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CSBG Archive

3 Chicks Review Comics – Episode 027



Inside this episode! This week we review Kate Beaton’s Hark! A Vagrant from Drawn & Quarterly, Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaac’s Angel & Faith #2, and Ron Marz and Sami Basri’s Voodoo #1. Hot Topic this week is the strange idea that we shouldn’t be talking critically about comics and should instead just be promoting the good, as posited in a post on The Beat this week. This week’s Chick of the Week is phenomenal artist Amy Reeder who everyone should know from her epic Madame Xanadu run, gorgeous cover work, and much anticipated Batwoman arc.

UPDATE: Episode has been re-cut  – there should be no audio overlap now.  Apologies for any inconvenience!

Episode links!: The Day in Gender Battles: Fight the Bad or Wallow in the Good?, Sexy is Good, Right? Sexy Sells, Right?, ‘Sexy’ is Performance Art, I Like The Sex In Catwoman #1, It’s The Rest Of It That Is The Problem, Sexism In Comics Is Not New Here’s What You Should Do About It, TheWherefores, Was Catwoman Worse Than Wonder Woman Was Good, Justice League Dark Review, Stop, Amy Reeder’s Batwoman Variant Covers, Amy Reeder Comic Covers, The FedEx Arrow And How to Deal With It, Kate Beaton io9 interview, Hark! A Vagrant on D&Q, Hark! A Vagrant on Amazon, The Voodoo Problem.

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!


[…] new 3 Chicks Review Comics is up on Comics Should Be Good. Check it out […]

I just listened to the end…



Yeah, the end is a scary cliffhanger.

Good Podcast! First one I listened to, so it shouldn’t be your last.

Definitely some good points ladies. There does seem to be a subtext to the” focus on the good,” argument. Something along the lines of “get in the kitchen and make me a sammich.”

BTW, I think Kate Beaton is a genius (so I’m cool right?) and I would totally sit in as Jason Todd.

Hope you guys find the time to do future podcasts and that this not the last of them. Keep up the good work and like listening to the discussions because it is unscripted seems like a labor of love for the medium ( scripted podcasts can be great as well, I like ifanboy).

Speaking of good comics, I know I usually go around recommending them but you guys might enjoy reading Uncanny X-force and Daredevil. Both books are excellent and you should give them a chance from number one. Also recommend work by Jason Aaron. Loving his Wolverine run and Schism has been great. Going by what has been revealed so far, Wolverine and the X–men, seems to be zany fun. Gillen’s work on UXM relaunch might be something to keep an eye out as well. His work on “Journey into Mystery” has been fantastic.

@Sean: Welcome! Well, hopefully it won’t be our last. We’ll see!

You are officially welcomed to the “cool table” since you like Beaton. Enjoy!

@maverickman874: Thanks for listening!

I know Maddy and Sue don’t read a lot of Marvel, but I’m pretty deep in Marvel territory, especially X-Men titles. Uncanny X-Force I’ve been reading since the beginning and it’s very good, and I’m looking forward to what Aaron and Bachalo can do on their Wolverine & The X-Men title. I haven’t been that compelled by Schism, but not through any fault of Aaron. I’m kicking myself for not getting on board with Daredevil right away, those covers alone are worth the price of admission.

That comment about Amy Reeder’s outfits made me flash back to “Fool’s Gold”, her slice-of-life series for Tokyopop that was published back in 2006 and read by about five people; at the end of the book, she detailed how she came up with the various (awesome) outfits for the characters. A large reason why she’s so awesome at it is because she’s made outfits for herself, which she then uses as inspiration for her drawn work. Long story short, I really wish she’d been behind the DCnU’s redesigned costumes instead of Jim Lee.

Aaaanyways, enjoyable podcast, as always, and I really hope it’s not the last.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO don’t be the last!!!! oh god, don’t do it, my life has so little joy in it left as it is.

that aside, this episode was great, i really dig the only-focus-on-the-good discussion, i’m with you all the way. such a stupid standpoint, it’s really ridiculous. i think it’s only because of the sexism/racism/other -ism aspect that really makes people squirm and come out with these sorts of demands or standpoints, because nobody cares when it’s a non-socially-conscious critique. nobody gets up in arms about the “this was boring” or “this has crappy artwork” type critiques, but once you start pointing out uncomfortable or problematic things, people get weird and defensive. i think that’s the most telling thing, because nobody ever retorts with these kinds of arguments when somebody writes a negative film review or something. when you critique something on plotting or character development or visual style and technique, it’s called astute observation or professional criticism, but when it’s a critique on gender tropes or racial dynamics then you’re a whiny hater griping on the internet.



Just in case this is the last podcast for any of the chicks, I’d like to say thank you for the effort you put into the show.

On “focus on the positive”:
The only possible validity in “focus on the positive” would come if the positive messages were being completely drowned out by negative. However to my mind that didn’t really happen. As a personal example, I heard some overwhelmingly good things about Wonder Woman #1 (I wonder where I heard this from…), so purchased it in spite of not generally liking the more “super” superheroes. And I’m glad that I did. :)

On catwoman etc:
I suspect DC has consciously decided a certain fraction of their books are going to be dumb-ass fanservice, as there is alledgedly a market for this sort of rubbish. I wouldn’t do too much soul searching as to why the editor chose March as the artist in spite of his over-the-top fanservice style. They chose him deliberately BECAUSE he’s a fanservice artist, and that’s specifically what they wanted. I’d also put money on the editor actively whipping him into maximum fanservice mode at every opportunity.

Now as a business decision, I don’t really have a problem with them targeting this “select market” with some sort of product if they can turn a profit. However when they take sophisticated characters who have (or had) rich history, and give them a virtual character lobotomy (and apparently an actual lobotomy in the case of Starfire) to fill the role defined only by multiples of the word “sexy”, that’s where I start to get a bit miffed.

Anyway, I hope to I get to hear another cast from at least some of you in a fortnight or otherwise in the future. :)

From your discussion of Kate Beaton, I think that you, Sue and Maddy should check out the work of Dylan Meconis (if you haven’t already). She also brings a sense of humor to history-themed comics. Her two major works are long form webcomics. One, BITE ME!, is about the French Revolution (with vampires!) and the other is FAMILY MAN, about a scholar and theologian in late 18th century Germany. He artwork has strong lines and shows people in a ways both beautiful and humane. This is her main website: http://www.dylanmeconis.com/comics/index.html The main difference, so far, is that Dylan’s work is more narratively oriented than Beaton’s quick commentaries. Neither approach is better than the other, just different.


October 5, 2011 at 7:08 pm

I enjoyed the show but I wanted to bring up a couple points.

I’m not sure the point of Heidi, Stephenson and Lima was to not talk about the bad. Perhaps I missed it but I didn’t read anything in any of their comments that implied people should stfu about it all. I think their point was that they didn’t want the heated stuff about the bad to be the be all end all of the discussion. I agree with you all that criticising the bad and praising the good are two seperate things. But you have to agree that the Red Hood/Catwoman debate has been so intense that praise for good comics has gotten overwhelmed. And to me that seemed to be the point (although Stephenson was a bit of a jerk about it) as I read it anyways. It didn’t sound like they were saying that no one was praising the good, just that the praise for the good was being drowned out. And in that regard I have to agree. But as Kelly pointed out in the podcast, I agree that Kelly and Sue have been doing a great job of praising the good (although I haven’t been reading your respective blogs all that long)

As to the negative comments by the bloggers about various 52’s driving their sales up, I think that is true. And I think Red Hood in particular will be the comic book equivalent of Passion of the Christ, with the continued negative comments driving solid sales over the next half dozen issues at least before the series finally has to sink or swim on it’s own. But as always, I could be wrong.

Regarding the thing about placing some of the blame on DC for releasing Red Hood and Wonder Woman at the same time. I don’t disagree. However, isn’t that a coin with two sides? While you are right that the critical posts (through no fault of your own) draw more attention because internet people like to engage in conflict, don’t bloggers bear some of the responsibility for drawing attention away from WW by engaging in the Red Hood shit storm that same week? It’s kind of like a newspaper putting out a story that they know will draw attention from another story. But with a newspaper they have the excuse of getting the scoop. There was no scoop with the Red Hood/Catwoman debacle. That story could have been written two weeks later and still have been relevant since it actually is about two weeks later and everyone is still talking about it. And this isn’t some “gotchya” question and I”m not looking to pick any fights here. I’m just wondering what you all think.

Regarding Voodoo. Kelly raised an interesting point about the comparison to a movie being false. I agree on that. But, and this is purely a hypothetical here, what if Voodoo had been a 120 page graphic novel (which when compared to a movie would be a comparison that made more sense) where the next 100 pages flesh out the character and the story was really good etc. Would you be just as angry about that first 20 pages? Would you finish reading the graphic novel? Would that first 20 pages be okay in the context of the next 100 pages? Again, just curious.

I was also very interested in the differing opinions on All Star Western. Kelly seemed flatly against it, historical accuracy or no, because of the treatment of the female characters. And regarding Red Hood, Sue made the comment that she believes the majority of people are against Red Hood and the more prominant comic bloggers seem to be in unison regarding Red Hood being, seemingly, objectively bad. But if there is an honest difference of opinion on All Star Western, can’t there be an honest difference of opinion on Red Hood as well? I only bring it up because Sue seems so certain that the majority hates it and there has been so many comments such as “if you like Red Hood then you’re an idiot with no taste” etc, etc that I wonder if people just don’t want to say they like it for fear of getting flamed for their trouble. Might be worth thinking about.

I happen to personally disagree with Sue that the majority of DC fans or superhero comic readers or whoever don’t like Red Hood mainly because I don’t think anyone can know that with any amount of certainty until sales for subsequent issues come in. If Red Hood holds steady at the numbers that #2 is looking to get, then wouldn’t that be proof that the majority does like Red Hood? And wouldn’t the difference of opinion on ASW between Sue and Kelly be some sort of evidence that sexism or objectification are subjective and up to the individual reader and not objective at all? Again, just wondering what you three’s thoughts on this are.

Also, I think the comparison of Voodoo to Species is completely off the mark. I would say a more accurate comparison would be to the 1987 cult film favorite “The HIdden” with Kyle MacLachlan where police are after a shape shifting alien who can take the form of any gender or animal and actually takes the form of a stripper and then a cop. I love that movie which is why I personally liked Voodoo because it helped me to see where the story is going. That and the art which as Sue pointed out was very nicely done.

I’m a dude, an old dude who’s been reading comics since Jesus was a baby. But I too want to see less pandering, less fan service. I don’t think about it all that much until something really obvious slaps me in the face. Since I’m old and jaded and apathetic it usually takes something like Tarot. So it’s to the credit of people like you Kelly, Sue and Maddy that I am starting to pay more attention to this kind of stuff and in particular to the more subtle stuff (well, subtle to me at least, lol) like Red Hood and other instances pointed out by this site and dcwomenkickingass and others over the last year since I”ve been reading more and more blogs. I’m probably the best example of someone that is nearly impossible to get through to so if you got me paying attention to this stuff then you’ve got to be reaching people, lol.

Great critique of that first page of Voodoo and thanks for the Scans Daily link.

Noooo!! Maddy! I’m gonna miss your awesomeness!

Btw, you folks really need to gethis podcast up on iTunes. ;)

Belatedly, just wanted to thank everyone for the kind words!

The podcast is up on iTunes! That’s usually where I listen to it. The iTunes link is up on the Podomatic page.

I checked on iTunes under “3 Chicks Review Comics” but I can’t find it up there. The only way I can listen to it is directly from the link up here that sends me to the Podomatic site. Am I typing it in wrong?:(

Hmm. Try copying and pasting this into your browser:


The address is invalid. :(


You can try the “subscribe with iTunes” button on the right side of the page here:


But I believe there IS a problem, as my iTunes is not loading new episodes. I’ve emailed podomatic about the issue and hope it will be resolved shortly.

Ack! There was no after-credits snippet! That makes it so ominous in light of Maddy’s sabbatical. :( (The frowny should have a big pouty lip.)

Hay Kelly, Sue and Maddy

I am usually weeks behind, however I just recently listened  to 2 pod cast. Making me just slightly behind the times. So I thought I might chime in, in bulk.

I have been blogging about the 52. Kelly has been kind enough to chime in with her usual honesty. However, much of what of I have to say is in response to your conversations, so I should probably say it here. Kelly and I go back a ways, so when I listen to the pod cast in my car, I often talk back. Here is what I have been saying, aloud, as any hobo worth his or her salt would.

Ep. 26

Wonder Women (I reviewed negatively other than Page 8 Panel 4): Kelly, “It blew away all my expectations.” 

Me, “REALY!?!” 

Let me clarify. I think we are at an aesthetic impasse. As the two of you (Kelly and Sue) were giddy, I was beside myself with disappointment. Not because you are wrong. I totally get that it is better than before. I even get that perhaps I am not a big enough WW fan. My interest in her is her place as the preeminent female superhero, the irony of her origin in comics history, and how she balances the psychology of Batman and Superman. The story was fine. The writing was comparably better than most of the new DC. I do think I am not a huge fan of Cliff’s style. Not his approach. He was clearly taking the right approach. With the exception of one panel I just didn’t like it (one of two of my favorite none JH Williams III in the DC 52). The complaints you mentioned are not mine. Most of your praise was right on. I guess I had a higher expectation or an honest aesthetic impasse. You and Cliff all pointed to Cooke’s WW. We all agree on that being the best. I guess, that is what I want.

Batwomen (I reviewed very positively): 

Sue: “I think this could be the strong women book…”

Me: “YES!”

I love this observation of the multiple strong women roles.

I read some of JH’s run with Greg and did not feel he dropped it at all.

I am one of those people who does not know (or recognize) all the characters and I DON’T CARE! I am reading to find out. I had no issues with being dropped in the midst of the story. Take your argument in favor of WW not using an origin and apply here. I don’t think recaps are needed. I never read the recap. If I am lost in the comic pages, it’s a bad comic. Exposition should always be minimal, pithy, in my book. If the book is good comic, I trust I will find out over time, as this part of the story moves forward. Still comics have a proud tradition of Aping each other.

Loved, Kelly’s observation about Kane’s training. She is taking a more sain approach to training. (Loved the Snyder interview; his take on Gotham’s character and how he is dealing with our cultures relations with Psychological issues and Batman v. Villains thin line of sanity; Maddy was right on and Scott seems to be very conscious of the storytelling opportunities here…anyway, Batwomen is a more capable hero, because she has a more stable mind). By the way, are we ok with her color in the book?

Still, this IS the best Marvel or DC title right now with 2 issues published. Up there for me with Woodring, Tomine, Clowes, Ware, Hernandez, Cooke, A. Davis, Herge, Watterson, Byrne, J. Davis. and Kirby (all men…how depressing).

Positive/Negative and these comics I would not buy or read:

Your job here is to critique. So what the hell are people complaining about? Kelly’s exasperation with DC is shared by me. They did sell this as being an approach that would embrace not just diversity, but specifically stop exploration of women’s image in comics. Not only did they reduce the number of female creators, but they created comics which failed to hide their total lack of consideration for their audience. This was their chance to make great comics. They made two (Batwomen and Batman…3 Chicks have been kinder) and most of the others (WW an acceptation) exploit women in my opinion. Like Kelley, I am not criticizing nudes or a particular body type. We went to art school. I am not afraid of a sexual superhero. If there were superhero comics that explored sexuality in a mature way, that made sense with the story and character than I would probably read them more. I read Fantagraphics and D&Q with no problem. As a man, I admit, we struggle internally between primal desire for titillation and humane desire to evolve into better people. And women are not immune to these issues. But what is sexy is a totally diverse issue and in the context of comics, must serve the story. What is being described here is really pathetic and an albatross on sales and the industries potential image. Cartoonists and fans are fighting daily to legitimize and expand our role in this culture. A role comics deserve. I defend fervently the work that precedes us. What was ok and deservedly celebrated at one time, should not needlessly continue out of nestalgic perversion. 

And Sue, “mediocre” is NOT ok. I really don’t have time to buy or defend ok work. We need great works, so we can compete with other media art.

Ep. 27

Hark, A Vagrant: Y’all convinced me…I bought it for my wife (and will read it myself…particularly for her take on superheroes). I think I will agree about the organization issues. I have so many male and female friends that will love this (if how Maddy spoke of it is any indication).

Voodoo, see above.

JL Dark: I paned this book. Again, I want more from my comics.

All Star Western tangent: (I had a negative review of this, Jimmy is a great talent and guy, the art was over all appropriate…but). I enjoyed your lively debate, and Kelly did elude to my main critique in positive terms. It is not a female positive book, but that was not the issue to me. I agree this is “women in refrigerators” And I don’t buy Maddy’s point, there couldn’t be other female characters then hoers. I am sorry, but there were, wives and daughters in the frontier. I wish Scott Snyder’s ideas about Gotham the City as a character would have been a major part of THIS story. Still (perhaps admittedly as an imperfect heterosexual male) I liked most of the drawings, or minimally felt most fit the period. Jimmy’s writing was actually great (not that it normally isn’t). My main issue, was something Sue and Kelly liked. The Jack the Ripper rip off. I love mash ups; so you would think Batman, plus western (being a westerner) and the Ripper would really work for me. It didn’t. You know why? Not because that story can’t be told, or used. Because it is being told in a comic. I am sorry, but it has been done in comics. Down to the secret society. It’s called From Hell. Pick it up. Read it and you will find All Star Western to be the worst kind of Aping. I know I said Aping and comics go hand in hand. However, it never flies when you are a poor copy. One that disrespects the serious nature and lessons found in the former. I hated (I don’t use hate a lot) this book. It teased me into wanting to like it with T&A, a mash-up and relatively nice execution…the result. An intellectual betrayal. 
Thank you Kelly for acknowledging your male readers; and our support for what 3 Chicks stands for.

Censorship et all;

It is the publisher, editor, writer and artist job to take responsibility and produce quality work that tells good stories which are honest to the character’s story. Maddy thank you for defending our rights to demand quality in superhero comics. I get sick of supposed fans of superhero comics wanting sexist racists crap and rejecting female readership, critiques and creators. As much as “Indy” comics creators and fans rejecting superhero comics as low brow crap. It’s a genre! It can and has been just as brilliant as Frank! And I LOVE FRANK! Why do I have strong feelings about this. One it’s America’s literary/visual art. Two, Kelly is right, these reviews are usually unpaid. Three as someone who makes comics (most of us are basically unpaid too)…this is really hard work. Which is why so much of it sucks. But also it is why the good deserves to be counted. Which requires the bad to be called out and the good to be praised.

Ok, I doubt that captured all my silly dialogue with the voices in my car, but it will have to do.



Kelly, there isn’t a tab for the iTunes link. It keeps going back to that semifinalist frint page for 3 chicks review comics. :(

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