Posted by: brookenado | January 28, 2016

Conspiracy Theories & X-terior Design

Hey readers,

Just a quick post today.  Did you watch the two-night premier of the new X-Files mini-series this week?  If so, you’ll know that Joel McHale (Community, The Soup) is guest starring as right-wing talk show host Tad O’Malley in the series’ revival – a man seemingly as bent on exposing the truth as Fox Mulder.

And as both a Community and X-Files fan, there was an opportunity here that just couldn’t be missed…

Community & X-Files crossover (Conspiracy Theories & Interior Design)

It’s the x-over we’ve all been waiting for.

Scully may have just instigated the biggest interdepartmental war the FBI will ever see.  Let’s hope Jeff/Tad brought the friendship hats.

If…

  • This makes little to no sense, go watch “Conspiracy Theories and Interior Designs”, and the later quasi-follow-up episodes “Digital Exploration of Interior Design” and “Pillows and Blankets of Community.  You will not regret it.
  • You haven’t watched “My Struggle” and “Founder’s Mutation” yet, what are you waiting for?  I won’t dive into the episodes here (definitely need to rewatch, not to mention the countless versions of premier analysis already circulating the web) but I will say that my excitement over everything X-Files is going strong.

The hype was real, people.

I’m still geeking out about being able to watch the series live for the first time.  Shout out to the many awesome XPhiles (#XPhileForLife!) out there on Twitter making the experience that much more fun (and commiserating when football delays the long awaited premier).

That’s it!  Now go watch some X-Files and/or Community and share your own conspiracy theories and crossovers.

Thanks for reading, cheers!  Until then…

Mischief managed

Posted by: brookenado | January 17, 2016

On being a New X-Phile

Dear readers,

If you noticed some longer delays between posts last year, a part of that blame can be comfortably placed on The X-Files.

Uh-huh, I’m looking at you two.

Yes, that sci-fi, paranormal, both serious and humorous, brilliant crime-mystery-conspiracy-thriller television show that threw off so-called ‘normative’ gender roles and inspired a cult following after first airing in 1993.

While I haven’t been investigating unexplained phenomena and secret government plans myself, I have found myself thrown into a deep investigation of The X-Files.  That is, I’ve made it a priority to watch every episode before January 24th.

An ambitious goal?  Maybe.

But the truth is out there, readers, and I want to believe.

David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as Special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully

And if I’ve become quickly invested in the show and it’s leading characters since, so be it.

Like Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Full House, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and various other franchises now getting reboots, you may have heard that The X-Files will be returning for at least one mini-season.  I’d heard good things here and there about the show before, but seeing this announcement last year (and a slice of the general fandom meltdown thereafterthanks Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny Twitter convos) finally piqued my curiosity enough to start watching.

Best.  Decision.  Ever.

I’m sorry now that I missed the prime X-Files fan time back in the 90s and into the 00s, though it seems fortuitous that it should make its way back onto the scene when I’m at an age to fully appreciate the show.  Now I’m determined to be caught up and a part of the shared experience of the revival.

You know I’m all about that zeitgeist.

Alight, so I began watching back in May and it’s been a lot like reading a great book series (*cough Harry Potter cough*).  It drew me in quickly and I wanted to know more and more about Mulder, Scully, and their never dull world, but at the same time I wanted to pace myself.  The closer I came to being caught up, the more I didn’t want it to end.

As of today I’m seven seasons down, two seasons and a movie to go.  And T-minus 7 days until premier day.  Like it or not, I do believe some intense binging may now be in order.

The problem with being born a generation too late…

Being born a generation after a great pop-cultural phenomenon can leave you with the feeling of ‘fan isolation’.  You’re isolated from the existing fanbase and content as you catch up, because, well…

Now I love the Internet as much as the next geek, but if you’re a stickler for spoilers like me, then being on it when delving into a new fandom can feel like playing Minesweeper with 100 squares and 99 mines.  Resisting all temptation to read fanfiction, look at fanart, fanvids, and basically search anything related to the topic as you get sucked into it can be a real problem.

Then you’re isolated from the excitement factor, because the original hype came and went and you’re just playing catch up. And come on, we’re geeks!

Our enthusiasm for the things that interest us can boarder on the obsessive (in a good way), and while you want to share the greatness of this thing you’ve just stumbled upon because the excitement is bubbling up and threatening to explode, it feels like you’re the only person to which this thing is front and center right at that moment.  You want to be part of the fandom, but again, spoilers, and you’re not quite sure where you fit into this group that’s already been connecting for years.

John Fitzgerald ByersThe X-Files, Unusual Suspects (5x03)

Internet, I have a proposition for you…

Let’s create a fandom hub that’s geared toward new fans. Let it be a microcosm of the original (a sub-hub within a hub), a place for new fans to mingle as the original fans once did – to predict, to express feels without danger of spoilers, and once caught up, to integrate into the existing hub.

Because yeah, being a new fan in a pre-existing fandom can be hard. Fanzines are out of print and not online (Star Wars *cough cough*, but thank goodness for The Gossamer Project), you missed the original forums, theories, golden eras of heightened cultural awareness (references, merch, etc. etc.), and all of that.  That’s not to say older fandoms can’t be and aren’t going strong, or be very welcoming of new fans – they are!  But as a new fan you’ve missed out on that first wave of excitement and you know it.

Ok, fan-remorse aside, the real point of this post is this:

As I’ve been getting caught up and ready to be a part of the fanfare this time around, my status as a #NewXPhile in self-imposed fan isolation has manifested itself in silly ideas that become sillier drawings.  I give you, the ‘X-Files Doodles’!

X-Files Doodles (We've entered a two-dimensional world, Mulder...) by Brookenado

Moving forward you’ll have to excuse my newfound enthusiasm for the show with more ‘X-Files Doodles’ updates.  I apologize in advance to any non x-philes because unless you’ve seen the show, I’m sure they will make little sense.  Enjoy!

Thanks for reading, cheers!  Until then…

The truth is out there

Mischief managed

Posted by: brookenado | January 1, 2016

Thanks for a Geektastic Year, 2015

Dear readers,

Happy New Year!

A lot happened  in 2015 around the world, and like a microscopic scale of that my year personally had both moments of greatness and moments of not so great-ness.  When it came to fandom, however, 2015 was a good year.

As geeks we had a lot to nerd out about – from cons and announcements, to movies, shows, games, and more.

Let’s take a look at the highlights:

  • Fresh on everyone’s mind is the long-awaited, most-highly anticipated reboot of the year, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  Did it live up to its (actually very well-controlled) hype?  You bet the Millennium Falcon it did.  Who else is ready to start the New Year with another viewing?
  • Marvel.  Are they ambitious in their MCU plans?  Maybe, but I for one am a fan!  2015 saw both the second installment of the Avengers films hit the screen, Age of Ultron, as well as the introduction to Ant Man.  Say what you will of either, maybe they’re not perfect films and I’m not particularly well-versed in the source material, but I really enjoyed both.  I love the characters, the humor, the optimism, and the awesome action sequences depicted as they are in the MCU.
  • The final season of Parks and Recreation aired early in 2015 and it was absolutely perfect.  I had only started catching up and following the show the year before and it quickly became one of my favorites.

Goodbye Leslie Knope & gang, 2016 won’t be the same without you.

  • I admit that I’m behind the times in video games as I don’t currently own my own system, nor have a computer up to par for those bad boys.  I’m stuck in original Wii Land and Nostalgia Xbox & N64 Land, slowly catching up on some games from the last couple of years with my brother’s (currently not working) PS3.  However I’ve watched (occasionally helped) my brother play some of 2015’s most anticipated games.  Favorite PS4 game released this year I’ve actually seen and played?  Batman: Arkham Knight.  Other franchises that saw new games come out last year included Metal Gear Solid, Fallout, Assassin’s Creed, Battlefront, and of course, some classics with Super Mario Maker, Legend of Zelda, and more.
  • We went Back to the Future on October 21st to catch up with Marty McFly and Doc Brown.  Where are our hoverboards?  Let’s get on that, 2016.
  • Comic Con.  Nerd Con. Star Wars Celebration.  Cosplay.  Panels.  Signings. And everything else in between.  Getting together with nerdy friends and making some new ones.
  • Disney/Pixar.  There was Inside Out, the new live action adaptation of Cinderella, and The Good Dinosaur.  I haven’t seen the latter yet, however Inside Out was a very well-concepted, heartfelt addition to Pixar’s shelf and Cinderella was wonderfully joyous; simplistic in the best way possible and a truly charming gem in what seems like an overly saturated market these days of explicitly gory, etc. approaches, and/or apocalyptic visuals.  Simply have courage and be kind.

Speaking of apocalyptic, let’s take a look at my 2015 geekdom fails:

  • The final segment of the Hunger Games films came out and despite being a fan of the books and the movies, I still haven’t seen it.  Fail.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road found an entirely new fanbase (at least according to my Tumblr dashboard) and despite what surprised me as very positive reviews from many, especially fellow female geeks, I still haven’t seen it.  Fail.
  • Jurassic World rebooted the classic and well-loved Jurassic Park series.  It set box office records last summer.  It has Chris Pratt.  It has dinosaurs.  I still haven’t seen it.  Epic fail.

I know, I’m sorry.  Please don’t hurt me.

Aside from films and a few t.v. shows, some of my favorite fandom parts of the year that define 2015 for me came not from new releases but in discovering pre-existing shows.

#NewXPhile

  • Yes, prompted by the show’s upcoming return I finally discovered the X-Files and had the ongoing goal since May to catch up on the entire series before the newest episode airs.  I won’t go much into detail here because there is a whole post and omgXFileskeyboardsmash-ness coming your way, but suffice it to say for now that I’m so glad I finally did jump on this conspiracy-aliens-government-unexplained phenomena-lovable duo-quest for the truth.  I want to believe.

#SixSeasonsAndAMovie

  • Community.  I don’t know why I never watched this show before 2015 because it’s amazing.  I’d always enjoyed the random episodes I had seen on t.v., and had started to record them so I could begin watching regularly when it so happened that I needed to finally bite the bullet and pay for a subscription service like Netlix or Hulu to continue watching the X-Files (I know, like a crazy person I’ve lived without either until now).  My decision between the two was based solely on which had both of these shows and I have kind of been in love with Community ever since.

#CrystalGems

  • I love a good animated show.  I’m of the opinion they often offer more depth, better writing, and more humor when compared to many other ‘grown up’ shows on t.v. these days.  So recently prompted by excellent reviews and the gap left in my heart from the finale of the Legend of Korra at the end of 2014, I’ve started my journey into the world of Steven Universe.  I’ve been catching up on the first season and I have nothing but good things to say about this show.  It’s happy and sad, goofy and serious, and it fits an incredible amount of character and story depth into its 11-minute episodes.

More on each of these to come, I’m sure…

So, was 2015 a pretty great year to be a geek or what?  And the best part?  It’s just going to keep on going.  2016 already looks to be just as, possibly even more exciting a year for us.

Case in point?  Tonight BBC Sherlock is #221Back!

So full speed ahead – bring it, New Year!  2016 Geek Look Ahead post pending.

Thanks for reading, cheers, and be sure to leave a comment with your favorite 2015 geek happenings!  Until then…

Mischief managed

Posted by: brookenado | November 16, 2015

Saying Goodbye to a Friend

Dear readers,

It’s been a tough month – one of those months that catches you off guard, sticking a leg out as you walk by.  A month that makes you realize you’ve reached one of those stages in life when things are changing, sometimes pretty fast.  Of course, now as I write this November 13th has come and gone, and with it the terribly sad events around the world.

So yeah, one of those months that makes you want to hide under the carpet and not come out.  One of those month’s in which the tiredness reaches your soul.

October started out fine, the sis settling into a new job across the country and my mom and I getting the house decorated for Fall and Halloween.  But then the bad news started coming…and coming, and coming.  It’s taken me a couple weeks to sit down and write this out, but for about three or four weeks it was just one thing after another.

After my sister moved and my dad went to see his family to pick up some of her stuff and see his aunt who was in the hospital, his uncle ended up passing away (his aunt has since recovered…life giveth, and life taketh away I suppose).  Following that, I got a call from my sister who was in the midst of a personal dilemma and at a crossroads.  One of the toughest things for a sibling – especially a big sibling – is knowing your little bro/sis is in pain and being able to do nothing but offer words of limited wisdom and comfort.  It sucks.

If we thought things were beginning to settle down after that, we were to be sorely mistaken.  We had only just begun to look over the edge, just one push away from tumbling down proverbial rabbit hole of bad news…

The slide began with news of another family member in the hospital.  My grandma had suffered a mini-stroke (thankfully, she’s out and recovering now) and then we received sudden news of the death of a friend from childhood’s father.  This coming just two years after her mother passed away and my heart broke for their family.  We joined a walk on the beach lead by her and siblings to honor their father, and I was stuck by their strength.  However sad the occasion, I have to say that I’m glad it gave me the chance to reconnect with this friend.

  
The following week my sister had come to a decision.  A six-year relationship came to an end soon after.

While I want nothing more than for her to be happy, it was still hard news for our family to receive as we had all come to accept this person as a part of it.  I’m heartbroken for him, and sad to see something that seemed so permanent end, but at the end of the day if she’s happy, I’m happy.  Ironically, perhaps, it’s just going to take a little bit of time for us all to move on.

So all of this had us feeling out of spirits.  But like every tale of ‘these kinds of months’, the worst was still to come.  We were sliding down the hole but hadn’t come crashing into the ground yet.

And that faceplant came two days later.  My mom found out first.  A friend I grew up with had just suffered a heart attack.  I couldn’t believe it – this friend was hardly older than I was, an athlete, and it just made no sense.  None.  We all sent out our thoughts/good energy/prayers, and at one point they were able to get her heart going on its own again.  I was so sure she was going to get better!

It was even more of a shock, then, when my mom called me at work the next day to tell me she hadn’t made it.  She was gone.

For once I was glad for the long drive home and the chance to process the news on my own.  As soon as I got home my brother enveloped me in a big hug and we just cried together for a few minutes.  Over the next few days I would come to see through news around town and Facebook posts how much a person can affect a community.  It made me both glad and more upset at the same time.

Readers, I’ll ask you to bear with me here for the rest.  As my blog has become a place to get my thoughts out and just be me, it just made the most sense to write what I needed to out here.

