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Molly’s Top 5 Comics of 2015

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I’m gonna be real with you, Girl Gang. 2015 was awful and I’m glad to see it end. However! There were so many good comics this year that I need to talk about first.

(Also, sorry this is so long. I meant to keep it short and sweet and then I started writing about these great titles and I couldn’t stop.)

5. Black Canary

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From Black Canary #1

When DC announced this title, I was psyched. Black Canary is one of my all-time favorite superheroes, and it was about damn time she got her own title again. I was even more excited when I heard who was put on the book. Writer Brendan Fletcher has been doing amazing things on Batgirl, where we last saw Black Canary, and Annie Wu’s issues of Hawkeye were my favorite in the entire run. It’s always dangerous to pick up a first issue with really high hopes, but I have to say: I have not been disappointed.

The story is Dinah doing something new: singing in a band, which she names Black Canary. Of course, Dinah is never safe from her past, and it becomes clear that whoever put the band together had an alterior motive to selling out venues. I’ve really loved all of the new characters in this title, especially Dinah’s bandmates.

The true star of this title is the artwork. Wu manipulates panel shapes and sizes to create dynamic movement, especially when the band is performing. You can feel the energy and intensity of the music without hearing a single note. The style is almost reminiscent of old punk flyers and zines, messy but intentional. The colors are gorgeous, perfectly contrasting muted pastel tones with intense neon hues. Really, Black Canary is worth picking up just to see this incredible art for yourself.

Buy: Digitally / Physically

4. Rat Queens

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From Rat Queens #12

The end of 2014 was not a good time for Rat Queens. In November 2014, their former artist Roc Upchurch was arrested on domestic violence charges, and it was announced he would not be on the comic anymore. I was very excited when they announced that he would be replaced with artist Tess Fowler. Fowler has been an important voice on abuse in the comic book industry.

Although some fans were worried about what an artist change would do to Rat Queens, their worries were proven unnecessary when the Rat Queens Braga Special was released January 2015. Fowler’s presence on the team obviously improved an already excellent title. I love how she draws the Queens. There is no “same face” here: each  one of them is drawn distinctly and beautifully. It’s so clear that Fowler understands and loves these characters.

With every new arc, Rat Queens continues to be one of the most interesting and unique comics out there. It has a little of everything: girl power, magic, gore, sex, and disgusting monsters. I’ll definitely be keeping Rat Queens title on my pull list until it comes to an end.

Buy: Digitally / Physically

3. Ms. Marvel

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From Ms. Marvel #17

“Good is not a thing you are. It’s a thing you do.” Kamala said this line in Ms. Marvel #5, and it has stayed with me ever since. I recently reread the entire Ms. Marvel series as it ‘ended’ after Secret Wars this summer (it didn’t really end, but Marvel restarted all of their comics at #1 in September of this year after that in-universe event). I was so struck by how special Kamala is. She stays with you. By the number of times I’ve seen this series on other bloggers’ “Best of 2015” lists, it is clear that I’m not the only one who has been influenced by Kamala.

The story of “teenager gets powers and has to deal with them” is anything but new. Writer G. Willow Wilson took that premise and created something completely unique and special. As a Muslim-American teenager, the representation Kamala brings to comics makes this story new. Kamala is special because of that and more. She is a very realistic portrayal of a young girl who suddenly finds herself alongside the heroes she always idolized. 2015 brought the long-awaited meeting between Kamala and Carol Danvers, and I cried and cried when I read it for the first time. Watching her as she grows to fill her newly-assigned “hero” status has been an absolute joy.

Kamala inspires me deep down inside in every issue. Her passion, honesty, and positivity are something I aspire to every day. Although she is fictional, she feels so real, and I want to live a life that makes Kamala proud. I want to good to be the thing that I do.

