Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Sometimes A Woman In A Refrigerator Is Just That

(Editor's note: this is republished from 2008. I had taken it offline as a draft, but put it live again because I think there's some revisionist history going on with the D'Orazio/Sims thing. I might try to restore the proper date if I can track it down.)

It seems that misogyny in comic books has often been a matter for discussion over the last few years. So much so, that I think people are hyper-aware of anything that can appear to be woman-hating or sexist in comic books. That's not to say that there aren't just as many "what the hell were they thinking" moments that still happen during these hyper-aware times.

I think that, during these times, certain stories and actions are attributed to misogyny or sexism when there is a much simpler explanation.

Let's take, as an example, my dust up with Valerie D'Orazio over my joke regarding Devin Grayson having gained some sort of professional benefit by the fact that she was dating Mark Waid.

Now, it was implied that I was talking about Devin sleeping her way to the top. I never made such a statement and don't believe that Ms. Grayson slept her way to the top. What I do believe is that every person you get to know in the industry is an advantage that makes it easier for you to get your pitch seen by the right editor.

Everyone knows that it is nearly impossible, as a writer, to get your work looked at by editors because they have too little time and too many concerns about people suing their employer because they think their ideas were used without compensation. Being friends or the significant other of a hot comic book writer helps you cut through those obstacles.

If I remember correctly, Joe Casey had a bit of a "right place/right time" that led to James Robinson befriending him and his path into comics becoming that much easier for it. I don't doubt that his work demonstrated great talent at the time at all, just as I don't doubt the merits of Grayson's work being the ultimate reason why it was published. But both writers had an advantage getting their projects looked at early on because of who they knew.

Now, mind you, I made a really stupid joke that, with Devin being a female in a largely male-dominated industry, she had the chance to break in by dating a creator where most aspiring male writers don't have that as an option. That was why certain people could take it and run with it into a much more inflammatory statement.

They made it about sexism and misogyny when, if anything, it is about jealousy. That's often what a lot of bitter comments made about those who have opportunities you don't or get the promotion you wanted are fueled by. Just like, if anything, the women in refrigerators are about easy/lazy/corporate writing more so than they are expressions of deep-seated sexism or misogyny. Corporate run comic book stories can often become as simple as paint-by-numbers when done by an unmotivated writer or an editorial staff adverse to risk taking.

Can't kill Batman, Robin, Nightwing, et let's kill Spoiler in a way that really makes a statement (albeit the wrong one). Can't kill a major supporting character or there are so few to pick from, so let's have Major Force stuff his girlfriend in a fridge. Now, I'm not saying those examples are lazy...but I'm saying the creative process probably involved a lot less resentment of women and a lot more of working with the options afforded to a writer in corporate comics. Established characters rarely can die. The status quo can only get changed so much, because this is a franchise property that needs to be "evergreen". There's a movie coming out; see if you can trim away some of the characters that aren't going to be in the movie. All of the non-creative concerns that limit the ability of the writer to build to a killer moment. They're not left with much.

That's why a cigar is often just a cigar and a woman in a fridge is simply a woman in a fridge.


  1. What kind of real blogger misspells words in his title? A bad one! LOLZ. I don't think I can read this blog anymorz.

  2. got me...I spelled it right throughout the blog, though.

    Yes...a simple spelling error is just damning the worth of a blog.

    Since I won't be hearing from you again, I wish you and Vic a long and happy life together. :)

  3. Sometimes a douche on a website is just that.

  4. I have to commend your bravery and honesty in admitting that, Duck. The first step for you handling your problems is recognizing them. Please update us often on your progress of trying to change your ways. ;)


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