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Last week I made a comment about being by what the the current Batwoman writer Marc Andreyko said in an interview about DADT as part of Kate’s story. Andreyko later stopped by the blog to clarify things. I also received some input on my comment from a reader of the blog, Moira Phippen, which turned into a short discussion on where Batwoman was a character and her thoughts on Andreyko as a writer. I was so taken with her insights that I asked her to expand on them in a guest post. Here she discusses the three different authors that Kate Kane has had and their differing approaches to the character’s queer identity. Her thoughts follow and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
I found Kate Kane just around the time of my life that I was beginning to come out, to my friends, family, community, partners, and even to myself. As a character, she is so crucial to me. Seeing a queer-identifying character take on the “Bat” name, and not just a girl, but as a “woman,” self-assured, confident, aware of herself and who she was… I can’t express how much an image like her was meaningful to me as a young adult coming to terms with a conclusion about her sexuality that she had tried her very best to avoid. No matter the writer, Kate has always embraced who she is, no apologies offered. Rucka, Williams, and now Andreyko have become some of my most treasured authors due to the care each have taken with Kate.
As I have grown older, I’ve embarked on my own path to being more like Kate: I try to be brave like her, bold like her, uncompromising like her. My relationship with each writer’s Kate - because they are, all of them, different Kates - has developed with me. In a way, they each represent different kinds of interpretations and portrayals of the queer experience and identity, all of which hold some unique and different value or impact.
I am an unabashed fan of Greg Rucka currently the writer of Lazarus from Image and one of my favorite writers of the women of DC Comics (Batwoman, Lois Lane, Wonder Woman, etc.) but really just comics in general given Stumptown, Queen & Country and so many others.
This week Rucka has a new comic out for Dark Horse called Veil. The official description is:
A beautiful girl wakes up in an abandoned subway station with no memory of how she got there. When men try to hurt her … they wind up dead. Where did she come from? And what is she capable of?
The first issue out tomorrow is a dark but vibrant tale that will have you wishing the next issue was out NOW. If you’ve seen the cover and preview, you’ll know what I mean by dark. If you haven’t here you go:
I’ve got a thing about rats so it is the power of Rucka that got me past that first image. I chatted with Rucka about the book and what readers can expect and … rats.
Happy Birthday, sir!
Q: How do you write such strong/well-realized/positively portrayed women?
A: I don’t. I write characters. Some of those characters are women.
At NYCC last week Dark Horse announced a new series written by Greg Rucka due in March. Here’s some of the PR on Veil described as a “gritty urban drama.”
The story opens when a beautiful girl wakes up in an abandoned subway station with no memory of how she got there. When men try to hurt her . . . they wind up dead. Where did she come from? And what is she capable of?
Rucka, of course, also has his terrific Lazarus series from Image in addition to his webcomic, Lady Sabre.
I don’t know if you are aware of this but I am somewhat fond of Mr. Rucka’s writing so I think it is highly likely I’ll be checking this one out.
Here’s the artwork release for Veil.
Kelly and I have one our favorite writers on this week, the always awesome Greg Rucka. We talk about his new series Lazarus (which you MUST pick up tomorrow) and his Kickstarter for Lady Sabre.
Kelly and I have a early review of Lazarus and we also review Becky Cloonan’s Demeter.
We also discuss the book DC announced last week that you all know we were going to discuss.
And finally our newest feature which you all seem to like DRAMATIC READING. This week we have a comment that objects to Kelly’s review of Man of Steel but also thinks just a bit too much about the sex life of Superman.
So please give us a listen! And as usual we ask that you leave us a comment and if you really do listen to the podcast you’ll know why you’ll want to for this edition.
You like comics? You like Greg Rucka? You like smart, female characters that are drawn realistically and don’t suffer from asstititis?
You need to read Stumptown. I’ve told you this before. Kelly and I have done podcasts on this title. If you still haven’t read it, now is the time because Comixology is having a sale that ends tomorrow.
Stumptown is a detective story and focuses on a Seattle PI, Dex Parrios. The first volume is about a missing girl. The second volume is about a missing guitar. I’m not going to tell you much else because it will spoil the fun. This is Rucka at his most Ruckaiest. And you get the great art of Matthew Southworth including a car chase issue in volume 2 which was one of my best of 2012.
If you want to read it but aren’t down with the digital thing than you have a mixed bag. Stumptown, Vol. 1 has a gorgeous trade you can buy here. Volume 2 won’t be out until fall but why not give digital at try?
A happy, happy birthday to a great creator who has created and written some of my most favorite female characters ever including:
So please join me in wishing a great day to one of the nicest guys in comics!
And I can’t think of a better day for you to check out Lady Sabre the webcomic about a female Pirate by Greg Rucka and Rick Burchett. It publishes once a week (mostly) and I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t read it.
