Female Superheroes

Where are all the female superheroes?

Have you ever noticed how few known female superheroes there are?

Go ahead and name some….

I bet if I asked you to name artists from history, they would be mostly male, if I asked you to name only female artists, I’m guessing it would take you longer.

I bet you would also have to think a little, not so much, of the names of female authors – not doing too badly in that department, though female writers go through phases of exposure in the media, the general trend seems firmly bent towards male authors.

But today I am interested in the superhero, or graphic novel hero, comic-book persona; whatever.

Deadpool-Merc-with-a-Mouth
You kiss your mother with that mouth?!

Most of us; especially those who take an interest in this genre, will have noticed the recent explosion of ‘super-hero’ movies being touted to us popcorn-munchers. Today I watched Deadpool, for the first time. I know! Where have I been?  Right? Resisting the urge is my reply (I’m not a huge fan of Ryan Reynolds, usually) however, I really enjoyed it. It made me laugh, it made me groan (in the right places), the action was action-y, and not too much of it, the dialogue humorous. I can’t bear those directors that think if they put a tonne of CGI and violent crashes/fights/explosions/speeding trains/etc in, then it will make a good movie – IT DOESN’T – it is tiring on the eyes and leaves no room for narrative development.

Deadpool had a good balance. I loved his wisecracking ways, and have to admit, I haven’t actually read the comic (eek!). But it got me started, again, on my rant of – where are all the female comic superheroes? Wonder Woman? Pah! I saw the original TV show, it was horrible. (And isn’t Wonder Woman a bit of a crappy name?) I want a female superhero/anti-hero, who is smart, and sassy, who will make an impact and be remembered as much as Batman – and mostly – I want her to be British! ( Other European nations are acceptable)

Search the internet all you like, British heroes are a rare breed; some websites even include Sherlock effing Holmes! He’s not a superhero! I like him, don’t get me wrong, and he’s a genius dude, but he is not a comic superhero!

I know there are female graphic artists and writers out there, and I take my hat off to them, it’s a real hard slog. But I want the storylines and art to equal the male, and I rarely find that. I want  Alan MooreNeil GaimanGrant MorrisonBrian Bolland and Mike McMahon, John Wagner, Alan Grant, Pat MillsAngela Kincaid Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, Alan Moore, Mike McMahon, Dave Gibbons. Fans might see a pattern emerging in that list; they all work; or have worked for 2000 AD comics. I want a female Sláine or Deadpool (I know they made a Lady Deadpool, but, meh). The closest character creation, for me, was Jessica Jones – but she’s American.

slaine
Slaine by Simon Bisley

So, please, please, please, can someone, somewhere create me a female superhero to be proud of.

Thank you.

(And British)

P.S: don’t put her in a figure hugging 1940s latex suit – unless it is done, like Deadpool, with tongue firmly in cheek – yours, not hers!

 

Jessica Jones

You shoot that gun at me–I will pull that bullet out of my ruined four hundred dollar leather jacket…and I will shove it up your ass with my pinky finger. And which one of us do you think that will hurt more? “

 Jessica Jones

 

 

It’s Monday, what are you writing?

Good morning all !

First, let me slide this in here swiftly; new anthology, Tick Tock, is out now on Amazon. This is an eclectic mix of poetry and prose, sci-fi, fantasy, fiction and more, from Wirral Writers. I have three pieces included – The Scream of the Butterfly, Blackbird and Farewell. I hope you will enjoy it.

Now, it’s Monday, for some reason it is looked on with misery or a feeling of bleurgh! I fell into this trap during my mid to late twenties – but why?

It’s only another day to write something amazing!!!

Processed with VSCOcam with s2 preset

 

What are you working on at the moment?

Are you struggling to get that character with the rather bland personality to be a hero?

Is there a flaw in your timeline?

How many fluffy aliens does it really take to run a spaceship?

All relevant questions; to someone! And you know what? You’re the ones who have the answers – it’s your world, your people, grab them both by the short and curlies and shake the living daylights out of them until they comply. Bend them to your will. Be the boss, go on!

Now go write!

 

 

*Postscript – I am letting you know, so I don’t deceive my readers, some of my links  now connect to Amazon. If someone buys something via my link, I get some coin, not a lot, I’m not going to be able to buy a new washing machine, but I want you to be aware.

 

 

Why you should play Dungeons and Dragons.

There has been a lot said about this fantasy table top role playing game (RPG) over the decades, from the 80’s when it was deemed ‘anti-Christian’, to the 90’s when it became ‘Satanical’ and into the 00’s  when it was played by ‘nerds’. Now I want a go…

A little background…

The game was originally designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, and first published in 1974 by Tactical Studies Rules, Inc. (TSR)

Regarding the view that it promotes anti or irreligious feeling, influences teens to be drawn to commit suicide or even murder, I strongly object. If you look at statistics showing deaths as a result of ‘religious wars’, you find the numbers reach into the thousands, even millions. The Crusades alone were accountable for up to 9 million deaths (according to some sources).

The Crusades were a series of religious wars sanctioned by the Latin Church in the medieval period, especially the campaigns in the Eastern Mediterranean with the aim of capturing Jerusalem and the Holy Land from Islamic rule, to recapture Christian territory and defend Christian pilgrims. The term “crusades” is also applied to other campaigns sanctioned by the Church.’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crusades

 

death-toll

This is a section of an image of the Death Toll Comparison Breakdown from Wait But Why site is a fascinating accumulation of statistics. http://waitbutwhy.com/2013/08/the-death-toll-comparison-breakdown.html

 

So it seems that war in the name of God was, and is acceptable, and by default, so are those deaths.  My research led me to discover a total of 130 deaths attributed to D and D – the large majority of these were suicides. I am not taking away the fact that it is always tragic when a young person takes his or her own life- and over 90% of these were male, but looking deeper we will find that there was an emotional even mental health issue at play here.

130 is a long, long way from 9 million, so should we ask ourselves, if people played games instead of following a religion, might we not have less death on our hands?

The view that Dungeons and Dragons (or D & D) leads young players to become involved in Satanism and Satanic rituals is also unfounded nonsense. Many members of Christian churches were up in arms about D & D in the 90’s as it was deemed a ‘gateway’ to the ‘darker’ side. The vast majority of these concerned parents were American. Reading some of the comments, or news reports of the time reminded me of those black and white info films they used to show of the dangers of smoking cannabis – ‘Reefer Madness’ is a fine example,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbjHOBJzhb0

and is laughably naive to anyone today who  views it today. The knee-jerk reaction must have been invented by the Americans, as anything that they cannot comprehend immediately, or that does not fit into their clean living, white picket fenced world is deemed evil.

I’d like you to take a look at what others have said about playing D and D, don’t just take my word for it – after all, I’m one of those ker-razy people who play it!

Craig Hallam is an English writer. I have met him on a couple of occasions, and I can tell you that he is a very lovely man; kind of word, polite and friendly; he used to be a nurse – how decent can you get. He plays D and D. Visit his page “How D&D helped my writing – I’ve found it’s a massive help to maintaining creativity. When my books are stumbling… and I can’t get my Auth-on, D&D has been exactly what I’ve needed.” https://craighallam.wordpress.com/tag/dungeons-and-dragons/

Ethan Gilsdorf is an American writer, poet, editor, critic, journalist and teacher – second decent human career. He plays, or played D and D. And can explain a lot better than me, why you should play the game. I GAVE A TEDX TALK “WHY DUNGEONS & DRAGONS IS GOOD FOR YOU (IN REAL LIFE)” Ethan Gilsdorf explains the positives, for himself, of playing the game, and why it can be good for you too. http://www.ethangilsdorf.com/ethanfreak-blog/2016/5/25/igave-a-tedx-talkwhy-dungeons-dragons-is-good-for-you-in-rea.html

Playing D and D, I have learnt about so many things I did not learn in school. My knowledge base has expanded. Why? Because when you are the DM; Dungeon Master, or in my case Mistress, you are tasked with writing a scenario, or story if you will, that will not only fit the players, but challenge and entertain them, not for a couple of hours, but possibly for weeks on end! And if you veer away from the ‘traditional’, rule toting aspect; like we did, you better find something to keep your players playing.

Research, research, research.

I reckon I could teach university students a thing or two about how to research.  Because we moved from the original themes of dwarves, elves, wizards, dungeons and, er, dragons, we have to work with each other – collaborate – on what we all wanted to do. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes the experiment doesn’t work, but mostly, it is still fun. In fact, now I come to think of it, in over 25 years of playing (Yes, you read that correctly TWENTY FIVE YEARS), we have to my knowledge only had 3 games with dragons in them!

