06 February 2013

Aw Yeah Comics: Darling and Adorable?

Art Baltazar and Franco, the team behind Tiny Titans and other comics for young fans from DC, are launching their own original comic out of a store they co-own in Illinois, both called Aw Yeah Comics!

I enjoyed many pages in Tiny Titans, though I was never sure whether its natural audience was really young readers or the older nostalgic type. I also critiqued a pattern of that magazine showing the girl heroes babysitting a lot more than the boys. In fact, I couldn’t find a boy ever volunteering to babysit.

The image above shows part of the cast of Aw Yeah Comics. The main characters are said to be Action Cat and Adventure Bug. On the left of this image is Daring Dog. And the other three animals shown fully are, I’ve read enough comics to be pretty sure, female versions of those first three.

Let’s look at the subtle cartoon signals. Shelly and Adorable Cat are very, very pink. Darling Dog and Adorable Cat stand in identical poses, feet turned apart and right hand extended for no reason with left hand high on the hip. Darling Dog is smaller than Daring Dog and has big round eyes. Darling Dog, Adorable Cat, and I believe even Shelly have full pink lips instead of black lines for mouths. And Adorable Cat wears a dress with a frilly collar. Absent long eyelashes and hairbows, I’m not sure how the gender iconography could be clearer.

The three male characters are associated with “Daring,” “Action,” and “Adventure.” What’s important about the three female characters? Being “Darling” and “Adorable.” And being a bug with a shell, but that doesn’t seem very individual.

Maybe my interpretation is wrong. Maybe Action Cat is also female, so this comic isn’t just another one built around superpowered male characters. Maybe Darling Dog is male, and just as darling. Maybe as the comic develops Baltazar and Franco and their big-name collaborators will have their characters model a wider range of qualities for young female readers.

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