Tagged: Deadpool

Emily S. Whitten: Going Splitsville

Splitsville #1, from Arena Comics • Writer: Ben Fisher • Penciler: Kevin Stokes • Inker: Adam Markiewicz • Letterer: Comicraft • Colorist: Tony Washington

I won’t deny that I’m a sucker for fun, clever writing and shiny art. Who isn’t?. So when my artist friend Kevin Stokes gave me a sneak peek at one of his newest projects, Splitsville, which debuts at HeroesCon (June 22 through 24 in Charlotte, NC) and fits that description, I immediately requested a review copy. Arena Comics, a new indie comics publisher that boasts a slick European packaging style, kindly complied, and now I get to share my thoughts on Splitsville with all of you!

Splitsville Synopsis: Stalwart is the world’s only superhero and his arch-nemesis, Master Mayhem, the only super-villain.  What neither knows, however, is that they are the same man – two halves of a split personality.  But their devious sidekicks know the truth and have made millions exploiting the situation. The system appears flawless … until a brash new super heroine arrives on the scene and challenges the arrogant Stalwart to a not-so-friendly wager regarding Master Mayhem’s defeat.  With the sidekicks’ elaborate con on the brink of total collapse, will anyone survive?

There’s a lot to love about this comic right from the first issue. The concept is fresh – the hero and the villain are the same dude, after all! The casual allusions to the superhero/villain’s situation throughout the story are clever and subtle. And the first monkeywrench into the introduced status quo is a quirky one – i.e. the new superheroine in town, Blastcap, and her attempts to first work with and then one-up the “hero” of the book. There are also plenty of ongoing and potential plot threads being introduced, without any of it being too confusing. I’m not a huge fan of the “decompression” style of storytelling that’s pretty common these days (overall, though it can be used well for effect here and there) and like plenty of excitement and interesting plot twists to keep my attention. Splitsville delivers in that area so far.

Along with the question of what’s going to happen when Stalwart and Blastcap compete, there’s also a question (in my mind, at least) about Blastcap’s motivations, and her backstory – are her motives really what they seem? I feel like there might be more to her than meets the eye, and am intrigued. I also wonder about the two sidekicks, and how they’re going to deal with this new wrinkle in their money-making and hero/villain-exploiting plans.  And what’s with the ninja who keeps showing up everywhere Stalwart goes?… Also, do I detect a hint of unwilling attraction to our new superheroine by our remarkably selfish hero?

Speaking of Stalwart, I love that the biggest superhero in town is kind of a jerk (and even his sidekick knows it) – because I mean, hey, wouldn’t you maybe be too, if you were the only superhero around? It makes sense. Sure, he stops short of charging people to save them, but with the product sponsors and Stalwart’s obvious love of the spotlight, (not to mention his ridiculously outdated but still sexist book of insults) it’s clear we aren’t dealing with your average Superman. Master Mayhem, on the other hand, is eco-friendly and apparently an animal lover – not exactly what you’d expect of your main villain. And naturally he’s the one working the Clark Kent glasses. Fisher’s clearly playing with the established superhero genre, and I get a big kick out of stuff like that. Comics that make me smile (or even laugh) are always appreciated.

Speaking of things I appreciate, quality art that enhances the story is definitely amongst them, and this comic certainly has that.  The pencils, inks and colors are gorgeous, and shiny without being cartoony.  The style perfectly complements the energetic and slightly zany characters and storyline. Penciler Stokes has a great talent for expressive faces, but also a strong flare for action scenes. I love the cavalcade of cheesy grins, grumpy looks, devious expressions, exasperated facepalms, and more that we get throughout the comic (who needs decompression when you can say so much with a single look?). And yet scenes like Stalwart chasing one of Mayhem’s destructive robots through a wall are just as much fun. The little world building details (like an ad for “Hatorade,” sponsored by Stalwart, on a wall near where Stalwart and Blastcap are facing down evil creatures) are also priceless.

Splitsville’s characters are unique, and though I wouldn’t necessarily want to hang out with all of them, I’m loving reading about them; the art is consistently fantastic; and the story certainly has my attention. I also love the character sketches, bits of script, and other extras included in the issue. The preview for the next issue seems to hint at a possible team-up after all between our two ostensible “good guys,” and I’m curious to see how that plays out, along with the competition they already have going. This issue is an excellent start to what looks like a great miniseries, and I’m looking forward to seeing the rest. Give Splitsville a try, and I bet you will be, too.

So that’s the news from me this week. Next week, we have a very special guest: Deadpool, that’s right, Deadpool, is stopping by to answer your questions. So if you’ve got a question about anything (really, anything) for the Merc with a Mouth, leave a message in the comments here, and he’ll get back to you in his own…very special way…next Tuesday.

Until then, Servo Lectio!

WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold Finally Attacks Marc Alan Fishman!


Emily S. Whitten: Comics – We’re In This Together!

I’ve been writing for much of my life, whether for school and my career, for my blog and online columns, or creatively. In the creative vein, I’ve written short stories, and poetry, and silly humorous things, and am currently working on-and-off on two novels. But in none of those endeavors did, or do, I have a collaborator – a.k.a. a partner in crime! Writing is generally a lonely business. It can be a joyous experience; but even if you have an idea you know you want to express, it can also be a struggle to formulate it, get it down on paper or in a Word document, edit it, and then show it to another human being. That last bit can be especially hard. Even if you’ve been encouraged in your writing, it can be damned difficult to open yourself up for criticism about something so personal – a thing that’s come out of your head and your (mental) sweat and tears, and that you think you might just love, but fear others may scoff at.

For example: back in high school, I was a winner in a fairly competitive poetry contest for which the prize was $100 (yay!), a book of poetry, an invitation to read your poems at a local event for the judges, some poets, the other winners and their parents, and then an opportunity to read on stage at the Dodge Poetry Festival. I didn’t make the Dodge Poetry Festival, seeing as how I had to be in another state starting college the week before it occurred, but I did go to the local reading. I’m not generally a nervous public speaker when it comes to presentations or debates but on that day I was thoroughly dreading getting up and reading my own creations in front of everyone – and particularly the professional poets and other winners.

What made it worse, of course, was that with my “W” last name, I was one of the last to read. I sat there and listened as winner after winner read these deep, sorrowful poems about dying and winter and illness and frozen birds (really) and all of this very, very angsty stuff, and I started wondering if perhaps the judges had added my name to the winners’ list by accident. You see, the poem I’d chosen to read was sort of a happy thing, about nature and peace and contentment and family; and as I listened to all of this raw, dark emotion pouring out I thought, “You know, I don’t actually think I’m supposed to be here. Can I just go home now, please?” Even after being chosen as a winner, I was still afraid I didn’t really fit in there, and nobody who listened would think my little poem was any good, and I’d be left standing at the podium in embarrassed silence while everyone just sort of stared at me or, worse, golf-clapped.

Fortunately, it all went fine, and one of the poet-judges came up and shook my hand and said he’d really enjoyed my poems. I’d like to say that I’m completely over that sort of negative thinking now – but I’m not. Although I am better at sharing my work these days, I still sometimes feel as if whatever I’ve just written is awful (this column! It stinks! Get the Febreze!); and I’d hazard a guess that many successful writers still deal with that fear as well. However, I’ve found one method of writing that doesn’t come with the side effect of staring dully at your computer at 2 a.m. while moaning, “This is just terrible.” And it is: collaboration!

One of the best things I’ve discovered about writing comics in particular is how much fun it can be to collaborate, with either an artist or another writer; and how, if you’re lucky, you can find someone who not only complements your own ideas but adds to them to make the whole shebang that much better. Comics is an art form that naturally lends itself to collaboration and often actually requires it, and I’ve learned that I love that.

One great thing about having a collaborator is that you’re both in the creative process together, with the goal of producing a good end product; and so you have someone who cares as much as you do to tell you if they think something’s funny or if it works, or to bounce ideas off of, or to brainstorm with. Because you know they care, you can trust that they’ll be honest in their opinions or suggestions on how to improve the work. Having that other person adds a new dimension of fun to the process, gives you ongoing external feedback that you can trust, and, for me at least, strips away a lot of that internal worry about whether one single other person out there will like my work – because I already know that there’s at least one other person out there who likes it enough to work on it with me!

I first learned the fun of collaborating while working with Marc Vuletich, who’s the artist for all of the webcomics I’ve written to date. I “met” Marc (in the internet sense) two years ago after seeing his work on DeviantArt, and particularly this comic (so wrong but so funny). I’d commented on a few of the webcomics he’d done with Liam Bradley, and then later on I got a Deadpool script idea (which turned into this strip). But, alas, I cannot draw (well not very well, anyway). So I contacted Marc and asked him if he was game to draw it for me. Happily, he was, and it turned out he’d actually read Ask Deadpool before, and liked it, which was a pretty good sign for us working together.

Thus begun our collaboration. I could tell from the first comic that he was going to be fun to work with, because not only did he enjoy my scripts, but he made me laugh at my own comic, adding things I hadn’t mentioned but that fit right in with the spirit of the script, or doing such a good job on a character’s expression that it was just like what I’d pictured, only somehow better. Marc’s work improved on my vision, and strange as it may sound, that made me enjoy my own writing more. It also helped me to see where I could improve my writing, as, for instance, when I would get too wordy and then realize there was no way Marc could fit all of that text into one frame. Okay, so I’m still too wordy sometimes (sorry, Marc!) – but at least now I know it!

Writing for an artist also helps a writer better visualize and develop the balance of text versus action that makes a scene work. Seeing the results of your imagination as visualized by someone else provides new ideas for future ways to frame things or order your storyline. And, of course, working with someone else forces better discipline when it comes to responsibly meeting deadlines, as you need to finish writing in time for your artist to draw the comic and send it back for editing and finalization.

