Tag Archives: greg hinkle

Black Cloud Volume 1 Descends this October to Stores

Writers Ivan Brandon and Jason Latour, artist Greg Hinkle, and colorist Matt Wilson will release a trade paperback collection of the first arc in their darkly ethereal fantasy series Black Cloud this October.

Zelda’s about to start a war of dreams. In the days when story and reality were one, the old blood—people with the power to shape stories—built a new world to escape the future we all came to live in. Generations later, Zelda rejects the old blood’s dreams and escapes into our world to run from destiny. But destiny has a nasty way of catching up to you.

Black Cloud, Volume 1: No Exit (Diamond code: JUL170732, ISBN: 978-1-5343-0328-7) arrives in comic book stores Wednesday, October 11th and bookstores Tuesday, October 17th. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, August 7th.

Black Cloud #1 Gets a 2nd Printing

Image Comics has announced that due to overwhelming customer demand, the first issue of Ivan Brandon, Jason Latour, Greg Hinkle, and Matt Wilson’s mind-bending series Black Cloud is being rushed back to print.

Zelda was born in a world of dreams, and hers burned bigger than anyone had ever seen. Now she’s on the run in our world, the dreams broken in her hands. But the pieces are for sale, the rich and the powerful are buying, and suddenly her world isn’t the only place Zelda’s running from.

Black Cloud #1, 2nd printing (Diamond code: FEB178767) will be available on Wednesday, May 10th. The final order cutoff deadline for retailers is Monday, April 17th.

Powerhouse Creators Team Up for All-New Series Black Cloud this April

Writers Ivan Brandon and Jason Latour team up with artist Greg Hinkle and colorist Matt Wilson for all-new dark fantasy series Black Cloud this April from Image Comics.

Zelda was born in a world of dreams, and hers burned bigger than anyone had ever seen. Now she’s on the run in our world, the dreams broken in her hands. But the pieces are for sale, the rich and the powerful are buying, and suddenly her world isn’t the only place Zelda’s running from.

Dreams come true—and today, they go to war.

Black Cloud #1 (Diamond code: FEB170540) hits comic book stores on Wednesday, April 5th. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, March 13th.

black-cloud-1

Image Comics Announces 20 Comics and More at Image Expo

Today at the Showbox Market Theater in Seattle, Washington, Image Comics kicked-off Emerald City Comicon with Image Expo and a slew of exciting creator-owned announcements.

They also announced a new initiative Creators for Creators as well.

Image Comics revealed the following creator-owned projects set to launch in the coming year and beyond.

AFAR by Leila del Duca & Kit Seaton

Critically-acclaimed, Russ Manning nominated SHUTTER artist Leila Del Duca teams up as co-creator and writer alongside artist, colorist, and letterer Kit Seaton (THE BLACK BULL OF NORROWAY, EVE OF ALL SAINTS) for an original graphic novel, AFAR.

In AFAR, Boetema suddenly develops the ability to astrally project to other worlds, unintentionally possessing the bodies of people light years away. Inotu, her inquisitive brother with a pension for trouble, finds himself on the run after he’s caught eavesdropping on an illegal business deal between small town business tycoons and their cyborg bodyguard. When Boetema accidentally gets someone hurt while in another girl’s body, the siblings are forced to work together to solve the problems they’ve created on their planet and others.

AFAR hits shelves this Fall 2016.

afar

BLACK CLOUD by Jason Latour, Ivan Brandon, Greg Hinkle, Matt Wilson, Aditya Bidikar, Tom Muller, edited by Maria Ludwig
Co-creators Jason Latour (SOUTHERN BASTARDS, Spider-Gwen), Ivan Brandon (DRIFTER, VIKING) and Greg Hinkle (AIRBOY, THE RATTLER), team up with colorist Matt Wilson (THE WICKED + THE DIVINE), letterer Aditya Bidikar, designer Tom Muller, and editor Maria Ludwig for an all-new series called, BLACK CLOUD.

Once upon a time…They built a world where dreams come true… And those dreams went to war. In BLACK CLOUD, we meet Zelda: exiled to Earth, her dreams of revolution are gone, but she still holds the key to the world she left behind. And it’s for sale.

BLACK CLOUD is set to launch in Fall 2016.

black cloud

THE BLACK MONDAY MURDERS by Jonathan Hickman & Tomm Coker 
All hail god money! From Jonathan Hickman (EAST OF WEST, Secret Wars, Avengers) and Tomm Coker (Undying Love) comes a mythical reinterpretation of modern global economics.

THE BLACK MONDAY MURDERS is classic occult indoctrination where the secret schools of magic are actually clandestine banking cartels who control all of society—a hidden world where vampire Russian oligarchs, Black Popes, enchanted American aristocrats, and hitmen from the International Monetary Fund work together to keep ALL OF US in our rightful place.

Each issue contains world-expanding bonus content like maps, corporate organization charts, decoded apocrypha, and stock tips to die for.

