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CSBG Archive

3 Chicks Review Comics – Episode 057

Hey! It’s our 57th Episode!3 Chicks Blue Brown Final2sized


Inside this episode! A review of Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy’s The Wake #1 and a review of Kick-Ass Volume 3 #1 by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. Heidi MacDonald from The Beat joins us to talk about all things comics, including of course the state of the industry, gender in comics, and what’s exciting her in comics today. We talk about DC’s big “Forever Evil” event (Surprise! Kelly hates it with every fiber of her being!) We also have an all new DRAMATIC READING from Sue, and you don’t want to miss it!

Here are the breaks:

Review of The Wake #1 Review – 01:00

Review of Kick-Ass Vol. 3 #1 Review – 7:06

Interview with Heidi MacDonald – 15:30

General comics talk & This Week’s DRAMATIC READING! – 01:32:22

3 Chicks Review Comics is a podcast featuring female comics lovers and bloggers Sue from DC Women Kicking Ass and Kelly Thompson from She Has No Head! Tune in 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 and Sue.  Special thanks to Nik Furious for our awesome 3 Chicks theme song.

*As always beware of spoilers if you haven’t read the books in question! Advance reviews are always spoiler-free!

3 Chicks 057 Cover


I started reading Heidi’s awesome column on The Pulse back in 2002! And Jen Contino’s work was kickass too. comic blog nostalgia!!!

Heidi’s The Beat work on The Pulse really got me into reading comics blogs. It was personal and informative at the same time. Part gonzo Journo, part link blogging, part livejournal. Really groundbreaking stuff.

I think “mainstream” is a problematic word when it comes to talking about publishing comics. In my opinion, it used to describe the situation but nowadays it’s not accurate. I think “corporate”, “independent”, and “self-published” are far more accurate terms to use when talking about the divisions between levels of distribution and public reach for modern comics.

The price points on comic books are all #$%@ed up. The biggest reason why I’ve stopped reading monthly corporate comics is because the price increases don’t match the value. If these things were half the price, I’d be reading way more of them. But both the digital AND print prices are crazy inflated. At least with BOOM and Image, the digital price points are fair and they drop down to $1.99 within a reasonable time frame. So they get my money!!

Hey, good listen. But could you list all in writing all the women you mention in the history of comics in such. That’d certainly help when I want learn more. Thanks!

such a good episode!!!!! so fascinating. i loved Sue’s dramatic Luda (?) readings, haha.

CC: 3 Chicks & The Beat

In response to almost all of this last Pod Cast; lots covered, bare with me:

Have The Wake for all those reasons…need to actually read it. Now curious about Kick Ass (only saw and mildly liked the film); not as hard on Romita Jr, as Kelly, not in love either.

Ok on to the conversation with Heidi; let’s assume I basically agree with most opinions here (since I usually do) and am only adding or taking issue with those things I began verbally responding to in my car (ok not all of it…but my mind was talking back), while listening, as I do: like Kelly has heard me do way to much already:

Heidi’s place in comics history is more crystallized and I did not understand her and Tom Spergeons place in context. While with everyone, I don’t always agree, for some time now, I really value both their voices. So that was informative.

Kelly’s point on the blurring of the line is testament to my reality; clearly.

I am always thinking of Comics as anemic. Heidi’s perspective is better informed then mine and helps my perspective on it, be more “glass half full,” which is what I prefer. I certainly agree that there is a dynamic and diverse trajectory being paved in comics. There are so many factors; mentioned and not.

To Kelly’s point on blurred lines and Heidi’s point of the Internets effect we now have so many moving parts; from films to cartoonist classes that we have an unknown future that seems to be shaking the legacy of “Ruthless Businessmen & Rip off Artists.” I saw this mentality in my Jewish Grandfather and you see it played out well on Mad Men. The nostalgia for me, for this origin (which continues today is many forms) is felt as a legacy of epic villains and hard boiled heroes. Both make for fascinating history of an “inside baseball” perspective of how the “sausage” was/is made. Protected by a “boys will be boys” defense and “boys” like myself being pandered to in an uneasy way (since more of us Gen X boys also had feminist Moms). It will be interesting to see if and when that “boys” hold on comics remain predominant. I actually think it doesn’t anymore (more on that in a bit). However, I would suggest that you shouldn’t nessasarally look at non-DC or Marvel comics publishers as the example. As someone who knows, was trained by and wanted to work at both Marvel/DC & Fantagraphics/D&Q I can tell you, sure there is more effort to create inroads for Women in Comics, but there is just as much of that “Ruthless Businessmen & Rip off Artists” linage on display in Seattle & Montreal as there is in Manhattan & LA. It is ingrained in the medium, through process, competition, history and now education that this is a sweatshop industry; expect to get screwed. Toughen up or quit. That reality is not dispelled with the voice we all now have through Twitter. And maybe it shouldn’t; as much as I personally find it annoying.

This history by the way, while not duplicated, runs along side similar dynamics in Manga, European Comics, Strips and the Underground. It is a reality in publishing, storytelling, music and visual arts. Which is why everyone is at this crossroads dealing with new markets & new content delivery options coupled with open communication channels. Comics are front and center on much of what is changing the world, which is testament to the power of the medium, but also sobering in the reality of its economics. Art currently struggles to find a new path, free of nostalgia and reinvention; Comics are a oversized influence on our culture today and epitomize this struggle to move forward. My own work refuses to let go, while screaming how screwed up it all has been (reinventing my approach again as we speak…my process is always dictated by reality of time management, truth to my own talents, moving forward without ignoring history, communication of my thoughts, ect…which is why change happens for me before I am finished…and it is I who has had the worst selling comic in history).

I essentially agree on the effect that Superhero film has on our culture and am as suprised as any, on how well it has supported comics (since my graduate thesis, gave it little positive prospect). It still at present supports the common notion that Superheros are “comics,” but somehow it has not entirely stamped out the diversity of comics, nor made that the entire narrative the mainstream culture hears. Again, so many moving parts. I have to take strong issue with Hidie’s honest perspective that Superheroes are a “boys” thing. I am a Man, I grew up with a central goal; draw Superhero comics (which thankfully expanded to a more inclusive love of Comics). As mentioned I am the Son of a feminist, so the depiction of women in Superhero comics matters to ME, a boy turned man. I am not rejecting the notion that there is a objectification, sexualization in the form of imagination through ink and pulp. I personally, don’t take issue with it and have had the base instinct most men who like comics have had. However, I also want the same medium, genre, subject to be inclusive, diversified, varied and have a bigger piece of the entertainment, literary and art world. This desire, out ways my pubescent past and nostalgia. It is especially out voted by my desire as a husband and father who makes comics, LOVES comics. I want all kinds of stories told in Sequential Art, and every day there is more, some better then before, I like sharing them with my mother, my sisters, my wife and especially my Daughter (who thankfully, LOVES COMICS). But like her father she also loves the genre most often associated with the medium in the collective contiousness (not funny books), SUPERHEROES. She loves Adventure Time & Tiny Titans…but I should be able to read a Wonder Women or an Kitty Pryde to her. And that book isn’t being made now. So, I think, Heidi, was simply pointing out a perspective and trying to make it rational, but I hate that perspective so much. And it is supposed to make me enjoy Comics more…but it simply doesn’t help me find better comics for myself or my daughter.

I listen to Ink Studs and Kevin Smith’s FatMan on Batman along with 3 chicks; these aren’t my only sources, but it illustrates my divergent perspectives. I agree and am informed by all three all the time, or at least entertained. But I always have that moment, when Kevin Smith (being nice) says something supporting a guest perspective that ultimately denigrates Indy comics for being high brow, or feminism in comics for taking away the party. Which, seems really ridiculous, since he is (when not making dick & annel jokes is a huge symbol of what is great about Indy culture, respecting women and diversity). When listening to Ink Studs I always feel Robin, does a nice job of letting the guest speak, but for some reason they tend to crap on Superheros, or mainstream culture or just making some unessasarally not inclusive comment, that supports a notion I heard the day before on a Kevin Smith podcast. Then I listen the 3 Chicks and most of it is right on, but then a statement crosses a line from my male perspective, or something is ignored…I think two things after I get annoyed; I am an individual, I thankfully don’t agree with everything & thank goodness there is this level of passion and perspective on Comics. I am sure there is lots more out there (sometimes I find it). This is just one reason of many to support Heidi’s optimism.

Anyway, side tracked, with Diane Nelson at the helm of DC entertainment, I am not getting the seance that DC is meant for boys. Listening to Kevin’s interviews with Dan Dido, Jim Lee & Geoff Johns I get the seance she has hired people who are interested in righting a ship, but suffer from the affliction of being Male. She hired people who know and respect the characters. She instructed them to take risks. Her bench mark is sales. Their gender and competence insulates her from failure in the eyes of male readers. But it also insulates her from the prospect of diversification. Particularly, when sales are good. I actually think, these guys are doing a good job, but they are failing to truly hear what we are saying with regards to the potential of more kids, women and non-whites reading comics. The issue is not just lack of female creators. Marvel is righting their ship, because, as Kelly and Sue have exposed in their interviews, Marvel has a women on the editorial staff of most books. Working hands on all day. Not just keeping the tradition of female executives (thanks for the new to me bio on Hellen Meyer…there is not enough talk of Dell and it’s brilliant hay day in general…and I never heard about her before).

Kevin’s interviews always wax nostalgic and with Jeph Loeb (now at Marvel, writing a Nova I do read to my daughter) I got the sense that pre-current editorial staff over the superhero comics, it was more loose in terms of organization, with strict guidelines. Which is like having the wild west being run by an branding bureaucratic. For Loeb and Tim Sales (or Alan Moore or Frank Miller) it worked. Loeb’s notion of an annual focus is really spot on. However none of this supports Wonder Women. A Scott Snyder, and maturing Greg Capollo (fascinating, dude’s dude) does not make for an inclusive DC. Even with JH Williams III & Gail Simone working. Ann Nocenti has not created a compelling comic to me since inventing my favorite male superhero, Longshot, with the less then feminist Art Adams. So dependent on wether you are tolerant of the choices Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang made in Wonder Women (which otherwise is a fantastic comic right now), you are ok with Williams not drawing Batwomen well, you have a guys book, Batman to read. The rest is really not that great. However, that seems to not pan out given sales.

OK onto education: I have a some connection with CCS up here in Vermont (Kelly does to, having studied in a James Sturm classroom too). SVA also crossed my path through it’s short stint in Savannah and the visiting cartoonist that have taught both at SVA & SCAD. So I am a bit aware of the demographic changes there. Since Kelly and I graduated from SCAD things have changed quite a bit, but I fear that since my graduate class in the Sequential Art department now runs the show there I haven’t checked on the male to female ratio. I hope it’s 50%. I agree that A: women have always had a place in making comics & B: there is a better mix slated for the future. I was also impressed that Trina Robbins name wasn’t mentioned once. It use to be back in the ’90’s she was the name you used in defending women in comics.

OK way to much writing you probably won’t read.

Your friend,


Hi Kelly and Sue,

I spent years as the comics buyer for a big city library, and I enjoyed trawling the mainstream and small presses for interesting comics that would appeal to different ages and tastes. Since I moved back to my small home-town most of the comics news I hear (via internet) is superhero related, and kind of depressing. The library I work at now is quietly anti-comics; I can’t get them to separate the children’s comics (Batman: brave and the bold) from the adult ones (Hellblazer), let alone order some of the classic titles every library should have.

So it was wonderful to listen to your interview with Heidi MacDonald, and to hear that there is still a vibrant mainstream comics industry – I was left feeling more positive about comics than I have in some time. Any chance Heidi could become a semi-regular contributor?

I appreciate how much both of you put into this podcast and your other comics work.


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