Sporadic Sequential
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Hey, Gals: Comics!

Or: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Inspired by recent events, I put together a list of some of my favorite comic works that happen to be by female creators.
Banana Sunday, art by Colleen Coover
Castle Waiting, by Linda Medley
Chicken with Plums, by Marjane Satrapi
Embroideries, by Marjane Satrapi
Emma, by Kaoru Mori
Finder, by Carla Speed McNeil
Kekkaishi, by Yellow Tanabe
La Perdida, by Jessica Abel
Persepolis / Persepolis 2, by Marjane Satrapi
Scary Godmother, by Jill Thompson
The first thing that jumps out at me about this list? I'm a bigger Marjane Satrapi fan than I realized. Second thing that strikes me about this list? No superhero comics. Granted, I'm not all that interested in superhero comics these days, but I wasn't consciously trying to exclude them either. When I made a conscious effort to include superhero comics on this list, the first thing that came to mind were unpublished pitches: Tintin Pantoja's manga-inspired version of Wonder Woman and Rivkah's playful take on Batgirl. But those comics will probably never be published because DC doesn't want to dilute their characters or some other nonsense like that. (But it's OK for DC to dilute their own characters by coming out with a new version of Supergirl every other year and by making Batgirl unrecognizable to the general public.)

Going back a bit further, I remembered enjoying Ann Nocenti's run on Daredevil and Rachel Pollack's stint on Doom Patrol, but I think I may be in the minority in both cases. (I recall Pollack's Doom Patrol being especially reviled.) Plus, I don't think either run has been collected.

So what's my point? Well, I didn't really have one when I started this post beyond listing some great comics by women, but upon further reflection I've come to this: Just dump the superhero comics already. While I understand that many female readers wish to continue reading superhero stories, only without the offensive depictions of women, perhaps it's time to look at the overwhelming evidence on record and cut one's losses. Why support publishers who seem to go out of their way to aggravate and alienate female readers? What incentive do those publishers have to change if you're still buying their books? And you know, there are several manga series out there that could probably satisfy your jones for superpowered action once you left the Big Two behind. So why not just give up on superhero comics? (I did, and I've been much happier with comics as a result.) They're not going to change, so why stay in an unhealthy relationship with the unfounded hopes that someday they'll start treating you right?

* For a much more comprehensive list of works by female creators, check out Johanna Draper Carlson's excellent resource page. Wikipedia also has a page listing female comic book creators.

UPDATE: David Welsh puts together his own list and reacts to my suggestion that frustrated fans should quit superhero comics completely.