Nudity in Comics Survey

2 May

<a href=”” title=”Nudity in Comics Survey”>Nudity in Comics Survey

Hey guys, I am working on a project that would greatly benefiet from your input. This is a link to my Nudity in Comics survey, give it a looksee if you have the time, I would really appreciate it : ).

Also, if you are interested in completing a longer questionnaire, or know someone who might be, drop me a line at, and I’ll send one your way.

Bad Romance: Poll-What is the Most Toxic Relationship in Comics?

7 Apr

With so much history behind them, comic book couples are bound to have some dark chapters, but these relationships stand out as uniquely detrimental for one or more parties involved. So, who do you think wins the title of the most toxic relationship in comics?


Hank Pym (Ant Man, Giant Man, etc) & Janet Van Dyne (Wasp)

“Dammit Janet”

hank_pym_slapHank Pym has never been a model partner. He has kidnapped, beaten, and attempted to murder poor Janet over the years. While their drama makes for a compelling read, no good can come from this pair being together.

Hank has suffered from a variety of mental illnesses, some prompted by his exposure to unsafe levels of chemicals, some generated from his deep-rooted Napoleon complex. Whenever he is feeling down, Janet makes a perfect scape goat.


Bruce Wayne (Batman) & Talia al Ghul

“She’s a Maniac”

deaddamianNo one has ever accused Bruce Wayne of making constructive decisions, but taking the daughter of one of his (many) mortal enemies as a lover may have be one for the books. Talia genetically engineered a son, Damian, by combining her own DNA with Bruce’s. As time past, she systematically abused the boy as part of his assassin’s training. After he came to live with Bruce, and formed a relationship with his father, Talia returned to kill the boy, robbing Bruce of the son he had come to know and love.


Dinah Lance (Black Canary) & Green Arrow (Oliver Queen)

“She’s a Good-Hearted Woman in Love with a Good-Timin’ Man”

QuarkTemplate 22pg..doc.qx
So, Dinah and Ollie have been on-again, off-again for the better part their existence. Oliver Queen was a bit of serial philanderer, which never bodes well for a couple. Dinah also had great misgivings about the ethical ramifications of beginning the ‘normal’ life she so wished to have with Oliver. She believed that bringing children into the world was irresponsible for two people who led such dangerous lives. Oliver died tragically in a battle over Metropolis, but was later resurrected. The pair reunited shortly, but a combination of jealousy and apprehension in regard to the new young female ward in Oliver’s care caused her to break things off again. The two reunite and marry, at a ceremony that is (of course) interrupted by super villans. During the course of their marriage Oliver continually undermines Dinah professionally, and often uses his own judgment to dole out justice. Eventually his subterfuge goes too far, and Dinah dissolves the marriage, while Oliver sits in jail for murdering a supervillan.


Mary Jane Watson & Peter Parker (Spiderman) … & Gwen Stacey

“Keep On Lovin’ You”

gwenmjspiderPeter loved Gwen Stacey with all his heart, until that one time he accidentally broke her neck while he was trying to save her life. I mean we have all been there, right? So how will he move on? Enter spunky, gorgeous, driven Mary Jane Watson. It should be a happy ending, but alas, Peter is a bit of a workaholic. He has great responsibilities to attend to after all. Mary Jane never fully moves out of the shadow of Gwen Stacey’s memory. Peter’s grief and guilt only exasperate the problem. Oh, and eventually he sells his marriage to Mary Jane to the devil (Mephisto) in return for Aunt May’s resurrection from the dead.


Wanda Maximoff (Scarlet Witch) & Vision

“Just My Imagination”

scarletvisionShe is the child of Magneto, and he is the brain-child of Ultron, the pair seem wired for failure out of the gate. There’s another fact that foreshadows an ill-fated romance: Vision is an android (read robot). Initially the couple was unable to have children (because Vision is not human) but eventually Wanda acquires the psychic energy required to become pregnant. She gives birth to twin boys, William and Thomas.

Some time later, Vision tries to take over the world. This goes about as well as one would expect. He is eventually kidnapped and dismantled. When he was reassembled, his personality was severely changed, and things became strained. At the time of his destruction the twins were reintegrated to the soul of Mephisto and cease to exist. Wanda then becomes a bit unhinged herself.

