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Sometimes comics are just badass awesome.  Case in point:

Batman & Robin #16, Fraser Irving.

Also:

Hawkeye & Mockingbird #6, David Lopez.

It’s a bit bittersweet however as it appears Hawkeye & Mockingbird has been canceled. Which is a shame because it was a solid little book.  Well-written and well-illustrated and better than a large percentage of the monthly books I read, but I guess it just didn’t have enough HEYLOOKATME!HEYLOOKATME! to make it in this cutthroat comics world (it doesn’t help that a bunch of other books debuted at exactly the same time – Avengers Academy and Young Allies – only one of which – Avengers Academy – has survived the ax).  But it does seem you need a lot of the pretty/shining/shock&awe these days in order to survive more than your first arc. I feel bad for not talking this book up…I didn’t because I wasn’t “blown away” but I’m sorry I didn’t because in reality what we need are more solid well-written, well-illustrated books that tell good stories consistently.  And that’s what Hawkeye & Mockingbird was doing.

And while we’re talking about comics being badass awesome, take a look at this page by Rebekah Isaacs from the last issue of the DV8 miniseries Gods & Monsters.

I mean, WHOA.  Right?  And if you like the looks of that, check out this post I did on She Has No Head! about Brian Wood and Rebekah Isaacs’ full DV8 Gods & Monsters mini-series, which just finished last week.

A new She Has No Head! about Brian Wood and Rebekah Isaacs DV8 Gods & Monster’s mini-series is up, check it out!

 

It’s no secret that I’ve been loving the hell out of Fiona Staples DV8 Covers for the Brian Wood & Rebekah Isaacs Gods & Monsters mini-series, and this week is no exception.  A beautiful cover featuring what’s turned into one of my favorite characters – Freestyle – that I hope is not going to bite it.  Please please please Brian!

It’s also of note that while I ended up going for a panel of the week not from this book (that post goes up Tuesday 10/26), this entire goddamn book could have been scanned and posted as Panel(s) of the week.  It is BEAUTIFUL.  Rebekah Issacs’ not only renders her characters exceptionally but she has a real gift for storytelling and stunning action set pieces.  Much of this series has been set in an “undeveloped civilization” and has featured warring tribes battling on epic natural battlefields…and Isaacs has just delivered a completely compelling and really cinematic visual experience.  Overall it has been an amazing series, and I can say without a doubt is one of the best written, best drawn books I have read this year.  I’ll miss it immensely when it ends next month.  If you haven’t been reading it, I urge you to seek it out and if you can’t find it or can’t afford it, make sure to pick up the trade April 2011.

Here are the “rules“.

And if you’d like to see the full December 2010 DC solicits head over to CBR.

After doing these December solicits I have one question and one question only for you DC…WHERE IS MY BATWOMAN #1 SOLICIT?!

Zatanna 8. Nice!  Best Zatanna cover yet, by far.  It doesn’t try too hard and has lots of nice luxurious white space – letting the character and the “bit” stand on its own.  The posing and facial expression are also perfect for the bit.  I also love that he managed a kind of wooden look to her face, very subtle but it’s there.  Most importantly however, in looking at the solicit text…CLIFF CHIANG!  Cliff Chiang is penciling this issue!  AWESOME.  I can’t think of anything better for Zatanna’s book.  Here’s hoping it becomes a regular thing.

Batgirl 16. It’s shocking how much more interested I am in Batgirl with new cover (and interiors!) artist Dustin Nguyen on board.  Nguyen is awesome and phenomenally talented. This cover completely rocks – especially the really stylized bat shadow Steph is creating…great stuff.

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Here are the “rules“.

And if you’d like to see the full November 2010 DC solicits head over to CBR.

A lot of really great stuff this month.  It has me looking forward to November!

Batwoman #0. OMYFUCKINGGOD.  THIS LOOKS SO AWESOME.  If anything can pull me out of my mainstream comics related funk it’s this book.  November cannot come soon enough!

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A new She Has No Head! is up, an interview with comics creator, writer, and artist Brian Wood, about his Wildstorm series DV8.

