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Top 10 Comics of 2016 (Objective Facts)

Welcome to the top 10 comics of the year, these are comics released in print in single issues. There is several comics I wanted to read that I had not got the chance to read in single issues so they won’t be included on this list. These are 10 damn fine comics I read this year and I hope if you haven’t read them you give it a look.

Squirrel Girl:  A sadly declining star for me, last year Squirrel Girl was no doubt at the top of my lists but this year I feel a bit less engaged with it. This is actually pretty common around all of Marvel with Civil War 2, relaunches, universe changing event after universe changing event it makes it hard to feel attached. Still Squirrel Girl is full of laughs with some stand out stories that came out this year like dealing with Doctor Doom from the past after being sent further into the past. We also had the stand out choose your own adventure issue where subtly Koi Boi is revealed to be a trans man and that is super awesome!

Wic/Div: This comic is the serious, it is not tonely the same as the others but I adore it.  We have gods walking among us on earth, mystery, betrayal, queerness, action, great designs, and a great book. If you want a story that is crafted masterfully and can invoke a wide range of emotions then The Wicked + The Divine is for you.

Space Battle Lunchtime: When Oni Press announced their new lineup this was the title that stuck out to me the most. Turns out my gut feeling was right as this book transports the reader to this new world of aliens that is fascinating to watch unfold. One creator managed with help from editors and what not to do the art, colors and storytelling for this epic cooking show in space. This is one of the most fun energetic books I have ever read. The only problem with this series is it goes by so fast but with only one issue left getting them all together is a great idea. If you want to watch a funny space cooking show and a cute lady on lady romance then come here.

Backstagers: This wasn’t a title I was expecting to even buy. I mean all boy lumberjanes sounds cute but I generally, as you’ll find on this list, don’t read stories about dudes. However, this book is fantastic, fun, queer, and all the great things that Lumberjanes is. I think Backstagers does an amazing job of dispelling the toxic masculinity present in much of male lead media. The creative world backstage is fantastic, it has such a great visual style and everyone who works on this project has everything in them in it.

Jem and the Holograms: The truly outrageous gift that just keeps giving. I love the story, Sophie is like my favorite artist and even with her leaving we have had some solid people taking over and there’s a lot of fun to be had with this series. I do worry about future placement but I am very excited for Misfits and this year is all about this year. With stand out scenes like Blaze coming out, the misfits and holograms working together, the cuties of a 3rd rival band, and more all in play this year I am at the front hoping they will let me on stage.

Princeless: Princeless is a modern classic, a series that every volume is great for all ages. This year I read a lot of Princeless, my little sister adored reading volume 1 for the first time.  More then that I adored reading all the volumes and the short stories of Princeless. This is one that works for the whole family and manages to really go over a ton of great stuff. We have our hero learning new perspectives, saving people, exploring the world, she is a fantastic protagonist.

Kim and Kim: Kim and Kim the queer bffs that do that bounty hunting thing. They have amazing chemistry and are the kinds of loser badasses I love. They screw up a lot, they can be kind of an asshole but their hearts are in the right place. We follow them in one journey this year and it’s a fun journey to follow. Also like it has a trans writer and latnix gals on the art team so that is pretty badass too. This stories only problem is an ending that feels a bit rushed.

Jonesy: This was the biggest surprise for me comics wise in 2016. I saw it and was automatically charmed by the art. I decided it was worth risking wasting 4 bucks on. So i did and haven’t looked back since. The funny world, the endearing characters, the general feeling that this comic is different without trying hard to be. Jonesy is queer,  she’s latnix, she’s funny, she’s a bit of a loser but in a way that makes you feel okay to be a loser too. Jonesy is a story that makes me happy whenever I read it, it’s always at the top of my stack, it’s a book that I can count on. The fact it isn’t number 1 but might be in my top 10 series of all time just says how great comics have been this year.

Raven the Pirate Princess: Raven the Pirate Princess is that book that no one really talks about but should be a staple of everyone’s pull. It’s so fun, funny, illustrated so well and it feels like a massive breath of fresh air. Amazing comedy, a bunch of queer ladies, women of all sizes, skin colors, and we even have some varying ability. It’s great to see so much diversity threaded into this epic scaling tale of a women trying to get what was stolen from her by her brothers. 

Angela Queen of Hel: Angela Queen of Hel is one of my favorite stories of all time. It joins the hallowed ranks of other classics in my mind and despite a few issues moves far past them. The series being canned on issue 7 means so much potential was thrown away and we lost. This story is the most compelling romance I have ever read and it’s such a badass story too. Conquering hell to get your lesbian love back is super cool and then the follow up story is an awesome cap to show their relationship past the climax. No matter what Marvel does to the pair we will always have this story to look back on and cheer for.

Did you know you can make gifs from images in Photoshop? I sure didn’t until today! 

Here is a process gif of a couple of my favorite panels I colored in Kid Sherlock #1 (out June 14th!). The gif flows from Sean Gregory Miller’s excellent line work, to flats, through a couple layers of shading, some texture, and finishes with some line holds (changing the color of the line art from black to something else). 

