Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur is Aces

I bought a copy of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur: BFF for my niece (happy birthday, Bronte!). But I had to read it first: it is a comic, isn't it?

By the third page, I was worried. Moon Girl is at school, in a science class. The teacher announces to the class, 'the theory of evolution'. The class responds 'the theory of evolution'. I was worried.

I don't want my niece to be misinformed, I thought. Do I need to add a note, explaining that while natural selection is a theory, evolution isn't. This is a common misunderstanding. Evolution is, as far as science has them, a fact. Natural selection is a theory about how evolution operates. I know it is a tough call to explain the difference to a seven year old, and that's without getting into the difference between 'hypothesis' and 'theory'.

I keep reading. On the next page, Moon Girl comes to my rescue.

'Evolution is not a theory... it's been a consensus for generations of biologists. It's reproducible in protein engineering.'

OMG. Moon Girl is smarter than most of the atheists I know who think that 'science' disapproves God, because evolution. 

I read on, delighted. Moon Girl is so smart, she is frustrated by the limitations of school. But rather than act out, she is honest. Of course, her family are worried. But she holds her faith in science. She is noble, intelligent and alienated. Then a dinosaur turns up in the playground. 

The second issue begins with a quotation from Marie Curie (and a dinosaur wrecking havoc in a city). Marie Curie's description of the scientist is beautiful, and it's reclaim science from the patriarchy time, of course. No wonder the MRAs are throwing a shit-fit about this comic. It's providing young women with a role model and mashing up scientific history with the tropes of the superhero. This is exactly the comic I want my niece to read. 

Also, there is a gang of ape-men chasing about the pop. They remind me of MRAs, but that is just me being cheeky.

Okay, but what is going on with Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur? He's smashing stuff up, rampaging (I guess that's realism. I mean, how else is a dinosaur going to act in a city?). Moon Girl is trying to control him. That's a straight up 'instinct versus reason' pairing. It's an allegory, of the untamed passions being tamed by the thoughtful mind. I don't want to harp on about the gender split here - it's not clear whether DD defines as male, but I am getting the impression of a stereotypical masculine force and MG as the calming female influence. 

There might be a problem in that kind of split, but I am not expecting BFF to address gender fluidity. Frankly, if the reader is smart enough to see the allegory (and that reader is me), I can give pause to recognise the context. If MG is giving an intelligent account of science and providing my niece with a role-model, I'll save the lecture on the chromosomes until she is older. 

Meanwhile, the Hulk turns up and punches Devil Dinosaur. MG is like, 'macho crap' and tries to intervene. DD gets captured, MG has to pretend to be normal and I start crying. It's so sad. DD ends up in a cage (MG's cage is her school and home), but Moon Girl is going to rescue DD. 

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