Can we be done with “shocking” alterna-comix that push every boundary except the male gaze? Can we stop lauding them for their grit and realism when they rape and degrade the female cast to get there? Can we admit that the only difference between how Playboy and self-consciously edgy comics portray women is dyed hair and a few tattoos?

Listen, I love Tank Girl. I love The Killing Joke, and Sin City (mostly) and Bambi and Her Pink Gun. I love loud, splashy, scruffy, purposefully punky work that glories in its gross excess. I love Gainax anime and tattooed pin-up girls and I’m watching Kill la Kill religiously. But let’s stop celebrating male creators for work that sort of bats lazily at cultural critque (“it’s like, a teardown of consumerism”) while ignoring half the population. Let’s stop giving them medals when their raw, dirty vision of mankind’s essential nature necessitates rape and sexual humilation of the only major female character. Let’s ask for one ungorgeous woman that isn’t made into a disgusting laughingstock. Let’s even, perhaps, approach the idea of a single goddamn woman of color anywhere.

Because I’m not shocked anymore. I’m not boggling at the gore or the drugs or the sex. I’m not having my mind blown as the creator offers me his milquetoast critique of the military-industrial complex or existentialism. I’m just annoyed. I’m just rolling my eyes at how all these fantastically free-thinking men still can’t see me as anything but a pair of boobs—just, y’know, this time in a ripped Sonic Youth tee.

If your alternative culture excludes half the population, it’s just a septum piercing away from the mainstream.

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