starlady: Korra looks out over Republic City (legend of korra)
I promised [personal profile] unjapanologist last summer that I would finish watching Avatar: The Legend of Korra without her. I fulfilled that promise only eleven months later when I was lying on the couch after getting my wisdom teeth out. I'd stopped about halfway through, and I knew enough from other people not to expect too much.

Overall, I liked this show, but the comparisons between this first season of Korra and the first season of ATLA are instructive. The first season of ATLA didn't quite gel very well, but it did set up a good overarching plot and it introduced some great characters. Korra, on the other hand, shortchanges character development in favor of a rushed, slapdash, and deus ex machine finale. (Where is it going to go from here?)

Spoilers, though I'm probably the last person to watch this show ) But jebus, Bryan and Mike, way to fall down.
starlady: Aang with fire (aang can be asian & still save the world)
Yang, Gene Luen. Art by Gurihiru. Avatar: The Promise, Parts Two and Three. New York: Dark Horse Comics, 2012.

I really liked the first of Gene Yang's Avatar comics, and I really thought that these last two volumes, and in particular the third one, brought the trilogy home in a deft and wonderful way. Between the art and the writing, it feels like an extended episode of the show, and I really don't think we can ask for more than that. I also thought that the ending of this trilogy (spoilers: Iroh invents bubble tea) pointed the way toward Korra in an interesting way, where you can see the seeds for what has grown up in Republic City, but not the exact way things will go. And Zukoooooo. And Aaaaaang. Their FACES and their aaaaaaangst, OMG. The final interaction between Aang and Roku was heartbreaking, but obviously necessary.

I said after the first volume that Yang's handling of issues of colonialism and imperialism was interesting, and I think that he continued to do a pretty good job throughout. Obviously in a comic aimed at the middle grade age bracket he has to take a pretty light touch to the matter, which he does, and in particular this best-of-all-possible worlds spin on the end of empire presumes perfect economic equality between all parties involved, which doesn't match the way things turned out in our world, for certain. But all those caveats aside, I still agree with Yang's points and the way he makes them, and I love that he made them in the first place. My one real complaint is that I wish the comics were longer--Aang's dealing with the appropriation of his cultural heritage by his fangirls is brought up and put to bed entirely in the third volume, and again, I really liked what Yang said and the way he handled the issue, but it could have been even better done if it could have been done at greater length. As an expansion of the cartoon and a thoughtful engagement with some of the issues it raised, however, this series really couldn't be better.

But! There is another trilogy! With Zuko and Azula and their mother! I AM EXCITE.
starlady: Aang with fire (aang can be asian & still save the world)
Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith have a post up at Genreville, Say Yes to Gay YA:

The agent offered to sign us on the condition that we make the gay character straight, or else remove his viewpoint and all references to his sexual orientation.

I've seen a lot of people say some incisive things about this, and I wanted to emphasize two things in particular to bear in mind. As Seanan McGuire points out, the issue here isn't that there are YA books with queer characters out there. Buying, reading, and recommending the YA books with queer characters that have been published is an excellent way to show your support for queer characters in YA fiction, to be sure. But a few isolated exceptions that prove the rule don't disprove the rule. And characters who are subtextually rather than textually queer in YA books aren't examples of queer characters in YA books; they're examples of characters in YA books who may or may not be in the closet.

The other thing is that this particular instance is most obviously about a gay character in a YA book, but the same gatekeeping happens in regards to characters of color, to disabled characters, to just about any and all characters who aren't the normative straight, white protagonist that agents and publishers seem so happy to put out ad infinitum. None of the POV characters in Brown and Smith's novel are white, and I suspect quite strongly that even if all the POV characters were as straight as a yardstick, they'd still be having trouble finding representation. Maybe they wouldn't have been told explicitly that race was the reason; maybe they would have. It wouldn't change the effect of this systemic bias, regardless.

This is not about one particular book; nor is self-publishing this particular book going to solve the systemic biases in the publishing industry.


Data by [personal profile] lightgetsin

I was recently treated to another round of “disabled people need to just ask for accommodations, then they’d be given them,” with the usual accompaniments of “you shouldn’t be so angry” and “you should be nicer."

So I figured, okay. I know this is bullshit from a lifetime of experience, but let’s gather some data.

What I did
I gave myself 7 days. Every time during that 7 days I ran into a particular kind of inaccessibility, I wrote to the owner/relevant authority and asked them to fix it. I aimed for short, factual, informative request letters.



On a happier note, Gene Yang, who is going to be doing the post-series A:TLA comics, has an interview up at Racebending.com! I am SO EXCITED.
starlady: the DW logo in red against a blurred background (dreamwidth)
[tumblr.com profile] starlady38

If you have tumblr, tell me who you are, so I can add you!

For the record, this is mostly the fault of Avatar: Legend of Korra.

starlady: Aang with fire (aang can be asian & still save the world)
# One of the little things I love is all the fauna and how they're remixed rather than copied straight from our world. Turtle-seals FTW!

# Star Trek actors doing voices so far: George Takei, Rene Auberjonois (twice!). Did I miss anyone?

Minor spoilers for 1x19-20 )

# On the other hand, apparently whoever directed the voice actors was incapable of teaching them the proper way to pronounce characters' names. Case in point: everyone's favorite villain, Zhao. Even his own voice actor can't say his name correctly! Yes, this is me in my corner being pedantic, I am getting hung up on a tree, but it niggles.

# However, I am not missing the forest of awesome that is this show for that tree. This show is the best! ♥ ♥ ♥

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