How Do You Build a Great Girl Character?

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This one time when I was at the bar (and by one time, I mean Tuesday night), I got into one of those taboo conversations about feminism and the treatment of female characters in fiction. The conversation inevitably made its way to comics; I mean this is me after all. Then my nemesis, we’ll call him Baby Bird, made the obvious and seemingly inevitable hasty generalization that men are just as objectified as women in comics. And well, that kicked me into high gear with points about inequity, marginalization and visual representation (see Kelly Thompson’s articulate essay that inspired my vein-popping rant).

Baby Bird may not have been up-to-speed on the gender bias prevalent in comics and fiction in general, but the discussion on the topic has grown exponentially over the past several years. Much of that conversation is spent calling out the bullshit. Rightfully so. While I live for a good row just like the next girl, I think it is pretty clear what the problems are. So how do we fix them? Continue reading

5 Quotes Worth Remembering From SENYC

… And they’re all from the Reimagining the Female Superhero panel!

It’s Throwback Thursday here at Girls Gone Geek, and I wanted to share a few new quotes from the panel that made the trip to SENYC worth it.

Enjoy!


By Alison Bechdel

By Alison Bechdel

On the Bechdel Test:
“I think there’s a lot of dismissal of things that do pass [The Bechdel Test]. If you have a

buddy cop movie about men, then it’s a buddy cop movie. If you have a buddy cop movie about women, it’s a chick flick. If you have a coming of age story about a boy, then it’s a coming of age story, if it’s about a girl it’s a chick flick. If it’s about a father and son relationship, it’s a father and son movie, if it’s a mother and daughter, it’s a chick flick. And I’m tired of it!” – Marguerite Bennett

On creating accurate representations of women:
“You can get a female character up on a pedestal so high, that they’re actually boring to read about. Once in awhile a female character is going to want to go on a date – it doesn’t make them less strong. They’re gonna cry – it doesn’t make them less strong. There are lots of kinds of strength, let’s explore them.” – Gail Simone

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On representation and diversity in comics:
“I think it’s a little strange that there are so many new stories coming out… but so few people of color in them. Because you can do that, you know.” – Amy Reeder

LadySkrullOn how poorly women have been written in the past:
“[Jack Kirby and Stan Lee] found it easier to identify with Skrulls than with women.” - Ben Saunders

On Wonder Woman:
“I think Wonder Woman is the strongest warrior on the planet, and maybe the universe.

She’s not gonna pull punches. And if you want to defeat her, you better not pull yours.” – Gail Simone

Wonder Woman by Marcio Takara

Wonder Woman by Marcio Takara

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

G3 Gift Guide: Part V.

Picking up where Erika left off, below are some ideal geeky gifts (according to me) for this Festivus season.

Absolute Planetary Book One

Absolute Planetary Book OneYou could get the issues of Planetary digitally. You could get the trades. But THIS is the Absolute Edition. Book Two is easy enough to get. Book One … not so much. Any comic lover would be all over this, and doubly impressed because they know it’s out of print.

Full color commission of Nimue by Amy Reeder

Madame Xanadu

I imagine we won’t see Madame Xanadu written and drawn as her youthful Nimue self any time soon (or maybe ever again). Being that this incarnation of the character only existed in the first arc of Matt Wagner and Amy Reeder’s Madame Xanadu, there are not many images of her in that costume. Oh, to have a full-color commission of Nimue from the artist herself, Amy Reeder. Pure joy.

Troy and Abed “Warhol”

Troy and Abed WarholI first noticed the picture in the Community episode “Remedial Chaos Theory” hanging in Troy and Abed’s apartment.  And as soon as I saw it, I loved it. I immediately sent a tweet to NBC saying that it needed to exist. Now, NBC has made a poster. And a T-shirt. Because all Community nerds love it (and probably tweeted it, too).

Donate to a comic book Kickstarter!

Peter Pan The Graphic Novel - Vol. 1 by Renae De Liz

‘Tis the season to be … generous! What better way than to support a creator-owned comic? Here are a few good ones …

Peter Pan: The Graphic Novel – Vol. 1 by Renae De Liz

GODLESS COMICS! by Kona Morris

Girls Night Out: Tales of New York by Amy Chu

SEX AND VIOLENCE Volume 1 by JIMMY PALMIOTTI

The Big Feminist BUT by Shannon O’Leary and Joan Reilly

Cheers, ya’ll!

Comic Judgment: Triple Play

Here’s the lowdown on the three best comics I read last week:

Punk Rock Jesus #4
I half expected Jesus to drop the mic and walk off the stage after that scalding final panel in Sean Murphy’s Punk Rock Jesus #4, which took the pull list prize last week. Batman #13 may have been the big draw, but PRJ is the one that really leaves a mark. Now a teen, Chris — the so-called clone of Jesus Christ — can only stand by and watch as the horrible J2 reality show franchise delivers his poor mother a final, crushing blow. Afterward, you can see in him the same dead-eyed grief that haunted his security guard, Thomas, an ex-IRA terrorist who witnessed horrible violence as a boy. Chris takes refuge in punk rock albums and extreme cardio, and he then fully rejects the dogma that has defined his existence. It’s goodbye, Bible; hello, Sex Pistols and Richard Dawkins. Let’s just say that Chris goes way off script and makes his feelings about religion and his followers scathingly clear in the most memorable scene of the week. Jesus has left the building. Grade: A+

Batman #13
The Joker has one of the scariest faces in comics, but he’s even more terrifying when you can’t really see him. In the first chapter of “Death of the Family,” we catch only glimpses of Batman’s nemesis as he makes a methodical, chilling comeback. A shoe here. A blood-splattered glove there. A cackle in the dark as victim after victim suffers off-camera. I doubt poor Jim Gordon will ever have a sound night’s sleep again after hearing the Joker’s startling commentary about where the commissioner stashes his cigarettes. This is a horror show in the making, and Snyder-Capullo deliver a perfectly paced, chilling first act. The “Tease” backup story, in which Mr. J. tests the depths of Harley Quinn’s loyalty, made my skin crawl right up until the last second. Grade: A

Halloween Eve (one-shot)
Image one-shot Halloween Eve is like candy. Its pleasures are brief, colorful and ultimately quite sweet. Brandon Montclare’s story focuses on the cranky Eve, a costume shop employee who loathes Halloween. When Eve falls asleep in the shop the night before Halloween, she plunges into a topsy-turvy fantasy world where every day is the one she hates most. Montclare’s story is charming, but it’s Amy Reeder’s art that dazzles. Reeder illustrated and colored the comic, and each panel is luminous and lovingly detailed. Her rendering of each character, especially the expressive Eve, is perfect. Plus, the magical aspects of the story give her a lot of room to play. Halloween Eve is a treat, one that’s appropriate and appealing for tween readers and up. Grade: B+

Link

I am an enormous fan of Amy Reeder’s work. Madame Xanadu, while being a brilliant story by Matt Wagner, is made unforgettable by Amy Reeder’s work. I revisit that book often. I am so thrilled to hear that she is working on another project. If you enjoy her art and would like to see more; head over to Kickstarter and support her new creator-owned comic – Halloween Eve.

In Comics, Only the Good Die Young

Nimue does not take kindly to impending doom.

As with so many other things that are artistically awesome, they come to an end long before they should. Over at Bleeding Cool, rumor has it that Madame Xanadu will soon meet her demise at Vertigo. Whether because of corporate rearranging of characters, low sales, or the creators having other projects they deem priority, this falls under the category of tragic.

I only recently discovered Madame Xanadu. The first trade, “Disenchanted,” was exceptional. When I finished reading it, I immediately re-read it. Amy Reeder’s art is out of this world. She draws Madame Xanadu so beautifully, with ethereal hints of Manga that make her work bright and unique. Matt Wagner’s story is nothing short of brilliant. Continue reading

DC Sends Flowers Via J.H. Williams III

While V. and I celebrated the news that J.H. Williams III will write and illustrate a regular Batwoman comic, it occurred to me that reading comics is a bit like dating. The sheer variety is exciting, but once you really connect with a title (or five), it’s like magic. You’re positively giddy on the Wednesdays that it ships, and you can’t wait to curl up and spend time with it.

Then, inevitably, things get all weird. Maybe the creative team changes and there’s a steep decline in quality, or a larger event gums up the works. Pissed off and confused, you start talking about breaking up and seeing other titles — maybe even other publishers. Call me a sucker, but the Williams announcement is the equivalent of a beautiful flower arrangement or a Tiffany charm bracelet sent just in the nick of time. Maybe it doesn’t completely atone for Rucka’s departure and the Power Girl craziness and the iffy Wonder Woman announcement, but it’s still pretty wonderful.

Together, Rucka and Williams created a stunning series of Batwoman stories in Detective Comics, and Williams’ illustrations were so beautifully and thoughtfully executed that they set a new standard for the comics medium. With Rucka out of the picture, it’s a huge relief to know that Williams will stay on as Kate Kane’s caretaker, so to speak. He struck all the right notes in an interview with Comic Book Resources, showing appreciation for Rucka’s vision while making the case for his own. Plus, his enthusiasm for Batwoman and her supporting cast members, including cousin Bette Kane (Flamebird), is palpable. As Williams himself put it, “I just kind of felt like, ‘OK, if anyone can do the character any justice, it would be me.’ ” It’s a bonus that current Madame Xanadu artist Amy Reeder will provide her considerable talents on the second arc.

DC, consider your telephone number unblocked. For now.