News out of the Comics Internet today is that Laura Hudson is stepping down as EIC of ComicsAlliance. It's one of those things where the headline shocked me but the story actually left me feeling it's a good thing -- Laura described the frustration of having to maintain a website instead of just being able to write.
I've been grousing about that very thing on this blog -- and this blog is tiny, has one writer, no comments section, and nobody looking over my shoulder to make sure I don't use the word "fuck".
So, Laura Hudson not worrying about site admin crap and, instead, focusing on writing more articles? Yes please.
Because the woman writes a damn fine article.
Last September, she set the Comics Internet aflame with a post titled The Big Sexy Problem with Superheroines and Their 'Liberated Sexuality'. She wasn't the first person to point out sexism in mainstream American superhero comics, obviously. Nor was she the first to point out that it was a barrier for entry in DC's "New 52", ostensibly an attempt to attract new and lapsed readers.
But her piece was clear, heartfelt, and became something of a rallying cry, the first of many on CA, and linked frequently in other articles on other sites.
She's more patient than I am.
Somebody tries to tell me there's no sexism in American superhero comics, I'm less likely to deliver a point-by-point set of examples and how they make me feel, and more inclined to look incredulous and say "Are you fucking kidding me?"
I don't think people should have to write pieces like that. I think every example, every explanation, that Laura gets into in that piece is blisteringly obvious and self-evident.
But obviously there are people who just don't get it. For many of them, their instinct when confronted with such a piece is to get defensive, or to deny, or just to spew a bunch of crazy misogynistic crap in the comments section. I swear that the CA comments section got permanently stupider after that post. (And people are still writing terrible comments on that single post, nine months later -- you're probably better off not scrolling down to the bottom.)
But I think some people do listen. I think some people do take a look at what they're doing and look for ways to fix it. Just the other week Greg Rucka wrote a great post at io9 discussing superhero misogyny and how to fix it (basically: you want to write a well-rounded female character, talk to some women). The discussion is ongoing -- and with Hudson back writing articles, I like to think she'll keep the heat on.
I think it's a little optimistic to say that Big Sexy Problem could be the most important thing written on the subject since Gail Simone's Women in Refrigerators list -- but I really think it has the potential to be.
Course, she's more than welcome to just post cat pictures from here on out, too. She's earned it.
And she writes a mighty fine Mark Millar Valentine.