IF THERE was any doubt that Sarah Palin remains a popular, prominent figure in our culture following her announced resignation as governor of Alaska, they should be put to rest with the success of "Female Force: Sarah Palin."
The biography from Bluewater Comics has sold more than 15,000 copies - an impressive total for a nonsuperhero comic, especially from a tiny publisher like Bluewater.
Publisher Darren G. Davis says that, if anything, the publicity surrounding her announcement spiked sales.
As for the story itself, it is far from a hachet job, as evidenced by the claim by Davis that Palin has a copy of the comic and that she signed one for him.
However, Comics Guy feels it is not as balanced or as meaty as similar projects by other publishers.
Part of the problem is writer Neal Bailey, who describes himself as "part of the elite liberal media," injects himself and his own "Jiminy Cricket" - who chastises him to be fair - into the story. While somewhat amusing, the device is distracting and takes panels away that could have focused on Palin herself while letting readers make up their own minds.
Another flaw is that Bailey seems to have relied solely on research from mainstream sources. One of the problems with that is that the biography seems methodical instead of passionate, and prevents Palin from coming alive on the page.
There are some tasty nuggets - Palin drawing names out of a hopper to call residents of Wasilla to see if they were happy with her job as mayor - but Comics Guy feels there is a glaring omission.
We get the Katie Couric interview and a couple of panels from Palin's debate with Joe Biden, but Bailey doesn't include one panel, caption or word balloon of her speech accepting her nomination as John McCain's running mate at the 2008 Republican Convention. This was the speech that brought her to national prominence and was so powerful it energized conservatives, swung independents to McCain's side for a time (albeit a brief one) and caused Democrats to furiously write out checks to help defeat her.
That said, the comic is informative and relatively balanced, which even Bailey admits is difficult when the major source of his information comes from the mainstream media, which he admits is biased, and he gives two possible reasons why this is so.
"One, that there are a disproportionate number of negative stories about Sarah Palin, stories that, nonetheless, constitute much of what we know about her, and/or . . . two, she has earned these negative reports by her own actions."
Flaws and all, Comics Guy thinks readers of all political stripes will enjoy reading this comic and coming to their own conclusions.
* Bluewater Publisher Davis says there are options if you can't find his company's "Sarah Palin" biography at comic shops.
"They can get it at Amazon or order it through their bookstore," he said. "We also have it for sale at airports, 7-Elevens and Jo-Ann's Fabrics. Who knew I would ever have sales at a fabric store - they are part of our demo who are buying these books."
Indeed, the comic seems to be attracting a host of new people to comic stores, which is why it's sold out, according to Davis.
"It's different across the board," he said. "Older women who never knew comic stores [existed] are going in to get the comics. Men are buying them; women are buying them for their daughters. Collectors of political stuff - it really is all over the board for these."
Speaking of strong women, Marvel Studios announced this week that Natalie Portman has been cast to star as the God of Thunder's love interest, Jane Foster, in "Thor," scheduled for a May 10, 2011, release.
Portman joins Chris Hemsworth in the title role and Tom Hiddleston as Thor's villainous sibling, Loki. Kenneth Branagh will direct the film, which will portray Thor as a powerful and arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war and cause this god to be cast down to earth and live among humans as punishment while learning what it means to be a true hero.
Could Harry Potter, the star of the most popular book series in recent memory and potentially the most successful film franchise ever, be coming to comics?
There are some rumblings it could become a reality, which would be a godsend to a comic industry seeking new readers, especially younger ones.
"Not only do I think there would be a vast appetite for such a project, but strictly in my opinion - I'm not speaking on behalf of the company, you understand - I believe Marvel would be the ideal place fpr such a project," said Peter David, who is familiar with high-profle, out-of-the-box adaptations. "The company's sucessful track record with Stephen King's works [a majority of which were scripted by David] speaks to that, I think."
"I could easily see the same approach taken with [author J.K.] Rowling's work as was taken with King's on 'Dark Tower,' developing untold material - such as, for instance, the sizable gap at the end of the book before her jump-in-time conclusion, or even picking up with the children of the protagonists - and producing a limited series about it.
"Obviously, Rowling wouldn't undertake such a project because she needs the money; it would be '.the sort of thing that would only be done if she felt there were compelling stories to tell," David continued. "Personally, I think there are. Certainly my wife and daughters do, and would love to see such a project launched. I think it would have every chance of being the best-selling non-superhero title of all time, and would have the same positive impact that Dark Tower did - namely, bringing nonreaders of comic books into the industry and, one hopes, spurring their interest to check out other books that they might find equally compelling. *