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She Has No Head! – World Domination (Or Something)

Well, world domination may be a bit excessive, but all in all the news coming out of NYCC (and some that came before NYCC) was incredibly positive. Hard to argue with such a killer week of news.  Let’s start with some cool stuff that actually happened last week, prior to NYCC.

EDIT: Just to be clear, since people are going nuts in the comments. This post is SPECIFICALLY about the news that was announced this weekend at NYCC 2013. While I talk generally about Marvel and DC and their approach to “women in comics” the catalyst is all the NEW THINGS that were announced this weekend. To summarize: yes, DC has some lady-led comics right now (more in fact than Marvel) but short of the Stephanie Brown announcement they made ZERO exciting moves on the “women in comics” front this weekend. So, yeah, that’s gonna skew what I’m talking about. Try not to cry.

SHNH Dreams Coming True Header

From Left: She-Hulk, Black Widow, Captain Marvel, and Elektra

WONDER WOMAN!

That’s right, after far too long, Jeff Rubinov is no longer in charge over at Warner Brothers. And his successor Kevin Tsujihara has gone on record very aggressively about the need for a Wonder Woman project – film or television. Actually going so far as to use the word NEED in his quote about Wonder Woman:

“We need to get Wonder Woman on the big screen or TV.”

He also cited the lack of superhero movies other than Superman and Batman as a “missed opportunity.”

I like this guy! I actually like a lot of the things he’s saying, but obviously I’m focused on the Wonder Woman stuff.

Sidenote: I’ll get my Wonder Woman screenplay over to you STAT Mr. Tsjuihara, I’m sure you’re anxiously awaiting it!

WW Arterton

I stand by my (brilliant) casting of Gemma Arterton as Diana. Runner up? Morena Baccarin.

In related Warner Brothers/amazing female characters news. You all should see GRAVITY immediately if you haven’t already. A magnificent film, and relevant here in so many ways relating to wonderfully complex female characters. That one shot of Sandra Bullock (you’ll know it when you see it) gave me superheroic chills in a way that I challenge an ACTUAL superheroine film to best. The entire film is an exceptional reminder of what makes a heroine inspiring, important, real, and epic for the screen – take note writers/filmmakers/creators everywhere!

Sandra Bullock Gravity Tank Shooting

Sandra Bullock (shooting GRAVITY)

LADY-LED SUPERHERO COMICS!

Black Widow Phil Noto

Black Widow by Phil Noto

We already had the cool announcement about the Soule/Pulido SHE-HULK book launching in February, NYCC added to that slate by announcing a new BLACK WIDOW series with the Fantastic Phil Noto doing interiors, and Nathan Edmondson writing. There is nothing bad about this news!!!  Other than some cover misfires, I loved Marjorie Liu and Daniel Acuna’s BLACK WIDOW series from 2010 and was bummed that it didn’t have legs. But I’m excited to have a creative team of this caliber giving the character another shot. A smart movie given how high-profile the character is right now thanks to her appearance in the films.

Next we add a new ELEKTRA series to the slate. Written by Zeb Wells and with interior art and covers by Mike Del Mundo. If you’re not familiar with Del Mundo and the absolutely bonkers gorgeous Elektra image in the header isn’t enough to sell you, look him up. He’s one of the most talented and innovative artists working comics. So, suffice to say, I am fanatically happy about this news.

Also, though the current CAPTAIN MARVEL series is apparently ending (I missed this official announcement?) Marvel is not giving up and will relaunch again in March. They’re keeping Kelly Sue DeConnick on the title, which I approve of wholeheartedly. The first arc of Captain Marvel was a little rough in my opinion and I think Dexter Soy was an ill-chosen artist, but after that first arc, DeConnick hit an amazing stride with the character, so I’m glad she’s staying around.

The biggest problem on Captain Marvel was the rotating artist cast, and not all of them a good fit for the book. Personally I loved Felipe Andrade’s loose energetic look for the book, but I can admit it’s not mainstream enough for most folks to allow the numbers a book like Captain Marvel needs to justify its continued publishing. So I’m glad to see in this relaunch, a real consideration of the artist, as David Lopez is the series artist. He will kill those interiors, and it’s exciting to see Marvel not giving up on titles and being really smart about their creative teams. Not sure what this means for Brian Wood’s X-Men (where Lopez was supposed to be the regular artist) but hopefully someone great (and appropriate) is sliding into that vacancy. Oh, and if you need a suggestion, Marvel – here you go — VALERIO SCHITI — gods how I would love to see him draw Rogue & Co (yes, that’s how I think of them). Get that man drawing some badass ladies, STAT.

Elektra-002-Mike-del-Mundo-Cover-610x923

Mike Del Mundo Elektra #2 Cover

Beyond my general excitement over some of these books, The best news in all of this is simply the “never give up-ness” of it. Marvel’s devotion to giving female characters a spotlight, even if not so long ago (and sometimes very recently) it didn’t work as well as they had hoped, is terribly encouraging. They are simply unafraid to try again, and that’s a much needed attitude. ELEKTRA and SHE-HULK have both had their own titles before, and of course BLACK WIDOW and CAPTAIN MARVEL have had very recent “failed” books, but instead of saying universally that it’s a problem with the character, trying again acknowledges that maybe they didn’t get the right creative team, or that the timing was not ideal, or the PR not focused enough, etc. There are a ton of reasons that books fail, and pretty low on the list (in my opinion) is that character X can’t maintain a regular audience. I would like to see Marvel give some of these titles a little longer to find their legs and thus their audience before rushing to cancellation, but a good alternative is knowing that a “failed book” isn’t a death knell for trying again with the same character.

Not to mention, these four books, plus Brian Wood’s all ladies X-MEN and Cullen Bunn’s all ladies FEARLESS DEFENDERS, assuming they both continue (not positive on the numbers for either recently), shows Marvel is really making a concerted effort with female focused/led titles. Add to that their continued interest in female creators (including editors) and their efforts to support and even shine a spotlight on that when they can (like via their Women of Marvel panel at NYCC) and it’s damn exciting at Marvel these days for women – both creators and characters.

Stephanie Brown Spoiler

Stephanie Brown/Spoiler by Earthward artist Marcio Takara

DC would be utterly left out in the cold compared to Marvel when it comes to female characters, except thank the gods for Scott Snyder’s Stephanie Brown announcement. DC is more and more a place where I can’t find anything I’m interested in (and even more so a place where I worry about characters that have to play in that environment – bad things happen to them – from character assassination to character death) – but this is a nice bone thrown to fans of Stephanie Brown, and fans of DC Comics that find little for themselves these days. As y’all know, Stephanie Brown is not a favorite character of mine, but I’m happy for her return (and slightly worried for her).

Of course, DC reminds us all that it’s not a super progressive place with a complete lack of female creators on tap to celebrate Batman’s 75th anniversary. But you can’t win them all I suppose. In fact, while I think it was incredibly smart for DC to (finally) have some Stephanie Brown news to combat what has typically been happening with that character the last few years at major cons (i.e. people ask about her and the answer is dismissive, insulting, vague, or all three), I was surprised by the general lack of news unveiled at NYCC (compared to Marvel that was rolling out announcement after announcement). Even though SDCC was low on comics news in general, Marvel dominated DC across the board then and to see them do it again here was just…staggering. In addition to the fact that DC would have a single story for every four or five of Marvel’s, three of the major stories had dark/death themes: “Lights Out” (referring to a Green Lantern Event) but which is basically a phrase for shutting down; Death of Superboy; and a “DC Pledges to be Forever Evil,” an odd endorsement considering the generally tepid reception of “Forever Evil” “Villains Month.”

Sure, there was other stuff — like the focus on celebrating Batman and Superman’s anniversaries and general “New 52″ updates — but on the whole even the announcements felt grim. :(

In non-big two news, there wasn’t A LOT but I liked what I saw:

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Rebekah Isaacs BUFFY sketch!

The only real Dark Horse news I saw was Whedon-verse related, but I admit I’m extremely excited to see Rebekah Isaacs drawing the BUFFY SEASON 10 title. Buffy as a comic is a mixed bag for me. This past season started incredibly strong but fell off very quickly (and just about when Spike left the book…coincidence?! I THINK NOT!).  ANGEL AND FAITH was certainly the stronger book of the two overall and in large part due to Isaacs consistently beautiful work. She and writer Christos Gage made a good team and I’m excited to see what they can do with Buffy. Angel & Faith is getting another “season” with Victor Gischler and Will Conrad as the creative team, which is worth a look. And SERENITY is getting a new comic by Zach Whedon and featuring longtime Buffy artist Georges Jeanty. I am a diehard Firefly/Serenity fan (of course) so will be checking this out as well. Thanks to AJ in the comments for mentioning that Greg Rucka has a new book called VEIL forthcoming from Dark Horse – looks awesome and I don’t know how I missed it!

BOOM! Reminded fans about the recently announced George Perez SHE-DEVILS. They also talked at their panel about their commitment to creative freedom and something extremely dear to my heart/belief system – bringing in new/all-ages readers. Boom! President Ross Richie said: “If we don’t publish material for the generation that’s born now, they won’t be reading comics,” Richie said. “We need to start building the next generation of comics readers.” AMEN!

The only Image stuff I saw was stuff about THE WALKING DEAD. But with PRETTY DEADLY launching shortly (Oct. 23), ROCKET GIRL and SEX CRIMINALS newly launched and SAGA and LAZARUS killing it on a monthly basis, they’re pretty well covered on the awesome female-focused front.

So, yeah. Kind of an amazing week of comics and comics-related news. Almost makes you not want to give up completely, right? What about you? Other than the obviously very exciting MiracleMan announcement, what are you most excited about?

120 Comments

The differences between Marvel and DC couldn’t be any more apparent right now.

Marvel is where you go for fun and creativity, and DC is where you go to DIE (but not without being tortured first.)

My #1 is All-New X-Factor. I’m happy to still get my monthly dose of Peter David, and I’m a huge fan of Quicksilver who is looking forward to seeing how David brings back in the stuff he was doing before his Avengers return under Slott and Gage.

Just another reminder that Kelly Thompson is just another biased hater.

Marvel fires 60% of thier female writers leaving only KSD

Marvel doesn’t launch a single female written title at NYCC.

Meanwhile DC has more female writers and female led comics

Hey Kelly,

Just in case you missed them, I think that Dark Horse’s announcement of a new Greg Rucka series, “Veil” would be considered good lady-news. Also, don’t know whether or not you’re into Ted Naifeh, but the pages he showed of his upcoming barbarian princess book “Princess Ugg” at the Oni Press panel looked awesome.

I’m all in for All-New X-Factor!

Regarding the WW TV series/film. I’d love one! But I’m sure as hell gonna hate all the nitpicking that’s gonna come with it. If other superhero films have been nitpicked to death, this is gonna go over the top, because not only geeky fans will do it, but all sorts of sociologists, feminists, and machistas will do it too. “Her shorts are too short//long(loose/starry/dark/tight!”, “her smile to Steve Trevor when they met means she is surrendering her warrior status to the patriarchal figure, whom by the way, has a pen in his pocket, as a phallic symbol!”, “she is an emasculating feminazi!”
I think that it’d be better to have a film with a less iconic female character first.

I find the news on the Marvel front quite exciting. Captain Marvel is a great series and KSD is fantastic. I feel the same way about the artist thing. I love the book but is suffers from schizophrenic art. As long as DeConnick continues writing it I’m super-duper excited about a the relaunch. I’ve gotten the impression that she wants to just go balls-out crazy with Carol but has held back because of the various crossover events and multiple Avengers titles. Maybe this will be her chance to go nuts.

OH MY GOD. Valerio Schiti’s artwork on Journey Into Mystery was AMAZING (and perfectly complimented Immonon’s stories). I was so bummed to see that one get the axe. Why the hell didn’t they give that book the Marvel NOW renumbering treatment? Thor and Loki were both absent so it was pretty much a relaunch anyway. But alas, it got virtually no promotion and started the number 600-something on the cover, so a near-perfect book gathered dust on the rack, pushed aside by the fifty X-Books and Avengers tie-ins, all with the bright flashy words FIRST ISSUE!!!!!!! bursting out of the cover. Anyway, I can’t wait to see what’s next for Schiti — I hope it involves plenty of female characters coz his Sif was downright gorgeous. I’d love to see him do a new Spider-Woman series.

I’m happy to see the shout out to Rocket Girl. I gave a few bucks to the Kickstarter campaign and was therefore lucky enough to get a physical copy of issue #1 (signed!) in the mail a few days before it showed up in shops. It really is a fantastic book. I’ve always liked Amy Reeder’s art but Rocket Girl might be her best yet. I highly, highly recommend it.

Finally, my fantasy casting for a Wonder Woman film: Jamie Alexander, aka Sif in the Thor movies. It won’t happen for that obvious reason but I think she’d be great.

@Caanan: Exactly.

@Dalarsco: Yeah, I’ll definitely be checking out X-Factor too.

@Bob: You are certainly right that DC has more female led comics than Marvel, that said, I’ve tried them all and am not regularly reading a single one of them. So, quality…? Not so much. I’ll take quality over quantity any day (though both would be nice of course).

Thanks to Marx and Nocenti joining Simone at DC in the last year, you may be right (for now) on female writers, but it’s by no means a regularity, and I don’t expect it to last. When it comes to artists and editors, Marvel handily beats DC on those stats. So it’s a mixed bag.

So then why is it worth mentioning that DC didn’t launch a new title wit a female writer but not Marvel?

By the end of the year DC will launch another female led title Harley Quinn cowritten bya female author Amanda Conner not to mention the female written Coffin Hill at Vertigo.

And Marvel will have a single female writer.

And Marvel is slaughtering DC in the readability department.

(Actually I don’t believe that at all. But I’m just *dying* to jump into another amateurish Marvel vs DC flamewar!)

How successful would Captain Marvel be if they didn’t double ship it? It is already sub 20K.

The author has it all backwards. Celebrate good stories, interesting stories, diverse stories. Don’t celebrate the notion that comics with female leads are automatically good. Captain Marvel is an astoundingly average book with astoundingly average art, yet it gets talked up like it is savior of female comics. Who cares if it male or female leading the book? Who cares if it male or female writing the book? Is it a good story? That is what should be discussed or celebrated or criticized. Agendas abound everywhere with this column.

Anyone think COFFIN HILL was rather incoherent?

Personally, I would have preferred a relaunch of Sif’s JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY over any of these other titles. That book was so good!

@AJ – Thanks for the heads up on Veil – don’t know how I missed it! I’ve added a line and link about it in the piece.

@Kabe – Yeah, but the nitpicking is going to happen regardless, nothing we can do about it.

@Samurai36 – A lot of those books you’ve listed are no longer running (and some haven’t for more than two years) so I’m not sure how you go about counting them, if we’re going to do it that way, the numbers are going to be very confusing: Gotham City Sirens, Zatanna, Amethyst don’t exist at DC Comics. I suspect Katana is soon to be cancelled, along with BIrds of Prey as the numbers (and reviews) for both are abysmal. The idea of putting Ame Comi Girls on this list is laughable. Yes, technically it’s female-led, but gimme a break.

That said, as I responded to Bob above, DC absolutely has more female-led books than Marvel, they always have. But it’s notable that though I have read at least one issue of each of them (with the exception of Trinity of Sin) I don’t read a single one regularly, which speaks volumes about quality.

Like any lover of comics, I don’t call myself a Marvel OR DC fan. I call myself a comics fan. I cut my teeth on Marvel/X-Men, but four years ago was reading more than three times more DC books (than Marvel) and frequently called Marvel out for a lack of diversity, lack of female-led titles, lack of a whole lot of things, as well as nightmare projects (like Marvel Divas). But things have changed. DC is not doing much I can get behind, before the new 52, and most especially since the new 52. They push me away every week. And having a handful of female-led titles will not save them from criticism.

@Bob: It’s worth mentioning that DC had one single notable mention regarding women (the return of Stephanie Brown) as a comparison to what Marvel trotted out (several new titles, as well as a “women of Marvel” panel, and some general excitement) ,as it signals what they’re trying to do and changes they’re trying to make. And I said as much in the column.

Yes, Harley Quinn will be another title, and there’s certainly not any controversy ALREADY attached to that title. (*eyeroll*)

But have at it. You and @SAMURAI36 see a DC hater regardless of what I write, so be it.

I just want to know why Immonene who’s Journey into Mystery starting Sif that was in my opinion one of Marvel’s best books can’t be on a new title.

I mean would it seriously hurt Marvel to let a woman write the Punisher?

Kelly, I like the way you take your personal taste and biases to make a quantitative comparison between Marvel and DC (“I don’t like the books …”–BUT THEY EXIST–do you want female characters, or only ones written to your specifications? “I don’t EXPECT it to last”–BUT IT’S ACTUALLY HAPPENING). I know it’s a column, and I think yours is a VERY important POV, but your voice (or, hell, actual content), always seems so … juvenile. :(

@Bob
I think she’s on this upcoming Inhumanity event in some capacity? Not sure where I heard that, I’ll see if I can find out more. That JiM run was one of the best thing I read in a long time.

@Adam: Well, you’re missing the point of this column, which is a place where we talk about “women in comics.” If you don’t want to talk about, or don’t care about this issue, then I suggest you frequent the million other comics columns and forums that have nothing to do with that issue.

That said, I am in no way advocating for “female-led books” over quality books. This would be (one of) my points about the difference between DC and Marvel right now. SAMURAI36 and BOB want to talk about how DC has more female-led books than Marvel right now. They do, and they probably always will. Historically they have had better success at creating standalone (long running) female characters – from Wonder Woman to Catwoman. Marvel doesn’t have those equivalents. But very few of DC’s books right now are actually any GOOD. So to advocate for good books, I don’t see how you can advocate for the mediocre to bad titles that DC is pumping out that happen to have female-led characters headlining. However, over at Marvel I see them failing but continually trying (to launch female-led books and to find an equivalent to WW – which will take decades) and I’m excited to see that attitude.

Good story/good comic is more important than anything, agreed. But I don’t happen to believe that all the best creators (and characters) are male. So yeah, I do care about getting some representation and diversity in there. And I happen to believe it generally makes our books BETTER.

As for acting like Capt. Marvel is a perfect book, you’re just another example of someone who wants to complain about something someone wrote, without bothering to actually read what they wrote. I specifically discussed the flaws in Capt. Marvel. Get with the program.

@Dave: Agreed on Coffin Hill. There’s potential there, but the first issue was a pretty big mess. Lot of repetitive stuff (some of it contradictory). Not a strong start.

Samurai, I know this is a women in comics column, but my comment was directed at the lines in general.

DC focuses on gritty reboots, an entire month devoted to villains, dark pasts, tragic backstories, etc. while Marvel has far more titles with a lighter tone to them. Heck, they have actual comedians writing Deadpool. Marvel are trying to bring fun to their titles while DC seem out to destroy fun.

I know she’s supposed to be dead, but when will we get a solid Silver Sable series?? She’s an awesome female character with no male counterpart, and I’d love to see the first wide story arc show her aggressively pursuing spider-man as a potential suitor to the Symkarian throne. ;)

Also, Kelly, Gemma Arterton is by far the obvious choice for a Wonder Woman movie, but google Bridget Regan as she looked in the movie, The Best and the Brightest (a pretty funny movie with Neil Patrick Harris pretending to be a poet by reciting his friend’s salacious text messages, in order to get their daughter in to a nice school). If the WB want a (relatively) unknown, if Gemma Arterton is too expensive and they want to shave costs, she might have what it takes.

Man, I would be so thrilled if Valerio Schiti came onto X-Men full time. That would be my dream pick. Although I’d also quite like Kris Anka, and he’s been hinting that he’s getting a regular interiors gig on an X-book. It hadn’t occurred to me that it might be X-Men, but he could have the book after Terry Dodson’s arc, and time-wise it makes sense, since Anka says his gig will be announced in November.

Numbers-wise, X-Men is doing quite respectably, with Diamond sales in the mid-60s before the Battle of the Atom event. Fearless Defenders is below 20k though, I think – it doesn’t bode well.

@SAUMARAI36:

Why bother to name books both post and pre nu 52? It only hurts your argument?

Marvel:
Spider-Girl
Spider-Woman
Ms. Marvel
Capt. Marvel
Red She-Hulk
X-Men Legacy (Rogue book, which if you’re going to count Trinity of Sin for Pandora, probably counts)
Journey Into Mystery (Sif)
Black Widow
She-Hulk
Elektra
X-23
X-Men (Wood)
Fearless Defenders
Alias

There’s more than a dozen, just off the top of my head. I’m sure I’m missing plenty (so are you with your DC list – where’s Manhunter?). But it just illustrates what a stupid point this is. Especially since I AM NOT advocating that Marvel has more female-led titles…and never have been?

As to your DC list, you’re being disingenuous about the list. As only 6 of those 10 you list are since “nu52″ inception, but you’re missing Voodoo, so I’ll add that and give you 7 out of 11. The other three are new (and either cancelled or about to be) and one is not even out yet. C’mon.

Still, this is not the point. This was never the point. If you could read the column without seeing red, maybe you’d understand what I was trying to talk about.

@ Bob:

The current regimes at Marvel and DC inherited very different playing fields with regard to female characters and even female creators. They have done vastly different things with them.

Prior to the Direct Market era, DC Comics was relatively female-friendly. They had by far the number one female superhero in Wonder Woman. They had easily the second most successful female-led superhero title in Lois Lane. They had a third title with a female co-lead in Hawkgirl. Plus, there were derivative characters on the edges of the A-list, like Supergirl and Batgirl. Their female supporting casts were diverse and active. Carol Ferris was Hal Jordan’s boss. Jean Loring was a lawyer, who drove many Atom stories. Sue Dibny was a full partner to Ralph Dibny. DC even created some very solid female B-listers (or perennial team members) in the transition to the DM. Raven, Starfire and Wonder Girl were great (and very distinct from one another) in the Wolfman/Perez TEEN TITANS. Mike W. Barr and Jim Aparo created a nifty character in Katana fro BATO. Black Canary really grew in stature when Wonder Woman got re-booted. John Ostrander (and Kim Yale) created and/or re-imagined some amazing characters for SUICIDE SQUAD, like Amanda Waller, Oracle, Nightshade and Vixen.

Honestly, it was an embarrassment of riches.

Marvel, by contrast, mustered exactly zero female A-listers in the pre-DM era. They only really attempted one: Black Widow. Marvel has always had a robust set of female B-listers as a result of their team-oriented world building, but virtually no character has ever made the leap from team member to solo star. Sue Storm, Wasp, Scarlet Witch, Storm, Rogue and the rest were beloved ensemble players. Only derivatives, like She-Hulk, seemed to be on the cusp of A-list status.

Now, compare the fates of the female DC and Marvel characters in the years since the elevation of the current regimes at each publisher.

While Marvel has not always been kind to its female B-listers (especially on The Avengers), DC has been almost single-minded in its brutality. The list of rapes, murders and …. whatever you call what happened to Starfire … is endless. Their list of viable female characters is shrinking, not growing. Marvel, in contrast, keeps trying. They’ve taken four passes at Carol Danvers now. This is their fifth attempt with Black Widow. They try new stuff, like FEARLESS DEFENDERS. Sooner or later, they’ll get it right.

@Kelly: How could you miss the cancellation of Captain Marvel when they MADE NO ANNOUNCEMENT TO BEGIN WITH? That’s right, “Can Do No Wrong” Marvel Stealth cancelled not 1 but 2 Female led titles which were written by 2 Female writers. I guess you were too busy brown-nosing Marvel to be faux-outraged at them huh?

“I was surprised by the general lack of news unveiled at NYCC (compared to Marvel that was rolling out announcement after announcement). Even though SDCC was low on comics news in general, Marvel dominated DC across the board then and to see them do it again here was just…staggering.”

It’s staggering the amount of announcements Marvel made but if you take off your rose-tinted glasses for a sec and ASK why Marvel is making so many announcements than you realize that Marvel cancelled 25% of Marvel NOW.

@Dean Hacker: YES. God. Thank you. Can you please write this column from now on? I’m sure it will please (almost) everyone to have you take over anyway. :)

I’d also like to point out of the New Warriors relaunch, 3 of the characters are women and four of them are racial minorities (REAL minorities not just like, purple aliens or mutants), which I found really cool. And they’re doing an Iron Patriot book.

I’m happy to see Marvel trying to be more inclusive even though they mess up sometimes.

Way to miss the point Dean.

I was taking about actual representation as opposed to fictional.

You guys seen way more interested in fictional representation.

DC at the end of the year will have

4 female writers on 6 books, not to mention an out gay writer on an LGBT character.

Marvel will have 1 female writer on 2 books.

Marvel started the year with 3 female writers on 4 books

That is a net loss.

Dean

You can’t really be trying to convince me DC circa 1986 was a paradise for female characters.

Kelly, the problem I see here is that this column is, ostensibly, about women in comics, but it’s through the VERY narrow prism of your taste in comics. I think if you called this column Kelly Ka-POW!ski or something (forgive me–you get the idea), you’d have more latitude for making these wild generalizations that are based solely on your taste. Again, I know it’s a column, but I always get the vibe it’s supposed to be bigger than just the comics you like. Maybe a column about WHY DC sucks would help, and you could just link to it in future columns.

I’d suggest you check out someone like Brian Hibbs, who has a very distinct POV that’s backed up by the facts that inform his POV. It’s a little like apples and oranges, in that he has figures to work with, but even something along the lines of his rhetorical style would help you stick the landing on a lot of your arguments. I’m sorry to suggest you look at a dude’s writing; I just read a great column by Karen Valby, but it was about women in media rather than liking women characters at, say, one network vs. another, so it’s not much of an example and, frankly, beyond that, I just don’t catalog my reading.

@hugueknot:

Thank you so much for your concern. But I’m quite happy with my column (and my writing style) after nearly four years of doing this, to much success.

There are plenty of “why DC sucks” columns (as well as plenty of “why Marvel sucks”) columns on SHNH, I’m not going to link to them every time I write a piece. But if YOU want to be more informed on how I feel about these things, free to do some back reading.

Any OP-ED is through the prism of said writer’s taste/opinion. That’s by nature what an OP ED is. I don’t know how to help you there except to say that if you don’t enjoy the column, you should probably stop reading, nobody is forcing you to hang out.

This is not a column full of “wild generalizations based solely on [my] taste” I was simply reporting back on the facts of what I saw announced this weekend at NYCC. It wasn’t a summary of every single thing that is being published at Marvel/DC currently, or a commentary about every single thing being published, it was simply supposed to be a look at what was announced this weekend, what struck me about some of it, how I felt about it, and what excited me (and bummed me out).

i’m going to throw in here on a very minor tidbit in the article. kelly you rail against dc for not including female creators for batman’s 75th anniversary, yet published announcements/interviews for “batman: eternal” state only the first few story-arcs have been approved for a WEEKLY series. that’s maybe 1/4 of the year figured out, leaving a full nine months left for other creators to be invited, jump in and take part (including, and hopefully women).

i’ve generally enjoyed your columns in the past, but your biases become… less digestible over time, and your wild proclamations have you sliding down the slope of credibility.

Wow. Concern Trolls are out in force today.

However did I get this far into my writing career without all this awesome advice??? /sarcasm

@Samurai36:
“1) And Marvel “NOW” isn’t a reboot??”

Not by any regularly used definition, no. A relaunch, maybe. A refocus, sure. But a reboot, in which the slate is wiped clean and continuity is relaunched? No, that’s a DC thing.

@Bob:
“not to mention an out gay writer on an LGBT character.”
While the choice of new writers for Batwoman is a good one, the circumstances under which he got the gig are mixed at best, what with the quashing of Kate’s getting married to Maggie and all.

And if you take the time to read Kelly’s columns over the years, she’s interested in both what appears within the books and who creates the books.

(And if she was such a DC hater, why lead with the Wonder Woman discussion?)

@Kelly:
Don’t let unpleasant people get you down.

This is a very aptly named column, because clearly the columnist doesn’t have any sense, nor does she even acknowledge a single point by anyone that disagrees with her. She’s championing Marvel when in reality there have been exact two TWO Marvel titles in their whole history that have made it to issue #100: Spider-girl and Millie the Model. I doubt most have read the former or even heard of the latter.

Meanwhile the leading female superheroes of all time: every single one of them are from DC: Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Supergirl, Catwoman. The longest running female team: Birds of Prey.

Can Storm carry a comic? No. Can Ms./Captain Marvel? She’s had failed title after failed title. Same for Spider-woman. The only success that Marvel has had with a modern super heroine outside of Mayday Parker (a title that Joey Q was desperate to axe) was She-Hulk. Who wasn’t has also struggled with sales, despite some classic runs by Byrne and Slott.

But go ahead. Repeat your talking points about how DC hates women and how much Marvel loves them. Maybe, instead you should be balling out the Marvel Zombies that refuse, time and time again, to support female lead titles, while DC fans keep their books alive for decades.

Thompson weren’t you just complaining in this article about DC being dismissive of Stephanie Brown fans?

It’s like there’s some kind of Dumbass-Signal that goes up whenever anyone writes something even mildly critical of DC on the Internet.

it’s interesting that i provide constructive point of clarification and get called a troll for it. op-eds are required to properly fact check just as much as more newsy forms of journalism.

i once witnessed a drag queen tell another in a bar to “calm her tits”… i’ll let you take what you want from that parable while i seek out better written, pro-womens comic book column. i agree that the dichotomy of male vs. female, creator and contents needs to be fixed, i’m no longer convinced that you’re particularly good at voicing that need.

@ SAMURAI36:

You have no idea what a “reboot” is.

DC started fresh with no continuity save whatever they felt they wanted to be part of their “shiny” new DC universe.
Marvel simply re-branded, but nothing was thrown out with Marvel:NOW. They still maintain their sliding timeline while DC finds it necessary to wipe the slate clean too often which doesn’t necessarily help their stories (Ask George Perez about that one)

It seems many are missing the point of this article. Yes, DC has owned the female-character market since the beginning.
But after this weekend, and ONLY looking at the weekend announcements (this isn’t a history in comics article, peeps, it’s a weekend review), Marvel is the one that, rather than remaining stagnant and happy with what they have, they are making strides and throwing new and exciting things (potentially) at the wall. They are doing something, and that’s all that’s being observed here. The something they did THIS weekend as opposed to the little others did THIS weekend.

Why can’t we celebrate the positive in this?

@ Bob:

Compared to the market at the time, DC was far more female-friendly in 1986 than it is today. The Direct Market era really evolved from 1972-85. By ’86, the comic audience had gone from younger segment of the general audience to a nerdier variation on the Maxim demographic. It is kind of amazing how female-friendly DC managed to be during that time frame.

On female creators, comparing one snapshot to another isn’t really instructive. Someone really needs to sit down and crunch the numbers over time. Probably the right metric is female creators who “broke in” (or had their 1st Big 2 credit) at a given publisher and their average tenures on subsequent assignments. Hiring proven commodities, like Gail Simone or Amanda Conner, isn’t exactly a sign of progressive thinking as they have established audiences. I’d love to see someone do that study, since I have no idea what the results would be.

ooooh! Don’t forget about the alternating characters in Hawkeye between Clint Barton and Kate Bishop starting this week! To top things off, the amazing Annie Wu will be drawing the Kate Bishop books! w00t!!

@SAMURAI36
“very little has been “wiped away”, in terms of the core aspects of the characters and their histories in DC.”

As a fan of Swamp Thing, I’m not really sure I can agree with that. Ditto for my brother and his feelings Tim Drake’s “Red Robin”.

Yet almost no details are questioned with anybody’s past in the Marvel verse, even Spider-Man’s singular update caused by Mephisto (which wasn’t a line-wide reboot).

One isn’t better or worse, as you mentioned, but it’s a HUGE difference between Marvel and DC. Marvel doesn’t do line-wise reboots. At least, not yet. Unless you count the Ultimate Universe, of course.

I’d like to point out to all you DC haters that DC has far more female established characters than Marvel. (Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Batgirl, Bird of Prey (Pre & New 52), Batwoman just to name a few. ) Marvel is just now creating them so to say they are forward thinking or female friendly is BS and just an excuse to hate on DC Comics. (Please don’t spout that “Girl in the Fridge” BS in a reply it has no place.)

This is just like the time everyone was celebrating Marvel for their gay marriage publicity stunt. Where are those characters now? DC Comics has a gay character too and he’s on the front line of action on in Earth 2.

If you want to be narrow minded and hate one publisher over another that’s your malfunction but don’t use lame excuses to express your hate.

I fail to see how resurrecting these already-failed figureheads that date back to the 70s (or longer) is any sort of victory for modern feminism.

What’s distressing is that Marvel can’t create or fully develop already-existing new/recent female characters that don’t tick the usual “asskicker” or “smart mouth” or “ice princess” category boxes.

@KnightFIre

“Marvel is just now creating them so to say they are forward thinking or female friendly is BS.”

But “right now” is precisely the era we’re talking about. A company can be historically less female-friendly but improving in the present day. A company can also be historically more female-friendly but less so in the present day. What Marvel and DC are doing right now is the whole point.

Samurai,

1) In the phrase ‘gritty reboot’, thanks for picking up on the one word in there that has nothing to do with the point I was trying to make. I know Marvel Now is a reboot, but it’s hardly gritty.

2) ‘The public’ would be hard pressed to name 5 DC villains, let alone Marvel. In fact, ‘the public’ would be hard pressed to tell you which characters were even owned by which company. I once worked on a research project for character and brand recognition for Disney films, and had to listen to people hundreds of times over say Shrek was a fantastic Disney movie. It’s all animated, and most people don’t care. With superheroes, again, most people don’t care. This is why everything Marvel releases movie and TV wise, has their logo splashed all over it, because ‘the public’ don’t understand why an X-men/Batman crossover isn’t possible.

I agree with you on the last two points that ‘funny’ and ‘fun’ are subjective, though. Maybe it’s because I write comedy, but I rarely laugh at any comics, Marvel or DC. (But love gag strips like Cul de Sac.) I don’t read Deadpool, but I applaud Marvel’s choice to hire comedians to write a book that has a history of being irreverent.

In terms of subjectivity, I like to read stuff that looks like fun. Apart from Li’l Gotham at DC, which is super fun, nothing else looks like it’s trying to be fun. Marvel have at least gotten me to try things like Hawkeye, FF, Young Avengers, Superior Spider-Man (that last one from the library only. I’m not rich.) – all of which have given me some chuckles, or I can at least appreciate from a writer’s perspective what they were going for.

Then, in terms of these latest announcements, Silver Surfer looks fun, New Warriors looks fun, She-Hulk looks fun. Creators look like they’re being encouraged to bring it. I don’t see any of that coming from DC. (For me, that is. DC might be the life of the party to everyone else. That’s cool.)

Well…this is getting ridiculous, but I’d just like to point out that the “black guy” isn’t Nick Fury. It’s his son, Nick Fury Jr. Shoehorned into SHIELD to ride on the movie success, to be sure. But they didn’t retcon Nick Fury out of existence. He still looks the same, if that sort of thing important to people.

Spoiler alert by the way. (Did I do that right?) ;)

@Samurai36:

Strange choice to punch past me to get to Kelly, but whatever …

Let me define my terms. When I say “A-lister”, I am referring to a character that can headline (or co-headline) an on-going title for a minimum of five consecutive years. When I say “B-lister”, I mean a character that is an established team member for five straight years on a single title and/or characters that have come close to five years as solo players. When I say “C-lister”, I mean an established supporting cast member, or a team member that has never quite made the five straight year mark. “D-lister” is anything below that level, but still memorable.

For example, Batman is an A-lister, but Hawkman is a B-lister. Fire and Ice made the B-list on the Justice League International, but Looker is a C-lister given where she arrived in the life of The Outsiders. Alfred Pennyworth is a C-lister, but Silver St. Cloud is on the D-list. Simple enough.

Lois Lane was an A-lister, but the DM era moved her to C-list status. In the nu52, she is being treated like a D-lister. Starfire and Raven were B-listers that got moved down to the C and D lists. Donna Troy is just gone. Catwoman has been shuffled between the A and B lists (i.e. her own title and Gotham City Sirens). Jean Loring and Sue Dibny went from C-listers to D-listers. Oracle got demoted to being a Batman derivative and Cass Cain (an A-lister) is gone. Katana got a shot at the A-list, but her entire generation of female B-listers is gone.

It is hard to argue that DC isn’t shrinking its base of usable female characters.

Kelly, your ability to reflect on your work and take criticism is remarkable. /sarcasm I admit I’d much rather this column be what I THOUGHT it was supposed to be than what it is, so I concede I’m primarily concerned for myself, but I think my advice is still pretty damn good. God forbid you write a column that speaks to more people and can claim to have some real authority in an important conversation–my bad.

A clarification: I see nothing wrong with Kelly preferring Marvel to DC, I just think, given that, a column along the lines of “I’m really psyched to see Marvel course correcting with some new tiles, particularly since I think DC really doesn’t deliver” would’ve been a hell of a lot better. She could’ve avoided mangling stats and making sweeping claims that just don’t hold up because they’re too subjective, while making the points I THINK she wanted to make: She doesn’t like DC (accurate–she doesn’t) and is excited that Marvel is making some steps toward diversity (accurate–no claims that Marvel’s making BIG steps, or will have taken more steps than DC–if I can stretch the metaphor–just steps).

… and, finally, a column on WHY she dislikes DC right now might actually be informative.

@hugueknot:

Please let me know (specifically) what stats I have mangled in the column. Please include links to support your claims.

Correction: I absolutely like DC (wouldn’t have lead with Wonder Woman if I didn’t). I DO NOT like New 52 DC as I have talked about frequently on this column. Again, those columns are only a few clicks away.

@Dean Hacker:

Yeah, he’s left reading comprehension behind a ways back (re: SAMAURAI36 bothering to notice who posts what statements). His comments are also beginning to go to spam/trash since they’ve become “more than 55% jerk” I’d advise ignoring him.

People. Not that she really needed to, but she added a clarification at the top of the column. So stop with the “Kelly hates any and all things DC! Crucify her!” stuff.

“Try not to cry” ought to be our new catchphrase. I’m totally stealing it for the next time I say something snotty about the big two.

@Greg Hatcher:

Yeah, thinking about starting and ending every column with “Try not to cry” ;)

New 52 IS DC. The New 52 is what DC publishes–I’m assuming you’re not talking about reprints so, for the purposes of this conversation, I think DC is the new 52.

As for mangled stats, they’ve been discussed elsewhere in this thread. I’m referring to the relative numbers of titles and creators at the Big 2. Don’t make me read this whole thread again. ;)

Sorry if I’ve missed the previous columns about your issues with n52–I’ve seen a few (most recently the one on Batwoman), but I haven’t seen any that struck me as a cogent condemnation of the entire line. It’d be easier to track if you weren’t lumped in with CSBG–not your fault, just acknowleding I might’ve missed some.

@Kelly

Love the column, but seeing the hateful comments makes me ashamed to be a comics reader…

C’mon people, comics are supposed to be fun! And for the record, if I had a daughter, DC would be the last place I bought comics for her from.

Keep up the good work Kelly!

Anyways…the NYCC news I’m most excited about is:

1. Relaunch of UNWRITTEN as it begins its final year. It’s a woefully unheralded masterpiece I’ve read through twice, and think I’m going to reread again. I don’t think any other comic currently on the stands has more depth or is as intellectually stimulating.

2. Re-launch of Gold Key characters at Dynamite! Great creative teams; fingers crossed.

3. New Grendel comics by Matt Wagner. Nuff said!

A “tepid reception” for Forever Evil? Really, Kelly? It’s only the #1 selling book right now.

And yes, I understand you’re all giddy about a few Marvel females getting books, but chances are they won’t be around in 16 months anyway. Why would you relaunch the title with the same writer that couldn’t keep the book afloat? Oh, yeah, she’s married to one of your “architects”. Of course. Marvel is a boys’ club. Girl comics don’t do well there, but I’m sure you’ll continue to ignore that fact as these books tumble down the charts. Again.
I still remember you proclaiming Young Avengers as the future of comics and yet the gay brigade can’t seem to hold onto readers who aren’t as interested in “comics by checklist” like you.

It’s really hard to take anything you say seriously anymore. Maybe it’s your bias that needs a glass ceiling.

Thank You Kelly, I enjoyed your article. I’m very excited for the new She-Hulk series and the new Black Widow series and my friend is happy about Captain Marvel being brought back. I agree with you about DC’s recent stuff, I’m reading less DC now than I was a few years ago. Sorry you can’t write an article about what you’re excited about, without people being jerks.

Wow, some of you people need to learn to friggin’ read particularly you, Samurai36. Jeesh. Also your assertions about Wonder Woman not having anything ““wiped away”, in terms of the core aspects of the characters and their histories in DC” in the new 52 make me wonder if you even read DC Comics.

@Knightfire I know for sure you don’t read comics if you are actually serious about female characters in saying “Marvel is just now creating them so to say they are forward thinking or female friendly is BS and just an excuse to hate on DC Comics.” Black Widow, Sue Storm, Jean Grey, Spider-Woman, She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel, Storm and Kitty Pryde were not “just created”. Really if you’re going to write crap like this at least fake your knowledge with Wikipeida.

Now with you two poseurs out of the way, let’s get down to the facts:

Marvel definitely kicked DC’s ass for women and comics AT NYCC. Just the fact they had a Women in Marvel panel settles that. But Marvel also announced two new female led books. DC did not announce any female led books.

Now if you want to discuss what’s going on beyond NYCC, that’s a different conversation.

But unfortunately one best left to people who read comics. Sorry!

@MZ,

Yeah, a “sliding time scale” that seemingly has Marvel heroes debuting around the 9-11 event.
Don’t you think that needs addressing?

Nice article Kelly. I look forward to She-Hulk Black Widow and Cap Marvel proper. I also enjoy Batgirl and the Movement (another book with a nice female cast). The new launches by Marvel and DC are great news and it shows a sifting balance, possibly a new beginning. Only time will tell. Hopefully more female writers/artist will begin to get tapped more frequently.

@Sue, I think that’s the point others have been making. Kelly is acting as if Marvel has started some new trend when other publishers, DC, Image, Dark Horse, et al all have had women headlining comic books for years. Marvel is just catching up now, and chances are 2/3 of these female led titles at Marvel will fail anyway.
WW, Supergirl, Catwoman, Batwoman (no matter what you think of their quality) have been around for a couple of years now and most of Marvel’s female led books have come and gone in that time.

Just because Marvel did an info dump at NYCC doesn’t mean much. They’re late to the party.

Marvel killed it at NYCC for me, this year. I’m very much excited for all of their new books! Didn’t know that Warner Bros. changed heads, though, but I’m loving the new guy already. :3

I think all the writers here are pompous windbags

Buy here I mean CBR, especially Greg Hatcher

@notKelly I’m not sure where the idea that Marvel is a johnny come lately “late to the party” to female led books has become a focal point for arguments around this topic, but its a non-starter that belies anyone familiar with comics. Marvel has had female-led books before this round of announcements. Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, Spider-Woman and Spider-Girl and Black Widow have all had titles through the years. Marvel did reach a nadier two years ago when it had no female led titles following the cancellation of X-23 (oh that’s another female led title). But they rebounded with a number of female led titles. Some of those indeed were cancelled (not sure where you “they’ll just get cancelled anyway” comment is coming from? Are you arguing about Marvel’s cut off for cancellation being higher than DC? Are you saying that Marvel is just somehow faking being down with the ladies by publishing female led titles? It’s hard to say what your snarking about). I think that thing that’s impressive about Marvel is that despite the sales disappointments of JIM and Red She-Hulk they aren’t giving up and are continuing to try and find books to highlight their awesome female characters.

Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure – the man behind Fables reimagines the pulp characters of Dynamite (including a number of female characters) in a steampunk setting. Easily my favorite announcement out of NYCC.

There’s only one thing that could’ve made me go nuts in a good way, but didn’t happen at NYCC: Hasbro announcing the production of a G1-accurate, TRANSFORMING Arcee for their Generations line. The first high-profile female Transformer since 1986, with a new version who starred in the recently-concluded “Transformers: Prime” series, and they STILL can’t make a transforming figure based on the original ’86 version, who’s never had an official toy based on that incarnation???? Where’s your guts, Hasbro????? I want my G1 Arcee, and I want her NOW!

Wow. These comments are so ill informed. I’m sorry but if you’re going to argue about the stats on female-led titles then please ignore books that are no longer ongoing because then we’d be talking about the history of comics and no one’s got time for that (and it’s not an appropriate discussion given the place and the context of the article).

Just the current books and the newly announced.

With that said, as a DC reader and someone who wouldn’t call themselves a Marvel fan, I’m slowly getting lured in by Marvel. I’ve already dropped so many titles from DC including the New 52 Wonder Woman. The storytelling over there is pretty crap (However, I did enjoy Coffin Hill so take that as you will).

Comics shouldn’t be about attacking people. You want to put forth an opinion? Then do so but do it respectfully and do it informed. No need for person attacks on the author. You’re giving the community a bad name which sucks because comics as an art form rocks. So come on now. More titles period is good news.

@Kelly:
Marvel’s been using the “sliding scale” approach for decades now. It’s sometimes called “Marvel Time.” It’s generally assumed, at his point, that the heroes have been around for 10 or 15 years. 20 at most. (I’m assuming the All New X-men have been brought forward from the early 90s at this point.)

Poke around on the internet, you can find people talking about it. I know Bendis has discussed it on his tumblr from time to time. Peter David made a joke about it in an issue of the Hulk (Hercules couldn’t remember if he received an award from Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton, said that he can never tell the American presidents apart.)

It works just fine for most readers. Either way, it’s not some ridiculous thing that MZ just invented. And, either way, there hasn’t been a reboot at Marvel. At most, they did a side-boot with the Ultimate Universe some time back, but they kept their main continuity going.

And for those calling Kelly a Marvel Zombie, or a DC hater or whatever, have you ever read her column before today? Never seen her pieces on Batwoman? Her anger over Wonder Woman (which wouldn’t be there if she didn’t care for the character?) He praise of Renee Montoya? Seriously, for those who think she’s a DC-hater, what planet are you living on?

The first comment was directed at the poster who isn’t Kelly Thompson, if that wasn’t obvious.

@Bob DC don’t like to hire female. Because FEMALE READS MANGA. Isn’t it already official few years ago by Dan Didio? LOL

It seems to continue these recently: http://www.bleedingcool.com/2013/08/27/gendercrunching-june-2013-by-tim-hanley-marvel-dc-and-the-top-300/

So, what’s the mean of “Female lead book” without female’s point of view? MAXIM?

Captain Haddock

October 14, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Hi Kelly, I just want to say as a fan of this site, sorry about all this. I agree with your basic point (Marvel took the lead on women characters at NYCC), and DC is kinda dropping the ball here. I did not realize that would set off this massive firestorm of hatred and accusations of bias, and some of the comments here and the judgements reached have been…interesting at best.

So keep up the good work, Kelly, I look forward to reading more of your thoughts, even though you’re wrong about Wonder Woman, it kicks ass ;)

I don’t care whether the lead characters are female, male, or something else entirely. Just give me good stories and good art, for god’s sake.

And I don’t mean that crap drawn on a computer, or sketchy unfinished drawings like Leinel Yu does.

I’m trying to find the bit in the actual column where Kelly says the things that we’re supposed to hate her for saying. Here’s what she said:

“DC would be utterly left out in the cold compared to Marvel when it comes to female characters,”

[In terms of NYCC announcements, because that's the topic at hand]

” except thank the gods for Scott Snyder’s Stephanie Brown announcement.”

[Hey, it's like this paragraph is trying to make a positive point about a DC comic!]

“DC is more and more a place where I can’t find anything I’m interested in (and even more so a place where I worry about characters that have to play in that environment – bad things happen to them – from character assassination to character death)”

[This is a subjective opinion--and one that happens to agree with the critical consensus you'll find in the CBR/CSBG bubble and among the sort of readers Kelly would associate with. Also: me. Not reading any DCU books right now.]

“– but this is a nice bone thrown to fans of Stephanie Brown, and fans of DC Comics that find little for themselves these days. As y’all know, Stephanie Brown is not a favorite character of mine, but I’m happy for her return (and slightly worried for her).”

[Still a positive statement, if tempered by Kelly's biases, which, again, reflect a consensus opinion by a certain segment of the comics-criticism public.]

Things she does not say: that Marvel is historically better than DC at representing women, that DC /isn’t/ representing women; that her excitement about Marvel announcements somehow overwrites her criticism of Marvel in the past.

We cool?

I generally like reading your column, but I got to say I’m disappointed that you labelled anyone who disagrees with you as “trolls”. At least it’s not as bad as some of your fans saying that the reason people are arguing with you is because you’re a woman. If you can’t hack people disagreeing with you, maybe you shouldn’t write opinion pieces. It’s come to my attention that some comments are being blocked by this site… quite sad.

Also, I like your backtracking with Forever Evil. I suppose it looks bad that you’re making up your mind before the mini-series is over.

@Will: Yes, comments that call me a bitch and whore who deserves to be raped, along with Queen of Trolls and other hateful garbage that has nothing to do with the topic at hand, and make no attempt to discuss comics as well as those that try to masquerade as multiple posters, use fake emails and IP addresses, and try to mask their presence are going to spam, as per usual with my column.

So, yes, “quite sad” but I’m not sure you’re sad for the right reasons.

Ignoring all of the previous comments, I just want to say that I too am happy about Marvel giving a fairly serious push to the lady characters. It’s about frigging time. Now if they’d just have less of a focus on events…

I know, keep dreaming.

Well I have to say I am super excited about the new batch of female led titles from Marvel, particularly the fact that they are giving the unsuccessful titles another try, instead of writing them off with the standard “female led titles don’t sell well” bs. Also you can’t tell me the new Loki title isn’t Marvel blatantly acknowledging its female readers ahah….

P.S.
Do some of these commentators just stalk Kelly’s column with the sole purpose of complaining?! What boring lives they must lead!

THE GIRL WHO WOULD BE KING

IS A BADLY WRITTEN COMIC

AND YOU HAD TO GROVEL FOR MONEY TO MAKE THAT COMIC?!? TALK ABOUT RIP OFF

@Ned:

THE GIRL WHO WOULD BE KING is not actually a comic. But thanks so much for outing yourself as a liar and slanderer. It’s so nice when people can do it for me, without me even saying a word.

Thanks for playing, kid. And better luck next time!

I just want to thank Dave; amid all of the various NYCC announcements, I had not seen the one for “Grendel / The Shadow”. Niiiice.

Also, Kelly – good column, as always.

Kelly – it’s a horribly written comic! It doesn’t even have any pictures in it!

If this is the kind of fan that defends DC nowadays (and it’s not just limited to Kelly’s pieces here. I see these type of guys all over the internet going insane whenever someone even mildly criticizes DC), it speaks volumes as to the direction of the whole DC line. I feel like DC, with their bad quality of writing and editing, their relentless dreary, grim, misanthropic tone, their excessive murder and gore, their lack of long term storytelling vision and commitment to gimmicks…all of this has done a lot to weed out the more normal DC fans and mostly retain nutjobs.

I got some grief for saying this in a comment a month ago, but it continually gets proven to be true. DC’s core fans are continuing to get nuttier and nuttier. Now we have an all caps guy pretending he’s read Kelly’s book just to get at her any way he can just for daring to defile his precious DC.

I was at the Women of Marvel panel and quite enjoyed it, I also really appreciated Kelly Sue DeConnick saying that the comic book world has made strides, but is nowhere near where we need to be yet. This lands on both sides of the equator, both Marvel and DC have A LOT of improvements to make with representation of women and hiring women to write/draw/edit/etc. their books. We also need a lot of forward momentum for people in the LGBTQ community, blacks, and/or other nationalities. So, if we turn this into a bashing of the history of books headlined by women in the industry as opposed to the titles that were announced over this weekend, I would simply say that both companies should be doing better. A LOT BETTER. I understand that this is a world ruled by economics, so if Marvel finds that their books are not selling that well then they cancel it. Pretty basic math there people, but I do appreciate them trying. I long for the day that I will be able to buy a Storm monthly, but until then I love her and many of the strong Marvel women in X-Men!

Samurai36 -

I love how people like to label fans, as if that somehow proves a point. Fans of any kind can be, and often are, overly zealous. The DC haters are equally (if not more) so as the DC fans.

Not in my experience. In general I find Marvel fans tend to have a thicker skin.

I don’t think you’re going to realize the truth in what I’m about to say, but I’ll say it anyway: fans like you do far more to make DC look bad with your rabid attacking of anyone even slightly critical of DC than the so-called “DC haters” you decry. In this article and comments thread alone no one has done more to make DC look bad than you, including Kelly. The phenomenon of people hating a celebrity, company or sports team because of their fanbase is a real one.

To recap our general terms of commenting.

1. Anything over 55% asshole-ish gets deleted (including comments from non-assholes responding to the deleted comment).
2. You can be SORT of asshole-ish (let’s call it 50%) or you can be anonymous. You can’t be both.
3. What constitutes 50% and 55% asshole-ish is at my discretion as well as the discretion of the author of the piece that the comments are posted on.

YES! Steph is back!
Not quite the way I had hoped but still…it’s a start.

I think this all boils down to ‘where is the Spider Woman book?’ With Spider-Man’s popularity, a spin off character like Spider Woman would be contender for sales success.

I think this all boils down to ‘where is the Spider Woman book?’ With Spider-Man’s popularity, a spin off character like Spider Woman would be contender for sales success.

They did announce that she was going to become a cast member of Kot’s relaunched Secret Avengers book.

Wow Kelly!

In the past I may have thought some of your responses were a little defensive, but I guess I’m getting a better understanding of some of the people you have to deal with.

I don’t ready any monthly comics at this point, so I’m not very qualified to pass judgement on whatever sins DC or Marvel may be up to at the moment.

I didn’t realize people who aren’t 13 years old were still were so rigidly dogmatic about being a “Marvel Person” or a “DC Person”. It all seems so juvenile…

It would take some serious twisting of logic to read through your columns and conclude that you were anti-DC.

I don’t always agree with you, but damn, good luck dealing with some of these people. Apparently you’ll never be able to satisfy them regardless of what you post.

[...] Marvel announced a lot of promising new titles at Comic Con and DC promised us the return of Stephanie Brown! Instead of listing them all here, we’ll have a separate post up tomorrow exploring them in more detail. If you can’t wait – here’s a good summary.   [...]

Kelly, are you on Facebook at all? I’m not a twitterer.

@ T,

If you had to label me, then I think most people would call me a “DC person” and I largely agree with you.

Let’s be honest, the core of the DC Universe got a ton of derision during what I call the Direct Market era, when the only place to get your comic fix was in dedicated hobby shops. The rise of trades sold through the book store market and later day-and-date digital have changed things, but most of us came of age when comic shops were the only game in town. If you read the history of the DM, then you’ll see that Marvel really built that sales channel. It is not a shock that they’ve always had an advantage, even back when DC Comics were clearly better.

DC fans have heard jokes from Marvel fans in their mutual clubhouse about the Batman TV show, the Super Friends cartoons, the Weisinger-era Superman/Supergirl/Legion, the bondage-y subtext of Wonder Woman and so on. There are two basic responses. The healthy one is to say “I don’t care. I just like it.” The unhealthy one is to get defensive.

For a subset of that later group, stuff like IDENTITY CRISIS was like a “get out of jail free” card. It was hardcore, in continuity and featured “embarrassing” characters (e.g. Elongated Man). It was like the High School nerd that had 50 drinks too many and didn’t notice everyone giving him an increasingly wide berth.

@Kelly- I skimmed the comments and won’t waste the time to dive in deep to see what is going on. I am sure it’s mostly nonsense on the part of the haters out there.
But just to say…I always enjoy your articles, even when I might not agree with them completely but that’s part of the fun isn’t it? Reading different points of view and looking at things in a different way. Thanks again for contributing to the site.

Question…did you see anything about Dr. Who?

@danno: I am fairly all over social media, including FB, you can find links to everything here:

http://1979semifinalist.com

@Nicole: I did not see anything Dr. Who related, but I am admittedly out of the loop there, so probably not the best person to ask.

@Dean Hacker: The irony in all of this madness continues to be that I would never call myself either a “Marvel Person” or a “DC Person” (or a hater of either). You could certainly say that I started as a Marvel person, cutting my teeth on Marvel comics thanks to the X-Men cartoon in the 90′s. But I quickly found my way to DC as well and very quickly after discovering comics, Batman became my favorite character (and to this day has never been ousted). Somewhere along the way (and in part because DC HAS traditionally had more headlining women) I shifted to DC in my buying.

In fact, though I suspect I became a COMIC person rather than a DC or MARVEL person once I went to school to study comics and broadened my horizons beyond the big two – you could easily make an argument that until the Nu52 fell apart (for me) I was much more a “DC person” than a “Marvel person.” Prior to the New 52 my pull list had about 4 DC titles for every Marvel title.

One of my first big columns on here was a huge rip on Marvel and praise of DC (and that’s not counting my second ever post where I tore Marvel’s horrible Psylocke mini-series to shreds).

In 2012 my “25 Great Heroine Moments” had 11 for DC (10 for Marvel).

In 2011 I talked about “8 Great Female Positive Ongoings” of which 3 were DC (New 52 books) and only 1 was a Marvel book.

In 2010 I talked about my “20 Favorite Fictional Females” – 8 were DC and they took the top 3 spots. Marvel only got 4, and the highest they placed was #5.

Also in 2010 was my “10 Great Female Characters of the Decade (2000 – 20009)” of which 4 were DC (5 if you count Totenkinder from Fables). Only 1 was Marvel (2 if you count Deena Pilgrim from Powers).

So, yeah, the whole DC Hater/Marvel Shill thing, really doesn’t bother me at all (not that you were suggesting it was)…because I just know it’s not actually true, AND I know that my columns over the years easily back it up. What has worked for me and not worked for me over the years has ebbed and flowed, and right now DC’s new 52 is really not working for me, but anyone that knows anything about me and isn’t just a “johnny come lately” to this column or me as a writer, or likes to jump to insane conclusions based on almost no facts, knows this.

Also, key, but largely missed in the chaos is that…this is NOT actually a DC negative/slam DC post. I talk critically about DC, but if I was out to be wildly negative about DC I would not have led with Wonder Woman. I would also not have talked about Spoiler/Stephanie Brown if it was. This was just supposed to be a post about some very cool announcements that came out of NYCC, and they happened to be largely on the Marvel side.

A day later I’m still not sure what all the fuss is about.

Nicole, I don’t believe there was anything Dr. Who-related announced at NYCC. The BBC did announce over the weekend that it’s recovered some of the lost episodes, but they did that on their own.

@Brian

I think saw that. Does Secret Avengers still have sketchy ‘modern mature art’ and the memory erase as part of its premise? Both are reasons I have not tried the book yet.

Thanks, I was trying to find you on FB, no luck. I’ll try to dig deeper in your website, I must have missed it.

Ner’mind, I found ya.

I’m really looking forward to checking out She-Hulk, Elektra and Black Widow. I couldn’t care less about Captain Marvel. I don’t see the appeal in the character, she’s so hopelessly generic, and that title seems like a lost cause. It’s cool they decided to finally put a decent artist on it, but if they’re keeping KSD, it’s probably not the clean break the character needs to attract new readers. I know I won’t be tempted. The other three books though? Pumped. Really wish the Immonen/Schiti Sif book were going on forever too!

Can’t say I’m interested in any female led DC books (as far as I’m aware) but that’s more creative teams than anything else. You put a Dustin Nguyen or a Francis Manapul on Zatanna or someone, with the right writer, I’d be all over it. Loved Darwyn Cooke on Catwoman, and Azzarello Wondy has had its moments.

Let me just note that based on some comments he made on other sites, Samurai36 can just fuck right off. He won’t be commenting here anymore and I just deleted all of his past posts.

Coffin Hill #1 was a big disappointment. Great art, though.

Imraith Nimphais

October 15, 2013 at 6:02 pm

It’s all well and good that they are willing to try-try-again with She-Hulk, Elektra, Captain Marvel and Black Widow. But it is tragic they have completely and repeatedly over-looked one of their most recognisable and best characters to date…STORM…for a shot at a solo ongoing. And before anyone says anything, BCW’s X-Men is a team book…there is a difference.

@Kelly
Do you have links to those old articles of yours? I would really like to read them, especially the one about the Psylocke mini.

@Cowtools:

Sure. Here are links to all the ones I mentioned above. But you can also just click on the She Has No Head! tag and see everything I’ve done under that banner (4 years worth). Also, there are plenty of other pro Marvel and critical of Marvel pieces, as well as plenty of pro DC and critical of DC pieces that I didn’t mention.

One of my first big columns on here was a huge rip on Marvel and praise of DC (and that’s not counting my second ever post where I tore Marvel’s horrible Psylocke mini-series to shreds):

http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2009/12/14/she-has-no-head-your-context-is-showing/

Psylocke: http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2009/11/23/psylocke-this-is-not-the-ninja-youre-looking-for/

In 2012 my “25 Great Heroine Moments” had 11 for DC (10 for Marvel):

http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2012/03/19/she-has-no-head-25-great-superheroine-moments/

In 2011 I talked about “8 Great Female Positive Ongoings” of which 3 were DC (New 52 books) and only 1 was a Marvel book:

http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2011/11/07/she-has-no-head-8-great-new-female-positive-ongoings-you-should-be-reading/

In 2010 I talked about my “20 Favorite Fictional Females” – 8 were DC and they took the top 3 spots. Marvel only got 4, and the highest they placed was #5:

http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2010/11/15/she-has-no-head-my-20-favorite-comics-females/

Also in 2010 was my “10 Great Female Characters of the Decade (2000 – 20009)” of which 4 were DC (5 if you count Totenkinder from Fables). Only 1 was Marvel (2 if you count Deena Pilgrim from Powers):

http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2010/01/04/she-has-no-head-10-great-female-comic-book-characters-of-the-decade/

@ Kelly Thompson:

I came to comics from re-runs of the old ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN on KTLA. My first comics were a Superman and a Kid Colt: Outlaw (reprint, apparently). So, I was in on both DC and Marvel from the word go. I’ve switched the bulk of my pull list back-and-forth over the years.

Why I call myself a “DC person” is that DC Comics connects with me in a deeper way than Marvel. Marvel superheroes are a product that I happen to like in the same way that I like Universal Monster Movies, or whatever else. The DC characters just found a deeper place in me.

With over 100 comments already up, I decided, even before reading the article, not to post. Surely any excitement I had to offer about the past weekend’s announcements would be superfluous. Everyone would have already said what I have to say, and they likely would have said it better. Then I read the comments. And found myself disgusted.

However, on another track, it’s kind of funny. Not a Whose Line? split your guts kind of funny. More a bemused ‘How did I miss this before?’ kind of oddness. Last week’s column was about burnout, and in the reply that I wrote up but never posted, I thought I had the reasons for my recent burnout nailed. Everything I was enjoying (save X-Men) was cancelled (or cancelledish), several things I wanted to enjoy left me cold, and one title in particular that I wanted to like has me so confused that I don’t know what to think. And so I was beginning to think maybe there was no place for my particular tastes, at least in regards to the ‘Big 2.’ While that undoubtedly plays some part in what was my waning enthusiasm, today, between reading the message boards and these comments, the penny dropped. It’s not the companies; it’s not the imaginary axmen gleefully cutting off my favorite titles; it’s not the endless crossovers or events. It’s the community—or rather a vocal contingent of the community. They whine and they bitch about every perceived little thing. They call names and they throw tantrums at every writer (or columnist) that doesn’t either espouse their personal doctrine from the get go or, at the very least, immediately kowtow before them when they ‘prove’ how wrong the writer is. They’re nothing more than locusts—gluttonous, self-aggrandizing locusts—doing their damnedest to devour the enjoyment or opinions of all except what pleases them. You don’t write the character they want, you don’t write it the way they want it, or you just don’t praise their chosen character—or company—as much as they deem fit, and they swarm, and they bite, and they pick away, hoping to bury characters, cancel series and drown out all dissent beneath the droning of their posts. It’s the sort of behavior I would expect—possibly even enjoy, in some perverse way—at a Red Sox-Yankees game. Or from a four-year-old whose mommy refused to buy him the toy he wants. It’s a noxious mix of entitlement, narcissism and immaturity that does nobody any good. It’s the type of attitude that drives people away from the medium. And it absolutely makes me sick.

To Ms. Thompson: This column deserved far better than many of the responses it’s received—and that includes my trifling, little rant—and while I wouldn’t apologize for the sake of the riffraff, even if I could, I am sorry to vent my long-winded steam here.

And now that I’ve wasted plenty of breath, I’ll waste a little more to mention what I am excited about, since, you know, that’s what the column was about to begin with.

