Female Comic Book Superheroes
A Chapbook by Jeannine Hall Gailey
This short collection of lyrical and often humorous poems, Jeannine Hall Gailey’s first, marries pop culture icons with classical mythology and fairy tale lore to portray the conflicts and ambiguities of contemporary women.
Praise for Female Comic Book Superheroes
Kudos to Jeannine Hall Gailey, whose new chapbook is Female Comic Book Superheroes. I read it cover to cover the other day, and it is just a hoot. Humor balanced by pathos, pop culture references balanced by classic references. And her pantheon of Superheroes! I admire how she has brought them all in: from Greek and Celtic mythology; to comic book and video game warriors; to Catholic school girls and Eve; Shakespeare’s Ophelia; even a giant Lichtenstein painting’s pixilated character. Well done! My favorite: “Persephone and the Prince Meet Over Drinks.” The power in the lines “so what if . . . my prince/is prince of nothing but darkness?/I knew what I was doing.” These women can all seen as facets of an archetype, different aspects of the eternal Feminine, and this holds the chapbook together quite nicely. Jeannine, you put the HER in HERO.”
More Praise for Female Comic Book Superheroes
…Gailey’s comic book and video game women aren’t just amusing caricatures; frequently, there is a beautiful and delicate pathos to them. This is especially true in “Spy Girls,” in which Gailey tells of sexy secret agents who can leap into helicopters after being “temporarily blinded with acid spray” yet secretly long to be “one more girl…whose purse is not full of explosives”; and “Wonder Woman Dreams of the Amazon,” a truly touching look at the “red-white-and-blue” bustiered heroine and her tortured relationship with her absent parents. In a sense, Gailey’s character studies of these modern folkloric icons are almost as nuanced as those in Robert Browning’s dramatic monologues.”
Female Comic Book Superheroes was published by Pudding House Press and sold for $8.95.
I no longer have any copies of Female Comic Book Superheroes for sale, but many of the poems in this collection are also available in my first full-length collection, Becoming the Villainess.
Excerpt from the Title Poem
Female Comic Book Superheroes are always fighting evil in a thong,
pulsing techno soundtrack in the background
as their tiny ankles thwack
against the bulk of male thugs.
With names like Buffy, Elektra, or Storm
they excel in code decryption, Egyptology, and pyrotechnics.
They pout when tortured, but always escape just in time,
still impeccable in lip gloss and pointy-toed boots…”