Saturday, 7 August 2010

Look! Up in the sky! It's super lesbians!

If you have any interest in mainstream superhero comics (even if, like me, it's a level of interest that seldom seems to get much further than a despairing shake of the head!), you'll have googled your favourite good guys and bad guys from time to time. Let's be honest, as a way of keeping up-to-date with what's happening over there in Mainstream Land, it's far more economical than buying every single issue of every single title that DC or Marvel have shoe-horned into their latest Universe-changing Crossover Event.

And, if you have googled your favourite super humans, you'll know that it's virtually impossible to do so without stumbling across a whole slew of fan fiction and super hero porn. Perhaps inevitably, lesbian sex features prominently. More surprisingly, however, is the extent to which certain of those lesbian relationships seem to have taken such a hold on the collective online consciousness that it's sometimes difficult to believe that they aren't in fact part of the publisher's mainstream canon.

The three most widely "accepted" of these imaginary relationships are between the Teen Titans' Starfire and Raven (presumably boosted by the success of the animated TV show), Batman's foes Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn (fuelled by a comic mini-series in which Ivy took Harley under her protection and the Gotham Girls animated web-series in which the two are shown sharing an apartment) and, arguably two of the most iconic super heroines of all, Batgirl and Supergirl.

Google for more than a minute or two and you'll find depictions of these three pairings in pretty much every situation you could possibly imagine (and quite a few you probably couldn't!) Some are obviously designed to titillate and arouse; others are, frankly, quite sadistic and disturbing; and one or two are even, well ... kinda cute and affectionate.

And then there's this:
This is clearly an extract from a larger story. Sadly, I've no idea where the rest of it can be found or who the creator is but, if anyone knows, do tell me. I'd like to credit them properly.

Strictly speaking, of course, it's not porn at all (you'll find more bare flesh in pretty much any real DC or Marvel title!) but it just succeeds on so many levels. Without showing anything remotely "naughty", it manages to reference so much. The characters' body language and facial expressions are spot on, entirely in keeping with both their official mainstream personalities as well as their fan-fiction alter-egos, while the subject matter and dialogue says even more about their fans.

I know it's wrong, but it makes me smile!


  1. I bet that's from one of the early Gotham Adventures issues... I LOVED these. Written by Ty Templeton (who's also one of my favorite artists, btw) and pencilled/inked by the also-great Rick Burchett.

  2. Could be. Wasn't GA aimed at a younger audience than this, though?

  3. Ha! Thanks to your tip, I have now tracked it down!

    Surprisingly, it does appear to be from an official DC comic, Batgirl Adventures #1 (presumably a spin-off from GA?) I'm sure there are other places to find it but, for anyone who's interested, I found it in a blog, here.

  4. Ah! Right, there were some spin-offs during that time. I did buy them too, but it's a LONG LONG time ago, so I'm not too sure about whether Templeton wrote these too. But I definitely recognize Burchett's art.

    Incidentally, the other image you posted is from Supergirl Adventures #1, which was published around the same time... but I missed to see the relation to Batgirl Adventures at first.

    I'm not sure whether Supergirl/Batgirl Adventures would be targeted towards an older audience than GA though. Kids wouldn't get an in-joke like this anyway... back then, I remember myself thinking "they surely didn't mean THAT, did they...?" - frankly, it creeped me out a bit :P

    And I've actually NEVER heard what "everybody says" about Supergirl and Batgirl (until this blog entry, at least) ^_^

  5. I think if DC had just put this in as a stand alone exchange, it would have been creepy, I agree. (Which is not to say they wouldn't. There have certainly been far creepier things in their mainstream titles!) For it to work the way it's intended, it is necessary for the reader to recognise that it's referencing something that already exists.

    But I'm surprised you've never come across this particular suggestion before. You obviously don't hang around the right (or should that be the wrong?) websites!

    Anyway, as for the writer, the cover of that comic (see the blog I linked to earlier) suggests it must have been Paul Dini. And you were, of course, spot on about the artist being Burchett.

  6. Ah, that makes sense... ten years ago, there was a big chance that anything brilliant was written by Paul Dini ;-)

    I have no idea which websites I *should* have been arous-- er, perusing. But I'll make sure to investigate! :D

    But... wouldn't Supergirl squash Batgirl? Just a thought ^_^

  7. Hey, if Superman and Lois can make it work ...!

  8. Sorry, but Garth Ennis' THE PRO spoiled me in that respect! ;-)

  9. I wouldn't know about that. I've never liked Ennis's work. I read the first couple of volumes of Preacher, decided it was the kind of thing a 14 year old might have written and swore never to read anything else by him again.

    This summer I broke my vow and took the first two volumes of The Boys on holiday with me. I quickly decided they were the kind of thing a 14 year old might have written and swore never to read anything else by him again. Ever!

  10. Oh. That IS a bit surprising, since a lot of people seemed to like Preacher.

    Anyway, I've read neither. I did read every single issue of Ennis' run on The Punisher though. And The Pro, obviously. They are certainly not among the best comics ever written, but they were worth my time.

    And I'm not saying you should read anything Ennis wrote. Just that I can't imagine sex between superhumans and regular humans without thinking of THAT particular scene in The Pro.

  11. Yeah, I know I'm in a minority where Preacher is concerned (and now The Boys, too!) You know how Alan Moore always complains that the only lesson his successors have taken from Watchmen is that it's okay to be excessively violent? To me, Ennis exemplifies that!

    Plus, as a writer, I think he has a lot of other flaws but let's not get even further off topic ... I did realise you weren't necessarily giving him your endorsement!