Why I should be Editor in Chief of DC Comics: 2. Bats

[Introduction | Supers]

Let’s be fair, here: cards on the table, no lie: if my id had control of this lineup, it’d be like 20 Bat titles and everything else would be Wonder Woman and Canary team ups. So I’m pretty sure that I deserve credit for cutting myself down to six titles.

Bats are: non-metas who’s lives have been marred by tragedy, who have taken upon themselves the power to set things right.  They are driven, fiercely independent, and usually value intellectualism over emotional attachments. Even though many of them come from a background of societal privilege, they represent an ideal of by-your-bootstraps make your own way.

6. BATMAN is Bruce Wayne, millionaire orphan who once made a vow to his dead parents that he would not rest until  Gotham City was purged of the corruption that plagued Gotham City. Many years later (like Superman, Batman has been active for about 15 years) he has made some headway, but his quest doesn’t look like something he can achieve in his lifetime. He’s obviously in top shape for a man in his thirties, and is an excellent martial artist, but his real asset is his brain, and after so long in the field he’s coming up with more and more ways to fight crime without pushing his body too far.  Beating up individual muggers is a young man’s game, now Bruce Wayne is using his intellect and his resources to root out corruption on a city-wide level. But still city-wide: his vow was for Gotham.

7. BAT GIRLS  features Cassandra Cain as Black Bat and Stephanie Brown as Spoiler, with Barbara Gordon as Oracle. All three of these women have called themselves Batgirl at some point or another, but now they’re operating under their own identities, even though both Black Bat and Spoiler carry the Bat symbol on their costumes. These ladies are in the process of rebuilding their lives after abuse, tragedy and mistakes, and Steph and Cass in particular share a positive outlook that there is hope for the task they share.

This is a YOUNG READERS title, aimed at 11-14 year olds. And it doesn’t hide the tragedy in the three women’s respective history.

8. BATMAN AND ROBIN is Bruce Wayne and his son Damian, and it is mostly told from the point of view of Damian, who is struggling to break from the role his mother had laid out for him and become worthy of his father’s ideals, without losing his own identity. It involves a lot of guest stars from the rest of the bat family.

This is a YOUNG READERS title, aimed at children. Yes, including Damian’s particular history as being trained as an Assassin. Because kids love Batman, dammit.

9. BATWOMAN is Kate Kane, daughter of Jacob Kane, kicked out of the military under DADT, dating Captain Sawyer of the GCPD, aided by her cousin Bette aka Flamebird (yes she can have her awesome new costume, I just hate the name Hawkfire). This book exists. No need to touch it.

10. CRIME ALLEY is a little like Gotham Central, but in reverse. It is the tales of the criminal element of Gotham City – not so much the big name adventures of Joker, Two-Face and the Penguin, because they get enough time in the heroes’ titles, but it’s the story of the thugs-for-hire who flit between jobs for the big names. It’s the story of the Broker, who finds lairs for the themed criminal elements. It’s about the people of Gotham City who don’t make the big titles all that often: the people caught between the villains and the Bats. Batman tends to look at the criminal element of the city as irredeemable, only solvable by being punched in the face and thrown into the revolving door of Arkham. This book is about exploring the people caught in the system. And because Batman is about self improvement, it’s also about how they break out.

11. DETECTIVE COMICS is another double-sized bimonthly anthology, coming out on the months that don’t produce Action Comics. The lead story always features Dick Grayson, aka Nightwing, the first Robin and now crimefighter in Bludhaven, despite the occasional foray out into the rest of the world. The rest of the book features stories of various length by different creative teams about the rest of the Bat family: Oracle, Spoiler, Black Bat, Robin, Red Robin, Alfred. Sometimes a GCPD story. The emphasis is on detective work: mysteries and puzzles and complex rabbitholes. Nightwing gets unfairly painted as the pretty dumb one of the Bat family, it’s time to point out that he’s still a Bat.

Where are Tim and Jason, I hear you ask? They will turn up, I promise!

But not for a while, because tomorrow it’s Wonders and Lanterns.

This post can also be found at Feel free to join in the conversation wherever you feel most comfortable.


Why I should be Editor in Chief of DC Comics: 1. Supers


I will admit it: I have read very few actual Superman comics. Some, but few. I have opinions about Superman informed by other media and talking to actual fans, so this lineup comes from trusting people, and from the fact that not having read a lot (which is getting fixed slowly) doesn’t stop me from having opinions.

Supers are: aliens in America; incredibly powerful; motivated by their own morality; champions of the oppressed.

1. SUPERMAN is Clark Kent, adopted son of farmers from Smallville, Kansas, and last son of Krypton, a planet brought to extinction by the actions of the people living on it. Growing up on a farm, later learning about his birth planet, led Clark to become somewhat of an environmentalist (Thanks, Plok.) As a reporter in Metropolis, Clark spends his days writing about things that will have a world wide impact, and Superman spends his time fighting a wide variety of world-threatening villains. He’s based in Metropolis, but he isn’t of Metropolis. He’ll defend his home, but he’s Big Picture, involved in saving the world as often as not. Threaten Metropolis, Smallville, his homeland, however, and he’ll break it all out.

Superman has an obscene amount of power, but he’s not interesting if he’s punching things. Rather, his most important power comes not from the sun, but from the S on his chest. Superman is not the first superhero in a world that has had the Justice Society since the 40s, but he is the strongest symbol. His most effective enemies attack the symbol before they attack the man. Although too many stories about reputation get boring. As Rob  tells me: “Any story that starts with ‘Can Superman…’ will never be worth reading, because the answer is yes, and who cares. If the story’s premise is ‘Should Superman…’ then we’re getting somewhere.” Clark has this enormous power and the only thing that tells him what he can o  can’t do with it is… himself and his own conscience. And like many people, his conscience comes from his parents.

Clark is in his mid-thirties. Superman has been active for fifteen years.

2. SUPERGIRL is Kara Zor-El, and again I’m looking at Plok’s idea that she’s not actually all that related to Kal. She’s a Kryptonian teenager who somehow got lost in time and space and eventually ended up in Metropolis, where she is an alien in every sense of the word: she doesn’t even speak the language. Superman finds her and supervises her immersion into the culture, but there is no pre-established family connection between them and no natural trust. Kara’s integration into Metropolitan culture is eased by a friendship she strikes up with Siobhan Smythe, an Irish immigrant with a gift for language who helps Kara’s introduction into English. Early on, she develops the beginnings of a friendship with Cassandra Cain, Black Bat, who doesn’t need to speak Kryptonian to understand Kara or make herself understood.

Kara is an immigrant. She wants to go home, and has a hard time discovering this is impossible. In the meantime, she’s having to cope with acceptance in the superhero community she doesn’t really understand, and the reality of Metropolis on the street level. While her ‘cousin’ is distracted by the Big Picture, Kara sees the reality of living in the city as an immigrant, and needs to learn how someone with god-like power can use that power to make a real difference. She’s also a scientist, and that affects her outlook, and will be useful in later stories.

This is a YOUNG READERS title, written with teenagers in mind.

3. SUPERBOY is Conner Taylor, Conner Levitt a thirteen year old boy living with his mothers in Metropolis, who is beginning to realize he has superpowers that bear a remarkable resemblance to the city’s protector. On investigation, they discover that during the IVF cycle that produced him, his mother’s egg was co-opted and used for an experiment. Conner is the product of this: a cloning experiment carried out in the very early days of Superman’s appearance. He is a true clone of Superman, but one that was raised by parents who had no idea what had happened. Now he has to make his own decisions about who he is and what he wants to do. Supergirl is about struggling to find your place in a scary new world. Superboy is about finding your own identity in a busy city.

–ETA: More on Superboy after more conversations with Rob: –

Conner – who signs his name Con L – is, in a parallel with Clark, a web-savvy blogger, and the book contains pages from his social media presence as part of the storytelling. With the blessing and encouragement from his Moms, he eschews the idea of a secret identity, and is open with his identity as a teenager with superpowers, but no costume.

This is a YOUNG READERS title, written with children aged 10-13 in mind.

4. THE DAILY PLANET stars Lois Lane, with a back up cast that includes Jimmy Olsen, Perry White, and occasionally her boyfriend Clark Kent (but never Superman). And it is the story of what goes down in Metropolis that isn’t to do with Kryptonians. The Planet isn’t’ a vehicle for any particular stance on capes, but Lois wants to cover the effect that their presence has on the city. It covers city politics, non-powered crime, and most of all involves a whole lot of investigative reporting. You don’t have to have superpowers to fight for what’s right. Sometimes all you need is a typewriter.

– ETA: More on The Daily Planet after conversations with Becca–

One of the major characters is Sydney, a staffer on the paper and a friend of Lois, who develops a crush on a columnist before coming to the realization that he sucks.

5. ACTION COMICS is a double-sized anthology that comes out bimonthly, and contains at least two stories written by different creative teams. Superman and/or Supergirl, Superboy, or Lois Lane usually occupy the main story, the second features someone else based in Metropolis, such as Black Lightning or Guardian, maybe a Lex Luthor centered story, or another superhero  from another location. The theme tying these particular stories together comes from Action Comics’  first ever page: “Champion of the Oppressed.” These aren’t people standing up to invaders and criminals, but to bullies. The S, remember, stands for hope.

Next time: BATS.

This post can also be found at Feel free to join in the conversation wherever you feel most comfortable.


Why I should be editor in chief of DC Comics

I have applied and failed to get a job that I’m not only completely qualified for, but is the one of the ONLY jobs that my very specific skill set prepares me for, and I have no idea what I’m doing with my life. So obviously I’m perfect for a high pressure job where my only qualification is having a lot of opinions about Batman.

Back in 2011, when we first heard the news about DC doing a universe wide reboot, many of my fellow fans were shocked, but also many had ideas, and a few people in the blogosphere chimed in with what they wold consider their ideal 52 comics. Well, I’m nothing if not two years behind current fashion, but I’ve finally come up with what I would put forward as my ideal 52 lineup.

But first, the set up for this line:

1. Variety, in terms of characters and in terms of genres. There is room for grimdark! There is also room for bright cheerful saving the world with a smile! At least 10 of my 52 books are flagged as suitable for Young Readers – some aimed at children, some at teenagers (which means it still has sex and drama and heavy themes, but less of the violence for the sake of violence.) The silver age favorites get to stay, but their predecessors aren’t shunted to the side.

2. Creativity. It’s such a cheap shot to point at the way DC are treating their creators right now, but look at the way DC are treating their creators right now. (Actually today the most recent stupid thing isn’t treating a creator like shit, but just you wait.) But wouldn’t it be nice if we could go for a month without a writer or an artist being levered out of their job in a way that causes the kind of blow out we’ve been seeing? Anyway, the writing goes to the team on each individual book. Creative teams get to be creative. Obviously when I start outlining the book line up you’ll say “but you’ve written these already” to which I say SHUSH THIS IS A FANTASY LINEUP GAWSH.

3. Continuity is both important and not unimportant. Crossovers happen. Most of the books take place in a universe where events impact each other. The Wonder Woman in her own title is the same character as the Wonder Woman in her team books. But people reading either book can follow the plots without having to constantly buy both. Small continuity differences between books are acknowledged, even encouraged.

Okay, let me lay it down about continuity: there is both one universe and 52. Reality is not discrete, it is not objective. It is continuous between the perceptions and the interpretations of the people who experience it. Things don’t happen because of genre conventions, genre conventions dictate how we perceive things. Actual events create different stories according to the teller. The DC Universe already acknowledges that, see the B:TAS episode POV. There’s a different universe for each book, a different universe for each writer, hell, there’s a different universe for each reader, and that’s okay.

Having said that, creators are encouraged to read each other’s work and try and keep them coherent. No robot Alfreds!

I’ve divided the line into eleven sections: Super, Bat, Wonder, Lantern, Justice, Other Solos, Magic, No tights no capes, the grey area, Out Of Time and Team Ups/Showcases, and I’ll start tomorrow with my very uninformed opinion of the Supers.

(P.S. No, I still haven’t read many Superman books. Yes, I still have opinions. Sssssssssshhhhh my blog.)

This post can also be found at Feel free to join in the conversation wherever you feel most comfortable.


Clearing Out – Vertigo and Indies

Demon Knights and Supergirl are my biggest piles yet to be claimed. The former in particular surprises me. Paul Cornell! Vandal Savage! Questing for the right for princesses to marry each other!

So the first on this list is technically DC, but it’s not DCU and that’s how I roll:

Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre: Written by Darwyn Cooke, drawn by the amazing Amanda Conner.  An origin story for Laurie Jupiter, about growing up with an ex-superhero for a Mom and breaking out on your own. Obviously relevant to me, as a Black Canary fan. [Deuce]

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the end of Season 8, the beginning of Season 9. Also Angel and Faith, which is a season 9 spin off.

Cinderella: Fables are Forever A Fables-universe spy story starring Cinderella and… well, that would be a spoiler.

The Guild – One shot ‘origins’ for the characters of Felicia Day’s web series.

House of Mystery – the last few arcs of Matt Sturges’ fantasy romp. Lots of fun, and definitely a title I miss.

Stumptown: The Case of the Baby in the Velvet Case  – The second arc of Greg Rucka’s PI series, so-starring Mim Bracca from Fistful of Rain. Actually, what the hell, I’ll throw in Fistful of Rain in paperback if you want. This is an amazing four-issue story, and contains the best car chase sequence in  comics that I’ve ever seen.

Saucer Country: Paul Cornell’s 14 issue story about an alien abductee (also an hispanic woman) running for president. Conspiracies! Aliens! Politics! This is also great.

This post can also be found at Feel free to join in the conversation wherever you feel most comfortable.


Clearing Out – Marvel Edition

Addemdum to yesterday’s post: I forgot some:

Green Arrow grab bag – pre52 and nu52. [Rob]

Demon Knights – entire nu52 run. if Batwoman is one of the best nu52 titles, this one, created by Paul Cornell, is another one. A sword and sorcery team book, featuring Vandal Savage (as played by BRIAN BLESSED), Etrigan the Demon, Madam Xanadu,  and a host of new characters, including the Horsewoman, Shining Knight (reinvented as a trans man) and Al Jabr. I highly recommend this series!


Marvel Time!

(If you were waiting for my Fraction/DeConnick stuff: sorry that’s going somewhere already.)

Daredevil – volume 3. Deceptively light tone from Waid, seems brash and comicy and then turns it on its head with SURPRISE silver age villains are actually REALLY CREEPY, on top of stress from Matt’s Real Life. Whether the character concept of Daredevil appeals to you or not, the book is constantly well written.

Daredevil End of Days  – darker, AU story by Bendis set after Matt’s death, providing a gripping coda to Bendis’ great run on the title.

Punisher – Greg Rucka’s superb run, followed by Punisher: War Zone. An amazing story about a woman whose wedding was destroyed by a mass shooting, arming up and going after revenge. If you like angry women with vendettas, you will love Rachel Alves. Oh, and Frank Castle is in it too.

Fearless Defenders -Misty Knight, Valkyrie, Dani Moonstar and Hippolyta team up to fight mythological bad guys. Marvel’s answer to Birds of Prey is amazing, you guys! This has only just started, so it’s not a huge package. [All going to Kat]

Young Avengers – most (not all, sorry) of Avengers: The Children’s Crusade, along with the new Young Avengers title, which is a fun teen team book with a couple of awesome new characters (Miss America FTW)

Also two issues of Jan ven Meter’s Black Cat mini, but these are #3 and 4 of 4, so I understand if you’re not interested.

This post can also be found at Feel free to join in the conversation wherever you feel most comfortable.


Clearing Out – DC edition

So the biggest thing, weight-wise, that I find myself owning and unable to take anywhere, is a big pile of comics. Yay comics! Boo, comics are heavy.

I can, and will of course, dump a pile of them on Goodwill and Housing Works, but I suspect they will never find someone to love and read them, so I thought I’d let you guys have a look see which you would like to buy.

(I’d ask for shipping, and a donation towards the American Red Cross, the HI Fund at GOSH or another charity, should you not wish to donate to those two.)

My huge pile includes:

Batman, Detective Comics pre-52, Batman nu52, mostly written by Scott Snyder, covering the excellent Black Mirror storyline, the Court of Owls, and the mini-series Gates of Gotham. Some wonderful Dick-as-Batman in the pre-52 series.

Pre-52 Gotham including 3 issues of Steph-Batgirl, The Return of Bruce Wayne (Oracle, Jim Gordon, Batgirl) (Fi) and Streets of Gotham

Batwoman, the entire nu52 run, which as far as I’m concerned is some of the best of the nu52 comics available. ALSO Chase 100 page special with background to one of the main characters of the current series. Includes Batwoman #0 signed by Amy Reeder. (Gen)

Supergirl – Kelly Sue DeConnick’s storyline, and the first arc of her nu52 run. I really liked this nu52 story, but dropped it when they took away the things that made her interesting.

Secret Six – the final few arcs on one of the best things Gail Simone has written. [Jen]

Birds of Prey – all pre-52. Not as many as I thought I had, but also by Gail Simone and all very excellent :) (Gen)

Stormwatch – nu52. Paul Cornell had a good run of this, and I got bored eventually after he left. Read it for Midnighter and Apollo, because they are excellent.

Knight and Squire – GUYS THIS IS EXCELLENT. Paul Cornell’s mini series about the British representatives of Batman inc. (Fi)

Wonder Woman – Pre52 and nu52. Cliff Chiangs art on the nu52 stuff is great.(Kat)

Worlds’ Finest - the entire Huntress mini starring Helena Wayne, and the first arcs of the Power Girl/Huntress Worlds’ Finest title. (Kat)

nu52 grab bag – books I started for a few issues, including Static Shock, Firestorm, a story line about Vandal Savage’s daughter, and Blue Beetle [Jen]

Coming up: Marvel and independents. Ask me for details!

This post can also be found at Feel free to join in the conversation wherever you feel most comfortable.

qow, future (scared)

Alright, let’s make this official

I’m going home.

This is not what I wanted, and it’s stressing me the fuck out.

But it’s okay in many ways. I miss Abby. And Charlie. I miss Izzy, and Sam and Lauren. And I hate uncertainty.

New York was the very best thing I could have done for myself. The reasons didn’t pan out, but I am a healthier, happier, more knowledgable person than I was three years ago. And New York, Bank Street, Gotham Girls, Ana and Becca made that happen.

The job I’m leaving is the very best job I could ever have had – the job and my boss and everything about it seemed so perfectly designed for me and my expertise and my personality that me not getting to do it for longer feels like concrete disproof of the existence of narrativium in our lives.

I don’t want to go.

But I can do it.

Now, who wants to buy my comics?

This post can also be found at Feel free to join in the conversation wherever you feel most comfortable.

qow, future (scared)

It’s been a very long time

I got some disappointing news this morning. I will talk about it, but I’m not ready for that yet.

But maybe you could leave me writing prompts or distractions in the comments?

This post can also be found at Feel free to join in the conversation wherever you feel most comfortable.

Capital Scandal, gun

I really need to get back to using this space

Name a character in any of my fandoms, and I'll answer these questions: 

1. Do you love/hate/don’t feel strongly about this character?
2. What’s your favorite trait of this character?
3. What’s your favorite moment/event involving this character?
4. If you could have one power/attribute/etc. of this character, what would it be?
5. Have you ever pictured this character naked?
6. When did you fall in love/hate with this character? I you don’t have any strong feelings toward them, why not?
7. Who’s your OTP for this character?
 Y'all know my fandoms, right?

[DC comics, Marvel comics, Arrow, Discworld, Leonardo, Claymore,  Korra, A:TLA, Capital Scandal, Buffy/Fray, Sungkyankwan Scandal, Queen and Country, Parks and Rec, Go On, The Scarlet Pimpernel and others I forget right now!]

This post is also posted at InnerBrat @ Dreamwidth where it has comment count unavailable comments. Feel free to join in the conversation wherever you feel most comfortable.

Storytime: W/E 17/02/2013

Currently Reading A Place of Greater Safety - Hilary Mantel

Green Arrow 17
Avengers Assemble 12
Demon Knights 17
Saucer Country 12

Singin' In The Rain

Justice League Unlimited: "This Little Piggy" | "The Greatest Story Never Told" | "Ultimatum" | "Dark Heart" | Wake The Dead" | "The Once and Future Thing: Weird Western" | "The Once and Future Thing: Time, Warped"
Elementary 1.16 "Details"
Young Justice: Invasion 16 "Complicated"
Black Lagoon 1
Arrow 1.14 The Odyssey
Gaksital 27,28
Community 4.02 "Paranormal Parentage"
Parks and Recreation 5.13 "Emergency Response"

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries 1-23, 87 "An Understanding" | 88 "Okay
Pemberley Digital Domino 5 "If Else" | 6 "Return"

Would have put this up earlier, but I accidentally slept!
These were all great. Your thoughts?
This post is also posted at InnerBrat @ Dreamwidth where it has comment count unavailable comments. Feel free to join in the conversation wherever you feel most comfortable.