Thursday, 6 June 2013

Ari: Behind Every Great X-Man Is An Even Greater X-Woman- Female Comic Book Characters Are Great, So Where's Their Titles?

I'm Ari, resident comic book geek here at Geeky Femmes! Apologies for the long delay, but I'm hopefully gonna get the ball rolling today. I'm ready to talk about the new all-female X-Men team, a comic that's recently started and has been making waves in the comic world. It's written by Brian Wood and features artwork by Olivier Coipel. 

 As long as there have been comic books, there has always been the female voice within it. Sure, maybe in the early days of DC and Marvel it was somewhat subdued or caught entirely in the romance sub-genre of comic books, but it was still there. Women have always been in comic books, and have quite often had big roles. Look at Betty and Veronica in Archie. Look at Olive Oyl in Popeye, ad nauseum. This isn't even considering the bigwig titles that started coming from Marvel & DC in the 50s and 60s, such as Superman, the Fantastic Four, X-Men and The Avengers. Lois Lane, fellow intrepid reporter alongside the unassuming Clark Kent will have been in comics for 75 years
this year, which is downright impressive. She's dallied with having her own title here and there, but sadly, not enough has ever been made of it. Then of course, we can't think about female superheroes without considering Wonder Woman, the powerful Amazon. She's always had her own title, and is easily recognised from either the comics themselves, or the gloriously cheesy TV programme from the 1970s, starring Lynda Carter as the lead character. As a character, Wonder Woman has always fought against the patriarchy, and given girls a positive role model in comics. Same with titles like FF, where Susan Richards (neĆ© Storm) has always been a constant in the team (however, we won't look at the gendered roles she was often given back in the day- it's enough to give me a headache!) and as the team work as a family, something rarely seen in comics of the day, it gave FF the relevant edge to stand out in a world full of Supermans and Batmans. 

The same can be said of the X-Men. Originally conceived back in 1963, the 'children of the
atom', featuring among their ranks Scott Summers (Cyclops), Warren Worthington III (Angel/Archangel) Henry 'Hank' McCoy (Beast) and Bobby Drake (Iceman) also had the supremely powerful Jean Grey (Marvel Girl) amongst them, and she was without doubt the strongest mutant out of all them, her psychic prowess matched only by their kindly teacher Professor Charles Xavier. Since the early days of the X-Men (and of the Marvel Universe altogether) there have been dozens and dozens of female X-Men, mutants, and super-humans, and many of them being just as strong, if not stronger than their male counterparts. So why, I ask, are there so few female-led superhero books from Marvel? Ever since Marvel unofficially rebooted last year in an enormous creative shake-up and renumbering that annoyed thousands of fans the world over, there's been a dismal amount of female-led comics. Before Marvel Now! There was the incredible X-23 series, which focussed on Wolverine's daughter/living weapon Laura, there have been Ms. Marvel titles over the years, but sadly these titles have never lasted long. Out of all of Marvel's current superhero titles (and boy, are there a lot of them!) there's a tiny fraction that are lady-led: Captain Marvel, Fearless Defenders, Journey Into Mystery, and the newly minted X-Men.

Frankly, this is ridiculous. Don't get me wrong though, I love comic books. There is rarely a day that goes past where I'm not talking/writing/reading/thinking about comic books, and many of my role models have fallen straight out of the pages of my favourite comic books, so it upsets me that so few of them have their own titles. As I previously mentioned, it's definitely not that there isn't any interest- female led titles have often proven to be successful, fan favourites, but they've always been cancelled prematurely. The fact of the matter is, it's frustrating how long it's taken for a full-female team of the X-Men to have their own title. There's plenty of female characters within the X-Men's universe, so it's never that there hasn't been enough interest. I for one am really happy to finally see this book see the light of the day, and despite the negative attention a couple of douchbag assbros have given the book, it's a good thing, and it should be celebrated as being A Good Thing. 

So what's the point of this post? The few lady-led titles from Marvel are totally kick ass. Kelly Sue DeConnick's run on Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) has really opened my eyes to a new character, and I never miss this title when it comes out. Cullenn Bunn and Will Sliney's take on The Fearless Defenders is also an awesome title, and the art is downright gorgeous. I could go on and on about my favourite Marvel comics all day, but for the sake of brevity, I won't. 

I’ll leave you with this: How freakin’ awesome would a female-led Avengers title be?! 

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