Posts Tagged ‘Emanuela Lupacchino’

Women & NB Creators at Marvel Comics Watch, January 2019 Solicits: 29 Creators on 29 Books

November 27, 2018

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Marvel closed out 2018 with solid gains in terms of female and non-binary creator representation, bouncing back well after some terribly low numbers last winter to plateau at a relatively decent level. The numbers aren’t great by any means, but they’re now consistently not bad, and that’s what counts for progress when it comes to representation in superhero comic books. Now we’ve got numbers from the new year, and this consistency is set to continue. Marvel is rolling into 2019 at about the same level they ended 2018, which is nice to see. Let’s take a look at who is doing what at Marvel this January:

  • Amanda Conner: Captain Marvel #1 (cover)
  • Amy Reeder: Ironheart #3 (cover)
  • Ann Nocenti: Marvel Comics Presents #1 (co-writer)
  • Ashley Witter: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #28 (cover), X-23 #8 (cover)
  • Carmen Carnero: Captain Marvel #1 (interior art)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Conan the Barbarian #2 (variant cover), X-Force #2 (variant cover)
  • Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #40 (cover)
  • Eve L. Ewing: Ironheart #3 (writer)
  • Gail Simone: Domino #10 (writer)
  • Gurihiru: The Unstoppable Wasp #4 (interior art)
  • Jen Bartel: Marvel Tales: Fantastic Four #1 (cover), Marvel Tales: Venom #1 (cover)
  • Jen Soska: Black Widow #1 (co-writer)
  • Jody Houser: Star Wars: Age of Republic – Jango Fett #1 (writer), Star Wars: Age of Republic – Obi-Wan Kenobi #1 (writer), Star Wars: Age of Republic Special #1 (co-writer)
  • Kelly Thompson: Captain Marvel #1 (writer), Mr. and Mrs. X #7 (writer), Uncanny X-Men #8 (co-writer), Uncanny X-Men #9 (co-writer), Uncanny X-Men #10 (co-writer), West Coast Avengers #7 (writer)
  • Kirbi Fagan: Conan the Barbarian #1 (variant cover)
  • Lauren Tsai: Captain Marvel #1 (variant cover)
  • Mariko Tamaki: X-23 #8 (writer)
  • Mirka Andolfo: Black Widow #1 (variant cover)
  • Natacha Bustos: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #39 (interior art, cover)
  • Nnedi Okorafor: Shuri #4 (writer)
  • Rachel Dodson: Mr. and Mrs. X #7 (cover)
  • Rainbow Rowell: Runaways #17 (writer)
  • Rosi Kampe: Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider #4 (interior art)
  • Seanan McGuire: Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider #4 (writer)
  • Stacey Lee: The Unstoppable Wasp #4 (cover)
  • Stephanie Hans: Asgardians of the Galaxy #5 (interior art)
  • Sylvia Soska: Black Widow #1 (co-writer)
  • Yasmine Putri: Shatterstar #4 (cover), Solo: A Star Wars Story Adaptation #4 (variant cover)

All together, there are 29 different female creators set to work on 29 different comic books at Marvel in January, the same number of creators as in December though spread across 6 fewer books. As best I can tell, there are no non-binary creators listed in this round of solicits. So the number of female creators remains steady for the third straight month, which is good. Even though Marvel’s still below their past highs, 29 isn’t a terrible number. The drop in books is steep, though. Some event tie-ins have wrapped, which explains part of the decline, and while Marvel usually has a bevy of different one-shots each month, December’s had more female creators in the mix than January’s offerings do. Still, decent numbers all around.

We’ve got some new names in the mix as well. Laruen Tsai is doing a variant cover for the new Captain Marvel, and I don’t think we’ve seen her at Marvel before. We’ve also got the Soska Sisters, Jen and Sylvia, writing a new Black Widow series. We’ve seen them before briefly, in one of those aforementioned one-shots, and now they’ve jumped to an ongoing book. That’s the benefit of including female and non-binary creators in these one-shots: It’s a great way to find talent that you can promote to a bigger role.

