Category Archives: DC Comics
So DC Comics released their solicitations for September the other day, and they’re doing a neat little gimmick; all the comics will be numbered #0, and will be focussing on the early days and/or origins of the characters and teams. This is good, since it’ll be a full one year since the “New 52″ relaunch, and readers still have a lot of questions about what happened before the #1 issues of each of the DC titles.
One of the things about releasing solicitations is that the covers for these comics also get released, and the Internet seems to be up-in-arms about one in particular. Can you guess which one? It’s DC’s most prominent female character that isn’t Wonder Woman!
That’s right — It’s Catwoman, as depicted by Guillem March. You may remember a similar controversy last year, when the last page in CATWOMAN #1 depicted Catwoman and Batman doing the nasty on a rooftop. And all of a sudden, this character as drawn by this artist is coming up in the news, again.
I’ll cut the commentators some slack on this one — This actually IS a nigh-impossible pose, with some impossible anatomy going on. Selina Kyle’s clavicle and shoulders seem to have no relation to each other, and her neck would likely have to be snapped in two to be in that position.
But, seriously? Who cares?
Superhero comics are all about the fantastic. EVERY SINGLE MARVEL OR DC CHARACTER EVER has been drawn at some point doing something that is anatomically impossible. And I’m not talking about flying or being made of plastic. Go look at 100 Marvel and/or DC comics, and you will find at least one panel in each one of them where the artist shortcutted anatomy and drew something that just does NOT work. These are illustrated cartoons, not photographs (except in the case of guys who trace over photos, like Greg Land, where it’s simultaneously both). Comic artists are hired to draw 20-22 pages of art, with an average of 4-7 panels on each page. That’s an average of over 100 images per month, and does not include the covers.
Go draw 101 images in the next 30 days, with no anatomical errors. Then get back to me.
Plus, if you can buy radioactive spider bites giving somebody superpowers but can’t buy that Catwoman may be more agile than most people who don’t parkour around rooftops every night, or might able to dislocate her shoulders on purpose (like Jim Carrey!), then I’m going to question how seriously I should take your argument.
So, okay. Then there’s the people complaining that CATWOMAN #0 is exploiting the female form. That’s fair enough — The cheesecakey nature of Guillem March’s art is never something he’s hidden (even in the 16 months previous to Catwoman #1, where he was drawing GOTHAM CITY SIRENS, featuring Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and…Catwoman. And drew them ALL super-sexy). But Catwoman’s whole THING is that she’s super-sexy, and uses that to distract cops and security guards while she’s out cat-burgling. So, actually, hiring someone like March to draw this comic is kind of perfect.
And then there’s the “women in comics are drawn as sexpots while men are drawn at ideals” crowd once again bringing up that whole argument. I would like to direct you to a couple of former Marvel Comics colorist Christina Strain’s deviantART journal entries. The first is from the summer of 2008: http://CeeCeeLuvins.deviantart.com/journal/Feminism-misdirected-236490193 and the second from early 2009: http://CeeCeeLuvins.deviantart.com/journal/Women-in-Male-dominated-industries-233582102 — The long-and-short of it is that Christina is a woman who works (or worked) in comics for nearly a decade, and in that time she colored some VERY sexy art (including the alternate cover to Uncanny X-Men #500). And she’ll be the first one to say that EVERYBODY in comics is drawn ridiculously — Women are sexpots and men are musclebound tanks. And if you look around, you, too, will notice that NOBODY IN REAL LIFE LOOKS AS IDEALIZED AS THEY DO IN COMICS. Even steroid-riddled professional wrestlers look fat next to their comic book counterparts. And when you can make a guy like Dave Batista looks fat, you’re no longer dealing with anything that even resembles reality.
And, perhaps my favorite, are the people arguing that this is going to be “the first thing” that new readers are going to see, after they’ve decided they like Anne Hathaway’s portrayal of Catwoman in the upcoming THE DARK KNIGHT RISES movie. And those new readers MIGHT be turned off by an even SEXIER Catwoman drawing.
And to those people I say: Who are these theoretical “new readers” you’re talking about? The last 23 years (since 1989′s BATMAN) have taught us that COMIC BOOK MOVIES DO NOT BRING IN ANY SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF NEW READERS. They raise awareness of the characters and concepts, but most people who aren’t already in the habit can’t be bothered to remember to go into the same store once a month to plunk down 3-4 dollars on a 20 page funny book. The only people they’re going to be attracting to go to comic stores are the people who are going already.
Their PR people will never say this, but DC doesn’t give a shit what the FEW newcomers the movie MIGHT bring in to comic stores think of Mr. March’s depiction of Catwoman’s ass. DC Comics is positioned as an IP machine for Time-Warner, and as long as their cartoons and movies and action figures are making a profit, they’ll never go out of business. And DC’s cartoons and movies and action figures are HIGHLY profitable.
