Posts Tagged ‘Vita Ayala’

Women & NB Creators at Marvel Comics Watch, April 2019: 32 Creators on 31 Books

March 21, 2019

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Thus far, 2019 has been a strong year for female and non-binary creators at Marvel Comics. And the streak goes back further than that, too. Marvel came out of the summer with some solid gains and by November they were pretty near the level they remain at today. That’s six months of decent representation now. Are there still WAY more dudes? Of course. It’s superhero comics. Change is slow. But this kind of consistency is rare, and encouraging to see. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at Marvel this April:

  • Alti Firmansyah: The Unstoppable Wasp #6 (interior art)
  • Amanda Conner: Captain Marvel #4 (cover), War of the Realms #1 (variant cover)
  • Amy Reeder: Ironheart #5 (cover)
  • Ashley Witter: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #1 (cover), X-23 #11 (cover)
  • Audrey Mok: Marvel Rising #2 (cover)
  • Carmen Carnero: Captain Marvel #4 (interior art)
  • Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #43 (cover)
  • Eve L. Ewing: Ironheart #5 (writer), Marvel Team-Up #1 (writer)
  • Gail Simone: Hotshots #2 (writer)
  • Jen Bartel: Star Wars: Age of Rebellion Special #1 (variant cover)
  • Jen Soska: Black Widow #4 (co-writer)
  • Jody Houser: Star Wars: Tie Fighter #1 (writer)
  • Kamome Shirahama: Hotshots #2 (variant cover)
  • Kate Niemczyk: Age of Conan: Belit, Queen of the Black Coast #2 (interior art)
  • Kelly Thompson: Captain Marvel #4 (writer), Mr. and Mrs. X #10 (writer), West Coast Avengers #10 (writer)
  • Kirbi Fagan: Shuri #7 (cover)
  • Leah Williams: Age of X-Man: X-Tremists #3 (writer)
  • Mariko Tamaki: X-23 #11 (writer)
  • Michelle Delecki: Age of X-Man: The Amazing Nightcrawler #3 (cover)
  • Natacha Bustos: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #42 (cover)
  • Nilah Magruder: Marvel Rising #2 (writer)
  • Rachel Dodson: Star Wars: Age of Rebellion – Grand Moff Tarkin #1 (cover), Star Wars: Age of Rebellion – Princess Leia #1 (cover)
  • Rainbow Rowell: Runaways #20 (writer)
  • Rebekah Isaacs: Age of Conan: Belit, Queen of the Black Coast #2 (variant cover)
  • Sana Takeda: Age of Conan: Belit, Queen of the Black Coast #2 (cover), War of the Realms #1 (variant cover)
  • Savanna Ganucheau: Marvel Rising #2 (varaint cover)
  • Seanan McGuire: Age of X-Man: The Amazing Nightcrawler #3 (writer), Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider #7 (writer)
  • Stacey Lee: The Unstoppable Wasp #6 (cover)
  • Sylvia Soska: Black Widow #4 (co-writer)
  • Tini Howard: Age of Conan: Belit, Queen of the Black Coast #2 (writer), Thanos #1 (writer)
  • Vita Ayala: Age of X-Man: Prisoner X #2 (writer), Shuri #7 (writer)
  • Yasmime Putri: Avengers: No Road Home #8 (cover), Avengers: No Road Home #9 (cover), Avengers: No Road Home #10 (cover), Star Wars: Vader – Dark Visions #2 (variant cover), Uncanny X-Men #16 (variant cover)

That is a lot of names to spell correctly and books to italicize! All together there are 32 different female and non-binary creators set to work on 31 different books this April, the same number of creators as in March across four more titles. I’m not used to seeing steady numbers from Marvel in any form, much less at a relatively high level. This year has been solid for the publisher so far.

Also, we’re introducing a new element to these posts, where we look at the number of titles being released. DC’s trimmed back their line noticeably, and so an apples to apples comparison doesn’t really work so well anymore. This April, Marvel has 79 new books on their schedule, which means there are female and/or non-binary creators working on 39% of their titles. We’ll use that as a baseline for comparisons moving forward.

In terms of new names, April looks to be pretty quiet. For as far back as I’ve been keeping track, we’ve not seen Rebekah Isaacs at Marvel before. She’s got a variant cover on the new Age of Conan: Belit, Queen of the Black Coast spinoff. Savanna Ganucheau looks to be new as well, with another variant, this time on Marvel Rising. The rest of the list are regulars, I think.

