Sexualized Saturdays: Queer Stories are Tragic Stories

Popular media is making teensy tiny strides in queer representation, but it’s still light years behind where it should be. One of the many issues in today’s portrayal of LGBTQ+ people in media is that their stories are often tragic. Queer characters may exist in a universe, but in all likelihood their relationships, if they’re lucky enough to initiate them, will fail, and they themselves may very well die or disappear.

The ubiquity of this trope occurred to me recently when I was listening to Part 2 of Welcome to Night Vale’s 2nd Anniversary episode. As part of the conclusion of the episode, which wrapped up the recent Strexcorp invasion storyline, everyone and everything that wasn’t from Night Vale was ejected from the town. Unfortunately, this included Carlos, Cecil’s boyfriend, who’s now trapped in an alternate dimension. Their relationship has mostly been smooth sailing up to this point, and I can’t fault the WtNV writers for introducing some new conflict into the storyline now that Strex is gone and a mayor has been elected. But still, I was kind of sad because Cecil and Carlos’s problem-free relationship, while somewhat unrealistic for any humans, queer or not, was a safe space of angst-free queer love. I certainly haven’t found anything like that in other media; in other media being queer is apparently the equivalent of using a black cat to break a mirror underneath a ladder on Friday the 13th.

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A Farewell to Fearless Defenders

Several months ago now, we reviewed the first issue of Fearless Defenders, the all-female team book written by Cullen Bunn and drawn by Will Sliney. The book was recently canceled, and last Wednesday, the final issue appeared in comic shops.

You’ll notice I didn’t say ‘a fond farewell’ in the title. Well, that’ll be because I had a very strained relationship with this book. In theory, I was very excited for it when it was announced. Fearless Defenders predated X-MenMarvel’s other all-ladies team book, by several months, and I wished the best for it and from it; I really did. Unfortunately, it didn’t deliver.

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So You Want to Read Comic Books 2.0: Fearless Defenders Review

comic_book_banner111I feel like I have been waiting all my life for an all-female Marvel team comic. Marvel doesn’t have the best history with female led titles. They cancelled some of their most popular titles like X-23 and She-Hulk, and some never even make it to a shelf when Marvel gets too nervous about “taking a risk” with a female-led title.

Because Marvel is less likely to take chances on new titles, for the longest time DC Comics has been wiping the floor with Marvel in terms of female-led titles. DC has always had THE female comic with Wonder Woman, but has followed that title up with other consistent female led titles like Birds of Prey, Batwoman, Batgirl, Supergirl, and several others. When it comes to female representation in comics, Marvel tends to pale in comparison—until now.

Recently, Marvel has been stepping up their game with titles like Captain Marvel, Red She-Hulk, and Journey into Mystery. Now finally, Marvel is giving us an all-female superhero team with Fearless Defenders!

Right now, the team is more of a duo as the comic writers attempt to set up and build the team. In this first issue, we meet heroes Valkyrie and Misty Knight who fight mercenaries and zombies. Hell yeah!

I personally never really knew much about Valkyrie and Misty Knight before this comic. I only knew a little of Valkyrie from Thor. Apparently, these characters were chosen to introduce the fans to some minor, but awesome characters.

We have a diverse cast developing with Misty Knight as an awesome black female character, while Valkyrie and Annabelle Riggs, an archaeologist and friend of Misty’s, seem to both be queer characters. The comic even provides us with an awesome lesbian kiss between Valkyrie and Annabelle.

The story is awesome and well written. It moves at a fast pace, keeping the reader entertained. Cullen Bunn, the writer, provides a feel for the characters so that readers who have never heard of Misty Knight or Valkyrie won’t be terribly confused.

My only and, quite honestly, biggest problem is with the art. The cover art is to die for, and I really wish Mark Brooks would have done the art for the comic book as well. Will Sliney, the main artist, constantly gives the characters annoying poses worthy of the Hawkeye Initiative, especially to poor Misty Knight who is really over-sexualized.

Aside from the sexist poses, I just really don’t like the art. During the awesome lesbian kiss I noticed that Valkyrie’s hand was really poorly drawn and defined. Her fingers were clumped together making her hand look like that of a Barbie doll.

But please, please, please, don’t let the art scare you away. Fearless Defenders truly is an awesome comic and it needs to be supported if Marvel is going to continue to publish it. It has diversity and a great story. It’s definitely a comic worth picking up.