A final goodbye.

Dear friend,

I know it’s been a while since we’ve talked, and I wish I had made the effort to connect with you again sooner.  Even so, some things you know just never change, and I do believe our friendship is one of those things.

You were one of the best friends I had growing up and I hope you know how thankful I am to have had you in my life at that time.  While so many people are caught up trying to figure out their own place when growing up, you were constant – someone I would come to look up to as a big sister. I don’t believe anyone knows exactly who they are then, but if anyone did it was you, and I always admired that sense of self and purpose.  You expected the best in others without expecting them to be something they weren’t.  Sometimes fierce, always kind, and a true leader.

I always had so much fun hanging out with you – goofing around after soccer games, camps and sleepovers in the Summers…I hope you know how much that friendship meant to me.  As you know I could be pretty shy and reserved back then, and I want to say thanks for always standing by my side, never demanding an explanation for my being on the quiet side, and always making me feel like a part of your team both on and off the field.  You had the best dry sense of humor around (complemented my sillier side perfectly, you know) and a great compassion for others.  For as many smiles and laughs you brought to my life then, I only hope I brought some of the same happiness to you.

And now, I just want you to know that you really did have an impact on my life, and even though you’re gone I have a feeling you’ll continue to inspire not only me, but everyone else whose lives you’ve touched with your strength.  I wish it hadn’t been you, it really doesn’t seem fair.  At all.

In the end though, what I really want to say is how thankful I am for the time I’ve had with you and being one of the people who knew you.  So, cheers to all of the good times!  When I think of you it will always be with a smile.

Until we meet again…

Mischief managed

greer and brooke

The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.‘- J.R.R. Tolkien

Posted by: brookenado | September 3, 2015

Water, Earth, Fire, Comic-Con…

Dear readers,

Long ago, I became a fan of a show called Avatar: The Last Airbender.  Then everything changed when Comic-Con arrived. Only cosplaying as the Avatar, master of all four elements, could take my love for this series to the next level…Two days of Comic-Con passed, and a panel, a meetup, and a signing helped me discover a new group of fellow fans. And I believe, it was the best Avatar-themed day ever.

Alright, well, ordinarily I’d go for the day-to-day, play-by-play, but there’s too much residual good feeling surrounding Avatar-related happenings at July’s annual nerd convergence in San Diego (a.k.a. San Diego Comic-Con, or SDCC) not to start with them.

The following events took place between the days of Friday, July 10th and Saturday, July 11. Bum bum.

Avatar State Korra, Aang, and Raava group cosplay

If you’re unfamiliar with the show, you can learn a little more about the characters and premise in my Avatar/The Legend of Korra Celebrating Female Characters set of posts.  My goal this year (ahem, semi-frantic scramble) for SDCC was to complete a Korra costume for a cosplay based off of a design from the final season that aired last year.

Two Avatar panels were being featured on Friday and Saturday of the con, which acted as my high priority  con goals on both of those days.  And with a bit of luck and planning, two consecutive, early-to-be-on-the-safe-side, but not too bad mornings saw me make it into both!  The first was a Dark Horse panel with the two creators of the series, Micheal DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko.  The panel focused on both Book 4 with the end of Korra’s journey, and the comics that continue the original ‘Gaang’s’ story.

The big announcement?  Well, actually, Korra’s journey isn’t quite at an end yet.  Fans can expect her adventures to continue with her own Dark Horse comic, but that’s not all.  Both Mike and Bryan will be the creative team behind this new Korra comic – flameo!

The second panel on Saturday morning was an Avatar Legacy Fan Panel hosted by AvatarMom, and featuring a range of guests: Sculptor and artist Magda Escobedo Bazaldúa, Puppetbender creator Kevin Coppa, series director Giancarlo Volpe, head writer Aaron Ehasz, and Jack Desena (voice of Sokka), Dante Bosco (voice of Zuko), and Darcy Rose Byrnes (voice of Ikki).

It began with a few funny animations the crew had put together while working on the show, and ran through some other amusing videos such as Puppetbender outtakes and a show-inspired martial arts video.  The panel also included a short preview reading of Smoke and Shadow, a cosplay contest, and a pretty interesting Q&A with all present.

Things I never knew: Iroh’s backstory was actually inspired by a question asked at an SDCC panel after the premier of the first season about him not being the current Fire Lord as the older son.  Mike and Bryan only ever intended for ‘Cabbage Man’ to appear once, but the joke in his recurrences was something carried out by the writers. The argument in favor for the final decision to change Toph from being a male to a female character was made by a few of the writers who believed the fun and unexpectedness of girl Toph would be more exciting than generic tough guy Toph (here, here!).

And my personal favorite question asked? Favorite character growth moments. Answers included the Blue Spirit episode, beach episode, Zuko going on a date, Katara bloodbending, and Tenzin’s kids finding Korra in Book 4.

Waiting in line each morning was a breeze as fans chatted with each other and took awesome cosplay pics.  Another plus one for best Avatar Comic-Con day ever?  Oh, just the fact that I got a picture with Dante Bosco right after the fan panel.  Dante.  Bosco.

Awkward close-up selfie of me and Dante Bosco!

Go ahead, bask in the glory of this unintentionally close-up selfie.

While waiting for Saturday’s panel, an Asami cosplayer I happened to be next to in line on Friday mentioned that there would be a cosplay meetup after the fan panel.  I had nothing pressing to get to afterward, so why not?

It was, without a doubt, the right decision.  After the gaggle following Dante Bosco (who was so gracious and nice to fans who wanted an autograph or photo while staff were telling him he had to go) broke up, I hung around with other cosplayers still in the hallway, hoping to follow them to the meetup.  Turns out most of us where in the same pickle, and luckily there was a Yue cosplayer who knew exactly where to go.  It bears repeating that the Moon Spirit rules with compassion and lunar goodness.

The meetup was such a blast!  Everyone was excited to be there, and everyone was kind, enthusiastic about each other’s costumes, and basically awesome.  Photos were to be gotten as we mingled, followed by a big group photo on the steps, and a bunch of amazing group photos for each smaller grouping (Earth Nation, Water Tribe, Avatars/spirits, villains, Republic City peeps,…see overload of pics at the bottom of the post!).

Of course, both serious and goofy photos were to be expected.

I was having such a good time, in fact, that I was one of the last to leave, which lead to taking an already fantastic day to being the best day ever.  After a few more shots, the exchanging of information and where to find the Facebook group page, and an invitation to the Avatar meetup dinner that night, a small group of us cosplayers who I shall henceforth refer to as, ‘Squad’, was created.

Initially I had intended to be in line trying to get into the BBC America Doctor Who meetup happening offsite at the House of Blues at this point (and don’t get me wrong, Whovians, I would have be thrilled to have gotten in!), but I decided that spontaneity had been my friend thus far, so why not keep rolling with it?

And so it was that myself and four others formed an Avatar cosplay group where we set out to roam the halls of the convention center.  Our four hour mission?  To bring the Avatar style to all, and seek fellow cosplayers to take pictures with until a Nickelodeon booth signing happening later that afternoon.

SDCC Squad selfie - Avatar/Korra group cosplay

This – this – is what Comic-Con is all about.  Sure there are the appearances from awesome actors and professionals, sneak peeks, displays, art, and merch that will make your wallet tear bend.  But when it gets right down to it, the joyful gathering of fans and spontaneous finding of friends is what it’s all about.