Where/when have we played?

By this, I do not mean what time and what room in the house, I am referring to game scenarios. After the traditional scenario/setting, we have played; an all Dwarven world, post-apocalyptic Mad Max style world, 12th century Damascus, World War II, the future ( space, cyberpunk, extra-terrestrials), Discworld influenced landscapes, Time Bandits influenced game, horror film influenced games, pensioners, demi-gods, siblings, postmen!! The variations go on and on.

You can see how the imagination is tried and tested – excellent for an author.

So, to me and my ‘team’; some of this might surprise the sceptics amongst you:

We’re all of us, over 50 years of age.

One of us is a professional musician and educator.

One supports the elderly.

One supports students with learning difficulties.

One of us is in the IT sector.

One of us is a support in the community.

One is an artist.

We’re all parents.

And we drink tea at ‘half-time’.

In conclusion, I have nothing against religion per say (you have no clue as to what belief system I follow if any) and I am deeply saddened by the death of anyone under the age of 50. But a table top role playing game is not the reason people fall by the wayside in one form or another. It encourages fair play, comradery, storytelling, imagination, patience, acceptance to name a few aspects. And its great fun!

What about ‘the nerds’, I hear you ask…

…well, that goes without saying.

 

 

10 Good Reasons to Play D&D by AMERON (DEREK MYERS)

http://dungeonsmaster.com/2010/11/10-good-reasons-to-play-dd/

 

The Joy of Book Swaps

Currently reading/read it. Book review – The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie.

So, I just finished reading the above title; ‘The Blade Itself’ by Joe Abercrombie, #1 in the trilogy The First Law. I obtained the book via my writers club annual book swap, an idea I introduced when I joined, after having run a one off many years ago, when I worked for a well-known book sellers.

What you do: find a bunch of like-minded bookish types, oddities like yourself helps, but if pushed, colleagues will do. You select a book that you have enjoyed reading, something that you wouldn’t mind sharing with someone else. You know when you meet people and one of you says, “Did you see the latest (–fill in the gap–) last night?” or “Catch that Superman/Batman/Catwoman/Froglegged Bee Keeper Man movie?” How often do people say, “Hey! Read any good Philip Pullman recently?” generally NOT!

Sorry, I digress. So, you get your well-thumbed copy of whatever you have enjoyed. You wrap it in plain paper. Everyone else in your nerdy group does the same. The disguised books are put into a box (or whatever) and then you all take one out – no not your own idiot! You read that already, look at the wrapping paper! You take it home, unwrap it and hey presto! You have a new title to read, free!

Now here comes the good bit. Initially you might go, “Ugh! What the —-! I’m not going to read that!” and fling it aside. But hold on there just give it a go, you might be pleasantly surprised. I haven’t had a dud yet ; which leads me to the current title.

I opened my grubby brown paper package and first off I went, “Ugh!” I hated (and still am very unsure of) the cover. If I saw it in a book shop, I would definitely ignore it; dull, brown, with a clichéd, surly, tangle-haired ‘thug’ on the front. then the person who had dropped it into the swap box informed me, it is the first of three. Really? Did I want to spend my time reading this, well-thumbed…The End…that’s how it begins, oh, okay…four pages in and…I quite like this, I think. When I was introduced to the second character, the writing had changed gear. This was a vastly different individual to the first, physically, mentally, emotionally; and the writing matches it. Some reviews I read revealed readers were divided, many thought the writing ‘clunky’. I think it suits the format perfectly. Abercrombie has altered, only enough, the feel of the writing to represent the different characters point of view, as much as writing the POV itself.

Its a fighting/fantasy world, where men are men and women are thin, pale and decorative (except for the odd one or two!) The initial protagonist has a slightly crappy name – Logan, hmm, too much like ‘Logan’s Run’ or Logan the Wolverine I think, but, beyond that, he’s not 2D, as some of the other characters believe him to be. Logen Ninefingers is an infamous warrior with a bloody past. He has plans to settle a blood feud with Bethod, the  King of the Northmen. He spends a lot of time, for a hulking brute saying, “Still alive.” There’s more to him than meets the eye. Then there’s Inquisitor Glokta, a cripple, a former fencing champion, now a torturer extraordinaire. A truly brilliant creation, you have to love him – no really, just wait and see…we get a lot of Glokta’s internal thoughts, in italics, running alongside his conversations and can’t help but admire the ability to keep two trains of thought going, an obeisance in his expression, whilst wanting to vomit all over the person he may be speaking to. Finally, Captain Jezal dan Luthar; in the words of Glokta, “…an arse…”  he is also a nobleman and would-be fencing champion. He is vain, shallow, selfish and self-obsessed, one wonders why the important bald chap who arrives in the Agriont needs him.

I love how Abercrombie weaves the separate lives across the landscape. There are multiple protagonists in this tale, along the lines of Game of Thrones, but what each of them wants becomes unclear, which I liked. How they will succeed in their initial task is unknown, I will have to read #2 – and I will. Definitely. I think it is hard in these times of Game of Thrones on TV, fantasy ‘heroes’ on the big screen, to get a book in this genre noticed. Fantasy writing is a massive market, with hundreds, possibly thousands of would-be-authors of the style out there. Abercrombie has grabbed my attention, and that’s a rare thing these days.

So, for the New Year, go and run a book swap, you may find a hero wrapped up in that package!

P.S: other covers are available.

P.P.S: apparently, there’s a graphic novel series too!

 

 

 

 

NaNoWriMo A Go Go!

So, anyone who has been involved in NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month – will know the joy of reaching that goal.

I just reached it; 50,000 words in 1 month is the challenge and it has been a heck of a ride.

For well practised and  experienced writers, or speedy typists, this may not seem too daunting a task. But if like me, you are a professional procrastinator and a victim of Research Obsession, then it can be quite a challenge. I have just had a look at my calendar and check how much time I actually spent on it, how many days did I not get to write at all or write very little? Here’s the findings:

  •  As a part-time working adult, I ‘lost’ 12 days to my paid job.
  • I ‘lost’ 3 days to visiting and doing chores for parents.
  • 6 days, my daughter was home from University, so I wanted to spend time with her of course.
  • 2 imposed Sunday Dinners.
  • 2 days lost to P.C malfunction – my laptop went haywire and files were corrupted – I subsequently lost many sections of the writing, plus 3 years worth of stories that were saved here.
  • I counted, 9 full days spent on writing. 9! The rest was done as and when I could; before visitors arrived, in-between meals etc. etc.

So, I feel pretty chuffed with myself. The worst part was the laptop corruption. I spoke to computer ‘experts’ who were not really sure what had gone wrong, but they agreed that it was strange that the files could not be found in the backup section either. I was lucky to have a good friend who lent me his own laptop to carry on.  I really did not think I was goin to make the deadline, as I will be in work the last two days, so it had to be completed today.

When I began NaNo, I only had the bare bones of an idea. As I wrote, the story grew. I did not, in all honesty, know what I was going to write from day to day. I just knew I had to keep writing. The story is nowhere near complete; I reckon it needs another 30,000 to 40,000 words. then it needs ‘putting together’. Because it was written on two laptops, and is fragmented, due to the corruption that occurred, I have to try and gather it all into one document.

My husband just asked me, “Was it useful, though?”

Yes, it was. It forced me to keep focused, I didn’t veer off into aimless research, I didn’t play on the PlayStation and limited my time on my allotment. I can only equate it to driving. It was like being a rally driver as opposed to a day tourist –  start, drive, keep your eyes on the road and do not slow down to admire the scenery, or stop for tea and cake in a roadside café. There are no gears or brakes in the NaNo car!

The image displayed is the cover design I selected at the beginning of joining NaNo; a foetus. The story follows two girls in a future where child birth control is one of the themes. But now, it represents, to me at least, the birth of an idea, the nurturing of that idea, and growth. I don’t know if the story will ever be published, or if it’s working title; ‘Skypea and the Tyger’, will prevail, but it has been an interesting experience.

