my favorite thing out of SDCC this year was the cosplay

So all of the news I’ve seen so far from San Diego Comic Con seems to be about things I’ve already decided not to care about: Wonder Woman’s costume in that movie I have no interest in seeing, sneak peeks of that Flash TV show I have no intention of watching, new characters announced for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which I tapped out on early. I realize this intro makes me sound like a curmudgeon—I’m not, really, I just know what I like and I ignore what I don’t. The comics-verse is easier to stomach that way.

Anyway, I’ve mostly spent the last couple of days admiring everyone’s cosplay and ignoring the “news” entirely. I love cosplayers. I love that there are people who love these characters so much that they take the time to do this. Below are some of my faves from the last few days. (You can click each image for the source, unless I’ve messed something up horribly.)

First though, as a side note, it was extremely difficult to find pictures of black cosplayers. I know they were there, I’ve heard about some cool ones and I’ve seen some in the background of other pictures. I know they will start appearing on the internet as everyone gets home from the con (cosplayingwhileblack has started to post some), but the fact that I trawled through a dozen mainstream media “Best 5 billion cosplays of SDCC 2014” lists and found nothing is really disheartening. Come on, SDCC photogs. You’re better than this. Edit: Found some! Scroll to the end of the post for a few more POC cosplay images and links.

On to the pictures.

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Thor is all about the attitude. Is she worthy? You better believe it.

The smallest Rocket Raccoon.

The smallest Rocket Raccoon.

Adrianne Curry always brings it.

Adrianne Curry always brings it, this time as the original Silk Spectre.

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Love the story behind this Uhura, click on the image to go to the tumblr post.

Crow T. Robot.

You’ve never looked better, Crow T. Robot.

The Captains will have none of your nonsense, please.

The Captains will have none of your nonsense, please.

Russell and the house from Up. It takes some dedication to cosplay as a HOUSE.

Russell and the house from Up. It takes some dedication to cosplay as a HOUSE.

Either an awesome dress or some serious groping. #infinitygauntlet

Either an awesome dress or some serious groping. #infinitygauntlet

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Devourer of Worlds + Herald. One of them wears a lot of clothes and one of them does not.

Possibly the most perfect Catwoman cosplay ever. (Adrianne Curry again.)

Possibly the most perfect Catwoman cosplay ever. (Adrianne Curry again.)

If you want more, Comics Alliance did a good round-up of some cosplayers, here’s Parts One, Two, and Three. I also recommend cosplayingwhileblack (which I mentioned above) and Adorable BBs in Cosplay.

EDITED TO ADD (mid-afternoon July 28th)

The woman who runs the kids cosplay tumblr above directed me towards a few more of her images, so here are a few more awesome people of color cosplaying at SDCC.

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The new Ms. Marvel! This girl is rockin’ it OUT.

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Loving this Static Shock.

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This Vanellope from Wreck-It Ralph took more dedication than I have ever had about ANYTHING. Majorly impressive.

5 Comics to Read on a Beach

I spent much of last week beachside, getting some sun and drinking some drinks and reading some books. I packed too many books, as usual (I always overestimate how much reading I’m going to do when I travel) but it made me think about what comics would be nice, easy beach reads. A lot of comics today are angsty, angry things and sometimes you just need something with an easy vibe that doesn’t weigh you down.

So ta-da! Here’s the beginnings of a list. Please add your own in the comments!

Catwoman 1: Trail of the Catwoman
Darwyn Cooke and Ed Brubaker

One thing that will become clear as this blog continues is that I am a sucker for Darwyn Cooke’s art. You could be all, “Grace, we’ve created a book that eats your fingers as you turn the pages. We’ve put Darwyn Cooke sketches on every page.” and I would be all, “Gimme.” So that’s the main reason I originally picked this comic up. It’s kind of a crime/heist thriller with a noir aesthetic, starring everyone’s favorite cat burglar Selina Kyle. It even has a Florida beach scene! Obviously this book was written expressly for this list.

810YhrDk40LHawkeye 1: My Life as a Weapon
Matt Fraction and David Aja

If you’ve followed me anywhere on the internet in the past year or two, you’ll know this is one of my favorite ongoing comics right now. I love Clint (Hawkeye), I love Kate (also Hawkeye), I love how Clint and Kate interact, I just love the attitude of this story. The book has wit, adventure, and a healthy dose of humor as Clint focuses on his life outside of the Avengers.

(Aside: I would like to also point out that in the penultimate episode of season one of Tim Gunn’s show Under the Gunn, when they had to design outfits based on one of four Marvel characters, this is the book that one of the designers was unable to put down when his future on the show was at stake. (There is probably a pretty slim Project Runway/Marvel comics crossover group, but man I am smack in the middle of that Venn diagram.) It’s a gripping read, folks. If you don’t believe me, believe the designers of Under the Gunn.)

