October 4, 2012 by shepla
I just read an essay that was published in the spring/summer 2010 CEA Critic, the scholarly journal of the College English Association, a national organization for teachers of college English. Author Kirsten Clemens is from Duke, but says she also teaches a summer program for gifted 10- to 16-year-olds, so she’s had the opportunity to talk with plenty of female readers to examine their attitudes about comic books and female protagonists. Her findings, quoted directly from the article:
- Beauty is important..
- Youth is more important than beauty.
- “We will read non-superhero graphic novels.”
- “Non-superhero comics are good, superhero comics are great, but manga is the best thing ever.”
- “Boy characters are for fueling our fantasies too.”
I kind of hate this list. For me, story trumps everything. I don’t care if the characters are preschoolers or geriatric, as long as the story is compelling. I’m glad Clemens’s students have discovered non-superhero graphic novels like Ghost World, but all I can think is “duh.” I’ve read hundreds of Archie comics without once ever fantasizing about the male characters. (I do agree that manga is the best thing ever, but I’ll leave that for a separate post.) Am I weird? What do you guys think?