When Shipper Wars Become Personal

Shipper Wars.

It is the bane of fandom in general. Don’t be fooled. This isn’t a “teenage girl” thing. It’s everywhere.

DC Comics used shipping to promote their Superman/Wonder Woman comic book. Look here everyone! The ultimate “power couple” has their own book.

Any time anybody dismisses shippers as a sideshow? Talk to me. I have stories from way back when to Usenet days and even before to the old letter columns in my Bronze age comic books. Letters from people arguing over who belongs with whom.

What happens when dissent enters your own home?

Continue reading When Shipper Wars Become Personal

PAX Australia 2015 (Part 1): The Geek Social Hub

If the “geek shall inherit the Earth” then PAX is where they divvy up the loot.

As an expo, it is a huge opportunity to try new games, find new talent, and “mingle with your people.” Trust me—I have plenty of new finds to +1 your geek status.

But as a social hub? It’s a whole other level.

Continue reading PAX Australia 2015 (Part 1): The Geek Social Hub

Dakster Dances Anxiety Away With the “Macarena”

Anxiety and depression have prevented me from doing some normal day to day things for most of my life. Over the past five years, I’ve learned something very valuable; put me in armor or a costume and, despite my mental battles, you can see my natural personality shine.

This year, I started going back to school for my degree in Media Communications. The first week of my new class I was tasked with creating a video that showcased my goals and who I am. I had to upload it to YouTube as “unlisted” so my instructor and classmates could see it.

<Insert panic attack here>

I freaked when I read the assignment. I emailed my instructor, sent him messages on the classroom board, called his campus office, all because I was having a panic attack over making a simple 4-minute video with me as the main subject. Continue reading Dakster Dances Anxiety Away With the “Macarena”

DC Reviews for 8/26: So That Was Lois’ Big Motivation?

Batgirl #43, copyright DC Comics
Batgirl #43, copyright DC Comics

Welcome to our reviews of this week’s DC Comics. Ray is the long-time DC reader and I’m the more skeptical, lapsed DC reader. This week, we find out why Lois Lane outed Clark Kent as Superman in Superman #43. It’s not as bad as I expected but it doesn’t quite work, either, Ray’s in love with the old-school Batgirl vibe present in Batgirl #43, and We Are Robin has become a must read.

Of course, there are a few clinkers. I’m totally bored with Sinestro and Deathstroke. And Teen Titans? Maybe DC should toss the Batgirl creative team at it. Check out the end for how several comic adaptations of the DC Universe.

Batgirl #43, Brenden Fletcher and Cameron Stewart, writers, Babs Tarr, artist, Juan Castro, inks (pages 17-19).

Ray: 9.5/10 Book of the Week

Corrina: Buy It.

Ray: I’ve said before that I think this book probably would have been served better if it had been the product of the hard reboot coming out of Flashpoint, as opposed to a soft reboot after Gail Simone’s run. The difference between the two Batgirls is so drastic that I’m not surprised a lot of people can’t fully embrace it.

That’s a shame, because it’s fantastic, and even my annoyance over Oracle being erased can’t ruin that for me. This title is easily the closest DC has ever gotten to capturing the same zeitgeist that lifted Ms. Marvel, Runaways, and Ultimate Spider-man into fan favorites. It’s got a perfect balance of superhero action, personal drama, and the two intersecting in interesting ways. While Barbara is dealing with both her father’s role as the new Batman and the return of her best friend Alysia – who’s getting married to her longtime girlfriend Jo – a new crisis emerges as Barbara’s friend Luke Fox’s tech company comes under attack by an escaped tiger that kills an engineer. Continue reading DC Reviews for 8/26: So That Was Lois’ Big Motivation?

DC Comics Capsule Reviews For 7/29 Releases

Dick Grayson, Barbara Gordon, Kate Kane
Barbara Gordon and Dick Grayson almost meet. Image copyright DC Comics

Welcome to our weekly recap of DC Comics releases. This week, I’ll be joining Ray and add my own impressions of the books. We mostly agree, especially on Batgirl, have a bit of a disagreement over the latest Superman installment, and are definitely of the same mind with the stories featuring the villains.

League: Gods and Monsters-Superman #1, story by J.M. DeMatteis and Bruce Timm, script by J.M. DeMatteis, art and colors by Moritat

Ray: 9/10

Corrina: Buy It: Yes.

Ray: Probably more so than any other hero, Superman lends himself to alternate universes. For want of a nail, he could have landed anywhere and become a different kind of hero—or a villain. So it’s no surprise that the Superman chapter of the Gods and Monsters alternative universe by DeMatteis, Timm, and Moritat is easily the best yet. This isn’t quite the Superman we know—although it’s never stated in the book, this isn’t Kal-El, but rather Lor-Zod, the son of General Zod, who we’ve previously known as Chris Kent.

He’s rocketed to Earth in place of Kal-El, but he lands with a poor immigrant family in Southern California, where they work as day laborers. Hernan Guerra, as he’s named grows up to see his family struggle and fall victim to abuse from their employers and locals. His parents, worried what will happen if he’s discovered, urge him to keep his powers secret, but as he grows older Hernan bristles under their rules and begins using his powers to subvert the forces keeping his family down. He also starts displaying an odd sociopathic streak, which leads to an accident that puts his sister in a wheelchair and furthers his growing estrangement from humanity. After a violent incident with some locals, he goes on the run, becoming a transient and learning about humanity—until a brazen kidnapping by an evil cartel boss pulls him out of hiding, leading him to make his debut as a brutal vigilante who serves as judge, jury, and executioner.

Overall, it’s a fascinating look at a Superman who grew up with all the power but a jaundiced view of humanity. He seems like inherently a good person, unlike some of the dark villainous supermen we’ve seen, but one whose cynicism makes him more likely to rule the world rather than protect it. If the goal of this series of one-shots is to make me want to watch the movie, it’s succeeding. 

Corrina: What if a Kryptonian baby was found by Mexican immigrants in America who worked in the fields? He would receive a look at the American dream from the lowest rung, be immediately confronted with racial and prejudice, and become an angry man with the powers of a God. The fascinating element about this story is that it’s not clear if this elseworlds Superman naturally trends to the dark side or if he would have turned out differently if he’d not faced such hardship, because even as a boy, his powers fueled his arrogance.

The Gods and Monsters series of stories is based on an upcoming direct-to-video movie that was released on DVD Tuesday but with this story and last week’s Batman, comic readers are also getting fantastic elseworlds tales.

Superman, Gods and Monsters, Justice League
Young Gods and Monsters Superman, image via DC Comics.

Batgirl #42, Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher, writers, Babs Tarr, artist.

Ray: 9.5/10 (Book of the Week)

Corrina: Buy It? Yes.

Ray: Batgirl under the new creative team of Stewart, Fletcher, and Tarr has been controversial from the start, mainly due to its radically different tone from Gail Simone’s run. While I am a bit sad to see the last vestiges of the more mature Barbara Gordon who was Oracle fade away, I feel like this is an excellent run that probably would have been received a lot better if it kicked off a full reboot with no ties to the original.

This book’s Barbara is very much in the model of quirky, smart, sarcastic girl heroes like Buffy and Veronica Mars, and it works, as does the extensive new supporting cast. The writers find interesting things for every supporting character to do, such as Frankie getting deeper into her new role as Babs’ behind the scenes support, Qadir getting a new job working for Batwing Luke Fox, and even Alysia Yeoh making a return at the end of the issue and dropping a bombshell that probably won’t be all that surprising to those of us who have read Batgirl: Futures End.

The main plot of the issue has Batgirl trying to round up Livewire before she hurts anyone, but this cartoon transplant villain is more of a plot device for the real conflict—Barbara facing off with her father, the new Batman. This could easily have been a cliche in lesser hands, with Jim Gordon being portrayed as a by-the-book lawman looking to arrest a vigilante, but Stewart and Fletcher put a lot more balance in his role. He’s a man struggling with a new role and trying to balance his responsibilities with orders he knows are wrong. He and Batgirl are still on opposite sides—he makes clear he has to take her in and he can’t protect her forever if she doesn’t take his advice and hang up the costume—but it’s a much more subtle and well-written version than we usually see when heroes are pitted against each other. And this is done without Gordon knowing who’s under Batgirl’s mask.

If I had one complaint, it’s that Barbara’s dialogue is a bit too playful and light given the circumstances. It’s well-written, but she almost seems like Spider-man at points. Overall, though, this title has been promising from the start, but I don’t think any Bat-family title has benefited from the new Gotham status quo more than this one. 

Corrina: Livewire, from the Superman: The Animated Series, invades Gotham, forcing the new robot Batman (Jim Gordon) and Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) to team-up. The dad and daughter confrontation from last issue is quickly resolved as Batman tells Batgirl he’s letting her escape because he disagrees with the directive to arrest unsanctioned vigilantes. Does Jim know that his daughter is Batgirl?

Unlike Ray, my guess is “yes” because he instantly trusts Batgirl, even to letting her devise the plan that takes down Livewire that also requires Jim to climb out of the suit and simply fight in Batman costume. It’s always fun to see Jim/Barbara interaction and this issue is no different.

Barbara Gordon, Jim Gordon
Panel from Batgirl #42, image copyright DC Comics

Batgirl Annual #3, Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher, writers. Art by: Bengal, David LaFuente, Ming Doyle, Mingjue Helen Chen, Gabriel Eltaeb, and Van Plascencia.

Ray: 8/10

Corrina: Buy It? Yes.

Ray: A packed issue that weaves four short stories into one overarching narrative, this annual has the regular writing team on Batgirl paired with a quartet of guest artists, each teaming Batgirl with another member of the Bat-family. The first and longest story is by Bengal, as it sets up a mystery involving missing diplomats and a mysterious machine named the Negahedron. When Barbara goes to investigate, she’s confronted by Director, A.K.A. Helena Bertinelli—and that means that Dick Grayson, who is presumed dead, is also on site.

While there’s a lot of spy action in this story, the bulk of the story is devoted to Dick doing everything under his power to keep from being seen by Barbara—and the way he’s nearly exposed in the final page is one of the funniest scenes in any comic this week. From there, it’s off to a short segment by David Lafuente as Barbara’s stakeout is interrupted by a hyperactive Spoiler, looking to test her combat skills. Spoiler acts a lot more peppy than she normally does here, but it’s fun and sets up a cool dynamic between these two “generations” of Batgirls. From there, Ming Doyle tells the story of Barbara and Batwoman battling an assassin to rescue a friend of Batwoman’s who has the information they need. This is the weakest segment, as Batwoman—outside of Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III, at least—tends to be written as stoic and bland. This segment is sorely missing the fun dynamic that the first two had, and which comes back in spades in the fourth as Barbara heads to Gotham Academy to decipher a filmstrip she found and is greeted by the Academy’s teen detectives, Maps and Olive. Helen Chen does a great job aping Kerschl’s style on this segment, and Fletcher co-writes both books, so he’s clearly at home.

Overall, this issue’s main plot is kind of a generic excuse to set up these meetings, but by and large it’s a fun read. 

Corrina: This should be called “Batgirl teams up with everybody” because, aside from the “reunion” with Dick Grayson, there’s the Spoiler, Stephanie Brown (herself a former Batgirl but that was two reboots ago), Kate (Batwoman) Kane, and the kids from Gotham Academy. The issue is more of a lighthearted romp and the tone fits best with the Batgirl/Spoiler team-up, while Helene Bertinelli from Grayson seems more than a bit out of character.  But it’s great to see Kate Kane making her first appearance in Gotham since the Convergence series, especially since her segment (which I enjoyed, unlike Ray) and it’s drawn by Ming Doyle

Note: Since Ray won’t tell you, I will: Grayson’s identity is nearly given away by his scrumptious butt.

Gotham by Midnight Annual #1, Ray Fawkes, writers, Christian Duce, art.

Ray: 8.5/10 

Corrina: Buy It? Yes.

Ray: Gotham by Midnight has been pretty steeped in mythology since the start, so it’s nice to see them dial it back a bit and do a creepy done-in-one story that reintroduces a classic DCU rogue. That villain is the Gentleman Ghost, the famous Golden Age villain who has never been creepier than he is in this issue. Ray Fawkes is joined on this annual by Christian Duce, whose art is a lot more subtle than the regular artists’ but is nonetheless nicely creepy when it needs to be. The story opens with Jim Craddock, a handsome suitor, seducing a young heiress only for her to mysteriously collapse when the GCPD arrives and he absconds with a necklace of hers. He leads them on a twisty hunt through the mansion as he reveals himself to have ghostly powers that allow him to disappear and manipulate matter. There’s a hilarious segment where Officer Drake tries to arrest a ghost and it goes about as well as you’d expect.

The police cast is limited to Drake and Corrigan this issue, and you know what that means—the Spectre is coming out at some point. Fawkes seems to be channeling the vibe of a classic romantic ghost story this issue, revealing Craddock’s tragic backstory while still making him far scarier than any previous version of the character—his final form once he’s caught on a getaway train is fantastic. I did think how Craddock meets his fate in the end was a bit anti-climatic, but I suppose few fights with the Spectre last very long. This title seems to be finding its footing nicely, and this was easily my favorite of the five annuals this week. 

Corrina: The Gentleman Ghost is one of those Batman villains suited to either lighthearted fun as he appears and disappears through Gotham or something darker and sinister. Since this is Gotham’s horror comic, the Ghost in this one is someone who can literally steal breath away as he tries to obtain a necklace that meant something to his human self. It’s gothic, creepy, and, as Ray said, more than a bit romantic. A great story to try out this series, if you haven’t yet.

Lobo Annual #1, Cullen Bunn, writers, Robson Rocha, pencils, Guillermo Ortego, inks.

Ray: 7/10

Corrina: Buy It? No.

Ray: I’ve never been a big fan of Cullen Bunn’s Lobo series, mainly because I feel like it’s a return to the bland ultra violence that has pretty much characterized every Lobo solo series since the beginning of time. But what he does here is pretty inventive, and sets up what could be the most interesting story for the character in ages. Lobo is embarking on his biggest bounty hunt ever—targeting Sinestro, now the most powerful Lantern in the galaxy after the disappearance of the GLC. He’s been assassinating ring bearers, trying to draw Sinestro out, but with no success. The story sags a bit whenever Lobo is dealing with his own space crime connections, but it picks up in a big way when Lobo ups the stakes, capturing some Korugan prisoners that Sinestro hasn’t rescued yet and threatening their lives. Sure enough, that draws out the Sinestro Corps, and Lobo allows himself to be “killed” by them, following them back to their headquarters as soon as his body knits itself back together. There he finally gets his confrontation with Sinestro, overwhelming him and beating him—at which point Sinestro cancels the contract he put on himself.

This entire elaborate sting was a way for Sinestro to test Lobo against a ring-wielder so he could hire him for his own purposes. I still find Lobo a rather boring character—but fortunately, midway through this issue it turns into a very good issue of Sinestro.

Corrina: DC’s galactic cynical, arrogant, and murderous bounty hunter with immortality is hired to kill Sinestro of the yellow power ring corps. A decent story with an excellent (if gory) demonstration of Lobo’s ability to regenerate at will, but I’m utterly uninterested in the main character and while Ray enjoys Sinestro, I have no interest. However, Sinestro fans may well want this issue.

Deathstroke Annual #1, written by Tony Daniel and James Bonny, art by Tyler Kirkham.

Ray: 4/10

Corrina: Buy It? No.

Ray: This issue continues directly from the main series with Tony Daniel and James Bonny co-writing and Tyler Kirkham on art. Unfortunately, that means the story is just as forgettable as it was in the main book. Deathstroke was tricked into releasing the evil Titan Lapetus, and now he and Wonder Woman are teaming up to kill the villain before he can overrun the world with monsters. Lapetus is pretty much your generic fantasy villain, talking a lot about how he hates humanity and vengeance will be his, but not much beyond that. After some generic battles, Slade and Diana are swept up into a portal and wind up in Tartarus, where they battle monsters made up of thousands of smaller monsters and are confronted with specters of their worst nightmare. Diana is confronted with a post-apocalyptic world where she’s caused the end of the world as God of War. Slade is confronted with younger versions of his children in mortal danger. There’s some cool visuals, especially involving Tartarus, but the story here is thin and really lacks any likable characters to latch on to. Deathstroke is so out of place in this fantasy story that there’s almost a disconnect. Nothing is really resolved, either, as Slade and Diana escape and wind up back where they started, ready to face Lapetus. It’s not DC’s worst series, but it’s one of its most forgettable.

Corrina: Like Lobo, Slade Wilson is a cynical mercenary and given that the only interesting element about him, his backstory, has been mostly wiped away, I’m as interested in him as I am in Lobo, which is not at all.

The attraction here is Wonder Woman. Their team-up leads both of them through traumatic moments of their past. (Slade’s two kids make an appearance. I guess Grant is forgotten.) Like everywhere else, Wonder Woman is mostly out of character, flippantly threatening to kill Slade because that’s how Princess McStabby Sword operates now. There are hints of her compassion later in the issue but it’s not enough. However, the fights this issue are mostly filler until the big battle with the Titan.

Aside: Slade’s eyepatch and goatee have gone to the same place as Jim Gordon’s glasses and mustache. Is it a crime to look older in DC comics now? (The only exception seems to be Dick Grayson who basically adopts Slade’s old look to fool Batgirl over in her annual.)

Superman #42, Gene Yang, writer, John Romita Jr., penciller, Klaus Janson, inks.

Ray: 7.5/10

Corrina: Buy It? No.

Ray: While Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder have been handling the “Truth” storyline very well in their two titles, it’s up to newbie Superman writer Gene Yang to show how we got there. Two issues in, he seems to be setting up the pieces effectively, but there’s still a few major logical hiccups in the story that are causing me some trouble. First up, credit where credit’s due—Yang has created one of my favorite new Superman villains in years with the evil information collective HORDR. While a Supervillain take on Anonymous may at first seem like a better fit for a hip title like Batgirl, it makes perfect sense given how journalism and secrets are so key to Superman’s character. HORDR’s M.O. is to find secrets on powerful people, and blackmail them until they control the power brokers in every area of the world—and now they’re trying to lay claim to Superman.

The former HORDR member Condesa fills them in, but not before the group finds them and tries to kill them via engineered shadow ninjas. Clark fights them off, but this gives Lois the last bit of evidence she needs, and this forces Clark to admit to her that he’s Superman. We’ve seen this sort of scene a few times before, and I’ve got to say her anger and sense of betrayal sort of feels off to me here. Not only is she usually more understanding, but she and Clark didn’t have the same level of relationship that they did in other versions. Fortunately, the focus soon shifts to the group infiltrating HORDR’s base with the help of Condesa and some tech from Hiro the Toyman. Condesa and Jimmy seem to have a fun rapport that might indicate a future relationship, and the mystery villain behind HORDR is an intriguing figure. The loss of Superman’s powers is a bit of a deus ex machina—he’s using a solar flare when some mysterious figure shows up and zaps him, then disappears. There’s still a lot of questions to be answered here, but Yang is doing a good job with a story that would be a challenge for anyone to write.

I’m not entirely sold yet, but I’m intrigued.

Corrina: This is how much I hate this flashback story supposedly leading to the reason why Lois Lane outed Superman to the world: Lois reveals that through her investigative work, she knows Clark is Superman. It should be an iconic moment and a turning point in their relationship but my reaction is a shrug. It doesn’t help that Lois’ characterization this issue is so one-note angry rather than more nuanced. She literally rips his shirt off.

As Ray said, The plot revolves around a superpowered version of 4Chan (Ray said Anonymous but this group seems to be more wide-ranging than that), with an anonymous mastermind, Hordr_Root pulling the strings.  (If you read that as Hodor, you’re not the only one.) The banter between Condesa, a former member of the group, and Jimmy works but I thought the dialogue a bit off for Condesa, giving her a little too much slang.  Props to the art team. The issue looks great (though Lois is drawn a big young).

I’m so not sold on this premise or Lois’ characterization or even Superman’s characterization.

Flash Annual #4, Van Jensem, writer, Bong Dazo, Penciller, Norm Rapmund, inker.

Ray: 6.5/10

Corrina: Buy It? No.

Ray: Some annuals directly continue the main story, while others take the opportunity to do a key side story without actually interrupting the flow of the main series. This is the latter, as Van Jensen and Bong Dazo introduce us to Eobard Thawne’s acolytes who will be testing the Flash shortly. Each of them has been hit by lightning at some point, giving them powers, but the interesting thing is that they’re all from different decades or centuries, indicating that Thawne has been around far longer than anyone knew.

Unfortunately, by and large these characters don’t make that much of an impression. The story starts in 16th century Central America, as a Native woman is pursued as a witch by Spanish conquerers, due to her ability to age and de-age things around her. In 19th century Africa, where the Africans are forced to mine for diamonds by the Dutch colonists, a man with the ability to turn his body to shadow and fold into the walls steals the diamonds and returns them to the mine, hoping to drive the occupiers off. In early 20th century Australia, a Maori strongwoman is pushed too far by a local racist. And in 1980s America, a young boy can summon tornadoes. Each has their life destroyed by their powers, only to be recruited into Thawne’s army and trained for a coming war with the Flash. Then, in a series of brief segments, it’s revealed that Thawne was the one who set each of them up to have their lives ruined. These characters could develop into something interesting, but overall their origins tend to be a bit repetitive and we don’t know enough about Thawne yet for this to have the impact it should.

Corrina: It’s a villains issue as the Reverse Flash, Eobard Thawne, travels through time to recruit acolytes who believe he’s a hero and that Barry Allen is a villain. Eobard, of course, has set up the circumstances that cause this new band of villains to trust him in the first place. I supposed it’s all okay if you’re a Flash diehard but I’m not inspired.

Ray Goldfield is a writer/editor for Grayhaven Comics, as well as the author of two novels currently in editing. He’s a comic fan for over 20 years, particularly of DC and Superman, Batman, and the Teen Titans in particular. Now that Cassandra Cain is coming back, he will not rest until DC greenlights a Young Justice: Season Three comic.

Cure Summer Boredom: Draw Your Favorites from DC Comics!

© Capstone  / DC Comics
© Capstone / DC Comics

There have been a number of fantastic DC Comics books for kids published recently—if you know where to find them! After enjoying Batman Science so much, I wanted to look at some of Capstone’s other new offerings featuring our favorite DC super heroes. How to Draw Batman, Superman, and Other DC Super Heroes and Villains is a step-by-step art book with characters drawn in Bruce Timm’s wonderful style of the animated series. This isn’t a how-to-draw book for young kids or beginners, but the facts included about each superhero and villain make it worthy of being added to a young comic fans’ collection.

As you might expect from a book with this title, How to Draw Batman, Superman, and Other DC Super Heroes and Villains focuses mostly on poses of the first two heroes in the list. Batman and Superman are given the how-tos for their civilian clothes, head and shoulders, fighting in various poses, and even their vehicles and lairs. Having never taken a drawing class and possessing no talent, I was grateful for the head shots, as those simpler drawings are just about the best I could manage.

Photo: Kelly Knox
Photo: Kelly Knox

Wonder Woman is featured on the cover of the book, even if she’s not named in the title, but I was disappointed there was only one full-body action pose included in the book. I would have loved to see the up-close head and shoulders how-to for both Wonder Woman and Batgirl. With the focus on Batman and Superman, it is still nice to see them at least included in the book, along with other heroines like Black Canary, Supergirl, and Lois Lane.

© Capstone
© Capstone

The descriptions and backgrounds of each character, item, and locale make fun reading themselves. This is one of those books that you’ll see your kid curled up with under the covers when they’re supposed to be asleep, memorizing every little fact about the heroes and villains within. With over 50 characters inside, there’s a lot to look through again and again.

How to Draw Batman, Superman, and Other DC Super Heroes and Villains may be best suited for kids age 10 and up who won’t get frustrated when their drawings don’t look exactly like Batman: The Animated Series. But even if your child has never taken an art class, it’s fun to try to draw a favorite character. My 6-year-old and I had a blast drawing a wobbly Wonder Woman and a blobby Batgirl. The drawings may not have been perfect, but we loved laughing and trying together.

GeekMom received a promotional copy for review purposes.

#DCYou Week Four: The Last Debut Books

The Spectre, Jim Corrigan, Gotham City
Gotham by Midnight #6 cover. Copyright DC Comics.

This past week includes the return of several key regular titles, such as Batgirl, The Flash, and Superman, and the last few debut series in this new wave of DC comics. Once again, the Gotham books are the ones that I enjoyed the most. I only wish the quality of the rest were up to that level.

Please, somehow, fix Teen Titans, DC.

Gotham by Midnight #6: Ray Fawkes (writer), Juan Ferreyra (artist)

A definite keeper. As I’ve said before, this focus on the supernatural in Gotham reads like an independent horror comic, and the dark color palette of the panels, with a few splashes of cover, create a unique look. This is a good jumping-on point, as the mystery surrounding each of the cast’s supernatural abilities is explored. Jim (the Spectre) Corrigan talks about having the spirit of God’s vengeance inside him, while he reveals a truth about Detective Drake’s supernatural ability. The team investigates a murderous ghost at Gotham’s suddenly ubiquitous’ Powers company, while the internal investigation by the GCPD continues, which leads to an appearance by Kate (Manhunter) Spencer.

“This is Gotham. Good people here stay ready to fight the worst case scenario… or they die.”

Buy it: Yes.

Batgirl #41: Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher (writers), Babs Tarr (artist)

I’m still not used to the younger, more carefree Barbara Gordon, but I could happily look at Tarr’s art all day. This issue isn’t so much Batgirl versus villains, although she does wreck an evil coven and confront Livewire, as it is Barbara Gordon versus Jim Gordon. In a surprise, Jim reveals his new role as the man inside the robot Batman suit to his daughter, noting that he can’t lie to her. It’s a lovely scene set at a carousel, a symbol of their shared past together, and poignant because Barbara won’t tell her father about her costumed identity. This sets up, of course, an impending battle between Gordon Batman, who’s dedicated to arresting vigilantes, and Gordon Batgirl, who’d dedicated to fighting crime.

“You look… healthy. But please put the mustache back on.”—Babs to her father. I agree. Free Gordon’s mustache!

Buy it: Yes, for the father/daughter interaction.

We Are Robin #1: Lee Bermejo (story), Jorge Corona (art), Rob Hayes (breakdowns)

This new take on the Robins of Gotham features Duke Thomas, the young boy who helped Batman during Zero Year. Duke’s at loose ends. His parents have disappeared, he’s so angry that he keeps picking fights, and he can’t seem to settle into a foster home. Instead, he heads to the underground to uncover clues to his parents’ whereabouts and stumbles onto a slimy crime lord trying to incite the underground denizens to riot. Duke is saved by the appearance of a group of mysterious individuals wearing Robin’s colors. An excellent start, especially if the man staring at the monitors at the end of the book is who I think it is. (Alfred, perhaps?)

“The future of the city is not the dark walls and cold, grey concrete its foundation stands on. It’s a place of color.”

Buy It: Yes.

Dick Grayson, Robin, Nightwing
Gotta kiss himself, he’s so pretty. Grayson #9 cover, image via DC Comics

Grayson #9:  Tom King (writer), Tim Seeley and Tom King (plot), Mikel Janin (artist)

We’re still in Gotham, at least spiritually, as we pick up the adventures of Dick Grayson, Agent of Spyral, a covert agency dedicated to… I’m not quite sure. They seemed evil when this book started, but now they’re being run by Helena Bertinelli and dedicated to getting dangerous objects out of the hands of civilians. In this issue, that’s a hunk of kryptonite being worn as jewelry by a young and fabulous woman. But the real plot concerns a mysterious figure killing agents on missions connected to Dick. I still don’t love the spy angle, but the art is fantastic.

Buy It: Yes, if only for the gorgeous two-page spread in which Dick dances with his target. Did I mention he wears a tux? This comic is obviously dedicated to making Dick Grayson as sexually appealing as possible. I have no objections.

Superman, Lois Lane, Jimmy
Superman #41, page 9, with some classic Superman/Jimmy. If only this was the main plot. Image copyright DC Comics.

Superman #41: Gene Luen Yang (writer), John Romita, Jr. (penciller), Klaus Janson (inker)

This was supposed to be the issue where we learned why Lois Lane revealed Superman’s secret identity as Clark Kent to the world. It’s not. It’s obviously the first part of a longer story that will culminate in that reveal, dragging it out for the reader as long as possible. Instead, this first part is basically a classic Daily Planet story with Clark and Jimmy investigating a politician for gun-running, while their story overlaps with Lois’ investigation from another angle. I might enjoy that, except for the whole premise that Lois would ever reveal Superman’s identity.

As a former breaking news journalist, I can tell you there’s no “rule” that forces her to out Superman. Lois would have to consider the public’s need for the truth against the possibility of innocent people being hurt because of the reveal, much as newspapers did before publishing any of Edward Snowden’s information about the U.S. government. And considering that the lives of Superman’s friends, family, neighbors, and even co-workers also might be compromised (and are, given the government is stealing half of Smallville in another comic), there’s no way she would do it. That’s not who Lois is. I don’t know why DC keeps muffing up Lois Lane (and Superman for that matter), but this needs to stop.

Buy it: No. I pass on all the Superman titles until this mess is over.

Aquaman #41: Cullen Bunn (writer), Trevor McCarthy (artist)

This run of Aquaman started with Geoff Johns insisting how bad-ass Aquaman is. Johns has long left the title, so I guess that’s established, though the reliance in the dark armor this issue is going a bit too far. Aquaman is busy tracking magical temples that keep popping up all over the world, spewing out poisonous black clouds and releasing tentacle creatures. However, these temples are also part of an effort to get refugees from another world to Earth. That’s where Aquaman parts ways with the rulers of Atlantis, which also includes his lady love, Mera.

Buy It: It’s a decent comic—only if you’re a big Aquaman fan.

Deathstroke #7:  Tony S. Daniel and James Bonny (writers), Tony S. Daniel (pencils), Sandu Florea (inks)

I would call for a moment of silence for Slade Wilson’s missing soul patch, but I’m busy wondering about too many other things in this comic. Why would an Olympian god need to hire a human assassin? Why did DC de-age Slade so he looks like every other dark-haired, ripped man in comics? I’m beginning to think they have something against people over 40. The reason I asked all these questions? Because this isn’t a great comic and Wonder Woman showing up at the end telling Slade to surrender or die with a sword strapped on her back is the least Wonder Woman-like thing she’s done lately. And that’s saying a lot. I mean, she could just tie him up with the Lasso of Truth and get him to tell her if he misses the soul patch.

Buy it: No.

Justice League 3001 #1: Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, Howard Porter (creators)

We have a bunch of JLA clones who are, at best, cranky and, at worst, downright mean. There’s a Lois Lane who wants to kill them, and Fire and Ice are on Earth bonding and talking about whether Etrigan is good in bed or not. It’s not funny enough to be amusing, unfortunately, and the “new” characters are so unpleasant that it’s hard to care about them. The artwork is nice to look at, particularly a two-page splash panel that shows Flash running across the page. This issue is basically a setup for a big battle with the future version of Starro the Conqueror, who’s taken over an entire planet. No fear, Supergirl is on the way, as are Blue Beetle and Booster. I love all the creators listed, but I didn’t enjoy the book.

Buy It: No, unless you are that desperate for any version of the classic Giffen Justice League.

Green Lantern: Lost Army #1: Cullen Bunn (writer), Jesus Saiz (art and cover)

In case any readers were wondering, this version of Green Lantern John Stewart is the former soldier familiar from the Justice League animated series, rather than being an architect/engineer. This is made clear via flashbacks in the middle of a space battle with what seems to be an overwhelming force. (Do Lanterns ever face any other kind?) Krona, who once tried to recreate all existence, is part of John’s team, as is a Guy Gardner with a red and green Lantern ring. We end on a cliffhanger with the team facing a scary red pyramid.

Buy It: I’m glad DC recognizes how many people love the animated version of Stewart, but this is only for Lantern die-hards.

The Flash #41: Robert Venditti and Van Jensen (writers), Brett Booth (penciller), Norm Rapmund (inker)

After reading this again, I believe I was too harsh on Lost Army. That’s an okay book. This? It’s a mess. If you want to jump onto the Flash title because you enjoyed the television show, this isn’t the issue, even if it does feature the Reverse-Flash and has a scene of Barry talking to his imprisoned father. Reverse-Flash uses evil villain speak (“I will destroy everything you hold dear.”), Barry’s dad won’t tell him why he shouldn’t ask about the name Thawne (which means that Barry will do just that), and, somehow, elder Barry breaks out of prison with some powered evil buddies to protect his son.

Buy It: No.

Teen Titans #9: Will Pfeifer (script), Kenneth Rocafort (art)

Oh, Teen Titans, how you have fallen. Once as popular in comics circles as the X-Men, this title hasn’t been good in about a decade. How DC is managing to consistently fall down on a property that has such potential to cross over to an audience who loved several versions of the animated Titans, I have no idea.

The plot? Superboy is wanted to for murder (a fugitive, like Superman), the rest of the Titans hide him, and the Wonder Girl is determined to bring them in. There are characters here with potential, such as the new Power Girl and Bunker, but they’re wasted. The last page promises Wonder Girl vs. Superboy.


Buy It: No. But send cards and letters to DC to collect the full run of Young Justice in trade. Please.

‘DC Super Hero Girls’ Take Flight This Fall

DC Super Hero Girls
© DC Comics

If the squeals of my daughter and her 7-year-old BFF are any indication, DC Comics is on the right track with DC Super Hero Girls.

Yesterday DC Comics announced the creation of a super hero line of merchandise and media targeted at girls ages 6-12. DC Super Hero Girls, featuring a diverse mix of characters both well-known and relatively obscure, are poised to take flight over a variety of media in 2015 and 2016:

The initial launch of DC Super Hero Girls in Fall 2015 will include an immersive digital experience, original digital content and digital publishing—providing opportunities for girls to interact with characters, learn about the storylines, and engage in customizable play.  TV specials, made-for-videos, toys, apparel, books and other product categories will begin to rollout in 2016.

