Tag Archives: dwayne mcduffie

Michael B. Jordan Joins Static Shock as Producer

Static #1

DC announced during their FanDome event that Static Shock was getting the movie treatment. The Hollywood Reporter has the scoop that Michael B. Jordan and Outlier Society will produce the film.

Jordin joins Reginald Hudlin on the project. Outlier Society is Jordan’s Warner-based banner.

In a statement, Jordan said:

I’m proud to be a part of building a new universe centered around black superheroes; our community deserves that. Outlier Society is committed to bringing to life diverse comic book content across all platforms and we are excited to partner with Reggie and Warner Bros on this initial step.

Static is 15-year-old Virgil Hawkins who gains electromagnetic powers and becomes a costumed crusader.

Static first appeared in Static #1 in 1993 as part of the Milestone Comics imprint. Milestone was a comics imprint founded in response to the underrepresentation of minorities in comics. The comic imprinted the Dakota Verse, filled with minority superheroes and characters. Static was created by Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Michael Davis, and Derek T. Dingle. When Milestone folded, Static eventually joined the regular DC Universe.

Milestone is currently being revived by DC. Hudlin will be writing a new Static Shock digital comic series that launches in February 2021 as well as a graphic novel with art by Kyle Baker.

Static has also appeared in other media including his own animated series which ran for four seasons and 52 episodes.

The 2020 Harvey Award Winners Have Been Announced

The Harvey Awards

Ahead of the official ceremony later this week, the winners for the 2020 Harvey Awards have been announced. The award ceremony has gone virtual this year with the initial group of nominees announced in August and then the winners chosen by vote.

The 2020 winners are:

Book of the Year: Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang (First Second)
Digital Book of the Year: The Nib edited by Matt Bors (thenib.com)
Best Children or Young Adult Book: Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru (DC Comics)
Best Manga: Witch Hat Atelier by Kamome Shirahama (Kodansha Comics)
Best International Book: Grass by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim, translated by Janet Hong (Drawn and Quarterly)
Best Adaptation from a Comic Book/Graphic Novel: Watchmen by HBO, based on Watchmen (DC Comics)

The Harveys will also be inducting Osamu Tezuka (Astro Boy), Jill Thompson (Scary Godmother), and the founding members of Milestone Media which includes Denys Cowan, Derek T. Dingle, Michael Davis, and the late Dwayne McDuffie into this year’s Harvey Awards Hall of Fame.

The virtual ceremony will be broadcast on October 9 at 4:50 pm as part of New York Comic Con’s Metaverse. The ceremony will be hosted by Vivek Tiwary and will feature Gene Luen Yang, Neil Gaiman, Jill Thompson, and Damon Lindelof.

(via The Hollywood Reporter)

Milestone Returns Today!

Following the announcement on the Milestone panel at DC FanDome: Hall of Heroes, today sees the release of the first of the classic Milestone line on digital platforms such as Comixology, Amazon Kindle, Apple, and others.

Today sees the release of Hardware: The Man in the Machine which will be followed by Icon in October.

Hardware: The Man in the Machine (2010)

Written by Dwayne McDuffie
Art by Denys Cowan and J.J. Birch
$12.99
On Sale now

This first-ever HARDWARE collection introduces inventor/engineer Curt Metcalf, who begins his adventures by breaking free of his employer, businessman Edwin Alva, who refused to share the profits from Metcalf’s many creations. Discovering that Alva is tied to organized crime and learning that no law enforcement agency would touch him, Metcalf created the high-tech Hardware armor that enabled him to take on his corrupt boss.

Hardware: The Man in the Machine (2010)

Icon: A Hero’s Welcome (1999)

Written by M.D. Bright and Dwayne McDuffie
Art by M.D. Bright
$12.99
On Sale October 6

The flagship character from Milestone Comics is back in this new printing of the classic title collecting ICON #1-8. This is the title that introduced Augustus Freeman, a successful lawyer who covertly uses his alien super-powers to help those in need. But when a teenaged girl from the streets convinces him to use his abilities to inspire his people and becomes his sidekick, Rocket, the affluent Augustus embraces his true destiny and becomes Icon, the hero of Dakota.

