Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Going Supernova: The Starfire Scandal

I feel the need to comment on the recent DC Comics scandal grasping the interwebs right now, specifically concerning the first issue of Red Hood and the Outlaws. While I haven't read the book yet, it's written by Scott Lobdell, who I've gone on record as defending as a good writer on this here blog. Many people are challenging such a thing with the way that this book is being written, specifically with the depiction of former Teen Titans' member Starfire as an amnesiac sexpot who, well... has sex. And seems nonchalant about it during the issue, let's say.

I think that all this talk is silly.

Indeed, I even feel kind of silly taking time out and writing about it. But I'm trying to keep up with what's going on in comics, and Starfire in Red Hood is all anybody seems to be talking about. The first thing I tell the haters is, this is only the first issue! Starfire has lost her memory; I think it's a safe bet that eventually, she's probably going to get it back. I think her trying to explain her actions or feeling guilty for them would both be great storypoints. The thing is, you haven't given the writer any time to explore that before you immediately leap on the criticism. Sometimes the internet bums me out, man. This is a good indication of why.

People who have brought up the point that Starfire was always kind of a sexy character have an excellent point. She was, and even in the Wolfman/Perez stories of her origin, she rountinely slept with Dick Grayson. While they did give her more of a caring personality when it came to her friends, she was also pretty badass when pushed to the extreme. She was bred as a warrior and was essentially kept as a slave in space before escaping. That kind of stuff messes you up, and I think a messed up alien Starfire reads as a much more interesting character.

Is her bikini unrealistically skimpy? Of course. There's no denying that. But as far as her sleeping with both Jason Todd and Roy Harper in the issue... I mean, those are two of DC Comics' most messed up characters. I think the idea was to show that Starfire, a character who usually held it together during a crisis, is now pretty effed up, too. I can buy that. I think most comic fans could.

The depiction of her as a kid-friendly, cartoon character from the Teen Titans animated series is how a lot of people (including myself, as I still haven't read the majority of the Wolfman/Perez stuff) see her. Blissfully naive, quick to make a referential blunder, and... well, sexless. Plus, it's obviously the most popular incarnation of the character; a Google image search will indeed bring you more images of the cartoon Starfire then her comic book counterpart. But a book with Red Hood and Red Arrow? Probably not for kids, and Starfire's appearance here is a testament to that fact.

Should they maybe have chosen a different character? Probably. But you know what? Maybe we should read more before we start bitchin' across the internet.

1 comment:

Millennial Dan said...

A sex-happy amnesiac? I don't care what the excuses are, there's no defending dumb writing like that. This is why I don't even bother with modern "superhero" comics.