Shawn Martinbrough’s TED Talk on Superpowers

Late last year, TEDxMidAtlantic held an event in Washington, D.C. themed around the “unique insights and talents,” both discovered and undiscovered, that are possessed by everyone. Titled “SUPERPOWERS,” the TED event featured politicians, activists, scientists, journalists, and more as speakers during the two-day event. Of course, what would a Superpowers-themed TED Talk be without a contribution from a comic book creator? Fortunately, D.C.-based artist, and Official Friend of the NOC, Shawn Martinbrough was on hand to tell his story of becoming an artist and the importance of media representation through his work. See the talk in its entirety below!

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Toxic Fandom

Shout out to Brandon Easton (Agent Carter TV series, M.A.S.K.,Vampire Hunter D comics, and the Brave New Souls documentary) for broaching this topic on his Facebook wall.

We are living in a truly golden age of nerdom. There are several superhero films out each year — the amount of films increase each subsequent year; damn near every night of the week you can watch a superhero, supernatural, paranormal, or spy-fi program, comics are everywhere, graphic novels are taught in the academy — our once exclusive (and highly ridiculed) club is, gasp, mainstream. Going mainstream comes with its own set of problems. But I want to focus on what I feel is the primary problem of this golden age: Toxic Fandom. Continue reading “Toxic Fandom”

The Political is Personal

Since Donald Trump’s presidential election victory last week, there’s been much discussion and preparation in regards to the fates of minorities given the Presidential Elect[?]’s controversial and bigoted platform.

Whether it’s the election, Ferguson, Flint, Orlando, or DAPL, one of the most infuriating things I hear from people, and by people I mean white people, is that there needs to be more dialogue, more education, more love.

If only there were more people out there teaching and educating then tragedies like #Orlando or #Ferguson or #Baltimore wouldn’t be a reality.

Why is that infuriating? Because there are people who have dedicated their lives, doing that very work. In fact you’re reading one of their pieces right now.

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Making Mulan Right, and the Limits of On-Screen Representation

by Oanh-Nhi Nguyen and Mark Tseng Putterman

When a leaked script revealed that Disney planned to center its live-action Legend of Mulan film around a white merchant who comes to “white knight” the hero of China, the outrage was swift and fierce. After thousands signed 18MillionRising’s petition, Disney quickly responded to assure fans that all major characters would be cast as Chinese. “Don’t worry,” one patronizing headline went so far as to say, everything’s going to be fine. And by and large, the once-raging fire of #MakeMulanRight has cooled to a few glowing embers. Asian America seems to be satisfied to know that Disney won’t turn Mulan into yet another white savior film.

It’s a win, but not exactly the sort of victory you can feel great about. We’ve been through this too many times, haven’t we?

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Gamechanger: My Media Litmus Test

Originally published on Mental Health Matters

They say necessity is the mother of all invention. One thing was certain, I found myself in desperate need a few years back. As a speculative fiction author and a queer person of color (QPoC), I’m constantly frustrated not only with the lack of diversity, but the nonstop misogyny, racism, and queerphobia that continues to be the status quo in media.

More than that, as someone who suffers from depression, high anxiety and ptsd, I found the subliminal bigotry taking a toll on my mental health. Not only was I having trouble writing and creating, but some days I found myself physically ill and under the weather.

Not one to sit around and do nothing, I decided to take action.

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Dude, The Future is Here

Full Disclosure: I have known Jeffrey Morris for over twenty years. In that time, our friendship has gone from tight to contentious to non-existent. We diverge on many social and political issues — we’re like objects that cannot occupy the same space at the same time, without disastrous consequences. But this will not stop me from extolling his absolute genius.

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Why Media Representation Matters

Originally posted on Geeksout.org

In Honor of LGBTQ Pride Month

I must admit that I didn’t know much about Alexis Arquette. I knew she came from a famous acting family and I believe I had seen more of her brother David’s work than any of the other Arquettes. So my first real introduction to Alexis was when she starred in a season of the VH-1 reality series The Surreal Life.

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