Prismatic Pull: Christian Youth, Holtzmann, & ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Welcome to the Prismatic Pull, both a weekly recap of LGBTQIA comics news and a name for the natural phenomenon that keeps queer people rooted to Earth’s surface.

In lieu of much news (I’m working on it, I swear), I’ve brought back Honestly Thoughts — where I discuss some hopes/plans for this column and a bit about my experience at Flame Con 2.

Out Last Week

Single Issues:

  • Hellblazer #1
  • Harley’s Little Black Book #4
  • New Avengers #15
  • Detective Comics #939

News Reel

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Past the Page

  • Melanie Gilman published an autobio comic about Christian youth camp over at The Nib.

 

Honestly Thoughts

Hey there, you made it! Today’s PP entry is leaner than I’d like, so let’s talk about my hopes and plans to reduce how often this all happens.

In light weeks, it’d be easy to chalk to such barren posts up to a lack of news. “I couldn’t write about anything because nothing was there!” It sure as shamrock feels like it sometimes. But I don’t believe it. “Comics” encompasses so many people and so many stories — it’s not that the news doesn’t exist, it’s just that it’s terribly hard to find.

I’ve been writing about queer comics topics for five years now. I follow tons of queer comics creators. I have countless queer-friendly publishers followed on Twitter and Tumblr and email. And yet still, on a near-weekly basis, I get caught off-guard by creators and publishers I’ve never encountered before. I amassed such a collection of business cards at Flame Con 2.

Much of the problem boils down to where most queer comics live: digital-only spaces. Webcomics and digital publishers don’t have the gatekeepers that historically keep queer voices out. They also don’t have much communication infrastructure or the resources to build it. There’s Hiveworks, there’s Tapastic, and there’s the #ComicBookHour Twitter chat (which isn’t specific to webcomics, but is participated in by many of their creators). But that’s not yet enough.

(Remember that collection of Flame Con 2 business cards? The bulk of them directed to websites with dead links or no social media. If you don’t have social media, potential fans can’t be reminded of your work.)

On top of that, webcomics are a rarer source of “news.” I can cover crowdfunding initiatives and webcomic launches if they’re made by an established queer creator. But I’m still struggling to find what would be relevant to a simple news round-up.

To address my ability to find queer digital comics news: this weekend I opened up an archive of 600+ alleged queer-friendly webcomics and started following the vast majority of their news sources across Twitter, Tumblr, Tapastic, and Patreon (sorry, SmackJeeves, not going to happen). And I’m still working on it (that’s a lot of comics, yo). If nothing else, I’m hoping it’ll at least improve my body of knowledge re: queer webcomics and make me aware of when news — whatever that is — does break.

On expanding what I understand to be newsworthy, well, I don’t know if there’s anything to be done within the context of PP. I have plenty of ideas for how mainstream comics news sites can promote webcomic coverage — interviews, creator opt-in reviews, a greater awareness overall — but not for this column. I hope to change that with more ideas and (definitely) more resources.

This Week in Comics

Kim & Kim #2, Princeless: Raven: The Pirate Princess #10, Insexts vol. 1, DC Comics Bombshells Annual #1, Harley Quinn and Her Gang of Harleys #5, Jem and the Holograms #18.

Prismatic Panel Fanart of the Week

There was no other choice.

(The aforementioned INPRNT.)

Have tips for upcoming installations of the Prismatic Pull? Tweet me @HonestlyJon or email me at jonerikchristianson[at]gmail[dot]com.

Prismatic Pull: Stealth Edition

Welcome to the Prismatic Pull, both a weekly recap of LGBTQIA comics news and [secret placeholder].

Hey there! If you’re reading this, you are a dedicated-ass reader (and for that I am grateful) because I did not advertise this piece on social media at all.

Flame Con took over my life last week, so I was not able to give this week’s PP its due. Still, I partway use this column as an archive of queer news and having a wholly absent week would leave an incomplete archive.

Out Last Week

Single Issues:

  • Backstagers #1
  • Harley Quinn #2
  • Xena: Warrior Princess #5
  • The Wicked + The Divine #22
  • Lumberjanes #29
  • Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #56

Collected Trades:

  • Cry Havoc vol. 1
  • Jem and the Holograms vol. 3
  • Hellblazer vol. 14

News Reel

  • Flame Con 2017 is confirmed to be a thing!

