Comics

'Girl,' Erupted: The Comic Book Title That Launched An Internet Flame War

The cover showing She-Hulk arm-wrestling Iron man in front of onlookers.

The cover of Girl Comics #1. Marvel Comics hide caption

itoggle caption Marvel Comics

This picture of She-Hulk armwrestling Iron Man — which is awesome — was drawn by Amanda Conner. As we've mentioned here before: Amanda Conner's pretty great.

That's the cover of the first issue of an anthology mini-series from Marvel, which arrives in shops today. The book also features art from (among others) Colleen Coover, Carla Speed McNeil, Emma Rios, Ming Doyle and Stephanie Buscema, who are, respectively: Great, great, great, great and great.

It's got stories by Ann Nocenti, Devin Grayson, Trina Robbins, G. Willow Wilson and others - all strong, distinctive writers with proven track records.

In fact, just about all of these creators have worked on Marvel characters before. Still: It'll be fun to see what they do with the chance to spotlight their favorites in brief, standalone tales.

I'm really looking forward to picking it up. Yep.

So, you know: Recommended.

...

Welp, I guess ... I guess that's it, really. Not much more to say.

Just a really solid showcase of proven, bankable talent. Otherwise, nothing that hasn't been done before, actually.

Certainly nothing that could, say, cause Internet commenters to freak the frilly heck out and start up some really puzzling flamewars, or anything.

After the jump: Internet commenters freak the frilly heck out and start up some really puzzling flamewars.

Right. Maybe there's a bit more to say. Like the fact that this particular 3-issue mini-series anthology is written, edited, penciled, inked, colored and lettered by women.

Okay, so there's that. But that's not remarkable: There have been several anthologies of comics by women over the years.

True: Superheroes, that most marketable of funnybook genres, have not tended to figure largely in such projects, and this new mini-series is all about the fights-in-tights set. So there's that, too.

But let's be honest. The thing that really set people off was the name:

Girl Comics.

Last December, when Heidi MacDonald's comic news site The Beat got the exclusive on the project, it took precious little time for the grousing to start up.

Never mind that the name has a comics pedigree. The word "girl" is loaded, and several commenters reacted very, very strongly to it.

In interview after interview, the Girl Comics editors have provided reasoned, compelling explanations for why they embraced the "girl" in their title and didn't go with something more befitting a lit-crit-graduate-seminar like "Marvel HERoines," "Myty Myrvyl Wymyn" or some such.

Even so: Several commenters complained that Marvel was marginalizing women creators by relegating their contributions to this special, token comic.

(There were also the usual idiots who said their usual idiotic things about comics being for men, and how they're prolly gonna make Black Cat wear a burka, and sundry similarly predictable bits of dumb. I won't link to any of it, but just know that the dumbth was well represented.)

Two of the smartest, sanest voices to rise above the cybertumult were MacDonald herself and Comics Alliance blogger Laura Hudson, and their takes are worth reading.

Macdonald pointed out that simply showcasing these creators in Girl Comics can't technically marginalize them, as they are already producing mainstream superhero comics, and have been for a long time.

And Hudson got the editors to articulate what strikes me as an important distinction, vis-a-vis how female superheroes are depicted in comics (a topic we've discussed here before):

Women have breasts; we can see them if they're wearing spandex, and it's ok. But ... it's one thing to have your cleavage out and look like a sexy badass superhero, but if they've got pornface and their boobs hanging out, then you're not servicing the character.

Can't argue with that; wouldn't want to try.

Neither can one argue with just how freaking gorgeous this book is gonna be, if this exclusive Comics Alliance preview is anything to go by. I mean, just freaking look at that.

Bottom line: This is a collection of some of the strongest, most consistently interesting creators in comics, period. That makes it a book worth seeking out, no matter where you happen to come down on the topics of boobs and pornface.

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