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She Has No Head! – Girl Comics: Not Quite Great, But Mostly Free Of Landmines

Girl Comics #1.  Devin Grayson, Trina Robbins, Colleen Coover, Lucy Knisley, Robin Furth, Girl Comics 1Valerie D’Orazio, G. Willow Wilson (writers).  Stephanie Buscema, Colleen Coover, Lucy Knisley, Agnes Garbowska, Nikki Cook, Ming Doyle (artists).  Colleen Coover, Lucy Knisley, Cris Peter, Stephanie Buscema, Elizabeth Breitweiser, Agnes Garbowska, and Barbara Ciardo (colors).  Marvel Comics.  $4.99

As many of you already know, though I have been anxiously awaiting issue #1 of Girl Comics, I also have mixed feelings about the idea (and continue to hate the title).  After my conversation with editor Mariah Huehner I felt optimistic that while Girl Comics wasn’t MY idea of perfect progress it was at least a real opportunity for a handful of incredibly talented women to get together on a book and bring us something we don’t get to see everyday.

I know not everyone is a fan of anthologies, but personally, and perhaps this goes back to my love of short fiction, I’m a big fan.  MOME is a book I read and buy regularly, and it’s consistently one of my favorites, in part because it generally manages to feature the best and brightest independent creators in the industry.  I think that Girl Comics first issue is a pretty interesting, though imperfect, mainstream version of what MOME long ago mastered.

One of the great things about anthologies, and Girl Comics is no exception, is that the variety really gives you a chance to sample a wide array of different artists, writers, characters, stories, and styles.  I think the strength of this first issue of Girl Comics is definitely the breadth of style and material offered.  From Colleen Coover’s simple two-page intro to Trina Robbins and Stephanie Buscema’s talky throwback Venus tale to Valerie D’Orazio and Nikki Cook’s mostly silent Punisher pages to my personal favorite, Lucy Knisley’s light and funny Doc Ock story, there’s a lot to choose from here.  I suspect not everyone will like everything they read which makes the $4.99 price tag a bit hard to swallow.  But you just have to keep in mind that part of what you’re paying for is the variety.  Like a variety pack of cereal which is much more expensive than just buying a box or two of the regular stuff – and sure, the Raisin Bran boxes are going to sit uneaten forever and everyone is going to fight over the Frosted Flakes and Apple Jacks – but you’re paying for that selection, so that everyone doesn’t have to just eat Cherrios.

Lucy Knisley

For me it’s worth it.  I would have preferred to be able to come here today and rave about the first issue of Girl Comics, rather than offering my tepid approval and my argument for why I like anthologies and think they should be bought, especially one that features an all female cast of creators, but the reality is I didn’t like all the stories and it would be disingenuous to pretend I did.  I found G. Willow Wilson’s Nightcrawler tale forgettable and pointless, and though I appreciated that Trina Robbins brought back Venus and I thought Buscema’s art was fun, the deliberately dated story still felt too old fashioned and almost silly for me to connect with it.  However Lucy Knisley’s Doc Ock tale made me chuckle and hit that perfect sweet spot between simplicity and depth in a mere two pages.  Valerie D’Orazio and Nikki Cook’s Punisher tale, though certainly not the most unique concept ever put to paper was inventively handled and drew a particularly interesting and harsh parallel between The Punisher and his “victim”.  There was a sweetness in Colleen Coover’s intro that I enjoyed and the cartooning in Clockwork Nightmare, the tale of Franklin and Valeria Richards by Robin Furth and Agnes Gabowska, was phenomenal.

Colleen Coover Intro

I was initially on the fence about Head Space, the Devin Grayson and Emma Rios piece, which is usually code for “I’m not sure I get it” but on a second read, I got it and decided I quite liked it.  Ideally the writing and illustration would have made the story slightly more clear, but it was an interesting peek into a character, Scott Summers, that we rarely get to see.  The subject matter in general – i.e. the ongoing (or once ongoing) drama between the longest running X love triangle around – Scott, Jean, and Logan – is handled in a way I’ve rarely seen before in mainstream comics – surprisingly intimate and delicate.

