Tag Archives: Wonder Woman

Asian-American Creators in Comic Books As Of July 16th: 2 Out of 3 Ain’t Bad

The last time I wrote a post that was titled in a similar format was back in 2013, which followed another the year before. Both were written because at the time events had occurred in the comic book industry that touched on LGBT representation. Given the fact that Western comic books don’t necessarily have a dearth of Asian creators [Gene Luen Yang, Annie Wu, and Jerome Opeña being just a few examples] it’s actually sort of surprising that it wasn’t until this week that I felt justified in putting together a similar post.

What’s unfortunate is, as you can probably tell by the title, that it’s not all good news. With that in mind I’m going to go with the classic “sandwich” delivery, with the positives buttressing a negative. That said, and without further ado-

Greg Pak’s Totally Awesome Hulk #15 Brings a Tear to My Eye

I should probably clarify that I have not read the 15th issue of Totally Awesome Hulk. That won’t actually hit stands until this upcoming October. That said, the cover was released in the Marvel NOW’s Previews Magazine this past Wednesday [with leaks hitting the internet a little earlier]. You can see the cover below in all of its glory-

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Cover art by Mukesh Singh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Clockwise from the very top of the cover is: Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel [Pakistani-American], Shang-Chi/Master of Kung Fu [Chinese], Amadeus Cho/Totally Awesome Hulk [Korean-American], presumably SHIELD Agent Jimmy Woo [Chinese-American], Cindy Moon/Silk [Korean-American], and lastly a character I can’t place who Bleeding Cool cites as being Winter Soldier [which I could not confirm through my own research].

What struck me was that this is a comic book cover from one of the the two major publishers [DC and Marvel] on which every one of the many characters depicted is Asian. It’s also not an established team of Asian heroes like Big Hero 6 [the film adaptation of which you know my exact feelings about]. This is especially notable in light of the fact that other comics like Sam Wilson: Captain America #10-

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Sam Wilson: Captain America #10. Written by Nick Spencer, illustrated by Angel Unzueta.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cover art by Marguerite Sauvage.

-and the cover to Black Panther #7 [as seen on the right] communicate the ideas that a) Black heroes exist within this universe and b) just like in many real life situations, Black people can and do congregate together.

Even before these respective examples came to light most of these heroes were fairly recognizable by the public [Storm and Black Panther, Nick Fury Jr.], but they also shine light on the lesser-knowns [Misty Knight, Doctor Voodoo, Spectrum].

The cover to Totally Awesome Hulk #15 is the first major step in my recent memory to bring a similar awareness to Asian representation in comic books, and it’s very clear that a conscious decision was made by Greg Pak [a Korean-American himself] to do this. It’s no exaggeration that just seeing the cover made me emotional, and I cannot wait until October to get my hands on the issue.

Frank Cho Stirs Continues to Stir Up Controversy Over Wonder Woman Variant Covers

There’s no such thing as the perfect week.

Frank Cho, a Korean-American artist and the initial collaborator with Greg Pak on Totally Awesome Hulk [their similarities to the titular character further discussed here], announced two days ago that he would be walking off Wonder Woman as variant cover artist with Issue #6. Deciding to go to Bleeding Cool, Cho explained that:

“All the problem lies with [author] Greg Rucka.

EVERYONE loves my Wonder Woman covers and wants me to stay. Greg Rucka is the ONLY one who has any problem with covers. Greg Rucka has been trying to alter and censor my artwork since day one.

Greg Rucka thought my Wonder Woman #3 cover was vulgar and showed too much skin, and has been spearheading censorship, which is baffling since my Wonder Woman image is on model and shows the same amount of skin as the interior art, and it’s a VARIANT COVER and he should have no editorial control over it. (But he does. WTF?!!!)

I tried to play nice, not rock the boat and do my best on the covers, but Greg’s weird political agenda against me and my art has made that job impossible. Wonder Woman was the ONLY reason I came over to DC Comics.

To DC’s credit, especially [Art Director] Mark Chiarello, they have been very accommodating. But they are caught between a rock and a hard place.

I just wanted to be left alone and do my Wonder Woman variant covers in peace. But Greg Rucka is in a hostile power trip and causing unnecessary friction over variant covers.”

For those who are not familiar with comic book journalism websites, Bleeding Cool excels in tracking a lot of what goes on behind the scenes in the industry. That said, they’re also known for rumour-mongering, a practice with a so-so success rate. They have also devoted many an article to the artist’s last controversy over covers, noting each time one of the illustrations made its way online.

While Rucka has made no official response to Cho or to anyone else asking for comment save for the following tweet:

As far as an actual example of the “censorship” Cho is decrying, pictured below is the aforementioned cover to Wonder Woman #3, with the final cover on the left and the original art on the right:

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Notably absent is the character’s panty line, shown on the right. Apart from the cropping, the art appears untouched.

It should be restated that Cho was not fired from the gig, but instead chose to leave of his own volition. As a creator doing work-for-hire the people at DC comics had every right to ask for edits to be made to whatever iss submitted to them. It was also his choice to approach the comic book journalism site most likened to a tabloid to announce the reasons behind this. The true irony is that the artist’s sensitivity over what occurred feels out of line with his approach to the outrage others have felt about his own work.

Gene Luen Yang’s New Super-Man #1: This Man of Steel is a Boy From Shanghai

Particularly worth spotlighting as the first-ever DC book I’ve decided to buy issue-to-issue, New Super-Man comes from the same writer of one of my favourite graphic novels, American Born Chinese. That book proved that Yang understands a lot of the innate conflict in being Asian-American, living your entire life in a country but never quite feeling like you fit in.

Cover art by Viktor Bogdanovic.

Cover art by Viktor Bogdanovic.

With that in mind, several months ago he wrote a blog post for the DC Comics site in which he admits almost immediately that “I’ve only visited China twice, so my understanding of Chinese culture is through echoes.” That said, he wants to do everything he can to make his portrayal of the character as authentic as possible, and the majority of the post spends time picking apart exactly how and why he landed on the name “Kenan Kong”.

It’s but one example of how committed he is to the authentic portrayals of Asians, and it can be strongly felt throughout that first issue, which was sold in comic stores everywhere this past Wednesday.


It’s my hope that this isn’t the last such blog post that I piece together, and that part of the reason for that will be even more Asian creators working in both mainstream and indie comics. While the news won’t always be positive, the dream is that with even more talent we’ll be able to see the best that they have to offer, especially in regards to pushing representation in my favourite medium.

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A Non-Female Writer’s Opinion About That Wonder Woman Promo Picture

As the title attests, and as you probably know by now, I’m a guy. A cisgendered male, to be more specific, which for those not in the know means that I was born male and identify as one. And as a guy I’ve been writing about feminism on this blog since day one. While it’s always been my goal for the site to be a platform for female voices speaking out on those same issues [made reality in having Kat hop on board as well as the majority of our guest writers] the truth is that there are an essentially infinite number of topics and only so many bloggers.

That’s all to say that ideally this probably should’ve been tackled by a woman. While a given female perspective may not necessarily be the correct one, the fact of the matter is that they would be able to write from a level of understanding that I cannot. Yet here I am, covering Wonder Woman, arguably one of the biggest feminist icons.

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Yesterday Entertainment Weekly shared an exclusive promo image from Warner Bros.’ upcoming Wonder Woman movie. Diana Prince AKA Wonder Woman, the titular character, played by Gal Gadot, is second from the left. The other women, from left to right, are her mother Hippolyta [Connie Nielsen],
Menalippe [Lisa Loven Kongsli], and General Antiope [Robin Wright].

