Silicon Valley Comic Con was fun!

First things first. Christie Shinn of Hora Tora Studios drew how Super Holly feels about writer’s block.

I was on pop-culture writer (and my friend) Valerie Frankel’s Superheroines panel, and I was quite honored to sit next to the great cartoonist and wonderful HERstorian Trina Robbins! When I said that I was writing a female superhero (hey, gotta plug my stuff), and said that I listened to the ladies on my writing critique groups, Trina said that was very good advice for guys writing female characters. That was nice of her.

And I saw a kid flash conquer the evil reverse Flash!

At at Valerie’s table, I sold four (count ’em: 4) of my little Super Holly books. You know, the ones I print through Createspace, and when I sell them at comic cons, I include a CD with some Super Holly art and my audio short stories with a royalty free music background. Such a deal for five bucks!

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Should Stan Lee wear a skirt?

bechdel-testThe Bechdel test (from Alison Bechdel‘s comic strip, “Dykes to Watch Out For”) asks whether a work of fiction (1) features at least two women (2) who talk to each other (3) about something other than a man.

Who does Super Holly Hansson talk to for more than a page in my upcoming novel? Dan Mann: Stan Lee mentor. Cal Critbert: Batman / Roger Ebert love interest. Uncle Pops: Patton father figure. My writing FAILS?!?!

I’m thinking about turning Dan Mann into a her. Keep a lot of Stan Lee, but stir in, oh, Trina Robbins for comic book cred. What women have spice? Eartha Kitt? Julie Newmar? Madonna? Whoopi Goldberg?

Hey, my women blog followers! Any advice for a writer who needs good female personality templates?

(Added on Dec. 20: A name like Fran Lee, or Anne Lee? I like the sound of that. The idea is taking root!)

I am schooled by Trina Robbins!

trina-wizard-sac-2015At Wizard Con in Sacramento, I met writer and HERstorian Trina Robbins again. I told her she ought to meet Valerie Estelle Frankel, who wrote that Empowered Wonder Woman book that I reviewed. I told Trina about Valerie mentioning in that book the fight where Wonder Woman and Cheetah rip each other’s clothes.

And Trina said that Wonder Woman’s costume is super tough, and Cheetah is covereed in fur! She firmly asked me if I could think of any superheroines whose super-costumes get ripped. I said, um, maybe Supergirl in Crisis on Infinite Earths? And Trina met Valerie later, and said that Valeries said “Huh?” when she told Valerie about the ripping thing.

I reread that part of Valerie’s book. Valerie said that Wonder Woman bends and twists to reveal as much skin as possible. No clothes being ripped off. I consider myself SCHOOLED!

However, this could be a story idea for Super Holly Hansson, along the lines of the story that would-be writers send to Marvel again and again and again: Sabertooth and Wolverine meet in a forest, they fight, Wolverine wins. Holly would not do the bendy thing during a fight, she fights like a heavyweight boxer (and hits like one, too). Maybe Holly is in a forest in her street clothes, and then she meets a very annoying villain named The Ripper? I’ll think about it. Trina, thanks for a nice goofy idea. Another way to get short-fuse Holly mad.

I bought a couple books from Trina. One was the Miss Fury book she is holding up, she edited it. Miss Fury beat Wonder Woman to the costumed heroine thing by six months. The art is fun, a panel of a big cross-dresser with lots of perfume-smelly lines sold me on it.

 

The BIG WOW Comicfest!!! (a San Jose comic book convention)

I went last Saturday and Sunday. The panel on cultural diversity in comics had Damion Poitier (actor and stuntman) and David Williams (artist for Marvel and DC Comics). Both are black. Well, Damion is a bit blacker, and he projected an actor’s voice that needed no microphone. Damion said that writers ought to call him when they have an idea that might be questionable. Like making the new DC Comics Wally West a teen guy of color and (surprise, surprise, I thought it was done to death when I read it) he is in trouble with the law. Sigh. He also said that Luke Cage of Marvel Comics ought to be running some businesses in the hood, not just running another Avenger’s spinoff superhero team. You know what? Much as I like how Luke Cage is done nowadays (the tough guy with a heart of gold, a heck of an improvement over the chain-for-a-belt blaxploitation version from years past), this is a great idea! I asked Damion if he has considered writing. I remember Damion better, although both guys were good. Actors have presence.

trina-and-meThe panel for Creating Comics and Book for all ages had Trina Robbins, writer and HERstorian for over 40 years. The secret to all writing all ages books: Write a good story, and leave out graphic sex and violence. You can have grown-up references (Rocky and Bullwinkle, or Powerpuff Girls and the Beatles episode). Bill Morrison of Bongo Comics (Simpsons and Futurama comic books) said that Batton Lash (cover artist for Holly’s Super Bad Hair Day, and artist/writer for Bongo Comics, Batton does it all!) would ask about events in old Gold Key 1960’s comics; as long as the reader does not have to understand the event to understand the story, it is fine.

Trina pointed out that girls did not like that comic books stores (1) were stuffed with boys and (2) did not smell good, but then came manga that girls love, like Far Away (a girl is blown into another world). Trina does an all-ages book called Chicagoland Detective Agency starring Megan, a vegetarian, manga-reading, haiku-writing teen girl. One story had a witch teen girl who was crushing on Megan: Trina was not to use the L word in the book. Trina had one copy left to sell at the convention. I said I got dibs on the L book! It was a wonderful read, I gotta buy more of her stuff! Trina said that kids tend to read up: tween girls read teen girl comics, teen girls read romance. NEVER write just for kids, that is writing down to them. I gave Trina my Holly business card and showed her Lash’s cover art for Holly’s Super Bad Hair Day. She said Holly’s costume looked tight. Yeah, that is part of the joke about how super heroines are drawn, and part of the burden Holly carries. But Trina seemed to like the idea of Holly, a superheroine with flaws. Maybe I should see if Trina would like to read a Holly story. Maybe Holly should meet a Trina character: Holly would like that. She could learn from Trina. I could too.

boy-artistA nine-year-old artist. He was good. Someday, maybe he will be great.

costume-contestCostume Contest. The guy in red and blue (Bucky Barnes before Winter Soldier) is Dwight, whom I have known for a while. We had dinner at Johnny Rockets.

I asked Morpheus if I should take the blue pill or the red pill. He said it depended on what I wanted.

bucky-and-mopheus

 

The presenter did a great job as Zantanna: she looked the part (wow), and she did magic flashes with her hands (WOW). Robocop won the costume contest. He insisted.

zantanna-and-me

robocop-and-zantanna

I bought a lot of comics and books, figuring that I would not be going to the San Diego Comic Con this year. (I don’t even have a hotel reserved yet!) A few standouts from my purchases:
* The first half of the Bobby London run on Popeye. Excellent.
* Edison Rex, a super villain-turned-hero who gets no heroic respect.
* Terry Moore’s Echo. After I told him that Holly punched her way to the top of my stories, he told me that his character Katchoo took over his comic book series Strangers in Paradise when he had planned on her only being in the few issues. Characters can push the author around. Frank Miller was right about Sin City’s Marv. (Update: I read it all in one sitting, or one lay-in-bedding, lost sleep but worth it.)

I finished by watching The Batman Chronicles, a non-profit fan flick about a younger Batman just starting out, by Actor (he did the Joker, and did a great Joker laugh for us), Producer & Editor Anthony Misiano. Look it up on YouTube, it is worth watching. Anthony said that the Joker is fun to act out because you do not have to hold back.