Women In Comics Statistics: DC and Marvel, December 2015 In Review

February 12, 2016

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My latest “Gendercrunching” column went up earlier this week at Bleeding Cool, and both DC and Marvel’s overall percentage of female creators ticked up to end the year.

DC had 14.4% female creators overall in December, not a huge gain from their November numbers but an increase nonetheless. Marvel rose a couple of percentage points to 15.1% overall, their highest showing in several months.

We also took a look at the year as a whole, calculating the annual numbers for both publishers as well as charting the full year by category to see the trends. DC and Marvel combined to have the highest overall percentage of female creators since this project began, and both publishers look to be heading in a decent direction for 2016. The numbers always go up and down, so a decline may come, but these are nonetheless the strongest numbers we’ve seen yet at the Big Two, which is encouraging.

Head on over to Bleeding Cool for all of the stats fun!

New Batman v Superman Trailer Features More Wonder Woman, Thus Is The Best Trailer Yet

February 11, 2016

With Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice just over a month away now, Warner Bros. has released their final full length trailer for the movie. And surprisingly, it opens kind of awesomely, with Batman taking down a bunch of bad guys. I’m still very leery of this film for a variety of reasons, but I’m kind of excited to see that scene on the big screen. It looks all sorts of cool.

Then the trailer gets back to the goofy bro angst and fighting each other shenanigans, and everything gets decidedly less interesting. Except for Wonder Woman! She’s yet again a very small part of the trailer, but her role is slightly bigger than in the past couple. And she gets to say a line, sticking it to Bruce Wayne no less. Here it is, in handy GIF form:

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That’s kind of fun. And then she does this, which looks super rad:

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I pity whoever she’s leaping towards. They are going to end up in a bad way.

While I still have very little hope for this movie as a whole, I’d love to be pleasantly surprised and I’m definitely enjoying everything I’ve seen of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman so far. She seems primed to steal the show, for sure. If anyone can straighten those dumb boys out, it’s Wonder Woman.

The Legend of Wonder Woman #14 Review: A Familiar Face Returns

February 11, 2016

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Usually when I review The Legend of Wonder Woman I like to focus on one aspect of each issue and talk about it somewhat in depth, but I loved so many things about this week’s installment that I’m going to do a bunch of quick hit thoughts. Diana’s time in America continues, with her jonesing to get to the battlefields of Europe; there’s been no real action for several issues now, which should be getting irksome but it’s not at all because the book is so delightful and is building to its inevitable epic conflict so well. She’ll be in Europe soon and it will be crazy and cool, I’m sure. But for now, Diana chilling in America with Etta is a blast.

So let’s go through some key and fun moments from this issue:

1) Diana loves popcorn! It’s not integral to the story, but it’s amusing. Also, Renae De Liz is really good at drawing people eating. That’s a tricky thing to get right, but she’s gets it right and hilarious:

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2) Kudos to Ray Dillon for the colouring on the war film reel. His colour work on the main story has been great, but with the film reel he really captures that grainy feel and does a nice job with the black and white. The line work is more comic booky, woven together in cool ways that wouldn’t, without colours, scream “film reel”, but the colour work sells it perfectly.

3) I love that Diana thinks movies are some sort of sorcery, and even more than that I love her reaction to seeing William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She’s outraged by the story’s depiction of Hippolyta, furious that it reduced the warrior queen to romantic weakling. It’s a funny moment, but I also think it’s a significant character moment for Diana. She’s upset that this is how the world remembers her mother and the Amazons, and I think this may spur her to be an exemplar of Amazon strength and values for the world moving forward, to restore a true picture of who the Amazons are in the eyes of the world.

4) I think that the soldier about to ship off to the war is Jonathan Kent. He’s called Kent, and it looks like the letter he’s writing begins “Dear Martha.” With Perry White already part of this world, it’s cool to see another Superman reference. It also tells us a bit more about this world; if that’s a young Jonathan Kent, Superman must be a couple decades away, at least. Interesting. I really hope that De Liz gets the chance to explore her wider world in a sequel.

5) The scene at the recruiting office perfectly captures what’s so good about this series. Diana confronting the colonel about women not being allowed to fight is amusing because the colonel is so clearly scared of her, but it’s also so true to her character. Diana is DEAD SERIOUS about it, espousing the strength of women and decrying this patriarchal society, allowing De Liz to make some strong points in an entertaining way.

