by Scott MacLean
Can you name one gay superhero? I can’t. How about a wizard? Warrior? Villain? The sad fact of the matter is that I’ve read over two hundred young adult fantasy books and I know of only one that has a main character that’s gay. Now I know what you’ll say, media and literature is much more inclusive these days, which is true. According to a 2019 report done by GLAAD, the percentages of LGBTQ representation are at an all time high, and I’ll be the first to admit that it’s nice to have more options, especially in literature, but why hasn’t this translated to fantasy and other genres?
I’m glad I can watch a show like Schitts Creek or read a book like The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper, examples of quality LGBTQ stories that aren’t entirely centered on the fact that the characters are gay, but unfortunately, kids aren’t dressing up as Kurt Hummel from Glee on Halloween. They’re dressing up as Harry Potter, Daenerys Targaryen, or Harley Quinn, heroes from epic stories full of adventure.
by Dina Folgia
When I was a child, I existed in a world ruled by print. If I wasn’t consuming media that had a front and back cover, chances are I wasn’t consuming it at all. I indulged in the occasional cartoon, maybe a movie or two every now and again, but by the time I was twelve my library of books far outweighed my library of DVDs. I was insatiable, unshakable, and I couldn’t picture myself growing up to craft anything besides literature.
As I entered into my college experience and began to study writing as a possible career path, however, I was faced with a dilemma. After spending four years studying and dedicating myself to the craft, I began to grow complacent in the area of print media. It seemed like all my creative writing-based classes were teaching the same things, and that was based in creating publishable material and helping writers grow a thick enough skin to brave the cold, uncaring world of print writing. It wasn’t until I added on a media writing concentration and took several Radio, TV, and Film classes that I began to realize why I—and many of my peers—had grown so incredibly tired of print.
by Megan Kiger
So, I’d call myself a liar.
Used-to-be outstanding liar, but maybe just above average now. My intentions are never anything more than comedic (or dramatic) relief. We all love drama, and we all lie about that too.
When I was little, I’d come up with intricate stories to cover my ass when I was in trouble or embarrassed (or just to make things interesting, you know?). I had a crush on a boy named Zach when I was ten. He had this ashy kind of blond hair and green eyes that I was obsessed with. I asked him if he wanted to swing with me at recess and he said no. He actually pretty rudely refused and laughed at me with his friends. I remember my throat swelling while I tried to keep the hysterics contained to my stomach.
by Christopher M. Comparri
The appeal of books, movies, television and any sort of story-telling platform can be boiled down to two key components: having a great story and having great characters to fill out said story. As viewers and readers, we often find ourselves rooting for certain characters and despising others to the pits of our very soul. This can be for any number of reasons: rooting for the underdog, finding a character that is relatable, finding one that embodies the essence of what we feel is right or wrong with the world. Finding the handful of characters that you feel strongly about builds an emotional tie between the content produced and the individual consuming it. However, the trend of incorporating huge casts of characters into stories is now having an adverse effect. People are finding too many characters to like or hate in passing. These characters are being masked as huge markers in a story, but the reality is quite different. In literature, sometimes less is more.
by Mark Krupinski
“Anything and everything can be art!” is, I feel, a deceptively sinister phrase. You could substitute the rather generic “art” in this situation with your medium of choice, be it poetry, film, literature, or what have you, and the situation remains unchanged. It seems innocuous at first, even encouraging. Anything can be art; no matter how lost you may feel, no matter what vision you lack, your expression has merit. You exist and you are valid. As someone who has spent more time than perhaps he’d like to admit pacing fretfully to and fro, hyperventilating into a McDonald’s bag because the words don’t sound the way they’re supposed to, I understand. Writing is a painful, clumsy, often fruitless task, so positive affirmation is as valuable as it is rare. But there’s a danger in creating that sense of comfort, tossing standards by the wayside in favor of blind positivity and confidence. The idea that everything, every single careless, thoughtless, witless, messy, wishy-washy, meandering, pointless thing is art gives me pause.