Wonder Girl is Not Your Average Teen; Why Draw Her Like One?

I'm seeing a lot of complaints regarding artist Kenneth Rocafort's depiction of Wonder Girl in Teen Titans #1. How many teenage girls are these complainers exposed to on a daily basis I wonder?

I work a second job at one of the largest malls in the country and I see teenage girls walk by the store every day. Many will stop in to try out the products we sell. I would say 75-80% of them are dressed inappropriately for my tastes. It actually makes me uncomfortable when I have to interact with them because the lack of clothing is distracting. As a father of a 9 year old girl, its offensive that they're allowed to leave the house looking like that. 14-16 year old girls dressing as though they're allergic to fabric is deplorable and all bets are off once they're 17-19.

It's like they're trying too hard to be looked at. I understand the desire for fashion but come on parents, get involved! They're still children!

Rocafort's depiction of Wonder Girl having breasts hanging out of her top, isn't far from what I see on a daily basis. So I have to wonder, should he draw teenage girls the way society wants them to dress? Or the way they actually dress? Wonder Girl wears an outfit that is fairly standard issue in comic books, as a matter of fact I could argue she's more covered up than many women in comics.

Wonder Girl having 'porn star boobs', as it's referred to on many message boards, shouldn't be a problem either. The majority of young girls do not look like this, no, but Wonder Girl isn't a representation of the majority of young girls. She's Cassie Sandsmark. Wonder Girl. Exceptional, fictional character of the DC Universe.

She's not an average teen, so why should she be held to the standards of average teenage girls?

We aren't aware of where Wonder Girl falls in the 'teen' category. Is she 14? 16? 19? There's a tremendous difference in a girl's body type in such a short 5 year span and without knowing it's hard to validate an argument. That being said, there are teenage girls who have larger than normal breasts. They do exist and reduction surgery is a very real thing for many of them. People want all body types represented in comic books...as long as those body types aren't offensive.

One last thought...

There's an argument out there to support and attack everything in comic books. People are entitled to their opinion. But to criticize an industry professional whose designs made it past editorial isn't fair. Direct your complaints to the editor of the book. Ask why they feel this choice is okay.

It's time to hold the editor's accountable.

There's precedent (a justifiably rare one) to the way Wonder Girl looks and while people may not like it, it's real. Social media has allowed the heat to be taken off the people responsible for approving these decisions. No longer are people compelled to write letters to editor's holding them accountable. They just shout loudly in a crowded room, and then wonder why the problem continues.

Write your complaint in an email and send it to the publisher. Leaving vitriolic comments, shouting on twitter and trolling message boards is a waste of your time and energy. Not buying the book is the first step towards change, putting your well thought out concerns in front of decision makers is the second.

Batgirl's New Direction Gives Supergirl New Hope

Batgirl's new costume #selfie
Image Courtesy of MTV News
In case you've been hiding under a rock, it was announced by MTV News, that in October, Batgirl will be getting a re-design and new creative team. This is also perfect timing as it coincides with the upcoming #Selfie variants, so she can show off her new digs (do people still say that?). With hopes of making her more 'fun' and leaving the 'dark stuff' to the rest of the Bat-family, the book will target younger female readers.

I'm here to offer the Supergirl angle.

Given that I don't read any of the 'Bat-titles', save for anything with Tim Drake in it, I'm more of a 'Super-family' guy. If the move by DC is successful, it will give me hope that Supergirl will eventually break out of her angry streak and become likable once again.

Since her debut in the New 52, she has done nothing but punch things, be angry and punch more things. Lately, she has donned a Red Lantern ring that allows her rage to fuel a more powerful engine. She did, however, do a lot of smiling recently when trying to help out her cousin in a recent chapter of the Superman: Doomed story.

Could embracing the rage eventually bring back the Kara we all know and love?

Anyone who knew the pre-Flashpoint Kara, knows that she was kind, slightly naive and loving. Kal-El, who we know as Superman, was charged to her care. Unfortunately he was raised into an adult while she remained in stasis until Batman discovered her pod. Not fully understanding the new world she lived in, she spent time learning with Ma Kent and her adult cousin.

The New 52 has killed off Ma Kent already and had Kara being attacked by someone new at every turn.

So when her time with the Red Lantern's is through, it makes for a perfect opportunity to have Supergirl experience change. If there's any character who could use a refreshing start, it's Supergirl. Hopefully if the new creative direction on Batgirl is a hit, those of us with daughter's who are fans of Superman can share a fun-loving 'Super-book' with them.

Her costume is in desperate need of a re-design as well...
Like the cape. Hate the red crotch and
the over-the-knee boot-straps.

Rick (Remender) Shouldn't get Rolled

In the latest issue of Captain America (#22), we're given a scene that depicts Falcon getting out of bed, with Jet (a girl whom Cap bonded with and saved during his time in Dimension Z), feeling as though he was drugged.

It set off a twitter hashtag: #FireRickRemender

Given that I have a 12 year old son who reads this comic book, as a father and someone who never jumps to conclusions, I should weigh in on this issue.

We're led to believe something happened based on the information given. It's called a misdirection and happens all the time in works of fiction. Heck, even in non-fiction a story can be told while withholding information to keep an audience guessing. Having things happen that are open to interpretation, even if evidence leans one way more than another, is good story-telling.

The beauty of a comic book is how panels are interpreted based on what's shown. The joy of reading is heightened by the fact that we aren't always privy to each detail of the story. Things are left out only to be revealed at a later date.

Unless we actually see them having sex or they admit to it happening, we don't know what occurred off-panel. It's all assumption on the part of the reader. And just like a character's death, if it happens off-panel it can be ret-conned as easily as turning a page.

Upon waking up, each panel depicts Sam and Jet wearing undergarments. A far cry from implied acts of sex in other mediums. On television, girls suddenly become shy and hold bed sheets in front of themselves to give the viewer the impression that she's nude. Or the camera just avoids showing that part of the body because the person isn't dressed.

Even if sex DID occur between Sam and Jet, and for some reason they decided to throw on their skivvies afterwards, they're adults living in an adult world. They'll have to work through it, developing character along the way.

Now the issue of consent comes up because they were drinking. But that's all debunked if we don't know anything actually happened or not. When Jet wakes up sober, we can easily assume that if sex occurred, she was capable of providing consent without influence. But was Sam? This would turn the whole rape thing on it's head if he turned out to be the victim. How's that for a twist! Or we could just be in for a mis-direction, as mentioned above. If Jet likes him, but he doesn't reciprocate those feelings, she could just lie to him and make him believe they had sex, in hopes that it would allow him to be more open to the idea.

It's all in the writing and Remender is doing a great job providing story beats that are open to interpretation.

In comparison, Tony Stark gets drunk and has sex with young women all the time and he doesn't catch shit for it. And neither does the person writing him for that matter. We accept it as part of who he is and laugh it off. Heck some readers even cheer him on or get upset at the idea that he would commit himself to one woman.

Being an alcoholic womanizer has endeared him to fans, men and women alike, for years.

People are overly sensitive about this issue because it involves a black man, a young white girl and a bottle of alcohol. There are people on the internet that go fishing for reasons to complain. This sort of thing may be shocking to some and offensive to others. But to a more reserved, level-headed type of fan, it's just part of the story.

So let's not get carried away by what happens in a work of fiction, no matter how offensive it may be. If people think a writer such as Rick Remender should be fired for addressing adult themes, then George R.R. Martin shouldn't be allowed to write another word.

Chin up, Chest out! Superman is Back!

USA Today has released an interview with Zack Snyder, accompanied by the first image released of Henry Cavill donning the new Superman suit. Snyder said before there would be some tweaks and I quite like them.
Heroic Superman is Heroic!
While the image may be dark and gloomy, appearing as though the Man of Steel has stopped in to visit Gotham City, Superman does not look sad. Quite the contrary! With his chin up and his chest out, Superman looks to be quite confident (and serious) in this image. A confident hero is the hero we all know and love.

Inspection of the suit reveals that the belt buckle is squared off and zooming in you'll notice an 'S' is engraved onto it. The gold trim is brighter, thicker and engraved as well. The 'bracers' on his forearms come up higher and closer to his elbow than the previous one. The lines that rise up from his hips along his ribs are more detailed and separated than before. The iconic 'S' shield doesn't appear to have changed one bit.

Overall Henry Cavill looks amazing, yet again, as his workout regimen hasn't slacked off one bit based on the image here. As a matter of fact, I'm inclined to believe he may be slightly bigger than before.

Now to ask the question on everyone's minds today...where is our Wonder Woman image?

Meredith Finch Writing Wonder Woman Is Not What You Think It Is

Released in 1995 featuring
ass kicking and
"Assumption is the MOTHER of all fuck-ups!"

This is a line from one of my favorite Steven Seagal movies, "Under Siege 2: Dark Territory", and I feel as though criticism from many comic book fans falls into the context of this quote.

Recently, in USA Today, it was announced that the husband and wife creative team of David and Meredith Finch would be taking over Wonder Woman with issue #36 in November. David Finch is a well-known artist in the industry and met with much criticism and acclaim for his portrayals of women in comics.

Simply put, he draws beautiful women in complicated and unrealistic poses. Good thing the characters he draws aren't real.

His wife, Meredith Finch is an unknown commodity in the comic books industry. Having co-written (script) a "Tales from Oz: Cowardly Lion" book for indy company Zenescope, she somehow landed the job of writing the most powerful and well known female in comic books: Wonder Woman.

Angered that this is a move inspired by nepotism, fans are outraged that this move by DC is as shallow as a puddle in the Sahara. The outward appearance is that DC is pandering to female fans by scooping up a female writer to pen Wonder Woman. Compounded by the fact that she's the wife of the title's new artist and the outrage intensifies.

If working in the industry was as easy as sleeping with someone in the industry, then I (along with many others) need to adjust our strategy. Instead of putting together solid pitches with deep emotional story beats that contain moments of levity, we should all be looking for hook-ups.

People shouldn't assume that DC's hiring process consists of two-steps:
1) Are you female?
2) Who are you married to?

Here's my theory on what likely happened:

It's no secret that it helps to know someone in the business when trying to break in. It happens in Hollywood all the time. Even in the music industry. It's called Networking (the overly jealous call it 'knowing someone') and it's a real-world thing* anywhere you go. If you know someone, who knows someone, you ask them to put in a good word for you. Has anyone ever applied for a job somewhere that a friend or relative works? Same thing. But it's still up to you to sell yourself to that employer. If you don't have a good interview, you won't get called back. If your resume is a jumbled mess, it goes in the shredder and you're forgotten about.

Experience also helps. But wait! All she's done is co-write a script for one book! Well, Zenescope is an indy company known for it's strong women and while the artwork features scantily clad female leads to attract a certain kind of reader, the fact remains the women represented in their books are powerful and independent. Sounds like another character we know? She has several other stories yet to be released by the publisher as well. Maybe she wrote those on her own, who knows? The fact remains that, before DC, there was another company who had enough faith in her skills as a writer to give her, her first break.

Nobody gets a job because they know someone. They get an audience. David, being an employee of DC, may have told his wife that he was approached to be the new artist on Wonder Woman but they don't have a writer yet. With a bug in her ear and a lightbulb above her head, she starts working on her pitch. Once it's completed, she asks her husband if he can get her in contact with someone at DC.

Wonder Woman as penciled by
Meredith Finch's husband, David.
The pitch has to be good when she presents it though. She can't show up with a half-assed proposal and land the job because of her husband. DC is all about sales. Money. The all-mighty dollar. They aren't going to hand the reigns of the industry's most popular female character to someone who doesn't have a clue. No, they are going to give it to the person who makes the best pitch, has the right vision and direction to take a character to new heights in order to draw in max readers.

In short, she knew someone, who knew someone, and she delivered a pitch that DC couldn't refuse.

On the surface it may look bad, but just like comic books, you can't make assumptions about the story based off what you see on the cover. It's often quite misleading. If you still aren't convinced, Bleeding Cool has a nice piece that breaks down what we can expect from a Meredith Finch written Wonder Woman.

All that being said, keep in mind there are 2 guarantees in comic books:
1) Creative teams change
2) Fans will rage

*Note: I do not claim to know all the things

Father's Day and the Albany Comic-Con

This past weekend, for Father's Day, I took the kids with me to the Albany Comic-Con. I had never been to a comic book convention before although I've heard many stories of cosplay, commissions, rare finds and meeting great people. When I set my New Year Resolutions for 2014, attending a convention was on the list.

I'm happy to say I experienced all of these things.

Coming from Syracuse, NY the drive is a little over 2 hours to Albany but it was an easy one. We hopped on I-90 and it was a straight shot. When we got off the thruway, the off ramp looped around and we took a right onto Wolf Road. The comic-con was right there on the left hand side. So the fact that it was super easy to get to and find, made the experience a good one from the start.

When I arrived at the Holiday Inn, the parking was insane. The lots were all but full and it was like playing Mario Kart to find a space. The whole time I was locked in on finding a space, the kids were in their seats shouting:

"Look there's Ash!"
"She looks like a fairy daddy!"
"Oh my GOD...it's Boba Fett!"

Needless to say, cosplay was in full effect. But I'll touch on that later.

After we parked, we walked in and purchased our tickets. The kids (12 and under) were free with the purchase of an adult ticket. Since my oldest is 16, the two younger ones got in free. $20 for the 4 of us, which was really nice.

Upon entering the con floor, it felt like chaos at first, but the feeling subsided as we walked around and got a feel for the layout. There was a PA announcer right up front and exhibitors taking up every bit of space that wasn't set aside for traffic. The convention didn't end until 4 and since we got there early on, we had time to wander before engaging.

As we explored, we saw comic book writer, Ron Marz, who I was determined to talk to. While he's probably most known for his work on the Top Cow series "Witchblade", I know him best for his work on the series "Scion", by a little known and quickly bankrupted Cross-Gen comics. At the time "Scion" came out, it was easily one of my favorite comic books. The character's and world were so fantastical, I still haven't seen anything to match it's magic and imagination.

Unfortunately every time I walked by his table, his seat was vacant so I never got the chance to speak with him.

As the kids and I continued to make our way around the con floor, we saw so many amazing cosplayer's. This, I feel was a real treat. I follow cosplayer's on Twitter and Facebook and I love looking at pictures of the amazing costumes from other conventions. I was looking forward to seeing what Albany had to offer and the patrons did not disappoint. There were Ghostbuster's, Deadpool, Jubilee, X-23, Blink, Lady Thor, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Man, Cable and of course several Joker's accompanied by equal number of Harley Quinn's. It was a lot of fun to see.

I did NOT get my picture taken with any of them, although I wanted to. I've seen enough complaints of harassment and anger by cosplayers online by those who approach them for pictures, that I was too afraid to entertain the thought.

There was a face painting booth, which allowed my daughter to get a Wonder Woman tiara and bracelets painted on her. It seems like any time I go to a fair or carnival if there's a lady with paint and a smock, my daughter needs to spend my money there. Thankfully, they usually aren't too expensive and if it gets done early enough she wears it the entire day, enhancing the value of paying for something that's getting washed off later.

I purchased my first piece of commission art by Indy artist Nikkol Jelenic ("A Taste for Killing") of Acid I Comics. She's a very talented artist who drew a picture of Superman and Wonder Woman looking into each other's eyes for me. While she drew, she was gracious enough to give my youngest son a live tutorial on her process. He's an aspiring artist and I can't express enough how much it affected him in a positive way.

He's practiced every day since the convention, which is a big deal because he has very little routine to his daily activities (in spite of our efforts).

There were several guest panels going on, and while I would've like to attend one or two...I wasn't about to drag my two younger kids into them. My oldest son did attend an anime panel on his own though. He wasn't too impressed as the speaker had trouble speaking. He said that when it was opened up to questions, nobody seemed like they wanted to ask anything because of how uncomfortable the lone panelist seemed. It lasted a half an hour and he didn't get much out of it.

I promised to take him to an anime convention someday in hopes of getting a much better panel.

Overall I had an amazing time out with the kids. Given the fact that it was also Father's Day, I couldn't have asked for a better experience. I was out spending time with my children at a comic book convention.
Surrounded by the kids I love and by things that I love.

It was a wonderful experience and I look forward to doing it again.

Star Wars goes Back to the Future (set pics revealed)!

When J.J. Abrams offered fans the chance to be a part of the Star Wars experience, through donations to UNICEF, we were introduced to a new creature...

And there was ZERO CGI involved!

Great Henson's Ghost!! Amazing this is!!

I LOVE that Abrams is going back to Star Wars roots by reducing the amount of CGI used and using more traditional methods when it comes to the creatures of this galaxy far, far away.

While the special effects for the prequels were amazing, the films seemed to lack a certain amount nostalgia. Regardless of how bad the story may have been, the unadulterated use of CGI created a disconnect.

It just wasn't the same. The prequels weren't as good as the originals...regardless of how rudimentary the special effects seem now, back then they were revolutionary. There was something magical about the models, puppets and costumes.

Well, today, TMZ has released set photos they've acquired that show us the second NON-CGI creature which, according to them, is controlled by 5 men in the belly of the beast.

Does this make you MORE or LESS excited about the film?