"The women of Bikini Kill let guitarist Billy Karren be in their feminist punk band, but only if he's willing to just "do some shit." Being a feminist dude is like that. We may ask you to "do some shit" for the band, but you don't get to be Kathleen Hannah."--@heatherurehere

Thursday, August 20, 2015

#BuyComicsByWomen: The "Kurt Busiek Hates Me Now" Edition

Continuing my experiment where I only buy comics that have a female artist or writer. This week, I got to talk to one of my writer heroes, Kurt Busiek, and alienate him forever! Ah well. He's a good guy, and a fantastic writer.  I really hope he'll be working with more women in the future.  It really does seem like some of the most prominent male writers and artists in comics don't understand that they, too, are gatekeepers.

Yep Pile:

  • Power Up #2(Writer: Kate Leth   Art: Matt Cummings   Cover: Matt Cummings)  While I wasn't blown away by #1, I enjoy Leth's work enough to give this a few more issues to grow on me.
  • Welcome Back #1(Writer: Christopher Sebela   Art: Jonathan Brandon Sawyer   Cover: Elsa Charretier) This one is pretty hyped, and I'm excited to try it. I haven't read anything by Sebela and Sawyer before, but if I can find the Charretier cover, I'm gonna pick it up.
  • Secret Six #5 (Bombshells Variant Cover)DC Comics: August 19, 2015   Writer: Gail Simone   Art: Dale Eaglesham   Cover: Emanuela Lupacchino) I know everybody loves Simone's Secret Six--it's not my favorite of her work, oddly enough; still, the new-to-me characters, and the "Bombshells" variant cover won me over. 
  • Swords Of Sorrow Thoris Adler #3(Writer: Leah Moore   Art: Francisco Manna   Cover: Jay Anacleto)  I say it every week--these are some of the most fun comics out right now. Pulpy goodness.  
  • Swords Of Sorrow Vampirella Jennifer Blood #4(Writer: Nancy A. Collins   Art: Dave Acosta   Cover: Billy Tan) See above.
  •  Island #2(Writer: Brandon Graham   Art: Brandon Graham   Cover: Emma Rios) This is the comic I'm most excited about at the moment--it feels like a possible shift for the industry. Or at least a fun experiment. 
  • Rat Queens #11 Writer: Kurtis J. Wiebe    Cover: Stjepan Sejic  artist:Tamra Bonvillain artist: Tess Fowler You had me at Tess Fowler. This is also one of the most oddly feminist comics being sold today, I think.
  •  Revival #32(Writer: Tim Seeley   Art: Mike Norton   Cover: Jenny Frison)  Still a solid story with feet planted in the horror genre.Runaways #3(Writer: Noelle Stevenson   Art: Sanford Greene   Cover: Sanford Greene) Somehow I missed the debut of this! Now I have to catch up! 

Nope Pile

  • Young Terrorists #1 (Writer: Matt Pizzolo   Art: Amancay Nahuelpan   Cover: Amancay Nahuelpan ) I know nothing about Nahuelpan or Pizzolo, but this sounded interesting.
  • B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth #134 #25(Writer: Mike Mignola   Art: Julian Totino Tedesco   Cover: Laurence Campbell) 134 issues without a woman writer or artist! Some kind of record. 
  • Astro City #26(Writer: Kurt Busiek   Art: Brent Eric Anderson   Cover: Alex Ross) I miss this title. I got a few in when Wendy Broome was a guest colorist, but I'm going to leave this one be until there is a regular female artist on it. It's a loss.
  • Dr Fate #3(Writer: Paul Levitz   Art: Sonny Liew   Cover: Sonny Liew) I missed that Liew was doing the art on this one. He's one of the few artists I'll buy on principle, ever since My Faith in Frankie. Sad I'm missing this one.
  • Martian Manhunter #3(Writer: Rob Williams   Art: Eddy Barrows   Cover: Eddy Barrows) I've always loved this character, but haven't loved the last few incarnations--I'd love to give this one a shot, but it will have to wait.
  • Mantle #4(Writer: Ed Brisson   Art: Brian Level   Cover: Brian Level )I loved Brisson's Sheltered, and this one looks so fun and different. Missing out.
  • Wolf #2(Writer: Ales Kot   Art: Matt Taylor   Cover: Matt Taylor) Probably my favorite writer these days; I'll console myself by reading and re-reading The Surface.
  • Trees #12(Writer: Warren Ellis   Art: Jason Howard   Cover: Jason Howard) Similar to my sadness about Kot, I'll console myself with Ellis' Injection.
  • Star Wars #8(Writer: Jason Aaron   Art: John Cassaday   Cover: John Cassada) The series just looks so fun, and I love Aaron and Cassaday. I'm glad they get to sell billions of comics.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Get This Book: The Sex Myth, by Rachel Hills

I like reading about sex; throw in thoughtful analysis of sex and gender, and I'm hooked. Include a good mix of anecdotal stories and scientific analysis, and I'm in for the duration. Rachel Hills' The Sex Myth does a fine job of delving into our predilection to think that we know just what the sex lives of others are like, and just how wrong we often are. In particular, she's shining some light on the post-sexual-revolution tendency to insist that people be having the kinky, frequent sex that we have all been told is within everybody's reach. 

For me, her discussion of how men are affected by sexual stereotypes about men was the most interesting chapter. She starts off by taking us into a frat house in the U.S.--a move which I quickly criticized as myopic in the margin of the book. Hills is too smart to fall into such a trap, however, and is bringing us there because these men are doing their best to rail against the stereotypes, with part of their manifesto urging respect toward women. And it's "Christopher", one of the fraternity men, who says some things that are so rarely heard from men in our culture:
"In ever sexual relationship I have had with a woman, I have felt pressured to do more than I am comfortable with," Christopher says. Sometimes taht pressure has come directly from the women he's dating, other times from some internalized ideal of how guys "should" approach sex.  He recalls a night he spent watching movies on the couch with his first girlfriend when he was fifteen.  "I was quite happy to just kiss, but I remember feeling this pressure to initiate something more.  You're alone and she turned off the lights, so I guess that means you're supposed to take it further."
And after a few more anecdotes, Hills gives us some facts:
A 2010 survey commissioned by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and Seventeen magazine found that 21 percent of fifteen-to-twenty-two-year-old guys had been pressured by a female peer to go further sexually than they wanted to, with more than three-quarters (78 percent) agreeing that there was "way too much pressure" to have sex.  Fifty-six percent said they were "relieved" when a female partner wanted to wait to have sex." 
And this is the strength of Hills' book, for me--there is a well-done mixing of personal stories and more generalized facts about our sex lives.  And despite the intricate discussion at hand, Hills manages to write in an almost breezy tone about some really serious issues. The Sex Myth feels something like a discussion among friends, rather than a polemic. 

One quibble I have with the book is that it skews fairly heterocentric. She does obviously make an effort to leave a lot of the discussion as sexual-preference-neutral, and there are queer people quoted in the book, but one can't help but wonder how many of the fraternity guys were really concerned about being pressured into sex by other men, for instance. But this is just a quibble, and it actually speaks to a strength of the book for me: This book feels like the interesting beginning of a conversation that we all should be having.

The Sex Myth at the publisher.
Rachel Hills 
buy the book at Indiebound
NYT review

Full disclosure: I was provided with a review copy of the book, for which I'm grateful.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

#BuyComicsByWomen August 12, 2015

Running a little experiment where I only buy comics that have a woman who worked on the comic as an artist or writer. This week has some highs and lows, for sure:

Yep Pile:

  • Constantine The Hellblazer #3 (Writer: Ming Doyle   Art: Vanesa Del Rey   Cover: Riley Rossmo) I'm enjoying a non-Vertigo Hellblazer. Never thought that would happen. Nice work folks!
  • DC Comics Bombshells #1(Writer: Marguerite Bennett   Art: Marguerite Sauvage   Cover: Ant Lucia) I just love that this comic happened at all. Can't wait.  
  • JLA Gods And Monsters #1(Letterer: Saida Temofonte  Writer: J. M. DeMatteis   Art: Thony Silas   Cover: Darick Robertson ) I know nothing about this, except that I love DeMatteis. Glad Temofonte is lettering it, so I can read it!
  • Swords Of Sorrow #4(Writer: Gail Simone   Art: Sergio Fernandez Davila   Cover: Tula Lotay) This continues to be a super fun book. I'm not loving the entire set of crossovers, but this centerpiece is solid.  
  • Velvet #11(Cover Colorist: Elizabeth Breitweiser  Writer: Ed Brubaker   Art: Steve Epting   Cover: Steve Epting) I kind of can't believe this isn't a movie yet. Loving this series.  
  • Beauty #1(Writer: Jeremy Haun   Art: Jeremy Haun   Cover: Jenny Frison) This looks like a fucked up, fun read. Not familiar with Haun, but love Frison covers...
  • Injection #4(Colorist: Jordie Bellaire Writer: Warren Ellis   Art: Declan Shalvey   Cover: Declan Shalvey) Ellis on words, Shalvey and Bellaire on art. Can't lose. 
  • Shutter #14(Writer: Joe Keatinge   Art: Leila Del Duca   Cover: Leila Del Duca ) I say it every time, but this is the most underrated series in comics right now. I wish this book got the love that Saga gets.
  • Star-lord And Kitty Pryde #2(Writer: Sam Humphries   Art: Alti Firmansyah   Cover: Yasmine Putri)  This feels like the perfect book for Humprhies. If I can't read Avengers A.I., I'll take this. Putri is growing on me.
  • Secret Wars #5(Writer: Jonathan Hickman   Art: Esad Ribic   Cover: Sophie Campbell) I can't help myself. I hate the whole Doom thing, but they're doing fun stuff in this book.  
  • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #8(Writer: Ryan North   Art: Erica Henderson   Cover: Erica Henderson) This book makes me wish I was still buying comics at the supermarket from a spinner rack. 
  • A-force #3(Writer: C. Willow Wilson   Art: Jorge Molina   Cover: Jorge Molina) The best thing to come out of Bullshitworld Battleworld.  

Nope Pile

  • It Will All Hurt #3(Writer: Farel Dalrymple   Art: Farel Dalrymple   Cover: Farel Dalrymple) I hate losing out on full-on creator-written-drawn comics, but I think I'll stick to my experiment. 
  • Crossed Badlands #83(Writer: Mike Wolfer   Art: Mike Wolfer   Cover: Christian Zanier) -- 6 covers, no women.  I like the concept of Crossed, in small doses. I get no doses, because there are never any women working on this comic.
  • Mercury Heat #2(Writer: Kieron Gillen   Art: Omar Francia   Cover: Omar Francia ) -- 5 covers, no women.  This one hurts. Sci-fi written by Gillen is difficult to pass up. Can't we get one cover a month by a woman?
  • Providence #3 (Writer: Alan Moore   Art: Jacen Burrows   Cover: Jacen Burrows ) Honestly, I'll probably buy the GN of this, when my experiment is over. It just looks beautiful.  
  • Uber #27 (Writer: Kieron Gillen   Art: Daniel Gete   Cover: Daniel Gete ) -- 5 covers, no women I love the ideas in this book--wish I could pick it up. 
  •  Crossed Plus 100 #7(Writer: Simon Spurrier   Art: Fernando Heinz   Cover: Christian Zanier) -- 7 covers, no women I love Spurrier. But really? Seven covers, no women?
  • Americatown #1(Writer: Bradford Winters   Art: Daniel Irizarri   Cover: Mike Choi ) Looks like this one was written just for me. I haven't read Winters or Irizari before, but I have some FOMO here. 
  • Arcadia #4(Writer: Alex Paknadel   Art: Eric Scott Pfeiffer   Cover: Matt Taylor) So many interesting sci-fi-ish comics out right now. Wish I could read this one.  
  • Abe Sapien #25(Writer: Mike Mignola   Art: Sebastian Fiumara   Cover: Max Fiumara) Mignola is on his millionth comic without any female artists. Not even one cover. I'm missing these books less and less...  
  • Harrow County #4( Writer: Cullen Bunn   Art: Tyler Crook   Cover: Tyler Crook) 
  • Boy-1 #1 (Writer: H.S. Tak   Art: Amancay Nahuelpan   Cover: Zach Howard)  
  • Descender #6(Writer: Jeff Lemire   Art: Dustin Nguyen   Cover: Dustin Nguyen)  
  • Drifter #7(Writer: Ivan Brandon   Art: Nic Klein   Cover: Nic Klein)  
  • Fuse #13(Writer: Antony Johnston   Art: Justin Greenwood   Cover: Justin Greenwood)  
  • Phonogram The Immaterial Girl #1(Writer: Kieron Gillen   Art: Jamie McKelvie   Cover: Jamie McKelvie)  
  • Odyc #6( Writer: Matt Fraction   Art: Christian Ward   Cover: Christian Ward) I may literally weep over not being able to get this one.  
  • Reyn #7( Writer: Kel Symons   Art: Nathan Stockman   Cover: Nathan Stockman) 
  • Star Wars Lando #2(Writer: Charles Soule   Art: Alex Maleev   Cover: TBD ) 
  • Howard The Duck #5(Writer: Chip Zdarsky   Art: Joe Quinones   Cover: Joe Quinones)