Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Cover Reveal For My New Book: The Many Lives of Catwoman, Coming In Summer 2017!

September 1, 2016

catcover.png

There was a big reveal on the Chicago Review Press Instagram account yesterday: The cover of my new book! I’ve now written a trilogy! And the third book is The Many Lives of Catwoman: The Felonious History of a Feline Fatale, due out in Summer 2017.

The book was an absolute blast to write. Catwoman is a fantastic and fascinating character with so many distinct incarnations over the past 75 years, and digging into all of the comics, shows, and movies was so much fun. Apart from the Halle Berry movie, I suppose. That sucked pretty bad, but so much so that it eventually became kind of hilarious, and I ended up writing an entire chapter on what went wrong with the movie and how it influenced the superhero film boom of the past decade. Plus I got to watch the good stuff too, like the old Batman show and Batman Returns, both of which are amazing in completely different ways.

And the comics! I had a rough idea of Catwoman’s comic book history before I started the book, but her journey over the decades was even more intriguing than I’d imagined. From her transition from small time cat burglar to supervillain to reformed citizen in the Golden Age to her disappearance in the Silver Age to her often dark and twisted romantic stories in the Bronze Age, the old comics were spectacularly interesting. And her more modern incarnations were just as compelling, from unpacking the sexualization and objectification of “Year One” and the 1990s series to exploring her renaissance in the 2000s. Catwoman’s always had something fascinating going on in her adventures; there was little in the way of flat, boring stories.

Ultimately, the book is an examination of the superhero genre from the perspective of a female villain, and the ups and downs of empowerment and exploitation that come with being a part of this world over the past 75 years. After doing two books on outright heroines, it was  fun to dig into the morally ambiguous world of Catwoman and see how the trends of the genre impacted her depictions in new and different ways.

The book’s not out for a while yet; it’s scheduled for July 2017 right now, so we’re ten months out. It’s not even available for pre-order yet, though you can be sure I’ll let you know when it is. But it’s written and it’s happening and it’s got a cover and I couldn’t be happier about it all. I’m really excited for you all to get to check it out, and I hope you’re looking forward to some Catwoman-centric fun as we ramp up to the book’s release starting early in the new year!

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

April 29, 2016

Double-Down-Final-Cover

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.

Gwenda Bond’s Lois Lane: Fallout YA Novel Is Out Today And You Should Go Buy It

May 1, 2015

fallout

When Lois Lane: Fallout was first announced, I was excited but wary. DC treats some of my favourite characters badly in their own publishing division and they own them, so farming out someone as fantastic and often poorly used as Lois had me a bit nervous. I immediately went to the library to get the first Gwenda Bond book I could find to see who we were dealing with here. I found The Woken Gods, and it was pretty great. Kick ass female lead, huge scope but nice small moments as well, lots of fun all around. I was feeling a bit better.

Then I got an advanced copy of Lois Lane: Fallout, and it blew my socks off. It’s Lois in a completely different setting, as a teenager starting high school in Metropolis, with almost an entirely new cast of characters and villains, but it’s so absolutely Lois Lane. Everything I love about all of the different incarnations of the character is distilled into this fearless, tenacious teenager. I devoured the book in one sitting, and have been looking forward to its release day, when everyone else will get a chance to read it.

I’ve got a full review of the book up at The Comics Journal, where I dig into Lois Lane: Fallout and situate it in the context of how Lois has been presented in the past and the current direction DC Comics appears to be heading with Lois and their female characters generally. My thanks to the folks at The Comics Journal for getting on board with the review; it’s a little bit outside of their wheelhouse, but I was keen to get it in front of a comics reading audience and they kindly obliged.

So yeah, go read the book! Lois is such a fantastic, iconic character and it’s so much fun to have her in this new setting. I recommend it even if YA isn’t really your jam; Lois Lane: Fallout is a great bridge between comics and YA. It’s got enough classic comic book elements to please comic book fans while still working well as a fantastic YA novel. If you love Lois Lane, you’re going to love this book.

Read A New Lois Lane Short Story By Gwenda Bond In Advance Of Lois Lane: Fallout

March 6, 2015

fallout

Lois Lane: Fallout, a new YA novel about a teenage Lois starting high school in Metropolis, isn’t out until May, but now you can get a first look at this Lois in Lois Lane: A Real Work of Art, a free short story by the book’s author, Gwenda Bond. I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of Lois Lane: Fallout and it is fantastic; trust me, you’re going to want to read it. It’s the Lois we all know and love, just younger, and she’s got a nose for news even as a teen.

