"U.S.Avengers": A Guide to Marvel's New Patriotic Superhero Team
Counting down the best things for “Women in Comics” to come out of NYCC this weekend!
To be honest, going into a big con week I never know if there’s going be enough material to make a decent post of for She Has No Head. Sometimes I’ve struggled to come up with new announcements to write about, even after a big con. And then there are weeks where it’s hard to whittle your list down to ten items and you come it at well over 3,000 words. Well done, NYCC, well done!
I’ll also say that though I am “con averse” in general and was out of town for most of the festivities anyway, this was the first time I have been following the news (and even more so the tweets) and really felt like I missed out. So many great creators I love were out and force and being recognized for the insanely talented individuals they are and it made me feel so genuinely joyous (though disappointed to have missed out). Also, a huge thanks to all the people that so valiantly brave the con to do such great reporting, you guys are soldiers – soldiers that seemed like you were having an incredible time.
Onward to the list!
So, much to everyone’s shock (I’m guessing), I have very little problem with the Milo Manara Spider-Woman #1 variant cover. Surprising to nobody, I do have some issues with the information we have thus far for the forthcoming Spider-Woman book.
So let’s get into it.
Milo Manara is a well-known creator/writer/artist primarily of porn and erotica, perhaps mostly notably a series called Click! (which, full disclosure, I own). So, when you hire Milo Manara to draw a variant, you are hiring him to get a very specific thing: titillating erotic imagery that is at the very least reminiscent of porn and generally of women.
This is exactly what he delivered. It seems ridiculous to criticize Manara for delivering exactly what he does and what was surely expected of him. Though his response to the Spider-Woman cover controversy is depressing and predictable it’s not particularly surprising. Yes, it’s practically a bingo card of alarming statements we see all the time when people try justify portrayals of women in media: the “there’s other ‘real’ problems in the world to worry about” “all superheroes are basically naked with colors on them anyway” “women are just built this way, I draw what I see” “it’s not my fault this how women are/look” “women wear less than this/are more provocative than this in real life” etc. and of course the artist describing the character/his work as “beautiful, nice, attractive, seductive” all of which have to do only with how Spider-Woman looks to him/should look to him and nothing to do with who she is or what she does. Pretty depressing stuff.
But again, as sad as it is to hear these statements, this is a European (Manara is Italian) man that draws Erotica for a living and has for decades. None of this is terribly surprising and anyone surprised by it is not paying attention. The question shouldn’t be why does Manara draw a Spider-Woman that looks more like a porn star than a superhero, the question also shouldn’t be why didn’t Marvel send Manara back to the drawing board when he turned in his work. The question should be why is this what Marvel wanted in the first place?
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!
Yup. Another superheroine on film post. Maybe I’ll just keep writing these until one gets made (probably not, I’m already pretty tired).
If you read this column frequently you guys know that I’m a pretty big fan of io9 in general, but Charlie Jane Anders has been killing it lately on the superheroines on film issue. First with her compilation of Action Movies Starring Women that I linked to in last week’s article and then this past week she proposed 8 ways to get a superheroine movie made, it’s a great piece even if I agree with some of the ideas more than others.
One thing she points out that I think is key, is that NOW is the time to get a superheroine movie made. Waiting two, three, four, or more years to get the ball seriously rolling on a superheroine film is just not an option. Moves need to be made now, or we might just miss our window. There’s sure to be burnout on superhero movies (are we already there?). As long as the movies continue to be good I think people will continue to spend money to see them (even if they complain or pretend to complain that they’re tired of them), but the mainstream audience may get weary, and seeing a bad one (they can’t ALL be good) can put a lot of people who aren’t naturally invested in superhero properties off the concept quickly.
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!
Back in 2007 Marvel Comics launched a bi-monthly series entitled Spider-Man Family. It was an anthology featuring original stories, reprints of older comics, and most importantly, the American debut of Spider-Man J! Created by Yamanaka Akira, and originally published in 2004 in Japan, Spider-Man J features the exploits of a young Japanese Spider-Man as he does battle with the animal themed forces of the mysterious Lord Beastius!
Continue Reading »
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.
Hey! It’s our 43rd episode!
Inside this episode! We have an advance review of Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth’s Stumptown #1 and Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye #2. We then have an awesome interview with Greg Rucka talking about Stumptown, Lazarus, Punisher, his time at DC – including the scoop on what actually caused him to leave DC, the new Wonder Woman pilot, and everything else we can think of! Chick of The Week this week is a long overlooked lady who is having a hard time in recent months at DC – Lois Lane!
