Rat Queens Special: Braga #1
Image Comics’ “Rat Queens” has courted controversy and critical praise for its intersectional feminist take on the oft-male-dominated Dungeons & Dragons inspired tales of high-fantasy action. For the uninitiated, the best-selling book was created last year by Writer Curtis J Weibe and Artist Roc Upchurch, who was asked to leave the book about an all-female and racially diverse cast of 4 merry mad mistresses of magic and mayhem, when he was arrested on domestic violence charges against his wife in December. Upchurch was then replaced by artist Stjepan Sejic.
(Targaryen In Red from our Game of Thrones t shirts collection.)
A one-shot side adventure focusing on a background character, the Orc maiden frienemy of the main gals, and leader of another adventuring party, Braga, was published in the interim. Braga just so happens to be a Trans* woman, as the issue reveals, with stunning art by female relative newcomer, Tess Fowler.
The story of Braga herself is fairly straightforward: born the eldest son of an Orc chieftain, “Broog” as he was then known, was always rebellious, favoring peaceful negotiations over his father’s war-mongering ways. Broog’s younger brother challenged him for the throne, gouging Broog’s eye, but losing his good arm in the fight, and Broog left the land in his care. There are hints at a love story, left mercifully ambiguous, and overall, it’s a story of being self-defined in every possible way: it’s like any other Rat Queens tale: diverse, colorful, gory, smart and fiercely contemporary, with just enough sexy and silly to keep it afloat.
Even as Trans* characters seem to be having a “moment” in pop culture, I can not recommend this story enough. Rat Queens #9 is on sale from Image Comics now, as are Braga #1 and the first 6 issue collected graphic novel.
So the Hobbit. Like I said, the best of the series. Better in action, story, plot cohesion, and character development than any of the other two. However the question I had to ask myself was “If I had never read the Hobbit nor seen the first two film would this film stand up” and the answer is an emphatic no. It is not a good film. The other question I asked myself was “If I had seen the first two films but had never read the book would I have enjoyed this film?” That is a more interesting question. I would at least be familiar with the events leading up and relatively familiar with Biblo, Thorin, and Gandalf but honestly there is no reason to give two farts about the other 12 dwarves, the elf love interest, Legolas, Bard the Bowman, or the rest. In my opinion there is nothing here drawing you in to this series. There is more pull in any three back to back episodes of Game of Thrones (image courtesy of the Game of Thrones t shirt category).
But, as a fan who as read the book there was some really cool stuff here. The scene where Dain Ironfoot shows up to confront the elves and men of Laketown was out of the book and really cool. The battles were kind of cool (although really visually confusion. For some reason they opted to put all the Goblins and trolls into full body steel armor in order to fight Dwarves in…full body steel armor. I blame Michael Bay for the grey on grey fight aesthetic). This film stuck to the original story more than the others and as such ended up being…the best of the series. I wonder if there are any lessons to take home from that?
Day 2 Continued: Firefly, Pew-Pew Guns, Game of Thrones, and George Lucas.
My final stop before heading out of the vendor’s room was right of the exit to the hall, where two ladies were selling various sci-fi themed toys and some official Convention swag at an otherwise unadorned table. (I’ve looked all over my notes for their info, but I never got it, which sucks.) They were amazing. They explained the whole history of Convolution to me, that it used to be just a meet-up for hard sci-fi writers in the bay area, and then it opened a little to include fantasy and other genre fiction, then it was just about writing all fiction and over the past couple of years they’ve wanted to open it up more to a wider audience and make it about all things pop culture, sci-fi, speculative fiction, science and engineering, fandom and Cosplay. They told me about a Firefly LARP and a hospitality room with free food upstairs for Con goers, and one of them played me an original Serenity Filk (that’s fan-folk, as in music that would be played in-universe of a given series) on her acoustic guitar. She lives in Colorado or Seattle or something so I not only regret not writing down all her info, but that I’ll probably never cross paths with her again. Oh, and they sold me weapons. Well, I mean I purchased a small pew-pew gun that lights up and makes fun sounds for my four year old son for $6 to be donated to the charity (Chabot Space & Science Center, of that year. They also had bigger pew-pew guns for $10 each, but I thought the smaller one was better for my purposes. For the first time that day I felt like I looked like I belonged there in my red leather jacket and my tiny plastic firearm tucked into my front pocket as conspicuously as I dared.
Finally, around 2pm I left the vendors room like a shot to find the hospitality suite and nosh some free cutlets. It was far better than anything I expected and I saw a lot of great cosplayers around the hotel too, including a fully detailed Zoe from Firefly that I complimented in passing. The suite was exactly that: just a room in the hotel with the door standing open and a full buffet table taking up most of it. I ate some of everything and there were maybe 2-3 other people in the room with me also quietly eating and resting their feet. Then I noticed there was a chocolate sheet cake on the table with the only Con employee there behind it, and I asked if I could have some. I thought it might be just for VIP’s or volunteers or something, but no, it was donated for everyone and I was told to please help myself, so I ate more of that than anything else because I like cake and it was there. “The cake was not a lie.” I was just about to leave when a new wave of people began to file into the room and I somehow got sucked into several conversations, which then morphed into me giving loud overtures about things like the necessity of Netflix streaming, Game of Thrones spoilers and the documentary film, “The People vs. George Lucas”. (image courtesy of the Game of Thrones t shirt category)
WonderCon exceeded all my goals. We hit the break even point halfway through the first day. The booth was packed constantly, and we gave away over 1000 cards. I worked my butt off, but loved it. Winter was amazing, and the show itself was awesome.
This Lannister t shirt from our Game of Thrones t shirts category was one of our best sellers. We also sold a ton of Hangover, Big Bang Theory, and Conan shirts (What is Best in Life?), as well as a bunch of other things. The new baby creepers were a huge hit. I guess lots of nerds are having babies. I will be posting them soon.
Of course, now I have about a week of trying to reset my inventory, as well as reordering. It will be two weeks before I’m back to normal I think. Still, totally worth it, not to mention a ton of fun. I will definitely to it again next year and if you attend I hope you will stop by and say hi. I loved talking to all the customers.