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CSBG Archive

3 Chicks Review Comics – Episode 020



Inside this episode! This week we review Kevin Keller #1, Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Last Adventures trade, and Supergirl #65.  Hot topic this week in honor of Pride Sunday and New York finally legalizing gay marriage, is the issue of gay characters in comics.  Chick of the week is a fairly new writer in the Marvel and DC world, but a woman that’s been adapting Manga for a while now, and is really making her mark as a wonderful writer in big two comics of late.

Episode links!: Archie comics app, Kevin Keller in Archie, X-Men First Class Issues, DC Women Kicking Ass LGBT Women: One Year Later, An alternate take on Lois Lane & The Resistance, Supergirl #65 CBR Review.

3 Chicks Review Comics is a podcast featuring female comics lovers and bloggers Sue from DC Women Kicking Ass, and Maddy from When Fangirls Attack! along with me, Kelly Thompson. Tune in weekly to CSBG every other Monday at noon as we review comics, and discuss hot topics of the week. In addition to the blogs above, you can also follow us all on twitter as well: Kelly, Maddy, and Sue. Special thanks to Nik Furious for our awesome 3 Chicks theme song.  Follow CSBG and Kelly on twitter, so that you never miss a She Has No Head! post or 3 Chicks podcast!

*As always beware of spoilers if you haven’t read the books in question!


great episode!!! loved this one (i think i said that last time too).

Sue, why would you expect i’d give you crap about thinking Kevin Keller was hot?? he IS kinda hot, i don’t see what the problem is!!!

i wish i had something insightful to say or something to add to all this but it’s all pretty clear-as-day to me, there isn’t much to discuss except “COMICS: YOU GOTTA DO BETTER. THE END” and you covered it all.

Haven’t had a chance to listen, since I’m at work … & for that matter I’m completely not in the habit of listening to anything via computer, since (a) I got DSL only in December & (b) my machine kept running into blue screens & all sorts of other crap till I finally chanced across a tech guy who knew what the hell he was doing, about a month ago. Still, I’ll have to check this out, along with past episodes.

In any event, I’m posting this mainly to note that I had so idea that Kelly Sue Deconnick had written a SUPERGIRL I dropped that title at least 3 times back in the bad old days before my resolve finally stuck with #22 … but of late I’ve been picking up recent-ish back issues for cheap starting with #53, & damn if hasn’t turned into a pretty darned decent comic.

On fear: I totally agree that it’s a huge motivator for Marvel & DC. They are trying to hold on to, or cautiously increase, their small readership. The readership they have is extremely finicky. They are owned by big corporations, which are notoriously risk-averse (the success of comics properties as movies will increase this). And many (most?) of their creators and editors are life-long fans, which means they’re in love with very specific, limited, and generally out-of-date takes on all their characters and concepts. It’s a recipe for stale product, which is a crying shame because one of the biggest strengths of comics is that they can do anything, can be innovative and daring much more deftly than other media can.

I liked all the reviews this week. I hadn’t read any of the things that you reviewed, but now I’m curious about them. I also thought everybody sounded relaxed and upbeat this episode. Since Maddy doesn’t read many superhero comics, I think she should review one non-supers comic every episode. Most of what i read now is not supers, either.

Happy birthday to Kelly!!!

I’m really looking forward to that Last Airbender collection. I was going to buy it when it came out, but my LCS didn’t get a copy, so I had to backorder it. I’m a huge fan of the show, but haven’t read any of these comics.

I hated the art in Supergirl #65 much more than any of you did, apparently. In fact, I hated it so much, it took me three tries to make it through this 20-page comic. Which made it very hard to appreciate Deconnick’s writing. Maybe I’ll try re-reading it to get a better sense of it. I think I agree that she’s pretty good and I plan to get the next two issues, but CrissCross just doesn’t work for me as an artist. In addition to the problems with his super-weird facial expressions, I just don’t like his work from a design point of view. All that stuff that’s happening behind the panels is distracting as hell. And what’s with the weird borders on some pages?

I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about Tim Drake’s sexuality, but I’m not going to go into it in the comments here. I’ll just have to write a blog post about it at some point. Let’s just say I share your frustrations about that one. Also, Tim/Kon is my OTP, so, yeah.

I kept expecting someone to mention Hero, Perry Moore’s gay superhero YA novel. I read it recently and it’s a pretty good exploration of those themes (although I have a few problems with it, but for the most part my reaction to it was very positive).

I didn’t read the Lois Lane Flashpoint mini, but as I was listening to your reactions, I kept thinking maybe it’s time for everyone to consider the possibility that Abnett and Lanning are not as good as everyone thinks they are. I know they’re written some good comics, but lately they seem to be having way more misses than hits.

Happy birthday, Kelly.

Oh, forgot to mention one thing.

Kelly: you made an excellent point about how different the tone of the reactions would have been if DC had given Cass her own book. It’s incomprehensible to me how much they refuse to acknowledge her fanbase. Surely one book out of those 52 would have been possible and would have made such a huge difference.


Heh, actually, the majority of the books I buy tend to be superhero titles, though that may change in September. I guess this makes two episodes in a row that I reviewed a non-super graphic novel, though! Glad you liked my picks.


I haven’t actually read Hero, though I have heard of it! I’ll have to pick it up at some point.

I also realized we forgot about Daken.

@ross: WTF Where is my birthday wish! ARGH. MUST DESTROY!

@Dan Bailey: Definitely check out DeConnick’s run.

@Paul: Thanks for listening, and for the birthday wishes!

@Basque: Because my prose novel is about superheroes, I try to stay away from reading other prose superhero stuff…once published (fingers crossed…forever) I’ll be diving right in to Hero as I’ve heard good things.

Abnett & Lanning have really impressed me with some of their stuff – Heroes For Hire is great (except those 2 issues that sucked) and against all odds they made Flashpoint: Wonder Woman & The Furies #1 NOT the worst thing EVER. But this Lois thing…I may have been turned off them forever. It was pretty inexcusable.

@Maddy: Ah, Daken. I didn’t know he was gay. That makes me SLIGHTLY more interested in him…still not enough to read about him though. :)

Kelly: i could’ve sworn you said your birthday was on Tuesday!

Happy Birthday, Kelly!

@ross: Don’t try to use logic on me!!!

@Brian: Thanks :)


June 27, 2011 at 10:40 pm

@Kelly Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning have done great stuff Marvel Cosmic side and are currently writing Cannonball, Moonstar and company IN New Mutants. Haven’t read their DC stuff to pass judgement on it.

Daken is bisexual, not gay and he uses pheromones and sex as a tool for manipulation. Liu and Way created a twisted character and its hard to root for him sometimes. So if you like reading about bad guys you might like Dark Wolverine. Shame if Bucky’s death holds we will never see them face off as Bucky was responsible Itsu’s (Daken’s mom) death when he was the Winter Soldier.

Also Xi’an “Shan” Coy Manh (Karma) from New Mutants is a lesbian. Also Bling, one of the younger X-men is lesbian.

Also , Happy Birthday Kelly.

Travis Pelkie

June 28, 2011 at 6:41 am

Haven’t listened or anything, but happy birthday Kelly!

Great podcast as always, Just finished listening. You are quite correct that there are a lot more lesbian than male gay characters. I suspect that balance will always be biased on the lesbian side, out of fear of alienating the heterosexual male demographic. As a member of said majority demographic, I personally wouldn’t care what the orienation of the characters was, as long as the story and characterisations were good. But maybe I’m a statistical outlier. Also good stories are themselves are probably as rare as gay main characters, especially with the upcoming DC reboot.

I was also quite interested in the discussion on the digital release of comics. Can anyone comment on some of the slightly more technical aspects of the digital releases, such as download size, resolution and general picture quality, and amount of DRM?

Finally, may I join with others in wishing Happy Birthday to Kelly.

@ross. I don’t know why I thought that but I am glad you share my admiration for Mr. Keller!

Happy Birthday, Kelly! (why did you cut my singing to you out of the podcast? Are you trying to silence me? XD

COMBUSTION MAN a.k.a. SPARKY SPARKY BOOM BOOM MAN!!!! He rules. Good review, Maddy. You sold me on the book.

I had to stop listening around an hour in, but here are some other gay Marvel characters:

Northstar, probably the most prominent gay male superhero out there, right?

Also, looking at the Wikipedia entry for Northstar reminded me that Marvel’s Hercules has had lots of alluded relationships with both women and men.

(And as horrible an example as this is… there’s also Rawhide Kid…)

Oh! And don’t forget Ultimate Colossus. He’s openly gay.

wow, Nick, you really nerded it up there for a minute with Combustion Man. i think that’s the closest i’ve ever seen you get to a fan-display. XD

I have GOT to stop listening to this late night. I was up till 2 a.m. chuckling over Sue’s comment on Lois Lanes water boobs and Aquaman’s drought.

As for considered, mature depictions of ethnic, gender and sexual preference diversity in comics … you gotta’ go Web comics and indies. We all love the characters owned by the Big Two, but those are conglomerates owned by suits who are scared to play with the assets too much and alienate a fanbase. It’s shortsighted, but there it is.

These are the same folks who can’t be bothered to attend a con, see the scores of rabid, female fans who attend and walk away understanding that women are a huge, untapped market for comics and comics characters. They’re stuck thinking that all comics fans are white dudes who just want a stead diet of brokeback cheesecake.

