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Here's a thought: If they ever do bring Cassandra Cain into the reboot universe, would you want them to completely reset her back to when she was mute, or have her talking and behaving as she did later in her character development?
That’s a good question. It would really depend on the circumstances that she brought on. I do think her disability is a core part of the character - I want to see the complexity and impact of the character’s past and upbringing not just some a generic kickass Ninja Asian chick.
Given how bold the Batman editors are being in injecting fresh blood and new directions into their line come Autumn, which line of DCs books do you think would benefit from the same approach? I think the Superman books are the line that need this kind of shake-up the most.
Superman has been given a shake up several times most recently with the addition of Geoff Johns and JRJR. I read the first issue and I’m hopeful that they can get the Superbooks back on track.
Wonder Woman is the book that needs fresh blood and direction - that new team is not it.
I understand that costumes tend to be so bad for female characters that the Batgirl suit is a breath of fresh air, and I'm glad Oracle was mentioned at all in the post about it. But as someone for whom that representation really mattered, it's very depressing to see so many people so willing to move on and give DC a free pass for essentially removing all disabled representation from their books. A nice new costume shouldn't be all it takes to make people forget.
Oh I haven’t forgotten about Oracle and I’m hardly giving DC a free pass and I don’t think many others are either. I think this refresh of Batgirl is great because it is targeted at a new and growing demographic of readers but I am still not happy about the erasure and elimination of Oracle from the new 52 (although glad to see her being used in other books such as Li’l Gotham and Injustice).
I still hold out hope she’ll show up in Earth 2 which still doesn’t completely let them off the hook but would once again put a PWD to their books.
With The Movement cancelled, there is a gaping, shameful hole in representation at DC Comics. I hope it is corrected soon.
How can you be excited about the new Batgirl creative team while Cassandra Cain remains benched?
Can’t I be both? I’m not happy Cass is still not in a book but I’m also glad to see DC Comics is creating books targeted at a demographic that she’d be perfect for. I know Cass is being brought up constantly by creators. My hope is sooner or later she’ll show up just as Stephanie did.
In case you missed it, DC Comics announced a new look and new team for Batgirl this week. One of the cowriters of the book Brenden Fletcher is also co-writing Gotham Academy with Becky Cloonan.
Cloonan, the first woman to draw an issue of Batman, just tweeted out her take on Batgirl. I’ve notice that many of the concerns about the refreshed look of the character is that she looks so young. I confirmed with Brenden that the character is still 21, the age she was reset too during the new 52 launch. I think in Cloonan’s piece below she looks that age.
I actually don’t think the Babs Tarr and Cameron Stewart pieces look that far off from 21 either.
Very few comic artists are able to draw young women that look, well, appropriately young. Take a look at the eyesore cover where Wonder Girl is supposed to be in her teens (actually let me save your eyes - don’t look).
The style of art matters as well. I’ve been spending time rereading Cass Cain’s run as Batgirl and there were some points where both Cass and Barbara looked the same age due to the artwork.
There is an incredible amount of artwork that has shown up on my dash over the last few days featuring Batgirl’s new look. Most of it is being curated at the Batgirl of Burnside Tumblr set up by Cameron Stewart.
If you haven’t, go take a look.
The announcement that Gail Simone was leaving Batgirl this week also included yet another reference to her writing a new book for DC Comics. During a recent Reddit session Geoff Johns mentioned her working on a “Top Secret” project.
Today at the London Comic Con during a spotlight panel Simone hinted to attendees she is launching Secret Six. She then continued the hinting on Tumblr.
The Secret Six was one of the most well reviewed books that Simone worked on while under contract to DC Comics. Spinning out of a Infinite Crisis mini-series, the book ran for 36 issues and was cancelled as part of the new 52. At that time the book had just fallen under 20K an issue.
During the new 52 DC launched Suicide Squad which many saw as a replacement for the Secret Six. That book was cancelled earlier this year when sales fell to just above 20K. That book used several of the same characters that had appeared in Simone’s Secret Six including Deadshot and Killer Shark as well as Amanda Waller.
Suicide Squad just relaunched with a new writer so it will be interesting to see which characters from Simone’s original run appear. Several of the characters including Catman as well as Simone created characters Scandal Savage and Jeanette have not been seen in the new 52. Tremor a character created near the end of Simone’s run appeared in The Movement. Another Simone creation, the modern Ragdoll, recently appeared in Batgirl.
