As a female who reads comic books (yes, we actually exist. In fact, estimates suggesting that 46.67 per cent of comic fans are women) I am always looking for female protagonist to look to for inspiration. That is not to say that I find male hero’s any less inspirational but lets be real, there are less female characters in comics. Especially leading characters, who have the upper hand and kick ass skills to match, let alone rival their male counterparts.
As a child of the 90s, I became infatuated with Batman: The Animated Series, which began my love for Harley Quinn and many other Gotham/Arkham residents, including Poison Ivy. Ivy was usually included in episodes along side Harley, she added something to the story and she did have some great episodes that really showcased her character. Even so, I always thought it was a shame she never got as much air time as Harley because she is an incredibly interesting character.
Poison Ivy made her first appearance in Batman ##181 in June 1966 and has been a hit with fans of the comic books and films ever since. How is it that she doesn’t have her own stand alone comic book series yet!? Seriously.
Even though Ivy is depicted as a villain in the comics, she is such an important character to many women across the world and has a pivotal role in the Batman universe. Ivy is one of Batman’s greatest enemies and uses biology and science as her greatest weapon against him. She’s one smart chick and she’s passionate about her job. Okay, so she may be a little more passionate than most..
But that doesn’t take away from the fact that Ivy deserves her own stand alone comic book series, heck, she deserves her own movie, merch and more respect. It’s not enough to just include her in Gotham City Sirens & Birds of Prey. Female characters have a strong market, if only DC, Marvel & other publishers would give them a chance. Marvel comic’s new female Thor is outselling the old, male version by 30 per cent. You know why? Because people are hungry for change. They are hungry for strong female characters.
Even after the release of the blockbuster hit Avengers: Age of Ultron, fans were perplexed by the lack of Black Widow merchandise available, yet there was plenty on offer for fans of her male team mates. What are these publishing companies afraid of? There’s a demand for more stand alone female hero/villain comics & films. So, why not give the people what they want?
Reading comics and watching t.v shows about hero’s and villains inspired me to study Criminology in college. I have heard from a friend of mine, that Poison Ivy inspired her to study science. Reading comics like Rat Queens and Ms Marvel have given me hope that there is a future and a market for kick ass, girl power comics. Reading can be a very powerful experience, teamed with the visual artwork that comes along with comic books and graphic novels, it can move you. It can take you away from your everyday life and you can imagine what it is like to be unapologetically powerful, just like a women on the pages of the comics we read.
We are slowly moving forward in the right direction. I can only hope that the fans are heard and that DC finally give this character the stand alone series that she deserves.
I think Alice Walker said it best when she said, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” Let DC and other publishing companies know how you feel about the lack of female hero’s/villains because, sometimes hero’s need help too.