Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
Four years ago my birthday fell on a Monday and so I decided to make 12 Birthday Wishes…and now every year Sue asks me if I’m doing it again. Though my birthday is not until Saturday, I felt like doing it again this year –apparently I am only interested in doing every two years. Like I did last time I’m going to first recap what I asked for in 2012 and see how we did. Last time the rack up was a pathetic 2.25/12 points…I KNOW we did better this time!
1. Support for my book The Girl Who Would Be King
Could not have gotten more support, a rousing success all around, AND you guys helped fund a second book (Storykiller) after that! Full point! Also, thank you!
2. Triumphant return of Cass Cain.
Nope. No points
3. Black Widow Takeover Part 1: Black Widow ongoing comic.
YESSSSS. Full point!
4. Black Widow Takeover Part 2: I want that Black Widow standalone film.
Booooo. No points.
5. For Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples to NEVER END. Okay, more seriously, for me to be reading that book for a long goddamn time.
Saga continues, and is as good as ever. I’m sure Vaughan has an end in mind, but we’re a good ways away from that, so, FULL POINT.
6. To never again read an event like Avengers vs. X-Men.
This was a silly wish to make as it will just NEVER happen (much like Cass Cain?). No points.
7. More comics for kids.
I don’t know that Marvel and DC have done a very good job of this…yes, we got Dustin Nguyen’s excellent (now cancelled) Li’l Gotham for a while but we lost Tiny Titans (though I guess it’s back? Is that “permanent”.) With Marvel…I don’t even know, it FEELS like I’ve seen less kid friendly stuff from them, but I can’t be sure, and since their tone is not one line-wide dark tone and there are a lot of fun books it doesn’t feel AS hopeless on the kid comics front. All that said, we’re seeing a lot of nice YA/kid focused books from other publishers that gives me hope – Noelle Stevenson’s Lumberjanes from Boom!, the excellent Adventure Time comics from Boom!, Emily & The Strangers from Darkhorse, Image has the dark but YA-ish Antony Johnston’s Umbral, Action Lab continues Jeremy Whitley’s Princeless and published Jamal Igle’s Molly Danger. First Second is making a real name for themselves with YA comics – everything from the Tamakis’ excellent This One Summer to Paul Pope’s Battling Boy to Ben Hatke’s YA-trilogy Zita The Spacegirl. It all looks quite promising when you look at the field beyond Marvel/DC. I’m gonna go with a full point, success and happiness over books like Lumberjanes has me really excited and optimistic.
8. More comics “for women”
I think this is a significant win, if only in looking at Marvel and Image. Image has the high profile and female led/focused Lazarus, Pretty Deadly, Velvet, Saga, Umbral, Wicked & The Divine, Sex Criminals, Rocket Girl, and Revival which are all relatively new (debuted within the last few years at most). Marvel of course has made a big push with the relaunched all female X-Men, a retooled Captain Marvel, an all new Ms. Marvel, a new Black Widow, a new Elektra and She-Hulk as well as a forthcoming Storm series. I suspect something interesting for Rogue on the horizon when she returns…time will tell. DC has actually fallen behind a bit with the recent cancellations of Birds of Prey and Trinity of Sin: Pandora and a shift from Worlds’ Finest being two female leads to becoming two male leads. Even the addition of a Harley Quinn title to their line up earlier this year will leave them now BEHIND Marvel, which is unprecedented. Still, significant progress in the last two years most everywhere so I’m going to take the full point and be grateful for it. We’ll see where we are in two more years!
9. Speaking of comics women might enjoy, I’d LOVE to have that all women X-title Marjorie Liu was talking about on 3 Chicks recently.
We got it. X-Men, all ladies, all the time. Full Point!
10. Wonder Woman…oh, nevermind.
Good thing I didn’t even try. There would have been no points. In fact, given all the nightmares with Wonder Woman of the last two years and the setbacks with film and TV as well, I’m gonna go ahead and give this a negative point.
11. Digital Comics
I’m not sure how to rate this. I’ve transitioned almost entirely to digital in the last two years but I know a lot of people are wary about the Amazon Comixology purchase. I don’t know enough yet to have an informed opinion, but so far the change has been non-existent on my end. So let’s call it half a point.
12. The Girl Who Would Be King second support mention
Clearly mentioning it twice helped. But I don’t feel good about giving myself a duplicate point, so we’ll call it a half point.
6/12 – 50%!!!
WAY better than last time! Can we do even better next time? Doubtful but here goes!
2014 BIRTHDAY WISH LIST
1. ROGUE SERIES
The return of Rogue, preferably in her own series. Definitely not written by Rick Remender. I’ve enjoyed Remender’s writing on other titles (I’m extremely fond of both his Uncanny X-Force run and his new Deadly Class series) but his character assassination of Rogue was nearly unforgivable and then ended in her “death.” Hopefully Marvel will reward us with the triumphant return of Rogue and with creators that love her (fyi Marvel, I’m available
2. CAPT MARVEL/MS. MARVEL DOMINATION
I hope both Kelly Sue DeConnick/David Lopez and G. Willow Wilson/Adrian Alphona’s respective Lady Marvel titles keep going and going strong. They are the kind of books I wished for as a teen (without even knowing it) and they absolutely fill my soul and make my heart soar. I hope they can keep it up for a looooong time.
3. CASS CAIN
Like Wonder Woman (see below) Cass will always be on the list. So here she is, no matter how futile it is. I wrote in detail about it a few weeks ago, so I’ll just link to that and post the badass Ross Campbell image of her. Someday, Cass, SOMEDAY!
4. SUPERHEROINES ON FILM
Though we have seen incredible superhero movies of late, the exposure for women has been appalling. We’ve gotten some phenomenal performances and reasonably significant roles (Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow in The Avengers and Winter Soldier, Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman in Dark Knight Rises, and Judge Anderson in Dredd) but given the number of opportunities we’ve had, the representation for ladies is pitiful. While Winter Soldier and Dredd got us closest to a co-starring lead role for Johansson and Thirlby respectively, we’re still absolutely lacking when it comes to a female led film. In fact, the most recent superhero blockbuster, X-Men Days of Future Past was one of the worst yet in terms of representation for the ladies.
While Wonder Woman remains the most obvious (and annoying) missed opportunity when it comes to female superheroes on film given her high profile and massive IP, it’s the missed opportunity of a Black Widow film that hurts the most. Johansson’s forthcoming Lucy by Luc Besson proves she’s more than ready (and interested) in anchoring an action film, specifically a “superpowered” one. There’s no good reason I can think of that we don’t have a Black Widow film on the schedule already. Marvel perfectly cast the role, set her up exceptionally for her own film by giving her increasingly large roles in other films (Iron Man 2, The Avengers, and Winter Soldier), and then…dropped the ball and didn’t make it happen. A Captain Marvel film is also long overdue as an announcement…but some deeply optimistic (naïve?) part of me hopes that Guardians of the Galaxy in August will find us with an epic Captain Marvel teaser. Speaking of Guardians of the Galaxy, I could not be more excited…well, I could if I’d heard Gamora say more than one sentence (finally! In the extended look trailer). Still, the film looks great and that is indeed a big part of the battle.
If we’re really going to get a Gambit film starring Channing Tatum, which seems like an actual possibility, then I’d love to see Fox correct their mistake in deleting Rogue from DoFP and giving her a co-starring role there. Introduce her as already having the powers comics fans have long been waiting (you’ll have to use someone that’s not Captain Marvel but that’s not so tough, lots of expendable for film characters out there that have acceptable power sets) and let her finally own that raw power on screen and deal with the horrible ramifications of it as well. Paquin and Tatum could be absolutely hot together. Set it initially in New Orleans and then roll it into a Genosha team-up storyline which could touch on adventures they both had in Genosha (separately), throw in a Wolverine cameo (cause you know that’s going to happen anyway). By using Genosha you capitalize on larger ideas so that it can both stand on its own and also roll into other potential films nicely. Basically, call my manager, you guys who run things at Fox, I’m full of ideas about this!
So, this one got unwieldy, let’s break this down into official requests. #1. A standalone Black Widow film announced (and eventually made). #2. A Captain Marvel film announced (and eventually made). #3. A Gambit movie with a significant co-starring role for Rogue announced (and eventually made!) #4. A Wonder Woman…ah, hell, nevermind.
5. MORE FEMALE CREATORS
I don’t talk a lot about this issue in part because it’s a bit of a conflict of interest for me since I want to work in comics and actively pursue it, but the representation of female creators is still pretty alarming at Marvel and DC. We’ve seen a decent push on the female characters side of things – both in their leading lady status and in the way they’re portrayed – but we’re still failing pretty hard in this industry on diversity when it comes to female creators. This is of course not to dismiss all of the many fantastic women working in comics in both more high profile roles and the less celebrated, but we can still do much better. I’m of course a believer in the best person for the job, not in hiring someone just to fill a status quo, but I simply don’t believe that the best people have all the jobs right now. More diversity in creators is a big change I’d like to see. We are getting there slowly (I think?) but I’d love to see a real push in the next year or two.
