My wife asked me, actually.
“Why did you write a story from the female perspective?”
To preface: I’m a straight, white suburban male whose been reading comics since I was 7 years old. In terms of demographics, I’m the target through and through. I’m the bread and butter. I fork over my hard-earned dollars every week to flip through funny books with the same amount of pleasure I’ve had since my first comic (90’s X-Men…can’t remember the issue.) So, when one considers my perspective, I’m sure it’s met with hilarious derision.
“RIGHT…I’m going to consider this asshole’s opinion!”
And I wouldn’t blame anyone for that. So when asked by my wife why we decided to write this story, I was kind of at an impasse, so I started thinking.
Well, to say I didn’t think it would get people’s attention would be false. Evan and I agreed we wanted to do a spy story, serialize it…but with female spies. It was a great idea. It’s a hot button topic with the serious explosion of pop culture feminists, and also…it’s just fun to write female spies. They can do stuff that male spies just can’t. And setting it in the 40’s makes the concept even more relevant.
But that’s just marketing. These women are so much more than a hook. Evan and I did our research. We found stories you wouldn’t believe about female spies during WWII. It’s incredible what some of these women did. So that was also a huge thing for us…incorporating sort of this ‘patch work history’ so that these stories could be told.
I guess what it comes down to, for me, is while I have nowhere near the same depth, I would agree with writer Roxane Gay’s notion that I am also a ‘bad feminist’. I don’t buy a lot of the concepts that are presented to me within the medium of comics critique. There’s a lot of misogyny in geekdom, no doubt. And I think there’s an awful lot of negativity spun when it comes to the topic, and I’m not gonna say it’s actually the opposite, because that’d be silly. I want this to be positive, and not some anti-feminist manifesto (as it would be inevitably misconstrued.) My thing has always been that comics are for everyone. If you come to it honestly, and want to see something cool and experience something you might not have before, you’ll be welcomed with open arms. If you use something like this for your own political agenda…well, I feel bad for you and I’m sad you’d take something so accepting and broad as comics and turn it into an issue.
‘Stalkings’, when I’m writing it, is about the adventure first and foremost. It’s about pushing the story forward. But I’ve had a couple opportunities to turn these women into straight badasses…and I love that. There are pages in this story where I go, “damn…is that too far?” and then I stop…because these women are badass, and it’s not just men who are ruthless. As a married guy, I can tell you, from personal experience…women run this shit.
My personal hope is that when it comes to women in comics, you go out and discover the myriad books there are at your local shop that are so worth diving into that have a female protagonist…or a female writer…or a female artist/colorist/letterer. And they don’t have to be a female version of a major character. If you look one book over, you’ll find a book like She-Hulk that, I promise you, will blow your fucking hair back. Or walk around to the Image section and witness the full-blown female-led baddassery of ‘Saga’ or my personal favorite, ‘Bitch Planet’ by Kelly Sue DeConnick.
And if you’re looking for female writers, look into all things DeConnick. Wanna know why they’re making a Captain Marvel movie? Read her run and there will be no doubt. Marguerite Bennett writes A-Force, the all-female Avengers squad. Her pen to page is magic. Becky Cloonan did some of fine artwork for ‘Killjoys’ and now she’s writing on Gotham Academy.
There are some pretty kick-ass women out there, folks. The ‘Stalkings’ ladies I hope can join that group, because I think they kick ass. Not because I wrote them…well, a little of that…but because they represent the real deal, that there’s no division when it comes to the funnies…women in comics cannot be stopped.
Thank god for that. Now go read some books.