Kamala Khan is a superstar now. Introduced only a year ago by Marvel, she’s become a bona fide figurehead for the publisher. A young Muslim girl in America who develops powers and uses them to try and help people, her story has caught on with a mainstream audience and turned the Ms Marvel series into a real, actual hit, especially among the growing digital readership.
What’s fascinating about the character, though, is how clearly she’s embedded into the tradition of superhero comics, and how you can draw a direct line from her back through Marvel’s history, to some of the company's most popular female superheroes. Kamala broke through at just the right moment in time, in just the right way, for the readership to embrace her, but she owes a debt to several characters that came before her.
Few comic book writers are as hot right now as the wife-and-husband team of Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction, so it’s not all that surprising that the couple has signed a deal with Universal to develop their work into television shows. What is a little surprising is that this duo found their success creating deeply personal and wildly experimental comics, which means that some of the best comic book writers working today are going to adapt some of the best comics currently being published. This could be something special.
Caitlin DiMotta goes by @ComicsLawyer on Twitter and she is exactly that. As an attorney and partner at Impact Law Group, she works with many comics creators as their lawyer. Her clients include Kelly Sue DeConnick, Ed Brubaker, Rick Remender, Chip Zdarsky, and Jeff Lemire. Her top priorities are protecting the rights of artists and educating them about their legal rights. ComicsAlliance sat down with her to learn more about the work she does.
Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro's Bitch Planet has the single best comic book title of the year. It's the kind of title where I stopped in my tracks when the book was announced months ago, and just from hearing those two words, thought "that's perfect" -- and that's before I heard that the premise backing it up was a modern feminist sci-fi take on women-in-prison flicks. From the moment I heard about it, I knew this comic was going to be amazing. Until I actually sat down and read it, though, I had no idea just how amazing it was going to be.
That's the thing about the first issue of Bitch Planet. It doesn't hit the ground running; it kicks off by blasting you into space and setting up a story of a world where the penalty for not knowing your place is a life sentence in a violent, neon-pink hell, juggling multiple points of view for a story of just how cruel that world can be. It's thrilling, it's violent, and it's one of the best first issues of the year.
Fans of Captain Marvel probably won't tire of being reminded that their hero is getting her own movie, scheduled for a July 6th 2018 release. There's no director, no writer, and no star attached, but the movie has a title and a date, and that alone is progress. Superhero fans have been waiting a long time for a Marvel Studios movie with a female lead.
The Captain Marvel movie is due to come out thirteen months after a planned 2017 Wonder Woman movie from Warner Bros, and those two pictures could help usher in a new age for female heroes, if the studios follow through.
The Wonder Woman movie was a long time coming, but she's an obvious choice for Warner Bros; she's the definitive female hero, a brand, and an icon, with more than seventy years of history. By contrast, Captain Marvel has been around in her current incarnation for two years. But there are good reasons why she's Marvel's pick for a leading lady.
Marvel is planning its first big cosmic event since the end of the Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning-penned Annihilation/War of Kings cycle that ran from 2006 to 2010. (Or last year's Infinity, if you count that, but that was all about Earth, so we don't.) Black Vortex will cross over between Guardians of the Galaxy, the space-bound All-New X-Men, Cyclops, Legendary Star-Lord, Nova, Captain Marvel, and more.
Marvel also announced Operation S.I.N., by Kathryn Immonen and Rich Ellis, which serves as both a prequel of sorts to the recent Original Sin event and a tie-in to Marvel's Agent Carter TV show; and Kanan: The Last Padawan, a five issue mini series also written by Greg Weisman and illustrated by Pepe Larraz, tying in to the Star Wars: Rebels animated series.
Though hugely influential on characters including Vampirella, Jean-Claude Forest's Barbarella graphic novels haven't really made a huge dent in American comics culture. Many fans are likely familiar with the 1968 movie starring Jane Fonda, but Forest's French comics haven't been printed in English since appearing in Heavy Metal back in 1978.
That's about to change thanks to Humanoids Publishing and writer Kelly Sue DeConnick. A new translation of Forest's Barbarella, scripted by DeConnick, is set for release September 24, with the first-ever English reprint of the second book, The Wrath of the Minute-Eater, coming in January.
Back in March, I spoke with Kelly Sue DeConnick about the unorthodox creative process behind Dark Horse's new Prometheus/Alien/Predator comics. Essentially, DeConnick and four other writers -- Paul Tobin, Chris Roberson, Christopher Sebela and Joshua Williamson -- got in a room together and hammered out one big story that will be told in a collection of miniseries. DeConnick had a huge notebook in which she collected a sort of series bible.
Now, those comics are about to be released into the world, starting with Prometheus: Fire and Stone by Tobin and artist Juan Ferreyra on Sept. 10. Dark Horse has released a trailer that digs into the process a bit and reveals a little about one of the characters who will appear throughout the series, Angela Foster.
Among the colorful cosplay, massive booths, interactive displays and walls of merchandise at Comic-Con International in San Diego — colloquially known as SDCC — remains the most important component of the show: comic book creators. ComicsAlliance photographer and Loikiamania podcast host Pat Loika hit the show floor to catch the men and women who tell our favorite stories in sequential art and captured the enthusiasm that comes from fans getting to meet their favorite storytellers at one of the biggest conventions of the year.
Check back with ComicsAlliance throughout the weekend for more of Pat’s great photos from San Diego.
Last week's Emerald City Comicon kicked off, for me, with the Carol Corps Celebration at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington. Hosted by a bevy of nerdy Captain Marvel enthusiasts and featuring some of the finest cosplay I saw all weekend, proceeds from tickets and exclusive merchandise went to benefit the Girls Leadership Institute. It's a rare thing for fans and creators to celebrate a superhero character in such a thematically specific and highly interactive way -- Carol Danvers is a military pilot, after all, and the new Ms. Marvel is herself a member of the Carol Corps -- and a woman superhero at that. But the event was an absolutely joyful experience that spoke to the good work being done in these comics and readers' enthusiasm for great women heroes (both fictional and real-life).
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