Everything is for Everybody.

meI’m mad.

Between Gamergate, the horrifying stories about Jian Ghomeshi coming to light here in Canada, and the countless male celebrities who are just get to keep on keeping on after being accused, or even convicted, of rape and sexual assault, I am becoming a ball of rage.

It feels like a war is coming. People are choosing sides, and there have been good people speaking up and identifying themselves as feminists and reminding people who the bad guys are. But the bad guys are banding together. The internet is allowing them to easily find each other, and to form a community. They can convince themselves that they are a persecuted group.

I was born in 1980. Video games were new and exciting when I was growing up, and everyone played them. I don’t recall video games ever being identified as a male pursuit. I would play video games at arcades alongside my female and male friends. I would go to friends’ houses, mostly female, who were lucky enough to have a home computer or an Atari system and play video games endlessly. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on an NES, an SNES, and an N64. If I went to someone’s house and they had a Sega Genesis, I would play the hell out of that. When I was babysitting I would play any games they had after the kids were asleep. My parents played our NES as much as we did. I can say with confidence that my mother was addicted to Dr. Mario.

Video games in the 80s and early 90s were like television or movies: a form of entertainment that could be enjoyed by all. And there was such a variety of games out there, it would be ridiculous to say ‘I don’t like video games,’ and even more ridiculous to say ‘video games are for boys.’

Much like today.

But somewhere along the line video games, like comic books and sports, became something that girls aren’t supposed to like. Sure, you can play them, but they are not for you. So if you want to play video games, or read comic books, you just have to accept that they are crazy sexist. Because you’re the weird one for wanting to participate in this fun, fun past time.

I’ve been thinking a lot about when video games crossed over to boy territory and my earliest memory is when Goldeneye came out on N64 (still one of the best games ever). That was 1997. I remember girls in high school calling that game “the boyfriend stealer.” I also remember going to hang out with girls and boys and the girls would watch the boys play Goldeneye. And if they did pick up a controller it was in a really “Ohmygod! What do I do?! You’re just going to kill me! How do I use this thing?” kind of way. It bummed me out then, and now.

I would not call myself a ‘gamer’ but I am a grown-ass woman who can’t stop playing Marvel Puzzle Quest on my phone. Video games have always been in my life as a major source of entertainment. I would say I have spent more time playing video games than watching movies in my life. It’s not a community I belong to, it’s just something I do because video games are fun and EVERYONE PLAYS THEM.

When it comes to gender inequality I would say I was born angry. I have always been drawn to “boy” things: comic books, hockey, action movies, steak, beer, whatever. I have also rejected “girl” things almost my entire life. As a kid I was one of the boys, most of the time. I have a distinct memory of a schoolyard game when I was maybe seven or eight years old. The boys were rounding up girls and putting them in a “prison” (fun!). One of the boys grabbed me and another said “Rachelle doesn’t count. She’s a boy.”

What I am saying is I am the chosen one who will lead us to gender equality.

No, what I am saying is that it is absolutely time to stop compartmentalizing gender and the interests that men and women, boys are girls, are supposed to have.

I have said to others that I am, in some ways, relieved that both of my children are male because it means I don’t have to deal with being buried in pink frilly girl baby clothing and pink frilly girl baby expectations. The truth is, I would have loved to have a daughter. I would love the opportunity to raise a strong, smart woman. But part of me is thankful that I don’t need to watch my daughter face this world. I take the job of raising two respectful, thoughtful, sensitive men very seriously, though. Boys will not “be boys” in my house.

It seems ludicrous for people to be fired up about something as silly as video games. But, of course, that’s not really what people are fired up about. It’s about a privileged group losing a piece of its privilege. It’s about the top of the food chain being asked to share.

I haven’t really written in this blog for years. When I was actively writing it I was one of not too many female comic book bloggers (relatively speaking). Every time I dared to insert a little feminist critique into my posts, I would get emails and comments from horrible monster creeps. I didn’t delete the creepy comments. They are still there. The emails were worse, and I did delete those. It was a heady brew of insults and sexual advances. Nothing like what the poor women involved in Gamergate are going through, though.

I’m just angry and sad to live in a world where people like Anita Sarkeesian are getting death threats, but Chris Brown has a new hit album. Bill Cosby is a beloved icon. Woody Allen still makes a movie every year. Mike Tyson is a cartoon detective or whatever.

I feel that the comic book industry has made great strides in the years since I was writing this blog. It’s not perfect by a long shot, I am blown away by the respect that writers and artists are showing female characters, and by the way that fans are responding (positively). I hope the video game industry will do the same over the next several.

There will always be monsters, but I have to believe that there are more good people than bad in the world, and that we can be louder and stronger and we will come out of top.

At least that’s what comic books and video games have taught me.

What's distracting me from comics this time increment?

So: I wrote something on this blog for the first time in forever the other day (read: several weeks ago). I liked doing it - I enjoy writing in general and writing about comics in particular - so why don't I do that all the time? There really is no good reason, but in thinking about it I realized that there are a whole lot of terrible reasons. Thus, this post.

First, some backstory. I started writing on Paul and John Review, the blog that would eventually be folded into Living Between Wednesdays, in 2006. I had just moved back to Nova Scotia after impulsively moving to BC for a few years. I was broke, single and had a terrible call centre job. I also had an Internet connection and time on my hands. This combination led very naturally to me reading/writing about a lot of silly Silver Age comic books, those being my most frequent Muse.

Eight years have passed. I am chunkier, baldier and beardier. I got hitched, I got a dog (not necessarily in that order). Most critically, I am no longer broke all the time, and I still have that Internet connection, which means that I have an absurd array of interesting things to occupy my time with. No reading silly Silver Age comics precludes writing about silly Silver Age comics.

But! Most of these things are incredibly nerdy, and thus a perfect fit for LBW. Plus, I am woefully out of writing trim, and getting back in practice while simultaneously expanding my horizons is just plain a good idea.

Here's the first thing, and the one that I probably have the least to say about: new comics. There are so dang many good comics coming out right now. And! I'm (temporarily) living far away from Strange Adventures, which means I'm using Comixology - I am basically inundated with the dang things! Oh, the woes that I have to face.

In any case, tune in next time increment for more discussion of the incredible hardship that I face every day. 

The Trial of Lois Lane!

I first read Lois Lane Nos 99 and 100 a month and a half ago two months ago (I am still a procrastinator, you guys), and I was amazed. Here was Silver Age comic plotting at its finest and most befuddling, to the extent that it was my go-to topic whenever conversation flagged at dinner or parties.


Now, quite aside from the fact that I’m severely out of writing practice and (as mentioned) a master procrastinator, I’ve been putting off writing about this story for one reason: it is a mystery. Further, it is a mystery that kind of, maybe tries to play fair with its audience? More on this later. Point being, I was very concerned that I present it in the right way, and now I think that I have hit upon it: I summarize all but the very end of the story, and then we will review the evidence. Once you have all had a chance to solve the mystery, we will conclude.

tv surprise

We open on Lois Lane, renowned reporter, being invited to speak on a television show on the subject of “National Superman Day”, which is natural since she is a professional and an expert on the guy. Only: surprise! She and Lana Lang have actually been tricked onto a sleazy gossip show wherein the host and the audience debate which of them is a better match for Superman. 


Now, this story was published in 1970, which is a tricky period for our herioines, who were both successful careerwomen, but retained their near-psychopathic romantic devotion to Superman. Case in point: Lois and Lana were lured onto the TV show under the pretense of being experts on Superman, but the mere suggestion that one or the other of them might be a better match for him causes a catfight to break out over dinner. Happily, the seed of the Lois-who-will-be is present, and Lois eventually takes Lana for a drive in order to apologize. But then:

off the bridge!

… a rainy bridge! A car plunges into Gotham river!

lois surfaces

Lois Lane is the only one to emerge from the water! In a state of shock, Lois hitches a ride to Gotham and checks into a hotel. From which, one hour later, she is whisked back to Gotham Bridge by Superman, there to witness her car and the corpse of Lana Lang being pulled from the depths.

lana out of the water

Lois is arrested and sent to prison, but soon receives a visitor: Bruce Wayne! He informs her that he believes in her innocence, and that he has ensured that she will receive the very best legal counsel. Namely…

batman for the defense

Batman for the defense! But why hasn't Superman (who is also a lawyer, natch) come to see Lois yet? Welp, that could be a bit awkward, seeing as how this happened:

supes for the prosecution

That’s right, it’s a Superman v. Batman legal battle! If only they had gone all the way and made Green Lantern the judge, this would be the most perfect artifact of the late Silver Age that I could imagine.

Superman immediately goes a bit overboard in his lawyerly duties:

supes off the bridge

His goal? To prove conclusively whether or not a well-conditioned, well-trained swimmer like Lois Lane could effect an escape from a crashed car while still rescuing their passenger. He concludes that they could, while ignoring that Lois might not have been as mentally well-off in the same situation, having not seen the crash coming and also needing to breathe and not being invulnerable (Batman also misses this crucial detail, perhaps because he has forgotten what it is to be a mortal man). 

The trial is mostly unremarkable, other than the identities of the lawyers involved, and the fact that Batman essentially accuses Superman of being a fancy city lawyer in his closing statements.

Just before the jury returns and Batman bursts in with a surprise piece of evidence, let’s review the evidence:



FACT: Lois and Lana had a fight.

FACT: They were in the car together when it drove off of a bridge on a rainy night.

FACT: Superman can hold his breathe forever and is unafraid of car crashes.

FACT: Lois failed a lie detector test (inadmissible).

So, aside from noting that all of the evidence is circumstantial or bullshit or both, what amazing and unorthodox tactic did Batman come up with to get the evidence he needed to keep Lois Lane from the death house?

batman with body

In a shock twist, he examined the corpse, and thereby discovered that it was missing its left thumb, had an internal temperature of 104 degrees, and was, in fact, an android.

I was going to make a big deal out of the fact that a cursory medical examination to determine cause of death (let alone an autopsy) should have turned up these facts, but then I realized that Lana was probably taken to the Gotham Medical Examiner, and it’s reasonable to assume that everyone there is murdered, mind controlled or replaced by three penguins in a lab coat on at least a biweekly basis, so I’m prepared to cut them some slack.

(DC Comics: Dr Birdbrain is just one of the many fascinating characters that would star in my proposed CSI-style Gotham Central reboot. Call me!)

We'll pause for a second so that all of you can assess the evidence and solve the mystery, just as Batman has. Do you have it? Of course not! I lied! This mystery absolutely does not play fair!

And so, on Page 31 of 33 total, Superman flies to Tunisia(!?), there to find a group of alien androids, playing an inscrutable game of human chess. These androids punished one of their number for cheating by killing her and substituting her corpse for Lana, then framing Lois for the murder! And maybe that was part of the game?

alien chess

So: Lana is saved from the aliens (oh yeah, long-running character Lana Lang was not in fact killed off in 1970, kids), Lois is set free, the alien androids are kicked off of the planet, and everything goes back to normal. Like, weirdly so. Still, I guess we're at least a decade away from Everything is Different Forever-style comics, so.

In conclusion, I kind of think that either the original ending to this was scrapped at some point or that most of it was finished before someone realized that they need one of those newfangled 'ending' things to wrap it all up, because, well, that's what a crazy left turn into "aliens did it" at the end of any mystery will make me think. Still, better that than [joke about dumb plot twist in oft-referenced popular-yet-terrible series], right?

Don’t Worry. DC has a plan.

In an effort to get the internet to ignore the fact that they lost the opening date battle of Captain America vs Superman vs Batman: The Dawn of Justice, DC unveiled their movie schedule for the next bunch of years. And the internet exploded with apathy.

Untitled DC Film – 08/05/16

Untitled DC Film – 06/23/17

Untitled DC Film – 11/17/17

Untitled DC Film – 03/23/18

Untitled DC Film – 07/27/18

Untitled DC Film – 04/05/19

Untitled DC Film – 06/14/19

Untitled DC Film – 04/03/20

Untitled DC Film – 06/19/20

Oh man, I cannot wait to drag my 40-year-old ass to that 2020 Untitled DC Film. So here are my predictions:

08/05/16: The darkest, grittiest Shazam! you’ve never even dared to imagine!

06/23/17: A Justice League movie with a guest appearance by Wonder Woman!

11/17/17: Fuck it, Here’s That Aquaman You People Keep Jokingly Asking For

03/23/18: A Very Disappointing Sandman Movie

07/27/18: How Else Can We Anger Alan Moore? A Top Ten Movie? Watchmen 2? Sure.

07/04/05: Batman Begins Again!

04/05/19: Death of Superman, of course

06/14/19: Batman Vs The Death of Superman

04/03/20: Superman Returns Again!

06/19/20: Zack Snyder Presents: 300 vs The Justice League vs The Watchmen

It’s also worth noting that DC’s official movie site is out-of-date and does not even mention any upcoming movies. GUYS!

Guardians of the Galaxy: Anything is Possible

This is a movie that was made and did very well.

This is a movie that was made and did very well.

With the deserved success of Guardians of the Galaxy it seems that anything is possible when it comes to adapting comic books for the big screen.

I remember when they announced the first Iron Man movie there was some concern that the character was too obscure to be the subject of a blockbuster movie. Sure, Iron Man is an Avenger and a major Marvel property, but he isn’t Superman or Batman. Now, only a few years later we are in a time that long-time comic fans can only describe as ‘surreal.’

I’m not going to pretend that I am any kind of authority on the characters of Guardians of the Galaxy. I honestly pay very little attention to the entire cosmic side of Marvel comics, but when I was in the theater watching the movie last Friday night, I was still overcome with delight and disbelief at the characters and the world that I saw on the screen in front of me. Even seeing some random background players wearing Nova helmets was crazy. Seeing Guardians of the Galaxy trending on Twitter was crazy. Seeing Starlord action figures and Rocket Raccoon masks at Target was crazy.

All your favourites!
All your favourites!

The promise of a second Guardians movie is crazy. Guys, this movie made $95 million on the weekend! Not a decade ago people felt that if the movie wasn’t called Superman, Batman or Spider-Man there was no hope of it finding a big audience. Now we have at least three major comic book films coming out each year (from Marvel alone, usually), along with movies based on small press comics, and an insane number of television shows. By my count we are getting four new comic book based television series on major networks this year, along with a Netflix Daredevil series. Those will be added to some already excellent and popular comic book-based shows (and also Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.). And I am sure I am forgetting some.

From what I have been hearing the reaction to the Guardians post-credits scene was extremely loud and enthusiastic in theatres everywhere. I am not going to spoil it, but, again, it’s an fairly obscure thing that is making movie goers yell “WHAT?! HOLY SHIT!!!” out loud in a movie theatre. I can’t remember the last time I heard a reaction like that in a theatre. Maybe when the old lady threw the necklace into the ocean in Titanic?

And this might be a bit of a spoiler re: the end of credits surprised, but it seems like Disney is making a point of correcting all of George Lucas’s mistakes.

And here’s the thing: there are a lot of great comic books too right now. That’s the subject for another post, but I want to put that in there because everyone is talking about comic book based movies and television, and very little is being discussed about the awesome source material. How many big comic book announcements came out of San Diego? Two? (Those Star Wars comics look amazing).

I actually feel overwhelmed by the comic book and super hero entertainment right now. I have a constant feeling of anxiety that I am going to die before the next big Marvel movie drops.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was watching Smallville out of desperation, and trying to convince myself that those Fantastic Four movies were any good. The stuff that they are making now is the stuff that we used to discuss as fantasy dream projects while working in the comic shop. A Daredevil show? A Winter Soldier movie? A pre-Batman Commissioner Gordon show? Not to mention one of the most popular shows on television is The Walking Dead (get that money, Robert Kirkman!).

I’m just saying a lot has happened since I stopped writing this blog.

Guys, they made a Winter Soldier movie!

It just feels like we are now free to dream up any (Marvel-based) movie scenario and it wouldn’t be impossible. A Heroes for Hire movie, perhaps? Set in the 70s, please? A Namor movie? A Dazzler movie? (I am dead serious about this. They need to make a Dazzler movie. Let’s make this dream a reality. A pop star super hero?! NOW IS THE TIME!).

Truly Outrageous
Truly Outrageous

Meanwhile DC is missing the mark across the board, except in television, where they are crushing Marvel. In the last decade or so they made three great Batman movies, one weird but likable Superman movie, one weird and upsetting Superman movie (that I didn’t completely hate, but definitely it wasn’t the Superman I was looking for), a criminally awful Jonah Hex movie, a pretty terrible and forgettable Green Lantern movie, a weird Constantine movie, an OK V for Vendetta movie, and Watchmen, which I would say wasn’t great or terrible. It just exists. I liked it in the theaters, I never saw it again, and I don’t really feel like seeing it again. There were some other forgettable things in there too, I’m sure. And on the horizon they have a Superman vs Batman vs Wonder Woman vs Cyborg vs Who the Hell Knows: The Dawn of Insanity movie. I have a few concerns about that movie, not the least of which is DC/WB’s baffling decision to just let Zack Snyder direct EVERYTHING.

Anyway, this is a terrible review of Guardians of the Galaxy. It was really good. I can’t adequately review it because I am too full of bewilderment and delight. You can read one of the other gazillion glowing reviews of it somewhere else.

Kitchen Nightmares

You know what? Every comic book blog is going to be talking about Guardians of the Galaxy today (sentences I never thought I would write, say, four years ago), so I am going to go in a different direction and talk about something important.

My two great loves in life are super heroes and food. I like my kids and stuff, but I LOVE super heroes and food. These two interests are combined in the The Official DC Super Hero Cookbook..

Batman knows that Green Lantern green pepper pizza is disgusting.
Batman knows that Green Lantern green pepper pizza is disgusting.

I have been desperately trying to get my older son, who is four, interested in super heroes. Since he shares my love of food, I thought this cookbook would be a good gateway.

Most of the recipes involve cutting food into super hero shapes (like watermelon W’s in a Wonder Woman themed fruit salad). A lot involve stencils and coloured sugar and other things I am not ever going to do. Some things are just insane. Here are some highlights and lowlights.

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's...5000% of your daily recommended food colouring intake!
It's a bird, it's a plane, it's...5000% of your daily recommended food colouring intake!

My son REALLY wants me to make this for him. Basically whenever I ask what we should make for any meal, he requests the “tall Superman yogurt thing.”

I’ll be straight: I am not a mother who cares a great deal about my kids eating 100% natural stuff. But it seems like taking yogurt and adding a half pound of food dye is weird. And yogurt is kind of my go-to food for my kid when I don’t want to do anything more than slop some stuff from a container into a bowl (and that’s if I’m being fancy and not just letting him eat it straight from the container). So adding an hour of work to that process is unappealing. Also, I don’t have parfait glasses or long fancy spoons. Or fresh raspberries! What am I, Bruce Wayne?!

However, I would very much like to see Superman eating this dainty thing.

A much more plausible Superman-inspired food is this fun cheeseburger:

Turn it upside down for a Bizarro Burger!
Turn it upside down for a Bizarro Burger!

See, now there’s a creative food endeavour that I can get behind! Cut a cheese slice into a Superman symbol, eat the parts I cut off, squiggle a cute little S on there. I love it! I don’t know what that spinach is doing there because that is like Kryptonite to my son, but this burger is definitely something I would consider doing someday.

Also adorable and not too much work, but possibly insane:

"Mom, can I have my hot dog now?" "Quiet! I'm trying to get this knot tied!"
"Mom, can I have my hot dog now?" "Quiet! I'm trying to get this knot tied!"

That’s what happens when Krypto is a bad dog.

Some of the recipes aren’t even trying:

Why haven't I been sticking pictures of Superman in ALL of my food?!
Why haven't I been sticking pictures of Superman in ALL of my food?!

Green Arrow has a terrible idea for your kid’s lunch:

Speedy! I get it!
Speedy! I get it!
I hate you, Mom.
I hate you, Mom.

Oh boy. Sorry, Ollie. Nice try. You are grossly overestimating your popularity with the kids if you think they are going to eat a lettuce leaf full of celery and gooey chicken in your honour.

Aquaman, on the other hand, knows exactly what the kids want:

Who's the lamest super hero NOW?
Who's the lamest super hero NOW?

Yeah! Just throw a handful of Goldfish Crackers in your cereal, kids! Booyah!

Martian Manhunter is desperately trying to get your kid’s love:

"I have an extra X here, if you want to...kids?"
"I have an extra X here, if you want to...kids?"

“Kids. May I suggest placing a fondant X on your cupcakes? It will be super fun. Please, kids, come back. It will only take me an hour or so to make and roll out the fondant.”

Batman knows what’s up:

Serving Face.
Serving Face.

I have been seriously considering making that my avatar for all social media. I could look at that picture all day. What is this food? Who cares? I think it’s a pita pizza with a custom cut tortilla or something. But that mouth. THAT MOUTH!

Speaking of amazing pictures, I am about to show you the most incredible thing I have ever seen. I warn you that you cannot unsee it. I give you: The Plastic Man cheese toast:



"Please kill me!"
"Please kill me!"


Also, these instructions:

You know...without the eyeballs it's kinda just cheese toast.
You know...without the eyeballs it's kinda just cheese toast.

Mmmmmm…I love some edible candy eyeballs on melted cheese. Especially with garlic butter.

I assume you can use your favourite brand of edible candy eyeballs. Try to shop local. I have a guy.

I promise if I ever attempt to make anything in this book I will post pictures. And the book is worth getting, if only to flip through and giggle.