CV's Roundtable User Discussion 020 - Guy Talk

Hello everyone! Welcome back to another Roundtable User Discussion. Before we get going, I'd like to apologise to everyone involved for the extremely prolonged delay in bringing the latest "RT" to life. No excuses I can offer are adequate, an therefore I throw myself prostrate at your cyber feet begging for forgiveness. Now on to the main event, please enjoy this special one-off "All-Male" Roundtable!

No Caption Provided

Once upon a time, sora_thekey hosted a Roundtable User Discussion called "Girl Talk". Naturally, in the name of equality, the boys of Comic Vine felt that it was their turn for a gender specific discussion. Well, as that Roundtable was hosted by a guy, we thought it would be a fun twist that the "Boy's Talk" Roundtable discussion should be hosted by a girl! So until sora_thekey comes back full time you’re stuck with me, xerox-kitty ;)

Anyway, the boys are back in town! Let me re-introduce Roundtable veterans FadeToBlackBolt, Billy Batson, Trodorne and SC (who despite the uber cute Nemi userpics is a man of the XY chromosome persuasion ;)

Tro: Hey everyone.

BB: Hello, it's BB.

SC: Hi I am SC, and I am so manly that my manliness is confusing and doth occasionally I am thought of as a woman. That's how manly I am. Like a modern day Hercules or something... Beer!

Lazy: Hi I am Lazy; that’s it.

Fade: Howdy; FadeToBlackBolt; Richard Curtis loving, Victorious watching but still very masculine male =P

Welcome back! And lets try a twist on the traditional opening question... What is the best 1 comic that you've read lately?

Santa Larfleeze?
Santa Larfleeze?

Tro: Green Lantern Larfleeze Christmas Special. (cough) been re-reading it in the middle of summer.

BB: Preacher.

SC: Let me think... I am a Squirrel Girl fan.. so I enjoyed her appearance in New Avengers. She was adorable and kickass as usual. Plus Deodato was on art so double points. I always wondered what his Squirrel Girl would look like, and now I know...

Fade: I read Batman/Poison Ivy: Cast Shadows recently, and while it's an older title, it's still a great read. Very emotional story detailing the relationship between Bruce and Pamela, and I really enjoyed it. The final page in particular was beautiful, and showed both characters' very human cores. Highly recommended, for ladies too =]

Lazy: League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen 1969. Its Moore, its the League, its awesome. I actually got it in the post then went and sat in the sun and read it. Which is amazing for two reason one it was sunny and two there wasn’t any riots happening.

Lots of good reading! :D But back down to business...

Q1: Do you feel that the comic book industry is still focused towards a largely male audience?

Men Here! send More Beer!
Men Here! send More Beer!

Lazy: I would say so let’s face it the DC 52 nearly all men titles, the various movie films and games that have gone out recently all men as well. If anything I would say it’s become more male orientated as a result of the last years plans or so.

BB: Yes, the female audience is still pretty small compared to the male audience.

SC: Yes, I believe that the US Comic Book Industry is still largely focused towards a largely male audience, but I think quite a lot of entertainment generally is, really. Plus I guess it also depends what you mean by focused, but in broad terms most definitely.

Tro: Largely? Yes *drinks beer!*

Fade: Well the US Comic Book Industry, for better or worse, is very much a business, particularly when concerning the Big Two. The point of a business is to make money, and the best way to make money (in a media business) is to cater to your key demographic, and comic books are still largely aimed at the 12-40 Male market. So I'd say, yes it's still geared toward a male audience, but with books like Birds of Prey, Heralds and other such female-focused comics, the distinction is weakening.

Q2: Traditionally, comic book readers have a stereotype of being nerdy, immature, single guys (much like the guys from the Big Bang Theory ;) Do you think this is fair? On the other hand, do you share any of those traits?

Tro: In the instance of the Big Bang Theory, They chose to make a series based on successful guys who can afford to support pop culture habits. While not the case for everyone else. Though in real life I’ve seen hardcore fans who range from Military man to university professor. While I do agree there is much of the stereotype associated with comics, the range of men are broad. In terms of myself I would say I share 2/3's of their traits.

The Big Bang Theory: Enforcing The Nerdy Male Stereotype?
The Big Bang Theory: Enforcing The Nerdy Male Stereotype?

Fade: Ah, the Big Bang Theory, setting we comic book fans back thirty years.

That is the stereotype, but thanks in no small part to comic films starring Adonis-like males ala Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth, the idea of comics being a strictly "nerd" activity is slowly disappearing. I mean, sure, the average comic fan isn't going to look like Chris Evans, but the general public are finally starting to realize that these characters are Universal, and that their appeal extends to everyone, not just the introverted social exile stereotype. Basically, I think the stereotype is still there, and is being reinforced by some forms of media (like BBT), but the average person isn't as prone to believing in stereotypes as they used to be.

Regarding myself; I'm a bit of a social misfit, but I'm also tall and pretty intimidating physically. I'm not interested in Science though, philosophy and writing are my shtick.

You don't like Big Bang Theory? I love that they can use geek humor in a hugely popular show; it's heralding the rise of the geek! ;)

Fade: I don't mind it, but it does reinforce negative stereotypes.

Tro: Geek and Nerd Humor is lot of what they do for jokes also includes scientific fact. Which though I agree is the huge selling point for me in terms of watching the show, but then again they do get some things wrong. Like Sheldon saying that the X-Men were named because their leader was Charles Xavier was a total load of crock. They were named the "X-Men" because of their Extra ordinary abilities.

Ah yes, the joke that we real geeks can appreciate for both the cheap shot at Sheldon Cooper’s “C-Men” and because we get to feel superior to the writers because know the real reason behind the “X” in X-Men.

Lazy: I am one of the guys, though as an ex-model I am slightly more presentable from time to time. But yeah I could fit into that show as the English science/comic geek, I have glasses and various comic shirts also. People would watch me right? . I have perma-stubble nowdays to butch myself up a little though.

BB: I don't share any of those traits *whistles*

SC: I think it’s as fair as most stereotypes. The opposite type of comic book fans can be pretty unflattering as well if not unattainably cartoonishly like perfect... for plot purposes. I like the term nerdy, so to me it’s an endearing term. Nerdy guys, nerdy girls, I view as cool, sweet, etc so in that sense I wouldn't call myself nerdy LOL, but I am immature a lot, because you can't be mature by trying to be mature all the time, I am currently single though? Plus is it a trait to need the Soft Kitty Warm Kitty song, sung to me when I am ill... complete with hand gestures? Erm...

*soft kitty warm kitty little ball of fur....*

SC: Gah! *forgets rest of song*

Q3: Perhaps it also has something to do with traditional content of super hero comics? Especially the female characters. Do you think their physique & skimpy fashion are also geared towards a male market?

SC: I think as far as female characters goes, there is as much about how they are portrayed wrapped up in tradition and history as much as any conscious decision to have they appear a certain way to appeal to men, but there is a measurable amount of both. Older comic writers, and artists you know, maybe weren't really trying to do much other than create what they thought was good? People are generally going to have set perspectives they are naturally inclined to see things from that require conscious thought and action to end up with a more objective neutral view. Then people are inspired by those creators and work from their work.

I think yes as well as far as the traditional content of super hero comics as far as prior question.

Fade: Let's be honest, would Power Girl leave the house dressed the way she is? Of course not. Her attire is ridiculous. That said, I'm a 19 year old male, so, if you allow me to remove my social conscience for a moment, her costume is epic. Generally speaking, if a female character is scantily-clad, she'll be more popular, or at least more talked about. Would anyone care if Power Girl was dressed in a Wizard Cloak? Half the threads on CV about her are about her costume or her bust.

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Essentially, the female costumes are clearly marketed towards males, but female readers have their share of eye candy too (I can't tell you how many times my Tumblr dashboard has had Nightwing's posterior reblogged). Comic books are a fantasy/will-fulfillment based medium, so pretty much all characters are buff, beautiful and barely covered.

Tro: Well if the comic market is largely dominated by males then I would say yes, it would be geared towards the male market.

BB: Yesss. And the same thing is with the male characters and the female readers.

But do you like the overly endowed T&A built women? Is it geared towards bringing in the sexually inexperienced male youth which fuels the stereotype of nerdy guys?

BB: Yes and yes.

Tro: Do I like T&A? Yes… Very much so. Do I like it in comics? Not really, I’m more into the more interesting women who have more character I.E: Oracle.

SC: I think there is a lot of reasoning that can explain the overly endowed T&A built women. Some times it can be about shock, sometimes its just a fad and style that gains popularity for being so different, sometimes its sort of like... a package deal, sex, violence guys and swearing X-Treme!!!!!! Sometimes it’s about exaggeration of what are considered defining characteristics or valued characteristics, sometimes its just parallel of what seems to be happening in other mediums.

I think it does whatever the reasoning, contribute to that stereotype of nerdy guys (the more traditional negative nerdy guys) Oh, like uhm… What was that old TV show? The one where the two boys use a computer program to create the perfect female? She's a stereotype as much as the nerds who made (projected) her. Like a modern twist on Frankenstein. Except instead of mad genius you have nerdy comic/computer guy.

Weird Science? I didn’t know they made a TV show out of that…

Lazy: It must be I don’t see a huge quota of comic book readers being lesbians and women who read comics for the fashion. I'm yet to see the Emma Frost or the Rogue look out on the streets (excluding cosplayers) on any normal day. I have looked maybe just doesn’t have the right weather though. As for the massive chests and tiny waists it’s kind of funny because their ability to actually fight and move wouldn’t be so good and it’s kinda of important in their professions.

