Thursday, June 30, 2011

I'm selling comics!

Well, the boyfriend is selling comics on my behalf.  The full ebay listing is here.

For sale is:
Midnighter (which I reviewed here, one story is good, the rest is crap, but it's only 99p, so why don;t you give it a shot?)
Superman 701 to 711 (his walking across America arc)
Green Arrow 2 -12 (Brightest Day tie in)
Some Brightest Day comics
Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.
JSA: Ghost Stories
Black Canary 1 (from the 1991 mini), 8 and 9 (from the 1993 ongoing) - these are actually quite good, and I'm only selling them cos in my eagerness to complete the run I was forced to buy some duplicate copies.
1 Starman issue - also rather good
One JLS/The 99 issue.

I urge you to read the descriptions for the Starman, Black Canary, and Brightest Day lots.  Cos my boyfriend is funny when he's a bit pissed..!!

Also take a look if you want to buy any books :)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wonder Woman Wednesday

From JLA 54, where Diana saves the day, by being clever and strategic, not to mention brave.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dan DiDio, and DC, seems to have lost the plot.

Check out this article on Bleeding Cool for why.  I heartily recommend you read it all.  It's a report from the DC Retailers roadshow.

OK, so I fully endorse the idea of not writing for trades, of just writing good stories.  On the other hand, I ahve also heard that if books do not get good sales immediately they will be cancelled.  Gah.  Sometimes great books aren't recognised in the early sales figures.  I have a feeling that the less well known characters will not sell as well and then be dropped.  But I digress.

Not putting up with delayed content is also something I approve of.  I don't care if your job is also your vocation, or how much you love it, be a damn professional.

I am also quite pleased with the lineup of the new JLA.  Yes it could be more diverse.  Yes it is very white.  But I also love these characters (except for Hal, and maybe Deadman) and I want to read about them.

But then, then I got to the descriptions of the new books.  I shall share some of the prizeworthy* ones.  My comments will be underneath each entry

Supergirl- Another area of improvement DC is looking for is characters to sound true.  Supergirl, as she has been written, sometimes comes across as mature and responsible as a 40 year-old adult.  She shouldn’t.  She’s a teen who is still finding herself and her character should reflect that.
 Does he mean Sterling Gates near universally acclaimed run?   You know, the one that brought nearly all Supergirl fans on side, that everyone thought was fab, that turned around a very unpopular title?

 Batwing- Based on fan interest in this character from Batman Incorporated, DC wanted to give the character an ongoing title.
I have no idea who Batwing is.  People on twitter seem to favour Nightrunner over Batwing.   I know, I have a small sample group, but still.

Batgirl- Barbara Gordon is back as Batgirl.  The events of Killing Joke and her tenure as Oracle have occurred and this title addresses her return to the role.

 Oh great. So she is in some way out of the chair. I've documented my thoughts on this before.

Catwoman- The sexy side of Batman.
What the fuck? Is that all Selina is to you?  That's your synopsis?  I accept that it may be the reporter's words and not DC's, but something has gone wrong somewhere.

Birds of Prey- Barbara Gordon will still be part of the book.
Well, that's something at least.

Red Hood and the Outlaws- One of the most requested characters for a book is Jason Todd as an anti-hero.
What, over Cassandra Cain?  Seriously?  Over Stephanie Brown? of which...

Teen Titans- All four Robins star or co-star in a book.  (I know, what about Stephanie Brown?  It was hinted that we would see her in Batman Incorporated. Dan Didio said she worked better as Spoiler.)  This book is Tim Drake’s showcase. There will be some synergy between this and Superboy.
FIVE Robins.  There have been FIVE Robins.  You'd think DC would remember the girl wonder campaign, and why they brought Steph back in the first place.  I bet Bryan Q Miller is feeling reaaally happy about this.

Suicide Squad- Combining elements from previous iterations of the Squad and the Secret Six with Harley Quinn’s fashion sense from the Arkham games.
OK,  a character's fashion sense should not form part a pitch for a comic.  Unless you are writing a fashion comic.  Suicide Squad isn't a fashion comic.

Blackhawks- They wanted a book that had a G.I. Joe feel to it, so they went out and got a G.I. Joe writer to work on it.
Or, you could write a GI Joe book.  I still want to know where Zinda is.

I am not a happy fangirl.

*not really prizeworthy

I should probably talk about the Green Lantern movie

I really enjoyed it.  As a superhero flick it's a bit by-the-numbers, but as a Green Lantern fan and Hal Jordan hater I loved it.  Ryan Reynolds did a suprisingly great job as Hal and Carol Ferris was also surprisingly effective.  She could have done with a bit more strength to her voice, but nevermind.

I thought I'd hate the movie, but I enjoyed every second of it.  The rubbish CGI looks far better on the big screen so I quickly got over my hatre dof the suit/ring/lantern.  The Guardians and Oa looked fab, and Kilowog said poozer and ring slinging!  Hal made a couple of giant green fists!  And was none too bright.  And was an ass.  Yeah, I liked it.  If you like superhero movies, go see it.

I missed the scene in the credits though. :(   I must youtube it.

If any non comic fans have seen it, I'd be interested in your views.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Saturday, June 25, 2011

More thoughts on DC's cunning new marketing strategy

I am referring to the one that says they will are targeting 18-34 yera old males.

In terms of what this means for me personally, and my reading habits, I'm not actually too bothered.  Ok, I am still sad about Teen Titans and Supergirl, but so far it looks like that from September  I am going to have 18 titles on my pull list, up from 15 (excluding the Flashpoint titles).  So you know, this reboot/relaunch has worked for me, as I will now be getting more titles.  I mean, I like a lot of things that the average 18-34 yr old male does - explosions, testostorone heavy films, cock rock, actions scenes.  I'm happy to have those stories (and with titles like The Savage Hawkman I'm sure I will be getting those in abundance).

The things that does irk me, is that, as James so elquoently put it, targeting this particular demographic probably means the emphasis will be on sex and violence.  Now this won't neccessarily mean bad stories, (ok this is coming from the woman who loved the whole ethos and art in the Guy Gardner - Warrior series), but it probably does mean that these types of stories will be told at the expense of other stories.  That saddens me.

As for the lack of imagination in who they are targeting, well, I think women, people of colour, LGBT people, will continue to buy the titles.  Even those folk searching for diversity and depth in their comics (and perhaps not finding it).  Because we are used to seeing cultural products that don't represent us, and it's just something we have to put up with.

In moral terms, this doesn't mean that DC shouldn't bother putting out products catering to/targeting/including 'minority' groups, but it will make a better story/universe if they do.  Sometimes, the only way to make sure you are more diverse in your output is to consciously think about how you can achieve it.  It doesn't always come naturally.  The reduction in women led titles, for example, demonstrates this.

On the other hand, Mr Terrific, Static, Blue beetle, Young Justice, The Fury of Firestorm, JLA and Aquaman are all either being led by (male) characters of colour or have CoCs with prominent roles.  Then there's Batwoman leading her title and I presume Amanda waller will be prominent in SAuicide Squad.  That's more than we got now.

The other thing that is bothering me about this relaunch is that I don't so much think that the reason your average Joe doesn't buy comics is because they think they are only for teenage boys, it's because they just don't know about them.  Most people barely know what they are, especially superhero titles.

The way to get more people buying your comics is not to target the same demographic you always have, but to tell more people, in general, about them.  DCWomenKickingAss has for months been saying that DC and Marvel should give away comics to girl scouts.  She's got a good point.  If people don't know about your product, they won't buy it.  If people don't know ways in to your product, they won't buy it.  If they don;t knwo where to buy your product, they won't buy it.  Those spotlight columns now appearing in the back of DC's monthlies are really good, and a great way to promote your back catalogue.  But it's preaching to the converted.  Part of the fault lies with comic shops too - retailers need to get out there and promote themselves more, but then again, how rich are most comic shops?

I wonder how skint DC is an organisation.  I wonder if they can only afford to market towards one group, and they've chosen the easy one as the cheapest and most efficient (in the short term) one.  Pushing their comics to a brand new audience, making new people aware that they exist, will be a long term, expensive process.  Which is sods law really, because if DC don't start bringing in new fans they are going to be, as an industry, fucked.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Coming out in comics: random villains in the DCU

It's been ages since I've done one of these Coming out posts.  Anyway, I just came across this page from JLA, vol 4, issue 2 (split into 3 panels to make them bigger when posting)

Click to make it bigger.  It's nice to see someone be incidentally gay.  What else is noteworthy is the implicit homophobia of Cavalier's community.  It's stuff like this that gives so much information about life in the DCU, but in a subtle manner.  I like it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Eu says bugger it to our countryside

Sort of.  I came across this post on one of the RSPB's blogs today:

(fully crossposted)
It’s been a shocking week to say the least! And it’s only Tuesday!

The RSPB announced today that the EU are planning to sever a rather important leg from our Common Agricultural Policy. That all sounds rather jargonny I know so i’ll try to make it as simple as possible. Our old friend Mark Avery couldn’t have put it better himself.

Farmland covers a whopping 75% of our region and is a vital part of the ecosystem for some our most loved (and threatened) wildlife. If President Barroso makes this decision, the money that goes directly into conservation and farming to ensure that our countryside stays fit for wildlife will vanish, along with our turtle doves, our skylarks and many more species along the way.

I for one, couldn’t think of a worse scenario to be in. It worries me greatly that our European leaders think that this is a GOOD idea! If our UK farmers were to lose this vital stream of income and organisations like the RSPB were to lose funding for major species and habitat recovery projects because of this short-sighted approach, then we can all kiss goodbye to a countryside full of birdsong for our grandchildren.

There is something we can do. By signing this e-action you will be pledging your support to the RSPB and perhaps we can get this decision reversed.


How about you all go and sign the e-action, huh?  You've got till the 29th of June to make a difference.

Wonder Woman Wednesday

Superman and Wonder Woman, as a normal, domestic married couple:

There's just something really direct and honest about this.  I wish I knew who the artist was, can anyone tell me?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cass and Steph get benched in the new DC universe

Crissposted from DC Women Kicking Ass:

Notes from the DC Roadshow: Well, that’s that, isn’t it?

Bleeding Cool has posted reports from yesterday’s road show in Texas. And here you go:
You won’t be seeing Donna Troy yet in the new DCU, nor the Stephanie and Cassandra Batgirls. They haven’t been killed off though, just benched.
And the new readers they are targeting?
The target audience are men age 18 to 34 though they do realize that they have readers in other demographics.
I’m going to take a few moments.



Happy Solstice!

It's the summer solstice today, the longest day of the year :)  A few years ago it fell on the weekend and my friend had a solstice party, so I did see dawn in.  As I have to work today I won't have stayed up Monday night to see the dawn, and I highly doubt I'll have woken up to catch dawn (I'm writing this in advance and scheduling i)t.  But, I will enjoy how late sunset occurs, from the safety and comfort of my house.

I hope everyone has a good day today :)

(EDIT -  this was meant to post at sunrise morning.  Oops).

Monday, June 20, 2011

Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 9th Grade?

So, ya'll should know how much I adore Supergirl and how much I enjoyed Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade.  Well, Landry Walker has put up a post about the concept art for a sequel for the book.  It was pitched to DC but they never got a positive response.  I have nothing specific to comment, except that I would love to see a sequel to this, so I thought I'd crosspost the entire thing:
Been sitting on this for a couple of years now. Figured might as well let people see a bit of what we had been thinking for Supergirl's future as she enters the turbulent world of high school.

One of the things I would like to point out about these images is the evolution of Kara's design. When the first series was announced (along with an image never intended for the public) the common complaint was that our Supergirl was boyish. That she was rough looking. That she looked awkward and maybe even a little weird.

Eric could have drawn Supergirl as the epitome of style and grace. But that wouldn't have been our Supergirl. Our Supergirl was a character who needed to grow. She was overly self-aware, insecure and gangly, that's part of being a young teenager (particularly as younger teens see themselves from within) and therefore an important part of the storytelling.

I think with the slight changes to the artwork here we really begin to see Kara's self confidence manifest physically. This would have continued on a curve, all through 12th Grade. By the end (and there was a definitive end planned) 18 year old Kara would have looked like an adult - particularly because you watched her grow up.

I guess what I'm saying is: It's a mistake to expect a character to be perfect right out the gate. Where do you go from perfect? Perfect makes for boring storytelling and boring reading.

Ideally we would have similar development with the emotional status of the character. And I think we do see that evolution just over the course of the 8th Grade mini-series. It was a trend intended to continue.

We would have seen some similar evolution for Belinda and Lena - for at least as long as they were around. And if that sounds vaguely sinister, it probably is. Or maybe it really isn't. Hard to say.

Anyway, that's some Cosmic Adventures 9th Grade stuff for you. Otherwise, Eric and I have been very busy working on new things. We will be making an announcement as to what exactly that might be at this years San Diego Comic Con.

If you want to see Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures continue, let DC Comics know.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Super Silly Sunday

Oh this just tickled me.  I like it when comics get meta.

From Adventures of Superman 582.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

If men were objectified too (part 3)

 EDIT 27th June: It has com to my attention that I do not mean what I thought I did by the title of this blog post.  What I really mean, is 'If men were objectifed in the same manner women are'.  Apologies for offence caused by the misleading words.  It never hurts to be too specific, and in future I shall try to explain myself better.

There are still far too many female characters more concerned with showing- off ass, rather than kicking it.
 Quote from Megan Rosalarian Gedris, December 201o

I have previously written and linked to posts concerning the concept of what would men in comics would like if they were objectified in the same way that women were.  Well another post has been written, by the lady quoted above.  I urge you to go read it, and to tempt you, I would like to share some images from it:

See the problem?  So why do we have art like this being produced:
Harly Quinn is an acrobat.  Now unless the DCnU has changed her abilities and she no longer cavorts about, that has to be one of the most inappropriate costumes I've ever seen.

It is really diffiuclt for comic artists to draw appropriate clothes on their fictional creations?  I mean, learning how gravity and spines work would be nice.  Learning how men bulge in spandex would also be nice, for example:
He's a ballet dancer.
Or you could look at male gymnasts.  On that note, to draw women, look at female gymnasts.  Hell, if you want to draw sexy women take a gander at the thousands of female cosplayers out there.  See how the clothes sit.  Pay attention to how they've achieved certain effects.  Note how the breasts and bellies work (and please, have the intelligence to differentiate between cosplaying at a con and doing a porn shoot).   I'm not saying don't stylise any your art.  Amanda Connor and Ale Garza draw cartoony art and I love them.  But please, respect your creations and respect your audience.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Survey on women and comics

A lady named Janelle Asselin has put up a survey on women and comics and is asking for respondents.  You don't have to read comics to take the survey.  It is lengthy, but there are multiple choice questions and the option to add comments, if you wish.  It's for her thesis.  Would you consider taking part?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The new DCU

As anybody following me on twitter or facebook will know, I am somewhat saddened by the plans for the new DCU.  It's not that I think bad stories will be told, they will by all account probably be good stories, there's a lot of talented writers and artists there, it's more that I think there's no need to change some of the stories, because I, and here I am employing fan entitled arrogance, think a lot of the teams and stories are just fine the way they are at the moment thank you very much.

