Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Crisis central: At Newsarama, Troy Brownfield devotes "Your Manga Minute" to an examination of the controversy surrounding the murder -- and revealed rape -- of Sue Dibny in Identity Crisis:

"There seems to be a persistent categorization of Brad Meltzer as some kind of misogynist because of the death (and revealed rape) of Sub Dibny. I find that to be a strange categorization. A little research would let you know that Meltzer is married to a woman that has worked with women who have gone through similar experiences. Even if you didn’t know that, characterizing a writer as something out of hand just because something happens in one of his stories is suspect at best, and troubling at worst.

"It also flies in the face of detective and/or mystery fiction. I’m a fan of the stuff. In fact, I’m a noir nut. For there to be a murder mystery, you’ve got to start with a body. It’s kind of a given. Invariably, there have been several times throughout the canon where the victim is a woman. Some writers (like Edgar Allan Poe, himself a father of the genre) felt that the death of a beautiful, beloved woman was the worst kind of tragedy, and that it immediately engendered a different level of support. I would say that there exists some real world resonance in that idea; look how readily the cable news battens onto stories of missing women, with the ones that are highlighted inevitably being more attractive (I’m not saying that’s right; I’m saying that happens).

"Perhaps the argument is being made that Meltzer’s move is anti-woman because of the level of brutalization involved. While I agree that Sue Dibny’s death was horrific, I challenge that it’s no more or less horrific than any number of other deaths in fiction. Consider the victims of Patrick Bateman in Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho; car batteries, coat hangers, and the introduction of rats into orifices all play a part in that. Is that level of depravity necessary to depict? Maybe or maybe not; regardless, brutalization of that level does occur in real life, and it may be intellectually dishonest of the writer to ignore that."