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  • Illustration by Christina "Steenz" Stewart

    When people consider the early history of comics, a few names spring immediately to mind – Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Bob Kane, Steve Ditko, and newspaper cartoonists like Charles Addams and Charles Schultz. Rarely do you hear about the women who paved the way for modern comics, especially not the women of color who created pioneering comic strips. One such voice is Jackie Ormes, the first black female syndicated newspaper cartoonist, who created dynamic characters that rejected the negative stereotypes that permeated depictions of black women at the time.

  • We can hardly wait until the release of Wonder Woman, the first film in almost twenty years to be headlined by a female superhero. Yet in 2016, there was another movie about female superheroes—Hidden Figures, which highlights three amazing NASA computers.  These women managed to overcome the intersection of racism and sexism to become essential personnel in the space program, with Katherine Johnson even personally calculating the figures for John Glenn’s historic spacewalk. Every bit as heroic as the Hulk smashing.

    In honour of Women’s History Month, we have some other suggestions for historic women superheroes, women who went above and beyond to make a difference to the lives of those around them.

  • Of all the tens of thousands of manuscripts that were produced and copied during the Middle Ages, only a fraction have survived to our day. Some of these manuscripts are plain, written in black ink, and have no more than a few illustrations. Others are magnificent with colorful writings and illuminations plated in real gold. And then there are the manuscripts that are outright weird.

    We would like to introduce you to four of the weirdest medieval manuscripts still in existence.

  • Yesterday was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which provided a chance for all of us to reflect on America’s complicated history regarding equality – and a chance for us to look to the future. But we’re not the only ones who do that. Fictional characters have always been reflections of our own journeys and struggles. These fictional activists are top-notch examples of the enduring nature of Dr. King’s example and legacy…even if their passion might be fighting for elves, a space rebellion, or genetic mutants.

  • As a celebrated nonviolent resistance organizer and orator, Martin Luther King, Jr. fought against racial inequality and segregation. Images of him leading the march on Selma are enough to stop someone in their tracks and his speeches are still uttered today. To celebrate this leader of the Civil Rights Movement, we’re reading these remarkable books about racial inequality today – books that urge for a continuation of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s work.

  • The fictional universe of J.K. Rowling is filled with fantastical creatures, and no other movie takes better advantage of this than Fantastical Beasts and Where to Find Them, which opens in theaters today.

    When creating her magical world, Rowling is tapping into a literary tradition that goes all the way back to the Middle Ages and the literary genre of the bestiary.

    Bestiaries are books of animals, both real and fantastical, accompanied by a description and a Christian parable. Even though bestiaries peaked in popularity in the 13th century, they continue to influence us today. Especially when it comes to fantasy fiction.

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