Icon: A Hero’s Welcome (1999)

Icon Vol. 2: The Mothership Connection (2010)

Written by Dwayne McDuffie
Art by M.D. Bright and Mike Gustovich
$16.99
On Sale October 13

In 1869, the life pod of an adult alien crashed in the cotton fields of the South. Discovered by a slave woman, the extraterrestrial’s genetic structure was reconfigured, and he was transformed into an African American baby. Now, over a hundred and twenty years later, Augustus Freeman is a successful lawyer who covertly uses his alien super-powers to help those in need. But when a teenaged girl from the streets convinces him to use his abilities to inspire his people, the affluent Augustus embraces his true destiny and becomes Icon, the hero of Dakota.

Icon Vol. 2: The Mothership Connection (2010)

Workers of the world! Here’s a list of comics to celebrate your Labor Day

Ah, the pleasures of having Labor Day off to celebrate work. It’s a contradiction as old as time, where honoring work means taking a (well-deserved and utterly necessary) break from it. After all, most workers have jobs that go year-round and the daily grind does take a toll. A day off is the least that can be afforded to them.

Recognition is the other thing we should doling out in industrial quantities during this federal holiday. As such, comic books are filled with stories about the fruits of labor, both in a literal and a politically figurative sense. Be it by actually exploring the hardships of being a worker to acknowledging the monumental task that is organizing movements in support of them, labor is central to the motivations behind some of comic’s best stories.

Here’s a short list of comics that either directly or indirectly showcase the roles workers play in keeping life and society functional. These comics dive headfirst into the specifics of what ‘putting in the work’ means, recognizing that everything that’s done in the service of others usually rests on human struggles both painful and exhausting. The comics below give workers their time in the spotlight so we can appreciate just how much it takes to go out and keep the world turning.

Labor Day Comics
Trashed

1. Trashed, written and illustrated by Derf Backderf

This book can best be described as a sobering love letter to one of the most underappreciated and openly repudiated jobs known to humankind: garbage collection. Following Backderf’s critically-acclaimed My Best Friend Dahmer, Trashed is based on the author’s time as a sanitation worker himself, surrounded by other workers just as enthused about collecting trash as he was (which wasn’t a whole lot). The inner workings of sanitation are presented through a combination of autobiographical anecdotes and well-researched facts and data that reveal just how complex, dangerous, and even clumsy picking up and storing trash can be. It’s a funny but scary look at how sanitation can save the world while also turn it into a ticking time bomb.

Damage Control

2. Damage Control, originally created by Dwayne McDuffie (W) and Ernie Colón (A)

A superhero’s job is to save the day, crumbling infrastructure be damned. With them, though, comes a unique concern for property damage, mostly focused on the inevitability of mass destruction. In comes a company solely dedicated to cleaning up after extinction-level battles and then putting the pieces back together called Damage Control. In essence, this Marvel comic is about unsung heroes. It’s about doing essential work knowing there’s no glory waiting at the end of it (much like Trashed, in some respects). McDuffie’s scripts are a masterclass on chaos and property politics, but it’s Colón’s attention to detail amidst the chaos that sets this story apart. The original series (there are a total of 4 series published) takes to a kind of MAD Magazine-style approach to comedy with visual gags and crude humor leading the charge, but it’s all well-orchestrated and it makes for reading that rewards those who scan comics pages whole multiple times.

Labor Day Comics
She-Hulk

3. She-Hulk: Law and Disorder, written by Charles Soule and illustrated by Javier Pulido

At a glance, Soule and Pulido’s She-Hulk gives the impression of being a kind of ‘slice of life’ story about a superhero that chooses law as her preferred battleground. The book, however, is about so much more, and it might have more in common with Damage Control than an actual legal drama. She-Hulk takes the anger-filled superhero and turns her into a working-class woman that’s trying (and struggling) to make her own legal services business work. She puts it all together from the ground up but is immediately confronted with the hardships of balancing work, heroics, and the semblance of a personal life on an even keel. One of the greatest, and most entertaining, aspects of the comic lies in the formation of the character’s legal practice and how at odds it can be being both a superhero and a normal person with other interests. It dives deep into the complications of working multiple jobs, but it shows an appreciation for those who lead their lives under that predicament. Soule and Pulido create a story that supports and applauds those who undertake the task of holding several jobs at once, honoring the sacrifice it requires of one’s self to survive it.

