Why Did I Just Read The Words 'Equal Parts Estrogen And Adrenaline' About A Female Comic Team In 2019?

A crop of the cover for DC’s new Birds of Prey comic. (Image: Art by Emanuela Lupacchino, Ray McCarthy, and Nicholas Filardi., DC Comics)

That’s... a choice.

Revealed by DC Comics before San Diego Comic-Con officially kicks off, the new ongoing monthly Birds of Prey book will be penned by Brian Azzarello and features art from Emanuela Lupacchino, Ray McCarthy, and Trish Mulvihill.

The new series will star an updated iteration of the team, with stalwarts Black Canary, Huntress, and Renee Montoya now joined by none other than Harley Quinn. Though it’s not billed as any kind of tie-in, it feels oddly familiar when you consider the Warner Bros’ feature film on the way titled Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) featuring... Harley Quinn, Black Canary, Huntress, and Renee Montoya.

Azzarello said in the press release, “Having Harley involved screws with the new BOP dynamic... Canary, Huntress and Montoya have a lot of damaged baggage. Ema and I are gonna unpack it.” But he also said something else...

“Tonally, this series will surprise many readers,” Azzarello continued. “Ema and I are pushing the envelope, both character-wise and plot-wise, with equal parts estrogen and adrenaline.”

What... what?

Estrogen and adrenaline are both hormones and let’s be honest, no one says the word estrogen in a context like this without meaning “lady stuff.” It’s a weird, not to mention outdated, way to describe a book about one of the most famous superhero teams. Frankly, I’m surprised he didn’t say “girl power.”

Take for instance Lupachinno’s language about the same book: “This will be a lovely opportunity to bring these women to life and let the reader feel their emotions. I’ll give them their energy and power.” It puts the women (not boiled down to their hormones) and their power, front and centre.

Azzarello is a pretty big name in the comics world so it makes sense DC would want to put him on this title, but it makes less sense when you consider two things. First, the controversial reception to his work on Wonder Woman in years past, drastically altering her and the Amazon’s origins. Second, there’s the odd context of this story echoing the upcoming film which is very much a women-focused project.

The Birds of Prey movie story is being spearheaded by Margot Robbie and specifically an effort to bring her out of the shadow of the Joker and his abuse. It’s even making sure Harley’s costumes are less male-gazey than they were in Suicide Squad. The film features two women behind the camera, with Cathy Yan directing and Christina Hodson writing.

There are plenty of talented women who could have been hired to write the new Birds of Prey comic, it’s disappointing DC didn’t think of them or the current climate.

Here’s the full cover and preview pages DC released along with the announcement:

The plot for the new arc was described thusly:

Black Canary’s life has spiraled out of control: her personal life is going through the wringer and her band is in crisis. An old flame resurfaces only to flicker out and set Dinah on an all-new mission against an all-new opponent: Las Esposas de la Muerte. The only thing Dinah can be grateful for is the fact that she’s not alone, as Huntress finds herself on a collision course with Black Canary’s quarry at Detective Montoya’s urging. Meanwhile, Harley Quinn has resurfaced outside of Gotham City and out of the Suicide Squad, with a new lease on life that is sure to make everyone’s life more complicated. And that’s only the first five pages of this dynamic new ongoing series!

Birds of Prey #1 will hit stores on October 31.


Comments

    For the same reason people refer to NRL as “Testosterone fuelled”.
    We used to get upset about boobs being used to sell bad-girl comments. Now feminised hormones are a trigger for peeps choosing to be woke.

      ...peeps choosing to be woke.

      A.K.A. virtue signallers - those who make public, empty gestures intended to convey socially approved attitudes without any associated risk or sacrifice. A step up from the curtain twitcher or even the tut-tutter.

        I think taking a "biologically honest" approach in conjunction with good old fashioned emotional intelligence is the only way forward with these things. The current online trend of callign foul on all sexualisation (that's not porn, because somehow that's empowering or something) is diminishment of eons of the female form being adpated via evolution to be pleasing to the male gaze. Men think about sex a lot more than women. We express that in our art and so forth. Denying us this is kinda like putting one of those things on our collars that squirt dogs in the face when they bark.
        The issue is deep, but not as deep as it is made out to be. We see more examples of men sexualising other males (via muscles and so forth) than female produced examples, so balance is not demosntrated. And based on the way both sexes are configured, it would be unrealistic to expect balance to be achieved. Thus, men will always spend more time expressing their sexualities than women. And this is a thing that SHOULD be okay that people should innately get due to the fact we are all fucking human animals with gender specific expressions of the self.

