sweets-and-tea:

"all cosplay is equal, no one is better than anyone else"

Um how about no? There will always be someone better than you, it’s a fact of life, and if you can’t deal with that and work harder to be better and instead try to hide away the truth with ridiculously fake positivity you need to go and grow a fucking pair and get some fucking life skills

God damn 

How come no one on this website can be a fucking adult

While I do agree that the fake positivity in the cosplay community is exhausting and unnecessary, I think that’s just a part of tumblr as a whole, not specifically the cosplay community. You’ll see all sorts of diatribes on this site about how it’s okay to be [generally negative trait here] and to “just be yourself!” without any self-reflection, and most really just reinforce people in their insecurities; it fosters a community where everyone settles for their own mediocrity and never strive to improve themselves or their skills. It says “anyone who disagrees with you, even with the kindest of intentions, is wrong and you are never culpable.”

If there is going to be a community ethos as far as avoiding arrogance, it shouldn’t be about equality or everyone being on the same playing field, because that’s nonsense; there are beginner cosplayers and there are master-class/artisan cosplayers and there are people all in-between, and comparing them is like putting a kid making up box of mac ‘n cheese up against Gordon Ramsay. They’re completely different categories. You can’t look at someone with little experience and deride them for not having the skills of a trained veteran, but you also can’t look at that trained veteran and discount their decades of hard work with some unrealistic idea of equality. Hell, you can’t even compare beginners –– some people have resources, some don’t. Some have time, some don’t. Some have the aptitude, some don’t. For that reason, I think it’s fair to judge everyone on their own merits rather than either denying or fixating on people with more skills.

I’d much rather see a mantra around the cosplay community more along the lines of “if you’re having fun and are reaching your own goals, you’re doing great.” Nobody else has to factor into it at all. Acknowledging more skilled costumers is important, but one should focus most on oneself and one’s own skills.

But that said, shame on the people who see themselves as superior to others merely because they are more skilled or more popular or more conventionally attractive; to be held in higher regard should never come at the cost of kindness and helpfulness, and that, I think, is a problem this community has struggled with time and time again. The bullying needs to go, and veteran cosplayers should lead by example.

- Jenn

Made rebloggable by request; you can see the original post here.
————————
This is a really good question. It is one that doesn’t have a single answer, and likely one that cannot provide much in the way of guidance for young women (and men) who are looking for a clear-cut definition. It’s like asking “what does it mean to be human?” Everyone is going to have a different answer, due to different experiences, perceptions and attitudes towards the subject. 
I feel like feminism is often misunderstood by young (or otherwise “new”) feminists. In fact, I’ve grown particularly skeptical of the term “feminism” itself, and somewhat prefer “feminisms,” though obviously the latter is unlikely to ever come into common usage. This is because feminists, like Christians, or democrats, or cosplayers, have different conceptions of what feminism is. I say feminism is misunderstood by young feminists only to suggest they are inexperienced: they are prone to “not true scotsman” arguments about what is or isn’t feminism or feminist, and try to make universal statements like “that isn’t what feminism is about” or “the only thing that matters is that women have choice” or “feminism is solely about equality between the sexes.”
While for many people that is true (and I would not deny their experiences) I do think it is important to recognize that feminists do not hold any universal opinion, or even any universal goals. There are feminists who do condemn certain choices made by women because those choices uphold aspects of patriarchal society; for example, they may feel that a woman choosing to become a sex worker (for non-survival reasons) is also choosing to uphold a system that abuses women. There are also feminists who do not believe feminism is about equality; they may believe it is about equity, retribution, overthrowing the status quo, etc.
There are many kinds of feminisms, and many kinds of feminists. They are all legitimate in my eyes, even if I do not agree with some of them. As a result, asking what it means to be a feminist is really more about asking: what kind of feminist am I? What principles do I uphold as feminist? What philosophical or theoretical frameworks do I position myself within and how do I want to use them to improve my understanding of the world?
Tricky stuff, I know. ;) 
So: onto cosplay.  
Social justice communities have taken a pretty firm root in tumblr, and as such, I don’t think there are many of us who haven’t come across them yet. I also think social justice has kind of hit a level of “vogue” with fandom right now, particularly with people who don’t have much of a background with feminist communities (or other anti-oppression communities.) As such, yes: the cosplay community is growing rife with a lot of young women (and men) who are testing their wings as feminists.
Here’s my take on it: I feel personally empowered to step into the clothing and “identity” of women characters I admire, but I recognize that these characters do not exist as “feminist” characters, nor is my perspective of them universal. In my opinion, it is absurd to dress up as a character like Supergirl, who despite her age and characterization is often the subject of pin-ups, pornography and sexualization (even in canon!) and not expect aspects of that to carry over. Cosplay is NOT consent, but so many women characters ARE designed with an element of sexualization or to be titillating. We live in an era where companies spend hundreds of thousands –– if not millions — on the media they produce. Sexualization is not accidental. When you’re spending that much money to produce a product that must inspire the product to spend money, you have to look at every detail. Why do you think magical girl shows are aimed at adult men just as much as they are aimed at little girls? We might not see Madoka Magica or other magical girl shows as inherently sexual (especially considering the main cast is comprised of girls 13-15 years old) but you have to consider the various lines of figures featuring the girls in tiny bikinis, the animation of Mami’s breasts, the target demographic of adult men. So much of the media we consume is problematic.
And I’m not saying we should accept those things or excuse them or whatever. What I am saying is that when we cosplay those characters, we can’t expect those aspects of sexualization, objectification, etc to not follow us. While we are living, breathing human beings with rights and thoughts and opinions, when we cosplay, we are presenting ourselves as characters who may carry sexual connotations. For people who do not cosplay or have difficulty separating costume from costumer, they likely see the characterbefore they see you. They may not see a human being, they may see the object you are portraying. They may speak to the object instead of you. 
Everyone should be free to exist in fandom spaces without sexual harassment, sexual assault, and the whole gamut of inappropriate behaviors. However, it is unrealistic in today’s society to expect to dress up as an object who is very often subject to sexualization (if not intended to be wholly sexual) and expect none of those uglier elements to come with it. I wholeheartedly wish it could be another way, but that’s the truth as I see it. It is important to not get lost in feminism and see the world and society as “failing to be feminist.” The world and society are striving to become feminist. How you choose to help the world become more feminist is up to you, but I do think it’s important for feminists who cosplay to recognize that they’re willingly participating in objectification.
Again, willingly participating in objectification does not excuse being treated like a piece of sexy meat, nor does it mean one should be submissive to the desires of fans, but we are in a world that is striving to become feminist, not failing to do so. For many people (especially men who have had no experience with gender-based discrimination!) this is an act of naïvety. I often speak with male fans who get too handsy, personal or inappropriate with me; most of the time, the fact that they are being invasive doesn’t even occur to them, and most of them are extremely apologetic and concerned about their out behavior once it’s explained to them. While I understand the temptation and justification to be angry with these people, especially when you’ve just been mistreated by them, I (personally) feel that it is easier to just calmly but firmly call it as I see it and engage in dialogue. I don’t take shit, but I try not to dole it out in retaliation, either. I have always had better results by just assuming good faith, and when it proves that the fan is just an asshole who will defiantly continue to do it… well, scumbags are a part of living amongst humanity. Better luck next time. Treating all people who misstep as pigs isn’t going to win you any friends, though. Of course, this is also about harassment, not assault; when things cross that line, it gets very, very different.
And it’s important to recognize that some women cosplayers do feel empowered by being sexually desired. Feminists, of course, have different opinions on this; for some it is a matter of empowerment, liberation and choice, and for others, it is women engaging in denigration and upholding systems of oppression by encouraging men to continue treating women like meat. It all depends on your different brand of feminism. I get irritated when men immediately start asking me if I have a boyfriend, but I’m laid back when it comes to comments on me or my body –– even sexual ones, to a degree. Some women don’t want comments at all. Some women enjoy being told how desirable and fuckable they are. The problem is that none of these things are obvious from the outside, nor do they have much to do with what the cosplayer is wearing: line up a bunch of cosplayers and you can’t tell how any of them feel about sexually-charged interaction from strangers.
This is what “cosplay isn’t consent” means; you shouldn’t judge how to approach a cosplayer based on what they’re wearing, as they are not the character. However, cosplayers should be prudent about what they dress up as; if they’re not willing to deal with potential sexual harassment and undue attention, then they should choose their costumes wisely. It’s the same thing as the short skirt debacle, in my eyes. A short skirt isn’t consent and doesn’t excuse anything, but wearing a short skirt takes awareness and a preparedness to deal with the potential backlash. Meanwhile, men and women alike will make judgements about women in short skirts… it’s beyond patriarchy (which I feel is rather outdated and not necessarily relevant to much in the North-Western world anymore) and more about society as a whole engaging in oppressive actions. If you want to wear a short skirt (or cosplay), you can choose to either do it and handle the potential attitudes of others, or you can refrain from it and not participate at all. 
What is more important is open communication, especially between cosplayers and photographers. It is important for photographers to ask “are you okay with sexualized content?” and/or for cosplayers to make clear what kind of content they are or are not okay with. Communicate, communicate, communicate.
Man, I feel like this got rambling or otherwise confusingly written, but I hope I’ve expressed myself clearly enough. But in short, feminism is a complex and multi-faceted system of conflicting beliefs, not a single set of beliefs, and it has no definitive opinion on cosplay or women in costume. When it comes to cosplay, it is best to be pragmatic first and feminist second and handle incidents of sexual harassment on an individual basis, and to alwayscommunicate. (And not passive aggressively, holy shit no.)
- Jenn

Made rebloggable by request; you can see the original post here.

————————

This is a really good question. It is one that doesn’t have a single answer, and likely one that cannot provide much in the way of guidance for young women (and men) who are looking for a clear-cut definition. It’s like asking “what does it mean to be human?” Everyone is going to have a different answer, due to different experiences, perceptions and attitudes towards the subject. 

I feel like feminism is often misunderstood by young (or otherwise “new”) feminists. In fact, I’ve grown particularly skeptical of the term “feminism” itself, and somewhat prefer “feminisms,” though obviously the latter is unlikely to ever come into common usage. This is because feminists, like Christians, or democrats, or cosplayers, have different conceptions of what feminism is. I say feminism is misunderstood by young feminists only to suggest they are inexperienced: they are prone to “not true scotsman” arguments about what is or isn’t feminism or feminist, and try to make universal statements like “that isn’t what feminism is about” or “the only thing that matters is that women have choice” or “feminism is solely about equality between the sexes.”

While for many people that is true (and I would not deny their experiences) I do think it is important to recognize that feminists do not hold any universal opinion, or even any universal goals. There are feminists who do condemn certain choices made by women because those choices uphold aspects of patriarchal society; for example, they may feel that a woman choosing to become a sex worker (for non-survival reasons) is also choosing to uphold a system that abuses women. There are also feminists who do not believe feminism is about equality; they may believe it is about equity, retribution, overthrowing the status quo, etc.

There are many kinds of feminisms, and many kinds of feminists. They are all legitimate in my eyes, even if I do not agree with some of them. As a result, asking what it means to be a feminist is really more about asking: what kind of feminist am I? What principles do I uphold as feminist? What philosophical or theoretical frameworks do I position myself within and how do I want to use them to improve my understanding of the world?

Tricky stuff, I know. ;) 

So: onto cosplay.  

Social justice communities have taken a pretty firm root in tumblr, and as such, I don’t think there are many of us who haven’t come across them yet. I also think social justice has kind of hit a level of “vogue” with fandom right now, particularly with people who don’t have much of a background with feminist communities (or other anti-oppression communities.) As such, yes: the cosplay community is growing rife with a lot of young women (and men) who are testing their wings as feminists.

Here’s my take on it: I feel personally empowered to step into the clothing and “identity” of women characters I admire, but I recognize that these characters do not exist as “feminist” characters, nor is my perspective of them universal. In my opinion, it is absurd to dress up as a character like Supergirl, who despite her age and characterization is often the subject of pin-ups, pornography and sexualization (even in canon!) and not expect aspects of that to carry over. Cosplay is NOT consent, but so many women characters ARE designed with an element of sexualization or to be titillating. We live in an era where companies spend hundreds of thousands –– if not millions — on the media they produce. Sexualization is not accidental. When you’re spending that much money to produce a product that must inspire the product to spend money, you have to look at every detail. Why do you think magical girl shows are aimed at adult men just as much as they are aimed at little girls? We might not see Madoka Magica or other magical girl shows as inherently sexual (especially considering the main cast is comprised of girls 13-15 years old) but you have to consider the various lines of figures featuring the girls in tiny bikinis, the animation of Mami’s breasts, the target demographic of adult men. So much of the media we consume is problematic.

And I’m not saying we should accept those things or excuse them or whatever. What I am saying is that when we cosplay those characters, we can’t expect those aspects of sexualization, objectification, etc to not follow us. While we are living, breathing human beings with rights and thoughts and opinions, when we cosplay, we are presenting ourselves as characters who may carry sexual connotations. For people who do not cosplay or have difficulty separating costume from costumer, they likely see the characterbefore they see you. They may not see a human being, they may see the object you are portraying. They may speak to the object instead of you. 

Everyone should be free to exist in fandom spaces without sexual harassment, sexual assault, and the whole gamut of inappropriate behaviors. However, it is unrealistic in today’s society to expect to dress up as an object who is very often subject to sexualization (if not intended to be wholly sexual) and expect none of those uglier elements to come with it. I wholeheartedly wish it could be another way, but that’s the truth as I see it. It is important to not get lost in feminism and see the world and society as “failing to be feminist.” The world and society are striving to become feminist. How you choose to help the world become more feminist is up to you, but I do think it’s important for feminists who cosplay to recognize that they’re willingly participating in objectification.

Again, willingly participating in objectification does not excuse being treated like a piece of sexy meat, nor does it mean one should be submissive to the desires of fans, but we are in a world that is striving to become feminist, not failing to do so. For many people (especially men who have had no experience with gender-based discrimination!) this is an act of naïvety. I often speak with male fans who get too handsy, personal or inappropriate with me; most of the time, the fact that they are being invasive doesn’t even occur to them, and most of them are extremely apologetic and concerned about their out behavior once it’s explained to them. While I understand the temptation and justification to be angry with these people, especially when you’ve just been mistreated by them, I (personally) feel that it is easier to just calmly but firmly call it as I see it and engage in dialogue. I don’t take shit, but I try not to dole it out in retaliation, either. I have always had better results by just assuming good faith, and when it proves that the fan is just an asshole who will defiantly continue to do it… well, scumbags are a part of living amongst humanity. Better luck next time. Treating all people who misstep as pigs isn’t going to win you any friends, though. Of course, this is also about harassment, not assault; when things cross that line, it gets very, very different.

And it’s important to recognize that some women cosplayers do feel empowered by being sexually desired. Feminists, of course, have different opinions on this; for some it is a matter of empowerment, liberation and choice, and for others, it is women engaging in denigration and upholding systems of oppression by encouraging men to continue treating women like meat. It all depends on your different brand of feminism. I get irritated when men immediately start asking me if I have a boyfriend, but I’m laid back when it comes to comments on me or my body –– even sexual ones, to a degree. Some women don’t want comments at all. Some women enjoy being told how desirable and fuckable they are. The problem is that none of these things are obvious from the outside, nor do they have much to do with what the cosplayer is wearing: line up a bunch of cosplayers and you can’t tell how any of them feel about sexually-charged interaction from strangers.

This is what “cosplay isn’t consent” means; you shouldn’t judge how to approach a cosplayer based on what they’re wearing, as they are not the character. However, cosplayers should be prudent about what they dress up as; if they’re not willing to deal with potential sexual harassment and undue attention, then they should choose their costumes wisely. It’s the same thing as the short skirt debacle, in my eyes. A short skirt isn’t consent and doesn’t excuse anything, but wearing a short skirt takes awareness and a preparedness to deal with the potential backlash. Meanwhile, men and women alike will make judgements about women in short skirts… it’s beyond patriarchy (which I feel is rather outdated and not necessarily relevant to much in the North-Western world anymore) and more about society as a whole engaging in oppressive actions. If you want to wear a short skirt (or cosplay), you can choose to either do it and handle the potential attitudes of others, or you can refrain from it and not participate at all. 

What is more important is open communication, especially between cosplayers and photographers. It is important for photographers to ask “are you okay with sexualized content?” and/or for cosplayers to make clear what kind of content they are or are not okay with. Communicate, communicate, communicate.

Man, I feel like this got rambling or otherwise confusingly written, but I hope I’ve expressed myself clearly enough. But in short, feminism is a complex and multi-faceted system of conflicting beliefs, not a single set of beliefs, and it has no definitive opinion on cosplay or women in costume. When it comes to cosplay, it is best to be pragmatic first and feminist second and handle incidents of sexual harassment on an individual basis, and to alwayscommunicate. (And not passive aggressively, holy shit no.)

- Jenn

A message from Anonymous


Hey Dangerous Ladies, you've always been a great costume blog to follow since you're not only helpful but you make it a point to promote positive body image and equalized gender concepts so I figure one of you ought to be able to answer my question. What exactly does it mean to be a feminist? I've noticed the word getting tossed around in cosplay communities I'm part of as it applies to women in costume and how they're perceived by male photographers (and they're willingness to work with them).

This is a really good question. It is one that doesn’t have a single answer, and likely one that cannot provide much in the way of guidance for young women (and men) who are looking for a clear-cut definition. It’s like asking “what does it mean to be human?” Everyone is going to have a different answer, due to different experiences, perceptions and attitudes towards the subject. 

I feel like feminism is often misunderstood by young (or otherwise “new”) feminists. In fact, I’ve grown particularly skeptical of the term “feminism” itself, and somewhat prefer “feminisms,” though obviously the latter is unlikely to ever come into common usage. This is because feminists, like Christians, or democrats, or cosplayers, have different conceptions of what feminism is. I say feminism is misunderstood by young feminists only to suggest they are inexperienced: they are prone to “not true scotsman” arguments about what is or isn’t feminism or feminist, and try to make universal statements like “that isn’t what feminism is about” or “the only thing that matters is that women have choice” or “feminism is solely about equality between the sexes.”

While for many people that is true (and I would not deny their experiences) I do think it is important to recognize that feminists do not hold any universal opinion, or even any universal goals. There are feminists who do condemn certain choices made by women because those choices uphold aspects of patriarchal society; for example, they may feel that a woman choosing to become a sex worker (for non-survival reasons) is also choosing to uphold a system that abuses women. There are also feminists who do not believe feminism is about equality; they may believe it is about equity, retribution, overthrowing the status quo, etc.

There are many kinds of feminisms, and many kinds of feminists. They are all legitimate in my eyes, even if I do not agree with some of them. As a result, asking what it means to be a feminist is really more about asking: what kind of feminist am I? What principles do I uphold as feminist? What philosophical or theoretical frameworks do I position myself within and how do I want to use them to improve my understanding of the world?

Tricky stuff, I know. ;) 

So: onto cosplay.  

Social justice communities have taken a pretty firm root in tumblr, and as such, I don’t think there are many of us who haven’t come across them yet. I also think social justice has kind of hit a level of “vogue” with fandom right now, particularly with people who don’t have much of a background with feminist communities (or other anti-oppression communities.) As such, yes: the cosplay community is growing rife with a lot of young women (and men) who are testing their wings as feminists.

Here’s my take on it: I feel personally empowered to step into the clothing and “identity” of women characters I admire, but I recognize that these characters do not exist as “feminist” characters, nor is my perspective of them universal. In my opinion, it is absurd to dress up as a character like Supergirl, who despite her age and characterization is often the subject of pin-ups, pornography and sexualization (even in canon!) and not expect aspects of that to carry over. Cosplay is NOT consent, but so many women characters ARE designed with an element of sexualization or to be titillating. We live in an era where companies spend hundreds of thousands –– if not millions — on the media they produce. Sexualization is not accidental. When you’re spending that much money to produce a product that must inspire the product to spend money, you have to look at every detail. Why do you think magical girl shows are aimed at adult men just as much as they are aimed at little girls? We might not see Madoka Magica or other magical girl shows as inherently sexual (especially considering the main cast is comprised of girls 13-15 years old) but you have to consider the various lines of figures featuring the girls in tiny bikinis, the animation of Mami’s breasts, the target demographic of adult men. So much of the media we consume is problematic.

And I’m not saying we should accept those things or excuse them or whatever. What I am saying is that when we cosplay those characters, we can’t expect those aspects of sexualization, objectification, etc to not follow us. While we are living, breathing human beings with rights and thoughts and opinions, when we cosplay, we are presenting ourselves as characters who may carry sexual connotations. For people who do not cosplay or have difficulty separating costume from costumer, they likely see the character before they see you. They may not see a human being, they may see the object you are portraying. They may speak to the object instead of you. 

Everyone should be free to exist in fandom spaces without sexual harassment, sexual assault, and the whole gamut of inappropriate behaviors. However, it is unrealistic in today’s society to expect to dress up as an object who is very often subject to sexualization (if not intended to be wholly sexual) and expect none of those uglier elements to come with it. I wholeheartedly wish it could be another way, but that’s the truth as I see it. It is important to not get lost in feminism and see the world and society as “failing to be feminist.” The world and society are striving to become feminist. How you choose to help the world become more feminist is up to you, but I do think it’s important for feminists who cosplay to recognize that they’re willingly participating in objectification.

Again, willingly participating in objectification does not excuse being treated like a piece of sexy meat, nor does it mean one should be submissive to the desires of fans, but we are in a world that is striving to become feminist, not failing to do so. For many people (especially men who have had no experience with gender-based discrimination!) this is an act of naïvety. I often speak with male fans who get too handsy, personal or inappropriate with me; most of the time, the fact that they are being invasive doesn’t even occur to them, and most of them are extremely apologetic and concerned about their out behavior once it’s explained to them. While I understand the temptation and justification to be angry with these people, especially when you’ve just been mistreated by them, I (personally) feel that it is easier to just calmly but firmly call it as I see it and engage in dialogue. I don’t take shit, but I try not to dole it out in retaliation, either. I have always had better results by just assuming good faith, and when it proves that the fan is just an asshole who will defiantly continue to do it… well, scumbags are a part of living amongst humanity. Better luck next time. Treating all people who misstep as pigs isn’t going to win you any friends, though. Of course, this is also about harassment, not assault; when things cross that line, it gets very, very different.

And it’s important to recognize that some women cosplayers do feel empowered by being sexually desired. Feminists, of course, have different opinions on this; for some it is a matter of empowerment, liberation and choice, and for others, it is women engaging in denigration and upholding systems of oppression by encouraging men to continue treating women like meat. It all depends on your different brand of feminism. I get irritated when men immediately start asking me if I have a boyfriend, but I’m laid back when it comes to comments on me or my body –– even sexual ones, to a degree. Some women don’t want comments at all. Some women enjoy being told how desirable and fuckable they are. The problem is that none of these things are obvious from the outside, nor do they have much to do with what the cosplayer is wearing: line up a bunch of cosplayers and you can’t tell how any of them feel about sexually-charged interaction from strangers.

This is what “cosplay isn’t consent” means; you shouldn’t judge how to approach a cosplayer based on what they’re wearing, as they are not the character. However, cosplayers should be prudent about what they dress up as; if they’re not willing to deal with potential sexual harassment and undue attention, then they should choose their costumes wisely. It’s the same thing as the short skirt debacle, in my eyes. A short skirt isn’t consent and doesn’t excuse anything, but wearing a short skirt takes awareness and a preparedness to deal with the potential backlash. Meanwhile, men and women alike will make judgements about women in short skirts… it’s beyond patriarchy (which I feel is rather outdated and not necessarily relevant to much in the North-Western world anymore) and more about society as a whole engaging in oppressive actions. If you want to wear a short skirt (or cosplay), you can choose to either do it and handle the potential attitudes of others, or you can refrain from it and not participate at all. 

What is more important is open communication, especially between cosplayers and photographers. It is important for photographers to ask “are you okay with sexualized content?” and/or for cosplayers to make clear what kind of content they are or are not okay with. Communicate, communicate, communicate.

Man, I feel like this got rambling or otherwise confusingly written, but I hope I’ve expressed myself clearly enough. But in short, feminism is a complex and multi-faceted system of conflicting beliefs, not a single set of beliefs, and it has no definitive opinion on cosplay or women in costume. When it comes to cosplay, it is best to be pragmatic first and feminist second and handle incidents of sexual harassment on an individual basis, and to always communicate. (And not passive aggressively, holy shit no.)

- Jenn

A message from filmsfoodandfandom


If All-Star Superman isn't your favorite Superman book, then what is, if you don't mind me asking.

Probably Birthright.

But also Brainiac or For All Seasons

And Secret Identity. That one is definitely up there.

- Jenn

A message from bgrevln8fu


Given the business practices of the past, I'm guessing that the image being put out regarding the movie is all marketing's fault. I recall reading that the film itself isn't as "Nolan's Batman" as it's implied to be. Personally, all my faith in the movie hangs on the fact that they're using "All-Star Superman" for reference material.

I’d like to believe that too, but I feel like they’re using All-Star only from its barest text. A massive part of All-Star, for me, was how much Morrison played with Superman’s quirkier or more cosmic elements. He’s this guy who is so utterly human in his interactions with people, he’s just as small-town Kansas grown as anyone else out of Smallville, but he occupies this strange, beautiful, technicolor world full of vivid imagery and trips to the sun and moon. There are rock monsters and wheezing purple Parasites and flying dogs chasing tree trunks and Supermen from other universes and gods. Morrison plays up how different Clark and Superman are while still grounding them as the same person. Family is so important to his life even as an adult. All-Star Superman relaxes on cloud-beds and smiles and tenderly expresses affection for his girlfriend, his family, the innocent… god. All-Star isn’t even my favourite book, but it’s great material. It blends Superman with his more mythic elements with the emotive material that makes him someone you just want to know and embrace

Literally everything that made All-Star so special is absent from Man of Steel thus far. All-Star would never be so colorless, so angst-focused, so alien in all the wrong ways. And that isn’t to say I want an All-Star inspired movie –– I don’t! –– but Man of Steel reeks of executive meddling to tailor to market audiences. Necessary for them to do for Man of Steel to be a financial success? Probably. I won’t kid myself or anyone, we all know that we’re never going to see another Superman anything remotely like the comics, especially as long as this fascination with “mature” superheroes persists, and that’s where this movie does need a little All-Star. The most light-hearted moment so far is Lois pointing out that Superman’s emblem is an “S” and him saying that on “his world” it stands for hope, and it’s still a cold, awkward scene.

I’d love to be surprised in theaters and have it full of fun moments, though. Love to.

- Jenn

A message from Anonymous


Even though you're not excited about Clark himself in Man of Steel - how to you feel about how Lois is being portrayed?

We’ll see! I like Amy Adams well enough, but I’m still not sure if she has the feistiness in her to compare. I liked her dialogue in the trailer, but I don’t think there was enough snap. I do especially like that she’s been following him around the world prior to his going public, à la Birthright.

I think Erica Durance set the bar very, very high for portrayals of Lois Lane, so Amy Adams needs to either sell it hard or go in another equally awesome direction. 

- Jenn

Edit: Also, I just remembered Amy Adams was in Smallville. I’m laughing imagining her Lois Lane tucking into a whole deer carcass face-first. Om nom nom nom.

I always hope for things to be better than I expect; I’d characterize myself as a pretty optimistic person! But I’m also being realistic: when I see the S, I hope I’m seeing something I like, but I’d be naive to hope everything I am suspicious of so far will be different in the movie when all signs point to “not for me” so far.
Our expectations are pretty different, too! :) Your Superman and my Superman are pretty different guys, given our different reactions to the trailers, and the Superman you know and love probably isn’t the same as the Superman I know and love. To me, this Superman is one further step away from the Superman I know and love, because that’s just the way DC goes sometimes. My Superman doesn’t refer to Krypton as “my world” in the present tense. My Superman doesn’t think his relationship with his parents is about pretending. My Superman doesn’t live in a desaturated blue world. But I understand that for you, this is a come-back for him, and I’m really happy for you. I hope you love the movie more than you anticipate! 
- Jenn

I always hope for things to be better than I expect; I’d characterize myself as a pretty optimistic person! But I’m also being realistic: when I see the S, I hope I’m seeing something I like, but I’d be naive to hope everything I am suspicious of so far will be different in the movie when all signs point to “not for me” so far.

Our expectations are pretty different, too! :) Your Superman and my Superman are pretty different guys, given our different reactions to the trailers, and the Superman you know and love probably isn’t the same as the Superman I know and love. To me, this Superman is one further step away from the Superman I know and love, because that’s just the way DC goes sometimes. My Superman doesn’t refer to Krypton as “my world” in the present tense. My Superman doesn’t think his relationship with his parents is about pretending. My Superman doesn’t live in a desaturated blue world. But I understand that for you, this is a come-back for him, and I’m really happy for you. I hope you love the movie more than you anticipate! 

- Jenn

A message from Anonymous


So new pics of Nic Cage as Superman... Thoughts on Superman Lives? Would it have been a cult classic or Batman & Robin-ish? (Can't send links sorry! It's on IGN somewhere)

Oh my god, Tumblr ate my massive reply. Sobbing.

Okay, so.

I have a weird relationship with Batman & Robin. You see, I don’t like camp, but I do prefer camp to the worst of the utterly joyless grim-dark stuff that is popular these days, especially in the Batman camp. You see, I own the Batman & Robin Action Audio Adventure which boasts having 3D Sound Effects. It is hilarious. You didn’t hear it from me, but you should maybe listen to it. I put it on when I need a pick-me-up, which probably says a lot about me.

So I wish that Superman Lives was made. I really do. You see, I like realism as much as the next person, but I think Superman’s weirdness is inherent. The DC Universe is a really quirky place. It’s one thing to try to make Batman’s world seem a lot less ludicrous –– he’s basically James Bond in a costume –– but it’s another to try to ground Superman in reality. He’s an alien, you know? He is an alien in a bright suit with all these amazing powers and I think his stories should have a lot of colourful sci-fi madness. I dunno, I think film is where amazing things should happen, and I can see realistic-looking death space machines in real life. I don’t think alien technology should look like ours, so bring on the Brainiac freak spaceships. I like a lot of weird, as long as it matches the accepted laws of that fictional universe. 

So yes, bring on Superman Lives. Or… it should have been brought on. That’s why I’m getting behind the documentary on it: The Death of Superman Lives. Guess whose name will be in the credits? Mine. Because I’m a hopeless loser.

But because we’re a cosplay blog, I’m going to touch on those new pictures, mostly because I actually liked them. Let us forget about that long-haired, latex-clad abomination we all think of when discussing this project and turn our attention to these gorgeous new pictures

First thing out of the way: I like it. I don’t think it would necessarily work on-screen, given that it looks like a urethane suit, but for the time period, I think a Keatonesque/Clooneyesque (depending on how intensely you want to argue about batnipples) suit was a pretty reasonable expectation. It has a lot more definition than I like, because I like my Superman as a big guy rather than a bodybuilder, but hey, it’s better than the latex abomination. I don’t like the modern suits (Returns, MoS) but I accept that they are a lot more visually interesting than Reeves’ and other fabric suits. I think the textured fabrics and added details add great visual interest that you basically NEED on the big screen, but I do maintain that bright colours and certain design aesthetics (like not designing a suit with big silver arrows pointing to Superman’s junk with no briefs) are really important to a Superman design. Shit, dude, Star Trek added visual interest to the 2009 costumes without changing the colours, get it together, Man of Steel.

But as I am digressing: I think they would have run into trouble with the urethane suit. Look, spandex suits work better on women largely because women are not expected to have too much in the way of musculature. Put some shape-wear on us to combat the natural “crushing” effect of spandex and bam, you’ve got sleek, busty, tight superhero ladies. But on men, you run into this problem where musculature is expected yet the spandex “glosses” over it. Not only do you need an immaculate fit, but you’d need a lot of airbrushing to restore the appearance of muscle. That said, airbrushing is an illusion and it falls flat if overdone. This is why I love the blue part of the Superman Returns suit so much –– it’s immaculately tailored and airbrushed just enough to give Routh a very defined look.

But that’s not what they were really going for, in Superman Lives. Back then, I think the exaggerated male musculature was still an integral part of the superhero, the way it still is in the comics. Modern superhero films like a sleeker look, as our ideal male body walks some icky line between “have a lot of muscle, but not TOO much muscle.” Nowadays, you need muscle suits like Flex Designs’ awesome suits to get that crazy superhero build –– they tend to look great with or without clothing overtop. If I won the lottery, I’d buy one just to marvel at it… I think it’d be neat to use something more like that for a Superman costume, over urethane, in the 90s when that uber-built thing was popular.

Anyway, I think the biggest problem they would have run into with a urethane suit would be the seams. It’s not so bad on Batman, because Batman is shrouded in darkness and that stuff will be less visible, but Superman’s usually in daylight. Obviously, their budget would be a lot better than Rubies, but look at this Rubies costume. It’s basically the same idea but mass-produced for a generic body instead of Nic Cage’s. How weird would that look on the big screen? How much would Cage’s motion be limited? Were they really going to CG it back in the 90s, or shoot countless takes like they did of RDJ as Iron Man, because limited range of motion in the suit means needing to CG half of the suit? Also, Batman is expected to wear armor-looking stuff, but urethane suiting on a guy who can casually walk through concrete is a little absurd.

And as far as Cage goes, his movies are some of my favourite guilty pleasure movies. I don’t care how much you hate him, only a soulless person could come away from National Treasure feeling angry. It’s just such a fun movie, and I usually dislike fun movies. (The word “fun” has stopped looking real to me.) Would he have been an okay Superman, though? I dunno. Even if you question his acting skills, his outright passion for Superman (HE NAMED HIS CHILD KAL-EL FFS) would probably sell it for me. I can dig someone who loves the role that much. I mean, fuck, I love Smallville despite its flaws, but I never got over how much Tom Welling seemed to resent his role. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Amazing Spider-Man, but that Garfield dude who played him had such a love for the character in interviews that I liked his take. Passion sells best with me, I guess! :) I just want a Superman actor who digs Superman as much as I do.

And I’d think Sandra Bullock would make a great Lois Lane. Hell, if they made a Supergirl movie that called for an older Lois Lane, she’d be right up there with Erica Durance and Stana Katic for my dream Lois Lane. I think she has the spunk and attitude for it. I’m still mixed on Amy Adams and only time will tell, but I’m still apprehensive but optimistic –– Anne Hathaway blew me away as Catwoman, so I’m hoping Amy Adams can knock it out of the park, too.

And with that, I got nothing else.

- Jenn

A message from eli-kent


Cosplayer all the way from Oz here - I'm a HUGE Superman and supergirl fan. I was initially a little down about the original material that was released for "Man of Steel" but after seeing trailer number 2... Woah... I have never been so eager and excited about a superman movie since... well... ever! I'd like to know Jenn's opinion on the matter... !

Oh boy, here we go! :) 

First I’ll remind people that I am horribly picky when it comes to Superman and I have pretty strong opinions on how he should be and what interpretation of him is best and most interesting. Unfortunately, the Superman I prefer tends to run against the grain of what DC has been doing as of late, and in a lot of ways, the Man of Steel trailer is no different.

I also keep my expectations very low, because then in the worst case scenario, my concerns are confirmed, and in the best case scenario, I am pleasantly surprised (even if it’s still not everything I would want.) This is what allowed me to really like The Dark Knight Rises, even if it was rife with problems: I went in with no expectations, and it was at least better than The Dark Knight, which I knew I disliked.

So anyway:

The first trailer/teaser/whatever you want to call it was kind of “eh.” In this day and age, great special effects are more or less a given, and even horribly written movies like 2012 and Transformers have great special effects. This can sort of save a movie in some cases, like James Cameron’s Avatar, at least rendering it a visual treat if nothing else, but for a source material like Superman (which we all know I adore endlessly) it needs to be more than just looks. 

I couldn’t stand the second.

I don’t know. I can see some merits — it certainly looks like it’ll reach a grand scale, which is Superman enough, but it also doesn’t really have the visual I would associate with Superman. Maybe they’re trying to take it away from the Reeves’ era, but the dark, dingy tones, Superman almost constantly being cast in shadow, the repeated imagery of him alone in wastelands (farmland, the sky, the arctic) doesn’t click with me. I associate Superman with his family, co-workers, friends, and the general grandiosity and richness of his life. Seeing him alone is almost exhausting; he’s not alone and he’s never really been alone in his “canon”, he might be the last Kryptonian (barring the endless survivors that pop up) but he’s never been alone in the sense that he’s had his parents, his extended family, his coworkers… you get the idea. Having Superman actually have an moment of aloneness only works if it’s not happening all the fricking time, and by constantly showing us how ALOOOOOOONEEEEE he is not only takes all the impact out of that, but also discounts all the people he loves and relies on, and the people who rely on him. This is a guy who just about everyone (barring Lex Luthor, haha) would want to invite in for dinner if he dropped by their neighbourhood. The reason why it’s called the “Fortress of Solitude” is practically because it’s the only hangout on Earth that Superman can go and not be surrounded by living creatures. If they want me to feel or sympathize with how alone Superman is, they should probably stop making that the status-quo. 

Aloneness worked for Batman in the Nolan trilogy because he was either forcing solitude upon himself by running around the world and keeping people at arm’s length because of his relentless work ethic, or because he actively drove people away from him. That doesn’t work for Superman because he is not a character who pushes away others: when he has a problem he visits his parents and talks to them. He opens up to his wife. He goes to Jor-El in the fortress. I think this effort to make him more like Batman is out of a misdirected attempt to not only make Superman more popular by using Batman’s formula, but also the childish fear of Superman not being taken seriously because being kind or caring about his family and company is supposedly weak in a muscle-bound male character. 

And, granted, a lot of those things are problems I have noticed in the past bit with Superman as a franchise (but specifically the comics) but they seem to be playing out yet again in the new movie. Additionally, it’s almost like removing Superman’s desire to be with other people wasn’t enough; instead, they had to present Jonathan almost as an antagonist to his son. It stunned me when Jonathan told Clark that the world wouldn’t accept him or wasn’t ready for him, and that Clark maybe should have let a whole busload of children drown. What the fuck! My jaw dropped when I saw it; Jonathan obviously wants to protect his son and doesn’t want to see him abused or hurt by a fearful public or a defensive government, but I do not think that Jonathan would ever advocate that Clark walk away from people in need, much less his peers. I hate saying this, especially given what happened yesterday in Connecticut, but this whole “Clark maybe should have let a busload of children drown” suggestion is horrifying to me –– you’re talking about kids dying in fear and panic, kids not going home to their parents. I am more than a little appalled that Jonathan could say that, given the extreme repercussions of it. Was Clark supposed to watch his classmates die and go home the lone survivor? Was Clark supposed to live knowing he could have done something (with zero risk to himself!) and now there are dozens of grieving families? It makes me shudder, it really does.

Say what you want about Smallville, but that same scene with Schneider’s Jonathan Kent would have been Jonathan putting his hand on Clark’s shoulder and saying, “We can deal with the consequences later. For now, all that matters is that those kids survived and got to go home to their families.” Schneider’s Jonathan Kent feared what would happen if people found out the truth about Clark, but he never, ever would have advocated Clark stand back and do nothing when literally no one else could do what he could do, and that is precisely how it should be. Superman should be drawing strength from his family, not paranoia and grief, and Jonathan Kent should absolutely not be trapping his son like that. He and Martha should be Clark’s rock, someone he can turn to for advice and support. I absolutely cannot stand it when this idea of Superman as some idealized, god-level being extends to depicting him as lording over even his parents: “Superman and his well-intended but ultimately out-of-their-league parents” is nowhere near as interesting to me as “Superman and the amazing parents who shaped who he is today”.

This all culminates in one basic fact: I think this trailer tells me that they’re going to completely miss out on how human Clark is in favour of reminding us how alien he is.  I get that people fear characters with strong principles and unwavering commitment when it’s not like, some Liam Neeson character, but this “I’M ALL ALONE, MY LIFE IS SUFFERING, WHAT IS MY PLACE IN THIS WORLD” Superman has far outstayed its welcome.  I want a Superman with conviction, who will be like “Hey, people of Metropolis, I am here for you, if you’ll accept me,” not a Superman who stalks through lonely ice-fields feeling utterly out of touch with a world he has lived in for his entire life. Yes, he should question where he comes from, yes, he should question what it means to be an alien in a world of humans, but that should never change the fact that Earth is his home and he feels connected to it regardless of whether he wants to make more connections. His quest for answers about his alien self shouldn’t automatically trump his connection to Earth and its people. The depth of thinking in this project seems pretty shallow, as far as they’ve demonstrated so far, and I’m not entirely unsurprised; it’s easier for audiences to connect with a cipher. It’s like, I dunno, the 2009 Star Trek movie; the fastest way for them to tell you about a character like Kirk is to exaggerate particular traits (foolhardy, womanizing, etc) and even if you throw subtlety out the window most of the time, it does its job and the audience is happy. I see that coming from a mile away with this Superman movie, and the traits they’ve chosen to define Superman are “alone” and “troubled” or something. Maybe even “DARK!!!!!! EDGY!!!!!!!!” given this absurd fixation with making Superman more like Batman.

Even little bits like that shot of Superman walking down the hall flanked by guards, all stern-looking and  handcuffed (?) seems extraordinarily strange to me, and doesn’t demonstrate much critical thought to how Superman would act in that kind of situation.  Sure, I’m missing context, but strictly as it is: if Superman is trying to gain the public’s trust (as he should be) there is no reason for him to be looking surly, dangerous or otherwise threatening. I f he needs an escort to talk to some military higher-up or director of security or blah blah, he’s going to go willingly and he’s going to be somewhat candid about it. Serious, sure, but not like a dour prisoner being marched. If Superman wants to be trusted, he has to give them no reason to doubt his intentions, no reason to question his motives, no reason to think he’s a threat.  Just the fact that they fuck up something that is so obvious as a part of Superman’s character (or any character who is trying to gain the trust of a wary military/political body) tells me they don’t  have a tone that makes sense for Superman. It’s just this shady Batman thing.  Batman operates on fear and intimidation because he has no intention of being party to a law enforcement body he sees as corrupt, and because his image is generally for the purpose of scaring the shit out of criminals.  Superman operates on open honesty because he believes first and foremost in having the support of the people and open communication with them, as they benefit more from living in safety knowing Superman is  watching over them and COMFORT than they do in fear of this god-like alien with suspicious motives.

I don’t care if the general public thinks it’s sappy;  Superman will, as Grant Morrison aptly put it, always stop to save a drowning puppy or dry the tears of a child. This Man of Steel Superman looks intimidating and unfriendly in basically every picture and still I have seen of him so far.  Nothing in this trailer is visually distinctive as Superman aside from the Superman suit. There’s no sense of fun, no sense of adventure. It’s just the Sufferings Of An Alien Bemoaning His “Destiny.” It’s just frustrating and nihilistic to me, because I don’t think Superman should ever be a dreary art film.

People have said to me, re: my opinions on this, that it doesn’t matter: they’re “re-imagining” Superman, so it doesn’t really matter if it doesn’t match up to previous interpretations of the character. To that I respond with this: let’s re-imagine James Bond as a goofy Michael Cera type, and make the plot of his next movie, oh, I don’t know… something out of a Spy Kids movie. How well do you think that will go over with James Bond fans? You have to remember that Superman is STILL best-known by the general public for the Christopher Reeves days, and the majority of Superman fans I know (including my dad) still consider that to be “classic” Superman. I don’t know many people my age who care about Superman, and most that do are fans of Smallville, which has ALWAYS grounded Superman as not only a human character, but also as a character intensely connected to his loved ones. Even in Smallville’s darkest days, he was never remotely close to this dark Batman thing they have going… so I guess this new movie is aimed at my age group (but male) trying to make new fans out of guys who prefer Batman… but are still going to look at Superman as not being good enough to be Batman. I don’t know, it just seems like they’re trying to remake Superman into something he’s not. I’ve seen people excited over this movie because it looks like a Superman movie they would watch, but Superman Returns was fucktons of dreary self-pitying and whipping and nobody liked that. Are people going to be won over by actual fight scenes? I dunno. Maybe. Maybe this movie will have tremendous success. Who knows! (Not that financial success isn’t an indicator of quality, if you look at all the top selling movies of the past year or something.) 

And all that said, I’m still going to go see it. Despite my laborious and long complaints, I might be surprised (and I hope I am.) 

But on a slightly different note, I will tell you what would have made me jump out of my seat with joy:

If this was a trailer for SuperGIRL, not Superman.

Talking on the phone with Emmy about the trailer last night, it occurred to me that the tone and mood of the trailer would have been fucking phenomenal if it was Supergirl, and now I’m internally rolling with frustration at the lost potential.

Think about it: In Supergirl you’ve got a protagonist who wants to be a heroine for the public, wants to do the right thing and wants to be liked and have the same relationship with the public that her cousin enjoys.  She is also someone who makes mistakes and grows from it, someone who is trying to find her way in the world and find out where she belongs, someone who is often told the world isn’t ready for her. And she is alone: she came to Earth looking for a baby cousin only to find herself with a grown-up Kal-El who doesn’t know much about his own people, and instead is just as human as the rest of these strange new people. She has to be someone she isn’t under a secret identity, unlike Clark, who just shows different sides of himself when he switches between Superman, Kal-El and Clark Kent and has been Clark Kent his entire life. There is not a single other person in the world who has the life experiences she has, not even Kal.  She is alone.

Hell, that entire quote by Jonathan about how THE WURLD JUST ISNT READY 4 U CLARKKKK would work perfectly from Kal to Kara: “I don’t think the world is ready for a Supergirl.”  She doesn’t have decades of experience with her abilities or with human culture: can she really go public when she’s a newcomer to the planet and her own new abilities?

This is a girl who hasn’t grown up amongst humans, and is more alien than human, unlike Superman, who is, for all intents and purposes, human.  Not that Superman didn’t work to be accepted and find his way and come to terms with himself and all, but that’s a story that’s been done to death in the recent decade (most notably with Smallville) and it’s  such wasted potential to tell it again with Superman when you have Supergirl basically untapped on the big screen.  (Barring that old Slater movie, haha, but who knows that one?)

You’ve also got a fighting style that is a lot more fun than Superman as far as “big screen action scenes” go!  It’s ludicrous for Superman to be throwing enemies through buildings and beating people with cars and causing fucktons of unnecessary collateral damage and further risking civilian lives when he’s had his  powers for ALL HIS LIFE and has basically no excuse for not being able to control them.  He’s also got an immense, immense amount of self-control and patience, even in the face of his worst enemies and horrible cruelty and all that.  But Supergirl can be spontaneous, let loose, go wild much easier than Superman can. Her temper is short. She can do a lot more damage, seeing stopping the bad guy by whatever means necessary as a bigger priority than not  fucking up Metropolis in the process.

She is infinitely more suited to the thing they have going for Man of Steel and they’re wasting it on Superman, a character who isn’t even like that.
Supergirl is the beautiful bridge between Batman’s darkness and alienation from a normal human life, Superman’s open honesty and personableness, and Wonder Woman’s balance between peace and violence.  I love her so dearly and she is one of my favourite characters and if this was Supergirl: Girl of Steel, I would be screaming with joy with every new bit of news.

But sadly, this ain’t that world.

Sorry this got so long :) And sorry about the formatting! Hopefully I’ve fixed that now.

- Jenn

P.S. ALSO WHAT WAS WITH THE MUSIC????? IS THIS LORD OF THE RINGS: SUPERMAN OR SOMETHING?????????? STOP THAAAAT.

lilprince:

I quite like the bodysuit, but I always like stupidly complex OTT designs and darker colours, especially since I always thought Supes looked too american and human for a character who’s an alien.

I think your mentality is something that a lot of Superman fans –– myself included –– have trouble with, because that kind of logic doesn’t go with the character at all.

It makes sense for a man who was raised on Earth, in the United States, as an American and as a human, to not dress “alien”. Superman may be an alien biologically, but it’d be like saying “You’ve lived in the United States since you were adopted as a tiny child, but because you have Chinese heritage, you should dress and act more Chinese.” Not only does it basically reject what has been someone’s entire life in favour of something that is alien to them, as well, but it also implies awkward things as far as what “human” is and what “American” is goes.

Continuing in that line of thought, Superman wants to be seen as a protector of mankind, and not only that, but as one of them. He sides with them. He loves them. Why would he dress “alien” when trust is a huge concern for him and the people he protects? The bright colours make him stand out as a beacon –– how can you accuse someone in such bold colours of hiding anything? –– and the \S/ is reference enough to his heritage. He doesn’t need to dress in clothing that is a constant statement to himself and everyone else that he is not one of them, when he undoubtedly is.