The novel begins with Lois starting a new school, determined to make a fresh start after every other school she attended as a military brat had resulted in a new, ominous addition to her permanent record. Lois is a born troublemaker who refuses to sit idly by when something seems suspicious, and the lengthy file that accompanies her to Metropolis is a testament to that. Her plan to blend in at her new school quickly goes off the rails in the novel, but this new short story is an earlier tale set another school, a sort of trip back through Lois’ legendary permanent record.

Much like the novel, the story begins with Lois’ first day at a new school. She’s been assigned to an art class, so what sort of trouble could come from that? Paint a picture, have a nice time, make some friends. Easy peasy. But, not at all surprisingly, Lois soon finds herself on the trail of a mysterious teacher, and things escalate from there. The story is a lot of fun, and a great introduction to the new, teen Lois.

Lois hasn’t had much to do in comics as of late, so it’s very exciting that she’s about to star in her own YA novel. And you can get your Lois fix right now with this free short story! I highly recommend checking it out, and picking up Lois Lane: Fallout on May 1. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Review – Wonder Woman: Bondage and Feminism in the Marston/Peter Comics, 1941-1948 by Noah Berlatsky

January 14, 2015

tcj

It’s always a little bit odd to read someone else’s book about Wonder Woman when you’ve written one of your own, and there have been a few of them as of late so it’s been a particularly weird time for me. The latest, Wonder Woman: Bondage and Feminism in the Marston/Peter Comics, 1941-1948 by Noah Berlatsky was an enjoyable read all around, though. My full review of the book went up yesterday at The Comics Journal.

Berlatsky’s book is quite different from mine, which made it especially fun to read. Whereas I come at Wonder Woman from a fairly straight forward historical perspective, Berlatsky has more of a theoretical approach. For example, the majority of his first chapter is a close reading of Wonder Woman #16 through the lens of earlier Freudian theories on incest, which is quite fascinating.

As a historian, I tend to put more of a focus on intent than interpretation, so the theoretical approach has certain limits for me, but Berlatsky does a great job combining both approaches in his final chapter. It’s a queer reading of the Golden Age Wonder Woman via modern theories on camp and closeting (among many other interesting ideas, including a comparison of Dr. Psycho and James Bond).  Berlatsky brings in a lot of Marston’s psychological work and prose fiction in a way that sets up a solid foundation for his analysis and bridges the gap between theory and history. While the whole book is quite good, his final chapter is a really impressive piece of comics scholarship.

Wonder Woman: Bondage and Feminism in the Marston/Peter Comics, 1941-1948 is available in stores and online today, and for more of my thoughts on the book be sure to pop by The Comics Journal.

Fallout By Gwenda Bond, A Young Adult Novel Starring Lois Lane, Coming In 2015

August 26, 2014

loisbook3

After a few teases from Switch Press and author Gwenda Bond, DC Women Kicking Ass has the scoop that a new young adult prose novel starring Lois Lane is coming out in 2015. Titled Fallout, the novel will be released next May. Here’s an official description:

Lois Lane is starting a new life in Metropolis. An Army brat, Lois has lived all over—and seen all kinds of things. (Some of them defy explanation, like the near-disaster she witnessed in Kansas in the middle of one night.) But now her family is putting down roots in the big city, and Lois is determined to fit in. Stay quiet. Fly straight. As soon as she steps into her new high school, though, she can see it won’t be that easy. A group known as the Warheads is making life miserable for another girl at school. They’re messing with her mind, somehow, via the high-tech immersive videogame they all play. Not cool. Armed with her wit and her new snazzy job as a reporter, Lois has her sights set on solving this mystery. But sometimes it’s all a bit much. Thank goodness for her maybe-more-than-a friend, a guy she knows only by his screenname, SmallvilleGuy …

Author Gwenda Bond added her own thoughts about Lois and the book on her blog today, writing:

Lois is an icon, of course, a superhero without any superpowers . . . except her unmatched bravery and smarts. Not to mention her sense of humor and her commitment to truth and justice. She’s also one of my all-time favorite characters — which is why I jumped at the chance to write a novel featuring a teen Lois, moving to Metropolis and becoming a reporter for the first time. As I said yesterday, it’s been an incredible honor to do this project and work with the fantastic teams at Capstone/Switch Press and DC. And, most of all, to get to put Lois front and center in the starring role, obviously. (Also fun to write lots of banter with her maybe-more-than-a-friend from Kansas, screen name SmallvilleGuy.)

Bond is clearly a huge Lois Lane fan, which is great to hear. Her past work includes the young adult novels Blackwood and The Woken Gods, neither of which I have read but I’m trying to get a hold of them now to check them out. Her newest novel, Girl on a Wire, comes out in October.