Marvel’s one-shots this month just aren’t doing that. They’ve got a series of specials lined up to celebrate the publisher’s 80th anniversary, and it’s a dude-centric affair. The vast majority of the books star male characters, and the vast majority of the creators involved are men. Ann Nocenti’s got a story in the special Marvel Comics Presents, and that’s about it. It’s not a great look.

We’ve got a couple big new books with female leads, though. Captain Marvel is relaunching yet again, with Kelly Thompson and Carmen Carnero on board. I’m very excited for this one; Kelly’s been killing it on so many books lately, and Carmen Carnero is always good. We’ve got a new Black Widow series too, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the Soska Sisters bring to it. Elsewhere, there are a few teams books with some ladies in the mix as well, including relaunches of Guardians of the Galaxy and Champions.

Overall, it looks like Marvel is starting the year on a good foot. Their numbers are consistent, some of their biggest female characters are launching new titles, and their embarrassingly poor start to 2018 is becoming a distant memory. As much as there’s lots of room to grow, as always, steady representation at Marvel is rare. Hopefully it continues as the year goes on, and even grows.

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Women & NB Creators at DC Comics Watch, January 2019 Solicits: 20 Creators on 14 Books

November 26, 2018

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So remember how we adjusted the numbers for DC’s December solicits? The last Wednesday in December is Boxing Day, and DC’s not shipping any books that week. Instead, because January is a five-Wednesday month, they moved all those books to the first Wednesday in January. Thus, when we looked at the December solicits, we added in that January week to get a more accurate view of the numbers. Now it’s time for the January solicits, so we’re going to subtract that first week. Easy peasy, right?

This leaves us with the last four weeks in January, which is a full cycle of DC’s publication schedule. All of the books will come out at their regular rate in that span. The only trouble is, it seems DC forgot to hire female and non-binary creators to work on them. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what this January:

  • Agnes Garbowska: Teen Titans Go! #32 (interior art)
  • Amanda Conner: Old Lady Harley #4 (cover)
  • Amanda Deibert: Teen Titans Go! #32 (co-writer)
  • Aneke: House of Whispers #5 (interior art)
  • Bilquis Evely: The Dreaming #5 (interior art)
  • Cecil Castellucci: Mysteries of Love in Space #1 (co-writer)
  • Elena Casagrande: Catwoman #7 (interior art), Mysteries of Love in Space #1 (interior art)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Wonder Woman #63 (interior art)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Wonder Woman #62 (writer), Wonder Woman #63 (writer)
  • Joelle Jones: Catwoman #7 (writer, interior art, cover), Mysteries of Love in Space #1 (cover)
  • Kamome Shirahama: Wonder Woman #63 (variant cover)
  • Kat Howard: Books of Magic #4 (writer)
  • Kelly Sue DeConnick: Aquaman #44 (writer)
  • Mairghread Scott: Batgirl #31 (writer)
  • Marley Zarcone: The Wild Storm #19 (variant cover)
  • Mirka Andolfo: Hex Wives #4 (interior art)
  • Nalo Hopkinson: House of Whispers #5 (writer)
  • Paulina Ganucheau: Hex Wives #4 (cover)
  • Rachel Dodson: Wonder Woman #62 (cover), Wonder Woman #63 (cover)
  • Zoe Quinn: Goddess Mode #2 (writer)

All together, there are 20 different female creators set to work on 14 different books at DC in January, 4 fewer creators than in the December adjusted numbers and a whopping 9 fewer books. As best I can tell, there are no non-binary creators listed in this round of solicits. And let me re-iterate: This is the same slate of books as our adjusted December numbers. We’ve not lost titles by moving the first week of January back with the December post. Both are four week cycles of DC’s entire line. January just sort of sucks. It looked like the December numbers were a step in the right direction after a subpar autumn for the publisher, but January has DC’s female and non-binary representation on the decline again.

Reading through the solicits was an odd experience, in that so many familiar names were gone. Yasmine Putri usually does a slew of variant covers, but this month there were none. Jenny Frison’s been doing Wonder Woman variant covers for ages, but she’s wrapped up that gig. Julie and Shawna Benson have been writing one book or another at DC for a couple of years now, but they’ve been taken off Green Arrow. So several of our regulars are gone, without much in the way of new names to replace them. We’ve got a few returning favourites; I feel like it’s been a little while since we’ve seen Amanda Deibert, Elena Casagrande, or Marley Zarcone. But there’s no one brand new, nor any real commensurate rise in female or non-binary creators to make up for the losses.

