Queen & Country
“This past year, 2011, I was asked this question a lot, and here we are into the first quarter of 2012, and it’s happening again (or still, if you rather). Most frequently, it comes up in regard to my work in the comics industry. Last year was not banner for the ladies, and this one isn’t off to a strong start, either, in fact. Wasn’t good for women within the industry itself, nor within the pages of the stories being told. Those who’ve had the unmitigated temerity to actually comment upon this state of affairs publicly have ended up paying a surprisingly heavy price. The gender of the speaker has been largely irrelevant, though to be sure, it’s the women who’ve stepped up have taken the harder hits. But all who’ve pointed out the absence of women both on the page and behind it have been ridiculed, insulted, and, absurdly enough, even threatened with violence. Conversely, those attempting to defend their mistreatment of women within the industry have revealed a staggering lack of understanding, empathy, and self-awareness, while seeming to rejoice in an arrogance that is near heart-stopping in its naked sexism and condescension.
To say there are those who don’t get it is an understatement; it would be like describing the Japanese tsunami as ‘minor flooding.’”
– Greg Rucka, in an essay addressing the frequently asked question,
“How Do You Write Such Strong Female Characters?”
As part of the Wait, What? podcast I do for the Savage Critics – You do listen, right? If not, shame on you – someone asked the other week what I thought of Oni Press, and I admitted that I am a fan of pretty much everything Oni puts out. It was a thought that reappeared in my head this weekend, re-reading Sarah Oleksyk’s spectacular Ivy and thinking, “Man, Oni owns the YA comic market, doesn’t it?” – even though Oni themselves call the book for Older Readers, for obvious reasons if you’ve read it… but as a YA book, it’s just so, so good. So, this week: Five Oni Press books you should really make a point of reading, if you haven’t already.
This Wednesday will see the release of the third issue of writer Roger Langridge and artist Chris Samnee‘s Thor: The Mighty Avenger. Anyone reading our weekly What Are You Reading column knows how much I’ve praised the first two issues. Samnee and I spoke briefly at this past June’s HeroesCon and from there an email interview came together. In addition to Thor, we discuss some of Samnee’s past work as well as his upcoming collaboration with writer Jim McCann on I Am An Avenger 1. Earlier today, CBR posted a five-page preview to Thor: The Mighty Avenger 3.
O’Shea: What’s the most enjoyable aspect of working from a Roger Langridge script?
Samnee: Roger’s scripts are really funny – I laugh out loud when I read them! I love the humor as well as his ability to tell quiet, emotional moments. Since Roger’s also an artist, he’s really good with pacing and page turns as well. And the scripts have a very silver-age feel, which is right up my alley.
O’Shea: I keep re-reading Thor: The Mighty Avenger 1 trying to figure out what my favorite scene was–and I can ‘t decide if it’s when we first see the Rainbow Bridge on page 2; or the first scene where Thor smiles. Was the smiling Thor a character suggestion from Langridge or was that your idea?
Samnee: The smile was in the script. Roger made clear right from the outline for the book that this Thor smiles and enjoys himself. For me, that was one of the most enjoyable aspects of the book, as an artist and a reader of comics. I’ve worked on a lot of heavy books – it’s a nice change of pace to be on something a bit lighter, a comic where the characters are having fun.
“There is no drama here, folks. It is as it appears,” Rucka wrote this morning. “I’m stepping away from DC to pursue different opportunities. Nothing more nefarious than that. Nothing less sinister. Time is a commodity that is as precious to me as it is rare, and there’s simply not enough of it.”
In the post, Rucka stressed that he tells stories — whether they’re in the form of comics, prose novels or video games — and will continue to do so.
“All I’m doing in stepping away from DC is carving time to tell the stories that have been whispering in the back of my mind for years,” he continued. “The last Carrie Stetko story. The next case for Dex Parios. The story of a family’s service to their country, told over two hundred years. The woman in blue. The other one, looking for a soul. The kids who take what they’re told. The killer who guards a park. The soldiers forever at war. The spy with one wound too many.”
During his spotlight panel at WonderCon on Friday, Rucka mentioned, among other projects, the continuation of Stumptown, the potential for a new Queen & Country series, and a collaboration with Detective Comics artist J.H. Williams III that he describes as “Bladerunner meets Blake’s 7.”