An "X-Force" To Be Reckoned With - Marvel's Mutant Militia Turns 25
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).
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!
2012 BIRTHDAY WISHES!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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