Thursday, September 29, 2011

Catwoman, Starfire, Allycat Alisha and the female comic debate...

So I got home from work today and saw a post from an industry friend regarding females being treated unfairly in the comic industry both as fans and characters.  I will not post the name due to the nature of the debate and I am not about to throw anyone under the bus.

So from what I can find this issue is stemming from last weeks Catwoman #1 and Red Hood and the Outlaws #1.  Both of these issues offer some steamy scenes and eye candy for males reading the comics.  I have not read either of these, but the images are all over the net.  So I don't need to read them or post the images.  You can look them up yourself.

As for Catwoman, I am all for expressing a certain amount of sexuality, but the final page was a bit overboard for me.  There is nothing that image will do to enhance the story and I am not crazy about the positioning of it.  Initially I thought they were getting ready, but no they are having sex in a rather awkward position with their cloths on.  As another artist put it, what happened to her zipper that only goes down to her belly button?  Does Catwoman have an unknown crotch zipper?  Sex in comics is not something new.  It's a part of our lives so it's a part of theirs as well.  In a way it makes the characters more realistic and humanized.  I just find that page awkward and unnecessary. 

So how about Starfire in Red Hood and the Outlaws?  Well Starfire appears to be extremely promiscuous and drawn in very sexy poses in all of her panels.  She is parading around in next to nothing, posing for the reader, and sleeping with every man she can get into bed.  This is not empowering to me.  My first opinion of her is that she is a young insecure girl and falsely believes sex makes her feel better about herself.  Seems to me she is being modeled after the girl many men run into nightly in bars.  Yes it is an awful analogy but it seems to me she is being modeled after a certain personality type many men know.  Remember the book is being written by a man and it's target market are men.  They also want to attract younger men so the inclusion of aspects of their own lives is just good targeting.  Young men may or may not find this type of female attractive.  Again, this is bad news for Starfire since she seems to be taking up this role.

Personally, I do not feel women are treated unfairly as characters in comics.  Most of the comics I read involve women in practically bikini's posing seductively and owning it.  I have no problems with this.  In fact, I expect it.  Comics have always been and still are a male dominated market.  They are targeted at men.  Quite frankly if I wanted to read something more feminine I would go pick up chick lit or a trashy romance novel.  There are a few times when I am reading and there is a sexy panel that is unneeded but it goes with the territory.  For example, in Angelus when Dani and her girlfriend have sex for the first time.  They had a full page of the two girls kissing naked next to each other.  This was nothing more then an excuse to paint two naked lesbians in bed together and how often does that ever happen?  I bet men loved it and I giggled because it had to purpose to the story except to illustrate mans fantasies.

As a female fan, I have yet to be treated unfairly that I am aware of, but I admit I am not the typical female fan.  For a short while I collected trading cards and each time I brought a card to a table to be signed (I still do) the artists were shocked to see someone not fitting the typical fan persona.  I was even told that I don't look like a card collector.  Why is that?  I love art so why would I not enjoy art on a small card?  I still am not sure who the stereotypical fan is.  He/she is not me apparently.  I am also not the fan that will walk up to a writer (or a celebrity) and gush about their projects.  I am not that person.  I enjoy reading and if I enjoyed a story I might ask you sign the book, but I don't study what I read which is pretty awesome because I can go back and reread as though its a brand new story.  I also tend to not take a lot of time at the table.  I understand that many industry people can be a bit claustrophobic and germophobic, so I give them as much space as I can.  However, as a fan I have had some bad experiences meeting industry folk that I enjoyed at the time and it has changed my opinion of them.  To this day if I can avoid it I will not purchase anything with Al Garza's art.  I won't explain why, but I never felt my experience with Garza or any other artist/writer was poor because I am a female.  Generally, I feel like I nab a lot more attention (the good kind) from them because I am a female and not the stereotype comic female to boot.

Let me just add, I have a few male friends in the industry who have never objectified me regardless of the characters in their stories.  Fantasy is fantasy.  Any level headed man does not expect women to fit the standards of the women in these stories including their creators.

Here are some links to articles discussing or should I just say boasting opinions on the topic.

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