Zamaron — A Green Lantern Femme-Site











{July 23, 2006}   Blogging the Survey: The Stats

As I stated earlier, I went to three different message board with Thirteen Questions about Green Lantern and asked for a general response. On Comic-Bloc the thread was entitled “Women in Green Lantern.” On YABS, it was simply called “Survey.” On Girl-Wonder.org it was called “The Green Lantern Thread.” I’m sure these things affected the respondents. As I was putting all of the questions together in one palce so I can organize my thoughts anyway. I figured I may as well publish them for the rest of you:

I counted noncommittal answers, such as “Yes and No” as ‘Abstain’ for most questions. I counted “It’s reputation is why I avoided it” as a “would drop the book over it” for Q4. I also counted “Friends told me” as countable answers because it reflects your viewpoint, even if it is based on someone else’s and this wasn’t to definitively say whether or not GL has these problems, this was purely about perception.


1) Have you ever read Green Lantern?
Comic-Bloc Boards: 9 yes, 1 no

YABS board: 9 yes, 1 no

Girl-Wonder.org board: 9 yes, 3 no

2) If no, how would you describe its reputation as relating to women?

Comic-Bloc Boards::

“Mixed, at best.”

“I’ll go ahead and answer this and you can ignore my views if you want, but I figure its a valid answer since I’m two months into actually following a Green Lantern title.
As near as I can tell, it seems that once Green Lantern hit the 80s and comics began moving past the “simpler” story-telling of the past, that Green Lantern became a horrid place for female characters. I can’t think of anyone I knew who read Green Lantern who – when discussing a female character in Green Lantern – had a positive story to tell.
Mind you, it could be just that certain stories gave people the most material to talk about, as well.”

“not good, the whole sicing and dicing women thing from the past, also Kat…”

YABS board:
“There’s the bad track record with Katma Tui and the disturbing relationship between Hal and Arisia, I suppose. Oh, and Jade. And the WIR thing…”

“A mixed bag. I never really understood what Hal saw in Carol Ferris, especially since she seemed to turn supervillain about 3 times a year. There’s a freudian subtext there about his commitment to this woman who constantly undermines his “true self” with her demands on his attention….”

“I don’t know. Hal Jordan’s girlfriend (can’t remember her name) at the time was teen transformed into an adult. ” (At the time of reading)

“Well, let’s just say it ain’t exactly Wonder Woman…”

“You mean with Hal’s alien jailbait ex-girlfriend and Kyle’s dead girlfriends? Less than positive.”

[Link to often linked picture of Hal telling a woman the fair sex belongs in the kitchen, from Flash #227]

Girl-Wonder.org board:
“Poor. There are great chunks I haven’t read that, as far as I can make out, involve them killing off pretty much every female character in the comic. “

“Pretty bad. It is, after all, the title directly associated with the “Women in Refrigerators” catch phrase. “

“Well, didn’t one of the GL’s originate the phrase “Women in Refrigerators”? And wasn’t one of the original GL’s nemesises (nemesi?) his girlfriend or something? So I’d have to say “Not so good”. Admittedly I’m not reading it so….”

“Given that everyone of Kyle Rayner’s girl friends has died at least once, I would be kind to describe it as “dismal.”

“Godawful, for the previously mentioned reasons. I might have read the book once, but its rep means that I’m a hell of a lot less likely to bother anymore. I don’t care if it’s actually, y’know, good in places – there’s enough bullshit in the real world without me having to put up with it from comics as well. Life’s too short.”

“Pretty damn horrible, between Alex, Jade, Arisia, Katma Tui, Star Sapphire… “

3) If yes, has Green Lantern, as a franchise, been misogynystic?
Comic-Bloc Boards:: 4 no, 3 yes, 2 abstain — 1 sexist but not misogynistic (1 other respondent split the same hair and landed on the side of misoygynistic)

YABS board: 1 sometimes, 4 yes, 3 no, 1 used to be, 1 sexist but not misogynistic

Girl-Wonder.org board: 5 yes, 2 abstain, 2 no

4) If yes, has it ever been to the point that you would drop the book over it?
Comic-Bloc Boards: 1 abstain, 2 considering, 1 no, 1 N/A

YABS board: 4 yes, 4 no, 2 N/A

Girl-Wonder.org board: 4 yes, 1 considering, 1 no, 4 abstain

5) Are you reading now?
Comic-Bloc Boards: 6 yes, 1 abstain, 4 no

YABS board: 5 no, 4 yes

Girl-Wonder.org board: 5 yes, 7 no, 1 abstain

6) If yes, is it getting better?
Comic-Bloc Boards: 3 yes, 1 never saw a problem, 4 abstain, 2 no