Past the Page

  • Runaways series on Hulu! May Karolina’s rainbow be bright and Xavin’s genderfluidity be respected.

Queer Protagonists List Update

  • Added Jory, Hunter, and Beckett to the list for Backstagers by James Tynion IV and Rian Sygh

This Week in Comics

Harley’s Little Black Book #4, Hellblazer #1, New Avengers #15.

Have tips for upcoming installations of the Prismatic Pull? Tweet me @HonestlyJon or email me at jonerikchristianson[at]gmail[dot]com.

Prismatic Pull: Asexual Webcomics, Lumberjanes Movie, and Gay Ray

Welcome to the Prismatic Pull, both a weekly recap of LGBTQIA comics news and the name for the force keeping your Provincetown magnet on your refrigerator.

There wasn’t much in the way of comics news, but boy howdy were we blessed by the gods of screens both big and small.

Out Last Week

Single Issues:

  • Space Battle Lunchtime #4
  • Ringside #6
  • Providence #10
  • Detective Comics #938

Collected Trades:

  • Injection vol. 2

News Reel

  • Tumblr blog Asexual Advice assembled a list of webcomics featuring asexual and aromantic characters—super useful given the relative invisiblity of ace/aro characters in comics.

Past the Page

  • 20th Century Fox’s live-action Lumberjanes movie (based on the hit BOOM! Studios comic) has found a director with indie star Emily Carmichael (“The Hunter and the Swan Discuss Their Meeting, “RPG OKC”). It’s nice to see a female creative added to an uncomfortably male-dominated production team.
  • An openly gay version of The Ray will be getting his own animated series on web platform CW Seed, following in the same steps as Vixen before him. The character is Ray (of course) Terrill and he’s based on the reimagined version of the character from Grant Morrison’s Multiversity. If he follows in Vixen’s path, Freedom Fighters: The Ray‘s total season will last approximately 30 minutes and the character’ll have the option to appear in live-action CW shows.
  • Some character on one of the CW’s television shows—Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow—will be “exploring their sexuality and coming out” in the upcoming television season, said executive producer Greg Berlanti at the Television Critics Association’s press tour last week. My bet’s on Winn or Alex from Supergirl.
  • In the comics adjacent: At the same event, Bryan Fuller, creator and showrunner for the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery series, announced that “absolutely we’re having a gay character” on the show.

Queer Protagonists List Update

  • Belatedly adding Harley Quinn for Suicide Squad by Rob Williams, Jim Lee, Scott Williams, and Phillip Tan because I was accidentally waiting for Suicide Squad #1, not Suicide Squad: Rebirth #1. #comics

This Week in Comics

Backstagers #1, Lumberjanes #29, Harley Quinn #2, Hellblazer vol. 14, Xena: Warrior Princess #5, Jem and the Holograms vol. 3, Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #56, Cry Havoc vol. 1, The Wicked + The Divine #22.

Prismatic Panel Cosplay of the Week

There’s a ton of queer cosplay in my Boston Comic Con cosplay thread, but I had to specifically call attention to the one featuring Tuxedo Pearl.

Have tips for upcoming installations of the Prismatic Pull? Tweet me @HonestlyJon or email me at jonerikchristianson[at]gmail[dot]com.

Some Link It Hot: Midnighter, LGBTQ Rep, and a Queer Superfamily

Hey there! Welcome to Some Link It Hot, my intermittent column collecting links to things I’ve been involved in that can’t otherwise be reposted. (The joke’s that these links are often months old, and thus not very “hot.” Yes, I explain my jokes.)

Into It 57: Midnighter with Jon Erik Christianson (hosted by Elle Collins)

My first ever guest role on a podcast allowed me to chat about one of my favorite topics (Midnighter) with one of my favorite people (Elle Collins). Into It, billed accurately as “A Podcast About Everything You Love,” is a joy because it allows its guests and listeners to squee eternal.

My favorite moment of the discussion, bar none, was when both Elle and I agree that a childhood portrait of Midnighter looked particularly gay. I don’t know why, it just did.

