Saturday, March 30, 2013

Gender Through Comics

On April 2nd a free online course about gender and comics is starting! Gender Through Comics is a massive open online course and anyone, from any area of the world, can enroll. The course is not accredited and homework will not be marked. What it does have going for it is an interesting syllabus, interviews with creators and online lectures. As well as being free of charge it should provide a great, structured forum for people to discuss gender and comics. Obviously, I have enrolled in it.

The required reading can be bought in digital format from Comixology, or you could get the books from the library. There is an excellent choice of texts here - Strangers in Paradise, Superman: Birthright, Action Comics #1, 2 Wonder Woman issues, Secret Six: 6 degrees of Devastation and Y the Last Man are the ones I am currently familiar with.

When I was at Uni I wasn't reading comics, and my gender analysis skills weren't developed enough to make informed, convincing arguments. I knew next to nothing about intersectionality, and I wasn't really able to apply real world experience to feminist theory. I identified as feminist, but wasn't anywhere near as sophisticated in my arguments and understanding as I am now. Blogging for 6 yrs has really helped me & now I'm ready to do more structured thinking. So I'm pleased the course exists and is running.

My hopes for this course are that people will engage with the topics and discuss it as they would in an academic setting. By that I mean take it seriously, listen to each other's viewpoints and not devolve into mud slinging (this happens quite a lot in the comics blogosphere). I love learning and I would dearly love to do an MA, but there is no way I can (money, mortgage, work etc..) so I'm really glad I can study online, in a (hopefully) academic environment.

I would love to arrange a UK study group (I am particularly interested in the UK perspective on this), so if anyone would like to join in could you leave me a comment, tweet me @sarangacomics or email me paicomics at yahoo dot co uk.

Follow the course leader on twitter @christyblanch, follow the course account @supermooc or the hashtag #supermooc. The course website is here and the reading list is here.

You have until 6th April to enroll.

Other comics related 'things' people might be interested in are:
Women in Comics Europe - a facebook group promoting women in comics.
The Beat website is doing 24 hours of Women in Cartoonists -
Comix 4 Equality - an EU funded project providing an award for the Best Unpublished Comic Strip Authors with Migrant Backgrounds. Women are submitting stories and women's stories are being told. The website is here.  The facebook group is here.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Comixology comic reviews

I am SO behind.  These may be very short.  Since it's been a while since I read them I'll just have to skim them again, oh no, the horror! ;)

Spoilers ahead for: Power Girl 13, Batman L’il Gotham 4/5/6, Green Arrow 16/17, Justice League 16 and Aquaman 16.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


I'm getting slack with reviewing things and doing proper blog posts.  I know.  So have some pictures instead.

 I got new trainers.  They have Cheetara on them.  They are wonderful.

This is the final panel of Wonder Woman 18.  I think it's lovely.  I have Thoughts about the Wonder Woman comic.  I shall Put Them Into Writing soon.

 Flowers that look like monkeys!  And like men with dangly bits!

I have a story in here!
 I saw a picture of a 'unicorn' on twitter recently.  It was a lady lying with her head against a man's groin, so his erect, aah, member, gave her a horn.  While quite funny, I feel the above picture is nicer!

A Calvin & Hobbes bedroom.  How cool.

This is Hawkgirl by Andy Kappellusch.  I love the muscles and the feathery framing of her!

This is also by Andy.  Not ehow happy kara looks.  I don't think she's looked happy in the new DCU.  Bah.  She also looks older here, and def like she should be called Superwoman.  Which, incidentally, is what non comics readers always call Supergirl.  They never ever give her the 'girl' suffix.  Interesting.

Because it was my birthday recently, Andy drew me a Supergirl waving happy birthday:
:D  It's a Matrix Kara., but looks, personality and temperament wise, like the pre-crisis Kara.  Thank you Andy!

I put a couple of pictures of me in some sort of very casual costumes looking like a dork on my tumblr, and I thought I'd crosspost them here:

See. Dork.

My tumblr is fast turning into a Supergirl tumblr.  There's lots of great images there too.  Go have a look.

Wonder Woman Wednesday

I have never actually seen this show.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Happy Ostara everyone!  Today is the Spring equinox where day and night are of equal length and tomorrow the days will be longer than the nights.  It's also a time of fertility and growth - that can be spiritual and physical.

Here are my decorations:
I have an Easter tree on which I have hung little eggs and some Easter chicks.  I have sewn little flower buttons in spirals on 2 corners of the cloth.  I have put a ladybird at each corner as they are normally seen about now, although I've only seen one this year, and that was 2 weeks ago.  The daffodil and the hare are common sights at this time of year, and for me, really do mean Spring has arrived.

About 3 weeks ago a tree in next door's garden has been budding - I can see the yellow shoots now.  The trees at the back of our garden only started showing new growth on the weekend.  I was cycling along a section of the river yesterday, and usually by this time of year the grass is covered in a blanket of bright, blooming daffodils.  Yesterday, the green stalks and leaves were up, but only about 10 daffs were blooming. Further along the crocuses were still bright, as they have been since Imbolc, but this year they were nearly all white, not the usual purple.  With the  patch of snowdrops nearby it made it feel quite wintery.

Last week we had snow again, both here in Norwich and on the continent.  Today it is merely raining.  I dearly, dearly hope that the weather picks up soon.  My determination that Imbolc marks the start of Spring has again meant nothing!

Tonight I shall cook a pearl barley soup and make spinach and thyme pasties.  I shall have celebratory food on the weekend as we have friends visiting for lunch - I expect that will be quiche, salad, perhaps some roasted veg, cheese and biscuits.  I shall also bake a lemon and poppy seed cake and honey and ginger biscuits for their visit.  I shall permit myself one day off Lent for that Sunday.

I see that today is also the UN International Day of Happiness.  As my contribution to this, and in honour of the sun regaining strength, have a listen to The Sun Has Got His Hat On:

Have a great day everybody!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Comic reviews for week of 13/03/2013

Spoilers ahead for Animal Man 18, Demon Knights 18, Fearless Defenders 2, Thor God of Thunder 6, Superman: Silver Banshee 2, Superman Confidential 7.
Really do not carry on reading if you haven't read Animal Man 18.

Friday, March 15, 2013

More costume photos

I updated my LSCC photo post with a couple more Lanterns.  Specifically, G'nort and Star Sapphire/Blue Lantern (me).  Go have a look!  The new photos are near the bottom of the post.

I have realised I didn't get a full body shot of me, so you can't see my blue boots.  Darn.  Oh well.  It's not like I'm never going to wear it again!  Maybe I'll wear it tomorrow for my picking up new comics day.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Reviews of comics that came out this decade

Well, in the last month anyhow.  In the weeks preceeding March 2nd if I'm being exact.  Here they are:

As you might be able to tell I hadn't been in for a few weeks.

Onwards with the reviews!

Spoilers ahead, obvs.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mike Grell's Green Arrow

This is not a batch of comics I picked up at LSCC!  This is a batch I picked up from ebay, when I was intending to only buy the Black Canary one. Ooops.  The picture is missing one issue, number 7.

Black Canary 7 completes my collection of this 12 issue run.  It's very good. I adore the cover.  In it, Dinah gets tricked into helping the CIA, but they aren't up front with her so it goes wrong.  The killer escapes, then find him again and it's all over.  I miss the pre New 52 Dinah.  The new one just isn't the same.

Green Arrow 7 has Ollie and Dinah living together above Sherwood Florist.  I would love to live in this building - it's a stone tower, it's amazing.  Anyway, Ollie decides to go off hunting criminals in South America.  Dinah can't follow him because she's got a business to run.  Dinah then bumps into someone who tried to rob her a few months back.  A curious confluence of events later and I suspect that in the next issue Dinah and Ollie's paths will cross.  So it's a pity I don't have the next issue.

Green Arrow 13
Ollie returns from a trip (presumably the one started in issue 7) with some injuries.  Dinah is not impressed.  She forgives him and they have sex in their amazing tower.  Ollie does some deliveries fro Dinah and rescues a cat from a tree, intervenes in a domestic violence incident (not very well I must say), and helps a woman with a flat tire.

Green Arrow 14
Someone is trying to assassinate Oliver Queen.  He goes back to the people he encountered in issue 13, with amusing results.  I shan't spoil it, as it;s worth getting these two issues .

Green Arrow 20
This is about the aftermath of Ollie shooting a teenager.  That's good enough but then he wakes up on a  mountain as Hal Jordan has dragged him though to sober him up and make him deal with it.  They then have a fight.  It's rather amusing.

Green Arrow 28
Travis Morgan, fella who's been living in Skataris for a long time, turns up in Seattle and is mistaken for Ollie - they are identical.  Because Ollie has pissed a lot of people off, Morgan gets the brunt of this and everyone wants to pick a fight with him.  The issue opens with some crooks discussing how to get rid of Ollie/Morgan.  Morgan goes to Sherwood Florist and picks a fight with Ollie and patronises Dinah, so Dinah lays him out.

Then there's trouble outside the amazing tower and they all go out and fight for their property (and the love of fighting, because it is these three).  I had forgotten about this story arc and it really tickles me :)

Green Arrow 47
Oliver is in Africa trying to stop illegal poaching.  I don't know why.  Things aren't straightforward as the anti poaching gang have different ideas on how to proceed.  It does seem to be quite well researched though, as there is lots of detail that doesn't need to be in there.  That and the fact they they list a technical advisor in the credits.

I cannot wait to get my paws on the rest of this run :)

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Green Lantern comics from LSCC

Being a Blue Lantern for the day encouraged me to buy old Green Lantern issues.

Green Lanterns 66 and 67 didn't make a whole lot of sense.  Hal is yellow and Guy is red, and they are fighting and evil Guardian, and personifications of the emotional spectrum and then they get captured.  Sinestro and Indigo are stuck in a book (THE book if I remember Blackest Night correctly).  Then in 67 lots of other Green Lanterns arrive and Hal and Guy get free, Carol, Sinestro, Indigo, Atrocitus, Larfleeze are all released from the big black book and the rings don't go where they are supposed too.
All in all both issues are very pretty and colourful so I liked them.  67 had these panels which break my heart:

Green Lantern Corps 1 (new 52) was OK.  Guy and John can't settle on earth, or rather can't get jobs as it is well known they are Green Lanterns and prospective employers can't face the increased insurance, potential abscences and in John's case, safety standards.  So they head to Oa, meet Salaak and piggyback onto a scouting mission.  Interesting stuff, but I don't feel the urge to pick up other issues.  I'm happy dipping in and out of these ones.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Misc DC titles from LSCC

I honestly have no idea if these posts are interesting to anyone.

I have no idea why I bought the GL/GA issue - I have the trades.

Superboy 25 is well worth digging out as Knockout has a large part in it.  It was really nice to be reminded of her role in this series.  Not only do we get her origin story but the other Furies come looking for her and she wins the fight.  Hence the pileup on the cover.  There is something quite bizzare about this issue as there are 5 posters in the back.  One is Superboy about o get eaten by sharks, one is him with a rainbow dinosaur and a groupie, one shows him being carried by Krypto (by the collar).  The fourth is him and Impulse with two ladies and the final one is this:
I'm quite keen on the logos across the top of the page.

Impulse 19 is Bart's efforts to get to sleep and his dreams.  Poor sod.  It must be very boring when you're a speedster from the future forced to do everything in normal time.

Shazam 1
I'm sure I already have this too.  Mary and Billy are powerless as the Trials of Shazam have granted the magic to Freddie.  Mary at first appears bitter about this, but then we realise this si justa  ploy to brign Blaze into the open to Freddie can defeat her.  I forget Blaze's origin, but I do recall how I was pleased when she was woven into the Marvel stories.  This issue is a good one.

Starman/Congorilla 1
Despite thinking I already had this, I don't.  This is much better than I expected.  There is a lot going on but it doesn't get confusing as James Robinson plots it really well.  The art is lovely and the switch between timeframes is nicely done.
Starman and Congorilla are on the hunt for Malavar from Gorilla City as he can help them witha  Justice League crisis.  Tthe only problem is that Malavar has the bad guys after him and has some important business to carry out, so when our heroes do find him, they need to fight until business is concluded.  This works out rather well as it turns out that Malavar was resurrecting Tasmanian Devil in a Lazarus pit.  You may remember that he was killed and turned into a rug in Cry for Justice.  Thankfully, no one stays dead in comics.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Marvel purchases from LSCC

Daredevil End of Days 3 I bought direct from David Mack, because Echo is in it.  She's now a teacher.  I suspect from the way that Ben Urich is talking away from her in most of the conversation she's rather an annoyed teacher.  The scenes with Elektra were also good.  Ignore the cover, she's not actually dead.  I would like to buy the rest of the serie snow, but probably in trade.

Black Cat 1 (of 4) was OK.  Discounting the costume, I don't really see the draw in Felicia Hardy.  She's just like Catwoman.  I suppose she's got better taste in lovers.  And her costume is really awesome.

Fantastic Four 1
This certainly makes Fantastic Four 2 make more sense.  It sets up why the FF are going into space.  Reed Richards comes across as a manipulative arrogant bastard.  I'm not sure even Batman is that much of a secretive git.

