but these are comic book characters. we are passionate about these characters


Alex was recently interviewed by the Gold Derby (May 21, 2017) about his career, growing up in a family of actors and playing Perry in Big Little Lies.

Watch his interview below or on YouTube (x):

Excerpts from Alex’s interview:

On what drew him to play Perry:

Alex:  "What I was drawn to was the fact that he felt like a very conflicted character  and it felt like that friction was very interesting to me. It didn’t feel like the stereotypical abusive husband. You know? The wife beater. It felt very layered and I was very intrigued by the relationship between Perry and Celeste and the kind of volatility of that and the intensity of it. It was just something that I thought David E. Kelley, who wrote the script, had the way it was mapped out was very interesting. I love the idea that you first meet this family in this, you know, affluent neighborhood, with these cute kids and everything is perfect and it’s almost like you watch it and you think like that’s the dream life. They’ve been together for ten years and they’re still super passionate. I thought it was just fascinating the way it was structured and that fact that it doesn’t get super violent early on. It’s just like he grabs her at the end of the first episode and hopefully you’ll get this reaction from the audience like, ‘Whoa, I thought this was the dream couple. Something’s wrong.’

The fact that it escalates is quite interesting because in the beginning you don’t really know what goes on…what is that? Is that some weird game or is something sexual going on? The fact that it takes a while to realize that it’s really, really dark and very bad between the two.”

On doing True Blood:

Alex: “It was such a profound experience. It was seven years of my life and it kind of changed my career and changed my life. I miss it because it became like a family. When you freelance as an actor you form these bonds and these intense relationships but it’s usually for a few months and then you move on.

That was the only time that I had like a family I would return to. We would shoot seven months of the year and then we’d go off and do a movie or two and take some time off and see our families and then you come back and it’s kind of like that back-to-school feeling of being reunited. Not only the cast but we had the same crew for seven years.

That’s something that I miss as an actor. You don’t have colleagues that you grow up with in that sense. It’s usually for just a few months. So, it meant so much to me on many levels - obviously career-wise but personally as well.”

On his Big Little Lies character, Perry, being killed off:

Alex:  "I thought it was great. It’s so physical. It’s so intense, so primal the way it goes down. I love that. I love that all the ladies gang up on him and together like smaller predators taking on a larger predator, their combined strength will take him down. I love that it’s so physical and so intense. I thought it was a great way to end the show.“

On working with Nicole Kidman:

Alex:  "I think she’s okay. (laughter)

She’s extraordinary. She was already attached when I was sent the script.
I’ve been a fan for twenty years. My father worked with her on a Lars von Trier film, Dogville, about ten, twelve years ago and he had an amazing time and loved her. I worked with Lars on a movie and he spoke very highly of Nicole as well so I was very excited.

I couldn’t have asked for a better partner. It was a very, very tough shoot - it’s obviously very  emotionally and physically tough to portray these characters and go through this story but Nicole is such a sweet and generous human being and obviously an extraordinary actress. I think it was very important that we got along because it’s very difficult to shoot those scenes and I’m incredibly happy that I had her [as a scene partner] at the end of the day. To shoot those fight scenes for ten, twelve hours was emotionally draining and it’s very, very tough. Those were some of the toughest days on set that I’ve ever experienced.”

On whether he cares about playing likable or redeemable characters:

Alex:  "I don’t really care if he’s likable or redeemable, no. (laughter)
I want him to at least be conflicted. No matter how dark he is, you want to feel that there is some sort of inner struggle going on because that’s what makes it three-dimensional to me and what makes it feel real and interesting. If you’re going to play just like the traditional bad guy, it’s rarely interesting to me.“

On what he’s learned from coming from a family of artists and actors:

Alex:  "Well, my father…he’s always been very kinds of hands off when it comes to all the kids. He obviously loves being an actor but he never tried to kind of push us into it or convince us, you know, ‘You should really do this. This is a great job.’

I was a child actor and then I quit when I was thirteen because I didn’t think this was for me. And he was just…it was a three second conversation…Dad was like, 'If that doesn’t make you happy then do something else.’

That’s kind of been the core…He just wants all his kids to be happy…if that’s being a barista in Stockholm or working as an actor in Hollywood, he’s equally happy and it’s always been great to feel that…to feel like there’s zero pressure coming from Dad or Mom. They don’t care if we’re financially successful as long as we’re happy and that we’re doing things that we’re excited about…they’re happy.

I think that was important to me. When I left acting, I didn’t act for eight years because that gave me an opportunity to do other things and then find my own way back into it. It wasn’t like Dad steered me in that direction. It was my own choice and that was very important for me to feel.”

*Random facts from the interview:

~Alex read the Big Little Lies script first and then read the book a month before they started principle photography.

~He loves the format of doing a limited TV series (Big Little Lies, Generation Kill) over a long period of a time (“it’s a dream” for an actor…and “an opportunity to go a lot deeper and get to know [the character] a bit better”).

~His scene in the car with Nicole at the end of Big Little Lies was also shot toward the end of filming.

~He said he wasn’t invited to Comic-Con during the first year True Blood aired.

Interview Sources:  Video: GoldDerby YouTube (x) via KnowYourLeaker Twitter (x), Images: Our caps, Text: Our transcription.

Hello all This is an update and somewhat a break regarding the tumblrs future and yes I am breaking away from the character description I started adding to each post.

As some of you who have followed the tumblr will know late last year I tried experimenting with a potential friendship problem adventure story that I had fun drawing with some of the scenariosI put book horse and apple horse in XD . But honestly since the beginning have struggled to come up with a humorous idea on how to warp it up. Not only that but in the recent months I have found myself losing interest or getting slightly stressed on what else I can do with Twi and AJ weekly This tumblr was inspired by Rarijack daily and I though Twijack would be a breeze but its not ,thats partly because I want to keep the images close to the cannon as possible and leave really shippy images to other twijack fans.

This is going to sound silly but I sort have lost my drive to make anything MLP at the moment, though considering I have been with the pony train since early 2011 you have to cut me some slack to essentially take a break from the world of Equestria and focus on other fandoms and personal projects which I have a lot of passion for right now )You can blame Anime for this ^^;). My new direction in my Life is to go in to Picture book / comics as a professional and I can not let side projects like Twijacky weekly eat up all my spare time then I desperately want to have something  unique original to do with jowybean. Now I am in no way shape or form saying I am leaving the fandom or going to become an antibrony I still find ideas popping in to my head for future  pony art and twijack images. I just find everything about MLP G4 kind of Meh at the moment.

Now regarding this information the tumblr is not stopping either its just not going to continue the friendship problem storyline or be updated weekly.  From now on it will be updated with cute sketches or illustrations of the duo only if I think they would make a great addition to the roster of Twijacky imagery I have previously made. I imagine when the new pony season and movie rolls around the inspiration will come rushing back to me and the enjoyment for the tumblr will be refilled :).

I apologise if this annoys/ disappoints you in anyway as i did the exact thing when I attempted luna comic in 2013-2014 and stopped that because well big fan projects for me are hard too keep on top of. I have been drawing way before G4 ponies was a thing guys and I have so many wonderful opportunities as a professional artist that I need to take advantage of before I regret missing them because of being a crony artist.

I feel more assured that I am sharing this with you now rather then letting it die slightly or press on and make it a chore that drains me. If i kept forcing the lacklustre twijack work guys, you would tell I was running dry on ideas soon enough. MLP just dose not have the same magic I felt for it in the early days and eventually it will in some way fade away for me. not ever die out just become another thing I enjoyed being a part of like any other geek thing in our life’s, trends come and go and its a natural response as time moves forward and we grow up in this crazy world.

Whatever happens with me and my love for MLP I applause the diehard fans that can enjoy everything pony to the fullest. And I am am very grateful for so many people taking the time and interest to follow this silly tumblr for two characters I really like.  

until next post which hopefully will not be too long Laters and bro hoof Jowybean

Mista and Trish Romance, is it Canon? DEEP ANALYSIS AHEAD

While I was re-reading Vento Aureo (mostly to find some good Giorno and Mista stuff for my analysis on their relationship..still need to finish that eventually) I also wanted to explore Mista and Trish’s relationship, since a lot of Jojo fans assume they got together after the end of Vento Aureo.

I love and respect Trish’s character wholeheartedly, she is one of my favorite female characters in Jojo. As a confused 15 year old girl, she was able to develop her stand and contribute to the team, even though she was surrounded by violent criminals trying to kidnap her (and a father who wanted her dead). With that being said, a lot of Jojo fans assume she and Mista are a canon pairing, because of their interactions after they switched bodies, and because of that one image of Trish grinding on Mista in Jojo Agogo. In fact, when I read the shitty b&w scans of VA, I thought that too, especially when I kept seeing that Jojo Agogo cropped image of them dancing, being posted everywhere.

But when I saw the entire image, and looked through all the other Jojo Agogo poses (this book is a riot, there’s one scene of Killer Queen being groped and lifted up by The World), I realized right away that this was just a glamorous fan-service thing Araki made. I mean..there are Squadra members participating in this dance party (look at Fugo and Risotto, they are being so gay..despite having never met each other in the story) and though I’d like to think they all just randomly stopped fighting, invited Fugo back, and started a dance party (before the Squadra members got killed)..it’s safe to say this has no real basis in the canon story.

So what do we know about Mista and Trish’s relationship from the canon narrative? Well, he likes to check out her “goods” in the earlier chapters of the story…and that’s all we really know in terms of his attraction to her. Mista is a bit of a lech so that isn’t surprising at all, I mean he lets Giorno put his hand in his pants to help him “aim” his pistol, and the story notes that Mista, before joining Passione, called out to women.

After that….there’s barely any interaction between Mista and Trish. In fact, it seems like he just completely loses interest her. In that scene above, he is upset.while staring at Trish’s tatas..because he fears the boss will come after him for looking at his daughter like that. After the gang betrays the boss, he has free reign to pursue her without worrying about that anymore, but he chooses not to.

In fact, he decides to join Bruno because he wanted to be second in command after the boss is killed, and because he trusts Giorno’s judgement..he doesn’t want to do that for Trish’s sake (which is the opposite from Bruno’s motives, who acted in the heat of the moment by protecting her). By that point in the story, he seems to not care all that much about Trish in a “romantic” context, and focuses his attention on a certain blonde haired “protagonist” instead. If he truly was interested in her, he would try to talk to her more..but he never does…at all..until they switch bodies.

(after Notorious BIG fight from the group pose they do when the plane is landing, notice how Trish is just standing off to the side and these two are cuddling wtf lmao).

When they switch bodies because of Silver Chariot Requiem, everyone is freaking the fuck out because they aren’t in their original bodies. Trish has the most over the top reaction to this. Right away we learn that she doesn’t find Mista attractive at all. Also when Mista touches Trish’s boobs while he is in her body, his reaction is, “why the fuck do i have these!?” not “oh my god i have boobies hell yeah!!” Also poor Mista, he is upset that she thinks he is some hairy smelly freak of nature. And honestly, I would yell at Mista too and tell him to stop touching me, if I was in her position as well.

Here, the most important part, is Mista saying, “You think I really want to touch you?” He’s affirming that he’s not really interested in her that way by asking that rhetoric question. It could also be him just acting defensive, but Mista is a straightforward kind of guy, he says what is his on his mind and doesn’t think too hard about situations…in fact that is a huge aspect of his personality. Which is why when he said that, I believe he was being honest towards the way he felt about her in that point in the narrative.

Also when Trish runs to Giorno, who is in Narancia’s body, Mista says “Now you really want to die huh” and I busted out laughing. If that isn’t some kind of weird overprotective comment (implying he means: don’t you dare touch my giorno) I don’t know what is. I highly doubt that Mista is saying Giorno would harm her, because that is out of character for Giorno’s personality, he never hurts people, not even in a comical way, unless they are morally bad in his eyes. Both Trish and Mista know this about his personality. At that point Mista was getting sick of her criticisms, and when she runs to Giorno, that was the final straw for him haha.

But it’s not all bad between them! Once they get back to their original bodies, they have such a cute moment together omg. I loved these scenes, poor Mista was feeling self conscious about his body odor, and Trish tells him that she misses it! Now from that line alone, I definitely can understand why people assumed they may have gotten together after the story ended. However, Trish says his fingers are still freaky..which is basically her reaffirming that she isn’t attracted to him in that way (remember, she said his fingers were dirty and hairy earlier). And Mista doesn’t take that to heart, hence the super cute moment they have when they laugh (reminds me of the weird things me and my friends do when we laugh off awkward situations as well).

In fact, Hato and Joshu, who are brother and sister in Jojo part 8 (jojolion) have an exact same moment where they turn to each other and laugh, mimicking Mista and Trish’s pose in that final scene. (ugh I WISH I had that saved, it’s adorable).

(in the final cover pose, Trish turns away from the surviving members, while Giorno and Mista touch hands. The hand touching symbolizes their fates are tied together. Meanwhile, Trish’s pose follows the direction of Bruno’s extended leg, symbolizing she is going to listen to his advice for her: which is to restart her life after they defeat her father.)

Having looked through all of their interactions, I don’t think, by the end of Vento Aureo, that they were interested in each other romantically. However, I can see them becoming close friends. All we really know about Trish after the story is over, is that Bruno gives her his house to live in and wishes for her to go to school in that area. (imo Trish and Bruno have a much deeper meaningful connection with a potential romance, I can do a meta post on them if yall want that)

Also, in Purplehaze feedback (the novella about Fugo rejoining passione, which imo is canon because the jojo games think it is, the Japanese fans love it, and Araki gives it his seal of approval by adding his own illustrations on what the characters look like in the book) Trish is a popstar, that strays from passione. In a radio interview, she refers to them as “a group of friends” that she “owes a debt to.” Giorno then says the following to Fugo:

“In Venice, you said we didn’t even know what kind of music she liked. Now you do.”

He raised the glass to his lips, took a sip, and put it back on the table.

“We didn’t help her with this, you know. We don’t do that any more. She got the recording contract on her own merits.”

And with that, he moves on to talk about Fugo’s betrayal. If Trish were still very close to them, Giorno would have mentioned it right away, because he was trying to make Fugo feel guilty for abandoning them. However, it seems like she isn’t and to me, that is OKAY. Though Trish proved herself by fighting with the crew, at the end of the day, she isn’t a gangster, so why would she stay close to them? I’m sure she contacts them and maybe visits them from time to time, but passione is still a violent organization, despite Giorno’s good intentions. They are mobsters that violently pursue underground drug trafficking and dangerous stand users. For a popstar, that is not good publicity.

Now I’m not saying you can’t ship those two, please ship away! I love seeing fanarts of them, but in terms of canon, based on what we have so far, I highly doubt they get together romantically. 

If you guys want to see me do more meta posts on jojo characters/relationships, I’ll do it, give me some suggestions!

The Questionnaire for Aspiring Friendship (Open to Additional Questions)

1) Reason for your Tumblr username?

2) Who do you follow most and how did you find them?

3) Favorite season of the year?

4) Favorite weather?

5) Worst injury that your willing to speak about?

6) Most embarrassing moment you can laugh at now?

7a) What state(s) have you lived in?

7b) What countries have you lived in/visited?

7c) Where would you want to visit?

8) Choose your weapon!?

9) Current/Future Pets?

10a) If you could hangout with a fictional character for a day, whom and why?

10b) What would you do with said character?

11) Favorite mythological creature?

12) Favorite half-human hybrid creature?

13) League of Legends, favorite champion(s)?

14a) Do you believe in the paranormal? Ghosts, Aliens, Cryptids, etc.

14b) If you could, would you explore a reportedly haunted location? A reportedly recent crash? A recent sighting nearby?

15) What fiction world would you want to live in?

16) Favorite element of nature? Also, yes, you could bend it to your whim.

17) Favorite type of food from that good old fashion food pyramid?

18) If you’re into that sort of thing, what peaks your “interests”?

19) Robots/Androids/Cyborgs, which do you prefer?

20) Favorite creature in fiction that you would keep as a pet?

21) If you do drink alcohol, favorite?

22) Land/Air/Sea, which would you live in if able to without dying?

23) How do you prefer your potatoes? If you don’t like potatoes, why?

24) That show(s) you could sit down for and watch till its over?

25) Favorite Pokemon(s)/Digimon(s)/Monster Rancher(s) and why?

26) Pirates/Cowboys/Ninjas, who do you root for?

27) Favorite Sport(s) to play/watch?

28) That game you could play for hours/days at a time?

29a) Would you live in a world where furries/athros were cohabiting?

29b) If yes, would you stay human or change into one of the above?

30) Favorite suit in a traditional card deck?

31) Lucky number(s)/charms?

32) That cereal you’ve enjoyed to this day?


34) For those kinky people, those closeted thoughts? That “ideal” scenario?

35) That happy place, your safe haven? Location and people eligible.

36) Rock/Paper/Scissors?

37) Favorite gemstone?

38) That band(s)/soundtrack(s) you could listen to all day?

39) Those things that keep you up at night?

40) Your partner in crime?

41) Disney: movie, character, song?

42) What do you believe is the answer to life, the universe, everything?

43) What would you pilot? You also can have it be a mech or transformer, or both!

44) That Youtube/Twitch channel(s) you watch?

45) That book you could read in one sitting?

46) What do you collect?

47) Favorite actor/actress? Living or passed.

48) Zodiac Sign? Astrological and/or Chinese.

49) That BOARD game you break out when friends are over?

49b) That VIDEO game you break out when friends are over?

50) What would you do first if you won that lottery after paying those bills and debts off?

51) That thing that isn’t creepy to others but still creeps you out?

52) That thing that you enjoy that others tend not to?

53) That drink you could enjoy with every meal?

54) That meal you enjoy every time?

55) That article of clothing you enjoy wearing most?

56) That thing that people do that just makes you feel fuzzy inside?

57a) That smell you could breathe in forever?

57b) That smell that scrunches up your face?

58) That artist you follow on here?

59) That comic you read? Can be a strip like on Taptastic or Marvel/DC/other.

60) That person that ticks you off?

61) That special someone in your life, how did you meet? Best friend and/or beyond.

62) That color that catches your eye?

63) That stuffed animal/toy you’ve kept around since you were a kid?

64) That console that got you into gaming? PC denied, tis beyond in power.

65) That teacher you had? For better or worse.

66a) What traits in others do you tend to gravitate towards?

66b) What traits do you avoid?

67) Regrets?

68) The saddest moment(s) in your life?

69) For the “passionate” folk out there, you know the question already.

70) The happiest moment(s) in your life?

71) That small thing that is satisfying every time you do it?

72) Would you change anything about yourself?

72b) If yes, what and why? If no, please explain.

73) What would you ride into battle? Living, dead, mechanical, real or fictional.

74) Alright, what do you look like? Hair/eye/skin color. Shouldn’t matter all  that much, that’s why it’s so late on this list, but hey- it’s here.

75) Measurements? Break out the tape and scale.

76) That thing you do to show off to new friends?

77) How would you describe your personality?

78) What personalities do you look for in others?

79) What do you do to relax and unwind?

80) Favorite places to hang out? Outside of the home that is, because really, that should be the ideal place by default.

81) What RPG class would you be? Video games count too.

82a) Play any instruments?

82b) If no: would you want to? If you just said yes, what? If you said no again, why?

83) Waifu(s)/Husbando(s)? We don’t discriminate.

84) That band you listen to that hardly anyone else around you does?

85) Oversized/Perfect/or Tight apparel?

86) That thing you bought on online recently?

87) What do you bundle up with on a cold day?

88) Travel back in time or to the future?

89) Spirit animal? Be specific.

90) That fictional character you wish you could hug?

91a) That thing you bought that didn’t meet expectations?

91b) That thing you bought that you wish you bought sooner?

92) What word do you have trouble saying? We all have at least one.

93) Is there someone you hated that you are now friends with?

94) That show from your childhood?

95) That song that makes you want to dance? Even if you don’t dance.

96) Crushes you had/have?

97a) Best class subject you had/have in school?

97b) Worst class subject you had/have in school?

98) For those that move around: where would you revisit, if your friends were still there?

99) Magic vs. Technology, which would you side with?

100) Where do you see yourself in the future, ideally?

Feel free to add more if you see this. This is meant to break the ice if you ever get stumped in a conversation. Try to keep it clean people.

Watch This Show: LEGION

I think it is more than fair to say that we have reached peak superhero. The number of hours I have spent in the Marvel Cinematic, and Marvel Extended, and Marvel Television Universes makes me feel obligated to not miss an offering, lest all those previous hours spent been in vain. Netflix alone has overwhelmed my tv time with a seemingly endless parade of superhero shows (Jessica Jones is the best, I can skip Iron Fist right?). I refuse to engage with the DC universe because life is simply too short.  Ironic that it is FX, the network of John Landgraf (forewarner of ‘peak tv’) has opted to throw out another offering from the world of Marvel.

Full disclosure, I have not read any of the X-Men comics and my experience with the characters has purely been through the movies and a childhood friend who dressed as Wolverine for 6 Halloweens in a row. That being said, the X-Men have always been my favorites in the superhero world. While the X-Men themselves may fight for good, mutants in general are not inherently heroes (or villains). They are not super soldiers, or vigilante billionaires, but rather just people who were born differently and have to deal in a society that is consistently suspicious of those who are different (hmmm feels familiar…almost like…..a parable…or something…). The best parts of the movies for me were never the blockbuster action sequences, but rather the mutant characters who were living their lives as teachers, line cooks or petty criminals. The potential mundanity of a mutant’s life sparked my (and I’m sure countless others) imagination: what would it be like to have mutant powers? What would they be? How would I live my life with them? In case you were wondering, my power would be to kill people with my mind. It would cause a lot of problems for me.

Legion captures that imaginative spark perfectly with the outsider narrative of David Haller (played by my nemesis Dan Stevens), a young man who believes his telepathic powers are really a schizophrenic mental illness. Even his sneaking suspicions about his own abilities feel intertwined with a potential psychosis, leaving the audience, like Haller, unsure of what to believe. Yes, I know I could easily google what the extent of this character’s powers are, but seeing them uncovered is infinitely more delightful. Instead of surrendering fully to the hero narrative we share Haller’s doubts and hopes regarding the increasingly surreal situations in which he finds himself. He is not an untouchable god or immortal alien, and while he may be a mutant he still suffers from the fallibility of his humanity.  

Most superhero movies, despite the presence of a different white male lead (I said it), are intensely formulaic. Even Deadpool, the R-rated black sheep superhero movie, still followed the standard formula pretty faithfully. And while these movies are on a whole enjoyable, the Marvel films have begun to feel more like a Mad Libs fill in the blank rather than films with individual vision.

Legion, however, has taken that Mad Libs booklet, set it on fire, and scattered the ashes to the wind. Legion is superhero story that feels 100% original, it is able to stand alone on the strength of its artistic merit and would be just as good without the Marvel and X-Men labels on the tin.

To start with Legion looks INSANE. With Fargo, Noah Hawley showed us he could channel the unique style of the Coen brothers, but he is a far from a one trick pony. Imagine that Stanley Kubrick and David Lynch decided to raise a child together, and that child grew up to be Wes Anderson, and then armed with his father’s directorial ambition and passion for the color red, he directed Legion. That’s what Legion looks like. Haller inhabits a world of earth tones punctuated with fire alarm reds and sickly greens, Zissou crew members scurry around the foreground while ominous figures lurk in the shadows. It is a world of menace, imagination, and overwhelming beauty. It feels like Twin Peaks on LSD, like the Royal Tenenbaums trapped in  A Clockwork Orange. It is sublime.

Even though I will never forgive him (he knows what he did), Dan Stevens is magnetic as the titular character, and even his sometimes odd American accent lends to the delicious oddness of Haller. Now get away from me forever Dan Stevens. Rachel Keller (who is only 24!!! Don’t talk to me.) Is as radiant here as she was in season 2 of Fargo. Her sweet but doomed romance with Haller is the anchor in a world that is constantly tilting on its axis. Rounding out the pilot cast is Jean Smart (legend), Aubrey Plaza (possibly, actually, a mutant) and Hamish Linklater who I love in everything. I just love that guy! Don’t you??? He’s always good (do I have a crush on Hamish Linklater? Help).

Most importantly, Legion is FUN. It is not bogged down in self importance or the dreadful moral hemming and hawing that plagues so many comic book outings. For chrissakes, it has a Bollywood dance break that is as emotionally resonant as it is playfully irreverent.  Legion is a show that is both a visual existential escape while being inescapably tethered to our present reality through its allegorical content. It is the show that we need even though we may barely deserve it’s staggering beauty and sublime weirdness.  I will not be recapping Legion, because (a) I don’t want to sully my enjoyment of this fine television program with my opinions and (b) I am already covering a lot when no one pays me to write (yet..?). But you have all been put on notice to watch this gem.

Five out of five, ten out of ten, hearts, stars and horseshoes.


PS. FX you can pay me in cash or check. I also accept Venmo.

strejdaking  asked:

If you are implying everyone who has been writing Spider-Man agrees with your interpretation, that simply not true. Admittedly, I can see why you, an actual person working in the industry, has hard time taking some guy on internet saying you and your coworkers are wrong seriously-but it's a fact that it's not just fans who think this. I ask you: Why are all the writers and fans who believe Spidey is about responsibility wrong? How is he about youth anymore than any character who started young?

Ok, there are a lot of things to unpack in your question here. I will try to do my best to answer them as I can.

