Lovefool 09.26.11 | 4th Grade Valentines 2

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A smattering of fun links plus Lovefool's own take on that totally icky final sequence to Catwoman #1 in this collection of bite-sized thoughts on the state of comics romance.

 

Nerdlings, I am not even going to pretend that I am prepared to write this column. It's 8 pm on Monday night, my column is now a good, solid 24 hours late and all I really want to go do is read a book in the bath. It's been that kind of couple days. Today, I did a career self-evaluation for work. No kidding. And Meowie the Cat has figured out where to stand so he can bite me for not giving him enough petting any time I am sitting at my desk and this is a problem that requires a solution. Romance is approximately—sorry, Mr. J—the last thing on my mind.

 
Still, I am devoted to you, my sweets. Not devoted enough to bang out something epic and true like last week but you can only get that so often. I am, however, devoted enough to find something funny for you to read elsewhere, though. Standing on the shoulders of giants, etc, etc. And so, the return of 4thGrade Valentines. Who loves you?
 
Get Out Your Lollerskates: I should hope you're all reading the excellent Hark, A Vagrant, but this one caught my eye the other day while I was trying to find something to talk about this week. “15th Century Peasant Romance Comics” is probably one of my favorite examples of the fabulous Kate Beaton's work and it's thematically relevant. If you have time, look up her Macbeth and Gatsby strips. They are side-splitting and you won't be sorry.
 
Cover Girls: A few years ago, Entertainment Weekly did a slideshow of 25 romance comic covers for Valentine's Day. I will leave you to form your own opinions on the subject matter and, instead, invite you to direct your attention to the covers themselves. My favorite is the one with the high schooler that has a dash of grey at his temples. Edward Cullen wishes he could be that dashing.
 
Cover It Up: Laura Hudson of Comics Alliance wrote a really interesting essay about the Catwoman/Red Hood and the Outlaws scandal that briefly broke across the web last week when DC put out the first issues of both of those books. Laura points that sex and women in comics can be sexy, using examples like Empowered, and points out that it can be absolutely show-stoppingly horrific, using the new Catwoman, the last page of which I hadn't seen yet, probably because all the nerds I know were scared to tell me. It suddenly makes me feel like DC's answers to the questions about their lack of inclusion make sense. It also ensures that the limited money I was occasionally pushing DC's way may dry up for a little while.
 
Oh, No, A Thought: You know, I have to point out that between bringing up romance comics and Catwoman banging Batman on a roof, I wonder if much has really changed at all. 1960's women needed to be demure and virginal, lest they end up in the very worst of ways, and 2011's superheroine needs to have less face, more lace-encased breasts and both of them are the most fictional of creatures, in several ways. Sure, romance comics were from a more innocent time, but the message can still feel the same even though one is promoting absolute innocence and one is all sex, all the time. I know that both of these things are extremes that were/are culturally relevant at their points in time, but part of me chafes at it a little, pardon the expression. I think would've made a horrible 60's wife and I also think that the first four pages of Catwoman are utterly dehumanizing and the least sexy thing I've seen in a while. I'm going to need a lot of comics about/by cool ladies this week to wash this out of my brain, I think. Fortunately, my shelves are up to it.
 
And Before The Street Begins: I hate to end things on such a somber note and I feel almost bad including this in the same column as the above, but your Lovefool would be remiss if I didn't take this opportunity to mark the passing of one of our city's great romantics. Bob Cassilly was sometimes a dreamer and sometimes a businessman but always a magician. He could turn even the most serious of my friends into gleeful kids, shouting down at the people in the ballpit from the plane at the very tippy-top of MonstroCity before heading inside to warm up by sliding down three stories. City Museum is a place where you could buy a beer at the top and a toy octopus that spit fake ink at the bottom and then you could take your octopus outside to splash around in a fountain under the city's biggest jungle gym. What you couldn't buy to take home was the sheer joy that permeated the place, but it stayed with you for a while, anyway.
 
And so ends another edition of 4th Grade Valentines. Your Lovefool will always bee your honey. | Erin Jameson
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