Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Welcome to the new “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now,” re-vamped for Robot 6! After the craziness that was the female superhero discussion last month, I started to think about what shapes our tastes as comics readers. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, so I’m going to use the next few months to explore what the pop culture obsessions I’ve had throughout my life have shaped who I am.
I wrote about my love for Wonder Woman as a little girl in my Publishers Weekly column last month, but and while I addressed what her shortcomings are for me now that I’m an adult, I didn’t write about why I idolized her when I was four.
The reasons are not very complicated and, to be honest, fall pretty squarely in “Things That Make My Husband* Say ‘You’re Such a Girl'”:
1. Wonder Woman has dark hair. (Like me!)
2. Wonder Woman is beautiful and glamorous.
3. Wonder Woman wears a sparkly outfit while she runs around fighting bad guys.
There was one point in the otherwise illogical and ill-argued opinion piece that sparked the discussion that I can agree with: That it is not right to devalue what are generally considered to be feminine traits or tastes. And it seems that I had “typical” little girl tastes for glamor and glitter.
But at the time I was watching Wonder Woman re-runs and re-purposing a jump rope as a golden lasso, there was no shortage of dark-haired, glamorous women in sparkly outfits on television. What made Wonder Woman special is that she was a superheroine. Beauty is fleeting — but a woman who inspires fear and awe in bad guys? She’s something that ignites a little girl’s imagination.
*Brian Belew, also my artist.