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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 1/18/2017

Hello comic book likers and welcome to another episode of The Crank File, the only place on the web that judges a comic not by the logo on its cover, but by the content of its pages.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:




The Top of the Pile: Batman #15

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: Mitch Gerads

What it is: ‘STREETS AND SWAMPS’! Swamp Thing comes to Gotham City with a mysterious request for Batman-but these longtime allies will have to make up for lost time and work together in order to confront a growing threat that only they can stop!

Why we love it: Some weeks it’s a battle for the top of the pile. This was not one of those weeks. My favorite and second favorite DC characters teaming up for an adventure scripted by my favorite up and coming writer. Too easy.




The Mainstream One: Gamora #2 (Mattina variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Nicole Perlman
Art: Marco Checchetto

What it is: OUT OF TIME AND OUT FOR REVENGE! The story continues as we follow GAMORA to the doomed planet that is UBLIEX. Perched on the brink of a black hole, its inhabitants count down the hours to their planet’s imminent demise as it is swallowed up by the approaching Singularity. Will Gamora find her revenge among the inhabitants of Ubliex before the black hole consumes them all? Or will the citizens of this world – including a doomsday cult, junkie bounty hunters and a young woman with a tremendous destiny – stop her first?

Why we like it: The story digs into Gamora’s past, when she was still Thanos’ daughter and consumed by revenge for the annihilation of her race. Gamora’s on the hunt for her enemy’s last remaining survivor, an innocent baby girl. While the redemption angle isn’t groundbreaking, I was impressed by Chachetto’s gorgeous interiors and Nicole Perlman’s depiction of Gamora’s internal conflict. The Mattina variant is a killer and reminds me of McFarlane’s iconic Hulk #340 cover.




The Indie One: Descender #18

Publisher: Image
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dustin Nguyen

What it is: ‘ORBITAL MECHANICS,’ Part Two The cyborg cult known as The Between are hit by a Gnishian attack fleet with only Andy, Driller and Tullis standing between them. Will Andy’s love for Queen Between be enough to save them? One of Decsender’s cast members makes the ultimate sacrifice.

Why we like it: I had been trade waiting Descender for a few arcs, but I flipped through the last issue and decided this book was just too good to continue waiting on. Between his work at Marvel and his indie projects (don’t miss out on Black Hammer annual #1 either, also out this week from Dark Horse) Lemire is completely on top of his game.




The #1 One: Curse Words #1

Publisher: Image
Words: Charles Soule
Art: Ryan Browne

What it is: ‘THE DEVIL’S DEVIL,’ Part One. A wizard has appeared in New York City, and he’s casting wonderful spells, getting famous, getting rich-it’s great! But it’s not. This wizard has everyone fooled. He is actually an EVIL WIZARD, and EVIL THINGS are on the way. CURSE WORDS is a gonzo modern fantasy, full of darkness, light…and MAGIC.

Why we like it: I heard this one called Lord of the Rings meets Breaking bad, which probably means it’s not as good as either. Slow week for #1’s. But the synopsis sounds interesting enough, so I’ll at least give it a flip through before making an executive decision at the stand.




The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Clone Conspiracy #4

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Dan Slott
Art: Jim Cheung
Cover Art: Gabrielle Dell’Otto

What it is: The darkest Spider-Man story ever gets EVEN DARKER! Doctor Octopus and the Lizard have both been on a tight leash, but decide it’s time to stop playing nice!

Why we like it: Damn Dell’Otto. Dell’otta be hanging in a gallery.


That’s all i got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!

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The Female Perspective: Where Are My Dang Toys?!?!?

Welcome! This blog is written by author J.L. Metcalf and will chat about comics, movies, garden gnomes, ghosts or even books and daily life. It is a place where I offer my ladylike perspective on anything and everything my brain can think of. 

As with all my blog posts, they are born from reading I do on the internet (a magical tool for writers, let me tell ya). Today, as I was alternately staring out at the blizzard and perusing Facebook, I came across an article that sparked my inspiration and I had to share with my peeps. It’s about the distinct lack of female character toys. Say what, you ask? I am talking about Black Widow, Gamora, even Agent Carter to a certain extent. They barely exist in the collector world and it annoys the heck out of me.

Black Widow has been in more movies than The Hulk and yet, her action figure came out after his.
Black Widow has been in more movies than The Hulk and yet, her action figure came out after his.

I am sure there are those who will argue with me about the fact that, there have been Black Widow toys, and yes, there have…sort of….

Despite being introduced in Iron Man 2, it would take until The Avengers for Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow to get an action figure: even then, she was shortpacked in the third wave of figures that came out months after the movie hit, with the prime first wave spots going to Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and The Hulk. It took until The Winter Soldier last year for Widow to show up in both Hasbro’s Marvel Legends Infinite 6-inch line and Funko’s wildly popular range of Marvel Pop Vinyls for the first time, a whopping four years after the character first appeared. Fast forward to Age of Ultron today and she’s once again seemingly missing — she doesn’t show up at all in the new action figure playsets. She’s not in the first set of Pop Vinyls, and neither is Scarlet Witch, another prominent female member of the cast. She appears in one of the six new Lego sets for the film (Cap’s in three, Iron Man is in four). She doesn’t appear in the team shots on the boxes of merchandise (to be fair, neither does Hawkeye. Poor Hawkeye.). Hell, the first action figure we’ve seen for her for AoU specifically is Diamond Select. ~ James Whitbrook for iO9

So, you see, they do create the toys, they simply wait EONS to ship them out and they never ship them out with the so-called, “main-cast”. This highlights an issue within the movie comic world (ironically the toys are released quick as bunnies for the comic books), they still think they are marketing these movies to BOYS only. Come on guys, WAKE THE HECK UP! The audience for Guardians of the Galaxy was largely female. San Diego Comic Con had a 40% female attendee rate. WOMEN ARE WATCHING & ENJOYING THIS STUFF TOO and what’s more, people’s daughters are watching these movies. They are seeing these phenomenal, kick-butt women characters and yet, they don’t get them as toys. They have the option of the male cast but these girls don’t want that, they want to play with the toy of the character they identify with. The one they want to be.

Peggy Carter may not be a household name, but she's been in a couple movies now AND has her own show, maybe a figure will be on it's way soon.
Peggy Carter may not be a household name, but she’s been in a couple movies now AND has her own show, maybe a figure will be on it’s way soon.

I remember, when I was young comic book, Star Wars nerd, I had about ten different Princess Leia toys at my disposal. I would get every Leia they made as they came out. I always noticed though that my brother got all sorts of different characters, Luke, Han, Chewy and yet, I only received Leia (and one memorable year, I received Boba Fett). That was a weird thing my folks did and I don’t blame them, they were conforming to gender rules in the 70’s and 80’s, I loved my Leia figures. I wish I still had them! At least I was lucky enough to be able to GET the toy of the one female character in Star Wars. Today, young girls have tons of female characters to look up to and yet, they get no toys. What the heck!?!?! It’s an unfair disparity that needs to change and the guys who handle these decisions (should they ever read my blog) need to know that women dig this stuff too. A LOT of women. It’s time to start acting like it.

I loved my Princess Leia action figures, this was one of my all-time personal faves.
I loved my Princess Leia action figures, this was one of my all-time personal faves.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments!