Wonder Woman’s Foreign Successors

I’ve been reading Mike Madrid’s The Supergirls, a really fantastic look at  the history of superheroines in mainstream American comics. I just reached the 1970s, and the karate-chopping, white-pantsuit-wearing, depowered Wonder Woman era that came with it—a sharp contrast to Ms. Magazine’s famous, Diana-emblazoned inaugural issue. For those not in the know, Gloria Steinem put Wonder […]

Gunbuster: Adventures in Shonen Tropes

Studio Gainax veteran Hiroyuki Imaishi has been in the news lately for his upcoming project, Kill La Kill, which reminded me–I’ve been meaning to write a big fat recommendation post for the 1980s classic, Aim for the Top! Gunbuster. Welcome to the big fat rec post for Gunbuster! WATCH GUNBUSTER. It’s short, first off—six episodes you can easily […]

The Case for Fashion in Comics

I love comics. Frequently, it doesn’t feel like they love me back–but I, like most fans, can take it. I can weather the bloated crossover events, the gimmicky romances, the deaths that you know won’t last before the bullet even leaves the gun. I can take artists who only draw three faces and X-TREME BLOODSHED […]

Save Our Stereotypes

I don’t want to destroy the damsel in distress. I don’t want to destroy the sleeping beauty. Or the femme fatale. Or the pollyanna. Or the ditz. Or the girl next door. I watch attempts to ban them warily, though I know the intentions behind the act are good. I know we’re tired of these […]

Michiko to Hatchin is the Best Anime You’ve Never Watched

Michiko to Hatchin is as good as Cowboy Bebop. There, I said it. It’s also as good as Serial Experiments Lain and Neon Genesis Evangelion, but Bebop is the important comparison here. Did you enjoy the interplay we saw between Eastern and Western culture in Bebop? Did you enjoy the (now iconic) soundtrack? Did you […]

Pretty Soldiers: Hotaru Tomoe

Hotaru Tomoe is abused by her father. She suffers from an illness that leaves her breathless, weak and wracked with pain. She is picked on by her classmates. Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune are planning to murder her. Her magical senshi power is to bring about the apocalypse. She possesses healing abilities, but their strangeness […]

Superheroine Movie

Imagine the teaser trailer. Peeks at the iconic costume, a villain’s growled one-liner, the title looming suddenly out of the darkness with THIS CHRISTMAS or SUMMER 2014 beneath it. Imagine the interviews in Entertainment Weekly: the costume design chief noting how they “went with the more textured fabric, to get that realism in there,” the […]

On Sansa Stark

(Note: This is from the perspective of someone who has watched the Game of Thrones TV show but is only 120 pages into the first book.) I’ve spent a serious chunk of my first week in the Game of Thrones fandom catching up on the debate over Sansa Stark. I can’t say I’m really surprised […]

5 More Anime and Manga Titles for HBO to Adapt

Between Game of Thrones and the planned American Gods series, HBO has been drinking deeply from the Nerd Money well. This is, of course, part of that much-discussed wave of geek culture we’ve seen ripple across mass media lo these past ten years: The Big Bang Theory is a mainstream sitcom, Marvel has a culture-shaping […]

On Fatherhood

When I was around six or seven, I discovered my father’s old comic books. He’s an archivist and his closet reflects this–it is a meticulously organized trove of his interests, packed away in folders, binders and shoeboxes. The calm, stacked neatness of it compelled me, reigning in what might have been, in the hands of […]

Pretty Soldiers: Minako Aino

Minako Aino revels in frivolity. She loves pop music and cake, she trades shoujo manga with her friends, she wants to be an idol singer someday. She loves fame and glamour and if she existed today, you can bet she’d be updating the official Sailor Venus twitter account every hour because “omg today’s monster had […]

On Fandom Activism and the Logical High Ground

I understand that change is always difficult, regardless of scale. I understand that societal change in particular is a monumental task. I understand that these things happen slowly, and that part of the whole affair is maintaining patience. It is this knowledge that buoys me as I rummage through online discussions of representation in fiction, […]

Pretty Soldiers: Makoto Kino

The strength of characterization in Sailor Moon is, in my opinion, what has made it such an enduring series. When we were children, we chose our favorite and used her to represent who we were and who we hoped to be. And there was such a diversity of choice—they’re tomboys, wannabe idols, obsessed with video […]

Sex and the Senshi

(Author’s Note: This article deals with issues regarding sex and sexuality in a non-explicit manner. Regardless, it might not be safe for work.) Usagi, the titular character of Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon, is a great character. We watch her grow from a clumsy, lazy, self-centered teenager into a fearless goddess of justice who takes down […]

The Fallen Magical Girl and the Crisis of Adolescence

The Fallen Magical Girl is a trope as endemic to the mahou shoujo genre as the transformation sequence.  Though she once swore fealty to ideals of love and justice, now she obeys only herself, or perhaps the whims of some dark master. Her altruism has been gouged out, her idealistic nature soured. She is bitter […]

Let Us Now Praise Betty and Veronica

I became a comics fan at six years old. Something about the medium exhilarated me–something I still have trouble articulating. Something that made me leaf reverently through my father’s old Marvel back issues, the characters frozen in stories I knew only a slice of. Something that compelled me to get my dad to drive me […]