Women Celebrate Comics at 8th Dimension Ladies Night

Categories: Comics

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Photos by Jef With One F
When Annie Bulloch, one-third owner of 8th Dimension started going out to buy comics while living in Austin it was usually the same.

"You walk in," she says, "And everyone's perfectly polite, you know. But the questions always come. 'Are you looking for something for your boyfriend?' That sort of thing. There was always a sense that women wanting to be involved with comics was weird, and a little unwelcome."

She found a friendlier store while in Austin, and then years later opened her own store. From the very first day they were open, she and her husband Jeremy Bulloch and their partner James Carlson were dedicated to trying to reach out to women comic fans and make it known that their trade was welcome and encouraged.

Saturday was the fourth Ladies Night event at 8th Dimension. Going past close, each one has drawn a progressively larger audience (Minus one night when they neglected to notice it coincided with the opening weekend of the Texas Renaissance Festival). It's not unusual for them to pack the store with more than 100 people, with women and girls vying for spots at the gaming tables, browsing the merchandise, and having animated conversations in the aisle.

Bedrock City Comics has already started trying to launch its own Ladies Nights, and the 8th Dimension is partnering with Alamo Drafthouse to merge the two for a Labyrinth sing-along.

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Why Are Male Fandoms So Hostile to Women?

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Photo by Sam Howzit
Here there be sexism

Lately, I've become aware of sexism and misogyny in the most unexpected of place - geek fandom culture.

I was a comic book nerd when I was a kid, but haven't touched a super hero comic in decades, so I was unaware of the dramatic ways things had changed in fandom over those years.

So you'll have to excuse me for thinking that fandom stuff was still primarily the territory of awkward, but mostly benevolent, too-fat or too-skinny male outcasts who are persecuted for their interests. See, that's the thing. I grew up as one of those people, and most of my friends were into the same role playing games, comic books, and horror movies that I was. Some of them were also early computer nerds, so fascinated by the possibilities of the extremely primitive home computers they had at the time that they were willing to spend their time practicing old-fashioned programming languages instead of hanging out with the cool kids at school.


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The Best Comics in August Part 2: The Ninth Doctor Returns

Categories: Comics

Each month the staff at 8th Dimension Comics picks out the best book to review. Check out Part 1 here.

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Silver Surfer #5: The new adventures of the Silver Surfer are pretty amazing because they are both cosmically relevant and completely irreverent. The surfer is a being of unimaginable power, and that's always a problem when it comes to writing because it makes him distant and unlikeable.

That distance and hammy hugeness make for great comedy fodder now that he's paired with human Dawn Greenwood. Its very Doctor Who/Companion relationship, with the ending of this issue pretty much mirroring the ending of a first companion episode.

"To me, Dawn Greenwood!"

"You totally 'to-me'd' me. Do you have any idea how incredibly rude that is?

Doctor Strange and Hulk also join in as the Defenders attempt to locate a lord of nightmares that turns things all Cthulhu-like. Honestly, though, it's a sideshow to the awesome interactions between Norrin and Dawn. I imagine that their adventures off Earth will be most entertaining.

Rating: 7 of 10

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Amazing Houston Comic Con: A Good First Run

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Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
Jim Lee, co-publisher of DC Comics and well-respected illustrator, works on a live drawing during his panel at Amazing Houston Comic Con.

It's a rare convention that doesn't leave its attendees with much to complain about, so it's remarkable that Amazing Houston Comic Con accomplished that in its very first roll out of the gate.

OK, I do actually have two complaints, but they're pretty minor. Attendees with three-day passes received blue wristbands that couldn't be removed for the duration of the con. That's right: you ate, slept and showered with them, looking like an escapee from an institution wherever you went. It's the only pop culture convention I've attended where the wristband system was used in favor of lanyards. Actually, as press, I had a lanyard, too. At least that I could remove.

The other issue was that the main stage area, where the larger panels were held, were only divided from the main convention floor with curtains. This worked well during the cosplay competition, which was held after the exhibit floor had closed for the evening. During the day, though, general announcements kept booming over the presenters using that area. I hope that next year the main stage panel is held in one of the rooms on the second floor. (The main announcer, however, was awesome, making hilarious announcements like "John Smith, your credit card was found and we aren't afraid to use it!")


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The Best Comics in August Part 1: Barack Obama as Superman

Categories: Comics

Each month the staff at 8th Dimension Comics picks out the best book to review. Look for Part 2 tomorrow.

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The Fade Out: To me Ed Brubaker is like Led Zeppelin; I fully recognize the inherent genius of his work and 99 percent of the time I still can't stand it. It's weird, became I read a Brubaker comic and I can see the quality and brilliance, and I just still don't like it.

Fade Out is the one percent.

