snick_backup: (Buffy close)
First, an assertion of ignorance: I do not follow politics a lot generally (although I’m working on it), and in particular I have no large-scale context for US foreign policy in Latin America. What follows is based on my personal experiences in Honduras in 2009-2010 and conversations I had with people there, hazily recollected, plus some hasty wikipedia research. I just wanted to share what observations I had, for what they're worth.

Some context and observations )

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snick_backup: (mood feminism)
Okay, when I said I was going to explain why I ragequit, I apparently meant - like, right away.

cut for worldbuilding spoilers through issue #2 )

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snick_backup: (hockey)
ICON UNUSUALLY APROPOS TODAY.

Okay, so, we acquired Phil Kessel (minus some retained salary) and some other players and picks in return for Kapanen, Spaling, and some other players and picks. What this means:
* We got Phil Kessel! Who is a legit superstar. And now he's ours.
* We got Phil Kessel, who was probably my fav hockey person in the NHL who wasn't a Pen (except maybe Ovi, but I think Ovi is happy where he's at). I have a huge soft spot for Kessel because of all the crap he's taken from the Toronto media and management over the years. And now he's ours! \o/
* Toronto RETAINED SALARY. WTF.
* We didn't give up Olli OR Pouliot. I think this means Rutherford is magic.
* We dumped Spaling, who was serviceable but cost too much.
* Now we won't/can't trade for Patrick Sharp. Or his face. \o/

First, your OBLIGATORY FIRST PHIL KESSEL READ.

While we're at it, here's one from Puck Daddy today specifically about the ridiculous Toronto media and its ridiculous treatment of Kessel.

And here is HockeyMeesh's breakdown of the trade. Meesh is my fav Pens blogger, btw; you should totes follow him on Twitter.

Second, some worthy quotes. First, from the article by Seth Rorabaugh above:
General manager Jim Rutherford said discussions on this trade went on for approximately a month. Coupling that with the somewhat light package of assets the Penguins gave up, it's a pretty clear illustration of how badly the Maple Leafs wanted to get rid of Kessel.


Rutherford again, this time courtesy of Dejan Kovacevic:
“You can never know with trades. Over time is when you can best judge trades,” Rutherford said. “We got the best player in the trade right now. It usually works out for the team that gets the best player. To not take a lot off our team and to add Kessel, at this point, that gives me personal satisfaction.”


Basically I am just going to spend the next several weeks going, "We got Phil Kessel. We got Phil Kessel!" I am positively giddy, you guys.

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snick_backup: (Alana)
(So right now my plan for dealing with my Saga feelings is just to make a whole bunch of observations which are maybe obvious but which I nonetheless don't see anyone making. For being a hugely popular comic, I've seen very little actual discussion about it, what it is, what it's doing, or even what's happening in it or how its plot elements fit together. Maybe I'm just looking in the wrong places. Anyway, more observations of dubious value forthcoming.)

One of the things about Saga that I think is neither good nor bad (though some might disagree) but definitely different from a lot of comics, especially mainstream superhero ones, is how simple the page design is. Greg Burgas at Comic Book Resources has been analyzing comics art every day this year (which I HIGHLY RECOMMEND), and in the scans he's chosen of significant comics artists, there's a lot of pyrotechnics going on in page design. Staples forgoes all that. She never goes for scenes bleeding into each other or overlapping panels. Her panels rarely even have anything but square corners (or corners that are clipped, like photos - I guess for visual interest?), and they pretty much ALWAYS read left to right and top to bottom. IMO it's one of the many reasons Saga is such a great comic to start people with - as comics go, it is super easy to read.

She's also fonder of splash pages than most artists I can think of. It feels a little self-indulgent sometimes, because the story doesn't usually need full pages devoted to a single panel - it's not like we're using the extra space to show off a battle scene or spaceship schematics or anything like that. But man, she uses them so well. Frequently she introduces new characters that way, which means we get to luxuriate in her absolutely gorgeous character designs. The introductions of The Stalk and Gwendolyn are both great examples. Another one is these guys, the fishy journalist boys in love from Jetsam:

image )

More often, though, Staples uses the splash pages as emphasis. Often they function as reveals - of new characters, changed situations, what have you. Other times, you know, we really just need a full page of The Brand in her tie and crash helmet, saying pithy things about governments and PR.

Below we have one of those changed situations. It's also the last page of #24, so beware huge honking spoilers, but ugh, this panel made me SO HAPPY.
spoilery image! )

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snick_backup: (Saga)
(Can we pretend someone requested I talk a bunch about Saga for the talking meme? Because if we do, then look, a talking meme post!)

So I've been rereading Saga from the beginning, and I'm noticing things I didn't the first time. I actually have a whole bunch of observations, but it's late, so one long one is all you get. Spoilers through #24 (the most recent issue) under the cut.

spoilers! )

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snick_backup: (Buffy Dawn)
Someone - [personal profile] lettered? - asked me a while back how I distinguished between soul mates and soulbonding as tropes, and lacking the wherewithal to address any of the talking meme questions anyone has actually asked me, I'm going instead expand on my answer to this one.

First, definitions: by soul mates I mean people who are destined to be together - your one perfect match, the person at the other end of your red thread, the person whose name is a magic tattoo on your wrist - written in their handwriting, even! A soul bond, OTOH, to me means something formed between you and another person that connects you somehow metaphysically in a way that affects you mentally, emotionally, and/or physically.

As suggested above, the soul mates trope presents in all sorts of different ways. There's the wristname tropes, the red thread trope, I think in one fandom there's something about having matching beauty marks? (MLP:FiM? Possibly I'm confusing soul marks with cutie marks.) Or just the warm happy glow in your chest that appears when you first meet your match and never fades.

Regardless, the sense of destiny hangs over everything, which right off makes the trope less appealing to me, especially if that destiny specifies that your soul mate is your perfect fit and the person you will be happiest with and if the narrative supports that interpretation. How boring! And in fact in most of the wristname fic I've read in hockey fandom, the conflict centers on people finding their soul mates in the first place, because what conflict could you possibly have with someone who is the most perfect person on earth for you to be with?

Actually, I think there's still a lot of potential there for conflict; see Emma Caulfield's quirky, unsettling movie TiMER, about a world in which you can have a device implanted that tells you the amount of time you have left until you meet your soul mate. What if you meet them when you're still a teenager? What if you won't meet them for forty years - what do you do in the meantime? What if you find someone you'd rather have than some unknown, however soul-mate-y? But fic generally seems less interesting in asking those questions.

(Also, this video, purportedly about Finnish people meeting for the first time, is clearly actually about Finnish people meeting their soul mates for the first time. See the slow opening of the eyes! The nervous smiles, the awkward introductions!)

In addition, the worldbuilding that goes with some of these particular expressions is just wonky. I've been reading a lot of wristname fic recently, so, who is it that decides whose name goes on whose wrist? Are you telling me that's somehow a natural process? Unless you do some work building a world in which wristnames are a natural expression of this, that, and the other magical fact, I pretty much have to conclude there's a deity putting their hand in, and I can't say I care much for that either. And what about the hundreds of millions of people in history who were illiterate - did they just have an X on their wrist? The basic premise drives me batty. And then even once we accept it, the world that results from the premise rarely makes any sense. Why isn't there some database somewhere, in this world of digitization, that keeps track of everyone's wristnames and helps match them up? Is it because there is a massive cultural accretion of taboos and mores that prevent it? What would those be? Fic rarely answers these questions for me.

That said, I've read some wristname fic that does do some neat cultural stuff that I've liked. There's a really excellent WIP on the kinkmeme where wristnames are rare and finding your other half is rarer, and there are hints at some of the expectations and conflicts that arise from those facts, and [archiveofourown.org profile] sherlockelly's Benn/Seguin fic does some exploration of how wristnames might work in general, especially in a world that still has a lot of homophobia.

