CAITLIN KIERNAN responds
Caitlin Kiernan's got a pretty interesting bio--aside from her novel Silk, she has an upcoming book of short stories called Tales of Pain and Wonder, to be published by by Gauntlet Publications in late 1999. She's also got a new band, Crimson Stain Mystery, that does virtually NO Eagles covers, I'm told. So, they should get a medal, I think.
From her bio on Pandora Station, the web page she shares with Dark Fiction authors Poppy Z. Brite and Christa Faust, I found this out: Her varied interests include vertebrate paleontology, Pre-Raphaelite art, Victorian culture, and the poetry of W.B. Yeats. And her comics work includes the Sandman-spinoff (sorta) "The Dreaming," and the critically-acclaimed mini-series "The Girl Who Would Be Death." (GS)
First, I should say that I don't read much in the way of mainstream superhero titles (Arkham Asylum may be the last time I sought out and read a superhero title), so I can't claim to even be familiar with most of the characters appearing in your list. But, reading the list, yes, it is rather startling, isn't it? But I suspect it says more about the general inability for many comic book writers to develop plot and/or character without employing graphic violence than it does about sexism toward women. After all, it's easy to think of a lot of male superheroes who have endured countless mutilations, deaths, and resurrections. I do think there's a great deal of sexism present in mainstream superhero titles - it's the almost inevitable result of a medium generally marketed to teenage boys (and men who never quite manage to stop being teenagers). But the sexism is evident as much in the costumes as the violence, as much in the absurdist anatomies of both its male and female characters. I do suspect that female characters endure much more in the way of sexual violence, since the primarily male audience would find sexual violence against men distasteful and turn away, and the writers and editors know that.