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Holy Men in Tights! Academic Superhero Conference 301

Posted by timothy
from the better-hold-it-in-a-big-basement dept.
Malfourmed writes "The University of Melbourne's Cinema Studies Program, School of Art History, Cinema, Classics & Archaeology is hosting a four day conference (and fancy dress ball and movie programme) on superhoeroes and supervillains. The interdisciplinary conference will address the varying roles, identities, and social functions that these superheroes serve. Topics include censorship; industry and franchise differentiation (eg DC vs Marvel); mythology; the female superhero ("It has been a very much male-centred universe," co-convener Saige Walton said. "They need some more chicks."); ethnicity, class and race; diverse media formats (cinema, comics, computer games, television) ; the resurgence in the cult of superpowers in recent cinema; super-auteurs (eg Frank Miller, Alan Moore, Tezuka Osamu, Grant Morrison); fan culture; the science and physics of the superhero; ancient superheroes; and the 'hero' who isn't 'super'."
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Holy Men in Tights! Academic Superhero Conference

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  • by saskboy (600063)
    "
    When? June 11th ~ 8pm
    Where? The Bat Cave
    "

    Oh shucks. My bat cave attire is at the cleaners that day.
  • Why (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MarsDude (74832) on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @01:59AM (#12755424) Homepage
    Why not just leave it at being entertainment.
    Making it a science takes all the fun away.
    • Re:Why (Score:3, Interesting)

      by packeteer (566398)
      Making science into entertainment has ruined it for me to.
    • What men are poets who can speak of Jupiter if he were a man, but if he is an immense spinning sphere of methane and ammonia must be silent.
      --Richard Feynman [wikipedia.org]
    • For you maybe (Score:4, Insightful)

      by hey! (33014) on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @05:05AM (#12755930) Homepage Journal
      Ok, for some people mindlessly devouring puerile comic book entertainment appeals to the immature eleven year old in them.

      But for some of us, devouring puerile comic book entertainment and debating it as if they were something worthy of serious analysis appeals to the immature smart aleck eleven year old in us.

      [disclaimer: the following was written by my inner child]

      Now, for a demonstration of black belt level irony: those of you say we shouldn't talk about comic books actually hold the same opinions and have the same attitudes as those who say we shouldn't read them at all. Opinion: You both agree that the idea that comic books are anything based on them could have any literary value is absurd. You only differ in that you find comic books entertaining and they do not; they find pretentious intellectual blather entertaining and you do not. Some of us like both. Attitude: Both the literary stuffed shirts and the literary know-nothings share the attitude that people who don't like the same things as them need to be corrected. In short, you are both prigs. But I mean that in a nice way.

      [/disclaimer]

      Now, for you pleasure (or mortification (or both)), I will repost my K5 diary in which I analyze Spider-Man 2 on a level that would probably get me beaten up if I did it in my high school English class. By my teacher.


      I finally saw Spider-Man 2 last night

      I was trying to see I Robot but it apparently has disappeared from the local cineplex, so I settled for Spider-Man 2. But I enjoyed the movie. I thought the movie was not only very well done, it was very sly. After I got home, I went on the Internet to see what the critics had caught and what they'd missed. It turned out they missed a lot.

      I should say that if you haven't seen the movie and want to figure it out for yourself, you shouldn't read any further.

      There are three major story lines: Peter Parker's relationship problems with MJ, Spider-man's conflict with Doctor Octavius, and Spider-man's conflict with his own powers. These are resolved in reverse order.

      I want to focus on the resolution of Spider-man's conflict with his own powers. This is resolved in the scene where he rescues the passengers on a runaway train. My jaw absolutely dropped when I saw this scene, because it has to be the most blatant crucifixion scene I've seen in any film since the end of Blade Runner.

      Not only that, it is concluded with a bald-faced rebirth and resurrection scene. You could say the subsequent bit where Spidey is passed hand to hand over the heads of the passengers resembled a kind of baptism. And it does resemble baptism in this respect: it's was a kind of symbolic embrace of the new person by his community. However, I think perhaps this might take the Christian iconography a bit far -- I think that the filmmakers might have been reaching for a more universal pre-Christian symbolism. The ceremony reminded me of new age "re-birthing" rites. Of course it should be noted that Christian baptism by immersion also echos this: the new person emerges from water, the archetypal feminine element.

