Let’s hear it for the Girls!
An editorial by Jamie Cottle
I’ve heard a lot over the last couple days about Thor. How it’s a name not a title. Why would Marvel do this type of publicity stunt? It’s a title not a name. Stop worrying, the status quo will return soon enough.
You know what, they’re all right- all of them.
Of course scattered in among these statements are other comments that clarify how those critics aren’t misogynists. Now here we have the beginnings of something actually interesting about the conversation.
We might get short of breath around the female gender, and we might have to continually remind ourselves to look them in the eye, but male comic fans aren’t misogynists. We have an awkward manner born actually from respect for the feminine gender. We’re awkward because we’re trying so hard to show respect to the real flesh and blood woman who just decided to recognize us.
In the world of comics, whether it’s Marvel 616 or whichever universe DC is “shaking up” this month the women always fight side by side with the guys. Wonder woman has saved the day as often as Superman, the Scarlett Witch is so powerful she reshaped the entire Marvel universe in what appears to be some permanent ways. Squirrel Girl has defeated Thanos single handedly. We’ve read those examples of equality and hold to those ideals in the real world.
So why is it that so often it’s the publishers of these stories who seem to miss the point? That equality goes right out the window when you look at how the characters are represented in the real world.
Let’s take the solicitations for Marvel in *July. Out of 91 books (8 with as yet unreleased covers) we have 6 solo titles for female characters only 15 covers feature female characters prominently and two of those show the ladies entangled romantically with men.
Rocket Racoon has 4 covers.
Women are represented only slightly better than a raccoon by their publishers.
Now we learn there will soon be a female Thor. OK, but why not make a new solo book featuring a female character? Every character can be made interesting by the writing behind it. This thought alone gives me great hope for the new Thor as Jason Aaron is one of Marvel’s best talents, heck one of the best in comics today!
There’s a trend in comics where in order to make a character viable they are presented as the female equivalent of a male character. Thor is the most recent example. Let’s consider X-23 a character who can be summed up as “Wolverine’s daughter” or Pepper Potts supplanting Tony Stark in her own armor. Let’s not forget perennial bad girl and object of Meta-affection Black Widow, who seems to always be written in the corner of being a love interest. Ultimate Tony Stark for example or the Winter Soldier the list goes on. Heck! The cover of Black Widow’s solo book this month is shared with…the Winter Soldier!
In a related point I refuse to accept that readers would find the Iron Patriot solo series more engaging than say A Scarlet Witch solo title which recaps the past events since avengers Disassembled from her point of view exclusively then continues to show how she recovers and seizes her own identity free from the judgment of Cyclops, Quicksilver or any other character. Granted last I heard she’s, “dead” but we all know that doesn’t last in the comics amiright Bucky Barnes (cough!) Jason Todd? (cough!)
I even know how you’d pitch it to the new Disney overlords to get it published. You walk in and say, “did you know Marvel has a witch character? I want to do ‘Wicked’ but for Marvel comics using her.” Their eyes would turn into dollar signs, they’d green light the book and give you a set of mouse ears to boot.
That one’s free fellahs now go pitch these underused ladies. Show that interesting characters can have breasts.
About the author: Jamie Cottle is a nerd generalist with many interests who pays the bills producing the TV content you stare at. You can kind find him if you look for him.