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Inferno is quite possibly the most sexist comic I’ve ever read in my life. It read like a male power trip and frankly was disgusting. The only reason I’m even talking about it is to give an example of two things: 1) Why women don’t have misconceptions of comics and 2) an example of how to make a bad comic.
The issue begins with a recap of a previous mini-series in which twin sisters are orphaned after their parents are assassinated. One of the sisters, Mercy, grows up to be an assassin herself and tracks down the daughter of the man who killed their parents. She kills the little girl and bad stuff happens, so she’s given the chance to do it again and instead shoots herself.
Now her sister, Grace, has memory loss and suffers from hallucinations. She begins her day by being sexually harassed by her boss. Really she’s practically sexually assaulted by her boss. He forces her into meeting him outside of work to “negotiate” a way for her to keep her job. At this point you may ask yourself, “What does she do for a living?” but the writer never asked that question so it’s never addressed. She’s told she’s doing a bad job, but her boss has no criticisms to give her. She literally walks into his office to be groped.
The work day finishes and Grace heads home. Just as she’s about to unwind from her day of failing at her job, there’s a knock at her door. It’s her abusive boyfriend, and he barges into the apartment. Once inside he grabs her, he’s there for sex but Grace doesn’t want anything to do with him so he demands respect and then hits her. Thankfully he leaves, but promises he won’t be as gentle upon his return. It is completely out of character for him to leave but he does. I suppose there are some lines the author won’t cross.
The next night, Grace is out walking and wouldn’t you know it… a couple of guys want to have their way with her! At this point I’m not sure what the writer won’t put this character through. After fighting back, Grace is beaten and hit into submission. Thankfully a woman with a gun shows up and fires a round into the air. The men scamper away like dogs, leaving Grace beaten and bruised. At some point in the story it’s covered that Grace can see demons and that she’s being drugged.
I would like to think that Ralph Tedesco is alluding that these men are all demons but he doesn’t. Even if the men were portrayed as demons that wouldn’t make this book okay in the least bit. This book was a tough read. Ralph attempts to justify Grace’s life through her narration, but she ends up sounding like an abused wife that won’t admit that she’s being hit. Grace is only shown to be weak and helpless and her only use is as a sexual object to predators. The book really disgusted me.
In general, women in comics are a minority. Be it writers, artist, colorist, or readers their male counter-parts vastly outweigh them. Story’s like this only give women fodder for why comics are made for men and hurt the genre as a whole. Issues like this show that the medium is just a male sex fantasy and that it cannot be taken serious. Sex in comics in one thing, sex can be handled with maturity. This story is a demeaning exploit of women. If this was a TV show or even a movie it would be crucified by the masses. But because it’s a comic it’s not taken as serious which again shows that the medium is still larger considered to be childish.
Overall Score – 1.0/10
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