For those still writing, keep at it. If I can do it, so can you. Black out your windows, put on your driving gloves, and go!

http://nanowrimo.org

 

 

 

Review – Deep Space Accountant by Mjke Wood

Deep Space Accountant – Sphere of Influence (Book 1) by Mjke Wood

When I was in my final years of high school, we had a fleeting discussion about our careers. Not like now, where even a six year old seems prompted every five minutes to make a decision on his/her future. No, they were simpler days back then, I, and my friends, gave little thought to a job based future. All I was certain of were two things,

1. I wanted to be an artist, and 2. I did NOT want to be an accountant.

My mum would have had me learn to type and get a good secretarial job. So off I went to art college. I hate maths with a passion, I cannot emphasise how much numbers do NOT thrill me, in fact, I could go as far as to say, numbers frighten me. I think I might have dyscalculia (Like dyslexia but with numbers). I forget numbers, I’m rubbish with formulas and sequences (I even forgot my home phone number on more than one occasion); which brings me to Elton D Philpotts (If you want to know what the D stands for, you will have to read the book!).

Elton D Philpotts does not have dyscalculia, he does not struggle with numbers (at least, not in the regular way), he does in fact, have an extraordinary memory with regard to figures. He can see a sequence once, and remember it, and it is this ability that winds up with him in deep space.

‘Could this be the worst job interview in the history of the universe? Possibly. So when Elton D Philpotts lands his dream job he can’t help wondering how. And why. Somebody in the Space Corps needs him, and they need him bad. But the work is dull; nothing like he expected. Then he sees things he should not have seen: A hidden ledger, dodgy accounting transactions, bogus gate receipts. And when a whole starship disappears who are they going to blame? A frantic race across the Sphere of Influence takes Elton and his friends into adventure and dangers he could never have imagined.’

                                   Deep Space Accountant Sphere of Influence

Deep Space Accountant is, as can be easily surmised from the title, a sci-fi novel. The protagonist, Elton D Philpotts, is an unlikely hero. He is the common man, he is a ‘regular guy’, a normal bloke, like most of us. He is at a stage when he is questioning his career – is this all I have managed to do so far with my life? Many of us have asked ourselves this question, but Elton’s friend Walther persuades him to apply for a new post (The pre-interview sequence is hilarious). Elton makes a discovery that will change his life, meets new people that will also add to that change, and discovers a new side to his own character.  Philpotts is a Relativistic Accountant, who values assets that may be travelling at nearly light speed. Because time passes at a different rate relative to back home, it means that assets will depreciate in value at a different rate.

Mjke Wood has a very quirky sense of humour, and a very affable style of writing. I found myself smiling at unexpected moments – when the heat is on, he throws in humour (or a ‘pig’. Again, you’ll have to read it to find out!). I do not mean that to sound like he randomly adds the humour, there is nothing random about this story. It is obvious that a lot of research has gone into it. The world, or worlds, of the future are fully realised, the science is totally believable – to me at least, and the plotline is flawless.  It’s like ‘The Office’ meets ‘Buck Rogers’. Because of Wood’s writing style, the technology, and there’s lots of it, is not overly difficult to comprehend and often has comical consequences; like the smart clothing named Jim or Kim, depending on the wearers birth gender. There is attention to detail, from how a common-or-garden drinks machine is powered to how starships travel, relativistically speaking.

Definition of relativistic. 1 : of, relating to, or characterized by relativity or relativism. 2 : moving at a velocity such that there is a significant change in properties (as mass) in accordance with the theory of relativity

Deep Space Accountant has spaceships! Anarchists! Worms (yes, worms!) and invoices!

You can find your copy of Deep Space Accountant as a paperback and an eBook on Amazon. It’s also on iTunes and Kobo.

Also by Mjke Wood – ‘Travelling in a Box’, a family’s experience of holidaying abroad in a caravan. Available at Amazon.

http://mjkewood.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/deep-space-accountant.html

 

 

The Singularity Volume 3

Can quite possibly boast some of the best cover art in this style of magazine.

The third issue of this speculative fiction magazine is out now on Amazon Kindle and in Paperback at Amazon and CreateSpace . Issue 3 features another mix of ten stories from award-winning to new writers from around the world. I am delighted to be included in this issue, alongside Mike Wood who is also a member of Wirral Writers club. Mike has written many sci-fi stories that have been published across various mediums,  (plus, the really delightful “Travelling in a Box”, about his family holidays in tents and finally a caravan.)

The Singularity, I believe is one to keep your eye on. It’s editors have a sharp eyes for interesting storylines, and a good sense of humour (as evidenced by my inclusion!)

Visit:

http://www.thesingularitymagazine.com/

http://www.mjkewood.com/

http://wirralwritersonline.blogspot.co.uk/