X-Men comics for November 18 2015; The Awesomeness of Girl Comics
I’m off tomorrow, so no problem with reviews.
I’ll go to the store for: Extraordinary X-Men #2, by Jeff Lemire and Humberto Ramos; Ms. Marvel #1, by G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona and Takeshi Miyagawa; My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #36, by Jeremy Whitley and Andy Price; New Avengers #3, by Al Ewing and Gerardo Sandoval; Phonogram The Immaterial Girl #4, by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie; Pretty Deadly #6, by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios.
I’ll also review: Deadpool #2, by Gerry Duggan and Mike Hawthorne; Secret Wars Too #1, by a bunch of people.
So that’s 6 comics I’m picking up, and 6 reviews.
I’m most excited for Pretty Deadly! Pretty Deadly! It’s back! Pretty Deadly is back! Yes! KSD and Emma Rios! I love Pretty Deadly. Love it so damn much. It’s amazing. Emma Rios’ art is gorgeous and more alive than any other artist I’ve seen. And KSD’s writing is fantastic. Her characters are human, and there’s a great lyrical quality to it all. I cannot stress enough how excited I am. Beyond that, we’ve got more of New Avengers, which I’ve been enjoying and I’m excited to see more of, especially since it looks like we’ll be getting some Hulkling/Wiccan stuff next issue. Always nice to see. There’s Phonogram, which has been great. And Ms. Marvel’s back! It’s been a long, long wait for the new volume. All the way since, er, last month. OK, not that long. But hey! It’s Ms. Marvel! It’s a great book and I love it.
And we’ve got Jessica Jones released on Friday. It’ll probably take me a few weeks to get through the series. But I’m really looking forward to it.
I want to talk a little about The Awesomeness of Girl Comics. I like quite a few comics aimed at girls. I mean, there’s the books like Ms. Marvel, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, the upcoming Hellcat. But that’s not really what I’m talking about. I’m talking more about books like Princeless, The Adventures of Superhero Girl, or My Little Pony. (Not to mention a few of the webcomics I read.) I’ve been reading Jem & the Holograms (I’m reading it online, rather than floppies), and I’ll actually use that as an example of why I love these comics.
So. Jem. I never watched the cartoon, because I was a guy and it ended when I was 3. But I’d heard a lot of good things about the current comic series, so I decided to check it out. And it’s a great comic, and it actually demonstrates what I love about girl comics. The characters are really deep, complex people. They feel human. And they have complex relationships. They relate to each other in believable ways, and they have interpersonal conflicts. Jem actually has one of the most interesting examples of this. Jerrica dates a guy named Rio. In the original cartoon, apparently, Rio was Jerrica’s childhood friend, and had a thing for Jem, setting up a love triangle where Jerrica was competing with herself. But the comic goes a different direction – Rio doesn’t like Jem. And his reasons for it make sense, and his dislike for her owes a lot to how much he likes Jerrica. But Jem is another side of Jerrica, so Jerrica is defending herself without being able to explain that it’s her. And that’s a really complicated relationship. (Though as a nice touch, arguably the biggest romantic relationship is actually a same-sex relationship, with the attraction between Kimber and Stormer.)
But I think what I really like is that these comics are positive. The ones I love are all about love. Not romantic love, but love between friends, and between family. Characters are allowed to screw up. They’re allowed to be selfish, self-absorbed jerks at times. But they always come back around, because they care for the people around them, and the people around care about them. Often, conflicts aren’t resolved by fighting, but by talking. I like that. I like that characters try to get to the root of conflicts, so that everyone can be happy.
A lot of these books also put a focus on diversity. Princeless was made because Jeremy Whitley wanted a comic his mixed-race daughter could relate to. Jem’s racial diversity comes from the show, but the diversity of character shapes comes from Thompson and (especially) Campbell. Ms. Marvel was designed around diversity.
Plus, the books are just fun. They’re funny. They’re not dumbed-down, which is key. Girl comics and girl cartoons have a bed reputation, earned honestly, for being dumb and insipid. A lot of old girl stuff was made by people with no respect for the audience, previous versions of My Little Pony being one of the biggest examples. But the people making the content I’m talking about, they trust their audience. They think girls are actually pretty smart, and capable of grasping complicated plots and relationships. And they are. So the creators don’t dumb their work down. Obviously, they keep the content and humour appropriate for the age level, but that doesn’t mean it’s dumb. It just means no sex or profanity. And that’s not much of a restriction. So the people making these comics are really trying to entertain themselves, and that shows.
So, yeah. Girl comics are pretty great.
I read Brilliant Shadows, by JM Bates.
This was OK. I backed this book on Kickstarter, and read a digital copy. I mostly enjoyed it. It has a reasonably interesting premise, with some people having magical spirits that bond with them and grant them certain gifts, and some of those people going to live in a magical world. The book has a very strong dedication to LGBT representation, and to racial representation (or, at least, black representation). The narrative is fairly interesting, though it does, at times, feel more like world-building than story-telling.
There were weaknesses with the writing, however. For one thing, there were too many typos and mistakes. That sort of thing always takes me out of a story. Beyond that, however, I think another draft would’ve helped to tighten up the writing as a whole. Some word choices were weaker or more awkward than they could’ve been. Some sentences ended up grabbing my attention for the wrong reason.
Still, overall, I did mostly enjoy this story.
The book wasn’t as good as I’d hoped, but it wasn’t bad. I probably wouldn’t be inclined to recommend it to someone, especially not for buying, but I wouldn’t try to talk anyone out of reading it, either. I’m now reading Dates! An Anthology of Queer Historical Fiction. I’m not familiar with any of the creators involved, but I’ve been enjoying it so far. I’ve read 7 stories, out of 25. I’m a little under a third of the way through. It shouldn’t take too much longer to finish it, though. After I finish it . . . I’m not sure. I have plenty of options.
February solicits came out today. My pull list: Captain Marvel #2, Ms. Marvel #4, New Avengers #6, Silk #4, Silver Surfer #2, Spider-Man 2099 #6, Ultimates #4, A-Force #3, ANAD Avengers #6, Extraordinary X-Men #7 (maybe), Hellcat #3, Angela #5, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #4, New Avengers #7, Silk #5, Spider-Man 2099 #7, Squirrel Girl #5. So, 17 titles.
My schedule for the week: 6-10:30 Thursday, 10-6:30 Friday, 10:30-7 Saturday, 10:30-7 Monday, 8:30-5 Tuesday. So next pull list will go up Tuesday. I’ll have a post Sunday, and I may try to get one up next Tuesday, as well. See how I feel. And actually, Sunday may or may not be iffy. I’m hoping to hang out with a friend, but I don’t know if it’ll happen, or what time it’ll happen.
And that’s all I’ve got for this week.