TIME Books

Kate Beaton Teaches You How to Draw the Fat Pony

"It's a pretty simple drawing, but it seems to pack a lot of punch"

“It’s been called fat pony, it’s been called Shetland pony, it’s got a lot of different names,” said cartoonist Kate Beaton of her beloved equestrian character.

Beaton, the creator of Hark! A Vagrant!, says she first started drawing the pony in 2008. Since then, it’s been featured on Adventure Time and is now a main character in her new children’s book, The Princess and the Pony.

She was inspired by a class trip to the Shetland Islands. “It was like a dream,” Beaton said. “They’re so small! Everything there is small. Their sheep are smaller. It’s a place after my own heart.”

In the video above, Beaton teaches you how to draw her signature pony in a few simple steps.

TIME Television

How Melissa Benoist Felt When She Put on Her Supergirl Costume for the First Time

"It’s impossible not to feel empowered when you put it on"

Melissa Benoist, the star of the upcoming television series Supergirl, felt a range of emotions the first time she put on her signature leotard and cape to play Kara Zor-El—but most of all she felt empowered.

“It’s impossible not to feel empowered when you put it on,” the former Glee cast member told Entertainment Weekly. “I feel like a different person almost. It really is an alter ego, where I feel inspired, hopeful and empowered.”

Benoist’s new show premieres on CBS in October.

Read more at Entertainment Weekly.

 

TIME Comics

Marvel’s Announcement Could Be a Gamechanger for Female Superheroes

Marvel

Female characters dominate comic book sales

Though white dudes may be front and center in the Marvel Studios movie The Avengers: Age of Ultron, the universe of Marvel Comics is about to get a lot more diverse.

The comic book publisher has spent the last few years promoting a wider array of heroes, and on Thursday it announced an”all-new, all different” look that may usher many of those characters into the spotlight. Among them is a growing group of popular female crusaders—women heroes who have long been absent from comic book history and the big screen.

The art for the Marvel Comics redesign shows that four popular and recently introduced female characters will feature prominently in the new world: Ms. Marvel, a teenage Muslim superhero; Spider-Gwen, Peter Parker’s girlfriend who, in this version of the universe, is bitten by a radioactive spider and receives super powers instead of him; Carol Danvers, a.k.a. Captain Marvel, who will be the leading lady in Marvel Studios’ first female superhero film; and a female Thor, who took up the Norse god’s hammer last year.

Though the creation and promotion of these female heroes has stirred controversy among some longtime fans, the books have sold very well, thanks in part to a growing female fanbase. “Event comics” like first issues of series usually sell around 100,000 copies. Spider-Gwen #1 has sold over 250,ooo copies. Ms. Marvel #1 was the bestselling Marvel digital comic of 2014. And Thor #1—featuring the female Thor—has outsold her male predecessors with over 200,000 copies sold.

The success of these titles suggests that both male and female fans are desperate to see people who look like them saving the world. If there’s any reason that Marvel is reassessing its long-standing universe, it’s that the company has an economic incentive to continue to promote these characters and pursue their oft-stated mission to reflect the world outside your window.

Read Next: This Map Shows How All the Future Marvel Movies Are Connected

TIME Comics

Marvel Comics To Launch a New Generation of Super Heroes

Marvel

This fall we can expect all-new versions of Spiderman, Wolverine and the Hulk

A few months ago, Marvel turned its existing universe on its head by unveiling Secret Wars and introducing Battleworld—a new planet comprised of the remains of the collision between the traditional Marvel 616-Earth universe and Ultimate universe. Now, on the heels of Secret Wars comes another new initiative for readers: The All-New All-Different Marvel.

“This is the Marvel Universe,” Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso said in a press statement. “This fall, we will be inviting readers into a universe comprised of bold new landscapes populated with characters and teams both familiar and brand-new.”

“This is going to be an absolute game changer for Marvel,” added David Gabriel, SVP of Sales & Marketing. “Similar to the most successful comics industry program of this century—Marvel NOW!, All-New All-Different Marvel is going to be presenting fans new No.1’s for every title coming out during this event. This is a brand new beginning that honors our past 76 years, yet takes a bold step with daring, and accessible, entry points.”

