I used to read superhero comics quite avidly and I stopped in 2004 for various reasons (superhero comics are overpriced, take too much space and are mind numbingly stupid for the most part). Two months ago, after playing second fiddle to Marvel Comics for too long, DC Comics relaunched their entire line of comics, rewriting the characters' history to get rid of unwanted baggage and make the books more friendly to new readers in conjunction with offering the new books in digital form.
It got my attention and I decided to check them out. I actually found myself enjoying it. I enjoyed the new Superman and Batman books and even Green Lantern which I never really clicked with. I don't know how kid friendly some of the books are when their level of violence won't embarrass a Saw movie, but I like it so who cares about the kids - they can read Archie Comics or watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. The problems started when I got to Supergirl. It's not the story I had a problem with, I actually quite liked it. It was Supergirl's impractically slutty costume that ruined the experience for me.
As you can see while Superman is dressed head to toe, for some inexplicable reason Supergirl's costume is very revealing. We're not even talking about hotpants or a really short skirt - she has an odd red shield that looks super-glued to her vagina, while revealing part of her groin. You can't help looking at it every time it's on display. I'm gay and I can't stop looking.
I look at this:
And I see this:
Actually What I see is this:
Dear God, get it out of my face! I can almost smell it!
Anyway, what was I talking about? I forgot. Take care and see you next week.
Oh, yes! I remember. Supergirl's cooch. Is that word too rude? I like saying it. Cooch. Cooch. Cooch.
Anyway! I found it to be very annoying and distracting. Why would a super hero choose to dress up like that when they are going to be fighting bad guys and avert natural disasters? In what way is it practical? To make it worse the costume is a family outfit and Supergirl is just a teenager. What kind of perverts the Kryptonians were to dress up their young girls like porn stars? I say good riddance to them and their doomed planet Krypton. Filthy aliens.
I did a quick google search to see if I was the only one annoyed by this and I found this fantastic blog post by Michelle from the blog Maid of Might. Money quote:
If they truly wanted to design a new Supergirl costume for a modern world, in a fictional universe in which Superman wears a full-body armored costume, they would have given her pants. I love the shorts and the skirt (when worn with bike shorts underneath), but DC left themselves no other choice but pants when they gave Superman and Supergirl plated armor all over their elbows and chests and decided to make Superman susceptible to physical injury (according to Grant Morrison, “His nose can be bloodied, he can have his ribs broken, and although they may heal very quickly, it takes a little bit of effort to do the feats that he does.”). There was also some nonsense about the armored costume honouring his Kryptonion heritage which I don’t entirely get, but in any case, they’ve created a very definite rationalization for why Superman’s costume looks the way it does. But when it came to Supergirl, that rationalization suddenly went out the window and “female! must! show! skin!” took over their brains. There’s a clear double standard being applied when the costume is on a female body. It begs the question: why would DC choose to expose some of the most vulnerable parts of Supergirl’s body, if not for the usual misogynistic reasons of making a woman appear more vulnerable, more weak, and less worthy of respect than her male counterpart?
I never actually thought about how the fact that female superheroes show more skin makes them look more vulnerable. It actually makes a lot of sense.
Artist Joe Philips has created a bunch of hilarious and somewhat sexy versions of iconic male super heroes, giving them the same treatment female super heroes got. Check it out. My two favourites:
I would actually read comics more often if this was the case... But that's me. And they're not.
As it is now female characters are over-sexualized with revealing clothes, massive boobs and excessive curves while the male heroes are overly mascular with flat butts and flatter crotches in the style of Ken dolls. As if the artist is worried that giving the hero a bit of a bulge or a curvy ass will make them "gay" - the kind of insecurity you would expect from a teenager.
Which might be the case here. It's true that you need to connect with your inner child to enjoy super hero comics and even though most of the writers and artists in the comics industry are grown ups who are often married and with kids, they still create material that appeals to their inner horny fourteen year old. Most, not all - but still too many.
In the following picture Wonder Woman shows more skin than all five male characters put together. With the exception of Superman the guys even cover their hands!
I rest my case. Well, Kelly Turnbull's case. She rests it. You know what I mean.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. It's a shame that DC Comics didn't use this opportunity to start afresh to really start afresh. As it is, they might have seriously altered the history of the characters, but this lineup of superhero comics is catering to exactly the same (literally) old fan-base and people who stayed away from superhero comics have no reason to change their mind any time soon.