Tuesday, 4 October 2011

52 New Beginnings - Endgame

In the last four weeks, along with the other bloggers at Prowling The Savannah, I’ve been introduced to eight new comics. I was going to do my own little ranking within the eight, but it’s unfair to write off a comic based on your first experience of it.

But there’s been a couple of standout observations that I felt I should probably make.

First, I never realised how much ‘boob’ shows up on comic books. I know that women are always cute, curvy and never (or very rarely) fat, but Jesum Crow, there’s been a lot of structural improbabilities. And I didn't even end up with the likes of Catwoman...

What I also noticed was that there are lots of things rated Teen that are showing more cleavage than I expected – and I’m not a prude. It’s another shorthand in the comics that I think is something that needs to go, and fast – not because it’s objectification, but because it’s holding the genre back and perpetuating a myth. I’m not the average comic book reader, but I collect certain ones – The Walking Dead, Sandman (I've got a weak spot for Death, it has to be said), Constantine, and others, so I’m right at home in the dark stuff, but other than Death, who is a teenage girl, scantily clad women don’t really come up much.

So, the first thing I learned about superheroes is that women obviously pack breast tape to ensure they don’t have any costume malfunctions. Or, perhaps it’s an extra special attack that could backfire or really work in their favour?

Second, I've got two new franchises to explore from DC, which, I admit, I might not have picked up until they were in their collected form if it weren't for the review commitment, but has rekindled my love of comics. Animal Man and Justice League Dark are basically win in my book. I’m also quite looking forward to Suicide Squad and Grifter (of which, the only one I didn’t review is Suicide Squad), though like Kate, I’m a bit worried about Harley’s state of undress and was actually quite gratified to see her returning to what I consider almost normal on the new Batman computer game release.

Looking back at things from the point of view of a writer, rather than a reader, each of the comics I reviewed show me one thing – that there are many ways to tell a story - and while they didn't all feel successful to me, I did really enjoy exploring the worlds they created. As primarily a fiction writer, it’s got me thinking about how my books would look as graphic novels and how the discipline is vastly different. But it did also show me a couple of neat techniques that really worked for me. And I guess that’s the most important thing of all. I think that as long as we’re learning from the media we’re looking at, that’s what makes it worthwhile.

D Kai Wilson-Viola will be back next week with the return of Big Game Hunting!

1 comment:

  1. The boob-gate thing: in my opinion, story should always come first. As long as that holds true, then show whatever you like (within reason and to the right age bracket of course!)

    ANYWAY: Being a relative newcomer to comics, the New52 event has definitely helped me to understand what my personal tastes actually are, and perhaps more importantly, what doesn't work for me. I now understand that stuff like Swamp Thing and Animal Man (I classify them as creeping-fear horror-esque titles) just don't interest me, whereas I'm quite happy with the gore-ish pages of Frankenstein Agent Of Shade because they get balanced out by the crazy pile of fun ideas and banter. New52 has also reaffirmed that I love Batman, which I suspected might be the case for some time ;)

    Slightly related, but a recent revelation in my comic reading habits: I am now an out-and-proud lover of pulpy history comics! I think my love of All Star Western, Atomic Robo, the Mystery Men mini and the Gates Of Gotham mini were a bit of a clue!