The Definitive Guide to the Vlogbrothers’ family tree
For this in-depth article, which traced the history of the Vlogbrothers rise to fame and the reach of their many many projects, I created and designed the infographic above based on my research. The Daily Dot’s Jason Reed turned my preliminary sketches of the flowchart into the finished product.
Why do we love Deadpool so much?
Deadpool is a product of the ’90s, when the comics industry was looking for a bit of levity as a break from the dark, morally ambiguous epics of the ’80s like Watchmen, Sandman, and The Dark Knight Returns. In his early days, creators Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza established his character as a slightly psychotic independent mercenary, who faced off against the real heroes as often as he joined them. As his character developed and got his own series, his sarcasm, his tendency to reference pop culture memes, and his total unpredictability became hallmarks of his character.
Writer Joe Kelly later recalled that because the creative team expected the cult series to be canceled at any moment, they felt free to take risks and do whatever they wanted with the character. So Deadpool is the only Marvel character who is actually aware that he’s a superhero; that is, he knows he’s a character in someone else’s comic book.
That knowledge gives Deadpool narrative freedom that most other characters don’t have. He inhabits the same contemporary pop culture sphere the rest of us inhabit. And he routinely breaks the fourth wall to communicate directly to the viewer, in order to remind them that he is a parody, something apart from the usual hero type.
The result is something hilarious and totally unexpected.
I did editorial work on the forthcoming A Hero at the End of the World by Erin Claiborne, which received a starred review from Kirkus!
Original Otaku Journalist Lauren Orsini included a list of fandom reporters of note in her how-to guide to getting started in the field.
"I Seem to Be a Verb" by Aja [Inception AU, NC-17]
Notting Hill AU, written for the i_k prompt, “I’m just a girl standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.” Arthur owns a quirky hipster science bookstore. Eames is a world-famous mega-celebrity.
Clearly this calls for a meet-cute.
Some fictional worlds eat my brain, take over all my thoughts, make me want to live in them forever and ever. Inception was never really one of those—but this fic is. I want to curl up on a sofa in the back of Arthur’s hipstery science bookstore with a coffee and read architecture guides. I want to watch all of Eames’s movies, especially The Cezanne Game, and I want to read the novel it’s based on, and I want to make gifs of it and read Yuletide stories based on it and troll the tumblr tag for it. I want the image I used above to be the Chagall that Dom and Mal have hanging in their house. I want to watch Ariadne make plans and emphatic emoticons on her whiteboards.
You might think you’ve been charmed by enough bookstore AUs by now, but this one defines exactly why the bookstore AU is so fulfilling.
Basically everything about it is the best thing ever, including the characterization of Eames as not just a mega-celebrity but also a brilliant and passionate film buff who works with Herzog and Scorcese. ♥
Fair warning, though: this is a WIP, but it’s already over 46K, so there is a lot here to get sucked into.
Happy Pride Day, Tumblr!
In this academic paper written for the Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, Prof. Catherine Tosenberger has some very lovely things to say about my 2009 fanfic “Trajectories”:
Although stylistically Aja’s Harry/Draco fanfic “Trajectories” could not be more different from V’s overtly unpublishable work, this story is equally deeply embedded within the specific world of the Potter series and fandom. “Trajectories” is, on the surface, more accessible, and Aja’s breezy writing furthers that impression. However, this story is a perfect example of the fanfictional pleasure of exploration of the details of the canon universe—in this case, wizarding portraiture, which provides a means for her to examine the larger effects of trauma following the final war with Voldemort among Hogwarts students—and to use that exploration to ground a fanonical romance narrative. Painted figures in turns tythe wizarding world can move, speak, and interact with living people; Aja expands upon this relatively minor detail in Rowling’s work to examine, thoughtfully and to devastating effect, the impact such portraits would have upon the recently bereaved.
(More behind the cut)
In her 2008 academic work “Homosexuality at the Online Hogwarts: Harry Potter Slash Fanfiction,” Prof. Catherine Tosenberger cites the early influence in Harry/Draco fandom of one of my fics, and goes on to quote my 2004 fic “Pop Quiz:”
The joy of an enemyslash pairing is in watching antagonists overcome their differences, at least long enough to have sex. Dislike is recast as sexual tension, and when the characters are both men, part of the pleasure is in seeing their negotiation of expectations of male aggres- sion (rather than friendship) in terms of desire. A scene in Aja’s “Pop Quiz” captures this tension nicely:
Whenever they pass in the hallways, Malfoy does his best to jostle Harry. He is scrawny and bony, so if Harry doesn’t feel like moving that day, their sides scrape together, and Harry’s hip might bruise a little. If that happens, he has the satisfaction of knowing that Malfoy’s is bruised a little, too. When he reaches his palm up, his hand connects briefly with the flat plane of Malfoy’s hip. He can only do this once, on the excuse of shoving Malfoy away–but it’s not bad, really. Just stupid, like the whole thing is to begin with.
Harry is careful to articulate his consideration of Malfoy as a combina- tion of violence and disinterest (“if Harry doesn’t feel like moving that day, their sides scrape together”), which underlines both the depth of his attraction and his denial of same. He then denigrates their enmity, and expressions of that enmity, as “stupid”—a disavowal that foreshad- ows their later romantic connection.
Harry Potter, Literature, and Media Studies
In 2010, Prof. Catherine Tosenberger of the University of Winnipeg taught a special summer class to high school students on the Harry Potter phenomenon. Among the course texts was my 2002 fanfic, “Monsoon Season.”
Speculating on the future of HP, including the Fantastic Beasts movie, JKR’s new play, and the short story recently published in USA Today.
Panelists: M. B. Weston, Travis Heerman, Aja Romano, Jennifer Clack, Heidi Tandy
I contributed a short essay on published fanfiction in Anne Jamison’s Fic: Why Fan Fiction is Taking Over the World.