Thursday, March 27, 2008


Time to give it a rest
Well, I’ve put in many entries whenever I could, and now, I think is the time to end. As Shakespeare once said, and Stan Lee may have quoted, “all good things must come to an end.”

So many posts did I write here on various ladies, and even a few men, whom I could find at least one thing done to them that could be or was discriminatory, as well as occasionally give mention to some writers and what they did wrong at their end too. It wasn’t that often, but, I did my best to see what info I could find, and even tried to update some of the entries whenever possible according to what developments had taken place of recent.

In the end, I wonder if maybe it hadn’t turned out to be quite what I had intended for this blog to be. Of course there were a few things where I might’ve done something awkward. But, I won’t worry about it too much. And I am happy that I was able to do as much as I did, entering data on as many different protagonists as I could find, and adding a picture too.

And did it come in helpful in dealing with the ghastly problems of discrimination against women in comics? I do hope it did, or can. The road ahead is still long, and as of this writing, there are still only so many problems that haven’t been fixed yet in DC and Marvel’s scriptwriting that still require it. As of this writing, I’m pleased to tell that I discovered that at least two grave errors so far have been fixed: Stephanie Brown has been returned to the living world, and Leslie Thompkins has thus been exonerated of any supposed crime against her too. And if those can be fixed, so can others.

I’ve seen at times people who think that even if a girl in comics has been killed off in the most offensive and tasteless of manners, or even turned into an evil villainess, that it should be left that way, because “dead is dead.” I fully disagree, because it does not solve anything, and does not counteract the bad taste left behind. Especially as these acts become more and more contrived, forced, and revolting as the years go by and anything of this sort continues to pile up. I tend to think of this mindset as “emperor’s new clothes syndrome,” and what if ten or twenty more ladies, major or minor, get killed off in any notable comic? Will they continue to think that even then? If they do, all that will happen then will be that comics get turned into a farce.

There’s been too much death and villification in comics in the past 5 years, most definitely in DC Comics. And because it’s been so close together, coming virtually every year now that someone dies an increasingly pointless death, that’s what makes it all the more unacceptable. And I think it’s time, not just to put a stop to it, but also to reverse any and all deaths that were really pointless and tasteless, and even threw away worthy potential (like, say, when Jade was killed in the Infinite Crisis-based Rann-Thanagar special), because the editors are too lazy to hire writers who can think up more positive ideas of what to do with their stable of protagonists, or, because they’ve got no idea where they’re even going.

And that’s probably why I maintained this blog, to give some mention to as many characters as I could think of who can and do have story potential that not enough are willing to give a chance to.

I’m sure there’s a few more female protagonists I could’ve added as well. Dani Moonstar, for example. But I felt that I had to stop, as it was getting harder to think of what could really be said.

And so, I will now be ceasing updates of this blog, as I feel the time has come to take a rest. I’d like to thank all who paid a visit here for taking a look around, as you may continue to do so with what entries have already been posted here in the 2 years I’ve put this together. I’m quite happy with what I’ve made an effort to write up here, and enjoyed it.

So now, I guess it’s time to say goodbye here, and thanks for visiting The Comic Book Discrimination Dossiers.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Profile: Wonder Girl 2

Cassie Sandsmark, Wonder Girl 2
First appearance: Wonder Woman #105 Vol. 2, January 1996.

Current status: a leading member of the Teen Titans.

Was subjected to the followings acts of discrimination: when John Byrne introduced her years ago, it was a rather peculiar way to begin: he didn’t want for her to be a team player, despite that she can and does work well with one, and succeeding writers did make good use of her. Well, until more recently, that is. She also joined Supergirl, during Amazons Attack, in an assault on the president’s plane in the DCU that turns the US public against her.

What’s wrong with how this was done? The story in Amazons Attack was already bad enough in how it featured a ludicrous story that may have been intended as an swipe at the US administration for its policies on Iraq, depicting the Amazons out-of-character and depicting Cassie doing something as irresponsible as attacking the US president’s plane in order to bring him to the would-be Hyppolyta, who actually turned out to be Granny Goodness, was not helping matters one bit.

