Scott Pilgrim and Geek Heroes

In class we discussed Scott Pilgrim and how he represented a new sort of hero: the geeky hero. This sort of hero is aimed at the people who are consuming this genre of fiction: the geeks. They see someone whose expertise in gaming or knowledge of comics help them save the day and in that person, they seem themselves. The geek hero is becoming a common trope not only in the everyday sort of heroes, but also in the superhero genre and it is these sorts of heroes that are usually my favourite. So I thought I’d give a few recommendations of geeky heroes to look into.

The first (and probably my favourite) is Deku from My Hero Academia. Deku is born powerless in a world full of super-powered people, but despite that, the position he idolizes the most is the hero. He wants to get a job as a superhero with all of his being so he analyzes and obsesses over all of the professional heroes and is in all of the fan clubs for his favourite hero. This gets him bullied by his classmates, but when he is given powers it is his constant analysis and knowledge of how professional heroes act that help him succeed again and again.

Pidge from Netflix’s Voltron: Legendary Defender is the kind of person that geeks out over all of the amazing alien tech that she comes across and convinces her friend to raid a wishing well in a space mall so that she can purchase a vintage earth video game system that she stumbled upon. She makes a wonderful addition to the band of loveable idiots and losers that make up the five paladins of Voltron.

Mob from Mob Psycho 100 is one of the most powerful espers in the world, but all he cares about is becoming popular. He is quiet, shy, and out of touch with his emotions and just can’t seem to connect with anyone. It’s not that he’s bullied, he’s just ignored. But, on his road to popularity he always manages to get roped into fun and crazy adventures.

That was just a few geeky heroes from the fiction that I consume. I love them all as characters and as a part of the worlds and stories in which they live. Maybe you could give some of them a shot.

 

My two cents on Ghost World

Reading Ghost World I found myself enjoying it, yet in that enjoyment I found more than a little bit of sadness. This text was a lot different than the ones we’ve read before in this class. If I didn’t think that Shade the Changing girl didn’t really fit the superhero conventions or stories then this one definitely didn’t. I don’t think that I would call either Enid or Rebecca a hero except in the sense of “hero of your own story.” They were, after all, just two teenagers struggling to define themselves and cling to the ghosts of the past. Moving forward in life means clearing out the ghosts, it means change, and change is scary. I think that is where my sense of sadness and wistfulness comes from.

Both Enid and Rebecca can see the end of their adolescence approaching. This is not a bad thing, per se, but it is frightening. They can see that they will go their separate ways, and I think that they both know that their friendship will not last through the separation. So they try desparately to keep things the way that they are and the way that they have been so that they do not have to face the inevitable changing, but they both know that they cannot keep things the way they are forever and neither of them want to. All that this can accomplish is to bring more heartahe to their relationship – which is exactly what it does: resisting the inevitable change put a strain on their friendship and resulted in their massive fight. However, letting go and allowing time to keep its course is what allowed the two to grow as people.

So, basked in the ghostly glow of the past, Enid and Rebecca are able to let go of their ghosts and move on to the next phase in their lives in bittersweet ending that felt far too realistic for my liking. It left me hollow inside, yet hopeful for their future nonetheless.

On Blade and Shade the Changing Girl

This week I don’t have a specific aspect that I’d like to delve deeper into based on the titles we explored. I can say, though, that I didn’t ever think that I would like each text more than the last. I thought that Blade was my favourite so far until I read Shade the Changing Girl, which was when I went “damn, this was fantastic!” and promptly decided that I would be buying the next volumes. But let’s backtrack a little bit back to Blade. Continue reading “On Blade and Shade the Changing Girl”

Black Panther and Legal Theory (woo!)

Black Panther is cool. T’Challa is cool. There is an undeniable sense of cool about how the story is presented and delivered through character design, concept, art style among other things. You know what’s not cool? The political structure of Wakanda (at least in the first volume).

Wakanda seems to be set up in a legal positivist- esque manner. For those who don’t know, Legal Positivism is the idea that the law is the law: essentially every citizen of a nation is legally obligated to follow the law regardless of any moral problems with it because legal positivists think that the law and morals should be kept completely separate. Monarchies tend to fall largely into this category: there is one head that can make decisions on behalf of the body (the nation).  Now, the decisions can be beneficial or detrimental to the body, but if the head makes it law, then the body must follow it because it is the law. This is a very loose definition of legal positivism, but you get the idea. (If you want a better idea, I dare you to read “Leviathan” by Thomas Hobbes)

Now, legal positivism isn’t inherently bad, it is just a way of looking at how the law functions (or should function) in any given society. It can be good if the leader is generous, writes well thought out laws and always makes decisions with the people’s best interests at heart. However, In Wakanda’s case, T’Challa seems distanced and not truly in touch with his people’s problems. This is where it appears as though the king is delivering kingly judgement on the poor victimized people when T’Challa goes out to quell rebellions (again, especially in vol. 1). It almost looks like a classist system oppressing the poor and denying them their voice: a.k.a: not cool.

Anyway, that’s where my mind took me this week. I’d like to see more of Wakanda in the future, although you readers may not want to hear where my mind goes when I figure out what their justice system looks like.

 

 

Ms Marvel (and a little bit of philosophy)

In reading Ms Marvel and particularly in our discussion on Monday, two things became abundantly clear. First, I could really connect a lot of the content to feminist theory and critical studies in philosophy. Second, I may have taken a few too many philosophy courses if that’s the first thing my brain went to. There were two core concepts that stood out to me the most: Internalized oppression and Intersectionality.

Internalized oppression occurs when an individual does not live up to a perceived norm so they internalize the prejudices that others have and that effects their self-image. This theory or concept is often used in Critical Race theory (e.g. internalized racism) and Queer theory (e.g. internalized homophobia). I didn’t really see this connection until our discussion in class on Monday (the 15th) when we talked about how Kamala just wants to be seen as normal, she wants to live up to the unachievable standards that norms set. However, the way she sees it is that whatever is normal is not her and this causes some bitterness, frustration, and a lower self-esteem as a result. When I saw that I kind of went “Ahh! Internalized Oppression!” and that was that story.

Intersectionality is a term first popularized by feminist philosopher Kimberlé Crenshaw. It came about because many of the theorizing that went down in both feminist theory and critical race theory were not valuing the lived experiences of people who fit into multiple minority categories (e.g. a black woman) because having people with complex world views apparently made theorizing about humans in general too  difficult. Long story short, intersectionality values complex world views through examining the lived experiences of people who fit into multiple minority categories and not weighing one over the other. The portrayal of Kamala in Ms Marvel is wonderful for showing off intersectionality at its finest. Kamala is a Muslim, Pakistani-American Female, but first and foremost she is a person. All of the minority categories make up a part of her identity and they cannot be examined separately because they work together along with other traits like her geeky love of superheroes to make up who she is and how she sees and interacts with the world around her.

Now this is definitely not an extensive look into how one could do a feminist reading (i.e. feminist philosophy) of Ms. Marvel, but it was where my thoughts took me this week so…that’s all for now, I guess.