Devin Grayson Emma Rios

I think a way in which Girl Comics is failing a little bit, is in its comparison to something like Wednesday Comics which had more freedom in regard to format.  I compared Girl Comics to the excellent Wednesday Comics in my conversation with Mariah Huehner back in December because editor Mark Chiarello’s and editor Jeanine Schaefer’s approaches seemed the same, i.e. get a handful of the best creators and let them write their own ticket – allow them to tell any story they desired.  And it seems like that’s what they did, however the Wednesday Comics format was much more forgiving – half and sometimes full page comics that ran for twelve weeks – making the average comic twice as long as the longest one here.  But for the most part the Girl Comics stories seem over in one shot.  Head Space is done in six pages, Clockwork Nightmare in seven, Moritat in seven, and Venus in eight, and yet those stories barely scratch the surface.  The beauty of Knisley’s Shop Doc story is that it really works in two pages because it’s essentially two great jokes strung together, with a little visual stinger at the end – it doesn’t try to do too much.  But most of the rest of the stories (with the exception of Coover’s intro) are long enough that I feel there should be more actual story there, but too short to be able to really explore anything.  There’s a perfect balance in short fiction that is hard to achieve and I think unfortunately, most of these stories don’t quite hit that balance.  I do wonder why some of these tales weren’t allowed to continue into the next issue, which naturally creates a desire on the part of a reader to pick up the next issue to see a continuation or resolution.  Instead Marvel seems to be banking on my interest in spending five dollars just to support women in comics.  Fortunately for them, my interest in supporting women in comics is very high and I’m likely to buy regardless, but I suspect not everyone will feel the same way.

For all the highs and lows of the book, you know what was the best thing about reading it?  I felt safe.

I know that sounds dramatic, but being a girl (woman, female, having of the ladybits, whatever you want to call it) that loves comics, opening a comic often feels like walking through a giant field – one that may or may not be filled with landmines.  You never know when turning the page will have the metaphorical effect of stepping on one.  And the landmines come in all kinds of forms, and they’re certainly not unique to being a woman, that’s just the experience I’m most familiar with.

Of course, leave it to Marvel to place one itty bitty landmine in this book too – in the form of a nearly naked She-Hulk pin up – because heaven forbid that even this book should feel completely like a safe haven – even though GIRL COMICS is literally stamped on the front.  I’m not sure why the nearly naked pin up (a “celebration” of She-Hulk’s 30th Anniversary) is necessary and it kind of pisses me off to find it here…and then I realized that one of She-Hulk’s feet is on backwards and suddenly the whole page seemed so silly that I couldn’t gear myself up to get quite so upset about it anymore.  It’s just a stupid pin up, and pin ups have a history of being sexually suggestive…at least for female characters…so maybe it’s not a big deal?  I don’t know.  I’m not sure if it really matters or not, but it seems backwards (and I don’t just mean She-Hulk’s foot).  It reeks a bit of Marvel trying to validate their often overt hyper sexualization of female characters by getting a woman to draw one, and putting it inside a book BY and ostensibly FOR women, as if this act will trick us into thinking that it’s all okay.  As if we’ll be all “Hey! this book is BY women and it’s FOR women…so since it’s in this book…then nearly naked overt sexualization of She-Hulk must TOTALLY be okay!” Try again Marvel.  It’s certainly not the end of the world, but it bums me out when you put it in context.  This is a book that should feel totally safe for girls, and yet even here you can’t read without being assaulted by a sexually suggestive pin up?  It seems wrong to me.  And if we had a comic called Boy Comics (unnecessary of course, but go with me for a minute) do we think for one second that there would be a sexy male pin up?  The answer is no.  It would never happen.

Hmm.  Guess I managed to get a little worked up after all.

Anyway, with that one small exception Girl Comics did feel safe.  I felt confident in those pages that I wasn’t going to find something that made me feel less than and othered.  At the same time, I continue to think that this segregation of sexes is not a great idea.  Because while feeling safe is awesome, I guess I’d rather not feel safe and know that we’re slowly progressing – inching forward to a place where I don’t have to look at every comic book as a potential enemy – as potentially loaded with landmines.  And if we continue to segregate ourselves and read “safe” books that progress is never going to happen.

I look forward to the next issue of Girl Comics, and I’m going to enjoy the hell out of these great creators getting a chance to work on such a high profile book and I’m also going to enjoy the safe feeling I get while reading it.  But I’m going to look forward MORE to these women getting additional work outside of an anthology built for them, and continuing to pave the way so that most comics feel safe for women.  So that girls don’t have to see their safety stamped on the cover before entering unafraid.

