Poll: Judging ‘Before Watchmen’

If all publicity is good publicity, the controversy-coated Before Watchmen project is golden. Any mention of these prequels to the classic 1986 Watchmen series by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons makes the comics Internet light up like Times Square. But as with all things Watchmen-related, this question is unavoidable: Has DC knowingly mistreated the creators? The beef between Moore and the company is legendary, and David Brothers of 4thletter has written some stellar essays about the whole ball of wax. They are must-reads. Continue reading

Poll: Too Much Batman?

Batman by Andrei Bressan

Another Batman book?” — an annoyed Facebook friend

I love Batman. He’s a fascinating hero who is ripe for psychoanalysis and, thanks to many talented creative teams and the loving care of his corporate keepers, has had some of the best stories in comics history. I’m also a Grant Morrison fan, so I’ve already added the relaunched Batman, Inc., which returns to the lineup in May, to my pull list.

But seriously, how much Batman does the world need?  Continue reading

Poll: What’s Your Re-Launch Strategy?

The DC re-launch has dominated the comics conversation since its announcement, and readers are in varying stages of acceptance. But not everyone’s grieving. I’ve heard a handful of people say that this (mostly) clean slate approach is not only necessary, but also smart. The medium is struggling, and most fans would agree that something needs to be done. But is this it?

I’ve got my opinions, but as a consumer with no business experience — and comics are a business — I don’t exactly have a strategic plan for the industry. There are aspects of the re-launch that I find upsetting (feathers on Tim!), and I’m definitely sad to see some of my favorite titles and characters go missing. However, as a Nerd Lunch essay pointed out, it’s not really About Me, and the decision’s been made. So as a reader, I’ve got two choices: Give the new titles a try and make judgments accordingly, or break up with DC. We’ve been together since I was 7 or 8, so I’m not yet ready to call the moving van. Some of the books will be good to great, and others will be mediocre to sucky. That’s pretty much the way it is now.

While I am skeptical, I want this radical plan to succeed because I love comics. When they’re done right, reading them can be a magical experience, or at least a greatly entertaining one. I think more people would agree if they’d just pick one up, but getting comics into the hands of non-readers these days is a mighty big challenge. DC is taking a big gamble in the hopes that old fans will stick around and new ones will be attracted to less intimidating #1 issues.

What’s your take on the re-launch strategy? Are you ready to give it a try or packing your proverbial suitcases?

Poll: What’s Your Summer Superhero Pick?

Are you ready for some superheroes? Thor, the first entry in this summer’s cinema geek-a-palooza, is storming a theater near you on May 6. Hot on his mighty Asgardian heels are X-Men First Class (June 3), Green Lantern (June 17), and Captain America: The First Avenger (July 22). The trailers have ranged from “Holy hell!” to “Hmm,” but I predict they’ll all make a truckloads of cash. While I’m generally a DC gal, I have to say that the Captain America promos have blown me away — far more than the DC/Warner Bros. entry Green Lantern. Of course, I’ll end up seeing them all.

What about you? With the embarrassment of riches headed our way, what superhero flick are you most excited about?

Catwoman Illustration: Is It Offensive?

In case it’s not already clear, we like sexy art and well-done cheesecake. Superheroes (and antiheroes) are hot, and in the DCU, Catwoman is definitely in the top five — the dangerous curves, the skin-tight black suit, the purring. Selina owns her sexuality, and when she’s near Batman, the panels practically crackle with tension.

However, Greg Horn’s BatCat illustration recently set off a debate about when art goes from provocative to offensive. I’m the first to admit that there’s a fine line, and that tastes are very personal. (Our shirtless Batman/Catman poll illustration drew some criticism, for example.) Plus, few kids are reading comics anymore, so the chances of Junior seeing this are slim. In general, I’d rather an artist go over the top than play it safe. Horn has done some lovely work. However, the crouched, ass-in-the-air shot in front of Batman (complete with licking!) disgusted both of us. Catwoman doesn’t have to go there to set off fire alarms. Can you imagine the roles being reversed? I can’t.

What do you think? Is this a silly tempest in a teapot or another disturbing example of blatant sexism in comics? (If nothing else, the image prompted a very funny response from artist Phil Noto.)

Geek Stylist: Alternate Duds for Diana

I don’t know about you, but I was thrilled to see Diana’s old costume on the cover of Wonder Woman #609. No matter how much I looked at it, that horror of a ’90s shopping mall getup never grew on me. The dowdy boots. The choker. Good riddance.

Of course, Jim Lee is hardly the first artist to re-imagine Wonder Woman’s togs, and quite a few illustrators have done masterful costume redesigns. For those days when Wondy’s classic battle bathing suit is at the dry cleaner, which of the following alternate designs would you pick for our favorite Amazon? Take a look and cast your vote at the end of the post!

New Supes: Do You Care?

The very handsome Brit Henry Cavill is the new cinema Superman, and for the life of me, I can’t tell whether anyone cares. Too soon? It seems like we were just being introduced to Brandon Routh, who did a good job in a flawed movie, Superman Returns. I’m not all that excited about a reboot, but I’m a little bummed that Routh didn’t get a chance to show what he could do in a (potentially) better movie. In any case, Cavill will look great with a spit-curl and a cape. And for the love of Rao, please cast a believable Lois Lane this time around.

