To the average comics reader, Joe Casey is the writer behind idiosyncratic creator-owned books like Gødland and Sex and the stellar re-imaginings of corporate-owned superheroes like Wildcats, Superman and the X-Men. But to the pre-teen set, he’s the co-creator of one of the hit kid-friendly animated series Ben 10 and a co-writer of Ultimate Spider-Man and the upcoming Marvel’s Avengers Assemble. With two radically different profiles, the question becomes this: Which is the real Joe Casey? I’d argue it’s both, and more.
Casey got his start in the shifting sands that was Marvel in the late 1990s in the years, filling in on a Wolverine miniseries before quickly stepping in to take over Cable. Much in the same way that character moves back and forth in the time stream, Casey has hopped among titles, genres and companies.
In “By the Numbers,” ROBOT 6 takes a look back at the events of the past five days … in numbers. Our starting point this week is Wednesday’s announcement that retailers ordered a record-breaking number of comics for Free Comic Book Day, an international event that will draw millions of customers into specialty shops on May 4.
However, there was another figure that’s almost as impressive: the print run for the latest volume of the hit manga One Piece.
It seems Sex doesn’t sell, at least through Apple.
The new Image Comics series by Joe Casey and Piotr Kowalski debuted Wednesday virtually everywhere, except on the Image Comics iOS and comiXology COMICS iOS apps, as it ran afoul of the App Store’s frequently bewildering rules governing sexual content.
As that policy isn’t likely to change for subsequent issues, the publisher is suggesting that readers purchase digital copies on iBooks or directly from the Image Comics website, and then sync them to their iOS device and preferred app. Sex is also available on the comiXology website.
With Butcher Baker in the rear-view mirror and Godland about to wrap up, you might be wondering what Joe Casey has planned for 2013. The answer is Sex – lots and lots of Sex.
Announced last summer at Comic-Con International, Sex follows a retired superhero as he tries to adjust to a “normal” life. The monthly series, drawn by Piotr Kowalski, kicks off in March from Image Comics. I spoke with Casey about the new series, superheroes and sexuality, and what else he has planned for 2013.
Jillian Tamaki (Skim, Indoor Voice) is between projects right now, with one project on the editor’s desk and another not quite under way. So when the New York Times asked her to illustrate a piece on political sex scandals, she was ready, willing, and more than able. Here’s the main illustration, and click through to her blog to see some other sketches. (Mildly NSFW—this is the Times, after all—but she includes one drawing that was apparently too hot for them.)
Comics | Dismayed by the portrayal of Catwoman in DC Comics’ relaunched series, Alyssa Rosenberg of ThinkProgress asks whether feminists are wasting their time in hoping and lobbying for better portrayals of women in mainstream superhero comics. While she understands the desire to walk away, the decides in the end “it’s worth it to keep nudging”: “… Even if the industry doesn’t change, there should be voices in the background when folks read these books pointing out their problems. The key is getting folks who really just want to see, say, Catwoman bang Batman and nothing else to hear those critiques and to find a way to engage with them constructively, which is really, profoundly difficult. But I’d rather live in a world where people who don’t want to hear the works they like criticized have to work to shut them out, rather than leaving them to relax into the blissful sounds of silence.”
At The Atlantic, Noah Berlatsky points out that not all comics are like Catwoman or Red Hood and the Outlaws, and recommends some alternatives. Meanwhile, Tom Foss jokingly suggests that the “new” Starfire is merely replacing longtime New Teen Titans creeper Terry Long. [ThinkProgress, The Atlantic]
A week after the first issues of Catwoman and Red Hood and the Outlaws stirred controversy with their depictions of Selina Kyle and Starfire, DC Comics has released its first official statement on the matter. Well, at least on part of it.
“We’ve heard what’s being said about Starfire today and we appreciate the dialogue on this topic,” a representative wrote last night on the publisher’s Twitter feed. “We encourage people to pay attention to the ratings when picking out any books to read themselves or for their children.”
Red Hood and the Outlaws #1, which depicted a string bikini-clad Starfire as a semi-amnesiac who has sex with Red Arrow simply because he’s there — “Do you want to have sex with me?” — is rated “T” for teen, meaning it’s deemed appropriate for readers age 12 and older. “T”-rated titles “may contain mild violence, language and/or suggestive themes.”
DC’s statement arrived hours after a widely circulated article appeared on i09.com in which fantasy author Michele Lee asked her 7-year-old daughter, a fan of Starfire from the Teen Titans animated series and comic books, what she thought of the version appearing in Red Hood and the Outlaws.
“I mean, grown ups can wear what they want,” the girl said, “but … she’s not doing anything but wearing a tiny bikini to get attention. [...] I want her to be a hero, fighting things and be strong and helping people. [...] Because she’s what inspires me to be good.”
While this response by “monkeyscandance” (aka Boa) to last week’s controversy about the depiction of Starfire in Red Hood and the Outlaws #1 certainly won’t be the final word on the subject, it probably should be — because the cartoon’s terrific. The artist zeroes in on the original request for Starfire to be clad in a semi-transparent bikini, to hilarious results.
See the full cartoon below, and check out more of the artist’s work on DeviantArt.
Some fans and comics pundits have been up in arms over the past few days about the sexual depictions of two of DC’s characters in the New 52. In this week’s Catwoman #1, we saw some heated foreplay between Batman and Catwoman that’s raised eyebrows and, perhaps, the profile of the relaunched title. Artist Eric Canete has responded to the fervor with a comic. Instead of trying to explain it further, just read:
This brings up a lot of questions that I’ll leave to the comments section below. But mine is this: When do we get to see Eric Canete do some more comics?
