I VOTED! with Comics!! Share Yours!

Show Your Vote with Comics!

If you are a voting citizen of the United States. I hope you went to the polls today and cast your vote for the presidential election. I already have and got my "I Voted" sticker. If you have pride in both your vote and comics. Take a picture of a comic you love along with your Voted sticker. Share your pictures in the comments.

I'm not saying put it on your comic. Just along with the sticker as I show in the pictures below. I took the picture along with my volumes of ONE PIECE Vol. 61 & 62, and HIGHSCHOOL OF THE DEAD Vol. 5.

-Kristoffer Remmell (FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for news updates: @ FoxxFireArt


Comic Numbering is a Broken System! Here's a Possible Solution!

Are you tired of the erratic issue of comic re-numbering? I may have a solution for everyone.

Are you a reader who is endlessly irritated but the repeated tampering of comic numbers in the vain attempt to seem "less intimidating" by the large issue numbers? Long time fans see that as a badge of honor for a series. They feel it should be celebrated. Still, you have DC rebooting the entire universe to recreate #1s, and then you have Marvel with this superficial title changes for their reasoning behind the numbering reboot.

You can't say that the #1 reboots don't work - - to an extent. We have often heard about people who see the #1 and start reading. Though, how many you're drawing in is certainly in question? These same people often recognize that these are never real #1 issues. I honestly have to wonder why such a superficial change can sway a person when they know it's artificial.

There is then the issue of publisher backpedaling. They have this renewal, but then alter it back when some anniversary comes up. Just look at what happened to WONDER WOMAN in 2010. This series jumped from issue #44 directly to #600. How does this help anyone? The low information readers would be wondering what became of the missing 556 issues. You only stand to confuse readers more.

WONDER WOMAN #600 - A case of reverse number rebooting

I think we all need to face facts. The numbering system used by publishers is broken, and it only serves to work against the reader. I stand with Corey (Undeadpool) on the topic of reader intimidation. If you are intimidated by large numbers from reading a series you know you might enjoy, then 24 might as well be 600 to these people. After you start the numbering over, you are going to be having the exact same problem in two to three years. There will be someone who doesn't want to jump in on a #14 and so on.

A superficial number reboot that doesn't change the story

I understand that there are going to be readers who look at this and will say, "No change. This is the way it's always been done.". That's not an excuse for you to stay with a system that you know is working against your better interests. Just becasue something is a tradition doesn't mean you cling to it. Also, publishers are changing the numbering every few years. Aren't you more frustrated by that? Sometimes, a drastic change is needed.

I could sit here and just rant on about what's wrong and be like so many other bloggers, but that's not the purpose here. I actually have a suggestion on how we can improve this issue, and it can be found in the far East. That's right, I'm pointing to Japanese manga. Not the volumes that many of us are familiar with. I'm looking to the serialized magazines. There are monthly magazines that contain numerous individual chapters of various series. Though, these magazines don't spotlight the issue number. They put the focus on the month and year. It's a universal standard that you can always keep organized. After every year, the numbering is restarted to #1 for January. It's the year number that keeps them further organized.

Here are a few select monthly covers for various magazines. These have the year and month number shown.

Allow me to go into a bit more detail. The image below is the cover of MONTHLY SUNDAY GENE-X (SUNDAY G-X). This issue was published and sold in April 2006, but as with most magazines it uses the title of the following month. The most prominent number is the number 5 on the cover that represents the month of May. This is the SUNDAY G-X MAY 2006 issue. When the next year comes along, it will be the January issue for 2007. That's the cycle they all follow.

Monthly Sunday Gene-X May. 2006 JPN (Apr 2006)

Now, here's the interesting tidbit. Nearly all of these magazines have the issue number printed on them among the various other publishing fine print. They're just not the focus. In the picture below, I've highlighted where you can find the issue number on the SUNDAY G-X cover above. This is the seventy-first issue. You just have to look very close to see it.

Even if you like this system. You may say that this wont work for any comic that's published more than once a month. I also have a suggestion for that. You look to the system of weekly manga magazines, such as WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP. These series are organized by issue number (representing the week), month, and day. This is the cover of the issue that was released in Japan this earlier month. As you can see, this is No. 47 for November 5th. When the first issue of next year is published, this will change to No. 1 of 2013. Every year starts off with a No. 1.

Weekly Shōnen Jump Nov. 5 2012 No. 47 JPN (Oct 2012)

WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP - - just as the name suggests - - is published on a weekly basis. It's been doing so since 1968 with only a few scattered weeks off within a year, for national holidays; and it's never actually rebooted their numbering. In the fine print at the top left, you can see this issue is #2191.

What all these series have in common - - month or weekly - - is that when they reach a grand anniversary issues. It boldly puts "100!" or even "2000!!" on the covers. Currently, DENGEKI MAOH is celebrating the series' twentieth anniversary, and MONTHLY DRAGON AGE is on its fortieth. These series have both had "20th" and "40th" on the covers of the issues this year.

This is a number system that could make everyone happy for comics. You have a numbering that reboots every year to make things easier for new readers to not feel so intimidated, and the actual issue number can also be continued in the fine print for those who want that information.

What are your thoughts on my proposal?

-Kristoffer Remmell (FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for news updates: @ FoxxFireArt


A Character Study of Catwoman: Origin Stories Are Motivation!

What lessons can be learned from Eiichiro Oda's Nami that can be applied to Catwoman?

When you do writing, you should never underestimate just how important your origin story can have for a character. It's your guiding light for most of your character's behavior. Often time when you are reading a story and the behavior doesn't fit. It's more likely that the author doesn't take into consideration the origin.

It's just seems sad that far too often major publishers treat origin stories as throwaways. How else do you explain how that embarrassing Nocenti BATMAN RETURNS rip-off for Catwoman getting past DC editorial? Of all the stories they had to work from, they went with the one even the porn parody used. That origin story doesn't explain a bloody thing about the character so many of us enjoy.

Where is the real Selina hiding? We desperately need her back.

Originally, I didn't intended to write another blog post about Catwoman. I've already written several and felt I had vented enough. However, reading Sara's latest editorial "Catwoman Then And Now: How Much Has Changed?" got me thinking about the directions Selina's book should be taking. So far, all she's being is a thief with no real goal or direction. I really think she could really bloom in the role of a problem solver for the people who fall through the cracks.

Gotham may be a corrupt city, but just becasue you aren't clean doesn't mean you're filthily. In other words, angels aren't the only ones who are victims of crimes, but who's there to help them? Are the cops of Gotham going to care if some gangster is kidnapping strippers and selling them on the slave trade overseas, using the unseen street kids as drug mules, or if a gangster's child it kidnapped by rivals? Sure, Jim Gordon would, but he can't be everywhere, and Batman is busy with super criminals, such as Joker and Court of Owls. These people living in the shadows of Gotham fall through the cracks. Catwoman could be the perfect hero for these people, but what's her motivation to do so?

Growing up in the seedy world ties her to it and motivates her to save them.

Catwoman has had so many different origins. Some have her with the life of a prostitute, as told in Frank Miller's BATMAN: YEAR ONE; and others have her as just growing up as a random thief. A theme you often notice is whenever writers have tried to "clean up" Selina's origin it makes her character seem more aimless. I pose it's becasue you don't understand why she's doing the things she does. Why does she suddenly care about the people in the seedy side of the city? Where is the attachment? If it's just some sense of altruism, why is that kind of person a thief? You'd lose the fun loving bad girl with a heart of gold, and raises too many questions about her motivations.

I personally never found Miller's prostitute origin offensive, because he never showed her as the stereotype. She was strong, willful, and she stood up for her friend Holly to leave. Growing up as a member of that social group gives her an attachment and motivation to look after them. She knows from personal experience that there is both bad and good to be found in them. People aren't black and white but shades of grey. She wants to see justice for them, becasue she knows no one else will do it. Similar to the reason Batman goes out at night.

Nami, another fun loving thief with a heart

There is actually a character in manga that I think shares a lot of similarities with Selina. Now, I know some of you see me use the word "manga" and stop listening. Well, just get over your irrational fear and hatred of manga for five minutes. I'm trying to make a point here. In the ONE PIECE series, created by Eiichiro Oda, there is a character named Nami. She's the navigator of the Straw Hat Pirates, and she's also known as Cat-Burglar Nami. She's playful, smart, loves money and treasure, sometimes ill tempered, but also has a heart of gold. Sound like someone familiar?

Nami's origin is that of a war orphan who was adopted by a young woman, Bellemere; and she loved to draw maps. When Nami was ten, the evil pirate Arlong took over her home island and murdered her mother in front of her. Arlong forced Nami to work for him as a map maker by telling her that if she could pay him 100,000,000 berries* (*the OP currency, equivalent to the yen) he would free her home. When not being forced to draw Arlong's charts, Nami would then go out and steal from pirates to get the money. Little by little for nearly eight years. Robbing such a dangerous group means she had to get good fast. I'm not going to go into the details of the outcome when the villain naturally betrayed this promise. Go read her Comic Vine page to learn more. This origin explains why she's such a good thief, and why on her adventures she's always been protective of children. She knows what it's like to be scared, suffering, and not have anyone around to save her.

Nami coming to the rescue of children is highlighted in the current Punk Hazard story arc. Nami and much of the crew are captured on an abandoned island, Punk Hazard; and wake up in a locked cell. They break free and run into a room filled with children, both very large and small. They're being chased, but the kids suddenly ask for help. The children have been experimented on by Caesar Clown and lied to that they were sick. Their parents told that they had died in an accident. No one is coming to save them. Check out the scene in the images below. (remember to read right to left)

One Piece Volume 67 CH. 658

(Just a bit of FYI, when the girl calls Nami "big sis" what she's actually saying is "Nē-chan". While it does mean "elder sister". It's also a generic term used when talking to young women.)

One Piece Volume 67 CH. 658

Is there anything more heartbreaking than a child crying out for help? Most of the Straw Hats are reluctant but willing to leave these children behind to avoid capture, but Nami puts her foot down and demands they help her free them from these labs. What comes is one of my favorite scenes of Nami standing strong. I can't wait for this volume to come to the US.

One Piece Volume 67 CH. 658
Nami with Nico Robin

Everything about Nami's actions here makes sense for her motivation based on her origin. She lost the mother she loved, and thus can't stand the idea of other children suffering without their parents.

This is the sort of direction that could be great for Catwoman, but you need to create an origin that connects her in some way with the sort of people she's out there saving. Making her just another Robin Hood cliche isn't that interesting or unique. She shouldn't be so much a rob from the rich and give to the poor, than a rob from the rich and cuts the poor in on a percentage. Nami is very open that the two things she loves are money and mikans (a kind of orange that are a Japanese symbol of prosperity and wealth). It's a joke that the two things she loves are money and more more. That still doesn't stop her from standing for what she thinks is right.

It's just so frustrating that it's becasue of Nocenti's half-baked origin story that it seems impossible to get the Catwoman we love back. This is suppose to be the frame work for all those that follow her run. The OLIVER TWIST kleptomaniac with some serious self esteem issues and licked my alley cats.

If you'd like to read some of my previous Catwoman blogs. You can find them here:

-Kristoffer Remmell (FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for news updates: @ FoxxFireArt


Did Talia al Ghul Assault Batman in BATMAN INC.?

Tarantula forces herself on Nightwing

The topic of rape and sexual assault came up in a recent podcast on Comic Vine. In the discussion, the scene from NIGHTWING #93 where Tarantula took advantage of an injured Nightwing to force herself on him right in the middle of the rain soaked streets was mentioned. Being confident and sexually aggressive is fine for a woman, but Tarantula didn't just cross the line. She crossed it and continued running for a quarter mile. "Don't touch me." is a pretty obvious "No". Devin Grayson, the author at the time, attempted to try and reassure everyone when she said,

" I never used the word 'rape,' I just said it was nonconsensual. "

Really, Grayson, you want to split that hair? Well, here is the definition of "rape" by Merriam-Webster:

" An unlawful sexual activity and usually sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against the will usually of a female or with a person who is beneath a certain age or incapable of valid consent. "

The topic of men being the victim of sexual assault is something that often gets passed on. Probably becasue society still holds this image of men being the sexually aggressive caveman. Even the dictionary definition still specifies gender, but this isn't a discussion of equality. Rape in media can be just an incredibly uncomfortable topic. I really enjoyed the movie THE CROW, but I can hardly ever watch it becasue of that extremely graphic gang rape scene and how if keeps appearing in flashbacks. It makes my skin crawl.

This leads up to the topic at hand. It was hearing the discussion on the Comic Vine's podcast that triggered my memory of a scene from BATMAN INCORPORATED #2. I never read this series. I just remembered this scene of Talia drugging Bruce being talked about on a previous CV podcast (yeah, I remember a lot of things). Some time after Batman beats up Ra's, Bruce and Talia are seen in a room together kissing. It's an awkward enough scene to immediately go from beating up a guy to sleeping with his daughter.

BATMAN INCORPORATED #2 - Talia drugs Bruce

As you can see, an apparent love potion has been slipped into Bruce's drink - as conveniently highlighted by the puff of smoke in the shape of a heart. Most likely a series of lurid events continues into the night. The next morning Talia starts talking about how their child will be the new Alexander of the world. This shows Bruce being surprised that something must have been slipped into his drink. The context as it's shown was apparently to make him more pliable and more fertile so she could have his child.

Many may try and play this off as not that big a deal, but would you say the same thing about this situation if the gender roles were reversed? Let's say a guy has a girl who is willing to sleep with him, but he decides to slip something into her drink without her knowledge that would make her more open to suggestion. All for the goal of getting her pregnant with his child, and not ever telling her until the next morning what he had done. Even if she was willing to have intercourse, she never consented to being drugged. To any women reading this, how would you feel if some guy told you the morning after that he had put a drug in your drink? I would think pissed off and scared would be an understatement, What would you define this as?

I don't believe I've heard of any comments from Grant Morrison about this scene. It could very much be a scene that comes off in way he didn't intend. Even Devin Grayson never seemed to realize she didn't just write a sex scene. It's drugging Bruce that seems over the top here. This isn't as disturbing as what Tarantula did, but it still isn't right to slip other people drugs. This appears like an assault to me.

While we're on the topic. I wonder if the Nightwing scene even happened in the post New 52 reboot? What are your thoughts?

-Kristoffer Remmell (FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for news updates: @ FoxxFireArt



It took a while, but I finally got the Platinum trophy for BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY. Some of those Predator challenges were a nightmare. Especially the ones where you can't take any damage, or the Batman one where you have to catch three guys in an ice mine. I got that trophy on October 2. Today, I also finally completed Catwoman's trophy set. Catwoman is a lot of fun to play as. You can run around so fast, and they have a hard time hearing you.

I don't have the Robin, Nightwing, or Harley Quinn's Revenge DLCs, but I may be getting those later.

-Kristoffer Remmell (FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for news updates: @ FoxxFireArt

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Arkham City: Catwoman Theme History

Arkham City: Catwoman Theme History

The surprising history behind the song used in the BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY CATWOMAN trailer.

Anyone who's been following a few of my recent blogs has probably noticed that I've sort of had Catwoman on the brain. As an artist, I tend to like expressing myself on a topic that has grabbed my interest. I hadn't intended to be writing any more on the topic, but the rather ridiculous reboot of CATWOMAN had put a bad taste in my mouth. To put myself in a better mood. I have re-watched the BATMAN: YEAR ONE animated movie, the CATWOMAN feature attached to said film, and playing a lot of BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY. This blog isn't going to be more digging into character development. Go read my other two blogs for that. This is about something I discovered.

As I was playing the game, I remembered that the original trailer that revealed Catwoman in ARKHAM CITY had a pretty cool song.

I hopped on You Tube to search for it. I originally thought that this was an original Rocksteady production that was only a minute long. After enjoying the trailer, I saw link to the right of the video that talked about the "full song". Turns out that Rocksteady had licensed a song from the Swedish singer-songwriter Lykke Li's second album titled "Get Some". Check out the full video below.

Lykke Li - "Get Some" Music Video

"Get Some" Lyrics

Don't pull your pants, before I go down

Don't turn away, this is my time

Don't make demands, I don't take none

Just say a prayer that it gon' get done

Don't pull your pants before I go down

Don't turn away, this is my time

Like a shotgun needs an outcome

I'm your prostitute, you gon' get some

Like a shotgun needs an outcome

I'm your prostitute, you gon' get some

Go ahead, go way low, where I can do no harm

Go ahead, go way low in my honey lovin' arms

Go ahead, go way low, where I can do no wrong

Got you around my finger like a lonely lover's charm

Like a lonely lover's charm

And 'cause I can, I'm gon' go west

Just like a man, I'm the fortress

Like a shotgun, I can't be outdone

I'm your prostitute, you gon' get some

Like a shotgun needs an outcome

I'm your prostitute, you gon' get some

Go ahead, go way low, where I can do no harm

Go ahead, go way low in my honey lovin' arms

Go ahead, go way low, where I can do no wrong

Got you around my finger like a lonely lover's charm

Go ahead, go

Go ahead, go

Go ahead, go

Go ahead, go

Go ahead, go

Go ahead, go

Go ahead

Go ahead, go way low, where I can do no harm

Go ahead, go way low in my honey lovin' arms

Go ahead, go way low, where I can do no wrong

Got you around my finger like a lonely lover's charm

Like a lonely lover's charm

Like a lonely lover's charm

The song lyrics seem rather provocative on their face, but that's when they're taken literally. Unsurprisingly, not everything is as it seems with this song. Remember that Billy Idol's "White Wedding" was actually intended as an anti-marriage song, but is now played at every wedding.

The British newspaper THE GUARDIAN actually interviewed Li in 2010 and asked about this very song.

