Tag Archives: LGBTQ

That Blue Sky Feeling is Out August 14th from VIZ Media

VIZ Media is releasing a poignant coming-of-age series that explores a budding relationship between a pair of high school boys with That Blue Sky Feeling on August 14th.

The new series, which is written by Okura and features artwork by Coma Hashii, is rated ‘T’ for Teens and will be published in-print with an MSRP of $10.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN. That Blue Sky Feeling also launches digitally on August 14th via viz.com and the VIZ Manga App, as well as from the Nook, Kobo, Kindle, iBooks, comiXology, and Google Play stores. Future volumes of the series will be published in 2019.

Outgoing high school student Noshiro finds himself drawn to Sanada, the school outcast, who is rumored to be gay. Rather than deter Noshiro, the rumor makes him even more determined to get close to Sanada, setting in motion a surprising tale of first love.

That Blue Sky Feeling is an honest teen drama that depicts that special kind of confusion that all kids, straight and LGBT alike, experience as they start to fall for friends and classmates in school.

SDCC 2018: The Second Annual Prism Awards Winners

Prism Comics and the Cartoon Art Museum have announced the Winners of the Second Annual Prism Awards. The Awards announcements took place at the Prism Awards panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2018 on Saturday July 21, 2018.

Prism Awards Chairperson, Maia Kobabe, moderated the panel which included Prism Awards Founders Ted Abenheim and Nina L. Taylor Kester and judges Ajuan ManceWilliam O. TylerHeidi McDonald,  Mey Rude, and Rob McMonigal.

The ceremony began by re-announcing winners from last year’s 2017 Prism Awards and honoring the judges of this year’s awards. As the 2018 nominees and winners were announced, Molly Ostertag and Zora Gilbert accepted winning their 2018 Prism Awards in person with heartfelt speeches on the importance of the awards to themselves and the community at large. Videos were presented to the audience for acceptance speeches by those 2018 winners who were unable to be present in person, including Blue Delliquanti, Noella Whitney, Weshoyot Alvitre and Daniel Heath Justice .

The Prism Awards are presented to comic works by queer authors and works that promote the growing body of diverse, powerful, innovative, positive or challenging representations of LGBTQAI+ characters in fiction or nonfiction comics.  In keeping with the creative spirit of LGBTQAI+ comics creators, the Awards themselves are hand-crafted with design by Nina L. Taylor Kester including a glass rainbow by Amy Karadbil and etched comic book base by Barry Figgins.

The panel closed with encouragement for submissions for the 2019 Prism Awards which will open next Spring 2019 and will be announced through the Prism Comics websiteThe Queer Comics Expo in partnership with the Cartoon  Art Museum which held the first Prism Awards ceremony in 2017 was also announced to return in 2019 with newsletter signups for updates.

The Winners and Nominees for the 2018 Prism Awards are:

SHORT FORM COMICS –
WINNER:
To Measure by Noella Whitney, 2017
NOMINEES:
Contact High by James F Wright and Josh Eckert, August 2017 –
Figurinha by Dante Luiz, May 2017 –
There’s More Than One! by Justin Hubbell, June 2017 –
It Was 1973, and Tiffany Banks Was Totally Winning at Gender by Ajuan Mance, 2017 –

WEBCOMICS – 
WINNER:
O Human Star by Blue Delliquanti, (excerpts from 2017)
NOMINEES:
Cans of Beans chapter 9 by Tamara Go, 2017
SuperButch Issue 1 by Becky Hawkins and Barry Deutsch, 2017
Monster Pop! by Maya Kern, (excerpt from 2017)
Superpose by Ciaran and Anka C, (excerpt from August 2017 – November 2017)

SMALL TO MIDSIZE PRESS COMICS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS
WINNER:
The Boys Who Became Hummingbirds by Daniel Heath Justice and Weshoyot Alvitre, Alternate History Comics Inc., June 2017
NOMINEES:
Steam Clean by Laura Ķeniņš, May 2017
My Favorite Thing Is Monsters by Emil Ferris, Fantagraphics, February 2017

MAIN STREAM COMICS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS – 
WINNER:
The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag, Scholastic Graphix, 2017
NOMINEES:
Iceman by Sina Grace (writer), Alessandro Vitti (artist), Kevin Wada (artist), Marvel Comics, 2017
Heavy Vinyl by Carly Usdin (Writer), Nina Vakueva (Pencils), Irene Flores (Inker), Rebecca Nalty (Colorist), Jim Campbell (Letterer), Boom Studios, 2017

