She-Ra on Netflix: Thumbs up!

I binge-watched the rebooted She-Ra some weeks ago. I was not too hopeful, judging from the previews I’d seen. But this show is what the Battlestar Galactica reboot was: a hell of an improvement on the original. I am old enough to have watched the original Battlestar Ponderosa, I mean Battlestar Galactica, in the 1970s. I have historical geek cred.

(Warning: spoilers ahead, but you should have watched this by now anyway!) When I watched the original She-Ra cartoons in the mid 1980s (if you tell anyone I did that, I will hunt you down and kill you), it was painfully obvious that the stories were about selling action figures to little girls. The new She-Ra stories are about the relationships between the characters. The center of season 1 is the arc of Adora (okay, She-Ra) and Catra: friends to frenemies.

She-Ra is what all interesting heroes should be: flawed. As with the original, She-Ra starts on the evil side, and jumps ship when she sees how evil her side is. But the new She-Ra has trouble controlling her powers. She was sheltered and easily fooled by the Horde until the Horde nastiness was shoved right into her face. (Maybe she grew up on Fox News.) She is chock-full of self doubt. (Super Holly Hansson does not have that problem, she’s been punching out bullies since pre-school.)

The original She-Ra cast reminded of what my nephew said many years ago when he picked up an action figure and said, “Dis is dah good guy,” and he handed me another figure, “and dis is dah bad guy.” You got to know their entire character in 10 seconds. They didn’t evolve. The new Entrapta evolves nicely! I admit that my character Crestley Smusher is heading in her direction: amoral ultra-geek, siding with wherever the greatest technological challenge is. But even the characters who are estblished fast are fun. The new Scorpia’s personality delightfully BOOMED into my face: bubbliest burly henchwoman EVER! The new Shadow Weaver / Hordak dynamic takes prepping for back-stabbing to new heights. I remember what Siskel and Ebert said, the strength of the hero is measured against the strength of the villain. Shadow Weaver is wounded and hurt and you should never turn your back on her.

I read that there is LGBT representation. I believe it, but for me to be sure, I have to see them lip-lock, and I doubt that will happen anytime soon. The new Bow has relationship issues with Glimmer, he was complimented on his belly-button-exposing shirts by one of the Horde guys (hint hint?), and he often moves like a ballerina. The original Bow, other than his flowery taste in clothes, reminded me of the Animal Man comic book where the Red Mask said about Captain Triumph: “Nice guy, but he had the personality of a deck chair, ya know?”

Check out the new She-Ra. I look forward to season two. More character relationship arcs! More strong villainy! More Scorpia bear-hugs! More Sea Hawk burning his own boats (that guy must be secretly rich).

P.S. For you whiny fanboys who want the original Barbie doll She-Ra with the bit of 80s cleavage, you can ogle Super Holly. But not too long or she’ll warn you once, then punch you twice.

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RIP Stan Lee. Humans entertain, gods bore.

A bright light has gone out in the world. I was but a kid when Spider-Man and Fantastic Four were first published. Compared to DC Comics at the time, Stan’s characters were more flawed, more human, more fun. Super Holly Hansson is the Superman of my writing world, but she is not a perfect boy scout. She is a geek girl with a short fuse. Lesson learned.

John Trumbull ran an article a while ago that showcased Lee’s dialog when some of the jerkier fanboys would say it was ALL Kirby and ALL Ditko and Stan just took all the credit. In the article, John showed a panel from Fantastic Four, Lee’s writing and Kirby’s art.

And one from New Gods, Kirby’s writing and art.

Have I mentioned that one way to have Super Holly Hansson give you a fat lip is to call her a goddess? Putting “Gods” in a title puts me off. Fellow writers tell me that they like how Holly is “very human.”

On Stan Lee’s Fresh Air interview, he asked Terry Gross to imagine a monster: 12-feet tall, purple skin, breathing fire, two heads. In the 1960s, a typical superhero would have said, “A creature from another world – I’d better capture him before he destroys the city.” Spider-Man might say, “Who’s the nut in the Halloween costume?” Stan said he tried to do dialogue that represented the way real, flesh and blood, three-dimensional people would talk. What better writing advice can I get?

Stan loved making original sound effect words: “btkooom” (the third O is, of course, silent) and “PFZZAKT” (a bullet going through a wall). I have been a little lax with crazy original sound words lately, but I admit that I still love Harry Headbutt punching Super Holly and then she clobbers him with five: THOOM! POW POW POW POW POW!!! THOOM! POW POW POW POW POW!!!

Stan said he used those fun alliterative names (Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, Reed Richards, Sue Storm) because he had a bad memory. I use them too, I like their sound: Holly Hansson, Katsuko Kimura, Cal Critbert, and my favorite: Harry Headbutt! (Nice when the name says a bit about the character.)

P.S. I was going to have a Stan Lee type character in my stories: Dan Mann. But I already have three older men in Super Holly’s life: her Uncle Pops, Bennie the rubber cop, and Lash the barber. So I am gender-flipping Dan Mann into Fran Lee. When I FINALLY finish The Comic Book Code, Fran will be the head of a Marvel-type company who publishes Holly’s graphic novel, The Last Super. She will know comic book history. She’ll be Jewish. And she will have some of HERstorian and writer Trina Robbins in her soul.

Kittygirl loves wasabi ice cream artwork!

At Campbell Con, I had Nelson Kuang (instagram: BurntGreenTea) draw Kittygirl enjoying an ice cream cone and saying her favorite ice cream flavor. (That is the ice cream that Kittygirl likes in my short story, “The Fiendish Brain Freezer,” in my Super Bad Hair Day book on Kindle. Super Holly likes strawberry.) Nelson put Super Holly in there also, that was nice of him. I love this anime look! Dig those Kittygirl claws!

I am updating Super Bad Hair Day: don’t buy right now

I decided that my CreateSpace book needed to be at least 130 pages so I could have a proper book spine. I got it up to 140 with more short stories, an audio script, and some Super Holly artwork. I submitted a new Word page interior and a new PDF cover with a REAL SUPER SPINE with a REAL TITLE AND AUTHOR NAME on it! Yay! CreateSpace is currently reviewing my changes.

I will also update the Kindle book. That will likely take a few days. I am working full time, so this weekend is most likely.

So if you are thinking of buying my book, hold off. Soon you will get twice the bang for your buck. The Kindle version will stay at 99 cents, but I had to raise the CreateSpace price by 50 cents to $6.50. At least now, if you buy the CreateSpace version, you will get more of a real book.

Kittygirl’s first sketch!

At the San Francisco Comic Con today, I had Amber Padilla (her Tumblr) draw Kittygirl and Super Holly. That little verbal sparring is in their stories. And yes, I stole Wolverine’s claw sound, Kittygirl can claw through steel also. Amber added Kittygirl’s fannypack (she said it would be like her hero Holly’s) and those cute kittycat shoes. Kittygirl wore kittycat ears the first time she met Holly. I bought a few comics from Amber: Old Man Malo, Sugar Coated, and a little 8-pager: The Rescue. I like how Kittygirl gets on tippy-toe.

Thank you, Amber! You grok Kittygirl!

Holly art: Joker Venom by Gazbot!

Another bit of Super Holly art that I had done at the Menlo Park comic con at the library. I had artist Gaz Gretsky (Gazbot) draw Super Holly shortly after she is gassed by Super Joker venom. (He said it should be gas rather than a squirted liquid, else it might look too suggestive. I agreed.) I once wrote a fanfic (as in, can’t sell it but I can post it) of Super Holly meeting Batman (“Buh, b-b-b… BATMAN! I’m your biggest fan!!!”) but I had to limit it to a puny 1500 words. When I rewrite it into a decent story, there will be a scene like this.

That face. Mad and happy together. Gaz groks Holly.