Dear DC Comics,

*Just a note. Thanks for the link to Felica Day and io9.com and everyone else. I’m stunned by the response. Also I’m approving comments as I can and will approve any comment that isn’t spam or hateful.threatening or outright insulting of myself, my daughter or any commentor here. I adhere to the John Scalzi commenting policy. Please feel free to disagree with our opinion, because that’s what reader feedback is all about. And thanks!

 

I’m not going to rant like Comics Alliance (though you need to read it), or this one by Andrew Wheeler (also an excellent read), Ms. Snarky says it really well too (Go, read, DC editors. Take notes.)

Instead I’m going to hand over my forum and let someone else speak for me. Pay attention, DC. This is my 7 year old daughter.

And for good measure this is my 7 year old daughter as she falls asleep most nights, reading.

They’re both your books, DC. And furthermore she bought them both with HER money. Her allowance, her birthday and Christmas money. She gets at least one graphic novel and one book for major holidays. She buys superhero movies (we’ve managed to see all the major releases this year except Green Lantern and she’s loved them all.) She has a full-sized cardboard cut out of Spiderman guarding her bookshelf.

Most importantly? Starfire is her favorite hero.

So today I showed her your rebooted Catwoman and Starfire. She is not happy with you DC.

“Why do you like Starfire?”

“She’s like me. She’s an alien new to the planet and maybe she doesn’t always say the right thing, or know the right thing to do. But she’s a good friend, and she helps people. She’s strong enough to fight the bad guys, even when they hurt her. Even her sister tried to kill her, but Starfire still fights for the good side. And she helps the other heroes, like Superboy and Robin and Raven.

“She’s smart too. And sometimes she gets mad, but that’s okay because it’s okay to get mad when people are being mean. And she’s pretty.”

“What do you think about her costume?” (Referring to the outfit on the right)

“Well, she’s a grown up in that picture, not like in the Teen Titans cartoon, so if you’re a grown up and you want to wear something like that you can. It’s okay.”

“Tell me about that Starfire.”

“That’s where she’s starting the Teen Titans again. She’s helping the kids learn how to use their power and not be as sad because their friends died. She even protects them from grownups who want to tell them what to do.”

“Does that outfit make her pretty?”

“Well, no. It shows lots of her boobs though.”

“What does make her pretty?”

“Her long, pretty hair.”

“What about this Starfire? What do you think about her?” (Referring to image on the left from DC’s reboot Red Hood and the Outsiders)

“I can see almost all of her boobs.”

“And?”

“Well she is on the beach in her bikini. But…”

“But?”

“But, she’s not relaxing or swimming. She’s just posing a lot.” *my daughter appears uncomfortable*

“Anything else?”

“Well, she’s not fighting anyone. And not talking to anyone really. She’s just almost naked and posing.”

“Do you think this Starfire is a good hero?”

“Not really.”

“Do you think the Starfire from the Teen Titans cartoon is a good role model?”

*immediately* “Oh yes. She’s a great role model. She tells people they can be good friends and super powerful and fight for good.”

“Do you think the Starfire in the Teen Titans comic book is a good role model?”

“Yes, too. She’s still a good guy. Pretty, but she’s helping others all the time and saving people.”

“What about this new Starfire?”

“No, I don’t think so.”

“Why not?”

“Because she’s not doing anything.”

“Is this new Starfire someone you’d want to be when you grow up?”

*she gets uncomfortable again*”Not really. I mean, grown ups can wear what they want, but…she’s not doing anything but wearing a tiny bikini to get attention.”

“So, you know I’m going to put this on my blog right? (she nods) Is there anything else you want to say?”

“I want her to be a hero, fighting things and be strong and helping people.”

“Why’s that?”

“Because she’s what inspires me to be good.”

See, it’s not about what they’re wearing, though that can influence things. What makes a hero is WHO they are, the choices they make and the things they do. If my 7 year old can tell what you’ve done from looking at the pictures (there is no way I’m going to let her in on the whole emotionless random, amnesiac sex plot line) why can’t you see the problem here?

If this is your attempt at being edgy and reaching out the huge female comic audience out here then I look forward to when this crap collapses around you so someone who gets it can take your place. We’re looking for good stories and great heroes. This just isn’t it.

 

279 Comments

  1. Jonathan says:

    I have a 4 year old and Starfire is her favorite too. Your article is spot on about DC’s current crisis with this silly relaunch. I don’t wanna hear that Redf Hood and the Outlaws isn’t for kids- that’s a shameless excuse for this absurd direction with Starfire. A character that has always been virtuous and optimistic. she was a great role model for girls and now has been denegrated into a mindless sexbot. In a word pathetic. DC created a great cartoon for kids that very fairly portrayed Starfire and hence created a strong female fan base behind the character composed of little girls. You wanted ‘NEW’ readers DC- well you got it. So now you change the character to get pubescent boys and college guys to read your books. That’s the lame speculator market of the 90’s. DC doesn’t care about the readers- they care about the MONEY! So now as a parent I gotta of limits Starfire cuz she’s a ‘Bad Girl’ now. Try explaining that to a 4 year old girl who adores the character. What next- Wonder woman is an Amazonian Harlot, Batgirl is hooker, Supergirl is a Kryptonian (think you get the picture). Unacceptable. Show someresponsibility Dan Didio, Bob Harris, Geoff Johns and of course Mr. Jim Lee. Luv DC and am a big fan. My daughter is a 4th generation comic fan. You guys established a great legacy amongst your characters and with your fans. Don’t through it away for the lame 90’s wannabe garbage. This relaunch is fine but make heroes HEROES and drop the nihilistic nonsense. Kids need characters like Kory, Diana, Barbara/Cassandra/Stephanie etc. to aspire too. Great article from a very astute child and solid parent in my honest opinion.

