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Being a comic book fan for most of my life, I tend to lean towards comic book characters when I’m deciding future cosplays. Gail Simone’s Birds of Prey run just meant the world to me. I’m automatically drawn to comics about women but having these really awesome women kicking ass, having close relationships with other women, and being unapologetic about their excellence really did make this series one of my favorites. Black Canary was so well written and you couldn’t help but love her in this series, so I’ve definitely had her on my list of future cosplays for a while. 

The rest of the photos are on my facebook!

www.facebook.com/thevenusnoire 

What's been happening in the Randy Queen situation, and what the timeline was

This is a repost from my personal blog:

Okay, so I didn’t originally plan to make a blog post about what’s been happening, but given how much media attention this has gotten, I feel like I should make a post just to clarify what’s going on, and the timeline of events thus far. 

First, I’m Ami Angelwings, and I’m the sole creator and administrator of Escher Girls.

On July 31st, I got an email from Tumblr informing me that the artist of DarkChylde, Randy Queen, had filed several DMCA takedown notices with Tumblr to remove posts with his work.  Tumblr removed the posts. 

The next day, I wrote a post about the situation in order to let similar blogs know this could happen to them if they had Queen’s art on their blogs, and to inform people why some posts went missing: http://eschergirls.tumblr.com/post/93520850386/so-yesterday-i-found-out-that-randy-queen-artist

I stated very clearly that I did not want people to harass him, and had no interest in having a feud with him.  At that point, I did not even have an interest in contesting the DMCA removals.

Some discussion ensued in the Disqus comments of Escher Girls, of which Kim Wincen was a part of.  Kim is one of the Disqus comments mods, but he has no actual role in running the site.

On August 4th, I got an email from Mr. Queen addressed to “Escher Girls and Kim”, presumably meaning Kim Wincen, threatening me with a defamation suit and alleging a right to “protect the perception of [his] IP as it exists today”: http://i.imgur.com/DjwCjcy.png

I posted it on Twitter because I didn’t know what to do.   I assumed that in addition to wanting me to not talk more about him, he wanted my commenters to stop talking too because he had included Kim in the email. At around the same time, I discovered Randy Queen had filed more DMCA takedown notices against Escher Girls to Tumblr, one of them being to remove the post I had made about him filing DMCA takedowns: https://imgur.com/Widv1vx

I assumed the post had been removed because I saw that it was missing from sites that had reblogged it.  But when I checked Escher Girls I discovered the post was still there but all of the reblogs up to that point had been removed.  I made an edit on the post noting that he attempted to remove it.

I tweeted about this too.  I was put in touch with Ken from Popehat.  We communicated on email and he advised me to withhold further comment until he got me legal counsel in Canada.

During this time, Mr. Queen sent me two more emails, which I forwarded to Ken because he was helping me navigate this.  The first was the one Ken later decided to publish on his blog: http://i.imgur.com/D0EeCy6.png where Mr. Queen alleged I was harassing him even though I have never contacted him. The second was Mr. Queen saying that if I would like to have a phone call with him to discuss this, he would be amenable to it: http://i.imgur.com/svFYatA.png.

Because I had no legal counsel at the time, I didn’t respond to either, nor did I make either of those emails public on my Twitter.   He has not contacted me since.

Ken was successful in finding me a lawyer in Canada willing to help me with this case, and we’re currently still discussing and looking into my options, although what we do will also depend on if anything further happens.  I have not contacted Mr. Queen so far, only he has emailed me.

This has been a surreal 2 days for me, but I’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of support I’ve gotten.

I want to thank so many people, but especially Ken from Popehat for helping me so much and finding me a lawyer, Chilling Effects for introducing me to Ken, Rachel Edidin for her support and advice when I was panicking at getting the first email, Gail Simone for her public support, and my amazing lawyer, Kate Andrews, who is so generously helping me and without whom I’d be so lost right now.  And I want to thank everybody else out there for the kind words I’ve received through this so far. <3

Update (Aug 6, 1:30PM): He’s posted this statement on his Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/randy.queen.18/posts/10152408441434442?fref=nf 

He also emailed the same statement to me with the subject header: apology.

Update (Aug 7, 2:10pM): Since yesterday evening, I have had private email conversations with Mr. Queen.  He’s apologized to me personally and is retracting the DMCA takedown requests.  I have written a post with more details here.

"I’m a cosplayer …. I’m also black. Which is fine by most everyone, until I have the audacity to cosplay a character who isn’t.

I’m aware that to actively engage yourself in such a visual hobby as cosplay, you have to have a thick skin — and I do. I’m cool with people criticizing my choice in fabrics, choice in wigs, choice of pose, whatever. But my skin color is something I can’t change, nor would I if I had the ability. I love the skin I was born in, and I won’t apologize, make excuses or work around it for anyone’s benefit beyond my own.

I’m thankful that the black cosplay community has encouraging blogs like Cosplaying While Black and World of Black Heroes, so now anyone who might be curious about joining in won’t have to worry about feeling out of place, and will also have a reference to see how certain colors, styles and characters look when portrayed by someone who shares similar features.

We have celebrity support as well - Gail Simone, the current writer of DC’s Batgirl has given her stamp of approval to cosplayers of color time and time again — she even told me she liked my Batgirl on Halloween! (And if Gail Simone likes what you’re doing, then everyone else can take a step to the left because GAIL SIMONE.)”

- Chaka Cumberbatch, writing for xoJane

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Strong Women & the Creators that Empower Them.

It’s the full panel, but worth your time:

"If you can take a character and replace her with a sexy lamp and your plot still functions then…fuck you…" - DeConnick