Buy: Digitally / Physically

2. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl

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From The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #4

I was flying alone when I read The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 for the first time. On the second page, Squirrel Girl kicks some robbers’ butts, and as she throws one of them over her head, he yells, “I am currently reevaluating the choices that led me to a criminal liiiiiiife!” This line took me by surprise and I unexpectedly and suddenly cackled very loudly, making my neighbor jump in his seat. I was slightly embarrassed, but thought it was a one-time thing now that I had a feel for the tone of the book.

Nope. I laughed out loud at just about every single page after that. I was absolutely delighted. This is the comic we all needed this year. The world is terrible and bad things happen constantly, but Doreen is a beam of light once a month with her reckless optimism and a great sense of humor. She is the hero who tries to befriend villains (see above strip) before butt-kicking, but also never holds back if a bad guy really deserves it. Doreen is a great friend, and she accepts every person she meets for who they are.

My favorite part of Squirrel Girl might be the tiny captions at the bottom of each page. They never fail to make me laugh. The above strip captures everything I love about this series in three panels: friendship, humor, and hilarious captions.

Buy: Digitally / Physically

1. Bitch Planet

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From Bitch Planet #2

Bitch Planet reminds me strongly of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which I first read in my Intro to Women’s Studies course during my first semester at college. I remember reading Atwood’s words and having one of my first “Aha!” moments of understanding in my feminist education. Reading Bitch Planet for the first time was another significant “Aha!” moment in my life. It was a much-needed reminder that those moments of discovery never stop happening, even after graduating with a Women’s Studies degree. Bitch Planet is a hauntingly realistic portrayal of a misogynistic dystopia that thrives at the cost of its women.

This series has become more than just a comic book to me and many other women. The non-compliant symbol has turned into a tattoo phenomenon, with hundreds of women worldwide choosing to permanently label themselves as going against societal expectations. Being a Bitch Planet reader feels like being part of something huge and important and bigger than yourself. When I read it, I feel connected to every other woman reading the comic having her own “Aha!” moment.

More than anything, Bitch Planet is an upsetting and glorious reminder of the discovery, the pain, and most of all the community that comes with identifying as woman. It reminds us that being non-compliant is not only okay, but something to strive for.

Buy: Digitally / Physically

So there you have it, Girl Gang. Writing this has been a nice reminder that these worlds exist for me when I need a break from my own. I hope you have a great New Years, no matter what you’re doing. Stay safe, and we will see you in 2016! Happy New Year!

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Maddi’s 2015 Top 5

I read a lot this year, even if it doesn’t feel like it. Between textbooks (which, more often than not, were novels) and massive reading binges in July, I plowed through a sizable amount of the stack of unread trades that seems to be a permanent fixture on my bedside table. These were some of my favorites:

5. Lumberjanes, by Noelle Stevenson, Brooke Allen, Grace Ellis, and Shannon Watters

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From Lumberjanes #3

Lumberjanes is my go-to feel good comic. It never fails to make me smile, and while it is aimed toward a younger audience, there’s a lot for the older crowd to enjoy, too. The main characters–Mal, Molly, Jo, April, and Ripley–are diverse in background and personality, and I’d like to think that this comic has something almost everyone can relate to. At the very least, there’s a huge focus on healthy friendships, which can be lessons for younger readers, or good reminders to us older fans.
Buy: Digitally || As a holdable thing

4. Wytches, by Scott Snyder and Jock

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Wytches is an ongoing horror comic about that thing that lives in your woods. No, really, those gnarled old trees out back are full of terrors. The story is equal parts compelling and don’t-wanna-read-it-in-the-dark, as all good horror stories are.
Buy: Digitally || For a shelf

3. Sex Criminals, by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky

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The comic is about as SFW as you’d expect, so instead, here’s a picture of THE Margaret Atwood reading the collected version, Big Hard Sex Criminals.

