Tag Archives: Gail Simone

Review Batgirl #17

16 Feb

Image

Something Old, Something New, Something borrowed, Something better?

So, here we are, sans Gail Simone. I expected to be outraged, disappointed, and then finish off my pout by feeling an intense sense of relief that Simone would return to the title soon.

Instead, I read the book and realized what BATGIRL has been missing. Fawkes’ third person narration stuck me as emotionally rich and thought provoking. This story, told from the perspective of James Gordon, Junior, made me do two things I haven’t done when I read the title in the past: think and feel.

It’s really not fair to compare this issue to what Gail Simone has been doing on the book. It’s such a departure, residing inside the mind of a villainous character, and only partially concerned with Barbara’s self-affirming internal pep talks. When James, Jr. tells us that Barbara is ‘fascinating,’ it’s the first time in a while that I have considered that a possibility in a long while.

Image

I love Barbara, but recently I feel our relationship has devolved to one of those where I take her calls because imagining what happens if I don’t makes me very anxious. I listen to her talk about the same old things over and over, trying to seem interested—even though we’ve been over this and she is clearly making no progress. She never asks me how I feel about important issues, or makes me think about things in a different way. My love for her is very one-sided; I am not getting a lot out of the time we spend together. I expect at member of the Bat-team to be a bit more complex than the Barbara we have been presented with thus far.

This issue was very successful. It had a clear rise and fall in action. The twists and turns were thoughtful and surprising; and the voice used to tell the story was genuinely inspired and original.

Image

Sampere’s artwork is dynamic and visually appealing. I would love to see him stay on the book, I really love the way he draws Barbara. His representation of The Firebug helped characterize the villain even though he only appears in a few panels. The medals on his chest tell us that he was not always a menace, but in a past life might have even been a hero.

Image

The highlight of the issue for me was the large panel featuring James, Jr. sitting on a hotel bed in the dark. He looks just like his father here. The clear nod to BATMAN: YEAR ONE reminded me of everything the Gordon family has been through, and how truly horrifying it must be for Barbara and the commissioner to see their own flesh and blood as a force of evil. This scene had real resonance.

ImageImage

This issue by Fawkes and Sampere was thoroughly successful. I am interested to find out what happens next month. Perhaps in the myriad of Bat-titles, one focusing on James, Junior could support its own weight. I’ll stick by Barbara and Simone, for all they have done to promote strong women in comics and female readership; I just hope to see ‘something better’ soon. If anyone can realize the full potential of BATGIRL, I believe it is Simone. I will be waiting and reading in the highest hopes that she will do so.

Follow me on twitter @comicsonice

Greatest Hits: Sexism in Vintage Comics

11 Feb

 

 

 

I originally tracked down all these images to create the banner for my site. Every time I looked at them, I wondered if people who viewed the blog were actually able to make out what they said. I couldn’t stand the thought that people might be missing out on these spectacular instances of vintage sexism in comics. I am so glad that these are humorous now, women in comics have come such a long way.

 

Image

 

Here we see Marvel Girl (Jean Grey) using her superpowers for housework. Interestingly enough, this backup feature “The Female of the Species!” featured in X-men #57 in 1969, was written by Stan Lee’s assistant Linda Fite, in an attempt to include a feminine perspective. In this same piece Jean states that it doesn’t take telekinesis to turn heads. You’ve got to love that. Jean was the only member of the original team not given a backstory in these backups.  

 

 

 

Image

 

In this frame we see Batman telling his new wife, Kathy Kane (Batwoman), that she is not invited to join them on their adventure. This was published in Batman #122 in 1959. Prior to their marriage, Kathy had been an ultra-femme crime fighter. She carried a purse full of gadgets in lieu of a utility belt, and of course wore a dress. Batman seemed to find her more of an annoyance than an ally.  

Image

 

Sue Storm doesn’t see how she can be of help, but she is quickly reminded that she is always of help because she is beautiful! She can help keep morale up, of course, thank goodness. This panel comes from Fantastic Four #12 published in 1963. 

 

ImageImageImage

 

 

This images are all from Detective Comics #371 published in 1968. Throughout the issue, Batgirl repeatedly jeopardizes the mission by worrying about her appearance. Silly Batgirl. 

Its nice to see that creator’s are willing to let the girls play now. Each of these characters has evolved to be an individual, with an independent motivation and personality. They are all tough in different ways, and have such a long way .

Image

Here’s Jean being dark and powerful.

Image

And Batwoman, being decidedly uninterested in Batman romantically.

Image

 

And Sue doing more than boosting morale.

Image

And Batgirl, not worrying about her makeup.  

As attitudes toward women continue to change, these characters will continue to evolve. Certainly now, they are great symbols for how far women have come in the last half century. 

Icebreakers: Blair Wade Writes About Feminist Themes In Wonder Woman

5 Feb

This week’s Icebreaker is Blair Wade

Image

About Blair

My name is Blair Wade and I am a second year political science student in Alberta, Canada, with a fascination with all things feminist and superhero Gail Simone and Barbara Gordon are 100% my biggest feminist inspirations.

Image

An excerpt from her essay: 

The Wonder Woman Complex: 

How The Most Iconic Super-Heroine in the DC Universe Demonstrates The Positive Impacts of Radical Feminism

Created from the imagination of William Marston in 1941, Wonder Woman emerged as a fierce super-heroine in the overwhelmingly male-dominated sphere of comics. Described by Robert Greenberger as a “cultural juggernaut”5 she proved herself from her origin as a resilient competitor, equal, if not superior, to her male rivals. Using her astounding physical and mental strength to fight for truth and justice, she took on the mission to help alleviate oppression around the world. Consequently she became an empowering figure for her audience. Greenberger fervently argues that she “espoused the equality of women in every aspect of society”6 as heroine, career woman, and romantic companion. Just as soon as she entered the DC Universe, she became symbolic in popular culture of the entire feminist movement; she was even used by prominent feminist figure Gloria Steinem in her campaigns. In the recent re-boot of her character by Brian Azzarello in The New 52, Wonder Woman and her fellow characters continue to encapsulate both explicit and implicit feminist messages. The series and its iconic heroine demonstrate how radical feminism has the power to end female oppression by overthrowing patriarchal society, redefining reproductive roles, liberating female sexuality, and ending sexual violence.

Please read more of her thorough and thoughtful essay by clicking here.

Image

Follow Blair on Twitter @CeremonialStars & follow me @comicsonice

Keep the great contributions coming, cannot wait to hear more from all of you!

Again my email address is comicsonice@gmail.com and any media goes for this project.  Until next week, keep chiseling – Sam

%d bloggers like this: