Category: Featured

Brainiac On Banjo: Hey, Kids! VIOLENCE!!!

Brainiac On Banjo: Hey, Kids! VIOLENCE!!!

I’m a mean mistweetah, A wabbit feastah, And I pwedict, A bwoody Eastaw, A scuwowing shadow, And dah shadow was dis wabbit, And dah night aiwah echoes, Kill dah wabbit! — Bob Rivers, Kill The Wabbit, 2009

Felix The Cat was our first animated hero, making his debut in Otto Messmer’s Feline Follies in 1919. The plot: A stereotypical old lady goes out for the evening, leaving her house in the hands of her kitty, Mister Tom (played by Felix – look, just go with that). Being a tom cat, once the coast is clear Felix splits to his girlfriend’s house for an off-screen tête-à-tête.

Of course, while the cat’s away the mice will play. In fact, they’ll rip the old lady’s house apart. By the time Felix returns, the house is decimated but he’s too blissed out to notice. Then the owner returns, freaks out at all the damage, beats the poo out of Felix and slings him out of the house.

The slightly indignant Felix doesn’t care. He goes back to his girlfriend’s house and is greeted with open paws. Then about a billion newborn kittens, each looking exactly like Felix, swarms all over their papa. Evidently, cartoon kitties have a remarkably short gestation period. Be this as it may, it is now Felix’s turn to freak. He runs away, straight to the nearby gas field where he attaches a hose to an in-ground spigot and commits suicide.

Was there general outrage over Feline Follies? Was there an upsurge of kids running to gas fields to off themselves? Did anybody ban the sale of brooms to cat-owners?

Hell, no. People didn’t take this stuff seriously. It was a cartoon, not a documentary.

Was Messmer advocating violence by mice, cats or old ladies? Was he advocating unprotected kitty sex? Was he suggesting suicide was the best way to handle trauma? Again, hell no. It was a cartoon.

Because my brain is wired differently than yours, I thought of Feline Follies when I heard of a comics writer/artist being accused of being a fascist for working on a best-selling heroic fantasy comic book. Said writer/artist was accused by another writer/artist, who was no stranger to the concept of cartoon violence. If you labor in the fields of heroic fantasy, evidently, you are wearing an invisible SS uniform. Well, as Lenny Bruce pointed out, “Gestapo? I’m the damn mailman!”

Violence has been the cornerstone of heroic fantasy going back to the Year Gimmel. The line was blurry when the major source of such stories was in the realm of the religions that are now regarded as mythology as well as the religions that various warring factions today regard as gospel. But once it is removed from these trappings of conviction, fictional violence is just a plot device. If Elmer Fudd inspires your kid to want to get a shotgun, your kid needs professional help.

But once parenting became perceived as a science – which it is not; it’s an art form – “cartoon violence” had to be… edited. ‘Doilies for the mind’, to quote Mason Williams. The Three Stooges have been entertaining people since 1922, but their oeuvre became scissor-fodder in the early 1960s. How many of you have great-great grandparents whose eyes were poked out? Bugs Bunny is a latecomer, having debuted (as developed) some 80 years ago. He, too, has suffered the fate of a thousand cuts.

Entire generations of humans have been raised since we became smotheringly overprotective. Are we now a less violent society? Maybe you’ve never read a “newspaper,” but if your knowledge intake is limited to even the most anti-social of social media you should be aware that real-world violence remains a VERY Big Deal. Maybe we should deal with the real, physical issues that lead to such behavior instead of emasculating Wile E. Coyote and Larry Fine.

I have been known to toss the fascist tag around myself. I understand the definition of the term because I know how to work a dictionary. I try to use it appropriately, even when I’m being purposely offensive. Simply working on a heroic fantasy story that involves such violence does not make you a fascist, it makes you a storyteller. Batman could be perceived as a colloquial fascist, yet many of his better stories have been created by the late card-carrying liberal Denny O’Neil as well as by his opposite number on the right, Chuck Dixon. This does not make either a fascist.

Owning a gun, let alone writing about owning a gun, does not make you a fascist. Believing Smith and Wesson, Ruger and Colt should be in charge of our foreign policy just might – but any student of 20th century history should know better.

With Further Ado #150: The Prescience of Superman

With Further Ado #150: The Prescience of Superman

Last week I presented my interview with Roy Schwartz about his new book Is Superman Circumcised? The Complete Jewish History of the World’s Greatest Hero. This time around, let’s take another look at Superman, albeit in a decidedly batshit crazy way.

Rescued from the Bargain Box

Recently, I rescued a copy of Superman #184 from the bargain box at Ravenwood in Utica, NY.  This comic, originally from February 1966, sports a cover by Superman stalwarts Curt Swan, George Klein and Ira Schnapp.  Or at least ¾ of the cover. I love three-quarter-covers, although this mutilation renders it a pariah by many collectors. We used to see more of these ripped covers in the old days. Before the direct market was established, retailers would be required to send back their unsold comics for credit. After a while, that proved to be too cumbersome, so the practice of sending back only the cover, or only the top logo from the cover, was adopted.  The leftover comics were often not destroyed and instead illegally resold at a discount. Continue reading “With Further Ado #150: The Prescience of Superman”

With Further Ado #149: Is Superman Circumcised?

With Further Ado #149: Is Superman Circumcised?

It’s getting to be that time of year when I want to get my summer beach reading all lined up. That’s one reason why I was so eager to speak with author Roy Schwartz about his new book Is Superman Circumcised? The Complete Jewish History of the World’s Greatest Hero.  Here’s my five-and-a-half questions and Roy’s five-and-a-half-answers:

Question 1:

Ed Catto: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, Roy? And are you a comic fan?

Roy Schwartz: I’m a huge comic fan. I grew up on comics, it’s how I taught myself to read and write. My favorite has always been Captain America—and this goes way back, when people would say “who?”

I used to have a decent collection. 42 long boxes, which isn’t huge, but it was well-curated. I had a complete run of every Cap comic published from October 1964’s Tales of Suspense #58 (signed by Lee & Kirby!) to October 2012, when Hurricane Sandy destroyed my storage unit and with it my lifelong collection overnight.

I’d like to give a shout-out here to Chuck Rozanski from Mile High Comics, who heard about it and sent me a few boxes of back issues. It was the sweetest gesture. This is a guy who spends his time and money volunteering for homeless causes around Denver. He’s a real-life superhero.

I don’t collect with the same gusto anymore, but my home office looks like a comic shop. I have a framed copy of Avengers #4, Cap shield and helmet replicas, life-size bust of Christopher Reeve’s Superman, a bunch of Hot Toys and other cool stuff.

When I’m not in fanboy mode I’m disguised as a mild-mannered director of marketing & business development for a great metropolitan law firm.

Question 2:

EC: Your book, Is Superman Circumcised? The Complete Jewish History of the World’s Greatest Hero looks fascinating. What’s the book about? Continue reading “With Further Ado #149: Is Superman Circumcised?”

With Further Ado #148: Two Giants Among Men – Kubert and Anderson

With Further Ado #148: Two Giants Among Men – Kubert and Anderson

In recent weeks, I’ve written about Bill Turner, who has been running the ITHACON comic convention for over 45 years. It’s quite a feat.  And when asked how it all started, Bill will tell the tale of the local comic club – where fans would meet to discuss and trade comics.

In today’s world, so many of those actual clubs have been replaced by online groups. I’m in a few comic-focused groups, and I find them to be (generally) fun and enlightening.

One group is dedicated to the DC character Hawkman. Ever since I was a kid in 1967 and I laid my eyes on Brave and the Bold #70, I’ve been a fan. This dynamic Carmine Infantino cover, with inks by Joe Giella, shows – astonishingly – Batman and Hawkman locked in a particularly brutal struggle. They aren’t messing around. Their costumes are shredded. The Batmobile is smashed-up.

”How could this be?”, my five-year-old mind screamed!

That sparked my Hawkman fascination. Just one step over from my Batman obsession.

Fast forward to today: Tim Board’s Hawkworld FB group has re-ignited my Hawkman passion. I’ve written about Tim back in With Further Ado #23.  And really, how could any classic comic fan not like Hawkman when so many fantastic creators have contributed their talents to this character?  Favorites like Gardner Fox, Ryan Sook, Rags Morales, Tim Truman, Mike Gold, Robert Vendetti, Tony Isabella, Graham Nolan, Tim Truman, Bryan Hitch …the list goes on and on.  And it includes two of my favorite, undeniable comic legends:  Joe Kubert and Murphy Anderson.

Joe Kubert worked on Hawkman in the Golden Age and then helped relaunch the character during the Silver Age. After a few try-out issues in Brave and the Bold (that was a thing back then), he handed the artistic reigns over to fellow New Jerseyan Murphy Anderson.

Note: Murphy would become the cover and interior artist when Hawkman #1 debuted in 1964.

