Elayne Riggs' Journal (for Leah)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Speaking Truth to Superpowers

Valerie D'Orazio, aka The Video Store Girl, has wiped her Occasional Superheroine archives and repurposed the blog anew with a serialized book-in-the-works currently entitled Goodbye To Comics. It's an intensely personal story about Val's experiences in the comics industry and her life filtered through the medium, and I love the parallels between the two that she weaves throughout her narrative. I am ashamed to say I've never chuckled so much at the reality of torn genitalia whilst wincing simultaneously at the idea of fictionalized rape. As Robin says, "she writes in a quirky, entertaining way about some really dark stuff."

Here's the story in chapter order (unfortunately Val's site feed isn't working at the moment so the only way I've been able to read it is backwards on her site, bottom to top):
Chapter #0 - "What The Hell Happened To Your Blog?" (intro)
Chapter #1 - The Broken Vagina Monologues Part I
(Interlude - Edit to the Chapter Order [loved the Wonka reference])
Chapter #2 - The Broken Vagina Monologues Part II
Chapter #3 - The Broken Vagina Monologues Part 3
Chapter #4 - Batman and Wonder Woman
Chapter #5 - Lesbian = Woman Who Reads Comics? Part One
Chapter #6 - Lesbian = Woman Who Reads Comics? Part Two
Chapter #7 - “We Need A Rape” Part One
Chapter #8 - "We Need A Rape" Part Two
Interlude (on speaking truth to power)
Judith Regan And Why I Don't Apologize For "Sleeping With The Enemy"
Chapter #9 - The "Jonah"
Why I Write
Well Yeah, Sometimes Abuse DOES Create The Superheroine
Chapter #10 - "Lost Girl's First Comics Job"
Chapter #11 - Willy Wonka And The Comics Factory
Chapter #12 - How Comics Almost Busted A Cap In My Ass

Val finishes up with the following positive note:
As for the comic industry, there are a lot of good people, men and women, in it. I've grown up with comics people my entire life, and I'm taking care of one who recently fell ill now. I just want the industry to move in the right direction, get rid of the lingering sexism & racism, stop the sexual violence towards female characters, get more diversity (gender, racial, sexual orientation) into the characters, and make some of what I wrote in my blog things that no longer have relevance.

There is a big crop of talented young women and people of color out there who want to break into comics. Open the doors, give them an even and respectful playing field, and say a warm "hello" to the next gen of this industry.
Doubtless this series will be much talked about in the comics and feminist blogosphere, so it's probably a good idea to get caught up fairly quickly. Took me most of the morning, but it was well worthwhile, and I highly recommend it.