Wednesday, January 6, 2010

1994 Was a Heavy Year

Quote: "Honor women! They entwine and weave heavenly roses in our earthly life." -Schiller

Actual Quote of the Day: "We're all going to have a Doctor Whoot!"

Wednesdays. More specifically, New Comics Wednesdays. How may I count the ways that I love thee? In miles driven? In smiles smiled? In comics collected? Nay, it be the way Comics Unlimited opens its doors, with brand spanking new comics books filling the shelves, filling the store with the aroma of new paper and rabid joy (or at least I hope that smell is rabid joy). It is in the way that conversations just feel better inside those majestic four walls. Its the way that if I had a sleeping bag I would never leave. (Hey, I could sleep under the discount table).

That being said, I only bought one comic book today. Yeah, that entire first paragraph makes me sound like a dick now, doesn't it? I have a budget, okay? I need to conserve my resources. I. Be. POOR.

I got there earlier than usual. Mark, Lainey, and (later) Nancy were running the store, and if a more mighty trifecta of Awesome has been assembled, I have yet to see it. (Sorry Vic and Justin, if we owned a comic store I would say were equal in Awesomeness. But we do not, so we don't). And my favorite part of going there kicked in. Talking to this Trifecta! And even better, Vic and Justin showed up later to add to said good times.

Topics of Conversation @ Comics Unlimited: Doctor Who, Religion, Child discipline, Cheesecakes, Horror magazines, Frogs, Script Revisions, Secret Societys/Clubs, Nuns, Kickass horror scenes we'd like to see, Surprise punches to the face, blogs, etc.

I ended up buying Suicide Squad, which was jointly written by Gail Simone and John Ostrander. Let me gush about Gail Simone for a moment. She is an amazing writer. She has earned my special "Buy Any of Their Comics" Award. Its a very prestigious club, that I'm sure Nancy would like me to be less stringent on acceptance criteria. Anyways, Simone got labeled the "Women In Refrigerators" feminist anti-male comics crazy writer lady. This is incredibly unfair, and is an insult to her actual writing talent, which is considerable.

All right, I'm gonna go on a tangent here and explain the whole "Women In Refrigerators" phrase. To put it bluntly, women have had (or still do have) a crappy deal when it comes to representation in comic books. They're either WAY less powerful than their male counterparts, "bitchy", poorly written, ridiculous sex symbols, or all the above. Wonder Woman is probably the best representation of women in comic books, but even then, her costume is pretty much a strapless one-piece bikini. And only recently has she gotten written with a form of respect and actual characterization other than "The woman Superman would totally get with if he wasn't already with Lois." Anyway, if you weren't Wonder Woman, then awful things might happen to you. Take an issue of Green Lantern from back in 1994, where Kyle (the Green Lantern of the time) came home to find his girlfriend, Alex, dead and stuffed into a friggin' refrigerator.

Yeah, and I read that very issue when I was 12-years-old. I won't even get into the age thing, cuz, heck, that's a problem now. Heavy stuff to try and come to terms with. What Simone was bothered by was the sheer number of female characters that get maimed, violated, or killed in comic books. And the percentage of female characters this happens to is far more than male characters. Examples off the top of my head are Gwen Stacy, Karen Page, Raven, Batgirl, Elektra, Jade, Jean Loring Palmer, Susan Dibney, Ms. Marvel, etc. Bad stuff happened to them. Now, one can say bad things happened to the male characters too, which is very true. But what Simone was trying to do was make sure we were all aware of how intensely negative the treatment of female characters was getting, and had been. To at least make us think about it a little.

And really, when men are maimed, violated, or killed its a "Test of their Character." But if it happens to a woman, its a tragedy. So, really, the question of what side of this discussion, if any, you are on is up to you to answer. I personally saw it as how any character was getting written. All writers have to put their character through hell before the end of the story, otherwise the drama has no weight to it. But there IS a fine line between gritty story telling, and just plain emotional rape. Again, up to you to decide.


Gail Simone is a good writer. That's just a fact. And she has an opinion, which is a good thing, otherwise characters would just be there, and not have any depth to them. Read her stuff, especially "Secret Six" and "Birds of Prey."

As for the rest of the day... I ate at Panara, had a sandwich and soup. I then headed to work, which was very quiet. All in all, thank god for my Gail Simone rant, otherwise this blog would have been done REALLY quick.


No comments: