This Week in Panels: Week 31

April 25th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

Just got back from CHIKARA’s King of Trios and I’m completely exhausted. I’ll do a little trip report of sorts later. For now, it’s panel time.

Amazing Spider-Man #628
Roger Stern, Lee Weeks, Mark Waid, Tom Peyer and Todd Nauck

American Vampire #2
Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque, Stephen King and Rafael Albuquerque

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This Week in Panels: Week 27

March 28th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

Time for another installment of TWiP, which is almost late since I was too busy watching the All-American American Jack Swagger be awesome. Oh, and Shawn Michaels is apparently retiring too. But the Jack Swagger part is more important.

Amazing Spider-Man #626
Fred Van Lente and Michael Gaydos

The A-Team: Shotgun Wedding #2
Joe Carnahan, Tom Waltz and Stephen Mooney

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Clears Away the Cobwebs and the Sorrow

March 25th, 2010 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

Power Girl’s cat has been amazing and delighting us for decades.  It is Alfred to her Bruce, chocolate to her peanut butter, Simon to her everyone else on American Idol.  It’s the Candy in her land, the Trivial in her Pursuit, it adds the poly to her Mono.

I could go on.  Trust me.  I love that damn cat.

Here’s hoping the thing is always featured in the many Winnick issues to come.

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Fourcast! 30: Last Week In Comics

January 25th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

Chad Nevett on the intro
-6th Sense’s 4a.m. Instrumental for the theme music
-Review show! We haven’t done one of these in a while.
-Joe Casey and Ardian Syaf’s Superman/Batman #68
-Ed Brubaker and Luke Ross’s Captain America #602 & Sean McKeever and David Baldeon’s Nomad backup
-Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, and Amanda Conner’s Power Girl #8
-Grant Morrison and Sean Murphy’s Joe the Barbarian #1
-Sholly Fisch, Robert Pope, and Scott McRae’s Batman: The Brave and the Bold #13
-Art Baltazar and Franco’s Tiny Titans #24
-And out!

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This Week in Panels: Week 18

January 24th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

Welcome to this week’s edition of This Week in Agents of Atlas. We have a lot of Agents of Atlas this time around, so let’s get to the Agents of Atlas!

(Not shown: the Agents of Atlas backup story in Incredible Hercules)

Amazing Spider-Man #618
Dan Slott and Marcos Martin

Authority: The Lost Year #5
Grant Morrison, Keith Giffen and Jonathan Wayshak

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This Week in Panels: Week 13

December 20th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

It’s a special Christmas edition of TWiP! I’m not just talking about Guy Gardner’s festive new Lantern color scheme, but at the end of this week’s entry, we have a little extra surprise from guest panel guy David Uzumeri!

Anti-Venom New Ways to Live #3
Zeb Wells, Paulo Siqueira and Marco Checchetto

Authority: The Lost Year #4
Grant Morrison, Keith Giffen and Darick Robertson

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Boobgate: Nine Days Later

November 28th, 2009 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

Jen Van Meter, the writer of “Spin Cycle,” the Cyclone and Power Girl story in the JSA: 80 Page Giant, has responded to my entry of last week. 

Hi, Esther. A friend forwarded me links to your post and to a couple other blogs that have picked up on your comments, and I feel compelled to reply because you’re right — I failed in what I was trying to accomplish with the “Spin Cycle” story, or, at the very least, I failed you and many of your respondents.

What I was asked by DC to supply was essentially a short story about one of the younger JSA characters walking through a door in the brownstone to find something unexpected, surreal, impossible (by the character’s standards) that, whether it “really happened” or not, could somehow have bearing on the way that character perceives her-/himself.

I’ve been interested in Cyclone since she was introduced because, unlike most teens in costume in the superhero worlds, she doesn’t seem particularly interested in conveying a fully-formed adult sexuality, nor is her chosen costume conventionally sexualized. I like her smarts, her sense of the theatrical, and I think she’s interesting because her insecurities seem very plausible and refreshingly commonplace. I wanted the story to be a series of experiences that in one way or another allay some of her anxieties about meriting a place in the JSA, and given that she was team leader at the time I was writing it, I wanted to use PG to stand in for the focus of those anxieties.

Because I was thinking about the story as being some whacked-out magical construct emerging somehow out of Maxine’s point of view, I wasn’t thinking about Power Girl–in the story–as herself but as something produced by how Maxine sees her, and in my reading of these characters Maxine had been seeing PG the way a new hire might see a CEO as explicably demanding, intimidating, and intense as, say, Oprah, Madonna and Secretary Clinton all rolled into one. I wanted Maxine to leave the story feeling more like a worthy peer and teammate.

