Where My Girls At? NYCC, Actually

This past weekend, I attended New York Comic Con. I’ve been attending NYCC since it started in 2006 in fact, it was my first and so far only comic con and over the years I’ve noticed some changes. Now, bear in mind this is all anecdotal I don’t have official attendance stats or anything like that.
But the line for the ladies’ room was definitely longer this year.
Back in 2006 I was relatively new to comics. I’d certainly never been to anything like NYCC before (which, itself, was a smallish con, sharing the convention center with two other very confused conferences). I don’t remember seeing a lot of women there, but I do remember at least one: a really fantastic Phoenix cosplayer, who looked like she’d stepped out of the pages of the comics. And I remember seeing guys following her around not with her, not talking to her, just…staring. Creepily. And thinking to myself, ‘I will never cosplay.’
This was my fifth NYCC (there was none in 2009), and a lot has changed. The con has expanded, taking up the whole of the Javits Center for four days (well, along with New York Anime Festival, which partners with NYCC). I buy my tickets in advance now because they usually sell out, and I go for the whole weekend instead of just one day. I say hi to creators who recognize me from previous years or from Twitter. Instead of feeling shy and alone and out of my depth, I feel like I’m with my people. (One of the highlights of the con for me was getting into an increasingly-loud conversation with a complete stranger about our mutual outrage over the fate of Wally West. Where else can you find someone to shriek, ‘BUT BARRY’S DEATH WAS PERFECT!’ with you?)
And I see women everywhere: Behind tables in Artist’s Alley. Selling comics-themed jewelry and shirts. Waiting in line to meet the biggest and/or grittiest names in the industry. Wrangling passels of kids dressed as Spider-Man and Supergirl. And yes, cosplaying everything from Phoenix to Yvonne Craig’s Batgirl to Stephanie Brown’s Batgirl to gender-bent Dr. Who and Static Shock to Rainbow Brite. Heck, I even saw one woman dressed as the famous ‘Clean all the things!’ panel from Hyperbole and a Half, complete with scrub brush and word balloon. And yeah, I’ve cosplayed myself the past couple of years, and it’s been much more awesome and less creepy than my initial impressions led me to believe. I’m sure there are still creepers out there, but everyone who asked me for a picture was polite and respectful. (It might have helped that I was dressed as Guy Gardner this year. You don’t want to piss off Guy Gardner.)
Look, every time someone points out sexism in a comic book or in the industry, there’s at least one naysayer arguing that women don’t read/get/love/want/deserve superhero comics, so why bother? But big public events show that things are changing. I wasn’t at the Batman panel where DC ‘didn’t have room’ for one of their few female creators, but I was at the Womanthology panel, where the line doubled over five times and not everyone got in. I was at the Disney/Marvel Kids panel, and when I asked why Disney and Marvel hadn’t put out any books about female superheroes yet, because I was pretty sure the young girls in the room with me wanted heroes too, the rest of the audience applauded: mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters. I talked to a man whose six-year-old girl loves comics so much she’s already bagging and boarding and organizing them. I rode the bus back home with six girls in matching costumes who didn’t care about the strange looks they were getting, because they were having an awesome con.
We won’t have the gender breakdown for NYCC for a few weeks, but we do know that women made up 40% of this year’s San Diego Comic Con attendance, and I’m eager to see how NYCC compares. I’ve always said that the only events I go to where the line for the ladies’ room is shorter than the line for the men’s room are baseball games and comic cons. It looks like I’m going to have to stop saying that, and frankly I couldn’t be happier. If it means women are publicly showing their love of comics and having a damn good time doing it I’m willing to hold it for an extra five minutes.
Just no one talk about Aquaman until I’m done, okay?

Your Weekly Link Allocation, Citizen

-How DC’s previews reveal their priorities.
-An interview with the now-infamous Batgirl of SDCC, who made it her mission to ask important and uncomfortable questions of DC Comics.
-The good and the bad from the SDCC ‘Oh, You Sexy Geek!’ panel.
-Female creators are having to go to extreme lengths to get a writing gig at DC these days…
-Answering Dan DiDio.
-Not only has DC’s relaunch taken their female-creator percentage from 12% to 1%, approaching the percentage of female Popes, there are even fewer female characters Straitened Circumstances has the stats.
-On Amy Winehouse and double standards.
-And finally, the joys of cosplay.

Standard-Issue Links with Standard-Issue Lateness

First up, an apology last week’s linkpost incorrectly attributed a blog post by S.E. Smith to their blogmate Sady Doyle. It’s been corrected, and I’m sorry for the error.
Second up, a plug Girl Wonder tumblr No More Invisible Girls is looking for self-identifying female comics fans to tell us their stories.
And finally, our links:
-Fantasy fans in particular may appreciate this tumblr of Women Fighters in Reasonable Armor. They’ll be adding sci-fi ones too soon.
-Hurricane Irene failed to dissuade many women from reading comics in public.
-Some great stuff at Sequential Tart lately, in particular this piece on the opportunity represented by the DC reboot and this Barbara Gordon retrospective.
-Speaking of my personal favourite member of the Bat-Family, the New York Post has previews of BATGIRL #1!

Yes, Actually, I Do

By now the company-wide relaunch of all of DC’s titles shouldn’t be news to anyone in comics fandom, nor should the fact that with the reshuffling around of talent, DC has gone from women making up 12% of their credited creators to 1%. This has, understandably, raised a lot of concerns with fans, several of whom male and female broached those concerns at last week’s San Diego Comic Con, where they were met with deflection, jokes from male creators, and a bewildering amount of hostility from Co-Publisher Dan DiDio, who demanded to know who they should have hired.
And here’s the thing: several popular female creators were approached to take part in the relaunch, like Kelly Sue DeConnick, Marjorie M. Liu, and Rebekah Isaacs. Probably more were approached or submitted pitches that we haven’t heard about. Maybe a lot more. So yeah, I don’t entirely blame DiDio for being frustrated, if he tried to get female talent, was unable to for various reasons, and is now being taken to task for it.
But 2 women to 105 men is a pretty hefty imbalance. And I doubt 103 women were approached and turned DC down.
I’ve been reading a lot about this and the comment I keep seeing is ‘What do you want, a quota?’ People critiquing the hiring decisions are quick to deny that they want a quota and instead offer lists of female writers and artists they’d like to see in the relaunch: ‘No, I don’t want a quota, but how about Amanda Conner?’
I’ll say it: I want a quota.
This is not to say that I want DC to grab the first ten women who walk by the office and give them jobs writing and drawing comics. And I’m aware that DC doesn’t hire people who haven’t already established themselves in some way, and with good reason. Top publishers don’t take unsolicited talent. (Despite Grant Morrison’s implication that you can simply ‘send in your stuff’ to DC and be considered.)
I’m also aware that there are far more men working in the comic book industry than women. And I would assume that there are more men trying to break into the comic book industry than women, though of course it’s nearly impossible to know the stats on that. So if there’s one writing job and 9 out of 10 of the people gunning for it are male, odds are it’s going to go to a dude.
But it’s a self-perpetuating cycle. The reason there are more men trying to break into comics is because comics are still perceived as being Not For Girls. Because the industry is already male-dominated. Because the comics are mostly about (straight, white, cisgendered, able-bodied) men. Because the industry markets itself to men. So women consume manga and independent comics and webcomics, and the superhero comic book industry ignores that audience and its potential revenue.
That doesn’t mean that there aren’t women trying to break into superhero comics. It just means that there are fewer women trying to break into superhero comics, because they’ve been told so often by the marketing tactics, by the covers, by the stories from the industry, by being mocked and dismissed at conventions that superhero comics are Not For Girls.
But as Laura Hudson points out beautifully, a more diverse stable of creators leads to better comics. Plus, simply by appealing to women who, you know, make up half of the world DC has the opportunity to nearly double their revenue. Twice as much money! Who doesn’t want that?
If DC wants to rectify their skewed gender ratio even a little, they need to start by mining that small pool of aspiring women more heavily than the larger pool of male creators. Again, I’m not saying DC should hire women at random or compromise their standards. But here’s a thought: why not open up a month-long call for submissions from female writers and artists who’d like to break into the industry but haven’t quite gotten there yet? Female artists can send in portfolios; female writers, pitches and scripts. Sure, you’ll have to wade through a lot of dross, but that’s what interns are for!
I’m not suggesting putting an untried artist on Detective Comics right off the (forgive me) bat. Just let her get her foot in the door. Hire female artists as inkers as a stepping stone to them becoming pencillers. Give female writers one-shots and miniseries as trial runs, or backup strips. Give women who don’t necessarily write or draw in the house style a chance, as Marvel did with Girl Comics.
And if you do that, if you open that door for women and tell them that you want to see what they can do and if you look at what they can do in good faith, with the intention of finding creators to hire among them you can easily bump that 1% up to 5%. Or 10%. Would I love to see 50% of the creative credits on DC’s titles taken by women? Of course. But even 10%, aggressively sought after, would make a difference to the market, and be an enormous show of goodwill to fans everywhere who are concerned about the current gender ratio.
Dan DiDio was asked if DC was committed to hiring more women. He didn’t exactly answer the question (‘I’m committed to hiring the absolute best writers and artists.’), but if the answer is yes, then they should show that commitment by actually hiring more women.
And if the answer is no, then they should say so, and we can all stop wasting our time.

