The Only X-Planation

A few weeks ago, Marvel released Girl Comics, an anthology title designed to highlight female writers and artists, as well as the company’s female characters.  Girl Comics is a well-intentioned but imperfect effort, hampered slightly by the decision to call it GIRL COMICS.  More recently, Marvel announced X-Women, another attempt to bring female characters to the forefront, one hampered by, well, Christ, just look at the promo image.

Lest anyone think that the more progressive motives behind X-Women would trump any competing impulses, here are a few lines from Comic Book Resources’ piece on the title:

For the story of ‘X-Women,’ a major driving factor in deciding what kind of story [writer Chris] Claremont would tell came from the selection of [artist Milo] Manara, who’s best known for his erotic work in Europe. And while ‘X-Women’ doesn’t fall into that category, the writer had no problems finding a way to tell a story with his characters that fit the artist’s strengths.

Lately Marvel has invited fans to guess who’s on the Secret Avengers roster, or which of the X-Men is about to kick the bucket. In fact, much of what’s going on in Marvel books from the summer onward is a mystery, so it’s possible that titles like Girl Comics and X-Women are part of one elaborate meta-storyline–let’s say Doctor Doom, or maybe Kang the Conqueror, sabotages the timestream, obliterating the modest advancements made regarding the gender politics of superhero comics over the last few decades.  (Marvel’s upcoming book O.M.I.T. is shrouded in secrecy, but the letters could easily stand for Overt Misogyny Invades Time.) Imagine: readers are forced to relive the many moments that made them embarassed to be part of comics culture, as their favorite female characters are dragged back through the extra-dubious ’90s.

Why do I think I’m right? The irresistible potential for tie-ins. Possible spin-off titles could include Avengers Thong Patrol, She-Hulk: Locker Room Hijinks, and Pepper Potts Bakes a Layer Cake. We’ll know for sure in a few months.

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