Ron Salas got me thinking today about something that's been bugging me for a while. He mentioned that you can't Google image search for Mary Marvel without finding some things you can't unsee. This applies to a lot of things in Google's image search but I find it particularly disturbing when it happens to one of my favorite female characters.
I'll admit that for being as big a Marvel Family fan as I am, I'm largely ignorant about their recent history, the last decade or so. It seems to be a matter of both them not showing up terribly often these days and that when they do I have no idea that it's happened. Only in the last month did I finally read 52 and learn what Black Adam's been up to. So try to imagine my surprise when I happened on this essay detailing Mary Marvel's arc the last couple of years. I thought the black costume she kept showing up in was a fan art thing. I didn't realize that pink-haired dominatrix character was her. I was a little more than disgusted to find out what she'd turned into, and appalled to find out that at the end of it she was no better off. A character I really like, one that symbolizes a lot of what I like about this medium, was damaged for reasons I can't begin to, or would prefer not to, understand. Do go read the post I just linked to, the finer details are stated much better there than I could do here.
The question gets thrown out there a lot about whether The Marvel Family is better or worse off for being part of the larger DC Universe. I've never felt particularly strongly about the issue; there have been some nice things about Cap mixing it up with Superman occasionally. But now I'll point to Mary as a big honkin' reason I wish the Marvels never came to DC.
We're having our first child in August. Regardless of whether it's a boy or a girl I'd like to be able to show them that I'm part of something that shows a little more respect to female characters and readers. I like to think that readers want something more than this. As a big fan of the character I'm more than a little disappointed to see Mary treated as if she's dumb and weak, and horrified to see her objectified so broadly. This kind of treatment tells me that today's comic books are interested in something completely opposed to what I love about these stories; the innocence, the fun, the wonder. Frankly, I want to see this hero with a near-70 year history of inspiring young girls to be their best treated with the dignity she deserves.
And while I'm perched on my soapbox, I'd love to see Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover take a swing at this. I think it may have been Paul that I first heard suggest this, but I would love to see that book. Colleen draws a great Mary, possibly my favorite, and I know that Paul has a reverence for these characters.
Thanks for reading all this, and thank you to you kind folks who have written in the last day with such nice things to say regarding the Captain Marvel dream team poll. I know I don't reply often enough to the comments you all leave here but they mean the world to me.