batwoman: 17 issues and we finally have an ending . . . what an ending

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What can I say . . . WOW. Comics are known for beginning a story arc, letting it run for 4-6 comics, and then concluding it. Well, that hasn’t been the way of DC’s New 52 Batwoman. If you are not reading the series and want to, beware of the upcoming spoilers.

It all began with issue one of the new Batwoman with missing children: lots of missing children. From there the series’s primary focus has been on finding them. Maggie, of the GCPD, is the lead detective on the case, and it’s a very sensitive case for her because her ex-husband refuses to let her have custody of their daughter. Probably something to do with her being a lesbian, but hey, I could be wrong (although we all know I’m probably not).

In the midst of this chaos we learn that Maggie and Kathy Kane are in a relationship. It’s a rocky one though, because Kathy, as Batwoman, is often not there when Maggie could really use her moral support and general company. Maggie is questioning whether or not the relationship between her and Kathy will ever work.

And to top that off, Batwoman scurries around the globe and reunites with many old friends, some new, and a long lost relative thought dead. All the while looking for these missing children.
J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman pull out all of the stops in this 17 issue story arc. True, there are some lines of the story that tie up here and there, but the overall story of the missing children is carried throughout.

I do have some issues with these first 17 issues, however much I love them. At times it was confusing to even attempt to follow the story line, and I have to admit that I need a brush up on my mythology to even know who all of the players are. I know Medusa, and I know I’ve heard of Ceto and others, but I’m not confident in my general knowledge of these characters back stories. Not to mention the entrance of Wonder Woman several issues back. I have to admit that for me, things really got interesting at that point.

The BIG surprise, however, comes at the end of the comic, and it’s not just one surprise, but two. I won’t give the comic away, but let’s just say that perhaps secrecy is not the most important thing in the world, and lost relatives are not always as lost as we believe.

If you are not reading this series, you really need to. The writing and art work are unlike anything I have ever seen in a comic. They don’t just change things up for one or two comics, but they keep it changing. Pick up Batwoman and ENJOY!!

do you own silver or bronze age dc comics? Help needed!

As mentioned in the previous post, I am searching for all comics that have an appearance of either Earth One’s Batwoman or Kathy Kane.  Yesterday, in pursuit of this goal, I visited MSU’s Comics Collection and was able to get pictures of the stories with Batwoman/Kathy Kane from

  1. Batman #116 – June 1958
  2. Batman #122 – March 1959
  3. Batman #125 – August 1959
  4. Batman #126 – September 1959
  5. Batman #128 – December 1959
  6. Batman #133 – August 1960
  7. Batman #135 – October 1960

I think this is a fairly good start, but I’m not there yet.  In Batman’s alone I still need 15 comics.  I’ve been watching them on Ebay, but they often go for much more than I can afford on a teacher’s salary.

Here is where you come in, if you have any of the following issues I would appreciate it if you would contact me using the “Contact” button on the left.  I do NOT need the actual comics, I just need HD pictures of the cover, letters to editor, and the actual story in which Batwoman/Kathy Kane appears.  This is not ALL of the comics I need, but I’ll post the others in another entry.  Thanks for your help.

[table caption=”Comics Needed” width=”450″ colwidth=”20|100|150″ colalign=”left|left|center|left|right”]
No.,Comic,Number,Month,Year
1,Batman,#105,February,1957
2,Batman,#129,February,1960
3,Batman,#139,April,1961
4,Batman,#140,June,1961
5,Batman,#141,August,1961
6,Batman,#145,February,1962
7,Batman,#147,May,1962
8,Batman,#150,September,1962
9,Batman,#153,February,1963
10,Batman,#155,May,1963
11,Batman,#157,August,1963
12,Batman,#159,November,1963
13,Batman,#162,March,1964
14,Batman,#163,May,1964
15,Batman,#233,August,1964
[/table]

 

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Silver and bronze age batwoman

I have been working on locating all of the issues in which Batwoman appears from her creation in July of 1956 until her death in January of 1979.  I have been using DC’s Comics Database Wiki, but I have been finding some errors with it.  Not so much in the comics that they list her appearing in, but perhaps some they don’t have listed where she clearly does appear.  For instance, I stumbled on to the fact that she appeared in Batman #131.  She is even on the cover as Kathy Kane with Bruce Wayne, but DC’s Database does not list her appearance in this comic.  Luckily, I’ve also learned that the story she appears in in #131 is reprinted in Batman #254, which the DC Database does list.

I’ve determined that tracking down all of the appearances of Earth One’s Batwoman or Kathy Kane is going to be more challenging than I thought.  I think I have a fairly decent idea of most of her appearances, and I have created a timeline.

[embedplusvideo height=”281″ width=”450″ standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/Yfzb8oHOLnU?fs=1″ vars=”ytid=Yfzb8oHOLnU&width=450&height=281&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=” id=”ep5592″ /]

I’m actually really surprised that she appears in as many comics as she does. It slacks off quite a bit from the mid to late 60’s throughout most of the 70’s.  I’m not surprised they killed her off in ’79.  This iteration of Batwoman never fit with any feminist ideals, although I think, from what I’ve read so far, that I’ll find they tried to take both her and Batgirl that direction, but with little luck.  I’m looking forward to getting into the Comics Collection at Michigan State University soon to begin taking pictures of the comics they have from the list.  The ones they don’t have, I’ve slowly been trying to get for a reasonable price on Ebay, but that is proving to be quite tough.

If you know of anyone who has the old silver and bronze age Batman Comics or Detective Comics maybe you could put them in touch with me.  I don’t really need to comics, just scans or high grade photos of the covers and stories she appears in.

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New Series

Went into Clem’s this morning and asked Alec what was new and exciting this week. He jokingly replied “everything”, but then took me to the shelves and showed me i Love Trouble by Kel Symons and Mark A. Robinson.

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I figured why not give it a try. Obviously, this was the first comic I cracked open to read. So here are my first impressions.

  • I love the art work. It’s some what cartoonish while maintaining its seriousness.
  • The comic is a bit dark, both in appearance and content.
  • It’s hard to follow. A lot of first issues are though because there is so much to convey to get you into the story.
  • The paper is not the glossy stuff you find in most comics today, but neither is it the newspapery type stuff you find in Fables or Fairest. It’s kind of like a light weight smooth card stock and has that smell as well. Been a long time since I cracked open a comic and it smelled like a book.
  • The art is contained within a border of between 1/2 inch to an inch: not precise, but consistent.

Overall, I liked the issue and I will be buying the second one. We’ll see how it progresses from there. Whether or not it all begins to fall together.

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SDT (not to be confused with with STD) and Me

What is SDT?  Basically, the way I understand it right now, it is the theory that all humans have three psychological needs: coherence—how confident we are in our ability to perform; relatedness—our relationships not only with others, but with our society in general; and autonomy—whether or not we feel we are in control of our lives.  These three basic needs determine our quality of life, or they are the things that are “essential for ongoing psychological growth, integrity, and well-being” (Deci 229).  With that understanding (limited as it may be), how can I relate this to my own experiences and work.

I was about half-way through the Deci and Ryan article when I began thinking about my work in comics, specifically Batwoman.  That lead me to thinking about the other female superheroes like Black Canary, Wonder Woman, Phantom Lady, Black Angel, and many others that were prominent prior to and during WWII.  But, as Mike Madrid points out, “the end of World War II also brought an end to much of the freedom and lives of derring-do that these women enjoyed” (21).  Like these superheroes, many women who had enjoyed unknown freedom during WWII had it suddenly pulled out from underneath them when the men returned home.  Rosie the Riveter was to return to homemaking . . . and be happy about it.

While reading Deci and Ryan, I began to make connections between these ideas of autonomy  coherence, and relatedness and the beginning of the second wave of feminism.  During WWII and the absence of many husbands, women became aware of their ability to function outside of the kitchen, the contribution they could make to society, and the control they could have over their lives, making decisions for themselves rather than having them made for them.  Once the husbands returned, they were forced back into their previous lives.  Many could no longer be happy with these lives because, based on SDT, their base psychological needs were no longer being met.

While reading the Deci and Ryan article often made my head spin, it enabled me to make some connections to things that interest me.  Perhaps it can shed new light on some of my superhero research.

Theory & Research: it’s all about the research

This week, the focus falls to two things that kept running through my mind while finishing up the NIH’s Theory at a Glance and Wei Peng’s “Design and Evaluation of a Computer Game to Promote a Healthy Diet for Young Adults”, published in Health Communication.  First, I want to discuss theory.

Granted, the name of this serious games course is “Theories of Games and Interaction for Design” and as such, I expected to be exposed to a great deal of theory, however, not this much theory.  I expected to learn about theories associated with game design in general and serious game design specifically, and I wouldn’t say I was surprised when we focused for a couple of weeks on theories of learning: the two really do go hand-in-hand.  The amount of focus, though, on theories surrounding health behavior and change surprises me.  NIH’s Theory at a Glance alone discusses eight different theories focusing on health.  At this point-in-time, I feel as if I’m in theory overload.  What I have to keep reminding myself is that ALL of these theories can apply to different areas, not just health.  The realization is that I need to create a chart listing all of the theories discussed thus far to try to keep them straight in my mind and to have a quick reference when it comes to creating my final project.

Now to shift the focus to Peng’s “Design and Evaluation of a Computer Game to Promote a Healthy Diet for Young Adults”, which discusses the game Rightway Café.  The article itself provides excellent information on the theories associated with behavioral change and games being tailored to meet individual needs.  The discussion that followed, however, about Rightway Café left me questioning the validity of the research itself.  Three points, in particular, were troublesome:

  • 32 of the 40 participants were women
  • the game play lasted for only 42 minutes on average and the game was only played one time
  • the long term follow-up came after only one month

By the end of the article, Peng addresses these limitations, but that is not enough to alleviate the doubts surrounding the validity of the findings.  While the variable of the number of men versus women might be difficult to control, the others were completely within the control of the researcher.  That leaves me questioning why the participants only played the game one time, why game play only averaged 42 minutes, and why the follow-up came after only one month.  For me, these are all red flags and unless further, more thorough research substantiates these results, I would not use this research as evidence in any of my own work.

With all of that being said, I do realize that all research has to start somewhere.  In a case like this, I believe it would be prudent of the researcher to discuss limitations upfront to prepare the reader.  I believe that having that knowledge upfront would have tempered my skepticism and kept me more engaged in the actual results.

Serious games for serious living

This fall I decided to apply to the Masters Serious Games Certificate online program offered at Michigan State University, one of the first schools to offer such a program.  I was accepted and started the first course (in a three course program) entitled Theory for Games & Interactive Design this fall.  Needless to say, it has kept be busy along with my own admin responsibilities and teaching.

This weeks readings, game play, and lecture, all focus on theories of health in one way or another.  There were three readings for this week: 1) a chapter by Debra A. Lieberman entitled “Designing Digital Games, Social Media, and Mobile Technologies to Motivate and Support Health Behavior Change” 2) the second chapter of the National Cancer Institute’s Theory at a Glance: A Guide for Health Promotion Practice , and 3) an article by Henry Kelly et al entitled “How to Build Serious Games”, which discusses the game Immune Attack.  For this post, I want to focus primarily on the Debra A. Lieberman article for a couple of reasons: 1) it is the one I found the most interesting and 2) it is the one I kept connecting my own experiences to as I read. Read the rest of this entry »

Batwoman Part II: A Digression

I will eventually get to the Batwoman Picture of Detective Comics #233, featuring Batwoman on the cover riding a motorcycle, outrunning Batman and Robin comics that are currently on shelves, but before I do, I feel I have to do my due diligence in introducing the original Batwoman character.  I believe that it is only through understanding how and where she began that one can truly appreciate where she is today.  While the cover of that issue seems quite progressive for the 1950’s, as you can see to the right, the actual story line is more like two steps forward and three steps back. Read the rest of this entry »

Batwoman Part I: The Beginning

As promised in the last post, I am beginning a multi-part series on Batwoman.  Before I begin, however, I would like to discuss a bit about Picture of Batman: The Dark Knight in trade paper backwhat got me interested in this character in the first place.

As mentioned in the last post, DC came out in November 2011 with the New DC 52.  Many feature our favorite characters, but with a freshstart, some are new characters, and some are characters who have never had their own series.  I had recently read TPB (trade paper back) of Batman: The Dark Knightby Frank Miller with art by Klaus Janson and Lynn Varley. So when a new series of Batman: The Dark Knight began, I started buying it every month.  What the hell does this have to do with Batwoman, right? Read the rest of this entry »

Why Comics

A friend asked me recently when and why I got into comics. I waited for a response; my brain, seemingly stumped by the question, soon kicked into overdrive, trying to come up with an answer. Internally, on a separate channel, I kept thinking “this should be easy”.  After what seemed an eternity, I bought time by saying the obvious thing about reading comics as a kid and that my favorite was The Hulk.

picture of The Incredible Hulk, Issue 1

Issue 1

This was true, but I don’t remember how long I stayed with comics as a kid. I began reading novels in the fourth grade, and I think comics soon became a thing of my past.  On that particular day, I don’t believe I ever came up with a satisfying answer for either me or my friend.  But I have continued to think about it, and I believe I finally remember what spurred me back into comics and how it blossomed from that. Read the rest of this entry »

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