46 Comments

[...] new She Has No Head! post is up on CSBG.  The column this week is a review and commentary on the first issue of [...]

The very necessity of ‘girl comics’ shows that marvel’s whole strategy for female characters and their professionals is wrong. Its like gathering them all a corner and pointing at them. Instead of doing this, hiring women on important books and events as writer and artist would be a great start. Then, not sexually exploiting their female characters for the pre pubescent boys would be a great next step. Finally, giving those characters important roles in major events would be nice.

>>though I appreciated that Trina Robbins brought back Venus

“brought back”? Ummm … Venus has been “back” for 3-odd gtears now, y’know, courtesy of Agents of Atlas, who I’m pretty sure are still around in some form or other (maybe in the back of Incredible Hercules? I’ve sworn off new comics, unfortunately, so I’m not entirely sure).

“gtears”=”years,” of course. Not sure how that happened …

My overall feeling on this issue was “Safe ain’t good enough.” Some of the stories (Venus, where the old-fashioned-ness was part of the charm for me, and the Franklin-Val/Hansel-Gretel story) are quite good, but almost all of these creators could be doing better, and should have better opportunities.

The Punisher story was probably my least favorite. At four pages, it actually feels overlong (especially because the punchline is delivered on page 1), and I don’t think there’s too much going on subtextually other than a shallow revenge fantasy.

What did you think of the text pages?

Tom Fitzpatrick

March 8, 2010 at 11:55 am

But I like landmines, they make you soooo explosive!

;-)

Coover and Gabowska were the standout artists in this issue. The rest were forgettable to awful. The Nightcrawler story was so by-the-numbers. Like the Venus story it also came out kind of demeaning. The Punisher story was so counter to the strength and optimism in Coover’s introduction, it was laughably off-key, nevermind that a little girl was implied to have died violently in a comic called Girl Comics.

Good article! Any thoughts on the Punisher/ Butterfly one-shot????

Interested parties can click my name on this post to read my blog entry about the comic. Go ahead and keep comments there, though, so we don’t steal Kelly’s thunder.

Not surprising about Robin Furth considering all of her other stuff I’ve read (okay, just the DT comics) were amazing. She is easily one of the best things to come out of King’s deal with Marvel.

OK, you are offended by comic book pin-ups. Your language goes over the top, however, when you say “you can’t read without being assaulted by a sexually suggestive pin up.” To say that the drawing “assaulted” you blurs the real meaning of the word. I agree with your point, that a pin-up doesn’t really belong in Girl Comics. Try out this idea: every comic with male super-heroes is a piece of thinly-disguised pin-up art. It’s just that all the male bodies are “covered” in skin-tight costumes, instead of being colored so as to indicate exposed flesh. It’s all hidden in plain sight. The only real difference is in the coloring . . .

Nice piece, and a completely satisfying read on its own with or with Burgas’ jumping of the gun.

Instead Marvel seems to be banking on my interest in spending five dollars just to support women in comics. Fortunately for them, my interest in supporting women in comics is very high and I’m likely to buy regardless, but I suspect not everyone will feel the same way.

My interest in supporting women in comics is very high, too, but…

…there are a couple of things here. One is economics. I, like so many others, am watching my budget closely these days and I have a hard time justifying $3-$5 for a 30 minute entertainment (and that’s me being generous and assuming I re-read and then talk/write about it). I don’t do much impulse shopping anymore for this reason, especially of an anthology where I know going in that I won’t like everything. I like the cereal variety pack analogy, but that’s why I just buy the apple jacks. I don’t think the pricing is sexist on Marvel’s part – they seem to acknowledge that anthologies are niche’ products and use this model whenever they publish them (see: Strange Tales). But they’re not doing this book any favors with it, either.

My second question/concern/beef is that I’m not sure buying this is a great way of supporting women in comics. I’m not suggesting a boycott (girlcott?) either, so maybe it’s better to say that I don’t think that the sales of this book are going to spur a change in the industry at all, one way or another. If Girl Comics flops, does as exactly as expected or is a modest success, mainstream comics is going to continue to occasionally hire female creators to work on books aimed at female readers that usually feature female characters. I don’t think a luxury product like Girl Comics does anything to get us towards a place where there are more women in the overall creator pool, getting work on titles regardless of gender issues.