That market DOES exist, and there’s plenty to satisfy it. But, there are so many other readers demos being ignored. From a pure business standpoint, they aren’t getting that digital comics allow them to create books/stories/properties that appeal to female audiences, LGBT audiences and … let’s give some credit … some old white dudes like myself how have (gasp!) an open mind and don’t want to read the same of shite all the time.

As a side note, I am VERY interested to see how the DCnU handles Midnighter and Apollo since they’re apparently cannon now. How far will they take it with J’onn on the team?

Great work, as always, ladies.

More fear from DC Comics:

Why Did DC Cancel Superman’s Team-Up with a Muslim Hero?

Chris Sims’ analysis sounds spot on.

@Keith I thought that Sims’ sounded right, too, but Bleeding Cool posted an explanation that also sounds very plausible, and Rich Johnston at least claims that he got his info from good sources while, IIRC, Sims was merely (if smartly) speculating. http://www.bleedingcool.com/2011/06/22/superman-712-not-changed-over-muslim-content-but-over-kitten-content/

I could believe either one, frankly. Given that DC has become more pointlessly violent and fake-mature under current leadership, it’s easy to imagine that they would freak out over something they thought was “corny” or old fashioned. Or they might have been afraid of getting more negative press related to Superman. I’m leaning towards the kitten theory, though.

I can’t believe people think that Bleeding Cool story is plausible. I don’t care how reliable Rich Johnston claims his source is. The idea that such an inoffensive scene would be such a big deal to some DC execs that they would pull the whole story is simply ridiculous. I’m not saying the Comics Alliance story is any more reliable, but it certainly makes more sense.

Whatever it was, it had to be something major. Stories don’t get pulled at the last minute like that over a freaking kitten. Unless DC execs are completely insane. And in spite of all the decisions that don’t make a lot of sense to me, I don’t think they’re that far gone.

>>Unless DC execs are completely insane. And in spite of all the decisions that don’t make a lot of sense to me, I don’t think they’re that far gone.<<

If we're putting it to a vote, I go with the "they're crazier than batshit" option, personally.

The ridiculousness of the kitten theory is what makes it more credible to me. Obviously I don’t know them, but the impression I’ve gotten from the leadership of DC is that they’re the type of fanboys who are deeply embarrassed by anything that could seem cheesy or goofy, and they would go to extremes to avoid that, especially with the relaunch putting new attention on their brand.

Plus, honestly, maybe I want to believe the kitten explanation more because that’s just fanboys being silly as usual, but the other explanation is genuinely depressing.

Writing to you from the latest home of Gay Marriage!

I’m going to ask the question anyway: I hear you guys talk quite often about people around the net who write essays about comics related topics. Is there one that makes the case for Tim Drake being gay– even a little bit.

(Slash fiction doesn’t count, because the majority of it must be about Batman and Robin)


The first one that comes to mind isn’t specifically about Tim Drake being gay, but worth a read: http://www.comicsalliance.com/2010/11/11/tim-drake-celibacy-icon/

The character appears open for interpretation. One thing is for sure: Tim Drake is in love with justice. He makes out with it, even puts some tongue in there.

@Ross: I’m writing a Combustion Man fan fic novella.

Yeah, I’m gonna have to say to Bleeding Cool… BZZZZT, thanks for playing. Even if some Richard Arnold-type did decide to nix the kitten scene, replacing a couple of panels (or even deleting a page altogether) would be a more likely response.

Another great episode ladies. Happy belated birthday Kelly!

I do wonder if part of the hold up on Batwoman (regrettable though it may be) is that they actually wanted to wait until the relaunch of everything so that it debuted with the rest. Certainly fits in with them saying they want to promote diversity. “Oh and for our new diverse line, here we have our bat-book led by a lesbian, just in time for the relaunch!” Of course launching at the same time as 51 other titles might not be the smartest, but for PR-purposes it makes certain sense.
It does raise the question of how long the higher ups have been planning this whole thing, especially since it was kept so quiet (parts of it even from certain creators as I’ve gathered).
Some of Batwoman’s delay was probably due to creative issues and fumbling in the management of it though and that’s unfortunate on its own because of the promises being made/broken and frankly the importance of the character being out there.

@Mikael I think the original delay was definitely due to some slowness in production. The second time I suspect was because of the reboot. Starting with a number on in April and then renumbering in September would have been silly (although Batman Inc. and The Dark Knight are in similar circumstances). But you’re right, it gives them an opportunity to highlight their diversity. Let’s hope, however, that having the book launch with 51 others doesn’t hurt it especially as it sounds like there is very little window for books to get acceptable sales and avoid cancellation in the DCnU.

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