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Sidekicked: How Superhero Publishers Are Failing Kids

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Comic readers are often annoyed by the outdated assertion, “but comic books are for kids!” As those of us within this culture know, comics today are usually made for and marketed to adults, especially single issues and superhero comics. However, comics, as a medium, should and can serve a vast variety of demographics. Publishers simply need to be ready to create the books that readers will read.

Most comic readers can point to some great comics for kids, including Smile, Bone, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and Adventure Time -- but for many parents and young readers, there is a huge void in the comics that exist today. There are very few high-quality, positive, superhero comics for kids.

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Ask Chris #214: DC’s Dracula Comics

Ask Chris #214, art by Erica Henderson

Q: Aside from the amazing cover for Superman #180, what's the best DC Comics story featuring Dracula? -- @brendan42

A: October is the month where I always find myself thinking about Dracula even more than I usually do, and just the other day I was thinking about how weird it is that there's never been a really good story about Batman fighting Dracula. They've tried it a couple of times, sure -- including a direct-to-video movie that takes a premise like Batman vs. Dracula and ends up committing the cardinal sin of being boring -- but it never really takes. Once I got your question, though, I started thinking about it, and I realized that there aren't many good stories about any DC Comics character fighting Dracula.

It turns out that dude just doesn't show up a whole lot in the DC Universe. And that's pretty weird.

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Filed Under: , , , , Category: Ask Chris, DC, Opinion

Who Run The World? Girls: Nine Unbeatable All-Lady Justice League Line-Ups

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If you spend as much time thinking about comics as I do, you probably find yourself creating hypothetical-based thought experiments about super-team line-ups and such. Usually I only share them with Chris Sims, who then goes on to turn them into an Ask Chris and get paid for my idea. [cough]

But a few weeks ago, I took to Twitter to ask people who they would recruit for an all-female, seven-member Justice League. The response at the time was great, with lots of interesting variation in potential team rosters, but then the idea got a bump again when artists started posting drawings of their ideal Justice Ladies teams on Twitter and Tumblr.

I've collected nine such line-ups, including my own, which kicked everything off, but you can check my Twitter feed to see all the responses I received.

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Supergirl TV Show Leaps To Series In A Single Bound At CBS – What Does It Mean?

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Last week there was talk that a Supergirl TV show was in development from Arrow and Flash executive producer Greg Berlanti. This week CBS has jumped straight to a series order for the show, meaning Supergirl is just about guaranteed to make it to air (or else the network pay a hefty kill fee) -- and we can all start wildly speculating about who they'll cast as the lead and which version of the character will make it to the screen.

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The Top Ten Classic Superman Creations Of Otto Binder

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If there's one thing we've learned from our years on the Internet, it's that there's no aspect of comics that can't be broken down and quantified in a single definitive list, preferably in amounts of ten. And since there's no more definitive authority than ComicsAlliance, we're taking it upon ourselves to compile Top Ten Lists of everything you could ever want to know about comics.

This week, with the help of CA contributor Benito Cereno, we're bringing you the ten best Superman creations of the best Superman writer ever, Otto Binder. From Krypto to Supergirl and even all the way to Lucy Lane, they're all here!

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Girl Fight: The Marvel/DC Rivalry Finally Extends To Winning The Female Audience

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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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Fashionista Supergirl Finally Gives Batgirl The Thumbs-Up In Mike Maihack’s Latest Fan Comic

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Ever since it first started, Mike Maihack's Batgirl/Supergirl has been ComicsAlliance's favorite take on those two characters, probably ever. The strips are unfailingly charming and delightful, and the clash between Batgirl's understandable grumpiness and Supergirl's relentless cheer makes for some classic comedy. Now, though, we're all getting pretty excited about the official version of Batgirl, with the announcement of Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr's impending takeover of the book with an amazing new costume, it looks like there might be a rival for our Batgirl-related affections coming up soon.

But, as Maihack has proven in his latest strip, there's nobody more excited about Batgirl's new costume than her best friend Kara.

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Merry Christmas From Supergirl, Batgirl and Cartoonist Mike Maihack [Webcomic]

Batgirl Supergirl Christmas Mike Maihack

 

If you aren't familiar with Mike Maihack's Supergirl and Batgirl comic strips, you're missing out. Best known for his creator owned Cleopatra in Space, as well as his contributions to Archaia's Jim Henson's Storyteller, Maichack started his Supergirl Batgirl strips in 2011, and they're pretty great. While they've recently taken a back seat so that Maihack can focus on his creator owned projects, he does make a return for special occasions, including this year's Christmas strip, which you can check out below.

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Supergirl and Legion of Super-Heroes Co-Creator Al Plastino Passes Away at 91

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Today the comics community mourns the loss and celebrate the life and work of cartoonist Al Plastino, a veteran of DC Comics whose enduringly popular creations include the Legion of Super-Heroes and Supergirl. Plastino was in the news this year after it was discovered that the artwork for which he was most proud, created for a story in which Superman undertook a mission at the behest of American President John F. Kennedy, was available in a high-priced auction and not donated to the late President's museum as Plastino said he'd been promised.

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Tonner Enters DC’s ‘New 52′ With Harley Quinn, Wonder Woman And Mera Designs

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Toymaker Tonner has been crafting high-end DC Comics fashion dolls for awhile now, but this December fans will be able to find versions of Supergirl, Wonderwoman and Mera sporting their Jim Lee-designed New 52 costumes.

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