The Return of NONPLAYER

Where V. is happy that Nonplayer is back and you should be, too.

Do you remember Nonplayer? How could you forget?

Well, it has been four years, so I will refresh your memory.

In 2011, Nate Simpson released the first issue of what is planned to be a six-issue series about a girl who spends most of her time in a “full-immersion” virtual reality game called “Warriors of Jarvath.” The comic is exquisitely drawn, and the story is totally engaging. It was a huge success, critics and fans were effusive.

If it was so awesome, why haven’t we seen a second issue? Continue reading “The Return of NONPLAYER”

Barbarella, Kelly Sue and Unapologetic Lady Sex

Where V. talks to Kelly Sue DeConnick about Barbarella.

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 “Barbarella, Kelly Sue and Unapologetic Lady Sex”

The Comments Thread: Busiek Tells It Like It Is

Kurt Busiek took to the comments thread of an article on The Beat yesterday to settle the score on the sexualization of women in the comics industry.

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 “The Comments Thread: Busiek Tells It Like It Is”

Reimagining the Female Superhero

L. had the distinct pleasure of attending a panel with some of the top female comic creators at Special Edition NYC.

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 “Reimagining the Female Superhero”

MoCCA Art Fest 2014 and Fiona Staples Q&A

Lindsey shares her time at MoCCA Art Fest, complete with a Fiona Staples interview!

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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 “MoCCA Art Fest 2014 and Fiona Staples Q&A”

All Roads Lead to Shutter: An Interview with Joe Keatinge

Lindsey’s thoughtful and in-depth interview with writer 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 “All Roads Lead to Shutter: An Interview with Joe Keatinge”

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

If you grew up loving comics, this anthology has your name on it.

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: Rob Kelly of ‘Hey Kids, Comics!’”

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

Are your DC comics stained with tears? The Outhouse has an outlet for your pain.

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

Gold, Guts and Grog: Introducing Rat Queens

V. chats with writer Kurtis Wiebe about his new series, Rat Queens AND has a 5-page preview … just for you!

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 “Gold, Guts and Grog: Introducing Rat Queens”

G3 Interview: Gail Simone, Part II

G3 talks to Gail Simone about Leaving Megalopolis, the writer-reader relationship, and the character – or characters – she’d like to be.

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 “G3 Interview: Gail Simone, Part II”

G3 Interview: Gail Simone, Part I

In which we ask Gail Simone about all of the things!

V. and I had a lot of questions for writer extraordinaire Gail Simone post-Megacon, and she answered them with her trademark blend of thoughtfulness, wit and candor.

There was plenty of ground to cover. Continue reading “G3 Interview: Gail Simone, Part I”

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

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 “Wonder Women! Gives Heroines Their Due”

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 “G3 Interview: Rob Kelly of ‘Ace Kilroy’”