Drama
Raina Telgemeier

Telgemeier almost needs no introduction at this point. Either of her young adult graphic novels would make a good-natured beach read; I picked Drama because I love the main character, Callie, a quirky theater kid working on a play at her middle school. She has to juggle problems on- and off-stage, from cute-but-difficult boys to a cannon that won’t fire to a theater budget with no wiggle room. Definitely a light and easy read for a blistering beach day.

Also, aside from being a cute story, this book has another benefit for a traveler: it’s nice and compact. Hey, this is an important consideration given what baggage fees are these days.

All-Star Superman (two volumes or one supervolume, depending which edition you buy)
Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely

A Superman classic, timeless in its beauty, an excellent all-American read for an all-American beachy vacation. I honestly didn’t really understand Superman before I read this book, didn’t understand what was so interesting about a simplistic hero from the 30s. This book showed me the light; this book is all the Superman you’ll ever need. Ignore what’s happening in comics and movies right now, this is Superman, the optimistic, strangely human (but definitely alien) Superman that reflects the best of our humanity. Read this.

9781596438651Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas
Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks

Let’s throw a little non-fiction into this list, shall we, with last year’s Primates. This book drops a lot of information on you but it’s presented in a fun, engaging way. It tells the stories of three of the last century’s most significant primatologists (who all happen to be women) and really shows their love for their work. Jim Ottaviani keeps a sprawling topic very tight in his storytelling, and Maris Wicks has a really cute artistic style and a knack for nature art that really shines here.

That’s it for me. Do you have any favorite summer comics reads? Click the link, leave a comment, add to the list!

let’s talk about why LUMBERJANES is so great

OK, so we are three issues into Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, and Brooke Allen (with Shannen Watters listed as an additional creator), and I can safely say for the record that this comic is terrific fun.

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Lumberjanes tells the tale of 5 teenage girls at a summer camp—Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types, to be exact, which let me tell you I would have signed up for in a heartbeat as a child. (Still would, actually.) This camp is anything but an ordinary Girl Scout summer camp. For one thing, it’s run by a second-generation Rosie the Riveter; for another, all of the local animals seem to have three eyes. The girls themselves are a motley crew of quirky individuals, each a strong and distinct character, and they all feel like old friends right away. As the story unfolds, they tromp good-naturedly through one surreal adventure after another, from facing hungry three-eyed foxes in a dark forest to braving sea monster-infested whitewater rapids to solving a life-or-death puzzle by using the Fibonacci sequence.

I think what I like best about Lumberjanes is how successfully the creators weave many story aspects together: the importance of friendship and camaraderie; Indiana Jones-type adventures (complete with hat-rescuing sequence); a mysterious secret surrounding the camp; smart, wise-cracking heroines; and an upbeat attitude that never becomes annoying.

Part of this impeccable storytelling is Brooke Allen’s art, which meshes perfectly with the attitude of the story. Not only does Allen have a cute, fun style, she has the ability to give us an action-heavy adventure sequence and a delicate maybe-love subplot in the same few pages. It’s the kind of art that has magic in it, the perfect spark to give life to this particular story.

Overall I love these characters and this crazy world they’re adventuring in, and I look forward to a new tale each month. (This month’s issue comes out this week! Yay!)

Have you read Lumberjanes? Do you have any recommendations for a similar comic? This is the kind of fun series that we need more of and, frankly, that we’re not getting much of from Marvel and DC, so I’m always looking for more!

BONUS CAT PHOTO

As I was wrapping up this post, Watson the Tailless Wonder stopped by to show that he appreciates Lumberjanes as well.

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a revamp and a soft launch

Why hello! Yes, Proper Comics is back.

I started Proper Comics a few years ago under the name of, I think, the Comics Corner. I didn’t really have much of a purpose, and I didn’t really have much to say. At some point I decided I would critique the cover art of all 52 Issue #1s of DC’s New 52 (which tells you how long ago this was) but I quickly realized that A) I didn’t know how to write intelligently about art and B)

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So. That quickly fizzled.

But now Proper Comics for Proper Young Ladies and Gentlemen is reborn! The original impetus is still there−I love talking comics with friendly, like-minded people. This time around, I want to do it in a way that involves less complaining about a storytelling medium that I do truly love. Obviously there will be some critique, but in general I want this to be a positive place.

This site won’t cover everything. It can’t. Other sites are faster on news, other sites have the time and people to comment on everything that’s happening in the comics world. This is a one-woman show dictated purely by my interests. If I’m not watching this season of Doctor Who, I won’t be posting about this season of Doctor Who and I’m not going to watch it just so I have something to write about. If I’m at work when the next scandal breaks, 5,000 other sites will beat me to it and I’m totally cool with that.

Mostly, I want this site to be a dialogue, not a monologue. (That’s where you come in.) I guess I kind of want this to be like a salon. A fancy salon with tea and cucumber sandwiches and doilies and exquisite old-fashioned manners. But with superheroes.

Let’s do this.