Showing posts with label Wonder Woman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wonder Woman. Show all posts

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Imaginary EIC Hat - Rules I'd Implement for Superhero Comics

If you've read comics for any length of time, there are tricks and tropes and storylines we've all seen, and worst and best practices for superhero comics.

Sometimes the worst practice stuff seems to get followed because things happen in the fog of trying to put a monthly comic out in a timely fashion, sometimes it's because you can tell the new writer hasn't done any homework prior to coming on and the editor appears to have a laissez-faire attitude regarding what their writers are doing, and more often than I care to admit, I look at comments online and am shocked by how many people really like the worst-practice stuff and are willing to say so out-loud.

I've considered a few things I find grating overall, considered their impact, and how often these could be used and still feel like, perhaps familiar ideas after a while, but to help keep them a little fresh or maintain their impact, we've given a rate for how often they can be used.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

In which we consider DC's June post "Convergence" shake-up and new costumes


I kind of want to be out of the business of thinking about DC's moves as a company, because it's equal parts equally unsatisfying and depressing.

In case you missed the interview with Co-Publishers Dan Didio and Jim Lee that was featured at places like Comic Book Resources yesterday, they're basically moving forward by going back to not tying every book in the DC line to superhero mainline continuity.  As comics were up through the 1980's, DC and Marvel surely put out Superman and Spider-Man, but we didn't need to worry how that fit in with Teen-Age Romance Comics or Katy Keene In Love or whatever made up title I just made-up.

And DC is going back to - maybe not putting out Teen-Age Romance Comics - but they are saying "not everything here is in the main DCU, so quit worrying about that".

Jim Lee, who I am pretty sure has no idea what an actual buyer of comics looks like or thinks, was quick to tell his core audience that we're mistaken for wanting continuity to work in an ongoing serial.  And we were also mistaken for expecting both the New 52 to make sense and the five year time jump to hold together after DC said "it all makes sense, we'll show you" and then absolutely did not do so.

Now, all of this is coming on the heels of Convergence, which is a munging of the DC Multiverse, and because it's been a few years, I think we all needed to expect Didio was going to once again reboot the DCU.  They're not saying that, but they are absolutely saying that the characters will have new, unheard of status quos.  So, practically speaking, a rejigger if not a reboot.

So, let's review the images for the solicitation copy, shall we?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

In Her Satin Tights, Fighting For Your Rights - "Wonder Woman '77" coming to comics

Over here at The Signal Watch, we don't "binge-watch" much TV.  When I hear someone watched an entire season of a TV show over a weekend, I think maybe that person has a butler who runs their errands, walks their dogs and amuses their friends and family in the hours when they aren't at work.  For me, "binge-watching" is watching an episode or two of a show a night, maybe 3-4 days a week.  I've done it with maybe 4-5 TV series, and haven't even finished most of those (sorry, Breaking Bad).

pew!  pew! pew! ping! ping! ping!

At the end of the summer and through the fall, we watched all 3 seasons of Wonder Woman.   We did so out of order and it took a while to do it, but we did finish.  And now?  I kind of miss it.  But I know it would be weird to watch the whole show over again so immediately.*

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Monday, April 22, 2013

Doc Watch: Wonder Women! on PBS

On Monday, I watched the documentary Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines on the PBS series Independent Lens.

If you were expecting a documentary about the importance of Wonder Woman to 20th and 21st Century females as a symbol of power for women, you were in the right place.

You can watch the whole thing online at the moment.  Here you go.

For those of us who are already fans of the character, it's a nice tribute to the character, a nice consideration of the influence of the character across the 20th century, but the doc was also a bit frustrating.

The documentary was a good starter kit for someone to consider pop culture touchstones as gateway drugs for empowerment for women and a place to start the discussion of media portrayals of women.  But, if you know your Wonder Woman (and I only kind of feel like I've scracthed the surface of the character), the film followed the prescribed narrative checklist of players and topics you'd get in talking about Wonder Woman's history if you were to talk on the subject for more than five minutes.

We got:
  • William Moulton Marston's creation of a lie-detector and his hang-ups on bondage scenarios are touched upon
  • Glora Steinem talks the first cover of Ms.
  • Lynda Carter gets interviewed (and is still just as stunning)
  • various academics are interviewed who talk about what it means to have a strong female character at the start of World War II
  • Wonder Woman's second tier place in comics after WWII

Monday, April 8, 2013

Some artists I think handle Wonder Woman really pretty well

As a comic strip character, Wonder Woman is a tall order. Especially for the many comic artists who have, more or less, one or two styles of women they can draw, and then mix it up with clothes and color. We know what Wonder Woman might look like in our mind's eye, but, like Superman, mostly we know when its wrong.

The comics describe Wonder Woman as:
Beautiful as Aphrodite, wise as Athena, swifter than Hermes, and stronger than Hercules
How do you draw that?

If you're many artists, you chuck the icon and start drawing a swimsuit model in a "sexy" pose.

As an example, DC took some ribbing thanks to the "variant" cover for JLA #2, which featured the usually tough-looking male members of the JLA, and then a kind of youngish, kittenish version of Wonder Woman. I don't know that there was a better way to make the point that WW needs to be portrayed as a peer to her JLA colleagues and not as the resident cheesecake, but in response fans created the "what if male superheroes posed like Wonder Woman" meme.  You sort of hope DC brass hears about these things and applies changes as they go along.

I wasn't a Wonder Woman reader until way late in the game.  I was vaguely embarrassed then (and now) to pick up "sexy" covers on comics, and during the 90's, when I was curious about the character, DC was in the middle of experimenting with both good girl and bad girl art on the title.  But when Phil Jimenez came on Wonder Woman,  I couldn't help but notice the covers weren't cheesecake, the stories were different from everything else I was reading, and when I flipped through the comics, the art was absolutely stunning.  I became a fan of the character thanks to the work of Jimenez, and then had a lot of work to do catching up.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Put some clothes on: The complications of female superhero costumes

One of our own posted a link to Twitter to a page showing redesigns of popular female characters in comics (in particular, DC Comics characters) in outfits that are not the white one-piece peek-a-book of Power Girl or the familiar star spangled corset and shorts of the Wonder Woman costume.

I'll take a poke at the Power Girl costume because the original is one of the most discussed costumes in comics and, short of Vampira, the one most likely to raise questions and hackles.

example of redesign

and original formula

In comparison to Power Girl's traditional costume, he redesign certainly seems less aimed at appealing to the male gaze and creating a look that still honors the original.  It appears functional and...  well, I think this design is actually pretty bad, but we can talk about that later.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

No Post Thursday - Superheroes on TV

I watched the first 2/3rds of What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? for the first time since college, and its even better than I remember.  Saving the rest for tomorrow, but, man, everyone in that movie is so good.

Anyway, we'll talk about that movie later.

And, we really need to find me a copy of Straight Jacket.

Also watched a PBS show, Pioneers of Television, that I think Randy originally sent me the link for.  Anyway, the topics was superheroes, and featured Batman, The Hulk, The Adventures of Superman, The Greatest American Hero and (sigh) Wonder Woman.

You can watch the whole thing on the PBS site, so go nuts.

Watch Superheroes on PBS. See more from Pioneers of Television.

Here, Lynda Carter has had enough of your nonsense:

Here's, like, 9.5 minutes of Diana Prince turning into Wonder Woman.  It's kind of weird.

 And, as a reminder, The Adventures of Superman is a terrific TV show.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Wonder Woman/ Superman Kiss

Apparently even the ladies on The View have weighed in on Wonder Woman and Superman having passionate smoochy-time in the pages of Justice League coming on Wednesday.

Sigh.  I suppose that means that, as a blog that likes to talk about both of these characters, I should also put in my two cents.

credit to Diane Nelson for remembering her company owns half of telecommunications and getting this stunt some publicity

The problem is that I gave up on the Geoff Johns/ Jim Lee Justice League comic 6 issues ago, so I have no idea what led to the smoochies on the actual page - so I won't comment on that.

Here's what I will comment upon:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I will not buy Superman products featuring a Superman with a Preposterously Large Head

If you ask Jamie, she'll tell you that I will buy just any old thing with an "S" Shield on it.  Cups.  Underwear.  Towels.  Dog bowls.  And there's some truth to that.  But something I've always steered away from are Superman items that depict Superman, but with a weird-shaped head or a disproportionate head.

Take the upcoming Superman USB drive from Mimobot for example.

NOPE.  Not gonna do it.

I suppose that part of it is that Superman really is just a guy with blue eyes and dark hair.  Any time you mess with that look, now you're just distending some dude's head, and not in a particularly funny or fun way.

if I have to explain why this is right and the USB drive Superman is wrong, we may need to start over from scratch  with this whole blogging enterprise

Thursday, March 15, 2012

General Update: SXSW, Books, This week's Comics, Pop Art


While I'm still not firing on all cylinders, I'm so much better than this time last week.  Basically, I think I'll have a cough and sinus issues for a while, and I don't want to risk 30 minutes on the elliptical til this weekend, but I'm basically back up to firing speed.


As we say in Austin, "South By" is on.  Tomorrow begins the musical portion, and I will not get to see Bruce Springsteen.

We missed Nathan this year as we were a sick house, and in no condition to get the house prepped, even had I not worried about hacking a lung all over him.  From watching him on Facebook, it looks like he had another great few days of coverage of the Film portion.

Some other friends from Seattle (if you knew me back in The Day, you might know them) showed up.  The My, Bryan M and their two bandmates.  We grabbed a meal with them and then they came to my office this week at work just to see me and see what I'm up to, which cracked me up.  Unfortunately I still haven't felt well enough to go out to any of their showcase shows.


I just re-read A Princess of Mars and am starting Gods of Mars, the second John Carter book by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  I'd like to read at least the first three novels (especially as they came in a handy, single volume from Simon & Shuster for a really reasonable price).  Meanwhile, I decided to countermeasure that by giving 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke a listen as an audio book during my commute.

Yes, I've seen the movie a half-dozen times, but I'd always heard such good things about the book, and I wasn't ready to jump right into Rendevous with Rama.  If I like 2001, I will add that one to my bucket list.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Signal Watch Watches: Justice League - Doom

A few items before we begin.

1.  This movie was based on Mark Waid's tremendous Tower of Babel storyline in JLA that was amazing enough that it was adapted for the movie.  The story was powerful enough that it crept into the entire DCU, and launched us into Infinite Crisis circa 2006.

Oddly, this story is rarely discussed, and Mark Waid is featured not-at-all on the Blu-Ray, and in my viewing, I missed his name, and I was looking for it.

2.  This was also the final work by writer Dwayne McDuffie, who adapted Waid's story.  It shows his trademark ability to translate continuity-heavy DC work into much more workable stories for the 85 minute films.  It also demonstrates his ability to make the dialog sound plausible and build genuine character moments.  And I am going to miss the hell out of seeing his name on motion pictures, television and comics.

3.  On the heels of yesterday's post, I am reminded that there will be no shortage of DCE material for me to enjoy, and the small fee I paid for this Blu-Ray was less than what I'd pay for a tradepaperback.  I believe I paid about $15.

So, yesterday I purchased and read Justice League #6 by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee*, and I'd submit to them that they wrote just about the least interesting Justice League story I'd paged through since...  I dunno, maybe the 80's.  While I am torn regarding my loyalty to Mark Waid and my love of the original comics the movie Justice League: Doom was based upon, I can say - Johns and Lee did nothing over 6 issues but demonstrate that they don't know how to put together a compelling story with stakes, character or motivations, nor did they seem to understand that a hallmark of Justice League stories since Grant Morrison took the Pepsi Challenge circa 1997 was a constant ratcheting up of stakes and intensity.  I give you Morrison's insane epic, World War III or, for that matter, Final Crisis.

Friday, December 9, 2011

SW Advent Calendar December 9

...why is Santa so HUGE?  And shouldn't Wonder Woman put on some pants if she's going to sit down in the snow?

So, so many questions...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

No Post Wednesday

Today was a busy, busy day at work.  And then I went to the gym.  And then I tried to watch The Playboy Club because I mistakenly believed it would be a show about humans and the stories about how and why they worked at the very real Playboy Club in the complex and shifting sands of gender roles in the swinging 60's.  

Nope.  Its a really dumb nighttime soap.  I made it about 7 minutes in and quit.  (Psst.  TV-Makers!  People don't watch Mad Men because of boobs.  They watch it because its an amazingly well written show.)

So no post.  Not really.  Maybe after comics tomorrow.

Instead, here's a cover to Wonder Woman 170, featuring 3 of my favorite characters in comics.  Lois Lane does a "human interest" story on Wonder Woman.  And, yes, she knows Clark is Superman and Diana is his good buddy.  Its a great issue, detailing a single day in the life of WW when she's not out busting heads.

I really miss Phil Jimenez's writing and art, and the covers by AH.

Anyway, here you go:

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Guest Post - Jamie reads Wonder Woman #1

Hey, Signal Corps!  We've got a guest post I wasn't expecting.

Jamie plays it down, but she actually reads a lot of comics.  She does buy her own stuff from time to time, but mostly she reads my comics when the mood strikes her.  This weekend she picked up my copy of Wonder Woman off the coffee table, breezed through it and then started talking to me about it.  

In talking about the book, I thought she made some good points, so I asked her to put some of that down in a post.

Jamie hasn't been overly curious about the rest of New 52 launch, and as far as I know, this is the only one of the books I brought home that she's read.  But she's a woman of mystery, so for all I know, she's read everything off the coffee table while I'm at the gym.

As Jamie is actually pretty familiar with the last decade or so of Wonder Woman comics (I don't think she realizes those trades are pretty much everything going back to 2000 or so), but isn't particularly invested in DC or their publishing efforts, I thought it would be useful to hear what she had to say.  She also (I think) likes Wonder Woman on her own, and I would think a young, well-read, bright woman such as herself might be someone DC would want to buy their comics.

Ryan asked me to post a short review of the new Wonder Woman (#1 in the "New 52" relaunch).  I am not a regular reader of WW, aside from a few trades and a few issues here and there that Ryan has tossed my direction.  Nevertheless, I still felt a bit sheepish when halfway through the first issue of this reboot I looked up at Ryan and confessed, "I have no idea what's going on".  

I have never been particularly good with reviews, which is why I tended to avoid them on my own retired blog, but let me just quickly tick off a couple of issues I had with this...issue.

1. I admit, I got lost right after Diana and her new friend the Pantsless Wonder were sucked back to Virginia and the black and green voiceover boxes started popping up.*  Who the hell is this talking?  Is it the horse people?  Who are these horsey people?  Ryan kindly explained that the voiceover was coming from Glowy Eyes and his possessed lady friends back in Singapore from the opening pages.  I was embarrassed to have not picked up on this myself, but in my defense it had been 14 pages since we'd even seen Glowy Eyes and I don't like having to flip back through a comic trying to figure out what I'd missed.

Honestly if I didn't know about this relaunch and the book didn't have a "#1" slapped on the cover, I would have no idea this was the beginning of a new story.  It felt like any other of Ryan's WW issues I'd randomly read over the years where I knew I needed to just let some stuff go because I wasn't completely caught up. 

