February 14th is about three things: socks with hearts on them, discount chocolates on the 15th, and corny Valentines cards for your friends. We can’t really share the first two with you, our loyal readers, but boy can we share the third! A couple years ago we made a bunch of corny Valentine’s Day cards, and we had so much fun we did it again last year. Because we’re once, twice, three times a lady, we’ve done it again and made a new batch of Valentines for you all. Feel free to print and pass them out to the nerds you love the most, just keep our name on them, huh? More after the break.
Gail Simone is a busy writer, but even her writing responsibilities on three different titles for three different publishers couldn’t possibly compare to her obligations at conventions. She’s in incredibly high demand, but we managed to pull her away for quick chat about how Batgirl has changed, having an effect on Lara Croft’s legacy and the freedom Red Sonja grants her.
Retcon Punch: It seems like you’re just a huge rock star around here. Has that gotten weirder?
Gail Simone: (laughs) No, it’s just amazing to see the diversity of the people coming through the line, which I think is incredible. All three projects that I’m working on right now — Red Sonja, Batgirl, and Tomb Raider — well, other than Red Sonja, the other two have a pretty wide age range of people that are coming through. Not too many real young kids are coming through here for Red Sonja. Continue reading
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Red Sonja 7, originally released February 19th, 2014.
Shelby: I’m going to be real with you guys for a second. We’ve all had days where nothing seems to go right, and, speaking as a lady of grace and refinement, sometimes all you want to do is eat, drink, and get laid. Sustenance, a little booze to take the edge off, and a warm body to keep you company those cold Chicago nights can really do wonders for a shitty mood. As Gail Simone and artist Walter Geovani kick off a new arc in Red Sonja, our favorite devil warrior finds herself working a job she hates just for the paycheck, and looking for some creature comforts to get her through to the weekend. I think that’s something we can all relate to.
Today, Shelby and Taylor are discussing Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure 1, originally released December 31st, 2013.
We’ve got a steampunk revolution/We’re tired of all your so-called evolution
We’ve darted back to 1886/Don’t ask us why; that’s how we get our kicks
Out with the new/In with the old
Abney Park, Steampunk Revolution
It’s really no surprise Taylor and I get to write about this first issue of Legenderry, as we are both rabid fans of the steampunk subculture. I think we both not-so-secretly desire to walk around every day in bowlers and bowties for him, corsets and granny boots for me, and goggles for everyone. I’ve never really thought about why I like the genre so much, though. I’ve taken the same approach as the steampunk band Abney Park; I don’t know why I like it, I just know I like it. Maybe my “out with the new, in with the old” attitude deserves a closer look as we embark on this steampunk adventure.
Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing Red Sonja 5, originally released November 20th, 2013.
Time makes fools of us all.
-Eric Temple Bell
Drew: I’ve seen this E.T. Bell quote thrown around quite a bit, but it becomes less alluring with its often-omitted second half: “Our only comfort is that greater shall come after us.” It’s clear that Bell is taking a historical perspective — our ideas and actions will someday be looked upon with the same bemusement that we have for the Salem witch trials — but I’ve always been more intrigued by how this plays out in my own lifetime. Time has a history of making us eat our own words, whether it’s doing something we swore we’d never do, giving up something we swore we’d always love, or just making us embarrassed about the people we used to be. A recent piece in the New York Times explained that we’re terrible at anticipating those kinds of changes — we simply can’t fathom that we’ll ever change, even though we always do. I found myself thinking about this quite a bit as I read Red Sonja 5, which finds two former friends battling on the very grounds they swore they would never return to. Continue reading
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Red Sonja 4, originally released October 9th, 2013.
Shelby: There was a period of time when I used to run on a pretty regular basis. When you’re doing a race, or even just going for a long morning run, there’s comes a point when your brain starts to tell you your body can’t do it any more. Now, brains are great, but sometimes they’re all full of nonsense; they’ll try to trick you to stop doing something that’s hard. There’s a fine line to walk, however, between ignoring your brain’s advice and ignoring your body’s. Once your body starts telling you it really can’t do any more, that’s the point you need to start paying attention, before you seriously hurt yourself. Of course, if your body is telling you it can’t go on because it’s riddled with the plague and you’re going to die anyway, it doesn’t really matter if you over-exert.
Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Red Sonja 3, originally released September 11th, 2013.
Shelby: Last month things were looking pretty bad for our gal Sonja. The man who was like a father to her was dead at the hands Dark Annisia, the ultimate frenemy. The people she came to defend were dead in battle or dying of the plague. Also, she was actually dying of the plague herself, and sent into exile to die alone. At least she had the promise of fever dreams of her loved ones, dead and gone; there’s always that to look forward to, I suppose.
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Red Sonja 2, originally released August 15th, 2013.
Drew: Finales get all the attention, but I firmly believe that starting a serialized narrative is the much more impressive feat. Each subsequent chapter can build upon the previous ones, but the very first entry must whip a meaningful relationship with the audience out of thin air. This often requires relying on character types that seem almost embarrassing when looked back upon, like bad yearbook pictures, or early blog posts. It’s a strange paradox; we like complex characters, but you can’t achieve that much complexity in 22 pages (or 42 minutes, as the case may be). Character types allow us to make connections with characters quickly, but at the expense of specificity — nobody is exclaiming “that’s so Raven” after the first episode of That’s so Raven. The handoff from those early, type-driven chapters to later, character-driven ones is perilous, but writer Gail Simone handle’s it beautifully in Red Sonja 2. Continue reading
Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Red Sonja 1, originally released July 17th, 2013.
Shelby: I love fantasy novels. I’m about half-way through re-reading Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series in preparation for the final book, and I’m loving every minute of it. Jordan had some interesting ideas about men and women, most of them boiling down to the fact that men and women are actually just all people, and very similar in many ways. It seems like a pretty straight-forward idea, but it’s pretty unique for a genre that may have a worse reputation than comics for its depictions of women. So a fantasy comic book with a female lead known for the least beach-appropriate swimwear in the history of bathing suits seems a risky venture in this day and age, one more likely to appear as the worst kind of dated than anything else. Luckily for us all, Red Sonja is in the ridiculously talented hands of Gail Simone, so we’ve got nothing to worry about.