© DC Comics
© DC Comics

Not only will Mattel create action figures of the redesigned heroes and villains, Random House will be publishing a “portfolio” of books, DC Comics plans on graphic novels, and even LEGO is getting in on the girl power with sets “designed to inspire girls’ imaginations.”

With the current state of super heroes marketed toward boys, I’ve not had much success getting my daughter into comics beyond a Wonder Woman picture book or two. But the moment I showed her the new art (shown right), she was intrigued by Katana (“I want to be her!”) and wanted to know more about the characters.

The new looks of Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and more immediately reminded me of the LEGO Friends style, but I’m not opposed to it. I have no qualms about pink sparkly Batgirl costumes or heroes redesigned to appeal to a younger audience; I support anything that sparks my daughter’s interest in the world of super heroes that had me so entranced as a teen. I’m a fan of some of the age appropriate costume redesigns for Poison Ivy and Wonder Woman. (Namely: Pants.) And the nods to Batgirl’s yellows Docs and Katana’s mask are nice touches for fans of the comics.

Time will tell if the stories will do the characters justice, but I’m more than willing to give DC Super Hero Girls a shot. In an age where female characters in blockbusters like The Avengers rarely find their ways on store shelves, and super hero stories for kids are increasingly hard to find, it’s a pleasure to see that DC Comics is making a real attempt to reach superhero fans of all ages and genders.

Until Next Year: MegaCon 2015

MegaCon 2015 - Me, my brother, and some random guy \ Image:  Celeb Photo Ops. Used with permission.
MegaCon 2015 – Me, my brother, and some random guy. \ Image: Celeb Photo Ops. Used with permission.

MegaCon 2015 was a huge success this year in Orlando, Florida. With a wide variety of celebrities, artists, vendors, and cosplayers, it was a weekend of diversity.

This year I had three goals: meet Michael Rooker from Guardians of the Galaxy, get a mini painting from Katie Cook, and get my picture with Stan Lee. I accomplished all three and each was as different as the next.

On Friday, I took the opportunity to stop by Michael Rooker’s table and I could have stood there and listen to him interact with people all day. I was super nervous to get his autograph and a picture and could barely talk the entire time (damn anxiety!). During our brief 2-minute interaction, I got his autograph, took a picture with him, and got a total of three hugs. He also invited me into his next photo, which was with my brother, for a group shot of us flipping off the camera (he said it means “I love you“). It was the highlight of my first day and well worth the $90 I spent ($40 for the picture and $50 for the autograph).

Even though Michael Rooker says it means, "I love you," I think I'll keep it kid friendly in here. \ Image: Dakster Sullivan
Even though Michael Rooker says it means, “I love you,” I think I’ll keep it kid-friendly in here. \ Image: Dakster Sullivan

My next stop after Michael Rooker was My Little Pony and Gronk writer and artist Katie Cook.

Katie Cook is one of my favorite authors, artists, and all around nerds. I follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (does that make me a social media stalker?) and I’ve memed her dogs (who should have their own Facebook page in their own right). On the top of my shopping list at her booth was a mini painting of my own. A mass the box full of choices she brought with her, and the option of having one drawn for you on the spot, I choose one of my spirit pony, Pinkie Pie and her party canon. I also asked her to draw me one of my mom’s pups for her birthday and a Deadpool for my younger brother. It was some of the best $30 I spent the entire weekend.

Saturday was my cosplay day and I spent about half of it in my latest cosplay build, Batgirl. I’m especially proud of this costume because my husband built my cowl (not bad for his first time) and I did the sewing of my belts and pouches. My little brother debuted his first cosplay, Red Hood. We were a happy little Batman team with so many positive comments on our builds that day.

Our group this year consisted of Wonder Woman, myself (batgirl), my brother (Red Hood), The Rocketeer, and Jango Fett (my husband) / Image: Jim Carchidi
Our group this year consisted of Wonder Woman, myself (Batgirl), my brother (Red Hood), The Rocketeer, and Jango Fett (my husband) / Image: Jim Carchidi

Sunday was my shopping and Stan Lee day.

To start, I understand Stan Lee has a ton of fans to see and get through each day, but the photo op with him was probably the most impersonal thing I’ve ever done. I would have gladly paid more money for the photo op in exchange for an interaction that was more than “Put your stuff down. Walk behind. Smile. Leave.” No words were spoken. No real “moment” was had. I’m not saying that I regret doing it, because it was something that my little brother and I did together and will cherish for a long time. It just wasn’t nearly as exciting as I expected. My brother on the other hand, was shaking from the excitement when we left. If he comes back next year, I think I’ll do the autograph session instead for the chance at a slower moment in his presence.

I know he is awesome with his fans because a friend of mine ran into him outside the restrooms and Stan actually asked for a picture of him and his cosplay group.

This is what happens when you are standing outside the restroom at the right time. 219th Brain Surgeons, we are an Umbrella Corporation group from the Resident Evil franchise and Stan Lee \ Image: Thom Sousa Used with permission
This is what happens when you are standing outside the restroom at the right time. 219th Brain Surgeons, we are an Umbrella Corporation group from the Resident Evil franchise and Stan Lee \ Image: Thom Sousa

With my third and final goal complete, I used the rest of the day to hit up the vendors for some goodies.

In past years, it felt like half of the floor was taken up by comic book shops or toy sellers. This year there was a nice mix of everything and not too much of it either.

SuperHeroStuff.com came again this year and debuted their Hero Boxes! I reviewed one of these boxes last year and it was by far my favorite subscription box out there so far. It’s a bit on the pricey side, but you get your money’s worth. I also picked up a few other items that I’ll be reviewing in a separate post here on GeekMom.

My favorite purchase this year was a “Surprise” Optimus Prime lightbox from Ransom Designs. I love this piece because it has a different image that shows up in the background behind Optimus when you turn it on. It was also the priciest thing I bought all weekend at $75.  A friend of mine surprised me with an original sketch of SquirrelPool from artist Charles Thurston, who was hanging out in artist alley.

SquirrelPool by artist Charles Thurston. \ Image: Dakster Sullivan
SquirrelPool by artist Charles Thurston. \ Image: Dakster Sullivan

The vendors and the talent weren’t the only varied things this year. The cosplayers came in a wide variety as well.

Instead of the usual bunches of Harley Quinns, Deadpools, and Batgirls, it seemed like every genre was represented in its own unique way. I ran into a family cosplaying as Batgirl, Red Hood, and their 2-year-old son was wearing a Batman shirt. Another family did up their stroller in Steampunk awesomeness and they were all dressed in the same style. I ran into a cute cosplay family where all the little boys were TMNT and their sister was April O’Neal (2013 series version). They told me they almost had a Splinter join them, but he changed his mind.

Despite wanting to spend some time in the hallways this year, I had so much fun at the vendors and the main room that I hardly spent any time there.

The biggest news of the weekend was that MegaCon was bought out by FanBoy Expo. As with any buyout, there are rumors abound, but one thing has been confirmed: the convention has been moved to Memorial Day weekend next year and will last four days instead of three. This change puts the convention happening not only during a holiday weekend, but also at the same time and in close proximity to Spooky Empire.

For attendees, this will mean for higher hotel rates, larger crowds, and more traffic to get in and out. From a business standpoint, it’s a financially smart move for not only the convention, but the businesses surrounding it. It will be interesting to see what happens and what impact this change will have on the crowds. With the date being set during Star Wars Weekends I already know of one group that will not be able to attend.

Anyway you slice it, MegaCon 2015 was one of my favorite events of the run. From meeting Michael Rooker, standing by Stan Lee for a photo, getting a mini painting from Katie Cook, and spending quality time with my husband and brother, I don’t see how 2016 could be any better.

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Comic Book Corner — The X-Files, HQ, Wonder Woman and Batgirl

Image: Copyright DC Comics.

Happy comic release day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week, Lisa and Corrina check out how Harley Quinn spends her holidays, while Sophie picks back up with The X-Files #19, and Corrina also walks us through Batgirl #37.

But first, a panel so egregious, only the image can do it justice. WARNING: SPOILER for Wonder Woman #37.

A favorite Teen Titan returns in Wonder Woman #37. You won’t be glad to see her, especially given this panel. When Corrina posted the image on Tumblr, she was sent a message calling her narcissistic, prudish, and a cheesecake hater. Insults, no worries, but she’s tired of women calling out objectified poses being classified as “prudish,” so she responded on that matter. (Warning: NSFW for foul language.)

Onto the reviews!

Lisa Tate — Harley Quinn Holiday Special #1  by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner

This three-story collection of holiday mayhem and madness by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner is a crazy Christmas package only Harley can deliver. Part of the New 52 series, the issue’s two Christmas tales and one New Year’s story aren’t the most thoughtful and well-crafted yarns in this month’s DC offerings. However, they really aren’t meant to be. The first story is my favorite, as it lets Harley’s well-hidden humanity show just a little bit, as she attempts to find homes for amassed pets and ends up as a “toy” for a spoiled kid.

The most impressive art is from the third story, “Killin’ Time,” in which Harley seeks out Father Time to confront him about a new-found grey hair. It features beautiful illustrations by Darwyn Cooke. Mauricet and Brandt Peters contribute art to the first and second story, respectively.

It’s a fun one-shot, for anyone who wants a sampling of Harley’s endearingly psycho ilk without committing to the entire series, and it’s a great way to blow off some holiday season stress without actually going crazy.

Conner offers two cover choices: the main Christmas-themed and a variant with a New Year’s. I prefer the main cover and feel that  is missing out on a big money-making opportunity, if they don’t release these as Christmas cards next year. I’ll take four boxes, please!

Age Recommendation: Rated T.

Sophie Brown — The X-Files Season 10 #19 by Joe Harris with art by Tom Mandrake

The X-Files Season 10 Issue 19 \ Image: IDW Publishing
The X-Files Season 10 Issue 19. Image: IDW Publishing.

With #19, The X-Files returns to doing what it does best—cooking up nefarious government schemes being tested on an unsuspecting public. This time, we’re talking drugs and a conspiracy that dates back to the 1960s. The issue opens with a flashback to 1966, starring the Cigarette Smoking Man and Mulder’s father, who are dealing with the aftermath of a breach at a government facility. It’s an interesting start that introduces the key weapon in all of this: A government named G-23 that can “bring out the worst in people.” Whether or not Joe Harris is a fan of Firefly/Serenity I can’t say, but that’s quite a coincidence if he’s not. Could we be looking at a shared fictional universe? There’s nothing I’ve seen to say no!

Jumping forward to the present, and Mulder receives a tip off about this drug from the Smoking Man himself whilst waiting for a dinner date with Scully. I like that they have a dinner date. It reinforces that they’re an actual established couple now, without letting the mushy stuff overtake the plot. What I actually like more though is that the date doesn’t happen. It allows Scully to be upset at Mulder and for him to make amends, but in a way that keeps the plot moving forward. It also gives us some great banter, a piece of the X-Files puzzle that had been somewhat lacking in S10.

There are only three people you might turn to when investigating “government weed,” so it’s not long before The Lone Gunmen are on-board. It’s great to see them again, even if they are being used for some classic exposition scenes, and they naturally give Mulder all he needs to continue the investigation out in Nevada. It’s interesting that Scully doesn’t appear to follow him on this trip, although no explanation is given as to why not. Mulder isn’t alone, however, and we soon discover that Langly has decided to follow him. I have to admit that decision bugged me. For a man so paranoid about the government and who in the eyes of many is supposed to be dead, suddenly deciding to go flying halfway across the country just on the promise of “government ganja” seems way out of character. The final panel is… interesting. Even though it’s more than strongly insinuated that this is a hallucination, it’s inclusion feels weird and unnecessarily pervy.

This is a really strong issue with a solid plot and good character interactions. Tom Mandrake’s artwork is not at all to my taste, but I have to give it to the man; he can draw trippy well. I’m looking forward to see how this one concludes!

Age Recommendation: Age: 15+

Disclaimer: GeekMom received this item for review purposes.

Corrina— Harley Quinn Holiday Special #1 by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti with art by Conner and a host of guest artists

We liked this so much, we reviewed it twice.

Reading a Harley Quinn comic by Conner and Palmiotti never fails to make me smile. I know that’s odd for a comic starring one of Batman’s more insane villains, but while Harley lacks inhibition, she can sometimes have a warm heart. She just kinda expresses it all wrong, like in the opening story, where she gives away her excess kittens and puppies by choosing among people out Christmas shopping. Or when she can’t quite say goodbye to the last puppy, so she terrorizes an entire police precinct to track the license plate number of the car where she left the puppy. This leads to her breaking and entering the home where the puppy is, just to make sure he’s okay. (Which he is.)

And then the bratty daughter of the family decides Harley is her Christmas present and… it becomes surprisingly touching. I forget sometimes that Harley is a psychiatrist. There’s also a number of fabulous pin-ups and two more stories—with one featuring Harley trying to stop the New Year from coming. All of it is sheer (though twisted) fun. This issue would make a great stocking stuff for any geek.

Age Recommendation: 13 + for adult situations

Batgirl-37 cover
Image: DC Comics.

Batgirl #37 by Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher, art by Babs Tarr

As it’s clear from my previous reviews, I’ve enjoyed this creative team change for Batgirl. I still do, but I’m starting to have some serious niggles that are interfering with my enjoyment of the fabulous art by Babs Tarr.

One is, as I said last time, Black Canary being such a jerk. That continues this issue, where she leaves Batgirl in the lurch. I hope this is a plot point that’s wrapped up very soon. The second is that this Babs is a little more carefree than I’m used to seeing her behave. Of course, the creative team wanted to add more fun into this, and they have, but still, Babs is a disciplined and careful person by nature, and I don’t think the writers have yet grasped that fully.

The third (MINOR SPOILER WARNING) is that at one point, the villain is mocked for cross-dressing. I believe the creators meant to mock the character himself for being over-the-top, but it comes across as slamming transgender people. The creative team has already issued an apology for this, so I won’t belabor the point. What I will say is that for the last three issues, Babs has taken down three minor and semi-forgettable villains sent against her by a mastermind. I’d like to have more story progression. Three times the same plot is at least one time too many.

Still, it’s great to see Babs in action against a doppleganger, well able to take care of herself, and seizing her own destiny. I like the new cast that’s been introduced and there’s one chilling panel, a callback to Babs in the wheelchair, that shows Tarr can do scary as well as fun. Also, there’s a great panel of the cast in civilian formal wear, which is fantastic. But I’m ready for this story of someone behind the scenes sending enemies at Batgirl to be done. My guess is Jim Gordon Jr., Babs’ brother, who has never quite been able to let his story succeed at anything.

Age Recommendation: 10 +

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

DC-Comics-Old.jpg marvel-logo1.jpg

Arrow Season 2.5 #3
Authority Vol. 2 TP
Batgirl Vol. 4 Wanted TP
Batgirl Vol. 5 Deadline HC
Batman #37
Batman And Robin #37
Batman And Robin Vol. 5 The Big Burn HC
Batman Eternal #37
Batman Kelley Jones Gallery Edition HC
Batman Superman #17
Batwoman #37
Catwoman #37
DMZ Deluxe Edition Vol. 3 HC
Earth 2 World’s End #11
Fables #147
Futures End Five Years Later Omnibus HC
Green Lantern New Guardians #37
Identity Crisis Tenth Anniversary Edition HC
Infinite Crisis The Fight For The Multiverse #6
Justice League #37
Kitchen #2 (Of 8)
MAD Magazine #531
Multiversity Thunderworld #1
New 52 Futures End #33
Red Hood And The Outlaws #37
Sandman Overture #4 (Of 6)
Smallville Season 11 Continuity #1 (Of 4)
Spectre Vol. 2 The Wrath Of God TP
Supergirl #37
Superman Batman Vol. 2 TP
Swamp Thing Vol. 5 The Killing Field TP
Teen Titans #5
Teen Titans Go #7
Trinity Of Sin #3
Wonder Woman #37
All-New Captain America #2
All-New X-Men #34
All-New X-Men Vol. 4 All-Different TP
Avengers And X-Men Axis #8 (Of 9)
Axis Hobgoblin #3 (Of 3)
Axis Revolutions #4 (Of 4)
Black Widow #13
Captain Marvel #10
Cyclops Vol. 1 Starstruck TP
Daredevil By Mark Waid Vol. 7 TP
Deadpool Vs X-Force #1-4 Master Set
Death Of Wolverine The Weapon X Program #4 (Of 5)
Deathlok #3
Elektra #9
Fantastic Four #14
Guardians Of The Galaxy #22
Inhuman #10
Marvel Firsts The 1980s Vol. 3 TP
Marvel Masterworks Famous Firsts 75th Anniversary Slipcase Set (2nd Edition)
Marvel Universe Avengers Assemble Season Two #2
Miles Morales Ultimate Spider-Man #8
Moon Knight #10
Ms. Marvel #10
Official Handbook Of The Marvel Universe Avengers NOW
Powers Bureau Vol. 2 Icons TP
Scarlet Spiders #2 (Of 3)
Spider-Woman #2
Storm #6
Thunderbolts Vol. 5 Punisher Vs The Thunderbolts TP
Uncanny X-Force By Rick Remender The Complete Collection Vol. 2 TP
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

Bigger Bang #2 (Of 4)
Borderlands #5
Complete Junior And Sunny By Al Feldstein HC
G.I. JOE #4
G.I. JOE A Real American Hero #209
Ghostbusters Vol. 9 Mass Hysteria Part 2 TP
Ghoul Treasury Edition
Godzilla Cataclysm #5 (Of 5)
Godzilla Rulers Of Earth #19
Godzilla Rulers Of Earth Vol. 4 TP
IDW Winter 2014 Archival And Art Books Sampler
Killogy Halloween Special #1 (One Shot)
My Little Pony Equestria Girls Holiday Special
Ragnarok #3
Rot And Ruin #4
Shadow Show #2 (Of 5)
Star Trek #39
Star Trek New Adventures Vol. 1 TP
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ghostbusters #2 (Of 4)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles New Animated Adventures #18
Transformers Drift Empire Of Stone #2 (Of 4)
Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #36
True Blood Omnibus Vol. 1 TP
Winterworld Vol. 1 La Nina TP
Angel And Faith Season 10 Vol. 1 Where The River Meets The Sea TP
Athena Voltaire Compendium HC
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth #126
Brain Boy #1 (#1 For $1 Edition)
Brain Boy Vol. 2 The Men From G.E.S.T.A.L.T. TP
Criminal Macabre The Third Child #4 (Of 4)
Dark Horse Presents #5
Dream Logic HC
Eerie Comics #6
Lobster Johnson Vol. 4 Get The Lobster TP
Predator Fire And Stone #3 (Of 4)
Trilogy USA HC

Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback / GM = GeekMom Recommended Reading

Project Superhero: A Book For Your Young, Comics-Loving Girl

Cover image courtesy of the author

Project Superhero‘s Jessie and her friends are the kids you want your daughter to be and be friends with in the eighth grade. She has an enviable comic book collection, and she loves journalism and science. (Things like the likelihood of Black Canary’s scream being possible bothers her.) Her friend Audrey is an electronics lover who has a room full of computer parts and builds robots.

In Project Superhero, written as Jessie’s journal, their class embarks on the Superhero Slam, a year-long 8th-grade project to explore heroes and superheroes—culturally, scientifically, and sociologically—culminating in a one-on-one debate for superhero supremacy.

Jessie’s stories will sound familiar to grown-up comic book geeks. They’re your friends talking about the characters. (“Zatanna…has cool sorcery powers, but I am kind of not so much into “magical intervention” when it comes to superheroes.”) They’re talk about women in and working on comics. (“There are lots of women on that team but they are still X-MEN—what is up with that?”) And it’s a pre-teen girl talking about her friends, parents, and figuring out who she is through the lens of her love for comics.

Author E. Paul Zehr’s previous works include Becoming Batman: The Possibility of a Superhero and Inventing Iron Man: The Possibility of a Human Machine. Project Superhero is a fiction/non-fiction hybrid extension of those themes targeted at tweens, particularly girls. Within the fictional story of the Superhero Slam, the book includes Jessie’s letters to and real replies from:

– Clara Hughes, six-time Winter and Summer Olympic medalist
– Bryan Q. Miller, writer for Batgirl and Smallville
– Jessica Watson, author of True Spirit: The True Story of a 16-Year-Old Australian Who Sailed Solo, Nonstop, and Unassisted Around the World
– Hayley Wickenheiser, Olympic gold medalist and World Champion in ice hockey
– Mike Bruen, NYPD sergeant-on-duty at Ground Zero
– Kelly Sue DeConnick, comic book writer for Captain Marvel and Avengers Assemble
– Yuriko Romer, filmmaker (Mrs. Judo: Be Strong, Be Gentle, Be Beautiful)
– Nicole Stott, NASA astronaut and engineer
– Christie Nicholson, contributing editor at Scientific American and SmartPlanet

Project Superhero is all of this wrapped in a package of a lot of comic book history with a dash of science, history, and language lessons. It’s also delightfully illustrated by Kris Pearn, who co-directed Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2.

Though described as for 8- to 12-year-olds and perfectly appropriate for that audience, some of the heavier topics (9/11, friends in the hospital, dealing with medical issues like depression and insulin injections) may warrant a parental pre-read before giving it to the younger end. (You know your kids the best.) I’ll be happy to hand it over to my 9-year-old comic book fan.

GeekMom received a PDF of Project Superhero for review.

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — Doctor Who, Metal Gods, X-Files, The Flash, and Batgirl

Cover to Batgirl #35. Copyright DC Comics, art by Babs Tarr.

Happy comic release day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week, Corrina tells us all about the new Batgirl and Metal Gods, while Lisa goes on a journey with a time lord, Sophie visits with The X-Files, and I continue my journey into The Flash!

Dakster Sullivan — The Flash: Season Zero #3 by Brooke Eikmeier, Andrew Kreisberg, and Katherine Walczak with art by Phil Hester and Eric Gapstur

In issue #3, Barry continues in his “new to the hero” ways and takes on a “Jumanji” of a situation in Central City. With tigers, monkeys, and gorilla jokes running rampant through this issue, I kept expecting our main villain to be of the talking-gorilla persona. Instead, we are left with a cliffhanger that is making me believe our main villain is of the “mad” persona and one that I didn’t expect to see out of Gotham (you see where I’m going with this?). If the villain is who I think it is, then this series is about to get a lot more interesting.

If I’m wrong and it’s not who I’m thinking, then the series still has its beautiful art and occasional Spider-Man-like jokes to keep it going.

This issue didn’t clear up anything about who knows about Barry’s new double life, but the subtle knocks at Barry by a few individuals is helping me sort it out for myself.

Age Recommendation: 12 and up

Curious to know what I’m pulling this week? Check out my pull list on Comixology.

Lisa Tate — Doctor Who: Tenth Doctor Adventures #2 by Nick Abadzis with art by Elena Casagranda

Doctor Who: Tenth Doctor Adventures #2 \ Image: Titan Comics
Doctor Who: Tenth Doctor Adventures #2. Image: Titan Comics.

When Titan Comics first announced the first story arc for its new Tenth Doctor series, I was excited by the prospect of The Doctor among the pageantry of the Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations. However, in true Doctor Who form, the intended celebration becomes a jumping-off point for a completely different type of adventure, as something threatening has entered the planet via a laundromat’s washing machines.

Comic-book veteran Nick Abadzis has done an excellent job with the dialogue, especially the hyper ramblings of The Doctor’s Tenth incarnation. It’s hard not to hear David Tennant’s voice when reading, but that seems to be the intended result. Artist Elena Casagrande captures facial expressions with simplicity and beauty.

Although the first issue of both Titan’s Tenth and Eleventh Doctor series had more alternate covers than I’ve ever seen for a single issue, the cover art on Alice X. Zhang’s issue #1 and #2 is by far the most stunning.

Those used to the fast-paced frenzy of the latter-day episodes of Doctor Who may have felt like grabbing someone’s hand and pulling them along a bit. After all, this issue is primarily dedicated to getting to know the story’s companion, Gabby Gonzalez.

The second issue moves at a much more swifter pace and also keeping with the spirit of Doctor Who, the “monsters” are not what they seem. Keep with the story and there will be excitement, perilous situations, and “an outrageous amount of running involved.”

Age Recommendation: Young readers to adult (If they are old enough to watch the series, they can enjoy the comic.)

Metal Gods Issue 2 Cover
Copyright Von Allan.

Corrina — Metal Gods by Von Allan, Batgirl #35 by Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, and Babs Tarr

Know those creators whose words you read and you think: Why isn’t this person better known? That’s how I feel about Von Allan’s work. From his poignant comic-of-age story The Road To God Knows, his fun all-ages book, Stargazer, and now, Metal Gods, Allan’s a multi-talented artist-writer who’s been the recipient of the Coral Endowment for the Arts Award.

Metal Gods is his latest work. It’s about Nick and his girlfriend Lo, battling a cult that seems to have control of Nick’s wayward and slightly nutty parents. As Allan’s website says,”If you like action, adventure, ‘splosions, and good old fashioned storytelling, we think it will be right up your alley.” You can find the first three issues on Comixology.

Age Recommendation: Adult situations, so at least 14+

Batgirl #35: This has been the eagerly awaited first issue of not only a new creative team, but a look and feel that’s part of DC’s effort to do something new and different with their monthly comics. The first of those books to hit stands was Gotham Academy #1 last week and it’ll include the upcoming Arkham Manor.

It’s hard to describe what this issue of Batgirl is like without showing you all the interior pages, but to me, this felt like a story set in the DC Animated Universe—and I mean that as high praise. It’s fun, fast-paced, features a Barbara Gordon who uses her intelligence to defeat the villain, and the artwork reminded my younger son of some of his favorite animated universe tie-ins. I was worried this Barbara Gordon would feel like a completely different character, but she’s still Babs, focused and smart, but a little bit more relaxed. I was even more pleased to see Black Canary as part of the supporting cast, though less thrilled to see Canary so angry throughout the issue. The reboot DC did three years ago hasn’t been kind to Canary, so I’m hoping this anger dissipates and she’s back to the more mellow, impetuous, and kick-ass Canary I love. But she’s in the hands of an excellent creative team now, so I have hopes.

As for Barbara, as much as I loved Gail Simone’s first 34 issues of the title (and I did love them), I’m glad to see DC giving this new take a chance too, especially as it’s appealing to all.

Age recommendations: Rated 12 + for sexual situations, though it’s all implied, nothing shown.

The X-Files Year Zero Issue 3 \ Image: IDW Publishing
The X-Files Year Zero Issue 3. Image: IDW Publishing.

Sophie Brown — X-Files Year Zero #3 by Karl Kesel  with art by Vic Malhotra and Greg Scott

Last week, saw the release of issue three of the Year Zero X-Files spin-off and it was another great installment to an already impressive run.

Last month left Ellinson and Ohio in grave peril, as the Manitou attacked out in an isolated cabin. This month picks up right in the action, as Ellinson explains how they escaped in the form of a written report. As is often the case, the local law enforcement is all too willing to accept the explanation that’s easiest to palette, even if it doesn’t quite account for all the facts—and it’s good to see Ohio’s obvious discomfort with the situation. The first 40s section of the comic ends off with a nice scene between the pair that mimics Mulder and Scully beautifully, as they discuss the events they just witnessed and come to the realization that they might be more alike than they first realized.

In the future, Mulder and Scully are working to convince Mr. Spoon that he is indeed in danger, but he is more concerned with the well-being of the animals at his clinic. It’s a strange scene that has me wondering if there is more meaning than I’m currently seeing embedded within, as it doesn’t function to move the plot very far along before we’re back in 1946.

Ellinson and Ohio’s report goes down as well as you’d expect from a pair of agents assigned to the X-Files, but Ellinson’s a smooth talker and she quickly gets them back on the case to chase up Mr. Zero in Long Island. Ohio gets one heck of a scene (she’s rapidly becoming my favorite comic book character) and we discover that she too has perfected the “Scully Glare”—I guess it’s par for the course when you’ve been partnered up with the bureau maverick! Things soon get interesting when they bump into Dorothy, who has just returned from what she claims was a dinner date on a distant planet, and receive a threatening call from Xero himself.

The final part of the comic is set in the present day and is one of my favorites to date, a classic X-Files stakeout, which leaves plenty of opportunity for some Mulder and Scully bantering. Karl Kesel has perfected the Mulder voice and trademark dry humor, as well as Scully’s knack of getting to the bottom of things as she deflects him. Our favorite agents get some action too (if only…) when they raid Spoon’s home, only things don’t go quite the way they’d planned, leaving us with another fantastic cliffhanger.

Don’t mind me; I’ll just be over here pre-ordering the hardback collection of this truly wonderful series.

Age Recommendation: 15 and up

Looking for something else, readers? Check out Diamond Comics’ complete list of new releases!

Disclaimer: Some of the writers may have received review copies of these titles. 

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — Bats, Speedsters, Campers, Finders, and More!

Finder: Third World. Image via Dark Horse Comics.

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week, we have bats, speedsters, campers, and some shadowy heroes. We also have a look at a half-redneck, half-Ascian, who finds himself while just trying to do his day job.

Dakster Sullivan — The Flash Season Zero #1 by Brooke Eikmeier, Andrew Kreisberg, and Katherine Walczak with art by Phil Hester

The Flash Season Zero Issue #1 \ Image: ComiXology
The Flash Season Zero Issue #1. Image: ComiXology.

The Flash is coming to CW and what better way to get fans hyped than with a comic book series to lead up to the big premier? The first issue is what you’d expect it to be: an origin story.

If you’ve seen the trailers for The Flash, then there is not much need to read this issue, because it’s basically the trailer in comic book form. What the book has going for it is the art. I didn’t want to see something like what’s in the current Flash series because the TV shows don’t necessarily follow the comics, but more “borrow” from them. I wasn’t disappointed.

Some of the scenes in the book are pulled right from the trailer, but not all of them. We are introduced to The Flash’s first villain and he doesn’t get much of a chance to take him down, because he’s thrown into a wall before he can throw a punch. The ending of the issue tells us there is more to come in terms of freaky villains and I’m excited to follow along to see how different the comic book series based on the show will be from the actual show.

Curious to know what I’m pulling this week? Check out my pull list on Comixology.

Sophie Brown — Lumberjanes #5 (Boom Studios!) by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis with art by Brooke Allen

Lumberjanes #5 \ Image: Boom
Lumberjanes #5. Image: Boom Studios.

Boom Box is back with the fifth issue of Lumberjanes, which tells the story of five girls staying at a summer camp that belongs more in The Twilight Zone than our own mundane world. When we last saw them, the girls had just fled the nearby boys’ camp, which appeared to have been overtaken by what appeared to be vampire (or vampire-like) creatures.

Back at camp, Jo is suffering from terrifying nightmares, while counselor Jen is living through her own when she is left in charge of the whole place for a day—and just hours after learning about the supernatural creatures in the surrounding woods. Her suggestion that they should place a call to “the FBI paranormal division” is falling on deaf ears. She attempts to keep the girls safe by cancelling the trip to the Raccoon Rodeo in favor of making friendship bracelets (complete instructions are included as a nice touch so you can make your own), but did you honestly think that would work? A trip to the outhouse soon results in disaster when a number of creatures are suddenly unleashed. I’d say what they are, but that would be spoiling the awesome surprise.

This issue mixes a fantastic and funny attack sequence with more information on the larger forces at work. We learn that there’s even more going on than we initially suspected and discover a startling secret about Molly’s hat that had me scanning back over every previous issue to try and spot hints about its true nature. There are more wonderful references scattered throughout the pages, including the name of one of the cabins and a tribute to Mrs. Weasley. You’ll know it when you see it! The dialogue is some of the best so far; April’s theatrical performance while she distracts one of the creatures had my genuinely laughing out loud. If you’re not reading this comic already, why the junk not?!

Age Recommendation: All Ages
Received preview PDF for review purposes.

Lisa Tate — The Shadow vs. Grendel: Book One (Dynamite Comics) written and illustrated by Matt Wagner (colors by Brennan Wagner)

If there is any villain worthy of taking on the stylish and sophisticated Shadow, it is the graceful and brilliant crime lord Grendel. Dynamite Comics recently teamed up with Dark Horse to make sure this meeting of mind and muscle happens.

The Shadow vs. Grendel: Book One kicks off a three-issue prestige format series by the man who created Grendel himself.

A recently unearthed ancient urn found in New York Harbor is brought to Hunter Rose (Grendel) to add to his already impressive, eerie collection of “historically significant” items. When Rose reads off an incantation found in the urn, he finds himself in a “different” world (New York circa 1930s) and is ready to take it by storm. Meanwhile, Lamont Cranston (The Shadow) is wondering what the future holds if some “criminal mastermind” were to take advantage of the upheaval created by the failure of the prohibition. Thanks to Grendel, he is about to find out.

The choice to begin this tale with a few pages of Sin City-style black-and-white with touches of red was a perfect way to take the reader back in time to the golden era of film noir. It later splashes into full color, when the story—and Grendel—suddenly leap forward in time.

Grendel may not have been around as long as The Shadow (Lamont Cranston), as The Shadow debuted in pulp fiction novels in the 1930s and Grendel in comics in 1983. The characters play off each other so well, it was as if this meeting were their original intent. Fans of both Grendel and The Shadow should appreciate this dark and classy thriller.

Age Recommendation: Mature readers
Received preview PFD for review purposes.

Corrina — Finder: Third World written and illustrated by Carla Speed McNeil

I feel like I need to turn in my female geek cred by admitting that this is the very first time I’ve read any of the Finder stories by Carla Speed McNeil. That was surely my loss, because the stories in this volume, collected from shorter stories from the pages of Dark Horse Presents, are fascinating, off-balance, funny, and brilliant in their world-building. You know when a story starts to remind you of Howl’s Moving Castle that it has developed a rich world.

