Now that my class on comics is over, I can get back to focusing on some of my own work. It’s another one of those times where I am doing some research for a comics paper and so it’s totally useful for me to just outsource some of my research to the internet.
In this case I am working on a project that involves comic book depictions of rape and sexual assault. So what I’m looking for are examples in comics of depictions of or references to rape and/or sexual assault regarding a main character. That is to say, that I don’t particularly care about every instance of say Batman investigating a rapist on the loose or anything like that. I’m looking for things like The Killing Joke where Batgirl was assaulted by the Joker.
I’m interested in both female and male occurrences (so Nightwing totally counts) here as well as both hetero or homosexual. In fact, I’m actually having a hard time racking my brain trying to come up with a homosexual occurrence… which should totally be a point that I make in my paper, unless someone can think of several instances that are skipping my mind. I’m also interested in occasions where there is an attempted rape that might be thwarted. And obviously, as I said before I’m looking for not just rapes, but sexual assaults. So no matter how you feel about what actually went down in The Killing Joke, it is certainly on the table here. Also, I’m mostly looking for mainstream comics here, so the more examples from the big two (Marvel and DC) the better. That said, don’t feel like it HAS to be from one of the big two. For instance, Invincible, from Image Comics, with its female on male rape is certainly relevant. The point is that I’m not really looking for say Manara’s Click series, which is certainly about rape — that’s the whole point — but is not mainstream enough to really affect my argument.
I’m not necessarily looking for comics that show the actual rape, though if you can think of any, I’m certainly interested in those. Most of them are going to be implied cutaways, and that’s fine. The key here is that I am looking for examples where an assault certainly and unambiguously happens. So Kick-Ass 2, which has a clear rape that is stated before the event and the aftermath shown afterwards totally counts. One of the things I want to talk about is the way it is treated as an unseen event in the few cases where it is referenced at all.
I am mostly looking for superhero stories here. Much like the stuff from Manara, there’s tons of comics that deal directly with those issues, particularly in the indie world. That’s now what I’m going for here. I’m looking to investigate how the topic is dealt with in superhero narratives. But if something is ambiguous as to whether or not it fits as a superhero story, or you think it’s a strong enough entry that I should probably be aware of it, totally let me know.
Finally, if there’s books where you think it is either ambiguous as to whether or not a character has been raped or where there is a very obvious and blatant narrative element to deny that there was a rape when it makes sense that the reader would assume that there was, please point those out too. The key examples I’m thinking of here are Black Canary in Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters for the prior category and Jessica Jones in Alias in the latter. In Black Canary’s case, the character is stripped and brutally tortured and though the book makes no textual mention of sexual nature of the assault at all, it certainly is drawn to look like the bad guy here was raping here. In Jessica Jones’ case, the story goes out of it’s way to say “no no no, even though Purple man mind controlled her for a year, he never raped her. He just raped a whole bunch of other people.” Cases like these are particularly interesting to me for this article.
So give what you got. Thanks in advance.