Team Comics is at it again

So, there’s this article in Vulture and … could they toot Marvel’s horn any louder?

The Citizens of Arcadia are safe thanks to A-Force, Marvel’s first-ever all-women superhero team.

Other sites that gobbled-up Marvel’s press release at least said first all-women Avengers team. Which is a bit pointless since basically every character is an Avenger by now in some form or another, it would still be more accurate and it wouldn’t make it sound as if they are sweeping under the rug books like Fearless Defenders, Divas or X-Men. Which they are. Because they were marketed in bad faith, presented luridly or written by presumed sex-offenders. And to announce in 2015 the first all-ever female superhero team as a boundary pushing success is displaying a great lack of awareness.

DeFalco’s Spider-Girl was a landmark for women in comics — it launched in 1998 and was the longest-running female-led series when it folded in 2006.

It says this while just mentioning in the article itself series like Patsy Walker and Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane… Then there’s, the Betty and Veronica books. Or Little Orphan Annie. Or, you know, Wonder Woman. So there are many other comics series with female leads that ran longer than Spider-Girl. That would make Spider-Girl Marvel’s longest running superhero female-led series, but that’s hardly making it a landmark for women in comics.

Although DC is also making efforts to diversify with new series like Black Canary, Marvel is undoubtedly blazing the trail.

By picking and choosing from the female creators that DC launches. Both G. Willow Wilson and Marguerite Bennett got their start at DC. And that’s half of their female creators. In a few years they’ll sign up Becky Cloonan or Ming Doyle, Babs Tarr or Genevieve Valentine and they’ll be acclaimed for the great new talent they’ll be introducing, even if that “new” talent might have been making comics for almost two decades.

Which gets me to the thing that irks me the most. In the article, and in press in general, they use comics pretty much to mean printed north-american mainstream superhero comics. And when you restrict your search to two entities, both of which are lousy at the whole representation thing, you can arbitrarily call one the trailblazer. But looking at webcomics, alternative comics, foreign comics, or even independent genre comics Marvel’s clearly lagging behind.


As an aside:

Publishers emphasized superhero comics because they were among few genres not deemed “harmful” by Wertham. However, the superhero genre was dominated by male creators, and therefore male characters.

Actually he compared superheroes with the the Overmen from Nazi propaganda and at times saw in them deviant homosexual tendencies. And he found the sanitized violence of the post-code superhero even more harmful, because it presented all the thrill of violence without any consequences.


Originally published at webcomicsdotroeng.tumblr.com