The League of Super Feminists | Review
The League of Super Feminists
Writer/artist: Mirion Malle
Drawn and Quarterly; $16.95
Don’t expect a superhero comic book about feminists in tights and capes, no matter what the cover seems to promise—Mirion Malle’s book by that name is actually a short, simple beginner’s guide to feminism and feminist concepts, including many that the comics community more-or-less constantly wrestles with.
It opens with a cartoon character version of the French author giving two thumbs up and discussing the virtues of mass media:
Movies and TV shows are pretty much the best ever. I watch about ten thousand a day. When my eyes get too sore, I take reading breaks. It’s so cool to have so many stories to choose from and to imagine you’re a singer, knight, fighter, etc.!
At that point, a little Black girl wanders onto the page to interrupt: “Um, I can’t think of many stories where girls are knights,” she says.
Thus begins the book’s section on representation, a seven-page chapter that uses comics’ natural alliance of words and pictures to act a bit like a textbook that is all diagram, with some narrative thrust provided by the author, who acts as a sort of host, and the little Black girl and a little white boy, who are her frequent interlocutors (they are the two characters on the left of the cover, their heads plopped atop superhero bodies).
In the following pages, Malle tackles (deep breath) friendship, beauty, romance, gender, consent, privelege, inclusive language, and intersectionality, while also taking up such diverse topics as The Bechdel-Harris Test and whether or not feminists hate men.
While entire shelves of books can—and have!—been written about those topics, Malle manages each in either one page or seven, helped along by the fact that she’s able to reduce seemingly complex topics to how simple they really are and comics’ ability to convey a great deal of information in relatively little space.
Although targeted towards younger readers, The League of Super Feminists is the sort of book one wishes could be put in every reader’s hands. After all, we could all use refreshers on a lot of this stuff, and Malle argues in such a straightforward, commonsensical manner that when you read about the importance of using inclusive language or representation in media, for example, it makes one wonder how anyone can fight against such feminist ideas in the first place, given that they seem less “feminist” than simply “right”…
About J. Caleb Mozzocco
J. Caleb Mozzocco is a way-too-busy freelance writer who has written about comics for online and print venues for a rather long time now. He currently contributes to Comic Book Resources' Robot 6 blog and ComicsAlliance, and maintains his own daily-ish blog at EveryDayIsLikeWednesday.blogspot.com. He lives in northeast Ohio, where he works as a circulation clerk at a public library by day.
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