ANTHOLOGIES – 
WINNER:
Dates: An Anthology of Queer Historical Fiction Volume 2 edited by Zora Gilbert and Cat Parra, August 2017 –
NOMINEES:
Power & Magic: IMMORTAL SOULS edited by Joamette Gil, 2017
Oh Joy Sex Toy, Volume 4 edited by Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan, 2017

SDCC 2018: 2018 Prism Awards Nominees Announced

Prism Comics and the Cartoon Art Museum have announced the nominees for the Second Annual Prism Awards. The winners of this year’s Prism Awards and Prism Award Honorees will be announced at the Prism Awards panel at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday July 21, 2018 from 89pm in Room 29AB. Admission to Comic-Con International San Diego is required to attend the Prism Awards panel.

The Prism Awards are presented to comic works by queer authors and works that promote the growing body of diverse, powerful, innovative, positive or challenging representations of LGBTQAI+ characters in fiction or nonfiction comics.  The goal of the Awards is to recognize, promote and celebrate diversity and excellence in the field of queer comics, and the nominees and awards are voted on by a diverse group comics professionals, educators, librarians, journalists and writers.

The nominees for the 2018 Prism Awards are:

Short Form Comics:
To Measure by Noella Whitney, 2017
Contact High by James F Wright and Josh Eckert, August 2017 –
Figurinha by Dante Luiz, May 2017 –
There’s More Than One! by Justin Hubbell, June 2017
It Was 1973, and Tiffany Banks Was Totally Winning at Gender by Ajuan Mance, 2017

Webcomics:
Cans of Beans, chapter 9 by Tamara Go, 2017
SuperButch Issue 1 by Becky Hawkins and Barry Deutsch, 2017
Monster Pop! by Maya Kern, (excerpt from 2017)
O Human Star by Blue Delliquanti, (excerpts from 2017)
Superpose by Ciaran and Anka C, (excerpt from August 2017-November 2017)

Small To Midsize Press Comics and Graphic Novels:
Steam Clean by Laura Ķeniņš, May 2017
The Boys Who Became Hummingbirds by Daniel Heath Justice and Weshoyot Alvitre, Alternate History Comics Inc., June 2017
My Favorite Thing Is Monsters by Emil Ferris, Fantagraphics, February 2017

Main Stream Comics and Graphic Novels:
Iceman by Sina Grace (writer), Alessandro Vitti (artist), Kevin Wada (artist), Marvel Comics, 2017
Heavy Vinyl by Carly Usdin (Writer), Nina Vakueva (Pencils), Irene Flores (Inker), Rebecca Nalty (Colorist), Jim Campbell (Lettere)r, Boom Studios, 2017
The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag, Scholastic Graphix, 2017

Anthologies:
Dates: An Anthology of Queer Historical Fiction Volume 2 edited by Zora Gilbert and Cat Parra, August 2017
Power & Magic: IMMORTAL SOULS edited by Joamette Gil, 2017
Oh Joy Sex Toy, Volume 4 edited by Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan, 2017

Review: Dazzler X-Song #1

In the one-shot Dazzler X-Song #1, writer Magdalene Visaggio, artist Laura Braga, and colorist Rachelle Rosenberg deliver a powerful story about facing down hate and bigotry using the power of music (and cool light shows) just in time for Pride Month. (I seriously wish that Alison Blaire’s new band Lightbringr was playing my local Pride festival.) They use the “rivalry” between mutants and Inhumans that has been simmering in stories like Death of X, Inhumans vs. X-Men, and even in the recent Secret Warriors series as a metaphor for intersectionality in marginalized communities adding layers to the frankly, quite old mutant=minority. And, along the way, Braga and Rosenberg craft hip, energetic visuals and an explosive color palette worthy of the disco Dazzler even though she’s going by Alison these days and doesn’t really want to be a superhero or X-Man for now despite Colossus begging her to join the new look team.