McNeil has been writing Finder since 1996 and the series is about a young man, Jaeger, a half-redneck and half-Ascian (Native American) who has the uncanny ability to “find” things. He can never get lost. He lives in a world that is slightly magical, slightly post-apocalyptic, and set in a far future Earth. In this world, Jaeger is tired of doing what he sees as dangerous work for those on the wrong side of the law and takes a job delivering packages instead. Since he can find anyone and anything, it’s the perfect job for him, but it’s not without challenges, such as escorting a ghost. But eventually, Jaeger is thrust outside the city for his job, and that’s when things get bizarre and even more interesting.

I need to track down the rest of the stories. In the meantime, you can find them online at Lightspeed Press, McNeil’s website.

Age Recommendation: 10+

Batgirl: Futures End #1 by Gail Simone with art by Javier Garron

Simone’s last issue of Batgirl ends with a literal and figurative hug to readers. Literal, as Barbara Gordon hugs her league of Batgirls. Figurative because this is a love letter to fans of Batgirl in all incarnations.  The big news is that for the first time since DC history was rebooted, Cassandra Cain returns as Batgirl. Cassandra has been in limbo, save for a few brief appearances in Batman Incorporated that were assumed to be out-of-continuity. She lasted over 100 issues as Batgirl and, when canceled, her series was still selling upwards of 20,000 per month. Naturally, her fans have been calling for her return, but DC has turned away requests, just as they did with Stephanie Brown, who finally turned up in her old Spoiler identity in Batman: Eternal.

So this issue, set five years in DC’s future, features all of the Batgirls working together: Babs, Cassandra, Stephanie, and a new, young Batgirl from a familiar Gotham family. The story is a bit dark—this is set in a future gone wrong—with Babs basically turning to the dark side to learn how to protect Gotham after yet another tragedy, and assembling her Batgirl team to work for her. But it ends with a hug, a fine ending for Simone’s run on the title.

While I hope this particular future for DC never comes to pass (it’s hinted that Jim Gordon is dead and that would make me very sad), I’m crossing my fingers that this means we’ll soon see Cassandra Cain appear in Batman: Eternal or somewhere else. Make it happen, DC.

Age recommendation: 10 + for violence.

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

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Astro City #15
Batgirl Futures End #1
Batman Eternal #23
Batman Futures End #1
Birds Of Prey Futures End #1
Coffin Hill #11
Constantine Futures End #1
Green Lantern Corps Futures End #1
Infinity Man And The Forever People Futures End #1
Injustice Gods Among Us Year Two #11
Justice League Of America Vol. 2 Survivors Of Evil HC
Justice League United Futures End #1
Justice League Vol. 4 The Grid TP
Justice League Vol. 5 Forever Heroes HC
Legends Of The Dark Knight 100-Page Super-Spectacular #4
Legion Of Super-Heroes The Curse TP
New 52 Futures End #19
New Suicide Squad Futures End #1
Scooby-Doo Where Are You #49 Kid Friendly
Showcase Presents Captain Carrot And His Amazing Zoo Crew TP Kid Friendly
Smallville Season 11 Chaos #2 (Of 4)
Superboy Futures End #1
Superman By Geoff Johns And John Romita Jr. Director’s Cut #1
Superman Unchained #8
Worlds’ Finest Futures End #1
Y The Last Man Vol. 1 TP
All-New Ultimates #8
All-New X-Men Vol. 5 One Down HC
Amazing Spider-Man #6 GeekMom Recommended
Avengers #34.1
Avengers Undercover #10
Captain Marvel #7 GeekMom Recommended
Castle: A Calm Before Storm TP
Deadpool #34
Death Of Wolverine #2 (Of 4) New Mini-Series Event
Edge Of Spider-Verse #1 (Of 5) New Mini-Series Event
Fantastic Four #10
Fantastic Four Epic Collection Vol. 1 The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine TP
George Romero’s Empire Of The Dead Act Two #1 (Of 5)
Guardians Of The Galaxy #17 GeekMom Recommended
Hawkeye #20 GeekMom Recommended
Inhuman #5
Magneto #9
Marvel 75th Anniversary Magazine Special Edition #1
Marvel Masterworks The Fantastic Four Vol. 16 HC
Marvel Universe Avengers Assemble #12
Ms. Marvel #8 GeekMom Recommended
New Avengers Vol. 2 Infinity TP
New Warriors #9
Nightcrawler #6
Powers Bureau #11
Silver Surfer #1 New Series
Uncanny Avengers Vol. 4 Avenge The Earth HC
United States Of Murder Inc #5
Winter Soldier By Ed Brubaker The Complete Collection TP
X-Force #9
X-Men Asgardian Wars TP
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

G.I. JOE A Real American Hero #206
Judge Dredd Anderson Psi-Division #2 (Of 4)
Little Nemo Return To Slumberland #1 New Series
Mars Attacks Art Gallery #1
My Little Pony Friends Forever #9 Kid Friendly
Popeye Classics #26 Kid Friendly
Powerpuff Girls Vol. 2 Monster Mash TP Kid Friendly
Rocky And Bullwinkle Moose On The Loose TP Kid Friendly
Rogue Trooper Last Man Standing TP
Rot And Ruin #1
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles New Animated Adventures #15 Kid Friendly
Transformers Primacy #2 (Of 4)
WEIRD Love #3
Abe Sapien #16
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth Vol. 9 The Reign Of The Black Flame TP
Dark Ages #2 (Of 4)
Legal Drug Omnibus TP
Marvel Classic Characters Uncanny X-Men #94 #4 Nightcrawler
Nexus Omnibus Vol. 6 TP
Prometheus Fire And Stone #1 (Of 4)
Terminator Salvation The Final Battle #9 (Of 12)
Whedon Three Way (One Shot)
X #17

Acronym Key: HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback

Comic Book Corner — Batgirl, Marvel’s Original Sin, and The X-Files

Original Sin #0 \ Image: Marvel
Original Sin #0. Image: Marvel.

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week, Dak looks at the beginning of Marvel’s latest event, Original Sin, while Corrina dives into Batgirl and Batman Eternal, and Sophie shares another look into The X-Files. Also, in comic book news, Dak gives her two cents on the latest blunder by ComiXology.

Dakster Sullivan — Original Sin #0 written by Mark Waid and art by Jim Cheung

Original Sin #0 shows us just how important the silent character, known as the Watcher, really is. Unfortunately, we get to learn all about him just before Marvel kills him off and I can’t say I’m too happy with their decision (downright disappointed is more like it).

The Watcher is a character I know very little about, but appreciate every time he shows up. I’m only familiar with him for his brief and random appearances in Nova, but anytime I get to see him, is a good time. From the few times that Nova has interacted with the Watcher, I can tell he cares about what he sees, even though he is unable to interact with those he watches. He has interacted with Nova to a point by silently giving him insight into certain events and I can see that Nova considers him a friend.

This is the first time in my three years of comic book reading that I’ve been disappointed in a decision that Marvel has made (okay, the second time…if they keep rebooting everything to issue #1, I might have to start reconsidering my loyalties) and I’m not looking forward to seeing a character I’ve come to love get murdered. The only thing I’m curious to see in Original Sin #1—when it debuts in May—is how Nova is going to react to the Watcher’s death.

Curious to know what I’m pulling this week? Check out my pull list on Comixology.

Corrina — Batgirl Annual #4 written by Gail Simone and art by Robert Gill and Javier Garron

This is the kind of story that originally hooked me on superhero comics. It’s not just that there’s a brief Birds of Prey reunion written by Simone, it’s not just that guest-star Poison Ivy is written perfectly, and it’s not just that the dialogue features exchanges like this:

Batgirl Annual #1 \ Image: DC Comics
Batgirl Annual #1. Image: DC Comics.

Poison Ivy: I never understood your fetish for stealth. It’s a positive obsession with you people. 

Batgirl: Probably better not to talk about fetishes when our actual kiss is lethal, Ivy.

Poison Ivy: Not always. Sometimes. Okay, fair enough.

And it’s not just that the team-up of Barbara Gordon and Dinah Lance (Black Canary) in the opening pages felt like old times. (Babs: I just love her, all right?)

It’s that this is also a story of hope and renewal, symbolized by a neighborhood garden planted by Babs and her roommate, Alysia Yeoh. It felt good to close the story with a happy sigh for a change.

Batman Eternal #4 written by Tim Seeley, Ray Fawkes, John Layman, James T. Tynion IV, and Scott Snyder, and art by Dustin Nguyen

This weekly series keeps forward momentum by bringing in Barbara (Batgirl) Gordon in defense of her now-disgraced father, former police Commissioner Jim Gordon, who’s been charged with negligence in a subway disaster. Much of the issue goes over what we already know, that the new commissioner is corrupt, that Carmine Falcone is behind Gordon’s frame-up, and that Batgirl and the rest of the Bat-crew are determined to prove his innocence.

And then there’s the not-so-small matter of Stephanie Brown, not yet The Spoiler, trying to escape the clutches of her super-villain father. Calling Mom for help seems a good idea until it’s clear that this version of Stephanie’s mom isn’t nearly as benevolent as the previous version.

Federal Bureau of Physics: Vol 1: The Paradigm Shift written by Simon Oliver and art by Robbi Rodriguez

Suppose, under certain conditions, a physics impossibility becomes a reality? Such as gravity failing or wormholes appearing randomly? Who do you call for help? The FBP aka the Federal Bureau of Physics. That’s the premise of this imaginative and mind-bending series that focuses on Agent Adam Hardy of the FBP, who joined partially to discover more of the legacy of his late father, a scientist who died doing dangerous research that partially led to the creation of the FBP.

And it’s a great adventures, as Adam becomes trapped in a created “bubbleverse” where the regular rules of the universe don’t apply, up against an enemy from within and trying to rescue the people inside before everything collapses. After this mission, there’s a political backlash, leaving Adam, his new partner, and the remaining FBP agents to operate on a nearly non-existent budget. The artwork is as bendy and imaginative as the premise, as gravity goes wild, as people and objects literally crumble, and everything is stretched into impossible positions.

The FBP has been optioned for a film and the concept, characters, and visuals seem perfect for the big screen.

Sophie Brown — The X-Files Season 10 #11 written by Joe Harris and art by Francesco Francavilla

It’s been a few months since we had a long mythology arc on The X-Files Season 10. Much as the show itself used to split these long-winded and complex stories up between shorter tales, and so now the time is right for the next big advancement of the series’ overarching mythology to begin.

The X-Files Season 10 #11 \ Image: IDW Publishing
The X-Files Season 10 #11. Image: IDW Publishing.

Pilgrims does something new for The X-Files by taking the alien conspiracy outside of the USA and Russia.

Sure we’ve certainly known before now that the conspiracy extended beyond the metaphorical boundaries of the Cold War (who remembers corn crops in Tunisia, spacecraft wreckage in Africa, and meetings held at London’s Royal Albert Hall?), but this is the first time we’ve really laid eyes on it and seen Mulder and Scully out of their homeland and dealing with a foreign culture.

It’s a nice way of bringing the show up to date without ramming “look, Mulder is using modern technology, he has an iPhone now!” down our throats. Back when The X-Files was reaching its peak, the world was still reeling from the end of the Cold War and to many, Russia remained the definitive Big Bad. Of course, current politics have shown us that Russia is still a powerful game-changer (just ask NASA), but these days all eyes are on the Middle East, so moving the story out to Saudi Arabia is a nice touch. Of course, this raises certain cultural issues to be contended with, most of which are handled very well.

Scully spends the entire story wearing a hijab and she finds herself having to deal with local law enforcement who are not exactly happy about cooperating with the FBI, especially with an agent who is female. There are also risks associated with taking an agent like Mulder, known for being something of a loose cannon at the best of times, into a far stricter society like this. “Let’s try not to cause an international incident until after lunch okay?” Scully asks him and you feel it’s a genuine concern on her part.

There was one line I did feel was somewhat inappropriate, a throwaway comment from Mulder as he helps Scully fix her hijab and tells her,“You’d make a lovely child bride.” It’s a rather tasteless “compliment” at the best of times and in the middle of such a lighthearted and fun scene, it feels more than a little jarring.

As for the conspiracy itself, this issue is more about setting up the latest incident than really getting into the details. We know the Black Oil is back, there are mysterious men in suits and dark sunglasses lurking behind every corner, and someone is trying to cover up what really happened. It’s fairly standard X-Files stuff so far, but it’s comforting for that and it’s great to see the Lone Gunmen again.

One minor continuity nitpick is the fact that Scully has apparently forgotten that she speaks German. Admittedly, it was never established how fluent she was, but we do know she took it in college and given her standard in Season Four, she should have had no problem with what she hears here. Even I could translate it easily from remembered high-school German taken over a decade ago.

Finally, the issue’s big finale reveal was given away in previews several months ago, but that doesn’t make it any less welcome. I’m looking forward to seeing how this always uneasy relationship pans out in 2014.

Comic Book News — ComiXology is bought by Amazon and soon after releases new app

Did you hear that? It’s the screams of thousands of digital comic book fans up in arms over the new ComiXology app…and I’m one of them. Earlier this week, ComiXolgy made the announcement that they would be releasing a new app to replace their previous version. In that same email announcement, they gave some users a $5 credit to their account. At the time, I thought this was nice of them, but now I see it as a bribe.

Comixology LogoThe new app is great, with the exception of one major change—you can no longer purchase comics through the app on Apple devices! What? One of the biggest reasons I have the app on my iPhone is so I can purchase my books on my device.

According to reports, the change is due to Amazon, the new owners of Comixology, not wanting to pay fees to Apple associated with in-app purchases After some research, I learned that the fee is 30 percent on each order. So if a typical comic costs $3.99, then ComiXoloy was only making $2.79 off of that order. (Amazon also doesn’t allow in-app purchases in their Kindle app for iPads.)

There’s a good thing and a bad thing happening here.

The good is that this opens the door for digital book prices to drop because ComiXology is no longer paying the fees that Apple pushed on them.

The bad is that a lot of fans are up in arms about not being able to purchase their books directly from their device and will most likely spend less as a result.

I’m in the latter camp. I used to spend a lot of money in ComiXology because it was easy. It was hooked to my iTunes account and my iTunes gift cards. Now that I have to use my credit card to purchase my comics and I have to go to my computer to do it, I’m less likely to purchase comics online. I’m already starting to move more towards graphic novels and snail mail subscriptions; maybe this was the final push to get me to make the move entirely.

What do you think about the buy out? Is this a good thing or a bad thing for comic book fans? Let me know in the comments!

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

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Adventures Of Superman #12
Batgirl Annual #2 Geek Mom Recommended
Batman ’66 #10
Batman Beyond Universe #9
Batman Eternal #4
Batman Superman Vol. 1 Cross World HC
Batwoman Annual #1
Flash Annual #3
Flex Mentallo Man Of Muscle Mystery TP
Forever Evil Aftermath Batman Vs Bane #1 (One Shot)
Green Lantern New Guardians Annual #2
He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe #12
Injustice Gods Among Us Year Two #4
Scribblenauts Unmasked A Crisis Of Imagination #4
Suicide Squad Vol. 4 Discipline And Punish TP
Superman Batman Vol. 1 Public Enemies TP
Vertigo Quarterly Cyan #1 New Series
All-New X-Men #26
All-New X-Men Vol. 4 All-Different HC
Amazing Spider-Man #1 New Series
Avengers #28
Avengers A.I. #12
Avengers Undercover #1 New Series
Avengers World #5
Deadpool By Daniel Way The Complete Collection Vol. 3 TP
Disney Kingdoms Seekers Of The Weird #4 (Of 5)
Hulk #2 New Series
Iron Man Vol. 2 The Secret Origin Of Tony Stark Book 1 TP
Marvel Masterworks Captain America Vol. 3 TP
Marvel Previews #129 (May 2014 For Products On-Sale July 2014)
Marvel Zombies The Complete Collection Vol. 2 TP
New Avengers #17
Origin II #5 (Of 5)
Punisher #1 New Series
Silver Surfer #2 New Series
Uncanny Avengers Annual #1
What If Age Of Ultron #5 (Of 5) Final Issue
Wolverine #5
Wolverine And The X-Men By Jason Aaron Vol. 8 TP
X-Force #4
X-Men Vol. 2 Muertas TP
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

Alice In Comicland HC
Dexter’s Laboratory #1 (Of 4) Kid Friendly
G.I. JOE #15
G.I. JOE The IDW Collection Vol. 4 HC
Ghostbusters #15
Jericho Season 4 TP
Judge Dredd Mega-City Two #4 (Of 5)
My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #18 Kid Friendly
Skybreaker TP
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Classics Vol. 3 TP
Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #28
V-Wars #1 New Series
X-Files Season 10 #11
Alabaster Grimmer Tales HC
Atomic Legion HC
Blackout #2 (Of 4)
Captain Midnight #10
Furious #4 (Of 5)
King Conan The Conqueror #3 (Of 6)
King Conan Vol. 3 The Hour Of The Dragon TP
Mesmo Delivery HC
Pariah #3 (Of 8)
Serenity Leaves On The Wind #4 (Of 6)
Star Wars Dark Times Vol. 7 A Spark Remains TP
Star Wars Rebel Heist #1 (Of 4)
Vandroid #3 (Of 5)
X Vol. 2 The Dogs Of War TP

Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback

How to Be a Super Batgirl Mom

super batgirl mom Welcome to How To Be A Super ____ Mom! From crafts and recipes to fun toys and adventures, here are ways to take your child’s fandom and make it even more fun!

