She Has No Head! Archives - Page 4 of 12 - Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources
My birthday was last week and my boyfriend had been asking me what I wanted for weeks. I didn’t know how to tell him that Brian Wood and Olivier Coipel had already given me all I ever wanted.
I know that sounds dramatic, but truly I do not know how to explain to you guys what it feels like to finally (at far too old an age) hold in your hands a comic book that you have dreamed of since you were a kid. A comic book that you wanted to WILL into existence. And now, like magic (plus 20 years) I have it.
I love superheroes. I really really do. And so there are few things I like more than a good superhero film. One that reminds you what is great about superheroes – that gives you those superheroic chills – but that also manages to be a good film. It’s more rare than you’d think, especially since we’re in a sweet spot where some filmmakers are actually figuring it out – Batman, Avengers, Iron Man, Dredd – there have been some very good superhero movies in the last few years – which sometimes makes us forget how hard a thing it is to create a movie that is both good film and good superhero movie.
Sadly, Man of Steel is not among them.
But before I get into this, let’s take a moment to say, it’s great if YOU liked or even loved the film. I am honestly happy for you, in fact, I’m jealous, because I wanted to love it too. And I am not saying you are a moronic dolt that doesn’t know a thing about film or superheroes if you liked it. Don’t personalize this. This is about why I think Man of Steel is a terrible film, from both a superhero fan and a film lover perspective.
There’s a lot to say and so I’m going to lean on the crutch that is a list.
But really, that’s not enough. Nope.
In my excitement for and about this title and what a long time coming it is – I think I have truly been waiting 20 years for this book – I thought it’d be a good time to talk about the ladies being featured in the title. The X-Men on Wood’s team are some of my favorite characters in all of comics, so I’m pretty excited to see them all here together, kicking ass and taking names.
A few weeks ago I wrote about 6 recent superheroine redesigns that I loved. People went, expectedly, nuts, even though there was nothing particularly dramatic or mind blowing about the piece. Y’know, unless things like opinion pieces send you into a blind rage. Anyway, I had always planned to write a companion piece about 6 superheroine costumes that are in desperate need of an overhaul. Then Iron Man 3 came out and Pepper Potts rocked the hell out of things, so I wanted to write about that. Then Robot 6 linked to the redesign post, which stirred things up again, and now here we are, a couple weeks later, ready to possibly break the damn internet again with me talking about something as simple as some costumes that suck and need to be redesigned (for a variety of reasons).
The only caveat for the post is I’ve tried to stick to costumes that are currently being used, independent of when they were designed.
So, prepare to get pissed about all the completely non-anger inducing thoughts of one person’s opinion about some superheroine costumes. I’ll be honest; the only thing tough about this list was keeping it to 6 (which I sort of didn’t do).
However, we took it one step further this week! Because I am an incredibly fortunate person who knows a bunch of badass professional artists, the fantastic Kris Anka and Meredith McClaren generously volunteered to spend some of their free time redesigning the ladies on my list.
And because you’re here reading this, you too benefit from all that good fortune…fortune for everyone!
I’ve spent most of my life aching for great superheroine portrayals on film. To see some of my comic book heroines reflected back to me on 40-foot screens. With a few awesome exceptions (X-Men, X2) I have been disappointed again and again (Catwoman, Elektra, Sue Storm in Fantastic Four, Batgirl in Batman & Robin, Poison Ivy in Batman & Robin, Supergirl, Mary Jane in Spiderman, okay not a superheroine, but still) the list of bad performances, bad writing, bad directing, and just bad ideas is painfully long.
I’ve been thinking about superhero redesigns, in part thanks to our awesome interview with Kris Anka on 3 Chicks Review Comics. We talked a lot about the difference between good artists and good designers, and how important getting an artist that knows about design and fashion is to having a modern and functional looking costume. Any time you change a costume, no matter how necessary the change is, or how great the new design might be, it tends to ruffle fan feathers as there is surprising emotional attachment to things like this. And when you change design as fundamental as a superhero costume you’re changing brand identity and recognition. It’s kind of a huge deal, and not something that should be undertaken all willy-nilly.
For this column I decided to focus on 6 recent redesigns that are actual canon (i.e. you can actually see them in comics – or will – and they have been embraced by the publisher) but because I hate actually sticking to the limits I set for myself, I added a couple brilliant redesigns that are “unofficial” or considered “fan art”, because honestly, there is A LOT of great design being done on the fringes. Skilled artists that know a lot about design and fashion and perhaps more importantly, care about characters, and the resigns for said characters are killing it out there. Anyway, I hope you’ll enjoy!
With the very cool news that Terry Moore’s Rachel Rising has been optioned for television (and that could be a great show that I would LOVE to see) I started thinking about other indie properties (most with complex female characters) I’d love to see optioned for television as either an ongoing or a mini-series. With the advent of shortened series – Netflix’s House of Cards, AMC’s Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and The Killing all run only 13 episodes (typically) – we’re seeing a rash of new thinking in quality over quantity, which is good for a lot of comic book properties with world building or effects issues. Most of the best shows out there right now run short seasons: Showtime’s Homeland has 12 per season. Game of Thrones and Newsroom are only 10! The Walking Dead began with a 6-episode half season, then moved to a “full” 13, and for its last season delivered 16 – but still short of the formerly typical 22-episode season. Add to that a rash of recent high-quality mini-series like HBO’s six-part Mildred Pierce or Sundance’s 7-part Top of The Lake and we’re in a really interesting period of television where we’re seeing a huge uptick in great TV that equal some bold choices in both content and in the way that content is delivered. All of it makes me optimistic that smart comics properties that might have been a tough sell even a couple years ago might be more viable now. So what are five at the top of my list? Glad you asked!
OR…The Six C’s of a Badass Comic Book Cover!
We all have our own tastes when it comes to art and comic book covers are no exception. Thanks to a lot of drinking and looking at comic book covers over the last few years (in my Drunk Cover Solicits In Three Sentences or Less feature on my blog) I’ve thought a lot about comic covers over the last few years and what really makes me respond to something, or alternatively turns me off. So here are 6 C’s that make of the anatomy of a great cover for me – along with a slew of gorgeous examples. I focused on more recent stuff from the last few years, both because that’s where my focus has been for the feature on 1979 Semi-Finalist and because while I there are obviously tons of gorgeous covers through the ages, I think we’re going through a pretty great time for comic book covers. A few classics snuck their way in anyway. It should also be said that while I broke these covers up into groups based on what I was talking about, many of them could fit into multiple categories – they’re just that cool.
I spent Sunday at the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia.
Sculpture is perhaps my favorite art form in some ways even more so than comics (gasp!) – in part because I am so absolutely atrocious when it comes to three-dimensional work. I am so incompetent working in three dimensions, that art, which is strength of mine in general, almost becomes like math once you add that third dimension. And I am TERRIBLE at math. So, it is partly a fascination with something that I cannot fathom how one can create such excellence in a medium which I can barely grasp the most rudimentary understanding of.
I also appreciate the intense work that goes into it. Before something is sculpted there are innumerable 2-dimensional studies, and even what most of us 2-dimensional folks would call “finished work” in addition to 3-dimensional studies that prepare for whatever the actual assignment or commission is. Of course these studies, particularly the 3-d ones, have significant value and meaning as well, and in fact take on lives of their own. Becoming their own art that can stand independent of whatever they were created to “work towards.” I sometimes find I prefer these studies, the same way that I sometimes find I prefer sketches to finished work when it comes to comics as well.
Back in November of 2010 I did a massive list of my 20 favorite female characters in comics. And today I’m doing a list of 10 ladies that – thanks to some seriously awesome creator work – are poised to break into that list. And all of them are currently starring in books going on now, so get out there and get reading!
THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERHERO GIRL. Faith Erin Hicks (writer/artist). Cris Peter (colors). Dark Horse. Full Color. Hardcover. 112 pages. $16.99
This collected (and fully colored) edition of Faith Erin Hicks The Adventures of Superhero Girl comics from Dark Horse is simply 100% delightful.
Originally a weekly black and white comic strip available online in full and in the free Halifax newspaper called The Coast, The Adventures of Superhero Girl was a web strip Hicks worked on while doing a million other wonderful things – books like Zombies Calling, The War At Ellsmere, her latest – Friends With Boys, and Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong (both from First Second, both available online in full, NCPGW due in print in May 2013). How she has the time and talent for it all, I’ll never know, but doing all of it (practically at once) has made her one of the strongest and most impressive new voices in comics, and certainly one of the creators I have found myself most excited about and most interested in watching as she develops as a writer and artist.
We’re all very excited about Brian Wood and Oliver Coipel’s X-Men debuting in April, but until then, I wanted to talk about some fantastic female-led comics you should already be reading. Like the last “8 Great” post I did, I’m going to focus on ongoing books, rather than mini-series, since I do believe that longevity of titles like this is part of winning this battle over time – i.e. good books that have a sustainable audience and can maintain quality consistently. It’s something I feel we struggle with (as evidenced by the fact that only one — sorta two — titles from my list in 2011 made it back onto the 2013 list).
I reviewed Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s Young Avengers for CBR this week and gave it an – apparently controversial for some – 5 stars. Given the title of this post I’m sure you can guess that I’m standing by that rating. But as I’ve said before, you have a limited word count (rightly so) on reviews, and I have lot more to say about this book, the ideas behind it, its nearly perfect execution, and how excited it makes me for the future of comics when I read a book like this. Because lists are so damn effective, I’m doing a list again…so let’s start by ticking off the boxes of what this book gets oh-so-right.
I started blogging in 2007 and in the spring of 2009 two things in comics caused me to start blogging about comics. The first was the nightmare Cry For Justice promo image from DC in which Supergirl had no head – and you guessed it – that was the primary inspiration for the name of this very column. The second, which is what we’re going to discuss today, was the promotional announcement for the book Marvel Divas.
And so today I can’t help but compare everything that was the utter fail of the Marvel Divas pitch (which was everything except the gorgeous Tonci Zonjic interior art) with how right Marvel and Brian Wood are getting Wood’s new all-female X-Men team so far.
Paul Allor and Thomas Boatright’s Orc Girl checks all the boxes for things I not only love, but ache for in fiction – non-traditional leads, surprising coming of age stories, strong female lead characters, stereotype busting, beautiful atypical art, and smart lovely writing. But sometimes creators forget that checking those boxes – whether for political correctness or passion – doesn’t make something good. It still has to be good.
Orc Girl is GOOD.