Wonder Woman #34 Preview OR The Penultimate Issue For Azzarello And Chiang

September 30, 2014

After skipping its original August release date, presumably to give Chiang time to draw all of this issue and the next, Wonder Woman #34 will hit stores this Wednesday, followed by Wonder Woman #35 later this month. This is the second last issue of Azzarello and Chiang’s three year run, and everything looks to be coming to a head. AV Club has a five page preview of the issue, so let’s take a look:

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I’m so glad that Hippolyta is back, even if it’s just in statue form. She’s not taking ANY of the First Born’s guff at all. I have the feeling that if she’d been around for this run, the whole First Born thing would have been over a lot sooner. She’s one fierce lady.

Poor Wonder Woman is still tied up in the First Born’s gross lair, hallucinating and whatnot, and Strife showing up could go either way. She’s been trying to kill Wonder Woman for a while now, but deep down I think she likes her. I hope she helps Wonder Woman, because that would be a nice moment for a character I really enjoy. Wonder Woman will figure out how to take her down and escape if she has to, though, I’m sure.

Hera being so uncool is bumming me out. It’s absolutely the right call, of course; if this story has taught us anything, it’s that gods are capricious fiends. I’ve got my fingers crossed for a redemptive, heroic moment for Hera at some point, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t get one. It would be fitting not to. It’s a dark book.

Also, with just two issues left, where is Athena?! She hasn’t shown up yet, and I’m still thinking there might be a deus ex machina with her at some point in these last couple issues. Her absence is very conspicuous.

Look for Wonder Woman #34 in stores and online tomorrow. Only two issues left before the Finches! Enjoy it while you can.

Some Fun Alternatives To DC Comics’ Terrible New Superman/Wonder Woman Shirt

September 30, 2014

Yesterday, I did a post about an awful new shirt featuring Superman and Wonder Woman. This terrible shirt is a real thing, available for purchase now:

I then mocked up a bunch of fake shirts, poking fun at DC’s penchant for sexist clothing, attempting to make each shirt more offensive than the last. Turns out, DC products are so generally ridiculous that a few people were confused as to whether my intentionally awful shirts were real or fake, which is a sad commentary on DC’s shirt line.

While making my bad shirts, I kept having ideas for fun shirts, so I mocked up a bunch of those and put them on Twitter. They went over pretty well, so I’ve collected them here.

First up was this alternative to DC’s “Training to be Batman’s wife” shirt:

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This turned out to be similar to a real shirt that DC makes, and that sits on shelves next to their horribly sexist offerings.

Next was Lois Lane’s reaction to DC’s Superman/Wonder Woman shirt:

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Then something with the Bat-ladies:

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Mera speaking her mind:

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Wonder Woman’s morning routine:

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And finally, Supergirl shaking it off:

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I really wish that last one was real. I would definitely wear that.

Anyway, call me DC! I will happily sell you my designs so you can stop putting out such offensive apparel, and for a reasonable fee, I promise. I’ll even give you the last one for free, because I want it to be real. Hit me up!

Here Are Some Of DC Comics’ New Shirt Designs, Inspired By Their Hit New Superman/Wonder Woman Shirt

September 29, 2014

Yesterday, DC Women Kicking Ass pointed out a new t-shirt design featuring Wonder Woman and Superman engaging in a romantic embrace. Here’s what it looks like:

This is a real shirt. You can buy it for $19.99.

So if it wasn’t bad enough that DC is attempting to introduce the stupid Superman/Wonder Woman romance to a wider audience, they’re doing so in this gross, bro-centric fashion. Both DC Comics and whoever they licensed to make shirts for them need to have their heads examined, because this is awful.

And, sadly, not terribly out of place. DC has licensed shirts for girls with the Superman logo and the line, “I only date heroes”, while a line of workout gear for women includes a shirt that reads, “Training to be Batman’s wife.” It seems that women can’t be superheroes themselves, but maybe they’ll be lucky and some day kiss, date, or even marry a superhero. These shirts all have terrible messages, and I’m particularly incensed about the diminishment of Wonder Woman in the kiss shirt above. By turning her into Superman’s “score” they make her only a sexual object, and negate all of her superheroism and power.

