INTERVIEW: Gail Simone Guides 'Blockbuster Update' of Red Sonja, Vampirella and Dejah Thoris
Some people really misunderstood last week’s column. A column that was simply trying to point out what great progress we seem to have made when it comes to women in comics, compared to 1995 (a formative year for a young Kelly Thompson). Some people mistakenly misunderstood it, some didn’t bother to read the piece in the first place, but felt delighted to share their thoughts any way, and others tried really really hard to misunderstand it. But I’m willing to admit to some writing fail in getting my point across. So here I am to clear things up. Ready?
Let’s talk about boobs.
So an odd confluence of events lead to me drunk tweeting while watching 1995’s classically terrible Mortal Kombat at about four in the morning this weekend (don’t ask). It was mostly uneventful, a few good jokes, mostly banal observations, as those things tend to be. However, it operated as a particularly potent time travel device to the kind of media that a teenaged Kelly Thompson was absorbing (enthusiastically and of her own free will) in 1995.
There were so many good books last week, guys!
Seriously, I did not even make it through my whole reading stack, and still I had too much trouble trying to pick just one to write about for this week’s column. So instead we’re going to do a tiny bit on several, including some gorgeous images. One of these books is actually NOT a pick, but I wanted to talk a little bit about why it skates so close to being a pick and then 2 panels at the end completely ruined the whole book for me. Very disappointed.
So let’s get to those books!
I’m pretty slammed and distracted by my new Kickstarter (laumched yesterday) so what better post to write than another She Has No Head!/Random Thoughts mash-up (TM Chad Nevett!), especially since I haven’t done one since 2011 – what have I been doing with my time?! Also, I’m sure you noticed, but in case not, Chad has been back on CSBG of late, stirring things up, so make sure to check out all that.
Random She Thought: It’s She Has Random (Largely Narcissistic) Thoughts Time! Get Excited!
Link Thought: Kickstarter for the new Storykiller novel i.e. non-comics-y stuff, 1979 Semi-Finalist for blog-y comics stuff, 79semifinalist for twitter-y comics stuff, Kelly Thompson on CBR for review-y comics stuff.
Random She Thought: Show of hands, who is surprised that Superman/Batman got pushed? That’s right, NOBODY. I mean, I think this is a good thing in that I didn’t think there was any chance we were going to get an actual good movie in 2015…but given how much I hated MoS I guess I don’t think we’re getting a good movie anyway and so this just looks like more disorganized “we have no idea what we’re doing” BS. Still, 2015 was ALWAYS ambitious.
When it was first announced post Avengers film that Hawkeye was getting his own book while Black Widow was getting a lousy one shot I was pretty frusrated. Of course Hawkeye turned out to be an utterly fantastic joy of a comic book and a person can’t complain about a fantastic comic book and so I sat back and hoped that Natasha would get her own equally fantastic shot at an ongoing (again).
And last week she did.
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.
Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.