Hello, comic book adventurers! It’s me Rosie, back once again with your regular Dynamite comics roundup. We here at Women Write About Comics are dedicated to unpacking the complex parts of the industry and unwrapping the underwhelming gift that is comics so we can all enjoy/despair about it together! So here we are with another
Hello, comic book adventurers! It’s me Rosie, back once again with your regular Dynamite comics roundup. We here at Women Write About Comics are dedicated to unpacking the complex parts of the industry and unwrapping the underwhelming gift that is comics so we can all enjoy/despair about it together! So here we are with another of our monthly collections of all things that are going on at Dynamite Entertainment, home of the sexy variant cover, unexpected creative team, and occasionally great licensed comics.
Big News in Dynamite-land as in the last few months the company have announced a move to what at least 100 comics fans and retailers know as “The Front of The Book.” This mysterious mantle means that they will move into the front section of Diamond’s monthly previews catalogue. “Why the heck does that matter?!?” I hear you scream. Well, in the world of comics Diamond is the only distribution channel for single issues of your favorite books. For a long time the “Front of the Book” was reserved for the bigger publishers with exclusive deals like DC, Dark Horse, Image, and Marvel after their own Previews catalog failed, as well as, more recently, IDW.
In recent years, though, as comic shop sales have waned, and as criticism of Diamond has become more widespread, Marvel decided to get its own previews catalogue. Image took that same step a couple of years ago with Image +, and earlier this year DC announced that they, too, would be departing Diamond’s phone book of listings with their own previews catalogue! All of these come free if you buy the main Previews monthly, but it does mean that the once much sought-after Front of the Book is looking a little sparse. Lucky then that Dynamite have decided to move their listings up there, alongside BOOM! Studios. This looks like a weird move for Dynamite, as Diamond wanes in popularity. But it’s actually quite smart as their main customer base are largely the same people who buy Diamond’s Preview catalogue. They’ll probably see a bump in sexy J. Scott Campbell busts for at least a week when this move happens in April.
During ECCC in March, Dynamite made one of their most exciting and well received announcements in an age with Jenn St-Onge and Kelly Thompson’s upcoming Nancy Drew comic. This team-up is super exciting for a number of reasons: St-Onge and Thompson have already proven they make great comics with the Jem spin-off Misfits, they’re both wildly talented in their own rights, and this is one of the first ever (and likely just the first ever) Dynamite books that I’ve come across that has a full female creative team, including colorist Triona Farrell and letterer Ariana Maher. This is a team-up that has worked on some of the biggest and best comics of recent years, so fans were understandably incredibly excited at the potential for the book. Nancy Drew #1 will be in April’s previews catalogue if you’re dying to pre-order it!
In more irritating news, Dynamite revealed the creative team on the previously announced Charlie’s Angels comic and lo and behold it’s written and drawn by men. John Layman and Joe Eisma are the men behind this misguided reboot of the classic property, which would have surely been far better helmed by some women, like the very well received Nancy Drew reboot. While that reboot was covered on many major news sites, I’ve yet to find anyone who cares about two men writing this story about three women.
In other news I am not particularly interested in covering in much depth, a shoutout to Kevin Smith for his Bionic Man comic which has a total of NO women on the collection. Rad, well done. Then again the punchline to the entirety of Clerks is a woman fucking a dead body, so no surprises there really.
Magnus Between Worlds looked like a really nice comic but alas it was also all men so did not fit the very minimal parameters I currently have for this column. I really love trash horror movies and trash horror comics, and Pumpkinhead looked really amazing but guess what three issues in . . . and all dudes lol.
Vampirella, arguably Dynamite’s most famous property and one of the most iconic female fictional characters of all time, has long languished at Dynamite with multiple failed incarnations and reboots. Well, this current (very boring) incarnation has had an all-male creative team for all eleven issues of its latest volume. LOL FUCK THAT NOISE! Especially when it includes some very performative male feminist creators. We all know Dynamite has amazing women on their coloring books, and even female letterers. If they really won’t try and hire a female writer or artist, they could at least get Triona Farrell on colours? Maybe then the book wouldn’t drain all of the life out my body every time I try to read it? Shame.
Guess what though, that’s not the only annoying Vampirella news as the publisher has unbelievably launched another title focused on the classic comics character which has a creative team staffed entirely with men. Vampirella: Savage Tales will undoubtedly be forgotten and once again begs the question: will any male creators ever wonder why their female fronted books don’t have any women working on them?
In a gross and questionable move, Dynamite have launched a Jeepers Creepers comic, a property created by a convicted child molester, who has been welcomed back into Hollywood with open arms. No thanks. Also all cis men on that book too, so luckily I don’t have to read it.
Out of eighty-six review PDFs that were sent to me in this period, only twenty-nine had creators who weren’t cis men credited on their interiors, including a single story in a newly collected trade. I didn’t include reviews for trades collecting series that I’ve already reviewed here but did include them in the numbers. Just under a third is actually pretty high for Dynamite, but still way lower than any publisher should be aiming for. Especially as most of the books still have majoritively cis male creative teams. As is my wont, I have reviewed each of the comics which don’t have all male teams behind them for your perusing pleasure, in the order in which they were solicited! I didn’t review trades of which I’ve reviewed every issue in my roundups. P.S.: if Amy Chu wasn’t such a prolific writer it would have only been sixteen!!!! Yes, almost half of our enteries this time were written by Amy “I don’t know how she does it” Chu.
Green Hornet #1 – Amy Chu, German Erramouspe, Brittany Pezzillo, Mike Choi, and Thomas Napolitano
Green Hornet is a pretty ugly book; sadly so, as Amy Chu’s reboot has a cool idea at its core: that Kato’s daughter takes on the Green Hornet mantle. Unfortunately, the first issue is mundane, and though Chu’s story and Pezzillo’s colours make the book readable, German Erramouspe’s art feels like a sketchy rehashing of better work and doesn’t feel like a good fit for the classical hero story. The rare good panel looks like a bad panel from a good book, and by the end it feels almost unreadable. Not one I’d pick up, but one that I’m glad exists and hope improves as it goes on.
Deja Thoris #2 – Amy Chu, Pasquale Qualano, Valentia Pinta, and Thomas Napolitano
Deja Thoris continues to be a really fun swords-and-sandals romp. Chu is at her best here with some seriously fun action packed pages, which build on the first issue as Deja and her gang venture into the desert to find the mythical lost city of Ephysium. As is so often the case with Dynamite, this book is elevated by the incredible colours of Valentina Pinta. I first came across her work in The Body #1 and was instantly a fan. The team—Amy Chu, Pasquale Qualano, Valentia Pinta, and Thomas Napolitano—on this book is great, and it’s one that I can now safely say I look forward to each month.
Barbarella #4 – Mike Carey, Jorge Fornes, and Celeste Woods
Four issues in and Mike Carey’s Barbarella has finally managed to get a woman on the creative team. Once again it’s from their talented female colourist pool, with Celeste Woods taking on the art of maybe fill-in but definitely new artist Jorge Fornes. The issue is action-packed and Carey is as always a great writer. Fornes’ art verges on being great, lacking the movement that a comic like this needs, but Wood’s colors are divine and she brings life to what could otherwise be a strangely visually stilted issue.
Gwar Orgasmageddon TPB (issue #1) – Marissa Louise, Jonathan Brandon Sawyer, Matt Miner, and Matt Maguire
I’m very into this first issue of the Gwar collection; it’s radical, pretty, and includes a Nazi punk getting their head chopped off. Marissa Louise’s colours are a joy, drenching a really fucking great, surreal space landscape with the perfect palette. That rad landscape is brought to life by Jonathan Brandon Sawyer and Gwar’s Matt Maguire who make a book that looks way fucking cooler than it has any right to be. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and just wish they’d managed to get more than one woman to work on this collection.
James Bond: The Body #3 – Ales Kot and Rapha Lobosco
This surprisingly enjoyable mini-series’ issue #3 sees the art team change again, and I am sorely missing Valentina Pinta’s incredible colours. It’s not as strong as the previous two issues, the first being one of my favourite comics of the year, but it’s always fun to watch a bunch of Nazis get the shit kicked out of them, and on that level the team delivers, though Rapha Lobosco’s art sometimes leaves a little to be desired. Though this is a flawed issue, Ales Kot’s vision for James Bond is the first one I’ve found truly interesting.
Xena: Warrior Princess Vol. 4 #2 – Meredith Finch, Vicente Cifuentes, and Triona Farrel
One of the most exciting and fun books that Dynamite has put out in a long time, Xena is a total joy to read. Triona Farrell’s colours are so vibrant and fantastic that they really elevate this book to one of my favourite on the shelves. Vicente Cifuentes’ art works so well with Farrell’s palettes that the comic almost hums with life. It’s a world away from the boring browns which so many of these Dynamite books appear to be drenched in. In this issue, writer Finch hints at a dark and murderous secret in Xena’s past, and sees Gabrielle and her warrior princess torn apart; sadly they still aren’t gay . . . which sucks. Otherwise a good fun book.
Green Hornet #2 – Amy Chu, Brittany Pezzelio, and German Erramouspe
Green Hornet is definitely the most improved of my Dynamite round-up series. Amy Chu is great, but this first issue struggled to engage and the second issue is actually pretty engaging as we expand on the new Green Hornet and those who surround her. Visually Brittany Pezzelio’s colours are a bright spark in the otherwise dull visual palette presented by German Erramouspe with her interesting use of purples and reds livening up the classic dark and boring Dynamite house palette.
Deja Thoris #3 – Amy Chu, Pasquale Qualano, Valentia Pinta, and Thomas Napolitano
Team Deja—Amy Chu, Pasquale Qualano, Valentia Pinta, and Thomas Napolitano—are back, and this time we’re given a slight change of pace as Deja and company have made it to Thurd, where they meet a Martian Manhunter lookalike who Deja once freed from her father’s jail in her quest to find Ephysium and who challenges the princess to a game of space chess. Luckily for Deja, Thurd is actually on the ruins of Ephysium, and that’s where we leave our troop at the end of this issue. Pinto’s colors are once again the starring feature of this story, as Qualano delivers with epic landscapes and daring costumes for every gender. This is a rare case of overwriting from Chu, but it’s a minor complaint in such a consistently fun space saga.
Sheena: Queen of the Jungle #7 – Marguerite Bennett, Christina Trujillo, and Maria Sanapo
Sheena continues to be one of my least favorite Dynamite books, as it this week adds an eco-warrior storyline that’s right from the Avatar/Ferngully playbook. So much so, in fact, that I’m surprised Napolitano didn’t letter in Papyrus. Sanapo’s art is incredibly hard for me to enjoy, as it seems to be mostly stilted phototrace, and the heavy digital colours from De La Cruz gives this the appearance of a very specific kind of bad Dynamite book—not one that I can find anything in.
James Bond: The Body #4 – Ales Kot, Eoin Marron, Valentina Pinto, and Thomas Napolitano
The Body #4 sees the return of one of my all time favorite colourists in the game: Valentina Pinto! Pinto and artist Eoin Marron create an impeccable visual landscape for Kot’s toned down narrative, that ends up being one of my favorite entries of what is undoubtedly one of Dynamite’s best books. An intimate and quiet comic, this is a rare and emotional book and I am really enjoying it. Special shout out to letter Thomas Napolitano whose work in this issue is the perfect complement to Marron and Pinto’s gorgeous art.
Xena: Warrior Princess Vol. 4 #3 – Meredith Finch, Triona Farrell, and Vicente Cifuentes
Finch, Cifuentes, Farrell and Rae continue to surprise and delight with this fun historical romp. Though we are yet to get that good gay Xena shit that we deserve, this issue expands on and sets up what looks to be the story’s major conflict as Xena and Gabrielle get seperated. Colourist Triona Farrell is the true star of the book with her gorgeous colours making this book stand out far more than I ever expected to. I’m excited to see where Xena and Gabrielle go next, but for now the book is still too straight to be classed as one of my favourites.
Pathfinder: Spiral of Bones #2 – Crystal Frasier, Tom Garcia, Morgan Hickman, and Thomas Napolitano
This fun and fresh fantasy comic is a total joy as writer Crystal Frasier, artist Tom Garcia, colorist Morgan Hickman, and my old fave letterer Thomas Napolitano continue to carve their names into the ground as a fun creative team to keep an eye on. Frasier, Garcia, and Hickman are really great together creating something that seems a little more than your average Dynamite book. If you enjoy spooky, dark fantasy stories then this one is for you!
Sheena: Queen of the Jungle #8 – Marguerite Bennett, Christina Trujillo, and Maria Sanapo
Even though it’s the rare Dynamite book that has an almost completely female creative team, Sheena still manages to miss the mark for me. Bennett, Trujillo, Sanapo, Cruz and (he’s back again) Napolitano just can’t seem to escape the problematic tropes that Sheena is steeped in. Flat art, dangerous stereotypes and a lot of women being thrown around and caged make this unpleasant issue even more of an uncomfortable read than usual.
Red Sonja / Tarzan #1 – Gail Simone, Walter Geovani, Adriano Augusto, and Simon Bowland
This new series by Gail Simone, Walter Geovani, Adriano Augusto, and Simon Bowland is off to an interesting if slow start. If you want a book about Red Sonja and Tarzan, this is it. I find these stories are always a likely spot for problematic tropes but so far this book seems to have avoided them, though Geovani’s art feels a little flat and stilted and the story a bit rote so far. This does so far manage to avoid the giant talking boobs of the main Red Sonja book, though, which is nice.
Red Sonja Vol. 4 #15 – Amy Chu, Erik Burnham, Carlos E. Gomez, Kim Mohan, and Simon Bowland
Amy Chu continues her run as the most prolific writer at Dynamite with Red Sonja #15. I want to love this book as much as I love Chu’s Deja Thoris, but alas Sonja’s giant sentient boobs are a huge turn off for me. If you want to see some shapely breasts fighting bad guys you’ll likely enjoy this issue by Chu, Erik Burnham, Carlos E. Gomez, Kim Mohan, and Simon Bowland. I do have to give a big shout out to Chu and co for an outrageous Sonja vs. Sonja fight which has boobs and swords flying everywhere. It’s so cheesecakey I almost choked.
Sherlock Holmes: Vanishing Man #1 – Leah Moore, John Reppon, Julius Ohta, Ellie Wright, and Simon Bowland
Leah Moore, John Reppon, Julius Ohta, Ellie Wright, and Simon Bowland have put together something quite unique, which is strange for a book based on an established property. Moore and Reppon are an engaging writing team and Ohta and Wright create something very special visually. If you’re a fan of mystery, intrigue, and very pretty comics then this is a must read.
Deja Thoris #4 – Pasquale Qualano, Valentina Pinto, and Thomas Napolitano
When it comes to swords-and-sandals stuff, Amy Chu’s Dejah Thoris reboot has been a big winner for me. Drawn by Pasquale Qualano, this issue is colored by fave Dynamite talent Valentina Pinto and lettered by good old Thomas Napolitano, how does he do it?? This issue delves into some good lore and universe building as well as some great half-naked Dejah dad moments, because Dejah Thoris truly provides a good gender parity when it comes to nude ancient dudes.
Green Hornet #3 – German Erramouspe, Brittany Pezzillo
Green Hornet as a series has a lot of potential but artist Germaine Erramouspe keeps me from being engaged with this book. His art is cold and pretty lifeless, though Brittany Pezzillo’s colors add some much needed energy to the page. In this issue things get complicated as an investigative reporter tracks down the original Green Hornet’s son, and our heroine continues to try and find her place as the new Hornet.
Xena: Warrior Princess Vol. 4 #4 – Meredith Finch, Vicente Cifuentes, Ig Guira, and Triona Farrell
“IS IT GAY YET??” the public screams. No, but it does have a fantastic cover by Ig Guira and Triona Farrell which I need as a poster in my life. This issue is serviceable—probably my least favorite of the run so far, as Xena tries to reunite with a kidnapped Gabby. #4 leans a little too far into the exploitation with lots of women getting beaten and some weird cheesecake shit from Cifuentes. As always, Triona Farrell’s colors elevate this book but also: make it gay you cowards.
Pathfinder: Spiral of Bones #3 – Crystal Frasier, Tom Garcia, Morgan Hickman, and Thomas Napolitano
Crystal Frasier, artist Tom Garcia, colorist Morgan Hickman, and Thomas Napolitano are back again with another entry of good hard fantasy fun. I’m actually super invested in this comic now and it’s a cute little adventure to look forward to each month. This issue gets weird when we see two versions of Veloris fighting for their immortal soul.
Sheena: Queen Of The Jungle #9 – Marguerite Bennett, Christina Trujillo, and Maria Sanapo
This issue is another disappointment aw we continue directly from the end of the last chapter with our team of bikini-wearing women and fully dressed men fight monsters with vagina-shaped stomach mouths in a very boring grey laboratory. The art in this issue seems particularly stilted and as far as I can tell this entry adds nothing more to the story, except a final page splash where Sheena looks like she’s orgasming as a huge explosion makes her cum/blows up behind her.
Red Sonja / Tarzan #2 – Gail Simone, Walter Geovani, Adriano Augusto, and Simon Bowland
Dynamite’s second Red Sonja book with one woman on the team is back! Gail Simone, Walter Geovani, Adriano Augusto, and Simon Bowland return for a second issue of this mini series. Alas, the quality has dropped massively in this entry and it really feels incredibly outdated and pedestrian. The introduction of a Black man servant is an immediate red flag, but tbh it’s actually Geovani’s art which ages the book immeasurably with the book seeming like it’s from another time or a Kickstarter project. And not in a good way.
Red Sonja Vol. 4 #16 – Amy Chu, Erik Burnham, and Carlos Gomez
I feel like at this point I’m just repeating myself really. Red Sonja is essentially a comic about some boobs fighting with swords which might sound cool but gets a little tiring tbh. Chu, Burnham. Gomez, Mohan and Simon Bowland deliver more of the same in this issue which also sees a lot of split leg kicks and upskirt shots. FUN FOR ALL THE FAMILY.
Sherlock Holmes: The Vanishing Man #2 – Leah Moore, John Reppon, Julius Ohta, Ellie Wright, and Simon Bowland
In an action-packed follow-up to their intriguing first issue, Leah Moore, John Reppon, Julius Ohta, Ellie Wright, and Simon Bowland are back with a super fun and frenzied chapter which really engages and fully sets up the mystery to come. Fans of Sherlock Holmes, you’ll be happy to see the first appearance of Professor James Moriarty, who is of course up to no good. If I have one critique of the series so far it’s that the only person of color we’ve seen is a Black woman whose role appears to be a housemaid/teacher. Remember, folks: London has been a diverse city for millenia. Reflect that in your stories.
Green Hornet #4 – Amy Chu, German Erramouspe, and Brittany Pezzillo
Definitely the best issue of this ongoing series so far, Green Hornet #4lays the groundwork of a much better story, with some James Bond-esque gadgets and a reimagined Hornet and Kato team-up. Erramouspe and Pezzillo seem much more in sync and this is the first issue I’ve actually enjoyed looking at. Kinda excited for the next issue, and for a series that started so slow that’s a big compliment!
James Bond: The Body #6 – Ales Kot, Luca Casalanguida, Valentia Pinto and Thomas Napolitano
This is (I think) the final issue of what is easily the best James Bond series that I’ve read. This installment wraps up the threads of what began feeling like an anthology but slowly revealed itself to be a single story with many parts. #6 sees the return of the first issue creative team who I love deeply after this series—Ales Kot, Luca Casalanguida, Valentia Pinto and Thomas Napolitano—and it’s a fantastic finale to a story I don’t want to be over.