GIRL FIGHT: THE MARVEL/DC RIVALRY FINALLY EXTENDS TO WINNING THE FEMALE AUDIENCE
Marvel launches the eighth of its nine solo titles with a female lead in November with Spider-Woman #1, and the book sadly already has a cloud over it. A variant cover by master erotic artist Milo Manara stirred enough controversy last week to garner mainstream attention. The cover featured Spider-Woman with her apple-shaped butt raised high in decidedly unheroic manner. It was exactly what one would expect from Manara, who’s created a number of superheroine illustrations for Marvel, but the image suggested a particularly overt tone of sexual objectification that could alienate the sort of readers who attended the Women In Marvel panel at San Diego where the series was announced.
As far as I can recall, Marvel has more female solo titles now than ever before, with a ninth title, Angela: Asgard’s Assassin, launching in December. On paper, that suggests a laudable effort to reach out to superhero comics’ growing and under-served audience of female readers. Yet the Manara incident serves to remind us that books about women can very easily be targeted to a male audience.
There’s currently an unspoken contest between Marvel and DC to see who can produce more comics aimed at a female audience. It’s possible the contest only exists in my head, as I’ve been keeping a tally of solo titles with female leads for the past several months — but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that editors at the two publishers have also been keeping track.
SHAZAM! COMICS ALLIANCE AND FRIENDS CELEBRATE THE BIRTHDAY OF C.C. BECK, CREATOR OF THE ORIGINAL CAPTAIN MARVEL
CC Beck was born on June 8, 1910, attended art school in Chicago, and started his career in pulp magazines with Fawcett Publications in the early 1930s. When the popularity of pulps began to fade, he moved over work on Fawcett’s line of comics – and in 1939 he co-created a character that originally bore the name “Captain Thunder”, but was re-dubbed Captain Marvel shortly before the release of his first adventure. In that initial story, young newsboy Billy Batson meets a great wizard, and is given the power to transform into “The World’s Mightiest Mortal” when he says one magic word…Shazam!
Today, one day after what would have been his 104th birthday, we’ve reached out to a few of today’s best comics creators to ask for their thoughts and impressions on Beck and his creations. Among them, the great Jerry Ordway:
As much as Beck railed against realistic artwork in comics in his later years, his own best work was rooted in realism. His cartooning was akin to Roy Crane’s work, solidly researched, but with a bigfoot style of whimsy to it. Captain Marvel cast real shadows, etc. His approach had a simple appearance, but was very well drawn. And besides his artistic chops, Beck co-created one of the top super-heroes ever. That’s his legacy: The Big Red Cheese!
LADY SHE-WOMAN: FEMALE SUPERHERO CODENAMES AND IDENTITY
Monica Rambeau is on her fourth superhero codename. In the pages of Mighty Avengers she’s Spectrum, having previously gone by Captain Marvel, Photon and Pulsar. The Captain Marvel identity now belongs to Carol Danvers, also on her fourth codename after Ms. Marvel, Binary and Warbird. Her first codename now belongs to Kamala Khan, the fourth Ms. Marvel after Danvers, Sharon Ventura and Karla Sofen.
But Carol is actually the third woman (and seventh character) to call herself Captain Marvel in the Marvel Universe. The second woman was Phyla-Vell, who was the fourth Captain Marvel after she was the second Quasar, before she was the first Martyr, before she saved herself the trouble of another codename by dying. Oh, those women! They never know who they are!
I’m being facetious, of course. These characters don’t choose their identities; they’re given them by writers and editors. If there’s a problem here, it’s not the women, but how they’re treated.
