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

March 1, 2012

The Howling Vortex Of Madness That Is Mainstream Comic Books

I wish I had a firmer grasp of the context to make smart commentary on this interview with writer Judd Winick about his Catwoman series. As I recall, negative on-line rhetoric was directed in the direction of his initial New 52 Catwoman comic book for elements of its portrayal of the lead that touched on sex obliquely in that sniggering way that entertainment featuring women but aimed at men frequently tumbles into ("whoops, the bad guys found me with my shirt unbuttoned again") and for the classic Bill Finger/Bob Kane character having what looked like fetish-y, storyline sex with another character created by Kane (and developed by Finger): superhero prime Batman.

What catches my eye in the new piece is that for the sake of a rebuttal the criticism is reduced to a blanket condemnation of the character's relative sexiness, the idea that basically these readers somehow can't handle this sexy stuff. (There's a side order of "they were totally saying that all we were going to do is dry-humping scenes from now on" which just seems silly.) Now, I wasn't totally up on the criticism the first time around, but I swear that the point of articles like these wasn't a kidney shot to the idea of sexy but that this specific portrayal and others like it were kind of really, really gross, and this cut into anything else you might be doing with the character. It was less "this sexy Catwoman has me confused and dismayed" than "I can't believe I have to hide a Catwoman comic book from my 12-year-old; although maybe I better hide it from every other woman I know, too."

It's quite the achievement to drop the subtleties from an issue that hardly has any subtleties, but there you go.
posted 4:00 am PST | Permalink

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