Women in Refrigerators Women in Refrigerators

DAN MISHKIN responds

Dan Mishkin created two of the favorite characters of my youth in "Blue Devil" and, most especially, "Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld." Amethyst was proof that it was possible to do an adventure book for girls (although I've since spoken with many guys who also enjoyed the book) without lapsing into the usual traps of cuteness and condescension.

He's also written for "Wonder Woman," "Superman," "Green Lantern," and the JLA. This quote is from his website: "I've told stories of reluctant heroes, would-be heroes and failed heroes--heroes who'd never use the word to describe themselves and heroes who use nothing but. I believe in heroes... even when they don't believe in themselves." Check out Heroes Welcome for tantalizing glimpses into Dan's current and future projects. (GS)

Thanks for sending me your lengthy and disturbing list. It looks like others have raised the point that plenty of male characters have been killed as well, but I have to say that there's a certain creepiness to the female list--a sense that many of the characters were seen as disposable in a way that's particularly unsettling when we're talking about women. It's certainly not the case with all the characters you mention, but female characters in comics often tend to be objects rather than subjects (and not just sex objects--in a variety of ways, they're often used as plot devices rather than people). Again, true about male characters too, but not quite the same.

Let's be blunt, though: what this is often about, first and foremost, is bad writing. Lack of imagination. And bad writing about women in comics often follows a well-worn path: "I don't get this character. Let's kill her." Or "Joe Hero shouldn't be tied down to just one woman. Let's make her go crazy."

Me, I'm an equal opportunity killer. I killed Dmitri Mishkin in I, Vampire (who was named by another writer, not me), Granch in Amethyst, and Conner in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. All men, and all done with at least passable reasons beside boredom (though Conner's death was the most meaningful of the lot--did you ever read my AD&D stuff?).

Thanks for all the nice things you had to say about Amethyst and Blue Devil. My understanding is that both may be restored to their original selves in upcoming DC miniseries, which would be nice.