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September is over, and all 52 titles of the DC relaunch have been released. Given the furor surrounding the lack of women writers and the lack of visible female characters before the comics were available, how do things actually stack up? The answer is: not very differently than in the old DC universe. After reading 32 of the new titles (including all the titles with female leads) and reading multiple reviews of the remaining 20, the simple truth is that the balance of women in DC’s titles is pretty close to what it was.

While holding the status quo is better than a reduction, DC has really missed an opportunity. One stated purpose behind the New 52 was to make the comics more accessible and appealing to new readers. Given the fact that, despite stereotypes, there are plenty of women and girls who read comics, this was a perfect time to broaden the appeal of DC’s offerings. Instead, they opted to hold steady and, in some ways, reinforce the stereotype of mainstream comics as a boy’s world. Let’s take a look.

First, by the numbers:

  • 29 titles are solo male characters or male duos and groups
  • 11 titles are groups with mixed membership, most of which are predominantly male
  • 7 titles are female leads (including the team book Birds of Prey)
  • 5 are something else altogether, usually supernatural titles

A few of the ostensibly male-dominated comics have pleasant surprises in the supporting cast. Animal Man may feature Buddy Baker as its lead, but his wife, Ellen, is an important character in the story and is actually more thoroughly developed than many of the women who are leads in their own titles. Superboy also features a strong co-lead in the unfortunately unnamed woman who is the scientist overseeing the lab where he is being supervised (he’s a recently grown clone). Mr. Terrific, a mediocre relaunch of one of my favorite DC characters, also features Karen (Power Girl) Starr in a strong supporting turn.

In the team books, it’s a very mixed bag.

  • Justice League and Stormwatch are very male-dominated. The first issue of JL doesn’t even include the one female character (Wonder Woman). The Stormwatch cast is (so far) mostly men and the visible female characters are poorly developed. Green Lantern and the New Guardians has a slightly better ratio at this point, but the final makeup of the team is unclear; the writing is also distressingly macho, with a number of "scream like a girl" lines.
  • Justice League International, Teen Titans, Hawk & Dove, and Justice League Dark are much better balanced. The Wonder Girl in TT is a complex, promising character and Dove is a much more interesting counterpoint to Hawk than the previous version (although she has grown mysteriously more buxom). JLD features a number of strong women, including the very powerful villain and one of my favorites, Zatanna.
  • My longstanding favorite, the Legion of Super-Heroes, has two titles, the latest Legion of Super-Heroes title and Legion Lost. Of the 42 (really!) pre-relaunch Legionnaires,  13 were women. Eleven of the 27 members in the two books so far are women, including an impressive four out of five new members.
  • Suicide Squad and Red Hood & the Outlaws are moderately balanced, but feature some truly bad plot and character decisions that I’ll look at shortly.

And how are those seven books that feature women characters as leads?

  • Batgirl and Batwoman, both reviewed on TSM earlier, are outstanding. They are complex stories, well told, with strong characters.
  • Birds of Prey continues in its original vein, with strong female leads and promising plot points. Even without the wonderful Gail Simone writing the book, it is one of the more interesting books of the relaunch.
  • Supergirl and Wonder Woman are very interesting new interpretations of very longstanding characters. Supergirl is scripted as a very convincing teenager cast into a confusing situation. Wonder Woman’s world is creepy and mysterious, featuring the Greek deities who populated her previous incarnations; it’s also one of the most strikingly drawn books in the relaunch.
  • Voodoo, a character with whom I was unfamiliar, is an interesting mess. The lead character turns out to be a violent alien (who may not even be female?) and the plot is a bit sluggish. Interestingly, although the bulk of the story takes place in a strip club, the female supporting cast is well written and reasonable free of stereotypes and pointless titillation.
  • Last, but by no means least, there’s Catwoman. In many regards, this title is much like the two Bat-ladies. Selina Kyle is a complex, interesting, powerful woman. The overall story is interesting and well-paced. Unfortunately, the last several pages have become quickly infamous. Batman appears in Catwoman’s room and the two engage in a pointlessly drawn-out sex scene. While the clarification of the love-hate relationship between the two as a physical relationship is fine, the presentation is frankly bizarre. The best overall analysis of this gratuitous plot point is brilliantly provided by Savage Critic.

Catwoman’s soft-core porn (with costumes remaining on) is one of the major disappointments in the treatment of women in the New 52. Another is the treatment of the two female leads in Suicide Squad. Harley Quinn’s jester costume is replaced with a pointless bustier-dominated costume and the character is reduced from intriguing obsessive to stereotypical psychopath. Far more disturbing is the redesign of Amanda Waller. Originally a short, heavyset, African-American woman, Waller has long been a fan favorite for her strength of character, her guile, and her indomitable will. The fact that she did not have a typical super-hero hourglass figure made her an outstanding exception in DC’s cast. Sadly, the new Amanda Waller looks like a busty Halle Berry. What kind of message does that send?

An unfortunate trend in the new books is a superfluity of nude and lingerie scenes. At least six titles feature women in various states of undress. While there are reasonable circumstances (arising from sleep, changing clothes, being strippers) in each case, it is interesting to note that the male characters do not experience the same level of on-panel undress. (Two notable exceptions are Hawkman, who is discretely nude for several panels and Superboy, who spends much of his debut issue floating in a tank wearing a pair of bike shorts.)

Even when not in various states of undress, the female characters also tend to have much skimpier costumes than their male counterparts. In a world where all four of the Robin characters are allowed to wear long pants, it’s curious that the shorts and tank tops are so predominantly female. (Void-Star.net postulated a revised Superboy costume some time ago which underscores this point nicely.) There is nothing wrong with presenting the human body in a comic book (and it can be handled tastefully like the costume changing scene in Batwoman), but the imbalance smacks of objectification at best.SuperboyCostume

That leads us to the very worst moment for female characters in the relaunch. Frankly, it’s one of the worst-written characterizations I have ever seen in a comic. Starfire, a long-standing member of the Teen Titans, has always been a sensual woman comfortable with her body and sexuality. As originally written, however, she was independent, strong-willed, and though a bit naïve (she is from another planet, after all), intelligent and engaging. The new Starfire is nothing more than an animated toy for the male characters. Unable to distinguish between Earthlings and devoid of long-term memory, she pursues sex partners wantonly and without any apparent pleasure. A buxom, energetic, no strings attached sexpot, she is the worst stereotype of a straight teenage boy’s dream character. Readers (even those not long-term fans of the character) are justifiably outraged at this misogyny. Let’s hope the editorial team can find a way to write themselves out of this mess quickly.

The whole relaunch is a mix of the traditional, the unexpected, the sad misstep, and the pleasant surprise. The male-dominated books that I read featured some blunders not unlike those described in this post. The tragic difference is that a handful of badly-written male characters get lost in the very masculine mix. The exploitation and shallow characterization of a significant percentage of the limited female characters, on the other hand, sends a bad message to all readers, both male and female. Let’s hope that as the New DC progresses, the writers will take a lesson from Batgirl, Batwoman, Birds of Prey, and Supergirl and find ways to present strong, varied, interesting female characters. After all, art is supposed to imitate life, isn’t it?

Originally posted to TheSolipsisticMe on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:53 AM PDT.

Also republished by DKOMA and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (31+ / 0-)

    "A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi to come back - but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you."--Marian Wright Edelman

    by TheSolipsisticMe on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:53:57 AM PDT

  •  This is a very interesting analysis. (12+ / 0-)

    I must say, that for a Liberal/Progressive (hell, I consider myself a Social Democrat, actually) I am one heck of a conservative person. I'm a near-weekly communicant at the Episcopal Cathedral, and while in college in the 1980's eschewed the Deconstructionist movement because, unlike some of my professors, I held the position that words do, indeed, have intrinsic meaning--though I also agreed that sensitivity to diversity in literature and all things was a good thing. I suppose that while I am not a misogynist, I am also not a radical Feminist and I certainly think that some of the crap I was forced to read in college by Deconstructionists was rank. The idea, for instance, put forth by some scholars as marriage as "legalized rape" or the total disregard of etymology is the eschewing of any word with the three letters "m, a, and n" in them seemed to me to be actually doing a disservice to those of us who actually believe in the equality and dignity of all human beings. In short, I got turned off to main-stream Feminism, while at the same time working hard as an LGBTQ activist, leader, and member of the University Student Congress.

    That being said, it's nice to see Feminists like you, TSM, actually taking a measured look at the representation of women in culture in general. I get the feeling you are way more doctrinaire in your approach than I am comfortable with being, but I also get the feeling that you have moved, somewhat, between the excesses of academic Feminism that turned so many of we gay men off in the 80's and early 90's.

    I applaud your efforts. I continue to work towards the equality of all persons, the respect for their dignity, and a greater understanding of the simple fact that women are in no way inferior to men, are overly-sexualized by the media and advertizing community (so I guess something did stick!) and that the best thing we can assert is our own dignity, and above all, our rights.

    Capitalism may be our enemy, but it is also our teacher. --V.I. Lenin equalitymaine.org

    by commonmass on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 09:34:46 AM PDT

  •  I agree with you about Red Hood and the Outlaws. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, SetaSan, Matt Z

    Sadly, that's about all I agree with you on.

    Addressing some of the points you made:

    Justice League is in a middle of a "bringing the team together" storyline, and the writer has already said that each issue in the first 6 part storyline will only focus on one or two characters. So your complaint is that "The book is sexist because Wonder Woman wasn't focused on first," basically; which seems small and petty.

    I'll agree with you a bit about Suicide Squad: Harley's costume is pointless; especially for someone who has in the past demonstrated super-speed and super-strength, but not invulnerability.  However, the Amanda Waller reboot was very clearly done to make her resemble Angela Bassett who played the Wall in Green Lantern, and presumably will be playing her into the upcoming Suicide Squad movie.  There's a long history of comics retrofitting the look of characters to the actors that portray them, and that's all this was.  To assume that it was done to "send some sort" of sexist message tells me you went into the book with an agenda; and when one does that one invariably finds something to justify it.

    Lastly, to objectify male characters in female ways, as you do with your Superboy sketch, while amusing -is pointless.  Male characters are just as objectified as female characters in most books (count the package shots)- they are simply objectified in different ways.

    "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

    by Whimsical on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 10:10:45 AM PDT

    •  Interesting points, but... (8+ / 0-)

      missing the point, I think.

      The issue with JL isn't just that Wonder Woman is missing from the launch (your analysis there is reasonable) but that with universal reboot she's still the only female character on the team. This was a chance to redress that imbalance on the flagship team and DC missed it.

      I seriously disagree with you about the balance of objectification. Please show me even half as many shots of male characters in contorted, exhibitionist poses as Selina and Kori have.

      As for Waller, making her look like a horribly miscast actress, no matter how talented, is adding insult to injury.

      Everyone's been nice to me, the way that Vincent Price would be with midnight coming on. -Peter Blegvad

      by RBHSOregon on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 11:00:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think I could have said it better myself. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass, Prof Haley, Nova Land

        "A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi to come back - but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you."--Marian Wright Edelman

        by TheSolipsisticMe on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 11:18:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  DC is a business (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wednesday Bizzare, fugitive

        They endlessly recycle characters from a million years ago.  Their product sells.  I bet they'll sell these books, and when all is said and done you'll find out Catwoman and Starfire were written to generate controversy and - sell books!

        It could possibly be said that DC and Marvel fall into the "evil corporation" category.  Consider this for a moment - everyone who is upset and crying out is being played by an entity that truly does not care the slightest about them, and will walk away with exactly what it wants - more money.

        Did you talk about any of the independent comic creators  writing along liberal lines today?  Or did you advertise for DC?

        P-L-A-Y-E-D

        (me too)

         

        •  They're still being WAY stupid (5+ / 0-)

          in selling almost exclusively to the niche market of males 18-25. That may be their most dependable demographic NOW, but that won't last.

          They also even more stupidly hacked out an unbridgeable chasm between their "kiddie" books (focused on K-6 and lower) and their "mainstream" line (see above demographic). They had the perfect chance to change that, and...made it worse.

          The ultimate stupidity was the decision to concentrate on the "core" demographic to the exclusion of all others, especially ANY female demographic whatsoever. They're hurting for readers, hurting  very badly - so why be so stupid as to drive some away?

          A company THAT stupid has no business being in business and does not deserve to survive.

          If it's
          Not your body
          Then it's
          Not your choice
          AND it's
          None of your damn business!

          by TheOtherMaven on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 04:32:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You are absolutely right and well said. I think (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Prof Haley, Nova Land

            they are being quite short-sighted.

            "A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi to come back - but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you."--Marian Wright Edelman

            by TheSolipsisticMe on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 05:24:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Do you work in comic publishing? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            fugitive

            What expertise are you drawing from when you make those assertions?  

            I'm sure the people at DC have thought all those things.  I don't believe they are either dumb or evil.  They'd like to increase sales as much as any businessperson - if they're not doing it your way, it could be because they crunched the numbers, and the numbers didn't work out.

            I remember when Tokyo Pop and Viz manga were supposed to change the face of comics, with female friendly manga and big book store distribution.  Tokyo Pop is gone, and I never heard of either turning a profit.  Yet DC remains, with their mostly-male fan base, and distribution through tiny comic shops.

            I doubt if anyone working in comics is really happy with the state of things.  Many years ago I read that most of the artists don't even like drawing superheros.  But, superheros sell, little else does, and unfortunately that's the bottom line.  

          •  What? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            boobot
            That may be their most dependable demographic NOW, but that won't last.

            That's been their dependable demographic since the 60s, and it still is today and it will be 20-50 years from now.

            I don't think you understand the comic business at all. See, the 18-25 year olds will later have sons, who they turn onto comic books and those sons become the 18-25 year old college kids who buy this stuff, and then THEY have sons, and so on and so forth.

            This demographic will NEVER shrink for comic books. It is and always will be their bread and butter, it always has been. Comic books have always appealed to 14-25 year old nerds who get beat up by the jocks in high school so they escape to a fantasy world where the nerd becomes Spiderman and kicks ass and sleeps with the hot red head.

            And frankly, when this audience turns 25, they don't just suddenly stop reading comic books. Why do you think comic book films have been kicking ass at the box office? Because everyone who used to--and often still does--read the comic books go see the movies, and they take their girlfriends and wives and children to see them too.