As it’s made its way across the internet it has generally been regarded with a lot of excitement and enthusiasm, which should be no surprise given the fact that Wonder Woman is literally the biggest draw for people lining up to see Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. When it comes out in theatres next year it will have been Hollywood’s first return to female-led superhero movies since 2005’s Elektra, and arguably stands for so much more than the Jennifer-Garner-played red-clad assassin ever could.

wwMake no mistake, I am very excited for it. Seeing the Amazonian on the silver screen for the first time is also the primary reason I’m seeing BvS in the next few days, and a Wonder Woman t-shirt that I shamefully purchased at Hot Topic [shameful for the store, not the product] is the only merchandise I have bought and plan on buying [the poster on the right was free]. In spite of that, or maybe directly because of it, I ended up with a number of thoughts about the promo picture released. While the first point is the shortest and has nothing to do with my gender, the ones that follow may be defended by readers who can better relate. Which is to be expected, and that I hope people feel comfortable doing if they want to. Continue reading

Captain Marvel Pushed Back Again, Company Apologist On Verge of Giving Up

In the beginning, I could not be more excited for Marvel Studios’ upcoming slate of comic book movie offerings. While I noted [and mourned] Black Panther’s absence from their list of Phase 2 films in 2012 I was forced to eat my words a couple of years later, when they announced solo films for both him and Captain Marvel [a female hero!] at a special event.

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Yes, as you can see from the mock-ups they released on the right both were slated to drop on November 2017 and July 2018 respectively, with a good number of years ahead for casting, finding directors, pre-production, extensive post-production for VFX, the whole deal. Like I mentioned, I was ecstatic for what was to come and by no means worried that they were rushing things.

Sure, both films were being released after Captain America: Civil WarDoctor StrangeGuardians of the Galaxy 2, and Thor Ragnarok, three sequels, two of which are the third for their respective franchises, but I could wait! Things were changing for ol’ Marvel Studios, and for the better.

And then the announcement early this year that Sony was willing to cut a deal with Marvel, allowing the latter to use Spider-Man in their cinematic universe! This news was met by much of the internet with a long drawn out finally. Fans had been waiting to see the webswinger alongside other such heroes as Iron Man and Thor and it was all coming to pass! The comic book movie gods smile down upon us!

Except that that wasn’t the announcement in its entirety. Over on their website Marvel revealed that Peter Parker’s induction into their lineup would result in schedule conflicts, namely [emphasis added]:

Marvel’s “Thor: Ragnarok” will hit theaters November 3, 2017. The following year, Marvel’s “Black Panther” will make its way to theaters on July 6, 2018, and Marvel’s “Captain Marvel” on November 2, 2018. Finally, Marvel’s “Inhumans” will now debut in theaters July 12, 2019.

Over at tumblr bookerdewitch summed it up more perfectly than I ever could:

Capture Continue reading

Shame Day: David Finch, Wonder Woman, and Feminism

This isn’t the first time the topic of feminism has cropped up on this blog, and it certainly isn’t going to be the last. While much of what we’ve written about it in the past concerns female characters and how they’re portrayed in the media or the various ways actual real-life women are viewed in today’s culture, the truth is that the biggest hindrance feminists everywhere [myself included] face is a painfully simple one. Far too many people have no idea what feminism is.

If you wanted to explore this further without leaving the blog, Gordon’s post “Why I Do Need Feminism” straight-up nails it. It’s essentially a response to images similar to the one on the right, which feature teenage girls holding up signs which underscore the fundamental misunderstanding they have of what feminism really is. If only there was some sort of go-to website that could provide a fairly clear-cut explanation . . . maybe even one that had the express purpose of defining words . . .

Dictionary.com’s first two definitions are as follows:

  1. the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.
  2. sometimes initial capital letter an organized movement for the attainment of such rights for women.

finchww That all sounds like something the average non-bigoted person could be down with. The above research literally took me less than ten seconds, which is why I find it unforgivable when people like comic book artist David Finch is quoted as saying, regarding Wonder Woman:

 “We want her to be a strong — I don’t want to say feminist, but a strong character. Beautiful, but strong.”

To provide a little context, David Finch and his wife Meredith Finch are going to be taking over the character’s self-titled book in November, with the latter covering writing duties. I want to focus as much as possible on his words here, and not his actual depictions of the character, an example of which you can see right above. Continue reading

Culture War Correspondence: Getting Into Reading Comics

EVAN: I wanted to start this off by referring to you readers as “initiated and uninitiated”, but decided that that would be too creepy. The thing is, those words aren’t too far off the mark when it comes to those who are and aren’t in the know when it comes to one of my all-time favourite mediums.

