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200705211300[Dunno why the comments weren’t working but they are now.]
Every time I think I want to just leave this be, I read Journalista and get fired up again. From telling us how we’re wasting out time to saying he agrees from me, from calling it all “eminently bloggable stupidity” one minute to linking to Cheryl Lynn and a particularly stupid image of Supergirl the next, he seems so completely set on having his controversy and making fun of it too that anyone who continues to take him seriously is just falling into his sandtrap.

Anyway, where was I. Oh yeah, talking about female action heroines. Despite the desperate pleas for a cease fire, the uproar over the Mary Jane statue really had nothing to do with the statue, per se, but rather is the end result of comics readers sense of unease over the mixed messages being sent by the comics industry, i.e. Marvel and DC over their continuing efforts to broaden their audience.

Now to be fair, both Marvel and DC have done a lot more than pay lip service to the idea of, at the very least, appealing to kid readers. DC has a long running line of kid comics based on whatever the WB happens to be showing on Saturday mornings, from JLU to Kyrpto. Likewise, Marvel has attempted to branch out with it’s own kid-themed line, although it changes names fairly often. As we’ve discussed before, neither of these lines is a creative priority at either company — which isn’t to say that they don’t care, just that they are perceived as an entry point, not as an end in themselves.

Mary Jane is one of the main characters in the most successful movie serial of all times. While I can’t see MJ being used as a role model for kids, there have been not even one, but SEVERAL attempts to market her as a YA character: The mini series SPIDER-MAN LOVES MARY JANE, as mentioned here being one:

Following up with our coverage of the new Marvel summer launches, THE PULSE found Marvel Publisher Dan Buckley and Series Editor MacKenzie Cadenhead for a few more details about Mary Jane. The House is hoping to attract not just the teen readers, but readers of all ages. Buckley cited two major reasons for MJ taking center stage now. “The first is the manga boom has proven that girls will read comics. Second the Spider-Man movies have also raised MJ’s ‘Q Rating.'”


200705211303There was also a series of YA novels starring Mary Jane by Judith O’Brien which, we were told at the time, sold surprisingly well.

Over at DC, the message is equally mixed. Wonder Woman is perhaps the most powerful female image in the entire comics world, but a look at the covers indicates the book is not being marketing with an eye to the women who made Xena and Buffy hits. As much as I love Gail Simone, the new Wonder Woman writer, and one of only a handful of women to write the character, she is no Laurell K. Hamilton, with a built in fan-base among genre-loving women. I’m not saying that that’s even the tack this book should take, but at least trying to build a female friendly world for one of their female-oriented books would seem like a reasonable goal for a company that is going “one year later.”

KotosupergirlThe really alarming thing is that sometimes you get the idea that DC actually thinks it IS doing this. Editor Eddie Berganza’s plea for women to give Supergirl a chance being the most notorious.

Sure, some of you may not be keen that we didn’t go straight into America’s Sweetheart mode with her, but, hey, we know that’s what she will eventually become. For us, it’s the hero’s journey that’s interesting. I compare this to what’s being done with Clark on SMALLVILLE. Already, we’ve seen Kara try to be normal, whether partying or in a disastrous attempt at a secret identity. She’s come up short at being a wicked bad vigilante hanging with the OUTSIDERS. Now, she has a new love interest in Power Boy, a “hero” that Ian designed, keeping in mind the great attributes that are usually associated with female characters…and the reason most women don’t like the super-hero genre. Like the chest window of his costume? His constant posing? Yes, he’s a mimbo, but he’ll be a lot worse to Kara when issue #15 hits. Then things heat up for the last daughter of Krypton with #16, when Joe is joined by new artist Ale Garza (as Ian will eventually be going on with Joe to one of my other books) and co-writer Mark Sable for a story arc that runs through issue #19, which will delve further into the fragments of Kara’s past and give us a new understanding of the character.


I like Eddie — he’s a good guy, and has at least one daughter himself. I ran into him at Toy Fair this winter and mentioned the controversy over the comments, and I got the impression that he was completely genuine in them. I didn’t know how to break the news to him. Maybe this is what passes for female-friendly in the DCU…but it’s probably by default. (Berganza has since moved on from editing duties on the character.)

