Comic Book Creators Say Comics Aren’t For Women

by Lindsay Harris

Oh hell to the naw! These men went there, so the backlash they are about to receive will not be pretty.

Maybe not so surprisingly, comic creators Todd McFarlane (Spawn), Mark Millar (Kick-Ass) and Gerry Conway (The Punisher) have unabashedly inferred that it doesn’t matter how they portray women in their comic creations, because comic books are not for women, anyway. 

Right. Because if boys and men enjoy reading unadulterated rape scenes, that’s not any of us “uninterested” females’ concerns.

Ironically, an interview with Mark Millar from New Republic states he “has spoken out against the under representation of female characters in comics, but his depictions of rape have alienated some readers. In Wanted, the sadistic protagonist gleefully commits rape over and over again, at one time bragging that he ‘raped an A-list celebrity and it didn’t even make the news.’ In The Authority, a Captain America analog rapes two unconscious women. In issue four of Kick-Ass 2, a group of bad guys finds the young hero’s love interest, a teenaged girl named Katie, and brutally gang-rapes her.” 

Am I the only one who is disturbed (though not surprised) that these scenes are a part of our mainstream culture?

As he also states, “The ultimate [act] that would be the taboo, to show how bad some villain is, was to have somebody being raped, you know?” he told me. “I don’t really think it matters. It’s the same as, like, a decapitation. It’s just a horrible act to show that somebody’s a bad guy.”

Oh sure, it doesn’t matter! Desensitize rape for the audience and objectify women why don’t you? There are no ramifications for that! Clearly, desire for money and fame are taking priority over whatever Millar has “spoken out” about regarding female characters in comics, since tragically there must be a demand for rape scenes in comic books. How inspiring!

Contrasting Millar’s view, Laura Hudson, former editor-in-chief of Comics Alliance eloquently states, “It’s using a trauma you don’t understand in a way whose implications you can’t understand, and then talking about it as though you’re doing the same thing as having someone’s head explode. You’re not. Those two things are not equivalent, and if you don’t understand, you shouldn’t be writing rape scenes.” Amen, sista. I’m not saying there isn’t a time and place for depicting rape and violence, it’s unfortunately a part of our lives. But it deserves the weight it causes, especially if the creator cares about this problem diminishing.

And I really want to know why these creators are saying their rape-filled comics are supposed to be “geared” for men, anyway? I don’t understand why violence and rape for purely entertainment’s sake are relatable to anyone. I‘m obviously bias, I proudly covered my eyes during most of The Dark Knight and rolled them during Inception. I was a tad hopeful a blockbuster flick about dreams would take a more artistic turn, but dreams were just the background for more inconsequential violence (and a total rip-off of the Japanese film, Paprika).

Despite any arguments about testosterone levels or whatever bullshit anyone wants to use to justify men acting violent, is violence something we really want to perpetuate by continuing to showcase it for entertainment’s sake? And then we complain when most of our American tax dollars are going into the military.

I’m not saying these comics should be banned like we’re in the Soviet Union, but maybe we as a society should take an inward glance at the type of franchises we are endorsing when we complain about the levels of violence in our society.  We all had a choice, if people didn’t support author’s such as Mark Millar, then we wouldn’t have any reason to complain about his views, because he would not be so successful. In the meantime, there are plenty of other comic books out there that are more fulfilling than those including pointless violence and rape scenes. Maybe Mark Millar, Todd McFarlane, and Gerry Conway were right; their comics are not for women, but they’re also not for men either. C’mon, aren’t we more evolved than this?

[insert corny voice] How about we all just try to give peace a chance? ☮ But seriously. I’m hopeful. I hope you are too.

What do you guys think? McFarlene, Millar, and Conway are comic book creators, so they are essentially artists. When does art take a harmful turn? Is it anyone’s place to say if it is art, after all? Any alternative comics you recommend?

Original article via

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