So one thing led to another, and I found myself wanting Maxine to come upon PG doing something simple, ordinary, humanizing, and when I decided on laundry I started wondering what Maxine would think of Power Girl’s costume. There was nothing externally meta-textual going on for me, but I was indeed thinking that Maxine looks at super-heroics as at least one part theater; she’s got the theater background and knows that–in their world–there’re lots of reasons they’re not all running around in track suits and army/navy surplus. What I had in mind was that in “reading” the costume to this apparition of Power Girl, what Maxine is really doing is explaining to herself some of why she finds Power Girl so intimidating. I’m not pretending to be unaware of the conversations amongst fans and creators about the sexism that seems so deeply embedded in the genre, especially as it focuses on costuming; I am saying that what I was concerning myself with at the time was the notion that similar conversations might/must be ongoing in the world the characters occupy as well.

One other thing I do need to offer up for consideration, and I see this come up frequently in comic reviews and critiques: you ascribed intent to lecture to me but used the art as the focus of your argument. In the script, what I asked for was a shot of Power Girl, “a little surprised by the enthusiasm, perhaps thoughtful,” or something like that. I didn’t see what you have when I saw the inks; if I had done, I probably would have asked if there was time to redraw at least that panel, or, more likely, would have tried to make changes at the lettering stage to make the ideas behind the scene more plain.

Do I like the vast and very gendered disparity in costuming in conventional superhero comics? No. Do I love superhero comics despite the many flaws of the genre? Absolutely. Having chosen to write superhero comics for hire on occasion, must I work with what’s available to me? Sure. Did I imagine that I could say something about Cyclone by giving some thought to how she might see, or want to see, one of the costumes most emblematic of the problem at hand? Yeah, I did. Clearly, I misstepped.

I wish I had caught how the scene could be taken while I was working on the script. I would have done something about it.

No obscenities, no intimations of rage, and no snotty rhetorical questions (which is more than you can say about my original entry).  Very classy.

And here is a link to the original post.  (Jen Van Meter’s comment currently the third from the bottom.  You can also see my response, and a special guest appearance by Jimmy Palmiotti.)

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Okay. Now I’m Getting Mad.

November 19th, 2009 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell


Wow, I’ve never read about many female characters giving her a hard time in the comics . . . oh.  Oh.  That was meta.  The ‘most women’ comment.  The character looking out at us from the panel.  This is a little speech given to the women who, for some crazy reason, criticize Peej’s uniform.

You know, I think I’ve heard a similar speech.  It was about how Peej was proud of her body, and if men decided to degrade themselves by looking at her, then that was their business.  And I’ve heard the speech about how she had the ‘S’ and ripped it off, and that patch of fabric would stay absent until she found a symbol that represented her.

And I heard the justification about how Canary’s outfit was in tribute to her mother, even when that means she’s in panties and a jacket in the First Wave books.  And I’ve heard the one about Poison Ivy being a plant and therefore unconcerned about human modesty.  Oh, and I’ve heard the one about Supergirl being invulnerable and therefore not needing pants.  There are a few about how Huntress wanted to show off the fact that she was shot, and she lived, and that’s why she fought in a bikini.  And then there’s the one about Batman and Superman . . . oh.  Wait.  There aren’t that many excuses for how  Batman and Superman dress because, golly, for some reason, the male heroes in this mostly male-controlled medium put their fucking clothes on when they’re going to fight someone.

Are you kidding me?  I’m getting an ‘I choose my choice’ speech from a fictional character?  Feminist fans are getting a slap because they won’t accept one bullshit excuse after another for why male heroes are mostly fully-clothed and female heroes mostly walk around in their underwear?

Let me make this clear:  No matter how many times you have the female characters talk about how they decided on their outfits, they are still fictional characters.  These aren’t women who have decided on what they want to wear for reasons of their own.  These are characters who are dressed as playboy bunnies because a bunch of creators decided to dress them that way for fun and profit.

Jen Van Meter; I don’t know what you were trying to do here, but you failed.

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This Week in Panels: Week 5

October 25th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

To make up for last week’s lackluster batch, we’ve returned with more substance this time.

Amazing Spider-Man #609
Marc Guggenheim, Marco Checchetto and Luke Ross

Azrael #1
Fabian Nicieza and Ramon Bachs

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This Week in Panels: Week 1

September 27th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

This is a new idea I decided to play around with. Rather than write up reviews of every little thing we read every week, we would simply try to get our point across via This Week in Panels. Each week, the collective of 4th Letter would post panels from various comics that have come out that we’ve read. Good or bad, we’ll try to portray them through one panel and let you draw your own conclusions. No gigantic spoilers or anything like that. Just an attempt to show you the essence of what the comic is all about.

Hopefully Esther starts responding to my emails so we can have more DC representation.

Amazing Spider-Man #606
Joe Kelly and Mike McKone

Blackest Night: Superman #2
James Robinson and Eddy Barrows

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