This is a very exciting announcement, and yet another step by DC Comics to reach a female audience as of late. Marvel tried a similar move last year with the young adult novels The She-Hulk Diaries and Rogue Touch, which were okay but departed from past incarnations of the characters in significant ways. Fallout appears to have a solid grasp on Lois, and is exploring a part of her life that hasn’t been covered very much, so Bond has lots of room to do her own thing while staying true to the character.

Switch Press has released two teasers for the book this week. Here is the first:

loisbook1

And the second:

loisbook2

The publisher seems very enthusiastically behind the book, so hopefully that will mean a big push from Switch Press and DC Comics as publication nears. I’m really looking forward to this book, and I’m glad to see Lois Lane finally getting some attention. It’s long overdue!

The Women Writers Behind Pocket Books’ 1980s Star Trek Novel Line

July 15, 2014

Surprising absolutely no one given my nerdy proclivities, I’m a big fan of Star Trek, and have been since I was 8 years old. I’ve seen all the shows and movies, have dozens of action figures, and every now and again I read a Star Trek novel. As such, I usually take a look at the Star Trek area of the sci-fi section whenever I’m in a used bookstore, and recently I found something surprising: A Star Trek novel written by a woman.

Women writers aren’t entirely unheard of in the world of modern Star Trek books; most recently, Kirsten Beyer has been writing the Voyager franchise. But they’re definitely in the minority, especially in the bigger original series and Next Generation lines. So when I saw a Star Trek book from the 1980s written by a woman, I decided to check it out.

startrek1

The book is Star Trek: Dreadnought! by Diane Carey, and I quite enjoyed it. A recently graduated female cadet gets assigned to the Enterprise after frying the computers during the famed Kobayashi Maru test, and ends up helping Kirk and Spock stop a rogue Starfleet admiral with a massive, secret warship. The novel was a lot of fun, and at the end of the book was a list of other titles in the line, many of them written by women.

In fact, of the 97 numbered titles in the original series Star Trek novel line, 58 of them were written by women. That’s 60%, a clear majority. And that’s just the numbered books; there were several side-books as well, including adaptations of the movies which were all written by women after Gene Roddenberry wrote the first one.   These women writers included:

  • A.C. Crispin
  • Barbara Hambly
  • Barbara Paul
  • Carmen Carter
  • Carolyn Clowes
  • D.C. Fontana
  • Dana Kramer-Rolls
  • Della van Hise
  • Diane Carey
  • Diane Duane
  • J.M. Dillard
  • Janet Kagan
  • Jean Lorrah
  • Judith Reeves
  • Judy Klass
  • Julia Ecklar
  • Kathy Oltion
  • Kristine Kathryn Rusch
  • L.A. Graf
  • M.S. Murdock
  • Majliss Larson
  • Margaret Wander Bonanno
  • Melinda Snodgrass
  • Melissa Crandall
  • Myrna Culbreath
  • Pamela Sargent
  • Sondra Marshak
  • Sonni Cooper
  • V.E. Mitchell
  • Vonda N. McIntyre

That’s quite a list. All together, there were 30 different women writing 58 Star Trek novels. This substantial number of women writers is a pleasant surprise given that they’re in the minority by a sizeable margin in modern Star Trek novels. Generally speaking, we expect progress in representation, but Star Trek novels seem to have gone backwards.

startrek2

The novels that I’ve read so far are both written by women and feature a wide array of smart, fleshed out female characters. In the last book I read, The Tears of the Singers by Melinda Snodgrass, Uhura is the main character and Kali, the wife of Klingon captain Kor, is a key player in maintaining the peace between humans and Klingons as they investigate a space/time rift. There’s even a moment in the book where Kirk momentarily worries that Uhura might neglect her Starfleet duties because of a new romantic interest, and then he checks himself and remembers that he’s dated lots of ladies and it didn’t affect his work so he shouldn’t expect any different from Uhura.

On top of showcasing so many women, real and fictional, the novels are great because they’re from the 1980s, where each book had a painted cover. These days, Star Trek novel covers are just photoshopped, but they had to do it old school in the 1980s. There must be originals for these covers somewhere, right? If I ever came across one of those paintings, I would totally try to buy it, especially one with 1980s hair on futuristic clothes.

startrek3

Anyway, women-written Star Trek novels are now my go-to used bookstore objective. I’ve got six or seven already, and am hoping to get them all. They’re a cool memento of strong female representation from an era where you wouldn’t really expect it, plus they’re fun to read too.


%d bloggers like this: