Female Force – kind of…

by thiszine

Bluewater Productions, a graphic novel and comic book production company, announced the addition of two new titles to their “Female Force” series: Barbara Walters (due in October) and Caroline Kennedy (out this week). Female Force is a line of biographical comic books “featuring some of the most influential women of our time” and includes issues about Hilary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and Michelle Obama.


I haven’t read anything in the Female Force series so I can’t comment on the actual quality of the illustrations or writing, though I have a sinking feeling they’re probably a lot like those biographical illustrated books about dead presidents I was forced to write book reports about in 3rd grade. The type where adults tried–and actually believed–they could win the hearts and minds of children with a few snappy drawings and we wouldn’t think we were learning.


The graphic novel and the comic book world is notoriously male-centric and, aside from a few willful educators, I’m not sure who is the intended audience for “Female Force.” While Bluewater does get props for choosing living icons, so far the women selected for “Female Force” mostly represent a white, affluent class of women (Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey excepted) who are already visible role models to the graphic novel fans even remotely likely to pick up the bio-comics.


The comics are aimed at age 13 and up, according to the Bluewater website, and I’m curious: Are they merely an illustrated laundry list of all the ways Caroline Kennedy is a “strong female role model” (as Bluewater states is the purpose behind the line)? Or is an attempt made to examine the constraints individual women face as they challenge the gender paradigm? Is the controversy behind Palin’s pick as veep contender, in attempt to draw Hilary voters away from Barack, discussed at all? Or does each woman exist in her own bubble of female awesomeness? Where’s the larger community here? The movement that propelled all these women forward?


“It’s not necessarily about wielding political power,” Bluewater president Darren Davis said in the press release for Kennedy’s book. “But rather through the sum [of] their influence they shape the debate.” That’s assuming Female Force acknowledges a debate at all.


One Comment to “Female Force – kind of…”

  1. This is quite interesting. I’m trying to brush up on my intake of graphic novels, so I will have to check these out.

    I have to agree with you on your sneaking suspicion that these will amount to little more than boring third-grade book reports. I’m unsure what to think about their take on females, as I haven’t read them yet, but I would hope this will add a female influence to the male-centered graphic novel world. As an aspiring writer of graphic novels aimed at the female crowd, I applaud such efforts, however third-grade-book-reportish they may be.


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