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She Has No Head! – Ten Things

by  in Comic News Comment

I’ll be doing a post later this month about 10 specific “NEW” books to buy in 2014 where I talk in detail about some new series coming out that I’m excited to read in 2014 (and you should be too). However, I thought I’d do a list of more generally “comics related” things I’m excited about as well since there are a good number of them this year.

There’s a lot of Marvel on this list, guys. But what I can I say? I like the cut of their jib these days aka they’re dominating like a BOSS.


01. LADY-TASTIC MARVEL BOOKS

Elektra, Black Widow, Captain Marvel, She-Hulk, and Ms. Marvel. The definition of an embarrassment of riches, especially considering that we still have adjectiveless X-Men with its lady-tastic cast and a good number of good books with ladies taking names and kicking ass – Uncanny X-Men, All New X-Men, and various Avengers titles – though not so much with the Uncanny Avengers. 🙁

Also worth a look and looking interesting for ladies and as well as creative talent is the new Wolverine & The X-Men with art by Mahmud Asrar, an all new X-Factor in, ahem, All-New X-Factor with Polaris leading the team, as well as of course the ever brilliant Hawkeye, which has done a great job featuring female characters, despite being called Hawkeye.


We lost some good lady-led books last year due to poor sales – most criminally Journey Into Mystery. Fearless Defenders was a great experiment that never quite worked for me, but I hope Marvel won’t shy away from trying something like it again. Red She-Hulk wasn’t so good and never actually felt like it was a book about Red She-Hulk, but again, points for trying. Young Avengers will of course be sorely missed, but since the creators wanted to end it and did so on their own terms I can only respect their wishes (and shed a couple little tears).

Will all of the new books be perfect books? Or books that last? Probably not, but it’s a very good time to be a fan of superheroines and a reader of comics. And I say again that I appreciate that Marvel is keeping their shoulder to the wheel. I’ll advocate yet again that they try to be mindful that building a readership for a character(s) can take some time and that I’d appreciate it if they gave these titles some room to breathe and find their footing and audience before hitting the kill switch, but so long as they keep trying, so will I.

Of all of the female led titles on the list which am I most excited for? Man. Tough call. Black Widow is certainly the book that feels like it should have the best shot, given the rise in popularity of the character paired with Phil Noto’s art (the previews looks excellent), but I confess to huge intrigue about what artist Mike Del Mundo can do with Elektra. Del Mundo’s covers are some of the best and most inventive comic covers I’ve seen in years and the idea of him on interiors? Well, color me incredibly intrigued. Already the various bits of concept art we’ve seen have been off the damn chain.


02. MARVEL ON NETFLIX

Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and eventually a Defenders mini-series event. Is this heaven? No, it’s just earth Netflix-style. Love it. Doesn’t sound like any of these will actually release in 2014 but the year is surely to be peppered with exciting development news. Hell, some of the news out already is great (Drew Goddard on Daredevil for starters is a GREAT sign).

There’s quite frankly nothing about this Marvel/Netflix development that doesn’t excite me. The characters are well chosen for the format with slightly more limited powers (er, maybe not Iron Fist) and a generally darker tone that should be a more natural fit to translate well to television. Then there’s Netflix as a producer. If you haven’t watched any of the Netflix originals you should remedy that right away. House of Cards and Orange Is The New Black are two of the best shows I watched all year, regardless of where they were born. It all adds up to an exciting damn time for superheroes.

Sidebar: If you didn’t already see IGN’s fun casting bit that came out in November following the Netflix/Marvel team up news, they’ve got some pretty good suggestions for each lead.

There are a lot of actors on the Daredevil list that would work, but my heart belongs to Joel Kinnaman. For Iron Fist I’d go with Ryan Kwanten. The man is so damn charming and talented he even made me love stupid Jason Stackhouse (like, a lot!). Jennifer Carpenter would be my pick for Jessica Jones even though I’ve seen precious little of Dexter. I love Amy Acker TO DEATH, but she’s just so tiny, she doesn’t have the physicality needed for the role, then again, ILLYRIA, so who knows?~ Luke Cage is the toughest for me with the choices they have selected. The Rock certainly has the presence and physicality, but his acting is still hit and miss. I’m not that familiar with their other choices though, my dream cast would probably be Idris Elba, but he’s BIG TIME NOW, so probably not a hope he’d take something like this on. Then again, Kevin Spacey stars in the Netflix House of Cards series, and he’s pretty big time himself. So you never know.


