Your Four Dollars Hate

groundhog-dayDo you ever have days when it feels like you are just going to keep having the same five conversations over and over and over again for the rest of your natural life? And then they’ll be what you were referring to with your last words when you die? And then for years afterward, people who visit your grave will imagine themselves having those same conversations with your ghost as they lay flowers in front of your tombstone? And the card on the flowers has a quote from one of those conversations?

Just me?

Fair enough.

I had this thought, though certainly not for the first time, late last week when Twitter started doing this thing it occasionally does. Despite my best efforts to keep my feed chipper, full of good friends and funny comedians and whatever Ryan Stegman is doing, every so often Twitter rises up as one and does its impression of the Two Minutes Hate from 1984. I’m minding my own business, skimming the cat pictures and rehashed hashtag jokes, when half the people I follow discover an OUTRAGE and, before you can say “when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you,” I am sucked into it. Sometimes in life I just have to wear my zero fucks given shirts to realize that I shouldn´t stress out so much.

So it came to pass last week that I read Todd McFarlane for the first time in twenty years, talking about women in comics at the Television Critics Association press tour. When McFarlane was asked about the objectification of women in comics, he said, “As much as we stereotype the women, we do it with the guys…. We just happen to show a little more skin when we get to the ladies.” When asked about the dearth of minority and strong female characters, he says putting them in books just for the sake of putting them in books is wrong. When asked about anything related to these topics, he gives exactly the first answer that would pop into your head immediately within a second of me shouting, “QUICK How would a male comic book big shot answer this question GO.” You could recite it along with him.

Actually, there was one curveball: McFarlane also said that if his daughters were looking for empowering stories, he would steer them away from superhero comics because they were “heavily testosterone-driven.” That one did surprise me, partly because of the way he sounded absolutely powerless to do anything about this. That’s just the way it is. Shrug! I wish it weren’t that way, but whaddya gonna do? I’m only the co-founder of one of the biggest, most successful publishers in the marketplace. Can’t fight city hall [puts feet up on mayor’s desk with his name on the nameplate, lights cigar].

This already had me pinching the bridge of my nose and rubbing my temple, moaning, “Oh, my God, do they memorize this script, or do they keep a copy of it on them at all times?” when Twitter served up a Twofer Tuesday Bonus Outrage in the form of Mark Millar. Mark Millar and/or someone doing a parody of Mark Millar by muttering like a drunk, uptalking Scrooge McDuck into a telephone was interviewed by New Republic on the topic of how outrageous Mark Millar is. In answer to one question, hopefully “How many times do you get to cram a rape scene into your books before somebody should try to get a search warrant?” Mark Millar is quoted as giving this answer:

“The ultimate [act] that would be the taboo, to show how bad some villain is, was to have somebody being raped, you know?” he told me. “I don’t really think it matters. It’s the same as, like, a decapitation. It’s just a horrible act to show that somebody’s a bad guy.”

Well, I have a feeling I already know what one sounds like.

Well, I have a feeling I already know what one sounds like.

Just a little blurby-blurb from Fox’s chief creative consultant for Marvel movies. Good luck, Pixie.

The thing is, I don’t really have any nerve endings left to be zapped by the quotes themselves. What gets to me now—maybe because I’ve been making myself write a thousand words about comic books every single week for the last five years—is that I have heard this tripe and nonsense so, so, so many times.

You know that oft-derided trope about “Women in Refrigerators”? The observation that an inordinate amount of female characters have been killed, maimed, or de-powered just to give the male hero something to do in his story? Yeah, Gail Simone pointed that out in March 1999. Gail Simone wasn’t even in the industry yet. (Before becoming a renowned comic book writer, Simone wrote a column for a popular comic book discussion site. Imagine that! Keep reaching for that rainbow, Jimski!) The period after someone pointed out Women in Refrigerators has been longer than my entire adult comic reading career. And Women in Refrigerators are still happening all the time.

Was I wrong to think things would have gotten better by now? Have they gotten better, but I’m just being pessimistic or blind to the march of progress?

Maybe it’s telling that the people quoted in this week’s outrage had their heyday ten or twenty years ago. Maybe the people in their ascendency aren’t in articles like these because they’re too busy solving the problem with actual work. All I know for sure is that this merry-go-round needs to come to a stop. If people are still having this conversation in five years, they’ll be having it without me.

Jim Mroczkowski can only let his daughter look at female superheroes on t-shirts.


  1. Are you complaining about people being interviewed? Or that women get raped? Or that you don’t write comics? Its hard to tell in this article. If you’re looking for strong female characters in comics there are a bunch being released this month and I don’t think anyone is being raped in them. Wonder Woman, Avengers Arena, Fearless Defenders, X Men, Batwoman, 6 Guns, Saga, Worlds Finest, Earth 2, Cable and X-Force, etc. I could name more. If you don’t want to talk about this in five years why are you talking about it now?

    • The top two pulls on this site for last week were All New XMen and Trillium. Both feature women on the cover. Both have very different female leads. Neither are raped.

    • Congratulations on missing the point of the article.

      The fact that this is still an issue is the point of the article. The point is that comics are still a male-dominated industry, and women are so under-represented that it’s ridiculous.

      Yes there are books like Wonder Woman and Batgirl and Fearless Defenders and whatnot, but the issue isn’t solved. Wonder Woman’s costume is still impractical. Last I checked, Power Girl had her boob-window back. Starfire is still an unlikeable nymphomaniac with an impractical costume. Harley Quinn is still sexualised to the point of ridiculousness. Hell, even Batgirl’s still fighting crime in HEELS. Have you ever tried WALKING in heels?! And yet she lands from a grappling hook in them!

      Yes, there are strong female characters, but they are still being pandered towards a heterosexual male audience.

      And that’s just in DC, and only covers female representation. Don’t even get me started on minority representation.

      The problem is that if big-name, high-earning, top-brass individuals like McFarlane and Miller are STILL thinking like this, then the industry is never going to change and adapt and evolve. And that’s not a problem we should still be having 14 years after Gail Simone started pointing it out.

    • Completely agree with nietzchegood. It’s clear Jim is talking about it because it is still being talked about.

      Congratulations guys

      In the broad galaxy of comic books published today you have listed a grand total of 11 books to support your claims. Well done. Now if you haven’t already take a look at the address above and think again.

    • Are you complaining about comic book physics? What about all the other comics I mentioned? Maybe Wonder Woman needs pants, but despite that she doesn’t need a man to save her. This is all bluster. Heterosexual men seem to love to complain about female characters in comics but those complaining usually don’t read comics featuring female characters. I’m sorry Batgirl has heels but that doesn’t mean she’s stupid or anything incapable. It means she wears heels. If you don’t like the heels, don’t read Batgirl. But then you would be judging a woman based on her clothes and not who she is. So support strong female characters and that’s what you’ll get. Feminism isn’t forcing all women to dress demurely. Its accepting that women can do whatever they want and not trying to find impede that. If an alien super general wants to use Red Hood and Red Arrow as her own personal sex toys then she should be allowed to do that and not judged for it. If everyone hates Power Girls’ new costume and wants the boob window back then that’s okay too. Because Power Girl is still strong, tough, smart, and powerful. And if you can’t see past her boob window then its you who has the problem not her.

    • I always get that. “You only named (certain number of comics) that doesn’t prove anything.” What’s an acceptable number for you? How many comics in a given week need to feature a strong female character in order for you to accept the obvious?

    • Okay, well I read Batgirl every month, so that point is moot. And I’m not going to stop reading it because I love the characterisation of Barbara, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that she wears heels not because “she wears heels” but because a male artist has drawn her that way. Because heels are fetishised. If she was truly fighting crime she’d be wearing boots.
      And no, Wonder Woman doesn’t need pants, she needs a top that has shoulder support and isn’t weighted down by a metal W that would fall down every time she flew. But she’s not going to stop wearing that, because what’s Wonder Woman without cleavage, eh?
      The point is, yes these characters have the choice to dress however they want, but they’re not making the choices. The artists are. And the artists are, 90% of the time, straight men trying to appeal to other straight men.

    • I’m sorry, but you loose me when you try to prove your argument by comparing comic books to reality. If Batgirl was really fighting crime she would be a police officer. She wouldn’t wear heels but she wouldn’t wear a mask and cape and she wouldn’t be flying around a city on a grappling hook. So yes, men draw comics and men read comics. Do you fetishize heels? Is that why you read Batgirl?

    • This article is a pretty all over the place.

      You dislike the objectification of women in comics, yet also hate people who discuss changing them in your twitter feed. You’re accepting of this status quo and shrug it off as something that will never be improved upon. Surely this is the exact same as McFarlane throwing his hands up and claiming an inability to change this? It’s a contrarian view that complains but doesn’t really want the issue addressed.

      Being jaded by the debate doesn’t mean it’s not a debate worth having. Those who want to improve on the issue should be commended. The country you live in has a culture of rape that is beyond barbaric and a jaded “who cares?” attitude towards it in any medium certainly doesn’t help. You mention in the article you have a daughter. Surely as a father you would support this debate rather than throw your hands up at others who do?

    • A lack of reality is still not an excuse for misogyny.

      Yes men read comics, but SO DO WOMEN, and we are excluding 50% of our audience when our art panders only to the male gaze. But editorial dictates that’s what the art must do, because it still believes it’s only targeting men and that’s the goddamn issue.

      And no, like I literally just said, I adore the characterisation of Babs and Gail Simone’s writing is superb and that is why I read Batgirl. The problem is not me, it’s the industry, and people like you who excuse it because you don’t think comic books can take criticism like any other medium.

    • I’m all for criticism of comics. But the criticism has to be valid. So you love Gail Simone and her Batgirl but you hate she wears heels. What exactly is misogynistic? The well written comic portraying a strong female lead or the fact that you’re disturbed she’s wearing heels. Is focusing on her personality and character and deeds misogynistic or is obsessing over her heels misogynistic? You yourself admit that you love Batgirl and that you read her book every month. Does that mean you choose to actively support misogyny?

    • Oh. My. God.

      Dude. This argument is not about why the gosh-diddly-darn I read Batgirl. It’s about the misogyny of the art in comic books. Step away from narrative from the moment, REALISE that no one is talking about narrative, and focus on the art.

      Why does Wonder Woman have her cleavage out? Why is Starfire in a cosmic bikini? Why does Power Girl have a boob window? Why does Harley Quinn wear a corset?

      And hell, let’s take that ‘strong, female character’ vibe you seem so intent on pushing at the moment, and pick a female character that is submissive and psychopathic; Harley Quinn. Do you honestly think that the FICTIONAL CHARACTER Harley Quinn woke up one morning and put on a FREAKING CORSET because she wanted to feel like AN EMPOWERED WOMAN?! No. The artists drew her that way, because they wanted to plaster her knockers all over every cover of Suicide Squad.

      There is a deep-seated culture of misogyny in comic books, and the fact that I read Batgirl is neither here nor there.

    • No, she probably put it on because she’s psychotic, and wanted the Joker to notice her. This article is about comic book art? Could have fooled me. Why are all the men in skintight spandex? Is it to empower them? All I’m doing is referencing the comic you love to prove a point. The clothes DONT make the man or the women. I’m far more concerned about the strength of character then I am about what Batmans wearing this season. Your insistence that heels and cleavage are misogynistic is in itself misogynistic because you are completely ignoring who this person is and what they stand for and are instead complaining about if she dresses like a whore. Think about that!

    • NO, SHE DIDN’T. That’s my point! The CHARACTER is not making these decisions, and that’s what you’re not getting.

      There is no narrative reason why the majority of the female characters in comic books are half-dressed. YES the men are wearing skin-tight spandex, but at least all of their flesh is covered.

      Now, if a real woman, in a real environment, wishes to wear high heels to a party and show her cleavage cool for her. But these aren’t, like I keep insisting, real women. They have been dressed in a certain way to appeal to an audience because comic book companies are selling a product.

      If this was just one character that wanted to dress how ever she liked? Awesome. That’s grand! But it’s line-wide, in both of The Big Two’s comic books.

    • Well then, is the artist drawing the character drawing her out of character? Would the character of Harley Quinn plaster her boobs all over the place for attention? Would the character of Batgirl shove her cleavage all in your face? The answers are Yes and No by the way. If you’re saying sex sells… Then you are correct. If you are saying a diversity in personalities in women don’t exist in comics then you are wrong. And you are still linking how a woman dresses to who they are. I don’t do that. Maybe that’s why I don’t care what they wear. Also, Power Girls tits look great in that boob window. But that’s not why I love her.

    • Oh yes. Sorry. How someone dresses has nothing to do with how they want to portray themselves. I’ll alert the fashion industry.

      No. Harley Quinn would not plaster her boobs all over the place. Not all the time. For a good many years she’s been in a one-piece outfit. She’s being sexualised to sell a product.

      I’m not saying a diversity in personalities doesn’t exist, and you know full well that’s not what I meant.

      Women, regardless of personality, are almost all sexualised in comic books.

      And Power Girl’s boob window is literally the dumbest thing in the world, **COMMENT MODERATED** It’s a stonking great handle for bad guys to grab on to, and is utterly impractical for flight. She wouldn’t wear it.

    • Excuse me, ‘people’ like you to gawp at.

    • I know right? Morons like me who realize that comic books are a visual medium filled with over the top and unrealistic things. I always assumed Power Girl has the boob window in order to distract idiots and bad guys who only focus on tits and ignore her true strengths. She would wear it dummy, she’s wearing it right now. And yes, how someone dresses sometimes signals how they want to be viewed in the REAL WORLD. Not in a fantasy medium. As a gay man I don’t really gawp at her tits. I notice them and am really impressed but it doesn’t tantalize or distract me. Its a fictional character. Although some of those Cosplay girls are super impressive in their Power Girl costumes. I guess they to feel her costume is “wrong” and horrible. Or maybe, just maybe they do feel that the costume is hot and they want to feel hot too. What are your thoughts on women dressing as their heroes?

    • The only thing I would argue is that people (or a vocal minority, presumably Power Girl fans) hated her windowless costume. When Jim Lee redesigned WW’s costume, women hated it (I’ve yet to find a single female or post written by one that liked it). So there’s other issues at play with them.

      And would the sexualization of women be ok if they were just covered head go toe in skintight spandex? Is that what I’m reading?

    • People can dress however they want in the real world, but Power Girl only dresses that way in the comic books in order to get people to buy the books she’s in. It’s a sexist marketing ploy. End of discussion.

    • “What are your thoughts on women dressing as their heroes?”

      Good point. If women are so against how women are portrayed in comics, why do they dress up in half naked costumes portraying them at comic book conventions?

    • Thank you for speaking for everyone. Haha. End of discussion? Really? Why did fans demand the boob window back? Do you honestly think anyone reads Worlds Finest based on the boob window? Yikes. I doubt your logic.

    • Hey man, I read an article/review about it. The author ended it with “Congrats to DC for sticking to their mission statement and throwing out new stuff that doesn’t work”. And I’m 99% the author was female! But wait, shouldn’t her old costume be less desirable since it’s so reveling??? AGGH, my head hurts.

      This is just a general vibe I get (from female fans) but some female characters have to be sexy, I guess. Catwoman has to use her feminie wiles to defeat opponents, WW needs to be beautiful and sensual, Power Girl needs to be tough and sexy… And this is me just repeating back what I’ve read by female bloggers. I don’t agree with any of that. And I don’t buy any of their books either it’s not like I have a horse in the race on if I got a clear window at PG’s cleavage.

    • @ nietzchegood, you raise many good points and defend them well. Some people just don’t get it, disagree or just don’t care. I don’t understand why Redbaron504 won’t concede on the high heel example. No one would willing choose to run and jump between building gaps in heels. You do that in boots with ankle support. Obviously comics are unrealistic but there has been a trend to make them more relatable or grounded and fighting crime in high heels is neither. Female superheroes wear heels because it makes its more physically attractive to the majority of men, ie the target audience of comic books. In terms of over-sexualizing men, they definitly are but I would argue its not nearly as close to the extent women are. Simply put, the industry should be moving away from this and I think with all the cool and original stuff at Image this will hopefully be less of a problem in the future.

    • Because a woman wearing heels is a very poor example of sexism. Wearing a cape is equally unrealistic for fighting crime. It could snag on something, someone could grab it, it can get in the way while fighting. But! Batman looks cooler in a cape! Its not sexist. Its a visual medium. You’re nitpicking about heels! There’s no practical reason for any woman to wear heels! Ever! Yet, women still wear heels all the time. Doing all kinds of things. Doctors wear heels, lawyers wear heels, my Mom wears heels. Heels mean nothing! You’re just putting way to much weight on how a woman dresses. And my point is that THAT is sexist and not the heels. Your argument is that they dress like whores so they are whores so that’s sexist. They aren’t whores! They are women wearing heels. The only things heels denote is that a woman wants to appear one or two inches taller. How grounded is a man flying around in blue and red spandex?

    • @ Redbaron. At least capes have some kind of function, intimidation, gliding, ect. Heels have no function, and comparing a layer or doctor to a super hero is a terrible comparison. Try construction worker or athlete. Have you ever seen a women in the WNBA wearing heels or a female construction worker in heels? Also I don’t know if your comment was directed at me but I never said “whore”, your the only one to use “whore”. There is a difference between over-sexualized and whore. Try and not change the meaning of people’s criticisms.

      Considering half of a comic is art I don’t think the people in these comments are putting to much emphasis on it. Your right, flying is obviously not real but I just don’t see the need for the majority of women to be wearing thongs, heels and showing so much cleavage while they are flying. Is that really such a big deal? The majority of male superheroes are also sexualized but you also don’t see them in banana hammocks or see artists drawing huge bulges over their crotch.

    • Capes are very bad, they serve no purpose. Plus they are dangerous, NO CAPES!!

    • Heels make you taller ie more intimidating. They can also hurt you if kicked in the face. Maybe they hold a batarang, maybe they propel her forward. There are just as many functions to a fictional heel as there are to a fictional cape. And the doctor/lawyer comment is referring to the practicality of heels in any profession. There is none. Women in the WNBA don’t have smoke bombs or batarangs either. Neither do policewomen. Please explain to me how heels are sexist. Do they draw attention to Batgirls sexuality anymore then showing off Thor’s guns? What’s wrong with a woman wearing heels? Nothing. What’s wrong with a fictional super hero wearing heels? Nothing. Should Batgirl not show her red hair either? Is that too provocative? If she was in a burka would that be more appropriate? And artist draw huge bulges on men all the time. There arms bulge, there chest bulges, there butts are right there in your face, and there crotches are frequently highlighted by yellow underwear. What you are saying is that heels are sexualized on female super heroes. That they are not practical. That females in the real world don’t wear heels to play basketball. What I’m saying is that heels are a type of shoe. They are not practical. And Batgirl is not and should not be based in the real world. And her heels say nothing about her that a doctor wearing heels says about her.

    • The heels will probably not hurt so much once batgirl broke her ankles after chasing down some thugs, but we don’t need to go into that. I’m sure there are multiple unnecessary items you could bring up that would end up hurting a superhero, so you don’t need to point them out because I know they exist. I think our conversation has run its course and we should just agree to disagree.

      To summarize my views, I think both men and women are over sexualized in comics and that women are more so then men. I’m not against comic characters being sexual entities I just think it’s skewed towards a male audience and it does not have to be. It generally doesn’t prevent me from buying certain comics. I’m not gonna stop buying Batman comics because I think Babs should wear boots (and no I don’t think she should wear a burka either). Don’t take these comments to such extremes. Just because some people want female superheroes in boots and sports bras doesn’t mean we want them completely covered. I think, at certain times, the female depiction is unnecessary wish they toned it down.

    • You keep using that argument that men are drawn equally as sexual, with emphasis on the men’s tight outfits. First of all, what I said earlier about how being ripped is more of a male power fantasy is still relevant, despite you attempting to handwave it away. Second, yeah…you have artists like Nicola Scott who throw some things to the female fans by drawing some male cheesecake. Yeah, you have forward thinking writers like Matt Fraction who give increased emphasis on female characters.

      So what?

      Does the existence of Nicola Scott and Matt Fraction REALLY balance the sexism scales? Yes, they’re doing tremendous work to do so, but the fact that what they’re doing is considered against the grain proves that female sexism is still a problem. When short sighted fans try to use a couple of pictures that Scott drew to prove an erroneous point that female sexism doesn’t exist anymore because a few instances of male exploitation exist proves that the only ammo these fans have against the sexism argument are weak false negatives.

      I also have a feeling that most fans don’t know the difference between cheesecake and the troublesome poses that are highlighted by The Hawkeye Initiative. That Nightwing #1 cover that is being thrown around that’s apparently proof that female comics sexism no longer exists? Yeah, his costume is super form fitting and his physique is incredibly pronounced. Notice, however, that he’s NOT in a sexual pose? He’s leaping into action, and any sexuality is secondary and in the eye of the beholder. Now take a look at the covers that The Hawkeye Initiative lampoons. Notice how they are not only in revealing costumes, but the poses the women are drawn into are either sexually pandering poses that are hideously disguised as action poses, with some women impossibly posed so that both their boobs and butt are in the reader’s frame of reference. Hell, Greg Land straight up uses porn pics for his female references.

      And by the way, bros, the answer to female sexism isn’t male sexism. That’s an incredibly juvenile stance to take. It implies that the way to satiate angry women is to draw sexy pics that will make them forget about the issues they initially had. Besides, male sexism & female sexism are NO WHERE near the same thing. Females have been the target of institutional sexism FOR YEARS in America, and is still going on elsewhere throughout the world. The history behind female sexism is much more heavy and troubling than male sexism. I’m sorry to all the dudes who think that this is unfair, but deal with it: Female sexism carries much more weight. Anyone who tries to equate the two is insulting.

    • Thank you comicbookchris, well thought out and explained.

    • I’m saying a fantasy medium is sexualized on both ends. And that poses and costumes are window dressings. What would offend me is if the characters were sexist or dressed out of character. They are not and don’t. Your insistence that heels and boobs are sexist is what is actually sexist. Because those things don’t prevent them from saving the day. These characters are near and dear to me and as long as they keep being smart, brave, and capable I don’t give a flying fuck what they wear and I won’t pass judgment on them based on what they wear.

    • So the people who are against sexism are the sexists. OK.

    • My troll-sense is tingling!

  2. I have no idea what this article is about.

  3. How come people never talk about how men are represented in comics? Tall dark and hansom ring a bell? Look at Bruce Wayne? Clark Kent, Dick Grayson, you think I will ever look like them? Or most men in the real world? We see Bruce with his shirt off all the time, and his six pack abs. But nobody complains about that. It’s fine if people want to complain about how women are portrayed in comic books, but it goes both ways for how men are portrayed too. It’s a comic book, the heroes of course are going to be good looking. Same goes for TV and movies. Comic books aren’t real life. The characters are always going to be drawn as a stereotypical attractive looking female and an attractive looking male. I really doubt it’s ever going to change. Example, just look at the cover of Nightwing #1. It shows Grayon with his legs spread wide open on the cover.

    • Strange. So I guess women who flock to male strip clubs would actually PREFER to see just their eyes and kissable lips. Not guys with six pack abs who are half naked. We should clue those places in and they would probably double their attendance!

    • Yes because male strippers totally make as much money as female strippers, because that’s clearly what all women want. Got it. Thanks for that.

      The point of the comic was that comic book art depicting women the way it does makes women uncomfortable and excludes them, whereas the way men are drawn is a male power fantasy designed to appeal to men. Because everything in comics is designed to pander towards straight white men.

      When you see Bruce Wayne topless, you feel slightly inadequate, but you don’t even pause. You just keep reading. When a woman sees Starfire portrayed the way she is, she feels physically uncomfortable. That’s the difference.

    • Wow, that assumes A LOT.

    • Both the extremely chiseled male bodies and the hyper-sexual female bodies stem from male fantasies. They both represent what men want…they want the chiseled body and the super sexy girl. What you’re purporting is purely coincidental.

    • No it doesn’t. I have female friends who read comic books and make this out to be a problem, and there is an entire culture of female comic book readers on social networks like Tumblr who take issue with it.

      Try looking up ‘The Hawkeye Initiative’ sometime.

    • No, actually I read comics for the stories and don’t really care how the men are dressed. And I am a man. It isn’t real, it’s a story. They are drawn that way because it’s the stereo typical man. I don’t have a problem with that. You are right, I don’t feel less adequate when I look at Bruce Wayne and look at myself and say, “Damn, I need to hit the gym. Apparently that is what I should look like.” If that is how somebody DOES feel than they have a really low self esteem. In order to look like the people in comics you would first have to have a lot of luck and have great genes. Second you would have to work out for about 3 hours a day and maintain a strict diet. Maybe some men do feel less adequate. And some women do too probably. But not all women. I know plenty of women who read comics and never mention how someone is dressed or how they look etc. To say that all women feel inadequate when they read a comic and see Wonder Woman etc is stereotyping. And women wouldn’t read comics at all if it made them feel like crap.

    • Go and look up ‘The Hawkeye Initiative’. Go and do it right now, and see the literally hundreds of thousands of people supporting it, and then tell me this isn’t an issue.

      Congratulations, you and a group of women you know can bury your heads in the sand.

      Hundreds of thousands of other people can’t, so clearly this is a goddamn issue.

    • Does the Hawkeye initiative have anything to do with how cool and badass Kate Bishop is? How she was the only Hawkeye featured in the Hawkeye Annual?

    • RedBaron504 if you’re just going to keep focusing on singular books, and not the bigger picture, in order to support your argument, I’mma have to ask you to leave.

      Go and look it up and see what I mean.

    • Wait…Kate Bishop was the sole focus of a Hawkeye issue? WE DID IT! SEXISM IS DEAD!

    • Wow, just looked it up, I couldn’t stop laughing. So they draw Hawkeye and have him pose like a woman. And if he doesn’t look normal that means we have a problem? If you drew a woman and had her flex and pose like a man, I’m guessing that wouldn’t look normal either. I’m pretty sure a man’s body and a woman’s body are different. Last time I checked anyway. Again here is the cover of Nightwing #1.

      I will never look this good. Yes, I can see his crotch, his legs are spread wide open. I don’t care. What I care about is what happens in the story, who the villain is…etc. And if it bothered me that much, you know what? I wouldn’t buy it. Nobody is forcing comic books on people. I suspect it will never change. If anything I’m guessing we will be seeing MORE skin/muscles/sexy poses in the future. That’s just the direction society is going. This isn’t the 1940s anymore. Comic books have gotten more and more scandalous over the years. I don’t foresee it ever going back to the way it was in the 1930s or 1940s.

    • And no, they drew Hawkeye in THE EXACT sexualised poses that women are put in, in comic books. And if your point of men and women’s bodies not being similar holds true, what do you expect to happen to trans characters?

      Pretending something isn’t an issue doesn’t stop it being an issue.

      Oh, and one little cover made you uncomfortable? Try most of the covers for Supergirl, Red Hood and the Outlaws, World’s Finest or Suicide Squad post-New 52.

      This is a problem.

    • How many different books are enough for you? I’m citing specific examples in the past month that disproves what you’re claiming. You are making vague references to things and linking websites. Those many many “singular” books directly refute your claim. Because they feature or star a well developed female character with depth of character. Why are you choosing to ignore these comics?

    • Oh for pete’s sake; Zatanna, Batgirl, Power Girl, Super Girl, Wonder Woman, Huntress, Black Canary, Poison Ivy, Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Star Sapphire, DO I NEED TO GO ON? All of these characters are inappropriately dress, and they’re JUST from DC.

      There ARE comic books doing the right thing. Yeah, cool, Kate Bishop got one Annual. Come back to me when she has an entire book to herself.

      I’m not being vague in the slightest, I’m being general, because this is not a problem linked to SINGULAR books, but to THE ENTIRE INDUSTRY.

    • Well, her and Clint Barton are now sharing the Hawkeye title. And my response would be that all characters in comics are dressed inappropriately.

    • The cover of Nightwing #1 with his legs spread wide open for the whole world to see DIDN’T make me feel uncomfortable. That’s my point. I know I will never look as good as him. I’m fine with it. And I don’t care if he is making a sexy pose. If women or anybody find him sexy and pick up the title for that reason then great! That means more people are buying it and it will be less likely to be cancelled. And I enjoy the title so I don’t want it to be cancelled. I really don’t think a woman is going to look down on me because I don’t look like Nightwing. And if they do then they have their own issues and I wouldn’t want to be associated with them anyway.

    • To quote comicBOOKchris, who said this an entire hour ago and you’re both still not getting it “Both the extremely chiseled male bodies and the hyper-sexual female bodies stem from male fantasies. They both represent what men want… they want the chiseled body and the super sexy girl.”

      And no, Clint and Kate aren’t sharing the Hawkeye book. Clint is the main character, and Kate is an occasional supporting character. Equal time is not split between the two, because it’s Clint’s book.

    • To quote comicBOOKchris, who said this an entire hour ago and you’re both still not getting it “Both the extremely chiseled male bodies and the hyper-sexual female bodies stem from male fantasies. They both represent what men want… they want the chiseled body and the super sexy girl.”

      And no, Clint and Kate aren’t sharing the Hawkeye book. Clint is the main character, and Kate is an occasional supporting character. Equal time is not split between the two, because it’s Clint’s book.

      So because comicBOOKchris said: “Both the extremely chiseled male bodies and the hyper-sexual female bodies stem from male fantasies. They both represent what men want… they want the chiseled body and the super sexy girl.” that makes it true? So…to summarize: Men like to look at hot men because they want to look like them, and they like to look at hot women because that is the kind of women they want. Women don’t like to look at hot men because they just want a guy with sexy eyes and kissable lips(the cartoon link you posted), and they don’t like to look at hot women because they don’t want to look like that. No your are right, I’m still not getting that because it makes no sense.

      And Kate and Clint ARE splitting time in Hawkeye now, she WAS just a supporting character, who was still in almost every issue. But now they are rotating full issues. I think it’s every other issue. Kate is on the West Coast and Clint is on the East Coast.

    • So because comicBOOKchris said: “Both the extremely chiseled male bodies and the hyper-sexual female bodies stem from male fantasies. They both represent what men want… they want the chiseled body and the super sexy girl.” that makes it true? So…to summarize: Men like to look at hot men because they want to look like them, and they like to look at hot women because that is the kind of women they want. Women don’t like to look at hot men because they just want a guy with sexy eyes and kissable lips(the cartoon link you posted), and they don’t like to look at hot women because they don’t want to look like that. No your are right, I’m still not getting that because it makes no sense.

      And Kate and Clint ARE splitting time in Hawkeye now, she WAS just a supporting character, who was still in almost every issue. But now they are rotating full issues. I think it’s every other issue. Kate is on the West Coast and Clint is on the East Coast.

    • Really, I heard since she was going to L.A. She would be featured one month and Clint would be featured the following month from now on. Please show me these women who don’t like looking at a chiseled body and a sexy girl. I’m guessing as a man you speak for all women everywhere? All the fan girls I know like the sexy guys and the sexy girls in their fantasy fulfillment medium.

    • No, you’re totally right. Sorry. I’ll go inform the legion of female comic book readers that daningotham has solved everything, and they have no right to feel uncomfortable any more.

      You’re part of the problem, friend. If this Wednesday came around, and all of the female costumes had been amended to be more practical and show less flesh, would you be in uproar?

      If the answer is yes, stop and rethink about your priorities and why you read comic books. If no, then stop fighting what needs to happen. That’s all.

    • Your friends have every right to feel uncomfortable. I’m sure there are some men who feel uncomfortable by how men are portrayed too. The advice I would give(since I solve the world’s problems) the women AND men who feel uncomfortable is don’t buy the product if it makes you feel that way. The one way for your voice to be heard is by hurting their sales. If someone IS uncomfortable and they keep buying the product then they must not mind it THAT much. If something makes me uncomfortable I don’t do it. If I stick my hand into a fire and I get burnt then I don’t do it again. If I still kept sticking my hand into the fire over and over I’m pretty sure that is the definition of insanity.

      To answer your question:

      “If this Wednesday came around, and all of the female costumes had been amended to be more practical and show less flesh, would you be in uproar?” No, I wouldn’t care.

      “If no, then stop fighting what needs to happen.” I’m not fighting anything. I’m just saying there are 2 sides of the coin, women AND men are portrayed with sexy stereotypical forms in comic books. Go ahead an lead the charge to change comic books. Just lead it for everyone, not just the women. Oh, and good luck with that and let me know how it turns out.

    • There can be only three possible answers to the questions this article poses. Considering the amount of posts comic book Chris has made in just the last week on highly emotional articles, comic book Chris is either an insomniac, unemployed or ifanboy employed. I find it odd also that nietzschedgood has never posted anything on ifanboy before today and managed to jump in to contradict the first poster. Perhaps Nietzschedgood is another company shill.

      Doubling down again and again. Circle the wagons.

    • Dude, I would love to work for iFanboy, but alas I don’t. I’m just a Journalism student.

      As for this being my first forum, I’ve just never had something actually rile me up enough to post enough before. I’ve been doing the pull list for months though. And ‘jumping in’? Nah, man, that was just good timing. I was procrastinating from an essay and just happened to be on at the right time.

      But hell, if you think my writing’s iFanboy level, that’s quite a compliment, thank you.