Black Panther Prelude to Doom War
This is th first issue I've read where Shuri is the Black  Panther, not T'Challa.  She's a very different character and possibly not the best choice to be the Black Panther.  She's impetuous and rash.  She doesn't think things through and she's not really in touch with the Wakandan people.  I'd like her to succeed, but from this issue I don't think she will.
Namor is revealed to be a badass.  I now get his appeal.  He's far scarier than his DC analogue - Aquaman.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Wonder Woman Wednesday

This piece is by a fella on DeviantArt going under the name Patomiro.  He has drawn a lot of Wonder Woman pieces which you can see in his gallery here.
The original page for this piece is here.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Superman comics from LSCC

I managed to pick up a lot of issues that are the first part of two, or three.  Since they were all pretty good I now want to hunt out the remaining issues.  My method of picking Superman comics was whether I liked the cover or not, who wrote and drew it, and if it had characters in that I liked.  I did pretty well because I enjoyed all of them.

Superman - Silver Banshee (part 1 of 2)
I'd never even heard of this before, but the cover is fab, very pulpy, and it features the Silver Banshee, so I bought it.  It's a Halloween issue and the inside art is appropriately spooky and gothic.  I'd love to track down the second part.  It will make go with my other Halloween specials, to be read every October 31st (or thereabouts).

EDIT - Just found the second issue on ebay.  Hooray!

Superman - Strength (part 1 of 3)
A guy blows smoke in Superman's face.  Lois continues her investigative journalism whilst on holiday (a hot dog vendor is shortchanging every other customer) and Superman ends the issue trapped in a portal.  His head is in a goldfish bowl and his body (up to his neck) is floating in a room where the portal originated.  Interspersed with this is a look back at Clark's early years.  I would like to get issues 2 and 3, but not at the current ebay prices of a fiver per issue.  No siree.

Superman 651 - Up, Up and Away part 3
This is the comic in the bottom row of the picture, with the mostly white cover.  It's by Kurt Busiek.  Of course it's good. It's a One Year Later book and Clark doens't have his powers back yet.  Instead Hawkgirl and Green Lantern (Hal) are looking after Metropolis.  The Prankster is causing mayhem and Lex Luthor is stockpiling Kryptonite.  That won't end well.

Superman 661
I'm fairly certain I've already got this one.  Ah well.  It's about Khyrana, cursed by Zeus to suffer incredible pain unless she has the touch of a man, constantly.  He cursed her because she refused to have sex with him, so the curse is about humiliation as much as about pain.  Wonder Woman is as involved in this book as Superman, but even she can't get Khyrana to see sense.  Lois spends a lot of the issue teasing Clark about eyeing up Diana.
On a frivilous note, every time I see this cover I think it's an Insect Queen story.  I shall have to compare an Insect Queen cover with this one and work out why that is.

Superman 660
It's a Prankster issue, told from his point of view, as a showman.  I bought it because it's by Kurt Busiek.  I enjoyed it.

Superman 202
I bought this because the cover has pretty colours on it and Michael Turner drew it*.  I do like Turner's art.  Unfortunately I do not care much for the story and I certainly don't understand what's going on.

Superman Confidential 6
I bought this one because it's by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, and they are always a winning pair.  Metropolis is underwater and everyone has been turned into a mermaid or merman.  i don't know why, but the story is so delightful I don't need to know why.  It ends with 'to be continued' so I hope that means continued in Superman Confidential 7 because I've just bought that off ebay.

Superman Confidential 7 1**
This is done by Darwynn Cooke and Tim Sale so as you can imagine has that 1950s/1960s feel to it.  It's ok.  I don't really like Cooke and Sale that much but thought I'd try this out.  It establishes Clark, Lois and Jimmy as uncorruptible journalists and has Superman exploring his powers.

That's it for this post.  More reviews coming later in the week.

*EDIT - I thought Turner drew it.  Turns out I'm unobservant and he only did the cover
** I typed 7 instead of 1.  They look similar and I'm a fool.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Supergirl comics from LSCC

I'm writing this on a Sunday, sat in my conservatory and I'm struck by how good life can be with enjoyable stories, fresh air, sunlight greenery and birds.  I've spent the morning looking outside and have been delighted with our visitors - we've had a nuthatch and either a greenfinch or a siskin.  I've had a pretty rubbish week but so far, Sunday seems OK.

And now, I get to talk about these comics.

