Comic books

And Another Thing

I wrote a thing.  It’s kind of about A-Force, it’s kind of about Silk, but mostly it’s about shelling out four bucks for a disappointing reading experience.

You can check it out on CBR if you’re so inclined.

Happy Friday!


I’m Giving Up My Comics

…for the most part.  To see what I mean, check out this post on CBR.

A sentence I never thought I’d say, but I definitely uttered to the clerk at the comic shop earlier:  I’m super excited about Squirrel Girl and Howard the Duck.

The times, they are a-changin’.


On #fourcomics and That Feeling

Yesterday, writer Jim Zub started a hashtag on Twitter that quickly took off into this glorious internet waterfall of remarkable comics.  There’s lots of great stuff there with both creators and fans chiming in that definitely makes it worth scrolling through the tag.

I did, of course, share my own four.

It started with my older brothers’ comics.  A few Aquaman, but mostly stuff like G.I. Joe and Punisher and I remember one cover that had Nick Fury on it, but I can’t recall if it was a S.H.I.E.L.D. comic or Howling Commandos or what.  Those ones never appealed to 7-year-old me, but Aquaman … oh my God, Aquaman … with his pretty blonde hair on that cover, so colorful and happy looking—that definitely drew me in.  I would sit and read those comics in the attic when my brothers weren’t home so they didn’t know I was touching them.  And while Aquaman himself was amazing, I eventually met Mera and couldn’t believe how beautiful she was and how fierce.  That is my earliest memory of comics, and when I think about it I still get that same feeling I had when I read them so long ago.  That warm, incredible feeling that something like this could exist—characters like that could exist.  I wish my brothers still had those issues, but none of us have been able to find them for years, and I’m lost as to what happened to them.

I still have my hands on that Ren & Stimpy, which was the first comic I ever consciously chose for myself, picked up off the rack at the comics shop during a trip with my brothers.  Calvin & Hobbes came after, a collection that my sister had and encouraged me to read again and again.  Most of the jokes and brilliance of that book were quite far over my head at the time, but it was still enjoyable and further fueled the addiction.  I just recently asked my sister if I could have that well-loved copy of Calvin, but was met with a resounding no.  (In fact, I think the exact words were “HECK NO, I love that book.”)

As my siblings got older, spent more time being social, and eventually outgrew comics, my access to the good stuff took a big hit.  It wasn’t until my preteen years when I was on a trip with my parents and happened to walk into a bookstore that—shock!—sold comics, that my love for them was reignited.  They had collections of re-printed arcs, and I remember seeing an X-Men cover with Savage Land Rogue on it.  That was the moment it was all over.  The deed was done, the cement block of love walloped me on the head, and I was finished.  I saw that issue and thought I MUST HAVE THIS.

And I did have it.

And it was like a drug.

I was already a huge Rogue fan, having grown up watching the X-Men animated series, so realizing that the story was still going and that I could, in fact, get more of it was life-changing.  I continue to collect X-Men to this day.  And while there’s more to my particular history of comics—working in a comic shop, branching out to genres outside of superhero, even sacrificing comics for a time—the one constant has been that feeling I always get when I pick up a book that speaks to me.  It’s a feeling that no other medium can replicate.  Like going home.

The #fourcomics trend from yesterday gave me that feeling a hundred times over.

I’m scouring eBay for that issue of Aquaman.


Agent Carter Premiere & Ant-Man Teaser

Did you see it?  Tell me you watched it, because if you didn’t, it’s still saved on my DVR, and we can watch it together and have popcorn and fangirl(boy?) out.

I’m talking about the magnificence that is AGENT CARTER.

AgentCarterPromo
Good God.  That premiere was everything I was hoping for and beyond.  You know when a show/movie/book is so good and really hits you, and you wake up the next morning still thinking about it?  That was my reaction to this.  Suddenly I am looking forward to Tuesday night television.

That Ant-Man preview, on the other hand … not so much.  I’ve been using the term “meh” a lot lately, but when things are so meh that they evoke no other response in you, you have no choice but to MEH all over the place.  And Ant-Man was legit meeehhhh.  Is this movie supposed to be serious and grim?  That’s the impression I got from the teaser trailer (also, side note, what the hell is a “teaser trailer,” anyway?  How is it any different from a standard trailer?  Film people, help me out).  And if it IS supposed to be serious and grim, with the occasional bit of humor, and you cast a guy like Paul Rudd as the lead, then … uh … you’re doing it wrong.  I wasn’t particularly inclined to see this movie anyway, and the teaser did not do its job to change that.

Oh well.  Agent Carteeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!


Vacation Catch-Up: Thor, Sensation Comics, & More

I’ve spent the last week taking it easy during the holidays and doing my best to catch up on my reading stack.  In the past few days, I have brought myself up to speed on a few titles and some 40 issues of:

Justice League – Meh.  Just … meh.  I wish I could offer something more on this title, but it’s leaving me bored.  Might be time to drop it from my pull list soon, but I’ll finish the current arc first.

Gotham Academy – I hate to say this because I was hoping for so much more, but the writing on this title has let me down.  It’s not BAD—it’s just … a little slow?  The pacing is dragging for me.  And it’s perfectly reasonable that many others would love the type of story they’re telling in Gotham Academy, but for me personally, it’s not hitting.  I anticipated giving the book at least the first full arc to grab me, but I think I already know that it’s not going to fit.  And that’s really a shame, because I LOVE the artwork on this book.  Karl Kerschl’s style is so clean and so lively, and even more exciting when you throw on Geyser and Dave McCaig’s incredible colors—I wanted so badly to fall in love with this book.  But I’m just … not.

Hawkeye – Umm … so, this title is coming back, right?  Because I need this title.  This title has to exist.

Phil Noto's variant cover for the February issue of Inhuman.

Phil Noto’s variant cover for the February issue of Inhuman.

Black Widow – Natasha/X-23 team-up?  Yes, please.  More, please.  Also, my goodness, I cannot explain my love for Phil Noto in any sufficient way for others to fathom.  He is just … I can’t.  I love his work so much, it’s unlike anything else.  I can’t compare him to anyone.  And Marvel just announced that they’re releasing a month’s worth of Phil Noto variant covers in February, which means I’m trouble and will be buying way more titles that month than I need to be….

Thor – LOVE.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.  Three issues in and I am OBSESSED with this book.  Everything about it is solid; the writing is spectacular, the artwork is a delight, the colors are captivating.  There is nothing more I could possibly want from this, and I’m so excited for the next issue.

Superman/Wonder Woman – This title was actually fairly decent under Charles Soule—it was better than what I was expecting, and Tony Daniel’s art was crisp and lovely.  But Tomasi’s first issue as of #13 made this book take a giant nose-dive for me, and Mahnke’s artwork is just not my cup of tea.  Wonder Woman’s characterization continues to suffer greatly since the New 52—I don’t know who that person is, but she’s not my Wonder Woman.  But that in itself is a topic for a whole other discussion.

Sensation Comics – This book.  This book is …  just about the only thing keeping my DC fandom afloat at this point.  If post-New 52 Wonder Woman is wrong, then Sensation Comics Wonder Woman is everything RIGHT and everything she should be.  Reading this title is this massive dose of nostalgia, which is kind of weird, right?  Because how can something brand new with different, alternative takes on a character make you feel nostalgic toward said character?  It does, so very much.  I’m not sure I’d do it proper credit in trying to explain, except to say that it’s very clear each writer and artist gets Wonder Woman.  They get her and they love her, and that comes through so obviously in every story—which, I’m sad to say, is not the case in her actual title or in pretty much any other DC book she’s currently in.  It’s a tragic state of affairs.  But if, like me, you want the Wonder Woman you loved before the New 52 destroyed everything she was and everything she stood for, then pick up Sensation Comics.  You won’t regret it.


Quickie Post: OGNs All Day Long

It is really, really difficult to get back into the routine of making posts when you haven’t actually made a post in … forever.  That said, I have been asked/harassed/lamented at repeatedly lately to post something—anything—so I’m just going to talk with the hope that something semi-worth reading comes out.  So, here’s what’s been going on with me.

I’ve been buying a number of OGNs and trades lately.  My most recent purchases:

level up

Of these three, I first finished Level Up, which was completely wonderful and I can’t recommend highly enough.  This is the only work of Gene Luen Yang’s that I’ve read so far; I’m told I need to get American Born Chinese.  Excited to read the other two books in the photo soon.

himtwbcop

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet Liz and Randy from How i Made the World.  They are, of course, super nice and a pleasure to talk to.  As you can see, I also managed to snag a copy of Becky Cloonan’s gorgeous and haunting By Chance or Providence while I was at the shop for the signing.  Liz and Randy have been doing a few of them around New England, but if you haven’t had a chance to meet them and/or pick up their great comic book, they’ll be at Boston Comic Con this coming weekend.  I will also be there roaming the floor and waiting in lines—send me a message if you’re going and want to say hello.

I just read this good, short interview with Gail Simone (who will be at the con as well) on CBR about the upcoming Sensation Comics, which makes me soooooooooo out-of-my-mind happy.

There’s a ton of other stuff I want to rant talk about—my excitement over the upcoming new Thor book, Gal Gadot in the Wonder Woman costume, Dan Slott’s hideous decimation of Black Cat in Amazing Spider-Man—but I just wanted to post a quickie for now.  Perhaps those things will be topics for later.  We’ll see whether or not I can get back into the swing of this.

So, lastly, my battle against my pile of floppy comics continues; I made a post on CBR about it last week. Go read that, too. (Please?)

x


Advance Review: How i Made the World #1

HiMtW CoverI was lucky enough to get an advance copy of the upcoming first issue of How i Made the World, the Xeric Award-winning independent comic by Liz Plourde and Randy Michaels.

Check out my review of the book here on Comic Should Be Good.  And you can learn more about Liz & Randy’s project on their website and Facebook page.

It’s always good to support indie titles, but this one’s a little closer to my heart–Liz & Randy are from the New England area, using an area publisher, and are customers of yours and my favorite LCS.  Their book will be listed in this week’s Previews and will be released in June, so give them a look!


The Women of Marvel Own NYCC

Some cool female-focused stuff came out of NYCC this weekend.  DC announced that Stephanie Brown is finally making her return to the DCU, and while I want to be over the moon about this, I’m keeping my guard up.  As the New 52 has taught me over and over again, these aren’t the characters I love, but some horribly mangled iterations of them, so I can’t let myself get too excited about Steph just yet.  Not until … I see her.

That said, Marvel took the cake as far as announcements that make me happy.  We already heard a couple of weeks ago that Charles Soule is writing a new She-Hulk book.  As if that weren’t great enough, we’re also getting new Elektra and Black Widow solo titles, and a relaunched Captain Marvel.  That’s on top of the female-centric X-Men and Fearless Defenders books, to boot.

Soule She-HulkDeconnick Captain Marveldmonson Black WidowWells Elektra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This reader is very happy indeed.

Except … I did notice something kind of weird.

  • From Stephen Wacker’s Captain Marvel interview on CBR:  “Carol is sort of a blank slate coming out of the recent ‘Enemy Within’ storyline.  So she’s back to trying to find a place for herself.”
  • From Nathan Edmonson’s Black Widow Interview on CBR:  “Without giving too many of our plot turns away, Natasha is a character driven by atonement.  She’s a hero now, but she was a villain, and a dirty one.”
  • From Zeb Wells’ Elektra Inverview on Newsarama:  “Elektra’s in a dark place […] The series will be about her journey to find meaning and maybe start clawing her way towards redemption.”

Is it just me or does that all sound vaguely the same?  That all of these characters are essentially lost and/or trying to make up for who they are or once were?  Particularly regarding Black Widow and Elektra, haven’t we already read these stories of attempted redemption over and over again?  Isn’t it about time those characters get over that trope and move onto something else?

I’m not condemning these titles; in fact I can’t wait to pick them all up.  But I am wary of the possibility of reading something that’s rehashed and stale.  I have a relatively high level of trust in these writers, though, so I guess we’ll find out next year.

  • On the flip side, here’s what Charles Soule had to say about his She-Hulk “She absolutely has problems, just like most of the heroes of the Marvel U, but she chooses to approach them with optimism and good spirit rather than surrendering to the grim and gritty.”

Kind of leaves you with the exact opposite feeling from the others, doesn’t it?  I know which title I’m most looking forward to in 2014.


Quickie: Some Things That Are Happening

Just a quick post–

  • As I’m sure you’ve already heard, Ben Affleck was cast as Batman in the upcoming Superman/Batman movie.  And as I said on Twitter this morning, if you’ve seen Man of Steel or any other Zack Snyder movie, I think Ben Affleck should be the least of our worries.  But the haters are out in full force—there are already petitions popping up demanding a re-cast.  Which, is some legit crazy news, right?  Petitions are for important things, like GMO labeling and putting an end to fracking and building a fully operational Death Star.I have to admit, though, that I love it when stuff like this happens, because then the Internet all comes together on a unified quest for utter hilarity that, strangely, kind of renews my faith that everything in general will be okay.  Besides—I remember hearing some uproar back when Heath Ledger was cast as the Joker, and look how that turned out.  (I mean, aside from the real-life stuff.)

    Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for that Wonder Woman movie.

  • Speaking of fan rage, Lobo’s getting a redesign!  He’s all New 52’d up—wanna see?  Calm down, though, guys—it’s going to be okay.  Remember what I said above.  Personally, I can’t say I mind this at all, and given what they did to the likes of Amanda Waller and Starfire and Cheshire however many others, it’s only fair the boys should suffer some.  I wonder if DC will actually let this stick.
  • Natalie Dormer is joining The Hunger Games as Cressida.  Woo!  I don’t have much to say about this other than I’m super happy about it.

All right, kids.  Hope everyone has a great weekend.  I’ve been stuck indoors all week at work and/or at home binge-watching seasons of Master Chef; now I’m going to spend the weekend out in the sunshine as much as possible.

xx R


Comics Beat: Denver Comic Con 2013, Jimenez, Perez, Fradon, Kelly Find Wonder Woman ‘Problematic’

Comics Beat did a summary of a really interesting Wonder Woman panel discussion at Denver Comic Con:  http://comicsbeat.com/on-the-scene-denver-comic-con-2013-jimenez-perez-fradon-kelly-find-wonder-woman-problematic/

My favorite piece of this, when talking about adapting Wonder Woman for TV/film:  “In [Phil] Jimenez’s reading of Wonder Woman stories, he sees a figure from whom humanity can learn a great deal, but in proposed adaptations, she has always been reconfigured as a character who needs to learn from humanity.  It’s a fundamental problem, he felt, that dilutes the character’s strengths.”

FRIGGING BINGO.

Many more great points there, so check out the article.

 

 


Updates for a Monday

Hey, gang.  As I’m sure you know by now, Boston Comic Con was in fact forced to cancel at the last minute, due to the manhunt that took place in Boston and the neighboring area on Friday.  My understanding is that the organizers of the con are hoping to be able to reschedule, and ask for everyone’s patience and understanding as they work toward this.  On the bright side, many guests of the con who had already flown in wound up at various other sites on Saturday, such as Comicazi, signing and sketching for free.  I wasn’t able to go to any of these, but I hope some of you did—if you were there and feel like writing to me about how it was, drop me a line and I’ll post your thoughts on the blog.

Some quick updates on what’s happening in my world:

PAX2013

Some of the swag I picked up at PAX East 2013.

Attended:  PAX East, where I got to play a bunch of games, attend panels, and score swag.

Played:  Injustice: Gods Among Us on the PS3.  I’m about 85% of the way through Story Mode.  Unfortunately at this point, I would not recommend spending the $60 for this title.  While the gameplay itself isn’t bad, the story and overall delivery is some of the poorest I have ever come across in a video game.  If you’re really intent on checking it out, give it a bit of time for the price to drop and just play Versus.  I kind of wish I had taken those three hours playing this game over the weekend and spent them reading comics instead.

Currently Reading:  Hawkguy, catching up on Fables trades, and my usual round of weekly webcomics.  If you aren’t reading JL8, you’re missing out something huge.  Also just picked up A Song of Ice and Fire paperbacks and hope to start making my way through those, because I’m …

… Watching:  Game of Thrones.  Obsessively.

Working on:  My next post for CSBG; wedding planning; day job.

Speaking of which … back to work I go.  ‘Til next time.


Princeless Volume 2, #1

I was on my lunch break from the day job late last year when I first picked up Princeless at a comic shop near my work.  I didn’t know anything about the book, creative team, or publisher at all prior to that day—at most I had heard some negligible rumblings about the title on the internet somewhere, maybe Twitter—but when I saw it on the shelf in front of me, I figured I may as well give it a quick flick.

That flick turned into reading about half the issue off the shelf, and I had such a smile on my face and was laughing so much in the middle of the store that I knew I had to just buy the comic.  That was $3.99 I did not plan on spending that day, on a completely unheard of book—not my usual purchasing style.  In retrospect, I’m so very glad I did buy it, because I enjoyed the book so much that I wound up writing a short review of it on this blog … and that minor but emphatic little review was somehow, to my incredible surprise, discovered by Jeremy Whitley, the writer of Princeless, who contacted me with his thanks.  Later on, when I found myself struggling to find the remaining issues of Princeless (low awareness of the title meant low order numbers, meant zero shelf copies for me to grab), I still had a way to read it through Jeremy.  I did eventually get my hands on hard copies of each issue (thank you to the friendly staff at New England Comics), and when the mini was over, I had a timer set for when the next volume and continuation of the story would arrive.

Princeless v2

That next volume is finally here, and I was all too happy to find my review copy patiently waiting for me in my inbox.

 

The first thing I noticed about volume 2 is that the series has a new artist.  Where M. Goodwin held art duties for the first iteration of the series, here we have Emily C. Martin illustrating Adrienne, Bedelia, Sparky, and the rest of the cast upon their return.  Martin definitely has her own style—I noticed the art was different before looking at the title page—but it blends in really well to what came before.  It’s not a drastic shift in art by any means.  One of my pet peeves when it comes to comics, but something that comes with the territory, is when a fill-in artist’s style is so radically different from the main art you’ve settled into on a book.  It can be jarring.  This isn’t the case here—the change is subtle, and that same great expression and color that we got with the first volume is still intact.

The story picks up more or less right where it left off, with Princess Adrienne & Co. on the run, except that we now learn Adrienne’s father has recruited quite a … let’s call them “eclectic” band of men to hunt down what he sees as his daughter’s attempted killer.  The prize for whoever captures this fiend’s head, of course, is the hand in marriage of any of the King’s daughters.  Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Adrienne’s brother Devin overhears his father’s proposal and pleads with his mother to put a stop to it all.  Her reaction is not what you would expect … or, then again, maybe it is exactly that.  I’m not sold on what’s really happening here, and I’ll let you read the scene for yourself to see what I mean.

The best parts of the issue, unsurprisingly, are the scenes with Adrienne and Bedelia, and I was pleased to see this issue continue the same level of humor and satire as in the previous volume.  We’re also introduced to a handful of new characters, not the least of which occurs on the final page of the issue.  I can’t wait to see where it goes, because I’m betting it’s going to be hilarious.  Sometimes when I’m reading this title, I forget that it’s an all-ages book and really meant for a younger audience, because there’s still so much here to play with as an adult.  It’s pure fun.

Princeless volume 2, #1 is available for pre-order from Previews, so if you’re interested in checking this out, it’s really important that you take a moment to order it with your LCS.  I’m guessing it will likely be available on Comixology as well.  Great independents like this absolutely need our support.  Remember the feeling of utter exhaustion and cynicism you felt after putting down an issue of Marvel/DC’s 698th Event this year?  Remember that feeling?  Yeah—Princeless won’t give you that.

 

Press Release

Action Lab Entertianment is proud to present the return of 2012 Glyph Winner for Best Heroine, Princess Adrienne!  Last year’s breakout all-ages hit, Princeless is finally making its way back into your comic shops and this time it’s bringing more action, more adventure, and a rogue’s gallery of deadly bounty hunters with their sights set on Adrienne and her new friend Bedelia!

Having saved herself from her own tower, Adrienne is now out to save her sisters, starting with her sister Angelica, the most beautiful girl in the whole kingdom.  However, Adrienne is about to learn that rescuing princesses is not as easy as she’s always believed and that not everybody has the same ideas about what it means to be saved as she does!

Princeless Volume 1 was nominated for two Eisner awards including “Best Series for Ages 8-12” and “Best Single Issue.”  It also won the Glyph Awards for “Best Heroine,” “Best Writer,” and “Best Story.”  It has been nominated for a number of other awards and is one of the best reviewed books of 2011-2012.

Join Writer Jeremy Whitley and Illustrator Emily C. Martin for a second wild ride with the princess who saved herself and pre-order “Princeless Volume 2, Issue 1” from Diamond today!  Order code:  STK522144


A new column?

Well, that’s the theory, anyway.

Head on over to the Comics Should Be Good blog at Comic Book Resources for some new material by yours truly.

And as always, thank you for reading!


These things are important because I like them.

Guess what, guys?!  I read, like, twelve comics last week!  That is HUGE for me!  Stuff is really happening!

Here are some things I wanted to share with you until my next post:

The incredible Phil Noto did a staggeringly awesome cover for Journey into Mystery featuring Sif and you need to see it.

Noto Sif JiM

Gorgeous!

Next, more awesomeness:  Peter V. Nguyen’s new DC women print is here and, uh, wow.  It’s too big to embed here and I didn’t want to re-size or scrunch it up, so check it out in full-size glory at the link.

Also, if you followed the 2012 Olympics at all, you might find this as hilarious as I did.  I am totally buying this cover.

 

Finally, one thing I’ve been meaning to mention again since back in July is a project called How i Made the World.  You LGUTMmay recall I linked to the comic earlier this year as an “honorable mention” in the list of web stuff I’d been following.  The artist of the comic, Randy Michaels, was kind enough to send me some of his and writer Liz Plourde’s material that was published in an anthology called Lies Grown Ups Told Me.  That collection wound up winning a Stumptown Comic Arts Award for Best Anthology.  It’s some pretty great stuff, and if you can get your hands on a copy (it seems the print run was low, so that might be a task), I’d highly recommend the read.

But the even better news is that Randy and Liz were awarded the Xeric Grant in July.  They write on their website:

We’d discussed applying for a Xeric grant since we first began work on How i Made the World.  When we heard there would be one final comic book review, we knew we had to apply.  Yet, we also knew the competition would be fierce.  Entries from throughout the U.S. and Canada are judged on “originality, literary and artistic merit, and a sense of commitment to the work.”  […]  Today, we’re thrilled to announce we are the recipients of a 2012 Xeric Award.  The grant is to be used for the printing, advertising, and distribution of our comic book, the pilot issue of How i Made the World.  We’ve enjoyed the comic books of past Xeric recipients for years.  They are among the most entertaining and innovative independent comic books being published, and they are often included in Houghton Mifflin’s annual The Best American Comics.  We’re deeply honored to be among those recognized by the foundation.  We’ll be working on the final stages of our comic and preparing it for press in the coming months.  Stay tuned!  This is only the beginning.

So here’s a late congrats to the team, and I look forward to reading more!

 

 


O Captain! My Captain!

As you may have guessed, my fights with Captain Couch haven’t been going so well lately.  He has, in fact, gotten so full of himself and his winning ways, that he’s passed on his torch of torment to a new adversary, Lieutenant L.L. Seat.

… In other words, I have a new sofa.

The battles are frequent.  It’s a whole new weightclass, here.  I’m just no match.  Please forgive my absence—it can take a while to get over these injuries.

I’ve talked about my comics backlog a few times, and I’ve always hesitated to show you just how truly grotesque the situation has become, but I can hold back no longer.  It’s time to unveil the horror.

Feast your eyes upon 209 unread comics:

Backlog

I tried to break them up into three piles to subdue the overwhelming magnitude a little, so in actuality, this doesn’t do it justice.  We’re talking several years of stuff, here.  Whole runs of things I’ve picked up and never gotten around to reading—things as far back as Daytripper, half a run of House of Mystery, and the final issues of Secret Six I never finished.  I KNOW, okay?!  I know.  I know.

By the way, this isn’t counting all the trades I have piled up.  I’d estimate probably another two dozen unread collected editions of things.

It’s pretty bad.

But I make this post for a reason!  There is method to this madness!  I have every intention to catch up, starting this weekend.  And I’m going to be taking notes … oh, copious notes.  Notes I will share on all the crazy comics crap I’ve been missing.  Perhaps by announcing it to you before I actually do it, I’ll scare and pressure myself into action.  Get ‘er done, as they say.

Let’s hope there’s far more good than there is crap in the pile.  Cross your fingers for me.  And keep reading.

Oh—one more thing.  Look for these upcoming new posts in a somewhat unexpected place.

More later.

xx R


It’s the Return of Catwoman the Contortionist

DC released their September solicitations this week, and the cover for Catwoman #0 has born reactions that are nothing short of hysterically funny.  Check out this slideshow of mockery that had me just guffawing, the tears streaming down my face.  I’d considered posting my own reaction to the obscene ridiculousness of the cover, but then there are plenty others who have already summed it up, and so eloquently, too.

I almost feel bad for Guillem March.  I’m not sure the anger is really warranted toward him; if anything, the blame and frustration should be placed on the editor who OK’d this.  That editor was not doing their job … or, perhaps this is exactly what they believe their job to be—to spurn enough fury to get the Internet talking, bringing attention to this book, getting Catwoman “out there.”  For all the unbelievably wrong reasons, of course.

But in a week that has seen some other depressing things and disgusting behavior toward women, there’s still at least one thing to celebrate.

Apologies for the massive linkage, but in lieu of reviews this week, this is some important reading.


And Then This Happened

GambitYou may remember when I confessed my disappointment upon meeting Clay Mann during Boston Comic Con a few months ago.  I didn’t go into any detail other than to say that I walked away feeling let down, and left it there.  But as it turns out, and as anyone smarter than me could evidently have told you, there’s not much you can say on the Internet that won’t eventually be discovered.  As such, Clay Mann found me.  And he messaged me.  And he apologized.  It was extraordinarily kind—not to mention unexpected—and has certainly given me a much different perspective on the experience I had.  And I just wanted to share that with you all, because he’s a stand-up guy, and doesn’t deserve to be thought of otherwise due to something I may have written here.

You may or may not know that Clay is working on a new Gambit title that was announced recently.  And while Gambit is far from being one of my favorite characters (I’m probably in the fangirl minority there), I’ll still give this book a shot, because one of its creators was kind enough to reach out to a disheartened fan.  That should mean a lot.

Thanks, Clay.


Craig Davison Art

My last post talked about what a badass Greg Rucka is; if you still need some convincing, here’s a fantastic essay he wrote for io9.  Revel in its triumph.

To follow up on that awesomeness, this week I discovered (through a friend) the magical art of Craig Davison.  Who is Craig Davison, you ask?  Why, he’s this guy!  And his art is beautiful and moving.  I want to buy some gigantic framed prints and hang them throughout my house.  Check these out:

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Tell me those aren’t inspiring?  There are many other great ones, as well.  Princess Leia with the hairdryer?  Brilliance.

I haven’t been reading very many new comics lately.  Marvel’s latest event, AvX, coupled with DC’s newest crossover, Court of Owls, is leaving me a little disinterested and disengaged, so I’ve taken to working through some old trades and hardcovers I’ve picked up over the last few months and neglected.  I just finished the first three volumes of Brubaker’s Death of Captain America saga—good stuff.  So good, in fact, that despite already knowing the major plot and ending, I’m still engrossed.  That is the mark of an excellent writer.  Still left in my reading stack is the newest volume of Chew; Marjane Satrapi’s The Sigh; two volumes of Gotham City Sirens; Terry Moore’s complete Echo, and so much more.  I’m having trouble deciding what to read in what order.

Final item—there’s a fun little shoutout to good ol’ Worcester, MA in this week’s The Line it is Drawn on CBR.  See if you can spot it.

That’s all for today—have a great week, and read good comics.


Just a Small Part of Why I Love Greg Rucka

I read this today and just had to share.  Greg Rucka has always been one of my favorite writers; I started reading Elektra because of him, and his Wonder Woman run still can’t be beat in my eyes.  I’m an avid follower of his web comic, Lady Sabre & the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether, as well as various other projects and minis.

So when I came across this piece of badassery, it just further cemented my loyalty to this incredible writer.

You tell them, Greg Rucka!

Also, here’s a somewhat related supplemental reading, if you feel like.  Definitely worth checking out.


Boston Comic Con 2012

Oh, man.  Hello, all!  Hello, home computer!  I’ve missed you so!  By now I’m sure my usual “I’m so busy, oh my God, I never have time, what is the meaning of life if I can’t read comics, I’m trying to post more I SWEAR” rant has gotten insanely old.  So let’s just skip right on over that.

I’ve been wanting to talk about Boston Comic Con for weeks.  I went several Saturdays ago, and it was a blast.  Even better than last year, and so much fun despite a much larger crowd.  First things first—a huge thank you to the organizers who put this on, as they continue to outdo themselves year after year—and congrats for knocking it out of the park.  Last year was awesome, this year was amazing.  My expectations are already set for 2013.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  Here’s the skinny.

For me, comics shows are more about getting to meet creators and interact with people, and less about scrounging for merchandise or sitting in panels.  I got to meet Jeremy Bastian, Katie Cook, Phil Noto, Jimmy Cheung, Peter Nguyen, Clay Mann, and Cliff Chiang, among a bunch of other people, and some I didn’t get the chance to talk to, like Scottie Young and Stephanie Buscema, whom I’m so sad to have missed.  Then there’s the few people bowed out—like Brian Azzarello, Amanda Conner, and Phil Jimenez, but that’s okay because it was still amazing even without them.  I probably wouldn’t have known what to say to Brian Azzarello anyway—the guy seems like he’d be kind of intimidating in person.  And meeting Amanda Conner might have easily charmed me enough to crack my moral conviction not to purchase Before Watchmen, so … you know, at least I’ve still got that going.

At this point I honestly can’t remember what booths I went to or who I met in what order, so I’m just gonna run through this thing.

Jeremy Bastian!  He was awesome and super nice in person.  I bought a sketchbook from him and he gave me a free pin with the Cursed Pirate Girl on it.  I told him how much I loved the first volume and wondered about the second, and he said it was still unfortunately a ways off—which, considering how incredibly detailed his art is, doesn’t bother me one bit.  I would wait forever for him, his stuff is that stunning.  He pulled out a portfolio and showed me some finished pages (which look awesome!), and I was totally flattered that he even let me see.  I told him I was very excited for more Cursed Pirate Girl and he seemed genuinely thankful.  And he’s so humble.  He’s a totally cool guy.  Guests like him make the con.

Katie Cook’s table was beside Jeremy’s, and she is equally as nice and super funny.  She was cracking jokes at her own expense left and right.  She is

Evey & V

Cosplay at Boston Comic Con

hilarious on Twitter and I told her so—yeah, I kind of gushed. I’m a fangirl, I can’t help it.  I told her how much I love Gronk, and I bought a copy of the book from her which collects the first volume of Gronk strips in color.  She was also doing these little playing-card-sized watercolor sketches of various characters, and I grabbed one with Robin on it that says “Sidekick” with him looking all sad.  It’s SO CUTE and might be my favorite thing I got at the con, which is saying something.

Clay Mann.  I can’t begin to say how excited I was to meet him; his art, specifically his X-Men, more specifically his Rogue, has been a favorite of mine.  Knowing he was a guest was a major part of the reason why I went to the con at all despite being in the middle of a move.  I put a stop to my schedule and came out to see this artist, because he took the time out to come see us.  I thought it would be amazing to get a sketch and tell him what his work has meant to me.

We met.  It was disappointing.

Actually, it was kind of devastating.  I debated whether or not I wanted to get into specifics here, but in the end, I’m not going to badmouth the guy.  I walked away from his table feeling pretty sad.  Not all creators treat their fans the same.  I’ll leave it at that.

So at this point I’m walking around still trying to process the … experience I just had.  And I was sad.  And I wondered if I was just completely wasting my time there.

That was until Phil Noto.  Oh my goodness, Phil Noto.  Stan Sakai has a rep for being the nicest guy in comics, but I’m thinking Phil Noto could give him a run for his money, and I totally gushed over him.  I praised his wonderful X-23 work, and mentioned how I had the chance to meet Marjorie Liu a couple of months earlier, and how she had nothing but wonderful things to say about him.  I was DYING for a commission from him, but his list was full.  He asked if I was going to be there Sunday, and unfortunately I wasn’t, so I couldn’t get anything from him.  I told him I’d buy a print instead in that case (he had this gorgeous one on the table), and as I grabbed my wallet he was like “No, don’t worry about it, you can have it.”  He felt bad that he couldn’t get me a sketch and so gave me the print for free.  I was so touched and happy and amazed, and just … couldn’t believe he did that, it was so sweet.  I thanked him profusely.  He also signed an issue of Birds of Prey I’d brought with me from way back when, and drew a little Oracle on the corner of the cover.  He is the awesomest dude ever and I am even more in love with him than before.  LOVE.  He made up for my experience with Clay Mann tenfold.  Clay Mann?  Who, what?

Next up, Cliff Chiang.  His commission list was also maxed out.  Apparently it got full within fifteen minutes of the start of the con—no chance.  I bought a print from him as well, chatted a very small bit, and that was it.  He looked incredibly busy and as a huge line was forming behind me, I didn’t hang out for long.  Very nice guy, though.  I admitted to him that the current Wonder Woman has been difficult for me to follow, but he asked me to stick with it, and I said I would for the time being.  He’s kind of hard to say no to—his art, and his Wonder Woman, are beautiful to me.

Jimmy Cheung.  Commission list:  full.  Another miss, but I had him sign a Young Avengers trade for me as well as the first issue of Children’s Crusade.  I asked him if he was sick of drawing the Young Avengers yet, and he warmly said no and that he was happy to continue drawing them so long as they keep assigning him.  He was very soft spoken and sweet, and had a lovely accent.  He asked if I’d read all of Children’s Crusade and if I’d enjoyed it, which I told him I did tremendously.  At which point my Fiancé decided to leap in and say something along the lines of “You should know how high a compliment that is, because she’s a harsh critic.”  Jimmy was like “Is that true, are you tough?” and I must have turned red with embarrassment when I responded with … “Umm … no, I don’t think I’m that tough,” only to be further called out by Fiancé.

Batgirl Com

Batgirl by Peter Nguyen

At the next table over to Jimmy was Peter Nguyen, who apparently listened to this whole exchange, because I looked over and saw him laughing.  We spoke to him and his commission list was … OPEN!  I got him to draw me a Batgirl, which was framed and hung up on a wall immediately upon arrival home.  It’s beautiful.  Peter was super nice and so cool and funny.  Fiancé also bought a gorgeous print from him of Zatanna and Black Canary (which I have already stolen).  Thank you, Peter—the con wouldn’t have been the same without you.

The final bit I want to touch on is none other than the great guys over at Firetower Studios.  As you all know, I have been a huge fan and unwavering supporter of one of their books, Princeless by Jeremy Whitley.  Well, I had the opportunity to meet Jeremy Strutz, who illustrates another one of Firetower’s books called The Order of Dagonet, also written by Jeremy Whitley.  As a thank you for my reviews, Jason did a wonderful Princeless commission for me, which you can see here.  Jason is very kind and I enjoyed talking with him and looking through his sketchbook.  He signed a copy of Dagonet for me, and then it was time for me to go.  What a great ending to the con.

Of course, I have failed to mention many other great things about Boston Comic Con this year.  For instance, there was a lot of fun cosplay—my favorites were Evey Hammond and V.  I got to meet Renae de Liz, otherwise known as the woman behind Womanthology.  The team at Nerd Caliber had a charity booth going for Child’s Play.  And best of all, I got my picture taken with Batman.

What more could a fangirl want?


Image

Wednesday Haul

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Just a couple of comics today; picking up the rest at the weekend (which, FYI, I’ll be working a rare shift at the shop this Saturday, so swing on by!). Excited for the debut of SAGA from Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples at Image, and picked up a copy of Princeless I was missing. When I get sad about this industry, these are the things that remind me why I looooovvvvveee cccooommmiiiicccsss!


More Fuel for the Depressing Fire

Misery loves company, and for women in comics, it seems that their magazine counterparts have got it just as bad.  According to this article from Think Progress, America’s top magazines do just as horrendous a job of hiring ladies as the comic book industry does.  There’s some nifty pie charts there as well, illustrating the female/male ratios per publication.  Pretty ridiculous stuff we’re looking at here.  Let’s see … 165 females to 459 males?  Really, The New Yorker?

The article brings up thoughts that are only all-too-familiar:

Because really, the only answer here is not that these publications can’t find women. It’s that they don’t really care if they do or not. These numbers, and the annual discussion of them, seem to have succeeded in making a lot of female journalists and readers angry and frustrated, but they don’t appear to have made editors feel ashamed, much less called to action. And I’m not quite sure what it would take to persuade them to shake off their lethargy and acceptance of the status quo, which really means accepting sexism.

I wonder where I’ve heard/felt/read/written this before.

And hey–did you know that the new Avengers movie trailer came out today?  It’s completely awesome, of course.  But then I look at it and inevitably start counting … one female Avenger.

It’s Wednesday afternoon, and through a girl’s eyes, the world in which I live appears particularly hostile today.


“All we need to do is make sure we keep talking….”

Heeeyyyyyy!  Guess who has had no time to write things?  ME!  Guess who is not at all surprised by this, (I bet)?  YOU!

So rather than do a legit review, I’m just going to talk about anything and nothing … because I would rather make a jabbering post than no post at all.  You’re more than welcome to talk back.

 

So I’ve caught up on the last two issues of Rachel Rising, and oh crap, is Terry Moore freaking me out.  I thought issues 1-3 were creepy … until I read 4 and 5 over the weekend and was taken to a new level of disturbed.  I hope you all are reading this book.  You should have no trouble finding it at That’s E, and as much as I hate promoting digital comics, it was just newly added to Comixology with issue 1 priced at 99 cents, so you have no excuses not to at least try it.  Outside of The Walking Dead, I typically shy away from stuff like this, so the fact I’m still on board here (especially after seeing the cover to issue 9*shudder*), says a lot.

Fatale #2Another AWESOME book I started reading is Ed Brubaker’s Fatale, about which I cannot say enough good things.  Wow.  These are some great comics being made.  When I start to get depressed about stupid gimmicky junk out there, I pick up books like this and my sanity eventually returns.

Speaking of Ed Brubaker and/or, for that matter, gimmicky junk—does Winter Soldier fall into that category?  I haven’t gotten my hands on it yet, but if Brubaker’s name is on the cover, I can’t imagine it will be bad.  Despite my UTTER HATRED of how they handled Bucky’s “death” in Fear Itself, he’s a great character, and I’m excited to read this new title.

 

All right.  That’s enough about the guys.  Let’s talk about the wimmins.

Did you all read Kelly Thompson’s fantastic article on Comics Should be Good?  Because it’s very, very important that you do.  Check it out here.  Please.

I hear that Mera kicks all kinds of ass in this week’s issue of Aquaman.  This makes me happy.

WOMANTHOLOGY!  I preordered my copy last week and I’m soooooo excited to get my hands on it!  If you have not heard about it, this is a record-breaking Kickstarter grassroots project about women, by women, for everyone.  And it’s going to be phenomenal.  Click the link just there, or check out their Twitter page.

Lastly, even though everyone and their mom has already linked to this, I’m going to link to it, too!  A new trailer for Pixar’s Brave is out, and IT IS AWESOME:  http://spinoff.comicbookresources.com/2012/02/23/new-trailer-poster-for-brave/

Move aside, boys, move aside.

 

That’s all I have this week—check in again soon for more talk about stuff and things.  And in the meantime, you know, comment or e-mail.  It’s fun and I don’t bite that hard.

Have a great weekend, all.
xx R

 


Marjorie Liu at Pandemonium Books

Yeah, that was pretty awesome.

So I went to this signing at Pandemonium Books in Cambridge last night.  I found out about it kind of last-minute (good thing I finally signed up to Twitter) and was looking for someone to come with me, which no one did because my friends are lame and don’t like to drive out to Cambridge.  Lucky for me, I happen to work in this lovely city, so I’m here every weekday whether I want to be or not.  Last night was one of those rare occasions I actually wanted to be here.  I mean, I even stayed at work for an extra half hour for the opportunity to meet Marjorie.  That’s dedication (right?).

I got to Central Square and I basically had no idea where I was going.  I’d never been to Pandemonium Books before, and for some reason I was expecting this gigantic, Borders-like book store, which could not be further from what I actually found.  It’s a tiny little thing just around a corner off Mass Ave.—not bad tiny, but more like cozy tiny (although it appears they do have a good gaming space downstairs that I didn’t check out), and when I walked in, I was immediately greeted by the kind gentleman behind the counter who asked me if I was there for the signing.

M. Liu signing at Pandemonium BooksI arrived incredibly early—the signing was at 7:00 and I’d gotten there at about 6:15, so I spent some time perusing the shelves and feeling a little awkward.  A table of Marjorie’s books was set up in the middle of the floor, with a little over a dozen chairs lined up facing it.  Let me reiterate—this place is small.  It was a small setup.  So while my brain was expecting some sort of grand assembly beforehand, when I walked in and realized we’d all be breathing down her neck, I admittedly got kind of nervous.  I’m more of a “hang back” type of person when I go to these things—sit in the middle of the pack, keep quiet, and just wait to get up to the table to get my book signed.  No nonstop chitchat from me, no hassling the creator—at most I may ask for a picture, but that’s as far as I go.

At quarter to 7:00 when it was just me and one other girl sitting there by ourselves (in the front row, no less), what I thought was panic but actually turned out to be excitement set in.  I was admittedly concerned that no one else would show up for this thing—how terrible would that be?  Well … I was concerned up until the point Marjorie walked in, immediately began talking to us, and offered to sign our books, that I relaxed a little and thought, yeah, this is completely awesome.  Others did arrive, of course, but it was still a tight-knit group, and very relaxed atmosphere—so much so that I broke my “keep quiet” attitude and asked a couple of questions.

Marjorie is incredibly sweet, fun to talk to (and listen to), and totally easy going.  She read a short excerpt from her new book, Within the Flames, and took Q&A about many topics, from her work with Marvel, to her novel writing, to her opinions on the DC reboot and whatever in between.  (I totally meant to ask her about her poodles, too, and I forgot.  Damn.)  Honestly, some of the Marvel stuff was a little depressing—such as hearing that her pitch for an all-female team book consisting of She-Hulk, Elektra, and Mystique was shot down because it “won’t sell.”  We all know Marvel and DC pander to teenage boys, but actually hearing that confirmed out loud by a creator leaves me kind of gutted.  Luckily there are still plenty of good things to keep me happy and excited, such as Marjorie’s upcoming run on Astonishing X-Men.  There were also plenty of other girls in the audience—girls who read comics and actually know what they’re talking about, and that’s always awesome.  We aren’t as rare as you might think.

At the end, I shook Marjorie’s hand and thanked her for taking the time to speak with us.  She sincerely thanked me for coming out, and I hopped out of the store to catch my late train home, quite tired but very happy.

And then the weirdest thing happened this morning (thank you, again, Twitter).

Apparently, none other than Mister Junot Diaz had been present in the audience with us last night.  I remember looking at him as he asked questions, thinking to myself that I’d surely seen him somewhere before… hmm… he’s sooooooo familiar?  Well, it turns out it was Mr. Diaz—a fact I only knew from reading my Twitter feed this morning where everyone basically had the same MIND BLOWN reaction I had.  Jesus—this man’s books were practically my college curriculum.  Fiesta 1980 is one of my all time favorite short stories.  Dude was in the same room with me all night and I had no clue.  The event was already awesome on its own, and I’d woken up this morning still floating a little from the high it gave me—to read about that just took it to another level.  Two for the price of one.

A great night.