Like many of the female characters in DC Comics Catwoman came out the new 52 in worse shape than she went in. First we had the “sexy, sexy, sexy” run by Judd Winick and Guillem March. That was followed by Ann Nocenti’s run which was far from the best work she’s ever done. And now? This week novelist Genevieve Valentine joins the book along with artist Garry Brown and if the preview is any indication this will be the best team Selina has had in a very long time.
This arc spins out of Batman Eternal where Selina is moving into a new role - Crime Kingpin!
Well. That’s an interesting assumption.
I’ve gone into this more than a few times before but basically I have no connect with this Diana under Azzarello. This is less my gripes with not liking how much more brutal and bloody Diana is — though that’s part of it — but it all circles back around to feeding directly into how this characterization of Diana is really the best you can hope to get from the fundamental changes of her background.
It comes down to the fact that Diana and the Amazons were once a subversion of what the societal expectations for women, heroism, and feminism were — whether you agree with Marston’s vision of empowerment or not he took the classic trope of “submissive women” and based an entire best selling comic around the idea that because of womanhood’s nature and submissiveness and kindness, they were stronger and more powerful than “the patriarchy.” Filter that by 50 years of women’s rights movements and the evolution of narrative story telling, you have a fusion of classical mythology and the unending problems of society in several courts, especially sexism, racism, and that oh-so-terrible “p” word.
Diana’s power was always derived from her sisters and goddesses. They raised her, taught her, and inspired her to be the hero for not just womankind but the world. And the Amazons themselves were a multifaceted and complex culture — yes men were absent from their society on Themyscira, but that was because the women were all reincarnations of women who had died at the hands of abusers and domestic violence, Hippolyta herself being the first woman to have ever died from an abusive husband (Diana’s soul being that of her unborn child).
I use this quote from Simone’s run a lot but I can’t help but feel that it’s the perfect summation of not just Diana but of the Amazons as a whole.
We have a saying, my people. ”Don’t kill if you can wound, don’t wound if you can subdue, don’t subdue if you can pacify, and don’t raise your hand at all until you’ve first extended it.”
The idea is never that women are better than men or that Diana herself is better than humanity (though you could debate whether or not that was Marston’s original purpose), but that sexism is so ingrained in our society and even the women of our world that the only way that Diana could truly be free from that is that her origins and her rearing are removed from those influences entirely. The sexism and poverty and racism of our world doesn’t make sense to her. And she wants to help because she’s seen and she knows that humanity is capable of better.
Never once is that apparent in Azzarello’s Diana, and that’s for a very interconnected reason.
I once read an article — I think maybe by Chris Sims — talking about how the author knows to be cautious when approaching a Superman story without Superman having the curl on his forehead. That curl is an “S”, a detail that was invented very early in Superman’s creation so that the iconic “S” is present from every angle, even close up panels. When a creator doesn’t realize that and doesn’t put that in the story, they’re not thinking through all the details.
Even before the Amazons were revealed to be rapist murderers and child enslavers, I couldn’t get into Diana’s character because of the change of that one detail — giving her a father — in the origin. Already, it told me Azzarello hadn’t thought enough about the character’s concept or personality to really “get” why such a detail was important.
But then you add to that the layer that the Amazons are unredeemable and arguably responsible for more vileness and evil than any of the admittedly fun villains Diana’s faced. Suddenly the framing is even worse because now the story can be summed up as “Wow, I’m really glad I learned that I had a god-king daddy where my real power comes from, because women supporting women and raising women are completely evil”
Basically, women independent from men are evil monsters. It’s a stereotype that’s old as dirt, but to put that awful stereotype on the canon origin of the embodiment of womanhood changes everything about that character from top to bottom.
To put it in similar terms, take the equally awful and untrue stereotype “men can’t raise children by themselves, they’re only fatherly with a woman by their side, so that man wanting to raise a child by himself is obviously a pedophile.” That’s awful. But it’s a very common stereotype still with no real basis. Bad enough that exists, but what if, to add extra angst and awfulness to his back story, that’s the canon relationship they gave Bruce Wayne with Alfred Pennyworth.
Or how about “people who live out in the country are ignorant, racist, and stupid — they’re more likely to be serial killers than pleasant people who aren’t Neo Nazis.” Again, as someone who grew up rurally, I can tell you this is not only not factual, but is rampant among people. Now imagine if that’s how they characterized Ma & Pa Kent.
It’s only “logical” then to make Bruce more paranoid and aloof in this version, or that Clark would be an ignorant asshole. They could still be heroes and even characterized good, but they’d have this harder edge you couldn’t get over because it reminds you of that unnecessary and vile addition to their characters.
That’s my relationship with Azzarello’s Diana. And it’s why Diana God of War will never be my Wonder Woman.
My Diana was the Goddess of Truth.
Wonder Woman #50 — After four thousand years of isolation, the Amazons re-embrace the outside world.
I just bought my Wonder Woman comic and these were the last two pages. Wonder woman makes me extremely happy.
I miss this sort of wonder woman so much. And this scene is just miles better than the similar one from Justice League: War.
Okay, that is really awesome, and if they actually made these I would buy every last one of them for my girls.
"I don’t kill. But I don’t lose either."
In September 2011, DC Comics rebooted their entire main universe, leaving hundreds of characters missing or irrevocably altered. Many of these losses included women, specifically those of color, and characters with disabilities who had come to help develop, in some small way, the world of DC as populated and enriched by more than just white, able-bodied men.
Nowhere is this more obvious than in the treatment of Cassandra Cain.
Initially a young woman of color whose disability affected her ability to speak and read, Cass’s first appearance in the Batman arc Mark of Cain signaled a change in the stagnant atmosphere in Gotham and would lead to the young woman’s ascension to the Batgirl cowl. Enriched, but never dwarfed, by a full cast of Batfamily members, Cass’s run as Batgirl didn’t stray away from her abusive backstory nor from her optimistic future. Later storylines would alter Cass’s character in numerous ways—many terrible, some terrific—but the heart of the character and what she meant to so many people would not change.
What has changed, however, is Cass’s presence within the DC world. Completely removed from the main universe, it is up to the fandom to keep Cass alive. It is up to us to be conscious consumers of our fanworks and to demand more Cassandra at every turn. No more Batfamily posts without her. No more stereotyping and making her into a background character.
Just as Cass fought to be more than what her father wanted, so too should we fight an entire system, only exemplified by DC’s tactics, that tells us that Cass’s narrative is not one we should care about, that women of color with disabilities have no worth within a world where humans can fly, and that Cassandra herself is the Batfamily member no one wants.
"You can change. You can.”
WHAT: Cassandra Cain Appreciation Month
WHERE: Here on Tumblr, or on any other fandom channel you commonly use (such as AO3, Livejournal, or Twitter)
WHEN: July 2nd-July 31st
WHY: Cass’s first appearance took place in July of 1999 in Batman #567. This month is also host to disabilityfest, which emphasizes the importance of fictional disabled characters, like Cass. In many ways, it’s a perfect matchup of dates!
HOW: How can you help? It’s simple! During the month of July, consider creating, posting, and reblogging more Cass! Create headcanons, write meta, write a tweet celebrating your love for Cass, or ask questions about her to your followers! Think critically about the presence of the Batfamily in both the comics and in fandom and how your contributions either help or hinder Cass’s presence as a crucial, loved family member! Write fics, do fanart, or make crafts! Make graphics or playlists; change your Tumblr theme and your icon! No matter what you’re good at, there’s something for you to do to let everyone know how much you love Cass!
"Everyone experiences tragedy. Tim. Bruce. You and me. It’s not about the city. It’s about how you choose to see the world. Everything else is just an excuse."
This appreciation month is being coordinated through In the Name of Cassandra Cain. This blog is completely dedicated to Cass, and will host a contest during July with prizes for seven different categories of fanworks!
We do ask that if you will be participating in Cassandra Cain Appreciation Month, that you follow some simple guidelines:
- Don’t post/reblog/support sexist, racist, ableist, or otherwise offensive material under the premise of helping Cass’s cause. Cass wouldn’t support that kind of behavior, and neither should you.
- Don’t character-bash. There’s a strong difference between pointing out meta differences in characters or in characters’ treatment in fandom and hating on a character you don’t like under the premise of defending Cass. Focus on Cass, not other characters.
- Please use tags for all potentially triggering material, especially in your fanworks. While certain materials may not bother you, they could potentially cause very unsafe feelings in others. Tags include, but are not limited to:
- Rape (please note that dub-con and non-con should be explicitly tagged with this)
- Sexual Content
The main tag for this event will be #casscainappreciationmonth, but some other tags you can use here or on other social media and fandom outlets include:
Please reblog this post to spread awareness of the celebration! Let others know that you stand with Cass!
When I first heard that the DCU was going to become the DCnU, I was so excited, but also wondered what would happen to my favorite super heroine, Black Canary. The first set of solicitations had be very nervous because she wasn’t present for any of it. Then there was that leaked Justice League International picture with a black haired woman on the front of it. Some speculated that she was the Black Canary. Then, a couple weeks later, it was announced that Birds of Prey was getting revamped with a whole new history and cast. I waited eagerly to see the cover by Jesus Saiz.
I also found that crime novelist, Duane Swierczynski was taking over and I felt this was exactly what the book needed.
This first issue was awesome. It set up a new villain called Choke (remember this name because we will never see it again) which brainwashed people and had them act as soldiers. He could also make their heads explode as well. There was some sinister plans that the Birds had to get to the bottom of. I loved wonder what was next and what clues they were going to uncover. The Birds got so close to the enemy that they found his secret hiding spot; a floor between floors of an office building. I loved the noir feel to the entire book and felt that Swierczynski brought some of his elements from his novels (which are all highly recommended) to the team.
Jesus Saiz art was sexy, but not cheesecake! I loved that all the Birds weren’t falling out of their costumes and Black Canary actually had a practical costume. Don’t get me wrong! I love the classic outfits, but this was more kick ass and ninjaesque.
While I am a huge Black Canary fan, I can’t forget about Swierczy’s greatest addition to the book: Eve Crawford aka Starling. This character had so much potential and I was hoping we would unwrap the enigma that she was. I remember one of the first thing she says (after she drives a car through a church wall) was how do you even begin to confess to a sin like this, or something of that nature. I wanted to know right then and there what the hell was going on with the whiskey-drinking-bustier-wearing-gal.
Then, the unthinkable happened….
The creative team left the book and new creative teams jumped on. Then, the Birds of Prey became a completely different book. I feel like it was a female G.I. Joe book. International terrorists, spies, and military fights broke out almost every other issue.
Speaking of issue, You see that guy in red at the top of the picture? His name is Condor and if you think I’m Black Canary’s biggest fan, well, he has me beat. This guy came aboard and weaseled his way onto the team. Exhibiting stalker tendencies, and even going so far as to almost kill Canary’s husband, I feel that he was forced onto the team to be a love interest for Canary who needed to work on herself before playing birds of feather with this wannabe Falcon.
Another issue I had was that the new creative teams took Black Canary’s mystery away from her, but had her stewing and sometimes (check out the fight between Canary and Amanda Waller) acting like a high schooler.
And before I start on the road to my conclusion, Starling was written out of the book to never make an appearance again. It was revealed that she was working for Amanda Waller. We didn’t even see her in the Suicide Squad.
One of the things that I enjoyed was that Gail Simone had Black Canary guest star in a couple issues of her Batgirl run. Simone presented the Canary and Batgirl friendship that I missed the most. They are friends (and I don’t care what universe we’re in). Contrary to the ending issue which had Canary and Condor fly away together and seemingly broke up the friendship between Canary and Batgirl. Bull Crap! I even liked how Gail finaled her Batgirl issues with a team up of Black Canary, Batgirl, and Huntress. That left a better taste on my reading palate then the Birds of Prey (who scattered to the four winds).
I’m not going to say that we didn’t have our fun times. There was the Gothtopia story line. We got a glimpse into what would happen if the Birds…I mean Wings of Justice, existed in a utopian world (issue 27).
And next month, we will see Black Canary five years later in which she runs the League of Assassins.
I will say that I’m really excited for this one. However, I would have loved to see Black Canary meet Lady Shiva in this universe. Maybe one day we will get a Birds of Prey relaunch with Simone at the helm once again. Until then, I would rather see Birds of Prey disbanded then go through the horrible, post-Swierczy, death.
I haven’t read ALL the issues, but in some ways I am more sad about the cancellation of Birds of Prey than I am even of leaving Batgirl.
Bop was an important book, it’s STILL an important book for comics, it’s been THE gateway title for female readers for much of its run. It is a showcase for characters that don’t get much respect elsewhere.
BOP being cancelled is a big, big deal, and a very sad one.
I hope someone great reboots it, and soon. I would love to see Marjorie Liu, Alex DiCampi, or Marguerite Bennett write it. Restore its importance.
The loss of Birds of Prey is a bigger deal than people realize, I think.
BoP was one of the few DCnU books I had any interest in. I wasn’t crazy about what wass effectively the use of the original Black Canary as part of the relaunch’s blithely exterminating the heroic legacy of anyone not a Wayne, but I loved Starling a ridiculous amount and I really liked the redesign of Ivy that (a) got her out of the leafy-swimuit pinup fashion disaster that’s been her non-Arkham look for far too long, and (b) seemed to cast her in the sort of anti-hero role typically reserved for Selina. Katana I was entirely neutral on, though her oddity eventually grew on me even if her costume never realy did.
But I dropped the book when Babsgirl became part of the roster because I fundamentally loathe everything Barbara’s return to the identity of Batgirl represents. Even Starling being revealed as queer couldn’t overcome the sense of betrayal I felt at DC trying to rub the erasure of Oracle and her daughters Cassandra & Misfit in my face. A feeling only compounded by the introduction of the not-Cass known as Strix.
And it irks me when DC put men on the team roster. They just don’t belong there. I mean, call it Grrl-Power or Girl’s Own, but as I see it the whole point behind the Birds in the first place was escaping Bruce’s shadow and building the sort of female relationships absent pretty much everywhere else in superhero comics.
But what really saddens me is that in the DCnU, the Birds will never be Oracle’s own fantastic powerful creation. Even when they inevitably come back to keep the trademark fresh, they’ll just be another superteam that may only have the most tenuous legacy of the original.
I love Wonder Woman for what she embodies/represents. She is my favorite DC female and superhero.
Wonder Woman for the latest Sketch Dailies challenge.
And here is the Amanda post:
How I feel about this character:
FuckYeahAmandaWaller.tumblr.com <— my first tumblr, offered as a hint on my position.
I have a fierce, unwavering loyalty for Amanda Waller (which ftr is not the same thing as believing she is usually correct).
This is what I tell people who disagree with me:
Amanda Waller is Reverse Batman, okay, stripped entirely of the rich dude noblesse oblige. She starts out stashed away out of mind in the Chicago Cabrini-Green projects. And there she loses half her family - two kids and her husband - and goes from “poor” to “homeless with young children”.
And she climbed out of *that* hole with her fingernails and teeth, and got her babies enough of a headstart to be adults on their own terms, and went like: No.
This shit is unacceptable. The world is going to be a better place, or else.
Ah, but the villains in this world are a banal, cowardly lot. She must be able to strike terror into their hearts. She must become a creature of the shadows, black, terrible…
The thing which has screwed over her and hers.
She must become.