03. BATMAN

With the exception of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman comic, The Bat-universe has been tough for me to love over the last couple years for a variety of reasons and it’s been a bummer since Batman remains my favorite comic character. So I’m excited to see some change headed our way on that front in 2014. There was of course the announcement in October that Stephanie Brown would be returning to comics in a modern fresh take that “honors the character” in Batman Eternal, the weekly comic debuting in the Spring of 2014. Most importantly however, Batman Eternal boasts Snyder as “head writer and architect.”

But before we even get to that we’re getting a 75th Anniversary oversized edition of Detective Comics (#27) this month, with a slew of talented creators – including some of my personal favorites – Scott Snyder, Dustin Nguyen, and Francesco Francavilla – lending their talents to Batman stories. Following issue #27, more great change is headed our way with Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul taking over the Detective Comics title. I don’t know for sure that this will be for me, but I welcome the chance to try the book again. It doesn’t hurt that Manapul’s visuals thus far are gorgeous (see above). Of course, to buy Detective Comics #27 I’ll have to get past the super offensive Frank Miller/Catwoman cover…which somehow seems easier buying digital…but maybe it shouldn’t be? Hmmm. I’ll put a pin in that for later. But man is it frustrating that even when I have something I want to buy/support DC is still finding ways to make it hard/impossible. Did you see those covers in the “lady-tastic” #1? Do you see how exactly NONE of them are horribly offensive or off-putting? Amazing how that works, isn’t it? This is not rocket science, kids. Not even close.

But back to Batman Eternal, in addition to the rumor that Brown will show up in issue #3, DC is pitching this book as being very self-contained, and that is good for me. I’ve been slowly stepping away from DC over the last three years as the books have felt increasingly “not for me,” but I miss those characters, no doubt. So a series that I can read, that features a lot of creative talent (the opening artist, Fabok is not my favorite but I will certainly give him a chance) and that will be an engrossing (it’ll be huge at 52 parts) story that can stand on its own outside of other things going on in the DCU is a great way for me to have a chance to begin reading some DC again. We’ll see if it can deliver!


04.AGENT CARTER

I didn’t get Iron Man 3 for Christmas (WTH!?) and so I haven’t yet seen the Agent Carter short film that comes with IM3, but I’ve seen the teaser, and it’s absolutely fantastic. News just last week that we may be getting an Agent Carter television show, starring Atwell, and in 2014 no less, is so huge I kind of can’t process it. It makes a ton of sense, given SHIELD (more on that below) and the way those two shows COULD potentially intersect and talk to one another, and yet don’t have to  and can actually avoid getting in each other’s way…it’s all VERY INTERESTING!


05. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: SEASON TEN

I have a love/hate thing going on with the Buffy comics. I have truly unabashedly loved some things they have done, but time and again, the books fall apart for me as the “season” lumbers toward its close. It happened for Season Eight (hardcore – you all know what I’m talking about – what with Buffy and Angel and their ridiculous superf***ing); and to a lesser degree it happened in Season Nine, after a really strong start and some choices that blew my mind in how right they were. But there’s no reason not to be optimistic about the creative team from the excellent Angel & Faith – Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs coming on board for Buffy Season Ten.  I am REALLY excited, guys. I’m actually trying to lower my expectations a bit, because insanely high expectations is just a recipe for disaster, but I cannot wait to see what Isaacs and Gage will do, and if it’s half as good as what they brought us for Angel & Faith, then I expect to be one happy Buffy fan!

Read the next page for the next five things!


06. X-MEN DAYS OF FUTURE PAST

I’m bummed about Rogue’s absence in the forthcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past film. Really bummed actually, and in fact, kinda frustrated that she was in few enough scenes that it was even possible for her to be entirely cut from the movie just by cutting one scene, but that’s a whole other rant about why Bryan Singer is so in love with Eric/Xavier/Logan that nobody else can get a damn sliver of screen time. Ahem. ANYWAY. This movie releases at the end of May and I’m very excited. The trailer was intensely impressive, even with its flaws and the film is potentially packed to the gills with so much awesome content and incredible guest stars that players like Rogue/Paquin are getting left on the cutting room floor…so what didn’t get cut better be good!

Perhaps more importantly it has been MORE THAN TEN YEARS since I have been able to be excited about an X-Men movie…so I’m just going to enjoy it goddammit.

Seriously, I may have been waiting ten years to be excited about an X-Men movie but I’ve been waiting EIGHT for the nightmare that was X-Men: The Last Stand to be ERASED FROM THE UNIVERSE. Here’s hoping that if DOFP does anything, it at least does that.

Also worthy of mention since we’re talking Marvel-related movies, I am pretty damn excited for Captain America: Winter Soldier. I like Cap just fine, but you all know I’m really just aching for some more big screen Black Widow, right? Release date on that one is April 4, 2014 and it just can’t come soon enough.


07.MIGHTY AVENGERS

I’m hard pressed to think of a character in comics I’m more interested in reading than Monica Rambeau. So it was with incredible sadness that I realized that Greg Land (an artist I won’t plunk down money to read) was the artist on Mighty Avengers, the new team book where Monica Rambeau would be hanging her hat. When it was announced in November that Valerio Schiti would be the new artist on the title starting in February of 2014 the book became an insta-buy. Not just because Land was off the book and I could now embrace Monica Rambeau (and her pals)but because after reading Schiti’s stunningly beautiful Journey Into Mystery (with writer Kathryn Immonen) I would follow Schiti just about anywhere. Another win for 2014!


08. MARVEL AGENTS OF SHIELD

I know some people are really not vibing this show, but it’s still one of the best things I’m watching on network television. The issue for me is more of that “unreasonable expectations” stuff I mentioned earlier, and maybe the same is true for some of you. For me, you put Joss Whedon’s name on a show and I expect nothing but brilliance. And brilliance is a pretty high bar to shoot for, especially in the first half a season of a network television show – few reach that mark.

AoS has highs and lows and has so far been a relatively slow burn. The shows that feel decidedly “monster of the week” are not particularly interesting in that they just don’t stay with you long after watching and that’s a problem. Similarly, until recently the characters felt pretty cookie cutter, some of them stumbling into super annoying Mary Jane territory.

But the writers have a TON of hurdles — most notably characters that are supposed to be perfect brilliantly trained badasses (which leaves little room for error and failure and character development, etc.) as well as characters who are supposed to somehow be both our underdog heroes and who also basically work for “the man.”  Add to that too much leaning on the crunch of “invented technology” that can do anything and it’s a tough show to make work even before you add super high expectations.

Despite all this however, I can see this show developing into something very interesting and some of the characters have a ton of potential and are breaking free of their molds. Especially as it was left before the holiday break, this show is not far off from the sweet spot and if it can just get there, we’ll be golden.

Some of the recent plot developments as well as interviews I’ve read suggest that the people in charge get this and have us pointed in the right direction (again, proof is in that last episode). So here’s to a 2014 in which they do in fact get there…because really, take a step back and process the wonder that is us living in a time in which AGENTS OF SHIELD is a major network hour long show with a huge budget, and not just some special effects cheesy nightmare show relegated to the dregs of unknown cable networks, like so many comic-based/sci-fi/fantasy shows before it. It’s kinda huge.


09. IMAGE COMICS DOMINATION

One of the weird things I find myself most excited about? The announcements I expect to see coming out of Image Expo this week. By Image’s own Eric Stephenson they “want to be number one.” Their books are certainly showing that they can be. The publisher that has brought us Lazarus, Velvet, Sex Criminals, Pretty Deadly, East of West, Rocket Girl, Umbral, and Alex & Ada (among others) in the last year alone, and all in addition to their already impressive lineup that includes ongoings like The Walking Dead, Saga, Revival, Fatale, and Manhattan Projects…well…it’s a damn good time to be a comic book fan. How much better can they possibly get?!

What will they announce this weekend?!?!! I am literally on the edge of my seat.


10. FROM TOE-DIPPING TO FULL IMMERSION (aka shameless self promotion, but related shameless self promotion)

As a writer/creator I have previously only toe-dipped into the comics world. First in 2012 I published The Girl Who Would Be King, which, though a prose novel, was about superheroes and had comic book and cover artist Stephanie Hans doing both the cover and the interior illustrations. So not quite comics, but “comics adjacent” as we love to say in LA (where I no longer live. So sad). In 2012 I also published an essay in Chicks Dig Comics, talking about my experiences with comics. Again, close but not quite.

However in 2012, I also had a short story “Superless Hero” (illustrated by the exceptional Stephanie Hans) published in Renae De Liz’s Womanthology (we’re the first story in the whole book!)…so finally…OFFICIAL COMICS!

But still, only a short story.

2014 will bring my first graphic novel from Dark Horse and with artist Meredith McClaren illustrating. We’re still keeping hush hush on the details, and it’s possible given the time these things take that it will get pushed to 2015, but I’m still hoping really hard for a late 2014 publishing date.

Also of note is that on 1/20/14 (T-minus two weeks!) I will be launching the Kickstarter for my next novel, Storykiller. While this is prose, not comics, it again has a stunning Stephanie Hans cover and I cannot even begin to tell you how many amazing comic book illustrators I have on board contributing to the illustrated section of the book. It’s a who’s who of established and up and coming comic book artists and I am one damn lucky girl.

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So, with that shameless bit of self-promotion out of the way, those are the ten comics-related things I am most looking forward to in 2014. What about you? What makes your list?