Fashion Friday :: beloved femme sea royal.

14 Jul


Michiru Kaiou is an inspiration to every femme Sapphic gal out there. Here I present a beachy/poolside classy combo in the spirit of her eternal beauty.


Which of course is centered on a gorgeous classy one-piece swimsuit. Edgy on the Eyes One-Piece Swimsuit in Lagoon, ModCloth.


Then into the clubhouse to slip into something cozy. Retro Glow Pin-up A-Line Dress in Dotted Teal, ModCloth.


A classy little cover. Collectif Lend Me Your Yesteryear Jacket, ModCloth.


While these aren’t heels, the strapping vaguely echoes her senshi shoes (which are super class). From Trip to Toe Vegan Flat in Navy, ModCloth.


This is aggressively coordinated Twenty-Twenty Visit Bag, ModCloth.

–your fangirl heroine.


Things in Print Thursday :: monthly big queer book review [DC Bombshells]

13 Jul

This is somewhat of a misnomer. I started reading DC Bombshells last year, after acquiring the first 12 issues in trades, but the third and fourth trades didn’t come out till this year. I am now through #24, and I know there’s m to come but it’s not out in trade yet. And you guys, as I began saying last week…

I flipping love Bombshells.

The whole series is an alternate history version of WWII populated by… every woman in the DC universe, basically. The whole thing is based on this series of fancy statues and art that they made, and then someone, I guess, was like “can we actually play with this AU? Okay? Good let’s go.” It’s also an alternate history of the DC universe: Kate Kane, still a heiress and still the Batwoman, in fact saved the Waynes from the attempted robbery/murder. She’s a member of the women’s baseball league (see, bats – Bombshells Kate is also ridiculously quippy and occasionally makes comments like “I F&#(@* LOVE HOMONYMS”) who moonlights as a vigilante while the mens are away at the war, but then she’s recruited to the Bombshells – Amanda Waller’s all-female resistance fighter group working to help the Allies fight Nazis. And she’s with Maggie. Romantic styles.

This is enough to be awesome by itself. Check: one leading lesbian Jewish protagonist who will beat home the point that she’s fighting against people who discriminate against her own or anyone else. In a big ol’ lesbian relationship (and having previously been in one with Renee).

I’ll skim over the others, but the brilliance of Bombshells is largely twofold: it’s made international and it’s incredibly gay.

