Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Illustrator and comics creator Sarah McIntyre has a new challenge for her fellow artists: Get some diversity into your characters. And by “diversity,” she means more variety in facial structures, because the fact is that often all an artist’s characters, especially female characters, look alike.
Take Archie Comics costars Betty and Veronica, for instance: Same face, different hair. (Off-topic: Writer Michael Uslan actually announced plans last year at a New York Comic Con panel for a comic in which the two finally realize this and switch places.) “I see the same identikit thing with superhero women: visually interchangeable except for hair colour and costume,” McIntyre writes in an essay at The Huffington Post. ” I remember wondering about that, even as a kid. As a grownup, I watch illustrators post drawings on Twitter, and many of them have these same faces and idealised bodies.”
Last year around 140 creators participated in The 30 Characters Challenge, where they attempted to create a brand-new character every day in November. They’re doing it again this year, and already they have more than 350 creators signed up. But there’s still room for more — today’s the last day to sign up, so head over to their registration page if you think you’ve got what it takes to create 30 new characters over the next month.
Why is it that certain characters can never seen to make an ongoing series work? They are either B-List players from mainstream titles looking to break out on their own, or new characters introduced that never seemed to take hold on the sales charts. Fans can speculate, bloggers & journalists like me can make conjecture, but what if an actual comics insider breaks down the subject?
Marvel.com editor (and friend of Robot 6) Ben Morse has discussed this topic at length in a column he calls “Why Won’t This Work?” over at the blog The Cool Kids Table, where he posts with other Wizard alums Rickey Purdin (DC Editor) and Kiel Phegley (CBR’s News Editor). Morse has reviewed several characters and their inability to make a long-term viable series, such as the most recent post about Marvel’s Deathlok. Morse isn’t afraid to look at DC either, spending time and words looking at DC’s Martian Manhunter and Steel, and our own Kiel Phegley got in on the act, talking about Marvel’s Captain Marvel.
This is definitely a subject ripe for further review, and we hope Ben and the CKT crew do more of this in the future. What character or team would you like to see them review?
The 30 Characters Challenge, which asked comic creators to come up with a new character every day last month, ended earlier this week, and if you head over to the site right now, you can see round-up posts by some of the artists who participated of all the characters they came up with in what was surely a very busy November.
One participant was Vito Delsante, writer of FCHS, who I spoke with about another character-in-progress last summer. Delsante created 35 new characters — or in a few cases revised older public domain characters — and now he’s releasing them into the public domain under a Creative Commons license.
Delsante said he was inspired by Mark Waid’s Harvey Awards keynote speech, in particular the part where Waid said “…culture is more important than copyright.”
“Waid argues many points about many different topics, but this…these bolded words above, hit me in a very soft spot (I’ll readily admit that I might be missing the point of his speech). He’s right,” Delsante wrote on his blog. “The idea of public domain adds to comics. But there are very few characters (as compared to copyrighted/franchise/creator owned characters) that are in the public domain. That changes today.”
Delsante isn’t asking for money or even the right to approve their usage; he only asks that he be credited with their creation when they’re used. Waid gives his approval in the comments section to Delsante’s post, while Sage LaTorra has already said he is going to use them in a role-playing game he’s designing. Although as Sean Kleefeld points out, it’s highly unlikely Spider-Man will be facing any of these characters anytime soon for a variety of reasons, it’s still an interesting move and I admire the spirit under which Delsante is doing it. Although I probably would have kept Tuo, the Alligator Man for myself.
Today kicked off the month-long 30 Characters Challenge, where more than 150 writers and artists are attempting to each create a brand-new character for each day in November. And just a few hours into it, the world has already been introduced to Mike Gallagher’s Roadkill Santa, Red by Tyler James, Daniel Govar’s Chondra Flicker (above) and Captain Cavity by Jess Kirby, among many others.
This will be a fun one to watch all month.
Here’s a blast from the past … Brian Hughes looks back at Marvel Comics’ Superstars of Tomorrow event that ran through their 1993 annuals. While a few of the characters went on to bigger roles (like Captain Marvel’s son, Genis, who sported the name Legacy back then) others like Bantam, Tracer, Hit-Maker, Face Thief and Devourer never made much of an impact. Individual trading cards spotlighting the new characters were bagged with each annual, meaning you had to buy two copies if you wanted one in mint condition.
Hughes also shares some pages from Marvel:Year in Review ’93, which included a humorous look at the stunt written by Tom Brevoort and Mike Kanterovich, as they poke fun at each character and suggest a few that didn’t make it in. Ah, the 1990s …
Maybe it’s the abnormally sized eyes or lips that reek of collagen injections gone wrong, but this image of SkinBender, a new villain introduced in Ghost Rider #35, will likely give me nightmares tonight. Artist Tony Moore calls her a “hot leathery Japanese nightmare,” and she debuts just as Moore wraps up his run on the book.
Plaidstallions.com shares a blast from the past — a brochure produced by Marvel to promote live appearances by some of their characters. Back in the day, you could hire Spider-Man, Captain America, Hulk and even Rom: Spaceknight to come to your parade, boat show, amusement park or anniversary party. I remember meeting Spider-Man at Town East Mall one summer; good times.
In case all of the candy hearts and flower shop window displays didn’t clue you in, it’s Valentine’s Day today, or as I like to call the holiday, “Oh Christ, not that again.”
In our past life we looked at our favorite comics couples, but this we thought we’d have a bit of fun and play matchmaker by picking characters we’d most like to see shack up, regardless of genre or sexual orientation.
Below is our results. See if you can come up with some of your own unique romantic pairings in the comments section.
Aquaman and the Sub-Mariner – They have so much in common.
Little Lulu and Charlie Brown – After spending so much of her youth surrounded by hooligans like Tubby and Alvin, I’m sure Lulu would greatly appreciate a sensitive soul like Charlie Brown.
Jimmy Corrigan and the She-Hulk — Call it a hunch, but I get the feeling Jimmy’s got a thing for aggressive women.
Astro Boy and Jocasta – Robot love baby! Robot love!