Circe Rex Inclusive

Hello this is a fan fiction story about DC's Circe. Originally it was for a fan fiction competition that is now defunct, I probably would not have chose to write about Circe ordinarily, because I like her, but don't feel I know her that well. Writing is about challenging yourself though eh? This story is rated E for Everyone, the versions of Circe and Ares I use in this story are meant to echo DC's versions but they are also in public domain. Also the rules for the fan fiction tournament were that the normally villainous Circe be written as a hero and a hero that evoked her normal characterization. Hopefully it reads that way. Also had a word limit at 1500. Feedback is appreciated and thank you kindly to any who decided to take the time to read, even if you don't comment. Cheers.

Circe Rex Inclusive

A small assortment of colorful furry, feathered, fluffy and otherwise diverse animals bounded into the auditorium knocking chairs and tables over with a reckless abandon that is typical of such wildlife. Despite being in the presence of some of their natural predators and prey, the animals seemed well mannered and organized once gathered in the centre of the large room. Among the ranks of species present were two lions, a peacock, two eagles, a hawk, five domestic cats, one raccoon, two brown bears, a shoebill, four domestic dogs, one very large wild and fluffy dog, two bunny rabbits, one wolf, three cows, three penguins and a baby seal in a small trolley pulled by a very tired looking pig. A stunning statuesque woman with unusually light violet hair swayed into room dressed in a sharp black business suit sporting a devilish grin. With a flick of her wrists she produced a light aura around the room that was superseded in commotion by all the gathered animals transformations into humans. The bedlam was brief but subsided after a few giggles and gasps, various humans checking their pockets to check for wallets and keys, finding their bearings and familiarizing themselves with their normal hume forms. Circe asserted herself over the now gathered human assembly with an almost inhumanly enchanting voice.

"Attention please mortals, please find a seat, makes yourselves comfortable. Some of you may feel slightly disorientated after your respective animal metamorphosis's but this shall be temporary, but more importantly you should all otherwise be mindful and aware to your current state of ease, relation and calmness. This content state of being is how you deserve to feel."

Circe continued to capture the attention of the room with her words, her presence and voice was comforting and enchanting, firm and motivating. It was a now-standard group therapy session for the sorceress who had been using her magical talents for five years to aid, support and counsel humans in conditions of anxiety, nervousness, shyness, anger management, traumatic stress among others. By using her various powers in unorthodox ways such as projective animal metamorphoses, she could allow repressed human individuals to feel a powerful release by regressing to their more simple and animalistic nature and state, as an actual eagle for example, then by returning them to their original state holding over their newfound sense of purpose, comfort and satisfaction with life. Such one ability among an arsenal of magical derived abilities she manifested in various ways to help others. Such practices had raised the ire of many who would label Circe and her practices as pseudo science, but Circe would usually face such criticism by shrugging her shoulders and referencing her considerable age. Magic, science, magic, science, she didn't really care about semantics she cared about results, and her results were impressive.

Circe's brand of herbal remedies and natural medicines earned her a fortune large enough to buy her own island paradise but she was uncharacteristically transparent as far as channeling such large sums of money into various charities and organizations, mostly relating to children, woman and feminism which in itself drew further criticism, but Circe was essentially a goddess, she above such petty assaults on her character. Perhaps she was demonstrating a superiority complex, but she loved nothing more than manipulating mankind to reach its true potential, and what better way to give the finger to the ways of old, gods, kings, patriarchy! At the conclusion of her session Circe hugged a young socially anxious woman who had gotten to experience flying that day, and planted a memory suggestion that would compel the woman to join a local running group. Circe would retire to her room to gather her thoughts.

"Ah with your blatant manipulations and deceit, you would make a better villain to these wretched creatures than a hero, or perhaps you are just more committed to your treachery these decades!" boomed a grim voice accompanied by heavy leather forced by heavier power against humble wood. Ares, Deity of War, Deity of Conflict, of Blood, Iron and Steel. Ares who needs no introduction, at least not to Circe, their lives, histories, backgrounds, intertwined past several centuries of blood, love, betrayal and threats.

"You do more than insult me with your pacifistic platitudes and attempts to drive Man from their true nature, you know that a peaceful and content Mankind is a direct threat to my very being and core. That you employ deceiving spells and illusions is more than a sign that this is not natural and that you seek to circumvent the foundations of humanity and spit in the face of gods. You are not naive Circe, you know you injure me, you know how I react to challenges!" Ares words were laced with sharpness, yet Circe's smile never diminished during the intrusion of one time associate.

"Oh Ares, must you use such archaic and gender exclusive terms - but no, none of my actions intend to hurt you, despite the fact our goals and motivations seem at odds, however War god they do not need to be. For centuries I was trapped in a cycle, but I made no choices. From arranged marriages to ignorant Greek mobs to being manipulated by wrathful goddesses to severe isolation. Our long lives are curses but they are gifts as well. I was a selfish spoiled power hungry brat and it got me nothing. Technically speaking I am still a selfish spoiled power hungry brat" Circe delivered dryly "but there is value in helping others. Mock me when you refer to me as a hero, but mind your manners son of Zeus, my tongue may be silver but you risk more than your pride by attempting to enlighten me about nature. Manipulation and deceit is my nature, but helping humans and being considered a heroine is my choice. It frees me from millennia of bondage. You are a puppet with an axe, but why? Defy your father, Ares, defy the fates, why would you allow anyone else to tell you what is or isn't your nature?" Circe seated crossed her leg as she posed that all too sincere sounding challenge.

Ares would have none of it as he rushed towards the spell caster and drove his war axe down straight through her in a blow which could only split her in two, and the war god would follow through with that attack with a sweeping horizontal strike that be so vicious and violent as to create ripples that would scar the walls. "Vulgar illusions you cursed creature!" Ares' anger apparent, many of his following curses uttered in ancient Greek. Circe was still seated in her original position with no damage of any sorts inflicted against her at all. She stood up and sighed. She was not there, only a projected visage, an illusion of herself kept the company of Ares now.

"Forgive me Ares, I taunted and mocked you, what can I say? I still have a streak of wickedness in me, and yes I understand you fancy yourself as quite the powerful and strong war god and I am just a female of illusions and mind games, but these humans. They are so soft and mortal, fragile and easy to corrupt. Its slightly depressing to see them try so hard and fail. Yet somehow they have managed to collectively acquire more knowledge and understanding of reality than even we can claim to have. Don't you realize that humanity has struggled so hard and huddled so tightly that after hundreds of years they now have the power to make choices that have eluded powerful beings like you and me? I was naive once and abused for it, and the humans are still naive and I choose not to abuse them. They come to me to help them and I chose to help them. Pick up a book Ares, pick up a book by Steven Pinker actually, study evolution, read of man's discoveries of the past, learn of forensic archeology, of empathy, we live in the most peaceful era that humans have ever experienced and that is a trend that is projected to continue. Right now as the god of war you are the weakest you have ever been and you are only going to get weaker. You have been lied to child, the only way you can survive is to change your nature and forfeit war. I don't know, maybe you can be the god of the Internet or the god of atheism, those are both popular right now? You can still be relevant and coexist alongside man. What you can't do Ares is stray me from my current path. Even if you were to somehow kill me, mankind will continue to outgrow war even if they are skeptical of that fact. I'm sending you the bill for the damages done to this building by the way. No hard feelings though."

Circe's visage faded away as she smiled gently...


Shatterstar: No Homo Bro

Hi. You know what's strange? Slow motion death scenes. Wanted to do a blog after seeing a few threads and comments talking about Shatterstar that seemed to be playing off faulty information and misconceptions. 

Who is Shatterstar?  

A verified badass from the future, Mojoworld specifically, genetically engineered, who swings about the X-Corner of Marvel, with those merry mutants. He is mainly associated with X-Force and X-Factor. He has a fairly convoluted past, probably because he was created in the 90's, but he usually carries around a bladed weapon or two and has a healthy appreciation in the thrill of honourable combat. He's a good guy too. Great fighter.  
 Wait a minute....

So what's the big fuss? 

Well, Shatterstar started to kiss boys, and he liked it (take that Kate Perry) and cue the guy who created him and hundreds possibly billions of people not really liking that at all, since he use to definitely not kiss boys way back in the day.  
Wait, wait, wait what? They made him a Gay? Who? That liberal fool Peter David otherwise known as PAD? This angers me. I don't like this. I don't like the character anymore, and I have lost the will to live. What kind of politically correct, utter BS, propaganda, gay agenda, jibber jabber is this funk? Its my opinion and understanding that Shatterstar is an Asexual Gladiator and not supposed to engage in sort of sexual relationship with any other character, male or female. Well maybe female, see that's normal. Its better for Shatterstar the character, fans, creators, and is true to the creators vision of the character? AmIrite? 
I guess it depends as far fan preferences, I sympathize to a degree. Its can suck when a character you have a certain vision, and view of, turns out being a character that doesn't fit or sustain that image. Its like you lose a favorite character. The reasons you like a character change or are portrayed differently. Its annoying. Especially if its unexpected, especially if you have been a fan of that character for a long time. If tomorrow they made Thor drop his Hammer and move to Canada to pursue becoming a career as a high end hair stylist, I would like the character less, and be very annoyed at his new direction... probably... unless Gillen, JMS, Carey or PAD were writing... anyway, sure I can see legitimate reasons why you could want this undone. That being said you seem a bit paranoid... moving on, your more objective, points, well lets delve in to through out this thread. Oh, like Shatterstar being in a homosexual relationship isn't new, or something brought about by PAD in X-Factor, there are actually a lot of hints, prior references and implications in much older issues, back in the 90's 90's 90's. Pre PAD, pre X-Factor. Shatterstar is probably the most popular he has ever been right now as well, and with a lot of depth, and story focus.  
Hey hold up... that line "Hints, prior references and implications" look buddy, I own all of X-Force, I even got the foil variants, 3D variants, Scratch and Sniff Variants and multiple copies of X-Force #1, some I got wrapped tighter than Kingpin poured into a Black Cat suit, so one day I can sell them all, my variants and be mega rich, like Flynt Flossy... wha... why are you laughing at me? Anyway I got all comics... ever... not just the ones Shatty appeared in, all of them, I don't know how that helps, all I know is there are no "Hints, prior references and implications" of Shatterstars or Rictors sexuality being how it is now, or them seeing each other that way. So what cha talking about man?  
Hmm, well I have most of Shatterstar and Rictors appearances too,  I saw and I see, lots of "Hints, prior references and implications" to those two characters being romantically linked, and you know as well I am not the only one. Since I admit, I am a bit freaky and I see how Psylocke looks Spiral and Shuma Gorath and uhm... anyway. Prior to their kiss in X-Factor #45 there has been tons of discussion around these two being together by heaps of their fans, there's a good reason for that, which I will discuss later, but since critical reasoning died in 2007 and kids today are all about scans and references - many fans cite instances that demonstrate Rictor and Shatterstar are less like Bert and Ernie and more like Ross and Joey... or uh the other way around?  
Things like Shatterstar deciding to learn Spanish to communicate on an extra level with Rictor, because I am sure he learnt German for Nightcrawler and English for Emma. In #49 of the original X-Force series, Shatterstar reminisces outside a bar, thinking of his friend Rictor ""I miss Julio" "Why hasn't Rictor called me" "Rictor brought me to this bar before" and then a woman tries to get freaky with him inside the club, with some rad dance moves, before Star denies her advances goes out side the bar and stops a gang beating up a gay guy. This was the 90's so you know subtlety was huge, like the biceps.    
In X-Force #56 Shatterstar and Siryn are trick or treating, or.. something. After some dramatic moment, we get narrative - ""She has lost Warpath. He has lost Rictor. Both see these missing teammates as ‘friends’. Both too stubborn to admit that they may mean more than that" maybe they mean super friends? Its like friendship only more super?   
What does that mean? More than Friends? Like... Seinfeld? 
The fact that Shatterstar  told Rictor about Windsong in person (Windsong was also genetically engineered and was to be Shatterstar's future bride though arranged marriage). Rictors extreme reaction to Shatterstars "death" during X-Cutioner’s Song. Examples in Cable, when Rictor left, when Rictor returned - so there are a lot of hints, implications, innuendo, analogies and allegories drawn. Me as well, I ain't trying to look or stuff that ain't there, it kind of seemed obvious to me reading it (I am too young to have read the issues as they were released, I read a lot of them one after the other but still prior to "hearing" about in on the internet. Still its one thing to recognize and realize and acknowledge that there are hints and etc with these two characters, and still disagree that the relationship they have now, is what it should be. True. Is there any one out there that thinks that all the above references are just coincidences though? 
Blah blah blah, fooey, fooey, jibber jabba, jibber jabba, Well fans can draw that sort of stuff from anywhere, just because fans say that some of those things above equates to more than just friendship, I mean hell, I have been to some sites on the internet... let me tell you, I don't see Marvel releasing a comic with Wolverine, Galactus and Spiral doing the things to Kitty, Ego and Eye Scream I have seen on various fan sites, let me tell you. L.O.L.... *awkward silence* So yeah, fans don't dictate a characters sexuality or relationships with other characters, the writers and creators do. 
Oh okay. Well for the record Rob Liefeld is against this. Quite heavily in fact.  