Can You Compare To Nightwing's Physique?
Can You Compare To Nightwing's Physique?

Q4: Well, that's the ladies, but what about the guys? The traditional physique of most comic book men (heroes & villains) is tall & muscular. Is this something that you can associate with, aspire to, or find out of touch with the target audience?

Fade: Everyone feels self-conscious, and reading about the most perfectly constructed physical specimens imaginable isn't always great for the ego, but you still have to realize that comics are a fantasy medium. No matter who you are, you can't compare yourself to Dick Grayson and expect to come out on top. I feel far worse when someone, anyone really, dismisses acne as being disgusting or something, since that's my biggest problem with myself (along with a few dozen other issues).

Tro: Well when you look at traditional characters, which most people really started reading around the silver age that tall and large was not always the case. Which was why many people flocked to Marvel because Reed Richards had powers and he was in no way strong or looked like he could bench press his own weight. Peter Parker was a nerdy kid who ends up with super powers. The X-Men were mutants who were not tall or looked like they were strong (outside of the Beast of course).

But men would always look at figures of Superman or Captain America because they represented the ideal of what all men would like to be but are not near that level as they are.

Is Thor Too Godly For Guys To Empathise With?
Is Thor Too Godly For Guys To Empathise With?

SC: I think a lot of the traditional physique of male characters is idealized, but it’s not just the physique, it’s a lot of things. The roles, relationships, status, the angles that such males are drawn from even, and so on. I can associate with such portrayals in that I value physical health, because physical health aids mental health and mental health aids physical health... but perhaps where comics can I think, fails its audience, is not celebrating more body types. Physical health comes in many shapes and sizes, beyond buff. Though also traditionally I think comics has that diversity with male portrayals. You have your Batman type builds, Wolverine, short and runty, godlike Thor, skinny Shatterstar, Bane physiques, and on and on. At least better that what is offered with females. Oh and male villains vary as well. You have better age diversity to, which plays a smallish role in how characters look, physically.

Lazy: I think its mostly just bulk in terms of main heroes a lot of heroes aren’t that tall. But I think most men aspire to some level of muscle heftiness just not to the degree of say Wolverine whose arms are nearly as big as his waist in some showings. I’m naturally a lean figure so putting weight on is something most people my build aspire to, but to superhero digress hell no. Call me when the super solider serum hits the market, I am true British hero.

BB: Jonah Hex; the reason: I got/get the same treatment as him for the same reason...well almost.

Q5: And which character is most like you? Who can you identify with & why?

Tro: I wish I could say Peter Parker but he is so much smarter than I am. I have the love of science but no where near the level he has, But I would say I’m more of the line Booster Gold. I try hard to be the hero that everyone else is but I am always looked at as a buffoon or a wannabe who will never be as popular or as well liked as the big names that are out there.

Buff Brains & Body; Can You Identify With Peter Parker?
Buff Brains & Body; Can You Identify With Peter Parker?

Lazy: Hmm probably Spider-Man also. Mostly because he’s a scientist( he’s underrated as such) and a bit geeky/quirky with his humor much like I am. People probably expected Captain Britain there, but I’m not mega bucks rich LOL.

BB: Aspire to but I'm too lazy anyway...

Fade: The character I most identify with? Probably Doctor Doom. I'm scarred, angry, capable of great love and vengeance, and pretty clever. If I was a capable metallurgist, I'd have built a mask for myself long ago, since I hate my face.

SC: Oh wow, hmmm. Not sure I can answer the other question. I would be a bit scared to be honest if such a character existed... I can identify with... does Nemi count? LOL Uhm. Madrox, Hercules... and Galactus... and Rogue... and Mogo. Martian Manhunter...

BB: What about Cyan's (Ex?)-boyfriend?

SC: LOL Billy your too awesome!! Cyan’s Ex Boyfriend was too quiet and too passive. I can be quiet and passive... but I tend to be weird, and loud and have strong opinions, oh and I tend to not dress up as much.

BB: He was weird when he hang with Nemi and Cyan and he didn't dress up much.

Q6: You chose heroes *phew!* But what about the ordinary characters? Does the 'Average Joe' have any appeal to the average reader? Do you have any preferences for 'normal' (non-chest-inflated ;) characters?

Lazy: There’s loads of great average Joes. Quatermain from the LOEG & Ash from Evil Dead to name but a few…

Foggy Nelson; The Average Joe?
Foggy Nelson; The Average Joe?

Tro: I think there are lots of Average Joe type of characters that appeal to people like Foggy Nelson, best friend to Matt Murdock. He is a great person who has followed his friend through thick and thin especially in the events of Shadowland.

