Tag Archives: webcomic

Egypt’s Hijab-clad Superheroine

8451I_qahera1Egypt has its own superhero, and the comic book crime fighting Qahera is a hijab wearing crime fighter taking on prejudice and representing strength.

Created by Deena Mohamed, the character was started as a web comic as a way to respond to frustrations at the time. The web comic has gained a following world-wide, not just in Egpyt. The popularity has grown to the point it’s moved from digital to print.

Qahera is the Arabic word for Egypt’s capital, Cairo and also means the conqueror or the vanquisher. An appropriate name for a character whose donning of a hijab is to fight the stereotype that women who wear the Islamic attire can’t also be strong.

The comic is written in English as Mohamed had a Western audience in mind from the beginning, another reason for the hijab. The character is partially a response to the backlash to Islam and meant to address that. In a recent story, that was the main plot with western women calling the outer-wear a sign of “oppression.”

The character also takes on the increase of sexual harassment and attacks on women in the streets of Egypt. An issue that’s been on the rise in recent years. She’s taken up arms, literally with a sword, to battle the issue.

Lately the web comic has taken on more recent history, paying tribute to the women who took part in the 2011 uprising protests.

A fine example of a comic series documenting recent experienced history through the guise of a superhero.


Review: Hominids #1-3

This review originally appeared in a slightly different form on my now-dead, short-lived personal blog back in May. But Graphic Policy is a much better location for this review!

Chapter-2_cover_SmallA few months ago (back in May) I helped to organize a local convention at my university, serving as a panelist coordinator, and while the convention wasn’t the most successful to date in the history of cons, it was nonetheless a wonderful experience to be involved in, and especially to meet all of the wonderful artists, writers, cosplayers, and even actors who participated in our wide-ranging panels. I got the opportunity to check out our exhibition hall, where we had several comic book industry insiders, including Brandon Jerwa (VampirellaBattlestar GalacticaG.I. Joe), Mark Rahner (VampirellaWarlord of MarsRotten), Mike Catron and Gary Groth (co-founders of Fantagraphics Books and the guys who took over The Nostalgia Journal and turned it into today’s famous The Comics Journal), James Taylor (artist and co-founder of Jet City Comic Show), and a number of authors (Danika Dinsmre, Janet Lee Carey), several professors from Western Washington University and the University of Washington, and many vendors from Portland, OR to Vancouver, B.C.

One of the best finds of the con, however, was meeting Jordan Kotzebue and cashing in a well-spent $15 for the first three issues of his Hominids series. Kotzebue’s work in this creator-owned, independent comic series is outstanding, with a playful artistic style that is beautiful, fun to look at, and richly detailed. One quick flip through his books and I was sold (quite literally) on their ability to at least visually captivate and tell and solid story. I was not disappointed, either, by the writing, especially after the story comes into its own in issues #2 and #3 (it feels as though #1 was written by someone completely different).

Hominids is not just good and original art, though, it’s also a really intricate and playful story which deals with complex issues that plague society today. While it’s not necessarily a good review to say “this connects to society,” since almost every comic or piece of Nerd media nowadays is talking about issues pertinent to modern, globally conscious citizens (this is, after all, due to the fact that media is partly a reflection of its time and grapples with the complexities its consumers face in situ), Koztebue’s work does more than just calmly allude to race and, to a lesser extent, gender relation in the U.S. and elsewhere. Instead, Hominids vividly challenges notions of biologized racial attributes by showing that culture and historical circumstances are what shape individuals’ and groups’ actions.

Disavowing the idea that racial and ethnic groups have innate, born-in-the-bled differences is incredibly important to achieving racial inequality, since arguments about biologized race have been the basis for oppression, genocide, ethnocide, linguicide, and slavery for hundreds (thousands) of years of interaction between Western Euro-America and the largely non-White rest of the world. And while I can’t say for sure that Kotzebue means to create a parable about race and the nature vs. nurture/biology vs. culture debates, the prehistorical context with multiple Hominid groups vying for dominance in their respective ecological niches provides a great foil for this kind of fun, lighthearted exploration of a very serious present-day issue.

