“Girls Don’t Like Comic Books” & other hot nonsense

This post has been brewing in my cranium for a while. More so since last week when I went to pick up my comics and this dumb dumb behind me said “I can’t believe girls by comic books” in front of me with my stack and the girl working there. And he follows up with: “Cute girls, too.”  And this isn’t that surprising, it happens all the time. The stereotype that how people happen to look has to have some effect on the kind of things they are supposed to like. Of course Mr. I-have-no-goddamn-social-skills-and-have-no-idea-about-what-girls-like is feeding into his own comic book nerd stereotype, but I digress.

I didn’t read comics for years. Years and years.

And then this:

Image

And I said, “Oh HELL YEAH!” (even though I will say that I got PO’d at comments on CNN.com where dudes were all “feminists better support this, they say they want equality but then they don’t like Women’s MMA, women won’t read this” here’s the deal: feminists and ALL WOMEN and really ALL HUMANS like different assortments of things. I don’t have to like everything. I don’t have to like something because an empowered woman is there if it’s not the type of thing I would otherwise like. I don’t watch MMA. You know what feminists don’t love? When men tell them they HAVE TO love something. Seriously.)

But since I was at the comic book store, I found some other stuff to dig:

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Now look at these. Look at all the females! And they are all different!

When people bring up female fronted comic books that fail, someone undoubtedly says “Red SheHulk is cancelled” Red She-Hulk is a knock off of a knock of. Red Sonja is a fierce Barbarian and adventurer, Cassie Hack is a serial killer killer out for revenge, sharp tongued enough to keep Ash to his toes. While both females are scantily clad and quick witted no one would mistake one for the other. Toni Chu bites people to see the future and works for NASA, the females of Extinction Parade bite because their vampires, Mercy wolfs out to save the soul of her dead lover. Lazarus main protag Forever Carlyle who was considered “too butch” for one male fan (who got schooled hard by Greg Rucka) would surely not be raiding Sonja or Cassie’s closets, she’s a genetic experiment who can take bullets and barely miss a beat, she isn’t funny like Cassie or serious and experienced like Sonja… because women aren’t all the same.

That why “the all girl X-men” is so frigging good. The characters have different strengths, speak differently, have their own faults, interact in ways that you think they would based on previous events. Not just “I’d better like it because there are women there.”

And then today I read this in which rape and victimization of women that are so present in comics is passed off a “okay” because it’s not “for women.” The author of the article rightly points out that it is not okay for men and young boys to be repeatedly shown rape scenes because it normalizes this behavior and, frankly, women should be concerned if men enjoy reading unadulterated rape scenes.

…”comic creators Todd McFarlane (Spawn), Mark Millar (Kick-Ass) and Gerry Conway (The Punisher) have unabashedly inferred that it doesn’t matter how they portray women in their comic creations, because comic books are not for women, anyway. “…

WHHHHHAAAAAAAATTTT? No, jackasses… your books are not for women, who you have no respect for, clearly. But there are plenty of good female centered comics out right now (some by women and some not). Why creators are trying to appeal to less of the population instead of more, I don’t know. But if you write like crap… I won’t read it. And if you build it, they will come, fuckers. “Women liking comic books” isn’t the responsibility of the women. I won’t like a female character who’s a default knock off, or who has no relationships with other women. I will not like a book that uses rape to advance the plot. I will not read one dimensional characters.

It’s like I expect you to write good or something.

7 thoughts on ““Girls Don’t Like Comic Books” & other hot nonsense

  1. Tell ’em girl. I shared this on my twitter. Hopefully guys and girls alike will give it a read 🙂

  2. Wait … Mark Miller said that? As if Civil War’s mishandling wasn’t enough to taint my opinion of him. If you’re going to portray rape in fiction, you had better handle it carefully. I wouldn’t trust Miller, McFarline or Conway to even understand what that means.

    Comics shouldn’t just be meant for men, they should be meant to entertain period. Personally I don’t care whether my protagonist is male or female, as long as they’re a likeable character that’s good enough for me. The more variety is available the better. And as a guy, it bothers me when people look down on women who read comics. It’s just … silly.

    I kind of agree with your Red She Hulk comment – she does feel like a knockoff. You could argue that the original She Hulk was a knock off at first, but she’s since grown into her own character. She’s actually my favourite of the Hulks, and she’s notable for being one of the last major characters Stan Lee created for Marvel.

    • Red Hulk is a knock off, too. She-Hulk actually got a whole backstory and character development that makes sense. Red She-Hulk was created… to fight Hulks. And it’s not just her Skaar is a dumb Hulk, too. I can’t even imagine who reads that. But to blame it on female fans (or a lack of) and not bad writing is lazy and egotistical. I, briefly, started reading comics again during Fall of the Hulks, and ultimately I was buying 5 books every month that I could not care less about and I stopped. I didn’t stop because “girls don’t like comics” I stopped because the story and many of it’s players weren’t engaging.

      To me, no matter what you are writing, if automatically you say “50% of the population won’t like it” before you get the ink on the page: you’re doing it wrong. (and I do recognize that sometimes the target audience is small, but intentionally limiting it further with bigotry, racism and sexism is inexcusable).

      • Oh yeah, for a second I completely forgot about Red Hulk. That’s how forgettable he is to me. And I have yet to read anything with Skaar in it.

    • Thanks for commenting, btw.
      And I know, isn’t it a shame when some of the biggest names in the genre are completely horrible?

      I also agree, I like male superheros, sometimes. except Spiderman, he was always such a goody two shoes.

  3. Pingback: Some sexy comic girls | Hugo Hamilton's Porno Ponderings

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