In terms of fictional women, Brian Michael Bendis’ new “Wonder Comics” imprint is rolling out some titles in January that feature a few gals. Wonder Girl and Amethyst are in Young Justice, while Naomi stars an all new female lead. Unfortunately, there are no female or non-binary creators attached to ANY of the “Wonder Comics” books at this point, which is just embarrassing. There are several books, all written and drawn by dudes. Come on now. Elsewhere this month, the only new book with female characters in the mix is the Mysteries of Love in Space special, which has stories starring Hawkgirl and Crush, i.e. Lobo’s daughter.

Overall, this is not a great start to the new year. The drop in creators is certainly noticeable, and the drop in representation across the line is massive. Falling from 23 books to 14 is a huge decline. And things like “Wonder Comics” aren’t helping matters either. How, in 2019, do you launch a brand new imprint with NO women or non-binary creators in the mix? It’s just ridiculous. Especially when the last imprint, “Young Animal,” was a bastion of female creator representation. So yeah, the year’s not getting off on the best foot. Hopefully things will pick up from here.

Women & NB Creators at Marvel Comics Watch, December 2018 Solicits – 29 Creators on 35 Books

October 25, 2018

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Unlike DC Comics, who are holding back a quarter of their December titles until the first week of January, Marvel looks to be going full tilt in December with a big slate of new comic books. And the publisher is set to end the year on a high note. After beginning 2018 with some embarrassingly low numbers, things are looking up for female and non-binary creators at Marvel. They’re all over this round of solicits, setting a high bar for the new year to come. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at Marvel this December:

  • Amy Reeder: Ironheart #2 (cover)
  • Ashley Witter: Fantastic Four #5 (variant cover), Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #27 (cover)
  • Babs Tarr: Champions Annual #1 (variant cover)
  • Elizabeth Torque: Fantastic Four #5 (variant cover), Miles Morales: Spider-Man #1 (variant cover), Uncanny X-Men #4 (cover), Uncanny X-Men #5 (cover), Uncanny X-Men #6 (cover), Uncanny X-Men #7 (cover)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Superior Spider-Man #1 (variant cover)
  • Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #39 (cover)
  • Eve Ewing: Ironheart #2 (writer)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Ms. Marvel #37 (writer)
  • Gail Simone: Domino #9 (writer), Fantastic Four: Wedding Special #1 (co-writer)
  • Gurihiru: The Unstoppable Wasp #3 (interior art)
  • Irene Strychalski: Season’s Beatings #1 (interior art)
  • Jenny Frison: X-Men Red #11 (cover)
  • Jody Houser: Spider-Girls #3 (writer), Star Wars: Age of Republic – Darth Maul #1 (writer), Star Wars: Age of Republic – Qui-Gon Jinn #1 (writer)
  • Kelly Thompson: Merry X-Men Holiday Special #1 (co-writer), Mr. and Mrs. X #6 (writer), Uncanny X-Men #4 (co-writer), Uncanny X-Men #5 (co-writer), Uncanny X-Men #6 (co-writer), Uncanny X-Men #7 (co-writer), West Coast Avengers #5 (writer), West Coast Avengers #6 (writer)
  • Laura Braga: Fantastic Four: Wedding Special #1 (interior art)
  • Leah Williams: Marvel Super Hero Adventures: Captain Marvel – Frost Giants Among Us! #1 (co-writer), Merry X-Men Holiday Special #1 (co-writer)
  • Mariko Tamaki: X-23 #7 (writer)
  • Natacha Bustos: Asgardians of the Galaxy #4 (interior art), Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #38 (interior art, cover)
  • Nnedi Okorafor: Shuri #3 (writer)
  • Rainbow Rowell: Merry X-Men Holiday Special #1 (co-writer), Runaways #16 (writer)
  • Rosi Kampe: Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider #3 (interior art)
  • Seanan McGuire: Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider #3 (writer)
  • Stacey Lee: The Unstoppable Wasp #3 (cover)
  • Tini Howard: Marvel Knights 20th #3 (co-writer), Merry X-Men Holiday Special #1 (co-writer)
  • Vanesa Del Rey: Spider-Geddon #5 (variant cover)
  • Veronica Fish: Season’s Beatings #1 (interior art)
  • Vita Ayala: Marvel Knights 20th #4 (co-writer)
  • Yasmine Putri: Shatterstar #3 (cover), Spider-Girls #3 (cover)

