Tag Archives: comic books

Bookish Beach Towels for Summer

World Domination for Cats Beach Towel available on Society6

Summer may not officially kick off until June 20th, but here in California, the weather is already providing an excuse to throw on a swimsuit and head down to the water. It’s also giving me an excuse to search for bookish beach towels to bring along with me, like the one above (cats are jerks, so it only makes sense that they’re secretly plotting world domination).

Below you can find some more of my favorites.

 

Another Quiet Spot Beach Towel available on Society6
Another Quiet Spot Beach Towel

 

It’s story time in this dark forest, where a friendly monster and cute bunny find a quiet spot to read. I love the soft, muted colors and imagery in this print.

 

Book Dinosaurs Beach Towel available on Society6
Book Dinosaurs Beach Towel

 

Anyone who knows me can tell you my favorite movie is Jurassic Park (the book, though quite different, is great too), and as such, I’ve always been fascinated with dinosaurs. On this beach towel, the artist has combined dinosaurs and books. I love the fact that the dinosaurs aren’t only reading them, they’re made of them—their bony armor replaced with colorful books.

Story Shots: Equality

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Thanks to the Supreme Court, we now have one form of equality on the books: marriage equality. But the battle for equality doesn’t stop there. While marriage is a great start, there are many battles left to fight such as racial equality, income equality, and, of course, gender equality. With that in mind, we present our creative nonfiction stories around the theme of equality.


“Amanda! You aren’t going to be happy about this.” Lorraine cried as she stood in front of my car.

“What?” I quickly opened my door to join her.

“You got a super flat tire.”

“Oh, crap. There’s like no air in that at all. How the hell did that happen?”

We were in Costa Mesa, California, 30 miles from my friend’s house, and about 50 miles from my house. We were heading to a wine tasting. After we got off of the 55 freeway, my car drove fine. We stopped at the light on 19th street and as soon as the light changed, my car started to make an awkward thumping sound.

My tire went from fine to flat in the span of a red light.

“I have AAA.” I quickly dug through my bag to find my AAA card as I sat on the curb where my friend had located herself.

While we waited, I pulled out my spare tire. I lacked a jack and a jack stand, so I couldn’t actually change my tire myself, but I could make the job easier for the roadside assistance person. I took auto shop in high school; I at least knew the basics of how to change a tire, a headlight, a taillight, windshield wipers, and, last but not least, my own oil.

In a half-hour, a guy, no older than 20, came to change my tire.

He pulled out his massive jack and a lug wrench and started to change my tire. He stopped after testing my lug nuts.

“I can’t change your tire.” He said, nervously.

“Oh, okay. Why?” I asked.

“I can call the tow truck in and have it taken to a shop for you. You need new lug nuts.” That’s all the explanation I got. “Don’t worry ladies; I’ll take care of this for you.”

The tow truck came and the first auto shop the AAA roadside assistant sent us to said they couldn’t do the work that day. I asked what work, and they simply replied that they didn’t have the parts.

The tow truck driver then took us to a tire shop, which was the first place to explain what was wrong with my car.

“It’s not your lug nuts dude; it’s the lug nut studs. The lug nuts are stripped, and that means,” he paused and I picked up his line of thought.

“That means they’ll break and I’ll have to get new ones.” I finished.

“Yeah. And we’re not an auto shop,” the tire guy continued, “so I can’t replace those parts. I don’t have the tools. I just do tires.”

It started to rain as my car was pushed towards the new tow truck. I ran out to help.

“No ma’am,” the new tow truck driver commanded, “you don’t push. I don’t want you to get wet in the rain; not in your dress.”

I didn’t listen and I continued to push my car. The rain was mild and it was, after all, my car. I wanted to get things done as soon as possible.

I was tired of polite sexism. I don’t like being told I couldn’t do something because I was a woman, or when people assumed I didn’t know something because I have tits and a vagina. I was tired of these men not telling me what was going on because I was wearing a dress. I was just tired, period.

I know the excuse is that these men were just being polite and doing their jobs, but no one should spend five hours and three tow truck rides trying to fix a flat tire, especially when no one will actually say what’s wrong with the tire, other than being flat.

I could push my car in the rain. I could push my car in the rain in a dress. If I had high heels on, I’d push my car in the rain in high heels. What I wore was not limiting; what was limiting was the way I was treated, talked down to, and ignored by men who felt I was in need of rescue.

– Amanda Riggle


So we have all heard of this fake geek girl thing, right? A girl enters a comic shop or attends a Star Wars convention or plays D&D, and immediately gets challenged by those “gatekeepers of geekdom.” The question always starts, “do you even?” I’ve been lucky enough (or perhaps intimidating enough) that I haven’t been challenged often about my geek cred. But I have run into other problems.

From Amora to Zatanna: Ant-Man Defense

Age_of_Ultron_Vol_1_10A.I._Rivera_Variant_TextlessNow here is where I might lose some of you comic junkies, but hear me out! With the release of Ant-Man in theaters earlier this month, I felt it appropriate to talk about this controversial character and shed some light on why some comic fans, particularly female comic readers, have a bone to pick with him. Namely, I want to talk about the original Ant-Man: Hank Pym.

Warning: This post contains content that may possibly trigger people who have experienced domestic abuse.

Then, in this defense of Ant-Man, I am going to discuss why we shouldn’t write him off just yet. But first, for those of you who know nothing about him.

Ant-Man History:

IMG_1354 First appearing in Tales to Astonish #27, Hank Pym is presented as a genius bio-scientist who unlocks shape altering abilities through his discovery of Pym Particles. As such, he gains the ability to shrink his size and eventually communicate with ants he meets through a specialized helmet. It was then that he adopted the superhero name Ant-Man. During his heroic adventures, he encounters his soon-to-be-wife, Janet Van Dyne, and helps her get revenge for her father’s death by manipulating her size and giving her insect like wings and “stinger” abilities, thus creating The Wasp!

Now, sure, his abilities do not seem too impressive. Eventually, Hank discovers a way to grow in size, becoming Giant-Man and Goliath through his super-career, but even this does not make him that impressive of a Marvel character. What does set him apart, and why some fans love him so, is because of his genius intellect and the trouble it gets Hank into. To shed some light on this, comic circles have often stated that Hank Pym’s intellect reviles that of Mr. Fantastic, who many recognize as Marvel’s smartest superhero. Furthermore, Hank Pym, along with Janet, were the original founders of The Avengers, which Janet aptly named. So with a guy as smart as Hank, how does he manage to get into trouble?

Well, Hank is the original creator of Ultron.

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From Amora to Zatanna: Blog Update

Where did the time go, comic junkies?! My sincerest apologies for disappearing off the inter-webs for so long! As I wrote in a blog long ago, I was finishing up my Master’s project and graduating. Having finished all school stuffs for the time being and finally kicking this weird funk I was in since graduation (see story shorts for June), I figured now was the time to restructure the way I publish posts here and keep you guys informed on the content I hope to provide every month. While things will not change too drastically, I am attempting to make postings a bit more uniform and, perhaps, more frequent! So without further ado, here is what I plan on writing:

NicciBusinessCardFront1. Comic Criticisms and Defenses: These posts will focus on critically analyzing a popular topic in comics. I will not write blog responses to specific incidents about comics anymore (such as the blog I wrote about Goyer and his sexist comments about She-Hulk) because every comic blogger tends to jump into the fray and, as a result, their voices are lost. Instead, I will discuss important themes present in the comic community and do my best to actually add something original to the conversation.

2. Teaching with Comics: Now that I have graduated and received my Master’s, I am transitioning from a student to an adjunct English instructor. As such, I want to share some of my teaching materials and discussions (sans student comments) with you all. Maybe there is a new teacher out there who wants to use comics too, or even a veteran who wants to shake things up a bit.

NicciBusinessCardBack 3. Writer Advice/Updates: Okay, so as you may know from previous blog posts, I’m hoping to become a comic writer. As such, I plan on posting a few blogs here and there with advice I have gained from others, or to update you on the progress of my own work. Here is my business card (which my wonderful animator friend, Hannah, made up for me). So excuse the shameless plug, but feel free to follow me on twitter for more updates as they come!

4. Comic Pulls/Convention Round-ups: These blogs will be listicles of comics and goodies I have on pull at my local comic shop, or that I found attending a local comic convention. I will try to take many pictures of these conventions as well!

Literary Paraphernalia: 10 DIY Projects for Book Lovers

I’m a poor college student. Actually, all of the writers of this blog are college students and fairly broke. While we write these posts about literary paraphernalia and how much we’d love to own some of these great book-related items, we really can’t afford to.

It makes me sad.

That’s why I decided to hijack this column for the week and do a list of DIY projects that range from easy to difficult and aren’t terribly expensive.

We’ll start with the easy DIY projects first. These will require little to no extra crafting gear outside of say, glue, a pen, and maybe some scissors.