Now I had never really done a full cosplay group before, but there is something infinitely cool about being a part of one with copslayers from the same fandom.  Any self-doubts about your passion and costuming efforts disappear, and you feel like you can take on the world (or maybe that last part is the unique effect of this group).

As we strutted our bending stuff, more people than I expected wanted to take our picture and we soon had poses down and a conch shell-like summoning call of ‘SQUAD!‘ to pull us together when someone requested a photo.  I’ll freely admit it, vain as it may sound, but it’s a uniquely awesome feeling to have people admiring you and your group, legitimizing the work that went into your character presentation.  More than that ego-boosting experience though, I had unexpectedly met a group of amazing people who shared this same crazy love I did, and we had instantly clicked.

Some friendships are so strong, they can even transcend lifetimes.

Now, understandably you may be thinking at this point, sure seems like an incredible SDCC experience so far to me – could it possibly get any better?  Absolutely it could.

Remember that Nickelodeon booth signing I mentioned a few paragraphs ago?  Let me explain; it was a Mike and Bryan signing.  While only one of our Squad had gotten an actual ticket for this event the day before, we all decided to try our luck anyway based on some input from wiser con-goers than myself.  In order to prepare for the ‘just in case’ scenario, we stopped by the Dark Horse booth to get beautiful art books from the show (think an animated show version of a ‘making of’ documentary) to get signed.

And readers…behold:

After standing faithfully at the Nickelodeon booth before and during the signing, proving our dedication as fans and attracting the attention of con-goers wanting photos as we and other Avatar cosplayers waited hopefully, the staff at the booth kindly offered us some left over passes (you rock, Nick booth!) to meet the duo and get our books signed.  I fist-bumped Bryan, it was awesome.

And so, the best Avatar-themed SDCC day ever was had by all.  Combined, the panels, the signing, and the cosplay meetup made my Avatar-themed days of Comic-Con unforgettable. Meeting and forming Squad made it something special.

The end.  Until the next Comic-Con post.  Which is coming soon, I promise.

Readers, deepest apologies for the delay and post hiatus.  My excuse?  The Women’s World Cup (USA!) and getting prepared for Comic-Con, then Comic-Con was upon us, and then a mixture of life stuff and blogger’s block came together to put a frustrating slow spell over sorting images from the con and getting this post up.  Things are back in a more normal swing now, however, and I plan to continue posting more regularly.

As always, thanks for taking the time to read and I hope you find the photos of this post as fun and fantastic as I do.  Cheers!  Until then…

Mischief managed

**Special shout out to the Squad member who took so many of our group photos for us (and is soon to be our Zuko!), and the various folks at the meetup who kindly took some of the group photos on my camera for me – you all rock!

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Posted by: brookenado | May 30, 2015

Star Wars Celebration Anaheim (That time I was a Jedi)

Dear readers,

A long time ago (a month) in a galaxy far, far away (Anaheim, California – just across the street from Disneyland), fans gathered to show their love for this thing we call…

Star Wars logo

*Cue Star Wars Theme*

2015 marked the 10th official Star Wars Celebration, though it was the first of the kind I’d been to.  With the recent Disney handover breathing life back into the saga, I’ve gotta admit – it’s a good time to be a fan.  New films, new show, new video games…I mean, have you seen the newest trailer for the next Star Wars movie, which debuted on the first day of the Celebration?  Plus, for me, Celebration Anaheim presented the perfect opportunity to fulfill a since-becoming-a-Star-Wars-fan-long dream of mine:

brookenado Jedi cosplay - blue kotor style robesJedi Knight status.  May the Force be with you, readers.

Alright, sure, I still need a lightsaber or two.  And although it may not be quite up to par with the super intense Force-wielding costumes yet, I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out.  Why blue, why no traditional outer tunic/obi/tabbards?  The robe design I went for is based off of the Knights of the Old Republic style blue Jedi Knight robes, of which there is shockingly little representation of in the Star Wars fanverse.

Cosplay sidebar:

But seriously, I image searched the KotOR Jedi robe designs thinking there would definitely be some posts out there with tutorials and patterns for the design, but only two (two!) cosplays popped up for anything that wasn’t the Darth Revan-specific robe (sidebar to the sidebar: I could totally get on board with a pre-Star Forge Revan & Malak cosplay).  So I took the general advice of the creative person who did have some comments on her robes, and created mine based off of a lady’s tunic/shirt pattern.

With the help of my mom who is so patiently teaching me the ways of the sewing machine, we adjusted the pattern based off of images from the game, and added a shinier (technical term?) fabric on top for the shoulders and sleeves.

The belt came from L’atelier d’Akinra, who has a selection of awesome leather pieces for costuming, including Jedi-style belts that can be customized.  Not only was he very accommodating on the color and timeliness of creating/delivering, but his work is, in a word, fantastic.  Now the overall costume color scheme was tweaked for the sole reason that I already had brown boots in my wardrobe and not black ones.  Costuming on a budget requires resourcefulness, people.  End sidebar.

That’s great, but what exactly happens at a Star Wars Celebration?  Well, throughout the weekend panels featuring actors, Industrial Light & Magic wizards, film directors, and more brought discussion and news on all things Star Wars to the fans – including updates for the Force Awakens and the premiere of the second season of Star Wars Rebels.  In addition, there were events each day such as the cosplay contest, meet and greets, and a full saga marathon on the big screen.

Essentially, Star Wars revelry ensued!

And unfortunately I missed most of it. When it comes to larger cons, it’s tough to see everything with a one day pass.  You want to see panels, but there’s so much to explore on the floor that you can’t afford to spend a good chunk of time securing your spot for a popular panel.  My suggestion?  Multi-day pass if you can, but even with a single day pass to a con you can enjoy some awesome panels by scoping out smaller ones you think will be less crowded.  This generally means more niche panels, which can actually be a great source of unexpected delight.  The one panel we did catch, for example, was about the music of the new Star Wars Rebels show (Star Wars + Music Composition = Awesome).

So no, I didn’t make it into the larger panels I was hoping to see – namely the voice acting panel featuring Mark Hamill – but that’s not to say I didn’t have a great time!  Equipped with a Saturday badge and the will of the Force, I set out on a journey to survey the con…

Along the way we met some Sith Lords and apprentices.

Did a little car shopping (we were thinking a hyperdrive might be nice for the ride home).

We walked into more than one trap, unfortunately. (I’ve got a bad feeling about this…)

We also met a few scoundrels, finding a few droids along the way that, incidentally, we were looking for.

There were even a few instances where we crossed-over into other galaxies!

We also heard the Emperor was OOO (out of office), so we decided, ‘What the hell, let’s infiltrate the Death Star!’ (Just for good measure.  And bragging rights.)

And, of course, no trip to a galaxy far, far away would be complete without perusing the equipment and robe sales and stopping by the cantina.

And that, readers, is basically what happens at biggest annual Star Wars convention in the world (the essence, if you will).  If you’re interested in seeing more of what went down at the con, head over to YouTube.  I hear the official Star Wars channel had a live stream going throughout the week, and I have no doubt that countless other videos have been uploaded over the last month and half detailing the finest moments of the event.

