Tag Archives: sexism

What Women’s Lib Doesn’t Know…

Link to Today’s Strip.

Oh wow.

After taking the bold stand that women have been unappreciated for their contributions to comics, (something that hasn’t been true for literal decades,) Batiuk now declares that WOMEN BE SHOPPING.

And I’m pretty conflicted on it. Because on the one hand, it’s a tired old stereotype. It’s Pluggers level humor. It’s an insult to Cayla’s character. And who is Cayla or Batiuk fooling? She hasn’t changed her hair in any meaningful way since Les paid the chemically relaxed shoulder length cut an anemic compliment back in 2011.

You like it? I will literally never ever change it again.

But on the other hand WOMEN DO BE SHOPPING THO.

I feel like we can be too reactionary against stereotyping in general. Stereotypes are usually based on observable trends. Moreover stereotypes are such a fundamental part of human humor, that trying to go on a moral crusade against them is a dumb and fruitless as Baptists trying to ban dancing. (See what I did there.)

Some of the oldest written comedies we have are full of humor based in gender, generational, or cultural stereotypes.

LYSISTRATA: Hello Lampito, my dear friend from Sparta. How beautiful you look, so sweet, such a fine complexion.  And your body looks so fit, strong enough to choke a bull.

LAMPITO : Yes, by the two gods, I could pull that off. I do exercise and work out to keep my butt well toned.

Lysistrata, Aristophanes. 411 B.C.

CHREMES: He maintained that women were both clever and thrifty, that they never divulged the Mysteries of Demeter, while you and I go about babbling incessantly about whatever happens at the Senate.

BLEPYRUS: By Hermes, he was not lying!

CHREMES: Then he added that the women lend each other clothes, trinkets of gold and silver, drinking-cups, and not before witnesses too, but all by themselves, and that they return everything with exactitude without ever cheating each other; whereas, according to him, we are ever ready to deny the loans we have effected.

BLEPYRUS: Yes, by Posidon, and in spite of witnesses.

The Ecclesiazusae, Aristophanes. 390 B.C.

It’s not the dumb shopping stereotype that’s the problem here.

It’s that an obsession with shopping is literally the only character trait other than doormat that Cayla has been given in the TEN PLUS YEARS she’s been part of the strip. Nothing makes her unique. She has no agency or desires of her own. Except for her skintone she is identical to Cindy, or Holly, or Mindy, or Jess.

Every female character in this strip is as thinly drawn as the forearms of HE WHO SHALL NOT BE MENTIONED.

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‘It is not good that the man should be alone.’

Link to Today’s Post.

I thought Phil said he needed someone to ‘write it to life’, but apparently he already has dialogue written for this story. So he’s not really looking for a writer but an editor.

And whooo boy, that is some old timey sexism there. It’s so bad that all the background men have disappeared. Mindy looks grumpy! Which is nice to see, because she’s done nothing else but smile blandly for an entire month.

Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt though. Maybe Phil meant that line as a really weird homage to the Rankin-Bass Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer special.

But, darling, you’re a reindeer?

I can think of plenty of contexts where that line would still be acceptable. Maybe the speaker is an anviliciously sexist villain or otherwise flawed character that needs to be punished and educated. I mean, comics today seem to be nothing but virtue signaling and navel gazing. The twelve people that still read modern superhero stuff would love to see puff-pieces on The Mary Sue about how brave Phil Holt is for burning his past self in effigy. The Subterranean is obviously a monstrous stand-in for the basement dwelling creatures, fueled by misogyny, destroying comics by complaining online about ‘the feminist agenda’.

To be sure, the old Marvel comics Kirby and Lee created back in the day were laughably sexist. But you know who was writing the dialogue? Stan Lee. So why is the Stan Lee stand in correcting Kirby?

Still not as cringe as the Fan4stic movie.

And you know who Jack Kirby created? Big Barda, the wife of Mr. Miracle. A character where literally the gimmick is she is stronger, more prone to violence, and more physically imposing than her husband. Apparently the interplay between them was inspired by his relationship with his wife, Roz.

Maybe if Phil Holt wasn’t a cantankerous hermit with only a single friend he would be better at writing women. It’s funny how that works, knowing other people helps you understand other people. And understanding other people helps you understand yourself. Cutting yourself off from engaging with other perspectives, even ones you fundamentally disagree with, can take you to some pretty strange places.

I said yesterday that I thought Phil Holt was too antisocial and reclusive to be pure Jack Kirby cariacature. If I wanted to give Batiuk credit, I would say that he intentionally infused his Kirby Clone with a bit of essence of Steve Ditko. (Like 90’s Superboy having a bit of Lex Luthor DNA in him, gahIamsuchanerdgah.)

Ditko was the artist and co-creator of, among others, Spider Man, Dr. Strange, The Question, and The Creeper. Like Jack Kirby he had a falling out with Stan Lee over author credits and creative direction, and left Marvel to freelance for Charlton and DC. But unlike Jack Kirby, Ditko was an intensely private man, who didn’t give interviews, or go to conventions, or converse with fans.

This is one of only three or four confirmed pictures of Ditko. THINK.

Some of you more comics savy may be thinking, “Oooh, The Question! That’s who Alan Moore based Rorschach on!” And you would be mostly right, except that The Question was really a watered down version of another character that Ditko created. While Ditko made his living doing freelance work, he also created superhero comics with smaller indie publishers. Like Mr. A.

I mean, I like objective reality as much as the next philosophical conservative, but this is taking it a little far.
Angel was a delinquent who stabbed the lady being carried btw. He just fell off a building and died. Yay!

Yup. Ditko was a Randian Objectivist that would make Andrew Ryan blush. His principles, combined with his anxious and shy nature, made it easy for him to alienate everyone around him. In many cases it seemed he wanted to. He never married. He broke off friendships. He surrounded himself with the few he thought he could trust not to betray or challenge his ideals. To quote Flash Freeman, “He spent most of his time at war with the world and everyone in it.”

I read two informative articles, and watched one fascinating documentary about this weird, weird, strangely admirable and slightly pitiable guy.

This Vulture article was the most negative, but also the most psychologically insightful. Vulture writers are a bunch of liberal pantywaist hippies who hear the word ‘objectivist’ and rear back like Dracula at a Crucifix, (sorry, channeling the spirit of poor Steve for a moment) but lots of good facts there.

This article was a little more even-handed, very focused on his work output, and covered the characters he continued to create for Marvel and DC into the 90’s.

And finally, this charming BBC4 documentary was probably the most sympathetic to Steve Ditko. Several comics creators, including Alan Moore, weigh in on his art, philosophy, and legacy.

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No Choir Boy

Link To The One Today

Ugh, this certainly doesn’t bode well for the rest of the week. When did they suddenly begin talking about the choir? I thought this was about the organ. And there’s no joke here, other than how this happened to Dinkle before back in 1977 or whatever. And that ain’t funny.

Instead of a silly hat that always covers his eyes, I believe Act III Dinkle should wear a silly hat that obscures his entire body AND his word balloons too. He’d be way more palatable that way. He’d still suck, of course, but at least we wouldn’t keep seeing proof of it.

This arc should be more like the movie “Hustle And Flow”. Dinkle would sit down at the organ and start playing a hot riff, then the church ladies would jump in and lay down a tight beat and it’d end with Dinkle in jail for beating the hell out of Les after discovering that Les threw his sheet music in the WHS urinal after promising Dinkle he’d get it to his publisher. I’d buy that anthology AND stand in line to get it signed, too.

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