November “Worlds in Panels”

My column for this month is up at PopMatters. I look at fan and artist redesigns of female superheroes, taking Supergirl as a case in point, again, and consider the possibilities that these reworkings open up for how women are imagined in comics.

The main problem when it comes to defending tradition in relation to women and girl superheroes is that tradition has not done well by these characters. Assigned supporting roles, placed in the background, subjected to bodily threats and drawn into sexualized poses that male characters are not, ‘tradition’ when it comes to female superheroes is not an innocent appeal to honoring the past, but a political argument about the (marginal) place of women in comics.

Read the column