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I have one last guest post for you this week. This is from a high school senior, Kate O’Donoghue. As soon as I asked for guest posts Kate shot her hand up and then continued to request the opportunity. Comics needs persistent, passionate fans like Kate. I hope you enjoy her thoughts that follow:
I live in two different worlds. Sadly, neither have superheroes, but both are pretty great. One is always there, keeping me up, making me laugh, making me cry. The other is always there, keeping me up, making me laugh, making me cry. Both teach me, but never the same lessons. I exist on the Internet, but I live in high school.
I’m sure you’ve all heard the tales. The girl is taunted, her books shoved from her hands and across the coffee stained floors, all because she happened to be wearing a Batman shirt and reading the latest issue of Wolverine. I won’t be telling you that tale. Yes, I am a high school student. Yes, I am a girl. Yes, I read comic books. No, actually, I have never heard any flack about it.
I hope you have been enjoying the guest posts this week while I am on vacation. Today’s post is by Pamela Bodziock who did a wonderful guest post last year about how she brought superhero comics into the library where she serves as a Teen Services Librarian. In this post she discusses why some many female superheroes are distaff versions of iconic male heroes. Her thoughts follow.
If you’ve read today’s previous post you can see there is theme today. This guest post takes a look at one of my favorite characters Selina Kyle aka Catwoman through the years. The writer is Beth Bartlett who blogs at Pure Geek.
A handsome billionaire. A flexible young woman with rope. Sounds like the bestselling, saucy tale thrilling women around the world, except for one catch: no one puts Catwoman in a corner.
Although Catwoman’s been around for over 70 years and has plenty to offer female readers, she’s still not as popular as this year’s over-hyped wonder, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which literally has the woman signing her life, virginity and independence away to an emotionally damaged man who’s way too rich and way too kinked out with bondage and punishment. Sure, Selina Kyle’s been through some punishing times, but she’s never been one to just sit there and take it. Let’s break and enter through a few decades and see how time, the ultimate master, has treated our kitten with a whip. Has she been overpowered like Anastasia Steele or empowered?
When I was at Boston Comic Con, I stopped by to chat with Cliff Chiang who told me there was a young man who was a fan of the blog looking for me. I never met with him at the show but did catch up with him in my quest for guest posters for my vacation week. I soon pieced together that this was actually a young writer for Boston University whose writing on other topics had caught my eye. Please meet Jon Christianson, who today writes about female villains.
“Why can’t female villains stay villains?”
That statement, made by Grace Randolph during her Between the Pages webshow, brings up the curious conundrum of why so many of the already few female villains never seem to stay on “the dark side” for long.
Catwoman went from being one of Batman’s greatest foes to being one of his greatest allies. Black Widow started out as a Russian spy, Black Cat intended to be more evil before meeting Spider-Man, and Emma Frost, Scarlet Witch, and Rogue all got their start opposing the X-Men. Since the New 52 reboot, Poison Ivy is now on the Birds of Prey and Silver Banshee has been hanging out with Supergirl. What is going on here.
While I am on vacation this week, I’ve invited some fellow comic bloggers and readers do guest posts. This post is by a writer that I enjoy reading at the blog Comicbook.com, Russ Burlingame. His post touches on a topic which I am sure will invite some commentary — why some males readers will not read a female-led superhero comics. Russ’s thoughts follow.
The notion that male readers won’t read comics featuring female lead characters is one of those things that seems to be widely accepted as a truism not just in comics but in a lot of media; when I spoke to Greg Rucka not long ago, he said that 20th Century Fox, who purchased the film rights to his Queen & Country, are perpetually delaying the project because they don’t think an action film with a female lead can sell. He adds that when they get interested in the project again it’s often attached to the question, “Can you give her a male partner?”.
That seems insane but at a basic level it’s no different from the constant drumbeat from editorial that comics about women get cancelled (or don’t get launched) because the audience “isn’t there for that character.”
Someone I was thrilled to have offer to help me out with a guest post while I am on vacation is blogger Tim Hanley. Tim diligently compiles the monthly report on female creators at DC and Marvel for Bleeding Cool. Tim’s post today is a fascinating look at the women behind Wonder Woman. You know, of course, of creators such as Jill Thompson, Mindy Newell, Gail Simone and Nicola Scott but there were other women working on the character many years before that. Tim’s report follows.
In the fall of 1942, the inside cover of Wonder Woman #2 proclaimed: Boys and Girls! Here Are the Men Behind “WONDER WOMAN”. A picture showed William Moulton Marston (Wonder Woman’s creator and writer), H.G. Peter (the artist), Sheldon Mayer (the editor), and M.C. Gaines (the publisher). This all-male cast was typical for the time. While there was an occasional female creator in the Golden Age, they were few and far between. But what this picture didn’t show was that there were actually a lot of women behind the scenes in the early days of Wonder Woman.
While I on vacation this week I have a series of guest posts from readers, bloggers and other writers. This guest post is by Josie Campbell whose name you may recognize from her work writing news at Comic Book Resources. Josie is writing on the importance of Wonder Woman. It’s a terrific essay and I ask that you read the whole thing. Her thoughts follow,
Of all the superheroes in all the world there is only one, in my eyes, who has fundamentally changed our culture as a whole — and it ain’t Superman, Batman, Spider-Man or any of the other superlative-Men who get trotted out in that capacity.
That superhero is Wonder Woman.
My fellow blogger, podcast co-host and friend Kelly Thompson is helping out during my vacation week with posts. Today she has promised me a look at my favorite character, Barbara Gordon. If you read Kelly’s posts over at her blog and CBR you know you are in for a treat. Her thoughts follow.
I’m on vacation this week so I’ve lined up a number of other bloggers and readers to give their thoughts on the world I cover. Today I have post from Natasha Townsel who, as you will see, describes her self as a “huge” Superman fan. Today Natasha give her thoughts on a recent issue of Action comics. It is a terrific piece so please give it a read.
I am a huge Superman fan. No, let’s get something clear: I am a HUGE Superman fan. I collect comics, memorabilia, DVDs of now-defunct Superman TV series, and any and all Superman movies, both live action and animated. I love Clark Kent because of who he is, not because of what he can do. The fact that Clark possesses all those powers, yet remains an incredibly humble man from the Midwest who just wants to do the best he can to help moves me deeply. I love that his entire purpose is for us as humans to use the abilities that we were born with to benefit humanity. The ultimate theme of this character is hope, not revenge, fear, or hubris. Clark believes the best in humans because he was raised by two of humanity’s best representatives. He believes in second chances (and third and fourth) and that there is good in everyone. He believes that all life is precious and will do everything he can to preserve it. Superman is the ideal representation of humanity and inspires us to be our best possible selves.
“It’s not invulnerability or flight or heat vision or super speed that makes him the World’s Greatest Hero. It’s that Superman refuses to despair. He is a testament to the opposite, in fact. Superman is hope.” (Adventures of Superman #640)