Aliens, and Heroes, and Zombies… Oh My!

3) DC’s Blackest Night

From Goodreads.com

The Black Lanterns are death incarnate–and they’re coming for everything. Can Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps stand in their way? And what about Earth’s other heroes–many of whom have been touched by death themselves. What happens when the Black Lantern takes over those heroes? Does Hal Jordan have enough willpower (and Barry Allen Flash enough hope) to fight–and save–these friends-turned-zombies?

From “Blackest Night”

Creepy Quote

“Death takes us all. And the universe will finally be at peace.”

Similar Books

Night of the Living Deadpool (If you want zombies, but with Deadpool.) Final Crisis (A confusing book, and not one of my favorite comics–but the end of it has a direct correlation with this story arc. I won’t say specifics because… spoilers.) Green Arrow, Vol. 1: Quiver (Ties into themes of life, death, and resurrection, but with a more supernatural element.)


Source:

Johns, Geoff. Blackest Night. New York. DC Comics. 2010

Mini Golf and a Random Act of Kindness

For most of this month, I’m concentrating on all things spooky. But during “A Look Back, a Look Ahead,” I wanted to concentrate on another part of autumn: Togetherness. We come together for Trick or Treat and parties; we come together for apple-picking and pumpkin carving; we come together to sip warm apple cider while huddled around an even warmer fire. I wrote a while ago about about the impact kindness can have, and between everyone being tired of the pandemic and the current political environment (gotta love election years, right?), I thought it would be nice to set aside one day a week to focus on acts of kindness.

A Kindness Memory

I’m dreaming of vacations again, so today’s Random Act of Kindness is from a trip to Gatlinburg. I was probably about middle school age, which would have put my brother in early elementary school. Now, one thing we always do in Gatlinburg is play as much mini golf as humanly possible. On this day, we’d decided to try out a new course–it was a part of a “fun complex” and themed with safari animals. (So, you know… pretty much as touristy and fun as you can get.) We had just finished a game (with my father, winning, of course), and were dropping off our putters when a man came up to us. “Are you going to be staying here for a while?” he asked. An odd question, but my dad was like, “Yeah, this is our first day of vacation.” “Great!” he said, and handed us tickets–LOTS OF TICKETS–for all the other attractions at the park. “This is our last day and we haven’t used these up. Have fun!” My dad offered to pay him for the tickets, but the man wouldn’t accept. He simply wanted to see another family have some fun. And boy, did we! Bumper boats, arcades, go-carts, and yes… even more mini golf!

Kindness Challenge of the Day

Give someone a happy surprise. It doesn’t have to be tickets to fun and adventure. It can be something as simple as an unexpected compliment.

You Can’t Outrun Misery….

What makes a comic scary? As I start this countdown, I looked over the many (and I mean MANY) graphic novels I’ve read. Some of them were exciting, and there were even a few that were disturbing… but which comics really best fit with Halloween themes? In the end, I decided that a scary comic had either one, or both, of two criteria: (1) Unsettling imagery, and (2) A story that leaves you with chills.

So, here we go: The Top 4 Scariest Comics I’ve Read, starting with….

4) Doctor Strange, Vol. 4: Mr. Misery

From Goodreads.com

“Mr. Misery” is the result of Dr. Stephen Strange’s attempt to circumvent the “price” that comes with using magic. A monster literally made out of suffering, he is nothing short of a nightmare on paper. The creepy levels of this comic are off the chart!

Creepy Quote:

“Misery loves you too, Doctor.”

Similar Books:

Doctor Strange Vols. 1-3 (These stories lead up to the above volume and also have some creepy imagery.) Marvel 1602 (Also includes Doctor Strange as a major character. Though “creep factor” isn’t a driving force in this story, it’s still there and when it is, the imagery is more intense.)


Source:

Aaron, Jason. Doctor Strange: Mr. Misery. New York. Marvel Comics, 2017.

British Punk and a Random Act of Kindness

For most of this month, I’m concentrating on all things spooky. But during “A Look Back, a Look Ahead,” I wanted to concentrate on another part of autumn: Togetherness. We come together for Trick or Treat and parties; we come together for apple-picking and pumpkin carving; we come together to sip warm apple cider while huddled around an even warmer fire. I wrote a while ago about about the impact kindness can have, and between everyone being tired of the pandemic and the current political environment (gotta love election years, right?), I thought it would be nice to set aside one day a week to focus on acts of kindness.

A Kindness Memory

Back when I was in high school, I was SUPER into classic rock. (I’ve been to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame three times.) I was probably a sophomore when I discovered the British punk band The Clash–and what teenager doesn’t love a bit of rebellion? I still rock out every time I hear “London Calling.” This particular day, I was at the mall and decided to purchase The Clash’s Greatest Hits CD. (Yes… this is back when people still bought physical copies of music, rather than downloading everything.) I was old enough to know how sales tax worked, but for whatever reason, I just didn’t account for it. I can’t remember if I was in a hurry or if I just epically failed at math that day (the latter could very well be true). When I went to check out, I ended up being about a dollar short. There was a huge line behind me, and to not have enough money for this shy, introverted girl was devastating. I stumbled over my words and started to explain that I’d head outside and get the extra dollar from my dad. The clerk just shook her head, said, “It’s fine. Don’t worry,” and then proceeded to pay the balance herself. I was surprised and, yes, a little flustered. It wasn’t until years later that I finally let myself not feel embarrassed. The lady didn’t have to pay for the CD; she didn’t have to make sure that this clearly awkward teenage girl wasn’t thrust into the center of attention. But she did. And now, whenever I play that Clash CD I’m reminded of how we can all help others to feel better in situations that are out of our control. After all, 2020 has given us very, very little control over so much of our lives. But at least there is this: We can control how we treat each other. We can control those little moments of awkwardness and maybe make them a little easier for someone else.

Kindness Challenge of the Day

Give someone a hand in an awkward situation. It doesn’t even have to take a cent–sometimes, just a smile and saying, “I’ve been there, too” can go a long way.

Who’s Telling the Story?

Which sentence grabs your attention the most?

(1) I wasn’t sure which way would lead me home; I just knew that I had to keep walking, putting distance between myself and… them.

(2) He wasn’t sure which way would lead him home; he just knew that he had to keep walking, putting distance between himself and… them.

(3) You weren’t sure which way would lead you home; you just new that you had to keep walking, putting distance between yourself and… them.

Obviously, the only thing I changed was the PoV (point of view)–aka, who’s telling the story. The sensation while reading them, though, is different for each one.

The first example is more personal. You might not know who the narrator is yet–but you know that they are telling the story directly to you. The added intimacy makes it more engaging.

In the second example, you–the reader–are separated from the main character. There’s an added aura of mystery–since you’re left asking who “he” is, as well as “them.” The second example is like reading an account, such as a newspaper article. In contrast, the first is like being whispered a tale around a campfire.

The third example is something that is hardly ever seen in literature. (And it’s a real shame, because I feel like this kind of style would be really cool to play with.) Here, there is no separating you from the story–here, the writer is literally making you a character. This type of engagement adds to the suspense.

These are the three types of PoV: First, second, and third-person. Most stories are written in either first or second, for obvious reasons. Second-person can be limiting as, unlike third-person, you don’t have the advantage of being an observer from time to time, and, unlike first-person, you as the author can’t be privy to the character’s every thought.

So, unless you’re playing with some experimental fiction (which can be a lot of fun to read and write), chances are you’re going with first or third-person.

So… what difference does it make?

Well, for starters, first-person tends to be the most natural. Whenever we tell stories to family and friends, that’s how we tell them: “I was on my way to the store when….” If you’re wanting your story to have a more one-on-one feel, then this is a good way to go. In addition, first-person can also be an effective choice if you’re really wanting to get inside your main character’s head–focus on their thoughts and psyche.

On the flip-side, third person can also have its advantages. Maybe you want the reader to be separated from the main character. You can see more and experience more if you’re not stuck in just one person’s head. That said, there are different levels of third-person.

In third-person omniscient, the narrator (read: the author) knows everything. You tell what everyone is thinking and feeling. You can even express your own opinions. (This works particularly well with satire.)

In third-person limited omniscient, the narrator tends to stick with one character. He doesn’t jump around too often (though he may from time to time). His role is more that of an observer.

In third-person limited, the narrator is more neutral. He’s not diving into everyone’s heads. Instead, he is just relating the story as it happens.

All of these have their own advantages and disadvantages: How closely do you want your reader to know your characters? What tone are you looking to achieve?

Sometimes, the PoV comes naturally. You have a story in your head and you just go for it. Other times… it doesn’t. My biggest tip I can give is this: If you’re writing a story and it doesn’t seem to be working, try switching PoVs. You’d be surprised the difference it can make. (I once had a 100-page draft that wasn’t “feeling right.” I ended up trashing it and rewriting the entire story in first-person. After that, it just flowed.)

So… do you have a preferred PoV? Have you ever had to ditch a 100-page manuscript? Share your writing stories in the comments!

Rainbow Batman and Super-Mullets: Strange Superhero Fashion

Comic books have been around for decades–in that time, a lot has changed. You can see how the writing styles became more serious and complex, and how the stories began to tackle larger issues than just “good guy beats bad guy.”

But today, I don’t want to talk about any of that.

I want to talk about superhero style: the yesteryear fashions and hairstyles that have us rolling our eyes and snorting.

Let’s take a journey with….

5 of the Strangest Superhero Fashion Choices

(5) Robin’s Short Pants

I don’t think I need to say anything here. I’m just really glad Robin has actual pants these days.

(4) Tim Drake’s Electrocution Hair

Ah, the ’90s. You really didn’t know what you were doing style-wise, did you? Not long ago, I was reading a comic when Tim’s hair stopped me cold. I laughed out loud and snapped a picture.

(3) Batman of Zur-En-Arrh

I get that Grant Morrison was trying to tie in Batman stories from the ’50s (which were particularly odd since they were trying to add sci-fi elements to revitalize the then-at-risk-for-cancellation Batman comics), but there is just something about Batman in red, yellow, and purple that doesn’t work. He looks more like a fast food mascot than the Dark Knight.

(2) Disco Nightwing

Dick Grayson… how did you manage to end up on this list twice? First as Robin, and now as Nightwing. Your first costume as a solo act was… bold, to say the least. What makes it even funnier is the bravado with which you introduce yourself: “Are you people ready? Say hello to Nightwing!” The good news… your costume did become more subtle in later years.

(1) Super-Mullet

I don’t know what part of “mild-mannered reporter” says mullett, but in the ’90s… that’s apparently what DC though Superman needed. Watch out ladies, here comes Super-Fabio…..

There you have it: Five of the craziest superhero styles that I’ve come across. I know there are tons more–comics are nice little time capsules of culture–but I tried to keep this list to what I’ve actually come across myself while reading.

Have you read comics with other bizarre super-fashion? Share them in the comments! We all need laughs nowadays… and I’ve heard tell of Thor in a crop top????


Sources:

Finger, Bill. The Batman Chronicles, Volume 3. New York, DC Comics, 2007.

Batman Arkham: Penguin. New York, DC Comics, Burbank, CA. 2018.

Morrison, Grant. Batman: R.I.P., Deluxe Edition. New York, DC Comics, 2009.

Wolfman, Marv. The New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract. Burbank, CA, DC Comics, 2003.

Jurgens, Dan. Superman #83: Funeral For a Friend/Epilogue. New York, DC Comics, 1993.

Why I Don’t Believe in Bucket Lists

I like goals. (Maybe a little bit too much, if I’m honest….) But I’ve always been the type of person to make check-lists, charts, schedules, etc. I like knowing what I want to do and planning it out. Once it’s on paper, it becomes more of a reality–and with clear, timely steps, I know how to make that reality happen.

So you would think that I’d be a fan of bucket lists.

Actually… no. Not even a little bit.

If there is one certainty in life it is uncertainty–and if we didn’t know that before, we definitely know it after 2020. Creating a list of “must do’s before I die,” honestly seems a little bit like testing fate. And, while I definitely have several things I’d like to do (visiting Japan is at the very top), I’ve never sat down and made an actual list. Why? Well, not just because the future is promised to no one (and I don’t want Afterlife Sarah to feel bummed about an incomplete checklist), but also because I believe more in celebrating what has actually been, rather than what might be.

Goals and dreams are great, but have you ever taken a moment to look back on what you’ve already accomplished? On what you’ve experienced?

