Cassandra Cain was Slated to be in Gail Simone's Birds of Prey

I can't help but feel like we seriously missed out on this one :(

(This comment is in response to somebody commenting about how the BOP team was strictly Caucasian and how they'd wished there had been more Renee Montoya)

I know people have gotten mad at me for saying this, but I was a little intimidated to put Renee in. She’s been so much Greg Rucka’s character…and he has been very nice about letting me use her, but I also know he loves her and has a direction for her that he wants to explore himself.

I loved writing her in Bop and I felt it really worked nicely…moved the tone of the book a little bit, for the better, in my opinion. But by that time we knew I was leaving the book so it didn’t mean asking for her to join.

The first team list was given to me; Hawk, Black Canary, Oracle, Huntress, Zinda, and Dove. That was the mission they asked me to undertake. And I had so much on the plate just making that work in a way I liked (I think issue one is a ton of fun and along the lines of what the series should be).

But the screw up is still mine, I was paying attention to making what I had work, and I didn’t really fit it together that it was a group of purely white people until I was well underway. When you’re working with scripts and you love the characters, I don’t know, sometimes incredibly obvious stuff gets missed. Somewhere before the art started coming in I realized we had a snow white team, and I started thinking who would be good to bring in.

I wanted it to be a character with her own fanbase and many of the best were not available, like Vixen and Rocket. Then we got the word that we could bring Cass in, we would just have to wait a little while. That made me ecstatic. Then they took her away in the middle of writing the issue where she debuts in the book and we had to scramble a bit.

So while I didn’t pick the original team, I share some blame because I foolishly didn’t really catch the problem until we were well along in the first issue. If I’d asked for a character up front, DC would have been okay with it for sure. A missed opportunity. From issue one on, whenever anyone remarked that the team was all white, I had to just bite my tongue because, YAY! CASS IS COMING. When it didn’t happen, I was crushed.

Bop was enough of a hit that all the major things like cast changes had to be approved, which meant it took a good while to shift to try to get someone else great after losing Cass.

It’s a business with a lot of variables, unfortunately.


Possible Marvel Family Book Coming?

If you've been following my blog posts tonight at all, you'll see that I was trolling through Gail Simone's tumblr. She's great about answering questions and one of them was the following:

You like the Marvel family, you also are VERY popular. Why on Earth haven't they let just write up a book of it yet?

Her response: There IS a good reason for it, one that makes me happy. But I can’t yet answer this, I’m sorry.

And I’m unpopular, everyone says so! ;)


Top 10 Things Not to Say to a Female Reader of Superhero Comics

Courtesy of the (as always) amazing DC Women Kicking Ass tumblr.

Top 10 things not to say to a female reader of superhero comics

Just sayn’

1. The people who read superhero comics are men and sex sells. If you don’t like it don’t read the comics.

So why is the top selling comics of 2011 a book that has no female characters in it? Or why are the Batman books the top selling books when they rarely feature any female characters?

2. If you don’t like these comics why don’t you go make your own comics?

Would you tell a sports fan unhappy with their Football team to go create his own Football team? No? Then don’t say this.

3. Why don’t you read Manga?

Not everybody likes Manga. I don’t like Manga.

4. There are plenty of female friendly comics out there that aren’t superhero comics. Why not just read those?

Because I like superhero comics, which have brought me much joy through the years except when they don’t.

5. You have Wonder Woman/Batwoman or X.23 what else do you want?

I want more books like that.

6. Marvel is worse, why are you b!tching about DC? or DC is worse than Marvel, why aren’t you b!tching about DC?

What does what one publisher does have any relation to what another publisher does?

7. If all you feminists stopped all your b!tching and bought more chick comics, there would be more chick comics. It’s your fault.

Of course it is. It couldn’t possibly be that the publishers market almost exclusively to males.

8. Who cares if there are books that treat female characters as objects. Why not just focus on the books that don’t.

Because some of those books have characters I like? And mainly because the demeaning treatment of female characters is a human issue not a female issue.

9. Birds of Prey! Gail Simone!

Yep, happy to have them. But that’s one book and one creator.

10. Vote with your pocketbook. If you don’t like something don’t buy it.

Gee, I would have never, ever figured that out by myself! And I already do that. But wait, I thought we dumb feminists couldn’t get our sh!t together to get enough chick books sold, how the hell are we going to impact sales enough to make anyone change? Ha, gotcha!


The Tale of a Renegade

Boston 12:30 AM

The night air was chilled on her skin, the smell of the sea drifting in the wind. Halle had somehow made her way back to Boston, back to her favorite city in the world. She looks over her shoulder as she walks into a pub. The door opens and several sets of eyes go straight to her. Her outfit is inconspicuous, as always. A pair of supple leather boots, snug jeans, a band t-shirt and a loose leather jacket. There were weapons hidden all over her body. Wrist sheaths for daggers. A back of the pants holster for her gun. A second gun hidden in a boot and yet more knives in the other boot. This was Halle O'Rourke and she never went anywhere unarmed.

They lose interest as she walks in, a nonchalant air about her. She looks like some of the other women in the bar, a girl tired after her day of shopping. She intentionally gives off an innocent feel. The last thing she wants is people taking note of her, of people remembering her and being able to describe her at a later point in time. A minute later a barmaid comes over to her, a bottle of beer in her hand, the Green Monster brew, her personal favorite and a hit amongst locals. "Courtesy of Gregory." She says as she gestures to a man across the bar, watching her as he languidly sipped his own drink. Already she had been noticed, that was most unfortunate.

"Give him my thanks." She picks the bottle up and twists the top off as she brings it up to her lips, pretending to take a sip. No alcohol for her, not out in public. Nothing that dulled the senses or altered awareness of her surroundings. That couldn't be afforded. The bell over the door bings as somebody else walks in. Somebody who looks out of place. Her eyes are immediately drawn to him and a scowl crosses her face as she makes him. It was Trey Calhoun, the agent who had been chasing her specifically for the past sixth months and her former handler. They'd been trying to bring her in for three years, ever since she'd gone off-mission.

Placing her bottle down on the table, she quietly gets up, knowing that he'll follow her. Following the signs, she makes her way back to the women's restroom, her boots padding softly on the hardwood floor as she goes. As expected, he follows several seconds after. Pushing open the door that leads to the women's restroom and stalls, she walks over to the side. It was clean, the smell of antiseptic in the air. Looking at the line of mirrors she does a quick check for feet to make sure nobody was there. The black tiled floor was clean, the green of the walls relatively unmarred. The sinks all had individual little soap dispensers, a homey touch showing that somebody tried to make the place inviting. Her back was against the wall and out of the line of sight of whoever would walk in next, she waits, knowing that he would come. The door opens and she waits to make sure it's a man's footsteps before launching into action. The second she has confirmation, she launches into action.

Slamming him up against the wall, she holds her arm up to his throat, cutting off his air. "Sixth months and this is the best you've got? Did you really think that I didn't lead you here? That I didn't know you were behind me the whole time?"

He smiles, his hands gently grasping her arm. "Can't...can't breathe."

"Good." Her purple eyes light up with anger, the words nearly a growl.

"Well. If you like it rough, I'll be sure to oblige." And with that he grabs her arm, turns her around and slams her against the tile wall. Leveraging against her with his right arm and the weight of his entire body, he reaches behind him to grab the cuffs that were hooked onto his belt.

She took his moment of slight distraction and used it to her advantage. Wrenching her arm out of his grasp, she slams her right elbow into his jaw, knocking him for a loop. Spinning away from the wall, she turns to face him. With an upward lunge, the top of her head connects with his jaw, knocking him even more out of sorts. She follows him as he falls backward down onto the floor, turning him onto his stomach. She yanks his right arm behind his back as she settles on his lower back, her knees on the ground on either side of him. Slipping a knife from her wrist sheath, she holds the edge of it to his carotid artery. "You were my handler for three years. I loved you. I like to think that you loved me back, that it wasn't all some damn charade. That love I once had for you, it's why I won't kill you. But rest assured with the knowledge that if you ever try to bring me in again, I will end your life and I will take down every support agent that you're stupid enough to bring with you." Applying just enough pressure to break the skin, she makes her point. "Am I making myself clear?"

