What’s been going on this weekend?

Bronys and pegasisters meet in New Jersey for “BronyCon Summer 2012”!

As Yahoo reports (via AP):

[“Friendship is Magic” creator Lauren] Faust told The Associated Press at BronyCon on Saturday that she never imagined the show would be such a hit with teenage boys and young men. She said her main target was little girls, but she hoped to draw in moms and perhaps some boys with strong characters and compelling story lines.

“We live in a society where saying that something is for girls is the equivalent to saying that something is stupid, or saying that something isn’t worthwhile,” Faust said.

“I think that’s awful and I think that kind of attitude needs to be changed,” she said. “And these men are doing it. … They’re proud that they’re forward-thinking and modern enough to look past this misogynistic attitude.”

Faust said she, like the Bronies, is disturbed at the negative images some people have about men who like the show.

The New York Times’s chief movie critics, A. O. Scott and Manohla Dargis, ponder the meaning of an apparently invincible genre.

Scott and Dargis discuss why superhero movies are so popular, and what sort of meaning can be gleaned from the genre.

DARGIS They’re certainly avatars of reaction in how they justify and perpetuate the industry’s entrenched sexism. You just have to scan the spandex bulges in “The Avengers” to see that superhero movies remain a big boys’ club, with few women and girls allowed. Yes, there are female superheroes on screen, like Jean Grey from the “X-Men” series, but they tend not to drive the stories, while female superheroes with their own movies never dominate the box office. Most women in superhero movies exist to smile indulgently at the super-hunk, to be rescued and to flaunt their assets, like Scarlett Johansson’s character in “The Avengers,” whose biggest superpower, to judge by the on- and off-screen attention lavished on it, was her super-rump.

Your weekly article about comics and academia

University of North Texas professor Shaun Treat teaches “Mythic Rhetoric of Superheroes” in the UNT Department of Communication Studies.

Half of the University of North Texas students in professor Shaun Treat’s summer class had never read a comic book.

His WordPress blog can be found here.  The amazing syllabus is here!  What’s on the reading list?

  • Jewett & Lawrence, The Myth of the American Superhero. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2002. [HIGHLY recommended!]
  • Barry Brummett, Rhetoric in Popular Culture. Sage, 2006 (2nd Ed) or 2011 (3rd Ed).
  • Reading Packet of superhero scholarship [at copy shop] and Graphic Novels [list below]
    • Batman: Year One
    • Green Lantern & Green Arrow
    • X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga
    • The Dark Knight Returns
    • V for Vendetta
    • Marvels
    • Kingdom Come
    • Superman: Red Son
    • Icon: The Hero’s Welcome
    • Promethea
    • Marvel Civil War
    • Watchmen
    • All-Star Superman
    • Batwoman: Elegy
    • Wonder Woman: Hiketeia*
    • The Authority*/ Astro City*
    • Superman: Birthright*
    • Swamp Thing*
    • Daredevil: Reborn*
    • Birds of Prey*
    • * = recommended, not required

Man…. I wish Texas wasn’t so far away!

“So what exactly is Grant Morrison building out there in the Nevada desert?”

The Los Angeles Times reports on the forthcoming MorrisonCon.

“The ideas of comic books have exploded off the pages to influence our entire culture so we wanted to create an event to celebrate that,” Morrison said. “Something that would combine visionary ideas, occult ritual, music and spoken word performances, art workshops, experimental films, DJ sets and in-depth discussions inspired by the comics.”

I wonder what the logo/sigil will look like?

All Programming for Comic-Con International has been posted.

There will also be exclusive retailer programming, and a network lounge.

Perhaps cosplay could be an extreme sport?

Anime Expo and the X Games take place simultaneously in downtown Los Angeles. 

ESPN has an interesting perspective.

That’s exactly what happened this year as ESPN moved the Summer X Games from its normal slot at the end of July to the end of June to accommodate athletes and fans who are Olympics-bound in London.

So, this weekend, it was 100,000 people watching skateboarders, BMXers and Rallycross drivers at the 18th annual X Games, and right next door at the Los Angeles Convention Center, it was another 100,000 people dressing up as their favorite anime characters, listening to famous voice-over TV actors and buying the latest Japanese comic at the 21st annual Anime Expo 2012.

The crowds aren’t so different, Diaz said. “I see a lot of people walking between the two conventions and they are enjoying their days. Our plan is to go to both.”

And the most awesome quote:

Diaz was carrying a blowup gun and sporting black shorts and a black shirt with a skeleton design on the front.

Is that from a movie or a comic book?

“No, this is just how I dress.”

I’ll say it again….  sports fans are just another tribe of geeks.  Arcane knowledge, t-shirts and jerseys of their favorite teams, passion, fantasy gaming, a growing female presence, billions of dollars spent…


  1. “Most women in superhero movies exist to smile indulgently at the super-hunk, to be rescued and to flaunt their assets, like Scarlett Johansson’s character in “The Avengers,” whose biggest superpower, to judge by the on- and off-screen attention lavished on it, was her super-rump.”

    Did he even see the movie? She was the one that saved the world.

    “…while female superheroes with their own movies never dominate the box office.”

    Does he mean all two of them that have come out in the past decade? Elektra and Catwoman bombed at the box office not because they had female leads but because they were horrible movies. And they actually did better than Jonah Hex and The Spirit.

    I think movies like Hunger Games and Brave (and even Snow White and the Huntsman) have shown us that you can have strong female leads win at the box office.

  2. There might be a problem with establishing the motivation for a superheroine. Having your parents killed, growing up as an orphan, vowing to avenge their deaths, etc., might be a cliche, but it works for male readers. Superman is a legend; Supergirl isn’t; Batman is a legend; Batgirl. . . There isn’t a female version of Tony Stark, not that a plainly derivative female version of Stark would be a good thing. The Black Widow is a strong woman, but she’s not super. If someone takes the time and energy to make his heroine realistic, he’s writing genre fiction, not the archetypal superhero. I liked Lady Killer in THE STRANGERS, but what did female readers think of her?

    It might be easier to write a superheroine in a standalone, close-ended story than in an endless serial.


  3. Thanks for posting the link to the UNT class! That class is fantastic to participate in, every time we convert at least a few more people to the greatness that is the comics medium, and it never gets old helping others discover what the medium has to offer.