Tag Archives: Starfire

Wonder Woman And Sex Positivity


I know I’ve been talking about Wonder Woman a lot lately. No, I’m not going to apologize for that. I’ve had a perfectly valid reason and no need for excuses. It’s not unreasonable to say that Wonder Woman is having the best year she’s had in her 75-year history and that includes the era in which she made Lynda Carter a sex symbol.

The “Wonder Woman” movie is an unabashed success. Just this past week, it surpassed both “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad” to become the highest-grossing DC Comics movie to date on the domestic front. It managed to do all this with a female director in Patty Jenkins, a strong female lead in Gal Gadot, and a naked Chris Pine. I think ladies everywhere deserve to flex their ovaries this year.

As great a year as she’s had, there’s been another major development with Wonder Woman that will likely slip under the radar. That’s a shame too because it’s an important development, which is another way of saying it has very sexy implications. Given the nature of this blog, it would be a professional failure on my part if I didn’t talk about it.

In this case, it has to do with what’s been going on with Wonder Woman in the comics. Now, I don’t deny that a very small percentage of the people who saw the “Wonder Woman” movie actually follow the current comics. Most have probably read Wonder Woman comics in the past, seen her in various cartoons, or watched the old Lynda Carter TV show.

The current comics, however, are kind of an afterthought. That’s understandable in some cases. If you only saw the “Captain America” movie, you might be a little confused to find out he’s a Hydra agent in the comics. If you only ever saw the “Iron Man” movie, you might even more confused to find out that Tony Stark is in a coma and Iron Man is a 15-year-old black girl from Chicago.

The comics are confusing, convoluted, and frustrating to say the least. I say that as someone who has been closely following comics for nearly two decades. There are so many different interpretations, alternate universes, and re-launches that most reasonable people would decide it’s not worth the aggravation. I like to think I’m reasonable in most instances, but I guess my love of comics is just that strong.

For those Wonder Woman fans who do follow DC’s iconic comics, they got an overdue, but extra-satisfying treat. As part of DC’s ongoing Rebirth initiative, Wonder Woman’s comic was re-launched and revamped in a way that helped streamline a mess of conflicting continuities and scrambled timelines. Trust me, it’s much more complicated than it sounds. Just look up something called “Flashpoint” to see what I mean.

If you’re a Wonder Woman fan, though, you don’t need to know the cow shit to appreciate the flowers. Under the pen of Greg Rucka, an accomplished comic book writer who has written Wonder Woman in the past, and Liam Sharp, an equally-accomplished comic book artist, Wonder Woman’s entire story underwent an overhaul.

That story is one that I cannot recommend enough to Wonder Woman fans. If you loved the movie, then you’ll love these comics. They cover everything that makes Wonder Woman great. Her heart, her compassion, her warrior spirit, and her sex appeal is all on highlighted in all the right ways for all the right reasons. It may very well be the most balanced she’s ever been as a character.

However, it’s the conclusion of that story, which culminated just last week with the release of Wonder Woman #25, that introduces an important element to Wonder Woman’s story. It goes beyond simply capping off a successful run on an iconic comic book series in a satisfying way. That alone is pretty remarkable, especially at a time when comic companies can’t resist killing major characters for a sales boost.

Specifically, it has to do with Wonder Woman’s sexuality. I know that’s a favorite topic of mine and for good reason. Her sexuality is actually pretty broad compared to other male heroes who simply want to bang supermodels all day. Her origins have strong ties to the world of BDSM and in recent years, she has been revealed to be bisexual.

Despite these details, Wonder Woman has been one of those characters who has been sexually nullified, so to speak. For a good chunk of her history, she’s never been allowed to be overtly sexy. Sure, her attire is sexy and she’s not exactly shy about showing off her body. When it comes to having an actual sex life, though, it might as well be on par with the Hulk’s penis. We know it’s there. It’s just not something we talk about.

Sure, she’s allowed to have love interests. Steve Trevor, who was played by Chris Pine in the movie, is her most famous. She’s had others, including Batman in the Justice League cartoon and Superman in the comics at one point. However, the sexuality in all those relationships is severely muted, if not outright ignored.

That changed somewhat in Wonder Woman #25. Greg Rucka and Liam Sharp actually acknowledged that Wonder Woman can be sexual and it doesn’t have to be some big, shocking ordeal. She’s a powerful woman and she has sex. That should not be shocking on any level.

On top of that, Rucka and Sharp make it a point to mix Wonder Woman’s sexual inclinations with her romantic inclinations. Remember, Steve Trevor? Well, now he’s not just the man who managed to get Chris Pine naked in  the “Wonder Woman” movie. He’s the one who makes love with Wonder Woman in Wonder Woman #25. I’m sure both Chris Pine and Gal Gadot would approve.

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It was a sweet, beautiful scene that mixed both romance and sexuality. After a long journey that had many heart-wrenching moments, Wonder Woman returns to Steve, who prepared a romantic night for them. She opted to skip most of it, head into the bedroom, and make love. I’m not going to lie or apologize. That moment made me shed tears of joy and gave me a boner.

It may not seem like a big deal, Wonder Woman getting frisky with her oldest and most well-known love interest. Trust me, both as an erotica/romance writer and a comic book fan. It’s a huge deal and it adds a critical dimension to Wonder Woman’s character that tends to get censored way too often, which is sex positivity.

I’ve talked about sex positivity before, namely how it stands in contrast to sex negative feminism. I’ve even talked about distinctly sex positive superheroes like Starfire. Given Wonder Woman’s status as a feminine ideal, you’d think she would be naturally sex positive. That thinking wouldn’t be dead wrong, but it wouldn’t be right either.

It may be a result of her having not-so-subtle BDSM origins. It may also be a byproduct of the heavy censorship comics endured for most of its history, thanks largely to a bullshit moral panic from the 1950s that nearly killed the industry. Whatever the reasons, Wonder Woman’s BDSM origins were purged and her sexuality was effectively ignored.

She was still a woman, but her sexuality was about as prominent as her appendix. Her entire persona, even into the modern era, emphasized her warrior woman status. She only fought and looked good while doing it. That was pretty much the core of her character.

Now that’s not to say she had no other appeals. She most certainly did. However, her sexuality, and even her attitudes towards sex, were either ignored or circumvented. That’s why this new development in Wonder Woman #25 is so critical.

In this case, Wonder Woman actually did something even Starfire struggles to accomplish. She created a perfect balance of sexuality and love. Starfire may have a very healthy attitude towards sex and nudity, but she tends to be too casual when it comes to romance. She’s perfectly comfortable having sex, but expressing love through sex is a bit trickier.

For Wonder Woman, it’s a natural manifestation of her loving, compassionate personality. She has love for her friends, her fellow heroes, and Steve Trevor. Rucka and Sharp just let her express it through her sexuality in a way that was sincere, meaningful, and perfectly appropriate for the context of the story.

That kind of sex positivity is exceedingly rare these days. I’ve said before that the world needs more of it. There are ominous signs that society is becoming more sexually uptight. Sexuality, especially of the female variety, is still very much a taboo. Men and women alike seem to have conflicting attitudes that can manifest in unhealthy ways.

How fitting is it that Wonder Woman, the most iconic female hero of the last century, finds a way to achieve a beautiful balance between sexuality and romance? It’s a powerful element that I hope DC Comics doesn’t censor once more. A female hero knows how to fight, love, and make love in a meaningful, compelling way is a beautiful story in its own right. You could even say it’s a true wonder.

Yes, I know that sounds cheesy as hell. No, I’m not going to apologize for that either.


Filed under Comic Books, Jack Fisher, Superheroes

Five Female Superheros That Deserve Their Own Movie

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It’s been a damn good week for female superheroes. Whether you’re a man, woman, or something in between, it’s hard to deny the historic significance of this past weekend. “Wonder Woman” is officially a hit. The glass ceiling for superhero movies is shattered. We can all finally lay the failures of “Catwoman” and “Elektra” to rest.

It’s sad that it took over a decade to make another female superhero movie that succeeded, but good things are worth waiting for. Anyone still waiting for a decent Fantastic Four movie should take comfort in that.