I had the supreme honor of getting to know both Joe Kubert and Murphy Anderson a bit. Their artistic talents were off-the-charts. Beyond that I was really struck by how kind, humble and professional each of these gentlemen was. These were both exceptional people, in addition to being exceptional entrepreneurs, exceptional family men and exceptional artists.

That’s why, when I recently purchased a copy of Mystery in Space #87, one of the tryout issues for Hawkman, I was surprised-not-surprised to find the following letter in the letter column.  In this issue Joe was officially passing the baton to Murphy.  I was so impressed to find this gem as the first letter in the Letter to the Editors page, entitled (underwhelmingly) Via Rocket Mail.

Kubert rolls out the red carpet for his successor, Anderson. Does it get kinder, classier or more professional than this?

{And sharp-eyed comics fans will note editor Julie Schwartz stealing Stan Lee’s “nuff said” in his response to the letter.}

Joe Kubert and Murphy Anderson. Geez, what great guys.

*Although I will always think of Murphy as a true-blue Tarheel!

As Is with Mike Gold: Boob’s Job

I’m a loser and I’m not what I appear to be / What have I done to deserve such a fate / I realize I have left it too late / And so it’s true, pride comes before a fall / I’m telling you so that you won’t lose all — John Lennon and Paul McCartney, I’m a Loser, 1964.

At the risk of repeating myself — something at which I’m quite good — the reason why the 1938 cartoon “Porky In Wackyland” is my favorite is because it has proven to be remarkably prescient.

83 years ago director Bob Clampett and writer Warren Foster created a seven and-one half minute affirmation of Dr. Sigmund Freud’s declaration that humor arises from breaking taboos, an observation voiced by historian Steve Schneider in his 1988 book That’s All, Folks! The Art of Warner Bros. Animation. Clampett and Foster broke more societal norms than Bill Hicks on a dexedrine tear. Wackyland was a place so surreal that it could melt Salvatore Dali’s mustache.

It’s not really a fun place. Wackyland is quite scary, even by the laws of cartoon physics. In contemporary terms, the best corollary I can think of is the state of Florida.

To illustrate this point, I offer you the thousands of reports from our legitimate news media ever since the 2000 election, the one where their hanging chads led the Supreme Court to give, quite randomly, the presidential election to George W. Bush. Their present governor, the remarkably dangerous and morally obscene dictator Ron DeSantis who is gifted by Cult Leader and Presidential Loser Trump with new kneepads each week, is one of the most disgusting bigots of our current political class. If you think about that for a minute, that’s one hell of an achievement.

Student Riley O’Keefe, before alteration (L) and after (R). New York Times.

So it should come as no surprise that one of their public high schools has banned that tiny line in girls’ yearbook photographs that might indicate said girls were wearing a bra. I believe that line is referred to on The CW as “cleavage.”

WTF, you might ask? Yup. It’s true. At least 80 photos in the new Bartram Trail High School (just south of Jacksonville) were altered to eliminate any indication that these students had naturally maturing bodies. These alterations were made without the consent of the photographees or their parents. None of these particular students were male, but to be fair high school yearbook photos rarely include tight crotch shots… of male students.

Adrian Bartlett, the mother of a student whose visage was subject to the school’s reactionary computer molestation, told The St. Augustine Record her daughter’s picture was edited in her chest area to add more shirt coverage. “It sends the message that our girls should be ashamed of their growing bodies, and I think that’s a horrible message to send out to these young girls that are going through these changes.”

Bartram Trail High School

The school says these photos did not follow the policies dictated by their dress code. The parents of these girls say this is not the case in the least, and of course, the easily produced “before” photos stand as evidence to this point. Many of these censored portraits are quite easy to identify as the Photoshopping job often was done poorly and recklessly.

Not to mention needlessly. Their website states “all individual student pictures must be consistent with the St. Johns County School District Student Code of Conduct or may be digitally adjusted.” However, as noted, many parents do not believe those photos were in any such violation. Evidently, nowhere in their Code (which, in and of itself, is quite discriminatory) does it suggest teenage girls who possess bodies common to teenage girls must wear hazmat suits.

This is a new high bar in body shaming, done by people who obviously believe that teenage girls’ bodies are indeed shameful. If, young lady, you are not a slut your high school seems quite likely to show the world you are. Natural cleavage is bad and must be exorcised, at least at Bartram Trail High School in St. John’s Florida, where Principal Chris Phelps can be reached at (904) 547-8340.