Her mental breakdown eventually resulted in the manifestation of chaos magic powers, that cannot be controlled. She projected a world in which Vision was back to his old self and the boys were still young and in need of her mothering. She eventually used those powers to wipe out mutant powers across the globe leaving only a handful able to access their powers.


Carol Ferris (Star Sapphire) & Hal Jordan (Green Lantern)

“Fly Me to the Moon”

halcarolIt’s a tale as old as time. Boy meets girl; boy gets ring becomes super powerful; girl gets gem and does the same; alien race hypnotizes girl into trying to kill boy because they want her as their queen… You know, just the standard romance stuff.

Carol and Hal start out as a forbidden romance. She is the heiress to the company that employs him as a test pilot. However, when cosmic forces get involved, things get much more complicated. Hal became a Green Lantern.  Upon inheriting Ferris Aircraft from her father, an alien race, the Zamarons, chose Carol as their queen. They gave her a powerful gem which gave her extraordinary abilities, and she became Star Sapphire. Initially Star Sapphire was reluctant to leave Earth because of her love for Hal. The Zamarons then hypnotized her to believe that Hal was an enemy. Over the years a pattern emerged, Start Sapphire and Green Lantern would battle, Hal would win and then fix Carol.After getting rid of the Star Sapphire identity seemingly for good, Carol began a relationship with a male component of her own personality called, Predator. Throughout the series Carol tries to deal with the power associated with the Star Sapphire aspect of her identity, and grapples with her feelings for Hal. The two can never seem to get their footing.


Betty Ross (Red She-Hulk) & Bruce Banner (Hulk)

“Monster Mash”

redhulkhulkBruce Banner was bombarded with Gamma rays, and turns into a giant green monster when he gets angry. This does not look promising for his love interest. Betty is the daughter of “Thunderbolt” Ross, and she loved Bruce before he had anger management issues. Aside from the obvious “getting caught in the crossfire” problems, Betty eventually became ill with radiation poisoning from prolonged exposure to Bruce’s Gamma rays. When he tried to perform a blood transfusion using his own blood, the Gamma particles in his blood killed her.

We are talking comics here, so of course Betty is not really dead. She reemerges as the Red She-Hulk. When Betty reappeared in the civilian world she refused to be reunited with Bruce.


Emma Frost & Scott Summers (Cyclops)

“Grey Cloudy Lies”

scottemmaThis is another love triangle, or quadrangle, or other geometric figure yet unknown to us used by soap opera writers to construct their stories. Scott and Jean Grey were written for one another. Since the earliest days of the X-men, the two have been a steady center of romantic focus. When Jean exits, to go do her whole Phoenix thing, Emma enters beginning a telepathic affair with Scott. When Jean returns, Emma is reluctant to forfeit the bond she feels with Scott. She poses as Jean to confuse him, and continues to attempt engage him telepathically. Exit Jean again, and Emma and Scott are back on. Emma will never live up to Jean for Scott, despite whatever telepathic messages she sends from beyond the grave that the couple is making out on top of (Yes, really). She and Scott are constantly haunted by the memory of Jean Grey.

hawkeyeKate Bishop (Hawkeye) & Clint Barton (Hawkeye)

“I Hate Myself For Lovin’ You”

kateclintThe tension between these two is so thick you could cut it with a knife. They obviously have feelings for one another, but are too stubborn to let on. While Kate occasionally reminds Clint of the impropriety of his tendency to treat her like a romantic partner, she is guilty of the same thing. They rely on each other in real ways, and seem to feel a genuine respect for one another, but the fact remains that Clint is an indiscriminate lover who cannot take anything seriously. He cares deeply for Kate, but cannot see what is right in front of him.


Anna Marie (Rogue) & Remy LeBeau (Gambit)

“Killing Me Softly”

Gambit5touchingAside from the fact that the couple cannot touch because it would result in Remy’s death, well no, that’s really it. Rogue’s powers would harm Remy in unimaginable should their skin come into contact. This equals endless frustration. For a brief time, when they are both powerless, the couple lives a happy, normal life. However when they regain their powers, the loss of physical contact proves very stressful for the pair. Oh, and Gambit becomes one of the four horseman of the apocalypse (Death) and tries to kill Rogue a few times.