For Wonder Woman, at least, the wait is over. She has proven that female superheroes can succeed. They can carry their own movie. The fact that Wonder Woman had to prove this in the first place is kind of asinine, but that’s a trivial detail at this point. “Wonder Woman” succeeded and that doesn’t just break the myth that female superheros can’t succeed on their own. It opens the door for other female superheroes to shine.

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As I write this, there is only one other female superhero besides Wonder Woman who is set to star in her own movie. That character is Carol “Captain Marvel” Danvers, whose movie is set for release in 2019. With Brie Larson having been cast, the movie is already in the works. Wonder Woman’s success can only help.

Unlike Wonder Woman, though, Captain Marvel does not have the kind of iconic status as Wonder Woman. In fact, she only recently gained a surge in popularity when writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick, launched “Captain Marvel: In Pursuit Of Flight.” This series, which any Wonder Woman fan would love, effectively revamped a character who had only ever been a secondary character in the Avengers.

Since that run, Captain Marvel has become the closest character Marvel has to Wonder Woman. As such, it makes perfect sense for her to get a solo movie, if only to keep up with DC.

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However, as excited as I am to see more female superheroes get their own movie, there aren’t many others to look forward to. Earlier this year, Avengers director, Joss Whedon, announced that he was pursuing a “Batgirl” movie. As exciting as it sounds, though, this movie is tentative at best. With no release date or cast, this movie could languish in development hell, as Whedon’s own Wonder Woman movie did in 2007.

With “Wonder Woman,” the floodgates have been opened. There’s a new avenue for pursuing big bucks with superhero movies and, seeing as how Hollywood values money over all else, we’re likely to see plenty more female superhero movies in the future.

With that in mind, I’d like to offer my own wishlist of sorts. Wonder Woman is a great female hero and a pop culture icon in the highest degree, but she is far from alone. There’s a wealth of great female heroes in the world of comics who would thrive in their own movie. Below is my personal list of female superheroes who I feel should get their own movie.

#1: Laura “X-23” Kinny

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This one is, by far, the most obvious and logical. After the success of “Logan,” in which X-23 was the breakout star, there’s already a lot of buzz around this possibility. Both Dafne Keen, the actress who played her, and director James Mangold have expressed interest in pursuing an X-23 solo movie.

Given the performance we saw in “Logan,” it would be foolish not to capitalize on X-23’s breakout success. Hugh Jackman gave X-men fans 17 wonderful years as Wolverine. X-23 is in a perfect position to carry on the mantel. She already did so in the comics, adopting both the title and the costume of Wolverine. Why not do the same in the movies?

#2: Thor (Jane Foster)

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This one might be the most controversial. Back in 2014, Marvel made a decision that still has some comic fans whining to this day. They made Thor unworthy of wielding his hammer, Mjolnir. Since the world still needed a Thor, Jane Foster stepped in and took up the mantle, which she’s wielded effectively ever since.

Controversial or not, there’s no denying the strength of the story that followed. Jane Foster had always been a supporting character for Thor. Putting her as the main lead was a bold, but powerful move. Jane isn’t just some glorified arm-candy for any Chris Hemsworth look-alike, though. She’s very much her own character.

In the comics, Jane was dying of cancer before she picked up the hammer. By becoming Thor, she’s trying to make the most of whatever time she has left. That’s a powerful struggle and a meaningful story, especially to anyone who has lost someone to cancer. Plus, being played by Natalie Portman can only help her cause.

#3: Black Canary

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When most people think of DC’s most iconic female heroes, they almost immediately think of Wonder Woman and rightfully so. She is, and likely always will be, the standard by which all female superheroes are measured.

That said, some female heroes make it a point to set themselves apart. That’s what Black Canary does. Dinah Lance is not a demigod warrior like Wonder Woman. She’s not a brooding vigilante like Batman either. She has her own set of superhuman abilities. She’s a tough fighter who’s gone toe-to-toe with some of the most capable fighters in the DC universe. She also looks damn sexy in fishnets.

In addition, Black Canary has a track record of sorts as a supporting character in “Arrow.” Being a successful character in TV doesn’t always translate well into movies, as Baywatch recently learned, but someone with Black Canary’s skill and sex appeal can certainly make that transition.

#4: Starfire

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Admit it. You knew I was going to put her on this list. It was just a matter of how I’d be able to justify giving a solo movie to a female hero that is so comfortable with nudity. I went out of my way to praise Starfire as a sex-positive superhero, one whose open sexuality is both fun and heroic in its own unique way.

Now, I know this one would be a real stretch. However, the success of the “Deadpool” movie has given me hope that there is a future for R-rated, sex-positive superhero movies. It may take a while, given the recent trend in outrage over any female character that dares to be sexy. Remember, people made a big deal about Wonder Woman’s armpits for crying out loud.

At some point, though, there will be a market for a female hero that just doesn’t give a flying fuck about nudity. At some point, fans are going to get sick of being shamed for wanting to see a sexy female hero in a bikini. When that day comes, Starfire will be the perfect female superhero for a generation in need of a sex-positive icon.

#5: She-Hulk

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To date, there have been two lackluster Hulk movies. In both cases, the story was fairly the same. You’ve got a man dealing with serious anger issues, struggling to function in a world that just keeps finding ways to piss him off. Most people are familiar with that story. Those same people, however, are less familiar with She-Hulk’s story.

Jennifer “She-Hulk” Walters is not just a female version of the Hulk. If anything, she’s a very different kind of Hulk. She’s Bruce Banner’s cousin who became the Hulk due to a blood transfusion. Unlike Bruce, she doesn’t need to get angry to become big, strong, and green. She’s pretty much stuck in her Hulk form.

That means she’s more in control of her faculties, so much so that she manages to continue her work as a lawyer. That’s right. This Hulk has a day job and it doesn’t involve smashing. Now most lawyer-driven movies since “My Cousin Vinny” have had limited entertainment value. Add a big, strong, sexy green female hero to the mix and suddenly, there’s a lot more value to go around.


Filed under Comic Books, Jack Fisher, Superheroes

Starfire: Profile of a Sex-Positive Superhero

I intended to move onto another topic to start this week. I thought I said enough about jealousy and rejection last week, at least for now. Well, I may have been premature and as a man, I do not use that term lightly. Before I get going on another topic, there’s one last item I want to discuss regarding jealousy and rejection. That item involves superheroes.

I know that sounds like a non-sequiter, but hear me out. If you’ve been following this blog, you know that I am a big comic book fan. I tend to refer to comic books and superheroes when discussing issues on this blog, including the sexy kind. I’ve actually referenced the Deadpool movie as an example of progress in our culture’s attitudes towards sex. I promise it’s not as crazy as it sounds. I’ve also highlighted a recent issue of an X-men comic as an example of a balanced modern romance.

It’s not my fault that superheros help make my points so well and this issue is no exception. As I wrote about issues surrounding jealousy, rejection, and our cultural attitudes towards sex, I made some connections to a lesser-known superhero, but one who fits into this discussion in an important way. It’s not Superman. It’s not Batman. It’s not Wonder Woman. It’s not Captain America, Iron Man, or Wolverine. No, I’m talking about Starfire.

Who is Starfire, you may ask? Well, she’s an alien princess named Koriand’r. She can fly, has super strength, is super durable, and can shoot green energy bolts called starbolts. By all accounts, she’s very similar to Supergirl. She’s not as well-known as some of the other mainstream heroes. She still has quite a history and has done a lot to set herself apart from a crowded superheroes market. Oh, and she looks like this.

I think that tells a good chunk of her story right then and there. However, what makes Starfire special isn’t just her ability to look good in skin-tight outfits. A lot of female superheroes can make that same claim. Looking good in an obscenely revealing and/or extremely impractical costume is par for the course for female heroes and even male heroes to some extent. Anyone who remembers Michelle Pfeiffer’s memorable take on Catwoman in the old Batman movies knows this.

So what sets Starfire apart? Why am I singling her out from the countless other super-powered heroines who wear overly revealing costumes, have an awesome rack, and give pre-teen boys all sorts of strange new feelings? Well, it’s because Starfire embodies a special trait that sets her apart from every other superhero, male or female. She is, by far, the most sex-positive superhero in comics right now.

What do I mean by that? Well, superheroes having sex isn’t new. Superheroes having strange, deviant sex isn’t new either. Starfire exists in a universe where Superman and another female hero named Big Barda made a sex tape. It’s also a universe where Batman and Batgirl have sex on a rooftop. So clearly, comics and comic creators aren’t afraid to get kinky.

What sets Starfire apart is that she isn’t just comfortable with sex. She conveys it in an overtly positive way. She doesn’t treat it as an act of deviance. She doesn’t treat it as something callous or meaningless either. She treats sexuality as part of her overly loving, overly emphatic personality. She always frames it in a good, positive context. In the superhero world, that’s not just rare. That’s an aberration.

Traditionally, when a female character becomes more sexual, it makes them come off as more deviant. Overly sexual female characters take on a stereotypical vixen, one who flaunts her sexuality and exploits it to the utmost. I already mentioned Catwoman as one example, but Catwoman is a lightweight compared to Emma Frost of the X-men. I won’t get into all the way she’s conveyed her sexuality, but just assume she exploits it in ways even an erotica writer can’t imagine.

It’s an unfortunate theme that has played out in superhero stories in various ways over the years. Like slasher movies and teen movies, it reinforces this puritanical subtext that the more sexual a woman is, the more deviant she is.

Men aren’t immune from this subtext either. While they can get away with having more sex than female superheros, there’s still this unspoken impact attached to it. If a male hero is going to be more sexual, then he’s going to be more of an asshole. Like the jocks in 80s teen movies, they don’t come off as positive or upstanding like Superman or Captain America. The best example of this would be Namor, a character who has actually slept with Emma Frost. This is what he looks like and this is how he usually dresses.

I think that effectively conveys the traditional dynamic of sexual superheroes. It’s also why Starfire is so unique in her persona. She dares to defy this tradition. She dares to be a compassionate, loving hero while being openly sexual. She does not carry herself like some superhero vixen, flaunting and flouting her sexual traits. In fact, flaunting sexuality is downright alien to her.

For Starfire, sexuality is just a simple, natural part of life. It’s just one of the ways she shows love and affection to those around her. She doesn’t do it with an agenda. She doesn’t do it to exploit. She does it for all the right reasons. She’s also very comfortable with her body. It doesn’t just show in her skin-tight superhero outfit either. She’s also very comfortable being naked. Having written extensively about the joys of nudity on this blog, it’s something I can definitely appreciate.

There’s one other trait to Starfire that sets her apart. It has to do with jealousy, the less joyous topic I’ve brought up on this blog. In being so sex-positive, Starfire doesn’t experience jealousy the same way we see in other characters. Throughout the history of superhero comics, there have been all sorts of crazy love triangles and convoluted love stories. Wolverine’s love life alone is a testament to this. With Starfire though, these sorts of convoluted emotional entanglements are a moot point.

The best example of this manifested in a solo series she starred in earlier this year. In that series, she deals with multiple male characters with which she shows a romantic interest. Dick Grayson, the first Robin, is just one of them.

However, it’s her reaction to another relationship with a character named Sol that really sets her apart. While she’s off fighting monsters and exploring subterranean civilizations (it’s a long story, but one that’s totally worth reading), he finds love with a co-worker. What’s Starfire’s reaction to this? Does she get angry, upset, or sad? No. She doesn’t. She’s happy for him.

Does that sound strange? Does it sound downright alien? Well, think about it for a moment. Someone Starfire really cares about finds happiness. Being a loving, empathetic person, she’s happy that he’s happy. Besides, if you love someone and they find a new source of happiness, shouldn’t you be happy as well?

It’s one of those strange thought experiments that makes too much sense for our culture. As I’ve said in other blog posts, our culture does a lot to create unhealthy attitudes towards sex and intimacy. The idea of being happy that a lover finds happiness with someone else feels alien because our culture creates this strange nation that we’re supposed to own the love and happiness of another.

Think about that for a moment. We’re supposed to own the intimate affections of someone else and should be upset when they find it with others. The idea of owning the thoughts and feelings of others doesn’t sit well with me. I imagine it doesn’t sit well with a lot of people on some levels. However, this is what our culture commands us to some extent.

It’s for this reason that Starfire is such a remarkable character. She embodies a different brand of sexuality. She embodies an attitude towards sex that sets her apart. Given that she’s an alien, these attitudes certainly feel alien. However, they’re attitudes that we can and should learn from.


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