In a rage that was marked by a ferocity hitherto unseen in these parts, the Eat Your Comics intern accidentally demolished the pedestal upon which the Geek Holocron holographic generator was perched. When I asked why she was so upset, the intern explained that her favorite character's costume had changed, and not for the better. The pedestal's destruction cannot be corrected, but the damage done to the holocron is easily fixed, with time. While we wait, please enjoy the following non-holographic entry.

Question I joined my husband for WonderCon last weekend, but I was totally turned off by a lot of the art in the Artist's Alley. Almost all of the women were depicted with pencil-thin waists, boobs the size of melons, and hardly any clothes on. When they wore clothes, they were skin tight. It was really off-putting. I don't know if I really have a questions so much as I needed somewhere to vent.

—B. Griffith

Answer You were at WonderCon with your husband? You might have seen me, then. I was one of the 43 people who weren't in cosplay. I can totally understand your issue, and it really is a sad state of affairs when women account for just shy of 47% of comic book fans,¹ but comics as a whole are still a 15-year-old boy's fantasy world.

Thankfully, things are changing, very slowly. Noelle Stevenson, one of the writers of Lumberjanes, suggested that the way to fix every Strong Female Character pose—those ridiculous poses that somehow manage to display all the most popular assets of the female figure at the same—was to replace Hawkeye doing the same thing. Thus, the Hawkeye Initiative was born. However, no longer is Clint Barton the only hero subjected to these poses; some other notable substitutes have been Spider-Man in Star Sapphire's costume and Deadpool in a typical Psylocke pose.

Batgirl and Spider Woman received new, more realistic, costumes within the last seven months.

There has also been a recent renaissance of more realistic costumes for superheroines. Batgirl got a major costume revamp in October when the creative team was changed, and straight off of Spider-Verse, Spider Woman once again has her own series, complete with a costume makeover. It's notable that with both new costumes, neither accent any body parts over others, unlike nearly all the other costumes worn by women in comics.

Cartoonist Alison Bechdel came up with a test for gender bias, originally geared toward movies but which has since been applied to every form of fiction. The so-called Bechdel Test requires that a work meet three criteria: it must contain (1) two women (2) who converse with one another (3) about something other than a man. (Sometimes a fourth stipulation is added that they must be named characters.) Since this happens in real life all the time, it shouldn't be that hard to pass, but out of the 10 movies that made the most money last year, five of them did not definitively pass.

All in all, things are looking up, but there is still a lot of growth to be done within the comic book industry. Too many still see the entire industry as wish-fulfillment for young boys when in reality it can be so much more.


¹As found by The Beat. It should be noted that reader demographic research for comics is very lacking, and they found this number based on Facebook users who like comics, an admittedly shady methodology.

Bonus Trivia: The new costume for Jessica Drew's Spider Woman is the first time since she debuted in 1977 that it has significantly changed. Additionally, she was originally created by Stan Lee simply as a measure to prevent other publishers getting the copyright to the name before Marvel did.