Big & Miraculous

Another casualty of DC’s New 52:

Big Barda and her husband Mister Miracle battle Parademons

Comics Alliance revealed that a Big Barda/Mister Miracle book was pitched by Ramón Pérez prior to the almost but not quite reboot of the DCU in 2011.  


Of all the characters that Jack Kirby created for DC Comics in the 1970s, a roster that includes OMAC and the Demon, the ones that have always resonated the most with readers are undoubtedly Mister Miracle and Big Barda. The story of a super-escape artist who fled an oppressive planet rather than be changed into something he wasn’t, and a fierce warrior who overcame her brutal conditioning and learned to love, and how they conquered evil is, one of the most compelling things Kirby created in a long and unmatched career in superhero comics, and it’s been a favorite of subsequent creators over the past 40 years too.

One such creator is Ramón Pérez, the Eisner-winning cartoonist of Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand, who revealed on Twitter this week that he pitched a Mister Miracle and Big Barda series that “died because of the New 52.”

Truly, we are living in a fallen world, but the good news is that you can at least check out a sample of Pérez’s work.

Pérez first wrote about this rejected pitch all the way back in 2010, but we missed it because we’re always incredibly busy, you know. The Mister Miracle idea was part of an initiative being developed for the now-defunct DC webcomics project Zuda.


I’ve read comics a long time, and I’m well aware of Barda and Scott, but reading the above was the first time that their essence was distilled in a way that appealed to me.  Combined with the art-which is super freaking fantabulous-I’d have bought the book in a New York minute (maybe in a Miami minute…not sure).  Click the link below for a few more amazing images from artist  Ramón Pérez.

(via Comics Alliance, image by  Ramón Pérez)

Big & Miraculous

Riveting Remy

(source:  saulone, via wheelr)

This redesign works for me. I completely love the boots.  The low cut jeans rock.  Remy has a bad boy ‘cut and the tattoo works as well.  Also, he has a pouch for his cards.  I still wonder what 90s heroes carried in all those pouches they had (let’s not get started on the leather jacket craze).  This image gives Remy that rebel, badboy, hustler look, which perfectly suits his thieving ass.

Riveting Remy

Just change the damn name already

That Washington football team whose full name I won’t use because it’s fucking racist? The granddaughter of the founder told them they should change the name:

Continue reading “Just change the damn name already”

Just change the damn name already

On Beauty

Andrew Wheeler is a blogger and writer for Comics Alliance. Last year he wrote an article about Henry Cavill, British actor who played Superman in the 2013 movie, Man of Steel.  During the article, Wheeler discusses the quality of Cavill’s acting ability, where he’s from, what he’s starred, in and more. He also talks about how attractive he finds Cavill (and I have to say, the scenes of shirtless Cavill when he’s saving the workers on the oil rig…yum yum):

How handsome is he, actually?
If you can’t see for yourself, let me make it plain; Henry Cavill is absurdly handsome. Implausibly handsome. He’s probably in contention for the title of “most handsome man that ever lived.” He’s so handsome that the entire entertainment industry has been secretly colluding to try to make him famous so they can put his face on things and sell them. He’s handsome.
Now, sure, some people will say, “Pfft, I prefer Benedict Cumberbatch”, and that’s OK. Weird, but OK. Henry Cavill is not the universal ideal; just the closest thing we have to it. If it weren’t for his very slightly bumpy nose he might actually be impossible to look at, but like a Persian rug he has one minor imperfection so as not to offend god.
Actually, he has two imperfections. He dresses terribly. Giant ties, ugly shoes, suits that fit like a balloon. Unless he gets a stylist post-Superman, watching Henry Cavill make fashion faux pas is going to become a new sport for supermarket tabloids.

In the United States, by and large, the discussion about movie stars often centers on the skills and abilities of male actors, and the appearance and beauty of female actors. In fact, that discussion extends beyond movie stars. Women are overwhelmingly valued for their appearance, rather than what they can do. Their worth is determined (by others) by how much they do or don’t eat, how much they do or don’t exercise, how much makeup they do or don’t put on, what type of clothes they wear, how they style their hair, how they look before, during and after pregnancy, and more. With men, the focus is much more on their skill set, their abilities, and their personality. The worth of a man is not determined by how he looks. Tabloid magazines don’t ceaselessly document what type of pants a male actor is wearing, how his hair looks on a windy day, or how well groomed his nails are. Yes, our culture does talk about men’s looks, but not the same way (or to the same degree) as we do with women’s looks. You can go to any bookstore and see men’s magazines (usually workout magazines) that focus on the appearance of men. They do exist, and they are part of the discussion. Unlike women, however, there isn’t an overwhelming focus on what men look like, nor is the value of men determined by their attractiveness.

One reader of Wheeler’s article  took issue with how he talked about Cavill’s attractiveness:


Reblogging to point out how revolting this article is. After an overly-long introductory geography lesson, the author goes on to talk about Cavill the way most writers discuss actresses—by valuing only his looks. It’s gross. It isn’t okay to talk about women that way, and it isn’t okay to talk about Superman that way either.

Wheeler’s response was perfect:


Hi. I’m the author of this article. As you reblogged with my comment in-line, I assume you wanted to make sure that I saw your response, and I think you raised an important point, so I hope you won’t mind if I reply.

First, I’m sorry that you didn’t enjoy the article, and I appreciate your point of view.

However, I don’t agree with you, and I stand by my piece.

Before I explain why I don’t agree, I want to acknowledge that this is an important debate. Our culture talks about women in limiting ways. They are too often reduced to their looks – their hair, their clothes, their weight, their make-up. Hillary Clinton is asked questions that no-one would ever ask her husband. Whether a woman is a scientist, an executive, a writer, an intellectual, she will too often be judged for her attractiveness, and if she’s thought too pretty, she’ll be demeaned, and if she’s thought not pretty enough, she’ll be ridiculed. It is awful and unacceptable.

This happens in acting as well. Men are asked about their performance; women are asked about their appearance. A female actress experiencing a bad hair day, undergoing weight loss, weight gain, plastic surgery, or wearing sweatpants to pick up the kids from daycare, is considered a matter for public scrutiny.

I don’t like the magazines that run those pictures. I don’t like those websites. I don’t like those TV shows.

But that doesn’t mean we can never talk about looks. Acting is both a performance and an appearance business. An actor’s look is part of the package they sell, both to the industry and to the audience. How a person looks – or how a person can look – is part of the job, by design and for a reason. It’s part of creating a character. Sometimes an actor gets work because he or she looks quirky, intense, unusual, intelligent, ordinary, familiar.

Leading actors usually get work because they’re beautiful. There are other factors, but beauty is typically essential, because most popular entertainment is glamorous and glossy. It transports us to a world where stunning people face dramatically implausible challenges.

I like that glamour and gloss. I like beauty. I wish our media showed us the full, diverse and inclusive range of beauty, because I would love to find out if Godfrey Gao or Daniel Sunjata or Alex Meraz or Mehcad Brooks or Sung Kang could carry an action franchise on his back, but even so, I want to watch beautiful people do extraordinary things.

So it seems disingenuous to pretend that these people aren’t beautiful, or to avoid talking about something that is intrinsic both to the work they do and to why they get that work. What an actor wears to pick up the kids from daycare is nobody’s business, but what an actor wears on the red carpet is something we’re expected to have an opinion about, because we’re being sold something.

It’s not the only thing we should have an opinion about. We shouldn’t only talk about looks. We shouldn’talways talk about looks. But it is part of the cultural conversation.

And if we’re going to talk about looks, I think it’s important to talk about men.

Beauty should not be a one-way street focused solely on the male gaze towards the female body. Our appreciation of beauty should run in all directions. As a gay man, I’m used to being told that I should not publicise my attraction to other men. Women face enormous challenges to the free expression of their sexualities.

The very idea that a man could be a sexualised for the appreciation of women is foundation-shaking stuff for some. I was conscious of that when I wrote an article for a comics website drawing attention to a leading man’s attractiveness. I believe that acknowledging sex and sexuality is important, especially for marginalised groups. Silencing those conversations only serves the status quo.

Let’s talk about that status quo for a moment. The corollary to allowing straight and bisexual women to talk about attractive men is that we allow straight and bisexual men to talk about attractive women, right? And therein lies a danger, because straight men already do that, and they do it to the extent that it feels like a woman’s only value is her attractiveness. That takes us neatly back to where we started. To say that we can sometimes talk about female attractiveness creates an excuse for when we always talk about female attractiveness.

