A fan’s response to DC’s post: “Reasons we’re addicted to our super-heroines.”
The guy who writes the DC blog, Kevin Mahadeo, should be removed from his position until he is given much better PR training. Yes, I said that and I mean it. He is without question one of the most patronizing, nasty people they could possibly have representing the company.
Look, the bottom line is that you don’t market a product by patronizing people and treating them like they are idiots and that is consistently the kind of behavior that takes place whenever Mahadeo creates content for the blog. It’s absolutely terrible PR.
This “5.2 reasons we love our Superheroines” list was just another list in a long line of really bad PR for the company. It came across incredibly patronizing and was done very, very poorly.
Seriously? Wonder Woman “still looks good” for her age? Really? Who is handling the PR message for this brand? That is male gaze as shit. That is not the way you start off a celebration of your first female superhero. Would you EVER start off a conversation about Batman by talking about his appearance? No. You wouldn’t.
Then, you talk about how DC has so many “famous women in pop culture” and you specifically create a tab to talk about women who don’t headline their own books but exist in supporting roles that still make a difference and you don’t even mention Lois Lane? Are you kidding me?
Look, it’s no secret that DC Comics would really like for people to forget that Lois Lane exists right now. That’s not new nor a secret. They don’t want focus or spotlight on her in any capacity. It’s no secret (because even people behind the scenes have been open about it) that they’ve been told to minimize her. This is public knowledge and a well known point of contention not just among fans but among the creative team at the company right now. Yes, Didio…people are talking at cons. We all KNOW what you are doing to Lois and that surprise surprise…not everyone at the company agrees with it or likes it.
But if you create a list celebrating the most “famous DC women of pop culture” and then you fail to even acknowledge Lois Lane’s existance…you aren’t sticking it to anyone, DC. You just look like assholes. Like it or not, next to Wonder Woman, Lois Lane is the most famous woman in your company. She’s starred in more media properties than any other female character that you own and..oh yeah…she’s the female lead in a BILLION DOLLAR FRANCHISE that is going to hit movie theaters in a few months time played by a soon to be 4-time Academy Award Nominated actress that the public absolutely adores.
There is you guys just being petty and then there is actual stupidity. You guys aren’t looking cool here, you are looking like assholes who don’t have a sense of how to run a business nor handle PR in any acceptable capacity.
Seriously, DC. Try harder.
I skipped reading this post by DC when it went up, because I couldn’t figure out why I should care overmuch what a DC’s PR person (rather than an actual creator) thinks about their female characters. This takedown is incredible.
Could the DC Editorial Department be petty enough to erase a character - going so far as to change the art in an already-published book - simply because a woman dressed as and ultimately identified with that character publicly challenged them? Would they really ban their writers and artists from making any reference to the character whatsoever, even in out-of-continuity titles like Smallville and Li’l Gotham? Is it possible that they don’t want focus on a character that has become a feminist icon among comic fans and a symbol of much of what is wrong with DC? Could they really be actively trying to drive away the most vocal of their female fans?
Even before SDCC 2011, Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain had become focal points for rallying female comics readers, Stephanie after her brutal death in the War Games story arc and Cassandra after she was drugged and manipulated into being a killer in a ridiculously out of character storyline. But ever since DC publicly stated that “We Hear You”, it’s felt to me like Stephanie has represented more than just herself. It feels like she represents so many other girls and women who never get the chance to shine in superhero comics, either on the page, or as the one penning it. It feels like it’s not just about her anymore.
It’s interesting, isn’t it, that DC sees female characters as so uniform, and a creator’s vision so unimportant, that they feel that dictating a huge change like the replacement of one character with another at the last minute won’t impact the quality of the story or art significantly enough to matter to readers? If Miller had written Dick Grayson into the book, then been told that he had to change the character to someone else and chosen Jason Todd or Tim Drake to replace him, it’s patently obvious that this would have had an enormous impact on the story he was attempting to tell. Not only would the art have been off - Dick, Tim and Jason look similar, but are certainly not identical - but the dialogue and underlying story would have to be fundamentally altered to accommodate editorial’s unreasonable demand for the last-minute change. But apparently DC’s editorial staff doesn’t consider its female characters as being independent or individual enough to warrant concerns about such things as authorial vision or the quality of the work the company is producing.
Just a snippet of a really excellent piece musing as to why two former Batgirls have been aggressively erased (more details in the article, but the short and sweet is numerous creators have wanted to use these characters and told that no use or mention of them was to be made) from the DCU. I highly recommend the rest: We Hear You - So Shut Up Already by kyrax2
While I will grant that a lot of people who are vocal about this issue probably have Stephanie Brown’s more recent tenure as Batgirl fresh in their minds, and that many may never have read Cassandra Cain’s Batgirl series, it does concern me that Cass is so often tacked on as an afterthought in these conversations.
Although Cass was sorta-kinda terribly redeemed in the horribly-written Adam Beechen mini-series that came out in 2008/2009, she didn’t get the same kind of happy redemption from a writer who actually liked and enjoyed her, the way Steph did with Bryan Q. Miller. Cass got a few guest-spots and a new costume towards the end of the pre-52 DCU.
But I suspect that DC’s overall mistreatment of Cassandra Cain’s character (everything from turning her evil to her insistent absence from the New 52), is a product of that nasty combination of both sexism *AND* racism. And that’s something that we don’t seem to talk about as often.
I became a fan of Stephanie Brown after hearing about Project Girl Wonder and after my friend Nev infected me with her incredibly knowledgeable enthusiasm for the character. But to be honest, when Steph returned from the dead (however silly the excuse for that was), and then had a wonderful ongoing series as Batgirl, I felt like Stephanie Brown had been fully redeemed and de-fridged.
I don’t think DC ever gave Cass a real chance at that.
I don’t want to, like, *shame* anyone into caring about Stephanie Brown less, but come on. Cassandra Cain deserves more respect and advocacy than to be a constant last-minute addition when discussing Steph. Cass had 73 issues of her ongoing series (and several mini-series), which was the first DC solo series to star a WoC. Not to mention that she is the actual best comic book character ever. Show a bit more respect, people.
“DC had writers pitch ideas for relaunched series while others, writing books at that very moment, were kept in the dark, unaware until the last moment that their books were going to be cancelled and their services dismissed. They lied to readers too, perhaps in fear of a mass exodus away from books that were about to be invalidated anyway. Just look at the comics published in the months leading up to the New 52 announcement. How can Geoff Johns, an Architect of the New DC, have written Brightest Day, an event that set up story strands to be abandoned weeks later? And if he wasn’t in the know, at the time, how can DC say they made an informed decision re: the reboot, conducted research into what readers want to see, etc.? If it was well-prepared for, why did the new DC logo come out only months later? Even after the launch, we hear reports of DC Editorial not being honest or fair with its creators, meddling with their work, requiring last minute changes, etc. I don’t put a lot of stock in Liefeld’s comments given his diatribe on Twitter, but I’m more inclined to believe George Perez who had a similar experience.”
“Instead, Holy Terror appears to be nothing other than an unconditionally Islamophobic rant against the Muslim religion itself, and yet that’s a platform which Miller himself has failed to publicly address at all beyond the graphic novel’s pages..”
I’ve only recently read Colin Smith’s analysis of Holy Terror but I still need to share this with you all.
Over the last few months concerns around women and comics, particularly comics from the big two have been getting industry attention.
For years people and sites like When Fan Girls attack, founded by Kalinara and Ragnell and run later Maddy and Caitlin, GirlWonder.Org, Sequential Tart, and others…
During the lead up to the relaunch of Wonder Woman, there were suggestions that the Wonder Woman origin might be revised and the story of her a fatherless child being formed out of clay by Hippolyta and brought to life by the Gods would be tossed. And it has been. DC announced this morning that…
Wow…I really don’t like this. At all.
You know, I’ve actually been trying to really hard lately to become a bigger fan of Wonder Woman.
What I mean by that is that Diana has often been a character that I’ve liked and admired and enjoyed but she’s never been my favorite woman in the DCU.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t think she’s amazing. I do think she’s amazing and I truly admire everything she stands for. I love the entire concept of the character and I think she is utterly gorgeous and worthy of praise. However, I have to be honest that she’s never been a character that I felt as strong an emotional connection with as some other females in the DCU.
My favorite issue of Wonder Woman is bar none the “Day in the Life” issue when she spent the day with Lois Lane. That was actually the issue that made me fall in love with Wonder Woman and want to know more about her. That was the issue that got me interested in Wonder Woman comics. It was a rare issue where two women were written with strength and dignity together bringing out the absolute best in each other in unique ways. That was the issue that helped me fall in love with Diana and everything she stood for.
I’ve never felt as connected to Diana as I do to Barbara Gordon, Lois Lane, Selina and even Helena Bertinelli and the relationships in Birds of Prey.
On the one hand, I guess it’s good to see that maybe DC has reached a point where they are truly taking the time to market Diana and to present her story to more readers. It’s good to see the company legitimately taking an interest in making Wonder Woman important. She deserves that. However, making a change like this to her origin story and inserting a father into the narrative just feels very, very wrong. I just don’t understand why this choice was made. I don’t want to comment on the quality of the writing itself because obviously it might be very well written. But why insert a father figure at this point? What does that bring to the narrative, particularly when one of the key pieces in Diana’s narrative was that she was this incredible woman—inspired by WOMEN—-who came to the world of MAN to bring peace and justice?
I’ve long said that one of my struggles with Diana is that it’s hard for me to feel like she has a clear story or clear supporting cast that makes up her world. I truly loved the relationship between Diana and Steve Trevor and then DC basically threw it in the trash. The reasoning for doing so was sexist as there was this idea that Diana was “above” love. Of course, this again comes back to the idea that there is this misconception that “strong” women cannot and should not fall in love with men. And that’s utterly ridiculous and sexist. Everything in Diana’s narrative seems to change so often and the fallback plan that DC Comics usually has for her is one that I find completely distasteful and offensive. I legitimately loathe the concept of trying to put Diana in a relationship with either Clark or Bruce as if either one of them are the only ones strong enough to “handle” her. Honestly, that entire idea should be killed in a fire. I think it actually hurts every character in the narrative by completely undercutting that which is so magical and special about each character and what their motivation is for living and fighting (and downgrades other important female characters like Lois and Selina in the process). As a woman, I never feel like I should have to choose between all the incredible women that DC Comics has to offer and everything that they stand for. And when Diana is inserted into Clark or Bruce’s narratives as a love interest in that way—-that’s basically what I’m being ask to do—most of the time by other men. That continues to perpetuate the idea that there is only room for a few select women in these narratives and that women are replaceable in these narratives as opposed to holding important, unique roles of value in the narratives that cannot and should not be treated as trivial. Which…you know…just no. Forget it. That will never fly with me.
For me, the best possible thing that could happen would be for DC Comics to legitimately start treating Diana like the power player that she is. To truly put as much effort into her origin story and her entire worldview and the world she lives in as they do with their other male characters.
Because, I truly do like Diana. In fact, I love her. I think she’s an incredible character. But I want to love her more. I want to be completely engrossed in her backstory and her family and her relationships within that family. One of the things that drew me to the character was the relationship with her mother. I’m just not sure I understand how bringing Zeus into this story as her father doesn’t undercut Diana’s narrative in various ways.
It gives me an uneasy feeling that DC is going to try and create a conflict with Diana and her father thereby tying many of Diana’s emotional motivations into the fact that she has some kind of “Daddy issue.” Which just….no. Please no. You know, I don’t have a problem with Lois Lane’s motivations being influenced by General Sam Lane. That’s been part of the character’s history for a long time now and Lois’s relationship to her father and the way she equates duty with love due to her relationship with her father has become sort of an essential piece to the character over the last 25 years and various successful media adapatations. But why do we now have to take Diana and change her origin story so that she is also fighting back against a father figure in some way? I just don’t get it.
I’m currently in a slightly cranky, sleep-deprived, analytical sort of mood so I’m not sure whether that’s carrying into my thoughts on Wonder Woman’s origin. But I thought about it, and I really do have a gut “NONONONONO” reaction to this and I think I might be figuring out why. Though my knowledge of Diana is still slightly hazy, so forgive me if I get something wrong haha.
…I don’t have a tremendous issue with the idea of Wonder Woman having a father. A regular human man, by whatever standards of the time he helps conceive her. Not a god, not the most famous hero ever. I think men and women have equal merit in society, and by equal I mean equal. Not men better than women. Not women better than men. I’d love to see how an Amazonian woman separate from the world of men might come to respect or even love (in some way) a dude. I’m curious what personal qualities a guy like that would need to have, I’m curious about how that connection might affect Diana’s role in relation to other Amazonians and how she looks to the world. I don’t mind her having a strong mother and father figure. I don’t think men or fathers are inherently bad for Wonder Woman.
I do, however, have an enormous issue with her father being Zeus. Being a daughter of Zeus suddenly attributes Wonder Woman’s specialness, her power, her difference to being the daughter of a really special, powerful, unique guy rather than what or who she is in and of herself. I think it undermines her individual strength and her training. It’s like suddenly saying that Bruce Wayne’s wealth, the death of his parents, and being raised by someone as awesome as Alfred aren’t enough to forge Batman—he needs to be the son of a famous superhero/villain too.
And I do think there are some unpleasant implications that a woman can’t have power unless a dude gives it to her in some way.
Just not very enthused about this choice.
“ …I don’t have a tremendous issue with the idea of Wonder Woman having a father. A regular human man, by whatever standards of the time he helps conceive her. Not a god, not the most famous hero ever.”
You know, I realized now that I probably didn’t make this at all clear in my original post but I agree with you. I don’t have a problem with her having a father figure either. I think it’s unfortunate to change her origin story at this point in time because it adds more confusion to the narrative. But I don’t actually have a problem with her having a father figure. I should have clarified that. My issue is with Zeus as her father and the implication that she is now going to be some kind of “defiant daugther” character.
“I think men and women have equal merit in society, and by equal I mean equal. Not men better than women. Not women better than men. I’d love to see how an Amazonian woman separate from the world of men might come to respect or even love (in some way) a dude. I’m curious what personal qualities a guy like that would need to have, I’m curious about how that connection might affect Diana’s role in relation to other Amazonians and how she looks to the world. I don’t mind her having a strong mother and father figure. I don’t think men or fathers are inherently bad for Wonder Woman.”
I agree completely. This part of the reason why I strongly reject this idea that seems to be out there that strong women have to be portrayed as “not tied down to a man” (as Grant Morrison has suggested) because I think that is intensely offensive and sexist. I actually think it’s very dangerous to teach women that the only way to be strong is to reject men and to not value the power in making the CHOICE to be someone’s lover or spouse. I don’t think we should ever teach women that they are more feminist if they “aren’t tied down to a man.” I think strength is strength. Power if power. Suggesting that women can’t have close and loving relationships with men—whether it be fathers or husbands or whatever—-and still be kickass and strong is frankly very offensive to me.
I agree with you that it might be interesting to see what kind of man an Amazon might find attractive and I agree that the idea of it being a human is very interesting and powerful. It’s particularly interesting because Diana brings peace to the world of MAN…and I always think it’s a truly positive thing when she connects to the goodness of humanity in that way as it strengthens her mission and helps make her relatable.
“Being a daughter of Zeus suddenly attributes Wonder Woman’s specialness, her power, her difference to being the daughter of a really special, powerful, unique guy rather than what or who she is in and of herself. I think it undermines her individual strength and her training. It’s like suddenly saying that Bruce Wayne’s wealth, the death of his parents, and being raised by someone as awesome as Alfred aren’t enough to forge Batman—he needs to be the son of a famous superhero/villain too.”
Yes, I agree completely. I don’t like the idea that now the sheer strength of Diana’s power can be traced to someone as powerful as Zeus. To be honest though, I think DC Comics has already made choices with Superman that undercut his entire motivation as a hero so I wouldn’t be shocked if they did it Wonder Woman too.
I know you are new to Superman. But honestly, the entire concept of Action Comics is deeply offensive to me. Killing of Jonathan and Martha Kent took something very special about Superman’s origin story and threw it in the trash. What made Clark unique was that he didn’t become a hero because someone DIED. He became a hero because he was nurtured and loved by two very humble, kind people who taught him how to LIVE. The new violent Superman might seem “cooler” to some of the fanboys but I think it has literally ruined Superman. The choice to kill off Martha Kent also removed a very influential female figure in Clark’s narrative in ways that make me uncomfortable. By having Clark’s cape be a “security blanket” from Krypton as opposed to the suit that his mother made for him out of love basically erases Martha’s role in Clark’s rise to heroism in ways that really make me uncomfortable and sad.
Anyway, my point with that is…I think DC has already made some choices with origin stories that have severely undercut a the role of the MOTHER in the narrative in ways that make me really sad and uncomfortable.
The addition of a powerful figure like Zeus to Diana’s origins makes me really uneasy. As you said, adding a human father figure would be a different story. But this seems like a deliberate choice to bring a famous and overly powerful male figure into Diana’s story and place Diana in the “defiant” daughter role. I just don’t like it at all.
I dislike so much about the new52. I dislike how all of the characters’ relationships with other female characters have been undermined or completely erased.
I dislike that Clark and Lois are not together, are adversarial in a negative way, that Lois would be referred to as a “trophy wife,” that Clarks’ most important relationships are now with other male superheros , his family (his mom, Lois) are no longer there.
I dislike how the relationship between Batman and Catwoman has changed, she does not even know who he is anymore. The whole thing with Oracle no longer being Oracle…the whole ‘batfamily’ dynamics have changed to an intense focus on the male characters, Stephanie and Cassandra are not important in these narratives.
I dislike how Wonder Woman, who was all about female relationships and friendships and family and how those relationships are just as as important as relationships with men, is now just going to be another character with ‘daddy issues’ which was NEVER part of her story. The relationship between Diana and her mom, and Diana and Athena….I am certain they will be sidelined.
…the new 52 is like the dude-bro version of DC, which i knew was coming, because so much about the reboot is this intense 90s nostalgia (Rob Liefeld? really, DC?), and seems to be a reimagining of Image comics through the DCU, and i am not a fan of this nostalgia for the days when “Men were superheroes and main characters and women were supporting characters, whose stories are ALWAYS secondary to the mens’ stories.’
….I read comics in the 90s. I read DC, Vertigo, Marvel and I NEVER BOUGHT A SINGLE IMAGE ISSUE even when it was the 90s, I certainly am not starting now.
GO READ THIS.
YES GO READ THAT
“”I suppose my basic feelings about the comic industry as it stands are that I just hope its final death rattle isn’t too humiliating or too desperate, because it’s deserved. If the industry is incapable of coming up with new ideas and a future that it can evolve into, then it really doesn’t deserve to survive.”-Alan Moore
gahhh new 52. it seems like the new 52 is determined to be as GENERIC as possible.
Harley Quinn has a neat costume that reflects her personality and back story. GET RID OF IT, make her generic looking! Amanda Waller had presence and NO SHE NEEDS TO BE CONVENTIONALLY PRETTY AND SLENDER…..and the whole Oracle thing. NO MAKE HER BATGIRL AGAIN because we don’t have two very popular options for Batgirl, and who needs a character like Oracle anyway GET RID OF HER.
DC you VEX me, I am VEXED. i want to like your characters, and give you my money, you MAKE IT SO DIFFICULT.
Via CBR. Jaime Reyes is back. Nice. And Bedard is writing.