Even before this, she agreed with Ares during Infinite Crisis to accept special extra powers he’d give her to compensate for a loss she’d suffered when Zeus distanced himself from earth along with the rest of the Amazons, which raises some questions as to how kosher such an agreement really is. Lately, another big problem is that she seems to be defined only by her brief affair with Connor Kent, the newer Superboy, who was killed off during Infinite Crisis because of a copyright dispute with the Siegel estate. How can she stand out as her own character if that's all she's really known for, and laments about it too often?

And these are just some of the things that have led to the deterioration of the recent volume of Teen Titans. It could also explain why a recent miniseries written by J. Torres sold so abysmally – because, as something tied to the pointless crossovers DC Comics has been producing lately, it’s not really able to stand on its own.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Profile: She-Hulk

Jennifer Walters, She-Hulk
First appearance: The Savage She-Hulk #1, February 1980. She was one of the last superhero-type protagonists created by Stan Lee, with John Buscema the co-creating artist. Her initial adventures, which were scripted mainly by David Anthony Kraft, were played mostly straight, but it was decided early on to make her into more of a tongue-in-cheek character who could have comedic potential, and 7 years after the first series ended, during which time she was an Avengers and Fantastic Four co-star, that potential was realized in The Sensational She-Hulk, which ran 1989-93.

Current status: continuing with her job as an attorney that she began in Los Angeles.

Was subjected to the following acts of discrimination: while there were a good amount of stories in Fantastic Four where Jennifer shone, there were still a few cases where she got knocked down far too easily (on the cover of Fantastic Four #284, she was shown being kicked in the head). In West Coast Avengers, she certainly took a much too easy blow from the Mole Man when he zapped her with his cane. In the Red Zone storyline in the Avengers circa 2003, Jack of Hearts’ powers interfered with hers, initially all-but draining her own powers but then sending her berserk, later leading to a fight between her and her male cousin, the Hulk in a town called Bone in Idaho. In Avengers: Disassembled, she was sent berserk by the Scarlet Witch’s powers when her fellow Avenger was depicted out-of-character. And in Civil War, she leaned in the very direction that Tony Stark was, in support of the Superhero Registration Act.

What’s wrong with how this was done? Sometimes, when she took a tumble in Fantastic Four, it seemed way too easy – and biased. But the battle with the Mole Man in West Coast Avengers, where she can’t even take as much as her male counterparts can when facing him, that was really ludicrous and awful, one of John Byrne’s definite nadirs in writing.

As for “The Search for She-Hulk” that followed on the heels of Red Zone, aside from how that was a terrible story to begin with, the fight between her and the Hulk was one of the silliest and weakest clashes between even anti-heroes I’ve ever seen, or read about in dialogue (is writing dialogue like “I was here first!” the best that Geoff Johns could do?). Pretty anemic and lethargic. And the storyline featured in Disassembled was throughly egregious.

As of now, we can sure say that the way Jennifer was written in Civil War was definitely uncalled for. I think there was even a story that she was going to file suit on behalf of J. Jonah Jameson against Peter Parker for fraud, something that for now has been forgotten following what happened in the execrable One More Day. I don’t think Jenn would ever go against Spider-Man, and Civil War, and the storylines that it led to, were absolutely uncalled for.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Profile: Mary Marvel

Mary Batson, Mary Marvel
First appearance: Captain Marvel Adventures #18, December 1942. She’s the twin sister of Billy Batson, Captain Marvel extraordinaire, who grew up under different legal guardians, and as his sibling, found herself also gifted with the powers that her twin brother received from the Egyptian wizard Shazam.

Current status: as far as I know, she is Mary Marvel again, after going to the dark side.

Was subjected to the following act of discrimination: after losing her personal powers, she went over to the dark side in Countdown to Final Crisis by taking up the powers of Black Adam, and becomes a darker, angrier version of herself that then comes to work with Eclipso, which was Jean Loring possessed by the evil diamond, and who’d come under the influence of Darkseid.

What’s wrong with how this was done? I think that’s easy to answer: Mary Batson was clearly seen by editorial as a sacrificial lamb, and unlike her brother Billy, the editors thought they could get away with it more easily, just like they thought they could get away with making Jean Loring into a new Eclipso. But, it was totally dumb, and pointless, if you ask me. Worse: Mary may have even been involved in the deaths of innocent people when getting involved with Darkseid’s bunch.

Upon becoming Mary Marvel again, she received a costume with a gray-colored lightning bolt, apparently to symbolize her being a fallen heroine. Let us note that it also symbolizes the fall of innocence, which is tragic.