Please visit mscomix.com for all new Ms.Comix posts. I do all my posting there now, but for some odd reason, I can't yet bring myself to delete my original Blogspot blog...
Monday, December 12, 2011
Please visit my new blog location to read all-new articles and reviews, including my recent post about why there should be more female leads in children's movies. GO HERE
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Ms.Comix is making the transition from Blogger to Wordpress. Very soon, I will only be updating the Wordpress blog, so be sure to sign up for Ms.Comix email notifications on the other site! Expect even more great content about women in comics, comic writing, and breaking into the comic industry.
Visit the new Ms.Comix here.
Visit the new Ms.Comix here.
Monday, October 24, 2011
Artist: Steve Bryant
Writer: Paul Daly
Color: Chad Fidler and Jason Millet with Kevin Volo
Publisher: Ape Entertainment
Athena Voltaire is Indian Jones meets Xena. This air racer-turned-actress-turned-businesswoman doesn’t let her feelings get in the way of shooting bad guys and throwing sticks of dynamite while flying an airplane. Not surprisingly, the plot and side characters are a little hokey, but I’m writing this review to tell you that you should read this comic anyway. Athena lives up to her namesake’s intelligence and fighting prowess. First and foremost, Athena’s personality (and, at least for me, the fact that she’s not wearing a leather suit) compels the reader, so much so, one’s willing to forget about a couple Pirates-of-the-Caribbean-esque skeletons and a Nazi on the hunt for a secret tribal relic with untold powers (reminding one immediately of the latest Captain America movie). She is surrounded by a motley crew of side characters, including a female Nazi major (who, it seems, has a personal vendetta against Voltaire), two burley cutthroats, a holy man, and a slew of other equally diverse friends and enemies.
The artwork is vivid in full color that adheres to no particular scheme. Bright, bold sound effects in varying fonts give the comic a superhero quality, which adds to the panel after panel of action scenes. The panels are simple, allowing the reader to focus on the artwork within them. The writer uses two types of captions: third person captions to inform the reader of place and time and captions used to denote speech “spillover.” This “spillover” occurs when dialog from a character continues into a panel in which he or she is not present. This caption technique is unique to comics and adds layers, through juxtaposition, to a scene. The creators of this comic also incorporate a scrapbook-style montage to tell Athena’s background story without wasting a ton of space. This background information was relevant in that it provides the reader with insight into Athena’s character, but since it does not directly move the plot, I’m glad it was not a space-sucking element.
Ultimately, Athena Voltaire is a very enjoyable read, especially if one is in need of a break from male dominated superhero comics but still desires some physics-defying action.
Rating: (see more information here about Ms.Comix’ rating system)
% Panels Devoted to Women
Too many to count. Let’s just say 98%
Women in Action
«««Women often participate in plot-moving action
The comics called Athena Voltaire after all.
Women as Leaders
«««Women often lead the other characters
Athena is in charge of them all.
Woman as Sex Objects
«««Women are depicted as sexy, but their allure does not define their purpose as prominent, plot-moving characters in the comic.
Yes, Athena is hot, but she does so much nonstop ass-kicking, it’s no surprise she’s in shape.
Men Deviating from Male Stereotypes
««Men sometimes deviate from male stereotypes of a logical mind, rationality, and lack of expression and empathy.
Most notably, the British archeologist at the beginning of the story has a hard time understanding how flippantly Athena shoots (and blows up) her enemies.
Something to ponder: How can modern writers tackle the challenge of setting a comic in a historical time period without marginalizing women (as so often occurred throughout most of history)?
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Read this article about Sara Varon's graphic novel "Bake Sale." It's a comic about a cupcake who owns a bakery and plays in a band with his best friend Eggplant. For kids and adults alike. Buy it here. Female comic writers represent!
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
The first of Ms. CEO's adventures in the dog-eat-dog world of business.
Ms. CEO and the Value Perceiver
Issue #1: Breaking the Glass Ceiling
written by Angie Spoto
Splash page with large long panel on top and small panels below. Title scrolled atop the first long panel.
