Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I'm The New National President of Friends Of Lulu...

Yeah. I'm really stoked. I was going to tell you earlier, but it had to be official.

Friends of Lulu is a 13-year-old non-profit organization that promotes and encourages female readership and participation in the comic book industry. We also promote all-ages comic book material, as our slogan is "Comics Are For Everyone."

We have big things planned. I'm working with a *great* group of people. And I am totally happy & excited & overjoyed.

Please check out the official announcement below. And maybe think about joining or helping us out.


New Friends of Lulu Board of Directors for 2008.

We're pleased to announce the new Friends of Lulu Board of Directors for 2008, and we are already working hard to create a positive new era for the organization.

President: Valerie D'Orazio
Better known in the Internet as The Occasional Superheroine, Valerie has nearly seven years of comic editing experience, with Valiant/Acclaim and DC, as well as experience in Internet marketing and nonprofit organizations.

Membership Secretary: Nicole Boose
Nicole Boose is an associate editor for Marvel Comics, working with outside clients to create comics for all audiences extending beyond the traditional market, as well as editing the monthly series Cable & Deadpool.

Recording Secretary: Alison Bailey
Alison is a college student hard at work on her first graphic novel.

Treasurer: Marion Vitus
Marion is an illustrator and comic artist who has years of experience in nonprofit volunteering through her work with Girl Scouts. She is the writer and artist of the comic No In-Between on Webcomics Nation.

Vice President, Public Communications: Leigh Dragoon
Leigh is the writer and artist of the fantasy comic By the Wayside, which runs on Leigh is also a Staff Writer for Sequential Tart.

Vice President, Public Relations: Adalisa Zárate
Adalisa is the editor of the Anime y Manga Colección de Luxe Magazine in Mexico city, and the writer and artist of the webcomic The Building.

Expect great things from our new Board of Directors!
Stay tuned for more on!

Have A Safe And Happy Halloween, Peoples!

Don't get into no mischief, now!

Victoria Secret's "Secret Pink" Line Of Dolls For Girls

Yeah. "Secret Pink." That's the name of a doll line to give an eight-year-old girl.

Sure, Victoria's Secret has been outwardly promoting the dolls to college girls. But...

" prints, slumber party pj's, sweats aping soccer attire, camis and panties in ice cream-cone packaging suggest a decidedly younger demographic."


"Pink is the Joe Camel of thongs. The line is advertised in YM and Teen Vogue magazines, which boast 12-17 aspirational demographics."

Is this part of a nefarious plot by the lingerie maker to suck innocent adolescents into their addictive web of Gel-Curves and Brazilian panties?

And what about those autographs on the butt cheeks of Cabbage Patch Kids? That's just sick and wrong and encourages butt-familiarity and the use of bizarre paper substitutes. And if God wanted us to use Cabbage Patch Kid butts as paper, he would have turned them into trees.

How I want to be dressed for my wedding...

Preferably without the gun to my face by hood #3.

See, before Alan Moore & Frank Miller had to go spoil everything, this was considered normal comics.

(from Scans Daily, with the rest of the whole damn story)

Occasional Interviews: Zuda Artist Steve Ellis On "High Moon"

Steve Ellis describes himself as "born with a silver pencil in his mouth," having been drawing and telling comic book stories for most of his 36 years. Steve has co-created projects for DC and Marvel including Jezebelle and Crimson Dynamo, as well as the original comic series Tranquility and The Silencers.

With his co-creation of the webcomic High Moon, he is now part of the first wave of Zuda contestants.

OS: How did you get involved with High Moon?

SE: The writer met with me at the NYCComicCon in February and he gave me the initial pitch for the series. I thought it was great, so I agreed to take a stab at it.

OS: High Moon is described as a "werewolf western." Did the idea of working on a cross-genre book such as this appeal to you?

SE: I love Werewolves, I used to work for Whitewolf's Werewolf game and it was one of my favorite projects to work on. So getting to add my own version is great. Plus, in some weird way, the Western feel meshes really well with the flavor of werewolves, there's something haunting and lonely about werewolves, and westerns have that same feeling of being out in the middle of nowhere with eyes on your back...

OS: What were your artistic inspirations for this project?

SE: I submerged myself in my buddy Chuck's extensive western collection. I really wanted that gritty spaghetti western feel, so the films I went for were High Plains Drifter, The Good the Bad and The Ugly, El Topo and Django...they really inspired the look and feel.

