Marvel has announced a new bi-monthly book called A-Force Presents that will collect issues of various Marvel comics featuring female heroes in trade paperback format. Rather than the traditional collection of a single storyline, these collections will be more of sampler of what's going on at Marvel at any given time. This is a great idea from Marvel, and a really exciting example of how the publisher is taking women seriously as an audience.
Marvel promised a "forceful" announcement on ABC's daytime talk show The View today, and the entire world was ready for a Secret Wars/Star Wars crossover comic that would pit Jar-Jar Binks against Adam The X-Treme (or something), and then... nothing. There was no Star Wars announcement. There was no announcement of any kind; it got bumped off the show. Still, someone at Marvel has hopefully learned an important lesson about not using the word 'force' to promote things that don't involve Star Wars.
What Marvel did announce today was a new Secret Wars tie-in that is legitimately exciting in its own right, just sadly overshadowed by the Star Wars announcement that never was and the epic DC announcement that kicked off the day. The real announcement, unveiled through various outlets, is a new all-female Avengers book from writers G. Willow Wilson and Marguerite Bennett, and artist Jorge Molina, called A-Force.
Marvel is ending the universe, and the publisher seems very excited about it, having announced not only an epic mush of worlds in this year's Secret Wars event, but also a string of tie-ins under umbrella titles like Battleword, Warzones, and Last Days. It's this final one that particularly interests us, because everyone knows what happens when you know the world is going to end. You hook up. Right? Of course you do.
Yesterday we asked you who Magneto would get together with in his Last Days series -- and an overwhelming majority voted for Charles Xavier, to the point where it just seemed like we needn't have bothered including anyone else. Today we're looking at one of the Mighty Avengers, the Jade Giantess Jennifer Walters, aka She-Hulk. One of the great things about Jen is that she's a proudly liberated woman who isn't afraid to take pleasure in life, or to fill her dance card with possible suitors. But if she had to pick one someone for her final date, who would it be?
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.
Actor and part-time Hulk Mark Ruffalo has been kind of all over the place lately, largely to promote his new movie Begin Again and his environmental activism -- but for better or worse, most of his public appearances have turned into advance press for Avengers: Age of Ultron.
People just can't stop asking him about it, and that was as true as ever when Ruffalo make himself available for questions in a Reddit "ask me anything" thread this week. Not only was there a whole lot of Hulk talk, but also plenty about a possible movie She-Hulk, his favorite Pokemon, and much more. Check out some of the highlights.
This week, David S. Goyer, writer of Man of Steel and its upcoming sequel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, appeared on a writers podcast called Scriptnotes to talk about being a screenwriter for superhero films. Apparently he thought it would be a good idea to do this by characterizing She-Hulk as "a giant green porn star that only the Hulk could f*ck" before getting into an extended discussion about how the Martian Manhunter sucks so bad that he can only really work in a story where he also has sex with She-Hulk.
Who would've ever thought that the guy who wrote a superhero movie with the line "you c*ck-juggling thunderc*nt" would have some problematic ideas about female characters?
Each week, ComicsAlliance's Chris Sims and Matt Wilson host the War Rocket Ajax podcast, their online audio venue for interviews with comics creators, reviews of the books of the week, and whatever else they want to talk about. ComicsAlliance is offering clips of the show several days before the full podcast goes up at WarRocketAjax.com on Mondays.
This week, Matt and Chris are talking about some of the big comic releases of the week. They loved Moon Knight #1 by Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire and She-Hulk #2 by Charles Soule, Javier Pulido and Muntsa Vicente. Forever Evil #6 by Geoff Johns, David Finch and Richard Friend, not so much.
The comic book, animation, illustration, pinup, mashup, fan art and design communities are generating amazing artwork of myriad styles and tastes, all of which ends up on the Internet and filtered into ComicsAlliance’s Best Art Ever (This Week). These images convey senses of mood and character — not to mention artistic skill — but comic books are specifically a medium of sequential narratives, and great sequential art has to be both beautiful (totally subjective!) and clear in its storytelling (not so subjective!). The words and the pictures need to work together to tell the story and create whatever tone, emotion and indeed world the story requires. The contributions of every person on a creative team, from the writer to the artist(s) to the letterers, are necessary to achieving a great page of sequential storytelling.
It is the special nature of comic books that we’re celebrating in this recurring feature: Best Sequential Art Ever (This Week).
Lawyers are not heroes. I don't say that to be unkind; I'm sure there are valiant and principled people in the law as in most walks of life. Jennifer Walters, the eponymous star of the new She-Hulk ongoing series from writer Charles Soule and artist Javier Pulido, is one of those good people.
Yet as a profession, lawyers do not represent "good" the way that superheroes do. Soule, a practicing lawyer himself, clearly recognizes this; he even has one character state, "I am neither bad nor good. I am simply Legal." The muddy ethics of lawyering provide a very different set of challenges to a superhero used to punching out their problems.
Marvel's animated shows are in part a way for the company to reach a wider audience than comics can, and to introduce a whole new generation of kids to the Marvel universe. This is a fact that wasn't lost on Clare Grant when the actress signed on to play Titania in Hulk and the Agents of SMASH. A noted comic book fan, Grant got into comics in part because of the '90s X-Men animated series, so it's perfectly understandable why she'd see this as an opportunity to reach a new generation of kids, and help introduce them to the characters she loves.
We spoke to Grant and supervising producer Cort Lane about Titania's future on the show, getting into the Marvel universe at an early age, and playing a female character in a show largely dominated by male Hulks.