Wonder Woman again

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A rather haltingly written wire service story once again proclaims that sisters are pow! bam! sock!ing it for themselves:

A program at an Upstate New York college has taken a look at the changing role of females in comic books, noting the transformation that characters such as Wonder Woman have undergone since their creation.

Drawn to Diversity, a program of Alfred University, examines cultural diversity and stereotypes in comic books, newspaper comic strips and advertising cartoons.

“We want people to be more cognizant of what they see,” said Mechele Romanchock, coordinator of the university’s diversity programs.


At first we were trying to be polite about the whole thing, but we’re increasingly baffled to see all these stories coming out that somehow posit that Wonder Woman is at the epicenter of the “women in comics” movement, whatever that is. Viz, Tokyopop, Marjane Satrapi, Alison Bechdel, Megan Kelso…THAT is where the change is coming from, not from a character that hasn’t been marketing towards girls in 30 years. Heck, even Archie comics are more germane than Wonder Woman.

Or maybe we’re all wrong and it’s this.

To cleanse the palette, we recommend this nice profile of Colleen Coover by Steve Duin.

Colleen and her sister, Janine, grew up reading coverless comics that her grandmother salvaged from her job at the neighborhood Five & Dime. Archie Andrews and Richie Rich taught her to read, and Dan DeCarlo and Harvey Comics’ artists like Warren Kremer, Ernie Colon and Sid Couchey introduced her to the wondrous effect of sharp, clean lines on the comic page.

Comments

  1. alex cox says:

    “At first we were trying to be polite about the whole thing, but we’re increasingly baffled to see all these stories coming out that somehow posit that Wonder Woman is at the epicenter of the “women in comics” movement, whatever that is. Viz, Tokyopop, Marjane Satrapi, Alison Bechdel, Megan Kelso…THAT is where the change is coming from,”

    Yup… that nail just got hit right on the head.

    And don’t forget Ariel Schrag, Leah Hayes, Becky Cloonan, Lauren Weinstein, Sara Varon, Jessica Abel, Raina Telgemeier and a host of others that I’m forgetting before coffee….

  2. There is something to be said for a clean line style like that of Colleen Coover. Nice work.

    As for growing up reading coverless comics from the neighbourhood 5 and Dime, well, that ain’t happening anymore. Not sure where kids find out about comics now.

  3. I think the Wonder Woman image is being marketed to girls— the character as she appears anywhere except in the actual comics. With all the “What would Wondy do” books, the WW tshirts and stationery and diaries and notebooks and the YA prose books…yup. Everything but the comic books is being sold as funky retro-cool girl-merchandise.

  4. Kat Kan says:

    Increasingly, children are reading comics in libraries – public libraries and now school libraries. In my job as a graphic novel selector for a book distributor working with public and school libraries, I have seen the demand skyrocket in the last few years. As a librarian (which I have been for more than a quarter-century), I have worked to get comics into libraries. It’s working …

  5. michael says:

    Women are still such a rarity in comics that whenever one comes up, it gets my attention quite a bit as I am interested in their pov on whatever they are working on.

    The only 2 groups of people that don’t surprise me anymore in comics are ‘white’ guys and asian guys.

    Diversity is definitely good for comics.

  6. Continuing Alex’s list of “don’t forgets” I would add the entire roster of GirlAMatic past and present. Many of whom have gone on to much mainstream/print noteriety.

    And furthermore…
    -Girl-Wonder.org
    -When Fangirls Attack.
    -Daniel Corsetto
    -Heidi (herself)
    -Johanna Draper Carlson
    -Andrea Peterson
    -Carla Speed McNeil

    Hey Michael! Not so rare after all, are we? :D

    And there’s more! Everybody play!

  7. alex cox says:

    Posey Simmonds
    Lynn Johnston
    The great Lynda Barry
    Lilli Carre
    Julie Doucet
    Julia Wertz
    Linda Medley

    So far, everyone I’ve named in this post, and the last, are cartoonists who have done superlative work, and rank in the upper eschelon of talent, IMNSHO. And I’m still forgetting people.

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