Waid Assembles Big Stories for "All-New All-Different Avengers"
The latest round of conversation about women in comics was sparked by Adam P. Knave’s piece bemoaning the lack of women creators in the comics field (which he defines as monthly comics, obviously dominated by superheroes). Adam believes the root cause is that superhero comics have made themselves unattractive to women by portraying women solely as sex objects or targets of abuse. This led Heidi MacDonald to point out that there are plenty of women in the rest of comics, just not at DC and Marvel. And they are doing quite well, too.
Danielle Corsetto, for example. The Girls with Slingshots creator was interviewed by Carl Watkins of Guerilla Geek, and he asked her if she thought it was easier for women to break into webcomics than “traditional” comics. Her answer is revealing:
Yes, although I think it has more to do with the genre than the medium. Most comic books are aimed at boys, are serious, and have a focus on superpowers. Most popular webcomics are character-driven and have to do with the characters’ lifestyles, or observations about science or philosophy, and almost all of them could be clumped into the broad category of “humor.” While I know plenty of women who genuinely love to read about superheroes, I think that, generally, most women prefer to read (and write) about how characters interact with one another, and not how they’re gonna pulverize each other.
So perhaps it’s not just the terrible portrayals of women but also the type of story that’s being told? Saying “women like this, men like that” is a sure way to get yourself called an idiot on the Internet, and certainly there are plenty of women superhero fans, but I can see her point. There’s a coldness to superhero comics that I find off-putting, and they often bore me in the same way battle-action manga do. That sounds like a value judgment, but it isn’t: The people who read Twilight and Vampire Knight are mostly female, so it cuts both ways.
On the other hand, perhaps if more women were writing superhero comics, there would be more superhero comics that women would want to read.
Did I miss any?
It’s not exactly pirates vs. ninjas, but there has been, shall we say, some ill feeling between webcomics creators and the National Cartoonists Society over the years. But there comes a time to put away childish things, including feuds, and this year the NCS actually invited three webcomics creators—Kate Beaton, Randall Munroe, and Dave Kellett—to present a panel at their annual meeting, which was held this past weekend in Boston. Naturally, Kellett worked this event, along with some of the high points of the evening, into his daily webcomic, Sheldon.
The big news of the evening was that Richard Thompson won the award for outstanding cartoonist of the year, an honor that anyone who reads Cul de Sac can tell you was well deserved. The award for best newspaper strip went to Jeff Parker and Steve Kelley’s Dustin, Jill Thompson won the Best Comic Book Award for Beast of Burden, and Joyce Farmer took Best Graphic Novel honors for Special Exits.
This has gotten around the Internet pretty well, but just so there’s no excuse for anyone not to have seen it: Kate Beaton’s series of Lois Lane comic strips does a really good job of showing how cool that character should be. There are only two explanations for Lois’ never figuring out that Superman was Clark: a) she was too dumb to put it together; b) she was too busy to care. I know which option DC continuity endorses, but I also know which one I prefer.
Beaton admits to not having read a lot of Lois Lane comics, but that’s probably for the best. Her interpretation is based instead on Lois and Clark, old Fleischer cartoons, and Dean Trippe’s unpublished Lois Lane, Girl Reporter pitch.
New York Magazine has a slideshow up this week about Pizza Island, the Greenpoint, Brooklyn, studio where six comics creators make the magic happen.
The slideshow includes self-portraits of Julia Wertz (Fart Party, Drinking at the Movies), Kate Beaton (Hark, A Vagrant) Lisa Hanawalt (I Want You), Sarah Glidden (How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less) Domitille Collardey (whose works are mostly in French), and Meredith Gran (Octopus Pie) as well as comments on each one by a co-worker. (It was Lisa and Domitille who commented on that Frank Quitely piece, so it’s interesting to contrast their self-portraits with his version of a woman cartoonist.)
There’s a whole lot of talent working in that small space, and if you’re fortunate enough to be going to MoCCA, be sure to check out their panel, which will feature all six. If you’re not, then head on over to the Pizza Island blog, where, at the moment, everyone is showing off their work spaces and discussing the quirks of their desktops.
Over at ComicsAlliance, Laura Hudson has a real treat for those of you who like your superhero comics with an alternative twist: 50-plus pages of sketches, thumbnails, pencils, inks, color studies and more from the Strange Tales II hardcover, which debuted this week. Click on over and get a glimpse at the creative process behind contributions from Kate Beaton, Jeffrey Brown, Ivan Brunetti, Farel Dalrymple, Rafael Grampa, Dean Haspiel, Jaime Hernandez, Paul Hornschemeier, Benjamin Marra, Edu Medeiros, Harvey Pekar, Frank Santoro, and Paul Vella. That’s hella Strange!
How much do you love Marvel’s Strange Tales anthology? The mixing of independent talent with these mainstream comic icons is truly something to behold, and it looks like Marvel is continuing that with the recently leaked cover to the second volume’s collected edition.
