Today is National Coming Out Day. This year I’ve been reflecting on the trending hashtag #QueerSelfLove which emerged in response to the Orlando and LA Pride (attempted) attacks this past summer. It’s an initiative for LGBTQs to reclaim their power and celebrate who they are. It’s a great idea and I’m happy to see so many people have taken to it.
Truth be told, me loving myself has never been the issue when it comes to the systemic oppression I face in my day to day. It also goes without saying that one of the main battlefronts for said oppression is fandom.
For me to survive much less thrive, I find myself constantly channeling my patronus. In short, when they come for this Clark Kent, they in turn meet Lucas Trent.
Midnighter Mode in 3…..2……1……..
So recently Rose McGowan made headlines expressing outrage over the X-Men: Apocalypse billboard ad that showcases Ivan Ooze, I mean Apocalypse, choking Mystique, claiming that it promotes violence against women.
Fox has since issued an apology for the billboard. Which I think was the right call for the studio. The right call would also be for Fox to apologize for the fustercluck that is X-Men: Apocalypse itself but I digress.
Now while I personally like McGowan, I have to keep it 100 and say the timing and her complaint is more than a bit suspect, not to mention hypocritical.
So recently Marvel released Captain America: Steve Rogers. At the conclusion of the comic, Rogers reveals he’s a double agent and utters two magic words that would become the shots fired around the world:
If the first two Captain America films are any indication, I’ve learned not to watch them with any expectations good or bad.
Like most of the Marvel Phase One films, I found First Avenger to be a yawn and filler for the payoff that was the first Avengers movie.
Winter Soldier blindsided me and years later I’m still trying to process how amazing that film is.
As much as I love Winter Soldier (it along with Avengers and Age of Ultron rank as my favorite Marvel flicks), and even though I knew I would finally get the Black Panther in this film, I still watched with no expectation.
The verdict: By no mean is it the worst Marvel film by any stretch. It was brilliant in some parts and a mess in others. Better than First Avenger but a major letdown from Winter Soldier. I kept checking my watch so many times, one would’ve thought my name was William Tockman.
Being stuck in Nashville, proud home of country music, the Confederacy and the Klan, I don’t go out often. To be more accurate I really don’t go out ever.
For me to emerge from my Batcave of Solitude, there had better be a good reason. A very good reason.
This past Friday there most certainly was a reason for me to venture out into the wasteland known as the Music City.
Comic book artist, rock musician, Jane-of-all-trades, Renaissance Woman, fellow Atlanta native, and the epitome of Black Girl Magic, Afua Richardson, announced on social media that her band, Waking Astronomer would be in town performing at the Exit In.
She already had me at Afua Richardson would be in town.
Prior to Gal Gadot being tapped to portray Wonder Woman for the DC Extended Universe, there was an online campaign where fans wanted to see actress Gina Torres play the iconic superheroine.
Understandable. Much like Gadot and for that matter Lynda Carter, Torres is the perfect blend of grace, beauty, power, and wisdom.
So this weekend Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice hit theaters and proved to be a box office hit. For those who want my thoughts on the film, you can read about them here and here.
As was the case with Man of Steel, it seems very fashionable to snark on BvS and the DC Cinematic Universe in general. My theory is that the Marvel films are shiny new toys by comparison to the DC franchises.
This isn’t to say that DC and parent company Warner Brothers are above critique. They aren’t. Neither is Marvel and parent company Disney. I both enjoy and take both companies to task for different reasons when it comes to their comics and films.
However not all of the major complaints have been as valid and they definitely illustrate a double standard at play when it comes to Superman specifically.
One cannot discuss black excellence (specifically in speculative fiction) without discussing one of the most gifted and progressive storytellers, ever to walk this earth, the late Dwayne McDuffie.
As expected, many discussed the amazing work he and his team did with making Milestone Comics a success, others mentioned his phenomenal work with fellow phenom Bruce Timm with creating over a decade of superb animated series and films.
Of course people pointed out that McDuffie paved the way for black storytellers in a way too vanillacentric medium that is the comic book industry.
The Black Panther himself isn’t the only reason I’m eagerly awaiting the the live action film when it hits theaters in 2018.
Although T’Challa in action is more than reason enough.
The opportunity to see the mythical land of Wakanda, and the fiercely “Adored Ones,” the Dora Milaje, on the big screen is also well worth the price of admission alone.
But as the Captain America, Iron Man and Thor films have illustrated, the supporting players, (Falcon, Bucky Barnes, War Machine, and Lady Sif) will also get an opportunity to take center stage.
This is why I’m hoping T’Challa’s younger sister and fellow Black Panther, Shuri has a featured role in the film.
In light of recent events, I’m reminded of another infamous fustercluck of Marvel’s: a superhero by the name of Freedom Ring.