Comic Review: Catwoman

I should have known just from the cover, a woman in a sultry prose and the bra hanging off a building for no discernible reason? Definitely not for me.

Ah but I thought I’d give it a shot, and ignore the sexist art.

Let’s start with the art though:

I could potentially get over the provocative poses, the constant shots of her face that always had to include either her crotch or her boobs. Maybe I could have ignored the anatomically incorrect poses that made her either break her legs or her back to keep it.

I could have also, possibly, ignored how she was constantly putting on her underwear or how her catsuits zippers would be so uncomfortable against her boobs.

The fact that all the women look the same…all the “attractive” women look the same, and all those who aren’t are kind of drawn…i want to say grotesquely but that’s not the word. Just men with boobs? It was bad, like Michelangelo who just added oranges on the chest of men to make them women, kind of bad. It all just seems like… it was done half-assed, lazy.

And I couldn’t ignore all of these issues, it was done in such poor taste I didn’t want to. The whole thing seemed a kind of soft core porn comic with a ‘story’ to give the men a reason to draw her like this.

Storyline:

I don’t know, it’s focused on keeping Catwoman as a cameo character, just hanging around and jumping in other people’s stories without actually having her own main villain or big problem to solve. Everyone she meets she HAS to seduce, and here I thought she was smart and cunning, a real “cat burglar”. When I think of cat burglars, and let’s say men, I don’t think of them constantly in a thong seducing their competition and their victims.
Also they rely on fridging another female character for no actual purpose, it’s for one plot device and then… not really useful?

Character:

Ah Catwoman, they did a disservice to you. You have no personality, or the one you have is so schizophrenic… you’re like 5 different women in one body. You’re cunning and smart in one part, serious about how your relationships with women and how men treat women. Then you’re self-centered and indulgent, recklessly spending money as if you have no sense of self-preservation. Also you’re apparently suicidal? Which came as a surprise to be honest, must be a whole “save me batman” ploy to explain some kind of relationship with him….
What the hell is that relationship with batman anyway? It got really rapey at one part and I had to stop reading. I don’t understand this whole, strong women like men who beat them up and then have sex with them -trope. It’s uncomfortable. There’s a difference between play-wrestling and full on kicking each other and punching each other in the face.
Also she never bruises, ever. Always flawless… she bleeds but its so beautiful and she cries, also so aesthetically pleasing, but never turns black and blue ever. Gets thrown into a wall and, when she’s naked in the next panel, she is untouched.
Another thought is, how is it that Batman knows who Catwoman is but Catwoman has no idea who the man she’s sleeping with is? She is not that dumb…

Anyway, not sure if I should pick up another DC comic about women… might give WonderWoman a shot but seriously… I like Catwoman, I remember her from the cartoons and the Tim Burton movie. It seems such a shame they wasted such an interesting person to create something boys to jack off to.

– Sugar Out

Comic Review: Ms Marvel

Next on the list! Ms Marvel volumes 2-6.

I love this series, its amazing the contrast of reading this after Snotgirl. There is so much depth of character and growth in these volumes. Kamala changes and develops in each as a superhero, figuring out how to balance her personal and superhero life, and asking for help.

It is really great how community focused this series is, how it shows that everyone is interconnected. That superheroes don’t live in this bubble all by themselves. The cameos to others, like Iron Man to Miles Morales’ Spiderman, is awesome.

I am also really surprised how they went for the whole “preventative” justice and Tyesha was able to speak about her own experience. I appreciate how everyone has a voice in these volumes, these “background” characters aren’t just there to fill up the blank space or to die to move the plot along. (which they don’t) They add so much value and insight. Even Nikia, who has been ignored by Kamala since she became Ms Marvel, shows up and keeps pointing that out. It is a very self-aware story that knows the impact of its messaging.

The flashback to the independence of India and the creation of Pakistan I found, in my personal opinion, well done. I liked how Kamala went back to Pakistan and felt that same experience I have had, of not being “enough”. You speak with an accent, your family thinks you can’t handle their food so they bland it out, everything makes you feel other even though this is where you technically belong.

I also loved how she wasn’t coming in saving Pakistan from itself, there was a superhero there, who knew what they were doing and didn’t need this “western” savior.

Oh man, it was so great.

Definitely recommend and am so happy I got back into this series.

-Sugar out

Comic Review: SnotGirl

I got my stack of books from the library so I’ve decided to keep track of the ones I’m reading with some reviews, outside of our monthly selection.

The first volume I read was Snotgirl by Bryan Lee O’Malley, author of Scott Pilgrim, and Leslie Hung.

I was a bit wary starting this one as the girls at work hadn’t had any good comments to say when I told them I was reading it and, to be honest, I should have listened to them.

I don’t know what I read, don’t know the plot. Lottie is taking some allergy meds that, with alcohol, make her murderous? I think thats the plot? But then she gets off those meds, the girl Caroline, that she thinks she killed, is actually alive.

I should be more structured in my review. Let’s start with the main character.

Lottie is a fashion blogger who has allergies all year round, apparently, and is just fake. She gives terrible nicknames to her friends and doesn’t seem to have any interests, or family, to know of. I couldn’t like her or dislike her as she wasn’t an actual character. She has green hair, and that is the only defining piece about her. She is also pinning after a boyfriend, whom she is on a break with, but I don’t know why? There are no flashbacks to the relationship to explain it, and it just feels contrived. All girls pine after their ex-boyfriends!

The content of the book is another problem. The art is beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but the story doesn’t compliment the hard work that was put in by the artist. Everything is just so…fake. Maybe that is the point of the comic, but at the same time. At least some research about fashion bloggers would be nice.

You can tell its written by a man who has no respect for the said fashion bloggers or the industry. There’s no effort to explain how this girl makes money, or what she does to pay her intern, who is the only POC in the book.

The storyline itself jumps from one time to another with no discernible reason. We go from sitting down with a police detective, who is obsessed with our main character btw, to a party 6 months later?

It ends on this whole cliffhanger that Lottie knows what Caroline did because she spoke to the detective, but… why? Who cares? Is this supposed to make me want to read the next one? Is that the best you could end on? WHATS THE TRUTH?? FIND OUT NEXT TIME? Ahaha…no.

Next – the rest of the cast:

Oh man, the stereotypes continue. There’s “plain girl”, who is apparently Lotties best friend, she’s bigger than the other girls and has a hot boyfriend who, of course, is cheating on her. Because plain girls don’t get to have a hot boyfriend without them being total douchebags right? Like what kind of message does that give to the girls who read these comics?

The other plain girl, Lotties ex-intern and apparent “stalker” (she’s not but YOU WONT KNOW WHAT SHE IS UNTIL THE NEXT ISSUE), is seeing Lottie’s ex-boyfriend but not really? He’s just stringing her along to all these cool parties to get Lottie jealous or I dont know man, they can’t bother to finish a thought in this comic. She’s actually a decent person, who tries to help Lottie at the end, but again… she falls victim to the terrible writing.

I’m not sure what the point of the comic was, to show the superficiality of the fashion bloggers? Which is harsh, as I follow a couple and they are lovely people.

How catty women are? – Great, let’s continue that message and not create one of women supporting other women….

All in all, not impressed and won’t be reading the next one. I shouldn’t be surprised this sort of storyline came out from a man who wrote about a guy having to fight all the exes of the girl he likes… as if she can’t make her own decisions in her life. Or that she’s not a prize to be fought over?

Anyway- will leave you with this last piece of ridiculousness from the comic: Lottie is 25 but has never been to a bar before. Oh no, she just goes to parties but has never physically stepped foot in a bar and had whiskey. Are you serious comic? Am I legit supposed to believe that?

-Sugar out

April Book Review:

The Improbability of Love
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Hey girls,

It’s been a long wait but here it is, finally. I got my hands on the book, not from the library, but I gave up and purchased it. Not sure about the decision now that I’ve finished it but… what can you do. (I should mention I bent the cover by accident when I went travelling with it back home)

Overall; I am not impressed with the book. I found major failings in both the characters and the narrative choice overall. As mentioned during the book selection, we follow Annie as she accidentally purchases a priceless painting and it ends up affecting her life and career as a chef.

To begin – the narrative flips constantly throughout the novel, between chapters and even in chapters, to the large cast that is in this book. It was hard at times to keep track of each person, their journey, and how it related to Annie’s. This caused a lot of dysphoria as not only did it make it feel like Annie was not the main character but it was done half-heartedly, relying on creating caricatures for their personas. Instead of spending the time she should have on developing some depth of character for these people, she just wrote out elaborate but meaningless stories that had nothing to do with Annie.

For example: Vlad is a Russian gangster that ends up in London and decides to go into art, there is no point to him. He spends most of the novel in bed with hookers crying for his motherland. It was tedious, boring, and I just didn’t care. He ends up with the “villains” daughter and it was a “okay,cool” moment. There was no point to the match, it didn’t add to the story or move anything along for Annie in any way. Not to mention he ended up liking an artist I despise for the use of his wealth to kill rare species of animals to remind himself he will die.

Next – As mentioned, the narrative flips around a lot, so the time spent with Annie is crucial but isn’t used properly. Annie wants to be a full fledged character but ends up being a caricature herself.

She’s divorced from a man 10 years her senior whom she considered many times leaving. She ends up travelling through India to get over it, and has one of those… oriental romanticism moment, meets a poor village woman in the forest and finds the zeitgeist that connects us all. It’s such fake b-s, this white woman travels alone through India and never experiences the poverty, never gets stopped or harassed, never has to go through the 5 layers of security??? Not to mention it’s all worthless anyway – her spiritual journey doesn’t cure her of her pining because she’s still crying over said ex-husband when the book begins.

Her own story is unlikely on its own – she’s a chef, but with no training, has apparently no friends, follows the trope of “i’m just a plain jane” but every man is gagging after her. She’s 30 but acts as if shes in a YA novel, 16 and back in highschool.

The love story is also on another level of stupidity – Jesse is the typical “good guy”, he behaves in a friendly manner but only because he wants to get in her pants. On the novel excuses it by saying how -in love- he is with Annie, but he has no idea of her personality. I didn’t even consider him as a love interest as he was so…blah. There was nothing to like about him personality wise, being nice isn’t something to build a relationship over.

When Annie turns him down, I thought for sure we would meet another man and he would be the next one. But no – Jesse still remains and ends up being the ONE. (here I am thinking there’d be some diversity and she’d end up with that rich Sheikh after her painting mentioned in the summary…ahaha silly Sugar)

The painting was just annoying – it’s history was tedious to read as the character of the painting was so self-engrossed and selfish. It’s remarks about love, and Jesse and how he should be more “action” oriented when it came to his proving his love, was kind of nauseating but I can’t put my finger on why yet.

The novel itself couldn’t decide what it was – is it a history novel? Romance? Murder-mystery? Cooking-with recipes? This wouldn’t be bad if it weren’t for the jumping narrative that made this jumble just feel like a puzzle that someone had thrown into the air and, when it landed, called it the painting they were supposed to put together. You need to put in the work and connect the puzzles, not just stare at the pieces and try to connect it all together by what you see.

Alright, rant is over.

TLDR: Was highly disappointed, the whole book was a mess, character development was non-existent and everyone was a caricature. The romance elements were forced.

– Sugar out

Book Review: How to be a BAWSE

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I finished this while waiting for the monthly choice to come in.

I had been waiting for this book since Lilly started writing it. I was so excited that I ended up not only preordering the book but buying a ticket to her book tour, where I got another -signed- copy. I’m such a fangirl…

I’m not a big self-help or motivational book reader, not because I don’t believe they don’t work but, mostly, I never felt to read one. What really changed me on this one was because it was Lilly who was writing it.

I knew more about her backstory from her youtube videos, how she battled depression when she was a teenager, and how she ended up becoming a youtube star, so I trusted what she wrote and knew it would appeal to me. I have followed her content for a long time now, I love most of her comedy videos (some of them go over my head) and I’ve really respected her for her support of feminism and girl love.

Her book wasn’t a disappointed and I am hugely biased. I already knew most of the content she wrote about but having it on paper, going through the process of re-training my brain to think this way, was very important to me.

To be honest, it has been a crazy hard week at work. A girl quit and I’ve had to take on her responsibilities. While that would normally not phase me, while finishing up my masters and juggling a team with 3 members who I’d categorize as MIA, this extra stress has messed with me. There have been many mornings where not being able to load my music to my iPod has caused me to go into a ragey mess.

And the book has helped me step out of that. From not only remembering my privilege but also learning to control my outlook.

I’m going to re-read the book when I have more time and go through the activities in it, just to re-center myself now that school is done. There are still a ton of lessons I need to keep in my head and carry with me. Also there are important tips on how to conduct yourself successfully in important meetings.

Since I will be hustling for very important reasons in the next couple of weeks, I want to make sure I bring my A-game. The book will definitely help prepare me to stand out and impress.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend this book. Though these types of books aren’t for everyone, aka me, I’m glad i got it.

Now unto Improbability!

– Sugar Out.

Book Review: Exit West

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End of term means I have more time to read!! What a crazy year it’s been.

I selfishly chose books I was already reading for April’s selection, a couple of which I was mostly halfway through. The one that was chosen wasn’t the one I am currently reading, so it all worked out in the end.

While waiting for April’s book to be available at the library, I finished up Exit West and loved it.

A friend, I want to say graciously, but have to say aggressively shoved this in my hands after he finished it and demanded I read it as quickly as possible. As he mentioned “I finished it in one night”, but we still had classes and other responsibilities so I took a little longer.

Overall, I loved the book. I really enjoyed Mohsin Hamid’s writing. I’m not always a fan of interspersing the narrative with short scenes from other people’s lives, but it actually went very well with the overall theme he created.

The idea of doors, magical doors opening that bring you forward to new places, into being new/different people, or back, to the old, was very well constructed.

I also really enjoyed how he turned gender norms on their head and how he wrote Nadia in general. She’s such a human, you can feel all her faults and edges. She’s not a romanticised idea of a woman at all.

Saeed is also amazing, the depth of their character development in such a short story shows what good writers can do. I really enjoyed how the story was told as a love-story but ended up being so much more.

Definitely would recommend, I’m most likely going to buy this book and get another suggestion from my friend. Hopefully with my time being more freed up, I can write more of these reviews.

As always though – Sugar Out!

April Book Choices

Hey everyone,

As the school year is finally coming to a close, I’m taking a moment to put in my choices for the month.

  1. How to be a BAWSE – Lilly Singh

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Lilly Singh isn’t just a superstar. She’s Superwoman—which is also the name of her wildly popular YouTube channel. Funny, smart and insightful, the actress and comedian covers topics ranging from relationships to career choices to everyday annoyances. It’s no wonder she’s garnered more than a billion views. But Lilly didn’t get to the top by being lucky—she had to work for it. Hard.

Now Lilly wants to share the lessons she learned while taking the world by storm, and the tools she used to do it. How to Be a Bawse is the definitive guide to conquering life. Make no mistake, there are no shortcuts to success, personal or professional. World domination requires real effort, dedication and determination. Just consider Lilly a personal trainer for your life—with fifty rules to get you in the game, including:

• Let Go of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out): Temptation will try to steer you away from your goals. FOMO is just a test of your priorities, a test that a bawse is ready to pass.
• Be Nice to People: Treat niceness like an item on your daily to-do list. People will go out of their way to help and support you because you make them feel good.
• Schedule Inspiration: Lack of motivation isn’t permanent or a sign of weakness. Expect it and proactively schedule time to be creative.
• Be the Dumbest: Challenge yourself by surrounding yourself with people who know more than you do. It’s a vital way to learn and improve.

Told in Lilly’s hilarious, bold voice and packed with photos and candid stories from her journey to the top, How to Be a Bawse will make you love your life and yourself—even more than you love Beyoncé. (Yes, we said it!)

WARNING: This book does not include hopeful thoughts, lucky charms or cute quotes. That’s because success, happiness and everything else you want in life need to be worked for, not wished for. In Lilly’s world, there are no escalators, only stairs. Get ready to climb.

  1. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

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In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair, and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through. . . .

Exit West follows these remarkable characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.

  1. Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen and She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton

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A. Swimsuit season is coming up! Better get beach-body ready! Work on those abs! Lift those butts!

…Um, or how about never mind to all that and just be a lump. Big Mushy Happy Lump!

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Chelsea Clinton introduces tiny feminists, mini activists and little kids who are ready to take on the world to thirteen inspirational women who never took no for an answer, and who always, inevitably and without fail, persisted.

I picked two because I felt that we could read more since the comics are a tad short. I ended up reading all 5 volumes of Monstress so I thought adding one more would be fun. 😀

  1. The Improbability of Love

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Annie McDee, thirty-one, lives in a shabby London flat, works as a chef, and is struggling to get by. Reeling from a sudden breakup, she’s taken on an unsuitable new lover and finds herself rummaging through a secondhand shop to buy him a birthday gift. A dusty, anonymous old painting catches her eye. After spending her meager savings on the artwork, Annie prepares an exquisite birthday dinner for two—only to be stood up.

The painting becomes hers, and Annie begins to suspect that it may be more valuable than she’d thought. Soon she finds herself pursued by parties who would do anything to possess her picture: an exiled Russian oligarch, an avaricious sheikha, an unscrupulous art dealer. In her search for the painting’s identity, Annie will unwittingly discover some of the darkest secrets of European history—and the possibility of falling in love again.

POLL

Happy choosing girls!!!

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