Check Out these Liam Sharp Pages from Wonder Woman: Rebirth #1, Plus a Tease from Nicola Scott

May 4, 2016

We’re getting ever closer to the debut of DC’s “Rebirth” relaunch in June, so close that we’re starting to get more concrete teases now. Among them is a peek inside Wonder Woman: Rebirth #1, the special issue that will come out in early June before Wonder Woman officially relaunches  with a new first issue later in the month. As a sidenote, this seems like a bizarre way to do things; why not just relaunch the book right off? I’m curious to see what’s the point of these “Rebirth” specials.

But regardless of my confusion at how DC is going about their business, we’ve got pretty art! So enjoy these unlettered, colored pages from Liam Sharp:

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So we’ve got Wonder Woman fighting a minotaur, what appears to be a Cerberus-style three headed dog (that double page spread image is a little small, so I’m not 100% sure on it), and a centaur. Or perhaps animated statues thereof. Either way, I’m into it. I’m always up for Wonder Woman vs. mythological creatures, and Sharp’s art looks great here. His Diana is powerful, lovely, and regal, and I love the layouts and the flow of the pages. Laura Martin is coloring the series, and she does a fantastic job here as well. It’s going to be a really pretty book, that’s for sure.

Also, earlier today Nicola Scott released a tease of one of her pages for her half of Wonder Woman; Sharp will be drawing the odd numbered issues, set in the present, while Scott will be drawing the even numbered issues, set in the past in a “Year One” storyline. She posted this preview of Diana and Hippolyta sharing a lovely mother/daughter moment:

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I’m so excited to see what Scott does with Wonder Woman. Sharp’s work looks like it’ll be great too, but Scott’s been killing it lately with Black Magick and such, and I can’t wait to see what she does in her return to the world of the Amazons.

Wonder Woman: Rebirth #1, written by Greg Rucka with art by Liam Sharp and Paulo Siqueira, hits comic shops on June 8, with the new Wonder Woman #1 following two weeks later. Wonder Woman might finally be good again, gang! It’s exciting times.

Frank Cho to Draw a Year of Wonder Woman Variant Covers, Because DC Makes Dumb Decisions

May 2, 2016

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This weekend, artist Frank Cho announced on his Facebook page that he’ll be drawing variant covers for Wonder Woman when the series relaunches this June as part of DC’s “Rebirth” line. Several sites are reporting that he’ll be on the book for a year, and since it’s shipping bi-monthly that means 24 covers. Cho is an artist best known for doing sexy pin-ups and while his work isn’t really my jam, he’s certainly very good at what he does. He’s also drawn some cool, non-hypersexualized stuff when reined it, and hopefully he brings some of that restraint to Wonder Woman. Cho’s got definite skills. However, he’s also a real twit.

It all started a while back when Marvel inexplicably decided that it would be a fun idea to hire famed erotica artist Milo Manara to draw variant covers starring their female characters. He did a Spider-Woman cover that had the character bizarrely positioned with her butt poised high in the air, and the cover drew a lot of criticism. It was poorly drawn, and the sexualized pose wasn’t a good reflection of the contents of the new Spider-Woman series. Marvel eventually decided not to release the cover.

For some reason, Frank Cho decided that this was the hill he wanted to die on. He did a commission of Spider-Gwen on a blank sketch cover, mimicking the Manara pose. When folks were all, “Come on, man,” Cho blasted the “small group of angry and humorless people ranting against my DRAWING of a pretty woman,” telling them that they should “just grow a sense of humor and relax.” He then doubled down on the pose, drawing Harley Quinn in the same position. Over the past year, he’s done several of these pieces, reveling in the controversy he’s causing and proudly posting them on the internet like he’s some sort of brave rebel (he’s not).

The reaction to Cho’s pieces have brought him some vocal defenders, many of whom are the sort of men (they’re all men) who use the term “social justice warrior” unironically. They see Cho as a defender of free speech, a valiant hero saving the comic book industry from the scourge of evil feminists who are ruining their funny books. Cho tried to capitalize on the support of these dopes by following the posting of one of his sketches with a campaign where he sold “Friends of Cho” t-shirts. The ad for the shirts asked, “Are you outraged by the outrage?” and offered his fans the opportunity to stand with him (he only sold 21 one of them online).

So, this twit is drawing Wonder Woman covers. It doesn’t seem like a good fit. When your biggest fans think that feminists are destroying comics, maybe a series starring a famed feminist icon is just not the book for you. It’s a dumb move by DC, doubly so on the heels of the ongoing controversy surrounding known sexual harasser Eddie Berganza, who currently edits Wonder Woman (he won’t be doing so when the book relaunches). Sometimes it feels like DC is doing their damnedest to alienate their female and feminist fans.

Cho’s fans will be in for a surprise if they pick up the new Wonder Woman, though, what with noted feminist and all around good guy Greg Rucka writing the book. All 21 of them are going to be sorely disappointed come June.

Lois Lane: Double Down by Gwenda Bond is Officially Out This Weekend; GO BUY IT!

April 29, 2016

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If you’re a Lois Lane fan, you’re about to have an excellent week: The sequel to last year’s fantastic YA novel Lois Lane: Fallout will be officially released this weekend, and it’s so good. Author Gwenda Bond is back with Lois Lane: Double Down, an adventure that’s even bigger and better than its predecessor. Like, literally bigger; it’s longer, so you get even more teenaged Lois fun.

And this time, Lois is up against the mob and evil scientists, trying to crack another big mystery and help her friends, as well as get a good story for the Daily Scoop. There’s a lot of action and suspense, but also a lot of heart. What I love most about Bond’s Lois is how much she cares, how she can’t let a wrong go without a response; despite her cool exterior, Lois is all compassion underneath.

The book expands Lois’s world considerably, taking us into new parts of Metropolis and introducing several additional characters. For those with a background in the Superman mythos, there are some fun nods to classic villains and other elements of the comics, but Bond is sly with them. You don’t have to know anything about Lois, Superman, or their decades of comics to enjoy the book. Heck, you don’t even have to read Fallout to enjoy Double Down, though I’d recommend doing so. While you’ll get caught up on things pretty quickly, I find it’s always more enjoyable to read a series in order.

I’m being generally vague here because I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone. The book is fantastic, with lots of fun twists and turns, so I’m leery of saying more than “It’s Lois and her pals against some bad guys again and it’s super rad.” But it really is super rad. I was luckily enough to get an early copy a few months ago, and I read it in a day because I couldn’t put it down.

For me, Gwenda Bond writes the best Lois Lane out there right now. The best Lois of the 21st century, really, at least. When I wrote Investigating Lois Lane, I read/saw/listened to pretty much everything Lois has been in, and Bond’s Lois is one of my very favourites. She encompasses everything I love about past incarnations of the character while also being fresh, modern, and unique in her own way. Here’s a spoiler for my own book: Fallout and Double Down are the last things I talk about in Investigating Lois Lane, and there’s a reason for that. In an era where Lois has been criminally underused, Bond has crafted a Lois that shows why she’s a relevant, fantastic character who deserves the spotlight.

Lois Lane: Double Down is officially out on May 1, though copies have been shipping out early so if you head to your local bookstore now you might luck out and nab one. It’s a great read, and just a wonderful take on Lois all around. Plus, every copy sold is a step towards a third Lois Lane book from Gwenda Bond, and we definitely need to make that happen. Happy reading, fellow Lois fans! You’re going to love this one.

If You’ve Got a Spare $1000 You Should Definitely Get These Valentino Wonder Woman Sneakers

April 28, 2016

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Italian fashion label Valentino’s latest capsule collection is inspired by Wonder Woman, and it offers a wide array of shoes, clothing items, and accessories, all of them ludicrously priced to a hilarious degree. It’s all very ridiculous, though the items are quite lovely. I’ve taken a look through the collection, and I think I can definitively state that these sneakers are the “best” value. At $975 US, you’ll get a (hopefully) well made pair of shoes with a cool star motif that’s reminiscent of Wonder Woman that you can wear all the time. There are a couple of cheaper items, t-shirts with some Wonder Woman things on them, that sell for $950 US, but I think these sneakers offer the most bang for your buck. If you’ve got more money than you know what to do with, you should definitely pick some up and look rad.

The star motif is a common theme throughout the collection, almost lazily so, but they do some cool stuff with it. I like this sweater a lot:

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Nice, eh? It’s only $2,690 US. I don’t know if you’ll wear it enough to get your money’s worth, but you never know. Maybe if it’s the only sweater you wear for the rest of your life?

Valentino occasionally breaks out of their star theme and gets the classic Wonder Woman eagle in the mix. I think this jacket is pretty sharp:

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And I like this dress a lot:

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I haven’t seen prices for either of these items, but based on comparable pieces I’d estimate they’re both in the range of $10,000 US, give or take a thousand or two.

Also, this backpack is snazzy, and only $2,495 US. A steal, really:

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This coat is the item you’re going to really want, though. I mean, check this out:

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Very cool, right? You should probably sit down before I tell you the price, though. It’s $25,800 US.

So if I’ve got any millionaire readers, go to town! For the rest of us who aren’t Rockefellers, we can all stare from afar, I guess. If you do want to look into some of these pieces, part of the collection is online right now, and the rest is available in select Valentino stores all around the world. Save your pennies, gang!

Women at Marvel Comics Watch – July 2016 Solicits, 25 Women on 18 Books

April 27, 2016

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Just as we missed the first month of “Rebirth” at DC because I was busy travelling and being a bad blog person, we also skipped the first month of Marvel’s Civil War II, with all of its various  mini-series and tie-ins. The June numbers were strong, with 29 different female creators on 19 different books. There was a lot of grouping therein; Marvel seems to like to keep their ladies congregated on a limited number of books. But 29 different women was big for Marvel, and their second best total of the year. So let’s see how July stacks up by looking at who’s doing what at Marvel in the July 2016 solicits:

  • Amy Reeder: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #9 (cover, co-writer)
  • Annie Wu: Gwenpool #4 (variant cover)
  • Becky Cloonan: The Punisher #3 (writer, variant cover)
  • Brittney L. Williams: Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! #8 (interior art)
  • Chelsea Cain: Mockingbird #5 (writer)
  • Elizabeth Torque: Civil War II: Gods of War #2 (variant cover), Hyperion #5 (cover)
  • Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #10 (art and cover)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Ms. Marvel #9 (writer)
  • Gurihiru: Gwenpool #4 (interior art)
  • Helen Chen: Silk #10 (cover)
  • Joelle Jones: Mockingbird #5 (cover)
  • Kate Leth: Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! #8 (writer)
  • Kate Niemczyk: Mockingbird #5 (interior art)
  • Katie Cook: Haunted Mansion #5 (variant cover)
  • Kelly Thompson: A-Force #7 (writer)
  • Marguerite Sauvage: Civil War II: Choosing Sides #2 (interior art)
  • Marjorie Liu: Star Wars: Han Solo #2 (writer)
  • Natacha Bustos: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #9 (interior art)
  • Robin Furth: Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three – Bitter Medicine #4 (co-writer)
  • Ruth Gage: Captain Marvel #7 (co-writer)
  • Sara Pichelli: Spider-Man #6 (art and cover)
  • Stacey Lee: Gwenpool #4 (cover)
  • Tana Ford: Silk #10 (interior art)
  • Tula Lotay: Scarlet Witch #8 (interior art)

All together, there at 25 different female creators scheduled to work on 18 different comic books at Marvel in July, a step down on both counts from the June numbers that’s tied for their lowest showing since the February solicits. Nonetheless, Marvel spent ages stuck in the teens (or less) when it came to women working on their books, so consistently landing in the mid-20s is a decent change of pace for them. They’re capable of higher numbers, but compared to last year it’s quite good.