  4. I think Todd’s “Welp…can’t do anything!” attitude comes from the fact that the industry, in general, is scared to move away from the same model of characters that got famous in the first place, since those white dude characters are where the money is. Yeah, they try and break away from the mold with characters like Miles Morales, but compared to Peter Parker, he’s quite marginalized. They try and use the excuse that the general public won’t respond to lead women/colored/LGBT characters, but I see that argument as a chicken/egg one. Perhaps they would respond well if YOU THE PUBLISHER had more faith in these concepts?

  5. The fact that these types of topics are still relevant shouldn’t be dismissed with a shrug. The fact that the people that ascended to powerful industry positions still internalize these mindsets to such a degree that they will parrot them mindlessly in interviews is a major problem. There are creators that use characters with diverse backgrounds, race, sexuality, and do it well to further the plot and develop other characters. Macfarlane and Millar represent a mindset that is inherently limiting and demonstrates an inability to look beyond their own mindset. Not for nothing these two luminaries are still stuck selling stuff from two decades ago.

    It’s ultimately a good thing that people still express outrage over these kinds of comments. This isn’t fanboys raging over prices going up or bloated events. These are real issues that have profound societal implications. It’s only by expressing continued disapproval of these kinds of attitudes that things ever change. Remember the outrage over the a gay Green Lantern or a mixed-race Spiderman? Now no one cares. It’s only be embracing new ideas and acknowledging that we have the ability to change things that something can really be altered.

  6. One of my favorite responses to these kinds of questions comes from Joss Whedon, he has it locked and loaded for almost every interview.

    Interviewer: Why do you write so many strong female characters?

    Whedon: Because you keep asking me that question.

  7. Time to write that comic book, Jimski.

  8. The issue of the objectification of women should also be examined in relation to this site and its advertising. The sidebar with it often inappropriate images of women are pretty embarrassing to most grown adults. Does iFanboy really think we need to see “TVs Hottest Teachers” in the sidebar of this article? What does that say about how they view the iFanbase? Perhaps there should be an examination of advertising by the three guys to make sure the site doesn’t fall into this pit, or alternatively a justification for why that sort of content is on the site.

    • I was just thinking the same thing a few minutes ago. Here here.

    • It was brought up in this column last week by another reader and sadly got no response from editorial. The juvenile sort of objectification that these ads promote are creepy and embarrassing to be completely honest.

    • It almost undermines the point of the article. I know that iFanboy has to generate ad revenue, but still…

    • I agree about the clickbait links in the “You MIght Also Like” section of each page. Obviously, I don’t begrudge the guys doing what they have to do to make some money for the efforts involved in running this site, but a lot of the content in that section seems contrary to the values I’ve come to associate with iFanboy. In all honesty, some of the images used in that section often keep me from visiting the site while I’m at work (granted, I shouldn’t be on this site while at work anyway, but well, you know…)

      However, I’m not so sure that Josh, Conor and Paul have easy control over what populates that section of the site. It feels very automated.

      So while I’d love to see the “You MIght Also Like” section disappear, I largely just ignore it.

    • It’s very disappointing that the guys have ignored the issue both in this article comments section and when it was brought up in last weeks. It seems like they don’t have any interest in engaging the topic.

      @Ken: From my experience ad generators such as this have parameters allowing you to pick what type of ads appear and don’t appear on the sidebar. They’re automated but still have a decent degree of control. If this one doesn’t maybe iFanboy sold look at another provider that would work better.

      I agree that the spirit of the site doesn’t match the ads, but then again we’ve had a number of negative troll-bait articles in recent weeks that seem to exist for little more than clicks and ad revenue rather than the good content iFanboy usually provides. I suppose it’s a money vs standards issue. No one knows what the sites financial situation is and maybe editorial is moving away from the old way of doing things to ensure the site stays up. I think it’ll have a negative impact on the community if it continues in the tone of Jim’s articles. The negativity of the articles and the inane comments aren’t indicative of the welcoming community that’s been here for so many years and it’d be a shame to see it go.

    • @KenOchalek: just a quick comment with regard to some of the ads being NSFW. You may already be aware, but there is a popular Chrome extension called Adblock that gets rid of those and pretty much all other ads on any website. I like it, it’s pretty intuitive and you can set it so that ads still run on whatever domains you want to see ads. Hope this helps you goof off at work a little bit more!

    • True True. We know why those ads exist in that form; sex sells, but why does this site have to accept them to make money? I’m sure there are 100s of other options and kinds of ads that they could instead promote.

  9. I gotta say, I’m kinda apathetic about women. Not in a “I hate women, women suck, MAKE ME A SANDWHICH!!!”. Just in a whatever way. It’s all the same sh*t with everything, but I guess because with comics we can COMMUNICATE with the Production side we expect more. But I’m an aspiring comic artist, so I guess at some point I’ll have to make a stand on the issue of women in comics, which is why I’ve decided to draw most of them overweight or unattractive in my books. Seems like that should solve some problems if I’m reading alot of the common complaints right.

    Here’s something to chew; Alan Moore uses rape in his comics. More than I thought. Hopefully Snyder and Lemire and Venditti and others can avoid that. If only so we see something new for the sake of newness.

  10. The lack of men on Etsy upsets my to no end!!!!!

  11. Yeah, this article is all over the place.

    About the “women in refrigerators” thing, I’m tempted to start citing examples about things that have happened to Damian Wayne, The Joker, Jason Todd, Wolverine, Hal Jordan, and dozens of other male characters who, mostly in recent years, have had oodles of awfully violent things done to them for shock-value purposes…

    But I won’t do that.

    My thinking regarding all of these arguments, on all sides of the issues, is that basically THIS IS THE HELL WE DESERVE.

    McFarlane’s passivity and cynicism is annoying. But try as we might (and the Big Two HAVE tried) it seems incredibly difficult to expand the female demographic, so matter what you offer them.

    I would even see an argument where someone would say “This is the ladies’ own faults. Why are WOMEN so PREJUDICED against comics, when we DO offer plenty of non-male/non-superhero stuff that should be up their alley?”

    But the whole thing is just a depressing, messy industry. I have Batwoman, but for all the marketing push behind it — from spotlights on CNN, to forwards written by Rachel Maddow, to GLAAD awards — none of it translates into sales. It just doesn’t. I wish it did. I champion Kate Kane, and what Simone has done with Barbara Gordon. But it seems like there’s something intrinsic about the American superhero industry that just doesn’t appeals to women no matter what. That DEFINITELY doesn’t mean that the Big Two should stop representing female characters. No, they should keep doing it, even more, because I think it is just a nice, reasonable, good thing to do. But if you’re going to keep looking at things and never be happy unless every quadrant of society has perfect 50/50 representation, you’re sort of damning yourself to endless agony and frustration.

    • Gah, typos. I meant “it seems incredibly difficult to expand the female demographic, NO matter what you offer them” and “WE have Batwoman”.

    • I think you’re on to something, and I think I have the answer; not all women are Geeks. Or nerds or whatever we’re calling it. It’s a niche group within a larger niche group. So pretending like EVERY women in the world would line up to see an all-female Expendibles is kinda laughable to me. Buts just my opinion.

    • It could be that men are more drawn to comics than women intrinsically. But it can’t help that even in titles that supposedly highlight strong female characters, they have to be shown in skin tight outfits, with knee high boots, and boob windows.

    • Unless of course those characters are Catwoman, Power Girl, or Wonder Woman. Which is the vibe I get from female fans, or the most vocal among them. And by vibe, i mean my understanding of what they’re saying.But why speculate?

      And if men WERE intrinsically drawn to comics, I think more comics would be sold. Like I said, we’re a niche group; and female fans are Inside of that niche in a much smaller capacity.

  12. The issue has a lot more to do with the characterization of a female character than their appearance. It’s impossible to deny that the majority of female superheroes are drawn in a ridiculous fashion, and sure male superheroes don’t exactly have realistic body types either, but there are huge differences there. The reason all men are drawn with rippling abs is undoubtedly a male power fantasy, it’s also what an extremely athletic male body looks like, with a few exceptions, most female superheroes do not look like athletes. Michael Lark’s Forever from Lazarus is what an athletic woman would look like, but as a man from the letters column complained, she looks “too butch”, she doesn’t fulfill his ideal of what a woman should look like, therefore we have women who are supposed to fight crime, but have a waist that probably cannot sustain the sheer weight of their breasts.

    Gilbert Hernandez’s women characters are outrageously proportioned. Seriously, look at Fritz. He hasn’t spent his career objectifying them and using them as plot devices or given them virtually no personality, he has spent 30 years telling stories about women and he has done it well. There has been murder, sexual violence and more sex than you can imagine, but you can’t call him sexist because he respects his characters and treats them as humans.

    Sure, you can list some books led by women, but how about some produced by them? Just because Catwoman and Wonder Woman have their own titles doesn’t mean that sexism no longer exists in superhero comics. Maybe it’ll be an improvement when Catwoman doesn’t spend 3 pages of her first issue having sex with Batman or when Wonder Woman’s history hasn’t been retconned to make sure that there are men prevalent in it.

    It’s not that women aren’t interested in comics, it’s just hard to look at images of a person that is supposed to represent you that is extremely offensive and the attempt to include you are merely pandering with little real effort. There is a reason that there are a great number of female creators outside of superhero comics, many of them leading their own publishing company or working for one, its because Marvel and DC make it painfully obvious that they are not welcome and their attempts to show otherwise pale in comparison.

    • ” Maybe it’ll be an improvement when Catwoman doesn’t spend 3 pages of her first issue having sex with Batman or when Wonder Woman’s history hasn’t been retconned to make sure that there are men prevalent in it.”.

      I hope you RECENT examples, not stuff from 5-6 or even 1 year ago. Otherwise, we have improvement.

    • I don’t see why anything that took place a year ago is invalid to you, but okay. I think Jim and the people above me detail some problematic things said by creators recently or how they are generally treated. I don’t make a habit of continuing to pick up books that I know won’t escape these issues, so I’m probably not the best person to barrage you with a list of evidence, especially when I think the dearth of female creators and ratio of male to female characters speaks for itself, but here are some things that have stood out to me recently:

      The treatment of the relationship between Doc Ock and MJ in the earlier issues of Superior Spider-Man, that came very close to non-consensual sexual acts. It seemed to be played for laughs without understanding the undercurrents in that situation, before Slott abandoned that plot.

      I found the treatment of the two women in The Spirit/The Rocketeer to fall into the trap of portraying women at that time as constant nags and their boyfriends are helpless and lovable men who don’t know how to deal with them. Sure, Mark Waid pokes fun at these idea in the beginning of the issue when Betty discovers the body, but he then does very little to elevate her from her previous characterization and seems to be having to much fun playing with that trope.

      This is extremely lengthy, but definitely worth a read regardless of whatever your feelings on the series might be:

      Namely in the second link, where he writes about the current treatment of the Comedian and Cooke’s attempt to establish a connection between him and Laurie.

      As I stated before, I think the fact that so many female characters are devoid of characterization and personality speaks volumes, there doesn’t need to be a murder or rape in a comic every month for sexism to be prevalent, the general lack of effort in portraying them is enough.

      Also, I think the character of Harper Row and her younger brother is an example of the type of pandering that takes place.

    • @ithosapien: How are things from a year or two ago not recent? We are talking about a problem that has been inherent to comics for DECADES. With a problem like this progress is not measured in weeks or months, it is measured in years.

    • ” Maybe it’ll be an improvement when Catwoman doesn’t spend 3 pages of her first issue having sex with Batman or when Wonder Woman’s history hasn’t been retconned to make sure that there are men prevalent in it.”

      @Uspunx, if the above statement is the only indication of improvement, then we have improvement. Neither of those 2 things has happened recently (which I would define as close to 3 months, no more than 6). That stuff happened ages ago, I doubt Catwoman and WW have been plowing Batman and retconning men into Thesmicira constantly since they first occurred. Therefore, since they stopped, according to @nag, we have improved.

      And because Time and our relation to it is relative, I can call something that happened a year ago not recent. Is Obama winning the 2013 election recent? Is Hurricane Katrina recent? The repercussions from them are, and THOSE are recent. But the actual events are not.

    • Oops, that’s should be the 2012 election.

    • You are entitled to your own definition of recent. But when talking about an industry that is 80 years old, calling anything that happened more than 3 months ago not recent is a little ridiculous.

    • And I would consider the idea of calling something that happened more than a year ago “recent”,ridiculous. But that’s my opinion as you say.

      Look, I’m a practical guy. Stuff happens to me all the time, caused by other people. After a while, I let it go. If I get on my brother for something that happened more than 3 months ago, he would think I was crazy. If it were me I’d respond “Why you bringing up old sh*t?!”. Something that happened last week or this month? Recent, to everyone I know. So I think I have a good grasp of it’s definition and meaning.

      But thats not even the main Crux of my point; which is that by the standard @nag laid down, things have improved. Catwoman and Batman haven’t been plowing for 3 pages in her book, and as far as I know; no retcons to put males in WW. If he considers that improvement, we have it. All I’m trying to say.

    • Okay a couple of things. You are drawing equivalencies where they don’t exactly exist. A conversation between you and your brother that is three months old is definitely not recent. But three months in comics, which is only three issues or maybe even less, is certainly recent. You can’t make a blanket statement that regardless of context a given amount of time means the same thing. Is a conversation from three months ago recent? No. To the Sun, is three months ago recent? Yes, because it is billions of years old. It’s all about context.

      Second, I don’t think two examples from an industry that publishes hundreds of books a month is all that much proof of anything. If you want to be pedantic then sure, technically it is progress. But what this article, and most commenters on here are talking about, are signs of industry wide change. A change in the overall mentality of the creators and publishers in the comics industry as a whole. Which two singular examples doesn’t show.

    • Ok, you’re missing my point. I’m not saying the WHOLE industry has changed, or even on company. But by the standard @nsg stated, which I have quoted 3 times now; things have “improved”. Which really only applies to 2 titles he picked, using a descriptor he chose. I’m not arguing against progress, for sexism or any of that. Just that if X happens in Book 1 and Book 2, and X= “improvement”, then we have “improvement”. According to @nsg. I don’t know if he said that sarcastically, ironically or whatever, but I think his hypothetical came true; which he admits he wouldn’t be aware of in the first place because he dropped both Book 1 and Book 2. And because I use the word “improvement”, it doesn’t mean problem solved, it means things got less worse or a little better (depending on your POV).

      Conversely, I’m not gonna get in discussions of time and perceptions of it because I’m not a physicist. I will say I was discussing with a friend of mine the nature between Men and Women. Men are Y, Women are XX (it was a very general conversation). It should be obvious that I was talking about these in America specifically, because why wouldn’t I? But my friend counters with what Men in Germany are like. Which has no bearing on what Men in America are like. Who cares how the Sun perceives time? “CAN it perceive time?” is a better question to me. That’s pretty much all I care to say about time and our perception of it.

    • I feel like we’re not even having the same conversation so let’s just agree to disagree.

  13. This article was a little all over the place but raised the important issue of objectification of women in comics and that is the important thing here. Have things gotten better? I think so. If you look at how women were drawn in the 80’s and 90’s in comics I think strides have been made but we clearly still have a great deal of distance to go. Scantily clad women are still far too prevalent in comics, particularly from the Big Two. And the really disconcerting part of that is how many young people read Big Two comics. I definitely wouldn’t want my teen or pre-teen reading Big Two comics and thinking that’s how women are supposed to look and dress. I think the issue is very important but I also think the article could have been a little more focused and addressed the issue with more clarity.

    After reading many of the comments and discussions on here I do have one question for @nietzschegood. What is your stance on cosplay? Every years thousands of sexy cosplay costumes are paraded around at cons all over the country. What role does this have on reinforcing the idea that hyper-sexualized women are okay in comics? Shouldn’t the cosplay community have some responsibility? Shouldn’t cosplayers collectively take a stand to agree not to dress in these costumes in order to combat the problem we see on so many comic pages?

    • You are right, there is a double standard. Women don’t want to be objectified except when they do. The whole cosplay thing is very much “look at me” and then sometimes they get upset when they’re looked at – I guess if it was a director or movie star looking it would be fine, but if it’s just some comic nerd, then no.

      This issue is a complicated one, though. Many different sides of it to explore.

      Do books with strong women characters sell? I’ve loved Demon Knights, which has a strong female cast, but the last issue comes out Wednesday due to low sales. It’s one thing for consumers to say they want stronger females or more women in books, but if they don’t buy those books in the end it’s nothing but hot air.

    • There’s a definite difference between sexy and sexism. If a girl decides to express herself in a sexy outfit, it’s different than if a dude forces his fantasy of a woman onto a page.

      A good example of sexy vs sexism the difference between Amanda Conner’s Power Girl and Michael Turner’s Power Girl.

    • But if a woman wears a sexually alluring and revealing costume from a character that was designed by a male artist is that really any different? Does that mean she is accepting the male fantasy? Just to be clear I’m not being sarcastic, I think this is an interesting point you’ve raised and I’m interested in your take.

    • Hey uspunx, you asked nietzshe a question and comicBOOKchris anwered it. Tag team debating. Don’t you just love it. Makes it kind of difficult to debate with multiple people at the same time. Lets see who tags in next. I vote the Rock or the Heartbreak kid.

    • Because two people sharing an opinion is tag-team debating.

      Dude, I had things to go and do. I can’t be on the forums 24/7. And honestly? comicBOOKchris is an extremely intelligent and sensible individual and I’m genuinely pleased that he took over for me in my absence.

      Chris, if you’re reading this, cheers buddy.

      As for the initial question posed, I don’t think cosplayers should assume any responsibility. They’re choosing to dress that way, and that is a-okay. A fictional character doesn’t have a wardrobe to pick from. They’re being designed a certain way for a reason.

      So, yeah, pretty much watch comicBOOKchris said.

    • I liken real life cosplay to the fashion industry, in a broad sense. Yes, there are very exploitive outfits that get showcased that are designed by both men and women. The difference is that the success or failure of those outfits depend on the women who will actually wear them. If an outfit is too sexist or gaudy, it can die on the runway. And as for the women who wear the successful sexy outfits, they’re taking ownership of their own sexuality as opposed to being manipulated. That’s why I don’t have a problem with women cosplaying as characters like Power Girl. Her design was sexist, yes. The thing is, though, is that when they cosplay as her, it’s like they’re stealing the exploitive sexuality out of the artist’s hands and are taking ownership of it themselves. It’s different when they have control over things like that.

  14. You guys do realize that comics don’t appeal to 99% of white heterosexual males EITHER, right?

    Most of what is going on in the industry now leaves MOST of the supposed “target demo” cold.

    You couldn’t get the vast majority of people to read comics even if you physically put great comics into their hands and said “Here! Free!” You couldn’t get 99% of white heterosexual men to do that, even.

    We should have diverse characters and encourage as diverse a readership as possible, but to expect a sea-change in demographics is ridiculous. Comics in the English-speaking world are a hobby, not a medium; that distinction has relatively less to do with sexism but *everything* to do with the development of the medium itself, as a medium. The medium developed differently in Japan and in some places in Europe. But for whatever reason — probably because OTHER “easier-to-use” media proliferated quicker in America 30+ years ago — comics never got that foothold. Here, they’re a hobby. I’d like for that to change, but changing it isn’t so easy. Making My Little Pony or Batwoman comics (awesome as those titles are) has nothing to do with changing the niche status of the medium itself. You can change the content, but the greater concern is that “the medium is the message”. The niche status has less to do with content and sex/sexuality than it has to do with the “infrastructure” of how media is consumed. As it is, comics in America are a hobby, not a mass medium that should appeal to anyone (whatever their race or sex).

    So compare them to other hobbies. I’m sure there are a lot of white heterosexual guys who like Barbies and knitting and beanie babies. I don’t say that facetiously. There are guys out there who like those hobbies. And I wouldn’t say that any of those hobbies are *inherently* “female”. I’m not saying that; that would be a sexist statement, just like “comics are for boys”. They’re not. But different types of people TEND to naturally like different types of hobbies. I wouldn’t expect or want those hobby industries to turn away “outsiders” any more than I would expect or want the comic industry to offend women. The comic industry SHOULD be called out whenever it does things like that — and whenever it isn’t friendly anyone, really. But I doubt the “Barbie fan” community is going crazy over the likely fact that basically 0% of them are heterosexual Muslim men. Do you think that quilting circles (which are awesome by the way; one of my friends is in one) often bemoan the fact that they know of few if any Asian men who want to take up knitting with them?

    In my local town there’s a library reading group, which is composed of about a dozen white women, ages 60+. They’re all nice ladies and I like them. But I doubt they flagellate themselves over the fact that no young white men have any representation in their circle. They read a lot of “Oprah’s book club”-style selections, and romance novels. Because that’s what they want to read. I doubt they’re having any conversations about how maybe they should read more action-adventure novels in order to attract male teenagers to their book club. They could make selections like that, but it’s obvious that no neighborhood kids would join the book club anyway.

    I’m NOT saying “Things are the way they are. There are no problems. Let’s not try to change things.” But I am saying that DIFFERENT PEOPLE LIKE DIFFERENT THINGS. The comic community can definitely be UNfriendly and offensive to non-whites and non-males. That stuff is unacceptable and should change. At the same time, however, we have to acknowledge what a niche our medium really is. You’re not going to get 50% female representation, no matter what. It’s just a fact. We should try to do better than the 1% representation that we have. Definitely. But our disparity here isn’t SO MUCH due to “rampant sexism”. It’s due to the fact that comics are a hobby mired in fanboyism from decades and decades ago. Everyone WANTS to change this — just as I’m sure that my town’s local book club would love to have more members, male members, younger members — but sometimes the world just doesn’t work out that way. And it’s no one’s “fault” to the extent that we need to do a “two minutes hate” over it day after day after day.

    If you honestly think that millions of women and minorities are walking around the streets of America saying “If only the comic industry would cater to me, THEN my life would be so much more fulfilling!” — that says a lot about your own self-centeredness. Not everyone has to like the same things we like. People are different and like different things.

    • The women in that reading group are reading a subset of a medium. Comics are a medium just like video games or film. Maybe guys don’t like romantic comedies, but they have action movies. Young people don’t read history, but they have Twilight. But comics as a medium is totally cut off from way too many people because it insists on being so insular.

    • @History_guy, I disagree with that. There are comics written,drawn, and published by women, there are comics written by (and for) Lesbians, Gay men, Sci-Fi fans, horror fans, Music Fans, Young readers, older readers, “Mature” readers. There are comics made in Japan and India for their respective audiences. So your proposition needs amending.

      I listened to a feminist woman talk about how comics need to expand past “just offering superheroes”. I took that at face value until a few days ago and realized all that evidence against her. She’s not entirely wrong, but she’s far from being right; according to her choice of words.

      @Flapjaxx, agreed. You make some good points.

    • flapjaxx, you are right, but then that would be one less thing everybody can argue over on the Internet!

  15. I like Jim’s articles, but I don’t like what they do to the site’s community.

    I come here to avoid the vitriol and name calling that so many other other sites are drowning in.

    • I agree. There are some people here who come across as all-knowing and arrogant and dismissive and there’s no fun in that. It feels like we have a few cyber bullies up in here. And this article seems to be like kicking the hornet’s net.

      There are some good points, but we’ve heard them so many times before. It’s not like the comic industry is doing stuff to intentionally alienate readers – that makes no business sense at all. And the creators aren’t creating stories that they want readers to hate, either. A lot of this stuff is just overreaction and hyperbole – and people, especially these days, love to complain.

  16. I’m getting unbelievably tired of comic book editorials telling me how tired they are that comics can’t be as “progressive” as they are, it reminds me an awful lot of a certain South Park episode about Smug. Lets consider the economic reality of what you’re saying with another real world magazine industry: Pornography. Playboy sells more than 10 million copies a year, Playgirl sells just over 5 (not considering most are also to men). Two more or less identical magazines with identical editorial standards designed to appeal to opposite sexes. Why does Playboy sell nearly twice as many copies? Because its a form of entertainment males naturally find more appealing. We need to stop pretending comics are somehow different and mandating stories from industry leaders. Yes, we all know female readers but the fact remains females make up roughly 20% of American comic readership and every single time Marvel or DC tries to make another comic specifically to appeal to females it sells a fifth the copies of everything else no matter how heavily its promoted. If the industry put out only two books, Superman and Wonder Woman (which really is aimed at men as well but let pretend it wasn’t) Superman would outsell Wonder Woman every month. Now if half the industry was selling 1/5th of what it normally sells suddenly the industry would be making a whole lot less money and what do you think would happen then? Now don’t get me wrong I’m not saying we should perpetuate violence against women and there are always books that probably should never have been written, but we need to stop pretending anything other than the readership drives the nature of the stories and characters. Barbies don’t come with guns and that’s okay believe it or not, it doesn’t mean everyone that works for Mattel is a bigot.

    • So we’ll just file you under “missed the point.”

    • Don’t disqualify a dissenting point of view with your lack of reading comprehension. Missing and point and disagreeing with one are two very different things.

    • Yup, I understand all that. My statement still stands.

    • I’m sorry you misunderstood then. Might I suggest reading the entire article again from start to finish, followed by my comment. Keep in mind that progress is a subjective term.

      Don’t worry, you’ll get there.

    • The point is the industry itself needs to change. Putting out a couple of books “geared toward women” (whatever that even means) is more insulting than doing nothing at all. A change of approach and mentality is what is needed from creators and publishers. Rather than creating one or two books that appeal to woman, why not try to make the industry in general more appealing to them? I’m not saying it’ll be easy but it’s the only way to really eliminate sexism in comics. I hope this clarifies my point.

      Also, your repeated condescending tone is not necessary. It only serves to undermine what you say.

    • Why are you comparing the comic industry to porn? Porn is designed for sexual arousal and comics, while they can be pornographic, are designed to tell stories. It’s definitely arguable that men are more easily aroused, than women, through visual stimulation. Thus the porn industry is male dominated. I don’t know what you do with your comics but I don’t masterbate to mine. Story telling doesn’t need any gender biases. I’m going with USPUNX on this one, I don’t think you got the point of the article.

    • @USPUNX
      My point is the industry does not need to change because even if it does the medium simply is not appealing to women as a whole.
      Also if you don’t want to be condescended to don’t start a conversation by condescending. If you had begun with your actual argument we could have avoided the last 4 responses.

      I used pornography as an example simply because it has clear statistical evidence to back my point. You could just as easily make the argument for say fashion magazines or gaming magazines. Though there are not many, manly because they are not sustainable, (which is my whole point) male targeting fashion magazines or female targeting gaming magazines. I could have chosen to compare say Maxim to Cosmo but that wouldn’t have been a fair comparison since you would also have to consider Vogue, Glamour, etc since we’re talking a total of 1 magazine aimed at men versus a more specialized 10 aimed at women. My chosen reference does not somehow invalidates my point nor does it imply I masturbate to comics (which is a rather wild accusation).

    • I didn’t mean to insinuate you masterbate to your comics, I just think its a poor comparison.

    • What basis do you have for this: “the medium simply is not appealing to women as a whole?” Is there anything to back that up? Maybe the medium isn’t appealing because it is fully of sexism and male fantasy! And that has nothing to do with the medium itself, that’s the content of the medium. What about comics as a medium is so unappealing to women? And I’m not talking about the content. You said “the medium.”

    • You can argue Super Hero fiction is filled with sexism and male fantasy, the medium itself however is not. As IthoSapien pointed out above there are comics written by women for women, by gays for gays, by minorities for minorities, I’m sure if you’ve ever looked in the indie section of your local comic shop you’ll see that. Those specialized books do not generally sell very well even when supported by high profile talent or famous properties and that’s simply because the audience isn’t there, not in the same volume anyway.

      Despite how we treat it super hero fiction is actually a rather mature form of story telling (more than 50 years now). It has changed substantially over the years and many would argue not for the better, but as with most development in a genre it didn’t come about because creators mandated it, it came about because buyers voted with their wallets. Fans of comics decided, we want more action, we want sexier women, we want more violence, etc. These may not be things everyone wants to see but we’ve already proven to the big two they are the things most of us want. Some fans tell themselves not me, I’m better than that, but the dollars tell a different story.

  17. I wonder if Romance Novel web pages talk about how they can attract more male readers and what they can do to stop objectifying men.

    • So are you saying comics have the same artistic credibility as romance novels?

    • Exactly! Who is to decide Romance Novels are somehow less artistic than comics? All things considered I think its more likely the general populace would admit Romance Novels before comics since they generally garner more attention.

  18. Can i just point out an obvious point of this article. “Your four dollars hate” really only applies to low bulk comic fans and digital comics proponents. Clearly it does not apply to me because i never pay more than three dollars for a comic (i get a nice little discount, yay me!)

  19. Damn, you got me Jim!

    I said it earlier, I hate these type of gripe articles and yet, that was the point wasn’t it. Everyone hates these conflict inciting articles and that’s exactly what causes the message board to light up with five times the responses you normally get.

    Couldn’t help but play the game…enjoy the bonus Ad revenue, you win this time.

  20. I remember when you were fun.

    No, wait, I don’t remember that.

  21. If women want to stop being put in my refrigerator, they should being so damn delicious.

  22. At least we can all agree that Mark Millar remains an asshole!

  23. It really is the same old arguments. Over. And over. And over. I think some people just copy and pasted their argument from the last time this discussion came up. Although I did see a few newbies with familiar statements that have been rehashed time and again.

    2 minutes of hate is the perfect metaphor for a good number of the above comments. 😉

    • So does that mean the conversation is no longer worth having? Because last I checked the issue of sexism in comics hadn’t been solved.

    • And over. And over. 😉

    • You can be cute and condescending all you want but all that serves to do is make you feel superior to those here who are attempting to have a real discussion. If you are so tired of these points why even click on this article? Why bother to read the comments? Why then go so far as to post a comment? Because you wanted a response, you needed to show how above this kind of thing you are. I hope you got the ego boost you needed and I’m now sorry I played any role in providing it, but this kind of self-serving comment is pointless. Either join the conversation or don’t, but leave you self-righteous disdain out of it.

    • Saucy today, i see. Do you really think I’m cute? 😛

      The opening sentence asks the question of whether or not you feel as though you’re having the same conversation over and over again. My comment only reinforces the author’s initial statement and how I relate to it. You’re really fast to lose your composure and jump to many unfounded conclusions based on assumptions.

    • You can’t tell you weren’t being condescending with this: “I think some people just copy and pasted their argument from the last time this discussion came up. Although I did see a few newbies with familiar statements that have been rehashed time and again.”

      And I’m not just saucy today, I’m saucy anytime someone joins a conversation simply to say how pointless it is. Which leads back to my initial question, if it’s so pointless why did you bother to read the comments and then post one? If it was truly pointless there wouldn’t be over 130 comments on here. If it was truly pointless you wouldn’t have felt the need to stop by, read the article, read the comments, post a comment yourself, and then continue to check back to see if someone had responded to you. Why did you? Seems like ego to me. If my assumptions are wrong then correct me. Why continually return to and post on a pointless discussion?

    • More assumptions. 🙁
      I never typed anything about being pointless. I read the article because I like Jimski’s articles and the opening statement pulled me in( which is what i commented on to nobody in particular). I read the comments because I was curious what other people thought. I posted a comment because I was in agreement with the author on the part that I commented about. I usually do check back in on articles I’ve read to see if anything new has arisen and yes, to see if anyone feels the way I do when I comment. Isn’t that one of the points of all this interaction? To interact? I don’t find any of my answers to your list of questions to be egotistical.
      Is it wrong of me to agree with Jimski’s point and comment? Of course not. Do you find the opening paragraph of this article to be egotistical and condescending? If so, why not comment directly to the author and share some unpleasantness with him by asking him why he bothered to begin with?

    • Sure, you’re right. You weren’t condescending or egotistical at all. You never implied a conversation that you have had over and “over and over and over” again, populated with “rehashed” and “copy and pasted” arguments was pointless. You were simply in agreement with the author and your comment had no subtext whatsoever. I’ll just go sit in the corner now and wonder where all my crazy assumptions came from. 😛 Stupid smiley face so you know how non-condescending I’m being!!!

    • Look man, I’m sorry if I was inconsiderate of your feelings or whatever this is that’s happening. I sat here and took the time to answer your questions as honestly as I could, which was POINTLESS since you’ve clearly made up your mind that you have me figured out. Why even ask if all you’re gonna do is scream childishly “stupid smiley face!!! ” and then storm off to your corner. You didn’t even share how you feel about the opening paragraph of the article.

    • You know things are bad when Men start attacking each other because of how other Men treat Women.

  24. I’m not trying to side-track off the real issues being discussed here but to me, this is just another reason why Millar’s work has become so dull. Rape, baby murder, and other atrocities are just this issue’s SHOCKING event to create a rise in the reader because it’s, you know, shocking. There’s no human dimension left. It’s lazy writing and it’s a shame his ridiculous comments can grab as much attention as they do. He’s wandered into Frank Miller-level self-parody.

  25. I feel like I’m late to the argument…

    It’s a touchy thing to depict, and I think very inappropriate to compare to decapitation. Rape is MUCH more personal a crime than decapitation! It involves breaking a woman’s (or man’s) security for the rest of their lives! There’s a lot of good arguments on both sides. I haven’t read all of these comments and that a LONG wall of text to go through, so I’ll stop there to prevent from repeating what may have already been said.

    But that’s my main point…

  26. Wow Jim, you stirred up the ifanbase and with such a light topic…hahaha. Anyways, 1st off, great article, it really summed up how I feel about the hamster wheel subjects like this one. Two, after reading the 1st cpl comments I just had to laugh at the oblivious jargon and skip to the bottom to say well said and keep em coming Jimski!!!