16 April 2010

Comics In Comics: Bluewater's ELLEN DeGENERES Is True FEMALE FORCE, Selling Out In Less Than A Week

With the market for superhero comics cornered by DC Comics, Marvel, and Image, many smaller publishers like Dynamite Entertainment and Bluewater Productions  have turned to licensed properties for their bread and butter.  It's a task that has brought both companies success; with fantasy and science fiction titles like William Shatner Presents and Ray Harryhausen's Wrath of the Titans,  Bluewater's Founder and President Darren G. Davis has definitely scored some wins for his small Bellingham, Washington-based publishing and production company. 

But surprisingly, Bluewater's greatest successes haven't come from the traditional genres that feed many a comics fan's appetite.  Instead, the publisher's recent line of non-fiction comic book biographies, a genre that comics have rarely explored, has been their big win and earned the publisher spots on Live with Regis and Kelly, The View, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News, with write-ups in The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, USA Today, abbracadabbling,  and numerous other blogs and media outlets.   In addition, Bluewater's unauthorized bio-comics  earned them MTV's award as Best Buzz Generator of the comics industry for 2009.

Female Force, the first title in Bluewater's biographical line, is the source of that Buzz, and the popular series remains very much in the public eye. Published monthly,  the comic offers self-contained examinations of strong and influential women who are shaping modern history and culture. Past issues of Female Force have featured Michelle Obama, Princess Diana, Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Twilight author Stephenie Meyer, and others; their second issue,  Female Force: Sarah Palin, published just after the 2009 Presidential inauguration, sold out in less than a month and has since gone on to a third and even fourth print run, the Going Rogue edition.

We get a huge comedic kick out of Ellen DeGeneres and have been loving her daytime talk-show for years (in fact, we're watching it on the Home Office LCD right now!). Being the Ellen mega-fans that we are, we were psyched when Bluewater announced their plans last year to bring Ellen into the Female Force family for the series' 13th issue.

Female Force: Ellen DeGeneres
hit comic shops across the nation just over a week ago, and in a testament to the popularity of both Ellen and the Bluewater series,  Issue #13 has already sold out. That's before our favorite  comedienne has even had her chance to chat the book up on live TV, something we've been anticipating for days.  But the comic, written by Sandra C. Ruckdeschel and penciled by Pedro Ponzo, has still received plenty of national attention, being featured in such mainstream publications as MTV, People Magazine, US Weekly, and E! Entertainment Television.

Thankfully, for the scads of Ellen fans that still haven't gotten their hands on a copy, Bluewater stated just last night that a second printing of the comic is already in the works. Featuring new cover art, Female Force: Ellen DeGeneres - 2nd Printing should see a release date by mid-summer 2010.

The one week sell-out rate of Female Force #13 puts Ellen ahead of former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin's Female Force #2.  We don't think that fact should cause too many Tea Party problems, but that's not to say Ellen's comic book bio hasn't already found some controversy.  At Ellen's request, Bluewater provided free advertising  - and will be donating a portion of the  comic's proceeds -  to the Humane Society of the United States, an organization Ellen publicly champions.  Earlier Female Force personalities have made similar charitable requests, but Ellen's has drawn fire from pro-hunting organizations that have threatened to boycott the issue.

We say 'whatever' to that; the comic book buying power of pro-hunting organizations in the United States isn't what we'd call, well, existent.  It's an empty threat, and kudos to Bluewater Productions for not sharing those pro-hunting peeps' concerns.

If you're thinking of picking up a copy Female Force: Ellen DeGeneres - which we strongly encourage you to do - you probably want to know what you'll find inside along with those pesky Humane Society ads.  Told from the point-of-view of the comic's writer, the comic's story follows Ellen's life from her youth in Louisiana and her days on the comedy club circuit to her  controversial sitcom and finally to her present as an Emmy-winning daytime talk show host and judge on American Idol.  

As with the series' earlier issues, Female Force: Ellen DeGeneres  is fully an all-ages read. Neither Ruckdeschel's writing nor Ponzo's art is close to stellar, but the story is thorough on the details and doesn't shy away from portraying Ellen's life as an openly lesbian performer, her support of gay rights and California's attempt to legalize gay marriage,  or the more controversial and profound points of her career.  Nothing needs to persuade us to be any stronger supporters and fans of Ellen's than we already are, but Female Force certainly reminded us why we've loved Ellen for years. And we learned a few things along the way, too. 

While the personalities selected for Female Force are important for being today's 'movers-n-shakers', their greater importance lies in the power they lend to Female Force itself.  Each issue has its own innate appeal that's different from the one before, and the potential of finding brand new readers is realized each and every month. It's a brilliant concept, actually, and to its great credit, the series has bridged the gap between comics ability to entertain with their natural potential to educate.  As much as Ellen DeGeneres has bravely broken down walls for gays and lesbian rights in this country, Bluewater's Female Force is breaking down many of the barriers that have held comic books back for over seventy years.
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 Be quick! First printings of Bluewater Productions' Female Force: Ellen DeGeneres are still available from our very own Amazon shop [here]! Amazon's also taking pre-orders for the second printing of Ellen's comic [here].  Or, to find an issue today, call the Comic Shop Locator Service at  1-888-COMIC-BOOK or visit them online [here].

Female Force: Ellen DeGeneres (2nd Printing)
Stay with your favorite comicsblog for more coverage of Bluewater's breakthrough bio comics, including what they've done for Michael Jackson and what they have in store for another one of our female faves, Lady Gaga

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