Find Something Better!

Lisa quotes Warren Ellis:

If your issue is that there aren’t enough female voices in the medium, I completely agree with you, and have been supporting female creators of gift for years for precisely this reason. …

If your issue is that there aren’t enough female voices writing your favourite corporate-owned superhero titles, then, frankly, your problems are deeper and broader than you think.

Keep fighting. Keep kicking. But never, ever act like the women already working in the medium aren’t there, just because they’re not writing Batman or Supergirl.

John Jakala says dump the abuser:

So what’s my point? Well, I didn’t really have one when I started this post beyond listing some great comics by women, but upon further reflection I’ve come to this: Just dump the superhero comics already. While I understand that many female readers wish to continue reading superhero stories, only without the offensive depictions of women, perhaps it’s time to look at the overwhelming evidence on record and cut one’s losses. Why support publishers who seem to go out of their way to aggravate and alienate female readers? …

So why not just give up on superhero comics? (I did, and I’ve been much happier with comics as a result.) They’re not going to change, so why stay in an unhealthy relationship with the unfounded hopes that someday they’ll start treating you right?

David Welsh says yes, but:

“Just dump(ing) the superhero comics already” paid off rather handsomely for me. …

Would I recommend the strategy for everyone? Probably not. For readers whose interest in comics begins and ends with the Marvel and DC universes (and that’s not intended as any kind of criticism, because I was exactly that reader for ages, and I had a lot of fun), I don’t know if Ichigo or Naruto would actually present a satisfying alternative to Peter Parker. There’s a difference between wanting satisfying heroic adventure stories generally and wanting to see them built around a specific group of iconic characters.

And the cyclicality of super-hero comics suggests that change is inevitable and perhaps the pendulum will swing back in a direction that doesn’t make certain readers grind their teeth in frustration. … I think that possibility is kind of a tease, to be honest, but anything’s possible.

If someone’s willing to move beyond superheroes, they might try any of these.


5 Responses to “Find Something Better!”

  1. John Says:

    Bully for you not letting sleeping dogs lie.

    I think the wider problem in superhero comics these days isn’t just their depiction of women, it’s that they suck and their depiction of women is just one way in which they do. It’s kinda like the guy’s abusing you AND he’s a drunk AND he’s drug dealer AND he’s a rapist AND he’s a mugger – AND he’s been all these things for about 20 years now.

  2. Barry Says:

    The suggestion for superhero comics readers to stop buying said superhero comics if they don’t enjoy the content is always a good one, but the execution of that idea is easier said than done for many. This is due to the fact that most comics readers have been ‘trained’ to buy monthly periodicals, to the point of obsessiveness. I only buy two comics these days, Whedon’s X-Men and the final issues of “Y”, but still haven’t read them in months. However, I consider myself a casual comics reader and buy only books I like. That only happened after I no longer considered comics to be an important part of my life. As long as the majority of comics readers (obviously not all) continue to involve themselves in the comics culture at large, they will continue to indefinitely buy the same lousy books.

    At least that’s my theory.

  3. Johanna Says:

    Yeah, it can be hard work finding something new, both in terms of breaking the habit and seeking out lesser known books.

    And for some people, the familiarity of the characters they know, regardless of how much they say they hate how they’re presented and the messages sent to the audience, is a significant comfort.

  4. Michael Denton Says:

    I find it more than a little difficult equating superhero comics to an abusive relationship (and a somewhat insulting to people in true abusive relationships) – although I understand the point. Of course, we often fail to distinguish that not all superhero comics lack quality (many do) or that all superhero comics depict women poorly (many do), so a first recommendation should be to find those superhero comics (if one wants to keep reading them) that are high quality and have positive or at least non-negative depictions of women. All-Star Superman, Busiek’s Superman, Daredevil, Astro City, Morrison’s Batman, and Manhunter all immediately leap to mind and I’m sure there are more.

    Also, I am someone who likes my superheroes and more challenging, interesting or different material too. We often make the mistake of assuming that we can’t do both. It’s like someone enjoying soap operas and also, say, PBS documentaries or liking Harlequin romance novels (or various spy/war novels) and William Faulkner or Zora Neal Hurston.

    I just try not to support those superheroes comics(or comics in any other genre for that matter) that are misognyistic, racist, homophobic, etc. I think we are better off making that distinction because I have certainly seen non-superhero comics that are just as offensive to me.

  5. Hiatus « ÃŽles du Désappointement Says:

    [...] answer why: This, this, this, which is still true and brilliant, actually a little bit of this, and the hard reality of [...]

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