KYD Advent Calendar

KILLINGS, daily columns and blog —

2014 columns, Young Adult literature

Fan-Girling Over Super Heroines

by Danielle Binks , August 19, 2014Leave a comment

detail

The testosterone-fuelled BIFF! BANG! KAPOW! of classic comics can seem uninviting, filled with spandex-clad men and swooning damsels who hold limited appeal outside the stereotypical 18-35 year-old male demographic. But things are changing in the world of comics, with the widespread introduction of more diverse characters and female-friendly storylines than ever before. For young, female readers in particular, there are plenty of comics to fan-girl over.

Marvel Comics recently pledged to promote gender diversity with their Characters and Creators initiative. The pervasiveness of the male gaze in comics had regularly come under fire from fans and critics, and in online movements like The Hawkeye Initiative. Characters and Creators aims to increase female representation in the male-dominated world of comics, with more female characters and women working behind-the-scenes as creators.

Marvel kicked off its gender shakeup with the introduction of a new Ms. Marvel – sixteen-year-old Pakistani-American Muslim Kamala Khan (the first in superhero history). Kamala proved to be a hit with audiences, with Ms. Marvel #1 taking out the top spot on Marvel’s digital sales chart.

Last month, the publisher disclosed further changes to many of their long-running comics series. It was announced that Sam Wilson would be taking over from Steve Rogers as Captain America, making him the second black Captain America (following the footsteps of Isaiah Bradley). Marvel also revealed a new Thor series featuring a female hero. Series writer Jason Aaron was emphatic that the decision was not an act of tokenism. ‘This is not She-Thor. This is not Lady Thor. This is not Thorita. This is THOR.’

Speaking to the Washington Post, Jeanine Schaefer, editor of the new all-female X-Men comic, said, ‘There’s this fear that the men who have traditionally been our fan base will stop reading if we bring in new voices, but we’re finding that that’s just not the case.’

In July, DC Comics also revealed positive changes by unveiling a new costume for Batgirl that was practical, rather than skimpy. Her creative team also promised more LGBT representation than ever before.

Of course, Marvel and DC Comics are not the first publishers to recognise the importance of inclusivity. Image Comics, who publish The Walking Dead and Saga (which swept the prestigious Eisner Awards this year), have long prided themselves on hiring female creators and creating series that appeal to many different readers. At a major comics conference in February, Image Comics publisher Eric Stephenson said, ‘Right now, the fastest growing demographic for Image Comics, and I’m willing to speculate, for the entire industry, is women.’

Cazz Jennings works at Melbourne comic book store All Star Comics. She firmly believes that ‘no matter your sex, gender, size, race, sexual orientation or species, the comic book world welcomes you with open arms’.

‘Thanks to a team of innovative, creative people, I now am a firm believer that comics are for everybody,’ Cazz says. ‘Just like novels, there are different types and genres. My fifty-year-old mother is enjoying the comic book adaptation of Pride and Prejudice while my brother (who once made fun of me for reading comics) now obsesses over The Walking Dead TV series. Thanks to the mainstreaming of comics they have not only become more accessible, but more experimental, unique and welcoming.’

For newbies looking to the comic book scene, here are some recommended reads from All Star Comics:

  • Princeless: This story of Adrienne, a princess who isn’t going to wait around to be rescued, will appeal to all ages.
  • Ms Marvel: Kamala, now calling herself Ms Marvel, not only faces conflicts with villains, but grapples with her family and religious obligations as well. A down to earth superhero for a new generation.
  • Lumberjanes: Best friends Jo, April, Mal, Molly and Ripley are away at scout camp Lumberjane. In between hiking and friendship bracelets, these girls go on insane quests to battle yetis and solve supernatural mysteries.
  • Gotham Central: Gotham’s Police Force is sick of working in the shadows of Batman. Detective Renee Montoya is a lesbian policewoman who must finally be true to herself.
  • Rat Queens: A dark, comedic and violent tale of a group of monster hunters for hire. These girls may live in a Fantasy Land but they still need to deal with everyday problems like family loyalty, hangovers and falling in love.

Danielle Binks is a Melbourne-based blogger, editor and aspiring writer of young adult fiction.

 




9508984918_5d8a187fc1_z

Marika Sosnowski

Living Side by Side: Multiculturalism at Home and Abroad

It all seems quite idyllic – people of varying nationalities, religions and cultures coexisting peacefully. It could be a blueprint for the perfect multicultural society. However, there’s something beneath the surface that is troubling to the western notion of modern liberalism. Read more »

9864007066_4a196b364d_z

Tim Robertson

Fear, loathing, and the erosion of civil liberties

The hysteria currently being concocted by Australia’s political leaders is a smokescreen for the more serious threat facing everyone – an attack of the very freedoms and values our nation has been built on. Read more »

308982705_be9f94455b_b

Marika Sosnowski

Back inside: Life on the Syrian-Turkish border

In Turkey, less than 50 kilometres from the border, Syrians have chosen their favourite cafes, have opened Aleppine sweet shops and set up stores in the old city. Read more »

057212e0462005b9_Thumb

Kill Your Darlings

Best of 2014 (Part One): TV, Books, Technology

In the first of a two-part series, our brilliant Killings contributors highlight their top cultural moments of 2014 – in television, books and technology. Read more »

isabelle_cover_grande

Dark Places and Safe Spaces: S.A. Jones’ Isabelle of the Moon and Stars

S.A. Jones’ Isabelle of the Moon and Stars is a powerful and affecting depiction of a young woman struggling with mental illness and emotional turmoil. A book like Isabelle might well be described as the underdog of Australian publishing: a character-focused literary novel published by a small press … Read more »

w527705

Carody Culver

Taking Christmas off the shelf

Ah, Christmas – for some, a time of gift-giving, awkward family gatherings and over-zealous consumption of rum balls; for booksellers, a time to weep silent tears of stress and experience the irrational but persistent fear of being buried alive beneath boxes of the latest Stephen Fry memoir. Read more »

tumblr_naod7i6Sj61tk49ymo1_1280

Kill Your Darlings

Best of 2014 (Part Two): Film, Music, YA Literature, Pop Culture

In the second of a two-part series, our brilliant Killings contributors highlight their top cultural moments of 2014 – in film, music, young adult literature, and pop culture. Read more »

mariah-carey-all-i-want-for-christmas

Julia Tulloh

A SuperFestive Christmas playlist

I know what you’re thinking: lists like this became redundant in 1992, when Jon Bon Jovi rubbed shoulders with Cindy Crawford beneath a Christmas tree for the first and last time. Does the ideal of Christmas music get any better? Perhaps not, but many have tried. Here are a few other Christmassy pop goodies. Read more »

Kim_cover_web_

Julia Tulloh

Kim Kardashian, butts, and the internet

We’re used to seeing her butt, and we’re also used to Kim doing crazy publicity stunts. Her entire life is a publicity stunt in itself, both the means and end of a crazy, money-making, power-acquiring trajectory. Her very fame is built on the playful and shameless self-exposure captured in the Paper shoot. Read more »

tumblr_naod7i6Sj61tk49ymo1_1280

Kill Your Darlings

Best of 2014 (Part Two): Film, Music, YA Literature, Pop Culture

In the second of a two-part series, our brilliant Killings contributors highlight their top cultural moments of 2014 – in film, music, young adult literature, and pop culture. Read more »

Exodus-Gods-and-Kings-Poster-Bale-and-Edgerton-691x1024

Rochelle Siemienowicz

Problems with God: Exodus: Gods & Kings

This is the thing about retellings of old and beloved foundation stories: it’s impossible to come to them fresh, without trying to compare and contrast with previous versions for veracity and style. It’s usually the modern incarnation that comes up short. Read more »

