Comicon

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Comic books, super heroes and sci fi have long been considered the realms of men and boys, with girls preferring Barbie, ponies, princessess, and anything pink and sparkly.

This weekend we took Miss Rose to her first Comicon; Stoke-Con-Trent at Staffordshire University.

Rose, Spiderman, Batman and R2D2

To say she was excited was an understatement. She proudly pointed out the Batman logo on her chest that matched the Batman logo on mine, brandished her new Spiderman toy (freshly purchased at a comicon stall after she refused to put it down), and inspected various displays including Kit the car, R2D2, a TARDIS, and assorted costumed folk that greeted with enthusiastically whilst she screeched in delight.

The whole experience was wonderful, The Boy met two of his heroes from the cast of Red Dwarf, my mother acquired a new Stark Industries hoody, and I am the proud owner of yet another (different) Batman top. The people were friendly and happy to be there, the displays were fascinating with some beautiful art work, and we ate off a super delicious BBQ. All around it was a wonderful experience.

What interests me, however, is what Miss Rose gets from the experience. Her understanding of this genre of interest is limited. She has watched the animanted Wonder Woman movie, several Spiderman cartoons, and sees The Boy’s comic books from both the DC and Marvelverse scattered around, but how much does she understand? What is about the images that appeals to her so much? Because there is no doubt it does appeal. She saw a poster with Nick Fury on and immediately screeched “NICK FURY!” whilst pointing excitedly. Something about this whole world draws her in, fascinates her.

Of course, the fact The Boy and I are both fans (admittedly he more than I… by quite a long way. I’ve watched the Batman Vs Superman trailor three times… he about sixty) means she will be recognising and emulating our own love. But still, she has access to all the same toys in the shops and playgroups as everyone else, yet her automatic instinct is to go for anything super hero, monsters, aliens or dinosaurs.

Nature or nurture? She’s never been a dainty girl, more inclined to use a flower as a sword than to sniff it, so really it’s no surprise she likes things that are noisy and good for crashing around with, yet she loves traditionally feminine as well. She takes great pleasure in getting dressed up in sparkly dresses, although at dinner last night combined her pretty red dress with skull and crossbone trainers, and is always asking if she can have eyeshadow on when I’m doing my make up.

Ultimately I love and admire her attitudes. She does not follow gender norms, nor gender roles, unless she wants to. She does not care if something people associate with masculinity appeals to her because being a girl doesn’t mean it shouldn’t.  If she wants to wear a sparkly dress whilst playing with dinosaurs fine. If she wants to wear skull and cross bone trainers with a pink, fluffy tutu then good on her.

She is who she is and she responds to what she responds to without any feeling of “should”. She just loves what she loves and ignores what she doesn’t, regardless of what anybody else feels about the matter, and to be honest that’s a life lesson we could all take something from. Be who you are. She is a superhero loving, eyeshadow wearing, dinosaur roaring, tutu swishing little monster, and I love her exactly the way she is.

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

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