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Nice article. I gotta say, I love these bits where you talk to somebody who isn't a typical comics reader. Your efforts are especially interesting because they're so articulate; the interview subjects really get their point across well; it's fascinating to hear the thoughts of somebody who isn't already mired in comics culture. So keep it up, is what I'm saying.

Well done! Stephanie is dead on about Wonder Woman and most of the other Super heroines as well. There because the fans want to see T & A.

Very refreshing read.

Spirit = Nostalgia

JLA = HOT power fanstasy.


I don't completely agree with Stephanie's view of comic art -- the implication that less-realistic cartooning is inherently inferior. I don't remember being moved by that particular issue of The Spirit, either, but I'd hate to see the "it doesn't really look like a person" bit applied to, say, Bone, or Cooke's earlier Spirit issues. Or Eisner's!

On the Wonder Woman thing: Abso-freakin'-lutely. I have to admit that, for historical attachments, I'd be a little sad if they gave Wonder Woman a whole new costume, but I'd be happy if they at least drew it less like she was a stripper halfway through disrobing.

It's weird that superwomen have to have so much bare flesh. I mean, if you draw them in the full, skintight leotard, you see every curve and line on their body. How is that any less titillating than when more flesh is exposed -- the only difference in the drawing is whether you're coloring her thighs a fleshy color or a fabric color.

But the "You looked HOT saving the world" bit? Priceless. GirlWonder would put it on T-shirts ...

This is a great feature, and her comments re: Wonder Woman were spot-on. If you're going to ask complete comic virgins if they think comics can be art, though, maybe you should provide them with better books? And I don't necessarily mean Fantagraphics stuff, but mainstream superhero comics that have at least a decent rep? The Spirit was hailed under Cooke, but I haven't heard anything good about the issue in question. Granted this mediocre comic didn't impact Stephanie's belief in the artform's potential, but it also didn't give her a good sense of what the genre is capable of when it's done well. Either way, it was still a fascinating read, and I hope to see more of these in the future.

Thanks for all the kind feedback. In response to some of what's brought up here:

I'd agree that it might be more interesting to have a non-comics reader come to the table with something of higher quality, but part of what interests me is letting the individual pick on their own--like Nina's Virgin Read stuff, i'd rather keep my own editorializing and preference as far out of the equation as possible. Also, i don't want to give the wrong impression--i'm not trying to breed new comics readers here. I'm just interested in what people outside of the incestuous sweatbox of comics have to say. Part of that, in my mind, is not thinking that I know what's best for them to read. (Although I do know. It's Ghost Rider!)

Yes, it totally should be on a t-shirt. Brilliant.

And to everybody else--we've already talked to/set up our next interview, so look forward to that in the next week or so.

For God's sake, at least show her an old Eisner story- "Ten Minutes" or something!

The good thing about the Richmond SPCA is that it’ s a no- kill shelter so it’ s not like Hype’ s going to get put down because we didn’ t take him home. Eventually, he will find a home, hopefully a home that will teach him all the things his previous owners didn’ t, because really, he’ s freakin’ adorable and more than deserving of a house to call a home and a family to give him lots of lovin’.

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