DIY Paint Chip Bookmarks

(Credit: BellaCarta.Typepad.Com)

This bookmark is simple, cheap, and versatile. While doodling flowers is one method of decorating this bookmark, another (which I would probably do) would be to write your favorite book quote on draw various literary characters into the different colored boxes.

 

DIY Mini Notebooks

(Image Source: KaleyAnn.Com)
(Credit: KaleyAnn.Com)

These cute little notebooks are a snap to make and great for writers to use! You can also grab some Sharpies and decorate the covers. These would also make cute gifts.

From Amora to Zatanna: February 2015

Oh my goodness, comic junkies! I am late yet again on my monthly blog post. This is primarily because I am finishing up my last semester of grad school and my master’s thesis is kicking my butt! Aside from my student turmoil, I wanted to take this month’s blog and examine a pretty important character in the Marvel universe: Gwen Stacy.

8299d295feb249e7663d95d7ff1f8267Now let me start by saying that I never used to be a Gwen Stacy fan. Sure, she was smart as well as beautiful, but I was always more interested in Felicia Hardy (aka Black Cat) and Mary Jane as romantic interests for Peter Parker. I’m not really sure why this is, except that by the time I started reading Spider-Man issues myself, he was already in a relationship with Mary Jane.
And Felicia Hardy was someone I became obsessed with when I went further back into the series to catch up on what I had missed. And, let’s face it, Felicia Hardy is so sexy and sassy!
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But Gwen Stacy is really something special. She was, and is, hugely important to comics.
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First of all, Gwen Stacy’s death is an incredibly iconic moment not only in Spider-Man’s fictional life, but in comic history. The graphic death of Gwen Stacy by Spider-Man’s hand was shocking on multiple levels. The “snap” sound effect drawn on the page was somehow brought to life as readers collectively heard the bone brake. It was gritty, visceral, and real. It was in this moment that comics also took a firm stance against the Comics Code Authority and proceeded to tell stories in which superheroes were fallible. The death of Gwen, though debated for a few months after the issue’s release, was entirely Peter’s fault. His overconfidence in his abilities and himself as a superhero lead to the heart-breaking death of his beloved girlfriend. And this is someone who is supposed to have an intimate knowledge about physics!
ASM2-Death-of-Gwen-StacyWith Gwen’s death, Spider-Man became less perfect and more damaged, launching a comic movement that drifted away from the Comics Code and towards “grey storytelling.”

From Amora to Zatanna: January 2015

From-Amora-To-Zatanna

My apologies for being so late on this post, my dear comic fans, but time is slipping away from me so quickly these days. (I blame it on my final semester of grad school!) Stress aside, I wanted to keep it simple this blog and post a list of comic pulls I’m excited for this upcoming,2015 year. Let’s get started!

#1: Spider-Gwen
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How was this not a comic already? The “What-if” universe didn’t even run a story like this, but thanks to the Spider-verse (and the end of the Marvel comic universe as we know it, apparently) this dream has become a reality. In an alternate universe, Gwen Stacy is the one gifted with the amazing Spidey powers and is unable to save the Peter Parker of her universe. It’s an interesting premise that pulls on our collective heart strings all over again as this beloved couple is still doomed to fail in the end. Plus, all female rock band with Mary Jane? Yes please!

#2: Silk
Silk_Vol_1_1_Lee_TextlessAnother spidey-related super heroine that is also a person of color! Cindy Moon was bit by the same spider that bit my beloved Peter Parker and was also endowed with spider abilities, though she a rougher time handling these new and fantastic abilities than Peter did (and that’s saying something!). She is currently running amok the Spider-verse, which in itself is a bit crazy, but I’m excited to she where her character goes from there.

#3: Angela: Asgard’s Assassin
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Plot twist, Odin had a daughter! And no, I don’t mean the reincarnated Loki that seems to enjoy embodying both male and female bodies or this strange female Thor that I still cannot decide if I like or dislike, but a long lost sister abandoned in Heven and raised to despise anything Asgardian. Naturally, she has already been introduced to the Marvel comic universe thanks to the genius of Neil Gaiman (though prior to this even she was an Image property), but is currently getting her own solo run. See? I like other comics besides Spidey…

#4: A-Force
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Just announced, well, today was the all female Avenger’s team! Some confirmed characters include She-Hulk, Dazzler (70s style?), Medusa, and Nico Minoru, while also promising to introduce a wholly new character named “Singularity.” With a writer like G. Willow Wilson and an artist like Margaurite Bennet, who could not be excited for this comic event?! Oh right, people who think an all-female team is nothing more than a gimmick rather than their own prejudice. “I just want good storytelling!” And why can’t an all female team not have a good story as well?