  2. […] giving her a comic meant for teen readers. (The article where someone actually really did this is here.) I don’t think I can support that as part of ‘proving my point’. I am sure (or […]

  3. Greg says:

    Please tell your daughter I think she’s the REAL superhero!

    • Mike says:

      Tell your daughter I think her mom is a whiney hippie. I mean seriously? Youre complaining about cartoon boobs? Im sure the brats been exposed to much worse then that in TV and music alone.

  4. Charles Stone III says:

    Well said! It is truly sad what little girls (and boys) are bombarded with day in and day out. Your eyes cannot get away from the boundary-less hyper sexist spam that covers periodicals, TV, internet and public spaces.

    I can see you will be a wonderful filter for your daughter and she will eventually don the “armor” of a hero who will fight this crap.

    I saw your blog via io9 and blasted it on my facebook page.

    Kudos to you Michele.

    Sincerely,

    Charles

  5. […] DC when choosing her outfit – something that one of DC’s younger readers makes comment about here. But up until all this, things were looking […]

  6. mk. says:

    Why would you as a published author allow your 7 year old to look at content not aimed at her? There is a line for kids. Tiny Titans. And there are cartoons as well. No offense but do you leave her alone with the tv remote? DC is not here to parent you kid. You are. There are cartoons for example of Batman aimed at kids and then there is stuff that kids should not see. Now if you have a problem with her portrayal so be it but please lets sift the chafe from the wheat here. The knee jerk reaction and soap boxing I find ridiculous.

    • Matt says:

      I think it’s obvious you missed the entire point… which was to point out that even a child can see they took a character with something to offer readers and made her into something contrived.

    • Matthew says:

      This isn’t about what is or isn’t suitable for children. He (and his daughter) are making a point about what it is to be a superhero. They help people and do things. I’m not familiar with Starfire, but it sounds like dialogue is important to that character as well. Posing mostly naked on the beach, doing and saying nothing, seems to go against the character and the model of superhero altogether.

    • devildog says:

      You missed the point, idiot. The point was that they took a good character and turned her into something for fanboys like you to have a wank over. DC pandering to your wanking just makes Red Hood (a character made of fail to begin with) the equivalent of sad, pathetic soft porn.

  7. Lisa says:

    You did a great job, raising a daughter who can think so well – she’s made of awesome!

  8. Jaze says:

    Well here is my opinion. The last week in August I read Justice League…I loved it, I now subsribe to it. Week 1 I read everything from the new 52 that week. I didn’t find anything interesting to follow. Week 2 I read all the new 52 from that week. Still nothing interesting. Week 3 I read everything, and again nothing…Until I get to Red Hood & The Oulaws. I found Red Hood & The Outlaws to be extremely entertaining and I laughed through the whole book. And I’ve never laughed that much while reading a comic book before. I now subscribe to 2 books from DC.

    I like Red Hood & The Outlaws. So while I respect your opinion & your daughters opinion. Please don’t ruin this book for the fans who liked it. I like this Jason Todd, this Roy Harper, and this Kory.

    I’ve been following Teen Titans since the 90’s, and I can supply scans from past comics to prove this point. Which is…this is not the first time Starfire as been shown having relations with other characters. And she has ran around half naked, even in less clothing than this infamous bikini in Outlaws. Did you see her in the last “Titans” run? Before it went to Deathstroke & the villains. Because Starfire was doing things like what she did in Outlaws #1, through out that comics run.

    So I am surprised that people see this as new material. So nobody has ever seen Starfire running around in a bikini, underwear, or even naked in a comic before? Because I sure remember a half naked Starfire from the past 15 years in comics. And Outlaws #1 is not the first time I’ve seen Starfire do anything sexy or have relations with a character. I remember many of times when she did the exact same thing with Dick Grayson.

    I don’t mean to be starting a fight or anything like that. But this guys blog is anything but calm & nice. Especially when he hopes the “crap collapses around you so someone who gets it can take your place”. I for one don’t want DC or the Outlaws writer to become jobless. I like the characters and book as is.

    If this guy really is upset, than why doesn’t he have his daughter read the DC kids’ comic titled Young Justice. That is a kids comic and it has Miss Martian, and Artemis in it. DC just put out the new teen titnas graphic novel. That could be good for a 7 year old. Why not read about Supergirl, Wonder Woman, or something like that if she reads more adult material. And there always is Tiny Titans with Young Justice.

    Don’t try and take Outlaws & Starfire away from the fans. I’ve been a fan of Starfire longer then your daughter. And I didn’t see Kory do anything she hasn’t done before in an other comic. So I don’t think you (the father) really knows this charatcre. I question anyone who is questioning Starfire in The Outlaws. Where have you been for the last 15 years? Because you don’t really know this character (Starfire).

    And like I said DC gave you other options, and books suited for a 7 year old with Young Justice. The comic about the cartoon on TV right now.

    Thank you, and I hope Red Hood & The Outlaws runs past issue 1000. Don’t change a thing DC!

    • Megan says:

      But Starfire was never a cold woman to whom sex meant nothing or had nothing to do with love. She was joyful and polyamorous.

      • william says:

        OHH YES SHE WAS… MAYBE YOU DONT KNOW BUT TEEN TITANS IN CARTOON NETWORK WAS A CHILD BASED SHOW… BUT ADULT STARFIRE WAS LIKE ANY OTHER ADULT.. YES SHE IS NORMALLY MORE OF A HAPPY PERSON.. IF YOU LIKE TO MANTAIN LITTLE GIRLS ADMIRATION FOR THAT SERIES DONT LET THEM READ MORE ADULT COMICS… IN FACT TELL THIS TO YOUR GIRL TO RUIN HER INFANCE… IT WAS ROBIN(NIGHTWING) THE ONE THAT DUMP STARFIRE… SO THERE WAS NO LOVE THERE…

    • Comics Geek Guy says:

      Well, dude, I’ve been a fan of Starfire and the Titans since before The New Teen Titans #1, from the preview in the center of a Justice League comic (forget the number). So, if we’re using length of being a fan as a barometer, as you want to do with the little girl, I guess I’ve got a good 10 years “seniority” on you.

      Show me in one of those older comics where Starfire was an emotionless woman who just wanted sex. She was always a very passionate woman. About anything she believed in. Of course, I’m guessing you didn’t really read the books. You were just drooling at the artwork. Yes, she’s always been uninhibited in her dress. That’s the culture of her people, according to canon. But she’s never just been an emotionless zombie that went up to people and asked “Do you want to have sex?”

      You don’t want DC to change a thing about a book that just started, one that appeals to your adolescent (regardless of your actual age) fantasies. Well, those of us who liked the Starfire from before the reboot didn’t want them to change her into an uninteresting piece of eye candy. I much preferred her as an interesting character who also happened to be eye candy.

      There aren’t that many good, positive role models for little girls. DC helped pull little girls into comics with the Titans cartoon show, giving them Starfire as a role model. They’re the ones who set themselves up for this criticism by making her something no one wants their daughters to become.

  9. Electro Belton says:

    I think u should check the response from DC:

    “We’ve heard what’s being said about Starfire today and we appreciate the dialogue on this topic.
    We encourage people to pay attention to the ratings when picking out any books to read themselves or for their children.”
    (source: DC Comics Twitter)

    • Michele Lee says:

      Which just shows they haven’t read the blog, just heard about it.

    • Todd says:

      The issue is not the intended audience for the comic.

      The issue is that even a seven year old can intelligently and articulately explain why this comic is poorly written trash, while many older folks seem to think there is something redeeming in such bad writing.

      Comics about characters that do things are more interesting than those that inexplicably have characters break the fourth wall to pose for the reader. The current rendition of Starfire is so poorly written that no one, not even a child, should have any interest in it.

      That said, it is understandable why those with the mentalities of the most moronic of twelve-year old boys would find the depiction interesting. It is understandable why moronic twelve year old boys can’t see the point of the seven year old. What excuse do the rest of you have?

      • Caltrop says:

        I think you may do 12 year old boys a disservice. I’m a teacher and while I teach 14 year olds, not 12 year olds, there was a pretty intense discussion going on about Starfire between three boys in the cafeteria last week, with the conclusion being it was unacceptable. I was grading papers and eavesdropping, having already read the issue myself.

        They DID love the Starfire on the cover, and think it would be cool if “she was a bad-ass who doesn’t take crap from anyone”, and discussed how she could hardly be anything less if she had to put up with Roy and Jason full-time. Then they got to the page where she solicits Roy, and came up with “Or, you know, she could just be a 10-dollar blowup doll”.

        • Michele Lee says:

          I think people vastly underestimate kids by thinking they don’t care a lick about character building or good storytelling. This is why I don’t really know any kids truly interested in vapid Barbie videos or Hero Squad.

          You want great storytelling for kids? Look at the Avatar cartoon series. The world is at war, people are trying to kill the main character who is 12 years old and trying to come to terms with the fact that he will probably have to kill the bad guy to save the world. Almost every character has lost a loved one, home or is scarred by the war and even the initial bad guy has to face being abused (emotionally and physically) and abandoned by his family. And the main sidekicks’ father is a POW. And kids LOVED it because the creators didn’t treat them like they were stupid. They gave fans a great story, from a child’s point of view, with some silliness and a child’s worries, but boy did it have meat to it!

        • Jono says:

          I agree whole heartedly with the boys, when I was that age I would have been really off put by a female character who is only there as eye candy. I can’t speak for everyone else, obviously, but a character who was purely boobs wouldn’t have made me buy a comic book.

          In my opinion the real problem is lazy writing, saying something is “for adults” doesn’t excuse the writer from using subtlety and multi-layered characters, there is no reason at all you can’t have adult themes and yet still have the book suitable for everyone. I hate to use the term, as it’s so tabloid news, but it’s really just dumbing down of story telling to meet a broad and mostly (I hope) imagined demographic who can be satiated with cheap tricks.

          Most people I know who read comics are more interesting than that.

  10. Wow!
    well done and well said.

  11. genewitch says:

    I agree with your article. I only wish the kids under my command had one tenth the insight of your daughter. Maybe i should give them comic books?

    The 9 year old likes calvin and hobbys. (ha!) Since you’re a parent that encourages reading and hasn’t decided comics are evil, is there some resource i can use to determine what comics are good enough for kids to read – in light of these developments mentioned in the article…

    I’m a pseudo-step parent, and as much as i’d love to read everything prior to letting the kids read it, i’ve never been that into the comic format – i prefer TOMES – so i’m stuck between a rock and a hard place.

    • Michele Lee says:

      My son likes Calvin and Hobbes too. I bet yours would enjoy the Captain Underpants books too (because they have “kid gross” humor and the main characters are comic book writers!) He enjoys the Garfield strips too. I think Young Justice is good, Teen Titans is a little more mature because it deals openly with teenage rebellion and death and such. I was always a big fan of New Mutants and X-Men and started reading them around 12-13. I’m huge fan of the Batman Beyond and Static Shock cartoons, but I haven’t picked up the comics.

      • bluemoon says:

        I haven’t checked Static Shock, but can tell you that (thus far) the new Batman Beyond comic ranges from ‘poor quality art but the story is okay’ to ‘pretty nice art but the story sucks’ and generally stays within those boundaries! The 2010 6 part miniseries was awful and managed to break continuity and characterization more times than I can count, but after that the series (mostly) shaped up.

        Superman/Batman Annual #4 is fantastic, and when it’s done well the comic has been almost as fun as the cartoon! Then they break out the nonsensical storylines, turn Max into a Sue, change Inque from what she used to be (ie the fabulous bitch who did what she wanted because she wanted it, who would rob you blind and love every minute of it) into some idiotic ~tragic~ character who didn’t WANT to be a thief and was from a small, nameless war-torn country and got RAPED and KIDNAPPED and was a SLAVE and now she just has to work for mutagen because otherwise she’ll DIE and leave her beloved daughter who she loves so much all by HERSELF.

    • Rebecca says:

      My siblings and I all loved Donald Duck comics growing up (in the 90s). They’re goofy and fanciful and often feature Huey, Duey, and Louie working together and outsmarting the bad guys. Kurt Busiek’s “Astro City” is also an amazing series about the humanity of heroes…a bit older in tone and with some gritty themes but not gratuitously graphic or sexual.

      I second the recommendations of the Avatar cartoon series, and the works of Hiyao Miyazaki for great art/animation and interesting plots and characters.

  12. […] IE, the actual response Dan DiDio gave me when he acknowledged the Red Hood and the Outlaws Starfire controversy. […]

  13. Thaguf says:

    This is a T+ rated comic series. This is not for kids, learn the rating system ppl.

    • Arp says:

      That’s not the point at all. A comic can be ‘T-rated’ without reducing women to sex objects.

    • LSS says:

      This isn’t about the rating system, it’s about the fact that this new direction takes a powerful, interesting superhero and turns her into a pathetic, personality-less sex toy. This is not good writing, and moreover, it’s an offensive way of treating a character with a solid and established fan base. This is just plain stupid. Whether or not the comic is entertaining, taking an established character and involving her in this plot line shows how little DC cares about that character’s fan base.

    • Comics Geek Guy says:

      They shouldn’t have put a character that young children identify with in a T+ rated comic book. They set themselves up for this. They tell the creators to create new characters. They could have created a new character for the role they’re ruining Starfire for to fill.

  14. Mike says:

    I hate to say it but stuff like this is why I don’t read comics anymore. You’d think artists did not know what real woman were like or even how they stand around. Having met many comic artists at the conventions I’d have to say some of them really don’t know about real women but most know better than this. If I wanted to see women portrayed this way there are plenty of adult videos/magazines that do this far better. Personally, I see it as just a substitute for quality story telling. It is sad that my kids will not be able to enjoy comics the way I did thanks to artists being unable to stop themselves from over sexualizing everything they do.

  15. Arp says:

    I’ve been so upset by the DC reboot’s dim view of women. My 6yo daughter also loves Starfire, based on the Teen Titans series and I’m disappointed that the reboot version is not something I really want to share with her, or with my 8yo old – both of whom I bet would agree with your daughter.

    I’m really dumbfounded as to how DC thinks that ignoring half their potential audience is a good thing. Can they be that completely out of touch that their efforts to bring in a new audience with a reboot is limited to the same audience that currently supports comic book stores? Did they not notice the support Womanthology got on Kickstarter? The reboot is a completely lost opportunity :/

  16. ME says:

    Please tell your daughter that Starfire is what grown-ups call international WHORE

  17. Hannah says:

    Your daughter is precious! Way too smart for her own good. But I hope her sister’s not trying to kill her! Seriously though, this post is perfect. I’m not a comic reader, but the character’s depiction makes me, a grown woman, feel uncomfortable.

  18. Hulkster says:

    I think it’s funny that when someone criticizes the author’s parenting skills, a lot of people here get defensive and say “you totally missed the point”.

    This arguement is basically the same uproar Marvel got for making the new Spiderman a gay minority from the religious right.

    The author says now the comic book lacks substance because the character is no longer relateable to a seven year old since the character is no longer the same Starfire from Teen Titans (on Cartoon Network). That analysis is simply not fair.

    I never followed Starfire from the beginning but some of her followers here state she was just going back to her original roots. But even if she wasn’t and this is new as in the case of the new Spiderman, just because the author doesn’t like this version of Starfire and the daughter can’t relate doesn’t mean everyone feels that way nor should they.

    This version of her seems more of an anti-hero looking for some way to redeem herself. Supposedly she has lots of careless, meaningless sex. Now tell me that doesn’t sound like some of the youth today. Lost, making their way through life. If one of them sees this, they might be able to relate and think it’s great.

    My perosnal favorite is the Hulk. He’s seen as a monster who just leaves death and destruction wherever he goes. I like him because as many times he’s messed up in his life, he keeps moving on. He’s not extremely friendly nor does he fight for justice and the American way, but for himself and what he believes in, whether it would have good or bad consequences. He’s not a superhero you aspire to be but yet some people can relate to him. A misunderstood monster. Not to mention all the internal conflict he has.

    Now if what the author says it’s true, that this series has no subtance, the market will speak. This is a capitalist nation afterall.

    But I just honestly think that if you’re one of the people who claims that this is pure garbage just because you say so is making an arrogant statement.

    I do understand that this is a blog and it’s a place to vent and air your frustration. But if some fans of the comic book disagree with you, don’t insult their intelligence and say they’re missing the point when they point out that this particular series is not aimed at seven year olds, but to teens and above instead.

    There will come a time when that seven year old will realize that the world is not always black and white. That people who do good things aren’t completely good %100 of the time. And I think today’s comic books are reflecting more of reality nowadays and tackle real life struggles such as our morale values and social issues. If they somehow get us to think and talk about it, then I think the comic book did it’s job.

    Anyway, that just MY opinion.

    • Arcadia says:

      Did you even read the article?

      The problem isnt that Starfire is not relatable to seven year olds, the problem is that even a seven year old can see that the current Starfire is nothing more than a hollow, vacant walking entreat to the sexual desires of straight males. The problem is that even a seven year old can see that the new Starfire is nothing like her predecessor – in either the TV show OR her comic book iteration – she’s not a hero, she’s a fulfillment sex fantasy of a woman who wants sex without the pesky emotions and needs of another sentient person getting in the way. The ORIGINAL Starfire viewed sex as an extension of love and a thing of joy. This Starfire is an automaton who’s only itinerary is spreading her legs.

      The new Spiderman is still relatable IF the writers write a good story and make him a fully realized, fleshed out character. This Starfire is the furthest thing from that.

      I think it’s even more insulting that you attempt to shut down a very valid argument here that is being echoed by comic book fans by insinuating that critique and concern over a very poor rendition of a character is bad or rude.

    • T says:

      As a female in the ‘target age group,’ I agree with this little girl. It’s uncomfortable. It’s unrealistic. I don’t know women like that and well, I don’t think she’s relatable at all. I don’t find her realistic or troubled– just…. mindless eye candy… and sex! Actually all my female comic book fans my age– and most of the boys– are very very displeased with this Starfire. I don’t think she’s unrelatable to 7 year olds– I think she’s unrelatable to females period.

      I don’t mind sexy super ladies– I’m pretty queer and I like them a lot– but to reduce them down to T and A and mindlessly spreading their legs. No. No thank you.

    • Rebecca says:

      You’re right on a few points. There IS a lot of evolving sexual confusion involved in being a young person…always has been. Unfortunately, I think you’ve gotten your perceptions backwards. This hollow sexualization of the character is a reversion to very black-and-white ideas about what female sexuality is…the old notion that you’re either a good sexless prude or a dirty soulless whore. Real sexuality is quite different from that, and the old Starfire’s more complex polyamorous outlook was refreshingly complex and different…that so many girls identify with these shades of grey should tell you that it was telling a story that’s a lot more like what we go through.

      And you’re right. I love the Hulk too because his powers are so one-dimensional yet his experience of them and the things he has to cope with because of them are very faceted…they have the potential for a lot of interesting storytelling and enduring universal themes. Now imagine what would happen to the engaging viability of the character is someone “rebooted” him to make him “edgy” by throwing out all the emotional underpinnings that make him a misunderstood monster, and just filled a book with reckless, remorseless, pointless destruction. That’s what girls are feeling when you take a character that engages us and reduce her to the same annoying, black-and-white one-note that has been droned at us from hack writing for decades. It’s not JUST that it’s sexist (though it is) it’s that they decided to take a character that was involved in *objectively* good storytelling and strip her (literally and figuratively) down to the same old black-and-white crap that bad writers always fall back on.

    • Comics Geek Guy says:

      You miss the point. Spider-Man is still Peter Parker. Ultimate Spider-Man, an alternate version, is the one they changed. DC isn’t doing an alternate version. They’re saying this is how Starfire is now.

      If you’re going to go into an argument, at least use valid points rather than going in unarmed.

    • devildog says:

      And we all know what opinions are like. Yours, in particular, never more so.

  19. Sean Robert Meaney says:

    Given DCs Response to their sexualization of underage behaviour (which had this been a Japanese Manga would have been judged Kiddie Porn by now – I guess US Laws are tools for electoral agendas) Your child is better off buying shares in DC than wasting money on its comics.

    Now If you dont mind I’m going back to reading the 1919 Out of the Silence by Erle Cox because apparently its racist and not at all a 90 year old prediction about racism and how third world states are being treated by Resource plunderers.

  20. honneylove says:

    “They ruined her. Completely. COM-PLETE-LY! She was supposed to be a nice teenage girl and now they ruined her! They turned her into a slut!” – My teary 9-year-old daughter upon seeing this.

  21. Michael says:

    For me it was Batgirl and Catwoman. I admit i’ve never been a huge fan of Batgirl. But I’m a big fan of Barbara Gordon. When she became Oracle, she grew up. A lot. She became organic. Suddenly she was someone you could see meeting at the coffee shop. THAT caught me. What I’ve always been frustrated about with Catwoman is the loss of potiental. In a way she could be the Robin Hood of Gotham. (honestly i thought she was supposed to be) Yet what happens; a writer will develop her for a story or three, then she’s back to being a sex object. With the re-boot; Catwoman is back to being a sexy theif, nothing more. And Batgirl is back to being a 20 something Batman lite. ALL that character is GONE. If they were going to do a true reboot: DO A FREAKING RE-BOOT!! Start with the origins and re-work them a bit. I was hopping they would give Superman a mask. Instead; nobody recognizes him with glasses. AGAIN. To which my response is: Lex Luthor, Facial Recognition Software.

    • McClaud says:

      Being a comic book enthusiast since I was 8 (if people have a problem with kids reading more adult material, I read Jonah Hex when I was 8), I agree that the business is folding to the pressure of selling comics based more on sexual appeal and what’s trendy than telling good stories about real heroes.

      I’m commenting on this particular post because I am of the same mind – Lux Luther should be smart enough to figure out that Clark Kent is Superman and then OUT HIM MAJORLY. Superman has the potential to be a great character, especially with a reboot. However, it appears all that DC sees Superman as is a teen-aged reprobate who can cause mass destruction and punch a lot of super bad guys. Which is missed opportunity on DC’s part.

      Eventually, DC will stand for Dismissing Creativity. Since they seem to miss so much potential that’s just waiting to be used in their characters. Which is infinitely sad. If I want to see cartoon porn, I’ll go watch some hentai or something (because it’s actually a lot better than whatever DC can dream up).

  22. Lou B says:

    I think your daughter should check out the Red Panda Adventures from Decoder Ring Theater. They are like old-style radio adventure shows, but I think she would get a kick out of the Flying Squirrel. I know my girls do.

