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Supergirls Gone Wild

August 6, 2007
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There’s a great article here about someone I never knew existed: a female Robin. Admittedly, I’m more of a Marvel girl than a DC girl, but Stephanie Brown still came as a surprise to me. Why have I never heard of her? Well, apparently she wasn’t around long. After being a huge disappointment to the Dark Knight, she was tortured and killed. From the article:

Her grisly demise hit fans hard, particularly the female readers who’d only just started enjoying the thrill of a Robin they could identify with. After the two previous boy Robins had retired and died, respectively, their uniforms were preserved behind glass inside the Batcave. But Baman never got around to memorializing Stephanie. More than two years later, a grassroots campaign based at the website Girl-Wonder.org is still aggressively lobbying DC Comics to give Stephanie her two-dimensional due. And the flames of discontent only grew higher when DC editor Dan DiDio told female fans at a recent comic convention that in his book, Stephanie “was never really a Robin.”

Of course, sudden-death plot twists are nothing new in comic books. (Just ask Captain America, who was whacked earlier this year after an illustrious 60-year crime-fighting career.) Neither are angry readers: Comic-book fans are known for their fanatical love for their favorite characters—and their ferocious scorn for anyone who dares to mess them up. But the new wave of feminist fangirls has taken this obsessiveness even further, geeking out about the ways that superwomen are shortchanged by dumb story lines, flat characterization, and titillating art. They love their comics as much as the sweatiest fanboy—and they hate nothing more than when real-life problems like the glass ceiling intrude on their escapist fantasies.

Gert

I can understand that we aren’t the target audience for comics. But it would be awesome to have a few female characters who aren’t blatantly hot. Girls with brains. Girls with a sense of humor. What I desperately want is more girls like Gert.

Gert was the best character in the terrific comic series Runaways. Take a look at her to the left here. She’s chubby, she’s Jewish, she’s got glasses and purple hair. Beyond that, she was smart, sarcastic, cynical, and funny as hell. Spider-Man told her she’d be the leader of the Avengers some day. These are the characters I love.

What happened to Gert? She died.

I have a hard time coming up with smart, funny women in comics. She-Hulk is about it. Men still lust after her, though, and she doesn’t seem too terribly offended by it, though her alter ego is.

Then there’s the ugly girls. Marrow, for instance. Marrow was a kickass character. She was ugly, nasty, vicious… but also had another dimension to her. She could be artistic, protective, gentle. She reformed, too! She actually went through some character development!

What happened to Marrow? She got hot.

Any wonder I’m reading more and more indie titles?

Anyhow, read the article, it’s pretty awesome. Girls Read Comics is a fun blog, too, check it out.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. August 9, 2007 7:32 am

    The hottifying of Marrow pissed me off so. Very. Much. Particularly the WAY it happened. She didn’t learn to control her powers, she didn’t gain through her own efforts. She got knocked out and someone (a MAN!) put her in a magical cure-all alien healing machine. And then she was all shiny and happy and pathetically grateful and issues? What issues? I’m PRETTY now! Pretty fixes EVERYTHING!

  2. August 9, 2007 10:26 pm

    I have a hard time coming up with smart, funny women in comics. She-Hulk is about it. Men still lust after her, though,

    What happened to Marrow? She got hot.

    That sadly seems to be it. 😦 That being a strong, funny, smart, powerful, etc female character in comics only works if the character is also hot, b/c then men will support it (and not rly care about the character herself). 😦

    Otherwise, death :\

  3. August 10, 2007 12:56 am

    Bex, if you are looking for some more spot on reaction to Stephanie Brown’s death, check out the August 6 Shortpacked. (www.shortpacked.com)

    If I may toot my own horn, I also wrote an open letter to on the topic of Stephanie Brown
    http://www.sequentialtart.com/article.php?id=488

    And finally, though she’s not funny and she’s certainly attractive (but not in a hoochie momma way), I adore the character of Dr. Soranik Natu in the Green Lantern Corps.

    She’s smart, strong, and capable. She makes mistakes, and from time to time we see her doubting herself (it’s believably established that she’s a perfectionist which is why she’s so hard on herself) but every time she picks herself up and carries on.

    And she’s written as smart. Not the “I’m a supa genius watch me whip this amazing gadget out of thin air” kind of smart. But “I must think fast and make tough choices while under incredible pressure” smart.

    I find her incredibly compelling.

  4. writingninja permalink
    August 10, 2007 1:23 am

    If you don’t know who Amanda Waller is google her *now*. I maintain she is one of the scariest people in the DCU. Though in reactant years the have slimed her down a bit. =/

    You might also check out Dian Belmont. She was really “only the Sandman’s girlfriend” until the the Vertigo series Sandman Mystery Theater. Though I will add she has a few guys falling left and right for in throughout the series, one girl too.

    There is also a Batman/Green Arrow character Onyx. Sadly, she gets *very* little screen time.

    There is Abigail “Ma” Hunkel, the original Red Tornado, but she is mostly golden age. (Worth a look up though!)

  5. mark permalink
    August 10, 2007 4:39 pm

    I wonder why feminists are always so offended by attractive women?

    Its such a common theme that it gives great creedence to the “all feminists are really just ugly heffers who cant get a man theory”

  6. August 10, 2007 4:48 pm

    What we’re offended by, Mark, is that there is only one cookie cutter marketable form of “attractiveness” in the media.

    Women that are outside these boundaries of what is considered “attractive” are made to change to fit into it. The fact that “unattractive” women or women that are attractive in ways outside their appearance just aren’t allowed. They are only valued based on thier physical appearance? That’s what’s offensive.

  7. August 10, 2007 9:18 pm

    I wonder why men are always so offended by strong men?

    They’re so against steroids and their use by athletes.

    Missing the point much?

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