Author: Molly Jackson

Molly Jackson: Wonder Women Unite!


This is probably one of the most stressful columns I’ve ever had to write. It will be published on November 9th but was written prior to the election results being released. Very rarely do I normally stress about the future; I just take it in stride. Writing this is a different story. I yearn to get past the election, to know the results that you already know. You are so lucky.

Since last week I wrote about my ways to avoid the election strains. This week I am going to write about a woman breaking barriers throughout the world. That’s right, I’m talking about the new Wonder Woman trailer. It looks fantastic… and that terrifies me.

So when they announced Wonder Woman was finally coming to the big screen, it was a mix of hope and fear that filled my core. Both trailers captured the excitement, action, and female empowerment that I wanted to see in the first live action Wonder Woman film.

This film was literally decades in the making. Every time someone wanted to make a female-led superhero flick, they pointed to a few flops (including other DC films) and said nope to the risk. It didn’t matter that women-driven films started to become more common. It didn’t seem to matter that superhero films developed in quality drastically. And for a very long time, fans’ wishes for female-led films were ignored.

DC’s movie universe hasn’t been stellar. Or great. Or particularly good. And at times, not even coherent. So I’m scared. If this film isn’t good, will studios be able to stop female superhero films again?

With everything happening in the world, this step for women is important. We have a woman as a serious candidate for one of the highest offices in the country. We need geeks to have that equal representation on the big screen.

So people of today’s future, there you have it. I can only hope that when I catch up with you, we have a strong leader ready to enter the White House and not a tire fire. Until then, I’m going to keep my hope alive for. It’s Wonder Women – Hillary and Diana.

Addendum. After Election, Wednesday Morning

I am flabbergasted and distraught at the results of yesterday’s election. A significant portion of the country’s population has spoken and in doing so, validated the wave of hate that is sweeping throughout the country. In short, a rebellion occurred and it feels like we had no warning. The polls failed to convey anything like this.  I attended the official Hillary rally in NYC and I felt the mood change from exuberant to despondent and confused. I don’t know what happened last night but I know what we need to do now.

I may have been a little lighthearted about Wonder Woman when I wrote this, but the truth is we all need to be superheroes now. We need to stand up together against hate and inequality.  Wonder Women and SuperMen need to unite right now. We need to protect and take care of each other, not because of our race or gender or religion or sexual identity.  We need to protect and take care of each other because we are members of the human race. We are all equal and deserve basic human rights and respect.
Time to stop living through superheroes on the pages of comic or on the silver screen.  Now it’s time to embody those unshakable morals and ethics ourselves.

Molly Jackson: Happy, Cheery Me


October was kind of a wasteland for me. The constant waves of political discourse were a downer. And now that the election is in a week, it is only getting worse. It’s not that I don’t want to stay tuned to the political scene, it’s just that I need some balance in my life. Right now, everywhere you look is filled with political drama. The country is teetering on the precipice of this election and it’s taking a toll on the country’s mood. So rather than give into the election-induced fatigue that has seeped in the tone of the country, I’m looking for some fun ways to keep upbeat and sane. And since this is ComicMix and all, you can probably guess where I am heading.

the_charlie_brown_and_snoopy_show_-_linuss_security_blanket_-_sally_2No, I am not going to tell you to watch Star Trek. Granted, pretty much every holodeck episode is easy, lighthearted fare. Still, the show has got a lot of critical issues covered in some episodes that even I need a break from now and again.

I did catch a screening of Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders during New York Comic Con. It felt so refreshing to watch a superhero film that doesn’t get dark. It was filled with laughs, brightly colored subtitled sounds, and actors who sound like they haven’t aged a day despite playing the same characters before I was born. I’ve even rewatched the original Adam West Batman movie recently and this new animated flick works with it so well. You can read Bob’s entire ComicMix review, but since Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders came out on Nov. 1st, it is definitely on my must watch again list.

verynearmintBut in case you don’t want to watch something, why not sit down a read! I’m not suggesting read anything though. I went and perused my own bookshelf for some suggestions. My first go-to for a fun story is Fred Chao’s Johnny Hiro volumes 1 and 2. Johnny Hiro is just an ordinary guy struggling to make ends meet in New York City. Along that seemingly serious journey though, he battles ninjas, monsters, and judgments from Alton Brown. Volume 2 takes a bit more of a serious tone but still light enough to help anyone’s election fatigue.