    Frankly, I’m surprised he didn’t say “girl power.”

    And what, pray tell, would be wrong with that? Are we so cynical and jaded that we assume people use these terms in a derogative manner? Wait, don't answer that. You wrote an entire article on the premise...

      It doesn't matter whether they're used in a derogatory manner or not in the context of the article. The idea that women are defined by their hormones is an outdated concept. The short, catchy sound bite of 'equal parts estrogen and adrenaline' is reductive. There are a lot of potential inferences here, but the most obvious one is the allusion that women are defined by their hormones. Estrogen is a hormone the female body produces, but doesn't define gender in a modern context. It is also awkward in this context because it's the hormone responsible for female sexual development. It is not the same as saying 'equal parts testosterone and adrenaline' because both of those hormones have the potential to result in increased aggression and make sense in the context of an action themed comic. Azzarello might as well have said 'equal parts baby-making and kicking ass'.
      You want to attribute every socio-political comment as a SJW agenda? Fine. I'm sure its easier for you than actually taking the time to think about the validity of other people's thoughts or feelings. You do you, buddy.

        I especially liked how you took the high road at the end with “you do you, buddy”, we can all barely see you so high above us on your horse. If an author of anything spent the time to debate how every minority, or majority, in race, religion, sexuality, gender, political leanings this took could possibly construe their words to effect their thoughts and feelings, nothing would ever be written. You’ve read far too much into a clearly definable descriptive that most English speaking people understand the meaning of. Or you can talk about the levels of chemicals produced in the human body for a paragraph , you do you, buddy.

          That's pretty much the whole point of the paragraph I wrote. Understanding and empathy take time. It's easy to make generalisations, and it's easy to take things at face value.
          Yes, some people lack the capacity to understand the message of both my post and the article, for reasons that range from cultural, academic, to innate ability. You clearly and OP are clearly both intelligent people. You have the faculties to understand the intention of Jill, the author of the article. You just don't have the desire.
          Thanks, I will. :)

            If every time the word estrogen is used people project 30 years of baggage onto it and assume the worst how do we ever "progress" past these stereotypes?

            because Estrogen is not the N word it isn't inherently offensive, i mean in the quote used above my assumption would be that the word was being used in a positive way.

            the real story here and what should be the focus of this comment section in my opinion is not rehashing years and years of negative gender stereotypes, instead we should focus on the fact that once again a writer for Kotaku has gone out of their way to interpret a single comment negatively so they can write a shitty hate bait article that will grab attention and drive traffic.

            PS if you are actually concerned that people are failing to understand your point then use simpler language and a less flowery delivery.

    I'd be more worried about the overly sexualised costumes and body shapes if I was going to be critical of the comics.

    It does sound a bit old fashioned in a way, but I'd call Gears of War for instance a testosterone and adrenaline fuelled game.

    I get that it seems an out of date phrase to use, and could be seen as condescending, but I do feel there are bigger fish to fry with comics and female representation than drilling down onto the phrases mentioned in the article.

    The same reason mid 90's comics are described as testosterone fueled because they featured massive men, massive chested women and male dominated stories. It's almost as if some women don't want anything to be attributed to the female gender. Estrogen is not derogatory, it's stories with a female perspective and voice.

    Why did I just read scientific terminology in 2019?

    Fun fact: Males have estrogen too and as they age the balance of testosterone and estrogen shifts towards having more estrogen which can potentially lead to complications like prostate cancer.

      That had nothing to do with this marketing bullshit, though. This is a lady comic about ladies being all girl powery.

      This is stupid as fuck marketing bullshit from The late 90s.

        We are talking about comic books here though... :-)

          Well yeah. But it's a garbage fire. I'm not giving them a free pass just because it's always been a garbage fire. The games industry used to be just as bad until people complained enough.

            The games industry used to be just as bad until people complained enough

            well "people" haven't stopped complaining yet your comment makes it sound like something had changed and the games industry therefore must not be a "garbage fire". Please go tell the people that still piss and moan about gamergate all the time i would appreciate them shutting the fuck up for a change so my life isn't interrupted constantly by their dribbling idiocy.

            i mean it sincerely please make them stop.

              I'm so sorry that you need to read about the time that multiple people had to go into hiding after they were victims of a concerted effort to stalk, harass, and threaten them. It must utterly fucking destroy you to occasionally have to think that a bunch of dickheads convinced an international audience to simultaneously decide that most of the world's population insisting that they exist was some kind of disastrous political stunt because some dude was mad at his ex girlfriend. I honestly hope that one day you can think about the fact that "ethics in games media" was a ridiculous line you swallowed without it forcing you to write sad poems.

              Take it one day at a time, champ. You'll get there.

                that is an incredibly condescending reply well done.

                Your making a lot of assumptions here like where i line up on the subject of gamergate, unsurprisingly you accuse me of swallowing a false narrative whilst you prove you swallowed one yourself, I'm sure the misogynists used to fuel the gamergate narrative existed but as usual it's a tiny minority of dumbasses + a heap of edgelords that just wanted to bait people like you.. okay new approach.

                Ironically i'm going to assume your knowledge of GG and where you came down on the controversy, anyway there were 3 factions during GG split into 5 groups total.

                Faction 1: legitimate victims of online harassment and abuse in this particular case the focus was on victims of gender based harassment. And then the other people who were the actual faces for GG, every single one of these people lied about the amount of "harassment" they received and i have seen them call legitimate critiques and questions harassment. That being said this second group did receive abuse and harassment above and beyond the norm but not until after they baited it out by saying stupid shit like gamers hate women etc. Play stupid games win stupid prizes my dude.

                factions 2: completely and systematically ignored small group of people with legitimate questions and concerns about "ethics in games journalism". Second group on this side of GG comprised of another small group that legit hates women also known as scumfucks.

                Faction 3: you may have noticed at this point that groups 1-4 each contain very few people, now we get to the last group which makes up the overwhelming majority of the GG peeps, we both belong to this group btw. This last group contains everyone not directly involved in either of the competing narratives "sexism" and "ethics" but who chose a side, we had people choose one side because your side was calling them sexists and harassers etc etc. And other choose the opposite side because they bought into the bullshit.

                Considering that GG was a made up controversy from the beginning gamers do not have a misogyny problem and games journalism is not that corrupt, both sides played the game lying, strawmans out of context quotes etc. Is it unreasonable for me given this entire thing was fabricated out of thin air to be sick and tired of hearing about it?

                get over yourself, don't sling shit at me about lies just because your too proud to admit you were hoodwinked by grifters.

                  I was hoodwinked by grifters? Mate, you can read this fucking site and then tell me gaming didn't have a misogyny problem with a straight face. You're still trying this hard to perform the kind of mental gymnastics that defends harassment that led to multiple people literally going into hiding from credible threats to their lives and caused the FBI to produce a 234 page investigation report. Either you're gullible enough to buy real estate on the moon, or you're a fucking liar. Between you and I, you don't strike me as a lunar real estate tycoon.

                  Gamergate was a culture war against a straw enemy. It was a reactionary shit storm by gatekeeping assholes and the idiots who love them. The effects continue unabated to this day and trying to engage in debate with anyone claiming otherwise means arguing with idiots and liars. Which I don't particularly feel like doing.

                  So in summary: stop telling lies.

                  The fact that you don't take the very real effects of all of the women who had their lives fucked with into account in any way is a blazing sign that at best you don't care about women's lives as much as you do people saying bad words about your beep boop toys.

                  Perhaps the real misogyny was the apologism for people weaponising fear of rape and death we made along the way.

                Kotaku is not even remotely a trustworthy source when it comes to gamergate... u know what i don't care anymore i never defending harassment at all your a lying hypocrite. honestly sick of your constant abuse and the shitty moderators that let you get away with it.

                GAMING does not and did not have a misogyny problem you moronic pastry, you are an ideologue incapable of having a rational discussion about GG that is glaringly obvious because every time someone talks about it and doesn't stand in lock step with your take on it you accuse them of being a misogynist and trying to excuse harassment.

                I do not condone the abuse these women suffered i will however point out that despite repeatedly being asked to provide evidence of the abuse they never do. Meaning they sure as shit got abuse they just lied about how much they received as well as labeling legitimate criticism and questions as abuse, i will not name the women i am talking about because every time someone does they fucking show up again and shill their patreon and make more money.

                Gaming does not have a problem with misogyny it is make believe and i'm sick of hearing this utter crap, i have been a gamer for 20 years and in all that time i have only run across a handful of these mycologist cave dwellers, THEY DO NOT REPRESENT ME fucking stop it.

    Taking offense at something like this is also a choice.

    Hands up everyone who had any intention of buying this comic?
    I’ll bet there are very very few of you. This right here is a cherry picked quote designed to get clicks, and rile up people on both sides of the fence. Barely any of whom give a fuck about the actual comic.

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