March 27, 2015

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Weekend Pattering For March 27, 2015-- Comics That Don't Look Like Me

** After the horrible week last week, there are things this week that just continued the crapfest that seems to be March (more on that later) but as if people were trying to counter program news, there we a few good things that were happening.  This Io9 story about the new female Thor selling more copies per issue than the old male Thor is maybe a step in the right direction when we're talking about mainstream superhero comics.  Of course, articles like this just kind of assume that superhero comics equals all of comics and don't even acknowledge the great work that has been done by female cartoonists outside of the Marvel/DC/Image/Dark Horse/IDW realm of influence.  Heck, when you get beyond the whole Diamond sphere of influence, there's a ton of great work that's being done by a diverse pool of creators that we actually rarely see in the direct market realm.

Getting back to the Io9 article, there's a complete lack of introspection on why this is happening.  Is it because the lead character is female?  Is it a sign of the ever increasing health of the direct market?  Is it that it's just a good comic, better than Jason Aaron's previous and very traditional take on the character?  There is a diversity of character, story and creator that is growing in mainstream comics and it is allowing more non-traditional approaches to superheroes to thrive right now.  It's not pandering; it's not political correctness.  And to a large extent, I'll be generous and say it's not a corporate decision made to drive bottom line profits.

A lot of credit may be due to Matt Fraction and David Aja.  Their Hawkeye opened the door a few years ago to Marvel and DC looking at unconventional approaches to superheroes that served an often unwanted customer base.  There's nothing greatly diverse about their Hawkeye but Fraction and Aja's approach opened the door for books like the new Batgirl, Ms. Marvel, She Hulk and a lot of DC's upcoming new summer comic books.  As these unconventional superheroes have gradually established themselves over the past couple of years, they've been far more welcoming to those legendary "new readers" than any jumping on point that Marvel and DC have tried to do on their established, continuity laden titles.

So Thor is now selling more.  That's great.  I'm personally enjoying it but I wonder what that audience looks like and how it looks different that the Thor audience from two years ago.  And if it is different, I hope that comic publishers continue to publish books for them, to show them all of the great work that's being being done throughout the comic landscape.

Welcome new readers.  I'm actually starting to believe that you exist.

** In the bad news of the week, Indiana's governor signed a law that allows for businesses to discriminate against LGBT customers based off of their religious beliefs.  There have been a lot of comic/pop culture shows that seem to have started developing in Indiana in the past few years but GenCon is the one that has been most vocal about their displeasure in the law and their intent to start looking to relocate their convention if this law is allowed to continue.

And we think the way we treat people in comics is bad?  Here's a whole state that's allowing for discrimination.  And it's not the first that's tried or succeeded in doing this.  I'm scared to see how far this can go in this country.

When did "compassion" become a inappropriate term?



** Arthur Ransom is a British artist who doesn't get nearly enough recognition here in the states.  Here's the beginning of a small series of questions with Ransom.  Even if you don't read the interview questions, just look at some of that art.

** Always reblog Jim Steranko's Outland adaptation.



** Whit Taylor's Passing continues at Darling Sleeper.

** Our own Rob Kirby posts his THEM comic.


** I'm not really that much into Valiant Comics right now so this article from Tech Times on why it's a great time to get into Valiant Comics actually seems a bit misguided to me.  I've pondered trying to read Valiant series (I even bought that Humble Bundle last year that was full of their comics) but the first two point just seem kind of whack?  There's something for everybody? It's easy to dive in?  I guess if you're looking for action/adventure and that's all you want, then the article is spot on.  

** Panelleers doing their Panelling thing this week.