It’s also a low key month for new female-led titles at the publisher, which is unfortunate because there certainly are a lot of new books. War of the Realms is kicking off, with all sorts of tie-in mini-series and the like. Few have any female or non-binary creators in the mix, and while there are a handful of female characters in a couple of the team books, it all looks a bit dude forward. I miss Lady Thor. Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is going to tie into the event, so there’s that, I suppose. And Ms. Marvel is starring alongside Spider-Man in a new Marvel Team-Up.

Overall, the numbers are steady at Marvel and female and non-binary creator representation is holding relatively strong. There remains, as always, a lot of room to grow, but this has been a decent streak for Marvel. I’m curious to see if they can keep it up or even hit higher levels in the months to come.

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Women & NB Creators at Marvel Comics Watch, March 2019 Solicits: 32 Creators on 27 Books

February 21, 2019

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When I write up these posts, I have to go through all the entries below, italicizing the titles and consolidating the different entries for each creator. With DC, it’s a pretty quick job these days. I’m done before I know it. With Marvel, it’s much more involved. There are a lot of female and non-binary creators working on a lot of books at Marvel right now, and getting this list looking right is a big job! And I’m glad for it. Let’s take a look at who’s doing what at Marvel this March:

  • Amanda Conner: Captain Marvel #3 (cover)
  • Amy Reeder: Ironheart #4 (cover)
  • Ashley Witter: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #30 (cover), X-23 #10 (cover)
  • Audrey Mok: Marvel Rising #1 (cover)
  • Babs Tarr: Magnificent Ms. Marvel #1 (variant cover)
  • Carmen Carnero: Captain Marvel #3 (interior art)
  • Elsa Charretier: Magnificent Ms. Marvel #1 (variant cover)
  • Erica Henderson: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #42 (interior art, cover)
  • Eve L. Ewing: Ironheart #4 (writer)
  • Gail Simone: Domino: Hotshots #1 (writer)
  • Jen Bartel: Black Panther #10 (variant cover), Marvel Tales: Thor #1 (cover)
  • Jen Soska: Black Widow #3 (co-writer)
  • Jenny Frison: Age of X-Man: X-Tremists #2 (variant cover)
  • Jody Houser: Star Wars: Age of Republic – General Grievous #1 (writer), Star Wars: Age of Republic – Padme Amidala #1 (writer)
  • Kate Niemczyk: Age of Conan: Belit #1 (interior art)
  • Kelly Thompson: Captain Marvel #3 (writer),Mr. and Mrs. X #9 (writer), West Coast Avengers #9 (writer)
  • Kirbi Fagan: Shuri #6 (cover)
  • Leah Williams: Age of X-Man: X-Tremists #2 (writer)
  • Mariko Tamaki: X-23 #10 (writer)
  • Michelle Delecki: Age of X-Man: The Amazing Nightcrawler #2 (cover)
  • Naomi Franquiz: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #42 (interior art)
  • Natacha Bustos: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #41 (interior art, cover)
  • Nilah Magruder: Marvel Rising #1 (writer)
  • Peach Momoko: Marvel Rising #1 (variant cover)
  • Rainbow Rowell: Runaways #19 (writer)
  • Sana Takeda: Age of Conan: Belit #1 (cover)
  • Sara Pichelli: Age of Conan: Belit #1 (variant cover)
  • Seanan McGuire: Age of X-Man: The Amazing Nightcrawler #2 (writer), Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider #6 (writer)
  • Sylvia Soska: Black Widow #3 (co-writer)
  • Tini Howard: Age of Conan: Belit #1 (writer)
  • Vita Ayala: Age of X-Man: Prisoner X #1 (writer), Shuri #6 (writer)
  • Yasmine Putri: Avengers: No Road Home #4 (cover), Avengers: No Road Home #5 (cover), Avengers: No Road Home #6 (cover), Avengers: No Road Home #7 (cover)

All together, there are 32 different female and non-binary creators set to work on 27 different comic books at Marvel in March 2019, 1 more creator than in February though 2 fewer books. These are very solid numbers, and Marvel’s been consistently in this range for several months now. Whatever was plaguing them a year ago when they dipped into the low teens has been sorted, and now we’ve got women and non-binary creators working across the board at Marvel.

In terms of brand new names, it’s not a big month. I think that Peach Momoko is the only creator I haven’t seen before, at either publisher, and it looks like Audrey Mok might be making her Marvel debut. We also have a host of returning favourites! I feel like it’s been a little while since we’ve seen Kate Niemczyk, Nilah Magruder, and Sana Takeda at Marvel, so it’s nice to have them back in the mix as well.

March is a big month for female characters at Marvel. Kamala Khan is back after little to no absence with Magnificent Ms. Marvel #1. It’s odd to not have G. Willow Wilson in the mix above, and I’m a little bit sad at the lack of female creators inside the book, but I’m sure it will be excellent. We’ve also got Age of Conan: Belit, which stars a female character I know nothing about. Marvel’s really going all in on this Conan license, eh? And finally, Domino is back again with Domino: Hotshots after her original series went over so well with readers.

So yeah, solid month all around at Marvel. There are lots of female and non-binary creators in the mix, female characters are headlining some big new titles, and the publisher is maintaining a level of consistency we don’t usually see from them. There’s always room to grow, of course, but this level of representation is certainly putting the distinguished competition to shame.

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

October 25, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

Women & NB Creators at DC Comics Watch, March 2018 Solicits: 26 Creators on 24 Books

January 2, 2018

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After a couple of months of slight gains, female and non-binary creator representation at DC Comics is set to stay about the same this March. Leveling off after a bit of growth isn’t entirely unexpected, but this current plateau is pretty underwhelming relative to the publisher’s past highs. DC’s been stalled in the low to mid-20s for several months now, and a new year doesn’t seem to be bringing much to change that. Let’s take a look at who is set to do what at DC this March:

  • Alisa Kwitney: Mystik U #3 (writer)
  • Amanda Conner: Harley Quinn #39 (cover), Harley Quinn #40 (cover), The Jetsons #5 (cover)
  • Becky Cloonan: Shade, The Changing Woman #1 (cover)
  • Cecil Castellucci: Shade, The Changing Woman #1 (writer)
  • Emanuela Lupacchino: Bombshells United #14 (cover)
  • Hope Larson: Batgirl #21 (writer)
  • Jenny Frison: Wonder Woman #42 (variant cover), Wonder Woman #43 (variant cover)
  • Jill Thompson: Scooby Apocalypse #23 (cover)
  • Jody Houser: Mother Panic: Gotham A.D. #1 (writer)
  • Joelle Jones: Teen Titans #18 (variant cover)
  • Julie Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #20 (co-writer)
  • Laura Braga: Harley & Ivy Meet Betty & Veronica #6 (interior art)
  • Magdalene Visaggio: Eternity Girl #1 (writer)
  • Marguerite Bennett: Batwoman #13 (writer), Bombshells United #13 (writer), Bombshells United #14 (writer)
  • Marley Zarcone: Shade, The Changing Woman #1 (interior art, variant cover)
  • Michelle Delecki: Deathstroke #29 (variant cover)
  • Mirka Andolfo: Harley Quinn #40 (interior art)
  • Nicola Scott: Mera, Queen of Atlantis #2 (cover)
  • Paulina Ganucheau: Eternity Girl #1 (variant cover)
  • Rachael Stott: Motherlands #3 (interior art)
  • Rachel Dodson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #20 (cover)
  • Sandra Hope: The Silencer #3 (inker, cover)
  • Shawna Benson: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #20 (co-writer)
  • Tula Lotay: Harley & Ivy Meet Betty & Veronica #6 (cover)
  • Vita Ayala: Supergirl #19 (co-writer)
  • Yasmine Putri: Nightwing #40 (variant cover), Nightwing #41 (variant cover)

All together, there are 26 different female and non-binary creators set to work on 24 different books in March, the same number of creators as in February though spread across 3 fewer books. This is a very ho-hum showing for DC Comics, who appear to be trapped in a bit of a rut. The bulk of the creators listed above have regular gigs at the publisher and should be back next month, which is great. Having a solid, consistent base is an important first step. The trouble is that a) these ranks don’t seem to be growing much, and b) more transitory gigs like fill-in issues, oneshots, and variant covers have been few and fleeting.

Speaking of this consistent base, there is no one listed above that we haven’t seen at DC over the previous few months. There are a couple of returning favourites who’ve been away for a little while, like Paulina Ganucheau pitching in with a variant cover and Vita Ayala co-writing Supergirl for what should be a great issue that introduces a new non-binary character. Everyone else is the usual crowd. Doing great work on great books, of course, but the ranks aren’t growing.

In terms of characters, after the “Young Animal” oneshots last month, the whole line is relaunching this month with new #1 issues and some revamped titles. Mother Panic will become Mother Panic: Gotham A.D. while Shade, the Changing Girl has grown into Shade, the Changing Woman. We’ve also got a new mini-series spinning out of those oneshots with Eternity Girl. All three books have female leads and a variety of female creators in the mix. The handful of other new releases for March across the line seem rather dude-centric.

All together, DC’s spinning their wheels a bit when it comes to female and non-binary creators. The numbers aren’t growing, and they remain far below the highs they hit in the recent past. Stagnant numbers across the line also combine with the publisher’s hyping of their “New Age of DC Heroes” books, eight new artist-centric series that feature barely any women or non-binary creators at all. It’s a bad look for a company that’s not doing very well with representation to begin with.

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 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.


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