(all blurb and covers taken from Comic Book Resources btw)

Oh yes, I know there are problems with DC's output, it's too white, too male, too straight, but I honestly felt like they were getting better over the last few months.  Take the Teen Titans title.  Solstice has just been introduced.  She's fabulous.  She promises to be be great character (she's pretty good now), she's Indian, she's got great powers and Nicola Scott is drawing her wonderfully.  But why go to the trouble of introducing her if you aren't going to continue?  She'll only have been in 6 issues.  Instead we get this team:
Ok, so it shouldn't surprise anyone that this is not my sort of art, seeing as it will be the same art  the book, I'm crying a little inside, right now.  I actually think Tim has come off best here.
The solicit says:
"Tim Drake is forced to step out from behind his keyboard when an international organization seeks to capture or kill super-powered teenagers. As Red Robin, he must team up with the mysterious and belligerent powerhouse thief known as Wonder Girl and a hyperactive speedster calling himself Kid Flash in TEEN TITANS #1, by Scott Lobdell and artists Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund."
I don't know these creators.  It looks like Lobdell did some Buffy issues but mostly has done Marvel stuff.  Wonder Girl's info concerns me...stroppy Cassie wasn't liked by many people before..  If Kid Flash turns out not to be Bart I think I'll cry.
And who the hell are the other two?  Why (seemingly) get rid of Solstice for them?  I want to keep reading about Cass/Con/Bart/Tim but I'm not sure I get past the art.. :(

As for Supergirl...
Nice cover, nice suit (apart from the boots which should be below the knee) and the cover artist is doing the inside too, which is good to hear, but..
"Supergirl’s got the unpredictable behavior of a teenager, the same powers as Superman and none of his affection for the people of Earth. Writers Michael Green and Mike Johnson (Smallville, SUPERMAN/BATMAN) will team up with artist Mahmud Asrar to give a new take on the teenager from Krypton in SUPERGIRL #1"
This sounds entirely different to the Kara of the current comics.  I want to read more about the current Kara, not this new one. :(  The writers are good so I'm sure they'll produce good stories, but, I don't want to read about a new Kara, I want to see the current one develop. :(  The solicit sounds like she'll be a typical 'edgy', stroppy character, more like she was in the first 18 issues or so, but the art tells me this will be a more grown up Kara, an idea I find quite interesting.
Supergirl Comic Box Commentary has a good debate about this solicit.

So, my two favourite, iconic titles I am least excited and slightly miserable about.  *sigh*  I'll def get Supergirl, but I'm not sure about TT.

I'll now go through the other new titles and give my thoughts:
Alphabetical list filched from SallyP.

Action Comics - " This momentous first issue will set in motion the history of the DC Universe as Superman defends a world that doesn’t trust their first Super Hero"
It's by Morrison.  I'm sure he'll have fun with it.  I may buy it.   I wonder if 'first super hero' means actual first metahuman or if it means first icon.

All-Star Western - Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray are writing.  I'm sure it will be good, but it's not my thing.
Animal Man - This cover (right) makes it seem like it will be close in flavour to his last ongoing, from Vertigo.  In which case, I will probably put this on my pull list.
Aquaman - Fuck yes!  I'm that desperate for Arthur Curry goodness and so used to different takes on him I'll grab anything I can get.
Batman - do not care
Batman: The Dark Knight - also do not care.  Why can't Wonder Woman get the same number of titles Batman does?  *snark*
Batman and Robin - well, at least Damian is sticking around.   Though I do wish he had never left the Teen Titans.
Batgirl - It's Barbara Gordon seemingly out of her chair and back in the cowl.  This really upsets me.  I know it will be good.  I know Gail Simone has a lot of good stories to tell about Babs.  I know we don't know if Babs is cured or not.  For all we know she may be wearing a suit with nanites in that allows her to walk.  But I can't help thinking that we've lost a great disabled superhero, whose powers weren't linked to her disability, whose powers didn't overcome her disability and was nevertheless awesome and badass and could beat all of you in a fight, one hand behind her back.  Do you know how rare that is?  Daredevil is blind, but he's so gifted with other abilities he may as well as owl vision.
Or maybe it will be a younger Babs set before she got shot.  Which, well, it's easy to write stories set in the past about babsgirl, couldn't we have Babs as Oracle, adult wheelchair user, and another series of Babs as young woman, roof running crimefighter?

Batwoman - yep, gonna get this.
Birds of Prey - Where goes my Helena and Zinda?  The blurb sounds similar to the current BoP, but the writer is new.  I actually quite like Dinah's new suit.  I hope that's Katana on the right.

