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She Has No Head! – Support The Good

So, many of you saw that I broke the internet two weeks ago with my post about the visual representations of men and women in superhero comics and the apparently still radical idea that “No, it’s not equal”.  So how does one follow up THAT column?  Do you try to break the internet even harder?  Or do you go the completely opposite route?  Well, for starters, if you missed it, read this piece I did for my new gig at Lit Reactor, which is chock full of fantastic books that don’t commit any of the “No, It’s not equal” sins.

As for this week’s She Has No Head!…well, I’m exhausted, so we’ll go the non-break the internet route. But all of you who agreed with me or even thought there was some merit in my last column, should read this one and retweet it like mad too, because it’s a shame that only “controversial” criticisms blow up the internet.  So many people in the comments of that column railed about how I should talk about “good books”…patently ignoring the 91 other columns I have written just under the She Has No Head! banner, the vast majority of those columns positive. But talking positively just does not get passed around the internet as much. So, if I say anything good here…retweet and comment on this one with the same vigor that you did the last and let’s see if we can break the internet with PRAISE, yeah?

I’ve already written recently about a handful of new books that I love and think you should all be reading: Wonder Woman, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Batwoman, Birds of Prey, Wolverine & The X-Men, Rachel Rising, Angel & Faith, and Princeless (order your trade now!) and I still stand by all of those.  But let’s talk about a few more…here are five more new books you should be reading:

GLORY. Joe Keating (writer). Ross Campbell (artist). Ms, Shatia Hamilton (colors). Image. Full Color. $2.99.

Though only one issue of Glory is out so far, this book is subverting stereotype and breaking boundaries thanks to its completely out of the box visuals by Ross Campbell.  Campbell’s smart and unorthodox artwork separate Glory easily from the noise of similar books in mainstream superhero comics, thus what could have been just a re-hash of cheesecake is inventive, modern, and forward thinking.  Superhero comics starring women almost never look like this, and it’s an awesome thing to behold. Joe Keatinge’s writing for the book is on the right track, with good character work and an interesting cliffhanger.  Keatinge also gets through the unfortunately necessary exposition without too much trouble, and steers the story in a good new direction quickly.  Though the writing and art don’t quite match up tonally for me, it’s a small issue and one the book can easily resolve in coming issues. Regardless, Campbell’s boundary breaking art is worth the price of admission alone.

The first issue (Glory #23) is largely sold out, but Image is reprinting, so if you missed the first round, pick up the second and in the meantime look for the second issue Glory #24 in stores in March 2012.

B.P.R.D. HELL ON EARTH: THE LONG DEATH. Mike Mignola and John Arcudi (writers). James Harren (artist). Dave Stewart (colors). Mike Mignola, Duncan Fegredo and Dave Stewart (covers). Dark Horse. Full Color. $3.50.

Quite frankly all of the Mike Mignola Hellboy universe stuff is pretty great, but I was especially impressed with the first issue of the new B.P.R.D Hell On Earth: The Long Death. Powerful storytelling and gorgeous art throughout the book and an absolutely shocking ending made this one of the best comics I’ve read lately.  The work that Mignola and Arcudi do with Agent Giarocco is particularly smart and subtle, and in just a few pages manage to invest you in her story.  This book, like most of the Hellboy universe books is surprisingly easy to jump onto story considering the vastness of the Hellboy universe,  The Long Death in particular gives readers pretty much everything they need to feel comfortable in its world, while never skimping on story or character. This is a slam dunk of a first issue and its cliffhanger ending will leave you desperate for the next issue.

B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth: The Long Death #1 is in stores now, and issue #2 is forthcoming in March. And if you like this, check out so many more of the Hellboy-universe stories as they are quite regularly wonderful.

FATALE. Ed Brubaker (writer). Sean Phillips (artist). Dave Stewart (colors). Image. Full Color. $3.50.

A noir thriller with a supernatural twist, Fatale is one of those books that Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips do best, and it’s especially wonderful when it comes to its lead female character, Josephine, who is so much more than your typical noir femme fatale.  Brubaker really takes her beyond that stereotype (though she is still beautiful and deadly) and gives her a powerful POV of her own. Bouncing back and forth in time and setting up a rich tapestry of complex characters, Fatale is a smart book that dares you to puzzle out where it will go next. You can feel in these pages how much Brubaker and Phillips love what they’re doing, which makes the book all the more successful and enjoyable to read. They attack these stories with an enthusiasm and experience that makes reading a delight. Full of intrigue, bad guys, and good guys (some of them gone wrong), temptation, desire, mystery, and a killer ending for issue #2, Fatale is a book you should absolutely be reading. 

Issues #1 and #2 of Fatale are out now, and Fatale #3 is due in stores in March. If you like this you should certainly also check out Brubaker and Phillips other noir collaborations for the Criminal series by Icon/Marvel.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN. Brian Wood (writer). Becky Cloonan (artist). Dave Stewart (colors). Dark Horse. Full Color. $3.50

While I never saw myself as someone that would read a Conan book, when you put Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan on any book, I’m going to have to check it out. And because they’re talented and smart, it’s no surprise that the result is too. Conan feels bold and fun from cover to cover. Full of bravado and adventure, Wood and Cloonan have already beautifully set the scene for their two leads – Conan and Belit aka The Queen Of The Black Coast. Belit has mostly been seen in a dream (or fantasy, or illusion?) thus far, but she looks like she’s going to be a hell of a villain and Cloonan draws her as powerfully sexy but without a heavy male gaze that quite frankly makes all the difference when it comes to the portrayal of women in comics. The ending of the first issue is honestly a bit of a mystery to me, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t even more intrigued about what it all means, which of course means I’m good and hooked for picking up issue #2.

Conan The Barbarian #1 is available in stores now, and issue #2 is forthcoming in March. If you like Conan you might want to check out Wood and Cloonan’s collaboration on Demo Volumes 1 and 2, as well as Brian Wood’s collaboration with Rebekah Isaacs DV8: Gods & Monsters, all available in trade.

WINTER SOLDIER.  Ed Brubaker (writer). Butch Guice (artist). Bettie Breitweiser (colors). Marvel. Full Color. $2.99

Brubaker’s Winter Soldier is a great new offering from Marvel with dark evocative art by Butch Guice and smart crisp storytelling full of both clever spy capers and small character moments. While Bucky Barnes (aka Winter Soldier) is obviously the star of this book, Natasha Romanov (aka The Black Widow) is the co-star, and she steals the show regularly with her awesomeness. The book is effortlessly cool, definitively clever, and deliciously sexy, and it finds these great little moments that so many comics miss. Like a panel of Natasha slipping OFF her heeled shoes in order to jump into the fray.  But Brubaker pairs a small moment like that with Gorillas with machine guns and jet packs…so you really get the best of both worlds.

Winter Soldier #1 and #2 are in stores now, and issue #3 is due in March.

If you missed them the first time around, make sure to keep an eye out for collected Secret Avengers Vol 3. “Run the Mission, Don’t Get Caught, Save The World” a collection of six brilliant stand-alone stories that tie together effortlessly by Warren Ellis. Each issue has a new (and wonderful) artist: Jamie McKelvie, Kev Walker, David Aja, Michael Lark, Alex Maleev, and Stuart Immonen.  The collected edition releases April 11, 2012.  Another wonderful book (and this time sadly under-appreciated) was Dennis Hopeless and Juan Doe’s Legion of Monsters mini-series, which will also be released on April 11th, 2012 in hardcover. If you missed it, pick up the trade, you won’t be sorry the story is smart, the characters are hilarious and so different from what we usually see, and the art is a frenetic gorgeous style that you’ll become addicted to.

Also, coming soon, and absolutely sensational is Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples Saga, due in stores March 14th.  If you don’t have it on your pull already, rectify that now. The first issue is flat out fantastic.

34 Comments

I find it interesting that, based on the first issue, you cast Belit in the role of villain.

Maverickman874

March 5, 2012 at 9:29 am

not new, but Daredevil !

I love all of these books. But I want to say, one thing I love about Glory is that the warrior women actually look like warriors!

Mint City Comics

March 5, 2012 at 9:39 am

Kelly, I found your previous article absolutely fascinating and illuminating. Being an older male with two young girls, I find it very important to demonstrate appropriate female role models. Sometimes I am aghast at what I see in comics (I have been a massive reader my entire life) and wonder what the girls would think of some of the artwork and representation of females in some of the comics I (have) read. I also teach high school level English, including a film studies class. A few years ago a student caused me to take a look at the films I have been showing since it seemed to be very male-centric in genre and story. Since that time I have been very cognizant of the films I show as well as what my girls read and watch. I have found Miyazaki films great because of the strong female protagonists. We are reading “Bone” and “Castle Waiting” together. I know it may be difficult for some to understand, but I think this is a very important subject. And one last note-you have several new readers to your column who loved that article! I linked you to several young ladies who are seniors at the high school and now you have new devotees! Thanks!

