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Kelly Thompson over at Comic Book Resources blog She Has No Head talks Marvel’s newly announced series Girl Comics with Mariah Huehner!  Fascinating conversation about women in the industry and the minefield they face in trying to create good comics.

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Girl Comics


So there is a huge uproar right now over Marvel’s recent announcement of the Girl Comics mini starting in March. For the full skinny on this check out this story at The Beat. I have been following comments at Comic Book Resources blogs Robot 6 and She Has No Head.

Girl Comics will be a wholly female created book.  Writers, pencilers, inkers, editors, everyone who touches this thing pre-press will be female.  Reaction is mixed, to say the least.  Some of the commentors are out right “no girls allowed” about the whole thing.”  Some of them are more even handed, but still offer arguments against this thing even existing.   I have some opinions of my own on the matter. ( Aren’t you surprised!)

First and formost, I think this is an awesome idea.  There is a wonderful assemblage of talent on this project, and I think it has the potential to turn out some really great stories.  This will go onto my pull list as soon as I have a previews code for it.  That said, here are some of the points people are making:

The name is stupid! Ok, fair enough.  The name isn’t the best.  But take a peek at my top banner.  I called my website “Girls Don’t Read Comics”  because of the crap I get from morons who think I shouldn’t be behind the counter at the shop.  More than once, I have had someone ask if we were hiring, and then when I said “no,”  they’ve said something like , “But they hired you, they must need someone!” So my blog name is a mild “F U” to people like that. I feel like the name Girl Comics sort works for me in the same way.  Sort of as an ironic smirk to the masses. A statement that yes, comics can be for, and in this case, by girls.  So while something subtler might have made it blend on the shelf, I don’t think that was the point.

Why does this book need to exist? I just had this conversation with my husband.  He argues that he has been reading comics by women for a long time.  He read Y the Last Man and the Flight books.  He just doesn’t see why women need to be singled out and given a separate space .  Why should all these women get together for a project like this?  My answer to that comes in 2 forms.  First is “why not?”  The second is a little  more complex.  I feel like the more women working in the industry, the more likely I am to continue to find books that I like.  It’s not that I won’t read comics by men.  Check my pull list.  But there is something to be said for including different life experiences into the creative process.  I feel the same way about any under-represented group.  More diversity leads to more interesting stories.  And as a woman, I feel like I am more likely to see work that resembles my life experience if there are women somewhere in the creative mix.  Also, I know that because of the relative scarcity of women in the field, this opportunity to work together is rare.  It sounds like it would be fun to do.

This book creates a ghetto for women creators! As a bookseller, I have run into the problem of genre ghettoization.  Chick lit and “urban” lit, are the two that stick out in my mind right now. Books that would file under “fiction” if their author was a white man, get stuck somewhere weird in their own section.  This limits exposure for a title drastically.  I don’t feel that this book will suffer from that problem.  I certainly won’t in my store.  Editor Jeanine Shaefer tells The Beat that this series will deal with standard Marvel Universe characters, and that as a whole they will not be focusing on just female characters.  This feels like just a regular mini series, with a strange collaborative team.  Now if it were to start a whole trend of comics created by women with lipstick tubes and shoes on the covers, then I  would worry about ghettoization.  The closest thing I have to that is my Manga section, where i file the MPD Psycho on the same shelf as the Meru Puri and no one has any trouble finding anything.

Most of the comments are sort of rinse and repeat, and I’m choosing to ignore a whole lot of jerks acting like trolls.  Let’s just say I know a lot of guys that behave like this, and they are all single.   I’m personally pretty excited about the potential of this series.  Based on the people working on it, it could be pretty stellar.  With that said, I am going to approach it as a comic.  Not as a feminist statement.  Not as a some affirmative action move by Marvel.  For me to recommend it, it will need to stand on it’s own as a work. Until then I am hopeful, and waiting for a chance to get my mitts on it.

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Episode 24

Hope everyone had a Happy Halloween. Candy, Costumes… Comics! Did I mention that Valley Manager Patrick has a Webcomic? And that he did a company portrait in the most recent one? I am so excited. I think this is the first time I have been Comicked. And though I had not really considered Ricki Barnes as a costume, it looks so cool that I might have to do that next year.

So it seems like every where I look in the last couple of weeks, I see Wonder Woman. No, not ladies in Halloween costumes, but comics, merchandise, new tpb collections, and my new personal favorite, Wonder Of Wonders, the column at Comic Books Resources edited by Gail Simone. There are 12 so far, and as I work my way backwards through them, I am absolutely loving them. I grew up idolizing Wonder Woman. I would put tinfoil on my wrists, and spin around until I got dizzy, trying to get my clothes to magically turn into her bustier and boots. (never worked. not once.)