Visaggio and Braga kick off the book with a beautiful establishing page: a four panel entry into the world of Alison and her bandmate Farley setting up for their show; an Inhuman Nora, who has similar powers to Dazzler, and her pal Zee getting ready for the Lightbringr gig, and a member of the Mutant Action ready to get his hate on. Dazzler X-Song #1 has plenty of stylized music video touches, especially in Rosenberg’s colors when the crowd at Alison’s show is overwhelmed by pink, but the narrative is fairly grounded in overcoming  hatred through the power of music. Alison wants the “others” of the Marvel Universe to enjoy their music and have an opportunity to be themselves for one amazing night. But, sadly, like the “no fats, no femmes”, white gay men on dating apps (and sometimes at the club), some folks just wanted to be bigoted and not share the love and enjoy the scene.

One interesting part of Dazzler #1 is Magdalene Visaggio and Laura Braga’s nuanced approach to violence. Many X-Men comics are known for their big, pitched battles to show off the various mutants’ cool powers, but Alison only fights when it’s necessary. Thanks to a sobering tip from Nora after a show, she is aware that the Mutant Action members are at her show and staves them off with a no violence tolerated policy and focusing on the music and de-escalation. In the long run, this doesn’t work, and the Mutant Action starting act worse and even bring power dampeners to gigs so they can assault Inhumans. Seeing a helpless Nora causes Alison to return into action in a a powerful splash page from Braga where you can see the Mutant Action member’s cheek wobble as she decks him Richard Spencer style with Rosenberg adding pink speed lines. Maybe, Alison isn’t ready to put on a spandex costume yet, but she has a good heart and cares about protecting people, who are discriminated against. And her fans end up giving her an assist in the big climax where their vocals amplify her light abilities, and Alison scares away Mutant Action once and for all.

What makes Dazzler #1 refreshing is that Magdalene Visaggio and Laura Braga gives readers a mutant/Inhuman perspective on the Marvel Universe in a way that doesn’t involve folks wanting to be superheroes in a similar manner to the late, great Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat. Nora doesn’t want to beat up supervillains; she wants to use her light abilities to make the dance floor an even more epic place. However, when threatened by mutant bigotry (In a great metaphor for white members of the LGBTQ community being racist towards people of color.), she confronts it directly without getting all superhero clubhouse about it, and Dazzler does the same and even makes a big speech about how mutants and Inhumans can stand together and be powerful without being a part of a superhero team. Their abilities might be fantastic, but they can find community in a way that doesn’t involve costumes, codenames, and Danger Room training.

Dazzler X-Song #1 light show visuals from Laura Braga and Rachelle Rosenberg that perfectly fit a book starring Alison Blaire and a strong message of pride and intersectionality from Magdalene Visaggio. It shows that cool mutant/Inhuman powers, social commentary, characters arc, and sassy humor can co-exist in one great comic book. Now, I need a follow up comic where Alison meets Karen O…

Story: Magdalene Visaggio Art: Laura Braga
Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg Letters: Joe Sabino
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: The Pride Vol. 1

Growing up as a cinephile, I loved watching 70s movies especially those starring a young femme fatale named Pam Grier. The way she commanded he screen had just about every man in my family grinning from ear to ear. As years went by I saw an older yet still very much attractive actor in movies when she played a supporting character but that smile still got every man that was in her presence. So, it was pretty much kismet, when I found out she was going to be in a TV show on Showtime, The L Word.

I went into the show because of Grier but came out of the show, a massive fan, of the characters, the stories, and the culture, as it opened my eyes to a world I never knew existed. As the show explored the many intricacies surrounding sexual identity and the discrimination that women and any person who identifies as LGBTQ face daily. This opened my eyes to just how marginalized they were, or rarely they see themselves reflected in the arts without the utilization of stereotypes, especially comics. It was only within the past few years, comics have started to delve into telling these narratives with standouts being the superior Sunstone and the gone too soon Midnighter. Another standout that I came across was Joe Glass’ The Pride, which revolve around a team of superheroes who just so happens to be LGBTQ.

In the opening pages we meet a well-meaning superhero, Fab-Man, who is openly gay and who is not taken as seriously as his cisgender counterparts. This leads him to create his own, his “Justice League” full of LGBTQ superheroes who fight injustice as well as they face villains who are homophobic and evil and struggle to find a synergy to work with each other. One of the standout stories is “You Think You’re a Man,” one of our heroes finds out he has a son and a one of the villains has kidnapped him, leading our heroes to a trap which looks to silences one member forever. In “It Gets Better,” Fab Man talks a young boy who wants to commit suicide after being harassed because he was gay. In the last standout story, we get the origin of “Muscle Mary,” a warrior who can do battle with anyone but who originally came to the world of men, to avenge a death, but eventually came to defend mortals.

