MISC: Super Stomach Girl #4 - You Knew the Job was Dangerous When You Took It

Tom Russell milos_parker at yahoo.com
Wed May 24 21:21:18 PDT 2006

All right!  It's time for some hot commentary-on-commentary action!

Or, in this case, commentary on commentary on commentary, with
shameless plugs by Tom Russell.

(There is a minor spoiler for my own NHOP below.  I mean, I wrote the
series three or four years ago, but in case you're just joining us in
the TEB editions, be warned.)

martinphipps2 at yahoo.com wrote:
> Tom Russell wrote:
> >
> > Now, I'm not saying that SUPER STOMACH GIRL would be better suited to
> > one of the sex stories newsgroups.  It's not a porno story.
> It is and it isn't.  Change the word "transform" to "orgasm" and you
> have this girl, Roz, who reacts very favourably to torture.

Well, that would be foregrounding the subtext, and then, perhaps, it
would have been more suitable to one of the alt.sex.stories groups.
But I think the fact that it is a subtextual thing saves it from being
looped in with pornography.

It's like the difference between BLACK NARCISSUS and NAUGHTY NUNS.
Both (if Naughty Nuns exists, which I'm sure it does) are about really
horny nuns trying to control their urges.  With BLACK NARCISSUS, it's a
subtext: albiet a candy-coloured and blatant one.  With NAUGHTY NUNS--
though I haven't seen it, if it does indeed exist-- I think it would be
safe to say that it's foregrounded.  BLACK NARCISSUS is a
long-cherished work of cinematic art.  Pornography seldom aspires to
the level of art, and I think one would be pulling an Armond "Mr. 3000
is one of the best movies ever made about being black" White if they
tried to argue something like NAUGHTY NUNS is on par with the work of
Powell & Pressburger.

> Yeah.  I read the first three issues and thought they were good but I
> started feeling a bit uneasy when the focus shifted to Kara.  Now, I
> have no personal problems with Kara's voyeurism except that it IS
> illegal and if it had been a guy watching her then Roz might not have
> been so forgiving.  That's not the only double-standard: if a guy were
> watching other guys taking a shower then you'd say he was gay but Kara
> says she isn't a lesbian just because she likes to watch muscular women
> take showers.  Right.  There's nothing sexual about that.  Even you say
> that she's experiencing "incredible panty-dampening knee-clanging joy".
>  Roz accepts that Kara is not a lesbian because if Kara is getting some
> kind of sexual satisfaction from all this and Roz is a willing
> participant then does that make Roz a lesbian?  Women don't seem to
> worry so much about this: they can go all the way with another woman
> and call it "experimenting".  I'm not saying this is a bad thing.  In
> fact it makes one wonder if there is such athing as a clear distinction
> between lesbian and straight women or if they don't just go for
> whatever strikes their mood.  But that's a whole other discussion.

Even among the gay community, there's a certain skew towards the
acceptance of complex female sexuality over complex male sexuality.
Hell, in society in general, lesbian and bi-sexual women get a better
deal than gay and bi-sexual men: mainstream society is more accepting
of two pretty women getting together rather than two ugly men.

People are uncomfortable with gay men.  Hell, look at the use of Frat
Boy since last October: it's a big joke.  If the story was a sincere
one, a sweet or even a sexy one, it would make most readers very

On the other hand, my characters Lily and Michette, as long-time NHOP
readers know, are very much in love with each other.  And the scene in
which that is revealed is, in the author's own estimation, sweet and
emotional and, yes, sexy.

It might come down to the fact that women are innately sexy and men are
not.  It's usually men who are driven crazy with lust for women, not
the other way around.

However, one notes in most comic books, a certain homoerotic tension;
just as women are idealized and to a degree objectified as ideal lust
objects, men get the same treatment.  The taut muscles, the costume
clinging to every inch...

Some of these overtones will be explored, in a more serious fashion, in

> It wasn't the sexual aspect that turned me off.  In fact, truth be
> told, the sexual tone of the story turned me ON.  Kara wanted to see
> how many times Roz would "transform".  Roz ended up "transforming"
> three times.  I was on the verge of "transforming" myself reading that.
>  (Too much information?)

Thank you for sharing, Martin. :-P

> No, what bothered me were the unanswered
> questions.  If Kara saw the second attack, did she see the first?  Why
> didn't she call the police?  At the very least she could have called an
> ambulance.  Perhaps, as it was implied, Kara was responsible for these
> attacks, that she pays street gangs to hit girls in the stomach and
> kill them.  Um, that would make her the villain, not a sidekick.

I personally hope that's not the case, and the conversation she had at
the end of #... 2?  3?... struck me as very odd, and certainly supports
that theory.  I personally hate those kind of twists, and with a
character as interesting as Kara, I hope it's not the case.

