Where is miss Independent comic book woman?

14 02 2011

Comic book characters hooking up with each other is nothing new. But super heroes in relationships is a totally different story, depending on the sex of the hero. The sub plots for many male hero heroes often involve them juggling multiple women. For a guy who spends his nights fighting crime, Batman’s really good at waking up in bed with a woman. Many of the more iconic male heroes spend a good amount of time being chases by super heroic tail. Iron man, Captain America, Wolverine and even Charles Xavier refuse to put a ring on any fingers. Then the ones who find that special lady often end up single regardless. How many girlfriends does Green Lantern: Kyle Rayner have to watch die on him before he give up on the dating game? And he hasn’t even been around in comic books that long. The creative staff of Spider-man flat out said “he’s better single” so Peter’s got girlfriends thrown off of bridges one day and demons mind wiping his wife the next.

So you’d think that comic book creators all have some sort of deep hatred towards relationships right? Not when it comes to women. Their place is apparently in the kitchen. You see while many iconic male characters are single, ironically enough, many of the females can’t be identifies without a man around their arm or a father figure telling them out to behave. Invisible woman’s always been married, whenever people see Rogue they immediately ask where Gambit it, Black Canary always has Green Arrow nearby, and Storm ended up getting married and moving to another continent for her man. And let’s be honest, when names like “She-Hulk”, “Spider-woman,” and “Batgirl” are heard, these titles are affiliated heavily with their male counterparts, and no matter the characters role, these women are placed in the side-kick pocket with Robin and Aqualad.

Super hero weddings tend to suck....

And what of the few women who are single and proud? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched writers elude to Wonder Woman having feelings for Batman or Superman or even Aquaman. Two out of three of these guys are married! Even the female villains are either side-kicks to another villain or often have some kind of deep attraction to their “enemies.” We all know the real reason Batman keeps letting Catwoman get away. And what happens to the women in comic books after the break-ups? It’s kind when there is a groups made up mostly of guys, and then there is one or two girls in the group. The one of the girls dates one of the guys, followed by a break up. Sides are formed, and the girl is often time slowly and painfully removed from the group. That’s how comic book fans treat their heroes after they break up. Nightwing and Starfire broke up. Nightwing got a comic book and Starfire got to hang out with teenagers. Cyclops and Jean Grey? Cyclops got a new big breasted blonde and Jean Grey…well…died.

It’s be nice if we could see a few more strong independent women in comic books, and there is an honest effort for put them front and center. Powergirl’s comic book and Miss Marvel’s are great examples. The books are well reviewed by critiques and are not flooded by appearances of other heroes. But when the sale results get to corporate, neither one of these books is hitting the top ten lists. So is it up to us as fans to support more books like these or do the companies need to make an even stronger effort to make the characters more interesting?