Posts Tagged ‘Vita Ayala’

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.

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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 DC Comics Watch – January 2017 Solicits, 26 Women on 24 Books

November 1, 2016

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After a strong run to close the year, female representation at DC Comics looks to be taking a bit of a step back to start 2017. The January solicits have DC’s lowest number of female creators since last August, a disappointing start to the year after the publisher posted some of its best numbers ever in November and December. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at DC Comics in January 2017:

  • Amanda Conner: Harley Quinn #11 (cover, co-writer), Harley Quinn #12 (cover, co-writer)
  • Becky Cloonan: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #5 (co-writer), Shade, the Changing Girl #4 (cover)
  • Cecil Castellucci: Shade, the Changing Girl #4 (writer)
  • Elena Casagrande: Vigilante: Southland #4 (interior art)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Green Lanterns #14 (variant cover), Green Lanterns #15 (variant cover)
  • Hope Larson: Batgirl #7 (writer)
  • Jenny Frison: Wonder Woman #14 (variant cover), Wonder Woman #15 (variant cover)
  • Jody Houser: Justice League of America: Killer Frost Rebirth #1 (co-writer), Justice League of America: Vixen Rebirth #1 (co-writer), Mother Panic #3 (writer)
  • Joelle Jones: Shade, the Changing Girl #4 (variant cover)
  • Julie Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #6 (co-writer)
  • Kamome Shirahama: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #6 (variant cover)
  • Laura Braga: DC Comics Bombshells #21 (interior art)
  • Marguerite Bennett: DC Comics Bombshells #21 (writer), Detective Comics #948 (co-writer), Detective Comics #949 (co-writer)
  • Marguerite Sauvage: DC Comics Bombshells #21 (cover), Justice League/Power Rangers #1 (variant cover)
  • Marley Zarcone: Shade, the Changing Girl #4 (interior art)
  • Mingjue Helen Chen: Mother Panic #3 (variant cover)
  • Mirka Andolfo: DC Comics Bombshells #21 (interior art)
  • Msassyk: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #5 (interior art)
  • Nicola Scott: Wonder Woman #14 (cover, interior art)
  • Pia Guerra: The Hellblazer #6 (interior art)
  • Sandra Hope: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #5 (inker)
  • Shawna Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #6 (co-writer)
  • Stephanie Hans: Batman #14 (cover and interior art), Raven #5 (cover)
  • Tula Lotay: Everafter: From the Pages of Fables #5 (cover)
  • Vita Ayala: Suicide Squad Most Wanted: El Diablo and Amanda Waller #6 (co-writer)
  • Yasmine Putri: Justice League/Power Rangers #1 (variant cover), The Hellblazer #6 (variant cover), The Odyssey of the Amazons #1 (variant cover)

All together, there are 26 different female creators set to work on 24 different books at DC this January, 7 fewer women than in December though 1 more book. It’s a dispiriting drop, though not wholly unexpected. A string of strong months is inevitably followed by a drop. If we’ve learned anything in tracking these numbers it’s that it’s an up and down game. And while 26 women is low relative to the past four months, it’s higher than several of the months before that, and above DC’s abysmal start to their “Rebirth” relaunch in which they could barely muster 20 women a month. So it’s a big drop, to be sure, but the end result is a performance that’s fairly middle of the road for DC in terms of the past year.

Part of the reason for this drop is a lack of new faces. Everyone above is someone we’ve seen recently at DC, most of them in the same gig as last month, and while it’s wonderful that they’re all back, the numbers grow best when there are new people in the mix in new places. We’re also missing a few books in January; Vertigo’s offerings are pretty slim, including no Clean Room, and Mariko Tamaki and Joelle Jones’ new Supergirl series seems to be taking a month off already. December was also bolstered by a oneshot holiday special, and there are no such festive celebrations scheduled for January.

However, we do have a couple of oneshots with female characters and a female co-writer. Killer Frost and Vixen are both set to be part of the new Justice League of America, and they’re getting special introductory issues co-written by Jody Houser. The rest of the new books are fairly light on female characters, though Wonder Woman is co-starring in Batman ’66 Meets Wonder Woman ’77, which should be a blast, and she’ll be a part of the Justice League/Power Rangers crossover comic, along with a couple of other female members on both teams.

Overall, DC looks to be starting 2017 in a rather run of the mill way. They’re down from their 2016 highs but up from their 2016 lows, a decidedly average beginning to the New Year. Hopefully the numbers will continue to grow as the year progresses. The January solicits were pretty quiet, and with a second round of “Rebirth” on the way we might see some shake ups in the creator ranks very soon.