Or you could pick up Conan the Barbarian by Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan and meet Belit:
And I think it is fair to remind people that at one time in the 90s Wonder Woman had an arc devoted to her battling Space Pirates.
This week I have a first issue for you that I’m so excited about I did a separate post on why you should buy it. Today I highly recommend you pick up Stumptown #1 by Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth.
But this week we have not only first issues, but 0 issues:
Snyder and Capullo ARE the reason I read this run of Batman.
I’ve tried to get people to read this for 12 issues, won’t you try this one?
And now we have a 0 issue that is also a first issue. I’ve been back and forth on whether I would try this, but I’m going to give it shot.
Other DC Comics to pick up:
Punk Rock Jesus #3 by Sean Murphy. Are you reading this? It’s very good.
Saucer County #7, Paul Cornell gets double dipped this week.
And in the “I’m just buying this for the kids, really!” category:
Story and Art by two women, Meredith Gran and Liz Prince, as an added bonus.
You may also want to give a new comic featuring a lead female character a try. Tomorrow Jones is a teenager who comes from a family of superheroes. I have not read the comic but this page made me laugh. You can find out more and how to buy it here.
What’s on your list?
I get a lot of requests to recommend books outside of Marvel and DC as well as books that feature good female characters. This week I have an answer to both. Oni is releasing the first issue of the second volume of Stumptown, a detective story with a female PI Dex Parios, and I highly recommend that you pick it up. Why?
1. It’s by Greg Rucka. I don’t think its a secret that I’m a huge fan of Rucka’s work and this title is no exception. If you’ve liked Rucka’s other stuff, you’ll enjoy this.
2. The character Dex Parios is complex and fully realized. I interviewed Rucka about the character last year when the trade of the first arc of Stumptown was released and we chatted a bit about the character.
3. The art is fantastic. Matthew Southworth brings Portland Oregon alive and offers up a female character that doesn’t look like other female characters in comics. That’s a good thing. (Click here to see a lovely portrait of Dex that Matthew drew for me._
4. It’s a detective story by someone who knows and loves detective stories. How much? his official bio includes this:
The best thing about USC was that he and his wife got to live in a house that he could pretend Philip Marlowe had visited. Probably to beat someone up.
5. It’s a great issue. Kelly and I will be doing a preview review of it today on “3 Chicks Review Comics” as well as speaking with the writer about the what to expect in this arc. (We also spoke to Rucka about some other things. You can imagine what they are. You’ll want to listen to this.)
If you haven’t picked up the first trade of Stumptown, I recommend you do. You can order it here. You don’t need it to jump on this arc but it will certainly enhance your reading. Additionally, it was one of the best trades of 2011.
Here’s a sample:
Gender isn’t simply a biological trait; it’s a societal one. The female experience is different from that of the male, and if, as a male writer, you cannot accept that basic premise, then you will never, ever, be able to write women well. A man walking alone through Midtown Manhattan at three in the morning may have concerns for his safety, but I promise you, it’s a very different experience for a woman taking the same walk, and it’s different again for a man wearing a dress. Think about it. That’s a societal factor, and it’s a gendered one, and this is not and can not be subject to debate. If you’re looking to argue that sexism is a thing of the past, that the world is gender-blind, you’re not only wrong, you’re lying to yourself.
I recommend you go read the rest.
Like many others, I thought Greg Rucka’s Stumptown was one of the best comics of 2010. The four issue series (which began in 2009) follows Portland, Oregon detective Dex Parios as she searches for a missing teenage girl to settle a gambling debt. Dex is a down on her luck (or is she?) PI who struggles with her taste for gambling and being a good caretaker for her mentally-challenged brother.
Dex is quite simply a great character. She’s both tough and compassionate. She’s full of self-doubt one moment and bravado the next. And she never shies away from a fight. The book is filled, as you can imagine, with snappy dialogue and twisty plot turns via the talented Mr. Rucka. But the book is also a visual stunner with rich, atmospheric art by Matthew Southworth. He provides incredible attention to detail, stunning perspectives and a use of color which enhances Rucka’s script.
The trade came out last week and Greg was kind enough to answer some questions about the book and the lead character, what’s next for Dex and how some of his other female characters might interact with her.
Today March 22 is Wonder Woman’s birthday per the DC Comics 1976 calender and I’ve been asking her creators what their birthday wishes or gifts are for the Amazon. I asked Greg Rucka if he had a one and he did!
This moment is not only memorable but visually striking and, in my mind, iconic. It was also part of the start of a great relationship between a writer and a character. Once again, I am incredibly lucky to have the writer of this moment here to discuss it, the very talented Greg Rucka.
If you go through this series you’ll notice that many of the most memorable moments are transformative making either the reader or other characters change their view of a character. I believe that’s true of this moment. My guest poster is Saranga, a long-time blogger who writes about comics and also has a wonderful resource for new comic readers.
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