Welcome to Smugglivus 2011! Throughout this month, we will have daily guests – authors and bloggers alike – looking back at their favorite reads of 2011, and looking forward to events and upcoming books in 2012.
Recent Work: Demon Marked, book 7 in the Guardians series (Woe, only one more book to go till it’s all over); the short story Ascension in the Angels of Darkness anthology; and Heart of Steel, book 2 in The Iron Seas series.
Please give it up for Meljean Brook!
It’s a Wonderful Frickin’ Smugglivus!
Oh, 2011. I won’t be particularly sorry to see it gone. It’s been one of those years where every word written feels like it was pulling a tooth, to the point where I feel like Slappy the Squirrel huddled in my old-lady clothes and bitching about everything.
I haven’t read much this year that wasn’t non-fiction. In fact, I think the last fiction I read might have been Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews. It was awesome. Go get it. Non-fiction? The Killer of Little Shepherds by Douglas Starr. Only go get it if you like reading about the horrible things that people do to each other.
The suckiest book? I didn’t read any sucky books. (Romance authors who like to continue to show their faces in public or online don’t talk about sucky books.)
Other picks: TV – My biggest surprise? American Horror Story. This show is so ridiculous, I can’t look away. I totally expect it to crash and burn like a rubber-suited Hindenburg, but I’ll be there watching it. My greatest disappointment? Grimm. Great premise, blah execution.
Movies: I enjoyed quite a few movies, even if they didn’t blow me away – The Harry Potter finale (but I have to say, I haven’t read past the fourth book, so I might have loved this more if I was an uber-fan), Hanna, Thor (too bad about the boring romance), Blood Creek (a total WTF-fest, which I appreciate very much), Priest (mostly for Maggie Q), and Super 8 (though I’m still not certain if that’s just the nostalgia factor talking, and the resemblance to Cloverdale, because I was one of three people in the world who enjoyed that movie), and X-Men: First Class.
My biggest surprise? A Perfect Getaway. Okay, this isn’t a 2011 movie, but I watched it in 2011! And I’ll admit, I only rented this because it starred Milla Jovovich, on whom I have a total girl-crush. And, she was totally Milla Jovovich in this movie (as she is in every movie). This isn’t even a really good movie … but I enjoyed the hell out of it, and it sent me on a viewing spree of Timothy Olyphant’s oeuvre. (I loved Deadwood, felt ‘meh’ over Justified.) I was expecting pure crap, and it was predictable, but it was also overall pretty fun – particularly the last act.
I kind of expected Conan the Barbarian to be in my list (in the ‘Movies So Bad They’re Good spot) but I was disappointed. Alas, it was just bad. I now hope that Immortals will take that spot, but I’m waiting for the rental.)
My biggest disappointment: Green Lantern. Seriously, what the hell was that mess? Perhaps I’d have enjoyed it more if I liked Ryan Reynolds more. But I don’t especially have a girl-boner for him, and so it was a total fail for me. (Actually, the only reason I even watched this after the horrible, HORRIBLE trailer was because of this footage from Comic Con. If you haven’t seen Green Lantern already, if you can still be saved, I would urge everyone to watch this rather than the movie.)
My favorite of 2011 (if Real Steel, Hugo, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and the next Sherlock Holmes don’t knock it out of that spot)? 13 Assassins.
I’m not sure what it says about my movie-experience this year that my favorite movie didn’t knock my socks off or present anything new (it’s just a solid samurai flick), but was simply an all-around great way to spend a couple of hours. I can’t say that I loved, LOVED! any movie this year, to the point where I have to buy it the second it is released. Did you?
And finally, comic books. Actually, okay – I’m just going to talk about one comic book, and one superheroine:
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the Amazing Amazon. I’m not quite an uber-fan – I don’t cosplay Wonder Woman (and everyone who has ever seen my thighs thanks me for this) – but I do dress up my daughter in her costume and live vicariously through her, I have WW comics and DVDs, cups, shirts, shoes, socks, an apron, boots, underwear, pants—
Okay, no. I don’t have Wonder Woman pants…because she doesn’t have pants! Or she didn’t. But she does? No, she doesn’t. Oh, wait— Maybe?
2011: The Year of Wonder Woman’s Pants a.k.a. Meljean Airs Some Frickin’ Grievances
It’s tough being a Wonder Woman fan. For some reason, a bunch of people don’t ‘get’ her origin (how hard is it, really? Her mother desperately wanted a child, and she made one from clay, and the gods gifted the child with life and superpowers). Or they think she’s boring (please see bluefall’s “When Wonder Woman was Awesome” series of posts for evidence of not-boringness).
Due primarily to those two factors, Wonder Woman has been subject to several reboots in the past couple of years. Announcements of an “All-New Direction!” and an “All-New Wonder Woman!” has become almost a joke to fans (if we all weren’t so damn sad that she’s being tossed around like this), because it happens almost every time a new, prominent writer gets his hands on her.
Last year, you might remember seeing one of those reboots – significant primarily because Wonder Woman was suddenly sporting a new pair of pants (she also had a new writer, J. Michael Straczynski, who bailed on her book a few issues into a year-long story arc that was supposed to modernize her and make her more accessible to readers, along with clearing up her complicated backstory and redefining Who She Is). Phil Hester took over and did a good job of finishing up that storyline this year. But the story arc was simply too long (for the first time in a very, very long time, even I didn’t bother to pick up WW on release day) and in the end, the story didn’t matter, anyway: because in the middle of 2011, DC rebooted its entire universe. Oh, joy. So a year after her previous all-new direction (which was only four years after the previous reboot), she was rebooted again.
(I am completely ignoring the very, very low point in 2011: when Wonder Woman married Aquaman and then beheaded Mera in the alternate-universe [or whatever the hell that was] Flashpoint storyline. As far as I’m concerned, that didn’t happen – just as Amazons Attack! didn’t happen.)
But hey! There was also hope, right? After all, David Kelley was trying to bring Wonder Woman to the small screen…
Okay, let’s just forget that, too, shall we? (Or, if you’ve seen scenes from the pilot, you’ll probably be trying to repress it.)
One thing to note here: the pants. Almost every recent attempt to modernize and update her look includes a pair of pants. And although I’m a fan of the star-spangled shorts, I don’t mind the idea of pants at all. One of my favorite pictures of Wonder Woman ever is this one by Nicola Scott, and if I wasn’t writing professionally, this artwork could have inspired me to launch a thousand fanfics set in space.
Sigh. Prior to the reboot, I just wanted to catch the DC execs in my homemade golden lariat, tie them up, and explain to them: THE PANTS AREN’T GOING TO SOLVE THE FRICKIN’ PROBLEM.
No, the problem is a) inconsistent characterization from writer to writer b) a lack of continuity in her supporting cast and villains, c) story arcs that take too freaking long to wrap up. Who is going to stay around for a 12-issue story that is supposed to “simplify” her origins and mission? If it takes 12 issues to show, it’s not simplifying anything.
So when I heard about the DC 52 reboot, and saw the pants come and go and come and go.
The first images of the rebooted Wonder Woman:
Quickly followed by:
The same thing happened with Justice League promo art – the pants came and went. And this was me:
But I’ll admit … as 2011 draws to a close, I feel a little bit of hope. The first three issues have been pretty good. Cliff Chiang’s artwork is incredible. I do have a bit of a rant building up regarding her new, ‘easy for everyone to relate to’ origin that makes her Zeus’s biological daughter rather than created from clay, but I am Holding The Fanwank Rage Inside 1 until the storyline wraps up, because if the story is good enough, it might win me over. Maybe. Until then, I look at pictures like this and breathe deep.
Inhale. Inhale. INHALE.
Ah, yes. I’m okay again. So – I can’t ask anyone to share my WW fan outrage and disappointment and scant hope, but I imagine everyone has their own. Is there a show/comic/movie that makes you want to beat the creators over the head? Please, do rant.
Comments will be entered in the giveaway below.
Courtesy of the author, we are giving away 5 copies of any of her 2011 releases. Leave a comment here in order to win and each of the 5 winners gets to pick one copy of either Demon Marked, Angel of Darkness or Heart of Steel. The contest is open to EVERYBODY, and will run until December 10 2011, 11:59 PM (PST). Good luck!
- Because Gail Simone wrote a really, really freaking amazing origin that deepened the story rather than recreated it, and it was PERFECT. Gah!