plainly and simply parasitical on the obvious or univocal reading

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Do me a favor...

Look over this list of characters from the DC universe:

Superman
Alfred Pennyworth
Arsenal
Nightwing
Obsidian
Jack Knight
Harvey Bullock
Guy Gardner
Buddy Baker
Hal Jordan
Dale Gunn

Now, this seems to be list of men that encompasses a fairly broad range of personalities, so tell me, if you can...

which among them are not masculine?

The reason I ask is that the subject of what the French call "les hommes avec les boobes" and what we commonly know as "men with boobs" (used in reference to characters who are women, of course) has come up over at Written World. It's probably unsurprising to anyone that I think Ragnell is absolutely awesome, and in that post she handles the subject well, and goes a long way toward dismantling the idea of the ass-whooping, assertive woman as "unfeminine." So it got me to thinking... are men as characters permitted to encompass a broader range of individual traits without being deemed "immasculine" for them? What would a male character have to do in order to be considered "la femme avec le cocque?" I can't say I've ever run across one. Not even Terry Long. So does anyone know? Is there a baseline somewhere?

Oh, and while I'm sitting in front of the computer, something I was wondering...

What is up with this whole "no one should be as powerful as Superman" thing? Specifically in reference to Power Girl, who I feel had her Kryptonian origin unjustly stripped from her just so she wouldn't be as strong/powerful/whatever as Superman, which I think was arbitrary and stupid. Not as stupid as the cleavage window, though, and definitely not as stupid as that Elvis jumpsuit thing she used to wear, but, y'know, it's on my list...

***Update--3/11--I changed the phrase "woman characters" to "characters who are women" after having read Mickle's post on the subject***

6 comments:

Mickle said...

:)

Actually, in this context "women characters" might work, since that's obviously how the writers tend to view them. It didn't bother me in Ragnell's post because she makes that point rather clear, she just uses different words to do so.

Thanks, though. This female comics fan is highly appreciative of the gesture!

(ok, so I'm not a die hard fan, but with Bone and FLCL sitting next to Guilty Pleasures and Tithe on my bookshelf, I think I can lay claim to the term.)

Dorian said...

Alfred has frequently been portrayed as somewhat effete in his behavior and mannerisms. And though that could be seen as bad comics writer shorthand for "English," he's also the most nurturing and emotionally supportive character in the Bat-books, traits that are traditionally regarded as feminine.

Obsidian for most of his appearances has been portrayed as ineffectual and somewhat dependant on the women in his life for direction, notably Jade. What's interesting with his character is that he's become more masculinzed over the years by a) going evil and b) coming out.

Anonymous said...

Any male written by Devin Grayson, *especially* Nightwing.

Anonymous said...

It might be prudent to add that that last comment wasn't just random Grayson-bashing - I find Devin Grayson's main failing as a writer to be that she's seemingly incapable of making her characters act and sound like they actually have a pair of testicles.

Dan Jacobson said...

That'd be hard, given that they're drawings, and also that the usual cues (i.e. low tones) aren't present when the words are written and not spoken.

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