However, DC Comics seems poised to double down on their horrendous Superman/Wonder Woman shirts with some new designs that should debut shortly. These are definitely 100% real shirts and not something I whipped up this afternoon in my favourite knock off Photoshop program to make fun of DC Comics and their penchant for sexist products. I would never, ever do that. I am far too respectful.

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First up, DC is keen to get Batman in on the action as well, so here he is putting the moves on everyone’s favourite feline fatale. Expect to see dudes wearing this at comic conventions across the country soon:

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And they can’t leave the Flash out! This new shirt design features the Flash and his lady friend, Iris West. It’s a little crass for my tastes, but DC is pretty keen on this one:

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DC also wants to reach a female audience, so they’ve made this shirt for the ladies inspired by the New 52’s characterization of Starfire. While I’m not so sure that this is the message that female fans will want to communicate, DC is very confident that they know how to appeal to women:

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Finally, DC Comics wants to honour the legacy of “women in refrigerators” by immortalizing the moment that inspired Gail Simone’s original coining of the term. I’m not 100% sure that DC is going about this the right way, but DC really thinks this shirt will strike a chord with feminists while appealing to their dudebro audience. I don’t know, DC. You may be going too far with this one:

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I hope you all enjoyed this sneak peak at these shirts that aim to continue the message of DC Comics’ hit new Superman/Wonder Woman shirt. They’re certainly in line with products that DC is currently selling in stores right now, and isn’t that just the saddest thing.

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

September 29, 2014

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The new “Gendercrunching” column is up at Bleeding Cool, and while Marvel fell and DC rose from their June totals, Marvel retained the higher overall percentage of female creators for the second straight month.

Marvel came in at 11.1% female creators, with DC close behind at 10.9%. Both numbers are fairly average, and are far behind where both publishers were just a year ago.

We also take a look at female characters at the Big Two, following up on some stats I tabulated six months ago. Nothing is worse, which is good to see, but there’s a lot of the same or slightly better. DC and Marvel are slowly crawling toward more equal representation, though it looks like it’s going to be a very long road.

Head on over to Bleeding Cool for all of the “Gendercrunching” fun!

Tonner Unveils New 16′ Diana Prince Doll Collection

September 26, 2014

A year or so ago, I did a post about a 16′ Wonder Woman doll produced by Tonner. It was part of their DC Stars Collection, and had Wonder Woman in a finely detailed New 52 costume. The doll looked pretty impressive, albeit prohibitively pricey for me anyway. However, it sounds like it was a big hit with some folks with deep pockets, because now Tonner has an entire Diana Prince line that, while expensive, looks quite nice.

You can start with the Diana Prince basic doll for $119.99. It’s the standard 16′ doll, finely sculpted and all of that jazz, with a simple camisole and briefs:

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But you can build from there. You can get the New 52 Wonder Woman outfit for $99.99. Yeah, that’s a hundred bucks for a costume for a 16′ doll. You could buy several outfits for a full size human person for a hundred bucks. I mean, I assume it’s tricky to make things look nice at such a small scale, but wow that’s a lot of money for a very small amount of fabric. Anyway, this is the outfit you get:

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There’s also a Beyond the Stars pantsuit, again just the outfit, not the doll, for $99.99:

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And a fancy Modern Day Princess gown, again just the gown, for $109.99:

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There are also three more Diana Prince dolls with different outfits. These are pricier, but the doll is included. First up is a lovely evening gown doll for $179.99:

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Then a weird “Undercover” blonde doll that doesn’t look like Wonder Woman at all for $189.99:

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And finally, my favourite of the set, the Princess of Paradise Island doll for $199.99:

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That’s really quite nice. If I had a couple hundred bucks I didn’t need for, you know, general life expenses, I’d probably get that doll. It’s really impressive.

The final three dolls are available currently, while the other basic doll and its outfits should be available in the next couple weeks and you can pre-order them now. These things are investments, right? I assume they appreciate in value? I’m having trouble wrapping my head around why people pay a couple hundred bucks for a doll. I feel like a Rockefeller when I drop $20 on a DC Direct Wonder Woman action figure.

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #7 Review: “Bullets And Bracelets” By Sean E. Williams And Marguerite Sauvage

September 25, 2014

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Hot dang, you guys, this book is pretty. I haven’t been overly impressed with a lot of the art we’ve gotten thus far in Sensation Comics, but this week’s digital issue is absolutely gorgeous. Plus, it’s got Wonder Woman in a rock band, so what more could you want out of a comic? It was a fun, one and done issue that made excellent use of the series’ eschewing of continuity to present a cool new take on Wonder Woman.

Rock star Wonder Woman is something we’ve seen a lot of here and there over the past few years, though just in sketches and prints. Cliff Chiang’s done a couple of great pieces, and other artists have followed suit. It’s a big month for superhero rock stars generally; the new Gwen Stacy Spider-Woman in Edge of Spider-Verse #2 is in a rock band called The Mary Janes.

I’m glad that someone’s finally picked up on the concept’s popularity and done a story about it, though there’s not much to the band part other than beginning the show at a concert. After a couple pages, Wonder Woman’s off without her band, having her own adventures. Nonetheless, the first few pages were pretty rad.

Sean E. Williams’ has crafted a fairly simple story with some nice moments. Wonder Woman meets some fans and they have dinner together, before Wonder Woman takes down a dude who’s harassing her. I liked the way the story addressed Wonder Woman’s autonomy and self-confidence. When a heckler told her that she corrupting children with her skimpy outfit, another guy told him to back off because Wonder Woman was hot. She then informed them both that she doesn’t care about either of their opinions and that she dresses for herself, not to impress or provoke anyone. Later, the guy who called Wonder Woman hot returned and got aggressive, and when he touched her she made very clear that you should never touch a woman without her permission.

Both of the scenes were perhaps slightly on the nose, but they worked for me. I think these kinds of stories that flat out declare the rights of women and the importance of being yourself for yourself are important. While adults might not always like this more blatant approach, these are good messages to communicate directly to younger readers, and they suit the book. This is a story with fun art where Wonder Woman is in a rock band; this book is made for little girls.

The handling of the girl who can’t eat at the diner because she’s too poor was less effective for me because Wonder Woman’s solution was far too basic. Buying her a meal was a momentary solution, not any kind of meaningful, impactful change, and I think Wonder Woman would be the type of gal who went a little deeper into things. The girl’s mom worked three jobs and could barely make ends meet; buying her one dinner is not particularly helpful. I know ending a comic book with something like a rally to increase the minimum wage is hardly exciting superhero adventures, but that would be the kind of response this problems needs, not a free meal.

The book tells a small but enjoyable story, but the art is what really makes this a stand out issue. Marguerite Sauvage absolutely killed it, both with the art and the colouring. The line art itself is fantastic. Sauvage’s characters are expressive and beautifully rendered, and while this is a different take on the character with the whole rock star angle, Sauvage definitely captures the grace and power of Wonder Woman. Plus, the clothes are really cool. A lot of comic book artists aren’t great with casual clothes, but Sauvage nailed it. She tweaked Wonder Woman’s costume to give her more of a rock star vibe, but also gave her a cool jacket for walking around. And the kids looked like kids, wearing fun outfits that you’d see anywhere. It all felt very modern and fresh.  Take a peek:

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The colouring is lovely as well. The characters were all well done, but even more interesting was how Sauvage did the backgrounds. Rather than colouring each individual thing in the background, she used a blanket colour over everything and it worked really well, especially against the more detailed colour work in the foreground. She also used this background colour to communicate the mood of the scene, at times even bleeding it into the characters. When the man touched Wonder Woman in an unwanted way, Wonder Woman had more of a red tone. Sauvage used red again when the man pulled out a shotgun, capturing his anger, but when Wonder Woman bent back his fun and sent him running, the panel was coloured yellow to show his fear. It’s really beautiful work, and the whole issue was quite stunning to look at.

