Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Friday, January 06, 2006

Women's Issues, Recommendations, and Me

As a female comic reader, I'm often asked what comic books I'd recommend to other women.

And honestly, that's not a question I'm particularly comfortable answering. Because, to be perfectly honest, I don't tend to think of myself as a female comic reader. I think of myself as a comic reader who happens to be female.

I wish I could claim I read specific series because of the way that they tackle female issues or because there's a decided lack of gratuitous female exploitation, or because I really like the way they handle female characters.

But honestly, I don't think about those things when I'm looking for comics to enjoy. For example, I'm much more textually oriented than visually, so while I read every caption and dialogue box, sometimes I miss specific visual details. Also I'm decidedly oblivious. It took me 'til Recharge to notice Kyle's lantern emblem glows. I have no excuse for that. I read GL religiously. I just, seriously, never noticed. I also never noticed until Supergirl (which is a series I would NOT recommend, I admit) that Dick Grayson was hot. Seriously. I think I just never got over the liberace collar or the mullet.

As for female issues and female characters, honestly, I only tend to register the "female" when I think they're done really badly. Otherwise, I admit, I don't immediately consider them.

I just read things because I like them. I tend to be drawn to male characters more than female so I focus more on male characters I like. And thus unless a female is particularly hateful in my opinion (*cough*Jade*cough*Raven*cough*) I might not notice them but for the fond attention I give all characters who aren't my favorites.

Here are some books I personally read religiously, the ones on my pull list that I grab first:

Green Lantern: I like Kyle. I like Hal. I like John. I like Guy. I like the Corps. I love the power and the emphasis on creativity and imagination. I like almost all of the characters and I like their interactions. This goes for Recharge, and likely will go for Ion as well.

JSA: I like the Golden Age heroes. Alan, Jay, Ted. I like Sand. I like Stargirl. I like Terrific, Mid-Nite and Jakeem Thunder. I like Power Girl when she's there. I love the mix of old and new, Golden Age and modern day. And I really enjoy the elements of sweet nostalgia that never feel overpowering.

Robin: Okay, it's in a slump. Mr. Willingham has good ideas deep down but I think is a very bad fit for this series and character. But Tim is a very powerful character personality. I find him fascinating, and I love watching him grow and act, almost completely independent of Batman. And I catch glimpses of this boy even under Mr. Willingham's pen. So I'll still buy it.

Teen Titans: I like these characters. I like the emphasis on growing up and dealing with adolescence, which is already a tumultuous time, paired with a career that's both mind-boggling and life-threatening. I like the individual characters.

Fables: I like the way every character, even the ones so easily dismissed at first, show themselves to be cool and kickass. And Bigby and Snow are my favorite couple ever. And I've always dug fractured fairytales. And it had an interlude of Frankenstein vs. the Wolfman.

Okay, I could go on, list more. But what's the point really? I really doubt anyone looking for a "female perspective" on comics would be happy with those reasons. And why should they? Many people out there focus more on those things when they read and I'm glad. I usually enjoy what they recommend, because in general, these people have very good taste, (and bad portrayals ARE irritating) but I pick what I read because I like it. (Or the cover looks pretty, or I've heard good things about it, or I want to see how a particular story ends...but I keep buying because I like it)

That's all. Sorry to disappoint anyone.


  • At January 06, 2006 1:44 AM, Blogger Ragnell said…

    That's cool. My usual answer is "Same thing I'd recommend to male readers: Starman"

  • At January 06, 2006 3:04 AM, Blogger James Meeley said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • At January 06, 2006 3:28 PM, Blogger Shelly said…

    As with any reading or viewing material, I recommend what I think is good and what I think would appeal to the other person. I don't judge material by gender issues.

    I would recommend JSA and Birds of Prey; both are well written books that have art that meshes well with the words. I'd recommend The Outsiders, too, with the caveat that it isn't for everyone. Ditto Green Arrow and Catwoman. I like the new Green Lantern so far, so that would go on the list.

    But it's so hard to recommend things. Personal taste is such a big part of it.

  • At January 06, 2006 6:09 PM, Blogger Centurion said…

    If guys like Conan, maybe gals will like Red Sonja? Maybe I should run for the cover...

    Seriously though, I have a hard time seeing most comics specifically aimed at different genders. Most of the time is a combination of what you like writing and art wise - which is generally totally opinionated, and more so by gender. Guys can like female characters and girls can like male characters. It's not how they are portrayed, it's how well they are portrayed. It's all in the eye of the beholder, though some are indeed better than others...

  • At January 06, 2006 7:20 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Thanks guys, for the comments. :-)

    And yes, Starman is awesome. And thanks for the recommendations, Shelly! I read some of those but not all of them. I'll give them a try. (Always up for more fun comics.)

    For that matter, I've heard Red Sonja is actually really good. :-)

  • At January 06, 2006 7:42 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    I'll also give Boneyard a try. :-) I've heard good things about it. And I've always liked Trade Paperbacks. Thanks for the recommendation!

  • At January 06, 2006 11:49 PM, Blogger Shelly said…

    Birds of Prey has been awesome since Gail Simone took over the writing chores. Aside from having the women act like women and still kick butt, she's developed them and their friendship more deeply than previous writers and she's an excellent plotter. Her stories make the suspense and action quota with room to spare.

    Much as I love the male characters (I mostly read The Outsiders for Arsenal), I will try any superhero comic starring a female. I might not like some of them, but I'm ready to give them all a chance. Well, in the DCU and sometimes from other companies.

  • At January 07, 2006 4:21 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Shelly: I've very much enjoyed Birds of Prey too, since Ms. Simone took over. Great portrayals of great females.

    I'm picky about my new comics I admit...mostly because I'm a college student without much of a source of income. I intend to try many many more series when I'm out of school and with a steady paycheck to support my hobby more. :-)


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