One thing that I think they could have done differently, and you start to get at it in the Wednesday Comics discussion, would have been to make these stories seem to matter a little more. Have them be longer, spanning multiple issues. If you really want to get fandom’s attention, announce that there would one or more big, in-continuity game-changers in the series – something will “never be the same for Deadpool again, evah, fureels” because of a story in Girl Comics.

Because I think that’s what it’s going to take to see real change at Marvel or DC…multiple examples of flat or increased sales by mainstream titles with female creators working on them. I’d rather save a portion of my comics budget for Devin Grayson’s (hypothetical, future) run on Daredevil. And keep supporting women in so-called independent comics, where there don’t seem to be as many barriers to getting their work in print.

@Warren P

“OK, you are offended by comic book pin-ups. Your language goes over the top, however, when you say “you can’t read without being assaulted by a sexually suggestive pin up.” To say that the drawing “assaulted” you blurs the real meaning of the word”

I’m not offended by comic book pin-ups. I don’t love that they’re not equal opportunity offenders. Pin ups of male characters wildly differ from pin ups of female characters…and if you can’t see a difference, I’m not sure any amount of reference I could pull would convince you. It’s fine if you don’t agree. But I don’t want to be labeled as being generally “offended” by pin ups. They’re usually not great and not something I love, but I think there’s a difference between you suggesting that I’m offended by all pin ups and me making a case in my article that GIRL COMICS is not the appropriate place for a sexually aggressive pin up of She Hulk.

My bigger problem is with your issue of my use of the word assaulted. I’m not perfect and I often use imperfect words…this is not one of those times. From the dictionary:

“assault |??sôlt|
verb [ trans. ]
• figurative attack or bombard (someone or the senses) with something undesirable or unpleasant. example: her right ear was assaulted with a tide of music.”

That’s dead on to what I was feeling coming upon that She-Hulk pin up hidden among these other stories. So I happily stand by the use of the word.

@Nikki and s1rude: I pretty much agree with you. I’m trying to be optimistic and non-reactionary and I tried to come at the post today very rationally and from a place of baby steps are still baby steps, but on the whole I agree with you.

@Dan: Fair enough. I don’t read Agents of Atlas, so I’m not really aware of her being back in a big way, but I guess what I should have said was that I was surprised (pleasantly) to see Robbins using Venus, a minor and lightly used character (in comparison), for such a huge chunk of this book (the longest story present).

@Michael P: I largely agree with your post in regard to the text pages. I think of course that it’s great to feature those women…but the actual pages left me a little cold. There was something very PR gimmick about them…like Marvel was about to break their own arm patting themselves on the back about how awesome they were for having these women on staff for years. It left me with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth, not for the ladies of course.

@Keith: The Punisher story didn’t seem to bother me as much as it bothered others. I don’t read Punisher very often, but I thought the parallels between Punisher and his “victim” were pretty interesting…how similar their day prior to the encounter was. I thought it said something interesting about the Punisher character and the moral black and white and all those shades of grey. It is true that I’m not sure how appropriate the story is if this book IS really supposed to be geared towards “girls”.

@Blair: Thanks. I haven’t had a chance to check out D’Orazio Punisher/Butterfly yet (it was sold out at my shop last week – but I’ll try again this week).

Lucy Knisley is such a wonderful artist. Her blog is excellent and her self-published graphic novel “French Milk” is such a beauty to read. I was already planning on getting Girl Comics months ago, but the addition of Knisley made it so much more integral to my reading experience.

I agree that an anthology can have some stories that carry on and others that don’t. The couple of 2-pagers could have filled in the gaps to stories that might cover four pages on all four books. Some sort of system like that to provide incentive for the next one for those who bought it on a whim.

The $5.00 hurts a bit, and I would prefer $4.00 because I understand that this is special… but, then, I’m conflicted that this is considered special.

Am I the only one who found the Venus story kind of offensive? I mean, I understand it’s a throwback story, but is this really the sort of thing Marvel should be publishing in a collection that has a supposedly feminist background?

@m121: Despite my massive respect for Trina Robbins I admit I was not a fan of the story. I know it was deliberately dated, but it didn’t work for me at all. I was disappointed.

@MechanisticMoth: Knisley’s French Milk has been on my to read list for a while now. Her two pages on Doc Ock just moved it up the list :)

Hell, it really is spelled “Knisley.” I’ll have to edit that.

I think the next issue of Girl Comics should have a pinup of wolverine, shirtless, with a massive package bulging out of his shorts. If they could also draw his foot backwards, all the better.

I really wish I could read this now, but I don’t know if I could ever talk myself into spending that much for a book that I know isn’t great.
I was also bothered by your use of the word ‘assaulted’, and the several references to feeling ‘safe’. I know you didn’t really mean it as such, but it sounds like overblown Catherine MacKinnon/ Andrea Dworkin– style fanaticism. I definitely agree that a cheesecake pin-up doesn’t belong in this book at all. (If they had included a sexy male pin-up I could accept it for making a point.) I don’t understand how the She-Hulk can be forty, though. Are you sure you don’t mean thirty?
(If they really thought they needed a She-Hulk pin-up, though, maybe they should’ve shown her topless. Then she would’ve marched to the Marvel offices and threatened Quesada, just like she did with the publisher in Fantastic Four #275. That would’ve been cool.)

So how did Cyclops’s costume suddenly appear out of nowhere?

So which story is the one with the talking heads shown here? I couldn’t connect it with any of the individual stories you mention.
Is that Miss America? She is still dead, isn’t she? (Please say yes, please say yes, please say yes.) Who’s the girl with the goggles and the freckles? She the only one I don’t recognise at all.

I so wanted this to be one of the greatest books Marvel has ever published. Was that really too much to ask for?

Hey, I hear you. When I walk into a comic book store, most of the books with a female character on the cover may as well be stamped “For Boys by Boys.” But on the other hand I don’t want female characters that are desexualized. Sexuality doesn’t define us but makes us richer as human beings, and the same holds true for what makes a good fictional character.

Guys don’t really have a problem with sexualized male characters. Superhero comics are full of dudes in skin tight clothing and bulging muscles. The pages ooze male sexuality. Maybe it’s because people associate male sexuality with power and female sexuality with vulnerability. And maybe there’s something wrong with that.

Willie Everstop

March 8, 2010 at 4:26 pm

@Mary Warner: The girl with the goggles and freckles is the Heroes Reborn version of Captain America’s sidekick Bucky. I believe she is still active on the High Evolutionary’s Counter-Earth.

I agree with the first poster that just having a comic with all-female characters doesn’t really fix the unbalance in the rest. I’d rather read a story with good female AND male characters than one that showcases either gender.

The cover puts me off somewhat. Not because She-Hulk is stronger than Iron Man, but because a) he’s not wearing his helmet, which probably means he isn’t using his suit at full power (he DID knock the Hulk himself out once, though it fried his circuits) and b) all the male characters in the background look disappointed (except Wolverine). Come on, they bet among gender lines!? Not one of them said “gee, she’s the Hulk’ cousin, maybe she’ll win?” And even if they lost, couldn’t they be happy for her, or at least amused? I find that sexist.

And yes, That’s Miss America, and yes, she’s still dead, AFAIK. The girl in the blue suit is (I think) the new Nomad.

@Mary Warner: I’m sorry that my use of ‘safe’ and ‘assaulted’ bothered you, but it IS how I felt reading the issue…so I can’t really apologize for having those feelings.

As for She-Hulk – it’s a typo, I’ve corrected it. It should be She-Hulk’s 30th Anniversary – and a parody of the cover to She-Hulk #40 from 1992.

The story with Cyclops [SPOILER]…

is that it is all taking place inside his head…inside a safe space that he shares with Jean through his psychic link…and the premise of the piece is that Logan tears that place up constantly because Scott continually has doubts about whether Jean has feelings for him or not. Thus in that page I posted, Scott is battling alone while Jean fusses over Logan. Thus he’s able to be not in costume in one panel and in costume in another because it’s all in his head. It was one of the subtle clues as to what Grayson and Rios were really doing…a little too subtle in my opinion. But once I got it, I really liked it.

The talking heads page is the first of two into pages by Colleen Coover. The girl with the goggles is Nomad. I don’t know about Miss America one way or another, she’s not a character I’m very familiar with.

I don’t think there was a chance in hell this could be the greatest book Marvel has ever published, because as with most anthologies there are always going to be hit and miss stories based on personal taste, but it could have been much better.

@GrrrlRomeo: Agreed. I don’t want characters to be desexualized either, but I think we’re a far (FAR) cry from having that problem in comics. I’d rather we pull back from where we are and if we go too far we can start sprinkling it back in. :)

I would absolutely agree that a huge part of the problem are our “accepted” definitions of sexuality. As you say with men it is often equated with power and with women it is far more often equated with vulnerability and I would add, submissiveness. This is certainly not a comics alone problem, but it would be great if we could be a medium that could start some forward thinking change.

Tom Fitzpatrick

March 8, 2010 at 6:07 pm

Have you ever read JMS’ The Book of Lost Souls? Beautifully drawn by Colleen Doran?
I’ve wondered what became of the “season two” that they were supposed to follow up on?

Speaking of Ms. Doran, have you checked out her series “A Distant Soil”? and Orbiter? a collaboration with Warren Ellis.

You should do a profile on her one of these days. (If you haven’t already)

One thing Kelly wrote that I found amusing. A book called “BOY COMICS” with a few male pin-ups added sounds like an splendid idea for a gay themed anthology.

“Maybe it’s because people associate male sexuality with power and female sexuality with vulnerability. And maybe there’s something wrong with that.”

BINGO. We (as society, or better yet, as species) have a twisted notion of sexuality. Men as “hunters” and women as “hunted.” It’s great to be a stud, it’s awful to be a slut. Etc. etc. etc.

If that’s actually how you felt, Kelly, then I have no grounds to criticise. I know that sometimes something can produce an emotional reaction in you that doesn’t make much logical sense. It’s certainly happened to me occasionally. I have read things (not any comics that I can recall, but some magazine articles and such) that felt like personal attacks against me, even though they clearly weren’t. We all have certain issues that we are overly sensitive about, and we can’t help but to overreact sometimes.

Rene– Exactly! That’s why I’ve long refused to ever use ‘slut’ or ‘whore’ as an insult.

[...] She Has No Head! – Girl Comics: Not Quite Great, But Mostly Free … [...]

[...] She Has No Head! – Girl Comics: Not Quite Great, But Mostly Free … [...]

I found the She-Hulk pinup odd too, but I confess it didn’t occur to me that Marvel commissioned it like that. I was envisioning them just telling the artist to draw whatever she wanted and getting the pinup and thinking “This isn’t exactly the tone we’re looking for, but we can’t exactly reject it for being too much like the stuff we usually do.” Your take on it is probably more likely.

One thing popped into my head when I read this:

“And if we had a comic called Boy Comics (unnecessary of course, but go with me for a minute) do we think for one second that there would be a sexy male pin up? The answer is no. It would never happen.”

Did you ever see the old Marvel Swimsuit Issues? Of course, they weren’t actually called “Boy Comics” so your specific point is unassailable, but they were probably the closest thing Marvel’s ever come to printing a book with “For Males Only” on the cover. Yet they featured plenty of pinups of Namor, Colossus, and one particularly memorably creepy Punisher one. I always assumed they were there so Marvel could argue “It’s not sexist – there are male pinups too!” but they were still there.

As I was thinking about that, though, I remembered something relevant (that’s right, I was going somewhere with this): there was an X-Men team picture in one of the Swimsuit Issues in which Wolverine was drawn with two of the same foot (don’t remember if it was two left or two right feet, but his legs were crossed at the ankle, and at the time I figured the artist got confused over which foot was which). I wonder if the backwards-footed She-Hulk was a subtle reference to that. Or maybe it’s just two examples of the fact that if you aren’t really that invested in what you’re drawing, it’s easy to screw up the feet.

I was curious–according to the solicits on CBR (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=24147), the following women worked as writers or pencillers on any of the 112 Marvel comics released this month, excluding Girl Comics:

Kelly Sue DeConnick
Marjorie Liu
Alina Ursov
Adriana Melo
Kathryn Immonen
Louis Simonson
Valerie D’Orazio

If the 52 reprint titles are counted, Sara Pichelli, Mary Wilshire, and Lora Byrne can be added to the list.

Its success remains to be decided in the long term however I am glad for three things out of this project already:
1) Devin Grayson is back in comics. Her detractors be damned, the lady can handle good banter and touchy situations. plus I am at the stage of comic reading where all new takes all welcome.
2) I now know a lot more woman creators than I did before and saw 1 or 2 styles in here that I wouldn’t mind reading again in other books.
3) Quirky fun is continuing in the Marvel U., something I feared that would be lost with all the tepid reaction to Strange Tales and other analogies…

ooook I know I am sleepy….the end of point 1 should be where all new takes ARE welcome…Sorry…

ZZZ –

The Punisher pin-up was the one with a scowling Frank Castle wearing nothing but a skull-shaped codpiece? I wonder how many tender, young minds were scarred forever by that image.

Other memorable ones were the pin-up of Steve Rogers lying on his stomach wearing star-spamgled trunks and reading the American constitution on the beach. And the incredibly gay pic of Northstar with the surf spraying all around him.

For me, Girl Comics #1 was my favorite out of the 11 Marvel comics I picked last week. But I do have a soft spot for anthologies with a variety of stories, from quirky to fun. And anything with Colleen Coover immediately wins me over.

I thought in the initial solicitations that Marvel was specifying that this was NOT just for female readers, or that it wasn’t just about women characters either. It was just that the creators were all women. Admitedly, that was probably them doing some backpeddeling in fear that not enough copies would sell if they didn’t encourage male readers as well. But either way, it means that the Punisher story isn’t out of place.

I’m still ify on the She-Hulk pin-up, though.

I really liked the text pieces. They obviously focused a little more on Flo and Marie’s Marvel work than the rest of their work, but there was mentions of other things they did. I didn’t see it as Marvel patting themselves on the back for having employed such great women but instead as stressing how important they were to Silver Age Marvel. Talk of the Silver Age consistently focuses on Stan, Jack, and Steve, leaving a lot of people sidelined, so it’s good when anyone else’s contribution, whether male or female, is acknowledged.

Hey. I’m dropping in from an article you wrote a long time ago about DC vs. Marvel in their treatment of women. Glad to see you at least enjoyed Girl Comics, and while they were short and sweet, I still felt that they were enjoyable. It would be nice to see something on the “serious” side of things rather than the short and sweet note, but there’s obviously little room for that here.

As a male, I’ll say that I entirely FORGOT that there even was a pin-up until you pointed it out. I’m curious if you would’ve been up in arms with a male pin-up or not. They are mostly useless and pointless, but I know MANY females out there who dig on the pin-ups, my younger sister being one of them. Just because there is a sexual pin-up in there doesn’t mean it’s specifically for the boys or even the girls who like the girls. There’s a huge movement of people who like pin-up artwork, the style, the poses, etc. So, despite the masked nudity, I never really saw it as them pandering to the boys, but instead putting in a nice little pin-up for the folks out there who dig that thing.

Enjoyed your reactions (mine are on my blog, available my clicking through my name – looks like the Cyclops/Jean strip was too subtle for me, but I still think it was going over too well-trodden ground). I was also surprised by the She-Hulk pin-up, I’d rather have seen another page of strip.

Like you, I loved the Doc Ock piece, it was so sweet.

I was excited by the idea of Girl Comics, but a bit disappointed by the first issue; and at 5 bucks a pop, I won’t be continuing with it. However, if we get the pinup of Wolverine that Adam suggests above, I’m in!

There was a title called Boy Comics that was published by Lev Gleason from 1943-1955, but while it was aimed specifically at boys — originally, all of the stories featured teenage boys as protagonists though this eventually changed — you’re right in that they didn’t feature any sexy pinups of their characters.

Enjoyed your reactions (mine are on my blog, available my clicking through my name – looks like the Cyclops/Jean strip was too subtle for me, but I still think it was going over too well-trodden ground). I was also surprised by the She-Hulk pin-up, I’d rather have seen another page of strip.

Jack Kirby did a few rather sweet pinups of Sue Richards (and the rest of the Four) in some of the old FF annuals, not cheesecake at all. I think she was even in regular clothes in one, which might have been more revealing than the usual full-body FF uniforms, but still not a steamy number, just a casual hello to the fans.

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