YABS board: 8 abstain, 1 yes, 1 no

Girl-Wonder.org board: 2 yes, 7 abstain, 1 no*

7) Which Green Lantern, either gender, is your favorite?
Comic-Bloc Boards: 3 Hal, 1 John, 1 Guy, 1 Kyle, 1 Tomar/Katma tie, 1 Katma Tui, 2 Alan Scott

YABS board: 1 Ch’p, 3 Hal, 2 Kyle, 1 Mogo, 1 Jade, 1 Alan, 1 Kilowog

Girl-Wonder.org board: 1 Boodika, 2 Guy, 2 Alan, 2 Kyle, 1 John, 1 Mogo, 1 Rot Lop Fan

8.) What do you think of Dr. Soranik Natu as a character?
Comic-Bloc Boards:
“I think she’s excellent. One of my favorite non-earth GLs since I started reading the book in the mid-80s.”

“I think she’s going to be a great character”

“A little dull. A little vague. Don’t like her artistic depiction so far. She spends far too much time being a doctor than doing heroic action things, like punching people.”

“So far I’ve found her to be interesting; I hope that they actually settle her uncertanty about being in the GLC; I’d hate to see her trying to quit every other issue a year from now.”

“I like her so far. Hope she isn’t dead.”

“Not familiar with her.”

“I’m guessing she’s a female Lantern?”

“I really like her a lot. Of the new GLs, she is my favorite. I think she did a litttle bit of a rewind to start the ongoing series, in that I thought she had overcome the initial trepidation of being a Lantern. Tons of potential.”

“I like her, reminds me of Kat…mmm-n…”

“She’s cool…I hope they explore more of her abilities to heal others!”

YABS board:
“I’ve never heard of him.”

“Who?”

“It’s funny, I just read the GLC: Recharge trade last night. She was definitely my favorite “rookie” from that series, but I thought her character arc could have been better examined. The cleavage-revealing uniform was rather silly, as well.”

“Not sure yet. Looks far more promising than the tag-along Arisa.”

“*blink* who? (see above)”

“Not familiar with character.”

“Don’t know who that is, I’m afraid.”

“I like her so far.”

“Someone needs to consult a surgeon on what we’re really like … but at least tehy’re trying. Seems too … whiney for me. I’m leaning towards NOT liking her, but the jury is still out.”

Girl-Wonder.org board:
“Haven’t read enough to form an opinion.”

“I do not know her. “

“Don’t know her. “

“I like her, and I think she’s got the potential to be a very strong character. See question 6. ” (“Her answer to Q6 — I don’t know. I’m very concious of the fact that out of the large ensemble in GLC, only one of the characters is female, and that she seems to be going through an inordinate amount of trouble, compared to her newbie colleagues. And yet, presuming the plot twist at the end of the latest book is a fakeout, she’s got some incredible potential – the potential to be the most powerful of the new recruits. I’m also still violently angry over Jade’s death – not so much that she died, but that she was turned into nothing more than a vessel for Kyle’s Manly, Manly Seed Power, retconning the way her inherent powers were returned. So, I’d say they have the potential to get better, but then, there’s not much lower they can go. “)

“Don’t know her. “

“I haven’t read nearly enough of her– I guess I’ve gotta finish Recharge– but it’d be nice to see her in a way that didn’t make my “Token Female” alarm bells go off constantly. “

“. . . I. Sorry, I feel a bit like a bad fan, since the name’s not ringing a – wait. Is she the new GL from Sinestro and Katma Tui’s planet? If so, I’m obviously not as familiar with her as I should be, and the covers with her depicted on them aren’t exactly happy-making, but overall, I think I’d like to see more of her – in a book I’m buying, preferably!”

“So far, I like her a lot. I’d like to see her assigned to earth so that the next time China or some other country says that they don’t want Hal in their nation because he’s an American and he’s violating their soverign territory … well, what answer would they have for that?
And I’d like to see Hal Jordan go all head explody as he tries to deal with somebody as no-nonsense as her.
Oh, and I’d like to see her meet Dr. Midnight.”

“Doesn’t matter much at this point, does it?”

9) Do you think Katma Tui’s marriage to John Stewart undermined her character?
Comic-Bloc Boards: 5 no, 5 yes

YABS board: 2 yes, 2 no, 6 abstain

Girl-Wonder.org board: 5 abstain, 3 yes, 2 no

10) Which female “Lost Lantern” do you want back the most?
Comic-Bloc Boards: 1 Anya Savenlovich, 1 Laira, 3 Katma, 2 Jade, 2 Arisia, 1 Abstain

YABS board: 4 Jade, 1 Katma, 2 Arisia, 3 Abstain

Girl-Wonder.org board: 1 Boodika, 3 Katma, 5 Abstain

11) Carol Ferris as Star Sapphire. Describe what type of villainess she was.
Comic-Bloc Boards:
“A silly one. I haven’t read all her stories, but in my experience she was written very inconsistantly. Sometimes she was a minor threat, who seemed to be fighting the GLs just for the hell of it (and could easily been swapped with any other villian without really changing the overall story) Other times, she’s a psycho-murderess.
Still, the lead character’s girlfriend being a major villian was an interesting change over the standard “Hero’s love interest gets kidnapped again.” style of storytelling.”

“Never really liked the character”

“Extremely confusing. Carol was a victim of enforced possession by females of the Oan race. Her resulting personality was criticized as not being good enough initially, and the same women who claimed she was their new Queen mind controlled her into attacking a man she loved, simply to break her passion for him. Talk about female disempowerment. Originally a strong woman in control of her own company, she was victimized by these radical female terrorists into a criminal who wanted to victimize others (enslave the man she loved, et cetera) and thought of every one but her own race (Zamaron) and gender as inferior (Zamarons treated Korugarian females as slaves too). Your classic abuse victim all grown up to become abuser in turn. We’re later told that Zamarons pick all kinds of lookalike women and pit them against each other to get the best Queen.
My comic knowledge doesn’t pick up until the Predator era. Star Sapphire has become sadistic and murderous. She wants to enslave or kill the GLs. The Zamarons blithely abandon their ‘Queen’ for a rapprochement and sex with the Oan males. SS is possessed and impregnated by an Oan demon named Predator. She and he come to an agreement that will empower them both with a body separate from Carol. SS has become contemptuous of the Carol personality and claims to have finally grown enough to be a separate being. With Neron the demon’s aid, Carol aborts them. SS is no longer identified with Carol at all at this point. Carol isn’t the abuser grown up. She’s a rape victim. I found her taking control of her mind/body/soul to kill the invading entities to be extreming satisfying and empowering.
Next version, under Marz: Carol’s inner strength has either become dependent on the Star Sapphire personality or she’s suffering reaction to years of abuse. She is weak, vacillating, frightened, indecisive. In a confusing scene, it is revealed that the SS persona is growing back again, still in a murderous mood despite no longer being connected to the Predator. The Spectre Hal does *something*..activating the persona but merging/imprisoning it within Carol so that it strengthens her but remains under control. It has yet to be revealed what effect this would have if she were transformed fully into SS again. The theme of abuse is here again, but with the aid of a platonic love (Hal could no longer be a love interest) the abused is empowered by control over her abuser.
As a villainess, Star Sapphire was a bigot who, purely for pleasure and not for any revenge motive (Oan females were NEVER second class citizens), liked to enslave and torture those she saw as inferior. She was quite calculating and devious, using the guilt human males often felt about the commonplace violence of men against women to psych out her opponents. She behaved more like a barbarian warrior queen from a cruel, cold, conquering, ancient society. Every characterization fits someone who would murder Katma Tui offhandedly. It is Carol Ferris who felt prejudiced against as a woman and had compassion for others.
Average Zamarons tend to ‘read’ as the creation of someone who despised feminists. All DCU Amazon-types seem more often to act like villainesses than simply female warriors.”

“Dunno…I know that I’ve read some stories with her as Star Sapphire, but all I really remember was thinking she was possessed by an evil force and became evil. So I don’t think I as a kid ever really saw her as a villainess per se, but more of a person being used by an external force against her will.”

“Under a good writer? Remarkably nuanced and powerful.”

“Started out as a “camp” satire on feminists, ended up as psycho-b!tch. NEVER well-written, by ANYONE.”

“A very typical Silver Age creation.”

“I always kind of thought the SS aspects were limited and played out. Carol was already a very strong individual and being transformed into a ‘stronger’ darker villain didn’t add a lot of value to her character. Certainly, it provided some drama, but it seemed like a lot of the stories were focused on Hal trying to not harm SS because of Carol. No matter how powerful she was, she was still a damsel in distress…at least in the eyes of the protagonist.”

“mmm-n…underdeveloped…”

“Completely depends on who was writing her…she went from vixen to domineering warrior to uncertain victim, etc…then there was Predator…don’t even get me started!”

YABS board:
“She was the long lost queen of a race of space amazons given power by a purple jewel. She was a strong woman, the equal of Hal Jordan, and thus portrayed as an insane, raging harpy. This was strange, in that in her Carol Ferris persona, she was a relatively strong woman in her family business.”

“Inconsistent.”

“Haven’t read that much of her, so couldn’t say.”

“Started out as a male-hater. I’d like to say she moved into another role, but I’m not sure at all.”**

“A headcase.”

“Um, lame?”

“She was crazy. Didn’t she have split personality, and one of her personalities was a man?”
“A creepy, vaguely misogynistic oh-those-crazy-chicks 60s type.”

“A dull one.”

“Never read her”

Girl-Wonder.org board:
“She was fun as a villain until they turned her into a psycho. “

“Most of my exposure to this is being told about the kind of skeevy sexual stuff that went down under, uh… guy. Name starts with an E. *fails at remembering writers names. “

“I don’t know enough to say. “

“I only know her as Star Sapphire from Extreme Justice, and some how I doubt “pregnant” is what you’re after. “

“Unfortunately, the post-Englehart interpretation of Star Sapphire seems to be the most common these days, and it tends to fall along the lines of “Rar! I destroy you with my vagina dentata and untamed female sexuality!” I think a lot of female villains fall into this “type”, though, so it’s not a problem isolated to Carol. I’ve had the same kinds of complaints about various interpretations of Poison Ivy. “

“The impression that she always gave off to me was “evil she-harpy” crossed with “vagina dentata! danger!” Also that she was playing into a stereotype I don’t exactly like.”

“She seemed to fit pretty well into the “psycho hysterical woman” stereotype. Very 19th century understanding of “psycho,” too. “

12) Who has been the strongest GL (any of the 5 Earthmen, any book they appeared in) love interest? 13) Why?
Comic-Bloc Boards:

2 Ice
“I assume you don’t mean physically strong (though she’d probably take that one too, with her powers). For me, its because she read like a real person. Sure, her relationship with Guy had its ups and downs, but whose doesn’t?
Also, she was made a Justice Leaguer of her own accord. She was smart, kinda, and capable. Hell, she was the first one in the JLA to put any real thought into how to fight Doomsday beyond “hit him really hard”
And even if Guy was overprotective, he knew that she could take care of herself. She wasn’t there to play damsal in distress every issue.”

“It was so improbable, but Giffen and DeMattais made it feel natural.”

2 Carol
“depicted as a strong, smart, independent woman”

“She was the boss. She was rich. She had a career before her relationship. She avoided an involvement with her employee. She sought a ‘ship with a celebrity who *wasn’t* her employee. During the ‘ship, her dialogue did not always revolve around what the GL was doing/feeling. She continued to have a life *outside* the GL’s desire or control. After the ‘ship broke up, she came back as a cast member again and again. She had a successful ‘ship with another man and continued to be a nice person.”

“Another post already caught the highlights, but I thought her characterization was even more powerful because of the timeline. In the Silver Age it was a bit rare to find a strong, wealthy, independent, career driven person. And really, I thought the modern version, who didn’t simply ditch her current life because of Hal’s return, really plays to the strengths of the character. Not that she didn’t have some sappy moments along the way, but generally, a pretty complex character for the time.”

“She’s lasted longer than any other, and been seen more in the issues.”

1 Molly Maynne-Scott.
“Whenever she gets more than a passing one-panel cameo, she starts stealing scenes. She’s got a very strong personality and it usually shows. The dumbest thing Alan ever did was turn her down originally – and the smartest thing he ever did was (finally!) ask her to marry him.”

1 Jade
“She wasn’ just a girlfriend. She was a fully fleshed out character who at times was better than her male counterpart.”

1 Katma
“people still discuss her”

YABS board: 1 Jade
“Of all the GL girlfriends, she was the one who was the equal of her boyfriend, and not just an appendage.”

3 Carol
“Carol’s the only one I can name without looking things up”

“But if you still want my opinion, it would be Carol. Hal and Carol have gone through more events and breakups than Kyle and Donna, Kyle/Jade, and I don’t know about John/Katma”

“Constantly reoccurring, and often tied with Hal Jordan.”

1 Carol/Jade tie
“Both have had longstanding relationships with their respective main character.”

1 Donna Troy
“I really liked most (she can’t write Nightwing to save her life but other than that it was great) of Devin Grayson’s Titan’s run and Donna was a big part of that. Granted, she wasn’t dating Kyle at the time but they used to.”

1 Ice
“I’d say Ice for Guy. So bizarre, I could actually buy it. The idea of taking someone who was portrayed as a misynistic idiot, comic relief, and actually trying to invest him with feelings…took a lot of guts. And, they pulled it off, actually started making Guy more than just a cartoon. Well, he IS a cartoon, but still…”

2 Abstain

Girl-Wonder.org board:

2 Ice
“I think that relationship worked very well 1) as part of an ensemble book where it could be ignored for periods of time and then brought back up, 2) Gerard Jones was writing GL (and I believe the beginning of Guy’s solo book) at the time, and I generally like him, 3) I… mostly just like them. 4) Also, Ice is so different from most other superheroines, I find myself deeply fond at all times. *draws tiny hearts around her*”

“Because there really wasn’t any moment I can point to in her entire relationship with Guy where the writers ever made me question if she was being her own person or simply “falling for {Guy’s] charm.” That could be the fault of Guy’s complete lack of charm, but then, I always found Guy rather endearing, so it could just be she was never written badly when I was watching.”

1 Molly
“she’s been around a long time and also I’m very biased, but while I’m fond, I’m not sure she counts as a *strong* character (or indeed, as valid for this). “

1 Hawkwoman
“She’s Shayera Hol! Hawkgirl. She who hits things with her mace. Intergalactic spy, superheroine, detective on par with Batman, she has a pretty good understanding of physics and some ancient magicks, and she’s not to shabby as a team leader. Plus, her identity isn’t directly tied to any Green Lantern, she’s no one’s sidekick.”

1 Carol
“Once again, I hate picking, and since I’ve missed canon here and there, I hardly feel qualified to judge based on “strongest.” In my opinion, though, Carol is– though not necessarily the strongest– certainly one of the more interesting of the Green Lantern love interests. Her relationship with Hal revolves around more than one power dynamic, and is pretty complex. I still don’t think it’s realized its full potential, though. “

1 Katma/Ice/Shayera 3-Way Tie
“Mostly what other people said – Katma and Shayera are badass each in their own special way, and not dependent on the men around them, and I like the Ice/Guy dynamic and the fact that she’s arguably a better hero in a lot of ways.”

2 Abstain
“I guess I would have to say the strongest would be the one that survived the longest. Have any of them not been murdered? “

“I guess this is where you tell me that Kyle Rayner and Conner Hawke are not a couple.”

Notes:
*The one clear and direct “No” to Q6 on G-W was worded this way: “Have they given the ring to a mathematician or engineer yet? Then no.”
**Worth noting that the person who said Star Sapphire “started out as a male hater” in answer to Q11 also made a distinction between sexist and misogynistic for Q3, and fell on the side of “unintentionally sexist”

There you go, there’s a lot of inaccuracies and unfairnesses here that should be addressed (and can be fixed by the right writer). Things that the defensive “Nos” never touch on, rather they tend to just dismiss the serious discussion of sexism out of hand. You can easily see how frustrating it is for a feminist Fantern. There’s definite problems to discuss, but people are rushing their judgments on the wrong things. It’s a smaller form of the whole problem for feminist superhero fans, which is part of what makes it so damned irritating.



soyoerika says:

Wow. There’s a lot of responses here, and I’m not exactly sure how to process them all at once. Naturally, though, I’ve been thinking– where do we go from here? It sounds like one of the first steps is beginning to combat the incorrect assumptions that have grown to exist re: Green Lantern canon.

Perhaps a “Myth vs Fact”-type post might be in order? It could be a quick Green Lantern 101 that lists the most common misconceptions about canon, and then the contradictory information. Furthermore, we could provide links that would go into more detail, for the readers who get extra interested.

An example might look a bit like this:

Assumption: Star Sapphire and the Zamarons were originally conceived as stereotypical man-hating villains

Myth. The Zamarons didn’t hate the male gender, just declared the female gender to be superior… (continued explanation and links)

Basically, it’d be something that’d sum up our community here without a person having to read every single post.



Ragnell says:

That’s a good idea. We could make it one of the “About” Pages!



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