Thursday, March 15, 2012

I wish I could say this was unheard of.

I'm not into the Walking Dead comics (sorry, me and zombies were never a good match), but Cheryl Lynn who is pointed this out on twitter:

"Playboy" Reveals Origins of The Walking Dead's Michonne in April Issue.

That's Playboy magazine, not a 'Playboy' as in a real-life Bruce Wayne, having an exclusive on revealing the origins of the "iconic and sexy" Michonne from the Walking Dead comic.

The zombie survival horror comic.

This is of interest to the soft-core porn mag.

Robert Kirkman seems super-excited talking about it, too:
"It's an honor to be a part of a historic publication like Playboy," said Kirkman, "I'm thrilled to share The Walking Dead with the magazine’s readers, especially such an important story like the origin of Michonne."

I don't know when exactly comics and porn started becoming the same thing, but this needs to stop. I know I know, Wally Wood and Joe Shuster and Harry Peters all did dirty comics but... those were dirty comics, with even some winky nods to the regular properties. They weren't like, the same thing. They sure as fuck weren't the same thing as zombie survival books.

What we're seeing lately is the baffling "Well, it's the same audience" mentality. This causes the storytelling art of mainstream comics to get bogged down by ridiculous artists like Ed Benes, who sacrifice dramatic strength for ass shots. And this causes promotional efforts where books like The Walking Dead offer exclusive interviews that drop story information in media that shuts out half the audience.

It would be one thing, if alongside the men's mags we saw some efforts in mainstream magazines and women's magazines to balance it out, and it wasn't exclusive. But this stuff is exclusive, because "Hey, women aren't reading anyway" and "Well, if they are, they must like this stuff because all our art looks like the inside of Playboy anyway."

Do you want to know why female comics fans are angry so often? Why even when we make neutral fannish blogs we inevitably end up turning our articles to issues of sexism? Why often our blogs and columns turn into gender-analysis niche projects?

Because of this. Because of this mindset that it's basically the same thing, that Playboy and all comics (not even just superheroes, this is a horror comic) have this same audience. Because female characters are categorized entirely as male fan service, and we have things like this in Playboy and Wonder Woman's New 52 preview showing up in Maxim.

Because it's infuriating as fuck.

"Well, why don't you drop comics, then?" Because 1) there's still stuff I love. The problem is the stuff I love is overwhelmed with the industry being stupid and sexist. 2) This shit is everywhere anyway, so if I didn't rant about comics here I would be ranting about television, books, my coworkers, or politics here or elsewhere.

And 3) I'm right. And you know it, whether you're nodding your head in conscious agreement or you're getting infuriated and typing up a trollish comment.

This mentality that comics do, can, and only ever will appeal to men so it's okay to take as many measures possible to shut women out and blur the lines between pornography and regular superheroes because the audience loves both, wants both, and will buy more if both are the same (which is just stupid, I can find far wilder and more believable porn than I would ever find in comics on DeviantArt, for fuck's sake, why would you even bother watering down your story with these distractions? You can't compete) and there is no chance of reaching out to other demographics is just plain wrong.


  1. Yes you are right, and I'm infuriated. In fact I've been infuriated a LOT lately. Women seem to be under attack in all sorts of areas, not just the usual douchebaggery of comics.

    But seriously, Playboy? Sheesh. To be deliberately shutting out half of their possible audience, in order to keep kowtowing to the same diminishing target seems...foolish.

  2. It's this trend that makes it hard for me to figure out which direction to encourage my daughter's inherited love of superheroes. Explaining why McDonalds Happy Meals only makes male figures and pink fluffy crap for girls was bad enough.

  3. You do know that some of the best Science Fiction short stories were first released within the pages of Playboy magazine, right? And Playboy isn't technically porn. It's just, nowadays, very close.

  4. Anon -- Umm... I'm going to let you think about how you just brought up past practices of appealing to male-only audiences as a way to justify shutting out women today. If you have a lick of sense you'll feel very silly for it.

  5. In other words, it was as if female sci-fi fans didn't exist. See the parallel?

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  7. I completely agree with you. I have no point to raise in against of what you have said I think you explain the whole situation very well.