Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Who Is This Valerie D'Orazio Anyway?

I'm totally not making a duck face in this pic

This is just an introduction to my site & who I am, as a refresher:

I'm a lifelong comic book fan. I owned a Mego Batmobile, was a Marvel Age penpal, and did my 6th grade "People I Admire" report on Stan Lee. I also sent Marvel a pitch for a Punisher story when I was 12 or 13; in response they offered me an internship (I was too young to accept).

I studied American Lit in college, with a special interest in Mark Twain, the Beat Generation, and Comics-As-Literature. Spent a summer semester studying Shakespeare in England. Was on an honors track for grad school. Dumped it all to go work at Acclaim Comics in 1996.

From 1996-1998 I worked as an assistant editor at Acclaim (formerly Valiant). I was there for the planning stages of the relaunch, and watched as each Valiant character was rebooted to become an Acclaim character; I always found that the most interesting part of my tenure there. I assisted on their Disney and Classics Illustrated lines, as well as Magnus Robot Fighter, Shadowman, and Master Darque.

When the larger part of Acclaim Comics folded in '98, I went into advertising and marketing. Within weeks of receiving my big promotion at my marketing job, I sent out a number of "cold call" letters to various DC and Marvel editors looking for work. Within two days of sending out these letters, I received 3 calls from DC and ended up with interviews with 5 different editors by the next week.

In 2000 I was hired as the Creative Service Coordinator at DC Comics. Within a year or so, I became an assistant editor, and soon I was involved with the "rebooting" of the DC line by new hire Dan DiDio. I assisted on such books as Batman Black & White, The New Frontier, Aquaman, JLA, Rose & Thorn, and a bunch more. I also did full editing duties on Arkham Asylum: Living Hell and Human Defense Corps. In 2004, me & DC parted ways. The last book I worked on at DC was Identity Crisis.

I briefly had a comics column at the old Silver Bullet Comics site, then started this blog, Occasional Supeheroine. In November '06 I deleted the contents of my blog and started a series of posts called "Goodbye To Comics." These posts quite frankly and sometimes graphically described a series of misadventures I had that were all comic book related. The posts caused quite a stir.

That began about 3+ years of steady posting on this blog, which had started to develop a cult following. Out of all the posts I ever did, the one on Supergirl remains my favorite. It started with me bemoaning the sexualized depiction of Supergirl, and ended with me (in real time, as I wrote the post) realizing that I was the one at DC who suggested that cheesecake artist Ed Benes take over the flagging Supergirl title in the first place. That tension and ambivalence between feminist ideals and comic book realities is one I own wholeheartedly and don't apologize for.

If I had to categorize this blog, it would be "Feminist Comic Book Blog That Mostly Men Read." I would say that out of all the fan email I get, over 75 percent are from guys. You would think those emails would include some weird stuff, but that's happened very very rarely. I've grown up around (mostly male) hard core comic book fans; that's the culture I know, the culture of the neighborhood comic shop. I think often what I write reflects the nexus point (or collision) between that world and women's issues that I've experienced/care about.

In 2009 I offered as an eBook "Memoirs of An Occasional Superheroine," which expanded on themes introduced in Goodbye To Comics. You can download it for free, until mid-March, here.

In March 2010, my one-shot Punisher MAX: Butterfly was released, as well as a short story also featuring the Punisher in the Marvel anthology Girl Comics #1. In May 2010, my one-shot X-Men Origins: Emma Frost, will hit stands.

What's next for me? I'm not really sure. Maybe I will have a long illustrious comic book writing career. Maybe I won't. Maybe I'll have a baby. Maybe I'll go back to that graduate school plan I abandoned so many years ago. I've always wanted to break into horror movie/comics fandom, so maybe I'll look into that. Maybe I'll go write that sequel to Goodbye To Comics. And get the house painted.

Last story, that I've never told before: many years ago, when I first started using the Internet, I had created my own religion on MySpace. Honest to God. I mean, it had just started with me posting some anonymous stuff on philosophy, metaphysics, a few predictions, stuff like that. And then I got a following. And then things got weird, with people depending on me for insights, and the way I dealt with it was running away. Because I was just so freaked out by it. I'd make a lousy L. Ron Hubbard, I guess. So I ran away. And then I went to another New Age type forum, and then inadvertently started it all over again. And ran away. And then I gave that all up and started comic book blogging. This is the longest I ever stuck with anything like this. I guess that's what I'm trying to say.

Thanks, to those who have stuck with it. We'll see how far it goes.

"This was your idea. If you don't like your ideas, stop having them."
--Ginger Snaps

(I was going to make this a link section to all my interviews, etc., but if you just Google my name you'll get more links and info than you would ever need or hope for.)


  1. Nice summary bio. And now I don't feel so bad for basically creating a religion back in the mid-1990s.

  2. Hiya....I'm mostly a "lurker" (i.e., I don't comment on blogs very often) but I'm leaving this comment just to let you know that there *are* female readers out there, like me, who do enjoy your blog.

  3. Torint1:20 PM

    Next on my to-do list: accidentally start my own religion.

  4. You started a religion and you ran away from all that power. Man, you are a girl.

    I love influence. That's why I like to mess with the minds of my nieces and nephews and send them back to their parents. Calvin and Hobbes taught me well.

  5. You've done a lot in your life, Val, some for good, some for bad, but it's always great to see how you're getting through the good and the bad and be reminded of how far you've come. ^_^

  6. Been a fan since way back. I enjoy your honesty and insight and feel proud to see you living the dream. I like to think I was one of the ones who quietly nudged you along and kept some of the bad karma off you by thinking good thoughts about your sucess. I will happily add your work to my collection not because you are a girl who likes comics but because you are a good writer. Continued success.

  7. It's much better to create your own religion and walk away from it than it is to keep on going until someone crucifies you. I mean... you wouldn't want a televangelist begging retired people out of their money in *your* name, would you? :)

  8. Reluctant prophets invent the best religions. Please consider giving it another go. Maybe the third time will be the charm.

  9. Val, what ever happened to the Cloak & Dagger series?
    Maybe I missed a column;-)

  10. I picked up your Punisher story and Girl Comics # 1.

    I reviewed both for Comics Con Queso this week. Read my thoughts at

    Quick version, both get thumbs up.


    The dude put it in my box (heh. it can mean two things) without my asking for it, I'm getting the other Punisher Max series, and first I thought, "Butterfly? What kind of a name is that for a Punisher story?" and then I saw "One-Shot" and I thought, "Meh. It's a One-Shot, what do I have to lose?"

    It's so, vivid and immersive, it's so smart and sad and beautiful and tragic, it's such a perfect marriage of writing and art, I just can't believe that a comic I had little no to interest in became my favorite comic I bought this week. Well done. Cheers.

  12. If you love Snoopy so much, why don't you marry him?

    I got nothin'! :D

  13. "If you love Snoopy so much, why don't you marry him?"

    Hugging that Snoopy was such an awesome experience, I almost became a Furry.

  14. Anonymous5:23 PM

    Val I've been a lurker for most of the last 3 years, sometimes agreeing sometimes disagreeing with your words but always interested in your perspective. This post is a really lovely introduction that I hope suggests you are really at a great and fresh place in your life and career. Congratulations on the books!