Initially, we really don't get to see the wolves much, but I like to think that as we see more of them people will realize my spin is a bit different than the usual. I like them being a bit more sinewy and feral rather than monstrous.

I was initially inspired by the work I did on Whitewolf's old stuff, but I thinned out the feel thinking about how a wolf doesn't have the kind of bulked out musculature one of those other werewolves have. I wanted that lanky, hunched, head low, staring kinds of feel.

I wanted the strip to feel old, weathered, and beaten up...gritty.

OS: How does it feel being one of the first contestants of DC's Zuda project?

SE: It's exciting, everyone is supportive and there's a nice buzz around the project that hopefully will turn into votes. It's really nice to be at the ground floor of something new.

OS: Why do you think people should vote for High Moon out of all the other Zuda webcomics?

SE: Well, I haven't had a chance to read the others, and I've only glanced at some of the artists work, but I think ours has a very different sensibility than what I've seen. It's much more gritty and textural both in the art and the writing. Ours is a bit of a mystery, rather than a big fight, and involves a pretty complex story.

OS: Speaking of Zuda, what do you think of the whole so-called "webcomics" revolution?

SE: I guess the whole challenge of web comics right now is finding one that I like to read on a regular basis. It reminds me of the Black-and-White comics small publishing revolution of the late eighties...there was a lot of choice, but for quality you really only ended up with one or two out of hundreds of books, since the web is free to post on for the most part, anyone and anything gets a webcomic.

In some ways, that's wonderful that all those people get to express their ideas and art, in other ways, it makes it harder to find the one good one...the needle in the haystack. The traditional publishing model of editorial houses vetting work and choosing which got published, while sometimes corrupted, really acts as a quality filter - hopefully keeping the garbage out.

I guess, I like the Zuda model because rather than just every project being put up on the web, the projects to be voted on have been vetted by a panel for viability and quality.

OS: What comic books or webcomics out now to you currently enjoy?

SE: I'm a stick in the mud, I love 100 Bullets, Hellboy, The Walking Dead, I really like anything that's a bit edgy and turns traditional stories on their heads. I have to say I miss the old feeling of the Marvel and DC's when they didn't have as much at stake and were willing to try really outrageous stories.

Now, you get the feeling that so much is on the line with some books, they have to play it safe and keep the story tame or at least within a close margin of what's been done before, what's familiar...I think it's an unwillingness to lose any more readers.

OS: What's next for Steve Ellis?

SE: Wow, I think I'm moving back to NYC finally after three years of exile, and hopefully I'll be continuing to draw High Moon. I might throw together a reprint edition of an old book I love from my past, and I might just have another Silencers story in me if the publishing model is right...But I'd really like to finish High Moon - I can't wait to draw the big Werewolf fights! Grrrr!

Heh, heh, heh...
OS: Thanks, Steve! You can read HIGH MOON at ( and follow the production of the series here (

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Red Hulk: The Mob Hast Spoken

Okay, the results of my latest poll, "Who Do You Think Is The New Red Hulk?" is as follows:


34 Of You Say:

30 Of You Say:

22 Of You Say:

17 Of You Say:
Much thanks to all who have participated in the poll!

And to those of you who voted "Henry" or "Rosie" -- you are very silly people.

Examining the new Power Girl & Huntress statue

This one sorta slipped under my radar a bit, but here we are. What do you think?

This is probably the smallest I have ever seen PG's boobs on licensed product. It's hard to gauge with all the white, but I'm thinking a C -cup maximum. Also, note the glutes. Those are some serious hardcore muscular glutes. And she looks like she could really beat your ass. She's not playin.'

Huntress is like, "I don't go for that exploitative licensed product stuff. I'm going to keep my cape pulled around me like Batman. If it's good enough for Batman, it's good enough for me."

Overall, I think it's pretty decent. I think a female fan could buy this and not feel embarassed.

Of course, the devil's advocate in me asks, what sells more this or the manga versions with the ooh-la-la?

Top 6(66) Scream Queens

I think in terms of movie monsters & monster-fighters, my gender hasn't done too bad in Hollywood. I mean, of course we still have the cliche of the the screaming woman who conveniently trips and falls. But we also have these women...

