February 21, 2008

A.Q.s

Below are some questions that may at some point occur to someone to ask about me and/or this site, but it would be presumptuous to characterize them as "frequently."

It's great you started this site because there aren't enough blogs about comics. Ha! But really, who are you and what do you think you're doing?

I'm a journalist and an editor at a national magazine that has nothing to do with comic books. During the day I read and write about the music industry, but when I get home I read comics and watch Batman cartoons--and as a writer, I couldn't leave well enough alone and just enjoy my hobby. This eventually evolved beyond this blog, and I now write about comics and the industry on occasion for Publishers Weekly and Comic Foundry. More to the point, though, I'm a (currently) 34 year-old girl who read her first comic book at 28, and went from zero interest to reading a dozen titles a week in an embarrassingly short time. And before you assume that a guy must have gotten me into comics, let me just tell you... that yeah, a guy got me into comics. I started reading Sean McKeever's Sentinel to humor my then-boyfriend now-husband, who said it was a good starter comic that balanced giant robots with teen angst. That led to Brian K. Vaughan's Runaways, which legitimately blew my mind and started a slippery slope into the rest of the Marvel Universe and later DC. I do read some indies, and the number grows steadily, but once you pick up the project of keeping up with the Big Two, it gets harder to branch out. I'm hoping this site will be a good resource for new or exploring comics readers, especially women, who aren't marketed to by mainstream comics publishers in any meaningful way. I will also try to connect comics to life and be outsidery enough that readers (like my mom) who don't read comics can still get something out of it [These last bits of the mission are not so strong at the moment, but maybe eventually--Ed. note 7/08]. In June of 2008, when my husband Aaron and I started the Awesomed By Comics Podcast, he jumped on as a very welcome contributor to the blog.

What is the Awesomed By Comics Podcast?

Aaron is in the radio biz, as well as a huge comics fan, and you don't let those kinds of attributes just sit around and take up space. So we started a weekly podcast to talk about the week's comics in a quasi-awards show format, in that we have categories and symphonic sound effects and we talk longer about each winner and/or contenders for longer than the allotted time. It's great fun and perfect background noise for your commute, dishwashing or car trips to Dairy Queen. I'll always post new episodes in the blog and the right sidebar, and you can subscribe to the feed here.

What does "Awesomed" by Comics mean? That's not a word.

After way too much brainstorming about site titles based on some stupid "Blank-Girl"-type superhero name, I turned to one of the greatest throw-away lines written in modern comics, uttered by 11 year-old mutant Molly Hayes in Runaways (and written by Buffy creator Joss Whedon, who took over for Vaughan in 2007). The youngest of the book's orphaned teenage superheroes, Molly is by turns coddled and ignored by her teammates, despite the fact that she could take any of them down with one arm tied behind her back. After a particularly dramatic rooftop battle with some baddies, Molly asserts a highly improbable theory about the sequence of events that turns out to be true. When the others fail to acknowledge this, Molly screams at them, "Why aren't you awesomed by me?!" It's a perfect line in every way--it captures Molly's slightly immature but vivacious personality; cuts through the bullshit of the other Runaways' hormone-driven, overthinky analysis of every little moment of their tension-filled lives; and, not to mention, summarizes the frustrations of every superheroine not taken seriously by her male counterparts. Molly just wants to kick bad-guy butt--she does it, has a particular valuable insight, and then, incidentally, turns around and punches the Punisher in the gut. She's a superbly developed character--in fact, the picture on the top of this site is a drawing of Molly in her homemade "Princess Powerful" costume, slightly modified to more closely resemble my hair color.

Where do you come down on the "Brian Michael Bendis is a god/is a self-indulgent asshole" debate?

Yes.

So does that mean you're going to focus on the portrayal of females in mainstream comics?

No... and sometimes yes. Comic book publishers and some creators aren't usually worrying about the feminist viewpoint in what is, let's face it, a highly sexualized medium--so as a feminist who reads comics, I'm going to react (I finally, about a month ago, arrived at a state of acceptance in regards to Starfire). That will include giving kudos where due to creators like Gail Simone and Greg Rucka who are deeply mindful about gender issues in their comics, or at least have a naturally egalitarian mindset and little interest in catering to the stereotypes. It's safe to say, however, that just as many posts will be more along the lines of "how dreamy is Batman?" and "Reed Richards must put those powers to good use, because there's no other explanation for Sue staying with that annoying twit."

Who are your favorite comic book characters?

In no particular order, with list constantly subject to modification: Barbara Gordon (as Batgirl but especially Oracle), Renee Montoya (as herself and the Question), the original Question, Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, Ultimate Sue Storm, Molly Hayes, Karolina Dean, Batman, Nightwing, Wally West, Nova, John Stewart, Spiderman (probably Ultimate more than regular, but I have only just started Ultimate), Snow White (in Fables), Beast. Also, as a junkie for the animated DCU, I totally heart Terry McGuinness in Batman Beyond and pretty much everyone in Justice League Unlimited. Wally West in that series and Barbara Gordon in The Batman are particularly fave versions.

More Qs and As to come when I think of them/someone asks me...

4 comments:

plok said...

You should probably read Batgirl: Year One.

Evie said...

Funny you should say that, I started it last week! Love me some Babs.

plok said...

This was the Batgirl I never knew I wanted to read, and then -- ZAP!

And then it was over for some reason, damn it.

Bj Lewis said...

contact info? to email about our show as possible fodder for a podcast ?