I Hate Gallant Girl #1

Kat Cahill entered Shadowline Comics’ “Who Wants to Create a Super-Heroine?” contest. She didn’t win, but her concept — I Hate Gallant Girl — was strong enough to be published as a three-issue miniseries. Issue #1 is due out November 12.

I Hate Gallant Girl #1

Every decade, there’s a pageant to select the next Gallant Girl. (Makes as much sense as many other superhero origins, and nicely comments on what most superheroines seem to be designed for.) Renee competes for it, and although she has better powers and skills, a blonde is chosen instead. Renee is told it’s because she’s not “physically flawless” — but since she’s drawn as a generic comic book woman, it’s hard to tell what the problem is. (Beyond her hair color, anyway; she’s a brunette.) But I don’t fault artist Seth Damoose for that; goodness knows there are plenty of working illustrators today who are only capable of drawing one female body type. At least he’s got an enjoyably cartoony style that handles both conversation and superhero action well.

Renee has been practicing for this since she was a little girl — in a flashback sequence where Damoose draws some adorable little kids — and to find out that it’s not about merit makes her furious and frustrated. She doesn’t let it stop her, though, demonstrating the determination of a real hero. Unfortunately, the solution undercuts the female-friendly message, since she’s shown her new path by a male mentor. It would have been nice if she’d figured out on her own that she didn’t need anyone’s permission, whether that person was on her side or not. Maybe they’re saving that for issue #3.

It’s tough doing a superhero book for girls, because if you don’t reach a significant portion of the male audience, too, you’re not going to live long enough in the marketplace for your ideal readers to find you. (Most direct market comic shoppers are still male.) This book can be enjoyed by all, but at the expense of keeping its female empowerment message so subtle it might be overlooked.

I like the concept, though, and Renee as a character. It’s a shame that we’ll only see a very few of her adventures for now.

You can see a preview of issue #1 here (from back when it was called Galaxy Girl — some kind of copyright issue caused the name change). The creators have been interviewed. There’s also a preview for issue #2 posted; it’s due out December 3, order code OCT08 2311. (A complimentary online copy for this review was provided by the creator.)

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