Alan Turing is not one of the more well known figures of the 20th century despite his quite notable achievements. What other person both contributed to Allied victory in World War II by breaking the Nazi Germany’s Enigma Code and to laying the groundwork to modern day computers that are used in so many ways that are used by and affect us every day. Without a doubt the world is a better place because of Turing, but his contemporaries thought much less of him solely because he was an out gay man in a time when homosexuality was illegal in England. Turing’s life ended because of stigma and injustices heaped upon him and we can only speculate on Turing’s impact on technology and society had he lived a longer life. Seeing a graphic novel devoted to Turing’s relevancy to society as a whole and LGBT history is immensely gratifying.
Wild Eye Releasing has announced the upcoming October 21 DVD and VOD release of Sexina, a comedy about the titular pop star sensation battling evildoers in the music industry, directed by Drew: The Man Behind the Poster’s Erik Sharkey. As she balances filling arenas and fighting crime, Sexina meets her match in her greatest foe, TV’s Adam West (“Batman”, “Family Guy”). Featuring music by Davy Jones of The Monkees, Sexina also stars Annie Golden (“Orange is the New Black”) and Peter Stickles (Shortbus). The San Francisco Bay Guardian called Sexina “an answer to films like Austin Powers and Legally Blonde.”
Sexina is the world’s hottest teen pop star, but she’s also a secret crime-fighting detective battling evils in the music industry. When the leading scientific mind in humanoid robotics (and a former child pop star) is kidnapped, Sexina is hired to get him back. When she learns he has been forced to create cyborg bands for “The Boss” of Glitz Records (Adam West, “Batman”), the fists and power ballads fly! The reigning queen of pop must contend with assassins, ninjas, dangerous thugs, mysterious informants, a wild grizzly bear, and of course, take some time out for a little clothes shopping.
Love it or hate it – the first issue of Batgirl with a new direction and new creative team of Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, and Babs Tarr arrived in comic shops this past Wednesday. Reaction to the change seems fairly divided in half near as I can tell. I liked far more than I’m uncertain about for now and that mainly has to do with maintaining a superhero identity while living with yet another roommate. Yes, I had the same thought when Gail Simone introduced Alysia Yeoh in the beginning of her run on the title. Simone made Yeoh likable and the living arrangement not just believable but also meaningful. Maybe I should say I’m waiting to see how it’s handled. Instead of talking about the whole issue I want to focus on LGBT characters and Alysiah is the perfect segue. Many readers vocalized concern about Alysia’s status once the new team came on board. It’s an understandable reaction given that LGBT characters tend to be either supporting cast or part of an ensemble and often disappear into limbo even without a change in the creative roster. Brenden Fletcher stated in a CBR interview with Jeffrey Renaud that Alysia would be around still in the supporting cast which is good news because there are so few transgender characters in comics and even fewer that are well written like Alysia. How much she’ll be used in stories remains to be seen. In this issue she appears in a small handful of panels on the opening page, serving as a transition from the old to the new.
Fletcher had also mentioned in a tweet they’d include more LGBT characters in their stories. And they’re off to a good start. New roomie Frankie throws a party to welcome Barbara to the apartment. The next afternoon it’s discovered that a phone and Barbara’s laptop have been stolen. Artist Babs Tarr draws a great visual of Barbara mentally reconstructing the party and “walking around” the room while asking Frankie questions about various people. That’s how we learn about Frankie’s coworker Donna coming to the party with her longtime girlfriend Natasha Holloway and another guest, Sevin Gupta who also runs his own company, Sevin Gupta Events. So, this makes four LGBT characters so far (Alysia, Donna, Natasha, and Sevin). Barbara as Batgirl tracks down the thief who stole the phone and her laptop. After getting beaten up, he pleads with Batgirl not to call his moms. The guy was raised by a lesbian couple! But wait! The writers reveal on the last page that there’s another one, and she’s been throughout the entire story since page one along with Barbara. It’s roommate Frankie who may be bisexual or a bi curious lesbian.
