The Virgin Read: You Need More Janet Jackson In Your Life, Power Girl
Power Girl # 1 Written by Jimmy Palmiotti Art by Amanda Connors Published by DC Comics
Power Girl! I chose it because I really wanted to check out that Supergirl comic, and I had this confused with that. I'd heard about Supergirl in the Eighth Grade at this DC Panel I attended at the Baltimore ComicCon last year; thought it sounded cute, promptly forgot about it until I saw this title. For a couple of seconds, that's what I thought Power Girl was. Until I saw the size of her breasts. Those are not the boobs of an eighth grader, unless the eighth grader is being played by some unknown Kardashian.
Anyhow, I was still pleased as punch to have a female super-hero choice to read about, especially one I've never heard of before. Pretty happy cover too, I think I had a Bicentennial record player that looked like that.
I enjoyed this comic. It's a first issue, so it was mostly laying the back story alongside groundwork for more, but I thought it did it in a relatively interesting way. Like the newest Star Trek movie, this issue starts in the action, and I always like that. Manhattan is being devastated by some sort of psychological attack, Power Girl roams around doing super-hero stuff while talking through her origin, it made sense to me--maybe I'm lowering my standards, but hey, I got this, it made sense.
There was one thing I really loved, low standards or no: she's a superhero, but they didn't make her ridiculously over-talented. What I'm talking about is the fact that she heads up StarWare Labs, but she makes it clear that she's not a scientist and that a lot of the technical stuff at the company goes over her head. I like that. She's clearly smart, but they didn't make her into a genius scientist by day, superhero by night, with the body of a Playmate of the Year. They just made her a relatively smart girl by day who happens to be a superhero by night, with the body of Playmate of the Year. Hee hee.
So, of course, let's talk about it. It's not why I picked it, but I'm guessing that's what everybody wants, because I don't have a penis, I cry and have feelings, so yeah: let's talk about the body. She's more covered up than some of the other costumed ladies in the land of DC and Marvel I've seen. But yep, there they are, popping and showing, know what I'm saying? Am I offended?
I had a little more time than I usually do to think about this one. I ended up having an interesting conversation with myself, a surprising one that neither I nor the nervous lady next to me on the train expected. I was gearing up to make fun of the ridiculousness of the size of her rack--I mean, that's what you do with her, I'm guessing. I didn't know who she was until I saw the cover, but I'm thinking that's the case.
And then I started thinking about whether I really cared that much. I thought, "you know, for all the complaining I do about targeting new readers and/or knowing your demographic, in this case, they probably are doing a pretty good job of targeting the audience I saw in Baltimore." I mean, get real. These kind of comic books are generally read by men. It's just a fact. And here's a new series? With a chick in the lead? "How, oh how, dear marketing team, can we appeal to our usual demographic while also courting the female readership?" Tits, my friends. Big tits.
A long time ago, maybe even during one of the first of these Virgin Reads, I launched into a whole spiel about how I used to operate under some assumption (and I think a lot of women did/do, as well) that if men would just become more like women, if we can just get them to be more understanding, or express their feelings more, blah blah blah, they'll be "better." Immature on my part? Probably. But that's the way I used to think about it until I came to the realization that somewhere along the path of my own life I started liking men exactly the way they are. As soon as I did that, everything changed. I can't remember at all why one of the comics I had read brought that up, and why I felt the need to write about what was a personal experience having nothing to do with comics, but I did. I like and accept men just they way they are.
Anyway, I had that realization, and then I fell in love with a guy who loves comic books, and I started doing these things a little while later. And you know what? I pretty much think of comics the same way I do men, although comics are far less interesting. (Meaning, I accept comic books and all there little fuck-ups just the way they are.) I do this whole column just to see how a comic book appeals to me and my "I don't really care either way" demographic. But I try not to get all parental and start talking about how comic books should stop what they've been doing all along and "change their ways" simply so I'll like them more. It wouldn't be a very good idea--if you've ever read these little columns on a regular basis, you already know that I can barely remember which comics I liked, and that except for Nana, I haven't ever even tried to keep up. They could change and I wouldn't even know. So, if scantily clad super females appeal to the people who actually do care, who buy them, why change it?
The thing is, I know that people are going to complain about these kind of drawings. And that's what this is all about tonight. That I'm aware that people might see this comic and people might have a problem with the way Power Girl is drawn. And for some reason, that makes me feel, well, defensive. It makes me feel like I have to be on the other side of the argument--and really, I don't care if they don't draw it differently. I'm not on the other side, because this doesn't mean anything to me. This isn't inspirational, the way this super-hero acts, so why should I get upset about how she looks? She's a cartoon character doing cartoon things. Is she sexy in a fancy sort of way? I guess. But even if she wasn't, that doesn't change my general feeling, which is that I can't see what fixing her costume, or changing the way she looks, is going to do about the fact that she's just another super-hero in another super-hero comic. There's nothing in here that's "moving" or "heroic". It's just a story about a super-hero, an action story, I've read a bunch of those, and if it wasn't for her boobs, I don't know that I'd remember this one being different from the other ones just like it. I can't even really tell you what her powers are. The first page mentions Krypton, and I know that's where Superman is from. She flies a little bit. She seems pretty strong. But she also seems really messed up by the Ultra-Humanites mind-rays, and she gets knocked around a few times. Even her name seems kind of silly, although maybe that's just because I'm used to names like "Superman" and "Spider-Man". Still: Power Girl? Did she pick that? I mean, if it wasn't for her boobs, I don't have much to say about this comic.
I guess I just don't see what is being oppressed here. Is there some strong feminine story that could be told if this character didn't have large breasts? What is it I'm missing?
I kind of wish they'd just go with it and be funny. The cover, the way Power Girl talks, the cut-out in her outfit--why can't she just be silly? She looks silly. She has a silly name. The bad guy in the comic is a giant monkey. So why can't she keep gadgets in her boobs? Why can't she be packing?
I don't know what else to say. Go on, Power Girl. I think you had a good starting point. If this was a Superman comic, I bet he would have stopped a jet plane with his hands or something like that. But it isn't, and that's fine. Go fly your Power Girl boobies around the world fighting evil. Who are you hurting anyway? No one. Go get the Ultra-Humanite. You know it's not really going to save Manhattan if you let him take over your body....he's only going to then destroy it and the world. Fight him! Stop him! I can't wait to find out what tricks you've got hidden up your sleeve (or in your cleavage).