Tag Archives: adrian alphona

Announcing the Finalists for the First Ever Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity

long beach comic expoThe finalists for the first ever Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity Award were announced today. The five nominated titles are:

  • HEX11 by  Lisa K. Weber and Kelly Sue Milano (HexComics)
  • M.F.K. by Nilah Magruder (http://www.mfkcomic.com/)
  • Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona (Marvel Entertainment)
  • The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew (First Second Books)
  • Shaft by David F. Walker and Bilquis Evely (Dynamite Entertainment)

The winner will be announced at the first ever Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity ceremony event to be held later this month at Long Beach Comic Expo on Saturday February 28 at 2 PM PT. The Award is named in honor of Dwayne McDuffie, the legendary writer and producer who co-founded and created Milestone Media.

The Dwayne McDuffie Award Selection Committee consists of eight prominent comics and animation professionals who knew McDuffie and have demonstrated a commitment to inclusiveness:

  • Neo Edmund – Novelist, animation and comics writer;
  • Joan Hilty – Nickelodeon Comics Editor; Creator of Bitter Girl;
  • Joseph Illidge – Former Editor, Milestone and DC Comics; Columnist, Comic Book Resources; Writer, First Second Books;
  • Heidi MacDonald – Editor in Chief, The Beat;
  • Glen Murakami – Producer/Supervising Director, DC animated properties and Ben 10: Alien Force/Ultimate Alien;
  • Eugene Son – Comics writer/Story Editor, Ultimate Spider-Man Animated;
  • William J. Watkins – Writer; Former owner, Chicago’s first Black-owned comics store;
  • Len Wein – Co-creator Swamp Thing, Wolverine, New X-Men; Former Editor-in-Chief- of Marvel Comics and Senior Editor, DC Comics.

Reginald Hudlin, an innovator of the modern black film movement, will be the Keynote Speaker at the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity Award ceremony later this month.

Preview: The Legend Continues in Your First Look at Ms. Marvel #2!

This March, the runaway hit of All-New Marvel NOW! continues with another exciting chapter! Marvel has released a first look at Ms. Marvel #2 – from the creative team of G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona! Kamala Khan very ordinary life has just gotten extraordinary! Imbued with strange and immense new powers, Kamala begins her journey to become a true hero. But such a path is not without its pitfalls. Is she ready to wield these extraordinary new gifts? Or will the weight of the Ms. Marvel legacy be too much for her to handle?

Don’t miss another groundbreaking issue of the series people are calling “remarkable”, “amazing”, and “wholly original”! Kamala Khan has the whole world talking – and you won’t want to miss out when both Ms. Marvel #2 and the second printing of Ms. Marvel #1 when they hit comic shops this March!

MS. MARVEL #2 (JAN140697)m
FOC – 2/24/14, On-Sale 03/19/14


Review: Ms. Marvel #1

Ms_Marvel_1_CoverOne of the most anticipated comics debuted this week with much coverage in the mainstream news. I had worried that folks who might not normally pick up a comic would read the various stories and decide to give Ms. Marvel #1 a chance and be disappointed. Lets face it, the comic and character within is a blank slate. We don’t know much about Kamala Khan or what we can expect in her adventures. I can say though, the issue blew me away mixing fantastic writing with fantastic art.

When Kamala Khan acquires incredible new abilities from the Inhuman Terrigen Mists, an extraordinary hero is born! But not even superpowers can prepare her for the pressures and pitfalls of being 16-years-old. What we have here is more than just a story about a young superhero, we have so far a well rounded story that mixes powers with a real person.

Khan might take up the moniker of Ms. Marvel, but she’s a teen from Jersey who also happens to live in a Muslim family. She, like any real teen, wants to fit in. This isn’t a story of a superhero as an outsider trying to find their place in society, this is about a teen girl doing that.

That down to Earth storytelling is brought to us by the talented G. Willow Wilson who infuses the first issue with dialogue and interaction that seems real and most likely Wilson has experienced in her life. The only complaint on me is that Wilson uses such realistic names and language that at times I got things mixed up or didn’t know who was being referred to. I’m unfamiliar with Khan’s world… and that’s a good thing!

Wilson is backed up by the talented art of Adrian Alphona. There’s something about the art that just pops for me. I’m not sure what it is, but I really dig it. The line work, coloring, inking, it all is just cool. It fits the youthful attitude of it’s main character.

I expect anyone who checked out this first issue, and this is their first comic, were impressed. This team has put together a fresh character, fresh voice, fresh outlook. This is diversity in characters at its best. You might actually have an heir to the voice that was the beloved Young Avengers. Marvel has given us a character for a new diverse generation of comic readers and fans. Here’s hoping they embrace Kamala, because this issue shows they should give her a chance.

Story: G. Willow Wilson Art: Adrian Alphona
Story: 9.5 Art: 9 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Preview: An All-New Legend Takes Flight in Ms. Marvel #1!

The international sensation is finally here! Marvel is pleased to present your first look at Ms. Marvel #1, the soon-to-be runaway hit from G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona! You’ve seen her in headlines around the world—now, prepare to experience the brand-new Ms. Marvel as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm. When Kamala Khan acquires incredible new abilities from the Inhuman Terrigen Mists, an extraordinary hero is born! But not even superpowers can prepare her for the pressures and pitfalls of being 16-years-old. Don’t miss Kamala’s first groundbreaking adventure as a timeless legend is reborn this February in Ms. Marvel #1!

MS. MARVEL #1 (DEC130623)
32 PGS./Rated T+…$2.99
FOC 1/13/14, On-Sale 2/5/14


It All Starts Here – Your First Look at All-New Marvel NOW! Point One!

The most popular characters. The most acclaimed creators. The most ambitious stories. This is the recharged All-New Marvel NOW!

And it’s starting right NOW! Marvel has released a very first look at All-New Marvel NOW! Point One – your one-stop jumping on point into the world of All-New Marvel NOW!

Featuring a star-studded creative cast, All-New Marvel NOW! Point One features exciting new lead-in stories for Loki: Agent of Asgard, Silver Surfer, Black Widow, Ms. Marvel, All-New Invaders and Avengers World!

Join some of the industry’s top talent this January as they take the Marvel Universe in a brand new direction – starting with brand new stories providing a clean entry point for six of the hottest new series of 2014!

Variant Cover by STEVE MCNIVEN
FOC – 12/09/2014, On-Sale – 01/08/2014


New Ms. Marvel Announced—What Does It Mean?


I haven’t written in awhile, secluded as I have been in an ivory tower composed entirely of grad school reading lists and stacks of assignments I need to grade, held sturdy by a growing number of empty coffee tins piling up near the recycling. But the new Ms. Marvel announcement has brought me out of hiding—there’s just so much to be said!

The New York Times book section announced in a charmingly titled article (“Might, Muslim and Leaping Off the Page: Marvel Comics Introducing a Muslim Girl Superhero”) that, coming this February, Marvel will be bringing us a superhero who is not a white man, but is in fact the lovely new character Kamala Khan, a Pakistani Muslim American teenager from Jersey. This announcement comes after Marvel’s October teaser poster that simply had the word “Ms.” with a faded number “1” in the background, and which some suspected would turn out to be a new series for Jean Grey, whose first codename was Marvel Girl.

The new Ms. Marvel series, which will debut in February, is to be written by G. Willow Wilson, a fantastic sci-fi/fantasy author and comic book writer, as well as an ardent and well-spoken critic of Nerd media. Ms. Marvel is the brainchild of Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker, Marvel editors who work largely of Spidey books, but also dabble in Guardians of the GalaxyCaptain Marvel, and Hawkeye, to name a few. Joining Willow Wilson is artist Adrian Alphona, who co-created Runaways with Brian K. Vaughn, and whose art is engagingly beyond the frustratingly redundant, uninnovative style of so many mainstream books.

So what does this mean? That’s the big question, and the same question people were asking when Marvel announced that Ultimate Spidey would be a black Puerto Rican kid and when Batgirl introduced an openly trans* character this past year. The growing “diversity” (and, yes, I do mean the quotes, because that’s really the idea being interrogated here) of comic book characters’ identities, while miniscule, has two general meanings.