With the eyes of the world turned to comics, media coverage at an all time high, and the very “novelty” value of comics for girls contributing to the high level of press (and favorable press) for the Minx line, you’d think DC or Marvel might really try something new, and create a girl hero that girls can actually relate to and wear on their pajamas without shame or innuendo. As pointed out in my own comments section, lesbian Batwoman was sort of presented as a new entry point for female characters in the DCU (although one can’t really imagine her being marketed to the YA crowd) however, she’s been put on the shelf for over a year.

Jla10TurnerteaserYou see that’s what really gets me about all of this. All artists have stories about commission sketches that were a little…off. Batgirl on all fours, the Scarlet Witch with a chain around her neck, Betty and Veronica having sex. There’s a booming business in such stuff for the artists who are willing to draw these and far, far worse things.

So what is really surprising (although maybe it shouldn’t be) is when the companies cash in on this lucrative fantasy market with their own products and pervert the equity of their own characters in the process.

Having worked at Disney for nearly a decade, I can assure you that there is a rich fantasy market for pictures of Disney characters doing very very naughty things. In fact, I used to get some of them in the mail. The Marvel statue of Mary Jane isn’t quite as bad as Disney suddenly leeching coin off this crowd by making statues of naked Pocahontas and Mulan getting it on, but it’s definitely playing to the same kind of mindset. I mean, yeah, Disney WOULD do such a thing to make money if they could get away with it, but their image and their branding is too strong to allow it.

Marvel and DC don’t have brands that strong. Batman and Spider-Man appeal to young boys but that doesn’t stop them from doing appalling things in various muti-verse or variant takes. Of course, older readers are thrilled by the occasional SPIDER-MAN REIGN and this success ensures that Spider-Man will continue to do unexpected things and make his comics a dodgy enterprise at best for parents. (Spidey licensed books have no such doubts and do very well by all accounts.)

I’m not saying that licensing concerns should trump artistic expression. Of course we are all free to be a grim and gritty as we want to be, and murder and rape whoever we want for those fantasy thrills.

200705211337
But can’t we just have SOMETHING unsullied? Something for US? Can’t Stephanie Brown get that little plaque or whatever??? But no, there must be endless panderings to a single crowd, like the Ame-Comi line of statues (above). While some people make fun of the GirlWonder.org/Ragnell/Kalinara axis for sticking with a genre that so obviously doesn’t want any part of their money, its really about having a room of one’s own, as I keep telling you.

It’s NOT impossible. Back in the day, girls read X-men, and they have always read the X-men and various spin-offs. It’s this audience that has made the franchise one of the most successful ever in comics and movies.

Marvel and DC are pretty much tone deaf, for various reasons, to actually making a superheroine for the Buffy/X-men audience. Instead they send out the message, over and over again, that having big boobs is great. Far from this being over, this outcry is an itch that wants to be scratched and it won’t rest until it is.

OKAY out of time again…part iii to come! Some pictures to keep you busy until then.

Kotocatwoman

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Dcdinfcrisis Powergirl

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1 COMMENT

  1. “Mary Jane is the main character in the most successful movie serial of all times.”

    Uh…

    What?

    Surely this is meant to be some kind of sarcastic joke, since every factual statement in that sentence is demonstrably false.

  2. I’m just remembering DC’s “fifth week” event a few years ago with its female theme–in which all the titles were about female characters but aimed at male readers. I knew then that they didn’t “get it.”

  3. I’ll no-prize it then: Mary Jane is one of the two main characters in one of the most successful movie serial of all time.” Which, portrayed by Kirsten Dunst, she absolutely is. Just like Teri Hatcher’s Lois, the MJ in the movies is critical to the mythos of that character. She’s not the washerwoman, she’s right there in the story.

  4. There are comic book writers, both men and women, whose true artistic expression *is* to create something fun and “unsullied” (good word) for a larger female readership. However, there are more publishers interested in fairytale fetishes than girl heroes who dress and respond modestly. Unfortunately, there are more artists who would rather draw the same cleavage line over and over again than a realistic variety of human forms. And there are more comic book fans who’d rather buy a cover featuring a nearly clothed girl than read anything of substance.

    In this regard, mainstream comics are a big disappointment.

    It’s more than the publishers. It’s an entire industry that is moving against my/your/our own hopes for good storytelling, not just lurid fantasies.

