12 July 2010

Wonder Woman: 2010 version please!

I have the great fortune to live with three fabulous "wonder" women, my daughters, who don't let me get lost in my teacher-mind. Yesterday I discussed female comic book heroes with my youngest, who has been less than impressed with the female images in comic books and graphic novels: even less so after seeing Wonder Woman's new costume (left) and watching a recent History channel special on comic books. So here is her take on how she would draw/write a female hero:
1) flat shoes or boots. duh, gotta be able to run.
2) always a low unobtrusive ponytail, so there would be one less thing to grab, and no hair in her face.
3) some makeup, but not enough to look like a model, cause she's not. She's too busy to live for clothes and makeup.
4) and she could have glasses, and still be hot.
5) always dark colors--need to blend in. Also, black is never wrong. This ain't Miami Vice, mom.
6) NO skirts regardless of length, but yes, spandex for ease of movement. My daughter is a black belt in tang soo do, and still doesn't get the big loose clothing she always had to wear. Bike shorts would be optimal.  Short porn star skirts (her term is not printable) are not practical, and not the look her hero is going for. Women are stronger kickers than punchers, so those legs have got to be free!
7) And the hotness of the hero should be generated by the "kick-ass" internal engine of the female hero, not what she wore, anyway.

This conversation made me think the female comic book heroes who are drawn "sexy" (albeit in a 1940-1950s weird bondage, stripper way) to express how cool they are  inside. But we are still working on the transition to creating more than one way for the female to be sexy. So Superman has huge muscles because that is recognizable as a sign of power, cause men are the stronger physical specimens. Brawn works. And men can be big and strong and smart. But women are still drawn as sex symbols--ready for bed--not ready to defeat the bad guys. Admittedly, it is changing, but we did not turn up much when we googled comic book artists who drew contemporary female heroes. I mostly read graphic novels, so I only know Marjane Satrapi or Lynda Barry, not quite what she's looking for. And we did not discuss this, but I wondered how young men are supposed to recognize real life female heroes, if they do not dress like Lara Croft or Zelda???

UPDATE: here's an article from NPR about female super heroes: some good candidates! Can't get behind Angelina Jolie, though. Is  that jealousy? http://n.pr/cMv1I2  Most of these are not comic book heroes, but video game or film versions. Maybe  the  comic medium just missed us.

No comments: