For those of you not familiar with Invincible, it is an independent comic published by Image, about a young man coming to terms with his powers, and the revelation his origins aren’t exactly what he’s been lead to believe. It also happens to be written by Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead.
So, why is there controversy surrounding a comic over one hundred issues in? This week’s issue, #110, ended with the violent, yet still sexualized, rape of main character Mark Grayson.
Now, rape itself isn’t a concept to which the average comic reader is a stranger. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it’s a standard trope in the comic medium, which is unfortunate, but it can have its place. Misusing rape in a story, however, isn’t made “okay” just because the person being raped happens to be male. MTV published an interview with Kirkman earlier today, and his reasoning behind the story choices might have sounded better in his head, but overall, it kind of felt nonchalant. When asked why it was important to push those taboos in a superhero comic book, Kirkman responded with:
…”‘Invincible’ is a creative exploration of, “okay, this is a very weird thing people are doing in superhero comics. Let’s see if we can do it in a different way, and hopefully a better way.” That’s always the attempt.” …
That answer rubbed me the wrong way, because how can rape be “better”? Because it’s a man being raped instead of a woman? Mums the word at the moment on how Grayson will deal with the after effects, but Kirkman claims to have done his research.
This topic is something that’s been discussed most of Tuesday night until now among The Valkyries, an all-female comic retailer group. Most of us are of the mind that survivors of these situations need hope and validation, and they need hope in narratives; we hope Kirkman intends to do just that. Kirkman does touch on the fact that generally, it’s incorrectly believed you can’t rape a man, or that regardless of what they’re saying, their body “shows they want it”, but while he explores that, his female antagonist is highly sexualized (for scans of the panels, click here, but trigger warning, and these are NSFW). It’s far more graphic than we would expect, were the roles switched, and we do get the idea that, context removed, this could be taken as a particularly rough tryst, since most of the focus is on the woman getting off, instead of the severe trauma for the man.
Rape is a particularly difficult crime because it’s about both power and violence as rape isn’t about sex, at least not in the sense of being motivated by sexual attraction or lust. In Invincible #110 , Annisa thinks herself above mating with humans, so she goes after the one half-Viltrumite, giving proof to the fact that in real life, rapists don’t rape because they can’t “get” sex elsewhere. She is intent on him, and him alone, and gets off on the fact Mark cannot fight her off.
My only hope for the series is that Mark Grayson is able to explore himself as a victim of rape, particularly if this event is something Kirkman plans on happening repeatedly. More often than not, characters are pushed through this bit of recovery speedily, and with no realistic consequences on a character’s life. Repeated sexual abuse should be handled tenderly, and I really hope Kirkman realizes what a spotlight he’s thrust himself into. I’m of the mind that there are always other options for character development than to put them through something as traumatic and life destroying as rape (oh wait, but I forget, some creators don’t think it matters).
I’m curious as to what you think, readers. Did you pick up this issue? Do you think there’s cause for such discussion among the comic reading public?
TopCow’s Hardcore #1
Story by Robert Kirkman and Marc Silvestri
With a team like this, I am expecting a damn good story.
It opens with a person floating in a watery globe with a tube connecting him to an unseen machine. The scene switches to a criminal board meeting regarding a warhead, headed by a tall blonde man and his squat, brunet brother who tries to slice his jugular when he manages to stand. We learn guy (Agent Drake) in the watery globe is somehow maneuvering the fat brother remotely via this machine connection. Agent Drake completes his mission and disconnects from the body in time to meet a lady who is evaluating this agency, Bonnie. He runs down the process of how his remote control of a person works. Basically, they fire an override chip into a person’s neck that allows complete control of all functions remotely for 72hrs. This is used for taking down criminals so the proxies are also USUALLY criminals and end up dead so the operation is tidy and leaves an untraceable dead end. As he leaves Bonnie, he heads home, running into what seems to an old, slighted candidate for the program. He is quickly dealt with and asked to leave and Drake reports for work the next day, taking on the form of Esteban (in what looks like the house of a drug lord) and a sticky relationship with someone’s wife. As Drake reports this hiccup, Bonnie, who is overseeing this experiment for the Departmen of Defense, kills everyone, revealing to be working with the slighted ex-teammate, Markus. Markus informs Drake he has 72hrs to unplug himself without any equipment as he’s taking the show on the road for the highest bidder.
Very interesting premise and since it’s Kirkman, I feel it can only get better. Silvestri’s art is just okay here because I don’t like the stupid cheek and jawbone contours. I will definitely be picking up issue #2.
Zombie-mania continues to grow as TELLTALE GAMES new episodic game, THE WALKING DEAD has been unleashed. So far, only the first chapter, titled A New Day, has been released. I can already say this is better than the currently running television adaptation on AMC. The interactive comic, which is how it comes off, allows you to take control of one character struggling to survive in Kirkman’s post-apocalyptic hell where the dead rise again. Each choice you make as Lee, the game’s protagonist, affects how the story will flow. Already you must be prepared for major decisions that must be made in the first chapter and they will effect, not only how other characters see you, but whether or not they live. The game is available on Xbox Live (400 Microsoft Points), or for purchase on Steam ($24 for a season pass).
When AMC first announced it was planning on turning the hit comic series THE WALKING DEAD into a television series, immediately I was on board. I was nervous of course, as for the most part adaptations never really seem to work. Luckily when the first episode aired, on Halloween, my fears were put to rest. Not only had the show gone above and beyond my expectations, it seemed to completely redefine how a comic should be adapted for television, or even the movies. This wasn’t just my opinion though; viewers around the country were happy with the series! In fact, the show managed gather the largest following for any new cable television series to date. Within a week Season 2 was a guarantee. Now, a year later, and ten episodes into this season, I have to admit; I have mixed feelings for the direction the show has taken. What started out as a great step into an almost Ultimate take on the comics, has just turned into a absolutely sour experience. Now; before I go on I should warn you that there is a good chance of SPOILERS ahead…so you’ve been warned. So, how did this all start? When did the show start to stray off course, and venture into some bizarre universe where the characters from the comic I loved have turned into a bunch of irredeemable, not to mention slightly idiotic antagonists? Well; it all started with a little girl getting lost in the woods.
Story by Kurtis Wiebe and Art by Tyler Jenkins
“Tootles” is being interrogated quite thoroughly by a man sitting in shadow. Vague childhood questions are asked as well as Tootles’ relationship with someone named Peter (presumably the Peter Panzerfaust the title refers to). Tootles regales him with how he first met Peter, the day the Germans bombed Calais, France where Peter led him and several orphans to safety. He is in awe of this boy, this big haired 11th Doctor looking young man, looking for a girl named Belle. As Germans invade the hiding spot of the boys, Peter sneaks up to shoot the soldiers in their heads when he sneezes. There wasn’t much dialogue and it’s thankfully not needed as everything is laid out in a very accessible way for all to enjoy.
That being said, I think a large part of the draw, for me, is Tyler Jenkin’s art. Peter is at once the boy next door, devilishly charming and probably just brave enough to entice the other boys to following him. Peter’s little smirks, and Tootles’ smile at remembering such a person are driven home by the slightly messy lines of Jenkins pencil.
I enjoyed this comic very much, so if you have a chance, pick it up! (more…)
For some time now Robtert Kirkman, writer and creator of the Walking Dead, has been teasing that TV series favorite Daryl might make an appearance in the comics! It wouldn’t be the first time a character jumped from the Television scene to the comics due to popularity among fans. Nothing official has been stated, in regards to Kirkman’s teases, however a recent teaser for The Walking Dead was released that shows a character that could, and I have to emphasize COULD, be Daryl himself! Don’t believe me? See for yourself.