IGW salutes nerdy women everywhere! Also, comics, news and the latest Idiot's Guide Contest!
Welcome to a weekly column summarizing the good, the bad and the ugly that occurred throughout the week in comics. With fifty billion websites covering all the minutia of the comic industry and dozens of comics hitting the shelves, it's about time that someone has the stones to take it all in and regurgitate it like a mother bird to her chicks. Idiot's Guide Weekly will cover pertinent news, the best and worst comics of the week, and anything else worth mentioning in a jovial and mocking manner. So enjoy it while it's fresh: Idiot's Guide Weekly aims to please.
Top News Story of the Week: Rough week for the comic book industry. Dark Horse laid off several editors and Tokyopop, the leader of the American manga and anime revolution, announced that it would close in May.
DC and Marvel both released solicitations this week. Both companies remain caught up in the Fear Itself and Flashpoint events, despite little to no hype from the fan base.
It's been officially decided that the upcoming X-Men First Class movie needs to stop releasing promotional stills. Seriously, the trailer was awesome...these shots, not so much.
An Idiot's Guide Salute to Geeky Girls and Nerdy Females
As my fiancée was preparing for work this morning, she turned to me and said, "You know, I'm going to have to read this Game of Thrones book." Game of Thrones is the first book of the epic Song of Fire and Ice fantasy series by George R. R. Martin, which has been developed into a television series by HBO. "Not so fast, Darcie," I replied. "That Game of Thrones is boy fiction! You're not supposed to read that."
I went on to tell her about Ginia Bellafante's recent New York Times review of the first episode of Game of Thrones and her utter dismissal of "geek girl" culture in the course of two paragraphs. Specifically, Bellafante mentions that she's never met a girl who would rather read The Hobbit over the latest Lorrie Moore collection of short stories and claims that Game of Thrones is "boy fiction" with sex thrown in to appease the ladyfolks. After all, everyone knows that nothing brings in female viewers like barbarians sexing thirteen year olds or siblings engaging in graphic incest and producing inbred offspring as a result.
The article has unleashed an outpouring of anger in the comic blogging community, with various articles expressing outrage and disbelief that an outspoken feminist writer such as Bellafante could so readily dismiss an entire group of females as reading "boy fiction". I was first alerted to the controversy through Jill Pantozzi, one of the foremost "geek" bloggers on the Internet today, and her coverage of the ongoing uproar on Facebook and her own blog.
Although I lack the necessary parts to be considered a "geek girl", I've known more than a few over the course of my years. My mother, the Chief Operating Officer for a large non-profit in a major city, is a casual nerd, enjoying most of the same movies, cartoons, and TV shows as my father and I. She's a huge fan of Doctor Who and Red Dwarf, cites Picard as her favorite Star Trek captain despite having a soft spot for the original series, and considered the Toho Godzilla movies to be among her favorites growing up. She's even admitted that I'm far now that I've fully embraced my nerdiness and dumped the rebellious attitude that I possessed in my younger days. Last Thanksgiving, my mother and I spent the afternoon watching Doctor Who and practicing our Dalek voices, much to the bemusement of my fiancée and disdain of my little sister. While it's obvious that I am my father's son when it comes to general geekiness, my mother is always quick to point out that she read Frank Miller's Daredevil run when it came out too.
My father's side contains several geeky females as well. My aunt grew up reading fantasy novels and loved Tolkien's Middle-Earth novels. She constantly is telling me of the next series of novels to pick up and probably is more knowledgeable about the all-ages fantasy genre than anyone else I know. My grandmother, a registered nurse and mother of four, took me on constant trips to the library as a child to pick out various fantasy and sci-fi novels, occasionally pointing out books such as Eragon, the Dragonriders of Pern series and various comic book trades. She's an avid Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter fan who dressed up for the release of the last Harry Potter book. Among her Christmas decorations is a small talking Christmas tree that she bought since it was a "Christmas Ent."
Come to think of it, most of my major relationships were with "geeky" girls as well. My first girlfriend in high school dressed like an elf and worked at a sword shop. We broke up when she refused to stop calling me Aragorn in between make-out sessions. One of my biggest crushes in high school was an avid Tolkien fan. Many a lunch was spent debating the sexualities of various Lord of the Rings characters. Even my various girlfriends in college were into Lord of the Rings, anime, and X-Files. One of them pointed out the aforementioned Game of Thrones book as something I would enjoy two years before I finally sat down to read the series. In fact, there is only one girl I've dated that would take offense to being called a geek. Mind you, she's the one who had a twisted obsession with Gollum from Lord of the Rings, generally rooted for the bad guys in the fantasy movies we would see and considered Disney villains such as Maleficent, Ursula and Cruella De Vil to be misunderstood. She wasn't a nerd at all; she only dated them and willingly participated in various geeky activities.
The more I think about the subject, the more I realize how prominently "geeky" females have been a part of my life. The esteemed Vaneta Rogers, of Newsarama journalistic fame, was the person who not only introduced me to the world of monthly comics, but also my local comic book store (which currently employs three women). Not only is she a person that I admire and try to model my own attempts at comic book journalism after, she's also the person who introduced me to Sean McKeever, who unknowingly unleashed the drive to start getting to know comic book creators better. Two of my dearest female friends are major nerds in their own right. One works for a comic book store and possesses crazy knowledge about the independent comic scene while the other is an avid fantasy reader and was the first person I recommended Game of Thrones too. Hell, it was a girl that recommended that I start watching the new seasons of Doctor Who, stating that it was much better than the Stargate and Babylon 5 series that I was trucking through at the time.
Then of course there's my fiancée, who epitomizes geek girliness better than anyone I know. This is the girl whom I fell in love with during a first date of comic books and The Fifth Element. This is the girl who independently possessed Darkwing Duck and Super Mario t-shirts long before I knew here. This is the girl who's become more obsessed with Doctor Who than I am, is quickly burning through Netflix's anime stocks and turned a bright shade of red when talking to Ron Marz, the current writer of her favorite series. This is the girl who will tell anyone and everyone how angry she is with Nintendo for delaying the release of the new Legend of Zelda game until after the release of the Wii 2.0. In many ways, Darcie is geekier than I am, which is saying a lot considering I work for a comic book website and have a room (designed by her) dedicated to my comic collection. Many a discussion concerning our future has included her saying "Christian, we're going to have our kids watch Doctor Who when they're growing up." In fact, the only reason she has not sat down to read Game of Thrones is because she knows once she starts, she will not stop until all four (soon to be five) books are finished, which could be a major dampener in her nursing schooling. There's a reason why I knew the moment I took her Darcie out on a date that she was the one, and it's partially because she's a huge nerd.
Now, it's easy to argue that the many examples I've just pointed out are simply exceptions to the rule and that the bulk of the female population would not be attracted to hardcore fantasy such as Game of Thrones. After all, every woman who saw Lord of the Rings only saw it to view Orlando Bloom's fake girlish hair and all the female Doctor Who fans (and I've discovered there are tons) are just in it because Tom Baker/David Tennant/Matt Smith are so dreamy when they're waving around a sonic screwdriver and talking about Time Lords and Cybermen. I'm sure that's what Ms. Bellafante's argument is.
Bellafante states that female readers would be much more interested in Lorrie Moore's collections of short stories about failed relationships, terminal illnesses and other morbidly depressing topics wrapped in a mildly humorous wit than one of the bestselling fantasy books of all time. Mind you, when asked in an incredibly serious and formal Facebook poll geared towards females, a professional librarian, a webcomic creator, a MSU doctoral candidate and a soon to be doctor of physical therapy all stated that they had never heard of Lorrie Moore but would gladly recommend The Hobbit to any book club. In fact, the only person who I've talked to in the last two days that has even heard of Lorrie Moore is myself, and only after I bothered to look up what she had written on Amazon.
When discussing the matter with my mother this morning, she made two important points rebutting Bellafante's comments. The first is that every popular fairy tale and princess story that young girls across the world have grown up with is rooted in fantasy. Snow White had her dwarves, most of whom carried axes, Cinderella had her magical fairy guardian, and Sleeping Beauty's main antagonist was a shapeshifting blood sorceress that had freakin' horns. The second is that those who enjoy fantasy stories and other nerdy pastimes more often than not are the creative and imaginative types in society. Perhaps, stated my mother, if Bellafante has never met someone who enjoys a good fantasy book, she simply doesn't know anyone with a good imagination or spark of creativity.
If Bellafante has seriously never met any of the millions of females who love fantasy and sci-fi and all the other genre, then I suggest she go out and hit Greenwich Village or Central Park or Midtown Comics until she meets someone who has. It won't take her very long to find a female reader in any fantasy section of any bookstore across America. While she might state that she's never personally met a woman who's enjoyed The Hobbit, I counter that I've never personally met someone who has a subscription to the New York Times. While I'm sure there are some people out there that do enjoy a newspaper that employs haughty writers such as Bellafante, rapidly dwindling subscription rates suggest that there's probably more that have enjoyed The Hobbit.
An Idiot's Guide Contest: The Marvel Book of Mammon
After much cajoling and pressure from his friends, family and girlfriend, Mammon has agreed that it is time to start reading Marvel books so that he may know the enemy better. However, he doesn't know where to begin!
It's been decided that the best way for him to navigate the wily world of Marvel is to let the readers decide. Therefore, he's asking you to pick out what you feel is the best Marvel title that he should read and why in one hundred words or less. Mammon will pick out one to three recommendations on May 1st based on what you have to say.
The Comics (There Be Spoilers Below!):
Moment of the Week: Nick Fury reveals that Hyrda has been manipulated by S.H.I.E.L.D from the very start. (Secret Warriors #26). Nick Fury is basically the Batman of the Marvel spy universe. Jonathan Hickman continues to crank up the awesome as the series' conclusion draws near.
Comic of the Week: Captain America: The Fighting Avenger #1. It's incredibly stupid that Brian Clevinger's series was downgraded to this one-shot. Freakin' fantastic book highlighting some of Cap's earliest adventures.
Surprise of the Week: Daken: Dark Wolverine #8. Daniel Way and Marjorie Liu have a nifty little crossover, showing why X-23 and Daken can actually stand independent out of Wolverine's shadow. In particular, Liu shows how crazy scary X-23 can be, showing a torture scene in stomach-turning detail.
Best Character of the Week: Black Panther (Black Panther: Man Without Fear #517). Do not embarrass T'Challa in public. He will humiliate you and get it up on the Facebooks to really drive his point in. Luke Cage got served.
Other comics of note:
Iron Man 2.0 #3: We get a solid explanation to the new suit name which will hopefully calm those who were upset that Jim Rhodes was turned into "just another" Iron Man.
Casanova: Gula #4: We reach the end of the reprints...with a slightly different ending. Can't wait for the new stories to hit shelves soon.
The Flash #10: By far, Johns' best title right now. However, it's moving a bit too slow for my liking and I wish they could get another arc or two in before Flashpoint. We might be a little more excited for the event.
Justice League: Generation Lost #23: Only one issue left of the finest Justice League story in years. ?
Amazing Spider-Man #658: I liked the back-up featuring Ghost Rider a lot more that I did the main story. Also, oh no! Peter Parker has girl problems!
Superboy #6/Red Robin #22: Two stories mired in crossovers that made them hard to follow and pretty much pointless.
SHIELD Infinity: In this issue, we learn that Isaac Newton was a serial killer, Nicola Tesla likes to sleep with doves, and that Archimedes like to fight Megazoid style.
Uncanny X-Men #535: A very Whedon-esque issue featuring mad Scott Summers hate. Looks like Gillen is siding with the Hank "I'm a whiny bitch" McCoy in the Beast v. Cyclops feud.
New Avengers #11: WHAT THE HELL DOES 1959 NEW AVENGERS HAVE TO DO WITH 2011 NEW AVENGERS? TELL ME! TELL ME!!!!!!
The Unwritten #24: This book just perverted every talking animal story known to man. I'm both horrified and delighted by this issue.
Goodbye: (Character Deaths)
Ultimate Dr. Octopus (Ultimate Spider-Man #157): Where were the Death Bagleys for this?
Everything Else (Musings and whatnot)
I was originally going to write about superheroes and tax evasion this week, but I figured that I should offer up my two cents on the Game of Thrones review.
If anyone lives in the Columbus area and has HBO and doesn't mind two or three people coming over on Sundays to watch Game of Thrones, let me know!
Regular installments of Book of Mammon returns next week!
Next Week: A report detailing what we know about Flashpoint thus far!
Written or Contributed by: BlueStreak
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About the Author - Christian Hoffer
Christian Hoffer is the exasperated Abbott to the Outhouse's Costello. When he's not yelling at the Newsroom for upsetting readers or complaining to his wife about why the Internet is stupid, he sits in his dingy business office trying to find new ways to make the site earn money. Hoffer is also the only person in history stupid enough to moderate two comic book forums at once.
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