I’ve told a lot of people to read Sex Criminals, and have since developed the ability to deadpan the phrase, “It’s about people who, when they orgasm, stop time and obviously use this to do what any of us would do, and rob banks.” If that doesn’t convince you to read this comic, please take another gander at Margaret Atwood reading this comic.
Buy: Digitally || The Big Hard version

2. Pretty Deadly, by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios

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Pretty Deadly came back just in the nick of time. After a year-plus long hiatus, Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios have resurrected the vibrant and beautifully told story of Sissy, Deathface Ginny, and Big Alice. Pretty Deadly is a story of vengeance and, of course, death–a beautiful story brought to life by even more beautiful art.
Buy: Digitally || Not Digitally

1. The Wicked + The Divine, by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie

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From The Wicked + The Divine #2

I have told everybody and their mother to read The Wicked + The Divine. If you’re not everybody and their mother and haven’t heard of it, the concept is that every ninety years, twelve gods are reincarnated as artists, performers, musicians, etc. In two years, they’re dead. Currently, the issues focus on the most recent Pantheon and the dramatic lives and deaths of its members.
Buy: Digitally || Throwable version for when you read #11

Honorable Mention for comic that I still wouldn’t stop talking about even as it ended early this year:

Hawkeye, by Matt Fraction, David Aja, and Annie Wu

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From Hawkeye #2

Hawkeye could technically count because it ended this year, but that was mostly due to a wildly unpredictable publishing schedule. Hawkeye ending is probably for the better, because I think people are tired of me talking about it, but it’s absolutely one of my forever favorites. Clint Barton is probably the least super Avenger, and it’s perfectly fitting that he’s the central character of this comic. More than anything, it’s a story that focuses deeply on humanity and ordinary people going out of their way to help others, with a little room left over for a happy ending.
Buy: Digitally || Not Digitally

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New Girl Gang Releases 12/30/15

Hey Girl Gang! Happy Wednesday! Here are our pulls for this week!

  • Black Canary #7 (DC Comics) – Black Canary is one of my absolute favorite titles on the shelf right now, and I feel like it’s been forever since we last heard from Dinah and her bandmates. In reality, the last issue was released in October, but this comic is so good that I’ve felt Dinah’s absence these past two months. Issue 4 will be giving us some much-anticipated answers: Who formed the band Black Canary, and who put Ditto into Dinah’s life?
  • Rat Queens #14 (Image) – I am also very excited to return to the Queens this week, as they continue their journey at Mage University. I like the way that author Wiebe has incorporated the girls’ backstories as the story proceeds, and I’ve especially enjoyed learning about Hannah. In this issue, Hannah is finally reunited with her father, but not in a way she ever expected.

Happy Wednesday Girl Gang!

What other titles should we be picking up that we should be adding to this list or don’t know about? Let us know in the comments or at thegeekgirlgang@gmail.com!

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GGG Comic Review: Patsy Walker a.k.a. Hellcat #1

Hey Girl Gang! Hope your Holidays were swell and that you enjoyed the long weekend. I did what I know many of us did during the long weekend: caught up on comics!

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Maddi’s Tweet the other day says what we’re all thinking

That’s the main reason GGG is lacking in comics reviews. I always feel like the few days it takes me to read Wednesday’s new pulls makes me too late to review them. But that’s going to change! More GGG comic reviews 2k16!

What better way to start writing more reviews with a review of a highly-anticipated Issue #1? Today we’re taking a look at Patsy Walker aka Hellcat, the brand new release from writer Kate Leth and artist Brittney Williams.

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Source: Marvel.com

I should preface this review by saying that I am not super familiar with Hellcat/Patsy as a character. My main exposure to her was in Soule’s 2014 She-Hulk run where Patsy worked for Jen as an investigator. I, with thousands of other fans, also got to know her as “Trish” through the Jessica Jones series on Netflix.

Before you pick up this title, you should know that this is not the Trish Walker you saw on JJ. If you loved Rachael Taylor’s interpretation of Hellcat and wanted more of her, don’t worry – the Patsy that Leth writes is honestly WAY more fun!

We are introduced to Patsy Walker as a young woman trying to make it in New York City. Luck has not been on her side recently – she just got let go by her best friend/boss She-Hulk, and was kicked out of her makeshift apartment/storage closet. Patsy has walked through literal hell, but making her way in NYC is proving almost as difficult. But after meeting Ian, a dude with telekinetic powers who also can’t find a job, she has a brilliant idea – a Temp Agency for Superheroes!

