The Wonder Woman #34 Selfie Variant Cover Is The Best Thing

July 30, 2014

DC’s doing a line of selfie variant covers in August, and a lot of them look pretty fun. The Superman/Wonder Woman one, which I posted a few weeks back, is very cute, and Joe Quinones’ Batman ’66 selfie cover is hilarious. But my favourite so far, and I’m admittedly biased, is Terry and Rachel Dodson’s variant for Wonder Woman #34. If this doesn’t make you smile, I don’t know what will:

ww34selfie

It’s great to have the Dodson back drawing Wonder Woman again. They did a fantastic job during Allen Heinberg and Gail Simone’s runs on the book, and this cover is gorgeous and so much fun. If I’m not mistaken, Wonder Woman is taking a selfie with the statue of Athena that stands atop a pillar in front of the Athens Academy in Athens, Greece. The Dodsons draw a beautiful, regal Wonder Woman, but with this cover they’ve proved they can kill it with a silly Wonder Woman as well.

It’s so nice to see Wonder Woman having fun. Wonder Woman’s been a rather dark series, and Superman/Wonder Woman’s been angsty and now Diana’s all worried about Doomsday Superman. It’s a pleasure to see her goof around for a change. Sure, she’s a fierce warrior, but she can have a good time as well.

The New 52’s been so heavy and serious; DC seems to have forgotten that superheroes can be fun, too. I hope that these selfie variants are a first step in bringing some joy back to the DC universe. They’re just straight up silly, but that’s sort of why they work and why I’m enjoying them so much. The new Batgirl team and books like Gotham Academy, both out this October, seem to have a lighter tone, so maybe the tide is starting to turn somewhat and things won’t be so serious all the time.

This Wonder Woman #34 selfie variant will be available August 20. Talk to your local comic shop about getting a copy, because it will ship in smaller quantities than the regular (and also lovely) Cliff Chiang cover.

Aquaman Annual #2 Preview, Guest Starring Wonder Woman

July 29, 2014

July’s been a busy month for Wonder Woman, and she’s closing out the month by co-starring in Aquaman Annual #2 written by Jeff Parker with art by Yvel Guichet, Jason Gorder, and Wayne Faucher. Comic Book Resources has a preview of the issue, so let’s take a look:

aqua1

aqua2

aqua3

aqua4

aqua5

aqua6

There’s not much Wonder Woman or Aquaman in these few pages, but don’t worry. Jeff Parker said on Twitter that “this issue’s title is ‘Aquaman and Wonder Woman Beat Down Monsters,’” so they should definitely be in the rest of the book, busting up dopey bad guys foolish enough to tangle with them.

I’m excited to check out this issue because Parker’s been doing a lot of great work lately. His Batman ’66 comics in particular have been fantastic and hilarious, and from what I’ve read of his other stuff he seems to bring a somewhat lighter tone than what we’re used to in the dark, serious New 52. An issue full of Wonder Woman and Aquaman fighting monsters is 100% up my alley, and I think it will be a fun read.

Look for the Aquaman Annual #2 in comic shops everywhere and online tomorrow. I might have a review of it in the next couple days if I have any interesting thoughts while reading it, so keep an eye out for that as well.

A New 3 Chicks Review Comics Podcast With A Special Guest Host: Me!

July 28, 2014

3chicks

This weekend, I had the pleasure of guest hosting one of my favourite comics podcasts, “3 Chicks Review Comics.” The podcast’s regular hosts are Sue from DC Women Kicking Ass and Kelly Thompson from “She Has No Head!” on Comic Book Resources and the massively popular Kickstartered novels The Girl Who Would Be King and Storykiller.

The show was a ton of fun to do. We started off by talking about Wonder Woman Unbound and dug into a few corners of Wonder Woman’s history, which is always a good time. Then we reviewed two new comic books, Storm #1 which I loved but Sue and Kelly only liked, and Saga #21 which we all loved because Saga is just amazing. Up next was a chat about my women in comics stats, which led into a discussion of the big Comic-Con announcements and how not a lot of them involved female creators. Unfortunately we taped on Saturday morning, and were finished before the first image of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman was released; we would’ve had a lot to say about that! But we covered all of the other big Comic-Con news and worried that we might come out of the weekend without any female-led superhero films, which sadly came to pass.

So go give the episode a listen! It’s on iTunes and Podbean and generally quite easy to get a hold of. It’s always a great show, and I had a blast doing it.

The First Image Of Gal Gadot As Wonder Woman In Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice

July 26, 2014

As I type, Warner Bros. is hosting a film panel in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con, and they kicked off the show with Zack Snyder and the stars, a snippet of footage from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and, most relevant to my interests, a shot of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. Let’s take a look:

wwmovie

First off, this is definitely Wonder Woman, which is really good. She’s got a tiara, bracelets, a lasso, boots, all of the stuff we expect Wonder Woman to have. They haven’t screwed with the costume in any big ways, and any of the changes are about what you’d expect when a comic book costume is adapted for the big screen. They’ve stayed very faithful to the character, and I’m really glad about that.

They just put out a high resolution image, so let’s go through this with a fine tooth comb, starting at the top:

gadotww1

I’ve got to be honest: I hate the tiara here. It’s needlessly complicated, and doesn’t look like Wonder Woman’s tiara should look. It’s a simple design that’s been roughly the same for 75 years. It comes to a point at the top, has no fancy adornments or lines or what have you, and there’s a red star in the middle. It’s rather iconic. This is not that, which I find a little bit disappointing. The tiara should scream “WONDER WOMAN!!” and this does not.

You’ll note there’s no choker, which is a change I do like. The choker’s she’s had since the New 52 began never really worked for me.

Let’s move down to the torso:

gadotww2

The bodice is very much New 52 Wonder Woman, with a couple of tweaks I like. There’s also a belt/strap thing that I assume leads to a sheath for her sword or some such. It looks like they’ve gone with gold for the breast plate instead of silver, so hooray for the classic colouring, and they’ve opted for a smaller belt instead of a big plate sort of thing which looks good. They’re definitely going for an ancient armour vibe, and pulling it off nicely here. I think everything going on in the torso turned out really well.

To the skirt:

gadotww3

It’s really, really short. They could have done briefs and we’d see just as much skin. But so it goes with Wonder Woman; you’re gonna get a lot of leg. And I like what they’ve done here. It looks functional and matches the bodice well, keeping that ancient armour aesthetic going, and while this picture has a general red/brown hue to it, it looks like the skirt is blue. There are no stars, but I really didn’t think there would be. It’s a tricky thing to have not look silly, especially given the ancient vibe they’re going for. Could be a little longer, but I like this too.

Now onto some classic Wonder Woman elements:

gadotww4

The bracelets look really nice! I like the detailing, and the leather around the wrist. Straight, flat bracelets would probably be rather boring on screen, and these look cool, functional, and fit the rest of the outfit well. And there’s a lasso! I’m so glad there’s a lasso. It looks like a lasso should, and is on her hip where it should be. That’s very fun.

The sword is cool too. It’s looks a little stubby, but that may just be the angle she’s holding it. The metal’s a bit dull, but so is all of the metal in this picture. So it goes with a Zack Snyder movie, really.

Now the boots:

gadotww5

It looks like they’ve gone for bracers more so than actual boots. The line down the middle is reminiscent of the white stripes that go down Wonder Woman’s boots, and I would have liked to see the white here, or something similar for a contrast, but these look cool. They match the rest of the costume, and look pretty bad ass.

My only real issue here is the heels. They’re not stiletto-esque, I suppose, which is something, but even as a sort of wedge heel it’s entirely impractical and unnecessary. After spending all this time constructing a cool, functional warrior outfit, the heels kind of undercut the effect. It’s really hard to fight in heels. It’s just not practical. The gal’s gonna twist her ankle.

But overall, I like it. The only thing I’m really irked about is the tiara, because I love the classic tiara and see it as such an iconic element of the character. I’m not wild about the colouring as well, but given how dull and grey Man of Steel was I’d have been an idiot to expect bright colours. This is just one picture, obviously, but the colours all sort of muddle into a brownish tone, and I hope that in the movie we’ll get more of a contrast between the red of the bodice, the blue of the skirt, the gold of the chest piece and belt, and what I assume is the silver of the bracelets (from this image, it’s hard to tell their exact colour). I think that Wonder Woman should be a bright character, but if you’re going to make Superman all dark and grayish then a less vibrant Wonder Woman continues that style.

I’m still super concerned about the movie as a whole. Man of Steel looked cool before it came out too, and then it was god awful. I also have serious reservations about Zack Snyder and David Goyer and how they approach female characters. But on the plus side, my bar for Batman v Superman is set so low that I now find myself pleasantly surprised when things turn out well. And I think that, all together, Wonder Woman’s costume turned out well. The outfit is good, and Gal Gadot looks pretty fierce and bad ass. I can’t wait to see her in action! The proof is in the pudding, and we’ve got a bit of a wait for that, but yeah, this picture makes me fairly happy.

Women In Comics Statistics: DC And Marvel, May 2014 In Review

July 25, 2014

bleedingcool

The May 2014 “Gendercrunching” column is up over at Bleeding Cool, and DC took the top spot for the sixth straight month, just barely edging out Marvel for the higher percentage of female creators.

DC fell to 11.8% female creators overall, and after a solid gain from April, Marvel rose to 11.7% female creators. Given recent trends, DC’s streak might get broken with the June report.

We also look at four smaller publishers: Archie, Avatar, Zenescope, and Valiant. Of the four, Zenescope is the only publisher with a decent female presence, and their representation is very uneven. The rest have very few women at all, including one publisher without a single female creator at any level of comic production.

Head on over to Bleeding Cool for all of the “Gendercrunching” fun, and check out their Comic-Con news coverage while you’re there!

The Latest Image Expo Has More Female Creators Than The Last One, But Still Room To Improve

July 24, 2014

image

January’s Image Expo announced a slew of exciting new books but had a disappointing lack of female creators. Of the 41 credited creators on these new books, only 5 were women, a paltry 12.2%. The visuals weren’t great either; when all of the creators took to the stage at the end of the show, it was a sea of white dudes with only two women in the mix. For a company that promotes itself as a bastion of diversity and celebrates its non-Big Two practices, this lack of female representation was quite a letdown.

But yesterday, Image held their second Expo of the year in San Diego as a sort of preamble to Comic-Con, which officially kicks off today. They announced 12 new titles, fewer than the previous Expo, but there were definitely some exciting announcement in the mix. In particular, I’m looking forward to Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen teaming up, and a new Warren Ellis book is always cause for celebration.

The video that ran before the announcements lauded Image’s diversity, and publisher Eric Stephenson’s keynote address chastised other publishers for “treating gender equality and cultural issues as though they’re little more than gimmicks to increase sales,” and declared “for decades, the comics industry has been viewed as a boys club, but that’s changing.” They were bold words from a publisher who only brought up two women at the last Expo, but Stephenson backed up his statements with several new books featuring female creators.

Here is the full list of announcements:

  • Tokyo Ghost by Rick Remender, Sean Murphy, and Matt Hollingsworth
  • From Under Mountains by Marian Churchland, Claire Gibson, and Sloane Leong
  • Valhalla Mad by Joe Casey and Paul Maybury
  • Rumble by John Arcudi and James Harren
  • Intersect by Ray Fawkes
  • The Humans by Tom Neely and Keenan Marshall Keller
  • Invisible Republic by Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko
  • Southern Cross by Becky Cloonan, Andy Belanger, and Shari Chankhamma
  • Descender by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen
  • Drifter by Ivan Brandon and Nic Klein
  • Tooth and Claw by Kurt Busiek, Ben Dewey, and Jordie Bellaire
  • Injection by Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey, and Jordie Bellaire

All together, these 12 new titles feature 27 credited creators, 7 of them women. That’s 25.9% female creators, a sizeable increase from the 12.2% we got in January. Also, 5 of the 12 books feature at least one female creator, a big step up from the 4 of 18 at the last Expo.

This is definitely better, but women remain a significant minority across the board. Obviously, progress takes time, and we should celebrate the growth of female creators at Image. It’s great to see new female creators making cool comics. However, lots of room for improvement remains, and on several levels. I haven’t run the numbers, but looking down this list I’m still seeing a heck of a lot of white people. The video they ran before the announcements, featuring many of their creators, is ridiculously white, and Kelly Sue DeConnick is the only woman who talks in it:

So there’s more work to do yet.

But ultimately, the latest Image Expo is a solid step for female creators, and kudos to Image for raising the bar. I’m looking forward to the next Image Expo, where hopefully they’ll raise the bar even further and continue to add more diversity to their comic book line.

Wonder Woman #33 Review OR War Begins Without The God Of War

July 23, 2014

ww33a

With only three issues of Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s run on Wonder Woman left, the story seems to be kicking into high gear now after a few months of place setting and smaller skirmishes. We’ve been anticipating an Amazon assault on Olympus to defeat the First Born and end his reign of terror, but the tables turned in this issue. Let’s get into the details, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to reveal EVERYTHING that happened in this issue!

And some cool stuff happened, so go read it first!

Chiang KILLED it, so you’ll definitely want to check out this one!

