Posts Tagged ‘Nimona’

Noelle Stevenson, Of Nimona And Lumberjanes Fame, To Draw Wonder Woman In Sensation Comics

December 12, 2014

The March issue of Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman looks like it’s going to be fantastic. Not only does it have a story by Heather Nuhfer and Ryan Benjamin, it’s also got one written by James Tynion IV with art by one of my favourite creators in all of comics, Noelle Stevenson. Here’s the solicit, via Comic Vine:

SENSATION COMICS FEATURING WONDER WOMAN #8

Written by James Tynion IV and Heather Nuhfer; Art by Noelle Stevenson and Ryan Benjamin

Cover by Jae Lee

Teenage Diana comes to Man’s World, and discovers a “Wonder World” where she makes new friends. That part’s great, but her Amazon bodyguards are busy tracking her down and scaring everyone she meets! Then, “Sabotage Is in the Stars,” as Wonder Woman aids India’s space program, making it safe for them to launch their new SpaceCrops platform. But when Diana discovers LexCorp caused the problem, she takes matters into her own hands!

It looks like the Tynion/Stevenson story will be the first one, with a teenage Diana and her Amazon bodyguards. Tynion posted this sketch of all of the characters that Stevenson designed for the story, which looks so fun:

noelleww

All of the creators on this issue are wonderful, but I’ve been a huge fan of Noelle Stevenson for years. I first heard about her when she started her “Broship of the Rings” art, a series of drawings and eventually a short comic that reimagined characters from the Lord of the Rings as modern dudes. Biker chick Eowyn was probably my favourite, though hipster hobbits were a close second. Her career has since exploded from there. Her webcomic, Nimona, wrapped up recently and is being published next year, and she’s part of the amazing team behind Lumberjanes, one of the best comic books on the stands right now. She’s also got a day job at Disney and wrote a story in an upcoming Thor annual. I’m so excited for Noelle Stevenson to draw a Wonder Woman story partly because I love her art and partly because she is exactly the sort of creator that the Big Two needs right now. Stevenson is the future of comics, and while I adore her own original stuff, I hope we get a lot of superhero stories out of her too.

I feel sort of bad talking up Noelle Stevenson when everyone else on the book is super good as well. It’s going to be a great issue all around! She’s just one of my very favourite creators, so I’m super excited. You should definitely pick up the book in March, and the stories should be available digitally before then.

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On Female Customers In Unwelcoming Comic Shops OR These Shops Will Slowly But Surely Die

February 11, 2014

noelle

Yesterday, Noelle Stevenson posted a comic about her experiences in comic shops that were unfriendly towards female customers.  Noelle is a comic book creator herself, the writer and artist of the fantastic and award winning webcomic Nimona and the co-writer of the upcoming Lumberjanes, and yet she often finds comic book shops uncomfortable and offputting, to such a degree that she doesn’t go to them anymore.  The staff can be condescending and dismissive to women, and this obviously creates a rather unpleasant environment for female customers.

Some might suggest that Noelle’s experiences are her own and not necessarily indicative of comic shops more broadly, but here’s the thing: Her comic has been up less than a day and it’s already got over 60,000 notes.  There are A LOT of people identifying with her frustrations, and this highlights a huge problem within the comic book industry.  It’s not a new problem, certainly, but one that’s existence is ridiculous in 2014.

Now, there are a lot of fantastic, welcoming comic shops out there.  The site Hate Free Wednesdays lists tons of great stores, including my own local comic shop, Strange Adventures.  But for every awesome store, there’s a shop that conforms to The Simpsons Comic Book Guy stereotype and treats female customers poorly.  They assume that because she’s a woman she doesn’t know anything about comics, or that she’s there just to buy stereotypically “girly” items.  They see themselves as the gatekeepers of a vast mythology that the uninitiated are unworthy to access, and see all women as automatically on the outs based solely on their gender.  They believe that the objectification and sexualization of female characters is fine – nay, required – because comics are meant for them and must cater to their prurient desires.  They are a sad, contemptuous bunch who have long forgotten the joy and awe these caped adventurers inspired in them when they first discovered comics.

Which brings us to the comic book industry itself, and superhero publishers in particular.  In many ways, these unwelcoming shops are a reflection of these publishers.  They assume that women don’t want to buy their products, they rarely hire women and when they do they often put them on books starring female characters, they’re terrible at making their characters accessible to new readers, and they continually pump out T&A to appease what they see as their core audience.  Their books are dark and gritty, joyless tales of death and destruction.  For quite some time now, unfriendly comic book shops and unfriendly publishers have been working in tandem to repel women away from comic books.

Things have been getting better on the publishing side, albeit slowly.  Marvel in particular has realized that a female audience exists AND that they enjoy more than just female characters, though the recent increase in female-led books is nice too.  The New 52 and Marvel NOW! have created a somewhat better level of accessibility.  The T&A is still pretty ridiculous, though, and there is often an entrenched antagonism towards anyone who brings up sexism or problematic choices.  They don’t seem to realize that making a few good moves doesn’t mean that people won’t continue to criticize their many bad ones.

Nonetheless, the industry is slowly improving, however glacially, and ideally comic book shops will follow suit.  The growth in popularity of publishers like Image and Boom!, particularly among female fans, is shifting audience demographics, and the stores that continue to see female customers as some sort of affront to their purity will miss out on a lot of business.  In this day and age, when it’s so easy to get comics, both physical and digital, online, all comic book shops are going to have to offer excellent service to survive, and those who actively exclude half the population will probably be among the first to die.

Noelle’s comic perfectly captures the plight of many female fans in today’s comic book marketplace, but hopefully the tide is turning.  It’s ludicrous that women still face such neanderthalic treatment in comic shops in 2014, and the responses to the comic from mansplainers online has just been foolish.  Patriarchy; it’s the worst.   But in the end, some women will find good shops and these stores will thrive, while others will find alternative ways of getting comics.  Some might ditch the medium, which is unfortunate, but overall the recent growth of female readers has been very encouraging.  I mean, disgruntled female customers are MAKING COMICS about their experiences.  Comics will be fine; this is the new vanguard of what the medium is becoming.  In the end, the real losers are the actual losers who fail to recognize that women are people and instead lock themselves in their He-Man women haters nerd dungeons; their shops will stagnate or die.  And good riddance to them.

My 10 Favourite Comic Book Things Of 2012

December 27, 2012

“Things” is rather vague, I know, but this isn’t a list of my favourite books or creators or moments of the year.  It’s all of those things at once!!  I could do a Top Five of various categories, but the overlap would be huge, so I’m just going to pile it all together into one big Top Ten list.

It was an odd year for comics, with a lot of big events you’re not going to see on this list, but there were a bunch of cool things too.  Let’s get to listing:

10) Gail Simone’s Rehiring on Batgirl

2012simone

I’m not naïve enough to think that Gail Simone’s rehiring on Batgirl signals some kind of big change at DC Comics where they suddenly care about fan reactions and female creators, but it was still a great moment.  Firing Simone was just absolutely ludicrous, and the reaction was strong, to say the least.  I can’t think of another creator who has as much of an association with a company owned character as Simone does with Barbara Gordon.  Simone doesn’t own Barbara, but Barbara IS Simone’s character, really.  And even more so now.  Her return to the book after her inauspicious firing was one of my very favourite moments of the year.

9) Marco Checchetto

2012checchetto

I honestly couldn’t care less about the Punisher, but I checked out the first collection of new series because Greg Rucka is pretty great.  I might have come for Rucka, but I stayed for Marco Checchetto.  While his art is gritty, as befits a Punisher book, it doesn’t have that muddled sort of effect that a lot of gritty, noir style artists have.  Checchetto is a cool hybrid of grit and crisp detail, and I absolutely love it.  I think this dude is going to be big.

8) Noelle Stevenson

2012elk

Noelle Stevenson, aka. Gingerhaze, is a ridiculously good time.  Her webcomic, Nimona, is fantastic, and her “Broship of the Ring” is an internet classic.  My absolute favourite thing she does, though, is her mini-strips after she watches a movie or TV show she’s particularly enthused about.  Right now, I’m loving her Hobbit-inspired Thranduil as an elk-riding dad embarrassing Legolas strips.  Noelle is hilarious and great.

7) Goliath by Tom Gauld

2012goliath

Sometimes you randomly check out a book from the library and it turns into one of your favourite things of the year.  I ADORED Tom Gauld’s Goliath.  I’m always up for a good riff on a Bible story, and Goliath is both super clever and well drawn.  Gauld’s art style fits the tone of the book perfectly.  I usually talk about the Big Two on this site, but do yourself a favour and go grab a copy of this book.

6) Scott Pilgrim IN COLOUR!!

2012scottpilgrim

The first two volumes of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim series came out in bigger, coloured editions this year, and they’re just amazing.  The Scott Pilgrim books were already one of the absolute best books of the past decade, and they’re even better oversized and in colour.  Nathan Fairbairn, in close consultation with O’Malley, really takes the books to a whole new level of awesome with his colouring, and they’re an absolute pleasure to read even if, like me, you’ve already read the first editions like fifty times.

5) Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers

2012avengers

This book just launched a few weeks ago, and when I read the first issue I thought “Wow, I REALLY dig this… this might even sneak in at tenth in my Top Ten list!”  The second issue is out now, and here it is at fifth.  Avengers is great storytelling, but even more than that it feels SO epic.  You can tell that Hickman is building something massive and cool and I’m ridiculously excited to get in on the ground floor of what will be years of crazy stories.  Jerome Opena’s art is great, and Marvel’s got lots of other cool artists lined up to meet the book’s bi-monthly schedule.  It’s loads of fun already, and it feels like it’s just going to keep getting better.

4) Diana’s Coat in Wonder Woman #11

ww11thejacket

I liked this so much that I now own this page!!  While I’ve had my share of problems with Wonder Woman in 2012 (the Amazons as rapists and murderers, in particular), Cliff Chiang is still killing it on every level with his art.  I spent a full third of my Wonder Woman #11 review going on about this coat and how it represents everything good about this new take on Wonder Woman in terms of modernizing the character with respect for what came before.  This may not have always held true for me with the story, but it absolutely does with the art.

3) Captain Marvel, the Book and the Reaction

2012captain marvel

I’ve been following comics for a long time, and I’ve never seen such an enthusiastic reaction to a redesign of a character.  There was tons of fan art and various custom items months before the first issue even hit the newsstands!!  And when the first issue did hit, it was fantastic.  Kelly Sue DeConnick had a HUGE year, and has done an excellent job relaunching Captain Marvel, while artists Dexter Soy and Emma Rios make the book look great and distinct from the usual superhero stylings.  While a year ago I knew barely anything about Carol Danvers, I’m very glad that she’s now one of my favourite characters starring in one of my favourite books.

2) Saga

2012saga

I was over the moon excited for a new Brian K. Vaughan book, and then even more excited that Fiona Staples would be drawing it.  As a huge fan of BKV, I had a rough idea in my head of what the book might be like, and then I got the first issue.  Saga was NOTHING like what I expected, in the absolute best way possible.  It was bigger and more bizarre and more interesting and enjoyable than I ever imagined.  I think it’s the best thing BKV’s ever written, and Staples’ art is a perfect match for the story.  Even the letter column is fun.  Saga is an absolute blast to read each month.

1) Hawkeye

2012hawkeye

When Marvel announced that Matt Fraction and David Aja were teaming up to do a Hawkeye book, I was kind of upset.  They’re two of my favourite creators so I HAD to pick up the first issue, but I didn’t give a hoot about Hawkeye.  At all.  There were SO many characters I’d rather have seen them work on.  So I begrudgingly bought the first issue, and it was AMAZING.  Far and away the most enjoyable, amusing, kick ass superhero story I’d read all year.  Then Hawkeye #2 was even better, as was the next issue after that.  It just keeps getting more fun every month, and I’m astounded to love a book about Hawkeye as much as I do.  It’s unequivocally the best comic out there right now, and I can’t recommend it enough.

So those are my favourite things from this year, but let’s take a peek into the crystal ball and see what I’m looking forward to in 2013:

  • Lazarus by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark.  A dystopian response to the Occupy movement?  Sign me up.
  • Pretty Deadly by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios.  Anytime DeConnick and Rios get together, it’s a good time.  I’m very excited they’re doing a Western.
  • Man of Steel by Scott Snyder and Jim Lee.  Snyder is doing a great job with Batman, and Jim Lee is always a good time.  I’m jazzed to see what they come up with for Superman.
  • New Avengers by Jonathan Hickman and Steve Epting. As I mentioned above, I LOVED Avengers, and New Avengers is poised to be a sort of companion book more than a direct tie-in.  I’m going to be all over it.
  • Movies!!  Iron Man 3!!  Thor 2!!  Man of Steel!!  It’s going to be another big year for cinematic superheroes, and all of these movies look great.
  • Amazon, Allan Heinberg’s Smallville-esque Wonder Woman show for the CW.  It’s still in the early stages, but it would be really fun if this ended up happening, and doubly so if it was good too.  Arrow’s been pretty enjoyable, and Heinberg has skills.  It could be really great, if it happens.

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