Labor Day Comics
Ex Machina

4. Ex Machina, written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Tony Harris

While aggressively political and metaphorical, Ex Machina does something few other stories on governmental responsibility manage to achieve: make the role of an elected official look and feel like a real job. The story follows Mitchel Hundred, a man that renounces his superhero persona to become mayor of New York city. After only managing to save one of the Twin Towers during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Hundred realizes he can do more good as an elected official rather than as a superhero. Vaughan and Harris take full advantage of this setup to go beyond political speeches and discourse to get Hundred’s hands dirty with the real act of running a government. Hundred has to address the legality of surveillance in times of crisis, protocols for public demonstrations, controversial content in city museums, infrastructure, and police freedoms all while controlling the urge to use his still functioning superpowers to speed the process up. As is the case in She-Hulk, Hundred also attempts (with few successes) to balance his personal life with the job. Problem is, the job demands too much of his time, hence the temptation to use his powers. Ex Machina is a stark reminder that being an elected official actually means holding down a job with real consequences attached to it, something many politicians seem to have lost sight of.

Gotham Central

5. Gotham Central: In the Line of Duty, written by Ed Brubaker & Greg Rucka and illustrated by Michael Lark

The profession of law enforcement is under serious scrutiny at the present moment, and rightfully so, but it’s still a job certain men and women take on despite the complexities of outdated and dysfunctional practices that are in desperate need of revision. And that’s on top of the racial problems that have shaped its many, many systems. However, there are those who do take the job seriously and work hard to ‘protect and serve’ with the best of intentions under the law. Gotham Central prioritizes this viewpoint, focusing the cops and detectives that work in Batman’s Gotham City. Without the resources or the exceptions afforded to the Dark Knight, the GCPD is still tasked with responding to criminal activity, regardless of whether it’s of the supervillain type or not. Main characters René Montoya, Crispus Allen, Marcus Driver, and “Josie Mac” MacDonald, among others, are divided into day and night shifts in a city that is in a constant flux of crime. The job takes its toll on a personal level and there’s an emphasis on how much one gives in the line of duty, but there’s also an appreciation of honest cops walking the line in the face of overwhelming police corruption and abuse. It’s a complicated and sometimes contradictory read, but it makes no excuses while confronting the damning inconsistencies of the job.

Labor Day comics
Wooblies!: A Graphic History of the Industrial Workers of the World

6. Wooblies! A Graphic History of the Industrial Workers of the World, edited by Peter Buhle & Nicole Schulman

The Industrial Workers of the World, or IWW, has a wild and exuberant history, to say the least, which makes it the ideal subject for comic book storytelling. The IWW was created in Chicago, Illinois in 1905 as a union for marginalized workers led by Marxist principles. Miners, lumber workers, immigrant workers, indigenous workers, non-white workers, severely underrepresented female workers, and workers all over that had no rights or protections saw in the IWW as the means to fight towards better working conditions. Wooblies! (alluding to the nickname given to the members of the union) enlists the talents of cartoonists such as Peter Kuper, Harvey Pekar, Trina Robbins, Sharon Rudahl, Sue Coe, Carlos Cortez, among others to tell the story of how forgotten and underrepresented workers rose up against the odds to gain the rights and respect owed to them. The anthology has a very underground ‘comix’ feel to it, but it’s allegorical and metaphorical inclinations do a better job of capturing labor struggles better than a traditional story ever could. This might be the quintessential Labor Day reading right here.


Workers, laborers, holders of jobs, these comics honor your contributions, your efforts, and the near impossible feats you pull off. Read and relax, but overall, enjoy your hard-earned Labor Day holiday.

Around the Tubes

The Secret History of Comics debuted last night with the history of Marvel Comics. What’d you think? Did you watch it? While you go to seek that out, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

The Comichron – Metal, Legacy dominate October sales to comic shops; Here’s Negan pushes DM graphic novel category to first win in months – Beginning the dive into October’s numbers.

Kotaku – The Cancelled Justice League Mortal Could’ve Had A Video Game Tie-In Written by Dwayne McDuffie – Very intriguing and sad we never got this!

Kotaku – Black Adam Player Proves Unbreakable At Injustice 2 World Championships – There were some solid matches at this.

 

Review

Comic Attack – Irrational Numbers: Subtracion #2

Talking Comics – The Jetsons #1

Around the Tubes

It’s new comic book day! What’s everyone getting? What are you excited for? Sound off in the comments! While you wait for shops to open, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

Foreword Reviews – No Shortage of Fuel for Love and Rockets: An Interview With Indie Comic’s Creators – Go get these as they come out! New one out today!

New York Times – Comic Books, in Black and White – Go check out this series!

CBC – ‘House of Cards, but with robots’: Transformers comic books explore politics, gender and romance – Yeah, that about sums it up.

CBR – Dwayne McDuffie’s Estate Sues Over Milestone Revival – Well that adds a wrinkle to it all.

Publisher’s Weekly – Manga Houses Shift Focus to Anime Expo over San Diego – With so many anime/manga specific shows, do they even need SDCC?

The Beat – Tilting at Windmills #261: Marvel Comics and The Deck Chairs of the Titanic – Thoughts?

The Beat – Meanwhile, one Image creator opens up on low sales – and here’s the book he’s talking about – A good read about the reality of comics.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

ICv2 – The Death of Stalin

Comic Attack – Victor Lavalle’s Destroyer #3

Friday Flashback Review: Static Shock: Trial by Fire

StaticTBFFor my first installment to the GP Time Portal that is “Flashback Friday,” I’m going to go back to the 90’s for a re-read of Static Shock: Trial by Fire, originally Static issues #1-4, the name change came with wanting to capitalize on the cartoon from the WB.

This collection is the first appearance of our hero Virgil Hawkins aka Static, a superhero most of us could relate to, a scifi geek making it through high school, battling the bad guys while trying to get the girl and this is only a taste of what the Milestone crew brought to this series.

Co-written by Dwayne McDuffie and Robert L. Washington III, both gone too soon, you would think that something written over 20 years ago would be dated. The writing is able to balance humor and danger like phasers and photons. With the exception of one or two words, the pacing of the dialogue is a master class in writing teens, the issues our hero faces in and out of costume are sadly problems young kids still face today.

static-01-02And let’s not forget the art, the early work of then newcomer John Paul Leon is full of energy and I’m not just talking about Static’s power effect. From fighting to walking down the street, JPL infused a crazy amount of kinetic flow into the movement of the characters, but he doesn’t stop there. His character designs, based off of Denys Cowans work in the Milestone bible, Static is like a snapshot of today’s kids walking around being teenagers, minus the video chatting.

If by this point I haven’t persuaded you to run to your local store to track down this trade. I’ll put it to you this way, if you like Miles Morales and Riri Williams, you can thank Virgil for paving the way. Static is that super smart, geeky kid that shows us how anyone can be a hero and still be cool. This series was that it talked about bullying, dating, gangs and just about everything else a modern teenager faces today and not in a condescending manner, instead it did it in a way that makes you think about how these issues can be fixed.

For more of my money bring back Static, bring back Milestone.

 

George Carmona 3rd is an Artist/Writer, former Milestone Media Intern, former DC Comics paper pusher, current book lover, and lifelong comic geek. You can find his work at FistFullofArt.com or follow him on twitter at GCarmona3.

Black (Comic) History Month: Milestone Media, a Publisher You Should Know

milestone media logoOur Black History Month coverage continues! Milestone Media is a publisher everyone should know, and you probably know their creations.

Formed in 1993, Milestone Media was created by a coalition of African-America creators, Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Michael Davis, and Derek T. Dingle. The company’s focus was to create a new generation of characters stepping in to fill the void that was the lack of diversity in American comics. Through a partnership with DC Comics, the publisher created memorable series and characters like Hardware, Blood Syndicate, Icon, Static (aka Static Shock), Shadow Cabinet, Xombi, Kobalt, and Heroes.

There were some fundamental ideas the company focused on in their deal with DC Comics:

  1. that they would retain total creative control
  2. that they would retain all copyrights for characters under the Milestone banner
  3. that they would have the final say on all merchandising and licensing deals pertaining to their properties.

The deal wasn’t without controversy, as some saw the deal as a compromise of the founding of the company, to be an independent black comic publisher.

The characters were so important DC has attempted (with mixed success) to incorporate the characters into the DC Universe proper, with the most notable being Static who had his own series, and joined the Teen Titans.

With all of that triumph, Milestone suffered tragedy as well, when creator Dwayne McDuffie passed away almost four years ago at the age of 49 at the peak of his career.

Four years later, and it looks like Milestone Media will rise from that tragedy as Reggie Huddlin (the producer of Django Unchained) along with Cowan and Dingle will revive the publisher for a new generation to discover.

The plan is to bring back many of the classic character as well as introduce new ones. It’s unclear how this might work, considering DC Comics and Warner Bros. are working on a live-action Static Shock series. But sorting all of the business out, as well as building new partnerships is what’s being worked on.

The goal isn’t just to bring back their classic characters, and create new ones, but also develop new talent.

There isn’t a launch date, but there will be some more shown during this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.

 

The Return of Milestone Media

milestone media logoFormed in 1993, Milestone Media was created by a coalition of African-America creators, Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Michael Davis, and Derek T. Dingle. The company’s focus was to create a new generation of characters stepping in to fill the void that was the lack of diversity in American comics. Through a partnership with DC Comics, the publisher created memeorable series and characters like Hardware, Blood Syndicate, Icon, Static (aka Static Shock), Shadow Cabinet, Xombi, Kobalt, and Heroes. The characters were so important DC has attempted (with mixed success) to incorporate the characters into the DC Universe proper, with the most notable being Static who had his own series, and joined the Teen Titans.

With all of that triumph, Milestone suffered tragedy as well, when creator Dwayne McDuffie passed away almost four years ago at the age of 49 at the peak of his career.

Milestone_01Four years later, and it looks like Milestone Media will rise from that tragedy as Reggie Huddlin (the producer of Django Unchained) along with Cowan and Dingle will revive the publisher for a new generation to discover. As reported by Comics Riff, the discussion began in 2011 at a gathering to remember McDuffie.

The plan is to bring back many of the classic character as well as introduce new ones. It’s unclear how this might work, considering DC Comics and Warner Bros. are working on a live-action Static Shock series. But sorting all of the business out, as well as building new partnerships is what’s being worked on.

Diversity has been on the mind of comic publishers. Marvel introduced Miles Morales, a half-black/half-Puerto Rican, as Spider-Man in their Ultimate Universe, and Sam Wilson aka the Falcon has taken over the mantle of Captain America. DC has pushed the John Stewart Green Lantern, introduced Batwing in their New 52 relaunch, and a new black Power Girl. Thor, Archie’s the Shield, and Dynamite’s Solar have all been gender switched.

Cowan points out though that putting a character in a previously white mantle isn’t the same as creating whole new heroes. Cowan said their characters aren’t just black versions of existing legacy characters, they come from a specific view.

The goal isn’t just to bring back their classic characters, and create new ones, but also develop new talent.

There isn’t a launch date, but there will be some more shown during this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.

History is Written by the Winners of the Marvel No-Prize

Guest commentary post from Emma Houxbois. Emma is a queer blogger for hire out of Vancouver, BC most recently attached to Girls Read Comics. You can follow her on Twitter @emmahouxbois.

no-prizeThe thing about history is that you’ve got to be really careful who you let write it. Herodotus, the guy widely acknowledged as the inventor of western history writing was known as both “The Father of History” and “The Father of Lies,” in his lifetime, and one of the reasons for that was that he never really made any kind of an effort to judge the credibility of the people he was collecting history from. It’s widely believed that he skewed towards the empowered members of society, meaning that the saying “history is written by the winners” is as old as history itself. This past week in comics, we got the rude awakening that it’s history is currently being written by the winners of the Marvel No-Prize.

For reasons unknown to anyone with a lick of sense, a panel consisting of Todd McFarlane, Len Wein, and Gerry Conway were assembled to publicize a forthcoming PBS documentary about superhero comics. While already dubious choices compared to more genuinely influential and knowledgeable prospects like Trina Robbins, Mark Waid, Karen Berger, or that mysterious Twitter account claiming to be Steranko, the trio put on an astounding display of jamming their entire legs up to the knee down their own throats. Todd McFarlane, creator of one of the best selling black superheroes in history, seems to believe that increasing diversity in comics will only lead to tokenism. Of course in 2006, when Robert Kirkman crashed McFarlane’s panel at the SDCCI, the Spawn creator had no idea who he was until he was informed by another panel member that Kirkman was “the guy who writes that zombie comic you like,” a comic published by McFarlane’s own Image Comics at the time. McFarlane also went on, during the same incident, to say in defense of having not done anything significant in comics since Spawn that “once you’ve created your Mickey Mouse or your Donald Duck, you don’t really have to do anything else.” So it isn’t as if McFarlane’s complete indifference to anything in comics that isn’t related to his personal legacy is a closely guarded secret or new information. Nor is it that he’s a noted hypocrite after having lost a lengthy legal action by Neil Gaiman to regain control of the characters he contributed to Spawn after years of McFarlane crowing about how the founding of Image was a victory for creator’s rights in the industry.

Gerry Conway was adamant that superheroes are strictly for men and boys, using a bizarre self defeating anecdote about his daughter’s disinterest in “guy stories,” mentioning Faith Erin Hicks who writes The Adventures of Superhero Girl. Of course Conway is responsible for the two most exploited fridgings in Marvel history, if not superhero comics as a whole; The Punisher’s self justification for his antics based on the death of his wife and child as well as the death of Gwen Stacy. If Conway’s own daughter is disinterested in what he calls “guy stories” and McFarlane wouldn’t use superheroes if he wanted to write a story catering to his own daughters, it has to be noted that Conway’s body of work is one of the chief culprits in disillusioning potential female readers. Of course Len Wein is the real elephant in the room, given that Alan Moore disclosed in 2006 when he approached Wein for permission to cripple Barbara Gordon in The Killing Joke, Wein told him “Yeah, okay, cripple the bitch.” Inviting Len Wein or Gerry Conway to talk about gender in comics is basically like asking Don Imus to talk about racism in sports.

At around the same time that this nonsense was unfolding, a beautiful and moving thing that happened in Japan was being circulated by Sailor Moon fans on Tumblr. The second live event detailing the festivities for the 20th anniversary of Sailor Moon and the forthcoming series was being translated, capped, and analyzed by the fervent western fans of the pop culture juggernaut. However, instead of updates on the timeline for the new series, what dominated the fan discourse were the statements by the director of the 2013 edition of the live action stage show, whose cast is entirely female. By way of explanation, he related that his understanding of Naoko Takeuchi’s manga was that it was written by women for women and so it was only natural to put on the show using only women. Not satisfied with those bold and endearing statements, he went on to say “I feel like Takeuchi Naoko’s work flew in the face of the atmosphere at the time. It said ‘women are strong, there’s nothing wrong with being strong and we should be stronger’ and as a result in these twenty years, women have become stronger in our society. That part of her work has everlasting value and I feel like now we should remind society again of the same message.” While I’m not sure that twenty years of gains for women in Japanese society can be chalked up entirely to the influence of Sailor Moon, it is heartening to hear, especially from a man in this context, the fervent belief that comics can in fact inspire positive social change. It isn’t hard to see that same belief among the western fans, as it’s an unmistakable fact that a large segment of young women active in fighting for representation in western comics are Sailor Moon fans, and the most ardent supporters of Sailor Moon are staunch feminists. Sailor Moon also continues to deeply influence female creators to this day, most notably Adventure Time contributor and Bee and Puppycat creator Natasha Allegri, whose genderbent world of Fionna and Cake rests on Sailor Moon as it’s foundation from the rabbit ears on her hat to her feline companion and even her formal gown patterned after the future Silver Millennium version of Usagi.

That Conway feels comics follow instead of lead culture is no actual reflection on the real state of the world’s last living mythology, it’s a reflection on three men who never pushed themselves or their work to a level beyond what could be most comfortably and easily sold. None of them put their careers on the line with bold statements like Dwayne McDuffie’s infamous Teenage Negro Ninja Thrashers memo or created entire critical frameworks for discussing women’s place in popular fiction like Gail Simone’s Women in the Refrigerator polemic or Alison Bechdel‘s eponymous test. It also really begs the question if any of them are aware that Captain America punched Hitler a full year before the United States entered World War II. In every decade that superhero comics have existed, they’ve lead culture. In a landscape where Orange is the New Black’s Laverne Cox, (directed by Jodie Foster in the episode revolving around her character), is making headlines and shattering the long history of cis actors being cast as trans* people, comics are leading culture. Matt Fraction is currently surfing the crest of the wave of positive portrayals of trans* people in a team book that is three quarters female. Gail Simone is poised alongside him selling out her Batgirl title in which Babs’ roommate is a trans woman. The critical importance of all three narratives cannot be underscored any stronger than by Chloe Sevigny’s current shameful behavior wearing a prosthetic penis to portray a trans woman and throwing around slurs that demean real trans women behind the scenes. Which is just one singular issue, one singular anecdote in a sea of progressive storytelling in comics that has taken the lead on issues as diverse as addiction, sex work, homophobia, racism, sexism, and domestic violence to name a few. The true history of comics isn’t a soulless echo chamber of privileged men writing exclusionist power fantasies for each other. The true history of comics is as queer and beautiful as it is ugly and heartbreaking, when it’s told by people who actually participated in and benefited from it’s queerness and beauty. Sadly many including Will Eisner, Jack Kirby, and Dwayne McDuffie have passed away but there do remain several other creators and commentators who, if given the chance, would gladly sing the praises of those and other trailblazers.

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