Posts Tagged ‘Jordie Bellaire’

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

August 15, 2018

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After a dismal round of solicits for September, female creator representation is on the rise at DC Comics this October. Not to any impressive levels, though. September’s numbers were terrible and thus does October look much better, but October’s numbers in and of themselves are nothing to crow about. DC remains well below their recent highs, continuing what has become a disappointing year for the publisher in terms of female and non-binary creators. Any potential for growth we saw in the winter months has fizzled out into a long stretch of under achievement. Let’s take a look at who is doing what at DC this October:

  • Adriana Melo: Plastic Man #5 (interior art)
  • Amanda Conner: Old Lady Harley #1 (variant cover), Supergirl #23 (variant cover)
  • Becky Cloonan: Cursed Comics Cavalcade #1 (co-writer, interior art)
  • Bilquis Evely: The Dreaming #2 (interior art)
  • Cheryl Lynn Eaton: Batman Secret Files #1 (co-writer)
  • Elena Casagrande: Batman Secret Files #1 (interior art)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Superman/Top Cat Special #1 (variant cover), The Terrifics Annual #1 (cover), Wonder Woman #56 (interior art), Wonder Woman #57 (interior art)
  • Gail Simone: Plastic Man #5 (writer)
  • Jenny Frison: Hex Wives #1 (variant cover), Wonder Woman #56 (variant cover), Wonder Woman #57 (variant cover)
  • Joelle Jones: Hex Wives #1 (cover), Catwoman #4 (writer, cover)
  • Jordie Bellaire: Batman Secret Files #1 (co-writer)
  • Julie Benson: Green Arrow #45 (co-writer)
  • Kat Howard: The Books of Magic #1 (writer)
  • Mairghread Scott: Batgirl #28 (writer)
  • Mirka Andolfo: Hex Wives #1 (interior art)
  • Nalo Hopkinson: House of Whispers #2 (writer)
  • Rachel Dodson: Justice League Odyssey #2 (variant cover)
  • Sandra Hope: Sideways Annual #1 (cover)
  • Shawna Benson: Green Arrow #45 (co-writer)
  • Tess Fowler: Plastic Man #5 (cover)
  • Yasmine Putri: Green Lantern/Huckleberry Hound Special #1 (variant cover), Red Hood and the Outlaws #27 (variant cover), Wonder Woman #56 (cover),Wonder Woman #57 (cover)

All together, there are 21 different female creators set to work on 20 different comic books at DC in October, 6 more creators and 6 more books than in September. As best I can tell, there are no non-binary creators scheduled for this month. The gains are good, of course. Being in the teens in this day and age is just embarrassing, what with the scores of talented women and non-binary creators working in comics now. But DC is barely out of the teens now, and that’s not a great look either. Creators lost in a string of recent cancellations have yet to come back elsewhere, and no new creators have taken their place. Thus this current unimpressive run.

Speaking of, we don’t have much in the way of new faces scheduled for October, but there are a few notable additions. Cheryl Lynn Eaton is brand new to DC, and she’s writing a story in the Batman Secret Files oneshot. Jordie Bellaire, who is a colorist by trade, is also penning a tale for the book, so that’s exciting to see. And Kat Howard is starting her Books of Magic series for the “Sandman Universe” line, and thus we should be seeing her for a while. In terms of returning favourites, we haven’t seen Tess Fowler in a while, or Elena Casagrande, and both are back this month with a cover and art for a short story respectively.

While representation for real women is somewhat lacking this month, fictional women have some things going on. Wonder Woman is the star of a crossover event that will see her regular series tie into Justice League Dark and a couple of special issues. We’ve also got the debut of Old Lady Harley, which I presume is a humorous take on Marvel’s Old Man Logan, and the debut of the new Vertigo series Hex Wives. There’s also a sort of Halloween special with Cursed Comics Cavalcade that will feature stories about Wonder Woman and Zatanna.

So there are two ways to look at DC’s October. First, it’s a lot better than September, so hooray for that. But second, it’s well below what the publisher is capable of achieving. If DC is trying to bring in female and non-binary creators, then they’re really struggling at it. And if they’re not trying, well that’s an even bigger problem. Whatever the case, the numbers remain weak.

