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!
So, many of you saw that I broke the internet two weeks ago with my post about the visual representations of men and women in superhero comics and the apparently still radical idea that “No, it’s not equal”. So how does one follow up THAT column? Do you try to break the internet even harder? Or do you go the completely opposite route? Well, for starters, if you missed it, read this piece I did for my new gig at Lit Reactor, which is chock full of fantastic books that don’t commit any of the “No, It’s not equal” sins.
What can I say? Brian Wood writes a mean Viking story!
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It’s CSI, medieval-style!
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A-viking we go!
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Here’s the deal, I’m way behind on my novel revisions for my agent, work is crazy busy, I’ve been sick and I just can’t seem to catch up, also my planned column for this week got pushed back due to some things beyond my control. So the benevolent Chad Nevett agreed to let me pilfer his column concept (and I should add fearless leader Brian Cronin suggested the idea to me months ago) and so here we are! Did you really want to see how the sausage gets made people? I thought not!
Random She Thought: It’s She Has Random Thoughts Time! Get Excited!
When Demo Volume 2 was coming out in single issues I wanted to write about every issue that came out, but something always got in the way, and eventually I had to resolve myself to just talking about the collected volume when it was finally released. And here we are! Finally!
Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan’s Demo Volume 2, a smart, beautiful, six-issue follow up to their 2003/2004 12-issue Demo Volume 1 series, is everything that was wonderful about Volume 1, plus the added time and experience that makes creators of Wood and Cloonan’s caliber even better. Wood and Cloonan’s work on this series is an excellent example of artistic evolution at work. Demo Volume 1 is a fantastic book, one that stands on its own as well today as it did when originally released, but it feels like the beautiful breakthrough freshman work, and Volume 2 feels like the more seasoned, thoughtful sophomore effort on both the writing and the art side.
Local should have been a book that really spoke to me, personally. Like Megan, the central character we follow in Local, I spent my late teens and early twenties traveling around a fair amount, trying to find that place that would feel like “home” to me. I had the same kind of jobs that Megan had, bar tending, retail work, secretarial stuff – job that you could find and leave relatively easily. If a relationship didn’t work out, it was easier to move country than deal with the fallout of becoming friends and working things out. Like Megan, it took me a while to realize that staying in one place didn’t have to make me feel trapped, and in fact it could be deeply empowering to have a stable home base.
With all of that in mind, I expected to love Local immediately. Maybe that’s why I didn’t… at first.
This book has absolutely everything I like.
It’s got great well fleshed out characters, strong (but complex and not always perfect) female leads. It’s got fantastic art that really places characters in a believable setting (in this case the always fabulous New York City). It’s got attention to to everything from the characters favorite songs to their clothing choices (which are phenomenal and fitting for their personalities) and it’s just funny and smart and totally fun.
I suppose I could just end the review there, but let’s not…
So The New York Five is a sequel of sorts to Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly’s The New York Four which was released as a 150 page digest via DC’s Minx imprint in 2008. And if you want to know more about how all of that happened – and read a great interview with two of the best comics creators today – head over to yesterday’s She Has No Head! for more. You’ll probably enjoy The New York Five even more if you have already read The New York Four, but it’s not a requirement. Wood brings readers up to speed nicely with a clever opening that quickly outlines what has happened so far and who our major players are. If you read the opening and pay attention you can pick up this Vertigo mini-series easily without having read the previous book and still get massive enjoyment from it – that said – if you like this, you should seek out The New York Four anyway, as you’re likely to enjoy it as well.
The New York Five, a four-issue mini-series from Vertigo that picks up where Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly’s The New York Four from DC’s Minx volume left off nearly two and half years ago finally releases this Wednesday, January 26th. As someone that was a big fan of the digest-sized original, and someone that searches high and low for quality comics that are also female friendly, I was excited to get a sneak peek of The New York Five #1 (check for that advance review in a special second installment of She Has No Head! tomorrow). Even better though, was getting a chance to talk with Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly about their return to these great characters.
Kelly: So as I understand it, the original plan was to do four books – each one featuring a different character (Riley, Merissa, Lona, and Ren) – I think the most obvious question is can we actually expect to get more of this mini-series, or should I just count myself lucky that I got this one?