"As the guy that created, designed and wrote his first dozen appearances, Shatterstar is not gay. Sorry. Can't wait to someday undo this... Shatterstar is akin to Maximus in Gladiator. He's a warrior, a Spartan, and not a gay one"

Thats cool, I can see why he would be upset. He left the book and the title. If he was still working on the title and the character, chances are, he would and could have the character as he originally intended. Like all characters owned by Marvel, and written by other writers, characters change, and develop new directions, and so on. This can be a natural evolution and progression, or it can't. The hows and whys are going to be subjective. Its going to differ a lot on a individual basis. Therefore, I won't try and talk about it too much. I won't mention that Chris Claremont created Warpath, a fairly big guy a bit over 6 foot originally and well well under 7 foot until a certain writer with plenty of homosexual friends and family decided to physically increase his height to 7 foot 2, even though Warpath's original writer, clearly intended Warpath to be like 6 foot 5 something, because you know, in real life people grow over an extra foot all the time, and no one's conscious sexual orientation does. 

Fabian Nicieza? He is the other creator of Shatterstar. His intent with the character? Not to be homosexual either. Nicieza has spoke about the issue and controversy though and given depth to the matter. His stance.  

Shatterstar was, for all intents and purposes, raised asexual. There were no notions of sexuality in Shatterstar's upbringing, so Shatterstar was going to have to learn as he went along on Earth. Nicieza's position was that Shatterstar did not, as of yet, have feelings, heterosexual OR homosexual

Certain words spring out at me, and this is remembering this was for the characters intent/introduction. Not the character full stop, end/] period. These words "Learn" "as of yet" and "have feelings" particularly. A piece by CBR's great Comic Book Urban Legends reveals more. "Nicieza was planning on exploring that more if he stayed on X-Force, and it might very well have resulted in Shatterstar being gay, but it was not necessarily Nicieza’s intent (you know, like he had not already determined, “He is unsure, but when he figures it out, it’ll definitely be that he’s gay), and it was not why he left the title"
What I get from this, is that was Nicieza planning on making Shatterstar homosexual? No, not necessarily, Nicieza was planning on developing and changing the character from the one introduced in his first issue, meaning he was going to be different, he was never going to be the warrior with no emotions or feelings for the rest of his publication history, he was going to pick up new traits and learning experiences and develop new aspects. As intended. Shock horror, almost like the character was going to grow and develop. Further more, Liefeld was only on X-Force for 12 or so issues. So he only wrote Shatterstar for 12 or so issues. Nicieza was on the title for 40 plus issues. Beyond that? It was actually planned that Rictor and Shatterstar were going to be made into a relationship. This is confirmed by the X-Force editor Mark Powers of that time, it just got post phoned and became a dangling plot. Loeb the writer at the time, wanted to explore Shatterstars origin more, eventually the characters were put in limbo... until guess who started writing them? PAD, one of the best writers when it comes to continuity and knowledge of Marvel characters.  
Its interesting to point out that this was all talked about in 1997 too. The 90's. Looks like the GAAAAY aren't to blame, this one, small time, (Gay Agenda Army And Associates Y-Axis) damn those social terrorists the GAAAAY and their impeccably cliched stylish grooming and their glossy fatwas.  

Uh.. but Shatterstar is ASEXUAL! Dammit. He can't kiss or have a relationship!

Well first, whether or not Shatterstar is asexual or not, people who are asexual as he was intended to be originally, can still have relationships, and still have sex. They are simply not sexually attracted to either gender, but they can be attracted to other aspects of either gender. You don't have to engage in sex because you are physically attracted to someone. Lots of people have lots of reasons they sleep with each other. Lets have a basic stroll though the term.

First the TheFreeDictionary
1. Having no evident sex or sex organs; sexless. 2. Relating to, produced by, or involving reproduction that occurs without the union of male and female gametes, as in binary fission or budding. 3. Lacking interest in or desire for sex.

Definition three. Would still apply to Shatterstar now if a writer wanted him to be asexual, I have not seen a panel where Shatterstar has expressed sexual attraction to having sex with Rictor. (but I am behind on my reading so maybe he has) You don't trust the TheFreeDictionary? I don't blame you, the best things in life may be free, but they are often unreliable or you run the risk of STD's and so here.

Asexual: 1. Without sexual desire or interest. Someone with seemingly no sexual drive. 2. Referring to reproduction without the combination of genetic material with another individual. Yeast can reproduce asexually by budding.

Definition one in this instance. Hell, even wikipedia explains it well. "Some asexuals do have sex" and the bits about how it influences partners in relationships, oh... because they still can and do have relationships, with kissing, and hugging, and hand holding. Shatterstar may not even be Asexual any more, he wasn't Asexual the same way most conventionally are, he was bred to be Asexual, doesn't mean he will. Writer Nicieza for the record, was going to explore and touch on this. The characters Asexuality was never going to be intended to be set in stone. At least by one co creator. Asexual or not in this direct regard, everything still fits the character. Another argument must be made for why this is out of character for the character. As far as another writer? Saying that a character was created asexual so can't be anything else? Its either writers misunderstanding of asexuality or a pretty unusually strict standard that a character past 12 issues stay that way, especially by a writer who handled many other characters that changed dramatically after 12 issues. Some directly by them. Not just that but again Shatterstar might be picking up new ways of thinking, therefore possibly feeling bi, tri, hi fi curious, bisexual, homosexual, heterosexual, pansexual, omnisexual and whatever Wolverine is sexual and so on. (or written that way by a smart writer letting the character grow) 
Well admit it, your just posting all this stuff cause you feel strongly about these two being together? Your just a part of The GAAAAY (Gay Agenda Army And Associates Y-Axis) and L.E.S.B.I.A.N  (Legislate Equal Sin By International Authority Now) 
Em, contrary to what my long post might say, I actually don't mind to much either way. I liked the characters before, I still like them now. (About the same) If Rob Liefeld got a hold of Shatterstar (and without spite) had Shatterstar tell Rictor he is not physically attracted to him, as he is asexual yadda yadda and there wouldn't like to kiss and or that. If it was written well, and written for the best for the characters and made sense given the context. I would be okay. Personally. I just doubt that would happen (the well written and best for characters bit) Plus Shatterstar's hair would go bad again and Rictors thighs and legs would deform and without feet... anyway Others might be annoyed, others would be happy. So on.  
Best of all, to me, going from three Marvel writers and accepted by editors and approved and defended by the Editor-in-Chief, and as a person who has almost read of the appearances of both characters. It still fits the characters as well. Its still in character. Its still my opinion, I think its a good one thats well founded. I see many other opinions similar to mine, I like and agree with even more. I still don't understand any opinion, that claims its factually wrong what has happened with these two characters. I am very happy PAD is writing them. X-Factor is one of, if not the best book right now Marvel is putting out. The characters are respected and getting attention and good writing. I see no negatives.  
Wait, lets go back to all that Sex stuff that sounded kinky... i mean uhm... Sin, Impure! Damnation and Dalmatians. So Shatterstar is a what now? Asexual? Homosexual? Gay? Lesbian? Communist? Feminist? Mutant? Vegan? Gladiator? Dubstep? Maths is hard. 
There there Barbie, maths is hard, but so is social labeling. Much like office labels are handy so you don't end up eating blue tack or using a staple gun to shoot the gums of a fellow member of the human race species, other labels dealing with race, gender, sexual orientation, etc can be as useful as far as people go too. Ever since mankind discovered that some berries are poisonous and some berries tasty freaking awesome, we have liked putting things into groupings, sub categories, adding labels and definitions to things. Makes comprehending them way easier. Helps with self identity. Nothing really inherently wrong with that, just people also tend to naturally disagree with each other about everything, especially defining what certain labels mean categorically. Sexual orientation can be especially rife with confusion. Much like the backstory of any character created in the nineties. So Shatterstar? He kisses guys and is in a relationship with Rictor, he must be gay then right? Eh, maybe, from what I have read there is a lot of ambiguity there. Shatterstar is still trying to find his footing in this arena and has expressed interest and curiosity in woman as well as men. He still might be able to be considered asexual. He might be pansexual, he might be bisexual. It can get pretty complex depending on how accurate or thorough you want to be, he might be a very curious heterosexual, he might just be Shatterstar. Just because labels exist doesn't mean they always need be applied - or can even be applied cleanly or neatly. After all this is a guy is a inter dimensional warrior artificially created in the future of an alternate dimension. Based on his current writers (Peter David) views towards writing the character  

"It is his (Shatterstar) first relationship, it’s his first major emotional relationship but my attitude and the way I’m approaching the character is that it’s his first relationship but it’s coming as a result of certain feelings being unleashed within him that he did not know were there before.

To a certain degree, finding the full measure and attraction of human relationships, to go with the cliche, it’s almost like he’s a kid in the candy store. He’s got this relationship going with Rictor and he’s fulfilled and isn’t it great and – but, boy, there’s a lot of people out there and there’s a lot of different ways that relationships can be approached. Now he’s suddenly finding himself going from zero to sixty in a very short period of time. Even though he has tremendous feelings for Rictor, because of everything that’s been stirred within him, to me it seemed natural for him by the same token to say ‘What else is out there?’ as well.

His attitude could very well be, “Rictor, there’s so much out there, explore it with me.” Which will have Rictor going “But I’ve done that, I’ve explored other relationships. I want to explore this one with you.” So you’ve got two different guys who are in two different places in their lives"  

Also his portrayal in the comics as well and various interactions the character has had with other characters throughout X-Factor would probably lead one to say he probably isn't strictly homosexual, although of course in a close homosexual relationship with a homosexual man (Rictor) if you really insisted on applying a label, pansexual, or asexual might be the best bets. 
He isn't gay enough though? Isn't straight enough? Isn't asexual enough, isn't Communist enough, isn't Duran Duran enough, isn't man enough, isn't effeminate enough, isn't hairy enough, isn't tall enough, isn't liberal enough, isn't pro sword enough, and most certainly but not least, isn't Warrior like Gladiator, Badass enough? 
Ooh your going to get letters of complaints now you realize? Well that's always the problem with labels. Definitions again, people tend to disagree and or have different understandings of what terms, titles, labels mean. Lets not forget generalizations that invariably get tagged on for both reasonable and unreasonable reasons. Like tall people? Tall people tend to be harder to jump over than short people. Men? Facial hair tends to be more prominent than female facial hair. Feminists tend to castrate men and bath in blood. Europeans tend to eat babies. Black people tend to be, robots. Gay people tend to be wimpy. I'll let you decide which examples are reasonable or not. This can work in reverse as well and applying labels to generalized actions, attitudes so on. Hence why Shatterstar kissing a guy to some automatically makes him gay. That's not so bad though really. I can see how that happens, plus he might be. Try seeing a guy kiss another and concluding he must be wimpy, soft, effeminate so on. Not that there aren't any guys who kiss others that aren't wimpy, soft, effeminate and so on. Just one would hope those qualities aren't inherent, nor mutually exclusive to guys who kiss other guys. Wimpiness, softness, effeminate are for everyone!! Woohoo.  
X-Factor # 220
Fiction adds a new context. Since how people identify with characters and enjoy reading about characters that share attributes and characteristics that reflect them. Generally, and specifically. Or they just like to recognize what they understand? Can add and detract to the story for them, subjectively. People like, expect and can appreciate accuracy as they perceive it ah but there is the crux. Perceptions with people tend to vary quiet diversely. How this is relevant to Shatterstar, is bizarrely much criticism has been aimed at his "sudden, decade long switch to kissing guys"  means they have changed this badass warrior character to a guy kissing guy... right... despite that probably being the most prominent feature of the character as written by PAD, literally how badass he is and warrior like (plenty of depth though, some humor and great interactions with any members of his team) so thankfully the GAAAAY did not force Shatterstar to hand in his warrior badass card, certificate, license and rubber wristband. 

So what are you really trying to say.... 

Eh basically that Shatterstar started off asexual which actually means strictly speaking he can still kiss and date people, Rob Liefeld co created Shatterstar with Fabian Nicieza, Liefeld wrote Shatterstar for a dozen issues, Nicieza for 40, Nicieza is okay with Shatterstar developing emotionally/sexually. Liefeld is very very against PAD's X-Factor Shatterstar developments (but he has gay friends) and Shatterstar and Rictor were going to be put into a relationship like over a decade ago and there are very strong hints in canon alluding to this. Shatterstar is probably more bisexual/pansexual than gay and and... all this is kind of silly really? You should go read X-Factor its great! Don't worry, PAD didn't suddenly decide to turn a long standing heterosexual gay gay gay gay gay because he is a liberal, cheap comic writer who wants to corrupt your grand children and disrespect the continuity or the canon.   
"ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED" - Maximus Decimus Meridius/Shatterstar.

The Anonymous Blue Troll Who Tried To Be Objective

I think their is a certain confidence, necessity, arrogance, liberation, honesty, and humility in being okay with being ones self. Or at least as honest as possible as one can be with ones self. Today with so much going on, so much choice, so much knowledge, resources, information its pretty easy to lie or pretend, or deceive or hide not just from other people, but ones self. Thats okay to some degree though, its called coping. In fact often its nothing conscious. We live in a digital age, we live in a world that loves to move really fast and hang on, I just need to send a tweet to let people know I am writing a blog about sending a tweet. Oh right, how meta, but anyway, we have more outlets to express ourselves and to wider audiences. So it goes both ways. As easy as it is to blend in, or disguise oneself, its as easy to stand out or stick out. Not that there is actually anything about either, just that generally people try to do both about as much as the other or maybe a bit of both, usually we try to stick out with things we are good at, and usually we prefer the safety in numbers or comfort of anonymity when it comes to things we might be able to improve on. Innocent stuff really. The interesting part tends to come with reward, recognition, punishment, acknowledgment, success and failure. Perceptions play a part as well, and where there is perception there is potential for honesty and accuracy, or deception and falsehood.   

Senator Larry Craig overcompensation didn't fool anyone.  
So back to square one, I think their is a certain confidence, necessity, arrogance, liberation, honesty and humility in being okay with being ones self. Necessity in that, you are yourself, and change will happen, and so you can change yourself, but your still going to be yourself unless... your captured by the Hand and turned are into a Japanese Assassin, but even then, your still yourself, and we all know that body modification, plastic surgery are lucrative industries, and just the other week I saw a thread about a man who altered his look so he appeared as identical to Superman as an Asian man could. Mainly we aren't as defined by our looks and its a lot deeper than that (or at least thats what people who feel or think they ugly like to hope, for people that find advantage if emphasis is there a reasonably high factor then maybe the superficial isn't so superficial. The idea here is that if your not okay with being yourself like can be harder and so its in your best interest, your mind and body will fight to make you okay with the reality if being you, its almost a necessity to a degree. Its not like you can sign onto some fictional world and pretend to be... oh wait. 
Arrogance in the implication that if your okay with being you that you might be better than others who aren't you? Possibly if one is being honest with ones self there should be things about ourselves we might want to change? Either realistically? Fitter, smarter, more knowledgeable, more graceful, lighter hair, a tan, washboard abs, clearer skin? Unrealistic things as well, taller, immortal, class 100 strength, healing factors, black sclera and red pupils. Basically things that others have that we don't? So if someone is okay with being themselves... well, doesn't that say something about them? Instead of someone famous? Or rich? Or attractive? Or powerful, or important? Maybe, or maybe not. Might not apply at all.  
Confidence? Well a bit of above, maybe being okay with ones self, you identify and acknowledge your differences with others and your similarities and if your different/alike and you like that your different/alike and your okay with that and can accept it, well, well you can be confident. Or if you don't like that different/alike you can try and change that. Hopefully... its actually something you can change though, like knowledge or your hair color, and not something like your height (which actually can be changed in this day and age... its just extremely painful and, one would have to wonder why?) So anyway its like a happy acceptance of the honesty of ones self. Humility in that, possibly being so honest with yourself, it actually means acknowledging that possibly, potentially, now and then, actually you might sort of wish you could be different, even in a really superficial manner let alone deeper ways.  
Choice Of Three 
Forgetting all that, what if you woke up tomorrow and could be anyone in the world? With a thought? Or not even anyone specifically, what about just a taller or shorter version of yourself? A female or male version? Older? Younger? More muscular? Leaner? Chubbier, cuter, hotter? More chiseled features? Softer features, green eyes, blue eyes, orange or brown? Longer legs, broader shoulders, rounder butt, larger eyes, more feminine lips, wider chest, softer feet. Thin delicate hands. Tan, paleness, perfect symmetry? Eh your limit is your imagination? All these things you could change at a whims notice? Wouldn't you be a tiny bit curious? Maybe your are perfectly content with who you are, but maybe if your a small european girl you might be curious to see how people would treat you if you were the same size, build and look of someone like Bob Sapp? Tall redheaded guy? Maybe might want to be a medium sized asian teenager? Just for a while. What if your black, living in a place thats racist towards black people? Could be interesting to see first hand how some people might treat you if you were white? Reverse scenario, what if your white and scrawny and love hip hop and curious to see if you could get instant street cred if you were African American and bigger and stronger? Stick figured girl? To being voluptuous? Tall and lanky? Trying to be short and sweet? What if you wanted the prestige and respect that comes from looking old and rich? Did I mention that not only can you change your physical look, but you can change your clothes in a moment as well? As well as your voice.  
What if you changed how you looked and other people started treating you better? All types of people, generally, specifically, employees, government, police, opposite gender, same gender, people you liked or were attracted to, people that scared or intimidated, family, friends, enemies. Would it still be so easy to be you? If being someone else could make you richer, more successful, more desirable, more accomplished. Of course those are advantages in a way, short cuts possibly that could be granted with hard work and effort?  
All of the Above People Are The Same Person 
Its funny talking about all of this, since online everyone starts off almost as a default as anonymous. You actually get a more than a modicum of control over how you present yourself, not just that but how you just to approach and interact with other people. You almost get to be a digital Mystique. You get to control how to filter yourselves if you choose to, or emphasis or downplay aspects about yourself. You have avatars, backgrounds, you can change, status updates, and people aren't really expecting anything more. Oh, and if your really keen, you can make alt accounts. In fact you don't have to actually put up avatars or backgrounds either. I know many posters who are suspicious of accounts that have the default avatars. Some I know make a reasonable argument that anyone without a selected avatar, background and profile and under 100 posts? Trolls. Eh, interesting argument, but there is definitely truth that with anonymity you can have certain powers and liberties. All this reminds me of lesbian spies, as I am sure it reminds you. My favorite movie about lesbian spies is D.E.B.S. Recommended this to a good friend a few weeks back. It wasn't an especially good movie, but it wasn't an especially bad movie either. I really liked the Lucy Diamond character played by Jordana Brewster. Really funny and endearing, but also pretty badass (I know that term is overused but still) Oh and for a movie about lesbian spies in school girl outfits it was pretty non gratuitous. Now I have been accused of being a lesbian online in the last twelves months more times than I can count but I don't think that gives me any sort of credibility in saying this movie seemed to have a more sincere lesbian relationship than all the other lesbian spy movies I watch. Wait uhm... but the main character in this movie, she had the distinguished honour of having the highest score possible on this special spy test. Oops spoiler alert. Of course no one ever really explains to her how she managed to get the perfect score on the spy test, she wasn't even aware she had taken one. Later on a theme is explored that the main character, she was considered the perfect spy, because she had an amazing ability to deceive people. So great was her ability to deceive people *cue dramatic music* that she was even deceiving who she was as a person (like liking guys as well) and with the help of Lucy Diamond she realized that she actually was a lesbian. Or maybe it was just Lucy Diamond was so hot she turned the other girl into a lesbian? Wait, maybe I am only saying that because I am a lesbian? Except I am not. Then and I am not sure if he was the first to say something along these lines, but Richard Feynman once said "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." oh thats right, Edward Bulwer Lytton I believe said "The easiest person to deceive is one's own self.” 
Hey you know who else is a spy? Whilst not strictly lesbian either but bisexual as well? Mystique. Self deception has also played a part in that characters development, particularly in her 2003 series by Brian K. Vaughan in fact a character in that series even paraphrases the above quotes in relation to Mystique and how although she can deceive almost anyone in the world with her powers, the person she has always deceived most is herself. You can make some pretty interesting points about Mystique and the ever increasing online interactions people have with each other, and of course Mystique is the ultimate troll. In Dark X-Men mini she started impersonating Jean Grey essentially because that would piss off the X-Men if they were to hear Jean had been spotted alive only to find out she wasn't. Or in simple terms, she trolled the X-Men. She trolled a South African racist cab driver who thought she was a petite white women, by turning into a Luke Cage look a like when his back was turned. So she's a spy, and a very good spy, but she loves reactions and she can be very vindictive and cruel. She can also use anonymity or at least the perception of it to be those things.     
The power of anonymous? Oh wait, not that Anonymous, the internet hacking group. Though I guess in one way they are covering topics brought up. Control, cyberspace, authority, deception, security, liberation, freedom, anonymity, espionage, control of info, data, social interaction, individuality. Just again, its a tool utilized many, for many a purpose. Mystique can do this in person with her power. Online you can achieve this, not only by having to work hard to hide yourself, but almost its your default. In fact you almost have to build yourself up before you even actually start to resemble a person or stand out. In this sense you can actually make yourself a tad bit potentially vulnerable. Not just that but its very wisely recommended that you don't actually put too much of your info online, that can be exploited. Personal details and information, anyway, unsecured. Good advice for multiple reasons. Still, as far as which is more liberating? Getting to be as true as you can to yourself and others (even if online) aka Mystique as her natural blue skinned redheaded self, or as an anonymous that can blend in anyway and look and be anyone with whatever backstory you want, at a moments notice (hard to do in real life) aka Mystique using her shape shifting powers, personally I am not sure.  
I think trolling can be complex. I think there are some clever trolls, in that trolling can work like sarcasm? Sarcasm done right can reveal and mock hypocrisy sometimes the best way to cut deep into a politician for example is with sarcastic humour because many are aware that they (politicians) are putting on a show for the voting public and that means you have to be aware that very simple and lazy people are watching them and many smart and intelligent people are also watching them and so they are trying to appeal to a lot of very different people and sometimes that can undermine a persons principles and values.   
So trolls can hide under the virtue of being anonymous and or not caring. Online? Even a named avatar that is used with consistency can do certain things? With the knowledge that there aren't any real repercussions, they can be blunt and honest with opinions, and or they can look for attention and reaction. Just because its online and they have the safety of real life. So we can return to our initial questions in a different light. Questions like in real life and online if you can be anyone, at all, who and why would someone want to be themselves? I think maybe its not that unreasonable that many may wish to be a bit taller or shorter, or prettier, or have more muscles, or appear smarter, or appear more popular or appear more creative, or attempt to use and control information to appear more anything, etc - Mystique can do this in real life, but as the sayings go your self is always easiest person to fool, so who do you deceive more, yourself or other people? Why also does Mystique always return to her true blue self? Ultimately doesn't everyone have to choose and confront similar notions? Confidence? Is she just being strong or values her true self as opposed to her anonymous troll lifestyle? Bare in mind she is well over a century old, she can know that a fake life could be better, for her, especially given all the people she could look like. Except Mystique invariably returns to her blue skin - she chooses cold and harsh reality over falseness? Not many people might be able to accurately know what it must feel and think like to be her?   
Just as all colors disappear in black, so all names and forms disappear in her 
Then again, lets not forget, Mystique is not a hero. Something she insists herself often, and she is a character that has done one of the most shocking, if not down right disturbing actions of a fictional character in the treatment of her son Nightcrawler when he was just a baby. Horrific act. Not sure anyone can justify that, but I do like to look for explanations (bearing in mind she is fictional and so are her actions)  
Oh, and of course somewhere in there I try to see how a writer could explain her actions. How could any mother do something so terrible to their own child (I mean their are even biologically reasons why she shouldn't) then, I also consider, I think people can underestimate how powerful, and dangerous Mystiques power can be, not just to others, but to herself. Especially in the context of how old she is and how the world has changed. Think of a simple scenario during World War 2. A location in Germany, Mystique is there out in the open and within a space of a minute she could either look like a small Jewish women, a tall blonde German man, or a blue skinned Austrian mutant?  We know from history, just based on her look, the very different treatment she would have based on that. The type of treatment that can make a person, very, very angry, very, very jaded, and very, very cynical.   
Bear in mind she could have seen the best of humanity supposedly as well? She can look like kings, countries leaders, movie stars, presidents and fashion models. People tend to treat those people pretty nicely. Its not even really that Mystique needs the money or power, (Again, Mystique's body morphing includes clothing and can be certain items too) since its all about the perception of the money and power. At least it is for a lot of people, therein lying the point? I mean, if you only get to see certain positive things by being a certain look? You realize this and know it first hand, and see it first hand, humanities bias first hand? Like a small innocent example, what if Mystique was a small girl and the local Candy Store owner decided to give her a free lolli pop because she looked sad? Isn't that a kind thing to experience and know? What if she was a boy instead and the store owner shooed him away? Two different experiences, same person? Applies in lots of ways, in one of the images in this blog Mystique is shown morphing from a women in a red dress to a large muscular man.   

