Various notes and comments on various aspects of women in comics over the past few days.
§ Reminder: It’s always someone’s first convention panel!. Huffington Post’s Michelle Kung:
I began the fest with a DC Comics cocktail event at the Park Bar, where I was introduced to a slew of writers and more importantly, was given a kick-ass Watchmen movie poster. On Friday, I walked the booths, paid $5 for a small cup of gelato, and wandered in and out of various panels, many of which I found surprisingly lackluster. Sessions such as the Women In Comics panel featured writers already overly familiar with their co-panelists and audience questions, which resulted in relatively rote answers. (Said one female cartoonist: “I’m just waiting for a day when I’ll be recognized as just a comics writer, and not a female comics writer.” Yawn.) My friend and fellow Comic Con virgin Georgia had a more exciting day — when she bought her first ever comic book, she was “forced” to take a shot of vodka by the vendors.
§ At Comixology, Shaenon K. Garrity looks at The Girls of Shonen Manga:
THE DITZ: A childlike woman (often with a very adult body) who leaps all over the hero like a puppy and routinely forgets key articles of clothing. Often the Ditz is a foreigner, to explain her ignorance of concepts like “modesty” and “personal space.” Other times, she’s just stupid. The Ditz is seldom a serious contender for the hero, with occasional exceptions like Ranma 1/2, where Shampoo (an unusually aggressive Ditz) puts up a good fight. Her primary function is to provide random, unmotivated fanservice, and therefore she is essential to harem manga
§ Also at Comixology, Kristy Valenti interviews Aimie Major Steinberger:
This exploit perfectly encapsulates the flavor of Steinberger’s experiences, most of which were mediated by her (and her friends’) fangirlness; but what’s refreshing about the way that Steinberger presents her geekiness is that she’s confidently un-neurotic about it: she’s aware of others’ reactions, but she never lets that stop her from playfully having her fun. There was no sense of oxymoron when she described herself to me in a personal interview as “just a normal geek girl, you know?”
§ At NYCC, DC was giving away this very cool poster by Adam Hughes of the various ladies of the DCU with the headline, “The Real Power of the DC Universe.” Online response that we’ve seen has been positive, and it’s definitely a smart take-off on the Annie Leibovitz Vanity Fair-style covers of the past year. But it still seems so…homogenous. Adam Hughes draws the way he does, so it’s no surprise that all the women of the DCU have giant boobs, identical frames and all appear to be about 5’9″. Not like, say, this:
Or even this:
§ It turns out that large boobs are such an important factor to the superhero life that their absence is cause for a breaking news item in itself:
DC is also launching several titles with an eye toward capturing a younger audience. Editor Jann Jones announced the upcoming Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade, with art that features a flat-chested, prepubescent Supergirl. The upcoming kid-friendly line also includes Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam. DC is excited about recreating the entry-level comic experience, no doubt anticipating the the kids who will grow up to fill future Con audiences. As for Supergirl, the first to be released, it’ll have “all the fun of life in Junior High,” Jones promised, which to me sounds menacing. DiDio added, for the benefit of the room: “And no boobs.”
The new Supergirl will be by Landry Walker and Eric Jones, apparently.
§ Finally, Elayne Riggs deals with the occasional waves of low self-esteem that convention going regularly creates:
That’s when this odd feeling came over me that, after having been involved with the comic convention scene for over 20 years now, I didn’t really fit in any more. As far as Team Comics was concerned, I was the nobody I’d always suspected myself to be. Out of work, out of practice, out of favor, I succumbed to the enemy of every fanboy and fangirl, the overblown sense of entitlement. Everything I experienced was suddenly All About Me, which precipitated a dangerous downward spiral. On some level I knew it didn’t correlate with reality, but I’d managed to make a complete disconnect between “wasn’t that nice finding the pros-only curtained-off area with its own friggin’ oxygen bar on Saturday so we could catch up with Bryan Hitch during his one free half-hour” and “poor poor pitiful me nobody loves me pass the worms.”