Overall, The Pride is a comic which shows that heroes are never black and white and usually contain multitudes of layers. Some times those layers is what makes you extraordinary. The stories by the different writers is well developed, smart, and exciting. Th art by the different artists complement the stories well. Altogether, a strong book.

Story: Joe Glass, PJ Montgomery, Mike Garley
Art: Kris Anka, Kris Carter, Elizabeth Swann, Hector Barros, Nathan Ashworth, Ben Wilsonham, Mike Stock, Ricardo Bessa, Gavin Mitchell, Maxime Garbarini, Dan Harris, Ryan Cody, Christian Wildgoose and Cory Smith
Story: 10 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Deadpool 2: The Wrath of Rusty. Listen to Graphic Policy Radio on Demand and on the Go

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Deadpool 2 brings the merc with a mouth to the big screen again along with the first canonically queer couple in a major superhero movie. We are Queer Marvel comics fans and we have opinions.

Guests:

Charles Pulliam Moore is a staff writer at io9 where he covers comics and genre culture with a focus on race, representation and queer identity. https://twitter.com/CharlesPulliam

When Sarah Rasher is not rewatching comic book movies For Science, trying to make everyone they know watch DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and texting their friends at 1 AM about the queer implications of the Marvel canon, they are writing a blog about competitive figure skating or trying to apply their Ph.D. in Shakespeare to early childhood education research. https://twitter.com/pas_deChat

8 Awesome Things to Do At C2E2 2018

From April 6 to April 8, 2018, Chicago will be the center of the  pop culture universe thanks to the Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo (C2E2), which is held annually at McCormick Place right on Lake Michigan. C2E2 boasts of wide range of guests, who have worked in different mediums, including legendary comics creators, like Jim Lee, Chris Claremont, and Brian Michael Bendis; actors from your favorite cult and sci-fi shows like Alan Tudyk and Charlie Cox, big time novelists like Chicago native Veronica Roth and R.L. Stine, and even podcasters like the creators of The Adventure Zone. There’s really something for everyone at this con.

Graphic Policy will be attending C2E2 on Saturday and Sunday, but here’s a completely subjective rundown of eight of the coolest guests, exclusives, panels , screenings, and of course, after parties that will be going on all three days at the temporary mecca of fandom.

Friday

8. Have an IPA Courtesy of Valiant Comics

Valiant Comics, who has the third largest superhero universe after DC and Marvel, has teamed up with Pipeworks Brewing Company to create a special limited edition beer that will be sold on site at C2E2 as well as Pipeworks’ bottle shop and a few other stores in Illinois and New York. Last year’s beer was connected to the relaunch of Valiant flagship title, X-O Manowar, but this year, it’s named after Livewire, a member of the superhero team Unity.  Going along with her name, Livewire has electricity-based powers, and so her beer: Livewire Raspberry IPA with Lime has a bit of tartness to go with its hoppy beer base.

I’m super into both sour beers and IPAs and look forward to relaxing with the Livewire Raspberry IPA after a long day of crowds and walking at C2E2. The drink pairs nicely with a copy of Shadowman #1, a relaunch of Valiant’s mystical themed superhero, which has an exclusive cover by its interior artist Stephen Segovia that is only available at the convention.

TravisandFriends

7. Enjoy An Evening with Podcast Royalty aka Travis and Friends

The McElroy Brothers (Travis, Justin, and Griffin) have established a veritable empire of podcasts since their advice show My Brother, My Brother, and Me premiered in 2010. Their shows include The Adventure Zone, a Dungeon and Dragons podcast featuring their father Clint, which is getting a graphic novel from First Second Books and Shmanners, an etiquette podcast co-hosted by Travis and his wife Teresa McElroy.

After the first day of C2E2, fans of these and other podcasts can kick back and relax at a special An Evening with Travis and Friends, which is basically the Avengers of current podcasts. The show features Travis McElroy, Teresa McElroy, and Symphony Sanders, who played librarian slaying and child soldier commanding Tamika Flynn on the uber popular Welcome to Nightvale. It should be fun time with plenty of surprises.

