Over the past couple of weeks, DC Comics' Convergence event has resulted in some of the most exciting and most bizarre announcements since the company threw out their previous shared universe canon in favor of the "New 52" reboot -- especially since the core idea of next April's big crossover is that they're bringing back a bunch of the versions of characters that they got rid of for a big battle against the new batch. Last week was particularly enticing for long-time fans, teasing us with Greg Rucka's return to writing Renee Montoya in The Question and Gail Simone going back to the fan-favorite pairing of Nightwing/Oracle.
This week, they've attempted to top that with a whole new roster of books, and this time they're set in a pre-Flashpoint Metropolis. The second week's launches will see the return of characters from 1996's Kingdom Come and the landmark Justice League International, plus Louise Simonson writing Steel. Of course, we're also getting Azrael and the return of Larry Hama to writing Batman, so someone out there needs to stop wishing on the Monkey's Paw already.
Welcome to the latest episode of ComicsAlliance Presents “Kate or Die,” a series of exclusive comic strips created by one of our favorite cartoonists, Kate Leth! In this episode, Kate comes to a startling conclusion about Catwoman.
Q: What are your thoughts on Catwoman and how her role has evolved over time? It's unique, isn't it? -- @spudsfan
A: Here's a warning that you're about to read way too many words on what looks like a simple question: Yes and no.
It's not going to surprise anyone when i say that I love Catwoman as a character, and a lot of that comes from how adaptable she is. In her long history, she's been one of the few characters who's been able to transition from villain to hero and back again, and she has a relationship with Batman that has allowed for both characters to grow in ways that no other character has, or even could. But at the same time, she's probably the single most successful example of a cliché that bugs me to no end: The Villainous Love Interest.
If you're a fan of Gotham, then you may already have picked out your Halloween costume as one of the show's exciting and compelling characters, like Sad Child or Policeman With No Moustache. If, however, you've been putting things off, then don't worry: FOX has your back. In celebration of Halloween, the network has released a series of printable masks that you can cut out and strap to your head as a costume. There's only one problem: Only one of the characters they've provided, crime boss Fish Mooney, is actually on the show.
Look, we all know James Franco is a weird guy. He has practically made a career out of being a weird guy. But it's still sort of astonishingly strange how the actor and director came together with a group of friends (at least, they seem to be friends) to mash up the famous dinner scene from Beetlejuice with Batman.
The video is part of Franco's "Making a Scene" series on Aol Originals, where Franco and pals spin a wheel twice, two movie titles come up, and they have to throw them together. They've all been quirky and funny, but this one is probably the oddest of the bunch.
On this episode of The Arkham Sessions, we revisit the weird love triangle between Bruce Wayne, Selina Kyle and...Batman. Will Bruce ever win Selina's heart? Does he even really want to? And will he ever be able to look past her criminal history?
Q: What's the deal with Batman's non-Catwoman, non-justice love interests? Vicki Vale, Zatanna, Wonder Woman, etc? -- @superseth64
A: Just a few days ago, I was talking to Greg Rucka and he mentioned Denny O'Neil's rule about Batman not sleeping with anyone, because if he does, then he sleeps with everyone. It's an interesting way to put that, and I'm inclined to agree with O'Neil on that point, but you can't deny that over the past 75 years, the Caped Crusader has had plenty of romantic entanglements, almost all of which, as you might expect, have ended in a spectacularly awful fashion.
But the thing is, as much as they don't work from a romantic perspective, which is the nature of dramatic tension, they don't really work from a storytelling perspective, either.
As everybody keeps saying in a rather dazed manner, it's stunning the amount of good to very good to excellent comics being produced at the moment, and I have a litany of fantastic and favorite people working in comics right now; a good portion of whom I've discovered via work published online. One of these is ace Swedish artist Hanna K., who you may know of her via her excellent Legend of Zelda comic which blew up Tumblr. Her Tumblr is the best place to acquaint yourself with her work: she makes wonderful, giffed comics, like this one, called Owl Cafe. She's also published a couple of books with Swedish publishers, Peow! Studio; Third Wheel, a beautiful, fluro-blue riso-graph tale about a couple of kids encountering a strange being in a ruined future, is due for a September re-stock. I recommend keeping an eye out for that re-print so you can nab yourself a copy. If you need further convincing, you can see a gorgeous eight-page preview of it here.
Here's another reason to love Hannah K.- this week she tweeted some pictures of her notebook showing off an adorable, ultra-modern, and very comfy-looking teen Catwoman re-design.
We live in a time of awesome superhero costumes in comics. The rise and rise of cosplay culture, the emergence of comic artists with a savvy understanding of fashion, and the slow diversification that's making heroes palatable to a broader audience, have all contributed to a costuming culture with more to offer than capes and pants.
Superhero costumes have always been an asset to the industry, because iconography helps establish character and create a brand. But the value of costumes in reaching audiences and reinventing characters seems to be recognized now as never before, leading to the rise of artist-designers like Jamie McKelvie and Kris Anka, who don't even need to be on a particular book in order to be called in to make-over the characters. This is a great leap forward in understanding just what a good costume can do -- and the special skills required to do it.
Marvel launches the eighth of its nine solo titles with a female lead in November with Spider-Woman #1, and the book sadly already has a cloud over it. A variant cover by master erotic artist Milo Manara stirred enough controversy last week to garner mainstream attention. The cover featured Spider-Woman with her apple-shaped butt raised high in decidedly unheroic manner. It was exactly what one would expect from Manara, who has created a number of superheroine illustrations for Marvel, but the image suggested a particularly overt tone of sexual objectification that could alienate the sort of readers who attended the Women In Marvel panel at San Diego where the series was announced.
As far as I can recall, Marvel has more female solo titles now than ever before, with a ninth title, Angela: Asgard's Assassin, launching in December. On paper, that suggests a laudable effort to reach out to superhero comics' growing and under-served audience of female readers. Yet the Manara incident serves to remind us that books about women can very easily be targeted to a male audience.
There's currently an unspoken contest between Marvel and DC to see who can produce more comics aimed at a female audience. It's possible the contest only exists in my head, as I've been keeping a tally of solo titles with female leads for the past several months -- but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that editors at the two publishers have also been keeping track.
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