Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
I’ll be doing a post later this month about 10 specific “NEW” books to buy in 2014 where I talk in detail about some new series coming out that I’m excited to read in 2014 (and you should be too). However, I thought I’d do a list of more generally “comics related” things I’m excited about as well since there are a good number of them this year.
There’s a lot of Marvel on this list, guys. But what I can I say? I like the cut of their jib these days aka they’re dominating like a BOSS.
As always, I like to put my BEST OF lists up before the year actually ends, in part because it drives Greg Burgas crazy. Probably since the last Monday of the year is quite close to the end of the year it will drive him less crazy, but we’ll just have to be okay with that. As always, my feeling is that if I haven’t read it by the end of December (and there are MANY I have not read) then I’m not going to be able to get to it in time for it to make my bests and worsts lists anyway so it’s all the same in the end.
News last week of my beloved Rogue being left on the cutting room floor for the forthcoming X-Men Days of Future Past film had me all mopey and thinking about why certain characters mean so much to me, and who manages to hang on, despite all odds. It was time for a list!
[As a sidebar, I didn’t have time this year to do my annual holiday gift list, but I’ve included links to all of these characters’ best or recent work that I mention so that if you’re shopping super late this year, this could help you out.] And fair warning, before we begin, if a character was repeated on the list and I didn’t have a ton of new thoughts on her I cribbed heavily from my 2010 post, but I gave myself permission, so don’t worry.
As mentioned, back in 2010 I did a 20 Favorite Fiction Females post, and now, after a truly exciting year for female characters in comics, and with a promising 2014 ahead of us, I thought it might be time to revisit the list. See who still makes the cut and who fell clean off. I did a post in early 2013 about 10 characters that were making a run for the title, and some of those ladies did indeed make the jump, and deservedly so.
Let’s cut to the chase, there isn’t one.
Unless it’s lack of balls…and you can take that either way you like. That she can’t catch a break because she doesn’t have literal balls like her male counterparts or because DC/WB/Hollywood/Whoever Is Really In Charge of These Things don’t have the metaphorical balls to simply make her damn movie.
And why not? Frozen and Catching Fire are blowing the doors off at the box office and nobody cares that they have female leads. They just care that they’re damn good movies. Smart movies. Movies that respect their characters and their audiences. And in the case of Catching Fire a movie that is vehemently faithful to its source material.
But we still somehow live in a world where “whoever is in charge of these things” thinks the best way to introduce Wonder Woman to the world is as a bit part in Superman/Batman.
I was thinking a lot this past week about Young Avengers forthcoming end with issue #15, and how, as disappointed as I am to not be getting that book as a continued ongoing, there’s something wonderful about how Gillen and McKelvie’s Young Avengers will now exist as a nearly perfect 15 issue run, with limited guest artists, no phone-it-in-issues (which just happens over a long run, it’s only natural), one clear and concise vision, and most importantly, no damn crossover issues or messy event tie-ins. Young Avengers will be able to be collected into a few awesome trades, and if we’re lucky someday maybe a sweet little omnibus. It will be a great book to put on your shelf and go back to time and time again. Kind of like the wonder that is Nextwave Agents of H.A.T.E. – which I re-read at least once every year – and which stands out in the way that only the “brilliant but cancelled” can.
But maybe these things don’t have to be “cancelled,” maybe, instead, like Young Avengers they can just choose to be one smaller and more defined moment.
So this past week has shown not only Marvel announcing ANOTHER female-led title for 2014, this one featuring a young woman of color stepping into the Ms. Marvel role, but an incredibly exciting deal with Netflix to launch four new Marvel-based series including one for JESSICA JONES.
The cause for celebration in my world right now is enormous.
And this happens just shy of my four year anniversary here at CSBG (why thank you, Marvel, and I didn’t get you ANYTHING, I’m so embarrassed).
Leaves me wondering if I can finally hang up this gig.
Well, okay, maybe hanging it up is indeed premature. But for now, let’s pop the champagne and enjoy ourselves, yes?
One small step and all that nonsense!
ps – shortest SHNH ever – by like 800+ words!
As some of you more creatively minded types know, November is something called NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month – frequently shortened to the even shorter NaNo).
NaNo happens every November and is an experiment in writing a novel (or at least 50,000 words of one) that novelists everywhere (both professional and amateur alike) participate in. There’s a whole official website where you can register and track your progress, and find like-minded friends, and even get a certificate of completion (if you meet the 50k word count goal).
I’m not much of a joiner, so I don’t ever officially join up, but I’ve done NaNo three times unofficially. Twice I failed miserably (in 2010 and 2012), for both legit and non-legit reasons. In 2011 I freaking killed it. Writing more than 90k in just over five weeks.
So why are we talking about this on She Has No Head!? Well, mostly because I’m doing NaNo (unofficially) again this year and thus it’s what I’m consumed with right now and what I’m spending most of my “free” time doing/trying to do.
But since I have an audience here, and you guys have been receptive in the past to opening a dialogue (cough>sometimes more receptive than other times<cough) I thought I’d ask you some questions about what it is for you – in any media – be it comics, prose, movies, television, music, or even sports – that gets you to devote yourself so entirely to something.
What is that elusive THING that gets you to start a Tumblr about a “ship” you like, or gets you hunting down hard to find copies of a comic book, or make fan videos for youtube, memorizing stats, staying up all night watching and re-watching something, or re-reading the same books over and over again?
One of my favorite things about comics when I first developed a weekly habit more than 20 years ago, was learning about the idea of a PULL.
The idea that I could put titles on a list and people would modify order numbers of books, and assure that I got a copy of something pulled aside before it ever went on a shelf made me pretty excited. It also probably made me feel kind of powerful and in control – at a time (16!) when I was anything but.
Over the years, especially since I started writing this column, a lot of people have asked me what’s on my pull and I’m never really shared it. Maybe it seemed just a shade too intimate? Like going through my underwear drawer or something? Silly, I know, considering I’ve talked about way more personal things here over the years, including recently admitting that I have sometimes watched soap operas.
Anyway, I closed my pull last week and it was almost physically painful to do it – saying goodby to so many years of having a pull. There has never been a time in my life when I was actively reading comics that I didn’t have a pull, so this is new ground for me. And mostly I don’t like it! I did it simply because I live in Manhattan and there just isn’t room in my apartment for a weekly pull of print comics to fill up every nook and cranny of space. So I’ve moved to digital for most of my books and then double-buying the stuff I really cannot live without having when the trades come out.
So, in honor of the too-painful closing of my pull last week, here is what was on it — by publisher and alphabetically — as well as a list at the bottom of things removed in the last few months — enjoy the peek into my now closed underwear drawer! A strikethrough simply means the title was canceled (or ended) while I was pulling it.
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.
I’m feeling a little burned out both as a writer and as a comics reader. Add to that the fact that the focus of this column (women in comics) is sometimes too narrow a focus for my interests. Hell, it’s kind of amazing that I’ve been able to talk about such a thing for nearly 4 years (yup, 4 year anniversary coming up in November!). On the subject of women in comics, most of the time, you need only ask, and the comics gods will provide. Still, I’m a bit exhausted. So I thought maybe we could just talk. I’ll say some things, and I’ll ask some questions, and if I’m very lucky some of you will be interested enough in what I’m talking about to talk back in the comments.
Yup. Another superheroine on film post. Maybe I’ll just keep writing these until one gets made (probably not, I’m already pretty tired).
If you read this column frequently you guys know that I’m a pretty big fan of io9 in general, but Charlie Jane Anders has been killing it lately on the superheroines on film issue. First with her compilation of Action Movies Starring Women that I linked to in last week’s article and then this past week she proposed 8 ways to get a superheroine movie made, it’s a great piece even if I agree with some of the ideas more than others.
One thing she points out that I think is key, is that NOW is the time to get a superheroine movie made. Waiting two, three, four, or more years to get the ball seriously rolling on a superheroine film is just not an option. Moves need to be made now, or we might just miss our window. There’s sure to be burnout on superhero movies (are we already there?). As long as the movies continue to be good I think people will continue to spend money to see them (even if they complain or pretend to complain that they’re tired of them), but the mainstream audience may get weary, and seeing a bad one (they can’t ALL be good) can put a lot of people who aren’t naturally invested in superhero properties off the concept quickly.
With intriguing columns about superheroine movies over the past months from io9 and Jezebel to USA Today and The BBC everyone is talking about this issue — that issue being “Where are all the Superheroines in Film?” Readers (or at least writers) cannot get enough of the topic. CSBG’s own Sonia Harris was interviewed last week for a Huffpost video, and I was interviewed last week by both CNN/HNL and SciFi Now Magazine for upcoming pieces on the subject. It feels like we’re hitting a point of no return where the people will simply demand a supeheroine film come hell or high water. We probably can’t call anything a “superheroine age” without some movies (and toys and all that comes with such things) but it does feel like we may finally be headed there.
