The DC New 52: Pimps ‘n’ Hos Up in Here

23 Sep
DC Comics

The tramp stamp of "quality." (Image via Wikipedia)

Although DC’s New 52 #1s are selling like crazy – which is Awesome, and I applaud DC for bringing more excitement back to monthly comics – my concern is now how many new/lapsed readers are going to stick around after trying a title’s new #1.

Frankly, there are very few of them that I’ve felt the urge to pick up off the stands – with few exceptions, they all look pretty similar in terms of layout and pacing. With the many splash pages and 2-4 panel pages, they look like something that can be read in 5 minutes. Granted, I’ve read very few of them (and will be sharing some thoughts from me and others on the site soon), but I wonder if the people who are excited to try something new are going to start thinking that it’s all getting old fast: Not just old in terms of the characters’ age, but in terms of storytelling.

Anyway, there have been a few crazy things I’ve heard about regarding the New 52 that got me wondering what DC’s thinking…

Creatively, the New 52 reboot is starting to look more and more like a reboot. Classic characters are suddenly given personality changes that are shocking to old and lapsed readers (as opposed to the mythical “new readers” that might start collecting comics… maybe?). Granted, every writer and artist that depicts a company-owned character is going to bring their own flavor to the character, and while certain elements of the character are usually consistent from one creator’s depiction to the next, others are up for grabs. And that’s fine. That’s what keeps the characters modern and fresh and relevant and interesting. I love Frank Miller’s version of Daredevil, but I also love Mark Waid’s new interpretation. Fine. Great.

So, in this spirit of reinvention, apparently DC decided that Catwoman and Starfire (of the Titans) should be hos.

Laura Hudson at Comics Alliance breaks it down in perfect detail, and her piece is a must-read, especially for everyone working for DC Comics.

Certain characters have always had their sexuality be a prominent part of their makeup, and like any strong and well-defined character, this element was a part of a greater whole that made them well-rounded and interesting.

But there’s a difference between sexuality and sex, between strong, empowered womanhood and shallow, pointless sluttiness. And DC seems to have no problem adding to its sad anti-woman history of Women in Refrigerators and general rape-iness. It’s like the Editors are simply afraid of women and have zero idea how to depict them in relateable ways. I’m an open-minded dude, but this just screams Misogyny to me.

When Marv Wolfman wrote Starfire in the ’80s, he created an interesting dynamic between the alien Starfire and her human teammates, and how they dealt with their different sexualities in a way that was tasteful and sensitive and did not creep the hell out of young or mature readers. Today’s DC has a different idea, apparently.

Catwoman writer Judd Winick, and former sensitive liberal, had a tepid, party-line response:

This is a Catwoman for 2011, and my approach to her character and actions reflect someone who lives in our times. And wears a cat suit. And steals. It’s a tale that is part crime story, part mystery and part romance.  In that, you will find action, suspense and passion. Each of those qualities, at times, play to their extremes.  Catwoman is a character with a rich comic book history, and my hope is that readers will continue to join us as the adventure continues.

So, 2011 Catwoman means boring stories featuring Tits ‘n’ Ass. Congratulations on not addressing the problem, Mr. Winick. You are now officially The Man.

These introductory #1 issues aren’t giving anyone a Satisfying Chunk of story, just a lot of annoying Act-One situations without any payoff. With some books now becoming borderline offensive, who’s going to stick around for more?

I think it’s time, now more than ever, for DC to step up and hire a LOT of female creators AND editors. It’s time to reinvent DC’s characters again – only this time, instead of going from mostly boring to mostly repellant, DC could try cool and exciting and interesting and having depth. It’s time to listen to Batgirl, this time for real.

Because this New 52 stuff? This is bullshit.

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12 Responses to “The DC New 52: Pimps ‘n’ Hos Up in Here”

  1. adrianroberts1986 September 23, 2011 at 13:32 #

    I agree with all of your main points regarding how the comic book industry depicts woman and sexulity, however I think it is a bit harsh to say that none of these #1 comics are satisfying anyone in terms of storytelling. I for one have throughly enjoyed the new comics I have read in the past month (granted, none of these had female characters as its stars) and I am throughly looking forward to the next issues.

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