Tag Archives: cartoon

Why #Brony?: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: A Few Thoughts #MLPFIM

The Gospel of [cutie] Mark

I had decided to take a brief break from my series on White Supremacy (I still have 2 posts left) because I needed a breather. I needed an escape, but most of the shows on my DVR were just going to make me mad. I had also given up on South Park after a very troubling episode (I have my limits). So, I also needed a politically-conscious cartoon to fill the void left by Aaron McGruder‘s The Boondocks. So, two weeks ago, I began watching My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. I had heard a lot of things: Bronies are the worst. Bronies aren’t real mean, this show is made for girls! After a few episodes, like the 3 or 4 that it took to get out of my comfort zone, I started to realize that I liked the show, and then, the 9th episode hit me like a truck. In Season 1 episode 9: “Bridle Gossip,” the ponies are hiding from a new (zebra) pony in town, Zecora. She comes from a strange culture, she dresses and looks funny. At the same time, the ponies are searching for a cure for themselves, because they believe this stranger has cursed them, and has everyone acting weird. Our protagonist for the show, the bookish Twilight Sparkle finds a book that may have the spells to cure her and her friends, but she dismisses it. In the end, Zecora uses that same book to help the ponies who weren’t cursed, but who had touched the leaves of “poison joke.” The lesson for this episode: don’t judge a book by its cover. Very rarely do we have live action shows have coherent, subversive discussions about race; it was a delightful surprise that in its first season, My Little Pony at the minimum had TWO such episodes.

The other episode I am referring to is Season 1 episode 21: “Over A Barrel,” about the group of earth [settler] ponies called the Apple-losons, who settle in the frontier and plant appletrees everywhere. When the workhorse pony AppleJack has deliver one such apple tree to her family members by train, the train is robbed by a herd of buffalo. It turns out the land belonged to the buffalo first. To lessen the hostility between the frontiersponies and the buffaloes, the fun-loving Pinky Pie plays a song about sharing and caring, which, of course, gets dismissed as the worst performance ever. In the end, the buffalo agree to share the land with the Apple-losons on the condition that the ponies share their apples with the buffalo, and there are roads that are paved for the buffalo to roam. Twilight Sparkle complained throughout the episode that no one was being reasonable (which I have a few questions about). Why should the First Nations, I mean Buffaloes, be made to be “reasonable” by the Colonizers, I mean settler Ponies’ standards. Do not the Buffalo have a reasonable right to be angry in the first place if they are being robbed? Is not just compensation based on the victims’ terms (the ending) the right thing to do to begin with? Rather than sugarcoat white settler histories in North America, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, just like Buffy The Vampire Slayer‘s season 4 episode, “Pangs,” has managed to problematize the aforementioned narratives.

On TumBlr, I briefly compared My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I believe I have only scratched the surface, and outside the feudal politics of Princess Celestia, I believe that MLP:FIM can be used as a tool to teach kids of all ages that Solidarity Is Magic!*

*I am indebted to Jason D. on facebook for the “Solidarity Is Magic” quote

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The New #DCNation: #BewareTheBatman, Mister Terrific, and Wonder Woman

Image of Batman and Alfred staring at Michael Holt on their computer from Tumblr.

I was going to completely avoid

Beware the Batman

Beware the Batman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Beware The Batman, the new CGI animated series on Cartoon Network. Green Lantern and Young Justice were unjustly cancelled, and dagnabbit, I’m still bitter. Then, late this week I read about a new series of animated shorts with Wonder Woman that were to air during BTB, and I thought, okay okay, I shall watch! And watch it I did. I was thoroughly underwhelmed. Beware the Batman was okay, it wasn’t gonna  blow me away

Batman as he was depicted in Batman: The Anima...

Batman as he was depicted in Batman: The Animated Series (1992–1995) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Batman The Animated Series/Green Lantern The Animated Series magical with their pilots, but it wasn’t Marvel’s The Avengers Assemble bad. #sorrynotsorry.

Image of Mister Terrific provided by comic vine.

One of the best surprises of this episode, “Hunted” was the appearance of Michael Holt, who becomes Mister Terrific, the third smartest man in the world and one of my favorite DC Comics heroes! I am kind of hoping for a modified version of Batman’s The Outsiders to appear in this series, maybe with Mister Terrific replacing poor poor Jefferson Peirce /Black Lightning. Katana is already going to be a regular on the show. As long as Holt keeps appearing on the show, I’ll watch. I don’t think this was a 1-time thing, but I could be wrong.

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Silver Surfer (1998): The animated series

The Silver Surfer from the animated series Sil...

The Silver Surfer from the animated series Silver Surfer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have always had an affinity for superheroes who were more grounded in realism, Batman and Spiderman specifically are the two I most admire. It wasn’t until Optimistic Chad got me interested in the lore of the Green Lantern that I started to notice more and more religious and political implications of comic characters who trsvelled more so in space. At the time, I have been the longest fan of the Silver Surfer (he and the Spider-family are all that remain of what I like about Marvel). Saturday, I had a complete day of rest where almost everything I did was comics related. I finished about 6 issues of Grant Morrison‘s Action Comics (the 15 total), and I will have a lot more to say about Morrisson’s Superman later this week. I tried to start Hawkman, but I dozed off (same thing happened when I tried to pick up Nightwing) #SorryNotSorry. Instead of falling asleep, I picked up the first part of Silver Surfer: Requiem by Babylon 5’s J. Michael Straczynski. I enjoyed where it was going, and I plan to pick up more.

So, for the rest of my Saturday night, I marathoned Silver Surfer (1998), 10 of the 13 episodes. I found the themes of persons behaving like gods: the Watchers, Thanos, Ego the Living Planet, Galactus, Eternity and Infinity, Supremo, etc., made the mission of our Sentinel of the Spaceways seem larger than sentient life itself. In fact, the brother/sister pair of Infinity and Eternity were the collection of all of the experiences of every sentient being in the universe.  In  the episode that featured Ego, Silver Surfer is tempted by being able to live out his dream life on his homeworld; or, to put it in terms of ethics, reject the self-sacrifice that Norrin Radd had embraced at his origin in working for Galactus.  Ego is the god of selfishness (spoiler-alert, I know!) while Thanos (thanos is greek for, tada!, death) kills everything that he touches.

The other thing I enjoyed about the Silver Surfer series (and lore) is the blowback by other planetary beings that Silver Surfer receives for being the herald of Galactus.  See, Galactus out of necessity has to drain planets energy to survive (the Great Hunger), and if the planets’ creatures are evolved enough to escape, this places various races of aliens in a constant state of exile.  I think the story of Silver Surfer in addition to making a possible space to talk about religion, also has a space for discussions of empire and power. Silver Surfer’s approach to other cultures is a bit problematic, using categories of savage and civilized, but I think its also our problem too that we strive to emancipate ourselves from.  I feel like I am just scratching the surface, and I now want to read more Silver Surfer, especially given the potential it has for religious and empire studies.

Also, in other news, Marvel’s Stan Lee announced that there is a  possibility a Silver Surfer movie  is in the works. Lets pray that he doesn’t wind up like (the very un-)Fantastic Four 2: Rise of the Silver Surfer.

Galactus

Galactus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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