Love the article and I hope this one breaks the internet at least as much as the last comments section broke my spirit. Of course, I’m a little biased on this one. Thanks for the Princeless plug, Kelly!

@Michael P – how could she not? Bélit is depicted/described as nothing BUT a villain in that first issue.

@Michael P: Hmmm. Yes, perhaps antagonist is a better word. I think she’s clearly set up to be the villain here, but given Wood’s writing I’m sure it will be far more nuanced and interesting than that. Nothing wrong with villains though…right?

[…] She Has No Head! – Support The Good- comicbookresources.com So, many of you saw that I broke the internet two weeks ago with my post about the visual representations of men and women in superhero comics and the apparently still radical idea that “No, it’s not equal”.  So how does one follow up THAT column?  Do you try to break the internet even harder?  [… […]

I haven’t this new Conan comic yet, but Michael P’s comment was probably because in the original Robert E. Howard story Belit was an ally of Conan, not a villain.

I would agree with that, but based on the first issue, there’s nothing to support it. So Kelly’s reaction is normal.

I would agree that’s maybe what Michael meant, but based on the first, and only available issue of this Conan, there’s nothing there yet to support it. Kelly’s reaction is normal.

Maverickman874

March 5, 2012 at 10:11 am

maybe it isn’t a 100% faithful adaptation of “Queen of the Black Coast”

Normal for someone who hasn’t read Conan before, sure. As someone who has, though, I’m filled with the same anticipation of watching someone else experience the story as I was when Game of Thrones started running last year.

This is why I’m happy Cloonan & Wood are working on the comic (even if I have my grievances): people who wouldn’t normally go near Conan are giving it a shot.

As Brian said, that’s pretty much how Belit comes across in the beginning of Howard’s “Queen of the Black Coast”: she’s painted as a figure of menace and terror. It’s only when Conan & Belit actually meet that the true nature of their relationship becomes clear.

Maverick, no, it isn’t a 100% faithful adaptation even based on the 1st issue, and Brian would be the first to say certain tweaks and alterations were made. For one thing, the black corsairs aren’t naked. :P As to whether it’s a good comic, well, the reviews and sales speak to the affirmative, so I guess mission accomplished.

Now, don’t be spoiling Queen of the Black Coast for her , you guys. i’m kind of interested to see what she has to say coming to it cold.

Hooper Triplett

March 5, 2012 at 6:03 pm

As consumers, we have no other power than our ability to vote with our dollars. No amount of hand-wringing and complaining will change the market.

Mint City Comics – have had the same revelation with my daughters who are 7 and 11.

Tom Fitzpatrick

March 5, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Broke the Internet, indeed, you did!
All the misogynists are scrambling and cowering in fear of Ms. Thompson’s name being uttered.

I like that you mentioned Terry Moore’s newest creation RACHEL RISING. A chilling, but bizzare series (WTF is going ON here?!?) I do so hope that Mr. Moore’s taking his sweet old time answering the unanswerable.

Might I recommend some of the old Transformers UK stories? Try out “Target: 2006″ or “City of Fear”.

If Tigra would wear clothes, I could list Avengers Academy here. Finesse, Veil, and Hazmat are wonderful characters with real personalities. Jocasta is really stealing the show right now vs. Hank Pym. I don’t really know the new female characters — X-23, White Tiger, or Lightspeed — but they seem to have a lot of potential.

Tigra is still a weak point, both in terms of personality and visual depiction. I see this as a book that could be good in its female depictions, though. Maybe a nudge?

I don’t know why you did it, but I guess you were only looking for Superhero comics? Anyway I agree with you that women are treated unfairly in comics and with that in mind I ask you to read Atomic Robo and have your faith in humanity (once again) restored.

While grabbing pix for my Female Comic Stars tumblr I found out Glory’s original series(issues 1-22) was written by a woman named Mary Jo Duffy. I found that very interesting.

Looking through the comments I have to disagree with Ken about Tigra. Never read much with her before Avengers Academy, now I love the character. Academy is one of the only 3 Marvel books I’m buying right now and my favorite book being published.

I too am enjoying GLORY. Not since Alan Moore and Jo Duffy, have I enjoyed the stories.

Greg, on the one hand I agree: going in cold to stories often yields the best reading. On the other, Queen of the Black Coast will be 78 years old this May: it isn’t like this is The Sixth Sense or even The Crying Game.

Nonetheless, I’ll say no more, suffice to say that if Wood & Cloonan keep on course, I’m sure first-time readers will have lots of surprises.

Ah, Jo Duffy. That’s a name I haven’t hear in awhile. She also wrote the first year of the 1990’s Catwoman series with the Jim Balent art. They made an interesting team. I wonder what happened to her?

I might check out this new Glory title.

Kudos on the earlier Wonder Woman recommendation. It’s just behind Animal Man and Action as my favorite Nu 52 book.

I kinda like the new Supergirl title, too.

If any of you live in the New York area. Andrea Grant, creator of Minx, will be speaking at Pronto Comics monthly meeting about the subject of women in comics.

Find out more by going to Prontocomics.com or check out the Pronto Comics Facebook page.

Kelly, you’re my hero!

I asked my LCS to snag me Glory, so I should be getting the second print of 23 and at least issue 24 (I’ll see beyond that). Who’d’ve ever thought that I’d be interested (again) in the Liefeld Extreme characters, especially since Moore’s not really involved with anything (past the early new Supremes coming)?

Anyone know what Jo Duffy is doing? I forgot she’d written Catwoman, and about Glory. She’s actually pretty important in comics, an unsung heroine if you will, as she was involved with Epic Illustrated and getting that fantasy/SF stuff to Marvel, and she was also the adaptor (I think) of AKIRA when Epic put that out. If you ever find her manga Nestrobber, it’s pretty good from the stories I read in old DHP issues. If she is doing anything with comics, she’d probably be an interesting interview for the 3Chicks. Wikipedia doesn’t seem to have much info on her past the early years of the 2000s.

[…] She Has No Head! – Support The Good CONAN THE BARBARIAN. Brian Wood (writer). Becky Cloonan (artist). Dave Stewart (colors). Dark Horse. Full Color. $ 3.50 While I never saw myself as someone that would read a Conan book, when you put Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan on any book, … Read more on Comic Book Resources […]

Kelly, I’m a regular guy who has been reading your blog intermittently for a long time. I think you’re great. It’s a shame you still have to blow up the internet on negative subjects but I applaud your efforts – and I appreciate your post about the good. Stay motivated!

Wolverine and the X-Men is fantastic so far, but this Kitty Pryde fakeout pregnancy plot was performed really poorly especially in #7. She wakes up one morning, “ready to pop” (she says in issue 5) and yet is blaming herself (“Two days ago, I wasn’t pregnant. Now here I am about to pop … How could I let this happen? I’m supposed to be the responsible one.”) as though it is a normal pregnancy though it was clearly NOT. I have a hard time believing that Kitty Pryde is that dumb about a woman’s biology. Issue 7 she then gives a little “I was so relieved when I found out it was Brood and not a baby. What does that say about me? Why am I so afraid to grow up?” speech. Maybe because that would have been one freaky-ass baby, Kitty. One crazy, Renesmee-style baby. To top it all off, she kisses Bobby (with jealous Warbird looking on) – so I’m pretty sure that whole ridiculous line of thinking is there simply to make a love triangle. Does Kitty really think birthing a baby = adult? Maybe she’s not ready to have a child for a bunch of realistically great reasons… my top two: exceedingly dangerous environment (the school was basically destroyed on day one, right?), and no stable relationship – either she’d have had to go back to Utopia (which she rejected in the first place) and give up her new career, or be a single mother.

Oh and then Beast literally detonates her uterus. Unless that was Rachel’s idea of a joke? But there was clearly a bomb and it clearly exploded, so, I’m also adding genital mutilation to the list.

Interested how other people read it, though.

I haven’t had the chance to read Glory yet, but I have to sing the praises of Ross Campbell for his other works. The Abandoned is a fun, classic zombie breakout that breaks so many usual barriers – the main protagonist is a WOC, she’s not stick-thin, and she’s gay – while still ticking all the right boxes when it comes to a horror comic. Wet Moon has characters of every shape, sexuality and size, and is right up there with Hopeless Savages.

To Ms. Thompson,
I wanted to let you know that I’d constructed a belated response to “No It’s Not Equal,” but I had some doubts as to whether you or anyone else would ever see my announcement if I posted it at the end of the thread that broke the Internet. Apologies for being off-topic by posting it here.

http://www.sequart.org/magazine/10687/making-a-dirty-breast-of-the-matter/

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