So it’s a feminist comic book called Bitch Planet. Seriously.

So there’s this new comic book out called Bitch Planet.

Made ya look, right?

Anyway, this Bitch Planet  was written not by some wise-ass kid who thought it would be funny to write a rapper’s comic book fantasy about bitches catering to his every whim and desire, but by a decidedly conscious and thoughtful adult female comic book writer (I still call them comic books because I am that old and resistant to change) who experienced a few things in the decidedly male-dominated industry of comic books and their characters and decided to put her own feminist spin on the genre.

Non-spoiler alert. I haven’t had the chance to read a Bitch Planet just yet, but I plan to rectify that situation just as soon as I am able. Because after reading the NPR interview with the author, Kelly Sue DeConnick, this is something that definitely catches my interest. I’ve always said that sci fi and fantasy needs to continue to diversify more, and I consider comic books to be a strong part of a genre that, contrary to what some more straight-laced types who like to consider themselves grown-ups might tend to think, is not just for kids. At all. And what DeConnick appears to be doing is shaking things up a bit. OK, more than a bit. But it’s all good.

Check it out…

In this world, if you are a woman who does not fit in the box assigned her — if you are too loud or too opinionated, or too quiet or too religious, too atheist, too black, too brown, too any of the things that they don’t want you to be — you are labeled noncompliant. And if you are deemed terminally noncompliant, you are shipped off-world to an auxiliary compliance outpost that is colloquially referred to as “B Planet.” … It is a women’s prison.

The book is completely absurd, and that’s the thing that my co-creator and I, Valentine De Landro, are trying to play with — some of tropes from women-in-prison movies and exploitation and blaxploitation films from the ’70s that we loved but are, as we like to say, deeply problematic.

And then she directly addressed the title of her series, the first five issues of which were released as a graphic novel on Wednesday. I already know not all will agree with her contention that her usage of the word allows her to take ownership of the word. Same as the way many of us black folk wan to see the ‘n’ word banned and buried for all time. And while I understand and respect that opinion, I don’t completely agree.

I thought it was funny! And there’s a — you know, [bitch] is a terrible thing for a woman to be called, right? That’s the thing that we’re all sort of afraid of. We so wanna be liked!

And I’m a pleaser as much as anybody else is, and I don’t want to be considered unpleasant, but you know, sometimes, I’m also the boss. And if I am unable to continue for fear of being called a name, I’m not a very effective leader. And so, there’s an attempt there to just sort of own it, put it out there.

See, I tend to like sci fi/fantasy of the dystopian sort that is ‘deeply problematic’, and I have always been a fan of the ‘absurd’ to bring what’s real into tighter focus. Me personally, I wanna see more of this.

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kaoblues
Writer and musician.

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