On top of that, TDKR comes out in July. CATWOMAN #0 doesn’t come out until September. So this will not be “the first thing” that any of them see.
Superhero comics are not high-concept art. They’re silly, campy, mindless entertainment to help us escape the bullshit of real life. Don’t treat them like they’re anything more than silly stories on funny-colored bits of paper. I don’t, and I ran a comic book store for two years.
Look, this all comes back to the point I made about CATWOMAN #1. Look at the #0 cover. Does that cover appeal to you? If so, buy the comic. If not, don’t buy the comic. As a little kid, I didn’t buy Barbie dolls, because they didn’t come in wrappers that appealed to me. And what more is a comic book cover, really, than a wrapper for the contents?
(And, perhaps the best part of this whole thing is, Guillem March isn’t even drawing this issue. He only did the cover.)
Bought RED HOOD & THE OUTLAWS and NIGHTWING, this week.
NIGHTWING was a lot of fun. All you HAVE to know, going in, are the things everybody knows about Dick Grayson: A young acrobat’s parents were killed in a circus “accident,” he was adopted by Bruce Wayne, became Robin, went off to do his own thing as Nightwing, substituted as Batman for a year, and now he’s back being Nightwing.
The circus Dick used to work for is back in Gotham, for the first time since his parents passed away. Grayson decides to stop in and say hi to all his old friends. I really liked this idea, as I’ve never really gotten a good look at Nightwing’s life before he was Robin, other than the occasional quick flashback.
Meanwhile, some guy arrives in Gotham, totally out to kill Dick Grayson. Whaaaaaat?
After he visits with the carnies (including a smoking-hot, redheaded trapeze artist… I suspect we’ll be seeing more of her, later. Dick + redheaded ladies = ratings), some crazy ninja robot assassin guy attacks Grayson. The cops show up, giving Dick the distraction he needs to duck into an alley and put on the tights, to go out and fight the assassin guy. WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT?
The issue sort of presumes we’re at least tenuously familiar with Nightwing’s high concept (though still refreshes us on the high points without getting too exposition-y), so it spends time refreshing us of the important parts of his history, as well as building up both the first villain, and quickly introducing us to some supporting cast, at least for the first story. Without realizing it going in, this is exactly what I wanted out of a NIGHTWING #1. The story takes place in Gotham, so there’s plenty of room for other Gotham citizens to appear in the future, but this isn’t another Batman book, despite the titular hero’s ties to the Bat-family. It’s a Nightwing book, so if you don’t care about Batman, you’re in the clear.
On top of that, Eddy Barrows’ artwork is sharp and clean. It’s a very modern-looking comic, with details in the places that need them, and a lot of moody blacks. It’s clear the story takes place in the dark, gritty Gotham City, but it’s a more light-hearted take on the burg.
I dug it. I’m sticking with this one for the long haul. Of the New 52 books I’ve read, this one is my favorite.
As for RED HOOD & THE OUTLAWS… hoo-boy.
This was one of the New 52 titles I was looking forward to most, as I dig Kenneth Rockafort’s artwork quite a bit, and Scott Lobdell wrote UNCANNY X-MEN during the point when I think that book was at its most interesting (the mid-1990s). Now that I think about it, when I started reading GEN 13 with issue #45, it was Lobdell handling those writing chores, as well. Obviously, the creative team had me pulled in.
How about the characters? Well, I haven’t read TOO much with Jason Todd as the Red Hood, but the half-dozen issues or so where I’ve seen him appear were pretty rad, and that UNDER THE RED HOOD movie was fantastic. I haven’t read anything with Roy Harper/Speedy/Arsenal/Red Arrow/whatever he’s going by now, since he decided to be a dickhole, so I’ll give that a shot. And Starfire… makes for some amazing visuals. I’m most familiar with her as the girl who just moved to town and is trying to fit in in the TEEN TITANS animated series, and as the confident and unashamed-of-her-body warrior in Geoff Johns’ run on TEEN TITANS from the early 2000s. But, given that she has 30 years of comic history, and I grew up as a Marvel Zombie, there’s plenty of Starfire that I’ve missed, so she’s basically an unknown commodity to me.
So, a good creative team, and characters I’m notionally familiar with and am interested in learning more about. Sounds like it should be a good match, right?
We start with Red Hood breaking Roy Harper out of jail, and they have a shoot-out with the prison guards. Meanwhile, we get thought boxes from the two characters thinking the other one is kinda nuts, but probably better to have on your side than against you. Alright, we’ve got kind of a buddy cop movie thing going on here. That’s cool. The duo get in a Jeep, and are about to run into a couple of tanks when the artillery explodes, courtesy of Starfire. Roy asks, “Is she with you?” to which Jason Todd answers, yes. And “yes.”
Oh, alright. So Starfire bounced from not marrying Robin #1 to being “with” Robin #2. That’s a little weird, but I can run with it. New Universe, new rules. Sure.
And then a very awkward scene where Starfire is posing all sexy… for nobody. And we learn that she can’t really tell humans apart (we all look the same to her), but they’re good for a little bit of dirty fun. Todd meanders off to talk to his invisible friend, who tells him that someone from the past is messing things up, and he’s the only one who can save the day. Fair enough, a Mission Impossible-kinda scenario. Alright, cool. And Starfire just flat-out asks Roy if he wants to do the nasty.
To his credit, Harper DOES make sure that Star’s not Jason’s girlfriend. But as soon as Starfire says no, he’s ready to rock, as it were.
MEANWHILE, SOME MYSTERY GUY FINDS OUT TAMARANIANS (Starfire’s alien race) ARE NOW ON EARTH! WHAT DOES THIS MEAN!?!
And Red Hood is assaulted by people that are either strange cultists or zombies. Or maybe some third thing that’ll be explained next issue.
So… that’s kind of a lot to take in. It’s not quite what I was expecting, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I think considering the three characters involved, I was expecting something a bit deeper and more internal. But, instead, what I got was a big-budget, flashy, summer popcorn flick that idolizes badass dudes with sweet guns, and objectifies sweet chicks with badass, erm, guns.
I’m curious enough to follow up with issue 2, and, actually, probably the first story arc. Though, I’m not sure if I’ll be in it for the long haul. Depends on how the next few issues go.
However, I can definitely see other people really enjoying this comic. If you haven’t read it, I say give it a shot.
Kind of a light week for what piques my interest, but here we go anyways:
JUL110217 RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #1 $2.99
I really dug the art in Kenneth Rocafort’s VELOCITY miniseries for Top Cow, earlier this year. So I’ll check to see what he does with Jason Todd and Starfire.
JUL118163 TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES ONGOING #2 $3.99
Issue #1 was an interesting new origin for the Turtles. What else does IDW have in store for the Heroes on the Half-Shell? Also, Kevin Eastman is one of the coolest comics pros I’ve ever met, and he’s doing the page layouts. Supporting him is always a plus.
Week two of my overview of comics from this week that interest me the most!
JUL110018 BTVS SEASON 9 FREEFALL #1 CHEN VAR CVR $2.99
JUL110017 BTVS SEASON 9 FREEFALL #1 MORRIS CVR $2.99
Buffy the Vampire Slayer returns for Season 9, fresh off the heels of Joss Whedon saying that he may have gone a bit overboard with Season 8. With the new status quo having been set up in ANGEL & FAITH #1 a couple of weeks back, how will Buffy and the Scooby Gang deal with whatever’s to come?
JUL110213 BATWOMAN #1 $2.99
J.H. Williams may be the most talented artist in modern comics, if his run on DETECTIVE COMICS from 2009-2010 is any indication. Even with the change in writers, BATWOMAN will probably be the prettiest book that comes out this week.
JUL110218 GREEN LANTERN #1 $2.99
The New 52 continues, and the current Green Lantern is… Sinestro? WTF?!
JUL110232 GRIFTER #1 $2.99
Mostly of note because Grifter was part of the Wildstorm Universe, which has apparently been absorbed into the DCU proper, thanks to the events of Flashpoint. Could a full-on WildC.A.T.S relaunch be far behind? Yeah, probably very far behind.
MAY110532 SUPER DINOSAUR #4 $2.99
Super Dinosaur is awesome.
JUL110570 FEAR ITSELF #6 (OF 7) FEAR $3.99
The penultimate chapter of Marvel’s Miniseries-turned-Summer-Event, FEAR ITSELF, which has mostly been received with a resounding “meh.” Also available today are the 4th printings of FI #2 and 3rd printing of FI #3.
JUL110745 INFINITY GAUNTLET TP NEW PTG $24.99
One of my favorite 90s Marvel stories is available once again! But, if you get the chance, find one of the older printings, which all have MUCH cooler covers.
JUL110744 THANOS IMPERATIVE TP $19.99
And while you’re picking up Thanos’ biggest story in INFINITY GAUNTLET, why not pick up his LATEST story, in THANOS IMPERATIVE?
JUL110605 ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #1 $3.99
Miles Morales is the NEW Ultimate Spider-Man! After months of buildup, this finally comes out. Will people still care?
MAY111190 CLINT #10 (MR) $6.99
You may not be the biggest fan of Mark Millar, but anthology titles really need a bigger audience. Soon enough, there’s going to be something awesome in CLINT (other than what’s already there), and everybody’s gonna feel like a jerk for missing it.