By virtue of its temporally distant setting, Hominids can call into question the belief that race is something genetic. The Homo sapiens (Humans) in the second issue are shown as a violent species, constantly warring with the other Hominid groups, but especially Kotzebue’s forest-dwelling, tree-climbing Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthals). With the introduction of the human character Icari, who was cast out of his human city for believing he found the One True God (which looks like a demon on a spaceship…time travel?!), antagonism and mistrust erupts in the Neanderthal pack, who want little to do with a violent human. However, pack leader Zona points out that this human might be proof that the humans’ culture is to blame for their violence, and not their nature.

The second and third issues are packed full of useful insights that hearken to issues of colonialism worldwide, but which especially parallel the struggle of Native Americans against Whites, a point made all the more potent since all the humans drawn thus far are ‘Caucasian’ (and, curiously, so are the Neanderthals). There are also issues raised about disability, given that two of the main characters are albino; while not a physical or mental disability, albinism is definitely a social one.

In terms of gender dynamics, it could be pointed out that the female characters bearing their breasts is sexualizing, but given the context of the story (Hello, they’re Neanderthal’s…who look just like humans…) and the fact that Zona and Sno don’t seem to be hyper-sexualized like most comics these days, Hominds doesn’t strongly reinforce stereotypes about female characters, and even goes so far as to provide a major female leader. It is possible, though, that Sno’s albinism and Icari’s fascination with her could easily develop overtones of objectification of Sno as a goddess figure. I trust in Jordan, though, given Hominids‘ other overall themes.

Issue-3_store_largeAs a reader, I’m wondering whether or not the savage and chimp-like peoples will get their fair say as well, or if Zona’s argument about culture driving action will fall in on itself and contradict what is one of the most socially conscious and critical points of the whole series thus far.

I find Hominids a thrilling, light-hearted and yet somehow serious, additional to my comic collection. Primatology and Hominid evolution is great fun to study in class, but it’s so much more exciting in fiction (think, Planet of the ApesTarzan of the Apes, Auel’s Earth’s Children series), not the least of which because pondering what-ifs regarding our nearest ancestors and cousins is so delightfully threatening to our assumed specialness as evolved, intelligent, and evolutionarily successful critters.

If it could be put on your local comic bookstore pull list, I would recommend everyone to do so. Unfortunately, for now, we’ll have to settle for the online version and what becomes available in Kotzebue’s e-store. Hominids is available page-by-page online and updated every Tuesday, but I thoroughly suggest that you buy the individual issues through his e-store, not only because they are a wonderful addition to any comic collector’s stash, but because they look so much better in person! Also, I’m a sucker for getting to interact physically with the media I consume–there’s nothing better than smell and feel of new comics and old books! And supporting an up-and-coming artist is a way you can contribute personally to the creation of great, socially conscious art.

You can check out Hominds on Facebook, and follow Jordan Kotzebue on both Twitter and Tumblr, where you can check out his non-Hominids art and experience the full range of his dynamic style.

Story and art: Jordan Kotzebue
Story: 8.5  Art: 9  Overall: 9  Recommendation: Buy

Around the Tubes

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We should be pretty back to normal this week as far as coverage, going a bit heavier when it comes to games since we just came off of Gen Con.  We’ve missed a few “Around the Tubes,” so below is catch up with some older news and throughout the day, we’ll be posting news we might have missed.

Around the Blogs:

Bleeding Cool – The Superhero With Irritable Bowel SyndromeWell that’s just shitty…

Bleeding Cool – How A Soft Cowboys & Aliens Opening May Affect Platinum StudiosDoh!

IGN – Race in Comics: Spider-Man’s ImpactA take on Marvel’s recent announcement.

Bleeding Cool – Joe Quesada Commissioned By President ObamaWe are so raising revenues through sales of alternate covers.

ICv2 – Sony Sets Date for Garfield ‘Spider-Man’ SequelYes, that’s a sequel to a movie that hasn’t even been released yet.

Kotaku – Sunday ComicsEach week, Kotaku brings some great web comics.

Obsessive Reaction – Race in comic books, does it even matter?An interesting take on the new ultimate Spider-Man.

Comics Alliance – Warner Bros. Purchases Film Rights to Nate Simpson’s ‘Nonplayer’Has the second issue even come out?

ICv2 – ‘Game of Thrones’ Helmer in Talks for ‘Thor 2’ – Could be a really good fit.

Monthly/Quarterly Sales Numbers:

ICv2 – Game Sales Grew in Q2

ICv2 – Top 10 Card Games–Q2 2011

ICv2 –Top 5 RPGs–Q2 2011

ICv2 – Top 10 Board Games–Q2 2011

ICv2 – Top Collectible Games–Q2 2011

ComiChron – July initial, June final comics orders online; IDW sets record

Con Coverage:

MTV Geek – Gen Con: New Marvel Comics RPG Games Announced By Margaret Weis Productions

CBR – Geoff Johns & Jim Lee Named Guests of Honor at New York Comic-Con

Around the Tubes Reviews:

Cambridge First – Batman: Hush Unwrapped Deluxe Edition

English Chick 21 – Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Graphic Novel

CBR – Rachel Rising #1

CBR – Scalped #51

IGN – Comic Book Reviews for 8/3/11

Paste Magazine – Comic Book & Graphic Novel Round-Up (8/3/11)

Read The Final Two Episode Of The Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes Prequel Today!

Official Press Release



August 3rd, 2011 – Los Angeles, CA – Apes fans, prepare for the final two episodes of the RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES free online prequel – available now at www.apescomics.com. At BOOM! Studios we’re going Ape over the worldwide premiere of RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES Friday, August 5th. And to whet your appetite we’re releasing the final two episodes where Burke and Bright Eyes plan their escape from the Gen-Sys Labs. But will they make it out alive? Find out by reading the free online prequel, then watch the feature film this Friday, August 5th, 2011!

“The Apes will rise this week, and we’re keeping Apes mania alive by releasing not one but two more episodes of the RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES free online prequel!” says BOOM! Studios Founder and Chief Executive Officer Ross Richie. “That’s right, these are the final episodes of the series! So if you know anyone who hasn’t read the RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES free online prequel, link, chat, tweet, or facebook www.apescomics.com and see the events leading up to the feature film!”

The RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES free online prequel is written by PLANET OF THE APES comic series writer Daryl Gregory and drawn by Harvey Award-nominated artist Damian Couceiro (HAWKS OF OUTREMER) and Tony Parker (DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP?). This free online prequel details the events leading up to the RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES feature film debuting worldwide this Friday, August 5th.

Since its debut on July 13th BOOM! Studios has released a brand new 5-page episode of the RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES free online comic book prequel every Wednesday at www.apescomics.com. Today marks the final two exciting installments of the online prequel released two days before the RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES movie premiere this Friday, August 5th.

In April BOOM! Studios announced they were publishing an all new ongoing PLANET OF THE APES comics series set in the original classic 1968 movie continuity. Subsequently, a flurry of fan interest caused a complete sell-out of PLANET OF THE APES #1, sending the seminal issue into second print even before hitting store shelves!

About BOOM! Studios
Award-winning “Best Publisher” BOOM! Studios (www.boom-studios.com) generates a constellation of bestselling comic books and graphic novels with the industry’s top talent, including Mark Waid’s series IRREDEEMABLE, Stan Lee’s SOLDIER ZERO, THE TRAVELER, and STARBORN (the first new series in print from the industry icon in 20 years), new HELLRAISER comics written by Clive Barker as well as 20th Century Fox’s PLANET OF THE APES, 28 DAYS LATER, and DIE HARD, Philip K. Dick’s DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP?, and The Henson Company’s FARSCAPE. BOOM!’s recently rebranded all-ages imprint, KABOOM! will see publication of PEANUTS, SPACE WARPED, Roger Langridge’s SNARKED, Scholastic’s WORDGIRL, as well as continuing to publish fan-favorite Disney Afternoon series DARKWING DUCK, CHIP ‘N’ DALE RESCUE RANGERS and DUCKTALES along with Disney standards MICKEY MOUSE, DONALD DUCK, UNCLE SCROOGE, and WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES.

Around the Tubes

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We took yesterday off to enjoy the weekend, so here’s a little bit more packed Monday edition of “Around the Tubes.”  While you were enjoying your weekend, like us, here’s what you might have missed, and as you can see, it’s not much.

Around the Blogs:

Champagne Candy – More Thoughts on X-Men: First ClassSome interesting commentary on the pervasive sexism throughout X-Men: First Class.

Comic Book Movie – Why the original First Class could not be used in the new moviePretty decent argument and interesting take.

Kotaku – Sunday ComicsEach week Kotaku brings some of the best web comics.

Around the Tubes Reviews:

Seattle Pi – The Dusk Society

Now Read This – Jack of Fables volume 4: Americana

Around the Tubes

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The weekend is up and it seems like last week was all about politics in comic books, whether it was Superman’s citizenship or Captain America and Wikileaks. Even Age of X had a political message. We’ll have a few articles dissecting each of these in the coming days. Here’s the rest of the news you might have missed.

Around the Blogs:

Kotaku – Sunday ComicsKotaku each week brings various webcomics for you to check out.

RTT News – Jeff Bridges In Talks To Join Ryan Reynolds In ‘R.I.P.D.’How many comic book franchises can you collect?  Got to get them all.

Around the Tubes Reviews:

Freethunk – Evolution: The Story of Life on Earth

Blogomatic 3000 – Fighting American

Bleeding Cool – The Sky Over The Louvre

Around the Tubes

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The news kicked up a bit this Sunday, but it was still a pretty quiet weekend.  Hope everyone had a great Easter.

Around the Blogs:

Los Angeles Times – ‘Spider-Man’ musical dissected by a classics scholar in the New York Review of BooksA much more interesting take on what went wrong with Julie Taymor’s vision for the Spider-Man musical.

The Mary Sue – The Accidental Viral Web Comic Hit (About Libraries. And Zombies.)If you want to read comics but not drop $3 or $4, there’s some great webcomics out there.

Bleeding Cool – Rob Williams Signs Exclusive With MarvelAnother exclusive is announced.

Bleeding Cool – Captain America And Nick Fury Filming In Times Square… But Why?I’m guessing it was to see the retooled Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark or maybe Cats, most likely to see the well reviewed Book of Mormon.

Bleeding Cool – Peter Milligan Confirms John Constantine Returning To DC UniverseCould be interesting.

Wizkids – On the Road…GenConTo play in the tournament or not to play in the tournament, that is the question.

Kotaku – Sunday ComicsEvery Sunday Kotaku brings some great web comics.

Con Coverage:

Comic Book Resources – WC11: Sunday Photo Parade

Around the Tubes

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A very, very quiet Sunday (and weekend in general).  Hope you all have your taxes done!

Around the Blogs:

Kotaku – Sunday ComicsKotaku brings the various web comics that caught their interest.

Around the Tubes Reviews:

Comic Book Resources – Booster Gold #43

Comics Girl – The Downsized

The Quick Wit Lit Links of Springfield-Greene County – Jane Eyre: The Graphic Novel

Comic Book Resources – CBR REVIEW: “Thor” Is The Best Marvel Film Yet

The Right Blindly Attacks Sarah Glidden’s The Waiting Room

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Sarah Glidden who has used graphic narrative to explore her own thoughts on being Jewish and traveling to Israel for Birthright has focused on Iraqi refugees displaced since the recent war in Iraq and now reside in Syria in The Waiting Room.  The 20 page web comic is fairly balanced focusing on the hurdles of the refugees.  In Syria, they are not allowed to hold jobs, but many are educated and have skills they can bring to the workforce.  At the same time their status as refugees remains in limbo, forcing them to rely on the slow processes of international efforts to gain basic necessities such as food and education.