  5. Yay! Thanks for Episode 2! I can hardly wait for Episode 3!

    As the father of three, this is an issue that I’m really concerned with. I really love comics and am trying to bring that love to my children, but it’s not an easy thing to foster. Take my oldest,for example. She’s 10 years old and reads almost the entire Archie line of comics, including the Sonic the Hedgehog comics. Yes, Sonic! From hearing her talk, she likes the soap opera aspects of the relationships between the different characters. Then, her favorite manga is “Ranma 1/2”. A 10 year old reading “Ranma 1/2”?!? What am I, crazy? But she LOVES it!! She loves the comedy and broad slapstick and Shakespearean complications of gender-bending martial artists (even though she hasn’t read any Shakespeare yet) and even the quiet moments between characters. And she LOVES it!!

    But I’d never show her a Power Girl or Supergirl comic. In “Ranma 1/2”, any male character who engages in sexist or demeaning behavior is punished with a kick to the pants or a giant mallet to the skull. The ladies in “Ranma 1/2” are constantly vigilant about this and never fail to let a man have it if they deserve it. That’s the only reason I allow her to keep reading “Ranma 1/2”. My daughter gets the message without being hit over the head with it.

  6. Yeah, this is big sigh territory. I think the example of Emma Frost from an earlier post was a good one. They’ve released the Emma Frost books in the manga-style format, obviously going for the shoujo market, and the storylines inside actually mostly fit into that territory, but then they’ve all got these porny Greg Horn covers.

    Off the top of my head, the only superhero books I’d happily recommend to women I know are (the original Warren Ellis) Authority and Astro City. Jenny Sparks, Swift, and Winged Victory are just so far beyond Power Girl and friends in terms of being approachable, non-vile female characters in comics.

    Oh, and Gotham Central, although that’s really just a police procedural pretending to exist in the DC universe so “mainstream” readers will buy it.

  7. “But can’t we just have SOMETHING unsullied? Something for US? Can’t Stephanie Brown get that little plaque or whatever???”

    That is EXACTLY what I have been trying to say. A little something unsullied. DC has been trying and failing for over twenty years. Amethyst couldn’t run a whole year without a Superman crossover. I can still feel in my gut the incredible disappointment when I saw that. DC PROMISED Amethyst was all its own, but when rubber met road, they chickened out, and they and Marvel (TROUBLE, anyone?) have been chickening out or giving us a bland Barbie ever since.

    Anyone remember Dangerour Curves/Femme Noir (both names for a girl’s line only slightly dumber and less girl-friendly than “Minx”)? What was it? Girl superheroes with male eye tracks all over them, and it disappeared without a trace.
    Some girl’s line.

    “While some people make fun of the GirlWonder.org/Ragnell/Kalinara axis for sticking with a genre that so obviously doesn’t want any part of their money, its really about having a room of one’s own, as I keep telling you”

    That so many women read superheroes and were just as frustrated as I was about their deplorable attitudes towards women was a revelation to me. The first cape company to manage to grow up (or decide women’s and girl’s dollars spend the same as guy’s) will win.

    Stepahnie getting a case won’t mean shit if it isn’t the finishing touch on a sea change of superhero comics from the Big Two not being the Default Mode Boy stuff they are now.

  8. Addition: it’s easy to say “make your own” or “read something else” but, as was pointed out elsewhere (and I forget where and whom, sorry), what if readers WANT the DC/Marvel mythology?
    I want a Batgirl series, but Cassandra Cain is not the Batgirl I like, and never will be. (And her origin is effing nasty, OF COURSE.) I liked Batgirl in Batman Adventures. Why not a BG Adventures book?
    I’d like a She-Hulk with art that shows the character as intelligently as the writing. There are a LOT of books I’d have been reading except that the art (even if the writing was good) said, “Hurr, hurrr, hurrrrr, tits ass crotch book not for you, stinky girl.”

    And, while we’re at it, what about the tits and ass all over CCI? That has the same effect as tits and ass all over print comics. It says, “We are interested in men first (and maybe last and always), and you second, especially if you aren’t in a case with a snake, or look good dressed like a cheerleader.”
    I’d have never seen The Incredibles if my first exposure had been the rail-thin, camel-toed models in missing-middle Incredibles costumes at CCI. I wonder why companies like Pixar think they have to market a movie like The Incredibles in such a way? Could it be because that’s what many displays in the high aisle numbers looks like that until it drops off into the Artist’s Ghetto?

