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She Has No Head! – Strong Female Characters

Diana1Every once in a while I write a post just so I can use a comprehensive link in discussions rather than explaining myself over and over again. “No, it’s not equal” was born of this. Our issue today is not nearly as complex, nuanced, or far reaching as the subject of that post, but people misunderstanding the phrase “strong female characters” intentionally or innocently, and sometimes I just can’t tell which, is something that has been irritating me for a good long time.

Most of you probably don’t need this tutorial – everything I’m going to say here is honestly pretty basic and obvious (and I am by no means the first – or will be the last – to say it) but a surprising number of people still don’t get it. Since there ARE people that don’t get it, and still others who don’t get it to the tune that they think that writing “strong female characters” is indeed shorthand for tough badasses and that they’re doing “good work” by writing those one note characters, or by vilifying the idea of the “strong female character”…we’ll here’s my mini tutorial, rant, whatever you wanna call it. Enjoy.

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She Has No Head! – The 10 Best “Superheroines” On Film, A Completely Subjective List

So, back in August I did a post talking about the women of the Marvel Studios Films, doing that made 1182174-15578__08batmanr_lme think I wanted to talk about all the superheroine film performances I’ve loved. Then a few months ago we did a whole post trying to figure out how to define a superhero. It ended up being a really interesting discussion (one in which by some miracle everyone was really well behaved! Miracles! They do happen!). However, the end result was that it became increasingly clear that everyone has a different view of these things and as such I would never satisfy everyone’s definition since such a thing didn’t exist. So I’m just going to choose to satisfy only my own criteria and everyone has to deal with that.

I was originally going to do a best 50 but while there are well over 50 roles of note, there weren’t really 50 I felt passionate about and wanted to discuss, even cutting down to the top 25 I found I was talking more about the problems I had with the roles/performances than the things that I loved, and since I intended this to be largely a positive post, I cut the list down again to a Top 10. And that was the sweet spot where I felt a horrible yearning for a few that had to be left off and could speak with real love about the roles on the list.

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3 Chicks Review Comics – Episode #076 – The 2014 In Review Episode!

It’s EPISODE #076 – 2014 Year In Review Episode!3 Chicks Logo 2 - Blue

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Inside this episode! 

We begin with a review of Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Maris Wicks, and Rico Renzi’s The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1! We’ve also got a review of Jamie S. Rich and Joelle Jones, and Laura Allred’s Lady Killer #1 from Dark Horse. Next up are our picks for the Best (and a few words) of 2014! And as promised in this episode, here’s a link to my list of 52 Best Comic Covers of the year.

3 Chicks Review Comics is a podcast featuring female comics lovers and bloggers. Sue from DC Women Kicking Ass and Kelly Thompson from She Has No Head! Tune in to CSBG every other Monday at noon as we review comics and discuss hot topics of the week. In addition to the blogs above, you can also follow us all on twitter as well: Kelly and Sue. Special thanks to Caanan Grall for our incredible 3 Chicks Logo and to Nik Furious for our awesome 3 Chicks theme song.

3 Chicks Covers ep 76

She Has No Head! – Defining Superheroes

So, I have a column I’ve been working on — off and on — for a few months now, but I keep stumbling on the defining superheroes headerparameters and I thought I could put it out to all of you, see if together we could come up with better parameters than I have been able to come up with myself.

For the purpose of the column in question – which is a column about superheroes on film – my major stumbling block seems to be between action hero and superhero – where does one draw the line?

I have had some wonderful help from whip smart CSBG commenter Dean Hacker (thanks Dean!) and without him I would not even be this far along. Right now my in-process definition looks a bit like this:

“Superhero is a fluid term. It does not HAVE to come with clear cut superpowers or even a costume, though it should be said that costumes come in many shapes and forms beyond the traditional (i.e. is Ripley’s flight suit a costume? If not, why not?). While a “superhero” does not HAVE to come with the aforementioned superpowers or costume, a superhero does have to come with actions that are “super” in what they attempt – scope, breadth, intensity, etc., and perhaps with a “magical” solution of sorts to solving the huge problem they face.”

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She Has No Head! – 25 Favorite Fictional Females, 2014

It’s that time of year again, the time for a million lists, including my 25 Favorite Fictional Females in comics list. Like all years, this was tough. Like all years, I’m never quite convinced I’ve got the list right, but for better or worse, here we are!

Fair warning, if someone was repeated from a previous year, I often cribbed some of the text from my previous post with some light updates to reflect changes. Here are last year’s list and the first list in 2010 (as well as a 10 ladies making a run for the title list) in case you’d like to read about even more female characters in comics. It was a really exciting year and with a promising 2015 ahead of us I’m very excited about where we are when it comes to our progress with female characters – as always things are a bit two forward and one back, but we’re making progress! I’d like this list a bit better if there were more indie ladies on it (there are so many that are worthy) but Marvel’s push with female characters this past year did a good job of gobbling up a good number of spots.

Like last year, what I found most interesting is how some characters managed to triumph over lack of material or worse, bad material. Wonder Woman, despite the fact that I can’t read her book, hasn’t fallen much– maybe she’s just got so much iconic power that others are helpless to overcome the big shadow she casts? I spent a lot of time when trying to organize my list this year thinking about the characters that I’d most like to see creators work with in new series – that was how I ended up defining where they fell – how interested I found myself in seeing them in new stories. Still, you can’t underestimate the power of reading both old and new – Black Widow makes the list this year (finally) thanks to some damn fine work by Nathan Edmonson and Phil Noto, while Big Barda shoots up the list because I took some time out this year to read/re-read all her classic Kirby stories…and how can one deny her utter dominance after doing that??

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She Has No Head! – $50 Comics Budget

This weekend was my five-year anniversary writing She Has No Head! – incredible, right? I cannot believe how time 3344389-lazarushas flown by.

Anyway, thinking about just getting started on things and being new to something reminded me of discovering comics when I was a teenager. The joy an frustration of fumbling through the dark with no idea what I should be reading (I’m old, the Internet was barely a glimmer in the most advanced readers eyes!).

My eventual comic book shop was helpful, but it took me a while to find the right shop…and even then I felt enough like a stranger in a strange land for a time that it took some time to start having actual conversations about comics with anyone other than my younger brother who was as in the dark as I was (though he remains my favorite person to talk about comics with). What I would have given for a road map!

However, as mentioned above, I’m old, so comics were a lot cheaper and it wasn’t the end of the world to waste a buck or so on a crappy comic. Today, with a few indie exceptions, even the cheapest comics will cost you $2.99…and that’s a lot to risk on a comic.

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She Has No Head! – 10 Women Who Would Kill It As Captain Marvel

Thanks to the She Has No Head! publishing schedule I haven’t really had a chance to express my insane katee-sackhoff-noexcitement here over the Captain Marvel movie announcement. I am, in a word, PUMPED. Pumped that they finally committed, pumpbed that it has a date, and over the moon pumped that they’re calling it Captain Marvel (as it should be). I am extremely disappointed that they didn’t commit to two female led films by also announcing a Black Widow film, but that’s another post for another day. Today we are here to celebrate and what better way to celebrate than with fan castings!

One of the only things the internet seems to collectively agree on is that Katee Sackhoff would make a near perfect Captain Marvel [ed. note: this is hyperbole people – these are the jokes – the internet is clearly in agreement on nothing – it would be literally impossible for all of the internet to agree on something, which seems like it should be obvious. Please take this statement as the hyperbole it is clearly intended to be. As a sidebar, I am sorry that I have to spell this out, but a few freak outs in the comments section over this one line means I must clarify or risk people continuing to miss the forest for the trees…and this is why the world cannot have nice things. Now back to your regularly scheduled program…]

ANYWAY, Sackhoff does feel a bit like no-brainer casting, the kind that has spawned an internet full of Sackhoff as Carol images. And to be clear, I agree. I think she could fill the role very well and she tends to be my default pick. However, Marvel, given their history seems to be interested in more known/bankable stars, and it’s fair to say that Sackhoff has not done much of note (especially when it comes to film) since her star-making turn as Starbuck on Battlestar Galactica (which ended five years ago). So assuming that Marvel is interested in a bigger/more bankable “film star” – and that does seem to be how they’re trending if you look at their casting choices, who might be our other options? Trying to focus (for the most part) on bigger more well names and those with more film experience or more recent break out roles, here are my alternate suggestions starting at 10 and working my way down to my #1 pick!

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3 Chicks Review Comics – Episode #074 – The Phil Noto Interview

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Inside this episode! 

We begin with a review of Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples Saga #24, last issue before the hiatus (and triumphant return again in 2015). We’ve also got a review of Terry Moore’s Rachel Rising #29. Next up we have an interview this week with the lovely and talented Phil Noto. Phil dishes on all things Black Widow, talks process, his forthcoming Marvel “snapshot” variant covers which came about thanks to his excellent tumblr Your Nice New Outfit, and gets geeky with us on favorite characters (I find a way to talk about Rogue, because I will ALWAYS find a way!) Sue and I also talk about the big Marvel Film announcements – most notably of course – Captain Marvel and after we’re done gushing about how excited we are about that we get into the continued nonsense that is a lack of a Black Widow movie. We also talk a bit about developments on the forthcoming Supergirl, and I get borderline inconsolable about the cancellation of She-Hulk. Enjoy!

3 Chicks Review Comics is a podcast featuring female comics lovers and bloggers. Sue from DC Women Kicking Ass and Kelly Thompson from She Has No Head! Tune in to CSBG every other Monday at noon as we review comics and discuss hot topics of the week. In addition to the blogs above, you can also follow us all on twitter as well: Kelly and Sue.  Special thanks to Caanan Grall for our incredible 3 Chicks Logo and to Nik Furious for our awesome 3 Chicks theme song.

3 Chicks Ep 74 Covers

3 Chicks Review Comics – Episode #069

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Inside this episode! 

We begin with a review of the brand new Hexed #1 by Michael Alan Nelson, Dan Mora, and Gabriel Cassata. Then a review of the previous week’s She-Hulk #7, the best issue yet for the new series, brought to you by Charles Soule, Javier Pulido, and Muntsa Vicente. Kevin Wada did the gorgeous cover seen below.  Up next we have an interview with Black Widow writer Nathan Edmondson. Responsible for Marvel’s current Black Widow title, and also the fantastic, critically acclaimed, and coming soon to a theater near you – Who is Jake Ellis? and the current Where is Jake Ellis?, Edmondson talk about his approach to Natasha and working with both Phil Noto and Tonci Zonjic. We then talk a little bit about the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, general comics news, and Sue gives us an update on Boston Comic Con, where she was last weekend. Finally Sue managed to find an adorable DRAMATIC READING. Enjoy!

*sidebard: we had a bit of trouble with audio difficulties this week – just imagine while you listen that I am Rob Brydon’s famous “small man trapped in a box.” And if you haven’t seen The Trip, you all should get on that. Greatest. Show. Ever.

3 Chicks Review Comics is a podcast featuring female comics lovers and bloggers. Sue from DC Women Kicking Ass and Kelly Thompson from She Has No Head! Tune in to CSBG every other Monday at noon as we review comics and discuss hot topics of the week. In addition to the blogs above, you can also follow us all on twitter as well: Kelly and Sue.  Special thanks to Caanan Grall for our incredible 3 Chicks Logo and to Nik Furious for our awesome 3 Chicks theme song.