On the whole, though, soul bonding is much more up my alley, because it's basically forced intimacy cranked to 11, with all the potential conflict that implies. While you might for a soul bond with your soul mate in some universes, in most fics I've read soul bonding can happen between lots of people. Sometimes there's an element of compatibility, but other times it's just a matter of them doing the right (or wrong) things at the right (or wrong) time. Accidental soul bonding is a special favorite of mine, as you might guess. Maybe they don't like each other! Maybe they don't even know each other! Maybe soul bonding right now is just really inconvenient. But like it or not, now this unfortunate pair has no choice but to feel each other's feelings, read each other's thoughts, and/or spend time in each other's space, depending on the rules of the world.

In fact, take away the mindreading and maybe the empathic component, and soul bonding is just regular old biology-based bonding or mating, like a person might find in a/b/o or werewolf fic. I have an a/b/o fic that I've been working on for a while that I figured out pretty fast is actually basically my soul bonding fic, even if souls don't really come into it as such. There's still the forced proximity because of physically needing to be around each other a lot, the affecting each other's moods, and, bonus, the occasional need to have sex with each other.

Again, there are a bunch of ways to expand on this that I haven't seen very much yet, but I have seen fic where hockey players bond voluntarily to improve team chemistry, or where a person is expected to have both platonic bonds and a romantic bond. I've heard tell of poly bonding, although I don't know if I've read it yet. And I would be deeply remiss if I didn't mention Fastening One Heart to Every Falling Thing, by [archiveofourown.org profile] thefourthvine, the story of Geno who can't bond and Sidney who really doesn't want to, and which is single-handedly responsible for me being in hockey fandom.

So: soul bonds. Soul mates. Can work quite differently, depending on context! Which do you prefer? Recs?

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snick_backup: (hockey)
This is mostly for [livejournal.com profile] gryfndor_godess, but if anyone else feels in want of a barebones hockey primer, lo, here one is for your use. Beware that I've only been watching for six months, so although AFAIK everything I'm saying here is correct, so. Corrections welcome! This is also NHL specific and subject to change as the NHL changes rules.

basics )

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snick_backup: (Fantomex)
Am rereading this and enjoying it possibly more the second time around, now that I have an idea of what's coming and can better interpret foreshadowing and follow plot twists.

Things I have noticed:
* The comic makes it explicit that Fantomex can summon E.V.A. - aka his "external nervous system" ins the form of a spaceship with an AI - at any time and that she pops straight out of his brain. Just. What?

* spoiler )

More thoughts no doubt forthcoming as I continue to read.

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snick_backup: (Saga)

In which I look at some August direct market sales figures of books I’m reading, and I fret and stew a bit. This is a long ramble that is informed mostly by me reading a lot of discussion and articles at Comic Book Resources, so, I am no expert. Corrections welcome!

an image and a lot of rambling )



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snick_backup: (x-men)
I think I've mentioned before that I have a hard time writing fic for characters without placing in the context of some particular events in their universe. Like, I tried to write several variations of Natasha+Bucky for Beyond Panels, and it was like pulling teeth, especially with Natasha, because she's had so much variation in the way she's written and in her backstory. I can't just extract an ur-Natasha from all the 616 Natashas and say, yes, this is the character I am writing. I can't pick and choose that way.

Instead, what I can do is write a character with a particular run of comics in mind. So I wrote Edmondson!Natasha, all isolated and driven, and then I wrote early!00s!Natasha with Yelena, where she cares about Yelena and views her from the perspective of a wealth of spy experience, and also she has kind of a sense of humor about Yelena. Those are basically different Natashas, though, as far as I am concerned. I *could* fanwank the differences, but in order to do that I'd really want some kind of coherent narrative thread in the comics that take us at least in the general direction from one to the other, and AFAIK there isn't one (although to be fair I haven't read most of the team stuff Natasha's been in).

In any case, point is: I can write for specific runs or sets of runs (Betsy and Fantomex in UXF vol.1, UXF vol.2, and XF vol.3 come to mind as a related set of runs that are relatively unified). And that works fine as long as there's enough in the run to write a character. OTOH, I'd have a really hard time writing for, say, Wood's X-Men, because none of the characters get enough time or arc stand alone as characters in that book.

