Wonder Woman #58 Review: A New Era Begins with G. Willow Wilson and Cary Nord

November 14, 2018

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I’m not even going to pretend to be chill about this. I LOVE G. Willow Wilson. Her Ms. Marvel has been my favourite comic on the stand for years now, her graphic novel Cairo is amazing, and her prose novel Alif the Unseen is spectacular. She’s not just one of the best writers working in comics today, she’s one of the best writers today, full stop, across multiple mediums. I’d be hard pressed to think of anyone I’d rather have writing Wonder Woman. So yeah, I’m pretty excited for this run.

I’m less familiar with Cary Nord. I know his name and I’ve undoubtedly seen his work over the years. You can’t consume as many comics as I do without seeing everybody’s work at some point or another. But I don’t remember the specifics of it, which is kind of fun. Going into a book without any artistic expectations is exciting, and rare for a comics nerd like me. And I certainly found a lot to like here.

So let’s dig into the first issue of this new era for Wonder Woman, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

Look away if you haven’t read this issue yet!

Trust me, it’s good, you’ll want to buy it first!

G. Willow Wilson wrote it, for goodness sake!

That should be an automatic buy!

I can’t decide if bringing in Ares at the start of a new Wonder Woman run is a cliché or tradition, though I’m leaning toward tradition right now. Perez did it, Azzarello did it, Rucka did it, Patty Jenkins did it with the movie. Ares is Diana’s arch nemesis in a lot of ways, representing the antithesis of everything she stands for, plus he ties so well into her mythological heritage. It’s just a good fit.

And here we’ve got that same fit, with a twist. Ares is back once again, surprise surprise. But with a new mission. He is no longer focused on destruction, at least not for the its own sake. Now his focus is on justice. When he comes face to face with Wonder Woman at the end of the issue, he explains that he’s returned “to battle alongside you against tyranny and injustice.” And he’s kind of doing it, too.

The issue sets up an interesting conflict. The nation of Durovnia is a democratic country, allied closely with the United States and generally respected on the world stage. However, the government is actively suppressing an indigenous ethnic minority and their independence movement. That’s the tricky thing about democracy. It represents the will of the majority of the people, but when this majority has an unfavourable view of minorities, things can get bad. No obvious parallels spring to mind immediately, but it would be like if racist white people in America elected a demagogue who spouted false claims about African Americans and Latinos to rally his base. Can you even imagine? That would be terrible.

But back to the comic book. The independence movement in Durovnia has a new leader, one committed to a more aggressive, violent course of action, and now the nation is at war. When Steve gets caught in the conflict, Wonder Woman swoops in to save him. And, in pitch perfect Wonder Woman fashion, she ends up fighting both sides. Because of course. Wonder Woman doesn’t care what you’re fighting for. If you’re putting innocent people in danger, she’s going to bust you up. That bit, and Diana’s refusal to listen to Etta telling her to stay out of it, was all especially nicely done by Wilson.

Turns out, Ares is the new leader of the independence movement, which is fascinating. We’re used to him being evil, so of course our first instinct is to assume that these revolutionaries are bad guys. But once you think about it for a second, it gets real murky real quick. The Durovnian government clearly aren’t the good guys here, what with a majority suppressing a minority. And an ethnic minority’s desire for independence is an enormously sympathetic cause. So maybe Ares is on the right side here?

Even more interesting, he’s got this new dedication to justice and appears to be standing up for a noble cause, but he’s still the dang god of war. As much as he’s all about this new ideology, he’s using his old tricks, relying on conflict and bloodshed to accomplish change. And wow, I cannot wait to read Wonder Woman navigating this entire scenario. Ares making good choices in bad ways is going to present a real conundrum for Diana, and I’m curious to see how she proceeds. And doubly so how he reacts if she decides to take him under her wing and tries to teach him alternatives to violence. There’s so much to dig into with this new twist on Ares.

Cary Nord’s pencils and Mick Gray’s inks throughout the issue were solid, if perhaps middle of the pack relative to other artists we’ve seen in the post-Rebirth era. Wonder Woman has been blessed with some amazing artistic talent over the years, and Nord’s approach here has some ups and downs. I love how dynamic his Wonder Woman is. She hits a lot of cool poses at interesting angles, and he captures both her grace and fierceness. She seems a tad scrawny and doe-eyed, though, and is drawn a bit inconsistently. It feels like Nord’s maybe not quite settled into the book yet, and fair enough. It’s his first issue. There’s certainly a lot of nice stuff here, across the board, and I’m excited to see how he grows with the character as the run progresses.

Also, our favourite friend Romulo Fajardo Jr. is still on the book! With excellent colour work, yet again. As always, Fajardo shows that he’s able to adapt his colours to the style of the artist and melds flawlessly with Nord’s linework. They’re a good pair, with Fajardo adding depth to the background work and life to the characters where called for, but also pulling back a bit when Nord chooses to be more sparse.

Ultimately, I’m so looking forward to the next issue of this run. Wilson and Nord have set up quite an interesting situation for our amazing Amazon. Also, there’s more than just Ares going on here! Steve is captured, and we’ve got mythological creatures on the loose in Durovnia. This first issue has laid out a lot of fun and compelling elements, and I can’t wait to see where it all goes.

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Justice League Dark and Wonder Woman #1 Review: The Witching Hour Draws to a Close

October 31, 2018

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The spooktacular conclusion of “The Witching Hour” crossover has come on the most apt of days. Happy Halloween, everyone! I hope that you’re having some creepy fun today, and that you bought good treats to give out to the kiddies tonight. Don’t cheap out! “Fun-sized” is a lie. And of course, give double the treats to anyone who dresses up as Wonder Woman. Those children are wise treasures with excellent taste and should be rewarded accordingly.

But while the kids (and let’s be honest, the grownups too) are digging into some tasty fun today, the treats were few and far between for the Justice League Dark team. “The Witching Hour” is over now, more or less, as we knew it would be. Crossovers can’t go on forever. And of course all of our intrepid heroes are richer for the experience and all of that. But it was an ending that came with a cost. Several, really. And the ramifications of this event look like they’re going to reverberate through the DC Comics universe for some time. Let’s dig into it all, but first:

SPOOKY SPOILER ALERT!!

Look away if you haven’t picked up today’s special issue!

It’s a good book! You should get it!

So, the heroes won. Shocking nobody. This is a superhero comic book, after all. Some things are a given. But a lot of things got wrecked along the way. I’m guessing a few of them won’t last, like the destruction of Nanda Parbat and the Parliament of Trees. Whenever DC wants to do a new Deadman or Swamp Thing book, they’ll figure out a way to bring both of those back and get rid of the Hecate replacements. “The Witching Hour” isn’t some sort of Crisis level event. It’ll affect the Justice League line for a while, certainly, but I feel like a few of the larger changes to the canon will be easily undone down the road. But some are clearly going to stick. The weakening of the veil between the world of the heroes and the world of those creepy magic eaters is definitely going to be a problem. Plus, Circe. Bad ass, crafty Circe. I’m very curious to see what she has planned for all of this power. Especially after Hecate tried to destroy and then recreate magic entirely. How’s Circe going to top that? I’m sure that James Tynion IV has something suitably epic cooking up in that brain of his.

In another non-shock, Wonder Woman survived the event after last week’s dramatic cliffhanger. Turns out, she wasn’t dead. Just sort of stuck. So she’ll be ready to go next month when G. Willow Wilson and Cary Nord take over Wonder Woman. But as inevitable as all of that was, it still played out enjoyably in the comic. I loved that Diana embraced the idea of her moon trap being a metaphor, and thus something she could escape because it wasn’t actually real. Her internal struggle as she swam into the depths of the moon, with her fighting against her own urges and making herself realize that the water she was “drowning” in was no threat, was such a cool set up. It was a clever escape all around.

And one that led us to Hecate’s fascinating backstory. It was a bit of an info dump, yes, and perhaps a lot to introduce us to at the end of a crossover. But still, I found it effective. We’d learned a bit about Hecate over the first four issues, and these scenes fleshed that all out even more. Plus we got a lot of mythological fun, which I am always on board for.

We also got my favourite moment of the entire issue, when the maiden and mother aspects of Hecate talked about the power of belief and showed Diana that her teammates were using her name as a rallying cry for their last, potentially doomed stand against the crone-dominated Hecate. Their belief in Diana allowed her to break through and take control of her body, and thus ultimately defeat Hecate. We often see comics where Superman is positioned as an inspirational symbol, a sort of beacon for others to rally around, but I feel like Wonder Woman is just as potent an icon. Perhaps even more so, in certain situations. Superman inspires hope. Wonder Woman inspires a fighting spirit, a defiance, a recognition of our own strength and power. Where Superman soars above us, Wonder Woman always tries to lift us up. Both are marvelous icons, but the inspiration Wonder Woman can provide is something special, and I think this issue captured that very nicely.

