Posts Tagged ‘Shea Fontana’

Women & NB Creators at DC Comics Watch, September 2017 Solicits: 27 Creators on 21 Books

July 21, 2017

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After a series of fairly solid rounds of solicits in terms of female and non-binary creator representation across the summer months, DC looks to be starting the fall towards the lower end of that range with their September solicits. A few new books have increased the ranks, while DC’s major autumn event seems to be entirely dude-centric thus far, and things have almost evened out. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at DC this September:

  • Amanda Conner: Harley Quinn #27 (co-writer, cover), Harley Quinn #28 (co-writer, cover), Harley Quinn 25th Anniversary Special #1 (co-writer, interior art, cover)
  • Babs Tarr: Bombshells United #1 (variant cover)
  • Becky Cloonan: Shade, The Changing Girl #12 (cover)
  • Carmen Carnero: Detective Comics #964 (interior art)
  • Cecil Castellucci: Shade, The Changing Girl #12 (writer)
  • Eleanora Carlini: Suicide Squad #25 (interior art)
  • Gail Simone: Wonder Woman/Conan #1 (writer)
  • Hope Larson: Batgirl #15 (writer)
  • Jenny Frison: Wonder Woman #30 (variant cover), Wonder Woman #31 (variant cover)
  • Jody Houser: Mother Panic #11 (writer)
  • Julie Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #14 (co-writer)
  • K. Perkins: Superwoman #14 (writer)
  • Kamome Shirahama: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #14 (variant cover)
  • Katie Jones: Shade, The Changing Girl #12 (backup story)
  • Marguerite Bennett: Batwoman #7 (writer), Bombshells United #1 (writer), Bombshells United #2 (writer)
  • Marguerite Sauvage: Bombshells United #1 (interior art), Bombshells United #2 (interior art)
  • Marley Zarcone: Shade, The Changing Girl #12 (interior art)
  • Mirka Andolfo: Teen Titans #12 (interior art)
  • Rachel Dodson: Bombshells United #1 (cover)
  • Rosemary Valero-O’Connell: Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye #12 (variant cover)
  • Shawna Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #14 (co-writer)
  • Shea Fontana: Wonder Woman #30 (writer)
  • Siya Oum: Batman Beyond #12 (interior art)
  • Stephanie Hans: Bombshells United #2 (cover)
  • Tula Lotay: Doom Patrol #9 (variant cover)
  • Vita Ayala: Batman Beyond #12 (co-writer)
  • Yasmine Putri: The Hellblazer #14 (variant cover)

All together, there are 27 different female and non-binary creators set to work on 21 different books in September, 2 fewer creators than in August and 1 fewer book. This is hardly a major change, and could very well just be normal shuffling around. We don’t expect the numbers to stay the same everything month, and a things going a little lower or higher is common. Small changes like this are only significant when it’s part of a larger trend. If DC lost 2 women/NB creators after posting losses in a couple of months previous, that would be disconcerting. This slight drop, though, after a decent August, is nothing too worrisome yet. Of course, we’ll see how the rest of the fall solicits unfold.

Before we dig into things more, here’s a quick note on the change in terminology. We’ve been keeping track of female creators at DC for several years now, but I recently learned that writer Vita Ayala, who I’ve categorized as female in the past, identifies as non-binary. Since the purpose of this project is to showcase creators who disrupt the typical male hegemony of the superhero industry, changing the title and the terminology to be more inclusive seemed like the right way to go. We’ve always listed women who are transgender, of course, but that didn’t necessitate a shift in nomenclature. This does, I think. If there are other creators whose identity lies outside of the male/female binary, I’d be glad to know about them and will include them on the list moving forward; let me know in the comments.

We’ve mostly got returning favourites this month, but there are a couple of new names in the mix. Katie Jones is doing a backup story in Shade, The Changing Girl #12, while Rosemary Valero-O’Connell drew a variant cover for Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye #12. The “Young Animal” line has certainly been a solid outlet for representation at DC each month since it began, and these additions carry that on well.

In terms of new books, DC’s Dark Nights: Metal event and its various tie-ins continue to be male-dominated, both in terms of characters and creators. But in exciting news, the Bombshells are back! The superhero ladies will continue fighting the Second World War in Bombshells United, which will double ship with double Marguerites in September. Wonder Woman’s also got a new mini-series that teams her with Conan the Barbarian, and Harley Quinn will star in a special 25th anniversary issue.

So overall, September looks to be an average month for female and non-binary creators at DC. The numbers are firmly in the middle of the publisher’s range across 2017 thus far; DC’s stayed within a fairly narrow window. So things are relatively steady, but that also means that the numbers aren’t growing. It’d be nice to see things improve in the months to come; with ComicCon this weekend, perhaps we’ll get some exciting announcements to that effect.

Wonder Woman #26 Review: Diana Meets Her Destiny

July 12, 2017

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After a year of stellar comic books from Greg Rucka, Bilquis Evely, Nicola Scott, and Liam Sharp that restored Diana and the Amazons to their proper status in the DC universe, Wonder Woman‘s new creative team has some big shoes to fill. And I’m pleased to report that Shea Fontana and Mirka Andolfo are off to a fantastic start! I had a good feeling about this team; Fontana’s been doing great stuff with the DC Super Hero Girls comics, and I absolutely love Mirka Andolfo’s work on DC Comics Bombshells as well as her recent fill-in issue on Wonder Woman. Together they’ve crafted a story that moves Wonder Woman forward from all of the drama surrounding her origins and her past. That drama made for compelling comics, of course, but Rucka and co. wrapped it up perfectly and now it’s nice to see the new status quo carrying on in a new tale. We’ll dig into it all, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

Well, less spoilery than usual; more of a broad strokes overview!

Reading this probably won’t ruin the comic for you!

But regardless, go read the comic! It’s super good!

First off, before I get to how good this comic was, I’ve got to say that the cover is not great. Andolfo’s art has a stylized, cartoonish element that is so expressive and good, and pairing it with such generic, standard superhero art feels like a bad decision. It’s a poor advertisement for what’s inside the book, which is so much better. I don’t mind a book having different cover artist than interior artist, but the cover art should give some sort of indication of the tone and style of the interior. This does not, and I wish it had a fun, bad ass Andolfo cover instead.

That’s partly because Mirka Andolfo is GREAT and I’m never not excited to see more of her art. She’s got a style that’s clearly her own; I always know that I’m reading an Andolfo book from page one. Her work is gorgeous, and captures the characters wonderfully, almost exaggeratedly. There aren’t a lot of subtle emotions here. Instead, every feeling is displayed across each character’s face clearly, and I find their expressiveness so compelling and fun. Andolfo’s also got an amazing eye for style, and Diana and Etta’s outfits when they attend a wedding at the end of this issue are so darn good. Her work always feels fresh and modern to me, and I love when Wonder Woman has that sensibility.

Plus, here’s some amazing news: While the bulk of Wonder Woman‘s creative team over the past year has moved on, colorist Romulo Fajardo Jr. is still on board! This dude is a wizard. He adds depth and texture to every panel in a way that brings so much to every page without overwhelming the line work at all. I’m so glad he’s still on Wonder Woman. He’s one of the best colorists in the game today, and his stuff just gets better and better. He pairs well with Andolfo, too, highlighting her character work beautifully.

In terms of the story itself, this issue hits a lot of the elements that will make me love a Wonder Woman book. We’ve got Wonder Woman helping those who need it most, here dealing with an attack at a UN refugee camp in Greece. It always feels right to see Wonder Woman dealing with international issues, and never more so than when they are timely topics. We’ve also got young Diana on Themyscira, which I’m a sucker for. It feels like Fontana is drawing from the opening of the Wonder Woman film a bit here, and I’m all for it. Little Diana is so entertaining. We’ve got Etta Candy as well, i.e. Wonder Woman’s greatest supporting character of all time. And even better, we’ve got them hanging out at a wedding. I love Diana as a superhero, of course, but it’s also nice to see her having a life beyond that, hanging out with her friends outside of the costume. The costume is such a powerful symbol that it’s always interesting to see Diana away from it, partly because the gal deserves a break and partly because she can’t help but still be Wonder Woman to some degree, regardless of what she’s wearing, as her adventure with Destiny, a little girl at the wedding, shows.

So all of these elements are great, but I also really like what Fontana seems to be digging into in terms of the psychological cost of being a superhero. The flashback to Themyscira gives us a good look at Diana’s mindset, as her younger self tearfully locks away her beloved doll to toughen herself up and become the warrior that Amazons are supposed to be. Wonder Woman is very well adjusted as far as superheroes go, but the story effectively points out that she has to deal with seeing so many terrible things, all the time. Moreover, it suggests that this could be taking a toll on her mental health, despite her insistence that she can handle it all. There’s a scene where she says that she doesn’t want to put the burden of her experiences on someone else, and I think that’s going to be key moving forward. That’s a very heroic, self-sacrificing notion, but while Wonder Woman can handle a lot, much more than most, trying to deal with everything on your own can only work for so long. I’m curious to see how Fontana explores this with Wonder Woman as the story continues.

Also, there’s a big crazy cliffhanger at the end! That’s just fun comic booking. It’s a bit of a doozy, too, that leaves Wonder Woman in a very difficult spot. I know she’s Wonder Woman and all, but she’s really up against it with this one. It’s going to be hard to get out of it without any collateral damage. We’ll find out what she does in two weeks time, and I can’t wait! This was an excellent, gorgeous first issue for this new creative team, and I’m very excited for more.

Women at DC Comics Watch – August 2017 Solicits, 29 Women on 22 Books

June 13, 2017

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Despite a lack of female creators in several new series, mini-series and one-shots set to premiere in August, representation for women at DC Comics remained relatively strong across their wider range of books. Growth throughout the spring has led to a solid plateau at the publisher, though some changes are on the way that may soon change that this fall. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at DC this August:

  • Amanda Conner: Harley Quinn #25 (co-writer, cover), Harley Quinn #26 (co-writer, cover)
  • Aneke: DC Comics Bombshells #32 (interior art)
  • Becky Cloonan: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #12 (co-writer), Shade, the Changing Girl #11 (cover)
  • Carmen Carnero: Detective Comics #963 (interior art)
  • Cecil Castellucci: Shade, the Changing Girl #11 (writer)
  • Eleanora Carlini: Green Arrow Annual #1 (interior art)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Scooby Apocalypse #16 (variant cover)
  • Hope Larson: Batgirl #14 (writer)
  • Jenny Frison: Wonder Woman #28 (variant cover), Wonder Woman #29 (variant cover)
  • Jody Houser: Mother Panic #10 (writer)
  • Julie Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #13 (co-writer)
  • K. Perkins: Superwoman #13 (writer)
  • Kamome Shirahama: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #13 (variant cover)
  • Laura Braga: DC Comics Bombshells #32 (interior art), DC Comics Bombshells #33 (interior art)
  • Lea Hernandez: Teen Titans Go! #23 (interior art)
  • Leslie Hung: Shade, the Changing Girl #11 (variant cover)
  • Lilah Sturges: Everafter: From the Pages of Fables #12 (co-writer)
  • Marguerite Bennett: Batwoman #6 (co-writer), DC Comics Bombshells #32 (writer), DC Comics Bombshells #33 (writer)
  • Marguerite Sauvage: Shade, the Changing Girl #11 (interior art)
  • Marley Zarcone: Shade, the Changing Girl #11 (interior art)
  • Michelle Delecki: Deathstroke #22 (variant cover), The New Gods Special #1 (interior art, cover)
  • Mirka Andolfo: DC Comics Bombshells #32 (interior art, cover), DC Comics Bombshells #33 (interior art)
  • Msassyk: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #12 (interior art)
  • Sana Takeda: Mother Panic #10 (variant cover)
  • Sandra Hope: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #12 (inker)
  • Shawna Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #13 (co-writer)
  • Shea Fontana: Wonder Woman #28 (writer), Wonder Woman #29 (writer)
  • Tula Lotay: Everafter: From the Pages of Fables #12 (cover)
  • Yasmine Putri: The Hellblazer #13 (variant cover)

All together, there are 29 different female creators set to work on 22 different books in August, 2 more women than in July though 1 less book. DC’s hit a decent level as of late, with the number of women on their books ranging from 27 to 31 over the past four months. In terms of both their own past performances and the numbers from their main competitor, this is a relatively good plateau.

It’s not a huge month for new names, though. Leslie Hung and Sana Takeda are the only two here, both of them on variant covers. We haven’t seen Michelle Delecki in a while either, but everyone else has been around recently. This lack of new women, and of new gigs generally, is somewhat odd given how many different series, mini-series and one-shots are scheduled for August. There are 11 new #1 issues, only one of which features a female creator, so that’s a rather dispiriting ratio.

Female characters aren’t a huge part of these new books either. Where they do appear, it’s in group settings; Wonder Woman looks to have a role in Dark Nights: Metal, and Suicide Squad Black Files seems to include Enchantress and Katana. We’ve got a new Mister Miracle book as well that should feature a lot of Big Barda, but her name’s not in the title. There’s also six one-shots that celebrate Jack Kirby, none of which star a female character.

Overall, August looks to be relatively solid for women at DC, but change may be around the corner. One key difference moving forward will be the end of Gotham Academy: Second Semester, which ships its final issue in August. That book has been a bastion for female creators at DC, and we may see its loss reflected in the numbers. The fall could bring even more new books as well, and given how few women are involved with August’s new offerings, that may not be great for the numbers either. We’ll see what the solicits bring. But for now, August is looking relatively strong for female representation at DC, at least.

Women at DC Comics Watch – July 2017 Solicits, 27 Women on 23 Books

May 9, 2017

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July looks to be a bit of a drop for female creator representation at DC, though not a particularly steep one. The June solicits had their strongest numbers of 2017 thus far, so a decline is hardly unexpected. Growth is rarely a steady thing in the comic book world. Plus DC’s totals for July are in the upper end of their range as of late, which is encouraging despite the drop. Let’s take a look at who is scheduled to do what at DC in July 2017:

  • Amanda Conner: Harley Quinn #23 (co-writer, cover), Harley Quinn #24 (co-writer, cover)
  • Aneke: DC Comics Bombshells #30 (interior art), DC Comics Bombshells #31 (interior art)
  • Becky Cloonan: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #11 (co-writer), Shade, the Changing Girl #10 (cover)
  • Carmen Carnero: DC Comics Bombshells #30 (interior art), DC Comics Bombshells #31 (interior art)
  • Cecil Castellucci: Shade, the Changing Girl #10 (writer)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Green Lanterns #26 (variant cover), Green Lanterns #27 (variant cover)
  • Hope Larson: Batgirl #13 (writer)
  • Jan Duursema: Scooby Apocalypse #15 (interior art)
  • Jenny Frison: Wonder Woman #26 (variant cover), Wonder Woman #27 (variant cover)
  • Jill Thompson: Scooby Apocalypse #15 (variant cover), Shade, the Changing Girl #10 (variant cover)
  • Jody Houser: Mother Panic #9 (writer)
  • Julie Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #12 (co-writer)
  • K. Perkins: Superwoman #12 (writer)
  • Kamome Shirahama: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #12 (variant cover)
  • Laura Braga: DC Comics Bombshells #30 (cover), DC Comics Bombshells #31 (interior art)
  • Leila Del Duca: Shade, the Changing Girl #10 (interior art)
  • Lilah Sturges: Everafter: From the Pages of Fables #11 (co-writer)
  • Marguerite Bennett: Batwoman #5 (co-writer), DC Comics Bombshells #30 (writer), DC Comics Bombshells #31 (writer), The Kamandi Challenge #7 (writer)
  • Marley Zarcone: Shade, the Changing Girl #10 (interior art)
  • Mirka Andolfo: Wonder Woman #26 (interior art), Wonder Woman #27 (interior art)
  • Msassyk: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #11 (interior art)
  • Sandra Hope: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #11 (inker)
  • Shawna Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #12 (co-writer)
  • Shea Fontana: Wonder Woman #26 (writer), Wonder Woman #27 (writer)
  • Stephanie Hans: Batwoman #5 (interior art, cover)
  • Tula Lotay: Everafter: From the Pages of Fables #11 (cover), The Hellblazer #12 (cover)
  • Yasmine Putri: Detective Comics #960 (cover), Detective Comics #961 (cover), Nightwing #24 (variant cover), Nightwing #25 (variant cover), The Hellblazer #12 (variant cover)

All together, there are 27 different female creators set to work on 23 different book at DC this July, 4 fewer women than last month though 1 more book. While the decline in creators isn’t great to see, the high 20s is a fairly solid showing for DC relative to their past performances, and is slightly above par for the course for the year thus far. And having women on more books despite the decline in creators is nice; it’s good to see female creators being spread through the ranks more. Publishers often group women together on a few select titles, so any growth in representation throughout the line itself is encouraging.

Speaking of the line, it looks like it’s going to stay stagnant yet again in July. The only new books recently are preludes to DC’s big Metal event and the print version of a new digital first mini-series, Batman ’66/Legion of Superheroes; the latter has a couple of ladies in the Legion, at least. Apart from some shifting here and there as a few bi-monthly series switch to monthly, things remain steady. I expect some new books will be on the way sooner than later, perhaps some sort of push in the fall, but things are quiet right now.

Despite the constant line, however, we’ve got some new names in the mix. Shea Fontana is taking over the writing duties on Wonder Woman, and Mirka Andolfo, who we know from DC Comics Bombshells, is joining her on art. We’ve also got Leila Del Duca on some interior art for Shade, the Changing Girl, Stephanie Hans pitching in on art duties for Batwoman, and Jill Thompson is back to do a couple variant covers, which is always a good time.

Overall, July looks to be a pretty average month for female representation at DC Comics. They’re capable of higher, as they showed last month and even more so at times last year, but they’ll be near the upper range of their numbers in July. An influx of new books and new creators seems a bit off yet, so it’ll be interesting to see if DC maintains this level through the summer.

