I hate the very idea that being a fan of comics, of movies, of science fiction, of horror or any of the many sub-genres therein somehow puts you into a special club the likes of which “normals” are not allowed. This type of thinking is both arrogant and so exclusionary that it borders on elitism.
Teen Titans #1 and Rape Threats
When you believe that there is such a dominant force in whatever niche you are part that outside “interference” is akin to an attack then you have not only gone too far but also gone beyond the point of no return really as you have shown just how elitist and self-centered you feel you need to be in a vain effort to “protect” this one thing in your life that has meaning.
One of the most virulent fandoms out there are male comic book fans… and yes, that is a fandom unto itself to the point of almost not getting the joke they have become in the eyes of even their contemporaries let alone everyone outside of their niche. Recently this became offensively clear when former Batman editor Janelle Asselin wrote a piece on why the cover of DC’s Teen Titans number 1 was simply horrendous My assessment is that it was horrendous*, hers was:
[su_quote cite=”Janelle Asselin” url=”http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/04/21/female-journalist-gets-rape-threats-over-comic-book-criticism.html”]”The cover to the new Teen Titans #1, released earlier this week, is not just a terrible comics cover, it’s a prime example of how even the most corporate comic book companies can make basic mistakes regarding the potential audience for a book. It’s embarrassing that anyone, in particular a company as large and full of intelligent people as DC Comics, could produce something this non-functional.”[/su_quote]
which resulted in the kind of sexual frustration and anger that has always raged beneath the comics fandom that we all wanted to think was not really there. In a nutshell what happened was that Janelle Asselin was a FEMALE and she was critical of something in the (erroneously thought) male dominated comics field so she must be a dyke or she was a feminazi or she should get back to the kitchen and make the men sammichs… the worst though was that she was threatened with rape if she did not shut her whore mouth. Using actual criticisms that go beyond the norm (Wonder Girl IS underage after all and she is drawn as if she were a 30 year old stripper complete with a boob job and that does not mention the obvious issues with the perspective being sloppy and even ugly on this Teen Titans cover), Asselin makes the mistake of making her criticisms while being a woman. Yeah, that is her only “crime”, she is a woman… because I guarantee if that if the exact same issues were brought up by a male Batman editor there would have been no foofaraw and I would wager HIS denunciation of that same cover would have been taken with credibility… or he would have been called a fag since the issue of sexualizing an underage girl would still be and issue no matter what gender brought that up… and only fags don’t want to sexualize teen girls right? So from there we move into the realm of “bitch you don’t know shit about mans comics” kind of nonsense. Couple this with the threats of rape and the overall “He-Man Woman Haters Club” mentality and I think the exact point Asselin was making was not only validated but shown to be far worse than she was alluding to. At least we let women wear shoes when not knocked up right?
Who Writes Comics
Comic books are sold to an audience of repressed sexual desires by people with repressed sexual desires (that is how they are sold, not how they are intended so don’t take that wrong). This is the only way to explain how most female characters are well endowed in the chest area, overtly “pretty” (in the mainstream sense of the word) and in most cases one of two personality types; mannish to the point of being a dyke or so girly they give a new definition to subservient. I left out some of the sub-types of those two but the main ones are the two I listed, there is also the overly sexed up character who uses her feminine ways as a weapon or there is the repression type that acts, dresses and “thinks” like a man. Now, there are ALWAYS exceptions to these but the bulk of female comics characters are made to appease a male audience and must therefore play into these stereotypes lest they be nothing more than the perpetual ‘damsel in distress’. That right there makes it hard for women working behind the scenes to be taken seriously as we see in the Asselin case, it did not matter that she was editor of Batman or that she worked for DC comics for years, all that mattered was she was a woman and that meant her thoughts meant less than a man to comic readers or at least to a portion of the comic audience. Even “strong” female characters tend to fall back onto male power stereotypes or (literally) play into their artist/writers sexual fantasies. Go and look up William Moulton Marston creator of Wonder Woman and you will find that those early stories were full of S&M thinly veiled in the stories and then find out that William Marston was an S&M fetishist and it all adds up doesn’t it? He was putting forth his fantasies to young boys under the guise of a character. Females are thought to have little to no impact on comics (behind the scenes) and yet this should come as no surprise that they do… and it’s a good thing they do, I can only imagine how much more misogynistic the field of comics would be if not for people such as Asselin.
Who Buys Comics?
Comics are (by and large) a medium that crosses all racial, economic, social and gender boundaries and yet at a glance comics are a white male power fantasy and that is how the medium is seen even from within, for right or wrong. Comics are not just a guy thing where it is all about big titted beauties and male power fantasies anymore and for honest criticism to be attacked and even twisted into some kind of a vendetta against DC comics including adding a level of conspiracy to something where there is clearly not one (in fact it could be fairly argued that Comic Book Resources was part of a conspiracy to HELP DC comics in most cases as they rarely had a bad word to say about DC comics and were arguably an unofficial PR service for them). White males may be the most vocal and even the most visual segment of comics fandom but they are hardly it’s main progeny. Comic books are a channel for mental role playing be it fanciful power trips, homosexual release**, an escape to another world or just cool characters and good stories… no matter the reason you read comics there was always something for everyone in the field and that somehow is equated to white males. I don’t get this. Comics are a mechanism that knows no race, no sexual orientation, no gender boundaries and yet it got taken over and subverted by insecure white males as evidenced in the Asselin debacle. Those men were threatened by an honest critic and once they saw it was a woman they lashed out… because there is no way that a WOMAN could have valid claims right? There is zero chance that a FEMALE could know this field and know how it works (and does not work). There is a negative instance where a GIRL knows a damn thing about OUR comics right? Get over yourselves people, gays read comics, blacks read comics, Hispanics read comics, Asians read comics, whites read comics and yes, even WOMEN read comics (shock of all shocks). Get over this “women have no right to be part of comics” shit and look at that particular Teen Titans cover for what it is… bombastic, ugly and playing into the sexulaization of children. I hold no issues with DC publishing or endorsing this work, that is their right to do so, but to say that you are not allowed to criticize it reeks of something more, something wrong.
So, What’s the Issue?
Why is it such an intrusion to think that Janelle Asselin (being female) can make valid points backed up with factual information and the larger question is why do those valid and sustainable points threaten so much damage that rape was the answer? Maybe if a real man showed her some deep dicking she would think that using an underage character to sell sex was okay? A good hard vulva bruise might change the perspective problems and perhaps show that bitch that proportion means nothing when cool is on the line. Perhaps if Asselin had her pelvis broken and vagina torn asunder she would back the fuck off those obvious cohesion issues on that cover right? Teach that cunt some respect for a MAN’S comic right? Do you see just how asinine those rape threats come off once I spelled out the RAPE part of the rape threats? Threats of rape say more about the person making the threat than of the person receiving of the threat and what it says is “I am an insecure fruitcake lacking in social niceties and I have no capacity to endure that which I dislike lest I lash out in a vain attempt to sustain my flaccid penis as a method of showing my dominance with my overbearing mommy issues resulting in my lack of libido and having no sex appeal on top of my narcissism complex”. Something like that anyway. Rape is not a joke, nor something to be tossed around lightly and yet I know for a fact that rape threats would have never come up if Janelle Asselin had been male. That says that sexism (not to mention base chauvinism) not only exists but runs at a far deeper level that previously thought and yet, that said, I am not surprised at this, just shocked that it creeped out so fluidly and openly.
Next week I shall go into some of the other “IT’S MINE” fandoms and their arrogant leanings but for now this one on females in comics must suffice.
You can read all about the full assault on Janelle Asselin here if you are so inclined and I recommend you do so as it sheds so much light on an issue that seems to be getting worse and worse.
*To me the cover reeks of everything wrong with 90’s comics just done in 2014 for some reason… this cover is full of disproportionate characters that have no relation to the size of the objects that surround them, it’s the classic “pose” cover that has nothing to do with anything meaningful, it is full of sharp “Liefeld” style stilted art, the cover is a mish-mash of 6 different events that don’t coalesce in the least and it’s frankly an eyesore. Other than the colors popping this is an ugly cover that shows only the shallowness of it’s subject matter.