A few weeks ago I wrote a post about how I couldn’t read all the books on my to-read list if I lived to be 150 years old. The very last thing I needed was another type of book to add to my growing list.
So I spent the last week reading (and buying) graphic novels. Sigh.
Honestly, I don’t know how this happened. Even as a kid I never cared much for comic books. I’m not a big fan of superheroes. And yet here I am, the proud owner of several graphic novels with yet another growing list of Things I Need to Read.
The problem started when I read a review of Batgirl Rising, one of apparently many reboots of Batgirl in the apparently ongoing reboot of the Batman franchise. The review appealed to my love of a good origin story and my never-far-from-the-surface desire for a good girl-power story. According to the review, Batgirl Rising had both.
The review was right. I read and enjoyed Batgirl Rising, a story of how a college freshman takes on the Batgirl cape, despite a distinct lack of support from others in Gotham City. The book is as much, maybe even more, about the struggles of a young woman figuring out who she is and what she can do as it about being a caped crusader. There’s also the bonus of showing the growing friendship between the new Batgirl and the old Batgirl, who is now a computer genius paralyzed from the waist down.
Unfortunately for my wallet but fortunately for my desire to read more, there are two more graphic novels in the Batgirl reboot written by Bryan Q. Miller. The three together follow a wonderful character arc as Stephanie learns to trust and work with others, then learns to stand on her own, all within the constraints of the superhero world. Fortunately for my wallet, but unfortunately for my desire to read more, apparently yet another reboot of Batgirl meant that Miller only wrote the comic for a short time, and these three graphic novels cover all of his Batgirl work.
Now, I do have some qualms about supporting a comic industry that continues to portray female superheroes as women who really like to wear revealing costumes while kicking villainous butts, but this series does a better job than most. To be honest, I rarely pay attention to the drawings anyway, which I’m sure is a big comic book no-no, but I can’t help it—I’m a word person. And the words in these comics tell a great story.
(For a look at the images of female superheroes, this is a good starting point: She Has No Head!–No, It’s Not Equal. Apparently this is quite controversial in the world of comics, but it just seems logical and reasonable to me.)
So that’s my news. I’m now reading Birds of Prey (the old Gail Simone comics), another group of female superheroes in Gotham City. They are more “prey” to the sexy/sexist drawings, but again, the stories about a group of women becoming friends while fighting crime are overcoming any problems I have with the artwork. I’m both excited and a little horrified at how much I’m enjoying reading these graphic novels—they aren’t as easily checked out at the library, so my book spending is probably going over budget this month!
I almost hate to ask, but any other suggestions for what I might like to read? I know very little about any of the comic series, but apparently I’m ready to dive in!