There’s a lot of talk in video game analysis about game designers’ overwhelming reliance on violence as a mechanic, and the culture that it encourages. There are, of course, reasons why violent video games are so popular; they allow players a relatively harmless outlet for negative emotions, for one. Certain kinds of violent games also encourage ideas about masculine power and the perceived link between “manliness” and violence, letting men fantasize about shooting people without having to deal with the real-life consequences of doing so. And of course, making characters you only interact with through murderation is a lot easier, development-wise, than letting you have, like, a meaningful conversation with them.
There are certain comics that I might, if pressed, refer to as “entry level”: comics that are accessible, easy to read and follow, and that tell original, quality stories that are nonetheless a bit familiar to readers. Comics you can recommend to new friends, acquaintances, people you don’t really know – comics that can enjoy a fairly wide appeal. Then there are comics that I would have to call… “advanced”.
So the Ignatz Award nominees were announced last week, and two comics from my reading list were on it: Witchy and O Human Star, both extremely deserving works by skilled (and queer!) authors. There was another comic nominated that I was less thrilled about – so much so that I felt the need to go out of my way to write a review of it. If that makes me petty, so be it; I’ve got an axe to grind with Super Mutant Magic Academy.
I sometimes have dreams where I fall in love with a made-up dream person. The person is perfect for me, and makes me feel safe, loved, and accepted like few people in the real world can. But when I awaken, all that I remember is that feeling; I couldn’t tell you a single thing about the person, not even what they looked like.
I love monsters. Monstrosity is a concept that’s important to me. As a transfeminine person, monstrosity is a label forced on me by transmisogyny. As a nonbinary person, monstrosity is a position I choose to reclaim as an alternative to maleness or femaleness. Monsters are a potent symbol, the unknowable adversary that stands against and in contrast to humanity. But also I just think monsters are cool as hell, so what.