All right, so let’s pick up where we left off last issue. Wonder Woman stayed behind so all of her friends could escape, and as a result she’s been captured by the First Born and is being held on Mount Olympus, tied up in nasty sinewy bonds. The First Born wants Diana to be his wife and rule the world with him, but she’s not at all interested. Her outright refusal to have anything to do with the First Born is one of the issue’s several high points.

Compared to that weird, almost marriage thing with Hades from the first year of the run, Wonder Woman’s forceful defiance and withering disdain for the First Born is much more enjoyable. Azzarello’s dialogue has Diana unequivocally refusing the First Born at every turn, and Chiang’s communicates her complete disgust with the First Born and also a confident nonchalance despite the dangerous circumstances. This exchange is one of my favourite moments from the series thus far:

ww33gross

That side eye! It’s so perfect.

And as a random sidenote, I love when Chiang draws Diana with her hair up. It’s a cool look that suits her well, and is a fun change given how often her hair is down. Plus her lasso is what keeps it tied up, which is a very nice touch.

As Wonder Woman continually refused the First Born, he launched an attack on Paradise Island, sending his weird jackal troops and then Cassandra and the minotaur. Despite the sizeable force, Wonder Woman was unperturbed and had complete faith in the Amazons to defeat their enemies. The First Born clearly thought that threatening the Amazons would force her to agree to be his queen, but it only steeled her resolve further.

Despite Wonder Woman’s immense faith, things didn’t go so great on Paradise Island. It started off well, with a strong moment for Aleka as she brushed aside her interpersonal conflicts and displeasure with the Manazons and declared that they would all fight together. I still completely hate the idea of the Manazons and the entire way it’s played out, but I liked the redemptive moment for Aleka, especially since she took a spear through the chest while protecting Zola. I’m glad that she and the rest of the Amazons banded together and showed their true honour when push came to shove; it’s nice to have Amazons who act like Amazons after their crap depiction thus far.

Aleka wasn’t the only casualty. Orion was gored by the minotaur, and the Amazons were overrun by the issue’s end. The First Born arrived on Paradise Island, having just stabbed Wonder Woman and leaving her to die, and things looked pretty bleak. But Zeke came to the rescue yet again. He brought the statue of Hippolyta back to life, or some sort of animated statue life, and her declaration of “No surrender… we are Amazons” made me grin ear to ear. Amazons being Amazons is just the best thing. Hippolyta’s resurrection was another high point of the series for me; this issue was big on awesome moments.

Also, Zeke has to be Zeus, right? Not even Hera could resurrect Hippolyta, but Zeke did it with his glowy eyes thing in an instant. As the chief god, it makes sense that he’d have the most power. Also the blue/white of his eye glow is reminiscent of the effect we’ve seen in flashbacks to Zeus using his powers, and when Wonder Woman goes all godlike. The baby has demonstrated powers beyond the rest of the gods, and I think that he’s a reincarnated Zeus of some sort is the only real explanation. Or he’s a genderswapped Athena, because for some mysterious reason Athena hasn’t showed up in the book yet.

So things are bad, but things are also good. Wonder Woman, Orion, and Aleka are either dead or dying, but Hippolyta is back. It looks like the tide is set to turn and the battle is about to get absolutely bonkers. I am very much onboard for this. Amazons fighting bad guys is a million time more fun than Amazon in-fighting.

I should also point out that this is the first issue where colourist Matthew Wilson gets a cover credit. Colourists rarely ever got their name on the cover of DC books before, but the publisher’s new payment plan has changed that policy. Matthew Wilson has been a rock star for Wonder Woman, and his cover credit is very much deserved. With so many fill-in artists over the past three years, Wilson’s colouring has been the key to keeping the look of the book consistent, and he’s done a great job of it.

This issue in particular showed off Wilson’s epic skills. The First Born’s Mount Olympus is a gross, fleshy monstrosity, and the colouring could have easily become a muddled pink and red mess. Instead, Wilson layered the colours beautifully to capture the fleshy look with a surprising amount of variety. The walls are pink, but shadowed with various hues of purple. There are reds throughout Olympus, but the lake of blood in the middle of the chamber was coloured black to add even more contrast. What could have been a monochromatic disaster instead became a creepily gorgeous setting.

We’ve only got TWO issues of Azzarello and Chiang’s Wonder Woman left (August and October; September is a special “Futures End” event issue), and it looks like they’re going to be pretty insane. Three years of stories are building to a head, and given Azzarello’s penchant for doing his own thing and writing Wonder Woman like it exists in its own universe, I wouldn’t be surprised if we get some shocking twists and turns and maybe some big casualties. I’m looking forward to seeing how everything unfolds.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 422 other followers

%d bloggers like this: