Preview II: Girls Girls Girls

Both Emma Frost and Kitty Pryde were introduced in X-Men #129 in 1980. In the 1990’s, Emma was developed into a “hero.” In 2004, 24 years after they met, Emma and Kitty found themselves on the same team.

(I hope this is not too small. I loaned my TPBs, Trade Paperbacks, out of a friend never to be seen again and it was either wait until tonight when I can fish this issue out of the longboxes or pull it from online.)

Astonishing X-Men #2, by Joss Whedon.

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11 thoughts on “Preview II: Girls Girls Girls

    • Oh Sandman is (arguably in some circles but not mine ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), the greatest comic book that has ever been. Everything Gaiman did conceptually with that book made it the most creative, thought provoking, fun, dark, well-read comic book ever written. And there is some really interesting and good literary work in the independent companies/imprints these days which allows artists and writers to really stretch their creative muscles.

      But superhero comic books have grown too. Yeah, there is still a lot of zap-pow-boom with people in colorful costumes, but now they have well-developed, human characters and relationships, more sophisticated topics and conflicts, more commentary and connection to the real world. Honestly, comics have grown so much, that they had to create a separate “imprints” (and entire separate line of comics) for kids. The mainstream titles really are not for them anymore.

      And while some of the writing has been bad (and when you are trading writer around comic book titles, some of it is bad), some of it has been really amazing. I will touch on Gail Simone, who is amazing and you would love her stuff, in the posts I am working on about female characters in comics. You have a sample of Joss Whedon’s run on the X-Men here.

      Probably the greatest thing that has come out of Marvel since 2000 was Magneto: Testament. Magneto has been around since 1964. Claremont gave him the Holocaust back-story in 1981 (I think). From there we got bits and pieces, brief recollections, Magneto talking about parts of it rather than getting the entire story laid out for us. In 2008 we finally got the story, which is absolutely nothing like the films. It is not a superhero story, for in the comics Magneto did not discover his power until well after WWII (and you can imagine what a survivor’s guilt mind-fuck that was). It is a brutal story of a young man trying to survive the rise of Nazism and the Holocaust. The writer, Greg Pak worked with researchers in the Simon Wiesenthal Center to get it historically accurate while deftly and often subtly weaving in the elements of Magneto past that we already knew. It was brilliant and not for kids by any stretch of the imagination.

      Though teachers did request and got a study guide attached to the TPB to use in the classrooms. It was that good.

      So there is some really great stuff in comic books these days.

      • OK, I go and have a wee look at Magneto, comics and film…
        I think the reason G of G works so well is that it does have the ‘zap-pow-boom’ vibe. Something about it snapped all the time, though I do have a problem with Peter Serafinowicz (Denarian Saal) something about the man creeps me out, well that and the precisely enunciated phrase ‘A-hole’.

      • Oh, by all means. Comic books should be fun, which is why the Marvel films are so successful vs. the Batman and Superman franchises. But they don’t have to be. There is room for telling many types of stories.

        Serafinowicz was kind of oddly placed, but I think that was to give the Nova Corp some gravitas so the audience would take them seriously.

        Magneto is an interesting in that writers either love him or hate him, so his characterization has been all over the place over the last 50 years. Claremont loved him and gave him a rich characterization, shade of complex morality, and even had him join the X-men for a brief period of time. Grant Morrison hated him and wrote him as a genocidal maniac (so badly so that I have never seen a comic book company retcon a storyline so fast). In the right hands he is a fascinating character and his relationship with Charles can be one of the most entertaining “frenemies” relationships in comic books. And as people have commented about Magneto’s view of humanity and how it deals with minorities, “Well, he’s not wrong.” Which is why I think he remains such a powerful and relevant character. He’s not wrong. But Magneto: Testament is a five issue miniseries that covered the story of his life during the Holocaust, from the Nuremberg Laws to escaping Auschwitz during the Prisoner Revolt in October of 1944. The art threw some people, but I think the artist was going for a “German Expressionism feel” and in the end the I felt the jagged images worked with the story. It’s published now in Trade Paperback form (which is a collection of the individual issues), so it’s pretty easy to find.

      • Another graphic novel outside the the superhero comic book genre is Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughn. It is beautiful, beautifully written and will make you want to stick your head in an oven. I bought a copy of it…and I have yet to read it again. But I think everyone should read it. He also wrote Y: The Last Man which was incredibly well-received. I have not read it myself tho’.

        I have been reading Bill Willingham’s Fables from the get go and that is a fun book. All the TV shows about fairy tale characters coming into the “real world” swiped the concept from his comic book, and he did it *SO* much better. I think you would really like that one. Especially how the female characters are handled.

      • Lol, you should see my reading list!
        Good thing I enjoy it so much.
        I do mourn the loss of the illustrated novel, think what some of these artists could do with novels now.

      • Caty licks the head of her pencil, and sighs…
        When I was introduced to Banksy ( no, I didn’t actually meet him!) 7 or 8 years ago, it forced me to think about public art, not just the weird stuff local councils put up, then moan about the cost of, but real art for the people. This is what these illustrations are, it’s the Bible stories on the church walls, not just pretty pictures, or tales of daring do, but morality plays, good and evil constantly at war. The fight for the souls of humankind.
        Mmmm, has Caty’s brain just exploded?

      • I think you are right. Even superhero comics have become reflections of the morally ambigous world we live in, and people, adults, read them to see the characters fight through that to do the right things.

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