When the news broke this year at New York Comic Con that Stephanie Brown was returning to Batgirl, interest was kicked into overdrive into an already devoted fan base. The character has gone through so much with Gail Simone‘s recent Barbara Gordon Batgirl run having the heroine go through trauma therapy with a doctor named after a fan and consulant for the book, Dr. Andrea Letamendi, who is an actual real-life psychologist that helps kids get through trauma. Even superheroes need to work on their mental health.

Batgirl is a strong female character and it’s easy to see why geek girls of all ages love her. Here are some great ways for younger fans to discover more about one of Gotham’s finest female crime fighters!

say it dont spray it - batgirl and robin
image by: Say It Don’t Spray It

1. Batgirl and baby Robin cosplay

The most fun you can have as a GeekMom is dressing up your kids in their favorite heroes’ costumes. There are a lot of options out there now in the girl superhero department or if you’re a DIYer you can always craft your own! Nanette of Say It Don’t Spray It‘s daughter wanted to be Batgirl for Halloween and did a great job striking a pose too—nice character development! What else would a mom of two girls do but get the younger sister into the act as an adorable baby Robin sidekick.

image by: Mike Maihack

2. Batgirl and Supergirl Cookie Exchange Art by Mike Maihack

Mike Maihack is one of my favorite artists, not only because his work is beautiful but his stories are also sweet and heartwarming. I have several (way too many) of his pieces and often buy them as gifts for friends. His Batgirl and Supergirl strips are begging to be made into a series. I’m particularly fond last year’s Batgirl and Supergirl Christmas comic because as we all know, cookies solve everything.

batgirl cake
image via: www.homegeekonomics.com

3. Batgirl Cake

Doll cakes have been around for decades and have been turned into every girls dream from a standard pink doll cake, to Tinkerbell, and all the Disney Princesses. The superhero doll cake faction is definitely lacking out there, but never fear, Batgirl doll cake to the rescue! An innovative take on a classic, this Batgirl truly has the best superhero costume ever…because it’s made of cake!

batgirl little people
image via: amazon

4. Batgirl – Fisher Price Little People Wheelies

For the smallest Batgirl fan, Fisher Price’s line of cute superhero Little People are a great way to start off fandom at a young age. Batgirl comes in a two pack with another great female heroine, Wonder Woman, or solo in her own tiny Batmobile.

super best friends forever
image via: DC Nation

5. Batgirl – Super Best Friends Forever

As a rabid fan of anything adorable and geek girl superhero-related, I was jumping out of my seat when DC Comics started showing Super Best Friends Forever as part of their DC Nation shorts for Cartoon Network. Lauren Faust (My Little Pony, Power Puff Girls, and more) came up with ridiculously fun stories of Batgirl, Supergirl, and Wonder Girl and their crazy, feisty, kid-friendly adventures. At just a minute and a half apiece you’ll be wishing for hours more; alas, the series was never meant to be. At least you can still buy SBFF merchandise.

Want to Start Reading Comics? Dive In with These DC Digital Firsts

Adventures of Superman #12, Art by Chris Weston © DC Comics

The rows of comic books lining the walls of a comic book store might look daunting to newcomers. Title after title beckon new readers, but it’s hard to know where to start (or how to return to the fold if it’s been years since you read a comic book). If you’ve been looking for a few good titles to get into comics, consider giving these three DC Comics “digital first” books a try.

To buy and read digital comics, you can find web sites and apps from each publisher, such as DC Comics and Marvel, or download ComiXology for a wider selection. (There is no pricing difference between the apps.) DC’s digital first comics are readily available and only 99 cents to buy.

Digital titles from DC Comics include Injustice: Gods Among Us, Batman ’66, Batman Li’l Gotham, Arrow, and more. To get started on your path to comic book obsession—or even to start your preteen on his or her own—I recommend these three fantastic recent issues from Adventures of Superman, Batman Beyond, and Smallville Season 11.

Adventures of Superman #12

Adventures of Superman © DC Comics

The issues of Adventures of Superman are typically one-shot stories that harken back to the old school Man of Steel, before he was broody and Snyder-y. Adventures of Superman #12, written by Rob Williams with art by Chris Weston, is told from a unique point of view: Ma Kent’s. It can’t be easy being the mother of the world’s greatest hero, and this issue relays that beautifully.

There’s even a cover by Bruce Timm, pages packed with Superman in action against classic villains like Brainiac and Grodd, and a good ol’ fashioned “Great Caesar’s Ghost!” from Perry White thrown in. At only 99 cents, it’s quite a bargain for a story that any GeekMom can identify with.

Batman Beyond #27

Batman Beyond © DC Comics

Scott Peterson and Annie Wu bring Batgirl into the future of Gotham in a compelling three part arc starting with Batman Beyond #27. The issue kicks off with kicking butt as Commissioner Barbara Gordon jumps into the middle of a riot in one of Neo-Gotham’s roughest neighborhoods. Barbara holds off as long as she can, but when the tide turns, an unexpected ally enters the fray.

This new heroine is fearless and willing on to take on the mantle of Batgirl to save her own neighborhood. She’s not a detective, she’s a scrapper. I love the costume and look of Batgirl Beyond, which Wu created as the kind of character she wanted to see as a teen herself.

Smallville Season 11 #56

Smallville Season 11 © DC Comics

There’s been a lot of talk about bringing Wonder Woman to the screen. I wish that Smallville was still on the air, just to see the version of the Amazonian princess Bryan Q. Miller has crafted for that universe. Diana of Themyscira makes her grand entrance in Smallville Season 11 #56.

Miller and Jorge Jimenez start the issue with an absolutely adorable flashback to the first meeting of Diana and Steve Trevor, and the action kicks in from there. As the 12 issue “Olympus” story arc begins, Senator Martha Kent is under attack, and it’s not Clark who comes to her rescue. Who is the mysterious heroine? And what will happen when she crosses paths with Superman?

If these first forays into the DC Universe give you the comic book bug, head back to that comic book store. Not only can you pick up collected print editions of these digital issues, tell the staff at the store what you like about these. Chances are, they will have more titles to recommend. And then, guess what? You’re into comic books!

This Week With the GeekMoms

GeekMom News

Dakster Sullivan has no plans this weekend, but if she did, this is what she imagines she would like to be doing: “First, I would be flying to LA for a meeting with executives about a Batgirl movie. Gail Simone would be in attendance, since she’s not only writing the script, but also the woman in charge of it all. After the meeting, Gail has me catching a flight to Chicago to scout out locations for the Gotham City scenes.”

Judy Berna spent Spring Break driving her kids across the long plains of Kansas to visit her parents in Missouri. The trip was made much easier since her third teen passed his driver’s test two weeks ago. In fact, she had so much time in the passenger’s seat, she got to devour Mary Roach’s fascinating new book, Gulp. Two days after arriving home she got a surprising email, saying she was a finalist in the Notes and Words essay contest. If you’d like to see her submission (and possibly click ‘like’ if you enjoy it) follow this link. Since the theme of the contest was ‘transitions’ she chose to write about the day, the moment, she realized that having her foot amputated was going to improve her life.

Kelly Knox is struggling to find time to do the reading and discussion topics for the Gender Through Comic Books online course. She did enjoy the first reading assignment, Terry Moore’s Strangers in Paradise, more than she expected. Kelly plans to set aside some time each week to sit and read and ponder, even if it means less time playing Skyrim. (Gasp!)

Rachel has a sports-filled weekend ahead, and she’s not entirely sure how she feels about that. However, she’s sort of excited for Saturday’s Harlem Globetrotters event, where she will relive part of her youth and watch her son practically pass out from laughter.

Our Top Comic Books from 2012

A small sampling of our top comic books this year.
A small sampling of our top comic books this year.

Welcome to our top comic books from 2012! We would like to share with you some of our favorite books / series from 2012. Hopefully, we can inspire you to check out some new titles, or revisit some old ones.

Dakster Sullivan – This has been my first year as a comic book reader and I have a few favorites that have kept me coming back for more. Here is my list, in no particular order.

Ame-Comi Girls by DC Comics (written by Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti and art by Eduardo Francisco) – This story is my favorite digital read. The characters are all strong, smart, and totally kick ass females. The issues are a little shorter than a normal comic book, but that’s because it’s released every Monday, instead of just once a month.

The Phantom Stranger by DC Comics (written by Dan DiDio and art by Brent Anderson) – The Phantom Stranger is a much under-loved character in my opinion. This is one of those books I would love to see fleshed out as a TV series. The character is addicting and his stories have a mix of heart and action that keep me coming back each month.

Avengers vs. X-Men by Marvel Comics – This is one of the first mini-series I’ve read and the graphic novel became the first one in my collection. The story follows the X-Men and Avengers as they fight over the right thing to do with the superpower Phoenix force on its way to Earth. Of the twelve rounds, my favorite issue is still round 9 (written by Jason Aaron and art by Adam Kubert), where Spider-Man took center stage and taught Hope a valuable lesson.

All-New X-Men by Marvel Comics (written by Brian Michael Bendis and art by Stuart Immonen) – The All-New X-Men follows the events of AVX, as the original five X-Men arrive in the future to stop their future-selves from making horrible mistakes. The art is just a fun to look at as the story is to read.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe by DC Comics – He-Man and the Masters are back in a six-part mini-series by DC Comics. My husband looks forward to this every month and we have some pretty neat conversations over what happens in each issue. The characters remind me of the animated series that came out in 2000. There has been some physical changes to a few of the characters (for instance, Teela is blonde), but nothing to drastic to turn off longtime fans. I only wish it weren’t a mini-series, because it has made me fall in love with the world of Eternia all over again.

Justice League by DC Comics (written by Geoff Johns and art by Jim Lee) – This series has a special place in my heart because it was the first comic book series I ever picked up, and I’m happy to say I’m still hooked and reading it every month. At first I only liked some of the characters, but now I’m in love with them all and I’m eagerly awaiting to see what DC Comics has in store for the team in 2013.

Robyn Hood by Zenescope (written by Patrick Shand and art by various contributors) – This is the first 17+ rated comic book I’ve read and it has me coming back every month for the main character Robyn. Her attitude and the way she carries herself through the trials life throws at her is a very compelling story. The mix of comic book action and real life scenarios makes this a great title to pick up. While I don’t agree with some of the content, her strength and desire to kick butt helps put this story on the list.

Kelly Knox – Captain Marvel (Marvel Comics) – Writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, Artist Dexter Soy

My favorite new comic book of 2012, hands down, is the relaunched Captain Marvel. Carol Danvers, previously Ms. Marvel, has taken the mantle of Captain Marvel and headlines on of the best series of the year. Written by one of my new favorite writers, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Captain Marvel combines a fantastic heroine with a sense of duty with a retro vibe that makes the character feel like she has already solidified her place in history.

Recently issues have introduced another intriguing character in the Marvel universe who I wasn’t familiar with, Monica Rambeau. Her interactions with Carol have been fun to read, and I’m looking forward to see where 2013 takes them.

Continue reading Our Top Comic Books from 2012

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — October 24th, 2012

Enter the Green Lantern
Enter the Green Lantern

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week.

Dakster Sullivan – Ame-Comi Girls Issue #7

Ame-Comi Girls (written by Jimmy Palmiottie, Justin Grey, and art by Santi Casas) is in a universe of its own. Last week’s issue was heartbreaking with Batgirl and Robin’s parents discovering their identities (thank you Powergirl…) and a teaser look into the Guardians of the Universe as they chose the first Green Lantern for Earth’s sector. This issue focused entirely on the origins of the new lantern.

Blinded at the age of twelve in an accident that killed her mother, Jade Yifei is an adventurous young woman from China. Her father a cop and her brother an expert climber, Jade’s goal was to climb Mt. Everest one day.

When an enemy of her father’s comes to give him a message, Jade is sent falling to her death. The green lantern ring arrives in the nick of time to save her life and aid her in kicking some serious tail. The Green Lantern oath changed quite a bit, but I think it fits our new heroine.

A couple of things caught my attention about this issue. The first is that Jade is a real hero not just because she wears a green lantern ring, but also because she is a young woman who is blind does not let that stop her from going after her goals and living her life. The second is that she’s from China. Most (if not all) the green lanterns from Earth in the past have all come from the United States.

I’ve argued that this series has some great role models in it for girls and, in my opinion, Jade is a wonderful example of why. This series centers on strong women who don’t need some muscle bound male to save them. They save themselves and kick tail while doing it.

Continue reading GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — October 24th, 2012

T-Shirt Halloween Costume Ideas

Clark Kent is a great inexpensive costume option for men, women and children!  Image: Dakster Sullivan
Clark Kent is a great inexpensive costume option for men, women, and children! Image: Dakster Sullivan

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and not because of the candy. I love to dress up in costumes. And even though I have two professional grade costumes in my arsenal of attire, I don’t wear either one of them on All Hallows Eve. Instead, I like to find cheap and creative ways to dress up as whatever floats my boat at the time.

This year, I’m going to be taking advantage of the t-shirt costumes out there and sporting a character from my childhood.

For those of you who love to dress up, but are on a budget, here are some great t-shirt costume ideas for you to consider.

For the Ladies

Phoenix Costume T-Shirt   Image: ThinkGeek
Phoenix Costume T-Shirt Image: ThinkGeek

Nothing says hot like the Phoenix power. With this t-shirt from ThinkGeek and some leggings, you are all set to take on the universe. Just try not to go all Dark Phoenix on us will you?

For the DC Comic fans, Batgirl and Wonder Woman are both great looking options. Just add some black or red leggings and you are all set to go kick some tail. For Batgirl’s look, you can add an inexpensive black mask to complete the costume.

If you prefer the sci-fi hotness of Star Trek over superheroes, check out this Star Trek uniform dress. To complete the look all you need are some black boots and you are all set to go.

You could also wield a sword and command the power of Greyskull as She-Ra

For the Guys

Walking Dead Costume Shirt   Image: Amazon
Walking Dead Costume Shirt Image: Amazon

How about going as a Ghostbuster? With some khaki pants and this costume t-shirt, you are all set to chase after some ghosts. If you want to spend some extra money, you can grab this Ghostbusters Proton Pack backpack to complete the look. Think of it as a wearable candy sack.

If you prefer a little more Star Wars in your attire, you could always grab this Stormtrooper costume t-shirtWith the right helmet, you might even fool a rebel.

Then again, who could say no to being “expendable”? This Star Trek shirt pretty much says it all and the best part? No extra accessories required. Just put on the shirt, grab your candy bag and head out the door.

For the superhero fans, check out the Spider-Man costume t-shirt. Grab some jeans and a Spider-Man mask and you are all set to be the famous webslinger.

While I don’t understand the whole Zombie thing, I’m sure those of you that do would appreciate this Walking Dead costume t-shirt. Just make sure you dead up your face before you head out for the night.

For the Kids

Batman Raincoat  Image: ThinkGeek
Batman Raincoat Image: ThinkGeek

Not sure about where you live, but here in Florida, mother nature likes to throw little rain storms in when they are least wanted. If your little one wants to be a superhero and you want them to stay dry, check out this awesome little raincoat. They get to have fun of dressing up as a superhero and you get some piece of mind that it’s okay for their costume to get wet.

Captain America is another easy option. All you need is a Captain America shirt, a cool shield, and a mask and you can let them loose.

My son loves anything that has a cape on the back, and that’s why this Superman t-shirt makes the list. No matter what they wear with it, they will look cool. Why? Because it has a cape. Duh!

For the toddlers who just want to hang out on the high seas all day, this pirate costume shirt comes in various colors to fit any pirates favorite color.

For a cute take on Kermit the frog, pick up a plain green t-shirt, some green face paint and a Kermit the Frog beanie hat for a cute variation on the famous Muppet. If your little one is not a big Muppet fan, check out these Angry Birds hats instead. With a plain color t-shirt and some jeans, they are all set to go after those piggies. This is also a neat idea for parents.

Unisex and All Ages Costumes

Harry Potter is fun for everyone which is why everyone can wear this Tri-wizard Tournament jersey. If the ladies want a little more form fitting shirt, check out this one. To complete the look, get yourself a wand and call it a night. The kids might need a smaller size so try this one out.

Superman can be handsome, sexy, or cute. Pick up a Superman logo shirt, a pair of black rimmed glasses, and a white button up shirt and you to can be Clark Kent/Superman!

The best part about t-shirt costumes is that you can wear them year round! That means you are definitely getting your money’s worth out of them.

Do you have an inexpensive costume idea? Share them with us in the comments. We’d love to hear them.

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — September 26th, 2012

Time Masters: Vanishing Point  Image: Copyright DC Comics
Time Masters: Vanishing Point Image: Copyright DC Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week we take a look at Time Masters: Vanishing Point, Birds of Prey #0, as well as what’s on sale on Comixology this week.

Dakster Sullivan –Time Masters: Vanishing Point

Ever since being introduced to Booster Gold’s comic book side in the new 52 Justice League International, I’ve wanted to learn more about the gold and yellow hero from the future. This week I checked out DC Comics Time Masters: Vanishing Point (written by Dan Jurgens and art by Norm Rapmund) from my local library and from page one, I couldn’t put it down. While the main story follows Rip Hunter, Booster Gold, Superman and Green Lantern’s mission to find Batman in the time stream, the story itself seems to focus more on Rip Hunter and how he became the time master he is now.

In another Booster Gold story I read, I was really confused by the time traveling aspect of things. This story on the other hand, was really easy to follow and made up for the confusion I experienced in the last story I read.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Booster Gold and Rip Hunter. If you are a Superman, Batman or Green Lantern fan, I would choose another story to pick up as they don’t have very strong rolls in this story.

You can purchase Time Masters: Vanishing Point on Amazon and select comic book retailers.

Curious to know what I’m pulling this week? Check out my pull list on Comixology.

Birds of Prey #0  Image: Copyright DC Comics
Birds of Prey #0 Image: Copyright DC Comics

Kelly Knox – Birds of Prey #0

Zero month continues for DC Comics, and last week I picked up Birds of Prey #0 (written by Duane Swierczynski and art by Romano Molenaar). The last few covers for Birds of Prey have been gorgeous, and the Zero issue is no exception. I’m a new fan of cover artist Stanley Lau.

While Birds of Prey #0 is an entertaining and slightly predictable origin story for the team, the continuity problems posed by having Batgirl on the team continue to be a distraction. Their meeting is only supposed to have happened a year ago, which seems to conflict with the timeline of Batgirl #0. Additionally, the costume Barbara wears in the issue doesn’t match up with her other costume shown in Batgirl #0, not to mention that the attack by the Joker and her recovery seem like a lot to fit in just a year… well, it’s best not to think about it all too long, or I’ll just end up with a headache.

Birds of Prey #0 ends with a little twist and setup for the future, so it’s worth picking up if you already have the series on your pull list.


Wonder Woman may be busy with Superman off in Justice League but she’s also back to old stomping grounds, having landed the cover of the 40th anniversary issue of Ms. Magazine. The cover is a homage to the first issue of the magazine, which also featured the Amazon Princess:


Perhaps Gloria Steinem will weigh in on the changes to Wonder Woman’s origin, which now include her as the illegitimate daughter of Zeus and in which the Amazons have changed from a peaceful culture to one that depends on seducing unwitting sailors and murdering them after.

Special Deals this Week on Comixology

Project Superpowers Omnibus by Alex Ross and Jim Krueger (sale ends 9/28 at 11pm EST)

Thanos 99 cent Sale (ends at 11pm EST on 9/27) – If you’ve never read about Thanos, this is the perfect time to pick up some digital reads about one of the most popular villains in the Marvel Universe.

The Dark Knight Returns 99 cent Sale
This sale encompases select issues form The Dark Knight Returns, The Dark Knight Strikes Again, Batman: Year One and All Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder.

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

Absolute Green Lantern Sinestro Corps War HC
All-Star Western #0
American Vampire #31
American Vampire Vol. 3 TP
American Vampire Vol. 4 HC
Aquaman #0
Batman #8
Batman Incorporated #0 (CP)
Batman The Dark Knight #0
Before Watchmen Ozymandias #3 (Of 6)(CP)
Flash #0 (Francis Manapul Regular Cover)
Flash Vol. 2 The Road To Flashpoint TP
Fury Of Firestorm The Nuclear Men #0
I Vampire #0
Justice League #12 (Jim Lee 2nd Printing Variant Cover)
Justice League Dark #0
Lobo Portrait Of A Bastich TP (New Printing)
National Comics Rose And Thorn #1
New Deadwardians #7 (Of 8)
Phantom Lady #2 (Of 4)
Red Lanterns #0
Saga Of The Swamp Thing Vol. 2 TP
Savage Hawkman #0
Showcase Presents Amethyst Princess Of Gemworld Vol. 1 TP
Superman #0
Superman Family Adventures #5
Talon #0
Teen Titans #0
Voodoo #0 (Final Issue)
Voodoo Vol. 1 What Lies Beneath TP
Amazing Spider-Man #694
Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Circus Of The Damned Vol. 3 The Scoundrel TP
Astonishing X-Men #54
Black Panther The Man Without Fear Fear Itself TP
Captain America And Black Widow #637
Captain Marvel #4
Daredevil By Ed Brubaker And Michael Lark Ult. Collection Vol. 3 TP
Deadpool #61
Fear Itself Uncanny X-Men TP
FF #22
Fury MAX #6
Gambit #3
Hit-Girl #3 (Of 5)
Incredible Hulk #14
Invincible Iron Man #525
Journey Into Mystery #644
Marvel Masterworks The Invincible Iron Man Vol. 2 TP
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man #6
Marvel Zombies Destroy HC
Mighty Thor By Matt Fraction Vol. 3 HC (PE)
Punisher #16
Secret Avengers #31
Space Punisher #3 (Of 4)
Spider-Man Lizard No Turning Back HC (PE)
Takio #3
Ultimate Comics The Ultimates #16
Ultimate Comics X-Men By Nick Spencer Vol. 1 TP
Winter Soldier #11
Wolverine #313
Wolverine And The X-Men #17
Wolverine And The X-Men By Jason Aaron Vol. 3 HC (PE)
X-Men #36
X-Men Legacy #274
X-Men War Machines TP
X-Treme X-Men #4

Archie The Best Of Harry Lucey Vol. 2 HC
Dave Stevens’ Stories And Covers HC
Fine And Private Place #1 (Of 5)
G.I. JOE A Real American Hero #182
Gasoline Alley Vol. 1 HC
Hawken #6 (Of 6)
Joe Kubert’s Tarzan Of The Apes Artist’s Edition HC
John Byrne’s Next Men Vol. 3 Aftermath HC
Magic The Gathering The Spell Thief #3
Mars Attacks #4
Memorial Vol. 1 HC
Popeye #5
Snake Eyes And Storm Shadow #17
Star Trek The Next Generation Doctor Who Assimilation2 #5
Star Trek The Next Generation Doctor Who Assimilation2 Vol. 1 TP
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #14
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vol. 3 Shadows Of The Past TP
Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #9
Transformers Robots In Disguise Annual 2012
Angel And Faith #14
Avatar The Last Airbender Vol. 3 The Promise Part 3 TP
Axe Cop President Of The World #3 (Of 3)
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth The Return Of The Master #2 (Of 5)(Issue 99)
Dark Matter Vol. 1 Rebirth TP
Dragon Age Those Who Speak #2 (Of 3)
Goon #42
Mind MGMT #5
Star Wars Darth Maul Death Sentence #3 (Of 4)

Acronym Key:  VC = Variant Cover  / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback  / CP = Combo Pack  / PE = Premier Edition

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — September 19th, 2012

AVX Round 11 / Image: Copyright Marvel Comics
AVX Round 11 / Image: Copyright Marvel Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week.

Dakster Sullivan –Avengers vs. X-Men Round 11

*MAJOR Spoiler Alert*

The battle rages on as the Avengers vs. X-Men mini series comes down to its last issues. Marvel made it known a few weeks ago, that a character with a strong influence on the X-Men and Avengers world would perish in the fight. I’m sorry to say, that character’s pages were numbered in this issue. Continue reading GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — September 19th, 2012

Ame-Comi Girls Series: Powergirl

Ame-Comi Powergirl / Image: Copyright DC Comics
Ame-Comi Powergirl / Image: Copyright DC Comics

Based off the sculptures of the same name, the Ame-Comi Girls series is re-writing some of the characters I’ve grown up loving. I started to see subtle changes in Wonder Woman and Batgirl’s issues, but after seeing what they’ve done to Powergirl, I’m convinced of what DC is doing; making this comic book series universe an all woman superhero team.

This series has taken the characters that have been traditionally male and replaced them with a female counterpart or already existing female character.

Jimmy...I mean...James Olsen / Image Copyright DC Comics
Jimmy…I mean…James Olsen / Image Copyright DC Comics

In Powergirl #1 we see Powergirl taking on the role of Superman in Metropolis (complete with a hunky James Olsen, journalist and photographer for the Daily Planet). James still has his famous watch to call for help and has a few good one liners to go with it. His flirting with Powergirl is cute and funny to read and I’m enjoy the moments they have together in the series.

Kara has a very sweet personality while living as one of the people in Metropolis and when she shifts into Powergirl mode, she kicks some serious tail.

In issue #2 we get to see Powergirl open up on some anti-alien terrorists, the Silver Banshees. When our heroine finally gets them taken care of, she gets to focus on their leader, a man she describes as the “one man on Earth who would need a robot that size to compensate for his insecurities.” We never hear his name or see his face, but my best guess would be that it’s Lex Luthor. Since this series is focusing mostly on women characters, I’m thinking his battle was short and sweet to add some action in before the main villianess makes themselves known.

Issue #3 covers the introduction of Supergirl and of all the issues so far, this one goes the fastest. When Supergirl emerges from her ship, she’s in her costume and has full use of her abilities with no training. It’s apparent that just like in Superman, Supergirl is older than Powergirl, but her aging stopped while she was in her ship. The action in this issue is intense and we are left seeing the main villianess make herself known to our Kryptonian heroines.

There are a couple of things that surprise me in Powergirl’s three issues, one of those things being Powergirl’s lack of a double life. This is a staple in most superhero stories, and to see her living openly as Kara and Powergirl is kind of weird. Something else that surprised me is how easy it was for Powergirl to banish someone to the phantom zone. I’ve never heard of Superman just opening a portal and sending an enemy there to punish them. He usually left that to the justice system on Earth. The last thing that threw me off is Supergirl. Her name (as far as I know) has always been Kara, so when she is introduced at the end of issue #3, we have two Karas; talk about confusing.

Despite the changes to the characters, I’m really enjoying this series. I’m liking it because it’s a fresh take on the characters I’ve grown up loving (in the animated series that is). It’s also nice to have a series where with no knowledge of any of the characters, any newbie can jump in and understand everything that is going on. My only complaint is the look of Powergirl doesn’t stay consistent from page to page. Depending on the page/panel, parts of her body may appear larger than in a previous panel.

So far in the Ame-Comi series, each major character has had three issues and they all tie in together very nicely. So far Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Duela Dent, Powergirl, and Supergirl have all had their time in the series spotlight.

The next wave of issues will be focusing on all of the girls in, what I’m guessing, is going to be an all girl version of the Justice League.

Ame-Comi Girls is a digital-only comic book series and is released on Comixology and DC Comics apps on Mondays. Unlike new comic book Wednesdays, you don’t have to wait until 2pm for this one to hit the digital shelves.

I recommend this series for anyone ages 10 and up.

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — August 22nd, 2012

AVX Round 10 / Image: Copyright Marvel Comics
AVX Round 10 / Image: Copyright Marvel Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week.

Dakster Sullivan – Avengers vs. X-Men Round 10

Just like Spider-Man said in Round 9, “It doesn’t matter how many gods or super-soldiers or Hulks they got on the payroll. Once you’re an Avenger it never fails. … Sooner or later the time comes when it’s your turn to step up to the plate. You just gotta make sure you’re ready.” Hope finally gets her moment to step up to the plate in Avengers vs. X-Men Round 10. This issue was packed full of action as Hope and the Avengers hit Cyclops with everything they have.

The young mutant messiah takes center stage this week as Cyclops comes to the ancient city of K’un-L’un to take her back to Utopia.

In the beginning, Iron Fist comes to Hope’s defense and tells her to run and find the Thunderer. I can tell that she doesn’t like the idea of running from the fight, but she obeys Iron Fist and runs as fast as her legs could carry her. When she finds Thunderer, it’s as if he already knows what is going on and what needs to be done.

Continue reading GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — August 22nd, 2012

A Look at DC Comics: Ame-Comi Girls Series

Ame Comi Girls / Image: Copyright DC Comics
Ame Comi Girls / Image: Copyright DC Comics

The Ame-Comi Girls Series is one of those series that you need to read for pure fun. Don’t go in and expect continuity with the New 52 or any other series. Right off the bat, you can tell from their costumes that these are not your mother’s superheroes.

The style is based on a series of statuettes that was released by DC Collectibles Ame-Comi Girls, which features some of DC Comics top female characters redesigned in the style of manga and anime. Not only do the characters get a face-lift, but their story lines get some tweaking as well. Continue reading A Look at DC Comics: Ame-Comi Girls Series

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — July 4th, 2012

Masters of the Universe / Image: Copyright DC Comics
Masters of the Universe / Image: Copyright DC Comics

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week.

Corrina Lawson 

“This ain’t no reboot, it’s a new beginning!” That’s Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso’s take in the current issue of Entertainment Weekly on the “Marvel Now” initiative for the Marvel superhero universe.

Beginning in October, creative teams between the X-Men and Avengers franchises are being shuffled around, with Rich Remender taking on Uncanny Avengers, which will have a mix of mutant and Avengers characters, Jonathan Hickman taking over Avengers, which will feature up to eighteen characters and will be published biweekly, and finally, All-New X-Men will be written by Brian Michael Bendis, the writer who turned Avengers into a multi-title franchise for Marvel.

But the big news is the return of a character whose code name means rebirth. Jean Grey (Phoenix) is back. According to the Entertainment Weekly article, the original five teenage X-Men will time travel to the present day. So, technically, Jean Grey isn’t back from the dead this time. Just fast-forwarding a bit.

Dakster Sullivan – A look at DC Comics: Masters of the Universe Issue #1

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe have found their way back into comic books. Since I’m only familiar with the TV show from 2002, I’ve been looking forward to issue #1 since it was announced back in April.

According to DC Comics, the story focuses on Skeletor going back in time to change the course of history in Eternia. Now, Skeletor rules from Castle Greyskull and the Masters have no memory of their former lives (it kind of reminds me of Cinderella 3). Instead of being a prince, Adam is now a simple woodsman who dreams of being a heroic warrior with a powerful sword.

In issue #1, We meet Sir Laser Lot and his connection with the power known as the Gem of Talmadge. Before we can learn to much more, we see a mystic power take Sir Laser Lot and the Skull to the doorstep of Skeletor and his crew.

This issue was very short and to the point.

The art is beautiful and exactly how I hoped it would look. With the exception of Evil-Lyn, they all look pretty much how they did in the most recent animated series.

I’m looking forward to see how history will change and how Adam will get the Masters of the Universe together to save Eternia.

Since I have only read issue 1, I can’t give an accurate age suggestion on this series. Stay tuned.

Kay Moore – My Comic Book Experiences so Far

My sister GeekMoms have been sharing all about their comic books for weeks in previous Comic Book Corners, and they inspired me to check out the available comic books. I have only begun a few stories, mostly from independent or small houses, not so much Marvel and DC, not the traditional superhero stories. I have been choosing samples and early issues based on a combination of the look of the artwork, a tempting story synopsis, and de-emphasis on gore. I am also interested in female-oriented stories and creative plays on mythology and fantasy. Plus, on the advice of GeekMom Corrina I bought a run of Catwoman by Ed Brubaker, but I am going to try to read it slowly.

I thoroughly enjoyed my introduction to MOUSE GUARD, which reminded me (and my kids) of the children’s story series Redwall by Brian Jacques and the Beatrix Potter illustrated stories. The artwork is detailed and lovely while the story is contained and miniaturized, like the mice who live it. This is the tale of three swashbuckling mice who protect the small scattered populations of mice in the dangerous world of predators and large dangers, and the discovery of treason in the very midst of the Mouse Guard. So far I’ve read the stories in the Fall 1152 collection and this is a wonderful collection for parents and children to share.

Elephantmen looks like it has more violence and blood than I generally look for—the main character (Ebony the Elephantman) is either an ex-soldier or a shadowy Bourne-Identity type of fellow; I am not clear yet—it is so intriguing that I am going to follow along and enjoy the worldview and characterization and distinctive art until the violence scares me away. The genre is hard to classify so far—fantasy anthropomorphic elephants in the 23rd century, living in a somewhat dystopian, Blade-Runnerian world with betrayals and wars and paranoia but also intriguing visuals and concepts and characterizations.

This first issue introduces Ebony, a human-elephant GM (genetic modified) in a world where the genetic modifieds are commodities for war machines. He is now an apparent drifter in a soulless metropolis, where a little girl, momentarily free from her parents, befriends him. This issue establishes the character and the world, which is a pretty enticing accomplishment. Elephantmen displays the most complicated and sophisticated artwork of the issues I’ve discussed, and it is darker than the others, but it is engaging and keeps your eye busy in every panel. The style is distinct, creating the world and helping it to linger in your mind long after you stop reading.

Catwoman #1 (2002-2008) – Apparently Selina Kyle/Catwoman suffered some kind of injury, rehab, and sabbatical from superheroing in previous issues (this is part of the DC Universe: Blackest Night story arc… but in this issue she visits her therapist and cogitates how to get her kitty mojo back. The story in this single issue is simple so far but still manages to focus on relationships. I like the artwork in this 28-series run: uncomplicated and clean, a little retro, not as busy as many of the ambitious and tortuous comic book art styles I see my kids reading.

