The news of the new Batgirl costume comes right on the heels of my friend from over at the blog “Beauty and the Book” giving me the advice that I should give the Batgirl comic books a try. While I was probably going to ignore the advice, this new twist in things kind of makes me feel like I might be more inclined to give it a try. Comic books have never been my thing, really. I read this awful Sonic the Hedgehog comic back when Sega was a respectable brand. And I cracked open part of the “Sandman” series because it was written by one of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman. Back before the movie version of the “Watchmen” came out I read the book cover to cover. Other than that my forays into comic books have been very short lived.
I’m of the belief that when something dares to be different and make an effort to push the boundaries of what’s normal that it’s at least a little respectable. This is why I respect the movie “Sucker Punch” even though it’s a cluster-fuck despite it’s attempts to challenge nerd cultures view of sexuality and women. Perhaps it was more daring than it was profound, but it’s worth rewarding daringness some of the time. Writing and illustrating a comic book character from a mainstream line that’s dressed in a sensible manner and not just written for dudes to gawk at is pretty daring. And it’s a step in the right direction for a DC comics that has been struggling to come to terms with its age and lack of popularity over competitor Marvel comics.
Reading “The Watchmen” kind of taught me something. It’s a lesson that I’ve learned pretty much every time I’ve explored a medium long enough. It showed me that there’s something underneath the upper level layer of stuff that we commonly see that gives this thing a potential to be special. Video games have it. Television has it. Music has it. Books have it. Comic books have it. It’s taken a lot of time for people to accept some of these mediums as being able to be artistic or special or deep. But it happens.
Maybe this will be a repeat of that. Maybe I’ll see something in these comics that I missed in the other things that I tried to pick up. I don’t really doubt that there’s something awesome about comic books, I just think that it’s never been a very accessible medium with all the history and different backstories and issues of comics that are out of print. Kindles and other e-readers kind of change the game. So yah, I’m going to give it another try.