One of the great things about collaboration can be when you find someone you work well with, and work with them long enough to establish a good sense of teamwork and synchronicity. I asked Marc to weigh in on what working together is like, to see if his perspective matched mine, and here’s what he said:

“Emily is really great to work with. First, we both share the same passion for the character Deadpool, and second, her writing style totally complements his comedic personality which makes drawing her comics so enjoyable. The scripts are always very descriptive, which gives me a clear picture of what she’s looking for, while at the same time I still have the artistic freedom to add my own little touches to the comic. The only trouble I used to run in to was finding a way to balance the amount of dialogue in each panel with the action happening around it, but now that we’ve been working together for a while I think we’ve reached this cool little groove where we know exactly what each other wants and we make this awesome team because of it.”

Yep, I think we’ve got some synchronicity going.

Along with my collaborations with Marc (and he’s working on a new script right now that may appear here soon), as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago I’ve recently started working with another writer to develop a new comic series that will be epic in scope. I don’t know if it was luck or fate, but it just so happens that we started talking at just the right time and under just the right circumstances to come up with this fantastically fun idea and discover that we are the perfect foils for each other’s zany brainstorming. I’ll suggest a scenario, and he’ll add something that’s like the missing puzzle piece as to why that scene would be awesome. Or he’ll say something that I’d never have thought of but that fits perfectly into another idea I haven’t even mentioned to him yet. And the best part of all is that he loves my ideas just as much as I do, and vice-versa. There’s no sitting around worrying about whether anyone but me thinks this would be any good – instead, there’s enthusiasm on both sides and a new horizon of infinite possibilities stemming from our creative partnership.

I can tell you right now that this is probably the most creative fun I’ve had in my whole life. And it’s a writing experience I might never have if it weren’t for the collaborative nature of comics. So hooray for comics, and collaboration, and the way this process helps us overcome our writing inhibitions and become better creators.

And remember, we’re in this together! So until next time, Servo Lectio!

WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold Outs Much Ado About Nothing


Emily S. Whitten: It’s Hard Out There for a (Fan)girl, part 1 – I Would Like to Buy a Shirt, Please

So in my first column discussing differences in the way guys and gals are treated by the comics industry, I’m totally going to start with a gender stereotype, ‘cause that’s just how I roll. Here it is:

Women love to shop.

It should come as no surprise to anyone who’s read anything by me before that I will now say, “Okay, stereotypes are silly and that’s actually not true of all women. My sister, for instance, hates malls and isn’t a huge fan of shopping in general.” But it is true that I, a grown female comics fan with a desire to occasionally spend money on comic-y things, do love to shop; and since this is my column, we’re going to talk about me! (That’s also how I roll.) And about the fact that I am often disappointed, as both a shopper and a comics fan, by what’s offered to female fans in the way of comics merchandise, and generally by the way the industry seems to view the female demographic.

I do feel like there’s been some (read: glacial) improvement in this area in the past few years. But I don’t understand why it’s taking so long, or why there’s such difficulty in marketing to women (and in, simultaneously, not insulting them in the process).

The way I see it, the goals of comics merchandisers are to take all my monieessssss and maybe have me advertising comics for them along the way, right? And to do that in such a way that I’m overjoyed to give them all my monieessssss and, say, wear the Bat-symbol across my chest?  Okay, I don’t actually know what their goals are – although I do know that in 2009 Marvel’s president of consumer products seemed to think that in some way, marketing stuff to women might“alienate” their core of male consumers. Which is hilarious, since literally any geek guy I’ve ever talked to either wouldn’t even notice women’s products at all or thinks it’s cool to see women expressing their geek side.

But if I were a Comics Marketing Overlady, those would be my goals. Which could also be stated, in a slightly less evil way, as “Making successful products that promote the brand and appeal specifically to the target demographic.” Or even, “Making spectacular shit women would punch other people in the face to obtain.” You know, something like that. There could also be something in the mission statement about making people happy, I don’t know. Maybe the marketeers are also genuine geeks and they actually get super-hyped about their products and want us to be too. If so, that’s extra-awesome. That’s where the best products come from.

But if these are their goals, then why isn’t there more truly amazing comics merch out there for women? Don’t get me wrong – I love a good collectible figure just as much as the next geek (and I would, for instance, consider robbing a small child if it meant I could afford to buy this statue). But along with the stuff that anybody might like, there’s also a lot of stuff out there that’s pretty much designed for guys, with gals being a marketing afterthought if they’re thought of at all; and not only is that a saaaaad imbalance, but I also think marketers are missing out on some shockingly easy money-making opportunities.

Here are just a few examples of areas where the comics industry could really do better in marketing to women.

T-shirts: As stated, I’m a woman. Ergo, I ain’t built like a man, and any time I try to wear a shirt cut for a dude I look stupid. No matter how great the image, I never buy a tee unless it’s cut for women. Even if I get a man-cut shirt with a cool design for free the best it can hope for is to go in my “possibly pajamas someday” pile, because I refuse to leave the house looking like I’m wearing someone’s big brother’s clothes. Now, happily, this is an area where there seems to be more choice lately. In fact, I own that Batgirl shirt (photo above) and have worn it to at least two cons. I love it. But that doesn’t mean I can’t think of a bunch of times when I’ve seen a cool shirt design and it isn’t available for women. Despite there being more choice now, a majority of shirts still seem to be available only in guy-cut. And even when there are gal-cut shirts, sometimes the design that looks great on a guy shirt doesn’t work so well on a gal shirt, and I have to wonder if the designers are paying much attention to what women look like (hint: if you put a big rectangular design on the front of a woman’s shirt, it is going to be weirdly distorted and possibly some of it will disappear entirely). Maybe do some women’s shirts with smaller designs on the front, and the big panels on the back of the shirt? Just a thought, y’all.

Also, there have been some weird missteps when the companies do try to aim for that female demographic. Take the “Girls Rule!” shirt with full-grown lady superheroines on it that came out a couple of years ago. Maybe it’s just me, but I think calling women “girls” all the time trivializes them and yet is so culturally accepted that most of us do it without even thinking. But do think about it for a minute – would most grown men gravitate towards a shirt with grown male superheroes that proudly declared “Boys Rule!”

Haaaaaa, please.

And then there were those oh-so-charming “I heart men in uniform” and “I only date superheroes” shirts. I mean, okay, it’s cute I guess. Some women might buy that. But still – flip the demographic again and think about how many men would go for a “I only date superheroines” shirt over other designs? Although I think this particular issue goes to a much larger issue regarding women in comics, I really feel that we could get some better t-shirt designs for women if more people out there gave a toss about trying.

Beauty items: I love it when the comics industry tries to market beauty items (like make-up and such) to women, because almost always it fails spectacularly and I get to either laugh or rant about it. But, okay, I’d love it more if they actually started getting it right (I feel like the only time I’ve seen that so far was with the JADS International’s Black Widow perfume, and even there, they really should have done at least one more perfume, in a cool scent). Here’s a great example from 2009 of how the industry is kind of clueless about this stuff. The Lotta Luv Cosmetics partnership discussed there had me shaking my head and scoffing.  Okay, yes, if they are only aiming at fairly young girls, the bubble-gum colors and flavors might appeal; but if they want to market to the people who are most likely to spend money on make-up (adult women) they should try another tack; and either way, what is with the ‘50s femme vibe they’ve got going on, which is  far removed from anything I or most modern gals would identify with? Not what I want to see in my modern female comics products, something I also noted after the recent SpyGal Marvel/Benefit Cosmetics partnership announcement.

Also, I’m going to let Marvel (and everyone else) in on a little secret here: if female fans are going to spend money on comics make-up, it’s going to be because the make-up is good, or unique, or both. Sure, we’ll buy it over other stuff if everything else is equal, or if it’s a super-awesome product, but the product itself is key. Here’s an example: Last weekend I went to the Nebula Awards Weekend, which honors science fiction writers each year. And while a bunch of us ladies were geeking out over our friends’ geek accoutrements (like io9’s Annalee Newitz’s awesome iCufflinks) one showed me her nails – which were painted with tiny planets. Perfect for the Nebulas, and I was totally in awe and immediately jealous of her unique and geeky nails. I would have gone to a salon and plunked down money to get those, too! They were super-awesome, and you know what else would be? Superhero nail decals! Get on that, comics marketers. I’d wear ‘em.

Another example: I think Twilight is awful, at the very least because Stephanie Meyer slowly serial-kills the dignity and grace of the English language page by page, to say nothing of the bizarre lessons it seems to be teaching regarding relationships and self-worth. Nevertheless, when my friend told my there was a blood red Twilight lip plumper product on the market, I bought it. Even though I had never once considered trying a lip plumper before that. Why? Because I actually needed some red lipstick for a costume I was doing, and because I was fascinated and curious regarding the apparent effect of the gloss (my friend’s description was something like, “it stings a lot and then it makes your lips look bigger!”).

Hey, I’m a geek, which is usually accompanied by an appreciation for quirky things; so I had to try this stuff that apparently changed the very fabric (so to speak) of one’s lips. This is also why I bought magnetic nail polish. Because what geek can resist a product that gives your nails awesome designs through science? But I digress. My point here is: if you want to market beauty items to geek gals: 1) remember that we are gals who likely know a lot about make-up, and make sure the product is awesome or geeky, not just the packaging; and 2) make the packaging cooler. And no stuff from the ‘50s, please.

Quality accessories: I won’t go on too much about these, since there’s really not that much to criticize at this point… but that’s kind of the problem. Why aren’t there more, say, necklaces with a nice sterling silver (maybe with enamel for color?) comics symbol charm? I mean, I would wear the hell out of a Deadpool charm, especially if it was classy enough that I could wear it to work without anyone thinking it was out of place in a professional office (stealth geek attire!). Heck, I’ve actually worn my hand-made Deadpool earrings to work any number of times, and have gotten compliments on them from people who have no idea they’re from a comic. They just thought it was a cool design. Also, why aren’t there more cool comics-themed purses or whatnot? I’ve seen people making their own, so clearly there’s a desire for it. What’s stopping the actual companies from jumping on that? Oh, comics companies. I have so many accessory ideas. Why haven’t you had them already?

Costumes: …Okay, we’re going to save that one for another time. Because that’s a whole column in itself.

