Women in Comics: Ayoub’s Opinion

Two little known heroes were rebooted last week: Starfire by DC, and Elsa Bloodstone by Marvel.

The approaches to how these female heroes were rebooted could not be more different.

Elsa Bloodstone was introduced in the Bloodstone series in 2002. As you can see from the cover for part three, she wasn’t exactly “well protected” as a monster hunter.

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Starfire was introduced in 1980, and she had a typical outfit for female heroes at the time – Skin tight with revealing cutaways.

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Looking at the reboots, Marvel have moved to almost realistic garb for Elsa, where even though the outfit is skin tight (on the cover at least), it actually covers her.

Marvel Zombies #1 (2015) - Page 1

While that looks like overly exaggerated femininity, it must be remembered that male heroes in comics are usually also depicted with overly exaggerated masculinity.

Let’s compare the covers. Elsa’s pose has no overt suggestion of her being a sexual object, unlike Starfire’s almost disturbing cover.

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What disturbs me is the characters in the background. There is no doubt that some of them are staring because she’s wearing so little, and are likely mirroring the expressions of the demographic DC seem to be going for.

When Starfire buys clothes in the comic, she ends up in an even more revealing outfit, meanwhile Elsa’s outfit becomes less figure hugging and looks actually functional within the pages of her new comic.

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Elsa, like the new Ms Marvel and the Black Widow reboot that started in 2014, is a hero that I would gladly read alongside my kids to show them what a hero who happens to be a woman looks like. Starfire? She seems designed for teenagers to masturbate to when they can’t get hold of real porn.

Let me explain that statement.

Starfire learns languages by kissing people. She kisses a hunky chap to show this, but she already knows English, so she learns a dialect. So the kiss was largely pointless and used to thrust her into a sexualised situation. Why have kissing as a method of education if the sole purpose of a character is not to objectify her? A few panels later she has a shower (lather bubbles to save her blushes), and then walks out naked in full view of the same hunky chap because she doesn’t understand human modesty (leaves cover her blushes here). More objectification. More “She’s fun, she likes to get naked. Look! Look!” crap that serves only to objectify and not to build a character.

Designing a hero for teenagers purely so that they don’t have to steal real porn is just cheap and demeaning on so many levels, not just to the characters, but to the people of all genders reading the comics. Yes, most heroes are designed to be attractive, prime examples of the human form, but to have that aspect focused on for pure titillation is wrong. Heroes are supposed to be role models, and the only message Starfire has thus far is to kiss random boys and then get naked for them. Not the message I’d share with my daughter.

DC isn’t alone in this. Marvel have done it before, even with the awesomely powerful and intelligent She Hulk.

The thing is, DC continue to do it. Even my favourite DC character, Harley Quinn, has too many shower or bathtub panels where some strategically placed steam is all that prevents the comic from getting an R rating.

Elsa, on the other hand, keeps her clothes on, gets into action, shows her strengths and weaknesses, and immediately becomes a hero to admire for more than her figure. She’s snarky, smart, tough, and a much better role model for anyone, male or female, than Starfire after just one issue.

Well done to Marvel for their recent efforts in how women are portrayed, even though they are still guilty of putting women in armour that wouldn’t protect against anything except the luckiest shots, like Angela: Asgard’s Assassin. Of course, Angela’s had a makeover with real armour in the Secret Wars, so we’ll see how that goes.

But DC… Really? Starfire just looks embarrassing.

There’s hope for DC, however. This week’s Black Canary reboot seems to be less focused on how often she can strike a sexy pose. We’ll see how it turns out.  What are your thoughts on this?  Let us know in the comments!

The Longest Knight – First Impressions of Batman: Arkham Knight

These are first day impression of Batman: Arkham Knight. I have made sure they have no spoilers. I am playing it on the PS4.

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Oh god, my eyes are bleeding.

Since 9pm Monday, I have spent most of my waking hours playing Batman: Arkham Knight. I have logged around 15-16 hours into the game and I can’t do that anymore. You see, I am a gamer, but not a hardcore one by any stretch. But I passed Batman: Arkham City so freakin’ quickly that I thought that I would be done with Arkham Knight just as quick!

Man I was wrong. This game is MUCH harder. Not the fighting, that’s almost exactly the same, but just figuring stuff out. Detective Mode isn’t as useful as it once was because often the solution to your problem are rooms away instead of feet. They give you basic instructions for the Batmobile’s Battle Mode and lets you figure the rest out through countless deaths. Approximately half the game is in the Batmobile, which is great because it’s your most powerful weapon, but it means you can rely less on experience from other games.  Until very recently most of the rooms have been claustrophobic, making Predator Mode a near impossibility. I will say however  that thankfully that’s starting to change now that I am about 40% of the way through the game.

Remember the Riddler puzzles that we, the less hardcore gamers, avoided in earlier games? They are a common thing in the regular game now. They are no longer the “Riddler” puzzles in this game, as those are mostly cool things you can do with the Batmobile now. No, actually getting from one room to another while chasing say, Scarecrow (often times) takes figuring out a puzzle!

I will give an example without giving any spoilers. So you are in a room which for reasons I won’t mention, tilts. You can control the tipping. There are cargo containers, some with magnetic locks to freeze them into place, some without. To simply get from one side of a building to another, you have to tilt the building left and right so some of those containers move and some don’t. You can’t be among these containers (they are huge and would crush you) and you have to get them to line up without being able to get a top view. This room and mission have ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the Riddler. This is just to chase The Scarecrow from one side of a building to another.

Unbeknownst to Matt, The Scarecrow LOVES puzzles.

Unbeknownst to Matt, The Scarecrow LOVES puzzles.

Do I love the game? Absolutely. Did I underestimate it? Completely and totally.  Graphically it is amazing. The story line so far is great. (There has been one major thing I didn’t like though.. but I won’t spoil it..) The “surprise guest” is actually fun. =) The Batmobile portion is amazeballs once you figure out a few basic things. I am throughly enjoying this game and expect to give it a pretty favorable (but not perfect) review once I have finished it. But again, I am not sure my eyes and brain can handle anymore for a little bit, so that review might be a few days (5?) from now.

So how do you feel about the game? Are you loving it? Let us know down in the comments!

So How I Was Wrong (But Still Kinda Right) About Backwards Compatibility

So I do my research. I take the facts that are available and I post articles based on those available facts. When I posted “Why the X-Box is NOT backwards compatible” I was working with the facts presented at E3. Those facts were far from complete.

You see, they led those of us who actually watched the event, that backwards compatibility was via digital downloads of each game. That apparently is not the case. They are achieving backwards compatibility through an emulator. This was not even hinted at in the E3 event. They have, unbeknownst to me until recently, achieved virtual backwards compatibility. But not TRUE backwards compatibility. (As that would be without modification including emulation). I am still impressed by this, despite the semantics of the situation. =) While it is not actual “backwards compatibility”, it is close enough for government work. =)

I'm pretty sure I'm in the end zone, so lets drop the ball!

I’m pretty sure I’m in the end zone, so lets drop the ball!

 

 

 

 

For the record, I can, and always will, admit when I am wrong. That’s the Geeks of the Round credo. We will always tell you the truth.

So join us geeks! Tell us what you think on the matter. Wanna call me out? Then screw you. But do it anyways. =) Tell us what you think down below!

Game of Thrones Episode 510 Discussion Vidcast

A girl crosses a name off her list, Tyrion, Ser Jorah, and Daario decide what to do about Daenarys’ disappearance, Cersei goes through an unspeakable experience, and Jon deals with discontent in the Night’s Watch.  DeAno and the GotR crew go over the events of the season five finale, “Mother’s Mercy.”

And that’s a wrap for this year’s shows!  The fall season kicks off later this year and we will be there with you every step of the way at YouTube.com/GeeksOfTheRound. If you have any commentary for us, feel free to shoot us an e-mail at GeeksOfTheRound@gmail.com or leave us a voicemail at 801-609-GOTR (4687).  Don’t forget to join the Geeks of the Round Community for further discussion on this and much, much more!

 

Why the X-Box One Is NOT Backwards Compatible

So for two days and three nights, I watched E3 with the rest of the head staff here at Geeks of the Round. Being a casual gamer, I didn’t have a lot to say about what I saw there. However, I am a bit of a stickler for accuracy. So when I saw Microsoft announce that the X-Box One would have backwards compatibility, it stuck in my brain, though I didn’t know why at the time.

But now that I have thought about it, I realize that Microsoft is lying to us!

You see.. They are claiming that the X-Box One will be able to play all of your games that you currently own, regardless of the generation of X-Box it was made for. All they need is permission from the developer to include it, and all you need is the disk. The problem is, that’s not entirely true. You see, you also need an internet connection and hard drive space, because you aren’t playing the game from the disk. You are downloading it.

That’s right, Microsoft’s version of “backwards compatibility” is the already existing industry standard of digital downloads. They use the disc as DRM so you don’t have to pay for that specific title, this is true. But you still have to download and install the entire game, just like it were My Life as a King for the original Wii. After you sell or trade that disc? You might as well delete the game off your hard drive, because its unplayable without it (at least until you pay for the license separately).

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This is just a taste of what PlayStation Now has currently.

Now what that means for the rest of us. First of all, Sony and Nintendo already have this in one form or another. With the Nintendo products, its just a straight up download that you pay for. With Sony, its either a purchase OR a rental through PlayStation Now, depending on the game. PlayStation Now has not been doing all that great though, as when it first premiered the prices were outrageous. This has scared gamers, possibly never to return. If Sony is smart, and I know they are.. They WILL steal this idea of Microsoft’s, then adapt it for PlayStation Now. Instead of downloading and installing the games, you just stream it using your disc as DRM, same as with the X-Box One. A benefit to that is that you aren’t using up already precious hard drive space. (Elder Scrolls Online, for example, takes up 13% of my stock hard drive.) Though while you could play these Playstation classics on your console, it would not transfer to your Playstation Vita and Sony Xperia phones like Playstation Now games do normally as there is no disk. Still, this could potentially get gamers to give PlayStation Now a second look now that the prices are more reasonable and they offer a subscription service. Only time will truly tell.

So what do you think? Do you think Sony will adopt this idea for its own? Does this “backwards compatibility” make the X-Box One a true competitor? Let us know down below!