Something different! For @Official_PAX EAST in Boston this weekend, I’ll be in the Diversity Lounge beside @geeksout with this new series of Nagel-esque motivational posters featuring queer pioneers in the arts and sciences! Come say hi!
Teen stars are borne into a terrible paradox. They’re hip and cool and appeal to today’s youth. But that youth is a fleeting demographic, soon to be transformed into tomorrow’s boring adults and replaced by tomorrows’ youth, who undoubtedly hold yesterday’s teen stars in disdain. Totally over them. Totes. OMG.
Luckily, comic book teen stars can sort of side-step this trap. They don’t need to age much, and if they age, they can be quietly de-aged. They can also disappear into Comics Limbo for years at a time. That way, the younger generation that they once appealed to can have some room to grow up, read some Vertigo, and then discover a new semi-ironic fondness for that funny character that they connected with as a youth, just in time for that character to emerge from Limbo, unchanged, and bathed in a halo of nostalgia.
At FlameCon ’s ReDesigning X-Women panel some of our favorite comics artists redesigned fave X-Men ladies. I did not get to photograph every single amazing piece but here are a few. Jubilee & the first Emma Frost are by @kevinwada. Storm is from @kristaferanka , Psylock is by @terryblas , Rachel Summers & see-thru raincoat Emma by @modhero , Spiral
And “endangered albino snakeskin with endangered sealskin Emma” is by @maxwittert
I was invited to speak on an AMAZING panel at Flame Con this weekend (thanks to aimeefleck for the recommendation) on superhero costumes and fashion. Along with our fearless moderator, modhero, I joined Aimee, maxwittert, kevinwada, and Daniel Ketchum to talk about what we liked about superhero fashion, what we hated, trends in costume design, and pretty much anything else we could think of. It was pretty fantastic, all of my fellow panelists were AMAZING people, and we were very warmly received– maybe a little too warmly, as the air conditioning in our panel room left something to be desired. But that was my only complaint, and everyone seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed themselves. I only felt badly because there was a very long line and not everyone who waited made the cutoff. So I thought I would share some of what I did for the panel!
Mutants are all about potential. Whether or not that potential is reached, or even realized is sort of up to the character. And the writer. Chamber is basically pure potential. A character literally bursting with energy. He’s also a glowing example of how much potential there is in strangeness. Otherness. A transgender man once told me he grew up loving Chamber because he too bound up his chest. What an incredibly resonant connection, right? It’s probably not a connection Chamber’s creators, Bachalo & Lobdell, were thinking about at all, but that’s the beauty of bizarre and creative characters. Their designs take risks and win them the love of fans who don’t see themselves in alpha males, warrior queens or other standard archetypes. Their potential may not be obvious to the average reader, but to the right fan, a strange C-list character means everything.
When you’re a mess, looking in the mirror is the last thing you want to do. Kate and Clint are great together because they aren’t so similar as to reflect one another’s flaws. At face value they’re essentially nothing alike. Kate's apparently got it together, but she’s got a lot of growing up to do and her rich upbringing has kept her from really understanding how the world works. Meanwhile, the weight of his own experience has made Clint’s life a shambles. Still, put a bow and arrow in the guy’s hands and suddenly all that experience counts for something. He grounds Kate. She helps Clint see past his own nonsense. They click. They balance each other out.
There’s something important about being a creative superhero. Not just someone who can punch giants, fly over the moon, or shoot lasers out of their wherever. Yes, Dazzler can shoot lasers out of her wherever, but that’s sort of an afterthought. She takes sound and turns it unto light. She takes something and turns it into something else. She’s an artist. And her art isn’t just an afterthought. It’s part of who she is. She doesn’t paint on the side to relieve stress, or take dance lessons that help her fight. Creativity is part of her identity, all the way down to her genes. For her, mutant powers are just another creative tool. They’re an extension of her. Like any good artist, she sees potential where others don’t. She sees solutions that others can’t. She can illuminate the unclear. She can turn anger into joy. She can rock the house.
Love is basically a form of highly sought-after, socially acceptable insanity. Right? It makes even the strongest people fragile and vulnerable, while at the same time filling the weakest people with a rare and special power. Love is a great wrecking ball that broke open the walls of Harley Quinn’s cracking mind, and because of love, she’s free to swing from the wrecking ball with wild abandon.
Like a leaf on the wind. Free to drift. Sometimes a team player. Sometimes a wild card. Sometimes an adversary. Challenging the status quo with a seasoned poise and a perfect eye. He senses which way the winds are blowing, and knows just where to land.
Saving the day isn’t a popularity contest. Scott Summers understands that. Sure, he’s a bore. Sure, he kind of sucks at being a husband and father. Sure, he’s so emotionally walled-up that he only dates psychic women who can literally read his mind, relieving him of the responsibility of actually sharing emotions.
Yet, when the X-Men are in trouble, he’s the one who sees a way out. His Boy Scout tunnel-vision can actually BORE A TUNNEL through a mountain. He may be last-picked for the softball team, and Wolverine only takes him out for a beer under EXTREME duress, but that’s okay. Scott is strangely self-aware and cool with his role in the bigger picture. You don’t have to like the guy. Just know that he’ll get you out alive.
(^The only surprise there is that the author didn’t find some way to make them tie.)
What was interesting?
#3 - Kitty Pryde
Kitty was introduced in the early 80s, when the comics landscape was changing. She represented the evolution of the super hero. She was perky. Funny. Smart. Soulful. Human.
When Kitty appeared on the scene, female superhero archetypes tended to fall into a couple standard buckets:
Etherial psychics playing mind games
Mystical goddess types
Traditionally male power fantasies superimposed onto women
Exaggerations of “feminine” traits
And of course, those who could shrink or become invisible…
Kitty could “phase” through solid matter, and render the objects she touched intangible. Her power might be considered passive, but she couldn’t just phase her problems away. Having a physical power that rendered her body untouchable allowed writers to pay extra attention to her ingenuity and courage. She was the hero of the future, the voice of a new generation, and she could save the day with a superpower that was essentially the opposite of violence.