I did not go into this issue knowing anything about the origin of Hellcat. The issue does a great job in explaining Patsy’s backstory just as much as needed. The references to her past are brief and sometimes vague, but certainly enough for a basic intro, even to new Hellcat fans such as myself. Leth does not waste pages detailing how Patsy got her powers or name – she focuses on Patsy’s current life and storyline, which is very appropriate for a character who refuses to dwell on the past. I’m sure we will learn more about Hellcat’s origin in future issues, but I really liked that they chose to focus on the current story in this issue.

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Brittney Williams’ Hellcat concept art

Brittney Williams is an incredible artist and putting her on this book was a brilliant decision.You can feel Patsy’s reckless optimism and enthusiasm in every panel. Patsy’s excitable personality is showcased through a wide variety of hilarious facial expressions and almost chibi-like full body reactions. I really cannot say enough good things about what Williams does in this issue. The art style is adorable, simple, and feminine, and the coloring provided by Megan Wilson gives the book a gorgeous, unique, almost pastel-like glow.

Brittney Williams is a prime example of why to put female artists on female-centric titles. Patsy and all of her friends are drawn in cute, stylish, modern clothing without a random midriff shirt in sight. That’s usually the main indicator for me that an artist isn’t good for a female title – when the clothes are outdated, unstylish, and unnecessarily sexy.

Unrelated but: I’m obsessed with how Brittney Williams draws my fave girl She-Hulk. I can’t even begin to tell you how many artists have been on She-Hulk who feel the need to draw her in a hypermasculine style with giant boobs, or weirdly thin with giant boobs and arms, or a really ugly face (case in point: Marvel’s Holiday Special from this month did her no favors). Williams gives She-Hulk the femininity, softness, and style she deserves without taking away her muscular physique.

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A perfectly drawn Jen

It is also worth noting that this book is significantly more diverse than most comic titles. There are multiple people of color in the issue, from minor characters like the woman who loses her play tickets in a sewer grate, to new protagonists like Patsy’s new roommate Ian. There is also a range of sexualities showcased in the book. Ian mentions that his partner left him when inviting Patsy to live with him.

My favorite part of the entire issue was when Patsy and Ian go into a queer bookstore called Burly Books. Leth could have easily written about a typical bookstore with no specifics, but she specifically wrote about a bookstore with a queer focus. Patsy discovers that her childhood friend Tubs owns the bookstore. The best part of the entire issue for me might have been the titles on the shelves of Burly Books, which made me laugh out loud.

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Some background titles: Big Book of Plaid, Beer with a Queer, Bear With Me!, Oh Man!, Oh Woman!, Chest

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Patsy is caught reading Butts: Volume IX

Overall, I had really high hopes for this title and I was not disappointed. Leth and Williams make an excellent team, and I’m super excited to see where they go with this title. If I could make one change, it would probably be MORE SHE-HULK, but as you all know, Jen is my number one girl forever so I may be a bit biased.

If you still aren’t sold on Hellcat, take a look at the cover for next month’s Issue 2:

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Source: comicbookresources.com

 

Everyone’s favorite Marvel ladies hanging out and having a great time? Sign me the Hellcat up!

Did you enjoy Patsy Walker aka Hellcat #1? Let us know in the comments or email us at thegeekgirlgang@gmail.com! Have a great week, Girl Gang! See you on Wednesday!

Patsy Walker aka Hellcat #1, by Kate Leth and Brittney Williams, is available at your local comic book store and through digital retailers like Comixology. Hellcat #2 comes out on January 20, 2016.

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New Girl Gang Releases 12/23/15

Hey Girl Gang! Happy Holidays! Here are a few of our pulls for this week!