" A lot of people think it's about sex. [...] But it's about power. I was reading the Murakami book The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, where she goes into this guy's mind by making him fantasize about her, so it's kind of like powerplay. As soon as a woman does anything, they seem to hit a nerve and it's back to sex. At least men seem to think that. "

Lykke Li - THE GUARDIAN interview Dec. 2010

The Murakami she's referring to in this interview is Haruki Murakami, an acclaimed Japanese author. THE WIND-UP BIRD CHRONICLE is a collection of the three part series Murakami wrote back in 1994. It's currently available in English on Amazon.com. They have a preview of the first chapter on the site, and it seems pretty interesting. I'm going to have to look into this novel.

This all turned into one amazing adventure when I looked back on my information hunt. It all starts from just remembering a cool song I heard in the Catwoman trailer, it led to a Swedish songtress, then it turns out it was all based from the works of a Japanese author. Regardless of the outcome, the song's been stuck in my head ever since. I hope you enjoyed it.

You can see more Lykke Li's music videos on her official You Tube page HERE

My previous two Catwoman themed blogs:

-Kristoffer Remmell (FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for news updates: @ FoxxFireArt

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What Batman & Catwoman Can Teach Us.

What Batman & Catwoman Can Teach Us.

These two characters made a choice not to be a victim, but to make themselves into something great.

What many comics published today lack is a sense of a moral. If you look at some of the greatest stories ever told. They have a lesson hidden within the pages. A lot of people are under the impression that Batman is popular becasue the story is darker and mature. I strongly disagree. The story of Batman resonates with readers becasue he's the closest to us. He has a lesson in the narrative that goes back to his very origin. Catwoman's story isn't that dissimilar. If anything, I see her story as a dark shadow of Bruce's tale. For every way they are different, they are similar. It must be why they fit so well.

The lesson is all about overcoming adversity. These characters were seriously challenged at some times in the lives. Neither wallowed in self pity, but worked to make themselves great in a world filled with people given powers through accidents, science, mysticism, or just born super. Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash. They were all given their power, Bruce and Selina made a choice. That right there is the greatest difference.


Batman: Bruce Wayne

The story of Bruce's origin is well known to people who've never even read a comic. It's just that ingrained into pop culture, but I'll hit the finer points for the sake of this article. Bruce was a young boy with two loving parents who wanted the best for their only son and the corrupt city of Gotham. Yet, they both lost their lives in a tragic and violent crime. Unlike most heroes, this could actually happen to anyone.

I often hear people say that Bruce Wayne isn't relatable becasue he's super rich. I say that his wealth is all part of the point when it comes to Batman. It makes a very important point to the reader. That wealth meant that Bruce could have literally done anything with his life. He could have wallowed in self pity and been the real vapid playboy he often pretends to be. He could have moved away to some tropical island and didn't have to work another day in his life. Rather than be the victim, He made the choice to train himself in both mind and body to fight crime so that no one would ever suffer as he did.

You can argue as to whether or not the goal of cleaning up Gotham is possible, but he's fighting toward a goal without all the blessings of super powers. He's a lesson to people that you may suffer tragedy in life,but you are only a victim if you let yourself be. You can reach incredibly heights by standing on your own two feet and working to become better. It is possible.

Here's a little lesson for writers. A more complicated origin doesn't make it more interesting. Especially if you want readers to relate to your character. Occasionally, I'll see writers try and imply that the Waynes were murdered as some part of a larger conspiracy. I've always been vehemently against that idea. It's because no one can relate to that. Having it be a random act by a no name criminal is what makes the story so tragic.


Catwoman: Selina Kyle

This week I wrote a blog post (The Real Catwoman Disappears from DC Comics) venting my frustrations over the rather offensive retelling of Catwoman's origin told my Ann Nocenti in CATWOMAN #0. Her origins have been up for interpretation by many. Some writers get it right, and others get it extremely wrong. I'm going to be concentrating on Frank Miller's BATMAN: YEAR ONE vision, and I'm gong to completely ignore the artificial extension DC created years later called HER SISTER'S KEEPER that attempted to fill in the gaps. Miller shows a strong, independent, and hard to control Selina. Mindy Newell's addition to YEAR ONE was little more than an attempt to artificially leach off a much more grand story, and it ignored the very core of the person Miller crafted.

Selina Kyle is very much a dark shadow of Bruce's story. Though she was also born in Gotham, she didn't have all the advantages. She didn't come from a loving, traditional family, as Bruce did. Some versions had her with a mother who committed suicide, and a father she either never knew or was abusive. She was orphaned by a different means. The tragedy here is that far too many kids know about this and can relate. She wasn't given any wealth and ended up in the utterly broken Gotham child welfare system. Even has a young girl, she discovers that the people running the orphanage -- or child's home -- are embezzling money. She calls in a tip to bust the people running the place, and runs off with a fair bit of their ill-gotten gains to be on her own.