I’m also going to suggest the series Very Near Mint by Justin Peterson. It’s the story of a local comic shop and the owners, with all the exaggerated characters included. They get into a battle with a bigger comic shop and hilarious battling ensues. This is one of the funniest comics out there. Great character development and well-placed use of classic tropes make it an entertaining read.

So, if the country’s issues are getting you down, take a break from social media. Watch something fun or read something even funnier. Take the time to enrich and invigorate your mind and soul now. After this election, we are going to need everyone to help bring this country back together.

Molly Jackson’s Creepy Confessions


With a loaded title like that, I guess I just need to cut to the chase. Ok, so here it is. I don’t like zombies. The genre doesn’t do it for me. Seeing the struggle of humans retaining their humanity is always a good read but fighting brainless zombies is just boring. The last (and probably only) zombie movie I really liked was Shaun of the Dead and that’s only because I liked how they spoofed on zombies while keeping the essence of the genre.

So why am I taking the time to sorta bash on a beloved genre? Well, Halloween is right around the corner and I’m feeling topical. Let’s give Halloween its time to shine, especially since Christmas decorations are already in malls.

Ok, that’s not the only reason. Everyone is making a big deal about The Walking Dead premiere as well so it’s on my mind. I gave up after season two but it is one of those shows that everyone knows about it, whether you want to or not. So quick segue for the people complaining about the premiere, even I know that the comics are way bloodier than the show. Everyone’s favorite character dies in those books. Move on. And for the weird fringe group complaining it isn’t a family friendly show; seriously? Get a reality check, a parental channel blocker, and find a new cause.

Segue over. Moving on.

The real reason for my confession is that it’s time for the yearly celebration of horror in prose and comics. That’s right, this time of year is more than haunted houses and scary movies. Readers have their own events to celebrate the scariest time of the year.

All Hallow’s Read is a personal favorite of mine. Starting with Neil Gaiman, it promotes reading scary literature for all ages. But just because it is pushing prose doesn’t mean you stop there! Take this time to read something scary in comics. Just to get you started off, I can always recommend American Vampire from Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque. You already know that zombies aren’t something I read much of, but if you want werewolves in the wild west, check out High Moon by David Gallaher and Steve Ellis.

But maybe you don’t have the cash to spend on new books right now. I get it, but the comics world has you covered. Halloween ComicsFest is happening this Saturday! It is a mini Free Comic Book Day but all scary comics! Mostly all-ages, in an effort to bring new readers to local shops, it also can fill that void for reading something scary this year. I won’t mention how this is the closest I come to trick or treating.

These are both important events because they get you reading. Also, they get you directed towards a particular genre. Now you might be a regular horror reader, but I’m not. This flexes my brain muscles by changing it up from my usual science fiction fair.

Exploring different types of stories is good for your imagination. So tell your friends, your boss, and the creepy guy down the hall to check out some scary comics this year. You never know what suggestions they might have for you.

Molly Jackson: Never Ending Cycle


The New York Comic Con is this week and the geek community is totally in a frenzy. It’s been crazy how much is happening. Every day for the past couple of weeks, my inbox has been billowing with email after email of press releases and announcements. One of the more interesting announcements is from yesterday.

Comixology announced that they are expanding their digital library once again. Now they will have original digital titles (starting in 2017) from some of their many publishers, including Boom! and Valiant. Ever since Comixology announced they were adding their Comixology Unlimited subscription service, I was expecting this. They are following the tried and true path set out by Amazon (the owner of Comixology), Netflix and Hulu. Subscription service turned media giant in one big swoop.

No matter what anyone says, digital is supplanting print. And as much as I hate to admit it, comics will go digital too. When I look around the subway car, a.k.a. a micro section of New York City, you don’t usually see paper in their hands. You see smartphones, tablets, and other various more modern technologies. As print becomes more and more pricey, digital will become more and more prominent.

Another expectation of the Netflix-style journey is the appearance of original comics. Yes, I know this is an article about original comics. The ones they announced are from existing publishers. I’m curious if Amazon will take the plunge into comics publishing. They’ve gone the route of book publishing with mixed results. Amazon Studios has been fairly successful on the TV front, with shows like Transparent and The Man in the High Castle. To have a comics arm that could potentially feed straight to your TV studios could be a media game changer.

Amazon has also made the efforts to diversify, especially through TV. With that in mind, this could be an excellent way to develop more minorities comic creators. This is a company that looks to fill voids and diversity in comics is definitely a hot topic to work on. They could buy up an indie publisher and put an advertising machine behind it to rival Marvel/Disney and DC/Warner Bros.

As always, there is a downside. Amazon is quickly becoming the go-to company for everything. I can buy groceries from Amazon. Beauty care, t-shirts, dishes, furniture, a giant bucket of lube, socks, a lawn mower – the list goes on and on. Now the same company that I can buy 99% of everything I need is also actively affecting media. That reminds me of the sinister WeSaySo Corporation from the 90s show Dinosaurs. Too much influence can be a bad thing.

Print comics won’t be gone anytime soon, no matter how fast things seem to be moving. No matter what happens with Comixology or any other digital comics provider, this is definitely a step towards digital, and that’s a step forward.

Molly Jackson: Flying High


angel-catbird-1I’ve been traveling a lot for my day job. It’s been hectic and crazy but it did give me a chance to catch up on some comics I’ve been trying to read. Not sure if you remember, but about a year ago Dark Horse Comics announced acclaimed writer Margaret Atwood would be coming to comics with her original title Angel Catbird. The moment I heard about it, I was beyond excited. Really, I even wrote about how I was excited. Well, volume 1 was released on September 6th and I’ve finally gotten a chance to read it.

Ok, so before I talk about the comic, I want to talk about how amazing the introduction was. When you are talking about Margaret Atwood, a glimpse into herself is a great thing. She wrote the introduction herself, and you can’t really even call it an introduction. It is more like a journey through her childhood hopes and dreams. Who knew that she wanted to be an artist? Or was a huge comics reader as a kid… and still is as an adult? Atwood, one of the most important and influential authors of the 20th century, and she has the unrealized goals of being an artist. She spends time throughout the introduction also talking about her development process for this comic, as well as her partnership with Nature Canada. If you’ve ever wanted to know more about her, just read this.

Angel Catbird is a pulp-style comic following a young scientist who gets accidentally dosed with a genetic formula he is creating to become Angel Catbird, a half cat/half bird human hybrid. When that happens, he finds out that human-animal hybrids already exist and in the middle of a very big fight with a not so nice half-rat man. In the introduction, she mentions reading comics in the ‘50s and you can definitely see that influence in Angel Catbird. It’s got a fun, simplistic story that is enjoyable for young kids and adults. And if you don’t believe me, think cat band and high-tech rats.

The art of Angel Catbird mimics the older style of comics and reminds me of the Archie comics I read as a kid. It fits the story perfectly. Johnnie Christmas really captures her writing perfectly in the art and he pairs well with the coloring by Tamra Bonvillain. They also outline their character design process at the end of the graphic novel, as well as some guest art pieces.

Well, this comic is really activism wrapped up in pretty pictures. Proceeds are going to Nature Canada, and within the introduction, Atwood mentions a pledge to have cats stay indoors to help save birds. The story also includes facts about cats throughout the story. I can only guess that bird facts will be included within volume 2, but I’ll have to wait for 2017 and volume 2 to find out.

I was looking for a lighthearted, enjoyable read, and that is exactly what I got. Angel Catbird is not an in-depth, dark tale but its purpose is to highlight the real dangers towards cats and birds in the wild and it accomplishes that in a fun way. Also, the introduction, if you didn’t guess, was a big and amazing wonderful addition for me. It was a perfect airplane read and one I would totally recommend.