Wonder Woman #20 Review: A Late Look at the New Circe’s Debut

April 18, 2017

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First off, apologies for the late review. I was gallivanting around Amsterdam last week and am only getting around to reading the latest issue of Wonder Woman today. It was an issue worth the wait, though; between Greg Rucka reinventing a villain that he created more than a decade ago and Bilquis Evely providing gorgeous, expressive art, “Godwatch” has been a great read thus far. I particularly enjoy that it’s so different from every other arc of the “Rebirth” Wonder Woman we’ve seen so far. We’re four arcs into this new era, and each has a different feel and style, which is very cool. Let’s dig into what happened in Wonder Woman #20, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to reveal all of the major plot points of this issue!

It came out nearly a week ago, though!

You should have read it by now!

So the ongoing saga of Veronica Cale and her captured daughter Izzy continues, with Cale going to extreme lengths to try to get her daughter back. This month, that means enlisting the help of the ancient witch Circe, who comes up with a plan to trap Phobos and Deimos and thus get Cale one step closer to her daughter. However, things don’t go quite as expected. The brothers get captured and turned into the dogs that we’ve seen Cale command in the present day “The Lies” and “The Truth,” but it turns out that their father Ares has Izzy, and even a fiendish witch like Circe has no desire to go up against him. Cale, though, is more than willing to unleash war on the world if it means getting her daughter back, and the issue ends with what appears to be the first step toward a sinister new plan.

Usually when an arc of Wonder Woman focuses so little on Wonder Woman herself, it very quickly gets on my nerves. She’s in just a handful of pages in this issue, and “Godwatch” as a whole has been rather light on Wonder Woman in its first three installments. And yet, I’m really enjoying it. Rucka’s constructed a compelling narrative for Cale and he’s turned her into one of the most interesting, well fleshed out villains I’ve read in some time. She’s a terrible person, sure, but there’s a humanity behind all of that rooted in her love for her daughter that makes her so much more than just some evil cardboard cut out. And Evely absolutely embraces the complicated nature of the character. I follow Evely on Twitter, and it seems clear that she really loves to draw Veronica Cale and capture both her arrogant snark and her softer emotional core. What she does with Cale’s expressions and body language is so enjoyable to read each month. Rucka’s writing her well, but Evely is really elevating her into a sensational, fascinating character.

Evely is doing an amazing job with designs for the arc as well. This issue introduced Circe, and she looks ridiculously cool. Circe’s been a Wonder Woman villain for decades, and her many incarnations have followed a similar theme: she’s generally rather sexualized, and her costumes tend to have a classic Greek myth aesthetic skewed through the lens of the male gaze. This new Circe is very different. She shows up sporting a rad short haircut that nonetheless attains impressive height, wearing a sharp outfit that includes black slacks and a vest, a collared shirt, and a cream blazer. This Circe is modern and fun and clearly mischievous. She makes me think of a sort of malevolent Sue Perkins, really.

We get a bit of the ancient Greek vibe when Circe’s doing her magic binding, and again it’s unique. Rather than a bodice that exposes ample cleavage, as we so often get with Circe, Evely equips her with a full, ornately crafted chestplate that fits nicely over her well tailored shirt and pants. It’s a simple, elegant design that conveys so much about this new take on the character, combining her ancient power with a fresh, contemporary look in manner that works so well. It feels like Circe even though it’s unlike any Circe we’ve ever seen before. I love her and I want an action figure, please.

Now, all of this villainous focus is enjoyable, but I also love how Evely draws Wonder Woman and I’m hoping we’ll get some more of that in the next few issues. The saga of Veronica Cale is a great read, but it seems that Evely is only going to be on Wonder Woman for the one arc, and I’d love to see her go to town with Wonder Woman as well. When you’ve got a great, unique talent like Evely, you should try to make her draw as much awesome stuff as possible!

Finally, while I was away, Greg Rucka announced that he will be leaving the book after Wonder Woman #25, and the art crew on both arcs seem to be moving on as well. It was sad news, to be sure, but ultimately I think it could be good for the book. I like Rucka a lot, but I’m also ready for a new take on the character, preferably from someone young with a unique perspective. Rucka was a great choice for “Rebirth” because Wonder Woman was very much adrift and DC needed someone to right the course. Rucka, Evely, Scott, and Sharp have done that admirably, and established a take on Wonder Woman that is both true to her roots and relevant to the world today. They had to fix a huge mess, and they did a great job. The end of the currents arcs seems like a good spot to pass the baton, and I’m excited to see what comes next. Shea Fontana and Mirka Andolfo have been announced as the new team on the book, with Fontana writing it for at least five issues, and that’s a very fun first step. We’ll find out soon if Fontana is staying with the book or we’re getting a new team after that, and here’s hoping that this great run for Wonder Woman continues.


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