In 2004 I was fortunate enough to interview Colleen Coover–during her Small Favors days/on the eve of the creation of her and husband Paul Tobin’s all-ages Banana Sunday. I enjoyed her art then, but never hoped for how effectively Marvel would tap her fantastic style for many of its books and characters. Much to my delight, it seems like Coover’s reputation and fanbase is growing larger every day. Last week saw the release of Girl Comics No. 2, which featured a two-page opening piece by Coover as well as a Shamrock eight-page adventure drawn by her (and written by Kathryn Immonen). We briefly discussed it, as well as her other current Marvel work (such as the Hercules back-up tale in Thor and the Warriors Four) for this brief email interview. I look forward to down the road when Coover flexes her “writer muscles” (as she calls them).
Tim O’Shea: Marvel’s keeping you busy at present. How did the Hercules the Olympian Babysitter story land on your table?
Colleen Coover: The book’s editor Jordan White asked me to come up with a Power Pack backup story for a four-issue mini series. I was flipping through Bullfinch’s Mythology one evening, and I came up with the Hercules story when I woke up the next morning. At the time I didn’t know that the Alex Zalben’s main story was a team-up with Thor, titled Thor & The Warriors Four, so it was a happy coincidence that I used one of Marvel’s other mythological characters!
Welcome once again to What Are You Reading? where we ask, “If you were stuck on an island with the smoke monster, what would you bring to read?” Yes, that was my lame attempt to make today’s edition topical. Sorry. Let’s just write that off as me being really excited to see the end of Lost.
This week our special guest is comics retailer Randy Lander, who you can find selling comics at Rogues Gallery Comics & Games in Round Rock, Texas or blogging over at Inside Joke Theatre. To see what Randy and the rest of our merry castaways have been reading, click the link below …
The second issue of Marvel’s Girl Comics anthology comes out tomorrow, which include a NextWave story by Faith Erin Hicks. If you can’t wait to see her take on the Marvel U., though, you’re in luck — she’s posted a complete Wolverine short story on her website that she created as a try-out for Marvel last year.
“So last year about this time was my very first contact with Marvel,” she writes on her blog. “Specifically I was asked if I’d pitch an 11 page ‘Iron Man or Wolverine story.’ Since I had absolutely no interest in drawing Iron Man (all that mechanical armour, ugh!) and consider myself a patriotic beaver-flag-waving Canadian type, I opted for Wolverine. I sent Marvel 11 pages of thumbnails and a script, and never heard back. Boo hoo! Oh well. Eventually they asked me to do a submission for Girl Comics, so it all worked out in the end.”
The story features ninjas, eggs and crying New Mutants. Go check it out.
One of the creators announced as working on Marvel’s Girl Comics anthology is Stephanie Buscema, granddaughter of legendary comics artist John Buscema. She has a fun, distinct art style that you can witness firsthand over on her website; go check it out.
As you can see in the comments section for my original post, there’s been a mixed reaction to the project, particularly because of its title. You can also find even more commentary on it over in The Beat’s comment section, where they story broke.
So where exactly did that title come from? Well, as Douglas Wolk pointed out in the Beat comments section, it seems to stem from an old Atlas comic that was published from 1949-1952 (before its name was changed to the even more unfortunate Girl Confessions). Atlas, of course, is the company that eventually evolved into Marvel Comics and also published Strange Tales — which you may recognize as the name of another recent Marvel anthology. So there’s some symmetry there, and you have to wonder if they’ll be using any other old Atlas titles in the future (I vote for Bible Tales for Young Folk; you can find a complete list of titles Atlas published on Wikipedia).
The Times‘ Manohla Dargis on women in Hollywood: “Women are starved for representations of themselves”
This is not a story about comics — but in a way, it is: In a fairly devastating piece in the New York Times and a no-holds-barred interview with Jezebel, film critic Manohla Dargis lays out the sorry state of films made by and for women in Hollywood today.
Dargis presents the evidence in painstaking and depressing detail. First there’s the good news: hits like Sex and the City, Mamma Mia, and The Twilight Saga: New Moon have made it all but impossible to dismiss women as a “niche” audience. (Which stands to reason, since they’re 51% of the population after all.) The bad news, of course, is that these films — and most romantic comedies and Sandra Bullock vehicles, to name a pair of other standard and successful “femme-driven” film types — are not very good. Dargis argues that their success stems from a massive number of female moviegoers desperate to see themselves represented somehow, anyhow, on screen.
Another silver lining: women-directed films have some hot Oscar prospects this year, led by Kathryn Bigelow’s masterfully suspenseful Iraq War action-drama The Hurt Locker. But Bigelow had to struggle for years to get that movie made, while equally worthy male directors with similar track records cruise from one big-budget star vehicle to the next. And the critical success of The Hurt Locker or Nora Ephron’s Julie & Julia can’t mask the fact that the major Hollywood studios released a grand total of 11 films directed by women this year. Want a comics connection? Soon-to-be Marvel parent company Disney had one; DC owner Warner Bros. had none. Meanwhile, perhaps Bigelow shouldn’t hold her breath on Oscar night: In the Academy Awards’ 81-year history, only three women have been nominated for Best Director, none of whom went on to win.