Bitch Planet: After a Brief Hiatus

Since the last post, several holidays happened, I spent time in three different states, I started school again and listened to the Hamilton soundtrack roughly nine million times. You can blame any of those for the brief hiatus. I wanted to talk about a book that was out in trade since the last one wasn’t, so I was planning on coming back with Lazarus. Then I read the newest issue of Bitch Planet and realized that I really needed to talk about that instead. 

Bitch Planet (Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick, Artist: Valentine De Landro)

Anyone who says comics isn’t a serious medium hasn’t picked up this book. DeConnick, De Landro and their team of rotating guest artists are creating a story about the experience of being a woman. Yes, it is primarily set on a planet that is entirely a women’s prison and exudes dystopian futurism but the underlying reality of the story is one that women live out daily. The women who inhabit the irreverently nick-named Bitch Planet are guilty of some form of non-compliance, anything from violent self-defense to having an opinion to not conforming to the patriarchy’s beauty standard. De Landro’s art is gritty and unflinching. The panels are filled with every kind of diversity: race, size, sexuality. With Penny Rolle, he is able to communicate how it is for a large woman to exist in a world where her very size is a crime. She fills the panels, unable to be comfortable in her society even as she embraces  her body as a profoundly empowering piece of her identity. 

The single issues contain eloquent essays written on the many facets of feminism. While these are not available in the trade editions DeConnick has hinted that the essays may be collected at some point. Possibly the best part of the single issues are the back covers peddling weight loss parasites, missed connections and (real) non-compliant foam middle fingers all under the heading Hey Kids, Patriarchy!

The first trade was released in October. Single issues are pretty difficult to track down at this point but all are available digitally.