SC: I think in the last couple of years there has been a big boom in indie comics and smaller books, which tend to focus on more relatable characters... at least initially. I am reading a book called Fly and the main character was really regular. A lot of the non Marvel and DC books I have read have more normal looking and acting characters (and their worlds mirror this for the most part) we have books like Walking Dead as well. Oh at the same time, I have to cite artists like Jamie McKelvie, who can actually make characters look a bit more... normal.

I think readers preferences are more varied these days. So you'll find an audience, just hopefully its not too small (the audience that is... not the pecs ;)

Tro: Very true SC, even darker series like The Boys has Average Joe type characters with no powers and they end up having regular drama like real life itself with the exception of kill bad super-heroes.

SC: Uh yes, The Boys is a good example!

BB: I like them when they are written right and if they appeal to one guy, they will to others.

Fade: My definition of "Average Joe" is someone unextraordinary in unextraordinary situations. Some like Yorick Brown (who I love) doesn't count, to me, as an Average Joe.

Regarding "Average Joe" characters, they don't get a whole lot of screen time, but I honestly can't think of too many "Average Joes” that I like. I like them in other media, just not comics all that much. I prefer the "Average Janes" like Gwen Stacy. I miss Gwen.

I'd forgotten about him, but you're right. He's far from “Average” as there aren't any other guys in his world to compare him to make him either ‘Average’ or ‘Extraordinary’. But then again, perhaps he is the kind of guy that regular readers could identify with? Or at least imagine what they would do in his situation?

Fade: Yorick himself is pretty ordinary, (the Safeword arc highlights that well, IMO) but his situation is so extraordinary that you just can't consider him a normal guy, you know? He's relatable and his situation is good for hypothetical thought, but I still don't find him to be "average". That's just my view though.

Q7: Going back to the idea of stereotypical fans, while working at a comic shop I had to endure guys talking down to me about titles that I was passionate about (trust me, the customer is not always right). Why do you think some guys still struggle to see female readers as equals?

BB: Not sure if I can answer that. I find them equal.

But have you any idea why other guys see girls as freakish glowing brainless unicorns? It's weird to think that guys like that exist, but the really do :(

BB: Sorry but no.

SC: Actually my answers sort of the same as Billy's. I can't really fathom, I want more girls to read comics not less. Its got nothing to do with my reading habits tending to echo those of girls, or that a lot of my favorite characters are female... and I wished were more prominent *cough*

Boys V Girls
Boys V Girls

I think that maybe sometimes its just human nature for people to actually sort of not want to be seen as equal with anyone else. So this applies to how guys view females and how guys view other guys and girls to girls and girls to guys. Very potentially complicated stuff LOL, but as far as the domain of comics, I think guys have a possessive attitude towards comics. Its a guy thing, like football, and you "girls" have your make up and stockings and ballet so you know, you made fun of me, when I was six and wanted to dance, dance, dance, ballet and so this is payback (I mean.. uh my friend wanted to dance ballet) but yes, guys can be competitive with each other, and so this same competitive streak might apply to comics. Except the guys might find it extra painful to be shown up by a girl? The same way a girl might if a guy was especially good at applying mascara? Erm...?

Fade: That's just stupid. If they were speaking down to you because you're a woman, then that's ridiculous and they should be kneed in the face. That just reinforces comic-related gender stereotypes. People like that just suck. As for why some guys see women as objects rather than as equal people, it's probably just an issue of how they were raised. If they were brought up in a household with a submissive mother and overbearing father, then that's likely to come out in them. I'm not justifying it; I think they should be punched in the throat, that's just one explanation for the ignorant behavior.

Lazy: Have you considered the man may just see himself as some kind of comic authority and talks down to everyone?. Personally I don’t split comic fans by gender it doesn’t both me what sex you are if you want to talk comics I am game. Unless it’s a fine women, I am not made of stone.

Oh, it was more than just one guy. It happened quite a lot as well. As if somehow my chest disabled my brain & therefore my ability to read or understand comics. Sad, but true.

Lazy: The irony is I have seen many a man lose their brain functions as a result of a woman’s chest. I myself may have been guilty too.

Tro: Here is how I view the general stereotype of female readers, they are mainly into manga, or if they are into comics then they are usually only into Batman genre or Wonder Woman. And it is something that some men who share the same idea carry. But since working in a comic store, I tend to see more women head to either the manga section or to the Batman section. It’s usually with a boyfriend around that occasionally they will head down looking for the newest issue of the Walking Dead.

Though that is my view, it does not make it correct but it’s what I’ve seen based on observation. And when you hang around with a bunch of guys and the guys are talking about comics when a good 75% of women generally laugh at the idea of a guy reading comics, its hard to take a woman serious about the genre.

Q8: Tro raises an interesting point. Manga is often seen as more for girls, yet it was some guy friends of mine that introduced me to manga. Why do you think there's a gender divide in manga & US comic books?

SC: I think Manga has less of a stigma, plus there is a strong connection between Manga and Anime, and that the way the work is creatively handled. It actually sort of reminds me of Chris Claremont. I have always had the idea back by some reading and research, that his Uncanny run had a very good gender balance as far as fans (as compared to a lot of other comics) I know he had some pretty popular and interesting female characters in his books, but I am also conscious of how long he spent on the book. The themes he wrote about as well plus the consistency with characters and longer drawn out sub plots. Things I associate more with Manga now than comics really. Which is more about new, never seen before, things will never be the same, new creator artist yadda yadda...

Macho Macho Man! I Wanna Be A Macho Man!
Macho Macho Man! I Wanna Be A Macho Man!

BB: Cause manga characters are soo cuuute. And women like cute things while men like manly things. Like Conan the Barbarian, Randy "Macho Man" Savage and beer. Am I right? Eh?

SC: Eeehhh!!! *raises beer brewed by Conan himself*

Tro: I agree with BB the pictures do seem cute and the characters are melodramatic and over the top, which is probably why I don't read manga.

Anime to manga is interesting I think their was more of a surge in the series based on things like Dragonball, DB Z & GT that made people want to read the source material and from their people have been reading other books as much of the other stories have almost the same character arch types that they liked in the previous series.

Fade: That's an interesting one, my sister prefers anime to US comics, while I prefer US comics to manga/anime (except for Evangelion, which is humanity's greatest accomplishment). I'm not really sure what it is, perhaps it's the sheer wealth of manga titles, there's really something for everyone. US Comics don't tend to have a dedicated Shoujo-esque demographic, and they try to be more all-encompassing, which can lead some readers (male and female) to lose interest.

Wonder Woman, for instance, is probably "the" female title in comics, but it still tries to draw male audiences in just as much. I'm not saying that males and females have to read gender-specific comics, it's just easier to get into a medium when some titles are more geared toward your gender.

Zaraki Kenpachi & Yachiru: Bringing Cuteness To Shounen Manga
Zaraki Kenpachi & Yachiru: Bringing Cuteness To Shounen Manga

Lazy: I only own one manga and that’ because it’s Ghostbusters and I love Ghostbusters. Out of the people I know who read mangas though the greater percentage is women with a few Asian mates and one massive Naruto fan I know being the exception. In my case the ‘women read manga mantra’ is true but I gather on a worldwide scale I am probably wrong. One of the main reasons my friend said she reads manga is because she’s tired of the western busty beauty hero model which is so common, where as the manga market seems to have more range in female characters.

Tro: I figured I had manga/anime industry pegged, because I never found any of the characters interesting at all. At the same time there are many unique and interesting stories. While it is the same in comics as well as manga that who ever is writing will try to impose their ideas onto the universe. I figured in the past why there was more female manga/anime supporters was due to the fact that everything coming out of Japan was emotional with throwing their culture splashed on everything else. That and many of the male character designs look more feminine anyways. Manga will never be something I can stomach getting into.

Like Fruits Basket, Strawberries 100%, boys who buy flowers....there is many romantic/humor series in manga and though comfortable with my sexuality it makes me feel like my libido is going to fall off.

It’s about time someone introduced Tro to some Seinen manga, instead of all that girlie Shoujo manga ;)

Q9: So it seems that there are different stereotypes within the comic book reading community. Do you think there's a hierarchy of fans, or of the genres that they like? For instance, would you look down on someone if they bought Archie comics, or if they were into newspaper comic strips?

BB: I would not look down someone if they read Archie or newspaper comic strips. Then I again I read newspaper comic strips...

SC: I think there is a hierarchy. I am just not sure who is where and why. Oh the Archie fans though eh... yeah... my grandfather on my Father’s side invented a saying... if you don't have anything nice to say then don't say anything at all... coincidentally he was an Archie fan. Probably, I didn't actually know him. LOL I don't know that indy fans tend to be pretty tight knit community. I think Marvel and DC fans probably don't really care too much for Newspaper comics as far as quality comparisons, then there are the Graphic Novel folk... I like to hope fans are generally pretty open minded though.

You're No Less Of A Man For Liking Kevin Keller
You're No Less Of A Man For Liking Kevin Keller

Lazy: I wouldn’t look down on them, I wouldn’t have much to say to people who liked comics I don’t since there’s no common ground in terms of overlapping material. Let me set the scen:. I’m in a pub with some friends when a friend-of-a-friend sits down and they say they’re into comics also. I would say “so what are you reading?”. They would say something I have never heard of or not interested in. As a man who is used to having to make small talk would still question and talk about it with no interest in finding out about said subject. I would just drink my beer and keep chatting in a nice way. I sound evil now don’t I?

Tro: First off I am reading Archie married life and started reading that Kevin Keller story, a gay man in Riverdale just blew my mind. I would not say there is a hierarchy of comic book readers, but if I had to say there was I could give you a list. But when you are around comics and manga all the time you tend not to look down on anything EXCEPT, when people buy only trade paperbacks or hardcovers of a series they deliberately skipped only because they prefer to have it in a trade. I tend to look down people who do that only cause if you do not support the individual issues you would not have the trades.

Fade: I'll probably be unpopular for this, but I think there is a hierarchy. Archie Comics are different; they're fun, that's all they are. They don't pretend to be high art, and the fans don't think they're literary geniuses.

It's when people claim to appreciate the medium as a literary art form, and support comics that are, frankly, terrible that it annoys me. If you think you subscribe only to intelligent comics, but have never read a Vertigo comic then you're wrong! And you're beneath other readers.

I'm a little bit elitist on this, for instance, I think if you like Siege, you're wrong. Sure, it's a matter of opinion, but your opinion is wrong. The series was terrible, as everything by Bendis is (aside from Ultimate Spider-Man Vol 1 and Daredevil), and acted as a form of geneticist propaganda. If you have a mental illness you should die, was the central message of Siege.

Basically; the Hierarchy is such;

  • Vertigo.
  • Everything else.
  • Most event titles.
  • Random scrawlings by drunk Hobo.
  • Siege

Uh oh! Fade’s back on the Bandis warpath… Quick, change the topic! What about an old favourite of mine… Garfield?

Garfield, One Of The Guys?
Garfield, One Of The Guys?

Tro: Newspaper strips are still awesome. Garfield and I share 1 think in common. We love lasagna and we hate Mondays. Okay we share 2 things in common, we hate Mondays, we love lasagna and we like to lay around. Okay we have 3 things in common....

SC: Oohhh do you like ‘Garfield without Garfield’? LOL Awesome webcomic...

Tro: Have not read it. There are so many webcomics that I follow. Looking for Group, still trying to finish 8-Bit theatre, and a few others I can't remember on the fly.

I always got the impression that he was sneered at by fans. Anyway…

Q10: What about genres of comics that are aimed at other target audiences? Are children's titles (like Fraggle Rock or Power Pack) and comics made for women (such as Pride & Prejudice and Models, Inc.) accessible to male readers?

Fade: I used to watch the OC when I was younger, and I was criticized hugely for that (called "bitch", "faggot", etc..), because it was largely a female-orientated show, but I didn't care, I like it. And I think that's the same for anything. If you like something, it doesn't matter who it was aimed at, or originally created for, embrace it, and screw everyone else.

Tiny Titans & The Archies Aren't Too Cute For Guys To Be Seen Reading
Tiny Titans & The Archies Aren't Too Cute For Guys To Be Seen Reading

Tro: Well I can tell you that right off the bat I am not going to read a series about teenage girls who play tennis in a private high school. Though there are series that are specifically to target people. I can easily get into a series that is catered to kids(ie: Tiny Titans and Super Hero Squad, but anything that is specifically geared towards what would almost be considered Teen Female audience that is where I draw the line. if I were to sit through a genre like that I would have to offset my masculinity by drinking alcohol and eating red meat to the point of total body shut down.

Marvel’s 15 Love is a prime example of teen female genre type of series. While at the same time, I can read a series by Gail Simone where she works with Birds Of Prey, because she takes that genre very seriously but makes the adult female characters real in a sense.

Lazy: I love the Muppets so I wouldn’t look down on that really.

As for Jane Austin comics stuff if somebody tired to get me to read that I would tell them I would rather burn it. In terms of accessibility I would say some people will enjoy it but I am not looking for that kind of reading in books or comics it has zero appeal to me. Mr Darcy etc can bite me, my mum loves period dramas and I have had enough to stomach for a lifetime.

SC: I tend to think almost all comics are somewhat designed to be for men, even if it’s purely on a marketing level. Their might be an emphasis on the creative team, or awards of caliber of work, or just you know, an appealing cover or the inclusion of certain characters, plus I think that there are so many guy readers that there will be a sort of assumption some will pick up... anything? Though I do think your examples X-K, would be the best as far as sort of... blurring that gap.

BB: Well, I just checked Models, Inc. on CV and I would not read/buy it...

Q12: In your private lives, do you know any girls who are also comic book readers? If so, do you have similar tastes? Or do you blame your differences on gender?

BB: Never met one.

Tro: If Comic Vine counts as real life then I know quite a few female comic readers. Outside of that I have 2 female friends who read comics but their taste is different from mine as one of them focuses mainly on manga which I don't read, and the other tends to get into series in which movies have come out for certain characters I.E: Iron Man.

