LinkBlogging Women: Supergirl and Black Panther

Sometimes the visual says it all — but it helps to have someone to explain it to you. Girls Read Comics points out how the cover to an upcoming issue of Supergirl, guest-starring Nightwing, demonstrates how superhero comic artists marginalize women, even when they’re the title character.

Supergirl #11 cover

He: Facing the reader.
She: Staring vaguely off somewhere else.
He: Active acrobatic pose to better expose the sole of his boot.
She: Passively arching her back to better expose her torso.

Meanwhile, Carla, comic salesperson, takes apart Black Panther #18, the so-called “Wedding of the Century”.

I spent a good amount of time trying to figure out who was that woman in green behind them sort of… off center. Tacked in. My guess? Photon. But really, who’s looking at her when Storm’s enormous breasteses are front and center? I know she has a history of ‘warm weather, less clothing’ but on that cover it looks, as one person next to me at lunch, ‘hooker-y’. Yes, I know, soap opera clothing designer or something-something, great. Whatever. Just give the woman a break. And a neckline.

Black Panther #18 cover

She moves on from the cover to talk about the really poor messages inside:

Elsewhere, for her first in book appearance, Storm’s first words are ‘Whatever makes you happy, dear.’ as they talk about what the wedding will entail. That’s my strong African goddess. Apparently, the ceremony doesn’t matter, it’s the very scary Panther God that gets to decide if all this hullabaloo is going to mean anything. It may deny Ororo the privileged of wedding T’Challa, it may eat her, all sorts of terrible things. In a genius move, Storm notes that, should the Panther God not like her, Black Panther better drop his crown and marry her. T’Challa? Love of her life? Childhood sweetheart? The man she shares much love and history with? He changes the subject. Storm notes he didn’t answer. He never does. I’m not sure if that’s supposed to be funny or not.

Lots more at the link.

I’d say it’s a bad week for women in superhero comics, but really, when isn’t it?


12 Responses to “LinkBlogging Women: Supergirl and Black Panther”

  1. Ray Cornwall Says:

    You know what I can’t wait for?

    After a wedding, many brides who have worn their hair long for months getting ready for the big day get tired of it, and get a much shorter cut. I’ve seen lots of new wives go from hair-at-the-butt to hair-at-the-neck within the first year of marriage.

    Imagine when Storm decides to do the same…and brings back the mohawk.

    Hee!

  2. Johanna Says:

    Clever! Probably too clever for the comic book guys to think of it. :)

  3. Michael Rawdon Says:

    Gee, and you didn’t even mention Hawkgirl #54, in which she fights a barely-clad female antagonist after her (Hawkgirl’s) top gets ripped off!  At least she’s wearing a bra (and the way Chaykin draws her, she needs it).

    Or New Avengers #22, in which Jessica Jones heads for Canada with her baby, while Luke Cage stays behind to fight against governmental oppression.  (Though to be fair my impression is that this is consistent with how both characters have been portrayed recently.  I admit I gave up on Alias pretty quickly – the painful dialogue!  The muddy, scratchy artwork! – so Jones isn’t a character I’m very familiar with.)

    On the bright side for comics both created by and featuring women characters, the first issue of the new Castle Waiting series came out this week!  It’s not superhero comics, but, y’know, who cares?

  4. Alan Coil Says:

    I bought the Castle Waiting trade a couple years ago. I liked it so much I loaned it to a friend and haven’t seen it since. Guess she liked it!

  5. Lea Says:

    “I’d say it’s a bad week for women in superhero comics, but really, when isn’t it?”

    It was like Stupid About Women Christmas this week,or something.

  6. Johanna Says:

    Michael, to mention those, I’d have to read them, or read someone being clever about them, and neither of those things seemed to happen. I really need to get caught up on the Castle Waiting relaunch, too.

  7. Alan Coil Says:

    While flipping throught the channels this morning, I came across Spike TV doing a show on female professional wrestling. It was all about the sex. They had the featured woman, Gail (Gayle?), posed in various Playboy pinup poses (including one, frequently repeated, with her wearing a thong and with her butt pointed to the camera), sitting and talking about how sensual she feels, and, to get to the point, wearing a ring outfit that was in the same style at the Supergirl costume.

    I find it depressing. I read comics for the adventure and the stories. If I want to fantasize about women, I can do it without comic books. Besides, real women are far more interesting than pen-and-ink drawings. I outgrew my interest in drawn women way back in high school.

  8. Dave Mahlin Says:

    I though I’d give Supergirl a try when Greg Rucka took over but when Joe Kelly took over after one issue I decided to bail and, having flipped through to the last page of the current issue, I’m glad I did!

    And hey, does that Nightwing pose above look familiar?

    http://www.comicscontinuum.com/stories/0210/17/bc.htm

  9. Jen Says:

    Alan, that would’ve been Gail Kim, who’s recently been signed to the women’s division of TNA (astonishingly, that doesn’t stand for tits and arse). *sigh* I remember the preiod a few years ago when the women wrestlers actually wrestled. The sad thing about the WWE is that they’re ignoring the fact that the audiences generally use the tits and arse matches to go take a break/get drinks at live venues/etc.

  10. Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] The fights against sexism and racism have many similarities, but they can also wind up working against each other. Sadly, the comments at that thread show that Reginald Hudlin, for one, doesn’t get it, insulting and blaming the woman who pointed out the issue. Given that he wrote the recent Black Panther comic that minimized Storm, I find his reaction sad but unsurprising. [...]

  11. Paul O'Brien Says:

    Women’s professional wrestling has pretty much always been treated as a joke by the major American promotions. You’ve actually got to respect somebody like Trish Stratus, who was hired simply because she’s a blonde with big tits, but who insisted on actually learning to wrestle and became genuinely quite good at it – certainly not something her employers would have pressed her to do, judging from the general standard of her co-workers. Unfortunately, she very rarely gets to work with anyone good enough to show off her ability properly. She clearly takes more pride in her work than a lot of people in that company. (Watch for her occasional expressions of sheer frustration when she’s trying to work matches on live TV with women who don’t have a clue what they’re doing. It’s grimly entertaining in its own right.)

  12. Tesara Says:

    The woman in hte green dress was Black Panther’s mother, who prompted the wedding in the first place. Also she was in favor of the marriage to Storm. The wedding dress, if you bother to read the entire book and not just look at the pictures, was desinged by a desinger from the Soap Opera a Guiding Light.

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