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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

Essay

Essay

Sorry To Burst Your Masturbatory Comic Bubble (No, I’m Not)

[Editor's Note: This piece was originally published on Jill's tumblr, The Bird and the Bat. Trigger warning for language about sexual threats.]

I have a theory on why a small segment of men who read comics send rape threats to women who write about comics. To put it simply, they think we’re destroying their masturbatory fantasies (literal or otherwise).

You may laugh but it’s quite possibly the source of all the hatemongering. They’re under the impression comics are for men. Men only. And the characters therein, specifically the female characters, are there for them to ogle. The mere thought of that being taken away from them is frightening (even though, you know, porn and porn comics!). So frightening they will do anything to stop it. And they think silencing women with threats is the answer.

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Essay

Funcom Wades Into Sexist Waters With Mankini-Gate Costume Goof

Recently Funcom has found itself the center of attention in a discussion over sexism. It came about after an April Fools’ Day joke went wrong in The Secret World. The joke itself wasn’t the issue. Not directly, at any rate. In fact it had originally meant to be a jab at themselves. I’m talking about the drama around mankini-gate.

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Essay

It’s Hard To Say Goodbye When Our Favorite TV Shows Overstay Their Welcome

I have a confession to make: When The CW made the announcement it would be renewing Supernatural for its tenth season with no end in sight, I groaned. Audibly. It’s not because I dislike the show. On the contrary, I hold the Winchesters near and dear to my heart. I pause in respectful silence any time I hear “Carry On Wayward Son,” but I’m worried about my beloved series going down in a depressing spiral of mediocre episodes. Nobody wants that.

Sometimes, as fans, we just have to let go. 

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Essay

Let It Go: I Didn’t Like Disney’s Frozen (And That’s Ok.)

Last night I watched Disney’s latest animated feature, Frozen, for the first time. I didn’t love it. Do you hate me now? 

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Essay

Mean Little Girls: Thoughts On Indie Game Journal

Journal is a game with problems. I was on board with so many things about it — wandering through the pages in a notebook, the shadow puppet interludes, the mystery of a young girl whose beloved diary has gone blank. It’s a simple game, one that revolves around talking to other characters and piecing the story together. I’m normally all for adventure games of this sort, but I had trouble getting into this one. The wandering was too open-ended, leaving me sometimes at a loss for what I should do next. There were incongruous moments where a character would reference a past event, and my character had full knowledge of what they were talking about. Weren’t we supposed to be filling in the blanks together? Apparently not. The effect left me feeling distanced from the story.

It wasn’t until the day after, when I started reflecting on the game, that it started to bother me. Really bother me. The more I thought about it, the more I didn’t want to write about it. I wanted to let this one lie. The nameless protagonist of Journal is a young girl, who I placed somewhere between eleven and fourteen. That’s an age range I do not like thinking about. And even though Journal’s girl was wrestling with things that I largely did not, the way she reacted to them left me feeling bruised.

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Essay

Marshmallows to Cure What Ails You: Veronica Mars & Fandoms

I was seventeen when I joined my first fandom. It was 1999, and Rent was kind of a big deal. The second National tour was underway – The Benny Cast to be specific. It definitely felt like the highlight of senior year was going to be their stop through Cleveland. Always a loner, I wasn’t just going to see another show with my parents. I was going to rush (I didn’t really know what that meant), I was going with actual friends who had done it before, and there was promise of a “stage door” visit afterwards. Everything was new and exciting.

Fandom feels like a completely different beast in 2014. There’s a lingo to it you have to translate until you really go native. Things like fan fiction and LARPing are probably side-eyed fiercely by newcomers until they fall down their Saarlaac pit of a weekend and suddenly look up on Sunday afternoon and wonder what happened to the last 24 hours. Outside the great personal stories from individual fans, every somebody seems to have an opinion – and they’re rarely good – about fandom. 

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Essay

The Women Of Star Wars Rebels: First Impressions Count

We’re inching closer to the fall premiere of Star Wars Rebels. This fan is incredibly excited for the animated series that will be the first on-screen representation of the formidable Lucasfilm and Disney combination. The primary group of protagonists were recently introduced in a series of videos and articles over the past two weeks, and toys based on some of those characters were unveiled at the New York Toy Fair. I was pleased to learn two of the five members of the main cast are females. I’m less thrilled those two characters, Sabine and Hera, were the last two to be introduced, and Hasbro isn’t including them in their first wave of figures for Star Wars Rebels.

It feels like a slap in the face. 

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Essay

Witches, Wise Women, and Widows: A Cultural Look at Viking RPG The Banner Saga

There was a storm warning in Reykjavík the night I started playing The Banner Saga. As my computer booted and my tea steeped, I made the rounds in my apartment, securing the latches of my windows — double-paned, of course, to keep the cold out. Bare birch branches writhed eerily outside, and the sky, which had danced pink and green four nights prior, was coal gray. It was a good night for a Viking story.

I glanced at my watch as I launched the game. I had to start playing, but I was eager for my partner to come home. Most Icelanders I’ve met have a strong affinity for their heritage, but my partner is a cultural paladin. Our shelves are crammed with epic poetry, archaeological resources, and dictionaries of dead languages. When my mom came to visit last summer, my partner had a story (or a song) for every mountain and waterfall we drove past. There’s a single-handed battle axe resting against her bedside table. Y’know, just in case.

I didn’t want her to play the game with me. I wanted her to snark.

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Essay

The Batfamily Reunited This Week, Except for One: Let’s Not Forget Batgirl Cassandra Cain

One of the more easily pointed to examples of sexism in the New 52 concerned which of the five characters to be called Robin and three characters to be called Batgirl made it to the new continuity. Editorial explained to fans that two Batgirls would be erased from the setting so the “most iconic” one, Barbara Gordon, could be returned to the costume, to make things simple for new readers. However, in the other Batcave locker room, all four of the male characters who had been Robin were brought over to the New 52, despite the new universe having a hard age limit of five years from the first appearance of Batman.

This week saw one of those women (spoiler for Batman #28) Stephanie Brown, the third Batgirl and fourth Robin, return to comics as the Spoiler in a sneak preview of the next story arc to engulf Gotham City and the Batman-related titles. And while I’m very excited to have her back, I worry about Cassandra Cain, the first person of color to join the Batfamily, who is now that last Batgirl sitting on the bench with the rest of the New 52′s abandoned heroes.

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Essay

Without Buffy Summers There Is No Tessa Battle

[Editor's Note: Novelist Kelly Thompson has a few things to say about how, like a lot of us, Buffy the Vampire Slayer affected her life in a significant way. Read on to see exactly how and find out just who Tessa Battle is.]

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