I was at the grocery store yesterday with my 3½-year old son, and he stopped as we passed a bin of balls. Most of them were solid or mottled, but he immediately picked up the Avengers ball, plastered with the logo and the heroes.
He turned it around for a bit, looking it over, then looked up at me and asked, “Where’s the Black Widow?”
I looked at it myself. Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk, Captain America…they were the comic book versions of the characters, but the lineup was clearly chosen for movie recognition. (We haven’t shown him the movies, but his mom is an avid Marvel Puzzle Quest player, and he’s learned the characters from watching her.)
And no, there was no sign of Black Widow. (To be fair, I didn’t see Hawkeye either.)
“That’s a good question,” I told him, suggesting maybe we should ask Marvel.
Really, Marvel — and DC too (someone got him a Justice League T-shirt when he was younger that subbed Green Lantern for Wonder Woman in the DC trinity) — you don’t have to be afraid that boys won’t want your merchandise if there’s a girl on it. They aren’t going to be bothered that she’s included, unless you teach them to be.
But even a three year old notices when she’s missing.
I didn’t think I had anything to add to the discussion on the infamous Heroes For Hire #13 cover. (Some of those links possibly NSFW.) Something stuck in my mind, though. Typolad suggested that “you would never, ever see Marvel or DC make a cover like this with a male protagonist. Yes, a male hero may be shown in peril, but his face will be defiant. He won’t be shown as submissive.” Lea Hernandez’ remix of the cover alters the expressions to do just that.
Now, I agree—that cover was way past the line, and I can’t imagine DC or Marvel doing the same thing with male characters, especially when you take into account the sleaze factor. But phrases like “never, ever” tend to read like a challenge. Looking just at the defiant/passive stance, I knew I’d seen at least one cover with the Flash beaten to within an inch of his life, unable to put up a fight or even a glare, so I took a trip through the Grand Comics Database’s cover gallery. Continue reading
I flipped through Teen Titans #39, which introduces the new Zatara. He’s apparently Zatanna’s cousin, which makes him the original Zatara’s nephew (appropriate for a cartoon character).
OK, that makes sense. He’s got a connection to the original, he’s got a right to the name, he’s got a legacy of magic, DC gets to keep the trademark going, etc.
But wait a minute. Like the original, Zatara’s his last name. Zatanna, however, is her first name. (Though I have to question the wisdom in naming your daughter “Zatanna Zatara,” “Zachary Zatara” isn’t much better. I wonder if they ever get together and perform with ZZ Top?)
We have two related characters, one male, one female. The teenage boy goes by his last name, and the grown woman goes by her first name.