Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Where are the superheroes for young girls?

The other day, my sister, codename: Cordelia, texted me to ask if I knew of any comic-style superhero storybooks for five-year-olds, starring girls. Here's an excerpt of her text: "They [Cordelia's twin daughters] love Batman, Spiderman, Thor, Superman, wonder woman. In addition to wonder woman, do you know of any age-appropriate girl/woman superhero series? Note how Siri capitalized all of them except wonder woman."

In fact, I have noticed, on many occasions, that Siri recognizes, and properly spaces and capitalizes, all superheroes except Wonder Woman. Same with Dragon, which I'm using to dictate this post. No thanks for that extra kick in the ovaries, Apple and Dragon. (Not unrelatedly, have you heard about Apple's sexist iPad engraving policy?)

No thanks to the comics industry, either, for presenting Cordelia with this very real dilemma. What to give young girls who are interested in superheroes? Nina Jaffe/Ben Caldwell's Wonder Woman series for young readers? Out of print. Supergirl for young readers? Out of print. I walked into one of our wonderful local comics stores yesterday and asked for advice. The guy behind the counter lamented with me. I left with nothing.

Here are the few suggestions I've managed to collect from friends of mine: Rapunzel's Revenge, by the fabulous Shannon Hale, her husband Dean Hale, and Nathan Hale (no relation). Zita the Spacegirl, by Ben Hatke. And of course, there are some female superheroes among the X-Men. My hope is that those of my friends who read my blog are now going to email me with many more wonderful and exciting suggestions. If this happens, I will be sure to pass them on to my blog readers.

In related news, thank you, Nancy Werlin, for informing me today that Marvel's next Thor will be a woman, written by Jason Aaron with art by Russell Dauterman. Super cool. You know what would be amazingly cool? If more mainstream comics were written or illustrated by women.

I honestly feel a bit bored with myself as I write this post, because nothing in it is news. But complacency is part of the problem. So. There you have it. This problem has always existed, it still exists, and we are SOOOOOOOOO sick of it.