Women At DC Comics Watch – December 2016 Solicits, 33 Women on 23 Books

October 4, 2016

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In my report on the November solicits, I noted that it seemed unlikely that DC’s number of female creators would be in the low 30s again come December. There were a lot of one-shots and variant cover gigs, and those numbers are hard to sustain month-to-month. But DC did it, and has posted a strong lineup of female creators to end the year. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at DC Comics in December 2016:

  • Amanda Conner: Harley Quinn #9 (co-writer, cover), Harley Quinn #10 (co-writer, cover)
  • Becky Cloonan: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #4 (co-writer), Shade, The Changing Girl #3 (cover)
  • Cecil Castellucci: Shade, The Changing Girl #3 (writer)
  • Claire Roe: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #5 (interior art)
  • Elena Casagrande: Vigilante: Southland #3 (interior art)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Green Lanterns #12 (variant cover), Green Lanterns #13 (variant cover)
  • Gail Simone: Clean Room #15 (written)
  • Heather Nuhfer: Teen Titans Go! #19 (co-writer)
  • Holly Black: Lucifer #13 (co-writer)
  • Hope Larson: Batgirl #6 (writer)
  • Jenny Frison: Clean Room #15 (cover), Wonder Woman #12 (variant cover), Wonder Woman #13 (variant cover)
  • Jody Houser: Mother Panic #2 (writer)
  • Joelle Jones: Supergirl: Being Super #1 (interior art, cover)
  • Julie Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #5 (co-writer)
  • K. Perkins: DC Rebirth Holiday Special #1 (co-writer)
  • Kamome Shirahama: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #5 (variant cover)
  • Laura Braga: DC Comics Bombshells #20 (interior art)
  • Marguerite Bennett: DC Comics Bombshells #20 (writer)
  • Marguerite Sauvage: DC Comics Bombshells #20 (interior art), The Flintstones #6 (variant cover)
  • Mariko Tamaki: Supergirl: Being Super #1 (writer)
  • Marley Zarcone: Shade, The Changing Girl #3 (interior art)
  • Mirka Andolfo: DC Comics Bombshells #20 (interior art)
  • Msassyk: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #4 (interior art)
  • Nicola Scott: Wonder Woman #12 (interior art, cover)
  • Pia Guerra: The Hellblazer #5 (interior art)
  • Sandra Hope: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #4 (inker)
  • Sanya Anwar: Clean Room #15 (interior art)
  • Sarah Vaughn: Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love #2 (writer)
  • Shawna Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #5 (co-writer)
  • Stephanie Hans: Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love #2 (cover)
  • Tula Lotay: Everafter: From the Pages of Fables #4 (cover)
  • Vita Ayala: DC Rebirth Holiday Special #1 (co-writer), Suicide Squad Most Wanted: El Diablo and Amanda Waller #5 (co-writer)
  • Yasmine Putri: The Hellblazer #5 (variant cover)

All together, there are 33 different female creators set to work on 23 different books at DC this December, the same number of women as in November and one more book. The total also ties DC’s highest number of the year, and it’s an encouraging sign for 2017 that DC is set to end 2016 with two very good months. With the second wave of “Rebirth” just around the corner, hopefully the publisher can keep these numbers going.

December looks a lot like November across the board: a core group of creators, plus a few one-shots and variant covers. One-shots aren’t sustained work, but DC’s mixing things up with their variant covers as of late. Instead of rotating in different artists each month, artists seem to be sticking with a book for an extended period of time. Emanuela Lupacchino, for example, has been doing variants for Green Lanterns since it launched in June. What used to be a one-time job has turned into steady work, and it’s helping keep DC’s female creator ranks high.

December’s not a huge month for female characters, but there are a couple of fun new books in the mix. The biggest is Supergirl: Being Super by Mariko Tamaki and Joelle Jones; it looks fantastic, and with two amazing creators in the mix it should be a lot of fun. We’ve also got the DC Rebirth Holiday Special with stories starring Batwoman and Wonder Woman, and the beginning of Justice League vs. Suicide Squad, which will feature all of the female members on both teams.

Overall, DC is set to end the year on a good note. Things were looking bad mid-way through the year; DC could barely hit 20 female creators a month in the early days of their “Rebirth” initiative. But things have picked up throughout the fall and DC is going to close 2016 with the best numbers we’ve seen from them over the past five years. There’s always still room to grow; women remain a small minority at nearly every level of production. But progress is slowly being made, and things are looking up.

Women at DC Comics Watch – November 2016 Solicits, 33 Women on 22 Books

September 7, 2016

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After a slow start to their “Rebirth” initiative, with weak numbers for female creators for the first three months of the new books over the summer, DC’s numbers have picked up considerably throughout their fall solicits. November continues this trend and takes things a step further: The November 2016 solicits have the highest number of female creators we’ve seen at DC since we started keeping track several years ago. So let’s take a look at who is doing what:

  • Amanda Conner: Harley Quinn #7 (co-writer, cover), Harley Quinn #8 (co-writer, cover)
  • Annie Wu: Raven #3 (cover)
  • Becky Cloonan: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #3 (co-writer), Shade, the Changing Girl #2 (cover)
  • Cecil Castellucci: Shade, the Changing Girl #2 (writer)
  • Chynna Clugston Flores: Shade, the Changing Girl #2 (variant cover)
  • Claire Roe: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #4 (interior art)
  • Elena Casagrande: Vigilante: Southland #2 (interior art)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Green Lanterns #10 (variant cover), Green Lanterns #11 (variant cover), Superwoman #4 (interior art, cover)
  • Emma Beeby: New Talent Showcase #1 (co-writer)
  • Erica Schultz: New Talent Showcase #1 (co-writer)
  • Fiona Staples: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #3 (variant cover)
  • Gail Simone: Clean Room #14 (writer)
  • Hena Khan: New Talent Showcase #1 (co-writer)
  • Holly Black: Lucifer #12 (writer)
  • Hope Larson: Batgirl #5 (writer)
  • Jenny Frison: Clean Room #14 (cover), Wonder Woman #10 (variant cover), Wonder Woman #11 (variant cover)
  • Jody Houser: Mother Panic #1 (writer)
  • Joelle Jones: New Talent Showcase #1 (co-writer)
  • Julie Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #4 (co-writer)
  • Kamome Shirahama: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #4 (variant cover)
  • Laura Braga: DC Comics Bombshells #19 (interior art)
  • Marguerite Bennett: DC Comics Bombshells #19 (writer)
  • Marley Zarcone: Shade, the Changing Girl #2 (interior art)
  • Meghan Hetrick: Red Thorn #13 (interior art)
  • Meredith Finch: Catwoman: Election Night #1 (co-writer)
  • Mirka Andolfo: DC Comics Bombshells #19 (interior art)
  • Msassyk: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #3 (interior art)
  • Nicola Scott: Wonder Woman #10 (interior art, cover)
  • Sandra Hope: Gotham Academy: Second Semester #3 (inker)
  • Shawna Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #4 (co-writer)
  • Tula Lotay: Everafter: From the Pages of Fables #3 (cover)
  • Vita Ayala: New Talent Showcase #1 (co-writer)
  • Yasmine Putri: The Hellblazer #4 (variant cover)

All together, there are 33 different female creators scheduled to work on 22 different books at DC in November 2016, 5 more women than in the October solicits though 2 fewer books. These are big numbers for DC, a high that the publisher had come close to but never hit before in all of their ups and downs over the past few years. “Rebirth” has been slow for female creators, and still isn’t doing particularly well; a lot of the credits here come from outside of the mainline series. Still, as a whole, representation across DC’s whole publishing line has gone up considerably over the past three rounds of solicits.

The high may be fleeting, though. As part of DC’s writer’s workshop, they’re putting out a New Talent Showcase issue with a variety of new writers, several of whom are women. It appears to be a oneshot, so I doubt they’ll be back next month, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see these women working on future projects at DC. While the December numbers might drop, things may go up in the long term. There are also some other oneshots and one-off variant cover gigs that don’t equal sustainable work either. DC will need to follow their strong November with a lot of new jobs in December to make up the deficit, and I’ll be pleasantly surprised if they’re able to do so.

In terms of female characters, Mother Panic is set to premiere in November as part of DC’s “Young Animal” line. It’s a got a female lead and a female writer, so double the fun there. The same is truth of the Catwoman: Election Night one-shot, which honestly sounds kind of terrible but hey, anything to get Catwoman back in the mix. And the New Talent Showcase features stories about Wonder Woman, Hawkgirl, Carol Ferris, and more.

Overall, November looks like it’s going to be a strong month for female creators at DC. It’s always a good time when a publisher breaks a record, though the real trick is doing it again the next month. Representation at the Big Two is typically a two steps forward, one step back situation, so we’ll have to see what the December solicits bring. But for now, it’s a very good month.


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