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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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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.

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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

What I bought – May 2014 selections

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“The novel I would most like to read at this moment,” Ludmilla explains, “should have as its driving force only the desire to narrate, to pile stories upon stories, without trying to impose a philosophy of life on you, simply allowing you to observe its own growth, like a tree, an entangling, as if of branches and leaves …” (Italo Calvino, from If on a winter’s night a traveler)
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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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Year of the Artist, Day 101: Mahmud Asrar, Part 3 – She-Hulk: Cosmic Collision

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Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Mahmud Asrar, and the issue is She-Hulk: Cosmic Collision, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated February 2009. Enjoy!
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What I bought – 12 February 2014

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“I wish life was like banking,” I said. “I don’t mean it’s straightforward. Some of it’s incredibly complicated. But you can understand it in the end, if you try hard enough. Or there’s someone, somewhere, who understands it, even if only afterward, after it’s too late. The trouble with life, it seems to me, is that it can turn out to be too late and you still haven’t understood it.” (Julian Barnes, from Talking It Over)
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She Has No Head! – Dreamy Lady Team Ups

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.

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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.

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She Has No Head! – World Domination (Or Something)

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.

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From Left: She-Hulk, Black Widow, Captain Marvel, and Elektra

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Comics You Should Own – She-Hulk volume 3 and volume 4 #1-21

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The Dan Slott issues, basically. Yes, I know theoretically they’re not “volume 3″ and “volume 4,” as one of the characters helpfully explains, but I can still call them that!
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Committed: Back Issue – The Liberated Ladies Issue

If you wrote a magazine just for me, designed to plug into my brain and force me to purchase, it would have to be the “Liberated Ladies” issue of the new Back Issue magazine. Devoted to the in-depth examination of just a few of the strongest female superheroes in comic books, as well as interviewing three of the most identifiable women working in comic books – I had to read it.

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What I bought – 31 March 2010

I watched Count Tolstoy leave and thought how it is not he who knows the truth who is right, but he who is convinced of the truth of his lie. (Milorad Pavić, from Landscape Painted With Tea)

Alex Ross doesn't always do a great job with these covers, but he nails this one! She should just fight him with those nipples! Dire Wraiths REPRESENT! It takes a second to figure it out, but that's a keen cover! Oh, Tom Scioli, you wonderful bastard! Man, her feet must hurt! It's all symbolic and shit! It's Creeper-iffic! It's all done, and I can't wait to read it! I'm sure this will be cheery!
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Committed: Introduction

There’s nothing cool or sexy about reading comics. I mean it, and I should know, I’ve been reading them all my life, since I could only understand the pictures and wonder what the hell the words meant (but when the comic books you’re reading are your dad’s stolen Fat Freddy’s Cat, not being able to read detracts nothing). Up until very recently, my comic book habit was only just tolerated by most of my friends, I’d try to get them into it, giving them graphic novels and saying “Oh, I bought too many copies of Violent Cases, you might like it…” they didn’t). Time moves on, and now at least a few of them see the value of the medium, and I’m lucky to say that some of my friends are even fellow zealots.

010610_violentcasesBut when I was the only little english girl in the playground who wanted to play X-Men, running around pretending to be Phoenix with my telekinetic powers, or the Hulk (I really enjoyed growling “You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry”, and then roaring a whole bunch – who wouldn’t?), everyone else wanted to play Charlie’s Angels (and what were their superpowers? Long hair?) When people saw me reading Superman, or Love & Rockets, they balked. It quickly became pretty clear that comics weren’t socially acceptable. Even on my annual visits to America to visit my New York dwelling family, I only occasionally glimpsed a world of comic-influenced play, and that place was clearly reserved for the boys. I could ask to play with their Batman toys, coveting those batmobiles that actually shot little missiles (to this day I still fantasize about inheriting my dad’s), but owning my own superhero toys was a step too far into overt weirdo territory.

Nowadays, despite the growing popularity of comic books and the superhero medium, I haven’t really changed. Continue Reading »

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