First off, and importantly so, I don’t edit the Spider-Man books. I have worked on a few odd Spidey books over the years, most of which were not in continuity. I do co-edit Spider-Man/Deadpool, but mostly because I am the Deadpool editor. I am, however, a lifelong Spider-Man fan who cares as passionately about Peter Parker and his life as any fan on here, I guarantee you that.

Naturally, not every person who worked on Spider-Man over the years agrees on every aspect of Spider-Man. If they did, things would have gone a lot more smoothly than they did, and there wouldn’t be so many bad stories–some of which exist purely to undo previous stories.

You’re setting up a false dichotomy in what the book is about. When I have said in the past that Spider-Man is about “youth” it’s not the word “youth” that is the important part. I am very much a “spirit of the law” not a “letter of the law” guy. To me, being about Youth and being about Responsibility are not in opposition, they are two sides of the same coin. It’s also about doing what’s right even when it costs you. It’s also about growing up, coming of age, and “adulting” as another commenter replied. To me, those are all part of one big thing. And there’s room for all of those things in Spider-Man, because he is resilient.

But there is a reason that every time a new “version” of Spider-Man comes out, they make him as young as possible–High School or College age. They don’t start from scratch as a 25 year old guy. and I don’t think that is just because that is where he started in the comics. It’s because at that age is where his central message is easiest to tell stories about.

Yes, you have responsibility for your entire life, not just when you are young. But when you’re young, it’s easier to forgive your mistakes as a learning experience. If you want to read stories about an adult making bad decisions, constantly screwing up his life and failing to learn the right lessons…well, good news! We publish that book, too, it’s called Deadpool, and I actually DO edit that one.

Back to your point that not everyone who worked on Spider-Man agrees that youth is an important component of his story, that’s fine. But it has been pretty widely agreed by most creators and editors who worked on Spider-Man since the marriage that it was a bad idea for the character. They tried SO MANY TIMES over the years to get rid of the marriage. That’s why the Clone Saga started! Then there was Mary Jane dying on a plane! Then the separation when she was in LA! They really wanted it out of there.

And look…I GET IT. Guess what–when I started reading Spider-Man…when I FELL IN LOVE WITH THE SERIES AND ITS CHARACTERS…when, and I’ve said this before, when the book SHAPED ME FUNDAMENTALLY to a degree where I would say it served as my RELIGION…when all that happened? Spidey was MARRIED TO MJ. And when I read those late 90s/early 2000s stories trying to break them up?  I was OUTRAGED. I was invested in their marriage! I cared about Peter and I cared about MJ, and it was TOTALLY LAME to just pretend they were never married, like they tried to do for a while there during the Mackie and JMS runs.

For me, though, the changeover happened when I read Kurt Busiek explain why the marriage was bad for Peter as a character, and it all clicked. I stopped viewing the issue as something happening to people that I knew and cared about and started seeing it as story decisions made in a story I cared about. And I saw that yeah…it really would have bee better for the story if they had never been married.

But you know what? It’s fine if you don’t see it that way. I ended up a comic book editor. Most readers, hopefully, will not…and as such have no NEED to look at the stories that way. They can just read them and decide if they liked them or not. And that is totally great.

So if you don’t like unmarried Peter, I am sorry. But the good news is, you can read Renew Your Vows, you can read old stories from before OMD, you can read old Spider-Girl comics…and if the bulk of the fans agree with you, then who knows? Maybe he will be married again in the main series. I don’t think that is likely to happen…but anything is possible.

And just to quickly cover some of the other arguments other people have sent at me that I have not replied to…I actually think Clark and Lois being married is EVEN WORSE for Superman that Spidey’s marriage was for him. I think it completely changed who Superman is irrevocably, and that bums me out because I preferred the old version–the way he is in the Silver-Age or in All-Star Superman.  Meanwhile, the marriage DID NOT ruin Fantastic Four…because Reed and Sue already played the role of “mother and father” in that series before the wedding.  And the marriage did not ruin Deadpool because that was just another thing for him to screw up badly.

Epic Movie (Re)Watch #167 - X-Men (2000)

(GIF source unknown [if this is your GIF please let me know].)

Spoilers Below

Have I seen it before: Yes

Did I like it then: Yes.

Do I remember it: Yes.

Did I see it in theaters: No.

Format: Blu-ray

1) Xavier’s opening monologue is not only a great way to set up this individual film, but the now-17-year-old franchise which followed.

Prof. X: “Mutation: it is the key to our evolution. It has enabled us to evolve from a single-celled organism into the dominant species on the planet. This process is slow, and normally taking thousands and thousands of years. But every few hundred millennia, evolution leaps forward.”

2) The very first scene in this film is young Magneto in a Polish concentration camp and I have to say it works absolutely fantastically.

For one thing it creates immediate sympathy for what is essentially the villain of the peace, but more than that it sets the tone for the entire series. Not just the dark tone but the idea that mutants are representative of the oppressed. When the comics were first released in the 60s the parallels were between the Civil Rights Movement, nowadays you can see parallels with the gay community and islamophobia. That is because oppression, intolerance, and bigotry are essentially the same no matter who it is directed at.

3) The introduction to Anna Paquin’s Rogue continues to set the dark tone of the film, as well as Rogue’s key conflict in a simple and understandable way.

4) The government hearing.

The hatred, fear, and oppression seen in this scene should not be as relevant in 2017 as it is. Senator Kelly’s arguments about, “Well we do license people to drive,” is based on fear and fear alone. He is scared but justifies his fear by making other people afraid. Asking a human being to register for being different is undeniably unconstitutional. And the filmmakers are aware that America has seen this play out before.

Senator Kelly: “I have here a list of names of identified mutants…”

Senator Joseph McCarthy [an actual historical figure who instigated the Red Scare in the 1950s]: “I have here in my hand a list of 205—a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party”

Good, just wait until I do my recap for Good Night, and Good Luck. I’ll have some things to say about Joseph fucking McCarthy then.

5) The relationship between Charles and Erik is - like all the best elements in this film - clearly established from their introduction to the audience.

Erik: “I’ve heard these arguments before.”

We understand that they’re friends, we understand that they both think they have the best interests of their people (mutants) at heart, but most painfully we understand exactly WHY they both go about their revolution through different methods. It is a relationship which will remain consistent and interesting throughout the series.

6) Ian McKellen as Magneto.

(GIF originally posted by @marveladdicts)

There are a number of standout casting decisions made in this film which will stay strong even in the weaker entires of this series, and Ian McKellen is definitely one of them. Unless you’re The Joker, a good villain does not see himself as the villain. Magneto does nothing out of cruelty or malice, he does so for one clear end goal: the superiority of mutant kind. You understand why he goes to drastic measures, even if you don’t agree with him. McKellen is able to consistently make Erik human. The sadness, the determination, the focus, everything that makes this character amazing in the comics, McKellen carries onscreen. A truly brilliant choice which will give us many great scenes to come.

7) Anna Paquin as Rogue.

Originally posted by poisonpam

Rogue is markedly more different than she is in the comics, but I don’t have as much of an issue with that as others do (at least, not in this film). She’s a bit more timid, a bit more scared, which is very human of her and helps the audience sympathize with her. Paquin plays the part remarkably well, carrying Rogue’s pain and conflict well in her performance.

8) Hugh Jackman as Wolverine.

Originally posted by hughxjackman

Hugh Jackman is the standout element of this film and one of the most perfect examples of comic book casting in the history of cinema. The guy played the part for SEVENTEEN years. Even in weaker X-Men films Jackman’s Wolverine is remarkably consistent. He IS Wolverine. The aggression, the ferocity, the isolation, the pain, the instinct, Jackman captures it all beautifully. But more than that, we explore who Wolverine becomes when we throw him together with other people. We see who he becomes just as he learns who he becomes when he has other mutants relying on him. It’s a remarkable journey to see him not only go through this film but all seventeen years of playing this character. You are not watching Hugh Jackman, this is not a performance. This is Wolverine. Living, breathing, pure, Wolverine. And whatever shortcomings the X-Men series has had throughout its years, Jackman’s Wolverine has always been perfect.

9) This line always stuck with me.

Originally posted by filmeslut

(GIF originally posted by @filmeslut)

This relates very well to the pain Wolverine deals with everyday. Most living creatures go through enough pain they do. Wolverine’s mutation means he lives with his pain on a daily basis. He HAS to. Dying is not an option for him. That is very defining for his character.

10) The fight with Wolverine and Sabretooth does a lot of things well. To start, it’s the first action scene of the film and - while brief - it establishes the strong choreography to come. Second, we immediately see a juxtaposition between Wolverine and the rest of the X-Men as he is more feral in his fighting style while Cyclops and Storm are much more uniform. Finally, it establishes the rivalry between Wolverine and Sabretooth. Something which is a staple of the comics, this rivalry doesn’t get too much time to develop in the film but it is established in small yet meaningful ways. I’m glad they at least did that as opposed to nothing.

11) Logan trying to escape Xavier’s mansion is actually wildly clever. It establishes the geography of the school without letting the audience know. Instead we follow Wolverine as he’s trying to escape this strange place and in the process get the layout of the new world he’s in. Very clever.

12) Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier.

Similar to McKellen’s Magneto, we are able to see the complexities of Xavier’s character through Stewart’s performance. We understand the pain he went through as a child, we understand how he has/is searching for hope for the future. We see the soft sorrow he carries mixed in with this optimism and the struggle he carries to put stock in hope over pain. It’s a wonderful character who - like Jackman - Stewart will get to play for 17 years.

13) If you want any further proof that Hugh Jackman is great as Wolverine:

Logan [after Xavier gives exposition about the X-Men and such]: “Sabretooth? Storm. What do they call you? Wheels?”

At least the last part of that line was improvised, but it is so perfectly Wolverine it fits.

14) The introduction to the Xavier school from a storytelling standpoint (as opposed to just a geography standpoint) is very slick and clean. We’re getting a lot of exposition about Professor X, the X-Men, and the world of mutants in not a lot of time. But it doesn’t dog down the film and we are not bored by it.

15) Ah, the future continuity issues begin…

When I was 17, I met a young named named Erik Lenscher…”

Originally posted by benmckee

They seem a little older than 17 to me…

16) Rebecca Romijn as Mystique.

Originally posted by obiwanskenobi

Romijn’s part as Mystique is largely a physical performance, but that does not mean it isn’t an iconic one. Before Jennifer Lawrence would put on the blue skin paint, Romijn would define who Mystique was on screen for all to come. She is able to portray the character’s passion, focus, physical strength, and shiftiness with just a movement. She doesn’t have many lines, but the ones she does have leave an impact.

Mystique [to Kelly]: “You know people like you are the reason I was afraid to go to school as a child.”

17) Magneto knows what’s up.

Magneto: “Mankind has always feared what it doesn’t understand.”

18) Famke Janssen as Jean Grey.

Originally posted by xmenladies

Janssen plays Jean well not only in this film but as she develops over the trilogy. Despite not having the flashiest/most aggressive of powers like Wolverine or even Cyclops, she’s able to hold her own with the rest of the team. She’s confident, competent, but still able to be vulnerable when the story calls for it and has no ego. A strong character actress with a strong character to fit her roll, I am glad for Janssen in this film.

19) James Marsden as Cyclops.

(GIF originally posted by @hughxjackman)

Okay, so I’ve got a handful of issues with how Cyclops is handled in the original trilogy. Not through Marsden’s performance or through his characterization, but more because of a lack of things to do in the plot. However, those issues do not pertain to this film (wait until I get to my Last Stand recap). Although Marsden’s Scott Summers/Cyclops is largely used as a foil to Jackman’s Wolverine, we get to see him in action and lead the X-Men later in battle (like he does in the comics). This film doesn’t peel back too much more than, “Wolverine pisses me off,” but we do get to see Marsden play a caring and competent leader when Wolverine is not in the picture. How he searches for Rogue, the way he handles the team on Liberty Island, Marsden plays all of this great. You understand why Scott is the leader of the team through his conduct and confidence, both things Marsden shows off very well.

20) Hey, remember back when Stan Lee cameos in Marvel movies were, “blink and you’ll miss it?”

21) So Logan straight up kills Rogue when she wakes him up from a nightmare. Like he’d be dead if it weren’t for her mutant ability. And after she does it to save her life she is met by fear and caution from her fellow students initially. And then Mystique disguised as Bobby comes to her and reprimands her. Tells her students are afraid of her, that Xavier is furious and looking to kick her out. How much must that hurt? Like, “Here’s a place where I can be me. Where other people are as weird as I am and where I can be accepted.” And then that’s taken away from her. It’s pulled out from under her feet because people are afraid of her, a feeling which is importantly all too familiar to her at this point. She let her guard down and - even though it wasn’t true and it wasn’t really Bobby - she was so ready to believe the world had turned on her AGAIN. That just…sucks.

