Women In Comics!

One of the bigger pieces of news to come out of the Comics Blogger Internet this year was that after three years of aggregating posts, Ragnell and Kalinara have left When Fangirls Attack, and turned the reins over to a new crew.

That’s common knowledge, but what you might not know is that that before Rags rejected me for being, and I quote, “a hateful misogynist who serves only to give me something to loathe in this world,” I actually threw my hat in the ring to take WFA over myself. It’s probably just as well that I didn’t get it, as I already have my hands full with the ISB and the Action Age, and really, I have no interest in combing LiveJournal for Feminist critiques of West Coast Avengers. No, my interest lies solely with the domain name.

I mean really: “Women In Comics” is a name that could lend itself to a lot of things, and while my first thought was just to use it as a repository for commissioned fetish art–you know, the girls of the Legion barefoot, Red Sonja doing her taxes, Catwoman brushing her teeth, stuff like that–but the more I think about it, the more I think that a bunch of definitive profiles of female characters would be best.

Sadly, it doesn’t look like that’ll happen, but since I already had a few ready to go on the chance I got the job, I thought I’d share them on the ISB tonight. Enjoy!


This Is Phoenix


She’s died and come back to life like eight times because seriously, dudes fuckin’ love redheads. Take note, Irish girls: You are functionally immortal.


This Is Manhunter


She balances her career as an attorney and raising her son Ramsey with her activities as a ruthless vigilante, but her series was sadly canceled before she could face off against her opposite number, the MILF Hunter.


This Is Emma Frost, the White Queen

Her costume is basically a tube top and a pair of skin-tight low-rise vinyl pants, but it used to be just panties and a corset. Who says there’s no feminist progress in comics?


This Is Mary Jane Watson

She used to be Spider-Man’s wife, but in current continuity, she was just his live-in girlfriend for a while. Also in current continuity, nobody knows Spider-Man’s secret identity, not even the girl he used to live with, which makes Mary Jane Watson the dumbest human being alive.


This Is Psylocke

“Yo dogg I heard you like English accents, so we put a British girl in your Ninja so you can still be classy while you’re stabbin’ people with swords.”


This Is Wonder Woman

Despite what you may have heard, she has only ever been good like three times in seventy years. In the family of comics, she’s like the crazy grandmother that sometimes says really super racist stuff at Thanksgiving dinner, but she’s been around a while and nobody really knows what to do with her so you just have to put up with it.


This Is Tigra

She used to be a non-powered vigilante, but is now a sassy, bikini-clad catgirl who is currently pregnant with a litter of aliens. Believe it or not, she actually pre-dates the Internet and didn’t just originate in fan-fiction.


This Is Batgirl

You’re welcome.

139 thoughts on “Women In Comics!

  1. I was half expecting Tarot at the bottom of this list. I was glad when it was not. Sir, thank you for saving me from having to look at another panel of that comic.

  2. As an read-haired Irish male, do I get any powers conferred to me?

    …Just asking, because immortality would be pretty frigging sweet.

    Also, that bit about Mary Jane almost made me choke. which is to say, HILARIOUS.

  3. uhh, the above post should read ‘red-haired Irish male’.
    that’s what i get for writing at 2:30 in the morning.

  4. Is a single drop a December rain such a terrible thing?

    Is it worse than November Rain? By which I of course mean the hit song by Guns n Roses.

  5. Man, I wish they’d reboot Psylocke already. There are loads of good stories you could write about a female James Bond with psychic powers.

    Tigra they can send to an alternate universe where she’s written only by Chris Claremont, and it wouldn’t faze me one bit.

  6. Chris, does this red-head immortality thing extend to Tigra, Batgirl, and MJ as well?

    Is the fact that red-heads affect men this way the reason Charlie Brown is still in the funny papers – we’re all connecting with his yearning to speak with the little red-haired girl at recess?

  7. *Sigh*…oh, Batgirl, why can’t I ever meet someone like you to wall up in a cozy little deathtrap for two! You’re every bit as redheaded as Phoenix and Tigra and MJ, but so much less lame (except for MJ)!

    Also, Bendis seems to write Frost as aggressively Bostonian (and not the Major Winchester kind of Bostonian either). I seem to remember him putting the words “it’ll be like taking a huge dump in your head” in her mouth. OTOH, maybe his Mamet’s Syndrome has gotten so bad that he thinks that’s how posh English bitches speak.

  8. [Rags rejected me for being, and I quote, “a hateful misogynist who serves only to give me something to loathe in this world,”]

    …wait, what?

  9. “…wait, what?”

    It’s his rightful punishment for deriding such a FEMALE-EMPOWERING comic as Tarot.

  10. Jeff, I know you didn’t ask me, but I’m going to say that the phenomenon of the immortal redhead does NOT extend to Tigra because she’s not a redhead. She’s an orange-head. I know how that picture looks, but that’s a coloring mistake, or maybe a dye job.

    I don’t want to know about the carpet, but it’s pretty obvious that the area rug, the upholstery, the throw pillows and even the credenza do NOT match the drapes.


  11. What sort of subtle comment is being made by Mary Jane reading Faust up there? Something deeply misogynist I’m sure.

  12. Wow. I’m invincible!
    …Actually I’m only slightly ginger. Does this make me just partially invincible?
    Probably not actually, I think in comics you seem to need violently orange or London Bus crimson hair to qualify as ‘red head’.

  13. Dang I wish you got that domain name, I’d love to read more of these. ‘Wonder Woman’ cracked me up, even though I felt kind of bad for laughing at her. You can only class up the star-spangled panties to a certain extent, I guess.

  14. Chris, I’ve been meaning to ask you:

    Are there any female super-heroes out there that actually ARE empowering?

  15. Considering the vast majority of superhero comic book characters that have died have come back to life, Phoenix’s claim to fame is looking a little dubious.

    So I don’t think red-heads are the only immortally-endowed folk out there…

    …just the best looking ones. ;-)

  16. I am a woman. I LOVE comics. Hateful bitches like the ones who tangled with Chris make us all look bad. I bet they are the same ones who go to cons dressed in striped stockings and cat ears, and think they are edgy and cool.

    I can be empowered enough with real life. You know, strong relationships, career advancement, construction site whistles. Maybe I just want to escape into some fun stories without politics.

    Or, find out if Jack Daw is real…

  17. Are there any female super-heroes out there that actually ARE empowering?

    Are there any MALE super-heroes out there that are actually empowering?

    Unless, to be an empowered “real” man, the only way I should solve my problems is by hitting them (preferably so hard that they explode)?

    I’m asking the wrong blog, aren’t I?

  18. That’s actually a pretty interesting question, Nimbus and I’m sure someone better versed than I in the lore of comics can give you a satisfactory answer.

    But before we get into that, I’d like to ask my question again, this time with a little less challenge in its tone:

    I’m honestly curious if there are any super-hero comics out there with a strong female protagonist that don’t come off as either too political or too much like… I don’t know, pandering?

    Am I making any sense here?

  19. I always associated Emma’s Englishness as being part of her facade… I mean, the fact that she’s had extensive plastic surgery and bleaches her hair is actually in continuity at this point, she probably fakes the accent, too.

  20. What Vendicare said for the win. I’m also empowered enough and also enjoy escapism. Why is that a bad thing? Why is it that guys are allowed escapism while girls must suffer with every female character needing to be a role model and some one who MUST advance the cause of women? Can’t we just have characters who make us laugh at ourselves, or let us escape our occasionally humdrum lives? Why must every character be politicized?

    Furthermore: You? Misogynist? What? On what planet? Have I fallen into a parallel dimension? Is it misogynist to point out the obvious about so many female comic book characters? I thought Dave Sim was comic-doms certified misogynist. Or did I miss the transition memo?

    As a long time female comic fan I’ve seen lots of great girl characters and just as many rotten characters. Most fall in the middle. Imagine being a female comics fan back in the 1970’s! Talk about being in the minority. At my local shop I was one of two female regulars, the rest of the girls were girlfriends. They stood near the door, looked at their watches and tapped their feet a lot. Back then I liked the second string female characters, Black Orchid, Black Canary, …those characters that lived in small six page stories or appeared in one or two scenes in bigger male dominated groups like legion of avenging justice society, you know what I mean. I adored Storm when she first arrived on the scene, and my cousin liked Kitty Pride when she first arrived on the x-men’s door step as a gawky awkward 13 year old. My cousin was a gawky awkward 13 year old herself and found a kindred spirit and she realized she wasn’t alone. That feeling of not-alone is just as important as feeling empowered. SOmetimes knowing that one is not alone is far more empowering than a charcter that has solved all her problems.

    I didn’t need every female to be a role model or a pattern on how I wanted to live my life, sometimes I just wanted entertainment.

    I’m rather long winded today.

  21. Are there any female super-heroes out there that actually ARE empowering?

    Empowered sounds like she would be !

  22. @ Boneman-

    What defines “empowering” for you? No woman, or woman character for that matter, is perfect. And if there was a perfect female character, it wouldn’t be empowering. Wonder Woman is plenty empowering, and so is Batgirl- that’s why so many little girls (not to mention “not so little”) dress up like them for Halloween. Just ’cause a gal gets herself in a fix and finds herself “tied up” for a while, doesn’t mean she isn’t “empowered”.

    But, bottom line. You want a MEGA empowered example? Big Barda- until some writer thought it’d be cool for her to have her heart ripped out of her chest in Death Of The New Gods- how dumb was that?

    -Citizen Scribbler

  23. You’re my favorite hateful misogynist, Chris. WFA as a fetish-art fan site would be an amusing change of pace, at least.

    “Just ’cause a gal gets herself in a fix and finds herself “tied up” for a while, doesn’t mean she isn’t “empowered”.”

    Well, Adam Warren certainly agrees with that thinking.

  24. Scribbler, the problematic aspect is not necessarily with the outfits themselves but with the artificial poses and framing used to show off the outfits. There’s still a lot more fanservice with girls than fanservice with boys in mainstream superhero comics.

    (Empowered doesn’t pretend to be mainstream or gritty realistic.)


    There are many other problematic aspects, of course.

    One big one is that the female characters should have stories of their own, rather than being cardboard supporting casts that exist only as background love interests, sexy brawlers, or dead drama generators for the male characters. I am not saying there aren’t cardboard boys or that you can’t find counterexamples of good female characters — the point is that cardboardness remains a big problem, and though it’s getting smaller, it’s not doing it very fast.

  25. Also dudes get like all the breaks because they are dudes dudes never have to work for anything while for a woman to even attend public school it is a task on par with Sisiphus pushing his boulder up the mountain because all men are pigs who help each other out but hate women all the time. Just standing at the bus stop is supremely misogynist.

  26. The great thing about Tigra is that you can pretend she’s the Halle Berry Catwoman. And the great thing about the Halle Berry Catwoman is that you can take a shot every time she acts like cat and also sarcastically act impressed.

    “Oh man, she sure loves sushi! That’s like how cats eat fish! WHAT is going on with this CRAZY movie!?” *GLUG*

  27. I haven’t read Wizard magazine for about 7 years, but this post brought all the horror rushing back.

  28. Are there any female super-heroes out there that actually ARE empowering?

    Barbara Gordon (Oracle) always struck me as a strong female character – although I haven’t followed her recent stories so that may have completely changed. She overcame a disability to become an effective, well-known and admired tech-savvy fighter against villainy. Heck, in terms of regenerating any superhero character, male or female, from one identity (Batgirl) to another (Oracle), she was one of the most successful. IMO, Oracle is a better character than Batgirl (who was simply a female version of an established male character) ever was. And all done without donning a skintight costume and high-heels.

    Art aside, Wonder Woman is empowering in that, as a superhero character, she has shown that a female superhero can be as enduring and well-known as a male superhero. Storm showed that, even depowered, she was a capable leader of the X-Men and is still one of the better known, and most powerful, of Marvel’s superheroes. I’m sure there are more that can be considered ’empowering’ – although this is always somewhat subjective.

    Anyway, I’ve replied enough here. I’m with Vendicare on this one (though not so much with the construction site whistles). I primarily read comic books for mindless entertainment and face kicking.

  29. “Yo dogg I heard you like English accents, so we put a British girl in your Ninja so you can still be classy while you’re stabbin’ people with swords.”


    stabbin’ people with PSYCHIC swords!

  30. “Also in current continuity, nobody knows Spider-Man’s secret identity, not even the girl he used to live with, which makes Mary Jane Watson the dumbest human being alive.”

    Which just makes me dislike the Spider-Writers even more. Why do they hate MJ so much? I don’t even hate Gwen Stacy that much.

    If you want a Tigra worth reading, try Marvel Adventures. She’s just so cute and fun.

  31. Chris, you misquoted me. I called you a “fat misogynist who serves only to give me something to laugh at in this world”

  32. Really terrific post, Chris! I especially love Wonder Woman’s, I have that relative too. I’m sorry you didn’t get the domain name either. Maybe you could have a weekly contribution post!

  33. My sarcasm meter must be on the fritz, because I honestly can’t tell if Chris and Ragnell are being serious or not. When I read the post I thought Chris was joking but the comments section sounds serious so..?

  34. Rags — You’re right! I wish there was some magic spell I could cast that would make everything better, but nobody’s silly enough to believe in magic. OH WAIT.

  35. Aw, I’ve always liked Tigra. I mean, she’s unapologetic in promiscuity, so that sort of makes her “female empowering”, right? Using her sex as a weapon? Okay, I’ll just shut up now.

    Well, wait, okay…Tigra is “pregnant with a litter of aliens”? When the fuck did THAT happen? Once again, dropping the Avengers titles after “Disassembled” has proven to be a good idea.

  36. Okay guys, seriously? Thanks for all the replies. But right now I think we should just forget I said anything and watch where this Chris Sims/Ragnell thing is going. It’s getting kind of… interesting.

  37. I’m not drunk enough to deal with the plot twists that have happened in this thread.

  38. Chris — More readers? You’re counting the number of times you reload the page and yell “I AM THE KING OF COMEDY!” in your stats, aren’t you?

  39. Rags — Better the King of Comedy than the Queen of… Wait, what do you do again? Is it still just “Sorry I haven’t posted in a while” posts?

  40. Chris — What do I do? I keep your lazy ass safe from the communists/terrorists/Libertarians so that you can write boob jokes in peace.

  41. I’d be more worried about the hexes. Especially since she’s in Germany now.

    If you see a gingerbread house, Chris, don’t go in!

  42. I was going to go with the Mary Jane from “Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane” as an empowering female character, and she is–as long as you tacitly ignore the implication in the title that she’s worthy of attention by virtue of being the object of Spider-Man’s affections.

  43. Seriously. A boob joke? I have never in my life heard a joke where the punchline was “boob.” Or even the object of mockery.

    Unless you count in elementary school when we would type 58008 into our calculators and turn them upside down and nod sagely.

  44. Wow, the sexual tension was getting thick!

    . . . .I meant between Tim C and Poormojo. Who were *you* thinking?

  45. (btw superhero comics are by and large mass produced trash entertainment so the whole “let’s find not-completely-misogynist female characters” isn’t necessarily pointless so much as it is misguided.)

  46. I always saw most comic book female superheroes, at least more recently, to be empowering, particularly the ones that don’t use their gender as means or leverage of power.

    I think of Samus Aran from Metroid; she’s attractive, but she doesn’t say a word, and the fact that she’s a woman means nothing in terms of her being a bounty hunter. Characters like this, which include the Oracles, the Storms, even the Ms. Marvels, are strong female characters, not because they’re women but because they’re strong heroes and people.

    The argument against this seems to be how the women in comics look, rather than how they’re portrayed. But this is a poor complaint; men and women in comics are portrayed most often as beautiful, athletic, and overall attractive people, simply because people like that. Even someone like the Punisher, who isn’t exactly the most handsome guy, is still not a bad looking one either. I guess what I’m saying is that if you’re going by looks, then you’re being foolish and idiotic.

    Women that consider themselves “feminists” and decide to bicker over these issues show both ignorance and a heavy bias. Show me a hot looking female character in a comic and I’ll show you a handsome looking male character in return. I don’t hear them complaining about how Sephiroth was made to look like every teenage girl’s wet dream.

  47. I’ve been waiting for a boob joke and it never came.

    This is what happens when you don’t have boob jokes. Some shit gets serious and everything gets ruined.

  48. Are you saying that all it would have taken to keep this thread on the rails was actual boob jokes? Then permit me to oblige…

    Say, have you seen Tarot, Witch of the Black Rose’s new shoes?


    Why does Rob Liefeld draw women with such tiny feet?


    Say, Power Girl, did you make that costume yourself?


    Say, whatever happened to that old book Battle Chasers?

    RED WHATSERNAME’S BOOBS EXPLODED AND KILLED THE WHOLE CAST!! (I would also accept: Battle Chasers sucked and was plagued with insufferable delays that made Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk look like a model of professionalism).

    Hopefully, now that we’ve all heard lots of boob jokes we can stop all of this well-intentioned examination of misogyny in comics.

  49. I am confused. And hungry. And giggling quite a bit even if I disagree with Chris on a number of things.

    Heh. Boobs.

  50. The argument against this seems to be how the women in comics look, rather than how they’re portrayed. But this is a poor complaint; men and women in comics are portrayed most often as beautiful, athletic, and overall attractive people

    Yes, because male comic characters are so frequently drawn in nothing but skimpy posing straps, bending over to show off both their ass and chest at the same time…

  51. The argument against this seems to be how the women in comics look, rather than how they’re portrayed.

    Zuh? Since comics are a visual medium, the way they’re drawn (i.e., how they look) is part of how they’re portrayed.

    Also, what Grant Morrison said.

  52. Tim C, “well-intentioned” is all well and good but I’ll take bad jokes and sexual tension between internet enemies over simplistic misrepresentation and dismissal of a complex issue anytime. I mean I couldn’t even begin to state how out of wack with the facts Dave’s understanding was, so I went with my normal passive agressive responce. Obviosuly Dorian’s better at being sarcastic on the internet than I am. Ok, now its ruined.

  53. Well, I sincerely hope that I didn’t give any offense or seem more-than-ironically disrespectful to girl comic geeks. The fact is I’ve been too busy thinking up boob jokes to really consider anyone’s arguments. And by consider, I mean “read with any more precision than would be required to recognize a set-up for a boob joke.” I hope we’re all cool.

  54. All I know is that I’ve googled “Sims Ragnell slash” in every permutation I can think of, without finding anything. Internet, why have you failed me??

  55. Huh. You go to the office for a few hours, and look at all the posts!

    I actually talked to my staff about this today (I’m the boss, they HAVE to listen). We agreed that empowerment is in your own mind. If you feel that a character makes you feel stronger (I dunno, let’s use Dazzler), then she is your figure of empowerment. If a character makes you feel badly about your gender (Lookin’ at you, everyone drawn by Balent), then they aren’t empowering, no matter what their promoters try to tell you.

    Also, I hope the argument between Chris and Ragnell was fake, because calling someone “fat” as an insult is such a “mean girls” bitchy thing to do.

    Make fun of his obvious man-crushes if you must, but keep the physical comments to a minimum.

    Well, gotta leave the internets to go into the office. We have a full day, and then we will be watching, “My Name is Bruce” during lunch on our wall projector in the meeting room.

  56. Wonder Woman’s description is perfect.

    Also, when do us gays get our beefcake list?

  57. “Yes, because male comic characters are so frequently drawn in nothing but skimpy posing straps, bending over to show off both their ass and chest at the same time…”

    The Thing *folds arms*

  58. You’ve seen the thing bent to show chest and ass at the same time?

    The thing is FLEXIBLE enough to do that?

    This I gotta see.

  59. Where’s that pic of MJ from, and who drew it? The post is funny enough, don’t get me wrong, but I laughed more at that picture’s Mephisto joke.

  60. “Yes, because male comic characters are so frequently drawn in nothing but skimpy posing straps, bending over to show off both their ass and chest at the same time…”

    You know there are whole blogs on the interwebs devoted to male characters in these sorts of poses, right? The “Shirtless Superheroes” blog springs to mind.

  61. Joel, you DO know that there’s a difference between “shirtless” and “posed in a physically impossible way to show off secondary sexual characteristics” right?

  62. You’re kind of missing the point of “physically impossible” aren’t you, Joel?

    Now if you have a picture of him twisted so we can see his ass and chest at the same time, please share. I’d never thought Ol’ Wolvy was that bendy.

  63. I could be missing it on purpose just to needle you, but I’d guess there’s at least one pose of Wolverine like that in something Liefeld drew.

  64. >I could be missing it on purpose
    >I could be missing it on purpose
    >I could be missing it on purpose


  65. Eh, I read comics drawn by Buscema and I didn’t think all women looked like Belit, the Pirate Queen.

    I’m not saying there aren’t issues (see what I did there?) in the way women are portrayed, but more often than not, most comic book artists are upping the va va va voom, just as they are upping the testosterone with the males. Most comic book characters are in unrealistic poses. My brother and I used to crack up at how Wolverine was always drawn running on his toes as if he would trip and fall at a given moment.

  66. Arguing with men about sexism in comics is like arguing with monkeys about throwing feces.

    The ones who take the most pleasure in it are also the ones who are the most incorrigible, and trying to get them to change their ways only makes you more of a target in their eyes.

  67. Dudes in comics are rarely drawn as traces from porn or like the number one goal of each pic is to be sexy. Rarely is looking naked or having an orgasm used to convey a male fight scene.

    Being muscular and sorta handsome is not equivalent.

  68. Dorian, honestly, secondary characteristics? Men without shirts having muscles that aren’t able to be shown without artificial posing isn’t much different from making a woman more endowed in a comic-book fantasy world.

    What’s done in the art between both groups is the accentuating of certain parts that are respective of either males or females. Men are shown to have more musculature, or often very fit, and so forth. Women are shown to also be very fit, thin, and well-bosomed (heh heh eh… bosom…).

    What IS different is perception. Women will call it sexist that these parts are accentuated in females, but they’ll claim that it’s less of an issue or a non-issue for it to happen with male parts. Seriously, complaining that women wear bikinis and men wear tight spandex clothes, and that this difference is huge, is a misplaced issue.

    But herein lies the problem with this argument: it’s uneven. Rational people (which include both men and women mind you) look at this as being over-reactive and counterproductive. If you’re arguing this point, you’re not wanting equality and fairness, but an advantage of one gender over the other.

    I’m not saying that sexism doesn’t exist (come on, look at fricken Tarot), but when most female protagonists in Marvel and DC comics are seen as powerful, intelligent, and able to handle and lead their own, it says quite a bit about fairness. Making a complaint on superficial matters without looking at the actual content makes the movement no better than Jack Thompson on violent videogames or parents against violent media.

    It just makes feminists look like irrational, self-conscious, over-reactive women that are going through their periods and are doing no better than their stereotypes.

  69. “a hateful misogynist who serves only to give me something to loathe in this world,”

    Wow! You’re on her mind like an ex boyfriend. She slash your tires too?

  70. “It just makes feminists look like irrational, self-conscious, over-reactive women that are going through their periods and are doing no better than their stereotypes.”

    Seriously? If you’re trying to make a reasoned point, arguing that anyone that complains looks like they are ‘going through their periods’ is really not doing your argument any good.

    Pointing out that females in comics are often sexualised does not necessarily make someone a ‘feminist’ (though why being a feminist is an inherently bad thing, I am not sure), it just makes them someone that can see pictures. They are not ‘superficial’ matters – a comic is words AND pictures, so the way something in a comic looks IS important.

    ARRRGH. I wish I was better at articulating things, really. Can someone else do a better job, please?

  71. You’re referring to Greg Land and his ilk, or Balent? Those are bad artists by any definition, in my opinion. Even just on the surface I find their art to be so bad it just hurts my eyes.

    That said, what about Phil Jimenez, a gay man? He draws some fairly sexy women. I doubt he has an agenda there. Look, I’m actually *agreeing* that some art is sexist. I’m also saying that in other cases, all the people are stylized and paragons of human beauty and or sexiness. The two opinions are not mutually exclusive.

  72. In superhero comics, men & women are all drawn unrealistically. However, you don’t see, say, emphasis on the male characters’ penises bulging through their spandex. They aren’t posed to highlight their massive, oversized cocks. Why do you think that is?

    I don’t know that it matters much. Superhero comics are MOSTLY dumb fantasy. Rather than change the way they draw the girls, I think artists should starrt showing us that dick!

  73. I think that Jim Lee should give Batman’s outfit a redesign along the lines of what he did for Huntress, thus I want Bats with some bare thighs, bare midriff, and half his arse hanging out of his clothes.

  74. crap… I can’t believe that NO ONE mentioned that Mary Jane Watson DOES INDEED KNOW who Spider-Man is in this current “post-one-more-day” continuity.

    She’s said as much directly.
    and IN the same arc as the pic that she is shown was taken.

    When she’s in the safe-room, she told Spider-Man that she knew him “in another life”.

    During Mephisto’s magic whammy, she whispers something to him, and if you get a magnifying glass (yeah… I KNOW), you can read that she requests from the Devil that she is allowed to REMEMBER (which he does because it makes her pain all the more sweet).

    And THAT is why she’s reading FAUST in that pic.

    So… retcon or no, MJ always knew that Spidey = Peter.

    Just thought I’d be “that guy”.


  75. Off topic, I know, but I would totally read a comic about Red Sonja doing her taxes.

  76. Belit and Red Sonja carpooling would be awesome.

    “Is that really a METAL bra?”

  77. Yes, in the media of comics men’s penis is never emphasized.

    Now if you’re excuse me I am going to go see the Watchmen now.

  78. See, the penis in Watchmen isn’t really sexualised, it is just a matter-of-fact thing that’s there. Dr. Manhattan isn’t contorting his body so everyone can see it, throbbing and erect.

    Which is a missed opportunity, obviously.

  79. Ok, I’m just going to put this out there. Superhero comics appeal to a fairly narrow fetish. This is a point that Alan Moore made in Watchmen, and something that and both pro and anti comic book psychiatrists (William Moulton Marston and Frederick Wertham) understood and used to promote their psychiatric agendas. Marston’s agenda was to promote the idea of female domination (sexual and political) and Wertham objected to the homoeroticism that was part of the characterization of male heroes (yes, I know Wertham was evil… but I’ve also read much of Todd McFarlane’s run on Spiderman… definitely no homoeroticism there…) .

    Because of this, objecting to the way women (and it would be more correct to object to the way people) are visually portrayed in super hero comics is something like saying, “I find this fetish creepy and it makes me uncomfortable, but I like something about it or it wouldn’t be interested in it. Perhaps if the fetish were adjusted a bit I would be happier with it.”

    Female superheroes as they exist either now or in the past are empowering to women who are comfortable and sexually invested in this fetish. I suspect that males who are uncomfortable with the male fetish aspects of comics just don’t read them.

    However, this doesn’t deal with some of the writing in comic books which will take a strong, sexy female character like Powergirl and put her through the wringer because the writers both have anti-feminist impulses and also aren’t very good writers. Hence her “Atlantean Pregnancy.”

    Me, I’ve always wanted to be a supervillain like Dr. Doom.. yes, I’ve revealed some deep seated psychological fact about myself :-)

  80. Thrilltone, in retrospect I probably shouldn’t have put it there because people would just read the last paragraph and call me sexist. The point is that I think people who are complaining about the looks of female characters in comics are taking things both too seriously and looking at the situation unfairly. The idea that a hot heroine with big boobs is automatically an objectified piece of meat that lacks empowerment is untrue. And the argument that a woman in a skimpy suit is a lot worse than a guy in a skin-tight suit with perfect pecs makes no sense; it’s only “worse” based on people’s perspectives, not on the amount of clothes.

    Also, I never said feminists were bad. I said complaining that women lack empowerment because they look sexy in comics makes the movement look bad. It’d help if the fight was on far more worthwhile endeavors, such as fair wage compensation and equal opportunity in workplaces, not on complaining that women in comics look too sexy. And yes, superficiality would mean looking at the pictures without knowing the content. A woman throwing a punch and beating up criminals is empowering, but to ignore all that because she has a bikini on is superficial.

