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

The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild

This book. This is an ‘I can’t even’ book. As in, I can’t even understand how it was nominated for several awards. I can’t fathom the high amount of positive reviews on Amazon. It boggles my mind, because in short, it was terrible.

Firstly, I’m not sure how this book made it past an editor to print. It needs a LOT of work. I would cut out large swathes, and fill it with red revisions and basic corrections.

There are tons of characters who all get featured with their own p.o.v. for absolutely no reason. They are absolutely superfluous. I used absolutely as an adjective twice to stress how bad it was. What was even the point?? Jacking up the page count?? What makes it even worse, is that the characters are all one-dimensional¬†caricatures playing to common sterotypes. The main character Annie, has the most dimensions, yet somehow still manages to be super shallow. As Sugar mentioned, she also falls into the annoying trope of ‘secretly amazing/beautiful but doesn’t know it’. This is paired with her love interest, friend-zoned nice guy who wins the uninterested girl in the end through persistence and heroically saving her from a damsel in distress situation. *eye roll*

There is a right way, and a wrong way to write multiple perspectives/ narrators. This book shows the wrong way. Not only are there too many characters, the transitions often don’t make sense – some chapters even switch between first and third person of a single character!

And the painting. Oh, the painting. It was so annoying. I could rage about it endlessly. There were so many lines that made me stop and check that the author was a woman. For instance, consider the following quotes: “As we all know, a fierce female mind is a passion-killer. Men prefer the breast to the brain.” & later in the book, “[…] his orgasm of desire.” What.

Finally, the mess of an ending. It was an attempt of adding a thriller element (?), but so poorly executed, and then magically resolved with little effort. The happy endings for all were laughably Disney – I have nothing against a happy ending, but SERIOUSLY. This book was so unrealistic from start to finish, I guess I should have expected it.

I did enjoy some parts of this book; Annie’s cooking ability, and food descriptions were very nice. I liked the food/ art parallels and combinations. The actual art history and theory, as well as auction concepts/mechanics were interesting and well-written. There could have been a very good book here. I feel like the underlying elements of art & food were solid, but then got buried under a mountain of bad additions. The multiple plot points and genres, which miiiight have worked well together, just didn’t in this case. Remember, sometimes less is more.

If I could imagine this book as a food, I would see it as a towering cake; a small, tasty piece of cake dough, hidden underneath layers upon layers of clashing icing & cream, fake green cherries and neon sprinkles, oozing and melting together into a mess.

All I wanted was the cake bit, alright?

 

February Book Review: Bad Feminist

Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay
Small disclaimer before we begin: I agree with the others’ opinions and my review will likely echo theirs.
It took me a while to get around to this review, but I very much enjoyed this book, although at first I wasn’t sure what to expect: non-fiction can vary widely. I felt the stand alone essays were written in an easy to digest manner, were grouped logically and flowed together quite well. Some essays struck more of a chord with me than others, but all were interesting, even the previously unknown world of competitive scrabble. The chapters that dealt with her experiences as a person¬† of colour were especially important in my mind, as they are lacking in so much best selling/ mainstream feminist lit. It’s important to listen to voices with different perspectives. Her visit to Haiti, and acknowledgment of her our privileges was great, and made me reflect on my own privileges. Her critique of a different book about advice to women in the workplace called back to mind these early chapters. It’s easy for lots of feminist literature to forget or to gloss over issues of class & wealth; this goes for online articles & pieces as well.
Unexpected bonus round: her reflections of school and being a professor were super personally relevant, moreso now that I’m ‘on the inside’ of the academic world.
I especially loved the articles about problematic media and violence against women. As Sugar put it, Roxanne Gay is able to put to words things hard to say. She eloquently gives shape to thoughts & subconcious understanding of societal problems. I too wanted to highlight and copy down her explanations, save quotes to use as future comebacks. Since I’d borrowed the book from the library I couldn’t, but I loved this book so much I’ll be buying a copy when the new paperback edition comes out in October 2017. While reading it, there were many points where I wished it were mandatory reading for everyone; I think it would make an excellent addition to high school or college reading lists.
Finally, her chapters about body image issues felt like skimming the top of an iceberg; you can sense there is a LOT more there, tied up with other issues. I wished she’d gone more into depth there, as it’s something that I think about a lot as well. I can consider my wish granted however, as I found out recently that the author wrote an entire book on this topic, due to come out June 2017, entitled “Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body”. When it does, I’ll be giving it a read too, as this is an author that’s won a new fan.

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.