It doesn’t look like there’s much in the way of new names in July; Ruth Gage co-writing Captain Marvel‘s tie-in to Civil War II is about it. There are some returning favourites, though, including Annie Wu, Katie Cook, Tana Ford, and Tula Lotay, who don’t have regular gigs at Marvel right now but pop in occasionally for variant covers and drawing an issue here and there.

It’s a quiet month for female characters innew titles too, with Civil War II in full swing. A couple of mini-series connected to the event launched last month, but they don’t mention many female characters. Kate Bishop’s in Civil War II: Choosing Sides #3 and that look to be about it. I imagine we’ll see some new books spinning out of however Civil War II concludes, so we may not see many big lineup changes for a couple of months yet.

Overall, while July’s a bit of a backwards step for female creators at Marvel when compared to June, the numbers are still relatively strong. It’s not a disastrous decline by any means, and the numbers keep Marvel well within the new, higher range they’ve been in as of late. I’m not anticipating a ton of changes, bookwise, in the August solicits, so I’m curious to see how the numbers shake out then.

Women at DC Comics Watch – July 2016 Solicits: Rebirth Disappoints, 20 Women on 17 Books

April 25, 2016

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We missed the first month of “Rebirth” because I was busy travelling and some things fell by the wayside, but we’re back again for the second month of DC’s new initiative and, like with every single dang new initiative DC’s done over the past several years, there are fewer women involved than in the months before the new launch. DC’s June and July solicits posted their lowest number of female creators thus far in 2016, making “Rebirth” a big step backward for the company at first glance. In June, DC had 19 different female creators on 18 different comic books, their lowest total since last September. Let’s see how things changed in July:

  • Amanda Conner: Harley Quinn #30 (co-writer, cover), Harley Quinn and her Gang of Harleys #4 (cover)
  • Bilquis Evely: Legends of Tomorrow #5 (interior art)
  • Cat Staggs: Adventures of Supergirl #5 (art and cover), Adventures of Supergirl #6 (cover), Batman ’66 Meets Steed and Mrs. Peel #1 (variant cover)
  • Claire Roe: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey: Rebirth #1 (interior art)
  • Elsa Charretier: Harley Quinn #30 (interior art)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Green Lanterns #2 (cover), Green Lanterns #3 (cover)
  • Emma Vieceli: Adventures of Supergirl #5 (interior art), Adventures of Supergirl #6 (interior art)
  • Gail Simone: Clean Room #10 (writer)
  • Holly Black: Lucifer #8 (writer)
  • Hope Larson: Batgirl #1 (cover)
  • Jenny Frison: Clean Room #10 (cover)
  • Joelle Jones: American Vampire Anthology #2 (interior art)
  • Julie Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey: Rebirth #1 (co-writer)
  • Laura Braga: DC Comics Bombshells #15 (interior art)
  • Marguerite Bennett: American Vampire Anthology #2 (writer), DC Comics Bombshells #15 (writer)
  • Meghan Hetrick: Red Thorn #9 (interior art)
  • Mirka Andolfo: DC Comics Bombshells #15 (interior art)
  • Nicola Scott: Wonder Woman #2 (interior art)
  • Renae De Liz: The Legend of Wonder Woman #8 (writer, art, cover)
  • Shawna Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey: Rebirth #1 (co-writer)

All together, there are 20 different female creators scheduled to work on 17 different books in July, a slight tick up in women but a slight tick down in the number of comics they’ll be working on. These “Rebirth” numbers are not good; DC’s solicits averaged about 25 different women in the spring months before “Rebirth.” Of course, “Rebirth” is still unfolding and there may be more women in the mix as new books premiere in August and September. But so far, it’s very underwhelming for women at DC.

We do have several new names, though, including Hope Larson writing Batgirl and writers Julie Benson and Shawna Benson along with artist Claire Roe on Batgirl and the Birds of Prey. The latter team combine to join the creative teams of the digital first series DC Comics Bombshells and The Legend of Wonder Woman as DC’s only books written and drawn primarily by women.

For new female characters, with “Rebirth” rolling out another batch of titles we’ve got some ladies across a variety of new series. Batgirl, Black Canary, and Huntress star in the aforementioned Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, and Batgirl has her solo series relaunching in July as well. Women make up 2 of the 7 teammates of the new Justice League (Wonder Woman and Green Lantern) and while that’s still a small minority, it’s better than when the last Justice League launched in 2011 with just one woman on board. We’ve also got a female lead in the “how does this still exist?” series Red Hood and the Outlaws; Artemis will be part of the team along with Red Hood and Bizarro. Finally, DC’s premiering a new Flintstones comic for some reason, and so we should be getting Wilma, Betty, and Pebbles.

So “Rebirth” is off to a slow start with female creators, and looking ahead at the rest of the lineup, I wouldn’t hold out a lot of hope for a dramatic spike in numbers any time soon. I’m also curious to see how Shelly Bond’s firing will affect the Vertigo books; Vertigo has been a bastion of female creator representation at DC for a while now, but cancellations and new titles may be forthcoming. On the plus side, Gerard Way’s weird new line seems to have a bunch of female creators in the mix, but that’s not coming until the fall. For now, the numbers are low at DC yet again as they stick to their tried and true method of two steps forward, one step back.

Read my Review of Wonder Woman: Earth One by Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette at The Comics Journal

April 22, 2016

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Wonder Woman: Earth One by Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette seems to be making a bit of a splash with readers, perhaps due to its well-timed released in the wake of Batman v Superman, and my full review of the book is now online at The Comics Journal. I talk about how the book is deeply rooted in the Golden Age Wonder Woman comics of William Moulton Marston and H.G. Peter, and how Morrison and Paquette’s deviation from Marston’s core message weakens the graphic novel. By copying all of the imagery and metaphors that came from Marston’s central premise (that being the superiority of women and the coming matriarchal age) while simultaneously undermining that central premise by making the Amazons unlikable, practically villainous characters, the whole book sort of falls apart. It makes little sense to tie it so closely to that era and then ignore why that era is the way that it is. Anyway, you can read my full review at The Comics Journal.

Apart from the historical, Marston/Peter pastiche things I discuss in the article, I’ve got a few other thoughts on the book. I was surprised that I didn’t hate it, actually. I rarely enjoy Morrison’s work, and all the interviews leading up to release of Wonder Woman: Earth One had me very concerned. But it’s not terrible. It’s just sort of weird, an odd mishmash of elements that don’t make a look of sense strung together like this.

There are some good bits in the book. Etta Candy (here called Beth Candy as an homage to Beth Ditto) is pretty fun, and steals the show; she’s also one of the few likable characters in the book. And Paquette’s take on the Amazon’s home is gorgeous and inventive, both futuristic in tech and classical in inspiration. The architecture of the place is really lovely. Plus it’s cool that the book is super gay and very up front about it, as well as not at all exploitative with it. Lesbian Amazons could go real unpleasant real fast in the wrong hands, but Morrison and Paquette handle it well.

The book’s story just didn’t work well for me. The Amazons are kind of terrible people, Wonder Woman is arrogant and sometimes cruel, and her whole escape and the subsequent trial just made everyone involved come off awful. Apart from Etta. Etta was cool. There were also a lot of bizarre decisions throughout the book, scenes that made me go “Really?” or “Is that necessary?” or “What is this even adding to the story?” It didn’t do much for me, but that’s just me. The book didn’t make me mad or anything; just confused and rather underwhelmed.

You can read my full review of Wonder Woman: Earth One at The Comics Journal, and the book is available everywhere now. Let me know if you liked the book or not; I’m curious to hear your thoughts. It’s certainly a graphic novel that should inspire a lot of discussion. There’s a lot to dig into and pull apart.


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