Screen-Shot-2014-10-01-at-11.22.21-AM

Matilda Dixon-Smith

Can too many parts destroy an adaptation? The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

It’s a relief to feel the weight of fidelity lift off an adaptation film, as Mockingjay: Part 1 becomes a meta-exploration of fame, franchise and future. Read more »

057212e0462005b9_Thumb

Kill Your Darlings

Best of 2014 (Part One): TV, Books, Technology

In the first of a two-part series, our brilliant Killings contributors highlight their top cultural moments of 2014 – in television, books and technology. Read more »

3991099211_8397c745fe_b

Connor Tomas O'Brien

Taking up space: The legitimisation of creepshotting

There is a relationship between catcalling and creepshotting. Both are practices that involve the reduction of strangers to objects to be gawked at and commented on, which is what makes the ‘Men Taking Up Too Much Space on the Train’ Tumblr blog interesting and complex. Read more »

IMG_0086

Connor Tomas O'Brien

Pictures of pictures: Monument Valley and the rise of the in-game photographer

Presenting screencapturing a game as a form of camera-free ‘photography’ gives rise to a conceptual issue. If the ‘photographer’ is moving through, and capturing, a world created entirely by others, then who exactly should take the credit for any images created? Read more »

tumblr_naod7i6Sj61tk49ymo1_1280

Kill Your Darlings

Best of 2014 (Part Two): Film, Music, YA Literature, Pop Culture

In the second of a two-part series, our brilliant Killings contributors highlight their top cultural moments of 2014 – in film, music, young adult literature, and pop culture. Read more »

2447663467_2d543e6c87_o

Danielle Binks

Young Adult literature: genre is not readership

YA is not a genre – it is a readership. It may seem like pedantic nitpicking to focus on this distinction, but so pervasive is the mistake, amongst even established literary channels, that explaining the difference has become increasingly important and indeed necessary. Read more »

00page

Danielle Binks

Disability or superpower? Deaf identity in YA

‘We actually need more stories about deaf and hard of hearing characters and for their experiences to be shared in stories. Often, young readers believe they are ‘alone’ in their deafness and do not realise that there are many others like them.’ Read more »

tumblr_naod7i6Sj61tk49ymo1_1280

Kill Your Darlings

Best of 2014 (Part Two): Film, Music, YA Literature, Pop Culture

In the second of a two-part series, our brilliant Killings contributors highlight their top cultural moments of 2014 – in film, music, young adult literature, and pop culture. Read more »

mariah-carey-all-i-want-for-christmas

Julia Tulloh

A SuperFestive Christmas playlist

I know what you’re thinking: lists like this became redundant in 1992, when Jon Bon Jovi rubbed shoulders with Cindy Crawford beneath a Christmas tree for the first and last time. Does the ideal of Christmas music get any better? Perhaps not, but many have tried. Here are a few other Christmassy pop goodies. Read more »

drake-cover-650

Justin Wolfers

Drake’s climate change epiphany

Or: ‘Heat of the Moment’ as an epiphany in which Drake realises the urgency and importance of acting on climate change Read more »

057212e0462005b9_Thumb

Kill Your Darlings

Best of 2014 (Part One): TV, Books, Technology

In the first of a two-part series, our brilliant Killings contributors highlight their top cultural moments of 2014 – in television, books and technology. Read more »

??????????????????????

Stephanie Van Schilt

Lady Bosses on the Box

An increasing number of female-driven comedies, dramas or melodramas are popping up on our screens. Through the filters of fiction, the worlds these heroines inhabit directly reflect our own. This is the age of the lady boss. Read more »

105768385_5672eae965_z

Stephanie Van Schilt

Bananas without pyjamas? Budgets cuts and the next generation of ABC kids

From my humble beginnings watching kids’ programming, I learnt that ‘Your ABC’ was indeed, our ABC. The protests and public outcry which followed this week’s announcement of cuts to the ABC demonstrate its crucial role in fostering a sense of community for Australians. Read more »