22) Charles acting like he doesn’t know how Erik is hiding from his telepathy takes on new meaning in a post First Class world. It is probably easiest attributed to another error in continuity, but my head canon is that Charles is covering for Erik a little in the never dying hope that he’ll do the right thing.

23) Halle Berry as Storm.

Originally posted by alexsexklaus

I have never loved Berry as Storm, but that’s more because of The Last Stand than anything else. I think I like her best in this film, which is unfortunate because it is where she has the least to do. She’s a bit kinder, a bit more even tempered, wiser and more soulful than she comes off in the sequels. And the keeping of her original accent is a nice touch (I was disappointed to lose that in the sequels). But again, that’s all there’s really to say about her because she doesn’t get much time to shine in this film.

24) The relationship with Wolverine and Rogue is one of my favorite things about this film. These are the two most isolated characters in the film and they’re able to find solace in each other. Logan acts as the big brother/mentor to Rogue, familiar with the loneliness she feels for 15 years. Meanwhile Rogue finds comfort in someone who’s actually going to look after her. This is best seen on the train after Rogue runs away, where Logan leaves the decision up to Rogue. He’s not there to bring her back, he’s not there to pressure her into doing something she doesn’t want, he gives his two cents but will go wherever she wants to. He’s got her back.

Logan: “Come on. I’ll take care of you.”

If there’s one thing I miss most as the series progresses, it is this wonderful relationship between the pair.

25) According to IMDb:

The scene in the train station where a young boy smiles at Cyclops and he smiles back was unplanned. The boy was a huge X-Men fan, and Cyclops was his favorite. The scene originally called for Cyclops to look at the train schedule, but according to Bryan Singer, the boy could not stop smiling at James Marsden. Finally, during one shot, Marsden just looked back at him and smiled, much to the boy’s delight. Bryan Singer liked the idea so much, he kept it in the film, and told the actress playing the boy’s mother to react the way she did.

(GIF source unknown [if this is your GIF please let me know].)

26) And so it begins…

Magneto [upon encountering Wolverine]: “That remarkable metal doesn’t run through your entire body, does it?”

27) The scene with Magneto, the police, and Charles in the background is something I really enjoy. This is primarily because it is more a conflict between Charles and Magneto than anything else. I was taught in an early film class that if one character can walk away and not be devastated, the stakes aren’t high enough. I think that is the key to this scene. It’s all about stakes. What exactly are Charles and Erik willing to do, willing to sacrifice, all to get what they want? Seeing that play out is wonderful.

28) The fact that Storm stays with Senator Kelly while he dies, holds his hand, talks with him, even after all he’s done, speaks to a wisdom she has that is totally lost in X-Men: The Last Stand (but more on that when I get there).

Kelly: “Do you hate normal people?”

Storm: “Sometimes.”

Kelly: “Why?”

Storm: “I suppose I’m afraid of them.”

The fact she can admit that she hates those who oppress her sometimes is great. Because of course you would hate those who ruin your life! But not letting that hate define who you are is an incredible thing.

29) There is a brief moment where Cyclops is seen distraught over a comatose Professor X, which I think is very telling of their relationship in a way we will (unfortunately) not see again in this set of three films. It speaks to the depths of admiration he has for what is essentially his father figure.

30) One thing the Marvel Cinematic Universe can learn from this film: how to create a great villain in two hours.

Magneto [with Rogue, upon seeing the Statue of Liberty]: “I first saw it in 1949. America was going to be the land of tolerance. Of peace.”

Magneto [about the Holocaust]: “Women and children, whole families destroyed just because they were different than those in power.”

31) I love this.

Wolverine [about the uniforms]: “You actually go outside in these things?”

Cyclops: “Well what would you prefer? Yellow spandex?”

32) This is one of my favorite scenes in the entire franchise.

Originally posted by soundsofmyuniverse

(GIFs originally posted by @soundsofmyuniverse)

I was about twelve when I saw this film for the first time. I really got comfortable using my middle finger after this scene. And too this day, every time I extend my middle finger, it is just SO cathartic. I may or may not be exclusively typing with only my middle fingers now.

33) Ladies and gentlemen, one of the greatest bloopers in cinematic history.

34) Logan’s fight with Mystique is incredible and reflects some of the incredibly strong solo choreography he will get as the film continues. It is fast paced, enticing, and plays with the concept of a shapeshifter very well (even giving us some GREAT misdirection right before Logan defeats Mystique, since at first we think he’s Mystique when he stabs Storm only to have Storm be Mystique all along).

35) You know how X-Men never stay dead? No? Well Toad does.

Toad [after thinking he killed Storm]: “Don’t you people ever die!?”

36) Oh boy…

Originally posted by mulder-scully-gifs

That is a line crafted by Joss Whedon after Fox asked him to help iron out the script (one of only two lines of his that made it into the final film). According to the famed writer, he had intended it to be much more tongue in cheek than it was finally delivered as. To this day, it is considered one of the worst cheesiest lines to grace a superhero film ever. Moving on.

37) This was the other line of Whedon’s which made it into the film, and I fucking love it.

Wolverine [returning to the team, only for Cyclops to point his eye beams at him]: “Hey, hey. It’s me.”

Cyclops [thinking he’s Mystique]: “Prove it.”

(GIFs source unknown [if these are your GIFs please let me know].)

38) You know what trope I love more than any others? At least, I’m pretty sure it’s my favorite. When the antagonist’s self righteous behavior gets called out.

Wolverine [to Magneto]: “You are so full of shit. If you were really so righteous it would by you in that thing.”

39) The final fight between Logan and Sabretooth is another strong action set piece in the film, with the use of place (the top of the Statue of Liberty) used greatly. These two are very similar in styles, in ferocity, and it’s fun to see them duke it out.

40) The final dialogue between Charles and Erik is powerful for a lot of reasons. It harkens back to the core conflict of their relationship/dissonance in philosophies, while also reminding the audience that all the problems of the world have not been solved and will have to be dealt with in the future.

Magneto: Does it ever wake you in the middle of the night? The feeling that one day they will pass that foolish law or one just like it, and come for you? And your children?

Xavier: It does, indeed.

Magneto: What do you do, when you wake up to that?

Xavier: I feel a great swell of pity for the poor soul who comes to that school… looking for trouble.

X-Men is a strong start to what would end up being one of the defining franchises of the 21st century. With great performances all around - specifically Jackman, McKellen, and Stewart - as well as reverence for the source material and a powerful tone, X-Men stands up to the test of time because of it’s characters and (unfortunately always) relevant themes of bigotry and bias. A film everyone should try at least once.


Fandom: Once Upon A Time (TV Series)
Pairing: Emma Swan/Regina Mills | Evil Queen
Rating: T/PG-13 for mild language, brief drug use
Links: AO3 & FF.Net
Warnings: The briefest of legal drug use, Meta
Summary: Emma is a comic book writer at the San Diego Comic Con, trying to help her youngest fan find his mom.
Notes: I would like to thank my Once RP group for helping me brainstorm. They might be mostly Hookers but I would literally fight anyone that has a negative thing to say about them. Thanks guys. Much love to you. Also, I wrote all of the SQW prompts as potential first chapters. Some of them I’ve very happy with. Others I’m still looking at sideways. Looking at you Day 2 and Day 3. But it’s all good. I may finish these potential multi chapter ficts if people want them. Since they are all romantic is some way, expect a rating change in the near future. 
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters, or whatever the hell else. They belong to Disney, ABC etc, etc, I claim no rights to copyrighted material, and this story is purely for entertainment purposes.

Originally posted by you-chang-e-d-m-y-life

“Um… Hi, my name is um… Ashley… and um… my question is for everyone…”

Ashley was young. No older than 16. Her long blonde hair was stuffed under a beanie and she was wearing a t-shirt with read “You Can’t Take the Sky From Me,” under a heavy coat that was a bit much for San Diego in August even in the cool air conditioned Convention Center. Her jeans were full of holes, but they weren’t the fashionable kind. They were the kind that only came from wear and tear.

If she was wearing Chuck Taylors and had weed in one of her many jacket pockets, Emma Swan could swear she was looking a living photo of herself at sixteen.

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The Year of Intelligent Tigers

Some A shit ton of highlights of the last EDA I’ve read (The Year of Intelligent Tigers). Probably my longest post so far.

I took these screens while reading, along with my reactions. As usual, this is full of spoilers.

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anonymous asked:

"they were going to have Kαtααng, which they insist is in the “DNA” of the show, happen with a ten and twelve year old?" That's because Kataang was supposed to remain one-sided with Aang crushing on Katara but her not reciprocating. Them actually getting together was not planned out until later on. Even during Book 3, some of the writers wanted Katara to end up with Zuko. Zutara happening was not something that Bryke wanted but the other staff members and Aaron Ehasz wanted it to.

“I think you’re absolutely right about Mai being retconned to be paired off with Zuko. I have heard that Aaron Ehasz created Mai (and Ty Lee and Azula), and he doesnt like Maiko. If you look only at the eps that he or his wife wrote, Return to Omashu, Zuko Alone, The Awakening (life story comment) none of them suggest that they were “childhood sweethearts”. They only show Mai liking Zuko quite superficially and nothing from him. Bryke like Maiko, thats why its badly written like the LoK romance.” 

“about your ask for the airbender thing and ty lee, aaron ehasz originally was going to make ty lee a descendant of an airbender who escaped. zephyrita mentioned it once on their blog before they left. again, bryke fucked up and the ehasz duo needs to come back like aang and save us from bryke’s bullshit.” 

[Disclaimer: Araeph does not vouch for the validity of these asks, but merely wishes to demonstrate the context and frequency of these two names being mentioned.]

Who Are the Ehaszs, and Why Does Everyone Bring Them Up?

Aaron and Elizabeth Ehasz. You will hear these names often as guides for what disenchanted fans, particularly Zutara shippers and “Legend of Korra” antis, would have liked to have seen in the Avatar world, versus what we actually got once Bryke assumed more control. While A:TLA was such a collaborative effort that no one person or team could be the end-all-be-all of the series, often the balance shifts too far the other way, with people ascribing all of the series’ creative genius to Bryke. (The disappointing “Legend of Korra” and character-mangling comics helped fans take a second look at the process behind A:TLA’s creation.) There has been a subsequent pushback in recent years to give the other talents around A:TLA more credit for the story. So why were these two staff writers so important?

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wingsandimpalas  asked:

You talking about and defending being ace is my new favourite thing. I have a lot of friends who fall into various LGBT categories and of those maybe 2 completely get what I'm talking about when I say am ace and the rest just kinda shrug and go with it because I have no clue how to explain something that for me is so simple and to them is so foreign so thank you for writing an easy way for me to explain this better other than a shrug and a idek. Seriously thanks.

ahahaha WELL MY DEAR if it makes you happy and help at all then LET ME SPEAK ABOUT ACENESS UNTIL THE COWS COME HOME. and I haven’t seen those cows in a while. I don’t think they’re coming back. they’re out there in the real world now, living bovine lives of gentle splendour, I’m sure.

it really isn’t a well-known or well-explored concept, yet, is it?? I get a lot of shrugs and confusion, too. this is why I’m super passionate about ace representation in literature and movies - because at the moment ace people are kind of society’s vampires in the sense that WE ALL TURN INTO BATS, no wait, no I meant in that we have no reflection in media whatsoever. you know all those posts that are like “vampires drawing pictures of each other to show each other what they look like bc they can’t see in the mirror”? they make me think of ace culture tbh. because we just have practically nothing to go on in the media, so here we are creating our own drawings of each other in fanfic and art and discussion.

I did my Master’s dissertation on asexuality in YA literature, and managed to come up with a grand total of around 4 books that had an ace character (one of them didn’t canonically use the word asexual, one of them had an ace character for about 0.2 seconds, one of them had a really cold and cruel ace character, and ONE OF THEM I ACTUALLY LIKED OMG) and onscreen I’m struggling to think of an ace character… I think there was one in Shadowhunters? this is why I’m so frustrated that they erased the asexuality of Jughead Jones in Riverdale. man I’m loving watching that show but I can’t get over how Jughead was described as canonically asexual in the comics and in the show they were just like…. nah…. he straight. I mean, hope springs eternal that they’ll layer Jughead’s sexuality into the relationship he’s in, which would be completely possible… but it doesn’t seem likely based on cast interviews. it’s missed opportunities like this that could make all the difference to turning those shrugs of confusion into acceptance.

I got myself thinking, I wish we could all turn into bats. that’d be so cool.

anonymous asked:

I see you complaining about Scott Lobdell's mischaracterization of Jason a lot, but what exactly don't you like about it?

