Wednesday News: Vampires, Crowdfunding, Beatboxing, and Comics
‘Vampires’ keep doctors in the dark for fear of stereotyping: study – So here’s an interesting Romance novel premise: real-life vampirism that doesn’t, apparently, come with all the complications of being undead. A new paper, published in the Canadian peer-reviewed journal, Critical Social Work, focuses on the real-life “vampire community” and the way it has adapted to what would likely be swiftly stigmatized in its members – the alleged need for human blood to improve energy levels. Apparently iron supplements don’t cut it?
Williams, who has studied self-identified vampires for nearly a decade, finds they come from every walk of life and profession, including doctors, attorneys and candlestick makers.
“They are successful, ordinary people,” he said.
Except they are very, very tired. That’s apparently the chief reason they find a consenting adult willing to allow them to use a scalpel to make a tiny incision in the chest area so they can ingest a small amount of blood for energy, the study found. –Yahoo News
Sony’s New Crowd-funding Site Has Its First Successful Campaign – An E-ink Remote -I don’t know whether to think that Sony is desperate or brilliant. Or both. The company is crowdfunding its own projects, though, and is apparently doing quite well raising money for some of them. Sony has also created its own crowdfunding platform, First Flight, and while it is currently only available to Japanese consumers, I don’t think we should be shocked if we see something similar here in the not-too-distant future. The latest project:
The Huis is a programmable remote control built around a small E-ink screen. It was developed by one of Sony’s consumer electronics teams, and the name itself is an acronym for Home User InterfaceS. The Huis is designed to be a universal remote and work with any standard receiver or with any Bluetooth-equipped device, so the developers plan to give users the option of creating and switching between custom interfaces. . .
The Huis went up for crowd-funding on Wednesday with a goal of 5 million yen. As of this morning backers have pledged over 9.2 million yen, or about $75,000. So it is going to go into development, but does that mean it’s going to actually be produced and sold? –Ink, Bits & Pixels (aka The Digital Reader)
Yes, Comics Can Empower Black Girls! – This post is over a year old, but given the piece I referenced on the continuing rise in popularity of comics, I think it’s still very relevant. University of South Carolina English Professor Qiana Whitted works on African American literature and American comics, and she not only offers up some great titles featuring black women as both characters and creators, but she also discusses the comic book form and the struggle to diversify its mainstream:
Let’s be clear, though, about the term “comics.” Critics often take issue with the depiction of women in superhero titles produced by Marvel (Disney) or DC Comics (Time Warner), but it’s a mistake to equate the superhero genre and its transmedia properties with the entire comics form. This isn’t to say that mainstream superhero comics completely ignore the lives of women of color or refuse to engage contentious social issues. Storm is one of the most well known heroines of any race to wear a cape and a Wakandan princess has held the title of Black Panther. The new Ms. Marvel is Kamala Khan, a Muslim Pakistani-American teenager from New Jersey. . . .
The twenty titles discussed below are just a start, especially now that the comic book publishers are paying more attention to girls and young adult women as marketing demographics. And while not all the comics I cite are created by black women, events like the recent panel on “Black Women in Comics” at the Schomburg Center’s 2nd Annual Black Comic Book Day make clear that black women have long been a part of the industry as avid consumers and creators. The dynamic work of Afua Richardson and C. Spike Trotman, along with this list of over 50 black women comics artists and writers from the Jackie Ormes Society models the kind of creative freedom that can empower any girl who picks up a comic. –Zetta Elliott
Daddy v. Daughter Beatbox Contest – Try to watch this without smiling pretty much all the way through – I dare you. Not only are the performances amazing, but the pride the dad has in his daughter is obvious in his own warm smile. –Facebook
Seems to me that a romance between a vampire and a polycythemia patient who needs to be bled regularly to get rid of excess red blood cells would be a match made in heaven.
Sadly, the link to the list of 50 comics creators brings up a 404 error. Googling for something similar finds articles on the absence of diverse creators at major publishers. And the article itself discusses mainly works by men. Not that men can’t create interesting female characters, but still…
I wonder if romance comics, not like the ones of old but with a modern sensibility, would appeal to prose readers.
I love a great vampire romance as much as the next person, but having worked in the medical field for 12 years and knowing how many blood-borne pathogens are out there, drinking blood in real life is just…wrong. On so many levels.
Whether the Huis is eventually manufactured seems besides the point to me. Why in the hell are people funding R&D for a billion dollar company?
@Carolyne: I updated the link and hopefully it will work now. I can’t tell if you finally accessed the post or not, because there is definitely gender diversity and fluidity in the list Whitted gives, plus she starts out by discussing cartoonist Jackie Ormes.
@Janet: Jackie Ormes and other early female comics creators are fascinating. My mother used to read some of the syndicated ones as a kid, and I think she read romance comic books too. It’s that, knowing the numbers of creators out there now, I was hoping there’d be more contemporary examples in Whitted’s list for readers to seek out, considering how many of the most prominent projects she cites are from male creators.
Again, not that male creators aren’t creating some great characters…
The Ormes Society list of 50 creators is giving me a 404 error, but I found it through the Wayback Machine.
@Carolyne: Ah, I see now what you were having trouble accessing.
Whitted’s list may relate more to her scholarly work, especially since she seems to approach the topic from a historical perspective. I also see that Jennifer Crute’s book has a 2015 pub date on Amazon, perhaps because it’s no longer being self-published? And Sophie Cambell’s Wet Moon series is still producing content. I am definitely a newcomer to the world of comics and graphic novels, so if you have more artists and titles to suggest, that would be great.
@Carolyne: I think that the enormous success of shoujo and josei manga in the USA definitely shows that romance prose readers would be interested in more modern romance comics!
(For some adorable indie examples, check out TRUE STORY SWEAR TO GOD http://comics.wikia.com/wiki/True_Story,_Swear_To_God , or, for a superhero spin, LOVE AND CAPES http://loveandcapes.com/ )
Also, re the Huis story — am I the only one with half a dozen so-called “universal” remotes, that don’t talk to any of my devices?