Cartoonist Paul Hornschemeier recently released the cover he designed for Strange Tales II (as you can see on the right) , which features Hornschemeier’s design sensibilities with the art of Kate Beaton. Hornschemeier calls Beaton “one of the best, most pitch-perfect cartoonists working today,” and said he knew she wanted her work on the cover even before he started going through the book’s contents.
Make with the clicky to Hornschemeier’s blog to see the cover at a larger size as well as the back cover and more thoughts on the whole project.
Okay, nerd internet, job well done — you can go ahead and retire now.
(Dare I point out that showing Batman strutting his stuff even in the midst of crimefighting turns him into gag-strip fodder — thus revealing how totally idiotic it is for female superheroes to constantly be shown doing the exact same thing? Or will that bring out the anti-Beaton He-Man Woman Haters Club again?)
Using the name of Beaton’s website, the book will collect comics she has published there, as well as some new strips. The Montreal-based publisher plans to have the hardcover collection on store shelves in the Fall of 2011. UK fans will see her book put out through Jonathan Cape.
Welcome once again to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy based on certain spending limits — $15, $30 to spend and if we had extra money to spend on what we call the “Splurge” item. Check out Diamond’s release list for this week if you’d like to play along in our comments section.
If I had $15:
There are a lot of great periodicals coming out this week, so I’d have some hard choices to make. With only $15, I’d concentrate first on those with the cheapest prices: the first issue of Dark Horse’s new Mighty Samson ($3.50), Atomic Robo and the Deadly Art of Science #2 ($3.50), and Mouse Guard: Black Axe #1 ($3.50). I’m already a huge fan of both Atomic Robo and Mouse Guard and – based on its concept and vague memories of stories I read as a kid – hope to become one of Mighty Samson too. I’d spend the last of my money on Northern Guard #1, because I’m a sucker for Canadian superheroes.
If I had $30:
I’d add Doc Macabre #1 ($3.99), John Byrne’s Next Men #1 ($3.99), and Strange Tales 2 #3 ($4.99). “Doc Macabre” is an awesome name and I love Steve Niles’ pulp stuff, I’ve been waiting 16 years for that Next Men issue, and the Strange Tales book has a Kate Beaton story in which the Avengers go to a carnival. I’d pay five bucks just for Beaton’s deal, but it’s also got a Thing tale by Harvey Pekar (and yes, Harvey Pekar is in the story).
The Big Apple giveth, the Big Apple taketh away: After losing what would have been her latest Hark, a Vagrant! comic strip somewhere on the streets of SoHo, cartoonist Kate Beaton made lemonade out of lemons by instead posting “New York Sketches” — a sizeable selection of diary-comic strips about her life and times in New York City. From attending the New York Comic Con (see above) to dealing with drunk and disorderly fellow New Yorkers to assuaging the fears of her mom back in Nova Scotia, it’s a fun little portrait of the artist as she navigates the concrete jungle where dreams are made of [sic].
Retailing | Rich Johnston confirms that Diamond Comic Distributors is developing a digital comics service that, in the words of a company representative, “will be entirely focused on driving sales of digital comic-related content through brick and mortar comic book specialty retailers.” No details were made available, but an official announcement is expected “in the near future.” In the meantime, Johnston gathers initial reactions from several retailers. [Bleeding Cool]
Publishing | Amit Desai, who has worked at Warner Bros. since 2004, has been named as DC Entertainment’s senior vice president, franchise management: “In his new role, Desai will develop and implement the individual franchise plans for Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, The Flash, MAD Magazine, Vertigo titles, and other DC properties. This will include driving wider cross-promotional support across all Time Warner divisions.” [press release]
Publishing | Alex Segura, former publicity manager at DC Comics, has been hired by Archie Comics as executive director of publicity and marketing. [press release]
Hello and welcome once again to What Are You Reading?, where the Robot 6 crew talk about the comics and graphic novels that they’ve been enjoying lately. Today our special guest is Bill Reed, who contributes to our sister blog Comics Should Be Good!. To see what Bill and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click the link below.
Last week Kate Beaton asked that male comics readers carefully consider their choice of words when complimenting female comics creators, so as to keep a bright dividing line between their work on the one hand and their gender and appearance on the other. The resulting discussion — or maybe the better word is backlash — made me fear for the future of the species.
Apparently I’m not alone in that. Cartoonist Gabby Schulz (aka Ken Dahl) crafted a masterfully mordant satire of the discussion, and countless others like it. Click here to read the whole thing. Then click back here to tell us why it’s ALL WRONG, god help us.
This year has been a difficult one for Friends of Lulu, but with their 2010 Lulu awards, a new website, and some plans for the future, they seem to be winding it up on a hopeful note.
Acting board member Kynn Bartlett also responded to Johanna Draper Carlson’s questions about the group’s IRS status and its plans for the future, saying that the interim board will be working on getting the house in order but keeping the organization’s options open for the elected board, and asking people not to make donations until the group straightens out its status with the IRS.