Tagged: Becky Cloonan

Joe Corallo: Knowing Your Place

Hellcat Patsy WalkerThe other day at a comic shop I saw a flier for the upcoming Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! #1. It was advertised having writer Kate Leth and artist Brittney Williams attached. I think it’s great that the two of them are on this book, as I enjoy the work they’ve put out over at BOOM! Studios. However, it did start getting me thinking about the direction the comic industry is going. A direction that it may not want to go in.

We’ve seen the big two added more books with a woman lead. This has been great. A lot of them have at least one woman creator attached as well. We should absolutely be thrilled by that and support those efforts.

Just off the top of my head I can think of Amy Reeder on Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Kelly Sue Deconnick’s recent Captain Marvel run, G. Willow Wilson and and Sana Amanat’s work on the new Ms. Marvel, Marguerite Bennett on the all woman’s Avengers team titled A-Force, and of course Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! just at Marvel.

Over at DC we have Amanda Conner on Harley Quinn, Amy Chu on Poison Ivy, Ann Nocenti followed up by Genevieve Valentine on Catwoman, Gail Simone followed up by Babs Tarr on Batgirl, Meredith Finch on Wonder Woman, Annie Wu on Black Canary, Marguerite Bennett and Marguerite Sauvage on DC Bombshells and Emanuela Lupacchino on Starfire.

That’s a pretty hefty list for right off the top of my head, and I could have even missed one or two. We should be proud of the comic industry for having more women being involved in the creative process. However, you’ll also see the problem I was getting at before. All of the women creators are working on comics starring women… and not much else.

Just to be clear, I am not at all speaking on behalf of any of the creators listed, or making any judgments on the work they choose to do. I think they’ve been doing incredible work, and I’ve picked up most of the mentioned titles that are currently available. My concern lies with the pattern of the big two pairing up women on women lead books while not doing that with books that have a man in the lead.

It’s very possible that some of these instances they asked creators the characters they wanted to work with and these are the results we have. I highly doubt that was every single instance. We have had a long history of men, particularly straight cis white men, writing women in comics. Many of which have been great. I thoroughly enjoyed Charles Soule on She-Hulk and Brian Azzarello on Wonder Woman. However, I’m starting to get concerned that we’re moving more towards compartmentalizing creative teams, and that’s not a good thing.

How many women can you name who’ve worked on Batman? Sure, you might have thought Devin Grayson right off the bat. You’ll probably be racking your brain for a while after that though. Becky Cloonan did a fill in issue on Scott Snyder’s run a few years ago. And yes, Genevieve Valentine is currently one of the eight writers on Batman and Robin Eternal, the other seven being men. We haven’t had a woman creator have a lengthy run on either Batman or Detective Comics. Mostly fill-ins.

Okay, how about Superman? Louise Simonson had a huge impact on the character. She was integral to the Death of Superman storyline, and she created Steel. You’re gonna need to think real long and hard to come up with too many more names than that. Sure, Ramona Fradon did many of the Super Friends comics, but that’s most of it. Justice League comics are even more male dominated. As are The Flash, Green Lantern, and so forth. Ramona did work plenty on Aquaman and Plastic Man, but we did already mention her.

How about over at Marvel? Let’s start with Spider-Man. Sara Pichelli did co-create Miles Morales with Bendis, but beyond that there isn’t much else. Louise Simonson did some work on Spider-man as well, but I did already mention her with Superman. And those examples aren’t exactly examples of long runs on Amazing Spider-Man or even Spectacular Spider-man.

And the X-Men? Louise Simonson and Ann Nocenti did a lot of work in the X-Universe, but again, both of them have already been mentioned for other contributions. I can also add Majorie Liu for her work on Astonishing X-Men, but you get the idea.

Again, to clarify, I am not knocking or belittling any of the contributions these creators have made. I admire the work they have all done and continue to do. I’m highlighting all of this to make the point that this is still a very male dominated industry, that women have not had all the same opportunities over the years as men whether it was deliberate or not, and that this should change. I also understand that the comic book industry is small. Smaller than I think we realize sometimes. Even still, this situation could be better.