This was definitely one of my favourite issues of the series thus far, in large part due to the gorgeous art. If you’ve got daughters or nieces or what have you, I think this would be a great Wonder Woman story to show them. The story is a lot of fun and the art is modern and cool, plus it’s got some good messages as well. I was really pleased to see such a different take on Wonder Woman, and I hope that Sensation Comics continues to mix it up like this.

Women At DC Comics Watch – December 2014 Solicits

September 23, 2014

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These articles used to be so easy to write. DC would have 4 or 5 female creators in their solicits, I’d list them all, say something snarky, and be done with it. But now, DC has a lot more women making their comics. It’s still a small minority, but it’s growing all the time and as a result it takes me way longer to write up these posts. It’s a good problem to have.

So let’s see who and what is coming up from DC in December:

  • For New 52 writers, Meredith Finch is on Wonder Woman #37, Kate Perkins is co-writing Supergirl #37, Becky Cloonan is co-writing Gotham Academy, Amanda Conner is co-writing Harley Quinn #13 and Harley Quinn Holiday Special #1, Marguerite Bennett is co-writing Earth 2 #29 and Earth 2: World’s End #9-13, Ann Nocenti is writing Klarion #3 and has a story in Secret Origins #8, Genevieve Valentine is writing Catwoman #37 and Catwoman Annual #2, and finally Gail Simone is back with Secret Six #1.
  • Wow, that’s a lot of women writing.
  • For New 52 art, Jan Duursema is drawing parts of Earth 2: World’s End #9-11 and #13, Emanuela Lupacchino is pencilling Supergirl #37, Babs Tarr is drawing Batgirl #37, Sandra Hope inks Batman/Superman #17, and Amanda Conner is on covers for Harley Quinn #13 and Harley Quinn Holiday Special #1.
  • Outside of the New 52, Corinna Bechko is co-writing Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #5, and Cat Staggs is providing the cover for Smallville: Season 11 – Continuity #1.
  • Over at Vertigo, Meghan Hetrick and Tula Lotay are drawings Bodies #6, Caitlin Kittredge writes Coffin Hill #14, Celia Calle is doing the cover for The Names #4, Ming Doyle is drawing The Kitchen #2 and Becky Cloonan is doing the cover, Marguerite Sauvage is doing the cover for Hinterkind #13, and Yuko Shimizu, after years of excellent work, is doing her final cover on Unwritten: Apocalypse #12, which is putting out its final issue.
  • There aren’t a lot of new books scheduled for December, but Gail Simone is bringing back Secret Six with a few female members, though the new Vertigo series Wolf Moon seems to have a male lead and all male creators.

All together, 21 different women are set to work on 22 different books in December, the highest total we’ve seen from either publisher since we started keeping track a few years back. Both numbers are up from November’s 20 and 19, which used to be the best combined total but is no longer. DC besting themselves two months in a row is really good to see.

It’s also nice to see so many female writers and artists in the mix, especially artists inside the book. Most publishers do quite well with female colorists, and cover artists tend to do okay relative to other categories, but writers and interiors artists can be shockingly low; there have been multiple months where either DC or Marvel don’t have a single female interior artist. All of these writers and artists in these more high profile gigs is a big change, and one I hope we see more of.

It’s a quiet month for female characters, but the return of Secret Six brings with it several women along with diversity in other ways; the old Secret Six was a bastion for LGBTQ+ characters, and it sounds like this relaunch will be the same.

So December is looking good for women at DC Comics. As always, there’s a lot of room for improvement yet, but comparatively this is really solid representation. I mean, it’s literally the best we’ve ever seen. Well done, DC. Keep it up.


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