What a shock in the usual culprit over at The Astute Blogger Avi Green saw this as an opportunity to attack Glidden for her reporting and also not bother to fact check any of his incorrect opinions.  Right off the bat Green labels Glidden as a “would-be” graphic novelist, demeaning her first piece of work, How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less.  I thought her first piece of major work was excellent, giving it an overall 10 in the review.  She’s not a “would-be,” she is a graphic novelist.  That remark coming from a “would-be” journalist like Green is downright unnecessary and petty like much of his attacks.

I’m also not quite sure Green has read her work, as he calls it a “a negative stance on Zionism.”  The graphic novel is anything but.  Instead Glidden admits going into the story she expects a hard core stance by her Birthright guides and that she comes from a more left perspective.  Her views by the end are different than going in, as she comes out with a greater understanding of the situation in Israel.  It’s actually quite a positive depiction of Israel.

Green begins to dissect and attack the work at hand, and as usual throws out factually incorrect statements that simple Google searches debunk.  His first issue is Glidden’s commentary on the Iraqi educational system is this panel.

Green has this to say:

Really, was it that solid in education? Saddam lived and died a Muslim, holding a Koran at his trial, and his government run universities would most likely have incorporated the Religion of Peace and anti-Israelist education into their curriculum (one of the other panels at the political cartoon site says the colleges were free, which sounds vaguely similar to the notions some communists/marxists/socialists have of how to do things). I’m not sure you can call that solid stuff. Nor can a religion/education/political system that calls for jihad, oppression of women, and considers Jews “sons of apes and pigs” be something to learn from. And why do I get the vibe these refugees wouldn’t give a crap about how Saddam fired scud missiles at Israel back in 1991, causing plenty of people, myself included, to have to hide in airtight rooms?

A simple search online actually reveals the facts.  According to UNESCO prior to the 1991 Gulf War ” Iraq had one of the best educational performances in the region. Primary school Gross Enrollment Rate was 100% and literacy levels were high.”  Since the war with Iran and especially after the 1991 Gulf War, education has slid and declined.  However, they are still considered an educated populace.

Green also shows his blind hatred of any sort of left philosophy calling the Iraq free college education “vaguely similar to the notions some communists/marxists/socialists have of how to do things.”  I guess Green also is against the free primary education here in the United States.  I do wonder if hey actually thinks through his hypocrisy or just slings out the bullshit without even thinking.  Free education exists in many countries throughout the world and in non-communist/marxist/socialist nations like Australia and Brazil.  In Australia and Brazil that does include college education.  But again, a simple Google search would have allowed Green to do real journalism.  Not the “would-be” type he practices.

But really Green’s blind hatred for Iraq and Iraqi’s is present in this telling line:

And why do I get the vibe these refugees wouldn’t give a crap about how Saddam fired scud missiles at Israel back in 1991, causing plenty of people, myself included, to have to hide in airtight rooms?

His criticism as shown in that quote has nothing to do with facts or the story as presented, it’s his absolute hatred for Iraqis.  Green seems to forget back in 1991 there was a war that raged in the Gulf that forced allies to band together a remove Saddam from the invaded Kuwait.  Those attacks were part of that war.  That’s just a fact.  I’m sorry he needed to hide in an airtight room as the allies bombed Iraq as well.

But lets continue to dissect and disarm Green’s fantasy land attack.  He then goes on in his rant of a blog post calling the web comic “propaganda” citing this panel.

Green has this to say:

So the woman drawn in the panel blames America for her misfortunes, not Saddam for the oppression, nor the terrorists who went on a rampage after the US raid. Perhaps she might want to consider that nearly a decade ago, when the raid took place, there were terrorists going through Syria to get to Iraq, and Syria helped and encouraged many to do so. But she probably won’t. The 7th panel at the political cartoon site has the interviewee saying, “America set fire to my country and we lost everything”. Not exactly. There is a legitimate case that could be made that the US military didn’t do a good enough job at defeating the invading terrorists properly at the beginning, and this is what led to their misfortunes. But it appears she’s only blaming America for invading in the first place, and not the jihadists who crossed through Syria into Iraq. What, they don’t have any responsibility?

What Green leaves out is this panel:

Clearly there are Iraqis who have no problem with America, especially if they’re moving here or receiving their education from American universities as this web comic tells.  The above is an absolute misrepresentation of what’s presented by leaving out further panels.

But again Green shows off his hypocrisy.  He rages against, and clearly hates Iraqis for their attack against Israel as part of the 1991 Gulf War.  But when an Iraqi shows distrust and dislikes the United States for bombing their country, that’s not ok.  Pretty sure there’s something up with that logic there.

But he seems to be mixing up what people are talking about.  In his “logical” response about someone’s dislike of the United States due to the second Gulf War, Green takes a divergent discussion bringing up terrorists and jihadists invading from Syria.  One has nothing to do with the other.  This next part is brilliance by Green:

“America set fire to my country and we lost everything”. Not exactly.

So were you there Avi?  Did you see the bombs fall?  It’s kind of hard to say that this didn’t occur.  We bombed that country, infrastructure was destroyed, people lost lives, it happened.  How did it “not exactly” happen?  Because we didn’t do a good enough job of beating the shit out of the nation.  Green goes on “There is a legitimate case that could be made that the US military didn’t do a good enough job at defeating the invading terrorists properly at the beginning, and this is what led to their misfortunes.”  Green actually advocates for blowing more things up.  So I guess his “not exactly” was more in reference to the refugee’s statement of “lost everything” and the United States military could have actually destroyed more.

Green then takes issue with an article by Comic Beat on this work by Glidden:

Glidden is definitely following in the footsteps of the incomparable Joe Sacco in becoming a graphic reporter on the trouble spots of the world. While there’s only one Sacco, Glidden is finding her own place in the field with her work.

Avi spends the rest of the post beating up on Sacco who at times does take a side in his “graphic reporting.”  While the Comic Beat is just stating the fact that like Sacco, Glidden is using graphic novels as a way to report and depict real world events, Green takes it more personal (he really hates Sacco) as if Glidden has the same stances or beliefs as Sacco:

When they start comparisons with a foul fiend like Sacco, something is wrong.


And back to Glidden now, it’s tragic that the artform of comics is being abused by such loathsome people to attack Israel and America. I wonder if her next destination will be to attack the Israeli army (which I served in when I was 19-21, even if it was only in supplies duties)? She is just as bad news as Sacco.

Say what you will about Sacco’s work, the only comparison that two have is they both cover the Middle East and both use graphic journalism to tell their tales.  Their view points are divergent.  But again, Green’s attacks on Sacco are telling.  Green clearly has issues with free speech and viewpoints that aren’t his own.

Green is a Zionist, he doesn’t believe that people called “Palestinian” exist.  When that’s the viewpoint you take, it’s hard to hear the opinion, take or viewpoint of anyone else.  And as long as Green presents misleading statements, lies stated as facts and uncalled for attacks, I’ll be here to call his bullshit.

Sarah Glidden’s The Waiting Room

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Sarah Glidden, who tackled the subject of Israel in the excellent graphic novel How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less has published a twenty page web comic called The Waiting Room.  The web comic looks at Iraqi refugees who now call Syria home.

Syria is home to the world’s largest urban refugee population; hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have poured in since the 2003 invasion. Barred from joining the Syrian workforce, they attempt to navigate bureaucratic hurdles and find a new place to call home. Sarah Glidden, with contributing reporting from the Common Language Project, give us a window into their lives.

You can check out the web comic at Cartoon Movement.

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