"Crystal." He sputters the word, his voice hoarse.

"Good." Leaning down she whispers in his ear, almost in a lover-like fashion. "Let them all know that this is what happens when you excommunicate somebody who's more talented than anybody under their command and now angry to boot." She knew that her time was limited, that somebody was bound to have heard the commotion. So she delivers the coup de gras and slams his head against the tile floor, effectively knocking him out. Looking down to her leather jacket she pulls at the edge of it, tearing the seam of the shoulder. Next she runs her hands through her hair, making it appear even more disheveled. Quickly, she un-clips Trey's credentials and slips them into the back pocket of her jeans. In the next minute, the door opens to the sight of her sitting on the floor, appearing much worse for the wear. A line of tears slips down her cheeks as she looks up at the man who opens the door.

"Is everything okay in here, miss? What happened? Did this bastard...are you okay?" He appears quite worried, truly concerned as he comes into the bathroom, a look of fury in his eyes.

"I'm fine." She intentionally causes her voice to tremble. "I can take care of myself, it seems. I just...I need to go. I can't be here anymore." She slips an elastic off her wrist and pulls her hair back into a low ponytail. Walking quickly out the door, she makes her way out of the pub and onto the cobbled stone streets of the city, her breath fogging in the air. She pulls the credentials out of her back pocket and flips them open, staring nostalgically at the photo of the man she had loved so much.


Kyle Higgins Reveals A LOT More info on Nightwing Through Twitter

If you follow Kyle Higgins on Twitter (@KyleDHiggins), you will notice that he's been answering a ton of fans questions about Nightwing. Things like this are one of my favorite things about Twitter and social networking in general. It allows you to interact with creators in ways that were formerly not so possible.

What we've gathered so far:

  • His history with the Teen Titans is NOT erased
  • He is 21 years old
  • There will not be a match between him and Two-Face any time soon
  • The first arc is going to be six issues long
  • The first villain that he's going to face is Saiko
  • Seemingly, Bludhaven exists (undamaged?). However, Dick will not be going
  • His response to "any interaction with Babs" is "how could there not be?" So he's not saying there's a relationship, but there's definitely something. And this guy really seems to get hopefully we'll be able to watch them slowly build up a relationship between the two of them.
  • NOTHING WITH STARFIRE!!!!!!!!!! "Will there be a nightwing batgirl starfire thing going on?" His response is: "No plans for Starfire"
  • Dick's time with Batman will be a big influence on him
  • There are no plans for Tarantula to show up in any way, shape or form.
  • There WILL be interaction with Tim, Damian and/or Jason
  • He's been thinking about future interactions between Dick and Slade (Deathstroke)
  • No plans on Wally West showing up (which is not surprising, seeing as how the editorial mandate seems to pretty much be write Wally out of existence -___-)
  • He is still the original Robin
  • He went back to Nightwing because Bruce came back (which hints to Final Crisis, or at least Bruce's death in some form still being in canon)
  • Higgins will be working with mostly new villains
  • Bludhaven will still be in his past
  • Damian WILL be showing up in Nightwing
  • Dick was Batman in the DCnU
  • Nightwing will be traveling for the first six issues and (if I interpreted correctly, will not be in Gotham for them)
  • His history with Starfire is not erased

Rick Perry Vows to Defund Planned Parenthood


Pledges, if you haven't heard, are all the ragein the Republican party, so now that he's squarely in the running for the GOP presidential nomination, Texas Governor Rick Perry has some catching up to do. On Wednesday, Perry became the sixth candidate to sign an anti-abortion pledge from the Susan B. Anthony List that commits him to a set of radical anti-abortion measures if elected president. The Dallas Morning-Newshas the nuts and bolts:

The pledge has four parts: 
* a promise only to pick federal judges who adhere to the strict "original meaning of the Constitution,"
* to "select only pro-life appointees" for attorney general and assorted posts at theNational Institutes of HealthJustice Department  and Department of Health  & Human Services.
* to defund Planned Parenthood  and any other organization that performs or funds abortions and to end all taxpayer funding of abortion, domestically or overseas and
* to sign into law the "Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act," to ban abortion based on the premise that fetuses can feel pain.

The fetal pain measure, for the unfamiliar, is part of a trend at the state level. At least a dozen states have considered prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks, relying on some pretty suspect science. As my colleague Kate Sheppard reported in May, summarizing recent research on the subject, "there is no conclusive evidence that fetuses can feel pain at that point in gestation, nor are they considered viable." But the larger goal is procedural: to bait opponents into challenging the laws in court.

By signing the pledge, Perry joins a list that includes Reps. Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, and Thaddeus McCotter; former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich; and former Sen. Rick Santorum. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the frontrunner for the GOP nomination, has not signed the pledge—a position that's put him at odds with many social conservatives, who never really trusted him to begin with. (Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman has also abstained, but that shouldn't come as much of a surprise given his current aversion to the GOP base.)


Steve Jobs Resigns as CEO of Apple


PRESS RELEASE: Letter from Steve Jobs

August 24, 2011–To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.


Geekin Out Interview w/ Gail Simone (Info About Firestorm & Babs)


Kim: Hi Gail, we’ll start off with the big DC relaunch announcement. Can you tell us about the books that you will be working on and how you were approached to do them?

Gail: DC approached me for the Barbara Gordon Batgirl and of course I was very excited. She’s the character that’s probably the closest to my heart in the DC universe. I’ve written for her as Oracle for years, but it’s great that I get to do something a little different with her than what I’ve been doing. It’s a really positive book and I’m very excited about the stories that we’re going to be telling and the way that we’re going to be telling them. All of the characteristics that we love about Barbara Gordon are still there; she’s smart, kicks ass and doesn’t take any crap. The book overall is very joyful, for reasons that will be revealed in the stories themselves. There was just no way that I could ever say ‘No’ to writing for that character.

With Fury of Firestorm, I had been approached several times to write the book and said ‘No’ and that I wasn’t interested. Ethan Van Sciver just kept bothering me though and telling me that I needed to do it. Then, sort of all at once I had all of these ideas about Firestorm and between Ethan and I, we came up with is an amazing story. The book is really about what binds us together and what can tear us apart. We both get to explore these two very relatable characters and what’s it like for them having these powers, essentially the ability to hit the nuclear button at any time and what they will or won’t do with that. We built the story together – it has horror elements and touching family interactions and politics, it’s just full of amazing big stories. The closest thing to compare it to would be the early Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern stories in terms of the scope and the game changer that it is.

Kim:You mentioned the horror element of Fury of Firestorm, and DC has announced a lot of the books are going to cater more to that genre. As someone who’s been working with DC for a while, how do you feel about them taking such a big risk?

Gail: I love it. I have been begging for years to get horror back into the DCU. It’s kind of neat to have the different genres available and from what I’m seeing from the books that fit within the “horror” category, I’m so stoked. I mean, come on.. Scott Snyder on Swamp Thing? Jeff Lemire doing Animal Man? I mean, the list goes on and on. I’ve seen a lot of the artwork for those books and I’m really excited. Yay DC!

Kim: It’s awesome to see that all of the writers and artists are looking forward to the change and being able to work on new projects. Speaking of projects, we all know that you’re going to be working on the two books for the relaunch, but I was wondering if you had any plans for more creator-owned titles in the future, like Welcome to Tranquility – which is one of my favorite series.

Gail: Oh, thank you. I would always love to do more Welcome to Tranquility, which I hope to get to soon. I’d also like to do some straight to digital stuff because I’m really interested in that whole aspect of the medium. There are some things outside of comics that I’m hoping I’ll be able to get to and then Ethan and I actually have a really large project that the pair of us are working on. I’m going to be scripting and he’s going be doing the art and it’s amazing, fantastic and huge. Easily the best work of Ethan’s life, even his own brother has said that, but we’re not allowed to talk about it yet.

Kim:Coming back to the relaunch, how do you feel about other writers taking on the characters that you’re known for breathing life into, known for giving them a purpose and personality in the DCU?

Gail: Well, I feel good about it. We all know that when we work for a company like DC that we don’t own the characters, especially if we haven’t had any part in creating them. It’s actually kind of flattering to see a character that no one cared about being featured prominently. I take it as a compliment that people became interested in the character and DC felt that they could spring up and have a life of their own, or be featured in a new book. I think it’s all a good thing.

Kim: In regards to writing – you’re working on two books for DC, you have articles all over the internet appearing semi-frequently and you have a Twitter account that is constantly active. I’m just wondering how it is that you have the time to get everything done.

Gail: Well, I’m pretty fast, especially with the social media and a lot of times I will sit down and do that really quickly and then get to work, or when I’m taking a break. To be honest, I don’t sleep a lot. I mean, I work seven days a week.

Kim: If you weren’t writing for Batgirl and Fury of Firestorm, which of the 52 titles would you have wanted to be part of?

Gail: Oooooh! I think that I would have wanted to work on one of the horror comics. Probably and just off the top of my head, I’d have to say Swamp Thing, though I’m really excited that Scott (Snyder) is writing it because I get to read and enjoy it as a fan. I like those types of comics and I like writing that weird type of stuff, so that would have been cool.

Kim: Is there anyone out there who you love to work with? Or anyone that you’ve always wanted to work with but have yet to get the chance?

Gail: Oh my gosh! Well, any of the Kuberts would be great. I have just been so lucky to work with the people that I have worked with. There is so much talent out there that it would be hard to choose. I’ve got to work with Michael Golden on the one issue of Birds of Prey, and I would love to work with him again.

Kim: It was announced that Adam Hughes will be working on the covers for Batgirl, so I’m curious as to how you work out what will be featured on the front page of each of the issues. Do you sit down and discuss what you’d like to see? Or does he just send something your way?

Gail: What happens with Adam, at least so far and when I’ve worked with him in the past (Rose and Thorn) is he wants to know what the issue is about and then he’ll offer up a couple of suggestions, and the editors and myself will put our two cents in and he’ll kind of go from there. What I like is that not only are they gorgeous and eye-catching, but they are very thoughtful and always have something to say. I really love Adam for that.

Kim: One of the questions we’ve been asking all of artists and writers we’ve interviewed is: If you could choose five characters from any universe, who would be on the team and who would write it and who would be the artist?

Gail: Oh my gosh! Let’s see.. what would we do. First of all, I think would pick Paul Cornell to write it and then I would pick something crazy like a mixture of Captain Marvel and Thor and any of those characters who are kind of large and off-beat. I would love to see what Paul would do with that. And as far as artists go, Andy Kubert. I think the pair of them working together would be really cool.

Kim: A lot of comic books have been translated into feature films and others are being adapted for television, so I was curious that if there was an opportunity for any of the titles you’ve worked on to be optioned as a movie or a TV show, which would you like to see be produced?

Gail: I would of course like to see Welcome to Tranquility because that’s something that I’ve created. It has a large cast and a lot of potential for different types of stories going on in that town. The other thing that I think would be very intriguing as an adaptation would be the six-issue mini series called Rose and Thorn. I think to explore that side of heroism and mental illness would be very dark and interesting.

Kim: Just one last question for you; is there anything that you’re reading right now that you would like to recommend that your fans maybe haven’t heard about.

