Tag Archive: Batgirl


BrendenFletcherThe funny thing about Black Canary is that, while I consider her one of my favorite DC superheroes, I haven’t read that much featuring her, relatively. Part of that is how good Greg Weisman has been to her in animation, but the bigger issue is that, in the modern age, Black Canary has very rarely had a spotlight. Birds of Prey was an extremely significant series for her, but fans of the character have often had to kind of piece her together from numerous supporting roles. So needless to say, when I heard that DC was finally giving Black Canary a solo series, from one of the writers of the acclaimed ‘Batgirl of Burnside’ no less, I was on board immediately.

As the common thread between two of DC’s biggest new hits, Brenden Fletcher has clearly defined himself as a part of a reformation hitting Big 2 comics. Perhaps nowhere is this clearer than the fact that the DC You relaunch was referred to as the ‘Batgirling’ of DC by numerous sources. Fletcher’s comics have made a name for themselves by being fun, welcoming, and clever without giving up the qualities that have traditionally defined DC’s output.

His position at the forefront of this new wave of DC comics has made Fletcher a popular and sought after figure, though being present, interesting, and charming on numerous DC panels likely hasn’t hurt him any either. I was luckily able to snag a few minutes of his time at SENYC this year to talk about what it’s like being one of DC’s most prolific writers, his strategies for communicating the tone he and his co-writers are looking for, and the future of Black Canary. Unfortunately, in the rush to set up this interview, we never actually got properly introduced, so that’s where we’ll begin…

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In the course of talking to comic creators this year, I started to think about their unique talents and what I think they would be best suited to. Inspired by all kinds of wonderful ideas I’ve seen online and heard from creators, I’ve put together my New 52. These are the 52 books I would publish if DC’s offerings were up to me and, as my friends and I have had a good time discussing them, I thought I would share them with you.

I tried to consider the actual feasibility of these titles, not only in the sense of immediate sales but in their ability to expand DC’s brand long-term. I also recognize that this is a dramatically simplified version of what DC actually has to do. As such, I made a couple of rules for myself.

First, as I don’t have the same knowledge of the creators’ availability and timeliness as an actual editor, I decided that I would allow myself access to any writer currently working in comics, but that I could only assign a creator to one book. Second, I tried not to put a writer on the same book that they’ve already worked on, though some were moved to similar concepts or allowed to expand short work they’ve already done. Finally, while an actual relaunch might do well to include some new books, I limited myself to preexisting titles and IPs for this project.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, on why I’m right, why I clearly screwed up, who should be illustrating the series, etc. But, regardless, I hope you enjoy.

If you went back to December of 1988 and told a comic fan that in almost exactly ten years Barbara Gordon would not only still be paralyzed but that she would be launching a wildly popular series starring her and Black Canary, I think they would be understandably surprised. Nevertheless, that’s exactly what happened. Teased in one-shots all through the late 90s, the Birds of Prey, the rarely used name for the partnership of Oracle and Black Canary, quickly became a huge seller for DC. The series is famous for becoming the trademark series of writer Gail Simone and for reestablishing Barbara Gordon and Dinah Lance as major players in the DCU. The series also slowly introduced the Birds as a network of heroes more than a team, giving it a distinct flavor. The original series would run for over ten years and swiftly be relaunched for another 15 issues before “Flashpoint” ended the Post-Crisis universe.

While the New 52 reboot of the title possesses its own fan base, there was a distinct feeling of reinvention in the new volume. Lead by Black Canary and new character Starling, the new team lacked the focus and naturalism it possessed under Oracle, who had been healed and returned to being Batgirl.

For our Birds of Prey I think it would be wise to try to channel the slick, stylized feeling of the New 52 Birds with a slightly more traditional direction. Black Canary may be off starring in her own title but we’re still looking to bring the depth, character, and intelligence of the original series into the New Year’s 52. I happen to know someone who I think could do that…

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Over the last week, the biggest story in comics has been female readers and the increasing attention that the Big Two companies have been giving them. With Gotham Academy and the new direction on Batgirl from DC and yesterday’s announcement that Marvel is chasing “an audience that long was not the target for Super Hero comic books in America: women and girls” with a new female Thor, it seems that, apparently all at once, the industry has come around to the bizarre notion that it’s worth appealing to 51% of their potential readership.

Great as it is to see such marked change in editorial policy, these announcements have had me thinking about what needs to change in the comics industry before it can rid itself of the boys club mentality that’s stifled it for so long. With that in mind, I’m introducing a new feature to the site each making a case for an (extant) female character who could easily fill the need for A-List female heroes and who the industry should be marketing to women.

 

She-Hulk

She-Hulk is probably the most obvious of the characters I considered for this inaugural article and, as such, it should come as no surprise that she’s the only one with her own monthly solo comic. However, while I tried to avoid some of the more obvious choices, She-Hulk holds a special place in my mind. Continue reading

photo 1Following Marvel’s Next Big Thing, room 1E19 was turned over to a very different sort of panel. At once more important but less serious, Reimagining the Female Hero was my favorite panel at Special Edition: NYC and, judging from the reactions I’ve seen, I get the sense I wasn’t alone in that.

