Cyborg isn’t just an emasculated man, but an emasculated black man, and as one of comics’ higher profile black superheroes — starring in his own movie in distant 2020 — the unspoken fact of his castration is demeaning. The racist narrative of black man as sexual threat is served by the idea of a character who is rendered heroic in the same event that symbolically renders him sexually unthreatening. (Genitals do not define gender or sexual power, but they are often tied to an individual’s relationship with their sexual, gender, and cultural identities.) The Re-Masculation of Cyborg asserts that DC Comics may be correcting the problems that blogger Robert Jones Jr. identified in his essay Humanity Not Included: DC’s Cyborg and the Mechanization of the Black Body.
Marvel reveals yet more superhero-laden movies in the pipe for the next 5 years. "And let's acknowledge that between Marvel, DC, Sony and Fox there are now 29 comic book movies coming out between now and 2020" [more inside]
Women Who Conquered the Comics World
Robbins knows something about the glass ceiling for women cartoonists because she first hit it herself in the early 1970s, when she tried to join the male-dominated “underground comix” movement based in San Francisco. After the men cartoonists shut her out, Robbins joined forces with other women cartoonists to create their own women’s-lib comic books. She went on to become a well-respected mainstream comic artist and writer, as well as a feminist comics critic who’s written myriad nonfiction books on the subject of great women cartoonists and the powerful female characters they created. Naturally, Robbins has spent some time hunting down the original cartoons from the women who paved the way for her career, and as luck would have it, she found the very first comic strip ever drawn by a woman, “The Old Subscriber Calls” by Rose O’Neill, practically in her backyard.
Chris Sims' amazing pitch for the Superman/Batman movie: "A dang BOOM TUBE opens up, and who comes out? Every Superman and Batman we’ve seen in mass media for the past thirty years." (previously)
Mike's Amazing World of Comics has a section called The Newsstand that lets you select a year/date/publisher and then view a collection of cover images from that time period. [more inside]
Fans of both Dead Space (and comic books in general), will be happy to learn that the first issue of the new comic book mini-series based on the game has been released online, in full, for free here. Not a fan of Dead Space but like comic books? There are lots of other comic books online that can be viewed for free, like stuff from DC Comics, Marvel and Image. There's also a few Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Doctor Who comics online for your viewing pleasure (in fact you can even make your own with the latter).
Just Imagine Stan Lee's Watchmen! Back in 2002, DC Comics extended an olive branch of comics industry peace to Stan "Excelsior!" Lee, the founder of rival Marvel Comics. The result was the Just Imagine line, wherein we find several DCU heroes reimagined in one-shot comics as only Stan Lee could. Some titles were good. Some were okay. Most were just so. But never in a million issues would DC have let him take on Watchmen -- perhaps the most critically-acclaimed and analyzed series this side of Maus. So since Stan couldn't or wouldn't, Kevin Church has.
An official comic book adaptation of the 9/11 commission report is due to hit bookstores this month. The U.S. Army seeks an Arabic-speaking comic book creator. Meanwhile, an Israeli blogger suspects a Kuwaiti company of misusing Marvel and DC comics. These are just the latest incidents in a long-running history of using comic books for propaganda purposes, ranging from Mussolini and Hitler to Captain America vs. the Nazi-affiliated Red Skull to anticommunist comics for Catholic parochial schools to a phony Black Panther comic book created by COINTELPRO to a comic book of the American invasion of Grenada. However, my favorite site of comic book propaganda tends to focus on more innocuous domestic issues such as bicycle safety, USDA nutrition standards, and fighting crack cocaine. (OK, that last issue isn't so innocuous, but comic book propaganda about health & safety issues still generally blows.)
Girl-Wonder.org is a new site tackling the portrayal of women in comics, written in the same vein as Women in Refrigerators and sequential tart.