THE BLACK MONDAY MURDERS is a brand new, crypto-noir series about dirty, filthy, money… and what kind of people you can buy with it. Set to launch in Fall 2016.

the black monday murders

THE DIVIDED STATES OF HYSTERIA by Howard Chaykin
Howard Chaykin (SATELLITE SAM, BLACK KISS, AMERICAN FLAGG!) with the able assistance of Jesus Aburto on coloring, and Ken Bruzenak on lettering, unleashes THE DIVIDED STATES OF HYSTERIA.

THE DIVIDED STATES OF HYSTERIA is set in the aftermath of a dirty bomb that wipes New York City off the map, as what will come to be known as the Second American Civil War shatters the domestic landscape in isolated pustules of violence…and a team of five private contractors is charged with stemming this tide of rage and bringing the bombers to justice.

THE DIVIDED STATES OF HYSTERIA launches in Winter 2016.

the divided states of hysteria

GLITTERBOMB by Jim Zub & Djibril Morissette-Phan & K. Michael Russell & Marshall Dillon
Fan-favorite writer Jim Zub and newcomer Djibril Morissette-Phan come together with colorist K. Michael Russell and letterer Marshall Dillon for GLITTERBOMB.

“Probably the only thing I love more than comics is cinema,” said Morissette-Phan. “Which makes Glitterbomb a dream project since it’s a perfect blend of both.”

Set in Hollywood, GLITTERBOMB is a horror story about failed fame and blood-soaked revenge.

GLITTERBOMB is set to launch in late Summer 2016.

glitterbomb

HORIZON, by Brandon Thomas, Juan Gedeon & Frank Martin (Skybound)
Writer Brandon Thomas, artist Juan Gedeon, and colorist Frank Martin team up for an all-new series from Image/Skybound titled, HORIZON.

In HORIZON, Zhia Malen thought she’d fought her very last war, until she learned her planet was targeted for occupation…by a desperate world called Earth. The people of Earth will be told that her arrival on our planet means invasion. These are lies. This is retaliation, and Horizon explores what happens when our planet finally runs out of second chances. And when we meet an alien race just as committed to survival as we are…

HORIZON is set to launch from Image/Skybound in July 13, 2016.

horizon

THE HUNT by Colin Lorimer, Jim Campbell, and Joana Lafuente (Shadowline Comics)
Critically acclaimed writer/artist Colin Lorimer (Harvest) teams up with letterer Jim Campbell and colorist Joana Lafuente for THE HUNT.

At her father’s deathbed, Orlaigh Roche came face to face with the age-old myth of The Slaugh; a group of soul-stealing spirits so evil that not even hell would take them. Years later, and with the belief that her father’s soul is still trapped in some form of the netherworld, she goes looking for answers—beginning a journey that leads her down a path to discover what really happens to us after we die.

THE HUNT begins in 2016 from Image/Shadowline Comics.

the hunt

ISOLA by Brenden Fletcher & Karl Kerschl 
Bestselling creators Brenden Fletcher (Batgirl of Burnside, Gotham Academy) and Karl Kerschl (Gotham Academy, The Abominable Charles Christopher) re-team for ISOLA—an epic fantasy adventure series with the scope of Game of Thrones and the spirit of Princess Mononoke.

ISOLA is set in a mystical land where the queen’s brother enacts a treacherous plot to transform her into a tiger. The captain of the guard, a woman of great skill, brings swift and lethal vengeance, unaware the wicked prince alone has the power to reverse the spell. The two women—one on two legs, one on four—must undertake a perilous journey halfway across the globe to the fabled island of ISOLA, gateway to the underworld, where they hope to find the spirit of the queen’s late brother and return her to human form.

ISOLA is set to launch in Spring 2017.

isola

KILL OR BE KILLED by Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, Elizabeth Breitweiser
Bestselling writer Ed Brubaker (THE FADE OUT, FATALE), artist Sean Phillips (THE FADE OUT, FATALE), and colorist Elizabeth Breitweiser (THE FADE OUT, FATALE, OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA) reunite for KILL OR BE KILLED, the ultimate pulp crime comic.

KILL OR BE KILLED is the story of a troubled young man who is compelled to kill bad people, and how he struggles to keep his secret, as it slowly begins to ruin his life and the lives of his friends and loved ones.

Both a thriller and a deconstruction of vigilantism, KILL OR BE KILLED is unlike anything Brubaker and Phillips have done together in their long partnership.

KILL OR BE KILLED is set to launch in Summer 2016.

kill or be killed

LAKE OF FIRE by Nathan Fairbairn & Matt Smith
Co-creators Nathan Fairbairn (Scott Pilgrim, Batman Incorporated) and Matt Smith (Barbarian Lord) come together for an all-new series titled LAKE OF FIRE.

In LAKE OF FIRE it is 1220 AD, and the gears of the Albigensian Crusade grind on. When an alien mining craft infested with legions of bloodthirsty predators crash-lands in the remote wilderness of the French Pyrenees, a small band of crusaders and a Cathar heretic are all that stands between God’s Kingdom and Hell on Earth.

LAKE OF FIRE is set to launch in Summer 2016.

lake of fire

MOONSHINE by Brian Azzarello & Eduardo Risso, edited by Will Dennis
From Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso—the Eisner award-winning creative team behind the crime classic, 100 Bullets—comes the brutal new series, MOONSHINE.

MOONSHINE is set during the Prohibition Era, deep in the backwoods of Appalachia and tells the story of Lou Pirlo, a city-slick “torpedo” sent from New York City to negotiate a deal with the best moonshiner in West Virginia, one Hiram Holt. Lou figures it for milk run—how hard could it be to set-up moonshine shipments from a few ass-backward hillbillies? What Lou doesn’t figure on is that Holt is just as cunning as ruthless as any NYC crime boss and Lou is in way over his pin-striped head. Because not only will Holt do anything to protect his illicit booze operation, he’ll stop at nothing to protect a much darker family secret…a bloody, supernatural secret that must never see the light of day… or better still, the light of the full moon.

MOONSHINE #1 will hit stores in Fall 2016 and marks the first time Azzarello and Risso have worked together with Image Comics and reunites the acclaimed creative team that defined modern crime comics with 100 Bullets… and now puts a horror-twist on a classic gangster tale.

moonshine

MOTOR CRUSH by Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, & Babs Tarr
From the creative team behind the popular, New York Times bestselling Batgirl of Burnside—Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, and Babs Tarr—comes MOTOR CRUSH—is a stylish, neon-soaked, revved up science-fiction action series.

By day, a Domino Swift competes for fame and fortune in a worldwide motorcycle racing league. By night, she cracks helmets of rival gangs in brutal, illegal bike wars on the city streets to gain possession of a rare and valuable contraband: an engine-boosting “machine narcotic” known as MOTOR CRUSH. But the origins—and ultimate purpose—of this mysterious substance are unknown, and could put her on a collision course with danger…

MOTOR CRUSH rides into town this December 2016.

motor crush

PRIMA by Jen Van Meter, Rick Burchett, Eric Newsom, edited by Jeanine Schaefer
Spies.
Thieves.
Ballerinas.
PRIMA.
You don’t always see who’s standing in the spotlight.

Creators Jen Van Meter and artist Rick Burchett team up to tell an all-new story about a dance company—comprised entirely of former spies—righting the wrongs of the Cold War in a series called, PRIMA.

PRIMA follows Sophia Forais and Pauline French are the soloist and Managing Director of a dance company that once served as a front for a Resistance cell in France. Engaged for a long run in New York, the dancers have turned their attention and unique skills to aiding a veteran of the Romanian underground now being blackmailed by her American husband. The small operation should prove simple, but Sophia, Paulina and their colleagues will quickly learn that the war has not really ended, and the world is no less ruthless than it was when they were smuggling information and refugees during the Occupation.

An espionage/romance adventure set in the arts world just after WWII, PRIMA is a warm-hearted series of intrigues: To Catch a Thief goes to the ballet.

On stands in FALL 2016.

prima

PRINCE OF CATS by Ron Wimberly 
PRINCE OF CATS written and drawn by Ron Wimberly, lettered by Jarred Fisher, and featuring design by Jorden Haley returns to print from Image Comics.

PRINCE OF CATS was first released from Vertigo to critical acclaim in the summer 2012. It was out of print before the following summer. After three years, it will be returning to print through Image Comics.

PRINCE OF CATS is Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead meets The Warriors meets Sword of Doom. PRINCE OF CATS sets Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in an alt-universe, mid-eighties New York where dueling with live blades evolved as a cultural phenomenon alongside New York’s other street cultures; it eschews the story of the titular star-crossed lovers to follow the tragic story of Tybalt, the Prince of Cats.

PRINCE OF CATS, the definitive remastered author’s edition, is set to release in Fall 2016.

prince of cats

ROCKSTARS by Joe Harris & Megan Hutchison
Fan-favorite Joe Harris (THE X-FILES, SNOWFALL) teams up with artist Megan Hutchison for an all-new, ongoing series a la Almost Famous meets Supernatural called, ROCKSTARS.

ROCKSTARS follows a pair of young, rock ‘n roll investigators as they uncover a mystery involving a legendary band, dead groupies, human sacrifice and a supernatural undercurrent connecting so many famous—and even more undiscovered—secrets, myths and conspiracies peppering rock music throughout the ages.

When a pattern of unsolved ‘groupie’ murders dating back to the 1970s resumes in present-day Los Angeles, nobody makes the connection except for Jackie Mayer, a young rock nerd who not only knows everything about music history, trivia and its myriad secrets and factoids, but also harbors a mysterious, almost magical ability to ‘see’ what most people miss, and determine and divine what’s going unreported.

Joined by a music writer and aspiring investigative reporter named Dorothy Buell, and his loyal cat, Skydog, they soon uncover a vast mystery involving a legendary band’s exploits, their mercurial guitarist’s occult associations, demonic possession, and sacrifices to the dark gods of rock.

Each story arc will feature a case sprung from a different rock n’ roll era—British Invasion, Punk, 80s Heavy Metal, etc.—and draw on Jackie’s unique connection, knowledge, and darkly magical associations to crack them.

The series will launch in Fall 2016.

rockstars

ROMULUS by Bryan Hill & Nelson Blake II (Top Cow Productions)
Fan-favorite writer Bryan Hill (POSTAL) and Nelson Blake II come together for an all-new Image/Top Cow series in ROMULUS.

Set in the near future, ROMULUS follows the last in a line of near-mystical martial artists wages a revolutionary war against The Order of Romulus, the ancient secret society that trained her—a global organization, hidden in plain sight, that’s controlled the world since the days of Ancient Rome.

Their plan? Cull the population with genocide and rule a New World Order. Her plan? Kill them all or die angry.

Romulus launches from Top Cow/Image in Fall 2016.

romulus

SEVEN TO ETERNITY by Rick Remender & Jerome Opeña
Writer Rick Remender reteams with collaborators Jerome Opeña (Uncanny X-Force, Fear Agent) and Matt Hollingsworth (TOKYO GHOST, WYTCHES) to bring readers a modern fantasy series following Adam Osidis, a dying knight from a disgraced house, on a mission to rid his world of an insidious God who ensnared him in a Faustian deal.

Gharils Sulm, The God of Whispers is a Machiavellian warlord who holds sway everywhere in the world of Zhal. He’s spread an omnipresent paranoia to every corner of the kingdoms; one of his spies hides in every house, every family, every hall, spreading mistrust and fear.

Adam must choose between joining a hopeless band of magic users in their desperate bid to free their world of the evil God’s burden or give in to the The God of Whispers’ promises of salvation and safety.

The series is set to launch in the Fall of 2016.

seven to eternity

SURGEON X by Sara Kenney & John Watkiss, James Devlin, & Jared K. Fletcher, edited by Karen Berger 
Writer Sara Kenney and artist John Watkiss come together for an all new series, SURGEON X, and join forces with the award-winning Karen Berger, founding editor of DC’s Vertigo imprint.

Set against the backdrop of an antibiotic apocalypse in near future London. Rosa Scott, a brilliant and obsessive surgeon becomes Surgeon X, a vigilante doctor who uses experimental surgery and black market drugs to treat patients. But as Surgeon X, Rosa soon develops a godlike-complex, deciding who will live and who will die. Ultimately, she believes that to survive in this compromised world her own warped moral code is the one she must follow—even if it endangers those closest to her.

The comic is informed by hundreds of conversations with scientists, physicians, historians, economists, ethicists & philosophers to create this deeply disturbing, yet authentic future world.

SURGEON X was funded by a Society Award from Wellcome Trust, an independent global charitable foundation dedicated to improving health. They support bright minds in science, the humanities and the social sciences, as well as education, public engagement and the application of research to medicine.

SURGEON X will launch in Fall 2016.

surgeon x

VS by Ivan Brandon, Esad Ribić, Ive Svorcina, Aditya Bidikar, Tom Muller, edited by Sebastian Girner 
Writer Ivan Brandon (DRIFTER) and Esad Ribić (Secret Wars) team up with colorist Ive Svorcina, letterer Aditya Bidikar, designer Tom Muller, and editor Sebastian Girner for a futurist drama in, VS.

VS follows the rise and fall of Satta Flynn, a wildly popular soldier in a time when War has been privatized and is a form of entertainment.

Armies financed and equipped by super-corporations. War medics that double as Pit Mechanics. Satta’s every move is LIVE on TV. And for the first time, Satta finds out what it’s like to lose.

VS is set to launch in Fall 2016.

vs

WINNEBAGO GRAVEYARD by Steve Niles & Alison Sampson
Writer Steve Niles teams up with artist Alison Sampson, colorist Stéphane Paitreau, and letterer Clem Robins in WINNEBAGO GRAVEYARD.

Sampson used 1970s horror films for inspiration on the artwork and described the book’s overall look as: “about 70% Americana, slightly heightened, like True Blood, and about 30% ripping off of heads.”

A horror-adventure story, WINNEBAGO GRAVEYARD follows a family with a teenage son and what happens when their road-trip goes wrong and they find themselves stuck in a town full of satanists.

WINNEBAGO GRAVEYARD is set to launch in Fall 2017.

winnebago graveyard

Rattler Signing with Jason McNamara at JHU

RattlerCoverIf Jason McNamara reads this, I hope he forgives me for being a bit rude earlier. I went to Jim Hanley’s Universe (JHU), got my sig, a photo op, and quickly left. Usually I try to chat it up for a few minutes; but it was one of those days. I didn’t want to miss my early train; and I still had to get back to the office, pack my stuff, and make it to Grand Central Station on time for my two hour ride back home to the ‘burbs. Thanks to McNamara for being gracious.

