Comic books have long had a strong subculture of avid fans. I am not one of them and I never have been. In Junior High I was forced to read a graphic novel about a family of rats that I’m pretty sure was allegorical representation of World War 2. I didn’t dislike it, but it also didn’t do anything for me. Most of my friends with a true love of comic books have been cultivating that relationship since they were young kids. At the risk of sounding like an eighty year old, when I was a kid comic books were not marketed to girls. Also, my parent’s weren’t comic book people and a lot of our exposure to that kind of thing comes from what our parent’s want to share with us. Flash forward fifteen years and I still haven’t read an honest to god comic book, but I have been trying to expand my little culture circle. It never struck me that I should pick up a comic for several reasons. The first being that now I think of them as being created for children. The second is that most women I see in pictures from comic books have proportions that wouldn’t be considered realistic in a Barbie Universe and I don’t need another huge set of boobs shoved in my face.
I still believe both both of these points to be at least marginally true. I know several adults who read comic books, but if you have loved something since your childhood it can hold a magic for you that isn’t there for other adults. (I choose to believe this is the case for those people obsessed with My Little Pony). I am skeptical that picking up the medium as an adult I will find something that really speaks to me, but you don’t know until you try. As to the second point, I have heard from several friends that there are comic book authors out there who are doing justice to their female characters so maybe the tides are changing? The cleavage is still just ridiculous though. I mean come on, I saw some drawings at Louisville comic con that made me wince.
So if I am all vehemently opposed to comic books, why would I bother to pick up one up now if I think that I won’t like it on principle and it will make my feminist brain explode. Simple, I get bored very easily and I like to try new things. So with that in mind I downloaded, to my Kindle, (yes I go electronic, I don’t mind if you swing the other way it’s just a personal preference), Black Widow The Name of the Rose issues 1-5 on the referral of a friend* I am going to give myself a big mental shake to try to brush aside some of these prejudices before I start reading but it isn’t realistic that it will go away entirely. So stay tuned for Part 2, an Outsider’s Look Inside a Comic Book.
*That friend is Jason over at The History of Bad Ideas Podcast. You can find it on itunes or at musingsofageek.com it’s a super fun listen.