INTERVIEW: Gail Simone Guides 'Blockbuster Update' of Red Sonja, Vampirella and Dejah Thoris
Yep, today’s my birthday.
You can figure out how old I am by figuring out how many columns I’ve done for She Has No Head! and then subtracting ten. I WISH! Yeah, no, it’s just the number of columns…no subtraction. Man I’m old. ANYWAY…
Inspired in part by Chad Nevett’s always fun Random Thoughts and my sincere desire not to do a big serious post on my birthday…I bring you a list of 12 comics related ways in which I would like to bend the universe to my will in honor of ME. Also, some cool shit I want people to buy for me.
1. I want Cliff Chiang drawing Gail Simone’s new Birds of Prey. Because covers like this make me ache for it. ACHE for it. And while I’m asking for the world let’s just throw in the awesome Dave Stewart coloring it. Yeah, let’s make that’s #1a.
2. A monthly ongoing Heralds title – headed by Kathryn Immonen and Tonci Zonjic. In a perfect world I’d keep the same female leads (because I’m crazy for the lot of them and I think Immonen has really nailed the voices) but the reality is that Heralds could also work well with a rotating cast if you simply kept Immonen and Zonjic and “strong female leads” as the constants. Could totally work Marvel. And I would buy the shit out of that book (and probably write about it constantly). Get on it.
3. Let’s just get this one out of the way. I want a moratorium on the unzipped to somewhere below my boobs costume that is all the rage all of a sudden (and by all of a sudden I mean for the last damn year). I suppose we can still have that costume if it TRULY fits the character…off the top of my head…I can see Emma Frost doing that, maybe Poison Ivy (although it would make more sense for Ivy to just be naked or something)…but Rogue, Black Widow, Catwoman, etc. …there just aren’t character reason for these ladies to be falling out of their suits.
While we’re here and talking about this…let’s cut back on ALL the lady costume ridiculousness…fewer thongs and bare midriffs; fewer stilettos and fishnets; fewer miniskirts and boob holes; fewer of all of the things that just don’t make any sense for a superhero to wear to fight crime and seem arbitrarily foisted on the ladies regardless of personality. It’s a small step towards leveling the superhero playing field (with many more bigger steps to follow) but getting the costumes to a place of more equality between men and women would be a good start. Maybe then we could start tackling the bigger stuff.
4. I want Batwoman #1 to rock my goddamn socks off. Yes, Rucka set the bar ridiculously high with his Detective Comics #854 – #860 run, but this is still the marquee female book I’ve been waiting for my whole life and the creative team is both excellent and seems well thought out. Williams having the foresight to bring on Amy Reeder as an artist for the second arc sounds like a man that knows his time limitations and is determined not to disappoint fans or do a disservice to the character. My hopes are high. Please be good, please be good, please be good!!! 4a. Rucka and J.H. Williams III’s collected Batwoman Detective Comics run, Elegy, comes out in hardcover this week (or next?) and despite owning all the original issues, I want it real bad.
5. Speaking of Rucka. Rucka! Where is my Stumptown #4?! I want my Stumptown #4! Give it to meeeee!!!
6. I’m totally salivating over the new collected Wednesday Comics. Have you guys seen this 11 x 17 hardcover edition? BEAUTIFUL. I love the newsprint originals and will have them my whole life, barring a natural disaster of some kind, but this collection of some of the best and most gorgeous comics I’ve read in years is absolutely stunning. The thing about Wednesday Comics that I believe was a real stroke of genius on editor Mark Chiarello’s part is that he approached some of the best writers and artists in the industry and asked them what story would they tell if they could tell ANY story. And the result are stories of incredible quality, creativity, and fun – which is the result you usually get when you turn insanely talented people loose to do what they are passionate about. I talk about WC in more detail here if you’re interested, but all you really need to know is that if you haven’t read Wednesday Comics yet, you should do so now, and the hardcover collected edition is a beautiful way to do it. While we’re talking about Wednesday Comics, I’ll add that I want a second edition – I know it almost killed Chiarello, but maybe it’s been long enough that he can forget that fact and serve up some more genius for next summer perhaps? Mr. Chiarello? Please!
7. Cassandra Cain’s triumphant return to comics. DC, if you need some ideas…if THAT’S the hold up…give me a call, I got me ideas up the wazoo.
8. I want 5 Minute Marvels to continue slowly taking over the world with its awesomeness. Tim Miner and his two daughters Grace (6) and Cate (5) started 5 Minute Marvels as a family activity – simply drawing superheroes together for five minutes every night before bed. When Tim turned their efforts into a super fun blog and started getting talented comics creators to contribute their own five minute drawings, things really started to take off. Tons of artists have not only drawn with their own kids, but also “drawn with Grace and Cate” (including me, though the word artist should be used very loosely in my case). You can find everyone from Colleen Coover, Ross Campbell, and David Lopez to Ming Doyle and Stephanie Buscema on there. 5 Minute Marvels has also been featured on major comics websites like Robot 6, Pop Candy, Comics Alliance, and even on Wired, Ain’t It Cool and the local news. But beyond all that, it’s really just a simple idea that I can’t think of anything I’m more on board with than getting young girls (and boys too of course) interested in comics and art in such a positive way.
I expect Grace and Cate to be taking over the world in whatever way they choose any minute now.
9. Ahem. This one’s a little embarrassing…because I asked for it way back in December of 2009 and I can’t help but notice that none of you have stepped up and purchased it for me. Yes, that’s right I’m STILL waiting for my Astonishing X-Men Ominbus. C’mon…one of you needs to take one for the team already and get this to me so we don’t have to talk about this again six months from now…
10. I want Wildstorm to extend Brian Wood’s work with DV8 (assuming he wants that of course). I think Wood has done a brilliant job updating the DV8 characters for 2010 and I’ve love to see an ongoing series headed by Wood, and in my perfect universe we’d keep Fiona Staples and Rebekah Isaacs on board as well as their work thus far has been pitch perfect.
11. I’d like mainstream comics, superhero or otherwise, to open its doors (and eyes?) to more independent creators. I’m sure you’ve noticed that most of this list trends pretty mainstream…it’s not because I don’t have love for independent stuff, it’s because independent comics are already doing things I love on a regular basis, and I’d like to see more of that in mainstream comics. Off the top of my head I’d love to see Ross Campbell’s take on some X-Men or maybe the new upcoming X-23 series.
I’d like to see Faith Erin Hicks do whatever the hell she wants after reading this hilarious cartoon-y take on Wolverine. I’d like to see more art (consistently, not just random mini-series and one-shots) from artists like Fiona Staples, Rebekah Isaacs, Tonci Zonjic, Emma Rios, Colleen Coover, and Les McClaine. After Stephanie Buscema’s excellent Dr. Doom story in Girl Comics #2, I’d like to see her let loose in a similar way to Hicks – doing just about anything she wants. How about an ongoing The Question series starring Renee Montoya, drawn by Cully Hamner? If we could get Rucka back I’d say hell yeah…but is anyone else up to the task? I don’t know. Marc Andreyko did great things with Manhunter this past year in the Streets Of Gotham co-feature…maybe he’s our man to continue Renee’s story?
Really this all just adds up to I’d just like more FUN in mainstream comics. I’d like mainstream comics to take more chances and do more crazy off the wall things that aren’t so serious and mired in continuity…things that are risky but exciting and fun. Things that don’t look like EVERY SINGLE THING I’ve already seen FIFTY TIMES BEFORE. And one of the keys to that is giving great creators that mostly live outside of that world, a chance to come in and put their own spin on something.
While I’m on this tear, I’d like both Marvel and DC to give a project like Minx another try…hopefully with a little more dedication, time, and money. It’s entirely possible that girls won’t come even if you DO build it…but they’re certainly not going to come if you don’t even bother building it. And whoever manages to get them (the women and their 50% of the population), will reap massive benefits – financial and beyond. It’s a big prize to win, and big prizes don’t come easy.
Now that I’ve finally discovered all-ages books (thank you The Muppets and Tiny Titans and Thor & The Warriors Four) I’d like to see more books that are definitively for kids and more books that are definitively for adults – and fewer that try to straddle that line unsuccessfully – thus making a lot of really mediocre books that appeal to neither group.
Whew…I asked for like 65 things there…but we’re counting that as ONE giant wish…since it all has the same theme behind it, i.e. “better more interesting fun comics that do things I’ve never seen before”.
12. Oh, and I wish I was as badass looking in real life as I am in my sweet Scott Pilgrim Avatar.
Universe make it so!
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