  • Patsy Walker aka Hellcat #1 (Marvel) – This is a title I’ve been SUPER excited for since it was announced and now it’s finally here!! Most of us have had a recent introduction to Patsy from her presence as “Trish” on Jessica Jones. However, this is not the same character you saw in JJ. In aka Hellcat, Patsy has a lot on her plate – between job hunting in New York, making her rent, trying to have a social life, general bad-guy fighting, AND dealing with her mother’s childhood exploitation that recently resurfaced, it’s hard to know what the hell to do! With author Kate Leth and artist Brittany Williams on board, I have high hopes for Hellcat.
  • Saga #32 (Image) – I need to confess: I completely forgot that Saga is actually released monthly. The last hiatus was so long that I resigned myself to living a sad, Saga-less life where I would never ever find out what happened to Hazel, Alana, and Marko. However, as of last month we’re back to monthly releases and I’m super happy about it. While the last issue focused on Hazel and her troubles, this one goes back to focusing on Alana and Mark as they search for their daughter.
  • Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #2 (Marvel) – If you didn’t pick up the first issue of this new series, what are you doing? In #1, we were introduced to Lunella Lafayette, aka Moon Girl, aka preteen super genius and inventor extraordinaire. Lunella’s life is turned upside down when Devil Dinosaur is accidentally summoned from prehistoric times to modern-day NYC! In this issue, Moon Girl has to find out how to deal with her new sidekick – and the other visitors that came through the portal with him!

Have a great holiday weekend, Girl Gang. If your family says awful judgmental things, just concentrate all of your energy on Poe Dameron’s face and you’ll feel better. I hope that you have safe travels and get those trades you wanted for Christmas.

Happy Wednesday Girl Gang!

What other titles should we be picking up that we should be adding to this list or don’t know about? Let us know in the comments or at thegeekgirlgang@gmail.com!

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New Girl Gang Releases 12/16/15

Hey Girl Gang! Happy Wednesday! Here are some of our pulls for this week!

  • Batgirl #46 (DC Comics) – Is it just me or has it been forever since the last issue of Batgirl? Maybe it’s just because this is one of my favorite books out right now and I need my Babs Tarr art fix. In this issue, Barbara has discovered a way to uncover the police corruption in Burnside. Hopefully we will see some more of Luke Fox in this issue too.
  • Silk #2 (Marvel) – Dare I say that Silk is probably my favorite series to come out of the Spider-Verse? Cindy Moon just stands out from other superheroes. As we saw in issue 1, Silk has been working with Black Cat and her circle of villains. This is quite a change for previously-good guy Cindy. Will she get herself into trouble?
  • Lumberjanes #21 (BOOM!) – In a world where awful things seem to happen every day, Lumberjanes is a little ray of sunshine and goodness. I reread this series when I hear an awful news story or make the ultimate mistake of reading the comments section. The girls are always positive and brave and I never fail to feel better after reading this series. In this issue, the girls find out they’ve actually already met their first werewolf!
  • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #3 (Marvel) – Poor Squirrel Girl has found herself stuck in the 1960s and she doesn’t know why. What she does know is that no one from her real time remembers her, except for her roommate/BFF Nancy. And that ’60s clothes are AWESOME. In this issue, because Squirrel Girl isn’t there, Nancy has to take on a new villain all by herself!
  • Ms. Marvel #2 (Marvel) – Ms. Marvel is another of my all-time favorite series. I got my Kamala fix in last week’s Marvel Holiday Special, but it wasn’t quite the same as seeing her doing her thing in Jersey City. In this issue, Kamala has to figure out who the company is who is using her image, all while dealing with everyone thinking that she’s the bad guy. While going to school and dealing with friend drama. Poor Kamala!
  • The Wicked and The Divine #17 (Image) – “Life is what happens between WicDiv issues.” A famous philosopher said that once, I think. I’m not sure that any issue can ever compare to the exquisite beauty that was Leila de Luca’s art in issue #16, but I’m definitely willing to give this issue a fair shot. This is the last issue of the guest artists/individual background stories arc, and it focuses on Sakhmet.

Happy Wednesday Girl Gang!

What other titles should we be picking up that we should be adding to this list or don’t know about? Let us know in the comments or at thegeekgirlgang@gmail.com!