I think we need to exercise intelligent discretion on that point, because across-the-board repression is not a good solution. We need to talk about attractiveness as part of a balanced cultural diet.

Was my article all about Henry Cavill’s looks? No. The article talks about who he is, where he came from, what he’s done. But his looks are a big enough part of the article to make the headline.

The premise of the article is an introduction to Henry Cavill. I’ve been a fan for almost ten years, and let’s be clear: I’m a fan because he’s gorgeous. Breathtakingly so. He’s not an exceptional actor, but he is an exceptional beauty. His looks are important to his work. His looks are remarkable, and I remarked on them. (I also mentioned his dress sense, and I should clarify that I’m only talking about public appearances. You can read Tom & Lorenzo on the same subject here.)

If the article had only been about his looks, I think that would have been OK too. We can talk about that one thing in a landscape that includes many other things. Beauty, and what we find beautiful, is part of the language of culture. I think it’s a worthwhile topic.

For female actors, beauty is sometimes the whole of the landscape, and a feature of everything ever written about them. That should not be the case.

Female and male actors should be treated equally and afforded the same respect. They should be asked the same questions.

Sometimes we should talk about their looks.

Thanks again for sharing your opinion.

Wheeler is right. There’s nothing inherently wrong with talking about the attractiveness of men or women.  The problem is when that discussion is overwhelmingly about beauty.  When the vast majority of the discussion is how someone looks, rather than how they look plus what they can do and who they are as a person that’s when there is a problem.  That’s a problem in the United States (and I imagine across the world).  It isn’t a problem to talk about the beauty of a man.  Not in the case of Wheeler’s article, because he also talks about other facets of Henry Cavill.  It’s also not a problem to talk about the beauty of a man in general bc society as a whole also discusses other aspects of men.  When society can catch up and do that very same thing to women–when a woman can be valued for her personality, her passion, her abilities, her skills, and her looks we’ll have made a greater stride toward equality*. I look forward to that day.


*The caveat I’ll add to that is the discussion of appearance must be relevant.  The workplace is often the wrong place to discuss the attractiveness of others.   Bosses shouldn’t discuss how much they find their subordinates, or peers.  Context is important.

On Beauty

For Your Viewing Enjoyment!

The Internet is an amazing thing.  For all that there is some awful shit out there, I marvel (pun intended) at some of the cool stuff to be found.


Yeah, baby. Alison Blaire, aka Dazzler!  Shame they didn’t use her original costume.  But hey, they got the skates.

(via: TheMarySue)

This is pure awesome sauce.  Beware Wolverine Cat!

There’s some cat in my head!

For Your Viewing Enjoyment!

There’s a cheaper way to have an orgasm

…than “turning gay”.  Raging homophobic bigot Peter LaBarbera went on the air attacking gay men.  He claims that men “turn gay for the cheap orgasm”:

Continue reading “There’s a cheaper way to have an orgasm”

There’s a cheaper way to have an orgasm

There's a cheaper way to have an orgasm

…than “turning gay”.  Raging homophobic bigot Peter LaBarbera went on the air attacking gay men.  He claims that men “turn gay for the cheap orgasm”:

Continue reading “There's a cheaper way to have an orgasm”

There's a cheaper way to have an orgasm

Wrong Answer

Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive
behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against another. It is an epidemic affecting individuals in every
community, regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, nationality or educational background.
Violence against women is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior, and thus is
part of a systematic pattern of dominance and control. Domestic violence results in physical injury,
psychological trauma, and sometimes death. The consequences of domestic violence can cross generations
and truly last a lifetime. (source: ncadv)

Domestic violence is a serious issue plaguing the United States.  Nearly 1.3 million women are the victims of domestic violence every year-by an intimate partner, such as a boyfriend, lover, or spouse.  In fact, historically, women are victimized  most often by someone they know. Those women between the ages of 20-24 face the highest risk of nonfatal domestic abuse from an intimate partner.  This violence has social costs as well:

The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds
$5.8 billion each year, $4.1 billion of which is for
direct medical and mental health services.17

Victims of intimate partner violence lost almost 8
million days of paid work because of the violence
perpetrated against them by current or former
husbands, boyfriends and dates. This loss is the
equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs and
almost 5.6 million days of household productivity
as a result of violence.17

There are 16,800 homicides and $2.2 million
(medically treated) injuries due to intimate partner
violence annually, which costs $37 billion.18
(source:  ncadv)

Given the cost to women-in many cases, their very lives (and even when they aren’t killed, they can suffer life altering traumatic injuries), as well as the social costs, it would behoove the powers that be to work towards reducing domestic violence.

 Kentucky’s response?  Arm women:  

This week, a Kentucky lawkicks in that aims to protect domestic violence victims—not by taking away guns from their abusers, but by making it easier for victims to carry guns.

Kentucky has some of the most lax gun restrictions for domestic violence perps in the nation, and between 2003 and 2012, a greater percentage of intimate-partner homicides in Kentucky were committed with guns than anywhere else in the country. A number of states prohibit certain domestic abusers from possessing guns with laws that bar convicted stalkers, people subject to temporary restraining orders, or dating partners convicted of domestic violence from owning guns. Kentucky does none of that. For the chart above, Mother Jones looked at eight gun restrictions related to domestic violence that states have enacted; Kentucky had zero. (In the chart, Kentucky is in the upper right-hand corner.)

The new Kentucky law, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, doesn’t stop abusers from possessing a firearm. But it makes it easier for victims to carry a weapon. Under the law, anyone granted an emergency protective order or who obtains a domestic violence order can apply for a permit to carry a concealed weapon, temporarily waiving the requirement to complete firearms training. (The person still has to complete a background check.) This means a victim (or someone threatened with domestic violence) can obtain a concealed carry permit in as little as 24 hours.

This is magical thinking at its best (actually at its worst): give potential victims a gun and that will protect them.  Unfortunately, people aren’t superhuman. If you’re being stalked by an intimate partner, you’d have to be ready at all times.  At work. At school. At church. In the car.  At the grocery store.  In traffic.  At the beach. At home. At dinner.  You’d constantly have to be aware of everything around you and have your gun within reach. You also have to be trained in how to use the gun effectively.  All of that is implausible.  Not impossible, but should the victims of domestic violence have to be on their guard every single second of every single day of their entire lives?  That’s living in fear and terror.  No one should have to live like that.

Also, owning a gun doesn’t necessarily make women safer:

A study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine found that 20 percent of women killed in California were murdered by an intimate partner using a gun. But among the female victims who had purchased handguns, that number jumped to 45 percent.

The answer to reducing domestic violence isn’t an armed society.  The answer lies in protecting women from domestic violence.  One such way would be to make it harder for perpetrators of domestic violence to acquire guns.

Wrong Answer

Coming Out-how a friend ought to respond

Andrew Wheeler wrote something wonderful about how friends of LGBT people ought to respond if they come out to them.  I present it here in its entirety:


I’ve found myself thinking about this very old essay by Andrew Wheeler on homosexuality and comics a bunch recently. Mainly about how grateful I am that he was writing about this stuff when I was just getting into comics (both as a reader and soon a writer). I’m enormously grateful for his perspective.  (via kierongillen)

Oh blummy. Always alarming to come on to Tumblr and see activity and think, “but I didn’t do anything yesterday”. What old thing just got dragged up, and is anyone going to yell at me?

And it turns out the old thing is almost 15 years old, which is shocking for all kinds of reasons – I’ve been windbagging on the internet for 15 years? More than 15 years? – but no-one seems to be yelling at me and actually it’s a nice thing. Kieron is a nice person. I’m very touched that he credits me with having any influence on him at all, because Kieron writes some of the best and most honest queer and progressive characters and stories in comics today, and I think that all comes from him. He believes in inclusion and diversity and individual expression, and that’s his nature.

I’m relieved to say I can stand by most of what I wrote 14 years ago. Some of it feels clumsy. I could have been a little easier on Warren Ellis. I shouldn’t have pounded the Boy George drum so heavily. In those days it was very easy to be dismissive or angry about the presentation of gay men as camp or fey or flamboyant because it was all we had, and it was genuinely damaging to be so constrained by stereotype.

But our acceptance of our gay identities must include camp and fey and flamboyant. We cannot push those aspects of ourselves away. My totality of self includes the capacity for both Boy George and Superman.

I’m also relieved to say that we’ve seen progress in the 14 years since I wrote this. At that time, Midnighter and Apollo had not been shown to be gay on the page. They were only Dumbledore-gay. There was no Kate Kane Batwoman. There were no gay X-Men. There was no Hulkling or Wiccan.

As I’ve written elsewhere, I still worry about how all of these things could go away in a blink, but I appreciate that a lot has changed in superhero comics because of creators like Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Warren Ellis, Bryan Hitch, Greg Rucka, JH Williams III, Michael Lark, Marjorie Liu, Allan Heinberg, Jim Cheung, Peter David, Brian K Vaughan, Nunzio DeFilippis, Christina Weir, Grant Morrison, Gail Simone, Peter Milligan.

(I’m surely forgetting a lot of people. Also, when you look at the pantheon of LGBT characters, it seems clear that Greg Rucka and Peter David should each be name-checked at least twice for their enduring commitment to representation.)

I’m grateful for how much has changed. But my point still stands. The correct response when someone comes out – whether it’s your friend, a fictional superhero, or Zachary Quinto – is not, “Who cares?” Insouciance doesn’t erase the pain. Glibness is not an antidote to hate.

You know what the antidote to hate is.

When someone comes out, they don’t need acceptance. They need love.

Coming Out-how a friend ought to respond

The Fabulous Art of: Jamie McKelvie

Iron Man by Jamie McKelvie


Iron Man by Jamie McKelvie

I like this design.  I have always had a soft spot for Tony’s  ‘Silver Centurion’ suit and this version calls to mind that old armor.


Art by Jamie McKelvie

(source: fuckyeahyoungavengers, via KieronGillen)


It took far longer than it should have, but Billy and Teddy finally kiss on panel.  I know there are people out there that freaked out upon seeing this.  I feel bad for them. This scene is important in comics.  Same sex couples and relationships have barely been portrayed in mainstream comics.  Too many people have thought them “icky”.   Too many people think that showing gay relationships or a same sex kiss is somehow “politically correct” or “shoving it down our throats”.  The thing is, these people don’t think twice when mixed sex couples are seen in bed together, hold hands or kiss.  This isn’t a big deal because of heteronormativity. People are so accustomed to heterosexuality being the default that they think anything different is wrong.  Sorry.  It’s not wrong. I’m not wrong.  Being gay is not wrong.  It is just another sexuality on a wide spectrum of sexualities.  It hasn’t been presented in comics in a realistic way for pretty much the entire history of mainstream American comic books.  Which sucks.  It sucks for those of us who are gay or lesbian.  We didn’t have characters who were like us to dream of being.  No characters that we could relate to on that level.  Diversity in comics is important for readers because not all readers are cisgendered, heterosexual, white males.  They’ve had decades-the better part of a century-having their tastes catered to.  There’s nothing wrong with that. I have plenty of friends who are cis-, hetero-, white males.  But they don’t make up the entire readership of comics.  They shouldn’t be the only ones who get to see themselves represented in comics.  That means that black, asian, and hispanic people (just a few examples) should get to see themselves represented in comics.  Women should get to see themselves represented in comics-by which I mean strong female characters, not sexually objectifying pin-up characters who exist merely to move the story along for men.  Gay and lesbian readers should get to see themselves represented in the same way that heterosexual readers long have.  But the ‘G’ and the ‘L’ in LGBT aren’t the only letters (duh).  Comics have a long way to go in representing the full breadth of readers-which also includes transmen and transwomen and bisexual people (thanks to Young Avengers again for having Prodigy come out as bisexual).  So to those people whining about seeing stuff you don’t like, well you still have the vast majority of mainstream American comic books to cater to you and you’ve had that for most of the last century.  You aren’t the only people out there who read comics, so stop being such selfish, blithering bigoted fools and accept that people who are not you actually exist and want to see themselves represented in comics.

In the last, oh, 24 hours or so, Jamie McKelvie has rocketed up my list of favorite artists.  I’ve been reading back through his blog and have been blown away.  His art is fantastic.  The level of detail he puts into his character and the background is astonishing.  He also has a wonderful ability to emote with his characters.  You can tell they feel something.  Added to that, he’s an progressive artist.  He’s a feminist. He speaks out about privilege.  He’s an ally of LGBTQI people. He speaks up about so many social issues, and that is important to me. It is awesome to see two of my passions-comics and social justice intersect.


The Fabulous Art of: Jamie McKelvie