Tag Archives: Black Widow

Heroine Complex

Running from the forces of patriarchal ass-hattery, "Remember Me" heroine Nilin

Running from the forces of patriarchal ass-hattery, “Remember Me” heroine Nilin

How difficult is it for video games developers to include female characters in their title?  Bafflingly tough, if two news stories this week are to be believed.

No sooner has French developer Dontnod revealed that publishers turned down their upcoming title “Remember Me” as it featured a female lead,than one of “Mass Effect 3″’s writers indicates that the games industry is actively resistant to featuring female characters.

If your game’s lead is a smart-mouthed dudebro, you’re on easy street but anything outside of that slight , gender-fixated design stipulation is an uphill sell, it would seem. So much for inclusion and broadening the audience, eh, chaps?  I suppose we can take some comfort from the RPG genre, where the demands of flexible character creation will out and more diverse options are frequently available but what’s to say that the next-gen can’t offer us a bit more diversity from our action platformer hybrids and shooty-shooty stabby-stabby fests.

There’s a case to be made that simply reskinning the male lead with an alternate female character model and doing nothing subsequently to address changes in the story would be almost as bad, but shouldn’t developers be trying to use the level of horsepower at their disposal to give us more choice?  Hello, player agency?  Or is that just a meaningless buzz phrase with zero actual meaning?

I suspect that some spurious marketing data suggests that people don’t buy games with female leads (just as Marvel are unlikely to make a “Black Widow” or “She Hulk” movie because nobody went to see “Elektra” or “Catwoman“), but this argument always strikes me as remarkably bogus and far too convenient.

A good game with a central female protagonist, person of colour or any non-traditional lead will sell if the mechanics are solid and publishers support it – the issue that I note time and again is that Game X is green-lit, gets good preview word of mouth and then falls over at retail because there’s no marketing behind it.  You can’t get people to buy a game if they don’t know that it’s out there.  I doubt that most consumers would actively boycott the next “Call of Duty” if you were playing a female Marine in some near-future combat scenario – they’d want to blow stuff up and head-shot dudes and the gender of the first person avatar you were inhabiting wouldn’t necessarily resonate that much.

Of course, I’m sure that the number of polygons and bump-mapping complexities necessary to render the ladies convincingly is the problem, and certainly not residual banal sexism and creative mindsets firmly locked in the 1950’s.  FYI, games industry, you’re not supposed to want to be Don Draper, lads – he’s kind of a dinosaur.

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“Avengers” pixel-semble!

8-Bit nerdery genius Via XStitchMyHeart and The Mary Sue

Avengers-inspired craft geek goodness so awesome that it nearly kicked the butt of Sunday’s “Iron Man 3” SuperBowl trailer.  The creativity and wit of the greater internet nerd community never fails to amaze, does it?

There’s yet more – 8-bit sprite Harry Potter cast for the win, peeps!- at Cross Stitch My Heart’s Etsy shop.

 

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02/05/2013 · 6:54 pm

George R R Martin reviews “The Avengers”

A quickie – I thought that you might find George R R Martin’s thoughts on “The Avengers” worth reading.

He’s clearly a comics fan with some knowledge of the team and its historical dynamics, so his criticisms (when they come) are quite fair and balanced.

Fair and balanced criticism on the internet?  How does that work again?

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Epic Fantasy Avengers Assemble!

The Heraldic Shield of Awesome Sauce

Nifty shield courtesy of the genius nerds at Fantasy Shields.com

Inspired by a post over at the Tor Books blog, which posits a line-up for a Fantasy equivalent of “The Avengers“, I couldn’t let a day go by without pledging my team of Ye Olde Awesome Fictional Nerds into the fray…

To lead this band of brothers, sisters and brigands?

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We’re going to need magic – that’s a given.  We’re also going to need some one with quick wit, nifty sartorial skills and every team has to have one member liable to go off the deep end and indulge their dark side every so often.  Severus Snape is the complete package.  Just make sure that he hasn’t worked his mojo on the team’s +5 to Health Mead beverages and we’ll be fine.  Think of him as Nick Fury, sans eye patch but replete with devastating sarcasm and lank locks of doom.

Sorcery taken care of – next, we’ll be needing some brute strength, Tank-style.

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Because, you know, Hellboy is Teh Awesomez and is more than a match for his Hulkness.  Also, somebody with his chequered past, supernatural Rolodex is and possessed of The Right Hand of Doom is going to be a cat that you want to have on side when the intergalactic/dimensional cannon fodder start showing up en masse.

If we’ve got magic and damage on lock down, we should be looking at having a sneaky, acrobatic, multi-tasking assassin on side.  Preferably with cute, pointy ears.

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That’s Felicia Day as Tallis in the web series for EA’s otherwise unloved Dragon Age 2.  Elf representation covered, quick wits aplenty and she could probably dash out a nifty Elven ballad or two around the team camp fire on a cold night in the forest.

If we’re basing our team around the Avengers template, I’m going to have to find a Tony Stark/arcane technology specialist from somewhere. And given my abiding love for the video games, we’re going to kill two ancient beasts with  one stone.

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Yep, that’s the Alchemist class from “Torchlight” – who’s as near as dammit to being both Iron Man and Black Widow in the same package.  At least when I’m playing, that is.  Multi-tasking?  Me?  On a school night, yet?  But of course…

We’re going to need somebody who can handle a bow and arrow and take down fools with almost disdainful aplomb…

Yep, Neytiri from “Avatar”, you’ll do nicely (and as some would argue that “Avatar” was more fantasy than SF, there’s certainly a case to be made…)

I confess, I’m slightly at a loss for a Captain America analogue in my uncanny squadron of fantastic misfits – any ideas will be gratefully accepted…

(Not So) Stealth Edit!

After going away and thinking about it for a while – I’m giving the Cap role in my coterie of weird heroes to….

Gabriel Belmont, conflicted warrior hero of the recent “Castlevania: Lords of Shadow” revamp – he’s got the combat thing down pat and can brood for days.  Armour? Check.  Strong moral convictions? After a fashion.  He’s probably got some kind of shield to employ that I’ve yet to find, down some back alley in the game.  Yep, he’s in.

As Garrett points out in the comments, I’m still in need of a good fictional Thor analogue – and suggests Ares, from Greek mythology, but also reinvented for various Marvel titles in the expanded “Avengers” family.

He’s a massively overpowered warrior from antiquity thrust into the modern era, able to summon ancient weaponry from his Mythological Ancestral home, battle like a maniac and has a history with the wider “Avengers” continuity.

Yep, he’s in…

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Black Venus

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Via SoGeekChic.

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Superhero Bits & Bobs, for Easter 2012

Hulk crave delicious Empanada yet realises cholesterol is an issue...

The Irish Avenger’s YouTube channel has two new tv spots up for Avengers Assemble – look for the extended Captain America and “Team” spots for more awesome Cap and Hulk action.  He’s also helpfully got the clip of Black Widow escaping capture in a fashion so Whedonesque it brings tears of joy to the eye.

The pic above is new, too – don’t you just love how the CG artists have managed to invest the digital Hulk model with Mark Ruffalo‘s salt-and-pepper hair colouring.  That’s bloody art that is…

Now that The Hunger Games opened and made a few bob – $269 million in the US, at last count – Fox are understandably eager to exploit her rising fame and exercise their option to cast her in the now-greenlit “X-Men: First Class” sequel, per this story on SuperHeroHype.

Matthew Vaughn is directing again, so expect the X-folk to interact with historical events and all the female characters to walk around in lingerie for a good portion of the running time.  Feminism, eh, Matthew – what is it all about?

AMC’s Film Critic blog has an interesting list of the best comic book movie trailers – whilst there are some solid and expected choices listed, I’d like to put my two pence in for the non-DC/Marvel likes of “Scott Pilgrim Vs The World” and the “Hellboy 2” trailer (the former for being amazeballs, the latter for establishing that “Hellboy 2” was a real thing and still chock full of visually arresting Del Torian surrealist gloriousness).

"Joss, are you sure this is my most heroic side?"

The “Captain America” sequel has a release date – April 4, 2014 and follows on from this summer’s “Avengers” movie  in a contemporary time-frame.

Finally, Slashfilm offers a review of Morgan Spurlock’s “Comic-Con Episode Four: A Fan’s Hope” documentary, which was already on my radar due to it being produced by Joss Whedon and now looks like that rare thing – the nerd doc which gets things right.  Imagine that…

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Emily Blunt won’t be your girlfriend…

Emily Blunt - would rather kick ass than simper prettily. And who can blame her?

Though she was originally pencilled in to appear in “Iron Man 2” in the ‘Black Widow’ role which went to Scarlett Johansson, British thesp Emily Blunt is none too keen about showing up in a nascent superhero flick and playing ‘the girlfriend’.  You know, I think she has a point there.

Marvel's espionage bad girl, Black Widow.

In an interview to promote her next, non-genre flick, Blunt’s comments on turning down the Peggy Carter role in “Captain America: The First Avenger”, and on the paucity of good roles for actresses in blockbuster flicks in general, have been somewhat misinterpreted as a slam on genre fare as a whole.  And I don’t think that’s quite what she’s getting at.

Her point would appear to be that most of these movies function as wish-fulfilment, power fantasies for adolescent boys of all ages and there’s very little arguing with that assessment – women who enter the orbit of Marvel and DC heroes tend to get to look decorative, be placed in danger and then saved by the titular hero.  Self-determination and pro-active action for women in the summer blockbuster is in short supply and always has been.  What Blunt appears to be saying is that its time that heroines got a slice of the action which is the birthright of male characters.

You’ll note that Marvel Studios don’t appear to be in any hurry to green light a movie which features a strong heroine in the lead and DC similarly seem to be focussing more on getting a “Green Lantern” sequel sorted out than in having anybody make a “Wonder Woman” flick – those tantalising rumours of Nicholas Winding Refn directing Christina Hendricks don’t seem to have been borne out by actual trade paper announcements, which is a shame.

Will sort out evil and not be as much of a diva as most bloke heroes - that's Wonder Woman for you.

I’d love to see Wonder Woman get the kind of mythological action epic treatment which Marvel gave to “Thor” last year – the character deserves it and there’s at least as much potential for a multi-film and multi-media franchise there as there is in any other character in the DC pantheon.  I know that it’s tough to launch these projects but it does seem somewhat weird that it’s usually the super heroines whose script-to-screen travails seem inordinately protracted in comparison to those of their comic book brothers.

So, Hollywood – is it just young dudes who get to explode things and kick bad guy arses or can the ladies have a shot at it, too?  What, exactly, are they so afraid of?

 

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