Monday, May 7, 2012

The Invisible Women of Comic Books

This past Friday, I went to see the Avengers and had a blast.  While we were there, we saw previews for all sorts of films, mostly geared towards that magical demographic, 18-30 male.  Apparently men in this strata like Wikipedia Fantasy History, cue Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.  

Yes.

It really exists.  I've already declared, I will become a vampire before I will watch this one.  Now if Old Abe was taking on Team Edward...I might be  tempted.  But ultimately, still no.  Even seeing the sparkly vampire get his would not be enough of a draw.  He's the Hufflepuff of the undead.  And poor President Abraham Lincoln, he deserves better than to become the hatchet man Van Helsig of  America.

With every age, there is this collective of films geared towards the cathartic nature of watching violence, the horror film, Rambo series, John Wayne films, etc.  It is true in humor as well, as I was reminded as I laughed out loud with one pure moment of rage by the Hulk directed at the film's villain, and another at one of the film's heroes.  For guys there is this genre of films, mental candy escapism. Women can partake of it, and it's fun, but  I wondered, why don't women have this? 

Are we seeking to be boring or just so used to doing what must be done that we don't allow ourselves that sort of free wheeling escapism in our minds, breaking down the barriers of what is and what could be?  What would it look like and what would be the why of it?  

I'm not talking romantic escape films.  I'm sick to death of women films where the main character, vaguely discontent, travels to an exotic local to find her true self --Under the Tuscan Sun, Eat Pray Love....Stella Got her Groove...what have you, like our souls were rerouted somehow in the course of living and deposited at an unknown locale and if we go there, we'll find our whole selves in the process.   I want a super spy woman or a chosen one female that is able to put all the pieces together and defeat the evil bad guys with panache and authority, humor and finality.

Where is our Female Captain Kirk/James Bond or even Frodo for crying out loud? 

The closest we get is Angelina Jolie as Tomb Raider or Hallie Berry whether she plays Storm or Catwoman, and the final result is millions of women yawning.  No one saw Supergirl (with good reason), and no one is even thinking about making a Wonder Woman flick.  If you look at the superhero films out there, there have been in the past five years, two Iron Man, multiple Batman genres, Spidermans and relaunching of Spidermans, Thor, Green Lantern (okay that stunk but still), Wolverine, Xmen, Two different both failed Hulk Reboots, and a remake of Superman.  Do you notice there's not one woman in tights out there?  Is the best we can get an ex Russian Spy Scarlet Johansen whose most action packed scene is when she's tied up and in a slip? 

Then I thought about the options....She Hulk --lawyer with blood transfusion....the Invisible (Invisible!) Girl/Woman....Supergirl --Superman's cousin....Batgirl....imitator of Batman....Spiderwoman...again...imitator of Spiderman.  I realized the only original female superhero that has any marquis value is Wonder Woman, an amazonian princess carved out of stone come to life by the Greek Gods! (So as I understand it, the only way women can become superheroes is by following their male counterparts...unless they are cut out of whole cloth and not in any way related to any other women on the planet).  Diana Prince's family tree starts with her...it doesn't fork.  

Then I thought of Jean Grey but dismissed her.  Marvel is so in love with  the Phoenix story, she's been retold, revived and re killed at least 50 times...but no one really cared after the first story when it was ground breaking...now it's just retread.  And...she's dead.  Ergo...Can be super powerful, but must die to save the Universe, can't be going around busting bad guys...too powerful a woman...must not continue...I'll stop now.  You see the theme.

Most of these creations were the inventions of the comic book writers, mostly men...ergo I'm guessing, if we want females to take the lead in films or be super heroines that are wholly new...we're going to have to find the guys that write these things and introduce them to a few new ideas and maybe....a few dates.

4 comments:

Martin said...

For the same reason there's no GI Jill. Men are born to be heros, women aren't. It's not that a woman can't be a hero but women collectively won't. The wimpiest boy can resonate with" Hulk Smash" . The bravest and strongest girl stops to wonder, " Smash what" ?

So I'm told, Adam's original sin was not protecting Eve from the snake.

SherryTex said...

There's not a woman I know who wouldn't get "Hulk Smash." in the presence of a snake.

marion Banks-Wilkinson said...

I love snakes it's my husband who can't bear them, same with mice ,multi tasking and breasfeeding ? Yep done that.
Men fantasize women do the work.
I loved Avengers I went with my two adult male offspring, gave me a chance to have a conversation with them!

Maria McClure said...

With all due respect to Martin I disagree with your opening statement.

Women are heroes every day. They nurture and teach... they feed and provide... Not to say that men don't do this too, but if you've ever seen the look in the eyes of a child when you've helped them feel successful or safe you know what I mean.

Whether it's through the violence in the action movies or through a loving touch, the end result is that someone feels safer and protected in the end.

Being a hero does not require bombs or violence let alone killing. Being a hero is about giving hope and strength and a future.

I see heroes every day. Maybe that's why I don't need to have my eardrums blown out for the adrenaline rush.

...and for the record both of my girls and I are master bug/critter hunters and eradicators. The difference being we pick them up with our bare hands and lay them gently back outside.

I might suggest Adam's original sin was not using his own free will. Both of them had a choice and both made the wrong one.

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