While working on my thesis and discussing the lack of Asian American superheroes in mainstream comics, and in turn, the gap that still exists among female and male superheroes, my professor recommended Monstress to me. After taking many courses with her, I knew that she would not steer me wrong so I picked up a copy – yet I did not get a chance to sit down and read it until two nights ago.
So then I become known as the girl who can draw trees insanely well – to the point that a well-known art magazine contacts me to draw them a picture, but when I try to draw the tree again, it ends up looking like an elephant and then everyone discovers that my life is a sham. The point of this is, I cannot draw. Because of this, I always feel guilty when I judge any type of artwork – who am I to criticize someone over what I cannot even do?
Steven Universe has gradually earned the prestigious title of my favorite cartoon. From the animation and character designs to its quirkiness and often emotional depth, the series has managed to tug at my heart strings and constantly leaving me in an unsatisfied state. Not unsatisfied like a Yelp review complaining about customer service, but unsatisfied as in the feeling you get after getting off of a roller coaster that you waited on line for over an hour to ride – you just want more. With this feeling intensifying, I decided to check out the comic.
As I finish the final page, I close the book and look at the back cover: “Breaking Heart and Busting Heads!” C’mon! I know that I am not the only person who immediately thinks of another word that could stand in place for “Heads!” Whether this was the publisher’s intention, I will never know, therefore I will turn my attention to what I do know – the inside pages.
Minor Disclaimer: Before reading this book, I thought that I had a copy of a recent rendition of Birds of Prey – yet after completing this book and looking a bit more into it, I discovered that this is merely a reprint of the 1999 series. This does not change the dynamics of the comic much, but it drastically affects me as an avid comic book reader whom constantly searches for progress in the industry. Therefore, forgive me if my criticism reads as harsh as I have higher expectations for representation of women in today’s comics (although still problematic) than I do for the late 90’s.
As a teacher in high school, I find that these books can be used to bridge the gap between Shakespeare and the modern reader. Shakespeare’s language can be intimidating for students, but once they overcome it they begin to realize that within the Early Modern English lies very modern ideas. When I taught Romeo and Juliet for the first time, my students were fortunate enough to have access to a dual book, allowing them to transition between both languages.
I know that we are told to never, ever judge a book by its cover. It is one of the cardinal rules of being an English major, but I have to admit that I judged this book by the cover, initially. Please forgive me my fellow brethren!