How Do You Build a Great Girl Character?

Where V. drops some knowledge and asks for some in return.

This one time when I was at the bar (and by one time, I mean Tuesday night), I got into one of those taboo conversations about feminism and the treatment of female characters in fiction. The conversation inevitably made its way to comics; I mean this is me after all. Then my nemesis, we’ll call him Baby Bird, made the obvious and seemingly inevitable hasty generalization that men are just as objectified as women in comics. And well, that kicked me into high gear with points about inequity, marginalization and visual representation (see Kelly Thompson’s articulate essay that inspired my vein-popping rant).

Baby Bird may not have been up-to-speed on the gender bias prevalent in comics and fiction in general, but the discussion on the topic has grown exponentially over the past several years. Much of that conversation is spent calling out the bullshit. Rightfully so. While I live for a good row just like the next girl, I think it is pretty clear what the problems are. So how do we fix them? Continue reading “How Do You Build a Great Girl Character?”

5 Quotes Worth Remembering From SENYC

L. fondly recalls SENYC’s Reimagining the Female Superhero panel with new quotes from Gail Simone, Amy Reeder, and more!

… And they’re all from the Reimagining the Female Superhero panel!

It’s Throwback Thursday here at Girls Gone Geek, and I wanted to share a few new quotes from the panel that made the trip to SENYC worth it.

Enjoy!


By Alison Bechdel
By Alison Bechdel

On the Bechdel Test:
“I think there’s a lot of dismissal of things that do pass [The Bechdel Test]. If you have a buddy cop movie about men, then it’s a buddy cop movie. If you have a buddy cop movie about women, it’s a chick flick. If you have a coming of age story about a boy, then it’s a coming of age story, if it’s about a girl it’s a chick flick. If it’s about a father and son relationship, it’s a father and son movie, if it’s a mother and daughter, it’s a chick flick. And I’m tired of it!” – Marguerite Bennett

On creating accurate representations of women:
“You can get a female character up on a pedestal so high, that they’re actually boring to read about. Once in a while a female character is going to want to go on a date – it doesn’t make them less strong. They’re gonna cry – it doesn’t make them less strong. There are lots of kinds of strength, let’s explore them.” – Gail Simone

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On representation and diversity in comics:
“I think it’s a little strange that there are so many new stories coming out… but so few people of color in them. Because you can do that, you know.” – Amy Reeder

LadySkrullOn how poorly women have been written in the past:
“[Jack Kirby and Stan Lee] found it easier to identify with Skrulls than with women.” – Ben Saunders

On Wonder Woman:
“I think Wonder Woman is the strongest warrior on the planet, and maybe the universe.

She’s not gonna pull punches. And if you want to defeat her, you better not pull yours.” – Gail Simone

Wonder Woman by Marcio Takara
Wonder Woman by Marcio Takara

Reimagining the Female Superhero

L. had the distinct pleasure of attending a panel with some of the top female comic creators at Special Edition NYC.

Saturday I attended a panel at Special Edition: NYC, and from what I gathered it was one of the only panels that day that was even nearing maximum capacity. The Carol Corps, various members of the Young Avengers team, and plenty more in addition to myself waited patiently in the ever-growing line for this event. It was pretty much the only reason I went to the convention that day. It seems that many others had the same idea. Continue reading “Reimagining the Female Superhero”

Wonder Woman Is …

Wonder Woman’s distinguished guest appearance in Secret Six is one of our favorite Diana moments.

Imagine for a moment being on Wonder Woman’s bad side. And then she shows up unexpectedly to have a little talk with you.

Cue awe and soiled garments.

That’s a scenario writer Gail Simone and artist Nicola Scott set up beautifully when Diana confronted our favorite anti-heroes in Secret Six #12. Wonder Woman’s memorable guest appearance through issue #14 was the icing on top of one of Secret Six’s best arcs, “The Depths.” There are so many things about this story I love, starting with the stark contrast between the highly principled princess and the most delightfully morally ambiguous crew in comics. In this arc, Wonder Woman was an imposing, justice-demanding force of nature. In other words, awesome. (Spoilers ahead) Continue reading “Wonder Woman Is …”

Five Reasons to Read … Red Sonja

In her beautifully barbaric way, Red Sonja will give you a reason. So will E. Five of them to be exact.

Those of us who have been on Team Gail (as in Simone) for years were ready for her Red Sonja reboot with illustrator Walter Geovani as soon as it was announced. It will surprise very few people that this comic has met our high expectations in its first four issues. Let us count the ways in which this exciting, engaging book deserves your attention. Continue reading “Five Reasons to Read … Red Sonja”

V. reviews The Movement #4 & The Legend of Luther Strode #6

Hey guys! I’m reviewing stuff again. This week is two quick reviews on Gail Simone’s slow-burn in The Movement #4 and the explosive final issue of The Legend of Luther Strode.

When The Strange Talents of Luther Strode hit the shelves last year, that book was pure energy and wildly addicting. I actually didn’t catch on to that trend until about issue five, read all of them … and squirmed until issue six came out. Justin Jordan and Tradd Moore’s Luther Strode is super intense, super violent and yet quite novel.

The Legend of Luther Strode is the second mini-series featuring Luther, Petra and a bevy of other misfits and I enjoyed it. But … I think this pony needs some new tricks because the novelty is wearing thin, even though the quality is still there. Word on the wind is we will be getting The Legacy of Luther Strode next year. I am still so going to read it, but I do hope these talented creators will bring a surprise or two.

That aside, Petra totally kicks ass in this issue. She massacres a couple of female fiction tropes which is one of my favorite things to read in the whole wide world. Not hyperbole.

Now, about The Movement. We here at the Church of Gail Simone give all available benefits of doubts and trust in her ability to weave a fine web of comic bookiness. I’ll admit, The Movement has been an acquired taste, but one that I think is well worth your time … and mine. When a writer references the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, it implies a thoughtfulness and a care for the injustices suffered by marginalized people. It’s culture in our comics … the all-to-often-ignored culture is the kind of stuff I like to read and support in our sea of escapism. I’ve still got some reservations about the art. I’d like Nicola Scott or Amanda Conner drawing these characters. Rags Morales would be a good fit, too. A fangirl can dream, right?

You can read my reviews HERE.

L. reviews The Invincible Haggard West, E. reviews Red Sonja

Buried beneath the rubble of SDCC, we did a couple of comic reviews.

Just in case you fine folks missed it, last week Lindsey reviewed Paul Pope’s one-shot, The Invincible Haggard West #101. She gave it very high marks. Being that Lindz is so cool and smart, this book probably is, too. You can check her review HERE.

Then, last Wednesday saw the release of Gail Simone’s much-anticipated Red Sonja from Dynamite Entertainment. Erika jumped at the chance to let the world know it’s just as good as we thought it would be. You can read that review HERE.

Red Sonja by Fiona Staples

V. reviews The Movement #1

V. is left luke-warm by the first issue of The Movement, but is hopeful for what’s to come.

The Movement #1I was so excited to read Gail Simone’s latest addition to the DC line-up, The Movement. I heard her say that it’s probably the most diversity in a DC comic … like ever. And not just racial diversity; The Movement will tout diverse perspectives, lifestyles, politics and beliefs. Hera knows the heteronormative world of mainstream comics needs some variation in perspective. I certainly have a strong desire for it in comics (and elsewhere).

The Movement #1 was not as strong of a first issue as I had hoped, but then I wonder if my expectations were unrealistically high. Were they high because I think Gail is a wonderful storyteller or because I want this book to beget more books like it thus prematurely placing it on a pedestal?  Or maybe … it just wasn’t a great first issue. Either way, you can read my full review here.

Have you read it? What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with my review?

G3 Interview: Gail Simone, Part II

G3 talks to Gail Simone about Leaving Megalopolis, the writer-reader relationship, and the character – or characters – she’d like to be.

No one can say that Gail Simone isn’t available to her fans. She has long maintained an open dialogue with readers on her Tumblr and Twitter, and she’ll take on the tough and controversial subjects that are bound to come up in the highly opinionated world of comics. In Part II of our interview, Gail shares her thoughts on the writer-reader relationship, talks about reuniting with artist Jim Calafiore for Leaving Megalopolis, and answers a burning question we saved for the end. Continue reading “G3 Interview: Gail Simone, Part II”

MegaCon 2013 Photo Gallery

After sifting through hundreds of pictures, I give you the 100 best photos from our MegaCon experience.

G3 Interview: Gail Simone, Part I

In which we ask Gail Simone about all of the things!

V. and I had a lot of questions for writer extraordinaire Gail Simone post-Megacon, and she answered them with her trademark blend of thoughtfulness, wit and candor.

There was plenty of ground to cover. Continue reading “G3 Interview: Gail Simone, Part I”

Spotlight on Gail Simone

When Gail talks, we listen. Especially when she’s talking comics. Here’s a rundown of the best bits of the Spotlight on Gail Simone panel at MegaCon 2013.

The powers-that-be at MegaCon 2013 exercised vast wisdom and general awesomeness by having a panel dedicated to Gail Simone. For an hour, fans got to ask questions and listen to this excellent writer talk about her craft. V. was there taking notes for those of you who couldn’t be. Here are some of the takeaways. Continue reading “Spotlight on Gail Simone”

E.’s Megacon Highlight Reel

If you’re ever suffering from a case of fan malaise, find the nearest comics/sci-fi/fantasy/anime convention and go. You won’t regret it.

As Megacon reminded me, there’s nothing quite like a con to reconnect a person with the joys of fandom. Spending a few days surrounded by happy people in costumes and talking to the creators who make Wednesdays special are two things that deserve spots on your bucket list.

Some highlights and observations: Continue reading “E.’s Megacon Highlight Reel”

Destination: Gail

Vanessa and Erika are heading to MegaCon this weekend to meet Gail Simone!

One of the beautiful things about the comics industry is that many of the writers and artists are easily accessible to the fans. They take part in the discussion and share their work and insight on the varying social media platforms. They also spend time at conventions to promote their work, appear in panels, sign books and chat with fans. It’s really quite fun, especially for blogger-types like us. Continue reading “Destination: Gail”

Gail Simone on Writing Female Characters

Because diversity of female characters has been lacking in comics, film and just fiction in general, coupled with an upsurge of feminism; there seems to be this perception that IF you choose to portray a female character, then she HAS to be a positive role model. I think that is absurd, unrealistic, and stifling of creativity.

Today, Gail Simone posted a response to an anonymous question on her Tumblr addressing this very thing, and her response is highly rebloggable:

No one is ever asking for all females to be perfect avatars of all good things. Most sensible people are looking for a SPECTRUM of qualities for female (and other gender specifications) characters.

We want bad girls and good women and selfish ladies and caring mothers and terrible daughters and nasty wives and sacrificing girlfriends, we want villains and heroes and supporting cast members.

There’s no ‘wrong’ female character or scenario, it’s all purely in the execution.

Yes. It’s in the execution.

Write any kind of character that you like, that fits the story, that is creative and honest. Write every kind of female. Write lots of female characters. Then maybe we will get to a point where there is something for everyone, and she won’t have to be everything to everyone.