If it’s any consolation, The Rattler (a graphic novel that originated through a Kickstarter campaign, and is now available in print through Image Comics for a mere $14.99) was the first thing I read (even before Batman #50) out of my stack, on the train ride home. After I was done, 45 minutes of my ride was over, and I was wide awake–disturbed, but awake. No way was I going to nap after reading that.

rattlerpictMcNamara and Greg Hinkle have produced a black and white pictorial horror fest, with splashes of nightmarish blood reds to bring the violence to the fore. It’s a frightening, and agitating, vicarious literary bloody thrill of a story.  The narrative centers on Stephen Thorn, a man obsessed with finding his lost love. So much so, he destructively channels all his energy and newfound wealth to find his kidnapped fiancée. It probably doesn’t help, that as he searches in vain, he becomes a bitter cynical writer who advocates for crime victims.

The violence in this book could only have been dreamed up by someone with way too much leisure time on their hands–a violence inspired by true events. I mean, I’d kill for love too; but damn, I’m not gonna kill ’em two or three times over. Dead is dead.  I just hope that these two find success in their work, and can continue to vent their anger through their art.  Buy this book, if only to support them through their writing and drawing, and to keep them in check … or just buy it because it’s a good dark murderous read.

Review: Airboy #4

Airboy04_CoverAirboy is a strange beast. It’s a comic about the creators writing the comic you’re reading, in what is, at times, some truly inspired comic book writing. The use of colour in the comic is also fantastic, and the series was on the verge of being one of the most recommended comics at Graphic Policy, until about midway through the second issue.

To say that Airboy had a bit of controversy behind it would be an understatement. You can read more about that here, with James Robinson‘s seemingly heartfelt response here.  Elana summed up the events surrounding the second issue of Airboy better than I could a few months ago with her article here

I’m not going to bring it all up again, except to say that Robinson’s apology read as heartfelt and sincere to me. He appeared as a man who was genuinely sorry for his portrayal of transgender women in the second issue, and admitted that in his depiction of himself in the worse possible light he inadvertently caused harm to others.

I decided to read the remainder of the series, because the above offensive portrayal aside, the first two issues were an amazingly crafted piece of meta fiction, and I was interested in seeing how Robinson would close out the series.

With James Robinson’s reputation of being the guy who brings Golden Age heroes into the modern times, Airboy has shone a light on the writers creative process with James Robinson writing both himself and artist Greg Hinkle into the comic in some utterly unflattering depictions of both men. Robinson’s self destructive behaviour depicted in the comic may not be entirely autobiographical, but it is reflective of a darker time in the writers life before he sobered up, and even as the series has progressed you get a sense of the man’s open confession that this period of his life wasn’t exactly a highlight.

The final two issues of Airboy, focus less on the debauched night the two fictionalized versions of Robinson and Hinkle, and more on their sheer cowardice concerning their new found participation in the Second World War. The fourth issue has a very self deprecating sense of humour to it that, at times, is wonderfully dry. 

Greg Hinkle’s art work throughout the series has been brilliant, capturing the expressions of the fictional versions of himself and Robinson spectacularly well. I also really enjoyed the use of colour to highlight the difference between the real world and the world of Airboy. Utilizing a grey scale colour scheme for the real world elements of the comic for much of the series, seeing the fictional world  of Airboy in vibrant colours is fantastic.

Airboy is a comic about James Robinson hitting rock bottom, both professionally and personally, just as much as it is about the character of Airboy himself. If you’re not reading the series because of the contents of issue #2, I’m not going to try and dissuade you from your decision. What I will say, however, is don’t judge Robinson’s future work on an acknowledged mistake.

Writer: James Robinson Artist: Greg Hinkle
Story: 8 Art: 9 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Good question

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Robinson Apologized for Airboy Issue 2 Because We United and Took Action

“If There Is No Struggle, There Is No Progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will”. – Frederick Douglass*

Airboy02_CoverActivism gets results. Graphic Policy and The Rainbow Hub were criticized by people in the comics community when we took action against the extremely transphobic second issue of Airboy. But because we raised hell we made progress. That’s the lesson people should be taking away from this.

On June 30th Graphic Policy and The Rainbow Hub‘s Emma Houxbois published stories calling attention to the rampant transphobia in the second issue of the Airboy comic. I’d lavished praise over the comic’s first issue. We knew the context the story took place in and it was the story itself that was transphobic, not just words that characters said while “behaving badly”. Our sites’ explained how the comic’s narrative repeats the dangerous myth that trans women are out there trying to “trick” men into sex with them. We explained that this myth endangers trans people and in a world in which “trans panic” still gets used as an excuse to murder trans people we need to react as strongly as possible when it is repeated.

And we heard crickets in response.

On July 2nd I emailed GLAAD, the most powerful media watchdog for LGBTQ people. We know that when GLAAD speaks out they can’t be ignored and the comics world knows it too– since GLAAD’s known for giving awards to comics that have positive portrayals of LGBTQ characters. GLAAD sprung into action. They issued a statement. And between their clout and the outcry we organized, we forced the comics community to pay attention to the problems in the comic.

