Friday, September 29, 2006

Speaking of women writing comic books...

Tamora Pierce's self-proclaimed dreaded spouse-creature, Tim Liebe made sure I knew about the upcoming White Tiger comic book that the two of them are writing. It looks gorgeous, it sounds thrilling...I'm getting it!

Thank you Tim!

Here's the link to the page with all the info...White Tiger

Maybe when I'm pencilling at Marvel in a couple of years (details on my drawing are over at 'I Wanna Be a Comic book Artist" on the sidebar), I'll get to work with them! A housewife can dream, can't she?

Writing Wonder Woman.

This is a little late but back on the 18th of September Blog@Newsarama had a little story, Wonder Woman defeats another foe: Writers. One of the commenters (Devon at "Seven Hells") had an interesing suggestion;

"Ummm… Gail Simone should be writing Wonder Woman. Not because Wonder Woman should have a female writer but because no one out there is doing “two-fisted” better than her."

A good suggestion I think but I have to wonder at the, "Not because Wonder Woman should have a female writer," part. Maybe it should.

Over on Mortlake on the Schuylkill, Melchior has a post (September 12) about Marie Severin. It seems that in the early 70's she was the penciler fot 'The Cat', a book Marvel decided should have a mostly female creative team on so might appeal to women more. How radical and revolutionary! How common sense and practical!

Wonder Woman is a natural title for female fans. Even for those of us who haven't closely followed her comic books, she's been an icon. TV shows, sheet sets, Twinkie commercials and, in my case, a completely awesome WW bathing suit when I was 7 or 8, placed her squarely in our collective consciousness. She represented a side to being female that rarely gets explored...The warrior. She's special. Unfortunately, a lot of guys don't get that and depressing threads seem to follow when she's discussed. Example. Example.An art thread with some great pictures and some depressing 'Wonder Woman as lingerie model' pictures.

Anyhow. Lots of guys don't get her. Lots of girls feel she represents something important about us. Why not stick a female writer, heck, a whole creative team, on Wonder Woman to explore and appeal to her natural audience?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Sue would SO leave her children!

Over on Christians Read Comics Too!, the Mad Monk asserts that the Sue he knows would never leave her kids with Reed.

I beg to differ of course. Sue is leaving to join the resistance. That's no envionment for kids. It's dangerous and desperate and she needs to direct her energies to the fight. And this IS a fight that she would wage out of concern for her children. One has superhuman powers and the other may manifest them in the future. She has to leave and fight to try and secure a future where they won't have to.

The Mad Monk doesn't argue that though. What he suggests is that Sue would never leave them with Reed, who is, " wacked out on evil scientist juice."

But I don't think SHE sees him that way. I doubt she thinks he's evil. Does she think he's misguided? Wrong? Yes, but not evil. And while she feels he's misguided about registration, she doesn't doubt that he is still a good man at heart and would never be irresponsible in the care of his children. Further, knowing they're safe with him, she hopes their influence will help him see the harm in what he's doing. I don't think her comment, "beg you to give them the time you have so often denied them in the past," in her goodbye letter was made without the understanding that if he got closer to his children he might begin to see why what he was doing to their future was so wrong.

Sue's great faith in Reed's fundamental goodness is completely consistent with the Sue I've always known.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

My Wonder Woman is Gina Torres.

Due to the absolutely overwhelming response to my call to form a search commitee for the role of Wonder Woman (Thank you for your comment Dustdaughter! We are up to two now! Whoo hoo!) I've decided to forge ahead and make myself a banner with who I want Wonder Woman to be. See on the right?

Yes, I know it's a godawful attempt but it's clear and to the point. If you're desparate and worse at Photoshop or Gimp then I am, feel free to copy the image for your use. If you're more talented then I am at making these things then FOR THE LOVE OF GOD make a better one and let me use it! I feel guilty about what I did to Gina.

I'm not giving up on this. We are going to cast Wonder Woman. I have this thing where I make up my mind about something and it happens. See my other blog on the sidebar. I decided I will pencil comic books and it WILL happen. Same deal here.

And if anyone has an idea on how to give this some anchor or central site for discussion, images, etc., please just make it happen.

P.S. If anyone could make a nice banner for sigs in forums, that would be spiffy too.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Let's cast Wonder Woman

So I think there's been enough speculation and it's time for us, the female fans of comic books to TELL Joss Whedon who we want as Wonder Woman. Seriously. If some bloggers can manage to get a studio to reshoot bits of 'Snakes on a Plane,' why can't we wield influence when it comes to casting Wonder Woman?

When we have a national or provincial election here in Canada, the party candidates for each riding are decided on by party members in that riding through a vote. Prior to the vote though any party riding association worth it's salt forms a search committee. The purpose of the search committee is to look for a group of candidates. They brainstorm about who in the community would make a hardworking candidate, who has ideals similar to the parties, who would represent the riding best. Or at least that's the ideal. From that committee there should be a list of nominees who go on to compete for that aforementioned vote that will have them becoming the party's candidate in the next election.

I'm thinking that those of us in the fangirl community should start an informal Wonder Woman search committee. We should come up with a shortlist of acceptable candidates. I have no idea how we could track this but I'm pretty sure someone out there would know. This is something that's already under way anyhow. Gina Torres, Morena Baccarin and Monica Bellucci seem to be mentioned quite often. We'd simply be putting a clear goal in front of us when we discuss who Wonder Woman should be.

What do you all think?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

AGAIN with the Storm and Black Panther thing!

Black Panther #19 has been generating a lot of comments around Storm's treatment by T'Challa. The main issue is, of course, how T'Challa marginalizes Storm in a battle with Dr. Doom. The little wife gets shown her place and that place is definately NOT out front defending her husband.

What's being done is essentially devaluing Marvel property. I've always thought of T'Challa as an honourable man with a keen sense of justice. It's why he's appealled to me in the past. To find out he's an old fashioned idiot who puts macho ideas before the fact that his wife is his partner and a force of friggin' nature is really disapointing. I'm simply not interested in buying his stories.

And Ororo. To me she's been the Marvel equivilent to Wonder Women. Almost a Goddess, insanely powerful and a person with great character. Now she's second to the Black Panther and I (along with a large chunk of Marvel readers it seems) have a really hard time with the idea that she's second to anybody.

Why does Marvel let it's writers degrade the value of it's characters like this? Is there anybody who's in charge of making sure characters are handled in ways that are consistent with their established character? Does no one at Marvel care that damage is being done to the marketability of these two fantastic heroes?

Both the Black Panther and Storm deserve much, much better. It's a shame Marvel has no interest in ensuring they get it.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Women of the Avengers

A very funny Monica flashback panel from Warren Ellis's Nextwave; agents of H.A.T.E.,

Didn't we always suspect this? :)

"Janet, I'll get this attack, just pick me up some underwear when you're out doing your shopping thing."

"I's nice you want to come along Jennifer but we've already got Hercules and honestly, that ring around the tub could use some super strong scrubbing."

"Wanda! Calm down women. I mean GEEZ, stop getting so emotional. Is it that time of the friggin' month or something?"

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Poor Patricia

My contribution to the challenge at Dave Ex Machina

Sue should dump Reed, Part 2

So she's out on her own.

Now she gets a miniseries. I'm not sure what would happen in it but it would have to involve her beating some major bad dude, something that would establish her as a superhero in her own right. In the last issue she'd be feeling confident about her abilities to fight villains as a solo act. And then maybe she'd meet another female superhero. It might occur to them that superhero teams seem to overflow with male heros. It might occur to them that they should start their own team. And Sue would get a chance to be a leader.

On to a new series. A team book with mostly women. Nothing like Heroes for Hire though because this isn't cheescake stuff. I'm not sure who else would be on the team though. Maybe She-Hulk? Fortress Keeper, in the comments section of my last post, pointed out that her reaction is going to be interesting. Maybe part of that is feeling isolated from conventional superherodom. Maybe when Warren Ellis is done with Monica Rambeau my book could have her? (yes, fantasies of writing a marvel book here) Other members could be powerful female and minority characters that are overlooked and under used.

Anyway, Sue could lead that team for awhile. Reconciliation with Reed would have to happen sooner or later and she would head back but with different expectations of her role in the marriage and team. Someone else would take over as leader of the new team.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Sue should dump Reed. Part 1

...For awhile at least.

