Incredible Indie Tuesday: Let 2016 Be the Year of the Queer Lady Protagonist

Welcome to the first Tuesday of 2016!  Isn’t it thrilling?  Are we all still elated by the possibility of the new year and a fresh start?  Personally, I’ve spent most of 2016 battling off a hellish sinus infection, so I’m more congested than cheerful…but this week’s news has got me pretty pumped about what’s coming down the pike for comics in 2016.

Cry Havoc Issue 1 Cover A, writer Simon Spurrier, artist Ryan Kelly, colorists Nick Filardi, Lee Loughridge, Matt Wilson, Image Comics 2016
This is the main cover for Issue 1. While it’s SUPER COOL as an image, at first glance I wasn’t very interested in the comic just yet.

Confession time: I’m not a huge fan of werewolf stories.  Which is why I’m shocked that the upcoming series Cry Havoc has become one of my most anticipated 2016 books.  I like Si Spurrier and Ryan Kelly as creators, and the idea of having three different colorists (Lee Loughridge, Nick Filardi, and Matt Wilson respectively) telling the past, present and future interconnected storylines is definitely cool…but…a whole story just about werewolves?  Didn’t seem like my thing.  That is until I read this interview with Spurrier and Kelly…because a lesbian werewolf getting mixed up in realpolitik conflicts she doesn’t quite understand?  Hell yes, I am here for that.

The werewolf’s a horror icon, but it’s never been my favorite spooky creature.  Of course, I’m in the minority on that, because Teen Wolf is just the latest in a long line of popular media that heavily feature shirtless werewolf dudes and pack politics.  The werewolf stories that I’ve enjoyed the most is when they’ve been part of a larger story and when the “curse of the wolf” works as something that the character has to deal with as a monthly pain in the ass without it defining their whole story line.  A whole plot centered around werewolf power struggles would normally have me bored, but it’s clear that Spurrier and Kelly have crafted an underlying mythology into a world that deals with the deeply personal struggle of, you know, turning into a giant monster on the regular, but also how having people with this curse would impact the wider society.

Cry Havoc Issue 1 Cover B, writer Simon Spurrier, artist Ryan Kelly, colorists Nick Filardi, Lee Loughridge, Matt Wilson, Image Comics 2016
This alternate cover by Cameron Stewart on the other hand looks AMAZING and captures more of what interests me about the premise

It’ll be really cool to see how three different colorists on a single book will showcase just what a colorist can bring to the mood and storytelling of a comic.  While colorists are slowly getting more recognition throughout the industry for their vital contribution to comics, getting to see three colorists on the same artists will be a fun opportunity to really study how their work can impact the story.  Also, <i>hell yes</i> to badass lesbian main character!  That’s way a less thoughtful reason to be bumped about Cry Havoc but, listen, I don’t care.  I’m a simple woman with simple needs.  Queer lady protagonist + political drama + Shakespeare quote as title = Catie is interested, werewolf or not.

Gene Luen Yang, image taken by Aaron Wojack for the New York Times
How super awesome must it be to not just be an ambassador but get a fancy picture in the NYTimes? The NYTimes makes everyone it photographs so sophisticated.

The Library of Congress just named Gene Leun Yang their official Ambassador of Young People’s Literature, which, oh my God, I didn’t even know that was something you could be!  My long-lost career dreams of being a glamorous diplomat are renewed!  Even though up until last year he was still working full-time as a teacher, Yang’s had a long, storied career already.  His solo works American-Born Chinese and Boxers and Saints, which was a two-book fictional work about the Boxer Rebellion in China, have both been widely acclaimed.  He was also the writer of the first Avatar: The Last Airbender sequel, which will probably be way more exciting to young readers than his nomination for the National Book Award.  For the superhero inclined crowds, Yang’s currently writing the monthly Superman series, which is supposed to be super good, and with Sonny Lieu revived the Golden Age character Green Turtle in The Shadow Hero.  While the NYTimes announcement doesn’t delve too deeply into his upcoming work, here is a great interview looking at recurring themes in his work and what’s coming next from him.  Basically, I don’t know how this guy is going to fit being a diplomat into his very busy schedule!  As an Ambassador, he’ll be helping to promote children’s and YA literature and encourage encouraging young readers to explore lots of different genres.  Also, while it’s not mentioned in the announcement, I presume that, as an official Ambassador, Yang gets diplomatic immunity and therefore can’t be convicted of any crimes.  Or at least that’s how it works in Law and Order episodes.

Hellboy in Hell Issue 8 cover, cartoonist Mike Mignola, colorist Dave Stewart, Dark Horse, 2015
Hopefully Hellboy and the Giant Mummified Cat become friends in this issue

In a very strange non-announcement, Mike Mignola casually mentioned that Hellboy in Hell would be concluding with #10 with no big projects next on the horizon for either Mignola and Hellboy.  It’s a little weird that Mignola chose an interview otherwise dedicated to his favorite Frankenstein-inspired works to drop this little news nugget, especially since Hellboy in Hell #9 hasn’t been solicited yet and the book doesn’t come out monthly because Mignola’s doing pencils and writing himself.  No telling yet if Hellboy in Hell will actually conclude the titular character’s story arc, which has been propelled forward through miniseries all the way back to the first Hellboy story in Seed of Destruction.  While other creators have joined him as the related titles began and the so-called “Mignola-verse” was born, the central storyline of Hellboy himself has always closely worked on by Mignola himself.  It’s hardly unreasonable to imagine that after more than 20 years he would want to put this character’s story to rest.  That doesn’t preclude miniseries like Hellboy & the B.P.R.D.: 1953, a flashback story of one of his earliest adventures that is currently being published, nor does it spell the end for other Mignola-verse properties like B.P.R.D. and Lobster Johnson.  But it would definitely be the end of an era.

Frankenstein Underground promo image, writer Mike Mignola, artist Ben Stenbeck, colorist Dave Stewart, Dark Horse 2015Or it could be just an off-the-cuff remark that doesn’t mean anything beyond Mignola taking a break before starting on another brand new Hellboy story!  Who knows!  What I do know is that, unlike werewolves, I’m always in the tank for Frankenstein stories so I was pretty excited about what that interview was actually supposed to be about: Frankenstein Underground the trade paperback collection by Mignola, Ben Stenbeck and colorist Dave Stewart.  There’s a long preview on NY Magazine of all sites, and it actually looks like the full first issue from the five-issue miniseries.  So…that’s a totally free and legal comic you can check out, if you want?

Catie Coleman

Catie Coleman

Catie is a lawyer by day, comics fan by night (and during the lunch hour). Unsurprisingly, her idol is She-Hulk and can only wish that she could work a purple suit in the courtroom like Shulkie can. She's also into Stephanie Brown, because she has apparently an affinity for characters in purple.