Barbarella, Kelly-Sue and Unapologetic Lady Sex

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If you appreciate the cultural significance of comics, then Barbarella should be a part of your repertoire. Mind you, I didn’t know this until about two months ago. I hope to save ya’ll from such ignorance.

Barbarella 1If you don’t know, Barbarella is a French comic from the early sixties by Jean-Claude Forest. Apparently, France was (and possibly still is) where it’s at for progressive themes in comics, particularly for women and the expression of their sexuality.

While Barbarella was busy being a women’s sexual liberation icon in France, Grove Press published an English version of the comic on this side of the pond in the mid-60s. But that translation is dated.

Humanoids Inc partnered with Kelly-Sue DeConnick to do a contemporary take on the original French version. I had the privilege of reading Kelly-Sue’s adaptation, and guys, this comic is a game-changer. Continue reading

The Comments Thread: Busiek Tells It Like It Is

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So this morning I was checking out an article on The Beat, and as usual proceeded into the belly of the beast, a.k.a. the comments section, to see what great things people men had to say on the subject of the sexualization of men vs. women in comics. The post had used a few pictures to highlight what it looks like when men are sexualized.

It started out as expected, with commenters wondering just what sort of problem women could possibly have with this unequal and oftentimes inappropriate representation. It must have something to do with our self-esteem! Continue reading

Reimagining the Female Superhero

Saturday I attended a panel at Special Edition: NYC, and from what I gathered it was one of the only panels that day that was even nearing maximum capacity. The Carol Corps, various members of the Young Avengers team, and plenty more in addition to myself waited patiently in the ever-growing line for this event. It was pretty much the only reason I went to the convention that day. It seems that many others had the same idea. Continue reading

MoCCA Art Fest 2014 and Fiona Staples Q&A

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A little over a week ago I attended MoCCA Arts Fest, an annual comics convention put on by the Society of Illustrators/ Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art in Manhattan. Located in the wonderful space of the 69th Regiment Armory, MoCCA continues to stand out as one of the shows that I look forward to most in the con circuit. It is smaller, friendlier, better run, and has (I think) a firmer grasp on the comic reading populous and what they want out of a show. A diverse range of creators, panels geared to the making and process of comics, decent and affordable food in the dining area, cheaper tickets, and attendees feeling welcome and safe are all things MoCCA provides in spades. Sure, you might think it’s “easier” for a smaller show to supply these things, but I hear that the force behind planning the fest is a staff of two or three, so think again. They had 7,000 attendees over two short days. Continue reading

All Roads Lead to Shutter: An Interview with Joe Keatinge

Joe Keatinge’s star might still be rising, but his place in the industry was secured after the launch of his acclaimed run on Glory in 2012. Since then, books like Hell Yeah, DC Comics Presents, Morbius: The Living Vampire, and Marvel Knights: Hulk have (relative merits aside) served as stepping stones to Keatinge and artist Leila del Duca’s newest creator-owned series, Shutter.

Joe kindly took some time to chat with me about life, comics, and his new book. There was also some wine and a sandwich, which have been edited for your reading pleasure. Continue reading

G3 Interview: Rob Kelly of ‘Hey Kids, Comics!’

Hey Kids ComicsAs anyone who loves comics knows, the books we buy every Wednesday are more than stories on a page. For those of us who got hooked on the medium as children, comic books are intertwined with some of our most powerful memories, good and bad.

Robert J. Kelly, or Rob as we know him, has captured that in “Hey Kids, Comics!” a diverse collection of essays by longtime comic book lovers including the likes of Archie Comics writer Paul Kupperberg, NPR contributor Glen Weldon, TV/comics writer J.M. DeMatteis and, somehow, yours truly. I’m grateful to Rob for the opportunity to be part of a wonderful project that’s a pleasure to read. “Hey Kids, Comics!” isn’t about the minutia of comics but the magic. Continue reading

G3 Interview: The Outhouse asks, ‘Has DC Done Something Stupid Today?’

Are you a longtime DC fan who’s been walking around under a cloud of angst, exhaustion and sadness lately? You’re not alone. It seems that every other week brings a fresh crop of commentary about the company’s WTF editorial decisions, rifts with creators, or questionable-to-terrible handling of characters. Scuttle a respected writer/artist team’s long-standing creative plans! Shoot Catwoman through the head just to make sure we’ve completely alienated the readers who were already disappointed by our treatment of prominent female characters! Give readers the impression that the new Superman/Wonder Woman book will be a sexytime romance comic with capes and lassos!

There’s a lot to keep track of, so the delightfully snarky and satirical site, The Outhouse, does all the work for you. In a masterful stroke of real-talk criticism, their crew launched a feature whose title says it all: Has DC Done Something Stupid Today? Continue reading

Gold, Guts and Grog: Introducing Rat Queens

One of the many announcements rolling out of C2E2 this weekend is the new project we teased here a couple of weeks ago by Peter Panzerfaust writer Kurtis Wiebe and artist Roc Upchurch. The title of the series is Rat Queens and it will be published by Image Comics’ Shadowline imprint.

Rat Queens will follow the exploits of four monster-hunting women whose love of partying is outweighed only by their love of exacting sweet, brutal revenge on their enemies.”

Sounds fun, right?

I have got a five-page preview below that says just that. But first, I had a chance to ask the writer, Kurtis Wiebe, a few questions. Continue reading

G3 Interview: Gail Simone, Part II

No one can say that Gail Simone isn’t available to her fans. She has long maintained an open dialogue with readers on her Tumblr and Twitter, and she’ll take on the tough and controversial subjects that are bound to come up in the highly opinionated world of comics. In Part II of our interview, Gail shares her thoughts on the writer-reader relationship, talks about reuniting with artist Jim Calafiore for Leaving Megalopolis, and answers a burning question we saved for the end. Continue reading

Nate Simpson on ‘Nonplayer’ and the art of creative perseverance

In the spring of 2011, “Nonplayer #1” (Image Comics) generated the kind of excitement that independent comics creators dream of. Written and illustrated by videogame concept artist Nate Simpson, the series introduced readers to Dana Stevens, a tamale delivery girl who escapes her mundane reality through the full-immersion online game “Warriors of Jarvath.” The praise for Simpson’s story and drop-dead gorgeous illustrations was immediate and plentiful, making it one of the most critically lauded comics of the year. By the summer, Warner Bros. had acquired the film rights. Simpson, a newcomer to comics, had a huge hit on his hands and a highly anticipated second issue to finish.

Then, that fall, Simpson crashed his bicycle — an incident that could have been fatal if he hadn’t been wearing a helmet. As the right-handed artist wrote on his Project Waldo blog, “Every bone connecting my right arm to my torso was broken.” His arm in a sling, he was physically sidelined. But Simpson began to write candidly about the other obstacles he had to confront, namely, the enormous pressure he felt after “Nonplayer #1” hit the shelves, and the moments of frustration and outright panic while writing the second issue. Continue reading

Wonder Women! Gives Heroines Their Due

A revealing clip from the fabulous-looking documentary Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines, makes a powerful case for the necessity of this film. In a series of street interviews, people of both sexes begin rattling off the names of comic book characters, and not a single female comes up. Not even Wonder Woman.

Wonder Women!, which makes its debut at the South by Southwest film festival next month, could go a long way toward changing that. This buzz-worthy documentary, feauturing interviews with artists and icons like Lynda Carter, Gloria Steinem and Trina Robbins, examines the evolution and history of female heroes in comic books, television and film. Directed by Kristy Guevara-Flanagan and produced by Kelcey Edwards, the movie got a huge boost from two successful Kickstarter fundraisers, which made it possible for the movie to be completed and polished for prime time. I’m dying to see it, and based on the response to the fundraising effort, it’s clear that many others are, too.

