saw girls of all ages donning her iconic red, blue, and gold attire. They were each embodying the strength of the Amazonian. But it was only Batman who got the big stage lights on him. The homage to Batman included a moving statue and cardboard cutouts of his progression through the years. And Batman even got his own postage stamps.
Will Wonder Woman get the same treatment Batman did for his big birthday? We have yet to know.
I love Batman, but as a little girl Wonder Woman and all the other female characters amazed me on my favorite cartoons. They saved the day, they did not rest on their laurels like so many female characters are depicted on. They didn’t need to be saved because they were the ones doing the saving. It confused me because I don’t know what woman who is a damsel in distress and every other woman I saw depicted except for these ladies was always getting into some mischief. Not Wonder Woman. Not The Black Widow, not Storm, not She-Ra, not Hawkgirl, or Catwoman….
Women need to stop being depicted as secondary characters because we are not secondary people. We have jobs and roles in life. Many women are mothers, arguably the greatest role. And while more and more male characters get their own television shows such as the barrage of ones DC has been launching, women are once again being maligned. Women are killed or hurt or used as bait to progress the male characters story. Women are more than antiquated tropes and plot points for male characters.
The 2017 Wonder Woman is certainly a step towards the right direction but it is not the end for what the media companies need to wake up to. We don’t need just ‘strong female characters,’ we need well-written, engaging, and realistic women that reflect the women we see in our everyday lives.
Here’s to Wonder Woman, to many more years of breaking the mold.
I highlighted my experience with the Weta Workshop booth at New York Comic Con in my previous post, but I wanted to especially elaborate on the conversation I had.
Since I did do a quick write-up on one of my other blogs, I’m pretty much going to re-write that here and just edit out the choppiness and haste of the piece.
This conversation happened on Sunday, the last day of NYCC. My friend and I were just exploring the Weta booth which had great figures and props on display. One of the Weta guys, I assume he does something in the design work for them, came over to us and started a lovely conversation. He had on what looked like dwarf ears and you can tell from his New Zealand accent he traveled a great way to be here.
This gentleman explained to us how he had been working with Weta since the early planning stages for Lord of the Rings. He’s essentially worked there since about 1996/1997. He continued on with the conversation about Tauriel’s role in the Hobbit films. As you may or may not know, she is not a written character in the book, merely an invention of Peter Jackson and his writers.
So, this Weta guy begins telling us how many people have came up and told him how they felt about Tauriel [negative comments from book purists, positive from pretty much anyone else]. In the Hobbit it is mentioned that Thranduil has guards. The guy posed this question to me: couldn’t these guards be male and female?
I agreed with him on that one.
Next he talked about the running pool the crew has on whether or not Tauriel survives in The Battle of the Five Armies. It’s apparently been kept up in secret pertaining to her fate. I inquired as to what he thinks and why and he said he believes she dies as an impetus for Legolas to become involved in the eventual forming of the Fellowship.
I don’t like this reason. The problem with it is that it is a very tired trope we see all the time. It is poor female writing, especially for a character like Tauriel who is the embodiment of tough and boundary pushing. Constantly female characters are killed to further a male characters storyline. Constantly.
Anyway, we shifted the conversation back to the reception of Tauriel. The guy told me that Evangeline Lily, who plays Tauriel, was quite upset the first few weeks after hearing the backlash her character was getting. That must be so hard to hear, especially when Tauriel is an incredibly driven and intricate character and was delicately woven into the existing story as to not disrupt any main plot points. But, he also said she was one of the best actors on set. She did almost all of her own stunt work and was a joy to be around on set. He said he was reminded of Miranda Otto who kicked so much ass while filming the LOTR.
We closed out the conversation with him reminiscing about his time working on all of these movies. He definitely had a great sadness behind his eyes. At least Weta is a design company that is seemingly doing well, not like other studios that are paid feebly and shut down after the movie is out and made its bank (which is what happened to the studio responsible for creating Life of Pi’s visual effects).
All in all it was an enlightening and entertaining conversation.
Phew! It is a damn good thing today is Columbus Day because I definitely need a day to recuperate. New York Comic Con was intense! Intense in all the good ways, of course!
My first time at NYCC was in 2011, and I only got a taste of what it was since I was there for a few hours on the final day. This time around I won a 3-day pass from the wonderful Pete’s Basement Comic Book Talk Show and came equipped with a better knowledge of events and the floor layout.
