Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

July 3, 2006

Feature Articles I Hate, Episode Nine

I quite hate "Comics For Your Girlfriend" types of articles, of which the Platonic ideal may be up right now at IGN. How do I count the ways?

1. I find the idea that you have to browbeat the one you're dating into sharing your hobbies kind of silly. I can't imagine comics getting in the way of a single thing that a disinterested person would want to do, unless the comics fan's behavior is really extreme, in which case it's the excess not the hobby that's become a problem. I mean, it's just reading. People still read.

2. I hate the assumptions they make about the tastes of female readers. A lot of women don't like comics like Strangers in Paradise, Blankets, and Bone. Some women like Judge Dredd and Horny Biker Sluts. You never see Warren Ellis books on these lists, and that guy has plenty of female readers, probably because he doesn't treat that portion of his fanbase like emotion-driven simpletons.

3. I don't think you can always trust the assumption that if there is a comics reader in a couple that it's the male. Where are the "comics for your boyfriend" articles? Why do these articles assume different-sex couples?

4. Finally, I don't like what these articles say about the comics they list. Cartoonists like Jeff Smith and Craig Thompson do have a lot of female readers, but it's not because they make girly books. They make human books. Everyone should read them. I always get the impression these articles assume that the baseline for comics is violent, costumed soap opera and these bizarre aberrations exist to fool the rib so we boys can continue to high-five each other and grunt approval to the latest peregrinations of Form-Fitting Bodysuit Man.

I don't begrudge anyone selling a feature article, and it's easy to see the appeal of such an article to an editor because it goes against conventional wisdom, no matter how unfortunate that wisdom may be. I still don't like the end result, and hope that we can all strive to write pieces with less problematic views.
posted 11:12 pm PST | Permalink

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