comicbookGRRRL Do not offend the chair leg of truth; it is wise and terrible.


Interview: Will Brooker on My So-Called Secret Identity, A New Kind of Superhero Comic

Those familiar with my writing here and elsewhere will perhaps know that the topic of “women in comics” is pretty much my thing. Feminism and comics history informs much of what I write, while the specific history of women creators (and women characters) within the medium is my actual field of research. But I’m not the only one that mixes academia and a love of comics, as the creative team behind My So-Called Secret Identity shows.

Will Brooker, Batman scholar and academic author, is on writing duties, alongside professional artists Suze Shore and Sarah Zaidan, who also has a PhD in the comics field. I first heard from Will last year after he read an article I wrote about Barbara Gordon, and he talked about plans he had concerning a new kind of female superhero. Fast forward to 2013, and the first issue of MSCSI has launched to high praise indeed.

Read the full interview over at The Beat!

My So-Called Secret Identity


Review: The Adventures of Superhero Girl

Sometimes a book comes out that I’m so ridiculously excited about I get paranoid that I’m going to be disappointed in some way. And then it arrives and turns out to be even better than I hoped for. It becomes the book I take everywhere with me to thrust in people’s faces and say, “READ”. That book is this book.

The Adventures of Superhero Girl is a strip you may have heard of already. It’s a webcomic by the fantastically proficient cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks, who has a whole host of graphic novels to her name (Friends with Boys, Brain Camp, Zombies Calling and the upcoming Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong). I say webcomic, but although it is all available to read online for free, it was actually created for a local newspaper. And it is fabulous.

Read the full review at The Beat!

The Adventures of Superhero Girl


2013 in Comics

I have yet to finish rounding up 2012 in comics, more specifically graphic novels, mostly due to the fact that rather a lot came out in the US towards the end of the year that I haven't managed to get my hands on yet. However, what I am being asked about right now, is rather more forward facing: what comics am I most looking forward to in 2013, and what comics am I continuing to read into this year?

As one of those rare people who jumped on board monthly comic buying with the DC New 52 back in September 2011 (previously I was a trade waiter, which is slightly less addictive, but only slightly), the number of comics I am now reading on a monthly basis is... well a lot higher than I anticipated :D Last year was really fantastic for comics in general, and the trend looks set to continue!

Firstly then, what books am I still reading month to month?
Wonder Woman - Adam Hughes


Comic Preview & Interview: Liberator

2012 has been an extraordinary year for comics, and 2013 is shaping up to be even hotter. I've had my eye on a few projects behind the scenes, and this is one of my picks for freshest début of the year. Liberator, a new kind of hero, a hardcore Animal Man rooted in realism rather than superpowers, digging deep into the political power of comics and unleashing a new front for animal activism and sequential creativity.

Launched on Kickstarter today, the 4 issue mini has already recieved praise from Scott Snyder, Steve Niles, and Jimmy Palmiotti amongst others. All the info is at the Kickstarter page, so go and check it out! In the meantime, hit the jump for an exclusive interview with writer Matt Miner and backup artist Yasmin Liang - and take a note of that last name in particular, because she is a real rising star.

Kickstarter: Liberator

Liberator Cover Art


On the Scene: Thought Bubble!

I had my first trip to the Thought Bubble Convention in Leeds this month, and it was absolutely amazing. Really really impressed with the organisation of the event and the fantastic mix of guests from indie comics, webcomics, alternative comics, literary comics, and cape comics.

A big shout out to all the lovely people that I met, and apologies to those I missed. It was a rather hectic time.

I've written all about my adventures over on The Beat, so please do check it out and follow the links to all these fabulous artists!

The Beat - On the Scene: Thought Bubble


Credit for photo of FROGSLEGS: (c) Guillaume Rater/SelfMadeHero


Dredd: A Brilliant Portrayal of Women in Comics

The last few years have seen comic books become the go-to source material for cinema, from Blade and X-Men right through to The Dark Knight Rises and Avengers. Most have featured women characters although those that focus solely on our favourite heroines are better forgotten in comparison to the glut of popular movies based on leading men. Team titles too have been hit and miss with women generally being judged for their looks before their character, although Helen Mirren and Angelina Jolie have both stolen the show in Red and Wanted respectively. Still, it was annoying for many fans to see Black Widow waving her ass in posters and always with that zipper down, despite her greater than expected screen time. Now one film has single-handedly bucked that trend, passing the Bechdel test, and with the best portrayal of women in an action film I have seen in years: Dredd.

Put simply, and this is extraordinary, there is no difference between the portrayal of male and female characters in this film. The women are not sexualised, weaker, shown less, or more emotional, and their wardrobes are genderless, but neither are they simply rendered as personality devoid hard-asses... The women characters are excellent characters who happen to be women.

Judge Anderson and Judge Dredd

Judge Dredd. Britain's favourite hero, dispensing the law in a future police state, satirising the very real and ever increasing threat of authoritarianism to our lives. Brutalised in a previous Sylvester Stallone movie that turned him from seriously stern Judge to camp crusader, Dredd is back with a grim and gritty film that harks back to his earliest strips.

Judge Anderson. A long-time friend of Dredd's, a tense friendship at times, Anderson is a female Judge with psychic powers. In the film we see Anderson as a rookie, sent out with Dredd on an evaluation run. Her outfit, her armour, is near identical to Dredd's - the singular difference being her lack of helmet, to better allow her psychic abilities. Anderson is portrayed as being more sympathetic than Dredd, but then again, so is just about every other Judge. In the comics, Anderson has been around since the early days and proved so popular that she headlines her own spin-off series, Anderson: Psi-Division.

Ma-Ma. The villain of the piece and a complete psychopath. This woman runs her criminal gang with an iron fist, torturing and killing anyone who disappoints her or stands in her way. Her domain is the Peach Trees 200 story tower block, housing those who are sworn to her, and others who live in fear. Ma-Ma does not slink her way around or use her womanly wiles; she is fucked up, brutal and efficient.

Hit the jump for more (with spoilers).