6. CREATOR CONSISTENCY
This is going to be a tough one to judge in two years…but I’d love to see more commitment to creators teams staying in tact and for longer runs. I know it’s particularly hard when it comes to artists which is so time consuming, but I think we’ve seen some great solutions with books like Saga (taking a planned break every six issues) or with Hawkeye (piloting in guest artist Annie Wu for Kate Bishop arcs, giving David Aja time to catch up/get ahead on Clint Barton arcs). I was watching an episode of The Writers’ Room that talked about how the incredible and critically acclaimed show House of Cards gets NO notes from Netflix…which is HUGE. Usually “notes from the network” is a big “thing” that shows have to deal with and while Networks certainly aren’t always wrong, there’s something so utterly fantastic about a “network” (read: comic book company/editors/etc.) having faith that they’ve put the right creators on a project and letting them go and do what they do best.
7. KATE BISHOP
A Kate Bishop series. Kate Bishop is maybe the only character in the world that could completely turn me around on the color purple. But weird purple-thing aside I’m still hard pressed to think of a character more deserving, more interesting, and more ideal for potential multi-media domination. And while we’re talking about multi-media, what I wouldn’t give for a Young Avengers cartoon with Kate Beaton as a core cast member…how incredible would that be?
In fact, let’s just make this its own category. When you see the success of a cartoon like Adventure Time it kind of makes you wonder why there aren’t more cartoons that just dominate in that way. And there are so many properties at Marvel and DC that would be incredible as animated properties – Dustin Nguyen’s Li’l Gotham is the first DC property that springs to my mind as it’s charming, funny, and highly adorable. Tiny Titans seems like s slam dunk as well. For Marvel I’d love to see Young Avengers (as mentioned above) bonus points of course for Loki already being hugely popular in the films and it would be great to have a cartoon with teenage superheroes that has some racial diversity, a few female characters, AND LGBT characters right out of the gate. Lumberjanes, though still in its infancy, seems like an absolute natural for an animated show. All that said, I would give up a whole lot of things I love to get my hands on a regular Lauren Faust’s Super Best Friends Forever series and a Robert Valley Wonder Woman series. Seriously, I would do A LOT of unsavory things to get my hands on those cartoons.
9. BIG BARDA
I created a Big Barda book a couple weeks ago with Noelle Stevenson writing and Chris Samnee drawing, and while I stand by Samnee being an excellent artist for the series, Kris Anka jumped in on twitter and said he was working on a Barda redesign already. Since he and Stevenson are tight, that kind of seems like a match made. It’s hard to turn down something that awesome…it’s practically done already!
10. WONDER WOMAN
Listen, she’s always going to be on the list. Even if things were going well for her in comics (and the latest news/rumors mean it would be hard for things to be worse) she still needs and deserves more exposure when it comes to film/TV and ideally a kid friendly comic book too. So I’ll just leave a “hey, wouldn’t it be great if something GOOD could happen to Wonder Woman?” here. Despite my issues with the current series, Cliff Chiang was the best possible artist Diana could have hoped for, I guess now she’s going to pay for that with a Finch run. Karma is a bitch.
11. AGENT CARTER TO BE ONLY THE BEGINNING
Superheroes (and related stories) won’t be hot/in fashion forever, but while they are I hope we can manage to get some great quality projects that feature women. No reason Agent Carter should be anything except the beginning of something great for female heroes on TV in a superhero universe. We live in an age of Katniss Everdeen dominating movie screens everywhere and where our television history is full of incredible heroines of all kinds from Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Veronica Mars to Xena and La Femme Nikita…and there’s simply no reason that we can’t usher in a new generation of fantastic complicated female superheroines…Agent Carter and Jessica Jones are only the tip of the awesome iceberg.
12. WRITING COMICS
I’ve got a lot of potentially very cool writing things going on inside and outside comics but they are all in different stages and at different stages of will they/won’t they actually happen. Some of them are already in progress – from my forthcoming book from Dark Horse with Meredith McClaren (2015?) to a new project that I’ve just begun working on with another incredible artist I know, but I’d really like to jam my foot fully in the comics door this year, whether that be doing some contract/work for hire, or getting something else going with a bigger publisher. I’ve made a lot of progress in the last couple years, but it’s been a long road and I’m just ready for it to REALLY start!
Okay, that’s it! Thanks to all of you for another great year of She Has No Head! – I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it (most of the time) and here’s to lots more and so many great things in comics to look forward to (and fervently hope for!)
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