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Wonder Woman Annual #1 Review: A Delightful Assortment of Tales!

May 31, 2017

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Annuals are tricky comic books. They cost more than a regular issue, so readers expect some extra bang for their buck. They also tend to be disconnected from the ongoing arc(s) in the main series, so it’s easy for readers to question their relevance. An annual is an expensive collection of standalone stories, most of which aren’t by the usual creative team, and it’s never a surprise when they invariably sell fewer copies than the series’ regular issues do. I know I’ve skipped all sorts of annuals over the years. But this one I was excited for. It’s a “Year One” reunion  with Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott back together, and that alone is worth the price of admission. So much so that I’d completely forgotten who else was in the book, to be quite honest. Those stories turned out to be fun as well, though! I mean, there’s one where Wonder Woman plays fetch with a kaiju. That’s quality entertainment. We’ll get to it all, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to reveal important details from this very enjoyable comic book!

Do yourself a favour and go buy it now!

The first story is “And Then There Were Three” by Rucka and Scott. It was nice to have them back together after their stellar “Year One” run, and it was also great to have Rucka writing Batman and Superman again. He’s done fantastic work with both characters in the past, and in his hands they just felt right. DC’s trinity has been a little off kilter for me since the New 52 relaunch in 2011, and Rucka writing all three of them took me back to the characters as I know them best.

While the story tied into “Year One,” it didn’t have anything in the way of surprising revelations or information that added a key piece to the larger mysteries that have swirled throughout the “Rebirth” run. It was tangential, the story of Wonder Woman’s first meeting with Batman and Superman, but wow is it good. There are no big fights or drama, just great banter and a perfect distillation of their group dynamic. Superman teasing Batman is a dang delight, Alfred and Lois Laneare in the mix and amusingly so, and the end of the story, with Batman in awe of the pure heroism and love for the world at the core of Wonder Woman, is a great moment.

Plus it’s absolutely gorgeous. I wish Nicola Scott could draw Wonder Woman forever, and that Romulo Fajardo Jr. would be her eternal colorist. Scott has such a good handle on Wonder Woman, and captures her beautifully. She’s no slouch with Batman or Superman either! The entire story is exquisitely drawn from start to finish, from Metropolis to the Batcave to the Nevada desert, and makes for a wonderful opener to the annual.

Up next is “In Defense of Truth and Justice” by Vita Ayala and Claire Roe with colors by Jordie Bellaire. Ayala is an up an coming write at DC, and Roe is fresh off a run on Batgirl and the Birds of Prey. Their story pits Wonder Woman against the forces of Markovia as she works to save King Shark from an undeserved execution. I always love when Wonder Woman defends a villain who, though guilty of various crimes, is being treated an unfairly and needs help. These tales capture the compassionate core of the character, and Ayala and Roe do that well here, with some excellent action in the mix too. It’s a well executed story all around, with a great ending in which Wonder Woman tries to set King Shark on the right path moving forward with the help of one of her aquatic friends.

“The Curse and the Honor” by Michael Moreci and Stephanie Hans is just so pretty. The story itself is fine; the location is unnamed, but it looks like Wonder Woman is in a Japanese village, where she gives a warrior who has absorbed vengeful spirits the honourable death he deserves. But the art is stunning. Stephanie Hans always delivers amazing visuals, and this story is no exception. It’s a heavy tale, set in the winter so that Wonder Woman and her red cape appear in stark contrast to her surroundings. The art is lush and pretty, not so much finely detailed as atmospheric and moody. It is lovely all around; bringing in Stephanie Hans on this one was a very smart move from DC.

Continuing the Japanese influence, the final story is “The Last Kaiju,” written by Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing with art by David Lafuente and colors from John Rauch. As a giant kaiju approached a city on the Pacific coast, A.R.G.U.S. wants to light it up but Wonder Woman swoops in to deal with it directly. After a bit of fisticuffs, she ties it up in her golden lasso and learns that it’s not some mindless monster but a lost and lonely creature. Wonder Woman then defends the creature, flies it to Dinosaur Island where it can make friends, and they all play catch with a giant log. It’s cute and fun and again captured Wonder Woman’s compassionate core. Just like with King Shark, Wonder Woman willingly put herself in harm’s way to defend someone that no one else thought was worthy of defending. That’s always a great message for a Wonder Woman comic, and it’s nicely executed here.

