In honor of Women’s Month, we thought it would be a lot of fun to take a moment to feature one of our favorite vendors: FanMail.
If you’re a fan of subscription boxes, are proud to be a geek, and want to take the opportunity to support a business owned and run by women, you really can’t go wrong here. A subscription to FanMail means that every other month you are going to get a box of unique, curated items picked specifically for today’s lady-geek. There is a focus on featuring other small lady-owned businesses within the items as well. Seriously guys, this stuff is so great that I’m doing this post not because they gave us a box in trade, but because I’m a happy subscriber and am pleased to give them my money.
One (or should I say two) of the things that makes FanMail so special are the owners Rose and Jenny. Rose and Jenny share The Ladies of Comicazi’s mission to celebrate women and the community in which we create, forge friendships, and experience our fandoms. They are dedicated, friendly, and are responsible for a lot of people getting their hands on some really amazing stuff.
In an attempt to convince you, I wanted to share the unboxing of my February Box. This month’s theme was Familiars and Companions.
Items: Bookstr Notebook, Avatar/Totoro Cross-over T-Shirt, Doctor Who Donna Noble quote sticker, Luna-inspired Sailor Moon Necklace, and adorable Eevee Pokemon (or is that a Flareon?)
Item: BB-8 throw pillow case. So gorgeous!
Item: Niffler pouch – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
I realize my photos don’t seem to do the items justice, so if you want to see more, you should head on over to FanMail’s Instagram.
Oh, and if a subscription might be more of a commitment than you are ready for, you can browse their shop for past items and boxes. I got my eyes on these sweet but subtle Hogwarts House mugs. Hufflepuff forever!
Well well well, we haven’t done one of these in a while. Recently the Ladies did a little research into our own Meyers-Briggs types. You have to pay for the real test but here is a free online assessment to take for funsies. Once we had our types, of course the next logical/fun step was to look at various fandoms and see what fictional characters shared our types. (There are tons of these out there, pick any fandom, Google and enjoy.) I’ll spare you some of mine lest you think I am a total sociopath (I’m looking at you Supernatural MBTI chart), but this exercise did remind me of a character I have often felt a connection to and who may not get as much attention in the pantheon of kick-ass fictional ladies.
When you think of industries where ladies are underrepresented, the ones that spring to mind are likely the tech industry, or the comics industry, airline pilots, STEM, construction….anyway. One area that might not be at the forefront of your mind is the tattoo industry. Getting tattoos in Massachusetts (where the Ladies are based) was illegal until 2000, and since then shops have popped up fast and furious. On my less than 2 mile walk to work, I pass four! So while tattoos have become fairly mainstream, the make-up of those who do the work still skews heavily male. However there are ladies out there, working hard, pushing their way in, and doing amazing work. Last year I met one of them and while she did a lovely piece for me, she was cool enough to tell me a little about her experience. This past December, I decided to visit her again to get an old piece reworked, and this time I was prepared, with Smalerie in tow to take notes. I combined getting a tattoo reworked with learning more about my artist, the industry, and even some best practices around getting a tattoo.
In my last update, I outlined the many reasons I think you should be watching the CW’s iZombie series. Since he knows how much I like the show, for Christmas Mr. Menace decided to give me the iZombie omnibus – all 28 issues of Chris Roberson and Mike Allred’s series packed into one (admittedly pretty hefty) volume. He’d read the entire series as it came out, and was curious to hear my take on it as a fan of the show. So after the holidays, I dove on in.
Animation of all kinds has always been essential in helping to bring dinosaurs back to life on screens big and small. In the month where we celebrate everyone’s favorite prehistoric creatures, let’s take a look at a small sample of the wide world of animated dinos.
Happy Dinovember, advice-seekers! This is our favorite month of the year. Besides being a 30-day celebration of our glorious selves, it’s the month in which we celebrate our favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. It’s the one day of the year you humans take in the right number of calories. This year, the feasting starts early – we and the Ladies are kicking off our celebration on Saturday, November 5th with our buddy Kyle Coston’s Gut-Bustin’ Thanksgiving special. The Ladies will be feeding Kyle a special treat, so don’t miss the fun!
If you’re more into dinosaurs than turkey, be sure to follow the adventures of our pal TR Henri and his friends at the Henrietta Public Library. These guys get up to all kinds of hijinks!
And now, without further ado, we solve your problems. These questions come from some of our friends who attended LadiesCon 2016! If you don’t see your question, fear not – we will address it in a later installment.
LadiesCon 2016 may be over, but we’re still thinking about what made it such a great time. One of the things that I was really excited about was the opportunity to speak directly to so many creators and artists about their original works. One of the creators I was most excited about was Mildred Louis, who writes and draws a comic called Agents of the Realm. I hadn’t heard of her work before the con, but when she contacted us about having a table, I looked at her work and knew I’d be paying her a visit. I had the supreme good fortune (thanks to a huge assist from Smalerie) of snagging the last copy of her book, which collects the first volume of an ambitious work which, luckily for me, continues online.
The premise is a twist on the classic magical girl genre of manga (see Crystal Cadets for a more standard version): five young women discover that they are the protectors of our world, which is being threatened by strange beasts entering our realm from a sister dimension. In the classic magical girl style, Norah, Adele, Kendall, Paige, and Jordan have special brooches that transform them into uniform-wearing warriors, each with her own weapon, powers, and attendant element. Through the magic of the brooches, they find each other and begin to learn about their powers, the other realm, and why and how they were chosen to protect the world.
The twist comes in from the fact that in standard magical girl stories, there is an emphasis on girl – the protagonists are typically tweens or young teenagers, and part of the transformation is that they become an adult version of themselves. They’re all Mary Marvel, if her posse were other girls instead of two boys and talking tiger. The Agents are all adults already – young adults, to be fair, but in college and of legal age. This immediately has different implications about how they make the choice to accept their roles and for how Louis is able to explore the relationships between the characters and the problems that they face. When you’re watching or reading Sailor Moon, you know that while Sailor Moon is presented as an adult, Usagi Tsukino is really still a kid, and her concerns when she isn’t saving the planet are appropriately childish. The Agents, on the other hand, are young adults, and they have concerns that an adult can relate to, in addition to fighting off giant spirit birds.
Another thing that makes the series great is the level of representation of both people of color and of LBGTQ folks. Most of the characters, including 4 of the 5 Agents, are not white. They also have a wide range of body types – and they keep them after they transform. They do not become “idealized” versions of themselves. This is a powerful message delivered with subtlety – that they are already good enough, already powerful just as they are. They are also beautiful, and feminine, without needing to all fit into the white, western ideal shape.
The orientations of the various characters are handled with that same grace – we’re shown characters who have loving relationships of all types, completely integrated into the story. It doesn’t feel like anything that’s being called attention to, a lesson we’re meant to learn – these are just people, and people have many different approaches to sex and love and romance.
Norah, Adele, Kendall, Paige, and Jordan feel like real people – they have strengths, but also flaws – and not just “oh, she’s such a klutz.” It’s apparent even in the first issue that Norah struggles with social anxiety. Paige is driven and ambitious to the point of being rude at times. Kendall is a peacemaker. It’s refreshing to see the trope of the “chosen ones” applied to characters who feel like more than a cardboard cutout.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the art. As you can see from the pictures here, it’s gorgeous and dynamic. There’s a clear progression as Louis’ style evolves – I think that she continually improves her panel layout and visual storytelling – but the technical excellence is on display from the beginning.
Do you read Agents of the Realm? Tell me what you think in the comments!
Recommended age: Teen to adult. The content is far from racy, but the website does have a trigger warning that suggests that not all of it might be suitable for younger readers.
You might like it if: You like realistic ladies kicking fantastical butt.
Bonus features: If you’re local, Mildred Louis will be at MICE! So if you missed getting a physical book at LadiesCon, you might have another shot.
Hopefully by now you have heard about LadiesCon and acquainted yourselves with 2 of our special guests, Erica Henderson and Ming Doyle. Let me help you get acquainted with the third. All the way from the Pacific Northwest we are delighted to bring independent comics creator Linda Medley to LadiesCon!
You likely are familiar with Linda’s work, but if not, let me bring you up to speed. This lady has done it all, she’s had work published by Golden Books, Grosset and Dunlap, DC Comics, Image Comics and many others. During her time as a freelance artist she’s been a inker, penciler, colorist, and is the creator of her own independent graphic novel series Castle Waiting.
So normally this would be Cartoon Sara’s week to lay down some thoughts and musings, but family matters have have made that difficult. So you get me…again. You’re welcome, and/or I’m sorry, choose which ever best suits your needs. As I didn’t really have post planned I thought I would take this opportunity to tell you what’s been going on with us Ladies, and most importantly, what’s coming up in the near future. We would also love to have a chance to hear from you about what you would like to see some us, so please don’t leave without answering the poll questions below.
What’s coming up-
The summer has been super exciting for us. As often happens, a lot of stuff has come up in a short period of time and we are working hard to make things happen!
First off– The Red Menace and I had a chance to interview Caitlin Kittredge about her work on the new Boom! Studios comic Lucas Stand. She’s co-writing it with Kurt Sutter…yeah, that Kurt Sutter, did a little show called Sons of Anarchy. Anyway, I had a chance to read this title before we spoke with Caitlin and if you like anti-heroes, and the possibility of angels and demons duking it out, then this will be right in your wheelhouse.
Next– After we interviewed Caitlin, all of the Ladies were interviewed by WBZ-TV, our local CBS affiliate for a web series called The Secret Worlds of Boston Comic Con. This series will start today on CBSBoston.com and will give a look inside Boston’s thriving geek culture. Rumor has it we will be in the first episode a little, but more so in the second. Watch to see how red my face can get when faced with public speaking, an expensive camera, and a boom mic (fun fact: 3 of us Ladies are introverts, 2 of us secret ones).
Also– You guys….WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A PANEL AT BOSTON COMIC CON!
I know, right? Join us on Sunday, August 14th at 1pm!
Food & Fandom: Celebrating the Delicious Side of Pop Culture: Food and fandom go together like The Hound and all of the chicken – join the Ladies of Comicazi for a discussion of the many ways they intersect!
Last– Here are those polls I mentioned.
Ah, summer! A time for sun, surf, and outrageous betrayal by loved ones. This month all three of our questions come from J.O., a charming young man we met at a fun shindig the Ladies brought us to, Kyle Coston Tonight! This live chat show was a real hoot to do. Don’t worry if you missed our fabulousness – the whole show is available here for your viewing pleasure. You’ll probably notice that we had to share the stage with the Ladies, which we’re sure was a misunderstanding that will no doubt be rectified in our future appearances.
J.O. had three questions. He began:
Dear Fashion Raptors, It was great meeting you ladies at the Kyle Coston show – thanks for the fashion tips and not eviscerating anyone! Yay! I was curious if you ever worry about sudden yet inevitable betrayals?
Thank you for writing in to us after the show! It was one of our first public appearances since Boston Comicon, but we guarantee that it won’t be our last. While you ask about sudden yet inevitable betrayal, you didn’t quite indicate by whom we might be betrayed. If you are referring to the Ladies, we are not too concerned. For one thing, have you seen them? They are weoefully inadequate in a fight to death, what with their pitiful (though brightly colored) claws, distressingly blunt teeth, soft, rendable skin, and laughable running speeds. Honestly, 7 miles per hour is the best they can do? If they betrayed us, we could easily be bathing in their viscera before they even knew what happened. For another thing, what possible motive could they have to betray us? This blog needs us – we are clearly the star attraction, here.
Now, if you are asking whether we might betray each other, we remind you that raptors are pack hunters – we’re better together. Though…now that you mention it, there’s very little evidence for that in the fossil record. Way more raptors seem to be loners. Huh. Guess we’ll both be sleeping with one eye open from now on. Thanks for that, J.O.
J.O. went on to ask, “Also, what is your position on Luau / Hawaiian shirts? I enjoy the sense of “bringing the party with me” but is there every a time when a Luau shirt might be the wrong answer?”
Ah, the Hawaiian, or as it’s known in Hawaii, the Aloha shirt, that brilliantly colored piece of kitschy comfort. We think they’re great! Besides indicating a willingness to relax and enjoy a party atmosphere (possibly with excellent cocktails), the tropical patterns can provide excellent camouflage in the right environment. They also do a bang-up job of obscuring those unsightly blood stains, an all-too common occurrence after a long day of stalking and disemboweling your prey.
You ask if they’re appropriate for every occasion – this is one of those situations that is all about context. On the islands of Hawaii, the answer is nearly always yes, particularly if the occasion is semi-formal, such as a wedding. The culture is such that more formal attire might even be considered inappropriate. Additionally, tropical places will be where you will get the most out of that camouflage effect. Bright flowers and parrots blend in poorly on the gray streets of Boston in winter, and are not recommended.
Then too, if one is presented with a somber occasion, such as a funeral, more context may be needed. If your deceased loved one wants a “celebration of life” type send-off, go for it! For other folks, a touch more gravitas might be required. Luckily, black offers many of the same stain-hiding and stealth advantages of aloha prints – and has the added bonus of being quite slimming!
Finally, J.O. wanted to know: Also, while it clearly is possible to pay too much for one (T. Bahama!) is it ever possible to pay too little (Going to the Thrift Shop with Macklemore!) Thanks! Have a great one!
Once again, J.O., it is important to consider context. For the most part, we raptors find saving money to be extremely fashionable. It’s all well and good to splurge on a Coach purse or Max Gengos dress, but so much better to unearth a 60’s Emilio Pucci dress at the local thrift shop for a song. Thrift shopping is all about the thrill of the hunt, chasing your treasure and taking it down in a frenzy of savage beauty, blood, and fine leather goods. Even when the big scores don’t hit, there’s joy to be had in finding out how much you can acquire for less.
But – we caution you not to be hasty in your purchases – don’t buy something just because it’s cheap! If it’s not well-made, or doesn’t really fit you well, is it even worth the few dollars you spent? Take it from us – mistakes can be made.
Thanks to J.O. for all of the great questions! If you want to ask us questions, email the Ladies at email@example.com – they’ll pass them along. And tune in for end of summer update, when we finally address the burning question of white after Labor Day!