Primarily, the growing diversity of characters who aren’t white male heterosexuals signals a response to audience desires. Anyone with a tumblr account knows that there is a huge community of non-white and/or non-male and/or non-heterosexual comic book fans whose lives are just as devoted to Barda and Superman and the Avengers as the stock fanboy (yeah, I’m glaring at you, Big Bang Theory). Creators and executives at major comic book companies are not only trying to do good by their audiences, but also by their creators, who are becoming increasingly demographically diverse as well. This does not, however, signal a major shift in the industry, but is certainly part of a slightly growing trend at the Big Two.

The second meaning I read into the growing “diversity” might piss some people off. To be candid, I think economics motivates the creation of “diverse” characters. In a world where a black man is U.S. president and some women hold public office, the populace lives under the illusion that our society is a post-racial one devoid of gender disparities. This ideology ignores the persistent and growing inequalities of gender, race, class, religion, age, (dis)Ability, and ethnic/national identity.

I do not mean to accuse individual creators, like Geoff Johns or Gail Simone, of capitalizing or intending to capitalize on diversity, but I certainly accuse the industry as a whole for utilizing diversity as an advertisement strategy. Think, for example, what it means that the New York Times broke the news, which spread to a dozen other major media sites over the course of the day, and trickled its way into the usual comic book journalism sites like ours. Major announcements like this come from reputable news sources more often, but the racialized aspect of this announcement certainly calls for analysis.

What’s more, the announcement of a female teenage Pakistani Muslim character came at a surprising time for me. As of writing this, I had just finished up an article for Reading with Pictures about racism, critical reading, and Green Lantern #0, which featured the first major Arab Muslim American superhero, Simon Baz, as the new Green Lantern. That comic has disturbed me since I first read it, albeit a bit belatedly, this summer. It originally debuted on Sep. 5, 2012, just six days before the 11th anniversary of 9/11/2001. What struck as odd about that comic—and in fact what bothers me deeply about comics with “diverse” characters—is the overbearing reliance on the white lens to tell stories of diversity.


What’s disturbing about Green Lantern #0 is not that it introduces the first Arab Muslim American as the Green Lantern (hello, big huge deal! This guy’s been around since the ’40s and has been one of DC’s biggest heroes ever since!), but that the story forced the issue of terrorism, public bombings, and Guantanamo Bay into the plot. This is based, of course, in truth, as many Arab and Muslim American could testify; Geoff Johns, the writer, is himself a Lebanese American who grew up in Detroit.

To be sure, Arab and Muslim Americans became a homogeneous identity for many Americans in the wake of 9/11, and governmental policies stripped them of constitutional rights for the sake of “national security.” This plays out in Green Lantern #0, allowing for a simple reading: “this comic represents negative effects of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim stereotypes, while creating a hero from the ashes of prejudice.” All good, right?

Sure. Wait…no! My problem lies in the fact that the audiences of comics—and of the large amount of novels, TV shows, and films published or made post-9/11 which featured Arab and Muslim characters—rely solely on the iconography of Arabmuslim-Muslimarab who is indelibly caught up in issues of terrorism, whether as an inaccurate accusation or actually as a terrorist.

Diversity, however, requires recognizes the plurality of lived experiences. Rather than typifying every character of Arab of Muslim background by a stock story interrelated to what (largely) white audiences imagine to be the homogeneous, singular lived reality of Arab and Muslim Americans, diversity requires drawing on experiences that break the status quo beyond simply being able to claim a Muslim superhero.

I don’t mean to say that Simon Baz as Green Lantern is a bad character, nor do I mean to suggest that there is no meaningful lesson to be learned from his story. Instead, I am suggesting that, while we can read Green Lantern #0—and any story of a “diverse” character—as a story that tells us something about the structural racism and violence enacted by individuals and governments against groups of people, we can also read the ideological lens that shaped the narrative’s creation. We have to look at both our society and the comic narratives to understand why certain “diverse” characters are being created and think beyond the wow-that’s-awesomes to question their social significance.

These questions have shaped my response to the Ms. Marvel announcement. I am thrilled, of course, because G. WIllow Wilson is a phenomenal author and Adrian Alphona a sensitive and wholly enjoyable artist. Kelly Sue DeConnick has done fantastic work with Captain Marvel, and in general Marvel has blown me out of the water of late with its publications, like Daredevil and Battle of the Atom (the event as a whole), which place emphasis on the emotionality of lived experiences, paired with lively, viscerally, at times painstakingly beautiful art.

