May 25, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - The Weekly Graphic Novel: Week 47 - Spinnerette v.1

What can I say about Spinnerette?

It is hyper-kinetic, super-cute, unabashedly sexy, remarkably funny, and action-packed.

Sounds like an ad for a new cartoon, or a movie or something, which is, actually, not a bad contrast. Spinnerette, well, this volume at least, looks like it jumped straight from an anime. Walter Gomez is obviously a fan and inspired by this style, and he manages to convey all of the movement and madness of an anime remarkably well on the page. The women are cute and buxom, the men ripped. Sometime I wish I lived in an anime universe, but I know I'd be the weird tall guy in the trench coat that no one really gets along with.


That said, the art would simply be nice-looking art if it weren't for the story it's wrapped around. Again, seeming to pull from the mad tropes of anime, Krazy Krow gives us some excellent and really nicely developed characters. Heather and Sahira (Spinnerette and her roommate) are a wonderfully odd pair who care oodles about one another. Sahira plays the voice of reason to Heather who, after gaining her powers, decides that being a superhero must be all fun, games, and beating up bad guys (which it is, I guess, but there's also a bit of work involved). And Heather is just a bundle of optimistic energy, which is nice to see in a superhero book. She reminds me a good deal of Doreen Green, aka The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, and I think I'd give a non-essential body part to see a crossover between the two characters.

And while the comic is definitely fun and action-packed, and wonderful to behold, it's doing some very cool things with diverse representation. Sahira is of South Asian descent, as evidenced by name and appearance, though she certainly doesn't fall into some of the damaging stereotypes of women from that region. Heather, aside from having six arms, is pretty darned gay, and the object of her affections is Mecha Maid, whose back story (which I won't spoil, but also depicts some much-needed diversity) offers a bit of sadness in the midst of the superheroic shenanigans. Perhaps the most blatant cultural critique comes in the form of The Tiger, Mecha Maid's crime-fighting partner, who is referred to in the media and by those who encounter him as "Black Tiger." Because, y'know, he's black. But Tiger corrects this every time, regardless of how fed up with the process he is. This is a very important articulation of the kind of things that People of Colour have to deal with, the constant educating on what is and is not appropriate. This is a task that should not fall upon shoulders already burdened with systemic racism. The burden instead should be on those who require the education, to improve their outlooks, themselves, and, consequently, the world.

I could go on. We've got Greta Gravity, a curvy supervillainess who creates her own gravity field, but there's no body-shaming of any sort. And Green Gable, an L.M. Montgomery-themed hero whose costume, regardless of his maleness, is a skirt and the sort of hat that the famed Anne might have worn. The lovely thing about the diversity in the comic is that none of it is used as the butt of a joke (or rather, all of it is, so no one is singled out), and none of the various ways people present in the comic are the be all and end all of their characterization. When we look for diversity in comics, it's not simply a matter of showing people of various kinds - when a character is queer and that's all there is to their role in the story, we get tokenism, not diversity. Diversity is when we see all of the multifaceted possibilities of humanity as people, rather than as caricatures. And Spinnerette manages this very well.

The cover up above links to the webcomic. Go have a look. I'm sure you'll love it.


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