I’ve always been on the verge of being a comic book geek, without every quite arriving. As a kid I was a fan of the girl super heroes — I loved Wonder Woman, Isis and Batgirl on television, but my family wasn’t much into comic books and my lack of transport to a comics shop as a kid meant neither was I.
I was so disappointed that my Wonder Woman halloween costume at six years old looked nothing like this!
The closest I came in my formative years was having a friend in college who had gobs of them that I read obsessively. But I was too poor to buy any myself at the time.
Oh look, me reading the Green Arrow in college. Nice hair!
As an adult, pop culture has kept me vaguely aware of the developments around my childhood superhero favorites. My first online fake identity was a Batgirl anonymous account. I have my own superhero nickname (obviously!) and logo – even t-shirts. Many years ago, I fantasized about being Batgirl. I wanted to kiss Wonder Woman (wow, that page needs an update). I even have an awesome college-era t-shirt of Batgirl performing oral sex on Wonder Woman over the handlebars of her motorcycle in my t-shirt archive. (I should post a photo of that, shouldn’t I?)
Seriously, the TV show motorcycle had lace on it? I totes did not remember that at all.
But venturing into comic book stores always seemed like too steep of a time commitment/ learning curve for a hobby that seems to appeal mainly to teen boys. Too many titles, too many diverging story lines – how do I tell what I’ve read and what I haven’t? I vaguely knew that there was a Batwoman comic, and that the character was gay, but I didn’t go out of my way to research that much.
But things have changed… I started reading themarysue.com (A Guide to Girl Geek Culture) several months back – (how did I not know about this site before?!) and they cover female comic book heroes pretty extensively, which means I’ve jumped over a bit of the learning curve. And there are some major changes going on at DC Comics right now that make a difference. The company has been struggling financially with many of their titles for awhile, and so is doing a reboot of the every product they have – called the New 52 or DCNU, they’re streamlining their titles and hitting the reset button on story lines.
Beginning in September, all of their comic books will start with a new issue #1. There will be new Batgirl, new Batwoman, new Birds of Prey, and new Wonder Woman story lines among many others – and an easy way for me to jump in and wrap my head around the characters.
Unfortunately, there will be fewer female characters in the New 52, and fewer female writers. This was an issue that brought up by several female fans in panels at Comic Con recently [How Batgirl took on DC Comics: the anatomy of a PR crisis] – and DC reacted rather poorly to the challenge, with one co-publisher blaming women for not voting with their dollars. Not really a valid argument, but still, I can counter that by supporting my favorite super hero characters by setting up series subscriptions.
So I went into the local comic book shop (Downtown Comics – the Castleton Branch) on the recommendation of my friend Jason, who is an occasionally employee there, and I set up subscriptions to collect my favorite comic book characters:
While I was there, I picked up some of the graphic novels for recent story lines for each of the characters. All of the stories will get a reboot in September, but I’ve been catching up on many of the recent incarnations.
And there’s another pressing question in the world of comic book women: whether the new Wonder Woman will be allowed to keep her (recently acquired) pants. Art from the new series has been drawn both ways – pants on and pants off.
One comic book fan (Mario Pieda) suggested this alternative:
In the question of “pants or no pants” I’d like to throw in my vote of (shockingly!!) “pants” because she looks more badass wearing them. Note that this would be the only situation that I will ever vote in favor of “pants” over “no pants.” It would be nice if Wonder Woman were to continue on without looking quite like such a hooker, frankly. Not to slut shame Wonder Woman or anything, but really, don’t those star-spangled underwear ride up your butt when you’re kicking ass, woman? How much fun could it be to save the planet with a Wonder Wedgie?
I’m aware that at 43 years old, a new comic book obsession is probably a mid-life crisis of sorts. But it’s cheaper than a sports car. I hope.