Archive for the ‘Comic Book’ Category

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The women of the movie Thor

May 9, 2011

Feminism in a Hollywood blockbuster

Sif as she appears in the comics, a winged headband, red and white "Xena" like outfit with armored leggings and arm bands and a red and white fur cape.

A promotional image for Christopher Nolan's film The Dark Knight showing the principal male characters Joker, Batman and Harvey Dent. This film lacks any women of substance and is the most celebrated superhero movie of our time.

Comic book movies tend to be sausage-fests. This is a shame because there is a plethora of great women who can be drawn from comic lore into most of these stories and hold their own. The Christopher Nolan Batman films for example have only featured one woman thus far, Rachel who serves as muse and love interest to Batman and while the next film will feature Catwoman this is only because Bruce needs a love interest after Rachel’s fridge-death last movie. Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Talia Al Ghul, and many others would make logical character choices for the franchise but where are they?

Suffice to say I didn’t have much hope that Marvel’s Thor film would score high in this regard either, but I was presently surprised with what I saw, with a couple caveats.

A promotional poster for Thorwith the caption "the woman of science" stamped over Portman's face in Grey Scale

First of all the movie is a Bechdel pass, though just barely. Jane Foster, who in this version has been upgraded from a nurse to an astrophysicist has some non-guy science discussions with her student-aid Darcy, mostly in the first and second act of the film. Jane Foster is also portrayed as a competent woman who doesn’t loose her head under fire; when a small New Mexico town is under attack by the giant Asgardian Robot called “The Destroyer” and Thor tells her to evacuate she instead stays and helps with the evacuation of the town. Portman also focused on giving Foster a somewhat more genuine research scientist personality having her be a bit frazzled and seeing things in abstraction.

Thor in the movie showing off his naked pectorial muscles - this movie may sexualize it's male lead more then it's women.

While Jane is the love interest she’s never really sexualized in fact Thor being over a thousand years old is very old school and goes for a kiss on the hand and it’s Jane who takes it to the next level and plants one on his lips right before the climax showing sexual agency on her part. In fact the story swings this around the other way and has the Darcy objectify Thor, with comments like, “does he need CPR? Cause I totally know CPR,” and “For a crazy, homeless guy he’s pretty good,” while staring at Thor’s exposed chest.

Jaimie Alexander in the role of Sif a dark haired woman in armor looking very pleased with herself and confident before a fight.

The other female characters are all active participants in shaping their own destiny; most notable is the Lady Sif, in mythology and the comics it’s based on Thor’s lover and wife but we don’t see that here, is a competent warrior who earned the respect of her peers to become known as one of Asgard’s fiercest warriors (there is a bit of comedy here as Thor asks one of his companions who found him the greatest battles, and he replies that it was Thor, another who led him to the greatest banquets and feasts and he replies that it was Thor and to Sif who proved everyone wrong when they thought a woman couldn’t become one of their top warriors, and she replies that she did it herself). She never needs rescuing by Thor and handles herself well in both fights she is involved in. She has some emotional range too, showing concern, wit, charm; she’s proud but not “frigid” in some sterotypical way where her being a warrior is her sole defining characteristic.

Rene Ruso in the role of Frigga, Odin's wife, at the side of her husband's bed while he is in a helpless state.

Then there is Frigga the wife of Odin and mother of Thor. We initially see her only by Odin’s side refusing to leave his bed when he’s in the Odinsleep (a comma like state where Odin regenerates his power), and so she seems to be totally defined by her role of wife and mother, this would be regrettable but understandable given the space of time in the film but she is shown to be wise and cunning and capable of taking care of herself. Eventually assassins come to kill Odin in his sleep, often in film you’d expect the wife to throw her body overtop of her husband’s and become a living shield all the while begging for her husband to be spared, until the hero swoops in at the last moment, but here Frigga draws a sword in defence of her husband and fells one of the two assassins, before help arrives.

The movie celebrates a woman’s right to be a soldier and to fight for her loved ones without fetishizing it or valuing it above non-violent careers, Jane contributes to the story without throwing a punch by helping evacuate a town and refusing to flee from danger even when directed by Thor. She is portrayed as a woman in a male dominated career who is bullied around by the government, who take her research for their own purposes ensuring that she’d never get credit for her work the fate all too many real women in the science fields, but refuses to accept it and stands up for herself.

The film does have a couple troubling moments as it pretains to sexsism. Specifically Thor is taunted twice with sexist insults or threats in order to goad him into fighting. In the first instance a Frost Giant calls him a princess, when he attempts to walk away from a fight. The second is more troubling, Loki, the main villain of the film, makes an implied threat of rape against Jane Foster to force Thor to fight him; this is even more troubling given that the trickster god is supposed to be a villain whom we can sympahtize with and are supposed to feel for. These and some instances of abelism (like the aforementioned crazy homeless person bit) are the only problems I have with an otherwise excellent film.

Thor is a man’s story but when placed alongside other movies in the genre like Iron Man 2, in which female characters are either hypersexualized or reduced to panic attacks and damsels in distress, it’s a movie with a much more feminine mind frame and feminist friendly message to young girls. I only hope that Brunhilde Valkyrie gets an apperance if this film gets a direct sequel outside of The Avengers.

Page 21 from the Valkyrie one shot from 2010

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Supergirl 58 review.

November 20, 2010

And we’re back with our regular reviews; a couple days late, but in the reveiw’s place this week was an editorial on the upcoming Fables cover. Only one title to review this week but still it’s a big one, and one that I will probably come back and talk about again: Supergirl 58. This title also sports a really great variant cover, which is an homage to Supergirl’s original apperance in the Silver Age; I’ve always loved that cover there’s never been a single greater feminist declaration in comics, in my opinion.

A girl who can do everything Superman can, and he stares on in disbelief; this was back before Wonder Woman had the ability to fly. Remember don’t let anyone ever tell you what you can or cannot do, or what it is acceptable for your gender to do!

And now to the review.

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Fables are Forever, and so is frostbite.

November 18, 2010

Fables is one of my favorite comic franchises of all time; I really think it’s one of the most unique and well thought out stories in recent comic history.

Just reaching it’s 100th issue this month, Fables is the story of Snow White, the Big Bad Wolf and all the other figures we know from literature and fairy tales struggling to regain their place in the world. A Mysterious Adversary forced them from their home and they’ve settled in ours, the so called “mundane” world, though it might be the most magical of all. All 100 issues are scribed by Bill Willingham, so they maintain a consitent level of quality.

The series is for the most part pretty equal opportunity when it comes to providing sex appeal, and the female characters all read like real people. It does have a few sex scenes here and there and some very distrubing scenes, but over all I think it’s a great series.

It’s sister-series, Jack of Fables, much less so, since the titular Jack is a misogynistic, womanizing ass-hole…

But I was impressed with the mini-series “Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love,” yes it was sexy but again it was equal oppurtunity sexy, with Aladdin coming along to provide the “hot man” quotionent, and it dealt with women’s issues and the villains were women, and come on it’s James Bond with a woman as the star.

But the cover for the upcoming sequel “Fables Are Forever” is just the stupidest thing I’ve never seen.

Moscow? Snow? Fur hat? Bikini? One of these things does not belong with the other…

It’s not an homage to James Bond’s “Diamonds Are Forever” that’d at least make sense…

I’m hoping it’ll still be a good series, but that cover is not necessary. I’d expect it to be sexy, but tone it back a bit please; she looked pretty bad ass and sexy on the first one.

She’s a millenia old superspy who can heal from just about anything, but frostbite is neither fun nor stealthy.

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Reviews for Wednesday Oct 13 Releases

October 17, 2010

I apologize for the delay but here are the reviews for the comics I picked up for Oct 13, including: Bruce Wayne the Road Home: Batgirl #1, Batman/Catwoman 100 Page Spectacular #1, Tiny Titans/little Archie and his Pals #1, Warlord of Mars #1, Sonic Universe #21 and GI Joe Origins #20.

As a new ongoing review feature, I will now state if the comic passes or fails the Bechdel Test. What’s the Bechdel Test you ask? It’s a metric that shows female involvement in the plot by asking three simple questions:

1) Does it have two or more named women
2) Who talk to each other
3) About something other then a man?

Note a comic can be positive and fail the test or be negative and pass… But it is useful for tracking trends. Soon we’ll be adding pages to the blog that will list failures and successes, as well as many other useful pages. So stay tuned!

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Ozma of Oz #1 – Advance Preview –

October 9, 2010

Comic Book Resources has posted an Advanced Preview of Eric Shanower and Skottie Young’s third Oz Mini-series Ozma of Oz. This is one of my favorite books in the Oz series, which you guys should know by now that I adore.

I can’t wait to pick this one up.

Ozma of Oz #1



Written by ERIC SHANOWER
Pencils & Cover by SKOTTIE YOUNG
Variant cover by ADRIAN ALPHONA
Variant Cover by ERIC SHANOWER

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Marvel Previews for Wed Oct 13 -Black Cat, Marvel Adventures and more-

October 9, 2010

It’s the weekend and time again to look at Marvel’s previews for the upcoming week. Of note this week is issue 4 of the Black Cat mini-series starring everyone’s favorite feline themed cat-burglar (unless of course you’re a Catwoman fan) Felecia Hardy! Also looking interesting is Marvel Super Heroes #7 part of the Marvel Adventures imprint which I’ve yet to check out but has caught my attention lately.

Before we get into the Out of the Fridge spotlighted issues, here’s links to all of today’s previews:

-AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #645

-CASANOVA #4

-DAKEN: DARK WOLVERINE #2

-DEADPOOL CORPS #7

-I AM AN AVENGER #2

-IRON MAN: TITANIUM #1

-INCREDIBLE HULKS #614

-INVADERS NOW! #2


-INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #31


-SUPERIOR #1


-MARVEL ADVENTURES SUPER HEROES #7


-NEW AVENGERS #5


-ORSON SCOTT CARD’S ENDER’S GAME: ENDER IN EXILE #5


-SHADOWLAND: BLOOD ON THE STREETS #3

-STRANGE TALES II #1

-SUPER HERO SQUAD #10

-THE THANOS IMPERATIVE #5

-THOR #616

-TOMB OF TERROR #1


-X-MEN #4


-X-MEN FOREVER 2 #9

And now for our Spotlights, Black Cat #4 and Marvel Adventures: Marvel Super Heroes #7

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Oct 6 Reviews: GI Joe #23, Hawkeye and Mockingbird #5 –Also Ads targeting Women? In my comics?–

October 6, 2010

It’s been a week and now it’s time once again to look at the new releases in the comic world, only picked up two this week, GI Joe #23 (not to be confused with GI Joe A Real American Hero), and Hawkeye and Mockingbird #5.

But before that here’s an interesting ad from H&M this month…

That’s right an ad targeting women! Not only that, but it’s a product related to Marvel comics, and targeted to women, and being sold in the pages of a comic. And if you’re planning on shopping at Famous Footwear ladies then this comic has just paid for itself, though, seriously who is going to cut this ad out? This should have been done as one of those pull outs that are slipped in between the binding that you can remove without damaging the comics; there’s story on the other side of that!

And yes, the ad is a cherry pink, otherwise how else would we know they wanted the attention of the women readers? And the collection of panels from old marvel romance comics, okay not too bad for the shoes themselves maybe, but I don’t like that “PLEASE DON’T LET ME BE A SPINSTER” panel right in the middle of the ad itself *sigh*.

Still major props for realizing that girls do read comics, and that you can reach them through this medium. This is also the only adult sized shoe in the marvel line so far

Click here to see the Marvel line<– you can also get 5 dollars off by using that link directly, hopefully they'll come up with some more designs for women and men that are a bit more actiony.

Now to the reviews

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