Sunday, December 7, 2008

Comic book women

Hey there! I'm Lacey, Managerial Art Director of HerStory and one of our resident comicbook geeks. As one of very few females with such and invested interest in comics and video games, I will probably try to focus most of my posts here on these areas.

Here's a picture of the DC Comics character Kate Spencer. She's become one of the main characters of the series Birds of Prey. Prosecuter by day, she turns into a violent vigilante by night, punishing and even killing the guilty who have slipped through the system. Kind of similar to Marvel Comics' Daredevil so far as her day job and mission, but she doesn't suck quite so much as a character (and I doubt they're making a crappy movie starring horribly untalented Ben Affleck). She's a badass. Anyway, to the point... her vigilante name... Manhunter. hah

And here's Jennifer Walters, a.k.a. She-Hulk, a creation of Marvel Comics. While the original Hulk, Bruce Banner, gets meaner and uglier, her transformation apparently only gives her an even more flawless body. Hm. On the brighter side, she doesn't become a mindless idiot like Bruce. She's one smart, crime-fighting woman.

P.S. I love Wonder Woman, but I do want to bring up a qualm I have with the character. I find it funny that the first hugely popular female comic book character happens to be a princess. On the one hand, I think it's great that this is one princess that isn't a damsel in distress. On the other, I still wonder why she needed to be a princess at all. Is the idealized female, even in a comic book, a beautiful princess, all prim and proper?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would argue that in a society that presented such an idealized version of the middle-class woman (in other words, the society of the 1950s) in order for a comic to be socially acceptable to that demographic (i.e. the TARGET demographic) there needed to be some defining characteristic that elevated Wonder Woman above and beyond what women of her time were expected. Therefore, princess. Princesses weren't middle-class, and she was from a strong female society (as fierce as the amazons are, I think rarely are they portrayed as outright hostile), and therefore could "play outside of the rules", as it were. It didn't matter that she was a strong woman, because she was a princess and the rules didn't apply to her.

Not helping matters is the fact that in her ENTIRE forty-fifty year history, it's only in the last year that women have begun to write one of the first true female superheros - Jodi Picoult and Gail Simone.

I like Invisible Woman best. She started as "Invisible Girl" and then was like "Yeah, no one takes me serious. I'm the best fucking member of the fantastic four... I am INVISIBLE WOMAN." (hear me roar?)