Posts Tagged ‘Dynamite Comics’

Women in Comics Statistics, DC and Marvel: May 2017 in Review

August 2, 2017

genderxlogo

My latest “Gendercrunching” column went up last week over at Bleeding Cool, and it featured the usual DC and Marvel fun plus visits to Dynamite, Boom, Titan, and Valiant.

The Big Two continued to struggle with female creator representation, and posted their lowest combined overall percentage of female creators over the past year in May. DC ticked up slightly to 15.1% female creators, a gain that still left them with their second lowest total over the past twelve months. Marvel dropped to 15.9% female creators, their lowest total in six months.

We also concluded our biannual tour of other direct market publishers, and it was a mixed bag. Dynamite slid down to a paltry 6.2% female creators, Boom remained a bastion of female representation at 39%, Titan ticked down slightly to a relatively strong 20.4%, and Valiant rose to 14.3%. All told, our larger tour over the past two months featured more losses than gains, and combined with low showings at DC and Marvel, female creator representation across the board in the direct market appears to have taken a bit of a dip as of late.

Head on over the Bleeding Cool for the full stats and all of the “Gendercrunching” fun!

Advertisements

Women in Comics Statistics: DC and Marvel, November 2016 in Review

January 31, 2017

genderxlogo

My latest “Gendercrunching” column went up at Bleeding Cool a week or so ago, and November 2016 saw DC posting a high percentage of female creators again as Marvel continued to slide.

DC had 19.4% female creators overall, a slight drop from October but still their second best total of the year. Marvel slipped down to 15.6% female creators, and while that wasn’t a big decline from October, it was the publisher’s third straight month of drops.

We also checked in on several smaller publishers. Boom! posted a whopping 40.9% female creators overall, the highest number we’ve ever seen from any publisher. Titan ticked down since our last visit but still came in at a very solid 22.1%. Dynamite fell more than half, posting only 9.1% female creators. Finally, Valiant ticked up slightly to 10.1%.

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

Wonder Woman ’77 Meets The Bionic Woman #1 Review: A Team Up Forty Years in the Making!

December 7, 2016

WWBW01-Cov-A-Staggs.jpg

We’ve been seeing a lot of interesting crossovers at DC Comics lately, from Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Green Lantern and Star Trek. It’s always fun when two different publishers get together and do something cool and unique with their licensed properties.  And now we’ve got a great new team up between DC and Dynamite that brings together two of the most famous heroines of 1970s television, Wonder Woman and the Bionic Woman. Their solo TV series aired at the same time, but they never met on screen. Now they’re doing so in comic book form.

Wonder Woman ’77 Meets the Bionic Woman is penned by noted writer and famed Wonder Woman enthusiast Andy Mangels, with art from a great newcomer Judit Tondora. The six issue mini-series is set during the third season of each television show, and features the likenesses of both series’ stars, including Lynda Carter and Lindsay Wagner.

I’m pretty familiar with Carter’s Wonder Woman and her TV show, but the only things I know about Wagner’s Bionic Woman is that 1) it was a spinoff of The Six Million Dollar Man, which I also know very little about, 2) NBC did a reboot a few years back that wasn’t particularly good, and 3) Bill Haverchuck dressed up as Jaime Sommers on the Halloween episode of Freaks and Geeks. So I came in as half-knowledgeable and half-newbie. The knowledgeable part of me was glad to see so many characters and elements from the Wonder Woman television show in the mix; Mangels clearly knows his stuff, and has populated the book with a variety of enjoyable cameos and references. We’ve got Steve Trevor, of course, but also several less famous characters.

The newbie part of me recognized none of the many characters and things associated with The Bionic Woman, but googling various elements informed me that Mangels has created just as detailed a recreation of her world as he has with Wonder Woman’s, which will be very fun for fans of the program. Also, despite my complete lack of knowledge of half of the book, I still understood everything that was going on and my enjoyment of the book wasn’t at all impaired because I was out of The Bionic Woman loop. You don’t have to be a superfan of either to understand or enjoy this book. If you are, you may well have an even richer experience reading it, but it also works well if you’re coming in cold.

The story itself was classic team-up fare. Both woman’s respective spy agencies came together to stop a serious threat, Bionic Woman villain Ivan Karp and the paramilitary cabal known as CASTRA. The “cabal” bit was especially fun, because it promises more villains down the road, perhaps a combination of both the Wonder Woman and Bionic Woman rogues galleries. Diana Prince and Jaime Sommers were appointed as the protective detail for one of CASTRA’s targets, and a Wonder Woman and Bionic Woman team-up inevitably assumed.

What I really liked about this book was that both women were immediately on the same team, fighting bad guys together. They meet up even before their agencies officially liaise, and there’s mutual respect and acceptance straight away. Each recognizes that the other is a brave woman fighting on the right side of things, and they began to work together like it’s second nature. So many superhero team-ups these days start out with a misunderstanding and subsequent brawl, but Wonder Woman and the Bionic Woman are too smart for that. Instead, they just get to work being heroes.

This respect continues throughout the issue, including a scene where it seems that Jaime Sommers recognizes that Diana Prince is Wonder Woman. Diana brushes it off, and Jaime doesn’t press the issue. I’m guessing this will come up again as the series goes on, but for now Jaime trusts Diana enough to let her keep her secret. Plus there were more important things to deal with; you can’t be digging into secret identity shenanigans where there’s an evil cabal out there hatching fiendish plans!

DC’s Wonder Woman ’77 comic series has been hit and miss for me, artwise. Sometimes it’s spectacular, with spot on likenesses and gorgeous renderings of Wonder Woman and her 1970s world. Other times, it’s clunky and rough. Judit Tondora’s artwork here is definitely on the positive end of this spectrum. Her likenesses are solid, and she has a good handle on executing a variety of action packed scenes. The book lacks the detail that characterizes some of Wonder Woman ’77‘s best outings, but it’s a nicely drawn issue nonetheless, and the colors from Michael Bartolo and Stuart Chaifetz compliment Tondora’s linework well.

The book closes with a good cliffhanger ending, and there are a lot of interesting ways the series could go from here. I’m curious to see how Mangels and Tondora decide to roll with the Wonder Woman side of things; Wonder Woman ’77 has brought in several comic book villains who never appeared on the show, so it will be interesting to see if Wonder Woman ’77 Meets the Bionic Woman does the same or hews to the classic television ensemble. One scene in particular makes me think they may be going in the former direction, but I won’t give any spoilers here so suffice it to say, very vaguely, that someone made me think of someone not associated with the show. Time will tell. But for now, the team has put together a good first issue that’s worthy of the two icons it pairs up. The book is available in comic shops today, so check it out if you’re a fan of either of the television shows or of Wonder Woman in general.

Women in Comics Statistics: DC and Marvel, May 2016 in Review

July 11, 2016

bleedingcool

My latest “Gendercrunching” column is up over at Bleeding Cool, and May 2016 was a pretty solid month for female creators across the board. Both DC and Marvel appear to have settled into a new status quo that’s noticeably above their previous typical range.

DC Comics ticked up slightly to 16.9% female creators overall, their highest percentage in a year. Marvel dropped a bit, but still came in at 17.4% overall; Marvel’s past three months have the highest continuous run we’ve seen from either Big Two publisher since this project began a few years back.

We also continued our tour around smaller publishers and saw impressive totals from Dark Horse, Dynamite, and Titan, as well as somewhat less than impressive numbers from Valiant. All together, over the past two months, the seven smaller publishers we visited posted some pretty solid numbers.

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

Women In Comic Statistics: DC and Marvel, November 2015 In Review

January 12, 2016

bleedingcool

My latest “Gendercrunching” column is up at Bleeding Cool, and it was a busy month with coverage of six different publishers: DC and Marvel, as always, plus Boom!, Dynamite, Valiant, and Archie.

Both DC and Marvel’s overall percentage of female creators dropped and remain well below their past highs. DC had the higher overall total with 13.9% female creators while Marvel came in at 13.1%. Both are up from a year ago, but down from where they were just last summer.

We finished our bi-annual roundup of smaller publishers this month with a mix of good and bad. Boom!’s female representation was massive, as always, with 36.2% female creators overall. Meanwhile, Dynamite halved their percentage of female creators from six months ago, falling to 10.3%. Valiant grew from their past total but their numbers remain paltry at 6.3%. And finally, Archie had a great month with 17.9% female creators overall, huge gains from where they were just a year ago.

Head on over to Bleeding Cool for all of the “Gendercrunching” fun!

Women In Comics Statistics: DC And Marvel, May 2013 In Review

July 30, 2013

bleedingcool

The monthly stats for May 2013 are up over at Bleeding Cool, and Marvel’s now beaten DC for the higher percentage of female creators for a year straight.  Marvel had 13.2% female creators overall, while DC trailed behind at 11.8%.

We also popped by four other publishers, finishing our tour around the top-selling publishers.  All told, we looked at twelve publishers over the past few months, including DC and Marvel, and we ended with Dynamite, Archie, Aspen, and Avatar.  Most of their numbers were quite terrible, unfortunately.

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

Some Thoughts On Dejah Thoris OR A Good Lesson On How To Treat A Female Character

August 14, 2012

Having never read Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Mars books, I watched John Carter a while back after lots of people went on about how it was way better than the critics would have you believe.  It turns out that the critics were right and the movie sucked, BUT there was some cool stuff in there and I really dig Burroughs’ Tarzan books, so I started reading the Mars books.  And they’re super cool!!  I like them a lot.

One of the main characters in the series is Dejah Thoris, the titular princess of Mars.  She gets captured a lot and John Carter has to rescue her, but she’s also pretty bad ass and clever, and can hold her own against the bad guys and tough it out in the harsh Martian terrain.  For a female character created in 1912, she’s pretty great.

Now, the Red Martians don’t wear a ton of clothes.  They’re not a terribly modest bunch, and Mars (or Barsoom, as they call it) is a dry, hot place.  As such, people sometimes draw Dejah Thoris in revealing outfits.

They didn’t do this so much in the early days, though:

On the left is the first printing of A Princess of Mars from 1917, and Dejah Thoris is well-covered.  On the right is the Ballantine paperback version of the book from the mid-1960s, and again she’s quite covered up.  But this didn’t last:

Here on the left we have a paperback from the late 1970s, with Dejah Thoris in a more revealing outfit.  On the left is the modern Penguin edition, and again we see a skimpy sort of outfit.  Neither cover is ridiculously racy, but they’re not terribly tame either.

Dejah Thoris was mostly covered up in John Carter, as you can see:

That outfit is sort of revealing, but it also covers up a lot.  Marvel, which is owned by Disney, did a comic book adaptation of Princess of Mars when the movie came out, and she was again reasonably clad:

Marvel’s Mars books have gotten solid reviews, and their recently finished Gods of Mars adaptation featured up and coming writer Sam Humphries and Eisner winning artist Ramon Perez.

So we have a situation with Dejah Thoris where you can go two ways with the character.  You can dress her reasonably and not make her a sex object, as the early covers, movie, and Marvel comics did.  Or you can put her in a skimpy outfit and sex her up some, like those later covers and pretty much every piece of fan art ever.  Seriously, go do a google image search for “Dejah Thoris”.  I’ll wait.

You see what I mean?

This may not be the classiest way to go, but the text partially supports it.  Dejah Thoris is way more a bad ass than some sort of sexpot, pin-up girl, but the Red Martians don’t wear much.

But this can go too far.  Case in point: Dynamite Comics’ Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris series.  Sexy Dejah Thoris is a common interpretation, but they take it way beyond that.  Here are a few of the variant covers for the series:

The images are censored because Dejah Thoris is naked under those bands.  You can buy nude variants of Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris.

This is why people don’t like comics.  There’s nothing wrong with sexy.  Everybody likes sexy, and there’s some precedent, however minimal, for going sexy with Dejah Thoris.  But these covers are just ridiculous.  They take a strong female character and reduce her to porn-inspired nude shots.  There is a line for this sort of thing, and comic books regularly fly past it without even noticing it’s there.

It’s great to see what Marvel’s doing with Dejah Thoris in their adaptations, and it’s a good lesson for how to do female characters.  She’s beautiful, as she is in the books, but in a classy way.  She’s a character first, not just eye candy.  Dynamite gives us a lesson of what not to do by throwing everything but “Boobies!!” right out the window.  Female characters have to be more than that, and if they’re not then it’s no wonder that people roll their eyes at comics.


%d bloggers like this: