Robot 6

Best of 7 | ‘Multiversity,’ ‘Project Superpowers’ and more

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Welcome to Best of 7, where we talk about “The best in comics from the last seven days” — which could be anything from an exciting piece of news to a cool publisher’s announcement to an awesome comic that came out. So let’s take a look at the last seven days in comics …

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Anatomy of a better comics industry

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I was supremely dismayed earlier in the week when some people responded to Janelle Asselin’s Teen Titans #1 cover assessment by issuing rape threats.

But that dismay was quickly eased when the groundswell of defense and support for Asselin moved to the forefront. In particular, my hopes for a change were buoyed by the collective response that an ongoing conversation must be pursued to eradicate the culture that seemingly makes rape threats and overall misogyny acceptable on any level.

Lines do not need to be drawn, but many tire of what Marjorie Liu characterizes as “a collective male amnesia” that greets stories like this that happen all too often and frequently. I am guilty as charged in terms of being shocked, when stories of harassment against women have gone on for years and I have covered them in the past.

Liu is one of many to offer a constructive path forward:

“It doesn’t mean that any one individual is evil. It doesn’t mean that all men are terrible. But the larger culture of misogyny, in all its forms — from the obvious to the subtle — that is evil, and it must be recognized, and fought. Because things will not get better unless we name this, and see it. And so the conversation continues.”

I respect that in the wake of the harassment of Asselin–for merely expressing her opinion–has allowed the industry to show it can be better in the face of discrimination.

Another note in support of the importance of an ongoing dialogue to erase ignorance and effect change was made by the folks at Retcon:

“So how do we change? The comics community is far from monolithic, making it difficult to address any community-wide problems, especially those that have happened in secret for so long. But that doesn’t leave us without hope. We believe that keeping the spotlight on the issue — in all corners of comicdom — is the only way to eradicate it everywhere. Twitter will do it Twitter’s way (presumably, lot’s of hashtags), CBR will do it CBR’s way, and we will do it our way. Our way will take the form of several pieces over the next week deconstructing the facets of the problem as we see it: the representation of female characters in comics, the marginalization of women in the comics community, and the tone of internet discussion within the community. What are the problems? What are their causes? What solutions would we like to see?”

The industry needs to shine a light on its shortcomings. And this week it did. No one is perfect. When we fall short of an ideal level playing field, no one should view a call for equality as a negative or a threat to comics.

We have a chance for a dialogue and to become a better industry, a more fair industry (in terms of tolerance). I hope we make the most of it. We had a good start this week. (Tim O’Shea)

Warren Ellis to leave his mark on Project Superpowers

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Dynamite announced this week that Warren Ellis will “take control” of the Project Superpowers universe later this year.

“I have actually been fascinated by those old characters for a great many years,” Elli said in his Orbital Operations email. “Golden Age comics, as they’re called, are strange things. This is something I’ll get into with you at a later date, once the thing’s up and running, I think. There’s a haunted nature to many of them: like the pulps, some of them are a window for pure id to stream through.”

Ellis also noted that his take on the characters won’t be anything like Alex Ross and Jim Krueger’s take on the characters — “At all.” This is another great move by Dynamite, much like recruiting Joe Casey and a bunch of great artists to work on Captain Victory. (JK Parkin)

Multiversity gets a release date

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It’s one of those projects I was starting to think we might not ever see, which would be too bad because it sounds fairly ambitious — Grant Morrison’s Multiversity,” first announced four years ago. But this week we learned something about we didn’t know — the release date. CBR revealed that the limited series will debut in August 2014. Each issue will be 40 pages in length, featuring art by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado, Chris Sprouse and Karl Story, Ben Oliver, Frank Quitely, Cameron Stewart and others.

“Prepare to meet the Vampire Justice League of Earth-43, the Justice Riders of Earth-18, Superdemon, Doc Fate, the super-sons of Superman and Batman, the rampaging Retaliators of Earth-8, the Atomic Knights of Justice, Dino-Cop, Sister Miracle, Lady Quark, the legion of Sivanas, the Nazi New Reichsmen of Earth-10 and the LATEST, greatest superhero of Earth-Prime — YOU!” Morrison said in a statement. If indeed I’m in it, that explains the delay — I’ve been very busy lately. (JK Parkin)

New Groo scheduled for this year

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If you thought the wait for Multiversity was long, well, let me introduce you to Groo vs. Conan. The project by Mark Evanier, Sergio Aragonés and Thomas Yeates has been 11 years in the making, but at WonderCon this weekend Evanier and Aragonés announced the project will be out … um, later this year. I’m not sure if the panel report actually clarified when it would arrive, but Aragonés said it would be out in time for the San Diego Comic-Con, so let’s just say “summer.” The duo also announced a brand new Groo project, the 12-issue “Friends and Foes.” More Groo is always a good thing, and it’s been a long time since we’ve seen new stories starring the cheese dip-loving barbarian. (JK Parkin)

Crime Does Pay for fans of Dark Horse’s archive editions

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In terms of archival comics, we live in fortunate times with an abundance of archival riches to buy. And thanks to folks like Denis Kitchen, John Lind and Mike Richardson, this week saw the release of Crime Does Not Pay Archives Volume 7.

It’s hard to say what I enjoyed most about this collection of 1946-1947 stories. First off there’s the intro written by novelist Lorenzo Carcaterra, which opens with this insight framing the stories contextually:

“The stories in this collection of Crime Does Not Pay touch so many important bases. They tell of a time when criminals ran rampant through the streets and towns of this country, each eventually brought down by determined lawmen never giving up the hot pursuit. The tales are vivid and well told, the color images true to life and violent, and the sense of time and place as real as a morning headline.”

Another source of joy? Ads from that era with marketing phrases like “Genuine Pre-War Quality Banner Fireworks! Oh boy!” Finally one can delight in the covers done by original series editor Charles Biro. I cannot get enough of this material. (Tim O’shea)

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Comments

5 Comments

My issue with Asselin’s critique was that it wasn’t particularly insightful. But any intelligent discourse certainly got lost in the jostle.

Sorry, Asselin. I see nothing offensive on the cover itself. It’s the artist’s prerogative (with the blessings of the DC editorial unit) to allow that cover art to be printed and distributed in the first place. But on the other hand, I feel sick on dudes making nonsense comments on her “critique.” Her comment is as good as one of us.

Asselin’s analysis of the cover was critical of the cover and, by association, the artist who drew it.
Why do some people regard it as a personal attack on THEM just because they like it?
If they disagree they may ignore her or express their defence of the cover.
Insults and threats are WRONG.
Those who would threaten rape should get psychiatric treatment

I’m still going to read Teen Titans, as I like Will Pfeifer and Kenneth Rocafort, and I think the cover treats the female form a lot better than anything J. Scott Campbell’s ever drawn.

That said, Asselin is entitled to her opinion, the right to state said opinion in a public forum, and the right to not be harassed and threatened by neckbearded, developmentally-arrested toolbags for having said opinion. This is why comics are seen as a boys club, especially the kind of boys club that has the stigma of creepy, socially repugnant trolls that the mass media can treat as stereotypes in shows like the Big Bang Theory – because this kind of horrible behavior is not only tolerated, but has become the norm. This is why I hate mentioning to new people, especially women, that I like comics. Thank god this behavior isn’t being tolerated anymore and people are finally giving these douchebags the treatment they deserve. I shouldn’t have to be ashamed of my community and of being a male comicbook fan because I’m one of the few exceptions in a mostly sexist audience. Here’s hoping members of Anonymous track the worst offenders down and gives them what-for.

Though I concur with all the above sentiments regarding the unacceptability and unjustifiable nature of the threats to Asselin, I think the construction of her argument is confused:

“The problem is not that she’s a teen girl with large breasts, because those certainly exist. The main problem is that this is not the natural chest of a large-breasted woman. Those are implants. On a teenaged superheroine.”

So are we to suppose from these sentences that Asselin would be totally OK with the cover if it had simply been an accurate rendering of “a teen girl with large breasts?” Sorry, I think that had the cover been drawn with all the accuracy of the best Adam Hughes, many female critics– including Asselin– would still have problems with sexualizing an “underaged teen girl”– though on a side point, I don’t know that most TITANS fans could tell you whether or not Wonder Girl is under the age of consent or not, given the frequent fluctuations of comics-book continuity.

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