Beyond the Cape: Batgirl and the State of Women in Comics

by CG | Originally posted at Black Girl in Media

[Trigger warning in these posts for mention & discussion of: sexual violence, molestation, rape, and violence against women]

Fiction always reflects the cultural temperature of the times. This could be a good thing, and sometimes be a great thing. But most of the time, it leads to us uncovering not so pleasant parts of our society. Comics have always been an accessible part of that cultural narrative, as their mix of visual and written storytelling have led to them being embraced by fans for decades. Comics and superhero culture are very much at the center of dictating societal norms.

So when we have instances of dictating women’s dress, allowing for female oppression and violence against women for book sales, the issue goes beyond just the individual books or characters in question. It’s about questioning the system that we’ve allowed for this behavior and thinking to flourish enough to reach the success that it has with the comics industry.

This is the state of women in comics.

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People on the Internet Get Things Wrong: Comic Book Cover Edition

by William Evans | Originally posted on Black Nerd Problems

Trigger Warning: Some of the images pulled from comic books depict assault and violence towards women.

DC is celebrating the Joker next month with a plethora of variant covers devoted to him. The Joker, who by definition is a deranged, sinister and disturbed individual is shown on most of these covers the way he’s always been: scaring the shit out of somebody. One specifically that sparked a lot of outrage was where the Joker is cozied up to a frightened Batgirl for her cover. After a lot of people voiced their displeasure with the cover AND RECEIVED THREATS OF VIOLENCE FOR IT, the artist Rafael Albuquerque asked DC to pull the cover. Now of course, there’s the backlash to the backlash as many fans and creators are crying foul and constructing this as an evil feminist argument that ruins everything. Sigh.

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Much Ado About Batgirl

Originally posted at WilliamBruceWest.com

So, usually I’d just let this kind of thing go, or just drop a casual mention of it in West Week Ever, but I was inspired to say more about this particular thing. Last week, DC Comics revealed a variant cover for the upcoming Batgirl #41, which can be seen here:

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Jim Gordon, DC’s Next Multimedia Star

Yesterday, FOX TV announced it is developing a new DC Comics-based drama for the 2014-2015 television season. Called Gotham, the show, created by The Mentalist‘s Bruno Heller, will focus on the exploits of Detective James Gordon and his early days in the Gotham City Police Department. Since this is an origin story for Gordon, Batman and his Rogues Gallery will not feature into it — though the announcement mentions Gotham’s colorful villains, I’m not sure how you include them if this is a pre-Batman time period. While I’m always down for more TV shows based on comics, I’m actually not sure what to think about this.

At least the show already has a theme song:

I’ve long been a proponent for a television series based on one of my favorite Batman books of all time, Gotham Central. The book reads like a crime procedural and spotlights a diverse cast of characters, including Renee Montoya, Crispus Allen, Maggie Sawyer, and Josie Mac. Unfortunately, the book’s initial run did not sell very well — probably because Commissioner Gordon and Batman, though their presence is felt throughout, were not the focus of the book — and the series ended after 40 issues. And though there were rumors of a potential Gotham Central television show in the early 2000s, it never materialized. Silver lining? We got Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy instead. So the idea of a show based on the Gotham police department isn’t a new one. How they shoehorn Jim Gordon’s origin into this remains to be seen.

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