Here are the breaks:
Stumptown #1 – 01:00
Hawkeye #2 – 08:43
Greg Rucka Interview – 24:15
Chick of The Week (plus Wonder Woman talk and a few other goodies) – 108:48
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 Nik Furious for our awesome 3 Chicks theme song.
*As always beware of spoilers if you haven’t read the books in question!
X-Men Season One. Dennis Hopeless (writer). Jamie McKelvie, Mike Norton (artists). Matthew Wilson (colors). Clayton Cowles (letters). Julian Totino Todesco (cover). Marvel Comics. Hardcover, full color, 136 pages (includes a preview of Uncanny X-Men). $24.99
As someone always on the lookout for strong layered portraits of female characters, I was delighted to find just that in Dennis Hopeless & Jamie McKelvie’s X-Men: Season One (terrible title) in the form of their re-imagining of Jean Grey. I have never been a big fan of Jean Grey in any of her incarnations; she was always the definition of a Mary Sue to me. Too nice, too smart, too powerful, too kind, too beautiful (I mean she was a model at one point…gimme a break), too perfect, and everyone too in love with her. I mean, she was that character that when asked “what is your greatest weakness?” would have to be all “Um…my obsession with perfection?”
Sure there were portrayals of her over the years that I liked and stories I found interesting – like any X-Men fan I enjoyed The Phoenix and Dark Phoenix Sagas, and I never hated her or anything extreme, but she was never a character that worked for me as so many others did. Jean Grey never had that moment for me where a character you didn’t care for one way or another suddenly became amazing – like for Cyclops it was when he led the nearly helpless Acolytes out of the Australian desert without bitching once in X-Men #44 – I never saw Scott Summers the same after that issue. But all that changes today. Jean Grey and I have finally had that moment, and it was not just one moment but a slight tweak to her in general throughout X-Men: Season One, that has finally made her very compelling to me and dare I say, for the first time, she feels human to me.
I originally intended to pair this column with my “25 Great Superheroine Moments In Comics” post from two weeks ago in honor of Women’s History Month, but then Wonder Woman #7 happened and I felt compelled to write about that. So here we are with the unofficial “part two” in April. So it goes!
Those of you familiar with my blogging over on 1979 Semi-Finalist know I’m a big cover fanatic. I do a monthly post called “Drunk Cover Solicits In Three Sentences Or Less” where I…you guessed it…get drunk and talk about the newest Marvel and DC Cover Solicits. It’s supposed to be a chance to talk about some gorgeous art and also to make good-natured fun of some of the silliness…of course some rage occasionally seeps out (shocker). I also do a “52 Best Covers of the Year” in honor of SDCC every year. But I realized recently that I’d never focused on covers that feature women and thought what better way to celebrate than to do that here.
My criteria was looking at covers from between March of 2011 and March of 2012* and only at saddle-stapled monthly comics that feature a woman as a minimum of 50% of the cover focus. These are entirely North American as that’s primarily what I have access to. I didn’t include trades or graphic novels either. I’m not going to write much about each, just a few lines about what I love about them. Enjoy!
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.
Welcome to Part 3, and the final installment of this iteration of The Ladies Comics Project in which a handful of my family, friends, and colleagues (both those familiar with comics and not) read and reviewed one of the comics I purchased in September 2010. For more details about this project and more ladies reviews and feedback, go here to read Part 1 and here to read Part 2.
So after about 8 weeks of working on this project, here we are, the final installment – 437 emails, a handful of gchats, phone calls, interviews, texts, and a you tube video later – all to bring you: The Ladies Comics Project: Part 3
Welcome to Part 2 of The Ladies Comics Project in which a handful of my colleagues, family, and friends (both those familiar with comics and not) read and reviewed one of the comics I purchased in September 2010. For more details about this project and more ladies reviews and feedback, go here to read Part 1.
A week later and with emails now totaling 374 plus a handful of gchats, texts, phone calls, and youtube videos later and here were are: The Ladies Comics Project: Part 2
Continuing my in depth, critical survey of Norse mythological superheroics of the 1980s. Short form: It’s great and everyone should own it. The rest of this post is pretty much overkill, but you can read it if you want to, I guess. Continue Reading »
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