In a week in which the debuts of Batman and Wonder Woman fired on all cylinders, you have to think DC Comics didn’t expect the spotlight to be stolen by the first issues of Catwoman and Red Hood and the Outlaws. Alas, online discussion over the past 48 hours hasn’t been focused on the accessibility of the former or the potential of the latter (if indeed either demonstrates accessibility or potential). Instead, it’s centered on a bra-flashing Selina Kyle engaging in aggressive costumed sex with Batman, and a semi-amnesiac Starfire who’s become little more than an emotionless sex mannequin.
I feel as if I should be worked up by the depictions but, to be honest, I’m just deflated by the whole thing. The best I can muster is, “Sigh … again?” and maybe, “This is the kind of storytelling and characterization you relaunched your entire line for?” But here are some of the highlights of what others are saying on the subject:
• Winick’s statement to Newsarama about the response to Catwoman #1: “This is a Catwoman for 2011, and my approach to her character and actions reflect someone who lives in our times. And wears a cat suit. And steals. It’s a tale that is part crime story, part mystery and part romance. In that, you will find action, suspense and passion. Each of those qualities, at times, play to their extremes. Catwoman is a character with a rich comic book history, and my hope is that readers will continue to join us as the adventure continues.”
Hey college students — if you’re looking to woo your significant other with a night of fantasy, guys may want to consider dressing up as a Disney prince, while ladies may want to consider Sailor Moon.
L.A. Weekly has posted the results of a recent sex survey they did of 175 students from UCLA. The survey covers everything you’d ever want to know about their opinions on sex, from how much a virgin should sell their virginity for to what music they listen to during sex. Question 14, which reads “Which innocent childhood fantasies could best morph into adult sexual fantasies?,” is probably the most relevant to comic fans:
For females who responded, an intimate night with Aladdin or Prince Charming beat out one with Strawberry Shortcake and Lemon Meringue, as well as “an orgy with a cast of anime characters.” Males named Sailor Moon — which seems a bit dated to me, but to each their own — as well as Harry Potter, Superman, the Pink Power Ranger and “Batman and Robin.”
But no Slave Girl Leia, though Star Wars did top the list of movies guys consider the “best date movie to watch before having sex,” followed by American Pie and the movie adaptation of Frank Miller’s 300. The surveyed women seem to prefer a romantic film, with The Notebook and Titanic taking the top spots.
Dirty comics have been around almost as long as the medium itself. No doubt a few years after the Yellow Kid first appeared, some wiseacre created a Tijuana Bible of him getting busy with Buster Brown’s mom.
Sadly, most of the sex comics produced over the years are awful, dreary affairs — works that either feature abysmal art and writing or indulge in such ugly stereotypes (or both), so that you feel ashamed for all the people involved, including yourself for having read the thing.
But there are a few gems amidst the x-rated dross. Below are six smut-laden books that, while you may not want to be caught reading them on the bus, can proudly display on your bookshelf without embarrassment.
I had a couple of self-imposed rules with this one. First of all, the comic had to be sexually explicit. Second, it had to be primarily designed to titillate the reader, thus nixing darker, serious work like Phoebe Gloeckner’s A Child’s Life.
Also, I’m sure there are plenty of books I’m forgetting about (catering to my own tastes, there’s a focus on heterosexual fare here), so feel free to mention your own particular favorites in the comments section. You naughty thing you.
Finally, while I’ve tried to keep everything below the jump relatively safe for work, I can’t promise that all the links will be PG-rated, so caveat emptor.
If you remember Lucky cartoonist Gabrielle Bell’s San Diego Comic Con “comicumentary”, you already know she’s a master of depicting awkward social situations. Well, they don’t come much more awkward than “Voyeurs,” the latest strip Bell has posted to her website. In this one, a rooftop party full of people gets a strangely irresistible eyeful of an unwitting couple’s intimate activities in the building across the street. Like the events it’s about, “Voyeurs” is tough to look away from. Read the whole thing here.
At their spotlight panel today, the folks at alternative comics publisher Top Shelf talked about a metric ton of titles they’ve got coming down the pipeline. None are more intriguing to me than the work of Jess Fink, a newcomer to the Top Shelf stable best known for her erotic steampunk-porn webcomic Chester 5000 XYV. Top Shelf is releasing a Chester collection in December — quite a stocking stuffer for that special someone! — and following it with another book from Fink called We Can Fix It!, which combines memoir and science fiction and promises to be on the sexy side as well. Fink, who’s also working on a new website for her personal comics and a one-shot featuring the band Mindless Self Indulgence for Image, took time out from turning people on to tackle our questions about her relationship with Top Shelf, sex, science fiction and more.
So how did a nice girl like you get mixed up with a dirty comic like Chester 5000 XYV?
Ha, who are you calling nice? And girl? And Jess? Oh wait, that is me. I’ve been drawing dirty things for a loooong time, longer than I’ve been comfortable telling people I draw dirty things so it’s more like how did this nice comic get mixed up with a dirty person like me? If we want to talk about inspiration I think a lot of it came from the Tijuana Bibles which were these tiny porn comics made in the 20′s-40′s. Before porn was legal to sell guys used to sell these little black and white books on the street. When I found out about them I became obsessed and I knew I’d have to make some of my own.
OK, this one’s for all the grown-ups out there. Lucy Kinsley (French Milk) and Erika Moen (DAR! Vol. 1) have created an X-rated poster, featuring just about every variation of sexual congress you can imagine and then some. $20 and it’s yours. Click on the link to see the un-pixilated version (though you may want to make sure your boss isn’t looking over your shoulder).