I interviewed Guevara-Flanagan for the CNN.com Geek Out! blog, and she’s clearly committed to bringing the stories of these heroines to light. Continue reading

G3 Interview: Rob Kelly of ‘Ace Kilroy’

Back in the Mesozoic era, I spent a lot of time reading newspaper comic strips. They were a natural source of entertainment for a kid who already loved comic books, and the Sunday funnies section in particular was a big, colorful treasure box. While I was partial to the more contemporary stuff like Bloom County and (do not laugh) Funky Winkerbean, the long-running adventure strips — think Dick Tracy and Mark Trail — were undeniable classics.

The new Ace Kilroy webcomic, created by Joe Kubert School alums Rob Kelly and Dan O’Conner, is an homage to those old-fashioned serial comic strips. Set in the 1930s, it stars a square-jawed, hard-drinkin’ soldier of fortune who’s been tapped by FDR to take on a mission involving vampires, werewolves and the Third Reich. Continue reading

Geek Girl We ♥: Ashley Eckstein of Her Universe

Ashley and Ahsoka

Actress and designer Ashley Eckstein is living the dream of every Star Wars fangirl. As the voice of Anakin Skywalker’s scrappy apprentice Ahsoka Tano on the Cartoon Network series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, she’s become a part of sci-fi history. But even as a member of a legendary franchise, Eckstein encountered an all-too-common problem for female geeks: a lack of Star Wars items for women in retail stores. Sure, one could make do with a boxy tee made for a man, but that shouldn’t be a woman’s only option. Continue reading

Hell, Yeah! All-Female Creative Team Reveals Teenage Satan Comic

If you’re at Boston Comic-Con right now, chances are you’ve heard the buzz about Teenage Satan, an online, multimedia comic project unveiled just today by the creative team of artist Stephanie Buscema, and writers Marsha Cooke and Candis Cooke. All-female, creator-owned comics are a rarity, and these days, any comics for young adults are scarce. Teenage Satan will fill that niche with the adventures of Luc, a 14-year-old high school freshman who just happens to be the future leader of the underworld. Continue reading

Q&A: Wapsi Square’s Paul Taylor

There’s a stereotypical notion that men don’t know how to write female characters, but readers of Paul Taylor’s Wapsi Square would beg to differ. While this online comic is supernatural and often macabre in nature, it’s grounded in the relationships and everyday lives of its young, female characters. Museum anthropologist Monica Villarreal is a twentysomething with a close-knit and diverse group of girlfriends, but she also happens to live with an Aztec god … of alcohol. The comic has been going strong for a decade, and Wapsi Square won a 2009 Lulu Award for Best Female Character. Writer/artist Paul Taylor gave us some insight into the creator-owned strip, which he suggests newcomers start from the beginning. Continue reading

Anti-Matter Web Series Is Comedy Gold For Geeks

Life in a comic book shop is ripe for comedic exploration. Aside from the wacky conversations that are specific to comics geeks, there are the only-in-retail scenarios and tensions that arise in a small business, especially one that employs Gen X/Y employees. For people who visit an LCS every Wednesday, the awesome Anti-Matter web series is essential viewing. It’s a funny (sometimes bitingly so) comedy that takes place a New York comic book shop, and the characters are oh-so true to life. E. talked to the show’s writer/director Chris Walker, a former comics colorist for Marvel and DC, about all things Anti-Matter, and why it resonates with people who own longboxes. Continue reading

Exclusive BatWondy by Celina Hernandez

Wonder Woman and Batman by Celina Hernandez

Connecting with writers and artists we admire is something V. and I have enjoyed immensely since starting this blog. They often turn out to be as gracious as they are talented, and artist Celina Hernandez is no exception. Among other things, Celina does the delightful art for Brian Andersen’s Reignbow and Dee-Va, and So Super Duper — two comics you should definitely check out. Just for Girls Gone Geek, she illustrated this BatWondy image, which is just plain beautiful. What I love about this piece is its powerful simplicity. Bruce is practically enveloping Diana with love, and (squeal!) she’s caressing his face. I’d barely recovered from our 12 Days of BatWondy series, and this has sent me right back to Swoon Island. In any case, we’re very happy to share this lovely, romantic moment with the world. Thank you, Celina!