Today, Greg Hunter reviews the new Humanoids edition of Jean-Claude Forest’s Barbarella, paying particularly close attention to the way Kelly Sue DeConnick’s adaptation of the text differs from previous versions. Here’s a short sample, but read it all:
Forest couches the sexual aspects of the Barbarella stories within a thoroughgoing cheekiness, and in fact he was ambivalent about how readers received his comics. (From Gravett: “Where I saw humor and the expression of liberty, all they saw was ‘la fesse’ [literally, ‘the butt’].”) But if Barbarella is a figure of freedom, that freedom does not exceed the bounds of Forest’s fantasies. The stories don’t pathologize her actions or frame a dangerous circumstance as the outcome of those actions. And yet it’s never difficult to remember that these comics are the creation of a dude.
—Movies News. Seemingly every site on the entire comics internet (not to mention non-comics cultural sites) is extremely excited about the latest casting and scheduling announcements about movies potentially being made featuring characters who originated in comic books. I guess most of those places are really more about enthusiasm for superheroes (or “geek culture” in general, ugh) than about comics per se, so it’s not out of line for them to spend so much time covering movies instead of comics (I’m sure it helps the bottom line in terms of traffic, too). But it also reveals how far comics really do still have to go. Twenty years ago, people who liked comics and believed in what they could be would defend the medium by comparing it to film, and saying, “Imagine what people would think about movies if almost all of them were about superheroes.” That hasn’t quite happened yet, but it’s not a crazy thought any more. But the comics press is largely still mired in the same superhero-centric, fannish magical thinking as ever. Imagine if every literary publication you could think of ran lengthy, anticipatory celebrations of every announced cinematic adaptation of a book, dissecting the possible casting choices, etc. Wait a second, I just remembered the last few years’ worth of arguments over the 50 Shades of Grey and Harry Potter and Hunger Games movies. Never mind. It’s actually spreading. I guess it’s nice to know it’s American culture in general that’s regressing and not just comics in particular.
—Reviews & Commentary. At The Believer Logger, Adrian Hill has published the first of a three-part exploration of the artistic collaboration between William S. Burroughs and Malcolm Mc Neill (Ah Pook is Here).
Over at Hazlitt, Jeet Heer reviews the new Wonder Woman history by Jill Lepore.
J. Hoberman has a rave at the New York Review of Books about Dan’s What Nerve! show.
Marc (Not the Beastmaster) Singer emerges from retirement to take stock of the latest Grant Morrison comics.
John Adcock looks at soap opera strips.
Jonathan Jones remembers Marie Duval.
Brian Hibbs notes a baffling Wonder Woman cover-marketing decision.
Neel Mukherjee writes about the conclusion of Charles Burns’ recent trilogy.
I admire Tom Spurgeon’s positive attitude, particularly as my response was more just that old people like to complain and still send letters to the editor.
—Interviews & Profiles. The aforementioned Jill Lepore was a guest on NPR’s Fresh Air.
Via video, the New York Times profiles Lalo Alcaraz.
The great New Yorker cartoonist Sam Gross was a guest on the Virtual Memories podcast.
Rob Kirby talks to Cara Bean.