Sex and the City should be a comic book.

Yesterday was “International Geek Pride Day” and I celebrated by window-shopping 5th Avenue and going to a press screening of Sex and the City 2. None of which sounds “mainstream geeky” but maybe the following suggestion will make up for it.

It was mid-way through the movie; the gals change into camel-riding-ready outfits (from Dior and Vuitton, of course) and they strut across the sand, a fearsome foursome if there ever was one. The wind made their outfits billow and Cynthia Nixon’s Miranda suddenly had a full-on cape. Later on Samantha makes an absolute spectacle of herself as only Samantha can. Shouting at a disapproving Middle Eastern crowd that she has sex and likes sex thank you very much she made it very clear that she will not be covered up or contained and she became a superhero for the covered up and contained women watching. Women who then took all four of our heroines behind closed doors and revealed their own secret identities (and designer outfits, of course). This is just begging to be a comic book.

When Marvel Divas came out it was marketed as a Sex and the City comic book. But it was marketed to comic book readers, not Sex and the City viewers — and while, contrary to popular belief, there is some overlap there, it was not the best marketing campaign. And it was far from the best comic. I don’t think they should try to recreate Sex and the City within the rigid structure of established comic book superhero characters. I think they should recreate Sex and the City AS a comic book. Carrie’s narration, the one-liners, the flashy and flashier outfits (a mask is part of more than one of Carrie’s get-ups in the film!) — all of this would translate easily and well to the medium. Think about it. Do you even know Big’s real name? It’s John, but where are people known by a catchy made-up name first and foremost? Comic books.

Sarah Jessica Parker described Sex and the City 2 as “a romp…a fun story that is also about something” and she is exactly right. The plot hinges on nearly unbelievable circumstances and the movie swings from somewhat serious to over-the-top camp but it works if you let go of any preconceived notions about how things “should” be. And that sentence could describe most, if not all, comic book films, as well as fantasy, science-fiction, and even straight action films. This is not real life. It’s not supposed to be.

Toward the end of the film there is an important scene between Carrie and Big. While I watched my eyes were drawn to their coffee table full of books including a hefty one by Lewis Carroll which I assume to be the Alice books. And from that my mind decided that the journey to the Middle East was Carrie and her friends’ trip down rabbit hole — and the film was the audience’s. It is whimsical, bright and colourful, nonsensical and magical. Playful. And then, underneath the parade of fashion, the dancing and the quips, and the sex and the city, there is a quiet and heartfelt message: there are many ways to be married, there are many ways to be happy, there are many ways to be pretty, there are many ways to be free, there are many ways to be heard, and there are many ways to be a woman. And all of them are valid. So let go of “should” and embrace who you are.

Sex and the City is not geeky the way Iron Man is not about girl power. But I dressed up as Black Widow to see Iron Man and I wore platform heels to see Sex and the City 2 despite knowing I’d be walking 26 city blocks twice to do it. I can and do engage with both. Why shouldn’t the female fantasy get a graphic novel, too?

For a more in depth review, Melissa Silverstein has posted her thoughts here. I agree with the sentiments of her review and I would like to thank her again for taking me along!


5 Comments on “Sex and the City should be a comic book.”

  1. frzz says:

    no, it shouldn’t.

  2. but says:

    no, it really shouldn’t.

  3. Caroline says:

    Wow, that’s a witty rejoinder, yo. *eyeroll*

    Great article, Anika! You remind me that S&tC used to be one of my favorite shows and the one I was most likely to talk with my friends about BEFORE I ever discovered ‘geeky’ media, whatever that means. I dropped the show at some point (I think around “He’s just not that into you”) and I probably won’t pick it back up unless my sister or somebody makes me, but I enjoy your enthusiasm!

    Another thought: has it been definitively proven that Mr. Big ISN’T Batman?

  4. Austin J says:

    I totally see where you are drawing your comparisons, I get it, and I agree….

    That Marvel Divas was not the best comic.

    But a Sex and the City comic… I dunno. I mean I read a LOT of off the wall comics, and I will pick up something just because it looks odd, buuut I have to say, that I would pass over this, faster than a Vegetarian skipping the meat area of the buffet. (Do Vegetarians even GO to buffets?)

    so yeah, good thought, I see the correlation, but I just don’t see it as being WILDLY Successful.

    To play the devil’s advocate,

    They have managed to squeeze two movies out of the show. *shrug*

    • Anika says:

      I am a vegetarian and I do not go to buffets — but because I have serious issues about food being fresh.

      It would be a gamble, absolutely. But whether or not it is WILDLY successful depends on the goal. If I were to actually pitch this comic I would start with a prequel — how the girls met, as is addressed briefly in the second movie. It could be advertised in new markets and it could reach new readers, and if it did, that would be a success.

      Why are women assumed to be the core audience for a Sex and the City film but not a Supergirl film? Because Supergirl is marketed to men and little girls, but not older girls and not women. The recent Ms. Marvel and the ongoing Power Girl are good comics about women every bit as identifiable for women as Carrie or Samantha — but women don’t know that, so women don’t read it. That’s what I want to see change.

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