Saturday

BendisMillar

6. Remember the Ultimate Universe at the Mark Millar and Brian Michael Bendis Panel

So, Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Millar have definitely done a lot more comics than Ultimate Marvel ones, but I find it slightly hilarious that the original co-writers of Ultimate Fantastic Four are going to be teaming up for a “one on one” panel at 11 AM on the Main Stage at C2E2.

Both veteran creators are at turning points in their careers with Bendis signing an exclusive deal with DC Comics to write Action Comics and Superman as well as his creator owned Jinxworld books, like Powers, and his own special imprint. In contrast, Millar has disavowed the Big Two and sold his comics company, Millarworld, to Netflix where they will make shows and films based on his work. (Fingers crossed for a Starlight movie.)

It will be interesting to see two former Marvel architects talk about their new gigs, and hopefully there will be some good banter about how most of Bendis’ writing is like a stage play and most of Millar’s is a screenplay… (Alias and Old Man Logan are classics though.)

BlackComicsmonth

5. The #BlackComicsMonth Panel Comes to C2E2

When I went to New York Comic Con in 2015, the #BlackComicsMonth panel, hosted by Tee Franklin (Bingo Love) was one of the most inspirational parts of the con and was very hard to get into. What makes this panel so excellent is that Franklin chooses a range of comic book creators to speak from their own experience about important topics like diversity, living with a disability, mental health, and POC and LGBTQ representation.

For the first time ever, the #BlackComicsMonth: Inclusion in Comics Panel is headed to the Midwest and will be held at 3 PM in Room S405A. The panelists include Franklin, Mikki Kendall (Swords of Sorrow), Shawn Pryor (Cash and Carrie),  Matt Santori (Senior Editor of Comicosity), and in the past, there have been surprise guests like The Walking Dead actor and multimedia entrepreneur Chad Coleman. It should be an excellent discussion about real world issues and a nice break from the hyperbole and announcements of some of the other panels.

DaphneVelma

4. Catch the World Premiere of Daphne & Velma

Let’s be real, Daphne and Velma were easily the most competent and best members of the Scooby Doo gang. They finally get their own live action film in Daphne & Velma, which is having its world premiere at C2E2 before it is released straight to DVD and BluRay on May 22.

The movie is set at a super high tech STEM magnet school called Ridge Valley High where Internet friends Daphne and Velma get to be friends in real life and solve their first zombie themed mystery. Sarah Jeffery (Descendants, upcoming Charmed reboot) plays Daphne, and Sarah Gilman (Kroll Show) plays Velma. The film is produced by Ashley and Jennifer Tisdale’s Blondie Girl company and looks super adorable.

Snikt

3. Party Hard at Geeks Out Snikt! Chicago

There are a lot of after parties to choose from at C2E2, but Snikt! Chicago is one of the best and not just because it’s Wolverine themed. Geeks Out is a super cool non-profit organization that founded FlameCon as the first LGBTQ comic book convention, and their goal is to foster LGBTQ awareness and representation at cons all across the country.

The party will be held at Mary’s Attic, the upstairs part of Hamburger Mary’s in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago starting at 9 PM. It will feature drag queens, gender clowns, circus arts, and of course, DJ Tony Breed to flood the dance floor. It’s a 21+ event, and cover is $7 in advance and $10 at the door.

Sunday

WomenofMarvel

2. Be Enlightened at the Women of Marvel Panel

Even though it has taken them until 2019’s Captain Marvel to get a solo female superhero film off the ground, Marvel Comics boasts a fantastic range of female superheroes from Storm to Angela, Kitty Pryde to Jessica Jones. (Okay, those are some of my personal favorites.) The Women of Marvel celebrates their female comics creators as well as the characters on the comics page.

This year’s Women of Marvel panelists, include producer Judy Stephens (Marvel Becoming), editor Christina Harrington (Astonishing X-Men), colorist Rachelle Rosenberg (Iceman), artist Jen Bartel (America), and writer/artist Katie Cook (Secret Wars: Secret Love.) It will be held at 1:30 PM in Room S404. My fingers are crossed for more details about Bartel’s upcoming Storm solo book that she is working on with writer Ta-Nehisi Coates.

