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WLG #380.1 "Sex & the Comics Blogosphere"

A column article by: Matt Spatola

“Sex is more exciting on the screen and between the pages than between the sheets.” -Andy Warhol

I guess in the 21st century Warhol would have had to add comic book messageboards and blog sites to that quote. Well it seems like it anyway if we were to judge things by the last week or so.

As if the buzz machine that is DC’s new 52 needed anything else to increase its visibility, we had the double does of fan meltdown falling the publication of Catwoman #1 and Red Hood and the Outlaws #1 last week.

After another week of sellouts for DC’s new #1s, the main topic on the blogosphere was not that but instead the ending of Catwoman #1 which had the character hook up with Batman for a half in costume/half out, four page sex scene. This was in combination with Red Hood #1 where Starfire has become blazingly open and casual about sexuality.

And fandom responded as fandom does- with a bunch of internet uproar.

Personally I just don’t get the hubbub. I’ve looked over both issues and thought that in both cases it was handled pretty well and seemed to have served setting up a story and character purpose. Maybe that was a problem for some in that we are just laying groundwork here, showing us the new status quos and relationships going on in the new 52 of the DCU.

Was I surprised that Batman and Catwoman had sex? Nope. That’s been there in the characterizations of the two for years now. I have never had a problem exploring sexuality in comics and think it should be done more actually. Publishers are writing for a more mature crowd of readers and should as such reach for those mature themes and subjects. They want us to invest ourselves into the lives of these characters and sex is part of life.

I was actually more surprised that they- DC- seem to be going with the possibility that Selina doesn’t know who Batman really is.

We have already been told that almost all of Batman’s continuity remains intact so if, say, "Hush" is still part of the new continuity and Catwoman’s knowledge of the secret is part of that story how is that knowledge know gone? Guess that will be something for Winick to cover as we go. Maybe that is also part of the problem for readers too, not the sex necessarily but the unresolved questions.

When it comes to Starfire I’m not all that invested in the character so any changes to her or her outlook really don't bother me personally. Lobdell seems to have really run with the idea of being given a clean slate with the characters and do something maybe a little different than what was done before. That’s part of the reasoning and direction behind the relaunch. To me it's only the first issue; let’s see where he goes.

I must say that I’ve been really surprised by the number of sellouts and additional printings DC has been doing for the new 52. Surprised, but happy. Success for DC is success for comics as a whole.

However I have been wondering what are the demographics of all these people buying the new 52? What’s the actual percentage of new readers? How about lapsed readers coming back? Or the dreaded speculators? Seriously, I would love to think that 200,000+ people bought and read the first issue of Justice League, but I just don’t think that’s true.

Well hopefully you have been loving the last two weeks of the column from my new teammates as much as I have. They are doing a great job so please be sure you are here every week checking out the column and what they have to say.

Last time I was at-bat I focused on only DC titles, picking out a few of the new 52. This time I’m going to bypass DC and Marvel and share some picks from the other publishers because there are other comics on sale this week that aren’t part of the 52 and deserve some attention too.

So here we go; my choices for What Looks Good…

BOOM!



Incorruptible #22 $3.99 (Mark Waid & Marcio Takara)

Max's efforts at rebuilding Coalville and redeeming himself to the world have suddenly been cut short by the return of The Plutonian - and Max finds he's woefully unprepared. What lengths will he go to in order to be ready to take Plutonian on, and what sacrifices will he have to make to ensure Earth's survival? The showdown you've been waiting for is here! Don't miss this game-changing issue of Mark Waid's stirring superhero saga!

When Mark Waid launched Irredeemable back in 2009, I was really blown away by that series and the great artwork of Peter Krause. I loved the attempt at realism and at consequences for having powers too. And so when he spun off this book a few months later I jumped on it too.

Waid has done a great job of not only balancing the titles so that readers can only read one of them if they want but also weaving them together in tight, overlapping story arcs. The story of Max Damage, villain turned good guy has been great so far with really beautiful artwork by Takara.

And this issue's cover by Garry Brown is more than enough reason for folks to pick up this book. Try it out, it is possible to read superheroes that are not from the Big Two.

DARK HORSE



Abe Sapien: Devil Does Not Jest #1 of 2 $3.50 (Mignola, Arcudi & Harren)

Buried in a demonologist's basement is a deep, dark family secret, where horrific occult practices prove to be life threatening for Abe Sapien.

I’ve always been a hit or miss reader when it came to the Hellboy books at Dark Horse. Mignola has certainly expanded the universe over there with numerous spinoff series and one shot specials.

This is a great creative team working on this book. Hopefully a little of the buzz over the Death of Hellboy announcement will trickle down to some of these ancillary titles because they certainly deserve any or all attention they receive.

Dave Johnson supplies another one of masterpieces for the cover. Like Incorruptible above, the cover alone would be worth the cover price.

ONI



The Sixth Gun #15 $3.99 (Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt & Bill Crabtree)

Badly wounded, near death, and without his mystic six-shooters, Drake finds himself prisoner of a secret society. Meanwhile, Becky becomes the 'guest' of the priests of the Sword of Abraham in their hidden castle. And in order to uncover more secrets of The Six, Gord Cantrell encounters a sorcerer he murdered years ago.

I got to say I have consistently loved this series. I believe I picked this as a What Looks Good waaay back with its first issue. We all have those titles that we are proud that we discovered before everyone else did. This one is mine. Now I’m not really sure how unknown the book ever has been since it seems to have always had some buzz about it.

And now that Hollywood has come a-knockin’ and we will be seeing a 6th Gun TV series on the SyFy channel, this is as good a time as any to jump on the book if you haven’t been reading it already.

This book is as good as any you will find from the Big Two and also as consistent- strong writing and art and great done-in-one type stories that are part of larger story arcs and continuity.

Oni has developed a great property to stand along with Scott Pilgrim.

Well even though at the beginning of the column I said that I was going to skip DC and Marvel and shine a little spotlight on some other publishers this week. And I really meant it. But I just remembered one book coming out from Marvel this week that really should not be missed by anyone….

Venom #7 $2.99 (Rick Remender & Tom Fowler, cover Tony Moore)

Project Rebirth has been infested - and Venom's going under DEEP cover to start exterminating some bugs starting with Anti-Venom! Tom Fowler (AGE OF HEROES) and Rick Remender (X-FORCE) bring you all the heart-stopping action and heart-wrenching drama as this summer's Spidey Crossover continues!

That’s right. The Flash Thompson Venom vs. Anti-Venom. That is too good a nerdgasm to pass up. And for all those folks who haven’t given the title a shot yet please do. Remender has really taken this concept and developed it into one that makes sense for the character of Venom and also Flash Thompson.

And as one of Marvel’s few three buck ongoings it needs the support to show to Marvel that that is the pricepoint we are looking for. As much as I love the Marvel series that I read some are getting to the point of dropping because of the price.

Anyway that’s it for me. I hope you enjoyed the column and my choices for What Looks Good. Please head over to the messageboard and share your comments or own choices with everybody. Again thanks for checking the column this week and please keep coming back supporting Comics Bulletin and my new column partners.

See you all in 3.

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