Tag Archives: atom

Push Comics Forward – The Female Super-Scientist

j4p4n_Scientist_Woman_(comic_book_style)Recently the head honchos at BOOM! Studios put out the idea that comics needs to change and to not be stagnant as a medium.  Long since dominated by superhero stories, the medium has indeed made a number of changed in the past couple of decades and the change is noticeable in some regards.  Equally though, comics are somewhat of a niche when it comes to their perception in popular culture.  Although there is an increasing amount of female readers, the medium is slower to make the changes to draw in fans of all backgrounds, and especially at the big two publishers instead still focuses on mostly a collection of characters who are both white and male.  While the interest in push comics forward doesn’t necessarily lie solely with the big two publishers, change has to happen there as elsewhere in order for the medium to evolve.

Science in comics was a bit of an x-factor until the onset of the silver age.  Until that point, science was usually grossly misapplied in order to move along a plot.  Gross inaccuracies were made and aspects of scientific knowledge would be presented, leaving what was actually used of the science to be misappropriated and simplistic.  As the silver age started, the focus on science is what rescued comics from being a medium for children, and instead allowed the medium to mature.  The changes first came at DC, though with the generally more god-like powers of the characters, the science was not as pertinent.  Hawkman and Green Lantern became intergalactic police, the Atom used White Dwarf matter to give himself powers, and the Flash became a scientist that gained powers by a scientific accident.  While the science was there, it was not until Marvel arrived that it redefined science in comics.  Although still unreal, the science was still presented in a way that it could be real, at least in our imagination.  Instead of characters that were either given or born with their powers, the new wave of heroes earned it the hard way, by building it themselves.  Not every Marvel hero was a scientist, but there were a few – Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, Tony Stark, Hank Pym, and Reed Richards.  While this did push the envelope forward for comics as a medium, what was left behind were the women.  The female leads to these heroes were still sometimes heroes, but they fell back into the template of having powers given to them.  Sue Storm was a college dropout, and Janet van Dyne was just an girlfriend.  They even did better than Betty Ross, Pepper Potts and Mary Jane Watson, who were often relegated to secondary status as damsels in distress (though Sue Storm also performed this role despite being a power superhero.)

lego women scientistsWhile there are perhaps more men than women in science still as a profession, there is no real clear reason why.  Women at younger ages are as adept as their male counterparts, and the interest for science is equally there.  Some consider it to be a genderized problem, that the “old boys club” of science discourages women from entering its field in some cases, and that women are taught gender roles by society to be less focused on science as opposed to other ventures.  While there is debate on these assertions, it is true that women have no more or less natural inclination to science than men do.  So why can’t there be a female version of a super scientist?  There are of course some very intelligent women in comics.  The female version of the Hulk is an accomplished lawyer, and others have shown an ability to pursue more academic fields than what is traditionally typified by their genders, but there is still a gap in terms of the heroes, and who can do what.  Female characters can still be powerful, but it is unlikely that their minds are capable of giving them those powers.  In fact a large portion of female characters derive their powers from either magic or the supernatural.

What has been an interesting and worthwhile development in the cinematic versions of comics, is that the women characters are presented in a way which is a lot more progressive.  Jane Foster is an astrophysicist and in the previous round of Fantastic Four movies, Sue Storm was shown to a be a scientific genius in her own right.  This is because as the characters move to a more popular medium, they are forced into a more acceptable presentation of the role that women play, more so than just damsels in distress, but also as able thinkers on their own.  So why is there no female superscientific genius yet in comics?  This comes back to the inherent idea behind #pushcomicsforward, that there can and should be such female characters, because the medium simply has not caught up yet to the reality of the world.  There is even maybe not a need for as many as Marvel has, but a character that is at least adept at science, and who knows the periodic table from the kitchen table.  There is no reason not to, as such a character wouldn’t even have to carry a series, but they could still be there, guiding the scientific discussion to a place that is more realistic.

The CW Reveals The Atom’s Costume

We’ve seen teases of it in past episodes of Arrow, but The CW has revealed a full look at actor Brandon Routh kitted out as the Atom!.

The costume will debut in Arrow‘s February 25th episode, “Nanda Parbat.”

So what do you think of the look for the former Superman? Do you want to see him in his own spin-off show?


And the Winner Is….

From NOI –

Wonder Woman!

The race was down to the wire, but we are prepared to announce that Wonder Woman will be the next Superhero Mayor of DC!

This has been an amazing race. The campaign teams of eight superhero candidates built interactive websites and dynamic graphics, wrote engaging emails that turned out a huge supporter base, created entertaining videos, and wrote successful field plans from scratch in five hours.  Our 53 BootCampers, from across the country, have met and surpassed our expectations.

We are thrilled to announce that over 6,000 people voted for their favorite Superhero. The BootCampers picked up blog coverage from NPR, Daily Kos, Huffington Post, Roll Call and nearly 30 other blogs, and garnered endorsements from a wide support base across the country.

This BootCamp was a success of the larger progressive movement, one that should make us all proud of the next generation of progressive organizers.

The race was neck-in-neck. The second-place finisher was The Atom and third place candidate was the Green Lantern.

Thank you for your support!

— Judith, Heather, Zack, Anne Marie, Joy, Olivia, Lola, Santiago, James, Shayne, Nick and Kyra

NOI – The Best Thing About Superheroes

I’ve been a supporter of NOI and have written earlier about their very cool Bootcamp.  Here’s the email they sent out on the subject.

Dear Brett,

Late Sunday night, eight superheroes announced their candidacy for DC Mayor.

The brains behind these campaigns are New Organizing Institute’s own 2009 BootCampers – over 50 of the nation’s best new organizers are gathering in DC to learn how to become technologically-enabled organizers. The campaign teams of Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, The Atom, The Green Lantern, Batwoman, Superman, Cyborg, and Batgirl have built websites, designed and targeted their message plans and are now building their lists of supporters via email, online advertising and blogger outreach.

Find your favorite Superhero for DC Mayor here!

We don’t want you miss out on the fun – take a minute to visit their websites, join their email lists, and support the work of the next generation of progressive online organizers as they run an intense mayoral race.  The best part of this? You get to vote – and help BootCampers reserve bragging rights for years to come.

Online voting begins at 7am EST this Friday – bookmark www.neworganizing.com/superherovote to cast your vote when the polls open.

Thank you for supporting the next generation of progressive organizers!

Judith, Heather, Zack, Anne Marie, Lola, Joy, Shayne, Nick, Kyra, Olivia, Ethan, James and Santiago

P.S. Learn more about the BootCampers here, and find out how you can hire them here.

Green Lantern for Mayor!?

The New Organizing Institute does a boot camp to train the next generation of organizers every year.  This year that training included mocking up websites for possible DC (city not the comic company) mayoral candidates.  It just so happened  these candidates can be found in the pages at your local comic book store.  Candidates include, Cyborg, Superman, Atom, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Spider-man, Batgirl, and Batwoman.

NOI “runs the only progressive advocacy and campaign training program focused on cutting-edge online organizing techniques (e.g. writing effective emails, engaging bloggers, leveraging social networks, utilizing video), political technology (e.g. using data effectively, progressive technology infrastructure), and the intersection with field and management of these areas of new organizing.”

Looks like you’ll be able to vote for your candidate this Friday, July 10 starting at 7am.