DC This Week: ‘The Legend of Wonder Woman’ Soars

It’s rare when Ray and I rave about a book for multiple issues, and for the same reasons. When that happens, it usually means we’re reading something extraordinary. That’s the case with The Legend of Wonder Woman #3, our book of the week, and those superlatives apply to the series. The series is so good, and so what Wonder Woman has needed that I basically teared up reading that.

Sounds silly, right? But Wonder Woman means a lot to many people. There’s a reason everyone smiles at me when I wear my Wonder Woman shirts or hoodies or shoes: people love her. It’s about time she has received a story deserving of that love.

Overall, it was good week for DC issues, too, including one of my favorite issues of Batman & Robin Eternal for a long time, Constantine musing on how awful fairies are, Superman getting to be Superman again in Action Comics #50, and some good stuff from Gotham Academy, Starfire, and Batman/Superman. Plus, the crossover between Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles continues to work, even showing some character depth.

Yeah, there were a few that mucked it up for the rest. See the bottom of our list. Continue reading DC This Week: ‘The Legend of Wonder Woman’ Soars

‘The Legend of Wonder Woman’ Chapter 18: Exclusive Preview

If you’re not reading The Legend of Wonder Woman, I urge you to start because it’s the best Wonder Woman origin story that I’ve ever read. (Issue #3 of the print series is on sale this Wednesday and, go, BUY IT.)

The digital chapters are well ahead of the print chapters, however. Check out this exclusive preview of chapter 18, which will go live on Thursday.

As the Duke’s legion of undead warriors attacks, Diana must decide whether to chase her answers of home, or use her new strengths to defend the Outsiders.
Writer & Penciller: Renae De Liz
Inker & Colorist: Ray Dillon

Cover Artists: De Liz and Dillon
The chapter will be available for download Thursday via the DC Comics App, Readdcentertainment.com, iBooks, comiXology.com, Google Play, Kindle Store, Nook Store, and iVerse ComicsPlus.

Continue reading ‘The Legend of Wonder Woman’ Chapter 18: Exclusive Preview

DC Comics’ Big Three Are Big Kids in ‘Study Hall of Justice’

When the team behind Li’l Gotham is back for a unique take on DC’s Big Three in a book for kids, it’s almost a no-brainer for any Batman, Superman, or Wonder Woman fan to pick it up. You know, for the kids. (If you want to share it, I mean.)

Study Hall of Justice (DC Comics: Secret Hero Society #1) is a new middle-grade book series from Scholastic that is part journal, part graphic novel, and all DC Comics fun.

Continue reading DC Comics’ Big Three Are Big Kids in ‘Study Hall of Justice’

‘Wonder Woman at Super Hero High’ is Super for Tweens

DC Super Hero Girls continues its path to superhero-stardom with the release of a new middle grade book series. Wonder Woman at Super Hero High, written by Lisa Yee, is out today for readers ages 8-12 years.

The novel is a look at a high school with an all-star lineup of superhero students, but the characters are so relatable that readers of any age don’t need superpowers themselves to identify with them.

Continue reading ‘Wonder Woman at Super Hero High’ is Super for Tweens

Comics Club-4-Kidz (February): Kid Tested, Kid Approved

Comics Club-4-Kids is a monthly club exploring comic books for a variety of  age ranges. Since some families have multiple age ranges, Comics Club-4-Kidz helps parents by finding similar themes across varying content so that families can have conversations together. Our intent is to approach literary analysis and information literacy through the use of comics. Character, narrative structure, problem solving/plot development, and visual text were chosen as the focus discussion points to help mirror what our kids are learning in school. Our goal is to help kids in schools or kids homeschooling find new ways to approach literacy.

This month’s theme: gender.

This month’s comics:  Power UP, Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur, and Superman/Wonder Woman.

Continue reading Comics Club-4-Kidz (February): Kid Tested, Kid Approved

Becoming My Own Superhero

Admittedly, I’ve come late to the superhero game. I didn’t really, truly get into The Avengers until the Marvel movie universe made everyone love superheroes (admit it: Captain America is dreamy). Growing up, I had a general awareness of Batman, Superman, and all the other biggies, and I do remember liking Superfriends (I always very specifically liked Jayna of the Wonder Twins). But in general, that whole world just wasn’t my thing. Continue reading Becoming My Own Superhero

‘Art of the Brick: DC Comics’ (plus Giveaway)

There are only a handful of themes which truly stand the test of time. The kind of things shared between generations; dancing across language barriers; appreciated by any child, anywhere, anytime. Lego is definitely one. DC characters are absolutely there. Art is certainly there.

And then whoa! You have someone like Nathan Sawaya combining all three?!? Welcome to the Art of the Brick: DC Comics. Prepare to be joyfully stunned.

Also below is our giveaway but one big caveat: it’s for Australia residents only.

Continue reading ‘Art of the Brick: DC Comics’ (plus Giveaway)

‘Secret Six’ Goes Mystical In an Excellent Overall Week From DC

Cover to Secret Six #7, image copyright DC Comics
Cover to Secret Six #7, image copyright DC Comics

Welcome to our weekly recap of DC Comic’s new releases. Ray is the prototypical DC reader and I’m the agnostic, lapsed DC fan.

When this week was good, as with Secret Six, Titans Hunt, Martian Manhunter, Black Canary, Gotham Academy, Batman & Robin Eternal, Doctor Fate and Justice League, it was very good. Also excellent was Clean Room #1 by Gail Simone and Jon Davis-Hunt, the new Vertigo mature readers comic, and that earned a bonus review at the end of this column.

When it was bad, well, it was awful. Wonder Woman and Superman/Wonder Woman hit new lows. Continue reading ‘Secret Six’ Goes Mystical In an Excellent Overall Week From DC

DC Super Hero Girls: This Time, They Asked Us

When it was decided to launch a new line of female superhero shows, toys, graphic novels, and dolls for 6-12 year-old girls, the developers did something that is radical in the comic book world:

They asked the girls what they wanted.

Tania Missad, the Consumer Insights Director at Mattel, said the entire DC Super Hero Girls line is geared to exactly what their target audience asked for.

“What we found was that they wanted these heroes to be empowering, to be strong,” she said during an interview with the entire creative team behind DCSHG at New York Comic Con.

For instance, Missad knew from her experience in working with doll brands like Barbie, that normally the favorite colors of girls this age are pink and purple. But the girls surveyed for DCSHG were adamant that Supergirl’s costume retain its classic blue-and-red color scheme.

“They wanted classic, recognizable superheroes,” Missad said. “They wanted authenticity.”

Those of us who longed for just these kinds of toys when growing up are nodding our head thinking, “D’uh, I could have told you that,” but DC Entertainment particularly has had a blind spot when marketing to girls and women in the past. Continue reading DC Super Hero Girls: This Time, They Asked Us

The Bat-Crew Is Back Together, Including Cassandra Cain

Welcome to our weekly recap of DC Comic’s new releases. Ray is the committed DC reader and Corrina is the somewhat lapsed DC fan.

This week sees the debut of Batman & Robin Eternal which also features the return of a fan favorite character, another chapter in the complicated and intense Omega Men story, the continued adventures of that crazy couple, Midnighter and Grayson, and indie legend Carla “Speed” McNeil delivers a fine Wonder Woman story in Sensation Comics.

Batman & Robin Eternal #1 — James Tynion IV & Scott Snyder, story, James Tynion IV, script, Tony Daniel, pencils, Sandu Florea, inks

Ray: 9.5/10 (Book of the Week)

Corrina: Buy It (But I have reservations)

Ray: The second act of the greatest DC comics weekly ever begins here, and it does not disappoint. With a new creative squad in place and once again headlined by Tynion and overseen by Snyder, all the pieces are in place for another runaway hit. While the issue does push some buttons that might upset people, it’s been very clear with Eternal that things are rarely what they seem, and in terms of character, the Bat-family is rarely done better.

Continue reading The Bat-Crew Is Back Together, Including Cassandra Cain

Make Paper Folding Your Superpower With ‘DC Super Heroes Origami’

There’s something a little bit magical about turning a piece of paper into a crane, bear, or dragon through the practice of origami. But turning a piece of paper into Batman? That’s being a flat-out origami superhero. Thanks to John Montroll, origami master and author of DC Super Heroes Origami, you and your kids will be making super origami versions of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and more in no time.

Continue reading Make Paper Folding Your Superpower With ‘DC Super Heroes Origami’

‘DC Super Hero Girls’: The Doors of Super Hero High Are Open

The much-anticipated (at least by my six-year-old) new series DC Super Hero Girls kicks off today with a re-designed web site and webisode! The short animated episode introduces us all to Super Hero High, where heroes and villains alike go to school to learn about their powers and make friends.

Continue reading ‘DC Super Hero Girls’: The Doors of Super Hero High Are Open

‘Prez’: Political Polemic or Entertaining Satire?

cover copyright DC Comics

Welcome to our weekly recap of DC Comic’s new releases where Ray Goldfield, long time DC reader and fan, and myself, more cynical and lapsed DC reader, give our thoughts. This week, we’re nearly 100 percent in agreement but where we disagree, we seriously disagree.

For instance, we both love Secret Six and Black Canary, but Ray believes that Prez is an absolute failure and I love it for its brilliant satire of the political world. He also thinks the current run of Wonder Woman is getting better.

If only.

Secret Six #6 – Gail Simone, writer, Tom Derenick, artist
Ray: 9.5/10 (Book of the Week)
Corrina: Buy It.

Ray: Now that Secret Six has hit its groove, it is quickly resuming its place as one of DC’s best books. Continue reading ‘Prez’: Political Polemic or Entertaining Satire?

DC Comics This Week: You’re Gonna Love This Wonder Woman

cover copyright DC Comics.
cover 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. As the last week of the month, it’s a relatively light week but the shining stars for me and Ray are twofold.

One, Detective Comics #44, which manages to be darkly funny and handles the cast of Gotham’s police officers better than any story since the late, great Gotham Central. This is what the Gotham show could be, if it focused on the right elements, instead of attempting to be an over-the-top villain fest.

Two, DC Comics Bombshells, which features a Wonder Woman we can get behind. Heck, the story in this issue would make a great start to a Wonder Woman movie.

But we part ways on Omega Men, a slow boiling SF story about terrorism, rebellion, and how far those oppressed are willing to go.

Detective Comics #44, Brian Buccellato, writers and colors, Fernando Blanco, art

Ray: Book of the Week. 9.5/10

Corrina: Buy It. 

Ray: Buccellato brings his  run to a close this month, making way for Pete Tomasi next month, and he closes it out in style.

This story could have easily gotten ridiculous, pitting Jim Gordon against a giant Joker Robot made from the power core of his own suit and piloted by the Joker’s Daughter, but the creative team has a deft touch that makes it work really well. The story doesn’t lose sight of the fact that Jim is very out of his element here, and his commentary on the absurdity of the situation is very welcome, as his practical, military-minded approach to taking out the threat. Continue reading DC Comics This Week: You’re Gonna Love This Wonder Woman

13 Awesomely Geeky Aprons

My Little Pony via MTCoffinz on Etsy.
My Little Pony Rainbow Dash apron via MTCoffinz on Etsy.

I love to cook, which means I have very few shirts that aren’t stained with sauces, oils, and other ingredients from my kitchen experiments.

A few years back, I went into this super-cute general store in New England and found a handmade apron for a mere $6. It was a no-brainer of a purchase, as well as one that has saved me from having to throw out half of my wardrobe.

Aprons are an essential kitchen tool, which come in a variety of patterns. While the $6 special is hard to come by, if you’re willing to pay a few extra bucks, there are a slew of them out there that allow you to extend your geeky fashion to the kitchen—or even the convention hall. Want to see what’s cooking in the world of geeky aprons? Check out the slideshow for 13 of my current favorites.

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Shopping List:

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.

Exclusive Preview: “Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #36”

My eldest son gave me the first collected volume of Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman for Mother’s Day this year. Sensation, a digital first weekly, exceeded expecttions, and I liked the dark but hopeful story, ‘Dig for Fire,’ by Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman so much I wished they could be the new creative team on the monthly comic.

Here’s your chance for a look at the series. DC Comics has provided GeekMom readers a free preview at the latest issue of Sensation, which is out tomorrow. This is written by Caitlin Kittredge, with interior art by Scott Hampton and cover art by Doug Mahnke with Christian Alamy and Carrie Strachan

From DC’s description:
“Echidna” part 1 of 2! The streets of Gotham are dangerous at night, but not for Diana of Themyscira. When she sees Echidna, Mother of Monsters, attacking a local thug, she jumps into the fray—though she never expected to take Echidna’s side!

The chapter will be available for download on Thursday via the DC Comics App, Readdcentertainment.com, iBooks, comiXology.com, Google Play, Kindle Store, Nook Store, and iVerse ComicsPlus.

SenWW 36 SF Cover





Unboxing Wonder Woman

Items unboxed. Photo by Corrina Lawson.

Loot crates are all the rage now. So when I saw the Wonder Woman hero box on Superherostuff.com, I decided to join the throng and see what the fuss was about, especially as it was advertised as $70 worth of stuff for $49.

I have two major thoughts on the Wonder Woman box.

One, there is awesome stuff and I’ll use every bit of it, especially the keychain and the water bottle, which will see daily use. The Wonder Woman doll will go on my writing desk, where my collection of Jim Gordon figures will be her Queensguard. Diana can also chat with my Nora Roberts bobblehead and roll their eyes at the world ruled by men.

Additionally, there was the fun of opening it, as you can see in the video, which features guest appearances by two of my minions and Smokey the cat. I apologize for the flip halfway through. I blame the cat, who had to get in on the action. I had to adjust my camera hand to shoo him away.

Second thought: The box is a bargain, but not spectacularly so. I’m a frugal New Englander. What I consider a bargain is the $60 I paid for $180 worth of clothes at the Bon Ton Department store after-Christmas sale. This box would have to be priced much lower, between $20 to $30 for me to rave about what a bargain it is.

But it is a great loot crate and does provide value for the cost.

The items inside:

  • Wonder Woman T-shirt—women’s XL size
  • Wonder Woman 32 oz. water bottle
  • Wonder Woman decal (not for painted surfaces)
  • Wonder Woman keychain
  • Wonder Woman plushie doll
  • Wonder Woman socks
  • Wonder Woman eraser that is too cute to use
  • 2 Wonder Woman pins
  • Wonder Woman comic—JLA #63, which is from the Joe Kelly/Dough Mahnke run
  • A mystery coupon code for up to 25 percent off, good for 30 days.

This would make a tremendous gift for Mother’s Day, birthdays, and holidays. My kids wanted to divide up the stuff once we opened the box, but it’s mine, all mine.

Superherostuff.com also offers hero boxes for lots of DC and Marvel Heroes, as well as limited-edition boxes, such as this month’s box for Marvel’s Secret Wars.

GeekMom received this item for review.

7 More Super Wonder Woman Gifts and Wants

Black dome Tungsten Carbide ring with a Wonder Woman design. Photo courtesy of Custom Tungsten.

Even after two years, our list of “7 Super Wonder Woman Gifts and Wants” still has me, well, wanting. That’s probably because Wonder Woman never goes out of style. However, she does apparently go out of print, because some of the stuff on that original list is no longer available. In other words, it’s time for an update.

Oh yes, I still want that mixer. And yes, it’s still only available in Brazil. Sigh. That said, there are many other awesome Wonder Women-themed goodies out there.

This list may be a little late for Mother’s Day gifts, but really, any time is a perfect time for a little something devoted to the Amazon princess. Here are our latest Wonder Woman-themed gift picks.

Custom Tungsten Wonder Woman Rings
These aren’t quite as strong as Wonder Woman’s bracelets, but each of Custom Tungsten’s Wonder Woman-themed rings are still pretty durable. They’re also pretty eye-catching, with a variety of different patterns available (including the one pictured above) in designs ranging from 4 to 10mm. If you want it to have a personal touch, opt for the engraving. Either way, each one is custom-made, so make sure you measure wisely; actual ring sizes range from 4 to 17. [$24.50 to $49]

Wonder Woman Superhero Socks
Sometimes, you want to hide your superpowers. These Wonder Woman socks are perfect for putting your Wonder Woman fandom out there, but you can also easily hide them under the outfit of your everyday alter ego. That’s because they have all of the Wonder Wonder flash, without the cape. Have you seen those socks with the little capes on the back? They’re cute, but I prefer my socks cape-free. It’s hard enough running, without having something flapping in the breeze. That said, if you want the flash without the cape, these faux lace-up socks would also be a pretty perfect accessory. [$8.99 to $11.99]

Wonder Woman-inspired Sassy Apron. Photo courtesy of Sassy Apron on Etsy.

Wonder Woman Apron (Part 2)
Despite having superpowers in the kitchen, stains are my nemesis. They’ve also ruined more than one favorite shirt. While the apron that I previously mentioned is still available, I really love this one that Sassy Apron is selling on Etsy. And really, having a spare apron in your arsenal may be necessary. This one is cool, cute, and it’s made to order—as every super-suit should be. [$42]

Wonder Woman: The Complete Newspaper Comics. Cover image: IDW Publishing.

Wonder Woman: The Complete Newspaper Comics
Get ready to explore the origin of the world’s first and most kick-ass female superhero through 196 pages of black-and-white comics. This coffee table book has all of the strips that ran in newspapers from May 1, 1943, until December 1, 1944. These haven’t been printed since the series’ original run, making it even more of a must-have. Besides familiar faces, the Lasso of Truth, the Invisible Plane, the bracelets, and so much more, the book has an opening essay that provides a few peeks at promotional materials, original sketches, and other tidbits. [$35.25]

Wonder Woman Bangle Watch
With so many people relying on smartphones to provide the time these days, you don’t see as many watches. This is a watch worth showing off. Of course, it’s not as cool as Wonder Woman’s bracelets (and it won’t deflect bullets, either). That said, it does have the power to keep you from being late! [$44.95]

Wonder Woman pillows. Photo courtesy of Comicscon on Etsy.

Wonder Woman Pillows & Pillowcases
Next time I go to take a snooze on the couch, I will dream of kicking some serious ass—at least if I have one of these pillows to put my weary head upon. Choose between different patterns and sizes, all of which are handmade by Comicscon on Etsy. You can even opt to purchase just the cushion fabric, the cover, or the cover and filling, so you can create your perfect Wonder Woman pillow. [Starts at $8]

Wonder Woman Messenger Bag. Photo courtesy of Think Geek.

Wonder Woman Messenger/Diaper Bag
I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine wearing a utility belt. This thing is much more my style, and I don’t even care that it’s “technically” a diaper bag. Officially licensed by DC Comics, this messenger bag has mesh pockets, an insulated bottle holder, and space for whatever else you need to carry on a daily basis. And just in case you are toting a superhero-in-training, it comes packaged with a changing pad and cape-shaped burp cloth. Think Geek is currently out of stock (of course!) on this bag, but it can be found on Amazon as well. [$37.98]

The Cliffs of Insanity: Where Chuck Wendig Is Wrong

© DC Comics
The new DC SuperHero Girls line announced this week, image via DC Comics

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of our climb up the cliffs of insanity that is pop culture. The above headline is eye-catching and completely a reflection of the article below but first, a disclaimer:

Mr. Wendig, I enjoy your blogs immensely, love your presence on Facebook that leads to some terrific discussions, and while I don’t love your books yet, they’re on my to-be-read pile, including an ARC of your upcoming novel.

But with all due respect, you’re wrong about something in your column about the new DC Superhero Girls line. Oh, we agree that this is generally a good thing, but we disagree that by gendering this item boys will absorb the message that girly things are only for girls and boy things are only for boys. Before we can mix the marketing and make everything gender-neutral, we first have to solve one large issue: girls still need aspirational role models separate from boys.

They need to learn first that they’re just as valuable as boys, even if they like pink. Especially if they like pink.

I would consider your concern for your son and his view of girls valid if there weren’t already a ton of young reader books that treat girls like people, starting with Harry Potter. I know this because I was careful what I bought for my son (now 19) when he was growing up because I wanted him to read about wonderful boys and girls. He loved the female characters in the Ranger’s Apprentice series, and, more recently, there’s Honey Lemon and Go Go from Big Hero 6, Gru’s three daughters in the Despicable Me series, Sabine from Star Wars Rebels, and, heck, both Avatar series.

I’m not saying that we don’t need more representation in pop culture aimed right now at men but I’m saying that even suggesting gendering this superhero line to girls is possibly contributing to the overall gendering problem is misguided and, well, just plain wrong.

We need DC Superhero Girls. Girls need them. Society, right now, lacks all the tools to teach girls that they matter.

I wish you could have been with me, Mr. Wendig, while manning the GeekMom booth at GeekGirlCon last year. We had board books featuring Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. I was supposed to be giving them away but one little girl, about four years old, saw the Wonder Woman book, grabbed it, literally hugged it, and promptly sat down on the floor to try and read it.

Her joy at seeing a book for her, finally, was the highlight of my con.

2015-02-20 17.05.25
A board book I found in CVS, of all places, photo by Corrina Lawson

Here’s a dirty secret: sometimes girls want and need stories that speak to them and not necessarily to boys.

And that’s okay.

There’s a reason GeekMom is separate from GeekDad. I wrote about why that is in another blog but, in short, we live in an unequal society. It’s all well and good for girls to read about Hermione and the other great female characters in Harry Potter but, in the end, it’s Harry who’s the main character, Harry who is the hero. We can guess at many events with Hermione but they’re not the focus of the book because she’s not the main characters. (Thus, reams of fanfic were born.)

When I was growing up, I devoured my Batman, Captain America, and Iron Man comics, all of which had fascinating female characters like Bethany Cabe, Sharon Carter, or Barbara Gordon. I also read my Black Stallion series starring Alec Ramsey, my Tolkien, and my Mary Stewart Merlin books, all with male lead characters and some with three-dimensional female characters.

I also read Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. When my daughter, soon to be a college graduate, was a young reader, she devoured The Baby-Sitters Club series. I wouldn’t change those books one iota to appeal more to boys. If boys want to pick them up, fine, but they spoke mainly to girls.

That’s good.

I can only imagine my glee as an 8-year-old if someone told me there would be a Lego set of Nancy Drew, with her two best friends, and her awesome blue roadster convertible, and maybe one depicting the secret tunnel. I would have been all over that as a Christmas present, begging and begging.

And Trixie? A Lego set with Trixie and her Bob-White Club?

Sign me the f*** up.

No boys need apply.

I’m sure if there had been a Baby-Sitters Club Lego set, my daughter would have been all over that. I’m sure she’d have devoured action figures and t-shirts like she did the books. These books were about female friendships, helping each other, and surviving.

My daughters are too old now for this new Superhero Girls young reader books series. But I can picture a little girl out there, maybe African-American, wandering down the book or toy aisle and seeing Bumblebee available in a story or as a Lego set and tugging at her parent’s hand, saying the child equivalent of “Sign me the f*** up.”

Girls need their own stories, in way that boys don’t, because boys already own the vast expanse of the pop culture. Your worry that this gendering is going to damage your son and give him the message of “oh, see, these are girl toys” is likely misplaced.

Because I see the message as:  “Girls might have their own way of doing things sometimes but they can be superheroes too!”

Girls and boys already know at an early age that society is gendered. What girls are taught is that means they’re weaker and sillier than boys. This line is directed to showing them that “girly is not weak,” a message that Wonder Woman is uniquely positioned to send. This week on Twitter, Shea Fontana, the writer of the DC Superhero Girls books, told Gail Simone that her Wonder Woman comics were an inspiration. With that basis, I can’t see these books as being anything but positive.

So what if some of them emphasize pink? Some girls love pink.

Mr. Wendig, you should have your son read them,  your son needs to know that girls can be main characters and that being girl or liking pink isn’t weak.

But it’s not your son who needs to internalize that message the most.

It’s young girls.

To girls, it’s going to send a message that, yes, you can be the hero of your own stories, you don’t have to aspire to be the female Tony Stark, you can be Bumblebee, who also created her own costume and powers. You don’t have to aspire to be Superman, you can aspire to be Wonder Woman.

Now all we need is Lois Lane, Girl Reporter, added to the announced line, and I’d be in Nirvana.

Sign me the f*** up.

‘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.

The Cliffs of Insanity: Kindness Shouldn’t Make You a Doormat

Lily James as Cinderella, in one of her few moments of doing what she wants. Image via Walt Disney Co.

Hello and welcome to this week’s adventures climbing the cliffs of insanity. This week, I ponder why the kindness displayed in Big Hero 6 and Disney’s new live action Cinderella struck me so differently, Wonder Woman gets a new costume as DC doubles down on stabby things, and, down at the bottom of the post, you’ll see a Goodreads widget to win one of my books in softcover. Enter fast, as the giveaway ends tonight, March 13. 

But first, the virtues of kindness and how they’re perceived differently for men and women.

The twins, now 15, came with me to a press screening of Cinderella last week. I had no preconceptions about what this new movie would be like, though I hoped the fairytale had been updated for modern times. Instead, what we watched was essentially a live-action version of the animated film from 1950. It entertained all of us, save for a slow beginning, and any movie with Derek Jacobi and Richard Madden (Robb Stark) can’t be all bad. Plus, Lily James did a fine job with the title role.

But the story itself bothers me for reasons I couldn’t articulate at first.

I thought of how much I loved Baymax’s kindness in Big Hero 6 and how that story taught Hiro that violence and rage aren’t the answer. So why did Cinderella’s kindness in the face of a stepmother who hated her and stepsisters who dismissed her make me so angry?

The answer is that Baymax exists to help Hiro deal with his anger and grief. Hiro’s story is that he must control his darker emotions and become a hero. Also, Baymax doesn’t stand by and do what Hiro asks him to do. He becomes involved, literally pushing his way into Hiro’s life.

In contrast, Cinderella’s story showed the death of her parents and her home being turned into a virtual prison. Her reaction? Just let them because it’s… courageous? All Cinderella has to do is to exist, let her innate goodness shine through, and all will be well.

Kindness is why the Prince falls in love with Cinderella and why the Fairy Godmother (wonderfully played by Helena Bonham Carter) gives Cinderella the night off and the dress. Cinderella has no character journey. She’s the same lovely girl at the end of the story as she was at the beginning.

Cinderella the movie tells us that women should be kind and deal with all sorts of horrible things, and if they do and just wait around, good things will happen. If you believe that, perhaps there’s this bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you.

Worse, Cinderella isn’t kind at the end. Yes, she forgives her stepmother, but that gesture is hollow because the narration informs us that the woman and her daughters have been banished from the kingdom. Now, that’s cruel because these three women have no means of supporting themselves and while the stepmother may have earned her fate, the daughters knew no better. Aside: How did Cate Blanchett manage to somehow make me sympathize with the stepmother in several scenes? Possibly because the character’s fear came through.

Cinderella could have been shown being proactive and won over her stepsisters’ allegiance at the end through kindness. That would have made her more proactive, kept the fairytale mostly intact, and made the kindness into a superpower of sorts, as Baymax does.

Alas, that’s not the movie we get.


Onto Another Princess… One Who Seems to Never Traffic in Kindness Anymore

Page 1 of a Children's board book about Wonder Woman.
Page 1 of a children’s board book about Wonder Woman. WW copyright DC Comics.
The new Wonder Woman costume coming in April. Image via DC Comics
The new Wonder Woman costume coming in April. Image via DC Comics.

When I said DC seemed to consider Wonder Woman “Princess McStabby Sword,” that wasn’t a suggestion. I was being ironic. And yet here’s the new Wonder Woman costume, beginning in April. First thing I noticed: Why does she look so angry?

Second thing I noticed: Why does she have two swords now? Has she been watching Wolverine: Origins?

The rest of the costume is a bit busy, but mostly fine. But this is not Wonder Woman. It’s some angry warrior who seems ready to poke out your eyes.

I want the Wonder Woman from the first image. This is from the introductory page of a children’s board book. In three short sentences, it provides young readers with a perfect encapsulation of Princess Diana. If a children’s book knows who Wonder Woman is, why doesn’t DC Comics?

Moving Onto a Prince
Ghost Phoenix is the third book in my Phoenix Institute superhero series and the one that features a lost prince from history as the hero. I like to think the heroine is kind. But her journey in the book is to stop being a doormat for her family and create her own path in the world. That’s my version of the fairytale.

Comic Book Corner—The X-Files, Futures End, Wonder Woman, and More!

Conan/Red Sonja #1 image from Dark Horse/Dynamite Comics
Conan/Red Sonja #1 image from Dark Horse/Dynamite 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 walk with a snowman and check out the darker side comics with Futures End, Master of the Occult, The X-Files, and more!

Corrina—Earth 2: World’s End #16, various creators (DC), Futures End #38, various creators (DC) , Conan/Red Sonja #1, written by Jim Zub and Gail Simone, art by Dan Panosian (Dark Horse/Dynamite), Doctor Spektor, Master of the Occult #1 written by Mark Waid, art by Neil Edwards (Dynamite), Wonder Woman #38 written by Meredith Finch, art by David Finch

I’m going to lump in Earth 2: World’s End and the apostrophe-less Futures End together because I read them back to back and they somehow seem part of the same story. In a larger sense, they are, as Futures End takes place about five years after the events of World’s End. But in an entertainment sense, they’re even more similar, because they’re both about worlds where horrible things happen, where people are dying by the hordes, and the ultimate evil apparently can’t be stopped, even if small victories are won.

It makes for a nihilistic reading experience, though it can have moments of interest here and there, such as Lana Lang mothering the uber-powerful Fifty-Sue in Futures End or the final death of Superman in Lois’ arms in World’s End. But, eventually, our heroes will lose. Or they’ll get to the end and DC will push the reboot button and wipe away both stories to some new universe. If you like to see heroes and worlds falling apart, these are the books for you.

Age recommendation: DC has these at Teen plus.

Conan and Red Sonja both owe their existence to Robert E. Howard. Sorta. Conan is a direct creation, Red Sonja was inspired by a Howard character and the rights to her stories are elsewhere. Which explains why Dark Horse and Dynamite Comics had to agree first before this barbarian team-up could happen. Whatever legal conditions had to be met, I’m very glad they did because Conan/Red Sonja #1 is a terrific story of our sword-wielding warriors after the same prize. Their intelligence is highlighted as much as their sword-play and the art makes them both look good. Looking forward to #2.

Age recommendation: 10+ for violence.

I had no idea what to expect from Doctor Spektor, Master of the Occult #1, which I picked up because Mark Waid’s name was on the book. I give it serious points for not being just another story of an occult hero. Doctor Spektor is the star of a reality show in which he fights the occult for survival and television ratings. A great angle, especially since Spektor crashes hard emotionally after each big mission. The first issue ends on a cliffhanger and I look forward to more adventures.

Age recommendation: Edwards art is stylized rather than gory, so 10 + for serious subject matter.

Wonder Woman is suffering from God of War disease in issue #38, bringing division everywhere she goes. That’s the explanation for the off-balance, incompetent, and whiny Princess Diana we’ve seen so far in the Finch’s run. I suppose I’m supposed to feel bad for Diana but instead I want her to grow back the backbone that she used to have. Donna Troy returns at the end as Diana’s opponent and under the control of the evil traditional Amazons. Wonder Woman seems to get rebooted every few years. I’m counting the days until the next one.

Age recommendation: 12 + for gore.

Lisa Tate—Abigail and the Snowman (Part One of Four) written and illustrated by Roger Langridge (Kaboom!)

Abigail and the Snowman \  Image Copyright Kaboom!
Abigail and the Snowman \ Image Copyright Kaboom!

Ever since the preview for writer and artist Roger Langridge’s Abigail and The Snowman was introduced to readers during the 2014 Halloween ComicFest, I wanted to pick up this four-part tale that reminded me of the kid-and-creature alliance of Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes.

Poor Abigail is facing the uncomfortable social adjustments of a new school and a new home. She is intelligent and exceptionally creative, but feeling very lonely and isolated. The other children have given her the typical outsider treatment, and she slogs through her first day at school teased and ignored. To make matters worse, her father has just been fired from his new job, forcing him to put their plans for her birthday on hold. Abigail’s only friend in the world is her make-believe invisible dog, Claude. That is until she meets Specimen 486, a Yeti who has escaped the prison of a government facility known as the Ministry of Unusual Phenomena. Well dressed and well educated (unlike those Sasquatch “bunch of hippies”), Specimen 486 quickly becomes Abigail’s new Claude. With a pair of Laurel and Hardy-esque bumbling G-Men in pursuit of their escapee, the next three issues should be quite the riotous romp.

I related well with Abigail, as I always found myself watching the others on the playground, and getting the brush off when trying to connect with new friends. This social disconnect is a condition I know several young people have faced from time-to-time, so this comic will be familiar, humorous comfort to many young readers who might feel they are the only ones to ever feel alone. Who knows? There may be a witty Yeti and adventure awaiting us all someday.

Age Recommendation: All Ages

Sophie Brown—Millennium #1 by Joe Harris with art by Colin Lorimer & Joana Lafuente

Millenium #1 \ Image: IDW Publishing
Millenium #1 \ Image: IDW Publishing

Since acquiring The X-Files license in 2013, IDW has released a number of mini series in addition to its ongoing Season 10 monthly. Today sees the release of the latest addition to the Carter-verse comics as Mulder and Scully’s sister show Millennium gets its first ever comic book release.

For those unfamiliar with the title, Millennium ran from 1996 – 1999 and starred Lance Henriksen as retired FBI profiler Frank Black, a man who sees visions from the killer’s perspective. Not technically a spin-off of The X-Files, the show inhabited the same fictional universe with a few characters occasionally crossing over. Frank Black’s final TV appearance was in a seventh season X-Files episode when the two shows crossed over for Millennium’s finale. The show changed much over the course of its three seasons but much of its focus was on the Millennium Group, a secret society masquerading as private investigators who were actually trying to bring about the apocalypse. They were thwarted by Frank Black, Mulder, and Scully on Dec. 31st, 1999.

Issue #1 of Millennium begins a few days prior to that on Dec. 24th, 1999. In scenes broadly reminiscent of Die Hard, we see an office Christmas party in a New York skyscraper and two men in coveralls arriving to do some work on the servers. The men discuss the way society is crumbling as they attach a device to the wiring. Finished in their task, they take glasses of champagne and look out at the Twin Towers as the first man recites the Millennium Group slogan, “this is who we are.” There’s a nice touch here as we catch a glimpse of the show’s (and the Group’s) logo—an ouroboros—with a quotation from Seneca the Younger. Each episode of Millennium showed a relevant quotation immediately after the opening credits, and the inclusion of that small detail helps keep the vibe of the show present.

We jump forward in time to the present and a parole board meeting for one Monte Propps: a name probably familiar only to die-hard X-Files fans. Propps was mentioned just once on the show during the pilot episode (OK technically twice, that scene was repeated as a flashback in season four) when Agent Scully recalls that Mulder wrote a monograph that helped put him away. We never knew any details of his crimes or his conviction, only that Mulder’s monograph was on serial killers and the occult. Through a series of flashbacks intermixed with Mulder’s statement to the probation officers, we learn the horrific details of exactly what Propps did back in 1987, and that he claimed to hear voices.

As he signs out of the building, Mulder notices a familiar name on the sheet: Frank Black. He tracks Frank down to his motel where he has surrounded himself with newspaper. We get to see one of Frank’s visions which translate well to the comic format thanks in part to some fantastic use of color from Joana Lafuente, then Mulder and Frank share some nice exposition about what the latter has been up to these past 15 years. Frank endures another terrifying vision before Mulder gets a call he didn’t want to receive. The issue ends at a home for recently released inmates where new resident Monte Propps receives a visit from a young lady. Soon after, Mulder and Frank discover him surrounded by the same runes he drew at his own crime scenes.

As a fan of the show, I enjoyed this opening issue immensely. It’s great to see Frank back after 15 years and I like the decision to link an old name like Monte Propps to the Millennium Group. However I did find it more than a little strange that Mulder was the key character in this story when surely, in a book titled Millennium, Frank should be center stage? The overt presence of Mulder also makes Scully’s absence striking. There is no explanation given as to why Mulder is investigating this case without bothering to even inform his partner by phone. Only regular readers of Season 10 are likely to recall that this story runs parallel to #18 of that series, where Scully is off handling the return of Agents Doggett & Reyes. I did find myself wondering how easy this book would be to follow for those unfamiliar with the show, however I also doubt that this particular mini series is intended for anyone besides old school fans.

Age Recommendation: 18+/R
Disclaimer: GeekMom received this item for review purposes. 

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


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

Aquaman And The Others Vol. 1 Legacy Of Gold TP
Batman And Robin #38
Batman Eternal #42
Batman Superman #18
Batwoman #38
Beware The Batman Vol. 1 TP
Birds Of Prey Vol. 5 Soul Crisis TP
Earth 2 World’s End #16
Ex Machina Vol. 4 TP
Fables #148
Green Lantern New Guardians #38
Infinite Crisis The Fight For The Multiverse #7
JLA Vol. 6 TP
Justice League #38
Kitchen #3 (Of 8)
New 52 Futures End #38
North 40 TP (New Edition)
Red Hood And The Outlaws #38
Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #6
Supergirl #38
Teen Titans #6
Trinity Of Sin #4
Wonder Woman #38
All-New X-Factor #20 (Final Issue)
All-New X-Men #35
Amazing Spider-Man #13
Avengers Revelations TP
Black Widow #14
Black Widow Vol. 2 The Tightly Tangled Web TP
Bucky Barnes The Winter Soldier #4
Captain America And The Mighty Avengers #4
Deadpool’s Art Of War #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Elektra #10
Fantastic Four #642
Guardians Of The Galaxy #23 GM
Iron Man Epic Collection Vol. 13 Stark Wars TP
Legendary Star-Lord #8 GM
Legendary Star-Lord Vol. 1 Face It I Rule TP
Loki Agent Of Asgard #10
Magneto #14
Magneto Vol. 2 Reversals TP
Marvel Masterworks The Uncanny X-Men Vol. 9 HC
Moon Knight #11
Original Sin Companion HC
Powers #1 New Series
Rocket Raccoon #7
Scarlet Spiders #3 (Of 3) Final Issue
Spider-Verse Team-Up #3 (Of 3) Final Issue
Spider-Woman #3 New Series
Superior Iron Man #4 New Series
Ultimate Spider-Man Ultimate Collection Vol. 5 TP
Wolverines #3 New Series
X-Force Vol. 2 Hide Fear TP
IDW Logo 2 Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

Batman The Silver Age Newspaper Comics Vol. 2 1968-1969 HC
Bigger Bang #3 (Of 4)
Black Dynamite TP
Borderlands #6
Borderlands Vol. 2 The Fall Of Fyrestone TP
Cartoon Network Super Secret Crisis War Vol. 1 TP
Creeple Peeple #1 (Of 3) New Mini-Series
Dungeons And Dragons Legends Of Baldur’s Gate #4
Dungeons And Dragons The Legend Of Drizzt Vol. 1 Homeland TP
G.I. JOE Snake Eyes Agent Of Cobra #1 (Of 5) New Mini-Series
Galaxy Quest The Journey Continues #1 (Of 4) New Mini-Series
Genius Collected The Alex Toth Slipcase Set HC
Imaginary Drugs TP
Indestructible #10
Judas The Last Days TP
Judge Dredd Classics The Dark Judges #1 (Of 5) New Mini-Series
Millennium #1 New Series
October Faction #4
Popeye Classics #30 Kid Friendly
Popeye Classics Vol. 5 HC Kid Friendly 
Samurai Jack #16 Kid Friendly
Star Trek Planet Of The Apes #2 (Of 5)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #42
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Color Classics Vol. 3 #1 Kid Friendly
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles New Animated Adventures #19  Kid Friendly
Transformers #37
Transformers Punishment #1 (One Shot)
Wild Blue Yonder #6 (Of 6)
Will Eisner’s Spirit Vol. 2 Artist’s Edition HC
Winterworld #6
Zombies Vs Robots #1
Abe Sapien Vol. 5 Sacred Places TP
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth #127
B.P.R.D. Plague Of Frogs Vol. 2 TP
Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 10 #11
Dark Horse Presents #6
Dream Thief Vol. 2 Escape TP
Elfquest #1 (1 for 1 Edition)
Ghost Vol. 3 Against The Wilderness TP
Groo Friends And Foes #1 New Series
King Conan Vol. 4 The Conqueror TP
Legend Of Korra The Art Of The Animated Series Vol. 3 Change HC Kid Friendly
Michael Avon Oeming’s The Victories Vol. 4 Metahuman TP
Robert E. Howard’s Savage Sword Vol. 2 TP
Strain The Night Eternal #5

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

How Soon Will Scott Snyder Write Wonder Woman?

From Wonder Woman #36
Maybe a new creative team would help, Diana? From Wonder Woman #36

It’s no secret that I’m utterly disenchanted with the current status of the Wonder Woman, which prompted me to write “DC Doesn’t Want a Feminist Wonder Woman” at GeekDad.

We’re just two issues into the current run by David and Meredith Finch and it already seems a disaster, from the ridiculous cheesecake shots to a Diana who seems whiny, to the resurrection of SPOILERS! Donna Troy (Wonder Girl) as a naked zombie enemy of Wonder Woman.

Scott Snyder, currently DC’s most prominent writer and one of its best, has made no secret of his desire to write Wonder Woman. So, when I interviewed Snyder last week in connection with his creator-owned title from Image, Wytches, I couldn’t resist asking just when that might happen.

“Wonder Woman is 100 percent the character I want to do next at DC,” Snyder said. He said he already had a pitch for Wonder Woman, formulated a few months ago, but lacked the bandwidth at that time to go forward.

“To do Wonder Woman, I need to get ahead on Batman scripts,” he said, pointing to his workload with that series, and with his writing of Vertigo’s American Vampire and Image’s Wytches. “My goal is to use Convergence to get ahead, so I can do either Wonder Woman or a Wonder Woman book of some sort.”

Harper Row as Bluebird, image copyright DC Comics

Convergence is DC’s event that turns the clock back to some of DC’s most popular eras and is designed to cover two months this spring–the time DC needs to move its offices to the West Coast. It’s been widely speculated that DC might once again reboot or reconfigure its comic universe once the regular books are back after the break, especially with the Futures End weekly comic hinting at big in-universe changes.

Why would I consider Snyder writing Wonder Woman, perhaps by the spring, excellent news?

Because Snyder has consistently written excellent female characters, from his own creation of Bluebird to bringing back the much-beloved Stephanie Brown to DC Comics and even reintroducing Julia Pennyworth, Alfred’s long-lost daughter, to Gotham.

He also gave a prominent role to Lois Lane in his Superman:Unchained stories this year, a significant change from how DC had treated Lois since the new 52 reboot three-and-a-half years ago.

That reboot dissolved the Superman/Lois Lane marriage and essentially had sidelined Lois as a character, a move that seemed designed to make Superman more “relatable,” but instead managed to remove something essential from the Superman mythos.

Can Snyder similarly revitalize the Amazon Princess and her story verse?

He’s the writer best positioned at DC to try.

GeekMom’s 2014 Gift Guide of Books

Collage: Cathe Post.

Today’s gift guide is full of books: Historical books, storybooks, reference books, baby books, comic books, and more. There is something for everyone on this list!

Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo. Image: Abrams Books.

Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo. The ultimate gift for your favorite Adventure Time fan, this gorgeous full-color hardcover book will grace coffee tables with elegance. The Art of Ooo will put everything in perspective, presenting a behind-the-scenes look at the art and storyboards, the writers’ thoughts behind the characters, and interviews with those who voice the characters on the TV show. From concept art to the more sophisticated storylines, you will enjoy over 350 pages and 500 color images. $23.37

Basher science books. Image credit: Kingfisher
Basher science books. Image: Kingfisher.

Basher books. Author and illustrator Simon Basher has created a hit series of children’s books covering various subjects; it’s mostly science topics, but also history, math, English, and many more. They are absolutely fantastic! Each one is fun to read, educational, and cute. What more could you ask for? $7-$9

Cover copyright PotterCraft
Geek Mom: Projects, Tips, and Adventures for Moms and Their 21st-Century Families. Cover copyright PotterCraft.

Geek Mom: Projects, Tips, and Adventures for Moms and Their 21st-Century Families. Start the new year right, with plenty of project and activity ideas to do with your kids. Written by the founding editors of GeekMom, this book is also full of insightful essays on being a geek and a geeky parent, as well as as people and topics of interest to the geek world. $19.99

Image: Amazon.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Chronicles: Art & Design. Image: Amazon.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Chronicles: Art & Design. Perfect for your favorite Tolkien-fan-geek! Look no further than your favorite bookstore for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Chronicles: Art & Design by the Weta Workshop, the Wellington, New Zealand, special effects company behind the beauty of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. Enjoy the behind-the-scenes journeys through Lonely Mountain, Lake-town, Long Lake, the Woodland Realm, and Mirkwood as you learn about Weta’s motivations in design. $27.41

Image: Chronicle Books
Kids Are Weird. Image: Chronicle Books.

Kids Are Weird. Yup. Kids are weird. Some might say geeklings are stranger than most (though mightily interesting!). This book by Jeffrey Brown shows us a few examples, in case we’ve forgotten just how weirdly awesome kids can be. $10.10

Letters of Note
Letters of Note. Image: Chronicle Books.

Letters of Note. Filled with personal letters and other correspondence from throughout history, Letters of Note is a wonderful, stunning book. Because each letter is its own short section, this book can be picked up and put down at your leisure, so you can reflect upon its meaning. The book is brimming with history and gives perspective to us in the modern day. $25.30

Marvel 75 Years of Cover Art. Image: DK Publishing.

Marvel 75 Years of Cover Art. Glorious Marvel Comics cover art collected in a slip-cased edition. $50

Image: Scholastic.

Spirit Animals Series. This series of kids’ books, much in the same spirit as The Golden Compass and Narnia, weaves fantasy and creatures into an addictive storyline. This one is probably for older grade-schoolers. $7.50 and up

Tinkerlab. Image credit: Roost Books
TinkerLab. Image: Roost Books.

TinkerLab. In addition to being mom to two little kids, author Rachelle Doorley has a master’s degree in arts education from Harvard and works as an art and museum educator. Doorley’s extensive background as an artist, docent, and educator shine through her children’s activity blog, TinkerLab, and her book of the same name. $21.95

Image: IDW Publishing.

Wonder Woman: The Complete Newspaper Comics. This coffee table book features the origin of the world’s first and most kick-ass female superhero. It has 196 pages, with all of the black-and-white comics that ran in newspapers from May 1, 1943, until December 1, 1944. These haven’t been printed since the series’ original run, making it even more of a must-have. There are tons of characters and stories to comb through, which includes appearances by Steve Trevor, Etta Candy, Cheetah, the Lasso of Truth, the Invisible Plane, the bracelets, and so much more. Speaking of which, the opening essay also has promotional materials, original sketches, and other tidbits. This is the gift for your favorite Wonder Woman fan. $35.25 

You Are Here by Chris Hadfield. Image credit: Little, Brown and Company.
You Are Here by Chris Hadfield. Image: Little, Brown and Company.

You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes. Chris Hadfield is an astronaut, but his claim to fame with the population at large is probably through the countless viral photographs and videos he’s shared from his multiple trips to the International Space Station. Now Hadfield has a brand-new photography book out, You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes. $23.40

The Elements. Image credit: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers
The Elements. Image credit: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers.

The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe. If your child has graduated from “why?” to “what is {…} made of?” then this is the book you need. While it’s not a children’s book per se, the stunning photographs and high contrast graphics are sure to capture their attention long enough to learn a thing or two about what our world is made of. The science-loving geeks on your list will surely appreciate the author’s mad geek cred—an element collection! Note that the author also has another book, Molecules, which just came out last month, as well as a matching Molecules app. $11.27

Photo: Laurence King Publishing
Photo: Laurence King Publishing.

Secret Garden Coloring Book. Adults and kids alike can color their way into peace and/or fun. This beautiful coloring book by Johanna Basford will have you searching for butterflies, tinting flowers, and planning your own secret garden in which to hide from the world. $9.54

Image: Clarkson Potter.

Shake: A New Perspective on Cocktails. The entrepreneurs who created The Mason Shaker, a now-iconic invention that transformed a Mason jar into a cocktail shaker, have authored this lavishly illustrated book of recipes for cocktail crafting at home. It’s a gift with tasty promise! $19.08

cool tools
Image: KK.org.

Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities. This is a giant book that shares user-generated reviews of gadgets, hardware, materials, videos, podcasts, books, maps, and other goodies out there identified as the best, the cheapest, or the only gizmos available to do the job. These reviews are curated from the last decade of content from the Cool Tools website, which is itself an online where-did-the-time-go vacuum. The book’s 1,500+ mini-reviews are accompanied by QR codes for everything from the best baby bib to the best satellite phone. It’s a sure bet for the hard-to-please guy. $25.29

playful path
Image: aplayfulpath.com.

A Playful Path. This is a 304-page book jam-packed with awesomeness. It’s made up of tools and ideas to inspire the possibility-building, wide-open glory of playfulness. Written in short one-to-two-page segments, it’s perfect to read on an as-needed basis, sort of an antidote to all the not-fun that drags us down. A Playful Path is an entertaining book. It’s also wise, true, and entirely useful. It’s the perfect gift for the most fun-loving friend as well as the family curmudgeon. $21.95

amazing baby
Image: Kids Preferred.

Amazing Baby Feel and Learn. This soft book is based on research into early development. The wipe-off pages offer textures and crinkle sounds, plus there’s an attached teething toy. $12.99

let's count
Image: Kids Preferred.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Let’s Count. This clip-on book is inspired by Eric Carle’s classic book. It offers bold pages illustrating numbers, plus crinkle textures, a squeaker, a teether, and a clip for the car seat or stroller. It’s perfect for very young babies up to toddlers. $5.59

Image: Chronicle Books.

PANTONE: 35 Inspirational Color Palettes. If you’re a huge fan of color and design or a bit challenged when picking out paint chips or color schemes, this book will be an invaluable help. Filled with almost three dozen quite varied color combinations, there will be something to please everyone. $13.45

Image: Triangle Square.

A Young People’s History of the United States. Learn about American history from the point of view of someone other than the victors. This magnificent book by Howard Zinn adapted for younger readers and listeners will get kids analyzing what they think they already know. $14.36

Image: The Smithsonian.

Civil War in 3D. Look at the American Civil War through the eyes of a soldier. See the images of battlefields, life in camp, and scenery—all in 3D stereoscopic delight. Read the included detailed book telling of soldier life, about their uniforms, food, fear, camps, and letters home. $23.89

Image: Scholastic.

Minecraft: The Complete Handbook Collection. Do you have a Minecraft fan in your house? Maybe someone who wants some ideas on how to fight monsters, how to use red dust, or how to make more pixelated-awesomeness? This set is for them! $19.18

Image: Amazon.

Hello Kitty Crochet: Supercute Amigurumi Patterns for Sanrio Friends. Hello Kitty crochet is not for the faint of heart. The patterns inside make for some really cute animals, but we would suggest getting this for someone with a background in crochet and not a beginner. $14.95

Pride and Prejudice Manga
Image: Amazon.

Manga Classics Pride and Prejudice. Of all the versions of Pride and Prejudice, this is a GeekMom favorite. Marvel’s variation is okay, but this version does the original story far more justice. $15

Image: Ava’s Demon.

Ava’s Demon. This dark yet beautiful collection puts the online story of Ava’s Demon into print form.  $5.99 for the digital

ms marvel #1
Image: Marvel Comics.

Ms. Marvel: No Normal (Volume 1). Featuring the first female Muslim superhero, Ms. Marvel has been getting rave reviews since its debut earlier this year. This first collection showcases the title’s rare ability to speak 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. $15.99

© DC Comics
© DC Comics.

Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell. This is a fun, easy read that any fan of either character should immediately add to their library. For anyone who might be a jaded reader of the New 52, this is just the book to remind them that comic books can still be fun. $22.99

Smallville Season 11 © DC Comics
Smallville Season 11 © DC Comics.

Smallville Season 11 Vol. 5: Olympus. Wonder Woman arrives in the Smallville universe in this phenomenal collection of the Smallville digital comics. Gorgeous art and a fast-paced story make this the perfect present for any fan of Smallville or Wonder Woman. $14.99

Image: Little Pickle Press.

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain. This is a cute picture book for young elementary-aged children. It teaches them how their brain is a muscle, how to exercise it, and other fun facts. $12.45

download (1)
Image: Amazon.

Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims: Time-Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans. Join Rush Revere and his time-traveling horse Liberty on historical adventures. This historical science-fiction series also includes a book on the American Revolution and the first patriots. It’s great historical fun for older grade-school readers who need a little science fiction in their historical reading. $12.98

Image: Que Publishing.

Build and Program Your Own Lego Mindstorms EV3 Robots. Do you know a Lego brick advanced builder? This book will be out just in time for Christmas by our very own Marziah Karch. Plus, you know, robots and Lego programing. $21.77

Image: Random House Books.

The Fourteenth Goldfish. For older elementary-school fans who need more challenge than Jennifer L. Holm’s Baby Mouse series, Holms now has a chapter book out. A girl goes on an adventure to help her grandfather who has figured out a way to reverse aging (and is now younger than his granddaughter). This is a far more serious story than Baby Mouse, but a great read! $10.74

Image: Marvel Comics.

Rocket Raccoon. Previously mentioned by GeekMom Kelly, the new comic book adventures of Rocket Raccoon are a hilariously drawn series well worth the subscription. $9.99

Memo to DC: Wonder Woman Likes People. Honest.

From Superman/Wonder Woman #13. See Diana’s face in that next to last panel? That’s my face upon reading this scene. I think that Diana’s not-amused face should be turned on DC for being in this comic. Image copyright DC Comics.

Seriously, DC, WTF?

Wonder Woman is *the* iconic female superhero. She’s the Amazon princess trained in war, but with an endless well of compassion. She’s not there for cheesecake, she’s not Princess McStabby Sword rushing into a fight, she’s not disdainful of humans, and, most of all, she is kind. And as I said last week, kindness in itself is a type of superpower.

Yet, neither issue out today from DC, Wonder Woman #36 or Superman/Wonder Woman #13, seemed to remember that very well.

First, in Wonder Woman #36:

It begins with a shower sequence.

It includes Wonder Woman rushing into a fight and yelling all sorts of unsubstantiated accusations.

The scene between two Amazons, one who agrees with their Princess about helping their Amazon brothers and one who seems to be a parody of a man-hating “feminist,” is tone deaf.

Direct quotes from Superman/Wonder Woman #13:

“In my culture, this fragility would be your downfall. Here, it’s practically a virtue. I’ve been doing my best to help some of you since my arrival, but how will you ever grow stronger if you need us every waking moment.”—Wonder Woman, on helping rescue civilian casualties of a Parademon invasion.

“Why does this take so long? Do you need to learn more words? And why are you using this ancient relic of your laptop?”—Diana to Clark, complaining that he’s writing about victims of the latest Earth invasion.

“That’s the fourth taxi you’ve given to someone else.”—Diana to Clark, after he gives away their ride to an elderly couple because it’s raining.

I agree, Diana, that’s a lot of crap to deal with at once. And Clark won’t even get you a taxi either! From Wonder Woman #36. Image copyright DC Comics.

Now, granted, I didn’t expect a ton from inexperienced writer Meredith Finch on her first issue of Wonder Woman. Finch’s story is at least aware that this isn’t Diana’s normal behavior, so it does contain some mitigating factors. But the art by David Finch? No.

First, we have to start with a shower sequence. Given, Cliff Chiang started his run on Wonder Woman with Diana half-naked jumping out of bed, but at least that was because someone was invading her home. And Chiang’s Wonder Woman, naked or clothed, never looked less than powerful and in control. But in #36, we have the cliched “thinking about my life in the shower” scene. Not the best way to start a run that women are watching closely. Plus, David Finch’s Wonder Woman looks about 16. In fairness on that complaint, so do other members of the Justice League, and he does draw a nice Swamp Thing.

I put down Wonder Woman #36 and picked up Superman/Wonder Woman #13, wondering if it would feature a better Diana. And, to my frustration, it was worse.

The woman dating Clark Kent/Superman in this issue is entirely loathsome.

The first quote is from a flashback to when she first entered human society, five years ago in DC time, and, even so, it’s still not appropriate. It’s unkind and mean; two things Diana never was and never, ever should be.

If anything, that line belongs to Hawkgirl of the DC Animated Universe. She comes from a completely warlike society and is used to fighting for everything she has. She had to learn compassion for those who may have strengths other than being a warrior.

The writing quote? That’s part of a sequence where Diana just flat out bitches to Clark for two pages. Eww…why would he be with this woman? She’s just nasty. What happened to the Diana who could quietly observe Clark, wondering exactly why he’s so driven to write down his thoughts and fascinated by his need to do so, especially using a typewriter, which she’d immediately tag as far more tactile?

Everyone knows it’s impossible to get a taxi in the rain. Wouldn’t it have been more fun for Clark and Diana in their civilian guises to have a competition to stop the most taxis for those who clearly needed them? Then we could see them interact, watch what they have in common, and get some astonished stares from the taxi drivers.

This is the most unpleasant I’ve seen Wonder Woman ever read. Too bad, because I could like the Clark in this story. Perhaps DC should give Tomasi a Superman book instead.

I’m not sure what to make of Mahnke’s art. Clearly, there’s talent in the way he draws Diana’s various annoyed facial expressions and extra points to him for remembering that she’s at least as tall as Clark. But some of the full-page compositions look weird and off-kilter in a bad way. I expected better from Mahnke too, as he drew the Joe Kelly-penned run of the Justice League, which I enjoyed.

What is the problem with the monthly titles, DC? The stories in the Wonder Woman digital-first title, Sensation Comics, have been sensational. Why do these pale so badly in comparison?

DC should stop trying to make fetch happen and ditch the Superman/Wonder Woman relationship right now. Move Tomasi to that Superman title. For Wonder Woman, go get an artist like Phil Jimenez to properly draw the Amazon, and maybe then we can truly see if Meredith Finch has the writing talent to eventually handle Wonder Woman. Because the current art is doing her no favors. (Though likely, she would disagree.)

GeekMom received these comics for review purposes.

New Wonder Woman Writer Speaks

Wonder Woman,  Finch, Feminism
Wonder Woman variant cover by David Finch. Copyright DC Comics.

The announcement of a female writer on Wonder Woman would, under most circumstances, be met with praise. But the announcement that Meredith Finch, who has only a few comic credits to her resume, would be writing the book while her husband, well-known artist David Finch, would be on art was met instead with skepticism. Wonder Woman is an important character to put in the hands of a newcomer to comics and Finch’s art has been criticized as overly cheesecake-y, an opinion that I share.

It didn’t help that David Finch gave an interview in which he seemed to be shying away from Wonder Woman’s essential feminism. With the character’s visibility as high as it’s ever been, it seemed odd to not use the “feminism” word in regards to one of the icons of feminism.

With the first issue of the new creative team, Wonder Woman #36, due out on Wednesday, 11/19, DC offered me a chance to interview Meredith Finch about the controversy, her view of Wonder Woman, and what she hopes to accomplish with the run. She also talks about why she believes her husband’s art is well-suited to the character.

GeekMom: Gail Simone said about her take on the character: “If you need an army, call Wonder Woman.” What’s your take on her role in the DCU?

Meredith Finch: For me, Wonder Woman is the epitome of love. Superman is good. Batman is brilliance. Wonder Woman brings the strength of unconditional love.

GM: What kind of storylines will be featured in your run?

Wonder Woman #36, page 10. Copyright DC Comics

MF: Our first arc will be focused on introducing a new villain to Diana’s life and we plan to explore more intimately how Diana is affected by the different roles she plays in her life—she’s a member of the Justice League, she’s in a relationship with Superman, she’s The God of War and has siblings and she’s Queen of the Amazons.

GM: What do you hope people take away about Wonder Woman from reading your run?

MF: I really want people to feel even more connected with Diana at the end of our first arc. I want them to be able to relate to her on a personal level and say yah, “I’ve been there, or felt that.” Yes, she’s a superhero, but first and foremost, she’s a person.

GM: What Wonder Woman story do you think best demonstrates her role as a feminist role model?

MF: Being a relative newcomer to comics, I have really tried to stay away from past incarnations. I don’t want to look too far back on what has been done because looking at the incredible history and trying to live up to it can be crippling. I want to move forward and continue to explore what has been established for her in the new 52.

GM: What is your favorite Wonder Woman run and why?

MF: Definitely the Brian Azzarello/Cliff Chiang run [the creative team that rebooted Wonder Woman in the new 52] has been the most influential to me. What they have created, the characters, the settings, the conflicts… they have all been great stepping stones for our story.

Main cover to Wonder Woman #36, copyright DC Comics

GM: What do you think is Wonder Woman’s one over-riding characteristic?

MF: Again, I have to go back to the virtue of love. I really believe that Diana does what she does because she has such a deep and abiding love for humanity. I always try to keep that central in my thoughts when I’m writing.

GM: You have written one comic book story to date. Why do you think you are the right person to write Wonder Woman at a time when her visibility has never been higher?

MF: I don’t know that I can unabashedly say that I’m the right person for the job.

However, I do know that I have a deep affection for the character and feel really connected to who she is and what she’s all about. Being a mother is such an amazing, joyful, intense experience, and it’s that unconditional love that I feel for my children that I’m bringing to the character of Wonder Woman. It takes us mortals a long time to garner the kind of wisdom Diana seems to have been born with. Hopefully I can share some of my knowledge and experience with her as we get to know each other.

GM: Wonder Woman is an Amazon and therefore has a strong physical presence and a maturity beyond her years. Why do you think David Finch is the best person to portray her, especially as his art been criticized as too much T&A in the past?

MF: When you have a career that is a long and as successful as David’s I think that it is clear that the majority of people are simply enjoying the beauty of the artwork that David puts on the page. When I first met him I was absolutely blown away by his talent. It comes very naturally to him and he only has to decide he’s going to do something, like painting for example, and suddenly he’s a painter. The longer I’ve known him, the more I learned about how seriously he takes his craft.

I hope that people look at this book and really appreciate his level of talent and the beauty of his art.

GM: What’s your creative process? Do you storyboard your scripts or use another method?

MF: The great thing about working with your spouse is that you can do a little of everything. For the first couple of scripts, I wrote the setting and the dialogue and then David drew the pages from that. Issue three was a bit of a challenge for me. I had been away from writing for the summer, with the kids, and it was hard to get back into it. I knew what I wanted to do, but wasn’t sure about the pacing. When I talked to Dave about it he suggested we lay out what I already had and it was a really positive experience for both of us. I’m sure our working style will continue to evolve the more we work together.

GM: Where would you like to take your writing in the future? Dream job?

MF: I’m writing Wonder Woman! I don’t know if it gets better, in terms of comic dream jobs. That being said I have always had it in my head that I would write a book about the experience of raising my oldest son. He has CHARGE Syndrome and a crystal ball or “How to Guide” would have been a great thing to have 13 years ago.

When you are going through the experience of raising a child with special needs you don’t have a What to Expect in the First Year book to turn to. If a book about my experiences gives even one mother a sense of relief and comfort, then I’ll consider myself a success.

Wonder Woman #36 goes on sale this Wednesday at all local comic shops and at Comixology.com.


Wonder Woman’s Backstory Comes to Your Coffee Table

Wonder Woman: The Complete Newspaper Comics. Cover image: IDW Publishing.

Every superhero has an origin story. Hollywood can’t seem to get it together when it comes to putting Wonder Woman’s tale up on the big screen. (Sorry, but I’m not counting her appearance in 2016’s Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. The Amazon Princess deserves her own movie! Here’s hoping the announced one actually is made.)

Until that moment happens, fans can indulge in a bit of her backstory with Wonder Woman: The Complete Newspaper Comics.

IDW Publishing worked with DC Entertainment and the Library of American Comics to produce this gorgeous coffee table book, which focuses on the world’s first and most kick-ass female superhero. This is the kind of thing you’d put out for guests that you’d actually want to stay for a little while. Captivating and entertaining, the book’s 196 pages features Wonder Woman’s entire newspaper run—the whole darn thing.

The Library of American Comics’ Bruce Canwell kicks off the book with an excellent essay, which includes a little backstory about the comic and the character, as well as a peek at some promotional materials, original sketches, and other tidbits. It’s just a few pages, so don’t expect anything comprehensive, but it’s an awesome few pages.

From there, the rest of the book has all of the black-and-white comics that ran in newspapers from May 1, 1943 until December 1, 1944. It ran six days a week, so there’s a ton of material and characters to comb through. Steve Trevor, Etta Candy, Cheetah, and many more are all represented here. There’s info on Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth, her bracelets, and even the Invisible Plane. Some of the storylines may seem a little very familiar and some is a bit dated, but this is part of comics (and superhero) history. It’s also really cool. The imagery is insanely detailed, which is especially awesome, because you have to remember that this is the first time that these particular comics have been printed since their original run.

The $49.99 price tag may seem a little steep, but this book is well worth the cost. The material created by writer William Moulton Marston and artist Harry G. Peters is something to experience. And this is one good looking collection that will certainly warrant repeat reading. If you are a fan or have a Wonder Woman fan in your life, it would be hard to find a better gift than Wonder Woman: The Complete Newspaper Comics. Consider your holiday shopping complete!

GeekMom received this item for review purposes.

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — Sensation Comics, Gotham Academy, C.O.W.L.

Sensation Comics #7
Sensation Comics #7, Art by Marguerite Sauvage © 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 have a sensational Wonder Woman, meet the new students of Gotham Academy, and find out what the C.O.W.L. is up to.

Kelly Knox — Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #7 by Sean E. Williams and Marguerite Sauvage

Wonder Woman’s weekly digital series—now moved to Thursdays on the release schedule—continues to delight fans of the Amazon princess. Issue #7 asks a “What if?” similar to the one we saw recently with Gwen Stacy in the Spider-Verse: What if our intrepid heroine was a rock star?

The one-shot story doesn’t waste much time asking why she would choose the rock star life over the life of a superhero, but it’s easy to guess why when you see how inspiring she is to her young fans. Even as a rock star in the band “Bullets and Bracelets,” Diana is true to herself and unafraid to speak her mind.

It’s the gorgeous art that really stands out for this issue, though. Marguerite Sauvage does a fantastic job of giving Wonder Woman her rock star makeover while still staying true to her costume and origin. The colors are striking, and I found myself flipping through the issue multiple times just to admire the art.

Age Recommendation: 12+

From the cover of Gotham Academy, image copyright DC Comics
From the cover of Gotham Academy, image copyright DC Comics

Corrina — Gotham Academy #1 by Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher, art by Kark Kerschl, colors by Geyser with Dave McCaig.

This is a comic I never thought I’d see from DC. One, the inventive and eye-popping art style that causes me to study every page. Two, the unusual concept of a mysterious and dangerous prep school in Gotham City, sort of a Hogwarts for DC. Three, the book is headlined by a female lead and being written by a woman.

But the real reason to read Gotham Academy is that it’s fun, fascinating, and one of the more immersive books I’ve read in some time. Olive Silverlock is our guide to the academy in the first issue, irreverently introducing us to the headmaster (“Hammer-Head”), her schoolmates, lunch period (Belgian waffles? Sign me up!) , and restricted parts of the Academy which, naturally, Olive and her friend Maps need to explore. Bruce Wayne even makes a short guest-appearance. There are hints that something awful happened to Olive over the summer, which piques my interest as well.

Buy it. There’s nothing else quite like it on the stands.

Age Recommendation: Ages 6+ but be warned there are some scares of the gothic variety.

Lisa Tate — C.O.W.L. #4 by Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel with art by Rod Reis

COWL Issue 4 \ Image Comics
C.O.W.L. Issue 4 \ Image Comics

The idea of a labor union as a subject of a comic seems both dry and over-political, but if that union happened to be made up of super-powered individuals and their cohorts, it makes for a pretty intriguing story.

The Chicago Organized Workers League (C.O.W.L.), made up of both “powered” and “unpowered” individuals, has been dubbed the world’s first superhero labor union. In the first three issues of this series, the team has defeated a team of villains, had their information compromised, and has been undergoing contractual negotiations with the city over such thing as cost for uniforms and health insurance. This is not to mention the individual members’ own personal battles with spouses and children, inner demons, reputation, and feelings of inadequacy.

By the fourth issue of the Image Comics release, their union woes are evident, as the mayor’s wish to hire “non-union” heroes has resulted in a C.O.W.L. strike. This now challenges the league’s already shaky camaraderie. Add a little blackmail and civic violence to the mix and the conflict continues to escalate.

I do find the characters a little hard to find sympathetic so far. Each of their stories is interesting enough, but it has been hard to really be moved by their struggles and goals. It also utilizes much of the familiar plot points (super-powers gained by exposure to radiation, the public’s mistrust of costumed vigilantes), but it is the setting itself that helps it stand out.

This series has the smooth and sleek 1960s appeal of The Avengers (the British Science Fiction spy series, not the superhero team), but it cranks it up a notch, with a grittier tone. Reis’s art is so varied, it sometimes looks like one those double issue comics, in which several artists lend their talents to different sections. I did enjoy this environment.

Fans of the 50s and 60s “spy fi” genre will enjoy this book, as long as they aren’t looking for the next Astro City, Watchmen, or even the television series Heroes.

Age Recommendation: Mature

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

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

Action Comics #35
American Vampire Second Cycle #5
Aquaman And The Others #6
Batman ’66 Meets The Green Hornet #5 (Of 6)
Batman 75th Anniversary Trade Paperback Commemorative Collection
Batman Essentials: Batman The Black Mirror Special Edition #1
Batman Eternal #26
Batman Superman #14
Batman Vol 4 Zero Year Secret City TP
Detective Comics #35
Fables Deluxe Edition Vol 9 HC
Fairest #30
Fairest Vol 4 Of Men And Mice TP
FBP Federal Bureau Of Physics Vol 2 Wish You Were Here TP
Flash Season Zero #1
Flash Special Edition #1
Gotham Academy #1
Grayson #3
Green Arrow #35
Green Lantern #35
Green Lantern New Gods Godhead #1
Hinterkind #12
Injustice Gods Among Us Year Two Annual #1
Injustice Gods Among Us Year Two Vol 1 HC
Justice League #34
Justice League 3000 #10
Justice League Beyond 2.0 Power Struggle TP
Lobo #1 New Series
Looney Tunes #221 Kid Friendly
Names #2 (Of 8)
New 52 Futures End #22
Swamp Thing #35
Teen Titans Go Titans Together TP
Tiny Titans Return To The Treehouse #5 (Of 6) Kid Friendly
Wonder Woman #34
Wonder Woman Vol 4 War TP
Wonder Woman Vol 5 Flesh HC
All-New Ghost Rider Vol 1 Engines Of Vengeance TP
All-New X-Men Vol 1 HC
Black Widow #11
Bucky Barnes The Winter Soldier #1 New Series
Captain America #25
Dark Tower The Drawing Of The Three The Prisoner #3 (Of 5)
Death Of Wolverine #3 (Of 4)
Deathlok The Demolisher The Complete Collection TP
Edge Of Spider-Verse #4 (Of 5)
Fantastic Four Annual #1
Figment #5 (Of 5) Final Issue
Guardians 3000 #1 New Series
Iron Man Vol 5 Rings Of The Mandarin HC
Legendary Star-Lord #4 GeekMom Recommended
Magneto Vol 1 Infamous TP
Men Of Wrath By Jason Aaron #1 (Of 5)
Miracleman #11
Moon Knight #8
Moon Knight Epic Collection Vol 1 Bad Moon Rising TP
Moon Knight Vol 1 From The Dead TP
New Mutants X-Force Demon Bear TP
Silver Surfer #6
Spider-Man 2099 #4
Spider-Man Kraven’s Last Hunt Prose Novel HC
Thor #1 New Series
Uncanny Avengers #25
X-Men #20
idw-logo.jpg Dark-Horse-Logo-2.jpg

Angry Birds Comics #5 Kid Friendly
Ben 10 Classics Vol 3 TP Kid Friendly
Complete Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy Vol 17 HC
Flesh And Steel The Art Of Russ Heath HC
Kill Shakespeare The Mask Of Night #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Popeye Classics #27 Kid Friendly
PUCK What Fools These Mortals Be HC
Rogue Trooper Classics #6 (Of 12)
Samurai Jack Vol 2 The Scotsman’s Curse TP Kid Friendly
Silent Hill Downpour Anne’s Story #2 (Of 4)
Skylanders The Kaos Trap HC Kid Friendly
Squidder #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Star Trek Gold Key Archives Vol 2 HC
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #38
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vol 9 Monsters Misfits And Madmen TP
Transformers Windblade TP
X-Files Year Zero #3 (Of 5)
Angel And Faith Season 10 #7
Art Of Naughty Dog HC
Art Of The Book Of Life HC
Concrete Park R-E-S-P-E-C-T #2 (Of 5)
Concrete Park Vol 1 You Send Me HC
Dream Thief Escape #4 (Of 4)
Edgar Allan Poe’s Spirits Of The Dead HC
Eerie Archives Vol 17 HC
Loverboys HC
Star Wars Darth Maul Son Of Dathomir TP
Star Wars Vol 3 Rebel Girl TP
Usagi Yojimbo Senso #3 (Of 6) 

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

GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — Futures End, X-Files, and a Ruby Throne

batwoman futures end
Cover of Batwoman: Futures End #1 \ Image: 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 continue in the way of the freaky with The X-Files and Elric, as well as more installments of DC’s Futures End September event.

Sophie Brown — The X-Files Season 10 #16 by Joe Harris and art by Colin Lorimer and Francesco Francavilla

XFiles Season 10 #16 cover \ Image: IDW Publishing
X-Files Season 10 #16 cover \ Image: IDW Publishing

The X-Files always kept apace with the big news stories of its day, referencing subjects including the Waco and Ruby Ridge sieges, Saddam Hussein, and Gulf War syndrome, and this issue continues that tradition.

Writing a comic about any current issue is always going to risk treading dangerous ground. Setting one that begins at a North Carolina abortion clinic in 2014 takes that risk level to new heights. Wherever you fall on the moral spectrum on this highly contentious issue, praise has to go to both writer Joe Harris and IDW publishing for tackling the subject.

The issue doesn’t tread softly through this territory.

The very first page shows protesters outside the clinic holding up placards with pictures of aborted fetuses and screaming “babykiller” and “murderer” at the young girl entering its gates. It’s shocking, more so in that this part of the story portrays nothing supernatural at all but daily life in many parts of the U.S. Once inside, the story has a chance to kick off when a bomb is detonated and Mulder and Scully are called in on what is honestly very little evidence. I found it quite incredible that the FBI would call these two into a highly sensitive case (and we all know Mulder’s history when it comes to dealing with small town folk and sensitive subjects) in on what could easily be a camera artifact on blurred CCTV footage.

My own misgivings aside, Mulder and Scully are soon in North Carolina interviewing witnesses and anyone else vaguely connected to the case.

The artwork here is stunning and the coloring is some of the best I’ve seen in the series so far, giving the entire thing an overbearing and frightening feel. It’s nice to see Scully handling a religious case again too. Her personal battles with faith and the episodes that explored that were always some of my favorite, and we see that a little once again here as she sees things Mulder is willing to explain away and assign to simple domestic terrorism.

The issue concludes with a simple yet ominous image that hints at something even more sinister coming in the story’s concluding issue next month. I hope we get to see more of Scully tackling this case and that the conclusion lives up to what is a very promising beginning.

Age Recommendation: Teen and up.

Lisa Tate — Elric Vol. 1: The Ruby Throne (based on the novels by Michael Moorcock) by Julien Blondel and art by Didier Poli, Jean Bastide, and Robin Recht

Elric Vol. 1: The Ruby Throne \ Image: Titan Comics
Elric Vol. 1: The Ruby Throne \ Image: Titan Comics

Every fantasy and science fiction writer strives to have that signature world and character for which they are best known; one that fans can’t wait to read, and artists love to interpret. For author Michael Moorcock, that character is likely Elric. Titan Comics Elric Vol. 1: The Ruby Throne, written by Julien Blondel and illustrated by Didier Poli, Jean Bastide, and Robin Recht, has gained the respect and approval of Moorcock himself.

After a thousand years of rule, Elric, whose longevity spawns from his addition of medicinal herbs, is seeing his kingdom falling apart before him, as his cousin, Yyrkoon, plots to take over the Ruby Throne.

Moorcock, who first debuted his anti-hero, the albino emperor Elric of Melniboné, in the 1960s and 1970s, gave this graphic novel adaptation his full endorsement. There are often comparisons of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series with J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings, but Moorcock’s dark and gothic world of betrayal, loyalty, vengeance, and love is also a viable predecessor.

I had never read the novel version of Elric, so I really didn’t know what to expect. I did find the continual cruel and graphic torture and bloodletting of humans by the Melnibonéan race in fully illustrated form very off-putting and downright depressing. I realize it was intended to reflect early on the ruthless nature of the main race of people in this story, but after a while the piles of naked people wallowing in gore just seemed to get in the way of an otherwise interesting and well-crafted story.

Fantasy and science fiction lovers—myself included—might do best to stick to the novels, and leave the graphic novel version to those whose taste veers towards the horror stylings of Clive Barker or Eli Roth.

Age Recommendation: Mature

Corrina — Futures EndBatwoman #1 by Marc Andreyko and Jason Masters, Futures End: Wonder Woman #1 by Charles Soule and Rags Morales, Futures End: Superman/Wonder Woman #1 by Charles Soule and Bart Sears, Futures End: Justice League #1 by Jeff Lemire and Jed Dougherty, and Futures End: Batman and Robin #1 by Ray Fawkes and Dustin Nguyen

I’ve been disappointed with the vast majority of DC Comics for years now and I fully expected that to continue with the apostrophe-less Futures End issues set five years in the DC universe future. Thus, when I set down the stack sent by DC this week, it was with surprise. This were all readable. Some were fun. None were duds. Between this and new series like Gotham Academy, I may have to revise my overall opinion of the DC line.

Batwoman was the issue I’d been dreading. A pale-skinned lesbian becomes a vampire. Unimaginative. But the issue isn’t about that, not really. Kate Kane, now completely irredeemable, is hunted down by her sister, Alice, who has reformed. And so there’s a final confrontation between the sisters in a church that ends sadly but seems absolutely appropriate given their history.

A two-part story begins in Wonder Woman and concludes in Superman/Wonder Woman but this is really a WW solo story, focusing on her role as the new God of War and her battle with nemesis. Again, I expected to cringe at the use of Princess McStabby Sword as WW’s main personality but, instead, this concluded on a positive note that shows writer Charles Soule may actually get Wonder Woman. Oh, sure, the Superman/Wonder Woman relationship is in there and it’s still boring but it works as a friendship. (Which is always did.)

Futures End #1: Batman and Robin features yet another partner for Batman, a young man who was instrumental in helping Bruce Wayne survive his year-long Year Zero adventure. They’re up against Leviathan, who may or may not be a clone of Damian Wayne, Bruce’s dead son. But mostly the story is about Batman allowing people to help him. I thought it would end badly but, hey, another hopeful ending.

I’m not sure what Futures End: Justice League #1 was but it was interesting. The team seems to be an amalgam of space-based DC characters, the Legion of Super-Heroes and the Justice League. But it all works, as they stop a breakout on a prison planet maintained by the Martian Manhunter. I expected the heroes to get slaughtered but, surprisingly, yet another one where heroes win.

DC better stop this or else I’ll start thinking they might be publishing actual superhero comics again.

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

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Astro City Through Open Doors TP
Astro City Victory HC
Batman And Robin Futures End #1
Batman Eternal #24
Batman Superman Futures End #1
Batman Unwrapped The Court Of Owls HC
Batwoman Futures End #1
Fables #144
Forever Evil Arkham War TP
Godzilla Awakening TP
Gotham Central Special Edition #1
Green Lantern New Guardians Futures End #1
Infinite Crisis The Fight For The Multiverse #3
Justice League Futures End #1
Multiversity The Society Of Super-Heroes Conquerors Of The Counter-World #1
New 52 Futures End #20
New Teen Titans Vol. 1 TP
Red Hood And The Outlaws Futures End #1
Scribblenauts Unmasked A Crisis Of Imagination #9 (Final Issue) Kid-Friendly
Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #2
Supergirl Futures End #1
Superman Wonder Woman Futures End #1
Superman Wonder Woman Vol. 1 Power Couple HC
Teen Titans Futures End #1
Toe Tags Featuring George Romero TP
Trinity Of Sin Pandora Futures End #1
Unwritten Tommy Taylor And The Ship That Sank Twice TP
Unwritten Vol. 2 Apocalypse #9
Wonder Woman Futures End #1
All-New X-Factor #14
All-New X-Men #32
Avengers #35
Avengers Vol. 4 Infinity TP
Avengers World #13
Daredevil #8
Dark Tower The Drawing Of The Three The Prisoner #2 (Of 5)
Deadpool Bi-Annual #1
Edge Of Spider-Verse #2 (Of 5) New Mini-Series
Elektra #6
Figment #3 (Of 5)
Hulk #6
Hulk Annual #1
Indestructible Hulk Vol. 3 S.M.A.S.H. Time TP
Miles Morales The Ultimate Spider-Man #5
Nova #21 GeekMom Recommended
Original Sin #5.5
Savage Hulk #4 New Series
Sub-Mariner And The Original Human Torch TP
Superior Spider-Man #33
Thor God Of Thunder #25
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man By Brian Michael Bendis Vol. 5 TP
Uncanny Avengers #24
Uncanny Avengers Vol. 3 Ragnarok Now TP
Uncanny X-Men #26
Uncanny X-Men Vol. 4 Vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. HC
Wolverine And The X-Men #9
X-Men The Adventures Of Cyclops And Phoenix TP
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Doberman #3
Godzilla Cataclysm #2 (Of 5)
Judge Dredd #23
Littlest Pet Shop #5 (Of 5) Kid Friendly Final Issue
Maxx Maxximized #11
Super Secret Crisis War Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends #1 Kid Friendly
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Turtles in Time #4 (Of 4)
Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #33
Transformers Phase One Omnibus TP
X-Files Season 10 #16
Authentic Accounts Of Billy The Kid’s Old Timey Oddities Omnibus TP
B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth #123
Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 10 #7
Complete Silencers TP
Criminal Macabre The Third Child #1 (Of 4)
Dark Horse Presents #2
Eye Of Newt #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Ghost Vol. 2 The White City Butcher TP
Good Luck Trolls Mystery Box Assortment Series 4
Leaving Megalopolis HC GeekMom Recommended
Red Moon HC
Savage Sword Of Conan Vol. 17 TP
Strain The Night Eternal #2 New Series
Witchfinder The Mysteries Of Unland #4 (Of 5)

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

Disclaimer: GeekMom received a review copy of some of these titles.