DANIEL BRERETON responds
I'd seen Daniel Brereton's unique art on several projects before, but only recently have I become aware of what a talented writer he is--I picked up the Superman/Silver Banshee two-parter and was struck by the fact that there were three female leads, all with personalities and agendas all their own. The book had a kind of quiet intelligence that really impressed me. So now I'm in that "trying-to-track-down-back-issues" mode for his "Nocturnals" and "Thrillkillers" series, and will also be picking up "Giantkiller." He's also writing (with Chris Golden) a book revealing the origin of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." I know what her origin is already though--she just doesn't like vampires. I mean, I don't like vampires, but you don't see me going around killing them. I think that's just wrong. (GS)
My first two impressions of your observation is that most of these characters are written by men for men, and that there are a lot of really mediocre-to-bad comic book writers out there, you know?
Remember Mantra, the Malibu Ultraverse character, a man trapped in a woman's body? That comic was so awful, so sexist and misogynistic, it made me ill. In fact, I think misogyny is probably somewhat rampant in comics, and it's too bad, because it ruins it for those writers who are genuinely interested in writing strong female characters.
However, the ones that do treat them as equals tend to create strong characters who are every bit as formidable and complex as, if not more so than, the best male characters.
So I guess it depends on the source: one writer may have issues to deal with when it comes to women, while another writer is ignoring gender completely (and leaving the delineations to the artist, who will no doubt give the female character perfect physical beauty as is our wont to do... after all, superhero comics, myth and stories tend to portray larger-than-life characters, and many times this means a personification of beauty or strength).
I personally like the idea of a flawed hero, especially a character who bears physical flaws. I used to draw this character when I was a kid who was this amazing samurai-type guy who was handsome and cool-looking, but had a synthetic arm. It was his flaw (but it also looked cool). Many of my characters are monsters and that's a disfigurement... for me, it's about taking something from them: even though Nick Fury is a bad-ass, he's still a one-eyed, depth-perception-impaired bad-ass..and Rogue, who is invulnerable, cannot feel sensations and physical pleasure the way normal folks do. It makes them interesting and flawed and therefore even more heroic.
There's one female character in my upcoming Giantkiller series named Jill Sleet. After you've read the first four issues of Giantkiller (which I hope you will) e-mail me again and let me know what you think of her character, and we can continue this discussion... I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on her and how you'd classify her... by the way, I didn't see any of my characters from Silver Banshee on your list, nor Buffy the Vampire Slayer...