> Is this a parody of comics?  Maybe Japanese comics.

I was watching a commentary track for BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (it
was the Robot two-parter that introduced Babs Gordon into that
continuity) with my wife, and one of the animators mentioned getting a
lot of his ideas from LEGEND OF THE OVERFIEND.  I then had to explain
the tentacle rape genre to my sheltered, Catholic wife.


The Japanese are _weird_.

>  Except
> that sadomasochism is no longer a subtext at this point in the story,
> is it?  Roz even wondered if Kara was going to use whips and chains
> but, as it turned out, Kara went no further than rope bondage and
> punches.

Well, similiar to the aforementioned BLACK NARCISSUS, it becomes a very
blatant subtext.  But, until sexuality is _expressly_, uh, expressed, I
think it remains a subtext.

> Kara is willing to get punched in the stomach herself so that Roz will
> continue coming.  Compare that to the sort of thing you'd be willing to
> do to get a blow job.  Me, personally, I wouldn't like the taste of
> menstral blood.  Ew.

It ain't much different from regular blood.  And besides bringing your
lady some pleasure, it can relieve some of the crippling pain and
discomfort during her period.
> > I don't share Kara's fetish.  It's a little extreme for my tastes.  But
> > I understand Kara, I understand her fascination, and I accept her for
> > who she is.
> Again, I think this is the point.  By seeing things from Kara's point
> of view, you are more accepting of them.  She likes to watch.  She
> likes to hit.  Imagine that this, like Speak!, were told in second
> person.  "You like to watch women take showers.  You like to hit women
> in the stomach.  You sick bitch."

The difference is-- Kara's possible criminal negligence aside-- Kara's
actions don't actually _hurt_ anybody, if one defines hurt as
non-consensual violence against another person.  Gregory Dingham, from
SPEAK!, does inflict considerable and malicious hurt upon others.  It
might be a knee-jerk reaction or come out of petty anger, but he does
purposefully inflict hurt upon others.

Kara-- at least, until Jerry reveals otherwise-- has not crossed that
line.  She would not punch someone without their permission, and that
permission is the important thing, that's the dividing line.

Because Kara doesn't cross that line-- because she keeps things safe,
sane, and consensual-- she does not deserve the moralizing accusatory
tone of Speak!; what she's doing is not morally wrong.  Gregory, on the
other hand, trangresses against other people (and, as Saxon pointed
out, even his own sense of self, which I think prompted the
second-person in the first place) and the second person is a way of not
only dramatizing his inner conflict, but also a device by which to
distance audience sympathy from the protagonist: I don't want people
identifying with Gregory's actions to the degree that they think
they're positive actions or worthy or emulation.

I want some degree of identification, and that's why-- even in second
person-- the story is told completely from his point of view and his
knowledge of what's going on, instead of cutting to Sandy or the cops
or whatever.  I want people to reflect on times in their lives that
they've done wrong, and I want Gregory to illuminate a darker part of
themselves.  I want people to think about the true self, and what it
means to trangress against that self, what motivates that kind of

But I don't want people cheering him on, and so that's why I struck
completely the opposite tact.

Kara, on the other hand, at least from these first four issues, totally
warrants cheering on, and I've got my pom-poms ready should I need
them. :-)

> I did a double take here too.  But the line "like a TV channel going
> off the air due to a power outage" wouldn't quite work either.  It's
> not an everyday thing.

It is in Detroit. :-P

> It was posted May 8th.  It is now May 25th.  That's more than two
> weeks.  I put off reading it because four issues is a lot to read at
> once and then, when it was no longer at the top of the queue on google,
> I had to look for it.  I might never have read it.

We're over 200 posts again this month, and we've had quite a few
topics, to boot.  Congrats, everybody!

> In fact, I rarely
> do read stuff that isn't LNH, LNHY or 8FOLD.  On the other hand, the

Thank you on behalf of my fellow Eightfoldian(s).

Speaking of Eightfold, it appears that our "spot the Superman line"
contest in THE NOSTALGICS has stumped everyone.  If no one gets it by
the end of the month, I'll just post the answer and hold another
contest some other time.

Here's a hint: it's from one of the most important and often-reprinted
Golden Age Superman stories.
> fact that it was four issues meant that I could be certain the story
> was going somewhere and that it wasn't going to be a one shot.  I hate
> that: somebody writes a story, I crtique it and then they don't post
> again.

Newbies can be sensitive, as my past antics no doubt can attest.
That's why I was so glad that Jerry was a very good, imaginative, and
technically sound writer.  It made my job as critic that much easier.

> Martin


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