If anyone happens to have the number for S.H.I.E.L.D., please pass it along to police in York, England. They need help tracking down, well … the She-Hulk.
The York Press reports a green woman with dyed-red hair is wanted in connection with an attack on a 17-year-old girl outside a McDonald’s in the early hours of April 26. “This appears to have been a wholly unprovoked assault,” a police officer tells the newspaper. “Thankfully the injuries were not too severe. However, the outcome could have been far more serious.”
It’s rare that a completely new character is my main reason for reading a comic, but here we are. I was hooked from the moment Matt Fraction and Mike Allred’s FF team was announced. I haven’t traditionally cared so much about Ant-Man, but She-Hulk has always been one of my favorite characters, and Medusa’s powers are so kooky I can’t help but dig her. What pushed the comic into my pre-order list, though, was the idea of a woman wearing a Thing costume and calling herself “Miss Thing.” And now that I know something about her, I love her even more.
Darla Deering is a pop superstar and Johnny Storm’s latest girlfriend. All you really have to know is the last half of that description, because that’s how she accidentally ends up a member of the Fantastic Four. In FF #1, the real team is headed out on a journey beyond time and space. and needs stand-ins to oversee the Future Foundation for the four minutes of Earth time they’ll be gone. Or longer, if something goes wrong. Reed picks Ant-Man, Sue picks Medusa, and Ben picks She-Hulk. Johnny, of course, completely forgets about the whole thing.
James Daily and Ryan Davidson intend to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that every subject, even one as dry and forbidding as the law, is more fun when you add superheroes. Exhibit A: The Law of Superheroes, their new book based on their blog Law and the Multiverse, which seeks to do for their area of expertise what James Kakalios’ 2006 book The Physics of Superheroes did for his.
I lack a black robe and a gavel, so I’m not certain exactly how authoritative my judgment on this particular case can be, but I think the pair did a rather admirable job. I can’t say in good conscience that their book is a rollicking, can’t-put-it-down read — even with superheroes, it’s still a book about the law and other, um, legal stuff — but it’s certainly interesting, and, for those of us coming at it as longtime comics fans, it presents new ways of thinking about classic characters and their weekly adventures.
The book’s 13 chapters are divided into rather broad subjects like constitutional law, criminal law, international law and so forth, and breaks the subject down further with various articles falling under each chapter’s subject, pulling examples from comic books (and a few movies based on comic books, particularly the Christopher Nolan-directed Batman movies, Iron Man and the Spider-Man movies).
So, for example, the chapter on constitutional law contains articles on mutant rights, superpowers and the Second Amendment, forcible removal of superpowers, the death penalty as it might apply to immortal or nigh-invulnerable characters, and so on. It’s discussion of the law that mainly drives the book’s construction; where the superheroes come in is when it’s time to apply that law to the Marvel and DC universes (as well as the Ultimate universe and movie universes and so on). Copious footnotes are provided to direct an interested reader back to particular comics stories or particular laws and court rulings.
I’ve got a few different comic-related shirts to show you today, and I’ll start with today’s TeeFury selection since it’s only available for 24 hours. If you’re a fan of the big blue justice-loving Tick, head over there and snatch up today’s $10 T-shirt while you still can.
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.
If I had $15, I’d grab the latest Lio collection, Zombies Need Love Too. Cartoonist Mark Tatulli has one of the better newspaper comic strips going these days.
If I had $30, I’d nab what is clearly the book of the week, NonNonBa, the latest book from Shigeru Mizuki, author of Onward Toward Our Noble Deaths. NonNonBa aims more toward Mizuki’s traditional milieu of Japanese folklore and yokai monsters, though this book is more autobiographical in nature in that it deals with his relationship with his grandmother and how she instilled in him an interest in the spirit world. I’ve been anxiously awaiting this release.
My splurge for the week would likely be one of two books from First Second: Either Baby’s in Black, Arne Bellstorf’s fictionalized tale of the sadly doomed Beatle, Stuart Sutcliffe, or Mastering Comics, Jessica Abel and Matt Madden’s follow-up to their previous how-to textbook, Drawing Words, Writing Pictures.
Typically, I’ll spend most of Saturday in panels, but the first one I was interested in wasn’t until later in the morning, so I killed time taking in some of the more offbeat exhibitors, like Ben the Bubble Guy, a businessman who hires himself out for birthday parties, corporate events, funerals. Okay, maybe not funerals.
When it was time, I headed up to the fourth floor for the AV Club‘s panel on the Future of Superheroes.
Conventions | Wizard’s executive chairman Mike Mathews tells Heidi MacDonald that after the resignation of former CEO Gareb Shamus, the company wants to be “a Switzerland of entertainment” and mend fences with members of the industry: “Gareb is one of these types of personalities who has taken strong positions over the years with various people in the industry and brands. And that kind of hurt us because of where we are trying to go — we’re trying to be a Switzerland of entertainment and we want to try to try to reach out to brands.” MacDonald notes the company is offering a $100 credit toward Wizard conventions to former Wizard subscribers whose subscriptions abruptly ended when the magazine was shut down. A new CEO is expected to be named early next month. [The Beat]
Conventions | Image Comics announced several more guests for the Image Expo, scheduled for Feb. 24-26 in Oakland, California. The lineup now includes Blair Butler, John Layman, Rob Guillory, Nick Spencer, Joshua Fialkov, Joe Keatinge, Jim McCann and Jim Zubkavich, among many others. [press release]
Organizations | The Associação da Luta Contra o Cancer is running an awareness campaign in Mozambique featuring images drawn by artist Maisa Chaves of Wonder Woman, Catwoman, She-Hulk and Storm checking their breasts for lumps. [Daily Mail]
Welcome to a special Super Bowl Sunday edition of What Are You Reading? Not that it’s any different from a regular WAYR column, but you can enjoy it while eating hot wings while the TV is paused.
Today our special guest is biology professor Jay Hosler, creator of Clan Apis and Optical Allusions. His latest book, Evolution, with artists Kevin Cannon and Zandor Cannon, was recently released by Hill & Wang. Check out his blog for a story he’s working on about photosynthesis.
To see what Jay and the Robot 6 gang are reading, click below.
Man, I love She-Hulk.
The idea of She-Hulks (plural) took me some time to get used to, but now I can see the need for each and all the fun stories that we get to read thanks to two Jade Giantesses. Part of this realization is thanks to Harrison Wilcox and Ryan Stegman, the duo that brought us the gone-too-soon She-Hulks mini-series. It was fun seeing Jennifer Walters be her big, beautiful self (even if she wasn’t so big all the time). I want to see more of Lyra as a young woman raised on a far-flung Femizon future, but what can you do with four issues, right? We had a great time with a fun and very youthful art style, the ladies were ladies as well as fighters and everyone learned a little something in the end. Facial expressions were absolutely brilliant and I feel like I know a little more about Lyra, just by watching her eyes well up with tears when she’s sad or how her mouth drops open when she’s in shock.
I miss the big and vivacious She-Hulk hiding her mousy human self behind her, but the new Jen is a lot more mature and in control; while she’s still comforting herself in bubble baths and the arms of Wyatt Wingfoot, she’s more centered and kind of heading out on a new path in her life, just with a mentee in tow. Jen and Lyra had a great rapport with not just each other, but Bruce Banner and the villains they faced. In fact, I would really like to see more of “Bruce’s Angels,” the sort of sexier, funnier version of X-Force for the Hulk set.
With the series being limited to just four issues, I think the readers missed out on a lot. The last issue had to deliver on so much it didn’t match the previous issues, making me 98% certain this wasn’t supposed to be a mini-series at all, but an ongoing (wasn’t it first solicited as an ongoing?). Even the end message is that sometimes you protect people that fear and hate you. I know what he’s getting at, but Mr. Wilcox sounds like he’s swiping from the X-Men’s tagline. Yeah, people fear and hate mutations for what that makes them in the evolutionary food chain, because there’s a science out there that can’t be easily explained or ‘cured’, that there’s some envy when the guy next door can fly and you got your dad’s pimply face gene, etc. Personally, I think people ‘fear and hate’ the Hulk (or Hulk-ism, to coin a term) because people don’t like seeing how close they are to becoming a monster themselves. The Hulk is emotionally-driven and, while we may not be able to trow a truck when we get mad, sometimes it can feel like your emotions get the best of you and you can say things you don’t mean, break things you didn’t want broken and make yourself and others miserable. We hate and fear the Hulk because science doesn’t fuel him in so much as the human condition does.
Wow, I got off track. Anyhow, She-Hulks ended on a note that Wilcox and Stegman should have had just a few more pages to explain. Because they had less time, I sort of filled in the blanks in my head; I could totally be off base and they Wilcox meant something totally different with the ending of his story, but will be ever know? Why did this feel so short? How do some stories get to be mini-series? Or back-up stories or quarterly issues?
Marvel, by their own admission, knows they have a lot of titles on the stands. We have seen firsthand the gamut of Thor books produced, thanks to the buzz on the upcoming film. We have seen Captain America branch out into a variety of different styles and stories, and the Avengers are a franchise of their own. Tell me you wouldn’t look twice at a book with Wolverine on the cover. I mean, just to see what he’s doing there?
From this ‘Jump On What’s Hot and Print It!’ attitude from the House of Ideas, I’m still a little amazed that Heralds found the light of day, not to mention extremely grateful. Possibly my favorite comic this year, Heralds was a five-issue weekly event that brought Emma Frost, She-Hulk, Agent Abigail Brand, Hellcat, Valkyrie, Monica Rambeau and Sue Storm together to help a young woman find her place in this world and in the cosmos. It’s an honest story, one that fills the scope of cosmic powers with personality and humanity. These are people living in this great and strange Marvel Universe, and it expressed them all so well that I was drawn in and loved every page.
It was a hard sell. While the characters above are popular, there was no Deadpool cover or marketing jazz to hit the mainstream. A lot of people may have missed the book or passed it by, so please try and grab it in a back issue bin or on the shelves as a trade. The hardcover edition is lovely.
Which brings me back to my title, “The Ladies and the Little Guys.” Two comics came out this week that could easily be passed over on the way to bigger books and this week, I say thee nay. Deciding between Thor, Thor: For Asgard or Thor: First Thunder? Try She-Hulks #1. Too many Avengers books got you down? Grab a copy of Ant-Man & Wasp #1. Not only will you be encouraging character spotlights like Heralds, but you’ll be getting some great new stories a little off the beaten path. Ant-Man & Wasp and She-Hulks are like the off Broadway plays that might not be the hit productions on the big stages, but give just as much performance. They might even be a little experimental!
I read both of them this week (because it would be silly of me to talk aboutthem if I hadn’t) and not only did I get some great character pieces, but there was quick pacing and plot to chew on, moments that reminded me of comics past and even a couple odd notes or moments that made me look forward to the next issue to see how their resolved. No comic is perfect and in the right kind of flaws, we can see a little humanity shine through an artificial world.
Still waiting on the Tron covers? Here, let me tell you what I read.
(WARNING: Yep, spoilers ahead for both She-Hulks #1 and Ant-Man & Wasp #1. I have to tell you what happens inside, don’t I?)
There are several ways to get to know your audience, some more literal than others. Isaac Asimov had his Dear Readers, The Man himself has his True Believers; both are ways to draw you personally into what they’re talking about and soften the edges of what might be a sales pitch or a book introduction. She-Hulk, on the other hand, would threaten your X-Men comics.
The Jade Giantess celebrates her “excuse for publishing anniversary issues” this month and I’ve been waiting for this one since I realized the date. A fantastic fixture of the Marvel Universe, her pedigree is is kind of surprising when you stop to remember it. Not only is she a snap to draw in for a Marvel Heroes group shot, a recognizable face and figure, but she’s had the distinct honor of being a member of the Fantastic Four, a roster a fraction of the size of the Avengers (and she’s been one of them too!). She’s had an ongoing title in every decade since her inception, but it’s a heck of a thing to get her to stay around. I’d almost say that she’s the Marvel version of Charo, this great vivacious character that guest stars on multiple shows and everybody knows but doesn’t have her own regular gig on TV.
So what’s so sensational about her? Why do people continue to use a character who’s basic being (a female analog of a male hero) isn’t very Marvel at all? Venture forth! Continue and read more!
Continue Reading »