Comics Alliance: The Case For Queer Superboy [Pride Week]

Keeping in the tradition of firsts, June marked my writing debut at Comics Alliance. I’ve been a fan of CA for years, and it was super great to be able to write for the site during its Pride Week in the middle of Pride Month.

I don’t have the cavernous knowledge of comics canon that most comics critics and journalists do, so when presented with an opportunity to write about a queer-ified established hero, I picked a character new to canon but with a powerful potential legacy: Jonathan Kent Superboy.

Oh, Comics! Podcast #85: LGBTQ+ Representation in Comics (hosted by Preeti Chhibber with Jess Plummer)

I’ve been a fan of Oh, Comics! ever since joining Panels last year, and I was positively delighted when Preeti reached out to me asking if I’d like to be a guest. Usual co-host Paul Montgomery was not able to attend the recording, but filling in for him was another lovely person: fellow Panels writer Jess Plummer.

Fitting for Pride Month (it is when I get the most work), we chatted about the current state of LGBTQ+ representation in the comics industry, buoyed by the podcast’s usual positive tone.

Comics Alliance: Can Supergirl Save Us From Batman’s Fear of Femininity?

The Batman mythos has been bumming me out lately in terms of gender normativity politics, so I decided to write about that and why Supergirl, and her new home of National City, have me feeling some hope.

Shoutout to J.A. Micheline for her invaluable editing work.

#SquadGoals: The Odds on Who Survives Suicide Squad

This piece was originally posted on Panels.

“Welcome to the Suicide Squad. Hope you don’t survive the experience!” – Amanda Waller if she read X-Men comics, probably.

The team subject to an upcoming movie did not earn its name because of its commitment to mental health (as the ableist language around Joker can attest); it’s named as such because those who “join” rarely, or so it’s posited, make it out to the other side of the mission.

If the film is to live up to its name, there’s going to be a lot of carnage and casualty on Amanda Waller’s team of criminals and supervillains. Who lives? Who dies? Let’s look at some livelihood likelihoods.

13522925_1739912686289365_5681588421322816909_o 13458628_1739912719622695_1975454174284880974_o 13495608_1739912689622698_7405373417243182294_o

Amanda Waller
(played by Viola Davis)

The Wall. The puppetmaster behind Task Force X. Batman’s biggest nightmare. She is both the unstoppable force and the immovable object. She and Viola Davis will not be moved.

Realistic Odds for Survival: 95% (subtracting 5% for Hollywood’s history of bad decisions)
My Hope: Waller ascends to the Iron Throne.

Deadshot
(played by Will Smith)

As both the character and the actor are among the highest-profile in the movie, I don’t think either are going anywhere. Deadshot has both the emotional stakes and history to carry him through this movie and into other ones. He also has a shot to reappear as an adversary in other DCEU films.

Realistic Odds for Survival: 90%
My Hope: He allows Will Smith to break out of Will Smith’s “he’s just playing Will Smith” problem.

Boomerang
(played by Jai Courtney)

If the trailers and other promotional material aren’t throwing us for a curveball, Courtney’s Boomerang looks to be one of the film’s comedic centers. I imagine this renders him relatively safe, as he could be the next, slightly less furry and child-beloved Rocket Raccoon.

Realistic Odds for Survival: 80%
My Hope: We never actually find out what Boomerang’s “pink unicorn fetish” means; alternatively, we do find out what it means, but it leads to a wacky scenario where voice actress Tara Strong replaces him on the team.

13458735_1739912836289350_6017772671674762188_o 13458762_1739912779622689_3821310466071580602_o 13502615_1739912726289361_1473684391484003899_o

Rick Flag
(played by Joel Kinnaman)

This relatively unremarkable character from the comics has been getting much more promotion than I’d have expected—his actor is regularly billed as one of the main names. That larger role is the only reason I’m giving him even a chance of survival. Otherwise, I only expect to see this Flag leaving the film in tatters.