Gail: Miriam Libicki’s Jobnik! An American girl’s adventures in the Israeli army. It’s very interesting and a subject matter that I really didn’t know anything about. It’s really well done. Miriam is here at the convention and I’ve talked to her a couple of times and I just love what she has done, so I would recommend that as something that a lot of people probably haven’t heard about, but should seek it out and take a look at it. It’s so unique.

You know, I have artists and writers that I follow and read often, but I have been so busy with this relaunch that I’m so far behind. I’m sure that you could recommend something right now better than I could!

Kim: Thank you so much, Gail.

Gail: Thank you.


8 Things You Didn't Know About Firefly

It’s been 8 years since Captain Mal and his crew flew off our screens for the last time. Even after almost a decade, Browncoats still turn out in droves for cons and events like Can’t Stop the Serenity. So whether you’re a long time fan or a newcomer to the series, here are 8 things you may not have known.

The Alliance troopers believe in ‘Reuse, Reduce, Recycle.’

The armor that the troopers wear is from the 1997 Starship Troopers film. The only modification is a purple paint job. After Firefly went off the air, the armor was once again repurposed for the Starship Troopers sequel in 2004.

Also, the sonic gun that is used in the episode “Trash” was reused by Joss Whedon. In Dr. Horrible’s Sing-AlongBlog, it became Dr. Horrible’s Death Ray.

“That’s not my name!”

Wash’s full name Hoban Washburne and is only given away in the novelization of the film Serenity. As for Shepard Derrial Book, his real name, as well the rest of his mysterious past, is revealed in Serenity: A Shepherd’s Tale to be Henry Evans.

Most of the names of minor characters are from real people

Jubal Early, the bounty hunter from “Objects in Space,” is named for Nathan Fillion’s ancestor who was a general in the Civil War. A lot of other character names come from sci-fi notables, such as Bester, the original mechanic of Serenity, who was named for author Alfred Bester and Brennert who was named for producer Alan Brennert.

Nathan Fillion keeps the show alive on Castle

There are numerous references to Firefly on Castle. The most recognizable would be when Nathan Fillion’s character Rick Castle dressed up like a “space cowboy” for the Halloween episode in the second season. Other references include direct lines, like “I was aiming for his head” in the second season episode “Boom!,” or recalling skills learned on the set of Firefly, such as in the third season episode “Last Call” where Castle mentions he learned Chinese “at his last job.”

Han Solo had a cameo in the show

Well, more like 14 cameos. In every episode of Firefly, the cast and crew managed to hide a Han Solo in Carbonite toy in one scene. For example, in the episode “Jaynestown,” the toy can be found behind the mudder’s bar. It can also be found behind Mal while he’s cleaning his weapons in “Heart of Gold” and in the engine room when Kaylee is in her hammock in “The Message.”

The ‘Verse was well-populated with visitors from other sci-fi series

During the play in “Heart of Gold,” many famous space ships can be seen taking off from the Earth That Was. The Enterprise NCC-1701 from Star Trek, the Tantive IV rebel blockade runner from Star Wars and the Colonial Viper from Battlestar Galactica can all be seen carrying passengers away from the dying planet.

The ship Serenity was built full-scale

Most of Serenity was completely constructed to full-scale, but split into an upper half and a lower half. The cabin, front corridor, kitchen, rear corridor and engine room were built on one sound stage while the hold, med bay, lounge and passenger compartments were built on a second sound stage. It was so comfortable, that the cast would relax in the ship’s lounge between takes, rather than use the green room.

It’s still getting shout-outs

In 2009, Google released a real-time collaborative editing online framework called Wave. The name is based on characters in Firefly sending ‘waves,’ or messages, to others. Recently, the popular sci-fi show Fringe had an episode titled “Firefly” after the show was moved to Fox’s famed ‘Friday Night Death Slot.’ The CBS show The Big Bang Theory also references Firefly, such as in the season three episode “The Staircase Implementation,” where Sheldon has Leonard sign an agreement to always reserve Friday nights for watching Firefly, as the show is “going to be on forever.”