A bit of background. Reed is part of a group called the Illuminati consisting of him, Black Bolt, Namor, Professor X., Dr. Strange and Iron Man that 'represents' the superpowered world and make decisions on their behalf. Of course the thing is, they aren't elected or appointed, they aren't even known about outside their little boys club. And it is a boys club. Everyone is male and everyone is white.

I love the idea. These are the big boys of the super powered world and people who've become so comfortable with their power and authority that they aren't even asking the basic question about whether this is right. It doesn't seem to even enter their thinking that they may be very wrong in presuming to speak for and direct the concerns of people that don't even know they exist. They know they're good people and they look across the table and see men they respect and gosh, no need to entertain any doubts. The claiming of power with no understanding of the need to be representative of and responsible to the people. That is entitlement and it's such a bad thing.

So then these 5 men (Namor violently disagreed) decide that the Hulk is a problem and he must be exiled. Abandoned in outer space. Reed Richards, a man who's known Bruce Banner for years, agrees to this. Why? I imagine because the club thinks this is a good thing. They've given themselves to power to act as gods and human considerations such as friendship and compassion are quaint, but not relevent. Reed does not see Bruce, he's sees the Hulk and the Hulk is a problem.

Now back to Sue.

Namor should tell Sue what her husband did to Bruce.

I imagine this would turn Sue's view of her husband upside down. She's been entertaining a few questions with his secrecy and enthusiasm about building a superhero community (again, build a place for superheroes to live without asking the people themselves?). But this...? This is Bruce. This is a man she's known and respected. I imagine she'd try to justify Reead's decision. The Hulk is a danger. People die as a result of the Hulk's actions. Maybe.

But I think the thing that would really anger Sue was that this was a decision Reed made without consulting her. Screw secret clubs, this man is her HUSBAND. She is supposed to be the person he comes to with major decisions and crises. And that this was a decision that decided the fate of a friend? What if the problem had been Ben? Or Johnny? Or herself?

Reed has chosen to assign the Illuminati more authority then Sue. She's second fiddle now when it comes to the most important matters. But he wouldn't see this. Sue would confront him, try to force him to see the issue but he wouldn't get it. He's Reed Richards. Mr. Fantastic, a superhero and a brilliant scientist. And he's a good man. How could Sue doubt that? How could Sue doubt his character and morals like this by implying he's not worthy to decide important matters?

How could she doubt his entitlement?

So she'd leave the marriage and the team. She'd still live in the Baxter Building and talk to Reed because they have children and she does still love him. But he doesn't value her as he should and doesn't trust her judgement when she points to cracks in his character. Being around him, taking orders from him in the team would be poison.

Cue Sue Storm 4 issue mini-series.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

John Byrne - Sexist?

I don't know myself but this blog seems to think so.

"Between his debut in comic books in the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, there were quite a few books he wrote where sexism had a presence, even if you couldn’t always see it. To enjoy any of his works can often require big doses of salt. Here is my own list of discriminatory acts Byrne included in his own writing resume in years past"

I have trouble with this because one of my all-time favorite women in comic books was a creation of John Byrne's. This was Heather Hudson of Alpha Flight. Over the course of John Byrne's run she went from secretary and housewife (of Canada's Guardian) to leading a nation's superhero team despite not having any powers herself. She was smart, wore glasses, had a funny nose and a sensible looking ponytail. AND would fearlessly tell off Wolverine when he needed to be told off.

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After Byrne left she eventually slipped into her dead husband's super powered suit and became 'Vindicator' (yes, a stupid name if I ever heard one) and later Guardian. Later artists changed her from a distinctive looking woman to another curvy redhead with seductive, flowing tresses. Her husband eventually came back and she gave up her colours (the red and white of the Canadian flag) so he could have them back. Which killed me. She'd worn the suit and led the team for longer than him and yet years later she takes off her nations flag and steps aside. She then has a baby and gets killed (a Marvel death so hopefully temporary) along with her whole team in a repugnantly throwaway manner by Brian Michael Bendis (If we ever meet Mr. Bendis, you and I will have words) in New Avengers.

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But the Heather Hudson I adored is Byrne's Heather. Despite having the dubious qualifications of being a housewife and secretary she took leadership of a group of superheroes simply on the strength of her character and belief in herself. She was the normal person who walked with gods (sometimes literally) and led them. And her team admired her for it.

We all have prejudices and stereotypes that come out in our life and work. I don't think John Byrne is any exception. But on this issue, sexism, I think the contribution of Heather Hudson to comic book literature outweighs the crimes listed in The Comic Book Discrimination Dossiers blog.

Heather at her best...Alpha Flight #1-#30 (John Byrne), X-Men and Alpha Flight; The Gift (Chris Claremont & Art Adams)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The New Avengers and Herman's Head

Okay, I should warn you that this column is behind the times a bit. I just finished reading the New Avengers up to issue 11. I'm well aware that the run is now up into the 20's but I just got back into comics again so cut me a bit of slack. Besides, the issue I wanted to point out still applies.

The issue is the makeup of the New Avengers. Thus far in my reading it's been Captain America, Iron Man, Spiderman (WTF?), Wolverine (WTF The Sequel!?!), Luke Cage and Spiderwoman. So that's 5 guys and one gal. And the one gal is Spiderwoman. OoooOOhh! Venom blasts! OOoooOOOooh! Pheremones!

I'm not going to accuse B.M. (unfortunate abbreviation there Brian) Bendis of sexism because I really don't think that's the case. He's the man who writes Powers which has some great female characters in it. I think the root problem here is a great writer who's building a team around the male ego. The Herman's Head Syndrome.

To explain;I remember watching an episode of Herman's Head when I was much younger. It was a sitcom from the early ninetie's that lasted about 5 minutes. The main character was a man who's inner workings (in terms of his mind) were personified by four people. There were three men and one woman and she represented, I think, his emotions. I watched that show and it occurred to me that the people who made up Herman's mind reflected the makeup of many superhero teams. The people on the team were there to represent certain aspects of the (male) writer's ego. There was the leader, the physical strong guy, the darker character, etc. On the roster there's generally be a woman to signify the feminine aspects and as such she'd often be weepy and irrational, an avid shopper or prone to wearing just panties and bras at inappropriate times. This was Jean Grey of the original X-Men, Sue Storm, the Wasp, etc. Those odd women were doubly useful because of the panty and bra thing. If you, as a fanboy, couldn't identify with your feminine qualities, then she still had nice, bouncy melons.

So fast forward a quarter of a century. Mr. Bendis gets the New Avengers and instantly indulges in Herman's Head Syndrome. It's pretty easy to see that Jessica is the token chick and representative of the 'feminine'. She gets, "Damn woman," when she prances about in her costume, makes the men dizzy with pheremones and answers the door in her panties (I haven't seen that comic book yet, it's later in the run, but I've heard about it. Oh yes.). All of this wouldn't stick out like a sore thumb if there were more women on the team but, well, she's it. She's the representive of the male ego's feminine bits. Of course, what are the guys?

Captain America - the honourable bit
Spiderman - the humour bit
Wolverine - the killer bit
Luke Cage - the tough guy bit (black men often seem to get stuck with this role)
Iron Man - the playboy penis bit

Now I don't have a problem with building a team like an ego but to build it from a male POV, where almost all the roles are filled by guys with whom you have a penis in common, means you're excluding great characters and female readers. If you want to use the ego thing consider females in the humour and honour roles. Mix it up and take a few chances.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Spectacular inaugural post!

So I have the original blog, 'I Wanna Be a Comic Book Artist,' where I'm posting the artwork I come up with as I hone my drawing skills. It's a fun blog but I'm back to reading comics and boy, it's hard to read them and not find things you want to rant about. Dumb characters, the death of Alpha Flight, the floaty D-cups and Greg Land all make me a little crazy and I need a release. So, since between the house, the kids, the homeschooling, the upcoming bible course, the local choir and the new drawing blog I just have WAAAAY too much free time I though the obvious remedy was another blog.

For anyone unfamiliar with me, check out Yes, I KNOW it's comBicbookwoman. All I can say is don't drink and blog. It explains that I'm a nice traditional housewife who wants to be a comic book penciler. And it has nifty pics of busty women in tight spandex.

Rant coming soon.