We live in a very fast society. Whether it’s instant updates on LITERALLY EVERYTHING through social media, or the demanding pressures of a job, we’re constantly looking toward the future. And I think that’s why bucket lists are so alluring: They tie directly into our need to “go, go, go.”

But rarely do we take the time to stop and think about our own pasts and relish the treasures found there. If we did, we might find ourselves smiling over fond memories, or even feeling a little bit of pride over what we’ve already accomplished. And that’s okay–we should feel good about our lives. It’s not egotistical or self-centered.

I suppose you could say I’m more of a fan of “Reverse Bucket Lists.” It’s difficult right now to make new memories and go on exciting adventures. This year, my plans to go to Nashville, Graceland, Gatlinburg, Mammoth Caves, Las Vegas, and the Arches National Park all… well, went kerplooey. (Remember what I said about uncertainty?)

Instead, I’ve been spending time going through pictures and scrapbooking. (Admittedly, I’ve also been doing some vicarious living by flipping through travel books.) I’ve gotten ideas for the future, but I’ve also had a lot of fun reliving the past.

I’ve thought back on the ocean lapping at my toes and the sand squishing between my feet. (A memory from just last year.) And I’ve revisited the satisfyingly cool relief of a pineapple Dole whip at Disney World. (Three years ago.) (Seriously–if you ever go to Disney World, try to Dole whip. It’s amazing.)

I’ve also looked back on some accomplishments: graduating from high school and college; graphic design awards I won back when I worked at the local paper; the first Library Comic Con I planned. Like a lot of people, I’m feeling at a bit of a deadend this year: There’s only so much we’re even capable of doing. However, remembering things I’ve done before inspired a bit of fire in me: A time will come when I can do cool things again.

In short, thinking of my own “Reverse Bucket List” helped me put a lot of the “2020 craziness” in perspective. Life hasn’t stopped. It’s just different right now.

So here’s my challenge today: Write a Reverse Bucket List. Take a moment to think back on what you’ve experienced, what you’ve already done during your time on earth. If you want to think ahead afterward and make some plans, go for it. The future might not be guaranteed, but it is still waiting. Carpe diem, my friend.

But don’t forget to also appreciate the other diems you’ve already carpe’ed.

Stay positive, everyone. Lots of love!

2020’s Best Vicarious Living

Raise your hand if you’ve been doing some vicarious living during the pandemic.

Which means: Have you been doing a lot of reading? And I mean A LOT.

That’s been me. I may be stuck at home, but at least, with a good book, I don’t have to feel like I’m at home. I’m flying over Metropolis with Superman. Or I’m chasing down FTAs with Stephanie Plum. Or I’m living alongside robots in Isaac Asimov’s vision of the future. (My reading list has been a little all over the place.)

Today, I thought it would be fun to make a list of the top ten books I’ve read during the pandemic. If you’re looking for a new read, give one of these a try and let me know what you think. I’m always up for a good book conversation!

My Top 10 Books of the Pandemic

(10) Adultolescence by Gabbie Hanna

As much as I enjoy writing and reading poetry, I kind of forget about it. I picked up this book mostly because I wanted something a little bit different. I found the poems to be incredibly relatable and oddly beautiful in their bluntness. Some were funny, some were sad, but they were all undeniably honest. The illustrations were strange in a way that fit perfectly with the tone of the poems. I found out later that the author is a YouTuber. While I don’t know much about her on that platform, I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed her poetry.

(9) Highfire by Eoin Colfer

A bizarre book about a vodka-drinking dragon in a Louisiana swamp who gets himself into some trouble with a good-hearted ne’er-do-well and a crooked cop. The one downside to this book is there is a lot of mature language. It sets the tone for the story and characters, but if you’re someone who doesn’t really curse (like me), it’s a lot. Beyond that, though, it’s a unique and at times funny and heartwarming fantasy story that, once you get to a certain point, is a real-page turner.

(8) How to Become a Federal Criminal by Mike Chase

I don’t typically read nonfiction but this book had me laughing out loud. Mike Chase’s sarcastic wit pairs perfectly with these strange laws that, yes, all really exist. Funny and educational, this is a really solid read for fans of history, law, or the just-plain-weird.

