Holy crap! I can’t believe this! Marvel’s next big event series is going to be a sequel to their hit event series Civil War. It’s called … wait for it … Civil War II!
You’d think there was a big budget movie or something coming out. Well, you’d be wrong. Civil War II comes out several weeks after Captain America: Civil War. It’s just a coincidence, kids!
Even more astonishing, if that’s at all possible, is the announcement that Marvel is going to actually kill off one of their characters in this series!
I can’t believe it. Such courage! Such originality! Such redundancy! The House of Idea polished off that one idea once again, slathered on another coat of lipstick, bought it a tuxedo for the red carpet interviews and proudly informedThe New York Daily News that “A mysterious new Marvel character comes to the attention of the world, one who has the power to calculate the outcome of future events with a high degree of accuracy … This predictive power divides the Marvel heroes on how best to capitalize on this aggregated information, with Captain Marvel leading the charge to profile future crimes and attacks before they occur, and Iron Man adopting the position that the punishment cannot come before the crime.”
Hey, this time Iron Man is on the side of the angels! Well, that’s different, but only when compared to the original 2007 Civil War event.
I wonder if Marvel is going to kill off a character they haven’t killed off before. I wonder if that’s even possible. Hmmm … do you think it might be a character whose movie rights are controlled by 20th Century Fox?
When it comes to marketing and public relations, often there’s a fine line between being forthcoming and being cynical. As Marvel publisher Dan Buckley informed the Daily News “The death is the marketing hook … The thing that’s really compelling is whether or not there’s a story afterwards that’s going to connect with readers and sustain it.”
This is true, but it would help if you gave us something new, Dan.
Major character deaths have become more common to comic books than staples … and a lot less permanent. Do you know what was really cool during Marvel’s first couple of decades? They shook up the moribund American comics market with tits-to-the-wind power and a long ongoing blast of creativity and originality the likes of which had never been seen in the medium previously.
Do you know what Marvel’s latest high-energy attempt at creativity and originality is?
Several decades ago the American comics medium in general – and Marvel Comics in specific – were criticized by some in fandom for being overly formulaic. I realize it is possible for a few fannish souls to overreact, but I have to admit there was an element of truthiness in their concern.
Today we can clearly see a contemporary incarnation of this issue. Not that plotlines are being rubber-stamped; slavish adherence to ever-shifting continuity undermines such creative shortcuts. No, today we are suffering from a different sort of redundancy: overexposure to such a degree that most truly successful superhero characters have become akin to amoebas.
I was just thumbing through the sundry Diamond catalogs announcing comics and related effluvia ostensibly set to ship this coming February. Out of convenience and a desire to meet my deadline, I am going to focus on Marvel’s output – but DC, and to a lesser extent other superhero publishers, are also guilty of sequential overexposure.
This coming February, Marvel is supposed to be shipping (in the unlikely event that my math is correct) no less than three Captain Marvel books, seven Avengers titles, four Deadpools, seven X-Men, three Inhumans titles, six featuring the Guardians of the Galaxy…
… and no less than fifteen titles featuring Spider-Man and his Spiderverse. Fifteen. Back when people were criticizing Marvel for recycling plots, they didn’t publish fifteen different titles a month! I guess that’s pretty damn good for a character that can’t even hold onto a major movie franchise.
Of course, the sundry Spideys also appear in various Avengers titles, as do most if not all of the aforementioned properties. And many of the other Avengers like Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, and Captain America have their own titles as well.
It is true that this sort of thing has been going on for a long, long time. Maybe not quite as long as it may seem to geriatric fans who recall Superman appearing in seven different titles in the late 1950s (Superman, Action Comics, Superboy, Adventure Comics, World’s Finest, Lois Lane, and Jimmy Olsen), but only two of those were published monthly. The rest were published bi-monthly or every six weeks. Still, five titles a month is a lot. Fortunately, continuity was weak at best and if you had an aversion to pill-box hats you could safely avoid Lois Lane (and her omnipresent scissors) and still understand what was going on in the other titles.
However, we have not previously seen such character redundancy to this degree. Not even when the original Captain Marvel and his family were featured in eight different titles back in the 1940s. Not all were monthlies, although the Big Red Cheese did see his own book go out every three weeks for a spell. Then again, in February at least two Spider-Man titles double-ship, and, for the record, February 2016 only has four ship weeks. It’s pretty rare that Leap Year Day falls on a Wednesday.