6. Sydney Prescott from "Scream"
She starts out kind of weepy and emo ("why are al my friends dying, wahhhhh...") but quickly enters Sigourney Weaver ass-kicking territory:

5. Alice from "Resident Evil"
Alice will kick...your...ass

4. Laurie Strode from "Halloween"
Sure, she has some classic "trip and falls" in this flick, but she's also really handy with a knitting needle!

3. Regan from "The Exorcist"
I actually chose a clip from the second movie here, cuz the first one creeps me out too much...and this one's kinda funny. :-)

2. Ginger Fitzgerald from "Ginger Snaps"

1. Mary Shelley/Bride of Frankenstein
She seems like such a sweet girl...

Honorary Mention:

Be The Change You Want In The World

In response to my recent post about how not to engage in a feminist dialogue, Kalinara wrote the following:

"A ball-busting feminist doesn't have to understand where male complaints against accusations of feminism are coming from. We already know. Society shows us this every day, from the default comic book magazines highlighting T&A shots (and finally declaring themselves "for men") to the argument that a television show with a female lead is a risk because both men and women can identify with a male lead, but half the audience is lost with a female lead."

Hey, blaming society & the media is awesome. I get a lot of great posts out of it. But I'm not going to fool myself into thinking it's empowering me.

Blaming others doesn't empower you. I mean, the other party might really be "blame-worthy." But the act of blaming Jeff Robinov at Warner Brothers doesn't get me anything other than another few thousand hits on my blog. It doesn't accomplish anything real. And -- most importantly -- the act of blaming makes me feel helpless, at a disadvantage, not in control. It makes me feel like crap.

The only way I can feel empowered is if I say "the buck stops with me."

I have to say, "yeah, there are some shitty stuff in this world. how am I going to change it?"

Not how if the media changes, my life will be better. But how am I going to change things?

Not how if Jeff Robinov changes, the lives of women will be better. But how are women going to change things?

I can approach this comic book industry either with confidence and exultation at the accomplishments of myself and my gender, or as a Victim.

My forays into comic book feminism can either be a celebration of what my gender has contributed to the medium, or a dirge.

I can either navel-gaze or I can find ways to get funding for young female comic artists to hone their craft.

I can fill post after post about how women have been screwed in this business -- and in some cases they have -- or I could use that space to profile the work of females of distinction.

I've made my choice.

And if you define yourself as a "ball-busting feminist" and you notice that men are reacting to you poorly, maybe it's not all the media's fault. How much has a squashed nut -- or a demolished ego -- really accomplished?

I want solutions, and I want progress. I want measurable progress for women in this industry. Concrete progress. I am tired of splitting hairs over semantics.

Yeah, a man doesn't know what it is like to be a woman and my struggle. Understood. Does he like great comics? I like great comics. Hey, there are a lot of women who produce great comics; let me introduce you to some of their work...

Monday, October 29, 2007

What Comic Books I Did (And Did Not) Give A Nine Year Old Girl

So I was putting together a "grab bag" of comic book goodies for BF's niece, culled from both our collections. This is what made the cut:

1. Marvel Adventures
2. Betty & Veronica
3. Glister -- Image Comics
4. Felix the Cat - Felix Comics
5. Sardine In Outer Space graphic novel -- First, Second
6. Goodbye, Chunky Rice graphic novel -- Pantheon
7. Patrick The Wolf Boy -- Arthur Baltazar & Franco Aureliani

This is what didn't make the cut:

1. The Betty & Veronica Digest "Bad Boy Trouble" series -- That story line is a little too "Ricki Lake" for a nine-year-old.
2. Various manga hanging around my house -- maybe for 12-year-olds but not nine. Some of these books even make the darned magic house cats sexy.
3. Supergirl -- SEE?????

Age-appropriate stuff that didn't make the cut because I like 'em too much to give away & I'm a big selfish poo:1. Legion of the Superheroes Johnny DC. Nobody's touching my set! Nobody!
2. Spider-Girl.
3. My Marvel Adventures digest with Modok in it.
4. Baby Sitters Club graphic novels -- they would have to be pried out of my cold dead hands
5. Sabrina the Teenage Witch by Tania del Rio
6. Mouse Guard Hardcover -- I mean, c'mon. There's generous and then there is crazzzzzzzzy.

How NOT To Have A Feminist Discourse With A Man, #234

When engaged in feminist debate with a member of the estrogenly-challenged sex, it might be wise to avoid the following nugget:

"Well, do you have a vagina? No? Then be quiet."

I might want to start "D'Orazio's Law" -- corollary to the oft-invoked Godwin's Law of Internet discourse -- in which anyone in a feminist debate asking the accusatory question "do you have a vagina?" to a member of the estrogenly-challenged sex hast thus ended the discussion.

Now, I am quite aware of the meaning behind asking a man, "do you have a vagina" in response to his opinions on wimmins. The inquiry points out the fact that men do not know what is like to be women and thus hast no business (so the theory goes) to lend their opinions on the subject of the testosterone-challenged sex.

However, we all know what the answer is (usually) to the question thus posed to a man, "do you have a vagina?"


Asking him if he indeed has a vagina serves very little constructive purpose. I understand the meaning behind the question, but all it will really accomplish is to make the man defensive.

Now, there is the related issue of whether a man sans vagina sans tits sans ovaries is in any position to comment on wimmin's issues at all.

If we as women want to take that view, then the reverse can be used on us, and we can be kept from...oh gosh I don't know, writing comics starring male superheroes, because we do not have a penis and therefore are not "fit" to write about those possessing said instrument. 'Cause we don't "get" the whole penis thing.

In the end, I think you have to figure out what means more to you in a debate -- getting in the last word with a pithy comment, or actually trying to help change another person's point of view. If you want to help change (or expand) another person's point of view, you've got to think "inclusive" and not "exclusive." You can't underline how different you are from the other have to find some common ground to speak from.

Yeah, your male counterpart in the feminist debate about cheesecake in comics doesn't have a vagina. That's right. But has he ever felt embarrassed, ashamed? Has he ever felt defensive about the way a female friend or family member has been treated? Has he ever suffered from being stereotyped, misunderstood? These are all areas from which to build some common ground.

"Green Lantern" Movie To Be Directed By "Dirty Sexy Money" Auteur

Once again, I have to hand it to Warner Brothers for realizing that action movies with male protagonists are guaranteed moneymakers. Hot on the heels of the announcement of the "Flash" movie, word comes from Variety (via Newsarama) that Greg Berlanti, from the TV show "Dirty Sexy Money," is on board for the new "Green Lantern" movie.

Says Berlanti,

"To me, this was on the last great comic book movie that hasn’t been made."

No comment:

G.I. Joe No Longer Real American Hero?

According to IGN, the new G.I. Joe movie will no longer be about American soldiers but an international fighting force headquartered in Brussels.

Specifically, "G.I. Joe" will now stand for the following acronym: "Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity."

And the villain? From that bastion of villainy and terrorism known as...Scotland!

The official reason for this switcheroo has to do with international movie sales...and the challenge of selling "American" overseas.

Rob Moore from Paramount's marketing division told AdAge, "Until there's a [locked] script, I don't think you can really comment on what the international reaction will be. In Bourne Ultimatum, you have the story of what is essentially an American spy. But the characterization of the military and the CIA is: They're the bad guys. In any event, there are parts of the world where it's an issue, like Western Europe, and parts where it isn't, like the U.K., Australia and Asia."

However, Hasbro COO Brian Goldner assures: "GI Joe is not just a brand that represents the military; it also represents great characters."

Not just the U.S. Military -- but "great characters" as well.

Hey, I remember another great movie about an international fighting squad:

Let's all hope "G.I. Joe" will be as good as this.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Occasional Reviews: The Emerald Giantess Edition

She-Hulk #22
Writer: Peter David
Artists: Shawn Moll & Victor Olazaba
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Peter David's take on the emerald giantess starts off not that unsimilar from previous writer Dan Slott's run...quirky criminals & a quirky, self-effacing narrative by Jen Walters (tinted green in the caption boxes, natch). Then it takes a sharp left-turn somewhere in David Lynch territory, and the sudden ending -- reminiscent of the "Sopranos" finale -- will leave you guessing. I literally turned my comic book upside down and shook it to find the missing page that I assumed followed the blackout. Then I checked my cable box. Art by Shawn Moll & Victor Olazaba is effective & dynamic and makes Jen/She-Hulk attractive without making her look like an underwear model.
Rating: A

Justice League of America #14
Writer: Dwayne McDuffie
Artists: Ed Benes & Sandra Hope
I want to love this new era for the series as much as the next person, but please don't flame me for saying that this and the last issue have been a little on the "thin" side. The narrative -- regarding the new Injustice League -- is starting to drag out in that decompressed way that makes you feel as if you've missed something at the end of the issue...or that the story should have been completed by now. Considering the textured and well-written McDuffie "Justice League Unlimited" animated episodes, I don't know what the problem is here. In the old days, a story like this could have been done in one issue. It makes me wonder if the arc has been artificially prolonged to match up with some "Countdown" endpoint. Plus: an extended role for Black Lightning & more excessive Geo Force abuse. So it's not all bad. Rating: B-

Breathers Book One
Writer & Artist: Justin Madson
Publisher: Just Mad Books
Hey, I don't even know this Justin Madson guy; this isn't a shill or nothin.' Just found this in BF's pile of goodies from SPX. The story is about a dystopia unsettlingly familiar to our own world where people are forced to wear breathing masks outside. There is a quiet ticking desperation about the characters and their lives that is both captivating and really sad. Madson's one of these guys that you know will be "indie hotness of the month" before too long, so catch him before he gets famous so you can say you discovered him. Rating: A
You can purchase "Breathers" here...for only $5! $7 if you include #0! More with shipping! Eeep!

Uzumaki: Viz Signature Edition

Writer & Artist: Junji Ito
Publisher: Viz Media
This classic horror manga -- released in a smart new "signature edition" -- just about made me vomit on the subway train, it was so creepy. That's my roundabout way of saying, "I heartily recommend it." The story is about a small town whose inhabitants are going crazy because of a "spiral-obsession." This obsession drives them to, among other things, engage in really bizarre forms of body modification. It's like that one scene in "Nightmare on Elm Street" with the tongue coming out of the phone, for the entire book. By the way, if you're looking for this edition in the stores, it's an all-black cover with red lettering and art in a varnished outline. Rating: A+

Penance: Relentless #2
Writer: Paul Jenkins
Artist: Paul Gulacy
Thunderbolts #117
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Mike Deodato
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Non-stop emo action with everybody's favorite "cutter," Robbie Baldwin. To me, the sheer Grand Guignol DeSadian excess of Penance's self-mutilation overshadows everything else about his solo miniseries, with the possible exception of Paul Gulacy's artwork. Take the 16-page "grid" panel of Penance putting on his "Iron Maiden" (dude! Iron Maiden!) outfit. Geez-Louise. Next up, in "Thunderbolts," Doc Samson (who apparently has issues of his own), has a man-to-boy talk with Penance, outlining the "cutter" philosophy for the readers at home in great detail. As they are apparently setting up Penance/Robbie to be the next "key player" in the Marvel Universe, for some reason I kept thinking of Jimmy Olsen. Jimmy with nipple-clamps.
Rating: Penance: B Thunderbolts: A

Robin #167

Writer: Brandon Thomas
Artist: Freddie Williams III
Publisher: DC Comics
This fill-in by writer Brandon Thomas ("Fantastic Four Adventures," "Shatterstar") is a poignant character study of Robin and why he does what he does. He's gets beaten to a bloody pulp quite a bit in this issue (alert "Scans Daily"), but recovers just in time to have a touching scene at his father's grave. Batman makes a rare non-goddamn appearance and wraps up the issue nicely.
Rating: A

The Professor's Daughter

Writer: Joann Sfar
Artist: Emmanuel Guibert
Publisher: First Second
This is a lovely little graphic novel that has that "League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen" charm without the martians or fatal buggery. A museum mummy with impeccible manners and a proper Englishwoman form a unlikely romance. Despite the murder mystery plot and potential for darkness, always keeps a cheerful stiff upper lip to the very end of the volume. The perfect graphic novel for yourself or to buy for a girlfriend/wife/mom who might not be too impressed with your "Sinestro Corps" collection.
Rating: A

New "Flash" Movie To Be Helmed By "Fred Claus" Director

I first have to really applaud Warner Brothers for being so proactive in getting this new "Flash" movie made. Movies with male protagonists really sell well, and I think to have a director with the stature of the guy who directed "Fred Claus" on board will really make this a blockbuster.

That said, the word is that this "Flash" film will closely follow the upcoming "JLA" movie. Further rumors are that the "JLA" movie will open with the death of Barry Allen, and that the Flash-of-choice will be Wally West.

The director, David Dobkin -- who has also directed "The Wedding Crashers," has commented to the MTV Movies blog that his Flash will be no laughing matter.

But honestly, outside of "Iron Man" and possibly "The Incredible Hulk," none of these new in-development superhero movies sound like anything near the quality of "Batman Begins." Probably more like "Smallville."

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Marketing Analysis: Comics In The Bookstores

Through an entirely random course of events I found myself recently at the graphic novel section at a large Barnes and Noble in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Having some time to kill, I got out my notebook and did a bit of observation.

Out of 54 shelves (grouped in units of 9 each), 2 tables, and three racks, how many superhero genre books do you think there were?

4 shelves and a 1/2 a table.

27 shelves -- 3 entire shelving units -- plus 3 racks and 1 & 1/2 tables were taken up by manga.

Manga dwarfed everything else, which was certainly not news. But to see traditional capes and cowls books so marginalized was shocking.

On to how the books racked on the shelves.

Most books were racked spine out. This meant that often, all a casual browser had to go on was that spine. This put the thinner trade paperbacks at a distinct disadvantage. A standard-sized trade often only had enough room for the logo. Thicker books -- like the Essentials/Showcase editions and books like The New Gods Omnibus -- racked far better, because the spines had room for art and interesting designs.

Both Marvel & DC's trade paperbacks -- as well as those of most of the independent superhero/genre publishers -- were also at a disadvantage for having regimented, standardized cover spines. Featuring the logo, then the title in a plain font -- and, often, a darker palette -- these books tended to "fade" out a bit on the shelves, looking like volumes of the same series rather than capturing the unique flavor of each title.

To be fair, this standardized system of trade paperback design probably works far better for the publishers' target audience, the direct market. In the direct market, seeing a big DC "swirl" or the Marvel logo tells one a lot about what they need to know. But I fear that to the non-comics fan, the comics neophyte, the innocent bystander -- many of these trades get overlooked.

There were exceptions to this. Vertigo's latest Sandman editions and Y The Last Man on Earth sported spines that were multi-colored and interesting. They stood out tremendously. Ditto for the design for the 52 trades, though the logo was nearly unreadable. Y and 52 also benefited from a liberal use of white on their spines, something Dave Sim has been doing for years with Cerebus and which works quite well. White "pops."

And as I said before, the thicker the spine, the more stand-out the book. The affordable Superman Our Worlds At War trade had enough room on the spine to sport an entire Ed McGuinness Superman on it -- and it paid off in convincing me to pick the volume off the shelf and look at it.

Marvel, meanwhile, seems to be cornering the market on high-end oversized formats, sporting several great hardcover editions. These books rack up great and look impressive. However, they may find themselves in odd places in the shelving units because of their size. And probably the best Marvel has to offer right now in the book department are their excellent Omnibus super-oversized editions. But how can these books be racked on traditional shelving? Many of the super-oversized volumes are racked horizontally -- as you might see in a library.

Some of the trade dresses & spines for other, smaller publishers were simply nondescript. While IDW's volumes for classic books like Grimjack were eye-catching, those for titles like Angel were too plain -- black with tiny white lettering on the spines. Same for Virgin Comics, whose trade paperbacks had dazzling covers but completely ignorable thin spines.

Compare this to the "alternative" indie-press books. They were all in different sizes and shapes. The standard "comic size" was but one choice. Cover design seemed to focus on the individual title rather than "branding" all the books uniformly.

And then there are those three shelving units of manga. Their nice, thick, squat format affords the publishers great leeway in design and the inclusion of art. Most books sported white spines with colorful logos and representative art. What you got was a joyous riot of books that fairly begged you to pick them up.

Another thing I noticed was the bookstore's priorities in stocking titles & especially multiple volumes. While the store was spotty in keeping superhero trade backlist recent, Vertigo & manga series were very well stocked. All the volumes of Y Last Man on Earth were stocked, for instance. But there was not one Wonder Woman trade paperback.

Lastly, I could not readily find any Minx titles in this section. But as I also didn't notice other teen non-manga books racked up, I have to wonder if they were not in the "teen" section of the store. How being racked up separately from the graphic novels impacts sales would be interesting to find out.

Based on my observations, I would make the following recommendations to publishers:

* Reprint more pages in each volume as to get a bigger book spine.
* Use more white in your cover designs, because white "pops" off the shelf
* Use more bright colors for your trade spines, and try to get art on them
* Look at shelved manga books and note the way their spines "pop" and invite the reader to look inside
* Provide bookstores special cardboard shelving/display for the oversize editions...or figure into the design of the books how they might look like shelved width-wise instead of length-wise.
* Superhero comics seem to be a relatively smaller chunk of the entire graphic novel selections for the standard bookstore. Does this mean that superheroes don't play well outside of the direct market? Or do they need to be marketed differently? I don't know the answer.

Karate Kid: Laundry Boy To The Legion

Holy crap, I just watched the latest "Legion of the Superheroes" cartoon.

Okay, so in this Legion universe, Karate Kid is Asian. An Asian martial artist. That's clever. If you're going to have an Asian kid in the Legion, he might as well wear a white karate outfit and be into martial arts.

But it gets better. Karate Kid wants to join the Legion. But he has no superpowers. So they take him into the group on a trial basis. He must prove himself to them and, basically, earn his keep.

So what job do the Legion give him?


They give him a cart with wheels and he has to go to every Legion bunk and pick up their laundry. He is also a great housekeeper.

In return, the Legion makes it clear that he has yet to prove himself to them, and is not really as legit member.

Karate Kid doesn't really hang out with the rest of the group, because they really don't accept him. He is paired off with Chameleon Boy -- ostensibly another "minority" member who also is on thin ice with the Legion.

But as Superman keeps reminding them, Karate Kid may not have fancy-schmancy powers like the rest of them...but he has a strong work ethic! Steaming and pressing Element Lad's sheets and polishing the mess hall, Karate Kid is a role model of what you can accomplish "when you don't have a lot but are willing to work hard."

Through it all, in a fake Asian accent, Karate Kid spouts out pseudo-meaningful nuggets of wisdom about "finding your own destiny" and working despite the odds.

This episode was the most mind-bogglingly patronizing thing I've ever seen since viewing the silent movie "Shadows". In that movie, Lon Chaney takes the role of the wise, stomach-churningly humble, hardworking Asian laundryman. The fact that around 80 years have passed since that film & this cartoon but the Asian protagonist has been portrayed so very similar is troubling.

Sunday Is Wonder Woman Day

A dazzling array of comic book artists have donated portraits of the world's most famous Amazon to raise money for two shelters for women and children. It's all a part of Wonder Woman day, an event held at Excalibur Comics in Portland, Oregon.

Donating artists include Adam Hughes, Alex Ross, Gary Frank, John Romita Sr., Anne Timmons, Jim Mahfood, The Hernandez Brothers, Greg Horn, Roberta Gregory, and many more.

You can visit the Wonder Woman Museum site and look at all the donated art here.

This event is HUGE. And I think the way they have used the icon of Wonder Woman to raise money for help domestic abuse victims is awesome. These comic book icons -- after we get past the cliche Bam! Pow! Bash! -- are powerful images that can be used to stir people to positive action.

Role of Wonder Woman Reportedly Cast

The buzz is that Australian actress Teresa Palmer has landed the role of Wonder Woman in the upcoming "Wonder Woman" movie, according to the website.

A friend of Palmer's reportedly said that the blond actress will wear a wig for the role:

"Apparently they're going to have her fitted out with a black wig rather than dye her hair.''

Of course, this is all unconfirmed. But with the new JLA movie seemingly casting relative unknowns in the roles rather than going for the usual Wizard Magazine "Dream Cast," it wouldn't be totally unreasonable.

So what do you think, all? Is she WW material?

Friday, October 26, 2007

"Superman Prime" -- FANBOY!

"Oh, I get it," I said to Self as Self was reading "Superman Prime" #1, "Superman Prime is just a big Fanboy run amok...or at least Geoff Johns's interpretation of one."

The key to this, as far as I am concerned, is Superman Prime's rant about how his "heroes let him down..."

"They don't care about anyone but was terrible. Hal Jordan went bad! Wonder Woman killed someone! I couldn't watch what they did to Sue Dibny." (emphasis mine)

The Dibny line is very telling. Is S.P. really referring to Dr. Light or Jean Loring? Or simply parroting complaints about the "Identity Crisis" and the whole "darker" tone DC had seemed to take since that miniseries?

Superman Prime is:
1) From "our Earth"
2) A comic book collector
3) The son of a comic book collector who named him after a comic book character (shades of Nick Cage!)
4) Owns a "Green Lantern" T-shirt
5) Thinks nothing has been the same since Dan Didio took over the DCU
6) Is a batshit-crazy murderer

Getting that out of the way, the book itself features a very entertaining extended fight sequence between S.P. and ALL the DCU, and flashback sequences with tortured continuity explanations that makes my brain hurt.

