This is a dark summer for geek girls. Though superhero and comic book-based films are all the rage these days, it's male crime-fighters who get all the attention: there are no films starring female superheroes on the horizon.
Since those early days of running around doing Batman-themed dressup, Batgirl has been my favorite superheroine.
She's less cutesy than the Sailor Scouts, nerdier than Nightshade, wears more clothing than Wonder Woman, and has a greater variety of super abilities than my second-favorite superheroine, Storm (but it's really close, so don't hate on me, X-Men fans).
There's a surprising gap of research, let alone feminist research, on female superheroes from comics. Trina Robbins has turned out some amazing books on women and comics, including one on female superheroes, but she can't do it alone (and good luck trying to find her work at your nearby Barnes & Noble). That's why I'm excited about Mike Madrid's new book The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines not to mention the fantastic online resource he put together to go along with the volume. Read on for more!
There’s a new Bat in Gotham City. Like Bruce Wayne, she’s a rich socialite by day and a black-clad vigilante at night. And, also like Bruce Wayne, in both incarnations she’s apt to sweep the ladies off their feet. Kate Kane, the new, revamped Batwoman, isn’t the first lesbian character to debut in the DC Comics universe, but she might have the highest profile. Last June, DC Executive Director Dan DiDio issued a press release saying the move was intended “to get a better cross-section of our readership and the world.”
“Bind me as tight as you can, girls, with the biggest ropes and chains you can find!” The woman is smiling in ecstasy, plastered against a large wooden beam, ropes and chains taut against her body, as she begs her captors, a group of jubilant, scantily clad young women, to pull her shackles just a little bit tighter. The girls taunt their captive: “We are, Princess, even you can’t escape these bonds!”
An Interview with Filmmaker Marina Zurkow, Creator of the Web's Freaky, Fiesty Cerebelle du Jour, Braingirl
I met Marina Zurkow in 1986 on the set of a horror film called Matt Riker: Mutant Hunt. I was the art director. She was hired to be my assistant. It was an entirely inappropriate crewing decision, typical of the low-low budget B-movie genre. I'd never studied art, never been on a film set, and never cared much for horror; Marina had graduated from the School of Visual Arts, she'd propped several films, and she had a true affinity for the horror genre. Needless to say, she saved my ass.
Wish there were more kick-ass female characters in the movies? Enough with The Piano-esqe mute-is-powerful bullshit. Sometimes you can find feminism in the most unlikely places, like action movies and Freaky Friday-like comedies.