There weren't a lot of opportunities in a city such as Gotham, and she found herself in the seedy side in a job as a prostitute. Many find this idea as offensive. That's becasue the first place their mind goes is all the stereotypes of being constantly abused and manipulated. That doesn't mean she didn't pick her clientele, or someone made her do something she didn't agree with. I've never thought Selina was trusting enough of anyone to let someone get close enough to abuse her, the way Newell implied. Why is it that so many writers always think that a strong female character needs to have been a victim of domestic or sexual abuse in their past to be empowered? Is it so hard to believe that maybe Selina is a woman who's confident in her sexuality? Paul Dini gets it. While not a prostitute, I have a friend who works in the adult video industry. We've known each other since we were kids, she's always been strong willed, picks who she works with, and no one makes her do anything she's not okay with. That job doesn't define her, she also travels the world to climb mountains, and I'm proud to call her my friend. Similar to my friend, Miller showed a strong, forceful, and hard to control woman in Selina.

He proves that when he shows Selina dislocating the jaw of her pimp and walking off with her friend Holly to find another way to earn money. People say she did this becasue Stan hurt her. I think Miller meant that to be Selina protecting Holly. She even gave a younger, post-training Bruce a challenging fight. She becomes Catwoman by her own choice. She enjoys the thrill, the challenge, and it makes her happy. She doesn't need powers or some mystic origin.

These two go well together becasue they're alike in many ways.

It's all about the choices they make. That's what makes Selina and Bruce great, and it's a power that every human has the potential for. Selina could have stayed in the sordid world of Gotham. While Selina made a more selfish choice. It was one for her own happiness. She just has some serious trust issues. With these two, it's not their minds, bodies, or skills that make them great or super. They're extraordinary becasue they made the choice and had the will to do something about it. Other heroes need super powers to be great, and it was something just given to them by some extraordinary means. No one can relate to that, and could any of the other godly-powered super heroes of the DCU accomplish the same thing these two did on their pure effort? The moral of Batman is stand up and make a difference through study and hard work. The moral of Selina is that you don't have to be stuck in a bad situation if you take the chance to find happiness and improve yourself.

-Kristoffer Remmell (FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for news updates: @ FoxxFireArt


The Real Catwoman Disappears from DC Comics

The Real Catwoman Disappears from DC Comics

Selina should be a confident and self made woman

Taste and attraction are by their very basis a matter of perspective. Catwoman is one of my favorite women from the DC Universe. A lot of people who really don't understand Catwoman are under the impression that she's strong and popular becasue she's so sexual. I say, I find her sexy because she's strong. That's maybe a case of over-sharing about what I like to see in a woman. A detail that draws me to her is her confidence, and she has no problem being the aggressor in a relationship. She's always been cool in the same way Batman is. She used to be a self-actualized woman who trained and made herself special. She doesn't need powers in a universe filled with them.

The grand DC Comics reboot has given us a new Catwoman who has been stripped of her inner strength in the way she's often denied a working zipper on her catsuit. While we were all confused by her recent behavior since CATWOMAN #1. I think people were open to see what new origin she'd be given one year after the universe was set back to step one. What we were given by writer Ann Nocenti was an erratic and sloppy rehash of Tim Burton's BATMAN RETURNS. I also feel it's worth mentioning that this is also the origin used in the Catwoman porn parody, KATWOMAN XXX. (I only know that becasue I watched the trailer.)

BATMAN: YEAR ONE: Selina leaves the streets with Holly.

I think her origin was well told in BATMAN: YEAR ONE. A lot of readers were offended by the idea that Selina had ever worked as a prostitute as part of her origin. It didn't bother me. Gotham is a dark and corrupt city, and she didn't have the advantages that came with Bruce's station in life. That doesn't mean she was weak or taken advantage of in any way she didn't allow. Stan, the pimp, couldn't control her, and the most important part is that she chose to leave that life. She was the one in control of her destiny. The same way Batman chose to follow his path. This will be her origin to me.

Catwoman in ARKHAM CITY.

BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY did an impressive job of delving into Selina's motivations. While I thought the dialog got a bit cheesy for her at times. The interview tapes of her psychological sessions with Dr. Strange revealed they really put some thought into her personality and history. Just to give you an idea of how much I've played this game. On one of Catwoman's combat challenge maps I ranked 183rd on the PSN leader boards, and I wasn't even trying to get on the boards. I was just playing around.