KSD, for my money, is one of the best writers in the Marvel stable, and Captain Marvel one of my favorite comic characters. So top that pair off with an artist more my style and my only complaint is having to wait until March.

Been hoping for a Black Widow on-going since Liu’s unfortunately short run, and while I don’t know the writer, I’m hyped for it. Also that Noto pic in the column is nothing short of stunning.

I’ve never read Elektra as anything but a Daredevil supporting player, but I’m highly interested by this new series, so I plan on giving it every chance to impress.

And while it has nothing to do with females (creators or created), Gambit! By Peter David! Rejoicing!

Finally—this probably isn’t the place for this, but that’s not stopped me so far—a big Thank You to Ms. Thompson, whose Time Capsule led me to pick up Stumptown, a book that reminded me why comics are such a wonderful medium. In one book I now have a new character to love, a new writer to explore and a new artist to include on my meager list of favorites.

For a subset of that later group, stuff like IDENTITY CRISIS was like a “get out of jail free” card. It was hardcore, in continuity and featured “embarrassing” characters (e.g. Elongated Man). It was like the High School nerd that had 50 drinks too many and didn’t notice everyone giving him an increasingly wide berth.

Dean: Very interesting theory, and also very plausible. Pre-Identity Crisis there used to be a lot more normal and levelheaded DC fans, so I can buy into your theory.

Let me just note that based on some comments he made on other sites, Samurai36 can just fuck right off. He won’t be commenting here anymore and I just deleted all of his past posts.

I was curious as to what Brian was talking about here so I googled Samurai’s screenname. Wow. Not only does he have a history of relentlessly trolling anyone on any site who badmouths New 52, he also communicates with other New 52 fanatics to share the names of critics who in their eyes have committed the cardinal sin of badmouthing the New 52 so that they can form an online lynch mob and go get them. In July, in the midst of trolling the comments section of another article that was mildly critical of the New 52, he was apparently given the name of Kelly and told she was another New 52 hater that needed to be dealt with.

It’s like a weird type of witch-hunt vibe going on with those people. I had no idea this nut was targeting Kelly since July or that these people got together to compare notes on New 52 haters and organize witch hunts.

@Michael P- thanks…I’m kind of surprised that they didn’t really have anything with the big 50th Anniversary going on soon. Heck, the new season begins next month. I’ve even ben enjoying the comic series of Dr. Who.

I’m new to Doctor Who, but I’ve decided not to watch the modern day incarnation until I’ve seen every other episode first. So I started back with the first Doctor. I’ve only JUST started the third Doctor series now. I’ve got quite a ways to go.

T: The modern stuff from Eccleston onward doesn’t assume any familiarity with the older stuff and works well without prerequisites, but there are plenty of cool callbacks in there that are fun if you happen to know them. I got turned on to the series through the new stuff and got so curious about this or that alien race that we’ve clearly seen before (but don’t make a big deal about it) that I also went back to the beginning just to immerse myself in the lore. Personally I’m glad I watched the new stuff first because the pace of the First Doctor episodes took some getting used to.

I know everyone’s into the Fourth Doctor, but I actually kind of love the Third Doctor. That stuff was a lot of fun, particularly when the Master was involved (which was almost always).

buttler – I know the new stuff works even if you have no familiarity with the old stuff, but I feel like if I’m going to try Doctor Who, I need to really try Doctor Who, you know? It’s kind of like how if you’ve only read the Ultimates or post-Dissembled stuff and watched the Avengers movie, but you’ve never read a classic old-school Avengers story, how much of a fan are you really?

You guys know they just found two (well 1 and 4/5s) Second Doctor stories?

The scary part is that according to Samurai in other posts I’ve seen, he works at a comics store and seems to take pride in not knowing anything about any other comics than DC.

But enough about that, Doctor Who!

I’ve started watching the latest season on demand through the cable. BBC America has “season” 7 (although not last year’s Christmas special, apparently), and I’ve been watching that. Haven’t gotten through them all yet.

There’s also been a monthly series of specials about the various Doctors, with a half hour about the run of that particular Doctor and a featured serial of them as well. Pretty cool stuff, although the special tends to have a bit too much of current showrunner Moffatt telling us how “brilliant” each actor’s performances were. As an intro to the series, though, it’s pretty dang good.

Nice to read that virtual people I like are watching a show I like. Just do not use the “word” “Whovian” No one cool says that, ten years ago it was a joke. Kill it like “Warsies” should have been.

Sadly Fearless Defenders has bit the dust.

I hope these new female-led titles last longer than the previous ones
I loved Sif in Journey into Mystery and also enjoyed Red She Hulk

But then again Marvel never seems to have had much longevity in female-led titles.
And out of the announcements the most recently created character to star in a solo female-led series with Marvel is Elektra (and she was created more than 30 years ago)

I will add that I do not consider Spiderwoman (Jessica Drew) to be a genuine Spiderman spin-off as the only connection seems to be the name (which is admittedly deliberate).
Her debut had nothing to do with Spiderman, her origin had nothing to do with Spiderman, she has different powers and a distinct costume.

Out of roughly 85 issues published by Marvel in October, I actually read 55. Out of those, I can state with a clear conscience that I felt 36 of them had satisfying female characters involved with the plot, either as protagonists, members of a team or part of the assembled supporting cast.
None of the 85 issues had overly sexualized or ridiculously posed females on the cover.
Marvel right now has two all-female teams in Fearless Defenders and X-Men, two teams where females are the clear majority in Uncanny X-Force and FF, and a woman is the most powerful member of the teams starring in All-New X-Men (Jean), Uncanny Avengers (Scarlet Witch), Fantastic Four (Sue Storm), Mighty Avengers (Spectrum/Monica Rambeau), Avengers (Captain Universe AND Captain Marvel) and Avengers Arena (Nico, Apex, X-23 or Hazmat, take your pick).
Secret Avengers has two strong female characters, Maria Hill and Daisy Johnson, vying for control of S.H.I.E.L.D. and has centered around a team that included Black Widow and Mocking Bird. Avengers Assemble consistently focus on the female members of the Avengers and just in 2013 spotlighted Captain Marvel, Black Widow, Spider-Woman, Scarlet Witch and the Wasp.
Wolverine and The X-Men has in its ensemble Kitty Pride, Storm and Rachel Grey. Uncanny X-Men has Magik, Emma Frost and the Stepford sisters. Avengers A.I. has Monica Chang and Alexis. Young Avengers has Miss America and Hawkeye (Kate Bishop). Thunderbolts has freaking Elektra, for chrissakes. Guardians of the Galaxy has Gamora (who earned the nickname “Deadliest woman in the universe”) and Cable and X-Force has Domino.
The only Marvel team that remains all-male is the Illuminati in New Avengers. But even solo heroes have had big female characters making an impact on their titles, such as Jet Black and Sharon Carter in Captain America, Kirsten McDuffie in Daredevil and Maria Hill is Bruce Banner’s BOSS in Indestructible Hulk. Kate Bishop more than shares Clint’s spotlight in Hawkeye as well, by the way.
And though they are/have been/will be soon canceled, Journey Into Mystery, Red She-Hulk, Captain Marvel were all above and beyond expectations critically if not commercially. And even that mustn’t have been all that bad, if Marvel is willing to keep on pushing by releasing a new She-Hulk series, a new Black Widow series, a new Elektra series and re-launching Captain Marvel.
Add to all that the recent redesigns for Valkyrie, Hippolyta (Warrior Woman), Storm, Rogue, Captain Marvel, Scarlet Witch and Psylocke, all of which were very well received and are genuinely good and Marvel HAS shown editorial disposition to do what’s right by their female characters. All they have to do now is give more space for female artists and writers on the bullpen.
And anyone can feel free to correct me on this, but I do not feel DC has shown the same effort since the N52DCU launch. But if I need to readjust my perception, I’ll need evidence.
Congrats on another great article, Kelly Thompson. She Has No Head is still one of the best things on CBR.

Oh, hey, here’s another fact-based article for those who dispute DC’s lackluster treatment of women in the industry in comparison to Marvel at present.

http://www.bleedingcool.com/2013/08/27/gendercrunching-june-2013-by-tim-hanley-marvel-dc-and-the-top-300/

Marvel DOES employ and credit more women than DC. DC employs more women writers, letteres and cover-artists, but Marvel employs more women for inside art (pencils, inks and colors) and more women in the editorial staff, most importantly. Objectively Marvel employs MORE WOMEN. PERIOD. Marvel pulls the average of women employed and credited in comics up, while DC falls below said statistical average.

The debate can rage on, but saying that Marvel fired 60% of their female staff and only kept KSD is a disservice to the other 86 women credited. Or did Marvel have over 215 women working there just the other day?

I don’t want to seem to be saying Marvel is better like this is a race or something. But now we have numbers to go along with this discussion. DC has more women writing comics, that is true. But Marvel employs more women in all but three credited categories and just employs more women overall.

This was just an add-on to my previous post, where I focused more on the characters and not the actual real-life women involved in comics, but since the debate here touched on both sides of the issue, I just wanted to get this out there. It is undoubtedly shamefull that both companies have women as less than 15% of their staff, still. But it must be said that, even so, the Big Two employ and credit, in average, more women than the rest of the publishers in Diamond’s Top 300.

And just to beat on this dead horse slightly further, the Big Two appear to do a little better than the rest in the “equal” employment of women because ONE OF THEM (=MARVEL=) is doing MUCH better than the rest.

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