The biggest name from the original run was Bane. Since he appeared in that series, the character gained prominence when he appeared in the final film in Nolan’s Batman Trilogy where he was played by Tom Hardy. During the Reddit session Johns said that Simone was writing XXX XXX which certainly leans toward a top name character such as Bane.
Secret Six was one of DC Comics more diverse books including asexual, bisexual and lesbian characters. Given the current state of LGBQT characters in the DCU, I hope the new Six, if true, continues the trend.
Secret Six was one of my favorite books during its run and i think probably the best thing Simone has written. It combined high adventure, horror and black humor like few other comic books have. I hope the hint is true.
The June sales numbers were published today and to no one’s surprise the new JRJR/Geoff Johns Superman reboot was in the top 5 comics. But what may be a surprise to some is the comic that was in the slot above it - Harley Quinn. Despite a controversial start last year, the book has climbed the charts each month and has become a huge sales hit for DC Comics. I chatted with Jimmy Palmiotti about the book as well as Harley Quinn Invades Comic-Con International: San Diego which is out Wednesday.
This morning DC Comics unveiled a respin/refresh of the Batgirl book. Gail Simone who has been the main writer on the book for the past three years is leaving. Cameron Stewart, mainly known by DC readers as an artist, will co-write along with Brenden Fetcher who is also co-writing Gotham Academy. Art is by Babs Tarr bringing a new full-time female artist onto DC Comics just as Nicola Scott has announced she’s leaving the publisher.
Just last week I wrote about the announcement of Gotham Academy and wondered if it finally meant that DC is targeting female readers. This week we see this Batgirl respin that I have been told by sources close to the book is aiming for the female audience.
The “refreshed” Batgirl has a new costume, new town and will have a new supporting cast although some of her current cast including Alysia Yeoh will be seen. The costume is very cool if you haven’t seen it.
Given the house style that is preferred by senior management at DC Comics (i.e. Jim Lee and David Finch) it is a treat to see an artist as different as Babs Tarr on-board at DC Comics.
The book’s creators said in the official PR interview that the book mixes the best elements of “Veronica Mars” and “Girls,” with a dash of “Sherlock” thrown in for good measure.” And the tone?
"We really wanted to make this a book with a light tone, of fun and adventure and mystery, and let the rest of the Bat-family deal with the darkness. She’s got problems, and conflict, and enemies to fight, but our priority was to make this a really fun, rollicking read."
I haven’t read the current Batgirl run except for the previews and my feeling and of those that have read it, is that it was a fairly dark book that reflected Dan Didio’s statement about the Batfamily last year
"They put on a cape and cowl for a reason. They’re committed to defending others — at the sacrifice of all their own personal instincts. That’s something we reinforce. If you look at every one of the characters in the Batman family, their personal lives kind of suck…
Tim Drake, Barbara Gordon, and Kathy Kane — it’s wonderful that they try to establish personal lives, but it’s also just as important that they put it aside as they know what they are accomplishing as the hero takes precedence over everything else. That is our mandate, that is our edict, that is our stand with our characters.”
So now we have a book with a young Batgirl that has a lighter tone and is likened to Veronica Mars … just as we did three years ago with Bryan Q. Miller’s run on Batgirl.
I was a big fan of that Bat-book not just because of its writing but because of the opportunity I thought the book presented.
If DC comics is seriously interested in gaining new female readers, particularly younger ones, this book may not be the key but it is damn close. Gail Simone has often said that Birds to Prey is an on-ramp into comics for women. I took that on-ramp and agree. I think that this version of Batgirl* can do the same thing for a younger female audience.
That post outlined a series of ways Batgirl could be used to outreach to female readers and to my non-surprise absolutely nothing remotely like any of of those ways were pursued.
Now, I am happy to see DC Comics bring books like Batgirl and Gotham Academy that are targeted to female readers who are as I have repeatedly and repeatedly the fastest growing demographic in comics.
Given Marvel’s success with Ms. Marvel, I’m not surprised to see DC offer up a book with a similar feel. (But I do wish they could have realized they had it three years ago and without ditching Stephanie Brown as Batgirl and Barbara Gordon as Oracle).
I hope that both books are great and do great. If they are could lead to more books that aren’t grim and gritty and targeted to the “core” audience of males but rather hit that growing demographic.
What do you think of the respun Batgirl?