Frankie’s guaranteed to appear more because of her roommate status. Time will tell if Donna, Natasha, and Sevin will be recurring characters or just one offs. Gotham is becoming the most diverse corner of the DC Universe. There’s Cullen Row who debuted in Batman and I think appears in Batman Eternal. Of course there’s Kate Kane, AKA Batwoman and Maggie Sawyer. Grayson isn’t set in Gotham but Midnighter has been pitted against the former Nightwing. Renee Montoya is currently MIA though, having shown up only in flashback post the publisher’s relaunch in late August 2011. That doesn’t stop the character from being featured in the Gotham TV series. And then there’s Alysia! Please keep Alysia prominent in the cast! As one of the few fleshed out and well written trans characters in comics she’s too important to set aside!
Here’s a trio of interesting items that have come to my attention in the past day. Liz Prince’s Tomboy and Sally Heathcote: Suffragette by Mary and Bryan Talbot and Kate Charlesworth are graphic novels. Alexis Coe’s Alice + Freda Forever looks to be an illustrated novel.
Growing up, Liz Prince wasn’t a girly girl, dressing in pink tutus or playing pretty princess like the other girls in her neighborhood. But she wasn’t exactly one of the guys either (as she learned when her little league baseball coach exiled her to the distant outfield). She was somewhere in between.
But with the forces of middle school, high school, parents, friendship, and romance pulling her this way and that, the middle wasn’t exactly an easy place to be.
Tomboy follows Ignatz Award-winning author and artist Liz Prince through
her early years and explores–with humor, honesty, and poignancy–what it means to “be a girl.” From staunchly refuting “girliness” and finding the perfect outfit, to finally discovering that your identity is whatever you make of it, Tomboy offers a sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking account of self-discovery.
A preview and more info can be found at the link.
JD Glass shared this link to a recording of the Queer Women In Comics panel that took place at the New York Comic Con in 2011. Panelists include Paige Braddock, Jennifer Camper, Kris Dresen, JD Glass, and Joan Hilty. Just under an hour, you’ll want to listen as they talk about their starts in comics, share insights, and tell personal stories. Listen to the talk here.
We’d be really bad if we forgot to mention Bent Con’s campaign to raise funds to cover show and promotion costs. Thirteen days to go!
Sometimes LGBT characters pop up when you least expect it! That’s what happened last week in not one or two, but three comics from different publishers.
Gail Simone has put Red Sonja on a quest to gather up the six greatest artisans to meet the demand of Emperor Samala, who wants their services on display for his “going away” party. Samala is dying and want to go out in grand style on his terms, which includes the deaths a thousand slaves to attend him in the afterlife, per royal custom. The emperor will allow them to live only if Red Sonja brings all six to his court. The renowned dancer Rakaua is the last of the six Sonja must fetch. Sonja attacks a pair of guards and busts down a door in a show of bravada and determination to make her goal and leave it to Gail to surprise Sonja and readers alike with a twist on the damsel in distress trope! Meet Rakaua who’s “always dreamed of being rescued by a strong warrior”.
History was a subject that didn’t excite me a lot in school. It just seemed to be memorizing dates, names, and battles strung together by a cause here and a reason there. Two college instructors, one for 19th century American culture and the other for American history to the Civil War, changed all that for me though. The second teacher also having been in theater helped some as well. Jill Lepore’s enthusiasm has me wanting to read this book! Lepore’s New Yorker article can be read here.
“The Secret History of Wonder Woman is as racy, as improbable, as awesomely righteous, and as filled with curious devices as an episode of the comic book itself. In the nexus of feminism and popular culture, Jill Lepore has found a revelatory chapter of American history. I will never look at Wonder Woman’s bracelets the same way again.” – Alison Bechdel
Found via The Comics Reporter.