FEATURES EDITOR’S LETTER _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 03 MY SO CALLED SECRET IDENTITY Issue 1 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 05 Issue 2 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 26 WORD FROM THE Y A Conversation with Will Brooker A.K.A. Dr Batman _ _ _ _ _ 48 ART We Suze Shore_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 54 Mapping the Mind of Dr. Sarah Zaidan_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 60 PERFORMING ARTS No Time, No Money or Why I Cosplay Cat Abi Daniels _ _ _ _ _ 64 Catsuits and Cat Suits _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 68 FASHION MSCSI Lookbook _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 72 Up and Coming The Way of the Ninja: Fast Facts about Amanda Braxton _ _ 78 FOOD Urbanite’s fav food: Italian style Seitan burger _ _ _ _ _ 80 Daisy’s fav food: Zoreos _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 82 Epilogue _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 84
WORD FROM THE Y
A Conversation with
Will Brooker A.K.A. Dr Batman With illustrations by Suze Shore
This issue, our ‘Word From the Y’ comes from Dr. Will Brooker
(alias Dr. Batman), creator of the new webcomic My So-Called Secret Identity. Here, he talks with GEEKED about gender, bodies, female superheroes, the comic book industry, Team Cat, the women who inspire him, MSCSI updates and much more. Like his new super-woman Cat, Dr. Brooker is using his ‘powers’ to challenge accepted norms, to redefine ‘hero’, and to bring genuinely positive change to his community.
GEEKED: How do you feel about authoring a strong female character? As a man, what feelings of reservation did you experience, if any, in creating Cat? Will Brooker: I honestly didn’t experience any feelings of reservation. I feel gender is quite flexible and fluid, and not necessarily linked to biological sex. Some people with biologically female bodies identify as male, and some people with biologically male bodies identify as female, and some people have bodies that are in between and they identify as somewhere in between -- sometimes at different points in their lives, or even on different days of the week. So, personally, I don’t feel that biological maleness is necessarily a barrier to writing a decent female character.
On one occasion, I was actually shocked to realise how my own expectations of women in superhero comics had been limited and confined by the conventions I’m used to from years of reading them, and it took someone else to point out to me that no, it didn’t have to be this way. That was a liberating moment and perhaps an important turning point, and it was thanks to discussion with a feminist, female author that it happened. Ultimately, though, I don’t think it is for me to judge whether Cat is a good character. It is for other people to say whether I’ve done a decent job with the writing.
Having said that, we cannot magic away the structures and reality of gender and power through good intentions, I agree. I did not grow up as a woman and have not lived through the experiences that women have, within patriarchy. I move through this world as a (tall, white, professional, educated) man, and that gives me a great deal of cultural privilege, which it would be stupid and wrong not to recognise. Like most normal people, I am surrounded by women in my everyday life, and am lucky enough to have a close network of friends and colleagues who are women -- as well as the creative team I worked with -- and there are a couple of things in MSCSI that are drawn from the experiences of other people, rather than from my own direct experience. When I started writing the scripts, I circulated my notes and plotlines to a variety of what we would call in fandom beta-readers, and in some cases those readers (who were women and usually feminists) made suggestions I wouldn’t have thought of.
When I heard about the GEEKED birthday party, I KNEW someone had to turn up as Cat Abigail Daniels, and that it had to be either Sam or me. And you know what, Sam go to do it last time, so it was totally my turn. This party was also going to be the first time I met Will Brooker, despite having helped on MSCSI for nearly a year at this point, and it was kind of a big deal to me to be meeting him dressed as his creation. So really, dressing like Cat wasn’t something I gave much consideration, because it simply felt like an inevitability. I’m Cat on twitter, I send emails as her, and I help run the Facebook page so I see her face pretty much every day. I guess a more pressing question would have been why wouldn’t I want to dress up like the heroine I’d been championing for so long? The costume was easy for me to put together, because it’s a realistic costume. The point is that she’s quickly figured out a logo to spray onto a tee shirt, dressed for agility as well as protection, and she’s a student who would balk at shelling out for a high performance bodysuit when that money could have gone on textbooks and food. All I really had to source were the bits of her kit that she’s ‘borrowed’ from her Dad, because I wanted to make sure that they held up to Will’s scrutiny and looked authentic. So, shoulder pads, knee pads, a riot helmet and a utility belt all got sourced online
and delivered to my workplace. I’m not sure what it says that none of my colleagues batted an eye at these items turning up and sitting on my desk for a few hours... Other than that, it was just a case of getting some practical black trousers, and a black t-shirt. Painting on the logo ended up being trickier than I foresaw, simply because I’d started off with a really cheap paint that wouldn’t show up properly on the black background, but other than that it was a simple outfit to put together. It’s the perfect gateway cosplay outfit, the same way that she’s the perfect gateway superhero relatable, accessible, real. And I don’t mind admitting that as soon as I was all strapped up, I felt ready to take down some bad guys, or have a dust up in an alleyway somewhere. I still have all the kit though, so if you hear of any sightings of a short-arse Northern redhead taking out some not-rights in a load of black riot gear, don’t give away my so-called secret identity, okay? G
‘I still have all the kit though, so if you hear of any sightings of a short-arse Northern redhead taking out some not-rights in a load of black riot gear, don’t give away my so-called secret identity, okay?’
First ever illustration of Cat by Sarah Zaidan
Original outfit design for Cat by Jen Vaiano.
Urbaniteâ€™s fav food
Daisyâ€™s fav food
Published on Dec 15, 2013
We paired up with the team of My So-Called Secret Identity to bring you an extra-special issue of GEEKED. Issue Five features, for the first...