Thursday, September 29, 2011

Starfire!



DC has really opened a can of worms with their recent portrayals of women in their comics.They have recently relaunched their main universe and redesigned many classic iconic costumes to apparently be more in line with Hollywood's renditions (the tail wagging the dog). Claiming to want to reach new readers and to present a more diverse line, several of the new comics feature racial and sexual preference minorities as leads. Several titles featuring women as their leads. Before getting too excited, even before the relaunch, most of the titles featuring female characters as leads (Wonder Woman, Birds of Prey, Batgirl, Supergirl, Catwoman) already existed and another had long been advertised but missing (Batwoman). With the loss of Powergirl and Zatanna in their own titles, if anything, there's fewer titles starring female characters!

Legion Lost ends their first issue by killing off a female hero. To add to the insults, almost all of the female titles feature the women in stages of undress. Catwoman, a character that is supposed to love cats is featured in several scenes in stage of undress while also showing a cat carrier stuffed with about a dozen cats and ends with her grinding on a reposed Batman. She may be a villain, but she used to at least have dignity (ignoring the Halle Berry movie). In Wonder Woman, we find she sleeps au natural and again have a scene of the female hero dressing. Meanwhile, the woman she is supposed to be helping spends the whole issue in her panties. Harley Quinn was always buxom but somewhat sexy in her body suit, but in Suicide Squad she decided to go for the street corner hooker look.

Starfire may have gotten the worst deal of all. Now, she is the third person to go by the name. The first was a commie dude. The second was an attractive sword and sorcery babe who recently reappeared in the less than pointless Time Masters miniseries and is about the best thing going for it. The current name holder debuted in Marv Wolfman's and George Perez's The New Teen Titans. A humanoid alien, she was drawn as a tall, buxom beauty who flew around and fought crime in a purple metal bikini. Perez gave her a distinct and more rounded face than the standard. Wolfman wrote her as being a bit more open-minded with displaying her body but also as an emotionally strong, empathic, caring woman. She connected emotionally with people.

Kind of knew she was in trouble way back when her steady boyfriend Dick Grayson moved from the pages of Teen Titans to his own title as Nightwing and thus falling under the Batman banner of books. Such a move mandated a break-up as flying orange-skinned alien girlfriend doesn't quite jive with the lone hero handling street level crimes. Wouldn't be realistic, don't you know.

At least in the Teen Titans cartoon, she got to constantly show her adoration for Robin while still being both an optimistic caring character, but who is also fiercely loyal to her friends with serious butt-kicking skills.

She has a place in the new DC, only in a book called Red Hood and the Outlaws where she has lost all sense of personality and even common sense as she now has trouble telling humans apart. Completely emotionally stunted, she has gone from being a sexual but strong woman to basically a sex doll that can take out tanks from the sky (all off panel, on panel it's all about her being sexually objectified).


Hey, I'm a guy and like the female form as much as the next guy. But, even I can recognize the double standard and inequality going on here. Much is made fun of Wonder Woman's origins but at least her creator was trying to create a powerful woman character that men and women could look up to, a character that was equal to men, free from many of the double-standards and sexism of the day. After all their talk about trying to reach new readers and a more diverse audience, their response to people that find this content questionable? Pay attention to the ratings. In other words, if you're a parent drawn in by the advertising and promotions and the idea of getting the new Batman and Wonder Woman comics for your kids, or if you're a woman drawn by the promise of a more diverse and audience friendly characters, sorry, these are not the comics you are looking for.

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