For our crew, we called it a day after getting any last-minute and very necessary Star Wars swag, and grabbing a bite to eat at the food trucks stationed outside (falafel, also necessary).  We followed the crowd to the shuttles where we were transported back to the Angels stadium parking lot and to our own galaxy once more.  I was exhausted but satisfied, having spent a whole day enjoying total fan immersion amongst people who were just as excited to be there (conventions are like refueling stations for the geek tank/battery).

*Shout out to my brother who didn’t complain once about my asking him to take another photo with me and [insert cosplay character here].

As ever, thanks for reading, cheers!  And if you happen to be wondering about the change of pace from the Celebrating Female Characters post set, I’ll be taking a break from those (for now!) as the to-blog about queue is starting to grow.  Keep an eye out for the next post coming soon, or be sure to follow and get notifications (which may be more reliable than my optimistic ideas of a regular blog post schedule) for new posts.  Until then…

May the Force be with you Mischief managed

Dear readers,

Picking up from the last International Women’s Day-inspired post, The Ladies of Austen, I’d like to bring your attention to witches.

Yes, witches.  You’ve probably heard of them before: devious tricksters, sometimes green and warty, may attempt to eat children, steal your slippers, turn you into a newt…you get the picture.  Is it possible they’ve just gotten a bad rap over the years?  Sure.  But historically speaking they were guilty of the worst sort of crime – having their own ideas.  Eugh, disgusting!

The Witches of Potter

Now J.K. Rowling, she might just be the queen of witchcraft.  In the span of the Harry Potter series she’s managed to charm a variety of wickedly strong witches into the mainstream consciousness of pop culture.  Witches who not only think for themselves, but have the wits, power, and willful natures to pursue their own paths and stand up for what they believe in.  Honestly, the nerve.

Female Characters of Harry Potter - How to accurately depict women in fiction

Let’s start with the worst of the lot: Hermione Granger. Only named one of the most powerful female characters in literature, Hermione Granger is made of sterner stuff.  Since first reading the books as a kid she’s become a favorite character of mine, easily relatable and only partly because of similar hair frustrations.  This heroine’s rationality and kindness are two traits which stand out the most to me, nor are they generally paired together so strongly in one character.

She’s the female of the trio and the most logical, right off the bat a role reversal of traditional group gender dynamics.  Hermione is extremely smart, talented, and arguably the most powerful of the three, but she never lords that over others.  Instead, she cares about their success and is honestly unable to comprehend her classmates’ lack of desire for studying and homework-chart-building.

And this is where her true strength lies, in her willingness to and quickness in helping others.  Whether it’s Neville in potions class, keeping Lupin’s secret, house elf equality, supporting Harry, being Hagrid’s lawyer, and so on and so forth, Hermione is never selfish in offering her time and her talents.

Oh, and if you think her character is a little bossy – fine.  However she’s probably going to save your life, so you may want to reconsider if that’s so bad.  Me?  I’ll take a little bossy.

Harry Potter fanart - Ceretified Badass: Hermione Granger by elfabella on DeviantART

(I assure you these certifications aren’t just handed out, or made in photoshop all willy-nilly.)

Next up?  Luna Lovegood – another equally amazing female character. Incredibly honest, Luna’s view of the world around her is refreshing and often thought-provoking (also used to wonderful comic effect in the books; see quidditch commentator stint).

I love how open minded, perceptive, and unabashedly true to herself she is. Her ability to make connections that other miss, seeing the possibilities in the world around her, is a trait which probably puts her up there as the most brilliant character in the book – along the same vein as Dumbledore.  In a way, Hermione and Luna explore opposing sides of the same coin (intelligence) with one representing logic and rules, the other, creative ingenuity.

Luna’s status as something of an outsider makes her capable of great empathy, despite the lack of which she often receives because of she’s perceived as ‘different’.  Anyone who’s felt on the outside looking in is able to identify with her, and Rowling gave us an unassumingly fearless character to look up to.  Of course, we see her through Harry’s eyes and their relationship mimics how we come to identify with this character; it takes you by surprise but upon reflection makes perfect sense.  And while not featured greatly, I find their dynamic to be one of the most interesting in the series because while she’s see by many as ‘Loony Lovegood‘, she always seemed to be a positive source of sanity and stability to Harry.

Harry Potter Luna Lovegood fanart - Friends by AdeL7e, Luna's room

Gentle and strong.  Don’t ever change Luna.  Truly.  (Also, this.)

Then there’s Ginny Weasley, who rounds out the trio of the younger female protagonists.  Regardless of how you feel about her in regards to her pairing with Harry, let’s all agree that she’s a great character on her own.  When we first meet her she’s shy, quiet, and awkward (three adjectives I have been all too familiar with), but she really comes into her own by the fifth book, becoming one of the bravest characters in the series.

Ginny fulfills the athlete, go-getter role, but combined with those initial traits we saw, she does so without being bland and stereotyped.  Plus, she’s got this distinct streak of impishness, spunk, and fun sense of humor – essentially, she’s cool.  In some ways she’s a regular Fred and George, similarly adept at lightening the mood of a situation, and like every Weasley, a loyal friend to those in need.

And to speculate a little, looking back, Ginny’s first year pretty much sucked.  Imagine how withdrawn she must have felt.  Being used by the darkest wizard of our time for nefarious purposes?  It takes a bit of a toll.  Yet the next time we really see more of her, she’s prancing around with Fred and George chanting ‘he got off’ to celebrate Harry’s not getting kicked out of Hogwarts (…again).

What changed during that time?  [Headcanon alert!]  Maybe Fred and George felt awful about not being there for their little sis that first year, maybe they do everything they can during that summer to get her back to being vibrant and lively.  Maybe the only two people beside Harry that she ever confesses everything to about that year are the twins, and maybe the three pretty much became inseparable at home after that.  Wherever Ginny’s strength and confidence came from, maybe no small amount of it was found in that familial bond, playing into her ‘just one of the guys’ type personality.  I’m just saying.  Maybe.

Harry Potter Fanart, Ginny Weasley & Harry - Quidditch Practice by taratjah on DeviantArt

“Yeah, size is no guarantee of power,” said George. “Look at Ginny.”
“What d’ you mean?” said Harry.
“You’ve never been on the receiving end of one of her Bat-Bogey Hexes, have you?”

Ok, how about the elder witches, because there are some pretty kickass adults in the series as well.  Case in point?  Minerva McGonagall.

This character is not only named after the Roman-based Greek mythological figure for wisdom and war, but she is undoubtedly one of the most respected figures in the book.  Despite a strict, no-nonsense demeanor, McGonagall’s got a competitive spirit and snarky sense of humor to match, which just add to her general awesomeness.  She’s one of the few known animagi in the books (a cat, no less), head of Gryffindor House, and Dumbledore’s right-hand woman to boot.  Of course, there was also that time she charged into battle against Death Eaters with a herd of galloping desks.

McGonagall, Snape, Dumbledore fanart - HP Hogwarts Headmasters by S-Sei on DeviantArt

Pure awesome.  And yet, I think my favorite McGonagall moment is when she comes to the defense and aid of Professor Trelawney (someone we know she has a little patience for) as the seer is being thrown out of the school by Umbridge.  That was a wonderful character defining moment.