    This is all part and parcel of the same thing: being devalued at the largest comics concerns if you are a female consumer. “Don’t look” or “Stay over there.” or “It’s not all like that.” is silly misdirection. The devaluation is still present.

    Why aren’t women/girls valued as consumers where they WANT to be? Who’s gonna crack that code?

  9. MJ is certainly one OF the main characters yes. But you were going to have a hard time convincing me Spider-Man was not the main character of, you know, Spider-Man.

    The fact that Spider-Man is neither a “serial” nor remotely the most successful film series of all time is not especially relevant, but Heidi can certainly do better than these kinds of overbroad and factually inaccurate pronouncements.

    Is there nothing to be said, perhaps, for the proposition that we should maybe concern ourselves with just creating good comics and worrying about the gender of the readership further down the road – perhaps at a point where more than 1/3 of 1% of the US population are actually reading comics?

  10. There was a time when I read and loved all X-Men, New Mutants, Excalibur, Justice League and every incarnation of Spiderman I could get my hands on.

    Then, the 90s happened and I just had to walk away.

  11. See, this is what I don’t get. Girls love superheroes. They really do. What is Sailor Moon if not a superhero series by another name? How many girls begged their parents to take them to the Incredibles? And it’s not just gay men who buy all those Supergirl and Wonder Woman baby doll tees.

    Oh, and women dig them too as the ratings and demographic breakdowns on “Heroes” (http://www.thefutoncritic.com/news.aspx?id=20070515nbc02) proves:

    * “Heroes” is the #1 new series this season on any network in every key ratings category adults, men and women 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54, as well as in total viewers. In primetime’s key demographic of adults 18-49, “Heroes” is the #5 scripted series on television overall, behind only “Grey’s Anatomy,” “House,” “Desperate Housewives” and “CSI.”

    Both the major comic companies do their fans and their stockholders a grave disservice by not offering more content that legitimately appeals to both genders. Lines like Minx are a great step in the right direction (I’ve read the first two books and they’re quite good, especially “The Plain Janes”), but I want more girl-friendly or at least gender neutral superhero tales because having nothing but books aimed solely at teenage boys is a creative and financial dead end. And to do it for characters with such broad demographic appeal as Spider-Man, Batman, etc. is almost criminal.

    So give me more “Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane” and why hasn’t Dean Trippe been given a Batgirl/Supergirl World’s Finest series to draw yet?

  12. It’s not like guys wouldn’t buy comics with better female characters in them. I hang out at the comic shop for a while when i got pick up my comics, and nobody is ever talking about the hotness of these make believe women. No, i’m not naive enough to think that all those boob-centric books sell for their stories. But which sold more, Civil War or one of THOSE books?

  13. See, when I was a little girl getting started in comics (more than 40 years ago), there were such wonderful characters as Little Lulu – both girls and boys read those comics. You have to go to the indies to find anything anywhere near equivalent for kids today. And that’s what I do. And my 12-year-old son loves Little Lulu in the reprints. There’s hope for the boy …

  14. “Lines like Minx are a great step in the right direction…”

    You know, I’d applaud them more if DC hadn’t turned such a blind eye to the multitude of women writing comics all across the industry. It makes me crazy that their main female writer for a girl’s line came from outside of comics. The line is a step in the right direction, yes, but from where I sit, only a very small one.

    Oh, and I still hate the name. The end.

  15. Took my 3 year old daughter to the Motor City Comic Con on Sunday. As she gets older, I look forward to explaining random porn babes scattered throughout the artists area.

    “Look honey, maybe one day you too can be like this naked lady!”

    And I’ll be hiding my issue of JLA #10 with the porn collection in the closet.

    “Look honey, maybe one day you too can have boobs bigger than your head, because of course, that’s what guys dig!”

    I should be able to enjoy reading about men in spandex punching each other without worrying that people think I’m a pervert.

    That last bit didn’t quite sound right…

    I should be able to share my hobby with my daughter without this much worry. I think I’m beginning to understand why football fans were upset about Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction. Here’s a nice, little family event, then *BAM* something I wasn’t yet ready to explain to her.

    The longer I take to type this, the more I start thinking about my role as a parent. I guess there’s a lot of things like this to deal with everywhere we go. The best I can do is make sure she’s got a good foundation at home and be someone she can talk to about these types of things.

    But dammit, why can’t comics help me with this, instead of making it more difficult?

  16. And the problem goes deeper than just the product.

    Heidi doesn’t have to say it, but from my few visits to the DC offices YEARS ago (and the frustrations of my editors Kim Yale and Margaret Clark), I would surmise that the inner workings weren’t exactly female friendly, either.

  17. “But Lea, I and many others will challenge you on Cassandra Cain.”

    I loathe the CC Batgirl, she is yet another superheroine who has her origins in abuse.
    Let’s agree to disagree, because you’ll never change my mind, and we all have bigger fish to fry.

  18. “Is there nothing to be said, perhaps, for the proposition that we should maybe concern ourselves with just creating good comics and worrying about the gender of the readership further down the road – perhaps at a point where more than 1/3 of 1% of the US population are actually reading comics?”

    Maybe -just maybe – that point will come a little sooner if publishers and creators start considering things like what does and does not appeal to the demographics of that other 99.3%?

    And maybe – just maybe – some people think that exploitive and overly-sexualized portrayals of women are one of the things that makes a comic NOT “good?”

  19. Hmmm. What prevents someone from licensing CrossGen from Disney?
    And I always thought that a Lois Lane As A Teen Reporter/Investigator would make a good book series. Kinda balance those Silver Age Superboy stories.
    Another idea: create a new series of teen superhero characters, publish it in black and white, and market it like Shonen Jump. Solo and teamups.
    And for the record, while Marvel and DC have great pantheons, they are not the only comics publishers with newsstand distribution.

  20. I gotta agree with Lea on Batgirl. DC is awfully schizo when it comes to Batgirl and Supergirl.

    For Batgirl you’ve got Showcase reprints coming up of the Barbara Gordon-Batgirl stories. Then you’ve got Cassandra Cain running around claiming to be Batgirl. Then you’ve got Batgirl comics based on the Batman animated series. Batman’s not treated like this… Batman is Batman. Batgirl is… I don’t know what she is.

    Ditto with Supergirl. Eddie Berganza says above: “Sure, some of you may not be keen that we didn’t go straight into America’s Sweetheart mode with her, but, hey, we know that’s what she will eventually become. For us, it’s the hero’s journey that’s interesting. I compare this to what’s being done with Clark on SMALLVILLE. Already, we’ve seen Kara try to be normal, whether partying or in a disastrous attempt at a secret identity. She’s come up short at being a wicked bad vigilante hanging with the OUTSIDERS.” This is just dumb. It’s months of lazy product without direction or clear vision.

    “Hero’s journey”, my eye. Sorry, you can go on that trip without me.

  21. “Batman’s not treated like this… Batman is Batman.”

    Batman might be Bruce Wayne… but I doubt he doesn’t have his own identity problems. The Batman in detective is far different than the one I would read just prior to Crisis. Granted that is due to Dini’s craftsmanship. And let’s not forget ASBaR with the god damn Batman. Then there is the Batman in the JLU. Then there is The Batman. Some people would say Batman hasn’t been “Batman” since a boy in green undies and a domino mask showed up.

    And yes, most fans can differentiate. But still, even I shake my head at where would be a good place to start.

  22. Kids don’t buy comics because they aren’t for sale at the outlets they frequent.

    But that isn’t the point.

    But part of this too is the whole “comic store mentality” that also is fueled by an exaggerated (campy) sheen of falstosterone. I went to a local comics store over the weekend with a woman. I bought some comics, she bought Plain Janes (“I don’t know if it’s good yet, but I can’t put it down.”) Meanwhile, some 20 something comes in and starts LOUDLY regaling to the owner of the shop about his fun at the strip club last night. We’re up at the register and the clerk and owner are exchanging nervous glances as the kid (he was wearing a tucked-in polo) goes on and on about dollar bills and jewel-encrusted thongs. My friend rolls her eyes and I say, loudly, “I bet he brags about his free Cinemax next.” As we left, the owner goes out of his way to say have a great afternoon, etc. etc. but you could tell they were going to (or wanted to) lay into Strip-Boy for scaring away the girl. As a guy, I like that comic shops are the insulated Batcaves of Geek Solitude — but maybe the stores themselves need to be more female friendly. The store I’ve seen the most women at is definitely Hanley’s, and as anyone knows, on any given second there you can hear conversations at the register that could turn any state red. So what’s the solution? More female employees? Ties and jacket for the clerks? Public bathrooms? Or, as this argument is saying, just a better product? I’m sure the MJ product will sell out in a second, but doesn’t that just underline the real problem here: we obviously need more girls. We (as a collective comic blob) wouldn’t be buying MJ statues if we didn’t. But take it home, unwrap it and put it on the mantle and still it’s just a statue: her green cold eyes look right through you.

    Best behavior guys, there’s REAL GIRLS in the store.

    I really like your long essays Heidi and hope you keep doing them.

    -Brad

  23. If that store owner wants to be sure his female customers return, he tells Strip-Boy to shut his face while they’re still in the store.

    BTW, I have just this morning, coined a new word for the segment of the comics business that gives the market Pearl Necklace MJ statues: Manstream.

    I was inspired by the cover to Heroes for Hire #13, and wrote this:

    http://divalea.livejournal.com/454772.html

  24. “The fact that Spider-Man is neither a “serial” nor remotely the most successful film series of all time is not especially relevant, but Heidi can certainly do better than these kinds of overbroad and factually inaccurate pronouncements.”

    Wait, how is Spider-Man NOT a serial? One, two, three, that’s a “series” is it not? And it didn’t just have the biggest opening of all-time, a record another one of the movies in the *series* previously held?

  25. Okay, I’m willing to put my head on the chopping block. Heidi, my only disagreement with your post is the Power Girl statue at the end. That statue is fairly accurate. In fact, I would say the statue is probably modeled after Corey Everson. The pose used is the exact same posed used for male statues in the Batman/Superman statue series. I would argue this statue is an example of DC getting it right for once.

  26. Both DC and Marvel have several superheroine characters who, if portrayed intelligently and without sexism, could become very popular with women. The original Elasti-Girl, Rita Farr (not the version John Byrne created for the rebooted Doom Patrol) has such potential; so does She-Hulk, if Marvel ever decides how it wants to use her. Perhaps comics companies fear their base fanboy audience would feel threatened by such characters if they don’t also have the veneer of (adolescent) sexuality. Nonsense. It was Xena’s complexity of character, straddling between light and darkness — not her “subtext” with Gabrielle — that made her so beloved by men and women alike. Why can’t women comics superheroines get similar treatment?

  27. I love women in just about every way a man can. Maybe that’s not what every woman wants to hear from a man, but… I really like Brian Michael Bendis’ take on Alies or the Beat or whatever it is they ended up having to call it. JJ, to me, seemed like a real woman. Heide, my friend Frank Kane and I are going to make a comic, I think you’ll like, were women are as the ones we know, in real life. No more… no less. I think that’s what you’re asking for. Am I right?

  28. There’s plenty of fun mainstream properties with respect towards women, or if nothing else, no absurd sexism. These include Runaways, The Spirit (anything by Darwyn Cooke actually), Astonishing X-Men, but none of these are really the standard for the companies they represent. Indie and Dark Horse titles offer a lot of great titles and characters too, and Rose from Bone is an excellent female character in a fun children’s fantasy adventure title. If fans flock to these instead of bizzare pictures and characterizations the rest of the titles will follow [like DKR causing the grim and gritty movement].

    Or maybe, just maybe, two major companies who are extremely similar and share writers and artists telling very similar stories, shouldn’t be controlling most of the comic book wealth. Its really up to the audience though, but mainstream comics seem to be becoming more and more art directed anyway, with hiring famed writers to allowing more odd styles such as the afore mentioned Cooke.

    Anyway, if fan outrage can retcon a Grant Morrison X-Men story, I’m sure they can do this.

    Another school of thought is, why should a 50 year old character made to shut up Frederic Wertham about Batman and Robin’s supposed homosexuality be used as a role model for anyone? There are other forms of entertainment out there which superhero comics should compete with. Marvel competing with DC is like beef vs. chicken, they’re really both just meat, and thier competition was before [maybe now too] in its own universe.

    (I should just quickly note both companies have several tasteful and fun titles. This isn’t a hatred against the companies, just against thier often horrible gimmicks.)

    Also, Heros for Hire #14 is scary lookin’. Like, really scary lookin. Like… wtf… like… what happened there… >.

  29. I take your meaning about LKH’s built-in fanbase, but I take the fact that Simone isn’t LKH as very much in her favour. Have you read anything by that woman?

  30. “…I take the fact that Simone isn’t LKH as very much in her favour.”

    So do I. I eat, breath and sleep books, but if all author’s were work like LKH’s I’d never read again.

  31. “As a guy, I like that comic shops are the insulated Batcaves of Geek Solitude — but maybe the stores themselves need to be more female friendly … Best behavior guys, there’s REAL GIRLS in the store.”

    I’ve never cared for stereotypes too much, which is why I roll my eyes when people trot out the “unwashed fanboy” stock character. ONE guy made an ass out of himself. That doesn’t necessarily make the stores the “Batcaves of Geek Solitude.”

    Would we embrace negative stereotypes of female fans in the same manner? I once mentioned the 300 lb women who wear tight bustierres (sp?) at SF conventions, and thought I would receive death threats. But they’re out there.

    I think the reason less than 1/3 or 99% of everyone in America looks at comics is because (1) They don’t read to begin with and (2) reading comics isn’t “cool,” or not cool in the same way as playing Ninetendo and Xbox for six hours a day.

    Of course, if we’re so quick to denigrate fandom, I could understand why some new people might be hesitant to be seen walking into a comic book store. You don’t want to be seen leaving a comic store, as opposed to someplace respectable like a porno shop.

  32. Hear, hear, Rich.

    That stereotyping is not only a problem in regard to superhero comics’ fans, but with the merchandise itself. I’m not saying that superheroes’ comics don’t have too many sexist images and portrayals, but that doesn’t mean we should lose complete sight of the good ones. (And, if I may be so bold, THAT’S why feminist fans like Ragnell and Kalinara stick around: because of those good ones and the hope for more).

    But it seems 1 negative portrayal seems to equal 10 positive ones in a lot of people’s eyes. That’s not only throwing out the baby with the bathwater, it’s throwing out the baby’s brothers and sisters as well.

  33. I agree with Sizemore about the Power Girl statue. It’s actually one of the good ones. It makes Peege look like she’s ACTUALLY CAPABLE of the super-feats she performs in the comics.

    If the Catwoman one had actually been zipped up like it is in the comic, it would have been accurate as well.

    But why does that Supergirl statue look like she’s wearing a slice of pizza on her chest? Couldn’t the sculptor even bother to get the “S” symbol right?

    Then again, maybe the less this crappy statue is associated with the Superman brand, the better.

  34. The most interesting part of this dialog for me is that I had to stumble upon it on the internet/blogosphere,…or whatever the hell you wanna call it. I am a comic shoppe habitue and haven’t seen any of these products or publications in any venue or outlet that I frequent. In the course of following this subject around the web I have yet to even see an image of the Mary Jane statue that folks are in such an uproar about. I presume y’all are talking about the Sideshow Toys statue based on Adam Hughes art,…which I have only seen on their website. Interesting.

  35. While this type of extreme sexualization of women is prevalent in comics, I think it’s only a sign of our culture as a whole. For some reason the “big dogs” in the entertainment industry, be it music, movies, video games or comics, seem to think that all women are good for is their sexual appeal. Nine times out of ten if a girl/woman is in the entertainment media it’s to provide eye candy, a sexual partner for the main protagonist or fill in the required female quota. This kind of cliche is becoming so common, I don’t think they know HOW to write a good role for a female character anymore!

    What was the last significant female character in a movie, tv show, video game or comic book that was actually presented in a realistic, interesting and immersive manner? I’m actually having a hard time thinking of one off-hand.

    I think Buffy would be the most obvious one (TV & comic). Re-el from Ergo Proxy (anime) would be a personal favorite of mine (actually, some anime do a pretty good job of portraying an interestingfemale character, go figure). And of course the X-Men women are done fairly well, at least in comparison to other lines of comics.

  36. None of those guys have enough IQ to even give a shit. Check out this back up story from Classic Avengers #1
    http://www.newsarama.com/marvelnew/AvengersClassic/AvengersClassic01pgC03.jpg

    The Hulk tells the Wasp she is giving him a huge boner. What’s the Wasp reaction? She just giggles like an idiot. This isn’t a What The, this is a monthly series reprinting a classic brand that’s the company’s bread and butter. This is the back up story they farted out to add extra depth to Avengers#1.

    Then again, what do you expect from 40 year olds who spend their birthday parties at the stripers? You might as well be asking the local seedy XXX cinema for “respect”.