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Dance of the Puppets

Like a bat on a hot tin roof since August 2005

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Girl Superheroes for Girls

DC Superhero Girls (or possibly Super Hero Girls) is a new web animation series, book series, and any other type of merchandising they can possibly squeeze out of it. The setting is a school for superheroes, which doesn't seem that fussy about the "hero" part, since they seem to have let in several villains too. Basically it's attempting to do Monster High, only for superhero comic characters, and judging by the costume designs, skewing a little younger.

I've seen some criticism that, since the school is co-ed, they should have made it more inclusive by calling it Superhero Kids or something else less gender-specific. But you know what? No. They shouldn't. On the one hand it's a superhero show for girls, which is a big thing in itself in an age where Black Widow is ignored in Avengers merchandising and female-led superhero movies are decidedly at the back of the queue.

But beyond that, if the series had a non-gender-specific title everyone would have assumed it was for boys, and that the majority of the characters would be male. Because that's what non-gender-specific means in our society. Men and boys have been pandered to for so long at the expense of women and girls that if you have a group that has an equal number of male and female characters it is considered female-biased, simply because the vast majority of "non-gender-specific" shows feature a primary cast that is four guys and one girl, or three guys and two girls. Even where the female character is nominally the protagonist, the supporting cast is predominantly male. So yes, the only way of having a show that isn't male dominated is by making it a specifically female show. And I am fine with that.

And, oh look. Who's that in the background...?

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Be careful what you wish for

I was just reading about a guy who was in the Guinness Book of Records for having the world's largest Dalek collection, and my first thought was "I bet he just mentioned to some friends one day that he liked Daleks, and it just stuck."

It's inevitable really. Let it ever be known that you have an interest in a particular thing, be it Daleks or cheese-graters, and immediately everyone will sieze on it and assume that this is your thing. Every birthday, x-mas, or other gift-related occasion will bring more of the sodding things because it saves anyone from making any effort to think about what you might like. It's one step up from the completely random generic present, and it does give the illusion that they actually put some effort into getting something you might like, but actually it just means that they grabbed the first Dalek (or cheese-grater) related thing they saw and called it done.

And the trouble is that once it starts it's almost impossible to stop. Even a person who has no idea about your supposed cheese-grater obsession will assume it's your thing as soon as they see the shelf full of the damn things that others have already stuck you with. And you can't just throw them out because then you'd be hurting the feelings of the friends who put all that effort into bringing you back that Dalek-shaped cheese-grater from their holiday in Wales, and before you know it, you're in the Guinness Book of Records and you can barely move for colourful and oddly shaped, novelty cheese graters from the far corners of the world.

No, the only way to stop yourself being forever saddled with the unwanted obsession is to kill it before it takes root. Your best bet is to somehow link the despised object with some tragedy: "I can't even look at a cheese-grater since my pet rabbit died." not only makes anyone who attempts to give you yet another tawdry variation on the theme feel guilty about opening old wounds, but gives you an excuse to be rid of those which you have already accumulated.

Either that, or let it be known that you are into something so obscure (or expensive) that it defeats the laziness factor by requiring more effort on the part of the gift-giver than a regular present. I mean everyone knows I'm a big fan of Doctor Light, but I've already got both action figures that were made of her and the trading card. At this point the only option is hunting through back issue bins or searching online for comics that don't have her name in the title, and that's way too much like effort.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Flash of Light

Can you imagine how delighted I am to hear that Kimiyo Hoshi will be appearing on The Flash TV show? Either I'm not her only fan, or the Flash producers were desperate to find a female character in DC's archive who wasn't a blonde.

More info at The Mary Sue.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Hobbit Princess

A rather... loose adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit produced in 1966 for the sole purpose of fulfilling Rembrandt Films' licensing contract and retaining rights to the book.

I have to say I'm disappointed that the princess was cut from Thorin's band of adventurers in Peter Jackson's version. It makes the movie such a sausage fest.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Difference in Doctor Who

There are countless opinions on the difference between classic Doctor Who and new Doctor Who, but once you get past all the technical aspects, the period specific stuff, and the differences in the society it was created for, it seems to me that the main difference is that old Who was about people in crisis, with the Doctor acting as a catalyst to change the situation, where as new Who, specifically Moffat Who, is all about the Doctor.

I think it's fair to say that a lot of the time in the original series there was too little Doctor, with virtually no background given to the character until the series had been running for ten seasons, and the TARDIS, that wonderful place, often serving no function other than transporting the characters from story to story. But in Moffat Who it seems like everything is about the Doctor. The tedious season-long story arcs are all focussed on the Doctor, seemingly intent on probing mysteries to which nobody really wants to know the answer. There was even an episode that consisted of little more than characters wandering around the TARDIS, which, apart from a few nice moments, served to make it less interesting than it had been when it was all a mystery.

New Who has now reached the opposite extreme from the early days of old Who, when what would work so much better is a lot closer to the mid-point between the two. Neither a complete absence of Doctor stuff, nor a total fetishistic obsession with the character. I only hope that the next person who is put in charge of the show has some understanding of this.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Why are there never any ballet-dancing taxidermied mice on ebay when you want one?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Light show

I'd been under the impression that Doctor light had been dropped from current DC continuity, along with a number of characters who have more than two fans, but while that's likely true (and given current editorial attitudes I tend to think she's well out of it) it doesn't stop her turning up in Derek Fridolfs and Dustin Nguyen's excellent Lil' Gotham, which against explicit editorial mandate even managed to sneak a blonde Batgirl into one issue.

Thanks guys. It's nice to know Kimiyo still gets a little love.

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