Thursday, 26 February 2015

DC's Yellow Brick Road to Diversity: Is it Real or Something That--Like the Magical World of Oz--Only Looks Real?

I'm probably going to be asked about this sooner or later, and in fact, it was already brought to my attention last night on Twitter after I got home from work. So I thought 'why not do a whole post on this topic while the news is still hot?'

As many know by now, current Catwoman scribe, Genevieve Valentine has outed Selina Kyle (better known as Catwoman) as a canonical bisexual character in this week's issue of her run. A lot of people are feeling pretty shaken up about this latest development, some for legitimate reasons, and others not. I will say for myself, I have no complaints about Selina being bisexual in and of itself since I don't think it takes away from her character, I think it only adds to it.

As a bisexual woman myself, I can never complain about more representation, even less so if this gives small credence to my theory that the New 52 Helena Wayne (Selina's Earth-2 daughter) is herself bisexual. It would've, in my opinion, made more sense for DC to out Helena as bisexual since she already reads--as of issue #1 of her Huntress miniseries--as a queer character, most notably during her scenes with her best friend, Karen Starr (Power Girl) in Worlds' Finest.

But! Despite this seemingly progressive development for an iconic female character like Catwoman, there is a consistent pattern with the way DC has been attempting diversify their line in the last three years that I think is worth addressing. Two in fact. The first is DC's very noticeable pattern of erasing their more iconic couples that have challenged many of our ideas about gender and relationships for decades from the current continuity. From the long time erasure of Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor to that of Batman and Catwoman, to even that of DC's longest standing flagship couple of Superman and Lois Lane.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Pre-Crisis Earth-2 Convergence Solicitations: May 2015

CONVERGENCE: ACTION COMICS #2
Written by JUSTIN GRAY
Art by CLAUDE ST-AUBIN and SEAN PARSONS
Cover by AMANDA CONNER
Variant cover designed by CHIP KIDD
On sale MAY 27 • 40 pg, FC, 2 of 2, $3.99 US • RATED T
STARRING HEROES FROM CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS! Will Superman and Power Girl meet their demise at the hands of Red Son Wonder Woman?
This extra-sized issue includes a sneak peek at what’s coming up in the DC Universe!

CONVERGENCE: DETECTIVE COMICS #2
Written by LEN WEIN
Art by DENYS COWAN and BILL SIENKIEWICZ
Cover by BILL SIENKIEWICZ
Variant cover designed by CHIP KIDD
On sale MAY 27 • 40 pg, FC, 2 of 2, $3.99 US • RATED T
STARRING HEROES FROM CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS! Helena Wayne and Dick Grayson attempt to keep Bruce Wayne’s memory alive as they come to blows with the powerful Superman Red Son characters!
This extra-sized issue includes a sneak peek at what’s coming up in the DC Universe!

CONVERGENCE: INFINITY INC. #2
Written by JERRY ORDWAY
Art and cover by BEN CALDWELL
Variant cover designed by CHIP KIDD
On sale MAY 27 • 40 pg, FC, 2 of 2, $3.99 US • RATED T
STARRING HEROES FROM CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS! Jade, Obsidian, Nuklon and the rest of the Infinity Inc. team try to prove that they deserve their place among the Earth-2 heroes as they fight the post-apocalyptic Jonah Hex!
This extra-sized issue includes a sneak peek at what’s coming up in the DC Universe!

CONVERGENCE: JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #2
Written by DAN ABNETT
Art by TOM DERENICK and TREVOR SCOTT
Cover by DAN PANOSIAN
Variant cover designed by CHIP KIDD
On sale MAY 27 • 40 pg, FC, 2 of 2, $3.99 US • RATED T
STARRING HEROES FROM CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS! The original Justice Society is powered up and ready to fight the Weaponers of Qward – but with youth and power comes the ultimate cost!
This extra-sized issue includes a sneak peek at what’s coming up in the DC Universe!

CONVERGENCE: WORLD’S FINEST COMICS #2
Written by PAUL LEVITZ
Art by JIM FERN, JOE RUBINSTEIN and SHANNON WHEELER
Cover by AARON LOPRESTI
Variant cover designed by CHIP KIDD
On sale MAY 27 • 40 pg, FC, 2 of 2, $3.99 US • RATED T
STARRING HEROES FROM CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS! Cartoonist Scribbly Jibbet chronicles the battle of the reformed Seven Soldiers of Victory against the Qward invasion in the most unusual story in all of Convergence!
This extra-sized issue includes a sneak peek at what’s coming up in the DC Universe!








