How to be a succesful comic writer #1

Step 1: Get out those razors and polish off that pate. Excess hair on the head clearly inhibits creative thinking, graphically speaking.

Young Turks Grant Morrison, Brian Azzarello, Brian Michael Bendis and Brian K. Vaughan illustrate.

So is smooth and shiny the only way to go? Not all the writers we asked felt that way. Alan Moore, that granddaddy of graphic novels reacted with utmost horror at the suggestion.

"What! Lose my hair. Only Scotsmen and people named Brian would consider something like that", said the great man, as he lovingly stroked his luxuriant chin curtain.

But the last word on this hairy issue was had by enfant terrible Warren Ellis. Suggestions that he lose the facial foliage were met with the following:

"Between Alan and myself, we have enough active follicles to more than compensate for those eggheads", he commented. I think that pushes the average scalp hair for a comic writer back to normal.

(Dedicated to that other creative genius who sacrificed follicles for phraseology - JAP)


Priceless #1

This is a scene from Marvel's Young Avengers #6 - one of the best books around these days. Widely expected to be just another sad Avengers knock-off, this team of kids have ended up being far more interesting than their adult counterparts.

Before I post the scene that had me rolling on the floor, here's a little background information you'll need. These kids are the team members - Eli, Billy, Teddy, Kate and Cassie who were each a copy of a different Avenger. Their old codenames were Patriot, Asgardian, Hulkling, Hawkingbird and Ant-Girl, which were, respectively, equivalents of Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Hawkeye and Ant-Man.

Now after their first adventure, they decide to stick together as a team, but with new codenames. Here is a snippet from their discussion on new codenames.


OK, did you not get it?

Ahh, I forgot to mention one crucial fact - Billy and Teddy are a gay couple. Now go read it again.

So where were we. Ahh, yes - HAHAHAHAHA! Priceless!


Book Plug #1

(yet another rehash)

Step aside Helen Fielding, Candace Bushnell, and all you other pretenders. The real queen of chicklit is the eminently capable Gail Simone, who is currently the brains behind DC's delightful 'Birds of Prey' series. Bringing a woman's touch to a very male industry, Simone has managed to pull off a successful superhero comic with an all-female cast. What stands out is not the action (which is good), or the cheesecake art (Drool!), but the elements of girl-bonding that the characters regularly indulge in, in between wiping the floor with a long list of (mostly male) supervillains. Putu thinks it should be renamed Sex (plenty of that), Violence and the (Gotham) City.

Here's a heads-up to the cast of this fantastic book.

Oracle: Barbara Gordon. Redhead. Glasses. Brainy as hell, but confined to a wheelchair. Used to be Batgirl, but was shot by a homicidal maniac which ended her career. Always the strong one, she conducts all operations and is the ultimate information source. The only man in her life was her adoptive father, James Gordon, until she recently started a relationship with the younger Nightwing, who she's known for over a decade. But Nightwing's recent guilt issues have made her push him away.

Black Canary: Dinah Lance. Bleached Blonde. Black leather and fishnets. The most mature of the lot, and by far the best fighter. Is a trained ninja but too ethical to kill. Was down on her luck until Oracle asked her to join the team. Daughter of the original Black Canary, and is very much like her mother, except for the fact that her mother had a long and happy marriage - something that Dinah tries hard to live down. Dinah was married young and divorced within a year. She then had a long relationship with the much older millionaire playboy, Green Arrow, but it never lasts, mainly because he insists on protecting her, and she rightly thinks that she can take care of herself.

Huntress: Helena Bertilleni. Brunette. Badass. Slut. Daughter of a crime boss, who was gunned down in front of her eyes. This turned her into a vengeful woman with serious attitude, leading to many showdowns with the biggest gun of all - Batman. Is also a trained fighter, but far more ruthless. Will sleep with just about anybody. Her conquests include Nightwing and Arsenal, who is a very close to Canary, thus making it difficult for them to accept her at first. However, her dependability and belief in justice have made the three of them best of friends.

Lady Blackhawk: Newest member of the team. Pilot. Feminist. War Hero. Was the only woman in a special team of agents assembled to fight the Nazis in a more unequal age. Surpisingly has managed to fit in well with a bunch of much younger girls, and can hold her own against any of them, but prefers to sit back and let them do the fighting.

And the Supporting Cast

Batgirl: Cassandra Cain. Daughter of a trained assassin. Knew only the language of violence until Barbara helped her out. Speaks very little or not at all. Is usually with Batman, but is always on call.

Nightwing: Dick Grayson. Mr. Right. Batman's protege. Moved out of Gotham to make it on his own in Bludhaven. Had a relationship with old friend Oracle, but has recently been under stress thanks to his guilt after a one-night stand with Huntress, and attraction to Tarantula.

Catwoman: THE most dangerous woman in Gotham. Does her own thing always. Occasionally helps out, but has been known to indulge in not-entirely-legal activities. Her special relationship with Batman makes her off-limits.

Wildcat: Everybody's favourite uncle. Taught canary a thing or two. Always on call.

Blue Beetle: Ted Kord. Millionaire. Nice guy. Has a huge crush on Oracle, but has never told her, though everyone knows. Oracle isn't averse to flirting with him, though.

Batman: The big daddy. Runs the show. Superhero, but complete jerk. Thinks Canary isn't good enough, and Huntress is a cheap slut. Tells them that often. They tolerate him because he is THE BATMAN.

Pick this one up NOW, if you haven't - especially the ladies. I realise the cheesecake art could fool you into thinking its for fanboys, but the stories have a solid feminine touch, which makes it stand out. And Gail Simone is definitely one of the best writers around.