*cracks knuckles*

i am so glad you asked, anon.

okay. first of all: lobdell’s characterisation of jason isn’t my least favourite characterisation. that dubious honour goes to fabian nicieza’s jason in robin v2, as broken down by luka over here. but god, does it irritate me. bear in mind that i didn’t read all of rhato, because i couldn’t read too many issues before i just gave up. (warning: major saltiness beneath the cut.)

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Zendaya is probably MJ or a MJ adaptation Part 3

Part 1

Part 2

So I have went on length talking Zendaya in the past before. I detailed her similarities with MJ or very contrived coincidences that lead me to believe that she is MJ or an MJ adaptation. Zendaya has gone at length to say that she is not going to play Mary Jane Watson and she is playing Michelle….which as far as we know, the only person in Spider-man mythos with that name is some latina girl who Chameleon raped via deception. He pretended to be Peter Parker while seducing Michele. Oh, if you are a woman and are creeped out by that and essentially the treatment of women in this medium, welcome to my hell!

And quite honestly, Marvel would not dare bring that character back into mythos, and even if she were playing that character, Marvel would at least try to bring her back in the comics and they haven’t. Although it has been said that Miles Morales is getting a love interest after two failed ones, but again, Miles is not in this movie in spite of it taking several key elements from Miles Moarles. Peter also takes his girlfriend would also be hilarious.

It is not that I do not believe Zendaya. It is that Marvel seems to to think people are stupid.

So Marvel released another Spider-man trailer which by the way, they should stop releasing trailers. I pretty much seen the damn movie based on trailers alone. They explained the plot, the exigency, the twist, and the reveal based on these trailers alone. So I will give Zendaya the benefit of a doubt and say that she is playing a Mary Jane adaptation. Because clearly she is.

It is obvious that Zendaya is a key character since homegirl is essentially being billed as the lead actress. In the trailer, you see Zendaya’s character reading a book during Captain America’s PSA.

First, great casting because I literally had to double check to notice that Zendaya was in this scene. Second, the book she is reading is Of Human Bondage. What’s that?

W. Somerset Maugham’s masterwork is the coming-of-age story of Philip Carey, a sensitive young man consumed by an unrequited and self-destructive love.

Born with a clubfoot, Philip is orphaned as a child and raised by unsympathetic relatives. Sent to a boarding school where he has difficulty fitting in, he grows up with an intense longing for love, art, and experience. After failing to become an artist in Paris, he begins medical studies in London, where he meets Mildred, a cold-hearted waitress with whom he falls into a powerful, tortured, life-altering love affair. This is the most autobiographical of Maugham’s works, with Philip’s malformed foot standing in for Maugham’s stutter, and the character’s painful romantic struggles inspired by the author’s own intense love affairs with both men and women. A brilliant and deeply moving portrayal of the price of passion and the universal desire for connection, Of Human Bondage stands as one of the most accomplished novels in English literature.

And there is also a film about it as well. It was critically acclaimed and the lead actress nearly won an Oscar for it.

This is the third time that Zendaya’s character has been reading a very obscure book with a critically acclaimed film adaptation with a strong and complex lead female character.

You are sensing a trend here?

Mary Jane Watson was an actress(now she is Tony Stark’s assistant) and as a young woman, you’d expect that Mary Jane would take an interest in reading books as any thespian would. In fact that is part of MJ’s origin as her father was a struggling writer as well as Literature professor.

Why I Feel Zuko’s Betrayal Was To End Zutara

I touched on this a little in my last analysis, but I suggested the idea that Zuko’s decision to join Azula in Ba Sing Se was not the natural organic progression of his character arc, but something Bryke decided upon later to eliminate the possibility of Zuko being Katara’s love interest. It’s a pretty bold claim, so am I just a delusional Zutarian? I pointed out some of the things that didn’t make sense about Zuko and Azula’s actions in that essay that I wanna elaborate on. 

I wish I could believe the betrayal was a purposeful narrative decision to demonstrate the moral fallibility of man…but I don’t. I really do believe it was for the stupid shipping. I hate that I even have to say that, honestly, because it seems so petty to distort a main character’s arc just to allow a preferred pairing to happen. But given how childish and condescending Bryke have been to some of the most passionate fans of their show (myself included), just for enjoying the Zuko/Katara romantic dynamic, I find this entirely in the realm of possibility. They also butchered the concept of opening the Crown Chakra (supposed to be a transcendental spiritual experience in Eastern philosophy) by having Aang get shoved into a rock wall, and lobotomized Katara beyond recognition in the comics, just to pair Aang and Katara, so hey, why not Zuko, too? Speaking of Zuko…

We get an idea of who he is early on in Book 1. This is at the height of his intense obsession to capture the Avatar. He is still a loyal Fire Nation soldier at this point, and still has complete faith in his father, yet when he sees an opportunity to choose between the Avatar and his uncle, he chooses the latter. Early on, the story is trying to let the viewer know what type of person Zuko is and what his priorities are. He is angry, and obsessive, but not coldhearted enough to abandon his family that he loves.

After Zuko nearly gets killed by the pirates, Iroh is afraid of losing him, like Lu Ten.  Again, we see Zuko highly regards his uncle’s feelings. It upsets him to see his uncle get so emotional.

We see this again in Book 2, while he still is devoted to capturing Aang. Zuko temporarily splits up from his uncle in an attempt to fend for himself and he runs into the Avatar and his sister, and fights them. Iroh finally reunites with his nephew in time for Azula to attack him, leaving him very wounded. Although Aang is still in the vicinity and Azula is gone, Zuko completely forgets all about that and nearly has a nervous breakdown. He is literally trembling. Even when Katara offers to heal Iroh, he is so distraught and angry at himself that he doesn’t even seem to hear her offer. He not only loses interest in the Avatar, he wants them to get away from him

In the next episode he stays by his side and tends to him until he is recovered. And a few episodes later we see that Zuko is sensitive to his Uncle’s pain, and he stops when he hears Iroh uncomfortable. He clearly has empathy for Iroh. The story is literally going out of its way to tell you how much he cares about his uncle.

After making the moral decision to let Appa go, Zuko has a crisis of conscience so intense it results in psychosomatic illness. He has to confront who he really is. He has eerie dreams that symbolize his biggest fears. His sitting coldly and distantly on the throne symbolizes his fear of becoming like his father and grandfather. The two dragons representing Iroh and Azula symbolize his fear of making the wrong choice. His mother crying symbolizes his fear of disappointing her last request to him and losing himself.  And finally, him seeing himself as Aang in the mirror represents perhaps his greatest fear: that his sworn enemy might not be so different from him after all. The end result of this experience?

He is happier than ever! I have heard people say that Zuko behaved out of character in this episode. I would say they are completely missing the point. His happy demeanor indicates that he has made peace with the decision to let Appa go, and is no longer going to obsess over his old life. His relationship with Iroh is warmer and closer than ever.  

Now we see Zuko genuinely start to bond with Katara. He knows she is the Avatar’s best friend and still opens up to her, something he has an extremely difficult time doing to anyone. He tells her his old destiny felt like a curse to him, and he’s realizing he can change it. He even lets her touch his scar. If he had any lingering desire to capture Aang at this point, this behavior makes no sense whatsoever.

These are all obvious attempts to let the viewer see into Zuko’s mindset, and if the story was intending to foreshadow some kind of eventual betrayal, they did an absolutely horrible job. Large plot twists that completely change the trajectory of a character’s personality should not come out of nowhere like they did in this episode. I get that characters don’t always progress upwards. They hit bumps and plateaus. But this isn’t backsliding. But this is falling off the entire damn mountain and into a 100 foot ditch.

Yet another strange inconsistency I noticed had to do with the comic, Going Home Again, which takes place after the Crossroads of Destiny. In the catacombs, Zuko obviously must have wanted to go home really badly; enough to betray his uncle. Yet in the comic, which did have some involvement by Aaron Ehasz, Zuko is adamantly opposed to the idea. Azula tries to manipulate him to come back, using Mai, but she’s unsuccessful. It’s only when Iroh is seen by Zuko in chains that he decided to return again. So my question is: Which is it? Is he motivated by restoring his honor, or his love for his uncle? Why is this so confusing!? It’s things like this that have me utterly convinced that the original story was going to have Azula manipulate Zuko to come home against his will, and this comic has shades of that original intent.

This is why I believe it was Bryke’s idea. Their poor, out of character writing in the comics and in Korra, like having Aang and Katara agree to kill Zuko, one of their best friends, when Aang couldn’t even kill Ozai, leaves me no choice but to think this. Like I said in my last analysis, there were far more sensible ways, more consistent with both Zuko and Azula’s characterization, to get Zuko to go back to the Fire Nation. What could possibly have been the need to take such a drastic change of course to a main character’s personality in stark opposition to literally all their previous development? Plot twists like this are not made without an author’s intent to fundamentally alter aspects of the story. What did Zuko’s betrayal actually accomplish narratively that him being forced to return (like I think he originally was going to be) wouldn’t? Let’s start with some possibilities.

1. Demonstrating Zuko’s Flaws

As if that were at all necessary. Zuko is the most flawed character in the story already, and has more than enough reason to need the Gaang’s forgiveness, even without the betrayal. He chased Team Avatar for an entire season, stole a nice woman’s ostrich horse, and even left his uncle all alone and worried about him for several episodes. I highly doubt the reason Zuko betrayed them was to demonstrate his imperfections. We already know Zuko has done bad things to the Gaang and his uncle. At that point, it was redundant.

2. Combustion Man

Now here’s a villain with a whole lot of thought put into him. No name, no backstory, no dialogue, no explanation of how Zuko finds him or how he’s able to track Aang or why he wasn’t hired a long ass time ago if everyone’s so confident he can kill the Avatar. Who needs Zhao or Azula when you’ve got this guy, right? He’s barely even a character. Gee, it’s almost like he was an extremely late afterthought to the story to show how “bad” Zuko has become. Or maybe Zuko’s little joke that Azula would have hired him was gonna be true? Who can say. What does he accomplish for the narrative? Well, he has a few fight scenes, but he is hardly indispensable to the plot. Other than that, he serves as a way for Zuko to demonstrate his intentions to the Gaang by protecting them. And in that respect, I’d argue he actually accomplishes the opposite. Zuko’s betrayal nearly resulted in Aang and Katara’s deaths; and then later hiring an assassin to finish the job, it actually makes the Gaang’s decision to trust him so fast and then letting Aang go travel alone with him in the very next episode, completely implausible.

Again, If Zuko never betrayed anyone, he wouldn’t even be necessary for that purpose and everything would make a lot more sense. Exactly why I think the original version of the story had to have been different and all of this was tweaked later on. It’s just too nonsensical.

3. Zuko’s Relationship With Iroh

Zuko’s reunion with Iroh is a very touching and emotional scene. Iroh forgives Zuko so fast, you would almost think he had never even thrown him in jail in the first place. Hmmm. Could that have been the original script? He instantly embraces him and then goes on to call him an “idealist with a pure heart and unquestionable honor.” His relationship with his uncle is unchanged from before and his reunion would be just as, if not more, emotional without the betrayal. I doubt the decision to have Zuko join Azula in Ba Sing Se had anything to do with demonstrating how forgiving Iroh is. We already knew that from the Book 2 premiere when he forgives Zuko calling him a “shallow, lazy old man who’s always been jealous of his brother” and when he forgives Zuko for taking off on his own leaving him behind. So what is the one thing to be significantly impacted in the story by Zuko’s betrayal?

4. Zuko’s Relationship to Katara

Sadly, I think we found our answer here. Katara hates Zuko until pretty much the very end of the story. Of all the things to result from his betrayal, this is the only one that really has any meaningful impact. I really doubt this is a coincidence. It’s hard not to come to the conclusion that this was about shipping and that they knew that if Zuko didn’t “go bad”, he’d simply be too much competition for the hero as a love interest. And that is really sad. Gotta make sure Zuko and Katara get as little positive moments as possible.

This could have been such an impactful moment with a lot of meaning. Zuko choosing not to tell Azula about the Spirit Water. Unlike when interacting with Mai, Azula, and Ozai, the unscarred side of Zuko’s face is shown when thinking about Katara in this episode. It could have (and likely originally was going to since Aaron Ehasz wrote it) symbolized his desire to protect her and Aang, having some lingering grateful feelings for her extremely kind gesture to heal him. Something that would have meant a lot to Zuko, considering how much the scar made him feel like he was “marked.”

In the Boiling Rock episode Zuko helped rescue her dad, and they might have had a nice connection here. Look how happy she was. And him, too! Ironically, in the next episode she hates him and is angry with him for the death of her mother. A weird choice of place, story-wise. Almost as if the original version of the story may have been different. I guess we’ll never know.