I took my cousin Sandra as my first guest (I won 2 passes) and she has never been to a Comic Con. I think she totally loved it just by the sheer volume of pictures she took. We arrived to the Javits Center before 10am in hopes of making our way to the Marvel booth. All went well until we got inside, I wasn’t sure where we were in relativity to the booth (we walked in closest to the Weta Workshop booth) and by the time we elbowed our way to Marvel the line for the raffles was looped around a couple times. We still got on line praying for a miracle. Marvel set up their panels and autographing session with Clark Gregg a bit differently then the rest of the Con, you basically get on line and pick a ballot. Some ballots give you the wristband and some don’t so it is a complete gamble. We were maybe 10 people away from getting a chance to pick a raffle before we were told they were out. I’m guessing you have to seek your first-born child to get into a Marvel panel/screening because I lucked out the rest of the weekend too.
Denied but not defeated, my cousin and I perused the showroom, gaping at the ginormous Bumblebee at the Chevrolet booth (real person in there too). I bought an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. t-shirt from the Super Hero Stuff booth and I made it my mission to also track down a Funko Pop Vinvl of The Winter Soldier. That figure has been just as elusive as the character is and I finally found him an hour before we left. I also bought an original Winter Soldier paining by Tony Santiago and a Hello Kitty style Winter Soldier from I believe Tom Kelly. It’s pretty evident that I really love this character and I am so glad there was plenty of great artwork that has interpreted him.
Comic Con also has a lot of fun photo booths scattered all over the place. My cousin and I took lots of them and had lots of goofy faces to give the camera. Artists Alley was also another highlight. We spent a lot of time just watching these artists at work and admiring their craft. I know who to keep an eye out for as I learn more about comics and what I like in reading and viewing comics. It was really something special to meet Allen Bellman who drew for Marvel in the 1940s and 1950s.
Clark Gregg (Phil Coulson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe) was doing his signing at the Marvel booth. We were able to watch him and got some photos of him. Gregg has one of those demeanors that make him look so warm and caring. Two of the people getting autographs signed had a phenomenal cosplay of Captain America and The Black Widow and Gregg jumped up to take a special picture with them. He is a total fanboy and proud.
Our day ended around 4:30/5ish. My cousin had to leave to go to work and I left with her because I needed her 3-day pass for Saturday since I was bringing a friend.
Saturday was easily the busiest day. My friend Cat and I arrived about an hour in and it was already bustling. Unfortunately, it had been a very rainy morning and while I kept my Winter Soldier metal arm dry, putting it on my own wet arm was a bad, bad, terrible idea. I suspected the top part was beginning to crack the night before when I was trying it on one last time but I felt it crack more on this morning. There is still no visible crack but it is going to need a Franken-fix on it. The water also smudged some of the paint. I couldn’t get the arm up to my shoulder due to my arm being wet so it didn’t look right in its placement. Also, I need to make the cuts better so I can have some mobility with it. ONE MORE THING: A lot of people kept bumping into my arm. Dear people, please try to respect anyone wearing a homemade costume, it is likely that we spent a LOT of time and MONEY on it and even if it’s not that good it is still near and dear to our hearts.
Despite my cosplay snafu I enjoyed the rest of my day. I didn’t buy much except for lunch, beer, and an Agent Jemma Simmons identification card. My bank account needed a rest from how much I spent on Friday. We tried to get into a couple panel’s such as the Mary Sue one on women in comics but we were shut out. We even showed up an hour before it would start. I guess I just don’t know how to get into them!
We met up with some other friends who had taken advantage of the fact you can buy alcohol. It was fun to talk with them and hear about their Con stories. I ended up taking the same train ride home with them which was definitely nicer than traveling by myself.
I arrived on time and by myself this time. My friend Erin was caught up in an assignment and didn’t make it until the late afternoon, but I am so glad she got to enjoy herself for a few hours. I did bring my nice D-SLR camera so I roamed the floor taking shots of people cosplaying. I’m always in awe over these costumes. The time, love, and craftsmanship that goes into them is astounding. It’s interesting to see what people chose to cosplay, to see what’s important to them.
Erin and I had a lot of fun trying on silly hats and goggles. We had a really awesome conversation with one of the guys from the Weta Workshop (post will come later). I bought some cool prints made from a 95 year old press machine and also a Doctor Who tumbler so I can enjoy my pumpkin spice beverages any time I want.
There was a guy outside of the Javits Center dressed up as The Doctor and he brought his own Tardis. He was a great sport and a fantastic Ten impersonator. He definitely put a lot of smiles of peoples faces that day, including mine.
New York Comic Con was a blast and I wish it was every month. I barely slept with how excited I was every night. There a few things left in my adulthood that cause that kind of reaction. It had a way of making me feel so relaxed. I was surrounded by things I love and people who love them just as passionately as I do. And like the heroes we admire, I had no fear.
Well, there’s now less than 365 days until next year, time to get planning!
Here are couple pictures I took throughout the weekend: