How comic books shaped my life – In the Beginning…

Dawn- Autumn Leaves by Joseph Michael Linsner

  I thought it might be interesting to take a look back at my influences. make no mistake, I am an art history nerd, but I am also an out and out geek. so, while my inspiration was partially due to great traditional artists I must also give credit where credit is due. Comic books.

During a time in my life when I was feeling particularly powerless, confused about my sexuality, buffeted on all sides by the …roughness of boys pretending to be men, and caught up in the attempts to be all things to all people, comics were a ray of light and a symbol of hope. strong women who could take down their aggressors, fight off their fears. strong women with curves I didn’t have yet, and found so compelling in so many ways, strong women who were unashamedly themselves and didn’t have to fit a mold.

I did not read superhero comics. mainstream superhero comic women of that time period were idealized insipid creatures designed to need a mans help. I didn’t want that. some costumed creature who had to hide behind a mask and create an alter-ego to fit everyone else’s expectations, an image of insecurity. yes I know wonderwoman threw off those shackles eventually and became a hero girls could look up to, but at the time women were undergoing a rather pathetic era in comics, designed to be weak copies of their male counterparts. in many cases they were worse for body image than barbie!

nor was I into the underground feminist comics of the time. I was interested in the female form, and beginning to be aware that my interest was not entirely ..usual. At that time I tried to hide it by pretending to be boy crazy – something which backfired horribly I might add. so I enjoyed comics with these magnificent curvaceous women. swelling breasts and hip-crests, rounded thighs and buttocks. I fell in love with Betty and Veronica and with Dawn. I started haunting news agents and second hand book stores that stocked comics and started building a collection. I sought out the women in control of themselves, the ones who were confident with who they are. It wasn’t until much, much later that I realized what an impact all these comics had on me.

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