Sunday, December 07, 2008

2008: The Year of Misogyny


And really, what else can you call it when the list is so long? When so much bad writing has trashed so many female characters that "the good old days" of Identity Crisis start looking good by comparison?

But hey, you want shabby treatment of female characters? Let's start with characters whom have been removed from prominent positions and made into supporting characters for other, male heroes, or were removed from books where they had prominence? Well, in this category we have:
-Misty Knight
-Black Widow
-White Tiger
-Night Nurse
-Jessica Jones
-Mary Jane Watson-Parker (no, really Marvel, FUCK YOU)
-Catwoman
-Siryn

But you say, "Hey, that shit happens, it's not like they were brutalized". Oh? Well, you're right, because in the "brutalized and degraded" we've got:
-Wonder Woman (Final Crisis and her own title)
-Mary Marvel
-Tigra
-Dakota North
-Black Alice
-Mila Murdock
-Sharon Carter/Agent 13
-Jackpot
-Stature of the Young Avengers
-Lady Bullseye
-The entire race of Amazons in the DCU
How about deaths? Do you want some women in refrigerators? Because we got'em!
-Moondragon, Ko-Rel (the female Nova), and Deathcry (Sorry, but when 3 of the 4 major casualties in Annhilation: Conquest are women, it's not a good sign).
-Jackpot
-Kitty Pryde
-The Wasp
-White Tiger
-Big Barda (on the kitchen floor no less!)
And of course, that brings us at last, to cancellations. Here are the following formerly female-lead titles that were cancelled during the year 2008, or that cancellations were announced for:
-Heroes for Hire
-Catwoman
-She-Hulk
-Spider-Girl
-Birds of Prey
-Manhunter
And there you have, the sick, depraved state of "Big Two" comics in 2008: A sick boyish fantasy of sexism, peruile debasement, and complete devestation. Makes you proud to have this hobby, huh? Makes you want to go share it with that girl you like? You go do that.
Do the people who make these things have no shame? Do they not know any women? Or do they just not talk to them? Isn't this a damning condemnation of this genre that the only thing I can think of that has a higher frequency of violence against women are slasher and snuff films? Aren't you angry? If you aren't, then why? And if you are, what are you going to do about it?
I'm sorry, because I have to ask. I really don't buy anymore, prefering to get the pictures and stories via Scans Daily and other outlets. I do this because I still have a (probably unhealthy) lingering attachement to this stuff from my childhood, but the more this goes on, the more willing I am to sever that attachement in an attempt to save my sense of morality and common decency.
And didn't that used to be the whole point of superheroes?
Man, we've fallen far.




39 comments:

mrjl said...

I agree completely. And I really got fed up skimming through or reading scans of Final Crisis on Scans Daily, where it's always a woman showing up infected by the Anti-Life Equation to assault the heroes.

Mary Marvel

Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Batwoman and Giganta.

Maggie Sawyer

Ice

Phil Watts, Jr. said...

I'm straddling the fence a little.

On one hand, I don't mind the the cheesecake, as long as it's well done. I kinda liked Ed Benes' work on Supergirl (the PAD version) and some of the other books he's done around that time...it just seems that these days, he just LOST IT. Someone PLEASE cancel his subscription to KING Magazine** immediately.

I do draw the line in all that brutal crap. There's not much left to say about it that you haven't already said. It's getting way out of hand these days, and I'm getting sick of it.

**King Magazine is pretty much an urban version of Maxim...only replace the silicone breasts with silicone BUTTS.

Yes...plastic BUTT SURGERY. Silly, isnt it?

Sheryl Nantus said...

so true - over the years I've winced to see how horribly women are and continue to be treated.

it's almost like all the fanboys grew up, stayed in their parents' basements drooling over cheap porn and took over the industry.

and then have the gall to complain that women don't buy comics... d'oh!

:(

Anonymous said...

I don't think

-Heroes for Hire
-Catwoman
-She-Hulk
-Spider-Girl
-Birds of Prey
-Manhunter

were cancelled due to misogyny anymore than Blue Beetle or Ant Man were cancelled due to misandry. They just didn't have an audience. If anything, I think titles like Spider-Girl and Manhunter got a break specifically because they had well written female leads.

I also think the "Woman in the Fridge" is a case of observer bias. Superhero stories are about violent conflict. Characters in those stories will get threatened and hurt. When you include a diverse array of characters in comics, a diverse array of characters will be hurt, killed, etc.

MrCynical said...

Thanks everyone for your comments.

Mr. Anonymous, have you checked the numbers? Because if you had, you'd note that She-Hulk consistently outsold Iron Man, Iron Fist, Moon Knight, Cable, Deadpool, Ghost Rider, and a few of the X-Books. Check the numbers for the other titles as well, you might be surprised.

And you're right, maybe it is observational bias, because well, remember when Foggy was tied to a bed for 8 issues and tortured and left clinically insane in Daredevil? Or how Polaris rallied to free herself from the Shi'ar Prison Camp after hearing Havok's tortured screams? How about how the Hood's origin is tied into his rape by....oh, that's right, NONE OF THIS HAPPENED.

Look at the numbers, and you'll see a pattern of abuse and a lot of creepy undertones in modern superhero comics, which in a very high proportion is directed at women.

Show me the evidence, and provide it in equal or greater numbers, and show it was male characters whom have been used as props and cannon fodder in order to beef up female characters.

Good hunting.

Phil Watts, Jr. said...

Show me the evidence, and provide it in equal or greater numbers, and show it was male characters whom have been used as props and cannon fodder in order to beef up female characters.

How about we narrow it down a little bit:

How many male characters have been written as RAPE victims? The only one I could think of is Kid MiracleMan.

MrCynical said...

And keep it to the past 12 months. I mean, you'd have to spend a LOT of time finding enough examples of Male characters being raped/beaten/tortured/killed/humiliated for the elevation of female characters.

Scott (The Mad Thinker) Anderson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott (The Mad Thinker) Anderson said...

Phil Watts, Jr.,

Here is a list complied by the folks at When Fangirls attack of f male characters

Andreas Struker/Swordsman (ref. needed) Implied
Apollo (Authority 14)
Bigby Wolf (Fables 14)
Bruce Banner (Hulk: Future Imperfect, Rampaging Hulk 23)
Clark Kent/Superman (Action 592-593)
Dick Grayson/Nightwing (Nightwing 93)
Foggy Nelson (false pretenses, ref. needed)
Gim Allon/Colossal Boy (false pretenses: ref needed)
Grant Emerson/Damage (Titans 17-19)
Guy Gardner/Warrior (Warrior 22 Implied, Warrior 39)
Hawley Griffin/Invisible Man (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen v2 #5)
Herr Starr (Preacher #14)
Jack Knight/Starman (Starman 16, Stars My Destination)
Jason Todd/Robin (Dark Knight Returns) Implied
Jo Nah/Ultra Boy (false pretences: ref needed)
John Constantine (Swamp Thing v2, 27, Tainted Love)
Johnny Storm/The Human Torch (false pretenses, ref. needed)
Kon-El/Conner Kent/Superboy (Statuatory, Teen Titans Annual) This was not statutory rape. When both people having sex are underage, it is not rape. It’s just underage sex.
Lobo (Hitman/Lobo One-shot) Implied
Maxwell Dillon/Electro (ref. needed) Implied
Mikaal Tomas/Starman ("Stars My Destination")
Namor (false pretences: ref needed)
Oliver Queen (ref needed)
Peter Parker (Spider Man/Power Pack PSA)
Roy Harper/Arsenal (Outsiders 17) Implied
Ray II* (Statutorily raped by the Black Canary.)
Sanderson Hawkins/Sand (JSA 18) Implied
Scott Summers/Cyclops (ref. needed) Implied
Simon Williams/Wonder Man (ref needed)
Swamp Thing (Swamp Thing v2 #60)
Todd Rice/Obsidian (ref needed) Implied
Tom Strong (#4)
Thor* (It was heavily implied that Moondragon used her mental powers to force Thor into a sexual relationship and that the Enchantress and her sister have done similar things using magic.)
Vril Dox II/Brainiac (ref needed)
Wade Wilson/Deadpool (false pretenses: off panel between Deadpool Vol. 1 #12 and #13)
Wolverine (ref. needed)

You can see my discussion of this list here:

http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-NYapGagiRKXkibx6bHvcaBbV36Q-?cq=1&p=88

Scott (The Mad Thinker) Anderson said...

Look at the numbers, and you'll see a pattern of abuse and a lot of creepy undertones in modern superhero comics, which in a very high proportion is directed at women.

Show me the evidence, and provide it in equal or greater numbers, and show it was male characters whom have been used as props and cannon fodder in order to beef up female characters.


Mr. Cynical, can you show us evidence that male characters are not used as cannon fodder more than female characters? Do you have numbers? If you are asking us to look at the numbers, surely, you can't tell us where they are, right? Surely, you've seen these numbers that you are asking us to look at.

Scott (The Mad Thinker) Anderson said...

And you're right, maybe it is observational bias, because well, remember when Foggy was tied to a bed for 8 issues and tortured and left clinically insane in Daredevil?

I know you are making a point about Mila, but you might note that Melvin Potter, the Gladiator, was driven insane and mentally tortured to the point of trying to kill himself and then imprisoned for the crimes he was forced into. (E.G. the brutal killing of those two male guards.) Foggy was gutted in a prison and had to live in hiding. There is also the guy in the comic now who tried to kill himself rather than admit he didn't commit a murder. He also was in prison for life. And of course, Matt was also degraded and thrown in prison. Granted prison isn't the same as being tied to a bed, but it's kind of similar, isn't it?

Daredevil is also the comic where the Kingpin's son was murdered and the Kingpin was blinded and left for dead. In fact, many, many men were killed in the gang wars in Daredevi.

Perhaps Daredevil is not the best example of how women are abused more than men.

TraveLibrarian said...

I agree with Mr. Paciocco's article. I think women are depicted this way in part because so many people in the industry are still men, and because superhero comics are still seen as fantasy written for adolescent boys (and adult males who can't seem to grow up). It is also, I'm sorry to say, traditional treatment of women in comics, although in some respects things have improved. I can remember when women existed solely as wives, girlfriends, and required objects of rescue. Now at least some of them get to do something interesting and intelligent once in a while. One of the reasons I loved Dan Slott's She-Hulk was because Jen Walters did as much damage to bad guys in court as she did beating them up as a super-heroine.

Depictions like those in the article are one of the reasons most women avoid superhero comics. I'm one of the few I know who actually reads Marvel titles at all (and I still think Aaron Williams' "PS-238" beats them all hands-down). I read Marvel's "Civil War Frontline" a couple years back and was absolutely stunned at the number of times a woman's rear end or chest was the central focus of a panel. (Seriously, the artist couldn't draw the picture so we were looking over Ms. Marvel's shoulders at the other characters, instead of looking at the seat of her leotard?)

To me, a stellar example of this nonsense was in the fifth She-Hulk trade, when she and Wolverine were fighting the Wendigo. She-Hulk's team was facing down a group of Native Americans, including Elizabeth Twoyoungmen, a.k.a. the super-heroine Talisman.

At first, Elizabeth is wearing a heavy snowsuit and boots -- appropriate for a cold, snowy night. But when she reveals herself as Talisman, she is suddently dressed in a skirted outfit that shows off her cleavage, leaves her legs and feet completely bare, and sports the required buckskin fringe. (Because nothing says "How! Me Indian!" like buckskin fringe on a super hero's costume. Stereotype much?)

Apparently, Talisman is unable to use her "super shamen power" if she's not in a skimpy costume. It's funny, though: the male SHIELD magician facing her has NO trouble using his powers while still sensibly dressed for the cold.

Unbelievable. And that's actually a pretty mild example of gender inequality in comics.

One of the things I'd like to do this year for Christmas if I can find the time is to purchase a selection of sports bras, wrap them in individual packages addressed to various Marvel super-heroines, and send them all to Joe Quesada. Each box would contain a note to the character about her series or appearances, along with tips for altering her costume in ways that would make her look more professional and less like, well, a porn star. (I would also love to nominate Emma Frost for the TLC show "What Not to Wear".)

Gender equality is a work in progress, although I've seen some real improvements in my 40+ year lifetime. And certainly not all men subscribe to the idea that women in comics are just there to provide eye candy. Here's hoping that with all of us working at it, some day women really will be seen as equals.

Thanks, Mr. Paciocco. Apologies for running off at the cursor, but as you can guess, this is a sore subject for me.

Alexa D said...

Wait, White Tiger died?

Scott (The Mad Thinker) Anderson said...

Alexa, I can find no reference to the White Tiger dying.

I did notice that while it was true that Big Barda died, it was also true that male, heroic New Gods died too, including Orion, Light Ray, Mr. Miracle, the four male members of the Forever People. Is that evidence of misandry?

MrCynical said...

Alexa: Check the latest issue of Daredevil

Mr. Anderson: Most if not all the male New Gods got to go out fighting, but Barda?

In the Kitchen.

Oh, and as far as numbers go:
Male characters enslaved by the Anti-Life Equation: 2 (Green Arrow and Black Lightning) vs the large number of female characters listed in the first commetns
Male characters severely beaten in their own comics: Iron Fist, Batman, Wolverine, Daredevil, Havok
Male characters stripped of promenience and made into supporting cast for female heroes: 0
Male casualties of Final Crisis: 1 (Martian Manhunter, and this is thus far the only area in which the Male to Female victim ratio is higher for the guy)
Male casualties of Secret Invasion: 0

big-wired said...

Ugh, I'd forgotten about HOW Big Barda had died... Big Barda, whom Jack 'The King' Kirby had created after the image of his beloved wife.

And the whole god damned One More Day/Brand New Day fiasco.

If anything, Marvel and DC have taught me, along with the commentary of When Fangirls Attack and Girl-wonder.org, how NOT to write women.

It's frigging disappointing how this happens again and again and again. I know that if that picture of the Wasp dying had been done in real time instead of a flashback, Bendis would have written her as screaming "Aiee aiee aiee" instead of doing something heroic to save her friends.

Oh look, here's Scott to vehemently protest your deluded ramblings of women being treated badly with his studies and logic. With how badly he seems to want to argue everyone on the internet who disagree with him, one would think Marvel and DC were paying him to do it.

Scott (The Mad Thinker) Anderson said...

Mr. Anderson: Most if not all the male New Gods got to go out fighting, but Barda?

Can I assume from the “if not all” part that you don’t know how many male characters will killed of panel and assumed there was a fight?


Male characters enslaved by the Anti-Life Equation: 2 (Green Arrow and Black Lightning) vs the large number of female characters listed in the first comments

So did you consider other events that had more male members die evidence of misandry? For instance, Avengers Disassembled killed Ant Man, Jack of Hearts, the Vision, and Hawkeye, but zero women were killed. How about Infinite Crisis that killed 13 women and 48 men?

Male characters severely beaten in their own comics: Iron Fist, Batman, Wolverine, Daredevil, Havok

Are you sure that’s all? How do you know? I seem to recall some beat downs in the Legion. And did the Punisher really get out unscathed this year … for once?

Male characters stripped of promenience and made into supporting cast for female heroes: 0

So I take it you aren’t counting Nemesis in Wonder Woman’s book or the male heroes that Ms. Marvel bosses around in her book or Obsidian in Manhunter. We’re those more than a year ago? And did you look at those years as evidence of misandry?


Male casualties of Secret Invasion: 0

And Mocking Bird is back from the dead, plus there were 2 female members of the Secret Warrior introduced, so does that balance things out? Plus it turns out that Capt. Marvel was not back from the dead, so he was retroactively dead again, which is kind of like a casualty, right?

Scott (The Mad Thinker) Anderson said...

Oh look, here's Scott to vehemently protest your deluded ramblings of women being treated badly with his studies and logic.

Yes, big-wired, I am using studies and logic. What are you using? And what would you suggest that I use?

Scott (The Mad Thinker) Anderson said...

Oh, I forgot that John the Skrull, a member of Captain Britain and MI13, and a favorite of mine, was killed as part of Secret Invasion. So that means there was on women and one man killed -- and one female resurrection and a negative one male resurrection in Secret Invasion with zero actual resurrections of male characters.

Pete said...

I'm also fairly confident there's an issue of Superman where he frowns at a woman.

Jessie said...

You forgot one. Batgirl

Now there's a character that's been screwed over several times in the past and is still getting screwed over this year by bad writing and bad art She's supposed to be THE female bat character, but she never once showed up in any of the major Batman or Detective storylines (unlike Robin and Nightwing who did).

2008 was the year she was meant to make her big come back. But either she gets sexualized in Outsiders or she gets villainized in her miniseries. Not to mention her miniseries features an army of women getting slaughtered left and right. (supposedly they're Batgirl's sisters...or Cass' father only trained girls. Why the retcon, I don't know.) For some reason DC thinks this is an exciting new direction for the character. (it's mostly a big revamp of the character)

Maybe not misogyny, but it's really annoying considering that Robin and Nightwing have gotten stellar treatment in their books.

Batgirl though, totally got the short end of the stick.

I'd also like to mention that Batgirl's 5 yr long series that was canceled over two years ago sold a bit below Robin, but sold several thousand more copies than Catwoman. And yet Catwoman, with its poor sales still hung around for two years until this year.

This makes me think that sales aren't always the main motive for canceling books. For whatever reason the company wasn't interested in the Batgirl character but due to complaints and letters by fans, she was "redeemed" and brought back to comics.

Problem now is that they totally changed the character and readers haven't responded well to it.

On the flipside...2008 is the year that saw the return of the Spoiler (Stephanie Brown). That has to count for something.

SiK said...

I wouldnt argue there is no sexism in comics, there is quite obviously a fair amount. But I think it weakens your arguement when you do things like say that manhunter being cancelled is evidence of misogyny. It was a low selling book that was cancelled, brought back, still failed to find an audience and was cancelled again. It is no more a sexist decision than cancelling blue beetle is a racist one.

Also, I'm curious on the fridging issue: Moondragon was killed to motivate a female character (Quasar, who has taken the name and prominance of a male hero as an aside), does that make a difference to the way you see it? And to be honest, its heavily implied in the most recent guardians of the galaxy that shes going to come back. I do think that "fridging" of characters is a valid concern, more often due to lazy writing than any concious ill-intent, but I also think that some people are too quick to yell "fridge" whenever a female character is killed regardless of circumstance.

Jessies point about the reletive sales of Catwoman and Batgirl is interesting. I know that Warner basically view DC as a character farm more than an actual comic business, they aremore interested in what characters are marketable than anything else. If I had to guess, I would say that Catwoman was allowed to continue with low sales figures because they still see catwoman as marketable, whether through merchandise or simply because they are more likely to have Catwoman as supporting cast in a Batman film than they are Batgirl. Which is a shame, I liked Batgirl back before someone at DC decided that making her randomly crazy and evil was the way to go.

Scott (The Mad Thinker) Anderson said...

Male casualties of Final Crisis: 1 (Martian Manhunter, and this is thus far the only area in which the Male to Female victim ratio is higher for the guy)

That is not correct either. In addition to Jonn being killed in Final Crisis, Orion was also killed. It was the second time he'd been killed that year. The first time was in the Death of the New Gods series and the second time in Final Crisis.

BTW, I looked at a synopsis of the Death of the New Gods series and it sure seemed like a lot of the deaths were not in battle. Did you read it? If so, were they in battle? The killer was the Source stealing their souls so I'm not sure what kind of battle that would be, but I'd love to hear about it!

Menshevik said...

"Male characters stripped of promenience and made into supporting cast for female heroes: 0

So I take it you aren’t counting Nemesis in Wonder Woman’s book or the male heroes that Ms. Marvel bosses around in her book or Obsidian in Manhunter. We’re those more than a year ago? And did you look at those years as evidence of misandry?"

As someone who hasn't been reading mainstream DC comics in a while I have to ask: How prominent was Nemesis before he became Wonder Woman's love interest? I only checked at wikipedia, but it seems he was a character in Suicide Squad - not exactly one of DC's most prominent books - and believed to have been dead for some time before he appeared in Wonder Woman. I would tend to think that by becoming Diana's boyfriend he actually gained quite a bit of prominence. (The list of female characters stripped of prominence in the original article included Mary Jane Watson-Parker, whose promince derived from her status as an important supporting character/love interest in the Spider-Man books.)
On a related note, how prominent was Obsidian in what title before he became part of the cast of Manhunter? And which male characters have been downgraded from their position of prominence to become supporting characters in Ms. Marvel? Wikipedia is not very helpful on this matter.

Scott (The Mad Thinker) Anderson said...

Menshevik, I see where you are coming from. I'm not sure those male characters were too high up, but I was using the female characters listed Michael Paciocco as my guide. How prominent were
-White Tiger
-Night Nurse
-Jessica Jones?

And is Siryn really significantly less prominent just because she's pregnant? I don't see it.

I counted guys who had their own series or were in the group that a series was named after, but now are supporting characters to a book with a female as the title character.

Other guys who lost prominence could include Ant Man, Shang Chi, Humbug, Firestorm, Batman, & the Blue Beetle.

We might consider that the mini-series given to Storm, Vixen, Terra, and the White Tiger upped their prominence. Plus there is the new Supergirl kids series. And there is a new female Black Panther coming out. Plus Booster Gold's sister is back alive. If deaths count as evidence of misogyny then resurrections must count as the opposite, right?

BTW:Salvation Run

15 male deaths
1 female death

Civil War

14 male deaths
3 female deaths

Let's also recall that in addition to the death of John the Skrull, the retro death of Capt. Marvel, and no resurrections of male characters in Secret Invasion, there was also the brutal torture of Blackbolt, who had his skull cut open and examined by Skrulls, among other indignities, while the female members of the Inhumans kicked ass. (I love Medusa!) Plus Reed Richards was clearly tortured and degraded in that series. Were there any women tortured/disected in Secret Invasion?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Anonymous, have you checked the numbers? Because if you had, you'd note that She-Hulk consistently outsold Iron Man, Iron Fist, Moon Knight, Cable, Deadpool, Ghost Rider, and a few of the X-Books.

I'm looking at Paul O'Brien's numbers in another window at this very moment, and you're wrong about She-Hulk outselling Iron Man.

Scott (The Mad Thinker) Anderson said...

The problem with looking only as the sales of She-Hulk is that its sales are only on piece of what would be used to decide to keep the book on or not. Other questions might be:

How much are Peter David and the rest of the team paid? In other words, what is the profit margin in the title?

Could PAD write a different title that could sell more? Is this his lowest performing title?

How are the She-Hulk trades doing? Are trades of female superheroes generally selling as well as those of male characters? Is PAD writing for the trades?

Have the sales been trending up or down faster than other titles?

Menshevik said...

Well, White Tiger had a mini-series of her own not that long ago and Jessica Jones of course headlined to series of her own in fairly recent memory. She also made headlines because of her relationship to Nick Cage and their child (black/white relationships, especially ones blessed with children, still being rare in superhero comics). Night Nurse I don't really know anything about apart from her headlining a series in the 1970s. Siryn's status within X-Factor is to some extent up to an individual reader's opinion. Let's just note that I dropped the title this year even though I am a great fan of PAD's writing in general and of his original X-Factor run in particular.

But in any case, these are characters of whom I've been aware for decades, while I had never heard of John the Skrull before this discussion and I had never heard of Nemesis before his becoming Wonder Woman's love interest generated internet buzz (well, I had heard of Nemesis the Warlock, different company). So I'd guess his prominence may actually have been enhanced by his new status. Did Obsidian lose prominence due to becoming part of the cast of Manhunter? It's still unproven as far as I can see. And I still don't know who you're referring to vis-à-vis Ms. Marvel.

I'm not sure about the criteria you use either (I'd say a sometimes member of a superteam, like Wonder Man or Siryn, is easily less prominent than a well-established supporting character to an important solo hero, like Alfred or Mary Jane Watson-Parker. It also is a bit strange to see you listing Humbug (was this guy ever prominent? I read Heroes for Hope and I'd say thee nay!) and Batman (hey, he's only the main character of the biggest movie of the year and he's only headlining Batman, Detective Comics, Batman: Gotham After Midnight, Trinity, Batman Confidential, Superman/Batman in the most recent Previews) as male heroes who lost prominence in 2008.

"Plus Booster Gold's sister is back alive. If deaths count as evidence of misogyny then resurrections must count as the opposite, right?"

That's debatable. AFAIK they're not infrequently evidence of companies wanting to maintain their trademarks and copyrights. Choosing as your prime example a character you don't even name but indicate only by her familial relationship to a male character certainly does not encourage to view her resurrection as tremendously significant.

Menshevik said...

Have to leave for a few days tomorrow, so guess th-th-that's all folks! (Unless this thread continues longer than I think it will)

Erik Hollender said...

Wow - that's quite a list. Ok, now where's the list for the men's side? Women, like you said, might not always be respected like they should in comics, but as for Superheroes (male and female) this is standard fare.

Here's the brutalized list for the men:

- Batman: Mind Tortured, Drugged Up, Burried ALIVE!
- Doctor Strange: Violently possessed by a demon, house destroyed
- Mr. Fantastic: Captured by Skrulls, streched out beyond belief
- Constrictor: Freaking arms where chopped off!
- Sandman (Sandy): Having taken on his mentor's powers, he's now suffering from severe and tramatic dreams.
- Damage: Face torn apart by Zoom.
- Citizen Steel: Family attacked, incurably effected by uncontrolable superstrength. Can't even walk without destroying pavement.
- Jimmy Olsen: Countdown, Tramaticly altered in too many ways to count
- Orion: Shot in the head by a bullet from the past
- J. Jonah Jameson: Had heart attack. Bussiness sold off
- Jai West: Transforming into a bug! Eww
- Kyle Rayner: Possessed by Paralex
- Flash Thompson: Lost his Legs!
- Vincent Gonzales: Captured and brutalized by new Kraven the Hunter.
- Captain America: Shot Dead!
- Luke Cage: Daughter Stolen
- War Machine: Somehow a cyborg. However it happened, is probably hurt, right?
Vision: Blasted in the back of his head
Sentry: Made even more a mental case by Skrulls messing with his mind
Conner Hawke: Put in coma
Sun Boy: Powers sucked away to turn the sun red
Polar Boy: Arm Blown off
Bart Alan: Killed


I'm not saying you don't make some good points. Women are too often attacked or captured to give the male hero a person to rescue.
But to say I should be ashamed or comics, or that they degrade women?

Supergirl has been launched to the front of the class in the Superman books, and is also due to be on the new Justice League.

Women are well repersented in JSA, with a woman Chairman, and three wonderful characters girls can look up to, Star Girl, Cyclone, and Lightning.

Ms Marvel has become a great leader of the Avengers, and Spider-Woman (the real one) is finally due for a new series.

Mocking Bird is alive! The Question and Batwoman are getting good face time.

I'm just saying it's not as bad as you seem to think. Yes, comics have more male heroes becuase it originated from superheroic fare for kids. That doesn't mean women can't find something they like, and it certinly doesn't mean readers or creators of comics are Misogynistic.

John Foley said...

"Yes, big-wired, I am using studies and logic. What are you using? And what would you suggest that I use?"

Scott, don't be silly. You should be using feelings. Also, lots and lots of anecdotal evidence!

MrCynical said...

Can I assume from the “if not all” part that you don’t know how many male characters will killed of panel and assumed there was a fight?

As it turns out, and this is to the very best of my recollection
Lightray: Fight
Takion: Fight
Mr. Miracle: actually puts up the best fight (having access to the Anti-Life Equation helps)
Orion: Fight
Now, compare this, to Barda, who is supposedly second only to Orion as a warrior, and she goes out IN THE KITCHEN.

Are you sure that’s all? How do you know? I seem to recall some beat downs in the Legion. And did the Punisher really get out unscathed this year … for once?

Well, we've seen at least one person bring up a pretty good list, which is actually fair, so I'll let that go.

And as far as resurrections goes, we've got Quasar/Wendell Vaughn to the Mockingbird ressurrection, and if you want to start counting comic ressurrections for 2008, we can start with Harry Osborn. If you're interested.

SiK, the reason I'm including low selling titles is that I'm noticing that with so few female-led titles to begin with, the fact that MOST of the big two output of such material is gone inside of a year is, to be frank, a bit disturbing.

As for Ms. Marvel, well, if you had read any of those books, you'll note that Aaron Stack (whom I'm assuming is the crux of your arguement) was nowhere near as marginalized; hell, he was more sympathetic than the main character in most of what I read. As for Sleepwalker and Wonder Man, well, quite frankly, they haven't had any promenience in a while. The points on Obsidian and Nemesis have already been made, and so I won't repeat.

More coming up.

MrCynical said...

And is Siryn really significantly less prominent just because she's pregnant? I don't see it.

I've heard it from several female fans that they did not appreciate her being moved from being part of the team's "muscle" to being "a pregnant secretary" in their terms.

Now, I want to thank everyone for their comments and their feedback. There have been valid points on all sides, and I'm happy with this discussion, and appreciate the criticisms. Honestly, I'm surprised this has gotten more comments than my screeds against things like the Initiative or "World without Marvel/DC", but that is fine.

I do want to make one final point, and this is one that's been raised in other areas, and that's this notion that because I'm reading most of this material through Scans Daily (and friends and whatnot) that I'm somehow lacking context. That's rather irksome, because in a visual storytelling medium, I tend to believe that every image (and word) is a part of that story, and so, even if you don't have all of the story (and S_D provides pretty close to everything), I do believe it is valid to make a criticism of a given trend. Images tell the story.

Thank you all for your comments, but I do believe this is my final word on the matter.

Scott (The Mad Thinker) Anderson said...

That's debatable. AFAIK they're not infrequently evidence of companies wanting to maintain their trademarks and copyrights.

True, but there are also other explanations for a some of these supposedly misogynistic acts. For instance, it does appear to be true that more women than men have been mind controlled by the anti-life equation in Final Crisis, but does the reason for that have to be that Grant Morrison suffers from misogyny, that he is suffering from a mental illness and/or ethical failing? Couldn't it be that he thought this would be an interesting way to recreate the Female Furies of the Darkseid?

Choosing as your prime example a character you don't even name but indicate only by her familial relationship to a male character certainly does not encourage to view her resurrection as tremendously significant.

True, but I was never fond of her and wasn't reading Booster Gold when she was appearing. I assure you there are guys who I know who were quite happy to see her and knew her name. I'd be able to name other characters who someone else would think were insignificant, but I love. Frankly, characters like the White Tiger only seems more significant because they appeared more recently, not because they were actually more significant to comics. Within a year, Goldstar (aka Booster's sister) will again seem as signifcant as the Night Nurse or more so. I'm pretty sure Goldstar appeared in more comics than either the White Tiger or the Night Nurse, maybe more than both combined.

Anonymous said...

In Final Crisis it also appears that Mister Miracle is dead.

Also the mind control issue is fairly academic since most of the population is under the control of the anti-life equation.

In Death of the New Gods it isn't even clear that _any_ of the New Gods were able to fight back until near the end of the series IIRC.

Anonymous said...

Oh, thank the gods I found this post.

I review manga and I too have raving luntic fanboys who don't know when they should just shut *up* already.

Guys...shut up.

You read comics that denegrate, dismember, sexually, physically and emotionally brutalize women and then when someone points it out, you address the issue with "logic" about why we should not be pissed?

Shut the *fuck* up.

There's nothing wrong with liking booty. Try some, sometime. It's nice. You might enjoy it.

But replacing character, plot, and basically everything with women who are bootylicious, then die horribly. Not cool.

I left American Comics years ago and don't miss it at all. For the same price of two over-drawn, underwritten, ad-filled pamphlet type comic books, I get 200 pages of a manga with plot, character and, quite often, a woman who is not treated like crap.

David S. said...

@anonymous manga reader

First of all, stop with the "comic readers need to get laid" generalization crap. It's a tired line and frankly it's not true.

Secondly, when did you leave American comics? In the '90s when even most comic readers admit was a horrible storytelling era? Come back to comics and read books by Brian K. Vaughan, Ed Brubaker, Brian Wood, Jason Aaron, or Geoff Johns. I'm fine with manga, but don't get all high and mighty like it's the only graphic medium with plot. I'm pretty sure Scalped by Jason Aaron has more plotline and full of more characterization than Bleach. Just saying, you're overgeneralizing and hating on a medium based on a different era.

And in response to all this "misogynstic treatment" we're talking about here, I'd like to direct you to David Brothers' very informative response: http://www.4thletter.net/2008/12/superhhero-kkkomics-200hate-a-year-in-review/

Asterios said...

Re: Secret Invasion, it's important to note that this year's biggest villain, Veranke, was a woman. She wasn't a lovesick, crazy ex-wife or a victim of sexual assault out for revenge/trapped in a trauma cycle...she was a smart, tough leader. She was a great character.

Additionally, SI had the pretty fantastic Maria Hill moment, where she outsmarted an entire Skrull assault team.

Elias said...

Ah? Oh sorry, I forgot to read the article because I saw the first image and went FAP FAP FAP.