Sunday, 7 November 2010

More on Comics, Part 2 - Dynamic Heroines

In previous Blogs, I talked about my initial experiences buying and enjoying Comics. In a later Blog about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the books, TV show and also comics, I talked about how my interest in comics was rekindled when I discovered the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics.

As I started to buy the Buffy comics, I began to check out what new comics were now for sale. It had been 30+ years since I'd collected seriously. The comics that I'd had left over from my childhood had been sold at a yard sale shortly after my divorce. I still had my Kamandi series, The New Gods, plus sundry Haunted Tanks, Sgt Rock and Easy Company, etc. I sold the bunch for a song basically. I do regret it now, but you can't live in the past.

Anyway, I had been buying Buffy for awhile and started to look at a few other comics. I still felt somewhat foolish, even buying the Buffy comics as I was a middle aged man. But there were a few that caught my eye. These usually involved a superhero heroine. Yup, I like comics with female heroines. For some reason I also tend to prefer books written by women or with female leads, e.g. Karin Slaughter, Sue Grafton, Kathy Reich's, etc. When I look at my music I think I have more female singers than male. I don't know why this is so, maybe just the variety?

So back to comics. I'm not sure which I bought first, but over time, there were three comic series that I began to follow; Witchblade, Tomb Raider and Fathom.

I became interested in Tomb Raider probably because I had the computer game. I'm not sure which came first, the chicken or the egg - the computer game or the comic, but I think the former. Dynamic, adventurous, full of life and neat story lines, all grabbed me. The art work was excellent, even with changes to writers and inkers, but the overall quality was excellent.

When the first movie came out, with Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft, she was perfect for the role. She made a great comic book heroine. I preferred the second movie probably as it was more to the point and had a better story.

I collected Tomb Raider from Dec 99 thru Jan 05. But by then I had become interested in other series and the series was winding down.

I started collecting the Witchblade series in Aug 99. Sara Pezzini, a New York police detective, also possesses the Witchblade a sentient weapon that becomes part of her. Sara struggles to control the weapon in solving supernatural cases that she becomes involved in.

She often works with The Darkness, wielded by Jackie Estacado in battling supernatural forces. She has also worked with Lara Croft in crossovers and also Fathom.

I enjoyed the series quite a bit. It was quite dark and gritty, but the stories of David Wohl and Mark Silvestri were quite readable.

There was an attempt at a TV series, starring Yancy Butler as Sara Pezzini, but it just didn't seem to have the same feel and the special effects weren't great. I stopped buying this series in 2005 as well. It had lost some of its appeal. I do see the latest iteration of Witchblade on the book shelves now, but I prefer other series.

The other series of the 'Big Three' was Michael Turner's Fathom. This series followed the adventures of Aspen Matthews. A young woman discovered at sea and suffering from amnesia, she slowly discovers she is in fact not human, but one of the Blue, a race that lives below the surface of the seas, trying to avoid contact with humanity. She is as well, and this is discovered in later issues, a part of the Black, another of the undersea races.

Aspen possesses powers to use water as a weapon and she uses this to try and keep mankind from destroying the Blue and vice versa.

It was an excellent series, but hit by delays due to the creator, Michael Turner's battle with cancer. In this battle, he was ultimately unsuccessful, but he created a wonderful series and many others for Top Cow. This is a series that I still follow and I look forward to the next issues.

The latest rumour is that Megan Fox has signed to act in the lead role in a Fathom movie, although I must say there is nothing in imdb about it. If done right, I think she would make quite a suitable Aspen Matthews.

Aphrodite IX came out in 1996 written by David Wohl and was a relatively short lived series. It concerned Aphrodite an android trained as an assassin. After her missions she retained no memory of her missions.

However there is some mission creep and she develops a distaste for her role and has desires to be a human.

This is a tried and true concept. If you consider Dollhouse by Joss Whedon and also Charlize Theron's movie, Aeon Flux, both have similar ideas in their development.

It was an interesting concept and I enjoyed the series. It was unfortunate that it had such a short run.

Searching through back editions at my comic book store, I found the Birds of Prey. I didn't buy too many of them, but I did enjoy the series. It was a DC series about Oracle, formerly Bat Girl, who is paralyzed from the waist down and is the brains of the operation.

Huntress and Black Canary feature in the comics I purchased and they were guided by Oracles computer hacking skills and guidance.

There was a very short lived, unfortunately, TV series loosely based on the comics. Dina Meyer played Oracle and Ashley Scott, Huntress. They were joined by Rachel Skarsten as Dinah and in one episode, Lori Loughlin appeared as Black Canary. I enjoyed both the comics and the series.

The last of the dynamic female super heroine type comic I'll mention is my most recent series. That is David Wohl's, Executive Assistant.

Iris, as a young girl, finds herself at an Academy in China, learning to be an Executive Assistant. This involves somewhat more than your normal EA, rather she is also a trained ninja, sent by her boss to remove intransigent competitors.

Like Nikita, she begins to develop doubts about her boss and her role. When he sends assassins after her to kill her and her lover, she decides to avenge her loss.

It's an interesting and well drawn series and as mentioned above, she does remind me somewhat of the new Nikita.

Next comic Blog will cover other series, such as those of Alan Moore and J. Michael Straczynski. Check out your local comic book store, you might find something interesting there. :0)


  1. If you managed to save a few of your older comics I suggest you may want to consider framing them. They make great wall decorations in a den or boys room. And no, I dont have any of your comics

  2. lol.. that's one thing I know you don't have. Good idea though, most of mine are newer though and are in folders and boxes. The graphic novels I have on book shelves..


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