In the future, non-compliant women are sent to prison. A prison that takes up an entire planet and is colloquially referred to as Bitch Planet. Non-compliance encompasses many things – from violent crime to not being considered attractive enough, maybe because, like Penny, you’re fat and have shaved your head – and you don’t give a fuck about what anybody thinks. But when you put women like this together, even under the worst circumstances, they aren’t likely to take things lying down.
Bitch Planet is a damn amazing comic, a feminist take on prison exploitation (movies) with emotional impact and a great sense of humor within all the politics. I loved it.
Bitch Planet gets many things right: for one, there is the general idea of the criminal offense of women being non-compliant and what all of that encompasses. We all know the ways in which women are non-compliant in our society, in the Bitch Planet universe it’s just made more explicit by them being shipped of to a prison planet.
Not all themes are absolutely clearly worked out yet (like the religious touch here and there; the reality TV/entertainment aspect of things), but the series is just finding its footing and there is a lot of interesting stuff there that will be worth exploring in the future volumes.
The part that worked best for me was Penny’s background story and the conclusion it comes to that is simply great. That and the awesome ads/back pages that are included between issues. (I tweeted my faves here and here.) Generally speaking, there is something absolutely refreshing in reading a comic that is so clearly on a feminist mission and that knows that there is more to feminism than just gender (you bet that the majority of imprisoned characters are women of color).
The art is great as well. Despite the fact that there are many naked women in this, they are not sexualized at all, which is pretty great. And there is a certain boldness that borders on being aggressive to the style that fits the story perfectly. And then the old design for the back pages. There’s everything to love here.
Summarizing: I’m in love.