It's another noir tale from Brubaker, but this time around he has enough mix of old Hollywood setting and a perpetually drunk and amnesiac screenwriter/reprobate that it's much easier to dive into. If I had to put a finger on what I don't like about Brubaker's stories it's that he is just too damned dedicated to the mystery aspect and tends to lose me before a book's end. Fade Out is much more straightforward. You don't know who killed actress Valerie Sommers, but the rest of the cast falls nicely into place and doesn't require a ton of different threads to keep track of.

Rating: 7 of 10

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The Best Comics in July Part 2: Four Weird Mysteries and Lumberjanes

Categories: Comics

Each month the staff at 8th Dimension Comics picks out the best book to review. Click here for Part 1.

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Supreme Blue Rose #1
This part of the comic round up this month is dedicated to a quartet of strange mystery stories that all began in July. It was just a damned good month to start looking at things that are insane.

First up, Supreme Blue Rose by Warren "Here We Go Again" Ellis. Twin Peaks fans will know that a blue rose is a euphemism or code word that indicates something paranormal or extraordinary. This book takes that idea and runs with it Beginning on a strange dreamscape that rivals anything in the Black Lodge. we meet a young, recently unemployed journalist who agrees to work for a man that supplies impossibilities to his clients. It's a mind-warping trip of a tale that promises to bend the lines between reality as only Ellis can.

Be warned, you're going to be lost going in, but just go with it and you'll be fine.

Rating: 8 of 10


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The Best Comics in July Part 1: Jailbreaking Your Sexdroid

Categories: Comics

Each month the staff at 8th Dimension Comics picks out the best book to review. Look for Part 2 tomorrow.

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Alex and Ada #7
Look, we all know that sexbots are just a matter of time. It's like space colonization or reliable electric cars; it's going to happen. The question is, what happens when people treat their boinkotrons the way they treat their iPhones?

The jailbreak them, of course, which would be massively illegal. That's the premise behind Alex and Ada. Alex is a typical man that just wanted some artificial companionship, but when he gave Ada sentience he both created a true love, and a dangerous random number according to the government.

Now he's desperate to both show her the world and keep her safe in the face of government crackdowns. Jonathan Luna tells the story wonderfully and Sarah Vaughn's minimalist art really lays the stark, mechanical nature of the future out beautifully. It's a slow book -- I won't lie -- but a good one.

Rating: 7 of 10


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Yes, the Female Thor Is a Gimmick. So?

Categories: Comics

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The world of comic fans is all a-ricking right now. Soon, Marvel will have a female Thor and a black Captain America. Sam Wilson as Cap isn't that much of a stretch, having been Cap's buddy for most of the hero's post WWII adventures, but the idea of a female-wielder of Mjolnir seems to be most upsetting to some.

Even though no less an authority than Politifact shows it's happened before.

Still, the common comment I see most often is derisive sneers and the sentence, "It's just a cheap gimmick." My response to that is, "Of course it's a cheap gimmick. It's a superhero comic book. All they are is cheap gimmicks."

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The Best Comics in June Part 2: Lucifer and Southern Justice

Categories: Comics

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Each month the staff at 8th Dimension Comics picks out the best book to review. Check out Part 1.

Justice League #31: I skipped the whole Forever Evil crossover event because when I bothered to read a few of the villain one-shots like Killer Croc I just couldn't be any less impress. Both Marvel and DC have been freebasing universal conflicts lately and it's gotten too unbelievable even for superhero books.

The latest Justice League, though is mostly talk between lex Luthor and Bruce Wayne. The former has figured out the masked identity of the latter, and the quiet battle of will between the two geniuses is better than any punch fest. It also shows just how amazing Luthor has become as a character. Still devious, still scheming, but still under all of that a strange core of wanting to do the right thing for everyone.

He just also wants to be in charge as well.

In other news, Captain Cold is now a hero for his role in helping stop the invasion from another universe, which is a strange thing for the second-rate Flash villain. Cold has been one of my favorite returns in the New 52, delving deep into the nuance of the criminal mind in a sympathetic way. He and Luthor were made to be a team.

Rating: 7 out of 10

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The Best Comics in June Part 1: A TV Vagina

Categories: Comics

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Each month the staff at 8th Dimension Comics picks out the best book to review. Look for Part 2 tomorrow.

Trees #1: Everything Warren Ellis does is amazing, and no one knows that better than Warren Ellis. That might sound snarky, but I think it allows him to do things on a slower burn than other comic creators sometimes. He know we'll wait for the payoff with him.

Trees is an alien invasion book, but easily the strangest one that I've ever read. A force from beyond out planet lands and takes over the world as trees. Giant trees. So big that they reach to the sky.

The trees emit a deadly poison occasionally, but are otherwise for the most part just large and inexplicable. It's sort of like the beginning of Independence Day except that it's not ridiculous. The best part of it is akin to what made the novel World War Z so gripping. E get to see how a universal and frightening phenomenon impacts different people around the world in an in-depth and sincere way.

There's more to come, but for now even the epilogue of Trees is something special.

Rating: 8 of 10

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