§ It’s been kind of hard to concentrate on comics with all the horrible things going on in Boston. Fleen blogger Gary Tyrrell is also a trained EMT, and he gives some emergency basics in this post. Worth a read, and keep sending good thoughts out for a better, saner world.
§ io9 spotlights this trippy insect graphic novel Salsa Invertebraxa, by Paul “Mozchops” Phippen.
§ Michael Cavna profiles the great Ben Katchor and his new book, HAND DRYING IN AMERICA.
“At one of these college towns, somebody wanted to take me to a Starbucks,” Katchor tells us by phone from San Francisco, midway through his book tour. “To go to a Starbucks, I would have to be dying of thirst. I will go very far out of my way to find some privately owned and individually [run] place to avoid a chain store.” In his life as in his comics, Katchor’s stance goes deeper than mere statement. Many global corporate leaders want to build a homogenous world with one kind of coffee shop, yet they want each of their stores to feel like a “centralized, socialistic place,” the artist says— in which case, he adds, they shouldn’t own it: “It should be a public utility and it wouldn’t be set up as a [uniform] Starbucks. Every locality should have their own way of running it.”
§ Do you remember that time that that crazy guy tried to sue The Oatmeal’s Matthew Inman, and Inman raised $200,000 to shame the crazy guy? Well, here’s the rest of the story. Spoiler: it has a rather satisfying ending.
§ While Superman is looking good! Wonder Woman is still languishing in Tinseltown. The Daily Beast wonders why and throws in some historical context.
This uneasy sexuality may have been necessary to mask a radical pro-feminist message. Wonder Woman would lose her powers whenever a man put chains on her bracelets. But while girls were always being tied up in this age of comics, she was different: she didn’t need a man—she broke the chains herself. Her “lasso of truth” forced men to confess. She’d regularly ask evil-doers to submit to her. Yes, there was spanking, too. Her exploits didn’t sit well with everyone, even women. Josette Frank, who was on DC Comics’ editorial advisory board, absolutely hated Wonder Woman. In 1944, she sent a letter to the comic’s publisher: “Personally I would consider an out-and-out striptease less unwholesome than this kind of symbolism.” It gets worse. In 1954, Dr. Fredic Wertham’s scathing book Seduction of the Innocent charged that comics were savaging the minds of kids. Top on his list of offenders was Wonder Woman—though not for the reasons you might think.
§ Speaking of Wonder Woman, here’s why one girl geek gave up on the comic. Hint, it involves an unretaliated butt slap.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.