(7) The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

Oddly appropriate for a pandemic, this book is written in a nonfiction style. (I didn’t know much about it going in, except that I like Michael Crichton; while reading it, I was actually worried that we’d cataloged it incorrectly–the writing is that convincing. Or maybe I’m just gullible….) Still, it’s engaging and exciting, partly because it feels so real. The story might be fiction, but if something like this ever would happen, you have no doubt, while reading it, that this is exactly how events would play out.

(6) Harleen by Stjepan Sejic

A dark and deeply psychological story diving into who Harleen Quinzel was before she became Harley Quinn. The writer takes his time to build both her own doubts alongside her infatuation with the Joker. The end result is a chilling read with absolutely stunning artwork. NOTE: This is not a book meant for kids. Mature content.

(5) Batman: White Knight by Sean Gordon Murphy

Another book not meant for kids. A critical look at the Batman character that also examines human nature alongside socioeconomic issues. The core plot? The Joker is cured. While still not a saint, this sane Joker strives for a better Gotham… and this better Gotham seemingly doesn’t need Batman. I’d only planned to read an issue of this book when I sat down to start it; I ended up reading the whole thing in one sitting.

(4) Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

A read this book in one day. The sequel to Every Heart a Doorway, this is also a prequel explaining the “door” that characters Jack and Jill found. It’s dark and mysterious, but told like a fairy tale. The end result is a book you can’t put down. If you’re looking for something creepy, but still magical, this is a great choice.

(3) The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows series, by multiple authors

I adored this series: Taking place in a universe where Mary Jane and Peter Parker get married and have a daughter with spider-powers, this series is full of family themes: heartwarming, relatable, and engaging–but also with plenty of humor. Peter Parker is the king of dad jokes–because of course he is. The series technically starts with a Secret Wars tie-in. The only negative of this series: There’s only five books with these characters! (And that’s including the tie-in… though they do also appear briefly in the arc Spider-geddon.)

(2) Dark Nights Metal story arc, by multiple authors, but primarily Scott Snyder

A bizarre journey that felt like a fusion of heavy metal concert and comic book action. It’s as fun as it is terrifying; as empowering is as it unsettling. It’s a rush from beginning to end, with plenty of “oh yeah!” moments featuring your favorite DC characters. Both an in-depth look at Batman’s psyche while also a “worst nightmare” of the Justice League, this is a story that will have you eagerly turning the pages and begging for more.

For the full story, you actually need to read four books: Dark Days: The Road to Metal, Dark Nights Metal, Dark Nights Metal: Dark Knights Rising, and Dark Nights Metal: The Resistance. For the best experience, you also have to read the issues contained in these four volumes in a certain order–which means bouncing from one book to the next. (Welcome to the world of comics. *insert maniacal laugh*) For the best reading order, check out the comicbookherlad.com. This is a fantastic resource and an excellent website for any comic fan.)

(1) The Wayward Pines series, by Blake Crouch

I wrote about this series in a previous blog, but I can’t stress this enough: Blake Crouch is an amazing author. His unerring grasp of human nature alongside larger-than-life sci-fi plots makes his stories un-put-down-able. This particular series finds Secret Service agent Ethan Burke in a strange town that he seemingly can’t escape: A massive electric fence surrounds the perimeter. But is it keeping the people in… or keeping something else out? This is a series you just have to experience for yourself!

What books have you read during the pandemic? Found any new favorites? Tell me about them in the comments!


Book covers from Goodreads.com.

What I’ve Learned from Super-Ladies

“All the super ladies, all the super ladies, all the super ladies… Now put your hands up!”

Let’s talk about women in comics. This can be a controversial issue: Are they truly represented, or are they just eye candy? Are they well-written characters or are they simply catalysts for the male hero’s evolution?

The answer of course is… Yes. It depends what you’re reading, as well as who was writing it and the era in which it was written. You might have a Wonder Woman comic form the ’60s that is oddly progressive and full of girl power. You might come across a recent comic featuring the alien princess Starfire and roll your eyes at her outfit (or, more specifically lack of an outfit).

The fact is, making a blanket statement about women in comics is like making a generalization about… sidekicks in comics. Or families in comics. Or villains in comics. Characters of all sorts have changed and evolved depending on when they were written and who was writing them.

In a weird way, comics are a microcosm of society: As we become more enlightened, so do comics. Of course, true enlightenment never really stops–we’re always learning and growing, and comics reflect that, too.

