First up: Mighty Ponygirl talks about the awesome new game, Portal. Portal was just released as part of Valve's "Orange Box", a package that includes Half-Life 2, the Half-Life 2 expansions: Episode One and Episode Two, and the highly anticipated Team Fortress 2.
Anyway, I haven't had a chance to pick it up, yet, but I fully intend to. MP does a great job explaining why Portal is so exciting: a game about a woman that doesn't rely on her being half-naked or waiting to be rescued? That shows her as very capable and kick-ass? That involves unique gameplay and puzzle solving in an FPS environment?
Second: It has been brought to my attention that I didn't actually specify a timeline for my graphic novel reading challenge. If you're interested in reading and discussing Four Women, I'd love to have you participate too. Given that it's a little older, you may have to order it or have it ordered at your favorite book/comic shop. You can find it on half.com for about ten bucks, or at buy.com for $16 (after shipping).
If you check some of your local comic shops, you might actually be able to find the individual issues (there were five, I think?), which might be cheaper than picking up the graphic novel format (although I prefer the GN format, personally- no adverts!). Anyway: It, like most graphic novels, is a pretty short read- I'd guess a few hours, at most. I'm thinking two weeks or so? November 12th, perhaps?
Sam Kieth is one of, if not my absolute, favorite comic creators. He has a very particular visual style that really stands out, and his personal creations display a lot of thought and a desire to create characters that read as real. The fact that most of his main characters are women who are written as real people with real motivations, problems, issues, desires, and personalities just adds to my love.
I'd also like to suggest taking a look at this interview Sequential Tart did with him. It's a great interview, and he really opens up about a lot of things regarding his personal life (including his marriage to a woman 15 years his senior, whom he met when he was 15) and his professional work. He talks about everything from how fans reacted to his unique style:
Kids would write in and say things like: "Wolverine's okay, but his back is too round." "What's up with Wolverine's feet? Why are they growing?" And, "Wolverine is really out of proportion, I think your artist is losing his mind or something." And it was funny, because the letters I would get would be kids who really loved it, or kids who were saying "Why are you ruining my universe." They had a very specific view of the world. "I'm going through latency," they wouldn't say it in those words, but, "I'm going through this world view phase where I'm trying to categorize and order things, and you're causing chaos by giving me a version of things that are drastically different from everything else. So please, please, please go away and not do that anymore."
to his thoughts on writing women characters:
the first thing I think about is, I'm just trying to write people who happen to be female characters. So, on the one hand, if things seem more dimensional, maybe that's why. On the other, if it rings false, it's because, once again .... That whole gender question can drive you crazy, "Would I be writing this differently if I was a woman or a man?" I drove myself particularly nuts in this Four Women story. The bottom line is, yes, I think that it's probably a weaker story, yes I think that a woman could write it better, but on the other hand, I can't help who I am and the stories I'm compelled to write.
It's an older interview, but if you've got an interest in comics or in his work in particular, I think it's a pretty interesting read.
And the best for last: I stumbled upon this amazing story today. Four women got involved in a research project helped uncover the great works of Irena Sendler- a Polish Catholic social worker- who helped save around 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw ghetto and kept detailed documents of their ancestry and whereabouts hidden from the Nazis, even after being captured and threatened with torture and execution.
It's a pretty amazing story not only about the heroic efforts of this woman to save children from a terrible situation, but about the work of the women who helped bring her great works to light. Prior to these women's research, few people had heard of Irena Sendler. Now, she's been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Awesome.
It's kind of an amazing story, as their former instructor points out:
“Think of it,” said Norm Conard, their former social studies teacher. “You have some rural Protestant kids from a tiny place in Kansas who decide to tackle the story of a Polish Catholic woman who saved thousands of Jews, despite the fact that they were raised in a place where there is virtually no one of Jewish ancestry. It makes absolutely no sense that Irena’s story would end up getting told like this.”
So, I open the floor to you: Got any good stories to share? See something that really warmed your heart? Hear a news item that brought a smile to your face? Watch a movie that made you giddy? Please, share it with the rest of us. =)