Following on from Heidi’s post about gender issues in the comics industry, the best response seemed clear: I should probably write a post about some gender issues. Which leads me to a question which has started to circulate through t’blogosphere recently: whilst we’re all very quick to leap onto DC and Marvel’s track record with female creators, why aren’t people looking beyond them?
At a convention once something happened which haunted all who witnessed it. It was so powerful that a Tumblr had to be launched. It was calledSterankoing.
In case you are unaware, comics legend Jim Steranko is given to wearing oversized zoot suits and flashy cowboy boots. The man is still flashy; always will be.
This incident happened while Steranko was talking to David Spurlock and Adam Hughes. Afterward Spurlock took up whiskey and Hughes joined a convent. so shaken by the experience were they. Others who have witnessed it have started their own religions.
The effects of Sterankoing continue to be felt to this day.
Via Chris Pitzer
Oh, Adhouse, why must you torture me so? The publishers of fine comics and art material have been on a streak of fire recently, releasing quality book after quality book. And now here’s another to add to your ‘buy’ list: a stunning hardcover collection of art and comics from Farel Dalrymple ( Pop Gun War, It Will All Hurt, Omega the Unknown, Prophet). [Read more…]
Kremlinologists, this interview at Empire mag with David S. Goyer and Zack Snyder apparently does for MAN OF STEEL what Glenn Greenwald does for our privacy. If you don’t want to listen to the whole thing, ComicBook.Com has some quotes that reveal just why Superman did what he did at the end of MAN OF STEEL:
“Killing Zod was a big thing and Chris Nolan, originally, said there’s no way you can do this,” Goyer told the magazine. “That was a change–originally Zod got sucked into the Phantom Zone along with the others and I just felt it was unsatisfying and so did Zack. We started questioning–we talked to some of the people at DC Comics and said, ‘Do you think there is ever a way that Superman would kill someone?’ And at first they said ‘No way, no way,’ and we said, ‘but what if he didn’t have a choice?’ Originally Chris didn’t even want to let us try to write it and Zack and I said, ‘We think we can figure out a way that you’ll buy it.’”
So there! It wasn’t even gloomy old Chris Nolan’s idea!
Now, as you may have heard, this is not the first time Superman has killed nor even the first time he’s killed General Zod. In Superman II, the basis for the current film, one version showed Superman dropping Zod and pals into a black hole. (The original Richard Donner version showed them being led off in handcuffs by the police.) Neither of those endings would have worked in MAN OF STEEL–just toppling, ala a Disney villain, would not have killed these tough Kryptonians, who could be thrown THROUGH a building unscathed, and it was already established that handcuffs meant nothing for Superman.
In the comics, John Byrne had Superman kill a “pocket” Zod, and Roger Stern had him kill Doomsday—who had already killed Superman, so turnabout, etc.
FWIW, I sort of agree with Snyder and Goyer that the MoS black hole sucking Zod was less dramatically satisfying. The up close and personal death that this Superman gives Zod is far more shocking than any toppling or punching, though.
There’s much more about the movie in the podcast, including of course future films and Easter eggs:
“Actually I didn’t know about the Wayne Enterprises thing. The LexCorp [logos were] in the script but the Wayne one… I was like, ‘Oh that’s cool.’ But Zack [Snyder] and I are big fanboys in that regard in the way that Chris [Nolan] isn’t. I mean we can cite certain covers or artists or things like that, [but] Chris just isn’t into that.
“This is just, sort of, y’know, ground zero for (no pun intended) a greater DC universe. This is a shared universe so we’re saying yes, Lex Luthor exists in this world, Bruce Wayne exists in this world. We mentioned S.T.A.R. Labs and so the intention is, if the film is well received, that this would be the starting point for introducing other characters and ultimately, obviously Warner Brothers hopes there will be a Justice League film and perhaps you might start seeing other characters appearing in each other’s films. I think in some ways they’re interested in going perhaps the opposite direction that Marvel has done which may be to do a group film and then spin off.”
While the lowly comics will doubtless have little to do with any future Superman movies, there was some consternation yesterday when that Superman/Wonder Woman book by Charles Soule and Tony Daniel was announced:
So in the brilliant marketing synergy that is DC Comics, today they announced a new Superman book. Oh wait, make that Superman/Wonder Woman. Hitting in October and exploring the “budding relationship” according to IGN. SYNERGY!NOT! Wonder Woman, the most iconic female superhero in comics, finally has a second book for the first time in 61 years and it’s second billing to her boyfriend and in a book where she’s making out with him on the cover.
Well, first off DC has had books called Superman/Batman and Batman/Superman, so billing is a bit variable. The art accompanying the release showed the super duo smooching, which does not involve ass-kicking and a romance book starring Superman and Wonder Woman does seem like a strange move but…
I dunno. It is not hard to get baffled and then enraged over how DC has treated various heroines over the years, and the continued Ongoing Dread of Wonder Woman (ODoWW) could be and surely has been the topic of entire theses. But this time out, it seemed like a total no win for DC. Imagine if, say, Gail Simone had announced she was writing a romance book starring Superman and Wonder Woman. Would that have been a win? At least Diana’s getting a second book and it’s starring her and the suddenly-top hero at DC. It could be worse. Honest it could.
One way or another, Wonder Woman is going to have to appear in that JLA movie. Chances of her being handled in a way that everyone finds acceptable are about the same as Edward Snowden getting a job in IT at the Pentagon. Let’s save the outrage for the steps on the way to that and not two lines at IGN and a crappy cover.
BUT BTW THE WAY, for real Gail Simone IS working on a secret project that involve Lois Lane, As she recently tweeted:
“The most surprising thing about writing Superman was the richness of the cast. The most WONDERFUL thing was writing Clark/Lois.
“Fortunately, I get to write SOME Superman in SECRET PROJECT.
“Oh, well, that’s enough Superman daydreaming for right now. (Goes back to writing Lois Lane scene for SECRET PROJECT).”
§ Sean Kleefeld has the fullest CAKE indie comics expo report and it sounds stimulating:
Although the show was formally about any independent comics work, there was something of a theme around the possibilities of the art form itself. This was most clearly expressed in the “Innovative Forms” panel where they discussed comics as room-sized art installations, crowd-sourced infinite webcomics and interactive paper constructions. But at the booths, I found interesting experiments as well. An anthology of comics as poetry. A single-panel, 26-foot long, accordian folded miniature mural. A mini-comic where each page had a double-gatefold spread. A comic based on the lyrics of a song, which had been recorded and included as a flexidisc. And, naturally, Ware’s Building Stories which I have yet to find an adequate way to describe succinctly.
There was almost a tacit discussion of the very form of comics — what they could do and what one could do with them beyond a straight-forward narrative. Further, it wasn’t limited to the printed page. The show was filled with creators who were doing a lot of work digitally. Some were webcomickers who’ve been bringing their work to print, others worked more traditionally first and began serializing other works online in order to broaden their reach. And some were equally happy doing different works in different venues just because they thought it would work better one way over another. There didn’t seem to be any concern or issue regarding what kind of comics anyone produced, or what their aims were, or what they used to produce their comics; the only concern was whether or not they achieved what they set out to accomplish.
§ Tom Spurgeon interviewed James Vance whose KINGS IN DISGUISE is an early (meaning like 20 years ago) graphic novel classic—he has a sequel to that and an forthcoming wap-up to Omaha the Cat Dancer coming out:
VANCE: When Kings was reprinted in 2006, and recently when On the Ropes was released, a lot of writers started referring to Kings with words like “classic” and “ground-breaking” and I found myself thinking, Gee, I wish somebody had told me that at the time. For years, whenever that book came up in conversation, my standard little gag was “My footnote is secure” [Spurgeon laughs] and that’s really the way I thought about it. I’d love to believe that we might have inspired somebody to do good work of their own, or shown some publisher that it’s possible to take a chance on something that isn’t just the same old basic genre tropes. If anyone can ever show me that was the case, I’d be thrilled.
The current landscape? In some ways, I think it’s better than it’s ever been. More people in general have at least some idea of what graphic novels are, and there’s a real chance that a talented creator can publish something that will really speak to people both outside and within the regular comics readership. For that matter, most of the mainstream reviews of Ropes have treated it more as a story than specifically a comics story. Subject matter has gotten more and more varied, and it seems to me that the creative people are taking more chances and occasionally speaking more from the heart. It feels at times that there’s more effort being put into the art and the production values than the writing, but I have to believe that’ll come, too. The more important your subject matter is to you, the harder you’ll work to realize it in both the art and the writing.
§ Speaking of graphic novelists, only the other day I was wondering what had happened to Danica Novgorodoff, an artist whose A Slow Storm and Refresh, Refresh five years ago or so established her as a talent to watch. She’s back March with The Undertaking of Lily Chen, which concerns a young Chinese may who accidentally kills his brother who mind find an unwed female corpse to burty with his brother, in accordance with tradition. This is not made up and Novgorodoff did a good bit or research, she tells Whitney Matheson:
Not long after I returned from that trip, I read an article in the Economist (quoted in the epigraph of my book) about a black market for female corpses that has sprung up in some rural areas of China to supply brides for “ghost marriages — -ceremonies to wed two dead people so that they can be together in the afterlife. The custom is fascinating and a little bit horrifying-the perfect premise for a good story, I thought.
In 2009, I returned to China in order to do visual research for the book. I traveled through the rural areas and small cities of Shanxi province, where the story takes place, and then spent the next several years drawing!
§ Marc-Olver Frisch fans Kreminologists will enjoy this video interview with artist Lee Bermejo (Before Watchmen: Rorschach) where at about 22 minutes in from the audience, MOF quizzes Bermejo about the ethics of the book. BTW, MoF PROMISES the April DC column will be in this week.
§ Bully is one of hundreds of people bothered by the Man of Steel/9/11 references but one of the few so upset that he actually walked out.
Just as he hinted, Alan Moore and director Mitch Jenkins have started a Kickstarter for the short film “His Heavy Heart”, the fifth part of a movie serial they’ve been collaborating on. The first four parts have been completed but the duo are seeking £45,000 to finish it in style. They’ve raised about £7,400 in a day, so a good start—but not an automatic, so you’d best go over and pledge.
The film involves a strange night club, and the mysteriously magical goings on there. Moore calls it the most detailed world building he’s ever done.
Here’s the request video.
And here are the trailers for the first two parts of the film.
Thanks to all who sent me this link.