My article “Superhero_ines: Rebooted Comics and Trans* Identity” is now the first online publication on the rebooted Vector Torque Control. It’s also my academic coming-out as non-binary.
Gender is a discursive and performative construct, and mass media such as comic books play a role in how it is constructed. Problems arise from discrepancies between prescriptive models of gender and individuals’ actual lived experience. Now, in the era of the reboot, comic book writers have the opportunity to change the identity politics inherent within well-known series, reaching a wide audience through iconic figures, and contributing to changing cisnormative perceptions of gender. Comic books are particularly crucially placed in this regard, since superheroes, as established metaphors of otherness, may in some sense already be ‘queer’ figures. However, although important and exciting steps have been taken toward better representation of trans* identities within superhero comics, we still have a long way to go. Drawing in particular on the theory of Judith Butler and Antke Engel, as well as lived experience, this article explores the past and present representation of trans* identities in comic books, and looks with hope toward the future.
[Bonus link for people who are looking for a great mix of upbeat LGBT+ comics: I recommend the SFF comics anthology Beyond.]
Feed your phones and e-readers! My Weird SFF zeuhl novelette “Dun da de Sewolawen: The Heart of Silence” is in issue #4 of The New Accelerator! It’s a story about how one generation’s utopia is no longer a utopia to the next generation; it’s simply their home. It’s also a story about loss, adventure, music, tentacular smoke-monsters, and above all about friendship.
Special thanks go to:
Magma (obviously). It was great fun to play with their language. I tried to treat it respectfully, too.
Zali Krishna – for ongoing feedback and inspiration, especially for Bound to Lose and Tolley Boy.
Michael Hellwig, Christian Michael Riesslegger, Christian Maurer, Joshua Levesque – friends, sources of inspiration, players of ideas ping-pong, and quite frequently beta-readers of my stories.
H.P. Lovecraft, Jean ‘Mœbius’ Giraud, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Hayao Miyazaki and China Miéville – who, it seems, have (both consciously and unconsciously) influenced this piece of work.
Wyrd Daze has expanded onto Patreon and I’m happy to be a regular contributor to their Writers Club. I’m in excellent company too! Take a look at the new Patreon page and the many cool rewards for patrons.
Here you can find the current issue 6 showcase, and here’s the showcase for issue 5 (featuring my short story “Déjà Tué” as well as a comic strip entitled “Who by Fire”, which I’ve collaborated on with Joshua Levesque).
You can find my short story “Déjà Tué” *and* “Who by Fire”, a collaborative comic strip with art by Joshua Levesque, in issue 5 of the excellent zine Wyrd Daze. I love their format, since it’s a multimedia zine. Subscribing will also get you the podcast, music playlist and additional materials. This issue features some amazing stuff – I feel that I’m in *very* good company here.
“The three contemporary science fiction novels discussed here mirror the development of our stance towards artificial intelligence. In Gareth L. Powell’s The Recollection, which employs a polarised world-view reminiscent of Cold War politics, the AI is demonized to such an extent that speaking about it and speaking about the devil become indistinguishable. In Stone Adam Roberts depicts uprising nanobots as terrorists from a human perspective but as freedom fighters from that of the awakened AI. Finally, M. John Harrison’s take on the topic in his Empty Space trilogy is the most complex one, reminding us that we too are living, self-replicating, self-conscious code. Based on that, self-aware technology is simply another culture to interact with.”
I have a new article up in Infinite Earths: “Living Algorithms: The Move towards Anti-Anthropocentrism in Gareth L. Powell’s The Recollection, Adam Roberts’ Stone, and M. John Harrison’s Empty Space Trilogy”. The illustration above is “BioMech Eye” by Bruno (kirkh on deviantart).
100 Worlds – an anthology of 100 SFF stories, each exactly 100 words long – is now out in paperback. It features a story of mine called “PWNED”. A Kindle version should be available from Amazon in a day or two.
Something else happened while I was on holiday: My short story “The Lost City of Emory Winters” has been published by The Big Click. Their wonderful noir page design really adds another level, doesn’t it?
My story was inspired by two of M. John Harrison’s tweets earlier this year (“suicide note as a greeting” / “lost in the stairwell”). In a tweet-sized review Zali Krishna called it “entropic kipple noir”. Hope you’ll enjoy it.