This has been popping up in my news feed lately. I don’t read comics, and I didn’t really read much of the commentary on the “Spiderwoman” cover issue, but I do see a lot of the comments. Most of their arguments are “but men get objectified too!! but you don’t see us complain.” OK. Trying hard not to get into a fight with strangers on facebook.
What’s funny about this (and by “funny” I mean gross) is that the cover is actually a rip off of the artist’s own porno comic
The tired argument about “men get that treatment too” is stale because it presumes that all other things are equal and they aren’t. Male characters get better plot lines, more varied stories, their own movies and movie franchises,
Women in comics are so often killed off just as catalyst for the hero’s righteous anger that there’s a term for it .
We are seeing more frequent and varied representations of women in comic books these days, (notably the fact that Storm, a Kenyan woman just got her own solo series run and it’s getting pretty good reviews & Ms Marvel is a Pakistani.-American Muslim), but it’s far from a level playing field.
Comics are becoming more accessible to a wider audience and thankfully, women have been vocal about what they want to see more of in the pages. Marvel seems to have taken more of an interest in what their female fans have to say (DC’s pretty tone deaf when it comes to the ladies, doing things like asking fans to draw a popular female character nude and committing suicide)
It remains to be seen if Marvel will listen to female fans about this cover, but I’m not surprised that so many people are just shrugging it off. It would get lost in the sea of similarly sexual covers at any local comic shop, which is one reason many women choose to keep their pull lists online.
But DC and Marvel are not the only game in town! I can personally recommend some wonderful comics that depart from the boys club:
Rat Queens: Medieval fantasy series featuring a bunch of ass-kicking ladies, diversity in skin color, sexuality and body types, some pretty funny jokes.
Sex Criminals about a couple who can freeze time when they orgasm. The first issue shows our young heroine discovering the joys of masturbation and the confusion of feeling like she’s different because of what happens (resulting in some pretty funny interactions with her schoolmates)
Lumberjanes about 5 girls at summer camp who are dealing with the supernatural creatures in the forest. This one is suitable for younger children too and is also pretty diverse.
These are just a few. There are many wonderful comics out there doing it right. If you don’t see what you want out there, demand it. Or make it! Put your money where your values are and with our growing numbers and influence, those that produce comics will be forced to listen.