She Has No Head!
Even though I’ve devoted the last four weeks of this column to the “New DCU 52″ via The Comics Project, I find myself itching to share some of my thoughts on the new 52 books that I read. Which brings us here, to one more totally unnecessary post on the New DCU 52.
Thanks to The Comics Project I ended up reading 34 of the New 52. Left to my own devices and interest I only would have read about 17 books, but since I had to read every issue that my readers picked, that meant an additional 13 issues. Add another 4 books that I read but did not buy, and you end up with 34 books of the 52 in total, which is more than I ever expected to read.
So below are some condensed mini-reviews for everything I read.
Enjoy, and thanks for letting me express my neurotic need to share thoughts that are likely supremely dated at this point, considering we are nearly through all of the new DCU 52 number 2′s!
Welcome back to The Comics Project, where I asked 22* non-comics readers and lapsed comics readers to pick out an issue of the new DCU 52 and report back. Head over to Part One if you’d like to read a full introduction for the project. Without further ado, let’s dig in!
As always, beware of spoilers if you haven’t read the book!
Welcome back to The Comics Project, where I asked 22 non-comics readers and lapsed comics readers to pick out an issue of the new DCU 52 and report back. Head over to Part One if you’d like to read a full introduction for the project. Without further ado, let’s dig in!
As always, beware of spoilers if you haven’t read the book!
Welcome back to The Comics Project, where I asked 22 non-comics readers and lapsed comics readers* to pick out an issue of the new DCU 52 and report back. Head over to Part One if you’d like to read a full introduction for the project. Without further ado, let’s dig in!
As always, beware of spoilers if you haven’t read the book!
Hey kids. So, She Has No Head! is back, and back with a bang if I do say so myself (which, apparently, I do).
Back when news of the “New DCU 52″ dropped so many moons ago (or, y’know, June) I wrote a post about my initial reactions to Flashpoint and the proposed “New DCU 52″. It was not a positive post. But I ended it by suggesting that in an attempt to see the line from a fresh “new-reader perspective”, which is what it seemed DC was going for, not to mention from a more positive, less cynical place, that I would do something called “The Comics Project” which would be similar to The Ladies Comics Project before it and would have lapsed and new comics readers reading the new DC 52 and reporting back. And so here we are:
I really enjoyed reading Jen Wang’s first offering to comics via publisher First Second. It’s a beautiful and quite large edition that is, despite its high page count (it clocks in at 304 pages), a surprisingly light and quick read.
Wang’s art is simply stunning. The book is clearly the work of an animator that’s gone off the reservation, and it’s much to the benefit of comic readers everywhere. Wang will likely be a powerhouse in comics one day with the skill set she’s already bringing to the table. She strangely reminds me a young Skottie Young, even though her style is entirely different It has that same freewheeling risky abandon that I always feel in Young’s work. That complete commitment to the heart and soul of whatever is being drawn, to the exclusion of all else, the result is beautiful interesting stuff. The characters are sublimely designed and have great fluidity and movement. The colors, a kind of monochromatic sepia watercolor wash with subtle pops of blue and green are rich and well fit Wang’s loose not quite sketchy penciling style. One of the best things about Wang’s book are the aforementioned character designs – which veer creatively quite far away from “typical” comic book characters. She’s not afraid to give her characters distinctive non-traditional looks and it’s a welcome change from just seeing pretty people that all look the same. Yet another of Wang’s strengths here are the facial expressions, which are exceptional throughout, full of life both beautiful and not.
Life With Mr. Dangerous. Paul Hornschemeier. Villard Press. 160 pages. Full Color. Hardcover. $22.00.
I’ve been reading delicious bits of Paul Hornschemeier’s Life With Mr. Dangerous for years now as they were published in MOME and I was delighted to see it finally collected beautifully all in one book.
Life With Mr. Dangerous is, in essence, a story about twenty-six year old Amy, a newly single girl (again) with a cat, who works in a mall clothing store somewhere in the Midwest, not unlike her divorced mother before her. Amy’s obsession with a cartoon program called Mr. Dangerous drives much of her life, too much, and she’s aware of this, though unable and perhaps unwilling to escape it as she’d like.
So one of the silver linings to re-launches and re-boots is that it spawns some interesting discussion, and one of my favorite things which is fan and critic “what I would do differently” conversations and columns. On CSBG we saw some really great ones this week (Bill Reed and Greg Burgas’ attempts as well as CSBG reader Travis Pelkie’s Marvel version via Brian Cronin on CSBG). Inspired by these gents own thoughts I decided to jump on the bandwagon for this week’s She Has No Head.
Since this weekend on my personal blog 1979 Semi-Finalist was also “Drunk Cover Solicits In Three Sentences Or Less”, I was inspired to try to do my version – as close as possible – to what a month of my own DC Solicits would look like including images.
What follows is not actually my “perfect comics world”, because in truth, I don’t care about say…Green Lantern (I know, I know, string her up!), so a Green Lantern book probably wouldn’t actually exist in my “perfect world”, however, as I’ve talked about a lot on She Has No Head, there’s little I believe you actually have to change with some of these books to open things up a little bit. So what I decided to do was look at the line and institute the smaller tweaks I’m always saying I think we need to make things more accessible. The following is far less “revolutionary” than someone like Greg’s list (which was awesome and would have me broke as all get out and picking up a massive 30+ of his 52 books) but it’s representative of the smaller changes I think that could really change the readership. My list also has all the flaws of a list created by one person (i.e. it’s full of blindspots and favorites). However, I used a few basic rules to help create my line, they are as follows:
So there will be no 3 Chicks Review Comics this week, and I thought that the She Has No Head! post that I put up in lieu of it, should try to explain why.
Flashpoint/Post-Flashpoint has kinda killed us. Already. Maybe.
It’s possible we will rise up again, phoenix-like from the ashes, but we’re taking a breather. The truth of the matter is that most every week dealing in comics as a feminist that’s hoping for good positive things is a mixed bag. It’s very ‘take one step forward, two back’ – and sometimes more than two. For every great piece of news you get, you get one or two soul crushing pieces that tell you that nothing is ever going to get better, and maybe it’s even going to get worse. And it’s exhausting. And life in general is exhausting, so it would be really nice if comics were this awesome refuge that we could escape to, but while they were that at one time in my life, no longer. Instead they are most frequently this really horrible train wreck that I have to rationalize my love of from week to week. Sometimes they are brilliant and I’m reminded powerfully why I love them, why I love the medium, why I love superheroes, but far too frequently they make me really sad. But like many things that make me sad or frustrated, I still love them and I believe deep down (this week it’s very deep, and well buried) that they can be better…and so we soldier on and try to fight the good fight and believe that in the end comics will be better for all that fighting. But boy am I tired…
I’ve been having a fairly random rekindling of my love for Buffy The Vampire Slayer of late. As such it seemed like the perfect time to finally take a look at Joss Whedon’s Fray. Based in the Buffy universe, but propelled forward a few hundred years into the future, Whedon’s 8-issue mini-series from Dark Horse focuses on Melaka Fray, a new slayer called forth after many years of a world without a slayer.
Fray works as a great introductory character, because she knows as little about her destiny as any new reader might, which makes a natural fit for introducing those unfamiliar with Buffy lore to Whedon’s universe. And it’s done skillfully enough that readers already well familiar with the universe won’t be bored by the history lesson. In the series, Fray, a thief and “runner” for a fish man called Guther, is called as the first Slayer in a couple hundred years, to fight a war brewing and a hellmouth about to open up to let in all sorts of dimensional hell beasties. A guide of sorts, though not her watcher (that dude lights himself on fire in front of her, whee!), named Urkonn has been summoned to help train her for the coming war and the complexities he finds in her makes for some nice plot twists that are especially satisfying I suspect for readers already familiar with Whedon’s universe. Regardless, the plot twists, which I won’t spoil here, come just at the right moments to keep you off-balance in all the good ways that a smart engaging story does. Fray doesn’t have the rich cast of allies that Buffy developed over time on the television series and that continues in the books, but what Fray does have here, some real family and some adopted family, plus Urkonn, her fishy boss, and an arch-nemesis all works well and gives just enough of a tapestry to keep everything very interesting.
