Marvel Comics Collectors Editions Cell Covers

Guys. I drop my phone. A lot. So when I buy a cell cover, it’s a serious thing for me. The case has to be cute, first, but it also really needs to offer me a bit of protection–namely from accidental droppings and throwings (I once accidentally threw my cell when a wasp got all up in my grill). So when I got the chance to check out one of the Marvel Comics cell covers from SkinIt and Speck. I kinda rolled my eyes. Still, when I took a peek at the cell covers offered, and I had to admit they were kind of awesome.

mcc1

So I thought Sure, I’ll try your little cell cover for a bit, and then I’ll go back to my actual cell cover. I grabbed myself a Thor cover, and popped it on my phone. It was cute, I had to admit it, even in the midst of my skepticism. It also went with just about any outfit.

cell-cover

Not too long after I got the cell cover, I had a medical emergency take over my life (I’m fine). But that meant I was in bed a lot. Which meant my cell phone didn’t get treated as carefully as it should have. It fell between cracks on the couch, it fell off my super tall bed, but the cover kept my phone safe. It’s rubbery with a nice bumper around the screen, so when it fell to the ground, it was protected. Now, yes, this isn’t some magical impenetrable case, but when you’re used to all cute cases offering no phone protection at all, it’s pretty freaking amazing when they do.

marvelcollectorsedition

Regardless of who your fave is, Thor, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, or more, they’ve got a SkinIt cover for you. The designs are exclusively for the iPhone 6/6s and iPhone 6/6s Plus, and they are a thing of beauty. So check them out today! Not sure which hero you want? Might I try to inspire you with the latest hero to enter the MCU on November 4?

Do you have a SkinIt Marvel Comics cover? Which one is your favorite? Tell me in the comments!

Landfall Freight Is Your New Favorite Subscription Box!

There are LOTS of subscription boxes out there, and even just in the geek space alone, the market is pretty darn crowded with the different types of boxes you can get. Even though there’s a lot of awesome out there, after a while they can all start to seems somewhat similar. A geeky shirt, a collectible of some sort, same old same old. But then Landfall Freight came around and shook things up a bit.

Unlike most of the other “geeky” subscription boxes out there, Landfall is a comics-focused box that not only gives you awesome comics, but it also celebrates women in comics–from women creators to some of our favorite female characters out there. So when I got the chance to check out one of their boxes, I just couldn’t pass it up.

First thing I noticed was the box itself was absolutely adorable. I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for cute packaging, and Landfall Freight definitely caught my eye with their presentation.

Landfall Box

But even better than their packaging were the prizes that waited for me inside. My box contained three books: an issue of Lumberjanes, an issue of Plutona, and a hardcover graphic novel called Honor Girl. They also sent along a Landfall Freight patch, a super yummy smelling candle, and their signature: a caramel apple pop.

Landfall 2

So why should you pick Landfall Freight out of ALL the other subscription boxes out there? Because Landfall is different–it’s providing you with “geeky” things, yes, but they’re things you can actually use, not just more geeky tees to stuff into your already overflowing drawers or more collectibles to jam onto your desk. Plus, it’s all about celebrating awesome women in the comics space, which I think is fantastic.

If you want to try out Landfall Freight, head to their website. And, because I love you guys, if you enter in the promo DISTRACTED10, you’ll get 10% off your first box! So what are you waiting for? Check out Landfall Freight

Everyday Cosplay: Spider-Gwen

I’ll be honest, I’ve been kind of obsessed with Spider-Gwen ever since she first graced the pages of comics in Edge of the Spider-Verse. I’ve loved reading the Spider-Gwen comic, and I’m so incredibly happy that they’ll be bringing her back soon, but I’ve really missed having new issues to read! So, to help pass the time, I thought I’d make an everyday cosplay look to pay tribute to my favorite spidey-hero (of course incorporating a piece from We Love Fine’s AMAZING Spider-Gwen line–I’ve definitely pre-ordered that hoodie for myself).

Everyday Spider-Gwen

What do you think of the look? Have you read the Spider-Gwen comics? What do you think of her? What are you hoping to see when Marvel starts her comic back up? Let me know in the comments!  

The First Deadpool Trailer Is FINALLY Here!

Didn’t get to watch Conan tonight? No worries, nerds! I’ve got the Deadpool trailer for you RIGHT HERE. And, because I love you, I’m posting both the green and red band trailer, so you can watch it at work if you’re so inclined (though you probably shouldn’t unless you are actually being paid to watch the Deadpool trailer, in which case, how can I get your job?!?).

I’ve also got a few pics for you, because we can ALL use a few more official pics from this movie, right? Please to enjoy:

Alright. Enough stalling. Let’s get to the main event.

Here, friends, is the red band trailer (NSFW):

And here is the green band trailer: 

OH MY WORD, you guys. I’m so stoked for this one. So far, it looks like this is the Deadpool movie we’ve been wanting. Wade is snarky, crude, and hilarious, but it also seems that they also managed to capture the heart of Wade Wilson that makes us all love him so much. I cannot wait to see more, but I’m very hopeful that this version of Deadpool will remind us all of the character we all love so much from the comics. It was also neat to see some footage that I recognized from the leaked test footage from many months ago in the context of a trailer. All in all, I’m stoked about Deadpool.

