This is my 50th post this year and it seems the new publication rhythm on this blog is one post about comics during the week and one link post for the weekend. And also to start with the DC news first and all the others afterwards.
Most of the stuff in this section will have lots of spoilers so if you haven't read DC's new relaunch books yet maybe you should skip it.
YOU HAVE TWO EARS AND ONE MOUTH SO YOU SHOULD SPEND TWICE AS MUCH TIME LISTENING THEN TALKING
Since some of you may be tired of reading about the relauch here are some episodes from COMICGEEK SPEAK where the usual band give their impressions about DC's New 52 Week 1 Part 1 / Part 2 , Week 2 Part 1 / Part 2 and Week 3 Part 1 / Part 2 . There is also a conversation with Cully Hamner , the new artist on WONDER WOMAN.
Of a much more visual kind are the new interviews with Grant Morrison on Action Comics , Palmiotti and Grey on All Star Western and Geff Johns even has two where he talks about his plans to fight for underdog Aquaman and make Aquaman cool . To round this up Kyle Higgins reviews Deathstroke 1 .
DC SEXES UP CATWOMAN AND STARFIRE
Okay, I'm not one to complain when comics provide a bit of reader service. In fact, I have always clamored for a Power Girl series that not only aknowledges Power Girl's stunning physique but also has an artist who can adequately portray it. I'm not denying that.
What made me go all " What the f - word ? " when the news broke is the characters they chose. I mean, seing up Catwoman and Starfire ? Really ?
Those two are not really known for being the most chaste female characters. Catwoman has always been depicted of a very attractive woman and somebody who can make Batman fall for her has some serious sex appeal. And Starfire has always been a very " healthy " and sexually active woman who had a relationship with the Boy Wonder for decades. And we all know that wasn't purely platonic, she was waxing his little batpole.
So I don't know why DC saw the need to turn them from strong, positive and sexually active women into sex objects. So far DC has gone on and on that all the new books are designed to bring in new readers but those two titles seems to be targeted more at people already reading comics than to new readers.
This whole thing just seems kind of desperate because sexing up Catwoman and Starfire is like making Batman more brooding. Like that's going to bring in thousand of new readers. Not to play the part of Cassandra here but we all know what happened the last time DC opted for eye candy over substance on a Catwoman vehicle.
Man, I'm trying to do my best not to talk about comics and boobs too much and then DC goes and does something like this. All those years when I was preaching that it's time comic companies like DC begin to make comics for their real audience - mostly guys over 20 - instead of some imagined that doesn't exist anymore......all those years clamoring for more adult comics ( and I'm not talking about adults only porn ) and NOW they listen to me ? Like always they picked the worst moment for it.
ROBOT 6 asks the question Is this is a Catwoman for 2011 ? and has an extensive collection of links on the subject, one of the best being Matt Wilson’s single - sentence review of CATWOMAN 1: “ This is a comic about a strong female character who is in her bra on about half the pages and ends up falling on the genitals of Batman by the end. ”
Deb Aoki at About.com Manga dissects the whole controversy for the manga crowd in her essay Femme Fan Fury at DC 52 : Confessions of a Former Superhero Comics Fan especially why there is such abig uproar over this kind of fanservice that is so common in mangas. It's a really indepth analysis that ponders the question if superhero comics have to be female - friendly and I like her final advice to comic readers :
As readers, we have lots of opportunities to " vote " when we buy comics that we like. Comics companies aren't out to put out sucky comics -- they are mostly interested in publishing what sells. The theory is, if you buy good comics, then comics companies will publish more good comics. If you are adventurous and pick up comics that are doing something new and different than what you normally buy, then you're telling comics publishers that you are willing to support them when they publish stuff that isn't more of the ' same ole, same ole. '
It's what I always say : if you want to change things vote with your wallet !
Fantasy author Michele Lee also has a great post in which she asks her 7 - year - old daugther about DC Comics’ sexed - up reboot of Starfire . Her daughter has a good idea why Starfire is her favorite hero and a role - model :
"She's like me. She's an alien new to the planet and maybe she doesn't always say the right thing, or know the right thing to do. But she's a good friend, and she helps people. She's strong enough to fight the bad guys, even when they hurt her. Even her sister tried to kill her, but Starfire still fights for the good side. And she helps the other heroes, like Superboy and Robin and Raven. "
" She's smart too. And sometimes she gets mad, but that's okay because it's okay to get mad when people are being mean. And she's pretty. "
It's pretty much summed up in this comic :
Keeping with the suject, Alyssa Rosenberg from THINKPROGRESS.org ponders if Feminists should give up on comics? , Noah Berlatsky from The Atlantic tells us : Don't worry, not all comics are this sexist and Tom Foss from THE FORTRESS OF SOLILOQUY provides a bit of gender equality by presenting DC Comics’ worst redhead : Terry Long .
So far the only reaction by DC in response to the Catwoman / Starfire outcry has been to tell people to pay attention to ratings . Great going, dudes !
And there's even more food for controversy : DC plans to put a new gay superhero on the TEEN TITAN book called " Bunker " ( this goes on my list of worst superhero names - ever ) and Brett White writes about DC Comics, Bunker and the current state of LGBTQ superheroes explaining what superhero comics are getting right and what superhero comics are getting wrong. I have to confess I had to google the meaning of LGBTQ ( lesbian, gay, bi - sexual, transgender and questioning youth ) since I first thought it was an acronym for some Legion of Super - Heroes thing like the LOSSH or the LOSV.
THE FIRST ONES TO LEAVE THE SINKING SHIP ?
And there are more signs for trouble as Bat Editor Janelle Asselin quits DC for Disney , Keith Giffens and Dan Jurgens replace George Perez on Superman and Pedro Angosto reports that Jesus Merino had to redraw Clark Kent to make him more geeky in SUPERMAN 1.
I'm not sure if this is just an attempt to keep this version more in line with the SUPERMAN - EARTH ONE graphic novel or that the higher ups at DC really think a sexually non - threatening mild - mannered reporter sells more comics. Although the whole EARTH ONE thing would just make things more confusing since DC has said that the relaunched books don't take place in the EARTH ONE universe and therefore don't have to fit into that continuity.
More redrawn panels here
So if all this hasn't put you off DC comics for good, and you want to know if there are any GOOD books in DC's new line - up here are the new 52 new reader litmus test week 3 , the new 52 retailer report week 3 and the new 52 pickup week 5 - decision time to inform you.
There are also new reviews of AQUAMAN 1 ( 4 stars ) , FIRESTORM 1 ( 4 stars ) , FLASH 1 ( 4 stars ) and JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK 1 ( 4 stars ) as well as new previews for AQUAMAN 1 , BLACKHAWKS 1 , HAWKMAN 1 , I VAMPIRE 1 , TEEN TITANS 1 and RED LANTERNS 2 .
For those of us who aren't new to the DC universe and who want to take a walk down memory lane in the old continuity ComicGeek Speak ranks the Top 5 DC series of all time and Pedro Angosto over at MAN OF BRONZE ( so I have two links to his blog, so what ? he's new on the blogroll ) has a brilliant overview of the different Deadman series and his appearances in the DC continuity in general. Having just read the fantastic DEADMAN series by Jose Luis Garcia Lopez this is one hell of a post although I have to warn you - it's in spanish. So far I have also read the DEAD AGAIN miniseries in which we take a guided tour of DC comics most famous deaths ( with the original artists of those famous issues providing the art ) and the Kelley Jones issues in which Deadman resembled a corpse of which I hope to do some reviews in future posts.
I'm not sure if the post - crisis Deadman Christmas story with pre - crisis is mentioned in Pedro Angosto's post but since I posted the whole story on this very blog you can read it right here
MEANWHILE IN THE REST OF THE COMIC WORLD
The Gauntlet has an article about the decline of print comics, the growth of webcomics and the flexibility, innovation and controversy of both. I think I already said all I had to say on that subject in one of my last posts so I wont bore you by repeating the same thing over and over. There is also an Alex Ross art exhibition at Andy Warhol Museum so use the links to get some info on opening hours and if you are in the area definitely check it out.
Another reading break : CBR TV has an interview with Chris Roberson on Superman, iZombie & more that's very interesting.
For many comic readers - myself included - Chris Roberson came out of nowhere and ended up on the " must read " list by universal forces too strong to be ignored. Somehow he ends up in the comics I'm already reading like in SUPERMAN, where he had the unenvyable task of finishing J.M.S. hugely unpopular GROUNDED storyline which he turned into a success. I'm not sure how much of that was still J.M.S. and how much was Roberson's writing but since I enjoyed the storyline from the beginning this was not a big issue for me anyway. To me the interesting thing was Chris Roberson coming in, taking something that wasn't his and finishing it in his own style without screwing it up.
In other cases I totally miss the series he's writing like the goriffic iZOMBIE where he's teamed up with art god Mike Allred - I didn't even know that Mike Allred was doing a new comic series. Now while my first thought was : " Oh no, not ANOTHER zombie comic. Don't we already have enough of those ? " but also I knew had to check it out because of the Allred. Yup, that's me, always with the Allred.
So I ordered the first trade and was very surprised to find a really original concept that breathes new life into the " done to death " ( pardon the pun ) zombie franchise. And more I also became invested in the main character and what's happening to the girl in the future. I won't spoil what the new twist is but after finishing the first trade I'm playing catch up. The second trade is already waiting for me at home ( hopefully together with the TITANS GAMES hardcover and the TIMEMASTERS - THE SEARCH FOR BATMAN trade ) and the third one is already scheduled. But who knows, after reding the secod trade I might even decide to put it on my pull list.
For all those who are tired of reading the same old zombie stories again and again I can really give this book my recommendation.
Another comic series written by Chris Roberson that's already under way ( in fact the third issue is the newest one ) and which somehow fell of my radar is ELRIC - THE BALANCE LOST. I somehow read about it in the initial announcement but then completely forgot about it. And that's really unexcusable for such a huge Michael Moorcock fan like me. The new 12 issue series by BOOM STUDIOS re - unites popular incarnations of the Eternal Hero like Elric, corum, Hawkmoon and other in a CRISIS like event. Interviews about the series can be found here and here as well as a 10 page preview .
And speaking about novelists turned writers, after his hugely successful Nikki Heat novels HEAT WAVE, NAKED HEAT and HEAT RISES will be turned into a feature film Rick Castle has set his sights to conquer the comic world with the first ever Richard Castle Deadly Storm graphic novel . So it seems that beside Stepehen King another bestselling autor may bring in new readers to comics. Let's see if Rick Castle has more luck than DC.
Over at Marvel one of the big things seems to be X - MEN SCHISM which promises all kind of serious fallout but since I haven't read the latest issues I can't comment on that. I have read the first 3 issues and I have to say the first issue by Carlos Pacheco and the second issue by Frank Cho really delivered. I'm not sure if the rest of the issues will still be available when I get back to Germany next week or if I will have to get the trade.
So far the most important thing connected to the whole event that's going to change the mutant landscape forever - once again - is the fact that Carlos Pacheco will be doing a monthly series. I just hope he has enough issues in the can to avoid too many fill - in artists.
And speaking about big things, while FEAR ITSELF seems to turn into another neverending story with all the tie - in series the next big thing high on the heels is going to be revealed in the new Point One anthology collecting various stories ( at least as far as I understand it ). There will be a Nova story by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuiness, an Avengers story about the imminent confrontation with Ultron by Brian Michael Bendis and Brian Hitch ( click here for Bleeding Cool's map of the Ultron War ) and here is a new Point One teaser highlighting the Defenders .
Anther book picking up momentum seems to be ULTIMATE SPIDER - MAN ( which of course was taken from my brother's pull list for no apparent reason other than it finally statred getting good ) so CBR provides a commentary track for ULTIMATE SPIDER - MAN 2 by BrianMichael Bendis which of course will have all kind of spoilers. This week's most interesting previews are Marc Silvestri's INCREDIBLE HULK 1 and SECRET AVENGERS 18 that brings Shang - Chi back into the fold. Here is the rest of the Marvel previews .
For this week's independent previews we have one for ABE SAPIEN THE DEVIL DOES NOT JEST 1 and DR WHO 9 . Just before coming to Spain I read the Hundred Penny Press edition of DR WHO 1 by Tony Lee, Andrew Currie and Tommy Lee Edwards and I really liked it. While not being overrealistic the characters were still very recognizable and reading the issue I could really hear the actor's voices in my head.
The only problem is that I'm not sure where the story continues. I'm pretty sure it's in the DR WHO - THE RIPPER trade paperback but IDW doesn't really put that information in the Hundred Penny issue. If you are interested in the DR WHO comics spend the buck and see if you like it. As with issue 9, there seems to be a different artist on it so I'll have to check it out in the comicshop.
And with the previews for INCORRUPTIBLE 22 , IRREDEMABLE tpb 7 and TERMINATOR / ROBOCOP KILL HUMAN 3 we come to the end of this week's links ( full preview list ).
Today's clip is another trailer for the upcoming CAPITAN TRUENO movie.
New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest