web stats

CSBG Archive

She Has No Head! – 12 Birthday Wishes (Round 2!)

THE GIRL WHO WOULD BE KING, cover by Stephanie Hans

Tw0 years ago my birthday fell on a Monday and so I decided to make 12 Birthday Wishes…and now every year Sue asks me if I’m doing it again. This year, especially since I REALLY want some things I decided to do it again even though my birthday isn’t until Thursday.

I thought it might be fun first however (and since I’ve become an obsessive fan of Mark Oshiro’s Mark Watches) to look at what came true from last time (newsflash – not a lot).

2010 LIST:

1. Cliff Chiang drawing Gail Simone’s Birds of Prey.

Well, obviously I didn’t even get close here because of the new DC52. HOWEVER, I did get Cliff Chiang drawing Wonder Woman, which is awesome and similar to what I wished. So I’m giving myself 1/4 point.

2. Monthly ongoing Heralds (or similar with an all female cast from Marvel).

Nope. Not even close. But we did get Duane Swieszernski’s Birds of Prey, so that was nice. Still, 0 points.

3. Moratorium on the un-zipped superheroine suit.

No, not even close, but I will say that 2011-2012 were WAY better than 2010, especially when it came to comic covers.  1/4 point.

4. Batwoman #1 to rock my goddamn socks off.

I’m giving this partial credit. The second arc of the series has not wildly impressed me with the writing, but the first issue came pretty close to rocking my socks off.  1/2 point.

5. I wanted my Stumptown #4.

I eventually got it and it was damn good (and worth the wait). 1 point.

6. More of Mark Chiarello’s Wednesday Comics.

No. Wah. 0 points.

7. Cassandra Cain’s triumphant return to comics.

Hmm. I should have been more specific I see. Technically we got this in the form of Blackbat, but it was really limited and definitely not what I had in mind (i.e. I didn’t find it particularly triumphant). I’m giving myself 1/4 points. And you know this is going back on the list – with more specificity!

8. Tim, Grace, and Cate Miner’s 5MM to continue taking over the world.

They’re doing pretty well and Tim Miner has a really cool new venture as well – full point!

9. Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men Omnibus (for me).

I bought it for myself…so I don’t think I can give a point there.

10. Wildstorm to extend Brian Wood’s work with DV8.

I have to give NEGATIVE points for this, because DC/Wildstorm not only didn’t do this, but managed to let Wood escape too. It’s been a huge gain for Marvel, Image, and Dark Horse where he has some amazing projects going on now and coming up soon. -1 point.

11. Mainstream comics to open its doors to more great indie creators.

This depends on how you define mainstream I suppose. If it includes Image then I get full points as they’ve brought creators like Fiona Staples, Ross Campbell, and Brandon Graham on board, and Dark Horse has been similarly aggressive in sourcing their talent with the likes of Becky Cloonan and James Harren. But if I’m honest I was talking about Marvel and DC and I’d say the answer is a mixed bag. If you call Brian Wood an indie creator then Marvel gets big points, I’m hard pressed to think of many new/indie creators at DC period these days however, which is particularly sad considering they had the best opportunity to do so given the new DC52. Of course as fearless leader Brian pointed out – Matt Kindt is a great indie creator and he’s just started writing Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. – so baby steps?  Still, no points.

12. To be as badass as my Scott Pilgrim avatar.

Sadly no, I remain far less badass than my Scott Pilgrim avatar. 0 points.

Total score?  2.25/12.  Ugh.

Let’s see if we can aim high and yet still do better this year, yes? ONWARD!

Well, my name isn't Jeni, but I'll take it anyway!


Bonnie vs Lola, illustration by Stephanie Hans

1. First and foremost I selfishly hope that you all go to my Kickstarter that launched today and buy my book THE GIRL WHO WOULD BE KING. You can see the cover art by the fantastic Stephanie Hans at the top of the post and just above is another illustration she did for it. I’ll also be releasing “Part 1″ in its entirety on my blog (and here on Thursdays since Fearless Leader Brian is awesome). The first 15 pages are already up – check it out!

Story continues below

Oh Cass Cain, I miss you so.

2. Cassandra Cain. Bring her back. PLEASE. Now onto specificity. DC, at a time when your female characters are not so great and not so diverse, you have one of the best characters you’ve ever created just sitting on the sidelines. Give her another chance (so many others do – and without having a damn successful comic that ran for years). I don’t love the Blackbat thing (especially the ridiculous cape and mummy wrapped arms) but I’ll take it if we can actually get some significant stories for her. I’ll also take her back as Batgirl, or as a Nightwing (not that I want to lose Dick, but I haven’t loved his return to Nightwing). Specific enough? Also, a friend pointed out that July is the 13th anniversary of Cass’s first appearance. Time for a comeback!

3. Black Widow Takeover Part 1:  I want Marvel to give a Black Widow ongoing comic another shot. Give it an A-list creative team and some real thought. Give it some time to find its audience. Don’t oversexualize her so that fans of the monster hit film won’t be turned away for fear that it’s not something “for them.”

4. Black Widow Takeover Part 2: I want that Black Widow stand alone film. I want Scarlett Johansson in it, I want Joss Whedon involved. Ideally I’d like to have Joss direct and at least co-write, but he knows a lot of great and talented people that could do this, so long as he was also involved for the quality control (and care) that he put into Black Widow in The Avengers.

5. For Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples to NEVER END. Okay, more seriously, for me to be reading that book for a long goddamn time. I’m reading a lot of great books right now – Conan, BPRD, Buffy, Glory, Prophet, X-Men, The Massive, Wolverine & The X-Men, Batman, The New Deadwardians, Birds of Prey, Rachel Rising, Angel & Faith, The Walking Dead, Animal Man, Powers, Saucer Country – and Saga is easily the best. That is impressive. Every issue has been a home run for me so far. I don’t ever want it to end.

I like how this puppy both looks sad AND like it's judging you. That's exactly how I feel.

6. To never again read an event like Avengers vs. X-Men. I didn’t like the initial concept (and didn’t understand the idea in fact) but I was willing to come along and see. Now, about halfway in I still don’t like the concept and the execution isn’t winning me over…at all. In fairness I’m not much of a fan of events in the first place, but this feels like one of the most bloated I’ve ever read. There are so many great creators on the event, and some very good books tie into it…but it’s just a huge failure to me. While we’re here and criticizing mass cash grabs, I’ll throw Before Watchmen on the pile. I’m not reading it and I also find I have very little interest in it…I guess there are just certain points where you can’t delude yourself anymore, I definitely hit that point with Before Watchmen.

7. More comics for kids. I don’t care if they’re loss leaders (and I do believe that you are) to me they’re an investment in the future of the industry. We need new blood desperately. There are so many really hot YA Novels that would make EXCELLENT comic series and or graphic novel adaptations. There’s a built-in audience there, and done well and marketed smartly they don’t even have to be loss leaders. But extend your line around whatever big book you push, so that there’s some other material for those potential new fans to read when they finish that first book. You want ideas? Let Faith Erin Hicks do whatever she wants, let Ben Caldwell do his Wonder Woman book, let Ross Campbell write his own ticket with a “girl book,” do more Princeless from Jeremy Whitley, and more Scratch 9…publish all sorts of great YA material, by all sorts of great YA artists and writers. Build for your future. INVEST in your future.

Story continues below

8. Ditto the above, but substitute women for kids/YA. I’ve long said that you don’t have to change much to make most comics more appealing to women. For the most part you just have to make the big offenders less obviously off-putting to female readers. I don’t think you have to re-invent the industry, or sacrifice anything quite frankly in order to capture some of those dollars. As Sue is fond of saying, women’s money doesn’t have itty bitty boobies on them. It’s just as good as men’s money. And we’re 51% of the population. Ignore us at your peril! (I feel like I need a villainous laugh in there). I wrote a little bit about this before when we heard about The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo adaptation.

9. Speaking of comics women might enjoy, I’d LOVE to have that all women X-title Marjorie Liu was talking about on 3 Chicks recently. It doesn’t have to be Liu if she’s busy, but someone smart and well-considered like she is, and a great artist that’s not going to turn off the very audience you’re hoping to pick up some traction with – suggestions? Of course – how about the fantastic Phil Noto, or Cliff Chiang, Tonci Zonjic, Amy Reeder, Jesus Saiz (if he’s not coming back to BoP), Becky Cloonan, James Harren, etc. (there are a million more of course, but I tried to pick people that weren’t already tied fairly permanently to a great book).

10. Wonder Woman…oh, nevermind.

11. Digital. I have been slow to the digital idea, but I think it has the potential to be a real game changer, especially in targeting new audiences like teens and women, who might be less inclined to go into a comic book store and are tech savvy enough to have devices that comics work well on. I was HUGELY impressed with DC’s latest digital offerings – Legends of The Dark Knight, and with Ame-Comi: Wonder Woman. These books were innovative and new, had great creative teams and easy to jump into stories. They felt like the future. Moar please!

Lola & Bonnie by Ross Campbell

12. Did I mention my Kickstarter? Yeah, I guess I did. :) Help me make that shit go viral…kay?

Thanks to all of you for another great year of She Has No Head! – I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it (most of the time!) and here’s to lots more!





I think you’ve not given enough credit to Marvel/DC for wish #11 since you didn’t mention……

Marvel: Sam Humphries, Cullen Bunn
DC: Josh Fialkov, Nathan Edmondson, Justin Jordan (in September, anyway)

I’m probably still forgetting a few. But Marvel in particular seem to really be investing in Bunn and Humpries.

I was greatly disappointed that instead of reviving Amethyst Princess of Gemworld for the YA / kids market (in fact, they could take the 1982 miniseries, put it into digest form and maybe upgrade a couple of the ’80s references, and sell it to kids today) they’re making it a part of the new 52 and it sounds like it’s going to be grittier in all the ways it doesn’t need to be. Christy Marks being the writer could be cool.

Jeff Lemire must surely count as an indie-come-to-mainstream writer / artist.

Happy (early) birthday, Kelly!

I see where you’re coming from on a “Widow” movie, but I’m still just not seeing it. It’s not a gender thing, I don’t think Hawkeye could anchor a solo movie either. Yes, Johannsson is a big star. Yes, “Avengers” did gangbusters. I just don’t think either of those characters is a big-enough draw on their own. Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, and Thor are ICONS. Most non-Marvel readers had never heard of Black Widow before the movies.

On the other hand, maybe a movie where Hawkeye and Widow are the CO-stars? Maybe with a few more Marvel “secret-agent” types thrown in? That could go somewhere. Maybe not “Avengers” somewhere, but somewhere.

I’m not trying to be a bubble-burster, I just think a Black Widow (or Hawkeye) solo flick is a pretty big longshot.

Also, for your wishes for this year:

1. You probably already know that I’ve been banging the drum for a Greg Rucka Black Widow book since he was announced for Big Shots. Big agreement there.

2. I’m honestly not at all the Cassandra Cain fanatic that many others are (tho I do get it). That said, I agree with you 100%. We got a freaking BATWING solo title in the name of diversity. BATWING. That’s a slot that easily could’ve been filled by Cassie, unless DC are inexplicably paranoid about having three female-led bat comics. Hell, I even like the name “Black Bat.” Like a lot more than Batwing.

3. I’ve never really gotten the whole “kids comics” thing. When I was a kid, I had zero interest in things geared towards kids. I played Mortal Kombat in arcades and read Liefeld X-Force and Miller Daredevil and loved the “older” tone to it. You could also see that in the popular animated X-Men cartoon. I imagine that that may be even more the case today, with kids playing video games like Gears of War or Call of Duty or whatever.

“Comics for kids” at times strikes me as being more what parents who read comics desire more than perhaps the kids themselves. If I gave 9-year-old me a gore drenched copy of Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern and a copy of, I don’t know, Takio or Super Dinosaur….I know what I’d’ve picked in a heart-beat. And that was 1995.


What you’re not realizing though is that a Black Widow movie can be MUCH lower budget than any other recent Marvel movie and, honestly, it probably should be.

We could make a very good Bourne/Haywire type movie of Widow battling Cold War remnants and not….killer robots and invading alien armies.

The new Bourne movie had a budget of $90 million and will look very good for a spy thriller. Iron Man 2 was between $170-200 mill, by comparison.

In that sense, there’s a lot more give. And let’s not forget, it doesn’t need to be an ICON to get a movie made: we got three Blade movies and two Ghost Rider movies, for eff’s sake, and the Blade movies did relatively well.


Alex makes a good argument about the budget for BW, bu I would argue that at the level that people are seeing The Avengers films, comic book fans no longer matter. Comics are a microcosm compared to film and television. If even 50% of The Avengers audience showed up for a BW movie, you’re golden. Also, Scarlett Johansson? Not exactly an unknown.

Sounds like you all think I should have given more points to indie writers in mainstream…and you’ve made good arguments – but I saw so much old school exact opposite of new/modern/indie in the N52 especially I’m hard pressed to give any points…maybe a 1/4 point?

1. Done.

2. Personally, I think this isn’t gonna happen until a writer that has a passion for her like the fans have a passion for her gets in at DC because no DC-employed professionals seem to care either way about Cass right now.

3. I’d read a good Black Widow series.

4. I’d see a good Black Widow film! Best part of The Avengers movie if you ask me.

5. Saga is sweet :D

6. I totally disagree about AvX. I’m enjoying it. It’s not changing my life, but I’m having fun with it. House of M won me over back in the summer of 2005 and this is like the spiritual successor to that story. I’m excited to see where it goes.

7. I feel like there are a lot of comics for kids out there, they’re just not well-advertised or promoted like the adult-oriented fare.

8. “For the most part you just have to make the big offenders less obviously off-putting to female readers.” Agreed. But It’d take it one step further and instead say, “Just to have the big offenders stop producing ignorant works that demean female characters and push away intelligent readers.” It’s not just women that feel insulted by a lot of the bullshit that goes on in comic book publishing — it insults me too.

9. Man, Wood’s X-Men is SUPER close to doing this… I mean, just get rid of Colossus and your wish comes true!!! In all seriousness though, I personally don’t want to see all of ANYTHING. I want diversity, I want a mix of characters with all kinds of backgrounds, beliefs, and lifestyles. And it seems like after a pretty serious slump in the past few years, the X-Men titles are doing a much better job of this after the soft relaunch last fall.

10. …

11. Have you tried Double Features digital comics yet? Have you tried Marvel’s Infinite Comics yet? Both great digital-focused releases that use the technology to enhance the reading experience.

12. Done. BTW, Ross’s Lola kinda looks like you…

I don’t know why they don’t rename Winter Soldier as Winter Soldier & Black Widow. They’re pretty much equal leads, and ‘Tasha has to be a bigger name than Bucky now, right?

I want the same thing as TJCoolGuy but for a different reason. One of my favorite parts of The Avengers was the relationship between Black Widow and Hawkeye. While either of them could anchor a movie solo (Hell, the new Bourne movie with Jeremy Renner will probably feel like a Hawkeye movie without the bow.) I think that they give each other a lot of depth and a duo movie would give more time to focus on their relationship than just seeing them together in Avengers movies will, and also make it less of a demand for attention in future Avengers movies.

Save for the bit about your novel, there’s only one way for all your ‘wishes’ to come true:


I’m serious. If we’re going to see some REAL changes in comics and more chances being taken, we need to literally kick the ‘current guard’ out and put in people who WANT the comic book medium to progress.

[…] Kelly just knows lots of comic book creators thanks to her work as a reviewer and columnist for Comic Book Resources, and the podcast she runs (which I always listen to): 3 Chicks Review Comics. There are some cool […]

3. Moratorium on the un-zipped superheroine suit.

No, not even close, but I will say that 2011-2012 were WAY better than 2010, especially when it came to comic covers. 1/4 point.

Heh, when I saw the Avengers movie, I noticed a few times that Scarlett Jo had her suit zipped down to show cleavage, and I thought to myself “Oh boy, Kelly Thompson is going to pop a gasket…”

Here is one of the less egregious examples.

@Alex and Kelly: Yeah, I totally agree that it would do great if they didn’t spend “Avengers” money on it. I guess part of my skepticism is that I don’t see them doing a Marvel movie unless it’s a “spend $300 million, make a billion back” situation. But if they did do a “Bourne”-style mini-blockbuster with it (which totally makes sense, considering she’s a secret agent, not a giant green monster or a Norse god of thunder), it could be really successful.

Then again, I also agree with Dalarsco. My reasons for wanting a Widow/Hawkeye movie weren’t just financial. I want to see that relationship play out onscreen. Plus, like I mentioned in my first post, I want more of the “secret” Marvel Universe to show up. Technically, I guess none of those things couldn’t happen in a solo movie, though…

Happy Birthday Kelly. Where is the wish that DC returns Oracle to comics??????

@Kelly : yeah, I do see your point, and it certainly is a bit disconcerting. Harras, or whomever, seems intent on dredging up forgotten, and/or maligned, creators from the 90s.

Was anyone really clamoring for a Howard Mackie book? Why are there multiple Scott Lobdell DC ongoings in 2012? Or three Rob Liefeld ongoings in 2012? I think the Superman book is the most depressing example: the book NEEDS a fresh take/voice on it, so naturally, DC puts on George Perez, then Giffen/Jurgens, and now Scott Lobdell.

Seriously, I’m waiting for Chuck Austen to show up any moment now and, if the rumors are true, he WAS supposed to be on Blackhawks originally. WHY?!

@Sue: CRAP! You’re right. #ultimatebirthdayfail :(

@JoeMac: It’s funny, the slightly unzipped Black Widow in the film didn’t bother me at all. There’s nothing wrong with sometimes being reasonably unzipped (and by sometimes I mean when not fighting crime or being in the dead cold in Russia or something)

But to me the difference between what we saw in the movie and what we often see in the comics is kind of the difference of this (from Iron Man 2):


And this (“fan created image?”) from Iron Man 2 which is more accurate to what we too frequently see in comics. I think the perspective is badly skewed, you know?:


Leave a Comment



Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives