Norm Breyfogle, one of the definitive Batman artists of the late 80s and early 90s, is in hospital as a result of a stroke, according to a Facebook post by his former partner Barbara De La Rue. De La Rue says that he is expected to make a full recovery, and has asked that people keep him in their thoughts and prayers. We at ComicsAlliance extend our best wishes for a full and speedy return to health.
One of the great strengths of DC's digital-first line of comics is that it's a showcase both for emerging talent and for some unorthodox storytelling approaches. DC's digital wing plays to the strengths of the anthology format, telling the sort of stories that the main line just isn't interested in telling. For a character like Wonder Woman, an icon beloved by a lot of people who aren't invested in the rigmarole of month-to-month continuity, the approach is especially liberating.
The latest writer to tackle Wonder Woman for the digital-first Sensation Comics series is Amy Chu, an up-and-comer who we've profiled in the past. Chu has collaborated on short stories with Larry Hama, Steve McNiven, and Janet K. Lee, and has self-published her comics through her Alpha Girl Comics imprint. Her Sensation Comics story, 'Rescue Angel,' tells a Wonder Woman tale with a focus on a different female warrior, a young combat pilot, with art by Bernard Chang and colors by Wendy Broome.
On Monday I reported on the controversy surrounding the most recent issue of Batgirl, issue #37, and the hurt it caused readers with the presentation of a character who played into transphobic tropes. On Tuesday we ran a piece by activist J. Skyler that further placed the story in the broader cultural context of transphobic media. In both cases, our hope was to showcase and respect the opinions of the critics and put their voices ahead of those of the authors or any defensive fans. These are critics who are often marginalized and shouted down; what they had to say about this controversy is important and must be recognized and listened to.
As I also mentioned on Monday, Batgirl is a book at the vanguard of a movement towards genre stories for young, progressive, predominantly female readers -- a more modern and diverse readership than the one traditionally associated with the superhero genre. Because of this, and because the creators apologized for their mistakes, I think Batgirl still deserves support. Issue #37 damaged the book's image and reputation, but it remains one of the best and most important superhero books being published today.
We already praised DC's movie-themed variant covers last week, and it feels safe to say there's plenty of great work on show here from Dave Johnson, Bill Sienkiewicz, Marco D'Alphonso et al; this is a variant month that justifies its existence through excellence.
But I want to draw particular attention to just one cover, which I think deserves special recognition for oustanding achievement in its field. I refer, of course, to Emanuela Lupacchino's cover for Justice League #40 in the style of a poster for the 2010 Steven Soderbergh movie Magic Mike, which re-imagines the Justice League boys as oiled-up strippers.
DC's new take on Batgirl has been one of the pioneers of a new movement towards mainstream comics for a progressive young female audience -- a movement whose other flagbearers have become a mantra of sorts in 2014; Lumberjanes, Ms. Marvel, Gotham Academy, etc. In the hands of creators Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr, Batgirl offered a satisfyingly contemporary and feminist take on Gotham superheroics.
So it came as a particular disappointment when last week's Batgirl #37 contained themes and imagery that were transphobic and transmisogynistic, leading several critics to call out the creative team for their insensitivity. This weekend the creators offered a statement of apology, saying, "we want to acknowledge the hurt and offense we've caused."
Stjepan Šejic is an artist who's been on the verge of a breakthrough for a while now -- and he's apparently just had two of them back-to-back. Šejic is an excellent artist, remarkably fast, and by all reports very easy to work with, which means he delivers the trifecta for promising talent.
That talent will be put to excellent use on a book in dire need of a great artist; Šejic has been named as the new permanent artist on Rat Queens, the hit fantasy series from writer Kurtis J. Wiebe and Image's Shadowline imprint. This news comes just a couple of weeks after reports that Šejic's creator-owned erotic graphic novel Sunstone received the highest ever advance orders for any book published by Image's Top Cow imprint.
Agents of SHIELD hit the mid-season mark (and the beginning of a long winter hiatus) with an actual possible game-changer this week, leaving several characters in a severely altered state, and not all of them because of the secrets of the disco doorstop. Mysteries were resolved, shots were fired, and things will never be the same again (because change is the nature of existence, duh).
'What They Become' was directed by Michael Zinberg and written by Jeffrey Bell. As is tradition, I will subject it to my usual 'S.H.L.E.I.D.' recap process, and somewhere in there I'll offer you the shortest mea culpa you'll ever see about a nasty thing the show did last week that it sort of undoes this week, in the most dickish way imaginable!
Comic artist Edvin Biukovic died fifteen years ago this month at just 30 years old. His death was obviously a terrible loss to those who knew and loved him. It was also a terrible loss to the comic industry; Biukovic never received the level of lasting acclaim or recognition that his talent deserved, and produced relatively few works. Yet he was one of the finest comic artists of his generation.
Biukovic published several works in his native Croatia that have sadly never been translated. His finished English-language works include a couple of Star Wars stories published at Dark Horse, and the first of Peter Milligan's Human Target stories for Vertigo. One work stands as his masterpiece; Devils And Deaths, written by his long-time friend and collaborator Darko Macan, and published by Dark Horse, is a science fiction story about a country torn apart by ancient grudges and tribal conflicts, and of the desperate people trying to eke out a purpose in the midst of war.
My colleagues Dylan and Matt get to trade their recap shows for a crossover this week, with Matt doing Flash and Dylan doing Arrow. I offered to let them do Agents of SHIELD instead -- we'll fake a crossover, we have Photoshop! -- but they demurred. So it's still me, folks. This show may be better than it was last year, but 'better' is a relative term, and the stink of a toxic reputation is tough to shake.
But with the Agents of SHIELD winter final just a week away -- and the show going on hiatus until about March to make way for Agent Carter -- the show is actually edging ever closer to actual revelations, with one nerd name-bomb dropped this episode, and Mack finally given something to do! Which turns out to be both good news and bad. 'Ye Who Enter Here' was directed by Billy Gierhart and written by Paul Zbyszewski
We're excited about Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, the forthcoming series from writer Ryan North and artist Erica Henderson. Now, sure, Henderson is a contributor to the site and a collaborateur with that Sims fellow, but we'd be excited about this book even if that weren't the case, because it promises a lot of things we want to see more of in comics: a confident and self-defined female protagonist, smart comedy pitched at an all-ages audience, quirky superheroics, and entertainment that's squarely welcoming to an emerging audience of young female comic readers -- or as we like to call them, 'the future'.
So now we get our first chance to see if the comic will live up to our expectations, courtesy of an unlettered two-page preview of the book, and a two-page lettered teaser that sees Ms. Doreen Green giving full voice to her own theme song. The good news? It's charming, funny, and looks fantastic. If you're not on board the Squirrel Girl train, you may want to follow the example of one of the young men in this preview and reconsider your choices.