T-shirt #351: A Distant Soil
Greetings readers. Keeping things short today because it's date night with the wife, a bi-monthly tradition, and I have been working hard lately, so I want to devote maximum time to us, which seems fitting given the romantic nature of today's subject matter.
OFFICIAL BOILERPLATE TEXT OF THE LAST TWENTY POSTS COUNTDOWN: Hi. Thanks for reading. I am posting this "boilerplate" text everyday for the last TWENTY posts in the T-SHIRT blog year, which started on March 22, 2013. I will close out daily transmission on March 21st, day 365 of my T-shirt blog-tastic extravaganza spectacular. I will give myself a short hiatus of total non-transmission or publication for an as yet undetermined period of time, though I am estimating about two weeks. After my blog vacation hiatus, I will resume T-shirt posts on a regular basis, also as yet to be determined (weekly? Twice monthly?) to finish blogging about all the T-shirts that were not featured in the blog year. At some point, once I feel I am rolling along nicely, I will begin regular posting through my main blog: SENSE OF DOUBT. T-shirt posts will direct to the T-shirt blog from SENSE OF DOUBT. I will continue to post THE WEEKLY COMIC LIST, the features of occasional T-SHIRTS I AM WEARING THIS WEEK, book reviews, comic book reviews, and other popular culture nonsense as I have been for a year now but all will go up at SENSE OF DOUBT and some will direct back here to 365 T-SHIRTS. Ultimately, I will begin Internet publication of my fiction, primarily the comic book satire episodic story called POP! among other projects. So, in summary, 365 T-SHIRTS will continue though intermittently. SENSE OF DOUBT will host my main blog presence and fiction writing as well as links to any T-shirt posts shared here. I hope you will continue to follow me in my journey as a writer and a content provider. Thank you for your kind attention and time you have spent with me on this and/or any other day this year. I am humbled and blessed by your readership. - chris tower, blogger, originated 1403.02
Easy to dredge up content for today's blog. I used to write a weekly comic book column for The Kalamazoo Gazette in 1994-1995. I am sad that I am no longer publishing this column (though my blog work is better!!) because it was one of the best and most fun freelance projects I have ever done.
In many ways, my subject matter for the column, like my subject matter for this blog, was driven by my interests. In the 1990s, Colleen Doran was a rising star, and I felt that she deserved more exposure if only in the small way I could provide. What follows is my column about her, redacted from a telephone interview.
Doran has worked for many of the big companies. Look above to see her work on The Legion of Superheroes.
UPDATE on 1403.13: I did not do any research on Colleen Doran when I posted this entry last week as I was planning to reprint my article about her from 20 years ago! However, I knew I had not heard of her doing much lately. And then last night, Warren Ellis resent a Twitter message from Colleen sharing that her comic (written by Ellis) is still hosted on the Internet. It's pretty damn good, too. Find it at the link following.
SUPER IDOL ON ART BOMB
written by Warren Ellis with art by Colleen Doran
The following is my comic book column originally published in The Kalamazoo Gazette in August of 1994 after my interview with Colleen Doran.
That's just what 30-year-old artist Colleen Doran has done. She quit her job as regular penciller on DC Comics' "Valor" and guest stints on such things as "Sandman" and "The Legion of Superheroes" to write, draw, and produce her own comic book: "A Distant Soil."
This is not so strange. Many creators are doing the same thing. The problem with working for a company like DC is that when you finish drawing a 22-page comic, you don't own any of it: DC owns it. So many creators have left big companies like DC and Marvel to create and publish their own comics, their own property.
Colleen Doran began publishing "A Distant Soil" (ADS) under the umbrella of Aria Press--her own publishing company--in 1991, but the enticements a big company can offer--steady paychecks and drawing favorite characters--lured her away from her own book. Now, she's back on ADS full time. She plans to publish monthly through the end of 1994 ("to catch up") and then return to a bi-monthly schedule in 1995.
"A Distant Soil" features two stories. "Immigrant's Song" tells the story of teenagers Jason and Liana Scott, brother and sister, who are on the run from a government that imprisoned them to study their psychic abilities. "Seasons of Spring" takes place prior to "Immigrant's Song." It's a story of the Scott family, Jason and Liana as children, their father Aeren--who is a fugitive from the world Ovanan--their mother Jessica, and their brothers and sisters, twins Cari and Tiar. Also, for Arthurian fans, Avalon made an appearance in issue #5, featuring Galahad, Lancelot, and Percival.