  • Maggie Sawyer herself is a police officer in Gotham, and she kicks ass. She also ends up kind of playing the housemother to the Batgirls (more on them in a bit). She misses her girlfriend (and there are plenty of panels of them being girlfriends – it’s beautiful) but she does what she does and she does it well.Amanda Waller masterminds the Bombshells. She’s pretty awesome.
  • Diana is still pretty much just Diana, doing her Themiscyran princess/Wonder Woman bit – just, this time it’s WWII instead of WWI. Steve Trevor is still there, and spends most of his time healing psychologically which is interesting… but Diana has previously had at least one explicit female paramour.
  • That’s Mera, aka Aquawoman, who is an exiled princess from Atlantis (this is eventually explained, and it’s very much the kind of royal family saga that you usually find about noble mystical princes) and learning important lessons and discovering herself and what it means to be a hero. But also she and Diana have kissed and been close and they flirt constantly.
  • Supergirl, who here is known in the human world as Kara Starikov, has all her usual powers and origin story but here she was adopted by a family in Russia. She’s grown up alongside her adoptive mother’s biological daughter…
  • That’s Kortni Duginovna, alias Stargirl. She wields a cosmic staff designed by her scientist father, wants nothing more than to save the world and be as super as her powered sister, and despite my never having even heard of her before reading Bombshells she touched my damn heart. Sister stuff, you guys!
  • Big Barda Free and Kimiyo Hoshi, alias Doctor Light, are other characters I’d never met before. They’re not in much of what’s been read, but they’re Bombshells and also they kiss.
  • Zatanna Zatara, half-Jewish and half-Roma, starts the story in Berlin as a captured plaything of Joker’s Daughter, who’s very much a mystical Nazi. This doesn’t sit well with her, and she fights back. John Constantine helps, when he’s not a bunny. She, of course, eventually finds the others and they all work together because this is a big pile of everyone working together and it’s beautiful.
  • Joker’s Daughter – whose actual connection to the actual Joker is as of #24 still somewhat unexplained, but whatever – is, as mentioned, a mystical Nazi. She is not a good person. She is probably the objectively worst female character, at least thus far, and she’s terrifying.
  • Harley Quinn, meanwhile, is a cheerful bisexual Jewish American psychiatrist working in London – until she sort of snaps and goes hunting for Mistah J, who she was previously entangled with. But on the way she encounters…
  • Pamela Ysley, a French smuggler of exotic goods and also a poisoner and genius botanist/etc. They flirt and fall in love, and at least as of #24 Harley has pretty well told the Joker(‘s spiritual essence, or something) to bugger off.
  • Selina Digatti is an Italian countess who starts out in Berlin. This aside, she’s pretty standard Catwoman, all potential double-crossing and flirting and kissing and sex eyes. She’s great.
  • Helena, aka Huntress, is a German swing kid. She and her buddies fight Nazis vigilante-style with weaponized instruments and snappy music. She also gets close, in a very familial way, with Kate.
  • The Batgirls are a bunch of plucky Gotham gals defending the city with vigilante justice in the style of Batwoman while Batwoman is away at war. Originally it was just Bette, her cousin, appointed with this task, but she wasn’t the only one with the idea (or the DIY skills, apparently) and by #24 their ranks also include: Alysia Yeoh, Harper and Cullen Row (there are boy Batgirls, yes), Kathy Duquesne, Felicity Smoak, Nell Little, and Tim Drake. Big diverse gay group of optimistic youths fighting crime. They also tangle with Harvey Dent, but that’s headed into spoilers.
  • Paula Von Gunther, Baroness, is also a Nazi. And evil. And in a probably-gay definitely-unhealthy relationship with the eventual Cheetah, but y’know.
  • Renee Montoya was raised in the Dominican Republic and then sent to Spain for university to avoid political turmoil in her homeland. There, she struck up a relationship with Kate, and they fought together in the Spanish Civil War – more painful backstory here, guys. She’s now a freedom fighter, alias the Question.
  • Rachel Roth aka Raven is pretty much a walking spoiler. But she’s here!
  • Killer Frost is German and also a Nazi. And for some reason boinking the Penguin? Shrug. Her outfit is very silly. She’s wearing an alpine sweater and an icicle hat.
  • Eloisa “Lois” Lane is from Metropolis but winds up in Gotham. She’s mixed, half-Cuban, and she’s the very definition of pluck. She’s headed off on adventures as of her last pre-#24 appearance, so I’m excited to see what’s up with that.
  • Miriam Batzel is a German-Jewish girl who, through the magic of how freaking awesome Jewish women are, becomes (DC’s) Ms. Marvel. She’s also basically adopted by Kate (even though she has her own family too).
  • Andrea Gruenwald does science and hates Nazis and Nazi sympathizers. Maybe she takes some dangerous courses of action to stop them, but oh well.
  • Mari McCabe is the queen of Zambesi. Alias Vixen, she can harness animal energy and powers. Also she beat Germans in the Olympics and stole Hitler’s dog and is very gay with…
  • Shiera, alias Hawkgirl (aided by Zambesi’s technology), a Mexican native who stumbled into the country and Mari’s lap pretty simultaneously. She hates using magic as an excuse, because SCIENCE!
  • Barbara Ann Minerva, who becomes Cheetah, is not a great person either. But she’s definitely present.
  • I’ve only met Barbara Gourdon, aka the Belle of the Bog, in a story of Harley’s so far. But what I’ve heard is coming is pretty wild. This is why she’s not in the Batgirl bunch.

There are a few boys here and there too, but really, the girls are why Bombshells is worth reading. I know more will appear in post-#24 issues, and I’m excited to meet all of them, but I’m also just so thrilled with all of the ones that are already populating the pages. The art is great – pin-up without being sleazy – and guys, there are so many queer women. Past or present there are textually nine different Sapphic relationships. Not all of them are healthy, but most of them are and they’re incredible.

There are so many meta jokes tossed in, ones you won’t expect; swings are taken at both general fascism and, shall we say, more current political awfulness. There are random discussions of important things thrown in the middle of stories (a favorite is when Alysia explains gender identity – hers, but also just in general – for a page between Batgirl fights) and diversity (I mean, it’s not perfect – but it’s clear that they were trying to improve on standard canon) and… you guys you just… need to discover this for yourselves. Marguerite Bennett is perfection.

–your fangirl heroine.


Spoiler Alert Sunday :: our thoughts on Spider-Man: Homecoming

9 Jul

I myself do not have particularly deep feelings about Spider-Man. I have enjoyed or not enjoyed the previous films to about the degree that most people have. I, on the other hand, have EVERY feeling about Spider-Man because watching the first Sam Raimi movie in high school was my gateway into superhero stuff (unless you count The Incredibles and I don’t since it’s not a comic book property). I’ve seen at least a little bit of pretty much every Spider-Man adaptation, including a really bad animated one that aired on MTV and had Neil Patrick Harris as the voice of Spidey. Yes, this is real. Anyway, my favorite adaptations up to this point were the Ultimate Spider-Man comics and a semi-obscure 2009 animated series called Spectacular Spider-Man. Both of these were attempts to modernize the story and incorporate various elements that weren’t present in the original comics: Ultimate has him working as a web designer (haha yes I know) for the Daily Bugle and he and Mary Jane Watson are high school BFFs, and Spectacular keeps the classic photography job but includes Gwen and Harry as his BFFs. I pretty much judge every adaptation against these two. Homecoming is, I’m happy to say, a very very good Spider-Man adaptation. It’s probably my third-favorite, and that’s mostly because it doesn’t really have Gwen or Mary Jane, who are my two favorite parts of the stories. But it’s still a damn good movie.

The problems with the previous Spider-Man movies is that they have largely not understood two basic, important points of Spider-Man: unlike Bruce Wayne/Batman and Clark Kent/Superman, Peter Parker and Spider-Man are not separate entities, and the strength of Spider-Man as a character comes from his relationships and interactions with the people around him.

The first two attempts at Spider-Man movies were both deeply flawed adaptations that miss critical parts of the story. The Raimi movies, at least the first two, have pretty good villains: they’re campy, sure, but the charm of Spider-Man is its inherent campiness. The Green Goblin and Doc Ock are given backstories, they’re played by good actors who are having a blast hamming it up, and, in the latter’s case, the film seems to sympathize with him at least to some degree. The problem with these movies is Spider-Man. Not only is Peter far too broody, but so is Spider-Man himself; I can’t recall him cracking a single joke, and the entire point of Spider-Man is that he makes stupid jokes in the middle of fights! It leans way too heavily on Peter’s angst about Uncle Ben and being a good person and forgets to make him funny. The Amazing duology started out pretty decent, with a Spider-Man who makes jokes and a Peter who, while a bit hipstery and smug, at least knew how to smile. The problem with that first movie is that the Lizard is a half-formed idea of a villain that doesn’t make any sense and his plan is total bullshit. (There is actually a short arc in the Spectacular animated series that uses the Lizard – it’s really well-done and makes way more sense, so I’m not saying that the Lizard as a character is inherently unadaptable.) The less said about Amazing 2, the better. The great thing about Homecoming is that it understands that a good Spider-Man story needs both a quippy, likeable Spider-Man and a bombastic villain. Tom Holland is charming and believable as a kid who’s pretty much in over his head, but who just wants to help people and use his powers to do awesome things. They added in a short montage of him doing dumb little heroic things like giving an old lady directions and stopping a bike thief, which is important because Spider-Man is supposed to be a hero for the little guy first and foremost. Michael Keaton as the Vulture is legitimately menacing and also chews the scenery all over the place. They’ve written this version of the character as a blue-collar worker who stumbles into alien technology after the Chitauri incident and, along with some of his colleagues, decides to use it to build himself some weapons to rob banks and commit other crimes. There’s also a spoiler about his character which I won’t mention, but it was a pretty good touch and I felt silly for not guessing it.

The previous movies also leaned far too heavily on his relationships with his love interests, to the detriment of his relationships with Uncle Ben, Aunt May, or literally any other people. The first Amazing movie at least had the decency to give Gwen sort of a character arc, motivation, and a hero moment outside of Peter, but still, it was largely about Peter’s love life. In the best versions of the story, Peter has friends and loved ones. The conflict comes from his wanting to protect them from the villains who are trying to hurt him while still trying to show them how much he cares. This new movie gives him a best friend in Ned (Jacob Batalon), a fellow nerd who he builds the Death Star Lego set with and who is the first person to learn his secret. It also doesn’t forget that Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) is an essential part of Peter’s life, and while she’s not in a lot of scenes, she’s in enough to give the viewer a real sense of how much she and Peter love and support each other. Zendaya is also here as a girl who mostly exists on the fringes of the story, mostly to provide snarky commentary. She’s basically Marvel’s cop-out because her name is “Michelle” but at the end she says “my friends call me MJ.” I guess maybe they thought nobody in 2017 would be named Mary Jane? I expected to be a lot angrier about this than I actually am, and it’s probably because Zendaya is a scene stealer and I’m just happy to have her here at all.

There is a romance subplot in this story – they’ve borrowed one of Peter’s second string short-term girlfriends, Liz Allan (Laura Harrier), who is introduced as the ideal girl that nerdy Peter doesn’t have a chance with. I was worried about how they would handle this, especially after the Raimi movies where poor MJ is basically reduced to a pretty idea of a character and nothing else, but Liz is a character with her own personality and ambitions. Not only that, but she’s captain of the school’s academic decathlon team rather than being a cheerleader. She and Flash Thompson (Tony Revolori) are both members, which is a fun update to the classic story where Flash is the quarterback and Liz is his arm candy. But back to Liz; after her initial introduction, her screentime is meant to remind you that she is a person just like Peter is, and Peter’s feelings do not make her into some unattainable goddess. I doubt she’ll be back in the next movie, but I was satisfied with her treatment in this one.

This is not a perfect movie, however. The single greatest flaw in this movie is that Marvel apparently has some kind of Stark quota now, where Tony has to be in X amount of screentime in every movie that he can possibly be squeezed into. I have pretty well run out of patience with Tony Stark (and I am, particularly after our Fourth of July Captain America movie marathon, eager to see Tony destroyed elaborately – more on this in a second), and in this movie he is trying and failing to be a parental figure to a kid who is a thousand times kinder and better than he is. I still haven’t forgiven Tony for recruiting a fifteen-year-old child into a superhero battle where he had no business being. He did his best to rub it in in this movie, too, lecturing Peter on his behavior while conveniently side-stepping the point that if it wasn’t for him, none of the stuff with Vulture would have happened. He’s in something like twenty minutes of the movie, all told, but it’s twenty minutes too long. Because here’s the thing. The Sokovia Accords were bullshit. I have only seen Civil War a handful of times but every time I do I get even angrier about the Sokovia Accords (which seem increasingly more pointed and directed less at the problem and more at the convenient scapegoat of, as I said on Twitter during aforementioned Fourth of July rewatch, a magical [Roma-Jewish] refugee girl – but Kermit meme). But considering that Tony was the biggest advocate of the Accords, and that he literally endangered Peter’s life in their name, the fact remains that this movie could have been called Spider-Man Comes Home To Violate The Sokovia Accords. They’re bullshit, but the fact that Tony went out of his way to institute legislation insisting that all superheroes (not just the Avengers proper, all superheroes or even just enhanced people, as seen repeatedly in SHIELD) be monitored by a governing body and then said “but hey, kid, you just go be neighborhood Spider-Man, you do you” is also bullshit. I don’t want harm to befall Peter. Peter’s just trying his best. But Tony Stark plays favorites and only remembers things when it’s convenient; even when he’s mad at Peter he doesn’t so much as mention the Accords or the fact that not only is Spider-Man violating them but that by the end of this particular film he’s likely responsible for at least as much property damage, if not incidental civilian injury and loss of life, as (for example) Scarlet Witch in Lagos. (We didn’t hear about any of the loss of life, but – you guys. At one point Spider-Man is on an airplane that flew by and sliced the top off of the Coney Island Parachute Jump. That ride isn’t operational; it’s, according to Wikipedia, “250 feet (76 m) tall and weighing 170 tons (150 tonnes).” Based on approximations of when their Homecoming dance was [likely a Saturday evening in September] there’s literally no way that when the top came off of it didn’t fall on people, possibly at least twelve. I’m not blaming Peter for these people being injured or killed. But but Kermit meme.)