All together, this was a pretty swell annual and definitely worth picking up. I came for Rucka and Scott’s take on DC’s trinity, but everything else was enjoyable as well. Plus it was great to see a wide variety of art styles and tones in the stories. It was an eclectic mix that all worked together to celebrate Wonder Woman’s heart and heroism. With the Wonder Woman movie coming just days from now, this is a fitting book to have on the shelves for new or returning fans.

Women at Marvel Comics Watch – June 2017 Solicits, 23 Women on 26 Books

April 21, 2017

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Continuing our catch up on the latest-ish solicits, today we turn to Marvel. After posting record breaking numbers in March, their June 2017 solicits again feature considerably fewer female creators in the mix. It’s a decline that’s got some staying power; three straight months in the low 20s is a disappointing run. Marvel’s proven quite well that they’re capable of much higher numbers than that, and they just aren’t hitting them. June did offer some cool Mary Jane themed variant covers, though, which are showcased above. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at Marvel this June:

  • Aud Koch: Ultimates 2 #8 (interior art)
  • Becky Cloonan: The Punisher #12 (writer)
  • Christina Strain: Generation X #3 (writer)
  • Elizabeth Torque: Captain America: Sam Wilson #23 (cover), Captain America: Steve Rogers #18 (cover), Deadpool #32 (variant cover), Elektra #5 (cover), The Mighty Captain Marvel #6 (cover)
  • Elsa Charretier: The Unstoppable Wasp #6 (interior art, cover)
  • Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #21 (interior art, cover)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Ms. Marvel #19 (writer)
  • Gabby Rivera: America #4 (writer)
  • Gurihiru: Gwenpool, the Unbelievable #17 (interior art)
  • Helen Chen: Champions #9 (variant cover)
  • Jen Bartel: Star Wars #32 (variant cover)
  • Jody Houser: Star Wars: Rogue One Adaptation #3 (writer)
  • Jordie Bellaire: Black Bolt #2 (variant cover)
  • Kelly Thompson: Hawkeye #7 (writer)
  • Margaret Stohl: The Mighty Captain Marvel #6 (writer)
  • Mariko Tamaki: Hulk #7 (writer)
  • Meghan Hetrick: Secret Empire: Uprising #1 (cover)
  • Natacha Bustos: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #20 (interior art, cover)
  • Nicole Virella: Star Wars: Poe Dameron Annual #1 (interior art)
  • Stephanie Hans: Iron Fist #4 (variant cover)
  • Tana Ford: Iceman #2 (variant cover), Secret Empire: Brave New World #2 (interior art)
  • Yusaku Komiyama: Zombies Assemble #3 (writer, interior art)

All together, there are 23 different female creators set to work on 26 different books in June, 1 more women and 2 more books than in May, but a far cry from March’s 37 women on 31 books. I know that March was boosted considerably by variant covers, but this drop and lengthy period of lows is still quite surprisingly pronounced. Variant covers are a huge part of this month’s numbers, even, but it’s not boosted the numbers in any big way. While the obvious cause of the drop is that a few key books have ended and some creative teams have shifted, there’s usually some turnaround to even things out a little bit. Not so much this time, and the numbers continue to flounder for the third straight month.

There are a few new names in the mix, though. Aud Koch is a new one for me, and she’s debuting with some interior art in Ultimates 2. We’ve seen a lot of Meghan Hetrick at DC lately, but she’s set to do some cover work at Marvel this June.  There are some returning favourites in the mix too; it’s always great to see covers from Helen Chen, Jen Bartel, and Stephanie Hans, who don’t have steady gigs at Marvel but have been popping up here and there as of late. With all of these new and returning folks, it’s bizarre that the numbers are doing so poorly in terms of growth.

June looks to be a quiet month for new books at Marvel, apart from Secret Empire stuff and ugh, who can even bother to care about that? There’s the main series itself, plus a bunch of tie-in mini-series. There are ladies here and there, both fictional and real, but the event as a whole looks to be a male-dominated affair.

Overall, June is another disappointing month for women at Marvel. They remain off considerably from their recent highs, operating at about 2/3 of what they’ve shown they’re capable of in terms of female creator representation. The company is hurting for an influx of new books and/or creative teams to shake up the ranks, and with the line mid-event I don’t know if that will be coming any time soon. Marvel likes to do that sort of thing in the fall, so we could be in for a long summer.

Women at Marvel Comics Watch, March 2017 Solicits: 37 Women on 33 Books, A New Record

January 16, 2017

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Marvel’s on quite a run with female creators rights now. March will mark the publisher’s eighth straight month with more than 30 different female creators in the mix, and Marvel is set to best their record number for combined female creators and books that they set in December. It’s really quite an impressive streak, all around. So let’s see who’s doing what at Marvel in March 2017:

  • Afua Richardson: Black Panther: World of Wakanda #5 (cover)
  • Alitha E. Martinez: Black Panther: World of Wakanda #5 (interior art)
  • Amy Reeder: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #17 (co-writer, cover)
  • Becky Cloonan: The Punisher #10 (writer)
  • Brittney L. Williams: Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat! #16 (interior art, cover)
  • Elizabeth Torque: Black Panther #12 (variant cover), Captain America: Steve Rogers #14 (cover), Captain Marvel #13 (cover), Elektra #2 (cover), Inhumans Prime #1 (variant cover), X-Men Prime #1 (variant cover)
  • Elsa Charretier: The Unstoppable Wasp #3 (interior art, cover)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Guardians of the Galaxy #1.MU (variant cover), Hulk #4 (variant cover)
  • Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #18 (interior art, cover)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Ms. Marvel #16 (writer)
  • Gabby Rivera: America #1 (writer)
  • Gisele Lagace: Gwenpool, the Unbelievable #13 (cover)
  • Gurihiru: Gwenpool, the Unbelievable #13 (interior art)
  • Hannah Blumenreich: Amazing Spider-Man #25 (co-writer, interior art)
  • Helen Chen: Silk #18 (cover)
  • Jen Bartel: Black Panther: World of Wakanda #5 (variant cover)
  • Jordie Bellaire: Uncanny Inhumans #20 (variant cover)
  • Joyce Chin: Deadpool the Duck #5 (variant cover)
  • Kamome Shirahama: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #5 (cover)
  • Kate Leth: Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat! #16 (writer), The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #18 (variant cover)
  • Kelly Thompson: Hawkeye #4 (writer)
  • Leah Williams: The Totally Awesome Hulk #1.MU (co-writer)
  • Margaret Stohl: Captain Marvel #13 (writer)
  • Mariko Tamaki: Hulk #4 (writer)
  • Natacha Bustos: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #17 (interior art), Power Man and Iron Fist #14 (variant cover)
  • Nicole Perlman: Gamora #4 (writer)
  • Nik Virella: All-New Wolverine #18 (interior art)
  • Paulina Ganucheau: The Unstoppable Wasp #3 (variant cover)
  • Roxane Gay: Black Panther: World of Wakanda #5 (writer)
  • Sara Pichelli: Monsters Unleashed #5 (variant cover), Spider-Man #14 (interior art, cover)
  • Sophie Campbell: Spider-Gwen #18 (variant cover)
  • Stephanie Hans: Gamora #4 (variant cover), Man-Thing #1 (variant cover)
  • Tana Ford: Silk #18 (interior art)
  • Tess Fowler: Doctor Strange #18 (variant cover)
  • Veronica Fish: Spider-Woman #17 (interior art)
  • Yasmine Putri: Gwenpool, the Unbelievable #13 (variant cover)

All together, there are 37 different female creators set to work on 33 different books in March, 6 more women than in February and 10 more books. And while 37 different women ties Marvel’s December record, they were only working on 25 books then; in March there will be just as many ladies in the mix as that record setting month, distributed even more thoroughly through Marvel’s lineup. These are very good numbers. Writing this post each month used to take me ten minutes or so, since there were only ever a handful of women in the mix, like 4 or 5. Now there’s dozens! It’s a lot more work for me, but it’s the good kind.

In terms of new names at Marvel, we’ve got scores of returning favourites this month but also some debut and returning creators. Gabby Rivera is coming on board to write the new America series, Hannah Blumenreich is doing her first official Marvel work (finally!), I don’t think I’ve seen Jen Bartel at Marvel before, I think Leah Williams is a new name as well, and this might be Paulina Ganucheau’s premiere at Marvel as well. And maybe Tess Fowler too? I know she’s done some stuff at DC. So yeah, a busy month for new creators!

