Q&A #50 Fantastic Fangirls Annual #1

In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments.

For the Fiftieth Edition of Q&A, we’ve decided to mix it up a little bit. We spend most of our time here talking about comics, so for a change, we came up with a little survey that’s an excuse to talk about other things so that you can get to know us a little better. In exchange, we’d like to hear from you, our loyal readers.


What is a song that’s been stuck in your head lately?

Run This Town” by Jay-Z featuring Rihanna and Kanye West. Mainly Rihanna’s stanza: Life’s a game but it’s not fair. I break the rules, so I don’t care. I keep doing my own thing, walking tall against the rain. Victory’s within the mile, almost there, don’t give up now. Only thing that’s on my mind is who gon’ run this town tonight? It’s Carol Danvers’ theme song.

What is one of your personal mottoes?

Rose Tyler is one of those polarizing characters in fandom. People love her or they hate her, or they have very strong feelings about how much they don’t care. I love her. I adore her for this one moment in her first appearance, Rose: “I’ve got no A-Levels, no job, no future… but I’ll tell ya what I have got – Jericho Street Junior School – Under Sevens Gymnastic Team – I’ve got the Bronze!” See, Rose knows, you don’t need to be a gold medalist to save the world, if only you believe you can.

When you were in elementary school, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A dolphin trainer. After I saw Star Trek IV, when I was 10, I started saying cetacean biologist because that sounded more impressive.

What movie has had the biggest impact on your life?

Contact. It is based on a book by Carl Sagan (a book I have never read and will never read, because it would mess up the movie for me) and stars Jodie Foster, who I’ve over-identified with since her Disney days (Candleshoe!). More than twenty years out, my mother’s death is still what’s been the biggest impact on my life, and Jodie’s Ellie shares that. Her dad dies and she spends her life looking for why. Looking for more.

Palmer Joss: By doing this, you’re willing to give your life, you’re willing to die for it. Why?
Ellie Arroway: For as long as I can remember, I’ve been searching for something, some reason why we’re here. What are we doing here? Who are we? If this is a chance to find out even just a little part of that answer… I don’t know, I think it’s worth a human life. Don’t you?

Under all the fictional science, Contact is a movie about faith. About finding something, somewhere, outside yourself, that proves what you feel inside is real.

What, right now, is your favorite thing about comics?


What is a song that’s been stuck in your head lately?

Waterfalls” by TLC. I regret to say this, because I suggested this category with the intention of being able to write about a cool song that I actually like. Neither of those things is the case, but I can say that, in addition to being one of the worst and most ubiquitous songs of 1994, “Waterfalls” qualifies as the most tenacious earworm of all time.

What is one of your personal mottoes?

“Jean Grey would not put up with this bullshit.”

When you were in elementary school, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An artist. Which is funny, because I never was involved in or particularly interested in art of any kind. But the idea of going to ‘art school’ appealed to me. I think I thought I’d paint landscapes.

What movie has had the biggest impact on your life?

Say Anything. Because I believe in Lloyd Dobler. On the surface, it may just seem like a teenage love story, but director Cameron Crowe says that it’s about “Optimism as a revolutionary act” — about deciding to take control of your own life and believe that it’s possible to create a better one, despite all evidence to the contrary. I believe one of the great functions of storytelling is to give us models of the kind of people we can aspire to be, and Lloyd — and, eventually, through Lloyd’s example, his girfriend Diane — became that for me.

What, right now, is your favorite thing about comics?

I’m having a hell of a good time watching Brian Bendis’s great big Avengers plan come together.


What is a song that’s been stuck in your head lately?

Look, I don’t have an explanation, but for the sake of full disclosure: John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt. I haven’t heard this song in years. I haven’t sung it unironically since elementary school. But it inexplicably entered my head on Thanskgiving, and now it’s stuck. A new earworm would be greatly appreciated. Da da da dada dada…

What is one of your personal mottoes?

My twitter username — which, in retrospect, was probably a bad choice, given the million ways it can be typoed — is “throughthebrush.” It’s a name I came up with back in high school, when, in my teenage self-importance, I decided to rip off Robert Frost and invent a quote: “When two roads diverge in a wood, I often find it’s best to stray from both and instead trample through the brush.”

This quote, like my secondary motto — the RENT/Newsies/Dead Poets Society-inspired “No day but today/Seize the day/Carpe Diem” — is more aspirational than accurate. I can’t say I always make my own path any more than I can pretend I always live each day to the fullest. But I believe that both of these things are important, and they’re the phrases that most often pop into my head when I’m trying to make a difficult decision.

When you were in elementary school, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A stage magician. This is hilarious, because I lack grace, the capacity for deception, stage presence, and charisma. But when I was in elementary school, I saw some David Copperfield specials on TV and decided I wanted to be just like him. I wore a hand-me-down black blouse with poofy sleeves (my “David Copperfield shirt”), bought a top hat and a wand, and dilligently practiced store-bought magic tricks. After one brief summer camp talent show performance, though, I packed up my bag of tricks and settled on “writer” as my new career goal — which has stuck, in various incarnations, ever since.

What movie has had the biggest impact on your life?

When I was a small child, I watched Disney’s Cinderella approximately three times a day, and I think it warped me for life. Not only do I have more Cinderella memorabilia than I can enumerate, I also wrote a major college independent paper on the movie and its two sequels. But more importantly, it shaped my basic sense of morality: if you’re good, and nice, and kind to everyone, and do what you’re told no matter how painful (as long as it doesn’t hurt others), you will eventually be rewarded. I know enough about life now to know that these rewards don’t always come (especially not “marry a hot prince and live happily ever after” rewards), but the first part remains a central tenet of my life. I believe in kindness and generosity and sacrifice and duty, and I look askance at brashness and nastiness and self-interest and rebellion. (Hence my dislike of my generation’s favorite Disney film, The Little Mermaid.) It probably helps that I had wonderful parents who I didn’t mind listening to and have led a generally happy and privileged life, but I still credit Cinderella with a lot of my core values, however skewed they may be.

What, right now, is your favorite thing about comics?

I have to agree with Caroline — the road to Siege has me bursting with excitement. The intricacies of a shared Marvel universe and Bendis’ handling of the Avengers were the two things that initially brought me into the non-X-Men Marvel fold, and they remain two of my favorite things about the medium. Relatedly, and unsurprisingly, the imminent return of Steve Rogers also has me jumping for joy. I can’t wait to see the Big Three together again.


What is a song that’s been stuck in your head lately?

Good Girls Go Bad,” by Cobra Starship featuring Leighton Meester.

What is one of your personal mottoes?

I’m one of those people who sort of collects mottoes and slogans, frequently from the fiction I read. Frequently from books. Or, you know, comics. (For an embarrassingly long period of my life, my personal motto was “Sez you, weasel-face!” Bonus points to those who can give me the issue in which Kitty Pryde says that, and to whom.) For a while, at the ending of a long-term relationship, it was, “The problem with vows of the form ‘death before dishonor’ is that it ends with two kinds of people — the dead, and the forsworn.” (Paraphrasing Miles Vorkosigan speaking to Ekaterine Vorsoisson, in A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold.) These days, it’s something I saw on a bumper sticker. “The world is run by those who show up.” That’s about the size of my ambitions these days — not to defy the gods, not to rebuild a life fallen apart, but to merely show up. To show up for the commitments I’ve made, to answer the questions my kids have, to write for Fantastic Fangirls, to answer email, to keep the dishes done, to write at least four days a week, to do my job to the best of my ability, to get the oil in the car changed and make sure I walk my dog. I don’t really feel a need for a more flamboyant motto than that, right now. The world is full of people with grand plans that come to naught. Showing up is enough.

When you were in elementary school, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Either an architect or a Crazy Dog Lady who lived alone on a farm in Idaho. I don’t even know what that was about. Possibly I was predicting my later zombie-apocalypse-survivalist inclinations.

What movie has had the biggest impact on your life?

Ermm, hard to say. Probably Terminator 2, or The Breakfast Club. Yes, I am indeed a product of my generation. But let’s go with T2 — I think I have seen it over a hundred times, that’s got to have some sort of impact.

What, right now, is your favorite thing about comics?

The number of great female characters. Jessica Drew, Jessica Jones, Carol Danvers, Stephanie Brown, Barbara Gordon, Kate Kane, Renee Montoya, Scandal Savage, Julie Martin, Ivy Raven, Dex, Frau Totenkinder, Snow White, Cinderella, Emma Frost, Rogue, Megan Gwynn, Theresa Cassidy, Monet St. Croix — These are just from the titles I read. Well-written, three-dimensional, interesting characters with flaws and strengths and lives that leap off of the page.

  • Caroline

    You know, we didn’t discuss these in advance, and my “favorite thing in comics” answer was almost, “The way Ms. Marvel can’t keep her hands off Jessica Jones in the latest issue of ‘New Avengers.'” But Anika got there without me. Carol+Jessica=BFF!

  • sigrid

    I think it’s funny how I think all FOUR of us have lasered in on Jessica-and-Carol-BFF-with-hypothetical-benefits. :grins:

    I find everyone’s song earworm answers to be AWESOME.

  • Anika

    I am here for all your Carol and Jessica needs <3

  • Sam

    Score, I’ve been waiting to answer since I freaked out at Anika last night.

    What is a Song That’s Been Stuck In Your Head Lately?

    “Papparazi” by Lady Gaga. I have a strange and irrational love for Lady Gaga, considering I usually can’t stand her genre of music.

    What is one of your personal mottoes?

    “Sniff that other dog’s butt! Good boy!”

    See, now I know what you’re saying: “WTF is wrong with Sam?”

    But it’s from that episode of the Simpsons where Santa’s Little Helper goes to obedience school, and when Bart tries to give him commands he just goes over and sniff’s another dog’s butt, so Bart just changes his command.

    It’s very zen.


    When you were in elementary school, what did you want to be when you grew up?

    An astronaut. Then my eyes went, and I decided I wanted to be a lawyer (pre-lasik). Now I’m a lawyer, and I’d like to be a screenwriter and/or own a bar in Maui.

    What movie has had the biggest impact on your life?


    What, right now, is your favorite thing about comics?

    Bart is alive! And there’s a lesbian lead of a major comic title! And Power Girl is fun! And the New Mutants are back! And Renee Montoya is awesome! And Kate Spencer is in Gotham, also awesome! And Bruce Wayne is dead! And Greg Rucka has a steady job, which is to say that people see that he’s an awesome writer and are giving him things to write. And Spider-Woman!

    Lots of exclamations!

    I think that’s it.

  • handyhunter

    I was just about to ask if that was Luke Cage and Jessica Jones. heh.

    Great article! I love reading everyone’s answers.

    “What is one of your personal mottoes?”

    When life gives you lemons, listen to Springsteen.

    “What, right now, is your favorite thing about comics?”

    Deadpool, Hisako, the new Astonishing X-Men artist…

  • What is a song that’s been stuck in your head lately?
    Get on My Horse. See here (getonmyhorse.com) if you’re not familiar with it. I warn it, it’ll stick. Forever.

    What is one of your personal mottoes?
    Fate is inexorable. Bernard Cornwell readers should be familiar with it. I don’t believe in fate, but I find the phrase to be insanely powerful when facing immeasurable odds and also for not regretting anything. If it happened, it happened.

    When you were in elementary school, what did you want to be when you grew up?
    Archeologist, because I thought Indiana Jones was the coolest.

    What movie has had the biggest impact on your life?
    Star Wars, probably. I’ve always been incredibly geeky when it comes to the original trilogy.
    I think it molded my taste for a lot of things.

    What, right now, is your favorite thing about comics?
    Everything Mike Mignola. The latest Hellboy arc has some incredible repercussions for the character’s future and B.P.R.D. 1947 has also been a favorite of mine, with great storytelling and art that is to die for.

  • Cool article. Sigrid have you read The Sword? If not, I think you would like it. I has a really strong female lead.

    Song Stuck in Head
    Incredible Hulk Theme, so sad.


    “Fig Nuts!!!”

    “In this world, is the destiny of mankind controlled by some transcendental entity or law? Is it like the hand of God hovering above? At least it is true that man has no control; even over his own will.”

    Favorite Things in Comics
    Jonah Hex “Done in Ones”
    Marvel Cosmic Universe
    All the current Fantastic Four love.

  • Pingback: Mad Marvel Girl Blogging Project for December! « Diary of a Mad Marvel Girl()

  • I love Rose! I love Jessica/Carol! And Jean Grey most definitely would NOT put up with this shit. Let’s see if I can answer.

    1. “Just Like Jesse James.” I love Cher unironically. I always feel like she is saying to me, “It’s okay, little mixed-race girl. There’s a place for you. Maybe someday you’ll be TOTALLY FUCKING AWESOME like me.”

    2. I seem to go for the short and sweet in this department, so of course I have to say: “I’m feeling very Marvel Girl today!” This makes me feel like I can actually conquer whatever. Or alternately, “I’m Chuck Bass,” which basically conveys the same thing.

    3. Jean Grey. Princess Leia. Firestar in that one episode of “Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.” CHER.

    4. Boringly, I have to say Star Wars. This is one of the first things I was truly obsessed with and obsession in general surely shaped my personality. And it had a better heroine than most modern movies manage, which is pretty sad.

    5. Echo, Air, Matt Fraction, and that Cinderella Fables thing getting collected eventually.

  • Caroline

    I love everybody’s answers, thanks for chiming in!

    Sarah, I’ve now got Cher in my head. . .though the Western nerd in me is always like, “But. . .but. . .Jesse was shot in the back by his buddy while he was hanging up a picture! Nobody wants that!”

  • xenokattz

    “Just Breathe” by Pearl Jam. Someone on my flist in LJ linked me to a video of a live performance last week and it won’t leave. I don’t even know all the lyrics; but the tune and what words I do remember are on replay. It’s LOVELY.

    I have no idea. I tend to collect quotes which fall under 3 categories:
    a) Don’t complain if you’re not going to do anything about it
    b) Family rocks
    c) Laugh often, especially at yourself

    A doctor. I’m pretty sure this started because my parents told me so but I really did develop a liking for sciences, especially biology. I didn’t have the drive or the proper type of smarts to go through pre-med though which is why I’m an artist-writer-nurse.

    These days, when I grow up, I want to be Lois Lane. Because she’s AWESOME.

    Either Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” or “Amélie.” both had lead female characters who were introverted and lived in their heads a lot but wanted to get out there and Do Stuff. Eventually, they did. And it was GLORIOUS. While I don’t think I’ll ever meet a cursed prince or set up a mystery to track down a crush, I’ve always liked the idea of quiet courage because, as a quiet person, that’s the type I’m comfortable with.

    But I still want to be Lois Lane, darnnit.

    I wrote an entry about this on my LJ. Here’s an adjusted version.

    Back in the early 90’s, a wonderous TV show called X-Men: the Animated Series began. I don’t know how long it ran because when you’re a kid, time is irrelevant. But its popularity led to a Superman series and a Batman series, both of which spawned more comic-based cartoons. Most importantly, it happened at the same time (spawned even?) the speculative comicbook market. Basically, EVERYONE read or collected comics. If you’re between the ages 25-40 and living in North America, you, my friend, collected or read comics.

    As my new dealer of dope comics said, we seem to be approaching another golden age. We 25-40 year olds who grew up saturated by comicbooks are now artists, writers and editors of comics. We know all the backstories. We know all the meta. Heck, we MAKE the meta. Comicbook characters are part of our collective social knowledge. Because of this, a lot of the stories now, mainstream and indie, are rich and layered in a way that they could not have been in generations before.

    All the stories now take a bit of the fun that was pre-modern age plus a the darkness of the early modern-age then add a generous helping of strong female and/or culturally diverse characters to make these fantastic stories. Not everything’s perfect but they’re all so wonderful to read and there’s so much of it.

  • hurrah for random questions!

    What is a song that’s been stuck in your head lately?
    “Defying Gravity” by the Glee kids

    What is one of your personal mottoes?
    WWWWD – what would Wonder Woman do. Although lately it’s been “I’ll think about it tomorrow” or “Seriously?!”

    When you were in elementary school, what did you want to be when you grew up?
    I went back and forth between archeologist, paleontologist, and astronaut. Now I want to be either a Green Lantern or a Doctor Who companion (now that I’m an ‘adult’ I’d like a fictional profession).

    What movie has had the biggest impact on your life?
    The Princess Bride – it’s one of my favorite books and movies. I love it so very much.

    What, right now, is your favorite thing about comics?
    I’m going to go out on a limb and say Geoff Johns 😉 Honestly I am very much enjoying Flash Rebirth and Blackest Night. I’m also going to piggy-back on Sigrid’s great female characters answer since I’m really loving Power Girl, Batwoman, Spider-Woman, Cinderella (in her Fables mini), and Empowered and Ninjette.