A Long Spoon December 18, 2014 A Long Spoon Jonathan L. Howard A Johannes Cabal story. Burnt Sugar December 10, 2014 Burnt Sugar Lish McBride Everyone knows about gingerbread houses. Father Christmas: A Wonder Tale of the North December 9, 2014 Father Christmas: A Wonder Tale of the North Charles Vess Happy Holidays from Tor.com Skin in the Game December 3, 2014 Skin in the Game Sabrina Vourvoulias Some monsters learn how to pass.
From The Blog
December 9, 2014
The Eleventh Doctor’s Legacy Was Loss and Failure
Emily Asher-Perrin
December 9, 2014
Tor.com Reviewers’ Choice: The Best Books of 2014
Tor.com
December 8, 2014
How Fast is the Millennium Falcon? A Thought Experiment.
Chris Lough
December 8, 2014
Tiamat’s Terrain: Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange
Alex Mangles
December 4, 2014
Potential Spoiler Leak for Star Wars: The Force Awakens Reveals Awesome Details
Emily Asher-Perrin
Fri
Dec 12 2014 5:05pm

Even If You Look Closely, You Still Won’t Believe This is a Silver Surfer Costume

Silver Surfer makeup drawing cosplay

That’s a pretty great drawing of the Silver Surfer, right? Wrong. That is, it’s a fantastic work of art, but it’s not an illustration. That’s a real person you're looking at, thanks to Hollywood makeup effects artist Cris Alex. Having worked on X-Men: Days of Future Past, Alex is no stranger to superheroes, and challenged herself to recreate a specific Silver Surfer comic book cover. Her final result is definitely a step up from those pop art Halloween costumes.

[Take a closer look]

Wed
Dec 10 2014 12:00pm

We Need a Kink in Our Stories: BDSM Characters in Your Favorite Genre Fiction

Farscape, Scorpius, John Crichton

Look at a beloved genre TV show, movie, or comic book. Is there simmering sexual tension marked by shifting power and the exchange of control? Do the characters strut around in leather corsets and wield whips? Does someone get tied up? You’re looking at BDSM (variously standing for bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism) at play. Which really doesn’t come as a surprise, because geeks are kinky as all get out.

Older, more conservative narratives would have us believe that people who engage in BDSM are somehow wrong or depraved. But the sheer presence of kinky characters across so many stories—whether hiding in children’s shows as jokes for the parents, or in the case of Farscape’s Scorpius, hiding in plain sight—simply proves how universal the notion of power exchange is.

Remember your safe words, ’cause it’s time to meet our favorite fictional kinksters!

[Read more]

Mon
Dec 1 2014 3:00pm

Pull List: Batgirl and Thor

DC’s New 52 reboot in 2011 was much needed, somewhat successful, and totally controversial. Women creators dropped from 12% to a depressing 1% (as of August 2014, that number is under 10% between the Big Two). Catwoman, Starfire, Voodoo, and Harley Quinn were way oversexualized. And then there was Batgirl. Barbara Gordon was thankfully spared the worst aspects of the New 52, by which I mean she wasn’t tarted up in a black and yellow bikini with Liefeld-esque accent pouches. Three years later, a new writer and artist have taken over the title and breathed new life into Batgirl.

A week before Batgirl dropped, Marvel launched their newest series aimed at young women: Thor. Yes, in the 2014 Marvel comics universe, Captain Marvel is a woman, Ms. Marvel is Pakistani-American, Captain America and Ultimate Spider-Man are Black, and Thor is a woman (with really unfortunate boob-plate armor). Quite a few characters have taken over the mantle of Thor over the years, but this time it’s for real. For now, anyway.

So, we have two old titles with two new personalities. How do they stack up? And, more importantly, should you buy? Oh, hell yes.

[“Quick, say something badass.”]

Mon
Jun 23 2014 9:26am
Original Comic

The Imitation Game

Jim Ottaviani and Leland Purvis

The Imitation Game by Jim Ottaviani and Leland Purvis

Today, Alan Turing is considered the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. The mathematician, born on June 23, 1912, was a brilliant World War II codebreaker and parlayed that insight into theorizing and creating the first stored-memory computers. Unfortunately, this Officer of the British Empire was persecuted by the British government of the time for his homosexuality and suffered through chemical castration before ending his life.

The Imitation Game by Feynman author Jim Ottaviani and Resistance illustrator Leland Purvis chronicles the life of Turing in a full-size graphic novel. Check back every day this week as Tor.com releases the entire graphic novel in four parts.

[The Imitation Game by Jim Ottaviani and Leland Purvis]

Mon
Nov 24 2014 11:21am

Warren Ellis’ Crowdsourcing Crime Fighters Comic Global Frequency is Being Adapted for Television

Global Frequency TV show Warren Ellis

Already looking ahead to the next television season, Warner Bros TV continues to look to comic books for new series. Deadline reports that producer Jerry Bruckheimer is looking to bring Warren Ellis’ early-2000s techno-thriller comic Global Frequency to TV, with Farscape creator Rockne S. O’Bannon adapting. Fox has made a pilot production commitment for the drama, which Bruckheimer, O’Bannon, and Ellis will all co-produce.

[Read more]

Thu
Nov 13 2014 10:00am

The Kind You Save, The Kind You Stop: Death, Disability, and the Superhero by José Alaniz

Death Disability and the Superhero review

The history of superhero comics is at least as strange and subversive as the stories themselves. Golden Age superheroes arrived on the scene in the 1930s-40s rife with all the problematic social underpinnings of their time. White, male, and beyond-able-bodied, heroes like Superman and Captain America (a verifiable human eugenics project) represented everything America aspired to be. Counterculture, social change, and the more nuanced Silver Age of comics brought with them a dramatic shift in many of these perspectives—suddenly, superpowers were tied to other, less traditionally “super” qualities. Characters like Ben Grimm of the Fantastic Four even saw his power as a curse, a bodily deformity that marked him as abnormal and monstrous—a stark change from the paragons of virtue mentioned above.

José Alaniz’s recent book, Death, Disability, and the Superhero: The Silver Age and Beyond, tackles these themes head-on, drawing on examples from across The Big Two’s publishing history to highlight how changing perceptions of bodies, disability, and death have shaped the characters and franchises that continue to intrigue us today. Exploring issues from the infamous revolving door of death to secret identity plots as passing narratives, DD&S is a fascinating read for old comic fans and newbies (like myself) alike.

[Read More]

Tue
Nov 4 2014 9:00am

Is Loki Canonically Genderfluid Now?

Loki, Original Sin: Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm, female lady Loki

Loki’s current exploits in the Marvel universe have been fun for sure, ranging from heists and cons to discovering that he and Thor have an extra sibling they never knew about. Writer Al Ewing made a splash even before his run with the character began by stating that Loki is bisexual, and that he would shift from male to female on occasion as well. The announcement was met with a flutter of interest and many questions—had Loki always been bisexual? What would the swapping mean for his gender identity? Would this add dimension to the character, or come off hollow?

It seems as though Ewing has done more than make Loki bisexual, however; with the Original Sin arc (by Ewing and Jason Aaron), it looks like Loki has been established as genderfluid as well. Which is awesome.

[Read more]

Wed
Oct 29 2014 1:00pm

Pull List: Joe Hill’s Wraith: Welcome to Christmasland

It’s almost Halloween, which means the Brown household is in the middle of its annual Joe Hill October (Joetober? Octohill?) Celebration. Between consuming Wraith, Horns the movie, and Horns the book for Tor.com, I’ve also spent my lunch breaks at work binging on his ebook short stories.

At this point, most of you should be at least passingly familiar with Joe Hill, but to quickly sum up, he’s a masterful writer of horror fiction who has also spread his talents into graphic novels. For this special Halloween edition of Pull List, we’re talking Wraith: Welcome to Christmasland, but I also highly recommend The Cape (no, not the TV show Abed was obsessed with) and, of course, the excellent Locke & Key.

[“We’re on our way to Christmasland!”]

Wed
Oct 29 2014 9:00am

Bring Me a Cuddly Marshmallow Robot: Big Hero 6 Will Make You Cry, and That’s Okay

Big Hero 6

Another Disney-Marvel venture that comes from the pages of a comic book, Big Hero 6 was already set to combine our favorite sci-fi buzz words—superheroes, robots, alternate realities—and deliver something fun for the whole family. But the movie supersedes those expectations to ruminate on invention, family, and how grief transforms us all... for better or for worse.

Spoiler-light review below.

[I am satisfied with my care.]

Mon
Oct 27 2014 11:00am

Nobody Puts Jarl in a Corner: The Way of Shadows Graphic Novel

The Way of Shadows graphic novel

Say one thing for Brent Weeks’ Night Angel Trilogy; say it’s full of action. I borrow that turn of phrase from Joe Abercrombie, whose main character Logen Ninefingers often uses it to demonstrate his ‘tell it like it is’ demeanor.

I borrow it in much the same way that Ivan Brandon and Andy MacDonald have borrowed for the graphic novel The Way of Shadows; we create something similar to the original, but also completely pervert it to our own ends. Where Weeks took time to develop his narrative beyond mere action, the graphic novel glosses over much of the detail, creating a shallower tale that focuses on the action and, really, only the action.

[Read More]

Wed
Oct 22 2014 10:00am

Batgirl’s New Creative Team is Already Punching Sexism in the Face — With Science!

Batgirl

I’m a sucker for youthful superheroics of any kind, from the Teen Titans to the Great Saiyaman. But all too often, super-powered kids get written as slightly less verbose adults, with no concern for young people’s actual tastes, tendencies, or—most importantly—problems. The new creators on DC Comics’ Batgirl, on the other hand, are doing a bang-up job portraying college student Barbara Gordon’s hectic life as an academic superstar by day and hip vigilante by night. But what’s coolest of all—besides her kickin’ new outfit—is that Batgirl is finally standing up for modern young women everywhere. And she’s doing it with science.

[Read more...]

Tue
Oct 14 2014 10:15am

From Plot Devices to Normal People: Transgender Themes in Comics at NYCC

NYCC Transgender Issues in Comics panel Charles Battersby Gail Simone

At New York Comic-Con’s panel Secret Identities: Transgender Themes in Comic Books, Batgirl writer Gail Simone related a conversation with another comics creator who said that (paraphrased) “you’ll know we’re ‘there’ [regarding diversity] when we have a transgender character on the cover of a comic book.” While the industry hasn’t quite hit that level of visibility, it’s well on its way with panels like this one at NYCC (and a similar one at SDCC, also featuring Simone, which filled the convention’s largest room).

Moderating NYCC’s panel was Charles Battersby, a playwright and journalist who also runs Press XY, a website examining trans issues in gaming. Other panelists included Morgan Boecher, author and artist of the semi-autobiographical webcomic What’s Normal Anyway?, about his FTM (female-to-male) transition; and P. Kristen Enos, a cisgender lesbian LGBTQ activist and author.

The panel discussed the history of transgender characters in comics, from offensive plot devices to someone as normal as your roommate. They also discussed how to avoid tokenizing such characters, and offered recommendations for characters so that trans readers can see themselves reflected in comic books.

[Read more]

Mon
Oct 13 2014 11:00am

Internet Activism and Global Economics: In Real Life by Cory Doctorow & Jen Wang

Cory Doctorow Jen Wang In Real Life graphic novel review

The arbitrary line drawn between the internet and “real life” is a long-standing pet peeve of mine. When I was a kid, it came in the form of well-intentioned family and friends telling me that my online relationships weren’t real. As an adult, it has been any number of folks from across the political spectrum belittling “Twitter activism” and other online forms of dissent—whether because it doesn’t work, or because, in their strangely drawn rulebooks, it doesn’t count as real action.

Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang’s graphic novel, In Real Life, hits both of these notes with grace while staying true to the playfulness and fun that draw so many of us to online spaces in the first place.

[Read More]

Fri
Oct 10 2014 10:00am

Here and There: The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil by Stephen Collins

The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil Stephen Collins review

Beneath the skin of everything is something nobody can know. The job of the skin is to keep it all in and never let anything show.

So begins The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil, award-winning cartoonist Stephen Collins’ first graphic novel proper, and it is as dark and charming a parable as the poetry of its first panels portends.

The eventual originator of the evil beard is a drone called Dave. Not literally a drone, however his behaviours are practically mechanical. In that, Dave is not dissimilar to the other strangely hairless inhabitants of Here; like them, he lives in almost constant fear of There. Happily, his job at A&C Industries occupies his thoughts during the day, and in his downtime, Dave draws. He draws the pedestrians that pass his house; he pencil sketches pets and post boxes; but by and large his subject is the street. “It was just so neat,” you see. “So... complete.”

[Read More]

Thu
Oct 9 2014 12:40pm

Rocket & Groot Conquer all the Covers!

When Marvel tells us that We are Groot they mean it! We’re getting 20 homages of classic Marvel covers in November, all featuring Rocket Racoon and his incredibly endearing bodyguard. The image above (a variant for Superior Iron Man #1) is a gleefully subversive take on the classic Iron Man arc, “Demon in a Bottle,” while the one below is, well...

[Read More]

Thu
Oct 2 2014 1:50pm

Join Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang on Their In Real Life Tour!

Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang will be making appearances in support of their new graphic novel In Real Life, adapted from Doctorow’s story “Anda’s Game”! While playing her favorite MMORPG, Coarsegold Online, Anda meets and befriends a gold farmer—a poor Chinese kid whose avatar in the game illegally collects valuable objects and then sells them to players from developed countries with money to burn. This behavior is strictly against the rules in Coarsegold, but Anda soon comes to realize that questions of right and wrong are a lot less straightforward when a real person’s real livelihood is at stake. The comic, published by First Second Books, is available October 14th.

Check out an excerpt from IRL, and read the Tor.com original comic “Con/Game,” set in the IRL universe. Then click through to see if the IRL tour is coming to a town near you!

[Tour dates!]

Wed
Oct 1 2014 9:00am

Pull List: Lumberjanes

From the first page of the first issue, I knew Lumberjanes was going to be my new favorite thing. All the girls are awesome—I absolutely adore Mal, probably more than is healthy—the story is easy but engaging, and the dialogue is sharp, cheerful, and pleasantly down to earth. But it wasn’t until page 9 that I fell in love.

The girls use famous/important women as interjections, and on that page Molly referenced a woman who has been my hero since I was a little girl: Bessie “Queen Bess” Coleman. She was the first African American person of any gender to have an international license, and the first Black female pilot in the world, and it’s a rare day when I encounter someone who not only knows of her but treats her with the respect she deserves. This is probably going to be less review and more love letter, because there’s just so much greatness bundled up in such a little comic.

[“What the junk?!”]

Tue
Sep 30 2014 8:00am
Original Comic

Con/Game

Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang

Con Game Cory Doctorow Jen Wang

Anda loves Coarsegold Online, the massively-multiplayer role playing game that she spends most of her free time on. It’s a place where she can be a leader, a fighter, a hero. It’s a place where she can meet people from all over the world, and make friends. Gaming is, for Anda, entirely a good thing. 

But things become a lot more complicated when Anda befriends a gold farmer—and Anda soon comes to realize that questions of right and wrong are a lot less straightforward when a real person’s real livelihood is at stake. 

From acclaimed teen author Cory Doctorow and rising star cartoonist Jen Wang, Con/Game is an original comic story set in the world of Doctorow and Wang's In Real Life, a sensitive, thoughtful look at adolescence, gaming, poverty, and culture-clash.

[Read Con/Game]

Mon
Sep 29 2014 11:00am

Cosplay is Not Killing Comic Con, and Neither are Selfies and “New” Fans

Superman costumes, Comic Con

Denise Dorman, wife of comics illustrator Dave Dorman recently made some waves with a piece she posted on her own blog ComicBookWife.com, which then appeared on Bleeding Cool. She was pointing to a very real problem at current conventions—that creators, writers, and illustrators are no longer making enough money at conventions to justify the expense of going in the first place. Her belief is that a new brand of convention-goer—the sort who worships cosplayers over creative talents—are largely to blame for this issue.

And... no. No, they’re not.

[But what is?]

Fri
Sep 26 2014 8:00am

This Chinese Comic Bootleg of Star Wars is Full of Droid Kissing and Booze

Star Wars Chinese Comic

Ah, the bootleg DVD. In China, this manner of receiving entertainment is all but an enterprise. (I have a particular memory of a friend’s father bringing home a pirated copy of Pirates of the Caribbean from a business trip to China, where the subtitles were clearly from a different film—during their duel, Will Turner accused Jack of never coming home: “All you want to do is go disco disco with your friends!”)

But before that, did you know that there were lianhuanhua? Meaning the equivalent of “linked picture book,” these were an early form of comic in China—many of which were adapted from popular films that the public didn’t have access to.

And you need to look at this Star Wars one.

[Check it.]