from being a certified comic book connoisseur, I am also,
to use the vernacular, a "playa". I know what a
girl wants and this has led more than a few of my fellow four-color
fans to ask that eternally vexing question: "How do I
get my girlfriend interested in comics?"
are as many different answers to that inquiry as there are
women in the world, but for brevity's sake I'll indulge in
a bit of generalization. Women tend to prefer characterization
over plot and emotion over explosions. While there are a few
ladies out there who can appreciate the aesthetics of a good
gunfight, they are very much in the minority. If you happen
to be dating one of those women, I would suggest loaning her
your run of Punisher: War Zone.
other 99 percent of you, a little more care is required in
selecting the proper introductory comic. First, look at the
kinds of movies and books your gal-pal enjoys. If she prefers
to wile away her afternoons curled up with the latest novel
by Stephen King or Anne McCaffrey, I would suggest titles
like Sandman, Meridian or Y: The Last Man. They all have a
decidedly literary sensibility that is sure to appeal to the
estrogen crowd. Not to mention that the ladies just go crazy
over brooding, Byronic anti-heroes like Morpheus.
lady's not a fantasy buff, then what about mystery? Someone
keeps buying all those Sue Grafton novels, after all. The
most obvious recommendation is Ruse. It has some of the wittiest
dialogue of any book on the market and more sexual tension
than you can shake a stick at. Then there's pretty much everything
Brian Michael Bendis has ever written: Alias, Jinx and Powers
chief among them. BMD knows how to write female characters
better than almost any other male writer in the business,
and that alone qualifies him for this list. That and his smooth,
sexy bald head.
there are times when a girl just wants to let her hair down
and laugh and a little. Strangely enough, for a medium whose
name means funny, there are few books on the market that actually
are. And there are even fewer once all the self-reflexive
parodies of established comic book icons have been removed
from consideration. Still, I can think of at two books off
the top of my head that are funny enough for a man but PH
balanced for a woman. The first is Blue Monday, essentially
a John Hughes' movie on paper. A clever and charming exploration
of teenage life, any woman young enough to remember what high
school was like will love this book. Kyle Baker's excellent
Why I Hate Saturn earns my second recommendation. It's all
about the various relationships - dating, family, etc - of
a neurotic, self-absorbed career woman. It's When Harry Met
Sally crossed with Seinfeld - only better.
what about superheroes?" one of my fanboy friends asks
in high-pitched voice. "How do I get my girlfriend interested
in superhero comics?" This is a tough one. Superheroes
have always been a male genre for the simple fact that most
stories revolve around two guys fighting. It may get our testosterone
flowing, but it leaves the ladies cold. Which means that you
need to give her superhero books with a little more substance
and a little more, for lack of a better term, soap opera.
Spider-Man is probably the easiest sell given the recent success
of the movie. Bendis (that sexy best) has wisely decided to
make Peter Parker, not Spider-Man, the real star of the series.
To a female audience, the issues Peter has with his Aunt May,
his girlfriend and himself are far more interesting than watching
him suit up to take on Doc Ock. Another sure-fire winner is
Birds of Prey, especially the early issues. The series is
essentially an examination of female friendship set against
a backdrop of crimefighting and espionage. The TV show pulled
down consistently impressive numbers of female viewers - and
given how bad it was, that's saying a lot. My final selection
is Superman For All Seasons. This is a book entirely about
relationships: Clark's relationship with his father, his first
love, his greatest enemy and his future wife. It's powerful
stuff, and it gives the character a depth that I doubt most
female readers would have ever dreamed he possessed.
are strange and wondrous creatures. Without them life wouldn't
be worth living, but with them it's an unendurable hell. That
is until they become comic fans. Then it's more like purgatory.
And purgatory isn't really that bad.