I’m not asking for Superman to spin the earth backwards in time and fire the DC editorial teams of yesterday and replace them all with women. I’m not asking for Kitty Pryde to project herself back in time to do the same thing at Marvel. The past is the past. It was a different time, and there is very little we can do just dwelling on that. What we do have to do is acknowledge the past and understand it as we move forward.

I think Scott Snyder is doing great things with Batman, but maybe when he’s done with the title Genevieve Valentine or Amy Chu might have some great ideas of where to take him next. After seeing the kind of work that Amy Reeder has done on her title Rocket Girl with Image, maybe she’s got a great run for someone like Iron Man that she could be working on. Maybe the next big Superman creator will be a woman none of us have heard of yet.

I believe the best stories are yet to come. Many of the popular comic characters are decades old and have mostly been handled by male creators. One way to revitalize these decades old characters would be to get creators with different perspectives.

As a queer man have enjoyed a great deal of comics that involve exclusively straight characters. People from all backgrounds enjoy all sorts of stories. Someone with a different background could help flesh out other characters in these stories as well. Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and many others have both men and women in their stories, and people from all walks of life.

It’s not only important to have representation in the main character or characters, but characters off to the sides and in the backgrounds as well. More women tackling comics like those I mentioned could be a way to help revitalize these titles, and hope it’s something that’s being considered.



Conan Shines In New Dark Horse Series

Review by Joshua Pantalleresco
I eagerly awaited Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan on Conan.  I’ve been a big fan of Brian’s since he released Channel Zero way back in the mid nineties.  It was angry, rebellious and thoughtful.   Ever since, he has done a number of excellent books including Demo, Local, Northlanders and DMZ.    I’m happy to say so far Conan continues that trend.
This Conan series is a direct adaptation of the story Queen of the Black Coast and deals with Conan’s first serious romantic relationship with the character Belit.  The story begins with Conan’s retreat from the city of argos as he forces himself on board the trade ship Argus.  After a brief and abrupt negotiation, Conan finds himself acquiring passage. 
My favorite part of the story is Conan’s story about how he found himself running for his life.  You get a real glimpse with how he found himself running for his life.  Here is where you get a real good glimpse into Conan’s character and I think this in particular is where Brian Wood shines.  Conan’s run in with the law shows that while he is still young and very brash, yet you understand exactly where he is coming from with his actions. 
He quickly befriends the ships captain Titus who tells him about the dangerous and beautiful Belit, the fierce queen of the black coast who terrorizes trade ships with her cunning and ruthlessness aboard her ship the tigress.  Conan is enticed by the story as her description matches the stories of the winged goddesses of the north that as a youth he dreamed about.
Finding themselves in her waters, and unable to go back to Argos because of Conan, they press on.  Shortly thereafter Belit enters the book right at the end with her and Conan looking eye to eye.
Issue two is the battle between the Argus and the Tigress.  Another great little touch in this book is Conan firing arrow after arrow into the Tigress’ crew as the ship approaches.  He has the opportunity to perhaps hit Belit and waivers.  He says crom as he fires.  Did he want to miss?  Or was he regretful that he was about to kill her? 
The battle intensifies and Conan witnesses the death of Titus and vows to go down swinging.  He becomes an angel of death and proceeds to cut down anything in his path.  In the end it’s Conan facing down the whole crew by himself.  That fight is interrupted by Belit, who views Conan in much the same way he does her; a myth made real.  She makes an offer that catches him completely by surprise and ends the second issue right there.
This review wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Becky Cloonan.  Her Conan is devious, young and clever.  Her Conan isn’t the muscular Arnold Schwarzenegger type.  He looks like a lean and capable warrior, which is probably a lot more realistic.  And she nails the character perfectly.  Those splash pages on page two and three of issue one is perfect.  My other favorite conan is him standing definitely aboard the tigress just daring them to come at him, outnumbered and outgunned.  She gets Conan and manages to mix honor and brashness into his demeanor. 
Belit is beautiful, bold and clever.  Page 1 she looks absolutely fierce and as defiant as Conan is later in the issue.  She hasn’t been featured in the book as much as Conan as of yet but I know that will change from here on out.     When she has been on screen she has been able to captivate the pages she has graced herself into.  All in all, you have two very strong and clearly defined characters.  It’s a strong start and worth a read.
Issue three is out now.  I suggest you go and pick it up along with the first two issues.  You won’t be disappointed.  I can’t recommend this book enough. 


Cover Art: Becky Cloonan
Cover Art: Massimo Carnevale

Conan The Barbarian returns to comics on February 8th, 2012 as he faces off against the Queen of the Black Coast at Dark Horse Comics.

In this sweeping adaptation of Robert E. Howard’s fan-favorite “Queen of the Black Coast,” Conan turns his back on the civilized world and takes to the high seas alongside the pirate queen Bêlit, setting the stage for an epic of romance, terror, and swashbuckling. This is Conan as you’ve never seen him, with the combination of one of Robert E. Howard’s greatest tales and the most dynamic creative team in comics!

Conan The Barbarian #1 is written by Brian Wood with art and cover by Becky Cloonan, and colors by Dave Stewart. Also included is a cover by Massimo Carnevale.

Conan The Barbarian #1 is 32 pages of exciting pulp adventure for $3.50.

Cover Art: Becky Cloonan

o A perfect jumping-on point for new readers!
o A bold, fresh take on the Cimmerian.
o “Queen of the Black Coast” is the most-requested Conan adaptation!

For more information on Conan and Dark Horse Comics, visit http://www.darkhorse.com/.

Click on images for a larger view.



This February, writer Brian Wood and artist Becky Cloonan bring Conan The Barbarian back to comic chops as they adapt Robert E. Howard’s fan-favorite “Queen of the Black Coast.”

Conan has turned his back on the civilized world and takes to the high seas alongside the pirate queen Bêlit, setting the stage for an epic of romance, terror, and swashbuckling. This is Conan as you’ve never seen him, with the combination of one of Robert E. Howard’s greatest tales and the most dynamic creative team in comics.

Conan The Barbarian: “Queen of the Black Coast”
Brian Wood (Writer)

Becky Cloonan (Art/Variant cover)
Dave Stewart (Color)
Massimo Carnevale (Cover)
Full Color
32 pages
On sale February 8

For more information on Conan and Dark Horse Comics, visit http://www.darkhorse.com/.

New Conan Creative Team Adapts Robert E. Howard’s "Queen of the Black Coast"

Conan Art: Becky Cloonan

At this weekend’s New York Comic Con, Dark Horse Comics announced a new Conan the Barbarian comic book series by the DEMO creative team of writer Brian Wood and artist Becky Cloonan that will be in stores beginning on February 8, 2012.

The first story arc will adapt Robert E. Howard’s “Queen of the Black Coast,” in which Conan turns his back on the civilized world and takes to the high seas alongside the pirate queen Belit.

For more information on Conan and Dark Horse Comics other pulpy offerings, visit them at http://www.darkhorse.com/.

Review: ‘Demo’ by Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan

It seems every month that a new comic comes out purporting to offer a new, more realistic slant on superheroes. From Watchmen to Next Men to Powers to Kick Ass, that idea has long been a popular one.

Except, none of those comics feel very real. Sure, they take elements from reality and offer a slightly more grounded or cynical look at heroes, but the stories within their pages don’t begin to evoke everyday life.

And this is why Demo stands so far apart. The on-again, off-again series from writer Brian Wood and artist Becky Cloonan is finally concluded, and all 12 issues are now collected in a substantive new softcover (Vertigo, $19.99).

Begun in 2003 with a first issue featuring a girl struggling to handle her newfound telekinesis, the series was always about the people in the stories, not the abilities that set them apart. That first issue is rich with metaphor: the girl learns how to break away from home, become independent and not get in the way of her potential. Valuable lessons for anyone.

One of the strongest issues (#5), follows a girl who physically changes in appearance to match the desires of the people who see her. She could be a kooky X-Man, but Wood instead uses the strange ability to explore perception and desire, and the line between love and lust.

While the material is well worth reading on its own, one of the subtexts to watch is the continued development of Wood and Cloonan. You can trace their growth as creators along with the issues, and in the end the series is something entirely new again, not really touching on superpowers at all.

Cloonan’s work is exceptional, bouncing between styles from issue to issue. It’s hard to believe one person was responsible for such a disparate collection of art.

And while Demo features almost entirely young, hip characters — Wood’s bread and butter — he writes their interactions with as much grace as any writer in comics. There is a deep, haunting truth to these stories, so realistic it almost hurts.

Van Jensen is a former crime reporter turned comic book journalist. Every Wednesday, he braves Atlanta traffic to visit Oxford Comics, where he reads a whole mess of books for his weekly reviews. Van’s blog can be found at graphicfiction.wordpress.com.

Publishers who would like their books to be reviewed at ComicMix should contact ComicMix through the usual channels or email Van Jensen directly at van (dot) jensen (at) gmail (dot) com.

Creators are fans too

Creators are fans too

By and large comics aren’t the best-paying gig around for writers and artists, so people who make a living telling comic book stories are primarily doing it for the love of the medium.  There’s far less of a dividing line between fan and pro than there is in other entertainment media — in comics it’s always been more of a continuum.

And thus we have some nifty posts by professionals talking about the comics they love.

Colleen Doran discusses the new Legion of Super-Heroes cartoon and, erm, a missing element.  Becky Cloonan talks about her love/hate relationship with an old X-Men story as a way of reminding us that "Comics is a teeny TEEENY tiny industry. Anything you say (especially on the Internet) will get back to you."  And Chris Weston presents his sugestions of five artists whom he thinks would be perfect for Judge Dredd, and illustrates why.

Advice from the pros

Advice from the pros

Not only are "the internets" a great place to find news (for instance, both CBR and Blog@Newsarama have the WizWorld LA scoops more than covered from the fan view, and Marv Wolfman from the pro view), but they’re invaluable as information tools if you know where to look.  One of the best places to read about life as a comic book professional is from the folks living it, who often have valuable words of wisdom to pass along to aspiring writers and artists.

Becky Cloonan talks about the world of Original English Language (OEL) graphic novels from manga companies, and compares how they’re put together here as opposed to the Japanese method.  A must-read for any artist planning on drawing that kind of a workload.

Stephanie McMillan examines how her own work is shifting from strictly editorial cartooning to a more strip-based focus, and how she tries to inject a more activist stance through the ideas she conveys with her writing and art.

And Colleen Doran conveys a couple of great cautionary tales about money — how little most professional writers really make, and the tendency so many creative people have toward throwing their money into get-rich-quick schemes.

Plenty of plans for NYCC

Plenty of plans for NYCC

Colleen Doran will be there (and posts her panel schedule).  Keith Champagne will be there.  The Chemistry Set webcomics collective will be there.  Becky Cloonan will be there. It’s getting easier to enumerate who won’t be at the New York Comic Convention than who will be! 

Some words of advice: At this point a lot of pre-planning may be in order – take some time this week to print out the panel schedule and circle the ones you want to attend; to contact folks you want to meet there and specify day, time and place (either at someone’s booth or, even better, a less hectic spot in the Javits Center outside the exhibition hall); and to get your gear together (water bottles, camera, currency).  It’s going to be a long and crazy weekend! 

And remember, it’s trade-only on Friday until 4 PM, so that’s a good time to queue up for entry and solidify any last-minute changes.