We’ve got Jesus Merino back with us on art for the finale, and he does a solid job with the bulk of the issue. He’s joined by Fernando Blanco, who takes on several of the Wonder Woman sequences here to wonderful effect. It’s not an easy gig either. Blanco has to go from the moonscape to the hidden Hecates to a tour through pantheon after pantheon of deities, and it all looks great. I really enjoyed his recent work on Batwoman, and it was cool to see him take on Wonder Woman here. He’s got a simpler, sometimes raw style that reminds me a bit of Cliff Chiang, and I’m a big fan of his stuff. Plus everyone’s work was looking extra good with some colours from Romulo Fajardo Jr. on top of the line art. Watch how he switches his approach subtly between Merino and Blanco. It’s all cohesive, but he’s got a different style for each artist. Dang, Fajardo is so good!

And so was “The Witching Hour.” Kudos to James Tynion IV for masterminding a crossover that was actually worth reading. All of us comic fans have been burned so many times by drawn out, unexciting events that are just trying to sell us more books. This was a well told and well timed outing, perfect for October. And perfect for raising Wonder Woman’s profile a bit before the new creative team takes over. This was a smart move all around by DC Comics, and that is not something I get to say very often. Only two weeks until Wilson and Nord, too! I can’t wait. It’s been a fun few months for Wonder Woman fans, and it looks like the fun is going to continue.

Women & NB Creators at Marvel Comics Watch, December 2018 Solicits – 29 Creators on 35 Books

October 25, 2018

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Unlike DC Comics, who are holding back a quarter of their December titles until the first week of January, Marvel looks to be going full tilt in December with a big slate of new comic books. And the publisher is set to end the year on a high note. After beginning 2018 with some embarrassingly low numbers, things are looking up for female and non-binary creators at Marvel. They’re all over this round of solicits, setting a high bar for the new year to come. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at Marvel this December:

  • Amy Reeder: Ironheart #2 (cover)
  • Ashley Witter: Fantastic Four #5 (variant cover), Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #27 (cover)
  • Babs Tarr: Champions Annual #1 (variant cover)
  • Elizabeth Torque: Fantastic Four #5 (variant cover), Miles Morales: Spider-Man #1 (variant cover), Uncanny X-Men #4 (cover), Uncanny X-Men #5 (cover), Uncanny X-Men #6 (cover), Uncanny X-Men #7 (cover)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Superior Spider-Man #1 (variant cover)
  • Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #39 (cover)
  • Eve Ewing: Ironheart #2 (writer)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Ms. Marvel #37 (writer)
  • Gail Simone: Domino #9 (writer), Fantastic Four: Wedding Special #1 (co-writer)
  • Gurihiru: The Unstoppable Wasp #3 (interior art)
  • Irene Strychalski: Season’s Beatings #1 (interior art)
  • Jenny Frison: X-Men Red #11 (cover)
  • Jody Houser: Spider-Girls #3 (writer), Star Wars: Age of Republic – Darth Maul #1 (writer), Star Wars: Age of Republic – Qui-Gon Jinn #1 (writer)
  • Kelly Thompson: Merry X-Men Holiday Special #1 (co-writer), Mr. and Mrs. X #6 (writer), Uncanny X-Men #4 (co-writer), Uncanny X-Men #5 (co-writer), Uncanny X-Men #6 (co-writer), Uncanny X-Men #7 (co-writer), West Coast Avengers #5 (writer), West Coast Avengers #6 (writer)
  • Laura Braga: Fantastic Four: Wedding Special #1 (interior art)
  • Leah Williams: Marvel Super Hero Adventures: Captain Marvel – Frost Giants Among Us! #1 (co-writer), Merry X-Men Holiday Special #1 (co-writer)
  • Mariko Tamaki: X-23 #7 (writer)
  • Natacha Bustos: Asgardians of the Galaxy #4 (interior art), Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #38 (interior art, cover)
  • Nnedi Okorafor: Shuri #3 (writer)
  • Rainbow Rowell: Merry X-Men Holiday Special #1 (co-writer), Runaways #16 (writer)
  • Rosi Kampe: Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider #3 (interior art)
  • Seanan McGuire: Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider #3 (writer)
  • Stacey Lee: The Unstoppable Wasp #3 (cover)
  • Tini Howard: Marvel Knights 20th #3 (co-writer), Merry X-Men Holiday Special #1 (co-writer)
  • Vanesa Del Rey: Spider-Geddon #5 (variant cover)
  • Veronica Fish: Season’s Beatings #1 (interior art)
  • Vita Ayala: Marvel Knights 20th #4 (co-writer)
  • Yasmine Putri: Shatterstar #3 (cover), Spider-Girls #3 (cover)

All together, there are 29 different female and non-binary creators set to work on 35 different comic books at Marvel this December, the same number of creators as in November but spread over 7 more books. This is a very solid showing. Doubly so considering that Marvel only had 11 female creators nine months ago in March. They’ve crawled out of that hole over the course of the year and while their record highs still remain a bit off, this is the highest combined total they’ve posted in some time.

It’s also good to see so much representation across so many different books. Typically with the Big Two, we get a lot of clumping. Female and non-binary creators are relegated to a handful of books that often feature more than one of them, while the bulk of the books in the line remain all-male affairs. Having female and non-binary creators on 35 different titles is a relatively impressive spread for Marvel that gives us representation across a good portion of the line. A lot of that is Kelly Thompson writing or co-writing eight different issues this month; the gal is all the rage right now! But the representation is strong even beyond that.

Despite these big numbers, December looks to be a quiet month for new names, both real and fictional. All of the creators listed above are folks we’ve seen before, and fairly recently, too. There aren’t any newcomers in the mix, though several of the remain relatively new to Marvel, I suppose. And in terms of fictional characters, it’s a pretty quiet month for new books with female leads. Hope Summers and Jean Grey are part of the X-Men: The Exterminated series and Domino is in the new X-Force, but that’s about it. Everything else is dudes, including new books for Killmonger, Miles Morales, the Superior Spider-Man, the Winter Soldier, and a Defenders event with an all-male cast.

Overall, Marvel is set to close out the year with some solid representation for female and non-binary creators. It’s a much needed turnaround after their disastrous start to the year, and hopefully the numbers will continue to grow into 2019 with even more new voices in the mix!

Wonder Woman #57 Review: Exorcising The Witching Hour

October 24, 2018

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I know I usually go with the main cover to start my review, but this Jenny Frison variant cover was too amazing to ignore. Look at that! It’s so creepy and menacing and gorgeous. While Frison has done consistently fantastic work with her Wonder Woman variants, this is one especially excellent. And perfectly spooky!

But onto the story. This Justice League Dark team certainly comes up with a lot of big ideas. Last week, it was Wonder Woman trying to channel Hecate’s powers and use them against her. That went sideways pretty quickly, though. Hecate is the goddess of witchcraft, after all. She knows what she’s doing with this whole magic thing. This week, the big plan was courtesy of Zatanna and Constantine. Since Wonder Woman is possessed by Hecate now, why not bring in the best exorcist in the game to try to cast Hecate out? Much like Wonder Woman’s plan from last week, it was basically a hail Mary. The old ways of magic aren’t working, Hecate is defeating them all, and the apocalypse is more or less nigh. They have to try something. And it works, sort of, before it takes a surprising turn at the end of the issue. We’ll dig into that big cliffhanger momentarily, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I’m not going to tell you what happens on the last page in the first paragraph of my review!

Read on only if you’ve read the entire issue!

Which you should do, because this is a fun crossover!

So let’s backtrack a little bit. The issue opens with Wonder Woman on the moon, except not really. For our ancient ancestors, the moon was the first mystery and they saw a sort of magic in it. Hecate, as the goddess thereof, thus adopted this magical concept of the moon as her domain, what Witchfire calls “the primal dominion of magic.” Her power exists not on the real moon, but within the metaphor of what the moon represents. It’s all super weird, and I love it.

First off, waking up with a shock is a bit of a trope, sure, but one that can be a lot of fun when handled well. And in a spooky story like “The Witching Hour,” the surprise wake up was an excellent choice, especially since when we last left Diana she was fully possessed by Hecate and straight up destroying Nanda Parbat. Second, to have her wake up on the moon is enjoyably unexpected. And third, then everything gets all tricky, what with her being trapped on a metaphor of the moon and all, and I was so into it. This is a big crossover with all sorts of characters and locations, and this moon section, while important, will only be a small part of the overall story. It could have been simpler. Vaguer. Easier. But James Tynion IV took the time to make it unique, to come up with a big, interesting idea to make the scene extra cool. You gotta respect that level of commitment to telling a fun story.

Everything about this opening was delightful, the art especially. Emanuela Lupacchino always does excellent work, but I tend to focus on her lovely female characters. While she’s still slaying on that front here, she also does a gorgeous job with the lunar landscape, making it feel like the moon but not quite the moon. It looks like a metaphor for a magical representation of the moon, basically, which I’m guessing was very hard to pull off. And Romulo Fajardo Jr. colours it beautifully. It’s a pale, silvery world but it never feels flat, and Wonder Woman’s pop of colour is just enough of a contrast to stand out without being garish or out of place. The whole sequence is gorgeous.

And the issue stayed strong from then on. While it wasn’t as action packed as last week’s, it had some good moments for everyone, a few payoffs and twists on past events in the crossover, and some major developments. In terms of character growth, we learn that Constantine is gravely ill and, with magic not working correctly, beyond help. If this doesn’t get sorted in the finale next week, I’m guessing this will play out in future issues of Justice League Dark. On the story side of things, we have the exorcism. I came into this issue having no idea how the team was going to deal with a possessed Wonder Woman, and dang if this isn’t an enjoyably elegant solution. Of course they try an exorcism! They’ve got John friggin’ Constantine. Why wouldn’t they? It’s played wonderfully as well, with neither Constantine nor Zatanna terribly confident it will work but yet keen to try it nonetheless because they have literally no other options at this point.

Of course, it all takes a terrible turn. Black Orchid and Manitou Dawn are freed from Hecate’s control, but Constantine miscalculated things and all of their power races into Diana. It’s a lot of power. Too much power, it seems, because the issue ends with Witchfire telling Diana that she has died.

Now, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I don’t think that Wonder Woman is dead. DC’s got G. Willow Wilson and Cary Nord coming on in a couple weeks in what is a pretty big deal for the publisher. I’m quite confident that Wonder Woman is going to survive this crossover. But that doesn’t mean she isn’t in a pickle right now. If she is dead, they’re gonna have to bring her back, and if she isn’t then she’s certainly not in a good way. Whatever is going on, it’s going to need sorting in the finale next week. Diana’s still trapped in the lunar metaphor, and I presume the wrath of Hecate is going to be swift and violent. Nothing’s coming easy for the team in this run, and I’m excited to see what hare-brained scheme they come up with next week in the crossover’s grand finale.

Come See Me At Hal-Con This Weekend, Table B1-3!

October 22, 2018

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It’s almost time for my local convention, Hal-Con, and I will be returning to the show this year, albeit with a slight caveat. I’m sharing Table B1-3 with my excellent writer pal Nicola R. White (she’ll have copies of her wonderful comic Wild Rose for sale!) but while the show runs from Friday to Sunday, I will only be at the show on Friday.

I’ve got another commitment that’s taken up the rest of my weekend, and I’m really sorry to be missing the show. But a) I’m very excited to be there on Friday, and b) Nicola will be at our table all weekend long with autographed copies of my books for sale. While you might not see me, you can get a copy of a book about your favourite superheroine at least.

Here’s some info for you! Hal-Con is at the new Halifax Convention Centre this year, which is very exciting. The vendor floor is open at these times:

 

  • Friday: 12:00PM – 7:00PM
  • Saturday: 10:00AM – 7:00PM
  • Sunday: 10:00AM – 6:00PM

 

And we’re on the fifth floor, with all of the vendors and autograph spots and such. Here is a handy map:

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I’ll have copies of Wonder Woman Unbound, Investigating Lois Lane, and The Many Lives of Catwoman for sale, along with free bookmarks for everyone who stops by. The books will be $20 each, or all three for $50, which is a pretty swell deal. Cash is great, but credit cards should be doable, depending on what the reception is like at the new place.

So yeah, come on by! If you’re at the show Friday, I look forward to seeing you. If you’re coming Saturday or Sunday, I’m sorry to miss you but be sure to stop by the table and scope out our wares. It should be a great show this year! It always is. Hal-Con does it right.

Read My Article on Comic Book Letter Columns in Gender and the Superhero Narrative, Available Now!

October 19, 2018

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Today I got my copy of Gender and the Superhero Narrative, pictured above with a Funko of Diana Prince enjoying an ice cream cone, and I’m very excited to tell you all about this book. First off, I’m in it! That’s the main reason I’m telling you about it. I’ve written an article called “The Evolution of Female Readership: Letter Columns in Superhero Comics” and it is a DEEP dive.

I looked at over three thousand comic books for this study, and longtime readers may remember me asking for help tracking down some issues a couple of years back. Thanks to all of you (and especially thanks to Johanna Draper Carlson, KC Carlson, and their EPIC comic book collection) I got all of the letter columns I needed for this project, and the end results turned out very interesting.

I tabulated the folks who got published in letter columns at DC and Marvel by gender from their rise in the 1960s to the start of their decline in the 1990s. First, I established a baseline, with forty years of letter columns from Batman, Justice League, and Superman at DC and Amazing Spider-Man, Avengers, and Fantastic Four at Marvel. These numbers alone showed some fascinating trends, including the steady decline of female readers getting letters printed in superhero books.

But that was just step one. I averaged out these numbers and then compared them to a female-led series from each decade. At DC, we had Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane in the 60s, Wonder Woman in the 70s, Supergirl in the 80s, and Catwoman in the 90s. The choices were fewer at Marvel, but we had Millie the Model in the 60s, Ms. Marvel in the 70s, Dazzler in the 80s, and a combination of Sensational She-Hulk and Silver Sable and the Wild Pack in the 90s.

Needless to say, this article’s got charts on charts, which shouldn’t surprise any of you who are familiar with my work. And there’s some compelling information therein. I won’t tell you everything I found, because you should go read this book. But here’s a fun tidbit: The average female readership for each female-led series was ALWAYS higher than the baseline average of the other titles. Every year, for forty years, across ten different series. There’s various ways to interpret that, but a key takeaway is: Girls will read comics when girls are in comics.

Anyway, it’s a jam packed article with all sorts of fun information, some great letter column quotes, and, like I said, all of the charts. It was very fun to put together, and I had a great time working with the editors Michael Goodrum, Tara Prescott, and Philip Smith. It’s an academic book and I am not an academic, but they kindly invited me to be a part of the project anyway. And now it’s published by the University Press of Mississippi, which is kind of amazing for a comics history nerd like me. I cite their great books on comics all the time in my research, so to actually be in one is very cool.

And, of course, I’m just one of several contributors (here’s a flyer for the whole works: Gender and the Superhero Narrative). If you like letter columns, my article will be your jam, but the book covers so much. It’s got pieces on Batwoman, Bitch Planet, Jessica Jones, Ms. Marvel, Spider-Gwen, and more. Plus an introduction from Ryan North! Everyone loves Ryan North. He is as smart and delightful as he is tall, and he is very, very tall.

I hope you’ll check out Gender and the Superhero Narrative! It’s available now from the University Press of Mississippi or via most bookselling sites. And it’s only $30 US, which is pretty dang good for an academic book like this. These things can get pricey. Anyway, I’m really proud of my piece, and I love that so many readers helped me find the comics I needed to finish the research for it. Good group effort, gang! I think it turned out really well. Go pick up the fruits of our combined labours today!

Women & NB Creators at DC Comics Watch, December 2018 Solicits – 24 Creators on 23 Books, Sort Of

October 18, 2018

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Okay, this one is going to be a little bit weird. The fourth Wednesday in December is Boxing Day, and DC has decided not to ship any comics at all that week. Since January is a five-week month, they’re bumping all of their usual fourth week books from December into the first week of January. That leaves the December solicits a bit sparse, with a quarter of the usual books not there. This obviously makes our monthly comparisons a bit difficult, but let’s start with who’s doing what at DC this December and we’ll keep going from there:

  • Amanda Conner: Supergirl #25 (variant cover)
  • Aneke: New Talent Showcase 2018 #1 (interior art)
  • Bilquis Evely: The Dreaming #4 (interior art)
  • Brandee Stilwell: Sasquatch Detective #1 (writer)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Supergirl #25 (interior art)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Wonder Woman #60 (writer)
  • Jenny Frison: Wonder Woman #60 (variant cover)
  • Jill Thompson: Supergirl #25 (interior art)
  • Joelle Jones: Catwoman #46 (writer, interior art, cover)
  • Julie Benson: Green Arrow #47 (co-writer)
  • Kelly Sue DeConnick: Aquaman #43 (writer)
  • Magdalene Visaggio: New Talent Showcase 2018 #1 (co-writer)
  • Mirka Andolfo: Harley Quinn #56 (interior art)
  • Nalo Hopkinson: House of Whispers #4 (writer)
  • Nicola Scott: Justice League Dark #6 (cover)
  • Priscilla Petraites: New Talent Showcase 2018 #1 (interior art)
  • Rachel Dodson: Justice League Odyssey #4 (variant cover), Wonder Woman #60 (cover)
  • Sanya Anwar: New Talent Showcase 2018 #1 (co-writer)
  • Shawna Benson: Green Arrow #47 (co-writer)
  • Yasmine Putri: Nightwing #54 (variant cover), Nightwing #55 (variant cover), Red Hood: Outlaw #29 (variant cover)
  • Zoe Quinn: Goddess Mode #1 (writer)

All together, there are 21 female creators scheduled to work on 16 different comic books at DC in December, 1 more creator than in November but 5 fewer books. As best I can tell, there are no non-binary creators in this round of solicits. Now, we’ve already got more women working on comics than last month, so that’s a plus, but it just doesn’t feel right. Especially when the January solicits will have a lot of books double shipping that typically don’t. Everything’s all wonky. So I think for our “official” count, I’m going to borrow the entries from the first week of the January 2019 solicits (i.e. the books that should have come out December 26), and we’ll make those part of the December count. So let’s add in:

  • Amanda Conner: Old Lady Harley #3 (cover)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Wonder Woman #61 (writer)
  • Jenny Frison: Wonder Woman #61 (variant cover)
  • Kat Howard: Books of Magic #3 (writer)
  • Mairghread Scott: Batgirl #30 (writer)
  • Mingjue Helen Chen: Hex Wives #3 (cover)
  • Mirka Andolfo: Hex Wives #3 (interior art)
  • Rachel Dodson: Justice League Odyssey #4 (variant cover)
  • Rachel Dodson: Wonder Woman #61 (cover)
  • Yasmine Putri: Raven, Daughter of Darkness #11 (cover)

A bunch of these creators were in the first list above, but the net gain here is 3 more female creators and 7 more books, for a total of 24 female creators overall, working on 23 different books. It may not be the monthly numbers exactly, but it captures this publication cycle well, and I think that gives us our most accurate totals for our usual month to month comparison.

And it’s a comparison that stacks up pretty well. I mean, November kind of sucked. Only 20 female creators is terrible. But there were 15 in October, and that’s even worse. We’re seeing two big jumps in a row here that, while they haven’t lifted DC to anything resembling a strong total yet, could bode well for continued growth in the new year. Or the numbers could just fall off a cliff again. You never know with the Big Two. Regardless, 24 creators is a decent total relative to the back half of 2018 as a whole, and hopefully we’ll see the growth continue.

We’ve got a few new names as well. I think Brandee Stilwell got listed once for her work on Exit Stage Left, but her Sasquatch Detective backups from that mini are getting collected in a one-shot with a new story thrown in, too. We’ve also got Priscilla Petraites, who has gone through DC’s talent development program and will be drawing a story in this year’s New Talent Showcase. And finally, Zoe Quinn is launching Goddess Mode for Vertigo, which sounds like it could be a cool title.

In terms of female characters, it’s mostly team stuff for new books this month. Zatanna and Orphan are going to be in Batman and the Outsiders, Catwoman, Wonder Woman, and Zatanna are going to be in the New Talent Showcase 2018, and Freedom Fighters should have some ladies in the mix, though none are specified in the solicit. Also, Goddess Mode has a female lead, which is very fun.

All together, the adjusted numbers show a step up for DC in terms of female creator representation, though their non-binary ranks remain poor. It would be nice to have the new year on the horizon bring continued growth and new opportunities for women and non-binary creators, but if you’ve followed this project at all you know it’s a dang yo-yo, up and down all the time. At the very least, at this current moment in time, DC is moving in a positive direction. That’s something, I suppose


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