We should have seen the trouble on the horizon when we saw the first cover for CATWOMAN #0. The New 52 Selina wasn't in control of anything in her life. She was manipulated and abused by everyone. Her confidence doesn't come from her choices or experience. It came from being licked by magical cats in an alley way. Selina doesn't need such an overly complicated origin or special powers. Why can't people just be content with her being a human cat burglar? Something I always have to roll my eyes at in reboots is that so many writers get this idea in their head a more complicated origin means it's more interesting. If you aren't thinking of a character's motivations you're just going to make a jumbled mess, and that's what we now have. Yet we're expected to accept this as canon. Nocenti is now implying that Selina Kyle isn't even her real name.

It's not just you, Selina. We're all confused.

It shows you that just becasue you put a woman writer onto a heroine comic it doesn't mean a thing if she has no understanding of who the character is. It's a sad thing in an industry when talented female creators work so hard to prove themselves. You can even see this behavior in artists. Hands down, the artist that understands Selina best is Adam Hughes. He knows it isn't about how much flesh you expose. It's all in her personality. I'd love to hear his thoughts on this new origin.

It can be amazing the kind of insight you can get when you go back and read the words of a writer before you see the outcome of what they've created. I would very much suggest that everyone go back and check some of Sara's interview with Ann Nocenti in the article "The Problem With CATWOMAN".

" She has an origin issue coming out, we're going to remind readers of why she ticks the way she ticks…so that when that comes back into play…I think I will probably deal a certain amount with what drives her to want the most glittery things she can find. What is the compulsion to be a master thief? Especially because sometimes she just clearly does it for kicks. It's not like those noir robbers that do it because they want he cash. With her it's got more to do with some inner turmoil -- she will never be happy no matter how many jewels she gets. "

- Ann Nocenti (July 2012)

Reading this and what came out of Nocenti's CATWOMAN #0 reveals what she had planned for Selina. Rather than a fun loving, adventure junkie. The New 52 Selina was changed into a schizophrenic kleptomaniac who holds jewels with the same fixation that Smeagol clutches the One Ring. I'm expecting Nocenti to put Selina in heat some time by the end of her run....if the series lasts that long.

CATWOMAN #0: Young Selina exposed

A scene that caught my eye that exposes Nocenti's complete lack of understanding of Selina was when she's invited to a club and tries to sell herself as a pre-med student, but the handsome, young journalist calls her out on her lie saying that no doctor would have such dirty hands. In this scene, she then runs off crying. The Selina that I know wouldn't run off in tears like some heartbroken, high school girl. This is what I think the real Selina would have done to someone who had embarrassed her so publicly:

Selina would have been angry but kept her cool. With a coy smile and a chuckle, she would admit that she was busted. She would turn flirtatious then slowly and seductively slipping her fingers between his as she says, " I may not be pre-med, but I do have a fair bit of experience with 'anatomy'... I might even be able to teach you a few things.". Just as this journalist is getting his hopes up that he's going to get lucky he replies, "Oh, what could you teach me?". Leaning in, Selina tightening her grip and whispers seductively, " For example,... It only takes five pounds of pressure to break a man's wrist.". As he's off guard by such an odd statement, Selina swiftly twists her hand and breaks the man's wrist and three of his fingers in the process. She turns to walk away as he's screaming in pain on the floor, and everyone in the club is standing around confused. She says coldly, "Good luck dealing of your editorial load with a broken hand, jerk.". She storms out of the club angry at herself -- not crying -- for being so easily revealed for such a stupid mistake and swears to get better. However, she suddenly stops and gets more angry at herself for having not thought to lifted his wallet before she left him back there.

That's how I see the real Selina reacting.

We all look forward to the real Selina's return.

One of the most blatantly offensive scenes in Nocenti's version of CATWOMAN has to be in the internal dialog Selina has while she thinks she's falling to her death, She seems happy to die. Happy that she's at least worth enough to someone to murder. That's beyond low self esteem. That's clinical depression.

The thing that has me worried is that it's this kind of aimless writing that got the VOODOO comic canceled. Sadly, that might be what we really need for her now. Cancel this abomination, then get a writer to restart and wipe this embarrassment away the same way they did for the whole "baby" issue. DC called CATWOMAN #0 "The secret origin of Selina Kyle!". I'm pretty sure many of us had wished this origin had remained a secret.

-Kristoffer Remmell (FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for news updates: @ FoxxFireArt


Highschool of the Dead Cast Comes to Comic Vine!!

Highschool of the Dead Cast Comes to Comic Vine!!

Since I've started editing more on Comic Vine, I've been busy with my first really big project. The first of which was to add the entire cast of the HIGHSCHOOL OF THE DEAD manga series by Daisuke Sato and Shouji Sato. I've also included all the current publication versions for both Japan and the US. That includes the official parody manga HIGHSCHOOL OF THE HEAD.

