The Refrigerator Monologues: 01/22/18
The Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne M. Valente is a novella in a series of interconnected short stories. They are set in an afterlife purgatory for the women killed by superheroes and supervillains.
Each story comes in two parts: a present day, life after death or time in purgatory, and the life before. Most of these deaths comes down to the toxic masculinity of the typical big comic book publisher's worlds. Women have been scarce in comic books, though more so since the grittier, edgier "realism" that started in the 1990s. They have been often relegated to being damsels in distress or to dying to force the hero to become the hero or regain his desire to be the hero. Valente has populated her book with women who represent these tropes.
I think if I were more invested in the big publishers and the big superhero comics (and their numerous film franchises) I would have gotten more out of this book. As is, I just didn't care. Valente's complex, poetic language just lengthened the process of slogging through another life and death I couldn't relate to.
A better, shorter, similar story (and told in comic book form, no less) is the Black Hammer series by Jeff Lemire.