Molly Jackson: Passion and Geek Activism


We geeks are a passionate group. Not just for the stories we love, but in most aspects of our entire existence. We look for ways to share our passion, like joining fan groups. And very often, we use our passion for causes that need our help. Everyday geeks champion causes around the world, whether it’s a fundraising event or just raising awareness for a comic creator in need.

Honestly, when I think about geek causes, I immediately think Captain Planet. Yes, I know that doesn’t make the most sense, but it is the truth. As a kid, I loved watching Captain Planet help out a group of diverse teenagers protect Mother Earth. And travel the globe without parental supervision. As a kid, I loved the idea of no parental supervision. Each episode gave a call to action based on that lesson of the week. Don’t litter, teach your parents to recycle, plant a tree. Simple but effective as a kid. But with those weekly lessons of helping others, along with my wonderful Girl Scouts experience, I learned a lot about giving back.

As an adult I quickly embraced the need for these events, throughout all the parts of my life. The best ones are always the geeky events, where my love for a TV show, comics, or any franchise can be shared while helping others. Nowadays we see geeky causes popping up frequently. Blood drives at SDCC, celebrities auctioning off set visits and trips to premieres, Browncoats Global Can’t Stop The Serenity fundraisers, 501st Legion raising for a variety of causes; these are just a few examples but there are so many more of varying size. Every group can find a charity group to support, a member to help. Or you can turn to the thoroughly geeky (but official) groups like Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and the Hero Initiative.

A lot of my pieces include a call to action within them. Frankly, you would be hard pressed to find a week where a ComicMix columnist doesn’t have a call to action. Even yesterday, columnist Joe Corallo shared a call to action about supporting comics writer Rachel Pollack. But you don’t need to wait for a call to action to make a difference.

Since you are reading this, you are obviously a passionate geek. (Or a family member of mine.) And while I said you don’t need a call to action, I’m going to give you one anyway to get you started. So your call to action is to go out and find your cause. If you don’t like those that I mentioned above, ask your friends, your local comic shop, the Internet. Check with your favorite fan pages. Don’t just look for opportunities to give money, look for chances to make a difference. Use all that bubbling passion for geekdom towards something more.

 (The ComicMix staff would like to congratulate Molly on her awesome conquest of the EtherTrolls!)


Molly Jackson: The Ongoing Mission

Star Trek CaptainsThis past weekend I attended Star Trek Mission in New York City. Despite my Trekkie status, this was actually my very first Star Trek convention. It was a great experience to finally have and it was nice to see a whole group of people that share my love and passion for Star Trek. I got stopped on my way to and from there, with other attendees sharing the Vulcan hand symbol or asking questions. It was a great community convention, with a community all our own.

A big theme of the convention was diversity. It was echoed and praised at every panel I was in. Fans referred to it as a major point of the show in their Q&A. The writers for Star Trek Discovery made a point of mentioning it in their very vague show plans. (Seriously, they gave up nothing!) Every panelist made a point to speak about how important that legacy of diversity is to Star Trek. Even the technology panels I attended made a point to speak about it.

FerengiThat is why this exchange during the Deep Space Nine cast panel on the first day was so impactful. The cast was asked about different ways that Star Trek has been described by fans. Armin Shimerman, a.k.a. Quark, explained a recurring experience he has with fans. He explained that in America, he often gets asked “Do the Ferengi represent the Jews?”  But in England he gets asked, “Do the Ferengi represent the Irish?” and in Australia he gets asked “Do the Ferengi represent Chinese?” Hearing these questions helped him see the hate in Star Trek. Shimerman says he believes that the Ferengi represent the outcast culture, the people around you who you don’t really understand or know.

After hearing that, it made every single diversity statement during the convention that much more important but at the same time, I could not forget what he said. It made me wonder if Star Trek had impacted as much as we think that it had. If fans could ask these questions, did they really understand the show? But by the end of the weekend, I was reminded why I love this show so much.

I do truly believe that Star Trek held forth diversity when people kept minorities from any recognition. When Roddenberry put a Russian on the bridge during the Cold War, he signaled that one day we would make peace. When he put an African American woman on the bridge, he signaled that one day we would have equality. And when the producers put a woman in the captain’s chair, they showed that one day we could actually move past gender preconceptions.

As we remember everything that Star Trek has given us over the past fifty years, the best truth is that Roddenberry’s vision has only showed us the way. Entertainment can open up all of these possibilities but only in reality can changes be made. We need to take these lessons to heart if we want to evolve past hate, greed, and violence.

Tomorrow, September 8th, is the 50th anniversary of the Star Trek premiere. Take a moment to see how far we have come, and how much farther we can go if we embrace the ideals of the future.

Molly Jackson’s Sports Talk

Strange Sports StoriesLet’s talk about sports. I’m serious. Yeah, I know the name of the website. Still, sports are fun. The taboo about comic and sports not mixing needs to stop. Yes, there are fans of one that dislike the other. There are also fans who like both, like me. And sometimes comics and sports even mix.

We’ve had a few comics about athletes or sports, and a fair share of athletes revealed as comic fans. But I was still surprised when Ryan Lochte, Olympic swimmer and medalist, announced as the special guest for Wizard World Richmond.

Now Wizard World does promote themselves as a “pop culture con” and sports is definitely part of pop culture. They have had wrestling guests at a few cons before. However, their target market is the average geek. It’s one thing for an actor that’s also a wrestler and another thing for an Olympic athlete that has never publically shown interest in geek culture to show up. The average attendee is expecting to see actors and comic creators, not Olympic athletes.

However, I could let this all go. I’m a sports fan. I would definitely be interested in seeing an Olympic athlete that inspired me and especially at an event I was already planning on attending. But not this athlete. Lochte is exactly where Wizard World went so wrong.

AquamanWhether you watched the Olympics or not, you’ve probably heard his name by now. He caused an international incident over his and his teammates’ drunken destruction of a gas station while representing the US at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics. He allegedly proceeded to lie to local police and file a false police report.

Athletes, especially male athletes, are not held to the same standards as other people. Throughout the years, we’ve heard of professional athletes getting away with alcohol and drug abuse, weapons charges, physical and sexual assault. The list can go on and on. No matter what charges they face, society as a whole traditionally deems them better than that. However, this should not be celebrated.

The geek community has long been participating in activism. We’ve boycotted movies that supported racists and bigots. We’ve boycotted comics of misogynists. We’ve had staff of comic cons openly denounce laws that targeted a minority group unfairly. Lochte being featured in a con after committing a crime while representing the US is incredibly disrespectful to every con goer. The announcement of his appearance left a slew of upset and surprised comments on the Wizard World Facebook page.

Lochte has already been admonished by the media and has lost approximately $1 million in sponsorships. For all I know, that is why he chose to do this convention, for the few bucks it could provide. He will probably never compete in swimming again. He earned those punishments by his own actions.  He lost the respect of an entire global community with his actions. We shouldn’t welcome him into ours.

When you go to a convention, give your time and attention to those people who are working for it.  Spend your time and money towards comic creators, actors, and even the wrestlers. Don’t waste your time and money on someone who failed to respect the world around him. Spend it on the people trying to make it a more entertaining and better place.

Molly Jackson: Change in Process

Molly Jackson: Change in Process

ms marvel

Last week, I wrote about how I can turn brunch into me championing female comics creators to new comic readers.  Ok, there was a bit more to it than that but just go ahead and read it if you really want the details. After that went out, our Ye Olde Editor Mike decided to play Devils’ Advocate and ask me why we need women creators in comics.

I admit, I was stumped about how to approach it this time.  I feel like so many writers, including myself, have tackled this subject.  And frankly, I don’t understand who would argue against women in comics at this point.  (I doubt Bill Willingham from Fables will read this.)  But then I remembered that no matter what I need to explain, I can always use Star Trek.  More on that soon.