All together, there are 29 different female and non-binary creators set to work on 35 different comic books at Marvel this December, the same number of creators as in November but spread over 7 more books. This is a very solid showing. Doubly so considering that Marvel only had 11 female creators nine months ago in March. They’ve crawled out of that hole over the course of the year and while their record highs still remain a bit off, this is the highest combined total they’ve posted in some time.

It’s also good to see so much representation across so many different books. Typically with the Big Two, we get a lot of clumping. Female and non-binary creators are relegated to a handful of books that often feature more than one of them, while the bulk of the books in the line remain all-male affairs. Having female and non-binary creators on 35 different titles is a relatively impressive spread for Marvel that gives us representation across a good portion of the line. A lot of that is Kelly Thompson writing or co-writing eight different issues this month; the gal is all the rage right now! But the representation is strong even beyond that.

Despite these big numbers, December looks to be a quiet month for new names, both real and fictional. All of the creators listed above are folks we’ve seen before, and fairly recently, too. There aren’t any newcomers in the mix, though several of the remain relatively new to Marvel, I suppose. And in terms of fictional characters, it’s a pretty quiet month for new books with female leads. Hope Summers and Jean Grey are part of the X-Men: The Exterminated series and Domino is in the new X-Force, but that’s about it. Everything else is dudes, including new books for Killmonger, Miles Morales, the Superior Spider-Man, the Winter Soldier, and a Defenders event with an all-male cast.

Overall, Marvel is set to close out the year with some solid representation for female and non-binary creators. It’s a much needed turnaround after their disastrous start to the year, and hopefully the numbers will continue to grow into 2019 with even more new voices in the mix!

Wonder Woman #57 Review: Exorcising The Witching Hour

October 24, 2018

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I know I usually go with the main cover to start my review, but this Jenny Frison variant cover was too amazing to ignore. Look at that! It’s so creepy and menacing and gorgeous. While Frison has done consistently fantastic work with her Wonder Woman variants, this is one especially excellent. And perfectly spooky!

But onto the story. This Justice League Dark team certainly comes up with a lot of big ideas. Last week, it was Wonder Woman trying to channel Hecate’s powers and use them against her. That went sideways pretty quickly, though. Hecate is the goddess of witchcraft, after all. She knows what she’s doing with this whole magic thing. This week, the big plan was courtesy of Zatanna and Constantine. Since Wonder Woman is possessed by Hecate now, why not bring in the best exorcist in the game to try to cast Hecate out? Much like Wonder Woman’s plan from last week, it was basically a hail Mary. The old ways of magic aren’t working, Hecate is defeating them all, and the apocalypse is more or less nigh. They have to try something. And it works, sort of, before it takes a surprising turn at the end of the issue. We’ll dig into that big cliffhanger momentarily, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I’m not going to tell you what happens on the last page in the first paragraph of my review!

Read on only if you’ve read the entire issue!

Which you should do, because this is a fun crossover!

So let’s backtrack a little bit. The issue opens with Wonder Woman on the moon, except not really. For our ancient ancestors, the moon was the first mystery and they saw a sort of magic in it. Hecate, as the goddess thereof, thus adopted this magical concept of the moon as her domain, what Witchfire calls “the primal dominion of magic.” Her power exists not on the real moon, but within the metaphor of what the moon represents. It’s all super weird, and I love it.