Brian: Well, I think Ryan and I feel like the lucky ones! Seriously, a book like this coming from a place like Vertigo is not going to be a chart-topper, but Ryan and I do know how to make pretty good comics together, and I feel this is a pretty positive show of support on DC’s part to let this happen. When Minx ended, we already had contracts signed to do a sequel book, and over these last couple years everyone involved has helped figure out what to do about that – in terms of length, format, imprint, etc. What THE NEW YORK FIVE is, is something kind of unique for DC: a creator-owned, black and white, no ads, 32-pages of story comic for $2.99.
I honestly can’t say if we’ll get the chance to do more after this. I approached this new FIVE series with the assumption that we won’t, so we don’t run the risk of leaving readers hanging like we did at the end of THE NEW YORK FOUR.
Ryan: Yes, lucky is the right word. The New York Five is a unique and strange object–A 32-page, black and white, serial drama about living in New York, published by DC Comics for $2.99. I’m honored to have the opportunity to do this book, and I’ve tried to repay the favor by making the best art I can.
Closing up our month of lists and year in review on She Has No Head! is a list of my “Bests” from 2010 (and a few worsts). Please keep in mind that I didn’t get to read ALL THE BOOKS. For example, The Return of The Dapper Men is sitting here and wooing me with its gorgeous swan song and telling me that it could have been a contender…but I just didn’t get to it…and that’s the way it is sometimes, but of the stuff that I read (which was A LOT), here’s what I really loved the most…
DV8: Gods & Monsters #1 – #8. Brian Wood (writer). Rebekah Isaacs (artist). Carrie Strachan (colors). Fiona Staples (covers). Jared K. Fletcher (letters). Ben Abernathy (editor). Kristy Quinn (assist. editor). Wildstorm. Full Color, 22-pages/book, $2.99/book.
I haven’t been shy on this column about my love for Brian Wood and Rebekah Isaac’s DV8 Gods & Monsters mini-series and now that it’s over I’m excited to talk about it in its entirety.
The first thing to say is that in the hands of Rebekah Isaacs and Carrie Strachan (colors) this series is, hands down, the best looking and most consistently stunning book I’ve read in the last year. Add to that the massively talented Brian Wood and gorgeous covers by Fiona Staples and you really have something.
The greatest thing that Wood has done with DV8 is simply to re-introduce and re-invigorate an entire cast of characters and by the end of the series poise them beautifully (well, most of them – damn you Brian Wood!) for any talented writer to pick them up and use them in a new series (hint hint DC). It’s no small feat to completely rehab characters practically forgotten in the massive landscape of comics, and Brian Wood does it here with grace and apparent ease. This entire team has been wonderfully explored and developed, updated and made relevant again and I can’t think of a team I’d be more interested in seeing in another mini-series or ongoing…and prior to this mini-series I really couldn’t have cared less about most of them.
I’ve talked pretty openly about my love for Brian Wood’s new DV8 mini-series Gods & Monsters, from the fact that I think it feels both modern and also somehow like a throwback to really good superhero character pieces, but it’s also been one of the inspirations for why I’ve been talking so frequently about how much I’d like to see more independent creators given a chance to show what they can do on more mainstream characters. Not that DV8 was ever totally mainstream, but there’s no reason why DV8 can’t emerge as a powerhouse of a title from Wildstorm, if done right. And with able assists from Fiona Staples on covers and Carrie Strachan delivering beautiful colors, Brian Wood and Rebekah Isaacs are doing it SO right. The way I feel a lot more indie creators could if given the chance to run wild on a title the way Wood and Isaacs have cut loose on Gods & Monsters.
Brian Wood is a goliath in this industry so it feels strange to call him independent, but if you look at his body of work, that’s exactly what it is. Wildly independent. It’s honed to his own vision and his own personal standards, which as far as I’m concerned, are well above that of most comics out there. Brian Wood puts out awesome book after awesome book ranging from ongoings like the epic Northlanders and DMZ to totally alternative superhero-ish tales in the excellent Demo; to literary short fiction made into comics in the form of Local; to now breathing new life into some 1990’s anti-heroes almost forgotten in DV8’s Gods & Monsters mini-series.
It’s all exceptional stuff. Brian Wood, for my money, is one of the great comic creators and writers of our time, so I was pretty excited when he agreed to talk to me about DV8, a comic that I really hope will pave the way (eventually) for a new direction for superheroes.