PANEL 1: Ms. CEO, wearing a black pantsuit, sits at her desk. She has enticing, dark brown curls and a pale complexion, but the seriousness in her eyes and posture betray no vain interest in her sex appeal. Behind her, through the expansive wall of windows, we see Chicago skyscrapers. Clearly, we’re up high. A plaque on Ms. CEO’s desk reads, “Jenna Moorehead, CEO of Moorehead Holdings Inc.” The phone on the desk is ringing.
SOUND EFFECT: Brrring, bring
PANEL 2: Ms. CEO pushes a button on the phone.
MS. CEO: Yes?
SECRETARY (MALE): Ms. Moorehead, Sarah Spoto from merchandising is here to see you.
MS. CEO: Go ahead and let her in, David.
PANEL 3: David, a cute blond young man, well dressed, opens the door for Sarah Spoto, the Value Perceiver. In this panel we are viewing the scene from outside Ms. CEO’s office, which we only catch a glimpse of through the door.
DAVID: Go right in, Ms. Spoto.
VALUE PERCEIVER: Thank you.
PANEL 1: The VP closes the door behind her. She’s dressed casually and more colorfully than Ms. CEO. She wears black Capri pants and a purple silk button down with a tan and black Ferragamo silk scarf. Her shoes are classic Ferragamo black bow flats. She is shorter than Ms. CEO, with short brown hair and an olive complexion. She is lively and on-task.
MS. CEO: Please tell me you’re just here to report a decrease in employee productivity.
THE VP: I wish that were all. I’ve found ample evidence to suggest Ceiling’s got spies planted in our midst.
PANEL 2: Close up on Ms. CEO. Her eyebrows are knitted together. She’s standing powerfully and leaning into the desk with her fists balled up and planted on either side of her. Her hair looks just a little more unruly.
MS. CEO: I feared it’d come to this. We shouldn’t fire them, should we? They’re Moorehead employees after all, and it would be against company policy…
PANEL 3: Side view of the VP, standing with her arms crossed in front of Ms. CEO’s desk, and Ms. CEO staring at each other.
THE VP: It’s our duty to uphold company policy. But we can’t let this slide.
MS. CEO: Yes. We need to figure out what Ceiling is up to, and stop him before it’s too late. He’s notorious for cutting corners, and when he finds out our secret business model, he’s sure to take it for himself—
THE VP: and create a monster, a poorly run insincere company based on a stolen model. No! We’ve got to stop this.
PANEL 4: Close up on Ms. CEO.
MS. CEO: Looks like Jenna Moorehead and Sarah Spoto are taking work off early today.
PANEL 5: Close up on the VP. A strand of hair has fallen out of place and into her eyes.
THE VP: and Ms. CEO and the Value Perceiver are checking in early!
Each of the following panels are cut in half by a jagged line, representing Ms. CEO on the left and the VP on the right.
PANEL 1L: Close up on profile of Ms. CEO.
PANEL 1R: Close up on profile of the VP.
PANEL 2L: Close up on what looks like money woven together.
PANEL 2R: Close up on one of the VP’s shoes, which has grown razor-thin heel.
CAPTION 1: Show!
PANEL 3L: Close up on credit cards layered together in a rounded shape.
PANEL 3R: Close up on the Ferragamo scarf, which is now braided into a lasso.
CAPTION 1: Me!
PANEL 4L: Close up on part of Ms. CEO’s arm, which is bent at her elbow, suggesting hand on hip, and half of her torso. She is now wearing a tighter-fitting pant suit. It looks to be made of spandex.
PANEL 4R: Close up on the same part of the VP. Her silk top is also now spandex, as are her black pants.
CAPTION: 1: The!
PANEL 5 (long panel at the bottom): Ms. CEO in full attire: spandex pant suit, money cape, credit card shield, a head band with a dollar sign in the middle. She stands beside the VP: spandex suit, scarf lasso, kick ass heels. They both stand in front of the glass windows.
MS. CEO: Money!
PANEL 1: Ms. CEO is looking out at the street below. The VP stands beside her.
MS. CEO: Alright, Value Perceiver, what’s our strategy?
THE VP: I know which employees are Ceiling spies. We follow one, and he’ll lead us straight to Ceiling’s secret headquarters.
PANEL 2: Bird’s eye view of the street below.
PANEL 3: Zoom in to get a closer view of the street. We begin to make out the features of people and cars.
PANEL 4: Zoom in further onto a man walking down the sidewalk. He’s got red hair and wears a white button down with a blue tie.
PANEL 5: Ms. CEO and the VP are hiding in an ally, their backs pressed against the brick wall. The red-haired man walks passed.
PANEL 6: The red-haired man walks into a movie theater. Ms. CEO and the VP look at each other.
MS. CEO: This might be it.
THE VP: Or else he just wanted to catch a movie at his lunch break.
PANEL 7: View inside the theater of Ms. CEO and the VP stepping inside. The lobby is dim. A cardboard cutout of James Bond holding a gun casts an eerie shadow across the floor.
MS. CEO: He walked through that door.
THE VP: Ceiling’s got the upper ground. Let’s see if we can gain some ground ourselves.
PANEL 8: The VP places two fingers to her temple. Her eyes are narrowed, and she is frowning.
PANEL 1: This panel has squiggly edges. We see dull shapes of what looks like a man talking to another man behind a desk. The words are scrolled across the entire panel, so we cannot see much of the image behind.
DISEMBODIED VOICE 1: I’ve located the plans, Mr. Ceiling.
DISEMBODIED VOICE 2: Good, good. We shall enact them by tonight and announce our new business model to our stockholders by midnight.
PANEL 2: Close up on the VP, eyes wide.
PANEL 3: Ms. CEO is crouching behind the James Bond cutout with the VP. Ms. CEO has her arm around the VP’s shoulders.
MS. CEO: What did you find?
THE VP: Ceiling’s got our model!
PANEL 4: Ms. CEO is standing with her hands on her hips. The money sign on her headband glistens.
MS. CEO: We’ll show him how an efficient business is run!
PANEL 5: Mr. Glass Ceiling is sitting as his desk, smiling and with fingers steepled. He has a long face and closely cropped hair. He wears a suit with a red tie.
PANEL 6: View from inside Mr. Ceiling’s office. The door is breaking open, splintering. We see Ms. CEO’s shield breaking through the door.
PANEL 7: Mr. Ceiling is standing up behind his desk and holding a tube of papers that contain the plans. He looks taken aback. The red-haired man is standing off to the side. He especially looks startled and frightened.
PANEL 1: Ms. CEO and the Value Perceiver are standing in front of Mr. Ceiling’s desk. Ms. CEO is in her trademark hands on hips pose. The VP is swinging her lasso scarf above her head.
MS. CEO: Hand over the plans, Glass Ceiling, or things are gonna get messy!
PANEL 2: Mr. Ceiling has his arms crossed, and he’s smiling.
CEILING: You could have been a polite young lady and called to make an appointment. No need to burst through the door.
PANEL 3: Close up on the VP, her eyes are narrowed angrily.
THE VP: Don’t you dare disrespect us, Ceiling. You know very well what we’re capable of.
PANEL 4: The red-haired man pulls out a gun and aims it at Ms. CEO.
PANEL 5: The VP’s lasso wraps around the gun.
PANEL 6: The gun smashes into Ceiling’s desk with such power that the desk folds in the middle, sending splinters everywhere. Mr. Ceiling shields his eyes with an arm.
THE VP (off panel): The plans, Ceiling. Now!
PANEL 7: Ceiling looks down at his broken desk and smiles. The red haired man now holds the plans.
CEILING 1: ha ha ha
CEILING 2: You ladies sure are a bunch of fun. Now what makes you think I’d hand over the plans to you two?
PANEL 8: Close up on Ms. CEO. Her headband is glistening.
MS. CEO: Because we’re the only ones powerful enough to stand up to you. And those plans are ours!
PANEL 1: Close up on Ceiling, smirking. His eyes have darkened.
