Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Swimming Against The Manstream #5

Down to the last two, and believe me, I've been wracking my brain trying to come up with more. Either I'm not quite as well-read as I like to believe, or there really aren't ten notable, obvious picks for important women in mainstream comics. I went ahead and bent the rules for the last entry, just because.

9. Barbara Gordon (Batman, Birds of Prey, etc., DC): I'm very ambivalent when it comes to good old Babs. On the one hand, she's a sidekick who made good, graduating out of the male identity she co-opted to create her own entity, Oracle, a far more formidable and distinctive force than Batgirl ever was. On the other hand, Barbara is very much the typical woman victim at DC: crippled as an afterthought in a story that had nothing to do with her, for purposes relating solely to the motivation of the male protagonist, and she was left in that state permanently while other heroes (read: men) bounced back from similar or worse injuries on a regular basis. I fondly remember her animated counterpart becoming Commissioner of the GCPD in "Batman Beyond" (since "The Killing Joke" never took place in the Timm&Diniverse), but overall I still have trouble reconciling those two aspects of her character, Perpetual Victim and Self-Defined Heroine.

10. Gail Simone: Granted, being the most prolific female writer in the Big Two isn't saying much (who's her competition, Devin Grayson? Fiona Apple?), but it's my hope that Gail Simone's continued success and high visibility in the industry opens the door to many other female writers in the future. Also, as lolcomics would say, she can rytes teh komiks gud.