DC Comics ‘Love Letter’ to old DC fans translated:

"We brought your favourite characters back so that we could brutally kill them again, this time for good."

Why, thank you DC Comics for this very thoughtful gift of a (once again) dead (possibly fridged) pre-Crisis Helena Wayne. It was truly all I could ask for after you've traded your current version of her for her grandad, and even fridged her in World's End to really solidify her new place on your new 'Earth-2.' You even went out of your way to give your current Helena Wayne a nicely polished coffin in the form of Daniel H. Wilson to finish burying her. I am truly feeling the love this Valentine's Day!

That being said, DC Comics, I regret to inform you I am finalising our divorce this May. I wish I could get custody of Huntress and Power Girl so that they can end up in a much better place than in this dark and dingy hellhole you call 'a home.' But sadly, our broken system has allowed you to keep them, where they are bound to endure more abuse for more years to come. I am truly sad about that. 

If the DC Universe was itself the Mjölnir, it would have deemed you unworthy aeons ago. On that note, enjoy being second fiddle to Marvel for the rest of your publishing life. At this point--after you've botched your rebooted universe twice (third time's a charm)--I'm pretty confident now you've reached the point of no return. You've officially arrived at the event horizon of your future financial success, and there's no turning back from that now.

From this point forward, I will have to honour the spirit of Huntress and Power Girl in some other way that doesn't call for my supporting your abusive behaviour. But on the bright side, at least this will force me to exercise my more creative brain. I do have stories of my own to tell.

さよなら!

Sunday, 8 February 2015

The Best of the Huntress: United We Fall

Title: All-Star Comics #69
Story: United We Fall
Characters: Batman (Bruce Wayne), Power Girl (Kara Zor-L), Green Lantern (Alan Scott), Flash (Jay Garrick), Doctor Fate (Kent Nelson), Huntress (Helena Wayne)
Creators: Paul Levitz (writer), Joe Staton (artist)
Publication Date: December 1977
Available In: Print

Introduction: In the same month that the Huntress made her comic debut in DC Super-Stars #17, she also made her first appearance in All-Star Comics #69 as a mysterious Bat person who's identity wasn't revealed until two issues later (or in DC Super-Stars where she was first outed as Helena Wayne). Consistent with Paul Levitz' earlier discussion of the character in 1977, Helena Wayne was intended from the beginning to succeed Bruce Wayne as the second generation Batman of Earth-2, and to occupy his seat in the Justice Society as the Huntress. The seeds for both ideas are present in this first issue of All-Star to feature the character. 

Friday, 6 February 2015

Parting Of The Ways: I Will No Longer Be Covering The New 52 Starting June

Well, guys. Good news and bad news, but we'll start with the bad news first.

I honestly felt this has been coming for quite a long while now, and the thing I hate about predictions is being right about the bad ones. For everyone who has read this blog over the last three years, it's common knowledge at this point that I feel the New 52 rebooted Earth-2 in ways that have been conceptually damaging, particularly on the front of female representation.

We're talking about the version of Earth-2 that started its narrative by mass fridging female characters that resonate strongly with women (Lois Lane, Selina Kyle, Wonder Woman, the Amazons), traded two women's narratives for two men (Huntress and Power Girl), retconned the human father out of the origin story of the daughter of DC's feminist icon (Fury), and destroyed all of the Earth-2 marriages either through death, or through a forced break-up.

If anything, the new Earth-2 has epitomised all of the problems with internalised misogyny that has been hurting the DC line all across the board since the start of the New 52 relaunch. The new Earth-2 has been particularly alienating towards classic Justice Society fans like myself, and I am forever sad that Huntress and Power Girl are attached to this version of a world that used to be theirs. After today's announcement, I am positive now I will no longer be following or covering the New 52 after Convergence concludes in May.

I am well aware that the DC line starting in June will no longer be called 'The New 52.' But no longer having the label doesn't mean DC has gotten rid of their existing problems with their current narratives, nor the way they are treating female characters. There are some gems like the new (and highly praised) Batgirl series by Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, and Babs Tarr. Starfire is getting her own series along with a new costume, and even Black Canary is getting her own solo book. But also happening in June? Wonder Woman is still the daughter of Zeus, and her character is still being defined through her relationship with Superman. Lois Lane is still not a part of her own narrative. Supergirl no longer has a book despite getting her own television series soon. Huntress and Power Girl still don't have their book back under a new creative team, and the future of Earth-2 has been given to the one man who has already proven himself unfit for both Earth-2 and narratives that include women in general.

The new DC line starting in June continues to be a hit-and-miss deal. In my personal case, however, it was the announcement of Daniel H. Wilson taking over the Earth-2 narrative and characters that dropped the axe on my future investment with DC Comics. Look no further than this post for more information on that.

Now, despite all the disgruntling I just unleashed here, the good news is I won't be abandoning Huntress and Power Girl after Convergence ends in May. My dumping DC in June just means I won't be buying, reading, or covering any of their comics from that point forward. If something radically changes and Huntress and Power Girl are given a book again under an A-list writer who's name doesn't start with 'Daniel' and ends with 'Wilson, I will pick up DC again then. But until that happens, my energy is better spent elsewhere. In this case, I still have the pre-Crisis Huntress and Power Girl to write about (there is tonnes more to say about them), and I could certainly start exercising my creative brain again now that I have more free time (and money) to do so. I've been getting back into the swing of drawing again, and while I've unfortunately rusted since my 'prime' nearly ten years ago, I can now work on perfecting the art again. After all, I've been wanting to draw fan art of the New 52 Huntress and Power Girl since I have plenty of ideas in my mind, not to mention I do love their costumes!

Anyways, I do apologise to my New 52 followers who look forward to my discussions on the current versions of Huntress and Power Girl, but honestly I do feel this is for the best. There's only so long I can keep discussing the gender problems with the current DC leadership before it reaches the point of repetition--which it has. It's also pretty clear at this point that until a more progressive (and frankly smarter) management takes over, we're going to keep seeing the same problems recycled and the same critical voices will keep being ignored. Basically, don't expect anything to change anytime soon.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Pre-Crisis Earth-2 Convergence Variant Covers

CONVERGENCE: ACTION COMICS #1
Written by JUSTIN GRAY
Art by CLAUDE ST-AUBIN
Cover by AMANDA CONNER
Variant cover designed by CHIP KIDD
On sale APRIL 29 • 32 pg, FC, 1 of 2, $3.99 US • RATED T
STARRING HEROES FROM CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS! Superman teams up with Power Girl, but can they stop a nuclear strike by Lex Luthor and Stalin of Red Son Moscow?

CONVERGENCE: DETECTIVE COMICS #1
Written by LEN WEIN
Art by DENYS COWAN and BILL SIENKIEWICZ
Cover by BILL SIENKIEWICZ
Variant cover designed by CHIP KIDD
On sale APRIL 29 • 32 pg, FC, 1 of 2, $3.99 US • RATED T
STARRING HEROES FROM CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS! Helena Wayne and Dick Grayson fight side by side in memory of Bruce Wayne as they decide who will become the next Batman.

CONVERGENCE: INFINITY INC. #1
Written by JERRY ORDWAY
Art and cover by BEN CALDWELL
Variant cover designed by CHIP KIDD
On sale APRIL 29 • 32 pg, FC, 1 of 2, $3.99 US • RATED T
STARRING HEROES FROM CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS! The young heroes of Infinity, Inc. must choose between the path set for them by their parents or the one they’ve set for themselves as they face postapocalyptic Jonah Hex.

CONVERGENCE: JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #1
Written by DAN ABNETT
Art by TOM DERENICK and TREVOR SCOTT
Cover by DAN PANOSIAN
Variant cover designed by CHIP KIDD
On sale APRIL 29 • 32 pg, FC, 1 of 2, $3.99 US • RATED T
STARRING HEROES FROM CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS! Older and in full retirement under the dome, members of the Justice Society get the chance to regain their youth to stave off forces from the Qward Universe. But the promise of youth comes with a deadly price!

CONVERGENCE: WORLD’S FINEST COMICS #1
Written by PAUL LEVITZ
Art by JIM FERN, JOE RUBINSTEIN and SHANNON WHEELER
Cover by AARON LOPRESTI
Variant cover designed by CHIP KIDD
On sale APRIL 29 • 32 pg, FC, 1 of 2, $3.99 US • RATED T
STARRING HEROES FROM CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS! Read the most unusual tale in all of Convergence! The Seven Soldiers of Victory regroup to defend their city against the Qward invasion, while cartoonist Scribbly Jibbet transcribes their adventures.








As I mentioned last week on the original post, these are not most inspired variant covers ever designed, not even by graphic design standards. Ironically it did inspire me to create a Chip Kidd variant cover of my own, especially since there are not enough women fronting any of the Earth-2 ones other than Jenny-Lynn Hayden (Jade) for Infinity Inc. It took all but five minutes to put together in photoshop, having spent more time looking for the right font and editing the DC logo than making the cover itself.

I realise I may be biased, but I honestly like my variant cover for Detective Comics better:

CONVERGENCE: DETECTIVE COMICS #1
Written by LEN WEIN
Art by DENYS COWAN and BILL SIENKIEWICZ
Cover by BILL SIENKIEWICZ
Variant cover designed by CHIP KIDD
On sale APRIL 29 • 32 pg, FC, 1 of 2, $3.99 US • RATED T
STARRING HEROES FROM CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS! Helena Wayne and Dick Grayson fight side by side in memory of Bruce Wayne as they decide who will become the next Batman.










I should make one with Kara for Action Comics...

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Seven Reasons DC Comics Should Love The Huntress, Day 07: She Has Strong Potential To Draw More Women To Comics

Dear DC Comics,

What more can be said about Helena Wayne at this point that hasn't been said already? After all that's been discussed this past week, there are more than three good reasons Helena Wayne is a highly marketable, even highly sellable character. The problem is you need to actually be smarter about the way you use her in the DC Universe and how you try to sell her to a wider demographic. It is in these two areas where you have consistently failed the character, particularly in ways that made female readers feel excluded as a potential audience, and drove even interested male readers away from her.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Seven Reasons DC Comics Should Love The Huntress, Day 06: She Diversifies A Disproportionately Male Wayne Family

Dear DC Comics,

There is no more beloved DC family than the Batman family, but the Wayne family itself is a sausage fest with the added bonus of ignoring the existence of important female members like Martha, Selina, and Helena Wayne. In fact, there is no sexism more overt than the way you treat the female Waynes from the way you downplay Martha's importance to Bruce's narrative, to the consistent fridging of Selina Kyle (Bruce's wife on Earth-2), to the way you've marginalised Bruce's own daughter in the New 52 to make sure you had a male Wayne as his successor on Earth-2. You even walked the extra mile of allowing the fridging of Helena Wayne in your latest event so that your story could focus on that male Wayne less than few Earth-2 fans care about.

I often find myself wondering if you are even aware of the overt sexism surrounding the Wayne women, or if you just plug your fingers into your ears and sing to yourself 'La la la la la, sexism? What sexism? Don't look at me! I'm just fulfilling my male power fantasy with characters who actually look like me!'

Friday, 16 January 2015

Pre-Crisis Earth-2 Convergence Cover Solicitations

CONVERGENCE: ACTION COMICS #1
Written by JUSTIN GRAY
Art by CLAUDE ST-AUBIN
Cover by AMANDA CONNER
Variant cover designed by CHIP KIDD
On sale APRIL 29 • 32 pg, FC, 1 of 2, $3.99 US • RATED T
STARRING HEROES FROM CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS! Superman teams up with Power Girl, but can they stop a nuclear strike by Lex Luthor and Stalin of Red Son Moscow?










CONVERGENCE: DETECTIVE COMICS #1
Written by LEN WEIN
Art by DENYS COWAN and BILL SIENKIEWICZ
Cover by BILL SIENKIEWICZ
Variant cover designed by CHIP KIDD
On sale APRIL 29 • 32 pg, FC, 1 of 2, $3.99 US • RATED T
STARRING HEROES FROM CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS! Helena Wayne and Dick Grayson fight side by side in memory of Bruce Wayne as they decide who will become the next Batman.

CONVERGENCE: INFINITY INC. #1
Written by JERRY ORDWAY
Art and cover by BEN CALDWELL
Variant cover designed by CHIP KIDD
On sale APRIL 29 • 32 pg, FC, 1 of 2, $3.99 US • RATED T
STARRING HEROES FROM CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS! The young heroes of Infinity, Inc. must choose between the path set for them by their parents or the one they’ve set for themselves as they face postapocalyptic Jonah Hex.

CONVERGENCE: JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #1
Written by DAN ABNETT
Art by TOM DERENICK and TREVOR SCOTT
Cover by DAN PANOSIAN
Variant cover designed by CHIP KIDD
On sale APRIL 29 • 32 pg, FC, 1 of 2, $3.99 US • RATED T
STARRING HEROES FROM CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS! Older and in full retirement under the dome, members of the Justice Society get the chance to regain their youth to stave off forces from the Qward Universe. But the promise of youth comes with a deadly price!

CONVERGENCE: WORLD’S FINEST COMICS #1
Written by PAUL LEVITZ
Art by JIM FERN, JOE RUBINSTEIN and SHANNON WHEELER
Cover by AARON LOPRESTI
Variant cover designed by CHIP KIDD
On sale APRIL 29 • 32 pg, FC, 1 of 2, $3.99 US • RATED T
STARRING HEROES FROM CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS! Read the most unusual tale in all of Convergence! The Seven Soldiers of Victory regroup to defend their city against the Qward invasion, while cartoonist Scribbly Jibbet transcribes their adventures.








I'll be honest about the variant covers and say they look very uninspired, especially since I could have made these same covers in Photoshop in less than half an hour. All I'd need to do is to blow up a panel, apply a gradient, add some text, slap on the DC logo, and BAM! I'd have the variant covers. I can even make them all using the same PDF file. I'll post the variants on a separate post and you'll see what I mean.

That nitpick aside, I'm very much looking forward to these pre-Crisis Earth-2 titles. The New 52 Earth-2 characters that didn't survive Earth-2: World's End (Alan Scott, Jay Garrick, Val-Zod, Dick Grayson, and Thomas Wayne) will be on the main Convergence miniseries, but honestly I could care less for this one. I'd be more interested if it wasn't so Thomas Wayne-centric, but alas. Since Thomas Wayne is not a character I care about, and very much the only character DC cares about above the other Earth-2 characters, I have a profound lack of investment. Hopefully, this will be the last we see of him. If DC insists on keeping him around despite having far more interesting Earth-2 characters than him, they are beyond help.

Honestly, DC. I don't know who you're trying to sell this character to, but I can safely tell you he is not the character the majority of Earth-2 fans are interested in reading about. We want Alan Scott, Jay Garrick, Kendra Munoz-Saunders, Kara Zor-L, Helena Wayne, etc. We've been saying this for the past year or so. If you want to cater to the Flashpoint Thomas Wayne fans, develop him within the context of that universe where the idea of him as Batman actually worked. Let the legitimate Earth-2 characters have their own universe to themselves. Let Helena Wayne be the hero of her own narrative.

That said, if you want to get to know the Classic Earth-2, want the real Justice Society back, or just want to support Earth-2 period, buy these titles if you can! I know $3.99 is pushing it, but at least we're briefly getting the real Earth-2 back! (This is probably the most I'll spend on DC this year).

Seven Reasons DC Comics Should Love The Huntress, Day 05: She Was A Member of DC's First And Oldest Team, The Justice Society

Dear DC Comics,

We're about to have another conversation about your baffling decisions again--this time your decision to completely erase the Justice Society from the current Earth-2. This isn't even going into the fact that Earth-2 was the biggest wasted opportunity of the New 52--a discussion for another day. What's more baffling are the reasons for the erasure of the Justice Society, and dumber yet was the decision to destroy Earth-2 after only three years of existing. Even if the Justice Society does form on Earth-1 with the refugees from Earth-2, it'll be nothing short of another Justice League team on an Earth full of Justice League teams.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Seven Reasons DC Comics Should Love The Huntress, Day 04: She Had Her Own Narrative Complete With Her Own Cast

Dear DC Comics,

We're on Day 04 of our ongoing discussion, and we still have so much more to go over.  One of those things being the fourth reason I love the Huntress, which is the fact that prior to the New 52, she had her own narrative, complete with her own supporting cast of characters.