A month ago I spent the weekend in Tampere, a city just north of Helsinki. I was asked to speak at the Tampere Kuplii comics festival about Marvel comics. I was given my choice of topic so I decided to talk about what Marvel taught me as a young child/teenager growing up.
You see, you could say I was raised by popular culture, because as a kid I didn’t get along with my mom and my dad always did long hours at work, so I pretty much spent all my time alone. During weekends and vacations I spent time with my aunt and sister and I must admit they have also been great influences in my life.
In fact, I’ve always thought of myself as lucky, having picked up only the great, open-minded values from the 80s TV and other popular culture. Maybe it was because I was bullied at school, I knew bullying and being mean to other people just because they were different from you was absolutely wrong, with no acceptable excuses. As long as you don’t hurt anybody else it’s really no one else’s business what you do or what you are. And luckily my aunt and sister also lived by that rule and also were “different” from the norm. Not anything radical, but my sister has always been an artistic personality and my aunt has always lived alone, which as a child was very interesting, and I love the fact they both made me think about life choices and that you don’t have to follow the norm, but can really live the way you like.
But that’s enough of my relatives. One of the bigger influences of my life were the Marvel superhero comics. Oh, the horror they were for a young teenager trying to figure out what it was to be a woman. Yet at the same time especially the X-Men comics did hold many good values that are useful even today.
Thinking about what to speak of at the festival I decided to go through two comics, the Marvel 7/88 and Ryhmä-X 1/92, because there really is no better way to make my point than to let the comics speak for themselves. The first one showed all the good things and the latter one all the bad things. Since it’s going to take some time before I get to year 1992, the latter comic has one of those “girls’ night out” type of stories which are always horrible. Both stories were written by Chris Claremont and where the first magazine treated all the characters as equals, the latter one is such a horrible example of sexism and ridiculing both the female superheroes but also the readers as the story’s bad guys are a sort of a Ghostbusters team hunting mutants, being just the type of nerds who probably were the people reading Marvel comics. It’s, by the way, also the first story where Jubilee appears. The best part of the story is when Rogue calls Ms. Marvel “that American slut” (fin. “se amerikkalainen lutka”). Nice… @.@ I wonder if she said that in the English original, too.
Anyway, if you are interested, my husband took a video of my speech, but ran out of memory and thus the video lacks the last 10 minutes. If you happen to have the whole video of my speech, please share the link with me! Also the funny noises you hear in the background are from a man who sat behind my husband and fell asleep, snoring aloud through the whole thing. :”D That was so funny. The rest of the crowd did, however, stay awake and seemed to have good time and laughed a lot. The presentation is in Finnish, but in case you can’t understand Finnish, I will be going through the magazines in the near-ish future here on my blog and will most likely go through all the things I said in Tampere.
Since we were in Tampere and there also happened to be an exhibition about ancient Egyptian mummies at Museum Centre Vapriikki we had to visit it. The exhibition was small and didn’t really offer any new information to me, but who cares. I love watching ancient Egyptian items as they are so beautiful. I also photograph Egyptian texts, because I like to think that I’d try to translate them on my own just for fun and practice.
Anyway, at the exhibition I noticed this absolutely gorgeous piece from a child’s coffin, I suppose (I seem to have lost the photo with the info on the coffin). Oh, the details are just lovely. <3
Ancient Egyptian superhero Ankhtifi of Mo’alla
And talking about ancient Egypt, I have to mention a fantastic autobiography I’m translating at the moment. That of Ankhtifi of Mo’alla. He was a warlord who lived during the First Intermediate Period (2160 – 2055 BC) in Egypt when Egypt was under turmoil and suffered from civil war. You wouldn’t believe how cocky this guy is. He brags and then calls out: “I am the man!” And he refers to himself as Ankhtifi the Strong. I still have the last half of the 10th inscription to translate, but according to Miriam Lichtheim’s translation (1988) he’s going to call himself a champion who keeps nightly vigilance over his nome. Amazing! <3 <3 <3
And just as an extra, here is me dressed as Mystique for a superhero party next door.