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

Action Comics #11 CP
Animal Man #11
Batman And Robin Vol. 1 Born To Kill HC
Batman Earth One HC
Batwing #11
Before Watchmen Ozymandias #1 CP
Detective Comics #11 CP
Dial H #3
Earth 2 #3
Fables Vol. 17 Inherit The Wind TP
Fairest #5
G.I. Combat #3
Green Arrow #11
Green Lantern Emerald Warriors Vol. 1 TP
He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe #1 (Of 6)
I Zombie #27
Justice League International #11
Night Force #5 (Of 7)
Red Lanterns #11
Scooby-Doo Where Are You #23
Showcase Presents Showcase Vol. 1 TP
Smallville Season 11 #3
Stormwatch #11
Suicide Squad Vol. 1 Kicked In The Teeth TP
Sweet Tooth #35
Wonder Woman The Twelve Labors TP
Worlds’ Finest #3
Age Of Apocalypse #5
Amazing Spider-Man #689
Avengers Assemble Vol. 4 TP
Avengers Vs X-Men #7 (Of 12)
Avengers West Coast Avengers Zodiac Attack HC PE
Deadpool #57
Fury MAX #4
Halo Fall Of Reach Invasion HC PE
Hulk #55
Hulk Heart Of The Atom TP
Infernal Man-Thing #1 (Of 3)
Invincible Iron Man #520
Marvel Super Heroes #2
Muppets #1 (Of 4)
Punisher #13
Punisher By Rick Remender Omnibus HC
Secret Warriors Omnibus HC
Spider-Man Return Of The Burglar HC PE
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #12
Uncanny X-Men #15
Wolverine #310
X-Factor #239
X-Men Beauty And The Beast HC PE

Cape 1969 #1 (Of 4)
Convention Sketchbook HC
Danger Girl Danger Sized Treasury Edition Vol. 2 TP
Doctor Who Classics Series 4 #6 (Of 6)
Dorothy Of Oz Prequel #3 (Of 4)
G.I. JOE A Real American Hero #180
G.I. JOE Cobra Command Vol. 2 TP
Infestation 2 Vol. 2 TP
Popeye #3
Rocketeer Adventures 2 #4 (Of 4)
Star Trek Legion Of Super-Heroes HC
Transformers Robots In Disguise #7
Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 9 Vol. 1 Freefall TP
Crime Does Not Pay Archives Vol. 2 HC
Freaks Of The Heartland HC
Mike Norton’s Battlepug Vol. 1 HC
Mind MGMT #2
Orchid #8
Tarzan The Jesse Marsh Years Vol. 11 HC

Acronym Key:  VC = Variant Cover  / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback  / CP = Combo Pack  / PE = Premier Edition

Women Write About Comics: Women in Refrigerators, 13 Years Later

The panel which birthed the term “Women in Refrigerators” from Green Lantern

As you may have noticed if you read GeekMom regularly, I’m a passionate reader of superhero comics and have been since I can remember.

But, being a woman (d’uh), it’s impossible to miss the issues with the portrayal of female characters over the years.

Nowhere was outrage more consolidated than in a site called Women in Refrigerators. WiR tried to detail the various deaths, depowerments and violence against women in superhero comics and how different it was from the violence and death directed at the men.

It wasn’t ever meant to be a comprehensive list of bad things done to women in comics. Instead, it was created to start a discussion, point to happenings and say “so, why do you all think this happened?”

Now, Women Write About Comics has asked comic bloggers this week to write on a single topic: Women in Refrigerators, Thirteen Years Later. They already have a number of links of with sometimes divergent points of view on the topic.

I have somewhat of a unique perspective on WiR in that I’m a co-moderator for Gail Simone, one of the founders of WiR, both on her current forums on Jinxworld and her previous forums at ComicBookResources.com. Simone is under contract for DC and has written Birds of Prey, Secret Six, Welcome to Tranquility, Wonder Woman, Superman, and several other titles. That’s somewhat of a big flashing light that things have changed since the site went up.

But they haven’t changed completely.

When people came to the forums to yell at Gail Simone for being an uppity feminist or claim that she hated men or that the whole site was idiotic, I had to deal with them. Over and over, Simone merely directed people to the site, claiming that those who were yelling about WiR probably hadn’t read it fully. If we could really move past WiR, those people would never show up.

So, I think before I can talk about WiR now, we need to go back to the site: Women in Refrigerators. The most interesting part isn’t the list or the fact that women were badly served by many superhero storylines.

Most of us here know that already.

It’s the page of respondents, a list of comic creators commenting on the issue. And, wow, do many of the male creators unload on their colleagues. Read Mark Waid’s response in particular. A sentence:

“Most males are fans of or in comics because they’re social misanthropes who can’t get laid or can’t keep girlfriends and they’re pissed about it on some level. There’s the famous–and true–anecdote of the Hellcat story that consists mostly of her being beaten to a pulp by a man, a story that BY THE *WILDEST* COINCIDENCE was written by a man in the middle of harsh divorce proceedings.”

This is Mark Waid, who wrote Kingdom Come.

Stephanie Brown as Batgirl, lost in the DC Reboot

So, things were bad. Have they changed?

Yes and No. To illustrate my point, I give you the comics history of one Stephanie Brown: Spoiler, Robin, dead, Batgirl, limbo.

Stephanie Brown first appeared as the daughter of the supervillain Cluemaster who wanted to stop her father’s crimes. She “spoiled” them, hence “The Spoiler.” She was one of those characters who quickly took on a life of her own.

The highlights of her existence:

Major supporting character in the Robin series written by Chuck Dixon starring the Tim Drake Robin.

Became Robin after Bruce Wayne fired Tim because editorial said he should.

Fired from being Robin for “incompetence” by the same Bruce Wayne after a very short time.

Decided to prove to Batman she was competent, ended up starting an editorial-mandated “gang-war” by stealing something from Bruce’s files. (Editorial also mandated, apparently, that Bruce not have any security passcodes on said files.)

Horrifically beaten and bloodied and eventually dead from injuries inflicted by the villain Black Mask. Keep in mind, this was an underage teenage girl who then appeared on a comics cover sprawled and helpless with blood all over.  To add injury to insult, DC then came out with a figurine of Black Mask complete with the tools he’d used to torture and kill her. Classy.

Reader outrage led to the founding of Girl-Wonder.org.

Steph’s creator, Chuck Dixon, came back to Robin for a short time and brought Stephanie back to life. Cool.

Dixon left DC again shortly after and Steph’s fate seemed uncertain until she returned as the new Batgirl in an outstanding series by Bryan Q. Miller.

Stephanie’s time as Batgirl ended in midstream as DC rebooted titles last September. Stephanie was replaced by a now-younger version of Barbara Gordon, no longer the information specialist Oracle.

Stephanie is now in limbo. In some interviews, she’s supposed to still be around but she’s yet to appear in the rebooted universe.

So, what to make of all this?

To me, the bottom line is that the problem lies behind the scenes.

DC right now has two female creators on their new rebooted titles, Simone and Ann Nocenti, who’s taking over Green Arrow. Without a strong creator who sells a lot of books to stand up for a character, like Geoff Johns did with his Green Lantern characters or Grant Morrison did with Batman or even Scott Snyder with Batman, female characters are going to get overlooked–let’s not even get started on the other missing Batgirl, Cassandra Cain– in favor of other pet characters who happen to be male because, well, 98 percent of the creators and the vast majority of editorial are male. (One bright exception to this is Batwoman, who is backed by the amazing talented artist and writer, J.H. Williams.)

So while the characters in the comics might be treated better right now than thirteen years ago, the real change, the one needed behind the scenes, is sorely lacking. Things will never truly change until that does.


The Tipping Point: Geek Girls, Superheroes, and the DC Comics Reboot

Want to attract women? Publish good material that doesn’t actively chase them away.–Kurt Busiek, on Twitter, 10/24/2011

I have been a reader of superhero comics since I could read, buying them off the spinner rack for a quarter.

My love for them was sealed when I watched (in reruns) the first appearance of Batgirl on the Batman Television show. A girl could fight crime like the guys? She had a cool motorcycle? And she was smart?

Sign me up for that.

But back then, Batgirl was somewhat alone. It was hard to find strong female characters to follow. Of course, there was always also Supergirl and Black Canary in Justice League of America, though neither had their own title. Mostly, I gravitated to the team titles or followed the male superheroes that I always loved. (Batman, Captain America, Iron Man, forever, yes.) Superman, not so much, but the great extra-size Superman Family had both Lois Lane and Supergirl.

Then I got supremely and utterly hooked on the two comic series that exploded onto the scene in the early 1980s: The New Uncanny X-Men and The New Teen Titans. I still have my copy of Uncanny X-Men #137 of the original run. Quite possibly my choice for favorite comic ever.

These comics were also the two sales powerhouses for Marvel and DC–X-Men so much so that it spawned an industry.

Best of all, both titles featured women in prominent roles, with cool powers. Most importantly, they were also friends with each other. I stayed hooked for a long time, until my twins were born about a decade ago and I ran out of money and time to read superhero comics on a regular basis.

But I came back, as I still love superheroes, hooked by the original run of Birds of Prey, first by Chuck Dixon and then by Gail Simone. Slowly but surely, I got pulled back in.

But one thing made no sense to me.  While the rest of the world had discovered strong females characters who sometimes carried the lead in movies and television shows, superhero comics seemed to have flat-out regressed.

I dare you to find me a male superhero posed with that hip thrust! (Image of Black Canary copyright DC comics)

You think I’m off base or exaggerating? Here’s a cover by the late Michael Turner featuring Black Canary and Power Girl. I liked that Power Girl’s breasts are as big as her head.

And here’s the cover of issue #2 of Black Canary’s solo series in 2007, also to the left.

The artwork has taken a turn into cheesecake alley and never come out. Even Simone’s run on Birds of Prey featured some of the most pin-up girl artwork I’d ever seen. (Ed Benes has never met a thong he didn’t like.)

And not powerful poses.

Come hither, I will seduce you poses straight out of porn. Yes, the men all look sexy too, but the sexiness is a result of their looking powerful. With the women, it was hips out, butts prominent, show that cleavage lady and make goo-goo eyes at the reader. Male heroes are drawn as idealized, as someone men want to be. Women are invariably drawn as people they’d like to have sex with. Even Amanda Waller, full-sized in Justice League Unlimited, got the sexed-up treatment in the new Suicide Squad #1. Make sure she has cleavage, that’s the message I receive.

Neal Adams, Marshall Rogers, Dick Dillin, Dave Cockrum, George Perez, John Byrne…all drew extremely good-looking women whose primary characteristic wasn’t that the male readers considered them bedtime companions. They were sexy because they were strong and competent. But the current artwork isn’t about that. It is, to be blunt, about women as fan wank material to a great degree. It’s not all artists and all artwork but it was enough that when I took my daughter into a comic shop several years ago, she said “Mom, why do all the girls have so few clothes on? And why do they stand that weird way?” (And she was looking at DC and Marvel titles, not Image!)

I more or less accepted the situation because the primary source of comics is the direct market, meaning the books are sold mostly in local comic shops which tend to have a heavily male clientele. Some are great and welcoming to women and kids, a good chunk are not and are far too much like the comic shop on The Simpsons.

And then DC announced its “New 52″ with the reboot of its entire universe that would also be available same day digitally.

DC stated that they wanted to appeal to a wider audience than the current direct market. While I was bummed to see the end of several titles I was enjoying that were canceled to make way for this new thing, I thought this was a great step. Get comics out of the shop and into the hands of a wider audience. And that wider audience should include more female-friendly titles or, better stated, non-fanwank material. DC had most likely noticed that 40 percent of the audience this year at San Diego Comic Con were female. They must know that 40 percent of the 12 million registered World of Warcraft players are women. They had to see the planning of the first ever Geek Girl Convention. What a chance to reach a wider audience.

Um, not so much.

It’s clear after sampling 10 of the new 52 books, checking out a larger sample in the comic shops and talking to other readers that what DC really did with their reboot was try to nail down the current audience–straight white males ages 18-35.

In the past few months:

1. DC officials were so dismissive of question from a female Batgirl cosoplayer at SDCC about the lack of female creators on the new 52 that the company felt compelled to later issue an apology after an internet firestorm.

2. Only two female creators are so far involved in the DC reboot. That’s less than one percent.

3. DC kept describing the new Catwoman as “dirty, dirty, sexy, sexy.” And, indeed, that turned out to be accurate, as the first panels of Catwoman #1 featured her breasts having an adventure and ended in an abrupt sexytime with Batman that was just … eww … I’ve written published erotica. This is not the way to write a hot sex scene, one, and two, the art on that scene was so distractingly bad  (how did Batman grow extra abs?) that any impact was lost. Was no one looking at the sex scenes in the previous Catwoman volume by Ed Brubaker between Selina and Slam Bradley?

4. Starfire, a character on a popular Cartoon Network program marketed to kids, while previously full of sex appeal in the comics but also warm and engaging with a personality, was turned into an emotionless sex doll in Red Hood & the Outlaws. I wrote about that in an article for GeekDad. That comic also spawned a great article by Laura Hudson at Comics Alliance and later a follow-up delving into why the art is this way.

5. The Catwoman short that accompanies the excellent Batman: Year One direct-to-DVD release has her using a stripper pole, unzipping her costume to the navel to “distract” the bad guys, and then she pulled two things out of the skin-tight catsuit.

One, Catwoman is a sneaky thief. Why would she announce herself on a stripper pole instead of sneaking up on these guys? Two, hello, boobs do NOT work that way. I’m guessing Selina Kyle has magic boobs that somehow stay inside her catsuit even when it’s unzipped to the navel and she’s clearly not wearing a bra.

DC has so far refused to make any more female-centric direct-to-DVD films because they said sales of the Wonder Woman DVD were disappointing. In fact, they were on par with the Green Lantern: First Flight DVD. But, apparently, DC has decided its audience is the people who love clearly gratuitous stripper scenes with magic boobs.

6. The entire first issue of the new book, Voodoo, which features the first African-American female lead, features her as a stripper as well.

7. Power Girl, who had her own title before the reboot, is now a supporting cast member in Mister Terrific, primarily serving as the friend-with-benefits of the lead character and an antagonist for another women who’s hot for Mister T. (Thus not even passing the Bechdel Test.)

There’s more but these will do as a list. Separately, one can explain away one or two of these things. Taken together, with the past history of women in superhero comics, the lack of female creators especially, it’s disturbing.It’s not mustache-twirling sitting in the backroom cackling sexist–no one’s doing that right now–but it’s functionally sexist. (And I say right now because, according to this report by a former DC Editor, it was decided that “we need a rape!” when the Identity Crisis was planned back in 2005.)

But this time something fascinating happened with the DC reboot.

There was an explosion of criticism on the internet, a lot of it from women. Intelligent, articulate, superhero-loving women. Women with platforms to reach a large audience, like Laura Hudson.

Along with Hudson, there’s The Mary Sue, DC Women Kicking Ass, The Geek Girls Network, the Nerdy Bird, myself over at GeekDad on Wired.com, Sequential Tart, and a number of others.  That they are too many to keep track of them all warms my heart and proves my point. We’ve reached a tipping point where this idea of “superheroes are only male adolescent power fantasies” is going to be challenged and, eventually, proven a myth. It wasn’t always so and there’s no reason it should be that way. Superheroes are a mythic fantasy about taking control to do the right thing. There’s nothing inherently male about that.

DC said with the reboot that they wanted to push past the boundaries of their current audience, yet the majority of their content so far says otherwise. It was a perfect storm in which many of these women, myself included, said “enough is enough.”

And they’ve kept on saying it, despite the vast internet cries of “beating a dead horse,” and “comics are not for girls,” and “they’re just not the target market.” And my favorite, the “men are idealized too, so stop complaining about the female artwork.” That one is so prevalent that a professor at Bowling Green University repeated it in an article for CNN on Monday. Really? Are we still having that discussion? It is so hard to see that point? Apparently so.

But I object to the idea that somehow, well-written and well-drawn female characters who look beautiful and powerful at the same time will suddenly make the male audience run for the hills. Women read a ton. They love male characters. They’re not asking for a radical changeover. They”re just asking, as Busiek said and Hudson said in her article, that the two major superhero companies stop actively trying to drive them away. The movies, especially Marvel’s movies, do a great job also appealing to the female audience.

I don’t see why that’s so hard to replicate in comics.

If there was a major corporation that said “you know, our audience is just white people, we don’t have to listen to any concern of minorities because they just don’t buy our comics, we want the white consumer” I don’t think that would go over well at all. But because it’s women, it’s somehow more accepted. It shouldn’t be.

DC has done some things right. I’m enjoying the new Batgirl. What I’ve seen of Supergirl looks good and Batwoman, featuring a lesbian superhero, looks fantastic.  DC also provided several titles featuring multi-cultural characters, such as Batwing, the aforementioned Mister Terrific and Voodoo, and Blue Beetle.

Greg Rucka at a panel at Geek Girl Con said that the only way to effect change is to speak out, not only about the things that are done well but the things that are done badly.

I take that to heart. I’m going to continue to speak out.

And I won’t be alone.

I won’t even be the loudest voice.

And that’s what makes me optimistic about change actually happening.