The story of the issue now taken care of in previous parts, this will take a look at the extras: the section titled BitchFest and the ads on the back cover. Find the previous installments here: Part I. Part II. Part III. Part IV. Part V. Part VI.
BitchFest opens with contact and social media info. Next are character concept designs by Valentine De Landro for Penny Rolle and Kamau Kogo plus sketches for the hologram. The hologram sketches are variations on a theme, of course. A bunch look sci-fi in the vein of Milla Jovovich’s costume in The Fifth Element. The one with the most coverage of body looks sort-of like a 1960s Barbie.
Next is a thank you to Danielle Henderson from Kelly Sue Deconnick. Most notable of this: Henderson talked Deconnick off various ledges regarding fears about the project with a “Girl-you-are-better-than-this-cowardly-shit-you-are-showing-me look,” and Henderson authored Feminist Ryan Gosling.
As I was attempting to figure out what side of the line of brilliant | exploitative Bitch Planet was on, this thank you to Henderson and Henderson’s essay on the following pages helped me see the intent more clearly. Henderson’s essay addresses the so-called “post-feminist” mind-set, one that denies that women are still culturally oppressed. She writes from a perspective of a gender studies professor at a Midwestern College. She addresses the denial with sympathy rather than dismay. She goes on to posit that we’re already on Bitch Planet–this was my breakthrough for the opening page of the comic, although that’s just the beginning.
After the wonderful essay, a number of tweets from Twitter and pics from Instagram are featured. Apparently some people got NC temporary tattoos. Who’s a bitch gotta shank around here to get one of those?
The final page is a parody of the ad pages of comics from back in the 60s and 70s. They all thematically satire the ideas and social constructs present in the comic. In a Happy Anniversary announcement, Mr. Collins’ first name is finally shown to be Skip as he gushes forth to Dawn. Skip might be exactly what a woman ought to do upon meeting Mr. Collins: Skip him. After my own heart is an ad titled “Rabbit.” In it Alice spends her last credits trying to reach the White Rabbit. She is in hiding and The Duchess said this was how to reach him. As an Alice aficionado, I see many connections. The Duchess and Queen of Hearts are both large, non-compliant women. Lewis Carroll used his story to mock many of the social conventions of the day. Alice is lost, not sure about her identity or how to get home. Others, like the X-Ray Specs more overtly mock the sliminess of Mr. Collins and Mr. Solanza.
After an issue that is a gut-punch, these ads remind us that Bitch Planet is also a helluva lotta fun to read.