1. Get All the Feels at the This Is Us  Q and A

I feel like everyone in my office and family watches the NBC hit series This Is Us except me. The show follows the lives of three siblings, who were born on the same day as their father, Jack Pearson (Played by Milo Ventimiglia). It is fairly ambitious for a network TV show and has storylines set in 1980s Pittsburgh as well as modern day. In 2017, Sterling K. Brown won an Emmy and Golden Globe for his performance as Randall Pearson, Jack’s adopted son.

Sadly, Brown won’t be at C2E2, but his co-stars Milo Ventimiglia and Justin Hartley, who play Jack’s son Kevin are doing a panel at 1:30 PM on the Main Stage and can maybe tell everyone what was up with the whole Crockpot ordeal. These actors also have a history of appearing in superhero shows like Heroes and Smallville where Justin Hartley played Oliver Queen years before Arrow. Also, there better be at least one question about Ventimiglia’s rebellious bookworm character Jess from Gilmore Girls. #TeamJessForever

Review: Iceman #11

ICEMAN #11 1Sina Grace ends his run on Iceman with a strong standalone story where Bobby overcomes his neuroses, freakouts about his past and possibly leading his own X-Men team, and a trigger happy team-up buddy in Rictor to help his parents’ neighbor, Mr. Poklemba, come to terms with being a mutant. Robert Gill and Rachelle Rosenberg handle the art duties for the main story while Grace does his first Marvel interiors with flashbacks of Bobby’s life as a young boy and X-Man as he comes to terms with being both a mutant and gay. Grace looks at how religion can (Catholicism in Bobby’s case.) influence one’s coming out as queer in a negative way and provides a fuller look at

Even if Iceman #11 deals with some heavy subject matter, like a priest repudiating young Bobby Drake’s status as a mutant and his parents discussing if they did something wrong with him to be one, Grace and Gill don’t abandon the comedy and dad jokes. After a one page cold open of Bobby’s ideal life, they cut to an extremely awkward pho “date” featuring him and Rictor where they talk about their exes way too much Also, lunch dates are the unsexiest of all dates.

One of my qualms with Iceman as a series has been Bobby’s  lack of interactions with other queer superhero  in a non-hostile way (*cough* Daken), and Grace and Gill remedy this in Iceman #11. Bobby and Rictor banter about how Iceman’s neurotic jokes might be a little bit of a turn-off and then they get to go on a mission together and talk the mutantphobic, telekinetic mutant Mr. Poklemba off the ledge. Rictor sees this team-up as a straight-up neutralizing a violent mutant adventure of the week while it’s more personal for Bobby. Either way, Rosenberg’s scarlet palette coming from a house is never a good sign.

NotAMutant

Sina Grace, Robert Gill, and Rachelle Rosenberg hit the right sweet spot between action spectacle and character introspection in Iceman #11. There’s a sort of silly scene where Rictor is getting tired of Bobby musing over how to reach out to Mr. Poklemba and is about to just knock the new mutant out, and Gill draws a montage of Bobby offering him an ice flower and wearing an ice helmet and wielding an ice sword until he finally ices down, introduces himself as Bobby and Madeline’s kid, and generally interacts with Poklemba on a human level.

Mr. Poklemba is pretty terrible with a house that is the opposite of clean, press clippings about all the bad things the X-Men have done, and has a religious hatred towards mutants, but Bobby doesn’t attack him and tries to help him through a heart to heart conversation. These scenes exhibit his growth as a character, and why he would make a great X-Men team leader because he chooses empathy over brute force and uses his abilities to defuse situations and not ramp them up. For example,  because he has the ability to manipulate the temperature of water molecules, he tells Mr. Poklemba to lower his body temperature so that the rage fueling his ability subsides. He is calm and a helping hand (And has a great ass, I had to.) in the middle of a storm and helps Poklemba  realize that maybe being a mutant isn’t as bad as he thought. Just because you have powers doesn’t mean you have to be a superhero or terrorist.

Iceman #11 has insightful flashbacks where Sina Grace shows his skill as an artist and riffs off the style of Jack Kirby, (possibly) Steve Ditko for the sad young Bobby at home scenes, Jim Lee, and even Stuart Immonen plus a plot featuring a one two-punch of cool ice/earthquake powers and human empathy. The series as a whole has been up and down, but Grace, Robert Gill, and Rachelle Rosenberg end it on a positive note with Bobby starting to realize his potential as both an X-Man and a single, gay man.