6) Etta is a great friend. When Diana finally tells her more about her mother and the Duke of Deception and why she wants to go Europe, Etta’s response is, “Hey, now, don’t you worry, Diana. You’re kind of talking crazy, but I’m here to help.” She then promises to help figure out a way to get Diana to Europe. Everybody needs a friend like Etta, who trusts them and supports them no matter what because they know their heart.

7) We finally see the ad that Etta’s been worrying about for several issues! De Liz has been building it up for some time, to the point that I wasn’t sure that seeing the ad would actually deliver; my expectations were so high. But it delivers, in spades. Etta is right to be so upset!

8) Steve is back! It’s not a real surprise; I don’t think that anyone thought he was really dead. First, it’s a comic book after all; no one stays dead! And second, he’s Steve Trevor. He’s a key piece of the mythos. And maybe now will be Diana’s ticket to Europe? It’ll all depend how much, if anything, he remembers from his time with the Amazons. Next week’s issue should be an interesting one.

This book is so very enjoyable. I love everything that De Liz and Dillon are doing with it, and it’s so much fun to read it every week. By the way, the first two print issues are out, so go buy them! And some copies for your friends! Do you have a kids, or nieces and nephews? Get some for them too; it’s kid friendly but fun for adults too. Just go buy it!

Print Edition of The Legend of Wonder Woman #2 Is Out Today! Buy It, Then Enjoy This Meta-Review!

February 10, 2016

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You all bought the print edition of The Legend of Wonder Woman #1 last month, right? Wasn’t it fantastic? It’s such a good book; it’s a new take on Wonder Woman’s classic Golden Age origins, and it’s gorgeous and delightful. And the second print issue is out today! You can go to your comic shop and buy it right now, so get on that. The better the book sells, the more likely we are to get a sequel, and I really want a sequel. I haven’t enjoyed a Wonder Woman comic this much in years.

I read and review the book digitally every week, so if you’re jonesing for some thoughts and commentary after you’ve enjoyed the new print issue, here are my reviews of the three digital installments that make up the print issue:

All three parts were wonderful, and will combine into a great print issue, I’m sure. So head to your comic shop and check it out! And get the first issue if for some crazy reason you haven’t picked it up yet. I promise you, you’ll love it.

Women at Marvel Comics Watch – April 2016 Solicits, 33 Women on 24 Books

February 8, 2016

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Usually my write ups for Marvel’s April solicits are a bit of a downer. Marvel often runs a special variant cover promotion in March that focuses on female creators and bumps up their numbers, and then everything falls back down to Earth in April. But not this April! Not only are Marvel’s numbers up after last month’s special promotions, they’ve hit their highest number of different female creators since this project began. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at Marvel this April:

  • Alti Firmansyah: X-Men ’92 #2 (interior art)
  • Amy Chu: A Year of Marvels: The Amazing #1 (co-writer)
  • Amy Reeder: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #6 (co-writer, cover)
  • Annie Wu: Black Widow #2 (variant cover)
  • Brittney L. Williams: Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! #5 (art and cover)
  • Chelsea Cain: Mockingbird #2 (writer)
  • Colleen Doran: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #7 (variant cover)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Hyperion #2 (cover)
  • Erica Henderson: Howard the Duck #6 (interior art), The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #7 (art and cover)
  • G. Willow Wilson: A-Force #4 (co-writer), Ms. Marvel #6 (writer)
  • Gurihiru: Gwenpool #1 (art and cover)
  • Helen Chen: Silk #7 (variant cover)
  • Joelle Jones: Mockingbird #2 (cover)
  • Kamome Shirahama: International Iron Man #2 (variant cover)
  • Kate Leth: Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! #5 (writer)
  • Kate Niemczyk: Mockingbird #2 (interior art)
  • Kelly Thompson: A-Force #4 (co-writer)
  • Kirbi Fagan: Mockingbird #2 (variant cover)
  • Marguerite Bennett: Angela: Queen of Hel #7 (writer)
  • Michele Fazekas: Captain Marvel #4 (co-writer)
  • Natacha Bustos: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #6 (interior art)
  • Nen Chang: Mockingbird #2 (variant cover)
  • Nik Virella: Hyperion #2 (interior art)
  • Robin Firth: Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three – Bitter Medicine #1 (co-writer)
  • Sara Pichelli: Spider-Man #3 (art, cover)
  • Siya Oum: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #7 (variant cover)
  • Stacey Lee: Gwenpool #1 (variant cover), Spider-Man & Silk: The Spider(fly) Effect #2 (cover), Spider-Women Alpha #1 (variant cover), Uncanny Inhumans #7 (cover)
  • Stephanie Hans: Angela: Queen of Hel #7 (art and cover)
  • Tana Ford: Silk #7 (interior art)
  • Tara Butters: Captain Marvel #4 (co-writer)
  • Vanesa Del Rey: Spider-Women Alpha #1 (interior art)
  • Yasmine Putri: Silk #7 (cover), Spider-Gwen #7 (cover), Spider-Woman #7 (cover), Spider-Women Alpha #1 (cover), Starbrand & Nightmask #5 (cover)

All together, there are 33 different female creators set to work on 24 different comics books at Marvel this April, solid jumps from last month’s 27 and 21 respectively. Marvel’s not been in the 30s since I started keeping track of these numbers a few years back, and DC’s only been there a handful of times, so this is a significant achievement. After being up and down with their female creator numbers for years, Marvel is finally showing some consistency with decent numbers.

The numbers look to be fairly sustainable, too. While there are a few one-time gigs like variant covers in the mix above, Marvel’s got a lot of women on regular gigs right now. There is a solid core of at least 20 women who are guaranteed to return next month, with several more likely to be back somewhere else then or soon. A high like 33 might not be matched next month, or in the next few months, but a) Marvel seems headed in a positive direction, and b) they may well top 33 different women; I wouldn’t put it past them.

For female characters, it’s a fairly quiet month. Gwenpool’s getting a comic, and the “Spider-Women” event is kicking off with Spider-Woman Alpha though the bulk of that event will take place in existing books rather than any new titles. The rest of the new books for April have male leads, including a new Black Panther that looks pretty cool and a Star Wars title starring Poe Dameron; with Marvel making Force Awakens books now, perhaps a Rey book will be coming soon.

Overall, April should be a good month for women at Marvel. As always, there’s still lots of room to grow, but 33 different female creators is huge for Marvel, and the past two months have had Marvel’s best showings in recent memory. Hopefully Marvel can keep up the strong numbers and continue trending in a positive direction. They’ve been up and down in the past, but the strong base of female creators on regular books is encouraging moving forward.

The Legend of Wonder Woman #13 Review: A Crossover Guest Star!

February 4, 2016

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So far in The Legend of Wonder Woman, we’ve seen the return of some classic Golden Age Wonder Woman characters who have been shelved or altered from their original form in DC’s comics for some time. We’ve got an iconic, fun loving Etta Candy, cracking wise and hanging out with the Holliday Girls. We’ve got the Duke of Deception with a creepy new look, stalking the battlefields of Europe and stirring up horrors. But now, in this week’s digital first issue of The Legend of Wonder Woman, we’ve got a guest star we’re used to seeing In Metropolis, not Boston.

After Diana and the Holliday Girls headed into Boston for a day of errands and shopping, Diana and Etta stopped by the National Discoverer offices so that Diana could ask about the Duke of Deception story she and Etta read in last week’s issue. The editor pointed her towards the story’s writer, and it turned out to be none other than Perry White! Usually the editor of the Daily Planet, sending Lois Lane and Clark Kent out to cover big stories, here Perry is still a reporter, and the only one at the National Discoverer who’s serious enough about his job to actually go to the front lines in Europe and do proper research.

Perry gives Diana some additional information about the Duke of Deception, confirming her suspicion that the Duke has her mother’s amulet and that some ill has befallen Hippolyta and the Amazons. Perry also talked about his desire to leave the National Discoverer in order to “break out of the tabloids and start a respectable newspaper of my own,” a likely reference to his future at the Daily Planet. Because I’m a super huge nerd who likes to overthink things, I’m now wondering what the superhero scene might be in Renae De Liz and Ray Dillon’s world? Is there a Superman in Metropolis, with Clark Kent working at the Daily Star? Is there a Batman in Gotham? Are the Justice Society fighting the Nazis?

I know it’s a Wonder Woman book, and she’ll be the focus throughout; I’m just curious about the wider world. As a big fan of what De Liz and Dillon have done with this story, it would be fun to see more of this universe. In particular, I’d love to see a classic Justice Society team up! Wonder Woman’s role in the 1940s Justice Society was kind of lame; she was their secretary, and didn’t participate in many adventures (largely because William Moulton Marston and H.G. Peter were busy doing Wonder Woman stories for three different series, and were too protective of their character to let anyone else write and draw her in All Star Comics). Given the fantasticness of De Liz and Dillon’s Golden Age revamp so far, rectifying this missed opportunity from 75 years ago would be a lot of fun.

But I digress. After the fun Perry White cameo, Diana is more adamant than ever that she needs to go to Europe to track down the Duke of Deception. Etta, of course, does her best to convince her that this is a horrible idea, and her new plan is to scare Diana straight with some newsreels at the local theater, which we’ll see next week. I doubt that will go well for Etta, but it’s sweet that she cares.

I’ve enjoyed this pause in the action as Diana acclimates to America, and having Etta around is the best; her confrontation with the National Discoverer‘s editor over a mysterious ad in which she’s featured was hilarious. Nonetheless, the news of the Duke of Deception wreaking havoc in Europe has me as antsy as Diana for her to go over and take him down. Quite fittingly, too. It’s fun to be in the same boat as Diana, and I like that De Liz is building the anticipation. Plus, as keen as I am for Diana to emerge as Wonder Woman, I don’t want to leave Etta and the Holliday Girls behind quite yet. Though they could come to Europe too, as they did in the Golden Age! There are so many fun ways this story could go.

BvS Wonder Woman Barbie Available For Pre-order; Offers New Details on her Film Origins

February 3, 2016

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We got a sneak peak at the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Barbie doll of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman last summer, and now the doll is available for pre-order at the Barbie Collection website. It’s not too pricey either, coming in at $39.95 US; it’s not cheap by any means, but it’s not overly expensive. It looks pretty cool, too! The colours are nice and bright, she’s got her lasso, sword, and shield, and it looks like there’s a lot of articulation on the doll. I haven’t played with Barbies in a long time, but if I correctly remember the ones my sister had, they were pretty stiff, and only moved at the shoulder and hip joints. This Wonder Woman doll appears to have elbow and knee joints, rotation in the upper arm, and perhaps even some hand turning articulation.

The Barbie Collection site offers a closer look at the doll; the photos are very detailed, and allow you to zoom in close to see the impressive detail. The leather in her sash, for example, is nicely textured, as is her skirt, and the shield is very detailed. It looks like they’ve done a lovely job with her. Also, if all of the dolls retain that hair flip, I’ll be super impressed. One thing I do remember from my sister’s Barbies is that their hair could go real wonky.

The official description for the Wonder Woman doll also provides some insight into her cinematic origins. It reads:

The wild card in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice™, Wonder Woman is the daughter of Zeus and an Amazonian princess! Sculpted and costumed just like the movie character, she’s fully articulated and ready to fight with her sword, shield, and her iconic “magic” lasso. Knee-high boots, armored bracelets, and a headdress complete her warrior’s attire.

So that’s another confirmation on the daughter of Zeus angle; it seems that the movies are definitely going with her New 52 origin, which is disappointing but expected. The real surprise is that they call Diana the daughter of “an Amazonian princess”, when in every incarnation of the character she’s the daughter of an Amazonian queen. It may just be a mistake, or a miscommunication, because Wonder Woman is the one who is the Amazon princess. Or perhaps, given that Wonder Woman is going to be 5,000 years old, maybe her mother Hippolyta WAS a princess when she had Diana and later ascended to become queen. Whatever this Barbie packaging may say, all of the coverage surrounding Connie Nielsen’s recent casting as Hippolyta referred to her as a queen, so that will likely be her role.

EDITED TO ADD: As Marty points out in the comments, the Amazonian princess bit may just be poor phrasing. So, instead of being the daughter of Zeus and the daughter of an Amazonian princess, Diana might be the daughter of Zeus AS WELL AS being an Amazonian princess, leaving Hippolyta out of it completely.  Which makes much more sense.

The Barbie Collection site says that the Wonder Woman doll will ship by March 1, so it should start hitting stores relatively soon. And I’m hearing word that Wonder Woman figures from Batman v Superman‘s other toy lines have been arriving on store shelves, though they’re selling out quickly. I’ve yet to see any at the major department stores here in Halifax, Nova Scotia, but I think we’re pretty low on the distribution chain. I hope you’ve saved your pennies for this onslaught of Wonder Woman merchandise! I try to practical with my money and all, but I’m probably going to end up buying every single Wonder Woman toy I see. Just wait until next year when she’s got her own movie toy line! I’m going to go broke.


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