In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments.
What’s a favorite moment in comics from 2010?
Kick-Ass: Doesn’t it bug you? Like thousands of people wanna be Paris Hilton and nobody wants to be Spider-Man.
I want to be Spider-Man.
This is why Matt Fraction’s Tony Stark will always be my favorite:
From Invincible Iron Man #26:
Morning three I woke up in Monte Carlo, with three women, none of whom spoke the same language, and none of those were English. I had destroyed a suite at a hotel whose name, as part of the settlement, I am to this day not permitted to say out loud. I had sold my passport at some point — somewhere — to someone who sold it to someone else later intercepted at De Gaulle with three kilos of cocaine. Also my tuxedo shirt was covered in blood. Not mine. And… before Hef banned me from the mansion… I made an incredibly sloppy pass at Pepper and when she threw a drink at me. … Well, I yelled some stuff at her, may have insinuated certain things. And then Rhodey came in and I took a swing at him. I fired them both, crashed my car into Hef’s mailbox, and stole a motorcycle. Of this I remember only arriving at the mansion.
While chatting with a friend who is interested in screenwriting about how interesting the portrayal of Tony’s alcoholism was in Iron Man 2 (and I agree; I like the film a lot, largely for that reason), I commented, “Oh, but you need to read this scene from the comic!” Then I dug out my issue and transcribed it for her in an email, which is why I have the exact text at my disposal.
That amount of uninterrupted dialogue can be overwhelming on a comic book page, but in this particular scene, in this particular issue, the moment feels utterly earned. I particularly like that Tony is making the confession to the tough-minded Maria Hill, who doesn’t respond to him with any particular sympathy, but the whole thing is a great touchstone for Stark’s characterization. Tony is eternally trying to make up for mistakes, real or imaginary, and this scene does a masterful job of tying these traits in to the character’s history.
In a year where I enjoyed a lot of things I read, but many of them run together in my mind, that critical moment involving my favorite fictional character is one I’ll always remember.
I’ve loved a lot of comics this year, but if you ask me which comic provoked the most gleeful reaction on both a personal and a political level, it was the scene in X-Factor #207 where Rictor and Shatterstar finally have an argument about Shatterstar’s flirtatiousness — and close the argument with a kiss.
I love this issue for any number of reasons. I love Rictor and Shatterstar, as characters and as a couple. I love their relationship. But I also love that their fight is a fight I could imagine any other comics couple having — Cyclops and Jean Grey in particular. In a genre where most gay characters have historically been either unattached or in relationships that happen entirely off-panel with nary a kiss in sight, Rictor and Shatterstar have been a breath of fresh air. Peter David has not shied away from having them kiss on panel (or begin to strip each other’s clothes off, as occurs in the last pages of this issue), but it isn’t done in a “very special episode” fashion, either. Even their relationship problems — the difficulty they have negotiating Rictor’s desire for settled monogamy and Shatterstar’s desire to finally experience the full breadth of human sexual possibilities — have nothing to do with their gender. They just are.
And, overall, they’ve been at a forefront of what has been a very good year for queer characters in comics. Northstar finally has a boyfriend, and a sex life, as implied in Tim Fish’s Nation X vignette and Jim McCann’s Chaos War: Alpha Flight. Billy and Teddy of the Young Avengers are in a comic again and sharing a bed, if not an on-screen kiss. Batwoman, over in DC, is happily dancing in gay bars and headlining her own self-titled comic after a blockbuster run on Detective Comics . It’s been fantastic to see, in the year Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was finally repealed, that more and more queer superheroes are finally finding themselves free to be open about their identities, and their relationships.
I have to say, my favorite moment in comics in 2010 isn’t a moment, but a trend: the increasing prominence of women in comics. Female characters, female creators, Marvel’s Women project — all these things make me happy. That said, I have two specific moments that stand out a little bit more.
In terms of characters, Gail Simone’s Birds of Prey returned. Halleluia.
As for creators, the work of Kelly Sue DeConnick in 2010 has made me nothing but pleased. Her one-shots, Sif and Rescue, were amazing. And her ongoing mini, Osborn, is a delight of a train-wreck in progress. But it was her short story, “Count 5 or 6” in CBGB that had me crying in the parking lot of the comic store. She is a great writer with a deft eye for character and ear for dialogue, and consistently made 2010 a good year in comics.
So what about you? What’s a favorite moment in comics from 2010?