Is there still misrepresentation? Sure. But I’m happy to say that at least this female reader spends more time feeling empowered than rolling my eyes.

And today, I want to talk a little bit about that empowerment. Today, I want to share a bit about what I, as a fellow woman, have learned from super-heroines.

Batgirl

From “Batgirl, Vol. 4: Strange Loop

I described Barbara Gordon before in my “Top 10 Sidekicks” list. She’s strong and insanely smart, but above that, she has more perseverance than just about any other character. Not only did she decide to become a hero fighting for truth and justice, but after she was paralyzed by the Joker, she found a new niche for herself in the superhero community–as Oracle, the super-hacker and computer wizard. She eventually regained her ability to walk and returned to the mantle of Batgirl. And, just like you’d expect, she continues to tackle every problem and obstacle with grit and intelligence.

Ms. Marvel

From “Ms. Marvel: Teenage Wasteland

I adore Kamala Khan. She has strong family and community values, and she has the wide-eyed optimism that only comes with youth. And honestly… if we adults adopted just a bit of that kind of attitude, the world would be a better place. She stumbles and has doubts, but she always, always does what she believes in her heart is right. Her support system–friends, family, and the community of Jersey City–is a reminder to everyone that “lone wolf” is overrated. As strong as she may be, she reminds us all that we are ultimately, always, stronger together. She is a shining example of a comic book hero and a super-lady that I would be thrilled to have my future children see as a role model.

Squirrel Girl

From “The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Power

Oh, Doreen Green. I’m pretty sure you were created just to be a throwaway, comedic character… but with your spunk and optimism, you’ve found a way into comic book history. Though your stories aren’t always canon (they exist in a special place that connects to the larger story without actually impacting it), you teach us again and again that you don’t always have to fight to save to the day. SG’s motto is that she’s here to “eat nuts and kick butts,” but more often than not, she and her similarly punny friends (Koi Boy, Chipmunk Hunk, etc.) save the day by just… talking to the villain. Why are you doing this? Is there another option you hadn’t considered? She once even convinced Galactus–the Devourer of Worlds–to not eat Earth, not through an intense, nail-biting action scene… but because she found a planet of nuts for him to enjoy. And when that doesn’t work… then it’s time to kick butts. But SG never falls victim to the “doom and gloom” of superheroes. She’s here to save the day and love every second of it!

Mera

From “Mera: Queen of Atlantis

What isn’t there to say about Mera? She is–literally–a force with which to be reckoned. She can use her powers to control the oceans, and even though she could be terrifying… she remains selfless and strong. While her skills as a warrior are nothing to be ignored, her heart and moral compass are what set Mera apart from others. After all, she first met Arthur Curry (Aquaman) when she was sent to assassinate him. What happened instead? She fell in love with the genuinely good man and tried to help bring the surface and underwater worlds together. When that failed, thanks to a coup in Atlantis, she took on the mantle of queen herself to save, not only the man she loved, but also the two worlds he was from–whether she truly wanted that power or not. A woman who understand power and responsibility, Mera is the quintessential leader from whom we can all learn something.

Wonder Woman

From “Wonder Woman, Vol. 2: Year One

Speaking of quintessential…. Wonder Woman is the female superhero. Diana is an Amazon, raised on the island of Themyscira–where there are no men. She comes to our world when Steve Trevor washes up on the shore. After nursing him back to health, the Amazons decide to send a champion to “Man’s World” to help guide them. Diana is known most often as a warrior, but in truth she is a diplomat first. Her compassion and desire for the truth–specifically what truly makes up the hearts of man–compels her forward on her mission of peace. She fights when she must, but she ultimately believes that goodness is humanity’s strongest trait. And so she fights for it–endlessly and tirelessly reminding us that we can fight the good fight, too.

While writing these, here’s a crazy thing I just noticed: All of these lessons aren’t just for women. We can all persevere, support our communities, be optimistic, be a force of nature, and be compassionate.

Humans have a habit of wanting to label anything and everything. The universe is confusing and terrifying, so the more we can organize it the better, right?

Right?