    The shows are free at http://www.decoderringtheatre.com

  23. […] What sparked the controversy was last week’s portrayal of two female costumed characters that were drawn in some poses that appeared to be purposely sexually titillating. The fact that both comics were part of a much-publicized relaunch by DC Comics got people talking. and blogging. and blogging some more. […]

  24. cat clifford says:

    I don’t think y’all get it regarding Starfire. I think Scott is aiming at making something of a satirical statement here right at the start, as he lays Plank #1 for these characters. What Starfire is in #1 is UBIQUITOUS in our cultures media. I think he is intentionally putting a highlight on this, as a way of illustrating and characterizing the very thing you all are pointing out. Why don’t we wait and see where this is going before we pass judgment? I personally liked Red Hood a lot, I thought it was a standout in the new 52. I think Lobdell is intentionally pushing the envelope and y’all’s buttons in the process, and knows EXACTLY what he is doing. Hey! Look! He’s got you all talking about it! He has struck the bee hive with the stick! This has become the most talked-about book of the new 52. So he has succeeded. It will be very interesting to see where he takes this, but I guarantee you, Starfire is not going to stay this way, there is going to be some major psychological exploration of this character, and transformation of this character, as her self-protection mechanisms start cracking and ultimately get broken down and she starts dealing with the root causes of her trauma and her pain, and the subsequent suppression and blockage that have resulted in the vague sex-bomb goldfish who has meaningless sex with anyone on a whim that we see in issue 1. I hope I’m right.

    • Michele Lee says:

      I hope you are too. I hope that these writers surprise me with the depth of this story long term. But that doesn’t make a girl who can’t read the story “when it gets good” any less disappointed that it’s off limits for her. Ultimately, this is all just reader feedback, and mileage will vary.

    • McClaud says:

      You’re assuming that the writers know how to actually write. From what I’ve seen so far, I’m not sure that they do. Satire is one thing – overboard satire that borders on totally destroying characters is another entirely.

  25. Michael Webbon says:

    Your daughter is a friggin’ CHAMP, and this blog inspires me to be a good parent so that my future daughter will be a friggin’ champ.

  26. […] her opinions about the changes to Kory, but the opinions of her daughter as well. I wanted to share the link here as I think they are right on […]

  27. Jaze says:

    *Jazz on BC Boards.

    Just wanted to show this CBR fan poll on which over 3100 fans voted Red Hood & The Outlaws to be their favorite comic that week. Red Hood & The Outlaws beat Batman, Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Green Lanter Corps, Legion of Super Heroes, ect.

    http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=poll&id=82&view=results&msg=dupe

    Thankfully Red Hood & The Outlaws has a massive fan base to support this great comic.

    • Comics Geek Guy says:

      It won’t last. It’s a number one of a massive relaunch. The numbers won’t, can’t, last. I’ve been collecting comics for nearly 40 years and managed a comic book shop for 10. I’ve seen these cycles time and again. Number ones always sell better than later issues. Retailers always order less of number 2 than they do of number one because there’s always a drop off.

      Wait until later numbers come in before you start counting them as having a massive fan base.

    • Darth_Andrea says:

      I’m sorry a CBR poll isn’t going to save this book if Lobdell doesn’t change this and in a hurry. I can guarantee that I will be one voice even if it’s the only one that will point out and lambaste both him and DC for every instance of this kid of nonsense in every issue it appears in.

      Now admittedly some characters have this more lurid stuff in their background. Voodoo for example when first introduced she was a stripper and that’s something they kept. I don’t mind it as it was intended to be a part of her history. But this crap with Starfire is no different than taking Laura from Little House On The Prairie and sticking her working a street corner in down town LA. Because the writer thinks it would be cool.

      This isn’t about the books rating it’s about blatant sexism and the hyper sexualization of female character in media as a whole. This wasn’t Starfire they replaced her with Snookie. Comics in the past has made huge strides in a lot of areas.

      The truthful depiction of drug abuse and what it can do to a person. The horrors of domestic abuse. But for some reason they can’t move past making women in their books mearly objects of desire and visual spectacle. Look at the average female hero’s costume, then look at their nearest male counterpart and compare the costumes and see who has more skin showing and which looks more heroic and which looks like a fashion model. In rare occasions a female character will be decked head to toe in a covering costume but it will be so form fitting it looks painted on. Not to mention many artists in ability to draw a breast with out a erect nipple showing though said costume.

      These are the issues that are being brought up and stirring the absolute outrage many of us are expressing over Red Hood and what Scott Lobdell and the artists on this comic have delivered to us.

      In the end, Red Hood will be a horrible footnote to this relaunch. It will be mocked, it will be scoffed at and it will be pointed to as to what NOT to do with a character when you have a chance to blank slate them and start over.

      /End Rant

    • KA says:

      It just means that DC Comics is doing what they set out to do: appeal to heterosexual males, and not really any other dynamic.

      And don’t bother with the my mother/sister/female cousin/female friends/etc like the comic too. They’re entitled to like it if they wish–more entitled if they express it on their own without someone else conveying it for them–but the opinion means nothing from the majority of people crying because people aren’t happy with what’s being done to these women: straight males.

      DC said before the reboot they were going after a market with males, a market they already have. At this rate, DC will learn when people throw up their hands and end up with only 3,000 people reading their comics. In a world with billions, thaaaat’s not enough to support them.

      It’s a shame. DC was everything to me as a teenager. I looked to characters like Wonder Girl and Troia in Young Justice and Titans for inspiration in myself. I don’t want to see DC go, but it’s people who support that trash that will cause it to go out of business.

  28. Pat Powers says:

    Way to suck all the fun out of a comic, PC Mom! Very methodical!

  29. RodrigoPinheiro Rodrigues says:

    I more than agree with your daughter and, in my opinion, she is the real superhero. This new starfire is not a superhero. Looks more like a “super model”.

  30. william says:

    JUST ONE THING TO SAY.. ALL OF YOU SHUT UP AND SEE… THIS IS FROM TEEN TITANS #1… THE ORIGINAL TEEN TITANS NOT THE CARTOON NETWORK SERIES…

    http://www.bleedingcool.com/wp-content/uploads//2011/09/starfire.jpg

    NOW… TELL ME THIS STAR FIRE DOESNT LOOK LIKE THE ORIGINAL ONE… I AGREE IS STUPID… AND I AM A FAN OF THE CARTOON NETWORK STARFIRE TOO… BUT THIS REBOOT… ITS JUST BRINGING THE CHARACTERS BACK TO THEIR ROOTS… STARFIRE WAS LIKE THAT AND NOW IT IS AGAIN A SLUT…

    PLEAS… PLEASE DONT BASE YOURE OPINIONS IN CARTOONS… CARTOONS ARE FOR CHILDREN COMIC BOOKS… ARE MORE FOR A TEEN PUBLIC…

    • McClaud says:

      Uh, I’ve been reading DC comics for a long time. This is not “getting back to her roots.” This is basically turning her into an empty character.

      Starfire has never been an air-headed bimbo. She merely MISUNDERSTOOD Earth culture. She also didn’t understand Earthling modesty, so she would wear skimpy clothing. Still, she was smart and reserved emotionally. She would never just offer herself up for sex.

      They could save Starfire from being the satirical, sexualized airhead. But I doubt it. Knowing Lobdell, I don’t think he’s capable of putting more depth in Starfire than what’s in Red Hood. Which is sad.

  31. Novashannon says:

    I am an adult (very)woman and have read Teen Titans since their inception. Starfire’s outfit in the comic books has alwyas been teensy-weensy. Her boobs have always been extremely visible. It is art of her character. I have seen the TT cartoon, and I detest it. It is anime and the artwork is crap, IMO. The girls are annooying Valley girls and not at all like their real selves. I realize, however, that it is aimed at younger children. The costume is pretty much the same as hers has always been, but I do object to the osing in the bikini part. If you know Kory’s background, her alien race is not shy about their bodies and are overtly sexual. They are not human and do not share our mores. Perhaps a seven-year old should not be reading the comic if she is too young for the sexuality. Ido, however, dislike the way that women are overly sexualized in comics and hope that as more women get into the field, it will get better.

    My oint is that Starfire’s costume has always been like that, and I do not want the anime cartoon to change the comic book.

    • McClaud says:

      I don’t think this was about the outfit. As was pointed out, the daughter saw the previous outfit and still enjoyed Starfire. She was still a strong female superhero.

      I agree that part of Starfire’s appeal is that she misunderstands Earth culture. She dresses the way she does because her people dress that way. She’s somewhat flirty, because her people are that way. But she’s not an air-headed bimbo who hits on everything that moves. She’s smart (which is one reason I had issues with the Teen Titans cartoon) and she’s emotionally deep.

      Now, she’s portrayed in that one comic as shallow, uninteresting character to be made fun of. That’s the problem people are having.

      People like me, who have been reading comics for over 30 years.

  32. Novashannon says:

    However, I don’t think that Starfire should be all about sex, either. And I hate the way Catwoman has been shown, pretty much since the eighties, when she became a hooker. I hope that Dc is not going to aim its roducts at adolescent boys by objectifying women and showing more overt sex. You don’t have to show the sex for us to know about it.

  33. Sprawl says:

    Great article and spot on. Sex sells, I get it. I’m a guy, so I like it at times, but come on, DC. Don’t destroy our world that we great up with in an effort to win over people who could care less about comics in the first place.

  34. Jeff says:

    Let’s see if I can point out why this article is pointless… I want to write an article about ‘Wanted’, which I think displays morally offensive behavior, how do I get people to pay attention… I know! I’ll show ‘Wanted’ to my niece and get her reaction!

    Sure, the comic is in no way intended for her and therefore anything she says is pointless, but I’m sure that doesn’t make any difference at all, and I am in no way making a questionable decision as an adult in showing a minor a comic that I myself am proclaiming to be unsuitable for children!

    Yay me!

    • McClaud says:

      I have to laugh, Lars.

      I think the point is that even a seven year-old sees what DC is doing – turning female characters into bimbos purely for money.

      Does it matter? Sure. If a seven year-old can see through your shallow ploy to make money, then why would 30 year-old guys who like comics for their decent writing miss it? I’m pretty sure I’m not buying another issue of Red Hood.

  35. Jaze says:

    “You don’t have to show the sex for us to know about it.”
    -Novashannon

    I’m not picking on you, but I’ll use your quote to explain one opinion of mine on this subject.

    I’ve never seen Starfire get this much discussion, or this much attention before.

    If everyone here is such a fan of Starfire then where is all the Starfire topics on all these comic forums? I mean before Red Hood & The Outlaws. Nobody said a word about Starfire in Titans or Teen Titans for as long as I’ve been reading DC.

    Now that Outlaws came up there are all these Starfire fans coming out of the wood work claiming their right to a character that I doubt they really cared anything about before Outlaws #1.

    Point being…I doubt most the complainers ever cared about Starfire or Teen Titans before the DC reboot. So there complaints about women in comics regarding Starfire mean nothing, since they don’t know anything about Starfire.

    How many books you been reading with Starfire in it? Did anybody read Titans, then switch to Justice Leage, then switch to R.E.B.E.L.S., then make sure to put Outlaws on you pull list at your local shop because you follow the Starfire charcter? I doubt many of you have followed Starfire as much as me.

    And if you haven’t followed Starfire that much, then you got no place complaining about a character you know nothing about.

    Find some other character to mark as a martyr for your censoring quest.

