Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Comic Foundry

I don't like reviewing. It makes this blog into a chore when I have to actively dreg up a coherent opinion on something substantial. Aside from the things I'm really fanatical about (which I obsess about endlessly and need to vent on) or the things that inspire some strange insight (that I need to write just to get it out into the conversation), I just enjoy reading and don't comment on it here.

But for whatever reason I accepted an early print copy of Comic Foundry this weekend, even though it meant I had to review it. And now I feel like a total sycophant, because I got something for free and really enjoyed it and now I'm in the position of trying to talk a bunch of people to pay for what I enjoyed for free.

This is awkward.

I tend to stick to comics and the internet for my reading because of my extremely short attention span (it was once described as "the attention span of a gnat on crack" by one of my sister's friends). The first half of Comic Foundry is very nice to my poor attention span. Most of the creator stuff is only a page long, which is good because they have a lot of different personalities packed into this little magazine (the table of contents "Creator Locator" lists about 50 different people). There's a page full of quotes from Darick Robertson [Pg ], a block diagram comparing the Kubert brothers' opinions [Pg 26] and Matt Fraction's guide to seducing Kieron Gillen [Pg 23] sprinkled in along with standard Q&A articles, so it tends towards the surreal sometimes.

The Life+Style section was the best part. It had a feature with four different women reacting to theoretical pickup approaches from five different comic book personalities [Pg 19], cocktail recipes [Pg 19], artists who also play music [Pg 22], a page on items of interest in Maryland [Pg 27], Brian Wood explaining his office decorations [Pg 18] and my personal favorite, tips for comic-themed home decor [Pg 17]!

The longer articles are in the second half of the magazine, and there's a couple that are of particular interest to my regular readers and When Fangirls Attack followers. "Heroine Addict" [Pg 74-77] ranks superheroines by comparing them to Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and of course the ones I like score low, I'm not sure whether to bother writing in about that or not) and "Sex and the Superhero" [Pg 62-67], wherein a psychologist analyzes She-Hulk and several covers (including the controversial Heroes for Hire #13).

Which of course brings me to the big draw here. Now, I hear a lot of complaining about Wizard in the feminist comics fan community, and I know from back when I was reading Wizard they really couldn't give two shits about women. As it is, we've been blogging steadily for over a year about women and female characters and most of the online sources have picked up on the issues, and we've seen gender issues touched on in mainstream magazines and news publications but I can't remember when I heard of Wizard or The Comics Journal nodding to anything that's covered on WFA. But here, in black and white print and carried by Diamond Distributors, I see Storm in Black Panther [Pg 77], Wonder Woman in All-Star Batman and Robin #6 [Pg 66], the cover to Heroes for Hire #13 [Pg 67] and how hard it is to tell a sex scene from a cover illustration [Pg 15] all touched upon in the first issue.

I strongly advise anyone who complains about Wizard Magazine and their attitude towards female readers to support this magazine. And if you disagree or have something to add, please write them a letter and see if they print it next issue. Keep the conversation going. I really believe it would be in the best interests of most feminist-minded fans to see this one continue and possibly make it to being a monthly instead of a quarterly magazine.

Comic Foundry is quarterly, black and white, $5.98 an issue and out tomorrow (Wednesday, August 22nd).


  1. Sounds neat. I think I'll pick up a copy if my local store carries it.

  2. Damn fine review for someone who claims to not like writing them.

    I too think I will purchase this - assuming my shop got it. If not, I will vent my displeasure, demand it be placed on my subscription and find somewhere on-line to get it.

  3. Interesting info - glad you shared this 'cause I think I only ordered one copy for my store not knowing what it would be like.

    You should post a link to this on POWER in Comics, or copy your bit about feminism and share it there. Always good to pass the word on!

    -- Lisa at Neptune

  4. I pre-ordered it. Others wanting an issue should be able to get one from their LCS via Diamond within 2 weeks.

    Alan Coil