Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Take a Trip to Bitch Planet with Triple Features

Sometimes even the most avid of comic book readers or those who pick up favorites along the way need a break from mainstream comics. This often means setting aside Marvel and DC’s world-shattering events and sometimes even superheroes in general. This isn’t to say there’s not a time or place for the stories told within these narratives—there's a reason they’re popular and have resonated with hundreds of thousands of people—but when it’s easy to be overwhelmed with the subjective ‘canon’ and a variety of Batman movies available to watch for any palate, many turn to indie comics. Here, people can find any number of genres ranging from hilarious and fun stories about a cabin at an all girls camp (Boom Studio’s Lumberjanes) to heavy, dark, and extremely relevant stories about life (Image Comics’s Bitch Planet). Here, a summer read can be found no matter what you’re looking for, and it doesn’t have to be all fun in the sun either.

If you find yourself looking for something a little different for your summer comics reading, Bitch Planet is the way to go. It's an exploitation-film-inspired satire series published by Image Comics that takes place in a dystopian future. Women are deemed “non-compliant” by society for not following the rules of what a woman should be like—quiet, feminine, and making less money than her male counterparts. The women who deviate are sent to an all women’s prison planet that is colloquially known as “Bitch Planet.” Written by all-star author Kelly Sue DeConnick and drawn by the talented Valentine DeLandro, the comic has been coming out since December of 2014. But don’t let the longevity fool you—irregular publishing schedules and busy creators have allowed only 10 issues to be published thus far.

Still, 10 issues at $3.99 each can get pricey, especially since the earlier issues are extremely hard to find in store. The good news is that ComiXology and Image both sell digital versions if you want to read on your phone, tablet, or computer. The first five issues can easily be found in a bound volume for $9.99 at pretty much any store that sells graphic novels, but the volume is missing one of the things that make the comics so fantastic: the back matter. Each issue contains author’s notes, essays by guest writers, art, cosplay, and other relevant information. For those looking to give the comic a try, it’s most definitely daunting and might take a while to gather the pieces. But don't despair! Bitch Planet: Triple Feature is the best place to start for new readers.

This summer, the creative team decided to let others take the reins for a bit and commissioned a diverse group of writers and authors to create short comics. Image is releasing the triple features every month, giving DeConnick and DeLandro some time to catch up and get the main comic back on track. These five issues span from June to October, and each contains three comics set within the universe of the main comic. While the main comic focuses heavily on the activity on the planet, these shorter ones present more of what’s happening on Earth during the revolution in the prison. The glimpses into the world remind the audience of the bigger picture, and serve much like an appetizer. No need to feel like you’re leaving the story incomplete by only reading the first few issues because these tell complete stories on their own.

Each of the mini-comics contains new characters with their own lives, which makes it the best place for new readers to be acquainted with the universe and the storytelling. They deal with former employees of Bitch Planet, women in courtrooms, and women just hoping for a promotion but not getting it because they’re not well-endowed or blonde. It’s satire, but it hits close to home for many readers, even without the warnings some of the main story comics have contained. The triple features still contain the amazing back matter essays, so new readers will still get the full experience. If you enjoy them, be sure to check out the main story!

Release schedule:
  • Issue #1 was released on June 14 
  • Issue #2 was released on July 19
  • Issue #3 will be released on August 16
  • Issue #4 will be released on September 20
  • Issue #5 will be released on October 18
Digital versions of the Triple Features can be found here.

Have you read Bitch Planet?


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