Feminism, graphic novel style
Posted by Bubbas' Nightmare on 16 May 2007
(or comics, if you prefer)
Promethea is an interesting experiment in metafiction (a story about stories). She is a creature of imagination that has power within the “real” universe. Promethea’s presence is invoked by someone’s imagination, and her Avatar and Power is different, depending upon the nature of the person who invokes her. She is one of the Great Stories (one of my favorite themes in fiction).
Unlike most comics, this series uses endless cultural references (spoken and illustrated), intelligent if somewhat convoluted storylines, and employs strong women throughout the story. (Indeed, there are elements of Patriarchal qualities throughout the bad guys, who are almost all men.) However, it doesn’t dip into that “women=creation, men=destruction” crapola that so many comparative culturalists love to harp on. (Another story for another time.)
Best of all, Promethea is light on the Bimbo Effect, which is always a danger in graphic novels these days. Yes, there is flesh (particularly in one of Promethea’s Avatars), but sexuality is kept pretty strictly within the confines of moving the story.
A dialog between Promethea and Jack Faust, who has offered to teach her about Magick in exchange for sex:
Faust (describing Promethea’s body): God considered as Female, the most exalted feminine principle. This sacred receptacle is its sign. The vessel between women’s thighs is the Cup’s highest aspect. The Chalice. The Grail of divine compassion. It takes in. It receives. The Holy Grail is female. Remember that. It’s the essence of Female…That sacred cup brimming with the wine of stars. With the deep-pressed vintage of the soul.
Promethea: And this is all those manly heroes sought? One sip from compassion’s bowl to ease their dry, parched souls? They sought the Female?
Faust: Yes. They wanted to drink of the Female. To drown in it. Perhaps they even wanted to become it. All warriors. All magicians. All men.
Promethea: Ah. Then be quenched, man. Take your draught, and next we’ll see what mysteries man conceals beneath his coverings.
(And this is years before The Da Vinci Code!)
Rereading that section tonight has gotten me to thinking about how many feminists claim that men, as a class of people, hate women. I’m just riffing here, but I wonder if the root issue with men may be jealousy turned to hate.
Just a thought.