Sunday, October 14, 2007

Comics Crossing the Misogyny Line

In scanning some other blogs I came across a post by Graeme McMillian of the Savage Critic where he complains about New Avengers #35 and the misogamist treatment of the character within the context of the story. I have linked to it so you can read the source material, but the gist of it is Tigra is manhandled by villains and beaten down as she is also shown in the sexiest manner possible. My comment back was:

The whole series is crap and the misogyny tendencies in comics has really been creeping me out lately (see Grimm Fairy Tales Annual). It just seems to glorify the worse tendencies of males. As an industry how can we ever cry for credibility as being more then just a funnybook, when one of our “star” writers does this in a major selling book? It makes me think that we are pandering to the wrong element or worse that I’m part of a group I no longer want to be a member of.

The Grimm Fairy Tales Annual that was published was perhaps the worse expression of misogyny that I have even seen in comics. I know that there is that element within some comics, but usually it is toned down to the point where it is not blatantly obvious and I can at least wonder if I reading too much into it.

I know that Wonder Woman was created by William Moulton Marston who had a thing for bondage and that element has become almost a part of the Wonder Woman character with her lariat. Still over the years that part has been played down and no longer has that icky type vibe that was associated with it as it did if you read some of the early adventures of the character.

Also I’m not “Mr. Sensitive” when it comes to this stuff. I enjoy a well drawn woman as much as the next heterosexual male. In fact some of the “good girl” artwork still gets my attention and at times becomes my wallpaper on my computer at home and work.

But how far is too far. Greg Horn’s covers for She Hulk were so provocative at times that I would not have felt comfortable leaving them on my coffee table in my living room for guests who are not comic oriented to see. For my personal taste, the covers were funny and really well done. Adam Hughes designs for many of his sculptures are also very provocative and I love his design of the Supergirl bust. It has a sexual feeling to it and is great yet shows no skin at all.

Back to the premise at hand both of the books I mention come out this week. In Grimm Fairy Tales Annual you start with a cover of five women who are all beautiful and dress in fairy tale fantasy outfits (what a stripper might wear to a bachelor party). Then the framing device has Belinda (the bad girl of the framing stories) show up to read stories to the kids instead of Sela (the good girl of the framing stories). Belinda is dressed with a blouse opened up to her black bra, a skirt so short that her thigh high stocking tops show. The stories see reads; in Jack and Jill, Jack kills his wife and has sex with his drop dead gorgeous maid. Old Woman in the Shoe; kids are tortured and then they eat the old woman after killing her. Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater; hacks his wife and stuffs her in a pumpkin because she cheated on him. Little Boy Blue; betrays his young girl friend in order escape after she helps him. To be fair some of the man get their comeuppance, but the overall tone is very misogynistic. Also Grimm Fairy Tales is not a huge selling book and so they can be classified as the seedier side of the market. The shame is that I do enjoy the series for the most part as some of their short stories are clever and this type of issue just puts one off their books.

New Avengers is a whole different story. This is a top selling book, by the far and away the sales leader in comics and by one of their biggest stars. Marvel has been so quick to be on the politically correct side of most things and when it comes to something that really has no politically correct side they allow this type of portrayal to stand. The reason why I say it is not a politically correct issue is because it is just a matter of what is right and what is wrong. The vast majority of friends I have in and outside the industry may have had an issue over the years with an “ex”, but we all respect women, have wives, female friends and/or daughters. There is no way that this type of material should be tolerated by the major publishers.

End of my rant, just something that has been in the back of my mind for awhile and this week’s books brought it front and center.


  1. DC has been on this downward spiral a lot in recent memory.

    Their view seems to be to "Slutty" up every female character. Mary Marvel is their crown jewel of this event.

  2. are you guys confusing misogamy (hatred of marriage) with misogyny (hatred of women)?

  3. Anonymous - I did a couple of times and think I have the corrections now made tahnks.

    Shawn - Agreed.

  4. The Grimm's Fairy Tale books have always bothered me with some of the art... even though I like some of the stories. I agree that their visual depictions of women seriously hurts this book. As a disturbing side note - those costumes that the girls are wearing on the cover, we sell some almost exactly like them at Spencers and Spirit. The Snow White and Goldilocks ones are dead on.

  5. There has always been a little titilation in the books over the years, but it has gotten out of hand. This is swerving back towards the "bad girl" era we had in the 90's.