From Amora to Zatanna: December

From-Amora-To-Zatanna

Hey there comic geeks! Well, I finally did it. I made my own comic… sort of. As I mentioned in my bio, I am a Teaching Associate at my university and teach FYC (first year composition). As such, I created my very own comic this last month to teach my future students how to read a comic.

 

Here are some things I learned along the way:

“Through my writing/designing of a comic teaching tool, I have found that comic creation can give us insight to the importance of clarity and revising practices. The teaching tool I created is called “How To Read a Comic” and, as the title suggests, instructs my students on how to read a comic. I noticed that there was a need for this tool after I first used graphic novels in the classroom and had to instruct my students on the fly how to read a comic like a alphabetic book, what the different word bubbles and panels were, and how words and images were both necessary to create meaning. While I did use supplemental readings from Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics, I knew I needed to make things simpler for my students. To discuss how to read a comic, I knew I needed to create a comic that illustrated everything they would need to know about the medium through words and images. For this project, I downloaded an application called ComicLife and got to work.

From Amora to Zatanna: October

Finally, comic fans, the discussion you have all been waiting for! The Hawkeye Initiative! In the blog I posted two months ago, I discussed the comic art trend dubbed “broken back” women. Many comic artists, typically male artists, have a tendency to illustrate women with anatomically incorrect bodies. The up-to-date tumblr blog known as “Escher Girls” is definitely a page to check out for more discussion about this trend, especially if you’re looking for a particularly overused body trope, such as “helicopter legs” and “serpentine torso.”

From this trend came another, incredibly humorous trend dubbed the Hawkeye Initiative. Before getting into the components, let me try to contextualize this a bit in comic history. It started with the arrival of  the first Avenger’s cinematic poster. In this original promo poster (which is not incredibly hard to find), all the men are facing forward and appear ready for battle, whereas Black Widow, the only woman in the Avenger’s roster at the time, had her back turned towards the camera as she suggestively looks over her shoulder. This was most likely a publicity stunt to infuse the poster with more sexual appeal, and what has more sex appeal the Scarlett Johansson’s bottom?! Naturally, not all comic fans were amused and the promotional poster was quickly changed.

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But from this original poster came the birth of a fantastic trend many of us in the comic community have come to love, and some have even cosplayed! The Hawkeye Initiative began with the character Hawkeye being redrawn in the various suggestive and sexualized poses that his female counterparts are typically drawn in. While Hawkeye is the primary hero placed in these hilarious poses, it has extended out to include the entire Avenger’s cast, plus many heroes from the DC universe.

But on a serious note, why is it that we laugh at these hilarious portrayals of men and not of women? unnamedWhy is it acceptable for a heroine to have her back broken to appear more attractive? These questions have been sparked thanks, in part, to the Hawkeye Initiative and has slowly made the comic community realize the unfair treatment of women characters in comparison to men characters. Perhaps this is also why both DC and Marvel have been looking for more women interested in writing or illustrating comics to jump aboard their creative teams. Now is my chance!

If you want to see more images pertaining to the Hawkeye Initiative, a quick Google search or tumble through Tumblr should yield some hilarious, yet poignant, results. As for me? I’m off to Day 1 of Stan Lee’s Comikaze. Sandman’s Death has entered the building. Until next month!

From Amora to Zatanna: August

From Amora to Zatanna: July Our monthly run down on the comic book world, by our very own Nicole Neitzke.

Well there you have it comic fans! I give kudos to the almighty Marvel and they release the controversial image by the Italian erotica illustrator, Milo Manara, of Spider Woman in a highly suggestive pose. This image is an alternate cover to the newly rebooted “Spider Woman #1” comic franchise and man, did it piss off comic fans! This is just another example of a continuing discussion in the comic community: super heroines are over-sexualized! However, I’m not going to re-hash the same conversation I’m sure many of us have already read regarding this image and topic. Instead, I decided to dedicate this blog to some light hearted japery directed at the comic community. I had it recently brought to my attention by an artist friend just how inaccurate the physiology of these super heroines are, so I decided to post images about a current artistic trend feminists have lovingly called “the broken back.”

This trend is two-fold: it can either relate to a women who are illustrated with not only their full face and bust visible, but both butt cheeks as well; or it can be related to the exaggerated bust to hip disproportions, which hints at back problems due to the weight. This isn’t to say that these body shapes are not possible, mind you, just that our suspension of disbelief for a world populated by these types of woman almost exclusively is stretching it. Without further ado, “the broken back.”

Starting with DC, Catwoman
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