So, why is this a problem? Well, if you’re a massive Spider-Man fan, it might not be. However, ComicMix columnist Emily S. Whitten is a proud Deadpool fan, but having a job, a life, and a commitment to writing one of the best comics and pop culture columns on the Interwebs, so even Emily has a hard time keeping up with the nutty merc.
This is a problem because it undermines the uniqueness of the character. It’s called overexposure. We used to have three or four Punisher titles; in February 2016 Marvel won’t be releasing a single one.
Sure, as I said, all this goes for DC as well. They’ve been pushing Batman titles out as though they were Cheerios, and they out-X-Men the X-Men by having several thousand different characters all named Green Lantern.
At least Image only produces one Bitch Planet a month… and that’s on a good month. A very good month, in my opinion, but your mileage may vary.
Last week when Marvel announced the all-female team of Avengers, you better believe we were stoked! We studied the A-Force artwork to figure out who everyone was and got right to researching the superheroes we didn’t know. Now, we’re even more excited and can’t waitread Secret Wars in May.In this week’s video we’ll tell you why A-Force is rad, which mutant powers we’d use to make lunch, and our thoughts on the girls not included (namely Maddy’s #2 favorite superhero, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl). A-Force Assemble, indeed!
Growing up, Saturday morning television meant cartoons and nothing but cartoons. By the 1970s, though, live-action bits crept in, starting with Christopher Glenn’s In the News interstitials on CBS along with silly things like The Banana Splits and H.R. Puffenstuff. In 1974, though, Filmation cleverly blended the two as it took the Big Red Cheese from comics to television. Shazam! debuted in the fall of 1974 with Michael Gray as Billy Batson, charged by the animated gods with their powers to fight crime in the adult body of Captain Marvel.
Last year, Warner Archive released the complete series on DVD and it is as charming as ever in its simplicity. In a mere thirty minutes, Billy and Mentor (Les Tremayne) rode the highways of California in their RV and when danger struck, the magic lightning let Bill become the hero (Jackson Bostwick). The effects were little better than when George Reeves donned the red and blue costume as Superman twenty years earlier. Both fought evil with similar solemnity and everything was put back to order by the time the end credits rolled.
Throughout the 3-disc, 28-episode collection, nary another character from the comics are used, divorcing it from the source material, which is a shame since it could have used a Dr. Sivana or animated Mr. Talky-Tawny. Also, the wizard Shazam is absent and Billy gets advice directly from Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury.
Bostwick was an earnest and likeable Captain Marvel and when he was replaced by John Davey, it’s fairly seamless. Gray’s Billy is easily five years too old to be a convincing youth but he’s very likeable while veteran character Tremayne does a fine job with little material.
Unfortunately the series aired from 1974-1976, a time when parent groups pressured the networks into cleaning up the level of violence the precious children were exposed to which undercut what could have been a fine kid’s action series. There’s fun stuff going on but a lot of missed opportunities as each case became a teachable moment instead of a thrilling thirty minutes of action. Still, the show was a cut above its competition which is why it is so well remembered. There’s a crossover with Isis (Joanna Cameron), who helmed a spinoff series of her own that was collected some time back and worth seeking out.
It would have been nice to have some extras but the Warner Archive program brings things to smaller audiences at the cost of no money invested in such bonuses,. We do, though, get a lovely cover from artist Jerry Ordway, who did a memorable run with the character in the 1990s.
I never really got into MacGyver, but I got my Richard Dean Anderson fix on Stargate SG-1.
Stargate, as many of you I’m sure remember, was a 1994 movie which circled around a gigantic ring made of unknown metal and covered in what is believed to be Egyptian hieroglyphs that is discovered buried in the sands of Giza, Egypt in during an archeological expedition in 1928. The purpose of the ring remained a mystery for sixty years, its hieroglyphs untranslatable. Finally a brilliant linguist and archaeologist specializing in Egyptology named Daniel Jackson (James Spader) is co-opted by the U.S. government and brought to Cheyenne Mountain (home of NORAD) to decipher the scrawlings on the ring, which has been brought there for study and possible use by the military.
He tells the assembled scientists and military officers (including United States Air Force Colonel Jack O’Neil (Kurt Russell) that the hieroglyphs speak of something called a “stargate,” some kind of device used for travelling to other planets. But the symbols on the ring itself aren’t hieroglyphs at all; they are representations of mathematical coordinates of the constellations which, when put into a specific sequence, creates a tunnel through space, or “wormhole” that will allow instantaneous travel to another world. Colonel O’Neil assembles a team, including Jackson, to use the Stargate, as it is now christened, to take them there
Stargate SG-1 picks up a year after the movie ends.
The top-secret Stargate Project is overseen by the United States Air Force, and its mission is to not only explore the galaxy, but to also find new allies and technology as defense against the Goa’uld, alien symbiotes that use humans as hosts in their drive to establish themselves as “rulers of the galaxy.” As established in the movie, the Goa’uld enslaved humans to serve them, posing as the gods of ancient Earth cultures, especially the mythology of Egypt.
The Stargate Project is under the command of General George Hammond, and the reconnaissance teams are dubbed SG-1, SG-2, SG-3, and so on; Colonel Jack O’Neill, now played by the charming Richard Dean Anderson, leads SG-1, composed of Captain Samantha “Sam” Carter, astrophysicist (Amanda Tapping); the Jaffa defector Teal’c (Christopher Judge); and Daniel Jackson (now played by Michael Shanks).
Being a continuing series, Stargate SG-1 gave Anderson the space to expand O’Neill’s character. His Jack was a more relaxed version of the character than that of Russell’s, displaying an “easy-goingness” and a sly wit that, I think, hid a vein of cynicism born from the tragedies of O’Neill’s life, especially the death of his son in a tragic accident that resulting from O’Neill’s own gun. Jack used that wit not only to cope with unexpected and possibly dangerous situations, but as a weapon that sliced through the bullshit with sharp sarcasm. He was career Air Force, he believed wholeheartedly in the mission of the United States as a beacon of liberty and good in the world, but he distrusted the men and women who pinned flags on their lapels and called that patriotism.
Like Star Trek, Stargate SG-1’s true strength was in its characters and the relationships they had with each other. Amanda Tapping’s Sam Carter has been, I think, overlooked as a well written, strong, female character that meets, as my sistah Martha Thomases put in her column last week, the Bechdal Test. (IM-not-so-HO, and if I could arrange some kind of time warp, Tapping would be the perfect actress to play a live-action Carol Danvers, a.k.a. Captain Marvel). Christopher Judge’s Teal’c is the perfect “stranger in a strange land.” Michael Shank’s Daniel Jackson is a quirky nerd whose anti-establishment and anti-military stance is tempered by the people he comes to love and respect. Don Davis’s General Hammond was military through and through, but he was the father figure for everyone on the Stargate Project. Even supporting characters like Teryl Rothery’s Dr. Janet Frasier and Gary Jones’s Sgt. Walter Harriman became important facets of a show that became, also like Star Trek, a starting point for spin-offs (Stargate: Atlantis, Stargate Universe) and movies (Stargate: The Ark Of Truth, Stargate: Continuum). Disparate and brought together by a mission, they became a family.
As the daughter of an fighter jock, I think it’s really cool that the United States Air Force worked with the SG-1 producers, not only allowing them to shoot footage at the Cheyenne Mountain complex, but also providing help with the military minutia that helped make the show so realistic, everything from character backgrounds to uniform and hair style regulations. Air Force personnel worked as extras, and two Chief of Staffs of the Air Force, General Michael E. Ryan and General John P. Jumper, appeared as themselves in Season 4’s “Prodigy” and Season 7’s “Lost City.” According to Wikipedia, General Jumper’s second appearance was “cancelled because of ongoing real-world conflicts in the Middle East.” Richard Dean Anderson was honored by the Air Force Association in 2004, not only for his work as an actor and executive producer, but also for the SG’1’s positive depiction of the Air Force.
The U.S. Navy also got in on the act, inviting SG-1 to film aboard the nuclear submarine U.S.S. Alexandria (SSN-757) and at their Applied Physics Laboratory Ice Station in the Arctic.
Stargate SG-1 is available from the beginning, courtesy of Netflix. That’s where I’ve been rewatching the show.
