Comics writer Len Wein passed away over the weekend at the age of 69 years old. Wein was the co-creator of characters like Wolverine, Swamp Thing, Nightcrawler, Storm, Collusus, Luscious Fox and was editor of the seminal Watchmen series. He has writen on titles like X-Men, Justice League Of America, Detective Comics, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, The Fantastic Four & Green Lantern in addition to editing The New Teen Titans, Batman & The Outsiders, All Star Squadron, Camelot 3000 and more. More details at DC
On October 21st, the United Nations named Wonder Woman their honorary ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls. Diana was cited for her decades long commitment to “justice, peace and equality,” all virtues which have defined the character since her 1941 debut. DC and their parent company Warner Brothers proudly celebrated the UN’s distinction, rolling the ceremony at the United Nations headquarters into another segment of their ongoing commemoration of Diana’s 75th Anniversary this year and promotion for her first solo film in 2017. Wonder Women past and present, Lynda Carter and Gal Gadot, were prominently featured at the festivities. Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins attended, as did DC artist/executive Jim Lee. Noticeably absent though were any decedents of Wonder Woman creators William Moulton Marston and Harry G. Peter. The lack of acknowledgement for their pioneering work should not come as surprise given DC’s decidedly mixed track record honoring their legacy.
However, there were more controversies roiling the halls than The Big Two’s continued stumbles with acknowledging creators and their families. Many criticized the organization’s choice of a fictional character to represent gender equality. Such a choice is not without precedent, as in the past Winnie the Pooh was chosen as ambassador of friendship, Red from Angry Birds ambassador of happiness and, in something that sounds like a rejected Grant Morrison Animal Man pitch, Tinker Bell ambassador of “green.” The more substantive compliant was leveled at Wonder Woman herself and whether her idealized figure was counterproductive in bolstering female self-esteem. Body image issues have long been a problem for the comics industry; anyone reading comics in the 90s could easily see how little effort it took to leap over the line dividing empowerment from objectification. In recent years, publishers have become more attentive to such concerns, as the voices of female fans and creators have grown stronger. Yet, the question remains: in a cultural moment marred by virulent sexism and rising teenage girl suicide rates, is a super-powered, sometimes demigod, heroine with a supermodel-like figure really the best role model? Does her appearance undercut those values she strives so hard to achieve? As is often the case with Wonder Woman, the best answer is found within the work of her creators.
LOOKING FOR BOOKS TO BUY THIS WEEK?
LOOK NO FURTHER.
HERE ARE SOME ISSUES THAT WILL NOT DISAPPOINT.Patrick wishes there was more of… Convergence: Shazam #2 It’s the Shazam comic that we all wished actually existed in the real world as an ongoing but sadly, will only be for two issues in it’s present state. Still, you gotta take what you can get
In 1971, Swamp Thing debuted in House of Secrets #92. Over the course of the following 45 years, the character would undergo a series of permutations. What started as a horror comic book would be refashioned by Alan Moore into one of the most iconic runs of the 80s. Moore’s darker, more psychological edge would stick with the character throughout the subsequent Vertigo years as various writers would take their turn with Swampy. Then in the early 10s, DC began shifting Swamp Thing closer to its mainline characters with the Brightest Day sequel, The Search. This process was made complete by arrival of the New 52. Writers Scott Snyder and Charles Soule might have kept some of the accumulated atmosphere and mythos, but the overall effect was that the character was closer to a superhero than ever before (this was especially true of the Soule run). Now, DC has course corrected once again, reconnecting Swamp Thing with his former horror roots. It is a welcome change, which, based on the initial outing, is generally successful.
Continue reading Review of Swamp Thing #1
True confessions from another X-Bitch: it was nearly impossible for this not to be be my comic of the week. Look, I always try and be objective with all things in life in an effort to not be too much of an idiot but the heart wants what it wants. Here’s a few things that make my blood pump red; a foul mouthed Filipino woman, a pit bull with bladder issues, Purple Jesus, #carmelosmirk, a corgi with a bad attitude that rapes my wife like she’s auditioning for Orange is the New Black and classic tales of the X-Men. I love Brian Wood, I love Jason Aaron and I used to love Brian Michael Bendis but miss me with that Battle of the Atom nonsense. X-Men: Gold is the perfect tribute to the classic comics 50th anniversary for one of the most important titles in the medium with it’s most influential creators.