Women At DC Comics Watch – August 2015 Solicits: 19 Different Female Creators On 22 Different Books

May 22, 2015

womenatdcAUGUST

We’ve got an official name and promotional campaign for DC’s mini-relaunch this August, DCYou, but so far DC isn’t exactly living up to their supposed focus on diversity when it comes to female creators. The numbers for June and July were much lower than we saw earlier this year at DC, by half in terms of July’s solicits, and August is going to be more of the same. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what this August at DC Comics:

  • Amanda Conner: Harley Quinn #19 (co-writer, cover), Harley Quinn and Power Girl #3 (co-writer, cover), Harley Quinn Road Trip Special #1 (co-writer, cover), Section 8 #3 (cover), Starfire #3 (co-writer, cover)
  • Annie Wu: Black Canary #3 (art and cover)
  • Babs Tarr: Batgirl #43 (interior art)
  • Barbara Kesel: Sensation Comics #13 (writer)
  • Becky Cloonan: Gotham Academy #9 (co-writer)
  • Caitlin Kittredge: Coffin Hill #21 (writer)
  • Chrissie Zullo: Fables: The Wolf Among Us #8 (cover)
  • Corin Howell: Bat-Mite #3 (art and cover)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: DC Comics Bombshells #1 (variant cover), Deathstroke #9 (variant cover), Detective Comics #43 (variant cover), Grayson #11 (variant cover), Justice League #43 (variant cover), Sinestro #14 (variant cover), Starfire #3 (penciller)
  • Emma Vieceli: Sensation Comics #13 (interior art)
  • Gail Simone: Secret Six #5 (writer)
  • Genevieve Valentine: Catwoman #43 (writer)
  • Irene Coh: Sensation Comics #13 (interior art)
  • Laura Braga: Sensation Comics #13 (interior art)
  • Marguerite Sauvage: DC Comics Bombshells #1 (interior art)
  • Marguerite Bennett: DC Comics Bombshells #1 (writer)
  • Meredith Finch: Wonder Woman #43 (writer)
  • Ming Doyle: Constantine: The Hellblazer #3 (co-writer)
  • Vanesa Del Rey: Constantine: The Hellblazer #3 (interior art)

All together, there are 19 different women scheduled to work on 22 different books in August, an increase from July’s 15 and 16 but pretty much exactly in line with the June numbers. DC had 32 different women just a few months ago, before the DCYou launch, so these sustained lower numbers are quite disappointing. DC is clearly capable of doing better, and they’re just not.

What’s more, the numbers this month went up because of just one book. There are 4 different women set to work on Sensation Comics #13, which is a) more than a fifth of all of the women in August’s solicits, and b) the only reason August isn’t worse than July. Now, all of these women are great creators and I’m really looking forward to this issue. However, it’s a one time gig. None of these women are likely to be back in September. Plus it’s a sad scene when just one book can have such an effect. Four male creators is just a drop in the bucket at DC Comics, but four women stopped August from being DC’s worst month of the year for female creators.

On the character side of things, there are some fun books coming in August, including DC Comics Bombshells, a new series based on last year’s wildly successful variant cover line. The variant cover line is back in August, by the way, which is why Emanuela Lupacchino is everywhere this month. Bombshells could be a very cool book, and it’s a got a fantastic creative team behind it. Wonder Woman, or rather a new version thereof, is also getting a spotlight in prequel comics for the upcoming Justice League: Gods and Monsters animated film, including her own solo issue.

Overall, August is looking better than July, at least, but July was DC’s lowest month of the year. I had really high hopes for DCYou after seeing how much DC’s female creator representation grew in the early part of 2015, but it’s been rough so far. It’s never good to launch a new initiative with fewer female creators than you had before, but that’s DC’s jam. See: The New 52. And while there are certainly more women involved with DCYou than the New 52, literally every month of the year before DCYou debuted had more female creators in the mix. It’s just all a big step backwards so far.

Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #34 and #35 Review: “Vendetta, Parts 2 and 3″ by Josh Elder, Jamal Igle, and Juan Castro

May 21, 2015

sensation35

I skipped my usual digital Sensation Comics review last week to instead just write about the story when it was wrapped up this week and do both issues at once. When writing my review for the first issue, my feelings were basically “Let’s see where this goes” so I decided to wait two weeks and see all of the places it went. And it turned out okay. I’d place “Vendetta” in the middle of the pack on the list of Sensation Comics stories we’ve had thus far, but it had some good moments.

One moment I particularly liked was the start of the second issue, when Ares stopped a UN convoy and challenged one of the peacekeepers to a duel. The defiant peacekeeper had no choice but to accept, but she bravely took on the god of war and managed to get in a couple of good shots, even though the fight ultimately ended in her death. It’s one thing for a superhero to take on a god; a superhero has a chance, at least. But the everyday heroics of an ordinary person thrust into an extraordinary situation, however futile they may be, is often a much more inspiring tale. I sometimes harp on Sensation Comics stories when they take the focus away from Wonder Woman and give the best moments to someone else, but I really loved this peacekeeper doing her damnedest to stop Ares. It was the highlight of the story for me.

Wonder Woman isn’t without her own action scenes, though. She chats it up a lot in the second issue, first working to negotiate a peace deal between an African country’s warring factions, and later talks with Ares, but she does get to bust through a bunch of dragonmen on her way to the god of war, at least. Then the final issue is the big battle, with Wonder Woman and Ares facing off in a fight that takes up most of part three. It’s a well plotted fight scene, with good back and forth momentum, culminating in a win for Wonder Woman, of course. It’s her comic book, after all. What I particularly enjoyed about the fight, aside from its inherent fun, was that seeing the destructive personification of war engaged in such fierce, damaging battle convinced the two leaders of the warring factions that peace would be a better option.

The art throughout the story is fine, but I don’t like Igle’s twist on Wonder Woman’s outfit anymore than I did when I read the first issue two weeks ago. The gold piece on her breastplate is distractingly large, the gloves just look weird, and the shield is a little too colourful for my taste; Captain America has the definitive comic book round shield, so doing anything close to it isn’t my jam. I think Wonder Woman should have something more unique. However, I do like the straps a lot. Wonder Woman’s outfit makes a lot more sense with straps. And Igle seems to have cut the volume of Wonder Woman’s skirt a lot in these later issues. It had a lot of poof at times in the first one.

Aside from the design, I think Igle did a good job choreographing the fight scenes and making the action fun. I also liked the way Ares dissolves into a flock of ravens from time to time; it’s a very cool visual. It would also look super awesome in a Wonder Woman movie, if Ares is ever a part of one, so keep that in mind, Patty Jenkins.

All together, “Vendetta” was a decent read. Looking back on it all, I feel like it might have worked better as a two parter than a three parter, particularly given the digital format. With such short installments, you really want to pack things in and make each installment read well on its own, not just as part of a whole. I think that things got stretched out a bit, especially with a lot of the setup in the first issue, and the story would be a lot tighter and more enjoyable if they’d done it in two instead. Printed all together, though, so that you can’t tell that there are different parts, the pacing may be less of a problem. Speaking of which, the print issue of this storyline will be out June 17, and will be the sole story in that month’s print Sensation Comics.

Convergence: Wonder Woman #2 Review OR A Pyrrhic Victory

May 20, 2015

conww2a

There’s nothing bad about Convergence: Wonder Woman #2, or the mini-series as a whole. It’s all fine, competent comic booking. The writing is okay, the art is decent, the characters mostly seem to be themselves. The only thing is, I’m not entirely sure why it exists. I mean, I understand why these two months of “Convergence” are happening; DC Comics is moving from New York to Los Angeles and they brought in some outside folks to arrange two months of comics to give them time to get sorted. What I don’t understand is why this Wonder Woman, why this story, and who it’s designed to appeal to. We’ll discuss this all momentarily, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to reveal ALL of the major plotpoints in this comic!

Look away if you haven’t read it yet!

Last month I talked about how many of the “Convergence” mini-series were tapping into nostalgia. Fans have been missing their favourite characters since DC relaunched their superhero universe in 2011, and “Convergence” became a chance to revisit beloved characters, maybe tie up some loose ends, and give a little bit of closure to fans.

If you’re looking for nostalgic fun, Convergence: Wonder Woman is not the book for you. Not only is it set in an era that few, in any, were clamouring to visit again, it takes a pretty dark turn in its second issue. It was sort of fun to have Steve Trevor and Etta Candy back hanging out with Diana Prince in the first issue, but long story short by the end of this finale both Steve and Etta were turned into vampires and killed, and the book ends with a morose Wonder Woman reflecting on the costs of war. It’s really not a fun trip down memory lane.

It’s an okay book in terms of action. I liked Wonder Woman’s plan to beat the hell out of all of the vampires to impede them from attacking anyone; the vampires wouldn’t heal, but they wouldn’t die either, so she went to town rendering them immobile with sound thrashings. Then Athena showed up to give Wonder Woman free rein to kill all of the vampires, even her friends, because they’ve been turned into monsters and to end them would be a mercy. Wonder Woman does some pretty cool staking as she eliminates her Red Rain foes the Joker, Poison Ivy, and Werecatwoman.

There’s also a nice moment of the end where vampire Steve stops vampire Etta from attacking Wonder Woman, tackling her to both of their deaths into a deep dark chasm. I like the idea that Steve’s love for Wonder Woman would still endure even under the evil vampiric thrall of the Joker. But at the same time, what about Etta’s love for Wonder Woman? I feel like she should have been able to resist as well. Etta and Wonder Woman go way back. I mean, ovaries before brovaries, am I right?

In the end, I felt like this book lacked any sort of larger purpose other than having Wonder Woman bust up a bunch of vampires. I’m not sure how or if this book ties into the main series, but my guess is that the events here don’t play much of a pivotal role in how the primary Convergence arc goes down. It’s just all sort of a weird, dark fight between two generally unloved universes that ends with everybody dead but Wonder Woman.

Meanwhile, I’m seeing folks left and right online getting all emotional and excited about big moments in other “Convergence” books. In particular, Gail Simone’s Nightwing and Oracle title seems to be going over huge in terms of giving this incarnation of Barbara Gordon a lovely sendoff and depicting a fan favourite relationship. Ultimately, these are just fill in stories, basically. “Convergence” is not the sort of event that’s going to change the DC universe for years to come like so many comic events purport to do. It’s a decent idea for killing a couple of months. And that’s what Convergence: Wonder Woman is, a fine if uninspired interlude with no real ramifications or larger point. It’s just disappointing that several other “Convergence” books have found ways to make them something more, to elevate their two issues beyond the fill in that they are, while Convergence: Wonder Woman doesn’t. Again, it’s not a bad two issues. It’s more of a missed opportunity.

Convergence: Wonder Woman #2 Preview OR Fangs For The Memories

May 19, 2015

DC’s “Convergence” event comes to a close this month, with lots of inter-universal fighting building to some sort of battle-based finale, I assume. I’m not really following it too closely. I think I picked up four books, maybe? And there seemed to be lots of fighting in them, so I’m just guessing that’s what’s going on generally. Then it will end in some sort of epic fashion with no real ramifications for the wider DC universe because this was just a fill-in event to kill time while DC moved from New York to Los Angeles. It seems to be selling well, so good work, DC. I’m kind of impressed they made this work.

Convergence: Wonder Woman wraps up this week with the Wonder Woman of the 1970s (comics, not the TV show) facing off against the vampiric Joker of Red Rain. Here’s a preview of the book, courtesy of Nerdist:

conww2a conww2b conww2c conww2d conww2e conww2f

The obvious big change from the first issue is that Joshua Middleton has been replaced by Aaron Lopresti on art duties. Middleton’s issue was only okay last month, so I’m cool with the change. Lopresti is a Wonder Woman veteran so he knows how to handle the character, but here he seems to be channeling a little bit of a 70s era Neal Adams vibe. It’s a cool choice that fits the book’s setting well.

Storywise, it looks like Wonder Woman is going to go all Max Lord on the Joker, but with mixed results. That’s not how you kill a vampire, Wonder Woman! Though a snapped neck should be an inconvenience for the Clown Prince of Crime, at least. Meanwhile, Steve Trevor is trying to fend off a gang of vampires with a gun. These guys really know nothing about fighting vampires. I suppose they’re doing the best they can with what they’ve got.

Sidenote: Aren’t they in a church? So a) the vampires should be having a bad time of it to begin with, being on sacred ground and all of that, and b) there should be wooden crosses everywhere for easy crucifix stakings. Maybe Red Rain vampires work differently than classic vampires.

Anyway, Convergence: Wonder Woman #2 is out in comic shops and online tomorrow! The first one had some decent moments, and it’s easily been the best non-Sensation Comics Wonder Woman book that DC’s put out in a while. That’s an admittedly low bar, but still.

A Look At Wonder Woman’s August 2015 Bombshell Variant Covers, Plus A New Bombshells Comic Series

May 15, 2015

When DC announced their Bombshells variant cover line for June of last year, I wasn’t overly enthused. The covers were lovely and generally classy, but they featured only female characters and I didn’t think that DC really needed to showcase women in a pin-up manner given their poor track record with female characters generally. The only time DC Comics seems to shine the spotlight on women is when they do so in a sexy way, and as well done as those covers were, I just didn’t find them necessary.

Now DC is set to launch another Bombshells variant line in August, and I’m much more onboard because several things have changed. First, the line-up includes men this time! I’m very glad to see an equal opportunity pin-up situation. Second, the Bombshells are getting their own comic book. These women are no longer posed objects but full characters with their own World War Two era storyline. Furthermore, the book will be written by Marguerite Bennett with art by Marguerite Sauvage, two fantastic female creators who I’m sure will tell a great story. You can’t beat the double Marguerite!! (Feel free to borrow that awesome rhyming slogan, DC). Finally, female fans seem to have really embraced the Bombshells, and that’s just hard to argue with. While it’s somewhat disheartening that pin-up gals are among DC’s best options for enjoying female characters, they’ve gone over well with many women and have taken on a life of their own in merchandising.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at Wonder Woman’s many cover appearances across the Bombshells variant line, starting with the cover to DC Comics Bombshells #1:

bombshells

I’m glad to see that Wonder Woman will have a primary role in the series, and Supergirl and Batwoman are fun choices for spotlight characters as well. The book will premiere digitally first in July and then the print version will be out in August.

Up next is Justice League of America #3:

bombshellsjla3

I’m always glad when Terry and Rachel Dodson get to draw Wonder Woman, and this is no exception. I really like this cover, and would totally buy it as a print.

Wonder Woman also shows up on the cover of Justice League #43:

bombshellsjl43

Emanuela Lupacchino is another one of my favourites, and I dig the uniform angle here. I also like that several of the covers in the line seem to me moving from pin-up poses to war propaganda posters. That’s a lot more fun.

Wonder Woman #43 focuses on a classic Wonder Woman villain:

bombshellsww43

It’s the Cheetah, drawn by Ant Lucia. This one has more of a pin-up feel, what with the rather buxom Cheetah here, and using the scarf to look like a tail is a clever touch.

Finally, Wonder Woman and Superman team up for the cover of Superman/Wonder Woman #20:

bombshellssww20

This cover is also by the Dodsons, and I sort of dig mustachioed welder Superman. This variant cover continues a long line of Superman/Wonder Woman variant covers where I’d much rather read a story based on the variant cover than what’s in the actual book.

All of these covers will be available this August, so maybe check ahead with your local comic shop if you want to pre-order any. The Bombshell variants were a very popular line last time around, and they may go quickly.

The Trailer For CBS’ New Supergirl Show Is Delightful And Action-Packed

May 14, 2015

supergirl

Supergirl can never catch a break. She’s constantly overshadowed by Superman, of course, what with him being the originator of the entire superhero genre and all. Her 1984 film didn’t go over terribly well, and is regularly cited as an example of why there are so few superhero films starring women these days (even though Superman IV: The Quest for Peace made only a million dollars more than Supergirl three years later; and yet male-led superhero movies remain the norm and Superman’s been back to the big screen several times since). Her comic book series over the past couple of decades have been generally unremarkable, and the one major bright spot, Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade by Landry Q. Walker and Eric Jones, never caught on like it should have.

But now, Supergirl has a new showcase with her own hour-long television show. The show premieres this fall on CBS, where it will air on Monday nights, and the network has released a six minute trailer:

I am very excited for this show. One thing that DC’s television division understands (and that their film division seems to not understand at all) is that diversity of tone is a good thing. There are lots of DC properties across a variety of channels, and they’re all different. Arrow is dark and moody, Flash is light and fun, iZombie is weird and quirky, Gotham is… well, Gotham kind of sucks. But the point remains: They’re all different.

Supergirl seems to be going for a mix of Superman: The Movie and The Devil Wears Prada, which is an interesting combination. While most superhero shows have romantic elements, few tread too far into the realm of romantic comedy. Supergirl appears to be embracing that genre in a cool way that looks like it will work well with all of the superheroics. It’s a smart angle that should appeal to viewers who aren’t interested in DC’s other superhero shows. A lot of the internet commentary thus far has praised (or chastised) Supergirl for courting a female audience, and women are stereotypically rom-com fans, but I think a lot of guys will be into it too. Who doesn’t like a good romantic comedy? It’s got comedy AND romance. That’s double the fun. Plus Supergirl is a superhero romance comedy, which means THREE times the fun.

Melissa Benoist seems like she’ll be a great Supergirl, and the rest of the cast looks like a lot of fun too. Calista Flockhart seems to have the mean boss thing down pat, Mehcad Brooks looks to be a surprisingly suave and charming Jimmy Olsen, and everyone else is suitably enjoyable. Plus, as Wilfredo Torres (@mightyfineline) pointed out on Twitter last night, Supergirl saves more people in this trailer than Superman did in all of Man of Steel. That’s all I want out of my Super-entertainment, someone who saves people who need help, be it from accidents, natural disasters, or bad guys.

So yeah, I’m pretty excited to check out the show! It’s great to see a superhero property with a female lead, and I’m glad it’s something different tonally. It looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun.

New Artwork Of Gal Gadot As Wonder Woman In Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice

May 13, 2015

Wonder Woman didn’t show up in the first trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and we haven’t seen any new images of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman since that first image reveal way back in July. But now we’ve got some artwork of her, the sort they might use for licensing and such. These two images went up last week:

movieww1 movieww2

And now DC Women Kicking Ass has posted this fun new shot of Wonder Woman in the classic bullet deflecting pose:

 movieww3

Much like that closer look at the costume in proper lighting that we got a few weeks ago, I like this Wonder Woman so much better when she’s not put through a million filters to make everything look brown. It could maybe be a little brighter, but the colour choices are decent and the whole look definitely says “Wonder Woman”. Except for the tiara. I still hate that tiara. How hard would it have been to do the classic tiara? Did they not learn anything from when Jim Lee tried to tweak it with the New 52 and it never caught on? The iconic tiara is a classic look. This one is just weird.

I also like the idea of the cloak in the earlier images. I think Wonder Woman can pull off a decent cloak, even though this one looks oddly rough hewn and resembles Batman’s cape. Still, I dig it.

Seeing some red on the boots is nice too. Everything else we’ve seen of them looked all metallic and gold, but I’m glad they captured the spirit of the classic boots with the red sides and the stripe down the middle.

My only real concern with all of these images is the prominence of her sword. I feel like that’s suggesting we’re going to have a very warrior-like Wonder Woman, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but not the direction I hoped they’d go in this already very dark universe. Wonder Woman should bring some light into it, I think, not just be another gritty brawler. But we haven’t seen any of her role in the film yet, so I’ll try not to get too presumptuous.

Anyway, she looks decent! I’m hoping for some actual footage of her soon, but the movie’s still ten months away and it may be a while until we get a second, more expansive trailer. Some stills would be rad though. We’ve got pictures of Batman and Superman up the wazoo now; bring on the fun hero!


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