Shaenon Garrity has a post about the comics-related aspects of Michael Chabon’s Kavalier and Clay. She points out that the main characters in the novel invented every comics innovation worth inventing because they were just that cool, according to Chabon. Then she notes:

Also, just to put on my irritable-feminist hat for the day, I’ve noticed a tendency in fiction where these superhuman feats of intellect and inspiration are only considered plausible in male characters. While Joe and Sammy come up with every brilliant innovation in the history of American comic books, their lady Rosa Saks gets to be… the second-best artist of romance comics. Sure, in real life there weren’t many women during that period drawing great comic books, but neither were there any men who simultaneously combined all the best qualities of Siegel and Shuster, Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, and Will Eisner in their prime. Why must our ridiculous wish-fulfillment fantasy characters be confined to

I sympathize with the feminist critique. But I think you might want to be careful what you wish for. After all, Kavalier and Clay is in fact aimed at recuperating and/or glorifying a (arguably) minority group already. And speaking as a POJ (Person of Jew), I have to say that the gratuitous, oleaginous ethnic boosting in which Chabon engages is so viscerally nauseating that I fervently wish he’d just ignored my people altogether. Oh…oh, their so…ethnic! And their pasts are so colorful! Their genius…it is so distinctively Jewish — and therefore so American! How I love my country and the cute little mensches who inhabit it!

My point is, having Michael Chabon take up your cause is just not necessarily the thing for which to wish. You’re better off with the fan-fic folk taking care of your wish-fulfillment fantasies, Shaenon. They write better.

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