Link Sandwiches

A slow week for links here at Gworg HQ. Here’s what we’ve got:
-Racialicious asks Are DC’s POC Titles Already in Danger?
-Clearly what DC needs is Strong Female Characters. And Kate Beaton provides, like whoa. See also all the fanart.
-And some interesting thoughts on marriage in comics from Sequential Tart.

Double Decker Linkspam

Girl Wonder apologises for the lack of a link roundup last week, due to ‘human error’, which I think is the standard term for ‘I fucked up’. To make up for it, here’s a bumper crop of links:
-Friends of Lulu is officially finished as a group. Here’s an enlightening interview with interim director Kynn Bartlett about what went wrong.
-How much has changed in the past ten years?
-An oldie but a goodie: Privilege 101.
-Richard Dawkins: just not getting it.
-The problem with publishing explained via dogs and Smurfs.
-The Dwayne McDuffie tribute Comic-Con International wouldn’t print.
-got sexism?
-Shortpacked on the DC Reboot.
-From the horse’s mouth: Spoiler was set up to die from the start. (also featuring our own Karen Healey!)

One More Insult

It’s this week’s links, and the big story is DC’s explicit confirmation that the ‘target audience’ for their giant relaunch is ‘men age 18 to 34″. You’ll hear much more from Girl Wonder on this we are still co-ordinating our response, but this is exactly the sort of problem we face in mainstream comics today. A round-up of good responses:
-thegeekifiedgirl drops some stats and backs them up with a solid argument.
-It’s interesting to look at which books CBR’s readers are actually interested in buying.
-… and Johanna at Comics Worth Reading’s personal take on the new titles from earlier this month also merit a read.
-Maid of Might highlights the fact that this relaunch (like most other relaunches?) was allegedly meant to bring in new readers rather than the same-old gradually shrinking group DC had been catering to for years. She and DC Women Kicking Ass both remember getting male friends and partners into comics.
More on this issue soon. In the mean-time, keep sending in your suggestions for links!

Getcher Hot Links

Prepare yourself for this week’s links:
-A Girls Read Comics roundtable on the DC Reboot, with some great discussion of what this means for DC’s alleged commitment to diversity (spoiler: they don’t seem that committed to diversity).
-… and via that link, this great video of Dwayne McDuffie talking about audience reactions to black writers and characters in the comics.
-A particularly illuminating example of the lengths comic artists feel they need to go to in order to put both T and A on the cover.

Return of the Revenge of the Bride of Gwog

Gwog rises once more from the deep! With our new Board in place, we are returning Gwog to its old status of a weekly roundup of Links Of Interest, with ad hoc guest posts by the mysterious Directors. If you have any links you want us to publicise, or anything else you’d like to contribute to Gwog, send it to us: submissions@girl-wonder.org. Our operators are waiting for your call.
This week’s links, first the comics-related:

  • Colin Smith’s detailed and engaging essay on FLASHPOINT #1.
  • More FLASHPOINT fail: DC should really consider how this shit looks.
  • Laura Hudson, Blair Butler, Heidi MacDonald and Jill Pantozzi form a roundtable on the ‘Geek Girl Phenomenon’.
    And the non-comics:
  • A pair of insightful posts by ginmar on rape culture and the myth of false rape accusations.
  • The reprehensible decision by the equally reprehensible New York Post to publicise an alleged rape victim’s alleged HIV+ status.
  • An Open Letter to Nice Guys of the World.

OUT/THERE no 3: On 2000ad late January/February 2011

By Colin Smith
This is my third guest column on the matter of how sex and gender is being represented in 2000ad, and it’s been by far the hardest to write. For after having written two pieces in a row bemoaning, with a gathering sense of disappointment and frustration, the comic book’s lack of apparent concern where the 51% of the population that’s female is concerned, I find the past five week’s worth of progs have brought nothing that even vaguely improves the situation.
After awhile, even the most optimistic reader is surely forced to concede that no matter how vital the matter of sex and gender is beyond of pages of Tharg’s weekly ‘award-winning SF anthology’, within its covers it’s usually of very little apparent importance at all. 2000ad, we might conclude, is a boy’s comic that’s mostly for ageing blokes who really aren’t concerned with any kind of social agenda beyond who hits who and with what.
And if wasn’t for the commercial shortsightedness of this, and for the limitations it places on the type of stories which can be told, and for the lack of artistic ambition it displays, and, most importantly, for the moral disengagement that it marks, why, who could be in the slightest bit concerned with much, if not of course all, of what’s been shown, and what’s not been shown, in 2000ad over the past three months?
There’s such a marked and consistent editorial and creative indifference as to what surely are seriously important ethical issues where the politics of sex and gender are concerned, that 2000ad’s moral inertia seems to quite defeat any meaningful attempt to want to debate with its pages and to hope for more inclusive fare ahead. Don’t notice it, put up with it, or just go away and give up, ‘Tharg the mighty, Alien Editor extraordinaire’, seems to be saying to anyone tired of this relentless apathy towards women within the comic’s pages, because I’m not changing and we’re not changing and you’re just waffling on, repeating yourself over and over and over again.
You’re no fun, implies the Mighty Tharg, so confident, so cocksure, and, to a degree, he may well be right. It’s certainly no fun writing this time after time.
Of course, female readers can certainly enjoy the adventures of male characters in largely male environments presenting what are mostly traditional male gender characteristics. And I’ve no doubt that 2000ad has hundreds of loyal female readers who find the relative lack of female characters and the regular absence of feminist-minded thinking in the comic book to be a negligible barrier to their entertainment. And yet, I wonder what a woman or a man who isn’t just concerned with reading about a male-centric view of the world new to 2000ad would think of what’s been presented to us in the pages of this month’s comics? In the 5 chapters of ‘Ampney Crucis’ from prog 1718 to 1722, for example, there was but one minor female character on show, who did nothing but cry, pray for her life and then, in hope of saving herself, gun down those around her in the hope of prolonging her existence. Yet of those men surrounding her, and for all their various virtues and weaknesses, not a tear is shown being shed, regardless of what side of the good/evil divide they fall upon. In essence, the blokes make this world, and the women weep and conform in order to find their place and perhaps save their lives.
The oddest thing about this is that the creators of this strip clearly aren’t thinking about what they’re presenting in terms of sex and gender. For it’s impossible to imagine how a more representative spread of men and women would have negatively affected the strip, and so it’s impossible to imagine why women should be so thin on the ground there, and so notably absent where the key roles are concerned. After all, it can’t be a question of the creators wanting to reflect the gender bias of the era that Crucis is set in, because if historical veracity was so important to them, they’d hardly be presenting us with a post World War One tale so full of demons and super-science in the first place.
Why is ‘Ampney Cruscis Investigates’ so thinly populated by anyone who isn’t a man then? Who wouldn’t want to produce stories that were as much about women as men? Who’d want to limit their work by limiting the options for the members of the cast that they can play with?
Who’d want to write about blokes and pretty much nothing but blokes, peppered with a few female whiners and victims and enablers, especially when their work will eventually be collected as a trade paperback and placed before the public as an example of a genre piece so unintentionally regressive that it makes even US TV franchise cop shows appear to stand as revolutionary texts in the gender wars by comparison?
Similarly, ‘Necrophim’ stars just one recognisably female figure amongst a cast of many, many tiresomely treacherous creatures. Why there’s just one female to be seen on that side of the curtain is never explained, but there lurks the awkward suspicion that she’s been intended as some kind of radical statement. After all, who’d place a single female character in a strip and not realise that that fact constituted a statement in itself anyway?
But what statement is it that’s being made in ‘Necrophim’ where women are concerned? Perhaps we’re being shown the other side of equality, in that women are just as capable of being dastardly as men? Perhaps. But then, the new Queen of Hell is so often defined with reference to her previous role as a ‘scabbed whore’, and presented as a coldly manipulative and calculating creature, which leaves the only woman in this strip feeling uncomfortably close to that old male stereotype of the woman with the icy heart who uses sex and deceit to attain power. And it’s impossible not to look at the panels of the newly enthroned Cythea at the tales end, and not believe that those poses have been lifted from porn magazines, which leaves everything feeling utterly confused and rather insulting.
There is, however, a terrible lurking sense that there may be an attempt at irony at play in ‘Shakara’. Given that it’s impossible to believe that anyone in 2011 would unthinkingly knowingly present us with Eva, the strip’s sometimes-narrator and sidekick, with her mutilated face mounted on an often-barely clothed porn-star’s body, is it possible that this is a joke aimed at comic book sexism? It’s a supposition that’s far more pleasing than the more obvious conclusion, which is that no one noticed what they were doing. For Eva, presented at the tale’s beginning as a violently able freedom fighter, is swiftly reduced to the role of sidekick to an obviously masculine super-warrior, and her most prominent role is to be so distractingly and devastatingly attractive that she can inspire alien males to assume she’s a prostitute. Yes, Eva’s major contribution this past month has been to distract utterly extra-terrestrial creatures with her huge breasts, waspish waist and massively shapely, if conspicuously scarred, thighs, the mere presence of which can trigger barely uncontrollable lust and the suggestion of illicit financial transactions. She possesses, it appears, the power of super-prostitution. Well, how fantastic that all that flesh can be so such a powerful sexual lure to quite unearthly creatures, and how grand that Eva’s role is to make the males of the galaxy so excited that they can’t concentrate on their jobs. She may be a rebel, she may be a scientist, she may be a warrior, but when it comes down to it, she contributes the most by crossing those extravagant legs and baring much of that even more extravagant chest. Flirting and semi-nudity is how this female protagonist serves the cause, and even as a gag, if such it is, it’s wearying and unpleasant.
Why do Eva and Cythea have to be presented as sex objects in the way that they are at all? Do female characters have to be presented as playing the role of prostitute or mythological sex demon, whether ironically or not? There are ways, after all, of presenting sexuality, and indeed a predatory sexuality, that don’t so apparently draw off of the specific repertoire of pornography, and the general one of casual sexism too. And if this is irony, what’s it’s being ironic about? Even when Eva is mostly clothed, those huge breasts remain mostly uncovered, and even in this future so distant that other recognisably human beings aren’t anywhere to be seen at all, it’s Eva whose compassionate eyes well with tears for Shakara’s welfare.
Why, if humanity hasn’t survived, its gender roles have.
But of all this month’s individual chapters, the most telling, if hardly the most offensive, might be ‘Kingdom’ Part 9. In it, we have one Gene, a humanoid mutant dog, as our lead character, a huge hulk-like creature who doesn’t really look like a dog at all, or indeed a human being. Strangely enough, Clara, the similarly-mutated female dog-person he’s been twinned with, does look human, and, with the exception of a rather mutedly canine nose, she’s quite the stereotypically fetching pseudo-human female too, with thin hips, taut abs, large breasts, and a cutely-unkempt blonde hair-style too. And to compliment her traditional physical gender characteristics, Clara brings with her the habit of being a plot-complicating hostage and, compared to Gene-Dog, something of whiner too. She may be a useful sidekick in a firefight, but let’s not pretend this is anything other than a slightly less objectionable variation on one of the traditional roles that women have usually played in boy’s comics, for, so far, she’s little if anything more than an excuse for Gene to feel angst-ridden and alpha-male aggressive.
But let’s put aside the fact that ‘Kingdom’ is an incredibly over-familiar, gender-insensitive and dull narrative. Instead, why don’t we consider how the last panel of ‘Kingdom’ in prog 1722 is, in the context of this run of issues, simply insensitive. In it, the General, the tale’s antagonist, declares to our hulking hero that he’s going to kill all of his canine prisoners, and states that he’s going to start with that ‘bitch’ of Gene’s. Now, the meaning of the phrase is no doubt meant to mark the General as a villain, but it serves in context as being yet another example of female characters such as Clara being insulted for, essentially, not being men. The word ‘bitch’ here does indeed help point out that the General is something of a monster, but does that point have to be established by using such language to insultingly describe yet another subsidiary female character who’s already spent weeks of our time being helpless and serving as an excuse for the male lead to get really, really, really desperate and angry? For if it were just one strip in any single issue of 2000ad which was struggling and failing to be kind and respectful in its gender politics, then the General might say anything at all. He is, after, the bad guy here. But when the likes of everything we’ve discussed above is also present in any particular week’s issue, that word ‘bitch’ passes in the wider context from being a symbol of villainy to yet an unnecessary example of creative and editorial cack-handedness.
Why does gender and sexuality have to be used as an insult at all where female characters are concerned? Male characters don’t seem to have any such problem across any span of strips you might care to mention in 2000ad. They’re never portrayed as having been rent-boys, demonic or not, or as turning alien heads by playing any such role. They’re never placed in strips which are nearly entirely populated by women, and treated as if their place is to get captured, undressed, or, at best, to support a big strong female hero. They’re never brainwashed into marrying and being raped by demi-alien monsters, as in ABC Warriors, or threatened with rape, as in Savage. Men are, well; they’re men, aren’t they, and the fact of simply being male isn’t of itself used even as a common basis for villain’s insults.
Now, perhaps next week will find us reading of how all this by-the-numbers sexism has been a cleverly-established, ironic set-up in the plot. Perhaps our female dog-soldier will emerge absolutely in charge of her own destiny, free of any need to rely on big Gene’s calmness and muscular arms, far more than just a hostage and sidekick.
But if so, it’ll come after more than three months of mostly-standard fare male-centrism in 2000ad, and two months of ‘Kingdom’ itself, and that’s too long a time for a strip which is consumed in weekly doses in the context of this so-often banally regressive comic book.
Ultimately, as we’ve discussed before, and as I promise not to prattle on about at any length here, this problem of sexism, unconscious although I’ve no doubt it is, is one that reflects particularly poorly on this comic book’s editorial office. Worse yet, it’s a policy of inattention that ends up reflecting unfairly on the comic book’s creators too. In a magazine where gender was more carefully and kindly attended to, the presence of a single strip such as ‘Judge Dredd: Served Cold’ could play out its course with its lack of female characters passing largely unnoticed. If 2000 ad wanted to present a male-heavy strip that’s both homage to Thirties gangster movies and CSI-like TV detective shows with no female leads on show, as in the latest Judge Dredd story, then why not? The fact that the machismo of a great deal of the characters on show in ‘Served Cold’ serves them particularly badly could even be read as a challenge to traditional constructions of the masculine hero. A strip that’s largely empty of female characters can still be, after all, a profoundly anti-sexist statement.
But in the end, ‘Judge Dredd: Served Cold’ is, when read in the company of its fellows, just another story where the antagonists and protagonists are nearly all male. Certainly, every major role in the story is occupied by men. Now, there might be a point to this, to women being reduced to one-panel displays of competency by female Judges and various brief cameos of women presented in one way or another as victims of a highly sexualised and sexist culture. But when that is what’s so often being presented elsewhere, any possibility for irony, again, collapses. There’s no space for subtly where sex and gender is concerned in 2000ad at the moment, if subtly if what the creators of ‘Served Cold’ are providing. And if ‘Served Cold’ is to a greater or lesser degree about how male mule-headedness creates and perpetuates mayhem, then its placement in February’s 2000ad has quite undermined its purpose.
If, on the other hand, it’s just a story of blokes shooting blokes, as it well might be, then why would anyone want to do that, in this time, in this climate, in this particular situation?
The creators and editorial staff involved in these past 5 progs have all produced work that presents admirable, if not sappily minded and unbearably perfect, representations of women in the past, I’m sure. (A few of the writers and artists are unfamiliar to me, but I’m happy to assume the very best here.) But to commission and then publish as a block all of the work discussed above, and to do so for week after week after week, merely causes everyone involved to look bad, to a greater or lesser degree, be they editors, creators, readers or the brand of the comic book as a whole.
Even the consumer must surely start to feel somewhat grubby and alienated after awhile, or so I’d sincerely hope. Certainly, I feel that way.
But the important thing really isn’t whether good professionals, or indeed a much loved comic book, look bad or not. What counts is whether the work is, in context, clearly on the side of the relatively powerless against the relatively powerful or not.
That’s the litmus test, and for yet another month, it’s a test that 2000ad has once again failed.
It’s now been more than a year since I first started writing about sex and gender and 2000ad, and I think that I’ve not only said everything that I have to say on the subject, but said it so many times than even I’m tired of hearing it. And so, I think it’s time for me to put the subject, and the comic as a whole, to one side, though individual serials will undoubtedly yet catch my attention. For there’s no debate to contribute to that I can perceive on this matter of sex and gender in 2000ad outside of a tiny group of folks, and I regret sincerely that I’ve lacked the skill and insight to inspire one. But I can’t see what good I might even be doing myself by writing what I have on this topic. So it goes.
But there we go. My job here is done, because I couldn’t contribute anything at all to the job at hand.
Colin Smith will continue writing about comic books at http://toobusythinkingboutcomics.blogspot.com/