Wonder Woman Cake Wars Recap: Nicola Scott PLUS So Many Wonder Woman Cakes!

September 21, 2016


On Monday night, the Food Network’s Cake Wars aired an episode that celebrated Wonder Woman’s 75th anniversary. I’m not familiar with the show, but Wonder Woman was involved so of course I had to watch it. It seemed fine as far as cooking competitions go; it’s no Great British Bake Off, and the host was no Mel and/or Sue. But it did have Wonder Woman artist Nicola Scott as a guest judge, which was super cool!

For the first round, four bakers were tasked with making a cake that a) celebrated an iconic element of the Wonder Woman mythos, and b) included flavours inspired by classic American dishes. The first cake up to be judged was from Eric Woller of Meme’s Street Bakery, who tried to create a transparent invisible jet circling Paradise Island (click the pictures to get a closer look at all of the cakes):


The plane turned out more translucent than transparent, and the rest of the cake was a bit sloppy. The judges didn’t love his chicken and waffle inspired flavours either. I like the idea a lot, but the execution was a bit lacking.

Next up was Viki Kane from Just a Little Dessert, who made a s’more flavoured cake that showed a young girl seeing herself as Wonder Woman:


The judges loved this one, both the design and the taste. They saluted her creativity as well as her crisp work with the Wonder Woman logo. I thought it looked very cool, though the judges thought that the rough sprinkle design was brilliant while I found it a bit messy. Still, killer idea well executed.

The third cake was from Tammy Tuttle of T-Tuttle Custom Cakes. She made a BLT cake (seriously) that incorporated various elements of Wonder Woman’s costume:


The BLT flavour didn’t impress anyone, and the judges found the accessories to be a little bit thick and sloppily applied. It was a fun idea, but she ran into a time crunch because her cakes took a long time to cook. So it goes when you put chopped up tomato in a cake, I guess.

Finally, Christina Moda from Cakes a la Moda made an apple pie inspired cake that paid homage to Wonder Woman’s bullet deflecting basics:


Her flavours didn’t wow the judges, and while they liked the idea of the design, they thought that the hands looked weirdly puffy and the other elements were a bit simple. I agree; it was a good concept, but the hands were the focal point and they just didn’t come together. In the end, the judges decided that Christina would be cut from the competition.

The remaining three bakers moved onto the final round, where they made ENORMOUS cakes with lavish decorations. These things were crazy. Viki was the first to present, and she achieved quite the architectural feat with her suspended upside down cake. The whole cake hung from a hook:


Her malt chocolate flavours didn’t quite come through, but the judges were wowed by the sheer amount of detail she put into the cake, even though they didn’t quite see her concept of a villain flipping Wonder Woman’s celebratory cake upside and her fighting to turn it back. The important thing was that it looked super cool and it worked in so many Wonder Woman elements in a clean, well laid out manner.

Next up was Eric, who made a vanilla, raspberry, and blueberry celebration cake that aimed for a comic book feel:


They all enjoyed the taste of the cake and they liked the idea and scope of the build, but were underwhelmed with the execution. The faces on both of his Wonder Women were all jacked up, everything was a little sloppy, and it had a bit of generic comic book feel instead of a look specific to Wonder Woman; Scott pointed out that you could sub in Batman for Wonder Woman and it might actually make more sense.

Finally, Tammy wanted to capture Wonder Woman’s empowering spirit with her chocolate cake with raspberry coconut frosting:


The cake itself was a big hit, but the design got mixed reviews. The judges loved her figure work and how they represented different eras of Wonder Woman, but the huge gray background seemed a bit much to them. They wanted more color and pop instead of a massive mound of gray.

Overall, Tammy’s cake was my favourite. She made so many Wonder Women from so many different eras, in impressive detail! And I actually liked the gray. I thought the building was cool because it both represented the capitol building and the ancient architecture of Paradise Island, plus the muted colours allowed her Wonder Woman figures to really shine. But the judges disagreed with me and Viki took home the prize with her very creative and well constructed design.

Overall, it was an enjoyable program. I wanted to taste every single cake, Nicola Scott was a fun judge, and I got to see some rad cake designs. It’s always a good time when DC teams up with reality competition shows; the Ink Master and Face Off episodes they did a couple years back were a lot of fun. Maybe we’ll see even more Wonder Woman tie-ins on other shows before her 75th anniversary celebration is over!

Wonder Woman’s December 2016 Covers and Solicits

September 20, 2016

December looks to be another fairly low key month on the Wonder Woman front. The recent deluge of new Wonder Woman collections and reprints has dried up for the second straight month, but we’ve got a few fun single issues to dig into, as well as some rad action figures. Let’s take a look at where Wonder Woman will be in December 2016, starting with her own monthly series:


Written by GREG RUCKA
Art and cover by NICOLA SCOTT
Variant cover by JENNY FRISON
“YEAR ONE” part five! The threat is named, and now Wonder Woman and her new allies must rise to meet the coming darkness.
On sale DECEMBER 14 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Written by GREG RUCKA
Variant cover by JENNY FRISON
“BETWEEN THE LIES AND THE TRUTH”! Following the conclusion of “The Lies,” Steve Trevor must grapple with revelations about not only Wonder Woman, but himself as well!
On sale DECEMBER 28 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Nicola Scott gets the cover here yet again, and I still don’t know why DC is refusing to put out two covers for their bi-monthly books. I like to see covers! They’re pretty and fun. At least we get a big reveal out of this one: The “threat” mentioned in the above solicit is clearly Ares, here drawn more in the style of George Perez than the New 52 incarnation who looked like Brian Azzarello. Ares has become a go-to character in Wonder Woman origin stories in the past couple of decades, and I’m curious to see what Rucka and Scott do with him.

Meanwhile, “The Lies” is wrapped up in the odd-numbered issues so we’ll get a special issue with guest artist Matthew Clark that’s focused on Steve Trevor. I don’t know that anyone was clamoring for a Steve Trevor special, but he’s been surprisingly likable and endearing in this run thus far so the issue could be a good time.

Onto Trinity #4:

Art and cover by CLAY MANN
Variant cover by BILL SIENKIEWICZ
“BETTER TOGETHER” part four! The trio’s tribulations have turned the Black Mercy’s gift into a world of nightmares that give birth to a horror that can only be called the White Mercy. And what scares Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman could destroy the world!
On sale DECEMBER 21 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

The cover in the solicits for this issue was the same cover we got last month, so either they’re swapping covers or this one isn’t done yet. Either way, I left it out. The Black Mercy storyline continues in December, and I’m curious to see how it goes. The first issue of the series debuts TOMORROW, which is exciting. My enthusiasm for the book is based solely on the gorgeous covers we’ve seen so far, so hopefully the story is fun too.

Wonder Woman’s also popping up in a holiday special:


DC’s biggest and brightest heroes celebrate the holidays in this new special! Don’t miss a Chanukah crisis for Batwoman, a Flash family Christmas, Wonder Woman interrupting John Constantine’s hellblazing pagan party and more—including the return of Detective Chimp! Today’s top talents bring you a very special holiday gift that’ll keep on giving through the New Year! And writer Paul Dini crafts a Harley holiday tale featuring DCU guests that bridges all the stories in the weirdest, wildest way.
ONE-SHOT • On sale DECEMBER 14 • 96 pg, FC, $9.99 US • RATED T

I like holiday specials, and a story where Wonder Woman interrupts John Constantine’s pagan party sounds like a hoot. The price is a little steep on this one, but there are some great writers and artists in the mix that might make this book worth checking out.

Finally, the December solicits feature a couple of Wonder Woman action figures that will hit stores in April 2017. We’ve got one based on that DC Comics Bombshells line that will be $28 US; it looks like a lot of fun:


And another based on Ivan Reis’ design of Wonder Woman from his Justice League run for $45 US. Holy wow, that’s a lot:


It’s a lovely figure, but already out of date what with the new “Rebirth” costume. Figures take a long time to make, and they change Wonder Woman’s costume every other week it seems. Still, it’s very cool, albeit mad pricey.

Look for all of these comics this December, and the action figures this April!

Women in Comics Statistics: DC and Marvel, July 2016 In Review

September 15, 2016


My latest “Gendercrunching” column is up at Bleeding Cool, and DC’s overall percentage of female creator ticked up yet again as they bested a stagnant Marvel for the second straight month.

DC had 18.4% female creators, a gain of 0.9% that marked their fourth straight month of growth and took them to their highest total of the year. Marvel’s overall percentage of female creators rose only slightly, gaining 0.1% to hit 15.7%, a mid-level performance for the publisher that was several points down from their recent highs.

We also took a look at female characters in Big Two comics; DC had 34.1% female characters across their covers, their highest total in three years, while Marvel slipped down slightly to 30.2%, another mid-level performance. In terms of series headliners, male-led books took a tumble as team books surged for DC while Marvel’s numbers stayed about the same, with male-led books comprising roughly half of their line.

Head over to Bleeding Cool for the full numbers and all of the stats fun!

Superwoman #2 Review: Where’s Lois Lane?

September 14, 2016


Superwoman  was advertised as a Lois Lane comic book. The New 52 Lois got superpowers when the New 52 Superman died, and now she was ready to take to the skies to defend and protect Metropolis as Superwoman. I was intrigued. It wasn’t the Lois Lane comic I was hoping for; I’d rather see her tracking down scoops and taking down bad guys at the Daily Planet. But I was on board, especially with Phil Jimenez writing and drawing it and Emanuela Lupacchino subbing in on art occasionally. It was a stellar team with a new, different take on Lois, and I was excited for it. Turns out, that’s not was Superwoman was about at all. We’ll discuss, but first:


I am going to disclose a number of shocking reveals!

So the first issue was fine for a while. It had a lot of Lana Lang, but I didn’t mind too much. I knew that she’d be working with Lois, and I was excited to see them grow from rivals and often adversaries into partners and friends. Then we learned that Lana has superpowers too, and again I didn’t mind too much. All the better for rad team ups! I liked the idea of dual Superwomen fighting evil. Then Lois was killed at the end of the issue, or at least it looked that way. It’s a comic book, so I was wary. I’m used to fake out cliffhanger endings, so while I was concerned, I was hoping it would all be a trick and the gals would be back together in the next issue.

But no. Lois is dead.

Real dead too. She straight up disintegrated in the opening pages of the second issue, leaving a grieving Lana to carry on as a superhero on her own. Luckily she’s got a good support system with John Henry Irons and his niece Natasha, two characters I quite like. But Lois is gone, and that means so am I.

Now, Superwoman isn’t a bad comic. Jimenez’s artwork is great, as always, and the series has got a lot of good characters in the mix. The first two issues have been a bit overstuffed, which has affected the pacing of the issues and the readability of the art at times but it is, on its own merits, a decent book. If it was advertised as the Lana Lang comic it is, I probably would have checked it out. I’m not a huge Lana fan, but she’s a character with potential and elevating her to a superhero role after decades trapped being a romantic rival is kind of cool. That’s a good hook on its own.

But instead we got this bait and switch, and with every page my main thought was, “Where’s Lois?” My frustration at the death of the lead character I was promised trumped whatever level of enjoyment I got from the comic itself. A Lois Lane comic book is LONG overdue. She hasn’t had a solo series since Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane ended in 1974, but she’s been a mainstay in the DC universe in every medium for over 75 years now. She should have her own series, preferably with a better title than her old one. To promise this book and then not deliver it is both insulting and disappointing.

Even worse is killing her off in the process. Lois gets killed a lot, especially over the last decade or so. Offing her, for real or not, to create anguish for Superman has become a common trope used again and again by bad writers, and now she’s been offed to create anguish for Lana. Moreover, the New 52 Lois had a terrible run. Since the 2011 relaunch, she’s been sidelined and forgotten, and this new series felt like redemption after years of poor treatment. Instead, Superwoman fell into the same old patterns straight away.

Lois could yet come back, of course. It’s comics, after all; nobody stays dead and Jimenez seems to be teasing something. Plus, why introduce her just to kill her off so quick? There may be a longer plan at work here. But I’ve got no time for it. I really don’t understand DC’s thinking here. Why involve Lois at all, and especially why advertise it as a Lois book in the first place? If the plan is to kill her off for good, you’re only upsetting Lois fans. If the plan is to “kill her off” and then bring her back later, all of the Lois fans will have already jumped ship by the time you do so. No matter how you slice it, the way DC set up this series is just ridiculous.

Lois Lane is the First Lady of the DC universe. She is as brave and heroic and compelling as any of those folks with the masks and the capes, and she deserves some time in the spotlight. Whether she’s dead or “dead,” Lois’s depiction in Superwoman has been yet another in a long list of comics that have treated her poorly. We don’t need more of those. I’m done with the series, and this will be my last review of it. I like Jimenez and Lupacchino, and I like Lana, John, and Natasha, but I love Lois Lane, and any book that kills her off to further someone else’s plot is a book that I’m just not interested in.

Wonder Woman #6 Review: The Inhospitable World of Men

September 14, 2016


It’s an excellent time to be a Wonder Woman fan, especially if you like your Wonder Woman to have an exciting, well-written, gorgeous, feminist origin. Earlier this year we got The Legend of Wonder Woman, a fresh yet iconic reimagining of her World War Two origins by Renae De Liz and Ray Dillon. Now we’ve got “The Lies” by Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott in the main Wonder Woman book, and while we’re only three issues in, I think it’s reasonable to say that this is going to go down as one of the best Wonder Woman stories of all time. It captures the spirit of Diana, the Amazons, and even Steve Trevor so well; it’s like the platonic ideal of every key aspect of Wonder Woman’s mythos. The story continued today in Wonder Woman #6, and we’ll dig into it all, but first:


Go read the issue before you read this review!

You’ll love it, I promise!

It’s worth the $2.99!

This issue shows Wonder Woman’s first days in the world of men, and she spends them imprisoned. Everyone is wary of her and her advanced technology and weaponry, she doesn’t speak their language and they don’t speak hers, and the authorities view her as a potential threat. But things have picked up by the end of the issue: the military brings in Dr. Barbara Ann Minerva, who understands the Amazon language, and the gods come in animal form and bless Diana with a variety of gifts, including super strength.

It’s a fun issue for a lot of little reasons. First off, there’s a George Perez cameo! He’s there as Dr. Perez, an expert on Ancient Greece who unsuccessfully tries to communicate with Wonder Woman. It’s a great shout out, but also a clever one; Perez’s Wonder Woman run added a very Ancient Greek aesthetic to the Amazons and Wonder Woman. We also get official confirmation that Wonder Woman is tall, which is a small thing but something that many Wonder Woman fans will be pleased about. She is now canonically 6’2!  Fun details like these help to make an already great book extra special.

But what I loved most of all in this issue was its subtle juxtaposition with Wonder Woman #4, which offers a clear contrast between Paradise Island and the world of men without beating the reader over the head with blatant metaphors or shocking imagery. In the last issue of “The Lies,” Steve Trevor crashed onto Paradise Island and looked like an aggressor; he was a man, he had weapons, he was part of a larger force. But the Amazons immediately set about healing his wounds and carefully deliberated over what to do with him, and ultimately decided to return him home. They also treated him well during his brief stay. Steve was often bewildered by the utopian island of tall of warrior women and was very much out of his depth not knowing the language or that this place even existed. But the Amazons were kind and welcoming and he just went with it because he clearly felt comfortable there. In both his occasional remarks to himself and the way Scott drew him, he was at ease. He felt safe, even when he didn’t understand anything that was happening around him.

Compare that to Diana’s arrival in the world of men in Wonder Woman #6. Now she’s the fish out of water, not understanding the language or the culture, but what unfolds is the complete opposite. As soon as she steps out of her plane, everyone stares at her and armed men quickly surround her. She’s processed like a criminal and locked in a cell. She clearly feels threatened and uneasy throughout it all; her wide eyed shock and defensive positioning when the police first approach her show this even better than the dialogue does.

Wonder Woman feels an immediate lack of comfort and safety in the world of men, and understandably so. It’s not due to a culture shock at the tall buildings or technology or fashions like we’ve seen in the past, it’s the instantaneous distrust from everyone around her. Diana was raised in a utopian society of constant acceptance and security, and the loss of that disturbs her straight away. There’s also a loss of control and autonomy. Diana was able to roam Paradise Island and live freely, and more personally her body was her own and it was a culture of mutual respect and trust. In the world of men, she’s placed in a cell, catalogued and confined by people who obviously do not have the same respect for her personhood. Even the colouring shows the difference; Paradise Island was lush and warm and beautifully coloured, while Wonder Woman’s processing and her cell is drab, with a lot of cold blues.

In just two issues, Rucka and Scott captured exactly what makes Paradise Island such a utopia, and with this third installment they’ve underscored this while adding a smart twist to the typical critique of patriarchal society we usually get in a Wonder Woman origin story. It’s interesting that Wonder Woman isn’t raging, either. We often see Wonder Woman fight back in such situations, but here she is voiceless and has no recourse for her treatment, like so many women the world over. It’s very powerful indeed that her introduction to the world of men is to be confined and controlled.

But it’s not all grim.  There are still bright spots, even within the world of men. Steve has her back, of course, and it’s definitely not a coincidence that the first two friends Diana makes once she arrives are women. First, Etta reaches out to her and treats her with kindness, and then Barbara Minerva is able to converse with her because of her academic  expertise in archaeology. The world of men isn’t terrible, and there clearly are good people in it. It’s just very different and definitely not a utopia, and it will be interesting to see Wonder Woman navigate this new world, especially with her new superpowers. Will the inherent mistrust and lack of safety she felt when she entered America pull her down, or will the good people trying to make the world a better place bring her up? I’m guessing it will be the latter, but it will be fun to see all of this play out over the next few issues.

Quick programming note: If you read through to the end of the issue you probably saw that next month’s even numbered Wonder Woman is going to focus on Barbara Minerva. Wonder Woman #8 was originally going to be “The Lies, Part 4” but that’s been pushed back to November and instead we’re getting a special issue written by Rucka with art by Bilquis Evely, which should be very cool.

Wonder Woman #6 Preview: The Astounding Arrival of the Amazing Amazon

September 13, 2016

The third issue of Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott’s “Year One” Wonder Woman arc is out this Wednesday, and if you’re not fixing to pick up this issue then you are doing yourself a great disservice. While “The Lies” arc that runs in the odd numbered issues of Wonder Woman has been fine, “Year One” in the even numbered issues has been spectacular, with great writing and gorgeous artwork. The story continues in Wonder Woman #6 tomorrow, and Harpy‘s got a preview of the issue, showing the early moments of Wonder Woman’s arrival in America:




This looks very fun and there’s lots I’m excited to see play out tomorrow, but for now let’s talk about birds! Various animals are associated with the Greek gods, and the owl’s connection to Athena is a big one. I’m not sure what’s paired with the owl, whether it’s a dove or a pigeon or a seagull, but the first two are usually associated with Aphrodite and just generally Aphrodite is very connected to the sea, so a seagull may fit there. It also looks like there’s a hawk or an eagle circling the beach, birds associated with Apollo and Zeus respectively. It seems that the gods may be keeping tabs on Diana, and I’m curious to see if they eventually make their presence known.

Wonder Woman #6 is available in comic shops and online tomorrow, so be sure to pick it up! The storyline has been fantastic so far, and you’re making a very bad life decision if you’re skipping out on this one!

Women at Marvel Comics – November 2016 Solicits, 31 Women on 19 Books

September 8, 2016


Marvel’s on quite a run with female creators. While their November solicits are a slight step down from the record highs of the three months previous, there are still a lot of women in the mix; the publisher hasn’t had fewer than 30 female creators since July. There are, however, some slightly disconcerting trends therein. We’ll chat about it all, but first let’s take a look at who’s doing what at Marvel in November 2016:

  • Afua Richardson: Black Panther: World of Wakanda #1 (interior art, cover)
  • Alitha E. Martinez: Black Panther: World of Wakanda #1 (interior art, variant cover)
  • Alti Firmansyah: X-Men ’92 #9 (interior art)
  • Amy Reeder: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #13 (co-writer, cover)
  • Annapaola Martello: Scarlet Witch #12 (interior art)
  • Becky Cloonan: The Punisher #7 (writer)
  • Brittney L. Williams: Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat! #12 (interior art, cover)
  • Elsa Charretier: Star Wars Annual #2 (variant cover)
  • Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #14 (interior art, cover)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Ms. Marvel #13 (writer)
  • Gurihiru: Gwenpool #8 (interior art)
  • Helen Chen: Silk #14 (variant cover)
  • Irene Strychalski: Silk #14 (interior art)
  • Jody Houser: Max Ride: Final Flight #3 (writer)
  • Joelle Jones: Ms. Marvel #13 (cover)
  • Kamome Shirahama: The Punisher #7 (variant cover)
  • Kate Leth: Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat! #12 (writer)
  • Kelly Thompson: Star Wars Annual #2 (writer)
  • Natacha Bustos: Black Panther: World of Wakanda #1 (variant cover), Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #13 (interior art, variant cover)
  • Nik Virella: All-New Wolverine #14 (interior art)
  • Risa Hulett: Ultimates 2 #1 (variant cover)
  • Robin Furth: Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three – The Sailor #2 (co-writer)
  • Roxane Gay: Black Panther: World of Wakanda #1 (co-writer)
  • Sara Pichelli: Spider-Man #10 (cover)
  • Siya Oum: Jessica Jones #2 (variant cover)
  • Stacey Lee: Gwenpool #8 (cover)
  • Stephanie Hans: Captain America: Steve Rogers #7 (cover)
  • Veronica Fish: Spider-Woman #13 (interior art)
  • Yasmine Putri: Silk #14 (cover)
  • Yona Harvey: Black Panther: World of Wakanda #1 (co-writer)

All together, there are 31 different female creators scheduled to work on 19 different comic books at Marvel in November, 2 fewer women than in October and 5 fewer books. The drop in the overall number isn’t a particularly big deal; these things fluctuate, and Marvel’s been solidly in the low-30s for four straight months. The drop in the number of books, however, is a bit troubling.

Back in August, Marvel had women working on 28 different books, and that number has dwindled since then down to 19 in November, a drop of a third. Meanwhile, the number of women at Marvel has stayed roughly the same. Instead of having female creators spread throughout the line, they’re grouped together, typically on a book with a female lead, limiting their broader impact on Marvel’s output. It’s an odd sort of pigeonholing; Marvel’s employing more women than they ever have, but they’re keeping them all together in a small little corner of their line.

Now, there are books where this makes sense. The new Black Panther: World of Wakanda focuses on Wakandan women, and it’s got several women of colour writing and drawing the stories therein. It’s a smart idea to bring their perspective to this title. But broadly speaking, female creators are capable of writing and drawing more than just women, and lumping them all together in a limited number of titles is a poor way to go about improving representation at the publisher. Moving women from a tiny minority to a small minority is a step in the right direction, yes, but Marvel needs to a) keep hiring MORE women, and b) start employing them throughout their line.

It should also be pointed out that this problem is not unique to Marvel; DC does this a lot as well. But it’s been more pronounced at Marvel as of late, and the consistent drop in titles while the number of women has remained about the same is a bizarre trend that demanded comment.

In terms of female characters, Marvel’s got a whole pile of new books set to premiere in November as their new Marvel NOW! line continues to roll out, most of which have male leads. Black Panther: World of Wakanda is an exception, as is the new Invincible Iron Man with Riri Williams in a lead role. Most of the rest have men at the forefront, with a few women here and there on new team books; Ultimates 2 looks to have several women in the mix, at least.

Overall, Marvel’s been doing a lot of good things as of late. Consistent numbers for female creators that are very high relative to their past performances is a great thing. But there’s still a long way to go. There’s lots of room for these numbers to grow, and female creators don’t just have to work on books with a female lead. Progress on all of these fronts is slow, of course. We’ve been monitoring these numbers for years and are just starting to see hints of almost decent representation now, so this will take some time. Hopefully Marvel can continue with the progress they’ve made and push things even further in the months ahead.

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