Monday, April 30, 2007

Cat grooming nightmares revealed!

-Here's a question related to yesterday's post. As almost all of you know, there's a dedicated community of bloggers who write about the portrayal of women in Marvel/DC comics. Though I think they're absolutely right and I greatly appreciate their efforts, this nevertheless seems like an exercise in frustration. Reading these various blogs, I'm under the impression that many feminist bloggers are still reading books which portray women in a sexist or even misogynistic light. I'm not suggesting that these bloggers take the advice of fanboy apologists ("if you don't like it, just don't read it and shut up"), because I think it's enormously helpful that someone is confronting Marvel and DC with these issues. Still I wonder, what exactly keeps you going? Why not write off these books and move on? Are you following them in a journalistic way, keeping up with them in order to monitor the portrayal of female characters? Is it an attachment to the superhero genre? To these particular characters? Do you enjoy other aspects of these series enough that, on balance, you'd prefer to keep reading them despite their problems? What books have pushed you to quit buying them or following them online via spoilers or, uh, whatever means available?

-And here's a question for everybody. Which is more egregiously sexist and/or misogynistic: "mainstream" comics art or "mainstream" comics writing?

-Johanna Draper Carlson calls Robert Kirkman's writing "pedestrian and perfunctory." Is "perfunctory" really the right word there, or did Carlson just like the alliteration? It's an odd choice; if forced to use it to describe mainstream comics writing, I would probably choose Warren Ellis' superhero work at Marvel or Chris Claremont's entire body of work since the second Reagan administration.

-What the fuck is "concern trolling?" Also, are people (read: men) really trying to woo other (female) bloggers somehow? Wouldn't that be kind of expensive in terms of airfare? Or is there a whole cross-country internet-enabled hookup scene I'm too old to know about?

-The design on these upcoming Vertical releases are incredible. I certainly hope there's a market for non-Tezuka classic manga. I guess Drifting Classroom is doing pretty well, though Museum of Terror really hasn't. Reprints certainly seem to be doing well at Fantagraphics, IDW, and D&Q. Hopefully Vertical or other publishers will take a chance on releasing some vintage material from names less familiar to American readers.

-I've been there, sadly. Except it wasn't grass, but hair.

-Greg Rucka likes the Tomb Raider games, or at least one of them. He also praises the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic games, which really are pretty swell. But still...Tomb Raider?


Steven said...

I believe "concern trolling" is when someone posts a comment that pities the poster for being so a) dumb b) wrong, c) homosexual.

Such as "It's a real shame you can't be more civil when discussing 'Gay Rape Comics.' Your shrill tone really hides your point, just something to keep in mind. Nevertheless, I'll pray for you that you see the light and give up the gay".

Something like that.

TonPo said...

- Mainstream comics art is far more sexist than mainstream comics writing. I don't believe that anyone who is writing a mainstream comic book is trying to defame their female characters on purpose. And while I doubt that is really the goal of a mainstream comic book artist, at least the writers will either tend to participate in a dialog about whatever issues someone may have with their book, or simply ignore it. The response of most mainstream comic book artists, and their undying legions of fans, tends to range from "Shut up you stupid bitch!" to "Shut up you stupid whore!"

- Kirkman's writing (while I do enjoy it on occassion) can be seen as perfunctory in relation to other Super Hero comics. Warren Ellis' Marvel work and post-Reagan Claremont is just perfunctory compared to anything. Kirkman's entire scope of influence is super hero comics. It's all he knows, and all he can draw from. So when he fails, he fails in the context of super hero comics. But because Ellis & Claremont are arguably more encompassing, they fail on a much grander scale.

Dick Hyacinth's Ghost said...

Okay, I can see why Mr. Wright would have a problem with concern trolling. Sounds pretty annoying.

I still think "perfunctory" is just a strange choice in words. Also, I should have said "second term of the Reagan administration." What exactly are Claremont's non-comics influences, anyway? I would assume action movies, particularly Westerns.

Anonymous said...

Steven, that's not correct. Concern trolling is when someone pretends to be on your side but offers "support" with nonsense or stupidity. This is particularly a problem on political blogs. A concern troll on a leans-Democratic blog would say, "Like you, I'm voting for Hillary, but I think that Giuliani can't be beaten, so let's give up now!"

Dick Hyacinth's Ghost said...

Wikipedia supports Anonymous' definition, for what it's worth. This actually leaves me a little confused, as I'm not sure I've run across it too much re: comics. Maybe I'm too slow to assume ulterior motives. Maybe because I can't imagine someone making the effort to hide their true feelings on a matter as trivial as Marvel vs. DC (which I assume is what Wright is getting at). Seems like message board grade trolling.

Anyway, it's a somewhat confusing and potentially misleading term. Also a bit shrill. Frankly, I'd prefer it to remain obscure in the comics blogotorium.

Unknown said...

Though I don't blog much about feminist issues in comics, and I can speak only for myself (and then only occasionally), I follow superhero comics because I love the genre.

Even when the art (which I find to be far more sexist than the writing these days) breaks my heart.

Ami Angelwings said...

Ppl who defend me or support me, seem to get accused of trying to get into bed with me :\

Like... since I'm a girl, and they're a guy, therefore the ONLY reason they could see validity in my writing is b/c they want me :|

That's an insult to both of us XD

I tend to drop books that get rly rly bad, but I'll give them a chance to get better before I drop them. :) Of course I can afford to I guess? XD Some ppl can't :(

I still read tho b/c I like superheroes. :) Superheroes mean a lot to many ppl b/c we all want to be superheroes, we want to be strong and powerful and brave. We want to believe that given the chance that we too can be heroes :)

But I also want them to be good :) And have female characters that are seen from the female gaze, b/c after all, it is our superhero fantasy too, not just men's :)

Nenena said...

Are you following them in a journalistic way, keeping up with them in order to monitor the portrayal of female characters? Is it an attachment to the superhero genre? To these particular characters? Do you enjoy other aspects of these series enough that, on balance, you'd prefer to keep reading them despite their problems?

Speaking solely for myself and not for anyone else: Yes to all of the above. I think you really hit the multiple nails on their heads. ;)

And even if I didn't enjoy comics, I can't just write them off and move on. Sexism is always worth responding to. Just "leaving" comics to be sexist is like giving into the "Misogyny is okay as long as its marketed to boys!" camp. Misogynistic and/or sexist comics are inherently harmful to the people who do read them, regardless of the reader's gender. So yeah, I think that it's always something worth responding to.

goldberry83 said...

My understanding of 'concern trolling' has always been that it's a way to distract people from the issue at hand. For instance, I say "Gee, I'm rather bothered by the sexism in comics". The concern troll replies "OMGWTFBBQ - if you're a feminist, how can you be caring about comics when there are women dying in Afghanistan!" They pretend to be worried about some major issue, and tell you how shallow/stupid/not-really-X you are for worrying about anything else.

Anonymous said...

Wait- doesn't this make Dorian the biggest concern troll in the blogosphere, then?

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