Glamourpuss #7 (May 2009)
Art by Dave SimDAVE SIM:
(continued from Robin Snyder's The Comics Part 1...)
Hi Robin! I just saw your note on the front of this issue: "There's a grumbler in here".
Well put. Just a grumbler. Nothing I'd take personally.
MS.A in glamorpuss #7 wasn't really intended as a backhanded tribute to Steve Ditko so much as it was intended as a multi-levelled parody. Let's bear in mind that the battles fought by (particularly) Harvey Kurtzman over the Right To Parody were won a number of years ago. On one level, I was making fun of the "legalistic" impulse towards female characters (if you don't create and publish She-Hulk then you are leaving open the possibility of someone else doing it, legally). It's the sort of "make work" for lawyers things our society has had as a thorn in its side (in my view) for too many years.
Taking to its ludicrous extreme, all you would have to do is go through the DC and Marvel "stables" and look for any character who HASN'T had a female incarnation done and -- on the basis of their own "legalism" you would own it. Do the Spectre with breasts and call it She-Spectre. The possibilities are limitless. If DC tried to sue, you could just use Superman/Supergirl as the basis for refuting the charge. If you don't protect it, you don't own it.
Do I OWN Ms.A?
I suppose so. But then I've never protected anything I've created. I've always said that if you see a raw material in my work that you want for your own creative work, go for it! You would know that better than I would.
If Ms.A is a misogynistic, it's a very weird kind of misogyny, since Ms.A is the first transgendered super-hero(ine).
It just seemed serendipitous: I had purchased Paris VOGUE looking for parody ideas and there: full blown on the page was a transgendered model with a big A on his/her leotard. I mean, I knew it was a transgendered model because of the jawline. Men have a very specific jawline which is different from a woman's jawline. You can do all the other surgery but unless you're going to really, really mess with the mandible (and a mandible is an easy thing to make a mess of, surgically) even a civilian is going to know "something's up".
I thought it was funny to make the world's first transgendered superhero(ine) the world's biggest Steve Ditko fan. I mean, with an encyclopedic knowledge of EVERYTHING having to do with Steve
Ditko. And trained to an absolute BATMAN level of superhuman, but human, capabilities.
What would Steve Ditko think of Ms.A is she actually existed and was a government agent in France?
Whatever he thought of her, it wouldn't make any difference to Ms.A. I thought THAT was funny. That huge a fan of Steve Ditko to the point where Steve Ditko and his opinions are "beside the point" for her.
I sent the Ms.A parody and every other Steve Ditko parody I had ever done TO Steve Ditko, the first time I contacted him in 2009. I didn't want there to be any false pretences/two-facedness on my part: here are my parodies, here's an enthusiastic letter about your work, someone gave me your phone number, I'm phoning you on [the date of Barack Obama's visit to Canada in 2009: see cover of CEREBUS ARCHIVE #2: Feb 19? I'm guessing] at x time. If you don't want to talk to me, don't pick up. Well, he picked up ("I pay my phone bill, why wouldn't I answer my phone?") and we talked for an hour or so and then began a lengthy correspondence.
I never mentioned any of the parodies and he never referred to them either.
Make of that what you will.
Coming in part III: What about the Steve Ditko letters in the Cerebus Archive?
Oh, and Tim, if you've got a copy of #7, feel free to run the entire Ms.A parody here on AMOC.