CEILING 1: I can’t entrust you with these plans. You just simply don’t have the innate strength…logic…intuition to enact them properly.
CEILING 2: You must see where I’m coming from.
PANEL 2: Ms. CEO and the VP are looking at each other, concerned. The VP’s lasso hangs loosely at her side. Ms. CEO’s shield is also hanging loosely.
THE VP: We don’t…
MS. CEO: Maybe he’s…
PANEL 3: Close up on Ms. CEO’s face. Her eyebrows are knitted together. She’s frowning.
MS. CEO: …right. We did see a decrease in productivity last quarter.
PANEL 4: Close up on Mr. Ceiling, his arms folded smugly across his chest.
CEILING: That’s right. Just leave the men’s work to the men.
PANEL 5: Close up again on Ms. CEO’s face.
MS. CEO: Yes, the men’s work…to the…
PANEL 6 (this panel has rounded edges, it’s a memory panel): A young Ms. CEO smiles while is handed a diploma.
PANEL 7 (rounded): A slightly older Ms. CEO shakes hands with a man in a suit.
MAN: Congratulations, Ms. Moorehead, the company is proud to have you.
PANEL 8 (rounded): David the secretary opens the door to Ms. CEO’s office and ushers her in.
DAVID: Welcome to your new office, chief!
PANEL 1: Ms. CEO’s eyes widen and she scowls fiercely.
MS. CEO: No! I’ve worked too hard to get here!
PANEL 2: Ms. CEO throws her credit card shield at Ceiling. Her curls are wild and her cape flows out behind her. We see the VP in the background. She looks like she’s nursing a headache.
PANEL 3: The shield slams into Ceiling’s stomach and sends him into the wall behind.
PANEL 4: The VP grabs the plans in the tube from the red-haired man who is attempting to make a break for it.
PANEL 5: MS. CEO stands over Ceiling, who is lying in the rubble of his desk.
MS. CEO: I almost believed you, Ceiling, but your sticky words are no threat to a strong woman like myself.
PANEL 6: Ms. CEO looks over her shoulder at the VP, who is holding the plans.
MS. CEO: Got the plans, Value Perceiver?
THE VP: They’re all ours now, Ms. CEO.
PANEL 7: Ms. CEO looks down at her watch.
MS. CEO: Good, we have just enough time to make the two o’ clock meeting.
PANEL 8: Ms. CEO steps through the broken door and looks over her shoulder at Ceiling.
MS. CEO: I hope you learned your lesson, Ceiling. Never mess with Ms. CEO!
PANEL 1: Ms. CEO is back in her office. She is bent over paperwork. It’s a normal day in the office. The phone on her desk in ringing.
SOUND EFFECT: Brrring, bring
PANEL 2: Ms. CEO pushes the button on the phone.
MS. CEO: Yes, David?
DAVID: Ms. Moorehead, Sarah Spoto is here to see you.
MS. CEO: Tell her to just walk right through that door.
PANEL 2: The VP walks through Ms. CEO’s office door. She’s looking grim.
PANEL 3: Pull out to view the entirety of Ms. CEO’s office from a semi-bird’s eye view.
MS. CEO: Please tell me this just another productivity issue.
THE VP: I’m sorry, I can’t do that.
PANEL 4: Close up of the VP, frowning.
PANEL 5: Close up of the VP smiling, and revealing a bottle of champagne that was hidden behind her back.
THE VP: No problems at all to report!
PANEL 6: MS. CEO stands up at her desk and smiles widely.
MS. CEO: Thank goodness.
PANEL 7: Ms. CEO and the VP toast.
THE VP: To breaking the Glass Ceiling.
MS. CEO: To shattering the Glass Ceiling!
PANEL 8: Close up on the phone ringing.
SOUND EFFECT: Brrring, bring
PANEL 9: Ms. CEO’s headband, which is partially sticking out of a desk drawer, glistens.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Read my reivew of Becky Cloonan's short comic "Wolves" at The Lit Pub. The Lit Pub combines the convience of Amazon.com with the personality of a quirky small bookstore.