Alonso attributes the emergence of All-New All-Different Marvel to the massive success of female-led titles, notably recent books like Jason Aaron’s Thor (which has currently sold over 200,000 copies) and G. Willow Wilson’s Eisner-nominated Ms. Marvel, which topped the NY Times Best Seller list in addition to being the best-selling Marvel digital comic of 2014. “She [Kamala Khan] is Peter Parker for the 21st century,” Alonso explained to EW. “Peter Parker can be a 16-year-old Pakistani girl from Jersey City. If her story is universal, then people are going to come and read it. If it feels true, if it resonates, people are going to come.”

This emphasis on collective storytelling is how Alonso and Marvel are looking ahead to the changes facing the Marvel universe, and with top creators including Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Aaron, Mark Waid, Dan Slott, Charles Soule, G. Willow Wilson and Jeff Lemire—along with many others—taking the reigns, Marvel is ensuring that the stories of this new universe will be in talented hands. Entertainment Weekly spoke exclusively with Alonso to get the details on what this development means for present and future Marvel titles, and what new characters we can expect to see going forward.

EW: You recently changed the Marvel Universe entirely with Secret Wars, so how did the impetus for All-New All-Different Marvel come about?
AXEL ALONSO: For starters, we’re in the midst of a massive universe transforming event in Secret Wars. This is an event we’ve been building to for some time, and it’s clearing the canvas and putting new and familiar stuff on the canvas in its aftermath. And so it’s transformed the Marvel Universe we’re looking at, which is the perfect opportunity to start a new chapter. And that said, most importantly, I think that the comics industry—certainly, we are—slowly working into a season model that’s not too unlike what we see in our favorite cable TV shows: a seasonal model that offers accessible entry points for new readers and is respectful of long-term fans. We did Marvel NOW! and All-New Marvel NOW!, which were both two very successful campaigns. And this is the latest campaign. The goal is to invite a new audience while maintaining and honoring the fans who are already reading. So this fall, this All-New All-Different Marvel is going to unveil somewhere around 60 titles, all new No.1s. And nothing says “jumping point” like the No.1. And all of them, I think, all are going to offer diverse, exciting and accessible entry points into our world. And there’ll be a lot of different flavors.

The biggest question coming out of this announcement will undoubtedly be whether or not this development affects existing Marvel titles. Will All-New All-Different Marvel build on the current stories we’re reading?
It will affect all titles across the board. The event is transformative, and when we pick up after the event with No.1s, the goal is that some time will have past and all your favorite characters will be in a new place. The event will have universe-wide ramifications, of course, but there will also be changes in the lives of the characters themselves that will be revealed and then explained over time—changes in their relationships, everything mundane as they might have a moved, to they might have a new sidekick, to it might be a new person inside the tights. Our goal is to knock readers back onto their heels and raise some eyebrows, the way we did when we unveiled Kamala Khan as the new Ms. Marvel or the female Thor, or an African-American Captain America…or more recently, the all-female Avengers team. That’s the goal, to challenge and take people out of their comfort zone and have some fun.

Which is what fans should be excited about—change, and the evolution of their favorite characters!
Yeah, very much so. I think it’s a good time to be a long-time fan because we have top creators who are going to be telling inspired stories of everyone from Spider-Man to The Avengers to the Hulk. We’ve had a lot of time to plan for this, so as I said, there’s going to be a lot of new developments. I’ll go ahead and tell you the Marvel Universe is about to see the arrival of an All-New Hulk—not a Hulk that you’ve seen before. And this development is deeply rooted in story. I am personally excited about it and its ramifications and it’s a fascinating story that I think Bruce Banner fans will definitely want to read. You’ll also see the arrival of a new Spider-Man in the Marvel Universe and you’ll also see—spoiler alert—a Wolverine emerge on the scene. I’m not going to say who, but a Wolverine that is certain to provoke reactions. And we’re very excited about it. We’ve been talking about it for some time, and we have really great stories to tell with all of these. And again, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s other stuff coming up: the long-overdue arrival of beloved characters in new ongoing series by incredible creative teams, new teams will arrive in the Marvel Universe that will have really cool mandates and mission statements and be composed of some alarming characters. So we have some great stuff ahead.

I’m assuming that like Secret Wars, which creators knew about long before you unveiled it to the public, you’ve been planning this for some time, which in turn has helped writers and artists craft their Secret Wars stories.
Secret Wars is planting the seeds or laying down the building blocks for the new Marvel Universe. Nothing we do in Secret Wars is irrelevant for how the Marvel Universe will be moving forward. So whether it’s characters, places, artifacts that are introduced in Secret Wars, all those are going to be a part of the blend of the Marvel Universe moving forward. So keep an eye on characters like Old Man Logan, the Maestro from Future Imperfect, keep an eye on key characters, key places, key artifacts—because it could very well be that they’re here to stay, to complicate things going forward.

All-New All-Different Marvel is being billed as the perfect accessibility “jumping off” point for both new and old fans. And Marvel is doing some really great things right now with all their books, especially when it comes to embracing diversity and its success of female-led titles. No matter how long you’ve been reading comics, it really is the perfect time to be involved.
Absolutely. And the thing is, when we look at the way that All-New Thor connected with readers—I just had Margaret Stohl, who wrote the Black Widow novel, in my office about ten minutes ago. She was in and we were just chatting, and it was interesting because she was saying how deeply the female Thor connects with her kid and her kid’s friends and her daughter, and she just went on and on. And how that character resonated with fans was an incredible validation for us. Because as we were doing it and we knew it was a risk, it was a chance. It was rooted in story, but at the end of the day, we didn’t really care what was going on in the movie. We saw the power of challenging readers to look at Thor in a new way, and the notion of being worthy. And I’ll just say that I’m really excited with the way that people have embraced that. And the strength was rooted in story, and that’s why I’m confident about these things I’m alluding to in the future, these changes we’re making in the Marvel Universe. They’re rooted in story and we’re going to back it up the same way we did with the female Thor or Ms. Marvel.

This article originally appeared on EW.com

TIME radio

Listen to Superman’s First-Ever Radio Episode

Action Comics No. 1 Introducing Superman
Hulton Archive / Getty Images Cover illustration of the comic book Action Comics No. 1 featuring the first appearance of the character Superman, June 1938

Superman's first radio serial premiered 75 years ago today

It’s a bird, it’s a — well, you know.

By now, Superman’s legendary introduction needs no introduction. But, on this day in 1940, when the Man of Steel made his first foray into the audio serial format, listeners heard them emerge from the radio for the first time.

Though Superman (introduced in print form in 1938) would have several on-air incarnations, he started his radio days in a thrice-weekly show, The Adventures of Superman. At the time, he also appeared in comic form in dozens of U.S. newspaper, in addition to dedicated issues of Action Comics and Superman Quarterly. There were 100,000 members of his fan club, but not everyone loved him equally, as TIME reported in the Feb. 26, 1940, issue:

Superman comes on the air with a shrill, shrieking sound effect (combination of a high wind and a bomb whine, recorded in the Spanish war). Voices hail him with: “Up in the sky—look! It’s a bird. . . . It’s a plane. . . . It’s SUPERMAN!” Superman or no superman, he has to watch his step on the radio. Mothers’ clubs have their eyes on him, the Child Study Association of America feels that his occasional rocket & space ship jaunts are a bit too improbable. By radio’s own war rules, he must remain neutral, may mix in no international intrigues, rub out no Hitlers. So last week Superman cleaned up a local mob bent on wrecking the Silver Clipper, a streamliner train; caught them after a quick repair job near Denver, heaving 20 tons of rock off a trestle and replacing missing rails in a jiffy.