This is a zombie survival series of a group of students who barely manage to escape their high school with the school nurse and are trying to find their families in a city that's collapsing into chaos. While I haven't filled all the pages out in full, I've created them for all the named characters that have appeared to date and added the Creation information. One of my favorites characters in this series is Saeko Busujima. I've finished her page.

Feel free to check out this fan made AMV for the anime based on the manga.

-Kristoffer Remmell (FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for news updates: @ FoxxFireArt

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Could Comic Vine Use a Staff Manga Reviewer?

Could Comic Vine Use a Staff Manga Reviewer?

Manga are never really ever covered or reviewed on Comic Vine, but I've been sort of pleasantly surprised by how often the topic has been brought up in questions to the weekly podcast. During the Big Live Show, I was in the Comic Vine chat, and I enjoyed talking with the users about manga. It certainly means people are curious. I don't mean to make this sound as if I'm registering any sort of complaint that these series aren't being covered at all. I adore the work done by the Comic Vine staff. It would be unreasonable to think they have the time to jump into the deep end of these series, along with all their regular review work. I just wish to pose the question to the community or any staff that may read this. Could Comic Vine Use a Staff Manga Reviewer?

In Japan, this volume sold 2 Million in three days

I originally never thought much about the idea of someone on the Comic Vine staff reviewing manga series, given they had Anime Vice for that. But now the sites are no longer associated -- in the business sense. Though, even when Anime Vice was a member of the Whiskey Media family and had in house staff. These staff writers hardly ever reviewed many manga. In fact, it wasn't until shortly before they left that they had mentioned in podcasts that they were just beginning to read series such as NARUTO and ONE PIECE. That was kind of a big shock to me. These are two of the biggest manga series running, and they admittedly never read them or reported on them. Could you image if Comic Vine had been run by staff who had never read BATMAN, X-MEN, or SPIDER-MAN before joining? When the former AV staff did review a manga, they'd cover the first volume then never return to the series. When Tom Pinchuk covered the AKIRA manga over on AV a few months back. He covered the entire series for review. I thought that was a great way to do it.

Don't underestimate the growth of manga reading in America or the rest of the world. Are there comics from different nations that have as large a footing in America? When I was younger, I would often see comics in the news stands of the supermarkets -- though they were often weeks out of date. Now, I go to the store and see no comics, but I often see the US edition of SHONEN JUMP or the latest volumes of NARUTO. My local book store has several bookcases filled with various manga, and it seems to grow with the passing months. The American publisher VIZ made a concerted effort to increase several of their publications to be mere months behind the Japanese releases.

How could you look at this cover and not be curious?

People in the Western world often draw a line between manga and comics, but manga are just comics from Japan. The only real difference is the language they're originally written in. If you look on the Japanese Amazon website, all manga are categorized as コミック (Komikku). So, why do we separate the two here? Would we classify comics from France or Mexico as something so different? Isn't BATMAN still a comic when it's translated and published in Japanese? Manga and comics share a similar history in their entomology. I remember my grandmother seeing me reading comics as a kid and being confused as she'd call them "funny books". Things weren't very funny in X-MEN, at the time. That's becasue some of the earliest comics were intended for printing humorous comic strips. Manga are as old in Japan as the 18th century, and the literal translation of the kanji that make up the word means "whimsical drawings". I never subscribed to the sense of tribalism that I'd see. That if you were into comics you couldn't be into manga. I'm well into both and proud of that.

ONE PIECE: Nami, post time skip

Even on the chance that this could actually ever happen, this reviewer should have some history in the series they'd be covering. The way Comic Vine has always hired comic lovers to review them. It would also be to cover some of the largest series, and be reviews of the official U.S. releases. Remember that Comic Vine doesn't cover every comic that comes out in the week. They focus on the biggest titles and the odd rarity. Which I think is a perfect balance. Manga volumes, as they're published in the US are often done months apart. Easily, the biggest series in the US right now are NARUTO, BLEACH, and ONE PIECE. Being familiar with all these series histories is no easy task. They're all rather large. Even over on Anime Vice, I think I'm one of the only real active users that has read up to date on all three.

I've written several manga reviews on AV, but I've been considering bringing those to CV. I've already added two of my more recent reviews, and I plan to add more when I have a bit more time.

So, let me pose the question to you all. Would you like to see some official staff reviews of a few manga series every few months on Comic Vine? Are there any series that you'd like to learn about?

-Kristoffer Remmell (FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for news updates: @ FoxxFireArt