I do believe that February 2014’s Ms. Marvel has the potential to deliver an artistic experience that will defy the consumer-driven “diversity” of so many similar publishing decisions. I guess we’ll see.


Preview – Mind The Gap #5

Mind the Gap #5

Story by: Jim McCann Art By: Rodin Esquejo & Adrian Alphona Cover By: Rodin Esquejo Variant Cover by: Jo Chen
Price: $2.99

An arrest made! A secret past revealed! Life-altering events set in motion! And a HOLY $%!! last page that will leave you breathless as the first arc ends and the stage set for the next chapter.

For this mind bending, jaw dropping tale, series artist RODIN ESQUEJO is joined by very special guests – the Runaways art team, including a cover from JO CHEN! (Admit it, your jaw just dropped a little more, right?) The red-hot new series reaches scorching temperatures as it continues to sell out. You DO NOT want to miss this issue!

Preview – Your First Look At Ozma Of Oz #1!

Official Press Release

Your First Look At OZMA OF OZ #1!

Marvel is pleased to present your first look at Ozma of Oz #1, from the New York Times best-selling team of Eric Shanower and Skottie Young with stunning variant covers by Adrian Alphona and Eric Shanower! Dorothy Gale is back in this adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s classic third Oz book, and this time she’s definitely not in Kansas anymore! After being marooned at sea, Dorothy and Billina—the talking chicken—are beset by a group of screaming Wheelers, strange men with wheels for hands and feet. How will the pair make it through the first leg of their adventure gone horribly wrong and what lies in store if they do? Find out in Ozma of Oz #1!

And for fans who missed out on the first two Einser Award winning volumes of Dorothy’s adventures, Oz: The Marvelous Land Of Oz Hardcover and Oz: The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz Graphic Novel-Trade Paperback are in stores now!

OZMA OF OZ #1 (of 8) (SEP100553)




Pencils & Cover by SKOTTIE YOUNG

Variant cover by ADRIAN ALPHONA

Variant Cover by ERIC SHANOWER

All Ages …$3.99

FOC – 10/14/10, On-Sale – 11/3/10





All Ages …$19.99

ISBN: 978-0-7851-4590-5






ISBN: 978-0785140283

All Ages …$29.99


Ozma Of Oz #1 COVEROzma Of Oz #1 COVER SHANOWER Read more

‘Return of the Dapper Men’ Pin-up Artists Revealed

Official Press Release



Los Angeles, CA (September 14, 2010) – As the buzz for the upcoming Archaia original graphic novel RETURN OF THE DAPPER MEN continues to grow, so does the roster of Dapper men and women who are contributing to the book Examiner.com has called “groundbreaking” and iFanboy.com says is “shaping up to be the ‘it-book’ of New York Comic Con.”

In addition to award-winning designer Todd Klein providing the cover and interior design work, an incredible array of artists have put on their best bowler hats and pinstripes to create a remarkable gallery of pin-ups that will be appearing in the book. From some of today’s hottest comic book and graphic artists comes a variety of takes on the incredible world and characters of RETURN OF THE DAPPER MEN (hardcover, full color, 128 pages, 9.5” x 11”, $24.95), created from the minds of Jim McCann (Hawkeye & Mockingbird) and acclaimed visual artist Janet Lee.

The full list of contributors to the 12 pin-ups featured in the book is as follows:

Adrian Alphona and Christina Strain
Joyce Chin
John Tyler Christopher
Katie Cookhttp://katiecandraw.typepad.com/
Colleen Cooverhttp://www.colleencoover.net/
David Mackhttp://www.davidmack.net/
Dave Perillohttp://montygog.blogspot.com/
Mike Perkinshttp://www.mikeperkinsart.com/
Evan Shanerhttp://www.evanshaner.com/
Mark Smyliehttp://www.archaia.com/blog/titles/artesia
Tom Whalenhttp://strongstufftom.blogspot.com/
Skottie Younghttp://www.skottieyoung.com/

“The fact that this many people wanted to and agreed to provide their own vision of a world that has existed for so long only in our minds was mind-blowing,” says the book’s author, Jim McCann. “The sheer volume of talent and the spectrum of the way each artist approached the work has been overwhelming and exciting to watch.”

