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Shoshana Kessock's Wonder Woman Comics and the Violation of the Amazons

Welcome to the Amazon culture, newly rewritten to include rape, murder and slavery.

Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comment(s); comment here or there.

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strictly speaking they went from Amazons Attack! to more in line with the myths of hyper-misogynistic hellenic greece... which is an improvement.

I know. *groans* I know.

Why does the idea of, "hey, let's make it darker and edgier!" always seem to be the first one to pop into the minds of people trying to reinvent a title? Is that the only thing they can think of? More sex and gore and a lot of vagueness and menacing hints about things that never really solidify? I'm still bitter about The All-New Atom... >_>

If we are to accept that all the mythologies embedded in DC Comics ought to go grittier, then what’s next? Kryptonian cattle mutilations and probing in all the wrong places?

Hah! Bloody well wouldn't surprise me...

Because carebear glitter doesn't sell except to the Disney Channel demographic.

I am unconvinced. While I agree that the tale as related is incredibly improbable (WW never notices all the pregnancies around her? No gay sailors radio for help when the spears come out?), that just makes her an idiot for not immediately challenging the story based on those grounds.

Comic book fans - they want everything to change, yet they want nothing to change. And don't you dare touch the character's Golden Age except to fix the parts that sucked about it, or were illogical, or were plot holes... except of course for the suck, illogic, and plot holes that defined the Golden Age. Don't touch those!

Yeah, it couldn't be that people are upset that the new origin story has Wonder Woman the unwitting representative of a bunch of nasties, and she was apparently too clueless to notice for her entire life. Or in general that the DC reboot seems to be bringing back the more annoying elements of the "Extreeeemeeeee '90s!!!!!"

Oh well, there went another few thousand readers - I know that the younger fanboys will lap it up, but there's a reason I don't buy many comics new these days, and DC just reinforced it.

So... In the period between roughly 1985 and 1992, Dark and Gritty became the thing for comics. And, being in Middle School and then High School, I ate it with a big old spoon, because twelve year old me through that Frank Miller + murder + rape + Jim Lee was "adult" and "showed the world how it really is."

But it's now 2012. I have a bald spot, a doctoral degree, and a bursa on my right shoulder that often aches. There are people with BAs who've entered the workforce who hadn't yet been conceived when Grim n' Gritty was the Next Big Thing.

Is the comics industry really that creatively spent? Is it doomed to an every-dwindling share of comic-and-game store sales to Cat Piss Men who leer uncomfortably at the pubescent Magic players? Is the best we can hope for for comics to stay alive as a sort of loss leader for splashy summer blockbusters.

Seems to be. Don't forget that Jim Lee is one of the bigwigs at DC at the moment, and had major input into "The New 52" as they're calling the current reboot.

Maybe Disney? (Anonymous) Expand
They *are* serious about taking over the book biz...oh, never mind.

I've been reading it over a friend's shoulder. It's an interesting way to reinvent the story, and some of the ideas are good. But yeah, it's going into the same old my-backstory-is-dark territory now. It's just boring, lazy narrative tropes at this point. I object to being bored by rape.

How well does that fit with the classical myths about amazons?

The stuff about the Amazon's reproductive habits takes one aspect of a variant of the original story, and treats it as central. And also makes it darker, I believe. I don't think the original Amazons were ever rumored to throw their male babies into the sea.

And it's still the least creepy of the New 52.

Wait, no, I forgot about Action Comics.

Dear Geoff Johns: Brian Azzarello and Grant Morrison are your only writers who I'd even consider letting babysit my kids.

[peeved comic book lady fan rant mode ON]

The most depressing thing about this? Is all the DC comics fans who aren't bothered by it. I can understand *not* being a comics fan and not caring, or saying "but it's closer to the original myths, right," but... Really? You're all okay with it. Ugh.

You really wonder, would they *not care* if Peter Parker's Uncle Ben was suddenly revealed, in a reboot, to have been a serial child molester, and Aunt May covered up for him for all those years? That's why Peter didn't have any friends, because all the neighborhood families knew to keep their kids away from creepy Uncle Ben. It's canon now, deal with it!

Or (as I've seen elsewhere) what if Ma and Pa Kent were, now, in this New DCU, KKK members or meth dealers, and Clark had just somehow never realized it during all the years they raised him. And if you object, then you must want comics to be dumb fluffy kiddie stories, there's no other possible objection to be made-- not "It would be illogical for Clark never to have realized this, unless he's a moron," or "Clark being brought up by kind, decent people is the rock-solid basis of his entire characterization and always has been..."

And it's not that people hate any change and it's not that people want the Amazons to be flawless ideals. You didn't see this kind of fuss when Diana learned that there had been an Amazon Civil War, with wrong on both sides, and her people had balkanized their nation and then there was cultural/ethnic strife between the two groups when they met up again. Because that's realistic, that's something people learn as they grow up about their families and their people, it's a good story for Diana to learn that her society isn't as blameless as she always thought. So, no, nobody is saying the Amazons should never do anything wrong and Themyscira should always be the Kumbaya Island of Awesome Perfect Lesbians who are Better Than You.

But it's a huge fucking leap from "The Amazons, a country just like any country, whose leaders and citizens don't always live up to their stated moral and ethical ideals," to "The Amazons: every single one of them is a rapist. EVERY SINGLE ONE. They are ALL rapists and murderers. And they are ALL ok with directly benefiting from selling children-- their *own* children-- into slavery, and living off of child labor. *Every single Amazon* is a rapist, murderer and slaver, and that's where Diana comes from." REALLY? Really. Okay then.

That one paragraph is making me imagine Orson Scott Card's Spider-Man.

I read the issue and saw nothing that suggests rape. Definitely mass murder, child abandonment, and possible slavery (the male Amazons clearly don't see themselves as slaves -- that could be brainwashing, though). There's no doubt it's a dark and ugly story, and my feelings are very mixed on it...I do like the extensive use of mythology in the series. But no rape.

Having sex with people with the preexisting (and undisclosed) intent to murder them immediately after they're done is, at the least, a form of sexual predation that is close enough to rape that it's a distinction without a difference.

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