      The fact that Tobey Maguire also plays this scene unmasked is very interesting. I think the primary reason for this is that such a symbolically pregnant scene wouldn't work if played by an animated doll -- it requires an actor to energize it. But it works on other levels too. For the superhero, being unmasked is a kind of nakedness (which one or two critics did pick up on). Just as at birth one is physically naked, and at death psychically naked.

      I almost laughed when the crowd lays Spidey down gently, and somebody says "My God, he's just a kid! About the same age as my son." This is only one or two steps removed from "Isn't he cute! He's got Grandpa's eyes."
      • s/comic books/graphic novels/, you insensitive clod!
      • I stand corrected.

        • I stand corrected.

          Well, chastised would be more accurate, I'm afraid. However, I appreciation your magnanimity in the face of juvenile waggishness.
      • The train scene was just about my favorite scene from the entire movie. I thought it was simply beautiful. I completly missed the religious symbolism, however. It might have something to do with the fact that I am an atheist and was raised in a non-religious household, so religious ideas and symbols were never hammered into my brain while I was growing up. In retrospect, I can naturally see the parallels between the train scene and certain Christian concepts, but when I watch things like that there is nothi
    • Why not just leave it at being entertainment.
      Making it a science takes all the fun away.


      Being involved in cultural studies, I've noticed that some people tend to consider any analysis to be overanalysis. To some extent, I can sympathize with this point of view (I've often said, "You can't dissect something without killing it").

      However, ad hoc, I can't distill for you enough of what cultural analysis is about in order to convince you that comic books are not, and never will be, just about entertainment.

      B
  • by Jesse_132 (830242) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {essejrehtona}> on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @02:00AM (#12755425) Homepage
    When you think you misread the title of the article, then realize no you didn't... it is what /. posts at night when all good geeks are in bed.
  • Women in comic books (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dancin_Santa (265275) <DancinSanta@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @02:01AM (#12755428) Journal
    What always makes me laugh is how otakus try to justify their objectification of women in comics as somehow empowering to women. By cladding the female characters in skin-tight suits that leave nothing to the imagination and giving them powers, they are somehow less objectified than you'd assume at first glance. Oh no, they are totally powerful, according to the geeks.

    Of course, at no point are they ever in charge, in normal clothes, homely, or out of the control of some male superhero.

    I've jacked off to Rogue in her undies many times, so I ought to know a thing or two about objectifying comic book women. That doesn't excuse the industry for its blatant subjection of women, though, it only reinforces the stereotype of geeks as misogynists.
    • by meringuoid (568297) on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @03:22AM (#12755685)
      otakus

      Otaku. One otaku, two otaku, three otaku, four. It's a Japanese word, and so it doesn't change in the plural.

    • by Master of Transhuman (597628) on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @03:24AM (#12755690) Homepage

      You haven't read many comics lately, have you?

      The women in X-Men and a number of other comics from Marvel and others are not exactly sex slaves (unless you've read the X-rated X-Men comic some knockoff did). Rogue might be a bit stereotyped, but Storm faced down Wolverine several times with authority - and Logan is about as macho a superhero as it gets.

      Besides, this is anti-male feminist bullshit. Every woman (except maybe Andrea Dworkin, who's a total loss anyway) wants to be a sex goddess and every man wants to be a sex god. And the psychology behind this goes a lot deeper than the surface motivations attributed to either sex by the feminists (or by male misogynists). Without some comprehension of human and cultural evolution and primate neuroscience anything said about this is likely to be bullshit.
      • Besides, this is anti-male feminist bullshit. Every woman (except maybe Andrea Dworkin, who's a total loss anyway) wants to be a sex goddess and every man wants to be a sex god.

        A man is capable of having children with multiple women. For a woman to do the opposite is not as advantageous. Because of this, the strategies are different.

