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Saturday, July 21, 2018 

Chelsea Cain returns to comics with more feminist propaganda

Novelist Cain, whom the comics press manufactured controversy about even as she admitted it was far from the calamity they were making it out to be, now has a new comic in store from Image with feminist components:
In 2016, crime novelist Chelsea Cain dove into superhero comics for the first time with the Marvel series Mockingbird. Focused on lesser-known Avengers member Bobbi Morse, Mockingbird was prematurely canceled after only eight issues, but Cain and artist Kate Niemczyk used those chapters to craft one of the most entertaining and unabashedly feminist superhero comics of the decade. Unfortunately, not everyone greeted it with enthusiasm. After the final issue’s cover featured the protagonist sporting an “Ask Me About My Feminist Agenda” shirt, the Male Nerd Internet went into a meltdown. Cain was bombarded by social media abuse until she left Twitter, swearing off a comics fandom that had become toxic.
Yup, predictably, they take the side of the victimology angle, and no consideration of the fact her story in Mockingbird was very poor. So much that it wasn't even a feminist agenda. Furthermore, she's long returned, last time I looked, so I don't understand what they're getting at. And they wasted no time writing off all fandom as toxic...but not the writers/artists/editors brewing up these awful tales.
But now she’s back, and her agenda is more feminist than ever. Cain’s newest comic, Man-Eaters, reunites the Mockingbird creative team to tell the story of a world in which hormonal fluctuations cause young girls to transform into violent, monstrous cats when they menstruate — and face severe government repression as a result.

“What is scarier to our culture right now than women? Adolescent girls are particularly scary because we don’t know how we’re supposed to feel about them,” Cain says. “This whole monster allegory felt like a very apt way to explore our fear of female sexuality and women in general.”
Now isn't this an odd premise. Of recent, it's more like the leftists became hostile to female sexuality, and they're the ones who've lead to the whole description of "social justice warriors". But if the part about government suggests anything, it could just as well be a metaphorical attack on the Trump administration, because it's just so easy to scapegoat the right instead of the left for the harm that's been done to women's sexuality of late, in entertainment and in general.
In recent years, there has been an uptick in calls for more diverse representation across pop culture. Cain emphasizes, however, that the best way to tell new stories that reflect the real world is not just to emphasize female and/or non-white characters, but to have diverse creators behind the scenes as well. Cain, for instance, has a young adolescent daughter who has recently become aware of how male-focused the comics industry can be. Cain has channeled the rage of that realization into Man-Eaters, and her daughter has had quite an influence on Maude, the book’s teenaged girl protagonist.
And when they get to this part, it becomes more telling this isn't exactly panning SJWs for the damage they caused, although what if the anti-sex left does come to assume that? You could easily wonder if the same crowd that smeared fandom will turn against her next if they think she's produced something unsuited for their visions.
“As a comic geek family, we’ve raised our kid going in to the store every week to get comics, and then there’s this terrible moment where she’s started to go through puberty and suddenly she became aware of all the misogyny in the comic store,” Cain says. “Seeing her start to see how women are portrayed on all those comic covers on the wall, seeing her see that all of the store picks that focus on particular creators are all pictures and names of men. Seeing her see that makes it very real. I really wanted there to be something for her, that might reflect her rage. Man-Eaters is a very funny comic, and I hope it’s an exciting comic, but it’s also a very angry comic, because there’s a lot to be angry about.”
Ah, and when they get around to stating this, it becomes apparent they're not complaining about the nasty sexism that prevailed in the mid-2000s (eg-Identity Crisis, Avengers: Disassembled, One More Day, and the story where Wonder Woman snapped Max Lord's neck and was villified circa Infinite Crisis), but rather, about alleged lack of promotion and attention for women in writing and artwork, even though there's been more than a modicum over the past decades, like Ann Nocenti, and Gail Simone was noted during the mid-2000s when she was assigned to Birds of Prey, and crummy as Kelly Sue deConnick's work on Carol Danvers was, she's also a more recent female writer. From the above, it sounds like Cain's new comics is a metaphor for jealousy, and little else.
Cain continues, “When we talk about representation in comics, we require more than seeing people like us in the comics. We want to see through the lens of that experience. That means the art and the writing. Choosing what pictures appear in what panels is incredibly powerful; it shows what that character thinks is important and therefore what is important. A big mission for me is to show a world that resonates for people who maybe don’t see their world reflected, show them things they can relate to. I think everybody should experience other points of view, but in comics we have this industry where one point of view is much more dominant than any other.”
Unfortunately, it's already apparent she doesn't mean left-liberal, and she clearly has no interest in challenging the fact the industry is virtually dominated by leftists. If we can't see decent portrayals of right-conservatives in comicdom, then what's the point here?
Though she’s “scared to f—ing death” of another harassment campaign — one reason it took her almost two years to write another comic — Cain said the Mockingbird experience instilled her with a sense of responsibility, “as someone who had the opportunity as a female to tell a female-perspective story.” To that end, Cain and Lia Miternique founded a production company called Ministry of Trouble, which developed Man-Eaters for Image Comics and may develop even more comics down the road. On top of that, Cain is already working with Kelly Sue DeConnick (Bitch Planet, Captain Marvel) to develop Man-Eaters for television as well.
Oh please. As if there haven't ever been stories with female perspectives! Besides Wonder Woman, how about a lot of the stories spotlighting Black Canary? How about Spider-Woman's series from 1978-83, and Dazzler's series from 1981-86? IIRC, Jo Duffy was the writer who launched the Catwoman solo in the mid-90s. That doesn't count? Some "responsibility" Cain's showing there.
“With Mockingbird, I was accused of having a feminist agenda,” Cain says. “I was always like, ‘Yeah! Of course I have a feminist agenda.’ I’ll see your outrage and raise you a Tampon Woman. What do you got, internet?”
Let's put it this way. The problem wasn't necessarily feminism, so much as it was the bad characterization and retconning of a notable moment in Mockingbird's story history that made her look bad. But since she's asked, I will say that when it's told from the kind of leftist perspective she holds dear, that's when it really tanks, and she has quite a nerve to act like nothing's wrong with it. She doesn't even defend her ideology or explain why she thinks dissenters with feminism in its modern forms are mistaken. That's just the problem, though you can't expect a similarly leftist magazine like Entertainment Weekly to challenge her about it.

Anyway, seeing what some of the premise for her new Image product is like, it'll at least be intriguing to see how SJW leftists react when the story setup could just as easily conflict with their own sex-negative viewpoints. We can only wonder, will they have a problem with that?

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