IMG_1007

There’s hope for my degree yet!

I have a fantastic subject coordinator. Like actually fantastic. My course is only a small one, about thirty people in each year group (with about three year groups). She is also the subject coordinator of another subject with about the same amount of people in each year group. So in total she has about 180 people to look after. But she manages to remember all of our names, remember how we are doing, and regularly checking up on us – how we are doing with the subject, our overall university degree, any internships that we are doing, where we see our careers going in the future. She in fact was the reason I got my first internship – she said I would be a great fit, and because of that I was able to get it.

It is this relationship with my subject coordinator, as well as the tutors for this specific subject that have keep me in university. In a time that I didn’t really care much about anything, I didn’t see my degree going anywhere, these people encouraged me to keep going, and just see the year through, and I’m so grateful for that.

What a lot of people seem to forget about their teachers, especially in university is that they are on your side. They want to see you do well, they want to see you succeed. It reflects well on them. The reason you have so many assignments and exams and homework is because they want you to be ready for the real world. Not only with the content that you learn, but with the stress load that comes along with real life (spoiler alert: Real life is worse that school).

The reason I’m talking so high about my subject coordinator today is because a couple of weeks ago, she was able to organise a ’round table’ for our subject. This roundtable included many people in different fields of communication that all did our subject (or the subject that was equliviant to ours when they were studying). This was really really fantastic. It enabled me to see that my career didn’t just  have to end up being a librarian – I could literally do what ever I wanted to do within the field of communication. I guess the fact that these people all went to my university probably helped with them getting jobs in the industry (It is known as Uni that is highly recognised for it’s industry connections, and has a strong basis in practial work-ready skills). But they told us some amazingly valuable life lessons.

During the round table, these people mostly gave us advice about how to sell our transferable skills that we gained from university, how to make industry connections (and how they are important/useful), marketing skills (which is useful in all aspects of communications) and coding, which while it isn’t necessary, is definitely useful in my line of work. 

Probably the most important thing that I gained from this was the fact that I need to learn how to not sell my self short – i already have so many skills, and as I continue through uni I will gain more and more. I need to learn to be less modest, and able to show off my skills to the best of my abilities. Through doing this I can make myself stand out as the best candidate for the position – definitely something that is needed when applying for jobs anywhere.

It was really fantastic to meet these wonderful people in the same field as me, that give me hope that I will be able to find something that I am really happy doing as a career, and get as far as they have in their lives! 
Mahatma Gandhi: The future depends on what you do today.

SDCC_MARVEL_CMYK.JPG

On Representation in the Media

Yes, I know, Y’all may be thinking “oh, this is definitely turning into a social justice blog, I’m going to ignore it” but hear me out. This blog, first and foremost is written for myself, to practice my writing skills and get myself out there (read this), and also to talk about things that matter to me.

And one of those things  happen to be representation in the media.
Before getting involved with stereotypically ‘white male dominated’ communities (see this post here), representation didn’t really matter to me. I knew there was a problem with it, but it honestly didn’t affect me because, hey, what is one girl going to do about it? But now that I am a part of those groups I honestly see the importance of it.
Representation let’s people know they are not alone. It gives them a character they can root for and be like “hey, they’re like me, if they can do all that great stuff, so can I.” It involves them in the community and fosters an environment where people feel safe to be themselves.
But honestly, the reason I believe we need better representation in the media, particularly pop culture, is because of the children. Think of the children. When kids seem characters like themselves on TV or in movies, it gives them role models they can relate to. Having representation teaches them that they don’t have to conform to the stereotypes of their race/gender/religion etc, and that they can be whomever they want to be, because there are so many different examples of different people with the same qualities they have. And that lesson become more and more emphasised with more representation.
Just imagine in – a young child sees Falcon (Sam Wilson, played by the amazing Anthony Mackie) for the first time a superhero that has the same colour skin as he does, in a slew of white super heroes. And what does that little boy think? “A black man can be a superhero? That means I can be a superhero!” And who would want totaled that away from him? Imagine a little girl’s smile when she finds out that her favorite superhero, hawkeye also has hearing aids? Why would someone – particularly the people that are already over represented in the media (cough straight white males) feel so attacked when a character doesn’t turn out to be like them, when they have millions of others that are. And I mean, being a race other than white, or a different sexuality, or disabled shouldn’t stop you from liking them,  unless you’re a dick.
So, when you think about it this way, you honestly need to consider why people still have such a problem with representation, even though they have ample amounts of it. There are so many good arguments for better representation, but in the end it comes down to “there are more people in the world than straight white dudes, why don’t we show them?” And I honestly can’t think of a logical reasoning why not.
Paola Bacigalupi: I’m struck by how much kids long to see themselves in stories. To see their identities and perspectives—their avatars—on the page. Not as issues to be addressed or as icons for social commentary, but simply as people who get to do cool things in amazing worlds.
IMG_1002

Marvel and Me: How My Introduction to Comic Books Has Changed My Life

Honestly I can’t remember a time before I was absolutely Marvel trash. Which is really surprising because I only really got into it about a year ago. Sure, I had seen The Avengers, Iron Man and Thor, and they were all alright movies, they were fun, but I wasn’t really into the whole superhero thing. But then I saw Captain America 2: The Winter Solider, and I fell in love.
I don’t quite know what it was that I fell in love with. Maybe it was the storytelling aspects of the film, perhaps it was the (not so) subtle commentaries on our everyday lives, or maybe it was the strong, brilliant characterisation of the characters, but I knew that I couldn’t get enough. I watched all the films, I started watching Agents of SHIELD (which is still my favourite TV show), but that still wasn’t enough, so I picked up my first superhero comic.
While it should be noted that I had read a few comic books before – in 2010 I was very into Warehouse 13, so I read their comic series, and I enjoyed reading the Hack/Slash series, but I never got into superhero comics, and I only ever imagined them to be like the ones from the 90s, with the overly drawn muscle, little character development and way to much fighting. But I hadn’t picked up a comic book for about 4 years, until that fateful day.

  

Black Widow by Edmondson and Noto Issue #2
And honestly, comic books are daunting as hell. In marvel alone there are so many different characters, story arcs, writers, artists, where do I begin? It’s pretty obvious actually. I loved Natasha Romanoff in CA:TWS, so I’ll read some of my favourite character. She was so amazing in TWS, she’ll be amazing in everything right? I was very lucky actually, because at that time Edmondson and Noto’s Black Widow had only just started to be published. And well that confirmed my suspicions. Black Widow is a BAMF. I quickly googled something along the lines of “essential black widow story arcs”. I easily would have spent $50 on comic books within the first week. But it was well worth it. I’ve found a new form of media that is absolutely amazing. As I was reading Black Widow, I found a new character that I became interested in – Hawkeye. So I went and read one of the most critically aclaimed comic series in recent history – Faction’s Hawkeye, and it was set. I became marvel trash. I’ve now been reading marvel  for almost a year (maybe a little bit under it), but I definitely feel like a part of the community. The guys down in the comic book shop (shout out to kings comics) recognise my face every time I enter, and will happily strike up a conversation with me about the newest issue of whatever i’m holding, or the recent gossip in the mcu, or what series they are looking forward too. I’ve been starting to read some DC comics as well (particularly wonder woman because she’s amazing, and frankly I can’t get enough of women in comics), and I just feel really happy in this community of people with shared interests and investments in the characters we love.
  
Hawkeye by Faction, Aja and Pulido Issue
I’m lucky, I haven’t been exposed to the whole elitist attitude that the marvel, and comic community seems to have towards the people that have been introduced to the comics through pop culture and the films. With the recent releases of the MCU, it’s surprising that I haven’t encountered it, in real life or online. In fact, quite a lot of people are very welcoming to those who were introduced to comics through the MCU, because hey, at least they’ve been introduced. And really, it’s hard to keep up that elitist attitude nowadays, because honestly, only the people above the ago of 25 really remember what the community was like before the MCU, and it is only detrimental to exclude anyone below that age.
  
It’s funny though. Whenever I say that I like reading comic books, in public (i.e. not within these communities) I get the weirdest looks from people. Being a woman in a stereotypically male-dominanted community has only really affected me outside of the community, with people saying things like “Oh, but you’re too pretty to be one of those people”, or “But you’re a chick. Chicks don’t like comic books”, both of which are hilarious comments to me, solely because they are so wrong.
  
To me, comics are fun. They represent hopes and ideals, while simultaneously making commentaries on everyday society. They are so much better at representation than other forms of media, and they have given me a community that I can call my own. And that’s all a person wants isn’t it? A community.

  

Stan Lee: Another definition of a hero is someone who is concerned about other people’s well-being, and will go out of his or her way to help them — even if there is no chance of a reward. That person who helps others simply because it should or must be done, and because it is the right thing to do, is indeed without a doubt, a real superhero

Why Miles Morales should be the newest addition to the MCU

If you have been paying attention to pop culture at all in the last week, you probably would have heard about the fact that Spider-man will now be in the Marvel Cinematic Universe!

This is huge news that has rocked not only the MCU, but the entire genre of Superhero Movies. Not only will he appear in Captain America 3: Civil War, but he will also get his own solo movie, slated for 2017. After the Andrew Garfield-led Sony reboot of the series was a flop in the theatres, Kevin Feige has reported that Marvel will be rebooting the series, without the previous star. But what does this actually mean?

Miles Morales as Spider-Man. Art by Sara Pichelli. / Via en.wikipedia.org

For one thing, it could mean an entirely new Spider-man! Well, he is not entirely new per-say; in fact he was established in 2011. But who is this character, you may be asking? None other than Miles Morales. 

Now, if you don’t know who Miles Morales is, that’s perfectly fine, not many people do. But they should as he is the first ever black (and Latino) Spider-man. (Minor spoiler alert). In the comic book series Ultimate Spider-Man (Which is in the Marvel Ultimate universe, not the 616 universe that most comics take place in), Miles was introduced in the final story arc “The Death of Spider-Man”. In this storyline, Peter Parker dies, and Miles Morales takes over the mantle of Spider-Man.

It’s undebateable that Spider-man and Peter Parker are linked to each other. In most people’s minds they will always be the same person, and it has been that way since 2002. But it is no longer 2002. It’s the decade of superhero movies, and if a talking raccoon and his tree-friend has taught us anything, it’s that Marvel can do no wrong.So if ever is a time to change people’s understanding of superheros, it’s now. 

Miles Morales is new, and refreshing. If Marvel decides to keep Peter Parker as their Spider-man, they risk everyone everywhere comparing him to all of the previous Spider-men. But with Miles Morales, they can start again. Do whatever they want with him. His backstory is linked to Peter Parker, so Marvel can do literally anything they want with him. The Marvel movie studio would have full creative control, and that’s every director’s dream.

Marvel, Art by Sara Pichelli / Via theverge.com

Miles Morales has the same narrative as Peter Parker. He is just a kid trying to fit in, while also doing what he can to make the world a better place. He has faced the same struggles, trials and tribulations that Peter Parker faced as Spider-man, yet he isn’t a carbon copy. He also has the humour of Spider-man that all of his fans know and love, so he really can’t do any wrong. 

This also allows for the suggestion to the audience that a superhero isn’t a person, but a name and a mask. It has been rumoured that there may be a death coming in the MCU, and it is believed that, much like in the comic books, when one superhero dies, looses their powers or ‘retires’, another one will take their place. It’s happened to Captain America (twice), HawkeyeThor, and Iron Man just to name a few. The suggestion to the audiences that a certain ‘human’ (i.e. Tony Stark) isn’t the superhero is an important one that Marvel will need to set up for the future.

All of these valid points above, and we still haven’t touched on perhaps one of the most important one, the issue of representation in Hollywood. Most people can agree that there is an abundance of white male superheroes on our screen right now (many of them coincidently named Chris) We are no longer in the 1960s, and there should honestly be more representation on our big screens. There are currently only three major black characters in the MCU movies, and they are more often than not thought to be ‘sidekicks’. Marvel only has only 1 planned person of colour lead, and that won’t happen until 2018 And Marvel can’t even us the excuse that it can’t be done, Fox Studios cast Johnny Storm in their upcoming Fantastic Four reboot with black actor Michael B. Jordan , just because they could. Marvel really has no excuse. 

Those are all just some of the reasons Miles Morales is the Spider-man we need. And really, if I have to see uncle ben die again, I might just kill him myself.

 Miles Morales: I’m telling you… you’re right. You were totally right. I am Spider-Man