Gather ‘Round Padawans (Part 9): Spider-Woman

Property of Marvel Comics
Property of Marvel Comics

Jessica Drew had no intention of ever being a mother.

During Secret Wars she got pregnant.

Jessica isn’t revealing the father’s identity, not even to her best friend, Carol Danvers. She reminds the rest of the crew it’s none of their damn business when Tony Stark makes a not-so-polite inquiry; Jess zaps him and dumps her food over his head. If you’ve ever been eight months pregnant, you know how pissed a girl has to be to give up her dinner at that stage. Continue reading Gather ‘Round Padawans (Part 9): Spider-Woman

DIY: Winter Cat Shelter for Outdoor, Feral, and Free-Roaming Cats

My daughter and I are cat people. We have four at home and every Wednesday we volunteer at our local cat shelter, Cat Tales. We spend up to ninety minutes feeding, grooming, and socializing the approximately 100 cats who live there, including the two in the image above.

On the right is Sundance who strongly resembles Captain Marvel’s flerken cat, Chewie, and on the left is Bruce, named after the Batman. The shelter is made up of four rooms, all with access to the fenced-in outdoors. In the last month more and more cats have come indoors due to the colder weather. But what about the cats who live outside the fences?

Aeris and I decided to build a cat shelter for feral or free roaming cats to take refuge in this winter. It’s what Catwoman would do.

WHAT YOU NEED

  • A large plastic bin, with a lid
  • A foam cooler, with a lid
  • Straw, shredded newspaper, or batting for insulation
  • Measuring tape or ruler and an X-acto knife or like cutting tool
  • Duct tape
a photo of supplies required to make a cat shelter
Photo by the author

Continue reading DIY: Winter Cat Shelter for Outdoor, Feral, and Free-Roaming Cats

Geek Speaks… Fiction!

Imagined interior of Library of Alexandria, public domain image by O. Von Corven
People have been drawing inspiration from stories since we first began to tell stories. Imagined interior of Library of Alexandria. Public domain image by O. Von Corven.

Welcome to “Geek Speaks… Fiction!” a new weekly column where writers expose how their geekiness has influenced their lives and their writing.

Our upcoming guest blogs include author Jeffrey Somers, Anthony KarczMatt Forbeck, and Kathleen Cheney, with more to come.

First up, GeekMom Corrina Lawson, whose latest book, Phoenix Inheritance, is out in paperback today.

***********

I can’t talk about my life without talking about comic books. They’ve been the stories that opened up the rest of the world to me, soothed my soul, and fired my imagination.

batman 1970s
Image via DC Comics

It’s 1976… and I finally have enough money to buy comics on a regular basis and I’m hooked on Batman, and the new villain Ra’s Al Ghul, written by Denny O’Neil and with the magnificent art of Neal Adams. Bruce Wayne is the hero I need. I lost my dad young; Bruce Wayne lost both his parents young. Yet, he found purpose and meaning to his life, so I can too. Sure, Batman is about the awesomeness of being Batman, but he’s also about compassion and helping those who lack the advantages he had.

Much later, in the 1990s, I met O’Neil in person, in the lobby of Radio City Music Hall, and only barely avoid dropping to my knees and saying, “I’m not worthy!” He is patient and explains magical realism to me. I nod and hope I sound coherent.

It’s 1980… and in my high school backpack is a copy of Uncanny X-Men #137, the conclusion of the Dark Phoenix saga. It’s in a brown paper wrapper because it’s impossible to find consistent monthly issues in rural New England and so mine come in the mail in that brown paper wrapper.

Jean Grey and Scott Summers are what would be called today an OTP—my one true pairing. It’s the first romance I’ve read and loved, Jean wanting to see Scott’s eyes, Scott’s determination to save her life, and her suicide on the moon are all moments burned into my mind from this day. It’s a saga about friendship, and love, and sacrifice, and deciding that someone and somethings are worth dying for. It’s a message I need as a lonely girl whose interests don’t line up with the other girls in my class.

Much later, I would see Chris Claremont at a table at a comic con and be afraid to approach him because all I could imagine blubbering out would be, “Thank you. Omigod, your story changed my life.”

X-Men_Vol_1_137
Image via Marvel Comics

It’s 2003… and the series Birds of Prey has just changed creative teams for the third time in a year, and I’m worried about the cancellation of the adventures of Black Canary and Oracle, one of the few female-led comics being published.

Gail Simone takes over the writing and redefines Black Canary, a character who’s been tossed since around her debut in the 1940s. Simone rebuilds her, and creates a definitive run, crafting a character so strong that she’s finally gaining some recognition, someone who wants to be a superhero and have a family. This resonates because now I have a family. I end up naming the character in my first published novel “Dinah” as a homage.

About the same time, I end up on Simone’s message board and I get a chance to thank her in writing, where I’m much more articulate.

It’s 2013… and I attend GeekGirlCon for the first time, where I interview Kelly Sue DeConnick about her revitalization of Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel. Like Black Canary, Carol has been tossed around Marvel for years, enduring several name changes, a ridiculous pregnancy, and even a death, all without a definitive run. Now Carol is a woman surrounded by friends of all ages, and she loves that her job includes times when she has to go punch a dinosaur.

After the interview, DeConnick is surrounded by members of the Carol Corps and she shows them the art pages from the last issue of the first run of Captain Marvel, where Kit literally helps bring Carol back to herself. It’s a lesson in friendship that resonates.

This time, I’m able to say “thank you” in person without losing composure.

It’s later in 2013 and early 2014… and my son is in the hospital battling an illness that few people understand and a change in his medication produces a seizure. Then, his condition is unstable and later requires another hospitalization. It’s terrifying for him and for me. I bring him the complete run of James Robinson’s Starman series, along with The Shade miniseries, plus Simone’s Secret Six. These comics are what keep him company during his recovery, and give him hope that he can get better, that he’s not alone.

It’s June 2014… and my son is able to talk to Gail Simone in person and thank her for Secret Six and especially for Ragdoll, who is so atypical mentally and yet tries so hard to understand the world. Simone is incredibly gracious, and my son does better than me talking to her because if I’d been that age and met Denny O’Neil or Claremont or Marv Wolfman or George Perez, I’d have just died.

My fondest wish as a writer? To provide the story a reader needs just when they need it and pass on what was given to me.

If I ever get to the point where someone comes up to me and hasn’t a clue what to say except a stammered “thank you,” just know:

I am you.

The Cliffs of Insanity: Should Monthly Comics Die?

See why I love Jim Gordon? Image from Batman Eternal #52, copyright DC Comics
See why I love Jim Gordon? Image from Batman Eternal #52, copyright DC Comics

Welcome to the latest installment of my adventures in climbing the cliffs of insanity that is our pop culture.