Maybe some people would wonder how the events of The Southern Raiders would have transpired if not to involve Katara forgiving Zuko for Ba Sing Se. Well, it wouldn’t have been too hard to come up with a slightly altered scenario to accomplish that. Perhaps it would be near the anniversary of Katara’s mom’s death, and Katara is in a pretty bad mood in general remembering it. Zuko tends to take things personally, so he starts thinking Katara hates him and asks Sokka for help (funny scene and all). He finds out about her mom, and immediately feels guilty. After all, at one point as an enemy he used the last remaining memento of her deceased mother to try to capture Aang. It would then be natural for him to want to make up for this and help her find closure. It could have been a nice bonding episode like Elizabeth Ehasz wanted it to be.

Well, this has been a pretty long rant, but Zuko and Katara are two of my favorite fictional characters of all time and it saddens me to see how much Bryke squandered their potential, not even just as a couple, but as characters, for their inane shipping agenda. It’s just a shame.

Why We Love to Hate Popular Chicks on TV

So I’ve been thinking too hard about Chloe Bourgeois from ‘Miraculous Ladybug,’ and I had to write out why she and her fellow queen bees were so interesting to me. That train of thought led me to writing this meta post about teenage girl bullies in fiction.

 I’m not a fan of the “Alpha Bitch” name for this trope on TvTropes, and queen bee is too cutesy, so I’m using girl-bully instead. It’s not a perfect replacement, but hopefully I’ll be able to make my argument all the same.

Characters mentioned include Chloe Bourgeois, Pacifica Northwest, Gretchen Wieners, Quinn Fabray, Cordelia Chase, Trixie Tang, and Rachel Green. The focus here is Western television.

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anonymous asked:

Can I ask you to elaborate Will Pfeifer portayal of motherhood vs Paul Levitz's?

I’d be happy to. 

So I’ve had some time to really let Will Pfeifer’s run of Catwoman and his portrayal of motherhood really marinate and I’ve decided that I hated it. It’s been almost 10 years and I’m still mad about it. It wasn’t that Pfeifer portrayed Selina as a bad mother or anything like that, quite the contrary, but the fact that he made Selina give her child up for adoption because she couldn’t handle being a mother and being Catwoman at the same time is a reflection of some archaic and quite frankly sexist ideas about motherhood. 

Motherhood is really idealized in our culture in ways that fatherhood isn’t. Women are constantly being sent covert messages that say that once they become mothers they can’t be anything else (i.e how can Hillary Clinton possibly be president and a grandmother?!). Women have to endure condescending think pieces about how “women can’t have it all” that men are never subjected to. Will Pfiefer’s portrayal of Selina as a mother played into this trope. 

Adam Levine at Arousing Grammar did an in depth synopsis of Catwoman’s brief stint as a mom which you can read about here to get the full picture. But the Cliff’s Notes version is this:  As soon as Helena was born Selina had to give up being Catwoman, something that is absolutely crucial to her identity. When she took up the mantle again she was punished for it by not being able to handle motherhood and having to give Helena up for adoption. These two things should not be mutually exclusive and could be interpreted as an allegory for working moms. We get enough of this in real life, we don’t need it in our comic books as well. 

Selina even admitted that she choose being Catwoman over being a mother. This has never been an issue for Bruce who has so many kids they should probably have some kind of intervention. He has never been forced to choose between fatherhood and being Batman. What’s worse is that Selina and Bruce were/are both single parents, but Selina is the only one who couldn’t handle motherhood and being a superhero.

This was done to make Catwoman a more tragic character. I honestly can’t even read this storyline anymore. 

Paul Levitz’s portrayal of motherhood, from what we got to see, is the polar opposite of Pfeifer’s. Catwoman was allowed to be more than one thing: she was a superhero, a wife, a mother, and an appearently pretty sexual being according to more than a few panels. This goes against the grain for how mothers are written particuarly in this type of medium. She was a mother, a very good one too, but that wasn’t the beginning and end of who she was. There were even times when she put other things, including herself, before being a mom. Like when she peaced out in the middle of her kid’s bedtime story to go do the horizontal tango with her husband. 

On Earth-2 Batman and Catwoman are married and are raising their daughter, Helena, together. Selina is shown to be encouraging of Helena’s desire to fight crime and is more influential in her daughter’s life than Bruce. This is no small feat considering how overbearing of a character Batman tends to be in the DCU. Bruce initially didn’t want Helena to be involved in the crimefighting life so Selina took it upon herself to train her even at a young age. 

Whereas Bruce was never thrilled at the prospect of Helena being a crimefighter and worried that she would get hurt, Selina had faith, believed in her daughter’s abilities, and encouraged her passion in spite of Bruce’s trepidations. 

She was the one who got Helena into the streets and it’s obvious by Bruce’s reaction that she did so against his wishes and knowledge.

She even encouraged Helena to forge her own destiny and identity. 

Bruce even commented about where Helena gained her strong sense of independence from. 

When Helena took up the Robin mantle she was working along side her mother more than her father. As a matter of fact to the people of Earth-2 Robin was known more as Catwoman’s daughter than Batman’s. When Helena became the Huntress she maintained a lot of the values that were instilled by her mother namely protecting the lives of women.

Everything we got a chance to see for Catwoman as a mother in New 52 was written by Paul Levitz (who is also Helena Wayne’s co-creator). Unlike Pfeifer’s portrayal being a mother didn’t stop Selina from being Catwoman, quite the opposite. She was a driving force in her daughter’s decision to become a superhero even though it really wasn’t something her father wanted for her. It was some really great stuff and we owe a lot to Levitz for that. 

See Will, you can be a mom and a superhero and a lot of ther things at the same time!

There used to be a hard-and-fast rule. There was “them” and then there was “us.” “Them” was made up of artists—the people who created TV shows, books, films, music and visual art. “Us” was the group of people who consumed what they made. “Them” was set apart from “us” because “them” was creating material that was then disseminated, on a larger scale, to “us” out there in the real world. “Us” could enjoy “them” and their work, but “us” could not contribute to the creations we loved in any appreciable fashion.

But then something interesting happened: the Internet took over the world, and this hard-and-fast rule slowly began to disintegrate. All of a sudden, “us” was able to horn in on “them” and their creative process in a vey public way—most notably in the form of fanfiction.


All lowercase letters.

No spaces.


I have a weird perspective on the subject.

I am an actor, sometimes.

And I once played a character who’s a fanfiction favorite.
I hear she/I does a whole lot of “slash-ing” … wait, that’s not the proper use of the word. This might be better:  I hear there is a lot of slash fanfiction about her/me on the internet. Which is kind of sad because this means the fanfiction version of her/me is getting a lot more action than the real me.

Before I get started, I should clarify exactly who/what I am. If the name in the byline is unfamiliar to you, you might recognize the title of the show I appeared in, or the name of the character I played in that show: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Tara Maclay, respectively.
Just FYI, I had to go online and look up whether or not the “c” in Maclay is capitalized. You would think from the amount of time I spent pretending to be this fictional character (three years), I would know how to spell her last name properly. But the truth is, there are a lot fans out there that know way more about her then I do.

And some of these more knowledgeable fans write fanfiction.

I try not to read fanfiction about her/me. I think it would be awkward and I’d forever be left wondering why she/I am so much cooler on paper/the Internet than I am in real life. I am also leery of reading anything about her/me because I really don’t want to read about my pretend-self doing naughty things with characters/people that I may or may not be attracted to in real life.

When I was on Buffy (this was many, many moons ago), not looking at Buffy fanfiction was another hard-and-fast rule. People are litigious, so anything written by a fan and sent in to the writers/producers was not supposed to be read. I have retrofitted this rule to fit my own needs—mostly because of the not-wanting-to-think-about-me-doing-naughty-things-with-fictional-characters worry—so just know that when I see you at a science fiction convention and you hand me your fanfiction about Tara/me, I will smile and take it, but I am probably not going to read it if Tara/me is being a dirty-birdy.

I have been known to read fanfiction about other things, things I have no creative/personal stake in. I might even read Buffy stuff you write, unless you have Tara Maclay giving cunnilingus to Counselor Troi (who is, by far, my father’s favorite Star Trek Betty). If you hand me something like that then I am probably going to take a pass.


I must preface all of this with a disclaimer: I have co-written (along with Christopher Golden) a few Willow/Tara comic books. There is a difference between writing these comics and writing fanfiction and it comes down to two things: the storylines for the comics are carefully vetted by Dark Horse Comics/20th Century Fox, and there is no cunnilingus in them. (Well, at least none that ended up on the page. Maybe some dirty bits were excised before the comics went to print… and now you’ll forever wonder if I was just pulling your leg or if there really was excised cunnilingus in those comic books, right?)

I think we can all agree there’s something meta about my situation, something Adaptation-like about the layer upon layer of weirdness. Well, let me just tell you that, though you may think my creative life is meta, it’s nowhere near as meta as the creative life of my friend, Javier Grillo-Marxuach.

Be prepared. This might knock your meta-socks off.

My friend Javi is truly one of the kindest, most gifted writer/producers I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. And he possesses two qualities I very much value in other creative individuals: He treats the business of show like a team sport, and he has a genuine interest in helping others … unlike a lot of the people I’ve met in Hollywood.

Oh, and there’s a third thing, too.

He’s an honest-to-God Fan.

With a capital “F.”

So, to just point out the blurring lines here, Javi is not just an artist, he is also a fan. Where he is concerned, the words artist and fan are synonymous.

A few years ago, Javi created a brilliant television show for ABC Family called The Middleman.  (To up the meta-quotient, The Middleman was a comic book before it was adapted for television.) The Middleman had (and still has) a dedicated fan following—especially for its plucky, intelligent female heroine, Wendy Watson (played by actress Natalie Morales). So, needless to say, there were a lot of frustrated fans when the show was pulled of the air after only one season.

And one of those fans was Javi himself.

Three years later, he did something about it.

In the ultimate meta-fanfiction crossover, Javi wrote a fanfiction piece about his own show … and Doctor Who.

You can go to The Middle Blog over at LiveJournal and read his fanfiction story in its entirety. I really think you should. It’s quite brilliant, weaving together the best of The Middleman with Javi’s passionate love of Doctor Who—but what was so intriguing to me was not the piece itself (as cool as it is), but what it represented about the blurring of lines.

I realized that as much as we try to put a divide between the two worlds (“them” and “us”), there really isn’t one anymore. Not with the advent of transmedia, the rise of creator-owned content on the Internet, the domination of Twitter and Facebook. Not when Twilight fanfiction becomes a bestselling series of erotica novels. Not when the guy who made The Middleman decides to write a fanfiction piece about the television show he created because he’s still interested in telling stories about his characters.

All of these components have created a perfect storm that will forever knock down the wall of separation between artist and audience.
Would it be crazy to postulate, then, that with the blurring of the lines, the words “artist” and “fan” have become interchangeable in some ways? Just because you created a character, it doesn’t mean you get to tell the whole of their story—especially if you sell your characters to studios/television networks/comic book companies. Suddenly, these conglomerates own your creative content and they get to decide its fate. Making you, for all intents and purposes, just another fan off the thing you happened to create.

This had been going on in the comics world forever.  Poor comic book superheroes get passed around like hookers at a gangbang—they’ve always got someone new writing about them, drawing them, adding to their mythology.

So, by the same token, when a fan writes fanfiction, one might equate them to just another writer for hire on a project—they’re just not getting paid in money for their work. For them, the payment is sheer joy of writing for characters they love. They are no longer just a “fan.” Now they are an “artist.”

I’m going to insert myself here again because I’m still trying to figure out where I fit in all of this.

As an actor, I gave my voice and face to a character that someone else created and wrote the dialogue for. When someone sits down to write fanfiction about my character, they are envisioning and often describing that same face and voice, which happen to belong to me, but which I lent to the character when I played the part.

Working on the Willow/Tara comic books as a writer, I wrote about/for the character I played on Buffy. At that point, I became an artist who was using my own face and voice to give continuing life to a fictional character I played on television, but did not create.

See? It’s all very confusing.

Then add in how accessible everything is via the Internet—which is a huge tool when one wants to go about “blurring the lines”—and it’s even more troubling. On Twitter, am I just me, Amber Benson? Or am I an actor who played a character named Tara Maclay? Or am I only seen as Tara Maclay, the character from that television show you loved to watch, who for unknown reasons likes to go around calling herself Amber Benson?

Also, am I somehow creating fanfiction when I interact with people on the Internet—adding to my real-life, personal continuing storyline and to the now-defunct storyline of the character I played on television? This makes my head spin, and does nothing to answer the real question: If we can’t tell who the “artists” are, and if the “fans” are just as hard to categorize, then where does that leave us?

I actually think that—barring my own existential identity crisis—it leaves us in a very good place. Fanfiction has pried open a door, allowing fans a chance to participate in the continuing storylines of the characters they love. The Internet has given these fans and their fanfiction a high-profile stage so that the world can find and enjoy their artistic endeavors. It has also given “artists” a chance to create outside of the system—like Javi and his Middleman fanfiction—and to address questions, comments, and suggestions from their “fans” directly and in a creative way.

For better or worse, it looks a though the lines have been forever blurred. I just wish this essay had given me a little more personal clarity. Maybe I’ll just follow Javi’s example and go write some fanfiction. Maybe a little Amber/Tara slash fanfiction—so I can really confuse myself.

—  Amber Benson, from Fic: Why Fanfiction Is Taking Over the World, by Anne Jamison.
You can’t take him away from us (a letter to Nick Spencer, lovely written by a Canadian.)

Dear Nick Spencer,

You can’t, and I’ll tell you why.  Captain America has been created by the  cartoonists Joe Simon and Jack Kirby in 1940. That means in the middle of the second world war. They have created Captain America not only for entertainment but also used this bold character to support and encouraging the American army to stood up against the Nazis. This hero embodied the American patriotism and became the flagship of its values. He is seen as a defender of the free world against tyrannies. His creation was a reaction by its authors. It was their own and personal way to fight against the regime nazi.

Captain America isn’t just a character. He’s an idea. Soldiers read his stories and went: “if he can do it, then… Yes, we can!” His shield became an emblem of freedom and courage. The authors personified America to a character, a man of trust, a leader, someone who stands up for what is right and who is ready to die for his country to save it from the bad guys. That’s his origin. That’s his morality, why he was created.

Now think about the veterans of the world war two.  Think about how they read Captain America’s comics and followed him in the jaw of death. Because darling, it is a fact. Captain America marked the history of America. He gave the soldiers answers, the hope and the motivation, the reason to stay alive so that the next generation would grow up in a world of peace and freedom. Think about the veterans, now old and regret nothing about fighting against the regime nazi because they had Captain America by their side. He is a symbol of justice and equality to all.  Go and tell them the man they trusted with their life is actually a part of the Hydra organization. Think about the lives Captain America saved. Not in the books, but in real life. Because that’s what he did. He never gave them weapons. He gave them the heart to do their duty as a father, a brother, a lover and a son.

Now think about the children of our modern days, playing innocently in the back alleys holding proudly Captain America’ shield, wearing the brightest and the most beautiful smiles in the world feeling they are contributing to saving the world. How about the little girl next door that sleeps every day in her Captain America bedsheets. Or the teenager who eats her breakfast every day in a Captain America bowls her parents gave her when she was younger. Think about the youngs, the ones who went to the beach with a Captain America towel or brushed  their teeth with a Captain America toothbrush. He is a part of who we are. We grew up with him.

You can’t take him away from us.

Dear Nick Spencer, we’re talking about stealing our trust. You’re dealing with three generations. Steve Rogers as fought for us so we’re gonna fight for him. That’s the least we can do. You are breaking hearts and dreams, and not only mine. I’ve seen the sadness in my little brother’s eyes. I’ve seen the pain of being betrayed in my grandfather’s eyes when I told them about your fresh new work. He said “well, that means I’ve been to war for nothing…” and my little brother said, “I don’t want to be a hero anymore.” Since when does MARVEL accept a behavior like that? Where’s Stan Lee, the heart of this big family, the man who said that hero is a reflection of our society and how it should be? My little brother doesn’t have a dream anymore. He wanted to be a hero, but who can you trust in a world of lies?

But you can’t take Captain America from us. You won’t.

James Buchanan Barnes did not go through hell just to hear his best friend worked for the people who tortured him. Chris Evans worked a lot on understanding on a deeper level his character. He gave his face to portray Captain America, the one Jack and Joe consciously created as a figure of nationalist propaganda. Chris Evans gave and shared his body with Steve Rogers because he is a national hero who supports humans rights, mostly because his past inspired him to be a good man fighting against the bad guys. The price of freedom is high, and it’s a price he’s willing to pay.

You’re right on one point, I’ll give you that. Captain America represents the United Stated of America and its leaders. Barack Obama, JFK, and all the others fought for freedom and the U.S values. And now that this corn head by the name of Donald Trump is actually on the run to become the next president of the United States, I can see where you got your inspiration. By that, your Captain America is representing the future of the American nation.

You won’t take him away from us. 

I may not be a hero, but I got stuff to say and I’m not afraid to say them. This is bigger than you and I’m not scared or intimidated by you. I’ll stand by his side, ’til the end of the line. You can’t take away the little boy from Brooklyn. He is Steve Rogers, devoted and passionate to keep this earth safe. I’m fighting for the veterans, the fans, the little brothers, sisters. I’m fighting in the name of Bucky Barnes, Peggy Carter, his parents and the people who inspired him to be the greatest historical figure of our modern time and not only to be a good soldier but a good man. He’s been Captain America for 76 years. If he gives up his shield, then I’m gonna pick it up for him. It is now my duty to plant myself like a tree, look at you in the eyes and say…

“No. You move.”

Truly, deeply, sincerely,

-“You just made a Canadian mad and at the border of being pissed off.”

P.s: (Which is really rare.)

Riverdale: The Cast Speaks Out

Over the last decade or so, the previously clean-cut Archie Andrews has gone through quite a metamorphosis on the comic book page, as the writers have taken a decidedly more adult approach to storytelling. Some of it has gotten pretty out there, including a zombie apocalypse in Riverdale, Archie going up against the Predator and Punisher, and the character actually dying. In essence, this was no longer the guy he had been for decades.

Now the television series Riverdale promises to take things to the next level. Produced by Greg Berlanti, it reportedly has an almost Lynchian approach with its look at small town life. Premiering later this month, the series’ cast includes K.J. Apa as Archie, Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones, Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge, Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper, Ashleigh Murray as Josie McCoy (as in the band Josie and the Pussycats), and Beverly Hills 90210 alumni Luke Perrry as Archie’s father, Fred. Empire caught up with each of them to get a sense of the show and their characters.


How would you describe Jughead on this show?

Jughead is the narrator of this show. He is a strange, outsider type of character. Jughead’s always been anti-authority, always on the fringes of society. He’s definitely a non-conformist type. He’s also a budding writer and amateur sleuth. He’s trying to figure out what’s going on in Riverdale, especially with a recent murder, and he’s really kind of the boots on the ground, trying to figure it out.

You mentioned the murder, which is supposed to be kind of central to things. Does the pilot say how the character died?

I don’t want to spoil too much, but at the end there’s a gunshot wound, but there’s a fog around exactly what went down and what happened. That’s what Jughead is trying to figure out.

How did you become attached to this show?

I took a break from acting; I didn’t actually really anticipate coming back at all, but I really liked the project. When I was given the sides to read, there was basically three pages of just solid monologue. I thought, “This would be challenging.” And I really like Jughead as a character; I think he’s really cool, especially this version of him. This show is very film noir, which is something I’m not familiar with as an actor at all. At least acting in it I haven’t done it professionally, so I wanted to try that out. He’s a weird, creepy character, and that’s also fun.

I also come from a comic book background. I used to get really angry and incendiary when people would mess with the properties I loved a lot. One of the cool things about the Archie universe is there’s so many versions of it. Like there’s Afterlife With Archie, the Predator comes to Riverdale, the Punisher comes to Archie. There’s so many universes that it removes a lot of that incendiary dialogue that takes place with most comic properties, and I think the fans are primed for a cool, new take on a modern film noir teen drama like Archie. It’s going to be solid. I’m coming at it like a fan, to be quite honest.

What do you think is key to keeping Archie true enough to the comics that fans will be pleased?

I think the love triangle with Archie, Betty and Veronica is definitely one of the fundamental points. And the Easter Egg characters that are going to exist; they’re like a theater troupe. They’re just constantly being thrown into a bunch of different environments. You know, we have Moose, we have Midge, we have Dilton — we have all the side characters that you know and love. We have all the locations. So that’s fundamentally the same, but the tone is different, and the gravity of the drama in the town is different.

It’s got to help that the guy guiding this thing, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, is also the person guiding the comics.

Exactly. It’s not like we got some schmoe off the street. We came and were, like, “Do you know about Archie? Can you write this?” This is the biggest fan of the comics, who’s also responsible for Afterlife. He’s the guy. To say this would not be an Archie property would be silly, because he’s the one in charge of all the Archie properties anyhow. It can’t be divorced.

You’re obviously a fan of the comics. Are you more Team Betty or Team Veronica?

I don’t think Jughead even thinks of that.

Forget Jughead, then. What do you look for?

Me, personally, I’m seeing Betty. Cole is definitely Team Betty; the girl next door. She, to me, has always been the one that sort of redefines the classic trope of feminism within western society. She’s like the mechanic and the tomboy. Personally, I like that side, but I don’t think that’s even a thought past cheeseburgers for Jughead.


What would you say makes your take on Archie distinctive?

One of the main things, and this goes for Archie and everyone else, is that we’re getting deeper into the lives of each of these characters. It’s the classic Archie characters, but we really go deeper into their lives and discover who they are as people. I think that makes it more appealing, more relatable.

How is it bringing this character to life given his long history in comic books?

It was tricky for me at the beginning, coming from New Zealand and playing such an iconic American character. The fans are so passionate and I was thinking, “Man, I hope I don’t get too much stick from these guys,” but the feedback has been really good, which I’m pleased by.

Were you aware of the comics before?

I wasn’t familiar with the comics before I actually started working on the project, but my dad was really familiar with it. So I gave him a call from L.A. and he filled me in. He read them when he was a kid, so that was good.

Was it tough to develop an American accent?

I don’t know. I just can kind of do it, I guess. I used to talk to myself as a kid; I was one of those weird little kids, but it was always in an American accent. Maybe that’s why?

What was it like the first time you saw yourself with Archie’s red hair?

It was, honestly, scary at the start, because they had to dye it once a week and I’m shooting for six months. They had to bleach it…I’m probably going to be bald by the end of the series.

These days, in America, the CW mostly does superhero shows. What’s it like being in this drama now?

It’s awesome. We’re getting so much feedback that’s positive. I think our show is so different compared to all the other CW shows. It’s really different to everything on TV at the moment. I’ve never seen anything like it. Everyone’s comparing it to Gossip Girl and Twin Peaks, but to be honest, I think we stand on our own, which is exciting. It’s a big risk for us as well to create this. When I first heard the idea, I wondered, can we do it? And if we’re going to do it, it’s going to have to be really good. I think we managed to kill it. In a good way.

In the show, Archie wants to be a musician. What kind of music?

After the summer, Archie discovers his passion for music, which kind of collides with his dad’s vision for him to play football. So that creates a bit of tension between me and Fred, who is played by Luke Perry. Archie creates his own band, which creates a bit of conflict between him and Josie and the Pussycats. His music is kind of John Mayerish; we actually recorded a song for the pilot.

Had you sung before?

I actually didn’t. I’m actually not confident to be singing, being completely honest, but I just had to do it. We went into the studio, smashed it out, and there was probably a bit of voice tweaking, which is alright. The song is inspired by an appropriate romance he has in the first episode.


So what are your feelings about these characters?

Lili Reinhart: I guess we’ll start off by saying that our Archie is a lot less misogynistic than the comics. There isn’t a constant rivalry between the two girls, especially over the guy. They have more to their lives than Archie.

Camila Mendes: That’s the thing, there’s more going on in their individual lives than just the obsession with Archie and who he’s interested in that week. Their friendship in the ‘40s is obviously going to be different from their friendship now. There’s more kindess between them, but that’s not to say that there isn’t going to be rivalry as well.

Reinhart: It’s been seventy-five years and things have changed. The world has evolved. We’re putting the more modern version of Archie and Betty and Veronica into this world.

Were you fans of the comics growing up?

Mendes: Not fans, no. I was familiar with it, but I have Brazilian parents and I don’t think it’s a big thing there.

Reinhart: I grew up one of three girls, and none of them were into comic books, so I wasn’t exposed to that world. I was Skyping with my friend when I got the audition and I was, like, “Oh, Archie Comics.” My friend was, like, “Oh my God, Archie! I love Archie. They’re making a TV show?” I was, like, “Yeah.”

Mendes: My agent at the time was, like, “Oh my God, I want you to play Veronica so bad.” She looked up all these pictures and sent them. There are so many people around us that do follow the comics that they were able to prep us for everything. My friend cried when I got the role. She was so obsessed. She’s, like, “My haircut is because of Veronica.”

Describe, if you can, the lives of these characters.

Mendes: Right now in Veronica’s life,she’s the new girl coming to Riverdale. Her dad just got arrested for fraud and embezzlement, and was involved in this huge scandal. It was kind of like Bernie Madoff. She’s dealing with the shame that that has brought to her family, the publicity because of it. She moves to Riverdale with her mother to start a new life. She’s really interested in trying to be a better person, taking it as an opportunity and running with it. Being positive about it. Then she starts to see that all of that shady stuff that was going on is still going on. With her, there’s going to be a lot of family problems.

Reinhart: Coming into the show, Betty and Archie are lifelong best friends. They both come back from the summer and Betty realizes, “Okay, I’m finally ready to tell Archie that I love him and I’ve always loved him.” But Archie doesn’t look at Betty that way. He doesn’t look at her as a woman yet. Betty is dealing with a lot of pressure from her mom, Alice. Betty has a sister, Polly, who is the troublemaker.

Mendes: The bad seed.

Reinhart: Betty’s mom is really trying to make Betty perfect. The perfect kid. Everything that Polly wasn’t, and so Betty has a lot of pressure on her shoulders. Betty is starting to crack, which is a good thing, because she needs to break down in order to get confience

Mendes: That’s part of their friendship, too. I’m trying to get her out of her shell. Seeing that Betty’s this talented, smart, beautiful woman, I’m, like, “Why aren’t you running things right now? Why aren’t you in charge? You should be strong, you should own up to it.

Reinhart: It’s shining a light on how much pressure women are under, and how we don’t have to conform to these things. We can be anything we want to be.


Let’s talk Fred!

He’s Archie’s dad, blue collar guy, owns his own construction company, loves Riverdale. No ambition of leaving Riverdale, just wants to stay there, because it’s always been his home. I think that’s neat, for me. I’ve always played characters who wanted to do something and were aspiring. This is a guy who’s absolutely happy where he’s at. Living his blue collar life, he wants to share it with his son and he runs into the naked ambition of a kid who wants to other stuff. And he can’t quite figure out why that is.

Apparently he wants to be a rockstar and you want him to play football?

It’s not that I want him to be a football player, but I think him playing football is his best shot at getting in college. With a college education I think he’d have more opportunities. He’s got stars in his eyes, like Jimi Hendrix. So the kid’s going to do something. It’s funny, I don’t exactly remember how it went down, because I had always told my parents I wanted to be an actor. “I’m going to Hollywood.” I don’t think they believed me. One day I just picked up and left and you realize your kid’s not playing. That this is what they want to do. As Archie’s dad weighs through this, I think it’s going to be interesting to see how that goes down.

Were you a fan of the comics?

I read the Archie comics. Was I, like, “Can’t wait to get my next Archie” kind of thing? Wasn’t quite that, but when I was a kid buying comic books, I’d buy three of them in a package and it would be Green Lantern or something on the front, Superman in the back and they’d slip an Archie in the middle. They’d always slip an Archie there, or sometimes even inside the book there would be a pull-out three-page Archie. You could not escape Archie. Don’t try! Resistance is futile.

Like everybody else, when I first heard that this was gong down, I was, like, “I don’t know. Really?” And I was told that I had to read the script, which was fair enough. You’ve always got to read them, so I kick it open and start reading it. By page five, I’m in. I’m just, like, “Wow, wow, wow.” It’s so good for me to truly be here, because I loved the script. Loved the writing. So it was easy for me to jump in. The best stuff happens when you take a chance. When you risk something and do the thing that they’re taking a chance on, on a network kind of level, they will be rewarded. You know, risk-reward.

The CW loves crossovers. Any buzz about you guys doing crossovers with any of their other shows?

Not so much that, which I’d be happy to do, but I know characters from the Archie universe will be coming to our show. Sabrina [the Teenage Witch] is coming at some point. Cheryl Blossom is already with us, so that’s fun.


How would you describe your character?

I play Josie McCoy and I’m the front woman of Josie and the Pussycats. My take on Josie is she’s kind of like a reincarnation of Josie and the Pussycats from the past, but dealing with the same kind of things that we deal with now in 2016, and how far we’ve come as women. We don’t have space and time to be ditsy; everything that I do and want is very purposeful. I’ll do whatever I need to do to get there. And I’m not going to let anybody get in my way, especially boys. That’s s not necessarily the same sentiment that my Pussycats share. We’ll discover why Josie is so driven, and why she feels like she needs to succeed, and can’t have a man specifically get in her way. When Archie comes into play, we’re going to bump heads, because I am Beyonce and Archie is Justin Timberlake.

He comes asking for my help and I’m, like, “Nah, dude.” He goes to create his own band and we’re going to have a battle of the bands. I’m going to have some crumbling in the empire, because Archie is really cute. My girls are going to see that. That’s going to be her strongest point and how she evolves as a character in season one.

Any concern that the die-hards are going to complain about the fact that she wasn’t a woman of color in the comics?

You know, for a hot second I did. For two minutes, right before the network test. And I understand that, because I’m a big nerd. I’m a huge Dragon Ball Z fan, so when they were trying to make a live-action movie, I was, like, “No!” So I understand that sentiment, but I think what’s really important is that I’m not trying to erase the original Josie. I grew up loving her. What’s really great about the Archie Comics as a whole is that everybody is relatable. I didn’t have to look like Jughead to have him be my favorite character. I didn’t have to look like Archie or Betty or Veronica to understand the situations that they were going through. I feel like if people can go into it with an open mind, or just be, like, “Oh, this is a girl that happened to be born with the name Josie and wanted to be a rock star, and came up with this band the Pussycats. Let’s see what she’s got.” I’m not trying to undo or erase anything that’s already happened.

Had you done any music before, or was this your first time?

It’s my first time recording original music. I mean, we didn’t write it, but it is original composed music. I did musicals. It’s funny, because I can hide behind a character and a voice, but when I have to bring myself and my own voice to it, it’s very nerve-wracking. It’s exciting, because it’s pushing me to really make Josie, this new Josie, stand out in a way. She’s going to be kind of rockish, she likes to get the party going. Whenever anybody wants to leave, I’m, like, ‘Psych, I’ve got another song!”

Most importantly, does she wear ears like she did in the comics?

Yes she does, and you’re not even ready for what the ears are. It’s going to be so specific and pointed. It’s great, because Toland Krieger, the director, and I came up with the notion ourselves. He asked me a question. I was, like, “Give me twenty-four hours and I’ll come back with something.” We did, and that’s going to be the through line of Josie and the Pussycats’ trademark. It’s so fly.

Ed Gross

2 Jan 2017 

A closer look at Shuu Tsukiyama’s true nature + why I think his flamboyant persona is a coping mechanism for his loneliness.

I can see how easy it would be for those who have only watched the Tokyo Ghoul anime to mischaracterise Shuu. Besides the gourmet arc, he serves no relevance to the plot other than as pointless comic relief who flamboyantly prances around in over-saturated suits while screaming his ‘El Dorados’ and ‘Spicy Spices’ and basically making a complete mockery of his manga counterpart. But Shuu’s character is a lot more intricate than that. In fact, I whole-heartedly believe that Shuu is actually a very lonely individual whose flamboyant personality is a subconscious facade and coping mechanism that helps him deal with his loneliness. I’m not going to go into extensive depth about his relationship with Kaneki (there are already plenty of lovely and well-written analyses floating around), instead, I want to explore why I think Shuu is actually one of the most complex characters in the entire Tokyo Ghoul series, as well as one of the loneliest.

My reasoning behind this? Well, let’s start with Shuu’s family.

Not much is known about Shuu’s background. All we know is that he’s from a very wealthy household and that we never see his parents. While he’s not the first manga character in history to have an unexplored family background, this is quite strange in the Tokyo Ghoul series, after all, we get to learn about the family backgrounds of characters such as Kaneki, the Kirishima siblings, Hinami, Amon, Nishiki, Yoshimura, Akira, and Yomo. Hell, we’re hardly 20 chapters into TG: re and we know more about the families of Urie, Saiko and Mutsuki than we do Shuu! Why is this? I feel like it’s Ishida’s way of suggesting that Shuu doesn’t have a very deep and important connection to his family like many of the other characters.

This idea is further reinforced by the audio drama, with Shuu himself revealing that as a child he used to calm himself down by screaming and playing Chopin, or calling out to his servant Matsumae. While this does serve as humour in the context of the drama, it also raises a few flags. As a child, wouldn’t your first natural response to trouble be to seek comfort from your parents? This suggests to me that Shuu’s parents were never around, or just didn’t care, as he’d rather seek the security of his maid or his own devices. And then in the flashback to his high school days in Re, we learn that he was a high achiever and at the top of his class. Why would such a wealthy rich kid try so hard (unless he’s naturally gifted)? His family has enough money that he’d probably never have to work a day in his life. I feel like this could possibly be because he was seeking acknowledgement from his parents, or even his peers. He has lived such a lonely childhood that he just wants someone to recognise him.

This also explains why his interactions with Chie are so strange, with him referring to her as his ‘pet’ and even giving her a collar in the Re omake - he doesn’t have many friends (Chie even accuses him of having none), so of course he doesn’t know how to properly interact with them! We even see in a flashback in Re chapter 23 that he used to play music with his servant Kanae, which just shows how little friends he has. It’s quite peculiar to share such a close relationship with a servant (as loyal and endearing as he may be), and I think it’s quite interesting that this relationship would take precedence over any other relationship that Ishida could show between him and his family or (non-existent) friends. In addition, it should be noted that Shuu has been bedridden with depression for three years and it’s his servant who’s caring the most and helping him - we haven’t seen even a glimmer of family concern, and this only reinforces how little presence Shuu’s family has in his life.

While we might not know much about Shuu’s family, we do know that he’s quite fond of reading, even admitting to Kaneki that books have helped him through many hard times. 

While some may argue that this was just his way of tricking Kaneki into empathising with him, I truly believe he was being genuine (after all, he’s had to deal with the difficulty of a lonely childhood). In fact, I even think it’s possible that one of the reasons why Shuu is so passionate about Gourmet food is because of books. Ishida seems to really like the idea of exploring literature and books in his work. Kaneki compares himself to the Goat in Sen Takatsuki’s book, and Ishida strongly insinuates the parallels between Kaneki’s situation and Franz Kafka’s ‘A Crossbreed.’ And then we get the scene where Shuu passionately discusses his adoration for Savarin’s ‘The Physiology of Taste’ with Kaneki. For someone like Ishida, who’s so meticulous about details in his manga, I feel like he would only go to the trouble of including this scene if it actually served some sort of purpose to the plot or characters – in this case, fleshing out Shuu’s character.

It’s quite possible that due to Shuu’s loneliness and subsequent refuge in books, he discovered the wonders of Gourmet food through Savarin’s work (in fact, he probably found most of his interests through books - fashion, foreign languages, martial arts etc), and then felt inspired to join the Ghoul Restaurant so that he could connect to others of similar interests. As such, he goes out into the world hiding behind an extravagant and eccentric personality in hopes of charming others and making new friends - which we see doesn’t work. In fact, it’s very likely that Shuu doesn’t even realise that his eccentric personality is a facade or that he’s actually very lonely. If anything, his flamboyant personality could very well be a subconscious coping/defence mechanism, and his passion for Gourmet food serves as a distraction from his loneliness, but somewhere along the way it became so prevalent in his life that it, combined with his ghoul ethics, completely twisted his sense of morality. This also explains his desire to consume food of the highest quality. As Shuu’s beloved Savarin once said: “tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.” Since ghouls have such an important connection to food, Shuu probably believes that if he eats only the finest food, it’ll make him more admirable to others. This further justifies why it’s such a huge damage to his ego when Rize makes negative remarks about his picky tastes.

With such a lack of close personal relationships in his life, can you really blame Shuu when he fails to understand or empathise with Nishiki’s devotion to Kimi? It’s not until he joins up with Kaneki’s group that he’s reminded of how lonely his existence really is, witnessing first-hand how dedicated Kaneki is to caring for and protecting his friends and how much they in return care for him. This has quite a noticeable influence on him, and we see an example of this during his encounter with Naki, where he observes Naki’s outburst of not wanting to be left alone with the grief that accompanies loneliness, before throwing himself in front of his friends to protect them from Akira’s attack. While in retreat, Shuu praises Naki for his act of loyalty, before silently hoping for Kaneki’s well-being - this coming from the same ghoul who once ridiculed Nishiki for protecting Kimi!

Shuu doesn’t understand it, but he subconsciously yearns for a relationship similar to the one Kaneki shares with his friends, and through his interactions with Kaneki’s group, he eventually begins to care for others (such as Hinami) and genuinely wishes to be considered one of Kaneki’s friends. 

His inexperience with friendship, however, makes it difficult for him to comprehend his feelings and he confuses this with hunger, convincing himself that he’s using Hinami as a pawn to get to Kaneki, and that his only interested in Kaneki as food. But as we all know, he completely feels otherwise.

While some of this analysis relies on speculation, I strongly believe Ishida is trying to portray Shuu Tsukiyama as a lonely individual whose flamboyant persona is mostly a subconscious coping/defense mechanism, as well as someone who never truly learnt what friendship means until he met Kaneki. Unfortunately, this complex side of his character is often disregarded or ignored, and the horrible characterisation the anime has made of his character isn’t helping anyone.