SC: I am out of all the people I know in real life, the only big comic fan. So no big comic readers with my female friends, or male friends. I could class them as casual readers though? They hate singles, but like TPB's? Just the way they feel. Plus the way they read, they usually have ends. My female friends tend to like books I like the most. X-Factor, Fables, Secret Six, X-Men: Legacy, Thor by JMS. Elektra is popular. Some of my older Uncanny Essentials. Male friends tend to go for Hulk and Superman TPB's which I only tend to get if my library is selling them, for cheap (I already buy Hulk in singles)

Is The Evil Dead Too Gory For Girls?
Is The Evil Dead Too Gory For Girls?

I blame... my environment and sports, music, videogames... a lot of my friends are sporty and or prefer other mediums of entertainment. Comics just isn't really that big where I am.

Lazy: I know quite a few (mostly from Uni), we have very similar tastes mostly which is good though as with all friends you’re bound to have confrontations as well. I like Hellraiser and Evil Dead comics, and the majority of my female friends say horror comics are lame. I'm not calling women out as wimps but it seems they don’t enjoy the horror as much as us men who are perhaps a little more blood thirsty and tough.

Fade: My cousin reads comics, and my sister occasionally, but aside from that, I don't know of any females who read them (that I haven't met on CV, of course).

It's a real shame that (as comic book fans) we're mostly isolated in our day-to-day lives.

Q11: So what about character types? Are there types of characters that are cool to like, or the opposite… some who are considered ‘unmanly’ and therefore should be avoided?

For instance, do you think Shatterstar lost any male fans when his sexuality was revealed? It's already been mentioned that Wonder Woman is more of a girl's title, therefore is it unmanly to like the character?

BB: What's unmanly about an Amazonian warrior? She's manlier than Peter Parker. OOOH!

SC: "If you're a man, you don't have to worry about your manliness"

All-Singing, All-Dancing; Shatterstar's A Real Man's Man
All-Singing, All-Dancing; Shatterstar's A Real Man's Man

I tend to view above quote as being applicable to comic characters and manliness as well. Then again, I am not so sure what character could be viewed as unmanly? Ultron being a robot? I wouldn't assume unmanly to mean feminine. I do tend to view Marvel Hercules as one of the most definitive male characters in comics and fiction and well LOL

In the same token, I would hope Shatterstar wouldn't have lost any fans, and I don't know... when I read Shatterstar in X-Force I believed there were hints, but anyone I have ever actually argued about Shatterstar always seemed to avoid that argument citing it wasn't about the gay thing but more about what was being done to continuity and a writers original plan... right... LOL but I didn't see the character change that much. More people's subjective interpretations. (which would sort of mean, he probably lost some)

Woah what? Wonder Woman is a girls title? She's a badass pacifist warrior though? Guys want a goody two shoes or a guy clad in black leather over a badass warrior pacifist? =p

Fade: I've always thought that the "badass" characters are supposed to be more manly; like Batman or Wolverine. Batman is my favourite character ever, and there're a billion reasons for that, but I don't much like Logan at all. I dislike the Hulk, and love Bruce Banner.

I can't really think of any "uncool" characters, except for the Sentry, but that was mainly due to how the character was destroyed, and fans who were unfamiliar with his original design, disliking him.

New & Old Perceptions Of Wonder Woman
New & Old Perceptions Of Wonder Woman

Shatterstar may have lots fans once he was outed, but that's purely based on preconceptions already established by the reader. If you dislike homosexuality, or felt that Shatterstar was only a good character when he interacted with a particular female during what the reader perceived as a romantic interaction, then they're bound to dislike his outing. I never read much with the character in it, though, so I'm not the person to ask.

This is interesting. Wonder Woman is a more female-focused title, but I still love the character. That said, and this was the same problem that occurred with Buffy in the later seasons, (usually, but not always) a male villain can't just be evil; they have to be misogynistic. I just get sick of every male being portrayed as wanting to keep women down, so I stop reading the series. I still love seeing Diana in the JLA though.

Does Northstar's Sexuality Alter The Way Readers Perceive Him?
Does Northstar's Sexuality Alter The Way Readers Perceive Him?

Lazy: I have heard people bad mouthing Northstar and saying he would lose to Quicksilver and I quote "because he’s gay" . I laugh at the stupidity of these people, a deep manly bellowing laugh. As true manly men know there is nothing to fear when it comes to homosexuals. The dude was wearing a fast and the furious t-shirt he didn’t like it when I pointed out the movies star was a homosexual also.,. some people are just d*cks. Northstar is actually quite bad ass disliking a character purely because of their sexual orientation isn’t cool and pretty near sighted in my view. As for Wonder Woman she has a lot of male fans and all that just not for me its not a female thing its just not a character I enjoy.

In terms of character that people love because of a trait it will be all the huge jock types for which there are billions or so it seems.

Tro: Northstar if I remember was the first super hero to come out of the closet, but there will always be stereo types against different characters be it racial, or even orientation. Northstar is much faster than Quicksilver anyways, he has the ability to travel up to the speed of light.

Lazy: Yeah he’s both way faster and has other abilities , just thought it was epically stupid that Northstar couldn’t win in that guys opinion because he wasn’t straight.

This is turning into something for the Battles Forum…!

Tro: Eghh! Trying to pick out the ideal man its like asking a heterosexual man to pick out a man who you think is sexy; it’s just so damn hard to do. But what I can do is give you a personal list of who I think are cool men and who are best examples of what I think a man is.

  1. Red Hulk
  2. Dick Grayson
  3. Booster Gold
  4. Blue Beetle
  5. Butcher Baker
  6. He-Man
  7. Steve Rogers

Each of these men are different but each of them represent in what it means to be a man, but commonality is Immaturity and Convictions in which they live by. While there is Superman but he was a character I was never into.

SC: Oh lists, eh Trodorne?

Batman: The Ultimate Man In comic Books?
Batman: The Ultimate Man In comic Books?

Uhm, okay, how is this, for me, its Hercules, Batman, Madrox, Rictor, Ares, Thanos, Hulk, Wolverine, Spider Jerusalem, Sandman (Dream)

So angry, repressed, distraught, violent, confused, childlike, heavy lifting, passionate, loyal, pretentious, hairy, crazed, quiet. Men. (LOL)

Tro: Batman? Bruce Wayne is not a man anymore than just a Chuck Norris-esque character who much like superman can not be defeated in any way shape or form unless it’s about him taking care of his own family... which he can't. Jason Todd anyone?

Q13: So, what would you recommend as your all-time favourite comic to introduce a new reader and help break down the wrong stereotype of nerdy fanboys?

SC: Ahh, that question is so scary. I don't want to drive fans away or perpetuate the stereotype. Let me see, assuming they can pick up a few TPB's at once: Marvel's X-Factor or DC's Secret Six, maybe The Unwritten, or Pride of Baghdad. Sandman traditionally does a good job, John Constantine/Hellblazer. Current ongoing series; I am fond of Journey into Mystery...

BB: Swamp Thing, The Walking Dead, Preacher...

The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (And Women) : Breaking Down Geeky Stereotypes
The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen (And Women) : Breaking Down Geeky Stereotypes

SC: Really given how bad some comics have been, alcohol should encourage people to comics, oh wait... did I get that round the wrong way?? LOL

Lazy: League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen for the elder people since it combines classic literature characters in an interesting way and has a great theme throughout the series of making the team fit the age it’s set in. As for a series, I would say Uncanny X-Force since it has a little big of everything and its been very solid in terms of quality so far as a series. I think both types break the nerdy image since LOEG has the ties to the classics war of the worlds, Jekyll and Hyde etc. X-Force has violence, group conflict, bits of science fiction, story depth and even the odd romance chucked in. They are both more than just heroes doing heroic things, both have slightly darker aspects and depths which add greatly to them as comics.

Tro: If I had to throw something onto a non comic reader, I would start off with something simple that they might have heard of. Walking Dead trade paperback... even if anything I would send people to the $1 issues and be like here read this. If you don't like it then all you spent was $1, but it’s best to know what your friends are into and suggest a series which is parallel to their interests.

Ah, a nifty financial tactic Tro!

Fade: First I'd ask them what they were interested in, but my recommendations will usually be the same;

Hairy, Muscular, Immortal & Beardy; Is Thor The Ultimate Man?
Hairy, Muscular, Immortal & Beardy; Is Thor The Ultimate Man?

Pick one; read it, love it.

Well, you guys clearly don't match up to the nerd guy stereotypes. Now it's time to go out and spread the word that guys who read comic books are educated bachelors! :)

Lazy: I match the nerdy stereotype and I am proud of it! I am a lazy geek, imagine a thin comic book guy from the Simpsons and your most of the way there. I am off to make tea and shave since I need to do something manly.

BB: This was my longest RT... Farewell.

Tro: This is Trodorne saying : SMURFS ARE INSECTS, NOT MAMMALS! And to everyone else have a good week, and read if you can.

Fade: Fare thee well, Comic Vine, hopefully I haven't enraged you too much.

SC: This was a mantastic RT, thanks to my fellow men Billy, Lazy, Fade and Trodorne (and any latecomers..)

Though of course thank you xerox-kitty for bringing an air of class for this RT.

Thank you to readers for reading a long too and I would like to say bye and leave the following quotes:.

"It is fatal to be a man or woman pure and simple: one must be a woman manly, or a man womanly"
- Virginia Woolf
"To be meek, patient, tactful, modest, honorable, brave, is not to be either manly or womanly; it is to be humane"
- Jane Harrison


"Why define yourself as a man or woman when you can be human."
- Edgar MacTavish

Well, it’s been fun boys. I am now going to get my "I survived an All-Guys RT" T-Shirt now!