If cleavage were to be forbidden in Florida, their tourism business would be destroyed. It is a deeply hypocritical moral Wackyland down there.

As for those of you who are saying to yourself “Well, sure, Mike, but it’s Florida and, like you said, they’re kinda weird!” I ask you this: if you really think this is happening only in Florida, check your local newspapers. If you’ve still got any. Check back around – oh, you know, prom time.

Brainiac On Banjo: Publish and Perish?

Brainiac On Banjo: Publish and Perish?

“I need you, but I hate to see you this way / If I were Superman then we’d fly away / I’d really like to change the world / And save it from the mess it’s in / I’m too weak, I’m so thin / I’d like to fly but I can’t even swim” — Ray Davies, (Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman, 1979.

You might have heard the news. It’s been bombarding El Casa de Oro all week, and it’s been blitzing the interwebs to the point where I’m thinking of upgrading my dial-up. But just in case you’ve been away chasing after the Perseverance Rover, I’ll make my journalism teachers happy.

This past weekend, AT&T sold control and most of their ownership of their WarnerMedia division to Discovery Networks, owners of the many, many Discovery “cable” channels, HGTV, the Food Network, TLC, ID, Animal Planet, the Magnolia Network, and the Discovery+ streaming operation. They call this stuff “reality programming” but, as we all know, reality is in the mind of the beholder. As far as I’m concerned, that million-dollar vaccine lottery is the only reality show.

AT&T had only recently bought what they now call WarnerMedia — Warner Bros, CNN, HBO, Cinemax, the Cartoon Network, TCM, TBS, TNT, and a bunch of other stuff. If you can read the six-point type, you’ll discover they own some publishing as well, such as whatever is left of Mad Magazine and the meandering DC comics. Ma Bell went into so much debt to do this deal that, upon reading the report, King Midas reflexively picked his nose.

After acquiring that Denali of debt load, AT&T came down with a severe case of buyer’s remorse. I’m sure the stay-home-or-die principle that governed most thinking humans these past fourteen months did not help one bit, but it wasn’t a very good deal in the first place. After all, what does AT&T know about running the Home Insurance Building of media (sorry; “I.P.”) companies? Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: Publish and Perish?”

With Further Ado #147: Five and a Half Questions with Hard Agree’s Andrew Sumner

With Further Ado #147: Five and a Half Questions with Hard Agree’s Andrew Sumner

Andrew Sumner is a dynamo wrapped in a fireball with the limitless energy of a blazing supernova. I’m always fascinated by everything he’s doing and the launch of his new podcast, Hard Agree, (I’ve become a regular listener) provided a great excuse to catch up with him!

Question 1:

Ed Catto: You’ve got so much going on now and such a cool origin story, Andrew.  Can you tell us a little about who you are and how you ended up at your current position at Titan?

Andrew Sumner: My grandfather and best friend, Pops Smythe, served with an American unit in Normandy in WWII, and when he came back to Liverpool, England in 1947 (after spending two years as an MP on clean-up duty in post-Nazi-occupied Paris), he came back with a great love of America, Americans and American popular culture – as personified by movies, big band music and the comic books he’d received as part of his US Army rations. He transferred all of those passions to me – when I was three, he bought me my first US comic (Batman #184) and I was hooked for life. Continue reading “With Further Ado #147: Five and a Half Questions with Hard Agree’s Andrew Sumner”

With Further Ado #146: Five and a Half Questions with Adam Philips

With Further Ado #146: Five and a Half Questions with Adam Philips

You’ve read Adam Philips work for many years, but you may have not known it. He’s one of those hard-working, behind-the-scenes guys.  But now he’s embarking on a new stage of his career and it all seems fascinating. So, let’s catch up with Adam Philips in 5 and ½ questions!

Question 1:

Ed Catto: We’ve known each other a long time, Adam, but for this column, can you please give us a little background on who you are and how you came to be?

Adam Philips: Sure! I’m a lifelong comics fan – I was a Marvel zombie in the 1970s and an early proponent of the Indie comics scene. I got started in the field in the 1980s when I wrote articles for Marvel Age magazine, which led to me being hired as the assistant editor on Marvel Age, as well as the Doctor Who reprints, a Howard the Duck one-shot, and a few other Marvel projects. I also did freelance work for Archie, Eclipse, Topps, and Fantagraphics, and I even wrote about comics for Entertainment Weekly in an early issue.

After a few years in magazines, I joined Welsh Publishing Group as an editor, where I worked on titles for young readers starring Superman and Batman, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Real Ghostbusters, DuckTales, Garfield, the Simpsons, and more. I was hired by DC Comics in 1994 as their first-ever copywriter, where I conceived and wrote ads and posters. I then moved into marketing, where I ran DC’s solicitation process, created their retailer emails, and created and presented content at retailer events, and lots more. I left DC this past February.

Even after all that, I’m still a comics fan at heart! I’m currently blogging the entire run of Marvel Age at MakeMineMarvelAge, and I’m working on two comics-related podcasts that will debut soon.

Question 2:

EC:  Your new venture, Untold Stories Marketing sounds fascinating. What’s the idea behind this agency? Did you see an unmet need in the marketplace?

AP: A few months ago, I was having conversations with some comics companies about what my post-DC life might look like, and over the course of those chats we identified certain areas where they thought they could use some marketing help. That, aligned with something I’ve heard from retailers so many times, which is, “If I knew more about it, I would have ordered more.” What clicked for me was the idea of an agency that would provide information on new series to retailers so they can order with confidence and tell their customers what those titles are all about.

I’ve worked closely with publishers, writers and artists, distributors, and retailers, which makes me uniquely qualified to take a publishers’ direction, get information direct from the creative team, and use the distributors’ platforms to communicate to retailers in language they respond to.

Question 3:

EC: 3. Love the logo. What can you tell us about it?

AP: It’s orange! I worked with a friend who’s a logo designer and gave him some direction. I wanted it to have the vibe of a “Hello, my name is…” sticker, and the name itself is a play on the old “imaginary stories” and the concept of “untold stories of your favorite hero.” And I want to help creators tell their untold stories.

Question 4:

EC: Do you think it’s mandatory that an agency like Untold Stories Marketing is run by a long-time comic fan/enthusiast? Could the firm still succeed if that wasn’t the case?

AP: You probably don’t have to be a comics fan, but it helps. This is a quirky industry like no other, and while there are marketing concepts that can apply to just about anything, knowing the players and the institutions is important. There’s no substitute for familiarity with the history of the field, or with having actual relationships with retailers.

Question 5:

EC: 5. You’ve been in thick of it for a long time. What’s the most interesting thing, or the most challenging thing, about the industry today?

AP: The most interesting thing to me is the breadth of product out there. A lot of smaller publishers have come along in the past few years with some great titles – publishers like Aftershock, Ahoy, Vault, or Scout, to name just a few. That said, retailers are stretched thin in trying to keep up with it all. Helping publishers sharpen their messaging so retailers can take away what they need to know and order with confidence…well, that’s what Untold Stories Marketing is all about.

Question 5 1/2:

EC: How will your experiences at comic conventions – when they start up again – be different, Adam?

AP: I can’t wait to get back to conventions so I can run into folks like you, Ed! In the past, my convention experience tended to mostly be me running back and forth between panels, where I would run the A/V for a PowerPoint I created for DC. That let up a bit in the past couple of years, which gave me the opportunity to focus on my work as a retailer liaison. I anticipate a lot of meetings with publishers and retailers, and I’ll probably spend more time than I have in the past walking and talking in artists’ alley. And picking up some comics here and there!


You can find Untold Stories Marketing on their website or on Twitter and Facebook.

Brainiac On Banjo: New York, Naked

“It trails me and it tails me down to Central Park. Even after dark, New York is my home. New York is calling me, and now I find the city never sleeps… it’s my state of mind.” New York Is My Home, written by Dion Di Mucci, Scott Kempner, and Mike Acquilina, 2016

Like many pop culture enthusiasts – we used to be called “fans” before cosplay became a big deal — my “top ten favorite movies” list runs a bit heavy. I recently took to creating an actual written-down list and, as of this typing, this effort has engorged to 66 films. I’m sure it will lengthen.

Among those works on film to which I am most endeared is a 1948 flick called “The Naked City,” directed by Jules Dassin and starring Barry Fitzgerald, Howard Duff, and Dorothy Hart. Despite its title, this brilliant and authentic action movie is not the least bit salacious. It most certainly is naked, in the sense that The Naked City is the most poignant portrait of New York City I have seen.

This is the New York City of legend, filmed on location. Well, 80% of it was filmed on location, and that certainly fits the definition of unique. No other movie had so much Manhattan footage, and the performers and crew were not limited to the types of cover shots we are used to seeing on shows like N.Y.P.D. Blue.