And then James Robinson apologized. Robinson heard what we said, and he listened and explained that he now realizes that he “fucked-up” (his words) . I’m not trans but his apology seemed earnest and thoughtful to me. Some trans people were not impressed but others have responded favorably to his apology.

Only July 6, artist Greg Hinkle went so far as to THANK people who spoke up on Twitter and offer to continue the conversation at Comic-Con.

Meanwhile, what about all those defenders of Airboy #2? They continue to promote bigotry. Robinson acknowledged the problems with his comic. He wants to do better. When the artists who created the comic are saying that they now see the problem in what they made, their defenders should probably take a minute and use their hearts and their heads to listen. More importantly, they need to stop and listen to transwomen like Emma Houxbois who’s written powerfully about the problems in this comic and in comics at large.

In the end, the defenders of Airboy want to marginalize comics as an medium because they want to perpetuate a comics industry that excludes people who aren’t like them. They are bringing comics down. Also, to all of the “serious comics journalists” who were willing to acknowledge that there  “may be problems with Airboy 2″ but criticized Graphic Policy and Emma for demanding the book be pulled? Guess what. We got results. If we had played it quiet and POLITE we wouldn’t have brought the attention we brought to the problem.

Remember, we started out by just writing reviews that explained the comic’s transphobia and no one was talking. As soon as we demanded the book be pulled the conversation exploded. This chart Brett made illustrates the silence around Airboy until we made our demands. GLAAD has made it very clear: activism is key to creating change. They said:

“GLAAD is very grateful that the Rainbow Hub and Graphic Policy brought ‘Airboy’ #2 to our attention, and used their social media reach to spark an online discussion about the transphobia in the issue. GLAAD was happy to use our platform to boost their signal, and then to work with James Robinson to distribute his response.” – Nick Adams, Director of Programs for Transgender Media at GLAAD.

If you value politeness over creating change then you don’t really care about making change.  

As Katie Schenkel aka ‏@JustPlainTweets tweeted “People who care more about the idea and purity of ART than about marginalized people’s humanity being chipped away bum me the hell out.”

And From @sarahnmoon: ” If your gentleness is tone-policing and silencing anger, it’s not truly gentle because it doesn’t care about what others are hurt by”

Oh, and what of Image comics – who had their twitter icon wrapped in the rainbow flag while publishing a transphobic comic? Image is still silent. But they took down the flag….

To everyone who tried to change the conversation into a debate over censorship, I recommend Brett’s blog post that explains the difference between our demands and actual censorship (which we oppose). Meanwhile, you can buy two Image Comics that are trans positive right away: The Wicked + The Divine and the new Arclight. You should also buy Sophie Campbell and Kelly Thompson’s hilarious, youth-friendly and suspenseful Jem and the Holograms which has a trans character and is by a trans artist.

But using your comics buying dollars to support positive portrayals of trans people isn’t enough. We can’t just leave it at that. Not when comics are repeating dangerous tropes that their audience can’t even identify as a problem. Not when people are making money off of transphobia.

So yes, we took action. 

And no we don’t apologize. 

* Note on that Frederick Douglas quote: I’m not comparing what we’re doing to the scale of Frederick Douglas’s work. I use his quote to illustrate the point we are making and to show the theory behind activism.

For more on this story and comics media activism listen to our podcast from July 6th.

Take Action: Image, Pull Airboy #2 from Shelves

Writer James Robinson has responded to the controversy and issued an apology.

take actionImage Comics‘ CEO Eric Stephenson himself highlighted the need for diversity in his 2014 Image Expo keynote chastising the industry for treating “gender equality and cultural issues as though they’re little more than gimmicks to increase sales.” Now’s the time to see if Image believes in the words their CEO stated. Airboy #2 finds writer James Robinson and artist Greg Hinkle’s comic versions of themsevles at a bar with Airboy, who has noticed the women around them, and taking a liking. What Airboy does not realize is that these women are transgender, though Robinson and Hinkle are well aware. As if dreamt up by a frat boy trying to be edgy and funny, the next scene involves Airboy in one stall and Hinkle in the other both receiving oral sex. Airboy explodes in anger over the fact that the woman he hooked up with was a “lady with a penis” after he was asked to reciprocate oral sex. A debate ensues about the “men” they hooked-up with, Airboy storming off complaining about the “degenerate” world. Without rehashing the numerous problems surrounding this issue, you can read Emma Houxboi’s take over at The Rainbow Hub and our own take here. This sums it up:

There’s no voice, no agency, no humanity to any of the trans women in this comic. Just an open mouth to fuck or a penis to gawk at.

Image, Robinson, and Hinkle’s Airboy #2 is transphobic and in an industry striving for inclusion and diversity the comic should not be afforded physical or digital shelf space. TAKE ACTION: We are currently running a campaign to have individuals post to Twitter with the hashtag #ImageExpo during today’s event run by the publisher which runs from 1pm ET/10am PT through the day to show support. Below is some suggested text.

One in two transgender individuals are sexually abused or assaulted at some point in their lives. It’s legal in every state, except California, to use “trans panic” as a defense after assaulting or murdering a transgender individual. There’s no reason to perpetuate myths about transwomen that endanger their lives. This is not a call for censorship. James Robinson and Greg Hinkle have a right to create whatever they’d like, and we have as much of a right to show our disdain for that. Speech doesn’t mean protection from consequences. Image has the right to exercise their speech and pull the comic, and actually show they believe in the words and beliefs they claim they uphold. After you are done Tweeting, please help spread the word.

Airboy Crashes and Burns with Transphobic Second Issue

Writer James Robinson has responded to the controversy and issued an apology.

Airboy02_CoverAirboy flew high and then crashed in just two issues. The series by James Robinson and artist Greg Hinkle is a meta take on reviving a golden age hero comic. Instead of just rebooting the character Airboy, Robinson and Hinkle have injected themselves into the story discussing their plan to revive the character and then meeting a “real” version of the character. Except these versions of Robinson and Hinkle are drug fueled ids bad mouthing other publishers and having no issues ingesting whatever drug they find, and having sex with whomever will let them.

The second issue finds Robinson and Hinkle at a bar with Airboy, who has noticed the women around them, and taking a liking. What Airboy does not realize is that these women are transgender, though Robinson and Hinkle are well aware. As if dreamt up by a frat boy trying to be edgy and funny, the next scene involves Airboy in one stall and Hinkle in the other both receiving oral sex. Airboy explodes in anger over the fact that the woman he hooked up with was a “lady with a penis” after he was asked to reciprocate oral sex. A debate ensues about the “men” they hooked-up with, Airboy storming off complaining about the “degenerate” world.

For those that might not understand what all of this is, there’s biological sex (think chromosomes and what the doctor announced upon your birth), gender (whether you identify as a man, a woman, both or neither) and orientation (who you’re attracted to). In this case while the women in the comic likely defined themselves as women, some of them have outwardly male looking genitalia (it’s drawn on panel).

The first issue is the reference to, and debate as if, these individuals are men. They are not. They identify as women, they are women. No ifs. No ands. No buts. Sex, gender, and orientation are three different things. So, to call them men is to belittle them, and deny them who they are. It is offensive. A women is not defined by what’s between her legs.

The next issue is as if the men were being “tricked” by men posing as women. First, transwomen are not guys, they are women, so even defining it as tricking is problematic. But, what is the obligation of one individual to inform the other? There are ethical questions about that and one that this sort of thinking sets a different standard for different types of individuals. Is it standard of hetero individuals to disclose every detail of their sex/gender/orientation before engaging in sexual acts? We know that’s not the case. I think Skepchick does an excellent job at addressing these issues, much better than I as a cis male could:

But this one goes a lot deeper, a lot nastier, a lot more demeaning, and a lot more dangerous.

Dangerous in that a great many trans women have lost their lives to sexual partners who felt they were “tricked”.

The concept of “deception” is a tricky one, and it can be very complicated to unpack the various ethical dimensions of disclosure and where a trans person’s responsibility lies in terms of informing her partner. That’s far too big a subject to tackle here, but Zinnia Jones provides a fantastic explanation in this YouTube video. I’d just like to say that I really don’t think it’s our responsibility to give you the opportunity to inflict your bigotry and hang-ups on us; it’s your responsibility to ask (if it’s that big a deal to you). And if a woman was attractive to you one moment and a repulsive, lying whore the next, when all that has changed is that you now know a largely irrelevant detail of her history, the problem is with your perceptions, not her body.

The problematic implications of us being “traps” are a bit too numerous to name them all. A few that come to mind are the basic assumption that we’re “really” men, believing that our decisions all revolve around you and we’re doing this for your sake, not our own (kind of like the earlier example about how men may interpret how a woman dresses), the issues of conflating gender expression with sexual motivations, the concept that femaleness and femininity are artifice and fake, etc.

But I guess the one that I’d most like to unpack is how, like the thoroughly debunked theory of “autogynophilia”, it looks at trans women’s sexuality and motives through a lens of male sexuality and motives. A hypothetical cis male sits on his couch and is absent-mindedly flipping through a porn magazine. He comes across an ad for “shemale” porn. He wonders, “why would anyone ever do that? Why would a man want to become a woman? That’s crazy!” (yeah, let’s put aside the implicit misogyny there… we can talk about that some other time) and rather than think about it in terms of why a woman would want a female body and not a male one, he thinks about it in terms of why a man would want a female body. The conclusions he draws, based upon the assumption that a man is fundamentally a sexual agent and a woman is fundamentally a sexual object, are that the “shemale” is doing it to get laid, to attract men to him with his new hot, curvy, sexual-object of a body. Either that or, as in “autogynophilia”, doing it to have himself as his very own personal sex object.

Never mind what happens to a trans woman’s libido during HRT. Never mind that for very many trans women, that period of time, exactly when the libido starts diminishing, happens to be when commitment often deepens, and any remaining doubts and questions are resolved. Forget that. It MUST be about sex. Because that’s all the female body is good for: sex.

Right?

But here’s an easier way to sum it up. There’s no conspiracy among transwomen to “trick straight men” because, guess what guys? It’s not all about us. Transwomen want dignity and to be treated and accepted as the women as they are. Not to be a sexual object in a joke or fetish.

The issue’s humor relies on stereotypes. While I thought the first issue toed the line, sticking to jokes about the creators themselves, this issue now turns the jokes towards individuals who already face a difficult road when it comes to acceptance. This report by GLAAD lays out many issues transgender people face such as employment, housing, and education discrimination. Protections that are sometimes afforded to gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals are not extended to those who identify as transgender. As reported by Vocativ “41 percent of trans or gender non-conforming people surveyed have attempted suicide.” compared to “4.6 percent of the overall U.S. population.” The Office for Victims of Crime has more sobering facts like “One in two transgender individuals are sexually abused or assaulted at some point in their lives.”

While the creators of Airboy might have thought this was a simple joke, the reality is no joke. There are other ways they could have found to shock their character about the modern world. There is no reason to repeat dangerous myths to do it.

Our friend (and frequent guest on our radio show) Emma has a fantastic take over on The Rainbow Hub with these two poignant comments.

There’s no voice, no agency, no humanity to any of the trans women in this comic. Just an open mouth to fuck or a penis to gawk at.

It’s legal in every state, except California, to murder a trans woman for being surprised by her genitals by citing “trans panic” as a defence in court. Yet, somehow, Robinson and Hinkle think that this is something to laugh about and Image Comics thinks it’s worthy of printing. I deserve better. We all deserve better. It’s a shame that Image Comics, with all of their rainbow-colored boasting, fails to agree that we deserve this basic level of decency and dignity.

If you have no interest in Airboy you should probably read Airboy

Airboy01_CoverSo I got us a hotel to work out of” — famous last words.

Airboy is deliriously fun and I can’t wait to read the next issue. If you have no actual interest in reading a comic about Airboy (Airboy being a square, Golden Age hero), but would like to read a gonzo take on the creative process: you’ll love it. Airboy is James Robinson‘s meta comic about getting hired to make an Airboy comic, and the drugs that allow one to do so– starring none other than James Robinson and Greg Hinkle (this book’s creative team).

Henceforth, Robinson as portrayed in the comic will be referred to as comic!Robinson, and Hinkle as depicted in the book will be comic!Hinkle. Because they aren’t the same. If they were they wouldn’t be standing…

I adore The Golden Age– Robinson’s classic graphic novel that reimagined Golden Age heroes dealing with the fallout of WWII and their own myths. When I was too broke to spend money buying comics I’d already read, one of the few books I treated myself to was Golden Age.

The Golden Age does what we regard as the “James Robinson Thing.” Some people say he gives corny Golden Age characters new life. I say he takes Golden Age characters and excavates depth & emotional resonance we never knew was there. He’s the writer who brought us Hourman as a drug addict. In the past he’s been post modernist as all get out. But this new comic isn’t about being post modernist. And it’s sure as hell not an ironic take– ironic hipsters? “fuck the lot of them” as comic!Robinson says. What the book is gonzo.

This is his first foray into making gonzo comics. It’s not gonzo journalism– he’s not reporting on anything– but he’s still mythologizing his own creative process and he’s daring us to join him for the ride.

Comic!Robinson says “it has to be real for me to get vested” so to get real he goes on a Hunter S. Thompson worthy drug binge, dragging his artist along with a halo of drunk bubbles.

Airboy_Preview_PageI need to emphasize that the comic is very funny. One gag revolves around Hinkle drawing himself (comic!Hinkle) with a ridiculously huge dick– because of course that’s what you do when you’re the artist. And yes, it’s relevant because things get very naked on multiple levels.

I suspect that much like The Venture Brothers show, on some level this series will be about failure and self disappointment. Maybe the writer works his way through it, we’ll see. For now it all feels like a raw nerve. A hilarious raw nerve. So I can’t help but think of The Venture Brothers which is one of the greatest shows on TV.

The book’s strictly limited color palette keeps the scenes looking a little bit removed. They are in a bathed in a surreal haze, which I presume is pretty accurate. The panels are incredibly detailed yet cartoony and thoroughly peopled. Public scenes are downright crowded with humans who each look unique. You know I love that.

Note that the back of the book shows the covers of the mini-series’ three remaining future issues. These covers actually feature Airboy himself as if to reassure readers that yes, Airboy will in fact be a real presence in the book. I wasn’t worried, guys!

And maybe in the next issue comic!Hinkle will get to tell that story about his Dad…

Also, is Image Comics editor Eric Stephenson a mod? Or just comic!Stephenson?

And comic!Robinson, you’re the only one who thinks you are a hack, I promise.

Story: James Robinson Art: Greg Hinkle
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy!!!

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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