Blackhawks - how the effin hell do you do the Blackhawks, picture women on the cover and NOT have one of them be Zinda?  *cross*  This sounds very similar in theme to BoP, but with added murder and possibly less sexy ladies.
Blue Beetle - Jamie's back!  One up for those of us anti the whitewashing of superhero comics!
Captain Shinypants - I mean Atom.
Catwoman - I like Winick.  I like Guillem March.  But together?  Oh hells no.  I am staying far away form this book.  interviews with Winick have only confirmed my opinion.
DC Universe Presents - Bernard Chang is drawing the first story.  For that reason only I am inclined to pick up issue #1.
Deathstroke - Fucking hell he's got an impressive sword.  I hope Rose turns up in this.  I'm rather upset she isn't in the new TT solicit.  I may pick up issue #1.
Demon Knights - I cannot imagine anything more dull than a series in which Etrigan is the main character.
Detective Comics - Enough with the Bat love already.
The Fury of Firestorm - I will try this.  Gail Simone is writing, and I did enjoy Firestorm's story in Brightest Day,
Flash - If Wally, Irey and Bart show up in this I will buy it.  If it's all about Barry I'll leave it.
Frankenstein: Agent of Shade - does this sound similar to Shadowpact or is it just me?  I won't be getting it.
Green Arrow - undecided as to whether I should buy it.  I hated the post Blackest Night run of GA but that's mostly to do with the art.  This might be better.  High tech weaponry has been mentioned.  I hope this means trick arrows and not that Ollie is going to start using a tank or a gun.
Green Lantern - Yawn.  It's Hal.  This will hopefully be a good jumping on point for fans of the film.
Green Lantern Corps - Guy and John eh? Could be interesting.  But unless Guy is a dick I'm really not interested.
Green Lantern: The New Guardians - Now this I may want to get.. Kyle Rayner leads the emotional spectrum...
Grifter - I really have no opinion on this.
The Savage Hawkman - Angry, feral Carter.  Nice cover.  I'm very tempted.  The book would be improved with Sheria or Kendra.
Hawk and Dove - Love these 2!  An Sterling Gates is writing!  But Liefeld is drawing! Gates vs Liefeld, help....what do I do...
I, Vampire - Um, what is this vampire doing in a DCU book?  I want superheroes, not bloody vampires.  Unless it;s the Scream Queen, who isn't in these solicits.  Not that I'd ever expect her to be.  It was a very pleasant surprise to find her in the latest Superman/Batman story arc.
Justice League - John's out, Kara's out, all the sidekicks are out.  Arthur's back in, Diana has a nice new suit and Cyborg is in.  Arthur and Di might convince me to buy this.
Justice League: Dark - I'm sure this premise was already done in JLE and Cry for Justice.  Not getting.
Justice League International - erm, I'm half tempted, but I think I won't be able to afford it..
Legion of Super Heroes - If XS is in it I might get it.
Legion Lost - If XS is in it I might get it.
Mister Terrific - Fuck me a black guy gets to headline a comic.  He's got a stupid suit though
Nightwing - I'm tempted, I really am. I know it will revisit old territory and I know Dick has moved on but I kinda like him nonetheless.  And I don't own his old series.
Omac - erm, what?  No.
Red Hood and the Outlaws - Why does Roy have to be rejected by Ollie?  What does that say about Ollie?  And is Lian still in existence, even as just a memory?  Oh please bring Lian DC, please.
Red Lanterns - I guess this will angry, violent and bloody. Do you reckon Dex Starr will have a big role? 
Resurrection Man - This could be fun.  I only know him from that Supergirl cancer storyline.  it is a possibility to buy.
Sgt. Rock and the men of war - ugh, so not my cup of tea.
Static Shock - I am undecided about this.  I may buy it just to review on New readers.
Stormwatch - enough with the dangerous team son dangerous missions stuff.  With this I expect mind control and gay relationships.
Superman: the Man of Tomorrow - If they've split Clark and Lois up I will be furious.  Someone on twitter suggested that should make Clark or Lois gay.  In theory, great, in practice I love Clark and Lois too much together for them not to be with each other.  if one of them turned gay they would no longer be a couple and their romantic relationship would be ruined.  So what DC should do is make one of them transgender.  Then they still get to love each other and we get a premier LGBT couple.  As that won't happen I don't think I'll buy this.
Superboy- Why he is suddenly a cyborg?  Fuck sake.  I am not sure about this, but the art is better than Teen Titans so maybe I should get my superteen fix here instead?
Suicide Squad - motherfuckers.  what the feck have they done to Harley?  I didn't even recognise her when I first scanned through these new covers.  harleyquinnaid has a great post up about the slut shaming among the HQ fan contingent and why the costume is all wrong for Harley.  I think the costume is insulting to women and to Harley because the designer clearly didn't think about Harley's character when he came up with it.  Instead it looks like what would commonly be termed edgy and sexy.  It's objectifying and foul.
Swamp Thing - I don't give a fuck about this.
Voodoo - This looks like an odd book to be on DC's roster.  It looks like an IDW one.  Not for me.
Wonder Woman - "Written by Brian Azzarello, Art by Cliff Chiang, Cover by Cliff Chiang".  This looks great.  Then again, I haven't minded the reboot from issue 601.

So, the only ones I'm really annoyed about are the two titles I have most affection for - Supergirl and Teen Titans.  I think a lot of the problems are with the blurbs accompanying each title, and really, how much can they truly tell us?  The other titles, well for the ones I like I'm either used to reboots and relaunches for the, or they haven't had an ongoing for years, so I'm excited about what I can get.

There are a lot characters and creators I'm gonna miss, but hopefully this list of titles won't be the be all and end all.  I have heard that more titles will be announced for October, so I'll be interested to see what comes out.

I don't know.  We'll wait and see.  I have updated my pull list to list those titles I will get from September and I just hope that Teen Titans and Supergirl will please me.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wonder Woman Wednesday

From the pages of Justice League Task Force:
Any comic where I got to see Diana beat up Captain Shinypants was a good comic.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Anne McCaffrey's Pern books

So, on my holiday I read about 13 books.   Ok so that includes 2 trades, but nonetheless I think that's pretty good going, AND  it gives me another reason to be grateful for my kindle, cos if I hadn't had that my luggage would either have been much heavier, or I'd have spent a fortune in all the second hand book shops.

ANYWAY.  I started going through the Pern books again, starting with the Masterharper of Pern, then going back to book number 1, now I'm on book number 6.  Man, I love reading.  Anyway, my last recollection of the Pern books (on the second or third reading) was that they were massively sexist, which irked me (obviously).  I mostly recalled things like all the heroic women being monogamous and the all the evil women being promiscuous, as well as all the women having housework type roles and the men being the ones doing the exciting things.

I have since changed my mind.  The Pern books are about a society in flux, changing, developing and casting aside the old traditions which inhibit and harm the citizens of Pern.  They are books about a society seeking new knowledge, new ways of doing things and the heroes of the books are trying to improve lives for everyone.

Yes, a lot of the women aren't allowed to progress (or enter) the crafthalls, yes they are expected to bear children and manage their holds (under the men), or serve the men their food and drink, but throughout the books it is made clear that these are the old ways of doing things and it must change.

Lessa is the driving force that saved Pern in first book.  She is involved in all councils, laws, plans for Pern.  She couldn't NOT be.  She will not be cast aside by those who deem her unworthy because of her sex or gender.
The weyrleaders councils are dominated by men, to be sure, but that's because an old tradition decreed that women could only impress queen dragons, this belief is questioned and then broken when Mirrim impresses a green dragon.

Menolly's success at becoming a harper proves to people that women can be trained, and those men who question this are shown to be in the wrong.
Kylara's character is very much selfish, conniving and yes, promiscuous.  But it's not the sex that makes her bad, it's the way she plays men off and the way that her selfishness drives her to cause the death of 2 queen dragons.
Other heroic women are also shown to be promiscuous, for example, Silvina in the Masterharper of Pern book.  Ok, this is a later book, so I think it's clear that McCaffrey was trying to amend and improve the politics of Pernese life as she continued with her series.  But who cares if it's a retcon or a new thing?  It works.
It is made very clear throughout all the books that the young people of Pern wish to live in a Weyr, partly for the sexual freedom it brings.  This indicates that life outside a Weyr is sexually limited, and as the dragonriders are the heroes of this series, surely this indicates that sexual promiscuity is if not encouraged, certainly not frowned upon by the writer?
There is the element of arranged marriages, but I think it's clear that these benefit neither men nor women.  I think that issue is more to do with the familial and societal structures rather than a gender imbalance.

I mean, the books do have some sexist flaws in them, of course they do, most things do.  Some are a  product of the time in which they are written (the earlier ones mostly), some are because they fall into romantic fiction tropes of sex (and at their heart the Pern books are as much romance stories as sci fi stories).  But on the whole, it's not a sexist series.  there are tons of worthy women characters, all excelling at some of what they do, failing at others, all with human flaws, the same as the men.  As a story of a society in flux and improving itself you can see that the problems within the set up are being addressed.

That makes them a much more satisfying read that I had previously thought.  And, for a series about dragons (i.e. right up my street) this pleases me no end.

Monday, June 13, 2011

ASN June Bulletin

As I have done before, here is a copy of the Abortion Support Network's June newsletter, copied from my inbox.  I have no involvement with ASN, other than giving them money, and believe they provide a much needed service and do a wonderful job.  Read on and consider supporting them:


Welcome to your ASN eBulletin. Between recent media coverage, a change in how Pro Choice Happy Hours are organised and the TWENTY SIX women we heard from this month, there’s almost too much news to fit into this humble eBulletin. Fortunately, there’s room for our biggest news, which is that ASN is now a charity! Now, if only we had an accountant . . . Read on!

·         Extra! Extra! Read all about it!
·         Pro Choice Happy Hours – Revamped
·         Charitable status
·         Get involved
·         Women we’ve helped
·         A woman we didn’t help
·         Thank you!

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

Abortion Support Network has been a media darling lately. First our lovely volunteer Hannah wrote a piece on Supporting Abortion Rights in the UK that was published by Feministe (and reposted by many others!). Then ASN sent out two press releases, Ireland’s Abortion Ban Continues to Impact Women, about the latest Dept of Health figures on women having abortions in the England, and one on the Anti Choice Group Sneaked into Government Sexual Health Advisory Group. This resulted in coverage of ASN in the Irish Journal and ASN’s Anne Q “appearing” on Dublin’s Spin FM. You can listen to the clip via the ASN website.

Pro Choice Happy Hours – Revamped

The Pro Choice Happy Hour is no more. Long live the London Repro Health Happy Hour! Repro Happy Hours were started in New York City by a couple sexual and reproductive health professionals looking for a regular social networking event where they could get some drinks and talk shop with other pro-choice, pro-sexual rights, like-minded people. The success of the monthly happy hours in New York spread, and there are now popular Repro Health Happy Hours in cities across the world. This was, in fact, what ASN was trying to do with our Pro Choice Happy Hours, and we are very happy to hand the torch over to Chelsea R who will be organising these events in future. We hope to see you at the first London Repro Health Happy Hour on 28 June!! Check out the Facebook Group for more information and to get updates on the first event, or send an email for more information.

Charitable status

Yes, you read that right. After more than 10 months of paperwork, ASN has successfully registered with the Charity Commission. Our lovely new Registered Charity Number is 1142120. Thanks so much to Jen, Becky, Nick, and everyone else who helped with the arduous process! Please bear with us while we sort out details like putting the number on our website and deciding what route we will be going regarding Gift Aid. And while we’re on the subject, are any of you knowledgeable about Gift Aid? Please get in touch! We could use some advice. 

Get Involved

As a volunteer-run organisation, ASN counts on its wonderful volunteers and supporters to help the women who contact us. We are currently seeking the following volunteers. Please contact us if you are interested in one of these roles.

Do you like it when people show you the money? We are seeking an accountant. We need either someone who can help us manage the day to day financials (paying invoices, keeping an eye on our bank balance) or someone who can help us do our annual accounts and ensure that we are correctly reporting our activities to the Charity Commission. We currently have one person doing both of these roles, which we’d like to split between two people.

Phone Coordinator
The phone is the link between women in difficult circumstances and the funding and information that can help them. Do you live in London and have a cool head, a calm phone manner and the ability to return phone calls and emails within 24 hours? You might make an excellent ASN phone coordinator. Phoners take the phone for one week every four to five weeks and are trained and supported throughout their shifts.

We are looking for hosts who live within an easy commute of Richmond, Ealing, Streatham or Brixton. Have a spare room, pull out sofa, or air mattress and the desire to host a woman in need?

Women we’ve helped

May was an exceptionally busy month for ASN. We heard from 26 women, many of whom had situations even more difficult and complex than the “norm”. We are incredibly grateful to our funders, who provide us with the means to help these women when they call, and to our phone coordinators, who deal with each of these women with compassion and care. Women we heard from this month included:

A woman who had funds but no passport. We were able to advise her on getting to England without one.

A single mother who spent weeks struggling with misinformation on the internet before finding ASN. After booking flights she only had £120 for the procedure, and we gave her a grant for the balance. She sent this email upon returning home: “Hi there, i just wanted to say thank you for all your help and support for last week. Right up until last wednesday i could barley eat, or sleep, but now thanks to you i can move on and continue making a better life for my kids, i wanted you to know how grateful i really am for all your help, many thanks”

A mother of a young baby, who became pregnant both times despite taking birth control pills. By the time she was able to confirm the pregnancy and get a scan she was 22 weeks pregnant. We were able to pay the balance of her procedure as well as provide two nights’ accommodation.

A woman whose abusive husband prevented her from getting an abortion, and was only able to could come to England for the procedure after leaving him. We bought her flights and negotiated a reduced fee at the clinic.

A single mother of three who accidentally called an anti-choice crisis pregnancy agency and had one of their “counsellors” calling her several times a day telling her that abortion is murder and that the doctors in England are all butchers who would leave her permanently damaged. We were able to help her pay for the procedure  and provided two days accommodation – as well as much needed reassurance and unbiased support.

A teenage girl living with her parents but unable to tell them about the pregnancy. We were able to help her make an appointment at a local family planning clinic for support as well as provide her with info on clinics in England and supporter with a grant towards her abortion.

The mother of a pregnant teen. We were able to give them information about Women on Web, saving them the cost of travelling to England and paying privately for an abortion.

A mother of two living in a refugee camp in Ireland. She had no money and no visa. We were able to put her in touch with an organisation that helped her with her visa and to find a clinic that would provide her with a free procedure.

A woman in a relationship with a man who is against abortion and who threatened her when she said she was considering a termination – including a threat that he would paint “murderer” on her house if she didn’t carry the pregnancy to term. She said, “I always thought I wouldn't do this, but you can't judge anyone, you don't know until you're put in that position."

A woman who only found out she was pregnant after undergoing a major operation. Despite facing serious health problems , numerous complications with this case meant she and her husband had to obtain an abortion in a hospital in England.

ASN thanks these women and men for sharing their stories with us, and for permitting us to share them with you. We also thank the clinics, counsellors and other groups who ensure that these women receive the care they need.

