The Tipping Point: Geek Girls, Superheroes, and the DC Comics Reboot

I dare you to find me a male superhero posed with that hip thrust! (Image of Black Canary copyright DC comics)

Want to attract women? Publish good material that doesn’t actively chase them away.–Kurt Busiek, on Twitter, 10/24/2011

I have been a reader of superhero comics since I could read, buying them off the spinner rack for a quarter.

My love for them was sealed when I watched (in reruns) the first appearance of Batgirl on the Batman Television show. A girl could fight crime like the guys? She had a cool motorcycle? And she was smart?

Sign me up for that.

But back then, Batgirl was somewhat alone. It was hard to find strong female characters to follow. Of course, there was always also Supergirl and Black Canary in Justice League of America, though neither had their own title. Mostly, I gravitated to the team titles or followed the male superheroes that I always loved. (Batman, Captain America, Iron Man, forever, yes.) Superman, not so much, but the great extra-size Superman Family had both Lois Lane and Supergirl.

Then I got supremely and utterly hooked on the two comic series that exploded onto the scene in the early 1980s: The New Uncanny X-Men and The New Teen Titans. I still have my copy of Uncanny X-Men #137 of the original run. Quite possibly my choice for favorite comic ever.

These comics were also the two sales powerhouses for Marvel and DC–X-Men so much so that it spawned an industry.

Best of all, both titles featured women in prominent roles, with cool powers. Most importantly, they were also friends with each other. I stayed hooked for a long time, until my twins were born about a decade ago and I ran out of money and time to read superhero comics on a regular basis.

But I came back, as I still love superheroes, hooked by the original run of Birds of Prey, first by Chuck Dixon and then by Gail Simone. Slowly but surely, I got pulled back in.

But one thing made no sense to me. While the rest of the world had discovered strong females characters who sometimes carried the lead in movies and television shows, superhero comics seemed to have flat-out regressed.

[Corrina Lawson’s rant about female superheroes continues on GeekMom!]