 Easy there fella
As a women in a dress she got shoved aside from a military man just casually walking by, she was targeting him, but he spited her hence her turning into a big muscular guy because although she could have beaten him up as Mystique, she wanted him and the group he was with to fear what she was about to do with them, to be intimidated and scared and the fastest way to do that was for to realize they were physically outmatched. As opposed to just us the reader realizing that Mystique as her natural feminine self physically outmatches them anyway via training, skill, speed, her mutant powers, so on, but of course a few scenes later, she is back to her red dress and long legs, and black hair and helping the man she just finished beating up and now that she is nursing him, he suddenly starts treating her a bit nicer but only because now he wants to do something else with and to her. (Mystique needed access to his hide out) So Mystique invoked three very different reactions from one person. First he physically bullied her, then he was physically bullied by her, then he wanted to have sex with her. Ranging from respect to disrespect, ranging from perceptions of domination (towards her) physically and sexually to being dominated (by her) physically and then there are Mystiques perceptions and understanding as well? Like her wanting to realize they were about to be beat up, she could have beat them up as the hot seductress women in a red dress - but she wanted them to see the large, muscular man, because to her, that is what they would fear, that raw physical visual... she can be a pretty vindictive character.     

Same Performance Enhancing Candy Michael Vicks uses, pretty good stuff. 
Another sort of interesting plot of her story was when someone she was close to and knew her fairly well (relatively speaking) Forge, there was this powerful poignant moment between Forge and Mystique where in the midst of a verbal battle, he was able to refute her claims about hoe she was proud of who she was, by simply holding up a small handheld mirror and noting that she turned away. They were lovers once, he might be one of the few characters that knows her well, and in all his time of knowing her, he discerned that she shied away from seeing her own reflection. Mystique was not okay with being her true self? Why could she only look at her reflection under the guise of someone else, someone not real, and not her own real and true reflection? 
Goro's Blue Phase 
It doesn't help painting her in a sympathetic light, that Mystique hates humans, and is very bigoted in this sense. She isn't exactly ignorant, or unintelligent, but she probably has reached her level of knowledge though sheer old age, and a persons personality traits and attitudes tend to be set by quite an early age, especially if they close their mind to more learning. Education system was very different 50 years ago let alone over 100 years ago. Human perceptions, social issues and sciences, all different, in those different time periods, her youth and modern setting, as a youth she might have just wished to indulge in baser human desires thus shaping her perspectives very early on, sort of developing a confirmation bias with later experiences? Humans are sort of like that anyway? Racists will have a few experiences that will make them racist and from then on, anything that will support their racism, like a black person killing a local white cop, to the racist will obviously be an example that supports why he is right? Except a week later a story about a black man saving children from a fire, gets automatically downplayed or even outright ignored, or met with suspicion. This happened a few time in her book, when a human was willing to die to save a mutant and Mystique treated them with cynicism and skepticism. Then again she did risk her live at many various points to save not just defenseless mutant children, but a few million humans too. Then again she also killed a few mutants and contemplated killing a mutant boy as an act of mercy. Not his fault she reasoned, just that he would be better of dead? Her actions be complex and viewed as hypocrisy but to her it all makes sense. Maybe to someone like her, her age, her power, her experiences it would make sense. Maybe her actions towards her own son were both sincerely that of self preservation but also of sincere mercy? He did look like a demon, even more demonic than Mystique and she has been called and treated as one time to time. Its very easy to even draw parallels between her and the Goddess Kali. In fact artists often do with various artworks and there seem to be many design elements crossed over. 
By the end of her 24 issue run Mystique had developed as a character and found some resolution and growth. In the narrative sense. I don't want to spoil to much since it was a really cool series but not only was Mystique more than content with just being herself in the end, but she could also look at herself in the mirror. I am sure there is a certain allure, and appeal, and feeling of liberation of being able to pretend to be anyone you want to be, to hide as anonymous, and an invulnerability with sharing your sincere opinions without repercussions, but I can't imagine it feels better, more liberating, more life affirming than just getting to be yourself and getting to have your own voice and opinions attributed to yourself. Even if your blue skinned, or just online sharing random thoughts and ideas and putting a bit of yourself in each one. Thank you to anyone bored enough to read all this and all the cool people around this site who like to put themselves out there with their opinions and ideas. Oh and ones that help me think about comics in interesting ways.  
True Blue 

In Defense of Diversity

Hello, do you know what critical thinking is? In a way it is sort of like arguing with yourself? The important part is to not do this aloud in a crowded room ~ unless your really good at running away - from people in white coats carrying tranquilizer guns. Whenever I see a blog, or a thread, about that has the word diversity in the title, that involves comics, or movies, or really, well anything really... I can predict at least five replies within the thread ~ those in favor - those against =  those that are more neutral. I am sure I am not the only one who feels this way. In extreme cases, when people get frustrated, we discover that people who do not want diversity, are racist, sexist bigots. Those that want diversity, only want it for diversity sake, and to be PC. 
Oh, which brings me to the man ~ Or the straw man. Or the straw man argument. Which I think no doubt, is the best way for a lazy person, who thinks that the point of arguments, is to win. Them, the straw men. Do you know of the straw man argument? Its when you take a persons argument, then distort it, so that is an extremely oversimplified and dumbed down version of their argument with some superficial similarities. Which is sort of the argument that leads to above by the way? People who do not want diversity = racist, sexist bigots. Those that want diversity = only want it for diversity sake, they do not care about the story. I mean, when those are perceived as the arguments right? Its so easy to feel extra smart in refuting them, because they are such poor arguments.   
Deadly Claws of The Super Natural Straw Man
Next time I read a comic, I really do need there to be a sentient male, lesbian cloud from Saturn, that is Jamaican that also knows French and has a unibrow... otherwise... I am going to be intolerant of diversity (or lack of). Never mind the fact that diversity at its core is just ~ actually ~ difference. So even a book with only two Madrox clones talking to each other, is going to organically and naturally have diversity inherently. Just, relatively, not as much depending on how your measuring, which is sort of up to you, as say maybe ten Madrox clones... and Monet, and Strong Guy, and Siryn, and Shatterstar, and Rictor. As much. The line - - - - does not actually stop there. You can always make something more and more different. Diversity isn't just gender, race, or sexual orientation. Its a character being taller than another. Its a character wearing a black cape next to a character wearing a red cape. Its a character who is happy next to a character who is depressed, next to a character wearing a pancake as a mask, with little tiny cut out holes in the pancake, where the eyes are, so he does not walk into walls.  To dislike diversity, is to dislike Batman, and any other character that is not Superman. At least as far as superheroes...  
This next one is a bit easier? Do you know what preference is? Discretion? Opinion? Those things aren't the same, but they are similar. Do people really, really want to but the best quality story when it comes to comics? How do you know, unless you buy every single issue released? How do you know which will be the best issue? All do you really want the best story that week, if the best story as decided by a bunch of people.. lets say 100? Is the same story that is about a character you hate, in a setting you hate, by a writer you hate, and an artist you hate? I suppose some people - are so loyal to the story that they might buy that book, - if a 100 people concluded it was the best book that week and no other people of a large amount disagreed? Has that ever happened though? Maybe... a persons preference and discretion could maybe be a factor? Possibly, maybe, I think and wonder? Like, I would prefer a good X-Men story, over a great story starring... Dane Cook... it helps that there is no false dilemma situation present. You have a lot of choice. You tend to learn to trust you like certain stories with certain characters a bit more, merely because those certain characters are those characters and not characters you have learned you simple, do not, like, as, much. The same applies for writers, and artists, and publishers, but... there are, differences between personal preferences and objective truths.  
Personally? I think diversity in argument threads about diversity gets a bad rep. Is it PC, that a person might prefer Batman, because he is tonally darker than Superman? A person might personal value grittier stories? Maybe because the way Batman is presented to him, and is interpreted to him, suggest to him, and his wallet, that he would rather read a good Batman story, rather than a great Superman story. Similarly, depending on a person, is it PC, that they prefer characters for ways that appeal to them, personally? So maybe we should quickly look at what might be a bad example of diversity being for a politically correct reason?  
Like, I wish to tell the poignant and dramatic story, of one white guy, who has a black friend, and both of them get trapped in a small town, that is filled with only racist Ku Klux Klan members? So I build this delicate, and complex, grounded story, that is about friendship, and self sacrifice and danger and racism, and risk, and... more themes. There might be two non white characters within the story? Its a realistic story though, grounded in reality. No aliens, or millionaires who know every martial arts style ever including the secret ones, taught by dogs, billions of years from now. Problem? My movie producer, lets pretend its Tom Cruise? Tom thinks, that there is not enough black people, Asian people, lesbians or Martians in my story (well I think somewhere my story turned into a movie script) and so, the uhm... Vice, President of the KKK, and the Accountant of the KKK in the small town my story is set in... well my movie can not be made or funded, unless those two KKK characters are black? Also one must be a lesbian. That way, the movie's quota of black characters will go from two? To four? Lesbians will go from zero, to one? The reason why? Well see, that. That is diversity, for diversity sake? Its definitely diversity that is implemented in a way, that actually, directly affects the story... unless its meant to be ironic... or a comedy... unless this small town was filled with blind people... or the black characters who were in the KKK were allowed in for some reason... but now, things are just getting a bit too convoluted. How will were believe the danger that is in store for our two non KKK protagonists one white, and one black, in a small town filled with racists, if the head or one of the heads of that same racist organizations is visibly blacker than the character they are threatening to harm for being black?   
My argument to that would be that any person who is wanting to add more racial, specifically add more diversity as far as black people, in the above story for the sake of adding more black people, the idea of the story be damned, I am not sure that is an argument actually promoting diversity... the story already has diversity. What the above PC example actually illustrates is stupidity. In the same way, a person who would argue, that Galactus? Does not actually ~ need ~ to be a transvestite, half Australian, half Samoan, dwarf with a speech impediment does not mean that that person is anti diversity. Nor do they want a story where a person, who is exactly the same as them, clones himself 100 times, and talks to himself with one word, over and over again, for #100 issues, a fairly limited diversity story, environment so on... that sort of anti diversity, attempted to be enforced on to other readers ~ thats not so much a real argument either. Which brings us full circle I think...? If when we consider diversity? True diversity, bearing in my personal preferences? Like power levels and diversity there? Some people care, some people don't, some people have the right to care if a character is a girl, a certain ethnicity, power level, genre type? Tech level? Maturity... add in critical thinking? Are you actually looking for the right answer? Or the right answer for you? Do you really want the best story? Or do you want the story you like best? Then if someone disagrees with you... are they wrong? Or do they merely have a different preference? Do they have a good reason to have a difference in opinion to you? Aside from them obviously just being a racist, sexist, homophobe, or... just wishing for diversity? Merely for diversity sake? Or, is it possible,just possible, that there reasons for their preferences, both subjective and personal, and objective in terms of how they think such stories affect the short term and long term success of the industry... is it possible their reasons are as considered as yours?   
I want a female Wolverine and a male X-23 plz 
I have been talking to myself this whole time mind you. I don't think there is a right side when it comes to diversity in comics. Its already going to be in each issue no matter what, because diversity will always be there in real life. Its just a matter of degrees and extent. I am the type of reader, who does not read comics to read about myself, so in a basic, general way, you could say that I am maybe pro diversity? I like Rogue, because I do not really know many sassy, southern belle's with white streaks who can absorb powers, but I'd hate if there were more than one of her... then I like Thor, and then Wonder Woman, and then Silver Surfer, and then Gambit, and then Elektra, and then Big Barda, and then Blue Marvel, and then Shatterstar, and then Monet, and I can like new characters as well. I don't like those characters because they are, or aren't diverse. They are a mixture of a bunch of different qualities the are more complex than just a few similarities or differences. When it comes to stories rooted in realism? I prefer diversity to represent this? I would maybe not like a five year old powerless child to defeat a powered immortal that can throw buildings around, without good reason... thats fantasy to me, like Schism... I can like fantasy stories though... I like when a skilled writer balances realism and fantasy... but my preference is that there is a good balance. Five year old powerless child should only be able to in a story, lift what they roughly can in real life... see, realism? Preference. Still a fictional character. So back to my personal preferences? Diversity, I am a fan. On the more literal level as well as society's more typical focused tendency to associate diversity with race, gender etc  
As far as how I feel about diversity when it comes to the bigger picture? Health of the comic book industry? Well I think things need to improve, however that is a more complicated topic and the people in white coats have spotted me and so...

SC's Sketch Catastrophes

Once upon a time, in a place where oranges and green apples were like gold and silver and Gold and Silver were the names of two pirates conjoined at the hip, sort of technically making them only one Pirate - as far as legalities go, there was a little boy who was lonely and sad. All the boys and girls and teachers at school teased him, and his parents would laugh and throw hammers at his feet and elbows. Even the mail man use to sneak into his window late at night and then punch him in the face. This little boy had a good heart though and an optimistic perspective and outlook. He decided he would buy some pencils and draw all sorts of weird and cool, and pretty art for all the people he liked. He would change the world with his art, he would try to make the world a better place. At least he might have. I tripped him up, stomped on his foot and hand breaking both, and then stole his box of pencils. With those stolen pencils I randomly stabbed pieces of paper hoping to cure my lazy boredom. The following is the consequences of that boredom (and act of violence)  RIP random kid whose box of pencils I stole. Sunset, Dragon, Snow, Flower.  

Wonder Woman
This is probably the best color (colour) piece of artwork I have. Done. Ever. Like all the pictures I draw this was done for someone (someone pretty amazing and cool) I am a pretty big fan of Wonder Woman as well so I had more than a few reasons to try and make this one not absolutely horrible. I don't think it looks as much like Diana as I would have liked. I think I did the eyebrows wrong. i guess thats my fault for using characters from Gossip Girl as reference lol - more seriously I sort of just wanted a strong, confident, calm looking Wonder Woman looking down at us the view, sort of like a serene protector cradling the world in her hands type theme. Powerful without being aggressive? Strong without being violent? Still, I think maybe I made her look too calm. Maybe needs more of an aggressive smile. Anyway - background is unfinished, but didn't want to overcomplicated the picture. Was thinking of adding some marble angels or gods or etc etc  This is an original piece (though I did not design this cool variation outfit of Wonder Woman's)  
Oh, coloured in a computer digital art software called GIMP - no really, I am not making that up - its free and its like a free cheap poor man's version of Photoshop. I recommend it though if you like free stuff. 
Okay, well above aren't original drawings - they are characters from Final Fantasy game series - I really just drew them from game booklets. lol So not much to talk about creative process wise. I take ages to draw as well, oh and naturally both of above are for a friend - coincidentally one that loves both above characters. Both characters (Rikku and Vanille) are pretty tough despite their stature, super fiery and feisty, warm, loyal, funny, intelligent, creative etc etc etc OR did I just describe the person I drew them for? Who knows... also by the way, I don't personally recommend learning from drawing from magazines, Google images etc  unless you balance that with learning from observation and anatomy books. Way cooler, and better to foster your own unique style.  
This one is for one of, if not my best friend, and probably the best pencil sketch I have done. Ever. I prefer working with pencils. I love 4B and 6B pencils. I use the tip of an eraser to shade, blend, smudge because I don't have the skill or patience to shade the proper way lol - and yah, even though I am a huge Exiles - Nocturne and Nightcrawler fan, I ended up screwing up how many fingers she has. (only should have two fingers and one thumb) but man, how do you like.. even use a computer with only four fingers? Maybe somethings man was never meant to know. Anyway, was hard finding a good reference of Talia's tan/brown uniform she wore, so I sort of complied, added a few variations of the one she had. Also way out of my comfort zone drawing a character with no clear visible pupils. Ugh, anyway, the fun in drawing superhero characters yes? All sorts of interesting challenges. Cool character for a cool and amazing person. 
Okay, anyway, I wanted to create/make an art thread - mainly because I have lots of drawings I have done and will invariably do for many here at CV - and all of it will probably be put here, and most of it is going to be much worse than above to be honest lol - uhm, thank you for randomly finding your way here?!?! 
The following few smaller thumbnails are of assorted random pieces, sketches, doodles. Not all of it is original - rule of thumb, if it looks good I probably copied it from a cover or panel lol - below X-23 pic is by Mike Choi originally, Girl With a Dragon Tattoo - that is the cover of shockingly The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo book. Oh, and that Emma was for a CV Emma contest and... Nightwing was for a dear friends Birthday and... Serafina was for a good friend as well. (is unfinished currently) 
Oh, and lastly but not least, thank you to Tonis, Roxanne, M.S Feather, Hawkeye, Mr Unknown, Cosmo, theGoldenOne, Dark Huntress, Purps, Rogue Marie, Typing Kira, THB, Lykopis, RT, and any and all (if I didn't mention you it was because I didn't want to embarrass you with association with me lol) who have been nice and complimentary, supportive and encouraging towards me/any paper I defiled with my attempts at art, even if it was just a nice/kind word. Very appreciated

Just Another Random Halloween Blog

My country doesn't really celebrate Halloween like I know other countries do. I mean, we still have parties and some kids get to dress up and we get horror movies on TV, probably, but there isn't really much effort, most costumes are a bit cheap, but still, its all very innocent and fun. Hope every here at CV has a Happy Halloween or you know whatever if Halloween isn't your thing. *smile*  
Oh and this might be a bit long, so feel free to TL:DR but to anyone else free free to question, or dispute or add what you wish. 
I was randomly thinking of Richard Feynman, the Wodaabe, Red Hood and Outlaws, and Racism whilst talking to someone the other day, and then I realized it wasn't so random, I was really just talking about fear, ignorance and the unknown, or basically scary things and why are they scary? Or even more basically I was talking about Halloween. So to unravel the why and how, well, first do you know who Richard Feynman? I was lucky enough to read about him in my school years, utterly fascinating person. In this day and age, its far too early for anyone to pass on at the age of 69. Larger than life, ultra intelligent, colorful personality. This is how he was described by many of his scientific peers. (he was a very well respected and accomplished scientist in the field physics, among other things) oh, and see, I feel out of place in this strange planet and odd time, but having the ability to find so readily accessible videos on You Tube about characters like Richard Feynman? Just one opportunity I am consciously aware wasn't possible for almost every single generation of human that have lived before me. Its fun reading about Shakespeare, imagine getting to see him talk about his own work and views about love, life, death and religion on camera? I got to do that with Richard Feynman, and I think if your ever bored of reading comics, and you have some spare time to waste, and you don't already know who Richard Feynman is, you'd have a wonderful time learning. So, I know his contributions to science and physics, and more, and are in awe and respect of what he accomplished in his life. He was like Reed Richard's smart, with the charisma of Gambit and Tony Stark with the humility of Nightcrawler (at least that is how he comes of to me) but all that being said about his work/theory in quantum mechanics, quantum electrodynamics, nanotechnology, its all very impressive to me now, now that I have had a few years to wrap my head around those things, but actually how he impacted on my life personally, was with how he spoke about the world and the reasons he does things... and he was extremely accessible. I was young and ignorant (and still am) so I wouldn't have been able to appreciate his actual life's work as a scientist, not yet, to me he was more of a teacher.   

"I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something"

Now and then I get to speak to and listen to people from CV candidly about things I like (which I love doing) and I still like to reference and talk to them about Richard Feynman, among thousands and thousands of other things, and if the person I am talking to doesn't know who Richard Feynman is, I like to talk to them, about how I think his interviews and videos of him actually might be the real legacy he leaves behind, in spite of his massive contributions to his field of science, just because in his interviews and video interviews he talks about how you view and interact with the world? The nature of beauty, and fear, and ignorance and... the pursuit of education and knowledge is a beautiful thing, but sometimes other people are just looking for ways to just live, and cope, and survive. The wonder of path integral formulation or more accurately why you would want to know of such wonders, maybe isn't as immediate as knowing what you should be doing. Or potentially even what you should have for dinner that night? I hate using quotes of people, but I really should just to save time "I can live with doubt, and uncertainty, and not knowing. I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong" and "We absolutely must leave room for doubt or there is no progress and no learning. There is no learning without having to pose a question. And a question requires doubt. People search for certainty. But there is no certainty. People are terrified — how can you live and not know? It is not odd at all. You only think you know, as a matter of fact. And most of your actions are based on incomplete knowledge and you really don't know what it is all about, or what the purpose of the world is, or know a great deal of other things. It is possible to live and not know" particularly stood out for me.  
I mean, he was an advocate for truth, and knowledge and he was fully aware that really, for the most part we are all a bit ignorant, of something or the other, ignorance, in one context, its okay. Its an okay place to launch pursuits of knowledge but embracing ignorance, willful ignorance, or the comfort and bliss by claiming to be right, or to know, things that aren't true, or know, or can't be shown to others to actually be true save for the relaxed standards some people apply within their own conscious? Its something that often, amuses me, and not with any maliciousness or negativity, but a lot of fans of comics (fans of comics are usually people?), I tend to see, sort of display a fear of not knowing, and state with a type of certainty I know to be inaccurate well just things I find well again amusing. Maybe fear of not knowing is too harsh, many just do it for fun. Being certain that a fictional character can do this and that when the joke is that given how many writers of comics out there piss of fans, how can you really be certain that Red Hulk won't beat Galactus when some writers don't care about what you consider to know for certain about characters... that are fiction and at the discretion and mercy of the writers. There are preferences in comics, and consistency like it does in science, has a huge role in comics, but consistency in comics and consistency is science are two, very, very, very, different things. So much so I can often almost tell when occasional heated discussions arise in threads which poster is more likely to be or have some background and passion for science and who just is really stubborn and doesn't like to "lose" arguments... oh wait, "debates" but still, I think its a common enough situation in any context? This pursuit of being right? It seems sometimes that the point or premise of some threads is about being "right" and not being "wrong", and thats fair, I understand, we all sort of understand, and I mean, how we apply our own morals... such ways of thinking about right and wrong are necessary... but morals are complex. So personally, I try my best to stay away from right and wrong, at least everywhere else, its too easy, I find, think, a lot of things I just don't have the answer for, in such sparse detail, even little things like who should win in a fight between Hulk, and Superman, let alone more important things, like life, death, love, friendship, work, what to dress up for, for Halloween. I can contemplate who could win, who might win, who should win, based on a bunch of different factors, that would ultimately mean, both should win, or neither should, or one should one time, and the next time the other, or a whole host of different answers because that is more accurate and more truthful than any simple assertion that XYZ character should win against ABC character, as some sort of fact without flaw, despite its context.  
I mean, when I'm dead? Kids, teenagers and err.. many adults will still be arguing who should win in a fight between Hulk and Superman, and I'll have to concede that maybe, unfortunately, as much as I would love to know all the answers about life, death, love, friendship, and Lost, before I die, I probably won't. That doesn't mean, I won't stop looking for as much answers as I can, up till then. Feynman was one of the most vehement modern day searchers of truth and knowledge. Accuracy and truth are wonderful and beautiful ideals. Realness? Not the comfort of fooling yourself with answers that aren't real, but just pretending they are because ignorance is bliss? There are benefits in not deceiving yourself, then the hard part comes with actually acquiring the truth, knowledge and 'right' answers? Thats how I feel anyway. Feynman mind you, is just one name on the list of many thousands of people I appreciate and who have impacted my life, and some of those people include people at CV. So don't get the idea that I am the Vice President of the Richard Feynman. I just needed to establish a context for what comes next.  
If my general theme for Richard Feynman was discussion of ignorance, for the Wodaabe it might be fear? Do you know much about the Wodaabe? A group, sub group of the Fula ethnicity found in Western, Central, and North Africa, typically the Fula are a minority where they are in each country in aforementioned broader areas. Their name roughly translates to mean "people of the taboo" pretty interesting no? Typically for whatever reasons there are I do not really tend to get unsettled? I mean, I can't really think of things that I fear or get scared of normally? Is that a weird or silly thing to say, I mean, I can think of things eventually if I try, but isn't most fear really down to ignorance? I am aware of some common fears, and friends fears, like a friend once told me how they were afraid of heights. So I tried to wonder whether I could be afraid of heights too? I mean, I believed I could empathize and I just wanted to relate to them better. Still, the fear of heights I kept sort of thinking was wrapped up in falling? Falling being bad, because when you fall, you can get hurt? Hence fearing heights, it makes a lot of sense, plus you know, babies and toddlers fall over so much, I always wonder if the people afraid of heights were either especially graceful or always had people to hold their hand so they didn't fall? Still, if you knew you wouldn't get hurt if you fell, would you still fear heights? Flying is a pretty popular wish? When you can fly, falling doesn't seem as big as a concern? Extra durability might help as well? Healing? Then instead of fearing or worrying about falling you can appreciate the view... and usually the best views are higher up, of course if you don't have flying powers, super durability or healing... so back to ignorance again? Small distance to fall, minimal hurt? Not so much fear? Higher up, better view, bigger distance to fall, more potential pain, in falling? More anxiety. Its a trade off though of sorts. If you know the risk of falling is worth the heights you attain... if you fall, maybe you might think it was worth it, for what you were aiming? Unless... you fall further than you thought you might? 
Oops, anyway, back to the Wodaabe, I can say that the first time I saw a video of them, where they were actually in movement (Yaake dance) I was actually unsettled... conventional fears and horror themes never really scared me. Sharks aren't scary, monsters are rarely monsters, I can't buy the concept of evil, the scariest clown is still Ronald because of all the money he makes and greed. Freddy and Jason etc were all disturbed but sort of victims (not that that ever excuses anything, just that at one stage they were redeemable) all those things can be deconstructed but the first time I saw members of the Wodaabe, it was my own ignorance that made me feel distressed seeing their eyes and teeth bared, snarling, odd, weird movements they made? Did not help I saw them in a clip accompanied with music by Salem, and combined with other aggressive imagery. So barring the fear I have contemplating the people I care about being hurt out of the last ten years, probably the most crept out I have been was by the male dancers of the Wodaabe. Again, mainly my own ignorance, and true of overcoming many fears... education and knowledge will usually set you free from fear, discomfort, even in this case a bit of xenophobia. So again, I ask, do you know of the Wodaabe? They are actually pretty fascinating culture/society. Unlike many western cultures where its the females that adorn themselves in make up, jewelry to stand out and attract a mate, here its the males that do that, actually as far as how gender differences compare here to say America some pretty interesting general differences. They are considered to be sexually liberated peoples. To us, many of their customs might appear alien like, still. There is a whole dance centered around males, dressing up and dancing to attract a female. This involves a few complicated things, but from what I remember, appearing tall, baring teeth and widening eyes as much as possible, are all considered really attractive. So the dance that I though was about aggression, violence, pain, injury, convulsions and spasms... eh, as it turns out, its all about love, seduction and romance? Actually quite... fascinating and beautiful really? Evidently I no longer feel unsettled seeing Wodaabe dancing. Was really my own ignorance. Except usually things to do with xenophobia, racism and sexism as well? Usually ignorance. 
Oh and what has been discussed to death? Red Hood and Outlaws? I am dressing up as a dead horse though this year (no not really) but its been... interesting actually. If there is one thing I personally observed about all the controversy surrounding the tissues... sorry, issues, with this book, its a reconfirmation that people absolutely suck, at listening to each other and communicating their ideas. I suck at communicating my ideas by the way, I'm alright at being patient and listening though. So nothing really about sexism, or objectification. Just the humor in seeing people totally miss the point other people try and make. This works in all ways going back and forth. This is not a false dichotomy. I always feel people assume that when someone says that people miss the point, they think? Oh, well they are just talking about my side, or my opinion, they are attacking me, personally? Except thats more about cynicism maybe, or defensiveness, or an assumption, or it might just be ignorance. Since there aren't sides, just similarities and differences? When you have a bunch of people saying that they didn't mind the sexual or adult content in one comic, but they did in another... and then a group of people respond to that by thinking its about sexual and adult content being criticized... thats a fundamental break down in communication and plain miscommunication. Its akin to saying that people shouldn't complain about domestic abuse because boxing is a sport? Its an argument of ignorance. Maybe fear as well, do you think? I thought some fans maybe felt defensive with having to defend the book or aspects about the book almost as if they had to justify why they personally liked or brought the book, in spite of criticism, maybe they felt people were judging them, and they needed it to be fact, that people criticizing the issue, were wrong. I feel its especially important to tell the fans who did enjoy that comic, its NOT, actually about them? Its not actually about me, not liking it as well, or liking it, since you know, you can like things and dislike them, its about how specific you get. The context.   
Picture Perfect Hair Flip
We have our preferences sure, we have our opinions sure, but then we have our arguments and points and reasoning for all aforementioned things. Subjectivity versus objectivity. Opinions and random thoughts though... always thought, one interesting defense of Starfire's depiction, was this idea she was an alien, and so Earths cultures and customs and attitudes were foreign to her? She is more sexually liberal, and see that's pretty interesting. I nod at such writers ideas as wanting to explore such facets of the character... one poster defending the issue actually got into quite a lot of specifics about race and perception... unfortunately personally I actually enjoyed their free blog more than the professional issue I paid more than five dollars with despite the fact their blog had no art from one of my favorite artists. Irony yes? One thing though, on Tamaran? Do they get Baywatch... because Starfire's hair flip wasn't alien, it was straight out of American TV/Movies and done expertly as well, and with girls prancing around in bikini's with the camera... focused on their assets that coincide with dah dah daaah. Your average males sexual preferences? What happened to her whole being alien and... lets look at the Wodaabe again? Its Earth, sexually liberal attitudes, for its women especially... yet far, more alien and different than this supposed alien with different attitude? Thats a different culture and perspective right there. Where were the close ups of Starfire's teeth? Yeah.. I am not implying yet whether this makes her depiction negative or positive yet. We are just observing the matter objectively right now. (with sardonic overtones *smile*) but having a reasonable knowledge of many of Earths sexual customs, cultures and attitudes (and some ignorance too) its pretty hard to buy the idea that Starfire's depiction is like totally interesting, fascinating and deep because she's like alien and her attitude and liberal perspective is so alien and wow, she grew on a different planet, so she is "different" "shocking LOL" to quote the writer defending his writings... what different? Yeah you don't need to head out into space, just go to Africa and like other places around the Earth. Potentially maybe... the Wodaabe aren't as sexually attractive to most American teenage males as Starfire maybe...? Oh wait but, I forget, many defending it, say its not about sex "shocking LOL" she is like totally an alien from a different planet and culture and my Earth attitudes about sex are just maybe too uptight for this sexually liberated Tamaranean "shocking LOL" and actually you know what? its not about the sex. Its about the context. One persons exploitation is another persons empowerment, but so, again, if you liked the book, its okay, but thats not an argument for why other people should like it, the same way, I read indie comic books that half the people at this site at least probably aren't even aware of. Otherwise ignorance.  
Oh, and that was amusing too? When Starfire suddenly became a real live breathing person with the ability to choose and have freedom and hopefully not judged? Lets go back to ignorance. Starfire is a fictional character. Its easy to address Strawman arguments of people who can't articulately express criticism and referring her character negatively. As easy in fact to think, maybe, just maybe, their criticism isn't actually directed at a piece of paper - but the creator who makes all those choices for a character, but I digress... sort of. Still, this type of ignorance about why criticism matters or questioning or doubting or expecting better actually being about an individuals feelings towards a comic? This day and age in comics? If you care about the comic industry? The question isn't what fans are okay with, and what fans are buying and enjoying books, its about what fans are not okay with, and why aren't more fans out there? Comics are dying. Its not about an individuals preferences or threshold or discretion with exploitation or empowerment. To think that it is for other people? Is a type of ignorance the same way a lot of other ignorance works. Understanding and knowing more doesn't mean your opinion has to change, it just means you understand and know more. Then, then this wonderful thing happens? You talk to people on the same level and you can actually sincerely address the points they make, because its never about who is right or wrong, its really more about accuracy and truth in accuracy. Medium dealing with creativity? Yeah, its no science. "Feynman wasn't being immodest, he was quite right. The true secret to genius is in creativity, not in technical mechanics" - Al Seckel.  
Still, just in case I have to really point it out, just in case someone doesn't quite understand... I am still not applying any negative or positive associations to Starfire's depiction. Just presenting some objective criticism to a reoccurring defense to some other criticism. Negative and positive viewpoints can come after, later. Once the ignorance is attempted to be lifted. Works both ways mind you and can be applied to anything you want. *smile* Hope everyone had/will have a fun Halloween. I'd also like to thank three amazing people from CV in particular for all the insightful and enlightening conversations I have had, that has allowed me to start talking about the late great Richard Feynman, realizing I was actually talking about the Wodaabe tribesman, realizing I was actually talking about comics, oh and Halloween (the Fear part). Totally organically and naturally because I am fascinated deeply about all those three things. 

Defending/Criticizing Gratuitous Nudity and Sexy Sex Blog #674332

First off let me establish one thing, this is a blog entirely about Starfire, Catwoman, Starling, Aquaman, and Voodoo.  (what do you mean there are already other threads covering that?) Let me establish another thing, whether you support or criticize the exploitation or empowerment of the former characters, your a hypocrite. The last thing I want to establish is that I am in no way being paid by DC Comics to help in their new form of marketing by having all comic websites threads dominated by talk of their comics though some sort of free publicity viral marketing. Oh, wait you want to go back to the hypocrite thing eh? Fair enough, let me justify. None of you actually care about gender issues, balance, exploitation, or empowerment, the adequate justification of sexual themes or acts or the gratuity of the former, really, because let me present the following to you. This forum. Only one thread in it. Given how blatant and exaggerated and gratuitous the nudity and sex present in this graphic novel its, there should be tons of people shouting at each other and telling each other they are wrong. There is not, even though this story is filled with images like this.    
 Female Nudity, Male Nudity, implied Cougar... Lion.. uhm 
That, is a nude comic book character. In the buff, absolutely nothing left to the imagination. Where are the arguments for this poor exploited/empowered characters? Oh, so you might make the excuse, but SC, those are lions, its okay that they are naked, but I mean, sorry, but thats racist. Lions are people too. I have not seen this much gratuitous exploitation since that filth Lion King (but you already know all the subliminal messages Disney put in that don't you?) Not convinced yet? Lions in nature are nude and so this is just "realism" apparently? Uhm, but the lions in the picture above are talking??!?!?!? Thats the official rule. Character talks, character needs pants, or has to talk in a Donald Duck voice. No exceptions. Otherwise its overly sexualized, gratuitous... just why? Hmmmn, you don't sound convinced? Okay, well let me try and demonstrate how these lion characters are actually more fleshed out and therefore because of their emotional and intellectual realism and resonance - class as the type of characters wear thereby their lack of clothing translates from naturally normal to obscene.   
Pride of Baghdad was a Graphic Novel released in 2006, its brought to us by Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon, if you haven't realized it yet, *smile* the protagonists of this story are lions. Four lions, we have Zill, the default alpha male of the group,  Safa, the weathered, and wizened lioness, who is half blind, and maybe a tiny bit bitter in old age, Noor, a young mother lioness, who wishes for freedom, and her cub Ali. We get to know our protagonists pretty fast, they start out in a situation which is unusually dramatic already, and almost page after page we get new scenarios, new situations, new questions, which results in rapid character development and evolution, and sheds more light on our lions personalities. So for any of you still going under the, this is just an animal and not a human so its not nudity logic, I say rawr to you, rawr!   
Price of Honor? 
Honor and matters of morality? Strictly humanoid affairs? Not in this book, one of the more interesting moments is when Zill and Safa, after escaping from the Zoo that denied them their freedom, but are now starving and near death, come across the dead body of one of their Zoo Keepers and argue over the ethics of eating him. He is already dead, but Safa argues that they shouldn't eat the flesh of one of the humans that fed them and cared for them at the Zoo, and generally kept them alive whilst they were in captivity? Zill reasons they meat is meat, food is food, and they are hungry. Its a fairly deep moment. Whilst not strictly cannibalism, it strikes on many of the same philosophical themes and questions. These are lions sure, but they are treated as and portrayed as intelligent and articulate as any humans could be. One is even arguing the notion that is more honorable to respect the dead than to sate their hunger. The other defends their stance, because he is aware that not only is he starving, but so are the other characters. Funnily enough, this is not the first time, this topic of base hunger versus higher ideals conflict. The character of Noor, has an idealized notion of life beyond her caged environment at the beginning of the story. She wants freedom, she wants it for her and her child. She argues, negotiates, bargains and haggles with an antelope, pleas with an antelope, liberation from their prisons is within their grasp. She has a plan, and the keepers (humans) who are so weary around the lions, she knows lowers their guard around the antelope, so if only the antelope were to gore the humans, and retrieve the keys, and then the monkeys... Noor goes on to explain her plan to the weary antelope. The antelope is aware of the natural order of things though. It is engaging in discussion with its natural predator. The lion could sooner rip out its throat of not for the protection of the bars separating them. The antelope walks away from Noor who tries to appeal to its conscious and higher intellect. She gives her word, wouldn't it be worth the risk, for freedom? Noor eventually gains her freedom though other means, and with her pride, free of the prison of the iron bars she encounters the antelope again, on the outside, alone and vulnerable. This is our main characters first chance to hunt for their meal, but Noor dissuades her fellow lions. She has a point to make, and she wanted the antelope to know they could have both been freed sooner if only they had trusted her. She sacrifices filling her stomach to hold onto her own constructed ideals. Usually only humans are this pretentious, uhm, I mean, moral... but the lions here, they have honor and morality, and a code, (and they should have pants too) and it makes for a really captivating story (albeit a very gratuitous and sexy story)  
 Takes a skilled artist to get emotional range with Lion characters
Touching moments, human (humanoid) vulnerabilities and sentimentality, strictly a human/human like alien affair? Nyeh, why? Pride of Baghdad is full on interesting and well played moments exploring what it means to be a lion... a human, an intelligent creature. We see the optimism and youth of Noor, clash with the pessimism and experience of Safa. Safa who values and prefers the security and safety of the Zoo to the world outside. Zill, the alpha male but one who is yet to grow into that role. Zill who reminisces of the horizon and of the setting of the sun. Ali, who is just a cub, and ignorant on almost everything and so very vulnerable, in youth. Us the reader, we are put though a gauntlet of emotions witness to these characters anger, sadness, joy, fear, awe, jealousy, heartbreak, curiosity, regret, pain, and much, much more. Its hard not to get emotionally attached to these characters. Some could argue that even though they are lions, they exhibit more personality than several human/humanoid characters in comics who might seem to be solely defined by one or two personality characteristics... how does this effect the story? Positively I like to think... its so much easier to care about a character, any character when they have an actual personality, even if that personality is raw and under developed, and somewhat alien or different to us regular humans. Then they transcend being pretty art pictures and actually become characters worth reading about. By the way, for as long as my blog is, I don't actually really reveal any of the bigger secrets and mysteries of Pride of Baghdad, so if your sick of all the controversy going on with certain other books, why not try and pick up a book a few years old now, but with even more gratuitous nudity, and sex scenes, but with actual three dimensional characters and... well yes. *evil grin* (yes this entire blog is an advert for a book I like)

Modern Day Wonder Woman of History

One of my favorite concept pages here at Comic Vine is the Wonder Women of History page. Its a page dedicated to a back up feature from Golden Age Wonder Woman comics. The feature would basically give you a rough retelling of the lives of influential and inspirational woman from the past, who stood out in someway that should be remembered and celebrated. (examples being Caroline Herschel, Annie Jump Cannon, and Nellie Bly) The reason I like this feature is because I am a fan of unsung heroes and a fan of people who practice humility, and self sacrifice, those who are driven to make things better for others, those who who aren't complacent, those who do not settle, those who inspire and seek truth. It was a really cool feature, it almost makes me wish the modern day Wonder Woman comics could have such a feature. Not necessarily just for woman now either. Wait, what am I talking about, no such feature will be reintroduced anyway. I just wanted to address a point though, because I liked this feature in old Wonder Woman comics, but inspirational and heroic people never stopped existing and many continue to break barriers and instigate change, I thought it might be nice to create a thread asking what modern day woman deserve a comic style back up feature? I'll admit I wish I was an expert in this area, but I am fairly ignorant. When I was younger, the books I had access to? Really only male figures (Henry Cavendish, Kurt Gödel) stood out to me. As in the books I read had more space devoted to them. So later I do plan on writing my own blog for them later. With that context in mind, I am creating this blog more in mind for modern day females who may be unsung and under recognized. If you wish, feel free to join in. You may use your own criteria, and feel free to browse the Comic Vine concept page for inspiration. Here are my own personal (read subjective) picks that I would like to see appear in comic form.  Do you have any?

Zainab Salbi    

Zainab Salbi
Born in Baghdad, Iraq, in 1970, Zainab is the co founder of Women for Women International. This organization is an advocating for women's rights. Its a very hands on approach, and their goal is help women, help woman, help woman achieve independence and self-sufficiency, by steering them to the right jobs, education. Women for Women distributed $9.3 million in aid to 30,000 women in 2005 alone. It is estimated to have helped assisted more than 243,000 women, and in ways those women in turn have been able to help others. As a child, due to who her father was, Salbi, witnessed and experienced psychological abuse under Saddam Hussein. Her first hand experience, motivating her to want the world to be a better place, particularly for women in war worldwide. She has a Bachelor's degree in Sociology and Women's Studies as well as a Master's degree in Development Studies. One simple exercise to illustrate how Salbi helps women help themselves is just take a bunch of them, in war stricken countries, the women who are isolated and just getting them to met each other and form connections. Many such woman have been raped and have lost children and husbands, and just let them know that they have futures and that they can have purpose. Her contributions have earned her several awards including Harper's Bazaar 21st Century Heroine (nominated by Bill Clinton) and the David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award. She is an author of two books - Between Two Worlds Escape from Tyranny: Growing up in the Shadow of Saddam, and The Other Side of War: Women's Stories of Survival and Hope.

Jodie Williams 

Born in Vermont, United States October 9, 1950, a teacher, outspoken peace activist, and aid worker, she is also a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, awarded to her in 1997. Educated at various schools though out her life, including the University of Vermont,  School for International Training and Johns Hopkins University, one of her first ventures into aid and charity work being the Nicaragua-Honduras Education Project. Later on she was appointed the deputy director of Medical Aid for El Salvador. Jody played a significant role in 1997's Ottawa Treaty/Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, an international treaty that involved ceasing the production and development of anti-personnel mines, among other things. She is a joint founder of the The Nobel Women's Initiative. Her co founders, also woman, and Nobel Prize  Laureates each represent North America and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and its goal is the support of woman's rights around the world as needed. Williams is also considered a pioneer in Mass collaboration Aid. Essentially meaning, that with today's technology, its even easier to get small groups of people connected to unite for a shared goal/project to help achieve said goal faster. In her words " Imagine trying to get hundreds of organizations – each one independent and working on many, many issues – to feel that each is a critical element of the development of a new movement. I wanted each to feel that what they had to say about campaign planning, thinking, programs, actions was important ." In 2004 she was listed as of the 100 most powerful women in thew world. Currently she is a distinguished professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work.  

Rachel Carson 

Rachel Carson
Born in Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S. in May 27, 1907, she was a scientist, ecologist, writer, environmentalist, and marine biologist. When her father passed away she 1935, supported and lived with her mother, and in order to do so well, she turned writing magazine science pieces, and even compiled those articles into a book, Under the Seawind, where she extolls the wonders of the sea. It spent 86 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list, and opened up the eyes of an entire generation. Her book Silent Spring, warning and discussing the risks and dangers of toxic chemicals and pesticides and herbicides caught the attention of John F. Kennedy, thus leading to the US Senate to launch investigations. This book also impacted on popular culture and general perceptions, helping to spark the environmental movement. It however created several enemies for her as well from large chemical corporations and companies. She passed away in April 14, 1964. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously, among many, many other honors. Her significant cultural influence and inspiration is broad as well, with many honors being named after her, such as Norway's  Rachel Carson Prize, awarded to women who excel/contribute in environmental protection. Society for Social Studies of Science, awards annually the Rachel Carson Book Prize for authors whose work is especially socially and politically relevant in the fields of science and technology. Two quotes attributed to her " The control of nature is a phrase conceived in arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology and philosophy, when it was supposed that nature exists for the convenience of man" and "One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, 'What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?'”

Audrey Hepburn

Born in Ixelles, Belgium on the 4 May 1929, noted and famous actress and fashion icon (American Film Institute 100 Years...100 Stars, lists her as the third greatest screen legend of American cinema) she was much much, more, and gave a lot more to mankind, with her humanitarian actions, and efforts and her philanthropy. She was a Goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for her work, among other honors. Both during and after a successful film, and fashion career she increasing gave more of her time, earnings and effort to aid, increase awareness and support in such places as the slums of Africa, South America and Asia. Naturally bright and well educated, small things like her fluency in Dutch,  French, Italian, Spanish, and German languages. Her first work for UNICEF began in the 1950s with humble radio and TV spots. By 1988 she participated in her first field mission, it was to an orphanage in Mek'ele, Ethiopia. She was devastated and heartbroken by what she witnessed. She is quoted as saying "The 'Third World' is a term I don't like very much, because we're all one world. I want people to know that the largest part of humanity is suffering" she participated in Operation Lifeline, and various other aid missions and tasks in places such as Vietnam, Sudan and Somalia.
I also sort of wanted to highlight and think would be cool to see Chloe Bruce (martial artist), Herta Müller, Lara Logan (news journalist), Arundhati Roy (writer), Lady Gaga (music aside, she is one person right now, that actually plays a huge role in making many youth/teenagers a bit more accepting of themselves) among others as well. Lots of interesting people who might be underrated, under appreciated really. Also I must and would like to say thank you to three CV posters in particular who also helped me with my blog/suggesting worthy, inspirational woman, rather fittingly all three CV people being pretty inspirational themselves. 

A Blog About Blogs

One thing that always amused me about Quests was the Blog that was required in Off Topic section that people had to do in order to complete a quest. Blog or thread, I forget, but the point was that I use to see a lot of blogs that seemed made just to gain that quest. Blogs just saying Sup (Sup), or asking who Spider-Man (Miles Morales) was or just saying Hi (Hello), or asking about whether you would do Aunt May (why not, she seems nice) and even less brief and or random threads. Not for me to judge though, like I said I was amused. Plus I have a tendency to ramble in other peoples blogs, maybe brief blogs are better than longwinded blogs *smile*  
Anyway, to me, the idea of having an avenue, any avenue to share one's own ideas, experiences, observations, opinions, just seems so... nice. Like 4000 years ago, if you wanted like 300 people to hear, or listen to your opinion, ideas and so on, you like needed to be a king or living god incarnate or like high priest or like a... talking dinosauror something... and then like paper was invented and so like, the way you could share and project your ideas and perspectives got a little bit easier and a bit more accessible for more people. Though like you know, still wasn't until the 19th century when paper really got easy. Uhm, so we have phones, and TV, and megaphones, oh and newspapers, radios, ugh, talkback radio, so on. Still, computers, internet? Powerful stuff. Now like anyone with access to a computer and internet can have a voice that 300 other people can hear. Minimum of 300 people. I mean, we can even tell this by looking at thread views. One time, I made an art thread and it reached like 50 thousand views. Not that like, all those clicks were people looking to read my opinion (and half were probably spam bots, and half of the rest was probably myself), but... am I the only one who considers a cave man or even just a random nobody from 100 years ago, having like 50 thousand (or uhm, 10 000) people to just hear them out? Inconceivable. Not only can we put out more info than ever, and have it reach more people, we can receive more info than ever. Right now, I have more access to information and knowledge than like 99% of all other people who have ever lived. Not just me... you too. So like, if you didn't have strong, varied, informed, weird, absurd, strange, opinions, ideas, perspectives, its pretty easy to get some... which leads me to blogging.   

Even Galactus Likes To Blog 
I don't blog much, I sort of really like the idea though, I consider the difference between a blog and a thread (creating a thread) is that a thread aims to be informative and news, and information. Blog, well its more egocentric, narcissistic bwhaha, well its more opinionated and you get to give more of your personality across. So I really like the idea that CV gives you an option to blog. I think one of my favorite things about CV is getting to read fellow users blogs. Some very interesting and seriously smart people let alone savvy and knowledgeable comic fans. Great way for a bored insomniac to pass the time. I do sort of always feel that people trying to complete that quest though, are sort of missing out though. Missing out on an opportunity that literally billions of people though out time have not had. I mean, Quests are great, sure, but why not take a random opportunity to give your opinions about your favorite character, or the Pacific Trash Vortex, or Jane Bunford, or like, the largest cool animal that ever lived in your country, (mines is probably the Haast's Eagle - 15 kg Eagle!?!?) Nazca Lines? Grahams's Number? So many random things for a person to blog about... if they wish... in the Off Topic Section as well as more on topic with comics? Oh stuff you think is underrated is great to blog about! Comic, band, movie, physical attack maneuver. Deconstructing stuff as well, critical thinking, stuff to do with tropes? S'all good. I just think more people should blog *nods* People have shed blood and... uhm tears to be heard, to have a voice, to share their ideas and opinions. I mean... the fact that so many can, sort of takes the shine off the idea, and the appeal lessened. Now that anyone can create a thread, blog, website, so on and have hundreds of people view their efforts, not so many people care as much. Its sort of like happiness, and money and a few other things. People don't want to be rich, they just want to be richer than the people around them. That's fair, but its all relative. That being said, none of the appeal is lost to me, so I think I might start blogging more. I have appreciated many of the various blogs from others I have read here at CV and now wish to give back. Oh, and I thought I should also post links to other peoples blogs I thought were especially cool/interesting. Oh this was a cool Blog - Super-Heroes, the Modern Myth: The Call to Adventureand this was nice, Apophenia MacGuffin this was nice, Natural Progression oh and Mr Unknown has a lot of cool blogs pitting characters against each other (not Battles threads) here is one. Clash of the Ladies oh and then, this one The Concept of Obsession as a Medical Diagnosis Part 1 and Defining Desperation Part 1fihiannlly, Mistaking Memory for Imagination Just some of my favorite, among many.  
Feel free to post/lists blogs from other Viners you felt were underrated. Two of the blogs I posted above were accidental silent blogs that never made their way to forums. Hence I felt they were very underrated. Plus sometimes blogs just fall behind other threads fast and get buried. Whatever etc. (that should take care of one quest...)

Clash of the Comics #33 War Machine vs. Tigra

James Rhodes has generally been portrayed as a close friend of Tony Stark's and military liaison between Stark industries and the military.  It was only a matter of time before he got a suit of armour.    
Greer Grant Nelson originally started off as the Cat, not Tigra. Volunteering for experimental procedures she came out of that with super powered physical and mental abilities. That wasn't enough though for a motivated women like Greer though and soon after in a ceremony performed by the Cat People (no affiliations with either Cat Steven's or Catpanexe), Greer was turned into the Tigra, a legendary human, cat hybrid warrior. Now with striped fur, razor claws, super senses, and uh.. a black bikini, Tigra was ready to take her place as one of Marvel's most popular and appreciated Heroes!  
Tammy: Mixing science with mystical power is interesting, though I like the evolution of rhodes from friend to hero (just like with Pepper)  I got with a tie here.   
SC: I give props to Tigra for being one of Marvel's first big characters. Not as iconic as maybe Jean or Sue, but still. Plus I really like Rhodey but I still feel like he is tied to Iron Man, which is okay, but yeah. Whole shadows thing. Tigra up one.  
Pretty much the same as Iron Man (super armour) but with a bit more fire power. 
Mystical and scientific in nature, Tigra is super strong, super fast, super durable, super agile, super catty, super stamina etc... her senses are very enhanced allowing for especially acute sight, smell, hearing. Her claws allow her to puncture steel. She is also a part time cop, which is badass and means she can fight and is pretty smart. Her tail can also trip up people, causing them to fall on their ears, eyes, noses etc, which is so painful... so you know... be careful. 
Beast mode... I mean Vehicle mode Activated!  
Tammy: I think War Machine would likely win, but it is hard to say as they have completly different powers.  
SC: I think Tigra can pull an upset win... I mean I have seen cats dodge.. machine... guns before and like... jump.. high.. and then.. uhm.. rip into... armored flying tanks... like.. okay War Machine wins. 
One of the few that acts as a conscious to Tony, though this has at times put them at odds with one another.   
Tigra has all the common personality traits of a hero, self sacrifice, discipline, strength, a sense of justice, and a willingness to apply it, due to her unique physiology, she can have an animalistic side that can assert itself over her more rationed human side, and that itself brings out a few more feral personality traits, such as aggressiveness, as well as amplify other traits such as fear, desire and affection. She is generally warm and friendly, smart stubborn and responsible as well.   
Now... is this Tigra without the Fur or War Machine without the Armor? Maybe we will never know...
Tammy:  I think Rhodes gets this one for acting as the straight man to all of tony's wild antics (well he is one of the straight men).
SC: Gah gur, hmmn, blah. Tie... my reasoning is... the color green...  okay well James is a good friend to Tony, I'll base it on that. 
Not so much of a costume, but just the armour.  Usually grey to the red/gold scheme of Iron Man.  
A black bikini! It has these little ornamental tooth decorations... least I hope they are ornamental... she is of course also covered in distinctive and stunning light orange fur, striped, similarly to that of a Tiger (Bengal?) her hair is a bit darker and a bit more fiery. 
Grey Armor 
Tammy: I like the costume as skin concept more than the armour as costume concept, so I will go with tigra here as well.   
SC: Tough. Both sort of defy traditional concepts of clothes. I am a big fan of technological armor suits though, slightly more than Tigers... so if only Greer had a robotic Tigra themed power suit. War machine. 

Usually regarded as more level headed and more restircted by military protocol.  He is nonetheless one of the powerhouse characters in the Marvel Universe when he has the armour on.   
Tigra is a furry. I mean uhm, oh pretty typical staple of comic books, anthropomorphic animal inspired characters, and Greer is definitely one of the best and more famous. These characters tend to struggle with balancing their human ideals with their animal instincts. You wouldn't want to put all of them in a room together though... because you know... they'll transform into VOLTRON!   
Tammy:  I have to go with neither here, both of their names completely lack in originality but other than that they are pretty siolid B list characters.   
SC: This is tough too. Both actually are similar in that they both follow a certain tradition and character type, neither are huge characters, both both have a lot of fans and some nice moments... I'll go with Tigra. I feel she earns it more. 
Best Story:  
My superior intellect yet laid back charm (and grace) has allowed me to discern that issues 169 - 170 of the original Iron Man comic, are among the War Machines best stories, issues 280 - 291 are highlights naturally and contender for his best story, and War Machine's Dark Reign stories also do well to capture the nature and appeal of Rhodes, even as far as to pit War Machine versus War God. O' Canada, our home and native land! Something else Canadian and something smart and wise and enlightening (possibly about fashion) 
Oh... hmm, tough, there have been a few. I am very fond of one Avengers story arc, where Tigra, alone, is responsible for saving the world, after several powerful heroes fail, from Molecule Man when his powers were near his most powerful. Her strategy? She tripped him with her tail... (I kid) She actually just used her brain and reasoned with him. Brilliant. Her 2002 mini which is about love lost, the empty black hole that lingers after, and righting wrongs and fighting corruption, challenges not just Tigra but Greer's human side as well when she goes undercover is a pretty interesting tale that has its moments. Recent stories in Avengers: The Initiative and Avengers Academy have also been highlights, and especially touching for Tigra fans, itching for revenge and resolution after a certain writer wrote a jarring scene in which Tigra was beat viciously. Tigra got her justice in aforementioned story arcs. 
I probably should have posted this in costume section 
Tammy: The Tigra story (stories) sounds better 
SC: Tigra! Both have great stories though. (you sounded a bit odd there for a moment Razzatazz, accurate as far as the truth, but odd... ;) 
Fun Fact:   
During Time Wars he traveled back in time to stop Nazis from getting stolen future technology   
Erm, one time Greer went so feral, that she was shrunk down to a more conventional pet size, kept in a cage and eventually escaped and lived... as a wild animal around the suburbs... Comics Kids! Or Cat People.  
Tigra fans, beware Bendis (as pictured here sneaking into Greer's bathroom) 
Tammy: Neither of those are really fun, but Rhodes pulling a Jesse Owens I guess deserves the win here.
SC: Stopping Nazi's I like a lot more than the idea of Hank Pym keeping Tigra as a pet. *concerned look* So Rhody. 

Media Appearances:   
In most animated Iron Man series.  The character was in the original Iron Man film and the second film gave an alternate explanation of how he got the armour. 
I like to think,  that whenever you look at a tiger, you sort of experience seeing Tigra in a different medium ... well... not really but I would rather say that, than mention Avengers United They Stand. *cough* since they foolishly shied away from using Olivia Wilde for Catwoman, I'd be some game for her to be Tigra in an Avengers movie or sequel make it happen Marvel!!    
Terran... Don.. Terranc... Do.. War Machine everybody!  
Tammy: Olivia Wilde would be good, but you suggest her for every role ... I will go with Rhodes for being more visible (even though they switched actors for no real reason) 

SC: War Machine. I liked him in both movies! I hope he is in the third as well!!!! (oh hey... no I don't cast Olivia as... oh... yeah I guess I sort of do...)

Present Whereabouts:   
He is acting as Iron Man and is also a member of the Secret Avengers.  
A prominent teacher/tutor at the Avengers Academy institute, Greer is ready to help, prepare and usher in a new generation of heroes. She also has her own little one (William, after Greer's late husband) to care for.   
Tammy: Tigra, I like the mentor role she is playing in Avengers Academy. 
SC: Rhodes! His current solo is really fun! He is also appearing in Secret Avengers, and Iron Man, he is quite a few places, its a great time to be a War Machine fan.    
Tammy: 4 - 3 SC:  5 - 3 = War Machine wins 9 - 6 
I am a Machine. A... Dance Mach.. oops, I mean War. Machine.  
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