Right now, according to Pew Research Center, 56% of men think sexism doesn’t exist anymore.  You might be one of them.  After all, it is 2016. But where (for the most part) we’ve lost the ass grabbing and the “just keep looking pretty” side of sexism, the more subtle signs of sexism still exist.  Women are still paid less than men, and are often seen as less capable or knowledgeable.   Right now, we are seeing the subtle signs of sexism played out on the national stage but many people fail to see it.

When women enter the planning process, so does a completely new point of view.  We are more likely to be better multi-taskers, empathetic, and respond much differently to the world’s pressures because of gender.  That change in perception and reactions adds a new story element.

In entertainment, we have seen women’s stories change and develop as time has passed.  In a lot of cases, entertainment has led the way for social changes. (Now is where I bring Star Trek back in).  Star Trek showed Nichelle Nichols as an officer on a starship.  Not a maid, not a cook but someone who can take control.  Uhura inspired a generation that they too could be more than what society at the time decided was okay.  Plus, without her we would have no Whoopi Goldberg, and that would be a real shame.

Now we have the current Ms. Marvel, created because Marvel editor Sana Amanat randomly was sharing childhood stories one day.  Another editor thought she could use her past to create a new hero and Kamala Kahn was born.  In today’s world of scary hate, Kamala shows that Muslim culture includes everyday people who deserve their voice.

Women bring new stories to comics, and with those stories, new truths and changes that will echo into society.  The truth is that human crave knowledge, intrigue, entertainment, and change. As anything in our lives become stale, we look for something new.  When civilizations fail to grow, change, or spark new ideas, then they collapse.  New ideas can come from anywhere or anyone.

We’ve only had the voices of a select group for so long that we’ve forgotten how many other stories that are out there.  Ignoring this entire gender means the stagnation of comics.  Actually, scratch that.  Ignoring any minority group means the stagnation of comics. Only through continuing evolution and change can the comics industry continue to thrive.

Molly Jackson’s Brunch – With a Side of Comics!

Marvel Women

I was out with some friends for brunch this past weekend. Brunch is a standard weekend event in the NYC area now, and it seems like a month rarely passes where I don’t have brunch plans on the horizon. The unannounced purpose of this brunch was to get to know a friend’s new girlfriend. So of course, I bring up comics as a get to know you topic. (Brunch tip: One always needs go-to conversation topics for brunch outings.)

She gave me a sad, but not surprising answer to my query. She said as a child, she found comics disappointing because there were no female writers creating stories and the female characters, dressed in very revealing costumes, didn’t represent her at that point in her life. This exact argument should be familiar to anyone who has read almost any article about women or minorities in comics, ever.

Of course, I immediately began rattling off graphic novels with female creators, important social topics, or just amazing storytelling. Afterwards, when I was on my way home, I realized that I keep this running list of graphic novels to recommend to people who specifically complain about lack of diversity in comics. A list for those people who can only think of Gail Simone when you quiz them about women in comics. Gail is great, but there are so many other women in comics; in part because of all that she has done.

Now I suspect the people I’m talking about aren’t regular readers of ComicMix. Frankly, if you tune in here on a daily basis, we’ve totally sold you on diversity in comics. Yay us!  But now comes the hard part. Teaching others that yes, there is growing diversity in comic creators!  Right now is the potential for a boom of diverse creators in comics. As the political climate affects change, fans are becoming more focused than ever on who are the storytellers. However, just because it is getting better doesn’t mean it’s a solved problem but we can make it better through our voices and our wallets.

With our dollars, we can continue the trend of well-rounded and well-dressed that is building thanks to Batgirl, Faith, and Ms. Marvel.  We can encourage female creators like Amy Chu, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Jennifer Hayden, Amy Reeder, Gail Simone, Mags Visaggo, or the many more that I’ve run out of space for.

So the next time you are in a crowd (or out to brunch), ask the question about comics.  See who says comics don’t represent them and then show them that they can.  Encourage reading comics written by diverse creators and together, we can show publishers that diversity matters.