Neither Superman nor Clark Kent appeared in the first episode, however. Instead, it tells of the destruction of Krypton — as you can hear for yourself below, via the Internet Archive:

Read original coverage of the debut of Superman’s radio serial, here in the TIME Vault: H-O Superman

TIME Books

Scribd Launches Its ‘Netflix for Comics’ With More Than 10,000 Titles

Access to thousands of comic book titles costs only $8.99 a month

The e-book and audiobook subscription service that has been likened to a “Netflix for books” is now expanding to comic books.

Subscribers to Scribd will have access to more than 10,000 comic books, in addition to the pre-existing library of e-books and audio-books, as a part of the San Francisco-based start-up’s $8.99 monthly fee, Wired reports.

“We’re really tailoring our service to die-hard voracious readers, and we’re servicing publishers to bring them this audience that we have,” Scribd’s vice president of editorial and marketing, Julie Haddon, said Tuesday.

The company says it is the first subscription service to offer such broad a selection of comics alongside audiobooks and e-books. Scribd isn’t the only company trying to apply a binge-able, online subscription model to books: Oyster offers over a million titles for a $9.95 monthly fee, and Amazon launched its Kindle Unlimited service last summer with a $9.99 monthly fee and more than 600,000 titles.

[Wired]

TIME Comics

You’re Going to Be Able to Buy Mickey and Donald Comic Books Once Again

Mickey Mouse congratulates coming-of-age ceremony attendants
Kyodo/AP Mickey Mouse congratulates those who attended a coming-of-age ceremony at Tokyo Disneyland in Urayasu, near Tokyo, Japan, on Jan. 12, 2015

First up: Uncle Scrooge No. 1

Timeless Disney icons are to reappear in comic stores around the U.S. starting this April.

IDW Publishing, one of the largest publishers of comics in the U.S., will use its license to the perennial Disney favorites to reprint translated versions of classic Disney comics that were originally published in foreign languages overseas, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

First will be Uncle Scrooge No. 1, followed by reprints of erstwhile titles Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Walt Disney Comics and Stories before July.

All of the comics will be adorned with new covers themed after Walt Disney resorts like Fantasyland, Tomorrowland and Adventureland.

San Diego-based IDW also holds licenses to publish comics and print spinoffs from franchises such as Star Trek and Doctor Who. Although Marvel Entertainment, owned by Disney, boasts exclusive rights to Disney theme park-related characters, IDW has the right to classic Disney icons.

[THR]

TIME Comics

Bill Watterson Drew a New Comic, and It’s Really Funny

WATTERSON
C.H. Pete Copeland—The Plain Dealer/AP Bill Watterson, creator of the syndicated cartoon strip "Calvin & Hobbes" is shown in this Feb. 24, 1986 file photo at his home in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.

The 15-panel comic was created by Watterson for France's 2015 Angoulême International Comics Festival

Bill Watterson, the reclusive cartoonist behind Calvin and Hobbes, has created a new comic. But don’t go looking for it in your local newspaper.

Watterson’s latest strip was created in celebration of France’s 2015 Angoulême International Comics Festival. In 2014, Watterson received the Grand Prix award at the festival, its highest honor, for his esteemed comic about an imaginative little boy named Calvin and his wise stuffed tiger Hobbes. Since retiring the cartoon in 1995, Watterson rarely illustrates strips. One exception is a poster he drew for the recent comic strip documentary, Stripped.

In an interview, Watterson said he drew his latest comic without text in order to break any language barriers. “Telling a story only in pictures is one of the great strengths — and greatest pleasures — offered by comics,” Watterson said.

TIME movies

Meet Captain Marvel: Fighter Pilot, Feminist and Marvel’s Big Gamble

Marvel Captain Marvel

The Gloria Steinem-inspired character will be the first woman to get her own Marvel movie

If you’re not a comic book fan, you probably hadn’t heard of Captain Marvel before last week — and you likely wouldn’t have guessed that she’s a woman.

Last Tuesday, Marvel Studios announced that the Carol Danvers, a.k.a. Captain Marvel, will be the first female superhero to get her own Marvel Studios movie in 2017. She will be in good company: Both Wonder Woman and a unnamed female character from the Spider-Man universe will get their own treatments that year too.

