Let me pinpoint for you the exact moment, this week, when I wanted to destroy all comics.
It was during the interview on the mothership with Richard Bonk, the artist on the upcoming Return To Wonderland series:
NRAMA: Are you enjoying showcasing the cheesecake factor in the book?
RB: There’s really not much cheesecake at all in the series, but I do like drawing purty girls.
NRAMA: So, you’re saying there’s not a decent amount of cleavage, hiked-up skirts, and even Calie in her undies?
RB: Oh, alright, we got cheesecake… but, tastefully and purposely done… never gratuitous!
Leaving aside the creepy joy in the book having “cleavage, hiked-up skirts and even [a teenage girl] in her undies” that that exchange displays – but of course, it’s never gratuitous, only “a decent amount” of cheesecake – the placement of those words next to an upskirt shot of the teenage girl, apparently sans underwear, just made me wish that I controlled the comic industry purely so that I make sure that this book never appeared. Or, if it had to, then each cheesecake shot would be matched by embarrassing beefcake photos of Bonk himself.
Vengeful and unnecessary, I know, but I’ve been cranky this week.
You have to wonder what Bonk (or Koben Kelly, the interviewer above) would make of Avril Levigne’s new foray into comics: It’s aimed at Levigne’s young female fans, but somehow I get the feeling that they’d only get behind the message of helping introverted teenagers confront their personal demons if it also meant that they’d wear skimpier clothing and reveal a decent amount of cleavage.
Cleavage is something that should be in short supply in the movie version of Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber’s Whiteout, announced this week with Kate Beckinsale and director Dominic Sena, the man who brought the world the cinematic classic “Gone in 60 Seconds”, attached. It’s not due until the start of next year, but that’s still earlier that the Wonder Woman movie, which lost Joss Whedon this week, even as he let the world know that he, too, watches How I Met Your Mother.
More bad news for DC fans came this week with the announcement of Geoff Johns and Tony Daniel leaving Teen Titans in a few months – although Robin writer Adam Beechen will be co-writing Johns’ last few issues before taking on the writing chores solo – but if you think that the fans are sad, you should hear what Geoff has to say:
I’d love to [write the future of the characters]! But that’s not up to me anymore. That’s part of what comes with leaving a book. You give up the right to write any of those characters again… I’m going to miss it a lot. The thing that’s tough is that I’ve been on the book for four years. I’ve come to know these kids so well. It was hard enough letting Superboy go and Bart Allen go, but letting the entire team go is going to be really difficult.
From the end of an era to the beginning of something: Mike Oeming (whose Powers reached the end of the first trade in Newsarama episodic form this week) escaped from Marvel Canada long enough to tell ‘Rama about his new Image book, The Mice Templar. Which, yes, sounds kind of similar to David Petersen’s critically acclaimed Mouse Guard:
I won’t lie, I was freaked out [when I first heard about Mouse Guard]! At first I thought that meant Templar would have to be scrapped. It really hurt. Then I saw the previews and I saw David was going for a very different vibe. Once I read it, I realized they were as similar and yet different as any superhero team book. Justice League and the Fantastic Four are both superhero books—people fighting evil in tights with superpowers in a large city—but they are completely different. Templar and Guard are of the same genre, the same specific genre, but are executed quite differently. I think most of his audience will like Templar and most of mine will like Guard, but they are very different books.
David’s book has an air of sweetness about it, and I mean that in a great way—it’s very endearing, yet has an undercurrent of danger and menace…a great balancing act. Templar I think is the opposite: it’s more menace and danger with undercurrents of sweetness. Opposite sides of the same coin in a way.
If that doesn’t satisfy your appetite for animal-based drama, then perhaps Christian Slade’s Korgi is your bag:
The series had gestated in Slade’s mind ever since he first encountered Corgi dogs in real life. “My wife – we started dating in college in the mid-90s – had a Welsh Corgi dog, and I had always wanted a dog growing up,” Slade said. “I saw she had this dog and I just immediately fell in love. I was like, ‘this is the pet to have.’ They’re really smart, and funny, and real quirky with lots of character. And they were just so unique and fun to draw!
“I spent years drawing them in my sketchbook, and immediately thought that these creatures were so charming. And I researched the breed, and history, I found out that in Wales, there’s a fairy legend that’s associated with them, so they’re usually associated with fairy creatures and woodland fantasy. They’re usually depicted with fairy creatures and woodland scenes in artwork, and there’s actually a small collectible market for that kind of art out there. So when I found this out, I thought, ‘wow, what a wonderful idea to do an epic story that’s continuous, that’s not just one painting or a poem or a short story.’ I got the idea that I could do a whole story about this corgi – and this was around 1995 or 1996.”
Of course, maybe you’d prefer epic stories about rock stars with tenuous grips on the real world. Paul Stanley! Explain the new Kiss comic!:
[W]e’re here to take it to another level. We started with guitars and now we’re saving worlds… This is a 12-issue arc. The story is going to continue on. I have to tell you the stuff that’s being written now is so heavy… There are worlds to be both conquered and saved.
It’s a strange world when you have to turn to Warren Ellis to have things make more sense, but let’s keep it that way. He appeared on Newsarama this week, talking to Chris Arrant, about his first novel:
This all started when I inherited a literary agent upon signing with the Writers And Artists agency in LA for film and tv work, years ago. Unbeknownst to me, W&A had a lit agency in New York, and one day Lydia Wills phoned me up to tell me that, now I was with W&A, she was my lit agent, and when was I going to write her a novel to sell? This went on for months. I nearly had her legs broken twice. Until, one day, I thought to myself, let’s just shut her up. And I sat down and wrote the first ten thousand words of an utterly unsaleable novel. I figured I could recycle the material into comics later. So I handed her this horror of a thing, complete with Godzilla Bukkake scene, and said, take this and leave me alone.
Thinking, obviously, that she’d decide I was insane and never bug me again.
Two weeks later, she phoned to tell me she’d sold it to Harper Collins in New York.
It’s one of the more epic backfires of my career, Chris.
Ah, to have such backfires.
Both of the EiCs of Marvel and DC made appearances on the site this week. Joe Quesada did his regular Joe Fridays column, explaining that calling the online comics community “the interfret” wasn’t a clever insult:
I don’t know, I don’t see that moniker as insulting anyone personally in any way, all I’m doing is stating the obvious and making light of it. I mean either I’m wrong or have I been on a whole different Internet than the rest of the world, perhaps the one that has the tubes that Senator Ted Stevens uses? [laughs]
Have you ever heard TV referred to as the “Boob Tube?” I don’t know, I’ve never taken that kind of stuff as a personal insult to me regardless of how much TV I watch. Truth be told, I agree with the comment. So, while you may see it as an insult, to me, none is intended as I’m not pointing at anyone in particular but rather at a culture or state of mind that is ever prevalent online. I mean where else can you see people openly criticizing and hating books and ideas before they’ve even had a chance to read them?
And this isn’t just localized to comics, mind you. As I stated last week, if I ran my business by what was said on the “FRET,” I’d never get anything done and I’d be out of business. And look, I’m as much on the ‘net as the next person, so if it makes you feel better, then consider that I’m insulting myself. All I’m doing is pointing out a very real fact about the FRET and a lot of what goes on here, it’s a blanket statement and I’m certainly not the first person to mention it, I just gave it a name [laughs]
See? Not clever at all. DC’s Dan Didio, meanwhile, was dropping very unsubtle hints that we can expect some Jack Kirby revivals at DC this year:
Not really sure of [an object in that DC teaser image that was released last week's] origin but it looks like it was built by the King himself… Funny thing, I was told that the quote [that accompanied the image] came from the Book of Jeremiah; I thought it was from the book of Genesis.
People wanting to discuss the Bible with Didio can, of course, find him at this year’s New York Comic-Con. I’ve heard that he’s particularly strong on the Book of Revelation.
Getting back to that whole “decent amount of cheesecake” thing, though… Sure, creators and interviewers might have a casual sexism and kind of cluelessness about the opposite sex, but it’s not something that permeates fandom in general, right…? Oh, no, wait. Never mind.