Friday, April 11, 2008

Dr. Doom: Misogynist Pig

Left: the frame that started it all, Marvel comics' Mighty Avengers #11. (Written by Brian Michael Bendis, illustrated by Mark Bagley, based on originals by Frank Cho.)

As comics fans know, Dr Victor von Doom is a menacing and evil presence. How can we complain that he's a misogynist? Of course he is.

And further, shouldn't the bad guy sound like a bad guy? And isn't some good-ole random, nasty woman-hating (in this case, directed at Ms. Marvel) an easy, all-purpose way to establish that he is indeed a villain?

Considering these and many other related questions, great conversations are taking place on Myriad Issues, The All-New, All-Different Howling Curmudgeons, and links aplenty on the invaluable When Fangirls Attack.

At Newsarama, Lisa Fortuner writes:

Now, is it INAPPROPRIATELY misogynistic? There is such a thing as characterization, after all. And Dr. Doom is a bad guy. So the attitude is proper. And I’ve heard, in even darker corners of the internet, that the “Feminists are overreacting here, because Doom is a dick.”
Valerie D'Orazio writes, at Occasional Superheroine:
I know Doctor Doom is a dick -- I get it. But, I still don't want to read stuff like this. And from the standpoint of Doom being a Marvel character that is licensed across a wide range of products, both for adults and children, it's just not smart. There were other ways to show Doctor Doom is a bad guy besides calling Ms. Marvel a whore. Ask Stan Lee when you have the chance.
And the prize goes to Kali at Possibly Irrelevant Information:
I haven't even begun to address the fact that in almost forty five years of delivering verbal smackdowns that would make Oscar Wilde turn bilious green with jealousy, Doom has never, EVER resorted to sounding juvenile and grossly desperate. Doom is the lord and master of the putting-you-in-your-place-and-making-you-feel-two-millimeters-tall verbal lashing, but he does it with regality and elegance. Doom is never base.

That's not Doom. That's a SKRULL that watches too much Bill O'Reilly filtered through Frank Miller. Wait, I take that back. The Skrull aren't sexist. That's Otto Weininger filtered through Bill O'Reilly filtered through Ann Coulter filtered through Norman Mailer filtered through Frank Miller.

Conflating an insult by attacking the size and shape of a woman's body and accusing her of being a slattern? Oh, Bendis. Is that the best you can do? Exporting Western misogynistic cultural perceptions of a woman's worth being tied to her physical attractiveness and templating that onto Victor Von Doom? If Bendis is trying to show us that Doom is a villain, he's failing, because it's such a typical pattern for Bendis that I don't hear Doom speaking in this issue, I hear BENDIS speaking through Doom's mouth. That's not the mark of a good writer.
Listening to: The Replacements - Alex Chilton
via FoxyTunes


Bryce said...

wow! superhero costumes sure have changed since i was a kid.

R. Mildred said...

To be fair, the way she's glowing purple means He just got cock-blocked by Prince.

And don't tell me you wouldn't be pissed if you just got cock-blocked by Prince, because you would.

One only hopes Squirrel Girl will wash his mouth out with soup in the next issue of GLA

Lisa Harney said...

Yeah, that's not really a Doom-style smackdown. He's often written as intelligent and at least classy on the surface. That's just vulgar and not at all his usual approach to anyone.

He has contempt for others because they're weaker than Doom and deserve to die or be subjected to his rule. He's probably sexist as well, but this is not like him.

I blame Marc Millar and his using Civil War to turn Marvel into Ultimate Avengers - including gems such as one character driving Hulk into a homicidal rage by telling him that the alien invaders think that he's gay.

Daisy said...

Further discussion taking place here:

Pax Compoundia: Daisy's Doctor Doom Discussion

Lisa Harney said...

I thought you'd appreciate this comparison, Daisy:

Byrne's Doom vs. Bendis' Doom.