But what I figured out today was, I actually don't enjoy reading outside of specific runs, either. I'm a little slow, but it finally occurred to me to look for X-men fic on ff.net, which actually is pretty fantastic, because they have fic split into comics and movies. However, again, I don't actually want to read most of it, because it doesn't seem to be set in any particular portion of canon, so I can't place it. I don't know what the fic is responding to. It's even worse than trying to read fic for a particular book that I don't know; at least there, I can see where the holes are.

tl;dr superheroe comics fic is hard.

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snick_backup: (Fantomex)
[livejournal.com profile] rahirah asked me a question that I thought merited its own post, because it's a question that I'm always interested in seeing other people answer, too: What attracts you to fandoms where you write fic, as opposed to fandoms where you may just read/watch?

I used to think there was some complicated and mysterious alchemy that determined what my next fandom would be, but in fact it seems to boil down to two things:

1. A character I obsess over. This character has so far always been male, which might surprise some of you given my enthusiasm the last few years for female characters. Historically, though, my pattern is: fall in love with male character, get into fandom, eventually switch allegiances primarily to female characters. (Who knows what this bodes in terms of hockey fandom.)

Now, why some male characters do this for me and not others is mysterious; there are some similarities that can be drawn between Spike and Dean Winchester, but my most recent obsession is character/RL person Evgeni Malkin, who has basically no similarities with either of the other two.

2. Lots of fic already existing about said character. It turns out that I can love a character to bits and pieces, but if there isn't tons of fic to feed my interest, it withers and dies. And what's more, I need all that fic to play off of when I start writing my own, which is what rahirah really asked. Writing fic for a small/non-existent fandom is hard work, as far as I'm concerned - much harder than writing for a larger fandom. I'm not great at inventing the wheel; I will never be one of those authors on the forefront of a new fandom, blazing the trail. I need a fandom to be in conversation with.

--

Now, the exception to all this for me is Marvel comics.

cut for long description of the shape of Marvel canon and fandom )

Having given you all that background, Marvel comics really does not look like the fandom for me, does it? Current fannish communities and fic are clustered largely around a handful of titles I'm not fannishly invested in, and the only male character I care all that much about, Fantomex, has like five fics on AO3.

And yet, like I said, Marvel comics are the exception to all my fannish patterns, because I've loved the female characters right from the start and because I continue to love the canon so much that I keep offering various pieces of it in exchanges and trying my hand at it. I'm pretty sure Marvel comics is never going to be my main fic fandom, because there just isn't enough concentrated community and fic. (This means when I write fic, there aren't a ton of people interested, either.) But apparently I'm going to keep plugging away nonetheless.

--

Now that I've said all that: What does it take for a canon to move you to writing fic/making art/getting fannishly creative? What are the secret ingredients?

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snick_backup: (crosby)
Behold, I have written hockey fic! 16.5k of it, all at once! I feel like anyone who knows me even moderately well who happened to read this fic would know it was mine, because it is so much bound up in my particular a/b/o preoccupations. And indeed, both Brutti and June guessed it ahead of time. Brutti sent me a PM that was basically, "Soooo, I'm pretty sure you wrote this fic..."

notes and process for this fic - possibly better read after reading the fic )

Base Notes (16505 words) by Snickfic
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Hockey RPF
Rating: Mature
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Sidney Crosby/Evgeni Malkin, Evgeni Malkin/Maxime Talbot
Characters: Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Maxime Talbot, Sergei Gonchar
Additional Tags: Alpha/Beta/Omega Dynamics, Pittsburgh Penguins, Scents & Smells, Romance, Language Barrier
Summary:

In which Evgeni Malkin comes to America as one of the few omegas in pro hockey, lights up the NHL, and spends a lot of time wondering why Sidney Crosby is so damn weird.


--

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snick_backup: (Fred math)
It's been just a little over a year since I've done one of these, and I'm always fascinated by the results. Formatting snagged from [personal profile] selenak this time.

lists and discussion and stuff )

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snick_backup: (Marko plot)
Several people have made noises to me recently about being curious about comics but unsure where to start, and I realized I had never addressed precisely that question before. Here, then, is a list of suggestions as made by someone who's very enthused about comics but only been actively reading them for eight months.

These are all fairly recent comics, some of them still ongoing, which I personally have read and enjoyed and think would be approachable to someone with very little knowledge of comics continuity, either because they're standalone titles (the Image stuff) or because the writers kept away from the continuity tangles of the larger universe inhabited by the characters (the Marvel stuff). I also stuck to stuff that's available in trades, so that you have a hope of acquiring them through your local library. However, they are all also available via Comixology, the one-stop shop for digital comics by the big publishers.

onto the recommendations! )

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snick_backup: (Heyer depraved)
[livejournal.com profile] ever_neutral asked for: you/shipping! Are you a big shipper/multi-shipper, how does shipper fandom delight/frustrate you, has the way you ship things changed, etc.

This topic feels like it requires a few thousand words to do it justice, and I don't even know what most of those words would be. Nonetheless, off we go.

I have never had a lot of ships I feel strongly enough about to write about and read fanfic for. In fact, in terms of ships about which I am actively fannish, the list is pretty much Spike/Buffy, Faith/Giles, Meg/Castiel, Sam/Amelia, Gen/Jared, Jared/Jensen, Psylocke/Fantomex and Psylocke/Fantomex/Cluster (from X-men/Uncanny X-Force). If we also talk about fandoms I don't actively participate in, we could add Mary/Lavinia from Downton Abbey, and... I'm sure there are a couple more, but I can't think of them. Basically, it's a special ship that gets and keeps my attention after the first memory of the canon starts to fade.

I don't know that those ships listed have much in the way of common features, either. The one big one would be that most of these ships are ships that I want to work and believe would work despite major reasons why they shouldn't. A vampire in love with the Slayer, an angel who's kind of bad sweet on a demon who's kind of good, the gloriously damaged mess that is Sam/Amelia, streetwise Faith and tweedy Giles (all the better a match for having had a rebellious punk phase himself) - none of those are easy or obvious pairings, and fic that assumes they are easy does nothing to satisfy my shipping itch. What I want are ships that are hard, that might potentially clash for reasons of personality, ethics, or just age differences, but which nonetheless are shown by canon or fic to be sustainable, even joyous relationships for the people involved. There is, to me, so much hope in that; it's part of my personal need to see things built up, rather than be torn down, although of course the former is so much harder than the latter.

(The flipside is that most of my major ships have the potential for disastrous ruin, but needless to say I find fic that goes that route to be much less satisfying. :D)

The oddballs here are the RPF ships. Jared/Gen and Jared/Jensen are like relationships between paper dolls: I expect each character to maintain certain basic characteristics from one fic to the next, but beyond that it's just faces, and sometimes not even those. IDK; RPF shipping, especially the way I do it with the werebears and the space AUs, is a peculiar and inexplicable thing.

All of that isn't to say that I don't read and even write fic involving lots and lots of other ships. SPN fandom in particular has turned me into much more of a multishipper, because all the FPF pairings I like are rarepairs and have precious little fic about them. Therefore I have personally written Sam/Jo, Sam/Amy the kitsune, Sam/Tamara, Sam/Jess, Dean/Ellen, Jo/Ruby, Ellen/Rufus, and surely some others I'm not thinking of, and I've read tons more. Presently I find myself with a weakness for Kevin slash ships, which I suspect is all [livejournal.com profile] downjune's fault, and I am always prepared to ship Castiel/ladies. I don't hold nearly as tightly to any of these ships as I do those listed up above, but I enjoy dabbling and thinking about the what-ifs. It's fun; it's play. Every so often I even write myself into shipping something new.

*scratches head* I think that's all I've got, re: shipping. So there you have it.

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snick_backup: (SD batcave)
Amelia! Sam/Amelia! One of my very favorite aspects of S8; [livejournal.com profile] de_nugis knows which way my heart lies. Of course, there was no way this was going to be a short post...

cut for length )

Note: If you want to comment to this post solely to tell me that you don't like Amelia or Sam/Amelia, please refrain. I'm often happy to hear about why people dislike things I like, but this is not one of those posts.

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snick_backup: (Giles bookish)
There was an insmallpackages request that sparked this post, although the post has gone pretty far afield of the request. This is a post of nonfiction I've loved but suspect most people haven't stumbled across (so no Erik Larsen here, no Omnivore's Dilemma). Somehow it's nearly all American history, which surprises me a little, since I don't generally go looking for American history. And yet.