Holy new comic day, Batman! There’s some new first issues out today that you might want to pick up as well as some other comics. And today? Today is all about DICK GRAYSON!
This is the Phil Jimenez variant for the new DICK GRAYSON book. I posted an interview Tim Seeley yesterday about the book and he had some very interesting things to say about Dick and Helena Bertinelli who is also in this book. The art is by Mikel Janin who draws a very pretty Dick. Let me know what you think of this one.
And speaking of DICK GRAYSON, this variant cover of Chastity from Dynamite is by Tim Seeley the writer of Grayson. So she’s a vampire. And given this is Dynamite she is a very s.e.x.y. vampire and the book has a very SEXY cover. However, this book is written by Marc Andreyko and the inside art isn’t quite same as the cover art. Andreyko brings his traditional snarky dialogue to the table and the concept for the vampire is somewhat interesting. I’m not sure I need another female vampire book right now, but maybe you do?
Justin Jordan was once a DC Comics writing Team Seven which featured Slade who we all know is a mortal enemy of DICK GRAYSON. Post-Apocalyptic bloody nightmare with a Saga type twist with a baby - come on the cover screams it. This is pretty violent book but if ou do like post-Apocalyptic tales Jordan certainly delivers a sturdy one. The art from Kyle Strahm is very strong. It all comes down to how much gore you like.
I’m really enjoying this run on Captain Marvel - who here kinda hoped she’d show up somewhere in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie? Anyway I think Marvel was smart getting Lopez on the book. Lopez of course drew the Catwoman series in which (wink, wink) Selina had Bruce’s daughter or DICK GRAYSON’S sister. (That was kinda of a stretch but not really. Happy to discuss!)
Did you pick up the first issue of this? More horror this time dystopia style. Did you know Cullen Bunn once wrote an arc of Superman/Batman? Did you know that Bruce Wayne/Batman is DICK GRAYSON’s father?
The new arc started last issue so you can still jump in on this. And since I came up with no way to connect DICK GRAYSON to this book if you send me one and I’ll put your name into a quick drawing to win the first trade of this book.
So much blood this week! The best vampire story being printed right now. The writer may have a passing familiarity with DICK GRAYSON.
If you like Tim vs. Harper you’ll like this issue. And you know DICK GRAYSON is going to be in here at some point.
And that’s it for me this week - what did I forget? What’s on your list? And let me know what you think of the first issues above if you read them.
Three years ago this month DC Comics was being, rightfully, raked over the coals due to their lack of female creators in the launch of the new 52. The past week or so has DC expand the ranks of female writers to seven. Joining Gail Simone, Ann Nocenti and Amanda Conner and Marguerite Bennett who was previously announced as one of the co-writers on Earth 2: World’s End are Becky Cloonan, who was announced as the writer on the upcoming Gotham Academy, Meredith Finch, the new writer on Wonder Woman and today, novelist and i09 contributor Genevieve Valentine who will be taking over Catwoman in October (Nocenti is launching a new Klarion book). Here’s a look at the cover art by Jae Lee.
The book will focus on Catwoman reign as mob boss in Gotham.
The announcements are not over. Expect another one later this week that will bring a female artist to a familiar book.
Dick Grayson has been spent nearly 75 years as part of Batman’s life but this week he gets a new series where he’s on his own and uses his own name, Grayson. DC Comics is having a bit of fun with the promotion of the book and released the following ad last week.
One person who does know Dick is Tim Seeley who is co-writing, with Tom King, the book which debuts tomorrow. I chatted with Seeley about the character and the book which includes the new 52 debut of Helena Bertinelli.
Earlier this week I posted about the upcoming DC Comics series Gotham Academy. That book will be written by Becky Cloonan. I think its an important book for DC and explained why in the post.
This week also saw announcements of two other series that also seem a good fit for a more diverse audience and also have female creators attached.
It’s like Christmas in July!
From Vertigo this November we’ll see The Kitchen written by Ollie Masters with art with Ming Doyle. The book takes place in New York in the 70s and is being pitched as Goodfellas mashed up with Mob Wives. I’m sure last year’s release of American Hustle, also partially set in New York in the 70s didn’t hurt this pitch.
I’m a huge fan of fellow Bostonian Ming Doyle, who you may know best from Image’s Mara. The New York of the 70s was a dirty, gritty, violent place and I think Doyle’s art is a perfect match. Take a look:
But there’s more!