Archive for the ‘Wonder Woman Unbound’ Category

Talking About Wonder Woman at the Imagine Film Festival in Amsterdam: A Recap!

April 17, 2017

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I am now home from my five day visit to Amsterdam, and it was such a cool trip. I’m from Halifax, which is one of the oldest cities in North America, but it doesn’t even come close to the history and legacy of Amsterdam and it was so fun to get to explore the city. While I had to keep my head on a swivel to avoid bicycles as I did so because they’re EVERYWHERE, I adapted to that pretty quick and got to see a good portion of the city.

First, though, here’s a hot tip, gang: If you ever get the chance to fly KLM, do it. We flew there and back on KLM, and it was far and away the best airline I’ve ever been on. They give you so many drinks and meals and snacks! Plus there are a pile of good movies to watch. I saw Moana, Arrival, Finding Dory, and Doctor Strange; it was great. So yeah, highly recommended.

The first day in Amsterdam was largely a blur. My mother came with me, because if you ever luck out and get a free trip to Amsterdam and your mother’s never been to Europe, you should take her. Plus she’s a swell lady! Our flight there was an overnighter but we didn’t sleep much, so we ended up crashing at the hotel when we got there, then exploring the area a bit in the afternoon, then more sleep. Or attempts at sleep, at least. Jet lag is rough, folks.

Day two was more exploration. We figured out the metro, which was super easy and convenient, and walked through some of the good shopping places in the city. I didn’t buy much, but I did an ice cream at this rad place called Banketbakkerij Van Der Linde; they only make vanilla ice cream but it’s amazing and there’s always a line up out the door, even on a cool day like Thursday was.

Day three was my presentation, so I mostly went over my notes all day. We had some near-drama when I arrived at the EYE Film Institute and the presentation wouldn’t play; we tried my laptop, then another laptop, but nothing was showing up on the big screen. Everyone behind the scenes at the Imagine Film Festival was super great, though. The technical folks worked like crazy to get everything sorted while everyone else chatted with me and joked about our predicament. I’m still not sure exactly what was wrong, but after replacing the same small box several times, it worked. We started a few minutes late, but everything worked perfectly from then on.

The presentation itself was very fun to do. I always get super nervous before I have to give a talk, but once it gets going it tends to be more pleasant, and this was no exception. The crowd was wonderful, which helps a lot. We had a good number of people in, all of whom seemed very enthusiastic to hear about Wonder Woman, her evolution, and the role of her costume therein. I started with Marston, of course, and dug into the bizarre origins of both Wonder Woman and his own background, psychological and life-wise. Then we discussed the American symbology of the costume and how it was meant to help Wonder Woman fit in and thus help America while slyly spreading Amazon values there as well. We also looked at this great panel:

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Talking about the costume led to a deep dive into her bracelets and the bondage metaphors of Golden Age Wonder Woman comics, which segued nicely into an examination of her golden lasso as a symbol of feminine power.

From there, we passed through the Silver Age pretty quickly because her costume stayed largely the same and that was the main focus of the talk. The Bronze Age and Wonder Woman’s mod revamp, however, merited close examination. We looked at the story in which Diana Prince got trendy clothes to help Steve Trevor out of a jam:

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After which Steve started to show interest in Diana for the first time ever and Wonder Woman realized she no longer needed to be super to keep his interest. This introductory issue really set the tone for this whole era, in which Diana gave up her superpowers and got very into mod fashions, all while falling for every man she met and behaving hysterically when they inevitably betrayed her. It was an attempt to make Wonder Woman a more modern, relevant character that failed rather spectacularly.

But it did lead to Gloria Steinem campaigning for Wonder Woman to return to her roots, which was followed by her appearing on the first cover of Ms. magazine and eventually the Lynda Carter television show. The latter was particularly fun to chat about, and I showed a clip of Wonder Woman talking to her sister Drusilla in both of her identities so that we could see how Carter played them differently. We also chatted briefly about her awesome Wonder Woman scuba suit, because how could we not?

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This all was followed by a quick run through the Perez era, the ridiculousness of the Deodato era, and how Wonder Woman’s costume has remained fairly constant since the television show. Any big changes rarely lasted for long, even much hyped alterations like her ill-fated pants and leather jacket in 2010. We looked at the New 52 era as well, which led to Gal Gadot and her onscreen Wonder Woman. It was a film festival, so I wanted to be sure to give her a lot of attention.

The early discussion surrounded Zack Snyder’s brown, desaturated version of the costume which had all of the classic Wonder Woman elements but none of the brightness and vibrancy one would expect from Wonder Woman. We also watched a clip of Wonder Woman showing up in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice for the first time, i.e. pretty much the only good part of that movie. Her general mysteriousness in that film led to some speculation about the character in her new solo film, and I was glad to dig into how Patty Jenkins seems to be embracing color. We watched the latest trailer and dug into how we got a lot of the elements we would expect in a Wonder Woman origin story, including the requisite incarnations of the characters and her corresponding outfits. But we also discussed how her sword seems to have superseded her lasso as her primary weapon:

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And the way that this, intentional or not, is an assertion of masculine concepts of heroism and power over the more classic feminine power represented by her lasso.

Finally, we talked about “Rebirth,” particularly how Rucka and Scott reasserted the importance of the lasso in “Year One.” Talking about Scott led us to Wonder Woman recent, short-lived United Nations ambassadorship, and we discussed the body-shaming petition for her removal and how reducing the character to her appearance ignores what she has meant as an inspirational figure for generations of fans.

So yeah, it was a fun talk! And there were some excellent questions after, which is always fun. My favourite may have been the woman who chatted about the historical reality of the Amazons, which was very cool, but they were all great. Then I got to hang out with the film festival folks for a bit, who were delightful and kind and so enjoyable to visit with.

Day four was the Rijksmuseum; it’s HUGE and took up the entire afternoon, really. I got to see Van Goghs, and Rembrandts, and Vermeers, but my favourite painting of all was this one by Nicolaas Baur called “A Women’s Skating Race on Stadsgracht in Leeuwarden, 21 January 1809”:

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There was a skating race for a gold cap-brooch and 64 unmarried women entered, but some of them were so into the race that they threw off their cloaks and skated bare armed, causing quite a stir among spectators who considered them shockingly immodest. There was such an outcry that it was the last women’s race for several years.

So that was my trip! Huge thanks again to the Imagine Film Festival for bringing me to Amsterdam; it was such a nice city to visit, and everyone at the festival was wonderful. Thanks to everyone who came to my talk as well. It was very fun to spread the word about Wonder Woman on a whole new continent!

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Take an Online Course on How to Publish a Non-Fiction Book with Me and my Agent, Dawn Frederick

January 23, 2017

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I’m trying something new this winter by co-teaching an online class with my wonderful agent, Dawn Frederick of Red Sofa Literary, about how to develop a non-fiction book and get it published. The six-week course is called “Agent & Author: Publishing Non-Fiction” and we’re doing it via the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, but everything is online so you can take the course from anywhere. Dawn’s done several courses with them before so she’s a pro, while this is my first outing, and I’m excited to share my experiences with a crop of new writers.

These experiences will form the backbone of the course; we’re going to run through every step of the process of getting Wonder Woman Unbound published. It was my first book, and we’ll look closely at everything involved in going from an idea to writing a book to getting an agent to finding a publisher. The classes will break down like so:

Week 1: We’ll talk about your book ideas, and how to go from an idea to a book. I’ll share my process with Wonder Woman Unbound, and we’ll all get to know each other and what sort of books we’re looking to write.

Week 2: This one’s all about how to get an agent. We’ll discuss how to write a query letter to send to an agent, and I’ll post the query letters I wrote so you can learn what to do and what not to do. Dawn will have great insights since she’s received thousands of query letters over the years.

Week 3: We’ll dig into book proposals with this one. Selling a non-fiction book requires crafting a detailed book proposal, and we’ll run you through all of the steps and what you need to cover. Again, you’ll see various drafts of my proposals, and Dawn’s sold lots of books so she knows what works and what doesn’t when it comes to proposals.

Week 4: This week digs into the relationship between author and agent, and how to navigate all of the steps of getting a book published together. We’ll also chat about edits and rewrites, and I’ll share several drafts of a chapter of Wonder Woman Unbound so you can get a sense of that process.

Week 5: It’s time for book contracts! Dawn will really shine in this one, since she deals with book contracts all the time while I mostly just sign them, and she’ll run through what you need to know, expect, and look out for when it comes to signing with a publisher.

Week 6: We’ll chat about what happens once your book sells, both in terms of working with your publisher and all of the steps therein as well as in terms of what you can do on your own to promote your book.

All together, it will be a thorough rundown of how to see your book from idea to publication, with lots of great tips and templates to help you through the process. If you’re thinking about writing a non-fiction book or have one that you’re looking to get published, this will be an ideal course for you.

The course starts on February 8, and it will involve online activities along with weekly video chats with the group. You can find out all about it by following this link. It costs $234 to take the course, but if you are in a low-income situation you can look into getting a scholarship through the Loft Literary Center that could help defray those costs somewhat. I hope to see you there, in electronic form! It’s going to be a lot of fun.

Pennsylvania Pals, Come See Me At BookFestPA on Saturday, July 16!

July 6, 2016

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America, I’m coming back to visit you soon! I’ve been invited to BookFestPA, which is part of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts in State College and Penn State, and I’ll be there for the full day of BookFestPA on Saturday, July 16. The theme for this year’s BookFestPA is comic books, and I’ll be there to chat about the history of superheroes. I’m really looking forward to the trip; it sounds like a great festival, and everyone involved has been wonderful to work with. I think it’s going to be a blast.

I’ll be there in the main tent, with copies of Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine and Investigating Lois Lane: The Turbulent History of the Daily Planet’s Ace Reporter for sale. I’ll also have lots of free things to give away, including bookmarks and fun Investigating Lois Lane notebooks. There will be lots of other great people in the tent, too, including comic book creators like Alitha Martinez (Batgirl) and Robert Hack (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina).

I’ll also be giving a talk in the Downsbrough Community Room at the Schlow Centre Region Library at 11am on Saturday; it’s right next to BookFestPA’s main tent. My talk is on “The History of Women in Comics,” and I’ll chat about Wonder Woman and Lois Lane, of course, as well as several other great female superheroes as I discuss the evolution of women in superhero comics over the best eight decades. The presentation is going to be jam packed with all of your favourite heroines and villainesses. I’m putting the PowerPoint together now, and it’s absolutely loaded with so many fantastic female characters. Catwoman? For sure. Supergirl? Of course. Black Widow? Yep. Ms. Marvel? We’ve got both of them. Batgirl? ALL OF THEM. Gwen Stacy? Like ten different versions. Patsy Walker? I’m going to have to force myself to stay on track so I can get to everyone else because I could talk about Patsy Walker ALL DAY. It’s going to be so much fun!

So if you’re in the ballpark of central Pennsylvania on Saturday, July 16, come say hi! You can hear me chat about awesome comic book ladies, check out books from a variety of awesome folks, and I’ll even give you free stuff. Plus there’s going to be a costume contest! You can dress up! It’s going to be a great day, and I think a good time will be had by all. Check out the BookFestPA page for more information, and I hope to see you there!

Wonder Woman Unbound Audio Book Now Available on Audible

March 30, 2016

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Reading is fun and all, but sometimes you just want to listen to a book. And if you’re the sort of person who likes listening to books, have I got news for you! My first book, Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine, is now available in audio book form on Audible! The book has been out in paper and ebook versions for almost two years, and now we’re expanding into the world of audio with this unabridged recording. Read by Colby Elliott, you’ll get the complete Wonder Woman Unbound experience with over seven hours of historical fun.

So yeah, this is the coolest! Having two print books out is all sorts of awesome, but this is my first audio book and I’m really excited about it. Everyone involved has done a great job with it, and I’m so glad that they’re presenting the book in its entirety.

The book is available for $20.99 US on Audible, unless you have an Audible account. I’m not super sure how Audible works; presumably you pay a monthly fee and can go to town with audio books or some such? I do know that if you sign up for Audible, you get a free trial month before you have to pay anything, so that sounds like a swell deal.

Anyway, now you can listen to Wonder Woman Unbound! How rad is that? Go give it a listen and let me know what you think!

The Legacy of Lois Lane Panel at Women & Children First, Chicago, IL – Wednesday, March 16 at 7:30pm

February 1, 2016

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I’m going to be in Chicago this March for C2E2 (March 18-20), where I’ll be signing my new book, Investigating Lois Lane, at the IPG booth. We’ll probably have my first book, Wonder Woman Unbound, on hand as well. But before all of that convention fun, I’m going to be part of a panel discussion on “The Legacy of Lois Lane” at the bookstore Women & Children First on Wednesday, March 16 at 7:30pm. It should be an excellent time, because the other panelists are FANTASTIC. We’ve got Anne Elizabeth Moore (Ladydrawers, Threadbare: Clothes, Sex, and Trafficking), Lauren Burke (Ladies Night Anthology), Caitlin Rosberg (The A.V. Club), and Katie Schenkel (Panels, The Mary Sue). We’re going to be talking about Lois Lane through the ages, as well as other great comic book heroines.

Here’s the official event description:

Lois Lane has been a constant presence in the world of superheroes for more than 75 years, a fearless reporter whose adventures are perpetually overshadowed by her co-star, Superman.  This panel brings her into the spotlight, discussing the history of the genre through the lens of Lois Lane, Wonder Woman, and a host of other heroines whose contributions have been all too often overlooked.  Panelists include:

Lauren Burke edits children’s books by day and produces comics by night. She has bullied three editions of the Ladies Night Anthology into existence, showcasing the work of diverse women in comics, and she is now working on a book about the mysterious disappearance of Agatha Christie. Her life, in short, is one long sprint to get files to the printer.  You can find her on her Facebook page.

Tim Hanley is a comic book historian and the author of Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine and Investigating Lois Lane: The Turbulent History of the Daily Planet’s Ace Reporter.  He also writes the monthly column “Gendercrunching” for Bleeding Cool, a statistical look at the gender breakdown of comic book creators.  You can find him on Twitter @timhanley01.

Anne Elizabeth Moore is an internationally renowned cultural critic. Fulbright scholar, UN Press Fellow, USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Fellow and part of the team behind The Ladydrawers.  She is also the author of Unmarketable, New Girl Law, Cambodian Grrrl, and the upcoming Threadbare: Clothes, Sex, and Trafficking.  You can find her on Twitter @superanne.

Caitlin Rosberg is a writing, knitting, tea drinking, baking machine with all the requisite robotic enhancements. She writes about comics at The A.V. Club and is an editor for Ladies’ Night Anthology, an annual independently produced comic anthology. Ask her about Rhodey.  You can find her on Twitter @crosberg.

Katie Schenkel is a lifelong superhero fan who writes about comics, pop culture, LGBTQ+ issues, feminism, and all the ways those topics overlap. You can find her work on Comics Alliance, Panels, The Mary Sue, Playboy, Quirk Books, IGN, her website justplainsomething.com, and her twitter @JustPlainTweets.

Women & Children First is located at 5233 N. Clark St. in Chicago, and admission is free so if you’re in the Chicago area or are coming to C2E2 and are going to be in town early, you should come on by! The panel is going to be a lot of fun, and I know I can’t wait to hang out with my fellow panelists and get their perspectives on key moments in Lois Lane’s history. They’re a smart bunch, and it will be a great discussion. You should definitely check it out!

Wonder Woman Unbound Is Named A 2015 Amelia Bloomer Project List Title

February 9, 2015

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Well, this is just the coolest.

I’ve gotten a lot of nice feedback about my book, Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine, but this one really means a lot. The book has been named to the 2015 Amelia Bloomer Project List. Each year, the Amelia Bloomer List features the best books with significant feminist content published in the previous 18 months that will appeal to young readers from birth to 18 years of age. The Amelia Bloomer Project is part of the American Library Association, Social Responsibilities Round Table’s (SRRT) Feminist Task Force (FTF).

I am so honoured that Wonder Woman Unbound is on the list, and the company is just unbelievable. Just to name a few, there’s G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona’s Ms. Marvel: No Normal, in my mind the absolute best comic of the past year. There’s also Lynn Sherr’s fantastic biography of Sally Ride, which you should all go read if you haven’t yet. Plus, there’s a Nobel Peace Prize winner! Malala Yousafzai’s I Am Malala is on the list as well. It’s very humbling to be listed alongside such wonderful books.

