Damage January 21, 2015 Damage David D. Levine Concerning a spaceship's conscience. And the Burned Moths Remain January 14, 2015 And the Burned Moths Remain Benjanun Sriduangkaew Treason is a trunk of thorns. A Beautiful Accident January 7, 2015 A Beautiful Accident Peter Orullian A Sheason story. Kia and Gio January 6, 2015 Kia and Gio Daniel José Older Seven years ago, they went on a secret mission.
From The Blog
January 21, 2015
Don’t Touch That Dial: Midseason SFF
Alex Brown
January 21, 2015
Agent Carter, I Think I’m in Love
Liz Bourke
January 21, 2015
The Illogic of Fairy Tales
Genevieve Cogman
January 16, 2015
Birdman is Actually Just a Muppet Movie
Max Gladstone
January 15, 2015
What Are Your Favorite Non-Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Shows?
Stubby the Rocket
Thu
Jan 22 2015 9:00am

Tiamat’s Terrain: Comics that Traverse the World

Kamala Khan Ms Marvel

I didn’t mean to fall into comics at the beginning of 2015, but sometimes that’s just the way the wind blows. And these comics, hailing from France, Italy, Cyprus, and America, traverse the whole world, entering unexpected longitudes and latitudes.

Intriguingly, the content that takes the reader into far-flung corners of the globe reflects the authors’ own travels and lineages: Squarzoni, a French graphic novelist who worked in ex-Yugoslavia, has traveled through Mexico, Palestine, and Israel as a human-rights observer and has published work on Central American politics and the Holocaust; the Italian, Hugo Pratt, inducted in 2004 to the Will Eisner Hall of Fame, lived in Argentina, London, Italy, Switzerland, and France, while also traveling Patagonia, Canada, and Africa; Wilson is an American who lived and worked for a time in Cairo; Hoplaros grew up in Zimbabwe before moving back to her home-country, Cyprus; and Sattouf, who used to write for Charlie Hebdo, is a French-Syrian who spent his childhood in Algeria, Libya, and Syria. With well-traveled captains like these at the helm, you know you’re in for a rip-roaring ride.

[Read More]

Tue
Jan 13 2015 2:00pm

Getting Excited About Comics Again: Image Expo 2015

As those of you who read my monthly Pull List column here know, last year was the year I finally returned to comics after having abandoned them as a teenager. Well, specifically, it was the year I went back to superhero comics. I’d been reading alt comics and graphic novels for years—Preacher, Sandman, Hellboy, and Y: The Last Man hold a special place on my bookshelves—but even my readership in those had nosedived after my frustration with The Walking Dead comics put me off just about all illustrated works. Going back to capes meant going back to graphic novels, which lead directly to my belated discovery of Image Comics' current output.

And that’s why I was so excited to attend Image Expo for the first time last week. I’ve been to a variety of SFF cons in the last few years, but had no idea what to expect with this one. It both surpassed and underwhelmed my expectations, but regardless I had a grand time. First off, it’s not a con, at least not in the way I thought it would be. I’m terrible at judging crowd sizes, but it seemed like there couldn’t have been more than two thousand people, if that. Which worked out perfectly in a venue as small as the Yerba Buena Arts Center in San Francisco.

[Read More]

Tue
Jan 13 2015 10:00am

Samuel Delany Pukes on a Baby: Authors Can Be Art, Too!

Saga

There have been many storied cameos in comics history: KISS, Barack Obama, Stephen Colbert, and the entire 1977 cast of Saturday Night Live. There are also plenty of instances of comic writers appearing in their own books, and a giant fabulous example of fictional characters adventuring together.

But what about comics that feature other authors? I spent some time recently looking for cameos by writers homaged in comic books and found a vampire Neil Gaiman, an alien Samuel Delany, and the mighty she-god Isaac Asimov?!? Take a look.

[He did write a sestina about vampires...]

Mon
Jan 12 2015 10:00am

The Best Sci-Fi Adventure You Didn’t Read in 2014 — Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye

Transformers comic Wait, come back! I promise this doesn’t involve Mark Wahlberg hate-chugging a Bud Light.

I have a friend whom I’d turned onto IDW Publishing’s Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye a few weeks ago, and she immediately began recommending it to her other friends. While writing this article, I asked her how she was wording these recommendations, and she responded, “Oh man, I just started this great comic, aliens on a big old mission after this huge war ends and they Voyager themselves and the characters are amazing and it’s funny and heartbreaking and…. it’s Transformers.”

That last part tends to be where most people lose interest.

[Read More]

Fri
Jan 2 2015 12:00pm

What Really Happened in Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time

As a loving tribute from A Wrinkle in Time’s 50th anniversary a couple years back Faith Erin Hicks presented us with a comic detailing her favorite part of the book. It is honestly the most adorable thing we’ve seen in a long time.

Faith Erin Hicks is the author and illustrator of a number of webcomics, including Demonology 101 and Zombies Calling. Her comic Friends With Boys is now available as a graphic novel from First Second.

[Read more]

Wed
Dec 31 2014 2:30pm

Pull List: Saga

There are a lot of good comics out there. Sure, there are quite a few bad comics, and a ton of mediocre ones, but the really great ones are few and far between. Those are the comics that don’t just break the rules, they shatter them into a million unidentifiable pieces. They shove convention and tradition out the window and do whatever the hell they want. The graphics are more art than illustration, and the text more literature than natter. The great ones push the boundaries of what is acceptable, what is deviant, what is perverted, and what is awe-inspiring. They force the reader to really think about their world, and revel in the thrill of the reader forging a personal connection to the characters or material. They take the medium and elevate it to such great heights that the very concept of “high quality” is redefined.

And then there’s Saga.

[“Life is mostly just learning how to lose.”]

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]