An Open Letter to DC Comics

edited on 9/23/13 – I was wrong about a timeline issue. Original text kept in tact, corrections follows.

(trigger warning for multiple mentions of violence and sexual assault)

Dear DC,

So, I saw that you thought that an art contest where the topic was a naked Harley Quinn committing suicide was an appropriate thing at any point in time. I also saw you thought it was appropriate to do this contest that trivializes suicide a week before National Suicide Prevention Week.

I saw that J. H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman are being kind, decent human beings and leaving the Batwoman title after your editorial refused to let Batwoman get married to her girlfriend Maggie Sawyer, even after Batwoman has proposed twice on panel. I saw that you’ve been saying that this move has nothing to do with Batwoman’s sexuality, that its just that you don’t want characters getting married, but wow, does that sound hollow.

I’ve seen a lot of the shitty things you’ve done over the years. I’m like Martian Manhunter watching over the world from the Justice League satellite, in a way.

I have loved the world you own for over 8 years. I have bought movies, soundtracks, action figures, comic book after comic book. I have leant trade paper backs out to friends, recommended titles for them to pick up, bought them series as gifts. I loved your Animated Universe and would watch the Batman and Justice League cartoons over and over and over. I’d invite friends over and have viewing parties where we’d watch all the Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn episodes, or the Black Canary episodes, or all the Wonder Woman ones. I have given you so much business, poured so much money into your company. I love superheroes so much.

comics

This is just what was in one room in my apartment. Not the stuff under my bed, or the multiple posters on my walls, not the stuff at my parents’ house, not the movies I have seen multiple times in theatres. One Room. I loved your products. Like, how many people even own that shitty Justice League game? That’s a Wonder Woman picture book from the 70s. I have duplicates of most of those Demon Knights issues.

I have been a staunch supporter of your products, and I am many things besides just a Wonder Woman fan: I am a woman, I am a lesbian, and I have been suicidal at various points in my life. And you think that’s fucking funny or best swept under the rug.

(Thanks, Batwoman, you and me are on the same wavelength)

(Thanks, Batwoman, you and me are on the same wavelength)

Fuck you.

I am done.

Hey DC, remember this show?

teen titans

I loved Teen Titans. From middle school into high school it was my favorite show on TV. The End parts I, II, and III: Fantastic. Hide and Seek: Also Fantastic. I anxiously awaited the release of season DVDs, and then day of would rush to the store to buy them. I loved Raven and Starfire so much. The fourth season was amazing. “Coming out” as a nerd who loved this show was like a weird sort of training wheels for actually coming out. It was my first introduction to superheroes and DC. So what did I, a new consumer of DC media do? Rushed out to buy Teen Titans comics.

Do you remember, DC, what was happening in Teen Titans at the time? Oh, yeah, everyone was being brutally murdered. Superboy? Killed. Kid Devil? Killed. Pantha? A hole punched through her torso. Wildebeest? Ripped in half after watching his mother get a hole punched through her torso. Marvin and Wendy (the fucking Wonder Twins)? Eaten alive by their dog. And Miss Martian didn’t die, but you did decide that a good plot point for the most happy, innocent, and kind character was to be nearly raped in a dirty bathroom stall. Not only was this title a crass, offensive mess, it was the title that was most likely to draw new, young readers. And you decided these were appropriate narratives not just in general, but for an audience coming in to comics based off of this:

Hey DC, remember that time you killed off Spoiler/Stephanie Brown in a highly sexualized manner?

steph

(gotta get in those tits ‘n ass shots while showing teenage girls being brutally tortured to death, am I right?)

(gotta get in those tits ‘n ass shots while showing teenage girls being brutally tortured to death, am I right?)

Remember how no one in her comic, not even Batman really cared about her death in any way other than to have existential man angst over it, and make the whole thing about himself? Remember how her best friend Cassandra Cain/Batgirl, the only person of color in the Bat-family just sort of disappeared from comics at the same time? Remember how fans clamored for years for you to bring back Stephanie Brown, or to apologize for the way you had killed her, or just to have someone care that she was gone? Remember how you finally brought her back, and Batman still didn’t care?

Remember when you didn’t’ kill off Icewoman, one of the few bisexual characters, but instead had a villain flay off her skin and wear it, leaving her catatonic? Remember how you just forgot she was a character? What about that time the first Batgirl was shot by Joker through the spine, leaving her paralyzed, and then the whole comic focused on Batman and her father’s existential man-pain over the event, and none of her own. Remember how she was forgotten as a character for years after that, until she finally made a comeback as Oracle in Birds of Prey? (note: the time gap between her being shot and making a comeback was only actually ~ a year. I was wrong about this part. The Executive Editorial Director at the time responded to the suggested plot point with “cripple the bitch,” so I think the larger point about disrespect for the character still stands, I was just wrong in how I got to that conclusion originally. My apologies)

Do you remember this list, DC, of women you had killed off, raped, or de-powered, women who were killed and dismembered and then stuffed in refrigerators just so a man could have existential pain over it? Women In Refrigerators. (Note: not all DC characters, not updated in years)

And, this one has stuck with me for years, I want you to know how devastating this event was for me. This title DC:

jl

This title was one of my favorites. It was fun and light hearted, in your overwhelmingly grim and gritty universe. It had two of my favorites on the team: Mary Marvel and Fire. No one was raped, no one died. So of course, you had to ruin that too. Do you remember what you did to Sue Dibny, the un-super powered wife of The Elongated Man? You had her killed and raped for shock value, so that every male superhero in the DC universe could get together and angst over their man-pain. And you had her raped by a super villain who previously had appeared as comically inept in the Teen Titans cartoon, a show for children. You took two characters who were fun and lighthearted and made them into a rape victim and a rapist. But you couldn’t stop yourselves, could you DC. From there, you have lady-magician Zatanna try to mind-wipe Dr. Light, and of course Batman doesn’t agree with that, so you have Zatanna mind wipe him too. But it’s Batman, and you treat him like god, so he gets better from magic mind-erasure and builds the Brother MK I, a satellite meant to monitor the other superheroes, and which controls the OMACS, cyborgs mean to keep the superheroes in check. And of course, the OMACS get hijacked, and of course they go on a killing spree, and of course this results in all the Amazons, hundreds of women characters and Wonder Woman’s family being killed/spirited away to a different plane of existence/who even really knows. And Batman got like 0 real blowback for that, but the minute Wonder Woman snaps some guy’s neck to stop him from mind-controlling Superman into killing millions, she’s suddenly the bad guy. Sure.

(Wonder Woman and the Amazons battling the OMACS on Themyscira)

(Wonder Woman and the Amazons battling the OMACS on Themyscira)

Oh and then you decided that Mary Marvel, the heart of the DC universe, the young girl who gets zapped by lightning to become older and a superhero, who loves joy and kittens and idolizes Fire and adores Walt Disney films, should be made evil, because grim and gritty = serious, real art for adults to you.

On the topic of Batman, lets talk about the Nolan films. That was super cool how in the second one you included Police Commissioner James Gordon’s children, and had Two Face threaten to kill Gordon’s son as the ultimate act of revenge, but not his daughter, because apparently Gordon doesn’t give a shit about her. Also cool how instead of having Two Face, whose character is all about duality and works in twos, threaten both Gordon’s kids you only have him threaten his son. Because father’s don’t love their daughters as much as their sons, apparently. Or how Gordon’s son, James Jr., who me and like 5 other people knew existed as a character before that movie (and existed in some iterations as a serial killer), is the character you decide to name and use, but Gordon’s daughter is unnamed. Gordon’s daughter Barbara Gordon – who is Batgirl and later Oracle, a character central and critical to Batman’s mythology – goes unnamed. But no, James Jr. is the more important (and named) character. No one gives a shit about James Jr.

You know what else I loved about Nolan’s films? That three characters of color – Ra’s Al Gul, Talia Al Gul, and Bane – were portrayed by white actors. Whitewashing is always so great to see, we never get enough of it in Hollywood.

God, you make me hate Batman so much.

And man, do you ever hate lesbians. Batwoman not being allowed to get married is just the most recent in your serial abuses. There’s what you did to Icewoman. More than that, there’s the decades of queer baiting that never pay off. The constant hints that Fire and Ice may love each other, which only resolved itself in Ice being killed and Fire shifting her attentions to Icewoman. The continuous hints since the Animated series in the early 90s that Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn are a couple when Harley isn’t with the Joker. Harley even acknowledged that she knew Ivy loved her in a comic, which resulted in nothing. And then the reboot happened, so does that statement even exist in canon anymore?

(there’s fucking red cartoon hearts, for god’s sake)

(there’s fucking red cartoon hearts, for god’s sake)

That time that Oracle was maybe going to have a thing for Black Canary, and then it wasn’t allowed. That time that Wonder Woman’s mom, Queen Hippolyta and the captain of the guard Phillippus were going to be together and then it wasn’t allowed. That time WONDER WOMAN WAS GOING TO HAVE A GIRLFRIEND and then it wasn’t allowed, and instead Io was killed off, which you can justify with whatever you want, but really seems like it was just to make sure she didn’t get her lesbian cooties all over one of the big three.  Not like you even treat Wonder Woman as equal with Batman or Superman anyways, but whatever.

io

Oh and now, under the New 52, you decided to break up the most iconic Superhero couple, Superman and Lois Lane, to put Superman and Wonder Woman together. What a stupid and offensive idea. Throwing Lois Lane under the bus, and desperately trying to dispel rumors of Wonder Woman’s queerness. Plus, you decided to remake the Amazons as man-killers (and maybe potential rapists), who murder boy-children, because that’s what you do with the family of a feminist icon right? Make them Rush Limbaugh’s exact fear of women who are given the right to vote. Good.

Speaking of the New 52, wow what an awful idea. Lets make comics more accessible by rebooting everything, getting rid of decades of history, and making them even more confusing in general. We’ll get rid of “superfluous” characters that no one even liked anyways (surprise! Most of them are some combination of women, queer, or people of color). The thing about superfluous characters, is that they’re generally deemed “superfluous” because they’re not men. And people loved them, how dare you just erase them from comics’ history as if we would forget.

But Kho Kharhi was my favorite Green Lantern. A Wonder Woman fangirl (channeling me, and every other Wonder Woman fan) who fought alongside her idol against family, because they were doing harm, and whose species was a big “fuck you” to traditional beauty standards.

khari

Does she even exist anymore? I miss her.

What about Atlee, Powergirl’s almost girlfriend (again with the almost shit), the charming fish-out-of-water character who brought joy to an already fun title, and was so pumped about being a superhero and helping people.

atlee

I haven’t heard anything about her, and I loved her too.

And what about Io? Beautiful, wonderful Io, the Amazonian blacksmith who was brave and soft-spoken and strong and knew her duty, cared for Wonder Woman and was always in awe of her while still acknowledging her own worth, and never bowed before Ares or super villains. The character who should have been Wonder Woman’s girlfriend, who meant so much to me, who appeared in only a handful of pages but is one of my favorite characters of all time from any medium.

(Io in the center, running to warn her queen of danger. Also: note those Amazons holding hands! Kudos to you, artist.)

(Io in the center, running to warn her queen of danger. Also: note those Amazons holding hands! Kudos to you, artist.)

I loved her so much, and she’s just in character limbo. Does she exist, is she dead? Will she ever see Wonder Woman again?

You want to know something DC? You’re the super villain here. Your company is Doomsday. Lumbering, stupid, terrible, leaving a path of pain in its wake, killing beloved superheroes left and right. Fans like me? We’re Superman (and this is the only time I have ever identified with Superman). We’re brave and smart and powerful, and we want the world to be good and safe. We want our comics to be good and safe. And you are pummeling us down, but Superman rose up again. The Death of Superman was a stupid, and ultimately temporary move on your part. More and more fans like me are leaving, using our superpower of the dollar, withdrawing it, and warning everyone we know not to come near the radioactive toxic waste heap that is your company, that it won’t give them superpowers, only hurt them. We’re going to outlast you; whether its your company collapsing because dominant culture dudebros are not enough of a market to support your behemoth weight, or whether you pull through, get a new editorial team, or just wise up to the fact that more than just dudebros exist in the world, that people love your characters but not the way you treat them, that consumers are smart and have power. You are bleeding out and actively resisting a tourniquet, spitting in the face and insulting the medic offering it to you.

Comics were started by the downtrodden. Superman, the alien immigrant, was created by Jewish men. Wonder Woman was created by a man wishing for women’s equality. Superheroes protect the weak, not those who seek to dominate. You’ve forgotten your roots, and completely assimilated to dominant, oppressive culture.

You are in control of beautiful characters. Kind, compassionate, flawed human characters. Characters who want the world to be better, who help the downtrodden, who rescue kittens from trees and save lives. People who can fly.

wonderwoman

But you’re stuck on the ground, actively digging yourself deeper into mud.

You think Harley Quinn killing herself is funny. You want others to engage in laughing at that with you. You refuse to let Batwoman get married. I’m still waiting for a Wonder Woman movie. All my favorite characters are erased or dead or had their titles canceled.

I am so tired.

I am tired and angry and sad and hurt, and I have been for over 8 years. But I have also been happy and delighted and healed and nourished by your characters, and that makes it sting all the worse. Some of your authors are my writing idols. Greg Rucka, J. H. Williams III, and Gail Simone are amazing writers. Even if I haven’t liked everything they’ve worked on, I respect everything they’ve worked on. They consistently write in characters and identities who are left out everywhere else. They treat the characters and the readers with respect, when your company policy seems to be to do anything but that. Greg Rucka’s run on Wonder Woman was the best Wonder Woman has ever been written, and the Hiketeia is one of the best comics, soundly answering the age-old question of “Who would win? Batman or Superman” with Wonder Woman, of course.

Wonder Woman and the Shining Knight (an Arthurian knight who is one of the few trans* or gender queer characters that isn’t awful in all of media) are two of my three favorite characters from anything, ever. They mean so much to me.

sirystin

(Sir Ystin/Shining Knight, continually helping me chase of my depression, gender angst, and self-doubt like so many demons to be slain)

Batwoman and Philippus and Raven and Starfire and Pantha and Fire and Ice and Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn and both Batgirls and Solstice and Miss Martian and Kho and Mary Marvel have all meant so much to me. I needed all of them at various points in my life. I still need them. And you do not care at all. Fine, you’re a company, you don’t care about feelings and empathy and that your characters are literally LITERALLY life-saving. Wonder Woman and Shining Knight and Batwoman have got me through both fits of depression and coming out. But you don’t care. Capitalism, right? So here’s my crass appeal to money. Comics are tanking. There are not enough people buying them, and you have been in crisis mode over this for years. And now you are loosing me, and fans like me, and not getting any new ones because you keep being consistently shitty. Here’s my advice. Stop Sucking. Just stop fucking sucking, DC. How hard is it, really, to not trivialize suicide? To let a lesbian get married? To not write rape at the drop of a fucking hat?

When you can answer that, maybe, maybe I will come back. But for now?

harley1

harley2

harley3

harley4

(Harley Quinn as she should be)

I am done.

Screen Shot 2013-09-16 at 1.35.39 PM

I’m putting you out of my life.

No love,

Gabrielle

31 responses to “An Open Letter to DC Comics

  1. thank you so much for this. it’s amazing, sad, and beautifully written.

  2. I have to agree with this. For a company so ostensibly about courage and heroism, they have become cowards – pandering, weaseling, removing aspects they feel might offend what I shall refer to as ‘casuals’.
    And frankly, I am feeling the New 52 are less and less inspired.

    Maybe death isn’t coming, but has already come.

  3. That is pretty damn well spoken and brings up why I abandoned mainstream comics. They dont care, they just do not care at all about their readers. Everyone in charge are stubborn, decaying, sexist middle aged men who are absolutely convinced that their way works, even though sales plummet consistently, and creators are leaving in droves.

  4. This is a wonderful essay. Thank you for writing this. I only wish that the PTB at DC Comics (and elsewhere) actually cared enough to read and understand what you’ve written.

  5. This is the most powerful and effective critique of DC that I’ve yet read. Thank you very much.

  6. Bless ya. You’ve summed up my disappointment with DC the last few years in a few, succinct sentences. I’ve bought a few New 52 books out of habit but they’re all so awful and hateful that I can’t take it anymore, either. I kept thinking it was all going to be an elaborate joke, and the ‘real’ heroes would reappear, but no, this seems to be the way it’s going to go, and I just don’t care. I miss characters that are heroic.

  7. Half of that is bull.

    You won’t be missed.

    • Care to elaborate on which half?

      • I try not to criticize on parts where you express your feelings. Those subjective and you can feel however you want. But…
        DC is not banning gay marriages in their nu52 continuity. They ban all marriages. Hell, even Aquaman was retconned to be barely romantically engaged with Mera, not actual marriage. It is stupid, but it is not aimed at homosexual marriages.

        Nobody cared about Stephanie Brown (and I must admit, you are the first fan I’ve ver herd about missing her) was because she wasn’t needed nor wanted. Batman did not wanted her as a Batgirl, she wasn’t quiet as good in that role as Barbara used to nor as Cassandra was going to be. Sure, she met death in line of duty. And saying that Batman “did tit all bout himself” is a bit childish. Aren’t characters allowed to mourn their fallen comrades?

        Icewoman was put out of commission because she was kind of c-lister who had no bigger purpose. Sad, but that’s the reality of comic book industry. I barely had to with her sexual preferences.

        After Joker shot Barbara in her spine, in the immediate following story, it was about Batman and Gordon because, well, they were the only ones able to do anything with that. Killing Joke was basically about Batman reliving his loss. Barbaras struggle was shown and honorably portrayed later when she was brain of Birds of Prey.

        Once again, a cause of Sue Dibny. Identity Crisis was STUPID. I mean terribly. But why is caring for someones death and rape man-pain? It was more like a show of common effort to finally find the monster responsible for this heinous act.

        Mary Marvel thankfully was made evil only briefly. And given it was during Countdown, another atrocious event, it’s better treatment than many, many other characters that were utterly destroyed during that. Not because of their gender. But because of poor writing.

        About Nolan movies: they did not ever hinted Barbara BECAUSE she was Batgirl. There were never plans for Batgirl movie in Nolanverse so naming her and giving us unfulfilled hope would be cruel at least. Also, Two-Face deals not in twos but in opposites. He took he son and ignored the daughter because he picks only one side of the coin at the time.

        Well, Fire was romantically involved with Booster Gold before hinting with Ice started. So, I think it’s pretty safe to assume that she stayed bisexual. And I think you are reading WAAAAY to much into Harley-Ivy relationship. Ivy never shown bi, nor homosexual tendencies. Harley treats her more like best friend, maybe older sister.

        Accusations of not treating Wonder Woman on par with Superman and Batman are pretty bleak in face of the amazing ongoing Wonder Woman. She got the best of three, both in the department of writing (Brian Azzarello) and drawing.

        Amazons were taken tot he ground because lets face it: Utopian island filled with perfect women was a stupid concept to begin with. They weren’t painted as inherently evil. Simply as bent on surviving. And they don’t murder boy-children. They trade them for arms. Which is explained later on. But seeing how the theme of whole first story arc of Wonder Woman is guilt, pride and fall from grace, it is only fitting.

        Most of missing characters are probably going back anyway. With villains month half-way through we were reintroduced a lot of missing goodies, like Shadow Thief (now female) or Ventriloquist (once again, now female, with much better back story).

        Kho is not gone. As I am sure you are aware, Green Lantern books (and associated “cosmic” books) did not got a full reboot. Blackest Night is still kind of canon. So is War of Light, Sinestro war and Brightest Day. So Kho Khari is still in commission, waiting to be used.

        Atlee was hinted twice already, in Teen Titans and Ravagers. Once again, we have to wait.

        As with every other amazons (out of which some named are presented in firs few issues of Wonder Woman) turned into snakes, we can’t really tell who is going to comeback. But seeing the course of the book right now? Sooner rather than later we are going to get amazons back.

        Well, yes, “dudebros” will support DC. Still majority of buyers in comic book industry are males. It’s an economical fact.

        And out of the great three only now Wonder Woman is depicted as morally and power-wise better than the other two.

        I understand your displease with recent changes. But I wanted to tell you that losing hope isn’t a best way to treat in this industry. Yes, editorials screw up. Yes, they destroy great characters. But you can’t make them act against the most important thing any industry need. Profit.

    • For some reason, it won’t let me respond to your longer post, but that’s what this reply is for.

      A lot of your arguments are just parroting the same logic that DC used to cut those characters or publish those story beats in the first place. I don’t want to speak for the author, but I feel like her point wasn’t that there was no reason for what they did; you said it yourself, it’s profit. Her point seemed to be that they were chasing an imaginary market by doing what they thought non-comics readers wanted them to do at the expense of fans that had been there all along.

      • Every company does mistakes in pursuit of money. And most of mistakes author is angry about weren’t even made to attract new readers. But to bring back old ones who left because of things like Crisis on Infinite Earths etc.

        I won’t say that new 52 is something great, godsend messiah of DC work. But it has a lot of potential, a lot of good stories and thankfully, bad ones,a re easy to discern.

  8. Thank you so much for this essay. While I’m not a big comics reader, I’ve been feeling this same way about other forms of media, especially video games. Lately I find myself playing games where I get to create my own characters and decide their fates because, quite frankly, none of the media houses will create them or treat them how they should be treated.

    The pain and betrayal you feel at the unjust treatment of your cherished characters and idols is palpable. Kudos on publishing this so the rest of us can realize we feel the same way.

  9. Very well written, thought out and described. I give you an A+ and I toss away my love for DC.

  10. The “Dark Age” of comics has thrown the baby out with the bathwater. They have confused maturity with desperation and depression.

    But…don’t leave. Don’t deny yourself those books that “are” good. Don’t abandon those writers that tell the good stories. Go to the trades, the back issues, and keep,the part of comics that you love alive. Independent publishers. Talk and tell everyone about the good. Write and expose the bad (which you did very well above)

    Don’t let them win. Don’t let them take happiness from you.

  11. Don’t forget that they fridged Superboy’s girlfriend, Tana Moon, a woman of color to fuel man!pain.

  12. Also, you forgot they erase Renee, Grace and Anissa. They’re queer women of color.

  13. Pingback: Open Thread: Sailer Moon vs Wonder Woman, Vogue Style, In Sweden | Alas, a Blog

  14. The truly sad thing about your post is that it took you EIGTH years to realize you were basically consuming garbage that, most of it, you didn’t even enjoy. DC, as any other company of anything in the world, wants (and have always wanted) your money, (not your opinion, your hurt or whatever) but they did not put a gun to your head to get it. SO: spend your money exploring new stuff and since you have tasted so much shit I bet you’ll find some incredible things to read and watch and share.

    But, please, stop moaning to DC in hurt as if it was your first broken heart: they dont fucking care, neither should you.

