Axel-In-Charge: Navigating the "Civil War II" Landscape, Bringing DMC to Marvel
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!
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.
we cry we laugh we feel we love we live
in the coffin of our existence and
IT IS ALWAYS TOO LATE (Tommy Trantino, from Lock the Lock)
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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 mentioned a couple weeks ago, before I felt compelled to go on a massive rant, that I was working on a Black Widow “Required Reading” post…and as promised here we are!
I’ve been reading a bunch of Black Widow stuff in preparation for this, along with the material that I’ve already read and so these are the books that rose to the top for me. I’m sure I’ve missed some things (and I’m sure you’ll tell me) but I’ll just let you know right now I did NOT miss Black Widow: Deadly Origins, Black Widow & The Marvel Girls, and the current Black Widow Strikes mini-series, all of which I found to be quite terrible. Feel free to disagree in the comments, but please don’t assume I didn’t consider them. I did consider them and I found them disturbingly lacking. If you want something really great that Natasha is guest starring in that’s more current than the list below, I’d recommend the very good Winter Soldier ongoing by Ed Brubaker. It’s a great book with a really well written (and drawn) Natasha.
I read in the Marvel Solicits for August that apparently “Hawkeye is the breakout star of The Avengers” which I guess means he gets a shot at an ongoing title while Black Widow is relegated to that truly abysmal mini-series that’s almost over now. So Hawkeye gets Matt Fraction and the brilliant David Aja and Black Widow still gets the equivalent of bupkis. Now, I don’t know what movie the people responsible for these things saw but I have no idea how anyone would walk away with “Hawkeyes as breakout star” from the movie I saw. I like Renner very much as an actor and I have no problems with Hawkeye as a character, but there is just no damn way he outshined Natasha/Scarlett Johansson.
Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today’s page is from Black Widow #6 (one of the many Black Widow mini-series that came out in the first decade of the 21st century), which was published by Marvel and is cover dated April 2005. Enjoy!
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The site is all about finding those great moments for women in superhero comics…you know the ones…the ones that leave you with goose bumps, that leave you breathless, that leave you in love. The site is open to submissions from anyone, which is only fair as we all have different definitions of what inspires us from women in superhero comics. And what better month for a post like this than March – Women’s History Month.
Inspired by Sue’s efforts I thought I’d do a piece about some of the moments that have meant the most to me over my years of reading. I make no argument that these are the “best ever” moments…just that they’re the moments that have curled my toes. Which ones curled yours? Let me know, and better yet, submit your own over on THIS!
Word of warning – if you haven’t read the story I’m talking about, be careful of spoilers!
Click to enbiggen on any image!
“I write in blood, and the best truth is a bloody truth.” (Irvin D. Yalom, from When Nietzsche Wept)
The great French revolutionary hero Danton, who will lose his head during the ‘Terror,’ is making a rueful remark. ‘… But Robespierre and the people,’ he observes, ‘are virtuous.’ Danton is on a London stage, not really Danton at all but an actor speaking lines of Georg Büchner in English translation; and the time is not then, but now. I don’t know if the thought originated in French, German, or English, but I do know that it seems astonishingly bleak – because what it means, obviously, is that the people are like Robespierre. Danton may be the hero of the revolution, but he also likes wine, fine clothes, whores; weaknesses which (the audience instantly sees) will enable Robespierre, a good actor in a green coat, to cut him down. When Danton is sent to visit the widow, old Madame Guillotine with her basket of heads, we know it isn’t really on account of any real or trumped-up political crimes. He gets the chop (miraculously staged) because he is too fond of pleasure. Epicureanism is subversive. The people are like Robespierre. They distrust fun. (Salman Rushdie, from Shame)
“Girls are like slugs – they probably serve some purpose, but it’s hard to imagine what.” (Calvin, of Calvin and Hobbes fame)
Black Widow #1 – 5. Marjorie Liu (writer). Daniel Acuna (art and covers). Blambot’s Nate Piekus (letters). Marvel. 22-pages, full color. $2.99.
I’m not sure I know how to write about the first five issues of the new Black Widow series without talking about my concern, frustration, and puzzlement as to why the creative team of Marjorie Liu and Daniel Acuna is changing just as this great series gets started. But I’m definitely having some mild deja vu flashback to how I felt when I learned Greg Rucka would not be writing Batwoman.
Let’s be clear – there is very little information out there, and what is out there (from Liu’s blog) says that it was her choice to leave and it was always intended to happen that way, so I’m not trying to blame Marvel. However, as Greg said in his What I Bought post this past week…WHAT THE HELL? Okay, Greg said it much more eloquently than that, but I’ve whittled it down to its core. It’s REALLY hard to launch a new comic series these days, especially one with a female lead, so I just don’t know why you’d let the creative team and entire look and feel of a book that’s looking great and getting a good critical response, shift focus.
I certainly understand that Liu can only do what she can do (although why Acuna is leaving at the same time is still a mystery to me since the visuals are such a major part of this book’s identity) and since she’s adding a new X-23 ongoing to her schedule I guess she simply can’t do both. Liu is also a novelist and I’m sure has many commitments beyond the comic book world (there is a world outside of comics, or so I’ve been told), so she may not have unlimited time for comics. But I have trouble understanding why anyone (regardless of affection for a character) would abandon Black Widow for X-23. I suppose it doesn’t help that as a reader I intensely disliked the X-23 one shot that came out from Liu this past spring, and I intensely liked this opening arc on Black Widow…so there’s frustration there for me. I look DESPERATELY for good books with strong female leads…and they don’t come around every day and it’s even more rare that they’re actually good – so this is a blow for me.
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