Counting down the best things for “Women in Comics” to come out of NYCC this weekend!
To be honest, going into a big con week I never know if there’s going be enough material to make a decent post of for She Has No Head. Sometimes I’ve struggled to come up with new announcements to write about, even after a big con. And then there are weeks where it’s hard to whittle your list down to ten items and you come it at well over 3,000 words. Well done, NYCC, well done!
I’ll also say that though I am “con averse” in general and was out of town for most of the festivities anyway, this was the first time I have been following the news (and even more so the tweets) and really felt like I missed out. So many great creators I love were out and force and being recognized for the insanely talented individuals they are and it made me feel so genuinely joyous (though disappointed to have missed out). Also, a huge thanks to all the people that so valiantly brave the con to do such great reporting, you guys are soldiers – soldiers that seemed like you were having an incredible time.
Onward to the list!
10. DC’S FIRST ‘WOMEN IN COMICS’ PANEL!
Landmark! Here’s to many more! To be honest, I’m excited for the day when a “Women” specific panel isn’t necessary, but we’re a long way from that day. The best way to get there is to continue featuring and supporting amazing women in comics. Marvel has been doing it (despite often and certainly currently) having less women creators than DC, so it’s great that DC stepped up. Their panel is LOADED with exciting talent – both new and established including: writer Gail Simone, writer/artist Becky Cloonan, artist Babs Tarr, writer/artist Amanda Conner, writers Marguerite Bennett, Caitlin Kittredge and Meredith Finch, and editors Shelly Bond and Bobbie Chase. A really wonderful group of ladies.
The Women of Marvel Panel was packed – standing room only – as per usual and hosted a huge number of women including these heavy hitters: writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, writer G. Willow Wilson, artist Sara Pichelli, talent relations manager Jeanine Schafer, artist Stephanie Hans, writer Marguerite Bennett. The panel also included up and comers: artist Stacey Lee, writer Margaret Stohl (for a Black Widow novel), Unbeatable Squirrel Girl artist Erica Henderson, editors Sana Amanat, Katie Kubert, Ellie Pyle, Emily Shaw and many more.
09. MARVEL WOMEN CREATORS VARIANTS COVERS IN MARCH 2015
Marvel announced 20 variant covers by female creators for 2015. So, this only ranks at number nine because variant covers are fun, but not really the heart and soul of “comics making.” In fairness, many on the variant covers list ARE doing much more than variant covers, now or in the near future – Sara Pichelli pencils a variety of books and is in hot demand, Stephanie Hans is on the back up story in the forthcoming Angela title, an Stacey Lee has just been put on something high profile which I'll discuss later on this list). Anyway, already the list of ladies announced is impressive we’ve got veterans Stephanie Hans, Sara Pichelli, Faith Erin Hicks, and Jill Thompson listed, but add to that relative new comers Vanessa Del Rey and Stacey Lee and I admit I'm super excited to see who else will be contributing and WHAT they'll be contributing. What with Faith's cover be? OMG.
Add to all of this general excitement a certain amount of personal pleasure that this list includes both Stephanie Hans - as many of you know a good friend of mine and the artist for both my novel covers as well as all the interior illustrations for The Girl Who Would Be King hardcover and several illustrations for the Storykiller hardcover, AND Stacey Lee who I just became acquainted with this past year and who did two of my favorite pieces for the illustrated Storykiller hardcover…so I don’t know…I feel so lucky to know them and to have worked with them and so glad that everyone gets just how incredible they are. Life is good, man.
While these women all deserve as much work as possible, variant covers are a good start to help them getting both noticed and paid! Congrats ladies, can’t wait to see what you do. The two covers released so far (by Stephanie Hans and Stacey Lee, above left and right respectively) are, predictably, fantastic.
08. GAMORA ONGOING…BY SCREENWRITER NICOLE PERLMAN?!
I actually knew this one was coming and I’m pretty excited about it. While I’m not sure Gamora is the title we most NEED right now -- i.e. we have a kind of large proliferation of “anti-heroine/assassin” types in the Marvel headlining females category with Black Widow, Elektra, the forthcoming Angela, and now Gamora (though Elektra has rumors of cancellation?) but Gamora totally makes sense as a character to take center stage in comics given her high-profile movie presence.
This will be Perlman’s comic writing debut, but as half the party responsible for the excellent Guardians of the Galaxy film, this should be cake to pull off. Ironically, Gamora is, for me, the character that works least in the GotG film, however, as there were two writers responsible for that film – and not in collaboration with one another (James Gunn is also a credited screenwriter) - so it’s hard to say if Gamora might have gotten (or did get?) a better portrayal in Perlman’s version. Either way, I’m excited to check this one out. There's no interior artist announced yet here which is a big x-factor (the cover above is by Francesco Mattina).
07. G. WILLOW WILSON ON X-MEN
G. Willow Wilson’s Ms. Marvel is magnificent (and she’s a hell of a lady) so I am really excited to see her doing something cool with the adjectiveless (and all female) X-Men title which has floundered a lot since its incredibly strong opening arcs. Wilson’s Ms. Marvel and Wolverine team up in the pages of Ms. Marvel (and with gorgeous hilarious art by Jake Wyatt) were some of my favorite issues to date so I have no doubt she can handle the ladies of X with similar grace and humor.
Details are a bit unclear at this time whether she’s on the X-Men title in an ongoing capacity or just for the 4-issue “Burning World” story arc that begins with X-Men #23. I also didn’t see a mention of the interiors artist (The Dodson’s did the lovely cover above). Hopefully Wilson will be on for more than just an arc, but it’s exciting (and well-deserved) news regardless.
06. WONDER WOMAN ’77
Hmmm. I LOVE Wonder Woman, but I haven’t been impressed with the digital firsts books so far - with the exception of Li’l Gotham – which was its whole own world that felt different from ANYTHING else (in the best of ways). I also liked the first ever Legend of the Dark Knight digital story by Jeff Lemire and Damon Lindelhof which was pretty spectacular – but everything else I’ve read has been mediocre at best.
Wait. Batman ’66, which this is obviously aping to good effect (i.e. springboarding off of an old beloved TV series) is another exception I suppose – the quality of Batman '66 is certainly there and I get (and appreciate) what they’re trying to do, but it’s just not that intriguing to me personally. I have trouble investing in it emotionally (maybe due to the camp factor?) and I’m not into the “gimmick” of the way the interactive element works. I just want to read comics. The only reason I read digitally is for convenience of getting books and ease of storing them, I’m not looking for some “innovative” interactive experience. I liked the issues of Batman '66 I read, but I don't pick it up regularly.
That said, I love Wonder Woman and since, unlike Batman, her regular book is not something I can read, I am happy to give this a try to get some Wonder Woman back in my life. Marc Andrekyko is writing and I’m a big fan of his Manhunter series and Nicola Scott is a great cover artist so if they can get someone good on the interiors then there might be something here. I also appreciate an apparent push at DC on the Wonder Woman character. I'm sure that's largely to do with the eventual plans for a film, but Wonder Woman has four books now (Wonder Woman, Superman/Wonder Woman, Sensation: Wonder Woman, and now this one) whereas she used to only have one not so long ago, so I hope that's a good thing. It breaks my heart that I don't love all of them/can't read them, but, well, life doesn't just give you everything you want, now does it. There is no doubting that Wonder Woman’s height of popularity and the touchstone for many people when they think of Diana is the 70’s Lynda Carter version, so I can certainly understand the appeal. I’m on board for a couple issues and I hope they can pull it off!