Now Mrs. Weasley is primarily a traditional mother figure, but you can’t let that fool you.  One of her great ‘not-just-what-she-seems’ moments comes at the very end of the series when Mrs. Weasley duels Bellatrix.  After reading it for the first time, I had argued (complained) in discussion with my mom that perhaps Neville should have fought that battle, in doing so avenging his parents.  But then she had countered with a point that has since stuck, slowly but surely changing my opinion entirely:

In fighting that battle, Rowling lets us see Molly Weasley as the overly-doting mother hen/woman who reads the gossip columns as well as an extremely powerful witch in her own right.  And not that being motherly doesn’t come with it’s own set of strengths (the woman kept a family of seven children in line, after all), but we’re reminded that she is as much a member of the Order as Sirius or McGonagall.  So, to my own wise mom, I now gladly concede – it was absolutely a brilliant choice to make Mrs. Weasley defeater of Bellatrix.

Molly Weasley is not to be crossed.  Don’t even contemplate it.  In fact, don’t even contemplate crossing her children.

I could go on, because clearly I have too many Harry Potter feels, but I’ll just say that the women with smaller roles in the story seem just as awesome and interesting as the leading ladies from the glimpses we get of them.  Tonks, Fleur, Lily Potter, Madame Pomfrey, Angelina Johnson…hell, even Neville’s grandmother jumps into the fray in the final battle! And the villainesses!  If we’re talking baddie equality, Bellatrix and Umbridge are as unsettling and unpleasant as He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named himself (to put it mildly).

Over the course of a seven book series with a male lead, JKR gave us some admirable additions for the incredible-female-characters list.  And you know what the best part is?  The fact that it’s not even a big deal in the world she’s created.

Nobody bats an eyelash at Hermione’s capabilities because she’s a girl.  Harry himself basically shrugs and states, ‘Oh yeah, we would’ve screwed up loads more if Hermione hadn’t been there.’  Order members, Ministry workers, professors, Death Eaters, quidditch teams – these groups could each care less whether you were a male or female.  Yes, there is injustice and inequality in Harry’s world, to be sure, but prejudice based solely on gender isn’t among them.

All right, where can I sign up to pledge my allegiance to Ms. Rowling?  Anyone want to join me?  Thanks for reading, cheers!  Until then…

Mischief managed

Posted by: brookenado | March 30, 2015

Celebrating Female Characters: The Ladies of Austen

Dear readers,

Because no celebratory female character list would be complete without Elizabeth Bennet, we’re diving into the world of Jane Austen for this post.  Let me say straight off the bat that I haven’t read all of her works yet (yet), but I have enjoyed the three I’ve had the pleasure to read so far: Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma.  If you missed out on the first post of this series inspired by International Women’s Day, check out The Women of Avatar!  Otherwise, without further ado…

The Ladies of Austen

Yes, like many Austenites Elizabeth Bennet would have to be my favorite of the Austen heroines I’m familiar with so far.  She’s smart and witty to boot, honest, fiercely loyal to those she loves, and speaks her mind.  But seriously, that girl does not mince her words.  (See any proposal rejection for strongly worded evidence.)

Of course, she also managed to snag Mr. Darcy’s heart without even trying…so there’s also that.

I happened to stumble upon a BBC World Book Club podcast recording about Pride and Prejudice a couple of weeks ago (which, if you’re a fan, you will definitely find interesting and entertaining), and one thing that stood out to me was a brilliant clip from an interview with Irish author Colm Tóibín on how the book works and depends upon the heroine’s intelligence.  To paraphrase:

‘It’s when she’s alone that the real work is done in the book…It’s her solitude, and the quality of her solitude, that matter most in the book and gives her a sort of moral seriousness in the book.’

Austen often details Elizabeth’s thoughts for the reader, which gives us superb insight into her intelligence and true self.  And from that, we fall in love with her character much the same way Mr. Darcy comes to fall in love with her.

So, yeah, points for Ms. Austen for blessing us with female characters with strength of mind. Another thing I admire about her novels and ability to tell a story is that there are so many quirks to each character, and even if they’re not constantly in the action we get a good sense of who they are.  Take Jane Bennet, for example!  She’s described as the prettiest of the daughters straight away, but we also come to learn that although she may not have Elizabeth’s quick wit, she is the kinder and probably wiser of the two.

BBC Pride and Prejudice Bennet sisters gif

Or look at Charlotte, Lizzie’s best friend who holds totally different views on marriage, love, and the practicalities of life, but who we know wouldn’t be Elizabeth’s friend if she weren’t strong and intelligent in her own way.  We come to see that she’s calculating and clever enough to manipulate a less than ideal situation (yes we’re looking at you, Mr. Collins) to suit her as much as possible.  Boom, more points to Austen for giving us female characters who find strength in differences between them and form powerful relationships because of that.

That’s certainly a driving point of Sense and Sensibility with sisters Elinor and Marianne.  Who doesn’t appreciate understanding the values and downsides of two different personalities and approaches to life?  No one who has ever shared a living space with another person who wasn’t a clone of themselves, surely.

When reading Sense and Sensibility, it’s likely that you come to identify more with one sister over the other, as in, ‘Why yes, Elinor is one tough lady for keeping her and everyone else’s lives together.  Her sense is admirable because who in their right mind wears their heart on their sleeve?’  Not you.

You know exactly how to protect yourself – kill them with kindness, or at least polite indifference, and if or when some people (Lucy Steele) happen to end up with an idiot for a husband in the end?  Well, who looks the more foolish?  No, Elinor knows a thing or two about dignity and holding her own.

Side bar: Can we just admire this quote for a moment?  “Elinor agreed with it all, for she did not think he deserved the compliment of rational opposition.”  I can just imagine the inner dialogue…

Mary Poppins sarcastic clap gif

‘Well done. If your intention here was to secure your place on the ‘vain, ignorant fool’ list, you succeeded marvelously.’

**Austenian burn may leave lingering stinging and unpleasant sensations. Apply knowledge, learning, and humility in generous amounts for best relief. (End sidebar)

Or perhaps you’d argue, ‘Quite the contrary, Marianne’s abandon for society’s ill-conceived constructs is both brave and charming.  She doesn’t give the time of day to people who don’t deserve it – who the flim flam jam has time for that?’  But honestly, who has the time or patience to put up with useless pretense when you could be out there being yourself and loving everything about life?  You know for a fact that’s just crazy.

Hipster Marianne Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility

Don’t argue with hipster Marianne.

But as you read you recognize that, sure, Marianne’s enthusiasm while passionate and endearing at times can also be unwise, overly dramatic, and immature (not everyone has your passion for dead leaves, Marianne), and maybe Elinor’s constant composure isn’t always appreciated or easy for the people who truly care about her to navigate (you couldn’t drop in one tiny mention about the whole Edward situation, Elinor?).

However both characters prove that sense and sensibility co-exist, that one is not better than the other because everybody is a mixture of both.  Elinor feels just as deeply as Marianne (sorry, hipster Marianne), and Marianne learns how to exercise more judgement.  Despite any greater affinity toward sense or sensibility, we can relate to both of these great characters.

Then there’s Emma.  Witty, presumptuous, and independent, in some ways Emma is a bit of an alternate version of Elizabeth, a sort of ‘Lizzie Bennet had Lizzie Bennet been wealthy, a different, much smaller family, and been really rather bored’.  Such a distinction in wealth actually does set Emma’s character farther apart than any of the other three, in the sense that she doesn’t have to worry about the same things – namely, securing a beneficial marriage.

Jane Austen Emma Print - Best Treatment - Jane Austen Quote - Literary Art - Teachers Gift - Bookish - Literature - Book Lovers - Quote

Partly because of this, we’re presented with a character less immediately relatable and likable, perhaps, but not dislikable either.  With Emma we have a perfect opportunity to analyze a character and see the good and not so good tendencies in ourselves and otheres.  Why?  Simple – she’s real.

Haven’t we all secretly played matchmaker before, even if only in our own minds (and sometimes with fictional characters)?  Haven’t we all assumed one thing only to learn it was an embarrassing misinterpretation?  Have you never thought yourself cleverer than somebody else?  Nobody’s perfect, we all have flaws that in some ways define us but don’t overshadow our best qualities.  But Emma grows as a character from her misgivings and drama so that by the end of the novel, Emma, like Elizabeth, gives us a character we can relate with on a journey of self-discovery (with quite a few laughs along the way).  She’s a brilliant character.

Really, what it all boils down to is that Jane Austen was a master at writing realistic characters that appeal to our desire for self-actualization, and continue to be real no matter the time period.  She gives us characters that defy tradition and find their own ways to succeed in a world where they have very little power and influence over their situations.  They’re smart, funny, compassionate individuals, and each heroine has a definite sense of self.  So truly, thank you for the strong female characters we can easily relate to, Ms. Austen, I have little doubt that they will continue to be loved for years to come!

Pride and Prejudice Mr. Darcy Colin Firth, be cool

You also gave us Mr. Darcy and for that we are eternally gratefully.

More awesome female character appreciation is on the way, but in the meantime I’d love to hear who your favorite Austen heroines are!  Feel free to jump in with the comments below.  And as always, thanks for reading, cheers!  Until then…

Mischief managed

Posted by: brookenado | March 13, 2015

Celebrating Female Characters: The Women of Avatar

Dear readers,

You may have heard that International Women’s Day was last week, and that got me thinking about the awesome female characters I’ve admired over the years.  In turn, this got me thinking about entire series that feature many awesome women.  Obviously, the natural next step was to be inspired to do a blog post!  I jotted down some ideas here and there during breaks at work, then sat down at home to write a bit more, then went back and wrote some more…

It quickly become apparent that there doing this in a single post was simply not an option.  Instead, I bring you the first installment in a celebratory mini-series of ‘series with exceptional ladies’:

The Women of Avatar

**Caution: May contain spoilers

All of the ladies in Avatar are pretty stinking awesome. Seriously, all of them. Heroes and villains alike are fully fleshed out, complex women. The shows creator’s Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko and their team have done such a wonderful job with this series, not only tackling mature, and sometimes delicate issues, but also bringing very dynamic relationships to life with very believable and diverse characters. One thing I feel is often misrepresented in shows today are the relationships between female characters, but here, too, they got so much right.

Women of Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra

Let’s start with Avatar: The Last Airbender, where it all began (when everything changed, after the Fire Nation attacked)…

In the original series, Toph and Katara are the female leads and they can bring out the extremes of each other’s personalities due to their differences. Yet despite that those differences, the focus was more often on how they respected each other because of them – Toph with her disregard for the rules and strong sense of independence, and Katara with her compassion and sense of responsibility.

Toph and Katara - Tales of Ba Sing Se gif

How Beifongs show affection

They did an amazing job with the more minor female characters and the villainesses as well. Mai and Ty Lee may seem one dimensional at first, but with small bits of dialogue and back story are given such great personalities and roles as non-gimmicky, by no means flat comic relief. And Azula is…terrifying. And that’s hard to do while making a character believable, but they did it. Ruthless and strategically-minded to the extreme (and she knows it), we also see glimpses into the cracks beneath the surface and, incredibly, have moments when we can actually feel very sorry for her.

Then there’s the follow-up series, The Last Airbender: The Legend of Korra, which recently ended and was just as brilliant as the original. Korra is the lead as the new Avatar, and in word (or three), she kicks ass. What made her an even better character, however, were the moments when she seemed lost. The fact that she could be a strong character while also at risk of succumbing to a break down every now and then made her a very real and relatable character. Hey, maintaining the balance of a chaotic and always changing world is a tough job!

Korra Fanart -- Legend of Korra

And actually, admittedly, as someone who struggles on and off with depression I really appreciated seeing a female character deal with similar issues.  Despite the moments of frustration and seeming hopelessness, she was always able to overcome her fears and find her own way to resolve things; a hopeful motif around a topic that isn’t easily discussed.  Just another reason why storytelling and having characters like Korra is so important.

I love how they dealt with Korra’s relationship with the other female that rounds out the new ‘Team Avatar’ as well – another badass but somewhat more feminine character, Asami. Again, they could have taken the easy route and created a negative, rivalry-type relationship with a love triangle, but almost right from the start they refused to let that be the case.

They took it in a much more positive direction, with Asami becoming Korra’s best friend (and even potential love interest as the series progressed) instead, using them to explore the strong bonds that exist between women. The ending truly cements that theme, and whether you read their relationship as romantic or not, the final scene was beautiful, ending the series on another bold and brave note.

Korra & Asami - Avatar Legend of Korra finale

And I’d be terribly remiss not to at least mention both Toph and Katara’s descendants. The Beifong women still completely rock (pun both intended and true), and Katara’s daughter and two granddaughters are just as awesome. They are their own characters with distinctive quirks and aspirations, not defined just by their tie to the original women of Avatar.

Then there are characters like Zhu Li (do the thing!), who’s great because at first glance, we don’t give her too much thought. But as her character is revealed more and expanded beyond the view of just ‘assistant’, we learn that she’s brilliant, loyal, believes in progress, and yes, she’s in love, but she can clearly take care of her self. And there’s Eska, of course, who stands up her power hungry (crazy) father in order to protect her brother, and later, Team Avatar.  I sorely wish we could have seen more of her in later seasons!

Like the original, the female antagonists in The Legend of Korra are wonderfully nuanced characters who bring about discussions of complicated themes. While you may not always like them or their methods, the series certainly plays around with larger questions and moral grey areas.

Kuvira - The Legend of Korra Book 4 antagonist

Kuvira, the ‘Great Uniter’

At times you have to admit a grudging respect for their abilities and determination in their visions knowing that at some earlier point, those beliefs weren’t inherently bad, but had become twisted and extreme. Kuvira acts as the dominant female antagonist, and she doesn’t play second fiddle to the male antagonists.  Her role adds just as much to the overarching themes of the show and Korra’s development.

The verdict? I haven’t been able to mention all of the fabulous characters across both shows, but rest assured that they do, in fact, all kick ass – all for different reasons.

All I can say is that if you’re looking for a series with a strong cast of female characters and diverse role models, look no further than Avatar: The Last Airbender and the The Legend of Korra. Ladies, men, kids, adults…the overall series has something for everyone, and in my opinion, it’s some of the best t.v. to have been created in past decade (and features some beautiful animation to boot!).

