Older Characters in Superhero Media

Readers of The White Knight & Black Valentine Series sometimes ask me why I chose to make my heroes “older.” The superhero genre doesn’t have an age limit: it includes heroes from children to seniors. Just look at the Power Pack or the Justice Society of America. Like most media, though, I’d say it skews young, and the genre has its roots in teen heroes and superpowers as a metaphor for puberty.

With the explosion of live-action superhero films and television starring actors who are human rather than ink on page and therefore age, we’re seeing a few more characters on the older half of the spectrum. Except when CGI makes them look younger. Oh, and those aging actors are rarely women.

But we’re all growing older (unless you’re reading this from a Lazarus Pit), so let’s take a look at those awesome elders of superhero media who don’t let age stop them from saving (or destroying) the world. Continue reading Older Characters in Superhero Media

Turn Back the Pages: Gotham Academy

Turn Back the Pages is a feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

I love gothic mysteries. I love Batman. I really should have read Gotham Academy sooner.

This book is full of gothic tropes. Gotham Academy is old, mysterious, and has a dark history. One building is even boarded up and abandoned for secret reasons. The girls’ dorm is possibly haunted. A group dressed in cloaks and masks conducts arcane rituals on campus in the dead of night. There’s even a vampire! (Okay, so he’s a bat-mutant made by science, but he looks super vampiry.) It’s seriously the best. Continue reading Turn Back the Pages: Gotham Academy

10 Female Supervillains (who are Cooler than most Heroes)

Superheroines can be powerful role models for girls. They show that women can be brave, smart, and control their own stories, which is an excellent lesson for both girls and boys. I can only imagine the impact movies like Wonder Woman and comics like Ms. Marvel and Moon Girl have on kids. Superheroes have always been beacons of hope, symbols of what humanity could achieve if we strove to be better. Though they may be fictional, superheroes can truly change the world.

But supervillains have more fun.

So if you’re in the mood for destroying the world rather than saving it, here are ten of my favorite female supervillains—and let me tell you, it was hard to narrow the list down to just ten. These ladies are powerful, brilliant and terrifying, and while they’d probably murder us in real life without a second thought, they’re super fun to read about. Continue reading 10 Female Supervillains (who are Cooler than most Heroes)

5 Writing Lessons I Learned from Re-watching Batman: The Animated Series

I re-watched the first season of Batman: The Animated Series recently for the first time since I was in my tweens. (And boy, does that make me feel old.) I loved this show when I was a kid, but I don’t think I was really old enough to appreciate how brilliant it was. As an adult who’s interested in superheroes and storytelling, I got a lot more out of it. Not only did it entertain the heck out of me, but it gave me a lot to think about writing-wise.

Here are five thoughts I had after finishing the first season. Continue reading 5 Writing Lessons I Learned from Re-watching Batman: The Animated Series

If I were in charge of the DCEU…

…I’d probably lose the company a lot of money, because I’m terrible at predicting what will be popular. Seriously, I’m the worst. But every nerd likes to dream, so if I somehow became a Hollywood executive, scriptwriter, or [insert name of important job here], these are the DC movies I’d push to make. And sure, one reason is because I’d hope they’d be popular moneymakers, but I’d also just really, really want to watch them.

Batman Beyond

Batman Beyond

At one point, another Batman movie was on the list of upcoming DC projects, though I’m not seeing it on more recent forecasts. But we’ve had seven Batman movies already, so I think DC should accept they peaked at The Dark Knight and move on… to Gotham’s cyberpunk future.

If you never watched the Batman Beyond cartoon back in the day, then friend, you are missing out. Actually, stop reading this blog post and go get the DVDs to binge watch. I won’t be offended.

In an old ‘Ask Chris’ column, Chris Sims once described the show as “What If Batman Was Spider-Man,” which I think is perfect. It takes all the high school drama and teenage shenanigans that made Spider-Man: Homecoming fun and puts it in the gothic and twisted setting of Gotham that we all know and love.

Grumpy old man Bruce Wayne is just the best, and Terry McGinnis, the new younger Batman, is relatable and very much his own character rather than being Bruce 2.0. Their multifaceted mentor/mentee relationship is the core of the show and full of just so much snark. Continue reading If I were in charge of the DCEU…

Why I’m Thankful for Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman Image

It’s Thanksgiving here in the USA, and this year, I’m thankful for Wonder Woman.

I know, I know. The movie has been out for a while now. You’re aware of how awesome it is. Everyone’s been talking about it, and you’ve seen it multiple times. You get it; it’s good.

But it could have been so awful, you guys.

Just look at the leaked Joss Whedon script or that terrible unaired TV pilot for examples of the horribleness that could have been. She could have been objectified, damseled, or relegated to a love interest in her own movie. Or we could have gotten the opposite extreme: a hyper-aggressive straw feminist and “strong female character” in the most shallow sense of the term.

Before the movie came out, my hopes were simple: I just didn’t want it to suck. Continue reading Why I’m Thankful for Wonder Woman

Turn Back the Pages: Batgirl Rising

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

Batgirl Rising Cover

I don’t know which Batgirl is more underappreciated—Cassandra Cain or Stephanie Brown.

In my review of Cass’s run as Batgirl, I said that I’d be getting to Steph one day, and friends, that day is today. So get ready for the fun Batgirl! (Sorry, Cass, you’ll always be my favorite, but Steph just looks like she’s having the best time ever when she’s fighting crime.)

Who the heck is Stephanie Brown?

If you’ve never heard of her before, Steph is the daughter of a supervillain and Riddler-wannabe by the name of Cluemaster (who’s a jerk). She turned vigilante in her teenage years (as one does), and took on the hard job of being a non-Batman-affiliated crimefighter in Gotham City.

She called herself Spoiler, because she spoiled crime, I guess? In any case, it leads to her appearing in some fun“Spoiler Alert” gifs and images in real life, which is a cool claim to fame.

Her costume can only be described as the color eggplant.

Spoiler Costume ImageShe was Tim Drake’s love interest during his time as Robin, and though she didn’t have his training and experience, she made up for it in determination and resourcefulness. What I liked about her character was that—in contrast to Tim—she was from the wrong side of the tracks. While he got access to all of Batman’s cool, high-tech toys, Steph had to work a crummy part-time job in fast food delivery to afford crime-fighting equipment. Continue reading Turn Back the Pages: Batgirl Rising