Read: Painkiller Jane

Painkiller Jane The Price of Freedom 2013-14

Painkiller Jane The Price of Freedom 2013-14

The 90’s is commonly seen as a particularly sexist period for comic books. The busts got bigger, waists smaller, anatomy utterly incomprehensible and there was a distinct lack of new female flesh while exposing a bit too much of the characters that already existed. However, with  the emergence of third wave feminism,  Jimmy Palmiotti saw a need for a new badass lady role model and created Painkiller Jane, an ex-cop who develops superior healing abilities and is subsequently practically indestructible.

The character was inspired by a few of the writers feisty female friends, as well as Jane’s “attitude, confidence and sense of humour” being that of Palmiotti’s wife, fellow comic book artist, Amanda Conner.

Painkiller Jane has not only spawned many one off comic book series’ but has had her own movie (I wouldn’t bother watching it though, it’s a bit pants) and a Sci-Fi channel exclusive series back in 2006.

Luckily for us, Jane is back, and with only two issues having been released so far, this is the perfect time to pick up the series.

Issue #1 of the new Icon series, an offset of Marvel, introduces us to Jane. And if you weren’t already a fan, provides some much needed backstory, as well as throwing us straight into the action of story arc “The Price of Freedom”.

The story is interesting, it brings up a lot of feminist issues. The ‘victim’ within the story is a Saudi Arabian princess, so the plot touches on the sexism within her country and her fathers’ double standards when it comes to his ‘new’ and ‘traditional’ values.

Sexuality, bi-sexuality and perverseness are subjects also approached within the first 2 issues.

These comics aren’t afraid to approach difficult subjects and aren’t for the faint hearted. Sex, violence and gore are all standard for Painkiller Jane, so if you love a bit of gratuitous violence, and bad language… Jane is definitely the girl for you!

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Issue #3 is out 8th January.

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New Year… Women on Screen!

So with a new year dawning, we are looking at some of the most exciting films coming in 2014.. there are many! X-men: Days of Future Past, The Amazing Spiderman 2, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, 300: Rise of an Empire, RoboCop, GODZILLA (yes, really)… we could go on! However, we are counting down the top 5 that feature kick-ass ladies, of course!

Here is the count down!

5. Lucy

Capitalising on Scarlett Johansson‘s current reputation as a super heroine (we have negative feelings towards her role as Black Widow) this film sounds a lot like Painkiller Jane, if you haven’t checked out PK Jane, there will be a review of the new line of comics coming soon!

Basically, a drug mule (Jane isn’t a drug mule she is an agent) takes a drug but it ends up being absorbed into her system and turning her superhuman. She has super strength and the inability to feel pain. The premise sounds promising, it is only Johansson that puts us off… no trailer yet, we shall keep you updated!

4. Divergent

Another young adult novel based film. Think Hunger Games…

3. Jane Got A Gun

Natalie Portman stars in this western, taking on a Calamity Jane- type role. Sound exciting? No trailers yet… But, if you want to know a little more, here is a video:

2. Maleficent

This one has had some MAJOR hype… we weren’t sure if this was real, it sounded so amazing, but it is! Angelina Jolie takes on Sleeping Beauty’s evil fairy godmother. We wonder how long it will take for all the Disney villains to be granted their own movies?

1. Veronica Mars

This gets the number 1 spot? Why? Because it’s Veronica Mars… If you never watched the series, go out and buy the DVD box set… it’s 3 season’s of well, we don’t know how to describe it… Nancy Drew meets The O.C.? This film was made possible by the hardcore cult fan base the series created raising funds through the Kickstarter campaign series creator, Rob Thomas and star, Kristen Bell set up following the cancellation of the show. How amazing it that?

Crush: All We Want For Christmas

We have scoured the net to find what we really want underneath our Christmas trees this December 25th…

First up, it is really important to get your decor up to scratch, it sets the tone for the rest of the holiday season. Fear not, friends, we have just the thing to brighten up your home!

Save your pad from the dark side this christmas, and light up your tree with these neat yoda lights:

Available @ Think Geek

Available @ Think Geek

And what about the rest of your tree? You don’t want some lame-ass baubles bringing yoda down…
We got that covered… how about these?

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ginger pots @ etsy

So how can you possible top off yoda and the justice league? You can’t exactly just shove some pathetic little angel on top, right?

LighterCases @ Etsy

LighterCases @ Etsy

Check. That. Out.

So by now your digs are pimping, but what about you?

‘Tis the Season to be Jolly… but how can you be jolly when it’s so friggin’ cold?

KnitHappensSoWhat over at Etsy will customise you a pretty sweet jumper, like this one:

KnitHappensSewWhat @ Etsy

KnitHappensSewWhat @ Etsy

It will only set you back approx £95 but you know what they say, a knit is not just for Christmas…

So now you are all set… It’s Christmas morning, picture it:

You wake up and slip your toes into a nice pair of snugly chewbacca slippers

Superherostuff.com

Superherostuff.com

Saunter over to your stocking… (it may look a little like this…)

Forbiddenfruit @ Etsy

Forbiddenfruit @ Etsy

What do you find inside?? After you have spent all that money on your epic xmas decor, hopefully the treats inside will look a little like this: (and provided by someone special I advise setting up a pinterest and really subtly linking it to each and every person you feel necessary)

The Obligatory Pair Of Socks

Superherostuff.com

Superherostuff.com

Something You Didn’t Know You Needed In Your Life

Superherostuff.com Essential car pimping accessory

Superherostuff.com
Essential car pimping accessory

Candy… yeh we will leave that up to you.

So you are up and have mastered the stocking. But what is under that glistening tree of geekery that you so lovingly set up?

We would hope just a few of these items:

We don’t know about you, but if this bad boy harnessed our girls, we would be showing off our undies far more often…

hottopic.com

hottopic.com

Girls… there are matching panties too! You could opt for the batman design, but we figure wonder woman expresses more of the bod that’s harbouring underneath.

If Comics aren’t your thing, then maybe some sexy sci-fi lingerie will get you in the mood?

Bulletsandbees @ Etsy

Bulletsandbees @ Etsy

We are loving the vintage appeal of this matching set!

As for our comic picks…

Out this month is none other than HARLEY QUINN #1 – we suggest you guys get down your local comic store and grab it as IGN has rated the first issue a commendable 9.5!

So, continuing with our Christmas scenario… you have opened your fabulous presents and you are passing out the nuts as d’oeuvres before the feast being cooked up in the kitchen… luckily you have one of these:

Superherostuff.com

Superherostuff.com

Yes, that IS a stormtrooper nutcracker… you can also get a Darth Vader one, if you want to crack on with the dark side that is.

The feast is over, you feel stuffed with all that turkey and what have you, family members are beginning to get on your nerves and have commandeered your brand spanking new xbox one… what do you do?

neatoshop

neatoshop

ahhh so THAT’s what they mean by “santa’s little helper” 

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

Wondering about the new Wonder Woman

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just a small selection from our wonder woman collection…

Last week we heard that Wonder Woman would be featuring in the sequel to Man of Steel, currently being named as Superman Vs. Batman, where Ben Affleck is reportedly cast as the Dark Knight and Brit actor, Henry Cavill reprises his role as Kal-El.

It was also released that the role of Diana of Themyscira was going to a former Miss Israel: The Fast & the Furious star, Gal Gadot…

As usual with any casting of a beloved comic character, the internet was up in arms… Can this former supermodel do the princess justice??

We think she can.

Let’s start off with saying, no matter how much you don’t want to believe it: looks DO matter when it comes to comic book adaptations. Comics are a visual medium with not only a comprehensive written backstory to each character,but an image to go with them. The image can differ but the fundamentals must remain the same.

We have read a few responses (by men, we’d like to add – we think this is significant due to them perhaps having a biased when any attractive woman is cast in a role)…

One that stands out is a blog piece by self proclaimed nerd, Glen Weldon, author of Superman: The Unauthorized Biography.

There is only one issue we have with this post (same comment is made in this article from the Mirror):

Much of the criticism directed at this casting choice — too much — has revolved around Gadot’s physicality. She’s too thin, too wispy, too short, goes the argument, when Wonder Woman is a badass. She’s a kicker of butts, so you need someone with some meat on her bones and a proven track record of butt-kicking, like fellow Fast & Furious alumnae Michelle Rodriguez and ex-MMA fighter Gina Carano.

[…] Diana […] is creature of myth and fantasy. Her physical strength is an important aspect of her character, but it is not a function of her lean body mass. Whether or not Gadot will make an interesting, let alone convincing, Wonder Woman has nothing to do with the size of her biceps.

-Glen  Weldon

We love the blog post and generally agree with pretty much all of what Glen has to say, but we just don’t think he *gets* the issue around her physical appearance.

Perhaps the silliest complaint is that she’s just too slender to play Wonder Woman, although those same people have perhaps never heard of an actor training and bulking up before taking on a role like this! Does no one remember Christian Bale’s The Machinist physique before he got ripped for the role of the Caped Crusader in Batman Begins?

– The Mirror’s  Josh Wilding

Some people seem to think that due to Gadot being incredibly slim, she will not have the capabilities to become strong looking.

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 20.39.22

We disagree and as health conscience, gym-going women,we have slightly more of an authority to go by (we think, anyway)…  body shapes can really change when put through vigorous exercise, and specific routines that hone in on particular groups of muscles. Gadot would fully have the capability to ‘bulk up’. And we think it is necessary to do so.

While we lament the fact that so many of the comments revolve around physicality, we also think the reasoning behind this particular appearance based argument for/against Gadot as Wonder Woman is justified.

Why though?

Because women NEED role models that are not tiny, skinny and dieted to death. If you look back to even the 1980’s, women may have been slim and slender, but from our extensive research (The New Adventures of Wonder Woman, Valley Girl, John Hughes movies…) there is a HUGE difference between the slim, healthy, normal looking girls on television then, and the incredibly trim women plastered over the pages of magazines and in television and film today. [note: Lynda Carter was tall for her generation, standing at over 5″8, she may be thin but she wasn’t feeble looking… the outfit was a bit ridiculous, we will agree – it was ‘of the time’ and incredibly padded!]

Is it us, or does WW look a bit like Charlie Sheen here? that'd be an interesting casting choice… Painting by Alex Ross

Is it us, or does WW look a bit like Charlie Sheen here? that’d be an interesting casting choice…
Painting by Alex Ross

We are very happy that they picked a lady with strong features and who is tall (Gal is 5″9), but we REALLY hope she can gain some muscle mass just so she can hold her own next to Ben and Henry. Of course, she won’t ever look as muscular as them, and we aren’t looking for some body builder, but some vague sense of reality would be appreciated. It just isn’t at all realistic that a woman with arms nothing more than skin and bone can possibly fight as the next Wonder Woman.

It is integral that as Wonder Woman she gives a less impossible, unrealistic body image to little girls, and one that radiates health and physical feminine strength.

Wonder Woman was created as a feminist icon. She is an important addition to the realm of superheroes and with such a disappointing outcome in the Avengers, when it came to lady supes, we REALLY need Snyder (Zack, director of the upcoming feature) to pull this one off… and we know he can from his previous ventures.

Whether we like it or not, we live in a very superficial culture, we as women are constantly inflicted by a society obsessed with size zero, unrealistic beauty and photoshopped imagery. All we ask is that Wonder Woman, an icon of feminism, a strong, tall, built, Amazonian woman reflects this heritage accurately and doesn’t buy in to the current ideal of underweight beauty.

So, while we absolutely agree her presence must be the most powerful aspect of Diana. She can not be a small, weak, feeble looking creature. It would look utterly insane on screen, next to the towering men of the Justice League, and not to mention reinstate this irritating ideal of feminine being dainty and soft (please google the definition and check synonyms for ‘feminine’, its dyer) and therefore unfit and flimsy.

These same reasonings are why we are really on board with her facial features and her general casting. Although her role in The Fast & The Furious is anything but a step in the right direction for feminism, she does indeed maintain a presence that utilises her sexuality while maintaining complete control with a feisty attitude – this gives us great hope for her taking on the Amazonian. Her facial features are strong, angular, beautiful but not ‘pretty’, which will work very well as Wonder Woman.

All this said, we am also appalled by some of the comments circulating the internet in regards to the casting of Gal Gadot and her physicality.

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 20.44.13

We fail to see how Gadot’s breasts are in any way shape or form relevant to the role… and this isn’t even some of the worst comments.

There is no need for her to have big breasts. Wonder Woman, for a start is corseted, so her breast size is unimportant. We see no real reason for her breast size to be debated any more than the comments on Brandon Roth’s penis size (his bulge clearly didn’t save 2006’s Superman Returns) while we insist some more muscle definition is very important.

Her acting ability has also been questioned. We are not a fan of F&F and wouldn’t say they are great pieces of cinematography, but her acting couldn’t really be faulted, and it is just so relieving that a big star hasn’t been offered the role. Relative unknowns don’t have all the audience assumptions and expectations.

It also gives us hope that Cavill was also a particularly slender specimen before training for Man of Steel – perhaps the same is being asked of Gadot.

Wonder Woman changed the face of Superheroes, and Gadot could bring this same presence to screen. She could change the face of movie stars, of beauty and give little girls a real, strong woman to look up to. With Hunger Games giving such a positive physical representation of women (Jennifer Lawrence notoriously will not ever give in to being a size zero product of Hollywood) we can not go backwards!

In conclusion, we at Heroine Junkies are pretty happy with the casting, we just would like to see her do some weight training, because women can have biceps and we don’t want our little girls starving themselves and not doing bicep curls, making themselves less fit and more feeble for the sake of beauty. It should be beautiful to be strong physically as a female too, and Wonder Woman had this beauty/strength/brains thing down.

[side note: Snyder, after you’ve ordered Cavill to get back down the gym and gotten Gadot some weights, could you please make sure the costume dept. finally make all our dreams come true and create *that* outfit, the one with the pants, that DC promised with the new 52 and then shoved her back in hot pants…]
 
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Dr Who: travelling through space, time and gender?

The Day of the Doctor was an outstandingly popular event across the whole world of fandom. Cinemas showed the latest episode, and here in sunny (I mean rainy…) Cardiff, the home town of the TARDIS, it was celebrated probably unlike anywhere else.

tardis

The TARDIS expertly landed on top of Cardiff Castle in celebration of 50 years of the BBC’s beloved Time Lord

If you didn’t know, the Day of the Doctor celebrated 50 years of the quirky, white, middle class male who is actually an alien from out of space, gracing our television screens.

The character, a Time Lord from a planet named Gallifrey, has a unique ability – to regenerate. This makes the show unique. The actor can be changed as often as the show likes (they keep changing the rules on number of regenerations…) and that means the show can run indefinitely – particularly as the Time Lord can jump through time and space!

However, the idea of regeneration is sometimes too hard to bear for simple human brains, and it has often been the subject of controversy. Every time a new actor is unveiled as the next doctor, uproar ensues; 2 months later they love him more than the last.

So, why not a female doctor?

In 1979, Romana, the Doctor’s Time Lady companion regenerates, showing the ability to pick and choose what she looks like while she does so – including changing gender. This surely implies that the doctor does indeed have capabilities to change sex just like his contemporary.

We did a poll to get your thoughts on whether there should be a female doctor. It was a close call, with a slight lean towards ‘no’, but is that because we just can’t bear change? With a show that has the ability to really subvert the norms, to change their lead character whenever they like – why not trial a woman? It’s not as if they couldn’t abandon it if it didn’t work.

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Kitty in delight, surrounded by her Dr Who collection

Mega-fan and photographer, Kitty Kems moved to Cardiff bay in order to be near the filming of Dr Who, along with her husband, who she admits is even bigger a fan than she is. “I buy him Dr Who Valentine’s cards every year,” she admits.

Kitty doesn’t think the Doctor should be a woman.

“But the Doctor is a man!” she exclaims, as if the idea is preposterous. “There are female Time Lords – the Doctor is just a male one.”

terry

Arrr! Terry also works as a Jack Sparrow impersonator

Terry Cooper, author of science fiction series, Kangazang! (audio books read by Colin Baker) has been a life long fan of the doctor and is pretty sure a female doctor will come along sooner or later.

“It has been hinted at with Dr Who that he could become female, even recently, the short film ‘The Night of the Doctor’ with Paul Mcgann that was aired just before the 50th, he was offered the choice to be male or female and even before that in the Sarah Jane Adventures, Matt Smith said he could be anything. It’s one of the things they keep touching base on but they haven’t taken the risk.”

With a show who has seen a multitude of actors, is it really so much of a leap for him to be female?

The true Doctor Who fans will always tune back in, because the show is more popular than the actor

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Feminist fan, Deborah, who blogs at diary of a goldfish and the f-word, brings up a really significant point regarding the doctor being male.

The Doctor is a special and important role model for boys, next to all the hypermasculine brawn-over-brain action heroes.

Deborah feels the companions have provided a much needed strong female character, even in older series’ they are no pushover. Later seasons have introduced intellectual women, who may not have the knowledge of the doctor, but they are by no means unknowing or naive.

She continues, “I think the Doctor has a particular character – it’s been played very differently by different actors, but there’s still a sort of soul that’s always been there in every incarnation. But I really don’t think that it’s to do with gender.”

Perhaps this is a very valid point. While women need heroines, and probably don’t have enough of them, little boys need heroes too, and although there is a realm of super men for them to pick out of – they are all so un-relatable. Superman may present himself as nerdy, hidden behind glasses and Peter Parker is no ladies man, but ultimately they are a complete fantasy. They are physically unrealistic, with the strength to literally hold the world on their shoulders and abs that a body builder would strive to achieve. The doctor is usually skinny, never very muscular, mostly quirky looking and relies purely on brain power and wit. He isn’t an overly masculine, testosterone fuelled hero, and yet he still saves the world.

This could also explain why so many women love him. He sweeps them away from the ordinary world, but he is safe, a best friend. But do the companions compensate for the lack of female hero?

By adding romance in the Doctors story arc with companion, Rose, we worry that current Dr Who producer, Steven Moffat just isn’t recognising the fact that the Doctor and the companion shouldn’t be lovers – by adding romance, there is an element of ‘damsel in distress’. Many feminists have been appalled by some of Moffat’s choices, but that is an entirely separate discussion…

Hopefully, with the revert back to an older Doctor, the romantic inclusion will come to an abrupt closure.

Recently, Chella Quint wrote a brilliant article for The F-word, celebrating her passion for the doctor, despite Moffat being a “rather sexist show runner.” She told us that she would love the Doctor to regenerate as a woman, and even have a female sidekick too! When we asked if she thought the Whovians’ opposed to a Time Lady would switch off, until biting the bullet and switching back on as they do with every regeneration, she said;

“I don’t think fans would even leave in the first place, let alone ‘bite the bullet and come back’ as you suggest. True Whovians enjoy complaining and ranting and speculating. It’s part of the fun.”

Journalist and blogger, Christie Tucker believes, “the key message of Doctor Who is that no challenge is insurmountable and that even unremarkable little guys can be important” the doctor has many times been described as afraid, as in essence, normal.

When we set out on this quest to decide whether the doctor should indeed be a woman, we were convinced that he should… why not, just for a laugh! But now we aren’t so sure…

He is an alternative hero for men – a new man, if you will. This makes him relatable for all,including women, because he isn’t oozing with machismo. Maybe it is indeed worth preserving his role within pop-culture and keeping him as him.

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A few of the most popular suggestions for actresses to take on the beloved Time Lord  have been Dame Judi Dench, Helen Mirren and Emma Thompson…  who would you vote for?

Comic Crush: Supergirl (Kara Zor-El)

Is Supergirl the character that can swiftly save young girls from Disney princesses and introduce them to the big bad world of comic book heroes?

© HecateHellcat

© HecateHellcat

With the death of Supergirl’s co-creator, Al Plastino, on Monday of this week, we thought here at Heroine Junkies that we should commemorate one of DC’s most influential comic book artists the only way we know how: by looking at the many incarnations of Kara Zor-El and why all young girls should be given a copy of Supergirl in their Christmas stockings…

Introduced in 1959 with a positive fan response, Kara didn’t gain her own series until 10 years later. Supergirl has remained a ‘girl’ throughout her DC life, although in many origin stories she is technically older than her male counter-part aka Superman, she has often been relegated to side-kick.

The appeal of Supergirl, we believe is ironically this very fact. Her youth attracts young girls into the comic book world – it’s what got us hooked.

IGN ranked Supergirl at #94 in their Top 100 Comic Book Heroes, saying of Kara:

Born of the Silver Age that saw everything from a Super Baby to a Super Monkey, Kara Zor-El grew into something much more than simply another marketing ploy to slap an “S” on.

1984’s Supergirl film saw Supergirl as her own woman, and with no attachment to Superman at all. Okay, so the film seems fairly silly when you watch it back, but at aged 6 it sends you into a frenzy, running around the room with your blanket tidied around your neck and fist in the air. Wonder woman just does not have that same youth appeal – she is too far removed from a child, with her curvaceous body and stern yet beautiful facial features – it’s not until your teens that you perhaps start looking at the sexual goddess as a role-model, and for the most part, this just means Halloween fancy dress not a comic book addiction.

Supergirl has an innocence, a girl next door appeal yet with the same raw power shown by the rest of the DC heroines- she just offers an easy way in, a character for younger readers to relate to and become passionate about.

Life long Supergirl enthusiast and blogger @ Comic Box, Ang, says:

She’s optimistic, sees the best in all, and is fierce in her desire to do what’s right, sacrificing herself to help others. But she is also sweet, innocent but not naive. Strong. And, importantly, still learning! She makes mistakes and works harder.

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Kara’s original outfit didn’t reveal cleavage or over expose much of her body. A skirt (in a lot of incarnations) rather than a skin tight pair of pants, gives her a youthful appeal (a brief stint in the early 2000’s stripped Supergirl a little bit too much). The New 52 has made her far more pessimistic and angry than the Silver-Age ray of light we knew, but perhaps this is just more of a reflection of our own society than her character.

However, as far as Heroine Junkies is concerned, she is the transitional character between disney and DC. Kara has that squeaky clean image that Disney princess’s emit; yet the modern edge and strong warrior woman core that earlier Disney women lack, that perhaps only characters like Brave’s Merida have – the fire in their belly that isn’t led by a man, but to fight for what’s right.

We can’t erase the consuming allure of pink culture that shadows girls from birth, but with characters like Supergirl, we can kick the habit slowly to the curb. One of our first loves was Ariel, it was something about being a mermaid, roaming free in the sea that grabbed our imagination. 1984’s Supergirl transported us to a world far more vast that the ocean, a world of endless possibilities and of equal gender strength. Without these role models and subsequent characters like Buffy we wouldn’t be the head-strong women we are today. Thank you Supergirl, may you continue to sweep your magic across generations of young girls to come (and let’s hope they don’t brutally kill you off again for some macho Superman story arc)…

Let’s hope she finally gets the recognition she deserves and can serve to inspire a new generation of feisty females by appearing in the new Superman film franchise!

DR WHO 50TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL!

I am going to be writing a comprehensive feature all about fangirls of Dr Who and the all important question: why are all the doctors white males?

Please answer my poll to get your thoughts!

 

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