Even on their own merits these easter eggs are tone deaf, considering how much Alan Moore loathes and despises DC and Before Watchmen, so you must be pretty clueless as artist or writer working on it to think, “hey, I know, I’ll show my respect by putting in a little wink to the original series”. Worse though, when, as Darwyn Cooke and/or Amanda Connor did, the “homage” is to the rape scene where the original Silk Spectre was attacked by the Comedian in the first issue of Watchmen, here reimagined as her daughter beating up a pimp. That he’s a huge, fat black man (with all that implies, considering all those racial fears about what black men want to do to white women and how that worked out in real life) is just the racist icing on this particular sexist shitcake.
I do hope it was Darwyn Cooke who thought of this, because it’s exactly the sort of half-clever idea he tends to come up with and I think more highly of Amanda Connor, though you do wonder what she thought when drawing it. Cooke on the other hand is the epitome of the conservative fanboy turned professional, with no ideas of his own, spreading his bland nostalgia over everything he works on, in that sickening cutesy style of his.
Wearing smiley earrings and a cute pout on her face, Laurie is a badass chick delivering rough justice to a mean black dude. Like father, like daughter. It is blatantly obvious what effect Cooke and Conner are aiming for here. But the question they apparently didn’t have the wits to ask themselves is what on earth led them to think it’s okay to use Moore’s serious critique of misogynistic violence as a vehicle for their shallow indulgence in kick-ass theatrics. Cooke may do all the talking he wants about respecting female characters and Conner may present herself as a champion of her gender in a male-dominated industry (e.g. Zalben, “FanExpo” pars. 4-7); but to take the most well-known rape scene in mainstream comics and turn it into a celebration of the rapist’s progeny bespeaks gross insensitivity and moral blindness, not to mention being deeply offensive to the spirit and intelligence of the original Watchmen.
Then again, the whole idea of the Comedian as unseen father figure watching over Laurie goes so against the spirit of the original series that it’s not that surprising DC, Cooke and Connor see nothing wrong with paying homage to a rape.
Are you getting excited for the Guardians of the Galaxy movie? Stoked or curious to see Rocket Raccoon, the most unlikely of Marvel’s cosmic superheroes on the big screen? Then you might want to throw some love to Bill Mantlo, Rocket Raccoon’s creator.
Bill Mantlo was one of Marvel’s more prolific writers in the late seventies and eighties, being their go-to guy when it came to adopting existing properties into the Marvel Universe e.g turning Rom from a crap plastic toy robot into one of the more fondly remembered cult Marvel eighties titles. He also had a lengthy run on the Hulk, together with Sal Buscema (amongst others) during which he had the Hulk visit a strange alien world filled with strange furry creatures, including a certain Raccoon.
I bring this up because I have actually had straight people bitch me out for telling them that I like a book or a movie JUST BECAUSE it has queer characters. They get so incredibly offended by this, the idea that I might derive enjoyment from nothing more than seeing myself existing in the world of fiction, this blessing that they’ve taken for granted all their lives.
So I wouldn’t actually be bothered if Ms Marvel sucked. It’s THERE, in the midst of a sea of white, white, white superhero books. Its mere existence is heroic. If nasty little white fanboys have an issue with that, maybe they shouldn’t have created the problem in the first place.
Comics have always had a problem with showing heroes other than straight, white males, something that has been slowly changing. Because so many of the attempts to change this, to showcase somebody else for a change were godawful, done by well intentioned but clueless white men and because that meant any “minority” book is judged extra harshly by fans, I can understand why Seavey felt the need to emphasis that Ms Marvel first and foremost was a good comic. But I understand tickstander’s irritation even better. There are so few heroes of colour or queer heroes or even heroines that even get their own titles and when they do they largely get ignored or written off as “politically correct”; certain “fans” do seem to hate these titles just for existing.
Truth is, a greater diversity can only help comics and attempts like Ms. Marvel should be applauded for just existing. What helps is that the writer, G. Willow Wilson is herself Muslim, though through conversion, so has some sympathy and experience with what she writes about.
We, cartoonists, illustrators and authors from all countries, are surprised, disappointed and angry to find out that SodaStream is an official sponsor of the Angoulême International Comics Festival.
As you must know, SodaStream is the target of an international boycott call for its contribution to the colonization of Palestinian land, due to its factory in the illegal settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, its exploitation of Palestinian workers, and its theft of Palestinian resources, in violation of international law and contravening international principles of human rights.
Angoulême has had an important role in the appreciation of comics as an art form for over 40 years. It would be sad if SodaStream were able to use this event to whitewash their crimes.
We ask you to cut all ties between the Festival and this shameful company.
This fight against Sodastream, for having established a plant in a Israeli settlement on stolen Palestian land in the West Bank, a plant Sodastream itself has admitted was a mistake, is just one small battle in the BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanctions) struggle against the Israeli Apartheid State. It’s similar in fact to that long struggle against South African Apartheid in the seventies and eighties and hopefully it can lead to similar results. Certainly the Israeli government fears the movement:
The movement’s economic impact is also becoming evident. The recent decision by the $200 billion Dutch pension fund PGGM to divest from the five largest Israeli banks because of their involvement in occupied Palestinian territory has sent shock waves through the Israeli establishment.
To underscore the “existential” danger that B.D.S. poses, Israel and its lobby groups often invoke the smear of anti-Semitism, despite the unequivocal, consistent position of the movement against all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism. This unfounded allegation is intended to intimidate into silence those who criticize Israel and to conflate such criticism with anti-Jewish racism.
Getting Angoulême to drop Sodastream sponsorship, though welcome, is of course not going to change Israeli policies but seeing conservative pension funds start to drop Israeli investments, as much out of conviction as for legal concerns, that’s a game changer.
It’s always a nice surprise to come home and find an international mail envelope on the doormat, especially when it comes with a drawing on the outside (barely visible above). Who was Sophie Yanow and why was she sending me mail?
Well, it turned out this mystery envelope contained three comics and then I remembered. Back in december Tom Spurgeon had linked to her because she had her laptop stolen and was holding a sale to replace it. I’d looked at her site, liked the comics I saw so the choice to get some comics from her wasn’t too hard.
What made it even easier, and which is something I would like to see more professional publishers do, is the way Yanow has set up her online shop. No bother with setting up accounts, just let paypal handle everything. Shipping charges, often horrendous when dealing with importing comics from the US (their annual sale is the only time I can actually afford buying directly from Topshelf), were reasonable as well, only six dollars.
Meanwhile the comics themselves are none too shabby. I like Yanow's drawing style on display in them, rough and sketchy, sometimes so sparse it becomes abstract, her figures rendered in a minimum of thick, black (felt tip?) lines, while occassionally she almost overwhelms her characters with frenzied, thin scratchings. This is the work of a cartoonist exploring her potential, playing around and that's what makes this interesting.
What they ultimately decided on was collecting it as Justice League Vol. 3: Throne of Atlantis (collecting Justice League #13-17 and Aquaman #15-16) and as Aquaman Vol 3: Throne of Atlantis (collecting Justice League #15-17 and Aquaman #0 and #14-#16). The “Throne” storyline thus appears in both books, the colletctions having about 100 pages of identical material in them. Given that they are about 140-pages of story content apiece, that’s a pretty significant story overlap, and given the price of these hardcover editions $24.99, that’s gotta be maddening if you read both books in trade (And, again, these are both by Geoff Johns and both feature Aquaman; chances are, a lot of folks who read one in trade also read the other in trade).
I’m not sure why DC does this (I suspect this is also what happens with some of the Green Lantern books and will happen once the three-book Justice Leagues crossover “Trinity War” starts showing up in collections). It may be to encourage purchase of the monthlies in the future, by punishing trade-waiters, but that seems rather unlikely. It may simply be that the folks in charge of the comics and the crossovers don’t really worry about how they’re collecting, and then a different set of folks has to try and make sense of some way to collect them while still having generally complete-ish stories in each collection.
Or they do it, because, you know, publishing two twentyfive buck collections of the largely the same material makes them more money than one and who cares if that means you end up buying the same material twice. It’s just an advanced form of the variant cover edition game. (May also help in bringing down costs if you can just slap in a chunk of ready made material in a second or third trade like this…)
Now DC could make sure that their trade collections don’t overlap this way, or create one or two collections per crossover, rather than slot them into each of the series involved, but as long as people keep buying them, why would they bother?
But my twinge came from the place of pragmatism. This is at least the third, and maybe the fourth, time that FBI has come to the market, hat-in-hand, needing a cash infusion to continue publishing. This is a bad habit, and one that I very much want FBI (and almost all of their contemporaries) to avoid going forward.
No. Instead of avoiding Kickstarter, it would actually make a hell of a lot of sense for Fantagraphics to continue using it as a funding mechanism. For a successfull Kickstarter you need to have a potential audience that’s familiar with and interested in what you’re offering, which has both the faith that you will deliver that and the disposable income to back you; all of which Fantagraphics has in spades, therefore they’re uniquely suited to take advantage of Kickstarter’s funding possibilities. Whether or not this funding model is good for comics as a whole, for Fantagraphics it could be a good way to remove a lot of the risk in publishing, or at least shift it towards their fans. The morality of this is another story, but it makes a lot of business sense and you see this model being used in a lot of geek hobby fields.
But as said, Hibbs rejects this in favour of a much different, much older publishing model, serialisation:
From this point of view, even a serialization even loses a small amount of money is worth pursuing — if it costs $4000 to produce a work in the first place, and $500 to make the same work ready for collection, even if you only make $3000 from the serialization, you’re still in a better place for the collection than you would be if you had gone straight to OGN — you only have to make another $1500 to start making a profit on the book, not the full $4000 you’d need to recoup without it.
Which is of course the model Fantagraphics (and all other comics publishers) have historically followed, up until about a decade ago (curiously enough the last time Fantagraphics got into financial trouble). These days however almost all art comix publishers like Fanta, D&Q, Top Shelf etc have largely abandoned this format in favour of the comics album or “original graphic novel”. Is that because they’re all idiots and like leaving money on the table, as Hibbs suggests here?
That seems unlikely. Isn’t it more likely that while the serialisation, then trade paperback model does make sense for “mainstream” projects, it has long since ceased to make sense for art comix? Even fifteen, twenty years ago publishers like Fantagraphics struggle to get their comics noticed in the direct market, depending on a handful of stores for most of their sales; heck, Fanta had to resort to publishing porno comics to keep themselves afloat at one time. It wasn’t a fad that made these publishers start publishing for bookstores rather than comics shops, but pure necessity.
Now, you could argue that in the current climate, it does make sense to go back to an older model of publishing comics (and as Tom Spurgeon says, it’s hard to argue with a hypothetical), but the track record for serialisation of the sort of comics Fanta publishes isn’t great. Hibbs’ suggestions sounds a lot like that of well intentioned fans twenty years ago who were convinced comics could become a mass medium again, if only they’d get back on the newsstands and out of the direct market.
So I’m saying, all this relates to the environment of comics at large, the confidence of women artists, and the inclusion of people besides just straight white men. Groth’s comment about what is ‘good’ or not is the rule, not the exception. I cannot tell you how many women, queers, people of color have told me that they used to draw but stopped completely after someone told them their drawing was not ‘good’, because it did not look like what the straight white men were drawing. I’ve heard this from dozens and dozens and dozens.
What Annie Murphy talks about here struck me as not too dissimilar from what we’ve seen in science fiction fandom, gaming or the skeptics community in the past couple of years, which is not too surprising as these all share the same DNA, the same makeup. These are or were all male dominated spaces, where women (and everybody not white and male) have always been treated with a certain hostility, tolerated if they fit in and pretended to be one of the boys. Some of this is done consciously, by the more meatheaded parts of comics fandom, but much of it is systemic and built into how the industry and the critical community are established and operate.
There’s a lot of unexamined privilege, a lot of systemic racism and sexism at work in the comics industry and not just at the big, commercial publishers; people who point that out are not always welcomed with open arms. In science fiction fandom similar problems are slowly being addressed, but I feel that comics fandom and the comics industry are years behind at this point
To get back to the Journal specifically, it’s culture has always been aggressive, from the Blood & Thunder lettercolumn to the famous Groth editorials. It’s an environment that punishes mistakes harshly and where people take pride in their toughness, again not dissimilar to e.g. programming culture, where it’s long know that this contributes to the lack of diversity within programming.
Stop me if this sounds familiar. Take an old Rob Liefeld superhero title, which never had been any good but had sold on hype back in the nineties, put some young up and coming creators on it, then make sure that whatever they do is nothing like what anybody expected when they first heard about the revamp, but is critically well received. This time it’s Glory, not Prophet we’re talking about. Sadly Glory didn’t quite have the same success as Prophet has had and it’s already been cancelled, but don’t let that stop you from trying it: there are only two trade paperbacks to pick up, for a total of twentyfive bucks, telling a complete if perhaps slightly rushed story.
Originally Glory was nothing more than a Wonder Woman clone with bigger tits and no personality. I’d forgotten that Jo Duffy handled the writing on her original series, but anything interesting she did was let down by the subpar artwork, by Mike Deodato and later on Ed Benes, two artists I’m continually surprised are still getting work. There also was an aborted relaunch around 2000, when Alan Moore was briefly working with Liefeld and proposed a new backstory for Glory, which only lasted two issues or so.
I didn’t know Joe Keatinge or Ross Campbell’s work before I picked up the first Glory trade, but Ross Campbell’s artwork looked interesting while people had said good things about Keatinge’s writing. Campbell’s Glory is huge, sticking head and shoulders above the other characters, massive,muscled arms and legs. Meanwhile the reader’s viewpoint character, Riley, is tiny, supposedly a young adult woman, but looking more like a child than anything else even amongst the human characters. As I said before, there’s a lot of gore, but Campbell is also good at drawing quieter scenes; I like his facial expressions, especially when people are laughing. His artwork is manga influenced, but not in the usual way
Riley has been haunted by dreams of Glory since she was a child, now she’s looking for Glory, whom nobody has seen in years or decades. She ends up in Mont St Michel, where she meets Gloria West (a nod to the Alan Moore series) who used to be Glory, but not anymore. The real Glory we first see in bed, injured, “broken”. She’s a victim of the war between her mother, ruler of a warrior clan once considered gods and her father, king of a people so savage they were once called demons. There’s more to this war than is at first revealed and Riley may have been drawn to Glory as to stop as to help her; Glory becomes a literal monster if pushed too far, while Riley’s dreams of Glory have reached the future and it’s not nice.
But it’s not all doom and gloom; there are flashbacks of Glory running around 1920ties Paris with the Lost Generation fighting Fantomas. There’s Henry, the demon-medic with a fondness for ancient photo cameras. There are the allusions to her past adventures, some very lighthearted and silver agey. There are also Glory’s younger sisters, who are both awesome. But what impressed me the most was the casual, matter of fact lesbian relationship between Glory and Emilie, her sidekick/the Etta Candy standin, as well as later with Riley. In all, it’s a shame the series had to end so quickly, but at least we got a complete story.