Episode 069 Covers

She Has No Head! – Sony Makes Their Move

Spider-Woman Gwen Stacy Mash Up

Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy as Spider-Woman (or something similarly Spider-y)

Just an hour before my column about the ladies of the Marvel Studio movies went up, a column that in part lamented our lack of announcements on female-led films, we got an announcement about a female-led superhero film being developed.

UTTER JOY!!!

But that announcement came not from Marvel Studios but Sony.

MUCH MORE RESTRAINED JOY. :(

It’s not rocket science. While Marvel Studios have been killing it with their films – and they seem to be getting better and better – The Avengers (2012), Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014), and Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) are their three best films (except perhaps Iron Man (2008) which set us off on this incredible superhero resurgence in the first place) – Sony has been kind of the opposite of killing it.

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She Has No Head – The 11 Women Of The Marvel Studios Films

So, obviously this is spurred by Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy, which came out last weekend, which demolished all August film openings, which I saw this weekend, and which was, as everyone has already been telling you, pretty much awesome.

But you don’t need another post about that, you’ve seen it all before, there’s nothing new I can tell you. This movie is like pure joy, bottled and delivered directly into your soul. It’s not perfect but it’s fun, funny, and a great example of how super complicated ideas and utterly bizarre characters and concepts can be made “new viewer” friendly and yet still appeal to fans. It’s a success all around.

MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD

SHNH Ranking Marvel Movie Ladies

Click to Embiggen! From Left: Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Emily VanCamp as Agent 13, Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill, Jamie Alexander as Sif, Liv Tyler as Betty Ross, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis, Hayley Atwell as Agent Carter, Karen Gillan as Nebula, and Natalie Portman as Dr. Jane Foster

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Year of the Artist, Day 214: J. G. Jones, Part 3 – Black Widow #3

blackwidow6006 (2)

Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is J. G. Jones, and the issue is Black Widow (volume 1?) #3, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated August 1999. Enjoy!
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3 Chicks Review Comics – Episode #067

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CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ON PODBEAN

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Inside this episode! 

So, first up we have a review of Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s The Wicked + The Divine #2. Up next is a review of the first Black Widow trade (collecting issues #1 – 6) by Nathan Edmonson and Phil Noto. Following that we have a super long interview with the fantastic (and prolific) Ed Brubaker talking about all things Fatale, Velvet, his incredible 5 year deal with Image, and his new book with Sean Phillips debuting in August – The Fade Out. We of course manage to talk a little bit about that tiny little film you may have heard about Captain America: Winter Soldier and some Batman things like how fantastic Gotham Central was and how we miss it. For comics news we talk about the huge Thor announcement and The Girl Who Would Be King film option…will Kelly’s superheroines be the first ladies to be the leads in a superhero film??? That would be epic. Because you guys were very good this week, we’ve also got a couple dramatic readings by Sue.

3 Chicks Review Comics is a podcast featuring female comics lovers and bloggers. Sue from DC Women Kicking Ass and Kelly Thompson from She Has No Head! Tune in to CSBG every other Monday at noon as we review comics and discuss hot topics of the week. In addition to the blogs above, you can also follow us all on twitter as well: Kelly and Sue.  Special thanks to Caanan Grall for our incredible 3 Chicks Logo and to Nik Furious for our awesome 3 Chicks theme song.3 Chicks Covers Ep 67

 

She Has No Head! – Five by Five

And I mean that title literally. The definition of “five by five” is as follows: Five by five is the best of 25 possible subjective responses used to describe the quality of communications, specifically the signal-to-noise ratio.

Marvel’s “quality of communication” on their interest in female leads right now is FIVE BY FIVE.

It’s also a handy way to talk about the five new female-led books they’ve launched and with the debut of Elektra last week, I can say unequivocally they are all good. And that, is, well, that’s HUGE.

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She Has No Head! – Picks of the Week (1/22/14)

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!

Batman 27 Bats and Gordon

Gorgeous work by Greg Capullo on Batman #27

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