My other biggest complaint is that the AI in the suit that Tony gave Peter apparently didn’t have a name, which is ridiculous because Tony names everything, and then when Peter names it the name he picks is Karen. The problem with this is that there’s already a pretty prominent Karen in the MCU: Karen Page. Marvel has a real problem with repeating names anyway (James “Bucky” Barnes/James “Rhodey” Rhodes, Hope Van Dyne/Hope Shlottman/Hope Mackenzie, Peter Parker/Peter Quill/Pietro Maximoff, Robert Gonzales/Roberto “Robbie” Reyes, etc.) and this is just another piece of evidence that someone needs to get them a baby name book. Bucky and Rhodey can’t be changed at this point, but “Karen” isn’t even really a mythology gag. The only Karen in the Spider-mythos is from the 1999 animated series Spider-Man Unlimited, which is so obscure that even I hadn’t heard of it until yesterday, and if we wanted a mythology gag, why not “Gwen” or “Glory” or “Carlie” or even “Felicia”? Or his mother’s name, Mary? It’s just frustrating to see them reusing names that aren’t even particularly common ones.

Overall, though, this is the single best Spider-Man movie to date and a great addition to the MCU. I would say it’s one of the more joyful superhero movies that I’ve seen in the last few years. I’m very happy with it. And though my strongest feelings were overly elaborate rage-induced calculations based on how terrible Tony Stark is, I very much enjoyed it as well.

–your fangirl heroines.


Fashion Friday :: beloved androgynous sky royal.

7 Jul


Doing a Sailor Uranus look in the vague shape of her blazers+slacks school uniform!


A space motif! How could I resist. Stargazing Splendor Blazer in Constellations, ModCloth.


Nice and basic underneath. Keep Up the Kindness Sleeveless Top in White, ModCloth.


A bit croppier than I might otherwise go for, but the color is right. Delighted Foresight Pants in Curry, ModCloth.


I don’t think there are words for how much I love these or the fact that they come in a million colors. Study Buddies Oxford Flat in Navy, ModCloth.

–your fangirl heroine.


Things in Print Thursday :: monthly big queer book review [Batwoman]

6 Jul

I got ambitious for Pride month which is why I’m not posting anything till now when it’s already technically July. I blasted through issues 0-24 (collected in Hydrology, To Drown the World, World’s Finest, and This Blood is Thick) of J. H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman’s Batwoman run, plus caught up on DC Bombshells through its issue 24; I’m going to talk about the latter next week, all the issues, because I haven’t done that and it’s criminal because I adore DC Bombshells fiercely and not just because it’s the queerest comic series I’ve ever read.. This week I’m going to focus on just Batwoman, though.

A friend had me read Elegy years and years ago, sitting there on the Fourth of July waiting for fireworks to start in fact, and that was a headrush of a time. If I recall correctly, I was still very much a smol queer at the time (pretty sure that was the impetus for the friend lending Batwoman to me, even if it wasn’t phrased that way exclusively) and kind of getting a feel for Sapphic media consumption. (Consciously; this is laughable. If there was a woman who was any variety of not straight, I almost certainly “was” her.) I was also still new to superheroes; the MCU had kicked up in recent years, of course, which sent me into a tailspin of love for Black Widow especially, but I was a novice. I hadn’t really read any of the comics.

Batwoman seemed like a good place to start, though.

To this day, I have not actually read any DC properties that did not feature Batwoman; I just don’t have the energy. I’ve given enough of my energy to Marvel by now, for better-often-worse, and though I’m not picking up any of their titles at the moment because every single thing I was reading throughout the last two years has been cancelled [I have salt at the Marvel Comics people lately, but it’s the same salt everyone else has, more or less {#nickspencerishydra}] I have a lot more best girls in the universe. I really, really like a lot of the DC girls, as I’ll discuss when I get into Bombshells next week, but Kate Kane is so far my only best girl there.

