Axel-In-Charge: Waid & Samnee on "Black Widow" and the Dawn of the All-New, All-Different Era
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.
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!
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!
LADY-LED SUPERHERO COMICS!
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.
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.
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:
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?
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