Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cat - A New Superhero Fighting Gender Stereotypes

The Guardian highlights a new comic in which the superhero is a woman who isn't a pin-up. She's just regular looking. She wears clothes, for instance.

From the piece...

The catalyst for the creation of his new series, My So-Called Secret Identity – which he says has a "feminist approach from the ground up, in terms of story, character, artwork and production" – was a visit to his local comic shop near Kingston University, where he teaches.

"I walked in and I just felt so unwelcome. All the comics on the shelves were featuring women as pin-ups – women with their boobs out, or their clothes falling off … If someone like me feels uncomfortable walking into a comic shop, it's no wonder most teenage girls and adult women wouldn't set foot inside one," he said. Later that day, he led an induction session for the university's new PhD students. "I looked around at the room full of young women – so smart, determined, keen and committed – and remembered that in the original comic, Batgirl was meant to be a PhD student. Why do we never see women like this in comics – women who are normal, likeable and just really, really clever?" he asked.

Brooker, author of Batman Unmasked and Hunting the Dark Knight, went on to write the script for My So-Called Secret Identity, finding a creative team including Ottawa illustrator Susan Shore and Kingston PhD student Sarah Zaidan. The team is almost entirely female, as is the story's main cast, said Brooker, who could see the irony in his role in the project. "Women for good reason don't feel particularly engaged in the superhero genre," he said. "I have been immersed in superhero comics from a very young age – I'm an insider, so am working from the inside."

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