How hard is it to find a comic book which features:
1) Strong female protagonists or at least main characters, who are:
2) Not scantily clad.
3) Not the main character's love interest.
4) Actually has some women on the creative team.
Apparently it's this hard:
- Title character is sexually harassed by the villain.
- Gets the butt of her jeans ripped off halfway through the comic.
- No women on the creative team.
- One character hit on by 'client'.
- Other character hit on by random guy in the street.
- Skintight, cleavage-y costume for one, other one gets...
- Shredded shirt.
- No women on the creative team.
- I actually couldn't tell you what happened in the first issue of this comic, it was so badly-written and the layout was so horrible, I couldn't even follow the action. They tried to introduce way too many characters. All I really took away from this was yet another few exoticised, scantily clad female superheroes and yet another comic book with no female prescence on the creative team.
These are just series I've read myself. The failure of mainstream 'women marketed' comic series is pretty legendary. Marvel Divas put most potential female customers off by sheer force of its dumb title alone. The failure of X-Women is pretty much legendary on the internet (yeah let's get a guy who draws EROTICA for a living to draw the superheroines in our marketed-for-women series!)
Here are some series that meet some of my criteria, but still need work before I'd call them truly egalitarian:
Artifacts (my review of #0-2 here)
- Genuinely strong female protagonist, who is driven by love of her daughter who is kidnapped in the first issue so that's NOT a spoiler. But she doesn't completely fall apart when this happens, which is great since she's a cop.
- However when she's kitted out with her superpowers, it becomes a skin-tight suit deal which her boobs bulge out of.
- This comic features Aphrodite IV, a kickass cyborg with green hair. And do you know what's halfway through the comic book? A PANTY SHOT OF THE CYBORG. Why?! Just why?!
- As far as I can tell, no women on the creative team.
- Apart from those things, this is a pretty good comic series with a really solid mythology background.
- She walks around in a leotard and fishnets.
- However, they do have a female artist on the team.
- Love the premise.
- Hate her outfits.
- No women on the creative team.
- Having only read the first issue I'm still skeptical about this one - it could either be great or horrible. I'm also skeptical to learn that Aspen are releasing a bunch of other series along this line, featuring a bunch of different assassins with different flower names. I saw the promo images and LOVE SO MUCH that each woman is a different ethnicity, so I'm definitley willing to give them a go when they're finally out.
- Strong, diverse all-female line-up.
- Looks to have women on the creative team.
- Rather cliche storyline and dialogue.
- Did not like the nude pin-ups in the back of the comic book. Especially since some of them weren't even drawn. WTF? I get that this may be an important facet of the Suicide Girls movement, but it honestly put me off buying issue #2.
So I don't feel like selling off all my comics and going back to novels for good, here are a few series which, although they don't meet all 4 points, give me real hope that one day the comic book industry will finally grow the fuck up,
Kill Shakespeare (my review of #1 here)
This comic has an all-male team, but I love what they've done with the character of Juliet. She is a strong, capable female who sticks to her guns and doesn't take crap from anybody. However she's not just a dude with tits - she still reads as a woman, without the need for revealing clothing. Super props to these guys for creating a solid female character.
Chew (my review of Vol. 1 here)
The main female character in this series is not very present, and she is the main character's love interest, and it's an all-male creative team, BUT... she's a really awesome character who isn't defined by Tony's love or even interest. She's an interesting, complex character in her own right and I'd really love to see more of her in the series (keep in mind I'm way behind in this one!)
Changing Ways (my review here)
Justin Randall gave himself two female characters that couldn't be easily sexualised - one was a heavily pregnant woman and the other is a young girl. However, both of these characters had distinct personalities and were both beautifully strong. Even heavily pregnant, this woman was kick-ass. Literally! I can't wait to see how Jesse turns out in the sequel. I have a feeling she's got her momma's strength.
Ok, so this breaks one of my cardinal rules - the main female character is actually married to the main male one, but then again, I'm up to issue #4 and so far there are three more main female characters. Oh, and a robot. However, the art (which I really like, by the by) is done by a lady. So the main female character wears actual clothes and looks like an actual real female person! I love the relationship between the husband and wife in this series - it's evident that their marriage, as well as their crime-fighting awesomeness, is a team effort where they're both as valuable as each other. No female sidekicks or, conversely, henpecked husband jokes here.
Ruse (my review here)
The main female character is also the narrator for this comic. She is stubborn and witty, and keenly aware of the limitations that her Victorian society and her hellish partner, the "world's greatest detective" place upon her. I freaking love the tagline of this comic, and it has a female assistant editor (yay!). The fact that it's set in the Victoria era means there realistically can't be too much T&A, which is really, really, oh my god so nice.
Series I have yet to try:
Gotham City Sirens
I Kill Giants
It just makes me so angry and frustrated that I can't read a fucking comic book without being forced to overlook unrealistically proportioned, scantily-clad female characters who are 1-D personality wise at best. How can I identify with that? How can I enjoy reading and looking at that? I'm not completely opposed to a little T&A in the occasional comic. BUT WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE IN EVERY SINGLE ONE. And what the fuck is it doing in the comics which are supposedly for women? What planet are Marvel and DC living on, that they think every woman wants to be reading about women with giant breasts whose clothes fall off every five seconds and jghoirieuhwenjrfpsodjfcpsidhfp3wu579w87ruisdkcfbhqwas';KL:A:qy2
If you can reccommend any comics to me that meet any of my criteria, pleeeease oh please do. If you disagree with any of my assessments then please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.