godawful books

I wish more book fandoms were like the Lovecraft fandom

The widespread acceptance that the author was an awful human being, even for his day, who held loathsome views and should not be venerated whatsoever, is astounding. Especially compared to other book fandoms which treat their authors as saints no matter what they’ve said/done. 

The sheer glee that modern fans take in taking Lovecraft’s original concepts and modernizing them, criticizing the bits that are awful, and generally licking our palms and slapping his material, is delightful to me. 

Everything I see that is essentially people saying “I’m rubbing my queer hands all over this, does this make you uncomfortable Howie?” fills me with joy. 

A dedicated longrunning podcast about his works, one of the most recommended for Lovecraft fans new and old, frequently and openly discusses Lovecraft’s racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, classism, xenophobia, etc. Not a niche podcast, THE starter podcast as far as the fandom is concerned. 

Why aren’t more book fandoms like this. 

I don’t just mean to this extreme, of course. Most famous book fandoms don’t have authors as godawful as Lovecraft. But book fandoms stagnate fast without open discussion and *gasp* even some criticism of certain things. I’ve seen it happen over and over again and it’s really sad. Fandoms live or die by their active communities. Stifling discussion and criticism makes them die much faster. 

I was almost expecting Doctor Strange to pop out.

So, Runaways #1. No more running away and stalling for me, time to do this.

I liked it.

Sure, there are some problems, but the biggest ones can be tracked not to the writer, but editorial policy. Like that this whole “let’s get the band back together even though they never broke” premise, which results in a slow pacing and might very likely work as both detriment to the plot, as it’s by now very clear it overshadowed completely anything else, and the sales - I mean, if Nico, Chase, and Gert aren’t your favorite Runaways there is no reason to pick this issue, Molly and Karolina aren’t in it. What’s more is the problem of pacing it will create. When you look at A-Force, which this book mentions in rather flattering if melancholic, terms, it had 10 issues and almost half of it spent to get the team together and actually make the team. It left very little time to actually build any sort of mythos or explore the characters and team dynamics. Meanwhile All-New, All-Different Avengers dealt with their team-creating in 3 issues, Champions in one and New Avengers skipped it and already started with the team assembled.This way they were able to tell more stories. If this book is an ongoing, it needs to grab the readers in as fast as it can, otherwise, it might be doomed from the start.

The other problem is, of course, Nico’s arm. The book made it clear Nico did something to get her hand back and got rid of the arm of disability superpowers. The way the scene could be read easily suggest there are plans to return to this plot at later time. And because this is that godawful arm, part of me hopes this book will not last long enough to do so. It was obvious they will try to get rid of that awful crap. But the way they approached it both means erasure of character’s disability while keeping in any pointless, crappy drama generated after godawful books by Hack Dennis Hopeless. Exactly the worst possible choice they could have made in approach to that insulting plot device. Don’t get me wrong, I want Witch Arm gone, forgotten and buried in the same hole where Onslaught and Electric Superman are hiding. But erasing Nico’s disability to do so is in a poor taste.

That being said, if any of Arena/Undercover shills on CBR will try to quote me in defense of that disgusting mockery of people with real prosthetics, I swear I will find a way to bypass the ban on that hellhole of a website only to get banned again for telling you exactly where you can shove your hunger games rip-off and nazi propaganda and the hack who wrote them!

My last problem is the unanswered question how old these characters are supposed to be. I’ve seen reviews pointing the artistic style and opening scene built to clearly invoke the feeling Nico and Chase are now entering their early 20′s, with all doubts and uncertainties that entails. But if that’s the case, then Gert, snatched from the jaws of death, is now much younger than Chase, being AT BEST 15 when she died.

Okay, so that’s for my complaints about the issue and the direction book seems to be going in. Now up to the good parts.

Rainbow Rowell certainly feels the characters and when Nico and Chase speak, I can genuinely believe it’s the same characters from previous books speaking, something I could not say of every writer to ever portray the two. The way the issue is constructed serves to showcase Nico’s powers, explain and demonstrate her magic system and establish that she has been using the easiest spells like heal in all possible variants and languages, so now when she needs to cast a spell she needs to be very specific or creative. It’s good, doesn’t nerf the character as much as some were complaining, but provides her with clear limits that allow showcasing her other skills. I remember Kelly Thompson said that it’s important to remember that Nico, while powerful, has her limits and this issue does a good job to establish just that. And I need to praise Rainbow Rowell for this. Because you see, ever since Gabby Rivera started writing America, there started popping out this slew of assholes claiming people who don’t have prior comics experience should not be allowed to write Marvel books. Well, here comes an author with no prior comics experience and from the fame literary background (YA literature) as Rivera and in single issue shows a great understanding of both Nico and Chase’s characters but also of Nico’s powers, limits and how to creatively apply them. Meanwhile, an established comics veteran couldn’t get assed to check on any of that and tried to replace her powers with dumb anime arm and pink lasers. Score one for real writers, you gatekeeping shits.

Last thing I want to mention is Kris Anka’s art. Which I’ve also seen people criticize and some jerks rising to whine Nico doesn’t look cute or something. And I’m like “She’s in her fucking nightgown and in the middle of dyeing her hair. She looks like a normal woman doing such things do.” And then it hit me how rarely we actually see women in comics in such mundane situations without them being sexualized or at least idealized, looking like even there they’re putting on full make-up and show for some invisible audience. I’m happy Kris Anka got to portray her in such predicament and decided to give her a very normal look.

Runaways #1 is a promising begining of what I hope will be long, respectful to the characters run by two very talented creators. While I do have my worries and most of them point towards the editor, I am optimistic and urge fans to give it a chance.

- Admin

hopeless hearts just passing through

for: beka @alienharrry
by: jessica @nightingiall 
a story about Shakespearean plays, an unlikely pair of high school teachers, a fake date to a real wedding, and the magic of romance (for a hopeless romantic).
word count: 14,319
warnings: sexual content, language
main pairing: niall/harry

Summer’s transition into autumn is always a strange one, Harry thinks as he tugs his warm jumper up and over his head with a huff. He’s been hauling boxes from the truck downstairs up to his new fifth floor flat throughout the course of what started as a morning with a crisp but biting breeze to a humid and muggy afternoon that has sticky droplets of sweat rolling down the back of his neck.

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