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written this column, mostly because I’ve been busy being my fiction-writing self. Part of that may be to your benefit, as I’m part of a month-long Fools for Love celebration across numerous blogs celebrating science fiction romance. Grand Prize is a $75 certificate to your choice of iBooks, B&N, and Amazon. Other prizes and goodies are being given away at the individual blogs, which you’ll find listed at the linked post. (There’s also an exclusive except from my prose superhero novel.)

Image via SF Romance Station
Image via SF Romance Station

Onto comics…

Should I Start Reading Monthly Comics?

No.

Let me explain that answer. (Unlike Inigo, I can’t sum up.)

One of the questions I get most from my fellow romance readers who are eager to read about the print adventures of Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne or Peggy Carter is: “How do I start reading comics?”

It’s a simple question with a complicated answer. There are so many different variations of their favorite characters, across so many years, by so many writers, and so many stories.

But what they’re asking boils down to “where can I read an awesome superhero story?”

Recommending monthly comics as a starting base will only drive them batty, so I never do.

Take Batman Eternal. Suppose I started raving about how good it was to my friends when the story began one year ago and one of them said “Great, how do I start reading it?”

Option One: 

1. Locate their local comic shop, if it exists. If not, send them to my online store, G-Mart.

2. Hope that comic shop has the previous issues of Eternal in stock. Chances are only 50-50.

3. They got lucky! All the back issues are available. Great. Next step: set up pre-orders at the local shop so all issues are pulled before they go on the shelves, thus ensuring possession of a copy each week. Careful, now, pre-orders have to be done three months in advance to ensure delivery.

So you’ll be picking out the comics you want to read three months from now and hoping that the creative team stays with the story you love for that long, instead of ending it abruptly.

4. Visit the comic store once a week to pick up your stash. It’s possible to visit less often but some stores will put a bestselling issue back on the shelf in a few weeks rather than taking the chance that the customer won’t pick it up.

5. Pay at least $155 for all 52 issues.

I could tell my friend that they download the Comixology.com app and have guaranteed access to Batman Eternal each week, even back issues. They’ll still pay $155 at $2.99 each or over $200 at $3.99 each for the entire story. And they aren’t even physical copies that can be passed around.

This is called creating barriers between your product and potential new customers. At least with digital, customers can be assured of reading the next chapter of their monthly comic, and sometimes there are sales.

Option Two: 

I say, “If you love Captain America, read the Ed Brubaker Omnibus that you can buy right now on Amazon. Or read Batman: Year One by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli, or the collected trade paperback of Captain Marvel or the first Gail Simone Birds of Prey story, Sensei and Student.”

The last thing I’m going to do is recommend they jump into the monthly comics scrum which features constant creator changes, universe reboots that wipe out beloved stories, and characters who can change personality at the drop of a hat. (Looking at you, Donna Troy.)

The frustrating element in all this is that if the monthly comic sales aren’t there for a quality title that’s low-selling, it may never be collected in trade. The sales of those monthly comics support their publishing costs. If it isn’t successful, the company may not chance publishing a collection that also won’t sell.

So in the current business model, if the comic is canceled, the collections may never exist.

I waited years for the trade paperback of Chase and the John Ostrander/Kim Yale Suicide Squad. I’d like to recommend to you the excellent Batman Family mini-series by John Francis Moore from some years back but it’s never been available as a collection. Marvel does a much better job with its collections, so it’s much easier to recommend their stories. And, of course, Image Comics collects everything in trade so, don’t worry, if you missed that issue of Walking Dead or you can’t find a physical copy of Bitch Planet, the collections are coming.

What’s the answer to all this?

Eventually, it might be just ending monthly comics altogether and instead commissioning full stories and collect them in original graphic novels. This would mean the price of the collections would increase. Currently, most of them run from $14.95 for paperbacks to hardcovers that are $24.95 to omnibus collections up to $100 and above. Original graphic novels might start at $40 and reach $100 or more.

But what’s the better deal? The awesome Absolute edition two-volume hardcover box-set of DC: The New Frontier by Darwyn Cooke, currently selling for approximately $66 at Amazon, or $155 and up for a year’s worth of the monthly comic story, Batman Eternal?

Monthly comic publication is an old system that rests on predicting pre-orders and asking the customer to invest time and effort even before the comic appears in their hands. It’s a dinosaur and truly requires climbing the cliffs of insanity.

The only problem is that, thus far, no one has figured out how to replace the dinosaur.

Passion and History in ‘She Makes Comics’

She-Makes-Comics-Logo-Medium-660x880
Image by Respect! Films

Being a geek is becoming more and more mainstream. Yet there are still stereotypes of what makes a geek a “geek.” Being a comic book fan is a quintessential sign, and often linked to the old-school idea of socially-inept, single guys. For women who proclaim their love of comics (like me), it’s just…strange.

But that is changing. I was just invited to a Fan Girls Night Out at my local comic store by another mom who is also into comics. There are more of us than you realize. And although it may seem new to the mainstream world, it is far from abnormal. The history of women in comics as both fans and within the industry stretches back to the beginning.

The new documentary She Makes Comics is an eye-opening and heartfelt look at women within the history of comics, and I highly recommend watching it. The film is directed by Marisa Stotter and produced by Patrick Meaney and Jordan Rennert of Respect!Films. It is executive produced by Sequart’s Julian Darius and Mike Phillips and by Columbia University comics librarian Karen Green. It is a series of interwoven interviews of passionate people with different roles and points of view. My teenage son and I watched it together, finding it informative and entertaining.

Did you know that women and men made up equal numbers of comic book readership before the 1950s? American comics were about many topics, had various settings, and reflected every possible interest. By the ’70s, women readers started to drop off dramatically, partly due to the focus on male superheroes as the best-seller comic book theme, as well as the feminist movement awakening a generation of women who were tired of the same “wedding bliss” ending. An underground women’s comic movement began, and it was fascinating listening to the creators talk about it on camera: both the excitement and the fears.

Several women really changed the comic book world, from Wendy Pini, the original chain-mail bikini awesome cosplayer who then created ElfQuest, to Janette Kahn, former publisher of DC who broke the glass ceiling, to Gail Simone, notable comic writer, and author of Women in Refrigerators, an unapologetic look at how female characters are unfairly treated in comic stories, to Kelly Sue DeConnick, the creator of the hugely popular female Captain Marvel, and many more.

How do women get into comics in the first place? Better comics. The consensus of the interviewees was: Give us a variety of women featured, complex characters, and in-depth storytelling. As an X-Men fan, it was cool to know how many other women in this film cited that series as their turn-on to the whole genre. The fact that the male creator of the series had two female editors makes sense. Neil Gaiman’s Sandman was another “gateway” comic, again, with a female editor. In fact, that editor, Karen Berger, is credited with developing the talents of some of the biggest names in comics for the past several decades.

I personally got into comics in the 1990s, and was quite alone. I took my two young children to the comic book store and was the only female there, let alone a mother. I found it interesting to hear about that time period. The film talked about how more women were getting into the creative side of comics then, but still not equally represented by a long-shot. The industry was not welcome to women or women-centered stories, but also, women are not as confidant in promoting themselves.

Comics used to be sold in supermarkets and bookstores, but then only in specific comic stores that were (and mostly still are) very much a bachelor den of boob posters and all-male staff who assume a girl is only there because she is dating a comic book fan. In 1994, a support organization for women in comics was created called Friends of Lulu which put out a book helping comic book stores understand how to attract more females to their stores—why shut out the biggest consumers in the country? The internet ushered in a huge change. This has given women a place to connect, collaborate, and share their love of comics. The film also mentions the influence of the manga craze during that time as well, with comics targeted to girls.

There is so much to this film, but what stood out to me most was the passion of the people interviewed, and the range of ages. I loved hearing from the elder pioneers in the industry, as well as the younger talents of today. Inspiring the next generation of comic creators came up a lot, and is something I support wholeheartedly. Everyone should be able to express themselves in whatever medium suits them best, boys and girls. Check out the film!

She Makes Comics is now available to order on DVD and as a digital download at SheMakesComics.com.

GeekMom received a copy for review purposes.

Avengers Assemble for Marvel Universe Live!–Show Review

Avengers Assemble \ Image courtesy of Field Entertainment
Avengers Assemble \ Image courtesy of Field Entertainment

With 25 heroes and villains taking the arena floor to battle it out for the ultimate power (the Tesseract), you can bet I wanted in on some of the viewing action for Marvel Universe Live. I’m fortunate enough to have had a chance to check out everything the tour has to offer, from the show, to the souvenirs, to the food during a show at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.

There was the good, the bad, and the really expensive.

My first stops at any show are the souvenir and food stands. They had some really cool looking items including a show prequel comic book, a hoodie, and several toys. However, I walked home with none of it because of high pricing. The comic book cost $20 (the sticker price “justified” due to the comic also containing a program), the hoodie cost $50, and the toys ranged from $10 and up.

The show food (like snow cones and popcorn) ranged from $8 (popcorn in a box) to $15 for a snow cone in a souvenir cup. There was quite a bit of snow cone in that cup, but not $15 worth. I originally bought the “fresh” popcorn ($12.50 in a souvenir bag) and returned it because it tasted horrible.

After giving in to a snow cone, we started on our quest to find our seat. On our way, we stumbled on a green screen photo opportunity, but the $19.95 price tag didn’t entice me enough to stop walking.

Our seats were looking straight down the stage and I couldn’t have asked for a better view, which was funny because our seats were the cheaper of the seat priced in the lower bowl.

The show starts with a neat introduction of the Marvel Universe on the main screen of the stage and the fun begins.

The story begins as Loki starts up trouble by discovering that mutant DNA (he uses Storm, Cyclops, and Wolverine as his unwilling DNA sources) can be used to create a new Tesseract. Wolverine escapes thanks to Iron Man and S.H.E.I.L.D, but Loki gets away with Storm and Cyclops. From here we are introduced to our leading cast: Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Black Widow, Captain Marvel, Falcon, Wolverine, and Bruce Banner/Hulk.  In order to defeat Loki, they need to put the Tesseract back together and use it against him and break up into three teams.  Wolverine is his usual self and goes rogue, and Banner goes with him just in case he runs into trouble.

With the hero teams formed, the main villains are revealed. They are Loki, Green Goblin, Rhino, The Lizard, Killian, Red Skull, and Madam Hydra. There are also a few smaller roles thrown in to fill things out, including Hydra Agents, Chitauri, Extremis soldiers, Electro, and Black Cat.

First, Iron Man, Hawkeye, and Captain Marvel fought Dr. Aldrick Killian and his Extremis soldiers. This fight was pretty interesting in terms of the special effects used. My son didn’t take his eyes off the stage during the final moments thanks to Killian walking out on fire.

The second team-up was Thor and Spider-Man against the Green Goblin, Rhino, Doc Oc, and The Lizard. This was by far my favorite scene because it had all of the elements of the web-crawler and Thor that I love. Spider-Man’s sense of humor and Goblin’s reactions were right on target each time. This scene included a nice mix of stunt work and hand-to-hand combat. Black Cat and Electro both made brief appearances and I’m a bit surprised that Electro was wearing a modification of his comic book costume rather than the more recent version from the movie.

The final team-up was Captain America, Black Widow, and Falcon against Red Skull and Madam Hydra. This was the most disappointing part of the show because 95% of it was done on motorcycles versus using other effects to even it out. Falcon was in his comic book costume and stretched his wings a bit, but he was mostly there to deal with the Hydra Agents. Black Widow was pitted up against Madam Hydra while Cap took on Red Skull.

It felt like they over-saturated the scene and diluted the audience’s attention too much. I missed a really cool motorcycle stunt by Captain America and Red Skull because I was looking at Black Widow.

In between the fight scenes, Wolverine and Hulk came out to do small bit-parts while the tech crew set up the next major fight. These might have been smaller scenes for the characters, but the creators did them justice. It was hard to pay attention to the set change when Wolverine and Bruce were exchanging funny dialogue and stunts.

The finale battle brought everyone from all of the fights back out on the main floor. Captain America and his team were late to the fight and while the character said they had a reason, I couldn’t pick up on it in their previous fight scene. The final battle is also where we finally get to see Banner go all green with anger and Hulk-out.

At the end of the show, I thought back on the characters they included and what I would have changed.

For starters, I would have given Storm a stronger part or used one of the weaker X-Men in her place. Her presence demands respect and at least a few special effects, neither of which she was given. Cyclops was a good choice for the part he played, but he was also underused in the special effects and combat choreography department. I would have replaced Falcon with Black Panther and added Vision in to the mix. I understand that neither of these characters are as well-known as the rest of the team, but hey—let’s educate the kids in the audience.

On my way to the car, I talked about the show with my 9-year-old son and my brother. My son couldn’t say enough about it. He loved it from beginning to end. Captain America was his favorite part because of the motorcycle stunts. My brother decided that it wasn’t as cheesy as he originally thought it would be. While there were some cheesy  moments, there was a nice balance of corny and really awesome moments.

I’m happy to have had my two hours with the Avengers and hope they make this a regular tour with different story-lines in the future.

Tip to our readers: If you are planning on buying tickets for the show, try to get tickets from the angle you see in my videos. As you can tell from the footage, quite a bit of the show is dark (meaning you won’t be able to see key parts) in certain areas of the arena. 

This event is appropriate for all ages, but will probably be more enjoyed by younger fans. For ticket prices and show dates, check out Marvel Universe Live.

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Disclaimer: GeekMom received tickets for this event.