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GGG Force Friday 12/11: What to wear to the premiere?

Hey all! As I am sure you’re already aware, we are ONE WEEK AWAY from The Force Awakens! Seems like just yesterday the new movie was announced, and after what feels like decades of waiting, we are a mere 7 (or 6 for some of us!) days away from TFA!

And I know, even more importantly than the questions of “Who are Rey’s parents?” and “Where the hell is Luke?” lies most important question of all: What are you going to wear to the midnight premiere?

I’m just kidding (kind of), but I truly love all of the Star Wars-related fashion that has sprung up during the The Force Awakens hype. It feels like the fashion gods have answered my prayer of more ways to incorporate Star Wars into my everyday wardrobe.

So for today’s Force Friday, I thought we would look at some of my very favorite Star Wars fashions so we can all get some ideas of what we will be wearing come next Thursday.

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If you follow any fashion blogs at all, you’ve definitely heard about the Irregular Choice x Star Wars collection. The shoes range from wearable, like these Darth Vader flats, to the extreme, like these lightsaber heels that actually light up every time you take a step. I think the loafer shape of these flats make them a fun but appropriate shoe to wear to the office before you wear them to the theatre on Thursday.

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I think button-down shirts are an A+ fashion option for all genders. This one is perfect – it blends geek fashion with rockabilly style, which are my two favorite things. It’s a slightly classier/more subtle option than the Star Wars shirt that you’ve been wearing since college and has all the holes near the neckline/armpits. You know which one I’m talking about.

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Hey, I’m not leaving the little ones out of this! This stylized version of Finn’s jacket from the Disney Store is just too freaking cute. It has the costume element that kids love, but can also be worn as a real jacket during the cold mornings while waiting for the school bus, which is great because its a pretty expensive jacket for a little one.

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Like many kids, I too am a fan of subtle costume elements in my clothing. That’s why I love this dress from the Her Universe Star Wars collection for Hot Topic. It’s a gorgeous dress and only SW fans will recognize the shape of the belt. It doubles as a homage to Leia and as a great dress in its own right. After wearing this one to the premiere, you can wear it again to some Christmas parties this season!

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If you haven’t been to a midnight premiere before, here’s some advice: you’ll probably be waiting a while. If your theatre doesn’t do assigned seating and you want seats with the rest of your party, you better get there somewhat early and be ready to wait. You need a big bag to carry your tablet and Cards Against Humanity and other things to entertain yourself and your friends. Of course, you also need somewhere to hide your snacks and mini bottles of wine (who pays those theatre prices?!). This Chewie camera bag is perfectly themed and definitely big enough to fit all of your stuff. I also love this 3D Darth Vader backpack – it’s very unique and surprisingly roomy inside.

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If you’ve read this blog before, you know how important Star Wars merchandise for little girls is to me, so obviously I needed to include some fashion for them here. Junk Food Clothing makes most of my favorite t-shirts, because they have that perfect vintage softness that usually requires a few dozen washes to achieve. That means this BB-8 shirt will be nice and comfy for a two-hour movie, which is especially important for kids.

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Or maybe you want comfort beyond a soft t-shirt. I get it. The movie is long, you have work at 8 the next day and you’re still going to the midnight premiere, sp the outfit you’re wearing is the last thing on your mind. I have an option for that too! FOOTIE PAJAMAS! “Why are these white people posing like that, Molly?!” you’re thinking, terrified. I have no idea! But these come in Dark Side pattern as well!

What am I wearing on Thursday? Right now I’m debating between my Han Solo Black Milk swim (with pants of course), or my Her Universe X-Wing Pilot dress from Star Wars Weekends a few years ago.

With either, I have the perfect accessory: the Loungefly BB-8 purse that I have mentioned in multiple Force Fridays in the hopes that someone would buy it for me. My plan succeeded, and my roommate delivered. So kids, here’s a lesson: if you want something, just start a blog and talk about how much you want the thing and then send the link to everyone you know!

I hope that Thursday comes as quickly as possible and that The Force Awakens meets and exceeds all of our expectations. Email me at thegeekgirlgang@gmail.com or comment below with what you’re wearing on Thursday! Have a great week Girl Gang!

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New Girl Gang Releases 12/9/15

Hey Girl Gang! Happy Wednesday! Here are some of our pulls for this week!

  • Insexts #1 (Aftershock Comics) – Marguerite Bennett described Insexts, her first creator-owned work, as “Victorian lesbians on a body horror killing spree”. That description alone has convinced me to pick up this comic. Bennett warns that the series is “erotic horror and EXTREMELY adult content”, so if that’s not your kind of thing, maybe skip this one and pick up…
  • DC Bombshells #6 (DC Comics) – This series is also written by Marguerite Bennett, but its less erotic horror and more feminist ass-kicking fun. In this issue, Harley and Ivy take on Nazis, Supergirl and Stargirl arrive in the Western Front from Russia, and Batwoman learns a hard lesson in Berlin. Always a lot of plotlines going on at once in this series, but that just makes it all the more captivating.
  • Gwenpool Special #1 (Marvel) – This year’s Marvel Holiday special features some of my top faves – She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel, and both Hawkeyes. She-Hulk is throwing a Holiday party and invites everyone in the Marvel Universe. Predictably, chaos ensues. Ms. Marvel is feeling sad about the Holidays, Deadpool teams up with both Hawkeyes to find a pickpocket, and Gwenpool shows up. Yeah, I too was very surprised when Marvel announced the new character a few months ago, but I love her costume and I’m excited to see how she fits into the Marvel U in this special.
  • Scarlet Witch #1 (Marvel) – I’ve been waiting impatiently for this series to begin after seeing Kevin Wada’s designs for Wanda’s new costume a few months ago. In this new series, Wanda is on a journey across the globe to fix witchcraft, which has been broken. As she tries to fix it, she also has to face the inevitable question of who broke witchcraft in the first place! There’s a few gorgeous variant covers of this issue including one by Kevin Wada. Definitely check those out!

Happy Wednesday Girl Gang!

What other titles should we be picking up that we should be adding to this list or don’t know about? Let us know in the comments or at thegeekgirlgang@gmail.com!

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GGG Force Friday 12/4: TFA and Racial Representation

Hey Girl Gang! Only 2 more Force Fridays after this until The Force Awakens is released!

Today we are going to discuss racial representation in The Force Awakens and beyond.

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From Empire‘s October 2015 cover

Popular media influences society in many ways. The most important way might be how it defines societal standards. The images that are pervasive in our popular media are what become our society’s “normal”. We see the same kinds of images so often that we consider them the norm without realizing it. This is often discussed when people speak out against the media’s beauty standards, which is commonly seen on social media. What is discussed less frequently is the way that popular media promotes and maintains white supremacy. White people have dominated television and film for such a long period of time that they have falsely become the standard. People don’t even notice when they see an all-white cast, yet they always notice- and even protest- when seeing people of color on their screens. People are so used to white supremacy of the media that they consider any person of color on their screens ‘abnormal’.

This is an appropriate topic for today after last night’s broadcast of The Wiz. There was racist backlash to the all-black cast on Twitter, which was quickly responded to by many who pointed out that the original movie The Wizard of Oz featured an all-white cast. (Not to mention, you know, the complete whiteness of almost EVERY MOVIE EVER MADE UP TO MODERN DAY.)

That same kind of racist backlash occurred over the first The Force Awakens trailer. (Warning: eye-rolls and loss of faith in humanity ahead.)

A hashtag was created in protest of the movie, just because there weren’t enough white people. I’m not even kidding. Some people tried to pretend their blatant racism was logical by saying that Stormtroopers are clones of a white guy. Hopefully I don’t have to explain why this is so stupid. Star Wars is fiction and only racist dudes will accept a freaking sword made out of laser as totally okay but then insist that a black person is ‘unrealistic’ in a FICTION WORLD. Also, for all you non-Star Wars people, it has been canonically confirmed that Stormtroopers are NOT clones, so they can be female and/or people of color.

