This week there’s been a lot of talk and controversy surrounding J. Scott Campbell’s Midtown Comics variant for Invincible Iron Man #1, featuring the 15-year-old Riri Williams, AKA Ironheart. Fan response to the cover pointed out the highly sexualized depiction of Riri and the inappropriate decision to assign the cover to an artist known for his pin-up work, but things got worse when Campbell and other creators responded to the controversy.
Campbell and his defenders’ rebuttals featured the typical lines about social justice warriors and censorship, and creators in this situation seem to always assume that they’re infallible when it comes to the art they create. Yet another week of controversy in comics has me asking; What’s so wrong about stopping to listen to what people have to say?
We live in a time when hate speech directed at marginalized people has become too commonplace in public and political rhetoric; a time when the demonization of Muslims, immigrants, transgender people and others masquerades as a defense of security or virtue; when nostalgia for "the good old days" sanctifies a past in which marginalized people were deprived of respect, voice, or power. The fear-mongering of politicians seeps down into everyday conversation, feeding commonplace prejudices.
Even so, it's still shocking to hear that sort of rhetoric presented on the stage at a comic convention by one of the industry's most high profile authors, especially at a panel discussing LGBTQ themes in Marvel's X-Men comics. Yet at last week's New York Comic Con, writer Peter David indulged in exactly that sort of hate speech, in this instance directed at one of the world's most easily and persistently scapegoated communities: the Rromani people.
Gender is far from the only thing that separates Wonder Woman from her DC Comics peers Superman and Batman. One rather dramatic difference that has grown more and more pronounced over the course of the last three decades is the fluidity of the character’s origins.
Jill Thompson’s Wonder Woman: The True Amazon responds to the ambiguity around Wonder Woman's origins, not simply by filling a perceived hole with an analogue to Batman: Year One, but rather by capitalizing on that fluidity to tell a Wonder Woman story unlike any other.
As someone who thought she was a dude in the late 1990s, Preacher was the comic I looked forward to every month more than any other. As someone who knows she isn’t a dude in the mid-2010s, I’m looking back on this series and examining what still works, what doesn’t work, and what its lasting legacy is.
This week: it's all over. Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon --- with Pamela Rambo on colors, Clem Robbins doing the lettering, and Alex Alonso editing the whole deal --- set their pencils down with "Alamo," and their final word on the series asks us: who deserves salvation, who has earned damnation, and does it even make a difference in the end?
This week sees the release of Marc Andreyko and Aaron Lopresti’s new DC Comics miniseries, Death of Hawkman, which seemingly promises to kill off the confusing cluster of continuity masquerading as a character for good. But how did Hawkman get this way? What single decision led to decades of confusion, and how can it be fixed? There may be a solution, but if we’re going to address the Hawkman problem, first we need to understand it.
British cartoonist Tom Gauld's new graphic novel Mooncop imagines an actualization of the lunar colony concept of moonshot-era pop culture as it might be if the colony had followed the path of our collective gradual disenchantment with space. Gauld employs his signature simple style in service of a story that is at once an accomplished work of deadpan comedy and a meditation on the passage of time. ComicsAlliance spoke to to Gauld about his inspiration and his work.
We seem to have missed a step somewhere. Just a few years ago, having a queer character in a superhero comic was a huge deal. There would be boycotts and mainstream news stories. And now we’re told that it’s totally not a big deal for Wonder Woman, the most important female superhero in history, and a third of DC Comics’ trinity, to be queer. It’s so not a big deal that you should have already known. It’s so not a big deal that it doesn’t even need to be directly stated in a DC comic, and in fact to do so would be clumsy and unnecessary.
But shouldn’t there have been a step in between? A moment when it was no longer forbidden for Wonder Woman to be queer, but not yet such a casual affair that to even state it in her comic would be passé? A moment when it would be appropriate to show Wonder Woman’s queerness in a comic book, rather than telling it in an interview?
Superhero comic books and shared universes are full of fantastical technology that enable people to fly in suits of armor or even walk down the street on hydraulic stilts. However, the superhero universes still struggle to reconcile the advanced technology of their worlds with the day to day reality of people living with disabilities.
If you’d told me a few years ago that outstanding science fiction could be spun out of a reboot of an old Rob Liefeld comic with that one guy with the swords who grimaces a lot and has padding glued to his face, the first question I’d have to ask is, "Which one guy with the swords was that? There were a couple."
The answer would be Prophet, one of the most fruitful experiments to come out of the 2012 retooling of the defunct Extreme Studios line, and one of the most genuinely enthralling sci-fi comics of the past decade.
When a comic runs for a long while at a consistent level of quality, with a single reliable creative team, it can often slip out of the conversation. When it launched four and a half years ago, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples' Saga was the talk of the comics town --- a critical darling and one of the crossover hits that helped make Image Comics what it is today.
With the comic now in its seventh volume and approaching its fortieth issue, I decided to revisit Saga and look at how it has changed, and ask whether it still deserves the kind of attention it enjoyed in those early days.
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