    As for larger penises, sure, wouldn’t bother me if they showed it. Though the fair equivalent would be some camel-toe action in women, but I haven’t come across that in comics.

  81. This thread has covered more ground than the Smokey and the Bandit incarnation of Ghost Rider.

    (With a number of Buford T. Justices following in its wake, I might add.)

  82. Dave Park, please post a link of something so people can argue with you on your own site/thread/email of whatever. Mr Simms doesn’t deserve this.

  83. If someone asks “Gee, Ragnell, why’d you get tired of blogging?”, all she’ll have to do is give them a printout of the last 50 comments.

  84. “Off topic, I know, but I would totally read a comic about Red Sonja doing her taxes.”

    Only if it culminates in a bloody massacre at IRS headquarters.

  85. “The girls who read comics are just as weird as the boys who read comics. They just read more Neil Gaiman.”
    Word. Since I lack red hair I guess I’m a goner.

  86. Yes, because said former blogger certainly elevated the level of discourse with a weight insult.


  87. Yes. Super-hero comics are sexist. Some are more sexist than others, but folks, get used to the fact that if you don’t see sexism in comics, it’s because it’s been staring you in the face for so long that you’ve gotten used to it by now. But it’s there, and it’s really obvious to anyone who hasn’t been immersed in it for years. This is why it’s so hard to get women interested in comics.

    The post was, of course, an amusing satire of the sexism in comics.

  88. Come here, Mr. John Seavey. I wish to hug you tightly in a borderline inappropriate manner.

  89. man. uhm. i thought chris was just joking about his tussle with WFA and I thought the post was a sad reminder of how “not really that far” comics have come. i thought this was actually a nice feminist critique of the sad sort of lady heroes we get!

    reading through the comments, I’m not so sure now?!

    i love comics with ass kicking ladies. i’m sad that sometimes those ladies look really weird and nonsensical or behave in a bizarre way that would not fly with their male counter parts. sometimes it’s hard to explain to someone why you can see the ladies’ nipples through their costumes, but not the guys’. and yes, i have seen cameltoe in comics :/ a lot. (http://adamhughes.deviantart.com/art/Spidey-s-Women-116127422)check out black cat. i see bafflingly detailed vagina a lot, actually.

    i have that same weirded out reaction i have when i see ladies’ nipples through their shirts in movies/tv. “….is that really necessary?”. it seems insulting to MEN too to think that straight guys can’t focus on a movie/comic long enough without a nipple or nipple suggestion.

    i think your posts are cool and funny chris, but now i’m weirded out and confused! clarify!!

  90. Erin, I stand by my Liefeld joke. I admit that he doesn’t have the giant gazonga fetish of a Balent, but he is legendary for drawing tiny feet, and that’s a crucial part of the setup.

  91. if comics are sexist and some are misogynist, what does that make TV, Movies, Magazines, commercials, our entire popular culture?

    Should we all hate ourselves?

    There’s nothing hateful about attractive women and their adventures. Even if they are sexualized to attract young male readers.

  92. “if comics are sexist and some are misogynist, what does that make TV, Movies, Magazines, commercials, our entire popular culture?”

    Sexist and misogynist.

    “Should we all hate ourselves?”

    That all depends on if you work in advertising or not.

  93. i’m willing to bet money mj remembers peter’s id and that’s what she whispered to mephisto…’let him forget, but not me…’ or at least that’s my continuity until they write something contradictory!

  94. Hey, My wife and I used this post to play a new game called “Superheroine or Hooker”.
    Manhunter and Batgirl were the only Superheroines so far.

  95. “Hey, My wife and I used this post to play a new game called “Superheroine or Hooker”.
    Manhunter and Batgirl were the only Superheroines so far.”

    What about Oracle?

  96. “What about Oracle?”

    There’s some freaky johns up here in NY.
    Oracle is totally advertising on craigslist.

  97. I love Women In Comics AND I love the Super-Blog. Why can’t we all just get along?

    Chris, as long as you mock the ongoing Framingham series, you’ll always have a place on my favorites list.