    Why don’t you go complain about how Supergirl doesn’t wear a skirt any more. Go complain about WitchBlade. Or complain that Fathom is always in a bikini. Or Wonder Woman should find some pants. Maybe John of Mars comics bother you because the Queen is half naked all the time. Or maybe you hate Red Sonya for her small attire.

    Grow up and stop picketing.

    Did you guys even buy Red Hood & The Outlaws #1, or are you just joining in a convercation going off only what you read online. I bet most of you didn’t even buy or read the comic.

    • Novashannon says:

      You missed the mark with me. I have read TT since the ORIGINAL team, and I do care about Starfire. I haven’t read the latest version, because my comic store closed and there are none anywhere in my (rural) area. I am not on a “ce4nsoring” quest. Starfire’s costume is pretty much the same as it has always been. What I object to is the changing of her character so that she just has empty sex. She used to be about love and was a hapy character. Now she doesn’t even remember Nightwing, her long-time lover? Not at all like Starfire. I want our Warrior Princess back, not the cosmic Valley girl of the cartoon! I think that diluting of Starfire is almost as bad as making her a mindless sex machine.
      Oh, and I have objectyed to ‘Red Sonja’s skimpy attire for over 20 years. Her armor doesn’t protect very much! It is not ractical for swordfighting. Conan’s loincloth is at least not a Speedo!

  36. […] – The Big Sexy Problem with Superheroines and Their ‘Liberated Sexuality’ – Oracle is Stronger than Batgirl will Ever Be – No More Mutants: 52 Problems – A Response from a Female Comic Book Fan – Dear DC Comics […]

  37. michael klann says:

    whatever view you hold on the starfire subject…(speaking straight to the author of this blog) there’s one glairing fact that is out there that just gets looked over, but never adresses properly…THIS IS A T+ RATED BOOK!

    Here are some question you should ask yourself:
    1) is my daughter 12 years of age?
    2) did i proofread this issue BEFORE putting it in my daughters (7 year old) hands?
    3) as it states in the rating system: “sugestive sexual material for teens” do i still put this book in my daughters hands?

    While its nice having the (comics are for KIDS) mentality. It doesn’t make it right to dis DC for making a product strickly for teens..thats why DC produces Age appropriate comics…your daughter should be reading all ages like tiny titans and the such…

    It’s obvious that the author of this blog did NOT research starfires origin,& or her alien understanding about her races definition about sex and its casuality thereof…

    now, it’s easy to blame DC but as they said” look at the rating to see if it’s suited for your child. if you BLINDLY just give her the book without resaerch or any knowledge then the blame for your daughter seeing such sceans in a T+ rated comic book falls strickly on Y_O_U.

  38. Daniel says:

    What rating does entitle a writer to objectify women? Every “a seven-year-old shouldn’t be reading a comic for adults” only raises the question “what adult should be reading something this superficial and misogynistic”. I understand the traditional market for super hero comics and some of the pressures facing publishers, but Michelle’s daughter isn’t taking issue with a skimpy costume so much as infantile writing. I understand and sympathize with adults desiring adult themes and adult stories, BUT this isn’t about fidelity to a complex narrative a young girl isn’t going to understand. The issue is that it’s a story beneath it’s audience, and this little girl knows that too. What ever future comics have depends on the interest of kids like her. That’s not something that should be taken lightly.

  39. Robert Scott says:

    I would be more symapthetic to the message if you weren’t complaining about a 7 yr old reading a book that is being marketed to readers more than twice her age, as the TEEN Label on the cover states.

    DC has books that are geared to your duaghters age level and I don’t think any of the criticism’s you mention hold true for those age appropriate titles.

    • EC says:

      And I’d be more sympathetic to your comment if Jason and Roy had *also* lost their personalities, were posed wearing thongs, their backs arched like their spines were made of rubber, offering themselves up to the reader’s gaze so that we could wank to their barely covered dicks, while Starfire and Donna got to sit back and stare at them and talk about how the boys were sexually available to them.

  40. […] read the books in question, but Laura Hudson makes a convincing case that they blew it. So does this seven year old girl. and this comic critique of DC’s math skills is just awesome. I wish DC would get the clue, […]

  41. […] was reading various articles on the new DC launch such as this one by Michele Lee or this one by Laura Hudson. Both articles expressing a disappointment in the […]

  42. […] What sparked the controversy was last week’s portrayal of two female costumed characters that were drawn in some poses that appeared to be purposely sexually titillating. The fact that both comics were part of a much-publicized relaunch by DC Comics got people talking. And blogging. And blogging some more. […]

  43. Thalia says:

    I’m sad they made Starfire into a whore. I used to watch the show when I was in 4th grade. Really disappointing, now the comic’s like porn.

    • Thalia says:

      Also, If they want to appeal to the older pervy people who want to see everything nude posing on a beach, they should just have a seperate comic book all together. One for old pervy adults, and one for innocent 7 year old girls who shouldn’t look up to someone who’s a whore as a role model.

  44. AJ Niholson says:

    I have an 11 yr old daughter and I have been having the DC vs Marvel argument with her since she was six. I have always been a huge marvel fan and like most kids she rebelled immediately clinging to DC. But as I compared female hero’s I was secretly pleased as the DC chicks were women I could respect. Learning what happening now is sad.

  45. […] Show Note: Dear DC Comics Letter […]

  46. […] taking advantage of its popularity, DC has done more to alienate fans of the show. Michele Lee’s blog did a particularly good job of demonstrating how poor a decision the character change was by […]

  47. […] Michele Lee wrote about how he used his seven year-old to point out something so obvious as DC’s ploy to […]

  48. […] provincial election. Cohortons provides a measured analysis of the Leadership Debate from last week.Dear DC Comics – A 7-year-old girl explains why the new and updated Starfire from DC Universe’s […]