And when I say “the year” I mean since last year’s comic-con in San Diego.  That’s right, in honor of SDCC 2010, which I am, again, not able to attend I thought I’d do a list of my 52 favorite covers since last year’s comic-con, so essentially July 2009 – July 2010.*

I’m not going bore you with lengthy descriptions about what I respond to in each image, but if you frequent this blog with any regularity, the choices will not surprise you.  My tastes skew to specific things like anyone, and I reward covers that cater to those personal tastes.  For example, as a woman, I tend to be interested in covers with female characters and at the same time you’re unlikely to see many covers with a lot of objectification and hyper sexualization.  As an artist (but only sorta, and a crappy one at that) I tend to be a bit of a snob about what I think is a good or bad cover – good often involves highly graphic images, lots of great negative space, interesting/solid composition, single figures, white space, and good integration of text into the image.

I’m sure I missed a bunch of great covers anyway and, as always, I never feel great about the order, but I tried my best!

If after this list you only desire to see MORE comic covers, then check out my 100 Best Comic Covers list of last year here, here, here, and here.  As well as my “already second guessing myself” modified list here.

Next year SDCC, next year!

52.  Wonder Woman #40.  Aaron Loprestri.

51.  Batman Confidential #40.  Sam Kieth

50.  Red Robin #3.  Francis Manapul.

49.  Heralds #1.  Jelena Djurdjevic.

48.  Punisher Max: Butterfly #1.  Laurence Campbell.

47.  Batgirl #1.  Phil Noto.

46. Beasts Of Burden #3. Jill Thompson.

45.  Joe The Barbarian #5.  Sean Murphy.


44.  American Vampire #1.  Rafael Albuquerque.

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The following is a selection of comics released this week (7/21/10)* that focus heavily on women in comics – whether that be characters, creators, or even readers.

The books are rated as BUY, TRADEWAIT, or SKIP.

*It should be noted that this list will focus on North American/English releases as that’s mostly what I have access to.  Additionally, as I am in general unfamiliar with Manga, I will not be including Manga titles in my lists.  For some great reviews and discussion of Manga titles I urge you to check out Danielle Leigh on CSBG.


Notably missing this week is True Blood #1, co-written by IDW editor Mariah Huehner and which I am very anxious to check out but which was either sold out or missing at my shop.  Also missing was Welcome To Tranquility #1, and Tiny Titans #30.  Bummer all around, but hopefully I can pick them up next week. It certainly occurs to me that these inconsistencies in my comic shops (I went to two today) could be perhaps solved by digital solutions in which I am the only one in charge of what’s available to me or not…well, beyond what the companies make available of course.  It’s a powerful argument for digital to me.  Also, I have books that I definitely prefer to have in print, but there are many books I’m interested in reading but not terribly interested in “having forever”, so if digital was available to me easily and same day (and I had a reader of course) and for a cheaper price, I suspect I would try more stuff and only buy the stuff I know I love in print but purchase a significant amount digitally.  In some ways I prefer to have the collected trades for stuff I really love anyway, as that works better from a convenience standpoint of books sitting on book shelves as opposed to jammed in short boxes.  Digital v. Print is a tough thing for me though as I don’t like the feeling that’s often put out there of it being “either/or”, but I confess that digital seems appealing to me in the same way that individual songs instantly accessible on itunes are.  Time will tell.


BLACK WIDOW #4.  Marjoirie Liu (writer).  Daniel Acuna (art and cover).  Marvel.  32-pages. $2.99

This is a really good book…so good that I’m dreading the creative team switch after issue #5.  Acuna’s art is gorgeous and is a perfect fit for this suave noir-y spy story.  I love it.  Liu’s story is working well, definitely a bit mysterious and cryptic (Natasha IS trying to solve a puzzle of course) but she’s giving me enough story and reveals in each issue to keep the momentum.  As usual with Black Widow stuff I find it a bit cryptic for my tastes sometimes, but that’s my only complaint.  This is a great book.  Certainly the star of Marvel’s “year of women” push as far as I’m concerned.  BUY.


DV8 #4 (of 8).  Brian Wood (writer).  Rebekah Isaacs (art). Carrie Strachan (colors). Fiona Staples (cover).

We’re halfway through the series and it remains one of my favorite monthly books, if not THE favorite.  I confess this issue was my least favorite of the series thus far, but I think that’s likely to do with the fact that it focused heavily on Matthew/Threshold who has always been the least accessible DV8 character to me.  This issue does its best to help me (and others?) get inside his skin a bit, but it’s still tough for me with this character.  Additionally there was some slightly clunky storytelling in Gem narrating things she couldn’t possibly have seen or known…it didn’t bother me in previous issues, but here it stuck out a bit.  Still, easily the best comic I read this week, as usual.  BUY.

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Here are the “rules“.

And if you’d like to see the full October 2010 DC solicits head over to CBR.

Adventure Comics #519.

Superman: “And if all my other superpowers don’t work on him then I’ll just drop this tractor on him, that’s what I’ll do!  See if he can handle this gosh darn tractor!”

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The following is a selection of comics released this week (6/16/10)* that focus heavily on women in comics – whether that be characters, creators, or even readers.

The books are rated as BUY, TRADEWAIT, or SKIP.

*It should be noted that this list will focus on North American/English releases as that’s mostly what I have access to.  Additionally, as I am in general unfamiliar with Manga, I will not be including Manga titles in my lists.  For some great reviews and discussion of Manga titles I urge you to check out Danielle Leigh on CSBG.


BIRDS OF PREY #2.  Gail Simone (writer).  Ed Benes and Adriana Melo (pencils).  Ed Benes and Mariah Benes (inks).  Nei Ruffino (colors).  Ed Benes and Nei Ruffino (cover).  DC.  32 Pages.  $2.99

Ugh.  What to say?  I have to be honest.  I don’t love this.  I thought this issue was hands and feet above the last issue…which I really disliked.  So that gives me hope that we’re at least headed in the right direction…but I’m very frustrated by this as it’s a book I WANT to love.  Despite the fact that I worship at the altar of Gail Simone regularly, I had a lot of problems with her writing (and story/plotting) in the first issue…I feel like she’s back on her feet here though…a lot of strong character voices and some funny dialogue that really fits her style and the BoP style that she helped create, and while the issue is still action packed to say the least, she’s doing less than she tried to do in the first issue, which I think is good.

The problem with this issue is the art.  I’m not a Benes fan to begin with, he’s very heavy with the male gaze and T&A, but I try to mentally prepare myself for that when I come into this book.  But T&A aside, this just looked really rough to me…perhaps because there were two pencilers and two inkers…which makes it uneven at best to read.  In addition it was overly dark and not well paced…the storytelling was often hard to follow and impossible to get invested in.  I caught myself many times wondering how drastically different/better this book would be with a more consistent cleaner artist on it – preferably one that treads lightly on T&A – because when of your three main characters you have fishnets, a mini-skirt, hot pants, and a bare midriff between them you don’t need EXTRA T&A.  I mean…CLIFF CHIANG.  Imagine if Cliff Chiang was drawing this book…it would be like a whole new book!  All that said, I am loathe to list this as a tradewait, because that’s how books get canceled and I’ve waited SO LONG FOR BOP TO COME BACK!!!  So I can’t do it…I’m listing it as a BUY, but with heavy reservations.  Support the book, hope that we get a new artist, that’s all I can say.

ETA: I should also mention that there is a lot of controversy over this issue because of the apparent death of a character…I know very little about that character and didn’t understand all the ramifications until now.  I’m still a bit on the outside here, so am not going to make any judgments at this time, but I thought it should be noted that big percentage of readers are finding the issue very offensive.


BLACK WIDOW #3.  Marjorie Liu (writer).  Daniel Acuna (art).  Marvel.  32 pages.  $2.99.

This book, after a rough start out of the gate (mostly in the form of one really sexist cover and one slightly less sexist cover) is turning out FANTASTIC.  I’ve been enjoying the story all along and both writing and interior art have been solid, but this issue really sold me.  The art especially was stunning…completely gorgeous while also being paced well and good with action (and you need to be good with action when you’re having Black Widow and Elektra battle it out).  Personally the colors are a bit dark for my tastes, but I can admit that the darkness fits both the character and tone of the story and it was still freaking beautiful.  This is so far above and beyond the two Black Widow mini-series we got this past winter (one of which was far better than the other, but neither of which were impressive) that I was actually really sorry to learn this week that we have only two issues left with Liu and Acuna before we get a creative team switch.  I don’t know why the change is happening but it strikes me as a bad idea…this is one of the best new books I’m reading…which is freaking hard to do in this market, especially with a female lead character.  If you haven’t been reading this book, we’re still not that far in, so get on board.  BUY.


DV8 #3 (of 8).  Brian Wood (writer).  Rebekah Isaacs (art).  Carrie Strachan (colors).  Fiona Staples (cover).  Wildstorm.  32 pages.  $2.99

Another excellent entry into Wood’s DV8 re-imagining.  This issue focuses on Powerhaus (as pictured) and as such isn’t AS female focused as other issues have been (which is fine of course).  The art by Issacs and Strachan remains top notch and Wood’s writing is strong and his pacing feels right on target to drive this story home with real satisfaction in the time we have left.  I catch myself every month wishing this was an ongoing.  Any chance of that Mr. Wood? BUY

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Here are the “rules“.

And if you’d like to see the full September 2010 DC (including Vertigo & Wildstorm) solicits head over to CBR.

For some reason this month DC has a lot of really funny covers…and Marvel had a lot of really boring ones…odd.  Anyway…back to our regularly scheduled programming…

Batman & Robin #16.  Dude.  Two Batmans.  Stop it.  It’s freaking me out.  And is one of them riding Damian like a pony?  I changed my mind, it’s awesome.

Superman/Batman #48.

Superman: “Um…Bruce…is this issue about skulls?”

Batman: “Hmm…yeah, looks like it.”

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The following is a selection of comics released this week (5/19/10)* that focus heavily on women in comics – whether that be characters, creators, or even readers.

The books are rated as BUY, TRADEWAIT, or SKIP.

Tradewaiting, for the uninitiated, is the act of not buying individual issues of a comic as it releases, but rather waiting for them to be collected in a trade paperback form (aka TPB).

*It should be noted that this list will focus on North American/English releases as that’s mostly what I have access to.  Additionally, as I am in general unfamiliar with Manga, I will not be including Manga titles in my lists.  For some great reviews and discussion of Manga titles I urge you to check out Danielle Leigh on CSBG.  I will do my best to include independent and graphic novel selections as they are released as well – but if I’ve missed something excellent feel free to let me know in the comments.

Here we go…

Air #21. G. Willow Wilson (writer).  M.K. Perker and Chris Chuckry (art).  Vertigo.  32 pages.  $2.99.

From a female positivity standpoint I really can’t fault this book, I never have to see crazy naked tits and ass and inane costumes and Amelia Earhart guest stars, which is pretty much awesome.  However, I have never connected with the main character Blythe and she seems, despite G. Willow Wilson’s best efforts, flat and weak willed.  Additionally, her obsession/relationship with Zayn never really worked for me emotionally.  Also of note in this issue is that there’s a weird bathtub scene that, while not gratuitous just seems a little silly and unnecessary.  Though I don’t particularly like this book, I have to give it credit for being a rare starring vehicle for a female character AND writer, and a book that tries to represent women well, so I’ll give it a TRADEWAIT.

American Vampire #3.  Scott Snyder and Stephen King (writers).  Rafael Albuquerque (art).  Vertigo.  32 pages.  $3.99.

The Stephen King and Scott Snyder series continues to be very interesting with its parallel stories about Pearl becoming an American Vampire, and  how her maker Skinner Sweet first became one.  Pearl is a great character that I look forward to reading every week, and the art by Rafael Albuquerque is excellent. This is one of my favorite new books, definitely get on board now. BUY

DV8 #2. (of 8).  Brian Wood (writer).  Rebekah Isaacs and Carrie Strachan (art).  Fiona Staples (cover).  Wildstorm.  32 pages.  $2.99.

Brian Wood and Rebekah Isaacs’ excellent revamp of this old 90’s superhero team continues to be edgy, forward thinking, and interesting.  The story is well-paced and beautifully illustrated and the covers by Fiona Staples are like a delicious cherry on top.  If you want to read more about DV8, check out my detailed review on CSBG’s She Has No Head! BUY

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Here are the “rules“.

And if you’d like to see the full August 2010 DC solicits head over to CBR.

Green Lantern 57.  What’s the difference between a male Star Sapphire and a female Star Sapphire?  Apparently the male doesn’t have to wear a pink long-sleeved swimsuit with a neckline that plunges to his gentleman bits and thigh high heeled boots.

Although objectification doesn’t seem to be a prerequisite for Star Sapphires that happen to be male, apparently RIDICULOUS LOOKING  is a prerequisite for all of them.

Adventure Comics 14.

Saturn Girl:  “Yeah, I had like 4 ribs and all my internal organs removed to get this waist…what do you think?”

Cosmic Boy: “Looks hot.  Maybe I should have some of my internals removed too.”

Saturn Girl: “Can’t hurt!”

Menacing Looking Glow-y Guy: “$%&@!  Nobody every pays attention to me…and I already had all my internals removed…AND my hip bones!”

As a side note…perhaps I should just be glad that this is no longer Saturn Girl’s costume?  Yeah, okay.

Air 24.  Eh – this is the third or fourth time in a row that Air’s covers are really not working for me.  I like this one better than the last two, but there’s really just nothing interesting about it…and Blythe’s features look really exaggerated and weird in her face – especially her lips.

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New SHE HAS NO HEAD! is up, a review of Brian Wood’s new miniseries DV8: Gods And Monsters, as well as a discussion of why THIS is comics for men AND women, without compromise.

Here are the “rules“.

And if you’d like to see the full July 2010 DC solicits head over to CBR.

I used to really like some of the Air covers…but I don’t know what is going on…the last few look really low rent and slapped together.  I mean, look at that plane?!  That looks TERRIBLE.  Disappointing.

I’m sounding like a broken record here, but these American Vampire covers continue to impress me.  The split screen effect with the title and the desaturated and spot color choices.  Really nice.  It helps that the book inside has been pretty much awesome as well.

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Here are the rules.

And if you’d like to see the full June 2010 DC solicits head over to CBR.

Adventure Comics…or more aptly: The local meeting for beautiful victims of eating disorders and steroid abuse in spandex.  Aka BVEDSAS.

In theory I like this.  But the execution is weak.  Especially where the wings meet Blythe’s back…WTF is going on there…?

This is great – I continue to find the split aspect of this really effective.  Particularly effective is the removed iconic look of the top with the men in black on the hollywood sign contrasted against the up close and personal visceral image on the bottom half.  Nice solid cover for a nice solid book.

This is a reprint coming out in June of Astro City #1, and though it’s not new, it deserves a mention.  An absolutely amazing cover – from the perspective and heroic proportions to the lights and darks and symbolism.  If only all covers could be this good.

And then we have this.  Let’s ignore that it’s not a particularly great cover in general and focus on the eyesore that is Zealot’s clothing.  While everyone else is fairly well covered, Zealot apparently only gets a ratty shirt with no buttons, that is one movement from being an NC-17 rating (a raise of her arms would expose ALL her ladybits).  Additionally, WTF is going on with her right leg…I guess it’s supposed to be in shadow, but it looks like it’s about half the size of the other.

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Rules are here.  Let’s get going!

This is pretty cool, a nice visual image…although this cover is misleading by being more interesting than the book has been of late.  I just can’t get into it…I don’t know why.  It bums me out.

I like this.  It’s moody and cool, the color choices are nice, particularly with the muted palette in juxtaposition with the sharp blood color.  I also like how the title bisects the two images…I’m into it.

Not to make this all Marvel v DC (or Wildstorm – whatever) but look at the female to male character ratio!  Hello nurse!  We’ve got six ladies and six men (if we include Maul’s arm) that is 50% people…as in a nearly accurate sampling of the actual world!  Awesome.  Also, points for the ladies being pretty appropriately dressed and not objectified.

This is totally badass.  I love how they’re each emerging from those little flat rectangle transporter discs…or whatever they are.  Why did I stop reading Authority?  I can’t remember…but I should reconsider.

I guess I just don’t like this cover artist, because I’m as unimpressed (and as uninterested) in this cover as I was the last cover even though there’s nothing really wrong with it.  It doesn’t help that I kind of hate the color purple and Steph (and her creators) feel it necessary to drape everything in purple when she’s around.  I hate that she’s made her batgirl costume purple.  If you still want to wear purple Steph…go back to being The Spoiler.  Lame.

Honestly?  This doesn’t do much for me one way or the other, but it still gets points for the ladies being for the most part appropriately dressed (even though I still hate skirts on superheroes…and heels) and no objectifying posing.

If you want to know how I feel about the return of this book with Gail Simone at the helm, go here (the short version is: YAY!).

How I feel about this cover is much less “yay” and more “really?” I’ve always hated the Black Canary fishnets thing because it’s just ridiculous, as is the Huntress bare midriff costume…and then you’ve got what’s her name in a short skirt and bare legs and heels (how is any of this appropriate for superheroing?) but the biggest thing that irks me about this cover are Black Canary and Oracle’s faces – which look eerily similar, and like they both just got back from serious plastic surgery/botox appointments.  WTF.

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THE GIRL WHO WOULD BE KING

THE GIRL WHO WOULD BE KING

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