Does the unveiling of the new Man of Steel have you pumped for the movie?

Green Lantern Lights It Up

So the first footage from the upcoming Green Lantern film is out and there’s a whole lot of quipping and green blasty stuff happening. Ryan Reynolds is his usual charming self, and he looks like he’s having a great time. Of course, geeks appear to be divided over whether the clip looks amazing or cheesy. Since this is all we have to go on for the moment, what do you think?

Cosplay: Black Canary v. Aphrodite IV

E. and I had such a spectacular experience at Dragon*Con, we have now made it our mission to go to as many cons as possible. We both have kids, jobs, and you know, just general responsibilities. So, there is some planning and reality involved. We’re Florida gals, and the word in Artist Alley is that MegaCon has a prominent comic book presence. Thus the next con we will attend is MegaCon in Orlando.

It is well known that one of the great joys of cons is the cosplay. I have decided that for MegaCon, I will be donning a costume. Black Canary has long been a favorite of mine. I’ve always said if I ever dress up, it would be as Gail Simone and Ed Benes’ Black Canary. But recently, I’ve sort of fallen in love with the design of Aphrodite IV that appeared in Artifacts #1. So now I am torn, and I need a little help deciding.

New Teen Titans Team: Do You Care?

It’s an understatement to say that the venerable Teen Titans title has fallen on hard times recently. However, the new creative team of J.T. Krul and Nicola Scott will take the reigns starting with issue #88. We adore Scott’s work, and while Krul’s The Rise of Arsenal reeked, we know he’s written good stuff, including the Ravager miniseries that was published inside Teen Titans. But is this promising announcement enough to get you reading this comic again?

Crisis of Infinite Books

I read a lot — so much that all my books are subject to the 100-page rule: If I don’t care what’s happening by the 100th page, then I’m done. Life is short, and I’d like to get to the good shit before my vision goes. Obviously, comic books make up a massive portion of my literary diet. To deepen my knowledge and beef up my continuity chops, I often read trade volumes of classic stories that my fellow geeks recommend.

Enter Crisis on Infinite Earths. I am on page 102, and I’m bored. I don’t give a damn what happens next, and I am certain I could find a WAY more amusing summation on somebody’s blog. But the Geek Posse has spoken. They say that I should plow through my apathy and finish the friggin’ book. Some think it’s a great story, but I don’t share their affinity for retro-fitted fan whoring.

Perhaps I just have general Crisis Fatigue, or maybe the story is so convoluted and shallow that my brain is insulted. The obsessive part of me wants to read it because I feel I should. As a fangirl who primarily reads DC comics and now writes about them, it’s like my duty or something. Maybe it would help me make sense of Grant Morrison’s reference rodeos. Frankly, that’s my only motivation to finish.

So here’s the question: Do I spend precious moments of my life on the next 250 pages of this classic book, or do I move on to one of the many other trades waiting for me?

Power Girl: Fun While It Lasted?

Shortly after unveiling new Wonder Woman writer J. Michael Straczynski, DC has announced a new creative team for its buzzworthy Power Girl title — and it’s a teeny bit controversial. With issue #13, writer Judd Winick and artist Sami Basri will take over for current writers Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and artist Amanda Conner. I’m not even gonna front: It’s very likely that issue #12 will be my last. Nothing is static in comics, but the trio of Palmiotti, Gray and Conner made Power Girl both fun to read and gorgeous to look at. I’d probably read Wonder Woman even if it were written and illustrated by 7-year-olds. However, my attachment to Power Girl has nothing to do with the character and everything to do with the quality of her book.

Secret Six Casting Call

With all due respect to Green Lantern and Batman, the live-action superhero movie DC/Warner Brothers ought to be making isn’t really about heroes at all. Two words: Secret. Six.

Aside from being one of the most consistently good mainstream comics around, the current incarnation of Secret Six is a carnival ride of moral ambiguity; wildly amusing yet sickening. While darkness seems to plague this colorful cast wherever they go (Junior, Devil’s Island, *shudder*), there’s also plenty of humor and the perfect Hollywood cliché of stuff just … blowing up. That’s a filmmaker and casting director’s dream (or at least the dream of the alternate universe versions of V and I that make movies).

Let’s face it; a smaller, off-kilter movie about a group of rogues stands a better chance of being good — or at least interesting — than any live-action Justice League movie a studio would whip up. (I’m not saying I don’t want to see a live-action JL movie, but I just don’t see how it could possibly be done well.)

We’ve got our own ideas about casting Secret Six: The Movie, but first we want to hear yours.  Who’s your big-screen dream team to portray Bane, Jeanette, Catman, Deadshot, Ragdoll and Scandal Savage — or Knockout or Black Alice?



Simone Departs from Wonder Woman

DC announced on Friday that Gail Simone will be leaving Wonder Woman. As much as we’d like her to stay on the book, she is not Wonder Woman. With the return of the Birds, I suppose she can’t do it all. I was disappointed, but not surprised. Gail’s replacement, announced this morning, will be J. Michael Straczynski. This guy has got some serious writing cred behind him, but in his interview he seemed more stoked about writing Supes than Wondy. Through hell or high water, Wonder Woman will stay on my pull list, but I’m a little worried.

After Blackest Night Comes Brightest Day

Secret Six: Who Do You Love?