Comic book angst

Hi, peeperas y peeperos!

As some of you may know, I got back into reading and collecting comics. I’ll have to thank quirky/awesome horror writer Gina Ranalli for that. She and I got to talking one day and she was waxing enthusiastic over some of the comics she regularly follows, and I decided to get back into it, especially since DC introduced the new out n’ proud Batwoman (drawn until now mostly by J.H. Williams, III, who is awesome):

Source: Huffpo via Bleeding Cool; re-sized here

And the awesome Gail Simone is writing the resurrected and walking Batgirl/Barbara Gordon. Plus, Batgirl #19 just introduced a transgender character. She’s Barbara Gordon’s roommate. So freaking cool.

I’ve also been following the latest incarnation of DC’s Birds of Prey, and totally developed a comic book crush on team member Starling, a whole new character introduced for the series. She’s kick-ass, irreverent, prickly, laugh-out-loud funny, and all was right with the world because you knew she’s kick ass and take names.

Source: Gothamspoilers, re-sized here

I’ve been totally geek comic-crushed on Starling since she was introduced to the Birds. She had some baggage — she’s working for ruthless government op Amanda Waller — but so what? She was kicking ass with the Birds.

And then came BoP #19 and my heart is crushed. (cue sad violin music) Crushed, I tell you. Starling’s been playing the Birds all along, and she busts out in cahoots with the skanky Mr. Freeze and she’s all gonna take the Birds down, now. She freaking betrayed the Birds. At least that’s what DC wants me to believe, and I’m so bummed about this that I’m probably going to need therapy, like after Walking Dead episodes. Gothamspoilers sums up my feelings about this turn of events quite nicely. Starling is one of the best characters to hit DC in a long time, and now she’s probably gone over to the dark side.

Sigh. At least there’s fanfic, I guess.

Anyway, anybody else out there follow comics? If so, what are you reading now and what are your faves? Join my geek alliance!

Happy reading, happy writing, happy Monday!

UPDATE: Card and DC Comics

As some of you know, I blogged about DC Comics hiring openly anti-LGBT writer Orson Scott Card to write for its digital Superman series the other day. You can see that HERE.

Well, DC Comics has responded to the controversy over hiring Card to write on the digital Superman series. Here’s the gist, via The Advocate (link above):

. . .a company spokesman said, “As content creators we steadfastly support freedom of expression, however the personal views of individuals associated with DC Comics are just that — personal views — and not those of the company itself.

The spokesman also mentioned the new digital Adventures of Superman comic is an anthology series and would feature an ever-changing group of guest writers, of which Card would be one, and should not be confused with the long-running flagship titles Superman or Action Comics.


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When the personal is political: DC Comics and Orson Scott Card

I was a comics freak back in the day. And then I kind of stopped reading/buying them during a long stretch of grad school and whatever else, but I followed comics news peripherally because I love superhero stuff and all the attendant angst they go through. Plus, I’ve developed an affinity for particular artists and writers.

A couple years ago, I started reading/collecting again. Most of my stable is DC-related, though I do have a Marvel series I’m following. That’s why when this particular bit of news hit, I was interested. And as expected, it has generated a lot of controversy.

The news: DC Comics has hired award-winning sci fi writer Orson Scott Card to write the latest Superman digital series. His book Ender’s Game has also been turned into a movie, starring Harrison Ford, which is forthcoming.

The issue: I have long since stopped supporting Card or his work because of his public anti-gay stances, and apparently, a lot of people have taken exception to DC’s hiring of him to write the storylines for Superman. A larger issue here, of course, is whether or not to take the personal beliefs of people into consideration when we purchase their books or go to their movies. We all make choices about those things, which is a wonderful thing. But I want to address this specific incident, since that’s the one in the news.

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FANGIRL! Birds of Prey

Hi, kids–

Quick Friday note. I’ve rediscovered comics, and I’ve been following DC’s Birds of Prey (one of a few series I follow).

Under the guidance of writer Duane Swierczynski, the Birds are kicking butt and taking names. Barbara Gordon, who some of you probably know as Oracle in earlier incarnations of the Birds is busy as Batgirl under Gail Simone’s writing chops. So Swierczynski paired Black Canary with a BRAND NEW character (is my understanding), and she had me at “hello” in the New 52’s version of Birds.

Starling (AKA Ev Crawford) is a mixture of streetwise and world-weary; cocky, assured, fun-loving and brash. From my reading of her, she’s got some issues under the surface (an ex-girlfriend [????] who makes an appearance in #5), but it’s still too soon to tell. She’s the hellraiser of the Birds bunch, balanced by Black Canary’s more pragmatic and steely side, along with the enigmatic Katana and the unpredictable Poison Ivy (who Starling refers to as “crazy plant lady” or “crazy salad lady”). I’m really digging Swierczynski’s work on this, creating a team of unlike but wholy likable characters (even crazy plant lady has some cool aspects) who manage to work together to kick some serious ass.

Starling already has a cult following. You can find her on Tumblr like here, here, here, and here and she gets lots of luuuv from fangirls and fanboys over there.

At any rate, I’m totally enjoying this series and it’s pretty much because of the Starling character. So if you like kick-ass women like that and you’re a comic geek, maybe give Birds a try.

source (re-sized here)

source (re-sized here)

source (re-sized here)

source (re-sized here, and that’s Swierczynski’s site)

Happy Friday!

Goin’ Batty…Batgirl, too!

Tomorrow. TOMORROW Batwoman #1 drops! WOOOOOO!

But keep in mind, too, that writer Gail Simone‘s Batgirl dropped last week.


Let’s get y’all caught up on Batgirl, shall we? The original “Bat-Girl” made her debut as Betty Kane in Batman #139 (1961), as the sidekick to Batwoman. In 1964, she was removed from publication only to reappear as Barbara Gordon’s Batgirl, the daughter of police commissioner James Gordon. That debut occurred in Dectective Comics #359. This incarnation of Batgirl was way more popular than Betty Kane, and she appeared in comics from 1966 through about 1988, until the fateful shooting in the graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke, at the hands of the Joker that left her a paraplegic and ended up bringing about another transformation of Batgirl.

At the hands of editor Kim Yale and comic book author John Ostrander, Barbara Gordon was reinvented as The Oracle, the awesome info-broker of the DC comic universe and leader of the Birds of Prey. In 1999, Helen Bertinelli (better known as Huntress) assumed the Batgirl identity until Batman ixnayed that plan. However, also that year, Cassandra Cain took the Batgirl identity in the “No Man’s Land” series. Cain’s Batgirl became the first Batgirl to be featured in a monthly comic from 2000 to 2006, when Cain gave up the identity, but she’d reclaim it in Teen Titans only to then pass it on to Stephanie Brown (previously known as Robin and Spoiler), who got her own Batgirl series in October 2009. That Batgirl, however, was canceled after 24 issues.

Whew. Got all that? Okay.

So the upshot is, Batgirl ain’t done! HELL, NO! Like a freakin’ PHOENIX! Here she comes! This time, it’s the original Barbara Gordon reclaiming the identity and here’s the kicker–she’s no longer paralyzed, which brings with it a lot of mixed feeling from a lot of different quarters. Here’s a great discussion between Jill Pantozzi and Gail Simone about that issue.

So not only do we have the super-awesome Batwoman getting her own gig this week, but the return of Batgirl hit us last week.

Comics. Where just about anything is possible.

Happy reading, happy superhero-ing!

Batwoman’s in the belfry!

Hi, all–

Whew. Been bizzy! Especially over at Women and Words. As I posted over there yesterday, I’m super-stoked about the release of Batwoman #1, by J. H. Williams III and W. Haven Blackman. This is comic book history, friends, and maybe even American pop culture history. This is the first openly gay or lesbian superhero to have his or her own comic series. Batwoman as a lesbian first debuted (came out…HAR!) in 2006, and she was supposed to have her own series, but there was a freak-out of sorts, so she didn’t get that series. But in 2009, she showed up again with Detective Comics and people really started digging on her, so BOOM she now has her own series.

Here’s the linkie to my post about Batwoman over Women and Words.

Okay–also. I will be posting an interview tomorrow at Women and Words with super groovy horror writer Gina Ranalli (of whom I am a fan). I’ll provide a link here, too, but I just wanted to give folks a heads-up on that, because it promises to be a fun-filled par-tay when the Mighty G is in the house…stay toooooooned!

Happy reading!

Comic book series proves to be awesome wine guide

So how groovy is this? A Japanese brother/sister duo has created a comic book series that includes a healthy dose of wine-ness! In other words, you’ll become somewhat of an oenophile from reading Japanese manga! Sweet! I’m late to the party, too. They’ve been at it since 2004. Not sure they’re readily available in English yet. You might need to search around. I’ve seen the cover in English, so perhaps I’m missing a link. 😀

The comic series, called The Drops of God, introduces readers to wine through the adventures of their characters. Tejal Rao tells us that

Brother-and-sister duo Shin and Yuko Kibayashi turn wine-writing into an adventure with their weekly comic, Drops of God. In their world, wine drinkers are either good or evil, depending on how they approach the divine juice, and blind tastings can pit brother against brother in an epic struggle to win the family fortune. It’s goofy, it’s thrilling, it’s educational, and it’s changing the entire industry and culture of wine in Japan and beyond.

So how does it work?

Rao says:

The hero, Shimizu, is a wine newbie who works as a beer rep for a Japanese drinks importer. When Shimizu’s famous wine-critic father dies and leaves behind a priceless collection, Shimizu must compete for his inheritance in a 12-part puzzle, which he plays against his adopted brother, a despicable young wine critic. Seriously, this is juicy stuff!
Source for both quotes:, article by Tejal Rao

High drama and fine wines. I am so there.


Happy reading, happy sipping!