We are thrust into the real, heroic city of legend that is no longer with us, but unlike Camelot or Brigadoon this place was real and that is the stuff of this movie. It was the town many of our ancestors first saw when they came to America, the portal to a new world that offered the promise of fair play, opportunity, equality, and democracy. Those values may be fading rapidly as well, but that’s for another time.

As much as I love the work of Damon Runyon, the New York City seen in this movie is the real thing. There are no singing and dancing gangsters in this production. You can almost smell the sidewalk hot dogs, the sweat of the workers, and the stench of the tenements on a hot summer day — The Naked City was filmed in the very, very hot summer of 1947, and it shows.

Long gone are the Manhattan elevated trains and the Essex Street Market, the old Staten Island Ferry terminal and the real Penn Station, the ramshackle and often dangerous subdivided apartment buildings for those who dream, and the mom-n-pop stores that met their needs. Big-box chain stores and franchise fast food were almost unheard of. It was America’s portal to the rest of the world and, more important, it was the portal from the rest of the world.

The movie most certainly suffers from some of the constraints and attitudes of its time. There’s plenty of white ethnic diversity, and that’s about it. New York City is and always been a lot more than that, but in 1948 I suspect a lot of people wondered why they ever would be interested in seeing a movie about a bunch of Irish, Italians, and Ashkenazi… let alone about New Yorkers. The Naked City does not portray a lot of high falutin’ swells living in the vertical gated communities that line Central Park; this is the people of New York whose heads would explode at the thought of paying today’s $3,500 a month rent.

The original The Naked City movie, later remade as several television series and movies, is a breathtaking, highly detailed and emotionally appropriate record of the city that defined America. It is a 96-minute time machine that nails down the roots of our cultural heritage.

It’s also a damn good cop movie.

The Naked City is on HBO Max and, better still, the 23-minute Criterion documentary Uncovering The Naked City is there as well, although I do not know how long either will be streaming from that venue. Talk about Brigadoon… Of course, both are available from Criterion on home video and on the Criterion Channel. I say “better still” because The Naked City is shown on TCM with some regularity but the documentary is a mere seventeen months old and not quite as accessible. It’s a love letter to both the movie and to the city that made it… and, of course, to the people who made it as well.

As they said in this movie and its subsequent adaptations, “There are eight million stories in the naked city.” This has been the best of them.

The author dedicates this column to Howard V. Chaykin, the source of several of those eight million stories.

With Further Ado #145: Guest Column Winner “Men Direct Feminist Films Too”

With Further Ado #145: Guest Column Winner “Men Direct Feminist Films Too”

We have made it to the final installment of the Ithaca College Writing Assignment awards. The students in the class that helps run Ithacon were tasked to submit a guest column entry for this space and we have a winner. You can see the previous runners up on this site from the past two weeks here and here.

The winner is Caleigh Clarke who took on a pop culture accepted opinion and challenged it. What really set her over the top is that not only did she take issue with prevalent take on movie making, she presented an alternative example of what she was looking for from feminism in pop culture movies.

Men Direct Feminist Films Too

By Caleigh Clarke

When I think of female-directed films with a superheroine, Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman comes to mind. It is the first of its kind, with Captain Marvel and Black Widow following and trying to erase the previous sexist works of Catwoman and Elektra. It follows Diana Prince, an Amazonian goddess, as she joins American spy, Steve Trevor, to fight in World War I as she believes it is a result of the Greek god of war, Ares.

This movie was definitely marketplace feminism. They wanted to appeal to the little girls who would go on to buy the lunchboxes, t-shirts, and costumes after watching the movie, like with most superhero films. However, does this have to be the case in our modern world saturated with superheroes? Are superheroines just there to be a “look, feminism” moment? Or are executives starting to break the mold?

I thought of comparing Wonder Woman to a superhero film that I personally loved and was critically praised- Black Panther . Released just one year after Wonder Woman , the movie follows the titular character who is crowned king of Wakanda after his father’s death, but is challenged by a man who seeks to use the country’s resources for a world revolution. Written and directed by Ryan Coogler, Black Panther is filled by many women, mainly Nakia, Shuri, Okoye, and Ramonda. These female characters are integral to the story and success of T’Challa. Nakia is not merely his love interest. She holds a lot of agency. Her goal is not to become queen of Wakanda, but rather convince T’Challa to reveal Wakanda as a country and open its gates to help people with their advanced technology. She is also a spy fighting for enslaved women, she is expertly trained which we see in her first appearance on the screen. Continue reading “With Further Ado #145: Guest Column Winner “Men Direct Feminist Films Too””