I am an avid fan of the Chicago Reader. I personally work in the publishing industry and understand that much of the free media these days is used in more ways than one.
The Chicago Reader is not simply a guide for adults to get around Chicago or a form of entertainment for adults “only.” It reaches many age ranges and is utilized by 12- to 18-year-olds as a guide to movies in their area, as a great way to find concert information, as a way to learn about readings at their favorite bookstore by a specific author, and as much more than something to sit on. Women, men, and everyone in between read the Reader.
Having that said, I cannot imagine that I will be the only one commenting about the recent “one-legged” page spread from the week of March 26 in Section Four, page 31 [Chris Ware].
Don’t get me wrong–I love to read Savage Love, I scour some of the classified ads for amusement, I read News of the Weird almost religiously. I am into dark humor and a MADtv kind of comedy. However, the “one-legged” page spread offended me in a variety of ways. As a woman, as an educated person, as a human, and as an artist.
If I went to a comic book store and the “one-legged” page spread was hung on the wall as 36″x36″ I would not mind–I almost expect to see something along the lines of that type of expression within that context.
However, in a very public, very diverse publication/representative of Chicago I was taken aback and made uncomfortable by the “one-legged” page spread. Not because I am a prude, but because the Reader is not an appropriate place to promote that level of narrow-mindedness and, quite honestly, the Reader is better than that.
In case this is being read by someone that hangs spreads like that on their wall, the narrow-mindedness I am referring to is the assumptions that are contained and promoted within the “one-legged” page spread. The assumption that people with missing limbs are not considered the most sexually attractive members of society, that women who have been with men similar to the one depicted in the comic actually think it is (the women) themselves that is the issue or problem, the notion that a person with one leg–with the technology these days–would minimize themselves to being, and only being, “a cripple” in the end and will only ever experience “pity sex.” I say this regardless of whether there will be a “conclusion next week” and understanding that the naked one-legged woman can quite possibly bust out as a superhero.
All I can say, again, is that the Chicago Reader is better than this.
Don’t sell out to crap just to fill a page. Send the uneducated one-legged comic spread back to the shitty comic book stores, where it can hide among some quality work and possibly have some good humor–INTELLIGENT HUMOR–rub off on it.