Women in Marvel Panel

July 27th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

I am officially back from San Diego Comic-con. I’m going to hit you guys with a ton of posts over the next week, maybe two, due to the con, but for tonight, I sleep. And linkblog. You know. The easy stuff. I’ll have hotness for y’all later on, like why I’m a bad nerd, Who Is The Black Panther, Faces of Batman, and so on.

I’m hoping the Black Panel write-up I’ve got cooking is the bomb. I’ve got 3500 words of notes and quotes. No commentary at all. Now to turn that into something readable!

CBR has a writeup on the Women in Marvel Comics panel up. It really, really needs an editing pass, because I’m pretty sure that Robin Firth, Sonya Ovak, and Colleen Cooper don’t exist. Anyway, click through. Maybe by the time you read this, it’ll have been fixed.

The panelists were Jim McCann, Robin Furth (Dark Tower), Marjorie Liu, Sherrilyn Kenyon (Lords of Avalon), Jen Grunwald (awesome editor at Marvel), Christina Strain (awesome colors all over Marvel’s best books), Sonia Oback (Mike Choi’s colorist, among other artists, and i think his wife as well), Colleen Coover (she rules), Emily Warren (who I found in artist’s alley on Friday and talked with for a moment, she also rules), Irene Flores (who I do not know, but is also probably cool and is drawing Cloak & Dagger), and Valerie D’Orazio (Cloak & Dagger).

Speaking of Colleen Coover:

Harley Quinn Sketch by Colleen Coover

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The Beauty & The Beast

June 23rd, 2008 Posted by david brothers

I’m a huge fan of Metal Gear Solid. It’s probably my favorite series, though I’ve undoubtedly put more time into Madden NFL than MGS by virtue of having played Madden for 14 years now to MGS’s ten. I got to help out on the guide for Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence, which was a really cool thing to do.

MGS4: Guns of the Patriots is out and it is quite honestly game of the decade for me. I beat it over the course of a weekend. Not because I’d planned to, mind you– I just got wrapped up in the story and enthralled and suddenly it’s Sunday and I have to be to bed in two hours and I’m just now finishing the hour long ending and oh man I want to start over and do it all again but I can’t I have work really I can’t okay maybe just a little before bed.

If I had to make a comics comparison, MGS4 is to the Metal Gear series what All-Star Superman is to Superman comics, only even more comprehensive and even better.

Hideo Kojima is a director who doesn’t skimp on the details. This shows in the attention paid to the story and what you can do in the game itself. One of the things that interests me the most about MGS4, other than the functioning in-game iPod which you can apparently rip your own music to, is The Beauty & The Beast Unit.

One of the overarching themes of the MGS series is that war makes monsters of men. No matter how honorable, good, evil, or whatever you are, war is going to ruin you. It’s the nature of the beast. The Beauty & The Beast Unit are the embodiment of this idea. They are four women who, while they were still young, encountered war and suffered under its boot. The girls ended up with post-traumatic stress disorder and were turned into war machines by an unknown party.

They became The Beauty and The Beast Unit, SNAKEHOUND, and were given special code names: Screaming Mantis, Laughing Octopus, Crying Wolf, and Raging Raven. Each prefix is a reference to a certain unit from Metal Gear Solid 3, while the animal tags are taken from FOXHOUND and the unit from MGS1. The Beauty represents what they once were– attractive young women. The Beast represents their outer appearance– monstrous war machines.

“They are humans that have been transformed by battle. They are the ultimate casualties of war.” According to Kojima, he chose to base these characters on beauty from the real world. “The world created these ugly beasts, but underneath they are gorgeous women. These ladies — this beauty — is real.”

Hideo Kojima, 1up.com

Where it gets even more interesting is their origins. Kojima wanted them to represent the real world. Lyndall Jarvis is from Cape Town, South Africa, and Laughing Octopus is ethnically Scandinavian. Yumi Kikuchi is from New York, and plays Raging Raven, a woman from Indonesia. Scarlett Chorvat’s from Slovakia, but Screaming Mantis was born in South America. Mieko Rye, Crying Wolf, is from Brooklyn, but reps Africa in-game.

It isn’t a 1:1 correlation, but it’s a step in the right direction. Their nationalities aren’t a huge part of the game. They’re pretty much literally one line in an audio conversation per boss. It isn’t a big deal, but it is at the same time. It’s a great move. War affects everyone, no matter where they are or who they are, and having the Beauty and Beast Unit be multicultural is a sharp way to represent that.

The Metal Gear Solid series has always been about storytelling. Its themes of war and its effects on life reflect throughout the entire series. The B&Bs are an obvious parallel, with their innocence being twisted and malformed into violence. There are plenty of other examples, as well, but this is one that leaped out at me.

It’s smart world building. It’s the kind of thing I’d like to see more often in comics. Let the little details do the work for you. You don’t have to have characters hop up on a soapbox and blah blah blah about their motivations or what they mean. Let the reader infer some things. MGS4 is amazingly unsubtle about basically everything on a certain level, but sometimes it slips in these little touches that make you pause.

In case you were wondering, the girls are all delightfully creepy bosses.

Shots below are ripped from Kotaku and various places on the internet.

Also, just for fun– Kojima and Frank Miller.

Now imagine Kojima making a Hard Boiled or Rusty the Boy Robot game.


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Dear IGN

March 13th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

IGN: From Comics to Screen: Marvel’s Babes

(Nevermind the fact that most of these fictional ladies were created by sex-starved geeks, who imagined such busty and scantily clad female characters from either their mother’s basement, or a studio filled with other similarly sexually deprived male artists.)

Sue Storm: created by Stan Lee (married since 1947) and Jack Kirby (married since 1942)
Mystique: created by Dave Cockrum (married)
Jean Grey: created by Stan Lee (married since 1947) and Jack Kirby (married since 1942)
Mary Jane: created by Stan Lee (married since 1947) and John Romita Sr (his son JRjr was born 08/1956)
Elektra: created by Frank Miller (married to Lynn Varley in the ’80s, divorced now)
Rogue: created by Chris Claremont (has a wife and kids) and Michael Golden (can’t find any info on him)
Storm: created by Len Wein (married twice) and Dave Cockrum (married)

Sex-starved geeks? Sexually deprived?

Characters that were “busty and scantily clad” upon creation: 1 (and that’s Elektra, which is being a little generous.)
Characters created in someone’s mother’s basement: 0
Number of worthwhile articles on IGN.com, period: 0

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She Got That Good Hair: Top 5 3 Black Women!

January 12th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

(edit: T’Shan was not BP’s sister. Shuri is.)

To our readers from When Fangirls Attack!– welcome! Check out the post and don’t be afraid to leave a comment, okay? Onward.

It’s been a long time, I shouldn’t have left you,
Without a strong rhyme to step to.
Think of how many weak shows you slept through,
Time’s up! I’m sorry I kept you!


Man, this article is crazy late, isn’t it? Just, uh, six months or so.

It’s late for a number of reasons. I’ve been trying to ramp up my writing career, which means more time writing about games, less about comics. Did it work? Well, I’m no longer living paycheck to paycheck, but talk to me in another six months.

The number one reason why it’s late, other than business and laziness, is that it is hard as crap to find good black female characters in recent comics. I mean, Monica Rambeau had a bit part in Black Panther and I’m not much for Nextwave’s portrayal of her, so she doesn’t really count. There was the great-granddaughter (grandniece?) of Jim Harper in Robinson’s Batman: Face-the-Face, but, uh, she had maybe nine panels of dialogue total, and that’s probably being generous. I’m not as familiar as I should be with Milestone’s work (beyond Static), so I wouldn’t feel comfortable putting any of those characters on this list. Bishop’s daughter in X-Men: The End has three strikes against her. 1) She’s Bishop’s daughter. 2) She’s in X-Men: The End. and 3) She’s Bishop’s daughter and is in X-Men: The End. Onyx is kind of cool, but I know exactly nothing about her and she got punked by Jason Todd so she’s out. Pantha, according to Wikipedia, is black, but, again, I know nothing about her. Thunder, from Outsiders? No thanks, hoss.

So… this is going to be a little different. It’s a top three because, frankly, there aren’t enough good black female characters out there. I’d include Glory Grant, ’cause she’s pretty awesome, but when’s the last time you saw her in a comic that wasn’t Civil War Frontline #10? (Nice guest spot, even if it was only a panel.) A better question– how many of you even remember who Glory Grant is? Monica Lynne is in the same situation. Charlotte Jones? Same deal.

I entertained the possibility of putting Monet St Croix on her, at least partially because I really enjoy her character. But, that’d make this a top 4 and these lists are traditionally either top three, top five, or top multiple of five. Four is right out.

So, a top three. But, I’m telling you, I better see some awesome black females over the next year or I’m going to do something reprehensible! I mean, black females in comics are like black head coaches in the NCAA!

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