The art by Pete Woods is a stand-out and a revelation; perhaps the key is the fact he has inked himself here. Jerry Ordway's art is also top-notch.

Really, not a bad issue at all, except for the rather obvious "Fanboy Straw Man" and the continuity porn.

Grade: A-

Fangirl Fridays: The "Soho Surprise" Edition

What a day yesterday! First, I go to my local comic book store to pick up my weekly comics. The new Peter David "She-Hulk" is totally sold out except for one copy in a bag and board for $15.00.

So then I hop across town to attend the Dan Slott/Peter David signing at Jim Hanley's Universe. The signing is significant in that it's basically Slott "handing over the keys to the kingdom" to David on "She-Hulk." The place is mobbed and, much as I suspected, there was a surplus of extra "She-Hulk" in stock.

On my way to the signing line, I run into "Reagan: A Graphic Biography" writer Andy Helfer. I used to work w/Andy at DC, and we were yakking it up. Then I caught Dan Slott's eye and we were waving to each other across the store.

I also worked with Slott at DC, specifically on a book called "Arkham Asylum: Living Hell." I always considered "Living Hell" a significant Dan Slott comic because I think it was the first to really bridge that gap between his prolific work on stuff like "Looney Tunes" and "Batman Adventures" and the more adult/mainstream work he does for Marvel, like "Avengers: The Initiative" and, coming soon, "Amazing Spider-Man."

I grab an issue of "She Hulk" and jump on the signing line. The guy ahead of me has what looks like a professional "kit" filled with toys, comics, and other memorabilia to sign. He is holding a "Sandman" Mego-like doll in his hand.

"Is that from the movie," I ask.

"No, this came out earlier."

Is he really going to have Slott/David sign all of this, I wonder. But he was gracious and let me cut ahead of him on the line.

Chatted with Slott & David. David said he had read my blog, which was flattering.

David said, "Dan Slott says that my new run will be Shulkarific -- and I couldn't agree more."

Slott commented on the furor over "continuity porn" in comics and wondered if we can just have elements of continuity AND not getting caught up in it. Can't we just have balance?

I took a picture with the two and left the table. I realized that in all our yakking, I never did get that issue of "She-Hulk" signed by Peter David. So I just grabbed one off the "impulse rack" and just bought it.

Next, I had to visit the ER with my BF because he hurt a tooth. It wasn't serious, but it needed to be addressed that night if possible. Then I ran all the way across town again for this women-in-comics meetup. I had an awesome time, and met many talented people. My BF met up with me there, and then we headed out...

And now comes out "Soho Surprise." (did I mention yesterday was a full moon?)

We took a wrong turn somewhere around Albuquerque and ended up in the ass-end of Soho. I mean, we didn't know WHERE the hell we were. No subway trains. Every person we ran into gave us different directions. We used a skyscraper as a landmark, incorrectly thinking it was the Empire State Building. It was actually something in the opposite direction. Or across the water.

We were walking for an hour-and-a-half. It was like something out of the Blair Witch Project.

Finally we made it home. A valiant attempt was made to read our comics, but we soon passed out. Snore.

On a different note -- I have a rather biggish thing relating to me and comics that I've been keeping from y'all for the last several weeks. I'm so excited about it that I'm just about to have kittens. The official announcement will happen in a few days, but I'm just giving you a heads-up.

News at eleven. Have an awesome weekend, all!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Frank Miller Wins Goddamn Award For Goddamn Comic Book

The goddamn Spike TV Scream Awards Committee looked at all the goddamn comics for the goddamn year and decided that the goddamn All Star Batman and Robin's Frank Miller was the best goddamn comic book writer.

Also receiving a goddamn award was goddamn Neil Gaiman for goddamn lifetime achievement, goddamn John Cassaday as best goddamn artist, and goddamn Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith for best goddamn comic "30 Days Of Night."

"Because He's The Goddamn Jason Todd"

I wouldn't worry about Donna, though. I mean, dying every couple of years is practically part of her job description.

In short, I do not see this so much as a "fridging" as merely a temporary stay in one of those styrofoam coolers you take to the beach.

Besides, I still hold that at the end of "Final Crisis" there will be some variation of a rebooting and it all won't matter anyhow. Of course, that's just my opinion; I could be wrong.