Feminism as a concept has an all-at-once fraught and productive relationship with comics as a medium for the political domains associated with gender and sexual difference. In the context of comics, feminism comes to describe a set of approaches that seek to contest the exclusionary status of women and/or female or feminized social subjects in graphic forms and narratives. Such resistance to predominantly sexist and patriarchal attitudes applies to the very question of characters embodying feminist beliefs as much as it applies to creators and assumed readers. The putative consumer of comics has been historically conceived as male, especially the “fanboy,” the geeky male reader obsessed with the particularities of characters or who harbors a fanatical approach to a narrative or franchise. But the figure of the fanboy does not neatly correspond with dominant masculinity. Instead, the passive act of reading—and passivity as a feminized “trait”—associated with an attachment to comics as well as comics’ word-image qualities perceived as infantilized or as subordinated textual forms reflects a difference of reading as a feature of the genre regardless of the gender and sexual identity of the comics reader. If we are to think about comics reading as a gendered form of...

This essay may be found on page 99 of the printed volume.

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