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Thread: Rape doesn't belong in super-hero comics. Ever. Period.

  1. #1

    Rape doesn't belong in super-hero comics. Ever. Period.

    Now, I know a ton of great writers who have violated this principle. But they were wrong to do so. I'd argue with any one of them for doing it, including Alan Moore and Grant Morrison.

    I just read through Rich Johnston's Twitter exchange with Stephen Wacker. And you know what? Johnston was right and Wacker was wrong.

    The whole discussion was about whether sex via means of disguise is rape. I really thought (and hoped) that Slott would be savvy enough to subvert this. But Wacker continually stood up for the idea that consent obtained via disguise is not rape. He continually accused people of reading into it. His stance was insulting. Rich may be sleazy and take cheap shots but he did nothing to warrant the tone Wacker took with him in this exchange.

    He fired off this missive: "I think you're anxious to show off how smarter you are than super hero comics. It's a common trait in older fans."

    Here's the thing. I don't think it's super-hero comics that are dumb. It's people who use rape as a plotline and claim not to be offending rape victims. THAT is dumb and I see it as being beneath what super-hero comics can and should be.

    How hard is it to understand?

    I want your hands tied on this point if you're a creator. No rape. Period. No physical assault with intercourse. No roofies. No slipping in under the cover of darkness. No slipping one in on the unconscious person. No blackmail into sexual situations. No shapeshifting or disguising as someone to acquire consent in bad faith.

    Not from heroes. Not from villains. It's not appropriate. It's not welcome. I won't shut up on this point until people agree to stop doing it, forever, and apologize for being shitheads.

    It's not smart. It's not clever. It's not fun to watch. It's not fun to see rape survivors bombarded with this shit.

    I'm not saying you can't do it in The Walking Dead or some Vertigo comic with a warning label on it.

    But it doesn't belong in a Spider-man comic, a Superman comic, a Justice League comic, a Batman comic, or an X-Men comic.

    There are a dozen reasons why it's wrong there. Why it should NEVER be done. Why it betrays a misunderstanding of super-heroes. Why it's exclusionary. Why it's not smart storytelling and beneath what super-hero comics can and should offer.

    And I'll stop with that, before I devolve into name calling.

  2. #2

    Re: Rape doesn't belong in super-hero comics. Ever. Period.

    I disagree that it's utterly unnecessary for comics. There are plots that can be done, and done well, with it(Amethyst #1). However, it's overused, and overused by people who have no clue what they're doing. I think both companies need a 5-year ban on rape stories, similar to the smoking ban instituted at Marvel. Get rid of it for long enough that people stop using it as a go-to story and when it's allowed again, maybe people won't be so quick to use it.
    Current Favorite DC Book: Calendar of Small Events
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  3. #3

    Re: Rape doesn't belong in super-hero comics. Ever. Period.

    I just read through Rich Johnston's Twitter exchange with Stephen Wacker. And you know what? Johnston was right and Wacker was wrong.
    Even the blind man stumbles into a gold mine occasionally. Johnston is indeed right about the overall issue, even if he can't help but milk the argument over it to get hits.

    In addition to his twitter war, here are the pieces he's written about it recently:

    http://www.bleedingcool.com/2012/12/...-man-spoilers/
    http://www.bleedingcool.com/2012/12/...you-know-what/

    The second which basically is just a duplication of the Twitter debate in a form he could wrap up and put on B.C.

  4. #4

    Re: Rape doesn't belong in super-hero comics. Ever. Period.

    What an amazingly bad title for this topic.

  5. #5
    Gunsel BClayMoore's Avatar
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    Re: Rape doesn't belong in super-hero comics. Ever. Period.

    I hate slapping absolutes on storytelling, but I absolutely hate seeing rape used as a plot device in superhero comics.

    (I don't really think of WATCHMEN as a superhero comic, in the sense that Moore and Gibbons essentially invented their own, adult-oriented mythology based on superhero tropes.)

    Rich was "right" in the sense that he raised the issue without making any proclamations about the book. The story hasn't been told yet, after all.

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  6. #6
    Trouble Boy
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    Re: Rape doesn't belong in super-hero comics. Ever. Period.

    Yeah, basically what BClay said. I'm not a fan of labeling anything off limits, but I will agree that I've personally yet to see a rape storyline in comics that didn't feel exploitative, and think the seeming plethora of writers who see rape as a handy plot device could use a good, swift quick in the balls.

    But I don't discount the possibility of someone approaching the topic with sensitivity and a story that actually needs its inclusion to be told properly, and would hate to see that preemptively censored just because most writers don't have the maturity to handle the topic like adults.

  7. #7
    Made bert's Avatar
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    Re: Rape doesn't belong in super-hero comics. Ever. Period.

    well, you see, Wacker is among the biggest douches representing Marvel online.

    they finally got Brevoort to shut the fuck up and stop making idiotic comments to embarrass Marvel (and Brevoort, of course stepped up to the plate once Quesada himself stopped behaving like a douche).

    and Wacker stepped up to the plate.


    got into it with him a while back where he ensured I'll never even sample new Marvel books, by calling me a liar in a discussion where I said I haven't bought Marvel in years (due to many issues with how they handle themselves so unprofessionally).

    He can rot as far as I'm concerned.

    and yes, I know Gail is very friendly with him, but hey, all her choices can't be good ones, she's only human.
    "do what bert says" - Flamestar (c/o Ouzo Man)

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    "Evil people can do some non-evil things, and most of them do. That doesn't mean they aren't evil." -- JeffereyWKramer


  8. #8
    Gunsel Cam63's Avatar
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    Re: Rape doesn't belong in super-hero comics. Ever. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by motorfirebox View Post
    What an amazingly bad title for this topic.
    Pat's a good guy.

  9. #9
    Trouble Boy J.R. LeMar's Avatar
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    Re: Rape doesn't belong in super-hero comics. Ever. Period.

    But murder is still okay, right?

  10. #10

    Re: Rape doesn't belong in super-hero comics. Ever. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by J.R. LeMar View Post
    But murder is still okay, right?
    You know what? I've been personally and deeply impacted by murder.

    And I think rape is different.

    And I think most super-villains should be people who don't kill, much less super-heroes. But a well done murder story is a lot easier to achieve without pissing all over people who have been impacted by murder.

    I think rape is a much more crass topic. It's less intelligent as a topic. It's less interesting. It's more harmful to people who have been through it.

    I don't think anyone who understands both sees it as a double standard to allow murder and ban rape.

    And if you see it as a double standard to allow murder and ban rape, I question your understanding of the two subjects.

    Among other things, I don't think murder should be something readers get off to. And sometimes it's handled that way but, often, it's treated well, as a horrible thing, not something to get excited about. But I have never seen a rape in a super-hero comic that didn't glamorize rape.

    And, yes, I think Watchmen and The Killing Joke glamorize rape. Heck, Watchmen makes it more glamorous than virtually any other aspect of the book, which de-glamorizes all of the genre tropes.

    I suppose Batman's rape to create Damien was at least clinical as opposed to glamorized, like a joyless bit of business designed to serve a character reinvention for Talia. But it wasn't glamorless either.

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