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Exclusive Interview with Saint Chaos Writer/Creator Noah Dorsey

6 Apr


I had the chance to ask comic writer/creator Noah Dorsey some questions about the release of his comic,  Saint Chaos, his love of funny books, and terrible weeks. Check out what he had to say.
COI: When did you realize you loved comics?

ND: I can’t pinpoint the age. Probably around 10 or 11 I would guess. I am so ADD that I couldn’t focus on a particular series at all. I’d buy random Marvel and DC titles just based off the appeal of their cover but not get into the story. I got into the darker titles like SpawnShadowhawk, and The Maxx. Those were titles that made me love comics and make me think I could actually write in the medium.

COI: What do you want readers to know about Saint Chaos?
ND: I actually had written Saint Chaos back in 2006, but back then it was a screenplay. That screenplay was actually optioned by a small production company who fast tracked it. The budget was a million bucks and they got that right away. Since the money poured in so quick they decided to raise the budget and collect more investors. We got a prolific director  and started speaking to actors (some that are pretty famous now) when the peak of the recession hit at the end of 2007 and the beginning of 2008. That’s when the whole thing fell apart. Investors pulled out and I got an email from the producer telling me they were dropping the option and going to India for a documentary or something. I shut it in a drawer until now. The screenplay and the comic they wanted have some significant differences. Actually, now that I think about, it is nothing like the movie they wanted to make. Lots of bells and whistles. Let’s just say that they were adamant that I write that Saint Chaos would do a lot of parkour moves in the movie. That ain’t gonna happen in the comic.
With Saint Chaos I wanted to write the ultimate moral rogue. Like Batman decided to make good on his death wish, set his death day, and then decided to help people in the only way he knows how in his last few days of life. Simon (the guy that becomes Saint Chaos) has no defense training, no knowledge of fighting crime, so he jumps into situations with raw, animalistic energy and brutal violence. It’s like Bruce Wayne without the training and fighting crime and he was in Fight Club. But Simon’s comparison to Batman is only a point of reference. Saint Chaos is nothing like Batman. There are no rules except that he would rather do good instead of bad before he kicks the bucket. But even that loose rule isn’t always on the table. If there are no rules that means that Saint Chaos is capable of almost anything.
COI: Simon has a pretty rough week leading up to his encounter with Honeycomb, what’s the worst week you have ever had?
ND: Oh, man… Simon has it pretty bad. The reason I thought up the story was that it was the worst of worst that could possibly happen to someone. But the worst week I have ever had is not even close to Simon. I have torn my ACL twice. That is the ligament in the middle of the knee and when you tear it you need to get it repaired. The first time I got it repaired the science wasn’t what it is now so I had to spend a week in bed for recovery. Not only that, but I had a machine that was placed under your repaired knee and very, very, slowly, bent your knee up and down to break the scar tissue. Quite a painful task. That machine ran nonstop so I could not sleep for a full week. I’d have to say that was my worst week.
COI: Honeycomb is a very dark and unique character, what was your inspiration for him?
ND: Honeycomb relishes and takes pleasure in the pain of others. He is also very intelligent. When I first created the character Hannibal Lecter was the inspiration, but that character was only the foundation. That’s when I started thinking about where he would have his lair. What would be an interesting dangerous place that hasn’t been done before? As I was thinking about it I thought about my childhood and how I worked in my family’s handmade candy factory. Making handmade candy is not an easy place to work and the environment is nothing close to Willy Wonka. The machinery was all designed during the 1940s or so. Nothing has been modernized because most candy is all conveyor belts and automated machines. Making handmade candy is literally a life or death task at times. There is one page in issue #1 that Zsombor illustrates the way Honeycomb uses the tools to make handmade candy as torture devices. That is only the tip of the iceberg of how insane this character is and how he uses his environment.
COI: Your illustrator is very talented, how does his work compare to how you visualized the characters and environment originally?
ND: He is very talented. Commonly, comic books/graphic novels are a very collaborative process. There are those talent few that draw and write their own – damn you and your talent Frank Miller – but for the most part the writer will write and the illustrator will decipher the story through their own talents. In the case of SC Zsombor killed it. And then he f*ckin’ destroyed it. His technique is something that is different from what I have seen, but he also brings ideas to the table that will blow people away. Some of the pages in this comic will look as if they should be hung in a gallery. He is capable of taking a page of dialogue and illustrating in one beautiful full page. There are a few pages in the first issue that I would rip out the dialogue, throw into a frame, and then hang in my house as a work of art. And it is only going to get better from here. I guarantee that if you are dazzled by the art of the first issue we are going to blow you away with what is coming up.
COI: What makes SC different from other comics?
ND: It is raw. We don’t hold back at all. I wrote it holding nothing back and Zsombor illustrates it without restraint. We are doing exactly what we want and I feel that it enhances the story. We draw and say whatever we want. While Zsombor tests the limits of his artistic ability, I am writing story lines that may be beyond offensive, yet relevant to the story, because that’s what I feel makes sense for the world of Saint Chaos. The story of each comic will be completely unexpected, but will be coherent to the urban epic we have planned.
COI: What else are you working on right now?
ND: I’ve got a few other comic books that are on the horizon.  There is a western that has the same feel as that gem of a television show Deadwood (which ended way too soon in my opinion) that I’m pretty excited about. There is a comic in the horror genre and one in the fantasy genre that will utilize the digital medium. We’ve got some pretty cool ideas to bring to the table that hasn’t been done yet and that we haven’t heard is being developed. The details will come as soon as we are comfortable with the presentation. There are a couple other comics that are in the very early development stages that will make an appearance.  But all of this is theoretically over the course of the next four or five years. The process is not just discovering the story, but finding the talent that fits the project perfectly. All of that takes time. I’m also working on a screenplay that I’m hoping will gain some traction in the next few years.
COI: What books are you reading right now?
ND: Scott Synder is a talented motherf*cker. I thought his stuff on Batman is pretty genius and I need to get to his Swamp Thing run. I’ll pick up anything he writes. Saga is brilliant. Nowhere Men is actually toying with the typical comic format a bit and I really dig that. I picked up Snapshot, which ain’t bad at all. I know those are three Image books in a row, and I’m not trying to promote them because Non Humans is printed through them, but, they publish purely creator-owned books. The creators make all the story-telling decisions.  There really isn’t anything between them and the press to say “no, don’t do that”. I think the Big 2 is still plagued by that. It continues to follow the old process to keep it safe. Sure, they’ve taken some chances, but for the most part they play it safe. The writers, illustrators, colorists, and letterers all have an editor that can always say “don’t do that” if they try something out of the box. More often than not it is a risk they won’t take. I really like some of the independent stuff coming out now. I love that these artists have a new idea of how to approach creating comic books and having the guts to try it. I want to do that with every comic I am involved with. I also have to admit (even though I am pretty embarrassed about it) is that I’ve been catching up on the classics. I never got to Grant Morrison’s Arkham Asylum and I just finished that.  It is brilliant and insanely inspiring. Pun intended.  Clearly one of the most inspiring graphic novels ever.
COI: What is the most influential comic you have ever read?
ND: Sandman. Hands down. The whole f*ckin’ series. I can’t imagine that series getting printed now by one of the Big 2 like it was back in the day. I could just imagine Neil Gaiman strolling into an editor’s office today and pitching the idea. They would scoff. They would scowl. They would shake their heads. Where’s the sex? Where’s the action? Where’s the muscle bound heroes? When Gaiman tells them that there isn’t any.
It is just all about the story, he’d be thrown out on his ass. But what is funny is that Sandman is just as popular now as it was then. I pass on my graphic novels to friends and family and they gush about how much they love it. Then they pass them on to other people. That’s exactly what happens to good novels. People lend them to other people so that they can have the experience. Sandman isn’t a novel, but it is a fantastic piece of literature. A very respected piece of literature. The storytelling – and by that I mean the writing along with the illustrations – is perfect. I won’t be surprised if at some point it is taught in higher education literature classes. I think many graphic novels should. But Sandman was the spark that lit the fire. I finished the entire series in a week or two and by that point I knew that I would have an affair with comics until my eyes rolled back for good.*
noah_dorsey_SCNoah Dorsey currently resides in Denver with his girlfriend Becky, a portly bulldog named Zeus, and an overweight puggle named Hercules.  He continues to write Non Humans with Glen Brunswick and Whilce Portacio, while also developing other projects.
Follow him on twitter @thenoahdorsey
And be sure to check out the Saint Chaos Preview here, on comicsonice
You can find me on twitter @comicsonice