I read Peter David's run illegally a few years ago.  I then went out and bought the two trades which exist of this series - Supergirl (collecting the first 10 issues) and Many Happy Returns (collecting the final issues, 75-80).  I think it's a crying shame that DC haven't released the comics in trades, or even on Comixology.  Peter David has a vocal and large fanbase and it seems like they would make some money on them.  Perhaps there are other issues (pun not intended) around re-publishing, or perhaps this just isn't a priority at all.  It's pretty difficult to find the back issues on ebay or Amazon, at least from UK sellers, so this year I decided to bite the bullet and go hunting for them at the trade stands at LSCC.  Not many stands had any in, but I did pick up what I could, and luckily I got the Plus One issues, 11, 13, 14, 15 and 18, and a Supergirl: Team Luthor collection which is pre David, but I couldn't resist.

I should have resisted because I think I already owned the Plus One and Team Luthor issues.

Anyway, these are (thankfully) just as enjoyable as when I first read them.  Plus One has Mary Batson possibly getting groped by a police officer and fighting back as Mary Marvel.  It's not as crass as it sounds, and deals with a complicated situation intelligently.  Mary is a mess of emotions at the time and it's possible she misinterpreted the copper's actions.  Supergirl gets involved and tries to sort out the issue, but it doesn't really get resolved. Readers can make their own minds up about what really happened.

There's a back up with Buzz, Cutter and Mattie where Linda takes her art in a new direction - from sculpting demons to angels.  It signifies her new, happier attitude to life.

Supergirl 11 - Supergirl accidentally frees the Silver Banshee and discovers the Chaos Flow under Leesburg.  I adore the Banshee and loved this issue.

Supergirl 13 - Many young women in Leesburg talk of paralysing dreams and scary but arousing prescence in their room.  So Supergirl encounters demonic possession for a second time.

Supergirl 14 - This is part of the Genesis crossover, which I really don't know much about.  However Leesburg doesn't seem to be affected.  Then Comet turns up, Supergirl visits the Kents, Linda's parents have sex then Linda tells them she's Supergirl, and they disown her.

Supergirl 15 - A really terrible supervillain team called the Extremists turns up.  Linda's parents still don't want to know her, a new comedian turns up in town and Supergirl's powers start changing.  We get the first hints of the earthborn angel she really is.  We also get this gorgeous piece of art:

Supergirl 16 - The Extremists are still causing trouble but thankfully Power Girl has turned up to help out. Unfortunately she is now vulnerable to unprocessed, natural material, like wood, so she gets stabbed by a branch.  Jeez.  Who made that decision?  We get the backstory of Twilight, the Extremists' leader.

Supergirl 18 - Wally, the weird kid who is really God is in this a lot. The issue switches between Wally and his grandparents and Despero/L-Ron fighting Supergirl, who by this point is properly manifesting her flaming wings.  Linda's Dad forgives Linda/Supergirl and makes up with her.

I cannot recommend this series highly enough.  I am going to make a concerted effort to find all the other issues now.

I haven't actually read Team Luthor yet.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Writing up comics

In the last week I have got a lot of comics.  I promised that I'd write up everything I read, so I am going to do so, but as the pile looks like this...

...and is four and a half inches high I can't promise I'll be writing anything substantial.  I also have a lot of comixology purchases to mention too...

On the plus side all this spending will give me lots of blog fodder!

So, to start, let's have a look at a few odd bits and pieces:
Spandex is about a group of gay superheroes living in Brighton. In this first issue they confront a 50 foot lesbian who is destroying Brighton Pier.  For those of you not aware of Brighton, it's the gay capital of the UK and the pier seems ot get burnt down with alarming regularity.  In fact I do believe they now have two piers.
The art isn't great, but something about the story shines through.  It's a tongue in cheek, campy repsentation of gay culture, and I suspect that is why I liked it.  I'm now quite gutted I didn't buy all seven issues at the con.
You can visit the website and buy copies here:

The two books at the bottom of the above picture are sketchbooks by Mahmud Asrar.  From Fallout Weekly (on the right) this beuatiful picture is included, which I hadn't seen before:

 From Blowing off Steam this Cloak and Dagger picture is included, which reminded me I must try his X-Men title:
 If you like his art do try and find his sketchbooks.  They are well worth the money.

I also got a copy of MarineMan, by Ian Churchill.  It was written and drawn by him and is very different from his work on Supergirl.  It's far more cartoony than his Supergirl - more of the classic superhero jaw on the hero and more curves on the women.  I am intrigued by it and would like to check out more, mostly because the art interests me.  It's such a big change from his Supergirl work.  Looking on Churchill's blog (and from meeting him at LSCC - he was asking fans to sign a petition for shark protection) he does seem to be very passionate about the marine environment and conservation.  For which I respect him even more.