If travelling through a Stargate doesn’t for work you, there’s still some MacGyver out there for you Richard Dean Anderson fans. As Captain Samantha Carter said in the pilot to Colonel Jack O’Neill: “It took us fifteen years and three supercomputers to MacGyver a system for the gate on Earth.”
The popular series, HAVEN, is back on SyFy blasting into a fourth season that picks up where they left off just a few months back. Actor Lucas Bryant talks about thew changes in his role and what we can expect for the series in this run. Plus SAGA wins big in Baltimore and is Katee being coy? Will she be Captain Marvel? Don’t forget – we are back with twice-a-week-updates – right here on ComicMix!
It’s the end of the year, so it’s time for still another mindless list of favorites – maintaining a cloying, egotistical annual tradition throughout the media. Once again, here are my self-imposed rules: I’m only listing series that either were ongoing or ran more than six issues, I’m not listing graphic novels or reprints as both compete under different criteria, I’m not covering Internet-only projects as I’d be yanking the rug out from under my pal Glenn Hauman, and I’m listing only nine because tied for tenth place would be about two dozen other titles and I’ve only got so much bandwidth. Besides, “nine” is snarky and when it comes to reality, I am one snarky sumbytch – but only for a living. On Earth-Prime, I’m really a sweet, kind, understanding guy.
Having said all that, let’s open that hermetically sealed jar on the porch of Funk and Wagnalls and start.
1. Manhattan Projects. If I had to write a Top 9 of the Third Millennium list, I’d be hard pressed not to include this title. It’s compelling, it’s different, it’s unpredictable and it’s brilliantly executed by writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Nick Pitarra. It turns out the scientists and the military leaders behind the creation and the execution of the Atomic Bomb had a lot more in mind than just nuking Japan… a lot more. And their plans run decades longer than World War II. Based largely upon real-life individuals who are too dead to litigate, each person seems to have his own motivations, his own ideas for execution, and his own long-range plan for how to develop the future. Yet the story never gets bogged down in political posturing or self-amusing cuteness – the latter being a real temptation for many creators. Each issue gives us the impression there’s more than meets the eye; each successive issue proves there most certainly was. If the History Channel spun off a Paranoia Network, Manhattan Projects would be its raison d’être.
2. Hawkeye. If you’ll pardon the pun, Hawkeye has never been more than a second-string character. An interesting guy with an involving backstory and enough sexual relationships to almost fill a Howard Chaykin mini-series, this series tells us what Clint Barton does when he’s not being an Avenger or a S.H.I.E.L.D. camp follower. It turns out Clint leads a normal-looking life that gets interfered with by people who think Avengers should be Avengers 24/7. He’s also got a thing going with the Young Avenger who was briefly Hawkeye. Matt Fraction and David Aja bring forth perhaps the most human interpretation of a Marvel character in a long, long while. Hawkeye might be second-string, but Clint Barton most certainly is not.
3. Captain Marvel. Another second-string character. Despite some absolutely first-rate stories (I’m quite partial to Jim Starlin’s stuff, as well as anything Gene Colan or Gil Kane ever put pencil to paper), the guy/doll never came close to the heritage of its namesake. This may have changed. A true role model for younger female readers and a very military character who uniquely humanizes the armed forces, Carol Danvers finally soars under writer Kelly Sue DeConnick and artist Dexter Soy – both as a superhero and as a human being. DeConnick doesn’t qualify as “new” talent, but this certainly is a breakthrough series that establishes her as a truly major player… as it does Marvel’s Captain Marvel.
4. Creator-Owned Heroes. Anthology comics are a drag upon the direct sales racket. They almost never succeed. I don’t know why; there’s usually as much story in each individual chapter as there is in a standard full-length comic. I admire anybody who choses to give it a whirl (hi, there, honorary mention Mike Richardson and company for Dark Horse Presents!), and I really liked Creator-Owned Comics. Yep, liked. It’s gone with next month’s eighth issue. But this one was a lot more than an anthology comic: it had feature articles, how-to pieces, and swell interviews. The work of Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, Steve Niles, Steve Bunche and a cast of dozens (including swell folks like Phil Noto and Darwin Cooke), there wasn’t a clinker in the bunch. I wouldn’t mind seeing follow-ups on any of the series featured in this title, although I must give a particular nod to Jimmy and Justin’s Killswitch, a take on modern contract killers, and on Steve’s work in general. This is no light praise: I’m not a big fan of horror stories because most of them have been done before and redone a thousand times after that. Niles is quite the exception.
5. Batman Beyond Unlimited. Okay, this is a printed collection of three weekly online titles: Batman Beyond, Justice League Beyond, and Superman Beyond. But it comes out every month in a sweet monthly double-length printed comic, so it meets my capricious criteria. Based upon the animated DC Universe (as in, the weekly series Batman Beyond and Justice League, and to a lesser extent others), these stories are solid, fun, and relatively free of the angst that has overwhelmed the so-called real DCU stories. Yeah, kids can enjoy them. So can the rest of the established comics audience. Pull the stick out of your ass; there’s more to superhero comics than OCD heroes and death and predictable resurrection. These folks have just about the best take on Jack Kirby’s Fourth World characters than anybody since Jack Kirby. That’s because Jack remembered comics are supposed to be entertaining. Honorable mention: Ame-Comi Girls. It’s based on a stupid (but successful) merchandising idea but it’s just as much fun as anything being published today.
6. Batgirl. O.K. The real story here is that DC Comics mindlessly offed writer Gail Simone from this series only to restore her within a week or so after serious (and occasionally, ah, overly dramatic) protest from both the readership and the creative community. But there was good reason: Gail took a character who was in an impossible situation and, against all tradition, put her back in the costume without resorting to ret-con or reboot, which have been the handmaidens of the New 52. She brought Barbara Gordon back to action with all the doubts, insecurities and vulnerabilities one would expect a person in her position to have, and she does so in a compelling way exercising all of her very considerable talent. This title thrives despite being engulfed in two back-to-back mega-non-events that overwhelmed and undermined all of the Batman titles.
7. Orchid. I praised this one last year; it comes to an end with issue 12 next month. That’s because writer/creator/musician/activist Nightwatchman Tom Morello has a day job and the young Wobblie still has a lot of rabble to rouse. Orchid is a true revolutionary comic book wherein a growing gaggle of the downtrodden stand up for themselves against all odds and unite to defeat the omnipresent oppressor. Tom manages to do this without resorting to obvious parallels to real-life oppressors, although the environment he creates will be recognizable to anybody who thinks there just might be something wrong with Fox “News.” But this is a comic book site and not the place for (most of) my social/political rants (coughcough). Orchid succeeds and thrives as a story with identifiable, compelling characters and situations and a story that kicks ass with the energy and verve one would expect from a rock’n’roller like Morello.
8. Revival. A somewhat apocalyptic tale about people who come back from the dead in the fairly isolated city of Wausau Wisconsin (I’ve been there several times; it is a city and it is indeed fairly isolated). But they aren’t zombies. Most are quite affable. It’s the rest of the population that’s got a problem. The latest output from Tim Seeley and my landsman Mike Norton, two enormously gifted talents. Somewhere above I noted how Steve Niles is able to raise well above the predictable crap and that is equally true here: the story and formula is typical, but the execution is compelling. That I’ve been a big fan of Norton’s is no surprise to my friends in Chicago.
9. Nowhere Men. I’ve got to thank my ComicMix brother Marc Alan Fishman for this one. Admittedly, it’s only two issues old and it has its flaws – long prose insertions almost always bring the pace of visual storytelling to a grinding halt – but the concept and execution of this series far exceeds this drawback. Written by Eric Stephenson and drawn by Nate Bellegarde and Jordie Bellaire, the catch phrase here is “Science Is The New Rock ‘N’ Roll.” Four guys start up a science-for-the-people company and that’s cool, but twenty years later some have taken it too seriously, others not seriously enough, and things got a little out of hand. Sadly, I’m not certain who understands that, other than the reader and one of the major characters. Science is the new rock’n’roll, and exploring that as a cultural phenomenon makes for a great story – and a solid companion to Manhattan Projects.
Non-Self-Publisher of the Year: For some reason, I’m surprised to say it’s Image Comics. They’ve been publishing many of the most innovative titles around – four of the above nine – all creator-owned, without going after licensed properties like a crack-whore at a kneepad sale.
No offense meant to either publishers or crack-whores; I said I’m really a sweet, kind, understanding guy.
So if anybody missed it, last weekend I went to Disney World and Universal Islands of Adventure. I hadn’t been to a theme park in a long time, and holy surprise parties, Batman, it was a magical thing. Seriously, I had so much fun riding all the rides and looking at all the theme park details and also, shopping for alllll the things. In fact, ever since I was a little kid I’ve loved going through the gift shops (at theme parks, national parks, whatever) almost as much as the rest of it, and this time was no exception.
The Marvel shops were also no exception, particularly the ones that featured a life sized Iron Man and life-sized Thor, which my friends and I all declared we needed for our living rooms. The one little disappointment I had was, unsurprisingly, that the Marvel stores again had disparate amounts of items available for men and women. For instance, I would have bought this awesome Deadpool “Wanted” poster shirt they had in an instant if they’d had it for women, but nary a good women’s shirt was in sight (just those ones that say, like, “my boyfriend’s a super-hero.” Siiiiigh.) But I’ve focused beforeon things Marvel needs to improve about its marketing, so I’m not going to rehash that here (except to note this shirt, which was sold in the shops and in which one Avenger is noticeably missing. Why, Marvel??)
Instead, since this weekend I’ve been doing some geeky crafty things, today I want to celebrate all the awesome comics crafts that people are doing, sometimes because they want items that can’t be found in the stores and sometimes because it’s just fun to craft. There are so many of them out there that I’m just going to highlight a few favorites here. Some of them are even available for purchase (oooh) so if you need something for the comics fiend in your life during the upcoming holidays, maybe this will give you some leads.
The first category of comic craft I love is the sort of decoupage style where people take old comics they don’t want and glue them onto items to make cool new things. While I cringe at the idea of destroying comics, these really look cool. My favorites, and something I so need to own myself, are the various comics high heels. A friend of mine has made a couple of pairs which are just awesome, and shares her crafting technique througha video she found that helped her figure things out, and a helpful site with Mod Podge tutorials, Mod Podge being a main material used to put the shoes together. (And speaking of shoes, these are not decoupage style, but check out these Wonder Woman shoesfor another awesome way to superhero up your shoes! So pretty!). Other fun comics image things my friend has made include this Captain Marvel purse; and other neat uses of the technique include these G.I. Joe flasks and comic book bracelet cuffs. If this sort of thing strikes your fancy, this Etsy store right here also looks like it has some things that might be up your alley, or, for a bit of variation, there’s this comics paper bead jewelry as well.
If seeing cut-up comics makes you cry, here’s another area of crafting that might more suit your fancy: crocheting! There are a lot of fun things geeks do with crocheting, from superhero wrist warmers like these Iron Man cuffs to my favorite thing ever, Dollpool (the Deadpool doll crocheted for me by my friend Amy!). Amy’s amazing at crocheting, and came up with the Dollpool pattern herself (along with Dolliana Jones, Bat-doll, and a Captain Dollmerica in progress). There are also some adorable sewing projects out there, like wee felted Poison Ivy or Batmole, which is geeky times two since it was made for Mole Day (anyone who took Chemistry in high school, I bet you remember doing Mole Day projects too. Wish I’d gotten to make something like this!). The creator of that one linked the mole pattern, if anyone out there wants to try it themselves. And, lest we forget there are a vast number of ways to use needles and thread or yarn, I also wanted to share this amazing glow-in-the-dark Spidey embroidery and this knitted Wonder Woman sweater (with tutorial).
Of course, one of the reasons I love Dollpool is that he’s an adorable doll, and there are plenty of those floating around that aren’t cloth, too. Shockingly, I’ll first link another Deadpool favorite (and admit that I actually own a version of this, because how could I resist??) It is:My Little Ponypool! (One of several custom ponies she’s made.) Or, if you like Japanese-style kokeshi dolls, these adorable Marvel ones caught my eye, and he’s got a bunch of other Marvel and DC dolls as well. And then, of course, there’s Diana the Wonder Kitty D’awwww.
If dolls and figures aren’t really your thing, how about some crazy Avengers papercraft? I think this might be one of the most adorable uses of paper I’ve ever seen, particularly since hedgehogs are my favorite animal ever. I love that these were made by a librarian (the open book-looking style makes a lot of sense!) who hastened to reassure everyone that these were made from falling-apart comics that have been replaced in the library’s collection. Ah, librarians. Speaking of books that are falling apart, here’s a really cool way to re-bind a book in true superheroine style that I kind of want to try even if my books aren’t falling apart. Or, if you are more into a simple do-it-yourself popular style of papercraft, there are these papercraft Avengers here. These look simple enough for even kids to do, so it might be a fun project for young comics fans, with more designs at the link if you’re getting tired of the Avengers and want to try something else.
Well! If you’re a crafter, hopefully these links provide some interest and inspiration (they did for me!) or, if not, maybe some gift ideas for the holidays. Or at the very least, I hope you liked looking at all the fantastically geeky creations as much as I did.
There’s a lot of hogwash being said by Republicans these days concerning women. Legitimate rape. (What the hell is that?) A woman has the ability to shut down her ovaries if she doesn’t want to get pregnant. (Gee, I wish I had known that.) Contraception should not be covered by health insurance. (But Viagra and other anti-erectile dysfunction drugs are.) A mother’s life is no longer at risk when pregnant, so an abortion to save her life is not necessary. (Placental abruption, preeclampsia, eclampsia, peripartum cardiomyopathy and other cardiac problems, thromboembolytic disease, diabetes, seizures, bleeding disorder, genetic disorders.) A woman has no right to equal pay for equal work. (She-Hulk, Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman, Invisible Woman, have you checked your paychecks lately?) Women in binders. (Nobody puts Baby in a binder.)
I personally cannot understand any woman voting the Republican ticket right now. Which got me to wondering…
What side of the aisle do some of the women of comics sit on?
Lois Lane: Journalistic integrity is her middle name. I imagine Lois being a frequent guest on MSNBC, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert, as well as having guest-hosted SNL more than once. She’s also friends with Joan Walsh of Salon.com, Maureen Down and Gail Collins of the New York Times, Candy Crowley and Christine Amanpour of CNN, not to mention Andrea Mitchell, Katie Couric, and Rachel Maddow. Voted for Hillary Clinton in 2008, proud of Hillary’s work as Secretary of State, and a strong supporter of Barak Obama. Decision: Registered Democrat.
Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel): Hmm, this is a tough one. Given her Air Force brat upbringing and her own service in the United States Air Force, the natural inclination is that Carol is a staunch Republican, as the Republicans have long been believed to be the stronger party on defense. However, Carol’s heroes are Amelia Earheart, Jacqueline Cochrane, Geraldlyn Cobb, Sally Ride and now Colonel Jeannie Flynn Leavitt, the first female fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force, and I can’t see her being behind the Republicans these days because of their stance on women and women’s rights when it comes to equal pay for equal work. And I’m positive she doesn’t want anyone sticking an ultrasound probe up her vagina if it’s not medically necessary. Still, I’m sure she’s voted Republican in the past. But I think she also admires Obama’s tough stance on terrorism and his ability to quietly and efficiently green-light the hunt for Bin Laden, which resulted in his (good riddance!) death; and although I think she’s confused about what happened in Libya (just like the rest of us), she knows that fuck-ups happen. Decision: Independent.
Susan Storm Richards (Invisible Woman): I’m sure Susan, along with her husband, is heavily invested in technology in the market, and I’m betting the Richards (not to mention the entire Fantastic Four team) lost mucho dineros in 2008 when the market crashed. Still, I bet her hubby sits on the boards of some of the major defense contractor industries, such as General Electric, JPL, and Boeing. Still, while her husband may be strongly pro-Wall Street and a staunch Republican, I’m thinking they have a marriage like James Carville and Mary Matalin, only in reverse, with Susan, with her strong feelings about women’s rights, especially equal pay for equal work and pro-choice advocacy, working behind the scenes for Obama, throwing fundraisers and donating money. Decision: Democrat.
Wonder Woman: This one is easy for me, since I believe Wonder Woman is firmly against abortion. Not that she can vote, since she’s only got a green card (I presume.) Decision: Republican.
Jennifer Walters (She-Hulk): Jennifer is a lawyer. She’s probably met Elena Kagan and Sandra Day O’Conner, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she knows Gloria Allred, Judge Judy, and Nancy Grace. I’m thinking she believes in the idea of the Constitution as a living document, able to mature and grow, so she’s s definitely not a fan of Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, or Robert Bork. Chief Justice Roberts’s decision on the Affordable Health Care Act as constitutional probably surprised her as well as everybody else, knowing his legal record. I’m thinking that she believes Roe vs. Wade is now the de facto law of the land, so she would never work for a client who wants to overturn it, though I’m not sure if she’s pro-choice. I think she hates the way the Tea Party, which has been absorbed into the Republican Party, quotes the intents of the Founding Fathers as if they were there. She thinks Sarah Palin is a joke and feels sorry for John McCain, who ruined his long and honorable career by picking her as a running mate. (She would have voted for him otherwise.) Has voted Republican in the past, but leans Democrat these days. Decision: Registered Independent.
In closing, there’s terrific video over at Jezebel.com that I recommend every woman reading this to watch – and pull up a chair for the man (or men) in your life. It’ll make you laugh…
Oh, and for the record, I’m a registered Democrat.
As if you couldn’t guess.
TUESDAY MORNING: Emily S. Whitten Watches Green Arrow
There is a wonderful thing happening for me and other girls and women who read comics.
A new hero has appeared.
As frequent readers of this column should remember, Kara Zor-el, Supergirl, was the character and hero that rocked my pre-adolescent world. She was smart, brave, and not only did she have the same powers as Superman but she was his secret weapon, which is a powerful message to little girls. And yes, she was pretty, which I don’t think is a sexist thing to say. Everybody wants to be “pretty” when they grow up. Okay, little boys generally don’t want to be pretty when they grow up, but I don’t think they want to look like Quasimodo either.
Not that little girls and women have been without heroes since Kara first popped out of her rocket in Action Comics #252 in May, 1959. Wonder Woman, Princess Diana of Themiscrya, has been with us since All-Star Comics in December 1941. Jean Grey debuted as Marvel Girl in X-Men #1 in September 1963, and Storm – Ororo Munro – was created in Giant Size X-Men #1 in May 1975. Kitty Pryde – she of the 1,001 names–joined the Uncanny X-Men as Sprite in January 1980. The introduction of the Legion of Super-Heroes in Adventure Comics #242 in April 1958, included Saturn Girl, a.k.a. Imra Ardeen.
And then there was Carol Danvers.
Major Carol Danvers of the United States Air Force first appeared in Marvel Super-Heroes #13 in March 1968. In 1977, Carol was empowered by the fusion of her body with Kree genes, and became Ms. Marvel, appearing in the eponymously titled Ms. Marvel #1 in January 1977. She has also been known as Binary and Warbird.
And then, in July 2012, Carol Danvers accepted the mantle of Captain Marvel
Kelly Sue DeConnick, as writer of the series, has taken the ball and run with it. In fighter jock parlance, DeConnick – and through her, Carol Danvers – is pushing the envelope of what it means to be a woman and a hero. To quote DeConnick from her interview with Corrina Lawson in Lawson’s Geek Mom column for Wired magazine, “My pitch was Carol Danvers as Chuck Yeager.”
As the daughter of P-51 fighter jock, I get it. Completely.
Carol’s not looking for medals. She’s not looking for accolades. Yeah, she’s chasing those demons that live beyond the sound barrier. Yeah, she’s out there every day pushing the envelope, punching holes in the sky. But she’s just doing what she’s gotta do. Doing it ‘cause, well…’cause she’s doing it.
Knocking out Absorbing Man by smothering his air supply with impermeable sash.
Comparing the hurt she’s gonna feel knocking out a gi-normous alien eyeball to the pain of a mascara wand in her own eyeball.
Girls and women get that.
We’re out there every day, not looking for accolades, not looking for medals. Just doing our jobs. Juggling family and work and relationships and life and just doing it.
‘Cause that’s what we do.
‘Cause that’s what Carol Danvers does. And if we said to her, “Man, Carol, you surely are our hero.”?
I think she’d just shrug her shrug her shoulders and say, “Whatever.”
‘Cause that’s what a hero does.
TUESDAY MORNING: Emily S. Whitten Survives New York