First off, waking up with a shock is a bit of a trope, sure, but one that can be a lot of fun when handled well. And in a spooky story like “The Witching Hour,” the surprise wake up was an excellent choice, especially since when we last left Diana she was fully possessed by Hecate and straight up destroying Nanda Parbat. Second, to have her wake up on the moon is enjoyably unexpected. And third, then everything gets all tricky, what with her being trapped on a metaphor of the moon and all, and I was so into it. This is a big crossover with all sorts of characters and locations, and this moon section, while important, will only be a small part of the overall story. It could have been simpler. Vaguer. Easier. But James Tynion IV took the time to make it unique, to come up with a big, interesting idea to make the scene extra cool. You gotta respect that level of commitment to telling a fun story.

Everything about this opening was delightful, the art especially. Emanuela Lupacchino always does excellent work, but I tend to focus on her lovely female characters. While she’s still slaying on that front here, she also does a gorgeous job with the lunar landscape, making it feel like the moon but not quite the moon. It looks like a metaphor for a magical representation of the moon, basically, which I’m guessing was very hard to pull off. And Romulo Fajardo Jr. colours it beautifully. It’s a pale, silvery world but it never feels flat, and Wonder Woman’s pop of colour is just enough of a contrast to stand out without being garish or out of place. The whole sequence is gorgeous.

And the issue stayed strong from then on. While it wasn’t as action packed as last week’s, it had some good moments for everyone, a few payoffs and twists on past events in the crossover, and some major developments. In terms of character growth, we learn that Constantine is gravely ill and, with magic not working correctly, beyond help. If this doesn’t get sorted in the finale next week, I’m guessing this will play out in future issues of Justice League Dark. On the story side of things, we have the exorcism. I came into this issue having no idea how the team was going to deal with a possessed Wonder Woman, and dang if this isn’t an enjoyably elegant solution. Of course they try an exorcism! They’ve got John friggin’ Constantine. Why wouldn’t they? It’s played wonderfully as well, with neither Constantine nor Zatanna terribly confident it will work but yet keen to try it nonetheless because they have literally no other options at this point.

Of course, it all takes a terrible turn. Black Orchid and Manitou Dawn are freed from Hecate’s control, but Constantine miscalculated things and all of their power races into Diana. It’s a lot of power. Too much power, it seems, because the issue ends with Witchfire telling Diana that she has died.

Now, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I don’t think that Wonder Woman is dead. DC’s got G. Willow Wilson and Cary Nord coming on in a couple weeks in what is a pretty big deal for the publisher. I’m quite confident that Wonder Woman is going to survive this crossover. But that doesn’t mean she isn’t in a pickle right now. If she is dead, they’re gonna have to bring her back, and if she isn’t then she’s certainly not in a good way. Whatever is going on, it’s going to need sorting in the finale next week. Diana’s still trapped in the lunar metaphor, and I presume the wrath of Hecate is going to be swift and violent. Nothing’s coming easy for the team in this run, and I’m excited to see what hare-brained scheme they come up with next week in the crossover’s grand finale.

Women & NB Creators at DC Comics Watch, December 2018 Solicits – 24 Creators on 23 Books, Sort Of

October 18, 2018

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Okay, this one is going to be a little bit weird. The fourth Wednesday in December is Boxing Day, and DC has decided not to ship any comics at all that week. Since January is a five-week month, they’re bumping all of their usual fourth week books from December into the first week of January. That leaves the December solicits a bit sparse, with a quarter of the usual books not there. This obviously makes our monthly comparisons a bit difficult, but let’s start with who’s doing what at DC this December and we’ll keep going from there:

  • Amanda Conner: Supergirl #25 (variant cover)
  • Aneke: New Talent Showcase 2018 #1 (interior art)
  • Bilquis Evely: The Dreaming #4 (interior art)
  • Brandee Stilwell: Sasquatch Detective #1 (writer)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Supergirl #25 (interior art)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Wonder Woman #60 (writer)
  • Jenny Frison: Wonder Woman #60 (variant cover)
  • Jill Thompson: Supergirl #25 (interior art)
  • Joelle Jones: Catwoman #46 (writer, interior art, cover)
  • Julie Benson: Green Arrow #47 (co-writer)
  • Kelly Sue DeConnick: Aquaman #43 (writer)
  • Magdalene Visaggio: New Talent Showcase 2018 #1 (co-writer)
  • Mirka Andolfo: Harley Quinn #56 (interior art)
  • Nalo Hopkinson: House of Whispers #4 (writer)
  • Nicola Scott: Justice League Dark #6 (cover)
  • Priscilla Petraites: New Talent Showcase 2018 #1 (interior art)
  • Rachel Dodson: Justice League Odyssey #4 (variant cover), Wonder Woman #60 (cover)
  • Sanya Anwar: New Talent Showcase 2018 #1 (co-writer)
  • Shawna Benson: Green Arrow #47 (co-writer)
  • Yasmine Putri: Nightwing #54 (variant cover), Nightwing #55 (variant cover), Red Hood: Outlaw #29 (variant cover)
  • Zoe Quinn: Goddess Mode #1 (writer)

All together, there are 21 female creators scheduled to work on 16 different comic books at DC in December, 1 more creator than in November but 5 fewer books. As best I can tell, there are no non-binary creators in this round of solicits. Now, we’ve already got more women working on comics than last month, so that’s a plus, but it just doesn’t feel right. Especially when the January solicits will have a lot of books double shipping that typically don’t. Everything’s all wonky. So I think for our “official” count, I’m going to borrow the entries from the first week of the January 2019 solicits (i.e. the books that should have come out December 26), and we’ll make those part of the December count. So let’s add in:

  • Amanda Conner: Old Lady Harley #3 (cover)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Wonder Woman #61 (writer)
  • Jenny Frison: Wonder Woman #61 (variant cover)
  • Kat Howard: Books of Magic #3 (writer)
  • Mairghread Scott: Batgirl #30 (writer)
  • Mingjue Helen Chen: Hex Wives #3 (cover)
  • Mirka Andolfo: Hex Wives #3 (interior art)
  • Rachel Dodson: Justice League Odyssey #4 (variant cover)
  • Rachel Dodson: Wonder Woman #61 (cover)
  • Yasmine Putri: Raven, Daughter of Darkness #11 (cover)

A bunch of these creators were in the first list above, but the net gain here is 3 more female creators and 7 more books, for a total of 24 female creators overall, working on 23 different books. It may not be the monthly numbers exactly, but it captures this publication cycle well, and I think that gives us our most accurate totals for our usual month to month comparison.

And it’s a comparison that stacks up pretty well. I mean, November kind of sucked. Only 20 female creators is terrible. But there were 15 in October, and that’s even worse. We’re seeing two big jumps in a row here that, while they haven’t lifted DC to anything resembling a strong total yet, could bode well for continued growth in the new year. Or the numbers could just fall off a cliff again. You never know with the Big Two. Regardless, 24 creators is a decent total relative to the back half of 2018 as a whole, and hopefully we’ll see the growth continue.

We’ve got a few new names as well. I think Brandee Stilwell got listed once for her work on Exit Stage Left, but her Sasquatch Detective backups from that mini are getting collected in a one-shot with a new story thrown in, too. We’ve also got Priscilla Petraites, who has gone through DC’s talent development program and will be drawing a story in this year’s New Talent Showcase. And finally, Zoe Quinn is launching Goddess Mode for Vertigo, which sounds like it could be a cool title.

In terms of female characters, it’s mostly team stuff for new books this month. Zatanna and Orphan are going to be in Batman and the Outsiders, Catwoman, Wonder Woman, and Zatanna are going to be in the New Talent Showcase 2018, and Freedom Fighters should have some ladies in the mix, though none are specified in the solicit. Also, Goddess Mode has a female lead, which is very fun.

All together, the adjusted numbers show a step up for DC in terms of female creator representation, though their non-binary ranks remain poor. It would be nice to have the new year on the horizon bring continued growth and new opportunities for women and non-binary creators, but if you’ve followed this project at all you know it’s a dang yo-yo, up and down all the time. At the very least, at this current moment in time, DC is moving in a positive direction. That’s something, I suppose

Wonder Woman #56 Review: The Witching Hour Continues!

October 11, 2018

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In Wonder Woman #56, we get Emanuela Lupacchino drawing Wonder Woman, Zatanna, AND Circe, and if that’s not worth four bucks then I don’t know what is. Luppachino’s drawn a bunch of issues of Wonder Woman over the past year, bringing some visual flair to several subpar stories, but this time she’s paired with writing worthy of her talents. James Tynion IV is putting together something cool here with “The Witching Hour” and I’m really enjoying it. The crossover is the perfect October treat thus far, and the stakes keep getting higher. Our pal Wonder Woman is playing with some dangerous powers here, and I’m worried that things might go sideways on her. We’ll get into it all, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

Look away if you haven’t read this issue yet!

Also, you should buy this issue! And the other parts of the crossover!

It’s pretty rad!

I’m going to start by talking about a small, almost inconsequential part of the book, but it’s something done smoothly and well in a way that deserves recognition. Continuity is in a tricky spot right now in the DC universe. The New 52 relaunch was rocky, and the “Rebirth” books did some good course correction but confusion still remains. This is true most of all for Wonder Woman. Her continuity right now is a dang mess. Elements I thought were changed and sorted keep coming back, and parts of her past remain massive questions marks. It’s chaos.

But sometimes, there’s a simple fix to a problem. Case in point: Circe. In the New 52 era, she appeared in the deservedly maligned Superman/Wonder Woman series in classic scary witch form, wreaking all sorts of havoc. But in the “Rebirth” era, Bilquis Evely did a marvelous redesign of the character that modernized her for Greg Rucka’s more nuanced take. These contrary incarnations both exist in the same universe, so Tynion found an easy workaround. He brought out the first Circe, all pigtailed and black bodiced, to intimidate Wonder Woman and her friends, then when she realized what was happening she morphed into the newer, chiller Circe, explaining that the first look was just for theatrics. It’s an elegant way to clean up a continuity snafu, all while adding a little drama and humour to the story.

Speaking of humour, I really enjoyed the balance of the serious and the silly in this issue. Terrible things are happening for Wonder Woman and the gang, with our Amazon heroine plagued with a powerful curse and Hecate set to destroy all magic, violently and brutally. It’s a bad scene. But the book doesn’t languish in tense planning and argument. There’s a lot of that, sure. Wonder Woman’s got kind of a whacky plan here. But there are enough small, humorous moments to keep everything from feeling too heavy. Detective Chimp is always great comic relief, and it turns out Man-Bat is a good source for some unexpected laughs too. The tone is well managed throughout, maintaining the tension while not drowning in it.

Tynion’s done a nice job crafting an impossible situation, too. Wonder Woman and Zatanna’s argument over what to do in the face of the overwhelmingly powerful Hecate was so well done. It’s hard to craft an argument where both sides have totally valid points, but while reading this I kept flip flopping back and forth over whose side I was on. Diana wants to wield Hecate’s power with Circe’s help, tapping into it without being controlled by it. Zatanna thinks that channeling the power would be impossible and that Wonder Woman would slip under Hecate’s control again. And they’re both right! There’s no other power strong enough to challenge Hecate but her own, but it’s also a power that Hecate can control. It could work, but it could also go terribly awry. It’s also an argument that doesn’t get personal. This isn’t about trust. Zatanna doesn’t think that Diana is weak and Diana doesn’t think that Zatanna is cowardly. They’re facing an awesome power, and they just have different ideas and concerns.

In the end, Wonder Woman goes for it, of course. We’ve been seeing a lot of stories lately about Wonder Woman going above and beyond, taking on the weight of the world because she’s confident she can bear it. It’s a compelling theme, and one that’s especially apt in today’s political climate. And the fact remains that everyone has limits. There’s no one I would rather have try to wield Hecate’s power than Diana, but at the same time, that power is immense. Even Diana might not be able to keep control of it. Watching this all play out has made for great reading thus far, and I’m excited to see where it goes from here now that she’s taken this next step.

As I mentioned at the top, Emanuela Lupacchino drew this issue, with inks from Ray McCarthy, and I am always glad to have her in the pages of Wonder Woman. She’s got such an ease with the character, capturing her power and beauty with aplomb in every panel. It was fun to see her draw some other DC mainstays as well. Lupacchino’s got a knack for female characters, so Zatanna and Circe were super cool, but the rest of the gang were nicely done as well. She captured the growing tension of the issue, while also nailing the smaller comedic moments. And she was joined by colorist Romulo Fajardo Jr., who always brings the heat. I know I go on and on about him all the time, but seriously, flip through this comic book. Look at the textures and the colour choices and see how everything beautifully compliments the line art. The dude is so good.

“The Witching Hour” continues next week in Justice League Dark, so be sure to let your local comic book shop know you’re on board for the entire crossover. These first two issues have been really good, and I think the whole event will be worth picking up. It’s spooky and enjoyable and I honestly have no idea how they’re going to win this one, which is the sign of an excellent story.

Women & NB Creators at DC Comics Watch, November 2018 Solicits: 20 Creators on 21 Books

September 17, 2018

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DC is officially in a rut when it comes to female and non-binary creators. After losing mainstays on this list like Bombshells United and the “Young Animal” line, the bulk of those creators are no longer at DC while some creative changes and the debut of a new Vertigo slate have barely erased the losses. Reading the solicits every month, we see the same dudes cranking out books across the line, but retention for female and non-binary creators is pretty low. Growth requires both a stable group of creators and the addition of new voices. DC is middling at both when it comes to female and non-binary creators. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at DC this November:

  • Adriana Melo: Plastic Man #6 (interior art)
  • Agnes Garbowska: Teen Titans Go! #31 (interior art)
  • Amanda Conner: Old Lady Harley #2 (cover), Supergirl #24 (variant cover)
  • Ashley Witter: Raven, Daughter of Darkness #10 (cover)
  • Bilquis Evely: The Dreaming #3 (interior art)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Hex Wives #2 (cover)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Wonder Woman #58 (writer), Wonder Woman #59 (writer)
  • Gail Simone: Plastic Man #6 (writer)
  • Jenny Frison: Wonder Woman #58 (variant cover), Wonder Woman #59 (variant cover)
  • Joelle Jones: Catwoman #5 (writer, interior art, cover)
  • Julie Benson: Green Arrow #46 (co-writer)
  • Kamome Shirahama: Nightwing #52 (variant cover)
  • Kat Howard: The Books of Magic #2 (writer)
  • Mairghread Scott: Batgirl #29 (writer), DC Nuclear Winter Special #1 (co-writer)
  • Mirka Andolfo: Hex Wives #2 (interior art)
  • Nalo Hopkinson: House of Whispers #3 (writer)
  • Nicola Scott: Justice League Dark #5 (cover)
  • Rachel Dodson: Justice League Odyssey #3 (variant cover), Wonder Woman #58 (cover), Wonder Woman #59 (cover)
  • Shawna Benson: Green Arrow #46 (co-writer)
  • Yasmine Putri: DC Nuclear Winter Special #1 (interior art), Red Hood and the Outlaws #28 (variant cover), Titans #29 (variant cover), Titans #30 (variant cover)

All together, there are 20 different female creators scheduled to work on 21 different books at DC this November, one fewer creator than in October an one more book. As best as I can tell, there are no non-binary creators listed in this round of solicits. The numbers are holding steady, more or less, which would be nice if the totals were at a solid level. But they are not. DC’s shown themselves to be capable of posting much higher numbers in the recent past, and they remain well below that now.

And that’s with a big addition! G. Willow Wilson is back at DC, writing Wonder Woman in what should be an excellent run. That’s a big get for DC, and it comes with Rachel Dodson inking covers and Jenny Frison continuing on her stellar variants. Elsewhere, we’ve got another Marvel regular popping over for a cover with Ashley Witter on Raven, Daughter of Darkness. The rest we’ve all seen in months past, though several of the creators are still relatively new to DC.

There’s not a lot going on for female characters this month. Wonder Woman‘s got a new direction, of course, but in terms of new series it’s mostly dudes. There are some team books with female characters in the mix, at least, with Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn on the cover of the DC Nuclear Winter Special and Amanda Waller, Enchantress, and Katana in the mix for Suicide Squad: Black Files.

Overall, apart from the excellent Wonder Woman news, it’s a pretty humdrum month at DC. Female creator numbers remain low, and the lack of non-binary creators is disappointing. This has been an underwhelming year for women and non-binary creators at DC, and barring a remarkable turnaround in December, we’ll have to see what 2019 will bring. There’s certainly lots of room to grow, at least.


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