October 08, 2015 By: Rico Renzi Category: DISCUSS, Staff Picks

staff_picks heather_staff_picksHEATHER’S PICK :: BITCH PLANET Volume 1: Extraordinary Machine TP

Curious about the comic that has inspired fans across the globe to declare their allegiance with Non-Compliant tattoos before the first trade was even released? Now’s the best time to jump into the series with the release of Volume 1: Extraordinary Machine which collects issues 1-5.
While the title can be off-putting (I’ve had people visibly cringe when I first mention the name of the comic from which my tattoo comes from), Bitch Planet is an inspiring and empowering comic.  Given the recent struggles in legislatures across our country, it’s not that far off to imagine a world in which women are sent to a prison planet once they have been deemed “Non-Compliant”.  Where the “crimes” include not adhering to a set body standard and adultery (only if you’re a woman, of course), Bitch Planet sets the stage from the first issue of a world in which equality is meaningless.
Our story begins with the entry of several inmates to Bitch Planet and follows their processing into the system as well as the off planet politics behind the Non-Compliant system.  As with our own criminal justice system, money has a lot to do with how “justice” is achieved.  The stories of our inmates aren’t easy to read, yet those stories are engaging and compelling.  The violence they endure, especially at the hands of the guards, is incredibly painful to read, and becomes more so as you get to know the women.  Unfortunately, the treatment by the guards is an accurate portrayal of what occurs in prisons every day.
Bitch Planet doesn’t just give its readers a fictional commentary on our society, each issue includes an essay on current issues.  The often overused saying of “Be the change you wish to see” is very apt for Bitch Planet, especially in a male dominated medium that the female form is portrayed in simply unattainable and even ridiculous ways.  Add into that hostile environment, especially on the internet, when women speak up about what bothers them in comics, Bitch Planet has become more than a comic, but a safe place for discussion and change.
Given what Bitch Planet means to me as a comics reader and a woman, thank you,  Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro, for creating a comic that is so much more than the words and art on the pages.  Your inspiration goes deeper than my tattoo that is my daily affirmation that being true to myself and my convictions are more important than societal standards and other people’s perceptions about how I should behave.

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