Story: Sina Grace Art: Robert Gill, Sina Grace Cover: Kevin Wada
Color: Rachelle Rosenberg Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Graphic Designers: Jay Bowen, Anthony Gambino
Group Editor: Mark Paniccia Editor: Chris Robinson Consulting Editor: Darren Shan
Story: 8.2 Art: 8.6 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Movie Review: A Fantastic Woman

a_fantastic_woman posterIt’s easy to see why A Fantastic Woman, a Chilean drama, is nominated for “Best Foreign Language Film” in this year’s Oscars. It’s a beautiful, empathetic depiction of a trans woman and all of the obstacles she faces.

Marina (Daniela Vega) is a talented singer whom we first meet performing in a nightclub singing a song about how “your love is like yesterday’s newspaper.” She has just moved in with an older man, Orlando (Francisco Reyes), when he falls ill and dies. Dealing with the grief of the loss of her love is compounded when she faces aggressions both micro and macro from Orlando’s family, the police, and society at large because of her status as a trans woman.

Her performance is heartbreaking and layered as we see her deal with her grief while also fending off so much else. It’s hard to watch at times because director Sebastián Lelio puts us through the same emotional journey. But it’s beautiful and complex in ways most films about dealing with loss and grief aim for, but never quite reach.

We are also taken on a journey, falling in love with her and seeing why Orlando fell for her too, as we see just what an amazing, talented, thoughtful, emotional person she is.

And this is going to sound strange, but this is also one of those films where you should also put the politics of it aside for a moment and just enjoy it for how beautiful a film this is. The film’s use of various kinds of light is fun and gorgeous. They also use reflective surfaces and mirrors throughout the film to great effect, although it at times gets a little bit too on the nose. We also get a gorgeous sense of place and a love of the city of Santiago, from its hills to its city streets to its nightclubs, Chinese restaurants, and opera houses. This could have been any city we are more familiar with — Los Angeles, Vancouver, New York, Miami — but it uses its place so beautifully to make us feel at home. Putting the politics back in to this for just one moment, you can plainly see that Santiago is no “s#!thole.”

Now with the politics back, you can’t understand this film as anything but a broadside against those who would deny trans people equal treatment in our society. Can you watch how Marina is treated through the film by Orlando’s family, the police who suspect her of somehow being involved with his death, and society in general and really think this is right?

It should also bring to mind the fact that trans women are far more likely to be victims of violence than almost any other segment of society. The humiliation Marina endures is almost comical in how juvenile it is — if it wasn’t so hate-filled and traumatic. Again, this goes to director Lelio’s touch here. It’s never so overwhelming that we have to look away, but it’s still emotionally resonant and we feel the greatest empathy for Marina. For example (minor spoiler– skip to end of paragraph if you don’t want to know) at one point, Marina is forcibly taken into a car by one of Orlando’s sons and his friends, called “faggot” repeatedly, and then has her face disfigured by being wrapped up in an entire roll of scotch tape. In a lesser director’s hands, this could have gone two ways– either overly comical and not serious enough, echoing the classic scene where Pee Wee Herman plays with tape on his face in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, or being overly traumatic and hard to watch as sort of post modern tarring and feathering. The fact that it threads the needle so well is a testament to this director and the actors knowing exactly what they’re doing.

Una mujer fantastica hits theaters in limited release this weekend, just in time for us to see Daniela Vega present at this weekend’s Academy Awards, and to see whether this wins Best Foreign Language Film. It’s certainly worthy of the nomination.

4 out of 5 stars

Love is for Everyone: Oni Press to Donate Valentine Proceeds to the True Colors Fund

Up to 1.6 million youth experience homelessness each year in America, and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender homeless youth communities make up 40% of that statistic. This Valentine’s Day, Oni Press, Sarah Graley, and fans of Kim Reaper, will be donating to Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Fund as Oni’s 20th Anniversary winter season charity, which was chosen by Executive Editor Ari Yarwood.

Beginning today, the Oni Press Shopify store will have exclusive digital Kim Reaper valentines illustrated by creator Sarah Graley. This sheet of four adorable love notes are available for only $1, with the option for additional donation. All proceeds go to the True Colors Fund via Oni Press.

The True Colors Fund is working to end homelessness among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth by creating systemic change. The organization uses a broad continuum of advocacy, training & education, and youth collaboration programs.

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