Actor John Boyega’s reaction to the backlash couldn’t have been more perfect. He simply said, “I’m in the movie, what are you going to do about it? You either enjoy it or you don’t. I’m not saying get used to the future, but what is already happening. People of color and women are increasingly being shown on-screen. For things to be whitewashed just doesn’t make sense.”

And he’s totally right. Which brings us back to my main point: representation is important. The main three characters of The Force Awakens  Finn, Poe, and Rey – are black, Guatemalan-American, and female respectively.  This is really progressive for both Hollywood and for the Star Wars franchise. It is important that Star Wars didn’t fall back on their typical white male lead prototype for their protagonists. People of color will see themselves represented in the biggest motion picture event of the year.

I talk a lot about why female representation is important in comics and movies, but when it comes down to it, I’m a white person. I see myself in comics and film constantly. Even if I don’t like how the white woman is represented, I still see her there all the time. People of color rarely see themselves at all.

Although we have two men of color as leads, as usual women of color aren’t truly represented – Lupita Nyong’o is in the film, but only her voice and some of her face through motion capture animation. She plays an alien.

Still, as I often talk about, we need to celebrate progress when we see it, even if it isn’t as progressive as it needs to be. The merchandise of The Force Awakens has Finn and Poe front and center. A young black boy who adores Star Wars but has seen almost all white people in the films can own a Finn action figure who looks like him. A Guatemalan-American boy can see himself on the screen and be Poe next Halloween. They will see themselves represented on the screen. They will not see yet another white male lead as ‘normal’.

Representation is so important. The biggest film franchise in the world has three minorities as its leads. And let’s be real: The Force Awakens will inevitably make an unbelievable amount of money. Other film studios will see this and maybe stop believing the bullshit about women and people of color not seeing movies. We need to change our definition of the white male as the norm on which all else is based. Every child should see themselves as normal.

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New Girl Gang Releases 12/2/15

Hey Girl Gang! Happy Wednesday! Here are some of our pulls for this week!

  • Paper Girls #3 (Image) – Even with only three issues released, I think it is clear that Paper Girls is one of the best new series of 2015. Timing it a few months before the new X-Files mini-series was a great marketing plan, intentional or not, because people are really into aliens right now. Brian K. Vaughan’s latest series focuses on a group of papergirls who stumble into what seems to be an alien apocalypse during their route one morning. I’m really excited to see where this series is going.
  • Howard the Duck #2 (Marvel) – I will admit that the only reason I started reading Howard was because I heard that She-Hulk showed up. Like many young Marvel fans who waited until after the credits of GOTG, I just didn’t understand the hype. I should have known this series was going to be great when I heard that Marvel decided to bring Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones on board, but it wasn’t until reading the first issue of the pre-Secret Wars run that I finally understood the hype. Last month’s issue was a great hopping-on point if you’re interested in finding out why people love this series so much.
  • Mystery Girl #1 (Dark Horse) Mystery Girl is a brand-new series from author Paul Tobin and artist Alberto Alburquerque about a woman named Trine Hampstead. Trine can solve any mystery and answer any question that anyone has for her. She just knows. What she doesn’t know is what happened during the last 10 years of her life or how she got her powers. I’m always here for a female-centric comic book, so I’m definitely picking this first issue up.
  • Harley’s Little Black Book # 1 (DC Comics– I must confess something that’s sure to shock many: I’m not a huge Harley fan. I’m just not. But I’m going to try out this new series. The series is a giant team-up series that combines Harley with many of the DC Universe’s most powerful heroes. First up is Harley + Wonder Woman. I do love Amanda Connor’s art and obviously I always love Wonder Woman, so I’m excited to see how those two elements are combined.

Happy Wednesday Girl Gang!

What other titles should we be picking up that we should be adding to this list or don’t know about? Let us know in the comments or at thegeekgirlgang@gmail.com!