March is typically “Women of Marvel” month, where they put out a bunch of variant covers by female artists, and while Marvel doesn’t seem to be doing that explicitly this month, there are scores of variant covers in the list above, far more than usual. Several of them are part of a themed “Venomized” variant program, so it looks like Marvel might be continuing the spirit of “Women of Marvel” without the specific fanfare. Or they’re just hiring a lot of women to do covers because they know a lot of rad female artists. Either way, there are a lot of variants in the mix this month.

Not a lot of new books, though. We’ve got a few oneshots for the IvX event and a new Iron Fist series, but the only new book with a female lead is America. And it looks FANTASTIC. A queer WOC headlining her own series is a huge step for Marvel; they haven’t been great on the LGBTQ+ front as of late, with little rep and a lot of shying away from the rep they did have. This is a big deal for them, and hopefully something we’ll see more of moving forward.

Overall, March looks to be a great month for women at Marvel, all across the board. The publisher’s on an excellent streak, female creator representation is the highest it’s ever been, and America Chavez finally has a comic book! Things are swell.

Women at Marvel Comics – February 2017 Solicits, 31 Women on 23 Books

December 6, 2016

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Marvel is set to be below their recent highs in female creator representation this February, but it’s still going to be a relatively strong month for women at the publisher. They have more than 30 women in their solicits for the seventh straight month, an impressive run with far and away the best sustained numbers we’ve seen from either DC or Marvel over the best several years. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at Marvel in February 2017:

  • Afua Richardson: Black Panther: World of Wakanda #4 (cover)
  • Alitha E. Martinez: Black Panther: World of Wakanda #4 (interior art)
  • Amy Reeder: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #16 (co-writer, cover)
  • Becky Cloonan: The Punisher #10 (writer)
  • Brittney L. Williams: Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat! #15 (interior art)
  • Elizabeth Torque: Elektra #1 (cover), The Mighty Captain Marvel #2 (cover)
  • Elsa Charretier: Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat! #15 (cover),The Unbelievable Gwenpool #11 (cover), The Unstoppable Wasp #2 (interior art, cover)
  • Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #17 (interior art, cover)
  • G. Willow Wilson: Ms. Marvel #15 (writer)
  • Gisele Lagace: The Unbelievable Gwenpool #12 (cover)
  • Gurihiru: The Unbelievable Gwenpool #12 (interior art)
  • Helen Chen: Silk #17 (cover)
  • Irene Strychalski: Silk #17 (interior art)
  • Jordie Bellaire: Uncanny Inhumans #19 (variant cover)
  • Kamome Shirahama: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #4 (cover)
  • Kate Leth: Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat! #15 (writer)
  • Kelly Thompson: Hawkeye #3 (writer)
  • Margaret Stohl: The Mighty Captain Marvel #2 (writer)
  • Marguerite Sauvage: The Unworthy Thor #4 (variant cover)
  • Mariko Tamaki: Hulk #3 (writer)
  • Myisha Haynes: The Unbelievable Gwenpool #11 (interior art)
  • Natacha Bustos: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #16 (interior art)
  • Nicole Perlman: Gamora #3 (writer)
  • Q-Hayashida: Monsters Unleashed #3 (variant cover)
  • Ro Stein: Champions #1.MU (interior art)
  • Robin Furth: Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three – The Sailor #5 (co-writer)
  • Roxane Gay: Black Panther: World of Wakanda #4 (co-writer)
  • Sara Pichelli: Spider-Man #13 (interior art, cover)
  • Vanesa Del Rey: Scarlet Witch #15 (interior art)
  • Veronica Fish: Spider-Woman #16 (interior art)

All together, there are 31 different female creators set to work on 23 different comic books this February, 2 fewer women than in January but the same number of books. Marvel’s female creator numbers have ticked down for two months in a row, though that was somewhat expected given the high they hit in December; numbers rarely go up and up and up. It’s been an up and down game, with the overall trajectory heading in a positive direction. That Marvel still has more than 30 women in the mix after two declining months is a good sign for the stability of their ranks. A year ago there were only 18 women in the solicits.

We’ve got a couple of new names this month as well. As far as I can tell, Gisele Lagace is doing her first work at Marvel with a cover, Q-Hayashida is drawing a variant cover, and Ro Stein is doing some interior art. Three new women is a solid tally; anything that expands the rolodex is good to see.

There’s not much in the way of new series this February apart from a Daredevil-related trifecta. Kingpin, Bullseye, and Elektra are all launching books, and the latter is the one we’re the most interested in. Elektra had a book recently that got cancelled in one of the many line-wide relaunches, but she’s back again. And she’s got the Daredevil television show to thank for it if the covers are any indication; her new costume very much resembles her Netflix outfit.

Overall, February looks like it will be a slightly down month for Marvel, but their numbers have been so high lately that even a down month is still rather decent relative to their previous performances over the past few years. There’s no cause for concern yet. Chances are things will be trending up again soon, though we’ll be here each month keeping an eye on things either way.

Women At DC Comics Watch – January 2016 Solicits, 31 Women On 20 Books

October 28, 2015

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It took a long time, but DC is finally back in the ballpark of the highs they hit early in 2015 with female creators. Things took a big dip after “Convergence”, with the #DCYou initiative bringing a substantial drop in female creators that was slow to recover. Things are looking up in the New Year, though, with a lot of great female creators set to work on books at DC. There are a few caveats, but DC’s posted their highest total in some time and that’s a good thing. Let’s see who’s doing what in January 2016:

  • Amanda Conner: Harley Quinn #24 (cover, variant cover, co-writer), Starfire #8 (co-writer, cover)
  • Amy Chu: Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #1 (writer)
  • Annie Wu: Black Canary #8 (art, cover)
  • Babs Tarr: Batgirl #48 (art, cover)
  • Becky Cloonan: Gotham Academy #14 (writer)
  • Chrissie Zullo: Fables: The Wolf Among Us #13 (cover)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Deathstroke #14 (variant cover), Starfire #8 (interior art), Wonder Woman #48 (variant cover)
  • Emma Needell: Vertigo SFX #4 (unspecified)
  • Gail Simone: Clean Room #4 (writer), Secret Six #10 (writer)
  • Holly Black: Lucifer #2 (writer)
  • Hope Larson: Gotham Academy #14 (writer)
  • Jenny Frison: Clean Room #4 (cover)
  • Jody Houser: Vertigo SFX #4 (unspecified)
  • Joelle Jones: Superman: American Alien #3 (variant cover, interior art)
  • Jordie Bellaire: Vertigo SFX #4 (unspecified)
  • Kate Perkins: Vertigo SFX #4 (unspecified)
  • Katie Cook: Gotham Academy #14 (writer, art)
  • Laura Braga: DC Comics Bombshells #8 (interior art)
  • Lauren Beukes: Survivors’ Club #4 (co-writer)
  • Leila Del Duca: Vertigo SFX #4 (unspecified)
  • Marguerite Bennett: DC Comics Bombshells #8 (writer)
  • Maria Laura Sanapo: DC Comics Bombshells #8 (interior art)
  • Megan Levens: Fables: The Wolf Among Us #13 (interior art)
  • Meghan Hetrick: Red Thorn #3 (interior art)
  • Meredith Finch: Wonder Woman #48 (writer)
  • Ming Doyle: Constantine, The Hellblazer #8 (co-writer)
  • Mingjue Helen Chen: Gotham Academy #14 (cover)
  • Rachel Dodson: Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #1 (variant cover)
  • Renae De Liz: The Legend of Wonder Woman #1 (writer, cover, interior art)
  • Samantha Shannon: Vertigo SFX #4 (unspecified)
  • Tula Lotay: Slash & Burn #3 (cover)

All together there are 31 different female creators set to work on 20 different books in January, a big jump from December’s 20 and 18. DC was hitting the 30s earlier in 2015, so this is a much welcome return to form, and long overdue. After showing they were capable of hiring so many women, it was disappointing to see them slip down.

But now they’re back! Though it remains to be seen for how long. Six of the women listed above are on Vertigo SFX #4, a one-shot anthology book that won’t be back next month. I’m anticipating a drop in February, but these anthologies have proven fruitful long-term; many of the women who work on the anthologies end up getting regular series work down the road. Also, there are a lot of new, sustainable gigs; Amy Chu will be writing a new Poison Ivy book for a few months, and Renae De Liz will be on a digital first Wonder Woman series.

Both of these books represent a strong month for female characters, and Poison Ivy and Wonder Woman’s new ventures are joined by a spotlight on Katana, who headlines a special Suicide Squad Most Wanted one-shot. It’s always good to see more female characters leading their own series, and while they’re mini-series and thus will have a limited run, it’ll add to DC’s female representation for several months to come.

Ultimately, January looks good for women at DC, but I’m not sure how long it will last. DC’s going to need to increase their ranks of female creators again in February to counter all of the one-time gigs listed above. But they can do it; their rolodex is deep. They are capable of hiring a wide array of female creators, if they so choose.

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #26 Review: “Girls’ Day Out” by Cecil Castellucci, Chris Sprouse, and Karl Story

February 26, 2015

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Wonder Woman and Lois Lane are two of my favourite characters ever, so I was very excited to dive into this week’s digital issue of Sensation Comics. Their team ups over the decades have been hit and miss. Phil Jimenez had a good Lois story during his Wonder Woman run and George Perez brought her to Paradise Island for a fun arc, but petty jealousy and fighting over Superman have been the norm for a lot of their interactions dating back to the 1960s. There have been a lot of rough moments, for sure, and I had high hopes for a more modern, enjoyable team up here.

What we got in the first part of “Girls’ Day Out” was fine, if unremarkable. There was no cringe-inducing jealousy, nor did they come to blows battling for Superman’s affection, so that puts it way ahead of several of Wonder Woman and Lois’ past meetings. However, the whole issue was a little bit bland, largely owing to a poor use of the digital format.

It opened well enough, with Cecil Castellucci capturing what everyone should feel when they’re sitting across from Lois Lane: Fear. Wonder Woman thinks to herself, “I have faced gods in battle… yet somehow this seems harder.” It’s always a good call to highlight Lois’ reporting prowess. But the interview that follows is a puff piece for some undisclosed reason, with Lois asking if there are cat fights on Paradise Island and which superhero is hottest.

The scene is illustrated with a lot of repetitive art. Over multiple pages, Chris Sprouse and Karl Story use the same image of Wonder Woman over and over. It seems like this repetition of Wonder Woman’s frustrated face is supposed to be funny, but seven panels of basically the same piece of art over three pages instead comes off as lazy and flat. Lois changes, at least, but it’s Wonder Woman’s comic book. She should have more than one expression.

Things pick up a bit after this scene when a giant robot attacks them. Nothing breaks up the doldrums like a giant robot hand smashing through the window. Wonder Woman immediately takes on the robot, and Lois runs after her to cover the story and even starts fighting the robot herself. After the robot is defeated, weird creatures that were incubating inside start pouring out, setting up another battle in a cliffhanger ending. The robot fight is a fun idea, and I enjoy that Lois got involved, but the entire scene flies by. The fight takes up 15 pages, and there are only 20 different panels across this span. Furthermore, there are only 16 pieces of dialogue, either spoken or thought, over the same span. It’s a lot of full page spreads, and the sparse art is not balanced out by dialogue at all. Of course, not every page needs to have a bunch of panels or scads of word balloons, but a stark lack of both means that you can read the issue in about a minute and a half. You’re not getting much story at all.

The art itself is fine, but far from the best that I’ve seen from Sprouse or Story. Plus, with so few panels and so many full page spreads, you expect the art to be epic and justify taking up so much space, but it’s all just okay. It’s not bad art by any means. It’s just underwhelming for the amount of space that’s dedicated to it. Even the colouring is a little flat and uninspired, and Jordie Bellaire coloured the book! She’s one of the best colourists in the world, and the book still feels fairly bland.

Overall, Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #26 is an average, somewhat uninspired story that fails to utilize the massive fun potential of a Wonder Woman and Lois Lane team up. Part two is coming up next week, and hopefully they’ll stick the landing and give us a more exciting tale that plays to both women’s strengths. If it’s 20 full page spreads of them busting up the creatures that spilled out of the robot, I’m not going to be impressed. The print version of this story will be out on April 15.


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