One thing I wasn’t sure about was what they’d do about Wade’s face, especially since Ryan Reynolds is so very handsome and Wade Wilson/Deadpool of the comics looks, well, like a bit of a horror show. But I’ve gotta say, I’m pleasantly surprised that they chose to stay true to the books by making Wade look like, well, as they say in the trailer, “a topographical map of Utah”. Guys, I think this is gonna be the Deadpool movie we thought of when we closed our eyes and tried to dream away X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

So far everything coming from this movie has impressed me ad gotten me more and more excited for February. What did you think of the trailer? Let me know in the comments, and be sure to catch Deadpool in theaters on February 12! 

Ballet Break: When Comics and Ballet Collide

Every now and then I talk about ballet around here. I’ve been taking ballet classes for about two and a half years now, and it’s my favorite thing in the entire world. Taking ballet classes and dancing in pointe shoes was one of those dreams that I secretly had for years, and I didn’t finally chase that dream until I was 25. It’s been such an awesome experience, watching my body do things I never dreamed I could do, and seeing myself become stronger and–shockingly–even a bit graceful. However, I don’t talk about my ballet endeavors a lot around mine blog simply because it just doesn’t really have anything to do with the majority of Distracted Blogger. This weekend was a bit different. Why? Because this weekend, my love of comics and superheroes collided directly with my love of ballet. Specifically, Batman and ballet.

I mean, when you think Batman, you totally think ballet and dancing. Who doesn’t, amirite?

batman dances

Get it, Batman!

This weekend, using the musical stylings of The Piano Guys, my pointe class performed a dance as Batman–well, Bat-People might be more appropriate (mainly because there were several of us, we aren’t men, and our costumes were more Batman inspired than actual Batman outfits). See what I mean:

Batman and Ballet

Regardless of the accuracy of our costumes, the dance was essentially a fight between the Bat-People and Harley Quinn. It was a weird marriage of two things I love, but I can’t lie, it was kind of fantastic. Of course, the “fight” was definitely more like this…

west side story

…than, you know, this:

batman fight

Yes, rather than brawn and brute force, we were protecting Gotham with pique turns and arabesques, as any vigilante would.

Regardless of how realistic and brutal the “fighting” was, the dance was still marvelously fun. I had a fantastic time getting to channel the Dark Knight while dancing about in pointe shoes. Ballet has helped me overcome so many fears and insecurities, so it felt pretty fantastic to bring in a superhero to my ballet-verse. We got to dance with a Gotham backdrop behind us, and some of the other students from our studio held up POW! and BANG! signs during our “fight” with Harley.

I was quite shocked at how much more comfortable I felt in my pointe shoes, and how strong I felt. Seeing how much I have improved since I first started ballet and pointe work in particular truly made me feel like I was worthy of the title of Batman–or, at least, Bat-person.

batman ballet

A few of the Bat-People, minus our Harley Quinn.

I love how superheroes and comics can influence people who aren’t even a part of the comics/cinematic universes of those characters, and the different and creative ways people can incorporate masked heroes into places they normally don’t belong–like in ballet. If anything, this weekend proved how metal ballet can truly be, and even though we strive to look like graceful swans in our pointe shoes, ballerinas–even the awkward ones like yours truly–can rock a unitard and sparkly mask and kick some super-villain ass.

Have you found comics in unexpected places? What are some weird mashups of culture you’ve experienced lately? What things are you doing in your spare time that are challenging and weirdly fulfilling? Let’s talk about all of it in the comments!

Giveaway! DC Comics New 52: The Posters Collection

I’ve been on a bit of a DC kick lately (if you haven’t seen my interviews with Becky Cloonan, Marguerite Bennett, and Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti you should check those out). So I was really excited when the team from Insight Editions approached me, and they asked if they could send me a notebook and a poster collection for review and giveaway. They sent me a fantastic Wonder Woman notebook, and a poster collection from DC’s New 52. I took the notebook with me at Denver Comic Con, and it not only worked famously but also got me tons of compliments. It’s not surprising. The notebook is pretty darn slick:

wonder woman notebook

On the inside, in addition to the slick cover, there is also a bit of story before you get to the blank pages:

wonder woman notebook 2

The story is that in the midst of a treacherous attack by Cheetah, Wonder Woman drops the journal in which she has been recording her thoughts on the epic battle ahead. That journal has now fallen into your hands. The journal contains several pages of notes and sketches created by the Amazing Amazon herself, before giving way to blank ruled pages on which you can jot down your own notes. The journal is fabulous, and it does a great job putting you square in the middle of Wonder Woman’s world. It’s the coolest journal I’ve seen in some time. Even better, I recently discovered a pocket in the back as well, which is where I am currently storing my drawing from Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti until I find a more worthy home for it.

All in all, the notebook worked famously. I couldn’t have been more happy with it, and I love the look of it. It’s fits perfectly in my purse, but it isn’t one of those notebooks that is so small you can only fit two words to a page. This is a proper notebook, and you can tell by the feel that its sturdy. The cover didn’t tear and the pages didn’t fall out–even after being tossed around at Denver Comic Con. Want your own copy of the journal? Head over to Insight Editions website to pick up your own.

