It's been argued before and it'll undoubtedly be argued again, that girls don't read superhero comics. That there is nothing DC and Marvel can offer that manga or indy comics can't deliver better, and we should of course focus on them.
I don't think it should surprise anyone that I disagree with this wholeheartedly. Instead of going on a long, angry rant explaining why, I figured I'd explain what I, a girl and a feminist, personally love about superhero comics. None of these should be a particular surprise to anyone who reads this blog, but I feel like sharing.
Please note, I'm not saying that all girls or feminists would share my opinion. There's no hive vagina after all.
So, without further ado and in no particular order:50 things I love about superhero comics
1. The richness of the universes. Really, any sort of story can be told using some part of the Marvel or DC worlds. Action, romance, science fiction epics, historical pieces, time travel, buddy comedies, or sheer mind-fuckery...it's all good!
2. The connections within the universes. Connected to #1, really. I love teamups and crossovers and seeing new sides of familiar people by the way they interact with one another. I love that Carter Hall's son was married to Hippolyta's grand-daughter in spirit, or that Alan Scott's kid is working with Sandra Knight's descendent. Or that Superman and Batman are BFFs, or that Namor has hit on both Sue Storm and the Scarlet Witch. The interactions are what really make the universes seem vast.
3. The history factor. Marvel and DC have franchises dating back from my grandfather's childhood, and the decades of real time development and contradictions remind me of what I used to love about soap operas. The sense of generation is wonderful too. My grandfather's heroes inspiring and interacting with my father's heroes inspiring and interacting with mine.
4. The fact that Mr. Terrific might be the third smartest MAN in the DCU, but Barbara Gordon is the smartest PERSON.
5. Guy Gardner's character arc took place in more than thirty years real time and still feels satisfying.
6. Sanderson Hawkins ends up as frequently unclad as any superheroine.
7. Power Girl can be sexy, confident and flaunt her goods, and NEVER be dismissed as a slut or worse by her fellows in the DCU.
8. No one was right or blameless in the Jean Grey/Scott Summers/Emma Frost love triangle.
9. Superheroines get to punch people, just like superheroes.
10. There are bad artists and stupid drawings, but there are also very good artists who do some amazing work.
11. Spandex will always amuse me.
12. Fanfic will never match the crack that has or will occur in canon.
13. There are many and considerable issues regarding portrayals of race, sex, orientation and the like, but there is also considerable attempts to improve and increase diversity.
14. I like violence.
15. "Vomited on by a nazi" is the best origin ever.
16. Stargirl is the heart of the JSA.
17. I get more enjoyment out of hating Dick Grayson than I do out of loving Spock.
18. My biggest complaint about Cassandra Cain is her clicheness, NOT any inability to kick ass.
19. My rage over the treatment of Reed Richards is only because I love him so.
20. The Fantastic Four's powers lend themselves well to dirty jokes.
21. Dementor genuinely scared me.
22. Janet Pym annoys me as much for her negative comparisons to every other heroine I can think of, than anything else.
23. Jade's incompetence frustrates me mostly because Donna Troy was as much Kyle Rayner's mentor as Alan Scott had been.
24. I care about characters that haven't appeared since before I was born.
25. Cyclone reminds me of me, good points and bad. (Though I don't crush on Stargirl)
26. No matter how obscure the character, you can always find a fan who loves them best.
27. Hippolyta and Ice are back.
28. Ms. Marvel is a dick, but in a way that's strikingly similar to early Booster Gold, (that's rare for a female character)
29. Female characters aren't demonized for not being virgins.
30. Hank Pym's story is frustrating, infuriating and compelling. And Ultron is just fucked up.
31. The Pym family tree is at least as fucked up as the Summers tree. Minus the time travel, plus robots.
32. Heroes represent nearly every religion imaginable. Even atheism.
33. No religion appears to be completely correct.
34. A woman can be a mother and a hero.
35. But she doesn't have to be.
36. Stephanie Brown gave her baby up for adoption, because it was the right thing to do.
37. Dinah Lance is both a founding member of the current JSA and a founding member of the JLA. (Is she the only one?)
38. Superheroes come from all walks of life.
39. Hawkman never wears a shirt.
40. Giant Robots are cool.
41. The creators grew up on superhero comics too, which makes for infectious enthusiasm.
42. No one makes me twitch like message board fans. :-p But then there's a lot of interesting stuff too.
43. Fanboy/girl analyses essays are a blast.
44. I always wished I could fly...and punch people.
45. Johnny Sorrow is incredibly creepy in the best way possible. I love villains who are genuinely unpredictable.
46. I'm reminded about what it feels like to be PROUD of being American.
47. I still catch my breath seeing Superman hold up the Daily Planet Globe.
48. Lois Lane is the best reporter the Daily Planet has ever seen. And she lists her pulitzer before her marriage when naming her achievements. But her marriage is a quick second.
49. There are bad stories too, but in general, when I buy my comics I come home satisfied.
50. The expression on little Ramsey's face when he meets Wonder Woman.
So, do you REALLY think I should just stick with manga?