I get why Connor Hawke is gone. I don’t LIKE it, but I get why they got rid of him. I don’t really get why the spare Batgirls have been chucked out the window. I don’t get why they will go out of their way to recolor details like hair in the background to avoid even a nod of one of them. I’m not even a fan of her, but it sticks out to me. There seems to be an active dislike of certain characters, like Brown. Maybe like Queen Hippolyta too, since she gets offed so quickly and so often lately. And I think there’s a real strong antipathy towards Lois Lane. She’s just too well-known and entrenched in the franchise to erase from existence.
A fearless princess, destined to inherit rule of the Five Kingdoms.
A gifted warrior and a tech savvy teen, to her, formalities have always been in the way of getting things done. Still she has a bit more trouble relating to common people than she’d like to admit, but she hopes to soon be able to see her nation first hand instead of from behind the palace walls.
She’s equipped with an ancient familial magic staff and a multipurpose tool strapped to her wrist that has gotten her in and out of a lot of trouble.
Responsible and brave, she hopes to one day be a great queen, and command the same presence as her mother..
Today, I realized the need to make Spider Stories a reality is stronger, especially after this one Kickstarter story about a stereotypical comic started popping up. I’d rather see positive storytelling rather than more tales of people ignorant of a culture willing to mock it for profit.
Make the Spider Stories animated film a reality. The brothers Agbaje need your support in these last two weeks.
Someone reading one of my comics can easily see how I’ve made these things, they’re just cut out and stuck down, so it’s easy to reference that, and having comics where the characters break out of the panels is the next stage up. Colin isn’t just a depiction of a cardboard man, that’s what he literally is too. Characters in a comic that’s been drawn with ink or painted or whatever can only exist in the world that’s been drawn for them, but my collage characters will be themselves wherever I stick them, so it’s not such a massive leap for me to have them breaking out of the panels.
Dude means well. Dude’s tweeting to Marvel in favor of more diversity. Dude states (inaccurately) that Marvel has two women writers — M. Liu and K. DeConnick, the latter being ‘a lady with an inside connection.’
Just like that—fwoosh. Didn’t work my way in. Got in because of who I’m fucking. I mean, my wording is crass, but is that not how that parses?
She wrote it BUT… she had an inside connection.
I mean, I assume that Dude assumes that my ‘inside connection’ is my husband and not, say, Joe Quesada or Warren Ellis or Steve Niles or Neil Gaiman or Stuart Moore or Joey Cavalieri or Wil Rosado or Maggie Estep or any of the other writers, editors or creators I knew before I knew my husband. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Dude knows I was a professional writer before I started writing comics. Maybe Dude knows I co-founded Artbomb.net with Warren Ellis and Peter Rose. Maybe Dude knows that I met Fraction on the WEF because of a shared love of comics. That I’ve written about 11K pages of manga adaptations. That i was blind-submitted for the Women of Marvel initiative and that Ralph Macchio was not told that I was married to Fraction until after he’d accepted not one but two of my pitches.
Maybe Dude knows that it was actually Steve Niles who got me my first big gig in 30 Days of Night: Eben & Stella…?
Wait! Maybe! Niles is the ‘inside connection’ to whom Dude refers…?
But if that’s the case, I’m curious as to why I’m the only creator he mentions whose ‘inside connection’ comes up. Am I the only creator with ‘connections’ in the industry before my name appeared in Marvel section of Previews…?
No. No, I’m not.
I’m supposed to let this stuff go. I’m not supposed to call it out. ”Beat ‘em on the field, kid.” ”Don’t punch down.” ”Don’t let them know they got to you.”
Not today. Today you see my hand shake.
You win, asshat.
But just for today.
Shut Up and Take My Money: Earthward by Brian Q Miller
Thanks to Women Write about Comics’s new News and Things feature (great idea, btw!) I recently found out about Brian Q Miller’s new Kickstarter project, Earthward (no Kickstarter link—doesn’t launch til Friday). I read CBR’s interview with Miller about the project and have a few things to say about the book, the interview, the whole shebang. You could forge on ahead, but to get the full picture, I’d recommend reading the interview first.
“A Comic for All Ages”
The CBR interview introduces Earthward as “an all-ages graphic novel that celebrates adventure, exploration and family — in space, no less.” Both the interviewer and Miller go on to emphasize the all-ages-ness of the book and what Miller means, exactly, by “all ages.” Miller notes that it’s not “a line that’s ridden” very well very often recently, but with Earthward, he’s “trying to make the books as ACCESSIBLE to new and old readers, old and young, as possible. It’s all about how you present your subject matter.”
In thinking about the monthly titles I read, I can certainly see what he’s getting at. Most of the DC and Marvel titles I read are at least rated T (for “Teen”), due usually to lots of violence or some sexual suggestiveness. I enjoy that in those titles, but I can also appreciate a good all-ages story. In particular, I’ve been reading Courtney Crumrin and Princeless, both, I believe, targeted toward younger readers. (Courtney Crumrin is rated “Y” for “Youth,” ages 7+; Princeless is rated “for all ages.”) So far, I’ve felt they do a pretty good job of also satisfying me as an adult reader, though they’re quite obviously targeted at younger kids.
I’m not sure how Miller plans to distinguish his work from Courtney Crumrin and Princeless in terms of appealing to all ages, but it’s not an insurmountable task. I’m thinking of all the great “Children’s” literature that I’ve only come to as an adult, or at least, not a kid. I don’t remember exactly when my family began reading the Harry Potter series, but my mom picked it up thinking of my brother (six years my younger), not me, so I was definitely not the target age. I didn’t read The Hobbit until the Lord of the Rings movies started coming out, when I was in high school. My friend Tiffany was so aghast that I’d never read LOTR and admonished me to begin immediately, but to begin with The Hobbit. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe I also sought out in preparation for the movie. Though I’ve only read Coraline, I’ve heard through friend and fellow blogger Dan that Gaiman’s other children’s works also often bridge the gap nicely. Maybe I’m not the greatest judge of the line between “children’s” and “adult” literature in their appeal to all ages because I already have an affinity for children’s literature as children’s literature, but I think at least the Tolkien and Harry Potter fandoms might back me up here. Stories can appeal to many groups at once, and I think the stories that do tend to stick with people for a long time, so I hope Miller achieves his goal here.
“Compensated at a Fair Rate”
In discussing his decision not to include lots of “swag” incentives for Kickstarter patrons, Miller says: “I want as much of the money provided as possible to go directly into the nuts and bolts of getting my creative team compensated at a fair rate, and getting the book physically published and shipped.” Now, I’ve never worked in a creative industry. I’ve been in academia most of my life, and my editorial/publication experience is limited to that realm. But part of that academic experience (especially of late) has included conversations about fair compensation for work, unequal distribution of pay, and other labor issues. I’m certainly no expert, and I speak without any insider knowledge of the comic book publication industry. But I read plenty of titles from the “Big Two” comics companies—DC and Marvel—and notice how often writers and especially members of art teams get shuffled around on books. Again, I don’t know the insides of it, I don’t know why people get shuffled from book to book and whether these individuals see this shuffling as good or bad. BUT. I do know that writer Gail Simone “got fired” from Batgirl in December via email only to be put back on the title pretty quickly. I don’t know much about that decision other than it seemed to piss off a whole bunch of people, I believe including Gail herself. So that rather public unceremonious dump of a pretty prominent writer makes me wonder about the writers/artists who aren’t as well known, who don’t have the fanbase (and therefore power) that Simone does, that might be getting “repositioned” in ways that are arbitrary and unfair.
ANYWAY. So those kind of things make me respect this project all the more; Miller’s focus for payment of the staff on his book, he says, will be “fair compensation.” He doesn’t say what that is, but I think it’s significant that he’s making it a focus. I’m sure it’s no surprise to people already familiar with Kickstarter, but it seems to be a way for creators of all stripes (TV, film, literature, other arts, other projects) to take charge of the process in ways that are fair. Not that DC and Marvel are unfair, or are always unfair, or that smaller, more independent presses aren’t fair, or that Kickstarter can’t be abused, but this does seem like one way to support fair publishing practices, and I applaud Miller for his efforts. I also want to note that Miller has absolutely not implied that practices in publishing firms he’s worked for are unfair; these are musings that I’ve come up with myself.
Turn ALLLL the Readers into Comics Fans!
So, if you like comics, or support literature that’s accessible for all ages, or support fair labor practices, or are just looking to blow some money, consider donating to Earthward. Miller says if it’s funded, they’re looking at a September 2013 publication date, right in time for my birthday! So, support comics and buy me a copy! Or buy a copy for the kid(s) in your life! Or, better yet, pick up a copy for yourself! And then let’s talk about it.
Aaron Swartz, the science of comment trolls, and the fundamentals of storytelling.
I understand that you wrote this book, in part, for your daughter. What did you see that she I’ve grown up with a lasting love of comics. I’ve lost track of them occasionally, but the books and characters have always been a part of my life. I want that for my daughter too. However, I feel like there is a distinct shortage of books I would feel comfortable handing my daughter these days (at least before she turned 16 or so). Good heroines are few and far between. When you look for ones that are leading books, it narrows the scope more. When you look for one that is appropriate for kids, it gets much narrower. When you talk about one with a lead female of color, the number drops to nearly zero (they exist, they are just very difficult to find).
My daughter is black and while I encourage her to look for role models of all colors, girls need to be able to see girls that are like themselves in media. They need it even more when it comes to seeing them portrayed with strength. And, unfortunately, I think that’s sort of a symptom of this exclusionary tendency in the self-professed nerd culture circles. I would love nothing more than to change that culture, but barring that, I’ll help create another one.