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The Full Bleed – Marvel Had to Put The Punisher On Netflix, But Not for the Reason You Think – Interesting theories.

The Outhousers – Industry Shocker: Does Marvel Force Employees to Sign Away Right to Say Anything Bad About Marvel for the Rest of Their Lives?! – Interesting read. Hopefully no one signs this.

The Beat – San Diego Comic-Con ’15: Perfect Pack Preparedness – Some good advice!

The ComiChron – Secret Wars #1 tops May 2015 comics sales; Loot Crate-powered Bravest Warriors takes second – Not really shocking.

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Kotaku – DC Comics: Harley Quinn & Poison Ivy Are Girlfriends “Without Monogamy” – Mazel Tov!

 

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Talking Comics – 1602: Witch Hunter Angela #1

The Beat – All Star Section Eight #1

The Outhousers – Barb Wire #1

The Herts Advertiser – Marvel Platinum: The Definitive Ant-Man

ComicMix – Pride and Prejudice

Can Elizabeth Bennet Make it Mainstream?

It is a strange question.  For fans of Jane Austen they will argue that she already is and that she always have been. The main character and heroine of Pride and Prejudice is a beloved character by many from literature, especially for those that consider themselves fans of Jane Austen.  She is adored because of her unusual circumstances, a member of the lesser nobility, but one that is in danger of losing the status if she cannot be married.  Despite the needs to subjugate herself to a man, she never loses her own voice and opinion, and it is thus almost by accident that she comes to be enamored with Mr. Darcy, her one time foe.  Most fans of the character will say that mainstream means that a character is easily recognizable and even that some fundamental attributes of the character will be known aside from simple name recognition.  While name recognition is important in terms of saying that something is mainstream, in modern pop culture there is another determinant, and that is crossovers between mediums.  One can say that for instance a superhero is not mainstream until they have movies, novels, and video games focusing on them, and in this case, it is hard for many characters from literature to go truly mainstream, at least in the modern setting.

Elizabeth3Despite having the odds somewhat stacked against her as a 19th century heroine from literature, it would seem that Elizabeth Bennet does in fact have a chance.  The starting point for this can be tied to the sudden popularity of Jane Austen at the movies in the 1990s, where Emma and Sense and Sensibility both saw big screen versions, and where other movies such as Clueless were adaptations of Austen’s works.  While these were popular enough in their own right, what thrust Elizabeth Bennet into the public eye was the 2005 film of Pride and Prejudice.  Although it was mildly criticized for trading in popularity of the movie for accuracy to the original story, it was nonetheless well accepted, resulting in the first Academy Award nomination for Keira Knightley.

marryingIt rightly might have been this movie which put the story and the heroine into the public spotlight as never before.  Of course in terms of crossover for media, there are fewer options available to the characters of Jane Austen’s novels, but only four years later the popularity of the zombie genre intersected with Austen with the release of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  This parody novel combined the two genres, and while there was certainly a part of its readership that was interested in zombies or simply the shock value, it was still well received.

The crossovers into movies and other novels are maybe the easy ones, but it is hard to imagine that Elizabeth Bennet could move into other mediums.  A video game involving Elizabeth Bennet?  It is hard to imagine what the action could be.  However if board games are allowed to stand in for video games, there is indeed a crossover here as well, with the board game Marrying Mr. Darcy.  Granted this board game can be considered to be relatively simplistic as it designers admits that she is more Austen fan than board game designer, but nonetheless the game is relatively popular and relatively well reviewed.

Lara Croft as Elizabeth Bennet

Lara Croft as Elizabeth Bennet

Equally where one might not expect to see Elizabeth Bennet at all is in the medium of comics, but even here she has a recent appearance, by way of being channeled by Lara Croft.  In the most recent arc of Tomb Raider, Lara agrees to be an understudy for the role of Elizabeth Bennet in a play put on by her friend, but she is unwittingly thrown into the lead role that she doesn’t want when the main actress quits.  This is not true Elizabeth Bennet, as it is still Lara Croft underneath, a character that admittedly does not like the source material.  Through the help of her friends she is taught of the importance of it, as people feel connected with the characters within, just as Lara does with the people who created the things that she digs up.  As Lara is thrown into action she is forced to engage in a subway fight dressed as Elizabeth Bennet, perhaps the strangest yet of the character’s crossovers.

Strangely it does seem as the appeal for Elizabeth Bennet to go truly mainstream is there.  As opposed to other romantic heroines from literature, she is not ignored and at least given a chance to fit in elsewhere.  The fit is maybe not perfect, but the interest is there, and while she may never get her own video game, it would seem as though she has nearly accomplished the impossible.

Review: Tomb Raider #12

tr12 covIn the process of their craft, writers have a tendency to come up with a number of tricks to get the creative juices flowing.  In recent years, one of these tricks has become almost mainstream in popular culture, and that is the combination of two genres which normally would stand alone and have nothing to with each other.  Thus one might find a combination of Jane Austen romances with zombie horror (for instance in the book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.)  So far in this new Tomb Raider series it has seemed that the writers have struggled with an idea about how to make the character fresh and relevant, having changed her sexual orientation and basing her stories in exotic and dangerous places (Chernobyl!) while at the same time failing to write a gripping story about the character which is true to her roots.  In this last two part mini-story arc focusing on Lara’s involvement in a stage version of Pride and Prejudice, the core of the character is finally gotten a little bit closer to, but still rests a long way off.  It is not so much that the character would be betrayed by a change in her sexual identity or by going to areas that don’t really deal with much archaeology (Chernobyl!), but it does when the change is more like putting a sticker on her for identification instead of a fundamental change in the approach to the character.

Incidentally though, this issue is strangely entertaining, but perhaps in a way which is not intended.  Going back to the mixing of dissimilar genres, what happens here is a strange mix, with Elizabeth Bennet thrown into a superhero role through the body of Lara Croft.  When one lets go from the distractions that come from the flaws in this series, this in itself is a fun enough idea, though one that is equally wasting Lara Croft’s place in this series (as a similar scenario could have been created with any number of superheroines.)

In the end, this trick of genre-mixing is all that this series has had going for it.  Each time another one of the amazing covers comes out, it leads the reader to think that the series is finally getting on track, but each time it leads to Lara being depicted in a manner which is far from what has come before.  It is all the more surprising that the creative team behind this series is really talented and has been known for some really groundbreaking work in the medium.  For the time being fans of the character are left with glimpses like there are here and left waiting for the return of the character that they love.

Story:  Rhianna Pratchett and Gail Simone Art: Nicolas Daniel Selma
Story: 7.6 Art: 7.6 Overall: 7.6 Recommendation: Read

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a free copy for review

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Lots of interesting items you might have missed over the past day. Here’s what stood out to me.\

Around the Blogs:

Bleeding Cool – A Stuttering Start To Joe’s Comics -An interesting read.

The Comic Books – Audio from 16 Panels at San Diego Comic-Con 2012A great resource for people not there.

Examiner – Guillermo del Toro confirms ‘Hulk’ TV series ‘still on’ -I hope we see this.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews:

Talking Comics – Batwoman #11

Throne of Otherworld – Daredevil Season One

Poisoned Rationality – Fables Deluxe Volume 2

Graphic Novel Resources – My Friend Dahmer

Book Talk and More – Pride and Prejudice

Examiner – The Walking Dead #100

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Thankfully I didn’t go see the midnight showing of Transformers 3, instead choosing the 9pm.  I’m thankful because that means I didn’t lose sleep along with my $15.  This has to be one of the worst films of the summer so far, and that says a lot in the summer of disappointments.  Our full review later.

Around the Blogs:

ICv2 – Spidey Musical Playing to Packed HousesI see this one sticking around for a bit, but not ever being profitable.

ICv2 – The Top Ten Box Office Duds of 2011 So FarYou can add Transformers 3 to this (I hope).

Around the Tubes Reviews:

Good Comic Books – G.I. Joe: Cobra Civil War #1

Geekweek – The Homeland Directive

Graphic Novel Reviews – Pride and Prejudice