Stereotypes: Good or Bad?

So, unless you haven’t been paying much attention lately, you’ve heard about this title coming out:

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I am not gonna lie – I was excited as hell when I heard about this title. A teenager and minority who becomes a superhero based on one of my current favorites? Hell yeah, I wanted to read it! And what I read about what little was released early on only made me more excited:

“Her brother is extremely conservative,” Ms. Amanat said. “Her mom is paranoid that she’s going to touch a boy and get pregnant. Her father wants her to concentrate on her studies and become a doctor.” Next to those challenges, fighting supervillains may be a respite.

– from a New York Times Article

That sounded entirely familiar to me. Coming from an Indian family myself, this is the type of beliefs and views I grew up with as a 1st generation Indian-American. Parents that don’t quite understand, that have expectations that follow cultural norms instead of what their child wants…that was all normal for me. I don’t know how many times I was told how good it would be if I became a doctor! 

And then, I broke a rule of the internet. I started reading the comments on articles like this. There was your typical mix of praise and bashing that went back and forth. That’s easy enough to ignore. But there were a specific class of comment that kept catching my eye. They were always variations on one idea: A super conservative brother, a mother terrified by boys, and a father that wants her to be a doctor. How stereotypical. 

Those comments bothered me. And they bother me more now that the first issue came out. Yes, that sort of family sounds stereotypical. The issue itself doesn’t detract from that opinion – we didn’t see a lot of them yet, so that may change, but they were pretty much what I was expecting after reading the initial description. But there was something else that I saw while I was reading. I saw my own family. A lot of the same beliefs, a lot of the same comments, even some of the same habits. It all felt so familiar to me and only made me love the issue that much more. And it hurts that people will see something that I find so relatable as something bad or wrong with the story. 

That got me thinking – what is so wrong with “stereotypical”? In the comments made about Ms. Marvel when it was first announced, it was always used as if it was a bad thing. But is that really so bad? Stereotypes may be something that writers and creators are told to avoid, but that’s usually because they have been done to a great extent before. So maybe we don’t want to see another All American Boy. I would think titles that Captain America have done enough of that already. You could even look at Peter Parker as the stereotypical geek and outsider initially (that’s obviously changed a lot since then…). You don’t think any less of either character because they started from stereotypical roots. Its certainly never seen as a detriment to the series. And, in my opinion, it’s because these were some of the first of their kind – the first portrayals of points of view that weren’t seen as often at the time. 

Kamala Khan, to me, is one of the first of her kind. It’s not common that we see any girl of Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi decent that probably identifies more as American than their country of origin, and the struggles that come with being a 1st Generation American from a traditional family. It’s not a point of view that we get to see in media. I imagine its analogous to a time before Peter Parker existed, and seeing a geeky, somewhat awkward boy portrayed in media was uncommon. And then Peter Parker comes along and people flock to him – because they can see themselves in him. It was surely stereotypical. It would not have applied to every person who as more of a geek and misunderstood in school. But it was the first time anyone had tried to come close.

Kamala Khan is the same as Peter Parker to me, just to a different subset of people. To those of us that are 1st generation with parents from very different cultures, this stuff is relatable in a way that most media isn’t. And it’s the stereotypes that make it relatable – because those stereotypes is real life to us. I have been told that I needed to become a doctor. I have been warned away from boys. I have been told that I’m not “Indian” enough, and not “American” enough. I have had to live between two worlds and belong to neither. Having one little spot in my entertainment that makes me feel like I’m not entirely alone is a good feeling, stereotypes and all. 

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Triumphant (???) Return

Well Hello There Everyone! I don’t know if anyone is going to read this…seeing as it’s been a good 9 months since I last posted, but I figured I’d give it a shot! Life bogged be down rather badly in the second half of last year and I’m only just digging myself out it. To put that into comic book perspective, I’ve got over 100 in my pile to read and am just starting to try and work my way through it. But that’s not why I’m here!

I realized the other day that I was nearing the one year anniversary of me getting into comics, and this blog had been a huge part of what got me into them and what kept me into them! I missed reading people’s comments and their own blog posts and getting ideas and opinions outside of my own. So I’m back…a little older, a little better versed in comic books as a whole, but still learning as I go. 

I don’t think I’ll be following the same format as before…mostly because of the giant backlog of comics I still have to read!! But I do want to post something on here fairly regularly on whatever topic comes to mind. I’ve got at least one that I want to do in a day or so…and from there we will see. Hopefully it’ll be interesting enough for everyone!

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Comic Newbie Week in Summary (5/1 – 5/7)

Overall

My weeks have been pretty slow lately. Between work eating up a lot of my time (we’re right near the end of a project, so time is usually eaten at this point…) and settling on and closing for a condo (closing was TODAY!) and starting to move in, it’s been a pretty big whirlwind around here. What little time I have hasn’t really been devoted to comics, unfortunately enough. I kind of miss them and I’m hoping to find some more time, but it’s very possible that this week wont be any better. Spare time will probably be taken up with packing/cleaning/moving. Sounds fun, right? (sarcasm)

Sorry for posting this so late, guys. Like I said, real life is taking up a LOT of time…

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Mini-Opinions – Monday Edition

Not a whole lot this time, guys. It’s been a really tiring week and I needed some nothing-time.

Superman: Last Son of Krypton

Okay, so this story confused the hell out of me. Is this not part of the New 52 universe? I thought, post Flashpoint, that Superman was now with Wonder Woman and Lois Lane, while still around, wasn’t really in the picture anymore. But Superman and Lois Lane are married in this title. I am confused! Outside of that, the story was cute – how the little boy ended up there is a huge question running around still, but I assume that’s something that will eventually be answered…

Final Opinion: Solid

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A Bit of a Detour – Thoughts on Iron Man 3

This is going to be a bit of a change from the usual stuff around here, so bear with me, guys 🙂

I went and saw Iron Man 3 today, after some rather urgent pleas from SM to do so. I’ve been excited for the movie for a while now, but was trying not to expect too much. First movie following the Avengers – that’s a pretty hard act to follow in my book and not everything can manage it. I was just hoping to be entertained and for a good story. I got that…for the most part. Spoilers below, so if you haven’t seen the movie yet and don’t want any spoilers, please don’t read any further!!

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Free Comic Book Day!!

Today was Free Comic Book Day!!! This being the first time I’ve ever heard of this day, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. SM and I had talked and she had mentioned being at the comic store early (mind…at her comic store….and me at mine. There’s a good 1,000 miles between those two locations…). Things typically got crazy. So I did. Got there 45 minutes early, and no one was there. So I ran to a nearby food place and grabbed breakfast, came back, and ate in my car in the parking lot. By then, about three people had lined up, so I joined them. Stood outside for maybe 20 minutes talking about different characters and movies (upcoming to long ago released) before the doors opened.

By this point, I think we might have had 20 people in line…not nearly as bad as I thought it could be, and it didn’t take all that long to get to the free comics, pick out the five that I wanted (we were all limited to 5 per person) and get out of the way of the crowd (which had somehow swelled while I was picking out comics). There was a bit of a line at the register by this point, so I decided to wander around the store a bit and see if there was anything else to pick up. Probably a bad decision – by the time I got back, the line had grown to 4x the size. Oops 😛

Anywho, I also spent some time talking with a local artist who was at the store (my shop invited a few local comic artists to do character drawings that you paid $10 for and that money was donated to the Hero Initiative – I thought that was pretty cool) and looking through his work. I’ve always admired artists, mostly because I am so art challenged I can’t draw a stick figure correctly. It’s always interesting to watch people work who know what they’re doing! It was a fun hour or so that I spent there, talking to people, entering a raffle, and just generally looking at everything – but I had to turn around and run early because I had other things to do (and a D&D game to get to in a bit…) But I did want to share what I picked up:

  • Infinity – Yes, another Marvel event, but I thought I would at least find out what this one was about!
  • Superman – Just because…it is Superman…
  • Aphrodite IX – the premise sounded interesting.
  • The Steam Engines of Oz – Really…steampunk and Oz together? Sign me up!
  • Chakra: The Invincible – It’s a Stan Lee comic, it was worth at least trying!

I’ll give opinions about them either with the Monday opinions, or sometime next week 🙂 Right now, must get myself into the mindset of a rather clumsy Dark-Elf Thief.

I hope everyone is having fun at their respective comic shops. And if you haven’t been yet, GO!!! NOW!!!

May the Fourth Be With You All!!

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Mini-Opinions – Friday Edition

Okay guys, before I get too far into thoughts today, I have a question to ask everyone – Considering I only have three posts that are done every week (the two Mini-Opinions and the Weekly Summary), is this getting tired and boring? I feel like I should come up with something else to do that might be more interesting, but I’m not entirely sure what to do just yet. I will have to think on it…

Swamp Thing #0

So I will be completely honest here – I was not expecting to like this issue much. I mean, I know I was reading it for class, but I didn’t think it would be anything I was all that interested in. But when we got a little further into the mythos of this series, the different teams and their conflict, I was intrigued. It seemed like an interesting premise. I actually am debating picking up a TPB for this, just to see if the series is as interesting. I shall have to think about that…

Final Opinion: Solid

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Comic Newbie Week In Summary (4/24 – 4/30)

Overall

This was another pretty slow week. Things at home have just been so busy that it’s been impossible to spend a whole lot of time reading much of anything. I dont know that it’s going to slow down any time soon. Also, I feel like I’m a little burnt out, and what downtime I do have, I usually just want to be lazy and do nothing instead of read (and you would think reading would be a good downtime thing to do. It’s just not working for me right now…) We shall see how next week goes!

I do think I need to start taking a break from picking up new series at some point – it’s starting to get a little overwhelming. After this week, I might not pick up anything new except for another series or two that has been on my radar for a while now. Really need to slow down!

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Random Find…

I ❤ Nerd Jokes

Mini-Opinions – Monday Edition

Jupiter’s Legacy #1

Okay, so there was something bothering me about this story from the get-go and I couldn’t quite figure out what it was at first. I mean, reviews that I’ve seen have been mostly favorable, but I couldn’t get to the point that I liked it. So I sat down and thought for a moment and came up with this: Time does not make sense in this story. And yes, while I know most superhero stories have wonky time in terms of characters aging, we know our original hero’s have aged pretty dramatically (lots of gray and white hair, lots of wrinkle lines) but they have kids that seem…well…young. And the story as a whole seems to be going for a lot more realism than your typical superhero story. The adults were young, maybe early to mid 20s, at the beginning of the story, which was in the 1930s. Their kids don’t look much older than 30 themselves in 2013, meaning they were born in the 1980s at the earliest. So their parents were 70 when they had kids?? That seems a little off – and maybe I’m nitpicking a bit here, but for a series that’s trying to hard to be set in our world and portray it realistically, it seems like someone could have sat down for five minutes and done the math…

Another thing – I just don’t like stories where your main characters (in this case Chloe and Brandon) are so thoroughly unlikable. I mean, I’m sure they’re being set up for a massive change of heart at some point, but having to deal with them until that point just isn’t all that interesting to me. Which is sad, because a lot of interest concepts and ideas were brought up all throughout this story, and I would have really liked to see where they were going with those – but I can’t justify it if I don’t want to read these characters.

Final Opinion: Drop

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