I wrote over a year ago about why The Avengers got The Black Widow so right, and suggested some superheroine movies I’d like to see on the heels of that (I also wrote about both Catwoman and The Black Widow on Lit Reactor), but I was a bit too early for the rush it seems – and now, unwilling to be left out of the frenzy, since it’s an issue so clearly dear to my heart — here I am again.
Not really though, I’d rather just not have a column and have good books to read and publishers I trust. But that’s not the world we live in, so we get my sad little column.
About two and a half years ago I wrote about Batwoman’s fate as Greg Rucka abandoned the DC Ship, and here we are again, talking about Batwoman’s fate, as her creators are forced to jump ship, and DC scrambles to pretend it was their idea in the first place. Two years is actually a pretty long run, and so if this decision had come a bit more professionally – rather than creators being forced to jump ship in order to save their sanity and honor the stories they intended to tell for the character, it wouldn’t be too bad. But frankly, we could have talked about any number of characters (and books) fates over the last two years at DC (I’m sure somewhere there’s a list of all the creators that have left or been removed from “New 52” books – update: here’s a really great timeline breakdown). There was even a freaking summit about how they (DC) were going to lessen their editorial interference and a further commitment to stabilizing creative teams. That seemed to last about a week.
Don’t be confused by the title, like every year, I didn’t attend SDCC. For all the normal reasons, good and bad — it’s on the other side of the country, I’m especially broke at this moment in time, I’m super busy with some writing deadlines, I hate crowds and heat, yadda yadda yadda.
However, thinking about SDCC this year, I realized that I’m (pretty sure) it’s now been 20 years since I went as a teenager, portfolio in hand (dreams of being a comic book artist – HA!)
Anyway, when you realize it’s been 20 years since just about anything it’s hard to ignore the seriously reflective thoughts that pop unbidden into your head (above and beyond the usual, which is of course…how is it possible I am that old???).
I think the thing I am most struck by, is that as I surfed all the comics and geek-leaning websites reading about all the SDCC news, there was precious little that excited me on the comics front this year. Last year I easily came up with a list of five cool things I was either super intrigued by or super excited about (things that were comics only specific – no movie, TV, games, merch or cosplay). This year, on the comics front? Not so much.
This was just one of those weeks that makes you want to stop the planet and get off. While I was feeling as if there was no escape from the horrible crap happening, I happened across this old Daniel Clowes 2009 New Yorker cover — one of my favorites — and decided to focus on some positive comics stuff as a coping mechanism.
Here is your assignment, should you choose to accept it:
Create the ultimate comics time capsule that aliens will someday discover. Show them the best of comics (and the world? your call!) with the 22* comics you’re allowed to put inside the capsule. Are they the 22 comics you think are the greatest of all time? Or are they the best and strongest representation of what we had to offer in quality and breadth? Are they just the ones you can read over and over again? Are all of those the same thing? Again, your call!
A few simple rules:
#1. You can put in an omnibus if it exists, as 1 entry (example: The Planetary Omnibus – in it goes!)
#2. It has to be already out, as of today (example: The Planetary Omnibus does not come out until January 2014. Damnit! Out it goes).
#3. You cannot put in all the individual trades of a book’s run in the capsule as 1 entry (example Y: The Last Man). You CAN fill the capsule with 22 volumes of the same thing, but even *I* have to question your judgement there!
#4. We’ll make an exception for special books bound together in a case/collection (example: The Collected Calvin & Hobbes can go in, or Bryan Lee O’Malley’s complete Scott Pilgrim series, as well as unique one of kind comics experiments of the form – like Chris Ware’s Building Stories). Unfortunately, something like all the gorgeous Wednesdays Comics in their original format would not work (unless you wanted to use it as multiple entries), but you could put in the collected edition…man, I wish I had room for that. Damn!
#5. Only comics. So, no, as much as you’re dying to put in my brilliant take on female superheroes in prose form (cough>The Girl Who Would Be King<cough), it’s a novel and thus is not eligible. Double damn!
#6. Yes, you can put in single issues, but man that single issue better be good!
For the rest, you guys decide, they’re your lists, I don’t have our fearless leader’s skills or devotion, so I’m not going to make individual rulings beyond the above. Have at it!
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