Wednesday Videos: Redneck Avengers

WednesdayVideoMy family and I laughed so hard at this that we kept missing the lines. I think the Bad Lip Reading videos work best when the crazy things characters are saying sound like things they might actually say – I mean, every time I see Tony and Cap argue from now on I will be thinking about their beef jerky/glowsticks argument and it’s awfully easy to picture Natasha saying “No, I ain’t got my best wig on!”


Tim Hanley Talks Wonder Woman and Lois Lane

51cwi93rReL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Tim Hanley, author of Wonder Woman Unbound, has a new book out: Investigating Lois Lane: The Turbulent History of the Daily Planet’s Ace Reporter (the highlighted links take you to my reviews of the book on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books).

You’ve written a book about Wonder Woman and a book about Lois Lane. What draws you to these iconic heroines?


On one level, it’s the stories. Both Wonder Woman and Lois Lane have decades of fantastic and/or fascinating tales with all sorts of different, intriguing aspects to dig into. With Investigating Lois Lane, while Lois hasn’t been the star of her stories for most of her history, her evolving role in the comics is an interesting progression, and the occasional tales she did headline proved invariably noteworthy. From her adventurous solo stories to her most cringeworthy romantic outings, there’s always something worth saying about Lois’s many appearances.


On another level, the superhero genre is a male dominated industry in every respect, and the male heroes get most of the fan focus. I think that the histories of female characters are just as interesting, and often more so, and it’s been a real pleasure to shine a light on these great characters who are so often relegated to the shadows. Lois especially offers such a unique perspective on the genre as a whole; she was there at the very beginning in Action Comics #1 and has been a constant presence in the world of superheroes since then, in every medium.


Lois in Action Comics #1

Lois has had her ups and downs – what do you admire most about her, and what do you think continues to endear her to readers today?


I most admire her tenacity, and I think that it’s been the core of the character from the beginning. In Action Comics #1, Lois was stuck writing the lovelorn column but she dreamed of getting a front page scoop. After Superman saved her and she got to see how powerful he was, he told her not to print the story, yet the very next panel showed Lois in her editor’s office, pitching the story. Not even Superman could deter her! That sort of tenacity has been key to the character ever since, even in comics that haven’t aged particularly well. When Lois became obsessed with marrying Superman in the 1950s, she went after him full-tilt, just as enthusiastically as she chased down big news scoops. She’s a relentless, unstoppable force, no matter the situation.


I think that tenacity is part of what endears Lois to her legions of fans today, combined with her toughness and snark, as well as her compassionate core that lies beneath her sometimes brusque exterior. Lois is brave and fearless and has no time for anyone who tries to get in her way, but it’s always in service of helping others, of landing the story that takes down the less obvious villain who’s hurting someone somewhere.


If you had to recommend one issue or storyline about Lois Lane to a new reader, which would you recommend, and why?


Picking just one is tricky! I’m going to have to do this by category. For classic Lois fun, I’d recommend the “Lois Lane: Girl Reporter” feature from Superman in the mid-1940s; a couple of the outings are collected in the recent Lois Lane: A Celebration of 75 Years volume, which is a good place for new readers to start generally. In “Lois Lane: Girl Reporter”, Lois set out to get scoops on her own, without any help from Superman, and ended up taking down all manner of thieves, smugglers, and grifters, getting a front page story out of each adventure. The stories are classic Golden Age fun, and a great showcase for Lois.


For modern comics, Lois hasn’t had a lot to do lately, but there have been some good moments. There’s a great arc in Batman/Superman Volume 3 where she teams up with Batman, and Marguerite Bennett and Emanuela Lupacchino’s Superman: Lois Lane one-shot from a couple of years back had an enjoyable take on Lois.


Outside of comics, I’d wholeheartedly recommend Gwenda Bond’s young adult novel Lois Lane: Fallout. It stars a teenaged Lois who starts at a new school in Metropolis and quickly get caught up in a serious, expansive investigation involving bullying and secret military experiments. It’s a fantastic read, and a spectacular distillation of the most iconic and enjoyable elements of Lois’s past incarnations. It’s far and away my favourite Lois Lane story of the 21st century thus far, and the upcoming sequel, Lois Lane: Double Down, is even better.


What are your hopes for Wonder Woman and Lois Lane in the movies (and if you’ve seen B v. S. let us know how you think they did with the characters!)


I saw the movie a few nights ago and while I didn’t much care for the bulk of it and its angsty, grim male heroes, I loved a lot of what the film did with Wonder Woman and Lois. Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman didn’t have a huge part, but she totally stole the show, both as Diana Prince and Wonder Woman. I’ll dance around spoilers here, but whether she was outsmarting Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor simultaneously or battling Doomsday, Gal Gadot very much captured the spirit of Wonder Woman for me. She was also the only character in the movie that was having any fun! Batman and Superman were caught up in feuding that took them both down dark paths, and I think Wonder Woman was easily the most heroic, fun character in the film.


Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman

As for Lois, it was great to see that she was in the thick of the action throughout the entire film. I felt like Man of Steel sidelined her somewhat after she had a cool role initially, but Batman v Superman had her in the mix the whole time, and often playing a key role. I would have preferred that she got to see something through to the end; most of her adventures took a dark turn that resulted in Superman having to save her. But she got to do a bit of saving too, and her relationship with Clark was sweet and endearing. I liked that she tried to keep him focused on his heroic core as the foolishness with Batman ramped up, despite the mixed results. I think that both Wonder Woman and Lois Lane were the best characters in the film, by far.