        Women may want love, power, and attention and may enjoy sex. But compared to men there are a minority of women out there who really aspire to be 'sex gods.'
        • Re:children (Score:4, Informative)

          by philbert26 (705644) on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @05:02AM (#12755924)
          A man is capable of having children with multiple women. For a woman to do the opposite is not as advantageous.

          It is if the woman can keep it a secret. In many species, including humans, females will mate with other males while their partner is otherwise engaged. That way they vary the genetic mix of their children, while still keeping a male partner to look after them.

          • Re:children (Score:3, Insightful)

            by PsiPsiStar (95676)
            I'm not saying that there's no advantage. But it's not as advantageous for women as it is for men.

            The advantage of having 'genetically varied children' is not as valuable as having more children.
        • A man is capable of having children with multiple women. For a woman to do the opposite is not as advantageous. Because of this, the strategies are different.

          I just have to say, this probably doesn't apply to you, but the men I know who subscribe most strongly to this hypothesis are those who have the least experience with women. Not that there isn't some truth in the hypothesis, it's just that it smacks of nineteenth century gentleman scholar science, the problem of which is this: theories that explain
          • Well, I'd agree that the girls that I've dated and that I tend to spend time with are not representative samples of the population, so maybe I'm biased in that way.

          • >> A man is capable of having children with multiple women. For a woman to do the opposite is not as advantageous. Because of this, the strategies are different.

            > I just have to say, this probably doesn't apply to you, but the men I know who subscribe most strongly to this hypothesis are those who have the least experience with women.

            I'd go further and say that the men who subscribe most strongly to this hypothesis are always those who have the least experience with women, understanding that "exp
      • So lemme see, you're obviously right and obviously _every_ woman's secret dream is to be represented as a cheap slut, because:

        1. you call names any dissenting opinion ("anti-male feminist bullshit")

        2. you call names everyone who dares have a different opionion ("total loss", "male mysoginist")

        3. You briefly drop some pretentious sounding pseudo-science babble ("comprehension of human and cultural evolution", or "primate neuroscience"). Of course, without any further details as to _which_ recognized works
      • I thought Andrea Dworkin was sexy.
    • You mean like how all men in romance novels are super buff and handsome? How can we stand for this! We must stop the objectification of men in romance novels now!!! Come on man give me a break. Here's an experiment for you: Go to your local book store and go take a look at the covers of romance novals and then go take a look at the covers of all the comic books? Do you honestly think you will find more barely clothed women on the front of comic books then you will barely clothed men on the front of romance
      • Not to mention the women in those novels. Judging by the covers, they're both nubile and buxom and dress to show it.
    • What's with equating sexualization with objectification?

      If you're trying to invoke the subject-object dichotomy, you'd have a hard time arguing that women in comic books are seen as property because they're sexualized. There may be some cases of this, but it's not the common theme.

      If you think the sexualization of women is disempowering to women and the sexualization of men is empowering to them... well, you're welcome to your own opinion.
      • Leaving aside the graphic novel genre, I'd say women are objectified but not sexualized; that is to say they are depicted in a way that makes them objects of sexual interest, but are not depicted as beings with sexual behaviors.
        • Which series are we discussing? Japanese manga like Gundam Wing and Ranma 1/2? Marvel comics like Spider Men and x-men?

          they are depicted in a way that makes them objects of sexual interest, but are not depicted as beings with sexual behaviors.

          To really make someone an object, their desires would need to be seen as entirely invalid or immaterial. They would only be relevant in terms of serving or being desired by others.

          But using your standard I've seen comics where girls are interested in guys or in re
    • O Great Oracle Known As Google,

      define:misogynist

      "a misanthrope who dislikes women in particular"

      I hardly think you could describe most geeks, comic book authors, and/or comic book readers as people who dislike women. Sure, some of us might not be very adept at talking to or relating to women, but I'm guessing that most of us would do just about anything for the women in our lives. That doesn't mean our comic book characters have to wear a body-concealing environment suit anytime they go out to fight
    • Speaking of empowered female comic , when I was kid I rather enjoyed Marvel's Valkyrie comics. I loved the whole romantic, heroic Norse thing, but Thor never worked for me. I thought he was a bit of a mighty lunkhead.

      In a way, although of course the Valkyrie is super, you can argue she's not that super, compared to somebody like Thor. So may she's relatively speaking not empowered as a (super) person. That may be why I liked the book. The writers couldn't mighty-lunkhead their way out of a tight story
    • Alright, then... What about CLAMP? They're almost entirely (if not entirely) female.

      Oh, and please try to avoid generalizing fans of anime and manga. Not all of us are happy with the problem you cite. Of course, some of that problem stems from the fact that the Japanese have some really, really strange (or downright creepy) concepts.

    • One Counterpoint (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mdarksbane (587589)
      I realized this during a Women's Studies writing course I had to take - despite the objectification, comics and shows written for men show much stronger female characters than anything written for women.

      Think about it - the female lead in almost any comic book, despite being terrible underdressed and having boobs the size of torpedoes, is an independent, intelligent equal whom works with the super-heroes as a team, or works on her own. Female villains are almost always the most dangerous due to their abili
  • Can I say that? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NitsujTPU (19263) on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @02:02AM (#12755432)
    "It has been a very much male-centred universe," co-convener Saige Walton said. "They need some more chicks."

    Interestingly, a male would lose some edge saying that.

    I salute you Saige, and your message. I just wish that wording the message the same, in my shoes, as a man, wouldn't get me an unsavory label.
  • by aendeuryu (844048) on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @02:10AM (#12755458)
    So he says to me he says, "Do you want to be baaaaaad?" And I say, "Yeah baby YEAH! Surf's up space ponies! We're making gravy WITHOUT THE LUMPS!!! AAAAAAAAAAAhahahahahaHAAAAAA!!!"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @02:12AM (#12755463)
    "You got cracker farm-boy Luke Skywalker: Nazi poster-boy, blond hair, blue eyes. And then you've got Darth Vader, the blackest brother in the galaxy. A Nubian god --"

    "-- What's a Nubian?"

  • by kingofalaska (885947) on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @02:14AM (#12755468) Homepage Journal
    For some reason, it seems more like many of these 'superheros' in the comics are wearing their underwear on the outside of their tights. That raises so many questions, not the least of which would be: are they wearing 2 pairs of underwear?

    History tells us that many of the Celts went into battle naked. This was disconcerting to their foes. I wonder how popular That comic would be?

    On another note, "Holy Men in Tights!" sounds like the next scandal.

    The King

    Rural Alaska nuclear power gets legislative backing [blogspot.com]

  • Holy men? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Ponzicar (861589) on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @02:20AM (#12755490)
    When I saw "Holy men in tights", I thought it was about another Catholic sex abuse scandal.
    • When I saw "Holy men in tights", I thought it was about another Catholic sex abuse scandal.

      Yeah, I thought, "Boy, I don't know if the Boston Archdiocese coffers can handle another round of law suits."

      I also thought "What, are they applying for a public relations opening with the San Francisco 49ers?"

  • by Vo0k (760020) on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @02:43AM (#12755560) Journal
    http://www.superdickery.com/ [superdickery.com]

    Superheroes being dicks.
    And other stuff so amazing it... sucks.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @02:52AM (#12755588)
    Bruce Wayne is a normal guy that everybody can relate to. He has no special powers to rely on; only the technology that his wealth affords him. He keeps in shape through rigorous training and is skilled in martial arts. He is a self-made superhero. None of that bullshit radioactive nonsense (what superheor ISN'T brought into existence by some type of radioactivity?). Gotham is a dark, lonely, unforgiving place. I think the animated series captured it the best, although the Dark Knight graphic novel was pretty good. Batman embodies what a superhero should be, and yet he doesn't play by the rules. He wasn't "gifted" or "chosen"; he took it upon himself to make a difference in a cruel world, and to strike back and get revenge. Batman is the best superhero because he is the most human.
    • by Master of Transhuman (597628) on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @03:46AM (#12755745) Homepage

      Wolverine wasn't irradiated, and except for the Adamantium in his bones, and his mutant healing power, and highly developed senses, he's probably one of the more "human" superheroes.

      I can't count Daredevil since he was irradiated - although later it was revealed that actually had nothing to do with his supersenses.

      There are probably hundreds of non-irradiated superheroes, and probably hundreds of strictly human ones as well.

      But you're probably right that Batman was the FIRST (or nearly so) of the strictly human ones (if you don't count myths and legends, but only comics.)

      But to pick a superhero because he is most human is to underestimate the importance of the genre. The genre is nothing more than a modern manifestation of the human desire for a Transhuman existence. Therefore it is necessary that even the most human of superheroes be so superior to the average human (even Captain America can press 800 lbs which very few real humans can do) that they stand as a symbol of divinity. Even your Batman is not strictly human, both because of his technology and because of his vast experience - and that apparent inhuman nature is something he specifically trades on to intimidate his enemies.

      OTOH, Superman, although a godlike entity, is represented in the comics as almost absurdly human, even to the point of being absurdly AMERICAN. I haven't read the stories in recent years, so they may have changed him, but I doubt it. His superpowers still make him a divinity, but DC went to great lengths to make him acceptable to humans.

      Marvel did the same thing with their "teenage-angst superheroes" like Spiderman - which is why I never was as attracted to Spiderman as I was many other Marvel characters. Fortunately, they also provided seriously powerful entities as well - the success of the character Thanos - who is truly a demi-god and has actually BEEN a genuine divinity at least twice - and has been converted from a pure villain to an ambiguous character - is an example.

      Even many of the Marvel supervillains have been altered to make them almost superheroes - Doctor Doom (my main man!) and Magneto, as well as Thanos, are examples. These characters tend to exaggerate human failings to a degree that makes them almost divine - but still understandable to humans, just like the gods of human myth such as Zeus or Odin (not to forget that even those gods are part of the Marvel pantheon.)

      Superheroes and supervillains are about being "super" - which means more than human. And that is the bottom line to the literary genre.
      • These characters tend to exaggerate human failings to a degree that makes them almost divine - but still understandable to humans, just like the gods of human myth such as Zeus or Odin

        Norse mythology is something for itself. Odin did not create the world as such, but he killed Ymir and built Midgard aka Middle Earth from his remains. The Aesir were not the only gods, there were also norns and Vanir, another race of gods they were at war with. Overall, they were hardly supreme gods.

        Nor were they all-knowi
      • Even your Batman is not strictly human, both because of his technology and because of his vast experience ...

        You forgot his stacks of cash. Technology is largely useless without money, and being wealthy frees up lots of time through which a dire obsession can flower, if flower be the word. The life of an extremely rich man is so different from that of a homeless person that they might as well be different species; they may have the same basic biological necessities, but beyond that things get different
      • But you're probably right that Batman was the FIRST (or nearly so) of the strictly human ones (if you don't count myths and legends, but only comics.)

        Batman starts off as a guy in a costume figthing crooks. He really is a continuation of masked mystery man types popular in the Pulps like the Shadow. Later on he gets integrated in a "super" world with supervillains and the like, although most of the rogues gallery remains strictly non-powered with a best a technological gimmick.

        Masked crimefighters pre

    • I largely agree with you. I've always liked Batman for just this reason. No powers other than 'born wealthy and smart and healthy' which could happen to anyone. And he's paid his dues so to speak in first watching his parents death by a villian and later by YEARS of hard work and rigorous training.
      Another favorite of mine has been 'iron man' while here the technology goes well into comic book physics (where people can shrink to atomic size and still breath along with other nonsense), it's still basical
    • by BlightThePower (663950) on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @04:01AM (#12755781)
      ...its to do with time when most of the famous characters were created I think, there was a great deal of interest, and post 1945, collosal anxiety about radiation. I expect to see more modern creations having something to do with genetic modification and perhaps nanotechnology in their origin stories. These things don't necessarily happen by accident, I understand Stan Lee was thinking of issues of race and prejudice when he came up with idea of the X-men as being mutants persecuted for being who and what they were born as. Professor Xavier can be seen as a sort of Martin Luther King to Mangento's Malcolm X. In more recent times I've had the suspicion that this form has been reworked slightly to have more resonances with regard to society's treatment of homosexuality (I definitely got that feeling in the second film in the scene where, was it Iceman(?), goes home and his parents get upset when they find out what he is. Would appear to mirror many a "coming out" story).

      This reflection of anxieties in popular art forms as a way of exploring or dealing with them is fairly well noted; for example, Bram Stoker's Dracula has an underlying theme of fear of supressed female sexuality, whereas Frankenstein is clearly all about fear of science. Its all the same thing really.

      As an aside another reason Batman wins over his only DC rival, Superman, for readers internationally is that Superman is a little overly wrapped in the stars and stripes (of course "Red Son" had much fun playing with that aspect the strip) to the extent where his popularity waxes and wanes with regard to how people feel about the USA. He was big in the 1980s when American culture was at its zenith of being "cool" in Europe. Right now nobody wants to know really. He's always been and still is popular in countries that target the USA as a migration destination.

      On closer examination though I think Superman is very symbolic but I think that Bruce Wayne/Batman is probably nearer the American dream ultimately. By day he's an enlightened capitalist in the modern American mould (rigorous businessman but very charitable etc) who still finds time to be a 'self made man' and act in a sort of "Wild West" state of mind by night.

      Hang on, inherited wealth, wild west mentality, hangs out in a technologically advanced underground bunker...Batman=GWB? Holy known unknowns and unknown unknowns Batman! Makes you wonder if Wayne Industries had the contract for repairing the damage to Gotham done by the Batmobile and the Joker blowing stuff up. Meh, politics.
    • Bruce Wayne is a normal guy that everybody can relate to. He has no special powers to rely on; only the technology that his wealth affords him.

      Riddle on this a bit: Not to intentionally drag issues of class struggle into the whole thing, but it *is* a fact that Bruce Wayne's extreme maxi-mega-wealth is almost as unreachable, to the average Joe-crimefighter-wannabe, as actual super powers are. He didn't earn it; he was born into riches. Extremely deep pockets is about the closest thing to an actual super power, more than great martial arts ability, more than inventing skill, more than being a supertaster, that exists in this world.

      Further: what's the difference between a young Bruce Wayne growing up to become: a crime fighter, the world's greatest detective, and an ultimately good guy, and a young Bruce Wayne growing up to become: yet another idle playboy with way too much money (with all the society-warping power that provides), maybe not explictly bad, but not over concerned with other people?

      Often it takes something seriously bad to happen to a person to break him out of his limited perspective and into a large view of the world. Which isn't to say that it is right that those things happen, nor that it always works that way. But often it's unavoidable, and often it does.
    • Batman is a multi-billion genius scared by childhood trauma. I don't know about you, but much as I think the character is cool I can't relate to someone who is the world's best detective, maybe martial artist, speaks just about every language on the planet, is an expert in just about every field of science and fights crime dressed as an animal.

      Over time the writers have made him effectively superheroic. His level of skill and knowledge is really beyong human, and it has become something of a joke that Bat

    • While he may have trained his body to physical perfection, it was ultimately his intellect that put him in the same league with the more "conventional" superheros. This is why I think he was ultimately so successful.

      As far as other "non-super" superheros...there's

      Dick Tracy (don't look at me like that, he counts)

      Iron Fist (I think...unless someone corrects me)

      The Shadow (He achieved his power through training - I like his concept as well)

      Dr. Strange (see "the shadow" above)

      The Lone Ranger

      The Punishe
    • I have repeatedly said that the whole "Batman is a normal joe without superpowers" thing is BS. Batman DOES have powers. He has the absolute best powers a person can have! THE POWERS OF UNLIMITED FUNDING!

      Do you want to drop of the face of the earth and learn with the best martial arts masters? No problem, the trust fund will keep up the house and pay the help as you vacation in Asia.

      Do you want a nifty belt that has time warping effects so you can pull an elephant out of your pocket? No problem, you
  • Female Writers? (Score:2, Interesting)

    "It has been a very much male-centred universe," co-convener Saige Walton said.

    Now that she mentions it, I can't think of any female comic writers. Please, could someone recomend a few?
    • Re:Female Writers? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by kahei (466208) on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @04:18AM (#12755818) Homepage

      Rumiko Takahashi.

      But in the US and Europe, there appear to be no good female comic writers.

      I think this is because if a man wants to be a cartoonist, he learns to draw and design and lay out panels, while if a woman wants to be a cartoonist she networks with her art college freinds and produces a strip in which stick figures talk about Iraq and Men.

      I must note that the above theory is based on a single visit to Forbidden Planet and there may be some cases it doesn't address :)

      • I listed a bunch in a different reply. [slashdot.org]

        I also thought of Alison Bechdel and Claire Bretecher, although Bretecher is sort of more of a panel or single-page cartoonist rather than a comic-book author, and Bechdel's "Dykes to Watch Out For" is a strip, not a book. So maybe they don't count.
    • There's Rumiko Takahashi, who did things like Ranma and Inuyasha. All of them intended for a male audience.

      CLAMP is a team of all female manga artists, who seem to make stuff mostly for girls, like Cardcaptor Sakura, but also have some things like Chobits that are for an adult male audience (it's quite perverted stuff, but not pornographic)

      I recommend all of those. The Rumiko Takahashi's creations I know are great if you just want to have fun. Chobits is nice if you're looking for something more oriented
    • Gail Simone comes to mind. She's very funny, with a twisted sense of humour, but she can also write serious stories pretty well. She wrote Agent X and the last few issues of Deadpool, and is currently writing DC's Villains United limited series.

      If you're looking for older writers, I'd recommend Louise Simonson. She had an awesome run on X-Factor in the 80s.

      If you're willing to dig around for back issues of CrossGen comics (which is now sadly out of business, due to upper management not paying people whe
    • Julie Doucet and Ariel Schrag come to mind immediately. Ariel Schrag is really good at capturing the angsty "oh-my-god-i-suck" feeling that high school gives a person. Her comics are really rough, but the stories are engaging.

      Phoebe Gloeckner, of course. Tough to read sometimes because of the difficult subject matter, but her art is fantastic.

      Aline Kominsky-Crumb.

      Julie Barr, although TBH I'm not a big fan of "Desert Peach."

      That's what comes off the top of my head.
  • by Toby The Economist (811138) on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @03:55AM (#12755771)
    Holy Men In Tights?

    --
    Toby
  • Original, enjoyable, better than The Crow.
  • What a day. (Score:2, Funny)

    by phozz bare (720522)
    The science of superheroes. The science of Star Wars. News for nerds, as promised ;)

    -phozz
  • I find that talking about super heroes without talking about their origins kind of invalidates the conversation. How much do these comics owe to myths and legends, earlier stories like The Three Musketeers and Gulliver's Travels, or even Thomas Cochrane, Horatio Nelson and the various stories modeled after their lives? Can a valid conversation take place about super heroes without reference to these earlier incarnations?
    • Well, if you want to go into that, IMHO the "super-hero" genre is the exaggerated form (spandex costumes included) of, well, the super-heroes we have in legends, ballads, books and recently movies. And not as much "owes to those", but is basically the same genre that always existed.

      Humans seem to need to read/watch/hear/stories about, well, (demi)god-like super-humans doing stuff way above what normal humans could possibly do.

      There's a reason why even in religion you have people like for example Samson in
    • Yes

      It really depends what about superheroes you are conversing on.

    • Re:Super Heroes (Score:3, Informative)

      by xTown (94562)
      It would seem like the conference organizers agree with you. If you look at the conference schedule, there are a bunch of papers directly targeting the general relation between superheroes and mythmaking. There are also some titles that look as if they address the very questions you raise, like "Theseus Versus Hannibal Lecter: Heroic Quests Into The Labyrinth In Modern Cinema," "Conquerer of Flood, Wielder of Fire: Noah the Hebrew Superhero,"and "Antiquities as Superheroes: (Re)Presenting the Utopian Past i

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