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review 2017-02-22 19:20
Bitch Planet, Vol. 1: Extraordinary Machine by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Bitch Planet Volume 1 - Kelly Sue DeConnick,Robert Wilson IV,Valentine De Landro

Bitch Planet is one of those graphic novels everyone seems to recommend. And I can see why! It's about a group of women who are deemed "disobedient" from the male-dominated government and are sent to a distant prison planet called "Bitch Planet" to be "straightened out." There they have to do what they're told if they hope to survive. But the main group of women we follow are definitely not keen on such a notion. Then, obviously, rebellion ensues.

 

I first heard of Bitch Planet through BookTube. When I heard so many people talking about how feminist and inclusive it was, I had to give it a read. And I'm so glad I did! The entire first volume is incredible! The art is gorgeous! It's very colorful when it wants to be and gritty when it has to be. I love the character designs the most! All the women have different body shapes, skin color, and sexual orientations. I love the diversity within these pages and the women portrayed therein.

 

The plot itself is so intriguing. I want to know what our characters are going to do now that they are within this prison. We got to see some background stories for a couple of characters. I love Penny's background story the most. It's tragic, yes, but it helps the reader understand who she is as a person. It helps the reader understand some of the actions she chooses to make. I love her so much. I love ALL the characters so much! Well... except the ones we're supposed to hate... I don't like them as much.

 

And that's all I'm going to say about it! Read this graphic novel! It's fun, engaging, intersectional feminism, daring, and intriguing! However, this is for a very mature audience. There's violence, nudity, sexual content, and gore. But if you're okay with that sort of content, then I highly recommend you pick up this graphic novel. It's filled with a diverse cast of women trying to make it in a world that refuses to allow women to be themselves. It's a fantastic read.

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text 2016-11-22 12:00
Top Ten Tuesday: National Nightmare Edition
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
Bitch Planet Volume 1 - Kelly Sue DeConnick,Robert Wilson IV,Valentine De Landro
The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America - George Packer
Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities - Rebecca Solnit
On Politics: A Carnival of Buncombe (Maryland Paperback Bookshelf) - H. L. Mencken
White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America - Nancy Isenberg
Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In - Bernie Sanders
A Social History of the Third Reich - Richard Grunberger
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark - Ann Druyan,Carl Sagan
Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History - Tananarive Due,Sofia Samatar,Ken Liu,Victor LaValle,Nnedi Okorafor,Sabrina Vourvoulias,Thoraiya Dyer,Rose Fox,Daniel José Older,Julie Dillon

I've been gone for a bit.

 

I’ve decided to go political right out of the gate. I suppose this is an odd note to start on as a “revival” of my blog after months away, and yet it is quite fitting given how I am feeling these days. Books are inherently political, if only because they reflect facets of our culture back to us, so it makes sense that I should find meaning in my blogging by looking in a political direction.

 

Typically, I would grab my Top Ten Tuesday topic from its originators, The Broke and the Bookish. Considering what is on my mind lately—non-stop—I felt instead like I would share a partial list of what I have read/intend to read as I come to grips with the election and figure out exactly how I want to tackle the aftermath. I, like many people blindsided by this travesty, have resolved to become more politically active and much more aware. This requires not just action, but knowledge and perspective, and I think that is something these books can offer in a time of need. This list could easily be hundreds of titles long but we have to start somewhere and ten is as good a number as any.

 

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. This will be a re-read for me and it couldn’t be more appropriate. And before you scoff about exaggeration, just remember the percentage of the evangelical vote that brought us where we are today.

 

Bitch Planet series by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro. Needed for much the same reason as Handmaid. Also, because it will make me righteously angry and I need that right now.

 

The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer. Who hurt you, America??

 

Hope in the Darkness by Rebecca Solnit. Just about anything by Solnit could fit here, but some readings by people I admire have pushed this one to the top of the list. We could all use a reminder that hope is hard but necessary and despair is not an option.

 

On Politics: A Carnival of Buncombe by H.L. Mencken. While Mencken had some problematic views on women (he was writing 100 years ago), just about any of his political writings are extremely prescient. He saw this coming and we still didn’t listen.

 

White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg. What is it about the history of poverty and the wealth gap in the US that prompts people to vote against their own self-interest or scapegoat others? Is it just a lack of education or is it much more? And is class even the motivating factor people are claiming, or is it simply about culture? I’m hoping this book can shed some light on these questions.

 

Our Revolution by Bernie Sanders. I’m a Bernie Babe, can’t be helped.

 

A Social History of the Third Reich by Richard Grunberger. While there are any number of books on the Third Reich, I feel it is most important to begin by understanding the everyday people that contributed (purposefully or not) to its rise and normalization. And this is not just alarmism; the parallels are disturbing even from the vaguest distance.

 

The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan. Living in a post-truth world is going to do a number on science.

 

Any and every contemporary sci-fi short story collection I can get my hands on. I have

faith that these stories, told by diverse voices, will give me perspective beyond the headlines and history. In the right hands, speculative fiction gets to the heart of everything that troubles us as a people and gives us alternative visions of the future.

 

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review 2016-07-22 15:33
The Planet of Non-Compliant Women
Bitch Planet Volume 1 - Kelly Sue DeConnick,Robert Wilson IV,Valentine De Landro

Bitch Planet is a graphic novel set in a seemingly near future in which the Patriarchy has taken over the world overtly rather than behind the scenes. Leaders are addressed as "Father" and non-compliant women are shipped off-world to a prison planet. DeConnick plays with the various tropes of "women in prison" exploitation films, all the while undercutting them with a message of resistance to violent oppression. The results are not subtle, but with a title like Bitch Planet the author is not trying for subtlety.

 

The plot involves the Fathers' plan to create a sports team out of women prisoners to play against professional male teams in a very violent sport which they hope will result in deaths on screen to drive up viewer engagement. The main character may have volunteered to be sent to the prison in order to rescue her sister. So a little of Prison Break, a little bit of Orange is the New Black, and a little bit of The Longest Yard with a whole lot of violence. Not for anyone easily offended by lots of nudity, profanity, and negative depictions of white males.

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review 2016-07-09 15:03
#CBR8 Book 71: Bitch Planet, vol 1: Extraordinary Machine by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine DeLandro
Bitch Planet Volume 1 - Kelly Sue DeConnick,Robert Wilson IV,Valentine De Landro

"In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth. Mother Earth, we used to say, before we understood. Space is the mother who receives us, you see? Earth is the father. And your father has cast you out. For your trespasses, your gluttony, your pride, your weakness, and your wickedness are such that you are beyond correction and castigation. Like a cancer you must be excised from the world that bore you. For the well-being of us all, lest your sickness spread. You will live out your lives in penitence and service here..."

These are the words, read by a woman, that the women sent to the Auxilliary Compliance Outpost, an off-world prison colony, more colloquially known as "Bitch Planet". Who is deemed non-compliant? It could be as the back cover of the trade paperback says anyone who doesn't fit in their patriarchally-assigned box, be they too fat, too thin, too loud, too shy, too religious, too secular, too prudish, too sexual, too queer, too black, too brown, or too whatever-it-is-they'll-judge-you-for-today. Compliant women all seem to be thin, demure, white and blond.

The world is controlled by the "Fathers" and anyone who doesn't fit into their ever-changing images of what a good, submissive and compliant little female should be, is sent away to prison. It is a world that wouldn't work if many women didn't also conform to these crazy standards, helping the men police their sisters, mothers, daughters, supporting the internalized patriarchy.

In the first five issues, collected in Extraordinary Machine, we meet a number of women sent to Bitch Planet, and get some glimpses into what some of them did to be deemed non-compliant enough to be imprisoned. Some of the women are offered a flimsy chance at freedom, offered to form a team and compete in the hugely popular, much betted-on, universally televised sport Megaton. Kamau Kogo, a former athlete, now accused of a murder she didn't commit, is asked to assemble a team. She initially refuses, but is persuaded to change her mind by other women in the prison, who want to grasp at the tender straw of hope the proposal brings.

So many Cannonballers have already written excellent and much-more eloquent reviews of this book than I can manage. El Cicco, SavageCat, Narfna, Emmalita, Yesknopemaybe, Jenny S, Alwaysanswerb and Bonnie. It's difficult to come up with anything clever and insightful that one (or several of them) hasn't already said. This is an important, angry and deeply feminist comic. It has many important messages about the way toxic patriarchy brings women down and how it brain-washes ladies into buying into the lies, so many of them in turn help oppress fellow women. The writing is good, the art is deliberately pulpy. The "adverts" at the end of each issue are subversive and great, but also provide terrifying facts about domestic abuse and violence against women in the US today.

I don't know when the next trade is out, but I shall keep my eyes open.

Judging a Book by its cover: Each of the issues of Bitch Planet have stylised and pulpy covers, reminiscent, as Emmalita points out in her review, of the cheap pop art of “girls, girls, girls” comics. There is the silhouette of a full-figured lady who is clearly non-compliant, giving both middle fingers to the world. The pink background shows some of the prisoners on the right side of the silhouette, with the  prison guards and their terrifying busty, and leggy Confessor Nun in a chair with her legs crossed. Above the silhouette's head, naked women wearing helmets, fighting. "Are you woman enough to survive?" "Girl Gangs...Caged and Enraged" printed at various places across the cover, again, calling to mind pulpy exploitation comics. It's a good cover, for a very good book.

Source: kingmagu.blogspot.no/2016/07/cbr8-book-71-bitch-planet-vol-1.html
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review 2016-06-13 00:26
Bitch Planet: Book 1 - Extraordinary Machine
Bitch Planet Volume 1 - Kelly Sue DeConnick,Robert Wilson IV,Valentine De Landro

Created with a retro 70s feel Bitch Planet has never felt more topical than now. From the art style, world building, narrative arc, characters, and even the fake ads at the back of each issue this graphic novel makes itself heard. Every panel calls attention to the misogyny inherent in our culture. By setting the story in a futuristic sci-fi setting DeConnick has the freedom to point at problems we face now with a clarity the present tends to muddy. The underlying issues are the same ones we face now, except blown up to a nightmarish conclusion, and the results are striking.

 

In addition to its feminist roots Bitch Planet also calls attention to the topics of racism, mass incarceration, body shaming, gender roles, normalization of rape culture, the dumbing down of our society, and how all of these things work together to hurt not only women but all of us. While every issue made my blood boil it also made me want to keep fighting. An unfortunate side effect in reading a lot of feminist literature is being left feeling overwhelmed, and like there is no use - the problems are so endemic that once you really dig into them it can feel depressing or daunting. This didn't make me feel that way. This made me want to go out and conquer the world.

 

I feel like I should also point out that it's a good story. Well written, well executed, and stunningly illustrated, Bitch Planet delivers a roundhouse kick to the establishment while simultaneously delivering a heaping dose of entertainment. Smashing the patriarchy has never been so fun.

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