Shocking Character Design: A New Take Superheroines

5 Apr

Artist, Michael Lee Lumsford created some new character designs featuring fully-clothed superheroines. He stated that these designs were not a moral statement, just some exercises. However when they are set against the classic comic book depictions of these ladies, its a strange comparison. *Lumsford’s illustrations are the ones on the top.

Black Canary




Power GirlImageImage



Wonder WomanImageImage


I’m not advocating that superheroines should don habits. I just had such a visceral reaction to these images. I could not believe how shocking Zantanna in trousers seemed. We have been conditioned to expect bare skin on leading ladies in comic books. This is just some food for thought, we should be aware of what we are consuming. This poses so many interesting questions about the role of women in the world of comics, and the expectations we have as readers.

American Vampire’s Pearl Jones is the Toughest New Girl in Town – Poll Results

29 Mar

And the winners is:

pearljonesPearl Jones of American Vampire

Scott Snyder – story & Rafael Albuquerque – art
Published by Vertigo Comics

Maybe it’s the fact that we are given the opportunity to see Pearl grow and mature over the course of the series…

Maybe it’s the way she remains vulnerable and emotionally open throughout everything she faces…

Maybe it’s the giant claws and lethal biting power…pearl-hiss

Whatever the case may be Pearl is a testament to the power of strong female characters in the comic genre. Her resilience stands apart from her initial setting. We meet Pearl in 1920s Hollywood, hardly a time-and-place that fosters tough, independent, feminine strength. However she becomes a force to be reckoned with after a group of sinister old world vampires try to do her in. She is first a survivor; she parlays that positive energy into becoming a true fighter. She bravely protects those she cares about and maintains a sense of incorruptible humanity that makes her relatable and beautiful.

pearl-sketchEven before she becomes an American Vampire, she is a free spirit. Moving away from home to follow her dreams of becoming an actress, she has a sense of agency that would have been rare for women of that era. She is bold, as evidenced by the fact that she dons a large tattoo between her shoulder blades in the early 20th century. She is uncompromising, and willing to work hard to make her life what she wants it to be. Pearl holds down a couple of jobs in addition to working as an extra on big Hollywood films. She is focused, initially rejecting the advances of would-be suitors. She is human, unable to stop herself from falling in love. Her character is well-developed, admirable, and identifiable even before she is anything more than an aspiring actress. Personally, I think that is why she remains so successful after her transformation. If we were not introduced to Pearl, the woman, I do not think that we would be so enamored with Pearl the vampire.

We see Pearl struggle with her power, her immortality, and her own feelings as she grows throughout the series. Her efforts to reconcile what she is with the person she wants to be gives her a vitality and vibrance.

Pearl is a strong character because of her complexity, humanity, and strong will. She is sure to endure the test of time.

Thanks to those who voted, stay tuned for more polls in the near future. Let me know what you’d like to see on the site! Leave comments, send me e-mails ( or track me down on twitter (@comicsonice) Its always great to hear from y’all!

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Preview: Crimson Society by Mike Hunau & Carlos Trigo

17 Mar

Crimson Society is a 4 part comic series in progress.

In a futuristic world where supernatural beings live among humans in peace, Jack Crimson finds his life as a werewolf frustrating and wants nothing more than a cure. Desperate to free himself from this curse, he makes a series of decisions leading him down a path that will change his life forever. Pearl City is full of vampires, zombies, werewolves, and more. Learn more about this mysterious world and follow Jack on an epic journey.

Written & Created by: Mike Hunau
Art by: Carlos Trigo
Colored by: Andrea Celestini
Letters by: L. Jamal Walton








Find out more about this series at  or contribute to the Crimson Society Kickstarter here

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New Girls in Town: Top 10 Toughest New Female Characters in Comics

16 Mar

I think a case can be made for any of these characters. Each one is tough, and thoroughly unique. Let’s take it from the top shall we? I wanted to look at characters with relatively short histories, so Barbara Gordon and Kate Bishop will not be making appearances on this list. This is strictly for the next generation of comic heroines. So without further ado, let’s talk about the top-10 toughest new girls in comics.


alanaAlana – Saga

It was hard to choose just one woman to represent the cast of Saga from Image Comics by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples. The Stalk, Izabel, Gwendolyn, Klara, and even Lying Cat could have been on this list. I ultimately decided on Alana because she faces off with bad guys, pilots a space ship, and saves the love of her life with a newborn in tow. Despite her extreme circumstances she manages to be a pretty great mom to Hazel. She doesn’t allow herself to be defined by her maternal role, but she takes it very seriously.




Izzy Dare/Smasher – The Avengers

Isabel “Izzy” Dare, or Smasher, gets her own issue in Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers from Marvel Comics (Avengers #5). We learn that this incarnation of the hero is a small-town girl from Iowa. She is a brilliant science student who returns from her studies to help her father take care of the family farm and spend time with her ailing grandfather, Dan Dare (who had quite a few adventures of his own back in the day). After finding a pair of cybernetic goggles in a corn field she becomes an intergalactic defender, Smasher. She saves the world, rises through the ranks, and becomes an Avenger to boot. She also takes her responsibilities to her loved ones very seriously. She juggles superpowers and deep familial love quite well.


Harper_RowHarper Row – Batman

In Batman by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo for DC Comics we find a host of powerful characters, but Harper has captured our imaginations, well mine at least. She is a headstrong, brave, and intelligent young woman who believes in Batman’s power as a symbol of hope and does everything in her power to make sure he always makes it out of his conflicts alive. She recognizes his mortality and her ability to help him. Despite his warnings to stay away, she knows that she is an invaluable ally to the Caped Crusader, and continues to provide assistance. In addition to her complex relationship with Batman, she serves as a mother figure for her little brother, Cullen, and would stop at nothing to defend him. She is a dynamic new defender of Gotham.

Mara – Maramara

I think the reason that I am so impressed with the title character from the Image Comics series, Mara, by Brian Wood, Ming Doyle, & Jordie Bellaire is due to the surprise I experienced while reading about her. She is a seventeen-year-old superstar. She has access to unlimited resources, and fame enough to make a Kardashian feel like a nobody. She is beautiful, talented, wealthy, and adored. Yet she instead of being the primadonna one might expect; she is poised and unyieldingly brave. When she begins to manifest super-human abilities, she boldly confronts the public. She refuses to be terrorized into compromising her character.


hawkeye8Cherry/Penny – Hawkeye

I love a girl that keeps the men in her life on their toes. This redheaded force of nature from Fraction & Aja in Hawkeye from Marvel Comics does just that. She uses her sexuality to charm Clint Barton into taking part in her schemes. She is unafraid to take on a challenge or to stack the deck in her favor. She may not be the most independent woman in the world, but she does not shy away from danger. She’s a nice throwback to the comic book bad girls of days gone by.




pearlPearl Jones – American Vampire

From the Vertigo Comic series American Vampire by Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque, comes this impossibly strong character. What I love about Pearl is that she starts out a victim, but refuses to remain one. Her evolution over the course of the series has been a journey of self acceptance, growth, and empowerment. The Pearl we know today is a far cry from the Hollywood hopeful taken advantage of in the beginning of this series. She has become intensely powerful force; knowing her vulnerabilities and her history makes her inspiring and endearing.



olivechewOlive Chu – Chew

The daughter of Tony Chu, the central character in Chew from Image Comics by John Layman and Rob Guillory, has recently started coming into her own. Olive was previously little more than an angst-ridden teen (albeit an incredibly lovable one). In recent issues under the tutelage of Mason Savoy, she has begun to hone her abilities and learn new skills that promise to give her a new role in this one-of-a-kind series.




tamaradevouxTamara Devoux/Captain Universe – The Avengers

So, she has the power of the entire universe coursing through her. Seems tough to me. Jonathan Hickman gives us another example of a strong and complex female character from The Avengers from Marvel Comics. Despite the awful things that happened to her before becoming the host for universal power, Tamara has already saved the world once in this new role.

fatalejoJospehine – Fatale

In the series Fatale from Image Comics by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips we are introduced to the mysterious and powerful character, Jo. She can bend any man alive to her will. Jo also seems to be immortal or at least ageless. She has a unique connection to supernatural forces, and a survival instinct that makes her a true fighter. She takes on physical challenges and devastating circumstances at every turn. Her resilience is truly remarkable.




Eva_Bell  Eva Bell – All New X-men Uncanny X-men 

Brian Michael Bendis’ contributions to Marvel’s X-men universe already shine in this new character. Eva can freeze time. As a young mutant, she is unsure of herself and her powers, but with each issue she appears in she grows more confident and bettered respected by the members of her team. She is a truly powerful new mutant.


I will be the first to admit this last is anything but complete. Write in and tell me who should have been listed that I missed, or let me know if you think there is a clear number one on the list. Be sure to vote. I will repost this list in the order that you vote in.

comment here or e-mail me, and follow me on twitter @comicsonice


Mind the Gap and Self-Generated Identity: The Clues We Choose

16 Mar


Mind the Gap and Self-Generated Identity: The Clues We Choose

I’ve written a new Mirror Image feature for Image Addiction, about Image Comics’ Mind the Gap by Jim McCann, Rodin Esquejo, and Sonia Oback discussing Elle Peterssen’s amnesia, the clues that lead her back to her identity, and Facebook. Are we what we buy, read, watch, listen to, wear, eat, drink, and like? What do our friends tell us about who we are?  Check it out! Tell me what you think.

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Swamp Thing’s Abigail Arcane as a 21st Century Persephone

14 Mar


In Swamp Thing #18 by Scott Snyder and Yanick Paquette, Abigail Arcane evolves to become the Avatar of Death. An avatar is defined as a deity in bodily form on the earth. Through her acceptance of this role, she becomes one of the most dynamic and courageous women in comic history. I would like to take a moment to compare Abigail to another Queen of the Underworld, Persephone. Fair warning, if you’re not caught up on Snyder’s complete run, this contains *spoilers.*

The mythological tale surrounding Persephone’s coronation as Queen of the Underworld begins with her abduction. As the daughter of Zues and Demeter (goddess of the harvest) she spent the early part of her life surrounded by nature. One day, she was alone in a field when the earth cleaved and Hades (god of the underworld, and brother of her father) appeared in a fiery chariot. He then grabbed the maiden goddess and returned to the Underworld.


carryLet’s look at the parallels so far. Abigail was born into a lineage connected with the rot, while she is not the daughter of the king of the gods, her family tree does seem a deciding factor in regard to the role she will play in the future.

Her uncle, Anton, is similar to Hades. He is connected with death, and serves as her connection to it as well. He also takes her against her will to be his queen early in this series It seems the same thing might have happened when she was younger, to a lesser degree.

Now back to our story. During Persephone’s time in the underworld, her mother, Demeter, is heartbroken. She wanders the earth looking for her daughter, during this time no crops grew, famine and hunger were widespread and the crops rotted in the field. Demeter refused to let plants grow while Persephone was missing.

This might be a stretch, but the takeover of the rot after Abigail’s death might have ties to this part of the myth. Here’s where things start getting tricky, lets talk seeds.

pomWhile Persephone is in the underworld with Hades, she eats a handfull of pomegranate seeds. Zeus commands Hades to set her free, so that her mother, Demeter, will allow the fields to bear crops and the people of earth will not starve. Hades agrees, and Persephone is released. When her mother realizes that she has consumed the food of the underworld, she is heartbroken. By eating the food of the dead, Persephone unwittingly bound herself to the underworld. Because of this she must return to the underworld for a few months (sometimes three sometimes six depending on the text) each year to reign at Hades’ side


Now you might say I am comparing apples to oranges (or pomegranates to orchids) but do you recall one Dr. Alec Holland sneaking something into Abbie’s peaches? He slipped her a few orchid seeds before she was transformed to become the Queen of the Rot by Anton Arcane and his minions. In this case, the seeds became an agent of life, growth, and resurrection. The seeds help pull Abigail back from the darkness. They still act as the force negotiating her ties to life and death. We begin to see a schism in Snyder’s work and the mythic text here. It’s no longer a perfect mirror, but an evolution of this story that has stood the test of time.

While Persephone served her time in the Land of the Dead, her mother mourned. During this time there was no growth on the land. The winter months were a time of rot on the earth. This myth serves to explain the seasonal changes that ancient humans experienced. While the similarities are obvious the contrasts between Persephone and Abigail make a beautiful comment on power and agency.

Abigail_Arcane_010 (1)Firstly Abigail is not a queen, defined as the wife or widow of a king; she is an avatar, a god made flesh. She briefly bore the title of queen, which was forced upon her against her will. She was a beastly terror, no part of her personality or essence remained. Though she retained power, her consciousness was all but absent.

This is a powerful statement, as the queen, an extension of the king; her power could only serve as an extension of his. All of the qualities that made her remarkable disappeared. Persephone was a queen, who indeed retained little agency. Both the decision to take on the position, and the actual ruling of the Land of the Dead were out of her hands. It was a position of submission, even as a goddess she was unable to escape her fate or change her circumstances.

Abigail’s episode as Queen of the Rot much more closely resembles the Persephone myth. In her second encounter with Anton she turns the tables and becomes something completely new.

comeAbigail goes looking for Anton. Because of her love for Alec, and her commitment to balance in the world. She knows that he is evil, and that he must be stopped at all cost. Unlike Persephone she is not captured while looking the other way. She goes pursues her destiny, despite her trepidation, because she believes it is the right thing to do.

headThis confrontation costs her her life. Through the intervention the Parliament of Decay, Alec is able to intervene and give her a second chance at defeating her uncle.

abby-and-alecAlso, Abigail is given the opportunity to willingly accept her role as avatar, while Persephone was never given the same chance as Hades’ queen. It seems that both Abigail and Alec were destined for the roles that they play as avatars and for one another. Ultimately it is their choice to accept these roles that gives them their power.

Another interesting feature of Snyder’s version of this story is the inversion of traditional gender associations. Swamp Thing, Alec Holland represents the traditionally feminine aspects of nature, the life-giving forces. Conversely, Abigail Arcane is associated with death and destruction, extensions of the traditionally masculine pursuits of war and nation-building, and also the binary opposite of feminine life-bringing traditions.

swamp thing4-1

Abigail and Alec shed their human bodies, becoming fully identified with life and death. The love that sustained them and gave them the strength to become what they have become loses any chance for unity, as they now represent one another’s destruction. Where life exist, death cannot be; and where there is death, life stops. They have become a paradox, both depending on one another and repelling each other by their very nature.


While Persephone is a victim, Abigail is triumphant. She accepts her fate, ask for her power and ultimate emerges as the victor. Persephone’s tragedy is her powerlessness. Abigail’s tragedy is that of a Capulet without a dagger. She cannot uncross the stars. For a pair like this, that could be a fate worse than death.


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Preview – Saint Chaos by Noah Dorsey & Zsombor Huszka

13 Mar

Saint Chaos

A new ongoing series from eR Studios
Available from Comixology in May 2013

Written & Created by Noah Dorsey
Art by Zsombor Huszka
Editor Steve Revenig

Samuel Monroe is down on his luck, in a profound way. The circumstances of his life have become so bleak that suicide seems a valid option. While he lacks the will to live, he lacks the nerve to end his own life. So, he finds someone to do it for him. A serial killer named Honeycomb agrees to grant Samuel’s death wish in four days time. Once his “death day” is set, Samuel decides to use his remaining time to do some good in the world. Unencumbered by fear he becomes Saint Chaos. When he finds something to live for, he questions his decision to end his life, but Honeycomb does not like broken contracts. Has he realized he has a reason to live too late?



Look for Saint Chaos from Comixology May 2013

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