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Dance of the Puppets

Like a bat on a hot tin roof since August 2005

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Rape of the month: July

Months without a rape in comics: 0

This is an ugly little regular feature that I am running monthly to highlight just how often sexual abuse appears in comics and to make it clear that it is neither clever nor original to address this issue. In fact so many comic writers have addressed it so often and so badly that it has become a ghastly cliche. It doesn't matter how thought provoking or moving your rape story may be, just don't. There are few enough unmolested women left in comics as it is.

Only one comic this month has include a rape as far as I am aware:

The Walking Dead #29

The serial rape we are promised at the end of last issue is not averted by a last second save, and the character is repeatedly raped during the course of this issue. But apparently the writer does not feel that he has made his point sufficiently, and it looks set to continue into next issue.

If you know of any other comics published in the last month that feature rape or sexual abuse, please leave a comment so I can update this entry.

I really don't like doing this feature so please, writers, stop abusing our heroines, and I won't have to do this anymore.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Writers these days think that rape evokes feelings from readers, and It does create feelings...feelings of disgust! There are more creative ways to add depth to your characters. In the long run, having your victim repeatedly raped and tortured will cause your audience to become apathetic. The next time something happens to her, they will say, "She's been through worse." Also, it's been done to death.

5:02 pm  
Blogger Greg said...

I don't buy Walking Dead, and this doesn't make me want to. Are you serious when you say she's raped throughout the issue? Words fail me. I may have to take a look at it (but not buy it) to see this. Doesn't Kirkman write that? Is he trying to up the ante on horrible stuff in comics? Blech.

6:19 pm  
Anonymous Dan Coyle said...

Kirkman is sub-Priest/Waid in his writing of women, so that most of them come out with either horrible things happening to them or all their dialogue can be switched out with "Naggity nag nag nag!"

4:45 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Walking Dead was WAY sexist from its first arc, where all the womenfolk meekly consent to the rule of the badass southern cop lead and a few other good ole boys. The women had the chance to throw their hats in the ring, but just kinda realized the men would be better at protectin' 'em, don'tchaknow. (Maybe, before the rise of the dead and all, these were the same women Joe Quesada talks about who could send submissions to Marvel, but just don't seem to be interested...sadly leaving him no choice but to exclusively hire male writers...) Anyway, that was a major turnoff, and a big part of why I never bothered to read on to the second tpb. The other, bigger part was -- godDAMN is this a derivative book! I don't expect much originality from a series about zombies, but jeez....

-Mike M.

6:25 pm  
Anonymous ohgrl said...

I read TWD 29, and was really offended/disgusted by it. Nothing is shown, but the sounds and dialogue leave little to the imagination. I know this guy is supposed to be superevil, but isn't cutting off the lead guy's hand and playing gladiator with zombies enough?

Maybe the writer is building up to some major act of vengeance by the victim, but repeated & graphic rape is way over the line.

11:00 pm  
Anonymous Ununnilium said...

Wow, I really disagree. I've generally thought Kirkman's characterization of women-- and men, and androgynous alien robots-- is quite good.

That said, I think this one went over the line. Yeah, I can see where he's really trying to show the evilness of this guy, but, as you've said, rape is at the point where we're desensitized to its use in a story.

4:25 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Completely agree with Mike M. above. I'd also add that the only woman who made any sort of rumblings about female equality turned out to be a judgmental prude. And then she died.


5:29 pm  
Blogger Fanboy said...

I have never read Walking Dead and now I think I might never will. Since I've not read the books in question, it's hard for me to comment on them. However, as a storyline device, I've seen rape used in movies usually as a "as a result I am now empowered" kind of thing, such as in the Accused. In other cases, women are hapless victims. Sexual violence is tricky and all too often compressed to a point where it's over simplified.

8:18 pm  
Anonymous Brian Hague said...

In Dan Slott's She-Hulk, Jen has been defending super-criminals lately and not enjoying it. Her latest case involves defending a former teammate, Starfox, from charges of rape from a conservative single mom who had a one-night stand with him and later realized that his ability to stimulate the "pleasure centers" of her mind left her little concious choice in the matter. Starfox is described as a "walking roofie," but Jen is very forgiving of him. After all, she and Starfox have had sex (Avengers 234, Aug. 1983), and that was entirely her idea... Wasn't it? Well, wasn't it...? When she realizes that it very likely was not, she attacks her own client, and he escapes the jurisdiction with the help of his wealthy, pwerful father...
Like Ms. Marvel, this puts Jen is the category of heroines who were raped more-or-less on-panel (in the pages of the Avengers, no less) without anyone much noticing it at the time or giving it a second thought. Only in hindsight is the transgression noticed, and action taken. An unusual correlation, and hopefully not the start of a trend.

8:14 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I have to mention the comic, "Girls". Of course, written by boys. ;-) (for boys? - not conscious men) Actually, the Luna Brothers write this comic. This title seems to be perched on that fine line of what is acceptable (in the eyes of most mainstream Americans). At least one well-known author has hailed the Luna Bros. for their work on this title as "the future of comics", along with several other rave reviews from others. From what I gather (I have not read every single issue), these amazingly gorgeous women, with long, flowing brunette hair (that barely covers their nipples) walk the earth (or, at least one small town), COMPLETELY NAKED. They do not speak, they only occasionally repeat a word or two, and their sole purpose (at least up to this point) is to walk the earth and have sex with ANY man (apparently any way they want it/any time they want it, etc.). They lay eggs that mature w/in hours, and create replicas of themselves. Yes, MORE beautiful, naked women desiring to have sex with any man. Oh yeah, did I mention that they kill women?

Anyway, the survivors created a safe camp (where families and individuals guard a safe house where they are all staying). One man left the camp in the last issue, well, in this most recent issue, he is with the naked "girls" and starts yelling at them and hitting them. He takes out his aggression on them and they seem confused that he isn't just there for sex. He instead "tells them off" and beats on them for killing people, etc.,etc.

Well, the issue ends with him finally "succumbing" to their nakedness, and that they've been fawning all over him, etc., and in the final scene, he's screaming at them, this is what you bitches wanted, etc., etc. and the Sheriff finds HIM NAKED with "girls" scattered everywhere on the ground. They have apparently been beaten and thrown onto the ground. Eggs are EVERYWHERE.

Is it NOT rape or sexual abuse if you are in a comic book as an alien being - and your sole purpose is to be beautiful, naked, and walk the earth only wanting to have sex with men?


10:22 pm  

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