Comics Lowdown: The woman behind Wonder Woman

Plus: ‘Revolutionary Girl Utena’ returns, Red Planet opens in Albuquerque, Melanie Gillman, Alex Segura, Harley Quinn and more.

The Wonder Woman movie has lots of people looking at the history of the character and how she has evolved over the years. The Fresh Toast has a great interview with Trina Robbins, the first woman to draw Wonder Woman and a pioneering underground comics artist and comics historian as well. She’s a delightful person who has had a fascinating life, and this interview is a great way to start off your week.

But Wait—There’s More! The Talking Comics podcast brings back a Wonder Woman roundtable from 2013 that includes Robbins, writer Greg Rucka, doctoral candidate Mara Wood, and Professor Carolyn Cocca.

A Guide for the Perplexed: “Did you know there are comics about Wonder Woman?” is the new “Did you know Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings?” For those who want to explore the different faces of Diana Prince, Christian Holub has put together a starter list of six Wonder Woman trades and graphic novels, along with an explanation of where each one fits in the long history of the franchise.

By the Numbers: John Jackson Miller has compiled a chart of the Wonder Woman comic’s sales from 1960 to 1987, as reflected in the postal statements that used to be included in the comics. Besides doing the research, he also puts the figures into context, pointing out that the publication frequency changed several times, which affected the average sales figures.

Interviews and Profiles

Kickstarting Into Print: Melanie Gillman answers some questions about her webcomic As the Crow Flies and the Kickstarter campaign to fund the first of two volumes.

Music and Mayhem: Novelist and Archie editor Alex Segura talks about writing a new origin story for The Archies, his own experiences in a band and his other career writing mystery novels set in his native Miami.

Leveling Up: In a podcast interview, sister-and-brother team Jennifer and Matthew Holm discuss moving their long-running character Babymouse into middle school with the Babymouse: Tales from the Locker series.

Comics and Graphic Novels

Swords and Roses: The iconic 1990s manga Revolutionary Girl Utena will get a new episode: Artist Chiho Saito will draw a new chapter of the manga for the September issue of the Japanese manga magazine Flowers. It’s not clear whether this will be a one-shot or an ongoing series, so stay tuned.

Recommended Reading: The Paste Magazine comics team rolls out their list of the 20 best comics of 2017—so far.

The Biz

Retailing: Red Planet, the first comics shop in North America to focus on the work of Native Americans, opened its doors in downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico, last weekend. Native American-owned startup Native Realities Publishing, which publishes comics and organized last November’s Indigenous Comic Con, is behind the store, which owes its existence directly to the success of that event: The 1,500 attendees were so enthusiastic that many vendors sold out of their products. “We have one of the highest urban populations of Native people in the country and we think that the art, the culture, the literary values are so important and we want stores and retail spaces that also represent that,” says Native Realities founder Lee Francis.

Reviews, Roundups and Commentary

Harley Quinn: Trickster: Betsy Bird sees Harley Quinn evolving into a female version of the traditional folk-tale trickster:

She was a terrible role model. Willingly trapped in an abusive relationship with the Joker, there was still something really appealing about her. She didn’t wear revealing clothing (tight-fitting, yes, revealing, no). She kicked jerk policemen when they sexually harassed her. And there were a couple episodes in there where you could see her when she was nowhere near the Joker, and you know what she was? Funny. Hilarious even. Destructive and a hero. Clever and foolish all at once. She was, as it turned out, a female trickster. And, sometimes, a female superhero with a sense of humor.

Conventions and Festivals

Something Old, Something New: Attendees at the Frederick (Maryland) Comic Con offer their explanations for the continued popularity of superheroes and the new popularity of comics conventions; nostalgia plays a big part, as does the new enthusiasm for Wonder Woman.

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