    • Perhaps I didn’t make it clear enough in my post, but it was not all garbage, and some of it made me very happy. Batwoman and Wonder Woman titles have helped me cope with depression. Greg Rucka’s work is always a joy to read, I enjoyed a lot of Gail Simone’s work as well. The DC animated universe was an utter delight to consume. While this was not my first broken heart, it was a broken heart. The point of this post was that it has taken eight years to reach breaking point, after little things piling up and eventually outweighing the good things. I am not acting as though DC cares, merely that they should, because the way comics has been running overall turns away new and long-time consumers. Please do not come in here and talk to me as if I do not understand how companies work, when I made it clear in my post that I do understand that profit is ultimately the bottom line, and am making my appeal on not only a moral and artistic level, but also on an economic one as well.

  15. Thank you for putting many of my frustrations with DC down in print. I find that their books are every kind of “ist” i can think of and no longer for me. I actively try and steer my customers to any other comic I can get them to buy. While that may seem like a horrible business plan, it works great as they now ENJOY reading their comics instead of just purchasing them out of habit. I refuse to read another DC comic until Dan Didiot is no longer there.

  16. “…leaving the Batwoman title after your editorial refused to let Batwoman get married to her girlfriend Maggie Sawyer…”

    *slams head on desk*

    I agree with 99% of what you’ve posted, and have quit DC for many of the same reasons, but the above isn’t true. Blackman and Williams have gone OUT OF THEIR WAY to say that it was simply a matter of having their approved story un-approved at the last minute. It had nothing to do with a perceived fear of gay marriage. They’ve been really, really vocal about this point.

    The only reason I point this out is because, when I got to that bit, I nearly dismissed the entire post, because it screamed “I’m ranting without actually using facts.” I’m glad I kept reading and that’s clearly not the case, but you should rethink that bit.

    • ok, but why was the story unapproved? Blackman and Williams have also said that similar last-minute reversals have happened frequently -why?

      Someone else in the comments pointed out that DC has a thing against all marriages currently (which I also disagree with as a policy) which I mentioned in my post as well, but in the case of Batwoman that is such a tone-deaf thing to do with her character. She’s been the character who has moved through mainstream gay rights issues already (like DADT), so it makes more sense narratively to let her get married than to not, while the decision against it comes across as openly hostile, even if they didn’t intend to be openly hostile. With DC’s historic poor treatment of LGBTQ characters, the move is part of a larger trend, where individual actions may not necessarily be homophobic in intent, but still play into a larger homophobic trend. I also did include in the post the link to the article that stated that editorial said it had nothing to do with homophobia, but that for the aforementioned reasons, this seemed like a hollow justification and a bit like ass-covering.

  17. Pingback: Saving Superheroes from their Gatekeeper | CO2 COMICS BLOG

  18. Corporate comics are corporate comics. If consumers are vocal enough and boycott, they might listen, right? Well, that would be nice. The big problem is that they don’t think you’re part of their core consumer base–or their core consumer base doesn’t care about you. This might change right around the time that pigs learn how to fly.

  19. Great essay. I think they can turn it around, but I;m not sure they will recognize it as a problem.

    good related comic:
    http://www.shortpacked.com/2011/comic/book-13/04-remedial-adulthood/math/

  20. Pingback: God of Comics Afterthought 2013-11-20 - Living Myth Media

  21. Comic books are in so many ways our new myths and legends. I wasn’t an avid follower growing up, as some were. I watched the Superfriends and similar shows; I’ve always had a keen interest in cartoons, and some of the best (and worst) around have been superhero shows, its own very unique genre.

    When I did start to read comics, I always seemed to pick titles that were destined for cancellation soon.

    But I learned and I grew and I discovered so much.

    And I couldn’t help notice the disparity. The lack of female heroes in a world where, logically, they should be easily as, if not more, numerous than the men.

    There’s a great book that I found at our local library that talked about his. How before the 50s and the near-death of comics, female readership was every bit as widespread as male, and female characters likewise so. Some were so popular as to completely take over titles from their male counterparts.

    Oh, I won’t say things were perfect. A different time, a different era, but it does seem like many more women were being reached out to, and depicted, and depicted well.

    And then the 50s hit and for decades thereafter comics became a man’s world. Female readers were dispossessed and disowned and went elsewhere, and we won’t even speak of female creators in the field, of whom there were far too few to begin with.

    Things have gotten… better. But it’s such a slow climb. And there are so many steps back. The grim and gritty periods, the overly-voluptuous nympho periods, the time when Wonder Woman lost her powers and opened a boutique and Batgirl was too busy with a run in her stocking to help Batman and Robin. What were they thinking?

    Incidentally, Firefox recognizes Batman as a word. It’s telling me Batgirl is misspelled. Just noticed that. That’s one thing that always did irk me, how many female characters are just counterparts to male characters. It’s a weird place to be; you’re at once happy to see Batgirl and Mary Marvel and She-Hulk, and at the same time upset that they’re second fiddle to Batman and Captain Marvel and the Hulk.

    It’s all indicative, in the end, of a bigger problem in our society, in our media. Women are not depicted on the whole unless they have a specific role in the narrative. Too often that’s ‘victim’ or ‘love interest’ or some other cliche. All other characters tend to default to male. Based on the ratios of men to women in movies and books and television, even works with female protagonists, you’d often come away believing that men make up 75, 85, sometimes 95% or more of the world.

    There’s a term, ‘the token black.’ The one character of color in the group. There’s also the token woman. Most super teams have them. It was an outright breakthrough that the Power Rangers had two out of their team of five, though in the original run that eventually became six, and how many other female characters were there? The X-Men in their first incarnation had one woman, four guys, and a male mentor. Fantastic Four are three to one. Original Avengers had just little Wanda, and though she grew into an amazing character, she started out, like many of the others, weak and shallow.

    So maybe we’ve come a little farther. We have groups that can sustain MORE THAN ONE WOMAN. GASP. The rest of the world around them is still mostly guys, but the girls are starting to multiply. Young Justice? Strong women, and a lot of them. They were still outnumbered by the men, particularly among the adults, but another step in the direction of acknowledging that women just happen to make up HALF THE PLANET. A bit more than half, really, as I recall.

    Given how difficult it is to get women equal representation, not just in comics but period, it’s sadly no surprise that it’s even harder to find good examples of alternative sexuality. They’re out there, but it’s like digging for gold in a played-out gold mine. You have to dig deep and fail often and it’s dangerous and often fruitless and frustrating.

    Again, things have gotten better. But don’t confuse better for equal. There’s a long way to go on that front.

    I apologize for ranting after your rant. It’s a glorious one, and it hits on so many really excellent points, from a fresher and younger perspective than mine that is interesting to see.

    Good to see that cartoons and superheroes are still inspiring kids to dream and wonder. Bad to see that miserably poor choices are still hurting them as they transition from the often sanitized cartoons into the so-often grimmer and darker world of comics.

    Marvel and other comic book manufacturers are not at all blameless in this field, but DC’s recent choices have been particularly excruciating to watch.

    And if the best they can come up with is ‘they don’t want characters getting married,’ perhaps they’ve forgotten about all of the married heterosexual couples in their universe. An easy thing to do, I suppose, when its so popular to break up couples at every twist and turn.

    I hope things turn around. I hope people listen. I hope more women rise up and more men wise up and TOGETHER we strive to show a world is fresher and better and has a place for all of us in it.

    I hope. And I’ll keep pushing for those hopes to come to pass. I can see that you will as well. Keep up the great work. Keep on speaking out.

    P.S.: I am so glad you hit upon Wonder Woman’s very feminist, humanist origins briefly there. It’s something that is far too often forgotten now with this harder, angrier, more violent Wonder Woman.

  22. Pingback: God of Comics [2013-11-20] | Living Myth MagazineLiving Myth Magazine | The online magazine for geeks, nerds and other obsessively passionate people. Vancouver based and read world wide.

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