Today is #NationalComicBookDay and the VOX Teens have never missed an opportunity to talk about their favorite comics.
Comics are a popular topic at VOX. Clicking on our Comics category will tell you that. Whether it’s complementing or criticizing, our teen staff has talked about comics from a number of different angles.
One of our most recent posts came from Agnes Scott College freshman Maya Martin who wrote “Hypersexualization and the Paradox of Female Superheroes.” In it she charged:
Society sometimes places a higher value on women looking beautiful than on women feeling okay physically and mentally, and voicing their opinions…This paradox presents a common theme in women superhero stories: You have to be hot to be powerful. But lately, women superheroes have been portrayed in a more positive light. With shows like “Jessica Jones” and “Supergirl,” and movies like this summer’s “Wonder Woman,” multi-dimensional female superheroes give us a new narrative in which they can save the world in jeans and skirts. And, regardless of costume, these superheroes represent a female power fantasy, rather than a male-written sexual fantasy. They are written to empower women — not to satisfy men.
VOX Media Cafe participants Kaylynn Parks, Krystal White and Nyah Peebles also offered their thoughts on “Wonder Woman” with their “How ‘Wonder Woman’ Changes The Game For Female Superheroes” piece. “In a way, [female superheroes] are hypersexualized,” they wrote. “But at the same time, they own their sexuality. I don’t think they’re hypersexualized by men. Even if they look good, they fight good, too.”
VOX’s resident comic and geek culture lover Kenneth Franklin has celebrated comic books and movies throughout the year. So much that he is quick to call out when the movies don’t always get it right. In his “Spider-Man: Homecoming” review he wrote:
The supporting cast all get a scene to shine, and some of my favorite scenes come from Zendaya’s character, Michelle, who brings a sense of cynicism to an otherwise light-hearted tone. I was also a huge fan of Ganke, I mean Ned, Peter’s equally geeky friend who (as shown in the trailers) learns about the web-slinger’s secret identity pretty early on in the movie and serves as Peter’s cohort.
I do have one problem with Ned’s character: He’s a carbon copy of Ganke Lee from the current “Spider-man” comic book starring Miles Morales, a mixed-race kid of black and Latino descent from Brooklyn (who takes up the mantle of Spider-Man after the Peter Parker of his universe is killed). Aside from the difference that Ned is Hawaiian and Ganke is Korean, I loved the characters nonetheless.
He also called out comic book megapower Marvel for not having enough Black woman representation in their stories with his aptly titled piece, “Where the Black Women At? A Message for Marvel.”
Fortunately, other movies like “Spider-Man Homecoming” (opening Friday July 7) are taking steps forward in the necessary representation of black women in superhero culture, as both of the leading women in the film are black, and the cast in itself is very diverse. I’m excited, because it’s about d*mn time Marvel has finally acknowledged the existence of black women.
While, yes, I am ecstatic about black women finally being canon in the MCU, I can’t help but feel that there have been multiple times where the insertion of a black woman would’ve made perfect sense. Couldn’t Marvel have at least given James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) a black girlfriend or thrown in a few high-ranking black SHIELD agents?
I don’t know, man, the exclusion of black women in these movies sometimes feels intentional, and I can’t just overlook that. You know it’s jacked up when a movie set in high school has more diversity than 15 movies encompassing various parts of the world and outer space. Come on Marvel, do you really expect me to believe that there are no black women outside of Wakanda and Peter Parker’s high school?
For more VOX coverage of comic books, click here.