This is largely unrelated to the specific contents of this issue, other than the fact that this is what I’ve been thinking about while working on this issue.
I was out of work for most of the last month with some sort of creeping lung disease. My doctor gave me some names of what happened, using words that end with “itis” and “olis” and the like. I reckon it was probably a xenomorph that my body managed to abort.
After about 2 weeks of illness you start to worry about what your employer will do with you if you stay sick and can’t work. After 3 weeks, you stop caring and just want it all to end. You start doing anything
to distract yourself.
I started buying comics again.
I had a $40-50 a week habit when I got married. That got nipped in the bud… because married.
But the most awesome things are happening now! The great irony of my life is that because I had 4 daughters at the time – and 5 now – we got a male cat, whom we then neutered. Because I have five daughters (my wife and I follow the philosophy of Bill Cosby: We have five children because we don’t want to have six) I have become something of a feminist. Being male, I’m quite an imperfect feminist, but these kids are dang smart and dang capable and dang creative and if any worthless toad boy thinks he’s better than them he needs to die in a fire.
Sorry, got a little off track there. The point is this. When I went to the comic shop, it was with a list of titles. And most of them were women lead comics. Batgirl #35 marks the shift to a new creative team and a new costume design. And Babs’s characterization was getting rave reviews. Batgirl acts like a girl! Wait… what? Well, if you’ve read comics, then, historically, you know this is kind of a big deal. DC has dropped the ball a lot with any kind of gender-based equity. With the New 52 launch three years ago they dropped almost all their woman writers and artists. And they particularly screwed up the re-launch of Starfire. So when Barbara Gordon hits the scene and is not only strong and capable but feminine and not at all beholden to Batman, well, that’s cool.
Unfortunately, the issue also featured a “hook up” which is all well and fine for Babs but I’m not passing that story along to my 11-year old.
There was also The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. To be fair, I knew, going into this, that I was not going to be sharing this with my kids. Sabrina is a re-imagining of Sabrina the Teenage Witch from Archie Comics. Only, in the wake of Afterlife with Archie, which you can think of as The Walking Dead taking place in Riverdale, they decided to make her family real vindictive witches. It’s pretty dark. But it’s got beautiful art styling. So, rated R, but worth if if you’re into that.
Now, if you know me, you know I have a thing for Supergirl. That really happened when Peter David wrote the first story arc in the mid-90s when Supergirl got her first regular series in over a decade. The writing was fantastic. She was a deeply sympathetic character with real human problems she couldn’t address with super-strength, yet she also had to deal with Superman’s rogue’s gallery. Intense stuff. I watched as her character shifted around a bit over the years. And finally they dropped that Supergirl and re-introduced Supergirl in her historic character as Superman’s cousin in a series re-launch. While not nearly as good, I read several of these too, and I still thought they were doing interesting things. Though I never really dug the costume change. Then DC Comics rebooted everything. Every hero started over again. I thought Supergirl’s new costume was interesting but I wasn’t buying comics at the time and there wasn’t anything pulling me back.
But, you do strange things when ill. I bought a trade paperback collecting the first 6 issues of “New 52” Supergirl. And you know what? It’s really good. I would suggest that the first story arc is, in fact, second only to Peter David’s introductory arc. Supergirl really gets thrown into the middle of everything. And after six issues? Still only speaks Kryptonian. Not a word of English. She’s not even sure she believes Superman is her cousin. This is a great spin. And this was a title I happily shared with my kids.
But I saved the best for last. Marvel Comics, about 9 months ago, launched a brand new character. Ms. Marvel. Now, they’ve had a character named Ms. Marvel before. In fact, the movie they’re making in 2018 called Captain Marvel is about Carol Danvers, who used to go by Ms. Marvel. But this Ms. Marvel is unrelated. She uses the nom de guerre because she’s a fangirl of Captain Marvel.
And that’s what hit home. My kids, especially the oldest, are ravenous in their fandoms. The fandoms may shift, but their devotion is total during the time the focus on one. And they’ve been focusing on superheroes. #1 is a die hard Teen Titans/Young Justice. She doesn’t like the new Teen Titans Go! cartoon, but she will talk to you about “Robfire” as her OTP from the other cartoon for hours. And she likes Kaldur. Yes. I have to deal with Aqualad fangirling in my home. That’s devotion! #2 is hung up primarily on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which is a really hard thing for me to find a down side too. They spend a lot of time talking these heroes over. And writing fanfiction.
Young Ms Marvel is 16. Barely older than my oldest. And she’s Muslim — which is not like my daughter, but my daughter is Mormon and knows what it’s like to have different social standards and religious practices than her peers. And she’s a fan girl. She writes fanfiction about superheroes.
She’s exactly what I would love my daughters to be like. It makes me so excited that this superhero is out there, and my kids can enjoy her. They admitted that of everything I’ve pulled out or bought for them to read recently, this is their favorite.
And that makes me feel good.