The Comics Confluence, by Elayne Riggs

Elayne Riggs

Elayne Riggs is the creator of the popular blog Pen-Elayne on the Web. She was a founding member of Friends of Lulu, an organization dedicated to increasing the involvement of girls and women in comics, as readers and creators. She is married to inker Robin Riggs, with whom she shares two cats, and has odd love/hate relationship with Hillary Clinton.

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8 Responses

  1. Russ Rogers says:

    Great column, Elayne. I think the thought that the New Yorker cover "summarizes more than it satirizes" really encapsulates my problems with it. Plus, it ain't funny. Would it work as a MAD cover? Only if you subbed Alfred E. Newman's face for Michelle Obama's! Black Canary Barbie is no more tarty than most Bratz Dollz. But, let's face it, that's PRETTY tarty. I don't think you can complain about Black Canary's costume without delving into the general over-sexualization of comic book heroines and their costumes. And that might lead into the arguments about the general over-sexualization of womens and girls fashion.I know that there are bits of fashion (not just Barbie and Bratz fantasy stuff) that make me want to cringe. Message T-shirts with sadly inappropriate and somewhat disturbing messages, especially when held up by my pre-teen daughters in the store. Who thinks that an eight year old needs athletic shorts that say stuff like, "SEXY" or "HOTSTUFF" or even "PINK" across the ass? Is they stupid?I know Black Canary's leathers and boots are supposed to make her look like a biker or hero. But the fishnets do give the overall look more of an S&M Bondage Mistress/Fetish kind of feel. And I don't think that's just coincidence. Because this is an article conflating current issues in the media, let me add that I think this Black Canary doll seems like it's part of the Gay Leather Subculture Jihad being led by Michelle Malkin! It's sad to see this type of attack on the moral values of our youth being spearheaded by someone of Michelle Malkin's stature. Until Malkin apologizes for her ignorant or not so ignorant attack on our moral sensibilities, I have no choice but to add myself to the growing boycott of her work.

  2. Rick Taylor says:

    The Black Canary Barbie is no more tarty than ANY Barbie doll period.

  3. John Ostrander says:

    Good column, Elayne.

  4. Steve Chaput says:

    My younger sister had some of the original Barbie dolls and I always thought the doll was cute, but mostly harmless. I don't think that at anytime Pam thought that she would grow up to look like that, nor did any of her friends that I know of. Maybe back in the '50s we just didn't think that much about that stuff. Now, of course, everything seems to have a hidden meaning or message the 'experts' need to interpret for us lesser minds.If adult 'action-figure' fans need a Black Canary who resembles the chick I once saw sliding down a pole, more power to them. :-)Quickly re: the New Yorker cover – Stupid and tasteless, IMHO, but I'm not intelligent enough to understand that New Yorker sense of humor. Just a small-town kid trying to get by.

  5. Vinnie Bartilucci says:

    "If adult 'action-figure' fans need a Black Canary who resembles the chick I once saw sliding down a pole, more power to them."Once?Come come now. This from the man who once told me a story involving a lit candle?

    • Elayne Riggs says:

      I feel it oddly necessary to point out at this point that neither of the above references, from my ex-husband Steve nor my long-time friend Vinnie, have anything to do with yours truly. My goodness, I'd forgotten the lit candle story, Vin; thanks ever so…

  6. mike weber says:

    I did a blog post on, the music (more or less) social-networking site about previous excursions by Mattel into theworld of comics with Barbie – specifically Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, Gotham's two most notorious lipstick lesbians. If the people who are up in arms about fishnets had known Harley & Ivy's backstory…(Also featured on that page are a few other comments on other dolls – some real [Bratz! and Mattel's answer, The Bling-Bling Girls], and a few {probably NSFW} pics of Net-denizen-proposed other Barbies – "Exotic Dancer Barbie", for example – and a very scary true note {with pic} from another blog about Ann Coulter, Deadhead.(As Anna Rusell once said, "I am not making this stuff up, you know…")

  7. mike weber says:

    Oh – "HELP" magazine – a post-MAD Kurtzman project that ran 1960 to 1965; Terry Gilliam was art director – did a photo-comic "fumetti" story featuring John Cleese (in the US as a male model at the time) as a man who gets very … uhhh … friendly with his daughter's Barbie-but-called-another-name doll. ("My god, Madge – it has … things…"){From Wikipedia: "Cleese appeared in a Gilliam fumetto, "Christopher's Punctured Romance" about a man who is shocked to learn that his daughter's new 'Barbee' doll has 'titties' but falls in love with and has an affair with the doll."}One suspects that this was an essential step in the formation of Monty Python…