SpyGal or ExasperatedSigh-Gal?
Thanks to Marvel Custom Solutions and San Francisco-based Benefit Cosmetics, we now have SpyGal, which is available at Benefit makeup counters, and stars a “wise-cracking, pore-zapping persona… modeled after the POREfessional pore minimizing primer.”
To this, I feel I must say… ”Really? In the name of Odin, why??” (Or, in the always effective language of Internet memes, “what is this I can’t even.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for comics geared towards women and for reaching a wider female audience, but I’m pretty sure this is the wrong way to go about it.
Now, I’ve only seen teaser images, and no story text, so I’m willing to withhold at least a sliver of judgment until I’ve seen more, especially since SpyGal is being touted as a “witty” story with a “dynamic, nuanced hero” and “humor and intelligence.” SpyGal’s job seems to be “helping powerful women spread their influence around the world,” which could be cool, and at one point it looks like she saves her date, and he’s all, “My heroine!!” which is kind of fun. And I am a sucker for a good, witty story (I love good art, but if the story can’t hack it the art never saves it for me), so it’s possible the text could make up for a bit of what I’m seeing. But from the images, it appears the main character… fights bad guys with weapons disguised as makeup? While zipping through the air in completely impractical-for-grappling-hook-use skirts and short coats? As Rorschach would say, “Hrm.”
While I loved the little gadgets in Alias – many of which were built into purses or lipsticks or jewelry – to have this be the main point of a comic (along with, apparently, a romance angle) rubs me the wrong way. I do realize this is meant to be advertising for the cosmetic company, and can’t fault them for wanting to team up with Marvel. And I get the concept of Marvel teaming up with other companies, because money is money, hooray. But I confess to feeling disappointed that this is what Marvel chooses to do for its female demographic. And even with the choice made, I have further skepticism about the execution.
Although the blurb talks about the hero(ine) being faced with “life’s modern problems,” the art and fashion are done with a “vintage female action figure” feel that to me (even with a flying car) reminds me of the ‘50s and an accompanying cultural attitude towards women that I do not need in a modern female-oriented comic. I hope Marvel doesn’t think this is really what female comics fans are looking for. And although I realize that the point of the comic is to sell makeup, what self-respecting crime fighter would use a grappling hook with a grip as tiny as a mascara tube?
Further, not to disparage either the artist or writer on the book, both of whom are talented, but couldn’t Marvel have gotten at least one female creator on this project? Don’t get me wrong; I don’t advocate giving someone the job just because they’re female (that’s just as bad as the opposite) but I know there are talented female artists and writers out there. Why not get one of them to work on a book pitched solely towards women and which deals with turning beauty products used by women into practical super-heroine gear? (Unless none of them wanted to work on it?) Maybe then at the very least Our Heroine would have better bangs.
I know it’s easy to criticize, and that this is geared towards a very specific purpose. But tell me truly, don’t you think there could have been at least a few better ways to execute this? Or that it would have been better not to do it at all?