There’s a special feeling that only we queers know. You know when you’re reading a story, and there’s a hint of two characters maybe being gay together ? You’re like “That would rule, but it won’t ever happen. I’m just seeing what I want to see,” but you keep reading because, I dunno, maybe the rest of the story is interesting enough to enjoy on its own merits or something weird like that.
But the story doesn’t stop dropping these Homo Hints®! And you’re like “Wow this is getting weird, but it’s still probably not gonna happen.” Because you’ve seen so many stories like this, where you see gay subtext where there is none, or where the writers are deliberately queerbaiting you. You can’t let your guard down, because you’ve been burned too many times.
And so when the story finally, actually goes there, it’s god damn mind blowing. You saw it coming, but you also had no idea. I’m gonna call this emotion “gay vindication”, and there’s no feeling quite like it.
This could be the opening to a review of Gunnerkrigg Court, which I kept reading for like five years before finally getting Gay Vindicated, and it would be a great opening for that review. Unfortunately, this isn’t a review of Gunnerkrigg Court.
It’s a review of Spinnerette.
Spinnerette is the story of Heather Brown, a lab assistant working her way through grad school who grows four extra arms and gains spider powers after an accident at work. Being a huge comic nerd and lacking much sense or impulse control, she decides to become a superhero named Spinnerette. Hijinks ensue. Oh god how they ensue. Why won’t the hijinks stop ensuing.
I’m gonna make this clear: Spinnerette is crap. It’s a terrible comic. I’m sorry, I don’t like to be so blunt in my reviews, but I really don’t know what else to say about a comic that has like, easily three, maybe four characters with gigantic gag boobs, one of whom is named “Super Milf”. Like. Come on. That’s just, really bad, and embarrassing for everyone.
Not only that, but the tone of the comic is all over the place! One chapter you’ve got, like, the time-travelling adventures of Ben Franklin, Superhero or date night with the Canada-themed superheroes or something ridiculous like that, and the next you’ve got Mecha Maid’s arch nemesis from North Korea telekinetically dismembering civilians with glass shards. What the hell!!
But then it comes through with these seriously genius moments, satirizing superhero comics in ways that make me guffaw and then check to see if anyone is watching me. (Actually I usually check to see if anyone is watching me if I have this comic open in a tab at all.)
It’s worth noting that one of the Canadian superheroes is Green Gable, a legacy hero themed on the classic cancon book. The current Green Gable is a man, and he wears a dress (apparently it’s traditional), and this comes dangerously close to being played for transmisogynist man-in-a-dress laughs. I didn’t feel like it necessarily crossed that line, but I also have a depressingly high tolerance for that sort of thing, so I’m perhaps not the best judge.
The real problem with Spinnerette is this: when I read it, I got hardcore Gay Vindicated. It was great, and honestly made the slog through all the cringe-inducing parts of the comic almost worth it. It was the best part of Spinnerette. But I can’t share that moment with my friends. Even by telling you about it here, I’m ruining that moment for you. It won’t be a surprise anymore. You won’t get to simultaneously yell “I knew it!” and “I can’t believe it!” when it gets gay, because I just told you it gets gay, just now. Sorry.
But the alternative is to send you in unaware, and that’s worse. I can’t in good conscience say “Read this comic. Just read it. Trust me,” because I know it’s awful. Not to mention that it would make people think “I wonder why Wisp told me to read this. I guess maybe they really like giant gag boobs?” and I really don’t want to give that impression either.
So the worst part about Spinnerette? That I can’t share the best part of Spinnerette with anyone.
Final verdict: If you like jokes about superhero tropes and can ignore the weird uncomfortable designs of a lot of the female characters and some potentially transmisogynist humor, you might get a kick out of this comic. That is literally the highest praise I can give it.