Beyond a simple plot summary, ADS is impossible to describe because it's not like anything else. Sure, other people do comics in black and white, but ADS possesses an elegance of both art and story that's incomparable. Doran's book focuses on family relationships, the minutiae of life, the beauty of love. But it's not sappy. And it doesn't lack action: there's action scenes, personal relationships, conflicts, schemes, aliens, and psychic powers, too. But even these scenes are not like the fight scenes in other comics. Doran's work is thoughtful and elegant.
Doran's ADS is a pretty big hit with comics readers, too. The first issue sold out three printings, and Doran is about to do a fourth printing of 20,000 copies. The other issues have sold well, too. ADS's sales increase 14% with each issue.
One element about which Doran spoke ardently during an interview was characters in ADS who are androgynous or obviously gay. "I am interested in gender issues and gender roles. When people say that they don't approve of how other people behave in the privacy of their own bedrooms, this inherent homophobia is a kind of misogyny. These attitudes persist even among gay men who are hostile to transsexuals and transvestites: they incur my ire, too. There's never an excuse for bigotry. We're born with our sexual orientation. We don't ask what makes someone heterosexual. Why do we ask what makes someone homosexual?"
These attitudes come through in Doran's depiction of her characters. Her "gay" aliens Rieken and D'mer are androgynous, and when they do exhibit their feelings for one another, Doran understates the scene, makes it natural, simple. The result is beautiful and elegant like everything else Colleen Doran does.
HOT COMICS: "A Distant Soil" # 8 is at comic shops now, and #9 is due in September. If you can't find it, request that your comic shop proprietor order one for you, or order it directly from Aria Press 12638-28 Jefferson Ave. Suite 173, Newport News, VA 23602-4316.
Originally, I had Moonknight (the new launch written by Warren Ellis) first with Velvet a very close second but since Afterlife with Archie is such a quick read, it takes top spot. Afterlife with Archie did not disappoint. I plan to share reviews of all of at least all of the first six issues in the list below (which I have already read) in a future blog. For now, this is it.
Though I have to mention that I am happy I have read back far enough to get Detective Comics and Green Lantern out of the back log.
Afterlife with Archie #4
Green Arrow #29
Forever Evil #6
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New Warriors #002
Jupiter's Legacy #4
Uncanny X-Men #018
Captain America #018
Iron Man #022
The Punisher #003
Avengers AI #010
Batman: Detetctive Comics: GOTHTOPIA #29
Green Lantern #29
Earth 2 #21
God is Dead #8
Superman - Action Comics # 29
Atomic Robo - Real Science Adventures - Volume 2
HIATUS TEXT: REVISED 1402.18: I have been trying to maintain a hiatus from large or over involved blog posts beginning with the start date of my hiatus on January 20th (almost a month ago) during which time I logged 21 posts, which I consider "Hiatus Shirts." By this term, Hiatus Shirt, I mean the shirt is not one that would cause me to write a great deal on the subject it features. These are shirts about which I can write anything, either a lot or a very little. The hiatus will continue, though as it has for the last few weeks, not consecutively as I will continue to mix Hiatus and Non-Hiatus shirts. The blog's year (365 shirts) draws close to a close. (I like the double word use in that previous sentence.) I hope to finish strong with some good entries with high quality content and imagery on some beloved subjects. To earn this time, I will need to intersperse shirts of little consequence, what I have come to call Hiatus Shirts.My original goal of working ahead remains. I need time to write the enormously lengthy text to complete the extensive love letter to certain beloved popular culture icons featured on my many special shirts. Even with "Hiatus Shirts," I will try to share some worthy content as I have either an idea, a new suggestion of something to read/look at/listen to, or another installment of my various features, such as the WHY T-SHIRTS item, the WEEKLY COMIC BOOK LISTS, and the SHIRT I AM ACTUALLY WEARING TODAY among others. BTW, this is the standard HIATUS TEXT that I will include in every "hiatus shirt" entry.
Thanks for reading. I am always honored that people have taken some of their valuable time to look at my ongoing web writing project. Keep checking this address. I promise to make it worthwhile.
- chris tower - 1403.07 - 12:05