In summary – I love shopping. I love comics. I love shopping for stuff related to comics. But I’m a woman, which is apparently still the minority in the comics fandom, and there isn’t as much cool stuff out there for me to buy as there should be. Comics companies, it’s hard out there for a fangirl. Make it easier for me to geek out by making more cool stuff I’ll love. I promise I’ll buy it.

Do you agree with me, readers? Then tell me what products you’d like to see (or what marketing missteps you’ve noticed) in the comments.  And until next Tuesday, everyone: Servo Lectio!

WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold Assaults The Secret Identity



Emily S. Whitten: Getting Started in the Comics Industry

I love comics. I love reading them, thinking about them, discussing them, and even critiquing them. I also love writing them, something I’ve discovered in the last couple of years as I started writing a series of webcomics about characters in upcoming comic book-related movies, which were then published on movie news websites like MTV Splash Page and ReelzChannel. Since that time, I’ve realized that I’d really like to keep writing comics, including, hopefully someday soon, full issues for a major company, to be seen by all the worrrrrrld [insert maniacal laugh here].

That may seem like a big leap, but it could happen. After all, most of the people who are or have been involved in professional comics started out just as I did: as ridiculously huge fans of the medium and the characters and stories. I mean, sure, maybe a few here or there got pulled into a job and then discovered they liked it, but for the most part, the people making comics do it because they were fans who, basically, landed their dream jobs through expressing their love of or thoughts on comics.

There are some great public examples of this amongst the current Big Names in comics. They include Geoff Johns, who wrote in to DC Comics as a kid with suggestions for the Superboy storyline. There’s also Kevin Smith, whose lifelong comics fandom landed him a number of roles in comics-writing after he’d already made a name for himself with movies (and he also owns Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash, the first comic book store I ever went to, being a Jersey gal). There’s also Gail Simone, who came to the attention of comics publishers through her website Women in Refrigerators, which critiqued the treatment of female characters in comics, and has since written a weekly column on Comic Book Resources and a lot of great comics about both male and female characters, including well-received stints on the all-female group comic Birds of Prey. (I mention this comic in particular because I think it’s great that after Simone expressed her opinion on a certain issue in comics, she had the opportunity to address that issue by writing a number of female characters.) And let’s not forget Mark Waid, whose studio tour on Comic Book Resources reveals just how much of a fan collector he is, as well as giving us this quote about a three-page sequence from Flash #0 that hangs on his wall: “[it’s] the scene where the adult Wally West meets his ten-year-old self and tells the boy that no matter how rotten his young life seems or how hard the days are to get through, when he grows up, every wish he’s ever wished for will come true. It’s hands-down my favorite sequence I have ever written because – and I say this in all sincerity – I often dream about being able to travel back in time and tell young Mark Waid that same thing.”


Of course, compared to these greats and all of their former-fan-now-professional companions, including my esteemed fellow columnists at ComicMix, I wouldn’t say I’ve had too much of a “career in comics” to date. But like, I suspect, at least a few big names today, I have gone from being “just a fan” to being much closer to where I’d like to be in the industry, and have high hopes of continuing along that trajectory in the future. I know that a lot of other fans have similar hopes. So I thought I’d take a couple of minutes to look back at my own experience with comics so far and see how it’s progressed.

As a kid I hadn’t read many comics, and didn’t even know there were such things as “comic book stores” devoted to (gasp) just that medium. There were a few comics in the house that belonged to my oldest sister – the ones I remember being some old collections of Archie and some individual issues of Richie Rich – and I did read those few books countless times, and remember being enamored of both the funny and entertaining stories and the way the illustrations complimented and enhanced them. But I didn’t lack for reading materials, with an English teacher for a mom and two older sisters who loved books, so I never went looking for more comics.

Television, however, was a different matter. You didn’t have to go out and find television shows – they came to you! So I grew up on a healthy mix of cartoons like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, ThunderCats, X-Men: The Animated Series (I still love the theme song!), DuckTales and Darkwing Duck, Batman: The Animated Series, and countless others, most of which either started as or ran concurrently with comic books (although I didn’t know it at the time). I also, thanks to my dad, got a healthy dose from an early age of adventure and comics-related shows and movies he loved, including Sky King, The Lone Ranger, The Green Hornet, and the Christopher Reeve Superman movies. Fast forward a few years, and I was addicted to Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (and even later, I got hooked on Smallville. Apparently I can’t resist on-screen Clark Kent). So comics have always been a part of my life, and I’ve always been a fan, but I didn’t realize it.

In 2008, that all changed. Thanks to an ex who suggested we go to the local comic book store for Free Comic Book Day, I started getting interested in collecting paper comics. On that fateful day he recommended a character that “I think you’ll like,” i.e. Deadpool; and after flipping through a couple of issues, I was completely hooked. In the following month I acquired and read all the Deadpool books I could find (as well as a slew of other comics, both new and old), and, in a joking conversation with the ex in which I was pretending to answer questions as Deadpool, I think I said something like, “wouldn’t it be funny if Deadpool was online answering questions?” and he said, “You should totally do that,” and thus, the first entry of Ask Deadpool was born. I made up the first few questions myself; and by the next day, people were writing in. I’ve now been regularly answering questions online as Deadpool for four years.

I’ve never had much of an interest in writing fanfiction generally, but with comics, it feels a little different. In a strange way, the comics industry could be looked at as the ultimate repository for quality fanfic (except that as it’s published, it becomes canon). There are so many professionals that got their start playing in sandboxes that were built by previous professionals that writing a comic book character non-professionally feels less like fanfic and more like practicing to join the fun. Sure, my Ask Deadpool writing is still fanfic (until I take over Deadpool at Marvel and write it for the next 20 years, mwahahaaaaa), but it’s different than someone writing about a closed universe such as, say, the Harry Potter series. Not only is writing comics fanfic a great way to practice writing previously published characters’ voices, but there’s actually the chance that all that practice might someday be put to use, professionally.

And there’s also the chance that in writing about something you love, you will accidentally become known as a gigantic Deadpool fan to everyone you know and many people you don’t, which will result in a friend getting a cool Deadpool print signed to you by one of the best inkers in the business (hey-oh, Nathan Massengill!), and you will be so excited about it that you will get it framed, and send a thank you email and photo of the framed print to the inker, and subsequently become friends with the inker, who incidentally convinces you to go to a comic con and introduces you to a bunch of other cool people in comics, and soon other fans and all these people who actually work in comics will know you as the biggest Deadpool fan ever, and this turns out to be a pretty good thing.

Because then you will turn out to be “the most passionate Deadpool fan” that a movie news site has encountered, and will be asked to write a fan article about Deadpool for them, at the same time that you just so happened to have started writing comic strip scripts using Deadpool and other characters to commentate on current pop-culture news, and have found another fan who’s a great artist and has agreed to draw the comics, and it turns out that you’ve already written a script that exactly fits the topic of the article. And the news site likes it, and want to see more.

That’s how I ended up having webcomics published on popular movie news websites. (Although it’s also important to know your own value and not be afraid to pitch something. My Avengers three-part series ran on MTV Splash Page because I actually pitched it to the editor, rather than him finding me.) The same passion for comics and network of people and happenstances has also led to me meeting the folks here at ComicMix and being invited to write a weekly column; and to me meeting another writer who has already had several comic scripts published professionally, and with whom I am now plotting out the greatest comic series ever created (well we think so, anyway). And although I can’t predict the future, I have high hopes that for me, it will hold an abundance of work in comics.

The interesting thing here is, until recently I didn’t really sit down and think to myself, “hey, maybe I could actually write comics. Like, professionally.” Instead, I was just having fun with something I enjoy, and expressing a passion for characters and a medium I’ve come to love. As it turns out (I think, and evidence suggests), this is a pretty good way to get started in comics, and the more I think about what I’d like to write in comics, the more ideas I have. Along with the greatest comic series ever created, I’d love to write Deadpool for Marvel someday (after much more practice, perhaps!) and I’ve got a Superman story in my head that I think would knock people’s socks off. And that’s just what’s percolating in my brain right now. But really, whatever happens in my future, I’m overjoyed that I am where I am today, writing about a medium I love and interacting with people who keep me inspired, and plan to continue to write columns, and webcomics, and anything else people will let me write professionally, for as long as I can. And maybe, if you’re a passionate fan like me, you can do that too! Servo Lectio!

Wednesday Morning: Mike Gold Covers Covers


Emily S. Whitten: Cable & Deadpool & The Book of Bromance

If you know me at all, you know I love Deadpool. If you don’t know I love Deadpool, then what are you, new here? (Well, okay, maybe it’s that I’m pretty new here. Whichever.) Anyway. My point is, I love Deadpool, and pretty much no one on the Internet is in doubt of that by this point.

But have I talked about how much I love Cable & Deadpool (a.k.a. The Greatest, Most Insane and Slightly Twisted Buddy Story Ever Told)? Not enough, I haven’t! And I’m not just talking about Patrick Zircher’s or Reilly Brown’s excellent art (with a bit of Mark Brooks and other talented folks as well), although I do love that. I’m also talking about the superbly engaging and zany characterization, storytelling, and relationship that Fabian Nicieza developed during his time writing the book.


Emily S. Whitten: YOU Can Smell Like A Superhero With The Avengers Fragrances!

I’ve seen a few Internet commenters wondering why anyone would want to smell like a “sweaty robotic suit” or whatever, but really, it’s refreshing to see a comics-related tie-in that’s not a t-shirt or knick-knack made of plastic. I’m an adult, and sometimes it’s fun to buy adult things that are also totally geeky. And I like that this particular product line has at least one female-specific product. So I say hooray to Marvel for partnering up with JADS International, purveyors of geeky scents, to bring us some fun comics-themed colognes and one (and maybe someday more?) perfume based on The Avengers. Also, let’s be honest, I just really, really like things that smell nice. And these scents really do.

Colognes and perfumes are super subjective, of course, and it can be hard to know what something is going to smell like when worn, because it reacts with body chemistry and the scent varies from person to person (like that one time when my best friend had the most amazing perfume and I loved it and she got me a bottle and… it smelled terrible on me. I was so sad). But it does help to know what something smells like in the bottle and on at least one person; and to that end, I am here to help! By not only telling you what each cologne smells like in the bottle, but also what it smells like on my extremely patient friend and fellow Avengers fan, the very talented comic book artist Kevin Stokes. (Round of applause for good sport Kevin, folks. Also check out his fantastic work on things like Stan Lee’s The Guardian Project. Just for fun, before I read the descriptions of the fragrances, I also wrote up what I thought the characters would actually smell like. Let’s see how close JADS International got to my ideas of what superheroes (and one heroine, and one villain) smell like. (more…)

Emily S. Whitten: Greetings, Salutations, and What Up, ComicMix Readers?

You know how sometimes you lie in bed late at night, eyes closed, willing your brain to stop humming that stupid pop song, or stop thinking about the errands you forgot to run today, or stop telling you to get up and write down that story you just had an idea for, because by gods you have to get up at 6 a.m. for work and your boss is going to be really super unhappy if you fall asleep at your desk?

Do you have a brain that works like that? A brain that never seems to shut off, and is always reminding you of ideas or tasks or things you need to write down right now or you might forget them and then they’ll be gone forever and wouldn’t that be terrible? Yeah, my brain is just like that; and at least a third of the time those ideas my brain won’t stop having are about comics and pop culture and what I think of them or want to write about them. Luckily (maybe) for you, I’ll now be writing down those ideas here on ComicMix each week for everyone to read. Hurrah!

Hi, by the way. I’m Emily, and I’m happy to be here as the newest ComicMix columnist. I’ve been writing in one form or another since directly after birth. (I believe this to be true even though I have seen no photographic evidence of it. This is because for years my dad mostly took photos on slide film, which requires a special projector to view, and so even though he swears up and down that there are many, many photos of me as a baby I’ve only seen about two, one of which featured me with birthday cake on my face and the other of which featured me dressed as a clown. But if I ever see more I am sure they will be of Baby Me writing very studiously). I’ve also been writing online since 2002, and blogging and tweeting (unofficially) as the Marvel character Deadpool since 2008.

Most recently, a number of webcomics written by me and drawn by artist Marc Vuletich have been featured on pop culture and comics movie news sites Reelzchannel and MTV Splash Page, and the lovely folks at the Tonner Doll Company featured a guest post by me about the awesomeness that is Deadpool.

But even with all that, I still have plenty to say here! For instance, did you ever wonder what Tony Stark or Loki or Black Widow might smell like? Next Tuesday, I’ll be reviewing the Marvel Avengers colognes and perfume that were designed to smell like the Avengers movie characters (and may even give one away to a lucky commenter)! Or perhaps you want to know why Cable & Deadpool was the most dysfunctionally awesome buddy adventure ever? I might just write about that. Did you like the webcomics I linked above? New ones may show up here! The debate about digital comics; a look at comics and merchandise marketing from a woman’s perspective; copyright infringement and legal issues in comics (did I mention I’m an attorney?) – no topic is safe from me! So I hope you’ll click on over each week to see what’s new.

In the interim, show of hands: who’s psyched for The Avengers on Friday? I know I am. In fact, I’m so excited (or perhaps insane) that I’m going to the Ultimate Marvel Marathon on Thursday so I can see all six relevant Marvel movies in a row. Anyone else here doing that? (And what’s in your Marathon Survival Kit?) Are you dressing up for the movie? Doing something else special? Tell me all about it in the comments so we can be excited together!

And don’t forget: I’ll be back next Tuesday, so Servo Lectio!

Well, hey: Excelsior! was taken.

WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold Can Count To 32!


NYCC 2011 Cosplay, Part 1: Deadpool, Taskmaster, Darkwing Duck and the TARDIS

To my mind, these NYPD cosplayers were pretty good… but if they were really going for authenticity, they’d be beating on the people in the V For Vendetta masks.

Here’s even more wackiness…

SDCC: 2011 Eisner Awards Winners!

SDCC: 2011 Eisner Awards Winners!


2:40: And that’s the way to end the show! Enjoy the after parties, everybody!

2:35: Best Graphic Album-New: TIE! Return of the Dapper Men, by Jim McCann and Janet Lee (Archaia); Wilson, by Daniel Clowes (Drawn & Quarterly)

2:31: Best Graphic Album-Reprint: Wednesday Comics, edited by Mark Chiarello (DC)

2:28: Best Adaptation from Another Work: The Marvelous Land of Oz, by L. Frank Baum, adapted by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young (Marvel)

2:18: Best Continuing Series: Chew, by John Layman and Rob Guillory (Image)

2:13: Best Limited Series: Daytripper, by Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá (Vertigo/DC)

2:11: That King fella on American Vampire has talent. Of course, he’s no Joe Hill…

2:08: Best New Series: American Vampire, by Scott Snyder, Stephen King, and Rafael Albuquerque (Vertigo/DC)

2:06: Russ Manning Most Promising Newcomer Award: Nate Simpson for Nonplayer

2:03 AM: Best Reality Based Work: It Was the War of the Trenches, by Jacques Tardi (Fantagraphics)

2:00 AM: Best Single Issue (or One-Shot): Hellboy: Double Feature of Evil, by Mike Mignola and Richard Corben (Dark Horse)

1:56: Best Short Story:“Post Mortem,” by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark, in I Am an Avenger #2 (Marvel)

1:52: Best Writer/Artist: Darwyn Cooke, Richard Stark’s Parker: The Outfit (IDW)

1:48: Best Writer: Joe Hill, Locke & Key (IDW)

1:41: Hey, look, everybody! It’s John Stewart, Virgil Hawkins, Remy LeBeau and Samurai Jack!

1:36: In Memoriam. Can we have a year where we don’t need this segment, please?

1:31: Voters’ Choice for Eisner Hall Of Fame: Roy Thomas, and Marv Wolfman.

1:28: Voters’ Choice for Eisner Hall Of Fame: Harvey Pekar.

1:23: Voters’ Choice for Eisner Hall Of Fame: Mort Drucker! Congratulations to one of the usual gang of idiots.

1:16: Hall Of Fame Inductees: Ernie Bushmiller, Jack Johnson, Martin Nodell, and Lynd Ward.

1:04: Best U.S. Edition of International Material-Asia: Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys, by Naoki Urasawa (VIZ Media)

1:00 AM: Best U.S. Edition of International Material: It Was the War of the Trenches, by Jacques Tardi (Fantagraphics)

12:51: Best Archival Collection/Project-Strips: Archie: The Complete Daily Newspaper Strips, 1946–1948, by Bob Montana, edited by Greg Goldstein (IDW)

12:47: Best Anthology: Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard, edited by Paul Morrissey and David Petersen (Archaia)

12:44: Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award, presented by Ruth Clampett to Patrick McDonnell (Mutts)

12:41: Best Publication Design: Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer Artist’s Edition, designed by Randall Dahlk (IDW)

12:38: Best Archival Collection/Project-Comic Books: Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer Artist’s Edition, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW)

12:35: Best Comics-Related Book: 75 Years of DC Comics: The Art of Modern Mythmaking, by Paul Levitz (TASCHEN)

12:31: Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism: ComicBookResources, produced by Jonah Weiland (www.comicbookresources.com)

12:28: Best Cover Artist: Mike Mignola, Hellboy, Baltimore: The Plague Ships (Dark Horse)

12:25: Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art): Juanjo Guarnido, Blacksad (Dark Horse)

12:22: Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team: Skottie Young, The Marvelous Land of Oz (Marvel)

12:11: The Bill Finger Excellence in Comics Writing Awards go to Bob Haney and Del Connell.

12:08: Best Digital Comic: Abominable Charles Christopher, by Karl Kerschl, www.abominable.cc

12:05: Best Lettering: Todd Klein, Fables, The Unwritten, Joe the Barbarian, iZombie (Vertigo/DC); Tom Strong and the Robots of Doom (WildStorm/DC); SHIELD (Marvel); Driver for the Dead (Radical)
Best Coloring:
Dave Stewart, Hellboy, BPRD, Baltimore, Let Me In (Dark Horse); Detective Comics (DC); Neil Young’s Greendale, Daytripper, Joe the Barbarian (Vertigo/DC)

12:02: Best Humor Publication: I Thought You Would Be Funnier, by Shannon Wheeler (BOOM!)

11:57: Best Publication for Teens: Smile, by Raina Telgemeier (Scholastic Graphix)

11:54: Best Publication for Kids: Tiny Titans, by Art Baltazar and Franco (DC)

11:30 EDT: And awaaaaay we go! Fellow NYU classmates Thomas Lennon and Ben Garant take the stage.

Welcome to our coverage of the 2011 Eisner Awards ceremony from the San Diego Comic-Con. We’ll be updating this post throughout the evening, boldfacing the winners as they’re announced. You can also follow our updates by following ComicMix on Twitter or Facebook.

Leading the 2011 nominees with five nominations is Return of the Dapper Men, a fantasy hardcover by writer Jim McCann and artist Janet Lee and published by Archaia, with nominations for Best Publication for Teens, Best Graphic Album–New, Best Writer, Best Artist, and Best Publication Design. Two comics series have four nominations: Morning Glories by Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma (published by Shadowline/Image) and Locke & Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez (published by IDW). A variety of titles have received three nominations, including the manga Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys (VIZ Media), John Layman and Rob Guillory’s series Chew (Image), Daniel Clowes’s graphic novel Wilson (Drawn & Quarterly), and Mike Mignola’s Hellboy titles (Dark Horse).

The creator with the most nominations is Mignola with five (including cover artist), followed by Spencer and Hill, each with four. Several creators received three nominations: McCann & Lee, Rodriquez, Urasawa, and Clowes, plus writer Ian Boothy (for Comic Book Guy: The Comic Book and other Bongo titles) and cartoonist Jimmy Gownley (for Best Publication for Kids plus coloring and lettering on his Amelia Rules! series). 15 creators have two nominations each, a new record.

Good luck to all the nominees!