It’s Women write about comics blog carnival time again! This week we are talking about our favourite series starring women. It’s a good topic and you should read Our Dear Editor’s post on the subject right here.
The title I have decided to call my favourite for this theme is iZombie or, possibly, I, Zombie. This is a comic by Chris Roberson – who writes it – and Michael “Mike” Allred – who is some sort of shining brushwork maverick hero. Buy all of his things. Then give them to me.
Before Megan finished that post I linked about we chatted about it a bit and I said this, in an email, about iZombie:
When I picked iZombie for this month’s theme, I was a bit lost on what to say because it’s not a Great Literary Comic or a superhero epic that’ll stand against time – it’s just mega fun and super kicky and the art is gorgeous. I felt *guilty* about not picking some game changer comic, that proves all these stereotypes wrong or makes political points.. and so I almost changed my mind. But then I thought no! No, it’s important to be able to have a fun, light book that I can enjoy in the sunshine.. without having to talk myself out of the malecentric sexism that’s so common.
And there’s really not too much more that I think I need to spin out of that. It’s a good comic. It’s a really, really good comic to look at, and it has breadth of story and dialogue that makes me smile. It’s the only current book I’m reading that DOES star a lady. And even better, it has female support characters! And female b-plot characters! And gay characters! And characters of colour! I love it.
Honourable readers, I present some scans to support my case. Issue seventeen from November of 2011, six pages:
Aside: These people are not used to the undead. They are just normal police and firefighters, and I find it SO ADORABLE that these background characters are a) afraid and b) trying to protect the public from zombies with their normal weapons of office anyway. Sometimes it is best to leave “badass” to the side, you know?
Wait a second, I changed my mind. I DO want to shout at you about how wonderful it is that this comic stars Gwen and has her wear (hip, but) non-sexualised casuals and romp around with her pals. I like this comic because it’s coming from a 60s B-Movie kind of place, and I like the atmosphere camp of 60s B-Movies. But do you know how much sexism and bodily objectification (good-looking objectification, but objectification all the same; I may think that a lava lamp looks awesome but do I want to be represented by one? No) there is in a 1960s horror? Do you know how nervous-poised women are in those?
Watch Die, Monster, Die (1965) and try not to say “woah” out loud when Susan comes down the stairs in light pink and the most precariously engineered bra I’ve ever tried to picture out of baffled fascination. It’s not just how they look, either, it’s that they have to spend so much time being afraid. In The Witches (1966) a different Gwen dresses smart as anything – polished, professional, neat, very respectable. But she is driven into TWO nervous breakdowns by supernatural/psychological terrorisation. Tansy in Night of the Eagle (1962) isn’t dressed to titillate sexually but she’s dressed like “a good professor’s wife”, which is a style template that can be equally as damaging and suppressive. And she’s driven to attempted suicide, disbelieved by her husband despite being eventually proved right, and terrorised by social/supernatural malevolence! And I like all of these films. I do. But.
Gwen Dylan wears retro-sporty hipness (I am never driven to question her underwear “choices”), eats brains because she has to, and hangs out with were-dogs, mummies and ghosts. She is afraid at times, but she is not the victim of her story! So simple!
I guess I was wrong. I guess iZombie does “disprove” some female-character stereotypes after all.