2. Not enough Diana.  For an issue that's attempting to draw in new readers, I would have liked to have seen more Wonder Woman in my Wonder Woman.  I understand that they are trying to lay down a story and it's just the first issue, but new readers are going to be picking this up expecting to see Diana in action.  

Like I said, my knowledge of WW and her mythos is less than impressive so I have no idea if this series is going to truly take her back to her roots or what.  My favorite incarnation of WW so far was the Greg Rucka era around 2004-5 of Ambassador Diana where she had no secret identity and a great cast of secondary characters with which to interact.**  I prefer to read comics that have a little joy in them from time to time as opposed to all violence and angst.  Personal preference, of course.  

All in all, I liked the art, and wasn't turned off enough by the story or the initial confusion to refuse to read any more.  I'll stick around for a few more issues, at least.

*I'm sure it's not called a voiceover box, but please cut me some slack, I don't know the lingo.
**Minotaur buddy? That's pretty awesome.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Signal Watch Reads: Wonder Woman #1 (of the New 52)

Wonder Woman #1
The Visitation
writer - Brian Azzarello
artist & cover - Cliff Chiang
colorist - Matthew Wilson
letters - Jared K. Fletcher
associate editor - Chris Conroy
editor - Matt Idleson

I am not a fan of too much of the work of Brian Azzarello.

I still associate Azzarello with his work on Batman: Broken City, the multi-issue epic that drug out over a year and somehow never managed to tell a story, and Superman: For Tomorrow, which derailed Superman for a year with unrelated and uninspired plotpoints, and a nonsensical conclusion.  And, of course, his Joker graphic novel, which was more or less a testament as to why we don't treat super-villains like actual criminals and psychotics in comics (its not particularly fun reading), but unintentionally raised the question as to why the Joker wasn't put down by a twitchy henchman on his second outing.  And his Luthor series just doesn't hold together as an actual story.

In all honesty, I get the feeling from his work that Azzarello more or less holds a lot of contempt for superheroes, but he knows that's where the money is.  And as long as there are young men looking for "more realistic" superheroes (ie: more blood), then Azzarello is going to be able to move comics and get hired.

Between you, me and the wall, I don't think Azzarello actually knows how to tell a story.  I think he knows how to provide a good set-up, and he knows some interesting beats he wants to put into those stories, but he doesn't seal the deal with either tying the narrative together or with taking the characters through an arc, so much as making them bystanders to a series of events he puts in motion.

Maybe his crime comics do a better job of this, but I don't know.  I still haven't read the 100 Bullets trade I picked up a while back.

So when it comes to Azzarello approaching Wonder Woman, I'm more than a bit skeptical.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Signal Watch Watches: The never-aired Wonder Woman Pilot

The thing that struck me over the head by far the most about the ill-fated Wonder Woman pilot is that it looked exactly like something that should have aired on Fox in the late 1990's.  Yes, it was from the production shop of David E. Kelley, he of Ally McBeal fame, who also gave us many more shows that were quirky or something, none of which I've watched.  And its hard to put a finger on exactly what's so 1990's about the show except that in design, scripting and pacing its maybe a hair in storytelling more mature than soaps from the 1980's, and the 1990's shows carried many of the same themes over from the prior decade.

the show is less decisive about pants vs. shorts than Didio himself
I won't say I don't watch a lot of TV shows, but when I think sudsy shows with classy, glammy looking women in absolutely enormous and over-stylized corporate offices having middle-school arguments and smirking at one another depending on who thinks they have the upper-hand, my mind is thrown back to shows like Melrose Place and latter-era 90210, LA Law, McBeal, etc...  And Wonder Woman full on has exactly one of these scenes.

So, yes, if you thought "well, it sounds like David E. Kelley", that's exactly what you get.  An hour-long sudser that, sigh, breaks for action when it isn't letting gorgeous, beautifully tressed women  in kind-of-bad outfits go all Dynasty on each other.