            DC isn't being stupid at all, they are just being predictable. They are going after the audience that has always kept them in business.

            And, I know some liberals hate to hear this, but take it from a feminist who is also a realist and a geek to boot: sex sells. Sex will always sell. People will pay a lot to read and see a sexy woman in a cat suit or a harlequin bustier. Personally, I don't give a damn what they are WEARING, I care about their character and making sure they aren't dumb airheads draping themselves over the heroes/villains. And these days, most heroines or anti-heroines aren't airhead arm decor.

            Americans won't pay as much (or at all) to see a heavy woman in the same costume. Take THAT from a heavy woman who knows she will never be a movie star, because Americans want to see sexy size 6es in sexy costumes on the big screen. Do you think that silly twit from the Transformers movies--Megan Fox?--became an actress because she has talent? No, she looks good in really short jean shorts draped wet over a motorcycle with a good view of her very long and shapely legs and her perfect ass.

            She tried to be a real actress. Her every movie after Transformers has bombed. She was never chosen as an actress for her acting talent. I stopped watching Transformer movies after the first one because she was very eyeroll worthy, and because Michael Bay's entire plot to all those movies was EXPLOSIONS!!! MORE EXPLOSIONS!!! GIVE ME MORE EXPLOSIONS!!! Michael Bay and his writers didn't care enough to make a female character that wasn't just eye candy framed  by massive explosions, so I didn't care to pay $10 for his crappy movie. That said, please note that none of the Transformer movies bombed. That magical 18-25 male demographic came through for him, every time.

            Please do not interpret my comment to mean that I don't agree that DC could stand to introduce more comic book heroines. DC sucks (I'm a Marvel girl myself), and they don't have enough strong female characters, and few very good male ones. Marvel has done a better job of female characters, but to pretend that said female characters shouldn't be sexy is silliness.

            Sex sells. Period.

      •  Male characters dont get exploited (0+ / 0-)

        by being put in poses.

        That's what I MEANT when I said that male characters are exploited differently (especially flying ones- practically every shot of Supes in the air, the camera is pointed directly at his super-bulge) than female ones, and trying to compare the two isn't an apples to apples comparison.

        I'd bet money that if you factor obvious trash like Red Hood out of the mix though, the ratio of female distorted poses to unnecessary male package shots approaches 1 to 1.

        As for Waller, while it may be wrong to make her look like the actress (who I personally thought did a fine job with what she was given)- it still doesn't make it "sexist".

        "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

        by Whimsical on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 01:25:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's not the same, though (5+ / 0-)

          Male "package" shots generally don't involve gross distortions of anatomy and generally don't exclude the character's face (or head or mask).

          When you count female "boob shots" and "butt shots", be sure to notice how many focus ONLY on that portion of the character's anatomy, and how seldom the face (head, mask, whatever) is included.

          I get really, royally cheesed off by all the snake-women who have infiltrated comics art - the ones with infinitely flexible spines that bend in all directions, and only enough hips or ribcage to show off prominent butt or boobs. Most of them are supposed to be human - but take it from me, they ain't.

          If it's
          Not your body
          Then it's
          Not your choice
          AND it's
          None of your damn business!

          by TheOtherMaven on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 07:23:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  here you go. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            boobot, Whimsical

            this is why we don't do sexually exploitive shots of males.

            http://www.youtube.com/...

            it NEVER turns out well. OH God. The bat nipples. it'll take a hundred years of wonderwoman buttshots to remove the taint of just this movie.

            Standing up for men and their interests does not constitute misogyny. www.youtube.com/manwomanmyth

            by SetaSan on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 05:20:11 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  You prove my point (0+ / 0-)

            I said it wasn't the same.

            Male and female characters are objectified in different ways, but I still maintain

            a) the AMOUNT of objectification is roughly equal and

            b) Complaining that male characters are not objectified in the same way as female chracters is completely and utterly pointless.

            "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

            by Whimsical on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 03:27:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  As for the JLA (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Prof Haley

        While Wonder Woman is the only female of the CORE 7; the actual team roster will be 14 (the core 7 plus 7 other slots which will rotate), once the team is finally built, and has been confirmed to include Vixen and Black Canary as well as one other "mystery" female.

        So no, WW was never going to be the ONLY female character on the team- she's just the only one iconic enough to be in the CORE 7.

        Though to be fair, I would've considered Black Canary far more likely to be worthy of the CORE team than Cyborg; at least in terms of replacing the Martian Manhunter.

        "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

        by Whimsical on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 01:39:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The artwork I saw (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RBHSOregon, zubalove, Nina Katarina

          Showed a roster of 15 with Mera, Element Woman, and a mystery female who was later disclosed to be a revamped version of a Golden Age character named Lady Luck.

          Where did you see Vixen (currently in Justice League International) and Black Canary on the roster?

        •  Wonder Woman not being in the first issue (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Nova Land

          isn't sexist; it's just excessive decompression. Black Canary [who did fill in for Wonder Woman when the latter was retconned so she couldn't have been a JLA founder] would have been the choice. It's no conflict with Birds of Prey as Justice League is set five years ago, like Action Comics.

          And reshaping Waller may have had a point, but not a smart one imo.

          into the blue again, after the money's gone

          by Prof Haley on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:49:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Semantics, not impact (0+ / 0-)

            DC missed a big opportunity to diversify the DCNu here, not just with who is in the first book (which I can buy on a storytelling front) but who is announced to be in it overall. If you're starting fresh, why make the one major reboot another male character, especially with so many women to choose from. Yes, JLD and JLI and BoP have better balances of women, but somehow they don't deserve to be in the flagship? Disappointing.

            Everyone's been nice to me, the way that Vincent Price would be with midnight coming on. -Peter Blegvad

            by RBHSOregon on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 09:06:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Justice League Dark (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RBHSOregon

          has Zatanna and a couple others.

          Number 1 thing I do not want to hear: "Are you satisfied" (uttered by Chuck Todd).

          by AZphilosopher on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 08:58:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Vixen? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RBHSOregon

          Isn't she slotted for the JLI, not the JLA? Is it even going to be called the JLA?

      •  Sort of... but not the only female on team... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        quarkstomper

        While I agree with your points in general, the first story arch of JLA will be focusing on the team 5 years previous to present day in the DCU, at it's inception. Once that arch is over (6 issues) the book moves to present day DCU where Element Woman, Lady Luck, and Mera will be members. At least, that's what I've been told.

        I should also point out Justice League International has a much more robust female cast. It also has Guy Gardner in it too. Anyone that knows comics knows JLI has always been way out in front of other books. ;) (<--Trolling for a fight)

    •  Transvestite Super Boy (4+ / 0-)

      Male skin isn't a problem - Namor wears less.  

      One might ask if the people putting forth such images as offensive, secretly have a problem with Super Boy (or men in general) looking fabulous?  

  •  Oh, and Catwoman (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass

    While I agree that the sex scene was fairly pointless, there was no more "contortion/bizarre presentation" than you would see in any PG-13 rate movie that was trying hard not to slip into an R.

    "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

    by Whimsical on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 10:13:20 AM PDT

  •  Required reading on this topic (15+ / 0-)

    by Laura Hudson, editor-in-chief of Comics Alliance. She provides a much more in-depth look at the power of the decisions made by DC editorial and the messages those decisions send to readers.

    Many panels from the comics in question, a nice overview of the original interpretation of Starfire, and BONUS a revised Green Lantern costume that goes nicely with this Superboy.

    Worth a full read, but here's the key paragraph:

    Most of all, what I keep coming back to is that superhero comics are nothing if not aspirational. They are full of heroes that inspire us to be better, to think more things are possible, to imagine a world where we can become something amazing. But this is what comics like this tell me about myself, as a lady: They tell me that I can be beautiful and powerful, but only if I wear as few clothes as possible. They tell me that I can have exciting adventures, as long as I have enormous breasts that I constantly contort to display to the people around me. They tell me I can be sexually adventurous and pursue my physical desires, as long as I do it in ways that feel inauthentic and contrived to appeal to men and kind of creep me out. When I look at these images, that is what I hear, and I don't think I even realized how much until this week.

    You can read it here.

    Everyone's been nice to me, the way that Vincent Price would be with midnight coming on. -Peter Blegvad

    by RBHSOregon on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 11:10:02 AM PDT

    •  Great quote to include. Thank you. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nova Land, Nina Katarina

      "A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi to come back - but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you."--Marian Wright Edelman

      by TheSolipsisticMe on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 11:19:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Just because that's what she hears (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gsenski

      doesn't mean that's what's being said.

      "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

      by Whimsical on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 01:48:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If DC isn't communicating clearly it's DC's fault (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        virgomusic, Matt Z, Nina Katarina

        not the reader's.

        Have you noticed HOW FEW women are part of the "New 52" creative crews? Maybe that's part of the problem right there - DC has shut out an entire perspective that they're not interested in.

        Just more STUPID from a comics company that's been wallowing in stupid for years.

        If it's
        Not your body
        Then it's
        Not your choice
        AND it's
        None of your damn business!

        by TheOtherMaven on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 06:28:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If the reader has an agenda (0+ / 0-)

          they're going to hear what they want to hear, and no, that isn't DC's fault.

          Comics in general doesnt seem to attract a lot of women creators. Ive been reading them for 20 years, and I can count them on the fingers on one hand (and one of them still works for DC).  To blame DC for the scarcity of women in the industry, however, is ludicrous- DC would be happy to hire more women if there were more women involved.

          "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

          by Whimsical on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 06:57:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I call bullshit (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            virgomusic, zubalove, Nina Katarina

            DC HAS more women working for it than you think. Several of them were helming books before Flashpoint, and ONLY ONE of them is doing so in the "New 52".

            New direction? Seems to me more like same old same old from twenty years ago.

            If it's
            Not your body
            Then it's
            Not your choice
            AND it's
            None of your damn business!

            by TheOtherMaven on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 07:28:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  They can leave. (0+ / 0-)

              I admired the Image founders when they broke away from Marvel.  Not all of them proved up to the task of putting out a regular book, but they weighed themselves down with time consuming illustrating styles.  Which I bought, instead of Marvel or DC.

              If anyone thinks they can make a better mousetrap than DC, the resources are out there.  Womanthology did fantastic on Kickstarter.  They set a $25,000 goal and have $110,000 pledged.  They're shooting for $200,000 now.  

    •  Manhunter (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nova Land, Matt Z

      by Mark Andreyko wasn't like that. It also was cancelled [though long before this reboot].

      And Renee Montoya didn't fit that mold, either - but boyoboy did she pay for it.

      into the blue again, after the money's gone

      by Prof Haley on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:59:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  One thing I'm not sure I like (6+ / 0-)

    is Barbara Gordan's transformation from Oracle back to Bat-Girl.  As the paraplegic master of information, she was a very strong character and key to many of Batman's and other character's victories over the past 20 or so years.  Before the Joker shot her, she was barely an afterthought in the post-Crisis universe.

    It's about time I changed my signature.

    by Khun David on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 11:41:30 AM PDT

    •  I have mixed feelings about this too. (5+ / 0-)

      I always found Oracle to be an outstanding character. As a librarian, I also enjoyed watching her use that part of her training as a super-hero. The loss of a wheelchair-bound lead character is as distressing as the Bassetized Waller.

      I did appreciate Gail Simone's take on the newly-abled Barbara Gordon however. In a nutshell, if Kal-El, Hal Jordan, Oliver Queen, et al. get to come back from the dead fercryinoutloud why can't one female character be restored?

      I do hope that the spectrum of heroism is broadened as the DCNu unfolds. Disabled and LGBT characters are sadly lacking so far.

      Everyone's been nice to me, the way that Vincent Price would be with midnight coming on. -Peter Blegvad

      by RBHSOregon on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 11:52:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I enjoyed DC for a number of years (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Prof Haley, Matt Z

        (forced into it, my late husband was a lifetime collector, but ended up liking a few)  was there when Batgirl "died" so I'm glad to know Barbara Gordon is back...but Oracle was great reading to me, and a real inspiration to some younger persons with disabilities I know.  Here's hoping DC decides to create heroes with disabilities in future.

        Re: Batman/Catwoman and "hooking up."  Sigh.  I'm fine with sex in comics, but like it better if it is a payoff for an heroic adventure that both were successful in.  But these two are both so complex...there has to be more to it than that.

        The Big Brother that Beck feared? Turned out to be his former boss, Rupert!

        by imfunnytoo on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 12:47:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  *coughBatwomancough* n/t. (0+ / 0-)

        "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

        by Whimsical on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 01:40:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I liked it back about 10 years ago (5+ / 0-)

        when the Pied Piper, one of the Flash's rogues, came to support the Flash, and also came out as being gay.  Too bad later writers abandoned those aspects of the character.

        It's about time I changed my signature.

        by Khun David on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 04:01:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Pied Piper (6+ / 0-)

          That was when William Messner-Loebs was writing THE FLASH.  I enjoyed his run on that title.  The scene in which the Piper comes out to Wally was a good one.

          About a year later, Marvel made a big deal about how the character of Northstar from ALPHA FLIGHT was going to be coming out.  From the beginning, Northstar was kind of written in a "wink-wink, nudge-nudge" fashion, but until this point Marvel had insisted he was not gay.  Northstar's big revelation actually was made in the middle of a slugfest with another character.

          I couldn't help but think that Piper's scene was better written, more sensitive, and more "real".

          "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

          by quarkstomper on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 05:39:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  At that he got better treatment than James Jesse (4+ / 0-)

            aka the Trickster, aka the guy who conned the Devil - twice! (Which led to the fascinating character development of his having to turn over a new leaf and try to do good, because he didn't dare wind up in Hell...which was all thrown away and trashed, repeatedly, and then he was casually killed off. Grrrrr!)

            If it's
            Not your body
            Then it's
            Not your choice
            AND it's
            None of your damn business!

            by TheOtherMaven on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:01:49 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I missed that story! (0+ / 0-)

              Sounds a little like the flip side of John Constantine getting cancer, dealing his soul away three times over and forcing the Devil to cure him to avert a war thst would bring down Heaven and Hell.

              into the blue again, after the money's gone

              by Prof Haley on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 09:06:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Trickster's big con was in Underworld Unleashed (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Matt Z, Nina Katarina

                Rather too many years ago now, but it was his Crowning Moment of Awesome.

                I think the whole thing came out in trade paperback, but you'd really have to look for it, or order it from a company that specializes in such things (or get the ISBN and see if your favorite bookstore can get it for you).

                If it's
                Not your body
                Then it's
                Not your choice
                AND it's
                None of your damn business!

                by TheOtherMaven on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 06:47:56 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  One new disabled character (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Prof Haley

        Is the Horsewoman, an archer in the medieval DCnU comic Demon Knights.  People who have read it seem to like that book.

        •  Let's just hope the book attracts enough fans (0+ / 0-)

          It's never going to be one of DC's best sellers - it's too quirky and esoteric for that. Its best hope is to become a "cult favorite" - but that won't save it if DC has another "revamping" fit.

          If it's
          Not your body
          Then it's
          Not your choice
          AND it's
          None of your damn business!

          by TheOtherMaven on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 07:31:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  She has a lot of potential (0+ / 0-)

          but that book was so diffuse I couldn't really tell you what I liked about it. It's well-done [though Etrigan doesn't rhyme], but too decompressed or something. Scenes, but not story. Madame Xanadu's getting a workout, between here and the cryptic Justice League Dark.

          into the blue again, after the money's gone

          by Prof Haley on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 09:11:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Haven't followed comics much in the past 10 years (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RBHSOregon, Prof Haley, Matt Z

      But I am sad to hear that Barbara Gordon is transforming from Oracle back into Batgirl.

    •  The old Birds of Prey (0+ / 0-)

      was one of the few series I collected (the collections of), and I followed the news about Batgirl and the new 52.

      The mandate to bring back Batgirl was from DC, and according to interviews, Gail said, if it was going to be done, she was going to be the one to do it well.

      I really liked what she did by starting the series with Batgirl as a superhero just out of rehab, and who had worked hard to recover from her injury, and I look forward to Gail writing her as 'the girl who could have been Oracle', which sounds like the plan.

      After reading some of the reaction to the Catwoman and the like, I went back panel by panel of Batgirl #1, and asked myself: "Could I see Batman in that pose?" and said no. Then I kicked myself, went and asked myself "Could I see Robin/nightwing in that pose?" and said yes...

      "All things are not equally true. It is time to face reality." -Al Gore

      by Geek of all trades on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 11:31:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  nice diary but it's time for LGBT characters (8+ / 0-)

    I am off my metas! Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03)

    by annieli on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 11:53:40 AM PDT

    •  I completely agree! (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annieli, CA coastsider, Prof Haley, Matt Z

      "A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi to come back - but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you."--Marian Wright Edelman

      by TheSolipsisticMe on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 12:01:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Absolutely! (4+ / 0-)

      So far only Batwoman had clear LGBT content. We'll see if Lightning Lass and Shrinking Violet are still a couple (I'm optimistic, given Levitz continuing as the writer) and Teen Titans is supposed to gain a gay member in issue 3. Not nearly enough...

      Everyone's been nice to me, the way that Vincent Price would be with midnight coming on. -Peter Blegvad

      by RBHSOregon on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 12:04:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  stormwatch has at least two gay characters (4+ / 0-)

        in the previous Wildstorm universe Apollo and Midnighter were married with Jenny Quantum as their adopted daughter. In the new 52 they've just met and have no relationship but their sexuality has allegedly survived the merge.

        Cornell: Stormwatch aren't 'coming into' the DCU, they've always been part of it. The book's got a very serious, deadly tone to it, leavened with the wit of the characters. Apollo and the Midnighter meet for the first time in issue one. Most asked question: yes, they're still gay.
        http://www.newsarama.com/...
        •  It's great that they're "still gay" but (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CA coastsider, Prof Haley, Matt Z

          there was nothing in the issue to demonstrate that. I'm willing to believe that there will be many LGBT characters in the DCNu. It's just disappointing that in 52 new books only Kate (Batwoman) Kane and Maggie Sawyer are visible. Not much on the promised diversity front there.

          Everyone's been nice to me, the way that Vincent Price would be with midnight coming on. -Peter Blegvad

          by RBHSOregon on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 03:26:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  My problem with that is that it wasn't very honest (0+ / 0-)

          Midnighter and Apollo are Batman and Superman analogs. They were written as gay, at least initially to be ironic. While they may have developed into an interesting relationship, there were so many morality issues that existed in The Authority, the relationship was always in the backseat.

          I always thought the beauty of the Authority was it was a book that masqueraded as a super-team, but was really about tyrannical villains that held contempt for who they were trying to save, and ultimately took over the world. The Authority were never "good-guys".

    •  Not sure how DC is doing... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joey c, DruidQueen

      But the various X-titles have several gay characters:

      Northstar (who is back with Alpha Flight), Rictor, Shatterstar, Karma, Anole, Graymalkin, Bling!  Mystique in particular had a long-term relationship with Destiny.

    •  The Question? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Prof Haley

      I believe that the new version of the Question introduced a few years ago is a lesbian, but I don't know what her status is post-52boot.

      "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

      by quarkstomper on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 02:33:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Dunno if she's been seen (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        quarkstomper

        except in flashback in Batwoman. Pre-relaunch, she was saddled with a bona-fide Biblical curse - I'd love to hear that's been quietly forgotten. I'm still annoyed at the way she had to leave GCPD as part of their bungling the Spectre legacy.

        into the blue again, after the money's gone

        by Prof Haley on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 09:18:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Regarding The Catwoman/Batman Relationship (6+ / 0-)

    I've read more than a few reviews of the ending of Catwoman #1 that seem to be most revolted by the S&M elements of that ending. As a person who has spent a number of years involved in and an advocate of the BDSM scene, I see this is terribly moralistic and ignoring the real substance of the presentation of this storyline: That it is silly.

    I may have to read this issue a few more times to see if I'm missing something but I think the way that Batman and Catwoman are portrayed having a secret affair does an injustice to both characters. Violent in their costumed persona is it necessary for them to be equally violent in their lovemaking? Not a lot of contrast or nuance there. The New 52 seem to be written, at least in this case, with an old sensibility.

    This head movie makes my eyes rain.

    by The Lone Apple on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 12:27:22 PM PDT

  •  *ahem* makeminemarvel *ahem* (3+ / 0-)

    Sorry, just clearing my throat there...

    Seriously, though, I guess I'm spoiled being an X-Men fan, but do you think Marvel has generally been a bit better in this area than DC (Ms. Marvel's weird condoned son-rape and the occasional swimsuit issue notwithstanding)?

    •  Well, call me crazy (0+ / 0-)

      but Id rather read a well written comic with clear continuity that doesn't spotlight a minority character, than a badly written, badly drawn "event" comic with continuity that even Dr. Who couldn't make sense of that does.

      Marvel may spotlight more minority characters, but in general, their books are so much lower in quality (Marvel has one decent writer at the moment- Peter David) that I'd argue they actually aren't doing minority characters any favors.

      "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

      by Whimsical on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 01:45:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, no gimmicks at DC... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        XerTeacher, Prof Haley

        Like, say, a pointless relaunch and renumbering that apparently isn't substantively changing anything about the books while at the same time getting rid of what continuity keeps people coming back in the first place.  

        Besides which, the X-books in particular actually have several good writers now - not just Peter David, but Rick Remender and Mike Carey.  Not to mention the fact that Kieron Gillen is showing some promise as well.  

        Frankly, no fan of either company has a leg to stand on as far as "events" are concerned.  How far after "Brightest Day" was "Flashpoint" again?

        •  Oh, I didn't know Carey was doing (0+ / 0-)

          Marvel. He's an excellent writer- his Lucifer was one of the best books of the 00's.

          I gave up on Marvel in disgust after Civil War led directly into Secret Invasion led directly into Dark Reign led directly into Siege...where you had to buy ALL the crossover books to get the full story.

          Compare that to DC who at least gives you some breathing room (Brightest Day doesn't count- you could buy either the Brightest Day book the crosssover was unintrusive, for the most part) between events- DC tends to keep events confined to a particular group of books, rather than the whole line.

          Infinite Crisis was 2005. Final Crisis was 2008.  Blackest night was 2009. Flashpoint was 2011.  Much more in the way of breathing room.

          Not that DC doesn't have gimmicks, I concede they do.  But they seem overall far less reliant on them then Marvel, and for my money put out a vastly superior product.

          "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

          by Whimsical on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 02:25:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Marvel's problem... (0+ / 0-)

            Isn't so much that they're too reliant on crossovers, but in a sense that they're too effective at convincing readers that they can't skip the tie-ins.  Re-reading both Civil War (which was good) and Secret Invasion (which could have been, but wasn't) without the tie-ins, they really aren't necessary, and give a better perspective on the storylines.

            The biggest problem, though, is when you convince readers to read all the tie-ins, is that the reader gets to read all the poorly-written titles as well.  This leads to an overall low opinion of Marvel and a lot of people dropping them in resentment.

            I'm going through a bit of this right now with Fear Itself - at first I was reading all the tie-ins, but I soon decided to drop all the tie-ins except the ones relating to the books I already read (the X-books) and the ones that I've found are pretty good through the crossover (Journey into Mystery is excellent right now).  It's made for a more enjoyable experience.

            In the end, though, I'm not sure that one approach or the other really produces an "overall superior product."  I think both companies produce its share of excellent titles and its share of stinkers.  But like I said, if a crossover ends up making you think you have to keep up with all of them, the crappy ones are going to lower your overall opinion of the quality of the company's output.

          •  You understate (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Nova Land

            Identity Crisis, 52, Countdown, Infinite Crisis, Sinestro Corps War/Agent Orange/Rage of the Red Lanterns/Blackest Night/War of the Green Lanterns/Brightest Day, Amazons Attack, Batman's death & return, Flash: Rebirth, Flashpoint, I think there was another Rann-Thanagar war in there ...

            They're not all company wide, but there's no letup either.

            into the blue again, after the money's gone

            by Prof Haley on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 09:38:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  It's worse than that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Nova Land

          how many months has DC had from Identity Crisis to now without an event? In Green Lantern alone we're past the three-year mark since Sinestro Corps War.

          into the blue again, after the money's gone

          by Prof Haley on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 09:30:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I recommend (0+ / 0-)

        Mark Waid's Daredevil, a desperately-needed new direction after they took grimngritty about as far as it could go.

        And mainstream novelist David Liss is doing good work on Black Panther, now that some gimmick event or other has destroyed all the vibranium or sometiing and landed T'Challa powerless in Hell's Kitchen.

        I've been a Brubaker fan for a long time, so I'm enjoying the ascent of the Captain America franchise after Civil War.

        into the blue again, after the money's gone

        by Prof Haley on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 09:27:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  wow (0+ / 0-)

        I don't read Marvel because they're enlightened - i like their curvy continuity.

        In fact, I never even consider the depiction of minorities/gender/LBGT issues as a criteria for the comics i read because (1) they're clearly escapist fantasy that has nothing to do with real life, and (2) Marvel does well enough that I'm never outraged.

        Why did you feel compelled to turn the issue from how comic book authors are horrible misogynists to how the comic book company you like is better than the one you dislike?

        "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

        by joey c on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 09:19:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Is that what I did? (0+ / 0-)

          Because from my POV the topic was that DC missed an opportunity to make some improvements in the area of misogyny in the comic industry, and I simply asked whether the author (or anyone else) thought that Marvel has done a better job in that particular area.

          Aside from that, my responses have been directly to points already raised by others.  If you consider this to be "off-topic" I'd imagine your conversations with other people are fairly short.

        •  Sorry (0+ / 0-)

          It was hard to tell to whom you were responding - I should have clicked on "parent."  These threads are hard to distinguish.

          •  no worries (0+ / 0-)

            I was replying to whimsical, who was the first to go negative ("a badly written, badly drawn "event" comic with continuity that even Dr. Who couldn't make sense of that does.").

            "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

            by joey c on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 10:31:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Because (0+ / 0-)

          I misread the original comment post slightly as "Isn't Marvel better than DC because they do this(spotlight minorities) better?" and people giving crap slack simply because it spotlights minorities is a particular hot button of mine.

          "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

          by Whimsical on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 08:08:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I didn't get a sense of (0+ / 0-)

            the original quote being all "Isn't Marvel better than DC because they do this(spotlight minorities) better?"

            but more something like "as a marvel fan, I'm pleased to note that they seem to handle this issue of minority portrayal a bit better." that could be the result of my own bias, I'll admit.

            "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

            by joey c on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 09:14:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It was more like... (0+ / 0-)

              "I mostly read Marvel, so I'm under the impression that Marvel is a bit better about this.  Is there anything from DC that I'm missing, or legitimate criticism of Marvel, that should make me rethink this position?"

              The title of the comment was probably misleading, but I thought it was clearly a joke.

    •  Marvel (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      boobot

      Has been 1000x times better.

      X-men alone have a number of strong and well-done female characters.

  •  What Indy comics did you read today? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RBHSOregon

    Instead of talking about the corporate entity that is only going to do the things that make it money, why not talk about the independent creators that might be doing things that you like?  Go to topwebcomics.com, it's easy!  There's a bazillion female creators out there, and any kind of thing you want (although the production values may not always be as high as a big corporate comic).  

    •  Well, not to hijack the thread (0+ / 0-)

      But yeah, if you're not reading "Locke and Key", which is an indy, I will tell you you are missing the best comic available today.

      "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

      by Whimsical on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 01:51:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not hijacking the thread (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RBHSOregon

        It's telling that only one other person here (so far) is reading indy comics.  I wonder how many of the people commenting against DC here, know that Girl Genius exists?  Or that they can see lots of dick and gay sex in Paradox?  If you want it, it's out there - usually for free, from a creator struggling to get any kind of recognition for their work.  

        If DC doesn't have what you want, shop elsewhere.  Indy creators will thank you for it.

        •  Agreed, but it's complicated for me (0+ / 0-)

          I'm a big supporter of indy comics as well (including a big push for Northwest Press' The Power Within this month). There is plenty of quality stuff out there, certainly.
          My dilemma here is that I've been a DC reader (with a brief foray into Marvel in the 80s) since 19bloody70 and have a deep investment in many of the characters. Unfortunately for me, I strongly prefer JSA, LSH, and "minor" characters like Black Canary and Zatanna to the Big 3, the 400 Lanterns, and the Flash-of-the-week. >sigh<

          Everyone's been nice to me, the way that Vincent Price would be with midnight coming on. -Peter Blegvad

          by RBHSOregon on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 07:37:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Give the writers a chance? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RBHSOregon, DruidQueen

            I'll confess to being guilty of jumping the gun on a couple revamps myself - was totally against the reimagined Battlestar Galactica, despised Chris Pine as Captain Kirk.  Had to eat crow and admit both were absolutely great, and from the safety of my armchair I'd called them wrong.  

            I think everyone needs to chill a bit and see where the writers take Catwoman and Starfire.  You may end up liking where they go.  Or maybe not, it does seem like American comics attract a lot of right wingers.  But with Starfire in particular, I think they will take the character through a process where she turns into a decent person.  

            •  Reasonable advice but (0+ / 0-)

              as I've said before, there was a LOT of hype about these first 52 issues. This was the chance to hook, impress, and intruigue or alienate, irritate, and offend. I'm prepared to be pleasantly surprised on the books that I think are worth my time, but DC missed a real opportunity to put its best foot forward in some cases.

              Everyone's been nice to me, the way that Vincent Price would be with midnight coming on. -Peter Blegvad

              by RBHSOregon on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 10:33:17 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Well, to be fair (0+ / 0-)

          Girl Genius is not the Super Hero Genre of Comics.

          There are a lot of great Webcomics out there, but they tend to be different genres.

          In actual non-mavel, non-DC print, I've been really enjoying Invincible and Powers (and PS 238 for something lighter).

          "All things are not equally true. It is time to face reality." -Al Gore

          by Geek of all trades on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 11:38:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  From the reviews I've read of this reboot (0+ / 0-)

    it looks to me like some group of consultants made a lot of fast money, and DC is going to regret that big once the sales figures are in.

    The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

    by raboof on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 02:23:00 PM PDT

  •  When I was young I can clearly (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Purple Priestess

    remember thinking that some female comic book characters were "nice looking" but I don't think I ever fantasized about them. But around the early 90's I can clearly looking back see a trend to sell the sex appeal of female characters. At first it was empowering (Wonder Woman, Cat Woman, Jean Grey, Invisible Woman, Witch Blade) but then it seemed to head into "Super-Power-Dominatrix" territory.

    -1.63/ -1.49 "Speaking truth to power" (with snark of course)!

    by dopper0189 on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 02:30:38 PM PDT

  •  My copy of the first 3 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RBHSOregon, Matt Z, Nina Katarina

    Batgirl comics are on their way to me now. Got them based on your diary about the series. Looking forward to reading them.

    I am distressed to hear about Starfire being...well, NOT Starfire. She was always a favorite of mine - I actually love both female Titans - and I don't get why the writers thought she needed any "personality transplant" at all. I suppose I will need to subscribe to the Titans, too.... :::sigh:::

    Thanks for the overview. We comic book geeks might be older but we still love our characters!

    How can anybody be enlightened? Truth is, after all, so poorly lit.

    by Purple Priestess on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 02:37:42 PM PDT

    •  Teen Titans Go! (6+ / 0-)

      Last week I saw a cartoon (which I can't find now, naturally) about a girl who, when she was young, loved watching TEEN TITANS on TV.  Her favorite character was Starfire, because she was nice and she was cheerful and she was always supportive of her friends.  Now the girl is a teen and picks up a copy of RED ARROW to read about her old heroine.  

      And she goes "Ick."

      And comics loses another potential reader.

      "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

      by quarkstomper on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 05:44:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It wasn't a personality "transplant" (6+ / 0-)

      it was a personality EXCISION. Starfire has no personality in that first issue - she's just a lay-me doll with a bazooka.

      Hasn't anybody told ANYbody at DC that you're supposed to put your BEST foot forward in a first issue - not your WRONG foot, or, worse, yet your arse?

      Even if it turns out eventually that she's been brainwashed, mind-controlled, drugged stupid, or otherwise forcibly deleted of any vestige of intelligence and personality, the bad taste of that first issue will remain - and many readers will never get to the explanation, because they won't bother reading any more issues.

      If it's
      Not your body
      Then it's
      Not your choice
      AND it's
      None of your damn business!

      by TheOtherMaven on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 06:39:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hmmm (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nova Land

    This is what I think you're referring to.

    Fits my feelings exactly.

    Remember! "Fan" is short for "Fanatic"!

    by Anjana on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 06:39:17 PM PDT

  •  Meet Fran Frazer! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Notthemayor, Nova Land

    Fran Frazer, "glamorous and daring girl photographer," was created by none other than my own darling dad  for Top-Notch Comics in 1941. Enjoy!

    Digital Comic Museum Comic Viewer: Top-Notch Comics 11 (1941) - topnotch_11/topnotch_11_25.jpg
    digitalcomicmuseum.com

    •  Go to digitalcomicmuseum.com (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Notthemayor

      You'll find Fran in Top Notch Comics #11 (1941).

    •  I'll admit I'm not familiar with Fran... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Prof Haley

      As even the major MLJ characters are relatively obscure, but maybe this link will work better:
      http://www.allthingsnow.com/...

      Not to be overly personal, but was your father Irv Novick?  In my quick research I see he's credited with the strip.  He was one of my favorite artists, particularly on Batman & the Flash, when I was growing up in the Seventies.

      I always thought guys like him & Curt Swan...who just did great work for decades, across three different eras, never got the credit they deserved.

      "Those are my principles...if you don’t like them I have others." Groucho Marx...and most politicians

      by Notthemayor on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 10:15:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  They go over the top with the cheesecake... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RBHSOregon

    I guess because they assume that all their readers are pubescent males.

    Unfortunately, that makes it very difficult to broaden your appeal to other audiences...like the 50% + of the population that's female.

    I've written a fair number of comics...beginning in the 1980s with Ex-Mutants.  A very large percentage of my work over the years has featured female leads.

    Though the Ex-Mutants concept was kind of cheesecakey...4 girlls & I guy for starters...I never WROTE it that way.

    One of the girls was the leader, one was the brainy one...the lone guy was sort of the spunky comic relief.

    I never had a breakdown of our readership, but a lot of our mail came from women.

    In recent years I've worked on Patricia Brigg's Mercy Thompson comics...a strong female lead...with no cheesecake.  Mercy is naked occasionally...but then she does transform into a coyote.  So it's either no clothes...which makes sense...or clothes that magically appear and disappear...which don't.

    Again, I think this series should appeal to women, but I'm not sure that the promotion has been enough that they even know that we're out there.

    (Hmm...if I put up a link here to the Moon Called graphic novel on Amazon would that be pimping?  Probably.)

    A great many women enjoy graphic storytelling and could be brought into the fold if we reach them with the right product.

    I'm pretty sure Super-Nympho-Starfire ISN'T it, though.

    It's a self-defeating circle...since you sell to pubescent boys so you write for pubescent boys....since you write for pubescent boys...and so on.

    "Those are my principles...if you don’t like them I have others." Groucho Marx...and most politicians

    by Notthemayor on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 09:56:05 PM PDT

    •  I'll pimp it for ya. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Notthemayor

      Moon Called graphic novel

      You may haved made Mercedes a bit young and the guys a bit too interchangeable - I couldn't figure out which was which from cover art.  But at least you remembered her coyote footprint tattoo.  I'll have to put it on my birthday wish list.  

      She's an interesting female hero and I like her a lot.  I hope the love triangle doesn't turn into another Anita Blake fiasco.  

      I support public employee's unions.

      by Tracker on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 10:01:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks! (0+ / 0-)

        In the end we didn't use that as the cover art for the GN...the one we did use was my favorite.

        Hopefully you'll like Amelia's interiors better than Brett's cover.

        Mercy might still look a bit young though.  We first worked on Mercy in HOMECOMING, an original GN (as opposed to an adaptation) set about 10 years prior to the events of Moon Called.

        But we didn't alter her appearance or age her...kept the appearance consistent in the two.

        "Those are my principles...if you don’t like them I have others." Groucho Marx...and most politicians

        by Notthemayor on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 06:49:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Pubescent males and cheesecake, not a stereotype (0+ / 0-)

      Them pubescent males, all they want to do is sit around with pics of disembodied boobs and jack off.

      No.

      Having been a pubescent male, I'm getting a little offended by hearing this.  I would always have preferred the Teen Titans cartoon Starfire, to the Red Hood Starfire, who is horrid.  Like most of the girls I went to school with who had great or even decent bodies.  Awful people, at least at that point in their development.  Sex with them would have been a terrible experience.  

      •  I was speaking in shorthand... (0+ / 0-)

        I was referring to the imaginary pubescent males they are aiming at...not real ones.

        A great many young men have much better taste than some publishers give them credit for...but they often aim at the lowest common denominator.

        "Those are my principles...if you don’t like them I have others." Groucho Marx...and most politicians

        by Notthemayor on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 06:42:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  they are comic books. i'd love to see the (0+ / 0-)

    stats on what percentage of their customers are male or female and their age group. If you can't figure out why men are women are designed the way that they are in these comics just by that then i can't help you..

    Standing up for men and their interests does not constitute misogyny. www.youtube.com/manwomanmyth

    by SetaSan on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 05:13:27 AM PDT

  •  Keep DC and Marvel... (0+ / 0-)

    give me Vampirella, Creepei and Eerie...PLEASE! I miss them terribly.

    "Truth never damages a cause that is just."~~~Mohandas K. Gandhi -9.38/-6.26

    by LynneK on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 06:08:35 AM PDT

  •  And the boys... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RBHSOregon, AZphilosopher

    Why not look at some of the attitudes being offered up about boys and being male?

    Like this article addresses about Allowing Teenage Boys to Love Their Friends

    Insanity is a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world... -R D Laing

    by crazyamerican on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 08:49:00 AM PDT

  •  I think the author is a little hard on (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nina Katarina

    Suicide Squad.  One could just as easily say that they did a service to Harley by making her able to function without Mr. J and making her a bit more serious and less cartoonish.

    This is the 3rd or 4th critique of Teen Titans (I haven't read it) along the same lines so this seems to be the worst example and Suicide Squad should not even be in the same conversation.

    Batgirl, Supergirl and Birds of Prey were really good and they are now going to be on my "pull list".  So I would be a tad more sanguine about the fate of female characters in the DC 'verse with the exception of that weird Teen Titans thing that everyone is responding to.

    Number 1 thing I do not want to hear: "Are you satisfied" (uttered by Chuck Todd).

    by AZphilosopher on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 08:55:56 AM PDT

    •  Respectfully disagree (and slight correction) (0+ / 0-)

      Correction first: the problematic Starfire is in Red Hood & the Outlaws, a Titans offshoot. That's important primarily because there is a new TT book which is starting off pretty well.

      As for SS and Outlaws being in the same conversation, that's where I respectfull disagree. Harley aside, the pointless new body for Amanda Waller is as agressive in its way as the excision of Starfire's personality. Perhaps more important, this diary looks at the overall impact of the New 52. Good starts for Batgirl, Batwoman, Supergirl, and Wonder Woman (despite the potential cheesecake) are offset by the negative aspects. What's the overall balance? YMMV, of course, but I land on disappointed with notes of optimism.

      Everyone's been nice to me, the way that Vincent Price would be with midnight coming on. -Peter Blegvad

      by RBHSOregon on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 09:03:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Weight and gender is such a complex (0+ / 0-)

        topic.  Right now, there seems to be some sort of weird reverse double standard developing.  Changing Waller is viewed as somehow an example of misogyny while everyone feels free to knock Christie on his weight and call on him to lose significant amounts of weight.  Last week on MSNBC was "Christie is too fat" week.  In the dating market, it is acceptable to reject males based on proportions but males that do the same are viewed as "shallow".  

        I'm willing to say that this is a character named Waller that bears no resemblance to the original and chalk it up to the reboot.  I'm not quite sure what to make of claims that would somehow automatically say changing Waller's weight is sexist.  This may very well be an example of DC rejecting various forms of diversity (as is getting Gordon out of the chair), but I don't think that that necessarily translates into misogyny.

        I would be inclined to agree if they go on to aggressively sexualize Waller in subsequent books, however.

        Number 1 thing I do not want to hear: "Are you satisfied" (uttered by Chuck Todd).

        by AZphilosopher on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 09:50:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Where are all the fat guys? (0+ / 0-)

          I've looked through a few female created, boy love manga, and all I saw was skinny, pretty guys with long flowing hair.  Where are the fat boys?  Why can't a fat model get on as many romance novel covers as Fabio?  

        •  Waller's change has ZERO to do (0+ / 0-)

          with misogony or sexism. It's to make her resemble Angela Bassett, who will be playing her in the Suicide Squad movie. There is a long history of comic companies doing this.

          Claims that it is somehow "sexist" or "misogynistic" actually makes it harder to take legitimate criticism of the DCnU seriously, IMO.

          "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

          by Whimsical on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 11:10:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We'll never agree on this one (0+ / 0-)

            I see your point but stand by my assertion that the cinematic Waller should have been cast to be more respectful of the comics vision of the character. Failing that, there is zero reason for DC to try to make the characters match. That there are limited Hollywood options who look like Waller is sad, but perhaps true. Comics are not bound by that limitation. YMMV regarding the extent of the sexism inherent, but the decision was unnecessary and removed a powerful symbol from the DC universe.

            Everyone's been nice to me, the way that Vincent Price would be with midnight coming on. -Peter Blegvad

            by RBHSOregon on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 11:36:46 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, we won't. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AZphilosopher

              But I will cede that if there was a: short, overweight, African American actress with talent, and enough name recognition to be offered the role, but without enough to make the film too expensive, she should have been offered the role.

              Comics are not bound by anything; DC is under no obligation to keep Waller the same. They do it so people don't pick up the comic, go "This is not like the movie" and put it down again (and yes, those people exist, I've seen them). But again, this is not based AT ALL on sexism. It is based on the profit motive, and making the 'sexist' claim about something so clearly not sexist damages your credibility on other, more valid points, imo.

              I do owe you some thanks: This discussion has forced me to examine my own highly negative reaction to most of the criticisms of the DCnU (with the exception of the Starfire ones), and I have figured out why they bother me so much.

              "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

              by Whimsical on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 08:45:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  I should point out... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RBHSOregon, Nina Katarina

    "The Stormwatch cast is (so far) mostly men and the visible female characters are poorly developed. "

    I would say Stormwatch itself has historically been poorly developed, as was The Authority which did have a female lead.

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