This week Kat [a person who does not regularly read comics] and I [a person who does] will be discussing how to go about doing so, and why a lot of people don’t.

KAT: Oh, I’m glad you added in that last part, because I was just thinking about why I don’t read more comics. Continue reading

“Fully Clothed” ≠ “Well-Designed”

From November, when it was announced, until now right around its release the news outlets have been reporting on the new Ms. Marvel, particularly due to its protagonist being a Pakistani Muslim teenage girl [FYI it is also good]. With all this attention it’s inevitable that every facet of the character would be scrutinized, including what she’s wearing.

Over at the Washington Post they published an article titled “MS. MARVEL: Marvel Comics’ new focus on women ‘characters and creators’ aims to defy the ‘scantily clad’ cliche”. While it strangely refrains from addressing what Kamala Khan’s actual costume looks like, the sentiment is clear: comic books used to be a boys’ club and they’re seeking to change that. Marvel EIC Axel Alonso states that the female heroes headlining their new books-

“are not the big-breasted, scantily clad women that perhaps have become the comic-book cliché. They are women with rich interior lives, interesting careers and complicated families who are defined by many things—least of all their looks.”

It’s difficult to run from your past, any lion cub exiled from Pride Rock will tell you that. The main issue is that while Alonso [and I really do like the guy] uses the word “perhaps” the fact is that there are still costumes out there that would bar their wearers from entering the Vatican. Never fear, though, because this is the internet and on the internet someone always has a solution. Continue reading

Fame Day: Kris Anka

Today’s Fame Day post is dedicated to the artistic genius of Kris Anka. I’ve been following his work on the superhero redesign blog Project : Rooftop for some time, and was thrilled to see him get the recognition he deserves on ComicsAlliance yesterday.

Apparently Anka had been hired by Marvel to design the costumes for the new Uncanny X-Force series, and he puts his own spin on the new roster of Storm, Psylocke, Spiral, Puck, Lady Fantomex, and their nemesis Bishop.

The biggest changes are in Psylocke losing the unitard for more of a full body suit, and Storm reverting to her 90s look with a fantastic-looking mohawk. Utility was definitely prioritized, and story as well. Working with Uncanny X-Force writer Sam Humphries it was decided that the grey in Spiral’s outfit should be opaque. This fit with the knowledge that Spiral was a character was “a little more confident in her sexuality,” without making the costume’s raciness over-the-top .

Anka’s design philosophy for the team is as follows:

The costume themes were something from the very beginning that I wanted to strive for. I felt that every costume should not only highlight the personality of the character it is wrapped around, but also of the function that the costumes will serve towards. At the end of the day, these costumes have to look like they can get into a tussle, and actually be able to handle it.

This certainly translates over to the many other redesigns that can be found on his various art blogs, and one I want to highlight is his version of the  Avengers.

From left to right: Iron First and Crystal, Ares and Ms. Marvel, Iron Man and Venus, Bucky (Winter Soldier) and Thor.

In another illustration, entitled “avengers – dont f-ck with us,” the entire team is explained in the description, with the idea that he wanted his Avengers to be “a family first off.” Ms. Marvel acts as leader, Venus as a strategic asset, Ares carries Stark-designed weapons that can collapse in on themselves. Every design point has a reason, and it all adds up to clean, recognizable  costumes.

His redesigns for DC’s trinity [Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman] are images I go back to over and over. His vision of the the Last Son of Krypton shows that you can do away with the red shorts over blue tights, provided you break it up with a little bit of colour [the yellow buckle, the red lines on the side]. I’m looking at you, costume designer for Snyder’s Man of Steel.


All in all, Kris Anka is a name to look out for. In the ComicsAlliance interview Humphries admits that “My only wish is that we could keep going until we redesigned the entire Marvel Universe!” If only that were true.

You can find Kris Anka on various places on the internet:

deviantART: http://anklesnsocks.deviantart.com
Blogger: http://anklesnsocks.blogspot.ca/
tumblr: http://kristaferanka.tumblr.com/
twitter: https://twitter.com/kristaferanka

And don’t forget to search for his stuff on Project : Rooftop!