A Woman we Didn’t Help (for all the right reasons!)
We wanted to share with you the story of a woman who, in the end, did not receive a grant from ASN. We were contacted by the mother and sister of a 14 year old girl in the very early stages of pregnancy. Initially, they wanted to fly to England immediately for the termination, but we advised them to wait a week or two in order to see a local family planning clinic (which can save the cost of a consultation fee in England) as well as save them the cost of last minute plane tickets. The girl’s mother had to borrow money to pay for the flights and ASN planned to give a £200 grant towards the procedure. While she was at the clinic, the girl was quite distraught and kept talking about adoption. The clinic gave her some time to think about her decision, but ultimately decided it best to send her home until she was more secure in her choice. The clinic manager told her to go home and think, but also assured her that if she changed her mind again, the clinic would give her a free procedure, and that ASN would help her pay for her flights.  We wanted to share this story with you because it illustrates exactly what “pro choice” means. Even if women (or a girl in this case) have made multiple phone calls, booked plane tickets, and crossed international borders, the most important thing we can do is to listen to women and allow them to make their own decisions.


Thank you!!

Thank you again for all your support. Without you, we wouldn’t have been able to provide accommodation, financial assistance, and confidential, non-judgemental information to the women in difficult circumstances who have contacted us.

With best regards

Abortion Support Network

            +44 (0) 7897 611 593
Company No. 07017607

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Super Silly Sunday

It's the inane look of glee on his face that does it.

From Adventures of Superman 520.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Now caught up on my blogroll

Well, I skimmed quit e bit of them.  Do you think there's anything I should look at?   The comics blogosphere is dominated by the DC reboot (relaunch?), of course, but if y'all have seen any other articles or posts you reckon I'd like please link them in the comments!

It's been tough being offline for 2 weeks :/

Killing Hawkwoman

So, seeing as the whole DCU is gonna be rebooted after Flashpoint, what the fuck was the point in killing Hawkwoman off at the end of Brightest Day?    I mean, Flashpoint has changed the world already so the new universe doesn't have to tie in with the old, at all, so why not let Sheira survive Brightest Day?

After reading this interview I am keeping a more open mind about Babs becoming Batgirl again.  But given the choice, I would prefer her to remain as Oracle, as a wheelchair user.

I'm back!

My holiday was wonderful.  Lots of walks, lots of hills, mostly good weather, terrible cooking by myself and a few bottle of wine/pints of beer. Lots of reading and several card games.  Marvellous!  We have some particulalry great pictures which I will probably post just as soon as the boyfriend emails me.  Kendal int he Lake District and Settle in the Yorkshire Dales are amazing places.

Anyway I've bene offline for pretty much the whole 2 weeks (blessed areas with no phone signal!) and what do I find when I come back?  Well, DC is rebooting the whole universe back to issue number ones.  Sigh.  We've only just got Diana's renumbering to 600!

Comic Book Resources has some info on the new titles, including that digital copes of the books will be available on the same day.  Cool.  Now if only I could get a cost in British currency..

Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang get Wonder Woman  - a while back we thought Azzarello was getting Supergirl, so the rumours looked to be based in some fact then..
We get an Aqua title, hurrah!
Bernard Chang does art on the first DCU present issue.. I may get that just for him..
Duane Swierczynski gets BoP.  Who's Duane Swierczynski?
The Catwoman title sounds dire... "Meet Catwoman. She’s addicted to the night. Addicted to shiny objects. Addicted to Batman. Most of all, Catwoman is addicted to danger. She can’t help herself, and the truth is – she doesn’t want to. She’s good at being bad, and very bad at being good."
Written by Judd Winick, art by Guillem March..

Gail Simone on Batgirl?  Is that Barbara Gordon in the cowl?  Babs is walking again?    Noooooo.  Is this why proxy was brought in?  To ensure DC still has a wheelchair user as a superhero?  Arg, Babs is so much better as Oracle, not Batgirl.  Bah.  Still, we don't know exactly what she'll be like.  But, I hope they don;t de-age her.  I like adult Babs dammit.

Swamp Thing I do not care about, the Animal Man cover looks nice, but it won't probably be as good as Morrison's run, dark Justice League, ugh.

I do not like the sound of the Teen Titans book (what are they doing to Wonder Girl?).

Sterling Gates gets Hawk and Dove!!!  And Rob Leifeld draws.  Oh. Crap.  Now I'm in a quandary.  Hells, I love Hawk & Dove, I love Sterling,  But Rob Leifeld?  Ick!  I've banned any Leifeld drawn books from being reviewed on New readers... cos he's so damn awful.

Then there' smy other beef:
Written by Michael Green & Mike Johnson
Art by Mahmud Asrar
Cover by Mahmud Asrar

Supergirl’s got the unpredictable behavior of a teenager, the same powers as Superman and none of his affection for the people of Earth. Writers Michael Green and Mike Johnson (Smallville, SUPERMAN/BATMAN) will team up with artist Mahmud Asrar to give a new take on the teenager from Krypton in SUPERGIRL #1. 

This sounds terrible. she doesn't need a new take godsdammit.  She's doing just fine right now thank you very much. *scowls*
EDIT: Supergirl Comic Box Commentary has a lot of discussion going on about this series.  I redact my view - the book may not be terrible, the blurb is very general and could mean anything.  I shall wait and see.  The costume though..ugh..  Here is a nice redesign which is a lot better.  Funny how changing the boots makes it so much nicer..

I notice there's no Gotham City Sirens and no Red Robin.  Boo.  

What do you all reckon to the news?

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Wonder Woman Wednesday

Diana looking fierce.

I believe this is from an Elseworlds, but I'm not sure which one.  Anyone know?