Amy Adams as Lois Lane in Batman v Superman

What is your next project?


I don’t want to be too specific because nothing’s official yet, but I’ve been working on the history of another female comic book character, this time a villain. It’s been fascinating to look at the history of superheroes through the ups and downs of a female villain. At times, she escaped the often limiting roles of comic book heroines, but at other times she ended up problematically sexualized or benched. It’s a journey that’s wholly unique, and the project has been a blast thus far.

Wednesday Videos Love Our Friend The Octopus

WednesdayVideoOK I know I’m prone to hyperbole but seriously this is the best thing in the history of ever. Here’s a documentary about octopuses, narrated with what the narrator is really thinking. “They are the most intelligent of all of the invertebrates. Technically not tons of competition there. I mean, clams are stupid. I’m sorry! I said it! But they are dumb as hell.”

Home from RT Booklovers, Ready to Nap

rtlasvegasfinalpngRT Booklovers Convention was absolutely delightful, not so much because of any specific event, but because of all the great people I met there. I spent hours with my fellow reviewers at Smart Bitches Trashy Books – you can read a recap replete with photos written by SB Sarah here. I watched octopus documentaries with my roommate – our idea of how to party. I ate creme brûlée that was so good it brought tears to my eyes. I spent time with local friends and made new friends from all around the world. Special thanks to my new Australian friends who introduced me to Tim Tams, a food I expect to live on exclusively from this day forward.Also so happy to have met some fellow geeks – there’s nothing like trading stories about San Diego Comic-Con to build a fast bond between people!

By the way, this year the convention was at The Rio in Las Vegas. Folks, I had a great time, but EVERYONE hated that hotel. The service is great, everyone who works there works hard and is friendly, but the place is grimy and dark and smoky and depressing and it charges $4 for a banana. Luckily the convention space was much more pleasant and not smoky – be as that may be, my dear daughter was happy to see me when I came home but also said, “Mom, your hair smells bad” because of all the smoke in it. Blah.

Other than that, I had a wonderful time and came home with a huge stack of books. It’s going to be hard to return to my actual life! At least I can do it all again (at a different hotel) next year!




Between the Lines Book Club: Humor Books

between the lines book club logoHello my dear book clubbers – I apologize for being late with this post. Like many other posts, it fell victim to the Evil Death Virus that hit me at the beginning of the month. I hope you are all healthy and happy and not in a panic about finishing your taxes.

While our in-person club is on hiatus, I’m encouraging all of us to read outside our preferred genres. Since April is the month of taxes and allergies, here’s a link to my post on funny books – ranging from dark humor like Catch-22, classics such as Lysistrata, and many more. Enjoy, and happy reading!

Wednesday Videos: Penn and Teller

WednesdayVideoMy dear readers, I owe you an apology for some dead space – I came down with an evil death virus and fell behind on blogging. Normally I blog a month at a time so as to be prepared for things like viruses, but in this case the virus hit on the very week that my to=do list said “BLOG APRIL.” Luckily for me (I guess) the evil death virus turned into an evil bacterial thing which means I got magic antibiotics and am back. Yay!

I’m at RT Booklovers Convention in the same hotel where Penn and Teller perform. I’m amazed to have to tell you that I’m not seeing them – they are very expensive. However, I see their faces everywhere around the hotel so I feel a certain vicarious thrill. Here they are performing the family safe (for once) series of card tricks known as “The Physicist’s Deck of Cards”

RT 2016 or Bust!

rtlasvegasfinalpngI’m on my way to Las Vegas for RT Booklovers Convention! This will be my second year and I plan (or at least I hope) to be a lot more relaxed and just have a great time in a community of fellow romance readers. By far my favorite thing about this event is getting to hang out in person with my fellow reviewers at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books – we’ve become close friends over the years and we treasure this chance to meet up in person.

If you are attending RT this year, be sure to check out my panels:

Smart Bitches Reader Recommendation Party

Thursday April 14, 11:15AM – 12:15PM

Join the ladies from Smart Bitches Trashy Books for a reader recommendation party! We want to hear what book has rocked your world and why. We’ll be sharing our recommendations and giving away some of our favorites, along with fun prizes, too. There will be snacks and room for your knitting and crafting. We want to hear from you! Please come ready to share recommendations of your own, especially if there’s a book you can’t stop talking about! We LOVE those! Authors: Please note – we think you are utterly rad but is this not a space in which to recommend your own book. Please do join us if you want to talk about what you’re reading. We all love romance!

Reviews: How to Get Them and What to Do With Them

Thursday, April 14, 4PM – 5PM

Join the ladies from Smart Bitches Trashy Books and Jay from Joyfully Jay for a candid discussion and Q&A about reviews. How does one pitch a book for review? What makes a blogger or reader choose the books they read and discuss? What are we looking for in our reading? What can authors do if they receive a positive review — or a negative one? We’ll take questions and share our various perspectives on the elusive subject of getting reviews.

Hope to see some of you in Vegas!