Realistic Odds for Survival: 35%
My Hope: He’s the fridged emotional stakes for the movie, saving every other character from that fate. Especially—

Katana
(played by Karen Fukahara)

Instead of laying out what will realistically happen to Katana (which would especially unfortunate given Mercy Graves’ fate in Batman vs. Superman), let me just plead for why she should survive:

  • She has a mythos that wholly belongs to her and it involves a reverse fridging, which is definitely at least new.
  • She’s a badass woman-of-color—superhero franchises desperately need more of those.
  • She could return in the rumored Birds of Prey movie! Fukuhara has already done herresearch!
  • Katana’s been on an aggressive push for prominence across all DC media: comics, television, DC Superhero Girls. Continue the push!
  • She’s the groups only overtly heroic figure.

Realistic Odds for Survival: 50%
My Hope: Not only does she survive, but her meteoric popularity lands her multiple solo films.

El Diablo
(played by Jay Hernandez)

El Diablo—from the few issues I read of the super uneven New 52 Suicide Squad run—is actually a pretty cool (hot?) character. He’s one of the more morally centered squad members and he’s obsessed with redemption. Forgive me if that characterization changed, as I only made it a few issues into the series.

I expect he’s probably of the easy emotional losses in the film. Establish him as a (relative) good guy, get to know him, and then he’s cannon fodder. His absence from various group scenes in trailers doesn’t bode well either.

Realistic Odds for Survival: 20%
My Hope: He’s somehow able to use his fire powers to burn out the bomb in his neck and jetpack out of the movie right before his flames get extinguished.

13498012_1739912682956032_4919757575168488167_o 13522863_1739912722956028_8049834248822097345_o 13483269_1739912839622683_8659083268058678490_o

Killer Croc
(played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje)

My primary exposure to Croc is through Batman Eternal and Gotham Academy; in both, he’s portrayed in a varyingly sympathetic light. In his character trailer, we hear him declare “I’m beautiful” and, from set visits, we find his cell is decorated with his artwork.

He’ll still obvi be a violent criminal, but maybe he’ll be endearing and high-profile enough to keep around. Or maybe not.

Realistic Odds for Survival: 50%
My Hope: He escapes to haunt the sewers beneath a prestigious Gotham school, where he befriends a bunch of meddlesome teenagers.

Enchantress
(played by Cara Delevingne)

In what’s been presented so far, we never once see Delevinge’s character with the Suicide Squad proper team; we’ve only seen her with Flag or Waller individually. The final trailer also sees her standing at a magical, thundering ring that Squad is sent to infiltrate—all signs point to her as an eventual antagonist, probably alongside the Joker.

And if the protagonists are set to endure some losses, I imagine the antagonists would have to as well—and that’s sure not going to be the Joker.

Realistic Odds for Survival: 15%
My Hope: Before she’s inevitably killed as one of the film’s presumed antagonists, she has a serious conversation with a different costumer.

Slipknot
(played by Adam Beach)

Good news: an indigenous actor has been cast in a superhero movie! Awful news: he’s a villain in the franchise of Suicide Squad, playing one of the lowest-profile characters and he’s gotten the least press time out of everyone.

Slipknot, I hope you can navigate your way off the ropes you’ve been tossed on.

Realistic Odds for Survival: 5%
My Hope: He uses his superior rope skills to lasso onto El Diablo’s leg as he escapes this movie; they go on to star in DCEU supervillain romantic comedy.

13490787_1739912772956023_1813320519739200409_o 13495408_1739912776289356_5424098408104727936_o 12489243_1674589672821667_4430624289856009994_o

The Joker
(played by a monster Jared Leto)

Leto’s abusive method acting antics and the wild overexposure of the Joker have rendered him my least anticipated part of this movie, franchise, comics, life. He will outlive us all.

Realistic Odds for Survival: 100%
My Hope: Harley Quinn takes her iconic mallet and sends the Joker straight to the moon. Out of method acting, Robbie does the same to Leto.

Harley Quinn
(played by Margot Robbie)

If you check out the Warner Bros. Youtube character trailers, you’ll find that Harley Quinn’s is the most popular with almost 150k views over her biggest rival: the Joker. She’s been described as DC Comics’ “fourth pillar” franchise (next to Batman, Superman, and Green Lantern) by chief creative officer Geoff Johns. She’s a character whose meteoric popularity started and grew primarily outside of comics.

The concern for Harley is not whether she survives, it’s whether or not she kicks her abusive relationship to the curb.

Realistic Odds for Survival: 100%
My Hope: After sending the Joker to the moon (see above), Harley goes on to lead the plot of the rumored Birds of Prey-esque movie, falls madly in love with a botanist redhead.

Prismatic Pull: Queer Historical Fiction, Missing Leads, and Revenge on Frederic Wertham

Welcome to the Prismatic Pull, both a weekly recap of LGBTQIA comics news and the name for when a queer person uses their influence to get you a job. Much appreciation to anyone who wants to use their prismatic pull on me.

Out Last Week

Single Issues:

  • Torchwood #1
  • Harley Quinn #1
  • Vote Loki #3
  • Harley Quinn and Her Gang of Harleys #4
  • Jughead #8
  • Trees #14
  • DC Comics Bombshells #16

Collected Trades:

  • New Avengers vol. 2

News Reel

  • Dates! An Anthology of Queer Historical Fiction is now accepting submissions for its second volume. August 31st is the submission deadline.
  • Make Frederic Wertham roll over in his grave by buying these, which release this week:

feb160287

Intersectional Inclusion

  • Though an outlier to this column’s queer theming (or possibly not, as I haven’t read the stories), I still wanted to include Moonshot’s second volume Kickstarter funding in this week’s pull. Moonshot is a vitally important anthology series featuring indigenous creators and indigenous stories, so check it out.

Queer Protagonists List Update

  • Added Dr. Harleen Quinzel, a.k.a. Harley Quinn, in Harley Quinn by Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Chad Hardin, and John Timms.
  • Added Captain Jack Harkness in Torchwood by John Barrowman, Carole E. Barrowman, and Tommy Lee Edwards.

Queer Are They Now? Update

As of August:

  • DC’s
    • Shrinking Violet, Lightning Lass, Sir Ystin, and Exoristos have not had leading roles in three years.
    • Scandal Savage, Jeanette, Rag Doll, Power Boy, Gravity Kid, Starman, and Obsidian have not had leading roles in five years.
  • Marvel’s
    • Vivisector has not had a leading role in 12 years.

This Week in Comics

Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy #3, Detective Comics #938, Jem and the Holograms vol. 3, Satellite Falling #4, Injection vol. 2, Ringside #6, Space Battle Lunchtime #4

Prismatic Panel of the Week

The Wicked + The Divine #7 by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie

The Wicked + The Divine #7 by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie

Have tips for upcoming installations of the Prismatic Pull? Tweet me @HonestlyJon or email me at jonerikchristianson[at]gmail[dot]com.

Capsule Commentary: Suicide Squad

SPOILERS FOR SUICIDE SQUAD, DUH

Suicide Squad left me with two competing feelings throughout the viewing: intense boredom and second-hand embarrassment.

How a movie can take such an interesting concept and interesting characters and talented actors and flatten them so hard is beyond me.

Hearing that the film was “an extended ‘no homo'” critique earlier was unexpected since there’s no ‘mo to ho in this film, but I get it.

The stank of normative heteromasculinity was just so pungent throughout this film. Like, noxious even.

“here’s a movie about a lot of potentially really interesting villains of marginalized identities”
“let’s make it about rick flag”

in true comics fashion, the film tried to use exposition instead of meaningful characterization—great sticking to source material, there

I would watch an entire movie of Viola Davis! Amanda Waller doing anything, though. Laundry, eating another meal, scolding the DMV, whatever

I’ll give it to the actors: they tried
most kudos to will smith, viola davis, margot robbie, and the actors with too little material to tell

beyond my limit with folks writing harley quinn who have /no idea/ why people like harley quinn

“she’s ‘crazy,’ she’s ‘funny,’ and she wants to bone my villainous self-insert—nailed it.”

this movie was flipping DRENCHED in high-key low-key sexism & racism, yo

“but they were VILLAINS!!”
ah yes, marginalized folks are upset by abusive language because of its narrative logic

god, poor adam beach
what an obvious and disgusting way to treat him and his character
great indigenous rep there, suicide squad

every female character except waller was done dirty by this film, let me say

harley is such an interesting character and she was wasted
WTF was the enchantress/june moone stuff
why was katana subordinate to flag

I feel like rick flag is symbolic for a lot of this film’s problems

“how should we place the soundtrack in the movie?”
“pin-the-tail on the donkey style editing”
“LOVE IT”

WTF