We have gays in the military, gays wanting to get married . . . do we really need gays in comics? Of course, we do!
June is national Gay Pride Month, so happy pride, EVERYONE. And, let's take a look at the GLBTQ (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, and Queer, phew!) situation in comic books. Comic books have historically reflected current trends, politics, and issues. Sometimes to serve the story, sometimes to serve a purpose, and a lot of times simply for the fanfare. It makes sense that there is a large faction of GLBTQ comic fans. An outsider form of entertainment for an outsider subculture? The plight of the mutants in The X-Men forced to painfully co-exist in a society that shuns, if not fears and hates, them is an all too identifiable situation. When John Byrne introduced Northstar of Alpha Flight, he always intended him to be gay. Of course, things were different back then, and they had to pussyfoot around the issue. It wasn't until Issue #107 of Alpha Flight under a different writer that Northstar would scream and shout and let it all out that not only was he a mutant, he was homosexual (AND Canadian!). To Marvel Comics' discredit, Northstar was quickly ushered back into the closet after much negative feedback. It wasn't until years later, when gay rights become white hot and super trendy, that Marvel would reintroduce Northstar into their best-selling X-Men comic, give him a boyfriend, and a publicity-filled wedding. Too little, too late? Nah, it's better than nothing.
The Change, the sequel to The Longest Road, takes up a few months after the last book. The remaining cousins and their small party of survivors have found a peaceful existence on a little beachfront encampment in Washington state. It isn’t long, of course, before our heroes find themselves in more danger. And fighting more zombies.
Just the title alone was enough to make me interested in this new series by Dark Horse, and I am impressed with just the first issue. Enter a futuristic desert wasteland filled with rebels, stragglers, and a mysterious DJ all fighting against the evil corporate forces of the Better Living Industries (BLI), whose face-like logo has to be a shot at Walmart. BLI is headquartered in nearby Battery City, a neo-Babylon filled with decadence and decay that is slightly reminiscent of Warren Ellis’ Transmetropolitan. How decadent? Try android sex workers trolling the streets for anyone who is feeling a little lonely. Oh, and they can get addicted to a power source known as Plus.
Technology destroyed the world, and so the people of Virdis Valley have demonized it, burning at the stake anyone foolish enough to dig up the tools from that forgotten time. Merrick is a magician, or, more accurately, a con artist that makes use of technology by pretending it's magic. Traveling along with his assistant, Thaddeus Kidd, Merrick is about to be swept up in a larger adventure when a woman from a far away land falls out of the sky and into his life.
There’s a scene in Ricky Gervais’ show, Extras, that I love deeply. Gervais plays an actor cast in a play. The play’s director is Sir Ian McKellen. What transpires is beautifully inspired comedy, as the legendary Sir Ian presents himself as a complete buffoon, explaining to Gervais that his technique as an actor is to pretend he is somebody else. You see, Ian McKellan isn’t, in fact, a wizard. He had to pretend to be one for Peter Jackson during the filming of Lord of the Rings. “How did I know what to say?” he explains. “The words were written down for me in a script. How did I know where to stand? People told me.” If it weren’t a figure of such reverence saying it, the scene wouldn’t be funny at all. Extras got great mileage out of that particular gag as stars ranging from Daniel Radcliffe to David Bowie would pop in to joyfully offer up the worst possible versions of themselves. The show business settings of programs like Entourage or The Larry Sanders Show made it very easy for stars to lampoon themselves. Jim Carrey’s vicious appearance on the finale of The Larry Sanders Show is still probably the funniest thing he’s ever done.
WarZone Girls Volume 1, Issue 1: The Fight for Honor Begins is a brand new online graphic novel series from creators Thomas Nyman (writer) and Marat Mychaels (pencils), which follows the story of “five female mercenaries targeted for immediate execution” by a tyrannical World Government who rules over the remains of our world after a destructive, massive, and apocalyptic world war. While WarZone Girls suffers from some of the typical pitfalls that most new indie comics tussle with at the beginning, Nyman and Mychaels bring massive potential to the book, and the additional WarZone Girls content and features on the official website establish WarZone Girls as a series with some real (potentially nano-bot enhanced) legs!
Let's face it. DC Comics' animated features kick major booty! (Wonder Woman was awesome! We need a Cheetah sequel, though!) So, will the legendary "Judas Contract" storyline from Marv Wolfman and George Perez's New Teen Titans run be the next DC animated movie? If Jarrid Steel has anything to say about it.
Things are looking bleak for our heroes of the Rebellion. Han Solo and Chewbacca are being hunted on Coruscant by stormtroopers and bounty hunters alike. When a secret mission goes wrong, Leia is left injured and floating adrift in her X-Wing with no hope of getting back to the Rebel fleet. Who will get to her first? Reinforcements from her squad or the Star Destroyer hunting them?
The short review is: this comic is great, it looks amazing, and it does incredible things with Leia. Go and read it.
Minor Spoilers Below
Thumbprint is an adaptation of Joe Hill's novella of the same name, the story of an Army MP who returns from a troubled tour in Iraq to find that her past won't quite stay buried. Hill is, of course, best known in comics for Locke & Key, as well as his award-winning novels, but his usual domain of dark fantasy is entirely absent in Thumbprint; this is a gritty thriller without a trace of the fantastic, which isn't to say that it isn't good.
So, as an upwardly mobile Guest Contributor, I ambitiously took on The Hollows to show my editor, my audience, and me that I could rise to the enviable and much sought after title of “Comic Book Editor.” I may have bitten off more than I could chew, as The Hollows leaves me conflicted and dissatisfied. Let’s talk.