Maybe. We are all unique and those special traits and differences should be celebrated. But when does celebrating become just another form of labeling? When is it best to celebrate that a woman did this–broke the glass ceiling, defied the patriarchy–and when is it best to simply celebrate that a person did this? That–regardless of gender, background, age, or any of the other million labels we assign each other–this one person, with their unique personality and skills, with their special brand of bravery and perseverance, has accomplished something great?

I don’t know the answer. What I do know, however, is that humans have a habit of adopting an “us vs. them” mentality. So maybe saying that these super-ladies have taught me so much doesn’t matter as much as saying that these super-people have helped me understand, just a little bit more, what it means to be part of the human story.

Of course, female representation in comics–and in all media–is a debate that’s been going strong for decades upon decades, and I doubt it will end any time soon. And it should continue: We can’t get better if we don’t question. My only hope is that, above all else, people remember to be kind.

After all, as Wonder Woman once said:

“Because no matter how small an act of kindness or generosity or simple positivity you put out into the world, it will make a difference.”*


Sources:

Larson, Hope. Batgirl, Vol. 4: Strange Loop. Burbank, CA, DC Comics, 2018.

Wilson, G. Willow. Ms. Marvel: Teenage Wasteland. New York, Marvel Comics, 2018.

North, Ryan. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Power. New York, Marvel Comics, 2015.

Abnett, Dan. Mera: Queen of Atlantis. Burbank, CA, DC Comics, 2018.

Rucka, Greg. Wonder Woman, Vol. 2: Year One. Burbank, CA, DC Comics, 2017.

*https://www.cbr.com/dc-comics-inspirational-quotes-wonder-woman/#:~:text=As%20the%20hero%20herself%20said,and%20be%20better%20for%20it.

Let’s Celebrate (Or: What Ferris Wheels, Pizza, and Bubble Wrap Have in Common)

These past few weeks, my Saturday blogs have been very… topical. Very based in the reality of 2020. So today, I thought I’d do something that was just plain fun.

Earlier this week, I wrote about today being Batman Day. But it’s also another special holiday. It’s…. International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

(For the record, I kind of love that Talk Like a Pirate Day and Batman Day are both happening at the same time. I’d tell you to imagine a Pirate Batman, but DC already did that for us.)

Meme found on Pinterest.

So… argh, me mateys! Batten down the hatches! Shiver me timbers! Um…. Polly wants a cracker!

Okay… I think it’s safe to say I’d make a pretty lousy pirate. (I can’t even swim.)

But today got me thinking about weird holidays. Because there are a lot of them. (We librarians know this very well; we tend to utilize unusual observances for displays. Nothing says “Read Me” like countless Italian cookbooks in honor of Cheese Pizza Day–which was Sept. 5, if you were curious.)

So, why do we make up these strange, oddly specific holidays?

Well, I think the answer to that is simple. Why not? Why not take a day to appreciate bubble wrap (Jan. 27)? Or to set aside time to eat what you want (May 11)? Or to celebrate apple turnovers (July 5)?

We humans have a history of doing what we can simply because we can. It doesn’t matter if the world if flat; if man will never fly; or if reaching the moon is a farflung, sci-fi fantasy. We hear the naysayers, and we say… “Nay!” right back to them.

Odd holidays are certainly a bizarre way to continue this tradition, but who says that everything we do has to be monumental? In fact, isn’t another part of the human story all about finding joy in the simple? Importance in the everyday? After all, it’s each of those tiny, seemingly insignificant cogs that keep us all going. Ferris Wheels might not be ending any wars, but we’d sure have a lot fewer romantic moments without them. (Ferris Wheel Day is Feb. 14, by the way.) And while they might not decide any fates, cameras do help us remember who we are and how far we’ve come. (Give cameras some love on June 29.)

So yes, we have plenty of oddball holidays. But it’s not really surprising: We love to do the unexpected, and we love to celebrate. And in a year like 2020, maybe we need a little bit of random fun now more than ever.

So, me mateys… set sail for one of these other bizarre holidays, coming your way this month!

September 20: National Pepperoni Pizza Day

September 21: Miniature Golf Day

September 22: Elephant Appreciation Day

September 25: National Comic Book Day

September 26: International Rabbit Day

September 28: Ask a Stupid Question Day

What’s your favorite crazy holiday? Have you ever celebrated any of these? Tell me all about it in the comments?


Info from HolidayInsights.com. Check them out for more wacky holidays!