Comic books are currently dominating the movies and they have gone into every field imaginable. So far we’ve had spy movies, fantasy epics, war films and of course soon we will be watching a space opera. Yet despite all this we haven’t yet had a movie starring a woman, oh sure we’re had women knock around the back of movies balancing out the sausage fest of team ups and we’ve had damsels needing to be saved by cool leading men because they’ve given out their home address to well-known terrorists. Now at this point I’m sure people out there will try and point out the unlikeliness of female superheroes what with them lacking the upper body strength of the men and being able to think about anything outside of flowers and shoes. See unfortunately that argument falls down slightly when Marvel is prepared to base one of their movies around a comic nobody knows about which stars a talking raccoon and his partner an Ent. Not only that, we’re pretty much already had Wonder Woman’s origin story; outdated religious structure turning out to be true, the gods sending their emissary to the modern world. Of course with talk about Wonder Woman coming to the world of Batman vs Superman perhaps all this is wrote in vain. Well not if it turns out to be true that she’s going to be from a tribe of lost Kyptonians. So even though Thor has pretty much already done it I’m going to ask the question of can a movie do Diana of Themyscira? Heck can a superhero movie do a female lead?
Recently I have been hearing a lot about the Bechdel test or as it is sometimes known, the feminism test. For those who don’t know the test is typically applied to films but can work for most narrative based media. The test follows a few basic rules the first being does the film have at least two named female characters, do they talk to each other and is it about something other than a man. The idea being, that if it passes these rules, it can be classed as a “feminist work”.
The only problem with this is that the test doesn’t work and this isn’t me tearing down some well thought out set of guidelines but simply pointing out what the test is designed for. See the test first came into being through a comic strip which says a lot about how serious we should take the test to begin with, but even ignoring that the test simply does not work the way I see many people using it. See while the movie will tell you if screen time is given over to women it does not take anything else into account, like why.
Discworld by Martin Wallace is based around the popular fantasy series of books by Terry Pratchett. The game centres around the main city from the books, Ankh-Morpork a broad parody of epic literary cities like Lankhmar and real life locations like London, some would say before the industrial revolution while others would say it doesn’t make much difference. The city covers the board and is divided into sections denoted by title; like Dimwell or the Shades, and colour like, well, blue and green. The players will vie for power by controlling these sectors by simply having more pawns present in said area than the others and owning them with buildings which can be erected witch special cards and money and tore down just as easily.
The story goes that this novel was sat festering away at the back of Drachman’s mind until a stay in the hospital after working too long and too hard for a law firm. It was during this stay that he encountered the story of noted ex-lawyer, gunslinger and chin of the year winner Brisco County Jr. The semi-factual science fiction/fantasy adventure spurned Drachman on to finish his own tale with the intention that Brisco and Watt would one day meet up to fight bad guys and ride into the sunset together.
For those who know of Brisco County Jr you will already have an idea about the nature of this book but for those who don’t I will explain. ‘Watt O Hugh the third’ is a good natured man riding along during the time of the wild west. He encounters outlaws and bandits as well as a smattering of real world historical figures and inventions, often slightly out of place or time. Nothing major mind you but perhaps a few years out, or attributed to the wrong man. Think of the invention of Velcro by aliens in ‘Taken’ or ‘Star Trek Enterprise’ and you won’t be too far off the mark. However while Brisco dabbled in the occult and tried to offer an explanation for everything, usually by pointing the finger at the “orb” and muttering something about future tech Watt O Hugh dives into the occult feet first and while the story is decent and the characters interesting and the voice of said character strong and likeable it does leave you more than a little puzzled.
H+ the digital series is so named due to being about the “advancement of humanity” or creating a human plus and because it is a web or “digital” show available on youtube. It is set twenty minutes into the future and carries on the tradition of the march of technology in particular the onslaught of smart phones. See the world today is so small and so fast that we can longer afford to leave our computers; instead we have merely shrunk them down and laden them with games we would not normally bother playing. However for some this is not enough, in the time it takes you to lift your phone from your pocket the contract could be lost and so we have now placed them on our wrist like an old sci-fi video communicator except without the live video option, though I’m sure that’s coming in the next model. But for some this is not enough just think of all that effort and time wasted lifting your wrist up to eye level and so we have begun to strap them to our faces.’ H+ the digital series’ imagines a future one step beyond where we have injected them into our very bodies.