§ The big news in comics this week was the yearly #visiblewomen hashtag on Twitter in which hundreds of talented women in comics gave brief bios. Chosen at random, Arielle Jovellanos, but we really need to do a “Nice Art Visible Women Special Edition”
Hi~ I'm Arielle Jovellanos, a freelance illustrator & comic artist. I'm currently working on a workplace comedy webcomic about two Filipina-American witches. I love drawing character acting, designing rooms, and fashion choices.✨ #VisibleWomen pic.twitter.com/xDyjWPxVFt
— Arielle Jovellanos✨Katsucon F19 (@joviellety) February 12, 2018
§ Robert Liefeld took a little victory lap on the set of Deadpool 2, posing with Cable, aka Josh Brolin, aka Thanos, aka Jonah Hex, aka…really it is almost always Josh Brolin.
I try to avoid braggy posts but I just learned Walking Dead 175 out sold every single comic published by Marvel in January. That’s especially nice because many there told me I was going to crash and burn when I left in 2008. #thisisnotcrashingorburning
— Robert Kirkman (@RobertKirkman) February 12, 2018
§ Robert Kirkman also took a victory lap. There may have been a very very slight knfe twisting as well.
§ Tucker Stone was at the Midwinter ALA and shared some thoughts. More in the link.
It’s a massively different show than it was last year, when it was held in Atlanta during Trump’s Inauguration, the Women’s March and an Atlanta Falcons playoff game. The only thing I remember at that show was how March won every award that it was eligible for and how completely empty the room was when all the women walked out of the convention hall. This year, a snowstorm has kept a lot of attendees from being able to make it to the show, which has made the attendees who are here even more curious than they usually are, which is pretty curious. It’s the opposite of a fiscally driven consumer show, where the ultimate aim is to conclude any conversation with the sale of a product–here, it feels more about finding the way in which the thing you’re speaking about can become part of the catalog of things that these people are going to be speaking about when they return home.
§ FEEL GOOD: Cartoonists Sophie Labelle had to cancel appearances last year after she received death threats, but she’s going back to Halifax,
After death threats and hate-filled messages forced her to cancel a Halifax book launch last year, Sophie Labelle is coming back. “A lot of people are happy that last May’s events didn’t taint my relation with Halifax. Not at all,” the trans cartoonist said. “The way that it was handled back then and the support that community in Halifax showed me? Of course I would come back.”
§ Jamie Coville has totaled up all the best of comics lists for 2017 and the winner is…honesty you can probably guess. It’s my favorite thing.
§ There’s been a lot of talk about Valiant Comics for the wrong reasons of late, but here’s a heartfelt look at Divinity, one of their series that isn’t entirely based on the 90s era Valiant stuff, showing there’s some pretty good stuff there.
Divinity is written by Matt Kindt and penciled by Trevor Hairsine. Ryan Winn is the inker and David Baron is the colorist. This story comes from Valiant Comics. If you follow me on Twitter @peacelovecomics than you know the love I have for Valiant. Their stories are rich, and they seem dedicated to creating diverse heroes. Divinity is the newest hero in their universe and another diverse addition. The original 4-issue comic came out in 2015 and has been followed by three more four issue-stories. I’m mainly going to be talking about the first 4-issue mini. I also highly recommend reading Divinity II, Divinity III, and Eternity. Each story revolves around this idea of choice. It’s the first reason I love Divinity, because he chooses happiness and contemplation. I know that sounds weird but let me tell you a little bit about who Divinity is.
§ At Comics Workbook, Caleb Orecchio looks back at a 1979 issue of The Comics Journal where everyone talked about the death of the superhero.
Skeates’ vehement essay “persuades” us on why Marvel and DC should let their superheroes go away and never return, and rather focus on other genres of comics—i.e. Howard the Duck and Plop!. He gives many reasons superheroes should die, mainly that superheroes are stupid, fascist, endlessly-recycled and not making any money on the newsstand (you’ll notice, True Believer, that this is around the time the direct market started to become more and more dominant). What Steve did not take into account is the fact that the big wigs at these companies do not actually care about the success—financial or intellectual or otherwise—of the comics themselves. The Big Two are more interested in the products that make actual money, like movies and TV.
Plop! Right. Confession: I made several contributions to the “death to the superhero” genre in the pages of the Journal back in the 80s. 40 years later and we couldn’t kill the little cockroaches on TV or movies. But in the comics? Seems like a few good swats and a bunch of them would be gone. Superheroes check in but they don’t check out of the Diamond catalog. But honestly, people have been predicting the death of comics or superheroes or superhero comics ever since the Comics Code scare. It’s just acting out and anxiety. Just recall that someone once thought Plop was better than Batman.
— Ski Racing Media (@SkiRacingMedia) February 8, 2017
§ Speaking of death of the superhero, the US Ski team at the Olympics has Marvel-inspired uniforms. Captain Marvel for the ladies, Captain America for the mens.
§ All of this Black Panther talk – and there has been a lot of Black Panther talk – has caused a renewed wave of admiration for Blade, the movie which truly did kick off the Marvel movie renaissance, as well as being a prior African-American led film franchise.
Consider when “Blade” came out. In 1998, comic book movies were dead, thanks to DC Comics’ embarrassing “Batman & Robin.” At that time, Marvel Comics never had a box office hit. Action movies, specifically comic-book films, needed a fresh start, a shake-up. What did Marvel Comics, producer Avi Arad and screenwriter David S. Goyer think would do the trick? A movie about a black vampire hunter. How awesome is that? If you’re like, “Matt, that’s no big deal.” Think about this: In 1998, audiences were fawning over the supremely white “Shakespeare in Love.”
§ Apeaking of underappreciated, the Constantine tv show was kind of shit, but Matt Ryan as Constantine was excellent, and luckily, he’s stuck with the role everywhere he can:
Ryan first donned the famous trenchcoat in Cerone’s Constantine, which only lasted one season before being cancelled. Though not a ratings hit, he proved so popular with fans he was brought into the Arrowverse, appearing in a season four episode of Arrow. He can currently be seen guest starring on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and he’s also finishing up voice work for a Constantine animated series on The CW Seed. He also lent his voice to Justice League Dark, an R-rated animated film that’s not a part of the Arrowverse that sees Constantine joining forces with other supernatural characters from the DC Universe to tackle occult threats.
§ This message board threat about Forrest J Ackerman’s #MeToo Moment has been making the rounds. Ackerman was the publisher of Famous Monsters of Filmland, a beloved figure among horror fans and something of a nexus for that fandom in the pre-internet days. Since I was just remembering my 80s writing for the Comics Journal, this reminds me of how when I was a young woman living in LA in the 80s and my comics friends – a group that had a large crossover with horror fans – were always saying they would “take me to visit Forry” and see his amazing house full of horror junk. Women of my generation were trained to avoid “funny uncles” – not much but the best we could do at the time – especially ones who were known as Uncle Forry. For some reason, I felt I would not be greeted with the same open arms as my male comrades, and felt a lack of enthusiasm for going. And I never did go. I know his house ws cool, though.
§ To erase that out of your mind, here is an entirely wholesome Thor: Ragnarok extra that includes Jeff Goldblum making out with green screen tentacles and then Thor and the Hulk being real. God, I love this movie.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.