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  1. #1
    Obsessed & Compelled Bored at 3:00AM's Avatar
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    Default Has rape ever been used well in the DCU?

    DC creators have had a pretty bad track record using this unfortunate dramatic crutch for no other reason than to give their story some unearned gravitas or edginess. The fact that most of them were written by men probably didn't help.

    While Alan Moore's Killing Joke used the assault on Batgirl poorly, which even he admits, I think she's probably the only example of a rape being used to benefit a character thanks to the admirable efforts of Kim Yale and John Ostrander, who salvaged Moore's mess by having Babs become Oracle, arguably a far better and more interesting character than Batgirl ever was.

    However, that's about it. There are no other examples that I can think of. Black Canary's rape accomplished nothing but to give her boyfriend an excuse to kill people for a few years instead of knocking them out with his boxing glove arrow. It was utterly pointless aside from temporarily depowering her so she was less capable than Ollie. Dick Grayson's rape was never even acknowledged as far as I know, and Sue Dibny's rape was so poorly handled people are still complaining about today.

    It's no surprise that DC has shied away from using rape these days, given how poorly it has gone in the past and the more recent sensitivity that art seems to have adopted towards the issue. However, does that mean the use of rape should never be used in the DCU? I'm not sure. I think if a really great creator is approaching it from a place of honesty and genuinely wants to explore the ramifications of sexual assault within the DCU in a Black Label book, maybe it could be something worthwhile. However, I don't want to see it used again in the main DCU. I don't think the vast majority of comics creators have figured out how to do it well yet, even if Bendis managed to pull it off with Jessica Jones at Marvel.

  2. #2
    Astonishing Member HandofPrometheus's Avatar
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    I wouldn't say Barabara was raped so I don't think there are any perfect examples of it being used.

    I don't care whether writers use it or not but for me I wouldn't include it in my stories. There's so many layers to rape that I wouldn't even begin to understand.

    I had no idea Dinah was raped.

  3. #3
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    Black Canary was not raped. She was tortured.

  4. #4
    Fantastic Member The_Lurk's Avatar
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    I think the moment someone can say "Oh my, this was a well done rape; I love it" we have a serious problem.

  5. #5
    Obsessed & Compelled Bored at 3:00AM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Z View Post
    Black Canary was not raped. She was tortured.
    Dinah's top was torn open, exposing her bare chest. There was a sexual element to that torture.

    Same deal with Barbara. She was stripped naked and had pictures taken of her.

    Both of these are sexual assaults.

  6. #6
    Astonishing Member Robanker's Avatar
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    Rape at DC Comics is usually one of two things:

    A) an act done to a supporting character to motivate the protagonist(s)

    B) part of a backstory/a one-time occurance to add some drama and seldom touched on again.

    I think the best it was ever handled was in Starman where Jack was raped by Nash. It's usually just used for cheap drama, but in Starman, Jack becomes a father as a result and undergoes an entire whirlwind of emotions which serves as a crucible to temper his character. Ultimately, they develop it a lot and don't use such a terrible act as cheap drama; it has a major impact on the story and does lead to a lot of development for Jack. For good or ill, it had major ramifications that played a part in the character's entire (admittedly short) publishing history.
    Last edited by Robanker; 07-15-2020 at 12:25 AM.

  7. #7
    Obsessed & Compelled Bored at 3:00AM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Lurk View Post
    I think the moment someone can say "Oh my, this was a well done rape; I love it" we have a serious problem.
    That's not what we're talking about. It's not about loving rape in a story, it's whether it could ever be used as a key element in a story that actually benefits the story being told. I'm unconvinced whether or not that is possible given the track record of superhero comics.

  8. #8
    Obsessed & Compelled Bored at 3:00AM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robanker View Post
    Rape at DC Comics is usually one of two things:

    A) an act done to a supporting character to motivate the protagonist(s)

    B) part of a backstory/a one-time occurance to add some drama and seldom touched on again.

    I think the best it was ever handled was in Starman where Jack was raped by Nash. It's usually just used for cheap drama, but in Starman, Jack becomes a father as a result and undergoes an entire whirlwind of emotions which serves as a crucible to temper his character. Ultimately, they develop it a lot and don't use such a terrible act as cheap drama; it has a major impact on the story and does lead to a lot of development for Jack. For good or ill, it had major ramifications that played a part in the character's entire (admittedly short) publishing history.
    I had forgotten about that. Robinson actually handled that very well. I still have a hard time reconciling that he was the same guy who wrote Cry For Justice.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bored at 3:00AM View Post
    Dinah's top was torn open, exposing her bare chest. There was a sexual element to that torture.

    Same deal with Barbara. She was stripped naked and had pictures taken of her.

    Both of these are sexual assaults.
    Not all sexual assaults are rapes. It doesn't make what happened to them any less horrible but it was not rape.

  10. #10
    Obsessed & Compelled Bored at 3:00AM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Z View Post
    Not all sexual assaults are rapes. It doesn't make what happened to them any less horrible but it was not rape.
    I wasn't aware there was a difference. Alright, sexual assaults then.

  11. #11
    Astonishing Member Nite-Wing's Avatar
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    Anything involving sexual violence should probably be removed from DC not that its bad but it just can't be done justice because of how censored the medium is
    I mean look at Bat penis
    You will never see a story where the event and ramifications of said event are shown nuance and respect that the subject matter needs

    No point using it at all

    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Z View Post
    Not all sexual assaults are rapes. It doesn't make what happened to them any less horrible but it was not rape.
    I'm pretty sure the law regards them all the same
    Its a violation of someone's body just not to the level of any type of intercourse
    Last edited by Nite-Wing; 07-15-2020 at 01:51 AM.

  12. #12
    Three Legged Member married guy's Avatar
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    I am yet to read a story that involved sexual assault that I enjoyed from DC.
    I found Identity Crisis in particular really upsetting.
    "My name is Wally West. I'm the fastest man alive!"
    I'll try being nicer if you try being smarter.

  13. #13
    Astonishing Member batnbreakfast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bored at 3:00AM View Post
    That's not what we're talking about. It's not about loving rape in a story, it's whether it could ever be used as a key element in a story that actually benefits the story being told. I'm unconvinced whether or not that is possible given the track record of superhero comics.
    You can always read true crime. I read superheroes because they're safe when it comes to certain tropes/topics?
    Quote Originally Posted by HandofPrometheus View Post
    I wouldn't say Barabara was raped so I don't think there are any perfect examples of it being used.

    I don't care whether writers use it or not but for me I wouldn't include it in my stories. There's so many layers to rape that I wouldn't even begin to understand.

    I had no idea Dinah was raped.
    This
    Quote Originally Posted by Nite-Wing View Post
    Anything involving sexual violence should probably be removed from DC not that its bad but it just can't be done justice because of how censored the medium is
    I mean look at Bat penis
    You will never see a story where the event and ramifications of said event are shown nuance and respect that the subject matter needs
    Also this
    Last edited by batnbreakfast; 07-15-2020 at 02:36 AM.

  14. #14
    Fantastic Member Kingdom X's Avatar
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    I think the main reason that it worked with Jessica Jones is that BMB created the character and had full control of her narrative. There was no risk of other creators ignoring it and about fans being up in arms about someone “ruining” their favorite character.

    Honestly, I don’t want current DC anywhere near a story like this based on how insulting Heroes in Crisis was when it was supposed to be increasing mental health awareness.

  15. #15
    Astonishing Member Restingvoice's Avatar
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    ...Post Crisis Amazons?

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