There may be a matching fiction post to follow later.

six books I enjoyed a lot )

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snick_backup: (Fred math)
In the wake of the Brian Wood thing, I've been thinking more about the m/f ratio of comics creators. I knew it wasn't great, but when you get down to looking at numbers, well. A quick guesstimate for Marvel ongoings next year based on these tables combined with solicit data through February 2014 yields an instructive chart.

 malefemale
artists 371
author 373

In the face of that kind of disparity, details and caveats are basically irrelevant (though I've included them below anyway).

For the record, the artist is Sara Pichelli on Guardians of the Galaxy and the writers are G. Willow Wilson on Ms. Marvel and Kelly Sue DeConnick on Captain Marvel and Avengers Assemble (although technically she's co-writing an arc with Warren Ellis for that book for the first part of the year). Recent Marvel regulars who don't have steady gigs right now include Kathryn Immonen and Marjorie Liu, although there are probably a couple more I'm not thinking of.

(Fiddly details: these statistics don't count the number of writers, but the number of writing slots. Brian Michael Bendis, for example, is counted three times here. OTOH, a book that's co-written by two authors still only counts for one slot. Note also that artists come on and off titles all the time, so those numbers are potentially more variable over time than the writer numbers.)

I don't know Image well enough to confidently say much about it long-term, especially since I think books are produced on a much less regular schedule there. A glance over the February solicits yields only a marginally better picture (although I'm only reading Rocket Girl, Pretty Deadly, and Saga, which together have a creator ratio of 2/3 women). And I don't know DC at all, so someone else would need to crunch those numbers.

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snick_backup: (Fred math)
Courtesy of [personal profile] ruuger. I can never resist a meme with statistics in it.

Account created: late 2009 (I backdated my old fics, so I don't know the exact date when I joined)
Total stories: 117

Total wordcount: 311232
Average wordcount: 2660
Longest story: Seraph at 67k - no surprise there. It still boggles me that I ever wrote something that long.
Shortest story: Supposedly Weightless is 98 words long, but Word definitely told me it was 100. AO3 frequently gives lower word counts than Word does

Total kudos: 1157
Kudos per story: 9.8
Story with most kudos: What Should Really, Really Never Be with 102, because when you write a/b/o crack meta set in the crack meta episode and tag it with mpreg and five different pairings, people read it, it turns out. (For context, my next highest has 52 kudos.)

Total comments: 210
Comments per story: 1.8
Story with most comments: Three Christmases with Miss Honey by a country mile, with 43. Because if you write holiday fluff of a children's nostalgia fandom for Yuletide, people read that, too.

Total author subscriptions: 26
Total story subscriptions: 8
Story with most subscriptions: Thermodynamics and the Modern Male, even though it's a complete fic. It's part of a series, though; I suspect people must have subscribed to it hoping to get notifs of other works in the series. Bummer for them. The only actual WIP I have on AO3, the Faith/Giles snowpocalypse one, has no subscribers.

Total bookmarks: 213
Story with most bookmarks: Three Christmases with Miss Honey again, with 33.

Stories with no comments or kudos: Lots, basically all Buffy drabbles. The two that break that pattern are Abandon Hope (the Mary Quite Contrary remix), which is my Dru character study in drabbles; and the aforementioned Faith/Giles snowpocalypse WIP. (To be fair, I very much doubt at this point that I'll finish that one. It's too bad; I've always really liked what I had.)

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snick_backup: (Meg Cas)
I was looking through my old recs for someone looking for het curtainfic, and discovered, rather to my surprise, that it's a category of fic I basically never rec. I read it sometimes - I'm pretty sure I have links stashed in my giant me-locked posts full of links - but apparently I never tell you guys about it.

I think this ties into a realization I've been having repeatedly recently, which is that while I ship primarily het ships, I'm... not a het shipper? Which is to say, just because I ship a lot of het ships doesn't mean I have much interest in Het: The Shipping Phenomenon (except as a phenomenon, because fandom trends and tastes never cease to fascinate me).

and then I go on at length )

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