The August book club genre was "Published in the last 12 months". Hmm. So many options. Alas, I'm still trying to finish Game of Thrones so I opted for a short read: a collected volume of superhero comics. To preface I'll admit I've never really read comic books, besides Archie comics growing up and Fables (more of a graphic novel?), and certainly no superhero comic from the Marvel or DC universe. I like the superhero movies, and I usually like epic character driven stories (that are violent), but the superhero universe seems to be so...complicated. As someone who likes to read start to finish, it's extremely intimidating - where would I even start? There seems to be soooooo much backstory and inside references. Most of all though, the women always look slutty. Extremely slutty, and I don't buy into that, so even though I'd love to read a female driven superhero story, I've yet to come across any that weren't scantily clad and unrealistically busty.
Until now. I do know about Batgirl - mostly because she's a librarian! I know a little about her backstory, more because I've read the wikis, but had never previous read any of the comics. That changed when I heard about this New 52 reboot (or whatever, these universes are so confusing). I saw an image on a blog about Batgirl's new uniform as draw by Babs Tarr: not slutty, smart, cute. That I can get behind. So I picked up the first volume of this new run of Batgirl that started in late 2014. Perfect fit for this month's theme.
August 2015: Published in the Last 12 Months
By Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr
Barbara Gordon has moved to Burnside to continue her PhD studies. New friends! New enemies! New costume! Same Batgirl. As one who isn't completely familiar with the past, and even though I had to look up some info (Who is Black Canary? What happened to Oracle?) I did enjoy this collection for what it was. I liked the art as it seemed more feminine than other superhero comics, cute, but not slutty. I like the inclusion of the social media element, though I did find it quite over the top after the first few instances. Having said that, I'm not the target demographic (which would skew younger), but I do think they've done a good job at making the new Batgirl appeal to young girls/women. It's young, spunky, not overly dark, dare I say hip and trendy.
And this makes it a good gateway novel to the universe. As one who doesn't read comics, will I pick up the next volume by the same team of writers/artists? Probably. Will I read backwards and pick up other Batgirl volumes? Probably, and Oracle/Birds of Prey too. Will I take a look at other New 52 volumes? Maybe. Good job DC, you've got a rookie interested. Now please take all my time/money.
Batgirl is an intelligent woman and a non-slutty superhero. Good enough for me.
I'd welcome any other superhero (or other comic) suggestions - must be non-slutty!