Only for the Fans,
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This review is from: The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines (Paperback)
Mike Madrid is a fan of comic books. This book is written for his fellow fans. The title is misleading - Mike is pretty light on sociology. He does cover the 75 years of these publications and I am sure he must name check every superheroine who has ever put in an appearance. But the analysis is superficial and does not get beyond stating the obvious. Thus in the 1970s some of the heroines took to disco and adopted more assertive postures reflecting women's liberation; the comic industry was slow to support civil rights and only very belatedly showed black characters, whether men or women; the increasingly sexualised graphics of the 90s reflect a broader tolerance of soft pornography etc. etc.. The history of different periods is given in a sentence or two. There are no references to any other writing on comics or other magazines. There is no discussion of feminism or fantasy - it's meaning is just assumed.
Moreover, the relationship between society [American] and the comic culture is taken as one-way. How the comics may have affected American culture is never raised. There are no data on publication figures or the demographics of readership. Has the age range of readership changed? What about the international audience? There is no interest in how these comics affected and were affected by global culture; Japanese work gets one brief mention. The background of artists and writers is barely discussed - he does write a bit about William Marston, the creator of Wonder Woman, and the Image team, but otherwise nothing really.
I came to this after reading Fraterrigo Playboy and the Making of the Good Life in Modern America . For that reason it was a big let down. For Mike the comics and their heroes and heroines are all "about making the world a better place". Oh well, ok with that.
That said I am sure fans will find it a valuable resource and I guess this is Mike's market.