comics / equality / Feminism / gender / opinions / race

Marvel(ous?)

I never really got into Marvel comics, there always just seemed so many titles and no easy entry point, so I just never bothered. I found see them on the shelves, maybe picked them up now and then, but never ended up finding any I was enthused enough about to buy.

Today I bought my first Marvel haul. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, I went for Captiain Marvel and Ms Marvel.

Marvel(ous)

Marvel(ous)

This is how it actually happened: I was making my usual post-payday trip to the comic shop and found that World’s Finest trade paper back #2 was now on sale (I’ve decided to switch to TPs for a lot of my comic reading). I had kind of enjoyed #1 but also had my misgivings, most specifically about the portrayal of Power Girl. So imagine my dismay when I pick up the new volume and see this –

*sigh* really?

*sigh* really?

I try not to read too much online about titles I’m interested in but I had the vague remembrance of hearing something about the old costume returning, back when the comic was released, mostly due to fan pressure (sadly). I had a shifty through the volume and saw that yes, towards the very end, Power Girl is back to the boob window, let alone the wedgy inducing one-piece. I took a minute to consider buying the volume, I thought to myself that perhaps I shouldn’t judge it out of context and should read to see how it is written in. But you know, I just couldn’t find it in myself to pay money on this – which is even more of a shame as I quite like where they were going with Huntress. And as you may have noted from previous posts, I like to stick with things if I can.

I put it back on the shelf and stood there feeling kinda down about it. Then I looked up, and almost right above me hung this poster.

Badass!

Badass!

And I was all “zomg, who is that badass?! She looks to be wearing *gasp* actual clothes and whilst obviously gorgeous has not been drawn in an provocative pose, in fact she looks like she’s about to ram that newly gloved fist where the sun doesn’t shine. Why, it’s almost like the creators of this character don’t actively hate all women *cough*DC*cough*”

So I went straight to the comic clerk and demanded “I need this woman” pointing at the poster “and any others like her”. The clerk obligingly helped my pick out my above haul. I was excited to hear from the clerk that Ms Marvel issue 1 had actually sold out and been reprinted due to popularity! 

I have so far only read Ms Marvel, which I had read many good things about online, and I loved it!

You had me at "fanfic"

You had me at “fanfic”

Kamala Khan is the most relatable character I have ever read in a comic, for me at least. I maybe unable to identify with her on a religious or ethnicity level, but I certainly can on the level of being a nerd, a writer (sometimes of fanfic) and an outsider (especially as a teen).

I don’t want to get my hopes up, but I’m looking forward to starting on my Captain Marvel purchases. Incidentally, on arriving home, and googling for reactions to Power Girl’s change back of costume I was further dismayed. I had to stop reading and I refuse to link the sites here, but take my word for it – you don’t want to read a bunch of forum posts of readers saying how awesome it is that she got the boob window back, and how it was stupid to take it away, and yay for women being objectified. After all, we’re all just a pair of boobs, right?! At least the anidote to this was finding this wonderful run down of the Marvel and DC panel reactions to questions on diversity at last year’s New York Comic Con. Captain Marvel is looking good and I haven’t even turned the cover yet.

Maybe it is time I start investigating what Marvel has to offer, and sadly also start considering the wording of another Nope! Post and yet another complaint to DC. Might as well let them know I’m probably switching to their competitor whilst I’m at it…

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8 thoughts on “Marvel(ous?)

  1. In terms of entry points, I just want to say that any issue of any comic can be an entry point. Don’t worry too much about whether you’re missing anything – what’s on the page is what you need to know.

    But in terms of your larger point, Marvel’s been doing a fantastic job, lately, in terms of their female characters. The previous volume of Captain Marvel was excellent, definitely worth reading. Ms. Marvel is amazing. The current Black Widow series is great. The new She-Hulk series is great fun. X-Men has been mostly great (and they finally gave Psylocke an appropriate outfit). For the most part, they’ve given female characters reasonable costumes (about the only exception is Uncanny X-Men). Storm shows some cleavage, but it makes sense for her. She-Hulk’s got a one-piece, but it’s more like a wrestling singlet than a bathing suit, and again, it makes sense for her. Marvel’s made a real effort for its female characters to be sexy without being sexualized. Best of all, this is finally reflected on the covers, which have finally moved away from cheesecake.

    Another book I’d recommend you check out is Kathryn Immonen’s brief run on Journey Into Mystery, which starred Sif.

    I also want to recommend Pretty Deadly. Which is an Image title, rather than Marvel. But it’s so, so good.

    • Wow, thank you for this! I will definitely take your recommendations on board and check them out next time I’m at the shop.

      I know what you mean about jumping in, I just have this really terrible story OCD, lol. I will try and battle through it.

      From what I can tell from reading online, it looks like when DC failed to actually make any positive changes in terms of representation of the “other” (non-white, non-male, non-straight) characters in 2011, they really dropped a clanger. Whereas Marvel, which had been heavily criticised in the past as far as I can tell, realised this left a whole bunch of alienated “other” readers waiting to spend their cash (and hopefully they also felt morally and ethically compelled). 🙂

  2. Stumbled across your post on Tumblr and I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the new Ms. Marvel! I’ll just say as far as Marvel goes I echo the above commenter’s suggestions and recommendations. There is also a new Elektra solo title coming out, fingers crossed its as good as Black Widow and She Hulk seem to be.

    I got into Captain Marvel last year and something that helped me was going on Wikipedia to get a quick rundown on her history to give myself some idea of who she was. I’m like you where I’m very OCD with stories and characters and NEED TO READ EVERYTHING they’re in, good or bad. But I’ve learned how to curb that with comics luckily (Marvel did start releasing thick Essential volumes that compiled original comics into one large book, although in black and white, and that’s how I read the original Ms. Marvel after falling in love with Captain Marvel)

    I just also wanted to recommend the new Hawkeye by Matt Fraction. There are at least 2 tradebacks out right now. Part of what makes these books so great, besides Matt seeming to have a natural talent for the voice of Clint Barton, is it also has Kate Bishop, lady Hawkeye, and the non-romantic relationship between the two is so wonderful. He ALSO, if you want more female-positive and a sex-positive comic, writes a comic called Sex Criminals which is being released through Image. Its on its 5th(?) issue so would be an easy series to catch up on. It is probably the only published thing I’ve read that addresses female sexuality and what its like growing up trying to learn based on what your peers say in such a real and honest way.

    One LAST comic series I’d recommend (I promise last one) is Saga being published by Image, which has at least two trades out right now. The easiest way to describe Saga is an alien Romeo and Juliet love story. But that doesn’t do it nearly any justice. Two people on the opposites sides of a war fall in love and abandon their military duties and are on the run from their respective governments. All while trying to raise their baby together. And the art is gorgeous.

    Sorry for the big long gush. I recently got into comics in a big way last year after taking an online gender class that used comic books and I fell in love with so many things and there are so many great comics out there to discover.

    • Thank you so much for this! I will definitely look up those titles 🙂

      I used to read a lot of comics when I was a teen but have got back into them over the last couple of years – mostly DC.

      That gender class sounds awesome – are you able to link me to more info?

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