Robert Kirkman responds to Invincible #110 reaction

Writer Robert Kirkman gave an interview with Comic Book Resources concerning the recent issue of Invincible. When asked about the graphic rape scene depicted in the comic, Kirkman answered:

It’s definitely a hectic time in Mark’s life, there’s definitely a lot going on with Robot trying to take over the world, and I’m just trying to throw Mark Grayson — the main character of this book — into the worst possible situation he’s ever been in so we can see where he comes out on the other side and whether he manages to retain his sanity in the process. We’re really putting Mark through his paces.

Also, it’s just another attempt to bring something that’s a bad part of real life into a superhero world and analyze the ramifications of something like this happening to someone in superhero comics. It’s a great medium to be able to deal with real-world issues against a fantastic backdrop that is completely unreal and see how those differences in the situation change how characters behave. It’s really all about exploring Mark’s character, and I can say it’s a very hard scene to read, and it’s meant to be that way. There will be far-reaching ramifications coming from this moment that will extend throughout the life of the book for years and years and years. It’s definitely a huge turning point in Mark’s life and it’s something that’s going to temper almost every scene with that guy moving forward. Issue #110 was a monumental issue as far as the run of the book goes.

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Comic books, sales, and rape

Invincible #110 features an uncommon scene in comics: the rape of the main male character. In the issue, Mark Grayson, Invincible, is attacked and raped by a female character. The scene is graphic. While nothing adult is shown, there is no question that the woman physically overpowers and forcibly rapes Invincible in order to get pregnant by him. When finished, she then retorts that Invincible should “Man up. It’ll probably take a few more times. I’ll see you soon.”

I do not read the comic, but I am familiar with the general plot of the story. My understanding is that the female character is part of the same alien, Kryptonian-like race as Grayson, which explains why she is able to physically overpower him. What makes the scene unique is that it does not shy away from showing a woman doing what people usually assume a man would do. The scene does not appear to be played for comedy.

It is unclear how people will react to this. I suspect that a number of fans will take is a Grayson wanting it deep down. Some may take it as a male role-reversal fantasy (this seems the more likely feminist take), while others may find it genuinely disturbing. Continue reading