Of course, I couldn’t leave you guys hanging, so I’ve also got something for y’all that I’m giving away. For you fine folks, I’m giving away a copy of Insight Edition’s poster collection from DC’s The New 52.

DC New 52 Collage

Featuring cover art from the biggest names in the DC Universe–including Scott Snyder’s Batman, Brian Azzarello’s Wonder Woman, and Geoff Johns’ Justice League–this high quality poster book presents forty iconic covers from the most popular comics in the DC Comics The New 52. Since its launch date in late 2011, The New 52 has delivered some of the most visually thrilling and creatively innovative comic books art in recent history. And now, it’s yours to own in this rad collection of posters.

I’m running a Rafflecopter giveaway just for you guys. You can visit the giveaway on Rafflecopter or head over to my Facebook to enter the giveaway. The contest ends on June 8 at 12:00 AM and is open to US entrants only. Didn’t win? No worries. You can pick up a copy for yourself at Insight Editions.

Denver Comic Con & The DC Comics Interviews: Marguerite Bennett

DC Collage

I had a brilliant time at Denver Comic Con this year, and I was so thrilled to get the opportunity to interview some amazing writers from DC Comics. DC is doing some pretty rad stuff with their comics, and I am so excited to get to dish with you, my shiny readers! I was able to sit down with Becky Cloonan (Gotham Academy), Jim Palmiotti and Amanda Conner (Harley Quinn, Power Girl, Starfire), and Marguerite Bennet (Earth 2, Bombshells). I’ve already shared my interview with Becky Cloonan and Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Palmer with you all, and now it’s time for my last interview with the fantastic Marguerite Bennett. I’m so stoked for her latest project, and she also has some awesome advice for young women interested in breaking out into comics:

Kendall: Let’s talk a little bit about Earth 2. This one had quite a few writer on it, Daniel H. Wilson, yourself, and Mike Johnson, so what did the writing process look like for you guys? Was it collaborative, did you work on your own and come together? 

Marguerite: Well, Daniel was the one who wrote the story, so he came up with sort of the massive bible on what the death of this world was going to be. And then we all broke it down into the plot and the characters, and tried to track where the emotional journey was going to be in addition to the action, and then those pages were sort of divvied up between who was sort of going to focus on who. We didn’t really want to do it by plot, because we really felt that jumping around would interrupt the emotional momentum each character had, so instead we gave a group of characters to each writer so they could keep it consistent and never lose sight of what the beginning and the end of that emotional journey was.

K: Did you guys know each other before working on Earth 2?

M: No, I’ve met Mike Johnson sort of briefly. It’s actually sort of funny, he’s such a sweetheart. When I was talking at a party with an editor at Marvel, he had worked with Mike in the past, and he sort of teasing said, “Oh, that Mike Johnson, what a jerk!” And I got sort of really cold and frosty with him and said, “Excuse me, I think Mike is a lovely person!” And he was kind of like, “I…I was kidding. We’re bros.” So it’s funny, you’ve got this sort of foxhole situation, and then it’s the bootcamp that unites you.

K: As we know, Earth 2 is ending and they are going to bring forth Earth 2: Society. What can you tell us about that, if anything?

M: I actually can’t tell you anything. I’m so sorry!

K: No, that’s okay! So are you still going to be writing on it?

M: No. I’m switching over to a different series entirely. It’s called Bombshells and I’m really excited about it.

K: Can you tell me a little bit about that?

M: Sure! Bombshells is going to be a digital first series like Injustice that is a completely new story that is based on the bombshell variants that you may have seen, these bombshell statues with this wonderful retro style, designed by Ant Lucia.

Bombshells

M: It’s going to be all the DC heroines in this alternate history of WWII. So the whole conceit is that the heroines came first. So on our very first page it starts with the Waynes going out to see Zorro one summer evening, and a gangster jumps out of the shadows with a tommy gun, and Batwoman comes crashing down and prevents the murder of the Waynes–prevents the creation of Batman. And so, that sets the tone for the entire series, where no heroine is a derivative of a male counterpart. So the women came first, and they defined this world.

K: [fangirls, collects self] That’s awesome! Oh my gosh. I’m so excited for that. So is it just you writing on this?

M: Yep! It’s my first ongoing, and I’ve been sitting on this since last September! I’ve got 21 issues plotted and broken, and I cannot wait. Our interior art is done by another Marguerite, the only other Marguerite I’ve found, so far, Marguerite Sauvage. Her stuff is so tremendous. We’ve got variant covers by Emanuela Luppachino, and it’s just such a killer story. We’re having so much fun.

K: How did you come up with this story?

M: I was approached by Jim Chadwick, who is our wonderful editor. I did some work with him while I was working with Tom Taylor in Earth 2 in the annual for Injustice. And I was so in love with Bombshells, and I never made it any secret how in love I was with Bombshells. So when they made it clear they wanted to move it into a proper ongoing, I was the first one on their list. There is no version of this, I can honestly say, that is more up my alley. How crazy to get to go into this new world.

K: Man, I’m so excited! So when can we expect to see this?