Kid Sherlock is a fun, all ages comic - coming in June from Action Lab!

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Hey Everybody!

Now that we’re three issues into Princeless: Raven the Pirate Princess you’ve finally met all of our core cast and at least gotten a glimpse of everybody in the crew. so we wanted to share with you the designs for all of the characters in the crew.

Up top we have a lineup of the core cast for book 1.  From left to right:

Raven Xingtao (casual)

Raven Xingtao (captain)

Sunshine Alexander (rogue)

Sunshine Alexander (dancer)

Ximena Santos (don’t worry, she’ll have more outfits later!)

Katie Kling (she pretty much always dresses like this)

Jayla Cook (she thinks clothes are stupid)

Cookie Cook (Jayla’s Dad, not going sailing)


The bottom row is the full crew, whom, assuming the  book continues long enough (read: you keep buying it) will all have a chance to shine eventually.  Rather than me telling you everything all bout all of them, which could take up many such posts, why don’t we do this a different way.  If you have questions about any of the characters, ask me! As long as the answer isn’t a plot spoiler, I’ll tell you.  What do you want to know?


And of course all design credit to the soon to be superstar team of unassumingpumpkin and tenbandits

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Princeless: Raven the Pirate Princess #6

Publisher: ACTION LAB ENTERTAINMENT
(W) Jeremy Whitley (A/CA) Rosy Higgins, Ted Brandt

Raven and her crew are in pirate country now and ready to set off in search of her brothers.  But when their first stop for information and supplies turns out to be more dangerous than they expect, they may not even make it off the island alive!

(Release date: 16th March 2016)

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Princeless: Raven The Pirate Princess #1 (2015)   //  Action Lab

Spinning right out of the pages of Princeless, it’s the ongoing adventures of Raven Xingtao, The Pirate Princess. Raven if ready to set off on a quest for revenge against her brothers who have stolen her inheritance.

Story: Jeremy Whitley, art: Rosy Higgins and Ted Brandt

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Princeless: Raven the Pirate Princess #9

Publisher: ACTION LAB ENTERTAINMENT
(W) Jeremy Whitley (A/CA) Rosy Higgins, Ted Brandt

The fallout from their first adventure has left Raven’s crew in disarray, several of them injured and one crew member on the verge of death. Raven will do anything to save her. A small comfort, when all she can do is stay by her side, talk to her, and tell her a story. The story of how the Baroness Xingtao met the love of her life.

(Release date: 22nd June 2016)

What do I tell my kids?

So, this is a question I anticipate getting in regards to Raven at some point and a question I’ve heard repeated by small minded straight people throughout the last few years.

“What do I tell my kids about: gay couples, lesbian couples, sexuality and sexual preference in general, LGBT people?”

Let me first say that the easiest way to “explain” LGBT relationships to your child is to treat them like relationships and not like a dirty sex thing.  You don’t ask the question of how you explain the relationship of the straight parents next door because they prefer a different sexual positions than you.  Do you? You’re not asking “How can I explain that Ted and Linda are into butt stuff?” to your child, are you?

You know what is, in my experience, the best way to explain same sex relationships to your child?  Having amazing LGBT people in your life so your child can see first hand that love is love.  Will they have questions? Absolutely. But your job as a parent is to field those questions.  In doing so you might bump into a few of your own prejudices.  This is a great time to examine them.

Because they way I look at it you have two options: either you can prepare your child for different possibilities so that they know whomever they turn out to be, they’re not weird - they’re the same person they were yesterday, just in love.  Or you can continue to only tech your child what’s the most comfortable for you, ignore all other possibilities, and pray that they don’t end up developing self hate and neuroses the first time they figure out they don’t match the mold you set out for them.

Kids will ask questions. It’s your choice how you answer.

And being as that is, after all, what Princeless is about (less from a sexuality standpoint and more from a gender roles standpoint) it seemed like the pages of our book were as good a place as any to touch on things we thought were important here.  So…if you’ve been following Make Yourself, you know that in the last two issues we met Benna (Bedelia’s dwarf cousin) and her wife Gretta.  In issue 3, which came out this week, Adrienne is on an adventure with Benna and she strikes up one such conversation.

It’s not particularly spoilery, but if you need to come back after you’ve caught up, that’s fine.  Pages from the story below.

The art here is, of course, by the amazing @megamoth and @brettgrunig who are the only reason any of this really works.  

And I think it’s the best I can do to put into comics that sentiment that I keep coming back to: Love is love.  That’s how I explain it.  It’s as easy as “some girls fall in love with boys, some girls fall in love with boys, some girls fall in love with both. Some people don’t even want to be in love.”  You don’t have to explain sex to your kid any more than you do when you talk about heterosexual relationships.

Now, when you decide to discuss sex with your kid, we will not be covering that in Princeless, but I’m sure you can find other resources.

Let us know what you think.  And trust me. Your kids understand more than you think.