Thanks for reading, cheers!  Another installment celebrating amazing fictional females should be headed your way soon, and if you’ve got some favorite characters or series featuring interesting women, by all means please share – the more the merrier!  Until then…

Mischief managed

 Bonus:Legend of Korra, 'Did they send me daughters?'

Posted by: brookenado | February 18, 2015

5 Fandom Friday: Much Ado About Shipping

Dear readers,

Another delayed Fandom Friday post, I’m afraid (someday I’ll actually post one on a Friday)!  I had no intention to write anything relating to Valentine’s Day for my next post, but then I couldn’t pass up on such a perfect prompt thought up by The Nerdy Girlie & Super Space Chick.

5 Fandom Friday

First things first.  What is ‘shipping’, you may ask?  Class is in session, attend…

Fandom 101: Lesson 1, Shipping

Fandom Sanity vs. Shipping

Ship(n): Slang term stemming from the word ‘relationship’.  In fandom, the term most often refers to a romantic relationship (or, pairing), between characters, but not always.  Ex: This ship is my current otp (one true pairing).

Can also be used as a verb as in, ‘I will always ship Sherlock & Molly.’  A ship is often denoted by placing a “/” or “x” between two character’s names, or by use of a portmanteau.  A shipper, then, is a supporter of a particular ship.

Now some of you may be thinking, ‘Hang on, people actually devote time and energy into the relationships of imaginary characters?‘  Well, YES.  Here’s the thing, you can’t just turn ‘shipping’ on and off; it simply happens, and then it inspires, entertains, or overwhelms you with feels.

Now, how’s your ship doing?

or

Are there rules to shipping?

There is really only one rule to shipping in fandom: respect. A respectful fandom is a happy fandom, people, and although what one fan ships may not (wait for it) float your boat, everyone has as much right as anyone else to ship their ship.  So long as no one’s hating on ships, instigating ship wars, ruining others enjoyment of the show/book/movie/game/fandom, then (one more time) welcome aboard!

Any questions?

Then let’s get right down to it; my five favorite fandom ships (or more like five of my favorite ships).  I’ve discovered that I’m either drawn to a more sorrowful type of pairing – the unrequited/sacrifice myself for you kind of tragic -, or the ‘either I’m gonna kill her or I’m beginning to like her’ stubborn bickering ship.  But, you know, both is good.

1. Han/Leia

“You could use a good kiss!”

Kisses: Han and Leia Star Wars fanart by ArtemisiaSynchroma on DeviantArt

This is where it all began for me, my very first fandom ship.  I was about 13, sitting in the dark in my parents room as I watched Empire for the first time, and probably literally holding my breath as Han and Leia kissed on the Millennium Falcon when I first fell down the rabbit hole that is your first invested ship.  I plunged fully into the universe of Star Wars after that ESB viewing.  One thing led to another and here I am today, a full-fledged geekling – and just look at all the ships I’ve collected now!

They also kind of set up a comparison for romances in my mind as well, like ‘on a scale of 1 to Han & Leia, how playful is their banter?’

2. Molly/Sherlock 

“You do count, you’ve always counted and I’ve always trusted you.”

Sherlock fanart - Thank you Molly Hooper by FloLu on DeviantArt

All of the feels.  (Also see artbylexie for Sherlolly goodness.)  My current otp, I feel I have to preface with a kind of a weird, convoluted explanation, so apologies in advance.  I love both characters on their own, and I love the possibilities and potential of them together with their complementarily contrasting characteristics.  And yet, I wouldn’t want them to become an official item on the show unless it was at the very end.  As in, ‘Molly, I propose we move to Sussex and keep bees together.’

*Quick Aside: This is actually how I feel about most of my ships, canon or otherwise.  I much prefer dwelling in the land of pre-establishment (i.e. Han & Leia pre-ROTJ) as I think you get much more interesting interaction at that stage in character dynamics.  After all, an official romantic relationship is the end game – a ship’s cathartic moment – so the lead up is where it’s at!

For the Sherlolly ship in particular, it would be very difficult to maintain within the confines of the show itself and be satisfying.  If it were an AU rom-com, then totally, but since Sherlock Holmes is an adventure/mystery genre, the focus has to be elsewhere or the show wouldn’t be Sherlock.

…Which brings us to why fanfic/vids/art, etc. can be brilliant as it lets us happily imagine what can’t be included in the script due to the nature of the narrative.  And, when nothing is official, everything is open for us to interpret how and what we do (and don’t) see onscreen!  So I’m perfectly happy with them continuing to weave in the small moments between Sherlock & Molly, adding depth to their relationship and allow my brain to speculate to my heart’s content.

3. Naruto/Hinata + Ichigo/Rukia

“I nearly went the wrong way…but you, you showed me the right way.  You changed me!  Your smile saved me!”

Hinata/Naruto fanart - Nindo by Bakaiiko on DeviantArt

Ichiruki Wallpaper fanart by crasyaboutpink on DeviantArt

Yup, I’m going to cheat again.  I wanted to include a manga/anime ship and couldn’t pick between my two current favorites in this genre.  See?  Torn between the more sorrowful & the more stubborn.  I love the way Hinata’s confession was dealt with, it spot on in terms of her character, in my opinion (and may or may not have inspired a bit of dialogue in a Sherlolly piece I may or may not have written…yeah, nerd alert).  Then what’s not to love about Ichigo and Rukia as the pair that childishly tease each other, but when it gets right down to it, see each other more completely than anyone else?  Absolutely nothing.

4. Kirk/Spock

“Of my friend, I can only say this: Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most…human.”

Chibi Kirk + Spock Star Trek fanart by sweetvillain on DeviantArt

Is this not the most adorable thing ever? The reboot introduced me to this ship and I do need to sit down and watch more of TOS, but I already know one thing: Friendship?  Bromance?  Romance?  Doesn’t matter.  What’s so appealing about these two is that however you ship Kirk and Spock, a deep love will always exist between them and that is a beautiful thing.  One without the other is incomplete, and having a companion like that is enviable indeed.  Come on, just look at how happy that Kirk is!

Are there are shades of the Holmes & Watson dynamic reflected in Kirk & Spock?  Definitely.  How many shades?  I couldn’t say.

5. Revan/Carth

“Yes, what’s on your mind?”

KOTOR-Hairless Wookiee by aimo

And just to switch it up (sort of), Revan/Carth is hands down my favorite video game ship I’ve come across.  Romances on this medium don’t always come across as well, but I have fond memories of the exchanges between these two when playing/replaying Knights of the Old Republic – they’re so dang snarky and hilarious!  Their relationship is engaging without feeling forced, and perfectly emulates the elements that make the Han/Leia dynamic work so well without being a boring carbon(ite) copy.  (Canonical Revan should have been female, but that’s a rant for another time.)

Whew, how’d I do?  I tried my best not to go overboard, but that was surprisingly hard to narrow down.  Elizabeth/Darcy, for instance?  Right up there.  I mean, they kind of wrote the book…

Despite not intentionally searching for one, I almost always end up finding a ship in whatever I’m watching or reading to root for or at least contemplate on the side.  It’s like having a radar that just keeps scanning until ping!, it finds the pairing that makes your feels hone in on.  So what ships are on your radar?

Thanks for bearing this shipper’s long-winded love fest, I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day weekend, cheers!  Until then…

Mischief managed

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