As established in Elegy, which is a collection of the Detective Comics issues featuring the 21st century Batwoman, Kate Kane is kind of like Bruce Banner but better. They’re cousins, both Gotham-centric, they’re both from privileged socialite backgrounds, and they both have dead family in their backstory (Kate’s mom and twin sister). But Kate is also openly a lesbian (she was kicked out of military academy because of this) and a Jewish woman. And she’s just really, really cool.

The Batwoman series did run to issue 40, but I stopped at 24 because after that came a creative change which people say was a resounding disappointment (I’ll get to this in a minute). But 0-24 are dark and weirdly hopeful and good. As superhero stories go, they’re pretty straightforward and standard in their setup; Batwoman fights villains in Gotham, butts heads with the DEO, tangles with the police (including her girlfriend Maggie Sawyer, who does learn her identity), clashes with her father and erstwhile mentor, teams up with and then worries about her cousin Bette who is alias Flamebird, and so on and so on. It’s not so much the arcs that make this a notable comic as the little things, though.

For one: the Kate and Bette relationship just makes me really happy. Kate spends most of their time stressing out about Bette, worrying that she won’t be able to handle the vigilante life, and she’s not always the nicest to Bette, but they care about each other deeply and support each other and it’s just really nice when women support other women but especially in comics.

For another: World’s Finest features Batwoman teaming up with Wonder Woman to fight a particular villain. Superhero team-ups are pretty crucial to the mythology, but it still filled me with joy, especially since Batwoman is still rather a “fringe” superhero (especially to normals). They quipped and fought well together and generally were wonderful (and it felt much more real than certain DC cinematic meetings of late, sigh).

For the most: Kate and Maggie, Kate and Maggie. Kate and Maggie are beautiful. They have each other’s backs, they spend time together, they flirt and are cute and are sexy without being overly sexualized (well, as much as can be said of any comic with spandex involved). I think the most telling thing about their relationship is this: at one point Maggie gets hit with fear toxin, and it’s a traumatic and horrible thing and Kate feels responsible, so she then injects herself with the same fear toxin so she truly understands what Maggie went through. And then they snuggle all night. In issue #17 Kate proposes marriage to Maggie, and it’s wonderful, and they’re going to move in together, and then… DC told the writers they couldn’t let them get married. Apparently nobody in DC can get married because then the heroes would be too happy, or something. (I hear tell that Batman recently proposed to Catwoman, though, so…) That’s why they left the series, and why I stopped reading where I did. As far as I’m concerned they got cancelled because they were going to have happy lesbians, and Kate and Maggie are still very happy together, somewhere that isn’t there.

These issues don’t exist in a bubble. A lot of what had been established in Elegy and presumably other comics between them (that I haven’t read and fully intend to) does carry through, including emotional motivations and points of angst. But you don’t have to have read those to be able to pick it up, either, it’s just mostly a point of consistency that I appreciate.

Overall: yes good. And I am so excited about freaking out about Bombshells on y’all.

–your fangirl heroine.

Fashion Friday :: lonely space goddess.

30 Jun


Furthermore, Pluto’s primary civilian outfit was basically a cute little suit so I’m riffing on that, kind of.


By which I mean, uh, here’s a blazer. Marketing Maven Blazer, ModCloth.


This dress, uh, there’s white on the sides which is the opposite of Setsuna’s suit which has white in the middle? It just feels right. Lakeside Libations Sheath Dress in Noir, ModCloth.


I just like these. I don’t know. The Timeless Has Come Peep Toe Heel in Noir, ModCloth.


Similarly, this just seems classy. Taste on Display Satchel, ModCloth.

–your fangirl heroine.

Fashion Friday :: cute girl, difficult color.

23 Jun


Minako is cute but Venus’ color being orange makes things tricky.


This is orange and blue! It’s got a bow like her. Style Professional Symposium A-Line Dress, ModCloth.


An easy add. Watch me rely on that complementary color. Charter School Cardigan in Navy, ModCloth.


These are charming, if also the complementary color instead of the main and t-strap instead of Mary Jane. The Zest Is History Heel in Navy, ModCloth.


This is gold not red but it’s the best I can do. Influential Accessorizing Headband in Gold, ModCloth.


This bag is kind of green but pretend it’s just white because she has Artemis who is a white cat. This bag is also cuter than Artemis. Pounce on Panache Bag, ModCloth.

–your fangirl heroine.