The Amelia Bloomer Project is a great resource to find excellent feminist books for young readers of all ages. I think it’s so important to present the stories of strong and impactful women, real and fictional, to kids and teens, and I feel very privileged to get to be a part of this endeavour. I highly recommend checking out the 2015 Amelia Bloomer Project List, and the lists from past years as well, to find some excellent feminist books for yourself and for any young readers in your life.

My Adventures At Boston Comic Con

August 14, 2014

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My primary concern when I got to Boston was how I was going to get all of my leftover books home. I’d ordered a case of Wonder Woman Unbound from my publisher that I picked up in Boston, but my suitcase was already packed to the gills. I had no room whatsoever for bringing any remaining books back with me.

Then to my complete and utter shock, I sold out of books before lunchtime on Sunday. So, problem solved.

I was blown away by how great Boston Comic Con was, and how well the book went over. Me and my table mate, Kate Leth, were way in the back corner and subject to some lengthy dry spells at times, but folks found us. After a somewhat slow Friday, things were insane for both of us on Saturday. I sold a ton of books and handed out loads of bookmarks, and I got to have a lot of great conversations with people about Wonder Woman which is always an excellent time. This was my first convention with Wonder Woman Unbound, and it was such a cool feeling to have someone walk by the table, notice the book, and come over to check it out and chat. I’ve got lots of lovely comments online and such, but getting to actually meet people in person was really wonderful.

Tabling with Kate made the convention especially fun because a) Kate is a fantastic time, and b) her fans are pretty great too. The future of comics is definitely women in their 20s with alternative haircuts, and they’re a delightful bunch. I’ve known Kate for a while, and it was very cool to see the people her work has inspired, and to hear about her exciting upcoming projects; the gal got like a million awesome job offers just in this three day span. Plus she got to meet the epic punk Captain Marvel she’d been completely enamoured with all Saturday; good lord, the both of us were barely keeping it together when she came over because Kate had been talking about her ALL day. Everything’s coming up Kate, and deservedly so.

I also got to meet a lot of Kate’s awesome comic friends, like Ming Doyle, Babs Tarr, Maris Wicks, and more. I’m even more confident than I ever was that these women are soon going to take over the comic book industry. They’re ridiculously talented, they have legions of fans, and they stick together. They’re about ready to bust through the remaining boy’s club barriers that litter this industry and take over the show, and it’s going to be amazing when they do.

I met some other cool folks as well. Mark Doyle, the Bat-editor, came by our table, and after chatting with him I am extremely confident about the future of the Bat-books. He’s pushing hard to put out a variety of different Bat-books after years of homogeneity, and I get the feeling that the new Batgirl, Gotham Academy, and Catwoman are only the tip of the iceberg. I also met artist Sean Murphy, and Kate and I did our best not to completely flip out like the nerdy fans we are, with some moderate success, I think. Scott Snyder came by too, which was crazy cool. He was nice and friendly and congratulated me on my book and such. The guy’s a real gentleman.

Plus, Khal Drogo walked by our table! Jason Momoa was in the celebrity section doing photos and signing stuff, but did a lap around the convention Friday evening and he totally walked right by us. We completely flipped out as soon as he was out of sight.

The cosplayers were fantastic as well. We were blown away by the costumes, from a dead on Storm to prison Gamora to a hilariously perfect Linda Belcher complete with spice rack. There were also randomly great costumes like the wizard from Where’s Waldo? and a woman carrying around a baby Groot in a pot. My favourite costume of the weekend was an amazing New 52 Wonder Woman built and worn by Queen Helene. The metalwork was crazy impressive, the sewing was precise and detailed, and she just WAS Wonder Woman. Here’s a picture I took with my phone that barely does her justice:

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It was SO good, you guys. The detail was unbelievable.

We got to share our back corner of the convention with a lot of cool creators. We had some caricaturists next to us who were a lot of fun, and directly across from us was Erin Cardiff, who premiered her new comic Lost Angels at the con, which she wrote with art by Deena Pagliarello. It’s a comic created by women and starring women set in 1950s Hollywood, and you should definitely check it out if you get a chance.

So overall, Boston Comic Con was fantastic. I’m definitely forgetting a lot of other awesome stuff that happened; it was a super packed three days. Thanks to everyone who came by my table and got a book or a bookmark! It was so nice to meet everyone, and I still can’t believe I sold all of my books. It was overwhelming in the best way.


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