I do but I have come late to this party. I’m way too old to just now start reading comics, but better late than never. I came into it slowly, beginning last year with the introduction of the some new Marvel characters while I was writing my last blog. Since then, I have found and met some interesting female characters that I didn’t know were out there and some new ones that had been created. I have always loved several male characters, mostly ones that everyone knows who they are like Superman and Wolverine. I have also loved Catwoman since her portrayal in Batman Returns (thought not in Catwoman which I mostly just found insulting to female fans) and the comic that followed it. That had actually been my first comic and I had several before high school hit with all it’s trappings.
Then came Ms. Marvel, Thor, Bitch Planet, Silk, and Spider-Gwen. I really enjoyed seeing these comics get rolled out and reading their first issues. I haven’t been able to keep up with them, but I plan to catch up. Ms. Marvel is easily the fan favorite in this group, with her comic being noted in several places I’ve seen as the most popular of these. If you haven’t seen it yet, they took a Muslim American girl in New Jersey and made her an awesome and relatable superhero. It’s fun in that way Spider-Man is fun the first time you watch his origin story. Kamala Khan is a great character for many reasons, and then she gets to be Ms. Marvel on top of it!
Finding these wonderful new ladies (well, Bitch Planet isn’t a lady, it’s a planet, but the characters are wonderful so far) led me to some existing ones. It turns out that while the numbers still aren’t perfect (and probably never will be) there are a lot more female superheroes out there that are interesting than are popularized. They have whole teams that go unnoticed by the greater public even when some of the characters of that team are on TV. A good example of this is Black Canary who is a character, though minor in one and barely above a sidekick in the other, Smallville and Arrow. She is a long time member of the Birds of Prey who weren’t mentioned in either (unless it was after I stopped watching Arrow, in which case, someone let me know and I’ll change that). The Birds of Prey also have some other great characters that I fell in love with after reading about it such as Lady Blackhawk who has never had her own series, but is also a part of Blackhawks and has a back story along a similar thread as Captain America.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a lot of male superheroes but the conversation isn’t about whether or not we have enough of those or whether we love them. The current conversation is about whether or not there are enough women out there for our girls to look up to that have diversity in all kinds of ways. I find more out there every time I look, but they aren’t showing up on our screens that much. Is it because they can’t be made into strong characters or because they don’t have great fandoms? Is it because there is still a belief that women and girls aren’t into seeing women be superheroes? Look for these women and you will find them. Like with many of us in real life, though, a part of the problem is getting them the recognition they deserve, and in further diversifying them (since most are white, and blonde).
For those comic-lovers out there reading this, who are your favorite heroes? What’s your take on the diversification of heroes? Have you ever seen a superhero not in the gender binary? Did you love any of the new heroes mentioned here?