In a stark inversion of horror stories from previous conventions where feminist panels were trolled by attendees waiting out more traditional fare, I noticed many fans sticking around from The Next Big Thing. In fact, despite taking place in the same room as DC and Marvel’s offerings, the panel gave us reason to hope and easily held its own in terms of attendance.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that the panel had some pretty excellent creators. The line-up included Jenny Frison, a talented cover artist for series including Revival and Red Sonja; Emanuela Lupacchino, the artist on DC’s Supergirl and the Superman: Lois Lane one-shot; Marguerite Bennett, the writer of Superman: Lois Lane and Batgirl #25 and #30; Gail Simone, feminist icon and writer on Batgirl; and Amy Reeder, the artist behind Madame Xanadu and Rocket Girl, who arrived from her dedicated panel a short while into the discussion.

It’s also worth mentioning that the panel had an excellent moderator in the form of Professor Ben Saunders of the University of Oregon. While I hesitate to devote too much praise to the only man involved with the panel, Professor Saunders did an excellent job of keeping the focus on his panelists, encouraging their relevant digressions, and recognizing their celebrity while keeping the mood light yet respectful.

In short I left the room with a greater respect for everyone involved. Continue reading

batman panel senycDC really only had one big panel at SE: NYC but Batman’s 75th anniversary is certainly nothing to scoff at. On Sunday, DC VP of Marketing John Cunningham hosted a panel with some of the most interesting voices currently writing in Gotham, providing hints about what’s coming for the Bat-family and an exploration of what makes Batman such a special property.

The panelists included Gail Simone, the definitive Batgirl writer in many minds; James Tynion IV, one of the key minds behind the flagship Batman: Eternal; Greg Pak, who writes Batman/Superman; and Francis Manapul, co-writer for Detective Comics.

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He casually drew this while giving this interview!Tim Seeley has been making waves for a long time with creator owned series like Hack/Slash and Revival but recently he’s begun commuting to Gotham City to write Batman: Eternal and Grayson for DC. A skilled writer and a talented illustrator, Seeley is a prolific creator, drawing covers for numerous companies and penning clever, often unsettling, scripts month after month.

With so many interesting projects and on his plate, I knew it would worth my while to seek out Seeley at C2E2, in his hometown of Chicago. Tim was kind enough to speak to me during his live sketching session, the results of which you can see in this article. Join us to hear about Seeley’s process, his thoughts on death and horror, and comics like Revival/Chew, “The Body”, and Grayson.

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Seen here, on an average day.

Seen here, on an average day.

Marguerite Bennett is a relatively new name to the comics world, but in the few months that she’s been gracing the covers – and more – of your comic books, she’s accomplished a great deal. She’s written Batman, recreated Lobo, and even filled in on Batgirl for Gail Simone!

A recent graduate of Sarah Lawrence College’s graduate program, Bennett has proven to be a talented and distinguished voice within DC’s stable and has been rising like a rocket. Her fascinating entry into the world of comics and her even more fascinating talent for character work and psychological horror immediately made her a creator to pay attention to in my book and she’s been kind enough to speak with us.

In short, she’s clever, talented, and – I’m honored to say – here.

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Small-Scale Revolution

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On the first day of NYCC, I spotted one of the staples of a modern convention: a Stephanie Brown cosplayer.

For those of you who don’t know, Stephanie Brown Batgirl has become something of a statement at cons, a symbol of protest against the way DC has handled its tone and its female characters since their New 52 reboot.

Needless to say I asked her for a picture.

The next day I saw her again, standing between the rows of DC’s Batman panel.

After the panel I caught up with Steph and asked her a few questions.

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Review: Batman #17

Batman 17

As I mentioned in a previous review, I’m a huge fan of Scott Snyder, but not of his endings. Snyder has a tendency to build up impressive narratives within the creases of Batman’s mythical fabric. While this leads to epic storytelling, enhanced by Snyder’s pitch perfect sense of tone and horror, it has often led him to let us down when he hints that things will change forever and he, rightly, leaves things in place for future stories. Death of the Family is finally over. Does Snyder break his record, or will the Joker’s last laugh fizzle? The answers and more poorly chosen metaphors await you beyond the cut.

Warning: This one’s gonna have spoilers. Continue reading

Review: Batman #15


Batman 15

After looking at Damian’s contribution to the Bat-Family event, we go to the king himself: Batman as interpreted by Snyder, Tynion, Capullo, and Jock.

But Here’s the Kicker

Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Greg Capullo

So here’s the joke: The entire Bat-Family walks into the cave. Nightwing says, “Hey, it really seems like the Joker knows who we are.”  Bruce tells him, “There’s no way he could know.” So Batgirl says, “we have effectively conclusive evidence and his statement that he does, how are you so sure?” And Bruce replies, “I’m Batman.”

No good? Sheesh, tough crowd, you try summarizing an issue in cheesy joke form (seriously though, if you’ve got any good ones I’d love to hear it). Alright, alright, stop me if you heard this one before.  Continue reading