Marvel’s Thor now a woman / Archie a gay community icon: a feminist, queer-theory conundrum?
Turning a violent patriarchal god into a warmongering woman? Why, that’s misogynist and microaggressive! Unless it was done through transgendering, the operation and therapy paid for by a compassionate, enlightened Odin. In which case, never mind.
Turning a violent masculine god into a capable women warrior goddess? That’s the kind of empowerment that may take the graphic novel and comic book form away from boy-centric adolescent war porn into a more inclusive and nuanced form of art. Unless she is ever sexualized in her portrayal. In which case, never mind.
Oh, and while we’re on the subject, Archie — of Archie, Veronica, Betty, Reggie, and Jughead fame — is scheduled to meet his maker. Per Jim Geraghty, this:
The favorite son of Riverdale in comic-book America will meet his end Wednesday in Life with Archie, when he takes a bullet for his gay friend, Kevin Keller, Archie Comics’ first openly gay character and a U.S. senator-elect.
Wait a minute — what? Nothing in the above sentence would make sense to zillions of Baby Boomers who grew up on the comical adventures of forever-teens Archie and Veronica and Betty and Jughead, et. al.
Instead, Archie’s death, first announced in April, marks the end of the series that focuses on the Riverdale gang as adults.
“The way in which Archie dies is everything that you would expect of Archie,” says Jon Goldwater, Archie Comics publisher and co-CEO.
“He dies heroically. He dies selflessly. He dies in the manner that epitomizes not only the best of Riverdale but the best of all of us. It’s what Archie has come to represent over the past almost 75 years.”
But who shoots Archie? Stay tuned…
I’ll tell you what: if it’s a left-leaning, politically-driven nutjob rather than some right-leaning, gun-crazed, homophobic TEA Party throwback who winds up being Archie’s assassin, I’ll toss Jughead’s salad.
Anyway, a choice: Killing off Archie by having him adopt the “chivalrous” behavior of a heteronormative male, and thus becoming, by dint of his “sacrifice,” the more important and noble of the characters, diminishes the stature of the gay Senator friend and sends the signal that without heterosexual male protection, homosexual males are weak and exposed. Unless it turns out he just kinda tripped and took the bullet accidentally. In which case, never mind.
Killing off Archie by having him give his life for a gay male is indicative of the comic’s progressive trajectory from Eisenhower-era “traditional values” to the welcome social normalization of alternative lifestyles. Unless it turns out Archie was a closeted homosexual, in which case his fate is tied to his refusal to expose the secret that boys from the 50s were taught was part of a love that must never speak it’s name. In which case, good riddance, you self-hating ginger queer.
READER POLL 2!