“Male creators of comics act out subconscious adolescent male hostility toward women in their art.” (Gerry Conway)
Supergirls in comics, by Istlhimank Sharma, Times of India, June 16, 2007
I was shocked by the rawness of this quote, so I googled it and it’s only slightly less shocking in context:
“I haven’t read the comments of your other respondents, so mine is a fresh, uncontaminated response. As a writer who’s killed (Gwen Stacy), raped (Cinder of Cinder and Ashe), and maimed (well, no, I don’t think I ever maimed anyone, but if I did it was probably during a blackout in the late ’70s), I can hardly plead innocence when it comes to violence against fictional females. In fact, I think you’re on to something — there does appear to be a disproportionate high number of female superheroes who’ve met gruesome deaths. Of course, since comic book superheroes began life as an adolescent male fantasy figures, and for the most part continue to fill that role, we shouldn’t be surprised the (primarily) male creators of comics act out subconscious adolescent male hostility toward women in their art. Powerful women = mommy = enemy/love object/tormentor of the post-pubescent male psyche. Sadly Freudian but true. Even so, the intensity of violence against comic book superheroines (in fact, against everyone — male, female, super or otherwise) seems to have increased exponentially since I quit writing comics in the late ’80s. I was appalled by the comic page reproduced on your web site, but I suppose it’s representative of what’s happened to the medium. It confirms a belief I developed in the ’80s — that more and more, mainstream comics were being designed to appeal primarily to the kids in River’s Edge. (If you don’t know the movie, find it, rent it, and tell me I’m wrong.) In this context, violence against superheroines is part of a continuum — a cynical, spiritless dehumanization of the superhero art form. As a friend of mine remarked recently in another context, ‘Welcome to the post-ironic world…'”
Gerry Conway, Women in Refrigerators, who knows when.