M: The first digital starts, I believe, July 12, and the first print version will be out August 12. Also, every Wednesday there is going to be a ten-page story release, and then on the last Wednesday of the month, we’re going to have a full thirty-page print issue that will be available at comic book stores. So if you want to wait and get the full thing or you want to follow Wednesday by Wednesday, you can do it. And how every ten-page story is going to operate is it’s going to focus on a different character. Our first ten-pager is going to be about Batwoman, our second ten-pager is going to be about Wonder Woman, third will be about Supergirl. So each time, we’re trying to make sure there is something for everyone in this comic. So Batwoman it will be an action-adventure story, with Wonder Woman it’s a war story, with Supergirl its like a propaganda film. With Hawkgirl its an Indiana Jones-style story, with Vixen it’s a rebellion, Aquawoman its a romance, Zatanna its a hammer movie. So we want to make sure to fund this complete world with the art and the genres that define the forties and the war.

K: That’s great. I am so excited about that. Well, you’ve done a lot, with Bombshells now and stuff you’ve done with…another unnamed comics publisher…lots of awesome stuff with women in comics. And, for instance, with A-Force, there’s been a lot of pushback. How do you respond to that? I mean, I’m excited about all of the awesome women in comics right now, as you can see. How do you respond?

M: Make a martini and enjoy my right to vote.

K: That’s good.

M: We’re here to stay!

K: Did you grow up with comics?

M: I did. I mean, Batman animated series when I was five years old is the whole reason that I’m here today. I absolutely fell in love with that style of the stories and the depth, the art, and the level of the emotionality in all of them. There were times that I couldn’t afford to keep up with comics, and there were times that I felt unwelcome in the comics community, but sort of when there was that social media boom of Tumblr and DeviantArt and fan fiction–I wrote so much fan fiction. I’ve got binders full of it. When I found that there were other nerdy girls who loved this, or other nerdy people who accepted me in spite of the fact or ignored that gender bias, we sort of built our own community. And we’ve been trucking ever since.

K: You’ve written a lot of really awesome female characters, especially now with Bombshells, you’re going to touch on All of the Things, which is rad.

M: I’m putting my stick fingers over all these toys!

K: You are! Is there a favorite that you like to write on?

M: Oh, Kate Kane. She’s my favorite heroine, period.

K: Why?

M: Oh my gosh, you know I feel like every hero and heroine has one defining thing about them. That if you were going to boil them down, all of their wants and needs and damage and virtues, there would be one thing. For Batman, a lot of people would call it his need for justice, but I’d say it’s more about obsession. For Batgirl it’s more about recovery, and for me Batwoman is more about service, about what you sacrifice, what you give of yourself and your abilities to redeem others. Whether its more the world at large, or more intimate, personal damage, but that selflessness is the thing that pulls her through. It gives her strength as much as its her greatest vulnerability, and that always really resonates with me.

K: What would you say to, like you said, there are a lot of girls that don’t feel welcome in the comics community. How would you encourage them to overcome that?

M: You know, no one’s going to write this story for you. You’ve got a story in you that only you can tell, and you need to tell it. Do not let somebody tell you that your story is invalid. Do not let someone tell you that your story isn’t worthy of being told. Don’t let somebody have that control over your life and your self-worth. You have just as much of a right to be here as anybody else. Don’t get scared. You can do this.

***

I had to also mention that DC is doing some really exciting stuff when it comes to becoming a more inclusive environment for women. In addition to Bombshells, DC also has another new project coming up. This time, it’s for those comic book fans who are young girls. DC is going to be releasing a full universe aimed at young girls, complete with digital content, TV specials, made-for-video publishing, toys, and apparel called DC Super Hero Girls in fall of 2015.

Yep. You heard right, we’re finally getting some female action figures and apparel. Yes, please. FINALLY. We can expect the digital content this fall, and the rest of the products (apparel, toys, books, etc) will launch in 2016. You can head to the DC site to read more about it, but I am so excited and impressed with the ways DC is working to create products for its female fans of all ages. Ten points to DC.

I cannot tell you how STOKED I am for Bombshells and Super Hero Girls. I don’t know about you, but I’ve already got Bombshells on my pull list at my comic book store. If you haven’t done that already, you most certainly need to remedy that! You can check out more info on the comic on the DC website. If you aren’t following Marguerite on Twitter, you should definitely remedy that as well. So what do you think of Bombshells? Will you be reading it? Is it already on your pull list? What do you think of Super Hero Girls? Let me know your thoughts on all things Marguerite, Bombshells, DC, and Superhero Girls in the comments! 

Denver Comic Con & The DC Comics Interviews: Jim Palmiotti and Amanda Conner

DC Collage

I had a brilliant time at Denver Comic Con this year, and I was so thrilled to get the opportunity to interview some amazing writers from DC Comics. DC is doing some pretty rad stuff with their comics, and I am so excited to get to dish with you, my shiny readers! I was able to sit down with Becky Cloonan (Gotham Academy), Jim Palmiotti and Amanda Conner (Harley Quinn, Power Girl, Starfire), and Marguerite Bennet (Earth 2, Bombshells). I’ve already shared my interview with Becky Cloonan with you all, and now here’s my chat with Harley Quinn writers Amanda and Jim. These guys were HOOTS. We didn’t really stay on topic, but I had a blast chatting with these two.

Kendall: I have been dying to know, what do you guys think of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn from the Suicide Squad movie? 

harley quinn

Amanda: I’m kind of liking it! I’m sort of reserving judgement until I actually see the film, but I’m liking what I see so far.

Jim: I think the couple of photos I’ve seen, there’s not that many, but the attitude is there. I like the attitude. And, you know, people say to me, “Oh, the costume’s not designed right,” no, it doesn’t matter. How do you know she doesn’t change into fifteen costumes in that movie? You know, I think it looks terrific, actually, with the baseball bat and the umbrella, the black and red umbrella’s pretty cool.

A: I didn’t see that one yet!

J: Yeah, it’s pretty cool, so I think out of everything in that movie, of course I’m hyper-focusing on Harley. I think everybody is, in a way, but I dunno, it looks pretty cool. It could have looked horrible.

K: It could have, definitely. 

J: And just the colors, the smear, and the tattoos, I think she has a Bernie the Beaver right around her waist.

A: I think. We can’t really tell what it is, but I think it’s a beaver.

J: It’s a beaver, yeah, it’s a beaver.

A: Yeah, it’s right around her belly button.

J: We have a beaver in our comic, so that made us happy. We were happy to see beaver, if you wanna say that.

A: Is this podcast all-ages?

J: Is this a podcast or a blog?

K: It’s a blog, and no worries. You guys are fine. So you guys don’t really have any involvement in the movie? 

J: No, no. We’ll be like everyone else, seeing it when it comes out.

K: Is that kind of weird, seeing, I mean you guys have kind of brought Harley Quinn into [the modern spotlight]…

J: I think it’s probably weirder for Bruce Timm and Paul Dini, since they were the creators, you know? I mean, I look at that and I’m like, why aren’t they doing a Harley cartoon right now based on our books?

A: Yeah! I could see that!

J: Like, while the movies are going you could have the Harley cartoon going there. There should be all kinds of different Harleys. But, you know, it’s cool. If people who don’t know who Harley is see the movie and want to try the comic, I hope they kind of come our way and check it out–and don’t get disappointed. Because it’s probably a little more heavy than what we do.

K: Speaking of newcomers to Harley Quinn, you guys aren’t the first ones to write her, but where would you–especially in your era of Harley Quinn–where would you direct people to kind of jump in? Should you start at the very beginning or is there another place that you think new readers should start? 

A: Harley is really “jump inable”, for the most part, but I think to get the whole–it’s probably hard to get issue zero and the first Harley, but I think now that they’ve collected it it’s easy to get, like I said you can jump in and get a good feel for the book. But if you want to get sort of a, you know, all of the characters, to get where they’re coming from, it’s easier if you can have the whole story. Then you don’t have to say, “What’s this guy’s story?” or “Where does this person come from?”

J: I’d say that if you don’t know who Harley is, just get the trade, the Mad Love trade by Bruce and Paul and get that. That’s great. That will give you the Batman-related Harley.

A: It’s a really good background for Harley, Mad Love.

J: Although with Secret Origins #4, we retold the origin, so I don’t know. There’s a lot of stuff to choose from. My bank account says buy anything we did, but my brain says the Bruce Timm, Paul Dini stuff is a great place to start. And then watch the animation, that stuff is amazing. It’s a very rich character. There’s a lot to go out there and get. But, honestly, you can pick up June’s book and you could figure it out pretty quick.

K: I love that about Harley Quinn, she is “jump inable”. Comics can be kind of intimidating to start. 

A: Well, that’s the thing, we like to keep the story sort of, I mean, we do have story arcs, but at the same time we like to make it so you don’t have to be so involved with this really complex history. Sometimes you get so convulsed that you don’t know where anything’s going.

J: And it alienates people. That’s not what you want comics to do, alienate the audience.

K: How is writing Harley Quinn–the quintessence of an anti-hero–different from the writing process of writing a more straight down the line masked hero? 

A: I think it’s easier. Because with straight heroes, there are limitations. Heroes have things they can and cannot do, but with Harley, there’s nothing she won’t do. So we could go in a million different directions than her. So I find that its easier, don’t you?

J: I do, and I find that any stupid thing we come up with, we can throw in the book. Like yesterday, some kid, do you remember? He said something random…

A: He said something about wearing a thong, and Jimmy said it’d have to be a red thong. And we were like…

J: The Red Thong!

A: We looked at each other and were like, “That’s our new Harley super-villain.”

J and A: The Red Thong.

J: And he’s like, maybe from Russia, maybe he’s not, maybe he’s from Germany.

A: We decided he’s from Germany, because Germans come down here to Clearwater and they wear speedos. Without shame.

J: But the Red Thong is a scary villain because he is wearing almost nothing, and nothing is more scary than a grown, hairy man running at you in just a thong. That’s frightening! That’s more more frightening than a man with a cape and a skull, but if the Red Thong shows up at your house, you’re like, no.

J: So the fans bring us some good ideas, too. Like the Red Thong. You’ll see, the Red Thong will be appearing. That’s the fun of that book, that we can say something that stupid and still work it in there and make it kinda work. You know, I’ve gotta create a logo. Something like that. It’s gotta go behind. Like, where’s the logo? It’s on the back of my thong. It should just be a circle with a red line. That should just be the logo. Like that [draws logo on a napkin]. That’s for you. That’s the first appearance of the Red Thong. What do you think?

Red Thong Logo

K: It’s perfect. I love it. 

[Jim asks Amanda to color the logo red with her marker, which she does]

J: This is the website that you go to in order to find the origin of the Red Thong.

K: Yes! This is a Distracted Blogger exclusive! 

[lots of thong jokes, a quick consideration of renaming it The Hairy Thong, and imagining potential actors to play the Thong, and other things whose hilarity won’t translate well to this format, and then the DC publicist gets us back on track]

K: So how is writing Starfire different from Harley? 

J: Well, Harley’s all about insanity, and Starfire is, because it’s a very established character and with everything that’s been going on in New 52 and then we have the animated series, Teen Titans, so we’re writing it pretty straight. And if I had to use a comparison, I’d say it’s like when we did that Power Girl series a couple of years ago, it’s probably very, very close to that in the way the book moves and the characters play.

A: And flavor.

J: And flavor, yes. And it has a nice bounce to it, but it has a different beat to it, you know, it’s basically about her learning to get along with us–humans.

A: And learning to adapt to the way humans are, and learning to blend in a little more. She likes her new home and she wants to be one of us.

J: It has its super hero parts, but its more soap opera and more stories. But it is more like the Power Girl series, if anybody remembers that.

K: And there’s Harley and Power Girl coming soon. 

J: And that’s just insane. We brought Justin Gray in for that one, and it takes place after Harley Quinn #12 where they jump from one dimension ring and come out and Power Girl is wearing a wedding dress and Harley is wearing a superhero suit with cats.

A: And Power Girl says, “That was the longest two weeks of my life!”

J: And it’s basically the time between the those two rings. That’s the whole miniseries. So we learn why she’s in a wedding dress, why Power Girl doesn’t want to talk about Vartox…

A: Yeah, Power Girl says, “Don’t talk about this.”

J: …and it’s very groovy, to use the sixties term. If I had to use one word to describe it, I’d say groovy.

You guys, I was so thrilled to get to talk to Amanda and Jim. They are hilarious, and you have to only hang out with them for a few minutes to see what a killer team they make. And, yes, I definitely still have my first, napkin-edition drawing of the Red Thong logo: 

Kendall Drawing

Be sure to check out the latest issue of Harley Quinn, which hits stores June 10, and check out the Harley Quinn and Power Girl miniseries, releasing on June 17. And of course be sure to follow Jim and Amanda on Twitter.  I’d also love to hear your Harley thoughts. Are you a fan of the comic? What do you think of the Margot Robbie Harley? Let me know in the comments! 

Denver Comic Con and The DC Comics Interviews: Becky Cloonan

DC Collage

I had a brilliant time at Denver Comic Con this year, but one of the COOLEST parts of the convention was getting the opportunity to interview some amazing writers from DC Comics. There are some truly exciting things coming down the pike with DC Comics, and I am so excited to get to dish with you, my shiny readers! I was able to sit down with Becky Cloonan (Gotham Academy), Jim Palmiotti and Amanda Conner (Harley Quinn, Power Girl, Starfire), and Marguerite Bennet (Earth 2, Bombshells), but I’m gonna start with telling you guys about my interview with the one and only, Ms. Becky Cloonan. Check it out:

Spoiler alert, I kinda fangirl in all of my interviews. 

Gotham Academy

Kendall: Thank you so much for taking the time to sit down with me. I am a huge fan of Gotham Academy–huge! The first issue came out right around the same time that Thor became a woman, so that was just a really exciting time to be a woman in comics.

B: Yeah! There are so many good books out there right now.

K: There really are. So did you grow up reading comics?

B: I did. My first comic was Silver Surfer Annual #1, in 1988, so at eight years old I was incredibly invested in things like the Kree Skull War. I was probably the only kid in my school that could talk about this kinda stuff, but it was because my dad really liked comics. So sometimes when he’d go to the grocery store, he’d go and buy one, but it’s a weird thing because we weren’t able to get the books on a monthly basis. Sometimes you’d go a few months and you’d skip something, or I’d pick it up and I’d be like, “Oh Mantis is back!” But then I wouldn’t know how she came back. The comic would just say “see this issue”, and I’d be like, “I can’t find it! I’m, like, nine years old and I have no car! My dad won’t buy me comics every week!” And who knows if the grocery store would even get it. So a lot of my time was spent thinking about the stories that happened in between the stories that I read. And then when I’d actually go back and re-read the stuff, I’d be like, “I think the stories that I made up were actually better than the actual comic!” Or, they were more satisfying, I think. They were much more detailed, maybe? I think that’s part of why I like making comics. From a very young age I was trained to think of what happens between the panels. And just having that vocabulary probably did something to me.

K: So because you grew up reading, is that kind of why you wanted to make your heroines these young women as opposed to, like, a thirtysomething superhero?

B: Yeah, yeah. When Mark Doyle approached me, he was like, “What do you want to do?” and I said Gotham Academy. He’s like, “What’s that?” and I said, “It’s like, a girl going to a prep school at an academy in Gotham, and how her life is affected by Batman. That’s it.” And he’s like, “Sounds good. Pitch it, write me a pitch.” So I called together Brendan and Carl and I was like, “You guys wanna help me with this book?” And that’s the short version of the story. But to me, the main character was always Olive. She’s a young girl, and then Maps, her best friend, was her foil. A lot of it’s based on–not exactly based on, of course–but one of my old friends growing up, her name’s Jen and we met when we were like, eleven or twelve. We were best friends right away. So a lot of their relationship is based on me and Jen’s relationship growing up, and focusing on how that friendship effects your life. How does that friendship change you? You know, in the hard things that happened in your life, how is it easier to overcome them with a friend, and sometimes, how is it more difficult because you have to, you know, worry about someone else, you end up getting in fights, or whatever else. You know, there are all these things that I remember, and trying to translate that into this scenario in Gotham. So I wouldn’t say that anything that happens to them is  what happened to us. It’s not like I’m one and she [Jen] is the other one. It’s just like, not necessarily events that happened, it’s just the ideas and themes and the memories of it. A lot of that is going into it. I mean, I like grizzled thirty year-olds as well, I like writing those kinda dudes, too. But in this comic, it was always about Olive and Maps.

K: And I think it’s a really important story to get out there. There’s a place for all of those types of stories, but I think there was a gap, and I think you filled it with a really great story in Gotham Academy

B: Thank you, yeah, I agree that there was a gap there, too. I just, I didn’t even think about it, because I don’t do YA stuff, really. I mean, maybe a little, but not…actually, no, not really. I don’t think I’ve ever done YA before! This [Gotham Academy] might be the first one! So, it’s changed a lot of how I’ve thought about stuff. Like, now I consider that it’s a YA book, and every time I go to write one or think of the next story arc, that’s always in my head. It’s like, this is someone’s first comic, and I think about the kids that I’ve met that have read it or kids that I know–one of my friend’s daughter is a big Gotham Academy fan–so I’m always thinking about her when I write it.

K: I’ve heard people actually say that Gotham Academy sort of fills the Harry Potter void. Did you, I mean, it’s a totally different story from Harry Potter, but were you kind of hoping to have this big, dynamic world like J.K. Rowling? 

B: Of course! Because I love Harry Potter! I love it! I’m obsessed with Harry Potter. So this obviously, Harry Potter was definitely a touchstone. When you think about boarding school, it’s all very gothic and maybe it’s less magical and there’s no wizards in the stories, but that’s a touchstone. Batman animated series is a touchstone for us visually as well. It’s noir, it’s got that dark but still goofiness of a sixties show. It’s like the perfect marriage of that, so we thought about that a lot. Scooby Doo is another one, so we all think that’s a touchstone for it. So we have a lot of inspirations for Gotham Academy, and we have a lot of things that we use for a reference, just stylistically or taking the feeling of it. You know, I’m trying to infuse what we’re trying to do with Gotham Academy with the good feelings we got from these other stories.

K: I love talking on my blog about women in the geek world, so of course Gotham Academy has got these awesome female protagonists. And even with a lot of other comics publishers we’re seeing that change to kind of include more women and racial minorities as well. How do you feel about that change and that you’re actively a part of it? 

B: It’s awesome! Seeing from even, like, ten years ago, seeing the diversity of creators, even the diversity you see just walking around a con floor like this. Because of that, you’re seeing a lot of different kind of stories from different perspectives, and then you’re going to get more people reading it from different perspectives and different backgrounds. And then, they’re gonna start making more comics. So it’s only going to make a healthier industry. This industry came from a place that was a really small group of people creating and reading it, and it was very insular–maybe a little incestuous–it just fed into itself. Now with people taking inspiration from outside of comics, or people from non-comics backgrounds getting into comics, you’re going to start seeing a wider readership with people who are less obsessed with comics–more casual readers, less obsessive fans. Which, there is a place for that, but for a healthy industry, you want to be able to just walk into someone’s house and see they have a few books on the table, and oh, hey! there’s a comic book, too. It should be normal, and sometimes you find that, culturally, comics are shoved to the back and put in a corner and kind of ignored as a low art form or something that’s dismissed because it’s for kids. And, yes, comics should be for kids, but comics should also be for everybody, and there should be comics for everyone to read. I think we’re in a–I don’t know if its an adolescence, maybe that was the 90s–but I wonder if right now comics is going through that phase like when you’re right out of college and you’re trying to figure out what you want to do with your life. That’s comics right now. So there might be some butting heads, but I really think that everything’s moving in a positive direction. Aside from some of the negativity that you hear, but that’s just squeaky wheels. People just need to catch up.

K: There’s always going to be negativity. 

B: Yeah, some of the gears are going to grind a little bit, but that’s part of, it’s just growing pains. I have a good feeling about everything.

K: DC is doing some awesome stuff, moving its comic characters into TV. So if you saw Gotham Academy as a TV show, have you ever envisioned actors that you’d like to see? 

B: I always see it as something that’s animated, but that might just be because of the format. But sometimes we see Tristan, the handsome kind of mystery man, mystery boy, Olive’s kind of interested–is she interested? She might be kind of interested. He’s kind of the Jordan Catalano of Gotham Academy. So, definitely, if we had a young Jared Leto kind of in mind. Maybe like a blonde Jared Leto. I was just kind of like, “We need a Jordan Catalano!” So, when we were making this tapestry of characters, we were trying not to make them too stereotypical, but you have to put a Jordan Catalano in there.

Jordan Catalano

K: It’s necessary, for sure. 

B: So every once and a while I think that Carl looks at, there’s like some people that were inspirations for the some of the characters. Like, when he was designing the characters he’d look at actresses or models, or like for Kyle there was a guy in a Korean boyband or something, like Super Juniors or something that we were looking at, as something stylistically with like the visor and the tracksuits.

K: Why did you decide on setting the story in a boarding school rather than a traditional high school? Was it just what you envisioned? 

B: I think it was a nice place to put a lot of characters and keep them there, you know? And then the story really becomes about the girls and the girls dorm, so having that one place to put the characters and you don’t really have to deal with parents. And you don’t have to deal with what happens at home, and splitting the time. So it becomes, the whole thing, always about the school and always about these kids, and we keep the story focused on them by keeping them at school. And, you know, who doesn’t love old, creepy boarding schools?

K: It also hearkens back to that Harry Potter thing, too. 

B: It does, and also it’s great for Olive. Well, it’s great for her character, it’s not necessarily great for Olive. She’s at this school, one of the most prestigious, expensive boarding schools in Gotham, and she’s there on a Wayne scholarship. So she shouldn’t even be there, so she’s got, who knows maybe she’s got impostor syndrome. You know, kids tease her, “oh, you’re a scholarship kid, you’re gonna lose that scholarship, you’re outta here.” So it puts yet another wedge between her and the students there.

K: One thing I love about Gotham, especially with Batman–and he’s got a huge presence in the story–is that he doesn’t have superpowers. He’s a regular guy. 

B: He’s a dude.

K: Yeah, he’s just a dude. Just a normal dude. But I think that kind of has a big impact on all the characters in Gotham Academy. He’s not like Superman, who came from another planet, he’s just a guy. So how do you think that kind of a role model impacts the kids? 

B: Well, it’s great because you have these, every kid is going to think of it differently. When you see that Bat Signal, what’s your reaction? Some people are probably like, “Oh, that’s so sweet, how cool is this that we live in a city where there’s a Bat Signal?” And some people are like, “Oh, it’s so bright. It’s annoying. How gaudy. Who does he think he is?” Then Olive hates him. She hates him. She’s all pissed off. So every kid probably has a different reaction to it. And also it can also be a reminder of what a crappy city you live in. You know, that you need a Bat Signal, that it’s gotten to that point. Like, if I lived in a place that had a Bat Signal I’d be like, “Oh no. Something’s really going wrong tonight.”

K: Is there anything that you can tell us of what to expect to come up in the future? Without major spoilers, what can you tell us to expect in Gotham Academy

B: Well, issue seven is going to be a lot of fun. Damien is coming to Gotham Academy, and they’re going to go on a crazy little adventure. And then issue eight, we pick up kind of where we left off. There’s been a little bit of time between issue six and issue eight, but something’s happened, and it’s something that Olive has to deal with, and it changes everything. So that’s kind of where we start, and it’s kind of a heavy issue, actually. We start dealing with a very heavy topic. It’s about how the team gathers around and, of course there is a bit more mystery. You know, monsters running around on campus, more poetry maybe.

Thanks so much to the amazing Becky Cloonan for taking time to chat with me. Be sure to check out Gotham Academy if you haven’t already (issue 7 releases June 10), and follow Becky on Twitter as well! Have you read Gotham Academy? What do you think of it? Let me know in the comments!

The Order of the Forge Review

I love superheroes, so when I heard about the new comic from Victor Gischler, I got so incredibly excited. The comic comes from Dark Horse Comics and is called The Order of the ForgeCheck out the cover: the forgeAwesome cover, right? Well, let me explain this comic to you with three very important words. Those words are: George Washington and superheroes.

oh yesHere’s the official synopsis:

Before he fathered a nation, young George Washington forged his legend in blood! Imbued with the mystical powers of America’s original inhabitants, George—along with his friends Ben Franklin and Paul Revere—must stop an evil governor who wishes to rule an empire!

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Seriously, Kendall? Founding fathers as superheroes? But its actually a ton of fun. If you’re looking for a serious, historically accurate comic, then this one isn’t for you. However, if you’re looking for a fun–not always totally historically accurate–ride that paints George Washington, Paul Revere, and Benjamin Franklin as some of America’s first superheroes, then this is for you. The art is fun, and though the story in The Order of the Forge #1 is heavy in exposition, the comic ends on a pretty exciting cliffhanger that gets you stoked for the next issue.

I’ll be honest. I didn’t really know what to expect from this comic. I didn’t ever read Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter out of some sort of English major pretentious principle, so I was skeptical about what I’d encounter in the pages of this comic. However, I really appreciated this creative retelling of the incredibly famous men from American history. I didn’t really read the comic expecting some work of historical accuracy, but I was really pleasantly surprised that the comic portrayed American founding fathers as snarky superheroes in a fun, believable way. More than that, they took classic events from American history–like Ben Franklin’s experiment with lightning, George Washington’s reputation for always telling the truth, and the real story behind that cherry tree he chopped down–and gave them a fun and creative twist. Beyond the creative twists on history, the story itself is pretty exciting as well. I’ll definitely be picking up The Order of the Forge #2. I highly recommend this comic!

What do you think of comics, books, movies, and TV shows that  present a creative twist on history? Have you read The Order of the Forge? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments, and be sure to get yourself a copy from your local comic book store or online!