Many Comics Should Be Good readers are well familiar with Eisner nominated Caanan Grall’s work, as he delivers amazing entries each week in Brian’s Line It Is Drawn series. We are weekly treated to Grall’s massive creativity and superb execution in his handling of those mash-ups, as well as his 100% delightful web series Max Overacts, and so few will be surprised to find that Grall’s first major story, Celadore, is chock full of creativity, laughs, and gorgeous artwork.
Celadore, originally a web comic published by DC via their sort of defunct Zuda label, was collected as a print edition in October 2010. In fairness to DC, “Zuda Comics” is proudly displayed on the cover of Celadore…so it gives one hope that other great Zuda properties like Celadore, and perhaps even potential future properties will still find voice.
Here’s the deal, I’m way behind on my novel revisions for my agent, work is crazy busy, I’ve been sick and I just can’t seem to catch up, also my planned column for this week got pushed back due to some things beyond my control. So the benevolent Chad Nevett agreed to let me pilfer his column concept (and I should add fearless leader Brian Cronin suggested the idea to me months ago) and so here we are! Did you really want to see how the sausage gets made people? I thought not!
Random She Thought: It’s She Has Random Thoughts Time! Get Excited!
When Demo Volume 2 was coming out in single issues I wanted to write about every issue that came out, but something always got in the way, and eventually I had to resolve myself to just talking about the collected volume when it was finally released. And here we are! Finally!
Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan’s Demo Volume 2, a smart, beautiful, six-issue follow up to their 2003/2004 12-issue Demo Volume 1 series, is everything that was wonderful about Volume 1, plus the added time and experience that makes creators of Wood and Cloonan’s caliber even better. Wood and Cloonan’s work on this series is an excellent example of artistic evolution at work. Demo Volume 1 is a fantastic book, one that stands on its own as well today as it did when originally released, but it feels like the beautiful breakthrough freshman work, and Volume 2 feels like the more seasoned, thoughtful sophomore effort on both the writing and the art side.
Thanks to Ross Campbell being an all around great guy, I’ve gotten an advance look at his new book, Shadoweyes In Love, forthcoming in April from SLG. Even better, Campbell has given She Has No Head! an exclusive 10-page preview as well as a peek at some never before seen Shadoweyes artwork. As if that wasn’t enough, we’ve got a contest and some awesome prizes including a book and some original artwork. Read on for details!
I’ve been anxiously awaiting Ross Campbell’s second volume of Shadoweyes because I loved the first and couldn’t wait to see where he was going to go with his YA superhero tale which was nominated for a Glyph award, listed on CBR’s top 100 Comics of 2010, and made YALSA’s 2011 Great Graphic Novels For Teens list. Shadoweyes volume 1 didn’t shy away from asking tough questions that modern superhero stories generally avoid, and I was excited to see if Campbell’s second volume could push those questions even further. I was not disappointed.
Ivy. Sarah Oleksyk (writer and artist). Oni Press. Hardcover, Black & White, 220 pages. $19.99
Kelly: Welcome everyone to the first ever joint review on She Has No Head! – with my friend and yours – Comics Should Be Good blogger Greg Burgas – as we tackle the Oni Press release of Sarah Oleksyk’s Ivy. Originally self-published by Oleksyk as mini-comics, Oni has collected the work and released a fairly gorgeous hardcover edition in February 2011. Because I’m crazy polite (or something) I’ll let Greg kick things off!
Greg: Okay, I’ll start with … a plot review! Ivy is the story of a teenaged girl named Ivy Stenova, who loves to draw, wants to go to art school, but is trapped in a crappy Maine town with adults who don’t understand her and friends she’s losing touch with. At one point, she goes to Boston for an art school convention, meets a charming dude named Josh, and eventually runs away from home with him. So that’s the plot, basically. It’s not extremely important, because Oleksyk is examining high school life and what kids go through, so the plot isn’t all that important.