With Geek Culture being mainstream now, growing up geek is both awesome and easy. Swag is everywhere, major bookstores now carry a *lot* of weekly comics, and The Avengers are box office gold. All of these things are great, which is why I’m going to come off as the curmudgeon screaming at kids to get off the lawn. In my day (seriously? did i just say that?) we had to go to an actual comic store which usually wasn’t in our town, have swag imported without Amazon’s free 2 day shipping, and live with the fear that Joel Schumacher had killed the super hero movie genre forever.
Growing up geek for my generation was not only harder, but for a girl it was a bit less inspiring. While my cousins got to be The Turtles, I had to be April O’Neil. They got Spiderman, Superman, and Batman. We were stuck with Mary-Jane, Lois, and Catwo…okay, Catwoman is really awesome. (And the ’90’s animated Batman also gave us Harley Quinn, but it wouldn’t be until 2009 that she started to get the respect she deserved.) Basically, being geek and girl meant suffering through horrible side characters while we waited for our day in the sun. The good news? It’s finally here! The bad news? Marvel is killing it (and not in the good way).
The mid to late 2000’s saw a surge of activity focused around acknowledging that girls like comic books. They were starting to get a lot of recognition as fans, and the big houses were starting to pay attention to our request for more females in a heavily male dominated genre. Now in the mid 2010’s we’re happily reaping the benefits.
DC has revisited Batgirl, and (continuing with their slightly darker tradition) given Catwoman,Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn a much more prominent role. Ms. Marvel graduated to Captain Marvel, and will be getting her own movie! The most exciting (to me) was the 2013 announcement and subsequent release of an all female X-Men team for the new graphic novels. I was so excited for their release, and so far they’ve lived up to my inner hype.
A lot of progress has been made regarding the female presence in comics, and It’s all really great. But here’s the problem, they didn’t stop there, or even slow down. They saw us, the female fans hungry for something more than magic bracelets and a golden lasso, as a cash cow and they are milking us dry.
They’re turning Thor into a woman. They’ve created one network show about Agent Carter from S.H.I.E.L.D. and they’ve made a deal with Netflix to make “A.K.A. Jessica Jones.” They’re talking about a Black Widow movie, but that’s on hold while ScarJo destroys “Ghost in the Shell”…again, not in a good way. Finally, they’ve just announced an all female Avengers.
DC Comics has been letting us wade in, releasing things slowly so we have time to savor and enjoy our hard-won ass-kicking females. Marvel just sort of picked us up and threw us into the deep end like the kid afraid to swim at summer camp. It’s overwhelming, over committed, and frankly all just moving a bit too fast. So it’s with a heavy heart that I say I’m sorry Marvel, but I think we just want two very different things right now. You just want so much from me. I know you don’t like it when I spend time with DC, but they just seem to…get me right now, you know? We’re in the same place. I’m sorry Marvel, I really am, but I think we just need some time apart.
Except for those X-Men graphic novels. You can keep those coming.