Here is what some of the all-star contributors had to say about their experience, the art and the story of RETURN OF THE DAPPER MEN:

Return of the Dapper Men has a fun, unique story mixed with fairy tale-like artwork that makes this a graphic novel unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It’s a treat for the reader and sure to be a book that you keep coming back to for another read!” – Katie Cook (Fraggle Rock)

“Jim McCann has let his imagination run free with Return of the Dapper Men and it’s turned into a soaring, joyful parkour of a run. Ably abetted by the absolutely wonderful illustrations by Janet Lee, this book is a remarkable achievement.” – Mike Perkins (The Stand)

“I’m just happy Jim let me draw his characters! I was instantly in love with Janet’s art and designs to begin with. And Jim’s concept alone is just inspiring!” – Adrian Alphona (Runaways)

“After I agreed to contribute a pinup for Return of the Dapper Men, I was given a rather large folder of wordless comic pages to peruse and see what caught my eye. While all of Janet’s character designs would have been fun to interpret, the clockwork angel called out the loudest. A blend of robot and human forms with Victorian sensibilities (holding roman numerals—perfect design elements!), I couldn’t resist taking a stab at envisioning her in my style. I hope I did Janet and Jim proud!” – Tom Whalen (Illustrator, WIRED)

“I was super excited to do a pin-up for the book; such a beautiful story and art. I found a lot of Magritte-esque inspiration from it, so I really tried to incorporate that into my design.” – Dave Perillo (Illustrator, Disney TV Animation)

“I really fell in love with Zoe. Janet’s design was so cute and innocent, I wanted to explore the character in my style and see where I could take her. One of the things I greatly appreciated about the script was the thought put into every aspect. From the names, to philosophical concepts, to certain elements of numerology, I totally dug the subtle nature of everything. I wanted to incorporate this ideology into the piece. I’d can’t wait to read this with my daughter.” – John Tyler Christopher (Witchblade)

A visual tour de force, RETURN OF THE DAPPER MEN is the debut graphic novel from the minds of award-winning writer Jim McCann (Hawkeye & Mockingbird) and critically acclaimed gallery artist Janet Lee. A modern twist on classic fairy tales, this is a story about growing up, childhood fears and examining the origins of a world and the things that inhabit it. The incredible decoupage art style combines steampunk fantasy and science fiction with Art Nouveau for a truly unique and groundbreaking book, all sharply dressed in a pinstripe suit and a dapper bowler hat. RETURN OF THE DAPPER MEN will have a limited number of copies available at New York Comic Con, October 8-10 at the Jacob Javits Center in New York, and will be available wherever books are sold in November. To pre-order a copy, use ISBN code 978-1932386905.

About Archaia

Archaia has built an unparalleled reputation for producing meaningful content that perpetually transforms minds. Archaia is: Artesia, Awakening, Beautiful Scars, Berona’s War, The Black Knight, Critical Millennium, Cyclops, The Dark Crystal, Dark Fall, Days Missing, The Devil’s Handshake, An Elegy for Amelia Johnson, The Engineer, Everlast, Feeding Ground, Fraggle Rock, God Machine, The Grave Doug Freshley, Gunnerkrigg Court, Hybrid Bastards!, Inanna’s Tears, Johnny Recon, The Killer, Killing Pickman, Labyrinth, The Lone and Level Sands, Lucid, Miranda Mercury, Moon Lake, Mouse Guard, Mr. Murder Is Dead, Okko, One in a Million, Primordia, Return of the Dapper Men, Robotika, Saga, The Secret History, Some New Kind of Slaughter, Starkweather: Immortal, Syndrome, A Tale of Sand, Titanium Rain, Trial By Fire, and Tumor.

For more information on Archaia or any Archaia titles please visit www.Archaia.com. Archaia can also be found on Facebook (facebook.com/archaiacomics) and Twitter (twitter.com/archaiacomics).

Adrian Alphona Christina Strain Dapper Read more

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