The Buzz: Basically, Gail Simone tweeted that Secret Six was coming back, and let slip that Catman was in the new team, and that was ALL WE NEEDED. Her previous run of Secret Six are the kind of comics you thrust into the hands of friends on the condition that they read them fast and get them back to you because the trades are always half out of print, damn them all. Dark, funny and occasionally kinda filthy. So the promise of more of the same made the New 52 look a whole lot more interesting.
All You Need To Know: Secret Six happens when a bunch of amoral super-types, nutcases and criminals get together. I’m not even sure from this issue if they’re doing a Birds of Prey on us and pretending that the pre-New 52 Secret Six issues never happened, but I choose to believe they totally did happen. Still, you don’t need to know much except that Catman is the best and the worst, always.
So, one of those things you might not know about me, internet, is that back in the day when I spent part of my first ever professional book sale cheque on a Playstation 1 (that’s how long I’ve been in the writing biz!) the games I played most obsessively were: Spyro the Dragon, anything with ‘Discworld’ in the title, and Tomb Raider. We are so overdue for a new Discworld game it’s not funny, and the adorableness of Spyro has been utterly destroyed by the cynical and macho ‘Skylanders’ reboot. But Lara Croft as Tomb Raider is about to make her comeback…
And this time, she’s written by a woman. Rhianna Pratchett, heir to the Discworld IP and one of the most prominent female writers in the game industry, has been doing a bunch of media about her role as head writer on this new Tomb Raider prequel. It’s rare to hear a writer included so openly in the PR about a new game, especially when that writer is a woman, and Rhianna has some really interesting things to say about the creative choices made for this game, especially in a piece she wrote herself for the Telegraph (though she was quick to point out on Facebook that the awful title of the piece was NOT chosen by her). Don’t read the comments of this one, they will ruin your day.
Red Sonja cover by HELL YEAH Fiona Staples
Meanwhile, Gail Simone has been signed up to write for Red Sonja which immediately makes me interested in the character in a way I never have been before. A female warrior mostly portrayed as a male fantasy, now in the hands of a smart writer who does smart characterisation? BRING IT. Oh, and as an added bonus, while the regular artist is male, the covers will be handled by all female artists including HELL YEAH FIONA STAPLES, our own Aussie Nicola Scott, Jenny Frisson, Stephania Buscema and Colleen Doran.
Back to the book industry! The big dramatic discussion of the week was the terrible boilerplate contract offered by Random House Hydra, one of several new digital imprints of the Big Publisher. Scalzi and the SFWA Writer Beware blog had much to say about this contract, and its most problematic aspects – if a publisher is not paying advances AND charging the author for set up costs, then exactly what investment are they bringing to the table? A recent update on Writer Beware includes the response of Random House.
It was school final assembly day today! I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to three year old Jem being at school in an assembly with me NOT having a toddler younger sibling to juggle madly in order to hear an hour or so of children singing and playing xylophones in Santa hats. I brought three kinds of snacks, people! And it wasn’t ENOUGH.
But never mind that, on with the links.
One of the last reviews (I presume) on the ASif site is Tehani talking about her thoughts on Chicks Unravel Time. Spoilers, she loved it! I am so looking forward to introducing her to black and white Who now that talk of Jamie and his kilt has lured her in.
Our friend (and fellow Who blogger) David McDonald has written his own piece of pop culture commentary: a great post about Worzel Gummidge over at Cult Britannia, a site I had never known existed but will be spending a lot of time at in the near future. Worzel Gummidge, people! Remember him?
The big news of the week was Gail Simone’s unceremonious (and unwarranted) firing off the successful Batgirl title. Much anger and upset about this online but the basics are covered by this article on the Mary Sue.
I have a new story out! “Please Look After This Angel” is the piece that was read in the marvellous theatrical performance at MONA the other week – now Island Magazine have put in online for you to read. Yes, you. It’s my first ever angel story (I THINK) which does not include clockwork. Keep an eye out for the others – I particularly enjoyed Michael Blake’s “Breathless” on the night, and thought that Melissa Howard’s “The Watchers” felt very Margo Lanaganesque – I will be interested to see how reading the stories on the page changes my opinions after experiencing them for the first time as a dramatic reading!
Also, my littlest daughter turned 3 yesterday which has come as a shock to all of us but did mean I could finally find an owner for the Astronaut Barbie I found on sale nearly a year ago. She also received a Cupcake Kitchen, a Wonder Woman board book, and an Alice in Wonderland costume. Love you, Jem!
But you’re not here for me talking about me, you’re here for linky links. Let us proceed!
It’s New Year’s Eve and I’m curled up with my family watching the animated adventures of Batman. As you do. It seems oddly appropriate considering how my year in reading ended up!
In September, it looked unlikely that I’d even hit 100 books read this year, let alone equal the 120 books I read in 2010. But then I took an interest in the DC Reboot, and one of my best friends rediscovered comics and started raving about the Ultimate Spiderman, and one thing led to another, and my house spontaneously filled with graphic novels.
So, yes. My total books read for the year is 143. Of which 61 are graphic novels/manga, all but one of which were consumed in the last three months. YEAH BABY.
Let’s talk about those first. I’ll do a separate post about the actual prose books, for those people (cough, Alisa) who aren’t interested in comic books.
My stand out graphic novels/trade paperbacks for the year were:
In which we celebrate the World Fantasy Awards, take on the Kickstarter phenomenon and why people like to support authors/artists directly, Alex is betrayed by Isobelle Carmody, Alisa still can’t finish Tansy’s novel, and we indulge in a feedback frenzy.
Hurry over to Podbean or iTunes now to get the new episode! Or just sit back, relax and read the show notes.
Alisa: Power and Majesty by Tansy Rayner Roberts, The Courier’s New Bicycle by Kim Westwood
Alex: the Stone Key and The Sending, Isobelle Carmody; I Shall Wear Midnight, Terry Pratchett; end of Life on Mars S2; This is Not a Game, Walter Jon Williams; Distress, Greg Egan
Tansy: Ally Condie, Matched; Lisa Goldstein, The Uncertain Places; Gail Simone, Secret Six: Six Degrees of Devastation; Geek Tragedy, Nev Fountain
Feedback: well overdue!
Please send feedback to us at email@example.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!
I found this article about what a (mostly) feminist society that actually exists in the world today really inspiring. I have no idea how to get there from here but oh, I do hope Australia can be Iceland when it grows up! Their social attitudes to female politicians, childcare and the work/life balance make me ridiculously happy.
Tehani posted this link about which comic book superheroines deserve their own movies. Which is all very well, but let’s face it, Hollywood has badly let down the female superhero (and not the other way around). I can’t help thinking their stories would be better served by taking visuals out of the equation and going straight to the novel.
So if anyone wants to hire me to write a Huntress novel, I’m available! Or Wonder Woman, come to that…
Gail Simone tweeted this article which looks at two different kinds of representation of race in current DC Comics, comparing the Static Shock approach (he just happens to be black, yanno) with the Firestom approach (actual discussion of racial issues in the text). It’s a thoughtful piece, and I think demonstrates that both approaches have value, and it’s important to have both kinds of representation of race in stories – if all stories with characters of colour were about race, or all stories with characters of colour were NOT about race, we would have a real problem.
I do love it when people point out that these things are not either/or!
Jo Anderton, whose debut novel Debris (Angry Robot) I loved when she sent it to me for blurbage (it’s about magical architects! and magical garbage collectors! And it has technology mixed in with magic, plus a professional heroine who is flawed and cranky and acquires a TEAM, and has sex without it having to be her true love!) has done an interview over at Rowena’s blog.
I have to learn that holidays or no holidays, Fridays are a write-off for me. I get nothing but the smallest tasks done, and while it’s a good day for catching up on all the stuff I don’t manage to finish while I’m writing novels through the week, I shouldn’t get my hopes up.
So today I child-wrangled, and I got up my Friday links post, and that was pretty much it. But in amongst the visitors & child-wrangling, I managed to make this a comics day. I listened to the latest episode of Panel2Panel, featuring a great discussion on the (temporary) deaths of superheroes – I especially loved what Grant had to say about the importance of legacy heroes and how this gets sabotaged every time they bring back some old guy from the grave. And it’s nice to hear Kitty’s POV because I know so little about Marvel – I had no idea that Marvel don’t have the same legacy tradition with newbies taking over the suits and hero names of their seniors!
I also listened to How I Got My Boyfriend Into Comics who also had an excellent main topic, this one being Supergirl vs. Superboy. I got all nostalgic for the Superboy comics I read when they first came out in the mid-90’s, with his leather jacket and stupid hair and Hawaii. Awwww, Superboy with no name, I did rather love you.
Raeli joined my comics party by discovering the Tiny Titans comics I got her on the iPad, and devouring them. It was a little scary. Tiny Titans are brilliant – the concept is pretty much Muppet Babies or Torchwood Babieez done with the Teen Titans characters and a few other guest stars like Batgirl. Each issue has a bunch of stories featuring various characters, some only a page long and others 6-8 pages. It’s cute and smart and unscary, and perfect for my six year old. She even read one of them to Jem as a bedtime story. I gained some cool Mum points for being able to identify Terra and Raven, and I remain kind of glad she hasn’t asked me why there are two Wonder Girls. I kind of love that their approach to DC canon is to just include everyone and am looking forward to the all Batgirls issue next month!
My favourite story of the Tiny Titans is in issue #1 (which is either 99 cents or free on the iPad) and features Cassie Wonder Girl deciding her new superhero costume is jeans and a t-shirt. This leads to some of the other kids wondering, how would Wonder Woman look if her costume was jeans and a t-shirt? (answer: kind of awesome) That’s basically the level it’s at, but did I mention adorable?
Now on to the grown up stuff! SPOILERS for Issue #1 of Batgirl, Stormwatch and Justice League International below.
Wonder Woman: the Circle
Wonder Woman: Ends of the Earth both written by Gail Simone
I had high expectations, I won’t lie. It’s Gail freaking Simone. The writer behind Birds of Prey. The writer who took my favourite comic characters of all time – Black Canary, Huntress, Barbara Gordon – and made them even more awesome than they already were.
But still. It’s Wonder Woman. The possibilities for it going wrong were still pretty endless.
In the end, none of the four stories collected across these two graphic novels were nearly as bad as I had dreaded, nor as awesome as I had hoped. But several of them were very good, and I enjoyed the entire read far more than any of the others. What’s this? I’m reading Wonder Woman and not cringing. Oooh, I’m STILL reading Wonder Woman and not cringing…