Wonder Woman Vol 01 Who Is Wonder Woman Written By Allan Heinburg, Art by Terry and Rachel DodsonWonder_Woman_3_1
This week, I look at the first collection in the new reboot, Who Is Wonder Woman. This collection tells the story of Wonder Woman, post 52, as she tries to make sense of her place in the world after killing Max Lord in front of the whole world. She gets gets a new job and new secret identity, and she has some huge battles. Allen Heinburg brings his empathy and understanding of female characters to this book, writing well-rounded interesting women. I enjoy this book as a beginning, but I feel that they use too many villains at once, sort of diluting her and making her rogues gallery look sort of wimpy. I do like the bones of the story though, and I absolutely love the art. The Dodsons draw some beautiful, powerful women, and for all the eye candy, it doesn’t feel exploitative. It’s just good.
runaways_01Runaways Vol 01 Pride & Joy Written By Brian K Vaughn Art By Adrian Alphona
Speaking of good, let’s talk Runaways. I have a couple of series in my store that I can confidently hand to just about anyone. Fables, Walking Dead, Preacher. Solid stories with solid artwork. Great characters, compelling stories. Good Comics. Runaways falls very neatly into that category. I can send one person home with it, and a handful of their friends will come in to pick it up after borrowing the first one. I will say that I am annoyed that you can get the first collection in at least 4 different editions: digest, trade paperback, premier hardcover, and deluxe hardcover. For my new readers, that can be kind of a minefield. At the same time, being able to buy them collected in their original size is nice. I have the digests, but I covet the deluxe hardcovers.
Will you look at the time! It’s getting late and Terry Pratchett’s Unseen Academicals is calling me. I can hear it from here, footnotes and all.

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Episode 22


Nova_Vol_01Nova Vol 01 Annihilation Conquest, Written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning, Pencils by Sean Chen & Scott Hanna.

First of all, everyone needs to read Andy’s Blog.  He is the one that keeps recommending all this stuff that I like so much.  Dude knows his stuff.  Secondly, this series is awesome, and I had a great time reading it.  The story is just terrific sci-fi, and the art is really great.  This was another series that I binged on, much like New Avengers and She-Hulk.  It was too cool to put down.  I mean, the guy is the last of his kind, and he shares head-space with a supercomputer AI.  What’s not to love?

Bloom County Complete Library Vol 01, Berkley Breathed

bloomcounty_vol_01hcIt would not be an exaggeration to say that Bloom County is my favorite strip comic ever.  I love it more than Doonesbury, more than Get Fuzzy, and as a young reader, I even loved it more than Garfield.  All I can say is that this collection makes me very happy, and as a body, it has mostly aged very well.  We still worry about war with Iran, but now we don’t really worry about the Russians.  Women’s liberation is still around, but not in the media as much as it used to be.  Some people are still complete ninnys, and penguins will always be endearing.  There was absolutely no chance that I would not buy this book, and likewise no chance that I would not sit and read it wistfully, remembering when I wore curly shoelaces and a side ponytail.

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Episode 14

So I realized that I have been remiss in my duties as the wife of writer/creator. My husband’s 3rd book came out during the Christmas Madness, and I didn’t even mention it. So I would like to direct your attention to PX! Book 2: In the Service of the Queen.

PX Book 02
House of Mystery
New Release

House of Mystery Vol 01 Written by Matthew Sturges and Bill Willingham; Art by Luca Rossi, Ross Campbell, Sean Murphy, Zachary Baldus, Steve Rolston and Jill Thompson; Cover by Sam Weber

I really enjoyed this an awful lot. House of Mystery features layered story telling, varied and excellent art and a compelling connective tale. Also, the Bill Willingham story totally gave me nightmares, so hurray for that.

Punisher Circle of Blood


Punisher: Circle of Blood Written by Steven Grant, Pencils by Mike Zeck

I enjoyed this way more than I thought I would. I still prefer the Marvel Knights run though.

Young Liars

Young Liars Vol 01 Story and Art by David Lapham

After reading this, I feel reinforced in my belief that David Lapham hates everyone. Otherwise this was fun, if totally insane.

Captive Hearts


Captive Hearts Vol 01 Matsuri Hino

This work, from the creator of Meru Puri and Vampire Knight is just as cute, angsty and well executed as you would expect. I really liked it, and I look forward to the second book once I get it back in stock.

Thanks again, and if you have requests, suggestions or comments, just let me know.

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