KATE LETH AND KELLY SUE DECONNICK’S CAROL CORPS MEMORIES
By Kate Leth
Last week’s Emerald City Comicon kicked off, for me, with the Carol Corps Celebration at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington. Hosted by a bevy of nerdy Captain Marvel enthusiasts and featuring some of the finest cosplay I saw all weekend, proceeds from tickets and exclusive merchandise went to benefit the Girls Leadership Institute. It’s a rare thing for fans and creators to celebrate a superhero character in such a thematically specific and highly interactive way — Carol Danvers is a military pilot, after all, and the new Ms. Marvel is herself a member of the Carol Corps — and a woman superhero at that. But the event was an absolutely joyful experience that spoke to the good work being done in these comics and readers’ enthusiasm for great women heroes (both fictional and real-life).
Kate Leth: Were there any stand-out moments for you or any of the other creators attending?
Kelly Sue DeConnick: I was really nervous about attendance because it was offsite the night before [the convention began]. There were a lot of people trying to figure out transportation and a lot who had already bought their ticket when the event was announced — but we still got something like 300 attendees, which, frankly, blew my mind.
The stand out moment would have to be the dance party in the airplane. I actually missed it but I heard about it from a bunch of other people. I’m crazy jealous.
I loved having so many creators there too! This was the first opportunity that Willow and I had to do an event together. I like her so much.
KL: Why do you think Carol Corps is such a massive, enthusiastic, kickass group?
KSD: Because that’s how Carol is. Especially the massive part.
BIZARRO BACK ISSUES: CAPTAIN MARVEL BATTLES SIR MARVEL! (1946)
By Chris Sims
f you’ve been reading ComicsAlliance for a while, then you’ve probably noticed that when it comes to back issues, I tend to gravitate towards the ones where really weird stuff happens. Power Man and Iron Fist battling the Daleks, Godzilla traveling through time to battle dinosaurs, an entire robot Smallville being constructed specifically to fool aliens into nuking the wrong city — that’s all stuff that’s just inherently bizarre, and I love them. But sometimes, it’s not the events that are strange, it’s how they’re presented.
Take, for instance, what the fine folks at Fawcett did back in 1946, when they took a story that, by itself, was nothing special, and then skewed it just far enough that it’s one of the most mind-boggling comics I’ve ever read
By Betty Felon
Fashion brand Shoes of Prey used its customizable design website to style some superhero-inspired heels and flats as examples of footwear that customers can tweak and purchase for themselves with the Shoes of Prey 3D Designer, which gives the wearer selection of colors, materials, and alter various detailing parameters such as heel height, toe and heel detailing.. Each pair of shoes is handmade to fit the customer’s chosen aesthetics and run at least $100 per pair.
As a fan of both Shoes of Prey and comics, customer Mandy Kerr designed some heels and flats inspired by Batman, Iron Man, and more (seen in the grahguc below). Inspired by Kerr’s excellent Robin-inspired oxfords, I utilized the Shoes of Prey 3D Designer to create a few of my own shoe designs, including flats and platformed wedges inspired by Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, Batwoman, and more.
By Betty Felon
Although cosplay has been present for decades within the comics, anime, and sci-fi/fantasy fandoms, social media has played an integral role in the thriving communities of costuming that exist, such as Cosplay.com and the Superhero Costuming Forum. Over the years, the cosplay community has evolved into a creative outlet for many fans to establish and showcase some impressive feats of homemade disguise, craftsmanship, and sartorial superheroics at conventions. In honor of the caped crusaders of the convention scene, ComicsAlliance has created Best Cosplay Ever (This Week), an ongoing collection of some of the most impeccable, creative, and clever costumes that we’ve discovered and assembled into a super-showcase of pure fan-devoted talent.
The New York Times broke news today of a new solo superhero title launching from Marvel early next year — and this one comes as a welcome change of pace for readers who want to see more diversity in their super-books.
Ms Marvel #1, from writer G. Willow Wilson (Cairo) and artist Adrian Alphona (Runaways), introduces the world to the young Muslim woman who takes on the mantle of Ms. Marvel formerly held by Carol Danvers, the current Captain Marvel. The new Ms. Marvel will be the first Muslim character to get her own ongoing solo series at Marvel, one of a growing number of female solo leads, and the only person of color headlining a solo book.