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Heroine Addiction

DC Comics has long held a reputation for being more experimental than Marvel.  IIRC, they put the names of their creative teams on the covers of their books long before Marvel did.  They not only developed Sandman, completely redefining comics and introducing a whole new generation to the talent of a man named Neil Gaiman, but created the Vertigo line, giving us original and imaginitive books (and helping spawn the emo/fake goth movement, but I digress).  They have the only two long running comics starring female superheroes, Wonder Woman and Supergirl (Marvel couldn't catch that lightning in a bottle until Mayday Parker in Spider-Girl, a series they literally couldn't cancel), and ran with Birds Of Prey (which was praised for depicting the women in it as friends, brave, and capable) for years.  They started comics starring Batwoman, who is both Jewish and a lesbian.  They were able to leverage their titles against their Warner Bros. connections to create a string of animated series that Marvel is only now starting to catch up with, and not with the kind of resonance that DC enjoys.  The Vertigo line has the reputation of being the most female-friendly editorial board in the biz.

And yet, DC seems to be getting this creeping chauvanism that makes me wonder about them.

Keep in mind, I'm not talking about depicting female heroes as sexy.  The difference can be descibed by comparing Playboy to, say, HustlerPlayboy is about beauty in the female form.  The woman are doing fun things or artistic things.  There is respect in the composition of the shot.  Hustler has no such thing.  Women are photographed doing whatever they think will get the guys off.  Playboy, I can enjoy looking at.  Hustler makes me want to take a long bath afterwards.

Within the past, oh, year, the following events have happened in DC Comics:

1)  The cover of the Batgirl collection went from an image of her in a heroic pose to her getting prettied up before going out to fight crime.

2)  A comic depicted mostly nude Batgirl and mostly nude Catwoman getting in a catfight in the middle of an orgy.

3)  Hal Jordan admitted having a three-way with two of the Birds Of Prey (I believe it was Lady Blackhawk and Huntress)

4)  The launch of a series set in Gotham following the female characters with very...interesting portrayals of the women and how they interact.

5)  The current issue of Detective Comics, on page 12, depicts Batwoman diving off a building, and her camel toe is clearly visible.

No doubt, some of my readers are shaking their heads and saying, "That's terrible", while making a note to hit the comic shop sometime today.  ;-)

Say what you will about Marvel Divas, a miniseries starring four of Marvel's second teir female characters, the series is telling a story.  And telling it well, I might add.  I checked out part of it, and it moves at a good clip and actually has stuff happening.  But DC?  I frankly expect better of the house that gave us Sandman, Swamp Thing, and such than material that isn't any better than your average slashfic on the Internet (not only that, but I don't have to pay $4 for slash) or DeviantART post.  You can depict women as being strong and sexy.  But depicting them as whores at heart undermines the whole strong and sexy vibe.

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