 

Comic Book Corner- Capt. Marvel, a new LGBT series, X-Files & Sandman

Captain Marvel #1
Captain Marvel #1 (Skottie Young Variant) © 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. This week I check out Living with Death and interview writer Glenn Machett on his storyline choices for the LGBT murder mystery, Lisa checks out Attack on Titan, Kelly goes cosmic with Captain Marvel, Sophie continues her quest through The X-Files: Conspiracy, and Corrina reminds readers a new Gaiman Sandman comic is out.

Dakster Sullivan — Living with Death: Murder at Oxford #1 by Glenn Matchett and Alan Anguiano

Living with Death #1 \ Image Grayhaven Comics
Living with Death #1 \ Image Grayhaven Comics

Living with Death: Murder at Oxford #1 is a thrilling ride with an interesting female lead. The story takes place after an LGBT student is murdered and another student, Stephanie, takes on the responsibility of solving her murder. I’ve worked with the writer, Glenn Matchett, on two other Grayhaven projects and was eager to check this story out. Needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed and really enjoyed the story with all the suspense and mystery it came with. Glenn was kind enough to answer some of the questions I had about the story and gave some insight as to why he chose the characters and their background for this story.

GeekMom: Why did you chose to have it be a LGBT couple that was targeted and what was the reasoning behind the victim being strangled verses another means of murder?
GlennM: For the LGBT couple I needed a logic that Stephanie could pursue as regards to motivation for the murder that would have a strong possibility but was entirely wrong. She’s seeing it on the surface but nothing beyond that and that was where Jenna adds value to her. Jenna doesn’t just see a lesbian couple who might be a victim of a hate crime, she just sees a couple.

Well the fact that the killer strangles Georgia is a big part of the eventual resolution so good question. I also knew I wanted that shot of the murder to be the opening page and thought this horrible image of someone being strangled would be a good attention grabber, especially with Stephanie’s clinical observations as a stark contrast.

GM: Did you incorporate any of yourself in the story?
GlennM: Not really. Your first audience member is yourself so I wanted to write something I might enjoy reading. I’ve definitely on a subconscious level based Jenna on my wife. I’m sure there is a lot of me in there but I didn’t really set to do that on purpose.

GM: The file about Stephanie has my interest peaked. She seems to be the type that wants to help someone else achieve justice because she never received it. How close am I to her origins?
GlennM: Good guess but no. More on Steph’s back story in issue 2.

GM: What is the timeline to get issue #2 in our hands and what kinds of things can we expect out of it?
GlennM: Living With Death has a new artist so I want to make sure they have plenty of time to work. I’m hoping September at the latest, If we can do earlier then we will. In issue 2? More on Steph’s background, a rough confrontation and one drink too many :)

Due to a change in artist, the next issue is tentatively scheduled to be released in September. Stay tuned to Grayhaven’s website and Facebook page for updates!

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

Sophie Brown — The X-Files: Conspiracy #2 by Paul Crilley and John Stanisci

X-Files Conspiracy #2 \ Image: IDW Publishing
X-Files Conspiracy #2 \ Image: IDW Publishing

IDW’s The X-Files: Conspiracy event draws to a conclusion this week with issue #2, technically the sixth book in the series.

The Gunmen have been out collecting samples over the last six weeks and now we see them teaming back up with Agent Scully at the CDC. This has been a Gunmen-centric arc, but with it still being an X-Files series it’s good to have Scully back at the forefront of things and in full Doctor/Scientist mode. It has to be said however that she’s remarkably accepting of samples that claim to belong to a half-human/half-reptile and an alien robot. Of course in classic sci-fi style there is a vaccine being produced within just a few hours. Agent Mulder is also back and doing what he does best: sneaking around apparently derelict buildings, stumbling upon things he was never supposed to see, getting shot at, and generally being sarcastic about the whole situation.

But saving the world is never easy and soon the Gunmen are back to helping Mulder and Scully by using a smartphone app to detect a bomb (yes really) that threatens to kill all the researchers. There’s a few nice digs at modern internet culture including a poke at Reddit, and a great reference to the Lone Gunmen TV show that only fans will pick up on. The story concludes twice as we see into the two parallel worlds that have been hinted at throughout and Frohike suggests that there may be infinitely more. Does everyone live happily ever after? Well that depends…

Lisa Tate — Attack On Titan #1 by Hajime Isayama (Kondansha Comics)

Attack on Titan #1 \ Image Kondansha Comics
Attack on Titan #1 \ Image Kondansha Comics

The manga title Attack On Titan #1, by Hajime Isayama (Kondansha Comics) literally fell into my lap recently, when it tumbled from a Loot Crate box. I’m always reluctant to read manga, but do love David-and-Goliath style battles ala Pacific Rim or King Kong.

Set 2,000 years in the future, grinning, sinewy naked (yet asexual), giants have attacked — and eaten — most of mankind. Those who survived are barricaded in a three-walled city (think Minas Tirith meets the prison compound in Walking Dead). It has been more than 100 years since the giants have attacked and many residents have become dangerously complacent. The protagonists, young Eren and Mikasa, are not among them. Their fears are soon realized when the biggest titan yet makes its way through their outer wall, forcing the remainder of the human race to rethink their sense of security and better take on the titans.

The action is intense, not to mention a just a bit gruesome and disturbing at times, the characters are multi-faceted, strong and stubborn, and the giants are just impressively horrifying. What I did appreciate most was the occasional “historic” and technical information about the story, from how their gear and weaponry to the layout of the city. Some readers might find this an unnecessary detour from the story, but I appreciated having some of my questions answered along the way.

This is as good a time as any to get started on this series. Although the original Japanese-language version dates back to 2010, the first volume of this ongoing series was released in English in June of 2012. The popularity of this carnage-and-bravery-heavy tale was an instant hit, spawning an anime series in 2013, the first volume of which will be made available on Blu-ray/DVD in June this year. A live-action feature is in the rumor stages for a 2015 release.

There are several other volumes in this title, so let me offer this spoiler — Issue 1 will not end on an up-note. Far, far from it. It does however, leave the reader with wanting to venture on, even into the unsure and shaky fate of mankind. Whatever Attack On Titan’s future holds for humanity, it will be an exciting one.

capmarvel-1
Cover by David Lopez © Marvel Comics

Kelly Knox – Captain Marvel #1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick and David Lopez (Marvel Comics)

After chatting with Kelly Sue DeConnick last year about the relaunch of the All-Marvel Now Captain Marvel to take her “higher, further, faster, more,” it feels like we’ve been waiting forever for the first issue. Captain Marvel #1 was released last week and delivers on taking Carol Danvers cosmic while still keeping the character and tone the Carol Corps has come to love.

As promised, in the first arc Captain Marvel heads for the stars, but Captain Marvel #1 shows that it wasn’t an easy decision for her to go there. Carol’s leaving behind not only her biggest fan, Kit, but a surprise romance that I wish we’d been able to see a little more of.

The first volume of Captain Marvel was rooted heavily in the past, with retro newspaper headlines, a World War II time travel story, and references to the Mercury 13—so can Carol kick butt on alien planets with a mysterious spaceship crew, find her own place with the futuristic Guardians of the Galaxy, and still be the Captain Marvel we love? Signs in the first issue point to yes.

Corrina:

Sandman Overture #2 by Neil Gaiman and J.H. Williams III

The delayed second issue of the new Sandman series. Gaiman is writing. Williams III is the artist. That’s all you need to know. Go. Buy. Read. Enjoy.

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

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

Adventures Of Superman #11 Kid Friendly
All-Star Western #29
American Vampire Vol. 5 TP
American Vampire Vol. 6 HC
Aquaman #29
Batman The Dark Knight #29
Batwoman Vol. 3 World’s Finest TP
Batwoman Vol. 4 This Blood Is Thick HC
Beware The Batman #6
Catwoman #29
Catwoman Vol. 3 Under Pressure TP
DC Universe Vs The Masters Of The Universe #6 (Of 6) GM 
Dead Boy Detectives #4
Fables #139
Fables Bookends
Flash #29
Forever Evil A.R.G.U.S. #6 (Of 6)
Forever Evil Rogues Rebellion #6 (Of 6)
He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe #11 GM
Injustice Year Two #3
Justice League Dark #29
Larfleeze #9
Red Lanterns #29
Sandman Overture #2 (Of 6)
Showcase Presents Men Of War TP
Suicide Squad Amanda Waller #1 (One Shot)
Superman #29
Superman Earth One Vol. 2 TP
Talon #17
Teen Titans #29
Wake #7 (Of 10)
Worlds’ Finest #21
A+X #18
All-New Ghost Rider #1
All-New X-Factor #5
Amazing X-Men #5
Avengers #27
Avengers Assemble #25
Brilliant #5
Cable And X-Force Vol. 4 Vendettas TP
Captain America Homecoming #1
Daredevil End Of Days TP GM
Deadpool #26
Fantomex MAX TP
George Romero’s Empire Of The Dead Act One #3 (Of 5)
Guardians Of The Galaxy #13 GM
Hawkeye #18 GM
Indestructible Hulk #20
Iron Patriot #1 New Series
Marvel Knights X-Men #5 (Of 5)
Marvel Masterworks Rawhide Kid Vol. 1 TP
Marvel Previews #128 (April 2014 For Products On-Sale June 2014)
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man #24
Miracleman #4
New Avengers #16.NOW
Origin II #4 (Of 5)
Revolutionary War Omega #1
Savage Wolverine #16
Silver Surfer #1
Spider-Man By Roger Stern Omnibus HC
Superior Spider-Man #30
Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #11
Survive #1
Uncanny Avengers #18.NOW
Uncanny Avengers Vol. 3 Ragnarok Now HC (Premiere Edition)
Uncanny X-Force Vol. 3 The Great Corruption TP
Winter Soldier The Bitter March #1 (Of 5)
Wolverine By Jason Aaron The Complete Collection Vol. 2 TP
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

Batman The Silver Age Newspaper Comics Vol. 1 1966-1967 HC
Calico Horses And The Patchwork Trail TP
Complete Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy Vol. 16 HC
Device Vol. 3 Traveling Device TP
G.I. JOE A Real American Hero #200
Ghostbusters #14
Ghostbusters Total Containment Over-Sized HC
Godzilla Rulers Of Earth #10
Legends Of Oz Dorothy’s Return TP
Popeye The Classic Newspaper Comics By Bobby London Vol. 1 1986-1989 HC
Rocky And Bullwinkle #1 (Of 4) Kid Friendly
Star Slammers Re-Mastered #1
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles New Animated Adventures #9 Kid Friendly
Transformers Dark Cybertron Finale #1 (Dark Cybertron Part 12 Of 12)
Wraith Welcome To Christmasland #5 (Of 7)
X-Files Conspiracy #2 (Of 2) GM
Adventures Of Nilson Groundthumper And Hermy HC
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth #1 (#1 For $1 Edition)
Blackout #1 (Of 4)
Bloodhound Crowbar Medicine #5 (Of 5)
Captain Midnight #9
Elfquest The Final Quest #2
Empowered Special #6 (Internal Medicine)
Furious #3 (Of 5)
Halo Escalation #4
King Conan The Conqueror #2 (Of 6)
Mass Effect Foundation #9
Massive #21
Mind MGMT #20
Pariah #2 (Of 8)
Serenity Leaves On The Wind #3 (Of 6)
Star Wars Legacy II #13
Tomb Raider #2
Vandroid #2 (Of 5)

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

I Am Ms. Marvel

Cover Art by Sara Pichelli © Marvel Comics

Ms. Marvel #1 hit comic book store shelves last week to a good amount of fanfare and hype. Since the series was announced, it’s been covered everywhere from CNN to USA Today to Stephen Colbert, garnering attention as the first comic book series to feature a female Muslim lead character. So now that it’s here, does the issue live up to expectations?

It exceeds them.

The first issue introduces us to Kamala and her life in Jersey City, where she feels alienated from her family (who just don’t understand why she writes Avengers fanfic) and her peers, who seem to live free from the rules Kamala’s parents impose. An ordinary-teen-turned-hero isn’t a new concept. Kamala might remind veteran comic book readers of other familiar characters–over at DC Women Kicking Ass, Sue sees some Stephanie Brown in Kamala; at Comicosity, Jessica Boyd views her as a potential Peter Parker for this age.

Art by Adrian Alphona © Marvel Comics

So while the teen hero isn’t new, Ms. Marvel #1 is a rare comic book that speaks to every reader regardless of their age, gender, background, or beliefs, thanks to writer G. Willow Wilson’s portrayal of Kamala as relatable and full of personality. Rather than Peter or Steph, I see myself in the new Ms. Marvel–someone who sees the world of superheroes from afar, and can’t help but wonder what it would be like to be a part of that universe.

Or as Kamala puts it, what it would be like to be “beautiful and awesome and butt-kicking and less complicated.” Basically… Captain Marvel.

“Captain Marvel represents an ideal that Kamala pines for,” Ms. Wilson said. “She’s strong, beautiful and doesn’t have any of the baggage of being Pakistani and ‘different.’ ”

[Editor] Ms. Amanat said, “It’s also sort of like when I was a little girl and wanted to be Tiffani-Amber Thiessen,” from “Saved by the Bell.”

For anyone who has dreamed of being someone else, someone stronger, or prettier, or just plain super, they’ll see themselves in the pages of Ms. Marvel #1. The response to a call for photos for “#IAmMsMarvel” on Twitter and Instagram shows the wide range of new fans of the series.

iammsmarvel
#IAmMsMarvel Tweeters

While the road Kamala is on certainly won’t be an easy one, I can’t wait to see where it takes her. The series is off to a fantastic start, and it’s worth mentioning that the work by artist Adrian Alphona is gorgeous. If you’ve never read a comic book in your life, consider picking up this one.

GeekGirlCon 2013: Kelly Sue DeConnick Talks Taking Captain Marvel Cosmic

Captain Marvel reaches for the stars in 2014 © Marvel

At New York Comic Con earlier this month, Marvel Comics announced a surprising relaunch of a book not even a year and a half into its run: Kelly Sue DeConnick’s beloved ongoing series Captain Marvel. At GeekGirlCon a week later, Kelly Sue talked to GeekMom about what that means for the series and character, starting with the last issue before the hiatus.

Warning, minor spoilers ahead for the current run of Captain Marvel.

Captain Marvel #17 is the first chance readers (and Carol) get to breathe after the whirlwind of “The Enemy Within” storyline and the “Infinity” crossover issues. “We didn’t get to see it because of the ‘Infinity’ tie-ins,” began DeConnick, “but [after losing her memory during ‘The Enemy Within’] she would have been in the hospital, she would have been re-learning who she was out of books. So she would read, like, here is a list of X-Men powers to memorize, and here is your basic history. She’s re-constructed this stuff, but she’s not felt it, she’s just learned it.” It takes the help of Carol’s biggest fan, said DeConnick, to rebuild her identity.

The double-sized issue is billed as an ode to the Carol Corps, who greets DeConnick with warmth and enthusiasm at every convention–including GeekGirlCon.

The GGC Carol Corps and Kelly Sue DeConnick / Photo: Kelly Knox

When the All-New Marvel Now Captain Marvel #1 begins in March 2014, Carol Danvers sets off on a new journey, but she won’t forget her home and friends in New York City. “The next arc is called ‘Higher, Further, Faster, More,'” said DeConnick. “The words are taken from Helen Cobb’s letter to Carol from the first issue, where she says that these are the traits she’s recognized in her sisterhood–although she doesn’t define it as purely feminine. We’re taking [Captain Marvel] cosmic. We’re not entirely abandoning her life in New York.”

Adventures in the cosmos seem like a natural fit for the character, who has long had her eyes on the stars, and seemed at home in the combat blasting off the pages of the “Infinity” tie-in issues. And while Captain Marvel might have a new focus in space and new allies in the form of the Guardians of the Galaxy, she’s still the Carol that the Corps adores. “I describe Carol as being heart-driven, and everything about her faces skyward,” DeConnick said. “That star on her chest is always to the sky, chin up, eyes up, heart up, arms open. Everything about her is trying to go up. Her approach to any problem is to try to go through it. She’s a juggernaut.”

DeConnick also reflected on what drives Carol upward, citing The Mercury 13: The True Story of Thirteen Women and the Dream of Space Flight, written by Martha Ackmann. In the book, “[Ackmann] is describing the part of Oklahoma that [aviator] Jerrie Cobb comes from,” said DeConnick, “and she says that everything in that part of the world is trying to take flight. And it’s so beautifully written. She talks about a discarded candy wrapper floating up into the air, and the signs on the side of the road shaking as they try to take off. And that so resonated with me.

“Re-launching Carol’s book, the idea of her, I want her to be like that sign post–everything about her wants to go up. So let’s let her go and see what happens.”

Kelly Sue DeConnick Helps Girls Leadership Institute With Beautiful T-Shirts

Captain Marvel, Image: WeLoveFine
Captain Marvel, Image: WeLoveFine

Kelly Sue DeConnick is helping Girls Leadership Institute by donating her curation commission on a select line of tees at WeLoveFine. This new partnership features three different designs, each based on characters featured in her titles.

If you’re not familiar with Kelly Sue DeConnick, she writes Captain Marvel and Avengers Assemble for Marvel and Ghost for Dark Horse comics. She’s also about to launch Pretty Deadly, a western she co-created with Emma Rios for Image Comics.

The organization DeConnick has chosen to help, Girls Leadership Institute, focuses its efforts on helping girls learn to be true to themselves through a variety of workshops and camps that help not just girls, but parents and educators. Currently they have programs in California, New York and New Jersey as well as a summer camp in Massachusetts.

You can get one of these beautiful designs featuring Captain Marvel and Spider-Woman for $25 at WeLoveFine. You’ll not only have a cool t-shirt to wear this summer, but you’ll be helping girls learn to be strong and confident young women.

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — February 20th, 2013

The 10th Muse  Image Comics
The 10th Muse Image 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 look at The 10th Muse, Captain Marvel #9 and Coraline.

Dakster Sullivan — The 10th Muse Volume 1 (Image Comics run)
I stumbled on The 10th Muse (written by Marv Wolfman and art by Ken Lashley) last Wednesday when I was looking for a new read. The main character on the front was beautifully drawn, and I figured if the story looked half as good it would be worth it.

The story starts as we see Emma, Brent, and Dawn, friends who are pretty the Three Musketeers. They do everything together. Take the same classes. Live in the same apartment. Go towards the same goals. But during a post-college graduation trip to Greece, Emma gets hurt while climbing down a mountain. After that, everything changes… slowly.

Eight years later, Emma returns with no answers as to where she’s been. She has hardly any recollection about what happened after Greece, but one things for sure: she’s a different woman when the situation calls for it. We see her in various scenarios where she is either Emma or a super-heroine, known as the 10th Muse. I’m not 100% sure yet that she realizes she is making the transformation from one to the other. In some scenes it appears that she knows, while in others she doesn’t seem all that sure about what’s going on.

The main villain is Grayson Bishop, a man who gets what he wants the first time he asks for it from you, or else you risk getting cooked (literally). In some life or another, he shared a connection with Emma that she can’t remember. Regardless if she remembers or not, Bishop is determined that she will be his wife.

After the first few pages of Vol. 1 I was hooked. One things for sure though, if I ever get a chance to meet Marv Wolfman, he’s getting a high five from me for the Star Wars references (best comedy relief I’ve read in a long time).

Reading Vol. 1 didn’t explain much about who she is or how she manages to transform into the 10th Muse, so I’m excited to read on to Vol. 2, to see if it answers my questions.

The 10th Muse is available on Comixology and is up for pre-order on Amazon.

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

Corrina–Captain Marvel #9  by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Filipe Andrade.

Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers, Kelly Sue DeConnick
Captain Marvel #9 cover by Marvel Comics

“Excuse me, I have to go punch a dinosaur.”

I hereby submit that every comic featuring a hero punching a dinosaur increases the fun factor by at least 50 percent. But fighting dinosaurs is just part of a busy day for Carol Danvers, Captain Marvel, which begins with Tony Stark waking her up and telling her he’s hacked her computer and re-arranged her schedule. Her day includes taking her cat to the vet (it does not go as planned but a civilian helps her out), meeting on a business venture (it gets a bit violent), and various stops along the way. At the end, it’s clear Carol stacked the day because she was afraid of bad news at the end, and she gets it but takes it the only way a superhero used to fighting dinosaurs and giant robots can.

If you’re not reading Captain Marvel, you’re missing out. #9 is a great jumping on point not just because it’s mostly a one-and-done issue but because it gives a terrific glimpse of who and what Carol is. Word is that the title is lagging in sales, which is likely due to her not being a “name” hero and perhaps being a female hero. I’d encourage everyone to buy it while you can, either from your local comic shop or Comixology.

Sophie Brown — Coraline

Coraline  Image: P. Craig Russell
Coraline Image: P. Craig Russell

If you’re anything like me, you have a list longer than Santa’s of books you really want to read but just haven’t quite found the time for yet. Neil Gaiman’s Coraline had been on mine for several years, but somehow it had never managed to climb to the top, nor had I found time to watch the film. A few weeks ago I spotted the graphic novel version in my local library–graphic novels are great in that they can be read much faster than the “full” version of the same tale–so I grabbed it and polished off the entire book off in around an hour.

This straight adaptation uses chunks of Gaiman’s original text without much alteration, which some consider a let down as the text doesn’t flow as smoothly in the new format. I don’t read the format as often as many people do, so I failed to notice a problem, but fans of the comic/graphic novel genre have complained that the story needed re-working in order to better suit the medium.

Coraline is illustrated by P.Craig Russell who has worked on Sandman and also adapted Wagner’s The Ring of the Nibelung as a graphic novel for Dark Horse; his current work includes part one of the forthcoming graphic novel adaptation of Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. The illustrations certainly maintain the otherworldly creepiness of Sandman along with the series’ distinctive visual style of grotesque horror, which increases as the story builds toward its climax.

As a newbie to the story, but not to Gaiman’s work, I really enjoyed this version of Coraline. I can certainly appreciate many of the criticisms it has received in reviews–for one Coraline herself appears far older than her nine years–but without having built up my own visions and expectations for the story it was hard to be disappointed. I still intend to read the complete novel of Coraline, but for now the graphic novel has done more than enough to satisfy my curiosity.

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

 

Action Comics #17
Animal Man Vol. 4 Born To Be Wild TP
Batman Beyond Unlimited #13
Batman Deathblow The Deluxe Edition HC
Batwoman #17
Birds Of Prey #17
Catwoman #17
DC Universe Presents #17
Death Of Superman TP (New Edition)
Fables #126
Fables The Deluxe Edition Vol. 6 HC (resolicited)
Green Lantern #17
Green Lantern Corps #17
Green Lantern New Guardians #17
Hellblazer #300 (Final Issue)
JSA The Liberty Files The Whistling Skull #3 (Of 6)
Justice League #17 CP
Justice League Of America #1
Justice League Of America’s Vibe #1
Legion Of Super-Heroes #17
MAD Magazine #520
Nightwing #17
Red Hood And The Outlaws #17
Supergirl #17
Sword Of Sorcery #5
Teen Titans By Geoff Johns Omnibus Vol. 1 HC (resolicited)
Voodoo Vol. 2 The Killer In Me TP
Wonder Woman #17
Young Justice #25 FI
Alpha Big Time #1 (Of 5)
Avengers #6
Avengers By Brian Michael Bendis Vol. 5 HC PE
Avengers Vs Thanos TP
Avenging Spider-Man The Good The Green And The Ugly TP
Captain America #4
Captain Marvel #10
Daredevil #23
Dark Avengers #187
Deadpool #5
Disney Pixar Cars Magazine #12
Indestructible Hulk #4
Marvel Masterworks Atlas Era Jungle Adventure Vol. 3 HC
Marvel’s Thor Adaptation #2 (Of 2)
Morbius The Living Vampire #2
Nova #1
Punisher By Greg Rucka Vol. 3 TP
Savage Wolverine #2
Thor God Of Thunder #5
Ultimate Comics The Ultimates #21
Uncanny Avengers #1
Uncanny X-Men The Complete Collection By Matt Fraction Vol. 1 TP
Wolverine And The X-Men By Jason Aaron Vol. 2 TP
Wolverine MAX #4
X-Factor #252
X-Factor Vol. 18 Breaking Points TP


Alan Robert’s Killogy #3 (Of 4)
Borderlands Origins #4 (Of 4)
Chasing The Dead #4 (Of 4)
Dungeons And Dragons Classics Vol. 4 TP
Extreme Finale HC (New Printing)
Fever Ridge A Tale Of MacArthur’s Jungle War #1 (Of 8)
G.I. JOE #1
G.I. JOE The IDW Collection Vol. 1 HC
Godzilla #10
Hollows #3 (Of 4)
Jericho Season 4 #2 (Of 5)
Jinnrise #2 (Of 6)
Judge Dredd #4
Kill Shakespeare The Tide Of Blood #1 (Of 5)
Locke And Key Omega #3 (Of 7)
Magic The Gathering Path Of Vengeance #3 (Of 4)
My Little Pony Micro-Series #1 (Of 6)(Twilight Sparkle)
Popeye Classics #7
Star Trek #18
Star Trek Countdown To Darkness #2 (Of 4)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #19
Transformers Prime Rage Of The Dinobots #4 (Of 4)
Vitriol The Hunter #1 (Of 6)
Womanthology Space #5 (Of 5)
Avatar The Last Airbender The Promise HC
B.P.R.D. 1948 #5 (Of 5)
Baltimore The Widow And The Tank (OS)
Black Beetle No Way Out #2 (Of 4)
Conan The Barbarian #13
Dark Horse Presents #21
Ghost Omnibus Vol. 4 TP
Goon Vol. 12 Them That Raised Us Lament TP
HelmetGirls The Art Of Camilla d’Errico Vol. 2 HC
Mind MGMT #8
Neon Genesis Evangelion Comic Tribute TP
Number 13 #3
Resident Alien Vol. 1 Welcome To Earth TP

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

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

How You Can Help Peter David

Photo CC-BY-SA Derek Hofmann

Geekdoms of many colors have spread the word by now about Peter David’s stroke in the final days of 2012. His wife Kathleen has been posting updates on Peter’s site about his status. Today she writes to explain how we as fans can help Peter and his family:

Even though we have health insurance we have co-pays and the like. And since this stroke fell at the end of the year, we have all the new co-pays to deal with (I can honestly see those of you who have had to deal with this nodding your heads). And there are things that the insurance company just won’t cover (more head nodding). So we are at the beginning of what is going to be a very expensive year even though we are only 4 days in.

The most direct way is to buy his books from Crazy 8 Press or from Amazon or Barnes and Noble websites. These are books that he gets the money from directly and the most per book.

Because of their higher returns to the author, she specifically directs supporters to:

  • Pulling Up Stakes Part 1 and Pulling Up Stakes Part 2 — These are ebooks available for as little as 99 cents. Crazy 8 Press seems to be getting slammed right now, presumably with supportive fans, so here are the Amazon and Barnes and Noble links to them as well.
    Sick of vampire books? Movies? TV shows? Yeah. So are we. Sick of the entire unlife of vampires? Yeah. So is Vince Hammond. Unfortunately, Vince is in it up to his (wait for it) neck. Because Vince is a young vampire hunter who lives with his vampire hunter mother in an entire community of vampire hunters, who in turn are part of a cult of vampire hunters going back all the way to the French Revolution, which many believe to be an uprising of the poor against the rich but was actually a massive purging of vampires from the French nobility (hence the guillotine).
  • The Camelot Papers — Available in ebook or print-on-demand paperback. If that link doesn’t work, here it is on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
    A powerful ruler who’s considered by many to be simple-minded and vacuous and has serious father issues. A no-nonsense, polarizing woman who favors pants suits and pursues dubious agendas involving social needs. A remarkably magnetic leader of men with a reputation as a skirt-chaser. A scheming, manipulative adviser who is constantly trying to control public perceptions. A man seen as the next, great hope for the people, except there are disputes over his background and many contend he’s not what he appears to be.
  • The currently released Hidden Earth Saga (a third is in process): Darkness of the Light and Heights of the Depths
    Crazy8 lists only the Nook version, but Darkness of the Light is also available in print and Kindle versions on Amazon, as is Heights of the Depths.

Whether you love comics, Star Trek, Babylon 5, or sci-fi novels, there’s almost certainly something in his prolific bibliography to touch your geek interests. Peter David was one of the first geek authors I fell in love with. At my first con, I sat in a huge ballroom for some popular guest I no longer recall behind a family with two small children. When the panel ended, the wife asked the husband if he knew where his panel was. I didn’t think much of it until I went to the next panel I wanted to see, which was Peter David. Lo and behold, I’d been sitting behind him for the last hour and had no idea.

I still laugh when I remember asking him to sign a book afterwards. I said I’d bought a new copy because I was embarrassed to show how tattered the original was. He said, “I’d rather see that one, since it means you love the book and aren’t just going to sell it on eBay!” (The next year I brought the tattered one.) He ended his panel by encouraging those who had come to see him to stay for a young, new writer with the undesirable spot of the last session on the last day of Dragon*Con.

His wife Kathleen I’ve mostly encountered from costuming and puppetry panels at Dragon*Con. I haven’t sewn a costume seam in years without hearing her in my head complaining about costumers who create something beautiful and then don’t clip the threads at the end. (I’m clipping, I’m clipping, I promise!) They’re both tireless contributors to so many facets of geekdom. If you’re a longtime fan, this is a chance to support someone who has influenced your fandom(s). If you’d never heard of Peter David until a few paragraphs ago, this is a chance to discover a writer you won’t regret meeting and to help a fellow human in the process.

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — January 2nd, 2013

MLP Issue 2 Preview  Image Courtesy of IDW Publishing
MLP Issue 2 Preview Image Courtesy of IDW Publishing

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to the first installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner in 2013! This week, we look back at My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Mara #1 where we recap our adventures in comics for the week.

Dakster Sullivan — My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #2

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is one of the few comic books I read that I can share with my seven-year old son. This is the first series he’s reading that has cliff hangers at the end and it’s taken him a little getting used to.

This issue follows our favorite ponies as they continue their adventure to rescue their friends. The younger ponies are driving Queen Chrysalis crazy and she is just as excited to get rid of them as the Mane Six is to rescue them. They find their way into a cave and, while making their way through, run into a troll who has a love for ponies. After winning over the troll, the ponies face another enemy that threatens to tear them apart and set them on their own individual journeys to find their young friends.

Continue reading GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — January 2nd, 2013

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — November 21st, 2012

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe  Image: Copyright DC Comics
He-Man and the 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. This week we talk He-Man and the Masters of the Universe IssueAvengers Assemble and Library Wars: Love & War.

Dakster Sullivan — He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Issue #4 (of 6)

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe,a  six-part mini-series, has been an amazing ride so far. In this series, He-Man’s world is not as it should be since Skeletor went back in time and screwed with everyone’s future. In each issue we see Adam (and eventually Teela), face off against one of Skeletor’s henchmen and get one step closer to dealing with Skeletor himself.

This issue focuses on Teela and Adam’s run in with Evil-Lyn and her Warlord, Man-At-Arms. Seeing Man-At-Arms fighting against Adam and not remembering Teela was interesting to say the least, but I could still see a sparkle of his old self trying to come through. Eventually, he, like Adam and Teela, starts to remember things of his former life, before Skeletor changed the course of history. The issue ends with a really good cliff hanger and I’m eager to see what happens next.

As far as the series goes, She-ra is absent from this world, and since I know absolutely nothing about the character, I’m not missing her. Skeletor is true to his evil roots in his dialog and his attitude towards his henchmen’s failures at killing Adam.

Continue reading GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — November 21st, 2012

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — July 25th, 2012

Captain Marvel / Image: Marvel Comics
Captain Marvel / Image: 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.

Kelly Knox – Captain Marvel Issue #1
Ms. Marvel stars in her new series, Captain Marvel, and she makes quite the impact in its debut. The issue opens with a newspaper front page announcing that Carol Danvers’ mask is off, and she has donned a new costume and a new hairdo.

The newspaper sets a retro tone for the opening of the book as Ms. Marvel fights alongside Captain America as the Absorbing Man makes a mess of things in New York City. With the villain shouting outdated sexist comments like, “Wouldn’t catch me gettin’ bossed around by no broad” and “just like a woman,” it made me question in which decade the action was taking place. It wasn’t until I noticed some onlookers snapping pictures with their cell phones that I stopped wondering and paid attention to the story again.

If you’re not familiar with Ms. Marvel, Captain Marvel #1 takes just a few panels to give you her background and how she obtained her marvelous powers. The series isn’t a reboot of Ms. Marvel. Her long history is still there, and the first issue does a wonderful job of showing her in action to tell you about her personality and career as both a superhero and an Air Force colonel. GeekMom Corrina, who also picked up the issue this week, mentioned, “I thought DeConnick captured Carol as a military officer perfectly.”

As promised, Captain America and Spider-Man make appearances in the first issue, and Cap is instrumental in encouraging Carol Danvers to take up the name of Captain Marvel.

I had high expectations for this series and Captain Marvel #1 paid off. I recommend picking it up.

Continue reading GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — July 25th, 2012