Supermother: artist Elzbieta Jablonska confronts gender roles with her superhero art

Afternoon diversion: Well, well, talk about tying up all our themes in one handy image, while tooling round we spotted the cover to the new edition of Women, Art, and Society by Whitney Chadwick, which covers:

This acclaimed study challenges the assumption that great women artists are exceptions to the rule who “transcended” their sex to produce major works of art. While acknowledging the many women whose contributions to visual culture have often been neglected, Whitney Chadwick’s survey reexamines the works themselves and the ways in which they have been perceived as marginal, often in direct reference to gender.
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Mark Waid's four panels that never work

This homage to Wally Wood’s 22 Panels That ALWAYS Work by Mark Waid and Jeremy Rock at The Gutters nails quite a few good ones. Go to the link for the other four—oh and a snark about a DC executive. CAN U GUESS WHO?

Tony Moore files suit for co-ownership of The Walking Dead and other properties

Well, if you wondered if tensions were going to deescalate between former collaborators and childhood friends Tony Moore and Robert Kirkman after Moore filed a suit to collect what he alleges are his fair share of the profits from the Walking Dead comics and TV show, the answer is “HELL NO.” Moore has actually filed a SECOND suit claiming that he should be named joint author of THE WALKING DEAD, BATTLE POPE, BRIT, DEAD PLANET and MY NAME IS ABRAHAM. (The latter two are comics as yet unpublished but developed by the two when they were friends.)

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in US District Court, Moore came out swinging with Lucille:

Kirkman is a proud liar and fraudster who freely admits that he has no qualms about misrepresenting material facts in order to consummate business transactions, and it is precisely that illicit conduct which led to the present lawsuit (and to Kirkman’s business ‘success’ generally).

At issue is Moore’s claim that he and Kirkman co-created all the works in question back when they were friendly collaborators, and that Kirkman fraudulently removed Moore’s name as co-copyright holed after the proofs of the first issue of THE WALKING DEAD had been turned in. Moore claims he was listed as the co-copyright holder in the proofs he saw but when the printed issues came out, Kirkman was the sole copyright holder—however, he didn’t notice this until August 2005. (THE WALKING DEAD debuted in the innocent year of 2003.)

Moore also claims that he was coerced into signing an agreement to transfer all of his copyright interests in THE WALKING DEAD to Kirkman so that a TV deal could be signed. As we’ve noted before, this is fairly standard in getting TV or film deals exactly because of these kinds of rights disputes—studios don’t want to deal with a bunch of warring copyright holders. However, Moore claims that this was all part of a swindle to get him removed.

The lawsuit seems to stem from the earlier one, in that as agreements between Moore and Kirkman for the monies to be received are already in existence, in order to get the piece of the pie he feels he is due, Moore must sue for his co-creator status. And as we’ve seen time and time again, that is where things get messier and messier in this comic book business.

Although Kirkman has yet to respond publicly to this lawsuit, he issued a statement on the first one, which was filed back in February, which stated that Moore was being paid what he was due under agreements that had been signed seven years prior.

You can read the entire new filing below.

Review: Archer And Armstrong #1: Arch-Conservatives Will Hate This Comic

By Todd Allen

When the teasers for Archer and Armstrong #1 came out, there was a little bit of noise from the political parts of the web about what an awful liberal smear job the book was because of some villains billing themselves as the 1%.  I’d gotten a good laugh out of villains calling themselves the 1% and wearing golden masks of bulls and bears (an obvious stock market joke) and I figured the usual noisy political types might be over-reacting.  Come to find out, Archer and Armstrong is a much more political book than I was expecting.  It’s also utterly hilarious.  Unless you’re a dogmatic Republican with limited-to-no sense of humor.  If you’re one of those, stay FAR away from this comic.  It will set you off.

This gem is written by Fred Van Lente and drawn by Clayton Henry.  It opens with a straight forward scene of ancient Ur (as in Mesopotamia and The Epic of Gilgamesh) where a mysterious device is set off which destroys civilization.  And if you’re a fan of the old Eternal Warrior comic, there’s an Easter egg in there for you.  Flash ahead to modern times and a Christian fundamentalist theme park which teaches you how dinosaurs and cavemen lived together.

Here we meet the extremely earnest Obadiah Archer, son of a Reverend and a Senator.  Obie, as he’s called, has been raised in this amusement park (yes, expect home-schooling references).  He’s not seen the outside world.  He’s been raised as a warrior to go forth and slay “The Man of Sin.”  Specifically, they’re sending him to “that festering isle of corruption and criminality.”  Yes, New York.

Of course, things are not what they seem.  This is a comedy of cults.  A fundamentalist cult in the beginning.  The 1% taking an amusing turn as a pagan cult at the end.  Add a drunken immortal caught in the middle of a struggle for the pieces of an ancient artifact of great power.  It’s a hoot.

The deadpan delivery is what makes this comic work.  Obie Armstrong is the naive fish out of water who doesn’t realize how absurd most everything he says is.  Everything is taken literally.  Think Stephen Colbert, but trained by Bruce Lee.  This book might be described as The Colbert Report with superheroes.  Archer and Armstrong aren’t *quite* superheroes.  Valiant tends to keep things an inch away from superheroes, but it’s close enough for an analogy.  You have a true believer and an old cynic thrust together in the midst of an ancient (and sarcastic) conspiracy.

The sense of humor is what sets this comic apart.  The surrealism of contrasting some of the more extreme social/political tropes of the day with actual cults is both breezy and biting, which isn’t the easiest thing to pull off.

Highly recommended for those who like to watch Comedy Central’s news-ish offerings.  Highly not recommended for people of a far right wing bent who take dogma too seriously.

Marvel Showcase Fraction's Fantastic Four and FF – But Defenders is Cancelled

By Steve Morris

Marvel have spent this week showing off shiny covers for their Marvel NOOOWWWWWW!!! rebranding, and I’ll gather them all together at the end of the week (Friday, just so you know) for you to look into. But USA Today have today revealed the first cover for Matt Fraction and Mike Allred’s ‘FF’ series and, well…

So the book is heading in a radically new direction, you can see. Not only does the focus seem to have moved away from the students enrolled at Reed Richards’ ‘Future Foundation’, but it’s moved towards Ant Man, Medusa, She-Hulk, and… a woman wearing a Thing costume.

This sounds like exactly the kind of project which would play to Fraction and Allred. Apparently the new female character is called ‘Miss Thing’, which means she’ll likely become an instant fan-favourite amongst camp people. And can you even imagine how exciting the world is, now that we know Mike Allred is going to be drawing She-Hulk EVERY MONTH? These are golden times.

Over on the Fraction/Mark Bagley Fantastic Four title, it looks like Valeria and Franklin Richards are going to head back to their family for some cosmic adventuring, too. Fraction seems set on making this a big adventure series, with all six members of the Fantastic Four back together in the same book.

Now for the sad news. The article also confirms that Fraction’s Defenders – which had a massive decline in sales figures – will be concluding with issue #12 in November. From one She-Hulk to another, and one team to two teams. Sad to see the book go, but it’ll be interesting to see what this means for Marvel’s lineup next year. Will Dr Strange or Iron Fist show up somewhere else, now? Is this the last time we’ll get to see a Defenders title?

Calero and Stashwick writing Clandestine pilot for Syfy

While you often see comics getting optioned for film or TV, you don’t usually see the creators of the comic involved in working on that project for film or TV. So here’s an exception: Dennis Calero and Todd Stashwick are writing a sci-fi pilot called Clandestine for Syfy. Calero is best known as an artist on countless comics from COWBOYS & ALIENS to X-MEN NOIR. Stashwick is best known as a actor on things from Heroes to The Riches. The two met on the set of Heroes, when Calero was doing art for the show and collaborated on the webcomic Devil Inside, which was optioned by Syfy and eventually led to them being assigned to write the pilot for this entirely new project.

The story was described as “What if Han Solo had to pretend to be Captain Kirk?” by Calero in a phone conversation. If that logline doesn’t grab you, it’s basically about some space-faring ne’er’do-wells who have to pretend they are in charge of a ship in an intergalactic fleet.

Calero further noted that he had realized that there was more opportunity to write in TV than film and so had concentrated his efforts in that direction as a way to expand his career. And now he’s writing a TV show. Good work on that. He also has a mysterious project with Stephen King in the works, Variety notes, so we’d say Calero’s career path is doing very well.

Ben Affleck Justice League story — Hooey? Or a delaying tactic?


Jaws dropped around the comics movies-o-sphere yesterday when Variety boldly announced that Ben Affleck might direct a Justice League movie. The story made a bit of sense—although the less said about his acting career the better, Affleck is growing in stature as a director, even if a three-ring circus like a JL movie would tax anyone but D.W. Griffith or Michael Bay.

Soon after this story appeared, Deadline’s Michael Fleming came along to say this story was poppycock:

This is a story I checked out days ago, and didn’t run when Affleck’s reps stated that it was not going to happen with him. Now, it makes sense that Warner Bros would offer Affleck the project. Chris Nolan is top man over there, but after three Batfilms and after producing the Superman reboot Man of Steel, he’s gotten spandex-clad protagonists out of his system. After Nolan, the studio then offers everything else to Harry Potter director David Yates (who is now keen on Tarzan) and Affleck, who has become a major director with Gone Baby Gone, The Town, and the upcoming Argo. Just because the studio wants Affleck doesn’t mean he will do the movie, and several sources tell me he might take a meeting, but that’s it.

This led Brendan Connolly to surmise some kind of triple cross was going on:

Which is to say, Deadline are saying that Affleck’s people are saying that he’s about to waste both his and the studio’s time on a meeting about a film he certainly isn’t going to direct.

Assuming that this can be believe, I can only read it as playing hard to get by Affleck and team, if filtered through a bit of Variety-trashing by Nikki Finke and Deadline.

Which probably goes some way to convincing me Affleck might actually be wanting the gig.

You know what I think? I think WB is desperate to get back in the game as they have been pwned, served and schooled by Disney with the whole Marvel franchise. And you know what else? Beyond the next Superman they don’t really have anything solid cooking on the stove. I’m sure Ben Affleck is taking a meeting, and probably wouldn’t mind directing the most incredible lineup of superheroes on paper. But it’s more important that WB just get things moving again—or just appear to be moving again.

Kyle Baker unveils SMASH MANNIX VS THE MOB for Aces Weekly

Mere days ago we revealed ACES WEEKLY, a new digital anthology which cartoonist David Lloyd is launching. The contributors list sounded awesome, but no sample pages were released. However, Kyle Baker has posted a huge preview of SMASH MANNIX VS THE MOB, his strip for the anthology, writing:

SMASH MANNIX VERSUS THE MOB is my contribution to David Lloyd’s new ACES WEEKLY digital comic, due out in a few months! It’s the story of Detective “Hottie” McDaniel’s quest to find out who’s wiping out mobsters in unusual ways. It’s a mystery, so I don’t wanna tell you too much more yet!

It certainly looks very unusual, and will apparently include limited GIF animations? Future comics?