Women in Refrigerators Women in Refrigerators


After toiling in relative obscurity working on some book I've never heard called "The X-Men" or something, Fabian went on to be the guiding force/Editor-in-Chief of Acclaim comics, and also wrote (with Mark Waid) the mini-series that helped re-establish the JLA as a book of all-stars. Fabian was nice enough to respond to this  letter with his statistical guns blazing, which was kind of fun and interesting. (GS)

Before being able to comment on the tragedies which have befallen only female comic characters as any kind of a trend, I would need to see a similar list of the kinds of tragedies which have befallen MALE characters in direct proportion to the number of female characters vs. male which exist throughout the entire industry. If the percentage of "tragedy" becomes statistically valid, i.e., in comparing the percentage of female comic characters against a proportionate percentage of male comic characters, we have found that women characters have suffered X percent more power loss, X percent more beheadings, etc. Creating nothing more than a list and litany of characters is not a valid analysis of a trend. You could just as easily create a list of characters with blue in their costume and make it appear to be damning evidence against the fact comic colorists are blind to chartreuse! You need to compare your subject against another subject in order to make a valid statistical statement (if indeed, you even want to make one).

What is the purpose of the list? Is it to imply or state based on fact that comic writers treat female characters more unfairly then male characters? Or is it merely to have fun? If the former, you have to create a valid statistical analysis before you have proven your point and the "results" can be commented on. If the latter, then I also suggest you create a list of characters with capes who have had them ripped, characters who have never changed their hair styles, etc. As a writer with at least over 500 story credits (I stopped counting. Math isn't my strong suit), I will say that professionally speaking, I believe in treating ALL my characters, male, female, black, white or Kryptonian with equal measure respect and abuse. Basically, you have to respect them enough to abuse them in order to see how they will handle the adversity. Remember, monthly comics publishing is akin to a soap opera with more punches thrown. Characters HAVE to be made to endure both physical and emotional  adversity in order for the lifeblood of the genre -- i.e. MONTHLY serial stories -- to work.

When you've done more work on the subject, I'd be glad to discuss your results.

-- fabian