Let me tell you a thing about having an iPad, Internets: it means I’ve become way more of a comics reader than I used to be, back in the day when the only comic I had any real interest in was Elfquest.
Dark Horse has contributed a lot to that–not only because they’ve picked up Elfquest for its resurrection, but also because they’ve produced excellent material for the extensions of the storylines for both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly. I’ve even dabbled some in the comics adaptations of the new Trek universe, wherein they’re telling stories more along the lines of what I am NOT getting out of the new movies: i.e., some goddamn Star Trek, with obligatory strange new worlds and exploration and such. In the last few years I’ve enjoyed a MacGyver miniseries from Image Comics, the three-part Anne Steelyard story, and the graphic novel for the Thrilling Adventure Hour.
But it’s been because of the Mary Sue and their coverage of certain Marvel storylines, combined with my growing general affection for the Marvel movie universe, that I’ve committed to following some actual superhero comics for the first time in my life. These are the current storylines for Black Widow, Captain Marvel, and the new young Ms. Marvel, that last in no small part because I really like that Marvel’s trying to branch out with some religious and ethnic diversity in their superhero lineup.
See, ’cause here’s the thing–I’ve been all too aware and very sad about how a lot of the comics industry these days is infected with rampaging sexism. But dammit, I like superheroes. I have ever since I discovered the X-Men when I was in middle school. I loved Christopher Reeve as Superman way back in the day, and Michael Keaton in the first of his Batman movies. I adored the first season of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. And I am full of nothing but love for the extended DC Animated universe, that connected all the episodes of the Batman, Superman, Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited cartoons. That was some damn fine storytelling, and to this day, Mark Hamill’s brilliant voice work for the Joker makes his version of the character my all-time favorite.
And it’s very worth mentioning that in the Murkworks, we very, VERY much like She-Hulk. In fact, Dara played her in an RPG we did in Kentucky, back when we were still having our Saturday gaming nights.
So when I see news like this about how one of the people involved with the still-unnamed sequel* to Man of Steel (the one in which Wonder Woman is finally going to have her first big-screen appearance EVER) says some hugely insulting things about She-Hulk and about geeks in general, I feel my blood pressure spiking. Because this? This gives us a two-fer, a slam not only to a beloved character, but also to comics geeks of both genders all over the country.
And make no mistake, the questions he was asked shouldn’t get a pass, either. “Slut-Hulk”? SERIOUSLY?
And I can’t even muster rage about it, because it’s so goddamn exhausting to see this attitude again and again and again.
But for the record, let’s lay it out:
One, women can like superheroes too. Seriously. We CAN. We DO. And it’s hugely, hugely offensive to dismiss the women in your character lineup as “porn stars”, i.e., only there for the gratification of the men, because HELLO, we’re buying these comics too.
Two, enough already with the tiresome stereotype of geeks and nerds as losers who can’t get dates, who live in their parents’ basements, etc., etc., we’ve heard it all before. And y’know what? If your reaction to our interests is to point and laugh at us as socially inept and unfuckable, you know who we definitely won’t be going out with? YOU.
If you need me, Internets, I’ll be over here, consoling myself with the coming of Agent Carter–and with comics that aren’t belittling my gender. Or belittling me for picking them up in the first place.
* Editing to add: ah, apparently the film actually does have a title now: Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. I am still not filled with confidence here. Not much room for it with all the PUNCHINGS.