The decision came as a shock even to the Captain Marvel comics writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick, who after neglecting to return a phone call from her editor, found out through her Twitter feed. She responded by tweeting, “Did not see this coming.” And if the movies stay true to the comic books, the fighter pilot with half-alien DNA and a passing resemblance to Gloria Steinem in both looks and feminist conviction will be a far cry from the damsels in distress audiences have grown accustomed to seeing in superhero films.

The former Air Force pilot — who DeConnick says is meant to have the swagger of record-setting pilot Chuck Yeager — can fly and shoot beams out of her hands. And she fits nicely in the universe of cocky, wisecracking heroes that we’ve seen since the first Iron Man movie: She’s a control freak with a big ego and a quick temper. In fact, Danvers may prove to be a lynchpin in the Marvel universe. In the comics, she’s a member of the Avengers and works closely with the Guardians of the Galaxy. Marvel Studios has yet to announce whether Danvers will appear in either of these series, but it’s safe to assume that tapping someone connected to both universes wasn’t a mistake. Plus it can’t hurt that the company’s name is in her title.

In short: she’s more than just a sexy spandex uniform.

DeConnick has a personal mission to put an end to such reductive characterizations of women in pop culture. “The test that I always give young writers is if you can take out your female character and replace her with a sexy lamp and your plot still functions, you’re doing it wrong,” says DeConnick. “You would be surprised how many times this is actually done. These women are purely there to inspire or motivate or reward or sometimes decorate. I don’t want all of our female characters to be good or to be role models. I just want them to have an interior life. If you can’t answer for me what does this character want in this scene, you’re not writing a woman, you’re writing a lamp. Start over.”

Seems simple, but in the long history of superhero franchises, audiences have seen a lot of sexy lamps. Until recent years, the accepted wisdom has been that young men (the target audience for these superhero films) will not watch movies with a female protagonist. Naysayers cited flops like Catwoman and Elektra to back up this claim.

It’s entirely possible that no one saw these movies because they were terrible (Catwoman scores 9% on Rotten Tomatoes and Elektra scores 10%). But DeConnick also points out that women have been trained from a young age to cross-identify with male characters simply because of the dearth of strong female protagonists in our culture. With thousands of male protagonists on TV and in movies, men have never been forced to do the same. This makes it harder for them to relate to women characters, so studios make fewer movies starring female protagonists, perpetuating the cycle.

“And when you get into the sociology with status, everyone wants to identify up, to aspire up,” she says. “So if you are female and therefore lower status in terms of your cultural power, it’s much more comfortable to identify up with a male hero than it is for men to identify down to a lower status.” That’s problematic given how popular superhero movies are. Marginalizing half the population teaches young girls that men’s values and aspirations should come before their own, DeConnick says, and it teaches young boys not to view the women in their lives as fully rounded human beings. Unfortunately, movie studios are motivated by money, not by equality issues.

But then The Hunger Games and Jennifer Lawrence burned down the box office, and everything changed. Studios started wondering how they could mimic the success of the Girl on Fire. The obvious answer: Superheroes, hence the rush to fill 2017 with potential blockbusters starring ladies with superpowers. And before those movies hit theaters, networks are testing the waters on TV: Agent Carter, based on the female character from the first Captain America movie, will premiere in January and a Supergirl TV series is slated for sometime next year.

The change can’t come soon enough. In 2013 — the year of The Hunger Games sequel and Frozen — just 30% of all speaking roles went to women and only 15% of all protagonists were female. Marvel has done a better job than most at rectifying this issue by featuring kick-ass heroines who pass the “sexy lamp” test as part of the ensemble in several films. Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow has become a fan favorite after appearances in the Avengers, Iron Man and Captain America films, and Zoe Saldana’s Gamora debuted as the “most dangerous woman in the universe” in Guardians of the Galaxy.

“If you can take out your female character and replace her with a sexy lamp and your plot still functions, you’re doing it wrong.”Still, there’s a lot to be desired, even in the most progressive blockbusters. Many critics have said, for instance, that Black Widow is just eye candy in the Avengers movie. “That’s objectively untrue!” says DeConnick. “I think The Avengers is a Black Widow movie. She saves the day. And if you take her out, the plot does not function.”

It’s true that without Black Widow’s success, Marvel never would have greenlit a Captain Marvel movie. But the popularity of Black Widow does not guarantee that Captain Marvel will be successful, especially considering Carol Danvers’ background is as political as it is supernatural. Danvers only became Captain Marvel in 2012 after a push from DeConnick’s former editor Steve Wacker. Before then, she was Ms. Marvel, created in the 1970s with a nod to the feminist publication Ms. Magazine. In one plotline, Carol Danvers leaves NASA to take a job as an editor at Woman Magazine. “She wore oversized glasses and blond, middle-parted hair and neck scarves,” says DeConnick. “It was Gloria Steinem fan fiction in the most literal sense.”

Decades later, Ms. Marvel had lost some of her luster. Wacker liked the character but felt the name was a little dated. He wanted to transform Danvers into a character his daughter would aspire to be, much in the same way his son aspires to be Peter Parker (Spider-Man). “As sappy as it sounds, I couldn’t imagine her or other little girls dreaming of being Ms. Marvel. But Captain Marvel. She sounds like the greatest hero in the world,” says Wacker. The original Captain Marvel had died about 20 years before, and though some characters had picked up the name since (including another woman) none had stuck.

In 2012, the female Captain Marvel premiered to much fanfare and controversy. In fact, Marvel Comics has come under fire several times in the last couple of years for promoting female heroines, including when they gave the old title of Ms. Marvel to a Muslim woman in 2013 and when a woman took up Thor’s hammer earlier this year. “The usual suspects get very angry, and they’re certain Marvel is ruined forever, and then everyone forgets about it and we just keep going,” says Wacker. “It’s been the same way for 75 years.”

Embracing diversity, Marvel executives say, has been a mission of the company since the years of Stan Lee, when the former Marvel president would pen essays about diversity and feminism in the back of the comics. But the imperative has become more pressing in recent years thanks to the Marvel Studios movies. The Marvel name has become more influential than ever and, to quote a Stan Lee Marvel comic, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

But the question still remains: Will she make any money? If Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman fail in the same way that Catwoman did, it will be hard to convince movie executives that it’s worth gambling on female superheroes again.

Wacker isn’t worried. “I think if we can sell a talking raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy to the masses,” he says, laughing, “we can do this.”

Read next: A Comic Book Dummy’s Guide to the Marvel Universe Plan

TIME Television

Fox Is Developing an Archie TV Series

The Riverdale gang is heading to the small screen

Fox is heading to Riverdale. Archie Comics confirmed Thursday that the cable channel is developing a one-hour drama series based on the beloved comic characters.

The series will follow comic favorites Archie Andrews, Jughead Jones, Veronica Lodge, Betty Cooper and Reggie Mantle, along with a newer addition to the Riverdale world: Kevin Keller, a gay character who was introduced in 2010. THR adds that the gang will “explore the surrealistic twists of small-town life, in addition to the darkness and weirdness bubbling beneath [their hometown] Riverdale’s wholesome facade.”

The series, which is being produced by Warner Bros. TV-based Berlanti Productions and The Arrow‘s Greg Berlanti, will be penned by former Glee scribe and current chief creative officer at Archie Comics Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.

“This is something we’ve been working on for awhile now, figuring out the best way to bring these characters to life for what will be, essentially, the first time,” Aguirre-Sacasa said in a statement. “The entire team working on Riverdale is as passionate about Archie as Jon [Goldwater, Archie Comics publisher/co-CEO] and I are, so it feels like the stars have finally aligned for Archie and the rest of the gang.”

It seems as though the in-the-works TV series is just the latest in a string of moves keeping the Archie universe current; earlier this year, Aguirre-Sacasa tapped Lena Dunham to write her own Archie storyline for the comic.

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